Archive for category ECCC

30 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

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).

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24 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

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

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

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

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5 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC Appeals Chamber issues arrest warrant for suspect Banda: Judge Sang-Hyun Song recently clarified the court’s position on whether the Trial Chamber should have provided Mr. Banda with a further opportunity to present submissions on the appropriateness of replacing the summons to appear with a warrant of arrest after being satisfied that Mr. Banda would not appear voluntarily for his trial. The Appeals Chamber confirmed the Trial Chamber’s decision to reject Banda’s appeal against the court’s decision replacing the summons to appear by a warrant of arrest.

 ICC Prosecutor concludes early phases of Colombia investigation: The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC has finished its preliminary investigation into the reports of crimes allegedly committed by the Government of Colombia. The OTP reports that the Government of Colombia was cooperative and has reiterated its support for the ongoing efforts to bring an end to the armed conflict.

ECCC charges two in absentia for crimes against humanity and homicide: The Khmer Rouge tribunal has charged for Khmer Rouge navy chief Meas Muth and former district commander Im Chaem with homicide and and crimes against humanity. The charges must be accepted by the court’s senior judges before the two are indicted to face trial.

ICT Bangladesh accused appeals death penalty decision: The Bangladesh war crime tribunal found Jamaat leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman guilty of collaborating with Pakistani forces and committing war crimes including mass killings. He has filed a review petition with the country’s apex court against its verdict that upheld his death penalty for war crimes in 1971. His counsel Shishir Munir filed the review petition on Thursday.

Serbia War Crimes Office charges five for 1993 Bosnia killings: Serbia’s war crimes prosecutors have charged five people with war crimes which allegedly occurred in 1993. The five suspects have been accused of abducting 20 people from a train in eastern Bosnia in 1993 and brutally killing them. The War Crimes Prosecutor’s office has said that the indictment presents the first step in reaching truth and justice for the victims and their families.

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3 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

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

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

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

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

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10 February 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

US journalists testifies before ECCC on US relations with Khmer Rouge: Elizabeth Becker, an American journalist, responded to questions from prosecutor Nicholas Koumjian on the United States’ relations with the Khmer Rouge during the Cold War. Becker testified at the trial of Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, former Khmer Rouge regime leaders. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union were at odds. When the Soviet Union supported Vietnam, the United States supported China causing the United States to inadvertently support the Khmer Rouge. This marks the second and final phase of Chea’s and Samphan’s trials for charges of crimes against humanity, including genocide. (Voice of America)

Nepal creates two commissions of inquiry into war crimes and disappearances: Law Minister Narhari Acharya stated that Nepal created two commissions of inquiry on Tuesday into war crimes and disappearances during its communist insurgency. The commission will have duration of two years. Disagreements between political entities in the region delayed the formation of these commissions. (Fox News)

Egyptian Foreign Minister praises Bensouda for rejecting Muslim Brotherhood complaint on CAH: On 1 February 2015, the International Criminal Court rejected a complaint filed by the Muslim Brotherhood against Egypt for crimes against humanity. Sameh Shokry, Egyptian Foreign Minister, thanked ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda for the court’s decision. Badr Abdel Atty, Foreign Ministry spokesperson, stated that Shokry stated that the complaint could “impede Egyptians efforts to combat terrorism.” The court stated that it could not consider such a case, as Egypt did not sign the Rome Statute. Cases against nonmembers of the Rome Statute would need to be referred by the United Nations Security Council. (The Cairo Post)

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4 February 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURT

ECCC hears testimony of torture from former prisoner: On Monday, 2 February 2015, Keo Chandara testified at the ECCC that security guards tortured detainees with acid and pliers during the Khmer Rouge regime.  Keo Chandara, a former prisoner, also described how he witnessed one inmate being disemboweled and how the security guards discussed consuming the organs. Nuon Chea’s lawyer accused Keo Chandara of fabricating his imprisonment and the torture. The lawyer claimed Keo Chandara’s testimony differed from earlier versions to investigators. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (Time, Phnom Penh Post).

Uganda assures ICC of full support for Ongwen prosecution:  On Monday, 2 February 2015, Uganda’s attorney general, Peter Nyombi, reported that the country would fully support and cooperate with the ICC in the prosecution of Ugandan rebel leader Dominic Ongwen.  Nyombi stated that the country was establishing a technical committee to assist the ICC in identifying and accessing potential witnesses.  Ongwen faces charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes. (Tamil Guardian).

ICC Prosecutor urges peace in upcoming Nigerian election:  ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is urging all parties in the 14 February 2015, Nigerian election to refrain from violence.  Bensouda, in a written statement, stated her intent to send a team to Nigeria prior to the upcoming election to “further engage with the authorities and encourage the prevention of crimes.”  Bensouda noted that elections “gone astray” can lead to violence and even mass crimes.  ICC Prosecutors are currently investigating alleged war crimes committed by Boko Haram and Nigerian security forces. (ABC).

Egypt court confirms mass death sentence for 183:  On Monday, 2 February 2015, an Egyptian upper court confirmed 183 death sentences for supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood.  The supporters were convicted of killing police officers in the town of Kardasa during the uproar that followed the ousting of Egypt’s former president Mohamad Morsi in 2013.

ICC Chambers to deliver appeals judgment in Ngudjolo Chui case on 24 Feb: The ICC Appeals Chamber is expected to issue its decision on the prosecution’s appeal against the acquittal of Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui on 24 February 2015. Chui was acquitted of crimes against humanity and war crimes by Trial Chamber II in 2012 and released from custody.  The Prosecutor subsequently appealed the acquittal. (ICC).

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2 February 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC Judges asked to review decision of Prosecutor not to investigate crimes on Gaza Freedom Flotilla: Lawyers for the Comoros filed an application asking the ICC judges to review the decision of ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda not to initiate an investigation into crimes committed by Israeli Defense Forces on the ships of the Flotilla. Prosecutor Bensouda, while finding a “reasonable basis” to believe war crimes were committed on the ships of Flotilla in 2010, ultimately decided not to initiate investigations in November 2014. The Comoros’ lawyers claimed Prosecutor Bensouda failed to “take relevant matters” into consideration. (Yahoo).

ICTY Appeals Chamber upholds conviction of Popovic et al: On 30 January 2015, the ICTY Appeals Chamber upheld the 2010 convictions of five Bosnian Serbian military leaders for crimes committed in Srebrenica during the Bosnian war. The sentences of life for Vujadin Popovic and Ljubisa Beara for crimes including genocide were confirmed, as well as the 35 years of imprisonment for Drago Nikolic and 13 years imprisonment for Vinko Pandurevic. Radivoge Miletic’s sentence for crimes against humanity was reduced from 19 years to 18 years of imprisonment.  (BBC).

Sri Lanka’s new Government to initiate new probe into civil war abuses: On Wednesday, 28 January 2015, Sri Lanka’s new Government announced plans to investigate alleged human rights abuses committed at the end of the country’s 26-year civil war. A 2010 United Nations report found credible allegations that tens of thousands of Sri Lankans and ethnic Tamils were killed by Sri Lankan forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam between September 2008 and May 2009. The United Nations began investigations into the allegations in 2014 but accused former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa of interference and refusal to cooperate. (Jurist).

ICJ to issue decision on Croatia / Serbia genocide case on Tuesday 3 Feb: On Tuesday, 3 February 2015, the ICJ is expected to issue its decision in the 15-year-old Croatia and Serbia genocide case. Croatia brought Serbia before the ICJ back in 1999 on allegations of ethnic cleansing during Croatia’s 1991-1995 war of independence. It is estimated some 20,000 people died and large numbers of Croats were displaced, tortured and looted during the conflict. Serbia countersued in 2010 claiming Croatia launched a military attack during this time forcing over 200,000 ethnic Serbs to flee the area.

ECCC hears testimony of forced marriages: Cheang Srei Mom testified in front of the ECCC on Thursday, 29 January 2015, relating to her experience of forced marriages during the Khmer Rouge regime. Srei Mom testified that when she was 24 years old she was removed from the women’s unit to marry a member of the regime’s upper echelons. Srei Mom stated “I didn’t marry voluntarily, but I had to agree to the request. If I refused, I would also disappear, so I submitted myself.” The two ECCC accused, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, are alleged to have been involved in creating a policy of forced marriages during the regime. (Dunya News Network).

Kenya pledges 1 million USD to African criminal court: Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that the county would be committing one million U.S. dollars to the establishment of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights. President Kenyatta, speaking at the 24th Ordinary Session of the African Union Summit in Ethiopia, urged the other African countries to join Kenya “in ensuring that the necessary ratifications are in place and that the resulting court is fully owned, financed and driven by Africa.” The proposed African court is intended to “deliver[] African solutions to African Problems” as opposed to the “ICC which pre-occupies itself with trying to solve African challenges using western standards, perceptions and perspectives.” (Turkish Press).

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