Archive for category Crimes against Humanity

29 January 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

New Sri Lanka President sends delegate to UN to discuss war crimes investigation:  A political change in Sri Lankan politics has opened the doors to UN influence.  The newly formed government is planning to investigate accusations of human rights of abuses which allegedly took place amid its civil war.  Government officials plan to begin the investigation at a local level before making the decision to bring in foreign experts. (Reuters).

Rights groups call for investigations into killings, war crimes in Libya:  Amnesty International has called on the UN to implement sanctions and conduct investigations in response to the possible commission of war crimes in Libya.  The UN is currently negotiating with some of Libya’s factions in order to form a unity government in hopes of returning stability back to the nation.  (Reuters).

LRA Commander appears at ICC; Uganda unlikely to challenge admissibility:  Dominic Ongwen has come before the ICC charged with seven counts of crimes against humanity.  As a former member of the LRA, Ongwen was alledgedly involved in various accounts of murder and enslavement.  Though a fierce critic of the ICC, Uganda does not plan to challenge the admissibility of the case being heard at the ICC because the  LRA has become a regional problem. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (BBC, Bloomberg)

ICTY transfers documents in first phases of transition to court residual mechanism:  The ICTY has transferred its records pertaining to the cases of Duško Tadić, Sefer Halilović and to the contempt of court case against Milan Vujin to the MICT.  The MICT was established in 2010 and tasked with the responsibility of preserving the legacy of the ICTY and the Rwanda Tribunal.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (ICTY, The Hague)

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20 January 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURT

ICC Prosecution opens a preliminary examination in Palestine: On 16 January 2015, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda opened a preliminary examination to examine the situation currently in Palestine. The preliminary examination has been opened based on the Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute, which gives the ICC jurisdiction since 13 June 2014. The preliminary examination will allow the ICC to examine the information to see if there is a reasonable basis for a full investigation into Palestine. (International Criminal Court)

Fingerprints reveals that body found is not of ICC witness: Fingerprints revealed that the body found in a Kenyan river was not the body of missing ICC witness Meshack Yebei. The fingerprints taken off the body were those of Yusuf Hussein, but DNA tests will soon tell whom the body belongs to. Karim Khan, Deputy President William Ruto’s attorney, stated that Yebei was a witness in Ruto’s trial. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda stated that Yebei was not included on the ICC’s witness list for due to a scheme to corrupt witnesses. (ABC News)

Stephen Rapp is stepping down as US Ambassador of War Crimes: Stephen J. Rapp has been the US Ambassador of war crimes for almost five and a half years during the Obama administration. Rapp is stepping down from his position, though it has not been formally announced. Rapp joined the administration in 2009 with a reputation for holding people responsible for war crimes. Rapp started out his career as a victim of a kidnapping and led on to be a federal prosecutor in Iowa, a United Nations prosecutor for Rwanda and Sierra Leone. University of Michigan professor, Steven Ratner, stated that Rapp improved US relations with the ICC, but has had little success in getting American intelligence agencies to share information about human rights abuses abroad. It is unclear how soon Rapp will be stepping down from his position and who will replace him. (Foreign Policy)

Amnesty says Boko Haram attack of Baga should be investigated for CAH and WCs: Amnesty International released satellite images of attacks by Boko Haram militants on the towns of Baga and Doron Baga. The released images contain before and after pictures that show the amount of damage done to the towns. Over 3,700 structures were damaged or demolished in the attacks. These images also corroborate testimonies gathered by Amnesty International on the attacks. Amnesty International stated that killing of civilians and destruction of property are war crimes and crimes against humanity that should be investigated. US Secretary of State, John Kerry, also labeled the attack as a crime against humanity. (Amnesty International, NDTV) (for additional information please click here)

ECCC accused concerned by stand-by counsel: Judges at the Khmer Rouge tribunal ordered stand-by counsel for Khieu Samphan for trial due to the boycott of proceedings by current counsel. During a hearing on 8 January, Samphan’s defense team claimed that the court was putting pressure on their client. Shortly afterwards, Samphan was rushed to the hospital with dizziness and high blood pressure. An attorney for Khieu Samphan stated in an email that the presence of stand=by counsel made Samphan anxious and could have contributed to going to the hospital. (Cambodia Daily)

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15 January 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

LRA Leader to be transferred to The Hague for Trial: Dominic Ongwen, a senior Lord’s Resistance Army commander who surrended last week to the U.S. military in the CAR is in the process of being transferred to the ICC.  Ongwen is wanted for crimes against humanity.  Ongwen’s arrest is considered a victory for those trying to dismantle the LRA. (Reuters).

ICTY dismisses request to reverse Seslj release: Serb nationalist, Vojislav Seselj, was released in November after almost 12 years in detention at the Hague. Seselj is accused of inciting followers to commit murder, ethnic cleansing and other war crimes in Croatia and Bosnia. Since his release, Seselj has since rallied supporters and taken to television and radio to defend nationalism during the bloody break-up of the federal Yugoslavia in the 1990s. U.N. judges refuse to bringn him back to the Hague because his “statement of intention” was not the same as a refusal to comply with the conditions of his release. (For additional information on this topic, please click here). (Reuters, InSerbia).

UN Human Rights Arm condemns recent Nigeria attacks:  The Islamist extremist group known as Boko Haram is actively commiting acts of violence within areas of north-eastern Nigeria.  Rvina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the OHCHR, condemned the ongoing violence during a press briefing in Geneva.  Shamdasani also called on the Nigerian government to regain control of any Boko Haram occupied areas in hopes of quashing any additional violent attacks. (UN News).

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13 January 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

DNA test requested for murdered ICC witness: Deputy President William Ruto’s attorney, Karim Khan, requested a DNA test of Meshack Yebei. Yebei was a potential witness in the trial against President Ruto and was found dead in western Kenya in early January. President Ruto was charged with crimes against humanity during the post election violence in Kenya. Yebei’s family consented to the DNA test and stated that Yebei never mentioned he was an ICC witness. Prosecutors stated that they had not been planning to call Yebei as a witness during trial due to his implication of trying to corrupt witnesses. Khan stated in a letter to the head of Kenya’s Criminal Investigation Department that Yebei had been a key witness for trial. Yebei had even been referred to the ICC’s Victims and Witness Unit for protection. Prosecutors stated that any suggestion that they were involved in Yebei’s abduction and murder was “outrageous and utterly false.” (BBC News, AllAfrica) (for additional information please click here)

Government says it wants to try Ongwen in Uganda: The government of Uganda stated that it wanted to try Lord’s Resistance Army rebel commander Dominic Ongwen. Ongwen recently surrendered and is in U.S. custody in Central African Republic. Ongwen is also wanted by the ICC. Uganda State Minister for Regional Cooperation Asuman Kiyingi stated that they would rather try him in Uganda than in the ICC because they have the capacity. A decision regarding whether Uganda gets to try Ongwen will be reached after consultations with the African Union, Uganda, United States, and United Nations. (NY Times)

Libyan trial of Saif Gaddafi and Al-Senussi delayed again: The trial of Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi and 36 other senior officials, including former security chief Abdullah Senussi, has been postponed once again. On 11 January 2015, trial opened and was subsequently adjourned until 25 January. This case opened in 2012 and has seen many setbacks. Those that stand accused could face the death penalty for “genocide, killing of unarmed civilians, abuses of power, human rights abuses, employing mercenaries and encouraging rape as a weapon of war.” The ICC indicted both Gaddafi and Senussi. After proceedings on Libya’s admissibility challenge, the ICC ordered the surrender of Gaddafi to the ICC. Libya has failed to comply with this order. (Libya Herald)

US Senators condemn Palestinian decision to join the ICC: Senators Lindsey Graham, Robert Menendez, Chuck Schumer, and Mark Kirk threatened Palestine over their decision to join the ICC. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas applied to join the ICC following a rejection on Palestine’s proposal for statehood by the United Nations Security Council. On 1 January Palestine submitted an Article 12(3) declaration that gives the ICC jurisdiction since 13 June 2014. Palestine also submitted documents to accede to the Rome Statute on 7 January. Senators issued a warning to Palestine stating “that if the Palestinians initiate an ICC judicially authorized investigation, or actively support such an investigation, all economic assistance to the PA” would end. (Press TV, International Criminal Court) (for additional information please click here)

UN report on crimes in CAR finds evidence of CAH and WC, but no genocidal intent: A UN report released last Thursday concluded that the events that conspired in the Central African Republic by the Seleka coalition and the anti-balaka did amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes. The commission of inquiry of the United Nations Security Council did not find any genocidal intent, but considered the ethnic cleansing of the Muslim population as a crime against humanity. (Tamil Guardian)

UN report on S. Sudan killings finds evidence sufficient for further investigations and prosecution: The United Nations stated that offenders of the ethnic massacres in Bentiu and Bor last April could be prosecuted based on extensive investigations into the matter. Offenders included members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition. The investigation comprised of site visits by human researchers and 142 interviews. (Radio Tamazuj)

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16 December 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC Prosecutor unable to pursue Darfur investigations; cites non-cooperation:  According to statements from the prosecutor of the ICC, current investigations in Sudan’s Darfur region will cease.  The situation in Darfur is in the process of deterioration and little has been done by the council to assist in the prosecutor’s attempt to being perpetrators to justice.  The ICC and the UN consider the violence in Sudan to be a serious concern, but little can be accomplished without cooperation from Sudan and neighboring countries. The investigations in Darfur will remain in a state of hibernation until further notice. (For additional information on this topic, please click here, here) (ICC, UN, Aljazeera)

Ten officials arrested in Bosnia, suspected of war crimes:  Bosnian officials have made the arrest of ten Bosnian Serb wartime officials arrested on suspicion of committing war crimes.  The men are suspected of planning, supervising and conducting the persecution of around 120 Bosnians from a village near the eastern town of Zvornik on July 14, 1992.  (Reuters)

Local DRC Court sentences leader to life in prison for crimes against humanity:   Lieutenant Colonel Bedi Mobuli Engangela has been sentenced to life in prison by a court in the DRC for perpetrating crimes against humanity.  Engangela was in command of a unit which was accused of gang rapes and other crimes.  (Yahoo)

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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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8 December 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Following withdrawal of Kenyatta charges, Amnesty calls for justice for victims: President Kenyatta’s charges for crimes against humanity were dropped last week and Amnesty International now demands justice for the victims. Amnesty’s regional director for East Africa, the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region, Muthoni Wanyeki, stated that the ICC and the Kenyan government are failing the victims. Mitchelle Kagiri, Amnesty’s deputy regional director for East Africa, stated that the ICC should reopen investigations to find areas that were missed. (World Bulletin)

Israel initiates investigations into crimes in Gaza: The Israeli military has initiated investigations into crimes that occurred during the war between Israeli and Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip this past summer. The war lasted for fifty days and ended on August 23rd. The Israeli military already faced accusations of war crimes from Amnesty International and an inquiry from the United Nations Human Rights Council. (The New York Times)

ICT Bangladesh to amend tribunal’s founding act to include prosecution of an organisation: The International Criminal Tribunal Act of 1973 did not contain a provision for trying organisations in the court. The government is now trying to amend the Act in order to bring organisations like Jamaat-e-Islami before the court. The government wants to try Jamaat-e-Islami for crimes against humanity during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971. The proposed amendment will be given to the cabinet this December or in January. (Dhaka Tribune)

Interpol issues red notices for Muslim Brotherhood leaders: Interpol issued over forty arrest warrants for Muslim Brotherhood leaders this past week. This included Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, head of the Doha-based International Union of Muslim Scholars. An Egyptian security official stated that those on the warrant list are wanted for different terror-related crimes. He also stated that Egyptian authorities helped persuade Interpol that these members of the Muslim Brotherhood were fugitives and terrorists. (Albawaba News)

UNSC to evaluate N. Korea HR record: The United Nations Security Council will meet later this month due to ten of the fifteen members requesting to discuss North Korea’s rights record in a letter to Chadian Ambassador Cherif Mahamat Zene, whose country currently holds the council’s presidency. The meeting concerns referring Pyongyang to the ICC for crimes against humanity. UN diplomats stated that it was likely that China would block the move to refer North Korea to the ICC with its veto power. (China Post)

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