Archive for category ECCC


Sri Lanka will not cooperate with UN Inquiry into war crimes: On 7 April 2014, Gamini Lakshman Peiris, the Sri Lankan foreign minister, announced that Sri Lanka will not be cooperating with the UN probe into war crimes, decided through a resolution last month. Citing concerns about the legality and fairness of the probe, as well as conflicts of interest of the Sri Lankan government, the foreign minister explained that the government will not support the investigation into the alleged crimes, which the government has officially denied. (Al Jazeera).

African Commission asked to intervene in death sentence of 529 Egyptians: The Freedom of Justice Party (FJP), together with lawyers for the 529 Egyptians who received death sentences on 24 March 2014 for opposing the 2013 military coup in Egypt, has asked the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to intervene in the sentences. Specifically, the FJP has urged the Commission to suspend the sentences, because the defendants’ death penalties violate the right to life and the right to a fair trial under the African Charter. (Middle East Monitor).

ECCC sets out foundation for second segment of Case 002: The ECCC determined the scope of the second segment of Case 002, against Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, who are facing—among others—charges of genocide, forced marriage, rape, and religious persecution. Though the 4 April 2014 severance order has not been made public, it adheres closely to requests made by the prosecutors; namely, that the charges to be addressed in this segment will serve as a representation, so that further segments will not need to be heard. The Chamber has decided not to include several crime sites the prosecution proposed, so as to maintain efficiency and manageability in the case. A trial date has not yet been announced. (The Phnom Penh Post).

Srebrenica survivors sue Dutch Government over peacekeepers failure to protect: The Mothers of Srebrenica, a group representing relatives of victims who were killed in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, have filed a civil suit against the Dutch government, for failing to protect civilians during the attack by Bosnian Serb forces. Dutch peacekeepers in the area had been unable to stop the forces, and withdrew. The group tried to bring a suit in 2007 against the UN, but Dutch courts refused to hear it on the basis that the UN has immunity, a decision with which the ECtHR agreed in 2013. The current was put on hold until the case against the UN had been decided, and hearings began on Monday, 7 April 2014. (Sky News).

ICC hears testimony of 15th Prosecution witness in Ruto case: On Saturday, 5 April 2014, the 15th witness for the prosecution in the case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto testified before the ICC that a chief of the Kimumu area had made many trips to Eldoret town in a pick-up truck before the houses of the Kikuyu were burned. The truck carried black drums, ordinarily used for transporting water and oil, and was used by the chief for several such trips before the raid. The witness, who said that demonstrations had been peaceful before these events, was brought to Eldoret town when the houses were razed. (The Star).

South Korea will not host UN field office to investigate CAH in North Korea: On Monday, 7 April 2014, a diplomatic source of Seoul announced that the city will not be hosting a field office in order to support the UN probe into crimes against humanity allegedly committed by the North Korean government against its citizens. Though the source emphasized the importance of this investigation, South Korea fears worsening its relationship with North Korea, which could impact humanitarian efforts such as family reunifications. (The Chosunilbo).

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Prime Minister Shinzo: Japan will abide by ICJ ban on Antarctic whale hunt: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed disappointment in the ICJ’s 31 March 2014, decision banning the country’s whaling program in the Antarctic for not being solely for scientific purposes. The Prime Minister, nevertheless, said Japan would comply with the Court’s decision and immediately halt the program. (Australia Network News).

New lawyer, John Jones, appointed to represent suspect before Khmer Rouge Tribunal: The ECCC appointed John Jones to represent one of the suspects in Case 004. Jones is a British lawyer with experience defending accused at the various international criminal courts. No suspects have been officially charged in the “government-opposed Case 004″, however, the confidential identities of the defendants “were long ago revealed to be Ta An, Ta Tith and Im Chem.” (Phnom Penh Post).

Recently released confidential health assessment shows Chea and Samphan’s improved health: The confidential physical and psychiatric assessment of ECCC co-defendants Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan was reportedly obtained this week by the Phnom Penh Post. The assessment, conducted last month by a team of health professionals at the ECCC detention center, concluded that both Chea and Samphan had improved health and were fit to stand trial. The ECCC requested the assessment in order to determine the ability of the co-defendants to follow proceedings in the second phase of Case 002. (Phnom Penh Post).

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ICC: Kenyatta trial postponed until 7 October: The ICC trial of President Uhuru Kenyatta has been postponed providing the Kenyan government additional time to disclose documents sought by the prosecution. The request by the President to terminate proceedings and the request by the prosecution to postpone the trial indefinitely were both denied by the Court. The postponement is the second for Kenyatta’s trial which is expected to resume 7 October 2014. (Voice of America).

ICC witness: Dogs and pigs fed on bodies of fallen during post-election violence in Kenya: On Monday, 31 March 2014, a prosecution witness in the ICC case against Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang testified to events after the 2007 presidential election in Kenya. The witness said tired police officers failed to collect bodies killed during the violence that were then fed on by dogs and pigs. The witness also testified that members of the Kalenjin ethnic group identified, attacked and torched the homes of Kikuyus. (All Africa).

ICJ orders temporary stay on Japan’s Antarctic whaling program: The ICJ ruled on Monday, 31 March 2014, that Japan’s “killing, taking and treating of whales” in the Antarctic was not “for the purposes of scientific research”. The Court found that Japan’s program, which was designed to study the effects of commercial whaling on the species existence, hunted too large a number of whales and failed to consider non-lethal methods. The Court ordered a temporary stay until the country could redesign it’s whaling program to be more scientific rather than commercial. (The China Post).

Rights group warn of Sri Lanka backlash in wake of UNHRC resolution: The recently passed U.N. Human Rights Council resolution calling for an independent investigation into alleged abuses committed in Sri Lanka is likely to incite backlash against human rights activists; said groups such as Amnesty International and Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice. The rights groups fear Sri Lanka will respond to the U.N. resolution with intimidation and suppression towards those who disagree or challenge the government, citing as an example the arrests of two human rights activists last month in the country. Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa has publicly rejected the U.N. resolution and said it will deter national reconciliation. (CNN World).

Norway pledges $1 million to Khmer Rouge tribunal: The international side of the ECCC received a $1 million pledge from Norway on Tuesday, 1 April 2014. The Court welcomed the pledge and hopes it encourages other donations, particularly to the Cambodian side which is facing extreme shortages of funds for national salaries. The ECCC budget approved last month estimates the cash-strapped Court needs over $60 million to continue operations. (Voice of America).

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Ivory Coast transfers ICC suspect to The Hague:  The former youth leader of the “Young Patriots” and right-hand man of Ivorian ex-president Laurent Gbagbo, Charles Ble Goude, has been transferred from Abidjan to the holding cells of the ICC. Ble Goude faces four counts of crimes against humanity which are alleged to have taken place during post-electoral violence in 2010-2011. (For additional information on this topic, please click here, here.) (Aljazeera, Reuters, Google News).

Mladic Defense requests that two genocide charges be dropped:  The Mladic Defence and Prosecution teams have completed their Rule 98bis submissions. The Defence asked that two genocide counts be dismissed, as well as a variety of additional liabilities. Both teams now await an oral judgment on the Defence motion for acquittal. (ICTY).

ECCC denies Khieu Samphan trial delay request:  The request for a trial delay by Samphan was denied by the Tribunal. Samphan had wished that the trial be delayed until a verdict was reached in the first trial but in the effort of preserving the rights of the defendant, the Tribunal has denied the request. (VOA).

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26 February 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN human rights chief calls for inquiry into Sri Lanka war crimes: UN human rights chief Navi Pillay has called for an “independent, international inquiry mechanism, which would contribute to establishing the truth where domestic inquiry mechanisms have failed” in Sri Lanka.  Pillay’s report precedes a U.N. Human Rights Council debate scheduled for next month that may take up and order action in Sri Lanka.  As of now, the U.S. is planning to propose a resolution against Sri Lanka during the debate.  Pillay’s report – which will likely add pressure to the Sri Lankan government – states that thousands of civilians were killed, injured, or remain missing after the conflict between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).  “None of these cases has…resulted in the perpetrators being brought to justice,” said Pillay.

ICC has not yet received request to investigate Yanukovich: Earlier this week, Ukraine’s government voted for the country’s President, Viktor Yanukovich, to be sent to the ICC with two members of his government to be tried for “serious crimes” relating to the deaths of more than 100 people.  An ICC spokesman has stated that the ICC has not yet received Ukraine’s request, and noted that it would be up to the ICC prosecutor whether to pursue the investigation after the request is received.

Khmer Rouge tribunal orders physical/psychiatric assessment of Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea : In a 17 February filing released earlier this week, the trial chamber of the Khmer Rouge tribunal has ordered that Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea undergo physicals and psychiatric assessments to determine if they are fit to proceed with the trial’s second (and quite possibly final) segment. Doctors have been appointed for the octogenarian defendants and have been tasked with reporting to the court on their physical and cognitive ability.  The examinations are to take place in late March, shortly before a tentatively scheduled hearing on 28 March that will provide the parties to question the medical experts about their conclusions.  Though neither defendant has claimed to be unfit to stand trial, both have requested briefer and less frequent courtroom hearings to accommodate their diminished ability to remain engaged in lengthy proceedings.

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17 December 2013 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC dismisses Prosecution appeal on decision to adjourn Gbagbo confirmation hearing:  On 16 December 2013, the ICC Appeals Chamber dismissed an appeal lodged by the Prosecution against a decision by the Pre-Trial Chamber on 3 June 2013 which adjourned the confirmation hearing of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo and requested the Prosecution submit additional evidence on specific incidents relating to the charges against Gbagbo.   The Appeals Chamber found that the Prosecution had failed to show that the Pre-Trial Chamber committed an error when treating 45 incidents relied on by the Prosecution as an Article 7 attack against a civilian population.

ICC rejects Prosecution appeal on amending temporal scope of Ruto, Sang charges: On 13 December 2013, the ICC Appeals Chamber dismissed the appeal of the Prosecution in the case against William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang which contested the Pre-Trial Chamber’s decision not allowing the Prosecution to amend the temporal scope of the charges against the two accused.  The Appeals Chamber found that once the charges against an accused are confirmed it is no longer possible to amend or add charges.  The Appeals Chamber confirmed that once the confirmation of charges is completed the only change that can be made to the charges is a recharacterisation of the facts while not exceeding the facts and circumstances of those described in the charges confirmed by the Pre-Trial Chamber.

Libya to allow US and UK authorities question ICC indicted Al-Senussi: Libya Justice Minister Salah Merghani has stated that Libya will allow authorities from the UK and US travel to Libya and question former Gaddafi Spy Chief Abdullah Al-Senussi over the 1988 bombing of a PanAm flight over Lockerbie Scotland.   When asked if Al-Senussi, who is indicted for crimes against humanity before the ICC, would be questioned, Merghani is quoted as saying “Yes this is the intention … What we are working on is finalizing the arrangements for this as much as obtaining the evidence that’s available with the UK and US authorities … We all need to know the facts.”

ICTY Seselj case continues after Judge Harhoff’s disqualification:  On 13 December 2013, the Trial Chamber of the ICTY decided that the trial against Vojislav Seselj would continue following the election of Judge  Mandiaye Niang to the bench.  Judge Niang was elected to the Trial Chamber after Judge Harhoff was disqualified on Seselj’s request.  The Trial Chamber noted that Judge Niang is capable of assessing the credibility of witnesses while becoming familiar with the case.

ECCC Prosecution issues list of potential witnesses:  On 17 December 2013 it was reported that Prosecutors on the ECCC case against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan issued a confidential listed of 96 witnesses who will give evidence about Khamer Rouge detention facilities and work sites.  Witnesses are reported to include “Cambodian citizens, journalists, civil servants, military personnel, local authorities and monks” as well as seven experts and Kaing Kek leve (“Duch”) who was convicted by the ECCC and sentenced to life for crimes committed in Tuol Sleng prison.

UN Commission to be established for CAR crimes:  On 16 December 2013, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated that the United Nations will establish a commission which will investigate crimes committed in the Central African Republic; which Ban Ki-moon as said “descended into chaos” this year after the Government was overthrown in March.  Ban Ki-moon is quoted as saying he is “gravely concerned about the imminent danger of mass atrocities.”  Bi Ki-moon said that the presence of humanitarian efforts, including African and French troops, and human rights monitors has improved the situation, but that “we must do more to meet this test of global solidarity.”

Ireland in discussions with ICC on witness relocation program:  On 16 December 2013, Fatou Bensouda stated that the Government of Ireland is in negotiations with the ICC in order to establish a program which would relocate witnesses to Ireland after their testimony before the ICC.  Speaking from Dublin, the Prosecutor stated that “Protection of witnesses is one of the court’s main priorities and in this regard the conclusion of witness relocation agreements with the court is a practical way through which [states] can help the court meet this challenge.”

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12 December 2013 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Saif Al Islam domestic hearing adjourned: A Tripoli court held a hearing on Thursday, 12 December 2013, for Saif Al Islam, son of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.  The hearing was adjourned to the end of February “due to the absence” of four other accused, all charged with threatening national security during the 2011 revolt.  Saif Al Islam is also wanted by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity.  (Gulf News).

Bensouda calls out U.N. Security Council for “prolonging” Darfur conflict: ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has accused the U.N. Security Council of inaction.  Specifically, Bensouda has voiced concern over the Security Council’s failure to arrest Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir.  Since the war in Darfur began in 2003, the U.N. and other international organizations have expended more than $10.5 billion.  An estimated 300,000 individuals have died and over 2.7 million displaced.  Bensouda said the “council’s silence even when notified of clear failure and/or violations by U.N. member states of their obligations to comply with this council’s resolutions only serves to add insult to the plight of Darfur’s victims.”  (ABC News).

ECCC prosecutor wants second trial immediately: On Wednesday, 11 December 2013, officials from the ECCC met to discuss how to proceed with the second part of the trial of Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea.  The Chambers concluded with the first part of the trial on forced evacuations at the beginning of this year.  ECCC international prosecutor Nicholas Kourmjian requested the second proceedings begin “as soon as possible.”  Lawyers for the two senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge has asked to delay the next part until the ECCC issues a decision on the first. (VOA Cambodia).

Gaddafi’s head of security deserves ICC trial; says daughter: The daughter of Muammar Gaddafi’s head of security says her father deserves a fair trial at the ICC.  Abdullah al-Senussi, accused of crimes against humanity related to the conflict during Gaddafi’s rule, has been in a Libyan prison the past 16 months.  The ICC ruled earlier this year that the Libyan government could fairly try Senussi.  Senussi’s daughter, however, fears her father will face a “show trial” if not sent to The Hague.  (Chicago Tribune).

Accused Kenyan journalist claims ICC cases unconstitutional: Walter Barasa, a journalist accused by the ICC of witness interference, has moved the Kenyan High Court to declare the ICC cases against President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto unconstitutional. Barasa claims the ICC cannot legally apply laws retrospectively to the sitting Kenyan leaders.  The High Court has yet to decide whether to extradite Barasa to The Hague for trial.  (The Star).

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28 November 2013 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Congolese soldier to remain at ICC; single judge rules: On 18 November 2013, an ICC judge denied release from court custody a Congolese military leader accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes. Bosco Ntaganda argued his voluntary surrender for two arrest warrants and his lack of travel documents showed his commitment to remain in The Hague and cooperate fully with the ICC. The Single Judge rejected these arguments and found Ntaganda’s “prior ability to escape for such a lengthy period of time, until the moment of his choosing, enhances his motivation to flee when the circumstances allow.” Ntaganda faces charges for enlisting child soldiers and committing crimes of rape, murder and slavery during the 2002-2003 Congolese conflict. (All Africa).

ECCC Chamber rules second trial for Khmer Rouge leaders “imperative”: On Monday, 25 November 2013, the ECCC’s Supreme Court Chamber held it was “imperative” to commence as soon as possible the next trial against Khmer Rouge senior leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan. The Chamber found that any delay in trying the two leaders may violate the right to a speedy trial and create issues for continued pre-trial detention. The Chamber noted concerns of “financial malaise” by the ECCC was “irrelevant and inappropriate.” The two senior leaders face charges of genocide in the next trial. (The Cambodian Daily).

Painful visit to Bosnian mass grave for ICTY President: ICTY President Theodor Meron visited a mass grave in Bosnia this Monday, 25 November 2013, where the remains of at least 430 unidentified Bosniak and Croat victims have recently been excavated. Many of the victims were killed in concentration camps and home searches by Serbs during the early 1990s war. Meron, a Holocaust survivor, said it was “very difficult to speak at [a] place where one stands face to face with the horror a man can do to another man.” (Springfield News-Sun).

Bensouda requests additional funds for ICC operations: ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has asked the ICC Assembly of States Parties to approve an additional Sh2.3 billion for next year’s operations. Bensouda said the increased funding was necessary to “carry out deeper investigations to meet the required threshold of proof.” Tiina Intelman, President of the ICC Assembly of States Parties, said an increase in the Court’s budget for operations is a process that requires either an amendment to the Rome Statute, which takes time, or a change to the rules, which has a more immediate effect. (All Africa).

Trinidad’s Henderson appointed ICC judge: The Assembly of States Parties elected Geoffrey Andrew Henderson of Trinidad and Tobago to the ICC. Henderson, a graduate of the University of West Indies Law Faculty and the Sir Hugh Wooding Law School, takes the seat of recently named Trinidad President Sir Anthony Carmona. Henderson’s term will end on 10 March 2021. (Carib Journal).

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4 November 2013 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ECCC defendants maintain not-guilty at closing arguments:  On 31 October 2013, the two surviving former leaders of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge asked to be acquitted as closing arguments were made at the ECCC.  Nuon Chea and Khieu were initially charged with crimes against humanity.  It is expected that a verdict will be delivered in the first half of 2014.  (UN News).

In absentia death sentences for two ICT-Bangladesh defendants:  On 3 November 2013, Chowdhury Mueen Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khan were found guilty of carrying out episodes of torture and murder during the war of independence from Pakistan in 1971.  Defense lawyers are calling the trial a farce while veterans of the war were said to be cheering the decision.  (Reuters).

Kenya ICC trial delayed; encouraged by UN African members:  Rwanda, Togo and Morocco circulated a draft resolution among UN Security Council members this last Friday asking to defer the ICC trials of President Kenyatta and his deputy Ruto for one year.  The Security Council has the ability to defer ICC proceedings for one year under Article 16 of the Rome Statute.  (For more information on this topic, please click here, here.)  (Reuters, CNN).

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24 October 2013 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Chea’s defense team denounces “showcase” trial:  Lawyers from Nuon Chea’s defense team called his trial “a showcase of the conclusion that everyone involved wanted and expected from the day the tribunal was constituted,” stating that “no one in this court is interested in ascertaining the truth.” One lawyer – Voctor Koppe – cited political interference as preventing his team from obtaining the evidence they needed to adequately secure their defense.  Chea (“Brother No. Two”) and former head of state Khieu Samphan stand trial for their role in the Khmer Rouge atrocities in Cambodia in the late seventies.  Earlier this week, prosecutors requested the maximum sentence – life imprisonment – for the men.  (AFP)

Suspended sentences possible for Kenyatta and Ruto: ICC judge Chile Ebo-Osuji has said that suspended sentences for President Kenyatta and Vice President Ruto of Kenya may be possible, meaning that if they are convicted, their sentence would not be imposed until they leave office.  The African Union recently appealed to the ICC to delay their trial given their responsibilities in their home country with regards to reconciliation and development, and Judge Ebo-Osuji has stated that the court could consider any “real contributions” in sentencing.  “Such mitigating circumstances could result in penitent credits or suspended sentence pending completion of term of office,” said Ebo-Osuii, “depending, of course, on other considerations as well.”  However, the judge did caution the UN Security Council with regards to the AU’s bid for deferral. (All Africa).

Fifth witness in Ruto case speaks to symbolic protection against arson for ODM supporters: The fifth witness in the case against Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto testified that houses belonging to ODM supporters in Kenya’s 2007 election were symbolically marked to spare them from being burned.  He described how Kalenjin warriors burned homes belonging to Kikuyus, but skipped homes marked with “ODM 41.”  “As we were running, I noticed that the houses that did not have the label ‘ODM 41’ were burning,” he said.  He further testified that the young warriors were running with jerricans of fuel through the homes.  (Standard Digital)

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