Archive for category Rwanda
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)
ICC opens investigation into recent war crimes and CAH in CAR: A report issued by the ICC on Wednesday, 24 September 2014, confirms that an investigation has been opened into crimes committed in the Central African Republic by the mainly-Muslim Seleka alliance and the mostly Christian anti-Balaka militia. The allegations include murder, rape and recruiting of child soldiers. Investigators for the ICC will now begin the process of gathering evidence to support charges against those suspected of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity since the conflict began in 2013. (Reuters).
African Commission undertakes fact finding mission into CAR violations: From 10 to 14 September 2014, a three member delegation of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights conducted a find finding mission in the Central African Republic. The mission consisted of, among other things, discussions with CAR officials, working sessions with UN representatives, meetings with NGOs, visits to refugee camps and gathering of testimony from victims and witness. The delegation intends to issue a detailed report with recommendations to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in January 2015. In the meantime, the delegation has expressed concern that serious violations of human rights have and are continuing to be committed in the CAR. (ReliefWeb).
Karadzic trial closing arguments to be held on 29 August: The ICTY has scheduled closing arguments for 29 September 2014, in the case against Radovan Karadzic. The former Bosnian Serb president faces charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or custom of wars for crimes committed during the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict. (ICTY).
Sweden arrests two Rwandans for involvement in 1994 genocide: Two unidentified Rwandans suspected of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide have been arrested in Sweden. The arrests come some two months after a Swedish appeals court confirmed a genocide conviction against Stanislas Mbanenande, a low level commander involved in five massacres in western Rwanda. (All Africa).
HRW says assassination spree in Libya possible CAH: The scores of political assassinations in Libya since 2012 may amount to crimes against humanity, said Human Rights Watch. These assassinations include the 19 September 2014, killing of five civilians, two activists, members of the security forces and a cleric in the eastern city of Benghazi. Human Rights Watch stated that the failure and unwillingness of the government of Libya to initiate investigations into the crimes and prosecute those responsible has “fostered a culture of impunity that has fueled further abuses.” (Human Rights Watch).
Israel and Palestine consider investigations and next steps for crimes on both sides: The Israeli military is investigating suspected war crimes committed by its operations during the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip. It is estimated more than 2,000 Palestinians were killed in Israel’s military campaign in July and August this year. Palestine’s Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the country will soon decide whether to sign the Rome Statute of the ICC and be able to file a complaint against Israel in the Court for war crimes. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (The Times of Israel, McClatchy DC).
ECCC announces 17 October as date for final phase of trial: The second phase of the trial of Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan at the ECCC is scheduled to being on 17 October 2014. In this final phase, the two former senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge face allegations of genocide, forced labor and political purges. The two were convicted last month of crimes against humanity for their roles in forced evacuations. (Voice of America).
NGO report provides new evidence of HR violations by Sri Lanka: The British rights group, Freedom From Torture, released a report today, 24 September 2014, documenting acts of detention, torture and sexual violence in Sri Lanka. The acts, carried out by Sri Lanka’s security forces, have mostly been aimed at ethnic Tamils and have occurred since the country’s civil war ended in 2009. Sri Lanka’s cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella claims the “report is totally biased” and Freedom From Torture “have anti-Sri Lanka elements and continue undue pressure on Sri Lanka by leveling baseless allegations.” (UCA News).
ICC Judge departs for health reasons: Judge Hans-Peter Kaul has resigned from the ICC for health reasons. Judge Kaul served as an ICC Judge for 11 years and was fundamental in the development of the ICC. His resignation will take effect on 1 July 2014. (ICC).
Prosecution and Defence in Katanga Trial abandon appeals: The decision in The Prosecutor v. Germain Katagna. The judgment is not final. The decision made by the Defence for Germain Katanga and the Office of the Prosecutor to discontinue their appeals against the judgment of Trial Chamber II of the ICC on 25 June 2014. (ICC).
UN Human Rights Office alarmed by Venezuela violence: Continued reports of human rights violations reportedly taking place in Venezuela is of concern to the UN. National human rights organizations estimate that more that 3,120 people were detained between February and May 2014. The High Commissioner has called for Venezuelan authorities to respect the rights of those citizen involved in peaceful demonstrations. The High Commissioner has also renewed his calls on the Government of Venezuela to accept all visit requests by UN experts. (UN News).
HRW implores ICC to investigate crimes in CAR: The CAR interim president, Catherine Samba-Panza, formally asked the ICC prosecutor to open an investigation, acknowledging that Central African courts are not in a position to carry out necessary investigations. The CAR has been in a state of acute crisis since 2013. It is expected that the ICC prosecutor will accept the request. (UN News).
ICTR affirms sentence against Bizimungu: The ICTR unanimously affirmed the 30-year prison sentence for former army chief Augustin Bizimungu for his role in the 1994 genocide during which he called for the murder of minority Tutsis. (Yahoo News).