Archive for category Other domestic courts

28 October 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN Inquiry leads ask for China support in N. Korea ICC referral

The United Nations team that led an investigation into war crimes committed in North Korea on Wednesday asked that China support a referral of the case to the International Criminal Court. Michael Kirby was the chair of the commission of inquiry tasked with identifying any crimes committed and ongoing in North Korea. The resulting report outlined ongoing abuses, and has provided evidence to potentially refer North Korea to the ICC. Leaders were concerned Wednesday that China would use its veto power to block any action to refer North Korea. For additional information on this topic, please click here and click here (Reuters, Washington Post)

Rwanda Prosecutor appeals for cooperation in pursuing suspects

Richard Muhumuza, the Prosecutor General of Rwanda, vowed that he would collaborate with prosecutors and legal systems throughout Africa to pursue and apprehend remaining war crimes suspects. He spoke at the meeting of the General Assembly of the Africa Prosecutors’ Association, and appealed for cooperation to ensure extradition of suspects. Specifically, he spoke about individuals suspected of perpetrating crimes in the 1994 Rwanda Genocide, who had not been apprehended to date. (AllAfrica)

Team of investigators to present findings ICT of Bangladesh Prosecution

A report detailing evidence against three International Crimes Tribunal suspects will be turned over to the Prosecution, for consideration. The investigation arm of the ICT compiled a report against Forkan Mollick, Mohidur Rahman, and Afsar Hossain, in relation to alleged mass killings, rape, and forced conversions, among other charges. (BDNews)

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27 October 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN official says rape used as weapon of war in S. SudanU.N. Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, stated that the Sudanese government Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA) uses rape as a weapon of war in its current conflict with opposition forces. Bangura stated that women are sent out for firewood and other tasks since men would be killed at SPLA checkpoints, while women are raped at these checkpoints. Bangura stated that sexual violence in conflict could constitute as a war crime or crime against humanity. Bangura has urged government and opposition officials to stop the use of sexual violence and notified both that these crimes will be prosecuted through national and international courts. (Voice of America)

ECCC defense team warned of misconduct and obstructing proceedings: The Trial Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) has issued warnings to lawyers representing Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan for misconduct in walking out of the courtroom during opening statements on 17 October and for failing to appear at a trial management meeting. The court accused the attorneys of obstructing proceedings for boycotting their clients’ genocide trial. Kong Sam Onn, Khieu Sampan’s Cambodian lawyer, stated they are acting on behalf of their clients’ wishes in order to draft an appeal brief on earlier convictions for crimes against humanity that carried life sentences in prison. Both defense teams have been ordered to be present in court for another trial management meeting set for Tuesday, but Sam Onn stated that they would not appear unless ordered by their client. Under Rule 38, judges have the ability to impose sanctions on lawyers or refer them to their bar associations for disciplinary action, a process that could ban lawyers from appearing before the ECCC. (Cambodia Daily)

Inter-American Crt of HR decision called “unacceptable” and “biased” by State: Last year, a Dominican court ruled that people born to illegal migrants did not automatically receive citizenship rendering many stateless. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) gave the government six months to invalidate the ruling stating that it discriminated against Dominicans born of Haitian descent. The Dominican Republic has rejected this ruling calling it “unacceptable” and “biased.” Amnesty International stated that this reaction demonstrates a disregard for international law and the country’s legal responsibilities. The court found abuses against human rights in the Dominican Republic’s Law 169/14, which created two categories of people: those who were registered in the Dominican civil registry and those with undeclared births that labeled them as foreigners. The IACHR found the requirement of having Dominicans register as foreigners as a violation of international human rights law. (Fox News, Amnesty International) (For additional information on this topic, please click here)

Argentinian court sentences 15 to life for crimes against humanity: Argentine Federal Court sentenced 15 individuals to life for crimes against humanity during the Argentine military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983. Four others were sentenced between 12 to 13 years in prison and one was absolved. Soldiers, policeman, and former politicians were among those accused for genocide of Argentinians and the kidnapping and murder of Laura Carlotto, daughter of Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo founder, Estela de Carlotto. These proceedings began in December of 2013 and finished last Friday with the guilty verdict. (teleSUR)

Rwandan opposition leader files complaint at African Court: Victoire Ingabire, a jailed Rwandan opposition figure, filed a complaint in demand of a retrial with the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Ingabire was convicted for “conspiracy in harming authorities through terrorism and war,” minimizing the Rwandan genocide, and spreading rumors to incite violence. She was sentenced to 15 years in prison last December. Ingabire wants the court to strike down Rwanda’s laws banning genocide revisionism and spreading rumors. The United Democratic Forces party stated that Ingabire should be freed upon retrial and paid damages for the detention. (Naharnet)

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21 October 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC Judge orders release of members of Bemba Team and others

On Tuesday, October 21, the Judge of Pre-Trial Chamber II at the ICC ordered the release of several individuals connected to the Case of Prosecutor v. Bemba, Kilolo, et. al. The Judge, Cuno Tarfusser, considered the circumstances of detention for several members of Mr. Bemba’s defense team, a defense witness, and one other individual from the DRC government. The four were detained in November 2013 for allegedly obstructing justice in the Case of Mr. Bemba. Judge Tarfusser ordered release for the four to ensure pre-trial detention was not disproportionately long for the charges. A confirmation of charges decision is anticipated, and any corresponding detention will be decided at that time. (ICC Press Release)

Former Pinochet Regime Minister arrested for allegedly aiding killings

On Monday, the ex-mayor of Providencia was arrested for allegedly perpetrating crimes including homicide and torture during the Pinochet Regime. Christian Labbe Galilea will be prosecuted along with nine other regime leaders, for acts committed as a member of the DINA Secret Police. The human rights division of the Chile Interior Ministry pursued the charges against the former military leaders, and indicated that they would contact Brazilian authorities regarding alleged torture training conducted in 1972-1973 in Brazil. Defense attorneys for Labbe said they would appeal the charges and seek unlawful association charges. (BBC, Reuters) For additional information on this topic, please click here.

ICT-1 sets date for charges hearing against three accused

The International Crimes Tribunal – 1 announced it would consider charges against three accused on November 5. The three suspects, Sheikh Sirajul Haque, Khan Akram Hossain, and Abdul Latif Talukdar, allegedly committed murder and other crimes during the Liberation War of 1971. Mr. Haque was said to have killed more than 650 civilians, while the two other individuals were alleged to have converted hundreds of Hindus and murdered several civilians. (Daily Star)

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20 October 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Two ECCC accused seek to boycott trial until appeal in earlier conviction concluded: On 18 October 2014, defense attorneys of two former leaders of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, stated that they would boycott their client’s genocide trial until appeals were filed on earlier convictions.  Defense lawyers for the two accused stated that the boycott was necessary as it would not be possible to finalise the full appeal in the first case while starting proceedings in the second, and would not disrupt the Court because there is a clear time frame; until the full appeals document has been filed in the accuseds’ other case. Both men already have life sentences for earlier crimes against humanity and war crimes. Court officials contemplate that the trial could extend into 2016. (The Wall Street Journal, The Straight Times) (For additional information on this topic, please click here).

Simone Gbagbo’s trial to begin in Ivory Coast on 22 October:  On 15 October 2014, it was announced that the trial date has been set for October 22 against 89 individuals, including Simone Gbagbo the wife of former President Laurence Gbagbo who is currently being tried before the ICC for charges of crimes against humanity related to the post-election violence in 2010 and 2011.  Mrs. Gbagbo is wanted by the ICC and has been is charged before the Court with crimes against humanity during the same conflict. The charges brought in the domestic trial concern economic crimes, but further charges have been made for ‘blood crimes’ including murder, rape and genocide.  The Ivory Coast is a State party to the Rome State, and the government has stated that they will try Simone in domestic court rather than turn her over to the ICC. (Reuters)

Amnesty calls for investigation of war crimes by both sides in Ukraine: On 20 October 2014, Amnesty International accused Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists of committing war crimes in a report presented in Berlin and London. Amnesty International stated that while the rumors of mass killings and mass graves are not supported by evidence, there have been isolated cases that could constitute as war crimes. Amnesty International urges both sides to investigate these allegations, and to prosecute any parties responsible on both sides. (DW)

ICC indictee Bashir visits Egypt: On 18 October 2014, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir travelled to Egypt to visit Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi. The ICC indicted Bashir in 2009 for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes on the civilian population in Darfur. The ICC issued two arrest warrants for these crimes in 2009 and 2010. The ICC officially requested Bashir’s arrest upon arrival to Egypt. Although Egypt is a signatory to the ICC statute, they never ratified the treaty. (Al Arabiya News, Daily News Egypt) (For additional information on this topic, please click here).

Post author:  Aryane Garansi

 

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15 April 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICTY rejects Mladic’s Rule 98bis application and find case to answer: On Tuesday, 15 April 2014, Trial Chamber I of the ICTY rejected Ratko Mladic’s 98 bis application for acquittal, a rule under the Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence that allows the Tribunal to acquit a defendant after an oral hearing if there exists no evidence to support a conviction. Upon dismissing the application, the Chamber held that even if Mladic has a defense to all of the counts against him, there is evidence to support all of the charges against him. (ICTY).

Libyan trial of Ex-Gaddafi Officials postponed amid concerns of a fair trial: On Monday, 14 April 2014, the Libyan government opened and subsequently adjourned the trial against Muammar Gaddafi’s sons and his former officials, due to incomplete investigations; particularly the investigation of evidence against Saadi Gaddafi remains incomplete. The case will proceed on 27 April 2014, in order to allow the investigators more preparation time and to set up video links for the sons and officials who were not brought to the court for security reasons. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International continue to express that the defendants’ right to a fair trial have been violated. The groups are concerned that not all of the defendants have had access to lawyers; that the defense teams have been restricted in their ability to assess evidence and case files; that interrogation strategies and detention conditions have been unfair; that Libya recently amended its Code of Criminal procedure to allow trials through video links, meaning the defendants, all of whom are being held in prisons and one of whom is being held in a secret location by a militia, will not physically appear at their trials; and that the Libyan justice system is generally unstable, in part because previous attacks against lawyers and judges in Libya have resulted in the suspension of courts throughout parts of Libya. The defense lawyers raised concerns about insufficient access to the case files in court. The ICC is still deliberating on the admissibility of the cases against Saif Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi, and a decision from the Appeals Chamber on whether the Libyan government is able to try them is still outstanding. (Reuters) (For more information on this topic, please click here, here, and here).

Ruto trial hears from satellite imagery expert and breaks for Easter: Lars Bromley, a UN specialist in satellite imagery, testified before the ICC in the case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and Kenyan journalist Joshua Arap Sang, explaining that at least 506 buildings were deliberately burned down in the Rift Valley following the election, and that 190 more buildings were “possibly burnt.” He based his analysis on satellite images, the deliberate nature of the burnings being evident from burn patters. The defense disputed the expert’s testimony. The trial is currently on break for the Easter holiday, after which the prosecution will likely call a witness who was instrumental in the confirmation of charges against Ruto.  (Institute for War & Peace Reporting) (For additional information on this topic, please click here).

Habre defense team says trial is politically motivated: The defense team of former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre claims that the reasons behind his prosecution in Senegal were political and instigated by a Chadian spy agency. Habre, who is charged with having committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, and torture while he was in charge of Chad between 1982 and 1990, will stand trial in Senegal in 2015, where he was in exile for twelve years before being arrested last July. (Legalbrief Today).

ICTR Prosecutor asks for increased efforts to prosecute all suspects of 1994 crimes in Rwanda: In a commemoration address, Hassan Jallow, the chief prosecutor of the ICTR, asked for an increased effort to find and prosecute perpetrators of the genocide against Tutsis in 1994 who have not been tried, and that countries in which suspects of these crimes are located to transfer these alleged perpetrators to Rwanda in order to stand trial. He specifically mentioned Félicien Kabuga, Protais Mpiranya, and Augustin Bizimana, all of whom are fugitives and suspected of having played significant roles in the genocide. (AllAfrica).

UN High Commissioner for HR expresses concerns for amnesties in Nepal: Following the Nepalese government’s drafting of a law that would create a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a Commission on Disappeared Persons, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay warned that this legislation would allow these two panels to recommend amnesties for human rights abuses that occurred in Nepal. The government denies the existence of amnesty possibilities in the legislation, saying that amnesty would only occur with the victims’ consent. (Reuters).

Amnesty claims CAH and war crimes escalating in Nigeria: Amnesty International issued a report stating that violence has increased in northeastern Nigeria due to a higher number of attacks by Boko Haram and responses by Nigerian security forces, which has resulted in the death of at least 1,500 people since the beginning of the year. According the group, these events may be war crimes and crimes against humanity, and the group urged other countries, the African Union, and the UN to launch investigations into these acts. Amnesty International has documented attacks carried out by both Boko Haram and Nigerian security forces that occurred in January, February, and March 2014. (Amnesty International).

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8 April 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Sri Lanka will not cooperate with UN Inquiry into war crimes: On 7 April 2014, Gamini Lakshman Peiris, the Sri Lankan foreign minister, announced that Sri Lanka will not be cooperating with the UN probe into war crimes, decided through a resolution last month. Citing concerns about the legality and fairness of the probe, as well as conflicts of interest of the Sri Lankan government, the foreign minister explained that the government will not support the investigation into the alleged crimes, which the government has officially denied. (Al Jazeera).

African Commission asked to intervene in death sentence of 529 Egyptians: The Freedom of Justice Party (FJP), together with lawyers for the 529 Egyptians who received death sentences on 24 March 2014 for opposing the 2013 military coup in Egypt, has asked the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to intervene in the sentences. Specifically, the FJP has urged the Commission to suspend the sentences, because the defendants’ death penalties violate the right to life and the right to a fair trial under the African Charter. (Middle East Monitor).

ECCC sets out foundation for second segment of Case 002: The ECCC determined the scope of the second segment of Case 002, against Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, who are facing—among others—charges of genocide, forced marriage, rape, and religious persecution. Though the 4 April 2014 severance order has not been made public, it adheres closely to requests made by the prosecutors; namely, that the charges to be addressed in this segment will serve as a representation, so that further segments will not need to be heard. The Chamber has decided not to include several crime sites the prosecution proposed, so as to maintain efficiency and manageability in the case. A trial date has not yet been announced. (The Phnom Penh Post).

Srebrenica survivors sue Dutch Government over peacekeepers failure to protect: The Mothers of Srebrenica, a group representing relatives of victims who were killed in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, have filed a civil suit against the Dutch government, for failing to protect civilians during the attack by Bosnian Serb forces. Dutch peacekeepers in the area had been unable to stop the forces, and withdrew. The group tried to bring a suit in 2007 against the UN, but Dutch courts refused to hear it on the basis that the UN has immunity, a decision with which the ECtHR agreed in 2013. The current was put on hold until the case against the UN had been decided, and hearings began on Monday, 7 April 2014. (Sky News).

ICC hears testimony of 15th Prosecution witness in Ruto case: On Saturday, 5 April 2014, the 15th witness for the prosecution in the case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto testified before the ICC that a chief of the Kimumu area had made many trips to Eldoret town in a pick-up truck before the houses of the Kikuyu were burned. The truck carried black drums, ordinarily used for transporting water and oil, and was used by the chief for several such trips before the raid. The witness, who said that demonstrations had been peaceful before these events, was brought to Eldoret town when the houses were razed. (The Star).

South Korea will not host UN field office to investigate CAH in North Korea: On Monday, 7 April 2014, a diplomatic source of Seoul announced that the city will not be hosting a field office in order to support the UN probe into crimes against humanity allegedly committed by the North Korean government against its citizens. Though the source emphasized the importance of this investigation, South Korea fears worsening its relationship with North Korea, which could impact humanitarian efforts such as family reunifications. (The Chosunilbo).

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25 March 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN may seek special tribunal on North Korea as alternative to ICC: On Sunday, 23 March 2014, a diplomatic source revealed that the UN is considering creating a special court to try North Korean leaders who have committed human rights violations against North Korean citizens. This would serve as an alternative to referring the issue to the ICC, a decision that would likely be vetoed by China. The creation of a court would occur by majority vote in the UN General Assembly. (Yonhap News Agency).

Libya announces trial date for former Gaddafi officials: On Monday, 24 March 2014, Libya announced that on 14 April 2014, 37 high-level aides of Muammar Gaddafi will be tried in domestic proceedings. Among those to stand trial are Seif al-Islam Gaddafi and Saadi Gaddafi, the two sons of Muammar Gaddafi; Abdullah Senussi, the former intelligence chief and brother-in-law of Muammar Gaddafi; and dozens of former aides of Muammar Gaddafi. Al-Islam Gaddafi and al-Senussi are wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Libya in February 2011. The Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC previously rejected admissibility of al-Saddafi’s case, and based on complementarity, decided that he should instead be tried by Libyan authorities. Furthermore, the Pre-Trial Chamber rejected the challenge to the admissibility of Al-Islam Gaddafi’s case, deciding that his case would be heard before the ICC. However, both decisions were appealed, the outcomes of which are outstanding. Both al-Islam Gaddafi and al-Senussi have complained that their due process rights have been infringed, alleging that they have been denied access to counsel by the Libyan government. They have not been appointed counsel. On 6 March 2014, Saadi Gaddafi was extradited to Libya, and is now joined in the case to be heard before Libyan domestic courts. (Middle East Online).

US sends military planes to assist in hunt for LRA leader Kony: The U.S. will be sending military planes and additional special forces to Uganda this week in order to increase the search for LRA leader Joseph Kony. The U.S. is also offering a $5 million reward for Kony’s capture, and had previously sent forces to the area in 2011 to assist African troops in the search for Kony. The ICC has charged Kony with war crimes, and he is wanted for human rights abuses; namely, abducting children and forcing them to become child soldiers. (BBC).

Former Ivory Coast Youth Minister Goudé transferred to the ICC: On Monday, 24 March 2014, Charles Blé Goudé, the former Ivory Coast Youth Minister and former leader of the pro-Gbagbo militia group “Young Patriots”, was transferred from Ivory Coast to the ICC. He had been arrested and extradited to Ivory Coast on 17 January 2014. He is charged with committing four counts of crimes against humanity during the post-election violence in Ivory Coast between 16 December 2010 and 12 April 2011. (Hirondelle News Agency).

Narcisse Arido makes initital appearance for ICC contempt proceedings: On 20 March 2014, Narcisse Arido, who was wanted by the ICC for offenses against the administration of justice allegedly committed concerning the case The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, appeared for the first time before the Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC. Arido is charged with corruptly influenced ICC witnesses, of which he was informed during the appearance. The Defense was also present at the appearance, and Arido was represented by his lawyer. The determination of whether these charges will be confirmed or rejected will not be made on the basis of a hearing, but solely on the basis of the parties’ written submissions. (CPI-ICC).

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