Archive for category ICC

17 February 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN HR Council grants 6 mo delay to release of Sri Lanka war crimes report: The United Nations Human Rights Council granted the Sri Lankan government a six month delay in releasing its report on alleged war crimes. The report, led by former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, was due next month, but UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein stated that he recommended a deferral until September. A Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry official stated that the delay would help the “new government’s move to establish democratic process for accountability issues.” These war crimes stem from the previous government who stands accused of human rights violations during the final stages of the civil war in May of 2009. The United Nations Human Rights Council began their own investigation in March after stating that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had failed to properly conduct his own investigation. Once released, the United Nations report would be the basis of which the HR Council would recommend to hold those accountable for crimes, including a referral to the International Criminal Court. (Reuters, New York Times, Aljazeera) (for additional information please click here and here)

Extraordinary African Chambers finds enough evidence against Habre to proceed to trial: The Extraordinary African Chambers found enough evidence against Hissene Habre for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture to go forward with trial. This evidence comes from witness and victim interviews, documents from Habre’s secret police, and a visit to mass graves during a 19-month pretrial investigation conducted mainly in Chad. These allegations stem from Habre’s eight-year rule in Chad, though he was overthrown over 20 years ago. Habre lived in exile in Senegal until he was detained in 2013. The trial is expected to begin in May or June and will have two Senegalese judges and a lead judge from another African Union member state. (Defence Web)

HRW calls Libyan beheadings a war crime: Human Rights Watch stated that the killing of 21 people by a Libyan extremist group constituted as a war crime. A video was published on 15 February 2015 that showed the 21 men beheaded on a beach thought to be in western Libya. HRW called for Libyan officials to hold those accountable for the acts and for the United Nations to establish a mechanism to investigate and prosecute the crimes. The Libyan extremist group has pledged its loyalty to ISIS, another extremist group. (Human Rights Watch)

Kurdish Gov investigating atrocities committed against ISIS: Images posted on Twitter of beheaded ISIS militants have been confirmed as legitimate by the Kurdish government. These tactics committed against ISIS fighters mirrors the extremist group’s own tactics. The beheadings occurred on 30 January 2015 during a battle to drive ISIS out of the city of Kirkuk. The Kurdish government is investigating the atrocities committed. Kurdish Regional government spokesperson Safeen Dizayi stated that there is no justification for treating dead corpses in this manner. (CTV News)

Official says N Korea not guilty of any crime while asking for HR conference to be cancelled: The United Nations General Assembly urged the UN Security Council to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity back in December. North Korea’s UN ambassador, Jang Il Hun, stated on Monday that the threat of referral was not worrisome since they are not guilty of the alleged crimes. Hun also stated that he asked the United States to cancel a conference to be held at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies concerning human rights in North Korea. Hun sent a formal request to his counterpart in the State Department, but the request was denied, as it was not a U.S. government event. (Euronews)

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12 February 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURT

Sri Lanka requests delay on UN war crimes report: Sri Lankan officials have asked the UN for a delay in the releasing of the report investigating the atrocities of the war between the Tamil Tigers and government forces. A delay in the report’s release until August should give enough time for internal mechanisms to be established. UN officials said the timetable for the report’s release has not been changed as of it. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (BBC, Reuters)

UN Libya Mission concerned over deteriorating political, human rights situation: The UN has released a report lamenting the conditions in Libya. The report highlights the vulnerable situation of migrants in Libya as well as those behind bars with no foreseeable way to challenge their incarceration. There is hope that once the State institutions are strong enough, Libya will stabilize and the fact finding and reconciliation commission will be able to operate more effectively. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (UN, Jurist)

HRW Report details mass Sudan rapes last October: According to HRW, Sudanese army forces raped more than 200 women and girls in an organized attack on the north Darfur town of Tabit in October 2014.   The UN and AU have been urged to take aggressive steps to stop any further abuses from occurring. HRW has also urged the ICC to further investigate Darfur and push for more involvement.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (HRW, Reuters)

ECOWAS Court highlights importance of regional human rights mechanism:  The President of West Africa’s Community Court has called on the community and the ECOWAS Commission for the development of an instrument that will ensure the human rights of the 300 million citizens of West Africa. The new ECOWAS Court President has also called for more enforcement in regards to the court’s authority in order to strengthen its presence. (All Africa)

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11 February 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Northern Provincial Council in Sri Lanka issues resolution asking for international investigation on genocide: On Tuesday, 10 February 2015, the Tamil-controlled Northern Provincial Council in Sri Lanka adopted a resolution asking the U.N. Human Rights Council to investigate and report on claims of genocide during the country’s 26-year civil war.  The resolution noted that customary law required the U.N. to prevent and punish genocide and stated that the U.N. Security Council should refer the situation to the ICC for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. A U.N. report estimates that nearly 40,000 people were killed during the last few months of the country’s civil war. (Colombo Page, Bangkok Post) (For additional information on this topic, please click here).

STL accused at large was target of January Israeli airstrikes in Syria:  It is being reported that the January 2015 Israeli airstrike on a convoy in Syria was targeting a Hezbollah member currently being tried in absentia by the Special Tribunal of Lebanon.  The Hezbollah member, Mustafa Badreddine, is accused of being involved in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.  While no sources have been cited in the report, it is alleged six Hezbollah members and an Iranian general were killed in the attack.  Badreddine allegedly “dropped out of the gathering at the last minute” and was not in the convoy during the attack.  (Lebanon News).

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10 February 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

US journalists testifies before ECCC on US relations with Khmer Rouge: Elizabeth Becker, an American journalist, responded to questions from prosecutor Nicholas Koumjian on the United States’ relations with the Khmer Rouge during the Cold War. Becker testified at the trial of Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, former Khmer Rouge regime leaders. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union were at odds. When the Soviet Union supported Vietnam, the United States supported China causing the United States to inadvertently support the Khmer Rouge. This marks the second and final phase of Chea’s and Samphan’s trials for charges of crimes against humanity, including genocide. (Voice of America)

Nepal creates two commissions of inquiry into war crimes and disappearances: Law Minister Narhari Acharya stated that Nepal created two commissions of inquiry on Tuesday into war crimes and disappearances during its communist insurgency. The commission will have duration of two years. Disagreements between political entities in the region delayed the formation of these commissions. (Fox News)

Egyptian Foreign Minister praises Bensouda for rejecting Muslim Brotherhood complaint on CAH: On 1 February 2015, the International Criminal Court rejected a complaint filed by the Muslim Brotherhood against Egypt for crimes against humanity. Sameh Shokry, Egyptian Foreign Minister, thanked ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda for the court’s decision. Badr Abdel Atty, Foreign Ministry spokesperson, stated that Shokry stated that the complaint could “impede Egyptians efforts to combat terrorism.” The court stated that it could not consider such a case, as Egypt did not sign the Rome Statute. Cases against nonmembers of the Rome Statute would need to be referred by the United Nations Security Council. (The Cairo Post)

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9 February 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Palestinian President forms committee to oversee lodging of ICC cases:   A Palestinian committee tasked with preparing and identifying documents to present to the ICC in war crimes and crimes against humanity cases has been formed by order of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas.  The committee will be composed of Palestinian politicians, university figures and members of human rights organizations. Palestine, who became a member state to the ICC last month, will be able to submit complaints to the ICC against Israel  for crimes committed during last year’s conflict in Gaza.  (Al Arabiya News).

ICC PTC separates Ongwen case from Kony et al. case: On Friday, 6 February 2015, ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II separated the proceedings against former Ugandan rebel leader Dominic Ongwen from the  case of Joseph Kony, Vincent Otti and Okot Odhiambo.  The decision to sever the proceedings was to prevent any delay in the pre-trial proceedings against Ongwen.  The Chamber will not proceed at this time against the other three suspects, who remain at large, in absentia.  Ongwen is accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in 2004. (ICC).

Sri Lanka invites High Commissioner for HR for visit and seeks UN and US aid on domestic tribunal: U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein has been invited to visit Sri Lanka by the country’s new government.  In addition, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera will be traveling to the United States next week and has sought political and moral support from the U.S. and the U.N. to halt a “possible international investigation” into alleged war crimes committee during the country’s 26-year civil war.  Sri Lanka is considering the establishment of a domestic court to investigate and prosecute war crimes committed. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (Business Standard, Sunday Times Sri Lanka).

Malta and Costa Rica ratify amendments on aggression and WCs in the Rome Statute: In the last two weeks, both the Republic of Malta and Costa Rica have signed amendments to the Statute on war crimes and the crime of aggression.  The signing of these amendments brings the number of state parties to 23 for the Statute on war crimes and 22 for the crime of aggression.  In order for the crime of aggression to become effective before the ICC, 30 state parties must ratify the amendment and 2/3 of the state parties must decide to activate the amendment after 1 January 2017.  (ICC).

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6 February 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURT

Head of Gaza Inquiry replaced by US Judge: Following Israel’s criticism of William Schabas as head of the United Nations inquiry over the conflict between Israel and Gaza, Schabas stepped down from his position. Mary McGowan Davis, a former United States judge, has replaced Schabas as the head of the Gaza inquiry. Israel claimed that Schabas was biased against them, but Schabas stated that his views on Israel and Palestine were widely known. Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court recently started an inquiry into the allegations of atrocities in Palestinian territories, which shows the sensitivity of the issue with Schabas departure. (France24)

UN Committee on Rights of the Child reports that ISIL abusing / killing children: The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, is a jihadist group that has been accused of war crimes for abusing and killing children. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child stated in their report that ISIL is training ten year old boys as child soldiers, treating girls as sex slaves, and torturing or executing others. The UN accused ISIL of using these tactics as a method to control children, while making them accustomed to violence. 18 independent experts that worked on this report have called upon Iraqi authorities to rescue those under ISIL control and prosecute perpetrators of crimes. (EuroNews)

Colombian Inspector General presents evidence of 2760 forced disappearances to the ICC Prosecutor: The ICC has recently been presented with evidence related to 2760 disappearances allegedly perpetrated by the Colombia rebel group FARC. Colombian Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez presented the ICC with this evidence and stated that 1200 of these happened since 2002. This evidence was presented to the Prosecutor at the ICC to be examined as part of her Preliminary Examination. The Preliminary Examination was initiated in June 2004. Ordoñez stated that he is confident that those responsible will be investigated, prosecuted, and convicted. (Colombia Reports)

Amnesty urges Serbia / Croatia war crimes probe after ICJ genocide dismissal: Earlier this week, the International Court of Justice ruled that neither Serbia nor Croatia committed genocide during the Balkan Wars in the 1990s. Amnesty International urged both Serbia and Croatia to investigate those suspected of war crimes further to provide justice for victims. John Dalhuisen, Amnesty’s Director of Europe and Central Asia, stated that while the ICJ was unable to find the intent to commit genocide against one another’s country, individuals on both sides committed crimes against humanity and war crimes. (Turkish Weekly)

ICTR to officially close in September 2015: After twenty years of prosecuting those responsible for crimes in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda will close its doors in September of 2015. Danford Mpumilwa, ICTR public information officer, stated that 117 of their 414 member staff have already been sent home, while another 159 will be retrenched in 2015. Mpumilwa stated that the ICTR only has one last case to try before closing its doors completely. (Shanghai Daily)

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5 February 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Chui Acquittal Appeal Decision Expected 24 February: Former leader of National Integrationist Front, Mathieu Ngudjolo, was originally charged with various counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes on 18 December 2012.  On 21 December 2012, Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui was released from custody. On 20 December 2012, the Office of the Prosecutor appealed the verdict. The Appeals Chamber of the ICC will deliver its verdict in regards to the appeal on the 24 February 2015. (ICC).

Libya Parliament Cancels Political Isolation Law: Libyan parliament members passed a law in 2013 blacking Gaddafi-era officials from taking part in politics.  However, this law was passed amid extraneous pressures being applied to law makers in Tripoli by armed groups.  The parliament has effectively revoked the law but concerns over whether the Tobruk-based legislature will accept its revocation remain at the forefront.  (BBC).

UN Urges Kosovo to Establish Special Court for War Crimes: Secretary General Ban Ki-moon lauded the work of the United Nations Interim Administrative Mission in Kosovo, but remains persistent in his desire establish a special court to try cases arising from the findings of the European Union Special Investigative Task Force.  (b92).

UN Human Rights Council Names New Head of Gaza Inquiry: The United Nations Human Rights Council has formed an inquiry to investigate the possible occurrence of war crimes which took place during the summer’s Gaza conflict. The former chairman, William Schabas, resigned among accusations of bias.  He has been replaced with Mary McGowan Davis, a former justice of the New York Supreme Court. (NYTimes).

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