Archive for category Human Rights Violations
STL begins contempt trial against Lebanese journalist and her TV station: Lebanese journalist, Karma Khayat, and her al-Jadeed TV station stand accused of obstruction of justice for the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Khayat and the TV station both deny identifying witnesses or compromising the case against Hariri’s alleged killers. Khayat stated that that this is an attempt to silence the media when journalists in Lebanon have the same rights as those in the West. Khayat also stated that the list she published was redacted without identifying statements and a full list was published later by someone else. Prosecutor Kenneth Scott stated “If witnesses are too frightened to come to this tribunal, then this tribunal is finished.” (BBC, The Guardian, Daily Star) (for additional information click here and here)
Acquitted Ngudjolo Chui seeks asylum in Switzerland: Ngudjolo Chui, who was acquitted by the ICC, is now applying for asylum in Switzerland. Chui is applying for asylum for fear of being deported from the Netherlands back to Kinshasa. After being acquitted by the ICC Trial Chamber and having the acquittal affirmed by the ICC Appeals Chamber, Chui was arrested by Dutch authorities immediately after the trial as he was leaving the courtroom. The Dutch authorities brought him straight to the airport to be deported back to the DRC and was forced onto a Kenya Airways passenger plane to Kinshasa. Chui had to assert certain things during his defense that now put his life at risk if he goes back to the DRC. Chui had asserted that in asylum applications to the Dutch authorities after his Trial Chamber acquittal. As the plane was about to takeoff, an emergency order from a Dutch immigration judge to hear asylum arguments forced the plane to return to the terminal. Since then, Chui has been at the detention unit at the Schiphol Airport trying to sort out immigration issues and apply for a humanitarian visa. (Letemps)
UNSC hears accounts of chemical weapons use in Syria: The United Nations Security Council heard first-hand accounts of chemical weapons used in Syria on Thursday. Syrian doctor, Saher Sahloul, reported the use of chlorine gas in Idlib that left six dead. Qusai Zakarya, a victim of an attack in Ghouta in August of 2013 was also present. The UNSC considered whether action was needed to stop the attacks. Organizations like Human Rights Watch called for investigations into these attacks and alleged that they were war crimes. (News24)
Hadzic arrives in Serbia after ICTY grants provisional release: The International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) granted a provisional release to former Croatian Serb rebel leader Goran Hadzic for cancer treatment on 13 April 2015. Hadzic stands accused of 14 alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1991-95 war in Croatia. Hadzic arrived in the Serbian capital on 16 April 2015 and was escorted by police to Novi Sad, where he will receive his cancer treatment. (Turkish Weekly)
US Senator indicates move to introduce CAH provision in US law: U.S. Senator Dick Durbin announced during his speech at Northwestern University School of Law that he intends to reintroduce Crimes Against Humanity legislation in Congress. Durbin stated a US law needs to be in place against crimes against humanity. (International Criminal Justice Today)
STL hears opening statements in obstruction case against Khayat: Karma Khayat and her TV station are accused of obstruction of justice in connection with reporting the events surrounding the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri. The prosecution asserts that that Khayat and al-Jadeed deliberately set out to reveal the identities of witnesses who had been promised anonymity. (For more information on this topic, please click here.) (BBC, Reuters)
Kosovo Court sets framework for domestic war crimes court: Chapters 2 and 3 of the Kosovo Constitution have been affirmed. Such amendments will effectively allow for the establishment of a war crimes court. The court will likely deal with war crimes committed by the now disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army. (b92)
HRW highlights sexual violence as a “tactic of war”: Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has issued a report that urges the UN Security to “integrate attention to sexual violence into its monitoring and field visits to conflict-affected countries, and to take preventive steps and measures to ensure accountability, including sanctions and referrals to the International Criminal Court.” A number of ongoing conflicts involve the use sexual violence as a way to terrorize civilian populations. The secretary-general acknowledged the devastating effects such crimes have on victims and the under-reporting that generally occurs under such circumstances, thereby urging the Security Council to take a more active role in assisting victims and preventing crimes. (HRW)
UN Leaders implore action to combat human rights violations linked to terrorism: Special Rapporteur, Ben Emmerson, acknowledges in a press release issued today that the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms must be firmly established in any attempt to dispel terrorism forces. The press release also suggests a lack of respect for the rights of those suspected of terrorism. (UN News)
10 former Bosnian Serb soldiers arrested in Bosnia over crimes from 1990s conflict: The 10 former Bosnian Serb soldiers arrested in December have been charged with war crimes that occurred during the 1990s Balkans conflict. The December arrests stemmed from a joint effort of Bosnia and Serbia to look into these matters. Five former Bosnian Serb soldiers were arrested in December by Serbia and the ten now charged with war crimes were arrested by Bosnia. (UT San DiegoABC News) (for additional information click here)
Appeals proceedings in ICTR Butare case to start: On Tuesday 21 April 2015, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will start appeals proceedings for its last case. The case includes six members of Butare including former Family Affairs Minister Pauline Nyiramasuhuko. Nyiramasuhuko was sentenced to life in prison by the trial court for crimes against humanity in 2011. According to ICTR, judgement from the appeal will not be rendered earlier than August. This will mark the 14th year of this case and the 16th year that Nyiramasuhuko has been in preventive detention. (Hirondelle News)
Hadzic granted provisional release by ICTY for health issues: The International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) has granted a provisional release to former Croatian Serb rebel leader Goran Hadzic until May. Hadzic stands accused of 14 alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1991-95 war in Croatia. Hadzic was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in November and will receive radio and chemotherapy treatment. His request for a temporary release was initially denied by trial judge, but overturned on appeal for humanitarian reasons. (Expatica, InSerbia News) (for additional information click here)
AG calls Bensouda’s claim of Kenya’s possible non-cooperation defamatory: ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda stands accused for defamation of Kenya by Attorney General Githu Muigai. Muigai states that Bensouda’s allegations that the Kenyan government refuses to cooperate with the court is defamatory. The prosecutor is attempting to get Kenya referred to the Assembly of State Parties and sanctioned. (All Africa News)
Bangladeshi Chairman of the Law Commission withdraws from ICC judge election: Bangladeshi Chairman of the Law Commission, ABM Khairul Haque, has withdrawn from the ICC judge election. Haque stated that he withdrew due to family concerns as his mother is elderly and ill. Haque also stated that this situation would not allow him to contribute six years to the ICC. (BDNews 24)
NGO group calls on Equitorial Guinea human rights violations to be investigated: Nongovernmental organizations sent a letter to the Community of Portuguese Language Countries on 31 March to assess the human rights situations in Equatorial Guinea and recommend reform. Human Rights Watch stated that an investigation should be launched into the human rights violation in Equatorial Guinea. According to Human Rights Watch freedom of speech, association, and assembly are limited in the country. (Human Rights Watch)
Spanish judge approves genocide charges concerning Western Sahara crimes: Genocide charges against current and former Moroccan officials for crimes against humanity from 1975-1991 have been approved by a Spanish judge. These crimes occurred in Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony. Former Moroccan governor, Abdelhafid Ben Hachem, is one of the officials that stands accused. Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Maria stated that the Spanish government respected the judicial decision, but no comment was made on possible extradition of the officials. (News24, ABCNews) (for additional information click here)
High Commissioner for HR reports evidence of crimes by and against Boko Haram: United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jordan’s Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein, stated that his office received reports finding further evidence of Boko Haram crimes that could constitute as war crimes and crimes against humanity. Mass graves and other evidence of killings have been found in north-eastern parts of Nigeria. The Islamist group Boko Haram has attempted to expand its activities. Al-Hussein also received credible reports of crimes committed by Nigerian and other international forces against Boko Haram. Al-Hussein called for a transparent investigation into these allegations. (Today Online, Christian Today) (for additional information click here)
Report cites to additional evidence of crimes in Ukraine: Amnesty International stated that there is additional evidence of crimes committed by Kremlin-backed fighters of Ukranian prisoners. Russian mercenary Arseniy Pavlov confessed to killing Ukrainian prisoner of war Ihor Branovytsky and 15 other Ukranian prisoners. This comes from the Pavlov’s taped confession and there are reports of further evidence that might be considered war crimes. Based on this evidence, Amnesty has called for prompt investigations and prosecutions into these crimes. (Kyiv Post, The Guardian) (for additional information click here)
Obama expected to speak to Castro about HR in Cuba: President Barack Obama is expected to speak with Cuban President Raul Castro concerning human rights. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson stated that the interaction would occur during the Summit of the Americas in Panama 10-11 April. Jacobson stated that Obama stated that the U.S. thinks the current circumstances of human rights in Cuba is inadequate. (Voice of America News)
ICTY Prosecutor Brammertz asks Trial Chamber to issue a verdict for Seselj soon: ICTY prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, asked the Trial Chamber to make a final verdict in Vojislav Seselj’s case for alleged war crimes. Brammertz’ asked for a final verdict due to Seselj’s behavior whilst on a provisional release for health purposes. The ICTY found at the end of March that Seselj violated the conditions for his provisional release and ordered him to return to the Hague to await the verdict. Tensions heightened between Serbia and Croatia during Seselj’s release to Serbia. Seselj was seen publicly burning a Croatian flag as a sign of defiance for being ordered back to the Hague. (Dalje, Yahoo! News) (for additional information click here)
Human Rights organizations write letter to UNSC to reopen ICC investigation in Sudan: A letter sent to the United Nations Security Council by a group of Sudanese and international humanitarian and human rights organizations asked the UNSC to reopen ICC investigations in Darfur. The organizations asked the UNSC to persevere in the arrest of indicted war criminals related to the situation in Darfur. They also urged the UNSC to advise ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to reopen investigations into the matter. (All Africa)
ICC Prosecution last witness in Ruto case says fearful of testifying: Witness 7271 is the final ICC prosecution witness in Deputy President William Ruto’s case for crimes against humanity. Witness 727’s lawyer, Goran Sluiter, stated that his client is hiding in the Netherlands and fears for his life. Witness 727 has refused to testify at trial three times before, causing the Trial Chamber to adjourn. (All Africa)
Victims of Malvinas War torture will bring case to IACHR: The victims of torture during the 1982 Malvinas War are bringing their case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. During the Malvinas War, Argentine soldiers were tortured by senior officers whilst serving on the Malvinas Islands. The leader of Centro de Ex-Combatientes Islas Malvinas (CECIM), Ernesto Alonso, stated that the complaint will be filed within two weeks. (Buenos Aires Herald)
Cyprus makes Armenian genocide denial a crime: The denial of the Armenian genocide is now a crime when the Parliament of Cyprus voted in the resolution. The resolution was passed unanimously on Thursday. Armenpress states that the penalty for the denial of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes is now a prison sentence of 5 years and a fine of 10,000 Euros. (Asbarez)
Mladic Witness denies former commander’s involvement in killings: Former Bosnian Serb officer, Milorad Pelemis, witness for the defence, testified that he nor Ratko Mladic had been in command of soldiers who carried out a massacre at the Branjevo farm following the fall of Srebenica in 1995. This testimony directly contradicts the previously heard testimony of Erdemovic, a former soldier, who claimed that Pelemis ordered a soldier under his command to kill a Muslim Bosnian prisoner.
ICTY reverses provisional release for Seselj; orders return to The Hague: The ICTY has revoked the provisional release of Vojislav Seselj after he made it clear that he would not be returning to court of his own volition. The court had previously granted Seselj a momentary leave from his trial to receive medical treatment.
UN cites ongoing atrocities against women, children by Boko Haram: The UN Human Rights chief has made a statement announcing the severity of the alleged atrocities being committed by Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria. According to the UN, Boko Haram are using children as human bombs and targeting women and girls for sexual slavery and other horrific abuse. It is feared that the continued violence will quickly lead to a shortage of food and other several basic necessities.
Palestine joins ICC as State Party to the Rome Statute: On 1 April 2015, the ICC welcomed the State of Palestine as the 123rd State Party to the Rome Statute. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Palestine made a statement in which he said this event brings Palestine and the rest of the world closer to a mutual interest in assuring justice and peace throughout the world.
UNHRC adopts resolution on impunity introduced by Armenia: On 27 March 2015, a resolution to prevent genocide was adopted by the 28th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. This resolution was authored by Armenia, but Armenia’s Foreign Ministry stated that it currently has 64 states as co-authors. The resolution states the importance of holding those responsible for genocide criminally accountable for their actions. (Asbarez)
FIDH submits report on WC and CAH against Israel: The International Federation for Human Rights submitted a report to the International Criminal Court highlighting war crimes and crimes against humanity that occurred on the Gaza Strip last year. FIDH reported that Israel committed these war crimes, highlighting examples of attacks against civilians as proof. FIDH collected testimonies from victims of the war between Israel and Palestine from July to August of last year. Palestine is set to become a member of the Rome Statute, meaning that the ICC will have jurisdiction on 1 April. (PressTV)