Archive for category AU
Final Prosecution witness in Ruto / Sang case fails to appear: The final Prosecution witness in the trial against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang failed to appear before the ICC to testify on Monday, 23 March 2015. The ICC judges were thus forced to adjourn the trial. It is being reported that the judges and parties in the case were to hold a conference meeting today, 25 March 2015, to discuss the status and progress of the case. The witness was the Prosecution’s last before its closing arguments. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (All Africa, Capital News).
Former PM testifies at STL of Hariri crime scene tampering: Today, 25 March 2015, former Prime Minister of Lebanon Fouad Sinoira testified at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon claiming members of the Lebanese-Syrian security apparatus tampered with the crime scene of the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Sinoira also said members of the security apparatus “bullied” Lebanese officials and “violated the dignities and freedoms” of Lebanese citizens. The defense suggested the members had a privileged relationship with then Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, whom the defense claim may have had motive to kill Hariri. (The Daily Star).
AU States urged to ratify Protocol for African Court: During a Pan African Parliament meeting on Monday, 16 March 2015, Chairperson of the Justice and Human Rights Committee Onyango Kakoba urged African Union states to ratify and make a declaration on the Protocol of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights. Of the 54 African Union member states, only 28 states have ratified the Protocol adopted in 1998 and only 7 states have made a declaration to allow access to the Court. Chairperson Kakoba also serves as the Leader of the Ugandan Delegation and the the country has ratified, but not yet made a declaration on the Protocol. (All Africa).
Sri Lanka requests delay on UN war crimes report: Sri Lankan officials have asked the UN for a delay in the releasing of the report investigating the atrocities of the war between the Tamil Tigers and government forces. A delay in the report’s release until August should give enough time for internal mechanisms to be established. UN officials said the timetable for the report’s release has not been changed as of it. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (BBC, Reuters)
UN Libya Mission concerned over deteriorating political, human rights situation: The UN has released a report lamenting the conditions in Libya. The report highlights the vulnerable situation of migrants in Libya as well as those behind bars with no foreseeable way to challenge their incarceration. There is hope that once the State institutions are strong enough, Libya will stabilize and the fact finding and reconciliation commission will be able to operate more effectively. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (UN, Jurist)
HRW Report details mass Sudan rapes last October: According to HRW, Sudanese army forces raped more than 200 women and girls in an organized attack on the north Darfur town of Tabit in October 2014. The UN and AU have been urged to take aggressive steps to stop any further abuses from occurring. HRW has also urged the ICC to further investigate Darfur and push for more involvement. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (HRW, Reuters)
ECOWAS Court highlights importance of regional human rights mechanism: The President of West Africa’s Community Court has called on the community and the ECOWAS Commission for the development of an instrument that will ensure the human rights of the 300 million citizens of West Africa. The new ECOWAS Court President has also called for more enforcement in regards to the court’s authority in order to strengthen its presence. (All Africa)
ICJ dismisses genocide claims for both Serbia and Croatia: On 3 February 2015, the International Court of Justice provided its verdict on the genocide claims during the Balkan Wars in 1991-1995. The ICJ stated that neither Serbia, nor Croatia, committed genocide on one another’s populations. Peter Tomka, president of the ICJ, stated that the intent to commit genocide against one another’s country had simply not been met. (Reuters, BBC) (for further information please click here)
Schabas resigns as head of Israel/Gaza Inquiry over allegations of bias: William Schabas, head of the United Nations inquiry over the conflict between Israel and Gaza, stated he would step down from his position. Israel claimed that Schabas was biased against them and had a long history as a critic of the country and its current leadership. Schabas stated he would step down so as not to overshadow the importance of the upcoming report. (Aljazeera)
HRW report on Egypt HR abuses says President Al-Sisi has overseen reversal of rights: Human Rights Watch published its 2015 World Report last Thursday that claimed that Egypt’s current human right’s situation is the “most serious in the country’s history.” The HRW report states that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has overseen a reversal of human rights through mass killings by his security forces and imprisonment of protestors. The HRW report also outlines a decline in human rights through violence against women, discrimination, and a decline in freedom of religion, association, expression, and assembly. Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW Middle East and North Africa director, stated, “the situation…is getting worse [every] day.” (Daily News Egypt)
ICC Prosecution accused at AU Summit of working with Kenyan terrorists: The Kenya Citizens Coalition accused the International Criminal Court Office of the Prosecutor of working with Mungiki members, some of which also belong to the Al Shabab terrorist group. This occurred at the 24th session of the Africa union summit in Addis Ababa. ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that she had eight Mungiki witnesses with information on “how the president funded and coordinated Mungiki members to carry out attacks” during the post election violence of 2008. According to Kenya Citizens Coalition, some of these witnesses belong to the Al Shabab terrorist group. (Capital News)
President Kenyatta tells AU Summit that ICC case against deputy will collapse: At the 24th session of the Africa Union Summit, President Uhuru Kenyatta stated that the ICC’s case against Kenyan Vice-President William Ruto will fail much like the case against him did. Kenyatta and Ruto were both charged with inciting post election violence after the election in 2008, but Kenyatta’s case was dropped in December. Kenyatta stated that the ICC’s case against Ruto was exhibiting the same weaknesses as the case against him did. (Yahoo News)
Palestinian authorities state that it will bring cases of illegal Israeli settlements to ICC: Israel announced that it would erect 450 new settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Palestinian Foreign Ministry response to Israel’s illegal settlements is that it will refer the case to the ICC. The ministry stated that these new settlements also come shortly after Palestine’s accession to the Rome Statute, which the ministry claims as a sign of Israel’s defiance to international law. (World Bulletin)
AU Peace and Security Council criticized for deferring release of S. Sudan investigation report: Former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, led the AU commission of inquiry into an investigation last year concerning South Sudan. The investigation focused on those killed in the civil war between South Sudan President Salva Kiir’s supporters and supporters of rebel leader Riek Machar. Obasanjo turned in the report last Thursday to the AU Peace and Security Council, but the results of the report have not been disclosed. A petition from 21 South Sudanese civil society organizations requested that the report be made public claiming it could “play a critical role in deterring further violations.” Human Rights Watch stated that not publicizing the report hinders holding those accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity. (Daily Mail)
ICC confirms charges against Blé Goudé: ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I confirmed charges of crimes against humanity against former Ivorian political leader Charles Blé Goudé today, 11 December 2014. The Chamber determined that substantial grounds existed to believe Blé Goudé committed or attempted to commit murder, rape and other inhumane acts in the Ivory Coast between December 2010 and April 2011. The Chamber examined more than 40,000 pages of evidence, including some 130 witness statements and 1200 audio and video recordings. (ICC).
ICC rejects Ivory Coast admissibility challenge after Mrs. Gbagbo appears in Abijan Court: Today, 11 December 2014, ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I rejected Simone Gbagbo’s admissibility challenge and reminded the country of its obligation to surrender the Ivorian politician to the Court. The Chamber found the Ivory Coast was “not taking tangible, concrete and progressive steps aimed at ascertaining whether Simone Gbagbo is criminally responsible for the same conduct that is alleged in the case before the Court.” Gbagbo is accused of murder, rape and other inhumane acts and persecution committed in the Ivory Coast between December 2010 and April 2011. (ICC).
UN officials say impunity should not be allowed following US torture report: On Tuesday, 9 December 2014, the U.S. Senate intelligence committee released a report finding that the U.S. government used torture. Some U.N. officials, such as U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism Ben Emmerson Q.C., have called for the prosecution of U.S. officials responsible. Furthermore, U.N. High Commission for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein stated that it’s “crystal clear” that the U.S. should ensure accountability and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that “prohibition against torture is absolute.” In addition, executive director of Amnesty International USA, Steven W. Hawkins stated that “Under the UN Convention against torture, no exceptional circumstances whatsoever can be invoked to justify torture, and all those responsible for authorizing or carrying out torture or other ill-treatment must be fully investigated.” (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (The Guardian, Huffington Post).
ASP rejects Kenya’s agenda to address conduct of judges and prosecutors: Kenya’s request to add a supplementary agenda item relating to the conduct of the ICC and Prosecutor’s Office to the Assembly of States Parties annual meeting was rejected. Newly elected ASP President Sidiki Kaba explained “The Bureau does not recommend inclusion of the Kenyan agenda item on conduct of the Court and Prosecutor.” Kenya accuses the ICC of frivolous prosecutions, incorrect statutory interpretations of the Rome Statute and politicizing cases. (All Africa).
ICC Ruto defence team submit video and media evidence to show violence not incited: Defence for William Ruto submitted to the ICC video and newspaper clippings showing the Kenyan Deputy President did not incite violence. One video clip allegedly showed Ruto encouraging different communities to stay united and urged Kalenjins to welcome former President Mwai Kibaki and his family attending the memorial of freedom fighter ceremony in 2005. (Capital News).
African Court President meets with AU Commission Chairperson and EU delegation: Throughout this week, Justice Augustino Ramadhani, President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, has met with Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, and Gary Quince, Head of the European Union Delegation to the AU. Discussion with both included efforts to raise awareness of the Arusha-based African Court and help with its progression. Specifically, Ramadhani stressed that “We are in the process of attracting more African countries to ratify the Protocol” establishing the Court. (All Africa).
ICC Prosecution seeks leave to appeal decision not to refer Kenya for non-cooperation: ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has asked the Court to appeal its March 2014, decision not to refer the Kenyan government to the Assembly of State Parties. Bensouda had accused Kenya of non-compliance for failing to disclose requested financial and communication documents in the case against President Uhuru Kenyatta and asked for a referral to the ASP and an indefinite postponement of Kenyatta’s trial. Bensouda stated the ICC’s decision “unless soon remedied on appeal will be a setback to the proceedings in that it will leave a decision fraught with error to cloud or unravel the judicial.” (Daily Nation).
ICC PTC finds Libya in non-compliance and refers Libya to the UNSC: ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I issued a decision on 10 December 2014, finding that Libya failed to comply with requests to surrender to the Court the son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, as well as to return specified documents seized to the appropriate parties and destroy any copies in Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi’s case. The Chamber referred the matter of Libya’s non-compliance to the U.N. Security Council under article 87(7) of the Rome Statute. The Security Council is asked to “consider any possible measure aimed at achieving Libya’s compliance with its outstanding obligations vis-à-vis the Court.” (ICC).
Africa, Cooperation and Resources focus of ASP meeting: On Monday, 8 December 2014, the annual session of the Assembly of States Parties began at the U.N. headquarters in New York. Africa appears to be the focus of the meeting with newly elected ASP President Sidiki Kaba asking member states to help “change Africa’s negative perception of the court.” Furthermore, Kenya’s U.N. Ambassador Macharia Kamau requested the ASP to address concerns the government and the Africa Union have regarding the ICC and the Prosecutor’s Office. Human Rights Watch stressed that the ICC needs the appropriate political backing and resources to ensure justice for serious violations of international law. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (ABC News, Human Rights Watch).
UN official marks anniversary of Genocide Convention, saying no country immune: Tuesday, 9 December 2014, marked the 66th anniversary of the signing of the Genocide Convention. At the U.N. headquarters in New York, U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng paid tribute to those who lost their lives to genocide. Dieng stated that “We must accept that there is no part of the world that can consider itself immune from the risk of genocide and all regions and all States must build resilience to these crimes.” Dieng’s office intends to launch a new Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes this week that focuses on prevention strategies and warning signs. (UN News Centre).
Croatia considering order for review of Seselj release: The Croatian Parliament is in the process of passing a declaration to condemn the provisional release of Vojislav Seselj by the tribunal and to demand a review of Serbia’s candidacy for EU membership. If passed unanimously, the declaration would serve as strong support to the Croatian ambassador to the UNN during a debate on the work of the ICTY. (Daje).
UNAMID shuts Darfur office amid tensions: The Sudanese government made a request on Tuesday that UNAMID exit the site where an alleged mass rape by Sudanese troops took place. The foreign ministry said Sudanese authorities closed the UNAMID office because it was outside Darfur and the mandate does not allow for an office in Khartoum. Discussions are under way to clarify the role of the Khartoum-based office. (Reuters).
ICT sentences former leader Hossain to death: Mobarak Hossain was found guilty of murder, abduction and torture during the 1871 civil war. He has been sentenced to death, making his the fourteenth death sentence to be handed down by the tribunal. HRW has expressed concern regarding the court’s procedures. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (BBC, Reuters).
Kenyan NGO seeks signatures on ICC criticism of government: The Kenyan Citizens Coalition, a non-governmental organization, stated that the Kenyan government is not to blame for the lagging case against President Uhuru Kenyatta. The NGO stated that the ICC has not properly investigated the case and should not allocate the blame onto the Kenyan government. The Kenyan Citizens Coalition announced plans to start collecting signatures from citizens, Kenyan Organizations, and International Partners to compel the ICC to stop apportioning the blame. The organization’s convener, Ngunjiri Wambugu, stated that these signatures will be compiled into a memorandum that will be sent to the United Nations Security Council, the Assembly of States Parties to the ICC, the European Union, and the African Union. ICC judges will soon rule whether the prosecutor Fatou Bensouda will be granted more time for investigations against Kenyatta and suspend the trial date or to throw the case out altogether. (Capital News)
ICTR celebrates 20 year anniversary: The UN-ICTR for Rwanda will celebrate its 20th year operating in Arusha. Prosecutor for the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, will join for celebrations and as panelist with other prosecutors to debate on the lessons of empowerment of national jurisdictions to prosecute international crimes. The ICTR was established in 1994 following the Rwandan genocide between the Hutus and the Tutsis. The ICTR to date has indicted 93 individuals total, 61 of which were sentenced. (Daily News)
141 human rights organizations support trial of Habré: 141 African human rights organizations from 32 different countries issued a letter on 2 November 2014 praising the efforts of Senegal and the African Union to prosecute crimes. Former Chadian president, Hisséne Habré, stands accused of thousands of political killings and torture from 1982 to 1990. Habré was indicted in July 2013 by the Extraordinary African Chambers and is now in pretrial detention. Habré’s trial would begin in early 2015 if judges rule that a trial is justified. The letter states that a fair and transparent trial for Habré, if the case went forward, would help hold those accountable for their crimes. The letter also calls for fair and transparent trials for officials from Habré’s administration whose trials are scheduled to begin November 13th. (Human Rights Watch)
Libyan court postpones trial of former Gaddafi officials: Libyan court has postponed the trial of ex-officials that served under former leader Muammar Gaddafi until 16 November 2014. This postponement is connected to the proceedings against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi before the ICC. The ICC has ordered Libya to hand over Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi to be tried before the ICC. With respect to Senussi, the ICC Appeals Chamber found in July 2014 that Senussi could be tried before local Libya courts. The trial of 23 defendants occurred in Tripoli’s al-Hadba prison while Saif Al-Gaddafi is being tried in Zintan. The defendants are charged with numerous crimes including charges of genocide and incitement to rape. (Bernama, African News) (for additional information please click here)