Archive for category Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast Government Authorities announced that they would pay victims of the 2010-2011 post-election violence, following an announcement by President Alassane Ouattara in December of the victims’ reparations fund. To date, approximately 74,000 victims have registered with the fund, set to begin payments in July of this year and promote reconciliation. A grace period was also announced, to allow additional victims to register and be compensated for losses during the period following Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to acknowledge Presidential Defeat. Nearly 3,000 people were killed between 2010 and 2011. (BBC News)
The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced Thursday that it would commence the trial of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé on 10 November 2015. Trial Chamber I indicated that the November start date was to accommodate Prosecution evidence disclosures, expected to continue through June 2015, and additional time for Defense preparation activities. (ICC Press Release)
Multiple watch groups, including the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) said this week that escalating violence in the Yemeni city of Aden resulted in “scores” of deaths among civilians and aid workers. An estimated 1,400 people have been killed and more than 300,000 have left for neighboring areas. Internally displaced individuals remain vulnerable from lack of infrastructure including medical and other assistance. Human Rights Watch specifically cited incidents of Pro-Houthi forces holding aid workers hostage, which it indicated were tantamount to war crimes. (For Human Rights Watch coverage, please click here) (HRW, UN News Centre)
Simone Gbagbo sentenced to twenty years for Cote d’Ivoire violence: A court in the Ivory Coast has sentenced Simone Gbagbo, former first lady of the Ivory Coast, to twenty years in prison for her involvement in inciting post-election violence in 2010. Gbagbo’s lawyer, Rodrigue Dadje, stated that they would appeal the verdict by the end of the week. Gbagbo is still wanted by the International Criminal Court. Her husband, Laurent Gbagbo, is still awaiting trial at the ICC for crimes against humanity during the post-election violence. (Reuters)
Identity of deceased man confirmed as potential ICC Witness: The body thought to be of Meshack Yebei, a potential ICC witness, was found in early January. The Kenyan government has confirmed through DNA tests that the body is in fact that of Mr. Yebei. Yebei was a potential witness in the trial against President Ruto who was charged with crimes against humanity during the post election violence in Kenya. Mr. Ruto’s lawyers stated that Yebei was to be a witness for the defence. (BBC)
Human rights groups file Bamako complaint for Mali crime victims: The International Federation of Human Rights announced on 9 March 2015 that human rights groups have filed a war crimes complaint for victims in Mali. The complaint focuses on the events that occurred during 2012 and 2013 when armed groups occupied Timbuktu and the surrounding area. Human rights groups have identified fifteen people as responsible parties for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The ICC opened an investigation in January of 2013 against Mali for occurrences since 2012, but no cases have been brought so far against particular individuals. (Hirondelle News)
Mrs. Gbagbo appears before national trial and denies wrongdoing: Simone Gbagbo presented evidence for the first time in her trial in Abidjan. Mrs. Gbagbo denies all wrongdoing in her alleged role in inciting post election violence in 2010. In December 2014, the ICC denied the Ivory Coast’s admissibility application to try Mrs. Gbagbo nationally and ordered the Ivory Coast to surrender her to the Hague. By starting Mrs. Gbagbo’s trial, the Ivory Coast is proceeding in violation of the ICC’s decision. Mrs. Gbagbo’s husband, former President Laurent Gbagbo, is currently being tried at the ICC. (BBC, France24, ICC-CPI) (for additional information please click here and here)
ICC Prosecution to call final witness in Ruto / Sang case on 23 March: The 30th and last witness in the case against former Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang will testify on 23 March 2015. The ICC Public Affairs Unit stated that witness P0727 has been unwilling to testify and has put conditions upon testifying. The witness did not appear to testify on 2 February 2015, but will now testify by video from a secret location on 23 March. (CaptialFM)
At-large former lawmaker sentenced to life imprisonment by ICT Bangladesh: The International Criminal Tribunal of Bangladesh sentenced former lawmaker, Abdul Jabbar, to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity. The crimes against humanity were committed during the 1971independence war against Pakistan and include counts of genocide and religious persecution of the country’s Hindi minority. The court stated that Jabbar would get some leniency in mere imprisonment due to old age. Jabbar is still at-large and is thought to be in the United States. (The Economic Times, The Sun Daily) (for additional information please click here)
UNAMI and OHCHR report says HR violations in Iraq increasingly sectarian: A report produced by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights highlights the increase of human rights violations in Iraq. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have intentionally targeted members of Iraq’s different ethnic communities. The report covers a three month period from11 September to 10 December 2014. The report claims that many of the acts committed could constitute as war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide. (United Nations)
US federal court orders 218 million USD award against Palestinian Authority: A United States jury found in favor of ten American families for six attacks credited to the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Hamas over a decade ago. The Manhattan based court ordered the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority to pay 218 million USD. The United States Anti-Terrorist Act allows citizens harmed by terrorist acts to sue for damages in federal courts. Both groups stated that they would appeal the ruling. The Palestinian Authority signed the Rome Statute and submitted an Article 12(3) declaration in January 2015 in order to accept the ICC jurisdiction. (France24)
Amnesty highlights evidence of war crimes for Egyptian airstrikes in Libya: Amnesty International stated that violence in Libya is escalating and that civilians are feeling the impact of the attack. Amnesty claims that the Egyptian Air Force did not take the necessary precautions in their air strike over Libya to prevent civilian deaths. Amnesty has many eyewitness accounts that highlight the damage done over civilian populated areas in Libya. (Amnesty International)
ICC confirms charges against Blé Goudé: ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I confirmed charges of crimes against humanity against former Ivorian political leader Charles Blé Goudé today, 11 December 2014. The Chamber determined that substantial grounds existed to believe Blé Goudé committed or attempted to commit murder, rape and other inhumane acts in the Ivory Coast between December 2010 and April 2011. The Chamber examined more than 40,000 pages of evidence, including some 130 witness statements and 1200 audio and video recordings. (ICC).
ICC rejects Ivory Coast admissibility challenge after Mrs. Gbagbo appears in Abijan Court: Today, 11 December 2014, ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I rejected Simone Gbagbo’s admissibility challenge and reminded the country of its obligation to surrender the Ivorian politician to the Court. The Chamber found the Ivory Coast was “not taking tangible, concrete and progressive steps aimed at ascertaining whether Simone Gbagbo is criminally responsible for the same conduct that is alleged in the case before the Court.” Gbagbo is accused of murder, rape and other inhumane acts and persecution committed in the Ivory Coast between December 2010 and April 2011. (ICC).
UN officials say impunity should not be allowed following US torture report: On Tuesday, 9 December 2014, the U.S. Senate intelligence committee released a report finding that the U.S. government used torture. Some U.N. officials, such as U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism Ben Emmerson Q.C., have called for the prosecution of U.S. officials responsible. Furthermore, U.N. High Commission for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein stated that it’s “crystal clear” that the U.S. should ensure accountability and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that “prohibition against torture is absolute.” In addition, executive director of Amnesty International USA, Steven W. Hawkins stated that “Under the UN Convention against torture, no exceptional circumstances whatsoever can be invoked to justify torture, and all those responsible for authorizing or carrying out torture or other ill-treatment must be fully investigated.” (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (The Guardian, Huffington Post).
ASP rejects Kenya’s agenda to address conduct of judges and prosecutors: Kenya’s request to add a supplementary agenda item relating to the conduct of the ICC and Prosecutor’s Office to the Assembly of States Parties annual meeting was rejected. Newly elected ASP President Sidiki Kaba explained “The Bureau does not recommend inclusion of the Kenyan agenda item on conduct of the Court and Prosecutor.” Kenya accuses the ICC of frivolous prosecutions, incorrect statutory interpretations of the Rome Statute and politicizing cases. (All Africa).
ICC Ruto defence team submit video and media evidence to show violence not incited: Defence for William Ruto submitted to the ICC video and newspaper clippings showing the Kenyan Deputy President did not incite violence. One video clip allegedly showed Ruto encouraging different communities to stay united and urged Kalenjins to welcome former President Mwai Kibaki and his family attending the memorial of freedom fighter ceremony in 2005. (Capital News).
African Court President meets with AU Commission Chairperson and EU delegation: Throughout this week, Justice Augustino Ramadhani, President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, has met with Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, and Gary Quince, Head of the European Union Delegation to the AU. Discussion with both included efforts to raise awareness of the Arusha-based African Court and help with its progression. Specifically, Ramadhani stressed that “We are in the process of attracting more African countries to ratify the Protocol” establishing the Court. (All Africa).
Bensouda finds war crimes committed by Israeli on Mavi Marmara but closes investigation: The ICC closed its preliminary examination into the “31 May 2010, Israeli raid on the Humanitarian Aid Flotilla bound for [the] Gaza Strip.” The ICC found that, although there is a reasonable basis to believe war crimes were committed, the legal requirements to open an investigation under the Rome Statute have not been met. Lawyers for the Comoros government, the owner of one of the vessels Israeli defence forces intercepted, intend to apply to the ICC judges for review. The lawyers claim the “Prosecutor’s decision marks the first time a State referral by an ICC States Party has ever been rejected . . . without even initiating an investigation.” (ICC, Reuters) (For additional information on this topic, please click here).
UN Human Rights Council condemns human rights records of Egypt’s military government: Egypt’s human rights record was under scrutiny this week in Geneva. U.S. UN Human Rights Council representative Keith Harper found actions taken by the Egyptian government to violate free speech, peaceful assembly and fair trial rights. Harper also urged the Egyptian government to release political prisoners and investigate excessive force of protestors by security forces. Egyptian forces, on the other hand, insisted the government acted within the bounds of law and added the actions were taken in an effort to “combat terrorism.” (Middle East Eye).
ICC schedules Bemba closing arguments for 12-13 November: Closing arguments in the ICC case against Jean-Pierre Bemba have been scheduled for 12-13 November 2014. The Prosecution and Defence will be allowed three hours and Victims representatives will be allowed one and a half hours for closing arguments. Bemba is charged with rape, murder and pillaging for crimes committed in the Central African Republic in 2002 and 2003. (The Hague Justice Portal).
Amnesty reports “callous indifference” to civilians by Israel, but crimes on both sides: On Wednesday, 5 November 2014, Amnesty International released a report full of eyewitness testimony and expert analysis. The report found Israel committed war crimes and showed “callous indifference” to civilians during its 50-day war in the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, the report claimed Palestinian armed forces fired rockets into civilian areas. The report urged both Israel and Palestine to join the ICC so that the Court may prosecute the alleged crimes. Israel officials have openly dismissed the report, claiming Amnesty International was biased and failed to document war crimes by Palestine groups in Gaza. (International Business Times) (For additional information on this topic, please click here).
ICC Prosecutors seek joint trial of Gbagbo and Goude: Prosecutors seek to try former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo and former youth leader Charles Ble Goude together at the ICC. The former president faces crimes against humanity for his participation in the 2010 post-election violence in the Ivory Coast that left some 3,000 dead. Charges against Ble Goude are still pending. Ble Goude’s defence finds talks of joinder of the cases to be “wishful thinking.” (ABC News).
ICTY considering provisional release of Seselj for medical treatment: Former Serbian leader Vojislav Seselj may be granted provisional release and allowed to leave the Hague in order to receive treatment for colon cancer, said an ICTY filing released on Wednesday, 5 November 2014. ICTY presiding judge is examining temporary release “to avoid the worst-case scenario.” Serbian doctors recently treating Seselj believe his cancer has spread to his liver. (The News Tribune).
ICTY convict Sreten Lukic to serve sentence in Poland: A Polish court decided that former Serbian police chief Sreten Lukic will serve his 20-year term in Poland. Lukic was convicted of war crimes by the ICTY in February 2009, for crimes committed in Kosovo. The final decision will be made by the country’s justice minister. Poland and 16 other countries have pledged to accept ICTY war criminals. (Ahram Online).
ICTY Karadzic trail closing statements: The ICTY heard closing arguments in the case against former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic this week. UN prosecutor Alan Tieger stated Karadzic was responsible, along with others, for cleansing Bosnia’s Muslims and Croats from Serb-claimed territories. Karadzic, conducting his own defense, took responsibility for crimes committed by the Republika Srpska but denied being aware of the killings. Karadzic faces charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of wars for crimes committed during the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (Saudi Gazette, BBC News Europe).
ICTR confirms criminal responsibility and life sentence of Nzabonimana: On 29 September 2014, the ICTR Appeals Chamber confirmed a life sentence against Callixte Nzabonimana for conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity. The Appeals Chamber ordered Nzabonimana remain in the Tribunal’s custody until it is decided where the former Rwandan youth minister is to serve his sentence. (Hirondelle News Agency).
Public testimony ends at Ivory Coast Truth Commission: Tuesday, 30 September 2014, ended public testimony of at least eighty victims and perpetrators who spoke on the serious violations of international law committed following the 2000 presidential election in the Ivory Coast. The Ivory Coast truth commission was formed to investigate the bloody political violence after opposition leader Laurent Gbagbo was elected in 2000. (AFP).
ECCC accused appeal conviction and sentence: Defense for former leaders of the Khmer Rouge, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphank, have appealed their life sentences for crimes against humanity for their roles in forced evacuations. The two ECCC accused denied the charges and argued the conviction was a miscarriage of justice. The second phase of the trial for genocide, forced labor and political purges is expected to being 17 October 2014. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (The Guardian, Phnom Penh Post).
ICC Judges reject Kenyatta request to skip status conference: ICC judges have rejected Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s request to miss the Court’s status conference because of conflicts. The ICC considered the status conference a “critical juncture” in the proceedings and requires the accused to be present. Kenyatta’s defense requested the status conference be rescheduled. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (All Africa).
Charges confirmed against Ivory Coast’s Gbagbo: The ICC has ordered Laurent Gbagbo, the former President of Cote d’Ivoire, to stand trial. Gbagbo has been accused of masterminding the murder and rape of demonstrators in Abidjan, between December 2010 and April 2011. At lease 3,000 people were killed during this period of violence. (ICC, NYT, Reuters). (For additional information about this topic, please click here, here.)
Sri Lanka War Crimes investigative team announced: Navi Pillay has announced that Sandra Beidas will be coordinating the investigative team charged with probing into allegations of mass killings during the Sri Lankan civil war. Beidas appears to be a somewhat controversial pick because of her expulsion from a UN mission in South Sudan amidst allegations of writing false reports about the conduct of the South Sudanese military. The Sri Lankan government has yet to determine whether to allow the UN teams presence in the country.
Libya will pay victims reparations for rape: A decree was issued during the middle of next week recognizing the mass rapes perpetrated during the 2011 Libyan revolution as war crimes. Libya will pay rape survivors reparations. In addition, those victims harmed during the reign of the Qaddafi regime will as lobe eligible for the compensation.