Archive for category Crimes against Humanity
Trial Chamber VI of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced Wednesday that the start of the Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda will be the second or third week of July, rather than 2 June 2015. Opening statements from the prosecution are expected in August. This decision follows efforts by defense counsel to push the trial to November and support from prosecution and victims’ representatives to retain the original trial date. The Presidency of the ICC is currently considering an application from the Trial Chamber to hold opening statements in Bunia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and consequentially the Registry requested approximately one month to facilitate this effort. Mr. Ntaganda is charged with thirteen counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity, for his involvement in crimes committed in Ituri, DRC between 2002 and 2003.
On Wednesday, April 22, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) heard final appeals directly from several accused of crimes committed in the Butare Region. Following submissions by the Prosecution, the accused including Pauline Nyiramasuhuko were given opportunity to speak to the Court before judges consider and make their decision later this year. The Case marks the final appeal for the ICTR. (For additional information, please click here)
Sudanese President and ICC Indictee Omar al-Bashir recently declined to travel to Indonesia for the Asian-African Summit, following election obligations and international calls for his arrest. The Sudanese Foreign Affairs Minister will replace him, and a spokesman said the decision was made so al-Bashir could “monitor post-election operations.” The International Criminal Court issued a first arrest warrant against al-Bashir in 2009 and again in 2010, on charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide.
STL begins contempt trial against Lebanese journalist and her TV station: Lebanese journalist, Karma Khayat, and her al-Jadeed TV station stand accused of obstruction of justice for the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Khayat and the TV station both deny identifying witnesses or compromising the case against Hariri’s alleged killers. Khayat stated that that this is an attempt to silence the media when journalists in Lebanon have the same rights as those in the West. Khayat also stated that the list she published was redacted without identifying statements and a full list was published later by someone else. Prosecutor Kenneth Scott stated “If witnesses are too frightened to come to this tribunal, then this tribunal is finished.” (BBC, The Guardian, Daily Star) (for additional information click here and here)
Acquitted Ngudjolo Chui seeks asylum in Switzerland: Ngudjolo Chui, who was acquitted by the ICC, is now applying for asylum in Switzerland. Chui is applying for asylum for fear of being deported from the Netherlands back to Kinshasa. After being acquitted by the ICC Trial Chamber and having the acquittal affirmed by the ICC Appeals Chamber, Chui was arrested by Dutch authorities immediately after the trial as he was leaving the courtroom. The Dutch authorities brought him straight to the airport to be deported back to the DRC and was forced onto a Kenya Airways passenger plane to Kinshasa. Chui had to assert certain things during his defense that now put his life at risk if he goes back to the DRC. Chui had asserted that in asylum applications to the Dutch authorities after his Trial Chamber acquittal. As the plane was about to takeoff, an emergency order from a Dutch immigration judge to hear asylum arguments forced the plane to return to the terminal. Since then, Chui has been at the detention unit at the Schiphol Airport trying to sort out immigration issues and apply for a humanitarian visa. (Letemps)
UNSC hears accounts of chemical weapons use in Syria: The United Nations Security Council heard first-hand accounts of chemical weapons used in Syria on Thursday. Syrian doctor, Saher Sahloul, reported the use of chlorine gas in Idlib that left six dead. Qusai Zakarya, a victim of an attack in Ghouta in August of 2013 was also present. The UNSC considered whether action was needed to stop the attacks. Organizations like Human Rights Watch called for investigations into these attacks and alleged that they were war crimes. (News24)
Hadzic arrives in Serbia after ICTY grants provisional release: The International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) granted a provisional release to former Croatian Serb rebel leader Goran Hadzic for cancer treatment on 13 April 2015. Hadzic stands accused of 14 alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1991-95 war in Croatia. Hadzic arrived in the Serbian capital on 16 April 2015 and was escorted by police to Novi Sad, where he will receive his cancer treatment. (Turkish Weekly)
US Senator indicates move to introduce CAH provision in US law: U.S. Senator Dick Durbin announced during his speech at Northwestern University School of Law that he intends to reintroduce Crimes Against Humanity legislation in Congress. Durbin stated a US law needs to be in place against crimes against humanity. (International Criminal Justice Today)
10 former Bosnian Serb soldiers arrested in Bosnia over crimes from 1990s conflict: The 10 former Bosnian Serb soldiers arrested in December have been charged with war crimes that occurred during the 1990s Balkans conflict. The December arrests stemmed from a joint effort of Bosnia and Serbia to look into these matters. Five former Bosnian Serb soldiers were arrested in December by Serbia and the ten now charged with war crimes were arrested by Bosnia. (UT San DiegoABC News) (for additional information click here)
Appeals proceedings in ICTR Butare case to start: On Tuesday 21 April 2015, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will start appeals proceedings for its last case. The case includes six members of Butare including former Family Affairs Minister Pauline Nyiramasuhuko. Nyiramasuhuko was sentenced to life in prison by the trial court for crimes against humanity in 2011. According to ICTR, judgement from the appeal will not be rendered earlier than August. This will mark the 14th year of this case and the 16th year that Nyiramasuhuko has been in preventive detention. (Hirondelle News)
Hadzic granted provisional release by ICTY for health issues: The International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) has granted a provisional release to former Croatian Serb rebel leader Goran Hadzic until May. Hadzic stands accused of 14 alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1991-95 war in Croatia. Hadzic was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in November and will receive radio and chemotherapy treatment. His request for a temporary release was initially denied by trial judge, but overturned on appeal for humanitarian reasons. (Expatica, InSerbia News) (for additional information click here)
AG calls Bensouda’s claim of Kenya’s possible non-cooperation defamatory: ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda stands accused for defamation of Kenya by Attorney General Githu Muigai. Muigai states that Bensouda’s allegations that the Kenyan government refuses to cooperate with the court is defamatory. The prosecutor is attempting to get Kenya referred to the Assembly of State Parties and sanctioned. (All Africa News)
Bangladeshi Chairman of the Law Commission withdraws from ICC judge election: Bangladeshi Chairman of the Law Commission, ABM Khairul Haque, has withdrawn from the ICC judge election. Haque stated that he withdrew due to family concerns as his mother is elderly and ill. Haque also stated that this situation would not allow him to contribute six years to the ICC. (BDNews 24)
NGO group calls on Equitorial Guinea human rights violations to be investigated: Nongovernmental organizations sent a letter to the Community of Portuguese Language Countries on 31 March to assess the human rights situations in Equatorial Guinea and recommend reform. Human Rights Watch stated that an investigation should be launched into the human rights violation in Equatorial Guinea. According to Human Rights Watch freedom of speech, association, and assembly are limited in the country. (Human Rights Watch)
ICT of Bangladesh convictee, Kamaruzzaman, hanged despite tension over execution: On Saturday, 11 April 2015, authorities in Bangladesh executed senior Islamist politician Muhammad Kamaruzzaman who had been found guilty of crimes against humanity by the ICT of Bangladesh in May 2013. Kamaruzzaman’s conviction by the Tribunal stemmed from crimes committed during Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war and while the senior politician headed a militia group responsible for the massacre of some 120 unarmed farmers. The United States had urged the country not to carry out the execution, especially since a December 2013 execution for similar crimes by authorities in Bangladesh sparked violence and tension. A statement issued before the execution by a U.S. State Department spokesperson said “Until these [domestic and international] obligations can be consistently met, it is best not to proceed with executions given the irreversibility of a sentence of death.” (For additional information on this topic, please click here, here and here) (Wall Street Journal, Fox News, The Guardian, Indian Express).
Amnesty calls for immediate investigations into crimes in Ukraine: Amnesty International has urged for a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into crimes, including executions, committed against captive Ukrainian soldiers by Russian-backed forces in east Ukraine. Amnesty’s demand follows the release of video and testimonial evidence that a Ukrainian soldier was taken captive, interrogated and executed. Amnesty Europe and Central Asia Deputy Director Denis Krivosheev stated “The new evidence of these summary killings confirms what we have suspected for a long time. The question now is: what are the separatist leaders going to do about it?” (Ukraine Today).
ICTY Secretariat ordered to collect latest health information of Seselj: The ICTY has ordered the ICTY Secretariat to contact Vojislav Seselj’s medical team about the health condition of the former Serbian leader. Seselj was granted provisional release in November 2014 to seek medical care in Serbia under the condition he not interfere with victims or witnesses and return to the Tribunal if summoned. On 30 March 2015, the ICTY appeals judges found that Seselj breached the terms of his release and ordered his immediate return to The Hague. (InSerbia).
Defence witness for Mladic testifies into investigations into Srebrenica: A former military policeman for the Bosnian Serb army testified in the ICTY trial of Ratko Mladic that he was never requested to investigate rumors of mass executions of Muslim prisoners during the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. The defence witness, Nebojsa Jeremic, stated that his duties were to investigate, take statements and write orders regarding soldiers’ misconduct but denied knowing about prior to or having any involvement in the executions. Mladic faces charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. (IWPR).
HRW calls Egypt sentencing of Muslim Brotherhood members politically motivated: Human Rights Watch is calling the death sentence by an Egyptian court of 14 senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood “politically motivated” and “blatantly unjust”. The 14 members were convicted for protesting the removal of the democratically elected then President Mohamed Morsi by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in 2013. Security forces killed hundreds during the protests and have claimed that armed members within the Muslim Brotherhood started the violence. (Al Arabiya News).
Spanish judge approves genocide charges concerning Western Sahara crimes: Genocide charges against current and former Moroccan officials for crimes against humanity from 1975-1991 have been approved by a Spanish judge. These crimes occurred in Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony. Former Moroccan governor, Abdelhafid Ben Hachem, is one of the officials that stands accused. Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Maria stated that the Spanish government respected the judicial decision, but no comment was made on possible extradition of the officials. (News24, ABCNews) (for additional information click here)
High Commissioner for HR reports evidence of crimes by and against Boko Haram: United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jordan’s Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein, stated that his office received reports finding further evidence of Boko Haram crimes that could constitute as war crimes and crimes against humanity. Mass graves and other evidence of killings have been found in north-eastern parts of Nigeria. The Islamist group Boko Haram has attempted to expand its activities. Al-Hussein also received credible reports of crimes committed by Nigerian and other international forces against Boko Haram. Al-Hussein called for a transparent investigation into these allegations. (Today Online, Christian Today) (for additional information click here)
Report cites to additional evidence of crimes in Ukraine: Amnesty International stated that there is additional evidence of crimes committed by Kremlin-backed fighters of Ukranian prisoners. Russian mercenary Arseniy Pavlov confessed to killing Ukrainian prisoner of war Ihor Branovytsky and 15 other Ukranian prisoners. This comes from the Pavlov’s taped confession and there are reports of further evidence that might be considered war crimes. Based on this evidence, Amnesty has called for prompt investigations and prosecutions into these crimes. (Kyiv Post, The Guardian) (for additional information click here)
Obama expected to speak to Castro about HR in Cuba: President Barack Obama is expected to speak with Cuban President Raul Castro concerning human rights. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson stated that the interaction would occur during the Summit of the Americas in Panama 10-11 April. Jacobson stated that Obama stated that the U.S. thinks the current circumstances of human rights in Cuba is inadequate. (Voice of America News)
ICT of Bangladesh accused Kamaruzzaman considering Presidential Pardon: The ICT of Bangladesh is considering a pardon for convicted war criminal Kamaruzzaman after the EU requested it to abolish its use of a death sentence. As it stands, the convict will have to admit his guilt if he wants to be considered for a presidential pardon. It has yet to be established whether or not Kamaruzzaman will seek this course action, but more information should come to light once he meets with his counsel. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.)
U.S. deports former El Salvador Defense Minister accused of torture, killings: Former Salvadorian military leader, Gen. Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova, was deported by the US after being detained by immigration authorities since March 25. The Board of Immigration Appeals, found that Gen. Vides had participated in the torture and killings of civilians by virtue of his command responsibility while serving as a military officer in El Salvador.
Amnesty urges investigations in E. Ukraine citing “summary killings,” war crimes: A war crimes investigation has been requested by Amnesty after evidence of summary executions surfaced. Amnesty has declared that the killings are tantamount to war crimes and should be prosecuted as such if investigations confirm the allegations. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.)
Kamaruzzaman death sentence upholds at ICT of Bangladesh: ICT of Bangladesh upheld the death sentence of Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, a leader in the Jamaat-e-Islami party. This was Kamaruzzaman’s last appeal in his sentence for committing crimes against humanity in the 1971 war of independence. Kamaruzzaman can seek presidential clemency, but if rejected, his execution will occur soon after. (The Hindu, Fox News) (for additional information please click here)
Palestine seeks to accelerate filing of Complaint: According to Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki, the Palestinian Authority leadership is trying to accelerate the filing of a complaint against Israel at the International Criminal Court. The ICC is looking into events that occurred in the Gaza Strip as of June 13, 2014. Palestine alleges that Israel committed war crimes during the conflict. (The Jerusalem Post)
Body of Ugandan ICC suspect identified: A body last month has been identified as the No. 2 commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Okot Odhiambo. The LRA committed atrocities in Uganda surrounding parts of central Africa. Okot Odhiambo is one of five leaders of the LRA that has been wanted by the ICC for the past decade. Forensic experts are still waiting on DNA results to confirm that the body is indeed of Okot Odhiambo. (The New York Times)