30 April 2012 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

International groups, regional organizations propose initiatives for Mali: On Monday Human Rights Watch released a report detailing war crimes committed in the northern areas of Mali. HRW reported that armed groups on both sides of the conflict had committed murder, rapes, and abductions, enlisted child soldiers, and looted public areas. Meanwhile, amid rumors of a planned counter-coup d’etat led by Amadou Toure loyalists, The Economic Community of West African States met to discuss potential intervention in the country. The ECOWAS Summit recently concluded in neighboring Ivory Coast, at which time the proposed solution to the situations in Mali and Guinea Bissau was to deploy troops, and ultimately restore constitutional order. (For information on ECOWAS, please click here; for information on potential counter-coup, please click here)

Arab League voices support for domestic trial for Saif al-Islam Gaddafi: In a statement Monday, the Arab League said it supported Libya’s pursuit of a domestic trial for Saif al-Islam Gaddafi. The announcement follows a decision last week by judges at the International Criminal Court, which dismissed Libya’s appeal against an international trial for the son of former Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi. Although the Security Council referred the situation in Libya to the ICC, the country did not feel any obligation to transfer Saif al-Islam Gaddafi to be tried, and has fought his international prosecution. ICC authorities fear any domestic trial for Gaddafi would fall short of international standards.

First of Bemba victim witnesses to testify Tuesday: The trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo will resume Tuesday, when the first of five victim witnesses will provide testimony. The case before the International Criminal Court heard forty prosecution witnesses before the recess began one month ago, and the number and timing of the victim witnesses was debated until judges authorized live testimony from the five individuals. The witnesses will represent the 2,744 victims currently participating in the Bemba Trial, and are expected to provide evidence on rapes, pillaging, and murder, among other crimes, committed in the Central African Republic.

Bosnian war crimes court convicts, jails first female accused: On Monday a Bosnian woman began her prison sentence for killing Bosnian Croats in a brutal attack in April 1993. The Bosnian War Crimes Court convicted Rasema Handanovic after she pled guilty to charges stemming from the murder of six Bosnian Croats in Trusina. Handanovic was part of the “Zulfikar” arm of the Bosnian army, which reportedly killed 18 Croat civilians and four prisoners of war in the incident in Trusina. She was extradited from the United States and sentenced to five and a half years in prison, in exchange for testimony against remaining members of her group. The judge considered as mitigating factors that Handanovic had been raped during the war and had seen several family members killed in the conflict.

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