Archive for category Crimes against Humanity

25 November 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Croatia considering order for review of Seselj release: The Croatian Parliament is in the process of passing a declaration to condemn the provisional release of Vojislav Seselj by the tribunal and to demand a review of Serbia’s candidacy for EU membership. If passed unanimously, the declaration would serve as strong support to the Croatian ambassador to the UNN during a debate on the work of the ICTY.  (Daje).

UNAMID shuts Darfur office amid tensions: The Sudanese government made a request on Tuesday that UNAMID exit the site where an alleged mass rape by Sudanese troops took place. The foreign ministry said Sudanese authorities closed the UNAMID office because it was outside Darfur and the mandate does not allow for an office in Khartoum.   Discussions are under way to clarify the role of the Khartoum-based office.  (Reuters).

ICT sentences former leader Hossain to death: Mobarak Hossain was found guilty of murder, abduction and torture during the 1871 civil war. He has been sentenced to death, making his the fourteenth death sentence to be handed down by the tribunal. HRW has expressed concern regarding the court’s procedures.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (BBC, Reuters).

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24 November 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ECCC boycott results in trial adjournment until January 2015: The genocide trial for Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, two ex-Khmer Rouge leaders, has been adjourned until 8 January 2015. Khieu Samphan’s defence attorneys continued to boycott the proceedings for the defendant. Both defendants wanted more time to file appeal documents on their life sentences for crimes against humanity in a previous trial in August. Judge Nil Nonn stated that the court did not have any other alternative, but would pursue misconduct proceedings against the attorneys. (eNews Channel Africa)

 Activist calls for UNSC attention to alleged rapes in Darfur: Ahmed Hussein Adam, researcher at Cornell University, calls to the UN Security Council to probe into the security and humanitarian situation in Darfur and protect civilians. Hussein Adam urged the Security Council to inquire into the mass rape of women in Tabit. He expressed disappointment by victims and their families in the Security Council’s decision for the Sudanese government to conduct investigations. Hussein Adam does not think that Sudan should investigate itself and called for the ICC to investigate, as well as add more charges. (Radio Dabanga)

ICC Prosecution Witness testifies about treatment in witness protection: An ICC prosecution witness, referred to as Witness 800, states how he considered recanting his statement for the prosecution in a trial due to the treatment by protection officers. An individual, referred to as person 19, told him about an offer from another individual, referred to as person 7. Witness 800 considered taking the offer because the amount of money his family received was not enough to support them. This is not the first instance of witness interference in the trial against Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang who both face three counts of crimes against humanity. (AllAfrica)

HRW says Israeli’s demolition of Palestinian homes could be war crime: On 22 November 2014, Human Rights Watch called upon Israel to stop its practice of demolishing Palestine terrorists’ homes. The NGO states that this practice unlawfully punishes those who did not commit terrorist acts and could constitute as a war crime. Three current houses have been slated for demolition, but the families have appealed. Mohammed Mahmud, the families’ lawyer, stated that their petition would be heard by an Israeli military court on Sunday. (Israel National News)

Nizami appeal filed and Mobarak verdict expected at ICT Bangladesh: Mobarak Hossain, alleged Razakar commander, has his verdict coming out on Monday for his trial. Mobarak stands accused of crimes against humanity during the Liberation War. The prosecution sought the death penalty at the end of trial in May. Motiur Rahman Nizami, Jamaat chief, has appealed his verdict from the ICT to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. Nizami was sentenced to death for crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War. Nizami is seeking acquittal from all war crimes charges. (Dhaka Tribune) (for additional information click here)

ICC conduct official visit to Bulgaria: Prosecutor General of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr Sotir Tsatsarov, invited ICC officials for an official visit to Bulgaria to meet with high-level Bulgarian representatives. ICC officials included President of the ICC, Judge Sang-Hyun Song, ICC Prosecutor, Mrs Fatou Bensouda, and ICC Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova. Bulgarian officials repeated Bulgaria’s commitment to the ICC and international criminal justice. (International Criminal Court)

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21 November 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC Prosecutor considers charges against ISIS fighters: Fatou Bensouda, ICC prosecutor, is considering pressing charges for war crimes and crimes against humanity against Islamic State jihad fighters. Bensouda stated in an interview that many of these fighters are from countries that are party to the Rome Statute, meaning the ICC would be able to press these charges. Both European and Arab nations have aided the ICC with files and documents on potential ISIS recruits. Bensouda has also acknowledged the difficulty and safety concerns that would come with investigating crimes in countries occupied by the Islamic State. (Jurist)

San Marino ratifies ICC crime of aggression amendments: On 14 November 2014, San Marino ratified the 2010 amendments to the Rome Statute concerning the crime of aggression. San Marino is the nineteenth state to ratify the amendment. The ICC will officially be able to issue charges over the crime of aggression once thirty states ratify the amendments. Once thirty states ratify, the amendments will be an active portion of the Rome Statute and give the ICC jurisdiction over the crime. (International Criminal Court)

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18 November 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Twelve Bosnian Serbs arrested for alleged crimes against humanity: Bosnian officials arrested 12 individuals Monday suspected of committing crimes against humanity during the country’s 1992-95 war. The arrests come after authorities recently unearthed a Tomascia mass grave near Prijedor where the remains of 1,000 victims have been found since the end of the war. (Reuters).

ICTY Prosecution will not appeal Seselj release: The Serbian Radical Party leader has been in the custody of the ICTY for nearly 12 years. His recent release comes as little surprise given the seriousness of his cancer and the failure of the ICTY prosection to move his trial along. The ICTY prosecutor chief has stated that the delays in the trial are not justified and it was never the intention of the tribunal that the trial would last as long as it has at this point. (b92). 

Gbagbo Trial date set for next July: The former President of Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo, faces charges of murder, rape, attempted murder and persecution. It is estimated that 3,000 people were killed in a civil conflict after he refused to accept an election result. Gbagbo’s trial for crimes against humanity is set for 7 July of next year. (For additional information on the topic, please click here.) (ICC, BBC).

Lubanga Appeal Decision expected in December: Thomas Lubanga Dyilo was convicted of committing, as co-perpetrator, war crimes consisting of conscripting children under the age of 15 years to participate in an armed conflict. A decision in connection with his recent appeal of the verdict will be issued 1 December 2014. (ICC).

HRW alarmed at increasing influence for Egypt Military Courts: President al-Sisi of Egypt has extended the reach of the country’s military courts amongst protestors and other government opponents. Those close to the situation in Egypt view the decree as a step backward toward a more free society.

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17 November 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN Commission of Inquiry finds evidence of war crimes and CAH: The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria published a paper describing known ISIS tactics like slavery, rape, and enslavement and reported details of lessor known acts as well. More than 300 first-hand accounts were considered in this report including photos and videos of the violence and victims. The UN panel concluded that ISIS has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. The paper called for groups like the International Criminal Court to hold ISIS accountable for its actions. (CNN, Al Arabiya News) (For additional information please click here)

Seselij appears at rally during provision release: The International Criminal Tribunal of Yugoslavia provisionally released Serbian nationalist leader, Vojislav Seselj, for medical treatment for his colon cancer. His release was contingent upon his return should the court summon him for trial. However, on 15 November 2014, Seselj rallied thousands of supporters for his return. Seselj has vowed revenge upon those currently in power and stated that Serbia will hold elections next year, which cuts the current government’s term short. Seselj was charged with inciting followers to commit murder, ethnic cleansing, and other war crimes. He has stated that he will never return to the ICTY voluntarily should a verdict be reached upon those charges. (Reuters, Europe Online Magazine) (For additional information please click here)

Vote set for Tuesday on UN GA resolution on N. Korea abuses and investigation: The UN General Assembly is set to vote on a resolution concerning human rights abuses in North Korea and calls for a war crimes probe. This resolution was drafted by the European Union and Japan and sets the vote for Tuesday. Michael Kirby, an Australian judge who led the UN inquiry, calls this vote a “moment of truth” for the UN. The resolution highlights many details from a UN report sent out in February with testimonies of North Korean exiles on prison camps, accounts of torture, and other crimes. (SBS)

ECCC defence application to disqualify judges dismissed: A majority of a five-member judicial panel of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s trial chamber dismissed applications made by defendants Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan to disqualify four of five of the court’s judges. Chea believed that the judges would not give him a fair trial based on their previous guilty verdict in August. Samphan wanted additional time to prepare for his appeal. The four members of the panel dismissed the application, with Judge Rowan Downing dissenting. The full reasoning behind their decision will be provided as soon as possible. Victor Koppe, Chea’s lawyer, stated that counsel would most likely start attending the trial hearings. This should end the on-going boycott of the case. (The Phnom Penh Post)

Former Habre security personnel appear before Special Court in Chad: Hissene Habre ruled Chad for eight years before being overthrown in 1990 by the current President Idriss Deby. Over twenty former Habre security personnel were charged with murder and torture on Friday in a special court. Saleh Younous, former director of a secret police group, was one of the defendants present. Twenty-one of the defendants pled not guilty, four others charged have since died, and four others were either ill or on the run. (World Bulletin)

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12 November 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC confirms charges against all suspects in Bemba contempt case: ICC judges have confirmed charges of offenses against the administration of justice against Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Aime Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Fidele Babla Wandu and Narcisse Airdo. The charges are in connection to witness testimony, such as influencing witnesses, bribery and providing false testimony, in the case against Bemba from 2011 to 2013. The five suspects are committed to trial. (ICC).

Bensouda warns UNSC of security situation in Libya, and HRW writes to OTP: The ICC Chief Prosecutor warned the U.N. Security Council this week that the deteriorating security and political situation in Libya has “significantly hampered [the Prosecution’s] ability to effectively investigate in the country.” Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda also called on the government of Libya to surrender to the ICC the son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, and to closely monitor the developments in the case against Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief Abdullah Al-Senussi. It was found that Al-Senussi could receive a fair trial and Libya was able and willing to conduct the trial. (For additional information, please click here) (UN News Centre, Human Rights Watch).

Closing arguments begin in Bemba case: On Wednesday, 12 November 2014, ICC Prosecutors urged the Court in closing arguments to convict Jean Pierre Bemba for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and pillaging. Specifically, Bemba’s troops are accused of “barbarity” in the Central African Republic. Lawyers for Bemba, who has pleaded not guilty to the ICC charges, claim his troops were under the authority of Central African Republic authority when the crimes were committed. (Capital News).

HRW says Mali peace agreement must include provisions on justice and accountability: Human Rights Watch has weighed in on the military and political crisis in northern Mali. Senior West Africa researcher Corinne Dufka said the final agreement between the Malian government and armed groups involved in the conflict “should include provisions to support the prosecution of war crimes, strengthen the truth-telling commission, and ensure the vetting of security force personnel.” Human Rights Watch had previously researched and documented the alleged war crimes committed during the 2012-2013 armed conflict between Malian soldiers and armed opposition groups. (Human Rights Watch).

Fair trial in Chad called for of Habre’s former security officers: On Monday, 10 November 2014, Human Rights Watch called for the “fair and transparent” trial of over 25 security agents in Chad accused of murder, torture, kidnapping, arbitrary detention and assault and battery. The special court in Chad is charged with prosecuting those most responsible for serious violations of international law committed during Habre’s rule from 1982 to 1990. (Jurist).

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10 November 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN official says Sri Lanka not cooperating with UN probe: A United Nations human rights spokesman, Rupert Colville, stated that the Sri Lankan government is not cooperating with a human rights inquiry into alleged war crimes during the civil war between Sri Lanka and Tamil rebels. This civil war lasted for decades and finally ended in 2009. Keheliya Rambukwella, Sri Lanka Information Minister, stated that the UN did not consider threats from the Tamil opposition during the civil war. (International Business Times)

Israel responds to ICC Prosecutor’s finding of war crimes: On 6 November 2014, Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, found that Israel committed war crimes on the vessel Marvi Marmara, during the war in the Gaza Strip. Bensouda stated that the ICC had a reasonable basis for believing that war crimes had been committed, but did not have the “sufficient gravity” to justify further investigation under the Rome Statute. Israel responded by stating that there was not any basis for the preliminary examination to begin with. (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Criminal Court) For additional information please click here

HRW calls for stay of death sentence and right to appeal for ICT of Bangladesh accused: Muhammed Kamaruzzman, a leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was previously convicted of war crimes during the Bangladeshi 1971 war of independence. Kamaruzzman was sentenced to death, but has not received the full text of the final verdict. The final verdict is necessary for him to lodge a petition for review. Kamaruzzman was transferred to Dhaka Central Jail after the verdict, which could mean that his execution is approaching. The Human Rights Watch believes that Kamaruzzman should be granted a right to appeal. Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, stated that the organization wanted justice and accountability for the crimes that occurred in 1971, but opposes the death penalty in all circumstances. (Human Rights Watch)

Harvard law clinic reports war crimes in Myanmar: The International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School reported that three Myanmar Army commanders committed war crimes and crimes against humanity from 2005 to 2006. The report includes “witness accounts of the events, human rights documents, photographs, and expert declarations.” The International Human Rights Clinic believes that these findings are enough to bring a case before the ICC under the Rome Statute. (JURIST)

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