Archive for category Human Rights Violations

21 July 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN Report warns of possible CAH and war crimes in Iraq: According to the UN, the group ISIL and its affiliates may be responsible for carrying out CAH and imposing “untold hardship and suffering” on Iraqi civilians.  Witness interviews include detailed instances of systematic attacks by ISIL on civilians with no apparent regard for causalities.  The UN has expressed its concern that time is running out for the Iraqi Government to act against ISIL to ensure that its people have an opportunity to have their security and livelihoods restored.  (UN News).

Amnesty insists that talks should not lead to impunity in CAR: Amnesty has expressed growing concern that delegates to the CAR National Reconciliation should be careful that their discussions do not lead to impunity for war crimes.  According to Amnesty, there is credible evidence that crimes under international law have been committed by leaders in the CAR and that any perpetrators should be held accountable.  (Star Africa).

Libya discusses prosecuting militia groups at ICC with Prosecutor: Libya is considering inviting the ICC to prosecute those responsible for recent violence in Tripoli and elsewhere across Libya.  A decision to allow the ICC to prosecute certain cases that occurred in Libya is quite surprising when considering its refusal to allow the ICC to prosecute Saif Al-Islam and Senoussi.  (Libya Herald).

Cyprus files complaint against Turkey at ICC: The petitioners call on the ICC to investigate alleged crimes committed by Turkey on the territory of the Republic of Cyprus.  The complaint also cites instances of Turkish involvement in connection with the transferring Turkish civilians into the occupied territory. Cyprus has been a member of the Court since 2002 and has made it clear that the ICC has jurisdiction.  (Parikiaki).

ICTY Prosecution asks judges to reject Seselj request for damages over detention: Seselj has been detained by the ICTY since 24 February 2003.  According to the Hague Prosecution, Seselj’s detention is lawful.  Furthermore, prosecutor Marcussen states that Seselj has failed to comply with the conditions governing a provisional release.   (InSerbia).

Foreign donations support ECCC: The ECCC has received enough cash donations from foreign countries in order to bridge the budget shortfall, which has caused the court to pause in the past.  The ECCC will be financially healthy through the rest of 2014 but will soon require another infusion of funds.  (Bangkok Post).

 

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14 July 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Banda Case scheduled to begin 18 November: Trial Chamber IV of the ICC scheduled the opening of the trial in the case The Prosecutor v. Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain on 18 November 2014. Banda faces three charges of war crimes allegedly committed in Darfur, Sudan. (ICC).

ICC judges reject appeal for interim release in Bemba Trial: On 11 July 2014, the Appeals Chamber of the ICC read a summary of the judgments explaining why, after a thorough examination, it was decided to dismiss the appeal related to the rejection of interim release of Bemba. The dismissal was decided by was of a five judge majority. The two dissenting judges concluded that the matter should be remanded to the Pre-Trial Chamber for a new decision on the each of the suspect5s’ requests for interim release.

Seselj requests court compensation for lengthy detention: Former deputy prime minister of Serbia, Vojislav Seselj, has been in custody since he voluntarily turned himself over to authorities in 2003. Seselj’s trial began in 2006 and he is still awaiting a verdict. He has recently demanded 12 million euros as compensation for what he is calling an unlawful deprivation of his liberty as a result of his nearly decade long detention. (Irish Times).

Security Council, Secretary General call for Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire: The UN Security Council called for a cease fire between the Israelis and Palestinians on 12 July 2014. The Security Council would like to see an immediate de-escalation of the current violence and for both parties to respect international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here).  (UN News).

UN Rapporteur condemns ongoing violence against women in Honduras: An independent UN human rights expert has called on the Government of Honduras to address the ongoing violence currently affecting a large population of Honduran women. Honduras is currently in a state of transition and violence against women is on the rise. Such a combination has lead to a lack of resources for victims and a incident underreporting. The report created by the UN expert will be presented to the Council in June 2015. (UN News).

ICC allows Kenyan Human Rights Commission Report on 2007-08 violence: The KNCHR is a controversial document which contains information related to the 2007-08 post-election violence. The report was introduced by Prosecutor Anton Steynberg and tabled at the Waki commission. Transcripts that were used in the preparation of the report were also admitted. (All Africa).

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3 July 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

African leaders vote to give themselves immunity from war crimes charges: On Friday, 29 June 2014, African leaders voted to amend the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights to give themselves and other senior officials immunity from war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The amendment, made at an AU summit in Equatorial Guinea, was objected to by forty-two African and international human rights groups who found the immunity violated international law, domestic law and the AU Constitution. Amnesty International considers the amendment “a backward step in the fight against impunity and a betrayal of victims of serious violations of human rights.” (Aljazeera America).

Afewerki reported in Sweden for crimes against humanity: Several high level officials in Eritrea have been reported to the Sweden police for crimes against humanity. Specifically, the report targets Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki and some of his ministers by name and lists a series of crimes including indefinite imprisonment without trial, torture, kidnapping, mandatory military service and severe restrictions of freedom of expression. It is estimated that over 3,000 people, about 6% of the entire population, have fled Eritrea because of the human rights abuses. (Asmarino).

Related: Sweden ratifies portion of Rome Statute as national law: On 1 July 2014, the founding statute of the ICC became part of the Swedish penal code. This means, Swedish judges will now have the authority to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide regardless of who or where the crime was committed. Christer Engelhardt, a current MP, said “We are very clear about this: you will be punished, and if you come here, you won’t feel safe [if you have committed such crimes] just because Sweden is an open and democratic country.” (Epoch Times).

Dissenting judge in Kenyatta, Ruto cases resigns for health reasons: German Judge Hans-Peter Kaul resigned from the ICC for health reasons, effective Tuesday, 1 July 2014.  Judge Kaul was elected to the Court in February 2003 and served 11 years. Judge Kaul dissented three times in the case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto finding the ICC lacked jurisdiction.  (All Africa).

Serbian government prepared to provide guarantees to Hague for provisional release of Seselj: So long as the former Serbian leader Vojislav Seselj agrees in a legally binding manner to abide by all conditions specified, the Serbian government is prepared to provide guarantees for his provisional release. Seselj notified the ICTY in June that if provisionally released he would be participating in public meetings, giving interviews and appearing on television shows. The former leader said he would not report to the police or wear any electronic bracelet or other device that violated human dignity. (InSerbia).

AU elects four new judges to Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights: Representatives from AU member states elected four new judges to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Tunisia’s Rafaa Ben Achour, Mozambique’s Angelo Vasco Matusse, Cote D’Ivoire’s Sylvain Ore and Uganda’s Solomy Baling Bossa will be sworn in at the Court to replace retiring judges or those judges whose terms have expired. The Court has been ratified by 27 countries. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

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30 June 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC Judge departs for health reasons:  Judge Hans-Peter Kaul has resigned from the ICC for health reasons.  Judge Kaul served as an ICC Judge for 11 years and was fundamental in the development of the ICC.  His resignation will take effect on 1 July 2014.  (ICC).

Prosecution and Defence in Katanga Trial abandon appeals:  The decision in The Prosecutor v. Germain Katagna.  The judgment is not final.  The decision made by the Defence for Germain Katanga and the Office of the Prosecutor to discontinue their appeals against the judgment of Trial Chamber II of the ICC on 25 June 2014.  (ICC).

UN Human Rights Office alarmed by Venezuela violence:  Continued reports of human rights violations reportedly taking place in Venezuela is of concern to the UN.  National human rights organizations estimate that more that 3,120 people were detained between February and May 2014.  The High Commissioner has called for Venezuelan authorities to respect the rights of those citizen involved in peaceful demonstrations.  The High Commissioner has also renewed his calls on the Government of Venezuela to accept all visit requests by UN experts.  (UN News).

HRW implores ICC to investigate crimes in CAR:  The CAR interim president, Catherine Samba-Panza, formally asked the ICC prosecutor to open an investigation, acknowledging that Central African courts are not in a position to carry out necessary investigations.  The CAR has been in a state of acute crisis since 2013.  It is expected that the ICC prosecutor will accept the request.  (UN News).

ICTR affirms sentence against Bizimungu:  The ICTR unanimously affirmed the 30-year prison sentence for former army chief Augustin Bizimungu for his role in the 1994 genocide during which he called for the murder of minority Tutsis.  (Yahoo News).

 

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16 June 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Charges confirmed against Ivory Coast’s Gbagbo:  The ICC has ordered Laurent Gbagbo, the former President of Cote d’Ivoire, to stand trial.  Gbagbo has been accused of masterminding the murder and rape of demonstrators in Abidjan, between December 2010 and April 2011.  At lease 3,000 people were killed during this period of violence.  (ICC, NYT, Reuters).  (For additional information about this topic, please click here, here.)

Sri Lanka War Crimes investigative team announced:  Navi Pillay has announced that Sandra Beidas will be coordinating the investigative team charged with probing into allegations of mass killings during the Sri Lankan civil war.  Beidas appears to be a somewhat controversial pick because of her expulsion from a UN mission in South Sudan amidst allegations of writing false reports about the conduct of the South Sudanese military.  The Sri Lankan government has yet to determine whether to allow the UN teams presence in the country.

Libya will pay victims reparations for rape:  A decree was issued during the middle of next week recognizing the mass rapes perpetrated during the 2011 Libyan revolution as war crimes.  Libya will pay rape survivors reparations.  In addition, those victims harmed during the reign of the Qaddafi regime will as lobe eligible for the compensation.

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11 June 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC to explore consideration of rape, sexual violence as war crimes: The ICC prosecutor’s office issued a new policy paper last week providing guidance to the Court on how to deal with crimes related to rape and sexual assault committed in conflict. Specifically, the policy paper lays out a legal foundation on how the prosecutor’s office will include the relevant war crimes charges in cases and hold those accountable. ICC Chief Fatou Bensouda said, in a statement concerning the new policy paper, the “message to perpetrators and would-be perpetrators must be clear: sexual violence and gender-based crimes in conflict will neither be tolerated nor ignored at the ICC.” (Think Progress).

IACHR to hear extradition appeal from alleged DEA agent murderers: The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will be hearing arguments in an extradition appeal by seven Colombian citizens accused of the murder of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agent last year. The seven Colombians were expected to be extradited to the United States to stand trial before the IACHR intervened in this appeal. The appeal claims the United States lacks jurisdiction as the accused are Colombian citizens and the crime was committed on Colombian territory. (Colombia Reports).

Dame Silvia Cartwright,New Zealand judge, named to Sri Lanka human rights probe: It is being reported that Dame Silvia Cartwright will be appointed to the U.N. panel charged with investigating human rights violations committed in Sri Lanka during its 26-year civil war. The panel is expected to begin a 10-month investigation in July 2014. Dame Cartwright was previously a judge at the ECCC. (Colombo Page).

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9 June 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC confirms charges against Bosco Ntaganda:  The ICC has confirmed 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity against Bosco Ntaganda.  The Prosecutor brought evidence of attempted murder, rape and sexual slavery that occurred in Congo’s Ituri district in 2002 and 2003 to the attention of the ICC.  HRW expresses the hopes of many other human rights organizations which is that this decision to charge one ranking official of the ICC will lead to many more.  (HRW).

CAR inquiry finds CAH and war crimes, but hesitates to affirm that genocide committed:  The latest inquiry into the violence in CAR appears to contradict earlier reports of ethnic cleansing.  The report states that anti-Muslim propaganda coming from non-Muslim quarters does no mean that genocide is being planned or that there is a conspiracy to commit genocide.  Amnesty International objects to the findings in the latest report and argues that the displacement and violence against Muslims sectarian in nature and evidence that a genocide or massive displacement is occurring.  (MWC News).

ICC decided to fund Saif Gaddafi legal team:  The ICC has made the decision to fund the defence of Saif Gaddafi as a way to increase his chances of obtaining a fair trial before the court.   It is likely that Gaddafi would be sentenced to death if found guilty by a court a Libya.  UK politicians and military figures have protested this action by the ICC.  (Telegraph).

Former Norwegian Minister willing to testify to crimes in Sri Lanka:  Erik Solheim, former international development minister for Norway, is prepared to give evidence before any recognized international tribunal detailing the atrocities he witnesses during the final months of the decades-long Sri Lankan conflict.  Solheim was involved in the brokered peace agreement that fell through in 2006.  (Mint).

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4 June 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Kenya continues push for Rome Statute changes: The Kenyan government does not intend to drop the proposed amendments to the Rome Statute of the ICC, said officials on 4 June 2014. Last month, officials presented to the ICC amendments committee proposed changes including granting immunity to sitting heads of state, giving judge’s discretion to excuse defendants from trial, holding accountable the Office of Prosecution for offenses against the administration of justice and recognizing regional courts as proper bodies to take on cases usually handled by the ICC. The Assembly of States Parties will discuss the proposed amendments later this year. (the Star, All Africa).

Bensouda orders preliminary investigation of UK war crimes complaint: The ICC announced that it will conduct a preliminary examination into alleged war crimes by United Kingdom armed forces in Iraq from 2003 to 2008. Specifically, the Court will analyze claims by more than 170 former Iraqis detainees of inhumane treatment while in British custody. A preliminary investigation can take up to several years. (The Guardian).

ICC allows “no-case-to-answer” motion from Ruto and Sang: Defense for co-accused Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua Sang will be allowed to file a “no-case–to-answer” motion upon the conclusion of ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s case-in-chief. A “no-case-to-answer” motion terminates charges not sufficiently supported by evidence presented. ICC judges said the motion, while not specifically included in the Rome Statute, will “facilitate the fair and expeditious conduct of the proceedings.” (the Star, All Africa).

N. Korea speaks out against opening of UN human rights office in S. Korea: North Korea considers South Korea’s decision to open a field office to monitor human rights abuses and raise public awareness of violations in the communist country “an intolerable political provocation.” The U.N. selected South Korea to open a field office because of its geographical location and language after a U.N. commission of inquiry published a report in March 2014, charging North Korea with “systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights”. (Yonhap News).

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2 June 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN concerned over Syria impasse:  The situation in Syria will not be referred to the ICC due to a double veto by Russia and China.  The UN has expressed serious concern of the matter because of continued allegations of human rights violations emanating from the area.  (UN News).

ECCC will deliver verdict against Khieu Samphan August 7:  A verdict in the first subtrial of the ECCC’s flagship Case 002 will be read on August 7.  In addition, if convictions are entered during this time, decisions on sentencing and civil part reparation requests will be delivered.  (Phnom Penh Post).

Kosovo diplomat cleared of war crimes accusations:  Kosovo’s ambassador to Albania, Sylejman Selimi, has been cleared of an accusation of beating and torturing two ethnic Albanian women in the late 1990s.  Selimi still faces charges in separate war crimes case over a KLA detention camp.  (Reuters).

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15 May 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC Prosecutor reiterates calls for Gaddafi handover: ICC Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, presented the seventh report regarding the situation in Libya to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, 13 May 2014. Bensouda described the deteriorating security condition in Libya, the worrisome murders and torture committed in illegal detention centers and the country’s failure to bring perpetrators of human rights violations to justice.  Bensouda urged the Libyan government to comply with international law, which includes surrendering to the Court Saif Al-Islam, the son of Muammar Gaddafi, the late Libyan dictator. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (ICC, UN News Centre).

UN Secretary General advocates tribunal for S. Sudan war crimes: Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, considers the human rights abuses committed in South Sudan to amount to crimes against humanity and has voiced support for a special war crimes tribunal. The Secretary General cited a UN report released last week documenting widespread ethnic attacks and killings and the displacement of millions of people since the conflict erupted in the country in December 2013. (Aljazeera).

UN Observer at Gaddafi trial held in Tripoli; suspected of “occult practices”: One member of the UN team monitoring the trial against Muammar Gaddafi’s sons was detained for possible “black magic.” It has been reported, Ahmed Ghanem was temporarily held at the maximum security prison in Tripoli this weekend after police found written material suggesting “sorcery” and “occult practices.” As a UN official, Ghanem enjoys immunity. (The Guardian).

UN considers impact of Lethal Autonomous Weapons on humanitarian and military interests: A four day convention focusing on the technological developments, the ethical considerations and the implication of international law from the deployment of lethal autonomous weapons began this week in Geneva. At the opening session, Acting Director-General of the UN Office in Geneva Michael Moller urged delegates to take bold action in banning or restricting autonomous weapons that cause unjustified and disproportionally high civilian damage. (UN News Centre).

Prosecutor Bensouda reconsidering alleged British war crimes in Iraq: ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that the office is re-opening the “preliminary examination” of alleged war crimes by United Kingdom armed forces in Iraq from 2003 to 2008.  Bensouda explained that the office received new information in January 2014 and will now consider “issues of jurisdiction, admissibility and the interest of justice.” The outcome of the preliminary examination will decide whether the Prosecutor initiates an investigation. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (ICC, Deutsche Welle).

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