Archive for category Rwanda
Head of Gaza Inquiry replaced by US Judge: Following Israel’s criticism of William Schabas as head of the United Nations inquiry over the conflict between Israel and Gaza, Schabas stepped down from his position. Mary McGowan Davis, a former United States judge, has replaced Schabas as the head of the Gaza inquiry. Israel claimed that Schabas was biased against them, but Schabas stated that his views on Israel and Palestine were widely known. Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court recently started an inquiry into the allegations of atrocities in Palestinian territories, which shows the sensitivity of the issue with Schabas departure. (France24)
UN Committee on Rights of the Child reports that ISIL abusing / killing children: The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, is a jihadist group that has been accused of war crimes for abusing and killing children. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child stated in their report that ISIL is training ten year old boys as child soldiers, treating girls as sex slaves, and torturing or executing others. The UN accused ISIL of using these tactics as a method to control children, while making them accustomed to violence. 18 independent experts that worked on this report have called upon Iraqi authorities to rescue those under ISIL control and prosecute perpetrators of crimes. (EuroNews)
Colombian Inspector General presents evidence of 2760 forced disappearances to the ICC Prosecutor: The ICC has recently been presented with evidence related to 2760 disappearances allegedly perpetrated by the Colombia rebel group FARC. Colombian Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez presented the ICC with this evidence and stated that 1200 of these happened since 2002. This evidence was presented to the Prosecutor at the ICC to be examined as part of her Preliminary Examination. The Preliminary Examination was initiated in June 2004. Ordoñez stated that he is confident that those responsible will be investigated, prosecuted, and convicted. (Colombia Reports)
Amnesty urges Serbia / Croatia war crimes probe after ICJ genocide dismissal: Earlier this week, the International Court of Justice ruled that neither Serbia nor Croatia committed genocide during the Balkan Wars in the 1990s. Amnesty International urged both Serbia and Croatia to investigate those suspected of war crimes further to provide justice for victims. John Dalhuisen, Amnesty’s Director of Europe and Central Asia, stated that while the ICJ was unable to find the intent to commit genocide against one another’s country, individuals on both sides committed crimes against humanity and war crimes. (Turkish Weekly)
ICTR to officially close in September 2015: After twenty years of prosecuting those responsible for crimes in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda will close its doors in September of 2015. Danford Mpumilwa, ICTR public information officer, stated that 117 of their 414 member staff have already been sent home, while another 159 will be retrenched in 2015. Mpumilwa stated that the ICTR only has one last case to try before closing its doors completely. (Shanghai Daily)
New Sri Lanka President sends delegate to UN to discuss war crimes investigation: A political change in Sri Lankan politics has opened the doors to UN influence. The newly formed government is planning to investigate accusations of human rights of abuses which allegedly took place amid its civil war. Government officials plan to begin the investigation at a local level before making the decision to bring in foreign experts. (Reuters).
Rights groups call for investigations into killings, war crimes in Libya: Amnesty International has called on the UN to implement sanctions and conduct investigations in response to the possible commission of war crimes in Libya. The UN is currently negotiating with some of Libya’s factions in order to form a unity government in hopes of returning stability back to the nation. (Reuters).
LRA Commander appears at ICC; Uganda unlikely to challenge admissibility: Dominic Ongwen has come before the ICC charged with seven counts of crimes against humanity. As a former member of the LRA, Ongwen was alledgedly involved in various accounts of murder and enslavement. Though a fierce critic of the ICC, Uganda does not plan to challenge the admissibility of the case being heard at the ICC because the LRA has become a regional problem. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (BBC, Bloomberg)
ICTY transfers documents in first phases of transition to court residual mechanism: The ICTY has transferred its records pertaining to the cases of Duško Tadić, Sefer Halilović and to the contempt of court case against Milan Vujin to the MICT. The MICT was established in 2010 and tasked with the responsibility of preserving the legacy of the ICTY and the Rwanda Tribunal. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (ICTY, The Hague)
Seselj’s arrival in Belgrade brings mixed reactions, and visit from ICTY Prosecutor: On Wednesday, 12 November 2014, former Serbian leader Vojislav Seselj arrived in Belgrade, Serbia, in order to receive treatment for colon cancer after being granted provisional release by ICTY judges. Seselj’s provisional release is conditioned on him not interfering with victims or witnesses and returning to the tribunal if summoned. Hundreds of supporters welcomed Seselj, while others, like the victims from Bosnia, have found the provisional release to be a shame. ICTY Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz is scheduled to visit Serbia next week. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (CTV News, InSerbia Network Foundation).
ECCC contemplates temporary “friends of the court” to resolve defense boycott: A confidential email has been reportedly sent by the ECCC’s Defence Support Section to potential lawyers seeking their availability to temporarily replace the international defenders for Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea. It has been suggested that the ECCC appoint temporary lawyers as “friend[s] of the court” in order to continue proceedings in Case 002/02 despite ongoing boycotts by the international defenders. Existing Samphan defender Kong Sam Onn considers such efforts of replacement to be a “breach of the professional code of conduct of lawyers.” (The Phnom Penh Post).
Libya refuses to transfer Saif Gaddafi to the ICC: The Libyan government did not surrender Saif Gaddafi to the ICC stating “the security conditions that are currently taking place in Libya . . . led to the decision to postpone the meetings so that it can directly consider what circumstances are appropriate for ensuring a fair trial . . . .” ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda issued a report on Tuesday, 11 November 2014, urging the Libyan government to comply with the ICC’s order requiring the transfer of Gaddafi. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (Middle East Monitor, Aljazeera).
Rwanda investigating BBC for genocide denial: The BBC is being investigated for genocide denial by Rwanda’s Chief Prosecutor Martin Ngoga and a special Rwandan commission. Previously, U.S. attorney Peter Erlinder and Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire were investigated and indicted by Ngoga for genocide denial. (Global Research).
Int’l Prosecutors pass resolution to ensure accountability: A resolution stressing the importance of accountability in international justice, peace and security was adopted at the 7th Colloquium of International Prosecutors on 4-5 November 2014. The resolution, crafted with the help of international and national prosecutors, international court representatives, academic institutions and human rights organizations, also urges the international community to provide support to the international courts. The resolution marks the 20th anniversary commemoration of the establishment of the ICTR. (All Africa).
Report says Kony is in Sudan / S. Sudan border area: The Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative and Invisible Children have released a comprehensive report identifying Kony’s movements since 2005. Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity, has been reported to be hiding out near the Sudan border at Kafia Kingi. Kafia Kingi is controlled by Sudan, but claimed by South Sudan. The ICC issued a warrant for Kony’s arrest back in 2005, but Kony has evaded arrest. Paul Ronan, director of Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative, calls for the international community and the Sudanese government to take action. Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, is also wanted by the ICC for alleged war crimes in Darfur. (The Guardian)
ICTY grants provisional release of Seselj: ICTY conditionally released Vojislav Seselj, Serbian nationalist leader, for medical treatment for his colon cancer. Seselj is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes including inciting Serb paramilitary units to commit crime. Seselj turned himself in to the court in 2003 and has spent almost 12 years in ICTY detention. Seselj’s release is conditional upon him not influencing his current trial for war crimes. Should the ICTY summon him, he has to return for trial. (Europe Online Magazine)
UK Supreme Court allows Rwanda access to witness testimonies on Genocide suspects: Five Rwandans are up for their hearing for their alleged part in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis. The Supreme Court of the UK has rejected pleas by defense lawyers for Rwandan genocide suspects to bar the Rwandan government from accessing witness testimonies to the court. The Prosecutor-General, Richard Muhumuza, stated this news meant that Rwanda would be able to rebut what the defense has to say. Muhumuza stated any other move would have been unprecedented. (All Africa)
Dominican Republic withdraws membership from Inter-American Court of HR: On 4 November 2014, the Dominican Republic withdrew its membership from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The Dominican Republic decided on this after the court gave the government six months to invalidate the Dominican Republic’s ruling that people born to illegal migrants did not automatically receive citizenship. The court stated that this discriminated against those residents of Haitian decent. (Panam Post)
Lebanon pays annual contribution to STL: On 6 November 2014, the Lebanese government fulfilled its obligation to fund the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. This is its annual contribution of 36 million dollars. STL Registrar Daryl Mundis welcomed the contribution and thanked the government for its commitment to the tribunal. (The Daily Star)
Kenyan NGO seeks signatures on ICC criticism of government: The Kenyan Citizens Coalition, a non-governmental organization, stated that the Kenyan government is not to blame for the lagging case against President Uhuru Kenyatta. The NGO stated that the ICC has not properly investigated the case and should not allocate the blame onto the Kenyan government. The Kenyan Citizens Coalition announced plans to start collecting signatures from citizens, Kenyan Organizations, and International Partners to compel the ICC to stop apportioning the blame. The organization’s convener, Ngunjiri Wambugu, stated that these signatures will be compiled into a memorandum that will be sent to the United Nations Security Council, the Assembly of States Parties to the ICC, the European Union, and the African Union. ICC judges will soon rule whether the prosecutor Fatou Bensouda will be granted more time for investigations against Kenyatta and suspend the trial date or to throw the case out altogether. (Capital News)
ICTR celebrates 20 year anniversary: The UN-ICTR for Rwanda will celebrate its 20th year operating in Arusha. Prosecutor for the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, will join for celebrations and as panelist with other prosecutors to debate on the lessons of empowerment of national jurisdictions to prosecute international crimes. The ICTR was established in 1994 following the Rwandan genocide between the Hutus and the Tutsis. The ICTR to date has indicted 93 individuals total, 61 of which were sentenced. (Daily News)
141 human rights organizations support trial of Habré: 141 African human rights organizations from 32 different countries issued a letter on 2 November 2014 praising the efforts of Senegal and the African Union to prosecute crimes. Former Chadian president, Hisséne Habré, stands accused of thousands of political killings and torture from 1982 to 1990. Habré was indicted in July 2013 by the Extraordinary African Chambers and is now in pretrial detention. Habré’s trial would begin in early 2015 if judges rule that a trial is justified. The letter states that a fair and transparent trial for Habré, if the case went forward, would help hold those accountable for their crimes. The letter also calls for fair and transparent trials for officials from Habré’s administration whose trials are scheduled to begin November 13th. (Human Rights Watch)
Libyan court postpones trial of former Gaddafi officials: Libyan court has postponed the trial of ex-officials that served under former leader Muammar Gaddafi until 16 November 2014. This postponement is connected to the proceedings against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi before the ICC. The ICC has ordered Libya to hand over Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi to be tried before the ICC. With respect to Senussi, the ICC Appeals Chamber found in July 2014 that Senussi could be tried before local Libya courts. The trial of 23 defendants occurred in Tripoli’s al-Hadba prison while Saif Al-Gaddafi is being tried in Zintan. The defendants are charged with numerous crimes including charges of genocide and incitement to rape. (Bernama, African News) (for additional information please click here)
The United Nations team that led an investigation into war crimes committed in North Korea on Wednesday asked that China support a referral of the case to the International Criminal Court. Michael Kirby was the chair of the commission of inquiry tasked with identifying any crimes committed and ongoing in North Korea. The resulting report outlined ongoing abuses, and has provided evidence to potentially refer North Korea to the ICC. Leaders were concerned Wednesday that China would use its veto power to block any action to refer North Korea. For additional information on this topic, please click here and click here (Reuters, Washington Post)
Richard Muhumuza, the Prosecutor General of Rwanda, vowed that he would collaborate with prosecutors and legal systems throughout Africa to pursue and apprehend remaining war crimes suspects. He spoke at the meeting of the General Assembly of the Africa Prosecutors’ Association, and appealed for cooperation to ensure extradition of suspects. Specifically, he spoke about individuals suspected of perpetrating crimes in the 1994 Rwanda Genocide, who had not been apprehended to date. (AllAfrica)
A report detailing evidence against three International Crimes Tribunal suspects will be turned over to the Prosecution, for consideration. The investigation arm of the ICT compiled a report against Forkan Mollick, Mohidur Rahman, and Afsar Hossain, in relation to alleged mass killings, rape, and forced conversions, among other charges. (BDNews)
UN official says rape used as weapon of war in S. Sudan: U.N. Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, stated that the Sudanese government Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA) uses rape as a weapon of war in its current conflict with opposition forces. Bangura stated that women are sent out for firewood and other tasks since men would be killed at SPLA checkpoints, while women are raped at these checkpoints. Bangura stated that sexual violence in conflict could constitute as a war crime or crime against humanity. Bangura has urged government and opposition officials to stop the use of sexual violence and notified both that these crimes will be prosecuted through national and international courts. (Voice of America)
ECCC defense team warned of misconduct and obstructing proceedings: The Trial Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) has issued warnings to lawyers representing Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan for misconduct in walking out of the courtroom during opening statements on 17 October and for failing to appear at a trial management meeting. The court accused the attorneys of obstructing proceedings for boycotting their clients’ genocide trial. Kong Sam Onn, Khieu Sampan’s Cambodian lawyer, stated they are acting on behalf of their clients’ wishes in order to draft an appeal brief on earlier convictions for crimes against humanity that carried life sentences in prison. Both defense teams have been ordered to be present in court for another trial management meeting set for Tuesday, but Sam Onn stated that they would not appear unless ordered by their client. Under Rule 38, judges have the ability to impose sanctions on lawyers or refer them to their bar associations for disciplinary action, a process that could ban lawyers from appearing before the ECCC. (Cambodia Daily)
Inter-American Crt of HR decision called “unacceptable” and “biased” by State: Last year, a Dominican court ruled that people born to illegal migrants did not automatically receive citizenship rendering many stateless. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) gave the government six months to invalidate the ruling stating that it discriminated against Dominicans born of Haitian descent. The Dominican Republic has rejected this ruling calling it “unacceptable” and “biased.” Amnesty International stated that this reaction demonstrates a disregard for international law and the country’s legal responsibilities. The court found abuses against human rights in the Dominican Republic’s Law 169/14, which created two categories of people: those who were registered in the Dominican civil registry and those with undeclared births that labeled them as foreigners. The IACHR found the requirement of having Dominicans register as foreigners as a violation of international human rights law. (Fox News, Amnesty International) (For additional information on this topic, please click here)
Argentinian court sentences 15 to life for crimes against humanity: Argentine Federal Court sentenced 15 individuals to life for crimes against humanity during the Argentine military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983. Four others were sentenced between 12 to 13 years in prison and one was absolved. Soldiers, policeman, and former politicians were among those accused for genocide of Argentinians and the kidnapping and murder of Laura Carlotto, daughter of Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo founder, Estela de Carlotto. These proceedings began in December of 2013 and finished last Friday with the guilty verdict. (teleSUR)
Rwandan opposition leader files complaint at African Court: Victoire Ingabire, a jailed Rwandan opposition figure, filed a complaint in demand of a retrial with the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Ingabire was convicted for “conspiracy in harming authorities through terrorism and war,” minimizing the Rwandan genocide, and spreading rumors to incite violence. She was sentenced to 15 years in prison last December. Ingabire wants the court to strike down Rwanda’s laws banning genocide revisionism and spreading rumors. The United Democratic Forces party stated that Ingabire should be freed upon retrial and paid damages for the detention. (Naharnet)