Archive for category South Sudan
Jumblatt testifies at STL in Hariri case: On Monday, 4 May 2015, Lebanon’s leader of the Progressive Socialist Party, Walid Jumblatt, testified before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in the case of the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Jumblatt has a strained relationship with the Syrian leadership which was intensified by the assassination of Hariri, his close political ally. A former STL spokesman said Jumblatt’s testimony is expected to “provide some insight that we haven’t heard before” about the context of the assassination. (Al Arabiya).
Refugees of PEV return to Kenya: 720 Kenyans internally displaced by the 2007-2008 post-election violence were received by the country’s authorities at the Malaba dispensary yesterday, 6 May 2015. The Kenyans were among 4,000 refugees who fled to Uganda at the height of the violence. Over 500 more are expected to return next week. The ICC is currently conducting proceedings for charges of crimes against humanity relating to the post-election violence, including charges against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang. (The Star).
Amnesty warns of impunity issues in CAR draft constitution: Amnesty International is warning Central African Republic delegates in an open letter that their draft constitution could provide sitting presidents with impunity for nearly all crimes except “high treason.” Specifically, Amnesty International is urging the delegates to amend the draft constitution and recognize that anyone, no matter what the position, can be held accountable for violations of international law. Amnesty International’s letter was sent before the 4 May 2015, national reconciliation forum in Bangui in which the delegates were attending. (Standard Digital).
US supports creation of hybrid court for South Sudan crimes: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced support for a hybrid court to hold those responsible for crimes committed in South Sudan since the civil war began in 2013. Kerry also pledged $5 million US dollars for the start of the hybrid court, which would combine international and domestic law. Since the civil war began in South Sudan, at least 50,000 people have been killed and more than a million displaced. (Daily Mail).
Report publishes accounts of Israeli soldiers on strategy in Gaza: The Israeli group Breaking The Silence, who collected testimony from dozens of unnamed, combat soldiers involved in last year’s Gaza war, is alleging in a new report that Israeli forces engaged in indiscriminate fire that killed Palestinian civilians. It is being reported that the Breaking The Silence report could support claims that war crimes were committed. More than 2,200 Palestinians were killed during the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas. (AlJazeera).
ICJ dismisses genocide claims for both Serbia and Croatia: On 3 February 2015, the International Court of Justice provided its verdict on the genocide claims during the Balkan Wars in 1991-1995. The ICJ stated that neither Serbia, nor Croatia, committed genocide on one another’s populations. Peter Tomka, president of the ICJ, stated that the intent to commit genocide against one another’s country had simply not been met. (Reuters, BBC) (for further information please click here)
Schabas resigns as head of Israel/Gaza Inquiry over allegations of bias: William Schabas, head of the United Nations inquiry over the conflict between Israel and Gaza, stated he would step down from his position. Israel claimed that Schabas was biased against them and had a long history as a critic of the country and its current leadership. Schabas stated he would step down so as not to overshadow the importance of the upcoming report. (Aljazeera)
HRW report on Egypt HR abuses says President Al-Sisi has overseen reversal of rights: Human Rights Watch published its 2015 World Report last Thursday that claimed that Egypt’s current human right’s situation is the “most serious in the country’s history.” The HRW report states that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has overseen a reversal of human rights through mass killings by his security forces and imprisonment of protestors. The HRW report also outlines a decline in human rights through violence against women, discrimination, and a decline in freedom of religion, association, expression, and assembly. Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW Middle East and North Africa director, stated, “the situation…is getting worse [every] day.” (Daily News Egypt)
ICC Prosecution accused at AU Summit of working with Kenyan terrorists: The Kenya Citizens Coalition accused the International Criminal Court Office of the Prosecutor of working with Mungiki members, some of which also belong to the Al Shabab terrorist group. This occurred at the 24th session of the Africa union summit in Addis Ababa. ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that she had eight Mungiki witnesses with information on “how the president funded and coordinated Mungiki members to carry out attacks” during the post election violence of 2008. According to Kenya Citizens Coalition, some of these witnesses belong to the Al Shabab terrorist group. (Capital News)
President Kenyatta tells AU Summit that ICC case against deputy will collapse: At the 24th session of the Africa Union Summit, President Uhuru Kenyatta stated that the ICC’s case against Kenyan Vice-President William Ruto will fail much like the case against him did. Kenyatta and Ruto were both charged with inciting post election violence after the election in 2008, but Kenyatta’s case was dropped in December. Kenyatta stated that the ICC’s case against Ruto was exhibiting the same weaknesses as the case against him did. (Yahoo News)
Palestinian authorities state that it will bring cases of illegal Israeli settlements to ICC: Israel announced that it would erect 450 new settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Palestinian Foreign Ministry response to Israel’s illegal settlements is that it will refer the case to the ICC. The ministry stated that these new settlements also come shortly after Palestine’s accession to the Rome Statute, which the ministry claims as a sign of Israel’s defiance to international law. (World Bulletin)
AU Peace and Security Council criticized for deferring release of S. Sudan investigation report: Former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, led the AU commission of inquiry into an investigation last year concerning South Sudan. The investigation focused on those killed in the civil war between South Sudan President Salva Kiir’s supporters and supporters of rebel leader Riek Machar. Obasanjo turned in the report last Thursday to the AU Peace and Security Council, but the results of the report have not been disclosed. A petition from 21 South Sudanese civil society organizations requested that the report be made public claiming it could “play a critical role in deterring further violations.” Human Rights Watch stated that not publicizing the report hinders holding those accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity. (Daily Mail)
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)
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)
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.
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).
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).