Archive for category ECCC
ICC Prosecution opens a preliminary examination in Palestine: On 16 January 2015, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda opened a preliminary examination to examine the situation currently in Palestine. The preliminary examination has been opened based on the Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute, which gives the ICC jurisdiction since 13 June 2014. The preliminary examination will allow the ICC to examine the information to see if there is a reasonable basis for a full investigation into Palestine. (International Criminal Court)
Fingerprints reveals that body found is not of ICC witness: Fingerprints revealed that the body found in a Kenyan river was not the body of missing ICC witness Meshack Yebei. The fingerprints taken off the body were those of Yusuf Hussein, but DNA tests will soon tell whom the body belongs to. Karim Khan, Deputy President William Ruto’s attorney, stated that Yebei was a witness in Ruto’s trial. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda stated that Yebei was not included on the ICC’s witness list for due to a scheme to corrupt witnesses. (ABC News)
Stephen Rapp is stepping down as US Ambassador of War Crimes: Stephen J. Rapp has been the US Ambassador of war crimes for almost five and a half years during the Obama administration. Rapp is stepping down from his position, though it has not been formally announced. Rapp joined the administration in 2009 with a reputation for holding people responsible for war crimes. Rapp started out his career as a victim of a kidnapping and led on to be a federal prosecutor in Iowa, a United Nations prosecutor for Rwanda and Sierra Leone. University of Michigan professor, Steven Ratner, stated that Rapp improved US relations with the ICC, but has had little success in getting American intelligence agencies to share information about human rights abuses abroad. It is unclear how soon Rapp will be stepping down from his position and who will replace him. (Foreign Policy)
Amnesty says Boko Haram attack of Baga should be investigated for CAH and WCs: Amnesty International released satellite images of attacks by Boko Haram militants on the towns of Baga and Doron Baga. The released images contain before and after pictures that show the amount of damage done to the towns. Over 3,700 structures were damaged or demolished in the attacks. These images also corroborate testimonies gathered by Amnesty International on the attacks. Amnesty International stated that killing of civilians and destruction of property are war crimes and crimes against humanity that should be investigated. US Secretary of State, John Kerry, also labeled the attack as a crime against humanity. (Amnesty International, NDTV) (for additional information please click here)
ECCC accused concerned by stand-by counsel: Judges at the Khmer Rouge tribunal ordered stand-by counsel for Khieu Samphan for trial due to the boycott of proceedings by current counsel. During a hearing on 8 January, Samphan’s defense team claimed that the court was putting pressure on their client. Shortly afterwards, Samphan was rushed to the hospital with dizziness and high blood pressure. An attorney for Khieu Samphan stated in an email that the presence of stand=by counsel made Samphan anxious and could have contributed to going to the hospital. (Cambodia Daily)
ICC Prosecutor withdraws charges against Kenyan President Kenyatta: Prosecutors at the ICC dropped the charges against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta for crimes against humanity. Kenyatta was indicted for inciting post-election violence in 2007. The charges were dropped after the ICC gave prosecutors a one-week deadline to submit evidence against Kenyatta or to drop the charges. Prosecutors had asked for more time to build its case on more than one occasion, claiming witnesses had been bribed or intimidated. The ICC gave this one-week ultimatum stating that any further delays would be “contrary to the interest of justice.” (BBC) (for additional information please click here)
Former UNAMID spokesperson asks Bensouda to push UNSC for Sudan inquiry: Aicha Elbasri, former United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur spokesperson, asked prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, to look into an alleged cover-up by UN peacekeepers in Sudan. Elbasri pushed Bensouda to ask the United Nations Security Council to look further into these matters. Elbasri’s letter stated that the UN peacekeepers assigned to investigate the claims of manipulating the truth about Darfur were part of “an internal, partial, biased and secretive process.” Elbasri stepped down as spokesperson in April 2013 with claims that she had been prevented from informing the public about the events occurring in Darfur. (Sudan Tribune)
ECCC Prosecution appeals judges’ decision not to consider foreseeable crimes: The Trial Chamber of the Khmer Rouge tribunal refused ECCC prosecutor’s claims against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan in crimes that the two did not directly order or oversee. The prosecutors are now appealing that decision stating that the defendants should be held accountable for crimes that were reasonably foreseeable. Chea and Samphan both are already facing life sentences for crimes against humanity and are appealing those decisions. William Smith, international deputy co-prosecutor, stated that the Trial Chamber should be able to consider crimes such as rape that were foreseeable from actions of the accused. (Cambodia Daily)
Seselj rejects return to ICTY detention after provisional release: Earlier this week, the prosecution filed a motion to send nationalist leader Vojislav Seselj back to ICTY detention. Seselj was accused with Serbian war crimes, but was provisionally released to seek treatment for cancer. Seselj vowed that he would not return to the Tribunal. Chief prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, stated that despite Seselj’s health condition, Seselj has still made many comments that insult victim communities. Brammertz also stated that these comments called into question the trial chamber’s assessment of Seselj’s condition for provisional release. (Journal of Turkish Weekly)
ECCC boycott results in trial adjournment until January 2015: The genocide trial for Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, two ex-Khmer Rouge leaders, has been adjourned until 8 January 2015. Khieu Samphan’s defence attorneys continued to boycott the proceedings for the defendant. Both defendants wanted more time to file appeal documents on their life sentences for crimes against humanity in a previous trial in August. Judge Nil Nonn stated that the court did not have any other alternative, but would pursue misconduct proceedings against the attorneys. (eNews Channel Africa)
Activist calls for UNSC attention to alleged rapes in Darfur: Ahmed Hussein Adam, researcher at Cornell University, calls to the UN Security Council to probe into the security and humanitarian situation in Darfur and protect civilians. Hussein Adam urged the Security Council to inquire into the mass rape of women in Tabit. He expressed disappointment by victims and their families in the Security Council’s decision for the Sudanese government to conduct investigations. Hussein Adam does not think that Sudan should investigate itself and called for the ICC to investigate, as well as add more charges. (Radio Dabanga)
ICC Prosecution Witness testifies about treatment in witness protection: An ICC prosecution witness, referred to as Witness 800, states how he considered recanting his statement for the prosecution in a trial due to the treatment by protection officers. An individual, referred to as person 19, told him about an offer from another individual, referred to as person 7. Witness 800 considered taking the offer because the amount of money his family received was not enough to support them. This is not the first instance of witness interference in the trial against Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang who both face three counts of crimes against humanity. (AllAfrica)
HRW says Israeli’s demolition of Palestinian homes could be war crime: On 22 November 2014, Human Rights Watch called upon Israel to stop its practice of demolishing Palestine terrorists’ homes. The NGO states that this practice unlawfully punishes those who did not commit terrorist acts and could constitute as a war crime. Three current houses have been slated for demolition, but the families have appealed. Mohammed Mahmud, the families’ lawyer, stated that their petition would be heard by an Israeli military court on Sunday. (Israel National News)
Nizami appeal filed and Mobarak verdict expected at ICT Bangladesh: Mobarak Hossain, alleged Razakar commander, has his verdict coming out on Monday for his trial. Mobarak stands accused of crimes against humanity during the Liberation War. The prosecution sought the death penalty at the end of trial in May. Motiur Rahman Nizami, Jamaat chief, has appealed his verdict from the ICT to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. Nizami was sentenced to death for crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War. Nizami is seeking acquittal from all war crimes charges. (Dhaka Tribune) (for additional information click here)
ICC conduct official visit to Bulgaria: Prosecutor General of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr Sotir Tsatsarov, invited ICC officials for an official visit to Bulgaria to meet with high-level Bulgarian representatives. ICC officials included President of the ICC, Judge Sang-Hyun Song, ICC Prosecutor, Mrs Fatou Bensouda, and ICC Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova. Bulgarian officials repeated Bulgaria’s commitment to the ICC and international criminal justice. (International Criminal Court)
Khieu Samphan Defense misses ECCC deadline to end boycott: On Monday, 17 November 2014, ECCC judges gave Khieu Samphan until 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, 18, November 2014, to end the boycott of his defense team in Case 002/02 or else face expedited proceedings. Samphan has apparently ignored this order and has not withdrawn instructions to his defense team to boycott proceedings. Samphan defense counsel Anta Guisee stated that “It’s not a whim from his part to annoy the Trial Chamber but a urge to be able to defend himself properly.” (The Cambodia Daily).
Jamaican Judge Robinson elected to the bench at ICJ: The ICJ has elected Jamaican Judge Patrick Lipton Robinson to serve a nine-year tenure beginning February 2015. Judge Robinson’s election followed several rounds of voting in which the Security Council and General Assembly were deadlocked. Judge Robinson consistently received more than 2/3 majority votes in the General Assembly while Argentina’s Susana Ruiz Cerutti, who withdrew last Wednesday, received the majority in the Security Council. Judge Robinson is the first Jamaican and second Caribbean person to serve on the Court. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (StabroekNews.com, Jamaica Observer).
FIDH concerned by effect ICC reforms will have on victims’ participation: The International Federation for Human Rights submitted comments to the ICC relating to proposals for changes to the Registry’s structure and managerial framework. While supporting the Registry in its initiative for improvement, the FIDH is concerned that the reform process “may fundamentally affect the rights of victims to participate and obtain legal representation.” Specifically, the FIDH notes that the reform could, among other things, deprive victims of external independent counsel and prevent sufficient victim/counsel contact. (FIDH).
ICTY spokesman says Chamber can monitor Seselj’s actions while released: ICTY spokesperson Magdalena Spalinska said the Tribunal retains discretion to take suitable action over the provisional release of former Serbian leader Vojislav Seselj. Seselj was granted provisional release earlier this month on the condition he not interfere with victims or witnesses and he return to the Tribunal if summoned. Last week, Seselj made public appearances which could be seen as interfering with victims and witnesses. (B92).
Resolution passed at UN urging SC to refer N. Korea to ICC: On Tuesday, 18 November 2014, the U.N. General Assembly’s human rights committee approved a resolution urging the Security Council to hold North Korea and its leader Kim Jong-un accountable for crimes against humanity. The non-binding resolution cites the U.N. commission of inquiry report issued earlier this year that found evidence of human rights abuses in North Korea committed under policies “established at the highest level of the state for decades.” China and Russia, permanent members of the Security Council, were against the resolution which will now go to the General Assembly for vote in December. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (The Guardian).
STL hears testimony from Lebanese MP: Former Lebanese Minister Marwan Hamade testified at the Special Tribunal of Lebanon this week on the strained relationship between Syrian President Bashar Assad and former Lebanon Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Hamade described, among other things, how Assad allegedly humiliated Hariri in public outings and expected “complete obedience” from the former prime minister prior to the February 2005, assassination of Hariri. The Special Tribunal is currently trying five men in absentia for the assassination. (The Daily Star).
Sri Lankan Commission of Inquiry to begin collecting evidence: Secretary to the Sri Lankan Presidential Commission H.W. Gunadasa said that the Commission will be accepting written statements concerning abuses committed during the country’s civil war that ended in 2009. Gunadasa said the statements will be received until 31 December 2014, at which point the Commission will begin inquiries and investigations of alleged war crimes and human rights abuses. The Commission is tasked with investigating and reporting on the events leading up to Sri Lanka’s civil war and whether any person or group should be held responsible. (Global Post).
ECCC gives boycotting defense team ultimatum: On Monday, 17 November 2014, ECCC accused Khieu Samphan was told to end the boycott of his trial by defense counsel or else face expedited proceedings, such as the appointment of a new defense team or “any other action the court may deem appropriate.” Samphan’s counsel were not present in the courtroom on Monday when the ECCC judges considered how to address the ongoing boycott. Since 17 October 2014, proceedings in Case 002/02 have been adjourned as Samphan and co-accused Nuon Chea ordered their defense counsel to boycott until certain procedural complaints were resolved. (The Cambodia Daily).
DRC military tribunal sentences army officer and rebel commander to death: Congolese military lieutenant, Nzanzu Birotsho, and rebel leader of the Ugandan Islamist Allied Democratic Forces, Jamil Makulu, were sentenced to death on Monday, 17 November 2014, by the Democratic Republic of Congo military tribunal. The senior army officer and the rebel commander were both convicted of terrorism and belonging to an insurrection movement and will likely face only prison time as the country observes a moratorium on carrying out death sentences. (Reuters).
UN Commission of Inquiry finds evidence of war crimes and CAH: The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria published a paper describing known ISIS tactics like slavery, rape, and enslavement and reported details of lessor known acts as well. More than 300 first-hand accounts were considered in this report including photos and videos of the violence and victims. The UN panel concluded that ISIS has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. The paper called for groups like the International Criminal Court to hold ISIS accountable for its actions. (CNN, Al Arabiya News) (For additional information please click here)
Seselij appears at rally during provision release: The International Criminal Tribunal of Yugoslavia provisionally released Serbian nationalist leader, Vojislav Seselj, for medical treatment for his colon cancer. His release was contingent upon his return should the court summon him for trial. However, on 15 November 2014, Seselj rallied thousands of supporters for his return. Seselj has vowed revenge upon those currently in power and stated that Serbia will hold elections next year, which cuts the current government’s term short. Seselj was charged with inciting followers to commit murder, ethnic cleansing, and other war crimes. He has stated that he will never return to the ICTY voluntarily should a verdict be reached upon those charges. (Reuters, Europe Online Magazine) (For additional information please click here)
Vote set for Tuesday on UN GA resolution on N. Korea abuses and investigation: The UN General Assembly is set to vote on a resolution concerning human rights abuses in North Korea and calls for a war crimes probe. This resolution was drafted by the European Union and Japan and sets the vote for Tuesday. Michael Kirby, an Australian judge who led the UN inquiry, calls this vote a “moment of truth” for the UN. The resolution highlights many details from a UN report sent out in February with testimonies of North Korean exiles on prison camps, accounts of torture, and other crimes. (SBS)
ECCC defence application to disqualify judges dismissed: A majority of a five-member judicial panel of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s trial chamber dismissed applications made by defendants Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan to disqualify four of five of the court’s judges. Chea believed that the judges would not give him a fair trial based on their previous guilty verdict in August. Samphan wanted additional time to prepare for his appeal. The four members of the panel dismissed the application, with Judge Rowan Downing dissenting. The full reasoning behind their decision will be provided as soon as possible. Victor Koppe, Chea’s lawyer, stated that counsel would most likely start attending the trial hearings. This should end the on-going boycott of the case. (The Phnom Penh Post)
Former Habre security personnel appear before Special Court in Chad: Hissene Habre ruled Chad for eight years before being overthrown in 1990 by the current President Idriss Deby. Over twenty former Habre security personnel were charged with murder and torture on Friday in a special court. Saleh Younous, former director of a secret police group, was one of the defendants present. Twenty-one of the defendants pled not guilty, four others charged have since died, and four others were either ill or on the run. (World Bulletin)
Seselj’s arrival in Belgrade brings mixed reactions, and visit from ICTY Prosecutor: On Wednesday, 12 November 2014, former Serbian leader Vojislav Seselj arrived in Belgrade, Serbia, in order to receive treatment for colon cancer after being granted provisional release by ICTY judges. Seselj’s provisional release is conditioned on him not interfering with victims or witnesses and returning to the tribunal if summoned. Hundreds of supporters welcomed Seselj, while others, like the victims from Bosnia, have found the provisional release to be a shame. ICTY Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz is scheduled to visit Serbia next week. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (CTV News, InSerbia Network Foundation).
ECCC contemplates temporary “friends of the court” to resolve defense boycott: A confidential email has been reportedly sent by the ECCC’s Defence Support Section to potential lawyers seeking their availability to temporarily replace the international defenders for Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea. It has been suggested that the ECCC appoint temporary lawyers as “friend[s] of the court” in order to continue proceedings in Case 002/02 despite ongoing boycotts by the international defenders. Existing Samphan defender Kong Sam Onn considers such efforts of replacement to be a “breach of the professional code of conduct of lawyers.” (The Phnom Penh Post).
Libya refuses to transfer Saif Gaddafi to the ICC: The Libyan government did not surrender Saif Gaddafi to the ICC stating “the security conditions that are currently taking place in Libya . . . led to the decision to postpone the meetings so that it can directly consider what circumstances are appropriate for ensuring a fair trial . . . .” ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda issued a report on Tuesday, 11 November 2014, urging the Libyan government to comply with the ICC’s order requiring the transfer of Gaddafi. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (Middle East Monitor, Aljazeera).
Rwanda investigating BBC for genocide denial: The BBC is being investigated for genocide denial by Rwanda’s Chief Prosecutor Martin Ngoga and a special Rwandan commission. Previously, U.S. attorney Peter Erlinder and Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire were investigated and indicted by Ngoga for genocide denial. (Global Research).
Int’l Prosecutors pass resolution to ensure accountability: A resolution stressing the importance of accountability in international justice, peace and security was adopted at the 7th Colloquium of International Prosecutors on 4-5 November 2014. The resolution, crafted with the help of international and national prosecutors, international court representatives, academic institutions and human rights organizations, also urges the international community to provide support to the international courts. The resolution marks the 20th anniversary commemoration of the establishment of the ICTR. (All Africa).