Archive for category Libya
New Sri Lanka President sends delegate to UN to discuss war crimes investigation: A political change in Sri Lankan politics has opened the doors to UN influence. The newly formed government is planning to investigate accusations of human rights of abuses which allegedly took place amid its civil war. Government officials plan to begin the investigation at a local level before making the decision to bring in foreign experts. (Reuters).
Rights groups call for investigations into killings, war crimes in Libya: Amnesty International has called on the UN to implement sanctions and conduct investigations in response to the possible commission of war crimes in Libya. The UN is currently negotiating with some of Libya’s factions in order to form a unity government in hopes of returning stability back to the nation. (Reuters).
LRA Commander appears at ICC; Uganda unlikely to challenge admissibility: Dominic Ongwen has come before the ICC charged with seven counts of crimes against humanity. As a former member of the LRA, Ongwen was alledgedly involved in various accounts of murder and enslavement. Though a fierce critic of the ICC, Uganda does not plan to challenge the admissibility of the case being heard at the ICC because the LRA has become a regional problem. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (BBC, Bloomberg)
ICTY transfers documents in first phases of transition to court residual mechanism: The ICTY has transferred its records pertaining to the cases of Duško Tadić, Sefer Halilović and to the contempt of court case against Milan Vujin to the MICT. The MICT was established in 2010 and tasked with the responsibility of preserving the legacy of the ICTY and the Rwanda Tribunal. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (ICTY, The Hague)
DNA test requested for murdered ICC witness: Deputy President William Ruto’s attorney, Karim Khan, requested a DNA test of Meshack Yebei. Yebei was a potential witness in the trial against President Ruto and was found dead in western Kenya in early January. President Ruto was charged with crimes against humanity during the post election violence in Kenya. Yebei’s family consented to the DNA test and stated that Yebei never mentioned he was an ICC witness. Prosecutors stated that they had not been planning to call Yebei as a witness during trial due to his implication of trying to corrupt witnesses. Khan stated in a letter to the head of Kenya’s Criminal Investigation Department that Yebei had been a key witness for trial. Yebei had even been referred to the ICC’s Victims and Witness Unit for protection. Prosecutors stated that any suggestion that they were involved in Yebei’s abduction and murder was “outrageous and utterly false.” (BBC News, AllAfrica) (for additional information please click here)
Government says it wants to try Ongwen in Uganda: The government of Uganda stated that it wanted to try Lord’s Resistance Army rebel commander Dominic Ongwen. Ongwen recently surrendered and is in U.S. custody in Central African Republic. Ongwen is also wanted by the ICC. Uganda State Minister for Regional Cooperation Asuman Kiyingi stated that they would rather try him in Uganda than in the ICC because they have the capacity. A decision regarding whether Uganda gets to try Ongwen will be reached after consultations with the African Union, Uganda, United States, and United Nations. (NY Times)
Libyan trial of Saif Gaddafi and Al-Senussi delayed again: The trial of Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi and 36 other senior officials, including former security chief Abdullah Senussi, has been postponed once again. On 11 January 2015, trial opened and was subsequently adjourned until 25 January. This case opened in 2012 and has seen many setbacks. Those that stand accused could face the death penalty for “genocide, killing of unarmed civilians, abuses of power, human rights abuses, employing mercenaries and encouraging rape as a weapon of war.” The ICC indicted both Gaddafi and Senussi. After proceedings on Libya’s admissibility challenge, the ICC ordered the surrender of Gaddafi to the ICC. Libya has failed to comply with this order. (Libya Herald)
US Senators condemn Palestinian decision to join the ICC: Senators Lindsey Graham, Robert Menendez, Chuck Schumer, and Mark Kirk threatened Palestine over their decision to join the ICC. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas applied to join the ICC following a rejection on Palestine’s proposal for statehood by the United Nations Security Council. On 1 January Palestine submitted an Article 12(3) declaration that gives the ICC jurisdiction since 13 June 2014. Palestine also submitted documents to accede to the Rome Statute on 7 January. Senators issued a warning to Palestine stating “that if the Palestinians initiate an ICC judicially authorized investigation, or actively support such an investigation, all economic assistance to the PA” would end. (Press TV, International Criminal Court) (for additional information please click here)
UN report on crimes in CAR finds evidence of CAH and WC, but no genocidal intent: A UN report released last Thursday concluded that the events that conspired in the Central African Republic by the Seleka coalition and the anti-balaka did amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes. The commission of inquiry of the United Nations Security Council did not find any genocidal intent, but considered the ethnic cleansing of the Muslim population as a crime against humanity. (Tamil Guardian)
UN report on S. Sudan killings finds evidence sufficient for further investigations and prosecution: The United Nations stated that offenders of the ethnic massacres in Bentiu and Bor last April could be prosecuted based on extensive investigations into the matter. Offenders included members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition. The investigation comprised of site visits by human researchers and 142 interviews. (Radio Tamazuj)
ICC Prosecution seeks leave to appeal decision not to refer Kenya for non-cooperation: ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has asked the Court to appeal its March 2014, decision not to refer the Kenyan government to the Assembly of State Parties. Bensouda had accused Kenya of non-compliance for failing to disclose requested financial and communication documents in the case against President Uhuru Kenyatta and asked for a referral to the ASP and an indefinite postponement of Kenyatta’s trial. Bensouda stated the ICC’s decision “unless soon remedied on appeal will be a setback to the proceedings in that it will leave a decision fraught with error to cloud or unravel the judicial.” (Daily Nation).
ICC PTC finds Libya in non-compliance and refers Libya to the UNSC: ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I issued a decision on 10 December 2014, finding that Libya failed to comply with requests to surrender to the Court the son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, as well as to return specified documents seized to the appropriate parties and destroy any copies in Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi’s case. The Chamber referred the matter of Libya’s non-compliance to the U.N. Security Council under article 87(7) of the Rome Statute. The Security Council is asked to “consider any possible measure aimed at achieving Libya’s compliance with its outstanding obligations vis-à-vis the Court.” (ICC).
Africa, Cooperation and Resources focus of ASP meeting: On Monday, 8 December 2014, the annual session of the Assembly of States Parties began at the U.N. headquarters in New York. Africa appears to be the focus of the meeting with newly elected ASP President Sidiki Kaba asking member states to help “change Africa’s negative perception of the court.” Furthermore, Kenya’s U.N. Ambassador Macharia Kamau requested the ASP to address concerns the government and the Africa Union have regarding the ICC and the Prosecutor’s Office. Human Rights Watch stressed that the ICC needs the appropriate political backing and resources to ensure justice for serious violations of international law. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (ABC News, Human Rights Watch).
UN official marks anniversary of Genocide Convention, saying no country immune: Tuesday, 9 December 2014, marked the 66th anniversary of the signing of the Genocide Convention. At the U.N. headquarters in New York, U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng paid tribute to those who lost their lives to genocide. Dieng stated that “We must accept that there is no part of the world that can consider itself immune from the risk of genocide and all regions and all States must build resilience to these crimes.” Dieng’s office intends to launch a new Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes this week that focuses on prevention strategies and warning signs. (UN News Centre).
Seselj’s arrival in Belgrade brings mixed reactions, and visit from ICTY Prosecutor: On Wednesday, 12 November 2014, former Serbian leader Vojislav Seselj arrived in Belgrade, Serbia, in order to receive treatment for colon cancer after being granted provisional release by ICTY judges. Seselj’s provisional release is conditioned on him not interfering with victims or witnesses and returning to the tribunal if summoned. Hundreds of supporters welcomed Seselj, while others, like the victims from Bosnia, have found the provisional release to be a shame. ICTY Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz is scheduled to visit Serbia next week. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (CTV News, InSerbia Network Foundation).
ECCC contemplates temporary “friends of the court” to resolve defense boycott: A confidential email has been reportedly sent by the ECCC’s Defence Support Section to potential lawyers seeking their availability to temporarily replace the international defenders for Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea. It has been suggested that the ECCC appoint temporary lawyers as “friend[s] of the court” in order to continue proceedings in Case 002/02 despite ongoing boycotts by the international defenders. Existing Samphan defender Kong Sam Onn considers such efforts of replacement to be a “breach of the professional code of conduct of lawyers.” (The Phnom Penh Post).
Libya refuses to transfer Saif Gaddafi to the ICC: The Libyan government did not surrender Saif Gaddafi to the ICC stating “the security conditions that are currently taking place in Libya . . . led to the decision to postpone the meetings so that it can directly consider what circumstances are appropriate for ensuring a fair trial . . . .” ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda issued a report on Tuesday, 11 November 2014, urging the Libyan government to comply with the ICC’s order requiring the transfer of Gaddafi. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (Middle East Monitor, Aljazeera).
Rwanda investigating BBC for genocide denial: The BBC is being investigated for genocide denial by Rwanda’s Chief Prosecutor Martin Ngoga and a special Rwandan commission. Previously, U.S. attorney Peter Erlinder and Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire were investigated and indicted by Ngoga for genocide denial. (Global Research).
Int’l Prosecutors pass resolution to ensure accountability: A resolution stressing the importance of accountability in international justice, peace and security was adopted at the 7th Colloquium of International Prosecutors on 4-5 November 2014. The resolution, crafted with the help of international and national prosecutors, international court representatives, academic institutions and human rights organizations, also urges the international community to provide support to the international courts. The resolution marks the 20th anniversary commemoration of the establishment of the ICTR. (All Africa).
ICC confirms charges against all suspects in Bemba contempt case: ICC judges have confirmed charges of offenses against the administration of justice against Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Aime Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Fidele Babla Wandu and Narcisse Airdo. The charges are in connection to witness testimony, such as influencing witnesses, bribery and providing false testimony, in the case against Bemba from 2011 to 2013. The five suspects are committed to trial. (ICC).
Bensouda warns UNSC of security situation in Libya, and HRW writes to OTP: The ICC Chief Prosecutor warned the U.N. Security Council this week that the deteriorating security and political situation in Libya has “significantly hampered [the Prosecution’s] ability to effectively investigate in the country.” Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda also called on the government of Libya to surrender to the ICC the son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, and to closely monitor the developments in the case against Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief Abdullah Al-Senussi. It was found that Al-Senussi could receive a fair trial and Libya was able and willing to conduct the trial. (For additional information, please click here) (UN News Centre, Human Rights Watch).
Closing arguments begin in Bemba case: On Wednesday, 12 November 2014, ICC Prosecutors urged the Court in closing arguments to convict Jean Pierre Bemba for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and pillaging. Specifically, Bemba’s troops are accused of “barbarity” in the Central African Republic. Lawyers for Bemba, who has pleaded not guilty to the ICC charges, claim his troops were under the authority of Central African Republic authority when the crimes were committed. (Capital News).
HRW says Mali peace agreement must include provisions on justice and accountability: Human Rights Watch has weighed in on the military and political crisis in northern Mali. Senior West Africa researcher Corinne Dufka said the final agreement between the Malian government and armed groups involved in the conflict “should include provisions to support the prosecution of war crimes, strengthen the truth-telling commission, and ensure the vetting of security force personnel.” Human Rights Watch had previously researched and documented the alleged war crimes committed during the 2012-2013 armed conflict between Malian soldiers and armed opposition groups. (Human Rights Watch).
Fair trial in Chad called for of Habre’s former security officers: On Monday, 10 November 2014, Human Rights Watch called for the “fair and transparent” trial of over 25 security agents in Chad accused of murder, torture, kidnapping, arbitrary detention and assault and battery. The special court in Chad is charged with prosecuting those most responsible for serious violations of international law committed during Habre’s rule from 1982 to 1990. (Jurist).
Kenyan NGO seeks signatures on ICC criticism of government: The Kenyan Citizens Coalition, a non-governmental organization, stated that the Kenyan government is not to blame for the lagging case against President Uhuru Kenyatta. The NGO stated that the ICC has not properly investigated the case and should not allocate the blame onto the Kenyan government. The Kenyan Citizens Coalition announced plans to start collecting signatures from citizens, Kenyan Organizations, and International Partners to compel the ICC to stop apportioning the blame. The organization’s convener, Ngunjiri Wambugu, stated that these signatures will be compiled into a memorandum that will be sent to the United Nations Security Council, the Assembly of States Parties to the ICC, the European Union, and the African Union. ICC judges will soon rule whether the prosecutor Fatou Bensouda will be granted more time for investigations against Kenyatta and suspend the trial date or to throw the case out altogether. (Capital News)
ICTR celebrates 20 year anniversary: The UN-ICTR for Rwanda will celebrate its 20th year operating in Arusha. Prosecutor for the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, will join for celebrations and as panelist with other prosecutors to debate on the lessons of empowerment of national jurisdictions to prosecute international crimes. The ICTR was established in 1994 following the Rwandan genocide between the Hutus and the Tutsis. The ICTR to date has indicted 93 individuals total, 61 of which were sentenced. (Daily News)
141 human rights organizations support trial of Habré: 141 African human rights organizations from 32 different countries issued a letter on 2 November 2014 praising the efforts of Senegal and the African Union to prosecute crimes. Former Chadian president, Hisséne Habré, stands accused of thousands of political killings and torture from 1982 to 1990. Habré was indicted in July 2013 by the Extraordinary African Chambers and is now in pretrial detention. Habré’s trial would begin in early 2015 if judges rule that a trial is justified. The letter states that a fair and transparent trial for Habré, if the case went forward, would help hold those accountable for their crimes. The letter also calls for fair and transparent trials for officials from Habré’s administration whose trials are scheduled to begin November 13th. (Human Rights Watch)
Libyan court postpones trial of former Gaddafi officials: Libyan court has postponed the trial of ex-officials that served under former leader Muammar Gaddafi until 16 November 2014. This postponement is connected to the proceedings against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi before the ICC. The ICC has ordered Libya to hand over Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi to be tried before the ICC. With respect to Senussi, the ICC Appeals Chamber found in July 2014 that Senussi could be tried before local Libya courts. The trial of 23 defendants occurred in Tripoli’s al-Hadba prison while Saif Al-Gaddafi is being tried in Zintan. The defendants are charged with numerous crimes including charges of genocide and incitement to rape. (Bernama, African News) (for additional information please click here)
ICC rejects Gbagbo application for provisional release: The request by former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo for provisional release was denied by the ICC on Wednesday, 29 October 2014. Gbagbo, who faces charges of crimes against humanity, had asked the Court to be briefly released in order to attend his mother’s funeral. ICC judges in a written ruling found they could not grant the request “when doing so runs such a risk of endangering the population in Cote d’Ivoire, Court staff and Mr. Gbagbo himself.” (ABC News).
UN HR Committee urges Israel to investigate crimes committed against Gaza: In a report released Thursday, 30 October 2014, the U.N. Human Rights Committee urged the Israeli government to “thoroughly, effectively, independently and impartially” investigate crimes committed in the Gaza Strip. The report further requested Israel to uphold the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and ensure those most responsible for the alleged violations are prosecuted and sanctioned. The latest Israel-Palestine conflict this year lasted 51 days and claimed more than 2,100 lives. (JURIST).
Amnesty says war crimes committed by Libyan militia: Amnesty International posted satellite images on its website this Thursday, 30 October 2014, indicating that fighters from both sides of the conflict in Libya have committed war crimes. Amnesty International also posted a statement finding that “[a]rmed groups have possibly summarily killed, tortured or ill-treated detainees in their custody and are targeting civilians based on their origins or perceived political allegiances.” The conflict in Libya was triggered in August after armed forces from the western city of Misrata seized Tripoli. (Reuters).
UN experts calls on UN GA to refer N. Korea to ICC: U.N. human rights expert Marzuki Darusman addressed a committee of the General Assembly on 28 October 2014. Darusman urged the committee dealing with human rights issues to refer the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the ICC for alleged crimes against humanity. Darusman was a member of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the DPRK which released a 400-page report in February concerning the situation in the country. (UN News Centre).
Cases investigated for Syrian war crimes: The Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA) is preparing cases against three Syrian government officials allegedly responsible for serious violations of international law. CIJA leader William Wiley says the group has reviewed over 500,000 pages of documents and information gathered from defectors and prisoners in Syria. Where the cases would be heard, however, remains unknown. Courts in Syria have been unwilling to hear the evidence against the government officials and an ICC referral has been prevented by Russian and Chinese veto power at the U.N. (Reuters).