Archive for category Human Rights Violations
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)
LRA Leader to be transferred to The Hague for Trial: Dominic Ongwen, a senior Lord’s Resistance Army commander who surrended last week to the U.S. military in the CAR is in the process of being transferred to the ICC. Ongwen is wanted for crimes against humanity. Ongwen’s arrest is considered a victory for those trying to dismantle the LRA. (Reuters).
ICTY dismisses request to reverse Seslj release: Serb nationalist, Vojislav Seselj, was released in November after almost 12 years in detention at the Hague. Seselj is accused of inciting followers to commit murder, ethnic cleansing and other war crimes in Croatia and Bosnia. Since his release, Seselj has since rallied supporters and taken to television and radio to defend nationalism during the bloody break-up of the federal Yugoslavia in the 1990s. U.N. judges refuse to bringn him back to the Hague because his “statement of intention” was not the same as a refusal to comply with the conditions of his release. (For additional information on this topic, please click here). (Reuters, InSerbia).
UN Human Rights Arm condemns recent Nigeria attacks: The Islamist extremist group known as Boko Haram is actively commiting acts of violence within areas of north-eastern Nigeria. Rvina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the OHCHR, condemned the ongoing violence during a press briefing in Geneva. Shamdasani also called on the Nigerian government to regain control of any Boko Haram occupied areas in hopes of quashing any additional violent attacks. (UN News).
North Korea issues report countering Western human rights allegations: In response to a report by the UN General Assembly, which recommended referring the DRKP and its leader, Kim Jong Un, to the International Criminal Court to face charges including crimes against humanity, the DRKP issued a rebuttal refuting all claims. Despite the UN findings, it is expected that China and Russia, DRKP supporters, will use their veto power to keep any charges from being filed against the DRKP and its leader. (IBTimes).
Former Jamaat, BNP Parliament Member held, anticipating charges by ICT-1: War crimes suspect and former BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami lawmaker Mawlana Sakhawat Hossain, was arrested in Masterpara, of Uttar Khan by authorities and later brought before the ICT-1. Sakhawat is suspected of being involved in the commission of war crimes during 1971. It is expected that the prosecution for bring charges of war crimes against Sakhawat as soon as the necessary amount of evidence has been gathered to substantiate such allegations. (Daily Star).
Egyptian Court refuses corruption charges against former President Mubarak: An Egyptian court has dismissed charges against President Mubarak in connection with the death of protesters during the 2011 uprising against him. However, Mubarak will not walk free, hw was found guilty of theft of public funds and will continue to serve the remaining time left of his three-year house arrest sentence. Discussions of an appeal are underway. (Aljazeera).
Croatia considering order for review of Seselj release: The Croatian Parliament is in the process of passing a declaration to condemn the provisional release of Vojislav Seselj by the tribunal and to demand a review of Serbia’s candidacy for EU membership. If passed unanimously, the declaration would serve as strong support to the Croatian ambassador to the UNN during a debate on the work of the ICTY. (Daje).
UNAMID shuts Darfur office amid tensions: The Sudanese government made a request on Tuesday that UNAMID exit the site where an alleged mass rape by Sudanese troops took place. The foreign ministry said Sudanese authorities closed the UNAMID office because it was outside Darfur and the mandate does not allow for an office in Khartoum. Discussions are under way to clarify the role of the Khartoum-based office. (Reuters).
ICT sentences former leader Hossain to death: Mobarak Hossain was found guilty of murder, abduction and torture during the 1871 civil war. He has been sentenced to death, making his the fourteenth death sentence to be handed down by the tribunal. HRW has expressed concern regarding the court’s procedures. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (BBC, Reuters).
Twelve Bosnian Serbs arrested for alleged crimes against humanity: Bosnian officials arrested 12 individuals Monday suspected of committing crimes against humanity during the country’s 1992-95 war. The arrests come after authorities recently unearthed a Tomascia mass grave near Prijedor where the remains of 1,000 victims have been found since the end of the war. (Reuters).
ICTY Prosecution will not appeal Seselj release: The Serbian Radical Party leader has been in the custody of the ICTY for nearly 12 years. His recent release comes as little surprise given the seriousness of his cancer and the failure of the ICTY prosection to move his trial along. The ICTY prosecutor chief has stated that the delays in the trial are not justified and it was never the intention of the tribunal that the trial would last as long as it has at this point. (b92).
Gbagbo Trial date set for next July: The former President of Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo, faces charges of murder, rape, attempted murder and persecution. It is estimated that 3,000 people were killed in a civil conflict after he refused to accept an election result. Gbagbo’s trial for crimes against humanity is set for 7 July of next year. (For additional information on the topic, please click here.) (ICC, BBC).
Lubanga Appeal Decision expected in December: Thomas Lubanga Dyilo was convicted of committing, as co-perpetrator, war crimes consisting of conscripting children under the age of 15 years to participate in an armed conflict. A decision in connection with his recent appeal of the verdict will be issued 1 December 2014. (ICC).
HRW alarmed at increasing influence for Egypt Military Courts: President al-Sisi of Egypt has extended the reach of the country’s military courts amongst protestors and other government opponents. Those close to the situation in Egypt view the decree as a step backward toward a more free society.
UN official says Sri Lanka not cooperating with UN probe: A United Nations human rights spokesman, Rupert Colville, stated that the Sri Lankan government is not cooperating with a human rights inquiry into alleged war crimes during the civil war between Sri Lanka and Tamil rebels. This civil war lasted for decades and finally ended in 2009. Keheliya Rambukwella, Sri Lanka Information Minister, stated that the UN did not consider threats from the Tamil opposition during the civil war. (International Business Times)
Israel responds to ICC Prosecutor’s finding of war crimes: On 6 November 2014, Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, found that Israel committed war crimes on the vessel Marvi Marmara, during the war in the Gaza Strip. Bensouda stated that the ICC had a reasonable basis for believing that war crimes had been committed, but did not have the “sufficient gravity” to justify further investigation under the Rome Statute. Israel responded by stating that there was not any basis for the preliminary examination to begin with. (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Criminal Court) For additional information please click here
HRW calls for stay of death sentence and right to appeal for ICT of Bangladesh accused: Muhammed Kamaruzzman, a leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was previously convicted of war crimes during the Bangladeshi 1971 war of independence. Kamaruzzman was sentenced to death, but has not received the full text of the final verdict. The final verdict is necessary for him to lodge a petition for review. Kamaruzzman was transferred to Dhaka Central Jail after the verdict, which could mean that his execution is approaching. The Human Rights Watch believes that Kamaruzzman should be granted a right to appeal. Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, stated that the organization wanted justice and accountability for the crimes that occurred in 1971, but opposes the death penalty in all circumstances. (Human Rights Watch)
Harvard law clinic reports war crimes in Myanmar: The International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School reported that three Myanmar Army commanders committed war crimes and crimes against humanity from 2005 to 2006. The report includes “witness accounts of the events, human rights documents, photographs, and expert declarations.” The International Human Rights Clinic believes that these findings are enough to bring a case before the ICC under the Rome Statute. (JURIST)
Report says Kony is in Sudan / S. Sudan border area: The Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative and Invisible Children have released a comprehensive report identifying Kony’s movements since 2005. Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity, has been reported to be hiding out near the Sudan border at Kafia Kingi. Kafia Kingi is controlled by Sudan, but claimed by South Sudan. The ICC issued a warrant for Kony’s arrest back in 2005, but Kony has evaded arrest. Paul Ronan, director of Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative, calls for the international community and the Sudanese government to take action. Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, is also wanted by the ICC for alleged war crimes in Darfur. (The Guardian)
ICTY grants provisional release of Seselj: ICTY conditionally released Vojislav Seselj, Serbian nationalist leader, for medical treatment for his colon cancer. Seselj is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes including inciting Serb paramilitary units to commit crime. Seselj turned himself in to the court in 2003 and has spent almost 12 years in ICTY detention. Seselj’s release is conditional upon him not influencing his current trial for war crimes. Should the ICTY summon him, he has to return for trial. (Europe Online Magazine)
UK Supreme Court allows Rwanda access to witness testimonies on Genocide suspects: Five Rwandans are up for their hearing for their alleged part in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis. The Supreme Court of the UK has rejected pleas by defense lawyers for Rwandan genocide suspects to bar the Rwandan government from accessing witness testimonies to the court. The Prosecutor-General, Richard Muhumuza, stated this news meant that Rwanda would be able to rebut what the defense has to say. Muhumuza stated any other move would have been unprecedented. (All Africa)
Dominican Republic withdraws membership from Inter-American Court of HR: On 4 November 2014, the Dominican Republic withdrew its membership from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The Dominican Republic decided on this after the court gave the government six months to invalidate the Dominican Republic’s ruling that people born to illegal migrants did not automatically receive citizenship. The court stated that this discriminated against those residents of Haitian decent. (Panam Post)
Lebanon pays annual contribution to STL: On 6 November 2014, the Lebanese government fulfilled its obligation to fund the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. This is its annual contribution of 36 million dollars. STL Registrar Daryl Mundis welcomed the contribution and thanked the government for its commitment to the tribunal. (The Daily Star)