Archive for category Crimes against Humanity

28 May 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN Kosovo Envoy says domestic war crimes court is essential: The creation of a robust special court to adjudicate suspected crimes in Kosovo is taking shape.  Recently, progress to establish the special court has increased due to the results found by an EU special investigative task force that there is sufficient evidence to indict a handful of individuals for serious crimes committed during this period. (Yahoo News).

Sri Lanka General proclaims innocence; would welcome opportunity to “clear” his name:  Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, once General of the Sri Lankan army that defeated the Tamil Tigers, has issued a statement declaring his welcoming of an investigation into his actions during Sri Lanka’s civil war.  Fonseka asserts that he was in no way involved in any type of war crime and wishes to clear his name of any false allegations.

Mujahid Appeal Verdict expected from Bangladesh Supreme Court:  It has been announced that the verdict on an appeal by Jamaat-e-Islami leader Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid against his death sentence awarded by a war crimes tribunal will be out on June 16. Mujhahid was convicted on 5 of the 7 war crime charges levelled against him.  He was found guilty of orchestrating the murder if unarmed intellectuals and mass executions.

Seselj outspoken about planned appeal against return to The Hague:  Vojislav Seselj has stated that he plans to appeal the order to return to The Hague issued by the UN war crimes.  Seselj has made clear that he has no plans of returning to the UN tribunal which has charged him with recruiting paramilitary forces during the Balkans wars.  (DW).

UN Security Council adopts resolution to condemn violence against journalists:  The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution that calls for the release of all media professionals who have been kidnapped or taken as hostages, in situations of armed conflict.  This act by the UN comes in response to the increasingly dangerous world that journalists in conflict stricken countries inhabit.  It has also been determined that Syria is the deadliest place to be a journalist.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (UN, Euronews).

ECCC witness testifies to poor working conditions, executions in Case against Chea, Samphan:  A victim of the Khmer Rouge, Hun Sethany, testified before the Extraodinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia during Case 002/02 against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan.  She wept onpenly as she recounted the events that plagued her and her family during the late 1970s while under the control of the Khmer Rouge.

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26 May 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICTY Prosecutor to visit Belgrade: Chief Prosecutor of the ICTY, Serge Brammertz, is set to visit Belgrade in preparation of his biannual report to the United Nations Security Council. The Chief prosecutor of the ICTY must submit a report on his completion strategy every six months. (InSerbia)

Serbia says no order released from ICTY on Seselj’s return: Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic stated that Serbia has not yet received an official order from the ICTY for Vojislav Seselj’s return to detention after his provisional release. Vucic stated that the Serbian government would act in accordance with Serbian and international law once the order was received. (InSerbia)

Jamaican Justice Minister announces legislation to join ICC: Justice Minister, Senator Mark Golding, stated that legislation is currently being drafted in the Senate that will allow Jamaica to join the ICC. According to Golding, the legislation should be enacted by the end of the year. (The Gleaner)

Taylor’s appeals against decisions on detention denied: Former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor, has had appeals denied. His first appeal was against his fifty-year sentence in jail and the second appeal appealed the motion denying him a transfer out of the UK to Rwanda. The President of the Residual Court for Sierra Leone Justice Philip N. Waki denied both of these appeals. (The New Dawn Liberia)

MINUSMA investigating human rights violations in Mali: The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, MINUSMA, stated that it would investigate human rights violations in Mali. Deputy UN spokesman Farhan Haq stated that MINUSMA has sent an investigation team into northern Mali. MINUSMA is concerned with the continuous armed conflict found in the region. (Global Times)

Shamsuddoha arrested after ICT Bangladesh issues warrant: ICT Bangladesh recently issued a warrant for Shamsuddoha, a war crimes suspect. Shamsuddoha was arrested along with four others of the the sixteen total suspects. (Business Standard)

CAR taking lessons on special court from Habre trial: Central African Republic, CAR, wants to learn from the Senegalese Extraordinary African Chambers conducting the Hissène Habre trial. Habre is being tried for alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes during his reign as Chadian President. CAR voted to set up its own Special Court to bring to justice those who committed crimes against humanity or war crimes in the CAR region since 2003. (All Africa)

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21 May 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

German appeals court find evidence for addition charge in Rwandan Genocide case:  On 21 May 2015 the Bundesgerichtshof, the Federal Court of Justice of Germany, found on appeal that Onesphore Rwabukombe was actively involved in the murder of 450 men, women and children at the Kiziguro church in east Rwanda and referred the case back to a lower court in Frankfurt to consider evidence from  the proceedings in the German lower courts; including over 100 witness statements about the attack.  In 2014, Rwabukombe was found guilty of overseeing and assisting in the murders, but failed to convict him of direct involvement.  Rwabukombe received a sentence of 14 years in prison on the conviction for overseeing and assisting the murders.  The addition charge of active participation could result in Rwabukombe’s sentence being increased to as much as life in prison. (euronews)

Former Gaddafi officials to be sentenced on 28 June:  On 21 May 2015, Libyan Chief of Investigations office of the Attorney General, Al-Seddig Al-Sur, announced that Libya’s Court of Appeal would deliver the final sentences in the trial against former Gaddafi officials; including ICC accused’s Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi.  Al-Sur stated that the charges against the accused included genocide, besieging towns which protested against Gaddafi, killing demonstrators, forming armed battalions and embezzling public money.  Both Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi have been indicted before the International Criminal Court.  In 2013, the ICC found that Libya was not able to try Saif and ordered his surrender to The Hague.  Libya has failed to cooperate with this order, leading the ICC to refer Libya to UNSC.  (IWPR)

ICC Suspects travel to Saudi Arabia despite outstanding warrant:  On Thursday 21 May 2015 it was reported that Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir and Sudanese official Ahmed Haroun made a public appearance in Saudi Arabia for talks with King Salman Bin Abdel Aziz.  Although President Al-Bashir has made several international visit since his indictment before the ICC, Haroun, who acts as the Government of North Kordofan, has not travelled outside of Sudan since his indictment before the ICC in April 2007.  Saudi Arabia is not a member of the Rome Statute. (Sudan Tribune)

Secretary General appoints panel to meet humanitarian funding needs:  On 21 May 2015, a statement was released on behalf of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announcing the appointment of a high-level UN panel established to examine resources and funding for humanitarian efforts.  The statement reported that in the last decade the need for humanitarian funding has risen “dramatically” creating a situation where the current resources available for humanitarian needs are insufficient.  The panel is tasked with examining financial challenges to humanitarian resources and identifying ways address the lack of insufficient resources in a so that timely and predictable funding is available.  Ban Ki-moon appointed to the panel as co-chairs, Vice President of the European Commission, Kristalina Georgieva from Bulgaria, and Sultan Nazrin Shah from Malaysia.  (UN News Centre)

Defense witness testifies to Mladic’s role in Branjevo killings:  On 19 May 2015 it was reported that Dragan Todorovic, a former Bosnian Serb soldier, testified as a defence witness in the trial against Ratko Mladic.  Todorovic testified as to his position on the Vlasenica platoon of the 10th Sabotage Detachment.which took part in the mass execution of Bosnian Muslims on the Branjevo farm in July 1995.  Todorovic’s testimony addressed orders about the killings and about the relationship between Milorad Pelemis, who was Todorovic’s commander in the unit and a previous defence witness for Mladic, and Ratko Mladic.  On cross examination the Prosecution highlighted the close links between Pelemis and Mladic; submitting Todorovic’s previous testimony to this issue in the ICTY trial against Radovan Karadzic. (Global Voices)

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20 May 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC holds status conference for Ongwen case: On Tuesday, 19 May 2015, the ICC held a status conference relating to the case against Dominic Ogwen, a top Ugandan rebel leader in the Lord’s Resistance Army.  Ogwen, who faces charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed at a camp for internally displaced people in 2004, was present at the conference and represented by counsel. Ongwen’s confirmation of charges hearing is scheduled for 21 January 2016. (NTV).

Sri Lankan President announce June start to war crime probe: Today, 20 May 2015, Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena announced that an investigation into war crimes committed at the end of the country’s 26-year civil war would begin by June. The President also encouraged guidance from the U.N. Human Rights Council on carrying out the investigation and vowed to prosecute those “found guilty by the investigation.”  Over 100,000 were killed during the conflict. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (MalayMail, The Economic Times).

ICTR holds 25th plenary session; re-elects President: The 25th and final plenary session of the ICTR was held in The Hague on 13 May 2015. At this session, Rule 18(B) of the ICTR Rules of Procedure and Evidence was amended and ITCR President Judge Vagn Joensen was re-elected through 31 December 2015, the expected date of closure of the Tribunal. The ICTR has already begun transitioning power to the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals which was created to continue the residual functions of the ICTR and ICTY. (UN-ICTR).

Amnesty reports torture in Morocco:  Moroccan authorities are still using torture against those detained or expressing dissent; said Amnesty International in a report released Tuesday, 19 May 2015.  The findings of the report stemmed from interviews with over 150 men, women and children between 2010 and 2014.  Morocco has pledged for years to eliminate torture by authorities.  However, an Amnesty International director says “There is a gap between what’s on paper and what’s in practice.  Torture is not systematic but common.  The safeguards that exist currently are not being implemented.”  (NY Times).

Tunisian Truth Commission to address torture and other human rights abuses: On 19 May 2015, it was reported that Tunisia’s Truth and Dignity Commission will be conducting public hearings beginning June 2015.  The hearings will address allegations of torture, mass killings and other human rights violations committed over a 60 year period, starting in 1955, while Tunisia was under authoritarian rule. Members of the Commission have visited towns to urge victims of the human rights abuses to file complaints.  The Commission does have the power to subpoena witnesses and government files. (NY Times).

Complaint filed with African Commission over death of protestors in Burundi: On 5 May 2015, a leading human rights lawyer from Nigeria, Femi Falana, filed a complaint against the government of Burundi in the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.  Falana claims the government fatally attacked civilians protesting President Pierre Nkurunziza’s plan to seek a third term of office.  Falana said this plan violates the constitution of Burundi, which imposes a two term limit on the office of president, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which guarantees life, personal liberty, freedom of expression, association and assembly.  Falana urged the African Commission to “ensure effective remedies for [these] multiple violations of the rights of the people of Burundi.” (the News Nigeria).

ICC AC admissibility decision on Simone Gbagbo to be delivered 27 May: The appeals decision on the admissibility of the case against Ivorian politician Simone Gbagbo is expected to be delivered 27 May 2015, said the ICC Appeals Chamber today, 20 May 2015. The Republic of Côte d’Ivoire appealed the Pre-Trial Chamber’s decision rejecting an admissibility challenge to the case and reminding the country of its obligation to surrender Mrs. Gbagbo to the ICC.  Gbagbo is accused of murder, rape and other inhumane acts and persecution committed in the Ivory Coast between December 2010 and April 2011. (ICC).

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19 May 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Three Bangladesh suspected sued for crimes against humanity: MA Hannan, a Jatiya Party lawmaker, and two other suspects (Md Fakruzzaman and Golam Rabbani, members of Al-Badr) have been sued in Mymensingh. The suit is for for alleged crimes against humanity that occurred during Mymensingh’s Liberation War in 1971.  The judicial magistrate forwarded the case to the International Crimes Tribunal in Dhaka. (Prothom Alo)

Journalist refuses to testify before ECCC unless foreign leaders called: Journalist Thet Sambath stated that he will not testify before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia unless those that were leaders between 1975 and1979 of China, Russia and Vietnam were called to testify as well. Sambath is calling for an amendment to a law between the Cambodian government and United Nations that states the UN will not call leaders from foreign countries to trial. Only then will he testify. (Cambodia Daily)

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18 May 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UNSMIL reports war crimes of abductions, torture and murder: On 15 May 2015, the U.N. Support Mission in Libya released a statement finding that armed groups are responsible for war crimes in Libya.  Specifically, the UNSMIL said that armed groups abducted, tortured and murdered “civilians, including minors, on account of their actual or perceived origin, opinion, family and political affiliation.” The UNSMIL also warned that those responsible for the crimes, including committing, ordering or failing to prevent the crimes, may be criminally liable before the ICC.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here and here) (UN News Centre, Al Arabiya News, Libya Herald).

ECCC Prosecution calls journalist to testify in Case 002: On 7 May 2015, the ECCC Prosecutor’s Office requested journalist Thet Sambath testify in the second phase of the Extraordinary Chamber’s case against Nuon Chea.  The Prosecutor’s Office claims Sambath, who interviewed Nuon Chea over a 10-year period, documented admissions by the former Khmer Rouge leader that prove his guilt in the trial.  Although requested, Sambath failed to appear in the first phase of the case but has since stated he would testify “if the court openly gives me freedom.”  (Cambodia Daily).

Croatia assures of fair war crimes trial for Dragan Vasiljkovic in extradition case: On 15 May 2015, Australia’s High Court denied a request by former Serbian paramilitary commander Dragan Vasiljkovic to appeal an approval of extradition to Croatia to be questioned for war crimes. Justice Minister Michael Keenan now has the final say on whether Vasiljkovic will be extradited. Croatia’s war veteran minister Predrag Matic said that the former paramilitary commander will receive a fair trial if extradited. Vasiljkovic is accused of torturing and ordering the killing of prisoners of war and directing an assault on a village in Croatia during the early 1990s.  (The Australian).

Charles Bandora sentenced to 30 years in Rwandan court for role in 1994 Genocide: On 15 May 2015, Charles Bandora was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment by a special chamber created to prosecute international crimes at the High Court of Rwanda.  Bandora was found guilty of conspiracy to commit genocide, complicity committing and complicity to murder as a crime against humanity and formation of an armed gang during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.  Bandora was a senior member of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development party at the time. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (All Africa, Yahoo News).

African Court to hear two applications at 37th Session: The African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights is holding its 37th Ordinary Session from 18 May to 5 June, 2015, which will include consideration of two applications of violations of the African Charter.  The first application concerns the alleged unlawful abduction and detention of 10 Kenyans in Tanzania for murder and robbery.  The second application involves a challenge by a Tanzanian to a 30 year jail sentence for armed robbery.  (IPP Media).

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12 May 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC’s first acquitted accused deported to DRC: Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, formerly accused of war crimes, was deported back to the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Monday. Chui was acquitted by the ICC and filed for asylum in the Netherlands for fear of safety in the DRC.  Dutch authorities dismissed his application and sent him back to the DRC. Géraldine Mattioli-Zeltner, international justice advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, stated that HRW is calling on the DRC authorities to ensure Chui’s safety and security in the DRC. HRW is also calling upon dutch authorities and the ICC to monitor the situation. (Expatica, Human Rights Watch) (for additional information click here)

HRW calls for ICC investigation into on-going crimes in Libya: Human Rights Watch urged the United Nations Security Council to look at ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda’s briefing on Libya. HRW called for an investigation into the ongoing crimes happening in Libya. HRW states that Libyan authorities have not responded properly to ongoing situation. They have not investigated or prosecuted those responsible for crimes. HRW is looking to the ICC to properly investigate these crimes. (Human Rights Watch)

ECCC victim representation faces funding cuts: Lawyers at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia have seen recent cuts in their salaries. Victim representation has seen major funding cuts due to  donor shortages. Attorneys from the Cambodian Defenders Project (CDP) and Legal Aid to Cambodia (LAC) stated that these cuts may dictate whether or not they continue representation of victims in the court. (Phnom Penh Post)

ICT Bangladesh issues 11 arrest warrants: ICT Bangladesh issued 11 arrest warrants for alleged Razakars of Jessore, for war crimes committed during the Liberation War in 1971. “The suspects are Ibrahim Hossain, Billal Hossain, Sheikh Majibur Rahman, Abdul Aziz Sardar, Aziz Sarder, Kazi Oahidul Islam, Lutfar Moral, Abdul Khaleq Moral, Akram Hossain, Ozehar Moral, and Mushiar Rahman.” (The Daily Star)

African Commission for HR’s 56th session concludes: The 56th Ordinary Session on Human and Peoples’ Rights concluded with resolutions that support “the strife against prevalence of human rights violations in Africa.” Commissioner Mute of the African Commission stated that the Commission passed resolutions that condemned xenophobic attacks in South Africa, urged Kenyan human rights, and rehabilitation rights for torture victims. (All Africa)

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