Archive for category South Sudan

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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12 July 2013 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

International concern over Mali post-conflict elections:  On 12 July 2013, it was announced that Mali’s presidential hopefuls began their campaigning this week in anticipation for the elections expected later this month.  The international community is concerned about the apparent rush that election officials have undergone in hopes of electing a president who will be able to negotiate with Tuareg rebels in the north and bring reform to a dysfunctional state.

SC authorizes additional year for Sudan Mission:  On 11 July 2013, it was announced that the Security Council would be extending the United Nations Mission in South Sudan until 15 July 2014.  The SC wants to continue to assist in consolidating peace and security and helping to establish conditions for development.  In addition to this extension, the UN has also called on the Government of South Sudan to take a greater responsibility for the protection of its civilians and to encourage greater cooperation with UNMISS.

Chowdhury Defence granted delay for witness:  On 11 July 2013, it was reported that the war crimes tribunal has set Sunday for recording the statement of the third defence witness in favour of BNP leader Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury.  The defence sought three weeks to produce the third witness but the tribunal rejected the plea.

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29 April 2013 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN official applauds talks between Sudan and South Sudan: On 25 April 2013, it was announced by the top UN humanitarian official in Sudan that The Government and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-North) spoke directly at a meeting under the auspices of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel in Addis Ababa on 22 and 23 April.  Aid, which has not reached the Blue Nile state for over two years, finally began to flow earlier this month.  The UN states that it is ready to provide immediate relief to the region once access opens up.

(For additional information on this topic, please click here)

Judge hearing Kenyatta Case removes herself, criticizing prosecution: On 27 April 2013, it was confirmed that ICC judge, Christine Van Den Wyngaert, asked to be excused from hearing the crimes against humanity case against William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta.  The reason for her resignation cannot be confirmed but the judge has made critical comments about the prosecution and its failure to comply with obligations for conducting a full and thorough investigation of the case against the two Kenyans.  The cases now will be heard in The Hague-based court by Judge Robert Fremr, who replaces Van Den Wyngaert, presiding Judge Kuniko Ozaki and Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji.  In a majority decision the trial chamber agreed that charges against Kenyatta will remain as confirmed for the trial set for July 9 this year.

Warlords plundering Ivory Coast exports: On 28 April 2013, UN officials announced Warlord military commanders in Ivory Coast are currently making hundreds of millions of dollars by plundering the country’s exports of cocoa and other resources.  The UN issued report has called on the Ivory Coast government to “take all measures necessary to curb the large-scale smuggling of cocoa, cashew nuts, cotton, timber, gold and all commodities illegally exiting or entering the country, in particular across the borders with Ghana.”  The report also said that while Forces Nouvelles dominates the military, Liberian mercenaries and Gbagbo activists in Ghana still remain a security threat.

(For additional information on this topic, please click here)

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4 April 2013 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

US and Uganda suspend hunt for Joseph Kony: On 3 April 2013, United States and Ugandan officials announced the temporary suspension of their joint hunt for suspected war criminal Joseph Kony, due to violence and political upheaval in the Central African Republic. The recent violence, which forced CAR President Francois Bozize to flee the country where Kony is believed to be hiding. Although the CAR rebel groups are not affiliated with Kony or his Lord’s Resistance Army, they have refused to cooeprate with the Ugandan military in their quest to bring justice to the man believed to be responsible for the abduction and employment of child soldiers. The United States has 40 troops in CAR to train and advise the primarily Ugandan forces looking for Kony, and neither country is planning on withdrawing them unless the political situation is unresolvable.

The suspension of the search overshadows yesterday’s announcement by US Secretary of State John Kerry of “up to $5 million for information that leads to the arrest, transfer, and conviction of the top three leaders of the LRA: Joseph Kony, Okot Odhiambo, and Dominic Ongwen. All three are charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.” (For more information, click here.)

Kenya: Victims call for accelerated proceedings against President-elect Kenyatta due to witness intimidation: On 4 April 2013, counsel for the victims of the post-election violence of 2007 Fergal Gaynor asked the Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to accelerate President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta’s trial, rather than referring the case to the Pre-Trial Chamber. Gaynor characterized defense counsel’s seeking of confirmation of charges as a frivolous delay tactic. In the companion case against Ruto Sang, counselor for the victims Wilfred Nderitu announced his opposition Kenyatta standing trial in absentia.

US and European ambassadors to attend Kenyatta inauguration: On 4 April 2013, it was announced that, despite warnings of consequences to Kenya for allowing and assisting the alleged perpetrator of crimes against humanity to take office, western countries are planning to send diplomats to the inaugeration of Uhuru Kenyatta. Despite its apparent departure from international norms, Kenya remains of high strategic value to the west, which fears that alienating the country would push it closer to countries such as India and China.

President of Malawi announces ICJ case in dispute with Tanzania: On 3 April 2013, Malawian President Joyce Banda announced that Malawi will file suit in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) alleging that the African Forum of Former Heads of States unfairly favored Tanzania by sharing Malawian documents with Tanzania prior to submission. The two countries are disputing whether oil and gas deposits under Lake Malawi are Malawian or Tanzanian territory.

President of Egypt travels to Sudan in efforts to strengthen relations: On 4 April 2013, President of Egypt Mohammed Morsi began a two-day visit to Sudan to meet with the country’s president Omar al Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of genocide. Despite an arrest warrant that has stood since 2009, al Bashir has traveled throughout the region, including Egypt. The two countries, which currently claim most of the Nile River, are strategic allies against upstream countries who seek to renegotiate territory agreements.

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3 April 2013 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Libya seeks to try Senussi: On 3 April 2013, the ICC published Libya’s Admissibility Challenge against Abdullah Al-Senussi pursuant Article 19 of the Rome Statute.  The Admissibility Challenge requested that the Court find Libya able and willing to try Al-Senussi in Libya, and as a result of filing the Admissibility Challenge asked that the Court’s outstanding Request for Arrest and Surrender of Al-Senussi be postponed pursuant to Article 95 of the Rome Statute.  The ICC indicted Al-Senussi, Muammar Gaddafi’s former spy chief, in June 2011 for crimes against humanity.  Al-Senussi is currently jailed in Libya after he was extradited from Mauritania to Libya in September 2012. The Libyan government has said that trying Al-Senussi is an important part of building a democratic Libya based on the rule of law. Al-Senussi’s defense lawyer, however, doubts Libya’s ability to provide a fair trial and may result in the death penalty—which the ICC does not condone.  Libya’s Article 19 Admissibility Challenge against AL-Senussi follows Libya’s Admissibility Challenge against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi which was filed on 1 May 2012 with continuing proceedings on admissibility to date.  A decision on the Admissibility Challenge against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi is expected soon.

United States announces $5-million bounty for Kony: On 3 April 2013, the Obama administration announced a five-million dollar bounty for Joseph Kony, leader of the Uganda rebel group Lord’s Resistance Army, and his top aides. There is an ICC arrest warrant out for Kony for crimes against humanity. Previously the United States had only issued rewards for war crimes suspects wanted by the ICTR and ICTY, this is the first reward offered for suspects wanted by the ICC. Kony, who is accused of ordering widespread atrocities in Uganda since the 1980s, is suspected to be in hiding in the Central African Republic.

United States N.G.O. calls for war crimes investigation into Sudan: On 3 April 2013, a United States based advocacy grouped released a report alleging that Sudan has committed war crimes since 2011 in southern Sudan. The report details testimony and photographic evidence of the burning of farm and grazing land and the destruction of 42 villages and calls for an international criminal investigation. On 2 April, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda renewed her call for the arrest of Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir and other suspects wanted by the ICC. Bensouda made the statement at a ceremony marking the beginning of genocide awareness month; Bashir has outstanding ICC warrants for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. On 1 April, President Bashir announced that the government would release political prisoners; a welcome announcement to human rights advocates, but one met with skepticism. (For additional information on this topic, please click here and here

France announces first trial of a Rwandan for genocide:  On April 2 2013, a French court, for the first time, ordered a Rwandan to be tried in national courts for genocide. Pascal Simbikangwa, a former Rwandan army captain who was arrested in France in 2008, is facing charges of complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity. In 2010, France established a court to try genocide and crimes against humanity involving suspects detained in France. France has been unwilling to extradite genocide suspects to Rwanda out of concern for fair trials, but has sent some suspects to the ICTR in Tanzania.  The spokesperson for Rwanda’s national prosecution authority praised France’s decision to try genocide suspects.

Slovakia to hold a new trial for 98 year old Hungarian Nazi: On April 2 2013, a Slovak court declared that they will seek the extradition of 98-year old war criminal, Laszlo Csatary, to Slovakia so he can be tried for crimes against humanity. Csatary was convicted in absentia of war crimes in 1948 and was sentenced to death. In order to facilitate with extradition request with Hungary and to comply with current Slovakian law, Slovakia confirmed that it would seek life imprisonment. Between 1941 and 1944, Csatary tortured Jews and sent 16,000 to death camps.

Charles Taylor comments on the death of Moses Blah: On April 2 2013, former Liberian President Charles Taylor commented on the death of Moses Blah, the man who succeeded Taylor. Taylor said he forgave Blah for testifying against him at the ICC where Taylor was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.  Blah had been Vice President under Taylor’s regime and testified to Taylor’s interactions with child soldiers. Taylor said Blah was a victim of an international conspiracy.

Nepal Supreme Court blocks probe into civil war crimes: On 2 April 2013, the Nepalese Supreme Court blocked a new law that would establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to probe war crimes committed during Nepal’s ten year civil war.  Judge Shushila Karki issued an interim order against the law out of concerns that the commission could allow amnesties for serious human rights violations. More than 17,000 citizens died during the civil war between Maoist rebels and the state.

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