Archive for category Rwanda
10 former Bosnian Serb soldiers arrested in Bosnia over crimes from 1990s conflict: The 10 former Bosnian Serb soldiers arrested in December have been charged with war crimes that occurred during the 1990s Balkans conflict. The December arrests stemmed from a joint effort of Bosnia and Serbia to look into these matters. Five former Bosnian Serb soldiers were arrested in December by Serbia and the ten now charged with war crimes were arrested by Bosnia. (UT San DiegoABC News) (for additional information click here)
Appeals proceedings in ICTR Butare case to start: On Tuesday 21 April 2015, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will start appeals proceedings for its last case. The case includes six members of Butare including former Family Affairs Minister Pauline Nyiramasuhuko. Nyiramasuhuko was sentenced to life in prison by the trial court for crimes against humanity in 2011. According to ICTR, judgement from the appeal will not be rendered earlier than August. This will mark the 14th year of this case and the 16th year that Nyiramasuhuko has been in preventive detention. (Hirondelle News)
Hadzic granted provisional release by ICTY for health issues: The International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) has granted a provisional release to former Croatian Serb rebel leader Goran Hadzic until May. Hadzic stands accused of 14 alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1991-95 war in Croatia. Hadzic was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in November and will receive radio and chemotherapy treatment. His request for a temporary release was initially denied by trial judge, but overturned on appeal for humanitarian reasons. (Expatica, InSerbia News) (for additional information click here)
AG calls Bensouda’s claim of Kenya’s possible non-cooperation defamatory: ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda stands accused for defamation of Kenya by Attorney General Githu Muigai. Muigai states that Bensouda’s allegations that the Kenyan government refuses to cooperate with the court is defamatory. The prosecutor is attempting to get Kenya referred to the Assembly of State Parties and sanctioned. (All Africa News)
Bangladeshi Chairman of the Law Commission withdraws from ICC judge election: Bangladeshi Chairman of the Law Commission, ABM Khairul Haque, has withdrawn from the ICC judge election. Haque stated that he withdrew due to family concerns as his mother is elderly and ill. Haque also stated that this situation would not allow him to contribute six years to the ICC. (BDNews 24)
NGO group calls on Equitorial Guinea human rights violations to be investigated: Nongovernmental organizations sent a letter to the Community of Portuguese Language Countries on 31 March to assess the human rights situations in Equatorial Guinea and recommend reform. Human Rights Watch stated that an investigation should be launched into the human rights violation in Equatorial Guinea. According to Human Rights Watch freedom of speech, association, and assembly are limited in the country. (Human Rights Watch)
ICTY finds Seselj breached provisional release, orders return: On Monday, 30 March 2015, ICTY appeals judges found that Vojislav Seselj breached the terms of his provisional release and ordered the former Serbian leader to return to The Hague. Seselj was granted provisional release in November 2014 to seek medical care in Serbia under the condition that he not interfere with victims or witnesses and return to the tribunal if summoned. After arriving in the country, Seselj told supporters that he would not return to the ICTY voluntarily and challenged officials to attempt to arrest him. Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said the government will “respond in the coming days.” (For additional information on this topic, please click here and here) (Reuters, Wall Street Journal, The News Tribune).
ECCC indicts Ao An in Case 004:The ECCC’s international co-investigating judge has charged Ao An in Case 004 with premediated murder under the 1956 Cambodian Penal Code and crimes against humanity. The crimes were allegedly committed at Kok Pring execution site, Tuol Beng security centre and Wat Au Trakuon security centre. The defense for the former member of the Khmer Rouge will now have access to the case file and be able to participate in the investigation. (ECCC).
RSCSL rejects request from Taylor for prison transfer to Rwanda: Former Liberian President Charles Taylor’s motion to be transferred to a prison in Rwanda to serve the remainder of his sentence was denied by the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone. The RSCSL Trial Chamber found, among other things, that transferring Taylor to Rwanda could pose a threat to peace and security and found that the former president’s family’s inability to travel to the United Kingdom was not interference by the RSCSL. Taylor had claimed that his family was unable to visit him in the United Kingdom where he was serving his 50-year prison sentence and it would be more humane for him to be imprisoned in Africa. (All Africa).
Amnesty Report find Hamas responsible for war crimes in Gaza: On Thursday, 26 March 2015, Amnesty International released a report finding the Palestinian militant group Hamas committed war crimes during the Gaza War. Specifically, the report said Hamas was responsible for firing rockets and mortar shells in Israel resulting in the death of thousands of civilians. The accusatory report follows Palestine’s recent application for membership in the ICC which began an investigation into alleged war crimes during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in January 2015. (Foreign Policy).
UNCHR says human rights defenders risk murder in Libya: The U.N. Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (UNCHR), jointly with the U.N. Support Mission in Libya, released a report highlighting the abuse and threats faced by human rights defenders in Libya. UNCHR urged the government of Libya to meaningfully investigate the alleged abuses and hold accountable those responsible. UNCHR also recommended sensitivity training for investigators, reparations for victims of the abuse, release of those unjustly detained and cooperation with the ICC. The U.N. Human Rights Council intends to send a team to investigate the human rights abuses in Libya. (Libya Herald).
France seeks UNSC referral of ISIS to ICC: France is urging the U.N. Security Council to refer the Islamic State militant group to the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Iraq and Syria. The ICC Prosecutor is unable to open an investigation into crimes committed in non ICC member states unless referred by the 15-member Security Council. If the matter were to be referred, the ICC prosecutor and judges will then have to decide whether the referral of the militant group is legitimate. (Reuters).
Ngudjolo faces immigration challenge after acquittal at ICC: Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui is being held in custody in the Netherlands pending deportation after his 2012 acquittal of war crimes and crimes against humanity was confirmed by the ICC. The former militia leader does not have a residence permit to stay in the Netherlands but fears being deported back to Congo for safety reasons. Ngudjolo’s defence have filed motions seeking asylum and also intend to appeal his detention and deportation. (ICC Observer).
Rwandan court upholds conviction of former justice minister for role in genocide: On 27 February 2015, Rwanda’s former justice minister’s sentence of life imprisonment for “being an accomplice to carry out . . . genocide” was upheld by the country’s high court. Agnes Ntamabyariro was convicted six years ago for crimes committed during the 1994 conflict in Rwanda in which 800,000 were killed. Lawyers for Ntamabyariro said the former justice minister may appeal the confirmation due to the severity of the punishment. (News 24).
US Government makes move to deport 150 Bosnian immigrants on war crimes allegations: U.S. immigration officials have identified some 300 Bosnian immigrants living in the United States believed to have been involved in war crimes and “ethnic cleansing” during the 1990s conflict in the former Yugoslavia. It is being reported that at least 150 of those identified, many of them former Bosnian soldiers, may be deported. Kathleen O’Connor, a human rights prosecutor at the Justice Department urged witnesses to come forward regarding war crimes in the former Yugoslavia and stressed that “justice can be served in the United States despite the fact that many years have gone by and that the conduct occurred overseas.” (New York Times).
Rwandan investigators urge action against BBC for program questioning genocide: Rwandan investigators are urging the government to ban BBC radio programs questioning the 1994 genocide from the country’s airwaves. Former top Rwandan prosecutor Martin Ngoga found the BBC “abused press freedom and free speech, violated its own editorial guidelines (and) transgressed journalistic standards.” The BBC has denied the accusations and said it had no intentions of “downplay[ing] or conceal[ing] the horrifying events of 1994.” (Malay Mail).
Bensouda urges Kony to surrender for trial at ICC: ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda urged Joseph Kony, a rebel chief of the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army, to surrender to the Court and stand trial. Bensouda vowed the rebel chief would receive a fair, independent and impartial trial. The Lord’s Resistance Army is accused of killing some 100,000 people in a conflict in northern Uganda nearly three decades ago. (Standard Digital).
Preparation made for a Special Court on Kosovo: Kosovo is preparing for the creation of a Special Court to prosecute killings and organ trafficking during the conflict in Kosovo; said Prime Minister Isa Mustafa on Monday, 2 March 2015. Specifically, the court will look at crimes by the former Kosovo Liberation Army against Serbs. Prime Minister Mustafa said experts were working to “harmonise the legislation related to the Special Court, the court’s statute and amendments to the Constitution that are required for the laws and statute to be adopted.” (InSerbia).
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)