Archive for category Other domestic courts
Kenya making progress in amending ICC rules: Reports indicate that through a formal presentation, Guatemala and Greece asked to amend Article 134 of the ICC Rules of Procedures to allow accused persons who are “mandated to fulfill important and extraordinary public duties” in their states to waive the requirement to be present at their trial. Instead, the amendment would let counsel represent the accused, who would not have to attend the trial at The Hague or follow it through video proceedings. Kenya, Japan, and South Africa all support the proposed amendment. Kenya’s second goal, to give sitting presidents immunity until their term has expired, will likely not be addressed until February at the Assembly of State Parties, even though Kenya is pushing for a special summit. Both changes would benefit Kenya, which has publicly objected to the requirement that President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto be present at their trials, whether in person or through video links. (Standard Digital).
Security Council condemns LRA war crimes, calls for support: On Monday, 25 November 2013, the UN Security Council condemned the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in a presidential statement, urging the group to cease its activities, disarm, and release abductees. The Council also asked the UN Office for Central Africa, UN peacekeeping missions, and the international community to support the implementation of the UN Regional Strategy, which is meant to address the activities of the LRA. The Council also applauded the efforts of the African Union Regional Cooperation Initiative and emphasized the importance of regional efforts to combat the LRA. The Security Council has repeatedly denounced the crimes against humanity and war crimes the LRA has committed in several African nations over the course of 15 years, especially the group’s use of child soldiers. (UN News Centre).
Serbian Prosecutor’s Office wants 15-year sentence for Juric: The Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office demanded that Ilija Jurisic, who served as a commander during the Bosnian War, be sentenced to 15 years in prison for allegedly ordering a large-scale attack on former Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) soldiers during their retreat from Tuzla, Bosnia, even though the withdrawal had allegedly been agreed upon previously. 51 soldiers died and 50 were wounded during this attack, a war crime for which Juric has been indicted in a domestic proceeding. Juric was already convicted in 2009 and sentenced to 12 years in prison, which was overruled by the Appellate Court in 2010, and the current rehearing seeks to establish why the JNA had withdrawn from Tuzla and whether Juric ordered the attack on the JNA.
Mbeki says ICC should not interfere in Africa: Former South African President Thabo Mbeki criticized the ICC’s prosecution of African leaders on Talk To Al Jazeera. In his opinion, the international community should focus on building peace in Africa, instead of imposing justice from the “outside.” He mentioned the trials of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir; intervening in the conflict is more important than prosecuting these leaders, especially when their leadership and influence could be useful in brokering peace. Justice, he explained, does not trump peace. Using his own country as an example, Mbeki stated that South Africa’s move from apartheid to democracy would have been far less smooth had former South African President F.W. de Klerk, who was an integral part of ending apartheid, been brought before the ICC during the conflict. (Al Jazeera Media Network).
Sang opposes deferral of his ICC case: Joshua Arap Sang is against the deferral of his case before the ICC and would like to have his case heard as soon as possible, even though he noted that he understood why Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto are pushing for a deferral of their cases. He explained that he respects their mandates in Kenya, but that deferral is unnecessary in his own case because he has no such duties. Sang is indicted with committing crimes against humanity in the post-election violence in Kenya. (Standard).
Students and educators demand charges against Qaisar; ICT prosecution to charge soon: The ICT prosecution will likely submit formal charges against Syed Mohammad Qaisar to the ICT, which will decide whether or not to accept the charges after examining the documents prepared by the prosecution. Qaisar, who is allegedly the leader and founder of the “Qaisar Force”, which was associated with the Pakistani army during the war, will likely be charged with committing crimes against humanity and genocide in the 1971 Liberation War. On Saturday, 10 November 2013, attendees of a “Student-Teacher Rally” urged the government to immediately execute the verdict and punish those who committed war crimes. They also demanded a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami politics and the politics of its student wing Islami Chattra Shibir. (To read more about this topic, please click here.) (The Daily Star, Dhaka Tribune).
EULEX charges against former Kosovo rebels: A EU prosecutor indicted 15 former Kosovo rebels last week, charging them for allegedly killing and torturing civilians at a detention center in Kosovo in the 1998-99 separatist war with Serbia. Though the EU rule of law mission (EULEX), which prosecutes war crimes cases in Kosovo, did not name the defendants, the defendants reportedly include members of Prime Minister Hashim Thaci’s Democratic Party of Kosovo. Some of the defense lawyers have rejected the charges. The case will be heard before the Mitrovica Basic Court in Kosovo. (BBC).
ICRC clears Sri Lankan Army of IHL violations against LTTE: In a cable signed 15 July 2009, which has since been leaked through the WikiLeaks database, U.S. Ambassador to Geneva Clint Williamson stated that Jacques de Maio, the Head of Operations for South Asia of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), had disclosed that the Sri Lankan Army had purposely chosen a slow approach in the civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), choosing a high number of military deaths over high civilian casualties, which a faster battle would have brought about. According to de Maio, the Sri Lankan Army had taken allegations of International Humanitarian Law violations into consideration during the war and changed its tactics to reduce civilian deaths, meaning it did not commit crimes against humanity. (The Nation).
Kenyan DPP wants Barasa tried before the ICC: Keriako Tobiko, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) of Kenya, wants journalist Walter Barasa to be tried at the ICC, because no investigation or prosecution has been initiated against Barasa in Kenya. The DPP has also opposed Barasa’s request to be provided with the documents of his case. The ICC has charged Barasa with interfering with witnesses in the cases against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Arap Sang, and wants to extradite Barasa to The Hague. (AllAfrica).
UN urges international donors to fund Khmer Rouge tribunal: UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson appealed to international donors and the Cambodian government to fund the Khmer Rouge tribunal. He said that in order to hold Khmer Rouge leaders accountable, the tribunal must be supported financially, because “[w]ords do not pay the bills.” The Court’s budget for the coming year has been scaled back, and evidentiary hearings of the Court’s second trial are expected to begin soon. (The Phnom Penh Post).
UN address ICC issues, including Kenya deferral and Sudan’s outstanding warrants: On Thursday, 31 October 2013, ICC President Sang-Hyung Song updated the UNGA on the workings of the Court, including the Kenya, Libya, Sudan and Ivory Coast cases. He asked all ICC stakeholders to uphold the integrity of the Rome Statute, and particularly highlighted the support needed from the UN to address the outstanding warrants in Sudan against the four individuals charged with committing genocide in Darfur. In a separate meeting, the UNSC representatives from Kenya and the AU were addressing the ICC concerning the possibility of deferring the ICC cases against President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto for one year. Under Article 16 of the Rome Statute, a prosecution can be deferred for up to 12 months by a resolution of the UNSC under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. (To read more about this topic, please click here.) (The Star, UPI).
Serbia to receive positive report from ICTY: Rasim Ljajic, the president of the National Council for the ICTY Cooperation, will mention Serbia’s cooperation with the ICTY in a report he will deliver to the UN in December, specifically referring to Serbia promptly delivering documents and allowing access to witnesses and archives. Ljajic met with ICTY prosecutor Serge Brammertz on Monday, 4 November 2013, and he met with Serbian prime minister Ivica Dacic and the chief Serbian prosecutor Vladimir Vucicevic on Tuesday, 5 November 2013. Ljajic and Brammertz discussed placing individuals sentenced by the ICTY into Serbian prisons, a possibility the Tribunal had previously declined. (World Bulletin).
Witness testifies that Karadzic was a weak leader: Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic’s trial resumed this week, with Karadzic’s former aide Jovan Zametica testifying that Karadzic had not had effective control over his army. Zametica joined the Republika Srpska (RS) in 1993 and became an advisor to Karazdic in 1994. He testified that Karadzic had been a weak leader of the RS; his army had apparently been disobedient, he had allowed local chieftains to make important decisions, and he had simply been a representative leader to the international community. He also asserted that Karadzic had been tolerant of non-Serbs, as shown by the fact that Zametica is a Muslim. Karadzic is charged with genocide before the ICTY. (Institute for War & Peace Reporting).
ICTR will help Rwanda with transferred genocide cases: The ICTR has promised to help the Rwandan National Prosecution Authority with the genocide cases the ICTR has transferred to Rwanda. ICTR prosecutor general Hassan Bubacar Jallow explained that although the work of the ICTR is winding down, it will continue to support the Rwandan prosecution to ensure that the cases are handled successfully and that the genocide suspects, many of whom have fled to France, are caught and prosecuted. Jallow, ICTR President Judge Vagn Joensen, and several senior officials from the ICTR are currently in Rwanda and will meet with the supreme court judges and Minister of Justice Johnston Busingye to review ICTR procedures. (Rwanda Focus).
MICT is tracking “big fish” wanted for Darfur genocide: Jallow announced on Monday, 4 November 2013 that three of the most wanted suspects for the genocide in Darfur will likely be caught soon, because the Mechanism of the International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) was able to obtain information that could lead to their arrest. The three fugitives are Felicien Kabuga, who allegedly financed the genocide, Protais Mpiranya, the former Presidential Guards commandant, and Augustin Bizimana, the former defense minister. Referred to as “big fish”, their cases would be handled by the MICT, as opposed to being transferred to Rwanda. (The New Times).
STL fines defense in Hariri case: Earlier this week, the STL fined defense lawyers for making “frivolous” appeals in order to delay the start date of the trial concerning the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. The defense appealed the appointment of Judge Janet Nosworthy, who replaced the former president of the trial chamber upon his resignation in September, which was deemed a “frivolous” delay tactic by the Court. The defense also asserted that it needs more time to prepare for trial due to the high volume of evidence in the case, and that Lebanon was not cooperating in assisting the defense’s investigations. The Court did not reveal how much the defense was fined. (The Daily Star).
British MPs call executions in Iran crimes against humanity: British MPs have declared that the execution of 16 political prisoners on 4 October 2013 in Zahedan, Iran is a crime against humanity, and are calling on the UN to investigate these events. The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom stated that Mohammad Marzieh, the prosecutor general of Zahedan, had confirmed that the prisoners had been executed because they had killed revolutionary guards in Saravan. The committee also noted, however, that Hedayatollah Mir-Moradzehi, Saravan’s representative in the Iranian Parliament, stated that it was still unclear who had killed the revolutionary guards. The committee recommended that the UN Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council review the events. (Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran).
Posted by carolinguentert in Crimes against Humanity, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Genocide, Guantanamo, Human Rights Violations, ICC, ICTY, Investigations, Kenya, News about the Courts, Other domestic courts, Post-Election Violence, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on October 22, 2013
ICC Appeals Chamber to announce judgment on Ruto’s presence at trial: On Tuesday, 22 October 2013, the Appeals Chamber of the ICC announced that on Friday, 25 October 2013, it will deliver its judgment on Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s appeal against the Trial Chamber, which had granted Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto conditional excusal from being physically present at his trial. The Appeals Chamber will decide whether he must attend the entirety of his hearing, instead of limited sessions. On Friday, 18 October 2013 the Trial Chamber granted Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s request to be excused from being present at his trial, but he must attend the opening and closing statements of all parties, hearings of victims, the delivery of judgment in his case, and if he is found guilty, sentencing hearings, the delivery of sentencing, the entirety of victim impact hearings, and reparation hearings. He was excused from being present at the other sessions to accommodate his presidential duties. Bensouda is currently trying to decide whether in addition to Ruto’s case, she should appeal the Trial Chamber’s decision regarding Kenyatta. (ICC-CPI, The Star). (For additional information on this topic, please click here and here).
Fourth witness in Ruto trial disowns testimony: The fourth witness in the trial against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto disowned part of the testimony presented by the prosecution, which linked Ruto to the term “madoadoa”; a blot in the voting pattern. The witness denied having been at 64 Stadium in Eldoret during the 2007 election campaigns, even though the prosecution maintained that the witness had previously told them that he had attended the rally. The witness also denied having heard Ruto refer to Kikuyus as “madoadoa” in the context of three-piece voting for the Orange Democratic Movement. Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji said that any evidence given by the prosecution that conflicts with the witness’s statements would not be accepted by the court. (Capital FM).
Amnesty International says U.S. drone strikes could be war crimes: After investigating nine missile attacks that recently took place in Pakistan, Amnesty International issued a report that the secret drone campaign the CIA undertook against suspected terrorists in Pakistan may constitute war crimes, and that the US officials who conducted the attack should be tried for these attacks. The report was issued in conjunction with an investigation by Human Rights Watch concerning six missile attacks in Yemen, which the group believes may violate international human rights law, the laws of armed conflict, and Barack Obama’s guidelines concerning the use of drones. Both groups have focused their investigations on civilian deaths. (The Guardian).
ICC announces new investigation strategy: The ICC’s 122 member states received guidelines last week concerning a new investigation strategy soon to be adopted by the ICC. Experts say that the new strategy will improve evidence gathering, and although details about the guidelines have not been released, they will aid the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) in bringing cases. For example, prosecutors will be able to ensure that cases are ready at an earlier stage in ICC proceedings and that court investigators can corroborate evidence collected by third parties, both of which have been challenges prosecutors have faced in the past. Judges at the ICC have previously criticized the OTP and the ways in which evidence was collected and investigations conducted, which this new strategy is meant to rectify. (Institute for War & Peace Reporting).
Guantánamo prosecutor agrees al-Qaida suspect should be tried in federal court: The chief war crimes prosecutor of the Guantánamo Bay Navy Base said on Monday, 21 October 2013 that he agrees with the Obama administration’s decision to prosecute Abu Anas al Libi in a federal court as opposed to a military commission. Libi is an alleged al-Qaida conspirator accused of participating in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which killed 224 people. Libi was detained by U.S. forces on 5 October 2013 in Tripoli, Libya, interrogated on a war ship, and brought to a New York court; he was not brought to Guantánamo. (Miami Herald).
Russian MFA to terminate Mladic’s ICTY trial: The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) announced that it is working towards the early termination of General Ratko Mladic’s trial before the ICTY. Opposition to the trial led to the formation of the Public Committee for the Protection of Mladic six months ago, which views the work of the Tribunal as violating international law, because the judge presiding over the case is Dutch, and a Dutch battalion was present in Srebrenica, which the group believes would create impartiality. Mladic is accused of committing genocide and crimes against humanity in the blockade of Sarajevo, where 10,000 people died, and an incident in Srebrenica, where between 7,000 and 8,000 Bosnians were killed. (InSerbia).
Posted by iclmediareview in Admissibility / Primacy, AU, Crimes against Humanity, Detention violations, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Gaddafi, Genocide, Human Rights Violations, ICC, Ivory Coast, jurisdiction, Kenya, News about the Courts, Ocampo, Other domestic courts, Rome Statute, Sudan, UN General Assembly, War Crimes on September 25, 2013
Ivory Coast will try former first lady in domestic courts: After declining to transfer Simone Gbagbo to the ICC—which had charged the former Ivorian first lady with murder, sexual violence, and other inhumane acts—the Ivory Coast government announced its intention to try Mrs. Gbagbo in a domestic court, as decided by a special cabinet meeting on Friday, 20 September 2013. The government stated it will file a request with the Registrar of the ICC concerning its intention to conduct a domestic trial. Simone Gbagbo, wife of the former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, has been accused of genocide by her government. (Reuters).
Bashir reaffirms intention to attend UN General Assembly: On Sunday 22 September 2013, Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir confirmed his intention to attend this week’s UN General Assembly in New York, explaining that he was not worried about U.S. authorities arresting him and handing him over to the ICC. President Bashir confirmed that he had organized a flight via Morocco and booked a hotel in New York. However, no decision has been made by the U.S. authorities on President Bashir’s visa application. Though ICC member states are required to detain Bashir, the U.S. is not a Rome Statute member state and therefore is not obligated to transfer him to the court. In response to Bashir’s travel plans and visa request, former ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo urged U.S. President Obama to ensure Bashir’s arrest, and stated that the ICC does not grant immunity to heads of state such as Bashir. The ICC has issued two arrest warrants for President Bashir’s arrest for crimes including crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. (Tehran Times, Blouin News). (For more information on this topic, please click here).
Amnesty International visits Seif Gaddafi and Abdallah al-Senussi: Libyan authorities granted AI a meeting with Seif Gaddafi and Abdullah al-Senussi, after which AI demanded that both prisoners be handed over to the ICC. AI reported that they were not allowed a private meeting with Seif or access to view his detention facility during their 9 September visit and though they were allowed a private meeting with Senussi within Tripoli’s Al-Hadba prison on 12 September, Senussi informed AI that he had been denied access to a lawyer since his detention began in Libya in September 2012. AI’s visit preceded the referral of the case to the Indictment Chamber in Tripoli on 19 September 2013. Seif Gaddafi, son of Muammar Gaddafi, and Abdullah al-Senussi, intelligence chief and brother-in-law of Muammar Gaddafi, are imprisoned in Libya and awaiting trial for war crimes in connection with the 2011 Libyan uprising. Though Libya states its intention to conduct the trials domestically, the ICC has issued arrest warrants for both men for crimes against humanity and therefore retains jurisdiction of the cases. Libya has challenged the admissibility of both cases before the ICC asking that jurisdiction of the cases is transferred back to Libya from the ICC. (The Tripoli Post).
African leaders to discuss Kenya ICC cases and Rome Statute membership: Following Kenya’s decision to withdraw from the ICC earlier this month, the African Union called a special meeting for October 13, where the other 33 members of the AU will discuss whether or not they will remain members of the ICC. At this extraordinary session, the AU may also pass a resolution that would advocate to keep Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta from attending his trial, which is set to take place in November. The Kenyan government has passed a motion to withdraw from the ICC in response to the court charging Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and President Uhuru Kenyatta with committing crimes against humanity on Kenyans after the 2007/2008 elections. (The Star).
Post by: Carolin Guentert
Posted by cdelaubenfels in Crimes against Humanity, DRC, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gaddafi, Human Rights Violations, ICC, Investigations, Kenya, News about the Courts, North Korea, Other domestic courts, Post-Election Violence, Torture, UN General Assembly, UN Security Council, Victims, War Crimes on August 28, 2013
Syria accused of crimes against humanity: On 27 August, the United Nations condemned the attacks on its weapon inspectors, who were investigating the possible use of chemical weapons. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that the international community cannot “cannot allow impunity in what appears to be a grave crime against humanity,” referencing the use of chemical weapons. The most recent chemical weapons attack occurred outside of Damascus and resulted in the death of over 300 civilians, including children.
UN investigators urge North Korea to allow a visit: On 27 August, the three member UN expert panel assigned to investigate human rights violations in North Korea urged the government to allow them to visit. However, the North Korean government called the probe slanderous and stated that they do not commit human rights abuses. The expert panel completed hearings in South Korea where they heard testimony from former occupants of North Korean prison camps on the human rights violations occurring within, including torture, forced abortions, and public executions. It is estimated that there are 80,000-120,000 prisoners in the labor camps. The UN panel is set to release their report on the abuses by the end of 2013.
Gaddafi seeks assistance from UK over trial concerns: On 27 August, the lawyers representing Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, urged the British government to do all within its powers to assure that Gaddafi is not tried in Libya. The lawyers contend that Gaddafi will only receive a show trial and will be subjected to the death sentence when convicted. Gaddafi is being charged with crimes relating to the events after protests began against his father in 2011, including torture and murder; he is also wanted by the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity. Gaddafi’s trial is set to begin in Tripoli on 19 September.
ICC President criticizes ICC Prosecution over Kenyan case: On 26 August, the ICC Presidency criticized the ICC Prosecution over their changed decision in the trial of Kenyan Deputy-President William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang from preferring a Kenyan or Tanzania venue to preferring The Hague. The Presidency’s criticism of ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s new position is centered around the abrupt change in view without explanation and not providing the defense time to respond to the new submission. Ruto and Song will be on trial before the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity in relation to the 2007-2008 post-election violence in Kenya.
UN to begin inquiry into Sri Lankan war crimes: On 25 August, the UN announced that its top rights official, Navi Pillay, would begin probes into Sri Lankan war crimes, after the Sri Lankan government recently dropped resistance to such inquiries. The probe will focus around the events of the final months of the separatist war in 2009, when some have estimated 40,000 civilians died. Until recently, the war zones of Northern Sri Lanka had been off limits to journalists, aid workers, and UN staff.
Former Congolese general arrested in France for crimes against humanity: On 23 August, the French government arrested former Congolese General Norbert Dabira for war crimes committed in the DRC. The arrest is in relation to the disappearance of approximately 350 refugees in 1999. Although the Congolese government claims that the refugees were massacred, human rights groups and relatives of the refugees claim the refugees were tortured and then executed. Under French law, Dabira will first be investigated by a panel of judges who will decide if there is enough evidence to take the case to trial.
46 former Auschwitz guards facing arrest: On 27 August, it was announced that 46 former Auschwitz prison guards were facing arrest in Germany. German courts are set to issue arrest warrants soon, they will be charged with aiding and abetting murder.
Posted by cdelaubenfels in Crimes against Humanity, Decision Review, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Genocide, Human Rights Violations, ICC, ICT of Bangladesh, ICTY, Investigations, jurisdiction, Kenya, News about the Courts, North Korea, Other domestic courts, Post-Election Violence, Rome Statute, UN Human Rights Council, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on August 21, 2013
ICC judges suspend decision to excuse Ruto from appearing at trial: On 20 August, the ICC Appeals Chamber suspended a ruling by the Pre-Trial Chamber that allowed Kenyan Deputy-President William Ruto to be present at only essential ICC hearings. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda appealed the Pre-Trial Chamber’s decision, arguing that Ruto should be present at trials with co-accused Joshua Arap Sang. This is not a final decision by the Appeals Chamber, instead if the Chamber is unable to reach a final decision by the beginning of Ruto’s trial on 10 September, Ruto will need to attend all hearings until a final decision is made. Ruto is charged with three counts of crimes against humanity in relation to the 2007-2008 post-election violence in Kenya.
U.N. panel hears testimony on North Korean prison camp: On 20 August, the U.N. Commission of Inquiry into North Korean human rights abuses heard testimony from former prison camp inmates. The witnesses stated that public executions and torture are daily occurrences in the North Korean prison camps. There are approximately 150,000-200,000 inmates in the prison camps. This is the first time North Korea’s human rights record will be examined by an expert panel, but few believe the tribunal will have any immediate impact. The U.N. commission has stated that it is inappropriate to discuss ICC jurisdiction because North Korea is not a member to the Rome Statute.
ICTY clears Krstic of contempt of court: On 18 July, ICTY judges cleared Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstic of contempt of court for refusing to participate in the trial of Radovan Karadzic. Krstic is currently serving 35 years in prison for aiding and abetting genocide. Judges stated that post-traumatic was a reasonable excuse for refusing to testify. Karadzic remains on trial for genocide and crimes against humanity.
ICT of Bangladesh begins war crimes probe: On 20 August, the International Criminal Tribunal of Bangladesh began a probe of the actions of the Jamaat-e-Islami party during Bangladesh’s 1971 war for independence. Jamaat had led anti-liberation forces during the war. Jamaat leaders have already been convicted of crimes against humanity. Earlier verdicts against Jamaat deemed the group a criminal organization and stated that there should be no role for the group within the government.
Argentina holds crimes against humanity trials: On 19 August, Argentina officials announced that eleven trials for crimes against humanity, in relation to the 1976-83 military dictatorship, are being held throughout Argentina. One trial alone will feature 68 defendants accused of kidnapping, torture, and murder. Another trial is reviewing crimes committed relating to the CIA led Operation Condor, which targeted political opponents of Latin American military dictators.
KLWCT to hear charges against Israel: On 19 August, the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal announced that it will hear war crimes and genocide charges against former Israeli army general, Amos Yaron, and the State of Israel from 21 to 24 August. This is the first time that charges will be heard against the State of Israel in compliance with due process. If found guilty of the charges, the parties will have their names included in the KLWCT’s Register of War Criminals. The KLWCT was established in response to the ICC, which some opined favored the interests of Western nations.
Indicted Nazi war criminal dies: On 14 August, Laszlo Csatary, a former Hungarian Nazi policeman, died in Budapest at the age of 98. Csatary had been indicted for war crimes during the Holocaust for cruelty to Jews and aiding their deportation to death camps. Csatary was set to stand trial soon.
Posted by cdelaubenfels in Crimes against Humanity, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gaddafi, Gender crimes, Genocide, Human Rights Violations, ICC, ICTR, ICTR Residual Mechanism, Investigations, jurisdiction, Kenya, News about the Courts, Other domestic courts, Post-Election Violence, Rome Statute, Syria, Torture, UN Human Rights Council, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on July 31, 2013
ICC Prosecutor considering “no-case-to-answer” motion in Kenyatta trial: On 27 July 2013, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that the prosecution is considering entering a “no-case-to-answer” motion in Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s trial, where he is facing five counts of crimes against humanity. The motion, which would make each charge against Kenyatta be tried individually and give each party a chance to respond to the charge, has the potential to lead to an early dismissal of the case. The victims’ lawyers oppose the motion, stating that it will only delay justice and that the motion is not considered by the Rome Statute. On a similar note, Kenyan Deputy-President William Ruto has claimed that local and international NGOs have tampered with evidence including witness coaching. (For further information on this topic, please click here.)
Parties in Kenyatta case to submit preferences for trial venue: On 30 July 2013, ICC judges instructed the various parties to Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s case to submit their venue preferences for the opening of the trial, between Kenya or Tanzania. Kenyan Deputy-President William Ruto submitted a similar request for venue change, but ICC judges rejected the motion and his trial will be in The Hague. In Ruto’s case, the judges cited costs, victims and witnesses interests, and local impact on Kenya as deciding factors. The victims’ lawyer stated that most victims prefer the trial take place in The Hague. Parties have until 13 August to submit their views.
Head of U.N. Syrian probe urges member-states to act: On 30 July 2013, the head of a U.N. human rights probe into Syria, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, implored member-states to act decisively to bring the war in Syria to an end. Pinheiro stated that a lack of action has led to a cultural of impunity. The probe has released ten reports on the human rights violations occurring in Syria including indiscriminate shelling, sexual violence, torture, and massacres. Over 100,000 Syrians have already died in the conflict.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi potentially faces execution in Libya trial: On 29 July 2013, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who is wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity, may face execution if convicted in Libya, where he is charged with harming state security and insulting the national flag. The ICC has issued an extradition request, but Libya states that the ICC does not have jurisdiction because Libya is not unable or unwilling to prosecute. Gaddafi’s lawyer has stated that his client will not be able to receive a fair trial in Libya.
UK reports that nearly 100 war crimes suspects were identified last year: On 30 July 2013, the Home Office, the UK’s immigration agency, reported that nearly 100 war crimes suspects had been identified in the UK in the last year. Suspects originated from numerous states including Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Rwanda, Serbia and Sri Lanka. Most suspects have been living in the UK for years. The Home Office stated that any suspects should be put on trial in their home country to face justice.
ICTR accused sent to Rwanda for trial: On 24 July 2013, ICTR accused, Bernard Munyagishari was transferred from the ICTR to Rwanda. Munyagishari, the former Secretary General for the ruling Rwanda party during the genocide, was charged by the ICTR with genocide and other crimes. Munyagishari is the second accused to be transferred to Rwanda for domestic trial. Until 2011, accused persons were not transferred to Rwanda because the UN backed court said Rwanda did not fulfill the conditions for a fair trial. However, transferring accused from the ICTR to national courts is now one of the strategies in closing the ICTR.
Court/Tribunal: International Criminal Court
Decision Title: Decision on the request for suspensive effect and related issues
Chamber: Appeals Chamber
Case Name: Prosecutor v. Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi
Date: 18 July 2013
Decision Background: On 27 June 2011, Pre-trial Chamber I issued an arrest warrant for Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, in connection with crimes he is alleged to have committed and facilitated during the recent Libyan uprising. On 4 July 2011, the Registrar issued a request to the new government of Libya, requesting that the government turn the defendant over to the ICC’s custody, pursuant to its obligations under international agreements. Libya, however, has been conducting its own investigation and legal proceedings again the defendant, in connection with the same events for which the defendant is wanted by the ICC. As such, Libya has been reluctant to turn over the defendant, preferring he stay in Libyan custody to face national justice. The ICC Prosecutor has come out against this position, as has the defense team, previously citing concerns over due process and the type of proceedings and treatment the defendant may or may not receive if held in Libyan custody and subjected to the Libyan justice system.
Pursuant to its insistence that the defendant be tried in Libya, on 1 May 2012, the government of Libya submitted a challenge of the case before the court, arguing that Gaddafi’s case was not properly before the court, and that it is not a case that the court can or should preside over. Pursuant to its arguments about the case’s jurisdiction, the Libyan government sought a postponement and suspension of the arrest warrant and order for Libya to turn over Gaddafi. The postponement was granted until the point at which the court could make a ruling regarding the admissibility of the case at the ICC. On 31 May 2013, the Pre-trial chamber found that the case is admissible at the ICC, and reinstated Libya’s obligation to surrender the defendant to court custody.
On 7 June 2013, Libya filed an appeal, challenging the Pre-trial Chamber’s finding of admissibility. In referring to article 82(3) of the Statute, and rule 156 (5) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, Libya requested that the Appeals Chamber reverse the lower court’s finding, and suspend the surrender order pending the conclusion of the appeal. The defense objected to Libya’s filing, arguing that the Appeals Chamber is not competent to issue an appellate ruling on the admissibility issue, and is therefore not competent to lift the surrender order. On 18 June 2013, the defense requested expedited review of the appeal, due to reports that Libya is gearing up to start national proceedings against Gaddafi in August 2013. The Prosecution also responded to the appeals request, but argued that the Appeals Chamber is competent to decide on the admissibility question. But, the Prosecution countered Libya’s argument that the surrender order would create an “irreversible situation” or negatively impact the Libyan national proceedings.
Decision Review: The first issue addressed whether the appeal filed by Libya would have suspensive effect on a lower court’s decision. Under article 82 (3), suspension amounts to the “non-enforcement of a decision.” The Appeals Chamber noted that the decision under review, thus possibly subject to suspensive effect, is not the arrest warrant but rather the lower court’s admissibility decision. While the language of the Libyan government’s request suggests that it sought suspension of the arrest warrant, documents attached to the request, in the Court’s view, clearly show that Libya really seeks suspension of the lower admissibility decision. Under Appeals Chamber jurisprudence, whether an appeal has suspensive effect is discretionary – that is, it is a decision that the Chamber gets to make based on the specific circumstances of the case. There are generally three instances where the Appeals Chamber will grant suspensive effect: when implementation of the lower court’s decision would “create an irreversible situation that could not be corrected, even if the Appeals Chamber eventually were to find in favor of the appellant,” “lead to consequences that ‘would be very difficult to correct and may be irreversible,” and/or where implementation “could potentially defeat the purpose of the appeal.”
The Appeals Chamber did not agree with Libya that implementing the decision would defeat the purpose of the appeal, which it had contended was to allow Libya to continue its domestic investigation and proceedings. The Chamber, however, found that the purpose of the appeal was to reach a decision on the lower court’s findings regarding admissibility of the case, not to facilitate Libya’s internal criminal procedures. Further, the Chamber rejected Libya’s argument that transfer of the defendant to the ICC would hamper its ability to conduct national investigations into and proceedings around the Gaddafi case. The Appeals Chamber did find anything in the record to suggest that the national government would be unable to continue its investigations without the presence of the defendant in the country,
Therefore, the Appeals Chamber re-affirmed Libya’s obligations to surrender Gaddafi. It also clarified that it will be reviewing the admissibility challenge pursuant to article 82(1)(a) of the Statute.
To access the full Decision, click here.
Krstic cleared of ICTY contempt charge: On Thursday, 18 July 2013, the Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) acquitted Radislav Krstic of contempt of court. Krstic, who was subpoenaed as a key witness in the case of Prosecutor v. Radovan Karadzic and expected to testify in January 2013, refused to testify on account of his poor mental health. He was charged with contempt of court and tried this past May. On Thursday a majority of the ICTY Trial Chamber deemed Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, which Krtic asserted as a defense, to be adequate grounds for refusing to testify. Krstic himself was convicted and sentenced in 2004 for aiding and abetting the Srebrenica Massacre. He is serving 35 years in prison.
Kenya Prosecution Case loses additional witnesses: Last week, two prosecution witnesses withdrew from the case against Uhuru Kenyatta at the International Criminal Court. Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and the Prosecution team released a document last week explaining that two witnesses would no longer be able to testify because of serious security concerns. The loss of the two witnesses highlights ongoing difficulties encountered by the Prosecution team, to craft its case against the Kenyan President-elect. Kenyatta was charged with crimes against humanity, for his involvement in the 2007 post-election violence that killed approximately 1,000 and displaced hundreds of thousands. He is scheduled for trial 12 November 2013.
ICC rejects Libya request to delay Gaddafi transfer: On 18 July 2013 the Appeals Chamber at the International Criminal Court rejected an application by Libyan authorities to suspend the transfer of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi to the ICC for trial for crimes against humanity. The decision came after a request in June of this year, when Libya applied for a delay of Gaddafi’s transfer until his ongoing appeal against the Pre-Trial Chamber’s admissibility decision was issued. Judges had denied Libya’s admissibility challenge, saying a trial at the ICC would not impose an unjust domestic outcome. The ICC on Thursday reminded Libya of its obligation to turn Gaddafi over for international prosecution. (For additional information on this topic, please click here)