Archive for category ICC
Former M23 Leader Ntaganda in confirmation of charges hearings this week: Ntaganda faces charges ranging from war crimes to crimes against humanity. These crimes allegedly occurred in the DRC between September 2002 and September 2003. Ntaganda said he wanted to be handed over to the ICC and now the ICC will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to formally charge him with the crimes alleged. (For additional information on this topic, please click here, here). (ICC, Aljazeera, DW).
ICC Prosecutor initiates preliminary examination in CAR: The reported violence in CAR continues to rage amongst the Christian and Muslim population. The latest report of violence has sparked the interest of the ICC and it has agreed to open an informal preliminary examination into the crimes to determine whether a formal investigation will be considered pursuing by the Prosecutor. (For additional information on this topic, please click here, here). (ICC, Reuters, UN).
Human Rights Council experts say war crimes committed by government and rebel forces in Syria: Six rapporteurs, independent experts appointed by the UNHRC, have reported that government and opposition forces are committing war crimes by impeding humanitarian relief and denying the civilian population from accessing basic health services. According to the experts there appears to be a disregard for human rights and humanitarian law on both sides of the war.
ICC: Katanga verdict postponed: The judgment of Congolese militia leader Germain Kantanga has been postponed by the ICC until 7 March 2014. It has been reported the health of an ICC judge is the cause for the delay. Katanga is accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity for, among other things, murder, rape and enlisting of child soldiers after violence erupted in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2003. (AFP).
ICC needs resolution from UN Security Council before investigating war crimes allegations in South Sudan: Spokesman Fadi El-Abdallah announced the ICC does not have jurisdiction to investigate alleged human rights violations in South Sudan because the country is not a signatory. El-Abdallah stated the permanent international court may only investigate crimes “if the U.N. Security Council passe[d] a resolution.” It is feared more than 1,000 individuals have been killed and thousands more displaced since conflict broke out in South Sudan. (VOA News).
Chea defense team will likely move to dismiss judges: Defense lawyers for Nuon Chea requested the trial chamber judges be removed from hearing Case 002. The lawyers argued the judges, who heard the previous case against Brother No. 2, were bias and privy to crucial facts. The lawyers worried this would negatively affect the rights of the accused. (Phnom Penh Post).
Serbia issues international arrest warrants for two war crimes suspects: The Serbian Interpol office has issued two international arrest warrants for war crimes suspects Naser Oric and Hakija Meholjic. Oric and Meholjic are accused of war crimes relating to the 1992 Bosnia-Herzegovina war. Oric was acquitted by the ICTY in 2008 for the deaths of at least five Bosnian Serb detainees. (UPI.com).
ICC Prosecutor: Kenyan government obstructionism means ICC will not be successful in Kenyatta prosecution: Prosecutors requested the ICC on 31 January 2014, to adjourn the trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta until the defense delivers requested financial records. The prosecution argued the defense’s failure to fulfill court obligations was harming investigations. The prosecution predicts the records will show that Kenyatta indirectly financed the violence committed after the 2007 presidential election. (Reuters).
Trial of Rwandan Army Captain charged with complicity in ’94 genocide begins in France: Proceedings in the case against Pascal Simbikangwa, a former captain of the Rwandan army, commenced in France on Tuesday, 4 February 2014. Simbikangwa faces charges of complicity to commit genocide for, among other things, organizing massacres and supplying arms. French law allows the country to hear cases of genocide and other serious violations of international law committed in Rwanda. (Jakarta Globe).
Costa Rica to sue Nicaragua over sea rights at the ICJ: Costa Rica intends to file suit in the ICJ by May 2014, concerning ownership over an area of sea. The country claims Nicaragua usurped “Costa Rican territorial seas, based on demarcation it did arbitrarily and unilaterally, to chart what it calls its oil (exploration) blocs.” Nicaragua, on the other hand, argued it had jurisdiction over the waters under a November 2012 ICJ decision between its country and Columbia. (Inside Costa Rica).
ICTY Prosecutor comments on reconsideration motion in Perišić case: On Monday, 3 February 2014, ICTY Prosecutor Serge Brammertz announced that his Office requested that the ICTY Appeals Chamber reconsider its acquittal of Momčilo Perišić, the former Chief of Staff of the Yugoslav Army, who had been convicted to 27 years in prison for aiding and abetting crimes committed in Sarajevo and Srebrenica between 1993 and 1995. In its motion for reconsideration, the Office of the Prosecutor argued that the “specific direction” requirements on which the Appeals Chamber based the acquittal is incorrect and should be overturned. (ICTY).
Witness from explosive unit testified at STL: On Monday, 3 February 2014, Abdel-Badih al-Soussi, who was the manager of the explosives unit of the Internal Security Forces at the time Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated, testified before the STL. Although he had not gone to the crime scene immediately following the explosion, he had attended a meeting at the military court that afternoon, to which a member of the explosives bureau had brought car parts from the site. The judge ordered that the parts be examined and the site cordoned off to the public. Soussi testified that he did not ask that the car parts be returned to the crime scene, nor did the judge discuss during the meeting whether parts of the motorcade should be removed. (The Daily Star).
Judge replaced on Kenyatta Trial Chamber: Following a decision by the Presidency of the ICC, Judge Geoffrey A. Henderson replaced Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji in the case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta before Trial Chamber V(b). Judge Henderson is from Trinidad and Tobago, and was elected at the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute in November 2013. He will serve as a judge at the ICC until 10 March 2021. Judge Eboe-Osuji had excused himself from the trial. (ICC-CPI).
U.S. urged to suspend aid due to human rights violations in Egypt: On Monday, 3 February 2014, the Working Group on Egypt, as part of the NGO Human Rights First, released a statement that it had sent a letter to U.S. President Obama, urging his administration to cease sending aid to Egypt until the Egyptian government progresses in transitioning to a democracy and improves human rights conditions within the country. According to the NGO, depriving Egypt of aid until progress has been made sends a clear signal that the U.S. does not tolerate the human rights abuses that have occurred in Egypt, which are documented in a report the group recently released. (Human Rights First).
Former Bangladeshi Minister indicted for war crimes: On Sunday, 2 February 2014, the International Crimes Tribunal-2 indicted Syed Mohammad Qaisar, a former Bangladeshi minister from the Jatiya Party, on 16 charges of war crimes, including the commission of genocide. He and his group, the “Quaisar Bahini”, allegedly committed crimes against humanity in Habiganj and Brahmanbaria during the 1971 Liberation War. According to the prosecution, Quaisar had also served as a commander of the Rajakars, which was an auxiliary group of the former Pakistani army. The opening statement of the prosecution will be made on 4 March 2014. (Z News).
AU issues statement urging united front concerning ICC and Kenya, Sudan cases: In a statement issued Saturday, 1 February 2014, the AU expressed that it was not pleased with the UN Security Council’s refusal to defer the trials of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto, and Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir. The AU encouraged all of its members to comply with AU decisions and stand together on this issue in order to defer the proceedings. Botswana is currently the only AU member state that has officially opposed the AU’s decision to challenge the ICC cases. (Sudan Tribune).
Kenyan High Court allows Barasa extradition to ICC: The Kenyan High Court has dismissed a petition submitted by journalist Walter Barasa arguing against his impending extradition. Barasa faces allegations of bribery in relation to the Ruto and President Kenyatta trial. It is alleged that Barasa engaged in trying to bribe witnesses to withdraw their testimony. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (Chicago Tribune, Star).
Rwandan former intelligence chief to appear in Paris court: France has opened its doors to the prosecution of alleged human rights abusers who participated in the Rwandan genocide in French courts. There are currently 27 cases waiting to be tried. Many human rights advocates are celebrating this decision because they claim France has not participated to the extent other countries have in years past. (SeattlePI).
Kenyan Government invited to make submissions on assistance to ICC: The ICC has invited Kenyan officials to appear before the court and to share their insight into how Kenyan law may assist the ICC in ascertaining more witnesses for the ongoing Kenyatta case. It is likely that Attorney General Muigai will make the trip to the ICC in two weeks. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (Capital News, ICC).
Serbian political leader arrested for war crimes; protests in Kosovo: The leading Kosovo Serb politician, Oliver Ivanovic, has been arrested by the European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) on suspicion of war crimes against ethnic Albanians. EULEX has the authority to handle sensitive cases that the local judiciary is unable to devote resources to. Demonstrators in Kosovo have expressed frustration over the arrest and are asking for Ivanovic to be released. For additional information on this topic, please click here) (BBC, World Bulletin).
AU calls on ICC to halt prosecutions against sitting heads of state: The AU is calling for solidarity in protest of ICC proceedings against sitting African presidents. AU members assert that Kenya and South Sudan need their presidents in place to avoid instances of instability and possible violence. (PressTV).
10th witness in Ruto case testifies about post-election violence: Testimony continued at the ICC on Wednesday, 29 January 2014, in the case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang. The tenth prosecution witness, P0128, described to the court instances of looting and bribery by members of the Kalenjin ethnic tribe. The witness also claimed supporters of Ruto encouraged the Kalenjins to vote during the election so that when his party won all non Kalenjins would be forced out. (All Africa).
Kenyatta withdraws excusal request: Defense lawyers for Uhuru Kenyatta have pulled the request to excuse the Kenyan President from physical presence at the ICC. The lawyers stated the request was made “with the assumption” the court would begin the trial on the 5 February 2014 date, although it had earlier been postponed indefinitely. Kenyatta’s withdrawal follows the Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto’s waiver of his right to presence during the trial. (Standard Digital).
Kenyatta attends AU summit, ICC discussions expected: African leaders met today to kick off the 22nd AU Summit. While agriculture and food security are the main topics of review, the heads of states plan on discussing Africa’s relationship with the ICC. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, an attendee, was directed by the summit last year not to attend the ICC trial against him for crimes against humanity. (Citizens News).
African Court on Human and People’s Rights may cover criminal offenses: Chief Justice of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Mogoeng Mogoeng, reported that the court’s jurisdiction may broaden to cover war crimes and crimes against humanity. Justice Mogoeng’s statement followed increased demands for an AU court capable of such prosecutions after the ICC indicted Kenya’s sitting heads of state. The court cannot currently hear cases file by an individual of a criminal nature. (Business Dive).
Turkish parliament’s human rights committee says Assad regime committed crimes against humanity: The Human Rights Committee of the Turkish Grand National Assembly found the report published last week to be “first-hand proof of the war crimes committed in Syria.” Turkey takes in some 700,000 displaced Syrians. The civil war in Syria has so far killed more than 100,000 and displaced nearly 9 million. (World Bulletin).
ICJ redraws border, gives Peru claim to sea under Chilean sovereignty: The ICJ has granted Peru a “fish-rich” portion of the Pacific Ocean claimed by Chili since the late 1800s. Earlier in the month, both presidents expressed their countries intent to respect what the ICJ judges have now ruled an “equitable solution.” Peru brought the case before the international court back in 2008, disputing the maritime boundary line between its country and Chili.
After indefinite postponement, Kenyatta seeks excusal from presence in ICC trial: Defense lawyers for Uhuru Kenyatta have moved the ICC to excuse the Kenyan President from physical presence in The Hague. The lawyers claim Kenyatta’s “extraordinary” presidential duties are too demanding for even presence via video link. The lawyers made note of the President’s role in national security as the country is threatened by terrorists. The ICC judges only last week postponed Kenyatta’s 5 February 2014, trial date indefinitely.
Sri Lanka says war crimes inquiry would bring “chaos,” reconciliation needs more time: Secretary to Sri Lanka’s President, Lalith Weeratunga, fears an international investigation into war crimes committed during the country’s 26-year civil war would likely cause chaos. Weeratunga has asked for at least five years to start reconciliation. The secretary stated: “It’s a very delicate, delicate process. Reconciliation is not a task that can be achieved in a day or two.” Both the U.K and the U.S. have pushed the Sri Lankan government for an international investigation this year.
International Commission of Jurists find Brunei Sharia penal code violates international human rights law: The International Commission of Jurists warned the Brunei government that its re-introduction of Sharia law this past October violates international human rights. The Sharia penal code in Brunei would, among other things, criminalize and impose severe sentences for extra-marital affairs and homosexuality. The NGO expressed disappointment in the tiny island’s “backward step.”
ICTY Appeals Chamber affirms Đorđević judgment but reduces sentence: On Monday, 27 January 2014, the ICTY Appeals Chamber affirmed Vlastimir Đorđević’s guilt for crimes committed against Kosovo Albanians in 1999. However, the Appeals Chamber also reduced his prison sentence from 27 to 18 years, because it reversed Đorđević’s convictions for aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity, as well as certain findings of the Trial Chamber concerning Đorđević’s participation in a joint criminal enterprise (JCE). Đorđević was originally convicted in 2011 for having committed war crimes and crimes against humanity through his participation in a JCE. (ICTY).
Mladic refuses to testify in ICTY Karadzic case: On Tuesday, 28 January 2014, Ratko Mladic refused to testify at Radovan Karadzic’s case before the ICTY. He refused to take an oath, and referred to the Court as “satanic.” After answering Karadzic’s first question concerning the posts and dates of his military career, Mladic subsequently refused to answer questions, citing to his health and the possibility of self-incrimination. Karadzic is facing 11 charges, including allegedly committing genocide at Srebrenica during the Kosovo conflict. (BBC).
ICC Prosecution witness questioned on USAID actions in Kenya: On Monday, 27 January 2014, Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto’s defense counsel Karim Khan questioned witness 356 testifying before the ICC about whether the witness knew of American Ambassador to Kenya Michael Rannerberger “trying to get people to give evidence against Mr Ruto”. The question was part of the defense’s argument that NGOs funded by USAID had influenced witnesses to testify against Ruto by paying them, and that Ranneberger had traveled to the North Rift region in order to discourage people from supporting Ruto. The witness said that he was not aware of the ambassador’s travel and USAID’s funding. When asked, the witness also said that he had not been influenced to testify by the $20,000 he received from the ICC’s Victims and Witnesses Unit. Khan asked further questions in a private session. (For additional information about this topic, please click here) (Kenya Monitor, Standard Media).
Lebanese firefighter testifies at STL about Hariri bombing scene: On Monday, 27 January 2014, Khaled Tubaily, a Lebanese firefighter who was one of the first to arrive at the site in Beirut where former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was killed by a bomb, testified before the STL. He said that “volcanoes of fire” were erupting from the site, and that the damage reached as far as 4 kilometers away, which will help the prosecution in asserting that the bombing occurred above ground, whereas defense lawyers have stated that the explosion was likely underground. Five Hezbollah members have been indicted for the 14 February 2005 attack. (The Daily Star).
HRW Report criticizes Kenya’s protection of human rights and culture of impunity: Kenya has rejected a recent report released by Human Rights Watch (HRW), which criticizes Kenya for failing to properly address impunity, citing to the country’s failure to address the 2007-2008 post-election violence. Specifically, the report points to the government’s lack of support for the trials of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto before the ICC. The report also criticizes slow reforms in the Kenyan police force, which allegedly unlawfully tortured and killed 120 individuals between May and August 2013. Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs labeled the report as “outrageous and incomprehensible” and asserted that Kenya is complying with international law and that the allegations of force used by the police were based on security actions taken years ago. (Sabahi).
Resolution passed by Sri Lanka council on international investigation into war crimes: On Monday, 27 January 2014, two months before UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay will deliver a report concerning the Sri Lankan government’s progress in addressing war crimes committed during the Sri Lankan Civil War before the UN Human Rights Council, passed a resolution for an international probe into these alleged war crimes. Specifically, the resolution calls for an inquiry into the “ethnic cleansing” that allegedly took place and rejects Sri Lanka’s national inquiry mechanism in favor of an international inquiry.
Former Peruvian Government cleared of CAH for forced sterilization: Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was cleared of the allegation that he and his cabinet forcibly sterilized about 300,000 indigenous women as part of a national program in order to reduce birth rates in poor, rural areas of Peru during his term in office. The prosecutor, who interviewed women affected by the procedures, determined that Fujimori had not committed crimes against humanity and that the women had not been coerced into undergoing sterilization procedures. Multiple human rights groups had urged the government to prosecute the cases of about 2,000 women affected by the procedures, and in 2010, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights directed Peru to investigate the death of a woman who had undergone such a sterilization procedure. (Chicago Tribune).
Uganda skeptical of success of Kony talks: A telephone call which was supposed to occur between Ugandan official Henry Okello-Oryem and Joseph Kony has failed to materialize. Kony sent a letter to government officials in an apparent effort to ask for forgiveness and to an end to the violence in Uganda. Officials are skeptical that a serious rebel leader would ever be willing to sit down to discuss peace. (BBC).
Mladic expected to give testimony in Karadzic trial: Mladic has been called to give evidence as a reluctant witness for the defense at the ongoing ICTY hearing. Mladic has consistently refused to testify on the basis of self-incrimination. However, if he does testify Karadzic will be hoping that his evidence will undermine the prosecution’s charge that there was a partnership between the two men during the war. (Irish Times).
UN highlights ongoing crimes by pro-Assad and rebel forces in Syria: U.N. war crimes experts continue to discover and document evidence of torture and killings on both sides of the war in Syria. The same experts are growing more certain that they will be able to build a case that could be taken to the ICC. (Reuters).
ICC delays Kenyatta trial following continued defense pleas: The ICC has delayed the start of the Kenyatta trial after prosecutors asked for more time to strengthen their case. The prosecution’s case has been on the verge of collapse since losing one of its witnesses in December of last year. (Reuters).
War Crimes division in Kenyan courts encounters delays: The delayed formation of the ICD has left Kenyans worried that it may never materialize. The Attorney General’s office has stated that it wants to confirm that the creation of the ICD is done correctly so it can effectively compliment the work that has already begun. (All Africa).
Kenyatta case adjourned at ICC: The ICC has postponed the opening date for the trial against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. The chamber will meet on 5 February 2014, to decide on whether a 3 month adjournment is appropriate. Kenyatta is on trial for crimes against humanity for murder, deportation, rape, persecution, and other crimes relating to the post-election violence committed in Kenya after the 2007 presidential election. (ICC Press Release).
Hariri trial continues in The Hague: Testimony continued on Thursday, 23 January 2014, at the Special Tribunal in Lebanon relating to the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Specifically, an expert of CCTV footage described the events leading up to the attack and the moments directly after. The prosecution claims a van in the footage was responsible for the attack, while the defense argues it was an underground explosion. (The Daily Star).
Witness testimony at ICC in Ruto case: A witness testified at the ICC this week in the case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang. The witness said Ruto was forced to support a Coalition for Reforms and Democracy candidate, Raila Odinga. The witness implied Ruto made a substantial effort in objecting to Odinga’s candidacy. Ruto is charged with crimes against humanity relating to the violence that followed the 2007 presidential election in Kenya. (Standard Digital).
Human Rights Watch seeks action: Human Rights Watch hopes a report released this week documenting the war crimes allegedly taking place in Syria will put pressure on the U.S. and other world powers to take action. Executive producer Kenneth Roth said: “We cannot afford to wait for the distant prospect of a peace accord before the killing of 5,000 civilians a month comes to an end.” (Boston Herald).