Archive for category ECCC
UN Kosovo Envoy says domestic war crimes court is essential: The creation of a robust special court to adjudicate suspected crimes in Kosovo is taking shape. Recently, progress to establish the special court has increased due to the results found by an EU special investigative task force that there is sufficient evidence to indict a handful of individuals for serious crimes committed during this period. (Yahoo News).
Sri Lanka General proclaims innocence; would welcome opportunity to “clear” his name: Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, once General of the Sri Lankan army that defeated the Tamil Tigers, has issued a statement declaring his welcoming of an investigation into his actions during Sri Lanka’s civil war. Fonseka asserts that he was in no way involved in any type of war crime and wishes to clear his name of any false allegations.
Mujahid Appeal Verdict expected from Bangladesh Supreme Court: It has been announced that the verdict on an appeal by Jamaat-e-Islami leader Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid against his death sentence awarded by a war crimes tribunal will be out on June 16. Mujhahid was convicted on 5 of the 7 war crime charges levelled against him. He was found guilty of orchestrating the murder if unarmed intellectuals and mass executions.
Seselj outspoken about planned appeal against return to The Hague: Vojislav Seselj has stated that he plans to appeal the order to return to The Hague issued by the UN war crimes. Seselj has made clear that he has no plans of returning to the UN tribunal which has charged him with recruiting paramilitary forces during the Balkans wars. (DW).
UN Security Council adopts resolution to condemn violence against journalists: The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution that calls for the release of all media professionals who have been kidnapped or taken as hostages, in situations of armed conflict. This act by the UN comes in response to the increasingly dangerous world that journalists in conflict stricken countries inhabit. It has also been determined that Syria is the deadliest place to be a journalist. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (UN, Euronews).
ECCC witness testifies to poor working conditions, executions in Case against Chea, Samphan: A victim of the Khmer Rouge, Hun Sethany, testified before the Extraodinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia during Case 002/02 against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan. She wept onpenly as she recounted the events that plagued her and her family during the late 1970s while under the control of the Khmer Rouge.
Three Bangladesh suspected sued for crimes against humanity: MA Hannan, a Jatiya Party lawmaker, and two other suspects (Md Fakruzzaman and Golam Rabbani, members of Al-Badr) have been sued in Mymensingh. The suit is for for alleged crimes against humanity that occurred during Mymensingh’s Liberation War in 1971. The judicial magistrate forwarded the case to the International Crimes Tribunal in Dhaka. (Prothom Alo)
Journalist refuses to testify before ECCC unless foreign leaders called: Journalist Thet Sambath stated that he will not testify before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia unless those that were leaders between 1975 and1979 of China, Russia and Vietnam were called to testify as well. Sambath is calling for an amendment to a law between the Cambodian government and United Nations that states the UN will not call leaders from foreign countries to trial. Only then will he testify. (Cambodia Daily)
UNSMIL reports war crimes of abductions, torture and murder: On 15 May 2015, the U.N. Support Mission in Libya released a statement finding that armed groups are responsible for war crimes in Libya. Specifically, the UNSMIL said that armed groups abducted, tortured and murdered “civilians, including minors, on account of their actual or perceived origin, opinion, family and political affiliation.” The UNSMIL also warned that those responsible for the crimes, including committing, ordering or failing to prevent the crimes, may be criminally liable before the ICC. (For additional information on this topic, please click here and here) (UN News Centre, Al Arabiya News, Libya Herald).
ECCC Prosecution calls journalist to testify in Case 002: On 7 May 2015, the ECCC Prosecutor’s Office requested journalist Thet Sambath testify in the second phase of the Extraordinary Chamber’s case against Nuon Chea. The Prosecutor’s Office claims Sambath, who interviewed Nuon Chea over a 10-year period, documented admissions by the former Khmer Rouge leader that prove his guilt in the trial. Although requested, Sambath failed to appear in the first phase of the case but has since stated he would testify “if the court openly gives me freedom.” (Cambodia Daily).
Croatia assures of fair war crimes trial for Dragan Vasiljkovic in extradition case: On 15 May 2015, Australia’s High Court denied a request by former Serbian paramilitary commander Dragan Vasiljkovic to appeal an approval of extradition to Croatia to be questioned for war crimes. Justice Minister Michael Keenan now has the final say on whether Vasiljkovic will be extradited. Croatia’s war veteran minister Predrag Matic said that the former paramilitary commander will receive a fair trial if extradited. Vasiljkovic is accused of torturing and ordering the killing of prisoners of war and directing an assault on a village in Croatia during the early 1990s. (The Australian).
Charles Bandora sentenced to 30 years in Rwandan court for role in 1994 Genocide: On 15 May 2015, Charles Bandora was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment by a special chamber created to prosecute international crimes at the High Court of Rwanda. Bandora was found guilty of conspiracy to commit genocide, complicity committing and complicity to murder as a crime against humanity and formation of an armed gang during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Bandora was a senior member of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development party at the time. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (All Africa, Yahoo News).
African Court to hear two applications at 37th Session: The African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights is holding its 37th Ordinary Session from 18 May to 5 June, 2015, which will include consideration of two applications of violations of the African Charter. The first application concerns the alleged unlawful abduction and detention of 10 Kenyans in Tanzania for murder and robbery. The second application involves a challenge by a Tanzanian to a 30 year jail sentence for armed robbery. (IPP Media).
ICC’s first acquitted accused deported to DRC: Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, formerly accused of war crimes, was deported back to the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Monday. Chui was acquitted by the ICC and filed for asylum in the Netherlands for fear of safety in the DRC. Dutch authorities dismissed his application and sent him back to the DRC. Géraldine Mattioli-Zeltner, international justice advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, stated that HRW is calling on the DRC authorities to ensure Chui’s safety and security in the DRC. HRW is also calling upon dutch authorities and the ICC to monitor the situation. (Expatica, Human Rights Watch) (for additional information click here)
HRW calls for ICC investigation into on-going crimes in Libya: Human Rights Watch urged the United Nations Security Council to look at ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda’s briefing on Libya. HRW called for an investigation into the ongoing crimes happening in Libya. HRW states that Libyan authorities have not responded properly to ongoing situation. They have not investigated or prosecuted those responsible for crimes. HRW is looking to the ICC to properly investigate these crimes. (Human Rights Watch)
ECCC victim representation faces funding cuts: Lawyers at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia have seen recent cuts in their salaries. Victim representation has seen major funding cuts due to donor shortages. Attorneys from the Cambodian Defenders Project (CDP) and Legal Aid to Cambodia (LAC) stated that these cuts may dictate whether or not they continue representation of victims in the court. (Phnom Penh Post)
ICT Bangladesh issues 11 arrest warrants: ICT Bangladesh issued 11 arrest warrants for alleged Razakars of Jessore, for war crimes committed during the Liberation War in 1971. “The suspects are Ibrahim Hossain, Billal Hossain, Sheikh Majibur Rahman, Abdul Aziz Sardar, Aziz Sarder, Kazi Oahidul Islam, Lutfar Moral, Abdul Khaleq Moral, Akram Hossain, Ozehar Moral, and Mushiar Rahman.” (The Daily Star)
African Commission for HR’s 56th session concludes: The 56th Ordinary Session on Human and Peoples’ Rights concluded with resolutions that support “the strife against prevalence of human rights violations in Africa.” Commissioner Mute of the African Commission stated that the Commission passed resolutions that condemned xenophobic attacks in South Africa, urged Kenyan human rights, and rehabilitation rights for torture victims. (All Africa)
Bensouda rejects allegations of bias and weighs investigation against both Israel and Palestine: ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has rejected claims by the Israeli government that the Court is unfairly targeting Israel and will launch a bias investigation into war crimes committed during the 50-day Gaza war last summer. Bensouda said that any ICC investigation would be “unbiased” and the Court would consider evidence against Israel “independently and impartially without fear or favour.” The Chief Prosecutor is also weighing whether to open a war crimes investigation into Palestinian, saying “We will of course look into the alleged crimes committed by all sides to the conflict.” (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (Al Bawaba, Al Arabiya News).
Lawyers for the Muslim Brotherhood and FJP make oral submissions for the African Commission: On Saturday, 2 May 2015, lawyers for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party made oral submissions in a private hearing to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights relating to Egypt’s imposition of mass death sentences. The Commission will now consider the oral submissions and present findings and recommendations to the African Union authorities. Previously, the Commission has issued Provisional Measures against Egypt for use of the death penalty which have gone largely ignored despite the country being a signatory to the African Charter that prohibits such sentence. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (Middle East Monitor, Middle East Eye).
DRC grants limited amnesty to over 300 rebels: The Democratic Republic of Congo granted amnesty to some 375 ex-M23 rebels for insurgent acts, acts of war and political offences committed during the 18-month war that ended in 2013. The amnesty does not cover such acts as crimes against humanity, war crimes, terrorism or torture. More than 1,300 rebels fled to Uganda and Rwanda after their movement was defeated by government forces and UN peacekeepers. Many claimed the government of DRC was not doing enough to protect the ex-rebels that returned. (Yahoo).
ECCC Prosecutor rejects evidence from Nuon Chea’s defense: Dale Lysak, a senior assistant prosecutor at the ECCC, described claims by Nuon Chea’s defense team that evidence presented by the prosecution was forged as “a crazy conspiracy theory.” Specifically, the evidence related to the Tram Kaka and Kraing Ta Chan security centers where the prosecution said 99 percent of prisoners were killed. The defense, however, is arguing some people were taken to the security centers for re-education sessions, proof the Khmer Rouge was not “universally brutal.” (The Cambodia Daily).
ICC compliant made over King Zwelithini hate speech: A Nigerian human rights group has filed a complaint in the ICC against Zulu King Zwelithini for hate speech after the King told a gathering last month that “foreigners should pack their bags and go home.” Zwelithini’s remarks caused several attacks in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng killing at least seven and displacing thousands. A spokesman for the monarch said the human rights group “had every right to complain” and the monarch “will only respond once we have received a call from the International Criminal Court.” (Mail & Guardian).
ICC Ruto / Sang case to resume 26 May: Following a delay in proceedings due to an uncooperative prosecution witness, the ICC case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua Sang is expected to resume 26 May 2015. ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the witness “has testimony that is necessary for the determination of the truth” but went into hiding after a local Dutch court issued an order requiring the witness to appear in the case at the ICC. The prosecution has to produce the witness on 26 May and conclude its case against the accused. (All Africa).
ICTY finds Seselj breached provisional release, orders return: On Monday, 30 March 2015, ICTY appeals judges found that Vojislav Seselj breached the terms of his provisional release and ordered the former Serbian leader to return to The Hague. Seselj was granted provisional release in November 2014 to seek medical care in Serbia under the condition that he not interfere with victims or witnesses and return to the tribunal if summoned. After arriving in the country, Seselj told supporters that he would not return to the ICTY voluntarily and challenged officials to attempt to arrest him. Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said the government will “respond in the coming days.” (For additional information on this topic, please click here and here) (Reuters, Wall Street Journal, The News Tribune).
ECCC indicts Ao An in Case 004:The ECCC’s international co-investigating judge has charged Ao An in Case 004 with premediated murder under the 1956 Cambodian Penal Code and crimes against humanity. The crimes were allegedly committed at Kok Pring execution site, Tuol Beng security centre and Wat Au Trakuon security centre. The defense for the former member of the Khmer Rouge will now have access to the case file and be able to participate in the investigation. (ECCC).
RSCSL rejects request from Taylor for prison transfer to Rwanda: Former Liberian President Charles Taylor’s motion to be transferred to a prison in Rwanda to serve the remainder of his sentence was denied by the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone. The RSCSL Trial Chamber found, among other things, that transferring Taylor to Rwanda could pose a threat to peace and security and found that the former president’s family’s inability to travel to the United Kingdom was not interference by the RSCSL. Taylor had claimed that his family was unable to visit him in the United Kingdom where he was serving his 50-year prison sentence and it would be more humane for him to be imprisoned in Africa. (All Africa).
Amnesty Report find Hamas responsible for war crimes in Gaza: On Thursday, 26 March 2015, Amnesty International released a report finding the Palestinian militant group Hamas committed war crimes during the Gaza War. Specifically, the report said Hamas was responsible for firing rockets and mortar shells in Israel resulting in the death of thousands of civilians. The accusatory report follows Palestine’s recent application for membership in the ICC which began an investigation into alleged war crimes during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in January 2015. (Foreign Policy).
UNCHR says human rights defenders risk murder in Libya: The U.N. Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (UNCHR), jointly with the U.N. Support Mission in Libya, released a report highlighting the abuse and threats faced by human rights defenders in Libya. UNCHR urged the government of Libya to meaningfully investigate the alleged abuses and hold accountable those responsible. UNCHR also recommended sensitivity training for investigators, reparations for victims of the abuse, release of those unjustly detained and cooperation with the ICC. The U.N. Human Rights Council intends to send a team to investigate the human rights abuses in Libya. (Libya Herald).
France seeks UNSC referral of ISIS to ICC: France is urging the U.N. Security Council to refer the Islamic State militant group to the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Iraq and Syria. The ICC Prosecutor is unable to open an investigation into crimes committed in non ICC member states unless referred by the 15-member Security Council. If the matter were to be referred, the ICC prosecutor and judges will then have to decide whether the referral of the militant group is legitimate. (Reuters).
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)