Archive for category Crimes against Humanity
On Tuesday, October 21, the Judge of Pre-Trial Chamber II at the ICC ordered the release of several individuals connected to the Case of Prosecutor v. Bemba, Kilolo, et. al. The Judge, Cuno Tarfusser, considered the circumstances of detention for several members of Mr. Bemba’s defense team, a defense witness, and one other individual from the DRC government. The four were detained in November 2013 for allegedly obstructing justice in the Case of Mr. Bemba. Judge Tarfusser ordered release for the four to ensure pre-trial detention was not disproportionately long for the charges. A confirmation of charges decision is anticipated, and any corresponding detention will be decided at that time. (ICC Press Release)
On Monday, the ex-mayor of Providencia was arrested for allegedly perpetrating crimes including homicide and torture during the Pinochet Regime. Christian Labbe Galilea will be prosecuted along with nine other regime leaders, for acts committed as a member of the DINA Secret Police. The human rights division of the Chile Interior Ministry pursued the charges against the former military leaders, and indicated that they would contact Brazilian authorities regarding alleged torture training conducted in 1972-1973 in Brazil. Defense attorneys for Labbe said they would appeal the charges and seek unlawful association charges. (BBC, Reuters) For additional information on this topic, please click here.
The International Crimes Tribunal – 1 announced it would consider charges against three accused on November 5. The three suspects, Sheikh Sirajul Haque, Khan Akram Hossain, and Abdul Latif Talukdar, allegedly committed murder and other crimes during the Liberation War of 1971. Mr. Haque was said to have killed more than 650 civilians, while the two other individuals were alleged to have converted hundreds of Hindus and murdered several civilians. (Daily Star)
Two ECCC accused seek to boycott trial until appeal in earlier conviction concluded: On 18 October 2014, defense attorneys of two former leaders of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, stated that they would boycott their client’s genocide trial until appeals were filed on earlier convictions. Defense lawyers for the two accused stated that the boycott was necessary as it would not be possible to finalise the full appeal in the first case while starting proceedings in the second, and would not disrupt the Court because there is a clear time frame; until the full appeals document has been filed in the accuseds’ other case. Both men already have life sentences for earlier crimes against humanity and war crimes. Court officials contemplate that the trial could extend into 2016. (The Wall Street Journal, The Straight Times) (For additional information on this topic, please click here).
Simone Gbagbo’s trial to begin in Ivory Coast on 22 October: On 15 October 2014, it was announced that the trial date has been set for October 22 against 89 individuals, including Simone Gbagbo the wife of former President Laurence Gbagbo who is currently being tried before the ICC for charges of crimes against humanity related to the post-election violence in 2010 and 2011. Mrs. Gbagbo is wanted by the ICC and has been is charged before the Court with crimes against humanity during the same conflict. The charges brought in the domestic trial concern economic crimes, but further charges have been made for ‘blood crimes’ including murder, rape and genocide. The Ivory Coast is a State party to the Rome State, and the government has stated that they will try Simone in domestic court rather than turn her over to the ICC. (Reuters)
Amnesty calls for investigation of war crimes by both sides in Ukraine: On 20 October 2014, Amnesty International accused Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists of committing war crimes in a report presented in Berlin and London. Amnesty International stated that while the rumors of mass killings and mass graves are not supported by evidence, there have been isolated cases that could constitute as war crimes. Amnesty International urges both sides to investigate these allegations, and to prosecute any parties responsible on both sides. (DW)
ICC indictee Bashir visits Egypt: On 18 October 2014, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir travelled to Egypt to visit Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi. The ICC indicted Bashir in 2009 for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes on the civilian population in Darfur. The ICC issued two arrest warrants for these crimes in 2009 and 2010. The ICC officially requested Bashir’s arrest upon arrival to Egypt. Although Egypt is a signatory to the ICC statute, they never ratified the treaty. (Al Arabiya News, Daily News Egypt) (For additional information on this topic, please click here).
Post author: Aryane Garansi
Former Haitian President Duvalier dies before trial can commence: On 4 October 2014, former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier died. HRW has expressed its disappointment in the inability of the Haitian justice system to bring him to trial before his death. According to HRW, this turn in events has deprived victims of human rights abuses of justice and closure. (HRW).
ICC to decide on Ruto, Sang Defense Appeal: On Thursday, 9 October 2014 , the Appeals Chamber of the ICC will hold an open court session to read a summary of its judgment on Mr Ruto and Mr Sang Defence teams’ appeal against the Trial Chamber V decision to grant the Prosecutor’s request to summon witnesses to appear before the Trial Chamber in the Ruto and Sang trial, who were no longer cooperating or no longer willing to testify. (ICC).
Kenyatta to turn over Presidential duties during trial: President Kenyatta plans to temporarily step down as president while attending his ICC hearing. His presidential powers will be assumed by Deputy President Ruto for the time being. President Kenyatta states that he has chosen to appear before the court as a private citizen rather than bring a country of more than 40 million people into another jurisdiction. President Kenyatta faces charges related to the organizing of violent attacks which occurred during the 2007 elections. (For more information, please click here) (Aljazeera, BBC).
ICC urges Saudi Arabia to apprehend Sudan’s Bashir: The ICC has issued an order for the arrest of Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir. It is believed that he is currently in Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage. Al-Bashir faces charges of alleged war crimes and genocide committed in Darfur. It is uncertain at this point whether Saudi Arabia will fulfill the request of the ICC as a non-member. (Sudan Tribune).
Bemba Case to hear closing arguments in November: Today, 2 October 2014, Trial Chamber III of the ICC decided that the closing oral statements in the Bemba case will take place during the week of 10 November 2014. Prior to the closing arguments, the Chamber will hear Witness P-169 as of 14 October 2014. Bemba has been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity having been committed while serving as a military commander. (Hague Justice Portal).
ICTY Karadzic trail closing statements: The ICTY heard closing arguments in the case against former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic this week. UN prosecutor Alan Tieger stated Karadzic was responsible, along with others, for cleansing Bosnia’s Muslims and Croats from Serb-claimed territories. Karadzic, conducting his own defense, took responsibility for crimes committed by the Republika Srpska but denied being aware of the killings. Karadzic faces charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of wars for crimes committed during the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (Saudi Gazette, BBC News Europe).
ICTR confirms criminal responsibility and life sentence of Nzabonimana: On 29 September 2014, the ICTR Appeals Chamber confirmed a life sentence against Callixte Nzabonimana for conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity. The Appeals Chamber ordered Nzabonimana remain in the Tribunal’s custody until it is decided where the former Rwandan youth minister is to serve his sentence. (Hirondelle News Agency).
Public testimony ends at Ivory Coast Truth Commission: Tuesday, 30 September 2014, ended public testimony of at least eighty victims and perpetrators who spoke on the serious violations of international law committed following the 2000 presidential election in the Ivory Coast. The Ivory Coast truth commission was formed to investigate the bloody political violence after opposition leader Laurent Gbagbo was elected in 2000. (AFP).
ECCC accused appeal conviction and sentence: Defense for former leaders of the Khmer Rouge, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphank, have appealed their life sentences for crimes against humanity for their roles in forced evacuations. The two ECCC accused denied the charges and argued the conviction was a miscarriage of justice. The second phase of the trial for genocide, forced labor and political purges is expected to being 17 October 2014. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (The Guardian, Phnom Penh Post).
ICC Judges reject Kenyatta request to skip status conference: ICC judges have rejected Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s request to miss the Court’s status conference because of conflicts. The ICC considered the status conference a “critical juncture” in the proceedings and requires the accused to be present. Kenyatta’s defense requested the status conference be rescheduled. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (All Africa).
ICC opens investigation into recent war crimes and CAH in CAR: A report issued by the ICC on Wednesday, 24 September 2014, confirms that an investigation has been opened into crimes committed in the Central African Republic by the mainly-Muslim Seleka alliance and the mostly Christian anti-Balaka militia. The allegations include murder, rape and recruiting of child soldiers. Investigators for the ICC will now begin the process of gathering evidence to support charges against those suspected of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity since the conflict began in 2013. (Reuters).
African Commission undertakes fact finding mission into CAR violations: From 10 to 14 September 2014, a three member delegation of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights conducted a find finding mission in the Central African Republic. The mission consisted of, among other things, discussions with CAR officials, working sessions with UN representatives, meetings with NGOs, visits to refugee camps and gathering of testimony from victims and witness. The delegation intends to issue a detailed report with recommendations to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in January 2015. In the meantime, the delegation has expressed concern that serious violations of human rights have and are continuing to be committed in the CAR. (ReliefWeb).
Karadzic trial closing arguments to be held on 29 August: The ICTY has scheduled closing arguments for 29 September 2014, in the case against Radovan Karadzic. The former Bosnian Serb president faces charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or custom of wars for crimes committed during the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict. (ICTY).
Sweden arrests two Rwandans for involvement in 1994 genocide: Two unidentified Rwandans suspected of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide have been arrested in Sweden. The arrests come some two months after a Swedish appeals court confirmed a genocide conviction against Stanislas Mbanenande, a low level commander involved in five massacres in western Rwanda. (All Africa).
HRW says assassination spree in Libya possible CAH: The scores of political assassinations in Libya since 2012 may amount to crimes against humanity, said Human Rights Watch. These assassinations include the 19 September 2014, killing of five civilians, two activists, members of the security forces and a cleric in the eastern city of Benghazi. Human Rights Watch stated that the failure and unwillingness of the government of Libya to initiate investigations into the crimes and prosecute those responsible has “fostered a culture of impunity that has fueled further abuses.” (Human Rights Watch).
Israel and Palestine consider investigations and next steps for crimes on both sides: The Israeli military is investigating suspected war crimes committed by its operations during the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip. It is estimated more than 2,000 Palestinians were killed in Israel’s military campaign in July and August this year. Palestine’s Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the country will soon decide whether to sign the Rome Statute of the ICC and be able to file a complaint against Israel in the Court for war crimes. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (The Times of Israel, McClatchy DC).
ECCC announces 17 October as date for final phase of trial: The second phase of the trial of Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan at the ECCC is scheduled to being on 17 October 2014. In this final phase, the two former senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge face allegations of genocide, forced labor and political purges. The two were convicted last month of crimes against humanity for their roles in forced evacuations. (Voice of America).
NGO report provides new evidence of HR violations by Sri Lanka: The British rights group, Freedom From Torture, released a report today, 24 September 2014, documenting acts of detention, torture and sexual violence in Sri Lanka. The acts, carried out by Sri Lanka’s security forces, have mostly been aimed at ethnic Tamils and have occurred since the country’s civil war ended in 2009. Sri Lanka’s cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella claims the “report is totally biased” and Freedom From Torture “have anti-Sri Lanka elements and continue undue pressure on Sri Lanka by leveling baseless allegations.” (UCA News).
UN Commission on Syria highlights crimes committed by Assad regime: The head of the U.N. commission investigating war crimes in Syria, Brazilian diplomat Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, said the “Syrian government remains responsible for the majority of the civilian casualties, killing and maiming” in the country. Speaking in front of the 47-nation U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday, 16 September 2014, Pinheiro described the sieges and attacks which have killed nearly 200,000 people since the start of the Syrian civil war. (US News).
ICC Prosecution Witness testifies about Ruto’s presence at fundraising event: On Tuesday, 16 September 2014, the ICC heard testimony from witness 604 relating to a fundraising event attended by Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto. The witness’ statements appeared contradictory from earlier testimony. Ruto faces three counts of crimes against humanity for acts committed after the 2007 presidential election in Kenya. (All Africa).
Belgium welcomes accused acquitted of genocide at the ICTR: It is being reported that former Rwandan general Augustin Ndindiliyimana has been granted a Belgian visa. Ndindiliyimana was acquitted of genocide by the ICTR Appeals Chamber this past February. The ICTR has pushed for member states to host acquitted persons and those who have served their sentences. (All Africa).
Victims’ lawyer says Kenyatta phone records fake: Victims’ lawyers in the ICC case against Kenyan President Kenyatta Uhuru claim cell phone data records provided to the prosecution are fabricated. Lawyer Fergal Gaynor accused the President of devoting “enormous resources” to end the case and obstructing access to important records. (All Africa).
Argentina gives Government records to Inter-American Court of Human Rights: Documents relating to some 280 meetings of military leaders ruling the country of Argentina from 1976 to 1983 were disclosed to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on Tuesday, 16 September 2014. Argentina’s Defense Minister, Agustin Rossi, delivered the records which reveal, among other things, how the leaders ruled the country at the time and the decisions that were made. (Telesurtv).
Group of NGOs asks ICC for local tribunal and justice without delay in CAR: Several human rights groups, such as the Central African Human Rights League and the International Federation for Human Rights, have urged the ICC to launch an investigation into crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes committed in the Central African Republic. The groups have also requested the U.N. peacekeeping mission to help in the establishment of a special court in the CAR to fight impunity and bring to justice those responsible for serious violations of international law. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has already opened a preliminary investigation into crimes committed in the CAR. (All Africa).
ICC issues an arrest warrant against Sudanese accused Banda: On 11 September 2014, the ICC issued an arrest warrant against Abdallah Banda Abakaer. Banda had previously been under a summons of the court until it decided that an arrest warrant was necessary to ensure the accused’s presence. Banda faces three charges of war crimes allegedly committed in September 2007 against AU Peacekeeping Mission in Sudan. (ICC).
Russell Tribunal condemns actions of Obama and Poroshenko in Ukraine: The informal Russell Tribunal trial, which met in Venice to hear evidence of war crimes committed by the West has condemned the actions of President Poroshenki and President Barack Obama. Allegations of military operations conducted by the West in the Donetsk region, which involved the destruction of schools and hospitals, were presented to the Tribunal. The Tribunal’s ruling wil be sent to the US Secretariat, the EU, and the ICC. (For additional information about this topic, please click here.) (Press, RT).
FIDH asks ICC to investigate crimes in Mexico: The ICC has been charged with the task of investigating a series of alleged violations of human rights committed between 2006 and 2012 in Baja California at the hands of Mexican soldiers. The court rejected a 2011 request by Mexican activists but at this point an investigation still remains a possibility. (Fox).
Croatian prosecutor and MICT sign memorandum on future prosecutions: Croatia’s Chief Prosecutor and prosecutor for the MICT, successor of the ICTY, have signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at more efficiently prosecuting persons charged with the alleged commission of violating international human rights law. The ICTY exit strategy will continue as necessary, allowing for MICT to effectively maintain its caseload in the most efficient manner. (Google News).