Archive for category Rwanda

18 May 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UNSMIL reports war crimes of abductions, torture and murder: On 15 May 2015, the U.N. Support Mission in Libya released a statement finding that armed groups are responsible for war crimes in Libya.  Specifically, the UNSMIL said that armed groups abducted, tortured and murdered “civilians, including minors, on account of their actual or perceived origin, opinion, family and political affiliation.” The UNSMIL also warned that those responsible for the crimes, including committing, ordering or failing to prevent the crimes, may be criminally liable before the ICC.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here and here) (UN News Centre, Al Arabiya News, Libya Herald).

ECCC Prosecution calls journalist to testify in Case 002: On 7 May 2015, the ECCC Prosecutor’s Office requested journalist Thet Sambath testify in the second phase of the Extraordinary Chamber’s case against Nuon Chea.  The Prosecutor’s Office claims Sambath, who interviewed Nuon Chea over a 10-year period, documented admissions by the former Khmer Rouge leader that prove his guilt in the trial.  Although requested, Sambath failed to appear in the first phase of the case but has since stated he would testify “if the court openly gives me freedom.”  (Cambodia Daily).

Croatia assures of fair war crimes trial for Dragan Vasiljkovic in extradition case: On 15 May 2015, Australia’s High Court denied a request by former Serbian paramilitary commander Dragan Vasiljkovic to appeal an approval of extradition to Croatia to be questioned for war crimes. Justice Minister Michael Keenan now has the final say on whether Vasiljkovic will be extradited. Croatia’s war veteran minister Predrag Matic said that the former paramilitary commander will receive a fair trial if extradited. Vasiljkovic is accused of torturing and ordering the killing of prisoners of war and directing an assault on a village in Croatia during the early 1990s.  (The Australian).

Charles Bandora sentenced to 30 years in Rwandan court for role in 1994 Genocide: On 15 May 2015, Charles Bandora was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment by a special chamber created to prosecute international crimes at the High Court of Rwanda.  Bandora was found guilty of conspiracy to commit genocide, complicity committing and complicity to murder as a crime against humanity and formation of an armed gang during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.  Bandora was a senior member of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development party at the time. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (All Africa, Yahoo News).

African Court to hear two applications at 37th Session: The African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights is holding its 37th Ordinary Session from 18 May to 5 June, 2015, which will include consideration of two applications of violations of the African Charter.  The first application concerns the alleged unlawful abduction and detention of 10 Kenyans in Tanzania for murder and robbery.  The second application involves a challenge by a Tanzanian to a 30 year jail sentence for armed robbery.  (IPP Media).

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23 April 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC Trial Chamber delays start date for Ntaganda Case 

Trial Chamber VI of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced Wednesday that the start of the Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda will be the second or third week of July, rather than 2 June 2015. Opening statements from the prosecution are expected in August. This decision follows efforts by defense counsel to push the trial to November and support from prosecution and victims’ representatives to retain the original trial date. The Presidency of the ICC is currently considering an application from the Trial Chamber to hold opening statements in Bunia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and consequentially the Registry requested approximately one month to facilitate this effort. Mr. Ntaganda is charged with thirteen counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity, for his involvement in crimes committed in Ituri, DRC between 2002 and 2003.

ICTR hears final arguments in Butare Case, its final appeal

On Wednesday, April 22, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) heard final appeals directly from several accused of crimes committed in the Butare Region. Following submissions by the Prosecution, the accused including Pauline Nyiramasuhuko were given opportunity to speak to the Court before judges consider and make their decision later this year. The Case marks the final appeal for the ICTR. (For additional information, please click here)

Sudan President al-Bashir cancels international travel following elections

Sudanese President and ICC Indictee Omar al-Bashir recently declined to travel to Indonesia for the Asian-African Summit, following election obligations and international calls for his arrest. The Sudanese Foreign Affairs Minister will replace him, and a spokesman said the decision was made so al-Bashir could “monitor post-election operations.” The International Criminal Court issued a first arrest warrant against al-Bashir in 2009 and again in 2010, on charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide.

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14 April 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

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)

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30 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

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).

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2 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

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).

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6 February 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURT

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)

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29 January 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

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)

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