Archive for category Ivory Coast
Confirmation hearing delayed for Ntaganda: On 18 June 2013, an ICC judge announced that the confirmation hearing for DRC warlord Bosco Ntaganda is delayed until 10 February 2014. Under the Rome Statute, the confirmation hearing determines if there is enough evidence to proceed to trial. Ntaganda, who is charged with crimes against humanity, was a fugitive from the ICC for 7-years, so the judge wants to give the prosecution adequate time to prepare the case.
ICC decides that Kenya’s Ruto is partially exempt from attending trial: On 18 June 2013, ICC judges partially granted Kenyan Deputy-President William Ruto’s request to participate via video link at his trial, set to start in September. Ruto is charged with crimes against humanity relating to Kenya’s 2007-2008 post-election violence. The ICC ruled that Ruto needs to be physically present at key sessions of trial including the opening and closing of the trial, the judgment, when victims present their testimony in person, and the sentencing if necessary. ICC judges also recommended that parts of the trial should be held in Kenya or Tanzania. This ruling has no legal impact on the trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is also charged with crimes against humanity.
Hundreds protest delay of ex-Ivory Coast president’s ICC trial: On 17 June 2013, about 300 people protested the ICC’s decision to delay former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbago’s case. Gbago is charged with crimes against humanity relating to the Ivory Coast’s 2010 post-election violence. On 3 June, ICC judges gave prosecutors more time to gather evidence against Gbago because they ruled that there was not currently enough evidence to take the case to trial. Alphonse Soro, the organizer of the protest, said he wanted to show “indignation and incomprehension” and that “no sustainable peace [is] possible without a trial.”
Gaddafi and al-Senussi to be tried in Libya in August: On 17 June 2013, Libya’s prosecutor’s office announced that Col. Muammar Gaddafi son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Col. Gaddafi’s intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, and other senior regime members will be tried domestically in August. The men will be charged with forming criminal gangs, inciting rape, and illegal detention. The ICC has warrants out for Gaddafi and al-Senussi for war crimes, but Libya has resisted the ICC’s extradition requests. The Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said the men would receive a fair trial. Related to this announcement, on 17 June, two former senior associates of Col. Gaddafi were acquitted of wasting public money. However, the two continue to be detained as a part of the investigation for Gaddafi and al-Senussi’s trial. (For more on this topic click here.)
ICC rules Gbagbo case admissible: The pretrial chamber yesterday, 11 June 2013, held that former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo’s case is admissible before the ICC. The Chamber found Ivory Coast has not initiated national proceedings against Gbagbo precluding ICC prosecution. Gbagbo is charged for crimes committed following his defeat in the December 2010 Presidential election. Gbagbo is currently being held at the ICC.
Victims withdraw from Ruto and Sang case: 93 victims have requested withdrawal from the ICC case against Deputy President William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang. The victims letter cited “lost faith in the ICC process” and doubt about the guilt of the accused as reasons. Victim Representative Wilfred Nderitu expressed concern about the disclosure of victim identities but assured the signatories they would continue to be provided with Court protection until voluntary withdrawal was confirmed. Nderitu advised the remaining roughly 600 victims that they had nothing to fear in continuing to participate.
UN Prosecutor warns remaining fugitives to come forward: At a UN press conference in NY on 11 June 2012, ICTR Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow pressed nine indictees associated with the 1994 Rwandan genocide to turn themselves in. Jallow guaranteed the nine men they would receive a “transparent and impartial” trial. Jallow warned the fugitives they would be unable to escape impunity indefinitely given the establishment of the IRMCT to carry out the ICTR mandate and the preservation of evidence and testimony for future proceedings in absentia. Furthermore, Jallow urged member states to fulfill their international obligations and step up in the search and seizure of the fugitives.
Wife of ECCC accused charged with lying under oath: On Monday, 10 June 2013, ECCC Prosecutor Keith Raynor attacked the credibility of witness So Socheat, wife of former head of state Khieu Samphan. Socheat testified that she and her husband were abandoned after traveling to K-3 with senior leaders, such as Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, and Ieng Sary. Prosecutor Raynor accused Socheat of fabricating the story in an effort to make Samphan appear inferior to the other leaders. Raynor also suggested Socheat devised the story with the help of other witnesses before the trial.
Bangladesh tribunal deems prosecution evidence irrelevant: ICT-1 questioned the prosecution’s motive for including irrelevant information in an investigation officer’s deposition today, 12 June 2013. The judges considered the information time consuming and burdensome to the defense. The prosecution team assured the judges that the information was important and the closing arguments would reveal its relevancy. ICT-1 is prosecuting Salauddin Quader Chowdhury for crimes committed during the Bangladesh Liberation War.
ICC provides prosecution more time to build case against Gbago: On 3 June 2013, ICC judges announced that prosecutors would have until 15 November to further investigate former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbago. The judges ruled that the evidence submitted is not strong enough to merit a trial, but not weak enough to drop the charges. Gbago, the only ex-head of state to appear before the ICC, is charged with crimes against humanity for his role in the Ivory Coast’s 2010 post-election violence. They delay may harm the ICC’s credibility “after a string of collapsed prosecutions and criticisms from African leaders who accuse the court of targeting Africans.”
ICTY upholds Serbian leader’s contempt of court sentence: On 30 May 2013, the ICTY Appeals Chamber upheld Vojislav Šešelj’s two-year contempt of court conviction for failure to remove confidential information about witnesses from his website. Šešelj appealed that the Contempt Trial Chamber’s failure to provide him a case manager denied his right to a defense and fair trial. However, the Appeals Chamber ruled that, while the Trial Chamber failed to provide a reasoned opinion, the provision of a legal advisor made a case manager unnecessary. Šešelj, the leader of the Serbian Radical Party, is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes against non-Serbs from 1991-1994.
Top Khmer Rouge leader apologizes for atrocities: On 30 May 2013, Nuon Chea, known as “Brother Number Two” after former regime chief Pol Pot, accepted responsibility for the deaths of millions of Cambodians during the 1970s and apologized to victims. The 86-year old Chea testified at the UN-backed ECCC from his prison cell via video due to poor health. Khieu Samphan, another former Khmer Rouge leader on trial, denied any knowledge of the atrocities committed by the regime. The two men are charged with crimes against humanity and genocide—this is the first time either man has accepted responsibility for the crimes.
ICC denies warrant for former CAR president: On 3 June 2013, the ICC announced that it had not issued an arrest warrant for ex-Central African Republic President Francois Bozizé. This announcement followed the issuance of an international arrest warrant for Bozizé by the CAR’s chief prosecutor. The ICC denied that charges against Bozizé necessarily fell under the Court’s jurisdiction—but affirmed that it would continue to monitor developments in the CAR. Bozizé, who seized power in 2003 by coup, is wanted by the CAR for crimes against humanity and incitement to genocide
Ugandan Senator accuses President of dishonestly over ICC: On 3 June 2013, Ugandan Senator James Orengo criticized Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni for his recent negative remarks about the ICC. Orengo pointed to the fact that Museveni has been a huge supporter of the ICC in the past—even hosting ICC conferences. Orengo opined that Museveni’s criticisms of the ICC are meant to solicit support to become the first President of the East African Federation.
Alleged Ouattara supporter apprehended in Ivory Coast: On Saturday, authorities in Cote d’Ivoire announced that they had a former member of Alassane Ouattara’s military regime in custody. Amade Oueremi allegedly ordered attacks against supporters of Laurent Gbagbo during violent post-election protests in 2011. Then-outgoing President Gbagbo refused to leave office after national elections declared Ouattara the victor. Authorities suggest Oueremi will be transferred to Abidjan, where he will face charges. Gbagbo was arrested shortly after the riots and transferred to The Hague, where he is awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court.
UN Human Rights Office indicates CAH may have been committed in Nigeria: A spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said this weekend that Boko Haram’s recent violent attacks could constitute crimes against humanity. Rupert Colville said Friday that the hundreds of civilian deaths in Nigeria, largely accredited to the militant group Boko Haram, were of great concern to the international community. Anything amounting to widespread and systematic attacks or ethnic cleansing against the population could be prosecuted. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon echoed these sentiments.
LRA casualties surpass 100,000 according to UN: On Monday the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released a key figure from its report on the impact of the Lord’s Resistance Army and civilian welfare in Central Africa. It concluded that over 100,000 individuals had been killed since 1987, during which time the LRA had also committed atrocities including child abduction and forced displacement. The LRA’s current leader, Joseph Kony, reportedly led the group in attacks against civilians in Uganda, and is thought to be on the run in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, or other speculated locations. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court for these crimes.
UN official applauds talks between Sudan and South Sudan: On 25 April 2013, it was announced by the top UN humanitarian official in Sudan that The Government and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-North) spoke directly at a meeting under the auspices of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel in Addis Ababa on 22 and 23 April. Aid, which has not reached the Blue Nile state for over two years, finally began to flow earlier this month. The UN states that it is ready to provide immediate relief to the region once access opens up.
(For additional information on this topic, please click here)
Judge hearing Kenyatta Case removes herself, criticizing prosecution: On 27 April 2013, it was confirmed that ICC judge, Christine Van Den Wyngaert, asked to be excused from hearing the crimes against humanity case against William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta. The reason for her resignation cannot be confirmed but the judge has made critical comments about the prosecution and its failure to comply with obligations for conducting a full and thorough investigation of the case against the two Kenyans. The cases now will be heard in The Hague-based court by Judge Robert Fremr, who replaces Van Den Wyngaert, presiding Judge Kuniko Ozaki and Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji. In a majority decision the trial chamber agreed that charges against Kenyatta will remain as confirmed for the trial set for July 9 this year.
Warlords plundering Ivory Coast exports: On 28 April 2013, UN officials announced Warlord military commanders in Ivory Coast are currently making hundreds of millions of dollars by plundering the country’s exports of cocoa and other resources. The UN issued report has called on the Ivory Coast government to “take all measures necessary to curb the large-scale smuggling of cocoa, cashew nuts, cotton, timber, gold and all commodities illegally exiting or entering the country, in particular across the borders with Ghana.” The report also said that while Forces Nouvelles dominates the military, Liberian mercenaries and Gbagbo activists in Ghana still remain a security threat.
(For additional information on this topic, please click here)
UN Under Secretary visits Central African Republic: On 22 April 2013, it was announced that during a visit to the CAR, the United Nations’ top political official issued a call for efforts to establish security and the end of abuse against civilians. The UN Under Secretary also stated that the region return to constitutional order and a transition must occur within the political framework of the Libreville Accords. The UN Under Secretary was supported in his efforts by the Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda who issued a statement warning those committing serious crimes against civilians in the CAR.
Sudan peace talks expected: On 21 April 2013, it was announced that peace talks with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North will begin under the auspices of the African Union in Ethiopia on Tuesday. Oil fees and territory are still under dispute.
Ivory Coast elections first in two years: On 22 April 2013, it was reported that Ivory Coast citizens cast their first votes for local officials since post-election violence killed thousands of people two years ago. Five months of rioting took place after former President Gbagbo refused to leave office after having lost the 2010 November elections. The local elections had a poor turnout and Albert Koenders, special representative of Ban Ki-moon, said that the campaigns of officials were marred by intimidation. However, the election cycle has remained peaceful thus far.
HRW details crimes against humanity committed in Burma: On 22 April 2013, Human Rights Watch announced that Burmese authorities and members of Arakanese groups have committed crimes against humanity in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State since June 2012. The report has been substantiated with more than 100 interciews with Rohingya and non-Rohingya Muslims and Arakanese who suffered or witnessed abuses, as well as some organizers and perpetrators of the violence.
Posted by cdelaubenfels in African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, AU, CAR, Crimes against Humanity, ECCC, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gender crimes, Genocide, Human Rights Treaties and Charters, Human Rights Violations, ICC, ICTY, Investigations, Ivory Coast, jurisdiction, Kenya, News about the Courts, Post-Election Violence, Rome Statute, Rwanda, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on April 6, 2013
Three more witnesses refuse to testify against Kenyatta: On 5 April 2013, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda revealed that three more prosecution witnesses have refused to testify against Kenyan President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta. Bensouda has blamed the multiple witnesses refusing to testify on harassment and threats. The trial of Kenyatta, who is charged with crimes against humanity revolving around 2007-2008 post-election violence, is set to begin on July 11. It is unclear at this time how this will affect Kenyatta’s case going forth; some parties have called for the case to be sent back to the Pre-Trial Hearing to determine if there is enough evidence against Kenyatta to take the case to trial.
Krstic pleads not guilty at ICTY: On 4 April 2013, former Bosnian Serb Army officer Radislav Krstic plead not guilty to contempt of court for refusing to testify in the ICTY case against Radovan Karadzic. Krstic has declared that he won’t testify on behalf of Karadzic because of poor health. However, after investigation, the ICTY chamber stated that Krstic is mentally and physically fit to testify. In 2004 the ICTY sentenced Krstic to 35-years imprisonment for aiding and abetting genocide at Srbrenica in 1995.
Panama to face charges before Inter-American Court of Human Rights: On 26 February 2013, the IACHR began a case against Panama at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for alleged human rights abuses. Panama is accused of failing to meet its obligation to provide its indigenous peoples with “an adequate and effective procedure for access to their ancestral territory.” Further, the IACHR claims that Panama did not respond to interference by third parties in indigenous territories, amounting to discrimination. Panama’s case was referred to the Court because Panama had refused to comply with recommendations put forth by the IACHR.
African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights “strongly condemns” military takeover in CAR: On 4 April 2013, the ACHPR released a statement criticizing the military takeover in the Central African Republic. The statement indicated that the lives lost in the takeover were a serious violation of the rights guaranteed by the African Charter and that perpetrators of pillaging and armed violence should be brought before competent courts. The statement further said that the CAR military in charge must still meet its regional and international human rights commitments. Finally, the commission called on the international community, in particular the AU and Economic Community of Central African States, to take necessary steps to restore CAR to constitutional order.
HRW report criticizes Ivory Coast for biased implementation of justice: On 4 April 2013, Human Rights Watch released a report criticizing Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara for unevenly administering justice relating to 2010 post-election violence. The 2010 violence occurred when former President Laurent Gbago, who is currently facing war crimes charges before the ICC, refused to step down after losing the election, more than 3000 people were killed. Although Ouattara’s administration admits that his supporters committed human rights violations, none have been charged with crimes while the government has charged more than 150 Gbago supporters of crimes. The HRW report raises concern that such uneven administration of justice may have great negative impacts long-term. On a different note, on 4 April the Ivory Coast began an exhumation of the victims of the 2010 violence. The Justice Minister Genenema Coulibaly said that the exhumations will allow families to grieve and the country to hold transparent and fair trials. (For more on the topic, please click here.)
East African citizens call for expansion of EACJ jurisdiction: On 5 April 2013, Justice Johnson Busingye, the Principle Judge of the East African Court of Justice, declared that East African citizens have the right to work for an extension of the jurisdiction of the EACJ. East Africans have called for the EACJ—which has jurisdiction over matters of interpretation and applications of treaties, employment disputes, and commercial arbitration—to extend its jurisdiction to handle war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide cases. Busingye mentioned that some East Africans do not support the ICC because of conceptions that it is only targeting Africans; he declared that focusing on empowering regional courts might eliminate anxiety around the ICC.
Khmer Rouge Tribunal receives loan from international side of tribunal: On 5 April 2013, the international side of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal loaned $2-million to the Cambodia side of the tribunal so the court can continue its operations. The loan is a temporary fix that will keep more court staff from boycotting work. The tribunal’s money crisis occurs as the tribunal is trying two former Khmer Rouge Leaders, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, the court’s second case since its inception in 2006. International donors have been reluctant to fund the court due to allegations of mismanagement and corruption.
ICC welcomes surrender of Ntaganda while Rwanda pledges to facilitate transfer: On 19 March 2013, the ICC welcomed the surrender of ICC accused Bosco Ntaganda to the US Embassy in Kigali. Reports state that ICC officials are in route to Kigali to facilitate the transfer. Statements from the US have indicated that the US supports Ntaganda’s transfer to the ICC and that the US Embassy in Rwanda is working to facilitate this transfer. US assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Johnny Carson, has stated that is very important that the movement of Ntaganda from the US embassy to the airport “is in no way inhibited.” Statements from Rwandan officials have noted Rwanda’s stance against the ICC but have indicated that Rwanda would allow Ntaganda transfer to the ICC without any interference. On 20 March 2013, Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwab stated that “The ICC is a political court and we have never believed in its jurisdiction” and “We’d prefer to have him judged here but if he is sent to The Hague, that’s no problem either.” Mushikiwab stated that “The most important thing is that justice is served” and “He is on US territory and now the issue is between the US, Congo and the ICC.” The Rwandan Ministy of Justice has tweeted that Rwanda will provide safe passage and Rwanda’s Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama stated that “there are no complicated legal questions” concerning the transfer. Rwandan President Kagame has stated that “We will work to make what the US embassy needs in relation to Bosco Ntaganda’s case happen as fast as possible.” Bosco Ntaganda was first indicted by the ICC in August 2006 for seven counts of war crimes and three counts of crimes against humanity including recruiting and using child soldier, murder, rape, persecution and sexual slavery. A second ICC arrest warrant was issued in July 2012. On Monday 18 March 2013, without any notice Ntaganda walked off the street into the US Embassy in Kigali and expressed his wish to be sent to the Hague. Several theories have been reported about the reason for Ntaganda’s unexpected surrender, including the fact that several days before his surrender his rebel group M23 suffered a defeat which sent several hundred members of the group fleeing from the DRC into Rwanda. (For additional information on this topic, please 1. click here, 2. click here, and 3. click here).
Human Rights groups accuse Cambodian Prime Minister of obstructing the ECCC: On Tuesday 19 March 2013, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen stated on national radio that his Government has not obstructed the process of the ECCC. Hun Sen stated that “The power is in the hands of the court. Whether the process is slow or fast is up to the court, not me.” Accusations about the Government’s involvement in the ECCC’s process came from human rights groups, who called for an expedited process following the death of accused leng Sary.
Guatamala Court denies amnesty to ex-leader charged with genocide: On 13 March 2013, Guatemala’s Court of Constitutionality upheld a previous ruling from the Supreme Court which refused amnesty for Guatemala’s former leader Efraín Ríos Montt. Montt is charged with genocide and other crimes which allege that he failed stops the crimes during their commission. Following this ruling, Montt’s trial will resume along with his co-accused General José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, Hector Mario Lopez Fuentes and Luis Enrique Mendoza; who were former chief of military intelligence, former defence minister and former vice minister of defence respectively.
Ivory Coast signs the Rome Statute: On 18 March 2013, the Ivory Coast signed the ICC’s Rome Statute, making it the 122nd State party to the Rome Statute. Ambassador to the Ivory Coast, H.E. Mr Sallah Ben Abdelkader Hamza stated at the signing ceremony in The Hague that “Côte d´Ivoire is expecting an opened and fruitful dialogue with the International Criminal Court. In this regard, we will not hesitate to revert to the Court for advice and support, particularly for the implementation of the Rome Statute in our judicial system.”
ICC Judge Carmona resigns: On 18 March 2013, ICC Judge Anthony T. Carmona from Trinidad and Tobago resigned from duty at the ICC. His resignation was due to his election as the fifth President of Trinidad and Tobago. Carmona assumed office in the Presidency on the same day as his resignation.
Posted by cdelaubenfels in Crimes against Humanity, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gender crimes, Haiti, Human Rights Violations, ICC, ICT of Bangladesh, ICTY, Ivory Coast, Kenya, News about the Courts, Other domestic courts, Post-Election Violence, Rome Statute, Torture, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on March 2, 2013
Violence continues in reaction to Bangladesh Tribunal verdict: On 28 February 2013, the ICT Bangladesh convicted former Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delwar Hossain Sayeedi of murder, rape, and torture during the 1971 war of independence. Sayeedi was sentenced to death for the crimes. Violent protests erupted throughout Bangladesh in response to the protests; at least 40 people have been killed. Jamaat supporters claim that the court is being used as a political tool of the governing Awami League. The ICT Bangladesh was established in 2010 to address the atrocities that took place during the war of independence, but human rights tribunals have said the tribunal falls short of international standards.
Acquitted Yugoslav General returns to Serbia: On 1 March 2013, former Yugoslav General Momcilo Perisic returned to Belgrade after his acquittal by the ICTY the previous day. Serbian government representatives and other supporters greeted Perisic upon his arrival. Perisic said that his acquittal “removed the curse of the Serbian people”—the idea that Serbians always violated the laws of war. There had been outrage in Serbia when two months ago the ICTY quashed the conviction of two Croatian generals—perpetuating the idea that many Serbians held that the court was only directed towards their side of the conflict. Many people opine that the acquittal of Perisic gives the ICTY more validity as it shows that it is not just a court administering victor’s justice. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.)
ICC Prosecutor alleges that key Kenyan witness was bribed: On 28 February 2013, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda submitted a claim that a key prosecution witness (Witness #4) had been bribed to withdraw his testimony. Witness #4 provided important evidence in the ICC cases against Uhuru Kenyatta and Francis Muthaura. The witness had claimed to attend meetings where Kenyatta and Muthaura were present and the organization of 2007-2008 post-election violence was discussed. However, the witness recently claimed that he had lied about his presence at the meetings. Because of Witness #4’s detracted statements, Kenyatta and Muthaura argued that their claims should be remanded back to the pre-trial conference stage. Bensouda has stated that she would not protest Muthaura’s case being sent down, but that there was enough evidence against Kenyatta, even without Witness #4, to continue to trial.
Former Haitian dictator in court: On 28 February 2013, former Haitian dictator Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier went before a court of three judges to determine if he could be tried for crimes against humanity. Last year a judge ruled that Duvalier could be tried for embezzlement, but the statute of limitations had run out on the crimes against humanity charges—that decision drew international condemnation. Duvalier claims that he had no power over the persons committing atrocities in Haiti during his regime.
Former UN Observer says civilians were killed by Mladic’s Troops: On 28 February 2013, former UN Observer in Sarajevo, Thorbjorn Overgard, testified in Ratko Mladic’s ICTY case. Overgard observed the Hrasnica neighborhood of Sarajevo from October 1994 to May 1995. Overgard stated that there were civilian victims in the neighborhood almost every day—and the attacks were launched from areas controlled by Mladic’s Bosnian-Serbian Army. Mladic is on trial for terrorizing civilians and genocide throughout Sarajevo.
Gbago addresses ICC on final day of confirmation hearing: On 28 February 2013, former President of Ivory Coast Laurent Gbago addressed the court on the final day of his confirmation hearing. Gbago spoke for fifteen minutes on his lifelong fight for democracy. Gbago is accused of crimes against humanity in relation to 2011 post-election violence; the confirmation hearing will decide if there is enough evidence to try Gbago. Gbago is the first former head of state to be detained by the ICC.
President of Assembly and ICC Prosecutor speak at conference in Tanzania: On 1 March 2013, the President of the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute Tiina Intelmann and ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda spoke at a conference on the ICC and Africa held in Arusha. Intelmann spoke of the crucial role that Africa has played in establishing and promoting the ICC in the fight to end impunity. Bensouda commented on the ICC’s ability to spread the rule of law to all Africans. Last week it was reported that Arusha would be the home of a regional ICC chamber.
Defense case in Namibian treason trial begins: On 25 February 2013, the defense in the Caprivi treason trials began its case. The defense called two witnesses, one of whom, Charles Mainga, is an accused. Mainga, a former employee of Telecom Namibia, stated that he had no involvement in the alleged secessionist movement of Caprivi from Namibia. Mainga is one of 108 persons accused of treason, the trial began nine years ago.
Posted by cdelaubenfels in African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, Crimes against Humanity, Fatuo Bensouda, Gender crimes, Genocide, Human Rights Violations, ICC, ICTR, ICTY, Investigations, Ivory Coast, jurisdiction, Kenya, News about the Courts, Post-Election Violence, Rome Statute, Syria, UN Human Rights Council, UN Security Council, War Crimes, Witnesses on February 20, 2013
ICC confirmation hearings of Laurent Gbagbo begin: On 19 February 2013, the confirmation hearings of Ivory Coast ex-President Laurent Gbagbo began. Gbagbo is accused of crimes against humanity, including murder and rape, in relation to post-election violence in 2010. The ICC confirmation hearing is to determine if there is sufficient evidence to merit a trial. Gbagbo’s attorneys argued that Gbagbo is already under investigation in Ivory Coast and that he should be tried there. Gbagbo is the first former head of state to appear before the ICC. (For additional information on this topic, please click here).
Russia and UN Secretary General in disagreement over referring Syria to ICC: On 19 February 2013, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said that Russia opposes referring Syria to the ICC. Gatilov stated that the focus in Syria should be on peace and that an ICC investigation at this time “would be untimely and unconstructive.” In contrast, on the same day UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon released a statement supporting the referral of the Syrian conflict to the ICC. The number of deaths in the conflict is currently estimated at around 70,000. Because Syria is not a party to the Rome Statute, the only way Syria can be referred to the ICC is through the UN Security Council. A UN Security Council action is unlikely because Russia can veto any such ICC referral. (For additional information on this topic, please click here).
ICC to establish regional court in Tanzania: On 18 February 2013, ICC Regional Commissioner for Arusha, Magessa Mulongo, announced that the ICC will open an African regional chapter in Arusha, Tanzania. Arusha already hosts the African Court for Human and People’s Rights, the East African Court of Justice, and the ICTR. The ICTR, which has operated in Arusha since 1995, will soon be closing. The establishment of an African chapter of the ICC further ties the ICC to Africa, which provides 25% of the staff and five of the eighteen judges.
Human Rights Watch calls for UN Human Rights Council to investigate Sri Lanka: On 19 February 2013, HRW called for the UN Human Rights Council to open an inquiry into Sri Lankan war crimes. HRW claims that the Sri Lankan government “has taken no significant steps to provide justice for victims of abuse and accountability for those responsible.” The alleged war crimes relate to an estimated 40,000 civilian deaths in Sri Lanka at the end of the Sri Lankan civil war in 2009. HRW further criticized the Sri Lankan government for current human rights deteriorations. On 11 February 2013, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a highly critical report on the Sri Lankan government’s failure to provide accountability and justice and recommended that an independent international investigation should be conducted.
Kenya Attorney General states that the government fully cooperates with the ICC: On 19 February 2013, Kenya’s Attorney General Githu Muigai stated that Kenya has cooperated fully with the ICC court proceedings relating to the 2007-2008 post-election violence. Muigai’s statement was in response to comments made by ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda claiming that Kenya is intimidating ICC witnesses, withholding documents, and limiting access. Muigai stated that Kenya has cooperated with the ICC Victims and Witnesses unit and has turned over all legitimate documents and materials as required by the Rome Statute. Further, Muigai urged Bensouda to ensure that all communications between the government and the ICC are through the Rome Statute, not the media.
Bosnian-Serb war criminal dies at 75: On 17 February 2013, former Bosnian-Serb general Milan Gvero died at the age of 75 in a Belgrade hospital. In 2010 the ICTY sentenced Gvero to five-years in prison for war crimes. Gvero’s conviction was related to his role in the 1995 massacre of nearly 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica. The Srebrenica massacre—deemed a genocide by the ICTY—is widely considered the worst European atrocity since World War II.