Archive for category ICT of Bangladesh

30 April 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Lawmakers urge government to act quickly against STL summons of local editors: On Wednesday, 30 April 2014, Lebanese lawmakers urged the “government to act quickly and efficiently to protect” freedom of the press.  The call from the lawmakers came one week after the Special Tribunal for Lebanon summoned two news editors accused of disclosing the alleged names of witnesses on various media outlets.  Ibrahim Amine and Karma Khayyat face charges of contempt of court and disrupting justice.  (The Daily Star).

UK calls for swift probe into Syria chemical weapons use: British Foreign Secretary William Hague has called upon the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to conduct a timely investigation into chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government.  In the last two weeks, eight separate attacks using chlorine and ammonia have been carried out against civilians killing several and leaving hundreds seriously injured.  OPCW has reported that the Syrian government accepts the investigation and will provide security measures. (The Telegraph).

Prosecution seeks capital punishment for Jamaat-e-Islami leader: ICT of Bangladesh: In closing arguments at the International Crimes Tribunal-2 today, 30 April 2014, Prosecutor Tureen Afroz asked for the death penalty in the case against Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mir Quasem Ali.  Quasem is accused of torture and murder at an Al-Badr camp during the country’s 1971 Liberation War.  Prosecutor Tureen argued the evidence proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Quasem controlled the Al-Badr torture camp and was present during the commission of the alleged crimes.  (The Daily Star).

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4 February 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICTY Prosecutor comments on reconsideration motion in Perišić case: On Monday, 3 February 2014, ICTY Prosecutor Serge Brammertz announced that his Office requested that the ICTY Appeals Chamber reconsider its acquittal of Momčilo Perišić, the former Chief of Staff of the Yugoslav Army, who had been convicted to 27 years in prison for aiding and abetting crimes committed in Sarajevo and Srebrenica between 1993 and 1995. In its motion for reconsideration, the Office of the Prosecutor argued that the “specific direction” requirements on which the Appeals Chamber based the acquittal is incorrect and should be overturned. (ICTY).

Witness from explosive unit testified at STL: On Monday, 3 February 2014, Abdel-Badih al-Soussi, who was the manager of the explosives unit of the Internal Security Forces at the time Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated, testified before the STL. Although he had not gone to the crime scene immediately following the explosion, he had attended a meeting at the military court that afternoon, to which a member of the explosives bureau had brought car parts from the site. The judge ordered that the parts be examined and the site cordoned off to the public. Soussi testified that he did not ask that the car parts be returned to the crime scene, nor did the judge discuss during the meeting whether parts of the motorcade should be removed. (The Daily Star).

Judge replaced on Kenyatta Trial Chamber: Following a decision by the Presidency of the ICC, Judge Geoffrey A. Henderson replaced Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji in the case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta before Trial Chamber V(b). Judge Henderson is from Trinidad and Tobago, and was elected at the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute in November 2013. He will serve as a judge at the ICC until 10 March 2021. Judge Eboe-Osuji had excused himself from the trial. (ICC-CPI).

U.S. urged to suspend aid due to human rights violations in Egypt: On Monday, 3 February 2014, the Working Group on Egypt, as part of the NGO Human Rights First, released a statement that it had sent a letter to U.S. President Obama, urging his administration to cease sending aid to Egypt until the Egyptian government progresses in transitioning to a democracy and improves human rights conditions within the country. According to the NGO, depriving Egypt of aid until progress has been made sends a clear signal that the U.S. does not tolerate the human rights abuses that have occurred in Egypt, which are documented in a report the group recently released. (Human Rights First).

Former Bangladeshi Minister indicted for war crimes: On Sunday, 2 February 2014, the International Crimes Tribunal-2 indicted Syed Mohammad Qaisar, a former Bangladeshi minister from the Jatiya Party, on 16 charges of war crimes, including the commission of genocide. He and his group, the “Quaisar Bahini”, allegedly committed crimes against humanity in Habiganj and Brahmanbaria during the 1971 Liberation War. According to the prosecution, Quaisar had also served as a commander of the Rajakars, which was an auxiliary group of the former Pakistani army. The opening statement of the prosecution will be made on 4 March 2014. (Z News).

AU issues statement urging united front concerning ICC and Kenya, Sudan cases: In a statement issued Saturday, 1 February 2014, the AU expressed that it was not pleased with the UN Security Council’s refusal to defer the trials of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto, and Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir. The AU encouraged all of its members to comply with AU decisions and stand together on this issue in order to defer the proceedings. Botswana is currently the only AU member state that has officially opposed the AU’s decision to challenge the ICC cases. (Sudan Tribune).

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9 December 2013 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

HRW warns of sentence against ICT defendant Mollah:  HRW objects to the death sentence given to Abdul Qader Mollah by the Bangladeshi government.  Mollah was originally convicted and sentenced by the ICT on February 5, 2013.  However, in response to public outcry, the government passed amendments to the ICT law, allowing the prosecution to appeal the sentence and to seek the death penalty.  HRW warns against the hanging of Mollah on the basis of retroactive legislation.  (HRW).

UN publishes report on violence against women in Afghanistan:  The report examines the implementation results of the Law on Elimination of Violence against Women from October 2012 to September 2013 by Afghan judicial and law enforcement authorities.  The report suggests an overall positive  trend but the Afghan authorities have a long way to go before any long lasting achievements can be made in regard to the protection of women.  (UN Missions).

Prosecution witness says Mladic exercised control over Bosnian troops:  Military analyst, Reynaud Theunens, testified at the trial of Mladic and told the Hague tribunal that the defendant had “effective control” over military operations.  Reynaud is the last witness to appear in the prosecution case against Mladic and the defense is expected to present its case in May 2014.  (IWPR).

CAR in midst of ongoing humanitarian crisis, UN warns:  The UN says that the humanitarian situation in the CAR is deteriating at an alarming rate.  A rise in violence and a lack of basic health facilities is largely responsible for the rise in the death toll.  The UN has called for an end to the violence and intensified its operations to provide food, water, and shelter for the time being.  (UN News).

Security Council hears testimony of security concerns in Libya:  The top UN official in Libya states that the continued instability in Libya highlights the need for dialogue between the Government and the armed militias.   Progress has been made toward a democratic transition within the country by way of voter registration but a number of obstacles still remain.  (UN News).

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12 November 2013 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

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).

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4 November 2013 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

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).

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29 October 2013 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

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).

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10 October 2013 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

WikiLeaks founder sparks potential suit between Ecuador and Britain: It has been reported that Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino is contemplating whether to bring action against Britain in the ICJ. Patino alleges the British government has continuously erred in denying WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange travel to Ecuador after his successful asylum application last year. Patino claims Britain is purposely delaying resolution of the case and this setback is negatively effecting Assange’s health. The WikiLeaks founder has been confined this past year to one room in Ecuador’s London embassy. (RT).

Kenyatta seeks trial via video link at ICC: On 9 October 2013, Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed requested the ICC conduct proceedings in the case against President Uhuru Kenyatta by video link. Amina stressed the need for the sitting head of state to be present in Kenya, especially during the country’s present instability. To date, the ICC has twice denied Kenyatta’s motions to be absence from the Hague. The trial for charges of crimes against humanity following Kenya’s violent 2007 election is expected to begin next month. (BBC News Africa).     

Protestors swarm ICC at Gbagbo hearing: Ivorian supporters of former President Laurent Gbagbo protested in The Hague on Wednesday, 9 October 2013. Chants repeating “Gbago is the President of Ivory Coast. We shall camp here till he is released” and “Feedom Gbagbo” were heard outside the ICC during the former President’s hearings. Gbagbo faces charges of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the 2010 Ivory Coast presidential election. (Standard Digital). 

Bangladesh ex-minister gets life sentence: Former Minister of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party Abdul Alim has been sentenced to life in prison by the ICT this week. Tribunal Justice Obaidul Hassan noted the sentence would have been death absent Alim’s “poor health condition and disability.” Alim was found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity for offenses committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. (The Hindu).

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8 October 2013 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

AU to consider withdrawing from Rome Statute at summit this week: AU member states will consider passing a resolution to withdraw from the Rome Statute at a summit beginning on Friday, 11 October 2013 in Addis Ababa, which, if passed, would be advisory and AU member states would then domestically consider withdrawal. Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir, who has been indicted by the ICC for genocide, will travel to Ethiopia on Friday in order to convince other AU member states to withdraw from the ICC. Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki declared earlier this month that Tunisia would boycott the meeting, because he supports the ICC’s prosecution of African leaders accused of international crimes. Botswana has also voiced its support of the ICC, and South Africa, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Zambia have also affirmed that they do not plan to withdraw from the Rome Statute. On Monday, 7 October 2013, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan publicly supported the ICC, rejecting the argument that the ICC has been too focused on crimes occurring in Africa and explaining that he considers the ICC to be a court of last resort that is best equipped to address international crimes. Approximately 130 groups across Africa have backed the ICC, and have been urging AU member states to refrain from withdrawing from the Rome Statute.  (Sudan Tribune, Voice of America, The New Age). (For more information on this topic, please click here, here, and here).

Second witness in Ruto trial testified to ODM command structure: The second witness in the trial against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto testified before the ICC on Monday, 7 October 2013, explaining the command structure within the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leading up to the 2007 elections. The witness testified that ODM’s Pentagon had consisted of Odinga, Ruto, former Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, former Minister Joe Nyagah, Mining and Tourism Secretary Najib Balala, and Lands, Housing and Urban Settlements Secretary Charity Ngilu. Ruto and former ODM Chairman Henry Kosgey had led the ODM campaigns in the Rift Valley. Ruto has been charged with committing crimes against humanity in the post-election violence in Kenya in 2007/2008. (All Africa).

Extradition case against Kenyan journalist wanted by ICC began Monday: The extradition case against the Kenyan journalist Walter Barasa, for whom the ICC issued an arrest warrant last week, began on Monday, 7 October 2013. Attorney General Githu Muigai confirmed that the office of the Interior Cabinet Secretary received the arrest warrant from the ICC, and the case was ready for submission to the Kenyan judiciary on Monday. Chief Justice Willy Mutunga will appoint a judge to preside over this case, which is the first to be heard before the International Crimes Division (ICD) of the High Court of Kenya, an international crimes tribunal created in April. Barasa is charged with corruptly influencing ICC witnesses in the case against Deputy President William Ruto. (BERNAMA-NNN-KBC).

International Crimes Tribunal allows four witnesses in Nizami trial: On Monday, 7 October 2013, the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh allowed the defense to produce four out of 25 witnesses in the case against Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami. Justice ATM Fazle Kabir explained that limiting the number of defense witnesses to four would allow for a fair trial. The defense had originally submitted a list of 10,111 witnesses to the court in July 2012, and upon objection by the prosecution, the defense shortened the list to 25 witnesses on 3 October, 2013. Nizami, a Jamaat leader, is charged with 16 counts of crimes against humanity and genocide allegedly committed during the 1971 Liberation War. (The Daily Star).

Nigerian human rights group to ask ICC to investigate recent killings: The Socio-Economic and Rights Accountability Project, a Nigerian Human rights group, said on Sunday, 6 October 2013 that it would petition the ICC to investigate the recent killings of students and teachers in northeast Nigeria as crimes against humanity. Suspected of the killings are Islamic militants from the Boko Haram terrorist network, which means “Western education is forbidden.” The group is accused of killing hundreds of civilians throughout three states in Nigeria, causing President Goodluck Jonathan to declare a state of emergency on May 14, 2013. He also initiated a military response in order to drive the suspected militants out of these areas. (ABC News).

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2 October 2013 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICT convicts Bangladesh opposition leader of war crimes, genocide: A senior leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist opposition party was found guilty of genocide by a special war crimes tribunal yesterday, 1 October 2013. Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, convinced the verdict was the product of the government’s influence, was sentenced to death for offenses committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. To date, the ICT has convicted seven people. Each sentence has incited protests and riots from supporters of the opposition party. (Hindustan Times).      

Pro-Gbagbo supporters react to Ble Goude arrest warrant: The ICC’s latest arrest warrant for Charles Ble Goude has sparked alarm among many supporters of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo. Specifically, supporters, like former minister Kone Katinan, fear the ICC is impartial and only targeting pro-Gbagbo individuals. Katinan worries Ble Goude’s arrest warrant will trigger riots in an already unstable country. Ble Goude led then-President Gbagbo’s Young Patriots militia and is accused by the ICC of ordering attacks on the opposition. (Voice of America).

U.S. contributes $1 million to Extraordinary African Chambers: On 1 October 2013, the special criminal court in Senegal received one million dollars from the U.S. to try the case against former Chadian President Hissène Habré. Habré was charged by the Extraordinary African Chambers in July 2013 with crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during his 1982–1990 rule of Chad. The U.S. has publicly supported the Senegal court  from its commencement, with former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently stating, “[a]fter 20 years, the victims deserve justice and their day in court.” The U.S.’s contribution has been commended by human rights advocates across the globe and Senegalese politicians. (All Africa).          

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20 August 2013 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC judges suspend decision to excuse Ruto from appearing at trial: On 20 August, the ICC Appeals Chamber suspended a ruling by the Pre-Trial Chamber that allowed Kenyan Deputy-President William Ruto to be present at only essential ICC hearings. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda appealed the Pre-Trial Chamber’s decision, arguing that Ruto should be present at trials with co-accused Joshua Arap Sang. This is not a final decision by the Appeals Chamber, instead if the Chamber is unable to reach a final decision by the beginning of Ruto’s trial on 10 September, Ruto will need to attend all hearings until a final decision is made.  Ruto is charged with three counts of crimes against humanity in relation to the 2007-2008 post-election violence in Kenya.

 

U.N. panel hears testimony on North Korean prison camp: On 20 August, the U.N. Commission of Inquiry into North Korean human rights abuses heard testimony from former prison camp inmates.  The witnesses stated that public executions and torture are daily occurrences in the North Korean prison camps. There are approximately 150,000-200,000 inmates in the prison camps. This is the first time North Korea’s human rights record will be examined by an expert panel, but few believe the tribunal will have any immediate impact. The U.N. commission has stated that it is inappropriate to discuss ICC jurisdiction because North Korea is not a member to the Rome Statute.

 

ICTY clears Krstic of contempt of court: On 18 July, ICTY judges cleared Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstic of contempt of court for refusing to participate in the trial of Radovan Karadzic.  Krstic is currently serving 35 years in prison for aiding and abetting genocide. Judges stated that post-traumatic was a reasonable excuse for refusing to testify. Karadzic remains on trial for genocide and crimes against humanity.

 

ICT of Bangladesh begins war crimes probe: On 20 August, the International Criminal Tribunal of Bangladesh began a probe of the actions of the Jamaat-e-Islami party during Bangladesh’s 1971 war for independence. Jamaat had led anti-liberation forces during the war. Jamaat leaders have already been convicted of crimes against humanity. Earlier verdicts against Jamaat deemed the group a criminal organization and stated that there should be no role for the group within the government.

 

Argentina holds crimes against humanity trials: On 19 August, Argentina officials announced that eleven trials for crimes against humanity, in relation to the 1976-83 military dictatorship, are being held throughout Argentina. One trial alone will feature 68 defendants accused of kidnapping, torture, and murder. Another trial is reviewing crimes committed relating to the CIA led Operation Condor, which targeted political opponents of Latin American military dictators.

 

KLWCT to hear charges against Israel: On 19 August, the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal announced that it will hear war crimes and genocide charges against former Israeli army general, Amos Yaron, and the State of Israel from 21 to 24 August. This is the first time that charges will be heard against the State of Israel in compliance with due process. If found guilty of the charges, the parties will have their names included in the KLWCT’s Register of War Criminals. The KLWCT was established in response to the ICC, which some opined favored the interests of Western nations.

 

Indicted Nazi war criminal dies: On 14 August, Laszlo Csatary, a former Hungarian Nazi policeman, died in Budapest at the age of 98.  Csatary had been indicted for war crimes during the Holocaust for cruelty to Jews and aiding their deportation to death camps. Csatary was set to stand trial soon.

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