Archive for category Kenya
Final Prosecution witness in Ruto / Sang case fails to appear: The final Prosecution witness in the trial against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang failed to appear before the ICC to testify on Monday, 23 March 2015. The ICC judges were thus forced to adjourn the trial. It is being reported that the judges and parties in the case were to hold a conference meeting today, 25 March 2015, to discuss the status and progress of the case. The witness was the Prosecution’s last before its closing arguments. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (All Africa, Capital News).
Former PM testifies at STL of Hariri crime scene tampering: Today, 25 March 2015, former Prime Minister of Lebanon Fouad Sinoira testified at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon claiming members of the Lebanese-Syrian security apparatus tampered with the crime scene of the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Sinoira also said members of the security apparatus “bullied” Lebanese officials and “violated the dignities and freedoms” of Lebanese citizens. The defense suggested the members had a privileged relationship with then Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, whom the defense claim may have had motive to kill Hariri. (The Daily Star).
AU States urged to ratify Protocol for African Court: During a Pan African Parliament meeting on Monday, 16 March 2015, Chairperson of the Justice and Human Rights Committee Onyango Kakoba urged African Union states to ratify and make a declaration on the Protocol of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights. Of the 54 African Union member states, only 28 states have ratified the Protocol adopted in 1998 and only 7 states have made a declaration to allow access to the Court. Chairperson Kakoba also serves as the Leader of the Ugandan Delegation and the the country has ratified, but not yet made a declaration on the Protocol. (All Africa).
OHCHR says ISIS attacks on Yazidi community may constitute genocide and war crimes: A new report commissioned by the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights claims crimes committed against the Yazidi community in Iraq by ISIS may constitute genocide and war crimes. The report, consisting of over 100 interviews of survivors, found that ISIS targeted and killed hundreds of men and boys of the Yazidi population in Iraq and committed rape, abduction and forced separation of families. Thousands of Yazidis were forced to flee villages in northern Iraq because of ISIS last summer in which many were killed or captured. (BBC).
ICC judges propose holding Ntaganda trial opening in Bunia, DRC: On Thursday, 19 March 2015, ICC Trial Chamber VI judges recommended to the ICC Presidency that opening statements in the trial against former Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda be made in Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo. The judges found that conducting part of the trial in Bunia would “bring the judicial work of the Court closer to the most affected communities.” ICC Rules of Procedure and Evidence authorize the ICC judges to make the recommendation, which is then considered by the ICC Presidency in consultation with DRC authorities. Ntaganda, a former Congolese military leader, is accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the 2002-2003 Congolese conflict. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (All Africa, ICC).
ICC Ruto / Sang trial resumes for final Prosecution witness: The final Prosecution witness in the ICC trial against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang is expected to begin testimony today, 23 March 2015. The witness, who has been unwilling to testify and who has placed conditions before testifying, is the last witness scheduled before the Prosecution makes its closing arguments. Ruto’s and Sang’s defense teams are expected to thereafter file a “no-case-to-answer” motion. (All Africa).
ICC Trust Fund for Victims affirms commitment to reparations for victims in Lubanga case: The Board of Directors of the ICC Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) held its annual meeting in The Hague from 17-19 March 2015. The TFV Board reaffirmed its commitment to reparations for victims in the case against Thomas Lubanga, the leader of the rebel group Congolese Patriotic Union, who was convicted in March 2012 of recruiting child soldiers. Specifically, the TFV Board intends to advance its reparations reserve to provide for collective reparations awards and to consider the ICC Appeals Chamber’s suggestion to expand its assistance mandate to those not included in the reparations order. The TFV Board also plans on meeting with victims, their communities and other stakeholders while it develops the draft implementation plan for reparations due 3 September 2015. (ICC).
Protestors in Sri Lanka reject domestic probe, demand international investigation: Tamils in Sri Lanka are protesting the new government’s plan for a domestic investigation into alleged human rights abuses committed during the last phase of the country’s 26-year civil war. Tamils, demanding an international investigation into the crimes instead, claim to have no faith in a domestic probe by the Sri Lankan government. A resolution adopted by the U.N. Human Rights Council in March 2014 requiring an international investigation was delayed by 6 months. (The Economic Times).
Polish soldiers cleared of violating Geneva Convention protections of civilians in Afghanistan: Four Polish soldiers have been cleared of war crimes in relation to the August 2007 attack on the village of Nangrarkhel in Afghanistan which killed 6 civilians. The soldiers, being tried in a military court in Warsaw and accused of violating the Geneva Conventions protection of civilians in Afghanistan, claimed innocence and blamed the attack on faulty weaponry. The four were convicted by the military court of lesser offenses. (JURIST)
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)
ICC TC allows Prosecutor to bring appeal to ASP on non-cooperation of Kenyan Gov in Kenyatta case: ICC Trial Chamber V(B) has granted Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request to appeal the Chamber’s 3 December 2014 decision to the Assembly of State Parties. Trial Chamber V(B)’s 3 December 2014 decision rejected the Prosecutor’s application that the Kenyan government failed to cooperate with the Court and thus, the Chamber declined to refer the matter to the Assembly of States Parties. The appeal concerns whether the Chamber has the discretion to make a finding of non-compliance and refer the matter to the Assembly of State Parties and if so, whether the Chamber erred in the exercise of its discretion. (Standard Digital).
ICC refers Sudan to UNSC over failure to arrest President Bashir: Today, 9 March 2015, the ICC issued a ruling finding Sudan failed to fulfill its international obligations and surrender President Omar al-Bashir to the Court. The ICC further referred the matter back to the U.N. Security Council “to take the necessary measures they deem appropriate.” Despite the issuance of two arrest warrants against Bashir for genocide and war crimes, the President has traveled freely around Africa and not arrested by ICC member states. (Daily Star).
Amnesty calls for investigation of torture in Mexico: (Amnesty International). Today, 9 March 2015, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Punishment Juan E. Méndez presented a report to the Human Rights Council concerning the widespread torture by Mexico’s police and security forces. The report outlines how the government of Mexico has failed to investigate complaints from tortured victims and how government doctors disregard signs of torture in medical forensic reports. Amnesty International is calling for Mexico’s government to address these allegations of torture through “prompt, impartial and thorough” investigations.”
UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria ready to publish names of alleged perpetrators: Investigators on the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Syria are prepared to release four lists documenting the names of individuals and groups allegedly guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity since conflict erupted in Syria in March 2011. The lists have been safeguarded at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva and allegedly include names of several senior commanders and armed group leaders. Commission investigators said “Not to publish the names at this juncture of the investigation would be to reinforce the impunity that the commission was mandated to combat.” (The Telegraph).
Sri Lanka Parliament passes witness protection law ahead of war crimes investigations: The new Sri Lankan government has passed a witness protection law to assist with national investigations into war crimes allegedly committed during the end of the country’s 26-year civil war. The law requires the government to establish safe houses to allow people to give evidence and participate in the national investigations. The Sri Lankan government has received pressure from the international community to fully investigate and prosecute crimes. The U.N. Human Rights Council recently delayed the release of a report investigating war crimes in Sri Lanka. (First Post).
Body of ICC witness possibly found: It is being reported that a body found in Tsavo National Park in Kenya may be that of a missing defence witness in the ICC case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto. ICC defence witness Meshack Yebei went missing on 28 December 2014 after leaving ICC protection. Final identification of the body by family and DNA samples is ongoing. (All Africa).
ICTY accused Hadzic asks for leave for medical treatment: Former president of the Republic of Serbian Krajina, Goran Hadzic, has requested provisional release from the ICTY in order to undergo chemotherapy for cancer. Hadzic’s defence argued the accused will be unable to attend the trial for months as it would negatively affect his health during chemotherapy. The former president is on trial for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the 1991-1995 conflict in Croatia. (InSerbia).
HR Advocacy groups lobby CAR Government to establish Special Court: Human rights advocacy groups are urging the Central African Republic’s government to adopt a law establishing a Special Criminal Court to prosecute those responsible for serious violations of international and human rights law. The Special Criminal Court would be part of the country’s national judicial system and consist of 14 national and 13 international judges. The human rights advocacy groups believe such a court will “strengthen” the country’s judicial system and “constitutes a balanced and innovative initiative to support the Central African judicial system, which is ravaged by the conflict triggered in 2012 by the armed groups in the northern part of the country.” (Jurist).
Ongwen discloses meeting with Kony in December 2014: A report by the Switzerland-based group Smalls Arms Survey states that Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Dominic Ongwen admitted meeting with LRA leader Joseph Kony near Darfur in December 2014. Ongwen first appeared before the ICC on 26 January 2015, after surrending to U.S. troops in the Central African Republic. Ongwen faces seven counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes charges. (Sudan Tribune).
ICJ dismisses genocide claims for both Serbia and Croatia: On 3 February 2015, the International Court of Justice provided its verdict on the genocide claims during the Balkan Wars in 1991-1995. The ICJ stated that neither Serbia, nor Croatia, committed genocide on one another’s populations. Peter Tomka, president of the ICJ, stated that the intent to commit genocide against one another’s country had simply not been met. (Reuters, BBC) (for further information please click here)
Schabas resigns as head of Israel/Gaza Inquiry over allegations of bias: William Schabas, head of the United Nations inquiry over the conflict between Israel and Gaza, stated he would step down from his position. Israel claimed that Schabas was biased against them and had a long history as a critic of the country and its current leadership. Schabas stated he would step down so as not to overshadow the importance of the upcoming report. (Aljazeera)
HRW report on Egypt HR abuses says President Al-Sisi has overseen reversal of rights: Human Rights Watch published its 2015 World Report last Thursday that claimed that Egypt’s current human right’s situation is the “most serious in the country’s history.” The HRW report states that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has overseen a reversal of human rights through mass killings by his security forces and imprisonment of protestors. The HRW report also outlines a decline in human rights through violence against women, discrimination, and a decline in freedom of religion, association, expression, and assembly. Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW Middle East and North Africa director, stated, “the situation…is getting worse [every] day.” (Daily News Egypt)
ICC Prosecution accused at AU Summit of working with Kenyan terrorists: The Kenya Citizens Coalition accused the International Criminal Court Office of the Prosecutor of working with Mungiki members, some of which also belong to the Al Shabab terrorist group. This occurred at the 24th session of the Africa union summit in Addis Ababa. ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that she had eight Mungiki witnesses with information on “how the president funded and coordinated Mungiki members to carry out attacks” during the post election violence of 2008. According to Kenya Citizens Coalition, some of these witnesses belong to the Al Shabab terrorist group. (Capital News)
President Kenyatta tells AU Summit that ICC case against deputy will collapse: At the 24th session of the Africa Union Summit, President Uhuru Kenyatta stated that the ICC’s case against Kenyan Vice-President William Ruto will fail much like the case against him did. Kenyatta and Ruto were both charged with inciting post election violence after the election in 2008, but Kenyatta’s case was dropped in December. Kenyatta stated that the ICC’s case against Ruto was exhibiting the same weaknesses as the case against him did. (Yahoo News)
Palestinian authorities state that it will bring cases of illegal Israeli settlements to ICC: Israel announced that it would erect 450 new settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Palestinian Foreign Ministry response to Israel’s illegal settlements is that it will refer the case to the ICC. The ministry stated that these new settlements also come shortly after Palestine’s accession to the Rome Statute, which the ministry claims as a sign of Israel’s defiance to international law. (World Bulletin)
AU Peace and Security Council criticized for deferring release of S. Sudan investigation report: Former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, led the AU commission of inquiry into an investigation last year concerning South Sudan. The investigation focused on those killed in the civil war between South Sudan President Salva Kiir’s supporters and supporters of rebel leader Riek Machar. Obasanjo turned in the report last Thursday to the AU Peace and Security Council, but the results of the report have not been disclosed. A petition from 21 South Sudanese civil society organizations requested that the report be made public claiming it could “play a critical role in deterring further violations.” Human Rights Watch stated that not publicizing the report hinders holding those accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity. (Daily Mail)
ICC Judges asked to review decision of Prosecutor not to investigate crimes on Gaza Freedom Flotilla: Lawyers for the Comoros filed an application asking the ICC judges to review the decision of ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda not to initiate an investigation into crimes committed by Israeli Defense Forces on the ships of the Flotilla. Prosecutor Bensouda, while finding a “reasonable basis” to believe war crimes were committed on the ships of Flotilla in 2010, ultimately decided not to initiate investigations in November 2014. The Comoros’ lawyers claimed Prosecutor Bensouda failed to “take relevant matters” into consideration. (Yahoo).
ICTY Appeals Chamber upholds conviction of Popovic et al: On 30 January 2015, the ICTY Appeals Chamber upheld the 2010 convictions of five Bosnian Serbian military leaders for crimes committed in Srebrenica during the Bosnian war. The sentences of life for Vujadin Popovic and Ljubisa Beara for crimes including genocide were confirmed, as well as the 35 years of imprisonment for Drago Nikolic and 13 years imprisonment for Vinko Pandurevic. Radivoge Miletic’s sentence for crimes against humanity was reduced from 19 years to 18 years of imprisonment. (BBC).
Sri Lanka’s new Government to initiate new probe into civil war abuses: On Wednesday, 28 January 2015, Sri Lanka’s new Government announced plans to investigate alleged human rights abuses committed at the end of the country’s 26-year civil war. A 2010 United Nations report found credible allegations that tens of thousands of Sri Lankans and ethnic Tamils were killed by Sri Lankan forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam between September 2008 and May 2009. The United Nations began investigations into the allegations in 2014 but accused former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa of interference and refusal to cooperate. (Jurist).
ICJ to issue decision on Croatia / Serbia genocide case on Tuesday 3 Feb: On Tuesday, 3 February 2015, the ICJ is expected to issue its decision in the 15-year-old Croatia and Serbia genocide case. Croatia brought Serbia before the ICJ back in 1999 on allegations of ethnic cleansing during Croatia’s 1991-1995 war of independence. It is estimated some 20,000 people died and large numbers of Croats were displaced, tortured and looted during the conflict. Serbia countersued in 2010 claiming Croatia launched a military attack during this time forcing over 200,000 ethnic Serbs to flee the area.
ECCC hears testimony of forced marriages: Cheang Srei Mom testified in front of the ECCC on Thursday, 29 January 2015, relating to her experience of forced marriages during the Khmer Rouge regime. Srei Mom testified that when she was 24 years old she was removed from the women’s unit to marry a member of the regime’s upper echelons. Srei Mom stated “I didn’t marry voluntarily, but I had to agree to the request. If I refused, I would also disappear, so I submitted myself.” The two ECCC accused, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, are alleged to have been involved in creating a policy of forced marriages during the regime. (Dunya News Network).
Kenya pledges 1 million USD to African criminal court: Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that the county would be committing one million U.S. dollars to the establishment of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights. President Kenyatta, speaking at the 24th Ordinary Session of the African Union Summit in Ethiopia, urged the other African countries to join Kenya “in ensuring that the necessary ratifications are in place and that the resulting court is fully owned, financed and driven by Africa.” The proposed African court is intended to “deliver African solutions to African Problems” as opposed to the “ICC which pre-occupies itself with trying to solve African challenges using western standards, perceptions and perspectives.” (Turkish Press).