Archive for category Human Rights Violations
UN official says rape used as weapon of war in S. Sudan: U.N. Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, stated that the Sudanese government Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA) uses rape as a weapon of war in its current conflict with opposition forces. Bangura stated that women are sent out for firewood and other tasks since men would be killed at SPLA checkpoints, while women are raped at these checkpoints. Bangura stated that sexual violence in conflict could constitute as a war crime or crime against humanity. Bangura has urged government and opposition officials to stop the use of sexual violence and notified both that these crimes will be prosecuted through national and international courts. (Voice of America)
ECCC defense team warned of misconduct and obstructing proceedings: The Trial Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) has issued warnings to lawyers representing Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan for misconduct in walking out of the courtroom during opening statements on 17 October and for failing to appear at a trial management meeting. The court accused the attorneys of obstructing proceedings for boycotting their clients’ genocide trial. Kong Sam Onn, Khieu Sampan’s Cambodian lawyer, stated they are acting on behalf of their clients’ wishes in order to draft an appeal brief on earlier convictions for crimes against humanity that carried life sentences in prison. Both defense teams have been ordered to be present in court for another trial management meeting set for Tuesday, but Sam Onn stated that they would not appear unless ordered by their client. Under Rule 38, judges have the ability to impose sanctions on lawyers or refer them to their bar associations for disciplinary action, a process that could ban lawyers from appearing before the ECCC. (Cambodia Daily)
Inter-American Crt of HR decision called “unacceptable” and “biased” by State: Last year, a Dominican court ruled that people born to illegal migrants did not automatically receive citizenship rendering many stateless. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) gave the government six months to invalidate the ruling stating that it discriminated against Dominicans born of Haitian descent. The Dominican Republic has rejected this ruling calling it “unacceptable” and “biased.” Amnesty International stated that this reaction demonstrates a disregard for international law and the country’s legal responsibilities. The court found abuses against human rights in the Dominican Republic’s Law 169/14, which created two categories of people: those who were registered in the Dominican civil registry and those with undeclared births that labeled them as foreigners. The IACHR found the requirement of having Dominicans register as foreigners as a violation of international human rights law. (Fox News, Amnesty International) (For additional information on this topic, please click here)
Argentinian court sentences 15 to life for crimes against humanity: Argentine Federal Court sentenced 15 individuals to life for crimes against humanity during the Argentine military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983. Four others were sentenced between 12 to 13 years in prison and one was absolved. Soldiers, policeman, and former politicians were among those accused for genocide of Argentinians and the kidnapping and murder of Laura Carlotto, daughter of Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo founder, Estela de Carlotto. These proceedings began in December of 2013 and finished last Friday with the guilty verdict. (teleSUR)
Rwandan opposition leader files complaint at African Court: Victoire Ingabire, a jailed Rwandan opposition figure, filed a complaint in demand of a retrial with the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Ingabire was convicted for “conspiracy in harming authorities through terrorism and war,” minimizing the Rwandan genocide, and spreading rumors to incite violence. She was sentenced to 15 years in prison last December. Ingabire wants the court to strike down Rwanda’s laws banning genocide revisionism and spreading rumors. The United Democratic Forces party stated that Ingabire should be freed upon retrial and paid damages for the detention. (Naharnet)
ICT of Bangladesh accused dies in prison waiting for appeal: Former chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) party, Ghulam Azam, died of a heart attack on Thursday night in a prison cell. Azam was found guilty over a year ago by the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh for crimes against humanity and war crimes during the 1971 war of independence against Pakistan. He was sentenced for 90 years in prison for conspiracy, planning, incitement, complicity, and murder. Azam’s death occurs a day after the Supreme Court scheduled appeal proceedings concerning his sentencing for 2 December 2014. (The Guardian, Business Standard) (For additional information on this topic, please click here).
Kenyan Government approaches ASP over violations of the Rome Statute: Kenya has sought out the Assembly of State Parties to explore its concerns of ICC conduct in relation to the situations in Kenya. Kenya sent a letter to the ASP on 16 October 2014 to explore these concerns in depth at the upcoming meeting in New York. It is currently unclear the exact requests made by the Kenyan government however the letter requested ‘immediate remedial solution’ to the trials involving Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto. (allAfrica)
UN investigators asks China to support referral of N. Korea crimes to ICC: Head of the UN Commission of Inquiry into human rights abuses in North Korea, Michael Kirby, has asked China to support the referral of Pyongyang’s actions to the ICC on suspicion of crimes against humanity. Western diplomats have speculated that China will use its veto power on the UN Security Council to vote against North Korea’s referral. However, Kirby stated on Wednesday 22 October 2014 that this result should not be assumed as China has only ten vetoes against resolutions in the council. North Korea’s crimes will soon be discussed in the U.N. General Assembly’s Third Committee, which can put political pressure on countries targeted by its resolution. (Reuters)
On Tuesday, October 21, the Judge of Pre-Trial Chamber II at the ICC ordered the release of several individuals connected to the Case of Prosecutor v. Bemba, Kilolo, et. al. The Judge, Cuno Tarfusser, considered the circumstances of detention for several members of Mr. Bemba’s defense team, a defense witness, and one other individual from the DRC government. The four were detained in November 2013 for allegedly obstructing justice in the Case of Mr. Bemba. Judge Tarfusser ordered release for the four to ensure pre-trial detention was not disproportionately long for the charges. A confirmation of charges decision is anticipated, and any corresponding detention will be decided at that time. (ICC Press Release)
On Monday, the ex-mayor of Providencia was arrested for allegedly perpetrating crimes including homicide and torture during the Pinochet Regime. Christian Labbe Galilea will be prosecuted along with nine other regime leaders, for acts committed as a member of the DINA Secret Police. The human rights division of the Chile Interior Ministry pursued the charges against the former military leaders, and indicated that they would contact Brazilian authorities regarding alleged torture training conducted in 1972-1973 in Brazil. Defense attorneys for Labbe said they would appeal the charges and seek unlawful association charges. (BBC, Reuters) For additional information on this topic, please click here.
The International Crimes Tribunal – 1 announced it would consider charges against three accused on November 5. The three suspects, Sheikh Sirajul Haque, Khan Akram Hossain, and Abdul Latif Talukdar, allegedly committed murder and other crimes during the Liberation War of 1971. Mr. Haque was said to have killed more than 650 civilians, while the two other individuals were alleged to have converted hundreds of Hindus and murdered several civilians. (Daily Star)
UN Report details ongoing human rights abuses by M23: In a report published 9 October 2014, the Joint Office of the UN for Human Rights in the DRC (JHRO) has founds that during a time when M23 had effective control of parts of North Kivu, serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law – which could constitute international crimes as well as crimes under the Penal Code Congolese – were committed by the group. The UN applauds the Congolese response in seeking justice against any wrongdoers. (UN News).
ICC sets date for Ntaganda Case: Bosco Ntaganda, former alleged Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Force Patriotiques pour la Libération du Congo [Patriotic Force for the Liberation of Congo] (FPLC), is accused of 13 counts of war crimes. On 9 October 2014, Trial Chamber VI of the International Criminal Court (ICC) scheduled the opening of the trial in the case The Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda on 2 June 2015. (ICC).
HRW Report outlines crimes against Yezidi women in Iraq: HRW has provided a detailed account of the alledged atrocities occurring to Yezidi men, women and children at the hands of the Islamic State (IS) fighters in Iraq. HRW states that forced marriages, abductions, sexual slavery and other international crimes have been and continue to occur. HRW recommends that the UN investigate and that the Iraqi government join the ICC. (HRW).
Kenyatta appears at ICC for status conference: On 8 October 2014, Kenyan President Kenyatta appeared before the ICC for a status conference. He is the first serving head of state to come before the Hague. Mr. Kenyatta is accused of orchestrating post-election violence during 2007. In response to these accusations, Mr Kenyatta says the charges against him are politically motivated and insists that the case should be thrown out. (BBC).
Former Haitian President Duvalier dies before trial can commence: On 4 October 2014, former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier died. HRW has expressed its disappointment in the inability of the Haitian justice system to bring him to trial before his death. According to HRW, this turn in events has deprived victims of human rights abuses of justice and closure. (HRW).
ICC to decide on Ruto, Sang Defense Appeal: On Thursday, 9 October 2014 , the Appeals Chamber of the ICC will hold an open court session to read a summary of its judgment on Mr Ruto and Mr Sang Defence teams’ appeal against the Trial Chamber V decision to grant the Prosecutor’s request to summon witnesses to appear before the Trial Chamber in the Ruto and Sang trial, who were no longer cooperating or no longer willing to testify. (ICC).
Kenyatta to turn over Presidential duties during trial: President Kenyatta plans to temporarily step down as president while attending his ICC hearing. His presidential powers will be assumed by Deputy President Ruto for the time being. President Kenyatta states that he has chosen to appear before the court as a private citizen rather than bring a country of more than 40 million people into another jurisdiction. President Kenyatta faces charges related to the organizing of violent attacks which occurred during the 2007 elections. (For more information, please click here) (Aljazeera, BBC).
ICC urges Saudi Arabia to apprehend Sudan’s Bashir: The ICC has issued an order for the arrest of Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir. It is believed that he is currently in Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage. Al-Bashir faces charges of alleged war crimes and genocide committed in Darfur. It is uncertain at this point whether Saudi Arabia will fulfill the request of the ICC as a non-member. (Sudan Tribune).
Bemba Case to hear closing arguments in November: Today, 2 October 2014, Trial Chamber III of the ICC decided that the closing oral statements in the Bemba case will take place during the week of 10 November 2014. Prior to the closing arguments, the Chamber will hear Witness P-169 as of 14 October 2014. Bemba has been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity having been committed while serving as a military commander. (Hague Justice Portal).
ICC issues an arrest warrant against Sudanese accused Banda: On 11 September 2014, the ICC issued an arrest warrant against Abdallah Banda Abakaer. Banda had previously been under a summons of the court until it decided that an arrest warrant was necessary to ensure the accused’s presence. Banda faces three charges of war crimes allegedly committed in September 2007 against AU Peacekeeping Mission in Sudan. (ICC).
Russell Tribunal condemns actions of Obama and Poroshenko in Ukraine: The informal Russell Tribunal trial, which met in Venice to hear evidence of war crimes committed by the West has condemned the actions of President Poroshenki and President Barack Obama. Allegations of military operations conducted by the West in the Donetsk region, which involved the destruction of schools and hospitals, were presented to the Tribunal. The Tribunal’s ruling wil be sent to the US Secretariat, the EU, and the ICC. (For additional information about this topic, please click here.) (Press, RT).
FIDH asks ICC to investigate crimes in Mexico: The ICC has been charged with the task of investigating a series of alleged violations of human rights committed between 2006 and 2012 in Baja California at the hands of Mexican soldiers. The court rejected a 2011 request by Mexican activists but at this point an investigation still remains a possibility. (Fox).
Croatian prosecutor and MICT sign memorandum on future prosecutions: Croatia’s Chief Prosecutor and prosecutor for the MICT, successor of the ICTY, have signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at more efficiently prosecuting persons charged with the alleged commission of violating international human rights law. The ICTY exit strategy will continue as necessary, allowing for MICT to effectively maintain its caseload in the most efficient manner. (Google News).
UN Releases Report on Libya: The UN has issued a report indicating that there are serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian occurring in Tripoli and Benghazi. Civilians are being abducted and are subjected to unlawful killings. There is also a deepening political polarization taking place in Libya, leading to many to a decision to leave the country. (UN News).
Sri Lanka NGOs respond to UN War Crimes Report: Several NGOs have criticized the UN for failing to understand the seriousness and nature of he problem in connection with civilian death during the end of the civil conflict in India. There are also allegations that the UN failed in its mandate to protect civilian populations by relocating. The UN has declined to comment on the report’s findings at this time. (Reuters).
Nuon Chea to appeal ECCC verdict: Cambodia defense attorneys for former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea have decided to appeal on behalf of their client on the basis that he did not commit at least one of the crimes for which he was found guilty. The majority of evidence for the appeal is from documentary filmmaker Thet Sambath’s research into the killings. Apparently, there is evidence that Chea was not involved. At this point, sources say it is unlikely the case will be reheard. (VOA).
UN to send team to investigate rights violations in Iraq: The UNHCR said Monday that it will send an investigative team to Iraq to look deeper into the alleged crimes committed by the rebel group ISIS. The investigation is estimated to cost $1.2 million. The allegations of mass killings and other atrocities continue to mount against ISIS. The UN has said that this missions main purpose is to protect the people of Iraq. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (IBT, Reuters).
Ble Goude confirmation hearing delayed: Charles Blé Goudé, national of Côte d’Ivoire, 42 years of age, allegedly bears individual criminal responsibility, as indirect co-perpetrator, for four counts of crimes against humanity, namely murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, persecution, and other inhuman acts, allegedly committed in the territory of Côte d’Ivoire between 16 December 2010 and 12 April 2011. The ICC has decided to postpone the commencement of charges at the Defence’s request to give them time to finish their preparation. (ICC).