Archive for category ICC
Trial Chamber VI of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced Wednesday that the start of the Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda will be the second or third week of July, rather than 2 June 2015. Opening statements from the prosecution are expected in August. This decision follows efforts by defense counsel to push the trial to November and support from prosecution and victims’ representatives to retain the original trial date. The Presidency of the ICC is currently considering an application from the Trial Chamber to hold opening statements in Bunia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and consequentially the Registry requested approximately one month to facilitate this effort. Mr. Ntaganda is charged with thirteen counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity, for his involvement in crimes committed in Ituri, DRC between 2002 and 2003.
On Wednesday, April 22, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) heard final appeals directly from several accused of crimes committed in the Butare Region. Following submissions by the Prosecution, the accused including Pauline Nyiramasuhuko were given opportunity to speak to the Court before judges consider and make their decision later this year. The Case marks the final appeal for the ICTR. (For additional information, please click here)
Sudanese President and ICC Indictee Omar al-Bashir recently declined to travel to Indonesia for the Asian-African Summit, following election obligations and international calls for his arrest. The Sudanese Foreign Affairs Minister will replace him, and a spokesman said the decision was made so al-Bashir could “monitor post-election operations.” The International Criminal Court issued a first arrest warrant against al-Bashir in 2009 and again in 2010, on charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide.
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)
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)
ICTY Appeals Chamber upholds life sentence: The life sentence imposed on Zdravko Tolimir for genocide was upheld by the ICTY Appeals Chamber on Wednesday, 8 April 2015. Tolimir, a former senior Bosnian Serb military leader directly reporting to commander Ratko Mladic, was convicted in December 2012 for crimes committed during the 1995 Srebrenica massacre which killed some 8,000 Muslim men and boys. Presiding ICTY Appeals Judge Theodore Meron said “In light of these genocide convictions alone, the Appeals Chamber considers that Tolimir’s responsibility does not warrant a revision of his sentence.” Ratko Mladic and former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic are the last remaining suspects at the ICTY charged in relation to Srebrenica. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (Newsweek, Wall Street Journal).
Bensouda says ICC has no jurisdiction to prosecute ISIS: While there is evidence Islamic State insurgents committed “crimes of unspeakable cruelty”, an ICC investigation and prosecution “appear limited”, said Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Wednesday, 8 April 2015. Bensouda stated that the Court lacked jurisdiction into the situation in Syria and Iraq as neither are member parties to the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the ICC, and the United Nations Security Council had not requested an investigation. Nonetheless, the Chief Prosecutor stated “The international community pledged that appalling crimes that deeply shock the conscience of humanity must not go unpunished.” Bensouda noted that non-members could grant the ICC jurisdiction over the crimes, the U.N. Security Council could refer the matter or the Court could exercise “personal jurisdiction” over citizens of member states. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (The Guardian, Reuters).
Kamaruzzaman death sentence upholds at ICT of Bangladesh: ICT of Bangladesh upheld the death sentence of Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, a leader in the Jamaat-e-Islami party. This was Kamaruzzaman’s last appeal in his sentence for committing crimes against humanity in the 1971 war of independence. Kamaruzzaman can seek presidential clemency, but if rejected, his execution will occur soon after. (The Hindu, Fox News) (for additional information please click here)
Palestine seeks to accelerate filing of Complaint: According to Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki, the Palestinian Authority leadership is trying to accelerate the filing of a complaint against Israel at the International Criminal Court. The ICC is looking into events that occurred in the Gaza Strip as of June 13, 2014. Palestine alleges that Israel committed war crimes during the conflict. (The Jerusalem Post)
Body of Ugandan ICC suspect identified: A body last month has been identified as the No. 2 commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Okot Odhiambo. The LRA committed atrocities in Uganda surrounding parts of central Africa. Okot Odhiambo is one of five leaders of the LRA that has been wanted by the ICC for the past decade. Forensic experts are still waiting on DNA results to confirm that the body is indeed of Okot Odhiambo. (The New York Times)
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)
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)