Archive for category Kenya

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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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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