Archive for category ICJ

2 February 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC Judges asked to review decision of Prosecutor not to investigate crimes on Gaza Freedom Flotilla: Lawyers for the Comoros filed an application asking the ICC judges to review the decision of ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda not to initiate an investigation into crimes committed by Israeli Defense Forces on the ships of the Flotilla. Prosecutor Bensouda, while finding a “reasonable basis” to believe war crimes were committed on the ships of Flotilla in 2010, ultimately decided not to initiate investigations in November 2014. The Comoros’ lawyers claimed Prosecutor Bensouda failed to “take relevant matters” into consideration. (Yahoo).

ICTY Appeals Chamber upholds conviction of Popovic et al: On 30 January 2015, the ICTY Appeals Chamber upheld the 2010 convictions of five Bosnian Serbian military leaders for crimes committed in Srebrenica during the Bosnian war. The sentences of life for Vujadin Popovic and Ljubisa Beara for crimes including genocide were confirmed, as well as the 35 years of imprisonment for Drago Nikolic and 13 years imprisonment for Vinko Pandurevic. Radivoge Miletic’s sentence for crimes against humanity was reduced from 19 years to 18 years of imprisonment.  (BBC).

Sri Lanka’s new Government to initiate new probe into civil war abuses: On Wednesday, 28 January 2015, Sri Lanka’s new Government announced plans to investigate alleged human rights abuses committed at the end of the country’s 26-year civil war. A 2010 United Nations report found credible allegations that tens of thousands of Sri Lankans and ethnic Tamils were killed by Sri Lankan forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam between September 2008 and May 2009. The United Nations began investigations into the allegations in 2014 but accused former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa of interference and refusal to cooperate. (Jurist).

ICJ to issue decision on Croatia / Serbia genocide case on Tuesday 3 Feb: On Tuesday, 3 February 2015, the ICJ is expected to issue its decision in the 15-year-old Croatia and Serbia genocide case. Croatia brought Serbia before the ICJ back in 1999 on allegations of ethnic cleansing during Croatia’s 1991-1995 war of independence. It is estimated some 20,000 people died and large numbers of Croats were displaced, tortured and looted during the conflict. Serbia countersued in 2010 claiming Croatia launched a military attack during this time forcing over 200,000 ethnic Serbs to flee the area.

ECCC hears testimony of forced marriages: Cheang Srei Mom testified in front of the ECCC on Thursday, 29 January 2015, relating to her experience of forced marriages during the Khmer Rouge regime. Srei Mom testified that when she was 24 years old she was removed from the women’s unit to marry a member of the regime’s upper echelons. Srei Mom stated “I didn’t marry voluntarily, but I had to agree to the request. If I refused, I would also disappear, so I submitted myself.” The two ECCC accused, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, are alleged to have been involved in creating a policy of forced marriages during the regime. (Dunya News Network).

Kenya pledges 1 million USD to African criminal court: Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that the county would be committing one million U.S. dollars to the establishment of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights. President Kenyatta, speaking at the 24th Ordinary Session of the African Union Summit in Ethiopia, urged the other African countries to join Kenya “in ensuring that the necessary ratifications are in place and that the resulting court is fully owned, financed and driven by Africa.” The proposed African court is intended to “deliver[] African solutions to African Problems” as opposed to the “ICC which pre-occupies itself with trying to solve African challenges using western standards, perceptions and perspectives.” (Turkish Press).

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9 December 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC Prosecutor outlines new policy against gender-based violence: Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, recently launched the Court’s new policy related to Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes.  Bensouda assured those present at her speech at the UN that the new policy would aim to strengthen the Office’s capacity to investigate and prosecute the high numbers of gender-based crimes committed around the world which fall in the Court’s jurisdiction.  (ICC).

Palestine secures observer status before ICC: Palestine will receive a seat at the ICC.  Palestine will now be able to request that the ICC investigate alleged war crimes that have taken place in the occupied territories in the capacity of an observer state.  Consequently, Palestine is now recognized as a state by the signatories to the Rome Statute.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here.)  (Aljazeera, JPost).

Brazil President declines human rights investigations against former military: President Dilam Rouseff has received a great deal of criticism after making the decision not to support the prosecution of military officers responsible for abuses during the 1964-85 years of dictatorial rule.  (Reuters).

Georgia ratifies aggression provisions of ICC Statute: Georgia is the latest country to ratify the amendments to the Rome Statute on the crime of aggression.  Once thirty States Parties have ratified the amendments, the Court may proceed exercising jurisdiction over the crime of aggression.  (RTTnews).

Ukraine seeks ICJ Case against Russia:  Ukraine has announced that the country seeks to initiate proceedings in the ICJ against Russia for the alleged violation of a UN convention on terrorism.  Claims have also been failed with the ECHR by Ukraine.  The UN human rights office has asked that an immediate investigation be carried out to assess the number and severity of alleged war crimes.  (Rapsinews).

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2014 August 11 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

HRW issues report on South Sudan crimes: According to HRW, extraordinary acts of cruelty that amount to war crimes in South Sudan have been committed since fighting began in December of 2013.  Government and opposition forces have been called upon by HRW to end the cycle of violence against civilians immediately.  There are hopes that the UN Security Council will impose an arms embargo to limit the number of weapons coming into the war torn country.  (HRW).

Argentina submits ICJ application against U.S.:  The Argentinean government has asked the ICJ to take action against the US over an alleged breach of its sovereignty as it defaulted on its debt.  However, no action will occur “unless and until” the US accepts the court’s jurisdiction.  (The Guardian).

KRT tribunal convicts and sentences two to life appeals anticipated: Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan have been sentenced to life in prison for committing crimes against humanity related to their role in the country’s 1970 terror.  The two men were high ranking officials in the Khmer Rouge government during the “killing Fields” era from 1975-1979.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (Aljazeera, UN News).

UN Leaders concerned over recent violence in Iraq:  Irina Bokova, a senior UN official, has called for an immediate stop to what she has termed as an “emerging cultural cleansing.”  Civilians are currently under attack by ISIL and many remain stranded with limited access to humanitarian aid.  More than 200,000 people are believed to have made their way to Dahuk governorate in the Kurdistan region, looking for assistance.

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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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7 April 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

French delegates suggest intent to refer Syria to ICC:  France is currently seeking to propose a Security Council resolution that would refer Syria to the ICC for the prosecution of war crimes.  Russia stands as the largest opposing force to any such resolution.  The process is still in its infancy and many officials have refused to comment on specifics.  (NYT).

Arguments conclude in Croatia-Serbia ICJ Case:  The Croatia-Serbia ICJ case began in 1999.  Since that time, Serbia has filed a countersuit against Croatia and would like to see the ICJ declare the Croatian armed forces’ 1995 action genocide against the Serbian people.  The Croatian team still claims that the Serbian forces were excessive in their use of force.  The final verdict may be announced by the end of this or early next year and may not be appealed.  (B92).

UN concerned over continued violence in CAR:  The UN human rights office has finished its preliminary investigation of the deadly events that took place on March 29 in Bangui, CAR.  It has been determined that Chadian soldiers killed some 30 civilians and wounded more than 300 in an indiscriminate attack on a market.  (UN News).

UN Secretary General commemorates 20-year anniversary of Rwanda Genocide:  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reminds the international community that the atrocities that took place in Rwanda should not be forgotten and should not have occurred in the first place.  Monday’s commemoration is part of a series of events that aim to remember the people murdered in Rwanda and to unite the people of Rwanda.  (UN News).

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3 April 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Prime Minister Shinzo: Japan will abide by ICJ ban on Antarctic whale hunt: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed disappointment in the ICJ’s 31 March 2014, decision banning the country’s whaling program in the Antarctic for not being solely for scientific purposes. The Prime Minister, nevertheless, said Japan would comply with the Court’s decision and immediately halt the program. (Australia Network News).

New lawyer, John Jones, appointed to represent suspect before Khmer Rouge Tribunal: The ECCC appointed John Jones to represent one of the suspects in Case 004. Jones is a British lawyer with experience defending accused at the various international criminal courts. No suspects have been officially charged in the “government-opposed Case 004″, however, the confidential identities of the defendants “were long ago revealed to be Ta An, Ta Tith and Im Chem.” (Phnom Penh Post).

Recently released confidential health assessment shows Chea and Samphan’s improved health: The confidential physical and psychiatric assessment of ECCC co-defendants Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan was reportedly obtained this week by the Phnom Penh Post. The assessment, conducted last month by a team of health professionals at the ECCC detention center, concluded that both Chea and Samphan had improved health and were fit to stand trial. The ECCC requested the assessment in order to determine the ability of the co-defendants to follow proceedings in the second phase of Case 002. (Phnom Penh Post).

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2 April 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC: Kenyatta trial postponed until 7 October: The ICC trial of President Uhuru Kenyatta has been postponed providing the Kenyan government additional time to disclose documents sought by the prosecution. The request by the President to terminate proceedings and the request by the prosecution to postpone the trial indefinitely were both denied by the Court. The postponement is the second for Kenyatta’s trial which is expected to resume 7 October 2014. (Voice of America).

ICC witness: Dogs and pigs fed on bodies of fallen during post-election violence in Kenya: On Monday, 31 March 2014, a prosecution witness in the ICC case against Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang testified to events after the 2007 presidential election in Kenya. The witness said tired police officers failed to collect bodies killed during the violence that were then fed on by dogs and pigs. The witness also testified that members of the Kalenjin ethnic group identified, attacked and torched the homes of Kikuyus. (All Africa).

ICJ orders temporary stay on Japan’s Antarctic whaling program: The ICJ ruled on Monday, 31 March 2014, that Japan’s “killing, taking and treating of whales” in the Antarctic was not “for the purposes of scientific research”. The Court found that Japan’s program, which was designed to study the effects of commercial whaling on the species existence, hunted too large a number of whales and failed to consider non-lethal methods. The Court ordered a temporary stay until the country could redesign it’s whaling program to be more scientific rather than commercial. (The China Post).

Rights group warn of Sri Lanka backlash in wake of UNHRC resolution: The recently passed U.N. Human Rights Council resolution calling for an independent investigation into alleged abuses committed in Sri Lanka is likely to incite backlash against human rights activists; said groups such as Amnesty International and Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice. The rights groups fear Sri Lanka will respond to the U.N. resolution with intimidation and suppression towards those who disagree or challenge the government, citing as an example the arrests of two human rights activists last month in the country. Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa has publicly rejected the U.N. resolution and said it will deter national reconciliation. (CNN World).

Norway pledges $1 million to Khmer Rouge tribunal: The international side of the ECCC received a $1 million pledge from Norway on Tuesday, 1 April 2014. The Court welcomed the pledge and hopes it encourages other donations, particularly to the Cambodian side which is facing extreme shortages of funds for national salaries. The ECCC budget approved last month estimates the cash-strapped Court needs over $60 million to continue operations. (Voice of America).

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