Archive for category Kenya

20 January 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURT

ICC Prosecution opens a preliminary examination in Palestine: On 16 January 2015, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda opened a preliminary examination to examine the situation currently in Palestine. The preliminary examination has been opened based on the Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute, which gives the ICC jurisdiction since 13 June 2014. The preliminary examination will allow the ICC to examine the information to see if there is a reasonable basis for a full investigation into Palestine. (International Criminal Court)

Fingerprints reveals that body found is not of ICC witness: Fingerprints revealed that the body found in a Kenyan river was not the body of missing ICC witness Meshack Yebei. The fingerprints taken off the body were those of Yusuf Hussein, but DNA tests will soon tell whom the body belongs to. Karim Khan, Deputy President William Ruto’s attorney, stated that Yebei was a witness in Ruto’s trial. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda stated that Yebei was not included on the ICC’s witness list for due to a scheme to corrupt witnesses. (ABC News)

Stephen Rapp is stepping down as US Ambassador of War Crimes: Stephen J. Rapp has been the US Ambassador of war crimes for almost five and a half years during the Obama administration. Rapp is stepping down from his position, though it has not been formally announced. Rapp joined the administration in 2009 with a reputation for holding people responsible for war crimes. Rapp started out his career as a victim of a kidnapping and led on to be a federal prosecutor in Iowa, a United Nations prosecutor for Rwanda and Sierra Leone. University of Michigan professor, Steven Ratner, stated that Rapp improved US relations with the ICC, but has had little success in getting American intelligence agencies to share information about human rights abuses abroad. It is unclear how soon Rapp will be stepping down from his position and who will replace him. (Foreign Policy)

Amnesty says Boko Haram attack of Baga should be investigated for CAH and WCs: Amnesty International released satellite images of attacks by Boko Haram militants on the towns of Baga and Doron Baga. The released images contain before and after pictures that show the amount of damage done to the towns. Over 3,700 structures were damaged or demolished in the attacks. These images also corroborate testimonies gathered by Amnesty International on the attacks. Amnesty International stated that killing of civilians and destruction of property are war crimes and crimes against humanity that should be investigated. US Secretary of State, John Kerry, also labeled the attack as a crime against humanity. (Amnesty International, NDTV) (for additional information please click here)

ECCC accused concerned by stand-by counsel: Judges at the Khmer Rouge tribunal ordered stand-by counsel for Khieu Samphan for trial due to the boycott of proceedings by current counsel. During a hearing on 8 January, Samphan’s defense team claimed that the court was putting pressure on their client. Shortly afterwards, Samphan was rushed to the hospital with dizziness and high blood pressure. An attorney for Khieu Samphan stated in an email that the presence of stand=by counsel made Samphan anxious and could have contributed to going to the hospital. (Cambodia Daily)

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13 January 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

DNA test requested for murdered ICC witness: Deputy President William Ruto’s attorney, Karim Khan, requested a DNA test of Meshack Yebei. Yebei was a potential witness in the trial against President Ruto and was found dead in western Kenya in early January. President Ruto was charged with crimes against humanity during the post election violence in Kenya. Yebei’s family consented to the DNA test and stated that Yebei never mentioned he was an ICC witness. Prosecutors stated that they had not been planning to call Yebei as a witness during trial due to his implication of trying to corrupt witnesses. Khan stated in a letter to the head of Kenya’s Criminal Investigation Department that Yebei had been a key witness for trial. Yebei had even been referred to the ICC’s Victims and Witness Unit for protection. Prosecutors stated that any suggestion that they were involved in Yebei’s abduction and murder was “outrageous and utterly false.” (BBC News, AllAfrica) (for additional information please click here)

Government says it wants to try Ongwen in Uganda: The government of Uganda stated that it wanted to try Lord’s Resistance Army rebel commander Dominic Ongwen. Ongwen recently surrendered and is in U.S. custody in Central African Republic. Ongwen is also wanted by the ICC. Uganda State Minister for Regional Cooperation Asuman Kiyingi stated that they would rather try him in Uganda than in the ICC because they have the capacity. A decision regarding whether Uganda gets to try Ongwen will be reached after consultations with the African Union, Uganda, United States, and United Nations. (NY Times)

Libyan trial of Saif Gaddafi and Al-Senussi delayed again: The trial of Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi and 36 other senior officials, including former security chief Abdullah Senussi, has been postponed once again. On 11 January 2015, trial opened and was subsequently adjourned until 25 January. This case opened in 2012 and has seen many setbacks. Those that stand accused could face the death penalty for “genocide, killing of unarmed civilians, abuses of power, human rights abuses, employing mercenaries and encouraging rape as a weapon of war.” The ICC indicted both Gaddafi and Senussi. After proceedings on Libya’s admissibility challenge, the ICC ordered the surrender of Gaddafi to the ICC. Libya has failed to comply with this order. (Libya Herald)

US Senators condemn Palestinian decision to join the ICC: Senators Lindsey Graham, Robert Menendez, Chuck Schumer, and Mark Kirk threatened Palestine over their decision to join the ICC. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas applied to join the ICC following a rejection on Palestine’s proposal for statehood by the United Nations Security Council. On 1 January Palestine submitted an Article 12(3) declaration that gives the ICC jurisdiction since 13 June 2014. Palestine also submitted documents to accede to the Rome Statute on 7 January. Senators issued a warning to Palestine stating “that if the Palestinians initiate an ICC judicially authorized investigation, or actively support such an investigation, all economic assistance to the PA” would end. (Press TV, International Criminal Court) (for additional information please click here)

UN report on crimes in CAR finds evidence of CAH and WC, but no genocidal intent: A UN report released last Thursday concluded that the events that conspired in the Central African Republic by the Seleka coalition and the anti-balaka did amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes. The commission of inquiry of the United Nations Security Council did not find any genocidal intent, but considered the ethnic cleansing of the Muslim population as a crime against humanity. (Tamil Guardian)

UN report on S. Sudan killings finds evidence sufficient for further investigations and prosecution: The United Nations stated that offenders of the ethnic massacres in Bentiu and Bor last April could be prosecuted based on extensive investigations into the matter. Offenders included members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition. The investigation comprised of site visits by human researchers and 142 interviews. (Radio Tamazuj)

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10 December 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC Prosecution seeks leave to appeal decision not to refer Kenya for non-cooperation: ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has asked the Court to appeal its March 2014, decision not to refer the Kenyan government to the Assembly of State Parties. Bensouda had accused Kenya of non-compliance for failing to disclose requested financial and communication documents in the case against President Uhuru Kenyatta and asked for a referral to the ASP and an indefinite postponement of Kenyatta’s trial.  Bensouda stated the ICC’s decision “unless soon remedied on appeal will be a setback to the proceedings in that it will leave a decision fraught with error to cloud or unravel the judicial.”  (Daily Nation).

ICC PTC finds Libya in non-compliance and refers Libya to the UNSC: ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I issued a decision on 10 December 2014, finding that Libya failed to comply with requests to surrender to the Court the son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, as well as to return specified documents seized to the appropriate parties and destroy any copies in Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi’s case.  The Chamber referred the matter of Libya’s non-compliance to the U.N. Security Council under article 87(7) of the Rome Statute.  The Security Council is asked to “consider any possible measure aimed at achieving Libya’s compliance with its outstanding obligations vis-à-vis the Court.” (ICC).

Africa, Cooperation and Resources focus of ASP meeting: On Monday, 8 December 2014, the annual session of the Assembly of States Parties began at the U.N. headquarters in New York.  Africa appears to be the focus of the meeting with newly elected ASP President Sidiki Kaba asking member states to help “change Africa’s negative perception of the court.”  Furthermore, Kenya’s U.N. Ambassador Macharia Kamau requested the ASP to address concerns the government and the Africa Union have regarding the ICC and the Prosecutor’s Office.  Human Rights Watch stressed that the ICC needs the appropriate political backing and resources to ensure justice for serious violations of international law.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (ABC News, Human Rights Watch).

UN official marks anniversary of Genocide Convention, saying no country immune:  Tuesday, 9 December 2014, marked the 66th anniversary of the signing of the Genocide Convention.  At the U.N. headquarters in New York, U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng paid tribute to those who lost their lives to genocide.  Dieng stated that “We must accept that there is no part of the world that can consider itself immune from the risk of genocide and all regions and all States must build resilience to these crimes.”  Dieng’s office intends to launch a new Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes this week that focuses on prevention strategies and warning signs. (UN News Centre).

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24 October 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICT of Bangladesh accused dies in prison waiting for appeal: Former chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) party, Ghulam Azam, died of a heart attack on Thursday night in a prison cell. Azam was found guilty over a year ago by the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh for crimes against humanity and war crimes during the 1971 war of independence against Pakistan. He was sentenced for 90 years in prison for conspiracy, planning, incitement, complicity, and murder. Azam’s death occurs a day after the Supreme Court scheduled appeal proceedings concerning his sentencing for 2 December 2014. (The Guardian, Business Standard) (For additional information on this topic, please click here).

Kenyan Government approaches ASP over violations of the Rome Statute: Kenya has sought out the Assembly of State Parties to explore its concerns of ICC conduct in relation to the situations in Kenya. Kenya sent a letter to the ASP on 16 October 2014 to explore these concerns in depth at the upcoming meeting in New York. It is currently unclear the exact requests made by the Kenyan government however the letter requested ‘immediate remedial solution’ to the trials involving Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto. (allAfrica)

UN investigators asks China to support referral of N. Korea crimes to ICC: Head of the UN Commission of Inquiry into human rights abuses in North Korea, Michael Kirby, has asked China to support the referral of Pyongyang’s actions to the ICC on suspicion of crimes against humanity. Western diplomats have speculated that China will use its veto power on the UN Security Council to vote against North Korea’s referral. However, Kirby stated on Wednesday 22 October 2014 that this result should not be assumed as China has only ten vetoes against resolutions in the council. North Korea’s crimes will soon be discussed in the U.N. General Assembly’s Third Committee, which can put political pressure on countries targeted by its resolution. (Reuters)

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22 October 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

North Korea refutes allegation of political prisoners in UN Report: North Korean diplomat Jang Il-hun has denied the country is holding political prisoners. The diplomat’s statements are in response to a February 2014, U.N. report that found North Korea engaged in, among other things, acts of enslavement, torture, forcible transfer of populations, enforced disappearance of persons and prolonged starvation. The report also included satellite photographs of the detention centers and testimony from escapees. Mr. Jang warned that the country would take unspecified “countermeasures” if efforts were made to charge the country’s leader Kim Jong-un for crimes allegedly committed in the report. (NY Times).

Serbia offers assistance with health concerns of two accused: The ICTY has received a letter from the Serbian government requesting medical information on Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj and former Republic of Serbian Krajina president Goran Hadzic. The Serbian government has offered in the letter to send doctors to the U.N. detention center in the Hague so that the two accused may receive proper health care. Seselj underwent surgery less than a year ago for colon cancer and Hadzic suffered a mild stroke this month. (InSerbia).

ICC asked to investigate Cambodian ‘land grabbing’ as crime against humanity: British lawyer Richard Rogers filed a complaint in the ICC alleging over the past 14 years an elite group in Cambodia carried out “widespread and systematic” land grabbing against the civilian population. Rogers claims these acts, consisting of “murder, forcible transfer of populations, illegal imprisonment, [and] persecution,” amount to crimes against humanity. Rogers is estimating some 770,000 people have been negatively affected by the land grabbing and 145,000 have been forcibly relocated since 2000. (Ecologist).

ICC judges formally warns Kenyan Government on confidentiality: On Tuesday, 21 October 2014, the ICC warned Kenya for leaking confidential filings in the case against President Uhuru Kenyatta. The ICC judges “note[d] with concern the Kenyan government’s cumulative inattention to the taking of appropriate measures to ensure the confidentiality of proceedings.” The confidential filings concerned a request by the ICC that Kenya help identify, freeze and seize the property and assets belonging to Kenyatta. (Expatica.com).

Chad refuses to cooperate with Extraordinary African Chambers in Habre case: It is being reported that the Chadian government has refused a request by the Extraordinary African Chambers rogatory commission to travel to the country and question two former aides of Hissene Habre. International arrest warrants were issued for the aides, Saleh Younous and Mahamat Djibrine, more than a year ago for crimes against humanity committed in Chad under Habre’s rule from 1982 to 1990. The Chadian government allegedly agreed to transfer the aids to the Extraordinary African Chambers but has since decided against it. (Hirondelle News Agency).

Australian MP asks ICC to investigate the PM over detention of asylum seekers: Australian MP Andrew Wilkie has requested the ICC Prosecutor’s Office to investigate whether Prime Minister Tony Abbott breached the Rome Statute dealing with crimes against humanity or the international convention dealing with the rights of children and refugees. Wilkie claims Abbott’s policy of detaining asylum seekers on the remote Pacific nation of Nauru and on an island off the coast of Papua New Guinea was illegal and inhumane. Wilkie said it “is not illegal to come to Australia and claim asylum” and that the government had “a fundamental obligation to hear those claims and to give those people refuge if those claims are accurate.” (The Telegraph).

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13 October 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN Report details ongoing human rights abuses by M23: In a report published 9 October 2014, the Joint Office of the UN for Human Rights in the DRC (JHRO) has founds that during a time when M23 had effective control of parts of North Kivu, serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law – which could constitute international crimes as well as crimes under the Penal Code Congolese – were committed by the group. The UN applauds the Congolese response in seeking justice against any wrongdoers. (UN News).

ICC sets date for Ntaganda Case: Bosco Ntaganda, former alleged Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Force Patriotiques pour la Libération du Congo [Patriotic Force for the Liberation of Congo] (FPLC), is accused of 13 counts of war crimes. On 9 October 2014, Trial Chamber VI of the International Criminal Court (ICC) scheduled the opening of the trial in the case The Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda on 2 June 2015. (ICC).

HRW Report outlines crimes against Yezidi women in Iraq: HRW has provided a detailed account of the alledged atrocities occurring to Yezidi men, women and children at the hands of the Islamic State (IS) fighters in Iraq. HRW states that forced marriages, abductions, sexual slavery and other international crimes have been and continue to occur. HRW recommends that the UN investigate and that the Iraqi government join the ICC. (HRW).

Kenyatta appears at ICC for status conference: On 8 October 2014, Kenyan President Kenyatta appeared before the ICC for a status conference. He is the first serving head of state to come before the Hague. Mr. Kenyatta is accused of orchestrating post-election violence during 2007. In response to these accusations, Mr Kenyatta says the charges against him are politically motivated and insists that the case should be thrown out. (BBC).

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6 OCTOBER 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Former Haitian President Duvalier dies before trial can commence: On 4 October 2014, former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier died.  HRW has expressed its disappointment in the inability of the Haitian justice system to bring him to trial before his death.  According to HRW, this turn in events has deprived victims of human rights abuses of justice and closure.  (HRW).

ICC to decide on Ruto, Sang Defense Appeal: On Thursday, 9 October 2014 , the Appeals Chamber of the ICC will hold an open court session to read a summary of its judgment on Mr Ruto and Mr Sang Defence teams’ appeal against the Trial Chamber V decision to grant the Prosecutor’s request to summon witnesses to appear before the Trial Chamber in the Ruto and Sang trial, who were no longer cooperating or no longer willing to testify. (ICC).

Kenyatta to turn over Presidential duties during trial: President Kenyatta plans to temporarily step down as president while attending his ICC hearing.  His presidential powers will be assumed by Deputy President Ruto for the time being.  President Kenyatta states that he has chosen to appear before the court as a private citizen rather than bring a country of more than 40 million people into another jurisdiction.  President Kenyatta faces charges related to the organizing of violent attacks which occurred during the 2007 elections. (For more information, please click here) (Aljazeera, BBC).

ICC urges Saudi Arabia to apprehend Sudan’s Bashir:  The ICC has issued an order for the arrest of Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir.  It is believed that he is currently in Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage.  Al-Bashir faces charges of alleged war crimes and genocide committed in Darfur.  It is uncertain at this point whether Saudi Arabia will fulfill the request of the ICC as a non-member.  (Sudan Tribune).

Bemba Case to hear closing arguments in November: Today, 2 October 2014, Trial Chamber III of the ICC decided that the closing oral statements in the Bemba case will take place during the week of 10 November 2014. Prior to the closing arguments, the Chamber will hear Witness P-169 as of 14 October 2014.  Bemba has been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity having been committed while serving as a military commander.  (Hague Justice Portal).

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