Archive for category Human Rights Violations
Final ICC Prosecution witness in Ruto / Sang case found and begins testifying: The final prosecution witness for both President William Ruto’s and journalist Joshua Sang’s hearings has been located and began testifying from a video link from a secret location at the Hague. The witness was absent and failed to testify earlier. International Criminal Court Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, asked for more time in pursuing the witness. Prosecution wanted several weeks to locate the witness as they claimed the person was a key witness with crucial evidence to the case. Defence claimed that prosecution should only be given a few days. (All Africa) (for additional information click here)
OHRHC plans to open field office in Seoul to monitor N. Korea HR: The officer of human rights of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights plans to open a field office in Seoul to monitor human rights in North Korea. This comes from last year’s report by the UN Commission of Inquiry that recommended the establishment of a field office after alleging that North Korea’s leaders committed crimes against humanity. (Voice of America News)
Former PM questioned at STL over arrested generals: Former Prime Minister of Lebanon, Fouad Siniora, provided testimony at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Siniora denied any direct involvement in the 2005 arrest and release of four Lebanese generals charged in relation to Rafik Hariri’s assassination. Siniora was the current prime minister of Lebanon during the assassination. (Daily Star)
Amnesty cites Palestinian War Crimes during Gaza war: Amnesty has cited in a report that Palestinian militant organizations had committed war crimes during the 2014 Gaza-Israel conflict. Such crimes spawn from the decision by combatants to use indiscriminate projectiles to inflict damage and causalities. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (Amnesty, The Guardian).
SCSL denies application for Charles Taylor detention transfer: Ex-Liberian President Charles Taylor made a request to the court to serve out his jail term, handed down by the UN-Backed court, in a facility in Rwanda. This request was denied and he will remain in the UK. (For additional information on this topic, please click here, here.) (BBC, The Guardian, Yahoo).
20 convicted in Chad for Habre-Era crimes: 20 former security agents of the 1982-1990 Hissène Habré dictatorship have been convicted of torture by the special criminal court. On addition, the Chadian government has been ordered to pay USD 125 million in reparations to over 7,000 victims. (HRW).
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.
Amnesty appeals to UN Veto Powers to relinquish veto during mass atrocities: Amnesty International has issued a statement condemning the international response to the array of catastrophes which took place in 2014. Amnesty has asked that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council be forced to give up their power of veto in cases where atrocities are being committed as a way to prevent interference. Unfortunately, Amnesty does not see 2015 as being a better year for abuse victims.
Victims hope to have CAR crimes included in case against Ongwen: In a statement published February 18, the Association of LRA Victims in the Central African Republic, a local NGO well-known in Bangui, called for Ongwen’s case to be extended to crimes committed in the CAR between 2008 and 2014. The ICC Prosecutor wants Ongwen tried for three counts of crimes against humanity and four counts of war crimes.
European Court considering case of Iraq War deserter: Andre Shepherd, former U.S. military Apache helicopter mechanic, deserted his position in 2007. He has since claimed refugee status in Germany, however, to qualify as a refugee under the EU law, Shepherd would have to present evidence showing it was credible that war crimes would have been committed during his service in Iraq. Given the prison he could face in the US, it is unlikely he will be eligible for refugee status.
Mrs. Gbagbo appears before national trial and denies wrongdoing: Simone Gbagbo presented evidence for the first time in her trial in Abidjan. Mrs. Gbagbo denies all wrongdoing in her alleged role in inciting post election violence in 2010. In December 2014, the ICC denied the Ivory Coast’s admissibility application to try Mrs. Gbagbo nationally and ordered the Ivory Coast to surrender her to the Hague. By starting Mrs. Gbagbo’s trial, the Ivory Coast is proceeding in violation of the ICC’s decision. Mrs. Gbagbo’s husband, former President Laurent Gbagbo, is currently being tried at the ICC. (BBC, France24, ICC-CPI) (for additional information please click here and here)
ICC Prosecution to call final witness in Ruto / Sang case on 23 March: The 30th and last witness in the case against former Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang will testify on 23 March 2015. The ICC Public Affairs Unit stated that witness P0727 has been unwilling to testify and has put conditions upon testifying. The witness did not appear to testify on 2 February 2015, but will now testify by video from a secret location on 23 March. (CaptialFM)
At-large former lawmaker sentenced to life imprisonment by ICT Bangladesh: The International Criminal Tribunal of Bangladesh sentenced former lawmaker, Abdul Jabbar, to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity. The crimes against humanity were committed during the 1971independence war against Pakistan and include counts of genocide and religious persecution of the country’s Hindi minority. The court stated that Jabbar would get some leniency in mere imprisonment due to old age. Jabbar is still at-large and is thought to be in the United States. (The Economic Times, The Sun Daily) (for additional information please click here)
UNAMI and OHCHR report says HR violations in Iraq increasingly sectarian: A report produced by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights highlights the increase of human rights violations in Iraq. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have intentionally targeted members of Iraq’s different ethnic communities. The report covers a three month period from11 September to 10 December 2014. The report claims that many of the acts committed could constitute as war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide. (United Nations)
US federal court orders 218 million USD award against Palestinian Authority: A United States jury found in favor of ten American families for six attacks credited to the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Hamas over a decade ago. The Manhattan based court ordered the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority to pay 218 million USD. The United States Anti-Terrorist Act allows citizens harmed by terrorist acts to sue for damages in federal courts. Both groups stated that they would appeal the ruling. The Palestinian Authority signed the Rome Statute and submitted an Article 12(3) declaration in January 2015 in order to accept the ICC jurisdiction. (France24)
Amnesty highlights evidence of war crimes for Egyptian airstrikes in Libya: Amnesty International stated that violence in Libya is escalating and that civilians are feeling the impact of the attack. Amnesty claims that the Egyptian Air Force did not take the necessary precautions in their air strike over Libya to prevent civilian deaths. Amnesty has many eyewitness accounts that highlight the damage done over civilian populated areas in Libya. (Amnesty International)
UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria ready to publish names of alleged perpetrators: Investigators on the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Syria are prepared to release four lists documenting the names of individuals and groups allegedly guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity since conflict erupted in Syria in March 2011. The lists have been safeguarded at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva and allegedly include names of several senior commanders and armed group leaders. Commission investigators said “Not to publish the names at this juncture of the investigation would be to reinforce the impunity that the commission was mandated to combat.” (The Telegraph).
Sri Lanka Parliament passes witness protection law ahead of war crimes investigations: The new Sri Lankan government has passed a witness protection law to assist with national investigations into war crimes allegedly committed during the end of the country’s 26-year civil war. The law requires the government to establish safe houses to allow people to give evidence and participate in the national investigations. The Sri Lankan government has received pressure from the international community to fully investigate and prosecute crimes. The U.N. Human Rights Council recently delayed the release of a report investigating war crimes in Sri Lanka. (First Post).
Body of ICC witness possibly found: It is being reported that a body found in Tsavo National Park in Kenya may be that of a missing defence witness in the ICC case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto. ICC defence witness Meshack Yebei went missing on 28 December 2014 after leaving ICC protection. Final identification of the body by family and DNA samples is ongoing. (All Africa).
ICTY accused Hadzic asks for leave for medical treatment: Former president of the Republic of Serbian Krajina, Goran Hadzic, has requested provisional release from the ICTY in order to undergo chemotherapy for cancer. Hadzic’s defence argued the accused will be unable to attend the trial for months as it would negatively affect his health during chemotherapy. The former president is on trial for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the 1991-1995 conflict in Croatia. (InSerbia).
HR Advocacy groups lobby CAR Government to establish Special Court: Human rights advocacy groups are urging the Central African Republic’s government to adopt a law establishing a Special Criminal Court to prosecute those responsible for serious violations of international and human rights law. The Special Criminal Court would be part of the country’s national judicial system and consist of 14 national and 13 international judges. The human rights advocacy groups believe such a court will “strengthen” the country’s judicial system and “constitutes a balanced and innovative initiative to support the Central African judicial system, which is ravaged by the conflict triggered in 2012 by the armed groups in the northern part of the country.” (Jurist).
Ongwen discloses meeting with Kony in December 2014: A report by the Switzerland-based group Smalls Arms Survey states that Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Dominic Ongwen admitted meeting with LRA leader Joseph Kony near Darfur in December 2014. Ongwen first appeared before the ICC on 26 January 2015, after surrending to U.S. troops in the Central African Republic. Ongwen faces seven counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes charges. (Sudan Tribune).
Government to address Sri Lankan Parliament about UN HR Council report: The Sri Lanka government will make a statement to parliament on 20 February 2015 regarding the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) report and the government’s request to postpone its release. The UNHRC report concerns alleged war crimes committed in Sri Lanka. Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala De Silva requested that the government reveal its stance on the issue, the steps it would take, and to present parliament with the letter sent to the UN Human Rights Chief. Chief Government Whip Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka replied to the request stating that the government would present a response later on 20 February. (News.LK)
Ngudjolo Chui judgment on appeal of acquittal rescheduled to 27 Feb: The judgment on appeal of the acquittal for Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui has been rescheduled by the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court to next Friday, 27 February 2015. Chui was acquitted back in 2012 for three counts of crimes against humanity and seven counts of war crimes. These allegations stemmed from an attack on the village of Bogoro in the DRC. The Office of the Prosecutor appealed the verdict on 20 December 2012 and Chui was released from custody the following day. (International Criminal Court)