Archive for category ECCC
Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic apologizes for Srebrenica crime, falls short of acknowledging genocide: President Nikolic has apologized for crimes Serbs committed during the break-up of Yugolsavia, including the infamous Srebrenica massacre. President Nikolic refused to call the massacre – in which thousands of Bosnian Muslims were killed – genocide, despite the recognition of it as such by UN war crimes prosecutors and previous Serbian leaders. President Nikolic was a senior figure in the Serbian Radical Party, and has been criticized after last year’s election during which he said “there was no genocide in Srebrenica.” The 1995 massacre resulted in the killing of over 8,000 Bosnian Muslims, and is seen as the worst European atrocity to date, post-WWII.
Kenya to ICC: Let us handle the cases: Earlier this week, Kajiado Central MP Joseph Nkaissery told the ICC that Kenya can and should be handling the ICC cases of three Kenyan citizens, including the newly elected President Uhuru Kenyatta. “The ICC should withdraw from handling cases against the three Kenyans because Kenya is not a failed state and can handle its own issues independently,” said Nkaissery. “We have a new constitution that spells out the beginning for the country.” The trials of President Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto for their alleged role in Kenyan election violence are set to begin later this year.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta discredits two ICC witnesses: President Kenyatta has discredited two of the prosecution’s witnesses in the weeks leading up to his ICC trial. According to Kenyatta, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda failed to disclose the transcripts of two witnesses to his defense team prior to the confirmation of his charges at the ICC. Kenyatta’s team instead allegedly received the transcripts on 17 April. “Certain passages of the screening transcript are capable of supporting the argument that OTP-11 and OTP-12 [two of the prosecution’s witnesses] fabricated their accounts, and that, following the defense’s refusal to cooperate with their extortion attempt, they colluded in order to devise a story falsely implicating Mr. Kenyatta in the post-election violence,” said counsel for Kenyatta’s defense. Kenyatta asserts that the prosecution’s failure to disclose these transcripts supports his earlier assertion that his case must be referred back to the Pre-Trial Chamber for reconsideration or terminated altogether.
Khmer Rouge prosecutors request declassified US State Department Cables: Prosecutors at the Khmer Rouge tribunal requested 26 declassified cables from the US State Department yesterday in order to add the cables to their case file. The cables – which are now decades old – are said to offer detail regarding Phnom Penh’s fall. The prosecution asserts that the cables will contradict claims that the evacuation of Phnom Penh was carried out in “the interest of the safety and well-being of its citizens.” Defense teams – particularly that of Nuon Chea – assert that the evacuation was necessary to alleviate a crisis situation in the crowded capital city, including shortages of food. The declassified cables were recently released in a searchable format by Wikileaks.
ICC Suspect Saleh Mohammed Jerbo reportedly killed in Darfur: Deputy general commander of the JEM-Bashar faction Saleh Mohammed Jerbo has been killed in a North Darfur battle last week according to the faction. The ICC indicted Jerbo last year for his alleged involvement in the killing of 12 peacekeepers during a raid by 1,000 rebels on a UNAMID compound in Sudan in 2007. Jerbo’s trial was set for 5 May 2014.
Former Commander Chhouk Rin takes the stand at Khmer Rouge tribunal: Former Khmer Rouge Commander Chhouk Rin, 60, took the stand yesterday at the Khmer Rouge tribunal. Judges and prosecutors described him as a hostile witness who was insulting the court and “wast[ing] everyone’s time.” Rin – who is serving time in Prey Sar prison after being convicted of killing 13 Cambodians and 3 foreigners in the mid-nineties – initially refused to cooperate or answer questions on the grounds that his imprisonment had diminished his health to such a degree that he could not undergo questioning. Rin eventually cooperated, and pointed to Nuon Chea as the mastermind behind the Khmer Rouge’s actions.
Thai legal team optimistic that falsified border map will lead to ICJ win: The Thai legal team says that Cambodia’s use of a falsified border map before the International Court of Justice is key evidence that may lead to a verdict in favor of Thailand. Head of the Thai legal team Virachai Plasai said the team first noticed Cambodia’s falsified map in 2011 and have since corrected the map in Thailand’s first written defense. However, he states that Cambodia has used the same map with “colorful adjustments” as recently as March 2012. The dispute between Cambodia and Thailand about the area surrounding the 11th century Preah Vihear Temple in the Dangrek Mountains is a century old, with the latest iteration of the dispute arising in 2008.
Guatemala suspends referendum with Belize over territorial dispute: Guatemala officially suspended the referendum regarding taking their enduring territorial dispute with Belize to the International Court of Justice. Guatemala seeks to recover 4,737 square miles of territory from present-day Belize. The area equals approximately half of Belize’s territory. Foreign minister Fernando Carerra said that “conditions do not exist” for holding the referendum asking the Central American countries’ citizens to approve the submission of the dispute to the ICJ. Carerra cited the Belizean government’s failure to accept Guatemala’s proposal for moving the referendum date forward and modifying Belizean election laws requiring 60% turnout and 51% majority to implement referendum terms.
Posted by cdelaubenfels in Crimes against Humanity, ECCC, Gender crimes, Genocide, Human Rights Violations, ICC, ICTY, Investigations, jurisdiction, News about the Courts, Rome Statute, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Torture, UN Human Rights Council, UN Security Council, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on April 10, 2013
Bosnian-Serb president testifies for Karadzic: On 9 April 2013, Milorad Dodik, president of the Serb portion of Bosnia, Republika Srpska, testified for the defense in the Radovan Karadzic case. Karadzic, former president of Republika Srpska, is charged with genocide and crimes against humanity by the ICTY. In his testimony, Dodik blamed the Muslims in Bosnia for starting the war and stated that Serbs were defending themselves. Dodik has consistently denied the Srebrenica genocide committed by Bosnian-Serbs and is critical of the ICTY and any other tribunal where Serbs have been sentenced for war crimes.
Ki-moon says war crimes investigation possible in South Sudan: On 9 April 2013, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that an investigation could be launched in South Sudan to analyze if war crimes were committed in an attack where five UN peacekeepers and seven other persons were killed. Ki-moon and the UN Security Council called for South Sudan’s government to quickly bring the perpetrators to justice. Although South Sudan is not a party to the Rome Statute, the ICC has jurisdiction over the killing of peacekeepers, which is a war crime. South Sudan blamed the attacks on a rebel group lead by David Yau Yau.
US calls for Sri Lanka to make public war crimes inquiry: On 9 April 2013, United States ambassador to Sri Lanka Michele J. Sison stated that Sri Lanka should make public an army inquiry into alleged war crimes committed at the end of Sri Lanka’s 30-year civil war. Sison said that Sri Lanka must confront the human rights abuses that were committed during the civil war in order to move forward. Recently, the UN Human Rights Council adapted a resolution, sponsored by the US, calling for an “independent and credible internal investigation” into alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.
Khmer Rouge Tribunal continues with testimony of French priest: On 10 April 2013, Francois Ponchaud, a French Catholic priest and Khmer Rouge historian, testified before the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. Ponchaud’s testimony resumed the tribunal proceedings as the court has recently struggled with funding and was delayed due to the death of a co-defendant, Ieng Sary. Two Khmer Rogue leaders, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, are currently being tried for crimes against humanity and genocide. Ponchaud told the court about atrocities that the Khmer Rouge infamously committed, but also heavily criticized Western states and the UN for standing by as atrocities occurred to the Cambodian people.
Sudanese military leader indicted by the ICC may be leading Darfur tribal violence: On 9 April 2013, it was reported that Ali Kushayb, who was indicted by the ICC in 2007 for war crimes, is leading tribal clashes in Darfur that began last week. The violence, which is spreading throughout Darfur, is between the Misseriya and Salamat tribes; the Misseriya have support of the Central Reserve Forces. The ICC wants Kushayb for murder, rape, and forcibly displacing thousands of people.
NY Judge approves extradition of war crimes suspect to Bosnia: On 9 April 2013, it was announced that there was enough evidence against Sulejman Mujagic for committing war crimes, a man living in Utica, NY, to extradite him to Bosnia to face trial. Mujagic is accused of killing an unarmed soldier and torturing another during the Bosnian War in 1995. Mujagic was fighting for a region that had seceded from the central government.
Guatemala war crime trial implicates current president: On 4 April 2013, a former Guatemalan soldier, Hugo Reyes, testifying in the Efrain Rios Montt trial accused President Otto Perez Molina of ordering pillaging and executions during the country’s 36-year civil war. Perez said the accusations are lies. Prosecutor Orlando Lopez stated that Reyes’ testimony is 100 percent credible, but reaffirmed that the focus is on Montt and that he would study the accusations against Molina after this case. Montt, the 86-year old ex-military strongman, is charged with genocide.
Slovakia calls for Hungary to extradite war crimes suspect: On 9 April 2013, Slovakian prosecutors pressed for the extradition of Hungarian 98-year old war crimes suspect Laszio Csatary. A Slovak court sentenced Csatary to death in 1948 for committing crimes against Jews during WWII, but that conviction was commuted to life in prison to align with Slovak law. Csatary, was arrested in Hungary last year and is under house arrest.
Posted by cdelaubenfels in African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, AU, CAR, Crimes against Humanity, ECCC, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gender crimes, Genocide, Human Rights Treaties and Charters, Human Rights Violations, ICC, ICTY, Investigations, Ivory Coast, jurisdiction, Kenya, News about the Courts, Post-Election Violence, Rome Statute, Rwanda, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on April 6, 2013
Three more witnesses refuse to testify against Kenyatta: On 5 April 2013, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda revealed that three more prosecution witnesses have refused to testify against Kenyan President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta. Bensouda has blamed the multiple witnesses refusing to testify on harassment and threats. The trial of Kenyatta, who is charged with crimes against humanity revolving around 2007-2008 post-election violence, is set to begin on July 11. It is unclear at this time how this will affect Kenyatta’s case going forth; some parties have called for the case to be sent back to the Pre-Trial Hearing to determine if there is enough evidence against Kenyatta to take the case to trial.
Krstic pleads not guilty at ICTY: On 4 April 2013, former Bosnian Serb Army officer Radislav Krstic plead not guilty to contempt of court for refusing to testify in the ICTY case against Radovan Karadzic. Krstic has declared that he won’t testify on behalf of Karadzic because of poor health. However, after investigation, the ICTY chamber stated that Krstic is mentally and physically fit to testify. In 2004 the ICTY sentenced Krstic to 35-years imprisonment for aiding and abetting genocide at Srbrenica in 1995.
Panama to face charges before Inter-American Court of Human Rights: On 26 February 2013, the IACHR began a case against Panama at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for alleged human rights abuses. Panama is accused of failing to meet its obligation to provide its indigenous peoples with “an adequate and effective procedure for access to their ancestral territory.” Further, the IACHR claims that Panama did not respond to interference by third parties in indigenous territories, amounting to discrimination. Panama’s case was referred to the Court because Panama had refused to comply with recommendations put forth by the IACHR.
African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights “strongly condemns” military takeover in CAR: On 4 April 2013, the ACHPR released a statement criticizing the military takeover in the Central African Republic. The statement indicated that the lives lost in the takeover were a serious violation of the rights guaranteed by the African Charter and that perpetrators of pillaging and armed violence should be brought before competent courts. The statement further said that the CAR military in charge must still meet its regional and international human rights commitments. Finally, the commission called on the international community, in particular the AU and Economic Community of Central African States, to take necessary steps to restore CAR to constitutional order.
HRW report criticizes Ivory Coast for biased implementation of justice: On 4 April 2013, Human Rights Watch released a report criticizing Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara for unevenly administering justice relating to 2010 post-election violence. The 2010 violence occurred when former President Laurent Gbago, who is currently facing war crimes charges before the ICC, refused to step down after losing the election, more than 3000 people were killed. Although Ouattara’s administration admits that his supporters committed human rights violations, none have been charged with crimes while the government has charged more than 150 Gbago supporters of crimes. The HRW report raises concern that such uneven administration of justice may have great negative impacts long-term. On a different note, on 4 April the Ivory Coast began an exhumation of the victims of the 2010 violence. The Justice Minister Genenema Coulibaly said that the exhumations will allow families to grieve and the country to hold transparent and fair trials. (For more on the topic, please click here.)
East African citizens call for expansion of EACJ jurisdiction: On 5 April 2013, Justice Johnson Busingye, the Principle Judge of the East African Court of Justice, declared that East African citizens have the right to work for an extension of the jurisdiction of the EACJ. East Africans have called for the EACJ—which has jurisdiction over matters of interpretation and applications of treaties, employment disputes, and commercial arbitration—to extend its jurisdiction to handle war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide cases. Busingye mentioned that some East Africans do not support the ICC because of conceptions that it is only targeting Africans; he declared that focusing on empowering regional courts might eliminate anxiety around the ICC.
Khmer Rouge Tribunal receives loan from international side of tribunal: On 5 April 2013, the international side of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal loaned $2-million to the Cambodia side of the tribunal so the court can continue its operations. The loan is a temporary fix that will keep more court staff from boycotting work. The tribunal’s money crisis occurs as the tribunal is trying two former Khmer Rouge Leaders, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, the court’s second case since its inception in 2006. International donors have been reluctant to fund the court due to allegations of mismanagement and corruption.
Posted by kchin2014 in CAR, Crimes against Humanity, ECCC, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gender crimes, Genocide, Human Rights Treaties and Charters, Human Rights Violations, ICC, Kenya, News about the Courts, Rome Statute, South Sudan, UN General Assembly, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on April 2, 2013
Sudan: opposition groups confirm release of seven political prisoners: On 2 April 2013, head of the Sudanese opposition coalition National Consensus Forces Farouk Abu Issa confirmed that President Omar al Bashir was delivering on his 1 April 2013 promise “to release all political prisoners” by releaseing seven political prisoners from the Kober prison in Khartoum. Rights groups and the opposition believe that many more such prisoners are being held after a crackdown on anti-austerity protestors last year. Bashir’s 1 April speech announced that he was making good of a peace agreement with South Sudan.
ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda calls for Bashir’s arrest in genocide awareness month announcement: On 2 April 2013, International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda “call[ed] upon all States, whether parties to the Rome Statute or not, to cooperate with the ICC in seeking [and] pursuing accountability for genocide…we must not forget victims of the Darfur genocide.” President Omar al Bashir was indicted on charges of genocide in 2010, but several signatory states of the Rome Statute have failed to meet their obligation to arrest the indicted President of Sudan, calling into question the relevance and effectiveness of the ICC.
South African National Defence Union calls upon national government to push for ICC indictment of Djotodia: On 1 April 2013, National Secretary Pikkie Greeff called upon the South African government to “initiate the indictment” of Central African Republic (CAR) leader Michel Djotodia for allegedly using child soldiers against the South African National Defence Force as the rebel group took control of CAR last week. Noting that “[u]sing child soldiers to conduct acts of war and aggression is a violation of human rights an an international act of criminality,” Greeff stated that “[t]he South African government has a legal duty to enforce international human rights law,” and that “failing to do so would constitute a tacit but gross condonation of human rights violations and criminal conduct of a warlord abusing children as soldiers.”
ECCC announces payment of overdue salaries: On 30 March 2013, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) announced that it would pay the overdue salaries, owed for the months of January through April, to its employees, but did not specify the amounts to be paid. Despite spending $141.1 million from its establishment in 2006 to the end of 2011, the tribunal has only obtained one conviction, calling into question the relevance and effectiveness of the ECCC.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon congratulates Kenyatta on victory: On 30 March 2013, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon congratulated Kenyan President-Elect Uhuru Kenyatta, acknowledging his victory which was made official by the Kenyan Supreme Court this weekend. Ban also called upon Kenyans to remain calm and congratulated Prime Minister Raila Odinga for acknowledging his defeat following the ruling. Ban did not address the issue of Kenyatta’s current imprisonment in The Hague for allegedly inciting the violence that followed the country’s last elections which left 1,100 people dead, 3,500 injured, and over half a million displaced.
US Department of State spokesperson will not ignore ICC charges against Kenyan President-elect: On 1 April 2013, United States Department of State Spokesperson for African Affairs Hilary Renner announced that the country “cannot ignore the serious charges that have been set out in the International Criminal Court indictment, and will calibrate [US] engagement accordingly.” This is consistent with United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson’s previous warning to the Kenyan government. Although Renner did not specify what the US response would be, she called upon Kenya to “uphold its international obligations” and called upon Kenyatta, Ruto, and the Kenyan government “to live up to commitments of seeking justice for the victims of the 2007-2008 post-election violence, including by cooperating fully with the ICC process.”
Posted by cdelaubenfels in Crimes against Humanity, DRC, ECCC, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Gender crimes, Genocide, Human Rights Treaties and Charters, ICC, ICTY, immunity, Investigations, Kenya, News about the Courts, Other domestic courts, Post-Election Violence, Rome Statute, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Torture, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on March 30, 2013
Slovak court commutes WWII criminal’s death sentence: On 28 March 2013, a Slovak court announced that the death sentence of 98 year old Laszlo Csataray, a World War II criminal, to life imprisonment. In 1948 Csataray was found guilty and sentenced to death in absentia for torturing Jews and organizing the deportation of nearly 16,000 Jews to Auschwitz. Csataray had lived as a fugitive until he was arrested by Hungarian authorities last year. The sentence was changed in order to comply with Slovak law, which abolished the death penalty in 1990.
Former Kenyan witness refuses to see ICC lawyers: On 24 March 2013, the lawyer for the Kenyan ICC witness who recently recanted his testimony stated that his client would not meet with ICC lawyers. The Office of the Prosecutor had written the witness asking for a meeting after the witness decided not to testify in the case against William Ruto. The former witness stated that ICC lawyers had tried to contact him directly and that he felt harassed. The Office of the Prosecutors denies the allegations put forward by the ex-witness.
Khmer Rouge tribunal confirms that defendant is fit for trial: On 29 March 2013, the UN-backed Cambodian war crime court confirmed that Nuon Chea, a former Khmer Rouge leader, was fit to stand trial even though he is “advancing [in] age and frailty.” Chea is charged, along with former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan, with crimes against humanity and war crimes for overseeing the “Killing Fields” that killed nearly two-million Cambodians during the 1970s. There have been concerns about the case continuing after co-defendant, Ieng Sary, recently passed away. The tribunal has struggled with funding, procedural, and political difficulties since its founding in 2006.
M23 allege that Ntaganda was attempting to take charge of group: On 28 March 2013, Rene Abandi, a spokesperson for Congolese rebel group M23, said that Bosco Ntaganda, currently under arrest at the ICC, was trying to take over the group. Abandi reported that there were fights between different factions of M23 after Ntaganda challenged the group’s military chief, Sultani Makenga. After Ntaganda lost the fight, he fled to the United States embassy in Rwanda where he requested to be sent to the ICC. The ICC has charged Ntaganda with war crimes and crimes against humanity including recruiting child soldiers, murder, rape, and pillaging.
Estonia ratifies crime of aggression amendment to Rome Statute: On 27 March 2013, Estonia became the fifth country to sign the crime of aggression amendment to the Rome Statute. Estonia’s UN representative Margus Kolga stated that ratifying the amendment is a “clear indication of the staunch support that Estonia has demonstrated towards the International Criminal Court.” If 30 state parties to the Rome Statute ratify the amendment, the ICC will be able to investigate the crime of aggression starting in 2017.
HRW calls on Sri Lankan government to investigate Deputy Minister’s role in atrocities: On 28 March 2013, Human Rights Watch called on the Sri Lankan government to investigate the role of Deputy Minister Karuna in war crimes committed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Recently Karuna, a former member of LTTE, has advocated for investigations of atrocities committed by the LTTE, but HRW states that Karuna is also responsible for committing war crimes, including mass murder, during the 26-year conflict in Sri Lanka. HRW alleges that Karuna has enjoyed immunity and he is only advocating for investigations into LTTE to silence his political opposition.
Former Bosnian Serb military leader sentenced to 45 years in prison: On 29 March 2013, a Bosnian war crime court sentenced former Bosnian Serb paramilitary leader Veselin Vlahovic to 45 years in prison, the maximum sentence. Vlahovic, commonly known as the Monster of Grbavica, was found guilty of murder, rape, and torture during the Bosnian War from 1992-1995. This is the highest sentence ever given in Bosnia. The war crimes department of the Bosnian court system was founded in 2005 to assist the overburdened ICTY.
Posted by kchin2014 in African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, AU, Crimes against Humanity, ECCC, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gender crimes, Genocide, Human Rights Treaties and Charters, Human Rights Violations, ICC, Investigations, Kenya, News about the Courts, Post-Election Violence, Responsibility to Protect, Rome Statute, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Syria, Torture, Truth Commissions, UN General Assembly, UN Human Rights Council, UN Security Council, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on March 26, 2013
UN to investigate growing North Korean prison camps: On 26 March 2013, South Korean legislator Ha Tae-kyoung announced that he learned from an official at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights that the UN is planning to launch an investigation into the growing number of North Korean prison camps. The investigation will employ satellite imaging technology provided by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research’s Satellite Applications Program (UNOSAT), along with witness testimony.
US official warns of US-led war crimes inquiry into Sri Lanka: On 25 March 2013, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake indicated that, if the Sri Lankan government continues to shirk its responsibility to lead an “independent and credible” inquiry into the allegations of war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan military against ethnic Tamil civilians, the United States may launch its own investigation.
Congolese warlord Ntaganda appears before ICC: On 26 March 2013, seven years after the court issued a warrant for his arrest, Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda appeared in before the International Criminal Court (ICC) to confirm his identity. Ntaganda, who faces allegations of recruiting child soldiers, murder, rape, ethnic persecution, and sexual slavery, surprised the world when he surrendered himself at the United States embassy in Rwanda last week. Many analysts suspect that Ntaganda’s surrender was precipitated by political changes that caused him to fear for his personal safety.
Experts declare former Khmer Rouge deputy fit for trial: On 25 March 2013, medical experts testified that, upon conducting physical and mental evaluations, 81-year-old Nuon Chea is fit to stand trial before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). Nuon Chea, known as “Brother Number Two,” was Pol Pot’s second-in-command during the bloody rule of the Khmer Rouge and the most senior Khmer Rouge official to stand trial before the court.
Zimbabwean government found guilty of torture: On 25 March 2013, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights notified the government of Zimbabwe that it has 90 days to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for the 2003 torture of human rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba. The decision, finding the Zimbabwean government criminally liable, was made in May 2012 and approved by the Executive Council of the African Union in January 2013. In its decision, the African Commission said that Shumba had submitted “more than adequate evidence” to support his allegation of torture and ill-treatment, including being subjected to prolonged electric shocks in the mouth, genitals, fingers, toes and other parts of the body. The Commission said Zimbabwe failed to open an official investigation, ordering it to do so within 90 days and bring those responsible to justice.
Mr. Paul Gicheru – lawyer for the witness who recanted his testimony against Kenya’s Deputy President-Elect William Ruto- rejected a request to meet with ICC officials in Nairobi last week. Gicheru said he declined the meeting because he did not have his client’s permission to hold the meeting. “I have told them my client stands by his sworn affidavits and that there is no need for a meeting over this,” he said. Meanwhile, the witness claims to have received numerous calls requesting meetings with ICC officials, stating that his interactions have bordered on “harassment, intimidation and intruding into my private life.”
ICC welcomes surrender of Ntaganda while Rwanda pledges to facilitate transfer: On 19 March 2013, the ICC welcomed the surrender of ICC accused Bosco Ntaganda to the US Embassy in Kigali. Reports state that ICC officials are in route to Kigali to facilitate the transfer. Statements from the US have indicated that the US supports Ntaganda’s transfer to the ICC and that the US Embassy in Rwanda is working to facilitate this transfer. US assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Johnny Carson, has stated that is very important that the movement of Ntaganda from the US embassy to the airport “is in no way inhibited.” Statements from Rwandan officials have noted Rwanda’s stance against the ICC but have indicated that Rwanda would allow Ntaganda transfer to the ICC without any interference. On 20 March 2013, Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwab stated that “The ICC is a political court and we have never believed in its jurisdiction” and “We’d prefer to have him judged here but if he is sent to The Hague, that’s no problem either.” Mushikiwab stated that “The most important thing is that justice is served” and “He is on US territory and now the issue is between the US, Congo and the ICC.” The Rwandan Ministy of Justice has tweeted that Rwanda will provide safe passage and Rwanda’s Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama stated that “there are no complicated legal questions” concerning the transfer. Rwandan President Kagame has stated that “We will work to make what the US embassy needs in relation to Bosco Ntaganda’s case happen as fast as possible.” Bosco Ntaganda was first indicted by the ICC in August 2006 for seven counts of war crimes and three counts of crimes against humanity including recruiting and using child soldier, murder, rape, persecution and sexual slavery. A second ICC arrest warrant was issued in July 2012. On Monday 18 March 2013, without any notice Ntaganda walked off the street into the US Embassy in Kigali and expressed his wish to be sent to the Hague. Several theories have been reported about the reason for Ntaganda’s unexpected surrender, including the fact that several days before his surrender his rebel group M23 suffered a defeat which sent several hundred members of the group fleeing from the DRC into Rwanda. (For additional information on this topic, please 1. click here, 2. click here, and 3. click here).
Human Rights groups accuse Cambodian Prime Minister of obstructing the ECCC: On Tuesday 19 March 2013, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen stated on national radio that his Government has not obstructed the process of the ECCC. Hun Sen stated that “The power is in the hands of the court. Whether the process is slow or fast is up to the court, not me.” Accusations about the Government’s involvement in the ECCC’s process came from human rights groups, who called for an expedited process following the death of accused leng Sary.
Guatamala Court denies amnesty to ex-leader charged with genocide: On 13 March 2013, Guatemala’s Court of Constitutionality upheld a previous ruling from the Supreme Court which refused amnesty for Guatemala’s former leader Efraín Ríos Montt. Montt is charged with genocide and other crimes which allege that he failed stops the crimes during their commission. Following this ruling, Montt’s trial will resume along with his co-accused General José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, Hector Mario Lopez Fuentes and Luis Enrique Mendoza; who were former chief of military intelligence, former defence minister and former vice minister of defence respectively.
Ivory Coast signs the Rome Statute: On 18 March 2013, the Ivory Coast signed the ICC’s Rome Statute, making it the 122nd State party to the Rome Statute. Ambassador to the Ivory Coast, H.E. Mr Sallah Ben Abdelkader Hamza stated at the signing ceremony in The Hague that “Côte d´Ivoire is expecting an opened and fruitful dialogue with the International Criminal Court. In this regard, we will not hesitate to revert to the Court for advice and support, particularly for the implementation of the Rome Statute in our judicial system.”
ICC Judge Carmona resigns: On 18 March 2013, ICC Judge Anthony T. Carmona from Trinidad and Tobago resigned from duty at the ICC. His resignation was due to his election as the fifth President of Trinidad and Tobago. Carmona assumed office in the Presidency on the same day as his resignation.
Ntaganda still at U.S. embassy: On 18 March 2013, Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda turned himself in to the U.S. embassy in Kigali, asking to be handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Ntaganda has been wanted by the ICC since 2006 on charges of genocide, mass rape, and the use of child soldiers. Former Congo USAID director Tony Gambino speculates that Ntaganda’s recent surrender was precipitated by political changes within the M23 rebel group, and that “his options came down to go to The Hague or be killed.”
Worker’s strike at ECCC over: On 19 March 2013, employees of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) agreed to return to work next Monday after they were promised that their three-months overdue paychecks would be delivered this week. It is estimated that 270 of the court’s employees have not been paid since November, and more strikes may ensure as early as April if contracts are not renewed. (For more information, click here.)
ICC prosecution witness against Kenyan Deputy-President-elect withdraws: On 19 March 2013, a witness against Deputy President-elect William Ruto submitted a letter to the prosection annoucing that he was withdrawing his testimony and all evidence he presented from the case. The witness also stated that the prosecution bribed him to provide false testimony against Ruto.
African Court orders Gaddafi’s son to be treated with respect: On March 18, it was announced that the African Court of Human and People’s Rights has ordered the government of Libya to treat the son of Muammar Gaddafi, Saif al-Slam Gaddafi, with respect. The court issued an order for provisional measures in respect to Application No. 002/2013. The matter alleges violations of the rights of Salif al-Islam who is detained in Zintan military camp, in Libya. In its order the court asked the Government of Libya to preserve the integrity of detainees, refrain from all measures that may harm life, guarantee the right to a free trial, and allow access to a lawyer and visits from friends and family. The order issue by the court also enjoins the government of Libya to report on the execution of the measures within 15 days from the receipt of the order.
A push to expedite Khmer Rouge trials: On March 14, the death Ieng Sary, a Khmer Rouge leader on trial in front of the ECCC, has compelled the U.S. to call for an expeditious and comprehensive process. The life expectancy of those on trial is a growing concern for those who would like to see the completion of trials for the remaining of Khmer Rouge leaders. Remaining on trial are ex-head of state Khieu Samphan, who is 81, and former chief ideologist, Nuon Chea, who is 86. Both are frail and have suffered strokes.
Uhuru Kenyatta asks for ICC charges to be dropped: Lawyers for Uhuru Kenyatta have argued that the International Criminal Court (ICC) should dismiss crimes against humanity charges against Kenya’s president-elect over post-2007 election violence. Lawyer, Steven Kay, asked a three-judge bench at The Hague-based court on Monday to scratch his client’s July trial date and send the case back to the pre-trial chamber, after prosecutors last week dropped all charges against Kenyatta’s co-accused, Francis Muthaura.
War crimes suspect hands self over to US embassy: The U.S. Department of State says the Democratic Republic of Congo war crimes suspect, Bosco Ntaganda, has handed himself over to the US embassy in Kigali. The ICC had issued an arrest warrant for Gen Ntaganda, known as “The Terminator”, in 2006. He denies charges of conscripting child soldiers, murder, ethnic persecution and rape during DR Congo’s conflict.