Archive for category South Sudan
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)
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.
Posted by cdelaubenfels in Admissibility / Primacy, amnesty, AU, CAR, Crimes against Humanity, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gaddafi, Genocide, Human Rights Violations, ICC, ICTR, ICTY, immunity, Investigations, jurisdiction, Liberia, Libya, News about the Courts, Other domestic courts, Rome Statute, South Sudan, Sudan, Truth Commissions, Uganda, Victims, War Crimes on April 4, 2013
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.
Court/Tribunal: International Criminal Court
Decision Title: Decision on the non-compliance of the Republic of Chad with the cooperation requests issued by the Court regarding the arrest and surrender of Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir
Chamber: Pre-trial Chamber II
Case Name: Prosecutor v. Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir
Date: 26 March 2013
Decision Background: In March 2005, the U.N. Security Council referred the situation in Darfur, Sudan to the International Criminal Court. In 2009 and 2010, the Court issued arrest warrants for Omar Al-Bashir, president of Sudan. The arrest warrants have yet to be executed.
In 2009 and 2010, the Court issued a request to all parties to the Rome Statute, directing all State Parties to cooperate with the arrest and surrender of Al-Bashir.
In 2010, Bashir visited the Republic of Chad, without arrest. In August of that year, the Court informed the Security Council and the Assembly of State Parties as to Al-Bashir’s visit to Chad, who has been a State Party to the Rome Statute since 2007. In December of that year, the Court also issued a decision regarding the Republic of Chad’s refusal to arrest and surrender Al-Bashir while on Chad territory.
In March 2012, the Darfur situation and the case against Al-Bashir to Pre-trial Chamber II.
On 14 February 2013, the Court received notice that Al-Bashir might again visit the Republic of Chad and the State of Libya between 16-17 February. On 15 February, the Court sent notifications to Chad and Libya, inquiring into Al-Bashir’s visit, and reminding Chad about its obligations vis-à-vis the arrest and surrender of Al-Bashir. A similar note had been sent to Chad on 12 February 2013. The Republic of Chad acknowledged receipt of the earlier note. Al-Bashir’s visit to Chad did occur between 16-17 February, without prior consultation with the Court by the Republic of Chad.
On 22 February, the Court issued a decision requesting that the Republic of Chad to submit observation to the Court regarding its failure to execute the arrest and surrender of Al-Bashir, and its failure to consult with the Court regarding any problems that may have impeded the country’s ability to execute its arrest and surrender duties while Al-Bashir was in Chad. The Court ordered this report to be filed no later than 14 March 2013.
The Republic of Chad filed no request for an extension on the 14 March deadline, but did not file its report with the Court until 21 March. The report contained no explanation for the late filing.
Decision Review: The Court found that regarding the report due 14 March 2013, the Republic of Chad failed to provide an explanation for its lateness, as required by regulation 35(2) of the regulations. Thus the Court found Chad to be in noncompliance with a Court order, and noted that under regulation 29(1), the Court is empowered to issue an order regarding the non-complying state as it deems necessary in the interest of justice.
The Court further found that for the present purposes, the Republic of Chad is a party to the proceedings, and due to its noncompliance with the 14 March deadline without explanation, waived its right to be heard on the larger matter – namely, the issue of Al-Bashir’s arrest and surrender (or lackthereof).
The Court further re-iterated that as a state party to the Rome Statute, it is under an obligation to comply with decisions and orders of the Court, including the arrest warrants against Al-Bashir issued by the Court. The Court found that the Republic of Chad has repeatedly failed to fulfill its obligations, in spite of the fact that Al-Bashir had entered Chad territory on numerous occasions since the arrest warrant was issued. The Court further found that in addition to a failure to arrest and surrender Al-Bashir, the country had further failed to consult the Court about any of the visits made by Al-Bashir during the relevant period.
The Court found that the Republic of Chad’s behavior indicated a deliberate decision to disregard the orders of the Court, and the U.N. resolution regarding Al-Bashir more broadly. In light of this deliberate noncompliance, the Court noted article 87(7) of the Statute, which provides that the Court may, when a state party fails to comply with orders of the Court, refer the situation to the Assembly of State Parties, and to the Security Council. The Court elected to use article 87(7), and ultimately decided to refer Chad to the Assembly of State Parties, and to the Security Council.
To access the full Decision, click here.
Posted by kchin2014 in CAR, Crimes against Humanity, ECCC, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gender crimes, Genocide, Human Rights Treaties and Charters, Human Rights Violations, ICC, Kenya, News about the Courts, Rome Statute, South Sudan, UN General Assembly, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on April 2, 2013
Sudan: opposition groups confirm release of seven political prisoners: On 2 April 2013, head of the Sudanese opposition coalition National Consensus Forces Farouk Abu Issa confirmed that President Omar al Bashir was delivering on his 1 April 2013 promise “to release all political prisoners” by releaseing seven political prisoners from the Kober prison in Khartoum. Rights groups and the opposition believe that many more such prisoners are being held after a crackdown on anti-austerity protestors last year. Bashir’s 1 April speech announced that he was making good of a peace agreement with South Sudan.
ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda calls for Bashir’s arrest in genocide awareness month announcement: On 2 April 2013, International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda “call[ed] upon all States, whether parties to the Rome Statute or not, to cooperate with the ICC in seeking [and] pursuing accountability for genocide…we must not forget victims of the Darfur genocide.” President Omar al Bashir was indicted on charges of genocide in 2010, but several signatory states of the Rome Statute have failed to meet their obligation to arrest the indicted President of Sudan, calling into question the relevance and effectiveness of the ICC.
South African National Defence Union calls upon national government to push for ICC indictment of Djotodia: On 1 April 2013, National Secretary Pikkie Greeff called upon the South African government to “initiate the indictment” of Central African Republic (CAR) leader Michel Djotodia for allegedly using child soldiers against the South African National Defence Force as the rebel group took control of CAR last week. Noting that “[u]sing child soldiers to conduct acts of war and aggression is a violation of human rights an an international act of criminality,” Greeff stated that “[t]he South African government has a legal duty to enforce international human rights law,” and that “failing to do so would constitute a tacit but gross condonation of human rights violations and criminal conduct of a warlord abusing children as soldiers.”
ECCC announces payment of overdue salaries: On 30 March 2013, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) announced that it would pay the overdue salaries, owed for the months of January through April, to its employees, but did not specify the amounts to be paid. Despite spending $141.1 million from its establishment in 2006 to the end of 2011, the tribunal has only obtained one conviction, calling into question the relevance and effectiveness of the ECCC.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon congratulates Kenyatta on victory: On 30 March 2013, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon congratulated Kenyan President-Elect Uhuru Kenyatta, acknowledging his victory which was made official by the Kenyan Supreme Court this weekend. Ban also called upon Kenyans to remain calm and congratulated Prime Minister Raila Odinga for acknowledging his defeat following the ruling. Ban did not address the issue of Kenyatta’s current imprisonment in The Hague for allegedly inciting the violence that followed the country’s last elections which left 1,100 people dead, 3,500 injured, and over half a million displaced.
US Department of State spokesperson will not ignore ICC charges against Kenyan President-elect: On 1 April 2013, United States Department of State Spokesperson for African Affairs Hilary Renner announced that the country “cannot ignore the serious charges that have been set out in the International Criminal Court indictment, and will calibrate [US] engagement accordingly.” This is consistent with United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson’s previous warning to the Kenyan government. Although Renner did not specify what the US response would be, she called upon Kenya to “uphold its international obligations” and called upon Kenyatta, Ruto, and the Kenyan government “to live up to commitments of seeking justice for the victims of the 2007-2008 post-election violence, including by cooperating fully with the ICC process.”
Posted by cdelaubenfels in African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, AU, CAR, Crimes against Humanity, DRC, Fatuo Bensouda, Gender crimes, Human Rights Treaties and Charters, Human Rights Violations, ICC, ICTY, Investigations, Kenya, Libya, News about the Courts, Rome Statute, Rwanda, South Sudan, Torture, Uganda, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on March 27, 2013
ICTY sentences Mićo Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin: On 27 March 2013, the ICTY sentenced Mićo Stanišić, former Minister of the Interior of Republika Srpska, and Stojan Župljanin, former chief of regional security forces, for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992. The men were each sentenced to 22 years in prison for the crimes committed across 20 municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since its creation in 1993, the ICTY has indicted 161 persons and concluded proceeding for 136.
ICC Appeals Chamber confirms trial chamber’s modification of charges against Katanga: On 27 March 2013, the ICC Appeals Chamber ruled that the trial chamber’s modification in charges against Germain Katanga was allowed. The ICC has charged Katanga with three counts of crimes against humanity and seven counts of war crimes in relation to attacks in the DRC. During Katanga’s proceedings, the prosecution re-characterized Katanga’s responsibility from ‘committing crimes through another person’ (Rome Statute Article 25(3)(a)) to ‘contributing in any way to the commission of crimes by a group of persons’ (Article 25(3)(d)). The Appeals Chamber held that the modification does not violate Katanga’s right to a fair trial.
DRC’s Ntaganda makes first appearance before ICC: On 26 March 2013, DRC rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda made his first appearance before the ICC. Ntaganda faces ten counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity including rape, murder, and using child soldiers. After having his charges translated to him, Ntaganda said he was not guilty of the crimes, however the judge cut him off, telling Ntaganda that he did not need to plead at this hearing. Human Rights Watch praised Ntaganda’s appearance in court, but stated that now the ICC must go after senior officials who act complicitly in the atrocities in Congo. The judge announced that Ntaganda’s pre-trial hearing, where the prosecution will provide their evidence against Ntaganda, would begin 23 September. (For additional information on this topic, please click here and here.
Zimbabwe found guilty of torture by African human rights court: On 25 March 2013, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights released their ruling that the Zimbabwe government was responsible for the torturing of human rights lawyer, Gabriel Shumba, in 2003. The government of Zimbabwe now has 90 days to act on the decision by launching an investigation. The decision has been praised as a setting precedent against impunity. For many countries, including Zimbabwe, the Commission is the last human rights court that citizens can turn to when their own justice systems fail to protect. The commission also made rulings in regards to Zimbabwe’s failure to protect citizens from extra judicial killings and providing compensation in cases of wrongful killings.
Search for Kony continues after coup in CAR: On 26 March 2013, organizations involved in the search for Joseph Kony, the leader of the Ugandan rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army, said the search would not be interrupted by the coup in the Central African Republic. The search is under the auspice of the African Union and soldiers from Uganda, DRC, South Sudan, and CAR are all assisting. Kony and other LRA leaders are wanted by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Kenyan witness accuses ICC of threats: On 23 Saturday 2013, former witness number 8 of the Kenyan ICC trials released a statement accusing the ICC of threatening him after he signed affidavits removing himself as a witness last week. The witness says that ICC officials have harassed him and demanded that he recant his affidavits. Further, the witness claims that the ICC prosecution has falsely attributed evidence to him. The prosecution has not responded to the allegations, which were published in a Nairobi news source.
Organization of American States strengthens Inter-American System of Human Rights: On 22 March 2013, the Organization of American States adopted a resolution strengthening the Inter-American System of Human Rights. Features of the resolution include strengthening rapporteurships and urging all OAS member states (including the United States, Canada, and several others) to ratify or accede to all Inter-American human rights instruments, including accepting jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The United States released a press statement praising the steps taken to strengthen the Inter-American Human Rights System. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.)
Egypt and Libya sign agreement guaranteeing fair trials for extradited defendants: On 23 March 2013, the justice ministers for Egypt and Libya signed a legal and judicial memorandum guaranteeing fair trials for extradited defendants. The defendant protections include trials before ordinary courts according to international standards, detention on legal premises, and a right to defense during investigation and trial. On 26 March 2013, Egypt arrested and extradited three former Libyan-regime leaders including the ex-Libyan ambassador to Egypt, Ali Maria.
Posted by kchin2014 in AU, Crimes against Humanity, ECCC, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gender crimes, Genocide, Human Rights Treaties and Charters, Human Rights Violations, ICC, immunity, India, Investigations, jurisdiction, Kenya, News about the Courts, Post-Election Violence, Rome Statute, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Torture, UN Human Rights Council, Victims, War Crimes on March 7, 2013
ICC suspect takes early lead: What a Kenyatta win would mean for the Court: On 6 March 2013, with slightly more than 40% of the votes counted in the Kenyan presidential election, Uhuru Kenyatta leads Prime Minister Raila Odinga 53% to 42%. Kenyatta is currently on trial in the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity for allegedly causing the violence following the country’s last presidential election that left over 1,200 people dead, along with his running mate, William Ruto.
Tallying the votes has been fraught with technical and administrative errors, delaying an official count and possibly ripening the fruits of distrust and violence. Seeking to avoid a repeat of the 2007 violence, significant changes to election procedure were made and community leaders have committed to maintaining peace. Although the country has been peaceful since Monday’s election, it is unclear whether peace will prevail after the official results are announced.
Insisting on their innocence, Kenyatta and Ruto apparently view the trial as a temporary affair during which they could execute their duties remotely until their impending release. However, implicitly conceding that a conviction is possible, Kenyatta stated that “[t]he international community should respect the will of Kenyans,” and characterized the situation as a “domestic issue left to the sovereign democratic will of the people of Kenya.”
Many Kenyans view the ICC as, in the words of Kenyatta supporter Joseph Koech, “a tool of Western countries to manipulate undeveloped countries.” The fact that the ICC has only indicted Africans since it was established in 2002 has drawn vocal criticism from African leaders, who have periodically suggested withdrawing from the treaty.
If Kenyatta were elected, the ICC would face a possibly insurmountable challenge. The Rome Statute, which does not offer immunity for senior government officials, would be violated if he were set free. Similarly, if Kenyatta is found to be innocent, the legitimacy of such a finding might be questioned. Regardless of its decision, many will view ICC as an ineffective administrator of justice.
(For more information, click here.)
ICC schedules trial of two Darfur rebels for 2007 attack on AU peacekeepers: On 6 March 2013, the International Criminal Court (ICC) stated that the trials of Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain and Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus would begin on 5 May 2014. Both were charged in August of 2009 for their involvement in the massacre and robbery of an AU peacekeepers’ camp on 29 September 2007. Banda and Jerbo, who are not currently in custody because they voluntarily surrendered to the ICC, insist on their innocence, and seek to clear their names. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, the alleged mastermind of the conflict that has left over 300,000 dead, 2.7 million displaced, and countless more wounded, continues to flaunt his ICC arrest warrant.
Khmer Rouge leader remains in hospital: On 7 March 2013, attorneys for Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister Ieng Sary, who is standing trial for committing genocide against Vietnamese and Muslim minorities during the regime’s bloody reign, stated that he is in stable condition, but faces a potentially protracted recovery. According to one attorney, Ang Udom, Sary is in the hospital for “stomach problems.” An official hearing to determine the status of Sary and Nuon Chea (who is also reported to be very ill) has not been scheduled due to the current strike of ECCC interpreters.
Indian leadership express concern but do not commit to acting on Sri Lankan situation: On 7 March 2013, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stated that “[m]embers [of parliament] have raised the issue of human rights violations during the conflict in Sri Lanka and the lack of progress on reconciliation, accountability and political devolution in Sri Lanka. The Government takes the sentiments expressed by members very seriously. We are firmly of the view that issues of reconciliation and political devolution in Sri Lanka need to be addressed with a sense of urgency.” Singh also indicated that the Indian and Sri Lankan governments were communicating with each other to promote the safety and civil rights of Tamils. Falling short of the demands of many, Singh did not voice support for an independent international investigation into the alleged human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. With respect to the announced U.S.-sponsored draft resolution in the U.N. Human Rights Council, which calls upon Sri Lanka to take material action towards investigating the alleged abuses, External Affairs Minister Salman Kurshid paid similar lip-service to the rights of the Tamil people, but was equally non-committal, stating that Indian support “will depend on the substance of the final text Tabled in the Council.”
Charles Taylor defense investigator convicted of bullying witnesses: On 12 February 2013, Prince Taylor, former defense investigator in the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor was convicted and sentenced to 30 months in jail. He was convicted on 5 counts of interfering with prosecution witnesses testifying in the trial of Charles Taylor.
Sri Lankan army issues report finding no liability: On 25 January 2013, the top army commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya presented a report to Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, finding that the Sri Lankan army took “all precautions to avoid civilian casualties” and rejecting several findings of the government’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). The report stated that Sri Lanka was entitled to take “legitimate measures to maintain or re-establish the law, the national unity and territorial integrity of the state” and characterized international scrutiny as part of a “foreign conspiracy.” The report rejected several LRRC recommendations, such as easing military occupation in the northern and eastern portions of the country and separating the police from the military. Fueling fears of increasing military control, the report put forth recommendations of its own, including a recommendation that military officers continue to “assist the civil administration” of the country, and a recommendation of a military screening process of international organizations “to ensure that undesirable elements will not jeopardise national security.” The UN estimates that over 40,000 civilians were killed during the final weeks of the 2009 conflict and the International Crisis Group similarly estimates that the civilian death toll was anywhere from 30,000 to 75,000.
President of Sudan flouts ICC arrest warrant for war crimes, announces visits to Chad and Libya: On 11 February 2013, the government-sponsored Sudanese Media Center (SMC) announced that President Bashir would attend the Community of Sahel-Saharan (CEN-SAD) summit in Chad and may visit Libya to attend the second anneversary of the 17 February revolution. Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity and genocide allegedly committed during the 10-year conflict in Darfur, which has left 300,000 dead. As a state party to the Rome Statute, Chad has an obligation to arrest Bashir, but is unlikely to do so. Chad, along with other parties to the Rome Statute, has failed to arrest Bashir since his arrest warrants were issued in 2009.
Hundreds protest ICTR acquittals of former Rwandan cabinet ministers: On 11 February 2013, protestors took to the streets in response to the decision of the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to overturn the convictions of former Trade Docket Minister Justin Mugenzi and former Public Service Minister Prosper Mugiraneza, finding that they were not responsible for the Rwandan Genocide.
Former Ivory Coast youth leader Charles Ble Goude charged with war crimes: On 21 January 2013, Ivory Coast state television reported that authorities had filed charges of war crimes, murder, and theft of public funds against Ble Goude for his alleged role in the 2010 election violence that killed at least 3,000 people. Ble Goude had been hiding in Ghana until he was arrested and extradited last week. Ble Goude’s lawyer stated that any trial in Ivory Coast would be “one-sided.”
ICC lawyer calls Libyan proceedings against Gaddafi a “Kafka-esque show trial”: On 22 January 2013, lawyers for the International Criminal Court (ICC) submitted a request to the ICC “to issue an immediate decision on the admissibility of the case, and to order the government of Libya to immediately surrender Mr Kadhafi to the custody of the ICC” following an incident in which an ICC lawyer was detained for supposedly attempting to relay a message between Gaddafi and his still at large right-hand man Mohammed Ismail. Both the Libyan government and the ICC have claimed jurisdiction to try Gaddafi, and the ICC is currently considering a compromise in which Libya would hand over former spy chief Abdullah Senussi in exchange for the ICC permitting Gaddafi to be tried in Libya. (For additional information on this topic, click here.)
Former UN Envoy Mukesh Kapila calls for sanctions against Sudan: On 21 January 2013, former UN Envoy to Sudan Kapila stated that government actions against South Sudanese rebels are “basically exactly the same tactics as Darfur except in the interim period the technology of war has improved,” and that the government’s actions “point towards war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed with the circumstantial evidence that it is quite strongly ethnically based.” The Sudanese government has continued targeting civilians and refuses to allow humanitarian access to rebel-controlled areas.
Posted by kleasia in African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, Balkans, Crimes against Humanity, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gaddafi, Genocide, Human Rights Treaties and Charters, Human Rights Violations, ICC, ICTY, Investigations, Ivory Coast, JCE, jurisdiction, Kenya, Libya, News about the Courts, Post-Election Violence, Rome Statute, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, UN Security Council, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on December 14, 2012
Tolimir convicted for Srebrenica massacre: On Wednesday, the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia convicted Zdravko Tolimir for his participation in the July 1995 Srebrenica massacre, in which approximately 7,000 Bosnian Muslim men were killed. Tolimir formerly was the senior Bosnian Serb army commander during the war of 1992-1995. In a majority ruling, one judge dissenting, the three-judge panel at the Tribunal found Tolimir guilty on seven counts of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The Tribunal found that Tolimir was part of two Joint Criminal Enterprises, one to murder Muslim men from Srebrenica, and the other to forcibly remove the Bosnian Muslim population from Srebrenica. The Court found that Tolimir both possessed genocidal intent, and shared it with the others involved in the JCE. Tolimir was acquitted on one count, involving forced deportation. Tolimir was arrested in 2007, after two years on the run following his indictment by The Hague. Upon his conviction, Tolimir was sentenced to life in prison. (For more information, 1. click here and 2. click here)
ICC affirms jurisdiction in Gbagbo case: The Appeals Chamber at the ICC has affirmed the Court’s jurisdiction to try the case against former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo. The defense team for Gbagbo had filed a challenge to the Court’s ability to hear the case, arguing that the Ivory Coast is not formally a member of the Rome Statute, the foundational treaty that created the ICC and confers upon it jurisdiction to hear cases. The defence had argued that while the Ivory Coast had accepted the Court’s jurisdiction in regards to events occurring between 2002-2003, the country had not accepted any further ICC control. The Appeals Chamber, however, dismissed Gbagbo’s appeal, and upheld the Pre-trial Chamber’s decision, which declined to find that it lacked jurisdiction over the case. Gbagbo is facing charges of crimes against humanity, stemming from post-election violence in the Ivory Coast during 2010-2011 that erupted when Gbagbo refused to concede the election results to the now-current president, Alassane Ouattara.
ICC gives Libya deadline in Seif-Al-Islam case: In a decision reached on 7 December, the ICC gave Libya until 23 January 2013 to prove that it is conducting investigations in the case of Seif-Al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the late former dictator. The ICC has issued an arrest warrant for Al-Islam for crimes against humanity committed after February 2011, in the wake of the Arab Spring and revolution that toppled the elder Gaddafi. On 1 May 2012, Libya asked the ICC permission to try Al-Islam domestically. Despite hearings on the matter on 10 and 11 October, the ICC remains sceptical that the country is conducting the necessary investigations, and is requiring the country to prove the sufficiency of its proceedings with concrete, tangible evidence of progress. The ICC judges also requested information regarding witness protection measures, whether Gaddafi has been before a judge, and whether he has been appointed a lawyer. Gaddafi is currently being held in a town in the southwest of Libya.
HRW study suggests crimes against humanity in Sudan crisis: On Wednesday, Human Rights Watch published a major study detailing the ongoing crisis situation in Sudan. According to the study, the Sudanese government’s aerial bombardment of civilian populations in the country’s south could amount to crimes against humanity. The Sudanese government has been engaged in a protracted battle with a rebel group known as the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army, a holdover from the North-South conflict resulted in South Sudan’s independence from Sudan in mid-2011. Members of the SPLA, however, were left in the North after the secession, and since have been based in the country’s Southern Kordofan region. The report suggests that the Sudanese government is treating all people in rebel-held areas as the enemy, failing to distinguish between civilians and combattants—a policy that has resulted in indiscriminate bombardment. The report suggests that 140,000 refugees have fled in to South Sudan from the Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile regions, and that in total, 900,000 people have been affected by the violence. On 13 December, the Chief Prosecutor for the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, submitted a brief to the U.N. Security Council regarding the crisis, and asked for more support with the ICC’s investigation of the situation. Both Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir and Southern Kordofan governor Ahmed Haroun currently have ICC warrants out for their arrest. (For more information, click here)
ICC Chief Prosecutor appoints advisers for Kenya cases: ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has appointed three special advisers to assist her in the cases against Kenyans Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, MP William Ruto, former head of public service Francis Muthaura, and Joshua Sang. The Special Advisers are chosen for their expertise in specific areas, and will be called upon to assist the Prosecutor as needed. The appointed advisers are Patricia Viseur Sellers, Leila Nadya Sadat, and Diane Marie Amann.
Inter-American Court rules that El-Salvador should probe civil war killings: On 10 December, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that El-Salvador should re-open investigations into civil war-era killings in which approximately 1,000 individuals were killed by the military. The Court also ruled that El-Salvador should pay restitution to the victim’s relatives. The Court found that the killings, which occurred in 1981, were part of a systematic plan of repression carried out by the nation’s military. The Court also found that surviving victims have suffered from the destruction of their property, and from arbitrary imprisonment. In December 2011, the nation’s government formally apologized for the killings.
African Commission to hear journal editors’ case: Two jailed Rwandan editors of a now-defunct news journal are taking their case to the African Commission. Agnes Uwimana and Saidati Mukakibibi were convicted by the Rwandan government in 2010 for stories than ran in their newspaper, which the government claimed defamed Rwandan president Paul Kagame, incited people to violence; the women were also convicted for genocide denial and divisionism for articles that pushed for justice for ethnic Hutu victims of the 1994 genocide and explored divisions within the country’s military. The women appealed their convictions, and in April 2012 the Supreme Court tossed out the genocide denial and divisionism convictions; the defamation and incite to violence convictions remained. The women claim that their avenues for redress against convictions which the women state have denied them rights to a fair trial have been exhausted in Rwanda, and have turned to the African Commission to hear their case. They argue that local authorities have violated their rights to a fair trial, making them guilty until proven innocent, and have denied them their freedom of expression, a right guaranteed in the African Charter on Human Rights, which Rwanda ratified in 1983. The African Commission has agreed to hear the case. The women are seeking a recommendation from the Commission for their release, amongst other remedies including compensation. Any decision from the Commission is non-binding on the country, but the women believe that a positive decision would send a strong message to the Rwandan government.