Archive for category Kenya
UN report accuses Syrian rebels of crimes against humanity, cites international community for inaction: A new report released by the U.N. Human Rights Council accuses Syrian rebel groups of crimes against humanity. Specifically, the report claims certain non-government groups in al-Ragga province engaged in systematic detentions and torture of ethnic Kurds. The report further condemned the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council for failing to uphold international obligations and take action during Syria’s civil war in which more than 100,000 have been killed. (Deutsche Welle).
ICC witness testifies about ODM plan for post-election violence in Kenya: On Tuesday, 4 March 2014, a prosecution witness in the ICC case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang testified to events leading up to the 2007 presidential election. The protected witness claimed leaders of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) organized secret meetings to encourage voters to reject the rule of the Kikuyus. The witness also testified that Sang used the radio to accuse other tribes of rigging votes. (Standard Digital).
Rights groups call for al-Bashir’s arrest on fifth anniversary of his indictment: Several human rights groups, such as United to End Genocide and the International Justice Project, penned a letter yesterday urging the U.N. Security Council and the ICC to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Yesterday, 4 March 2014, marked the fifth anniversary of the ICC’s indictment against the sitting President for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The letter calls for all member parties of the ICC to “stand for justice and make this year the last year of Bashir’s impunity.” It is estimated some 300,000 people have died and 2.7 million displaced since violence broke out in Darfur in 2003. (kens5.com).
ICJ sets decision date in Japan/Australia whaling case: The ICJ judgment in the case between Japan and Australia over whaling in the Antarctic will be delivered 31 March 2014. Australia brought the issue before the ICJ back in 2010, claiming Japan was engaging in illegal commercial whaling under the disguise of scientific research. The Court conducted a three-week hearing last year. (The Australian).
ICC urges DRC to detain visiting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir: The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been urged to arrest and surrender ICC indictee Omar al-Bashir as he visits the country for meetings with other African leaders. The Sudanese President, charged by the ICC in 2009, for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, arrived in the DRC on Tuesday, 25 February 2014. A number of countries on the continent have already failed to arrest Bashir under similar situations claiming the ICC unfairly targets Africans. (Press TV).
Hariri trial adjourned to add fifth suspect: Proceedings at the Special Tribunal in Lebanon relating to the February 2005, assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri were suspended in ordered to add a fifth accused. The five men, allegedly responsible for killing 23 and wounding some 200 in the attack, will be tried in absentia when proceedings resume sometime in May. The Special Tribunal was established in 2007 and is the only ad hoc tribunal with the power to try at-large accused. (Yahoo News).
Sri Lanka strongly rejects UN war crimes inquiry: Sri Lanka considers a U.N. mandated international investigation into alleged human rights abuses committed during the country’s 26-year civil war “an unwarranted interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.” Sri Lanka’s comments come in response to a report published this week by U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay. The report, which calls for an international and independent investigation, precedes a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in March 2014, that is expected to address the issue in Sri Lanka. (Time World).
Defence challenges ICC witness testimony; notes translation inconsistencies: The testimony of a prosecution witness in the case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang has been challenged at the ICC. Specifically, the defence argued the witness wrongly translated phrases in the Kalenjin language. The witness claimed while testifying that Ruto addressed crowds in Kalenjin. (All Africa).
U.N. panel finds widespread human rights abuses in North Korea: A 400-page investigatory report documenting alleged human rights abused being carried out in North Korea was released by a special U.N. commission. The report, which has already gained support from countries such as the U.S. and South Korea, reveals widespread and systematic acts of torture, starvation and executions. International scholars, who argue the acts could warrant an ICC prosecution, fear China, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and a close ally of North Korea, would veto a referral to the permanent international court. North Korea has yet to respond to the report that is expected to be presented next month in Geneva to the U.N. Human Rights Council. (Wall Street Journal).
Kenyan AG Githu Muigai addresses ICC: Domestic law prevents the disclosure of the Kenyan President’s financial records, said Attorney General Githu Muigai while speaking to ICC judges in The Hague on 13 February 2014. The attorney general informed the judges that proper procedure required the request for records to be submitted first to the local prosecutor for authorization. Muigai also denied that Kenya’s failure to comply with the ICC prosecution’s request for financial records violated its responsibilities to the Court. (Institute for War & Peace Reporting).
Frankfurt: Genocide trial of Rwandan mayor begins: A German higher court commenced proceedings on 18 Tuesday 2014, against former Rwandan mayor Onesphore Rwabukombe. Rwabukombe, an ethnic Hutu, is charged with the mass killing of nearly 4,000 ethnic Tutsi during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Some 50 witnesses are expected to testify in the first Rwandan genocide case tried in Germany. Rwabukombe faces life imprisonment if convicted. (The Local).
Socio-Political Scientist Herve Maupeu testifies at Ruto/Sang ICC trial: The trial of Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang resumed in The Hague on 17 Monday 2014 after the Christmas recess. An expert witness on Kenya’s social and political history, Herve Maupeu, testified that the country’s sitting head of state Uhuru Kenyatta had been a member of the Orange Democratic Movement’s leadership circle. Deputy President Ruto is a supporter of the Orange Democratic Movement which is alleged to have planned attacks against the rival political party. (Standard Media).
Nine former paramilitaries convicted of war crimes in Serbia: Nine members of the Serbian Jackals paramilitary unit were sentenced by a Serbian war crimes court to imprisonment of between two and twenty years. The nine members were found guilty for the massacre in Kosovo of over 100 Albanian civilians in 1999. The prosecution intends to appeal and seeks increased prison sentences. (VOA News).
ICTR acquits former paramilitary chief on appeal: On Tuesday, 11 February 2014, the ICTR acquitted two former army officers of charges related to the 1994 Rwandan genocide. A judgment on a third army officer is expected at a later date. (Zee News).
Kenyan government to argue Kenyatta’s bank records cannot be turned over: Kenya’s Attorney General, Githu Muigai, will address the ICC on Thursday, 14 February 2014, concerning the countries failure to disclose the requested financial records of President Uhuru Kenyatta. Muigai claims the records are protected by Kenya’s Banking Act, as well as the Rome Statute and the ICC’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda disagreed, and worries nondisclosure “would reward the accused.” (Standard Digital).
ICC prosecutor gives details regarding witness disappearance: A major ICC prosecution witness is reported to have disappeared in September 2013, according to a motion filed by Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. It has been alleged the witness was bribed and pressured to withdraw. The motion requests the ICC to compel the missing witness and six others to appear before the court in the case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang. (Standard Digital).
ICC: Katanga verdict postponed: The judgment of Congolese militia leader Germain Kantanga has been postponed by the ICC until 7 March 2014. It has been reported the health of an ICC judge is the cause for the delay. Katanga is accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity for, among other things, murder, rape and enlisting of child soldiers after violence erupted in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2003. (AFP).
ICC needs resolution from UN Security Council before investigating war crimes allegations in South Sudan: Spokesman Fadi El-Abdallah announced the ICC does not have jurisdiction to investigate alleged human rights violations in South Sudan because the country is not a signatory. El-Abdallah stated the permanent international court may only investigate crimes “if the U.N. Security Council passe[d] a resolution.” It is feared more than 1,000 individuals have been killed and thousands more displaced since conflict broke out in South Sudan. (VOA News).
Chea defense team will likely move to dismiss judges: Defense lawyers for Nuon Chea requested the trial chamber judges be removed from hearing Case 002. The lawyers argued the judges, who heard the previous case against Brother No. 2, were bias and privy to crucial facts. The lawyers worried this would negatively affect the rights of the accused. (Phnom Penh Post).
Serbia issues international arrest warrants for two war crimes suspects: The Serbian Interpol office has issued two international arrest warrants for war crimes suspects Naser Oric and Hakija Meholjic. Oric and Meholjic are accused of war crimes relating to the 1992 Bosnia-Herzegovina war. Oric was acquitted by the ICTY in 2008 for the deaths of at least five Bosnian Serb detainees. (UPI.com).
ICC Prosecutor: Kenyan government obstructionism means ICC will not be successful in Kenyatta prosecution: Prosecutors requested the ICC on 31 January 2014, to adjourn the trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta until the defense delivers requested financial records. The prosecution argued the defense’s failure to fulfill court obligations was harming investigations. The prosecution predicts the records will show that Kenyatta indirectly financed the violence committed after the 2007 presidential election. (Reuters).
Trial of Rwandan Army Captain charged with complicity in ’94 genocide begins in France: Proceedings in the case against Pascal Simbikangwa, a former captain of the Rwandan army, commenced in France on Tuesday, 4 February 2014. Simbikangwa faces charges of complicity to commit genocide for, among other things, organizing massacres and supplying arms. French law allows the country to hear cases of genocide and other serious violations of international law committed in Rwanda. (Jakarta Globe).
Costa Rica to sue Nicaragua over sea rights at the ICJ: Costa Rica intends to file suit in the ICJ by May 2014, concerning ownership over an area of sea. The country claims Nicaragua usurped “Costa Rican territorial seas, based on demarcation it did arbitrarily and unilaterally, to chart what it calls its oil (exploration) blocs.” Nicaragua, on the other hand, argued it had jurisdiction over the waters under a November 2012 ICJ decision between its country and Columbia. (Inside Costa Rica).
ICTY Prosecutor comments on reconsideration motion in Perišić case: On Monday, 3 February 2014, ICTY Prosecutor Serge Brammertz announced that his Office requested that the ICTY Appeals Chamber reconsider its acquittal of Momčilo Perišić, the former Chief of Staff of the Yugoslav Army, who had been convicted to 27 years in prison for aiding and abetting crimes committed in Sarajevo and Srebrenica between 1993 and 1995. In its motion for reconsideration, the Office of the Prosecutor argued that the “specific direction” requirements on which the Appeals Chamber based the acquittal is incorrect and should be overturned. (ICTY).
Witness from explosive unit testified at STL: On Monday, 3 February 2014, Abdel-Badih al-Soussi, who was the manager of the explosives unit of the Internal Security Forces at the time Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated, testified before the STL. Although he had not gone to the crime scene immediately following the explosion, he had attended a meeting at the military court that afternoon, to which a member of the explosives bureau had brought car parts from the site. The judge ordered that the parts be examined and the site cordoned off to the public. Soussi testified that he did not ask that the car parts be returned to the crime scene, nor did the judge discuss during the meeting whether parts of the motorcade should be removed. (The Daily Star).
Judge replaced on Kenyatta Trial Chamber: Following a decision by the Presidency of the ICC, Judge Geoffrey A. Henderson replaced Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji in the case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta before Trial Chamber V(b). Judge Henderson is from Trinidad and Tobago, and was elected at the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute in November 2013. He will serve as a judge at the ICC until 10 March 2021. Judge Eboe-Osuji had excused himself from the trial. (ICC-CPI).
U.S. urged to suspend aid due to human rights violations in Egypt: On Monday, 3 February 2014, the Working Group on Egypt, as part of the NGO Human Rights First, released a statement that it had sent a letter to U.S. President Obama, urging his administration to cease sending aid to Egypt until the Egyptian government progresses in transitioning to a democracy and improves human rights conditions within the country. According to the NGO, depriving Egypt of aid until progress has been made sends a clear signal that the U.S. does not tolerate the human rights abuses that have occurred in Egypt, which are documented in a report the group recently released. (Human Rights First).
Former Bangladeshi Minister indicted for war crimes: On Sunday, 2 February 2014, the International Crimes Tribunal-2 indicted Syed Mohammad Qaisar, a former Bangladeshi minister from the Jatiya Party, on 16 charges of war crimes, including the commission of genocide. He and his group, the “Quaisar Bahini”, allegedly committed crimes against humanity in Habiganj and Brahmanbaria during the 1971 Liberation War. According to the prosecution, Quaisar had also served as a commander of the Rajakars, which was an auxiliary group of the former Pakistani army. The opening statement of the prosecution will be made on 4 March 2014. (Z News).
AU issues statement urging united front concerning ICC and Kenya, Sudan cases: In a statement issued Saturday, 1 February 2014, the AU expressed that it was not pleased with the UN Security Council’s refusal to defer the trials of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto, and Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir. The AU encouraged all of its members to comply with AU decisions and stand together on this issue in order to defer the proceedings. Botswana is currently the only AU member state that has officially opposed the AU’s decision to challenge the ICC cases. (Sudan Tribune).
Kenyan High Court allows Barasa extradition to ICC: The Kenyan High Court has dismissed a petition submitted by journalist Walter Barasa arguing against his impending extradition. Barasa faces allegations of bribery in relation to the Ruto and President Kenyatta trial. It is alleged that Barasa engaged in trying to bribe witnesses to withdraw their testimony. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (Chicago Tribune, Star).
Rwandan former intelligence chief to appear in Paris court: France has opened its doors to the prosecution of alleged human rights abusers who participated in the Rwandan genocide in French courts. There are currently 27 cases waiting to be tried. Many human rights advocates are celebrating this decision because they claim France has not participated to the extent other countries have in years past. (SeattlePI).
Kenyan Government invited to make submissions on assistance to ICC: The ICC has invited Kenyan officials to appear before the court and to share their insight into how Kenyan law may assist the ICC in ascertaining more witnesses for the ongoing Kenyatta case. It is likely that Attorney General Muigai will make the trip to the ICC in two weeks. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (Capital News, ICC).
Serbian political leader arrested for war crimes; protests in Kosovo: The leading Kosovo Serb politician, Oliver Ivanovic, has been arrested by the European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) on suspicion of war crimes against ethnic Albanians. EULEX has the authority to handle sensitive cases that the local judiciary is unable to devote resources to. Demonstrators in Kosovo have expressed frustration over the arrest and are asking for Ivanovic to be released. For additional information on this topic, please click here) (BBC, World Bulletin).
AU calls on ICC to halt prosecutions against sitting heads of state: The AU is calling for solidarity in protest of ICC proceedings against sitting African presidents. AU members assert that Kenya and South Sudan need their presidents in place to avoid instances of instability and possible violence. (PressTV).
10th witness in Ruto case testifies about post-election violence: Testimony continued at the ICC on Wednesday, 29 January 2014, in the case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang. The tenth prosecution witness, P0128, described to the court instances of looting and bribery by members of the Kalenjin ethnic tribe. The witness also claimed supporters of Ruto encouraged the Kalenjins to vote during the election so that when his party won all non Kalenjins would be forced out. (All Africa).
Kenyatta withdraws excusal request: Defense lawyers for Uhuru Kenyatta have pulled the request to excuse the Kenyan President from physical presence at the ICC. The lawyers stated the request was made “with the assumption” the court would begin the trial on the 5 February 2014 date, although it had earlier been postponed indefinitely. Kenyatta’s withdrawal follows the Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto’s waiver of his right to presence during the trial. (Standard Digital).
Kenyatta attends AU summit, ICC discussions expected: African leaders met today to kick off the 22nd AU Summit. While agriculture and food security are the main topics of review, the heads of states plan on discussing Africa’s relationship with the ICC. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, an attendee, was directed by the summit last year not to attend the ICC trial against him for crimes against humanity. (Citizens News).
African Court on Human and People’s Rights may cover criminal offenses: Chief Justice of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Mogoeng Mogoeng, reported that the court’s jurisdiction may broaden to cover war crimes and crimes against humanity. Justice Mogoeng’s statement followed increased demands for an AU court capable of such prosecutions after the ICC indicted Kenya’s sitting heads of state. The court cannot currently hear cases file by an individual of a criminal nature. (Business Dive).
Turkish parliament’s human rights committee says Assad regime committed crimes against humanity: The Human Rights Committee of the Turkish Grand National Assembly found the report published last week to be “first-hand proof of the war crimes committed in Syria.” Turkey takes in some 700,000 displaced Syrians. The civil war in Syria has so far killed more than 100,000 and displaced nearly 9 million. (World Bulletin).
ICJ redraws border, gives Peru claim to sea under Chilean sovereignty: The ICJ has granted Peru a “fish-rich” portion of the Pacific Ocean claimed by Chili since the late 1800s. Earlier in the month, both presidents expressed their countries intent to respect what the ICJ judges have now ruled an “equitable solution.” Peru brought the case before the international court back in 2008, disputing the maritime boundary line between its country and Chili.
After indefinite postponement, Kenyatta seeks excusal from presence in ICC trial: Defense lawyers for Uhuru Kenyatta have moved the ICC to excuse the Kenyan President from physical presence in The Hague. The lawyers claim Kenyatta’s “extraordinary” presidential duties are too demanding for even presence via video link. The lawyers made note of the President’s role in national security as the country is threatened by terrorists. The ICC judges only last week postponed Kenyatta’s 5 February 2014, trial date indefinitely.
Sri Lanka says war crimes inquiry would bring “chaos,” reconciliation needs more time: Secretary to Sri Lanka’s President, Lalith Weeratunga, fears an international investigation into war crimes committed during the country’s 26-year civil war would likely cause chaos. Weeratunga has asked for at least five years to start reconciliation. The secretary stated: “It’s a very delicate, delicate process. Reconciliation is not a task that can be achieved in a day or two.” Both the U.K and the U.S. have pushed the Sri Lankan government for an international investigation this year.
International Commission of Jurists find Brunei Sharia penal code violates international human rights law: The International Commission of Jurists warned the Brunei government that its re-introduction of Sharia law this past October violates international human rights. The Sharia penal code in Brunei would, among other things, criminalize and impose severe sentences for extra-marital affairs and homosexuality. The NGO expressed disappointment in the tiny island’s “backward step.”