Archive for category Kenya

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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5 May 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

African Commission asked to intervene in second round of mass death sentences in Egypt:  The application for the African Commission to intervene is the second application on behalf of the individuals sentenced to death on 22 March.  The Freedom and Justice Party first asked the Commission to intervene concerning the first group (529 individuals) sentenced to death on 25 April, whereby the AC ordered Provisional Measures ordering Egypt to suspend the death sentences and up hold the individuals’ rights.  Thereafter, Egypt has sentenced an additional 687 to death and the FJP is now asking for similar provisional measures in relation to this second group.  (MEM).

ICC witness goes on hunger strike:  Floribert Ndjabu has begun a hunger as a way to force the ICC to make a decision regarding his state of detention and application for asylum in the Netherlands.  Ndjabu was one of three witnesses who sought asylum in the Netherlands after providing testimony for the prosecution in its case against the Congolese militia bosses Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui and Germain Katanga.  (Yahoo News).

Government of Kenya granted extra time to leave to appeal witness summons decision:  The ICC has granted a ten day extension to file leave to appeal the summons of eight witnesses to be forced to testify in the case against Deputy President Ruto.  The ICC has made it clear that the time extension has been granted to the Kenyan government to make any application they find appropriate without prejudice to the Chamber’s decision.  Standard Digital).

Clooney’s fiancée represents Senussi’s rights at the ICC:  Amal Alamuddin currently represents Muammar Gaddafi’sformer spy chief, Abdullah al Senussi, against charges of crimes against humanity.  Alamuddin has garnered international attention for her choice of controversial clients, including her work as legal adviser to Bahrain’s king.  (The Guardian).

North Korea publish list of US human rights abusers:  In response to a recent UN report detailing a number of alleged human rights abuses committed by the United States, the North Korean government has released its own report accusing the United States of its own human rights abuses.  NK makes allegations of racism and that the US is the most violent nation in the world.  (All Voices).

 

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24 April 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Kosovo Parliament approves special war crimes court to try crimes committed by Albanians: Kosovo lawmakers voted on Wednesday, 23 April 2014, to prosecute in a special war crimes court Albanian rebels accused of intentionally killing captured Serbs during the 1998-99 Kosovo war for the purpose of harvesting organs. The EU-backed court, to be seated in both Kosovo and the Netherlands, is expected to apply Kosovo law and be staffed by international judges and prosecutors. Some 10,000 people died and millions left homeless in the Kosovo war. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (Reuters, ABC News).

ICC confirms that Prosecution is still considering complaint calling for prosecution of crimes in Egypt: ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is still considering the Freedom & Justice Party compliant filed last year documenting violations of international law committed in Egypt since the 2013 military coup. Specifically, the Freedom & Justice Party accused the post-coup regime of carrying out widespread and systematic crimes amounting to crimes against humanity. The ICC Chief Prosecutor has yet to make a final decision on whether to initiate a formal investigation of the crimes in Egypt, and thereafter seek charges, or whether to reject the complaint. (Middle East Monitor).

AU Panel to investigate crimes in South Sudan: The African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan, a panel tasked with investigating human rights abuses committed in the country since conflict erupted in December 2013, is conducting a 10-day field mission. The panel is made up of international lawyers, human rights activists and a judge and will gather visual and audio evidence, conduct interviews from victims and witnesses and review reports prepared by international and national organizations and experts. Over one million have been displaced since fighting began in South Sudan and 200 alone were killed last week. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (BERNAMA, Sudan Vision).

US investigating Syrian Government’s responsibility in chemical attacks: The U.S., working with the U.N. and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, is investigating whether the Syrian government is responsible for two alleged chemical attacks on rebel-controlled areas earlier this month which could amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity. The U.N. passed a Security Council resolution in September 2013 requiring the Syrian government to hand over for destruction the regime’s chemical weapons stockpiles. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki stated the investigation was in its preliminary stages and declined to comment on whether the April 2014 attacks would show a breach of the U.N. resolution by the Syrian government. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (The National, The Washington Post).

Reparation requests agreed upon before the ECCC: Thirteen projects, including national memorials, mental health centers and a national day of remembrance has been agreed on for civil party reparations at the ECCC. The agreement comes prior to the Extraordinary Chamber’s decision in the first phrase of the trial against senior leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan for serious violations of international law, including genocide. (Voice of America).

Kenya President Kenyatta seeks distance from petition of Barasa against the ICC: Kenyan President Unuru Kenyatta filed a motion with the ICC on Wednesday, 23 April 2014, seeking to remove his name from a petition brought by journalist Walter Barasa. Barasa is wanted in The Hague for witness interference and included the Kenyan President’s name in a petition to halt the Kenyan cases at the Court. Kenyatta voluntarily surrendered to the ICC and claimed Barasa’s petition is contrary to his consent. (Capital News).

Bangladesh backs universal ratification of the Rome Statute: On Wednesday, 23 April 2014, Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali met with ICC President Sang-Hyun Song in The Hague to discuss Bangladesh’s efforts toward universal ratification of the Rome Statute. The Rome Statute established the ICC and has been ratified by 120 member states. Bangladesh ratified the treaty in 2010. (bdnews24.com).

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