Archive for category Libya
Mladic Prosecution Team concludes: On Monday 24 February, the Prosecution in the Mladic case has filed notice announcing that it will rest. On March 17, 98-bis will begin, in which the accused can seek an acquittal on all counts on the grounds that there is no evidence to support a conviction. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (ICTY, IWPR).
HRW reports war crimes in South Sudan: HRW has announced that pro and antigovernment forces are responsible for serious abuses in South Sudan that may amount to war crimes. There have been episodes of widespread killing and the targeting of civilians for military strategic gain. (HRW).
UN, International leaders meet regarding Ukraine: UN officials are concerned amid the growing tensions in the Crimea region of Ukraine. The Secretary-General has that all parties involved calm down in hopes of preventing a future escalation in violence. (UN News).
Ukrainian Parliament calls for ICC involvement: Ukrainian lawmakers have voted to refer the case of the of former President Viktor Yanukovych to the ICC. The ICC says it has not received a formal request as of yet, but a government can make a declaration accepting the court’s jurisdiction for past events. (DW).
UN concerned over extended violence in Libya: The UN has called for an end to the violence in Libya. UNSMIL has been supporting the efforts of the Libyan Government and the people to ensure the success of the democratic process in the country but episodes of violence threaten the regions stability. (UN News).
UN Human Rights Panel reports widespread crimes in N. Korea: The UN mandated report released 17 February 2014 calls for urgent action to address the rights situation in N. Korea. According to the Commission there is no parallel in the contemporary world with regard to the atrocities that have occurred and continue today in N. Korea. The Commissioners state in the report that they will recommend referral of the situation in N. Korea to the ICC. (UN News).
UN Compensation Commission orders over $1bil in damages to Kuwait: The UNCC continues to order payments by the Iraqi government to the Kuwaiti government in order to compensate for the damages that occurred in the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The claims can be brought on behalf of individuals, corporations, governments and international organizations. The funds are drawn from the UN Compensation Fund, which is financed by Iraqi oil exports. (UN News).
Uganda Leader suggests top LRA Commander may have been killed: The Ugandan defence minister has stated that the deputy of the LRA, Okot Odhiambo, may have been killed in a period of recent fighting. The ICC indicted Odhiambo in 2005 on charges of butchering and kidnapping civilians. (AFP).
HRW reports concern over domestic Gaddafi Trial: HRW has called for proper representation for Seif al-Islam as he stands trial for illegally trying to communicate with the outside world. The ICC has been critical of Libya’s efforts to try former Kadhafi officials in Libyan courts. Most officials agree that the guarantee of a fair trial may be limited. (AFP).
ICC dismisses Prosecution appeal on decision to adjourn Gbagbo confirmation hearing: On 16 December 2013, the ICC Appeals Chamber dismissed an appeal lodged by the Prosecution against a decision by the Pre-Trial Chamber on 3 June 2013 which adjourned the confirmation hearing of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo and requested the Prosecution submit additional evidence on specific incidents relating to the charges against Gbagbo. The Appeals Chamber found that the Prosecution had failed to show that the Pre-Trial Chamber committed an error when treating 45 incidents relied on by the Prosecution as an Article 7 attack against a civilian population.
ICC rejects Prosecution appeal on amending temporal scope of Ruto, Sang charges: On 13 December 2013, the ICC Appeals Chamber dismissed the appeal of the Prosecution in the case against William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang which contested the Pre-Trial Chamber’s decision not allowing the Prosecution to amend the temporal scope of the charges against the two accused. The Appeals Chamber found that once the charges against an accused are confirmed it is no longer possible to amend or add charges. The Appeals Chamber confirmed that once the confirmation of charges is completed the only change that can be made to the charges is a recharacterisation of the facts while not exceeding the facts and circumstances of those described in the charges confirmed by the Pre-Trial Chamber.
Libya to allow US and UK authorities question ICC indicted Al-Senussi: Libya Justice Minister Salah Merghani has stated that Libya will allow authorities from the UK and US travel to Libya and question former Gaddafi Spy Chief Abdullah Al-Senussi over the 1988 bombing of a PanAm flight over Lockerbie Scotland. When asked if Al-Senussi, who is indicted for crimes against humanity before the ICC, would be questioned, Merghani is quoted as saying “Yes this is the intention … What we are working on is finalizing the arrangements for this as much as obtaining the evidence that’s available with the UK and US authorities … We all need to know the facts.”
ICTY Seselj case continues after Judge Harhoff’s disqualification: On 13 December 2013, the Trial Chamber of the ICTY decided that the trial against Vojislav Seselj would continue following the election of Judge Mandiaye Niang to the bench. Judge Niang was elected to the Trial Chamber after Judge Harhoff was disqualified on Seselj’s request. The Trial Chamber noted that Judge Niang is capable of assessing the credibility of witnesses while becoming familiar with the case.
ECCC Prosecution issues list of potential witnesses: On 17 December 2013 it was reported that Prosecutors on the ECCC case against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan issued a confidential listed of 96 witnesses who will give evidence about Khamer Rouge detention facilities and work sites. Witnesses are reported to include “Cambodian citizens, journalists, civil servants, military personnel, local authorities and monks” as well as seven experts and Kaing Kek leve (“Duch”) who was convicted by the ECCC and sentenced to life for crimes committed in Tuol Sleng prison.
UN Commission to be established for CAR crimes: On 16 December 2013, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated that the United Nations will establish a commission which will investigate crimes committed in the Central African Republic; which Ban Ki-moon as said “descended into chaos” this year after the Government was overthrown in March. Ban Ki-moon is quoted as saying he is “gravely concerned about the imminent danger of mass atrocities.” Bi Ki-moon said that the presence of humanitarian efforts, including African and French troops, and human rights monitors has improved the situation, but that “we must do more to meet this test of global solidarity.”
Ireland in discussions with ICC on witness relocation program: On 16 December 2013, Fatou Bensouda stated that the Government of Ireland is in negotiations with the ICC in order to establish a program which would relocate witnesses to Ireland after their testimony before the ICC. Speaking from Dublin, the Prosecutor stated that “Protection of witnesses is one of the court’s main priorities and in this regard the conclusion of witness relocation agreements with the court is a practical way through which [states] can help the court meet this challenge.”
Saif Al Islam domestic hearing adjourned: A Tripoli court held a hearing on Thursday, 12 December 2013, for Saif Al Islam, son of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The hearing was adjourned to the end of February “due to the absence” of four other accused, all charged with threatening national security during the 2011 revolt. Saif Al Islam is also wanted by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity. (Gulf News).
Bensouda calls out U.N. Security Council for “prolonging” Darfur conflict: ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has accused the U.N. Security Council of inaction. Specifically, Bensouda has voiced concern over the Security Council’s failure to arrest Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir. Since the war in Darfur began in 2003, the U.N. and other international organizations have expended more than $10.5 billion. An estimated 300,000 individuals have died and over 2.7 million displaced. Bensouda said the “council’s silence even when notified of clear failure and/or violations by U.N. member states of their obligations to comply with this council’s resolutions only serves to add insult to the plight of Darfur’s victims.” (ABC News).
ECCC prosecutor wants second trial immediately: On Wednesday, 11 December 2013, officials from the ECCC met to discuss how to proceed with the second part of the trial of Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea. The Chambers concluded with the first part of the trial on forced evacuations at the beginning of this year. ECCC international prosecutor Nicholas Kourmjian requested the second proceedings begin “as soon as possible.” Lawyers for the two senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge has asked to delay the next part until the ECCC issues a decision on the first. (VOA Cambodia).
Gaddafi’s head of security deserves ICC trial; says daughter: The daughter of Muammar Gaddafi’s head of security says her father deserves a fair trial at the ICC. Abdullah al-Senussi, accused of crimes against humanity related to the conflict during Gaddafi’s rule, has been in a Libyan prison the past 16 months. The ICC ruled earlier this year that the Libyan government could fairly try Senussi. Senussi’s daughter, however, fears her father will face a “show trial” if not sent to The Hague. (Chicago Tribune).
Accused Kenyan journalist claims ICC cases unconstitutional: Walter Barasa, a journalist accused by the ICC of witness interference, has moved the Kenyan High Court to declare the ICC cases against President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto unconstitutional. Barasa claims the ICC cannot legally apply laws retrospectively to the sitting Kenyan leaders. The High Court has yet to decide whether to extradite Barasa to The Hague for trial. (The Star).
HRW warns of sentence against ICT defendant Mollah: HRW objects to the death sentence given to Abdul Qader Mollah by the Bangladeshi government. Mollah was originally convicted and sentenced by the ICT on February 5, 2013. However, in response to public outcry, the government passed amendments to the ICT law, allowing the prosecution to appeal the sentence and to seek the death penalty. HRW warns against the hanging of Mollah on the basis of retroactive legislation. (HRW).
UN publishes report on violence against women in Afghanistan: The report examines the implementation results of the Law on Elimination of Violence against Women from October 2012 to September 2013 by Afghan judicial and law enforcement authorities. The report suggests an overall positive trend but the Afghan authorities have a long way to go before any long lasting achievements can be made in regard to the protection of women. (UN Missions).
Prosecution witness says Mladic exercised control over Bosnian troops: Military analyst, Reynaud Theunens, testified at the trial of Mladic and told the Hague tribunal that the defendant had “effective control” over military operations. Reynaud is the last witness to appear in the prosecution case against Mladic and the defense is expected to present its case in May 2014. (IWPR).
CAR in midst of ongoing humanitarian crisis, UN warns: The UN says that the humanitarian situation in the CAR is deteriating at an alarming rate. A rise in violence and a lack of basic health facilities is largely responsible for the rise in the death toll. The UN has called for an end to the violence and intensified its operations to provide food, water, and shelter for the time being. (UN News).
Security Council hears testimony of security concerns in Libya: The top UN official in Libya states that the continued instability in Libya highlights the need for dialogue between the Government and the armed militias. Progress has been made toward a democratic transition within the country by way of voter registration but a number of obstacles still remain. (UN News).
Chilean granted justice at international court: An 80 year old Chilean who was severely tortured after the Pinochet regime took power in 1973 was granted a huge victory from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights this week. The Court ruled the Chile government must investigate the abuses toward Leopoldo Garcia and find those responsible for compensation. Garcia was detained after a 1973 coup and tortured into divulging names of suspected Socialists. Garcia was eventually transferred to London where he has lived for 40 years. However, Garcia has struggled throughout his life to find work and provide for his family in a foreign country. He believes Chili should “assume responsibility” for what happened to him by the Pinochet regime.
Delay of Rios Montt trial angers victims: Victims of genocide and crimes against humanity during Guatemalan President General Efrain Rios Montt’s 1982-83 rule are frustrated by the decision to delay his retrial. Amnesty International reports Mayan-Ixil indigenous people feel “let down” and worry the former President will evade justice. Rios Montt’s guilty conviction by a Guatemalan criminal court was overturned shortly after by the country’s highest court. The retrial is expected January 2015.
Serbian war crimes prosecutor charges two former Serbian army officers: Serbia’s War Crimes Prosecutors have charged two Yugoslav army leaders of war crimes. Parole Gavrilovic and Rajko Kozlina are accused of ordering an attack on a civilian village during the 1998-99 Serbian War that killed at least 27 Kosovar. A Serbian investigating judge will decide whether to indict and arrest the two leaders.
Habre appeal denied by international court: On 5 November 2013, the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States held the Extraordinary African Chambers was satisfactorily established to try the former Chadian President Hissene Habre for crimes against humanity and war crimes. Habre filed a motion on 23 April 2013, challenging the legitimacy of the Extraordinary African Chambers to try him for crimes committed during his rule from 1982 to 1990. The Court found the Chambers consisted of a “special ad hoc procedure of international character” capable of holding Habre’s trial. Victims of his rule have called the Court’s decision “a huge relief.”
Kenyatta deferral gets more support: Another African country is now publicly supporting the postponement of the ICC case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. On 5 November 2013, Jean Kimani, Kenya’s High Commissioner, stated Botswana was of the position the Kenyatta trial should not only be deferred, but also held locally. Kimani clarified that Botswana’s support for Kenya’s President did not interfere with the country’s commitment to the Rome Statute and the ICC.
Gaddafi’s son speaks from prison: Seif al-Islam, the son of former Libyan dictator Muanmar Gaddafi, answered three prepared questions from a journalist on 5 November 2013. Sitting behind bars in a Zintan prison outside the Tripoli capital, Seif al-Islam told the journalist he was well and permitted visitors. Seif was captured in November 2011 by ex-rebel forces. He is also wanted by the ICC and was charged by a Tripoli court.
Nigeria seeks change at ICC: Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathon assured the international community on Tuesday, 5 November 2013, that his country would continue supporting the ICC. However, Jonathon urged the Court to defer the pending case against Kenya’s sitting head of state. Jonathon argued Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta needed to remain in Africa to fulfill his executive duties during the country’s period of instability.
Court/Tribunal: International Criminal Court
Decision Title: Decision on the admissibility of the case against Abdullah Al-Senussi
Chamber: Pre-Trial Chamber I
Case Name: Prosecutor v. Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi
Date: 11 October 2013
**Con’t from Part One**
Prong Two: Ability and Willingness
The Court next considered whether the Libyan government is unable or unwilling to genuinely investigate and carry out the case against Mr. Senussi at the national level. Either unwillingness or inability to carry out the case can be a sufficient ground for failure to meet the second prong. Evidence submitted by parties can be probative of a state’s unwillingness, inability, or both.
Because Libya did not make a distinction between these two possibilities in its submissions to the Court, the Court indicated that in its analysis, it would not attempt separate analysis of both possibilities. Rather, the Court looked at the overall facts and evidence presented, to determine whether an inability and/or unwillingness on the part of Libya to genuinely pursue the case against Mr. Senussi exists.
The Chamber noted that “inability” in this context refers to a situation where the unavailability or total collapse of a state’s judicial system, renders the State unable to procure the accused, necessary evidence or testimony in a given case. The Court will make this determination after analyzing the specific circumstances surrounding the national proceedings of a case that is also before the ICC. Such an analysis will be undertaken in light of the relevant national law governing the domestic proceedings, and the rights that the relevant domestic law provides a defendant throughout the criminal process. The State retains the burden to prove its ability and/or willingness to carry out the case, but any factual allegations alleged by any party pertaining to this determination must be sufficiently substantiated.
The Court found that the Libyan government was able to establish the second prong of the Admissibility test, that it is genuinely able and willing to carry out the case against Mr. Senussi at the national level.
In making its determination, the Court looked at much the same evidence that it used to determine the first prong of the Admissibility Test. The Court reasoned that evidence that substantiate the ongoing nature of an investigation can also be relevant to determining the genuineness and efficacy of those investigations. The Court thus recalled its previous findings regarding the ongoing nature of the investigation into Mr. Senussi’s case.
The Court also looked at the external situation in Libya, and the progress of the case in light of some of the ongoing problems with which the transitional government has been dealing. The Court noted the progress of the case against Mr. Senussi, as well as those of 37 other former Gaddafi officials, from the investigation stage, to the accusation stage. It also noted that despite protests and other civil unrest, the Libyan authorities have been able to maintain the security of the judicial and investigative proceedings against Mr. Senussi. It also recalled that Libya, in the conduct of its case against Mr. Senussi and in the establishment of its judicial system generally, it has been receiving significant outside aid from the U.N., as well as several national governments.
The Court found arguments made by the Defense, the Prosecution, and the OPCV as to why Libya cannot or will not carry out genuine proceedings against Mr. Senussi unpersuasive. In responding to these arguments, the Court found that in light of Libyan criminal procedural law, and the security issues in the country, the fact that Mr. Senussi’s national case has gone on 18 months is not an undue delay. Rather, it found that throughout the 18 months, Libya has continuously and progressively investigated and continued the case, and that the time taken to investigate has not been unreasonable. It also found claims regarding potential bias against Mr. Senussi in national proceedings to be unfounded.
The most serious issue raised by the parties, and the one with which the Court had the most concern, was the claim that Mr. Senussi has yet to be appointed counsel, even though the investigation has already commenced. Whether Libya could not or would not provide Mr. Senussi benefit of counsel, to which he is entitled under Libyan law, had the potential to be fatal to Libya’s admissibility claims. Libya submitted that due to the security and political situation in Libya, it had been thus far difficult for it to secure counsel for Mr. Senussi. However, the government submitted to the Court that it was well aware of Mr. Senussi’s rights in this regard, and is attempting to find counsel. A recent submission by Libya informed the Court that the Accusation Chamber was seized of the problem, and now that the case was in its hands, it had the power to appoint counsel to Mr. Senussi by court order, should counsel not otherwise be forthcoming. Libya noted that this decision would be coming imminently. It also noted that several members of Mr. Senussi’s tribe had come forward, expressing willingness to serve as counsel.
The Court, while noting that further delay and impediments to securing counsel could in the future become fatal to Libya’s admissibility claims, was satisfied that, at the current juncture, Libya is not functionally unable or unwilling to secure defense counsel for the national case. It contrasted Mr. Senussi’s case with that of Saif Gaddafi – in which the Court found ICC admissibility despite national proceedings – based upon the fact that Mr. Senussi is actually within the control and custody of Libyan authorities, and thus can be subject to Libyan orders, including any order securing counsel. Gaddafi, on the other hand, was not within the custody and control of the authorities, subject to court order. Thus unwillingness by counsel in the country to voluntarily represent Mr. Gaddafi, presented a functional inability for the state to proceed with the case, as under Libyan law, the case cannot proceed beyond the Accusation Chamber without defense counsel. This is not the situation it finds itself in with Mr. Senussi.
As such, the Court found that the Libyan government was able to meet both prongs of the Admissibility test. Therefore, the Court ruled that the case before the ICC is inadmissible, with the caveat that the Prosecution is entitled to re-submit the issue to the Court on a showing that circumstances in the national case have significantly changed in such as way as would bear upon the continuing viability of the Court’s findings and ruling on admissibility.
Judge van der Wyngaert issued a separate declaration opining that the Court should have delayed ruling on the issue so that it could hear more submissions regarding the security situation in Libya.
To access the full Decision, click here.
Court/Tribunal: International Criminal Court
Decision Title: Decision on the admissibility of the case against Abdullah Al-Senussi
Chamber: Pre-Trial Chamber I
Case Name: Prosecutor v. Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi
Date: 11 October 2013
** Note: Due to the length of the decision, it is reviewed in two parts**
Decision Background: On 27 June 2011, the Chamber issued an arrest warrant against Abdullah Al-Senussi. The Court charged that Mr. Senussi committed various crimes against humanity during the Libyan uprising against the Muammar Gadhafi regime. The case at the Court covered acts allegedly committed by Mr. Senussi in Benghazi from 15 February 2011 until at least 20 February 2011.
At the same time as the Court has been pursuing a case against Mr. Senussi, the new Libyan government has also been pursuing a national case against him for acts allegedly committed during the Libyan revolution. On 2 April 2013, the Libyan government filed an application with the Court, challenging the admissibility of the case against Mr. Senussi at the ICC. Specifically, the Libyan government argued that because it was pursuing a case against Mr. Senussi at the national level for the same acts underlying the Court’s case, the case at the international level was inadmissible. The Libyan government argues that, pursuant to Article 19(2)(b) of the Rome Statute, it is a State Party with jurisdiction over the case, thus precluding ICC jurisdiction.
Both the Prosecutor and the Defense objected to the Libyan government’s request quash the case at the ICC in favor of the case to the Libyan national case. Both the Prosecutor and the Defense, along with the OPCV, argue that the two cases are sufficiently different as to allow continued jurisdiction for the ICC’s case.
Decision Review: Determination of whether a case can remain admissible at the ICC in light of proceedings at the national level requires a two-step analysis. The Court looks at whether 1) at the time of a state’s challenge to proceedings at the ICC, an ongoing investigation or prosecution of the same case exists at the national level, and 2) whether the national State is unwilling or unable to genuinely carry out such an investigation or prosecution. Both prongs must be fulfilled in order to successfully challenge the admissibility of the ICC case. The State challenging the admissibility of the ICC case bears the burden of proving each prong.
Both the Prosecution and the Defense, along with the OPCV, argued that the Libyan government could not meet either or both of these prongs. The parties submitted various reasons for the government’s inability to meet the test, and offered several and varied evidence to support their claims.
The Court analyzed the Libyan government’s claims along the two prongs established in the admissibility test, in light of the submissions made by all of the parties to the case, the Libyan government, and the evidence submitted in support of the government’s and the parties’ arguments.
Prong One: Prosecution of case by State party having jurisdiction
The Court first analyzed whether the case against Mr. Senussi was being “prosecuted by a State party who has jurisdiction over it [the case].” As part of this analysis, the Court first had to satisfy itself that the “case” against Mr. Senussi at the national level, was the same “case” before the Court at the ICC. The assessment of the conduct underlying the scope of the “case” is based upon the facts of the conduct, and not their legal characterization, at either the national or ICC level. The State must prove with sufficient evidence of probative value that it is indeed investigating the same “case” against the defendant. A determination as to whether a “case” is the same “case” is heavily fact-dependent, and the Court makes a determination on a case-by-case basis.
The Court found that the “case” before the ICC and the “case” in Libya are substantially the same case. The case against Mr. Senussi at the ICC charges him with personal culpability for various acts of murder and persecution as crimes against humanity, committed in Benghazi from between 15-20 February 2011.
The case at the ICC describes discrete acts that establish reasonable ground to believe the defendant’s general liability for the crimes alleged, and has defined temporal, geographic and material parameters. Because the discrete “events” or “acts” listed in the ICC indictment are examples of incidents highlighting or proving up the defendant’s liability for the crimes charged at the ICC, the Court found that the Libyan Government did not need to show that its case charges precisely the same acts as mentioned in the ICC charges to prove that the cases are the same. Charges that appear in the ICC case, and not in the national case, however, are relevant to the Court’s final determination.
In reaching the “same case” determination, the Court considered various forms of evidence submitted by the Libyan government, which the Court, in its analysis of each type of evidence, found to be of various levels of probative value. The Libyan government had submitted three main categories of evidence in support of its position: documents created and submitted by Libyan authorities for the express purpose of sustaining their admissibility argument, items collected by Libyan authorities as part of their investigation into the case, and other materials not falling into the previous two categories.
The Court viewed the evidence presented by the Libyan government with a view towards ascertaining what it revealed about the exact conduct being investigated by the Libyan authorities. In reviewing the specific acts and occurrences described in the evidence submitted by the Libyan government, the Court found that the national proceedings cover, at minimum, the incidents and events described in the ICC’s charges against Mr. Senussi. Thus, the conduct at issue in the ICC case, is the same conduct at issue in the national case. The fact that, due to the varying legal systems, the acts may be legally characterized differently in each case, is of no consequence. Because the acts covered are the same, the Court determined that the case at each level is the same case.
Based upon the evidentiary submissions made by Libya in regards to the case against Mr. Senussi, the Court also found that sufficient evidence exists to conclude that the case is being investigated and/or prosecuted by Libya at the national level. The evidence submitted by Libya showed that its Prosecutor-General is conducting interviews of witnesses to the alleged crimes, actively obtaining documentary evidence of the crimes allegedly committed (including medical reports, death certificates, and written orders from the relevant time period), and requesting that external sources provide to the Prosecutor-General information relevant to the case. The Chamber found that the Libyan government had demonstrated that “adequate, tangible and progressive steps” have and are being taken by the Libyan government to investigate the case against Mr. Senussi. It noted that in fact, the evidence suggests that Libyan authorities are currently pursuing multiple lines of investigation.
Important to its determination that a case against Mr. Senussi was indeed progressing at the national level, was the fact that the case had been referred to Libya’s Accusation Chamber. Under Libyan criminal procedure, a case must move through four concrete phases: investigation, accusation, trial, and appeals. The fact that the Senussi case had been transferred to the Accusation Chambers means that the case is actively moving through Libyan procedure, and thus indicated to the Court that the case was actively being pursued by the relevant authorities.
Thus, the Chamber found that Libya has satisfied the first prong of the Admissibility test: The national case against Mr. Senussi is the same as that at the ICC, and Libyan authorities are actively investigating it.
To access the full Decision, click here.
Former President Taylor requests Rwandan incarceration: On 14 October 2013 it was reported that Charles Taylor would rather serve his fifty year sentence in Rwanda instead of the UK. Taylor argued in a letter to the court that his incarceration in the UK would put an undue burden on his relatives. Taylor’s appeal was rejected and it was later confirmed by a UK minister that his sentence would be served in a UK prison. (BBC).
Closing statements at ECCC set for this week: The ECCC has hearing final statements of former regime leaders in the near future. The UN-backed court will on Wednesday enter the last phase of the trial of “Brother Number Two” Nuon Chea, 87, and ex-head of state Khieu Samphan, 82. The court is currently investigating two possible new cases but analysts believe a shortage of funds and politics may restrict the start of any new proceedings. (AFP).
AU Summit says Kenyatta should not attend trial; draws international criticism: The AU has called on the ICC to delay the trial of Kenyan President Kenyatta. During a recent AU summit the continent’s relationship to the ICC was in focus. African leaders accuse the ICC of unfairly targeting people on the continent and ignoring the rest of the world. (Aljazeera, Amnesty Int.). For more information on this topic, please click here.
ICC allows Libyan Trial of al-Senussi: On 12 October 2013 it was announced that al-Senussi will be tried in Libya. ICC judges have ruled that Libya has produced a sufficient number of competent authorities to carry out a proper investigation of al-Senussi’s alleged crimes. (Aljazeera).
ICC arrest warrant for Kenyan journalist: On 2 October 2013, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Kenyan journalist Walter Barasa. Barasa allegedly bribed, harassed and threatened prosecution witnesses in the ICC case against Kenyan President William Ruto. Barasa claims he was asked to aid witness interviews by ICC staff but never personally participated in “coerci[ve] or unorthodox means.” The journalist intends to defend himself against the charge of interfering with the legal process, which could give rise to 5 years incarceration if found guilty. (ABC News).
UN reports on prison violence in Libya: The UN issued a report on Tuesday, 1 October 2013, condemning the ongoing abuse and torture in Libya’s prisons. The report, which detailed 27 detention center deaths and countless testimonies of physical abuse by the armed brigades, urges an immediate response by the Libyan government to transfer inmates. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay announced the “situation of detainees in Libya is alarming and while there has been some progress, there is an urgent need to renew efforts to prevent torture, investigate allegations of torture and prosecute those responsible.” (UN News Centre).
Costa Rica-Nicaragua border dispute back at ICJ: The ICJ has scheduled four days of hearings in mid-October to discuss the continuing border conflict between Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Costa Rica requested the meetings after Nicaragua military excavated two canals in Isla Portillos in violation of a 2011 ICJ precautionary measure. Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla has called for Nicaraguan personnel unlawfully on the wetlands to leave. (Inside Costa Rica).
Ethiopia publicizes discontent with ICC: Ethiopia, a non signatory of the Rome Statute, has again accused the ICC of being politically bias and only targeting leaders of Africa. Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Dina Mufti argued Africa countries should be prosecuting their own leaders, without ICC involvement, in observance of AU recommendations. At this time, 34 African states are parties to the Rome Statute. However, the Kenyan government recently voted to withdraw from membership due to increasing dissatisfaction with the permanent international court. (Sudan Tribune).