Archive for category Crimes against Humanity

24 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN Special Rapporteur for HR in Palestine suggests Israel violations: A report prepared by United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Makarim Wibisono, suggests Israeli violations in Gaza in 2014. Wibisono stated at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva that the civilian deaths in Gaza casts doubt upon Israel’s dedication to international humanitarian law. (BBC)

HRW urges Cambodia to act on charges issued against Khmer Rouge by Int’l judge: Judge Mark Harmon, co-investigating judge of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, charged two former leaders of the Khmer Rouge, Im Chem and Meas Muth, with crimes against humanity and war crimes on 3 March 2015. Harmon did not forward these charges to Cambodian police due to their lack of cooperation. Human Rights Watch urges the Cambodian government to act on these criminal charges. Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch, stated that if the government fails to act, the United Nations should end its participation and funds should be cut off from the tribunal. (Human Rights Watch, Jurist) (for additional information please click here)

ICT Bangladesh investigators find evidence of war crimes against 8 suspects: Evidence has been found against 8 suspects of Jamalpur for crimes against humanity and war crimes during the 1971 Liberation War. ICT Bangladesh investigators will submit their report to the prosecution soon. (The Daily Star)

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23 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

OHCHR says ISIS attacks on Yazidi community may constitute genocide and war crimes: A new report commissioned by the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights claims crimes committed against the Yazidi community in Iraq by ISIS may constitute genocide and war crimes.  The report, consisting of over 100 interviews of survivors, found that ISIS targeted and killed hundreds of men and boys of the Yazidi population in Iraq and committed rape, abduction and forced separation of families. Thousands of Yazidis were forced to flee villages in northern Iraq because of ISIS last summer in which many were killed or captured. (BBC).

ICC judges propose holding Ntaganda trial opening in Bunia, DRC: On Thursday, 19 March 2015, ICC Trial Chamber VI judges recommended to the ICC Presidency that opening statements in the trial against former Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda be made in Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo. The judges found that conducting part of the trial in Bunia would “bring[] the judicial work of the Court closer to the most affected communities.”  ICC Rules of Procedure and Evidence authorize the ICC judges to make the recommendation, which is then considered by the ICC Presidency in consultation with DRC authorities.  Ntaganda, a former Congolese military leader, is accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the 2002-2003 Congolese conflict.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (All Africa, ICC).

ICC Ruto / Sang trial resumes for final Prosecution witness: The final Prosecution witness in the ICC trial against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang is expected to begin testimony today, 23 March 2015.  The witness, who has been unwilling to testify and who has placed conditions before testifying, is the last witness scheduled before the Prosecution makes its closing arguments.  Ruto’s and Sang’s defense teams are expected to thereafter file a “no-case-to-answer” motion.   (All Africa).

ICC Trust Fund for Victims affirms commitment to reparations for victims in Lubanga case: The Board of Directors of the ICC Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) held its annual meeting in The Hague from 17-19 March 2015.  The TFV Board reaffirmed its commitment to reparations for victims in the case against Thomas Lubanga, the leader of the rebel group Congolese Patriotic Union, who was convicted in March 2012 of recruiting child soldiers.  Specifically, the TFV Board intends to advance its reparations reserve to provide for collective reparations awards and to consider the ICC Appeals Chamber’s suggestion to expand its assistance mandate to those not included in the reparations order.  The TFV Board also plans on meeting with victims, their communities and other stakeholders while it develops the draft implementation plan for reparations due 3 September 2015. (ICC).

Protestors in Sri Lanka reject domestic probe, demand international investigation: Tamils in Sri Lanka are protesting the new government’s plan for a domestic investigation into alleged human rights abuses committed during the last phase of the country’s 26-year civil war. Tamils, demanding an international investigation into the crimes instead, claim to have no faith in a domestic probe by the Sri Lankan government.  A resolution adopted by the U.N. Human Rights Council in March 2014 requiring an international investigation was delayed by 6 months.  (The Economic Times).

Polish soldiers cleared of violating Geneva Convention protections of civilians in Afghanistan: Four Polish soldiers have been cleared of war crimes in relation to the August 2007 attack on the village of Nangrarkhel in Afghanistan which killed 6 civilians.  The soldiers, being tried in a military court in Warsaw and accused of violating the Geneva Conventions protection of civilians in Afghanistan, claimed innocence and blamed the attack on faulty weaponry.  The four were convicted by the military court of lesser offenses.   (JURIST)

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16 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Residual Mechanism for SCSL grants conditional early release to Moinina Fonfana: Former Sierra Leonean military leader Moinina Fonfana has been granted conditional early release by the President of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone. The terms of Fofana’s conditional early release include acknowledging and showing remorse for his crimes and ensuring that he will not in any way interfere with witnesses.  Fofana was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and will serve the remainder of his 15-year prison sentence in Sierra Leone so long as he complies with the terms of the conditional early release. (The Patriotic Vanguard).

ICTY rejects Hadzic request for provisional release: The ICTY rejected former President of the Republic of Serbian Krajina Goran Hadzic’s request for provisional release to seek medical treatment in Serbia.  The Tribunal found that the former President was receiving adequate care at the U.N. detention center in The Hague and that the defense had provided insufficient humanitarian reasons justifying such a release.  Hadzic’s trial for crimes against humanity and violation of the laws or customs of war in Croatia during the early 1990s began on October 16, 2012. (InSerbia).

UN Commission of Inquiry on Gaza delays report until June: The U.N. Human Rights Council has announced that the scheduled 23 March 2015 report from the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Gaza has been delayed until June.  Investigators on the U.N. Commission of Inquiry said they need more time to review additional evidence before releasing the report, which concerns the alleged war crimes committed during last year’s 50-day conflict in Gaza.  (Europe Online Magazine).

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10 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Simone Gbagbo sentenced to twenty years for Cote d’Ivoire violence: A court in the Ivory Coast has sentenced Simone Gbagbo, former first lady of the Ivory Coast, to twenty years in prison for her involvement in inciting post-election violence in 2010. Gbagbo’s lawyer, Rodrigue Dadje, stated that they would appeal the verdict by the end of the week. Gbagbo is still wanted by the International Criminal Court. Her husband, Laurent Gbagbo, is still awaiting trial at the ICC for crimes against humanity during the post-election violence. (Reuters)

Identity of deceased man confirmed as potential ICC Witness: The body thought to be of Meshack Yebei, a potential ICC witness, was found in early January. The Kenyan government has confirmed through DNA tests that the body is in fact that of Mr. Yebei. Yebei was a potential witness in the trial against President Ruto who was charged with crimes against humanity during the post election violence in Kenya. Mr. Ruto’s lawyers stated that Yebei was to be a witness for the defence. (BBC)

Human rights groups file Bamako complaint for Mali crime victims: The International Federation of Human Rights announced on 9 March 2015 that human rights groups have filed a war crimes complaint for victims in Mali. The complaint focuses on the events that occurred during 2012 and 2013 when armed groups occupied Timbuktu and the surrounding area. Human rights groups have identified fifteen people as responsible parties for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The ICC opened an investigation in January of 2013 against Mali for occurrences since 2012, but no cases have been brought so far against particular individuals. (Hirondelle News)

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4 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Palestine to file case at ICC against Israel on 1 April: An executive committee member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation reported that Palestine will file a complaint against Israel for alleged war crimes at the ICC.  The crimes were committed during last year’s war in Gaza in which some 2,200 Palestinians killed, most of them civilians.  Palestine’s motion to join the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the ICC, becomes effective 1 April 2015, thus giving the Court jurisdiction over crimes in Palestine. (Al Arabiya).

Bensouda assures witness protection for all witnesses in Ongwen trial: During a visit to the Barlonyo Memorial Site in northern Uganda, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the Court will guarantee protection of all witnesses in the case against Dominic Ongwen.  Bensouda also urged victims to reach out to the Office of the Public Council for Victims at the ICC and consider testifying against Ongwen, the commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army.  Ongwen’s trial was supposedly set to begin 24 August 2015 but Bensouda has asked for an extension in order to conduct additional investigations. (Star Africa).

ICC AC’s judgment on Lubanga reparations addresses scope and measures for victims: On 3 March 2015, the ICC Appeals Chamber amended the judgment on reparations for victims in the case against Thomas Lubanga. Specifically, the appeals judges found that reparation measures should include integrating former child soldiers back into the community and that the trial court erred in finding Lubanga should not be liable for reparations because he was indigent.  The appeals judges also found that “the trial chamber erred in holding that reparations award should be formulated and implemented to include victims of sexual and gender-based violence.”  The appeals judges found that “that sexual and gender and gender-based violence cannot be defined as harm resulting from the crimes for which Mr. Lubanga was convicted.”  Lubanga, the leader of the rebel group Congolese Patriotic Union, was sentenced in 2012 to 14 years in prison for war crimes.  (Voice of America).

Mladic defence witness disputes date of meeting over Srebreica: A defence witness in the ICC case against Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic has disputed the date of a meeting of senior officials in Srebrenica.  Miodrag Dragutinovic, the assistant to the chief of staff of the Zvornik Brigade at the time, testified that the meeting occurred 11 July 1995, one day after the fall of Srebrenica, and in contradiction with the prosecutions argument that the meeting occurred 12 July 1995.  The meeting in question concerned “previous combat activities and future tasks” one of which was that “units were deployed in the Zepa sector to engage the Zepa brigade and neutralise its members.”  In the days following the fall of Srebrenica, Bosnian Serb forces killed more than 7,000 Bosniak men and boys. (IWPR).

UN advises Sri Lanka to address mistrust on prospects of accountability: On Tuesday, 3 March 2015, the U.N. urged Sri Lanka’s new government to hold accountable those responsible for committing serious violations of international law during the country’s 26-year civil war. Additionally, the U.N. advised Sri Lanka to address mistrust among the Tamil population about whether the new government will achieve accountability and post-war reconciliation.  The new government of President Maithripala Sirisena, which took power earlier this year, has promised to investigate alleged abuses and establish an independent judicial mechanism for investigations. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (Reuters, ABC).

African Commission issues decision against Sudan on arbitrary detention and torture: The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights issued a decision finding Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service arbitrarily detained and tortured three human rights defenders in November 2008.  The African Commission also held that Sudan failed to investigate or redress the harms suffered by the three human rights defenders.  Osman Hummaida, Amir Suliman and Monim El Jak were detained and tortured for a period of time in Sudan for allegedly supporting the ICC’s investigation into crimes committed in Darfur. (All Africa).

N Korea FM dismisses UN report on crimes against humanity: At the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday, 3 March 2015, North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong dismissed a recent U.N. report concluding the country committed crimes against humanity, including mass starvation. The Foreign Minister said the U.N. report was based on lies and called for its immediate revocation.  The Foreign Minister also criticized the United States pursuit of human rights issues in other countries and claimed it was a “stereotyped method . . . to smear the countries disobedient to it.” (ABC).

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3 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC Appeals Chamber issues judgment amending the TC’s order for reparations: The ICC Appeal Chamber’s judgment on 3 March 2015 amended the Trial Chamber’s judgment on reparations in the case against the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Thomas Lubanga Dyilo. Lubanga Dyilo was found guilty of war crimes in March of 2012. The original Trial Chamber judgment from 7 August 2012 ordered collective reparations to be made through the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV). The Appeals chamber confirmed many parts of the Trial Chamber’s judgment including the reintegration of former child soldiers and affirmed reparations on a collective basis rather than an individual basis. The Appeals Chamber only amended the reparations to include an instruction to the TFV that it consult the victims that had individual requests of the collective nature of the reparations. (International Criminal Court)

Two further Khmer Rouge suspects charged in absentia by ECCC International Co-Investigating Judge: Two more former leaders of the Khmer Rouge, Im Chaem and Meas Muth, have been charged with crimes against humanity. Meas Muth has also been charged with war crimes. Both were charged in absentia by the International Co-Investigating Judge, Mark Harmon. Im Chaem has been charged for crimes committed at the Phnom Trayoung security centre and Spean Sreng worksite. So far, the ECCC has convicted three people, handing down life sentences to two. (Naharnet, The Phnom Penh Post, Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia) (for additional information please click here and here)

ICC Appeals Chamber confirms decision to replace Banda summons with an arrest warrant: On 3 March 2015, the ICC Appeals Chamber affirmed the decision to replace a summons with an arrest warrant for Sudanese rebel Abdallah Banda. Banda is charged with three counts of war crimes in Darfur and Sudan. The Trial Chamber originally issued the arrest warrant for Banda in September of 2014 requesting Sudan’s cooperation in the case. (Hirondelle News Agency)

ICTY Prosecution asks for continuance of Hadzic trial in face of his illness: The ICTY’s Prosecutor’s Office has filed a motion for a continuance of Goran Hadzic’s trial even though he might not be able to attend because of his illness. Hadzic was diagnosed with cancer last year, causing his trial to be suspended. Hazdic was charged with crimes against humanity during his former presidency of the Republic of Serbian Krajina in the 1991-1995 conflicts in Croatia. The Prosecutor’s Office stated in the motion that the Trial Chamber has the discretion to order the defense to further present evidence in the case, without the defendant’s presence. (InSerbia)

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2 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Ngudjolo faces immigration challenge after acquittal at ICC: Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui is being held in custody in the Netherlands pending deportation after his 2012 acquittal of war crimes and crimes against humanity was confirmed by the ICC.  The former militia leader does not have a residence permit to stay in the Netherlands but fears being deported back to Congo for safety reasons.  Ngudjolo’s defence have filed motions seeking asylum and also intend to appeal his detention and deportation. (ICC Observer).

Rwandan court upholds conviction of former justice minister for role in genocide: On 27 February 2015, Rwanda’s former justice minister’s sentence of life imprisonment for “being an accomplice to carry out . . . genocide” was upheld by the country’s high court. Agnes Ntamabyariro was convicted six years ago for crimes committed during the 1994 conflict in Rwanda in which 800,000 were killed.  Lawyers for Ntamabyariro said the former justice minister may appeal the confirmation due to the severity of the punishment. (News 24).

US Government makes move to deport 150 Bosnian immigrants on war crimes allegations: U.S. immigration officials have identified some 300 Bosnian immigrants living in the United States believed to have been involved in war crimes and “ethnic cleansing” during the 1990s conflict in the former Yugoslavia. It is being reported that at least 150 of those identified, many of them former Bosnian soldiers, may be deported. Kathleen O’Connor, a human rights prosecutor at the Justice Department urged witnesses to come forward regarding war crimes in the former Yugoslavia and stressed that “justice can be served in the United States despite the fact that many years have gone by and that the conduct occurred overseas.” (New York Times).

Rwandan investigators urge action against BBC for program questioning genocide: Rwandan investigators are urging the government to ban BBC radio programs questioning the 1994 genocide from the country’s airwaves. Former top Rwandan prosecutor Martin Ngoga found the BBC “abused press freedom and free speech, violated its own editorial guidelines (and) transgressed journalistic standards.”  The BBC has denied the accusations and said it had no intentions of “downplay[ing] or conceal[ing] the horrifying events of 1994.” (Malay Mail).

Bensouda urges Kony to surrender for trial at ICC: ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda urged Joseph Kony, a rebel chief of the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army, to surrender to the Court and stand trial. Bensouda vowed the rebel chief would receive a fair, independent and impartial trial.  The Lord’s Resistance Army is accused of killing some 100,000 people in a conflict in northern Uganda nearly three decades ago. (Standard Digital).

Preparation made for a Special Court on Kosovo: Kosovo is preparing for the creation of a Special Court to prosecute killings and organ trafficking during the conflict in Kosovo; said Prime Minister Isa Mustafa on Monday, 2 March 2015. Specifically, the court will look at crimes by the former Kosovo Liberation Army against Serbs. Prime Minister Mustafa said experts were working to “harmonise the legislation related to the Special Court, the court’s statute and amendments to the Constitution that are required for the laws and statute to be adopted.” (InSerbia).

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