Archive for category Crimes against Humanity
U.K. threatens Sri Lanka with international inquiry: The U.K. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, William Hague, warned Sri Lanka that if it did not investigate allegations of sexual violence committed by government forces during its 26-year civil war it would be subject to an international inquiry. Hague warned the country that it had until the Human Rights Council met in March to conduct an independent and credible investigation. Sri Lanka is one country that has not yet signed the U.K.’s declaration to end sexual violence during conflict. (Sunday Times).
Bosnian Serbs arrested for CAH: The Bosnian prosecution office has charged nine suspects with crimes against humanity related to the country’s 1992-1995 civil war. The nine Bosnian Serb policeman allegedly “expelled, deported, illegally imprisoned, tortured, or killed non-Serbian civilians . . . in a systematic campaign against the Muslim and Croatian populations.” Nearly 100,000 died and millions were replaced as a result of the civil war. (Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty).
Bemba restrictions lifted at ICC: An ICC judge has ordered the immediate lifting of detention restrictions placed on Jean-Pierre Bemba and his recently imprisoned lead defense counsel, Aime Kilolo-Musamba. During detention, the two had been restricted to 30 minute phone calls, one hour monitored visits with family, and an initial 72 hour of no contact. Bemba argued the restrictions violated his right to counsel and Kilolo said it prevented him from presenting an adequate defense. Kilolo was arrested in November on allegations of witness interference and forged evidence. (Bemba Trial).
ICC investigations flawed, says Kenyan lawyers: Lawyers met in Nairobi on Tuesday, 3 December 2013, to protest ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s handling of investigations into Kenya. The lawyers claimed Bensouda and her predecessor forged evidence and relied on unreliable witnesses. One lawyer was quoted as saying: “It appears as though the court was determined to confirm the charges and the prosecution was convinced that there were substantial grounds to proceed with the case even though the investigations were questionable.” The ICC is currently trying Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and the case against the country’s sitting President will commence in February 2014. (All Africa).
Cooperation between ICTY and Serbia positive: It is expected the chief prosecutor of the ICTY, Serge Brammertz, will report positively to the U.N. Security Council on Serbia’s cooperation with the tribunal on Thursday, 5 December 2013. Brammertz met with officials in Serbia last month “to discuss transfer of documents and access to government archives and witnesses.” It appears the transition of matters between the ICTY and Serbia has gone smoothly and efficiently. Brammertz presents his findings twice a year to the Security Council. (In Serbia).
Bosnian war criminals to be released: A local court that issued judgements in over 100 cases since its establishment in 2005 to aid the ICTY is expected to release hundreds of Bosnian war criminals. In July 2013, the European Court of Human Rights ruled the local court erred in convicting and punishing accused under a 2003 criminal code. The ECHR concluded the court should have been applying a less stringent 1976 statute that was in force at the time the crimes were committed. The local court will now need to schedule retrials. (The Malay Mail).
Indonesia offers support to Cambodia and Thailand after ICJ verdict: Indonesia has pledged to aid Cambodia and Thailand as the two countries carry out the ICJ’s recent decision concerning the ownership of a Hindu temple. Indonesia stated it was “ready to assist in whatever means if both countries ask for its support in implementing the ICJ order.” In November 2013, the ICJ granted Cambodia ownership of the temple located near the Cambodian-Thai border. (Phnom Penh Post).
Sierra Leone Residual Court elects Kenya’s Wiki as President: Kenya’s Phillip Waki was elected President of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone on 3 December 2013. Waki previously served as an alternate appeals judge at the SCSL and sat on the Kenyan Court of Appeals and High Court. Justice Jon Kamanda of Sierra Leone was elected as Vice President. (The Star).
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).
U.N. investigation of Syrian war crimes points to Assad and other senior officials: Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, announced on Monday, 2 December 2013 that UN investigations are increasingly revealing that senior Syrian officials, including President Bashar Assad, committed crimes against humanity and war crimes in Syria. Pillay’s statements added to the growing pressure on Syria to take action before the peace conference set to take place in Geneva in January. Pillay also stated that the list of suspected criminals will remained sealed until national or international authorities request it in order to conduct a credible investigation and possibly commence prosecution. Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad rejected Pillay’s remarks. (The Washington Post).
Kilolo Musamba, Wandu, and Bemba appear before ICC: On 27 November 2013, Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Fidèle Babala Wandu, and Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, who were arrested and charged with having committed offences against the administration of justice in the trial of Bemba, appeared before Pre-Trial Chamber II of the ICC. Judge Cuno Tarfusser confirmed the identity of the three suspects, explained the charges against them and their rights under the Rome Statute, and scheduled the confirmation of charges proceeding, which will determine whether the case will be heard before the Trial Chamber. Bemba is separately charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the Central African Republic between 2002 and 2003; Kilolo Musamba was his lead counsel and Wandu was a member of the DRC Parliament and Deputy Secretary General of the MLC. (ICC-CPI).
ASP issues resolution to amend ICC Rules: In its twelfth session, the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute (ASP) adopted eight resolutions, including a resolution on Amendments to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence. Rule 68 has been amended to facilitate the use of prior recorded testimony in trial; Rule 100 now eases the ability of the Court to sit in a State other than the host State, as well as the decision to hear a case in whole or in part; and the newly adopted Rules 134 bis, ter and quater regulate the use of video technology, excusal from a defendant’s presence at trial, and a defendant’s excusal from presence at trial due to extraordinary public duties. The Rules were amended in order to improve the efficiency of the ICC while protecting defendants’ rights. Other resolutions concerned the 2014 budget, totaling 121.6 million euro; construction of the permanent premises of the ICC; cooperation to enhance expedition arrest of suspects; complementarity; the establishment of the Independent Oversight Mechanism; and strengthening the ICC and the ASP. (ICC-CPI).
Kenya will not submit Kenyatta records to ICC: On Monday, 2 December 2013, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda accused Kenya of failing to comply with the Office of the Prosecutor’s (OTP) April 2012 request for Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s financial records and other relevant documents. Bensouda stated that the records are relevant to several issues in the trial, including the allegation that Kenyatta financed several of the crimes with which he is charged before the ICC. According to Bensouda, Kenya has refused repeated requests for these records for 19 months, which is why the OTP is now asking the judges in the trial to refer this matter to the ASP. (Expatica.com).
Trial Chamber requests list of first 10 witnesses against Kenyatta: On Monday, 2 December 2013, the judges presiding over Kenyatta’s trial instructed Bensouda to submit a list of the first 10 witnesses she will call in the prosecution of Kenyatta, as well as the order in which they will be called, by 16 December 2013. Once the trial begins on 5 February 2014, the OTP must submit monthly updates of its witness list to the Trial Chamber. Even though the Trial Chamber would like both the prosecution and defense to limit their questioning of each witness to four hours, it is expected that the prosecution will question 32 witnesses over the course of 190 hours, and that the defense will take about 400 hours to cross-examine all of the prosecution witnesses. (Capital News).
Seselj demands dismissal of trial and compensation: Following the disqualification of Judge Frederik Harhoff, Serbian politician Vojislav Seselj demanded that the ICTY throw out the case against him and compensate him with 12 million euro. He is charged with committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in the former Yugoslavia, and had opposed the replacement appointment of Judge Mandiaye Niang, arguing that such a replacement should not occur a few months before the rendering of the judgment, since the new judge was unfamiliar with the trial. The prosecution countered with the precedent of the case against Slobodan Milosevic, in which a judge had stepped down at a late stage in the proceedings, and his replacement had certified that he had familiarized himself with the trial record. The prosecution therefore requested that the proceedings continue as soon as Judge Niang has familiarized himself with the existing record. (Institute for War & Peace Reporting).
Human Rights Watch calls on ICC to expedite Afghanistan investigation: Following the ICC’s conclusion in November that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch urged the OTP of the ICC to expedite its inquiry into these crimes. Specifically, Human Rights Watch called for a fact-finding mission to Afghanistan, both to collect testimonies and to improve communication with the Afghan government and various international organizations. The investigation began in 2007, during which time the OTP has considered whether or not to formally investigate these alleged crimes. (Firstpost).
Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone judges sworn in: On Monday, 2 December 2013, 16 judges were sworn in for the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone, which will replace the SCSL. The U.N. Secretary General appointed ten judges, and the government of Sierra Leone appointed six judges, all of whom will serve part-time on a roster. Witnessed by Sierra Leonean Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Franklyn Bai Kargbo and UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Miguel de Serpa Soares, the judges promised they would “without fear or favour, affection or ill-will, serve as a Judge of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone honestly, faithfully, impartially and conscientiously.” The Residual Court will resolve the ongoing obligations of the SCSL, which is due to close later this month. (Africa News).
Congolese soldier to remain at ICC; single judge rules: On 18 November 2013, an ICC judge denied release from court custody a Congolese military leader accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes. Bosco Ntaganda argued his voluntary surrender for two arrest warrants and his lack of travel documents showed his commitment to remain in The Hague and cooperate fully with the ICC. The Single Judge rejected these arguments and found Ntaganda’s “prior ability to escape for such a lengthy period of time, until the moment of his choosing, enhances his motivation to flee when the circumstances allow.” Ntaganda faces charges for enlisting child soldiers and committing crimes of rape, murder and slavery during the 2002-2003 Congolese conflict. (All Africa).
ECCC Chamber rules second trial for Khmer Rouge leaders “imperative”: On Monday, 25 November 2013, the ECCC’s Supreme Court Chamber held it was “imperative” to commence as soon as possible the next trial against Khmer Rouge senior leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan. The Chamber found that any delay in trying the two leaders may violate the right to a speedy trial and create issues for continued pre-trial detention. The Chamber noted concerns of “financial malaise” by the ECCC was “irrelevant and inappropriate.” The two senior leaders face charges of genocide in the next trial. (The Cambodian Daily).
Painful visit to Bosnian mass grave for ICTY President: ICTY President Theodor Meron visited a mass grave in Bosnia this Monday, 25 November 2013, where the remains of at least 430 unidentified Bosniak and Croat victims have recently been excavated. Many of the victims were killed in concentration camps and home searches by Serbs during the early 1990s war. Meron, a Holocaust survivor, said it was “very difficult to speak at [a] place where one stands face to face with the horror a man can do to another man.” (Springfield News-Sun).
Bensouda requests additional funds for ICC operations: ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has asked the ICC Assembly of States Parties to approve an additional Sh2.3 billion for next year’s operations. Bensouda said the increased funding was necessary to “carry out deeper investigations to meet the required threshold of proof.” Tiina Intelman, President of the ICC Assembly of States Parties, said an increase in the Court’s budget for operations is a process that requires either an amendment to the Rome Statute, which takes time, or a change to the rules, which has a more immediate effect. (All Africa).
Trinidad’s Henderson appointed ICC judge: The Assembly of States Parties elected Geoffrey Andrew Henderson of Trinidad and Tobago to the ICC. Henderson, a graduate of the University of West Indies Law Faculty and the Sir Hugh Wooding Law School, takes the seat of recently named Trinidad President Sir Anthony Carmona. Henderson’s term will end on 10 March 2021. (Carib Journal).
Kenya making progress in amending ICC rules: Reports indicate that through a formal presentation, Guatemala and Greece asked to amend Article 134 of the ICC Rules of Procedures to allow accused persons who are “mandated to fulfill important and extraordinary public duties” in their states to waive the requirement to be present at their trial. Instead, the amendment would let counsel represent the accused, who would not have to attend the trial at The Hague or follow it through video proceedings. Kenya, Japan, and South Africa all support the proposed amendment. Kenya’s second goal, to give sitting presidents immunity until their term has expired, will likely not be addressed until February at the Assembly of State Parties, even though Kenya is pushing for a special summit. Both changes would benefit Kenya, which has publicly objected to the requirement that President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto be present at their trials, whether in person or through video links. (Standard Digital).
Security Council condemns LRA war crimes, calls for support: On Monday, 25 November 2013, the UN Security Council condemned the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in a presidential statement, urging the group to cease its activities, disarm, and release abductees. The Council also asked the UN Office for Central Africa, UN peacekeeping missions, and the international community to support the implementation of the UN Regional Strategy, which is meant to address the activities of the LRA. The Council also applauded the efforts of the African Union Regional Cooperation Initiative and emphasized the importance of regional efforts to combat the LRA. The Security Council has repeatedly denounced the crimes against humanity and war crimes the LRA has committed in several African nations over the course of 15 years, especially the group’s use of child soldiers. (UN News Centre).
Serbian Prosecutor’s Office wants 15-year sentence for Juric: The Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office demanded that Ilija Jurisic, who served as a commander during the Bosnian War, be sentenced to 15 years in prison for allegedly ordering a large-scale attack on former Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) soldiers during their retreat from Tuzla, Bosnia, even though the withdrawal had allegedly been agreed upon previously. 51 soldiers died and 50 were wounded during this attack, a war crime for which Juric has been indicted in a domestic proceeding. Juric was already convicted in 2009 and sentenced to 12 years in prison, which was overruled by the Appellate Court in 2010, and the current rehearing seeks to establish why the JNA had withdrawn from Tuzla and whether Juric ordered the attack on the JNA.
Mbeki says ICC should not interfere in Africa: Former South African President Thabo Mbeki criticized the ICC’s prosecution of African leaders on Talk To Al Jazeera. In his opinion, the international community should focus on building peace in Africa, instead of imposing justice from the “outside.” He mentioned the trials of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir; intervening in the conflict is more important than prosecuting these leaders, especially when their leadership and influence could be useful in brokering peace. Justice, he explained, does not trump peace. Using his own country as an example, Mbeki stated that South Africa’s move from apartheid to democracy would have been far less smooth had former South African President F.W. de Klerk, who was an integral part of ending apartheid, been brought before the ICC during the conflict. (Al Jazeera Media Network).
Bemba Case faces arrests, allegations of witness tampering: The has announced that four high level Congolese people have been arrested for alleged witness tampering in the war crimes trial of former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba. It is alleged that the suspects were part of a corruption network formed to influence and bribe witnesses. (For additional information, please click here.) (UN News, Google News).
ICC confirms Senussi trial to continue in Libya: The ICC has rejected an appeal by Senussi to have his domestic trial in Libya suspended. The ICC has stated that the continuation of a domestic trial in Tripoli will not interfere with the case the ICC has against Senussi. (Saudi Gazette).
Kenyan Government indicates plans to investigate additional PEV cases: The Kenyan government is in the process of establishing a team of special investigators to deal with Post Election Violence. 5,000 pending PEV cases have already been referred to the police for fresh investigations. (All Africa).
HRW reports ongoing war crimes in CAR: HRW has reported that violence in CAR is still bubbling to the surface. General Hamat claims to be fighting a defensive war against a rebel group known as the anti-balaka. According to HRW the general is wreaking havoc in many villages and it is not clear if there is a legitimate rebel force amassing or if those who are fighting back are just frightened locals. (HRW).
Alleged Croatian war criminal wins extradition appeal, remains in Australia: Serb military commander, Dragan Vasiljkovic, will be allowed to stay in Australia and avoid extradition to Croatia for questioning in connection with war crimes. Mr. Vasiljkovic has been found to have committed crimes of torture and rape and has admitted to commanding a deadly assault on the Village of Glina in Croatia. (The Australian).
Court/Tribunal: International Criminal Court
Decision Title: Fourth Decision on the Review of Laurent Gbagbo’s Detention Pursuant to Article 60(3) of the Rome Statute
Chamber: Pre-Trial Chamber I
Case Name: Prosecutor v. Laurent Gbagbo
Date: 11 November 2013
- Citing concerns over the defendant’s ongoing health issues, the Chamber postponed a final decision on granting Mr. Gbagbo conditional release until it has received a report detailing the defendant’s health requirements.
Principles found in decision:
- A Chamber may order provisional or conditional release of a defendant if changed circumstances so warrant. A sufficient changed circumstance is a change in the facts relied upon in issuing the original detention order, or the introduction of new facts that the Court feels warrants a modification of its preexisting detention order.
- In reviewing a detention order, the Court will only analyze claims showing changed circumstances, and will not revisit arguments made in previous submissions pertaining to the defendant’s detention.
- The Court found that specific facts regarding the release of political prisoners in the Cote d’Ivoire did not per se change the grounds upon which the defendant was detained, but rather was a fact supporting the general conclusion that the security situation in the Cote d’Ivoire has improved
- The improved security situation in the Cote d’Ivoire is a changed circumstance that impacts the grounds upon which the defendant has been detained
Decision Background: On 23 November 2011, the Court issued an arrest warrant against Laurent Gbagbo. Mr. Gbagbo was surrendered to the custody of the Court on 30 November 2011. In May 2012, the defense submitted a request for the defendant’s provisional release, which the Court rejected on 13 July 2012. The Court rejected a second request for conditional release based upon concerns for the defendant on 18 January 2013. The hearing on the confirmation of the charges was held from between 19 and 28 February 2013. The defense made a third request for defendant’s provisional release, which was denied by the Court in July 2013. On appeal in October 2013, the Appeals Chamber affirmed that denial.
On 31 October 2013, the defense submitted additional observations regarding facts relevant to a potential conditional release for the defendant, and again requested that the Court revisit the issue.
Decision Review: The defendant’s main contention in its fourth request for his conditional release argues that new circumstances and facts have occurred that impact the basis on which his previous requests were denied. Specifically, the defense contends that the government of the Cote d’Ivoire has been advancing a reconciliatory policy vis-à-vis Gbagbo’s former opposition group, the FPI, that the government has engaged in talks with that group, and that as part of this reconciliatory policy, several senior FPI leaders have been released from the government’s custody.
The defense also noted that the situation in the Cote d’Ivoire has improved such that 10,000 refugees stationed in Liberia have since returned to the country. The defense noted that the Ivorian government has seen provisional release as a possibility, and thus no longer sees the defendant as a danger. The defense maintained that in this period of transition to peaceful dialogue between the FPI and the government, the Court must support the peace process currently afoot in the country, and must not take steps that would undermine that progress. The defense maintained that the Court must make account of the changed circumstances in the country when reassessing the defendant for provisional release. The defense also objected to the Prosecution’s contention that the fact that the defendant still has political supports in the country requires his continued detention. The defense argued that the Prosecutor has not presented any new evidence showing any risks inherent in allowing the release, and argued that the evidence used by the Prosecutor in her arguments was old, outdated, and did not reflect current circumstances. Finally, the defense renewed its concerns over the effects of continued detention on Mr. Gbagbo’s health.
The prosecutor in response argued that no new factual situations have arisen since the July 2013 that change the basis upon which release was denied. The prosecutor maintained that pursuant to the findings in those decisions, Mr. Gbagbo should remain in custody. The OPVC filed a motion in agreement with the Prosecutor, maintaining that no factual circumstances have changed that would justify Mr. Gbagbo’s provisional release.
Under Article 60(3), the Chamber must review an order of release or detention every 120 days. Under that provision, the Court may modify or repeal the order of detention or release, if changed circumstances so warrant. A “changed circumstance” means a change in some or all of the facts relied upon in issuing the original decision on detention or release, or the introduction of a new fact that the Chamber believes warrants a modification of its preexisting order. In reviewing submissions requesting that the Court repeal or amend its prior order, the Court will only look to arguments alleging changed circumstances, and will not reanalyze and reiterate arguments made in previous submissions and previous decisions.
Pursuant to these strictures, the Chamber limited itself to the review of claims relating to the alleged changed security situation in the Cote d’Ivoire. The Court noted that all parties were in agreement that the security situation has in fact improved. The Court rejected the defendant’s argument, however, that the fact that a number of FPI leaders have been release, per se impact the grounds upon which the defendant’s continued detention rests. The Court determined that this fact rather supports the more general conclusion of an improved security situation in the country. The Court determined that an improved security situation is a “changed circumstance” upon which a reevaluation of the detention order is warranted.
The Court determined that the improved security situation in the country, along with an absence of evidence that the defendant has attempted to continue to conduct criminal behavior from his place of detention, suggest that his continued detention for security reasons is no longer necessary. However, the Court determined that these changed circumstances do not address the Court’s alternative reason for holding Mr. Gbagbo, namely the danger of his tampering with or obstructing the investigation or court proceedings. Thus the Court determined that continued detention would be necessary. The Court noted, however, its continuing obligation under Article 58(1)(b) of the Statute to explore the possibility of conditional release for the defendant, if sufficient conditions can be imposed upon the release to militate against the risks posed by release.
Noting ongoing concerns with Mr. Gbagbo’s health, the Court decided to postpone a decision upon the possibility of conditional release for the defendant. The Court determined that it needs information regarding the defendant’s health-related needs and treatment requirements, before it can look into factors – such as a potential, adequate location of release – regarding granting provisional release. The Court therefore ordered the Registry and the Defense to submit, by 2 December 2013, a report on progress made towards determining the defendant’s health-related requirements. The Chamber stated that once the process of obtaining the necessary information on the defendant’s health has been completed, it will review the possibility of conditional release.
To access the full Decision, click here.
Unnamed witness called by judges testifies in Bemba trial: A witness under the pseudonym “Witness CHM-01” testified at the trial against Jean-Pierre Bemba on Monday, 18 November 2013 before the ICC. The judges, as allowed by Articles 64 and 69, had called the witness; none of the parties in the trial had called him to provide evidence, even though several witnesses from both sides had mentioned his name. The witness is testifying through a video link from an undisclosed location. It is not yet clear how the witness was involved in the MLC. Mr. Bemba is charged with committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Central African Republic between October 2002 and March 2003. (Open Society Justice Initiative).
African Court to hold conference to raise awareness: The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights is organizing a continental conference in order to raise awareness about the court’s activities and promote human rights in African states. The Court feels that it has been underutilized; in seven years, it has only handled 28 petitions concerning contentious matters and five requests for advisory opinions. Senior officials believe that this under-utilization is due to the fact that the individuals and entities who are allowed to bring petitions before the Court are largely unaware of its existence. The conference will be attended by the president and judges of the court, representatives from international organizations, and Professor Makame Mbarawa, the Tanzanian Minister of Communication, Science and Technology. (Tanzania Daily News).
Leaders urge Sri Lanka to investigate war crimes following summit: During the Commonwealth Summit, which was held in Sri Lanka over the course of three days, several human rights groups appealed to world leaders to pressure Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to investigate war crimes that allegedly took place during and after the civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, who was in attendance, stated that it would be possible for Sri Lanka to set up a war crimes tribunal before March, to which President Rajapaksa responded that Sri Lanka had started investigations, but that this process will take longer than a few months. He had previously stated that his troops did not commit war crimes during the conflict, which lasted 26 years. Secretary Hague’s comments followed UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s condemnation of the alleged war crimes, and his warning of a UN-led investigation should Sri Lanka fail to launch an independent inquiry. (To read more about this topic, please click here.) (Voice of America, BBC).
Nine AU states may be barred from voting on Rome Statute amendments: The ICC announced that nine out of its 122 members are in arrears and will therefore be unable to vote in this week’s Assembly of State Parties meeting in The Hague. Though the list of states has not been officially released, Tanzania, Senegal, Niger, Ghana, Gabon, Djibouti, Comoros, Guinea, and Liberia are all indebted to the Court and may lose their voting rights. These votes may be necessary to amend the ICC rules of procedure laid out in the Rome Statute, an effort Kenya is leading in order to excuse President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto from attendance at their trials, to amend Article 27 to grant sitting heads of governments immunity, and to amend Article 70 so that court officials can be charged with offenses against administration of justice and the powers of the Independent Oversight Mechanism may be expanded. If all 122 members attend the meeting, Kenya needs 81 members to support its proposals. (The Star).
Botswanan judge appointed to Sierra Leone court: On 16 October 2013, the Botswanan Administration of Justice announced that Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, appointed the Hon. Justice Dr. O.B.K. Dingake as a judge on the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone, which is continuing the mandate of the Special Court of Sierra Leone. Justice Dingake is a jurist and scholar, and will sit on the Court as required by the president of the Court. (Government of Botswana).
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).
Security Council split on ICC deferral: The U.N. Security Council is split over whether to delay the ICC cases against Kenya’s sitting heads of state. Last week, the 15 state parties met to discuss an AU backed resolution calling for a deferral to allow President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto time to fulfill their executive duties at home. Experts opposed to the resolution argue a postponement may defer justice for victims. The U.N. Security Council is expected to vote this week on whether to approve the deferral. (All Africa).
Ivory Coast party seeks release of former President: The Ivorian Popular Front has officially requested the ICC release former President Laurent Gbagbo from custody. The opposition political party claims Gbagbo is being illegally detained after the ICC failed to present sufficient evidence of wrongdoing. The party’s organizer demanded the former President return to the Ivory Coast to “reconcile the people.” For the past two years, Gbagbo has been held in The Hague on charges of crimes against humanity for his participation in the 2010 post-election violence. (All Africa).
Kenya attacks planned after 2007 election, says ICC witness: A prosecution witness testified last week that members of the Orange Democratic Movement, a political party supported by ICC indictee William Ruto, planned attacks against the rival Party of National Unity. The protected witness told judges members of the Orange Democratic Movement stocked bows, arrows and rocks “with the objective of forcibly expelling” people of a differing ethnic group from their communities once the 2007 presidential election results were announced. Ruto, alongside co-accused Joshua arap Sang, is charged with inciting and ordering attacks that killed and displaced thousands of civilians after the party he supported was defeated in the election. (All Africa).
ICC judges call witness for Bemba trial: A judge ordered witness is expected to testify in the trial of Jean Pierre Bemba at the ICC on 18 November 2013. The evidence to be presented by the witness has not been disclosed, however, the individual has been “repeatedly mentioned” by other participants during the proceedings. The witness will first be examined by the judges. The prosecution, victim representatives and defense will then each have an opportunity to question the witness on relevant issues, as well as evidence that concerns credibility and mitigating or aggravating circumstances. The former Vice President of the DRC is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes. (All Africa).