Archive for category ICC

5 June 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Santiago steps down as ICC judge, cites health issues: Judge Miriam Defensor-Santiago is stepping down from the ICC due to health concerns; she announced in a letter addressed to President Sang-Hyun Song this week. Santiago was elected in December 2011, and was the first Asian from a developing country and first Filipino to sit on the Court. Santiago requested her letter to ICC President Song be distributed to all parties of the Rome Statute “with thanks.” (Business World Online).

African Attorney Generals seek more African judges at the ICC: At a meeting in Ethiopia last month, African Attorney Generals said they will push for more African judges at the ICC. Additionally, the AGs agreed to seek an advisory opinion from the ICJ on the issue of presidential immunity. The AGs previously recommended an amendment to the Protocol of the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights to allow for presidential immunities. (the Star).

Special Court for Sierra Leone grants application for Senessie’s conditional early release: Yesterday, 4 June 2014, the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone granted Eric Koi Senessie an application for conditional early release. Senessie was convicted of contempt by the SCSL in June 2012, for bribery and interfering with a witness. Senessie received two years imprisonment after admitting his guilt in a formal statement to the SCSL. (the Hague Justice Portal).

Three Bosnian Serb former soldiers arrested for war crimes following mass grave discovery: Mitar Vlasenko, Rade Vlasenko and Drago Koncar were arrested today, 5 June 2014, in the northwestern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The three former Bosnian Serb soldiers are suspected of war crimes committed against Muslim Bosniaks during the 1992-95 Bosnian conflict. The arrests stem from last year’s discovery of a mass grave containing the remains of some 1,000 victims. (Chicago Tribune).

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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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28 May 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ECHR rules Croatia has right to bring war crimes charges: The European Court of Human Rights “declared inadmissible” a complaint filed by a former Croatian soldier alleging his right to not be tried or punished twice in respect to the same criminal charges was violated. Fred Margus was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to 14 years imprisonment in 2007 by a Croatian court for the same offenses as those terminated in a 1997 case under the General Amnesty Act. The ECHR found that the General Amnesty Act did not apply to offenses “amounting to the gravest breaches of humanitarian law or to war crimes.” The ECHR concluded that the Croatian court acted in compliance with international law when charging suspects previously granted amnesty under the Act for war crimes committed during Croatian war. (dalje.com).

IACHR orders protections for leaders of campesinos movements: On 8 May 2014, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ordered protection for 123 leaders of campesino movements in the Lower Aguán River Valley in northern Honduras. Campesinos in the Aguán have been engaged in an ongoing conflict with powerful land owners since the 2009 military coup in Honduras. The request for protection filed in October 2013, reported that over 100 campesinos had been killed. (World War 4 Report).

Experts optimistic about development of Arab Court for Human Rights: A two-day conference with international experts and judicial systems began yesterday, 27 May 2014, in Bahrain to discuss and finalize the articles of association necessary for the establishment of the Arab Court of Human Rights. The Foreign Minister of Bahrain opened the conference expressing hope the articles of association will “lay[] a standard that puts into account a margin of appreciation for the states, a margin of appreciation also to the culture in the Arab region, and also to be in conformity of international standards.” The articles once finalized will need to be ratified by seven nations in order to be enforceable. (Bahrain News Agency).

DRC official warns of legal action against Congo-Brazzaville regarding the treatment of DRC nationals: The Democratic Republic of Congo is preparing a complaint to be filed in the ICC and Congolese courts alleging the Congo-Brazzaville government committed physical and sexual violence, looted property and illegally deported DRC nationals. DRC Information Minister Lambert Mende recognized the Congo-Brazzaville government’s right to expel foreigners but stated that when doing so the country must respect human rights, the dignity of the person and his property. (Voice of America).

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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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12 May 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Mladic Defense Case to start 19 May: Ratko Mladic is the former Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army Main Staff and stands accused of genocide and a number of other crimes against Bosnian Muslim.  His defence case was scheduled to start May 13 but technical glitches hindered the readiness of his lawyers.  Mladic is scheduled to begin on Monday, May 19 at 9:30 a.m. in courtroom 1.  (For addition information on this topic, please click here.) (ICTY, IWPR).

Gaddafi Trial resumes in Tripoli; defendant remains in Zintan:  Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Senussi appeared via videolink at a court in Tripoli where each face a myrian of charges resulting from their allefged role in suppressing the 2011 uprising.  Both remain in Zintan and remain wanted by the ICC.

ICT-Bangladesh Prosecutor pursues genocide charges against former Jatiya Party Leader:  Former Jatiya Party MP Abdul Jabbar has been charged with five types of crimes against humanity during Bangladesh’s Liberation War.  Formal charges were submitted to the tribunal’s registrar AKM Nasiruddin Mahmud on Sunday.  It is suspected that Jabbar is currently living in the US.

UN Report suggests knowledge of Kony whereabouts:  The UN Security Council is set to discuss a report that may narrow the hunt for Joseph Kony.  Kony is wanted for crimes against humanity and has been successful in evading arrest.  An expansive task force is currently searching a vast area in central Africa for his whereabouts.

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7 May 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Muslim Brotherhood to appeal ICC rejection of complaint against Egyptian authorities: Officials from the Muslim Brotherhood have criticized the ICC’s recent decision to reject a complaint against Egyptian authorities for the deaths and jailing of thousands of Mohamed Morsi supporters. Officials have dismissed the decision as “political [] not legal” and intend to “present new evidence to the court.” Since July 2013, when Mohamed Morsi was ousted from leadership, the Egyptian authorities have cracked down on political opponents, including the Muslim Brotherhood.  (Turkish Press).

Ruto, Sang appeal ICC decision compelling witness testimony: Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang intend to appeal the ICC’s decision last month compelling witnesses to testify. Defense for the co-accused argue, among other things, that the decision may be in violation of Kenyan law and against the court’s obligations to protect the well-being of witnesses.  ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda moved the court to compel the testimony after eight witnesses allegedly failed to cooperate with the Court. (The Star).

UN: Boko Haram sale of abducted girls may be crime against humanity: A spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner of Human Rights, Rupert Colville, informed reporters the abduction of nearly 300 school girls in Nigeria by Boko Haram militants may amount to crimes against humanity. Colville stated the U.N. was “deeply concerned about the outrageous claims” made by Boko Haram this week to “sell the abducted schoolgirls . . . and ‘marry them off.’”  Colville urged the militants to safely return the schoolgirls. (Khaleej Times).

Khieu Samphan again hospitalized: 82 year old ECCC accused Khieu Samphan was hospitalized; said his national lawyer Kong Sam Onn on Tuesday, 6 April 2014. Samphan is currently appealing the second phase of his case, arguing his right to a speedy trial has been violated. Samphan faces crimes against humanity charges. (The Cambodia Daily).

Russia to file suit against Ukraine in ICC: It is being reported that Russian members of parliament intend to file a lawsuit in the ICC against Ukraine for violations of serious international law committed on its territory from 21 November 2013 to 22 February 2014. The members of parliament have been collecting documents on the killing of civilians in Ukraine, including the Odessa massacre which killed some 40 people and the mass protests in eastern Ukraine. (RAPSI).

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5 May 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

African Commission asked to intervene in second round of mass death sentences in Egypt:  The application for the African Commission to intervene is the second application on behalf of the individuals sentenced to death on 22 March.  The Freedom and Justice Party first asked the Commission to intervene concerning the first group (529 individuals) sentenced to death on 25 April, whereby the AC ordered Provisional Measures ordering Egypt to suspend the death sentences and up hold the individuals’ rights.  Thereafter, Egypt has sentenced an additional 687 to death and the FJP is now asking for similar provisional measures in relation to this second group.  (MEM).

ICC witness goes on hunger strike:  Floribert Ndjabu has begun a hunger as a way to force the ICC to make a decision regarding his state of detention and application for asylum in the Netherlands.  Ndjabu was one of three witnesses who sought asylum in the Netherlands after providing testimony for the prosecution in its case against the Congolese militia bosses Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui and Germain Katanga.  (Yahoo News).

Government of Kenya granted extra time to leave to appeal witness summons decision:  The ICC has granted a ten day extension to file leave to appeal the summons of eight witnesses to be forced to testify in the case against Deputy President Ruto.  The ICC has made it clear that the time extension has been granted to the Kenyan government to make any application they find appropriate without prejudice to the Chamber’s decision.  Standard Digital).

Clooney’s fiancée represents Senussi’s rights at the ICC:  Amal Alamuddin currently represents Muammar Gaddafi’sformer spy chief, Abdullah al Senussi, against charges of crimes against humanity.  Alamuddin has garnered international attention for her choice of controversial clients, including her work as legal adviser to Bahrain’s king.  (The Guardian).

North Korea publish list of US human rights abusers:  In response to a recent UN report detailing a number of alleged human rights abuses committed by the United States, the North Korean government has released its own report accusing the United States of its own human rights abuses.  NK makes allegations of racism and that the US is the most violent nation in the world.  (All Voices).

 

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1 May 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC rejects Muslim Brotherhood petition against death sentences: It is being reported the ICC has rejected a petition by the Muslim Brotherhood opposing the mass death sentence imposed by the Minya Criminal Court.  The Minya Criminal Court on Monday, 28 April 2014, sentenced over 600 people to death for murder and inciting violence. (Egypt Independent).

Amid suspended peace talks with Israel, Palestine may seek ICC membership: A central member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) said the organization plans on joining several international agencies including the ICC, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization. Joining such international agencies such as the ICC would allow the Palestinians to bring crimes against humanity cases against Israel. Senior officials from the PLO have denied plans to join such memberships. (The Wall Street Journal).

ICTY chief prosecutor disappointed with progress of investigations transferred to Bosnia: Following a visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, ICTY Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz expressed disappointment in the progress of war crimes investigations transferred to the country. Brammertz quoted 44 cases have been transferred to Bosnia from the ICTY and estimates that a few cases have received little investigation. The Chief Prosecutor finds it “very unfortunate that so little progress has been made” and hopes his “criticism will be taken in constructive manner.” (InSerbia).

ACHPR expresses concern over atrocities committed against citizens in African states: On Monday, 28 April 2014, at the opening of the 55th session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, chairmen expressed concern over violations of international law committed in some African states. The chairmen considered the infringement of human rights in some African states to be an insult to the rights of humans in general. (All Africa).

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28 April 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Secretary General alarmed at potential human rights violations in Egypt:  The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is concerned at the news that another preliminary mass death sentence has been handed down in an Egyptian court.  This recent decision comes on the heels of a 24 March decision where 529 defendants were convicted of numerous crimes.  There is fear that the mass sentencing and stricter laws regulating protests may lead to more instability in the region.  (UN).

ICC Prosecutor initiates preliminary investigation into Ukraine:  ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, has decided to open a preliminary examination in Ukraine to investigate the alleged crimes committed on its territory from 21 November 2013 to 22 February 2014.  During the preliminary stages of her investigation, Ms. Bensouda will confirm that the jurisdiction, admissibility and the interests of justice standards are satisfied before a the ICC proceeds any further.  (ICC).

Seif Gaddafi attends trial via video; trial adjourned until May 11:  Seif al-Islam Gaddafi appeared for his second appearance in court in Tripoli via videoconference sourced from the city of Zintan.  Gaddafi replied in with a no when he was asked if he had a lawyer.  It is unclear why he has not been transferred to Tripoli to appear in person.  The session has been adjourned to May 11.  (AP).

ICT of Bangladesh delays trial of Jamaat-e-Islami leader:  A severe heat wave has caused the ICT to defer the hearing of Jamaat-e-Islami to May 6.  The temperature in Dhaka hit 40.2 degrees Celsius on Thursday, which led to the absence of a prosecution witness.  (bdnews).

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