Archive for category NATO

22 August 2013 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Ruto defense moves for staggered court schedule at ICC: On 21 August 2013, defense for Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto filed a motion with the ICC seeking a court schedule of “two weeks on, two weeks off.” The defense argued a staggered schedule would enable Ruto to comply with the Court’s earlier ruling requiring the state leader to be present during certain specified proceedings, while at the same time allowing Ruto to fulfill his obligations in Kenya. Ruto’s trial is expected to begin 10 September 2013.

ECCC to get 3 million Euros from EU: On Wednesday, 21 August 2013, the EU stated it would be contributing 3 million Euros to the cash strapped ECCC for 2013 international salaries. EU Ambassador to Cambodia Jean-Francois Cautain explained the funding was in addition to the 1.3 million Euros the EU provided to the Extraordinary Chambers for the national budget. Cautain emphasized the “commitment of the European Union to deliver justice for the Cambodian people.” The ECCC is currently nearing a $3 million deficit and has been unable to pay national salaries since May.

Libya begins trial against Gadhafi’s head security chief: The trial of Gadhafi’s former chief of security, Mansour Dhau, commenced in Libya on Tuesday, 20 August 2013. Dhau is charged with stealing more than 2,000 civilian cars and alleged to have directed airstrikes against NATO. Dhau told the court at his first appearance that he was “not a thief” and requested to be released.

U.N. emergency meeting after 100 die in alleged Syrian chemical weapons attack: The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting yesterday, 21 August 2013, after it was reported the Syrian government allegedly used chemical weapons in an attack on Damascus killing at least 100 civilians. In a press statement released shortly after the meeting, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon assured the member states that there would be a “thorough investigation” into the reported incident. Syria had previously agreed to allow a U.N. special experts team to investigate the site of the alleged 19 March chemical weapons attack on Khan al Assal. The team has yet to access the site in Syria and it has been questioned whether an investigation six months later would produce useful evidence. On the other hand, member states calling for a prompt investigation into the latest attack are more hopeful the U.N. could determine if chemical weapons are being used and what side is responsible.

Bemba witnesses claim rebel fighters committed crimes against humanity: The trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba, commander-in-chief of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo, continued this week at the ICC with testimony from two protected defense witnesses. Bemba is charged with crimes against humanity for failing to control his troops in the murder and rape of civilians during the 2002 and 2003 conflict. Bemba’s witnesses provided statements accusing rebel forces under the command of François Bozizé of committing the alleged atrocities. The witnesses testified that a select number of Bozizé’s recruits were fluent in the Congolese dialect Lingala; the language many prosecution witnesses have relied on to identify Bemba’s troops as the perpetrators. 

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12 November 2012 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Possible new ICC Libya cases: Last Wednesday, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda gave a presentation to the UN Security Council in which she stated the court will soon decide whether to bring a second set of cases related to the 2011 Libyan revolution.  Allegations of sexual violence against both the Gaddafi government and the rebel forces are currently being investigated.  Tripoli, however, has already brought challenges to the existing ICC cases related to the revolution, claiming Libya’s justice systems can adjudicate them without international involvement.  Some speculate any new ICC cases would be met with similar challenges (for additional information on this topic, please 1. Click here, and 2. Click here).

Ocampo says NATO could arrest Assad: Former ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the Canadian Broadcasting Company on Friday he believes NATO has a solid case for issuing and executing a warrant to arrest Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.  Since, he claims, it is clear Assad’s forces have killed civilians during the country’s current conflict, NATO could make the arrest with the justification of  protecting civilians.  Ocampo, however, is not in favor of the international community commencing any military action in Syria.

Kenyatta and Muthaura to be tried in the Hague: Last week, a three-judge panel in the Hague decided to reject two Kenyans’ request to have their cases tried in either Kenya or Tanzania.  The two suspects, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former head of the civil service Francis Muthaura, face charges of crimes against humanity related to Kenya’s post-election violence in 2007 and 2008.  The suspects argued the change of venue would ensure a smoother trial process because of the convenience for victims, witnesses, and the accused (for more information on this topic, click here).

Haradinaj verdict on 29 November: Former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) leader Ramush Haradinaj will receive a verdict in his case on 29 November 2012.  Haradinaj was originally found not guilty of all 37 counts against him and two alleged co-conspirators for crimes committed in the illegal prison camp at Jablanca during the Balkan War.  The new verdict will determine his guilt again on 6 of those counts pursuant to an appeal brought by the prosecution.  He is currently under house arrest, but will be flown to the Hague before the verdict is given.  He plans to return to Kosovo and reenter politics if acquitted a second time.

Taylor challenges verdict: Defense lawyers for Former Liberian president Charles Taylor claim they have found 45 separate significant errors in the conviction of their client, 42 of which they are appealing.  Last year, the Special Court for Sierra Leone pronounced Taylor guilty on all 11 counts in his indictment of aiding and abetting crimes committed by rebel forces in Sierra Leone during the country’s civil war.  Taylor’s lawyers claim parts of the verdict were based on inadmissible hearsay, and that some prosecution witnesses received bribes.  They further reiterate their assertion that Taylor’s sentence is disproportionate given that the convicts he allegedly aided received shorter sentences.  The oral argument for this appeal is scheduled for January.

STL Registrar comments on upcoming cases: The Registrar of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon  held a question and answer session last week on Twitter regarding the upcoming cases against 4 in absentia defendants.  He said that the Lebanese authorities have been doing all they can to arrest the men, who are accused of involvement of assassinating former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.  Their trial is set for March, and the court will broadcast it live.  The registrar also noted that the STL would only launch investigations into the killing of Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces Intelligence Chief Wissam al-Hassan, which took place just a few weeks ago, with the consent of the Lebanese government and the UN Security Council. Hassan’s death is not currently under the jurisdiction of the STL, which only extends to events that occurred in 2004 and 2005.

ICTR to close December 2014: Last weekend, a spokesman for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda announced the court will meet its 31 December 2014 deadline for ending all judicial activity.  Only one case remains to be decided in the first instance, that of Rwanda’s former planning minister Augustin Ngirabatware, and the court plans to make its determination by the end of the year.  7 cases are currently on appeal in front of the residual mechanism for the ICTR, which the UN Security Council created to help the court meet its 2014 deadlines.  These appeals and the judgment in Ngirabatware’s trial are the only judicial tasks remaining for the ICTR.

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Clinton asks Senegal to prosecute or extradite Habré:  On 21 June, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a report asking Senegal to either prosecute former Chadian leader Hissène Habré or extradite him to Belgium.  Habré has been in exile in Senegal for over 20 years and is accused of mass killings and torture during his time in power from 1982 to 1990.  Clinton’s report noted that Senegal has failed to bring Habré to justice and the victims deserve justice and their day in court.

ICTY Mladic trial to hear first witness on 9 July:  The ICTY has announced that the prosecution will present the testimony of its first witness on 9 July in the case against General Ratko Mladic, former Bosnian Serb military commander charged with 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including genocide.  After several delays due to disclosure issues, the ICTY states that the trial will proceed with presentation of prosecution evidence from 9-20 July and then break for the summer recess.

Crisis over ICC staff detained in Libya continues:  Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib has stated that Melinda Taylor, one member of the ICC staff detained in Libya after visiting Saif Gaddafi on a court ordered mission, is guilty of crimes which “compromise national security.”  The Prime Minister said Ms. Taylor would not be released from detention.   This report comes a midst appeal from the UN, NATO, the ICC, and international organisations such as Amnesty International to release the ICC staff and stating that their detention is illegal under international law.   Libya’s actions have prompted former ICTY and ICTR prosecutor, Richard Goldstone, to state that Libya’s actions justify the ICC’s insistence that Saif be tried at the ICC.  Following the Prime Minister’s statement, the ICC on Friday 22 June issued a statement “deeply regret[ing] any events that may have given rise to concerns on the part of the Libyan authorities “ and promising to further investigate the actions of the ICC staff.  (For additional information on this topic, please 1. click here, and 2. click here).

US drone attacks may constitute war crimes:  After Russia and China this week issued a statement to the UN Human Rights Council condemning drone attacks used by the US in Pakistan, Yemen and other countries for targeted killings, two UN Special Rappateurs, Christof Heyns and Ben Emmerson QC, stated that the attacks may be against international human rights law and must be investigated.  Emmerson stated that if the state responsible for the attack does not investigate each killing than the UN should establish an investigatory body to do so.

High Commissioner says Nigerian attacks may be crimes against humanity:  The UN High Commissioner on Human Rights stated on 22 June that recent attacks on churches may leave the Islamist militant group Boko Haram responsible for crimes against humanity.  The High Commissioner expressed concern and it was said that Boko Haram has committed widespread or systematic attacks against a civilian population.  Reports say that Boko Haram may also be responsible for bomb and gun attacks since 2009.

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19 January 2012 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Russia offers to intervene on Seselj’s behalf:  On Wednesday 18 January 2012, ICTY accused and detained, Vojislav Seselj was rushed to a Dutch hospital with failing health after he was given a pace maker on 12 January 2012.  Seselj’s health prompted Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov to state on 18 January that Russia is willing to intervene for Seselj.  Lavrov stated that a petition with 600,000 signatures will be given to the Russian Ambassador to the UN asking for Seselj’s release after 9 years of detainment. 

Human Rights group reports violations in Libya on all sides:  A report published by the Arab Organisation for Human Rights, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and the International Legal Assistance Consortium has concluded that human rights violations were committed by NATO, Rebel forces and Gaddafi’s forces.  The report is based on fact finding conducted by law and war crimes experts and looks to witness and victim interviews.  The report also states that investigations into NATO operation sites showed that many deemed military sites should be classified as civilian. 

German Prosecutor petitions for jail time for convicted Nazi war criminal:  A Prosecutor in Germany has petitioned a German Court to send Klaas Carel Faber, a Dutch national convicted in the Netherlands of war crimes as a Nazi.  After conviction in 1947, Faber fled to Germany in 1952 and escaped his life sentence.  The petition asks the German courts to force Faber to serve his sentence in a German prison. 

Investigation provides proof of Taylor’s link to the CIA:  An investigation conducted by the Boston Globe has offered the first proof to validate testimony and rumours that SCSL accused, Charles Taylor, worked for the CIA and Pentagon during his rise to power in Liberia during the 1980s.  The investigation shows that the former Liberian President’s close tied to Muammar Gaddafi were valuable to the CIA. 

Kenyan support for the ICC drops:  As the confirmation of charges decision from the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber in the cases against six Kenyan is due by Monday 23 January 2012, support for the ICC within Kenya has fallen.  A recent poll from Ipsos-Synovate, conducted on 12 and 19 December 2011 shows that Kenyan support for the ICC process is at 54% while in October 2010 it was at 68%; its highest since the ICC became involved in investigations and charges over the 2007 and 2008 post election violence.

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5 January 2012 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

New Security Council president calls for investigation of NATO in Libya: On Wednesday 4 January 2012, incoming UN Security Council president, Ambassador Baso Sangqu of South Africa, stated that NATO may have committed human rights abuses and killed civilians by overstepping its mandate to enforce the Libyan no-fly zone.  Sangqu said that though there are currently on the ground investigations taking place in Libya, these investigations must have equal inquiry into violations by all sides.

Ivory Coast youth leader calls for dialogue:  On Wednesday, 4 January 2012, Charles Ble Goude the former leader of the Youth Patriots urged the Government and the opposition to hold talks and relieve tension in the country.  Gounde stated that the dialogue could help find a consensus which could create national cohesion.

ICT to decide on Prosecution’s charges against Ghulam Azam:  After the ICT judges ordered on 26 December 2011 the Prosecution to refile its charges against Ghulam Azam, former Jamaat-e-Islami chief, in order for the Prosecution to rearrange and properly categorize the charges, the ICT will now make an initial decision on the resubmitted charges due on 9 January.  The original charges against Ghulam Azam were filed on 12 December.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here).

Sri Lankan LLRC report criticized: Calls have been made by international human rights groups against the Sri Lankan commission and have expressed that victims will not receive a positive outcome. Though the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission was constituted under international pressure to commission an independent and impartial investigation, it has been expressed that the real motive of the commission is to bail out the Government.

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23 December 2011 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Russia urges UN to investigate NATO Libya bombing, US objects:  On Wednesday 21 December 2011 Russia urged the UN Security Council to investigate deaths caused by NATO bombings in Libya.  In Russia’s request for an investigation it was suggested that NATO exceeded its mandate to enforce a no fly zone and protect civilians.  The US reaction to Russia’s request highlighted conflicting stances on the campaign of the US, France and Britain in Libya, when the US Ambassador Susan Rice dismissed Russia’s request as an attempt of Russia to distract from its failure condemn Syria for violations committed against protestors.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here). 

Arab League observer mission to Syria criticized:  On Thursday 22 December 2011, the Arab League appointed Sudanese General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa Al Dabi as head of its observer mission to Syria.  The appointment was followed by criticism from human rights organization, Enough Project Sudan, which condemned the mission and commented General Dabi was head of Military Intelligence and oversaw implementation of the Darfur Security Arrangement at the time genocide was allegedly committed in Darfur. 

Mbarushimana released from ICC detainment:  Former ICC suspect Callixte Mbarushimana was released from ICC custody on 23 December 2011 after the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber declined to confirm charges against the alleged Rwandan rebel leader.  The ICC Pre-Trial Chamber decided that there was insufficient evidence for charges alleged against the suspect and the Prosecution’s appeal of the confirmation decision was rejected on Tuesday 20 December 2011.  Mbarushimana returned to Paris after his release where he has refugee status. 

ICTY declines indictment of Court Prosecutors for contempt:  On Thursday 22 December 2011, ICTY judges declined to proceed with indictment and prosecution of the ICTY’s former chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte and other prosecutors for allegations of witness intimidate after the Court appointed independent prosecutor reported to the Court that there was insufficient evidence on the allegations.  Last year an independent prosecutor was appointed by the Court to investigate allegations that prosecutors threatened witnesses in the trial against accused, Vojislav Seselj.  (For additional information on this topic, please 1. click here, and 2. click here). 

ICTY Appeal Chamber rejects provisional release of Haradinaj:  The Appeal Chamber of the ICTY rejected the defence request for accused, Ramush Haradinaj, to receive provisional release from 16 December to 8 January.  The defence argued that all witness in the retrial had already testified and gave assurances that Haradinaj would remain in his home in Pristina.  The Tribunal’s rejection of the release was on the bases that it could jeopardize the trial.

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