Archive for category Libya

21 May 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

German appeals court find evidence for addition charge in Rwandan Genocide case:  On 21 May 2015 the Bundesgerichtshof, the Federal Court of Justice of Germany, found on appeal that Onesphore Rwabukombe was actively involved in the murder of 450 men, women and children at the Kiziguro church in east Rwanda and referred the case back to a lower court in Frankfurt to consider evidence from  the proceedings in the German lower courts; including over 100 witness statements about the attack.  In 2014, Rwabukombe was found guilty of overseeing and assisting in the murders, but failed to convict him of direct involvement.  Rwabukombe received a sentence of 14 years in prison on the conviction for overseeing and assisting the murders.  The addition charge of active participation could result in Rwabukombe’s sentence being increased to as much as life in prison. (euronews)

Former Gaddafi officials to be sentenced on 28 June:  On 21 May 2015, Libyan Chief of Investigations office of the Attorney General, Al-Seddig Al-Sur, announced that Libya’s Court of Appeal would deliver the final sentences in the trial against former Gaddafi officials; including ICC accused’s Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi.  Al-Sur stated that the charges against the accused included genocide, besieging towns which protested against Gaddafi, killing demonstrators, forming armed battalions and embezzling public money.  Both Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi have been indicted before the International Criminal Court.  In 2013, the ICC found that Libya was not able to try Saif and ordered his surrender to The Hague.  Libya has failed to cooperate with this order, leading the ICC to refer Libya to UNSC.  (IWPR)

ICC Suspects travel to Saudi Arabia despite outstanding warrant:  On Thursday 21 May 2015 it was reported that Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir and Sudanese official Ahmed Haroun made a public appearance in Saudi Arabia for talks with King Salman Bin Abdel Aziz.  Although President Al-Bashir has made several international visit since his indictment before the ICC, Haroun, who acts as the Government of North Kordofan, has not travelled outside of Sudan since his indictment before the ICC in April 2007.  Saudi Arabia is not a member of the Rome Statute. (Sudan Tribune)

Secretary General appoints panel to meet humanitarian funding needs:  On 21 May 2015, a statement was released on behalf of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announcing the appointment of a high-level UN panel established to examine resources and funding for humanitarian efforts.  The statement reported that in the last decade the need for humanitarian funding has risen “dramatically” creating a situation where the current resources available for humanitarian needs are insufficient.  The panel is tasked with examining financial challenges to humanitarian resources and identifying ways address the lack of insufficient resources in a so that timely and predictable funding is available.  Ban Ki-moon appointed to the panel as co-chairs, Vice President of the European Commission, Kristalina Georgieva from Bulgaria, and Sultan Nazrin Shah from Malaysia.  (UN News Centre)

Defense witness testifies to Mladic’s role in Branjevo killings:  On 19 May 2015 it was reported that Dragan Todorovic, a former Bosnian Serb soldier, testified as a defence witness in the trial against Ratko Mladic.  Todorovic testified as to his position on the Vlasenica platoon of the 10th Sabotage Detachment.which took part in the mass execution of Bosnian Muslims on the Branjevo farm in July 1995.  Todorovic’s testimony addressed orders about the killings and about the relationship between Milorad Pelemis, who was Todorovic’s commander in the unit and a previous defence witness for Mladic, and Ratko Mladic.  On cross examination the Prosecution highlighted the close links between Pelemis and Mladic; submitting Todorovic’s previous testimony to this issue in the ICTY trial against Radovan Karadzic. (Global Voices)

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18 May 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UNSMIL reports war crimes of abductions, torture and murder: On 15 May 2015, the U.N. Support Mission in Libya released a statement finding that armed groups are responsible for war crimes in Libya.  Specifically, the UNSMIL said that armed groups abducted, tortured and murdered “civilians, including minors, on account of their actual or perceived origin, opinion, family and political affiliation.” The UNSMIL also warned that those responsible for the crimes, including committing, ordering or failing to prevent the crimes, may be criminally liable before the ICC.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here and here) (UN News Centre, Al Arabiya News, Libya Herald).

ECCC Prosecution calls journalist to testify in Case 002: On 7 May 2015, the ECCC Prosecutor’s Office requested journalist Thet Sambath testify in the second phase of the Extraordinary Chamber’s case against Nuon Chea.  The Prosecutor’s Office claims Sambath, who interviewed Nuon Chea over a 10-year period, documented admissions by the former Khmer Rouge leader that prove his guilt in the trial.  Although requested, Sambath failed to appear in the first phase of the case but has since stated he would testify “if the court openly gives me freedom.”  (Cambodia Daily).

Croatia assures of fair war crimes trial for Dragan Vasiljkovic in extradition case: On 15 May 2015, Australia’s High Court denied a request by former Serbian paramilitary commander Dragan Vasiljkovic to appeal an approval of extradition to Croatia to be questioned for war crimes. Justice Minister Michael Keenan now has the final say on whether Vasiljkovic will be extradited. Croatia’s war veteran minister Predrag Matic said that the former paramilitary commander will receive a fair trial if extradited. Vasiljkovic is accused of torturing and ordering the killing of prisoners of war and directing an assault on a village in Croatia during the early 1990s.  (The Australian).

Charles Bandora sentenced to 30 years in Rwandan court for role in 1994 Genocide: On 15 May 2015, Charles Bandora was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment by a special chamber created to prosecute international crimes at the High Court of Rwanda.  Bandora was found guilty of conspiracy to commit genocide, complicity committing and complicity to murder as a crime against humanity and formation of an armed gang during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.  Bandora was a senior member of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development party at the time. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (All Africa, Yahoo News).

African Court to hear two applications at 37th Session: The African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights is holding its 37th Ordinary Session from 18 May to 5 June, 2015, which will include consideration of two applications of violations of the African Charter.  The first application concerns the alleged unlawful abduction and detention of 10 Kenyans in Tanzania for murder and robbery.  The second application involves a challenge by a Tanzanian to a 30 year jail sentence for armed robbery.  (IPP Media).

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13 May 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Bensouda says ICC Prosecution considering investigation into ISIS crimes in Libya: On Tuesday, 12 May 2015, Fatou Bensouda told the U.N. Security Council that the ICC Prosecutor’s Office was considering opening investigations into crimes committed by Islamic State militants against civilians in Libya, noting the alleged crimes fall within the jurisdiction of the ICC. The Chief Prosecutor stated, however, that the primary responsibility to investigate and hold accountable those responsible for the alleged crimes rests with the individual states. Bensouda also addressed the ICC cases against Saif Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi. Bensouda said Libya remained in non-compliance with the ICC’s order to surrender Gaddafi to the Court and that the Prosecutor’s Office would continue to, and the Security Council is encourage to, put pressure on the country to comply with the request.  Regarding Al-Senussi, Bensouda stated that the Prosecutor’s Office reviewed evidence of the proceedings and concluded “it is not in possession of new facts that would fully satisfy it that the basis on which the case against Mr Al-Senussi had previously been found inadmissible before the ICC has been negated.” (For the transcript of Bensouda’s statement, please click here) (Reuters, Kasmir Watch).

US human rights record criticized at UNHRC review: Racial discrimination and police brutality in the U.S. were the main concerns voiced during the country’s second universal periodic review at the United Nations’ Human Rights Council on Monday, 11 May 2015.  Additionally, member states criticized the U.S. for its failure to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, the use of the death penalty, child labor, human trafficking and inadequate protection of migrant workers and indigenous peoples.  The member states also provided the U.S. with recommendations for improving its human rights record. (Aljazeera).

IACHR issues preliminary measures on violence against ethnic groups in Costa Rica: In accordance with a resolution by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Costa Rican government has until 15 May 2015 to adopt measures protecting the lives and personal integrity of the Bribri and Teribe ethnic groups.  The resolution also granted precautionary measures in favor of the Bribri community whose land has been illegally occupied by non-indigenous landowners and aims to safeguard the Teribe communit from ethnic violence. A University of Costa Rica law professor says the resolution and precautionary measures are an important first step in order to get the case before the IACHR.  (IPS News).

ICTY says incompetent to consider Seselj motion on disqualification and discipline of Brammertz: The ICTY Trial Chamber has found itself incompetent to consider Vojislav Seselj’s motion to disqualify and discipline ICTY Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz. The three member Trial Chamber also warned Seselj that any further remarks against the prosecutor that have already been investigated were an abuse of the proceedings. In April 2015, the former Serbian leader filed a complaint with the Trial Chamber accusing the chief prosecutor of obstruction of justice.  (InSerbia).

International Commission reports enough evidence to prosecute Assad and senior Syrian officials: The Commission for International Justice and Accountability reported that it has gathered enough evidence to prosecute Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and 24 senior officials in his regime for war crimes.  The Commission, who worked with 50 Syrian investigators that smuggled official documents out of the country during a three-year operation, says the evidence includes communications between senior officials ordering mass arrests and detentions. Prosecution cases have been prepared using the evidence collected in anticipation of the establishment of a war crimes tribunal in the future. (The Guardian).

ICTY Prosecutor begins mission to Sarajevo: ICTY Prosecutor Serge Brammertz is in Sarajevo this week, 12 to 14 May 2015, in preparation for his six month report to the U.N. Security Council on the implementation of the ICTY’s Completion Strategy.  The Prosecutor is expected to meet with authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the High Judicial, the Prosecutorial Council and representatives of the international community.  Brammertz’s report to the U.N. Security Council is scheduled for early June 2015. (ICTY).

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12 May 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC’s first acquitted accused deported to DRC: Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, formerly accused of war crimes, was deported back to the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Monday. Chui was acquitted by the ICC and filed for asylum in the Netherlands for fear of safety in the DRC.  Dutch authorities dismissed his application and sent him back to the DRC. Géraldine Mattioli-Zeltner, international justice advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, stated that HRW is calling on the DRC authorities to ensure Chui’s safety and security in the DRC. HRW is also calling upon dutch authorities and the ICC to monitor the situation. (Expatica, Human Rights Watch) (for additional information click here)

HRW calls for ICC investigation into on-going crimes in Libya: Human Rights Watch urged the United Nations Security Council to look at ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda’s briefing on Libya. HRW called for an investigation into the ongoing crimes happening in Libya. HRW states that Libyan authorities have not responded properly to ongoing situation. They have not investigated or prosecuted those responsible for crimes. HRW is looking to the ICC to properly investigate these crimes. (Human Rights Watch)

ECCC victim representation faces funding cuts: Lawyers at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia have seen recent cuts in their salaries. Victim representation has seen major funding cuts due to  donor shortages. Attorneys from the Cambodian Defenders Project (CDP) and Legal Aid to Cambodia (LAC) stated that these cuts may dictate whether or not they continue representation of victims in the court. (Phnom Penh Post)

ICT Bangladesh issues 11 arrest warrants: ICT Bangladesh issued 11 arrest warrants for alleged Razakars of Jessore, for war crimes committed during the Liberation War in 1971. “The suspects are Ibrahim Hossain, Billal Hossain, Sheikh Majibur Rahman, Abdul Aziz Sardar, Aziz Sarder, Kazi Oahidul Islam, Lutfar Moral, Abdul Khaleq Moral, Akram Hossain, Ozehar Moral, and Mushiar Rahman.” (The Daily Star)

African Commission for HR’s 56th session concludes: The 56th Ordinary Session on Human and Peoples’ Rights concluded with resolutions that support “the strife against prevalence of human rights violations in Africa.” Commissioner Mute of the African Commission stated that the Commission passed resolutions that condemned xenophobic attacks in South Africa, urged Kenyan human rights, and rehabilitation rights for torture victims. (All Africa)

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24 February 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Mrs. Gbagbo appears before national trial and denies wrongdoing: Simone Gbagbo presented evidence for the first time in her trial in Abidjan. Mrs. Gbagbo denies all wrongdoing in her alleged role in inciting post election violence in 2010. In December 2014, the ICC denied the Ivory Coast’s admissibility application to try Mrs. Gbagbo nationally and ordered the Ivory Coast to surrender her to the Hague. By starting Mrs. Gbagbo’s trial, the Ivory Coast is proceeding in violation of the ICC’s decision. Mrs. Gbagbo’s husband, former President Laurent Gbagbo, is currently being tried at the ICC. (BBC, France24, ICC-CPI) (for additional information please click here and here)

ICC Prosecution to call final witness in Ruto / Sang case on 23 March: The 30th and last witness in the case against former Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang will testify on 23 March 2015. The ICC Public Affairs Unit stated that witness P0727 has been unwilling to testify and has put conditions upon testifying. The witness did not appear to testify on 2 February 2015, but will now testify by video from a secret location on 23 March. (CaptialFM)

At-large former lawmaker sentenced to life imprisonment by ICT Bangladesh: The International Criminal Tribunal of Bangladesh sentenced former lawmaker, Abdul Jabbar, to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity. The crimes against humanity were committed during the 1971independence war against Pakistan and include counts of genocide and religious persecution of the country’s Hindi minority. The court stated that Jabbar would get some leniency in mere imprisonment due to old age. Jabbar is still at-large and is thought to be in the United States. (The Economic Times, The Sun Daily) (for additional information please click here)

UNAMI and OHCHR report says HR violations in Iraq increasingly sectarian: A report produced by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights highlights the increase of human rights violations in Iraq. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have intentionally targeted members of Iraq’s different ethnic communities. The report covers a three month period from11 September to 10 December 2014. The report claims that many of the acts committed could constitute as war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide. (United Nations)

US federal court orders 218 million USD award against Palestinian Authority: A United States jury found in favor of ten American families for six attacks credited to the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Hamas over a decade ago. The Manhattan based court ordered the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority to pay 218 million USD. The United States Anti-Terrorist Act allows citizens harmed by terrorist acts to sue for damages in federal courts. Both groups stated that they would appeal the ruling. The Palestinian Authority signed the Rome Statute and submitted an Article 12(3) declaration in January 2015 in order to accept the ICC jurisdiction. (France24)

Amnesty highlights evidence of war crimes for Egyptian airstrikes in Libya: Amnesty International stated that violence in Libya is escalating and that civilians are feeling the impact of the attack. Amnesty claims that the Egyptian Air Force did not take the necessary precautions in their air strike over Libya to prevent civilian deaths. Amnesty has many eyewitness accounts that highlight the damage done over civilian populated areas in Libya. (Amnesty International)

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17 February 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN HR Council grants 6 mo delay to release of Sri Lanka war crimes report: The United Nations Human Rights Council granted the Sri Lankan government a six month delay in releasing its report on alleged war crimes. The report, led by former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, was due next month, but UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein stated that he recommended a deferral until September. A Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry official stated that the delay would help the “new government’s move to establish democratic process for accountability issues.” These war crimes stem from the previous government who stands accused of human rights violations during the final stages of the civil war in May of 2009. The United Nations Human Rights Council began their own investigation in March after stating that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had failed to properly conduct his own investigation. Once released, the United Nations report would be the basis of which the HR Council would recommend to hold those accountable for crimes, including a referral to the International Criminal Court. (Reuters, New York Times, Aljazeera) (for additional information please click here and here)

Extraordinary African Chambers finds enough evidence against Habre to proceed to trial: The Extraordinary African Chambers found enough evidence against Hissene Habre for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture to go forward with trial. This evidence comes from witness and victim interviews, documents from Habre’s secret police, and a visit to mass graves during a 19-month pretrial investigation conducted mainly in Chad. These allegations stem from Habre’s eight-year rule in Chad, though he was overthrown over 20 years ago. Habre lived in exile in Senegal until he was detained in 2013. The trial is expected to begin in May or June and will have two Senegalese judges and a lead judge from another African Union member state. (Defence Web)

HRW calls Libyan beheadings a war crime: Human Rights Watch stated that the killing of 21 people by a Libyan extremist group constituted as a war crime. A video was published on 15 February 2015 that showed the 21 men beheaded on a beach thought to be in western Libya. HRW called for Libyan officials to hold those accountable for the acts and for the United Nations to establish a mechanism to investigate and prosecute the crimes. The Libyan extremist group has pledged its loyalty to ISIS, another extremist group. (Human Rights Watch)

Kurdish Gov investigating atrocities committed against ISIS: Images posted on Twitter of beheaded ISIS militants have been confirmed as legitimate by the Kurdish government. These tactics committed against ISIS fighters mirrors the extremist group’s own tactics. The beheadings occurred on 30 January 2015 during a battle to drive ISIS out of the city of Kirkuk. The Kurdish government is investigating the atrocities committed. Kurdish Regional government spokesperson Safeen Dizayi stated that there is no justification for treating dead corpses in this manner. (CTV News)

Official says N Korea not guilty of any crime while asking for HR conference to be cancelled: The United Nations General Assembly urged the UN Security Council to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity back in December. North Korea’s UN ambassador, Jang Il Hun, stated on Monday that the threat of referral was not worrisome since they are not guilty of the alleged crimes. Hun also stated that he asked the United States to cancel a conference to be held at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies concerning human rights in North Korea. Hun sent a formal request to his counterpart in the State Department, but the request was denied, as it was not a U.S. government event. (Euronews)

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12 February 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURT

Sri Lanka requests delay on UN war crimes report: Sri Lankan officials have asked the UN for a delay in the releasing of the report investigating the atrocities of the war between the Tamil Tigers and government forces. A delay in the report’s release until August should give enough time for internal mechanisms to be established. UN officials said the timetable for the report’s release has not been changed as of it. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (BBC, Reuters)

UN Libya Mission concerned over deteriorating political, human rights situation: The UN has released a report lamenting the conditions in Libya. The report highlights the vulnerable situation of migrants in Libya as well as those behind bars with no foreseeable way to challenge their incarceration. There is hope that once the State institutions are strong enough, Libya will stabilize and the fact finding and reconciliation commission will be able to operate more effectively. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (UN, Jurist)

HRW Report details mass Sudan rapes last October: According to HRW, Sudanese army forces raped more than 200 women and girls in an organized attack on the north Darfur town of Tabit in October 2014.   The UN and AU have been urged to take aggressive steps to stop any further abuses from occurring. HRW has also urged the ICC to further investigate Darfur and push for more involvement.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (HRW, Reuters)

ECOWAS Court highlights importance of regional human rights mechanism:  The President of West Africa’s Community Court has called on the community and the ECOWAS Commission for the development of an instrument that will ensure the human rights of the 300 million citizens of West Africa. The new ECOWAS Court President has also called for more enforcement in regards to the court’s authority in order to strengthen its presence. (All Africa)

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