Archive for category Rwanda
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).
AU decision to defer Kenyatta, Ruto, and Bashir trials draws mixed responses: In support of the AU urging the ICC to defer the trials of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, and Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto, Ethiopian representatives said that heads of state should not be prosecuted while they are still in office and that Ruto and Kenyatta’s cases should be referred to Kenyan domestic courts, whereas approximately 142 African human rights and activist groups urged AU leaders to support the ICC on Monday, 14 October 2013. Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have also voiced their support for the ICC. Kenyan Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, who had initiated Kenya’s withdrawal from the ICC, called on Kenya’s majority leader this week to introduce a measure to ratify the AU’s deferment decision. According to AU protocol sources, 14 heads of state from Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, Djibouti, Tanzania, Rwanda, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Gambia, Côte d’Ivoire, and Nigeria were present at the summit. (Daily Trust, Voice of America, Business Day). For more information on this topic, please click here and here.
France speaks out against deaths of UN-AU forces in Darfur: On Monday, 14 October 2013, French authorities called on the Sudanese government to investigate an attack that killed three Senegalese soldiers serving in the UN-African Union peace force (UNAMIS) on 13 October 2013, and the murder of a Zambian UN-AU soldier in Western Sudan on 11 October 2013. The French government also urged the Sudanese government to bring those responsible for the deaths to justice, commented on the deteriorating state of security in Sudan, and asked the parties fighting in Darfur to adopt the agreement made in Doha several years ago. (Kuwait News Agency).
STL announces indictment against fifth Hezbollah suspect in Hariri assassination: On 10 October 2013, the STL lifted the confidentiality order on its indictment against Hezbollah member Hassan Habib Merhi, who has been indicted as the fifth suspect in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The STL stated that an arrest warrant and indictment for Merhi were delivered to the Lebanese government in August and that Merhi’s trial will be conducted separately from the trial of the four suspects previously indicted. None of the five witnesses, who are charged with involvement in the 2005 Beirut attack, have been arrested. (The Daily Star).
Taylor fears he could be killed in UK jail: In a letter to the Special Court for Sierra Leone, former Liberian President Charles Taylor justified his request to serve his 50-year sentence in a Rwandan jail by expressing concern that he could be seriously injured or killed by fellow inmates in a UK jail. He fears that inmates of West African and specifically Sierra Leonean descent would seek retribution against him in jail, referencing General Radislav Krstić, who was convicted by the ICTY and attacked by three inmates in a UK jail in 2010. He also cited the lower cost of Rwandan jails and the cost of travel a UK jail would impose upon his family. The request was denied; the court can only send prisoners to states with which it has an enforcement agreement. (The New Dawn).
Rwandan genocide suspect claims he does not understand Rwandan language: Since former MRND Secretary General Bernard Munyagishari’s transfer to Rwanda by the ICTR in July, he has been attempting to have his trial conducted in French rather than the Rwandan language Kinyarwanda, which he claims he does not understand. Relying on a 1982 judgment by the Appeals Court of Ruhengeri, in which Munyagishari was accused of rape and defended himself in Kinyarwanda, the ICTR denied his request. Léon Mugesera, a former Rwandan politician who had also been transferred to the ICTR, was denied the same request last year, because the court had wanted to analyze his 1992 speech concerning the genocide in its original language of Kinyarwanda. Munyagishari is accused of committing genocide in Gisenyi, and an appeal concerning his right to an interpreter is currently pending. (Hirondelle News Agency).
Rwandan extradition hearing on U.K.’s agenda: A hearing to decide whether the U.K. may legally extradite five men to Kigali has been scheduled in London for 28 October 2013. The five men are suspected of committing serious violations of international law during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. Past attempts to extradite the men were unsuccessful following a number of ICTR decisions questioning the credibility of Rwanda’s judicial system. However, after several reforms and the introduction of a special chamber, the country’s ability to try cases of genocide and crimes against humanity has been recognized by the ICTR and the European Court of Human Rights.
ICTY judge seeks clarification of removal: ICTY Judge Frederik Harhoff has requested review of the 28 August 2013, decision removing him from the trial of Vojislav Seslj after a private letter of his criticizing the Tribunal was leaked. Specifically, Harhoff aims to find out whether the appellate chamber considered a memo he wrote to the judges explaining his reasons for the letter. “Haroff claims that by the law and the existing rules, he had the right to express his opinion about the case before the panel of judges.” The Prosecution has also filed a motion arguing the judges erred in removing Harhoff.
Guatemalans file with international court over mining law: The Western Peoples’ Council, a body serving Guatemala’s indigenous communities, filed a complaint with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights this week contesting Guatemala’s interpretation of the 1997 Mining Law. In March 2013, Guatemala’s Constitutional Court found that the Mining Law did not require the government to inform or consult with indigenous peoples before taking legislative mining action that impacted their rights and lands. The Western Peoples’ Council argued the ruling violated numerous international and national laws and was in contradiction to the Court’s 2011 decision finding “consultation [was] a constitutional right.”
Comoros referral assigned to ICC Pre-Trial Chamber: The alleged 31 May 2010, Israeli raid on passenger vessels in the territorial jurisdictions of Comoros, Cambodia, and Greece has been assigned by the ICC President to Pre-Trial Chamber I. Comoros, a party to the Rome Statute, referred the situation to the ICC on 14 May 2013, claiming Israel Defence Forces attacked seven registered vessels in the international waters killing nine and injuring dozens. The decision to commence investigations into the situation is ultimately that of the ICC Prosecutor. However, as a matter of procedure, the assignment permits the Chamber to deal with “any matter, request or information arising out of the situation.”
NGO reports admitted against Bemba at ICC: On 27 June 2013, ICC judges in the case against former Congolese Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba ruled admissible NGO reports alleging Bemba had knowledge of the abuses by his troops. The judges found the reports “relevant to determining [Bemba’s] ability to impose disciplinary measures and his power to prevent and repress the commission of crimes.” The judges also allowed into evidence a BBC article from 10 July 2001, recounting Bemba’s announcement that the Commander of the Congolese Liberation Front was arrested for “poor supervision of troops.” Bemba’s lawyers disagreed with the introduction of the NGO reports and the article, arguing all were unreliable and irrelevant.
Workload of ICT investigation agency increases: The ICT agency responsible for investigating allegations of crimes against humanity in Bangladesh is faced with 13 new cases. With more than 500 already proceeding, the agency expects the investigations of the 13 new suspects to take close to a year to complete. The agency receives the allegations after victims’ families file with the local police station and then submit investigated cases to the ICT for trial.
Canada acquits Rwandan of genocide: A suspect in the 1994 Rwandan massacre was acquitted by the Ontario Superior Court yesterday, 9 July. The court found insufficient evidence to convict Jacques Mungwarere of genocide and crimes against humanity under Canadian law. The prosecution has 30 days to file an appeal.
Ex-Chad leader charged with crimes against humanity: On 2 July 2013, Ex-Chad dictator Hissene Habre was charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture in a special court in Senegal. Habre’s charges are related to his ruling of Chad from 1982-1990, during which nearly 40,000 persons were killed. Senegal’s choice to prosecute Habre, after he had lived in the capital Dakar for 22 years, has been described as a landmark for justice in Africa. (For more on this topic, please click here.)
Former Vukovar Territorial Defense member sentenced for war crimes: On 1 July 2013, former member of the Vukovar Territorial Defense Petar Ciric was found guilty of committing war crimes by the Serbian War Crimes Tribunal. Ciric’s was convicted of beating and killing Croatian prisoners in Croatia in November 1991. 193 prisoners were killed between the 20th and 21st of November. Ten other people were also charged– and 20 other people have already been convicted– with crimes relating to the incident.
UN Secretary-General calls for investigation into Mali human rights violations: On 1 July 2013, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an investigation into human rights violations in Mali. The call for inquiry comes amidst a peace agreement between the warring factions. Although Ki-moon praised the peace agreement, which began 18 June, Ban stated that all sides of the conflict are responsible for human rights violations. Ki-moon stated groups have used child soldiers, committed rape, and enforced disappearances. Presidential elections are scheduled for 28 July.
US prosecutors seek ten-year prison term for Rwandan woman accused of involvement in genocide and lying to immigration officials: On 30 June 2013, United States attorneys announced that they were seeking a 10-year prison sentence for Beatrice Munyenyezi for allegedly lying to immigration officials to gain entrance to the US. Munyenyezi is accused of having participated in the 1994 Rwandan genocide; she worked at a road block and supposedly chose which Tutsis would be killed. Munyenyezi’s attorney argue that the defendant’s case, which is a non-violent immigration charge, has improperly turned into a genocide case. Further Munyenyezi’s attorney claims that if the defendant is returned to Rwanda, she would face a severe punishment, if not death. Munyenyezi’s husband and mother-in-law were convicted of genocide and human rights violations by the ICTR in 2011.
Jamaat-e-Islami leader transferred to Bangladesh ICT-2: On 1 July 2013, the trial of Jamaat leader AKM Yousuf was transferred from the first International Criminal Tribunal for Bangladesh to the second Bangladesh ICT. the ICTs are trying cases related to the crimes against humanity committed during 1971 Bangladesh war for independence. ICT-1′s docket is quite full, so ICT-2 will allow Yousuf’s case to be heard quicker. Yousuf is charged with genocide, murder, rape, arson, and looting.
Rwandan genocide survivors to establish trust fund: On 1 July 2013, the representative for Rwandan genocide survivors announced that the genocide survivors would establish a trust fund for survivors. Currently UN agencies provide genocide survivors with $250,000 of funds yearly–this is in contrast to the $30 million price tag on one ICTR trial. The fund will operate similarly to the ICC’s trust fund for victims (which has a budget of $70 million). The fund will receive voluntary donations from around the world. The fund will address general survivor issues, not individual, as well as play an international advocacy role for survivors.
Habre taken into custody by Senegalese authorities: On 30 June 2013, it was reported that the Senegalese authorities detained the former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre. The former dictator stands accused of war crimes and torture during his eight years in power in Chad. Under Senegalese law, Habre can be held in custody for 48 hours, renewable once.
Nuon Chea’s role highlighted at ECCC: On 27 June 2013, the ECCC presented evidence on Nuon Chea’s purported involvement in the Standing Committee of Democratic Kampuchea and the CPK. The evidence purports to show Chae as a decision maker and at one time holding the role of Acting Prime Minister. The final piece of evidence presented by the prosecution that day was a video clip where Chae claims that “had people not been killed under the Khmer Rouge there would be no Cambodia today.” (For more information on this topic, please click here.)
Commissioner Pillay concerned over Afghan HR appointments: On 28 June 2013, Commissioner Pillay warned that the recent appointments to Afghanistan’s human rights body may compromise its standing with the international community. Commissioners are required to have a good reputation, demonstrate independence, and have a commitment to human rights. Commissioner Pillay is concerned that the latest appointments do not conform to this standard.
Former French leader under investigation for link to Rwanda genocide: On 28 June 2013, it was announced that the former French captain, Paul Barril, is being investigated for suspected complicity to acts of genocide and committing crimes against humanity. During the 1994 Rwandan genocide, it is alleged that Barril struck a controversial arms deal with the interim government during the height of the killings.
Rwandan Commission calls for controversial ICTY judge resignation: Rwanda’s National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) demanded the resignation of ICTY Presiding Judge Theodor Meron at a briefing Tuesday, 18 June. Judge Meron presides over the shared ICTY/ICTR Appeals Chamber and was accused last week of pressuring other judges into acquitting senior officials of genocide. CNLG’s executive secretary, Jean de Dieu Mucyo, fears speculation of improper influence at the tribunals would lead to “disastrous consequences for the current and future cases of international war crimes.” Mucyo has called for Judge Meron’s replacement and urged the tribunals to retry the cases the judge watched over.
ICTY to appeal acquittals possibly influenced by Judge Meron: On 24 June, ICTY Prosecutor Serge Brammertz issued a statement revealing his intent to initiate an appeal against the acquittal of Serbian officials Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic within the next year. The prosecutor argued the judgment contained “serious errors” that produced “an unjust outcome.” Furthermore, Brammertz’s announcement discussed the recently leaked letter alleging ICTY Judge Meron encouraged tribunal judges to acquit accused. Brammertz acknowledged the seriousness of the letter as a threat to the credibility of the tribunal. However, the prosecutor stressed the importance of his office avoiding the controversy and continuing to conduct their work legitimately and independently.
Bemba witness describes brutalizing civilians as a soldier in the CAR army: Defense Witness D04-03 concluded his testimony this week in the ICC’s case against Congolese leader Jean-Pierre Bemba. The witness, a former CAR soldier, testified to raping the wives of suspected rebels as punishment for supporting François Bozizé, the man who succeeded the Central African president in March 2003. Witness D04-03 claimed any crimes against civilians were the result of inadequate training and in response to acts committed by Central African soldiers and rebels. The defense witness alleged that Bemba’s forces were not a party. Bemba fought on the side of the former Central African president and is now on trial for failing to control his troops.
ICT-1 wraps up hearings over defense motions in SQ Chy case: The ICT-1 was expected to rule on three defense motions yesterday, 26 June, in the case of Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury. The defense moved the tribunal to (1) review the order limiting the number of witnesses allowed to five, (2) prohibit the prosecution from introducing evidence that is neither original nor a photocopy, and (3) adjourn the trial to allow the defense more time to research the effect of an ICT amendment. The prosecution contested each motion and argued the filings were an attempt by the defense to unreasonably delay the trial. SQ Chy is on trial for crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War.
ICC reschedules Kenyatta case again: The ICC case against President Uhuru Kenyatta has been pushed back to allow the defense more time to review new evidence and prepare examinations of prosecution witnesses. The court’s ruling postponing the trial for a second time has frustrated many victims of the December 2007, post-election violence in Kenya. Victims worry that the potential threat from a sitting president delaying the trial will scare witnesses from testifying and prevent justice against the accused. Victims have expressed concern lately over the ICC judicial process. Indeed, last month nearly 100 victims dropped out of the Kenyatta case and the African Union called for a national prosecution in Kenya. The case is now scheduled for 12 November 2013.
Khmer Rouge air force chief dies: ECCC Case 003 suspect, Sou Met, died on Friday, 14 June. Sou Met was a former air force chief for the Khmer Rouge and is alleged to have participated in “purges that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths.” Sou Met was never formally indicted by the ECCC; the Cambodian Prime Minister publicly opposed commencing further cases, including Case 003. However, confidential prosecution documents disclosed by journalists last year named Sou Met as one of the indictees. Sou Met suffered from a long illness and spent several months in Cambodian and Thai hospitals.
UN tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia will not meet 2015 deadline: Presidents of the UN tribunals to prosecute alleged war criminals involved in the Rwandan and Yugoslavian conflicts have reported that they will fail to meet the deadline imposed by the UN Security Council to complete their prosecutions by the end of 2014. President of the ICTY Theodor Meron told the Security Council that three trials and three appeals will go beyond 2014, with the trial of Ratko Mladic slated to conclude in 2016. President of the ICTR Vagn Joensen said that at least one appeal judgment is expected in July 2015. In 2010, the Security Council passed a resolution requesting that the tribunals complete their work by the end of 2014 and prepare for a transition to a new court that will complete all remaining trials and appeals of the two tribunals.
Lubanga’s appeal for judge’s disqualification is rejected: Convicted war criminal Thomas Lubanga’s request for Judge Sang-Hyun Song to be disqualified from hearing his appeal of his conviction and 14-year prison sentence has been denied by a plenary of judges at the ICC. The plenary unanimously held that Lubanga’s assertion that Song should be disqualified due to public comments was without merit. Specifically, the group held that “the impugned statements, taken in their proper context, would not have led a fair-minded and informed observer…to reasonably apprehend bias.” The judges also found that the statements did not reach the threshold for displacing the presumption of impartiality.
ICC rejects sex abuse victims request to investigate former Pope Benedict XVI: The ICC has rejected a 2011 request from victims of sex abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy to investigate former Pope Benedict XVI and cardinals from the Vatican for alleged crimes against humanity. The victims’ attorneys argued that the Catholic church had maintained a “long-standing and pervasive system of sexual violence” despite promises to identify and oust predators. ICC attorneys informed the victims that “there is not a basis at this time to proceed with further analysis.” Specifically, an ICC official wrote that “the matters described in your communication do not appeal to fall within the jurisdictionof the court.”
EU lifts Myanmar sanctions: On 22 April 2013, the EU agreed to lift all sanctions against Myanmar except for an arms embargo. The move by the EU may pressure the United States, which suspended most sanctions against Myanmar last year, to permanently lift sanctions. However, Human Rights Watch and other human rights activists have expressed concern over ongoing human rights abuses. An HRW report accuses the Myanmar government of crimes against humanity relating to the “ethnic cleansing” of Muslims last year.
Kenyan Deputy-President William Ruto selects lead counsel for ICC trial: On 23 April 2013, Kenyan Deputy-President William Ruto, whose ICC trial begins next month, selected Kamir Khan to be his lead counsel. Khan successfully represented Kenyan Francis Muthaura, whose charges were recently dropped by the ICC. Ruto also filed an application to waive his right to be present at all trial hearings; Khan argued the Rome Statute does not require a suspect to be present during court proceedings.
ICC President of Assembly of States Parties participates in events in Ethiopia and The Hague: On 19 April 2013, ICC President of the Assembly of States Parties Tiina Intelmann returned to The Hague after a four-day tour through Ethiopia. Upon her return, Intelmann participated in a meeting to assure that top judiciary candidates are appointed to the ICC. In Ethiopia Intelmann met with the Chairperson of the AU Commission to discuss the capabilities of the ICC to address gender based crimes and she meet with representatives of African state parties to the ICC. Intelmann also participated in a seminar focused on the ICC and complementarity; she said the long-term focus of the ICC is to prevent crimes and strengthening the rule of law.
Ntaganda’s trial raises DRC nationality question: On 26 March 2013, Bosco Ntaganda, a DRC warlord currently facing charges before the ICC, addressed the charges against him at the ICC. Ntaganda stated that he was born in Rwanda, but is a Congolese citizen; Ntaganda, however, stated that he prefers to speak in Kinyarwanda, a language connected to ethnic Tutsis and foreign to the DRC. This statement in front of the ICC began a debate in the DRC on what it takes to be “Congolese.” There is some controversy if Ntaganda is considered to be a Rwandan citizen as Rwanda is not a state party to the ICC. The ICC, however, released a statement that Ntaganda confirms he is a DRC citizen and the crimes he is accused of committing were in the DRC, which is a state party—so there is no issue of jurisdiction.
Karadzic seeks subpoena for Mladic to testify in war crimes trial: On 18 April 2013, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic sought a subpoena to compel former Serbian Military Chief Ratko Mladic to serve as a defense witness at this upcoming ICTY. Karadzic argues that Mladic may be a key defense witness and can testify that Karadzic was not aware of the plans that lead to the Srebrenica massacre. Karadzic and Mladic, the alleged chief architects of the atrocities committed by Serbs during the Bosnian war, were originally indicted together, but not stand trial separately. Both men are charged with genocide and other war crimes.
HRW says Senussi has not seen a lawyer nor been told his charges: On 17 April 2013, HRW released a statement saying that Abdullah al-Senussi, Muammar Gaddafi’s intelligence chief, had not seen a lawyer nor been informed of his charges since being in Libyan jail. HRW interviewed Senussi on Wednesday; it was the first visit by an international human rights organization to Senussi’s Libyan jail cell. Senussi is suspected to have played a large role in atrocities committed by the Gaddafi regime; he is also wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity committed during the Libyan uprising in 2011. Libya, which plans to adopt a democratic constitution this year, hopes to try Senussi at home; human rights activists, however, worry that Senussi will not be able to receive a trial that meets international standards.
Kosovo ex-rebel retried for war crimes: On 18 April 2013, the retrial of Fatmir Limaj, a top ethnic Albanian rebel during the 1998-99 Kosovo War and a current politician, and nine associates began. Limaj plead not guilty to charges of torture and killing of Serbs and Albanians at a detention center in Kosovo. The retrial was triggered when the Supreme Court of Kosovo annulled a verdict of a lower court acquitting Limaj and the others. The lower court was annulled because they had wrongfully thrown out the evidence of a guard who worked at the Kosovo detention camp and had left a diary, but was found dead a month before Limaj’s trial was to begin. British judge Malcolm Simmons is the chair of the panel trying Limaj.
Ruto asks ICC to lift attendance requirement: On 18 April 2013, Kenyan Deputy-President William Ruto asked the ICC to lift its demand that requires Ruto to be present at The Hague whenever his trial was on. Ruto is charged by the ICC with crimes against humanity in relation to the 2007-2008 post-election violence in Kenya. Ruto’s attorney proposed that Ruto be in attendance at the opening, closing, judgment, and any hearing which his attendance is expressly requested; the defense further contended that Ruto will always be able to follow the trial via video link. The defense argued that the Rome Statute only states that an accused shall be entitled “to be present at the trial,” but does not state that attendance is mandatory; Congolese warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba was authorized by the ICC to be absent from his trial on two occasions. Ruto contends that his proposal would allow him to balance his Kenyan constitutional duties with his personal commitment to cooperate with the ICC.
Footage of Mladic shows him telling Muslims to “survive or perish”: On 19 April 2013, the trial of Ratko Mladic continued. Video footage of Mladic was shown where he told Muslim captives that they could “survive or perish.” Contrarily, the defense showed footage of Dutch General Thom Karemans telling Mladic that the Srebrenica Muslims had smuggled lots of weapons into their enclave. Mladic is charged by the ICTY for genocide, crimes against humanity, and taking international peacekeepers hostage between 1992-1995.
STL president confirms that Lebanon will support STL’s response to witness leak: On 18 April 2013, STL president David Baragwanath, finishing a four day tour of Lebanon, stated that he had received assurances that Lebanon would support the STL’s response to recent witness leaks fully. Last week hackers infiltrated a Lebanese newspaper’s website and posted names of STL witnesses on its frontpage. The STL is investigating the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri; four Hezbollah members have been indicted in the case, but have not been apprehended.
Rwanda and EALA ask for ICTR archive to be transferred to Rwanda: On 18 April 2013, the East African Legislative Assembly supported Rwanda in its effort for ICTR archives to be transferred to Rwanda. The EALA, which is meeting from 16-26 April, has focused on the legacy and implications of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. For one, the EALA passed a resolution asking the East African Countries summit to call on the UN to establish an International Trust Fund for Survivors of Genocide against the Tutsi.