Archive for category Other domestic courts
TRJC Report names Kenyatta and Ruto: On 22 May 2013, the Kenyan Truth Reconciliation and Justice Commission released publically its Report which investigated Kenya’s post-election violence of 2007-2008 and made recommendations. The report named President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto in connection with the PEV but did not make recommendations on investigation and prosecution due to the fact that both face trial before the ICC. The report recommended that further investigations and prosecutions by the Kenyan authorities should be initiated against certain “high-profil personalities” within the Kenyan Government; naming newly appointed Minister of Mining Najib Balala and two senators for investigation. The Report asked President Kenyatta to issue a public apology for all human rights violations suffered by Kenyans since the country’s independence.
ICT of Bangladesh rejects Kaiser’s bail application: On Wednesday 22 May 2013, the ICT of Bangladesh rejected an application for bail made by Jatiya Party leader and former Minister of agriculture, Syed Mohammad Kaiser. Justice Obaidul Hassan, Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice M Shahinur Islam explained that bail was not granted in order to ensure a fair investigation into the Prosecution’s case. The defence’s bail application stated that Kaiser is in poor health and needed access to proper medical treatment, while the Prosecution countered that Kaiser’s influence in the community would affect the Prosecution’s investigation. The Court ordered the case to move forward and ordered the Prosecution to file a progress report by 17 June 2013.
Argentina charges former Ford Motors executives with CAH: On Tuesday 21 May 2013, Argentinian prosecutors charged three former executives of Ford Motors in Argentina with crimes against humanity relating to the kidnapping and torture of union workers following the 1976 military coup. Pedro Muller, Guillermo Galarraga and Hector Francisco Jesus Sibilla, the former factory director, human resources chief and security manager respectively, are accused with disclosing names, pictures, and home addresses to security forces who used this information to detain, torture and interrogate union workers at Ford Motors. All three accused were ordered to house arrest and bail was set at $142,000 each.
Ruto and Sang appear in ICC status conference: On Tuesday 14 May 2013, ICC accused William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang appeared before the ICC Trial Chamber during a status conference to discuss the commencement of trial, appearance during trial and witness issues. William Ruto asked judges to waive his right of appearance and allow the Deputy President to appear once during the most important hearings. Making a short statement to the Court, Ruto emphasized his commitment to cooperate with the Court while stating “I am aware that my responsibility to the court as an individual must be balanced by my constitutional responsibility as Deputy President.” During the same status conference, Sang objected to an application by the Prosecution to recall two witnesses and add three new witnesses to the witness list. Sang also responded to the Prosecution’s proposal to limit the testimony of an investigator who is to be called before the Court to answer questions on issues concerning Prosecution witnesses. Both Ruto and Sang asked that the new trial date be set for November 2013 in order to allow the Defence to properly review Prosecution disclosure which the Defence says has been submitted late to the Defence. (For additional information on this topic, please click here).
Arrest of former Chadian police chief Djibrine welcomed: Campaigners and human rights groups in Chad have welcomed the arrest of the former head of the Directorate of Documentation and Security in Chad; former President Hissene Habre’s political police force during the 1980s. Djibrine is accused of the torture and killing of opposition activists in the 1980s, and was arrested based on a lawsuit filed by 13 Chadian individuals who suffered abuse under the leadership of Habre. It is unknown whether Djibrine will be tried domestically in Chad or in Senegal before the special tribunal created in conjunction with the African Union to try Habre.
ICC Prosecutor denies witness allegations and pressures Kenya’s cooperation: ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has denied allegations that witnesses have given the Court false information following the recent withdrawal of witness testimony by several witnesses who gave information against President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto. Bensouda stated that she is “not aware of any witness that has given false information to the ICC.” This week Bensouda also stated while in Geneva that the ICC maintains expectations that Kenya will cooperate with the prosecution on the cases. Bensouda stated “I have been very clear all the time about this matter. I have stated that what we want is the full and unwavering cooperation of the Kenyan Government. In the event that this doesn’t happen, we will have no option but to bring the matter to the attention of the Chamber for direction.” (For additional information on this topic, please click here).
HRW urges India to protect witness before ICT of Bangladesh: HRW has urged the Government of India to protect Bangladeshi national, Shukhoranjan Bali, who is said to be a key defence witness to the ICT of Bangladesh and was reported missing just before he was due to give testimony before the Tribunal. HRW alleged that Bali was abducted and forced to enter India where he was arrested for entering the country illegally. HRW stated “The apparent abduction of a witness in a trial at the ICT is a cause for serious concern about the conduct of the prosecution, judges and government.” Bali claims he was abducted while at the courthouse by police and held in the custody of the Bangladeshi authorities for several weeks before being forced to enter India. Bali has completed his 110 day sentence for entering India illegally but continues to be held in detention. HRW asked that Bali not be returned to Bangladesh before a possible claim for asylum can be heard by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Argentinian convicted of CAH dies in prison: It is reported that Argentina’s former military leader Jorge Rafael Videla has died of natural causes in an Argentinian prison. Videla, 87, was serving a life since 2010 for the crimes against humanity related to his responsibility for the death of 31 individuals during Argentinian’s military rule from 1976 to 1983. The period from 1976 to 1983 is known for the regime’s “dirty war” which resulted in the torture and killing of over 30,000 people. In 1985 Videla was sentence to life in prison for murder, torture and other crimes but was pardoned due to an amnesty in 1990. In 2010 Argentina’s Supreme Court reinstated his life sentence by upholding a 2007 federal initiate which overturned Videla’s pardon.
Guatemalan Tribunal finds first head of state guilty of genocide: On 10 May 2013, a three judge tribunal in Guatemala found the country’s former military leader Efrain Rios Montt guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity for his responsibility of ordering the killing of 1,771 Ixil Maya people in 1982 and 1983. Rios Montt was sentenced to 50 years for his conviction on genocide charges, and 30 years for the crimes against humanity charges. Though other international crimes tribunals have delivered convictions on the crime of genocide, Rios Montt is the first former head of state to be convicted of genocide. Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez, Rios Montt’s former military intelligence chief who was tried with Rios Montt, was acquitted of the charges against him. Rios Montt is said to have been in power during the most violence phase of Guatemala’s civil war which lasted from 1960 to 1996.
Second witness withdraws testimony against Ruto: It is reported that a second ICC witness has informed the ICC Prosecution of his unwillingness to testify for the Prosecution against Kenya Deputy President William Ruto. In an affidavit sent to the ICC, the witness explained that he was a PNU official who was “induced and enticed” to be a witness when the ICC promised to reward him for his testimony by relocated him to America, Australian or Europe and promising that his standard of living would improve.
Haiti’s Duvalier trial enters preliminary observations proceedings: On 9 May 2013, the President of the Haitian Court of Appeal, Judge Jean Joseph Lebrun, moved the trial against former Haitian leader Jean Claude Duvalier from complaint proceedings into the preliminary observations proceedings. Duvalier is being prosecuted for crimes against humanity and misappropriation of public funds. The trial has heard complaints from victims and family members of victims who were tortured and abused in detention under Duvalier’s regime. The preliminary observations phase is set to begin 16 May 2013.
Chad agrees to allow investigations in Chad for Habre trial: On 9 May 2013, Chad’s Justice Minister Jean-Bernard Badare signed an agreement with Senegal’s Justice Minister Aminate Toure which will allow investigations in Chad to be used in the prosecution of former Chadian leader Hissene Habre trial before the Extraordinary African Chambers in Senegal. The agreement guarantees that judges from the Extraordinary African Chambers are allowed to travel to Chad, speak with witnesses and conduct prison visits.
Posted by cdelaubenfels in Admissibility / Primacy, amnesty, AU, CAR, Crimes against Humanity, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gaddafi, Genocide, Human Rights Violations, ICC, ICTR, ICTY, immunity, Investigations, jurisdiction, Liberia, Libya, News about the Courts, Other domestic courts, Rome Statute, South Sudan, Sudan, Truth Commissions, Uganda, Victims, War Crimes on April 4, 2013
Libya seeks to try Senussi: On 3 April 2013, the ICC published Libya’s Admissibility Challenge against Abdullah Al-Senussi pursuant Article 19 of the Rome Statute. The Admissibility Challenge requested that the Court find Libya able and willing to try Al-Senussi in Libya, and as a result of filing the Admissibility Challenge asked that the Court’s outstanding Request for Arrest and Surrender of Al-Senussi be postponed pursuant to Article 95 of the Rome Statute. The ICC indicted Al-Senussi, Muammar Gaddafi’s former spy chief, in June 2011 for crimes against humanity. Al-Senussi is currently jailed in Libya after he was extradited from Mauritania to Libya in September 2012. The Libyan government has said that trying Al-Senussi is an important part of building a democratic Libya based on the rule of law. Al-Senussi’s defense lawyer, however, doubts Libya’s ability to provide a fair trial and may result in the death penalty—which the ICC does not condone. Libya’s Article 19 Admissibility Challenge against AL-Senussi follows Libya’s Admissibility Challenge against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi which was filed on 1 May 2012 with continuing proceedings on admissibility to date. A decision on the Admissibility Challenge against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi is expected soon.
United States announces $5-million bounty for Kony: On 3 April 2013, the Obama administration announced a five-million dollar bounty for Joseph Kony, leader of the Uganda rebel group Lord’s Resistance Army, and his top aides. There is an ICC arrest warrant out for Kony for crimes against humanity. Previously the United States had only issued rewards for war crimes suspects wanted by the ICTR and ICTY, this is the first reward offered for suspects wanted by the ICC. Kony, who is accused of ordering widespread atrocities in Uganda since the 1980s, is suspected to be in hiding in the Central African Republic.
United States N.G.O. calls for war crimes investigation into Sudan: On 3 April 2013, a United States based advocacy grouped released a report alleging that Sudan has committed war crimes since 2011 in southern Sudan. The report details testimony and photographic evidence of the burning of farm and grazing land and the destruction of 42 villages and calls for an international criminal investigation. On 2 April, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda renewed her call for the arrest of Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir and other suspects wanted by the ICC. Bensouda made the statement at a ceremony marking the beginning of genocide awareness month; Bashir has outstanding ICC warrants for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. On 1 April, President Bashir announced that the government would release political prisoners; a welcome announcement to human rights advocates, but one met with skepticism. (For additional information on this topic, please click here and here
France announces first trial of a Rwandan for genocide: On April 2 2013, a French court, for the first time, ordered a Rwandan to be tried in national courts for genocide. Pascal Simbikangwa, a former Rwandan army captain who was arrested in France in 2008, is facing charges of complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity. In 2010, France established a court to try genocide and crimes against humanity involving suspects detained in France. France has been unwilling to extradite genocide suspects to Rwanda out of concern for fair trials, but has sent some suspects to the ICTR in Tanzania. The spokesperson for Rwanda’s national prosecution authority praised France’s decision to try genocide suspects.
Slovakia to hold a new trial for 98 year old Hungarian Nazi: On April 2 2013, a Slovak court declared that they will seek the extradition of 98-year old war criminal, Laszlo Csatary, to Slovakia so he can be tried for crimes against humanity. Csatary was convicted in absentia of war crimes in 1948 and was sentenced to death. In order to facilitate with extradition request with Hungary and to comply with current Slovakian law, Slovakia confirmed that it would seek life imprisonment. Between 1941 and 1944, Csatary tortured Jews and sent 16,000 to death camps.
Charles Taylor comments on the death of Moses Blah: On April 2 2013, former Liberian President Charles Taylor commented on the death of Moses Blah, the man who succeeded Taylor. Taylor said he forgave Blah for testifying against him at the ICC where Taylor was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Blah had been Vice President under Taylor’s regime and testified to Taylor’s interactions with child soldiers. Taylor said Blah was a victim of an international conspiracy.
Nepal Supreme Court blocks probe into civil war crimes: On 2 April 2013, the Nepalese Supreme Court blocked a new law that would establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to probe war crimes committed during Nepal’s ten year civil war. Judge Shushila Karki issued an interim order against the law out of concerns that the commission could allow amnesties for serious human rights violations. More than 17,000 citizens died during the civil war between Maoist rebels and the state.
Posted by cdelaubenfels in Crimes against Humanity, DRC, ECCC, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Gender crimes, Genocide, Human Rights Treaties and Charters, ICC, ICTY, immunity, Investigations, Kenya, News about the Courts, Other domestic courts, Post-Election Violence, Rome Statute, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Torture, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on March 30, 2013
Slovak court commutes WWII criminal’s death sentence: On 28 March 2013, a Slovak court announced that the death sentence of 98 year old Laszlo Csataray, a World War II criminal, to life imprisonment. In 1948 Csataray was found guilty and sentenced to death in absentia for torturing Jews and organizing the deportation of nearly 16,000 Jews to Auschwitz. Csataray had lived as a fugitive until he was arrested by Hungarian authorities last year. The sentence was changed in order to comply with Slovak law, which abolished the death penalty in 1990.
Former Kenyan witness refuses to see ICC lawyers: On 24 March 2013, the lawyer for the Kenyan ICC witness who recently recanted his testimony stated that his client would not meet with ICC lawyers. The Office of the Prosecutor had written the witness asking for a meeting after the witness decided not to testify in the case against William Ruto. The former witness stated that ICC lawyers had tried to contact him directly and that he felt harassed. The Office of the Prosecutors denies the allegations put forward by the ex-witness.
Khmer Rouge tribunal confirms that defendant is fit for trial: On 29 March 2013, the UN-backed Cambodian war crime court confirmed that Nuon Chea, a former Khmer Rouge leader, was fit to stand trial even though he is “advancing [in] age and frailty.” Chea is charged, along with former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan, with crimes against humanity and war crimes for overseeing the “Killing Fields” that killed nearly two-million Cambodians during the 1970s. There have been concerns about the case continuing after co-defendant, Ieng Sary, recently passed away. The tribunal has struggled with funding, procedural, and political difficulties since its founding in 2006.
M23 allege that Ntaganda was attempting to take charge of group: On 28 March 2013, Rene Abandi, a spokesperson for Congolese rebel group M23, said that Bosco Ntaganda, currently under arrest at the ICC, was trying to take over the group. Abandi reported that there were fights between different factions of M23 after Ntaganda challenged the group’s military chief, Sultani Makenga. After Ntaganda lost the fight, he fled to the United States embassy in Rwanda where he requested to be sent to the ICC. The ICC has charged Ntaganda with war crimes and crimes against humanity including recruiting child soldiers, murder, rape, and pillaging.
Estonia ratifies crime of aggression amendment to Rome Statute: On 27 March 2013, Estonia became the fifth country to sign the crime of aggression amendment to the Rome Statute. Estonia’s UN representative Margus Kolga stated that ratifying the amendment is a “clear indication of the staunch support that Estonia has demonstrated towards the International Criminal Court.” If 30 state parties to the Rome Statute ratify the amendment, the ICC will be able to investigate the crime of aggression starting in 2017.
HRW calls on Sri Lankan government to investigate Deputy Minister’s role in atrocities: On 28 March 2013, Human Rights Watch called on the Sri Lankan government to investigate the role of Deputy Minister Karuna in war crimes committed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Recently Karuna, a former member of LTTE, has advocated for investigations of atrocities committed by the LTTE, but HRW states that Karuna is also responsible for committing war crimes, including mass murder, during the 26-year conflict in Sri Lanka. HRW alleges that Karuna has enjoyed immunity and he is only advocating for investigations into LTTE to silence his political opposition.
Former Bosnian Serb military leader sentenced to 45 years in prison: On 29 March 2013, a Bosnian war crime court sentenced former Bosnian Serb paramilitary leader Veselin Vlahovic to 45 years in prison, the maximum sentence. Vlahovic, commonly known as the Monster of Grbavica, was found guilty of murder, rape, and torture during the Bosnian War from 1992-1995. This is the highest sentence ever given in Bosnia. The war crimes department of the Bosnian court system was founded in 2005 to assist the overburdened ICTY.
ICC welcomes surrender of Ntaganda while Rwanda pledges to facilitate transfer: On 19 March 2013, the ICC welcomed the surrender of ICC accused Bosco Ntaganda to the US Embassy in Kigali. Reports state that ICC officials are in route to Kigali to facilitate the transfer. Statements from the US have indicated that the US supports Ntaganda’s transfer to the ICC and that the US Embassy in Rwanda is working to facilitate this transfer. US assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Johnny Carson, has stated that is very important that the movement of Ntaganda from the US embassy to the airport “is in no way inhibited.” Statements from Rwandan officials have noted Rwanda’s stance against the ICC but have indicated that Rwanda would allow Ntaganda transfer to the ICC without any interference. On 20 March 2013, Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwab stated that “The ICC is a political court and we have never believed in its jurisdiction” and “We’d prefer to have him judged here but if he is sent to The Hague, that’s no problem either.” Mushikiwab stated that “The most important thing is that justice is served” and “He is on US territory and now the issue is between the US, Congo and the ICC.” The Rwandan Ministy of Justice has tweeted that Rwanda will provide safe passage and Rwanda’s Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama stated that “there are no complicated legal questions” concerning the transfer. Rwandan President Kagame has stated that “We will work to make what the US embassy needs in relation to Bosco Ntaganda’s case happen as fast as possible.” Bosco Ntaganda was first indicted by the ICC in August 2006 for seven counts of war crimes and three counts of crimes against humanity including recruiting and using child soldier, murder, rape, persecution and sexual slavery. A second ICC arrest warrant was issued in July 2012. On Monday 18 March 2013, without any notice Ntaganda walked off the street into the US Embassy in Kigali and expressed his wish to be sent to the Hague. Several theories have been reported about the reason for Ntaganda’s unexpected surrender, including the fact that several days before his surrender his rebel group M23 suffered a defeat which sent several hundred members of the group fleeing from the DRC into Rwanda. (For additional information on this topic, please 1. click here, 2. click here, and 3. click here).
Human Rights groups accuse Cambodian Prime Minister of obstructing the ECCC: On Tuesday 19 March 2013, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen stated on national radio that his Government has not obstructed the process of the ECCC. Hun Sen stated that “The power is in the hands of the court. Whether the process is slow or fast is up to the court, not me.” Accusations about the Government’s involvement in the ECCC’s process came from human rights groups, who called for an expedited process following the death of accused leng Sary.
Guatamala Court denies amnesty to ex-leader charged with genocide: On 13 March 2013, Guatemala’s Court of Constitutionality upheld a previous ruling from the Supreme Court which refused amnesty for Guatemala’s former leader Efraín Ríos Montt. Montt is charged with genocide and other crimes which allege that he failed stops the crimes during their commission. Following this ruling, Montt’s trial will resume along with his co-accused General José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, Hector Mario Lopez Fuentes and Luis Enrique Mendoza; who were former chief of military intelligence, former defence minister and former vice minister of defence respectively.
Ivory Coast signs the Rome Statute: On 18 March 2013, the Ivory Coast signed the ICC’s Rome Statute, making it the 122nd State party to the Rome Statute. Ambassador to the Ivory Coast, H.E. Mr Sallah Ben Abdelkader Hamza stated at the signing ceremony in The Hague that “Côte d´Ivoire is expecting an opened and fruitful dialogue with the International Criminal Court. In this regard, we will not hesitate to revert to the Court for advice and support, particularly for the implementation of the Rome Statute in our judicial system.”
ICC Judge Carmona resigns: On 18 March 2013, ICC Judge Anthony T. Carmona from Trinidad and Tobago resigned from duty at the ICC. His resignation was due to his election as the fifth President of Trinidad and Tobago. Carmona assumed office in the Presidency on the same day as his resignation.
Posted by cdelaubenfels in Crimes against Humanity, ECCC, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gender crimes, Genocide, ICC, ICTY, ICTY Residual Mechanism, Investigations, Kenya, News about the Courts, Other domestic courts, Post-Election Violence, Torture, UN General Assembly, UN Human Rights Council, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on March 13, 2013
Argentinian court sentences former dictator to life in prison: On 12 March 2013, an Argentinian court sentenced former military dictator Reynaldo Bignone to life in prison. Bignone, now 85-years-old, was convicted of crimes against humanity committed when he was in power during the 1980s. Bignone was sentenced along with four other soldiers for crimes against 21 victims, including the disappearances of seven pregnant women.
UN Special Rapporteur: North Korea abuses may be crimes against humanity: On 12 March 2013, Marzuki Darusman, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea, told reporters that the human rights abuses in North Korea may amount to crimes against humanity. Darusman investigated North Korea for eight-years and found violations ranging from torture to arbitrary detention. Recently UN representatives have stated that the EU and Japan plan to create a commission of inquiry “to investigate grave and persistent human rights violations” in North Korea. However, many scholars and practitioners doubt the potential for a commission of inquiry to effectuate change in North Korea. According to Darusman’s report, North Korea may be holding as many 200,000 political prisoners in labor camps.
Serbia and Croatia attempting to come to an agreement on regulating prosecutions of war crimes: On 12 March 2013, the Croatian and Serbian justice ministers spoke at a joint news conference on efforts to draft an agreement on the prosecution of war crimes. Recently, Croatia forwarded Serbia a draft agreement, but Serbia is unable to accept the proposal because under Serbian law the court for war crimes in Belgrade has jurisdiction over the entire Yugoslavia. Yet, the ministers highlighted Croatia and Serbia’s desire to find compromise. The ministers further discussed agreements on enforcement of sentences, succession to the former Yugoslavia, ownership issues, and the sharing of Croatia’s experience in accession negotiations with the European Union.
ICTY announces Trial Chamber Judgment date for former Bosnian Serb officials: On 13 March 2013, the ICTY announced that the Trial Chamber Judgments of Mićo Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin, former high ranking Bosnian Serb officials, would be rendered on 27 March 2013. Stanišić was the Minister of Bosnian Serb Ministry of International Affairs and Župljanin was his direct subordinate and a police officer. The two are charged with crimes against humanity committed against non-Serb civilians in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992. Since its establishment in 1993, the ICTY has indicted 161 persons for serious violations of humanitarian law.
Kenyan suspect tells ICC to be more careful with investigations: On 13 March 2013, Kenya’s former Head of Public Service Ambassador, Francis Muthaura, addressed the ICC regarding Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request for charges against him to be dropped. Muthaura told the Court that they need to be more thorough in their investigations because building cases against innocent people can be personally and professionally damaging. According to Muthaura’s lawyer, all of the evidence against Muthaura was from one witness, who later admitted that he lied. However, while dismissing Muthaura’s case, Bensouda said that all of the witnesses against Muthaura had been bribed, intimidated, or died. This will likely be the first case to be dropped by the ICC after being recommended for trial.
ICTY Appeals Chamber terminates appellate proceeding of Milan Gvero: On 7 March 2013, the ICTY announced that the appellate hearings of Milan Gvero, a former commander in the Bosnian Serb Army, were terminated due to Gvero’s death on 17 February 2013. The Appeals Chamber affirmed that the findings and sentence from the Trial Judgment are final. On 19 June 2010, Gvero was found guilty of crimes against humanity in relation to actions in the Srebrenica and Zepa enclaves.
Lawyers at Khmer Rouge Tribunal support workers strike: On 12 March 2013, lawyers at Cambodia’s UN-backed war crime court endorsed a strike by local staff of the court. The local staff walked out of the Court on March 4; they have not received pay for three months. Court proceedings have been suspended until the staff returns; support from the lawyers may extend the strikes. There are fears that the three defendants on trial—who are charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide relating to the killing of nearly a quarter of the Cambodian population in the 1970s—will not live to see justice because of their age. A similar worker strike almost occurred in 2011 due to the court going broke, but Japan injected funds.
Kenyatta wins Kenyan presidential election: On 9 March 2013, Uhuru Kenyatta, accused by the ICC of crimes against humanity, was announced the winner of the presidential election in Kenya. Kenyatta has been declared the outright winner as garnered more than 50% of the overall vote (50.03%). Odinga has announced that he will challenge the results of the election in court, which will lead to delays in the final result being settled before the start of Kenyatta’s ICC trial in July 2013.
New ICC Deputy Prosecutor sworn in: On 8 March 2013, James Stewart of Canada was sworn in as Deputy Prosecutor of the ICC. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda commented on the appointment: “In addition to his exceptionally rich legal background and expertise, James Stewart brings a profound determination to bolster our fight to obtain justice for victims.” Stewart was elected to a term of nine-years in November 2012, he reports directly to Bensouda.
ICC approves delay of Kenyatta trial: On 7 March 2013, the ICC agreed to delay the trial of Uhuru Kenyatta, the newly elected Kenyan president, and his codefendant Francis Muthaura until 9 July 2013. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda agreed to delay the case last month after the defense argued that it needed more time to respond to last minute evidence. Kenyatta is charged with crimes against humanity in relation to 2007-2008 post-election violence.
Trial of former Gaddafi officials begins in Libya: On 7 March 2013, a trial of 40 former officials who worked under Muammar Gaddafi began al-Zawiya city, 50 kilometers outside Tripoli. The defendants are charged with a range of crimes from inciting the killings of protestors and embezzlement. The court has postponed the hearings until 11 April to give the defense lawyers more time to prepare.
Dutch military chief will not face war crime charges in relation to Srebrenica massacre: On 7 March 2013, the Dutch public prosecutor announced that criminal charges would not be brought against Thom Karremans, the head of the Dutch Armed forces who were tasked with protecting the Srebrenica enclave from Bosnian Serbs during the Yugoslavian civil war. The Dutch forces failed to protect Srebrenica, which led to the deaths of over 8,000 men and boys. Relatives of three victims of the massacre called on Karremans to be held criminally liable, but the public prosecution office said that Karremans was not criminally involved. In 2011, the appeals court in The Hague said that the Dutch state could be held criminally liable for the three deaths; the relatives of the victims now plan to use a different legal route to force a prosecution.
New ICC Registrar elected: On 8 March 2013, Herman von Hebel was elected the new Registrar of the ICC by the judges of the ICC. Von Hebel will serve a term of five-years. Von Hebel, a Dutch national, is currently the Registrar of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. As dictated by the Rome Statute, the Registrar is the principal administrative officer of the ICC and works under the ICC President.
Posted by cdelaubenfels in Crimes against Humanity, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gender crimes, Haiti, Human Rights Violations, ICC, ICT of Bangladesh, ICTY, Ivory Coast, Kenya, News about the Courts, Other domestic courts, Post-Election Violence, Rome Statute, Torture, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on March 2, 2013
Violence continues in reaction to Bangladesh Tribunal verdict: On 28 February 2013, the ICT Bangladesh convicted former Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delwar Hossain Sayeedi of murder, rape, and torture during the 1971 war of independence. Sayeedi was sentenced to death for the crimes. Violent protests erupted throughout Bangladesh in response to the protests; at least 40 people have been killed. Jamaat supporters claim that the court is being used as a political tool of the governing Awami League. The ICT Bangladesh was established in 2010 to address the atrocities that took place during the war of independence, but human rights tribunals have said the tribunal falls short of international standards.
Acquitted Yugoslav General returns to Serbia: On 1 March 2013, former Yugoslav General Momcilo Perisic returned to Belgrade after his acquittal by the ICTY the previous day. Serbian government representatives and other supporters greeted Perisic upon his arrival. Perisic said that his acquittal “removed the curse of the Serbian people”—the idea that Serbians always violated the laws of war. There had been outrage in Serbia when two months ago the ICTY quashed the conviction of two Croatian generals—perpetuating the idea that many Serbians held that the court was only directed towards their side of the conflict. Many people opine that the acquittal of Perisic gives the ICTY more validity as it shows that it is not just a court administering victor’s justice. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.)
ICC Prosecutor alleges that key Kenyan witness was bribed: On 28 February 2013, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda submitted a claim that a key prosecution witness (Witness #4) had been bribed to withdraw his testimony. Witness #4 provided important evidence in the ICC cases against Uhuru Kenyatta and Francis Muthaura. The witness had claimed to attend meetings where Kenyatta and Muthaura were present and the organization of 2007-2008 post-election violence was discussed. However, the witness recently claimed that he had lied about his presence at the meetings. Because of Witness #4’s detracted statements, Kenyatta and Muthaura argued that their claims should be remanded back to the pre-trial conference stage. Bensouda has stated that she would not protest Muthaura’s case being sent down, but that there was enough evidence against Kenyatta, even without Witness #4, to continue to trial.
Former Haitian dictator in court: On 28 February 2013, former Haitian dictator Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier went before a court of three judges to determine if he could be tried for crimes against humanity. Last year a judge ruled that Duvalier could be tried for embezzlement, but the statute of limitations had run out on the crimes against humanity charges—that decision drew international condemnation. Duvalier claims that he had no power over the persons committing atrocities in Haiti during his regime.
Former UN Observer says civilians were killed by Mladic’s Troops: On 28 February 2013, former UN Observer in Sarajevo, Thorbjorn Overgard, testified in Ratko Mladic’s ICTY case. Overgard observed the Hrasnica neighborhood of Sarajevo from October 1994 to May 1995. Overgard stated that there were civilian victims in the neighborhood almost every day—and the attacks were launched from areas controlled by Mladic’s Bosnian-Serbian Army. Mladic is on trial for terrorizing civilians and genocide throughout Sarajevo.
Gbago addresses ICC on final day of confirmation hearing: On 28 February 2013, former President of Ivory Coast Laurent Gbago addressed the court on the final day of his confirmation hearing. Gbago spoke for fifteen minutes on his lifelong fight for democracy. Gbago is accused of crimes against humanity in relation to 2011 post-election violence; the confirmation hearing will decide if there is enough evidence to try Gbago. Gbago is the first former head of state to be detained by the ICC.
President of Assembly and ICC Prosecutor speak at conference in Tanzania: On 1 March 2013, the President of the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute Tiina Intelmann and ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda spoke at a conference on the ICC and Africa held in Arusha. Intelmann spoke of the crucial role that Africa has played in establishing and promoting the ICC in the fight to end impunity. Bensouda commented on the ICC’s ability to spread the rule of law to all Africans. Last week it was reported that Arusha would be the home of a regional ICC chamber.
Defense case in Namibian treason trial begins: On 25 February 2013, the defense in the Caprivi treason trials began its case. The defense called two witnesses, one of whom, Charles Mainga, is an accused. Mainga, a former employee of Telecom Namibia, stated that he had no involvement in the alleged secessionist movement of Caprivi from Namibia. Mainga is one of 108 persons accused of treason, the trial began nine years ago.
Posted by cdelaubenfels in AU, Chad, Crimes against Humanity, European Court of Human Rights, Gaddafi, Gender crimes, Genocide, Human Rights Violations, ICC, ICTR, ICTR Residual Mechanism, jurisdiction, Kenya, Libya, Mali, News about the Courts, Other domestic courts, Rome Statute, Rwanda, Sudan, Torture, War Crimes on February 23, 2013
ICC criticizes Chad for not arresting Sudan’s Bashir: On 20 February 2013, Tiina Intelmann, a spokesperson for the ICC, criticized Chad for not arresting Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir on a visit last weekend. The ICC indicted Bashir in 2009-10 for his connection with crimes against humanity and potentially genocide in Darfur. State parties to the ICC are supposed to help the ICC exercise arrest warrants—Intelmann said that without cooperation it is difficult for the ICC “to carry out its mandate.” Chad is a state party to the ICC, but has welcomed Bashir three times. On 21 February 2013, Kenya’s ambassador in Sudan stated that Bashir is welcome in Kenya at any time. While Kenya’s stance is in conflict with the ICC, it is inline with a resolution by the African Union that members were not supposed to cooperate with the ICC on Bashir’s arrest. Kenya is currently appealing a decision handed down by the International Commission of Jurists stating that it has an obligation to arrest Bashir.(For additional information on this topic, please click here).
Serbian tribunal sentences seven ex-paramilitary for war crimes: On 22 February 2013, a Serbian war crimes tribunal based in Belgrage sentenced seven ex-Bosnian Serb paramilitaries for war time crimes against Roma civilians. The crimes were committed in 1992 during the Bosnian War. The paramilitaries were convicted of raping, torturing, and murdering 28 Romas. The sentences ranged from two to twenty years.
ICTR raises concerns with genocide trials in France: On 19 February 2013, the Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Christopher Bongani Majola, addressed concerns with France’s delay in two genocide cases. The cases of Wenceslas Munyeshyaka and Laurent Bucyibaruta were referred to France in 2007 under the ICTR’s residual mechanisms. Munyeshyaka is accused of genocide and crimes against humanity, but his case has not gone to trial since its investigation was started in 1995. Bucyibaruta was indicted in 2000, but was then freed, and has not been brought to trial. In 2004, the European Court of Human Justice condemned the French courts for their slowness. Majola noted that the French government reassured him that a case was nearly ready for trial. Majola further stated that ICTR is investigating reports that genocide convicts in Mali are living lavishly and even running their own businesses.
Libya Attorney General denies Gaddafi made a court appearance: On 21 February 2013, the spokesperson for the Libyan Attorney General, Taha Bara, denied that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi made an appearance before a national court on February 20. Gaddafi is being held in Zintan, a small Libyan town, while an admissibility claim is being decided which would give jurisdiction to Libya to try Gaddafi—instead of the ICC. In January 2013, Gaddafi had been brought before a local court in Zintan on charges relating to four ICC staff—who were subsequently arrested—visiting him in June 2012. The local court charged Gaddafi with conspiracy to undermine national security, attempting to escape from prison, and insulting the new Libyan flag. Bara stated that there is no confirmed date when Gaddafi will be brought to trial. (For additional information on this topic, please click here).
EU calls on Cambodia to pay more for Khmer Rouge court: On 22 February 2013, the European Union called on Cambodia to provide more funds for the Khmer Rouge war crimes tribunal. The EU stated that it will hold back funds until Cambodia satisfies its contractual obligations. Cambodia states that it has exceeded its monetary commitment to the court. Resignation of judges due to political interference and threats of staff strikes due to unpaid wages have lead to slowed proceedings. The court, established in 2005, has convicted one person in relation to the crimes committed in 1975-1979 by an ultra-Maoist regime responsible for up to 2.2 million deaths.