Archive for category AU

4 May 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Bensouda rejects allegations of bias and weighs investigation against both Israel and Palestine: ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has rejected claims by the Israeli government that the Court is unfairly targeting Israel and will launch a bias investigation into war crimes committed during the 50-day Gaza war last summer.  Bensouda said that any ICC investigation would be “unbiased” and the Court would consider evidence against Israel “independently and impartially without fear or favour.”  The Chief Prosecutor is also weighing whether to open a war crimes investigation into Palestinian, saying “We will of course look into the alleged crimes committed by all sides to the conflict.” (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (Al Bawaba, Al Arabiya News).

Lawyers for the Muslim Brotherhood and FJP make oral submissions for the African Commission: On Saturday, 2 May 2015, lawyers for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party made oral submissions in a private hearing to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights relating to Egypt’s imposition of mass death sentences.  The Commission will now consider the oral submissions and present findings and recommendations to the African Union authorities.  Previously, the Commission has issued Provisional Measures against Egypt for use of the death penalty which have gone largely ignored despite the country being a signatory to the African Charter that prohibits such sentence. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (Middle East Monitor, Middle East Eye).

DRC grants limited amnesty to over 300 rebels: The Democratic Republic of Congo granted amnesty to some 375 ex-M23 rebels for insurgent acts, acts of war and political offences committed during the 18-month war that ended in 2013. The amnesty does not cover such acts as crimes against humanity, war crimes, terrorism or torture.  More than 1,300 rebels fled to Uganda and Rwanda after their movement was defeated by government forces and UN peacekeepers. Many claimed the government of DRC was not doing enough to protect the ex-rebels that returned. (Yahoo).

ECCC Prosecutor rejects evidence from Nuon Chea’s defense: Dale Lysak, a senior assistant prosecutor at the ECCC, described claims by Nuon Chea’s defense team that evidence presented by the prosecution was forged as “a crazy conspiracy theory.” Specifically, the evidence related to the Tram Kaka and Kraing Ta Chan security centers where the prosecution said 99 percent of prisoners were killed.  The defense, however, is arguing some people were taken to the security centers for re-education sessions, proof the Khmer Rouge was not “universally brutal.”  (The Cambodia Daily).

ICC compliant made over King Zwelithini hate speech: A Nigerian human rights group has filed a complaint in the ICC against Zulu King Zwelithini for hate speech after the King told a gathering last month that “foreigners should pack their bags and go home.”  Zwelithini’s remarks caused several attacks in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng killing at least seven and displacing thousands.  A spokesman for the monarch said the human rights group “had every right to complain” and the monarch “will only respond once we have received a call from the International Criminal Court.”  (Mail & Guardian).

ICC Ruto / Sang case to resume 26 May: Following a delay in proceedings due to an uncooperative prosecution witness, the ICC case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua Sang is expected to resume 26 May 2015.  ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the witness “has testimony that is necessary for the determination of the truth” but went into hiding after a local Dutch court issued an order requiring the witness to appear in the case at the ICC. The prosecution has to produce the witness on 26 May and conclude its case against the accused. (All Africa).

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25 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

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).

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12 February 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURT

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)

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3 February 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

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)

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11 December 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

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).

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10 December 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

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).

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25 November 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

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).

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