Archive for category ICTR
German appeals court find evidence for addition charge in Rwandan Genocide case: On 21 May 2015 the Bundesgerichtshof, the Federal Court of Justice of Germany, found on appeal that Onesphore Rwabukombe was actively involved in the murder of 450 men, women and children at the Kiziguro church in east Rwanda and referred the case back to a lower court in Frankfurt to consider evidence from the proceedings in the German lower courts; including over 100 witness statements about the attack. In 2014, Rwabukombe was found guilty of overseeing and assisting in the murders, but failed to convict him of direct involvement. Rwabukombe received a sentence of 14 years in prison on the conviction for overseeing and assisting the murders. The addition charge of active participation could result in Rwabukombe’s sentence being increased to as much as life in prison. (euronews)
Former Gaddafi officials to be sentenced on 28 June: On 21 May 2015, Libyan Chief of Investigations office of the Attorney General, Al-Seddig Al-Sur, announced that Libya’s Court of Appeal would deliver the final sentences in the trial against former Gaddafi officials; including ICC accused’s Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi. Al-Sur stated that the charges against the accused included genocide, besieging towns which protested against Gaddafi, killing demonstrators, forming armed battalions and embezzling public money. Both Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi have been indicted before the International Criminal Court. In 2013, the ICC found that Libya was not able to try Saif and ordered his surrender to The Hague. Libya has failed to cooperate with this order, leading the ICC to refer Libya to UNSC. (IWPR)
ICC Suspects travel to Saudi Arabia despite outstanding warrant: On Thursday 21 May 2015 it was reported that Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir and Sudanese official Ahmed Haroun made a public appearance in Saudi Arabia for talks with King Salman Bin Abdel Aziz. Although President Al-Bashir has made several international visit since his indictment before the ICC, Haroun, who acts as the Government of North Kordofan, has not travelled outside of Sudan since his indictment before the ICC in April 2007. Saudi Arabia is not a member of the Rome Statute. (Sudan Tribune)
Secretary General appoints panel to meet humanitarian funding needs: On 21 May 2015, a statement was released on behalf of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announcing the appointment of a high-level UN panel established to examine resources and funding for humanitarian efforts. The statement reported that in the last decade the need for humanitarian funding has risen “dramatically” creating a situation where the current resources available for humanitarian needs are insufficient. The panel is tasked with examining financial challenges to humanitarian resources and identifying ways address the lack of insufficient resources in a so that timely and predictable funding is available. Ban Ki-moon appointed to the panel as co-chairs, Vice President of the European Commission, Kristalina Georgieva from Bulgaria, and Sultan Nazrin Shah from Malaysia. (UN News Centre)
Defense witness testifies to Mladic’s role in Branjevo killings: On 19 May 2015 it was reported that Dragan Todorovic, a former Bosnian Serb soldier, testified as a defence witness in the trial against Ratko Mladic. Todorovic testified as to his position on the Vlasenica platoon of the 10th Sabotage Detachment.which took part in the mass execution of Bosnian Muslims on the Branjevo farm in July 1995. Todorovic’s testimony addressed orders about the killings and about the relationship between Milorad Pelemis, who was Todorovic’s commander in the unit and a previous defence witness for Mladic, and Ratko Mladic. On cross examination the Prosecution highlighted the close links between Pelemis and Mladic; submitting Todorovic’s previous testimony to this issue in the ICTY trial against Radovan Karadzic. (Global Voices)
ICC holds status conference for Ongwen case: On Tuesday, 19 May 2015, the ICC held a status conference relating to the case against Dominic Ogwen, a top Ugandan rebel leader in the Lord’s Resistance Army. Ogwen, who faces charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed at a camp for internally displaced people in 2004, was present at the conference and represented by counsel. Ongwen’s confirmation of charges hearing is scheduled for 21 January 2016. (NTV).
Sri Lankan President announce June start to war crime probe: Today, 20 May 2015, Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena announced that an investigation into war crimes committed at the end of the country’s 26-year civil war would begin by June. The President also encouraged guidance from the U.N. Human Rights Council on carrying out the investigation and vowed to prosecute those “found guilty by the investigation.” Over 100,000 were killed during the conflict. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (MalayMail, The Economic Times).
ICTR holds 25th plenary session; re-elects President: The 25th and final plenary session of the ICTR was held in The Hague on 13 May 2015. At this session, Rule 18(B) of the ICTR Rules of Procedure and Evidence was amended and ITCR President Judge Vagn Joensen was re-elected through 31 December 2015, the expected date of closure of the Tribunal. The ICTR has already begun transitioning power to the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals which was created to continue the residual functions of the ICTR and ICTY. (UN-ICTR).
Amnesty reports torture in Morocco: Moroccan authorities are still using torture against those detained or expressing dissent; said Amnesty International in a report released Tuesday, 19 May 2015. The findings of the report stemmed from interviews with over 150 men, women and children between 2010 and 2014. Morocco has pledged for years to eliminate torture by authorities. However, an Amnesty International director says “There is a gap between what’s on paper and what’s in practice. Torture is not systematic but common. The safeguards that exist currently are not being implemented.” (NY Times).
Tunisian Truth Commission to address torture and other human rights abuses: On 19 May 2015, it was reported that Tunisia’s Truth and Dignity Commission will be conducting public hearings beginning June 2015. The hearings will address allegations of torture, mass killings and other human rights violations committed over a 60 year period, starting in 1955, while Tunisia was under authoritarian rule. Members of the Commission have visited towns to urge victims of the human rights abuses to file complaints. The Commission does have the power to subpoena witnesses and government files. (NY Times).
Complaint filed with African Commission over death of protestors in Burundi: On 5 May 2015, a leading human rights lawyer from Nigeria, Femi Falana, filed a complaint against the government of Burundi in the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Falana claims the government fatally attacked civilians protesting President Pierre Nkurunziza’s plan to seek a third term of office. Falana said this plan violates the constitution of Burundi, which imposes a two term limit on the office of president, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which guarantees life, personal liberty, freedom of expression, association and assembly. Falana urged the African Commission to “ensure effective remedies for [these] multiple violations of the rights of the people of Burundi.” (the News Nigeria).
ICC AC admissibility decision on Simone Gbagbo to be delivered 27 May: The appeals decision on the admissibility of the case against Ivorian politician Simone Gbagbo is expected to be delivered 27 May 2015, said the ICC Appeals Chamber today, 20 May 2015. The Republic of Côte d’Ivoire appealed the Pre-Trial Chamber’s decision rejecting an admissibility challenge to the case and reminding the country of its obligation to surrender Mrs. Gbagbo to the ICC. Gbagbo is accused of murder, rape and other inhumane acts and persecution committed in the Ivory Coast between December 2010 and April 2011. (ICC).
Trial Chamber VI of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced Wednesday that the start of the Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda will be the second or third week of July, rather than 2 June 2015. Opening statements from the prosecution are expected in August. This decision follows efforts by defense counsel to push the trial to November and support from prosecution and victims’ representatives to retain the original trial date. The Presidency of the ICC is currently considering an application from the Trial Chamber to hold opening statements in Bunia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and consequentially the Registry requested approximately one month to facilitate this effort. Mr. Ntaganda is charged with thirteen counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity, for his involvement in crimes committed in Ituri, DRC between 2002 and 2003.
On Wednesday, April 22, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) heard final appeals directly from several accused of crimes committed in the Butare Region. Following submissions by the Prosecution, the accused including Pauline Nyiramasuhuko were given opportunity to speak to the Court before judges consider and make their decision later this year. The Case marks the final appeal for the ICTR. (For additional information, please click here)
Sudanese President and ICC Indictee Omar al-Bashir recently declined to travel to Indonesia for the Asian-African Summit, following election obligations and international calls for his arrest. The Sudanese Foreign Affairs Minister will replace him, and a spokesman said the decision was made so al-Bashir could “monitor post-election operations.” The International Criminal Court issued a first arrest warrant against al-Bashir in 2009 and again in 2010, on charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide.
10 former Bosnian Serb soldiers arrested in Bosnia over crimes from 1990s conflict: The 10 former Bosnian Serb soldiers arrested in December have been charged with war crimes that occurred during the 1990s Balkans conflict. The December arrests stemmed from a joint effort of Bosnia and Serbia to look into these matters. Five former Bosnian Serb soldiers were arrested in December by Serbia and the ten now charged with war crimes were arrested by Bosnia. (UT San DiegoABC News) (for additional information click here)
Appeals proceedings in ICTR Butare case to start: On Tuesday 21 April 2015, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will start appeals proceedings for its last case. The case includes six members of Butare including former Family Affairs Minister Pauline Nyiramasuhuko. Nyiramasuhuko was sentenced to life in prison by the trial court for crimes against humanity in 2011. According to ICTR, judgement from the appeal will not be rendered earlier than August. This will mark the 14th year of this case and the 16th year that Nyiramasuhuko has been in preventive detention. (Hirondelle News)
Hadzic granted provisional release by ICTY for health issues: The International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) has granted a provisional release to former Croatian Serb rebel leader Goran Hadzic until May. Hadzic stands accused of 14 alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1991-95 war in Croatia. Hadzic was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in November and will receive radio and chemotherapy treatment. His request for a temporary release was initially denied by trial judge, but overturned on appeal for humanitarian reasons. (Expatica, InSerbia News) (for additional information click here)
AG calls Bensouda’s claim of Kenya’s possible non-cooperation defamatory: ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda stands accused for defamation of Kenya by Attorney General Githu Muigai. Muigai states that Bensouda’s allegations that the Kenyan government refuses to cooperate with the court is defamatory. The prosecutor is attempting to get Kenya referred to the Assembly of State Parties and sanctioned. (All Africa News)
Bangladeshi Chairman of the Law Commission withdraws from ICC judge election: Bangladeshi Chairman of the Law Commission, ABM Khairul Haque, has withdrawn from the ICC judge election. Haque stated that he withdrew due to family concerns as his mother is elderly and ill. Haque also stated that this situation would not allow him to contribute six years to the ICC. (BDNews 24)
NGO group calls on Equitorial Guinea human rights violations to be investigated: Nongovernmental organizations sent a letter to the Community of Portuguese Language Countries on 31 March to assess the human rights situations in Equatorial Guinea and recommend reform. Human Rights Watch stated that an investigation should be launched into the human rights violation in Equatorial Guinea. According to Human Rights Watch freedom of speech, association, and assembly are limited in the country. (Human Rights Watch)
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)
New Sri Lanka President sends delegate to UN to discuss war crimes investigation: A political change in Sri Lankan politics has opened the doors to UN influence. The newly formed government is planning to investigate accusations of human rights of abuses which allegedly took place amid its civil war. Government officials plan to begin the investigation at a local level before making the decision to bring in foreign experts. (Reuters).
Rights groups call for investigations into killings, war crimes in Libya: Amnesty International has called on the UN to implement sanctions and conduct investigations in response to the possible commission of war crimes in Libya. The UN is currently negotiating with some of Libya’s factions in order to form a unity government in hopes of returning stability back to the nation. (Reuters).
LRA Commander appears at ICC; Uganda unlikely to challenge admissibility: Dominic Ongwen has come before the ICC charged with seven counts of crimes against humanity. As a former member of the LRA, Ongwen was alledgedly involved in various accounts of murder and enslavement. Though a fierce critic of the ICC, Uganda does not plan to challenge the admissibility of the case being heard at the ICC because the LRA has become a regional problem. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (BBC, Bloomberg)
ICTY transfers documents in first phases of transition to court residual mechanism: The ICTY has transferred its records pertaining to the cases of Duško Tadić, Sefer Halilović and to the contempt of court case against Milan Vujin to the MICT. The MICT was established in 2010 and tasked with the responsibility of preserving the legacy of the ICTY and the Rwanda Tribunal. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (ICTY, The Hague)
Kenyan NGO seeks signatures on ICC criticism of government: The Kenyan Citizens Coalition, a non-governmental organization, stated that the Kenyan government is not to blame for the lagging case against President Uhuru Kenyatta. The NGO stated that the ICC has not properly investigated the case and should not allocate the blame onto the Kenyan government. The Kenyan Citizens Coalition announced plans to start collecting signatures from citizens, Kenyan Organizations, and International Partners to compel the ICC to stop apportioning the blame. The organization’s convener, Ngunjiri Wambugu, stated that these signatures will be compiled into a memorandum that will be sent to the United Nations Security Council, the Assembly of States Parties to the ICC, the European Union, and the African Union. ICC judges will soon rule whether the prosecutor Fatou Bensouda will be granted more time for investigations against Kenyatta and suspend the trial date or to throw the case out altogether. (Capital News)
ICTR celebrates 20 year anniversary: The UN-ICTR for Rwanda will celebrate its 20th year operating in Arusha. Prosecutor for the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, will join for celebrations and as panelist with other prosecutors to debate on the lessons of empowerment of national jurisdictions to prosecute international crimes. The ICTR was established in 1994 following the Rwandan genocide between the Hutus and the Tutsis. The ICTR to date has indicted 93 individuals total, 61 of which were sentenced. (Daily News)
141 human rights organizations support trial of Habré: 141 African human rights organizations from 32 different countries issued a letter on 2 November 2014 praising the efforts of Senegal and the African Union to prosecute crimes. Former Chadian president, Hisséne Habré, stands accused of thousands of political killings and torture from 1982 to 1990. Habré was indicted in July 2013 by the Extraordinary African Chambers and is now in pretrial detention. Habré’s trial would begin in early 2015 if judges rule that a trial is justified. The letter states that a fair and transparent trial for Habré, if the case went forward, would help hold those accountable for their crimes. The letter also calls for fair and transparent trials for officials from Habré’s administration whose trials are scheduled to begin November 13th. (Human Rights Watch)
Libyan court postpones trial of former Gaddafi officials: Libyan court has postponed the trial of ex-officials that served under former leader Muammar Gaddafi until 16 November 2014. This postponement is connected to the proceedings against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi before the ICC. The ICC has ordered Libya to hand over Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi to be tried before the ICC. With respect to Senussi, the ICC Appeals Chamber found in July 2014 that Senussi could be tried before local Libya courts. The trial of 23 defendants occurred in Tripoli’s al-Hadba prison while Saif Al-Gaddafi is being tried in Zintan. The defendants are charged with numerous crimes including charges of genocide and incitement to rape. (Bernama, African News) (for additional information please click here)