Archive for category Crimes against Humanity

14 July 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Banda Case scheduled to begin 18 November: Trial Chamber IV of the ICC scheduled the opening of the trial in the case The Prosecutor v. Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain on 18 November 2014. Banda faces three charges of war crimes allegedly committed in Darfur, Sudan. (ICC).

ICC judges reject appeal for interim release in Bemba Trial: On 11 July 2014, the Appeals Chamber of the ICC read a summary of the judgments explaining why, after a thorough examination, it was decided to dismiss the appeal related to the rejection of interim release of Bemba. The dismissal was decided by was of a five judge majority. The two dissenting judges concluded that the matter should be remanded to the Pre-Trial Chamber for a new decision on the each of the suspect5s’ requests for interim release.

Seselj requests court compensation for lengthy detention: Former deputy prime minister of Serbia, Vojislav Seselj, has been in custody since he voluntarily turned himself over to authorities in 2003. Seselj’s trial began in 2006 and he is still awaiting a verdict. He has recently demanded 12 million euros as compensation for what he is calling an unlawful deprivation of his liberty as a result of his nearly decade long detention. (Irish Times).

Security Council, Secretary General call for Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire: The UN Security Council called for a cease fire between the Israelis and Palestinians on 12 July 2014. The Security Council would like to see an immediate de-escalation of the current violence and for both parties to respect international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here).  (UN News).

UN Rapporteur condemns ongoing violence against women in Honduras: An independent UN human rights expert has called on the Government of Honduras to address the ongoing violence currently affecting a large population of Honduran women. Honduras is currently in a state of transition and violence against women is on the rise. Such a combination has lead to a lack of resources for victims and a incident underreporting. The report created by the UN expert will be presented to the Council in June 2015. (UN News).

ICC allows Kenyan Human Rights Commission Report on 2007-08 violence: The KNCHR is a controversial document which contains information related to the 2007-08 post-election violence. The report was introduced by Prosecutor Anton Steynberg and tabled at the Waki commission. Transcripts that were used in the preparation of the report were also admitted. (All Africa).

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3 July 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

African leaders vote to give themselves immunity from war crimes charges: On Friday, 29 June 2014, African leaders voted to amend the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights to give themselves and other senior officials immunity from war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The amendment, made at an AU summit in Equatorial Guinea, was objected to by forty-two African and international human rights groups who found the immunity violated international law, domestic law and the AU Constitution. Amnesty International considers the amendment “a backward step in the fight against impunity and a betrayal of victims of serious violations of human rights.” (Aljazeera America).

Afewerki reported in Sweden for crimes against humanity: Several high level officials in Eritrea have been reported to the Sweden police for crimes against humanity. Specifically, the report targets Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki and some of his ministers by name and lists a series of crimes including indefinite imprisonment without trial, torture, kidnapping, mandatory military service and severe restrictions of freedom of expression. It is estimated that over 3,000 people, about 6% of the entire population, have fled Eritrea because of the human rights abuses. (Asmarino).

Related: Sweden ratifies portion of Rome Statute as national law: On 1 July 2014, the founding statute of the ICC became part of the Swedish penal code. This means, Swedish judges will now have the authority to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide regardless of who or where the crime was committed. Christer Engelhardt, a current MP, said “We are very clear about this: you will be punished, and if you come here, you won’t feel safe [if you have committed such crimes] just because Sweden is an open and democratic country.” (Epoch Times).

Dissenting judge in Kenyatta, Ruto cases resigns for health reasons: German Judge Hans-Peter Kaul resigned from the ICC for health reasons, effective Tuesday, 1 July 2014.  Judge Kaul was elected to the Court in February 2003 and served 11 years. Judge Kaul dissented three times in the case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto finding the ICC lacked jurisdiction.  (All Africa).

Serbian government prepared to provide guarantees to Hague for provisional release of Seselj: So long as the former Serbian leader Vojislav Seselj agrees in a legally binding manner to abide by all conditions specified, the Serbian government is prepared to provide guarantees for his provisional release. Seselj notified the ICTY in June that if provisionally released he would be participating in public meetings, giving interviews and appearing on television shows. The former leader said he would not report to the police or wear any electronic bracelet or other device that violated human dignity. (InSerbia).

AU elects four new judges to Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights: Representatives from AU member states elected four new judges to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Tunisia’s Rafaa Ben Achour, Mozambique’s Angelo Vasco Matusse, Cote D’Ivoire’s Sylvain Ore and Uganda’s Solomy Baling Bossa will be sworn in at the Court to replace retiring judges or those judges whose terms have expired. The Court has been ratified by 27 countries. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

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30 June 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC Judge departs for health reasons:  Judge Hans-Peter Kaul has resigned from the ICC for health reasons.  Judge Kaul served as an ICC Judge for 11 years and was fundamental in the development of the ICC.  His resignation will take effect on 1 July 2014.  (ICC).

Prosecution and Defence in Katanga Trial abandon appeals:  The decision in The Prosecutor v. Germain Katagna.  The judgment is not final.  The decision made by the Defence for Germain Katanga and the Office of the Prosecutor to discontinue their appeals against the judgment of Trial Chamber II of the ICC on 25 June 2014.  (ICC).

UN Human Rights Office alarmed by Venezuela violence:  Continued reports of human rights violations reportedly taking place in Venezuela is of concern to the UN.  National human rights organizations estimate that more that 3,120 people were detained between February and May 2014.  The High Commissioner has called for Venezuelan authorities to respect the rights of those citizen involved in peaceful demonstrations.  The High Commissioner has also renewed his calls on the Government of Venezuela to accept all visit requests by UN experts.  (UN News).

HRW implores ICC to investigate crimes in CAR:  The CAR interim president, Catherine Samba-Panza, formally asked the ICC prosecutor to open an investigation, acknowledging that Central African courts are not in a position to carry out necessary investigations.  The CAR has been in a state of acute crisis since 2013.  It is expected that the ICC prosecutor will accept the request.  (UN News).

ICTR affirms sentence against Bizimungu:  The ICTR unanimously affirmed the 30-year prison sentence for former army chief Augustin Bizimungu for his role in the 1994 genocide during which he called for the murder of minority Tutsis.  (Yahoo News).

 

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25 June 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Katanga Defence and Prosecution at the ICC withdraw appeals: Germain Katanga’s defence and the ICC Office of the Prosecutor have withdrawn their appeals against the Trial Chamber II judgment finding the Congolese militia leader guilty of crimes against humanity. Furthermore, neither Katanga’s defence nor the Office of the Prosecutor intend to appeal the Court’s May 2014, sentence of 12 years imprisonment. Katanga was convicted in March 2014, for arming soldiers after violence erupted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2003. The Trial Chamber’s judgment is now final. (ICC).

ICC Prosecution concludes preliminary examination into North Korea with no plan to pursue an official investigation of crimes: ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced on Monday, 23 June 2014, that the preliminary examination into alleged war crimes in North Korea has concluded and that the Office of the Prosecutor will not open an official investigation. Bensouda found “no reasonable basis to initiate an investigation” into the 2010 sinking of South Korea’s Cheonan warship and the 2010 artillery attack on South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island. Bensouda noted, however, that the preliminary examination could be re-opened if new facts or evidence concerning the situation in North Korea become available. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (ICC, Expatica).

FIDH reports that war crimes and CAH committed in CAR: The International Federation for Human Rights released a report this week finding that the mainly-Muslim Seleka alliance and the mostly Christian anti-Balaka militia have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity against each other in the Central African Republic. Cited in the report is Mathias Morouba, vice-chairman of a Congolese rights group, who considers the attacks “a political and ethnic struggle for power, which has gradually taken on a religious dimension.” It is estimated in the report that since January 2013, some 3,000 have died and millions displaced as a result of the conflict. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (Global Post, iAfrica).

German Prosecutors file terrorism charges for joining Islamic group in Syria: Federal prosecutors in Germany have filed terrorism charges against 20-year-old Kreshnik B.  Kreshnik B. is charged with joining an Islamic group and participating in fighting in Syria. Kreshnik B. is also accused of conspiring to commit an attack after evidence showed he underwent weapons training and obtained a firearm. Kreshnik B. was arrested in Germany in December 2013. (KMPH).

HRW calls for special investigation by Mali Government into crimes committed on all sides: In a letter to Mali’s Minister of Justice Mohamed Ali Bathily, Human Rights Watch urged the Mali government to establish a special cell to investigate war crimes and other serious abuses committed by all sides during the 2012-2013 armed conflict. Human Rights Watch recommended the special investigation cell be located in the capital, Bamako, and consist of investigative judges, prosecutors and other court officials. Human Rights Watch considers a special investigation cell to be the “best and safest way to ensure fair and credible investigations.” (Human Rights Watch).

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19 June 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC Prosecutor urges Security Council action in Sudan: ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda briefed the U.N. Security Council this week on Darfur. The Chief Prosecutor expressed concern over the failure to enforce arrest warrants and apprehend suspects. Bensouda urged the Security Council to take decisivie action and bring to justice those accused of crimes against humanity. Bensouda also called for an independent inquiry into recent allegations that the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfar was engaged in manipulations and cover ups. (For additional information about this topic, please click here.) (UN News Centre, Reuters).

UN Human Rights Council reports ongoing crimes in Syria, Iraq: Human Rights Watch reviewed evidence, including satellite images over the city of Aleppo, from October 31, 2013, and April 2, 2014, that strongly suggest the Syrian government used barrel bombs and other weapons in attacks against civilians. Other evidence showed that armed groups opposed to the government used child soldiers and turned schools into military bases and prisons. Human Rights Watch requested the Commission of Inquiry to take steps to punish those responsible and prevent the serious violations of international law. (For additional information about this topic, please click here.) (Human Rights Watch, Reuters).

Sri Lankan Parliament votes against UN Investigation: A motion rejecting a U.N. investigation into crimes committed in Sri Lanka during its 26-year civil war was approved by the Sri Lankan Parliament on Wednesday, 18 June 2014. 144 out of 225 members of Sri Lanka’s Parliament found the investigation would be “detrimental to the process of reconciliation and peace and [would] erode[] the sovereignty, dignity and statute” of the country. The motion is not binding on a U.N. investigation. (Washington Post).

UN Human Rights Commissioner Pillay concerned about war crimes in Iraq: Navi Pillay, the U.N. Human Rights Commissioner, released a statement on Monday, 16 June 2014, finding the executions committed by Islamist militants in Iraq to “almost certainly amount[] to war crimes.” In the past week, the militants seized the northern part of the country and threatened further violence. Pillay condemned the shocking crimes carried out and called for immediate action. (Reuters).

Charles Taylor appeals for prison relocation: Former Liberian President Charles Taylor has filed a motion with the Special Court for Sierra Leone arguing violations of his human rights for being sentenced to jail in the U.K. Taylor claims his family is unable to visit him in the U.K. and that it would be more “humane” for him to serve his sentence in Africa. The former Liberian President was convicted by the Special Court in 2012 for aiding rebels in Sierra Leone. (BBC).

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9 June 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC confirms charges against Bosco Ntaganda:  The ICC has confirmed 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity against Bosco Ntaganda.  The Prosecutor brought evidence of attempted murder, rape and sexual slavery that occurred in Congo’s Ituri district in 2002 and 2003 to the attention of the ICC.  HRW expresses the hopes of many other human rights organizations which is that this decision to charge one ranking official of the ICC will lead to many more.  (HRW).

CAR inquiry finds CAH and war crimes, but hesitates to affirm that genocide committed:  The latest inquiry into the violence in CAR appears to contradict earlier reports of ethnic cleansing.  The report states that anti-Muslim propaganda coming from non-Muslim quarters does no mean that genocide is being planned or that there is a conspiracy to commit genocide.  Amnesty International objects to the findings in the latest report and argues that the displacement and violence against Muslims sectarian in nature and evidence that a genocide or massive displacement is occurring.  (MWC News).

ICC decided to fund Saif Gaddafi legal team:  The ICC has made the decision to fund the defence of Saif Gaddafi as a way to increase his chances of obtaining a fair trial before the court.   It is likely that Gaddafi would be sentenced to death if found guilty by a court a Libya.  UK politicians and military figures have protested this action by the ICC.  (Telegraph).

Former Norwegian Minister willing to testify to crimes in Sri Lanka:  Erik Solheim, former international development minister for Norway, is prepared to give evidence before any recognized international tribunal detailing the atrocities he witnesses during the final months of the decades-long Sri Lankan conflict.  Solheim was involved in the brokered peace agreement that fell through in 2006.  (Mint).

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19 May 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Mladic Trial hears first defence witness The ICTY heard its first witness in the Ratko Mladic case.  Mladic has been charged with 11 offenses, ranging from hostage taking to genocide.  Mladic maintains his innocence.  (Aljazeera).

Gaddafi ICC Admissibility Decision expected from Appeals Chamber 21 May:  The Appeals Chamber of the ICC has scheduled a hearing on 21 May 2014 to deliver the judgment on the admissibility of the case against Gaddafi.  (ICC).

Rwanda Court begins first genocide case transferred from ICTR:  The genocide trial of Pastor Jean Uwinkindi is a first for the ICTR.  Uwinkindi is charged with genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity.  He is accused of killing Tutsis himself as well as ordering the execution of many others.  (Hirondelle).

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15 May 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC Prosecutor reiterates calls for Gaddafi handover: ICC Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, presented the seventh report regarding the situation in Libya to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, 13 May 2014. Bensouda described the deteriorating security condition in Libya, the worrisome murders and torture committed in illegal detention centers and the country’s failure to bring perpetrators of human rights violations to justice.  Bensouda urged the Libyan government to comply with international law, which includes surrendering to the Court Saif Al-Islam, the son of Muammar Gaddafi, the late Libyan dictator. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (ICC, UN News Centre).

UN Secretary General advocates tribunal for S. Sudan war crimes: Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, considers the human rights abuses committed in South Sudan to amount to crimes against humanity and has voiced support for a special war crimes tribunal. The Secretary General cited a UN report released last week documenting widespread ethnic attacks and killings and the displacement of millions of people since the conflict erupted in the country in December 2013. (Aljazeera).

UN Observer at Gaddafi trial held in Tripoli; suspected of “occult practices”: One member of the UN team monitoring the trial against Muammar Gaddafi’s sons was detained for possible “black magic.” It has been reported, Ahmed Ghanem was temporarily held at the maximum security prison in Tripoli this weekend after police found written material suggesting “sorcery” and “occult practices.” As a UN official, Ghanem enjoys immunity. (The Guardian).

UN considers impact of Lethal Autonomous Weapons on humanitarian and military interests: A four day convention focusing on the technological developments, the ethical considerations and the implication of international law from the deployment of lethal autonomous weapons began this week in Geneva. At the opening session, Acting Director-General of the UN Office in Geneva Michael Moller urged delegates to take bold action in banning or restricting autonomous weapons that cause unjustified and disproportionally high civilian damage. (UN News Centre).

Prosecutor Bensouda reconsidering alleged British war crimes in Iraq: ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that the office is re-opening the “preliminary examination” of alleged war crimes by United Kingdom armed forces in Iraq from 2003 to 2008.  Bensouda explained that the office received new information in January 2014 and will now consider “issues of jurisdiction, admissibility and the interest of justice.” The outcome of the preliminary examination will decide whether the Prosecutor initiates an investigation. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (ICC, Deutsche Welle).

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12 May 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Mladic Defense Case to start 19 May: Ratko Mladic is the former Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army Main Staff and stands accused of genocide and a number of other crimes against Bosnian Muslim.  His defence case was scheduled to start May 13 but technical glitches hindered the readiness of his lawyers.  Mladic is scheduled to begin on Monday, May 19 at 9:30 a.m. in courtroom 1.  (For addition information on this topic, please click here.) (ICTY, IWPR).

Gaddafi Trial resumes in Tripoli; defendant remains in Zintan:  Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Senussi appeared via videolink at a court in Tripoli where each face a myrian of charges resulting from their allefged role in suppressing the 2011 uprising.  Both remain in Zintan and remain wanted by the ICC.

ICT-Bangladesh Prosecutor pursues genocide charges against former Jatiya Party Leader:  Former Jatiya Party MP Abdul Jabbar has been charged with five types of crimes against humanity during Bangladesh’s Liberation War.  Formal charges were submitted to the tribunal’s registrar AKM Nasiruddin Mahmud on Sunday.  It is suspected that Jabbar is currently living in the US.

UN Report suggests knowledge of Kony whereabouts:  The UN Security Council is set to discuss a report that may narrow the hunt for Joseph Kony.  Kony is wanted for crimes against humanity and has been successful in evading arrest.  An expansive task force is currently searching a vast area in central Africa for his whereabouts.

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7 May 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Muslim Brotherhood to appeal ICC rejection of complaint against Egyptian authorities: Officials from the Muslim Brotherhood have criticized the ICC’s recent decision to reject a complaint against Egyptian authorities for the deaths and jailing of thousands of Mohamed Morsi supporters. Officials have dismissed the decision as “political [] not legal” and intend to “present new evidence to the court.” Since July 2013, when Mohamed Morsi was ousted from leadership, the Egyptian authorities have cracked down on political opponents, including the Muslim Brotherhood.  (Turkish Press).

Ruto, Sang appeal ICC decision compelling witness testimony: Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang intend to appeal the ICC’s decision last month compelling witnesses to testify. Defense for the co-accused argue, among other things, that the decision may be in violation of Kenyan law and against the court’s obligations to protect the well-being of witnesses.  ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda moved the court to compel the testimony after eight witnesses allegedly failed to cooperate with the Court. (The Star).

UN: Boko Haram sale of abducted girls may be crime against humanity: A spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner of Human Rights, Rupert Colville, informed reporters the abduction of nearly 300 school girls in Nigeria by Boko Haram militants may amount to crimes against humanity. Colville stated the U.N. was “deeply concerned about the outrageous claims” made by Boko Haram this week to “sell the abducted schoolgirls . . . and ‘marry them off.’”  Colville urged the militants to safely return the schoolgirls. (Khaleej Times).

Khieu Samphan again hospitalized: 82 year old ECCC accused Khieu Samphan was hospitalized; said his national lawyer Kong Sam Onn on Tuesday, 6 April 2014. Samphan is currently appealing the second phase of his case, arguing his right to a speedy trial has been violated. Samphan faces crimes against humanity charges. (The Cambodia Daily).

Russia to file suit against Ukraine in ICC: It is being reported that Russian members of parliament intend to file a lawsuit in the ICC against Ukraine for violations of serious international law committed on its territory from 21 November 2013 to 22 February 2014. The members of parliament have been collecting documents on the killing of civilians in Ukraine, including the Odessa massacre which killed some 40 people and the mass protests in eastern Ukraine. (RAPSI).

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