Archive for category ICC

30 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICTY finds Seselj breached provisional release, orders return: On Monday, 30 March 2015, ICTY appeals judges found that Vojislav Seselj breached the terms of his provisional release and ordered the former Serbian leader to return to The Hague. Seselj was granted provisional release in November 2014 to seek medical care in Serbia under the condition that he not interfere with victims or witnesses and return to the tribunal if summoned.  After arriving in the country, Seselj told supporters that he would not return to the ICTY voluntarily and challenged officials to attempt to arrest him.  Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said the government will “respond in the coming days.”  (For additional information on this topic, please click here and here) (Reuters, Wall Street Journal, The News Tribune).

ECCC indicts Ao An in Case 004:The ECCC’s international co-investigating judge has charged Ao An in Case 004 with premediated murder under the 1956 Cambodian Penal Code and crimes against humanity.  The crimes were allegedly committed at Kok Pring execution site, Tuol Beng security centre and Wat Au Trakuon security centre.  The defense for the former member of the Khmer Rouge will now have access to the case file and be able to participate in the investigation.  (ECCC).

RSCSL rejects request from Taylor for prison transfer to Rwanda: Former Liberian President Charles Taylor’s motion to be transferred to a prison in Rwanda to serve the remainder of his sentence was denied by the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone.  The RSCSL Trial Chamber found, among other things, that transferring Taylor to Rwanda could pose a threat to peace and security and found that the former president’s family’s inability to travel to the United Kingdom was not interference by the RSCSL.  Taylor had claimed that his family was unable to visit him in the United Kingdom where he was serving his 50-year prison sentence and it would be more humane for him to be imprisoned in Africa.  (All Africa).

Amnesty Report find Hamas responsible for war crimes in Gaza: On Thursday, 26 March 2015, Amnesty International released a report finding the Palestinian militant group Hamas committed war crimes during the Gaza War.  Specifically, the report said Hamas was responsible for firing rockets and mortar shells in Israel resulting in the death of thousands of civilians.  The accusatory report follows Palestine’s recent application for membership in the ICC which began an investigation into alleged war crimes during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in January 2015.  (Foreign Policy).

UNCHR says human rights defenders risk murder in Libya: The U.N. Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (UNCHR), jointly with the U.N. Support Mission in Libya, released a report highlighting the abuse and threats faced by human rights defenders in Libya.  UNCHR urged the government of Libya to meaningfully investigate the alleged abuses and hold accountable those responsible.  UNCHR also recommended sensitivity training for investigators, reparations for victims of the abuse, release of those unjustly detained and cooperation with the ICC. The U.N. Human Rights Council intends to send a team to investigate the human rights abuses in Libya. (Libya Herald).

France seeks UNSC referral of ISIS to ICC: France is urging the U.N. Security Council to refer the Islamic State militant group to the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Iraq and Syria.  The ICC Prosecutor is unable to open an investigation into crimes committed in non ICC member states unless referred by the 15-member Security Council. If the matter were to be referred, the ICC prosecutor and judges will then have to decide whether the referral of the militant group is legitimate. (Reuters).

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27 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Final ICC Prosecution witness in Ruto / Sang case found and begins testifying:  The final prosecution witness for both President William Ruto’s and journalist Joshua Sang’s hearings has been located and began testifying from a video link from a secret location at the Hague.  The witness was absent and failed to testify earlier. International Criminal Court Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, asked for more time in pursuing the witness. Prosecution wanted several weeks to locate the witness as they claimed the person was a key witness with crucial evidence to the case. Defence claimed that prosecution should only be given a few days. (All Africa) (for additional information click here)

OHRHC plans to open field office in Seoul to monitor N. Korea HR: The officer of human rights of the  Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights plans to open a field office in Seoul to monitor human rights in North Korea. This comes from last year’s report by the UN Commission of Inquiry that recommended the establishment of a field office after alleging that North Korea’s leaders committed crimes against humanity.  (Voice of America News)

Former PM questioned at STL over arrested generals: Former Prime Minister of Lebanon, Fouad Siniora, provided testimony at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Siniora denied any direct involvement in the 2005 arrest and release of four Lebanese generals charged in relation to Rafik Hariri’s assassination. Siniora was the current prime minister of Lebanon during the assassination. (Daily Star)

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25 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Final Prosecution witness in Ruto / Sang case fails to appear:  The final Prosecution witness in the trial against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang failed to appear before the ICC to testify on Monday, 23 March 2015.  The ICC judges were thus forced to adjourn the trial. It is being reported that the judges and parties in the case were to hold a conference meeting today, 25 March 2015, to discuss the status and progress of the case. The witness was the Prosecution’s last before its closing arguments.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (All Africa, Capital News).

Former PM testifies at STL of Hariri crime scene tampering: Today, 25 March 2015, former Prime Minister of Lebanon Fouad Sinoira testified at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon claiming members of the Lebanese-Syrian security apparatus tampered with the crime scene of the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.  Sinoira also said members of the security apparatus “bullied” Lebanese officials and “violated the dignities and freedoms” of Lebanese citizens.  The defense suggested the members had a privileged relationship with then Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, whom the defense claim may have had motive to kill Hariri. (The Daily Star).

AU States urged to ratify Protocol for African Court: During a Pan African Parliament meeting on Monday, 16 March 2015, Chairperson of the Justice and Human Rights Committee Onyango Kakoba urged African Union states to ratify and make a declaration on the Protocol of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights.  Of the 54 African Union member states, only 28 states have ratified the Protocol adopted in 1998 and only 7 states have made a declaration to allow access to the Court. Chairperson Kakoba also serves as the Leader of the Ugandan Delegation and the the country has ratified, but not yet made a declaration on the Protocol. (All Africa).

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23 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

OHCHR says ISIS attacks on Yazidi community may constitute genocide and war crimes: A new report commissioned by the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights claims crimes committed against the Yazidi community in Iraq by ISIS may constitute genocide and war crimes.  The report, consisting of over 100 interviews of survivors, found that ISIS targeted and killed hundreds of men and boys of the Yazidi population in Iraq and committed rape, abduction and forced separation of families. Thousands of Yazidis were forced to flee villages in northern Iraq because of ISIS last summer in which many were killed or captured. (BBC).

ICC judges propose holding Ntaganda trial opening in Bunia, DRC: On Thursday, 19 March 2015, ICC Trial Chamber VI judges recommended to the ICC Presidency that opening statements in the trial against former Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda be made in Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo. The judges found that conducting part of the trial in Bunia would “bring[] the judicial work of the Court closer to the most affected communities.”  ICC Rules of Procedure and Evidence authorize the ICC judges to make the recommendation, which is then considered by the ICC Presidency in consultation with DRC authorities.  Ntaganda, a former Congolese military leader, is accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the 2002-2003 Congolese conflict.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (All Africa, ICC).

ICC Ruto / Sang trial resumes for final Prosecution witness: The final Prosecution witness in the ICC trial against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang is expected to begin testimony today, 23 March 2015.  The witness, who has been unwilling to testify and who has placed conditions before testifying, is the last witness scheduled before the Prosecution makes its closing arguments.  Ruto’s and Sang’s defense teams are expected to thereafter file a “no-case-to-answer” motion.   (All Africa).

ICC Trust Fund for Victims affirms commitment to reparations for victims in Lubanga case: The Board of Directors of the ICC Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) held its annual meeting in The Hague from 17-19 March 2015.  The TFV Board reaffirmed its commitment to reparations for victims in the case against Thomas Lubanga, the leader of the rebel group Congolese Patriotic Union, who was convicted in March 2012 of recruiting child soldiers.  Specifically, the TFV Board intends to advance its reparations reserve to provide for collective reparations awards and to consider the ICC Appeals Chamber’s suggestion to expand its assistance mandate to those not included in the reparations order.  The TFV Board also plans on meeting with victims, their communities and other stakeholders while it develops the draft implementation plan for reparations due 3 September 2015. (ICC).

Protestors in Sri Lanka reject domestic probe, demand international investigation: Tamils in Sri Lanka are protesting the new government’s plan for a domestic investigation into alleged human rights abuses committed during the last phase of the country’s 26-year civil war. Tamils, demanding an international investigation into the crimes instead, claim to have no faith in a domestic probe by the Sri Lankan government.  A resolution adopted by the U.N. Human Rights Council in March 2014 requiring an international investigation was delayed by 6 months.  (The Economic Times).

Polish soldiers cleared of violating Geneva Convention protections of civilians in Afghanistan: Four Polish soldiers have been cleared of war crimes in relation to the August 2007 attack on the village of Nangrarkhel in Afghanistan which killed 6 civilians.  The soldiers, being tried in a military court in Warsaw and accused of violating the Geneva Conventions protection of civilians in Afghanistan, claimed innocence and blamed the attack on faulty weaponry.  The four were convicted by the military court of lesser offenses.   (JURIST)

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19 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN Report suggests ISIS genocide and war crimes in Iraq: The UN believes that ISIS has not only committed international war crimes and crimes against humanity, but possibly genocide as well.  The Yazidi minority in Iraq has been at the focus of intense violence perpetrated by ISIS.  The UN has urged the Baghdad government to join the ICC to ensure that ISIS will be held accountable for the atrocities committed even if the current conflict does not subside in the near future. (For additional information on this topic, please click here, here) (UN, Reuters, DW).

UN calls on Pakistan to halt executions, reinstate death penalty ban: The Pakistan government has announced that it has withdrawn its moratorium on the death penalty for all cases, not only those related to terrorism.  The UN has expressed deep concern in regards to this decision and hopes that the government will reconsider.  (UN).

ICC Judges advocate for Ntaganda opening statements to be held in DRC: Trial Chamber IV has recommended that the trial of Bosco Ntaganda be held in the DRC.  The Chamber states that it is has made this request with the intention of bringing the judicial work of the Court closer to the most affected communities.  (ICC).

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18 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Serbia arrests 8 in relation to Srebrenica: On Wednesday, 18 March 2015, Serbian authorities arrested eight suspects in connection with the killing of more than 1,000 Bosnian civilians at a warehouse near Srebrenica in 1995.  Vladimir Vukcevic, Chief Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor, said the eight men arrested “are former members of a special brigade of the Bosnian Serb police.”  These eight are the first arrests Serbia has made of people directly involved in the killings and the suspects will likely be tried in Serbia, rather than at the ICTY which officials say will soon be closing.  The ICTY is currently prosecuting Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and military commander Ratko Mladic for serious violations of international law, including genocide. (For additional information, please click here) (NY Times, ABC).

Ukrainian Prime Minister looks to ICC over Russia: As directed by Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the Foreign Ministry is expected to file an application to immediately start criminal proceedings against Russia at the ICC. Yatsenyuk claims statements made by the Russian officials “concerning the seizure and annexation of Ukrainian territory . . contain evidence of the violation of international law.”  Ukraine is accusing Russia of aggressively interfering in the country’s internal affairs. (RAPSI).

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17 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC receive communication on Nigerian First Lady: The All Progressives Congress (APC) sent petitions and communications to the International Criminal Court against Patience Jonathan, the Nigerian First Lady. The ICC confirmed the receipt of the correspondence on 16 March 2015. TheCable stated that the ICC would give the petition the necessary considerations under the Rome Statute. The UK branch of the APC claimed that the ICC would begin investigations against Jonathan. (Pulse.ng)

UN investigators begin sharing findings on crimes in Syria: United Nations investigators are starting to share their findings on alleged  war crimes in Syria. The chairman of the UN commission of inquiry, Paulo Pinheiro, asked national authorities to contact the investigators with information. The commission of inquiry stated last month that they plan to publish the names of suspects soon. The commission has compiled five lists over nearly four years. (UK Reuters)

Amnesty says strikes against IS could be war crimes: Amnesty International stated in their report that airstrikes by the Syrian government against the Islamic State could constitute as war crimes. The airstrikes on the city of Raqqa killed civilians between 11 November and 29 November. Amnesty International stated once more that the war in Syria should be referred to the ICC. (DW)

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