Archive for category Crimes against Humanity

23 October 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICTY allows Prosecution to present evidence of mass graves in Mladic trial: ICTY prosecutors will be allowed to present evidence concerning a mass grave discovered in the village of Tomasica in the case against former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic. The mass grave, discovered in 2013, held more than 400 remains believed to be of Bosniak and Croat ethnicity. Investigators also believe the people were killed during the time Mladic led an attack against Sarajevo during the Bosnian war. Mladic is charged with, among other things, widespread killing, torture, forced labor and physical, sexual and psychological violence. (CNN).

Appeals proceedings for ICT of Bangladesh convict to start on 2 December: Appeals proceedings in the case against Jamaat-e-Islami leader Ghulam Azam are scheduled to begin 2 December 2014. The ICT of Bangladesh found Azam guilty last year of conspiracy, planning, incitement, complicty and murder for crimes committed during the anti-Liberation efforts in 1971. The leader was sentenced to 90 years imprisonment. (bdnews24.com).

War crimes trial against 10 Serb paramilitary starts in Croatian court: The Osijek County Court began proceedings on Tuesday, 21 October 2014, against ten former Serb paramilitaries. The ten accused are charged with war crimes for the killing of seventeen Croatian civilians and seven prisoners or war in Trpinja and Borovo Naselje in 1991. The prosecution expects to call more than 80 witness during the trial. The defense are arguing the accused were not present in Trpinja at the times of the alleged unlawful detention, maltreatment, torture, rape and murder. (dalje.com).

ECCC Defence skips Court management meeting on boycott: On Tuesday, 21 October 2014, the defence for both ECCC accused Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan missed meetings aimed at trying to settle the boycotts of the second phase of Case 002. The accused intend to boycott the second phase of the proceedings claiming the trial judges are biased and the defense lawyers cannot simultaneously represent them in this phase as well as the appeals in the first phase. The former senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge were convicted in August 2014, in the first phase of Case 002 for crimes against humanity. (The Cambodia Daily).

Ukrainian parliament expected to ratify Rome Statute: Tanya Mazur, the director for Amnesty International’s office for Ukraine, expects the Ukrainian parliament to ratify the Rome Statute of the ICC. Once ratified, ICC prosecutors would be entitled to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country when national courts are unwilling or unable. The early parliamentary election is scheduled for 26 October 2014, in Ukraine. (RIA Novosti).

Prosecution witness recalled in Bemba case: The presiding judge in the ICC case against Jean-Pierre Bemba announced that the prosecution witness who was recalled earlier this month will testify in full closed hearings. The witness is expected to give evidence on issues of witness credibility over the course of three days. The judges, prosecution, victims’ lawyers and defense will all get an opportunity to question the witness. Bemba faces charges of rape, murder and pillaging for crimes committed in the Central African Republic between 2002 and 2003.

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22 October 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

North Korea refutes allegation of political prisoners in UN Report: North Korean diplomat Jang Il-hun has denied the country is holding political prisoners. The diplomat’s statements are in response to a February 2014, U.N. report that found North Korea engaged in, among other things, acts of enslavement, torture, forcible transfer of populations, enforced disappearance of persons and prolonged starvation. The report also included satellite photographs of the detention centers and testimony from escapees. Mr. Jang warned that the country would take unspecified “countermeasures” if efforts were made to charge the country’s leader Kim Jong-un for crimes allegedly committed in the report. (NY Times).

Serbia offers assistance with health concerns of two accused: The ICTY has received a letter from the Serbian government requesting medical information on Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj and former Republic of Serbian Krajina president Goran Hadzic. The Serbian government has offered in the letter to send doctors to the U.N. detention center in the Hague so that the two accused may receive proper health care. Seselj underwent surgery less than a year ago for colon cancer and Hadzic suffered a mild stroke this month. (InSerbia).

ICC asked to investigate Cambodian ‘land grabbing’ as crime against humanity: British lawyer Richard Rogers filed a complaint in the ICC alleging over the past 14 years an elite group in Cambodia carried out “widespread and systematic” land grabbing against the civilian population. Rogers claims these acts, consisting of “murder, forcible transfer of populations, illegal imprisonment, [and] persecution,” amount to crimes against humanity. Rogers is estimating some 770,000 people have been negatively affected by the land grabbing and 145,000 have been forcibly relocated since 2000. (Ecologist).

ICC judges formally warns Kenyan Government on confidentiality: On Tuesday, 21 October 2014, the ICC warned Kenya for leaking confidential filings in the case against President Uhuru Kenyatta. The ICC judges “note[d] with concern the Kenyan government’s cumulative inattention to the taking of appropriate measures to ensure the confidentiality of proceedings.” The confidential filings concerned a request by the ICC that Kenya help identify, freeze and seize the property and assets belonging to Kenyatta. (Expatica.com).

Chad refuses to cooperate with Extraordinary African Chambers in Habre case: It is being reported that the Chadian government has refused a request by the Extraordinary African Chambers rogatory commission to travel to the country and question two former aides of Hissene Habre. International arrest warrants were issued for the aides, Saleh Younous and Mahamat Djibrine, more than a year ago for crimes against humanity committed in Chad under Habre’s rule from 1982 to 1990. The Chadian government allegedly agreed to transfer the aids to the Extraordinary African Chambers but has since decided against it. (Hirondelle News Agency).

Australian MP asks ICC to investigate the PM over detention of asylum seekers: Australian MP Andrew Wilkie has requested the ICC Prosecutor’s Office to investigate whether Prime Minister Tony Abbott breached the Rome Statute dealing with crimes against humanity or the international convention dealing with the rights of children and refugees. Wilkie claims Abbott’s policy of detaining asylum seekers on the remote Pacific nation of Nauru and on an island off the coast of Papua New Guinea was illegal and inhumane. Wilkie said it “is not illegal to come to Australia and claim asylum” and that the government had “a fundamental obligation to hear those claims and to give those people refuge if those claims are accurate.” (The Telegraph).

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21 October 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC Judge orders release of members of Bemba Team and others

On Tuesday, October 21, the Judge of Pre-Trial Chamber II at the ICC ordered the release of several individuals connected to the Case of Prosecutor v. Bemba, Kilolo, et. al. The Judge, Cuno Tarfusser, considered the circumstances of detention for several members of Mr. Bemba’s defense team, a defense witness, and one other individual from the DRC government. The four were detained in November 2013 for allegedly obstructing justice in the Case of Mr. Bemba. Judge Tarfusser ordered release for the four to ensure pre-trial detention was not disproportionately long for the charges. A confirmation of charges decision is anticipated, and any corresponding detention will be decided at that time. (ICC Press Release)

Former Pinochet Regime Minister arrested for allegedly aiding killings

On Monday, the ex-mayor of Providencia was arrested for allegedly perpetrating crimes including homicide and torture during the Pinochet Regime. Christian Labbe Galilea will be prosecuted along with nine other regime leaders, for acts committed as a member of the DINA Secret Police. The human rights division of the Chile Interior Ministry pursued the charges against the former military leaders, and indicated that they would contact Brazilian authorities regarding alleged torture training conducted in 1972-1973 in Brazil. Defense attorneys for Labbe said they would appeal the charges and seek unlawful association charges. (BBC, Reuters) For additional information on this topic, please click here.

ICT-1 sets date for charges hearing against three accused

The International Crimes Tribunal – 1 announced it would consider charges against three accused on November 5. The three suspects, Sheikh Sirajul Haque, Khan Akram Hossain, and Abdul Latif Talukdar, allegedly committed murder and other crimes during the Liberation War of 1971. Mr. Haque was said to have killed more than 650 civilians, while the two other individuals were alleged to have converted hundreds of Hindus and murdered several civilians. (Daily Star)

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20 October 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Two ECCC accused seek to boycott trial until appeal in earlier conviction concluded: On 18 October 2014, defense attorneys of two former leaders of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, stated that they would boycott their client’s genocide trial until appeals were filed on earlier convictions.  Defense lawyers for the two accused stated that the boycott was necessary as it would not be possible to finalise the full appeal in the first case while starting proceedings in the second, and would not disrupt the Court because there is a clear time frame; until the full appeals document has been filed in the accuseds’ other case. Both men already have life sentences for earlier crimes against humanity and war crimes. Court officials contemplate that the trial could extend into 2016. (The Wall Street Journal, The Straight Times) (For additional information on this topic, please click here).

Simone Gbagbo’s trial to begin in Ivory Coast on 22 October:  On 15 October 2014, it was announced that the trial date has been set for October 22 against 89 individuals, including Simone Gbagbo the wife of former President Laurence Gbagbo who is currently being tried before the ICC for charges of crimes against humanity related to the post-election violence in 2010 and 2011.  Mrs. Gbagbo is wanted by the ICC and has been is charged before the Court with crimes against humanity during the same conflict. The charges brought in the domestic trial concern economic crimes, but further charges have been made for ‘blood crimes’ including murder, rape and genocide.  The Ivory Coast is a State party to the Rome State, and the government has stated that they will try Simone in domestic court rather than turn her over to the ICC. (Reuters)

Amnesty calls for investigation of war crimes by both sides in Ukraine: On 20 October 2014, Amnesty International accused Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists of committing war crimes in a report presented in Berlin and London. Amnesty International stated that while the rumors of mass killings and mass graves are not supported by evidence, there have been isolated cases that could constitute as war crimes. Amnesty International urges both sides to investigate these allegations, and to prosecute any parties responsible on both sides. (DW)

ICC indictee Bashir visits Egypt: On 18 October 2014, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir travelled to Egypt to visit Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi. The ICC indicted Bashir in 2009 for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes on the civilian population in Darfur. The ICC issued two arrest warrants for these crimes in 2009 and 2010. The ICC officially requested Bashir’s arrest upon arrival to Egypt. Although Egypt is a signatory to the ICC statute, they never ratified the treaty. (Al Arabiya News, Daily News Egypt) (For additional information on this topic, please click here).

Post author:  Aryane Garansi

 

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6 OCTOBER 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Former Haitian President Duvalier dies before trial can commence: On 4 October 2014, former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier died.  HRW has expressed its disappointment in the inability of the Haitian justice system to bring him to trial before his death.  According to HRW, this turn in events has deprived victims of human rights abuses of justice and closure.  (HRW).

ICC to decide on Ruto, Sang Defense Appeal: On Thursday, 9 October 2014 , the Appeals Chamber of the ICC will hold an open court session to read a summary of its judgment on Mr Ruto and Mr Sang Defence teams’ appeal against the Trial Chamber V decision to grant the Prosecutor’s request to summon witnesses to appear before the Trial Chamber in the Ruto and Sang trial, who were no longer cooperating or no longer willing to testify. (ICC).

Kenyatta to turn over Presidential duties during trial: President Kenyatta plans to temporarily step down as president while attending his ICC hearing.  His presidential powers will be assumed by Deputy President Ruto for the time being.  President Kenyatta states that he has chosen to appear before the court as a private citizen rather than bring a country of more than 40 million people into another jurisdiction.  President Kenyatta faces charges related to the organizing of violent attacks which occurred during the 2007 elections. (For more information, please click here) (Aljazeera, BBC).

ICC urges Saudi Arabia to apprehend Sudan’s Bashir:  The ICC has issued an order for the arrest of Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir.  It is believed that he is currently in Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage.  Al-Bashir faces charges of alleged war crimes and genocide committed in Darfur.  It is uncertain at this point whether Saudi Arabia will fulfill the request of the ICC as a non-member.  (Sudan Tribune).

Bemba Case to hear closing arguments in November: Today, 2 October 2014, Trial Chamber III of the ICC decided that the closing oral statements in the Bemba case will take place during the week of 10 November 2014. Prior to the closing arguments, the Chamber will hear Witness P-169 as of 14 October 2014.  Bemba has been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity having been committed while serving as a military commander.  (Hague Justice Portal).

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1 October 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICTY Karadzic trail closing statements: The ICTY heard closing arguments in the case against former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic this week.  UN prosecutor Alan Tieger stated Karadzic was responsible, along with others, for cleansing Bosnia’s Muslims and Croats from Serb-claimed territories. Karadzic, conducting his own defense, took responsibility for crimes committed by the Republika Srpska but denied being aware of the killings. Karadzic faces charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of wars for crimes committed during the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (Saudi Gazette, BBC News Europe).

ICTR confirms criminal responsibility and life sentence of Nzabonimana: On 29 September 2014, the ICTR Appeals Chamber confirmed a life sentence against Callixte Nzabonimana for conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity. The Appeals Chamber ordered Nzabonimana remain in the Tribunal’s custody until it is decided where the former Rwandan youth minister is to serve his sentence. (Hirondelle News Agency).

Public testimony ends at Ivory Coast Truth Commission: Tuesday, 30 September 2014, ended public testimony of at least eighty victims and perpetrators who spoke on the serious violations of international law committed following the 2000 presidential election in the Ivory Coast. The Ivory Coast truth commission was formed to investigate the bloody political violence after opposition leader Laurent Gbagbo was elected in 2000. (AFP).

ECCC accused appeal conviction and sentence: Defense for former leaders of the Khmer Rouge, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphank, have appealed their life sentences for crimes against humanity for their roles in forced evacuations. The two ECCC accused denied the charges and argued the conviction was a miscarriage of justice. The second phase of the trial for genocide, forced labor and political purges is expected to being 17 October 2014. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (The Guardian, Phnom Penh Post).

ICC Judges reject Kenyatta request to skip status conference: ICC judges have rejected Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s request to miss the Court’s status conference because of conflicts. The ICC considered the status conference a “critical juncture” in the proceedings and requires the accused to be present. Kenyatta’s defense requested the status conference be rescheduled. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (All Africa).

 

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24 September 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC opens investigation into recent war crimes and CAH in CAR:  A report issued by the ICC on Wednesday, 24 September 2014, confirms that an investigation has been opened into crimes committed in the Central African Republic by the mainly-Muslim Seleka alliance and the mostly Christian anti-Balaka militia. The allegations include murder, rape and recruiting of child soldiers. Investigators for the ICC will now begin the process of gathering evidence to support charges against those suspected of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity since the conflict began in 2013. (Reuters).

African Commission undertakes fact finding mission into CAR violations: From 10 to 14 September 2014, a three member delegation of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights conducted a find finding mission in the Central African Republic. The mission consisted of, among other things, discussions with CAR officials, working sessions with UN representatives, meetings with NGOs, visits to refugee camps and gathering of testimony from victims and witness. The delegation intends to issue a detailed report with recommendations to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in January 2015. In the meantime, the delegation has expressed concern that serious violations of human rights have and are continuing to be committed in the CAR. (ReliefWeb).

Karadzic trial closing arguments to be held on 29 August:  The ICTY has scheduled closing arguments for 29 September 2014, in the case against Radovan Karadzic. The former Bosnian Serb president faces charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or custom of wars for crimes committed during the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict. (ICTY).

Sweden arrests two Rwandans for involvement in 1994 genocide: Two unidentified Rwandans suspected of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide have been arrested in Sweden. The arrests come some two months after a Swedish appeals court confirmed a genocide conviction against Stanislas Mbanenande, a low level commander involved in five massacres in western Rwanda. (All Africa).

HRW says assassination spree in Libya possible CAH: The scores of political assassinations in Libya since 2012 may amount to crimes against humanity, said Human Rights Watch. These assassinations include the 19 September 2014, killing of five civilians, two activists, members of the security forces and a cleric in the eastern city of Benghazi. Human Rights Watch stated that the failure and unwillingness of the government of Libya to initiate investigations into the crimes and prosecute those responsible has “fostered a culture of impunity that has fueled further abuses.” (Human Rights Watch).

Israel and Palestine consider investigations and next steps for crimes on both sides: The Israeli military is investigating suspected war crimes committed by its operations during the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip. It is estimated more than 2,000 Palestinians were killed in Israel’s military campaign in July and August this year. Palestine’s Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the country will soon decide whether to sign the Rome Statute of the ICC and be able to file a complaint against Israel in the Court for war crimes.  (For more information on this topic, please click here) (The Times of Israel, McClatchy DC).

ECCC announces 17 October as date for final phase of trial: The second phase of the trial of Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan at the ECCC is scheduled to being on 17 October 2014. In this final phase, the two former senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge face allegations of genocide, forced labor and political purges. The two were convicted last month of crimes against humanity for their roles in forced evacuations. (Voice of America).

NGO report provides new evidence of HR violations by Sri Lanka: The British rights group, Freedom From Torture, released a report today, 24 September 2014, documenting acts of detention, torture and sexual violence in Sri Lanka. The acts, carried out by Sri Lanka’s security forces, have mostly been aimed at ethnic Tamils and have occurred since the country’s civil war ended in 2009.  Sri Lanka’s cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella claims the “report is totally biased” and Freedom From Torture “have anti-Sri Lanka elements and continue undue pressure on Sri Lanka by leveling baseless allegations.” (UCA News).

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