Archive for category Crimes against Humanity

25 August 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Citing UN report, Commissioner Pillay highlights continuing crimes in Syria: Commissioner Pillay has voiced frustration about the continuation of violence, which is ongoing in civil war. It is estimated that 191,000 have died as a result of the conflict.   Pilly calls for the international community to awake from its paralysis so as to contribute to an end to fighting.   For additional information on this topic, please click here.)  (Reuters, Guardian).

ICT of Bangladesh anticipates Qaisar verdict:  The verdict on the war crimes accused former state minister of Jatiya Party Syed Mihammad Qausar is expected any day. Qaisar was indicted on February 2 on 16 charges of crimes against humanity, which he had alledgedly committed in Habiganj and Brahmanbaria during the 1971 Liberation War. (Dhaka Trib).

Sri Lanka refuses entry to UN Investigators: The Sri Lankan government has decided not to grant visas to UN investigators tasked with probing for evidence in connection with war crimes committed during the country’s decade long separatist conflict. The UNHRC estimates that as many as 40,000 civilians may have been killed during the final months of the conflict. The Sri Lankan government believes the investigation will fail to be impartial.  For additional information on this topic, please click here.)  (Yahho, IBtimes).

UN Commissioner warns of crimes against humanity in Iraq: The UN human rights chief has affirmed the condemnation of the war crimes being committed in Iraq by the group ISIL. There are reports of murder, kidnapping, ethnic cleansing and slavery. Such atrocities are likely to amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Commissioner Pillay urges the international community to ensure that the perpetrators do not escape with impunity. (UN News).

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2014 August 18 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

North Korea to release war crimes report in response to international reports: North Korea has announced its commitment to put forth an “all-inclusive” report detailing the human rights performance of the regime. The investigation into alleged human rights abuses will be performed by the state-run DPRK. (DW).

Sri Lanka responds to allegations of war crimes: Sri Lankan officials have accused Navi Pillay of showing a lack of objectivity when dealing with alleged war crimes. The ministry goes on to accuse MS. Pillay of exaggerating claims and having an agenda set to influence the investigation. Ms. Pillay’s spokeswoman responded to these allegations by encouraging the ministry to engage with the investigation. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (ABC, Reuters).

Hostages taken on August 10 released in Nigeria: Chadian troops have managed to rescue 85 people kidnapped by Boko Haram Islamists from communities in Nigeria. An official stated that 65 men and 22 women had been rescued but more than 30 are still thought be held by the extremists. (DW)

International monitors expect DRC Trial will show local capacity for justice:  The case against Lt. Col. Bedi Mobuli Egangela is set to begin this Monday. It is speculated that this will be a very symbolic case for the Congolese. Such a case will also test the stamina of the local population for pursuing charges against alleged war criminals. (BBC).

 UN reports ongoing violence against women and children in Iraq:  High ranking UN officials have called for the immediate protection of civilians against the possibility of sexual crimes.   It is suspected that some 1,500 Yazidi and Christian persons have been forced into sexual slavery. WHO has made numerous attempts to being aid to the most devastated areas but the lack of airline travel and continuous influx of refugees has made it difficult to effectively treat the humanitarian crisis. (UN News).

 

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2014 August 11 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

HRW issues report on South Sudan crimes: According to HRW, extraordinary acts of cruelty that amount to war crimes in South Sudan have been committed since fighting began in December of 2013.  Government and opposition forces have been called upon by HRW to end the cycle of violence against civilians immediately.  There are hopes that the UN Security Council will impose an arms embargo to limit the number of weapons coming into the war torn country.  (HRW).

Argentina submits ICJ application against U.S.:  The Argentinean government has asked the ICJ to take action against the US over an alleged breach of its sovereignty as it defaulted on its debt.  However, no action will occur “unless and until” the US accepts the court’s jurisdiction.  (The Guardian).

KRT tribunal convicts and sentences two to life appeals anticipated: Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan have been sentenced to life in prison for committing crimes against humanity related to their role in the country’s 1970 terror.  The two men were high ranking officials in the Khmer Rouge government during the “killing Fields” era from 1975-1979.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (Aljazeera, UN News).

UN Leaders concerned over recent violence in Iraq:  Irina Bokova, a senior UN official, has called for an immediate stop to what she has termed as an “emerging cultural cleansing.”  Civilians are currently under attack by ISIL and many remain stranded with limited access to humanitarian aid.  More than 200,000 people are believed to have made their way to Dahuk governorate in the Kurdistan region, looking for assistance.

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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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