Archive for category South Sudan

16 June 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Charges confirmed against Ivory Coast’s Gbagbo:  The ICC has ordered Laurent Gbagbo, the former President of Cote d’Ivoire, to stand trial.  Gbagbo has been accused of masterminding the murder and rape of demonstrators in Abidjan, between December 2010 and April 2011.  At lease 3,000 people were killed during this period of violence.  (ICC, NYT, Reuters).  (For additional information about this topic, please click here, here.)

Sri Lanka War Crimes investigative team announced:  Navi Pillay has announced that Sandra Beidas will be coordinating the investigative team charged with probing into allegations of mass killings during the Sri Lankan civil war.  Beidas appears to be a somewhat controversial pick because of her expulsion from a UN mission in South Sudan amidst allegations of writing false reports about the conduct of the South Sudanese military.  The Sri Lankan government has yet to determine whether to allow the UN teams presence in the country.

Libya will pay victims reparations for rape:  A decree was issued during the middle of next week recognizing the mass rapes perpetrated during the 2011 Libyan revolution as war crimes.  Libya will pay rape survivors reparations.  In addition, those victims harmed during the reign of the Qaddafi regime will as lobe eligible for the compensation.

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15 May 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC Prosecutor reiterates calls for Gaddafi handover: ICC Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, presented the seventh report regarding the situation in Libya to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, 13 May 2014. Bensouda described the deteriorating security condition in Libya, the worrisome murders and torture committed in illegal detention centers and the country’s failure to bring perpetrators of human rights violations to justice.  Bensouda urged the Libyan government to comply with international law, which includes surrendering to the Court Saif Al-Islam, the son of Muammar Gaddafi, the late Libyan dictator. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (ICC, UN News Centre).

UN Secretary General advocates tribunal for S. Sudan war crimes: Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, considers the human rights abuses committed in South Sudan to amount to crimes against humanity and has voiced support for a special war crimes tribunal. The Secretary General cited a UN report released last week documenting widespread ethnic attacks and killings and the displacement of millions of people since the conflict erupted in the country in December 2013. (Aljazeera).

UN Observer at Gaddafi trial held in Tripoli; suspected of “occult practices”: One member of the UN team monitoring the trial against Muammar Gaddafi’s sons was detained for possible “black magic.” It has been reported, Ahmed Ghanem was temporarily held at the maximum security prison in Tripoli this weekend after police found written material suggesting “sorcery” and “occult practices.” As a UN official, Ghanem enjoys immunity. (The Guardian).

UN considers impact of Lethal Autonomous Weapons on humanitarian and military interests: A four day convention focusing on the technological developments, the ethical considerations and the implication of international law from the deployment of lethal autonomous weapons began this week in Geneva. At the opening session, Acting Director-General of the UN Office in Geneva Michael Moller urged delegates to take bold action in banning or restricting autonomous weapons that cause unjustified and disproportionally high civilian damage. (UN News Centre).

Prosecutor Bensouda reconsidering alleged British war crimes in Iraq: ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that the office is re-opening the “preliminary examination” of alleged war crimes by United Kingdom armed forces in Iraq from 2003 to 2008.  Bensouda explained that the office received new information in January 2014 and will now consider “issues of jurisdiction, admissibility and the interest of justice.” The outcome of the preliminary examination will decide whether the Prosecutor initiates an investigation. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (ICC, Deutsche Welle).

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24 April 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Kosovo Parliament approves special war crimes court to try crimes committed by Albanians: Kosovo lawmakers voted on Wednesday, 23 April 2014, to prosecute in a special war crimes court Albanian rebels accused of intentionally killing captured Serbs during the 1998-99 Kosovo war for the purpose of harvesting organs. The EU-backed court, to be seated in both Kosovo and the Netherlands, is expected to apply Kosovo law and be staffed by international judges and prosecutors. Some 10,000 people died and millions left homeless in the Kosovo war. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (Reuters, ABC News).

ICC confirms that Prosecution is still considering complaint calling for prosecution of crimes in Egypt: ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is still considering the Freedom & Justice Party compliant filed last year documenting violations of international law committed in Egypt since the 2013 military coup. Specifically, the Freedom & Justice Party accused the post-coup regime of carrying out widespread and systematic crimes amounting to crimes against humanity. The ICC Chief Prosecutor has yet to make a final decision on whether to initiate a formal investigation of the crimes in Egypt, and thereafter seek charges, or whether to reject the complaint. (Middle East Monitor).

AU Panel to investigate crimes in South Sudan: The African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan, a panel tasked with investigating human rights abuses committed in the country since conflict erupted in December 2013, is conducting a 10-day field mission. The panel is made up of international lawyers, human rights activists and a judge and will gather visual and audio evidence, conduct interviews from victims and witnesses and review reports prepared by international and national organizations and experts. Over one million have been displaced since fighting began in South Sudan and 200 alone were killed last week. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (BERNAMA, Sudan Vision).

US investigating Syrian Government’s responsibility in chemical attacks: The U.S., working with the U.N. and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, is investigating whether the Syrian government is responsible for two alleged chemical attacks on rebel-controlled areas earlier this month which could amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity. The U.N. passed a Security Council resolution in September 2013 requiring the Syrian government to hand over for destruction the regime’s chemical weapons stockpiles. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki stated the investigation was in its preliminary stages and declined to comment on whether the April 2014 attacks would show a breach of the U.N. resolution by the Syrian government. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (The National, The Washington Post).

Reparation requests agreed upon before the ECCC: Thirteen projects, including national memorials, mental health centers and a national day of remembrance has been agreed on for civil party reparations at the ECCC. The agreement comes prior to the Extraordinary Chamber’s decision in the first phrase of the trial against senior leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan for serious violations of international law, including genocide. (Voice of America).

Kenya President Kenyatta seeks distance from petition of Barasa against the ICC: Kenyan President Unuru Kenyatta filed a motion with the ICC on Wednesday, 23 April 2014, seeking to remove his name from a petition brought by journalist Walter Barasa. Barasa is wanted in The Hague for witness interference and included the Kenyan President’s name in a petition to halt the Kenyan cases at the Court. Kenyatta voluntarily surrendered to the ICC and claimed Barasa’s petition is contrary to his consent. (Capital News).

Bangladesh backs universal ratification of the Rome Statute: On Wednesday, 23 April 2014, Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali met with ICC President Sang-Hyun Song in The Hague to discuss Bangladesh’s efforts toward universal ratification of the Rome Statute. The Rome Statute established the ICC and has been ratified by 120 member states. Bangladesh ratified the treaty in 2010. (bdnews24.com).

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21 April 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Ukraine requests ICC investigation, accepting ICC Jurisdiction:  Ukraine has formally asked the ICC to investigate the deaths of civilians on its territory that occurred from 21 November 2013 to 22 February 2014.  Ukraine hopes that the court will duly study the case but it is up to the prosecutor to decide whether to proceed with an investigation.  (For more information on this topic, please click here) (ICC, NYT).

Ruto Witnesses compelled to testify:  The ICC has summoned eight reluctant witnesses by way of subpoenas issued by the Kenyan government to testify in the Ruto trial.  The prosecution continues to see witnesses withdraw from appearing and such actions have negatively affected several other ICC cases related to the Kenya poll violence.  The court has made arrangements for the witnesses to appear by video-link and has asked the Kenyan government to make appropriate arrangements for security.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (ICC, BBC).

Kosovo PM calls for vote on war crimes court; expresses concerns:  Kosovo’s premier has summoned parliament to vote on whether to establish a special court to try ethnic Albanian guerrillas accused of harvesting organs of murdered Serbs during the Balkan war.  U.S. and European officials have warned that if the court is not established then the case will be referred to the U.N. Security Council.  (Reuters).

ICC abandons Banda Trial start date; cites “logistical” issues:  Trial Chamber IV of the ICC decided to vacate the 5 May 2014 date for the Banda Trial due to logistical issues.  The chamber will decide in due course on further steps to take no later than 6 May 2014.  (ICC).

Security Council condemns S. Sudan attacks; suggests “war crimes” committed:  The Security Council has voiced its outrage on the violence in South Sudan.  The UN Mission in South Sudan has encountered armed mobs and sustained numerous injuries in trying to keep its IDPs safe.  The Council has called on the Government of South Sudan to immediately take steps to ensure the safety of all civilians and UNMISS contingents.  (UN).

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3 March 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Mladic Prosecution Team concludes:  On Monday 24 February, the Prosecution in the Mladic case has filed notice announcing that it will rest.   On March 17, 98-bis will begin, in which the accused can seek an acquittal on all counts on the grounds that there is no evidence to support a conviction.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (ICTY, IWPR).

HRW reports war crimes in South Sudan:  HRW has announced that pro and antigovernment forces are responsible for serious abuses in South Sudan that may amount to war crimes.  There have been episodes of widespread killing and the targeting of civilians for military strategic gain.  (HRW).

UN, International leaders meet regarding Ukraine:  UN officials are concerned amid the growing tensions in the Crimea region of Ukraine.  The Secretary-General has that all parties involved calm down in hopes of preventing a future escalation in violence.  (UN News).

Ukrainian Parliament calls for ICC involvement:  Ukrainian lawmakers have voted to refer the case of the of former President Viktor Yanukovych to the ICC.  The ICC says it has not received a formal request as of yet, but a government can make a declaration accepting the court’s jurisdiction for past events.  (DW). 

UN concerned over extended violence in Libya:  The UN has called for an end to the violence in Libya.  UNSMIL has been supporting the efforts of the Libyan Government and the people to ensure the success of the democratic process in the country but episodes of violence threaten the regions stability.  (UN News).

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6 February 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC: Katanga verdict postponed: The judgment of Congolese militia leader Germain Kantanga has been postponed by the ICC until 7 March 2014. It has been reported the health of an ICC judge is the cause for the delay. Katanga is accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity for, among other things, murder, rape and enlisting of child soldiers after violence erupted in  the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2003. (AFP).

ICC needs resolution from UN Security Council before investigating war crimes allegations in South Sudan: Spokesman Fadi El-Abdallah announced the ICC does not have jurisdiction to investigate alleged human rights violations in South Sudan because the country is not a signatory. El-Abdallah stated the permanent international court may only investigate crimes “if the U.N. Security Council passe[d] a resolution.” It is feared more than 1,000 individuals have been killed and thousands more displaced since conflict broke out in South Sudan. (VOA News).

Chea defense team will likely move to dismiss judges: Defense lawyers for Nuon Chea requested the trial chamber judges be removed from hearing Case 002. The lawyers argued the judges, who heard the previous case against Brother No. 2, were bias and privy to crucial facts. The lawyers worried this would negatively affect the rights of the accused. (Phnom Penh Post).

Serbia issues international arrest warrants for two war crimes suspects: The Serbian Interpol office has issued two international arrest warrants for war crimes suspects Naser Oric and Hakija Meholjic. Oric and Meholjic are accused of war crimes relating to the 1992 Bosnia-Herzegovina war. Oric was acquitted by the ICTY in 2008 for the deaths of at least five Bosnian Serb detainees. (UPI.com).

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3 February 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Kenyan High Court allows Barasa extradition to ICC:  The Kenyan High Court has dismissed a petition submitted by journalist Walter Barasa arguing against his impending extradition.  Barasa faces allegations of bribery in relation to the Ruto and President Kenyatta trial.  It is alleged that Barasa engaged in trying to bribe witnesses to withdraw their testimony.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here)  (Chicago Tribune, Star).

Rwandan former intelligence chief to appear in Paris court:  France has opened its doors to the prosecution of alleged human rights abusers who participated in the Rwandan genocide in French courts.  There are currently 27 cases waiting to be tried.  Many human rights advocates are celebrating this decision because they claim France has not participated to the extent other countries have in years past.    (SeattlePI).

Kenyan Government invited to make submissions on assistance to ICC:  The ICC has invited Kenyan officials to appear before the court and to share their insight into how Kenyan law may assist the ICC in ascertaining more witnesses for the ongoing Kenyatta case.  It is likely that Attorney General Muigai will make the trip to the ICC in two weeks.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here)  (Capital News, ICC).

Serbian political leader arrested for war crimes; protests in Kosovo:  The leading Kosovo Serb politician, Oliver Ivanovic, has been arrested by the European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) on suspicion of war crimes against ethnic Albanians.  EULEX has the authority to handle sensitive cases that the local judiciary is unable to devote resources to.  Demonstrators in Kosovo have expressed frustration over the arrest and are asking for Ivanovic to be released.  For additional information on this topic, please click here)  (BBC, World Bulletin).

AU calls on ICC to halt prosecutions against sitting heads of state:  The AU is calling for solidarity in protest of ICC proceedings against sitting African presidents.  AU members assert that Kenya and South Sudan need their presidents in place to avoid instances of instability and possible violence.  (PressTV).

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22 January 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN to release South Sudan report: The U.N. hopes to release an initial report documenting human rights abuses in South Sudan since two ethnic groups clashed in mid-December. U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic, who recently visited the country, found the situation “quite grim” and stated some of the worst abuses may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. While Simonovic noted both ethnic groups were involved in the crimes, he warned that the report may not be able to initially identify the suspects. (All Africa).

Report claims Syrian forces committed war crimes: On Monday, 20 January 2014, an inquiry team commissioned on behalf of Qatar released a report alleging Syrian security forces tortured and killed detainees.  The team, comprised of war crimes prosecutors and forensic scientists, compiled over 50,000 photographs that tend to prove Bashar al-Assad’s regime participated in “systematic torture and killing.”  The evidence apparently was given to the team by a defector who was in charge of taking the pictures.  The defector reported: “The reason for photographing executed persons was twofold.  First to permit a death certificate . . . ; second to confirm that orders to execute individuals had been carried out.” The report has yet to be authenticated by the U.N. (The Telegraph).

Two prosecution witnesses testify at Hariri trial in The Hague: The Special Tribunal for Lebanon continued proceedings into the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on Wednesday, 22 January 2014. Two prosecution witnesses testified as to the impact the attack, which killed nearly 200 people, had on their family and their lives. The accused, four of the five which are being tried in absentia, are charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism and murder. (The Daily Star).

Kenya postpones Barasa extradition proceedings: Kenya has postponed extradition proceedings against Walter Barasa until the state High Court rules on the journalist’s arrest and surrender to the ICC. The High Court is expected to decide on 31 January 2014, whether the charges against Barasa at the ICC are valid. Barasa is wanted in The Hague for witness interference related to the ICC’s case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto. (All Africa).

Lubanga claims prosecution failed to disclose evidence timely: The ICC ruled this month that convicted war criminal Thomas Lubanga may present additional evidence in support of his appeal. Specifically, Lubanga seeks to add that the prosecution failed to disclose exculpatory evidence within a reasonable time. The former leader claims the nondisclosure “call[s] into question the reliability of a considerable part of the findings upon which [his] conviction was based.” Lubanga was found guilty and sentenced to 14 years in prison in March 2012 for recruiting child soldiers. (All Africa).

Private testimony continues at ICC in Ruto case: The testimony of a protected witness in the case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang continued at the ICC. Present for the private proceedings was Ruto, who was noticeably absent last week due to the Kenyan President’s travel outside the country. Ruto and Sang are on trial for crimes against humanity relating to the 2007 post-election violence. (The Star).

Peru readies for ICJ maritime decision: Peru is preparing for the expected 27 January 2014, ICJ decision concerning the maritime boundary line between its country and Chili. President Ollanta Humala Tasso has been in discussions with former heads of state and top government officials to ready for the ICJ’s announcement. Peru brought the case before the international court in 2008, disputing the sovereignty of 95,000 square kilometers at sea. (Andina).

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30 December 2013 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Sources argue for Ruto and Uhuru cases to be dropped:  Leaders in Rift Valley have called on the ICC Prosecutor to withdraw the charges against President Uhuru and Vice President Ruto.   The supporters of this action cite Prosecutor Bensouda’s admission that she does not have enough evidence for the case against President Uhuru as a reason for the dismissal.  (All Africa).

Egypt apprehends Muslin Brotherhood supporters:  The police in Cairo have made their first arrest of 16 Muslim Brotherhood supporters after having declared the group a terrorist organization.   The arrests were made in the Nile Delta province of Sharkiya.  (Chicago Tribune).

Bosnian Prosecutor announces capture of alleged former war criminals:  Seven former Bosnian soldiers were arrested this past Friday in connection with the alleged murder of 20 Bosnian Serb civilians during the country’s 1992-95 war.  The seven are suspected of killing mostly women, children and elderly people fleeing in the area at the time of attack.  The crime has been described by the Bosnian prosecutor as the worst wartime killing in eastern Bosnia.  (Global Post). 

UN Children’s agency warns of violence against children:  The violence associated with attacks on children in the CAR has increased to a horrifying level according to UN sources.  As the humanitarian crisis worsens, UNICEF and partners have made efforts to scale up its relief support.  Over 600 people in the CAR have been killed this month and over 100,000 have been displaced as a result of the ongoing conflict.  (UN News).

UN sends peacekeepers to South Sudan:  The UN has moved to strengthen its presence in the new country of South Sudan.  The infighting is a result of an attempted coup.  The conflict that has continued to grow since its eruption on 15 December 2013 is reported to be ethnically charged.  (UN News).

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23 December 2013 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC Prosecutor requests trial adjournment:  Fatou Bensouda has asked the ICC for an adjournment in the trial of Kenyan President Kenyatta.  The recent loss of two key witnesses means that the case does not satisfy the high evidentiary standards that are required.  (BBC).

Kenyatta Witness explains leaving:  The Mugiki witness who has declined to testify against President Kenyatta has revealed why he quit as an ICC witness.  According to his statements the ICC investigation never reached a level of competence he felt necessary to compel his testimony and nor did the prosecution ever understand the ideology of the Mugiki.  Lastly, the witness has stated that his primary desire to become a witness was to preserve his own life for fear of being killed because of his status as a Mugiki.  (AllAfrica).

AU Leader condemns S. Sudan attacks:  Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, chairperson of the AU, has stated that the violence currently occurring in the capital of S. Sudan has escalated to what she believes to be war crimes.  Former vice president Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir have expressed a willingness to meet to discuss a peaceful resolution.  The S. Sudan government estimates that 500 hundred people have died as a result of the current conflict since Sunday last week.  (Sudan Tribune).

Seselj Trial continues despite judge’s removal:  The case against Serbian nationalist politician Vojislav Seselj has been continued with the addition of a replacement for judge Harhoff who was disqualified.  Seselj has asked for the case to be thrown out and complains that the delays have amounted to an “unbelievable torture.”  The court disagrees and will allow time for the replacement judge to assess witness testimony via video recordings before entering the deliberation phase.  (IWPR).

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