Archive for category Chad
Bensouda says ICC judicial institution only: The ICC will remain free from political interference, says ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. Speaking at the ICC Assembly of States Parties last week, Bensouda said the court is an independent party and will implement amendments to the rules of procedure and evidence passed by the ASP. The ASP decided last week to amend the rules to permit Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto to be represented by their attorneys during proceedings in The Hague. (All Africa).
New Sierra Leone Residual Court: The legacy of the Special Court of Sierra Leone was handed over to the government on Monday, 2 December 2013. The government will begin operating the Residual Court and continue matters of the SCSL, such as the case against former Armed Forces Revolutionary Council leader Johnny Paul Koroma. Nearly three million dollars has been made to the Residual Court by countries including the Netherlands and America. Former Prosecutor and now American Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Stephen Rapp said the new Court was “an important component in the justice system.” (Awoko).
HRW report focuses on Habre: On Tuesday, 3 December 2013, Human Rights Watch released a report charging the former dictator of Chad, Hissene Habre, with “systematic abuses.” It is reported the former dictator “directed and controlled political police, who tortured and killed those who opposed him or those who simply belonged to the wrong ethnic group.” Habre is being tried by a special court in Senegal for crimes against humanity and war crimes related to his 1982-1990 rule. (UPI).
ICTY 20th anniversary: ICC President Theordor Meron spoke at a conference in Bosnia last week celebrating the 20th anniversary of the ICTY. Meron faced protestors and victims of the early 1990s Bosnian War who displayed signs reading “R.I.P Justice.” Many protesters voiced disappointment in the court’s recent decisions to acquit of all charges senior leaders of the Yugoslav and Serbian army. Despite the opposition, Meron defended the tribunal and stated its work had “exceeded expectations.” (Institute for War & Peace Reporting).
Security Council to vote on deferral of Kenyatta trial: The fifteen member states of the U.N. Security Council will vote on a resolution this Friday, 15 November 2013, calling for a one year suspension of the ICC trials against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto. The AU backed resolution will need the support of at least nine member states in order to pass. Experts have predicted, however, that the resolution will fail since seven members are currently signatories of the ICC. (Global Post).
French court decides to extradite Rwandans: A French appeals court ruled this week that two genocide suspects could be extradited to Rwanda. The country has previously denied extraditions because of concerns suspects will be denied fair trial rights. However, French Judge Jean Bertholin assured Claude Muhayimana and Innocent Musabyimana that if the extradition was approved by a higher court, the two would “be guaranteed a fair trial” in Rwanda. Muhayimana and Musabyimana are accused of participating in mass killings of ethnic Tutsis during the 1994 genocide that claimed around 800,000 lives. (Global Post).
Kenyatta seeks public testimony of prosecution witnesses: Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked the ICC to deny granting protective measures of prosecution witnesses. Kenyatta argued suppressing identities and granting immunity from self-incrimination “constitutes an incentive for witnesses to lie and put forward false claims.” Kenyatta stated any measures violated his right to a fair and public trial. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda earlier requested protective measures for ten of the fifteen witnesses expected to testify against the President. (The Star).
Habre proceedings to be aired in Senegal and Chad: The trial of the former dictator of Chad, President Hissene Habre, will be broadcasted on television and radio in Senegal and Chad. Senegalese Justice Minister Sidiki Kaba announced the two countries were in the process of “work[ing] out which media outlets . . . will be given responsibility for the transmission.” Habre is being tried by a special court in Senegal for crimes against humanity and war crimes related to his 1982-1990 rule. (Global Post).
Chilean granted justice at international court: An 80 year old Chilean who was severely tortured after the Pinochet regime took power in 1973 was granted a huge victory from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights this week. The Court ruled the Chile government must investigate the abuses toward Leopoldo Garcia and find those responsible for compensation. Garcia was detained after a 1973 coup and tortured into divulging names of suspected Socialists. Garcia was eventually transferred to London where he has lived for 40 years. However, Garcia has struggled throughout his life to find work and provide for his family in a foreign country. He believes Chili should “assume responsibility” for what happened to him by the Pinochet regime.
Delay of Rios Montt trial angers victims: Victims of genocide and crimes against humanity during Guatemalan President General Efrain Rios Montt’s 1982-83 rule are frustrated by the decision to delay his retrial. Amnesty International reports Mayan-Ixil indigenous people feel “let down” and worry the former President will evade justice. Rios Montt’s guilty conviction by a Guatemalan criminal court was overturned shortly after by the country’s highest court. The retrial is expected January 2015.
Serbian war crimes prosecutor charges two former Serbian army officers: Serbia’s War Crimes Prosecutors have charged two Yugoslav army leaders of war crimes. Parole Gavrilovic and Rajko Kozlina are accused of ordering an attack on a civilian village during the 1998-99 Serbian War that killed at least 27 Kosovar. A Serbian investigating judge will decide whether to indict and arrest the two leaders.
Habre appeal denied by international court: On 5 November 2013, the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States held the Extraordinary African Chambers was satisfactorily established to try the former Chadian President Hissene Habre for crimes against humanity and war crimes. Habre filed a motion on 23 April 2013, challenging the legitimacy of the Extraordinary African Chambers to try him for crimes committed during his rule from 1982 to 1990. The Court found the Chambers consisted of a “special ad hoc procedure of international character” capable of holding Habre’s trial. Victims of his rule have called the Court’s decision “a huge relief.”
Kenyatta deferral gets more support: Another African country is now publicly supporting the postponement of the ICC case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. On 5 November 2013, Jean Kimani, Kenya’s High Commissioner, stated Botswana was of the position the Kenyatta trial should not only be deferred, but also held locally. Kimani clarified that Botswana’s support for Kenya’s President did not interfere with the country’s commitment to the Rome Statute and the ICC.
Gaddafi’s son speaks from prison: Seif al-Islam, the son of former Libyan dictator Muanmar Gaddafi, answered three prepared questions from a journalist on 5 November 2013. Sitting behind bars in a Zintan prison outside the Tripoli capital, Seif al-Islam told the journalist he was well and permitted visitors. Seif was captured in November 2011 by ex-rebel forces. He is also wanted by the ICC and was charged by a Tripoli court.
Nigeria seeks change at ICC: Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathon assured the international community on Tuesday, 5 November 2013, that his country would continue supporting the ICC. However, Jonathon urged the Court to defer the pending case against Kenya’s sitting head of state. Jonathon argued Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta needed to remain in Africa to fulfill his executive duties during the country’s period of instability.
ICT convicts Bangladesh opposition leader of war crimes, genocide: A senior leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist opposition party was found guilty of genocide by a special war crimes tribunal yesterday, 1 October 2013. Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, convinced the verdict was the product of the government’s influence, was sentenced to death for offenses committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. To date, the ICT has convicted seven people. Each sentence has incited protests and riots from supporters of the opposition party. (Hindustan Times).
Pro-Gbagbo supporters react to Ble Goude arrest warrant: The ICC’s latest arrest warrant for Charles Ble Goude has sparked alarm among many supporters of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo. Specifically, supporters, like former minister Kone Katinan, fear the ICC is impartial and only targeting pro-Gbagbo individuals. Katinan worries Ble Goude’s arrest warrant will trigger riots in an already unstable country. Ble Goude led then-President Gbagbo’s Young Patriots militia and is accused by the ICC of ordering attacks on the opposition. (Voice of America).
U.S. contributes $1 million to Extraordinary African Chambers: On 1 October 2013, the special criminal court in Senegal received one million dollars from the U.S. to try the case against former Chadian President Hissène Habré. Habré was charged by the Extraordinary African Chambers in July 2013 with crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during his 1982–1990 rule of Chad. The U.S. has publicly supported the Senegal court from its commencement, with former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently stating, ”[a]fter 20 years, the victims deserve justice and their day in court.” The U.S.’s contribution has been commended by human rights advocates across the globe and Senegalese politicians. (All Africa).
Pillay requests investigations into execution of Syrian government soldiers: Navi Pillay, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, issued a statement on 2 August 2013, calling for more investigations into human rights violations in Syria. Pillay’s statement came a week after several videos were uploaded online showing the execution of captured Syrian government soldiers in Khan Al-Assal by armed opposition groups. The Commissioner’s statement stressed the need for all sides of the conflict to conform to international law, which includes treating captured soldiers humanely. Pillay also warned that opposition groups are not “immune from prosecution” and the Commission established specifically to investigate and document human rights violations in Syria will continue to enforce its mandate.
Senegal court begins Habré investigations: On Monday, 19 August 2013, the special court in Senegal commenced a two-week investigation into alleged crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture during Hissène Habré’s 1982–90 Chadian presidency. The court is expected to visit prisons and mass killing sites in Chad, as well as hear testimony from victims and witnesses. Senegal was ordered by the ICJ in 2012 to initiate proceedings against Habré. The former dictator had been living in the country for 22 years in exile.
Taylor appeals judgment expected this September: A Liberian newspaper reported on Tuesday, 20 August, that former President Charles Taylor’s appeals judgment is expected sometime in September 2013. Taylor was sentenced by the SCSL last year to 50 years imprisonment for aiding and abetting the commission of serious violations of international law in Sierra Leone. The SCSL concluded hearings in Taylor’s appeal January 2013.
Nigeria’s ICC filing suggests attempted issuance of Bashir arrest warrant at AU Summit: An ICC filing made public on 19 August 2013, claims the Nigerian government was in the process of issuing an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir before he abruptly exited the country last month while attending an AU Summit. Nigeria’s filing stated Bashir appeared briefly during the opening session but was noticeably absent from the main event in which he was expected to speak. Officials are not sure if Bashir was aware of the pending arrest warrant prompting his sudden departure from the country. As a state party to the Rome Statute, Nigeria has a legal obligation to hand over Bashir to the ICC. The country initially argued it failed to apprehended Bashir at the Summit because of the AU resolution instructing members to disregard the ICC warrants.
ICC’s Ruto prosecution confirms forty-two witnesses: The prosecution in the ICC trial of Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang intends to present forty-two witnesses starting next month. This number is smaller than originally anticipated after four witnesses withdrew and the court ordered the prosecution to reduce its excessive case in chief. Ruto is required by the Court to be present in the Hague during the prosecution’s opening remarks set to begin on 10 September 2013. Ruto and Sang have been charged by the ICC with crimes against humanity after the disputed 2008 presidential election in Kenya.
UN expert visits Asean states seeking ECCC funding: U.N. special expert David Scheffer and Cambodian politician Keo Remy began a six-day tour of the southeast Asian nations this week to secure financial support for the ECCC. Currently, the Extraordinary Chambers faces a $2.9 million deficit and has been unable to pay national salaries. Scheffer “hope[s] that the national staff, who are clearly suffering as a consequence of non-payment . . . will bear with [the Chamber] as we find a means of payment. It is my highest priority.”
Trial of former Chadian president draws victim participation: A special court established in Senegal to try the former Chad dictator Hissene Habre has received over 1,000 applications from victims hoping to participate in the trial. Three hundred of the applications were submitted by direct victims who allege, inter alia, Habre’s regime deprived them of food, forced them to dig graves for prisoners, and tortured them by electric shock. The rest were filed by relatives of deceased victims indirectly affected. Habre is charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity for killing and torturing “members of other ethnic groups” during his 1982-1990 rule of Chad.
Investigation team heads to Syria next week: A UN team specifically tasked with investigating chemical weapons use in Syria has been permitted to visit the district of Khan al-Assal next week. It is alleged by Russia, a close alley and weapons supplier of the Syrian government, that scientific testing “strongly indicated” rebels used chemical weapons in the district on 19 March 2013. Rebels have firmly denied responsibility and instead blame the government for that attack, as well as many others around the country. The Syrian government has refused to allow the UN team to travel outside Khan al-Assal. The government claims the investigations are an attempt by the U.S. to invade Syria.
ICJ hearings end in Japan whaling case: Hearings to determine whether Japan violated an international treaty prohibiting commercial whaling wrapped up at the ICJ on Tuesday, 16 July. The trial began last month at the request of Australia who claimed Japan abused a treaty exception that allowed hunting for scientific research. Throughout the hearings, Japan has insisted the country’s whaling program is solely scientific. A decision is expected by the end of the year.
ICC ruling a relief for Kenyan victims: On 17 July, International Criminal Justice Day, victims of Kenya’s 2008 post election violence celebrated the recent ICC decision ordering the cases of Deputy President William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang be heard in The Hague. Ken Wafula, President of the National Association of Human Rights Activists, commended the ICC for denying Ruto and Sang’s request to transfer the case to Arusha or Nairobi in light of security concerns and procedural interference. The victims, nevertheless, are still awaiting the ruling on President Kenyatta’s similar motion.
ICC Indictee Kushayb injured in Darfur violence: On 7 July 2013, it was reported that Ali Kushayb survived an assassination attempt in the city of Nyala in the Darfur region. Kushayb is wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed during the Darfur conflict. This current increase in violence adds to what the United Nations says is a worsening security situation in Sudan’s western region. (For more information on this topic, please click here.)
Karadzic 98 bis appeal judgment expected Thursday: On 11 June 2012, Karadžić moved for a judgment of acquittal pursuant to Rule 98 bis of the Rules on all Counts in the Indictment. Rule 98 bis of the Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence provides that at the close of the Prosecutor’s case, the Trial Chamber shall enter a judgment of acquittal on any count if there is no evidence capable of supporting a conviction. Current charges include genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995.
Former Habre administration leaders arrested: On 5 July 2013, it was announced that two former officials under former dictator Hissene Habre have been arrested and charged with torture. Habre is currently facing trial at a special court in Senegal.
Myanmar releases child soldiers: On 8 July 2013, it was reported that the Myanmar Armed Forces has released 42 children from within the ranks of it’s the army. By the terms of an action plan signed with the UN last year, the Myanmar Government has agreed to locate all children recruited by the Tatmadaw with a view to ensuring their unconditional release, and committed to discharging and facilitating their quick reintegration back into their families and their communities. The UN foresees the accelerated release of those children still within army ranks.
Ex-Chad leader charged with crimes against humanity: On 2 July 2013, Ex-Chad dictator Hissene Habre was charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture in a special court in Senegal. Habre’s charges are related to his ruling of Chad from 1982-1990, during which nearly 40,000 persons were killed. Senegal’s choice to prosecute Habre, after he had lived in the capital Dakar for 22 years, has been described as a landmark for justice in Africa. (For more on this topic, please click here.)
Former Vukovar Territorial Defense member sentenced for war crimes: On 1 July 2013, former member of the Vukovar Territorial Defense Petar Ciric was found guilty of committing war crimes by the Serbian War Crimes Tribunal. Ciric’s was convicted of beating and killing Croatian prisoners in Croatia in November 1991. 193 prisoners were killed between the 20th and 21st of November. Ten other people were also charged– and 20 other people have already been convicted– with crimes relating to the incident.
UN Secretary-General calls for investigation into Mali human rights violations: On 1 July 2013, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an investigation into human rights violations in Mali. The call for inquiry comes amidst a peace agreement between the warring factions. Although Ki-moon praised the peace agreement, which began 18 June, Ban stated that all sides of the conflict are responsible for human rights violations. Ki-moon stated groups have used child soldiers, committed rape, and enforced disappearances. Presidential elections are scheduled for 28 July.
US prosecutors seek ten-year prison term for Rwandan woman accused of involvement in genocide and lying to immigration officials: On 30 June 2013, United States attorneys announced that they were seeking a 10-year prison sentence for Beatrice Munyenyezi for allegedly lying to immigration officials to gain entrance to the US. Munyenyezi is accused of having participated in the 1994 Rwandan genocide; she worked at a road block and supposedly chose which Tutsis would be killed. Munyenyezi’s attorney argue that the defendant’s case, which is a non-violent immigration charge, has improperly turned into a genocide case. Further Munyenyezi’s attorney claims that if the defendant is returned to Rwanda, she would face a severe punishment, if not death. Munyenyezi’s husband and mother-in-law were convicted of genocide and human rights violations by the ICTR in 2011.
Jamaat-e-Islami leader transferred to Bangladesh ICT-2: On 1 July 2013, the trial of Jamaat leader AKM Yousuf was transferred from the first International Criminal Tribunal for Bangladesh to the second Bangladesh ICT. the ICTs are trying cases related to the crimes against humanity committed during 1971 Bangladesh war for independence. ICT-1′s docket is quite full, so ICT-2 will allow Yousuf’s case to be heard quicker. Yousuf is charged with genocide, murder, rape, arson, and looting.
Rwandan genocide survivors to establish trust fund: On 1 July 2013, the representative for Rwandan genocide survivors announced that the genocide survivors would establish a trust fund for survivors. Currently UN agencies provide genocide survivors with $250,000 of funds yearly–this is in contrast to the $30 million price tag on one ICTR trial. The fund will operate similarly to the ICC’s trust fund for victims (which has a budget of $70 million). The fund will receive voluntary donations from around the world. The fund will address general survivor issues, not individual, as well as play an international advocacy role for survivors.
Habre taken into custody by Senegalese authorities: On 30 June 2013, it was reported that the Senegalese authorities detained the former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre. The former dictator stands accused of war crimes and torture during his eight years in power in Chad. Under Senegalese law, Habre can be held in custody for 48 hours, renewable once.
Nuon Chea’s role highlighted at ECCC: On 27 June 2013, the ECCC presented evidence on Nuon Chea’s purported involvement in the Standing Committee of Democratic Kampuchea and the CPK. The evidence purports to show Chae as a decision maker and at one time holding the role of Acting Prime Minister. The final piece of evidence presented by the prosecution that day was a video clip where Chae claims that “had people not been killed under the Khmer Rouge there would be no Cambodia today.” (For more information on this topic, please click here.)
Commissioner Pillay concerned over Afghan HR appointments: On 28 June 2013, Commissioner Pillay warned that the recent appointments to Afghanistan’s human rights body may compromise its standing with the international community. Commissioners are required to have a good reputation, demonstrate independence, and have a commitment to human rights. Commissioner Pillay is concerned that the latest appointments do not conform to this standard.
Former French leader under investigation for link to Rwanda genocide: On 28 June 2013, it was announced that the former French captain, Paul Barril, is being investigated for suspected complicity to acts of genocide and committing crimes against humanity. During the 1994 Rwandan genocide, it is alleged that Barril struck a controversial arms deal with the interim government during the height of the killings.
Habre lawyers file suit to prevent “illegal” prosecution: Former Chadian president Hissene Habre’s lawyers have filed a suit to prevent Senegal from prosecuting him in the Economic Community of West African States Community Court of Justice. Habre is accused of committing crimes against humanity, torture, and war crimes during the eight years he was in power in Chad, during which approximately 40,000 people were killed. Senegal and the African Union set up the regional court in December to try Habre .Habre is arguing that the court is “subservient to the Senegalese executive” and that the agreement between Dakar and the African Union is not based on “any legal ruling, national or international.”
Indonesian government officially rejects Rome Statute: Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusigiantoro has issued a statement blocking the ratification of the Rome Statute at this time, saying that the ratification was not urgent in light of Indonesian national legal instruments to serve as a foundation for human rights protection. “There are many countries, including major democratic countries, that have yet to ratify the Rome Statute, although there are equally a large number of countries that have adopted it. Therefore, we need more time to carefully and thoroughly review the pros and cons of the ratification,” said Purnomo.
Guatemala’s Constitutional Court annuls genocide conviction of former dictator: The top court in Guatemala has overturned the genocide conviction of former dictator Efrain Rios Montt. Montt was found guilty earlier this month of genocide and crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the massacre of over 1,700 indigenous Mayans during the early 1980’s. The court held that the trial must restart from the point earlier this year when the trial was temporarily suspended due to a judge’s dispute.
New judge appointed in Ruto case: The International Criminal Court has appointed a new Presiding Judge to oversee the trial of Deputy President William Ruto. Judge Olga Herrera Carbucci will temporarily replace Judge Kuniko Ozaki in both Ruto’s case and that of Kenyan radio journalist Joshua arap Sang. Judge Ozaki will now be handling the trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. “The decision of the presidency was taken to ensure the proper administration of justice, taking into consideration each Judge’s workload,” said a statement issued by Vice-President Judge Sanji Monageng.