Archive for category Other domestic courts
Ukrainian Parliament votes to send ousted President Yanukovich and two others to the ICC: On Tuesday 25 February 2014, the Ukrainian Parliament voted to refer ousted President Viktor Yanukovich, former interior minister Vitaly Zakharchenko and former prosecutor-general Viktor Pshonka to the International Criminal Court to be tried for ‘serious crimes’ regarding the death of over a hundred Ukrainian citizens and injury of over 2,000 during recent protests. The Parliament said that Yanukovich and other high level people should be held criminally responsible for “issuing and carrying out openly criminal orders.” The ICC stated on Tuesday that no request had been received yet from the Ukrainian Government. The Ukraine is not a member of the Rome Statute but Ukraine could make a declaration under Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute referring jurisdiction to the Court for the incidents. Yanukovich is currently at large after fleeing last Friday, 21 February. (The Star)
ICC preliminary examination analysizes Nigeria’s efforts to deal with Boko Haram: On Monday 24 February 2014, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda addressed Nigerian State House correspondents in Abuja in order to explain that as part of the ICC’s preliminary examination into crimes committed in Nigeria by Boko Haram, the Prosecution will be evaluating what efforts the Nigerian Government has taken to address the Boko Haram insurgency. This includes what judicial steps have been taken to bring justice to crimes committed by Boko Haram. The Prosecutor explained that a preliminary examination is not a formal investigation before the Court, which requires the approval of the Chambers, and must examine issues of complementarity. (Channels)
ICC Prosecution seeks to appeal Ruto’s excusal from presence in trial: The ICC Prosecution has sought leave to appeal a recent decision by the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber to again conditionally excuse ICC accused, William Ruto, from continuous presence during the trial proceedings against him in The Hague. The Prosecution has sought to appeal the decision in order to challenge whether interpreting Rule 134 as providing a basis to approve Ruto’s excusal is in contradiction with the Rome Statute; particularly Articles 63(1), 21(3) and 27(1) of the Statute. (Capital FM News)
Victims lawyer blames Kenyan AG for inaction on requests for evidence: ICC Victims’ lawyer in the case against President Kenyatta, Fergal Gaynor, has stated that terminating the case against President Kenyatta would be “unconscionable” in light of the Government’s inaction with requests to access evidence. Gaynor made submissions to the ICC Trial Chamber complaining of Attorney General of Kenya Githu Muigai’s inaction with requests for evidence – noting in particular the fact that Muigai took no action against an order which barred the interviewing of security officials who could provide evidence, and did not seek to appeal the order. Gaynor said the actions of the Government and AG are not in line with the International Crimes Act and the Rome Statute. (All Africa)
Haiti Appeals Chamber reopens investigations into former leader Duvalier for CAH and HR violations: On 20 February 2014, the Haitian Court of Appeals reversed a ruling by an investigative judge who formerly found that Haiti’s former leader Jean-Claude Duvalier could not be charged with crimes against humanity including forced disappearance and torture. The Court of Appeals found that there is substantial evidence to believe that Duvalier was indirectly involved in the crimes and criminally responsible, and has therefore appointed a sitting judge to further investigate the allegations. The Court of Appeals further found that there is no statute of limitations for crimes against humanity. Amnesty International welcomed the decision and stated that it was a victory for victims of the crimes. (National News Agency of Malaysia)
ICC Prosecutor: Kenyan government obstructionism means ICC will not be successful in Kenyatta prosecution: Prosecutors requested the ICC on 31 January 2014, to adjourn the trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta until the defense delivers requested financial records. The prosecution argued the defense’s failure to fulfill court obligations was harming investigations. The prosecution predicts the records will show that Kenyatta indirectly financed the violence committed after the 2007 presidential election. (Reuters).
Trial of Rwandan Army Captain charged with complicity in ’94 genocide begins in France: Proceedings in the case against Pascal Simbikangwa, a former captain of the Rwandan army, commenced in France on Tuesday, 4 February 2014. Simbikangwa faces charges of complicity to commit genocide for, among other things, organizing massacres and supplying arms. French law allows the country to hear cases of genocide and other serious violations of international law committed in Rwanda. (Jakarta Globe).
Costa Rica to sue Nicaragua over sea rights at the ICJ: Costa Rica intends to file suit in the ICJ by May 2014, concerning ownership over an area of sea. The country claims Nicaragua usurped “Costa Rican territorial seas, based on demarcation it did arbitrarily and unilaterally, to chart what it calls its oil (exploration) blocs.” Nicaragua, on the other hand, argued it had jurisdiction over the waters under a November 2012 ICJ decision between its country and Columbia. (Inside Costa Rica).
ICTY Prosecutor comments on reconsideration motion in Perišić case: On Monday, 3 February 2014, ICTY Prosecutor Serge Brammertz announced that his Office requested that the ICTY Appeals Chamber reconsider its acquittal of Momčilo Perišić, the former Chief of Staff of the Yugoslav Army, who had been convicted to 27 years in prison for aiding and abetting crimes committed in Sarajevo and Srebrenica between 1993 and 1995. In its motion for reconsideration, the Office of the Prosecutor argued that the “specific direction” requirements on which the Appeals Chamber based the acquittal is incorrect and should be overturned. (ICTY).
Witness from explosive unit testified at STL: On Monday, 3 February 2014, Abdel-Badih al-Soussi, who was the manager of the explosives unit of the Internal Security Forces at the time Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated, testified before the STL. Although he had not gone to the crime scene immediately following the explosion, he had attended a meeting at the military court that afternoon, to which a member of the explosives bureau had brought car parts from the site. The judge ordered that the parts be examined and the site cordoned off to the public. Soussi testified that he did not ask that the car parts be returned to the crime scene, nor did the judge discuss during the meeting whether parts of the motorcade should be removed. (The Daily Star).
Judge replaced on Kenyatta Trial Chamber: Following a decision by the Presidency of the ICC, Judge Geoffrey A. Henderson replaced Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji in the case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta before Trial Chamber V(b). Judge Henderson is from Trinidad and Tobago, and was elected at the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute in November 2013. He will serve as a judge at the ICC until 10 March 2021. Judge Eboe-Osuji had excused himself from the trial. (ICC-CPI).
U.S. urged to suspend aid due to human rights violations in Egypt: On Monday, 3 February 2014, the Working Group on Egypt, as part of the NGO Human Rights First, released a statement that it had sent a letter to U.S. President Obama, urging his administration to cease sending aid to Egypt until the Egyptian government progresses in transitioning to a democracy and improves human rights conditions within the country. According to the NGO, depriving Egypt of aid until progress has been made sends a clear signal that the U.S. does not tolerate the human rights abuses that have occurred in Egypt, which are documented in a report the group recently released. (Human Rights First).
Former Bangladeshi Minister indicted for war crimes: On Sunday, 2 February 2014, the International Crimes Tribunal-2 indicted Syed Mohammad Qaisar, a former Bangladeshi minister from the Jatiya Party, on 16 charges of war crimes, including the commission of genocide. He and his group, the “Quaisar Bahini”, allegedly committed crimes against humanity in Habiganj and Brahmanbaria during the 1971 Liberation War. According to the prosecution, Quaisar had also served as a commander of the Rajakars, which was an auxiliary group of the former Pakistani army. The opening statement of the prosecution will be made on 4 March 2014. (Z News).
AU issues statement urging united front concerning ICC and Kenya, Sudan cases: In a statement issued Saturday, 1 February 2014, the AU expressed that it was not pleased with the UN Security Council’s refusal to defer the trials of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto, and Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir. The AU encouraged all of its members to comply with AU decisions and stand together on this issue in order to defer the proceedings. Botswana is currently the only AU member state that has officially opposed the AU’s decision to challenge the ICC cases. (Sudan Tribune).
Court/Tribunal: International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
Decision Title: Decision on Bernard Munyagishari’s Third and Fourth Motions for Admission of Additional Evidence and on the Appeals Against the Decision on Referral Under Rule 11 bis
Chamber: Appeals Chamber
Case Name: Bernard Munyagishari v. The Prosecutor
Date: 3 May 2013
- Both Defendant Munyagihari and the Prosecution appealed the Referral Chamber’s decision transferring, with conditions, his case from the ICTR to the national Rwandan courts. The defendant first asked the Appeals Chamber to consider additional evidence, which it rejected. The defense the presented ten grounds upon which it argued that the Referral Court erred when reaching the decision to transfer the case. The Appeals Chamber dismissed all but one, according to which the Appeals Chamber required that the Prosecution amend the Indictment to reflect that the national proceedings will not pursue joint criminal enterprise as a mode of liability. The Prosecution argued against two of the four conditions that the Referral Chamber had ordered to the national proceedings; the Appeals Chamber struck the conditions.
Principles found in decision:
- Even if proposed additional evidence meets the requirements under Rule 115 for admission after-the-fact, if the additional evidence would not have been dispositive in the original decision, the Appeals Court will not consider the evidence
- An Indictment against a defendant must completely and accurately reflect the charges against the defendant, so as to effectuate his right to be so informed. If the mode of liability is changed in a transfer case, this change must be reflected in an amended indictment
- The U.N. Security Council Resolutions regarding the ICTR do not require retention of high-level cases at the Tribunal
- In arguing that national proceedings will not adequately maintain international standards for the defendant’s detention, the defendant must show case-specific evidence of inadequate conditions for his transfer case. He cannot rely upon general evidence about the national prison system as a whole
- Ensuring a defendant’s rights to counsel does not require that an attorney appointed to represent an indigent defendant in a case transferred to a national court have previous international experience in order to ensure
- If a referring court requires third-party monitoring of cases transferred to national courts to ensure a fair trial, the monitoring system need not be established before the case is transferred to the national system
Decision Background: Mr. Munyagihari is indicted before the Tribunal for events stemming out of the Rwandan Genocide of 1992-1994. He is charged with conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide, or alternatively complicity in genocide, murder and rape as crimes against humanity. On 6 June 2012, the Tribunal’s Referral Chamber issued the Impugned Decision, in which it ordered the case referred for trial before the High Court of Rwanda. The referral of the case to a domestic court was subject to the domestic court’s ability to meet four conditions set out by the Referral Chamber.
In June 2010, both the defense and the prosecution filed notices of appeal against the decision to refer the case to a domestic Rwandan court. In November and December of 2012, the defense filed two motions for the consideration of additional evidence on the decision to refer the case to Rwanda, both of which the Appeals Chamber dismissed. The defense filed a third motion for the consideration of additional evidence on 11 February 2013, and filed a fourth motion to consider additional evidence on 4 April 2013. In his third motion, the defendant requested that, pursuant to Rule 115 of the Rules, an article published in the New York Times on 6 February 2013, and a communiqué published on 7 February 2013, regarding an alleged absence of a system to monitor any tribunal undertaken in Rwanda. In his fourth motion, the defendant requests that the Tribunal consider a report published on 25 March 2013 by Amnesty International, allegedly revealing serious deficiencies with the Rwandan judicial system and his ability to receive a fair trial in a national proceeding.
The defendant challenged the decision to refer his case to domestic Rwandan proceedings. He advanced ten grounds upon which he contested the decision.
The Prosecution also appealed the Impugned Decision, challenging in one ground of appeal the Referral Chamber’s subjection of the national proceedings to two conditions.
Third and Fourth Motions for Consideration of Additional Evidence—
The Appeals Chamber first considered the defense’s third and fourth motions to hear additional evidence on the referral of the case to domestic Rwandan courts. The Appeals Chamber noted that under Rule 115, a motion to hear additional evidence shall not be filed more than 30 days from the filing of the reply brief unless there is a showing of good cause for delay, and that this limit applies to appeals from referral decisions; the Chamber noted that the defendant filed his motions outside of the allotted time frame. However, because the articles of additional evidence were not published in their original source until after the 30-day window, and were thus not available during the allotted time frame, the Appeals Chamber found good cause for delay, and stated it would consider the evidence.
Rule 115 allows for the admission of additional evidence on appeal when a party has possession of material that was not presented at trial, and that represents evidence on a question of fact that was at issue during trial. In order to be considered on appeal, the evidence must not have been available at trial in any form, and must not have been discoverable in any form through the exercise of due diligence. The additional evidence must be relevant and credible. If the evidence is relevant and credible, but was available during referral proceedings, the Appeals Chamber may allow it if the moving party can establish that its exclusion would constitute a miscarriage of justice.
The Appeals Chamber found that the additional evidence presented in the Third Motion met all of the admission requirements under Rule 115. The Chamber, however, found that the additional evidence would not have been a decisive factor in the Impugned Decision. The Appeals Chamber found that the hearings on referral adduced satisfactory evidence of Rwanda’s willingness to hold the trial, and found concerns allegedly raised by the evidence in the Third Motion are speculative. As such, the Appeals Chamber found that the evidence in the Third Motion could have had any impact on the Referral Chamber’s decision to refer the case to Rwanda.
The Appeals Chamber found that the Amnesty International report requested in the Fourth Motion met all of the Rule 115 requirements for admission. However, the Appeals Chamber found that the evidence would not have been a decisive factor in the decision to refer the case to Rwanda. The Amnesty report concerned issues and problems that occurred in another defendant’s trial, and that the present defendant’s trial would be protected under Rwandan law by additional assurances and protections afforded to cases referred by the Tribunal; the former case did not have these protections. Thus, the Chamber found that the differences between the two cases were significant such that the Amnesty report could not have had an impact on the referral decision.
Pursuant to the above, the Appeals Chamber dismissed the defendant’s third and fourth motions to consider additional evidence.
Defense Challenge to the Impugned Decision—
The defendant challenged the decision to refer the case to the domestic Rwandan court system. He advanced ten grounds upon which he contested the Referral Chamber’s decision. Under Rule 11, the Tribunal may refer a case to national proceedings, upon findings that the defendant will receive a fair trial, and that the defendant will not be subjected to the death penalty.
The Referral Chamber holds the discretion to refer a case to national proceedings, and the Appeals Chamber will only interfere if the Referral Chamber’s decision was based on discernible error.
GROUND 1: The Prosecution declared that if the case were referred to Rwanda, it would no longer pursue joint criminal enterprise against the defendant as a mode of liability. The Referral Chamber found that it was not necessary to amend the Indictment against the defendant based upon this concession, finding that the defendant’s rights would not be prejudiced. The defendant argued that the Referral Chamber erred in failing to order the Prosecution to amend the Indictment to reflect the change in mode of liability.
- The Appeals Chamber found that failing to amend the indictment would subject the defendant to an indictment that did not clearly and accurately inform him of the charges he faces. The Appeals Chamber found that the Referral Chamber erred in not requiring amendment of the Indictment to give effect to the concession that joint criminal enterprise liability would not be pursued at the national level. The Appeals Chamber ordered the Prosecution to amend the Indictment to reflect its concession as to joint criminal enterprise liability.
GROUND 2: Noting that U.N. Security Council Resolutions referring the situation in Rwanda to the International Tribunals contemplated transferring the cases of intermediate and lower-ranked Rwandan officials to national courts, rather than the transfer of cases involving senior official, the defendant argued that the Referral Chamber erred in finding that his case could be transferred to Rwandan courts.
- The Appeals Chamber found that the Referral Chamber was bound by Rule 11 bis of the Rules when making its decision whether to refer the case, which did not require the consideration of the defendant’s level of responsibility
- The Appeals Chamber further found that the U.N. Resolutions left the implementation strategy for the Rwandan Tribunals to the discretion of the Tribunal. The U.N. Resolutions did not require the referral of only lower-level defendants to national courts. The Referral Chamber did not err in finding that it could refer the case to Rwanda
- The Appeals Chamber dismissed the defendant’s second ground of appeal
GROUND 3: The defendant argued that the Referral Chamber erred in finding that transferring the case to Rwanda would not lead to undue delay of the trial. The defendant noted four specific conditions which it contended that the Chamber did not adequately assess.
- The Appeals Chamber noted that the Referral Chamber addressed and rejected the defendant’s arguments regarding the four factor’s impact on undue delay, and that he could not use an appeal to relitigate the issues
- Regarding any error of the Referral Chamber to fail to consider the cumulative effects of the factors, the Appeals Chamber found that the consideration of the four factors cumulatively would not have changed the decision
- The Appeals Chamber rejected the third ground of appeal
GROUND 4: The defendant argued that the Referral Chamber erred in failing to establish that a presumption of innocence against the defendant would in fact be maintained during the national proceedings.
- The Appeals Chamber found that, when read in its entire context, the Impugned Decision indicates that the Referral Chamber adequately considered whether the defendant’s right to presumed innocence would be respected in practice in national proceedings
- The Appeals Chamber dismissed the fourth ground of appeal
GROUND 5: The defendant argued that he had previously been convicted in absentia through proceedings in Rwanda, and that therefore the referral of his case to Rwanda would violate Nin bis in idem. The Referral Chamber had found that the previous Rwanda judgment against the defendant was vacated by the Court of Appeals, and thus proceedings in Rwanda would not violate double jeopardy. The defendant noted that subsequent confusion around the disposition of that case (whether he had been convicted or acquitted) meant that the Chamber could not definitively find that a conviction had been nullified, and thus whether national proceedings would violate double jeopardy.
- The Appeals Chamber noted that evidence as to the previous Rwandan judgment does not establish whether the defendant was acquitted or convicted in that case. Thus, the Referral Chamber erred in basing its decision on the double jeopardy question on a finding that the defendant’s conviction had been vacated.
- The Appeals Chamber found, however, that the national Court of Appeals had vacated the judgment in that case, regardless of which finding on guilt was reached. Therefore, the Referral Chamber did not err in finding that national proceedings would not violate double jeopardy
- The Appeals Chamber dismissed ground five
GROUND SIX: The defendant argued that the Referral Chamber erred in finding that conditions of detention in Rwanda would meet international standards of detention, in light of evidence that allegedly showed that prison conditions in Rwanda do not meet international standards.
- The Appeals Chamber found that the Impugned Decision properly considered the legal framework in Rwanda, and its implications for meeting international standards of detention
- The Appeals Chamber found that the evidence presented, purporting to show the poor running of the Rwandan prison system, was irrelevant in that it concerned the total national prison system, and not the separate facilities for cases referred from the Tribunal
- The Appeals Chamber dismissed ground six
GROUND 7: The defendant argued that the Referral Chamber erred in finding that he would, in practice, have access to defense witnesses under the same conditions as those testifying for the prosecution.
- The Appeals Chamber found that the Referral Chamber sufficiently considered the defendant’s access to witnesses. Its considerations went beyond the legal framework in Rwanda, and examined in length factors implicating the defendant’s ability to access witnesses
- The Appeals Chamber found that the defendant failed to show that the Referral Chamber erred in its findings underlying its decision
- The Appeals Chamber dismissed ground seven
GROUND 8: The defendant argued that the Referral Chamber erred in finding that his right to an effective defense would be maintained in Rwanda. He argued that the Referral Chamber failed to ensure that Rwanda would be able to provide sufficient funds to defense counsel to carry out necessary work.
- The Appeals Chamber found that the Referral Chamber did not err in considering all of the relevant Rwandan law regarding the right of an indigent defendant to have effective assistance of counsel
- The Appeals Chamber noted that should adequate funding not be provided, the case is subject to revocation from Rwandan proceedings
- The Appeals Chamber dismissed ground eight
GROUND 9: The Referral Chamber held that it would be in the best interests of justice if the Rwandan proceedings were subject to some form of outside monitoring. The defendant argued that the Referral Chamber erred in allowing transfer of his case before an independent monitoring system in Rwanda has been established.
- The Appeals Chamber found that the defendant had not established how the fact that he has yet to be informed of which organization will monitor the national proceedings substantive affects his rights
- The Appeals Chamber found that the defendant failed to establish how his transfer to Rwanda before the actual appointment of monitors would substantively affect his rights or deprive him of the monitoring protections implemented by the Referral Chamber. The Appeals Chamber also noted that national proceedings are subject to revocation if monitors are not appointed
- The Appeals Chamber dismissed ground nine
GROUND 10: The defendant argued that the Referral Chamber directly interfered with proceedings of the national trial when it imposed conditions on any national proceedings. The defendant argued that the Referral Chamber does not have the power to directly interfere with national proceedings, and thus exceeded its jurisdiction. Further, the defendant argued that the fact that the Referral Chamber found it necessary to impose additional conditions on the national proceeding, meant that the national proceedings would not sufficiently guarantee his rights to a fair trial. As such, the defendant argued that the Referral Chamber erred in allowing the transfer.
- The Appeals Chamber found that while a referral chamber may add additional considerations on to a transfer case in order to ensure that a defendant will receive a fair national trial, it must be satisfied that the basic national proceedings will afford the defendant rights comparable to Article 20 of the Statute. Thus, in allowing the transfer, the Referral Chamber found that at base, the national proceedings would afford the defendant adequate rights
- The Appeals Chamber also noted that the conditions imposed upon the national proceedings are not mandatory: the Rwandan legal system may decline to accept the referred case if it does not wish to comply with the imposed conditions. Thus, the Referral Decision does not mandate any course of action from the national system, nor interfere with the independent and discretionary decisions of the national system. The Appeals Chamber found that the Referral Chamber has not exceeded its jurisdiction.
- The Appeals Chamber dismissed ground ten
The Prosecution appealed two of the four conditions upon which the Referral Chamber rested the transfer of the case to national courts. The first condition challenged was that Rwanda provide the defendant with a lawyer with previous international experience. The second condition was that the Rwandan authorities provide the Tribunal with a written assurance that Articles 54 and 55 of the Code of Criminal Procedure would not be used during the trial. The Prosecution argued that while a referral chamber may impose conditions on the transfer of cases to national courts, its discretion to do so was not unlimited, and the conditions must be limited to that which is necessary to ensure a fair national trial. The Prosecution argued that these conditions were not necessary to afford the defendant a fair trial, and as such constituted abuse of discretion. Further, the Prosecution argued that the referral chamber may not interfere too far on the sovereign conduct of the national court system, and argued that the two imposed conditions reached beyond the referral chamber’s authority to impose conditions on sovereign systems.
The Appeals Chamber found that there is no requirement at the Tribunal, or in any relevant international legal instrument, that an appointed attorney have prior relevant international experience. The Appeals Chamber found that if Rwanda appoints a national attorney who has all of the relevant national qualifications and licenses, the attorney provides the defendant adequate representation of counsel. Thus, it found that the Referral Chamber erred in requiring the first condition. The Appeals Chamber set aside the first condition.
The Appeals Chamber found that in regards to the second challenged condition, the Referral Chamber was concerned that the functioning of domestic Rwandan criminal procedure could potentially open defense witnesses to prosecution for acts testified to during the trial of a referred case. This could thus impact the defense’s ability to access witnesses for his case. The condition was meant to allay witness fears of prosecution, in order to increase defense access. The Appeals Chamber found, however, that following amendments to transfer laws in 2009, and improvements in witness protection, adequate safeguards are in place to address witness concerns and increase the likelihood of their appearance. As such, the Appeals Chamber found that the condition was not necessary to ensure a fair trial, that the concerns it addressed were speculative, and thus the Referral Chamber erred in requiring it. The Appeals Chamber set aside the second condition.
To access the full Decision, click here.
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.