Archive for category ICC
Sang opposes deferral of his ICC case: Joshua Arap Sang is against the deferral of his case before the ICC and would like to have his case heard as soon as possible, even though he noted that he understood why Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto are pushing for a deferral of their cases. He explained that he respects their mandates in Kenya, but that deferral is unnecessary in his own case because he has no such duties. Sang is indicted with committing crimes against humanity in the post-election violence in Kenya. (Standard).
Students and educators demand charges against Qaisar; ICT prosecution to charge soon: The ICT prosecution will likely submit formal charges against Syed Mohammad Qaisar to the ICT, which will decide whether or not to accept the charges after examining the documents prepared by the prosecution. Qaisar, who is allegedly the leader and founder of the “Qaisar Force”, which was associated with the Pakistani army during the war, will likely be charged with committing crimes against humanity and genocide in the 1971 Liberation War. On Saturday, 10 November 2013, attendees of a “Student-Teacher Rally” urged the government to immediately execute the verdict and punish those who committed war crimes. They also demanded a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami politics and the politics of its student wing Islami Chattra Shibir. (To read more about this topic, please click here.) (The Daily Star, Dhaka Tribune).
EULEX charges against former Kosovo rebels: A EU prosecutor indicted 15 former Kosovo rebels last week, charging them for allegedly killing and torturing civilians at a detention center in Kosovo in the 1998-99 separatist war with Serbia. Though the EU rule of law mission (EULEX), which prosecutes war crimes cases in Kosovo, did not name the defendants, the defendants reportedly include members of Prime Minister Hashim Thaci’s Democratic Party of Kosovo. Some of the defense lawyers have rejected the charges. The case will be heard before the Mitrovica Basic Court in Kosovo. (BBC).
ICRC clears Sri Lankan Army of IHL violations against LTTE: In a cable signed 15 July 2009, which has since been leaked through the WikiLeaks database, U.S. Ambassador to Geneva Clint Williamson stated that Jacques de Maio, the Head of Operations for South Asia of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), had disclosed that the Sri Lankan Army had purposely chosen a slow approach in the civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), choosing a high number of military deaths over high civilian casualties, which a faster battle would have brought about. According to de Maio, the Sri Lankan Army had taken allegations of International Humanitarian Law violations into consideration during the war and changed its tactics to reduce civilian deaths, meaning it did not commit crimes against humanity. (The Nation).
Kenyan DPP wants Barasa tried before the ICC: Keriako Tobiko, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) of Kenya, wants journalist Walter Barasa to be tried at the ICC, because no investigation or prosecution has been initiated against Barasa in Kenya. The DPP has also opposed Barasa’s request to be provided with the documents of his case. The ICC has charged Barasa with interfering with witnesses in the cases against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Arap Sang, and wants to extradite Barasa to The Hague. (AllAfrica).
UN urges international donors to fund Khmer Rouge tribunal: UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson appealed to international donors and the Cambodian government to fund the Khmer Rouge tribunal. He said that in order to hold Khmer Rouge leaders accountable, the tribunal must be supported financially, because “[w]ords do not pay the bills.” The Court’s budget for the coming year has been scaled back, and evidentiary hearings of the Court’s second trial are expected to begin soon. (The Phnom Penh Post).
ICJ decision supports Cambodia’s claim to Preah Vihear temple: The International Court of Justice confirmed Cambodia’s claim to the promontory bearing the Preah Vihear temple yesterday after years of dispute between Cambodia and Thailand. The ICJ also stressed that the 1962 decision requiring Thailand to withdraw all security troops from the temple’s vicinity should be upheld. While Cambodian Information Minister Khieu Kanharith celebrated the decision, noting that “this is the victory of all the nation and the reward to the political maturity of the current Royal government of Cambodia,” Thai officials were calling for greater interpretation. Thai Ambassador to the Hague Virachai Plasai said Cambodia had won only a small piece of the disputed territory, and that the exact amount still needed further calculating. He also called for further interpretation of the decision. (Bangkok Post)
Ruto and Sang lawyers seek information on witness compensation: Lawyers for Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto and Kenyan former radio announcer Joshua arap Sang said they are planning to appeal an ICC decision denying the men access to information regarding compensation to witnesses through the Victims and Witnesses Unit. “It is presumed that witnesses who come to testify will have to have sustenance in their lives whether it is afforded to them on their own or through the instrumentality of the VWU,” said presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji. The lawyers maintain they should have access to compensation information, as they believe the witness is a “hoax” who is falsifying testimony in exchange for his own monetary gain. “The prosecution’s reason for opposing the request is that the VWU is an independent unit tasked with making independent judgements on what is appropriate in terms of costs to be expended on wtinesses’ sustenance,” said Eboe-Osjui. (All Africa)
Sang opposes deferral of his ICC case: Kenyan former radio announcer Joshua arap Sang said he does not support a deferral of his trial and would prefer that his case proceed and conclude as soon as possible before the court. He noted that his situation is distinct from that of Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President Willaim Ruto, given their obligations to governing the country while also on trial before the ICC. “Personally I do not support this deferral thing, I know for them, President Uhuru and his Deputy William Ruto, they really need it,” said Sang. “I understand…they are only a few months in office, they need it so they can govern this country but for me my preference is that I want the case concluded as soon as possible.” (Standard Media)
Chilean granted justice at international court: An 80 year old Chilean who was severely tortured after the Pinochet regime took power in 1973 was granted a huge victory from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights this week. The Court ruled the Chile government must investigate the abuses toward Leopoldo Garcia and find those responsible for compensation. Garcia was detained after a 1973 coup and tortured into divulging names of suspected Socialists. Garcia was eventually transferred to London where he has lived for 40 years. However, Garcia has struggled throughout his life to find work and provide for his family in a foreign country. He believes Chili should “assume responsibility” for what happened to him by the Pinochet regime.
Delay of Rios Montt trial angers victims: Victims of genocide and crimes against humanity during Guatemalan President General Efrain Rios Montt’s 1982-83 rule are frustrated by the decision to delay his retrial. Amnesty International reports Mayan-Ixil indigenous people feel “let down” and worry the former President will evade justice. Rios Montt’s guilty conviction by a Guatemalan criminal court was overturned shortly after by the country’s highest court. The retrial is expected January 2015.
Serbian war crimes prosecutor charges two former Serbian army officers: Serbia’s War Crimes Prosecutors have charged two Yugoslav army leaders of war crimes. Parole Gavrilovic and Rajko Kozlina are accused of ordering an attack on a civilian village during the 1998-99 Serbian War that killed at least 27 Kosovar. A Serbian investigating judge will decide whether to indict and arrest the two leaders.
Habre appeal denied by international court: On 5 November 2013, the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States held the Extraordinary African Chambers was satisfactorily established to try the former Chadian President Hissene Habre for crimes against humanity and war crimes. Habre filed a motion on 23 April 2013, challenging the legitimacy of the Extraordinary African Chambers to try him for crimes committed during his rule from 1982 to 1990. The Court found the Chambers consisted of a “special ad hoc procedure of international character” capable of holding Habre’s trial. Victims of his rule have called the Court’s decision “a huge relief.”
Kenyatta deferral gets more support: Another African country is now publicly supporting the postponement of the ICC case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. On 5 November 2013, Jean Kimani, Kenya’s High Commissioner, stated Botswana was of the position the Kenyatta trial should not only be deferred, but also held locally. Kimani clarified that Botswana’s support for Kenya’s President did not interfere with the country’s commitment to the Rome Statute and the ICC.
Gaddafi’s son speaks from prison: Seif al-Islam, the son of former Libyan dictator Muanmar Gaddafi, answered three prepared questions from a journalist on 5 November 2013. Sitting behind bars in a Zintan prison outside the Tripoli capital, Seif al-Islam told the journalist he was well and permitted visitors. Seif was captured in November 2011 by ex-rebel forces. He is also wanted by the ICC and was charged by a Tripoli court.
Nigeria seeks change at ICC: Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathon assured the international community on Tuesday, 5 November 2013, that his country would continue supporting the ICC. However, Jonathon urged the Court to defer the pending case against Kenya’s sitting head of state. Jonathon argued Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta needed to remain in Africa to fulfill his executive duties during the country’s period of instability.
China supports delay of Kenyatta case at ICC: China, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, urged the ICC on Tuesday, 5 November 2013, to postpone the case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta for at least a year. China’s U.N. Ambassador Liu Jieyi argued the dignity of Kenyatta must “be fully protected and respected” and that the Kenyan leader needed time to “concentrate on discharging [his] constitutional duties.” Kenyatta is on trial for crimes against humanity. The ICC case against him was previously suspended from November to 5 February 2014. (Eurasia Review).
30 killed in Nigerian attack; Islamist militants blamed: Members of an Islamist militant group responsible for a deadly attack on a wedding party in Nigeria this past Saturday, 2 November 2013, could face charges of crimes against humanity, said U.N. Human Rights Office Spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly. Pouilly reported the Nigerian government established a panel to investigate and report on alleged human rights abuses being committed in the country. Since 2009, thousands of Nigerians have been killed or displaced in the militant group’s fight to overthrow the government and replace it with a Islamist regime. (Voice of America).
International reports focus on U.S. drone strikes: Recent reports by U.N. special rapporteurs, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have examined whether the U.S.’s use of drone strikes complies with international humanitarian law. Amnesty International noted that lethal force outside armed conflict is legal only when proportionately used to protect life. The NGO stressed attacks must be targeted against militants and not harm civilians. Amnesty International’s report considered the drone strikes by the U.S. in Pakistan likely “constitute[d] extrajudicial executions” and were in violation of international law. Similarly, Human Rights Watch concluded certain U.S. drone strikes in Yemen “may have violated the laws of war because the individual attacked was not a lawful military target.” (The Guardian).
Thailand and Cambodia prepare for ICJ verdict: The ICJ’s expected 11 November 2013, ruling on the ownership of the Hindu temple located near the border of Thailand and Cambodia has many security officials worried. It is feared internal political disputes between either country’s government and opposition forces may “create a situation for misunderstanding” and “ignite a [border] conflict.” The Thai and Cambodian Foreign Ministers met last week to discuss military restraint and stability along the border. (The Nation).
UN address ICC issues, including Kenya deferral and Sudan’s outstanding warrants: On Thursday, 31 October 2013, ICC President Sang-Hyung Song updated the UNGA on the workings of the Court, including the Kenya, Libya, Sudan and Ivory Coast cases. He asked all ICC stakeholders to uphold the integrity of the Rome Statute, and particularly highlighted the support needed from the UN to address the outstanding warrants in Sudan against the four individuals charged with committing genocide in Darfur. In a separate meeting, the UNSC representatives from Kenya and the AU were addressing the ICC concerning the possibility of deferring the ICC cases against President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto for one year. Under Article 16 of the Rome Statute, a prosecution can be deferred for up to 12 months by a resolution of the UNSC under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. (To read more about this topic, please click here.) (The Star, UPI).
Serbia to receive positive report from ICTY: Rasim Ljajic, the president of the National Council for the ICTY Cooperation, will mention Serbia’s cooperation with the ICTY in a report he will deliver to the UN in December, specifically referring to Serbia promptly delivering documents and allowing access to witnesses and archives. Ljajic met with ICTY prosecutor Serge Brammertz on Monday, 4 November 2013, and he met with Serbian prime minister Ivica Dacic and the chief Serbian prosecutor Vladimir Vucicevic on Tuesday, 5 November 2013. Ljajic and Brammertz discussed placing individuals sentenced by the ICTY into Serbian prisons, a possibility the Tribunal had previously declined. (World Bulletin).
Witness testifies that Karadzic was a weak leader: Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic’s trial resumed this week, with Karadzic’s former aide Jovan Zametica testifying that Karadzic had not had effective control over his army. Zametica joined the Republika Srpska (RS) in 1993 and became an advisor to Karazdic in 1994. He testified that Karadzic had been a weak leader of the RS; his army had apparently been disobedient, he had allowed local chieftains to make important decisions, and he had simply been a representative leader to the international community. He also asserted that Karadzic had been tolerant of non-Serbs, as shown by the fact that Zametica is a Muslim. Karadzic is charged with genocide before the ICTY. (Institute for War & Peace Reporting).
ICTR will help Rwanda with transferred genocide cases: The ICTR has promised to help the Rwandan National Prosecution Authority with the genocide cases the ICTR has transferred to Rwanda. ICTR prosecutor general Hassan Bubacar Jallow explained that although the work of the ICTR is winding down, it will continue to support the Rwandan prosecution to ensure that the cases are handled successfully and that the genocide suspects, many of whom have fled to France, are caught and prosecuted. Jallow, ICTR President Judge Vagn Joensen, and several senior officials from the ICTR are currently in Rwanda and will meet with the supreme court judges and Minister of Justice Johnston Busingye to review ICTR procedures. (Rwanda Focus).
MICT is tracking “big fish” wanted for Darfur genocide: Jallow announced on Monday, 4 November 2013 that three of the most wanted suspects for the genocide in Darfur will likely be caught soon, because the Mechanism of the International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) was able to obtain information that could lead to their arrest. The three fugitives are Felicien Kabuga, who allegedly financed the genocide, Protais Mpiranya, the former Presidential Guards commandant, and Augustin Bizimana, the former defense minister. Referred to as “big fish”, their cases would be handled by the MICT, as opposed to being transferred to Rwanda. (The New Times).
STL fines defense in Hariri case: Earlier this week, the STL fined defense lawyers for making “frivolous” appeals in order to delay the start date of the trial concerning the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. The defense appealed the appointment of Judge Janet Nosworthy, who replaced the former president of the trial chamber upon his resignation in September, which was deemed a “frivolous” delay tactic by the Court. The defense also asserted that it needs more time to prepare for trial due to the high volume of evidence in the case, and that Lebanon was not cooperating in assisting the defense’s investigations. The Court did not reveal how much the defense was fined. (The Daily Star).
British MPs call executions in Iran crimes against humanity: British MPs have declared that the execution of 16 political prisoners on 4 October 2013 in Zahedan, Iran is a crime against humanity, and are calling on the UN to investigate these events. The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom stated that Mohammad Marzieh, the prosecutor general of Zahedan, had confirmed that the prisoners had been executed because they had killed revolutionary guards in Saravan. The committee also noted, however, that Hedayatollah Mir-Moradzehi, Saravan’s representative in the Iranian Parliament, stated that it was still unclear who had killed the revolutionary guards. The committee recommended that the UN Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council review the events. (Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran).
ECCC defendants maintain not-guilty at closing arguments: On 31 October 2013, the two surviving former leaders of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge asked to be acquitted as closing arguments were made at the ECCC. Nuon Chea and Khieu were initially charged with crimes against humanity. It is expected that a verdict will be delivered in the first half of 2014. (UN News).
In absentia death sentences for two ICT-Bangladesh defendants: On 3 November 2013, Chowdhury Mueen Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khan were found guilty of carrying out episodes of torture and murder during the war of independence from Pakistan in 1971. Defense lawyers are calling the trial a farce while veterans of the war were said to be cheering the decision. (Reuters).
Kenya ICC trial delayed; encouraged by UN African members: Rwanda, Togo and Morocco circulated a draft resolution among UN Security Council members this last Friday asking to defer the ICC trials of President Kenyatta and his deputy Ruto for one year. The Security Council has the ability to defer ICC proceedings for one year under Article 16 of the Rome Statute. (For more information on this topic, please click here, here.) (Reuters, CNN).
Court/Tribunal: International Criminal Court
Decision Title: Judgment on the appeal of the Prosecutor against the decision of Trial Chamber V(a) of 18 June 2013 entitled “Decision on Mr. Ruto’s Request for Excusal from Continuous Presence at Trial
Chamber: Appeals Chamber
Case Name: Prosecutor v. William Samoei Ruto and Joseph Arap Sang
Date: 25 October 2013
Decision Background: On 17 April 2013, William Samoei Ruto filed a request with the Court to grant him a waiver of his right to be present at trial, and to conduct the trial without requiring his attendance throughout the duration of the proceedings. Mr. Ruto based his request on the time and duty requirements of his position as Deputy President of Kenya, which Mr. Ruto argue would preclude his ability to be at the trial. On 1 May 2013, the Prosecutor filed a response objecting to Mr. Ruto’s request, and asked the Court to require Mr. Ruto’s presence at the totality of the proceedings.
On 18 June 2013, the Trial Chamber issued its decision on Mr. Ruto’s request. The decision, with one dissent, granted Mr. Ruto’s request to not be continually present during the proceedings of his trial. They based their decision as a means to allow Mr. Ruto, under certain conditions, to meet and perform his duties as Deputy President. The Trial Chamber based its decision primarily on a reading of Article 64(6)(f) of the Statute, which allows the Trial Chamber discretion to do what is “fair, reasonable and just” throughout the course of adjudicating a case. Under the Trial Chamber’s decision, Mr. Ruto would still be subject to the Court’s jurisdiction for purposes of inquiring into his personal responsibility for the crimes charged against him. The condition set by the Trial Chamber was the Mr. Ruto’s absences from the Court proceedings must always be caused by or directed towards the performance of his duties as Deputy President.
On 29 July 2013, the Prosecutor filed an appeal of the Trial Chamber’s decision. The Prosecutor raised two issues – the scope of the requirement under Article 63(1) of the Statute that an accused be present during his or her trial, and whether the test for excusal developed by the Trial Chamber is supported by applicable law – and asked the Appeals Chamber to give suspensive effect to the appeal and reverse the Trial Chamber’s decision. The Appeals Chamber granted the Prosecution’s request for suspensive effect on 20 August 2013.
Decision Review: The Appeals Chamber disagreed with the Trial Chamber that the primary question in the case – whether it could grant a waiver of Mr. Ruto’s requirement to be present during trial – would be resolved under Article 64(6)(f), the article granting the Trial Chamber discretionary powers. Rather, the Appeals Chamber found that Article 63(1), which establishes the defendant’s right and duty to be present at trial, as controlling. The first question it thus addressed is whether that statute allowed any discretion to the Trial Court to excuse a defendant from the trial proceedings, or whether the statute is absolute in its requiring the defendant’s presence.
Noting the substantive and procedural importance of the defendant’s presence at trial, the Appeals Chamber nonetheless rejected the Prosecutor’s argument that Article 63(1) is absolute in its terms, and that the only applicable situation where a defendant can be excused from proceedings, is when he is forcibly removed from proceedings due to disruption. The Appeals Chamber recognized that during the course of a trial, unforeseen and emergency situations might arise that would require the defendant’s temporary absence. The Appeals Chamber determined that it would not be improper for the Court to allow the defendant’s excusal in these situations, particularly in light of the fact that the only other alternative would be to adjourn the trial until such a time that the defendant could resume his presence. Further, the Appeals Chamber noted that the exception allowing for forcible removal of disruptive defendants, supports recognition of a defendant’s ability, in certain situations, to voluntarily waive his right to be present. Thus, the Appeals Chamber found that the Trial Chamber did not err in law in finding discretion to excuse a defendant from trial, although it did find that the Trial Chamber relied upon the wrong article in establishing this discretion.
The Appeals Chamber, however, found that the Trial Chamber erred in applying its discretion to excuse Mr. Ruto in the manner in which it did. The Appeals Chamber found that the discretion allowed under Article 63(1) is limited, and must be used cautiously. Under Article 63(1), the accused’s presence at trial is still the rule and general expectation, and the Trial Chamber cannot issue an excusal that would amount to the defendant’s presence at trial the exception, not the rule. Further, as suggested by the language of Article 63(2), which sets out the disruptive defendant exception to the presence requirement, the Court’s discretion to excuse (or remove) the defendant from proceedings should only come after other reasonable alternatives to removal or excusal have proven ineffective or inadequate. Further, the defendant’s absence must be allowed only to the strictest extent necessary, the defendant must have explicitly waived his or her right to be present, and the Court must ensure that the defendant’s rights are maintained during his or her absence. Finally, the decision to excuse a defendant must be taken by the Court on a case-by-case basis based upon the subject matter of the hearings that the defendant would not attend.
The Appeals Chamber found that the excusal granted by the Trial Chamber to Mr. Ruto was too broad. It found that the waiver amounted to a blanket excusal, where Mr. Ruto’s presence would be the exception, not the rule, during proceedings. Article 63(1) bars such a situation. Further, the Appeals Chamber found that the Trial Chamber acted improperly, because it did not first consider whether there were any available alternatives to excusal that would ameliorate the concerns underlying Mr. Ruto’s request. And because the Trial Chamber essentially summarily excused the defendant from trial, the Appeals Chamber found that they erred in not applying a case-by-case analysis that looked at what Mr. Ruto would be missing.
For these reasons, the Appeals Chamber reversed the Trial Court’s decision granting Mr. Ruto waiver. Judges Erkki Kourula and Anita Usacka wrote separately, opining that the Trial Chamber has no discretion to excuse a defendant, on a case-by-case basis, from trial due to exceptional circumstances.
To access the full Decision, click here.
ICC rejects Gbagbo’s appeal against pretrial detention: On Tuesday, 29 October 2013 the ICC announced that former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo must remain in custody until he is tried, rejecting his appeal against his continuous pretrial detention in The Hague. Gbagbo has been in custody for almost two years, and his indictment has not been confirmed; it is still unclear whether he will stand trial. Gbagbo is charged with committing crimes against civilians following the 2010 Ivory Coast elections. (The Associated Press).
U.S. plans to aid Uganda in its search for Kony: The U.S. is reportedly increasing efforts to catch Joseph Kony by possibly stationing Osprey aircraft in Uganda. Such aircraft fly like planes but are capable of landing like helicopters, which would significantly aid African and U.S. troops in searching for Kony. This would also double the number if U.S. troops stationed in Uganda, which is leading the search for Kony. Kony, the commander-in-chief of the rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and three other LRA leaders have been indicted by the ICC for crimes against humanity and war crimes. The LRA fought the Ugandan government for 20 years, and is allegedly responsible for killing and kidnapping civilians from villages, many of whom were children. (Voice of America).
Chowdhury appeals death sentence handed down by ICT: On Tuesday, 29 October 2013, Salauddin Quader Chowdhury’s defense lawyer filed an appeal with the Supreme Court against the death penalty awarded by with the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), which had sentenced Chowdhury to death by hanging on 1 October 2013 for the torture, murder, and genocide he committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. Chowdhury was a Standing Committee member of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party. (Dhaka Tribune).
STL holds pre-trial conference in Hariri case: On Tuesday, 29 October 2013, the Trial Chamber of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is holding a pre-trial conference concerning the case against four Lebanese individuals indicted for assassinating former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and killing 21 others in a 2005 terrorist attack in Beirut. The conference is meant to help shift the case from the pre-trial to the trial stage, and will be open to the public. This is the first time the Trial Chamber has held such a meeting. The case was transferred from the Pre-Trial Chamber to the Trial Chamber, and the trial is set to begin on 13 January 2014. (Kuwait News Agency).
ICC reverses ruling excusing Ruto from attending his trial: The appeals chamber of the ICC ruled on Friday, 25 October 2013 that Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto can only be excused from attending his trial under “exceptional circumstances”, reversing the earlier ruling which had excused Ruto from attending much of his trial. The appeals chamber noted that Ruto may only be excused from attending when judges have considered all other alternatives and it is “strictly necessary”, since Ruto is “not merely a passive observer of the trial but an active participant”. Decisions on whether Ruto will be excused from certain parts of his trial will therefore be made on a case-by-case basis. (Sabahi).
Chea’s defense team denounces “showcase” trial: Lawyers from Nuon Chea’s defense team called his trial “a showcase of the conclusion that everyone involved wanted and expected from the day the tribunal was constituted,” stating that “no one in this court is interested in ascertaining the truth.” One lawyer – Voctor Koppe – cited political interference as preventing his team from obtaining the evidence they needed to adequately secure their defense. Chea (“Brother No. Two”) and former head of state Khieu Samphan stand trial for their role in the Khmer Rouge atrocities in Cambodia in the late seventies. Earlier this week, prosecutors requested the maximum sentence – life imprisonment – for the men. (AFP)
Suspended sentences possible for Kenyatta and Ruto: ICC judge Chile Ebo-Osuji has said that suspended sentences for President Kenyatta and Vice President Ruto of Kenya may be possible, meaning that if they are convicted, their sentence would not be imposed until they leave office. The African Union recently appealed to the ICC to delay their trial given their responsibilities in their home country with regards to reconciliation and development, and Judge Ebo-Osuji has stated that the court could consider any “real contributions” in sentencing. “Such mitigating circumstances could result in penitent credits or suspended sentence pending completion of term of office,” said Ebo-Osuii, “depending, of course, on other considerations as well.” However, the judge did caution the UN Security Council with regards to the AU’s bid for deferral. (All Africa).
Fifth witness in Ruto case speaks to symbolic protection against arson for ODM supporters: The fifth witness in the case against Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto testified that houses belonging to ODM supporters in Kenya’s 2007 election were symbolically marked to spare them from being burned. He described how Kalenjin warriors burned homes belonging to Kikuyus, but skipped homes marked with “ODM 41.” “As we were running, I noticed that the houses that did not have the label ‘ODM 41’ were burning,” he said. He further testified that the young warriors were running with jerricans of fuel through the homes. (Standard Digital)
Prosecution seeks life in prison for Cambodian accused: ECCC prosecutors in closing arguments this week sought life imprisonment for two senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. The trial of the co-accused, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, was previously divided into small portions for procedural efficiency. This particular part concerns the culpability of the two leaders during the capital’s April 1975 evacuation in which many civilians were forced to work in harsh conditions or killed. (VOA Cambodia).
Kenyatta trial approaches; AU pushing hard for postponement: The AU has continued in its efforts this week to defer the impending ICC case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. Expected to begin on 12 November 2013, the AU raised concerns over security and bad precedent as reasons to postpone the trial for at least one year. International scholars have argued the AU response is fear of “set[ting] precedents in which there is a possibility of heads of state from Africa, in future, begin dragged into the court.” Just last week, the ICC held Kenyatta could be absent from all proceedings in The Hague except for opening and closing statements. (VOA News).
Kenyatta not troubled by ICC case: While delivering a speech during Mashujaa Day celebrations this weekend, President Uhuru Kenyatta assured Kenyans the ICC would acquit him of crimes against humanity once the truth was uncovered. The sitting President also guaranteed that he would continue to fulfill his executive duties if required to appear before the Court in The Hague. Kenyatta and the AU are currently attempting to prevent or postpone the ICC trial. (All Africa).