Archive for category Kenya

1 October 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

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).

 

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17 September 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN Commission on Syria highlights crimes committed by Assad regime: The head of the U.N. commission investigating war crimes in Syria, Brazilian diplomat Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, said the “Syrian government remains responsible for the majority of the civilian casualties, killing and maiming” in the country. Speaking in front of the 47-nation U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday, 16 September 2014, Pinheiro described the sieges and attacks which have killed nearly 200,000 people since the start of the Syrian civil war. (US News).

ICC Prosecution Witness testifies about Ruto’s presence at fundraising event: On Tuesday, 16 September 2014, the ICC heard testimony from witness 604 relating to a fundraising event attended by Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto.  The witness’ statements appeared contradictory from earlier testimony.  Ruto faces three counts of crimes against humanity for acts committed after the 2007 presidential election in Kenya. (All Africa).

Belgium welcomes accused acquitted of genocide at the ICTR: It is being reported that former Rwandan general Augustin Ndindiliyimana has been granted a Belgian visa. Ndindiliyimana was acquitted of genocide by the ICTR Appeals Chamber this past February. The ICTR has pushed for member states to host acquitted persons and those who have served their sentences. (All Africa).

Victims’ lawyer says Kenyatta phone records fake: Victims’ lawyers in the ICC case against Kenyan President Kenyatta Uhuru claim cell phone data records provided to the prosecution are fabricated. Lawyer Fergal Gaynor accused the President of devoting “enormous resources” to end the case and obstructing access to important records.  (All Africa).

Argentina gives Government records to Inter-American Court of Human Rights: Documents relating to some 280 meetings of military leaders ruling the country of Argentina from 1976 to 1983 were disclosed to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on Tuesday, 16 September 2014.  Argentina’s Defense Minister, Agustin Rossi, delivered the records which reveal, among other things, how the leaders ruled the country at the time and the decisions that were made. (Telesurtv).

Group of NGOs asks ICC for local tribunal and justice without delay in CAR: Several human rights groups, such as the Central African Human Rights League and the International Federation for Human Rights, have urged the ICC to launch an investigation into crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes committed in the Central African Republic. The groups have also requested the U.N. peacekeeping mission to help in the establishment of a special court in the CAR to fight impunity and bring to justice those responsible for serious violations of international law. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has already opened a preliminary investigation into crimes committed in the CAR. (All Africa).

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17 July 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Sri Lanka brings in foreign experts to investigate war crimes: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided to involve foreign experts in the country’s investigation of possible war crimes during its 26-year civil war. The Sri Lanka government said the purpose of the experts was to “double check what [the country] has found so far and to get some international backing.” The President’s decision follows intensified pressure from the international community for Sri Lanka to investigate and hold accountable those responsible for war crimes. (Reuters).

STL: German expert witness identifies fragments of “car that killed Hariri”: A prosecution witness at the Special Tribunal of Lebanon identified the parts of a vehicle involved in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The expert witness testified that the parts likely belonged to a Mitsubishi truck that was seen by cameras moments before the explosion that killed the Prime Minister. The defense, on the other hand, argued the explosion could have been the result of an underground bomb and have contested whether the vehicle from the camera was present during the time of the bombing. The Special Tribunal is currently trying five men in absentia for the assassination. (The Daily Star).

ICTY prosecution seeks rejection of Seselj’s damages claim: ICTY prosecutor Mathias Marcussen considers the detainment of Vojislav Seselj legal in light of the court order and indictment against the former Serbian leader for serious violations of international law. Seselj recently filed a 12 million euro damages claim against the ICTY for unlawful deprivation of liberty due to his nearly decade long detention. (InSerbia).

ICC names chamber that will hear Barasa case: Bulgaria’s Ekaterina Trendafilova, Italy’s Cuno Tarfusser and Belgium’s Christine Van den Wyngaert will preside over the ICC case against journalist Walter Barasa. Barasa is charged for witness interference related to the trial of Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang. (All Africa).

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3 July 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

African leaders vote to give themselves immunity from war crimes charges: On Friday, 29 June 2014, African leaders voted to amend the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights to give themselves and other senior officials immunity from war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The amendment, made at an AU summit in Equatorial Guinea, was objected to by forty-two African and international human rights groups who found the immunity violated international law, domestic law and the AU Constitution. Amnesty International considers the amendment “a backward step in the fight against impunity and a betrayal of victims of serious violations of human rights.” (Aljazeera America).

Afewerki reported in Sweden for crimes against humanity: Several high level officials in Eritrea have been reported to the Sweden police for crimes against humanity. Specifically, the report targets Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki and some of his ministers by name and lists a series of crimes including indefinite imprisonment without trial, torture, kidnapping, mandatory military service and severe restrictions of freedom of expression. It is estimated that over 3,000 people, about 6% of the entire population, have fled Eritrea because of the human rights abuses. (Asmarino).

Related: Sweden ratifies portion of Rome Statute as national law: On 1 July 2014, the founding statute of the ICC became part of the Swedish penal code. This means, Swedish judges will now have the authority to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide regardless of who or where the crime was committed. Christer Engelhardt, a current MP, said “We are very clear about this: you will be punished, and if you come here, you won’t feel safe [if you have committed such crimes] just because Sweden is an open and democratic country.” (Epoch Times).

Dissenting judge in Kenyatta, Ruto cases resigns for health reasons: German Judge Hans-Peter Kaul resigned from the ICC for health reasons, effective Tuesday, 1 July 2014.  Judge Kaul was elected to the Court in February 2003 and served 11 years. Judge Kaul dissented three times in the case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto finding the ICC lacked jurisdiction.  (All Africa).

Serbian government prepared to provide guarantees to Hague for provisional release of Seselj: So long as the former Serbian leader Vojislav Seselj agrees in a legally binding manner to abide by all conditions specified, the Serbian government is prepared to provide guarantees for his provisional release. Seselj notified the ICTY in June that if provisionally released he would be participating in public meetings, giving interviews and appearing on television shows. The former leader said he would not report to the police or wear any electronic bracelet or other device that violated human dignity. (InSerbia).

AU elects four new judges to Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights: Representatives from AU member states elected four new judges to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Tunisia’s Rafaa Ben Achour, Mozambique’s Angelo Vasco Matusse, Cote D’Ivoire’s Sylvain Ore and Uganda’s Solomy Baling Bossa will be sworn in at the Court to replace retiring judges or those judges whose terms have expired. The Court has been ratified by 27 countries. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

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26 June 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Ruto / Sang trial adjourns to July for final witness: On Tuesday, 24 June 2014, the ICC trial of Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang was adjourned due to the health of a prosecution witness. When the Court resumes in July, the prosecution may present additional witnesses depending on an Appeals Chamber decision. The prosecution sought the compelled testimony of eight witnesses who have refused to testify. (All Africa).

ICTY asks Netherlands and Serbia to comment on possible provisional release of Seselj: The Netherlands, as the host country of the ICTY, and the Serbian government have seven days to comment on guarantees for a possible provisional release of former Serbian leader Vojislav Seselj.  Specifically, Serbia must guarantee the former leader will be escorted by authorities at all times, including to his place of provisional release, upon his return to the Netherlands and for any movements for medical reasons. The Serbian government must also ensure Seselj is placed under house arrest and does not contact or influence victims or witnesses.  Lastly, Serbia must guarantee that the government can immediately arrest Seselj in the event he violates any of the conditions of provisional release. (InSerbia).

HRW calls for investigation into misreporting of human rights in Sudan by AU / UN: Human Rights Watch has urged the U.N. Security Council to conduct a thorough and independent investigation into alleged cover-ups and inaccurate reporting by African Union / U.N. peacekeepers in Darfur. The call by Human Rights Watch comes two months after a report was published alleging peacekeepers failed to accurately report on the bombing of populated areas and the attacking of villages by the Sudanese government. While noting the dangerous situation peacekeepers face and the pressure from the government, a representative from Human Rights Watch nonetheless finds the accusations “devastating.” (Human Rights Watch).

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4 June 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Kenya continues push for Rome Statute changes: The Kenyan government does not intend to drop the proposed amendments to the Rome Statute of the ICC, said officials on 4 June 2014. Last month, officials presented to the ICC amendments committee proposed changes including granting immunity to sitting heads of state, giving judge’s discretion to excuse defendants from trial, holding accountable the Office of Prosecution for offenses against the administration of justice and recognizing regional courts as proper bodies to take on cases usually handled by the ICC. The Assembly of States Parties will discuss the proposed amendments later this year. (the Star, All Africa).

Bensouda orders preliminary investigation of UK war crimes complaint: The ICC announced that it will conduct a preliminary examination into alleged war crimes by United Kingdom armed forces in Iraq from 2003 to 2008. Specifically, the Court will analyze claims by more than 170 former Iraqis detainees of inhumane treatment while in British custody. A preliminary investigation can take up to several years. (The Guardian).

ICC allows “no-case-to-answer” motion from Ruto and Sang: Defense for co-accused Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua Sang will be allowed to file a “no-case–to-answer” motion upon the conclusion of ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s case-in-chief. A “no-case-to-answer” motion terminates charges not sufficiently supported by evidence presented. ICC judges said the motion, while not specifically included in the Rome Statute, will “facilitate the fair and expeditious conduct of the proceedings.” (the Star, All Africa).

N. Korea speaks out against opening of UN human rights office in S. Korea: North Korea considers South Korea’s decision to open a field office to monitor human rights abuses and raise public awareness of violations in the communist country “an intolerable political provocation.” The U.N. selected South Korea to open a field office because of its geographical location and language after a U.N. commission of inquiry published a report in March 2014, charging North Korea with “systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights”. (Yonhap News).

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7 May 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Muslim Brotherhood to appeal ICC rejection of complaint against Egyptian authorities: Officials from the Muslim Brotherhood have criticized the ICC’s recent decision to reject a complaint against Egyptian authorities for the deaths and jailing of thousands of Mohamed Morsi supporters. Officials have dismissed the decision as “political [] not legal” and intend to “present new evidence to the court.” Since July 2013, when Mohamed Morsi was ousted from leadership, the Egyptian authorities have cracked down on political opponents, including the Muslim Brotherhood.  (Turkish Press).

Ruto, Sang appeal ICC decision compelling witness testimony: Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang intend to appeal the ICC’s decision last month compelling witnesses to testify. Defense for the co-accused argue, among other things, that the decision may be in violation of Kenyan law and against the court’s obligations to protect the well-being of witnesses.  ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda moved the court to compel the testimony after eight witnesses allegedly failed to cooperate with the Court. (The Star).

UN: Boko Haram sale of abducted girls may be crime against humanity: A spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner of Human Rights, Rupert Colville, informed reporters the abduction of nearly 300 school girls in Nigeria by Boko Haram militants may amount to crimes against humanity. Colville stated the U.N. was “deeply concerned about the outrageous claims” made by Boko Haram this week to “sell the abducted schoolgirls . . . and ‘marry them off.’”  Colville urged the militants to safely return the schoolgirls. (Khaleej Times).

Khieu Samphan again hospitalized: 82 year old ECCC accused Khieu Samphan was hospitalized; said his national lawyer Kong Sam Onn on Tuesday, 6 April 2014. Samphan is currently appealing the second phase of his case, arguing his right to a speedy trial has been violated. Samphan faces crimes against humanity charges. (The Cambodia Daily).

Russia to file suit against Ukraine in ICC: It is being reported that Russian members of parliament intend to file a lawsuit in the ICC against Ukraine for violations of serious international law committed on its territory from 21 November 2013 to 22 February 2014. The members of parliament have been collecting documents on the killing of civilians in Ukraine, including the Odessa massacre which killed some 40 people and the mass protests in eastern Ukraine. (RAPSI).

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