Archive for category Sri Lanka
Posted by cdelaubenfels in Crimes against Humanity, ECCC, Gender crimes, Genocide, Human Rights Violations, ICC, ICTY, Investigations, jurisdiction, News about the Courts, Rome Statute, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Torture, UN Human Rights Council, UN Security Council, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on April 10, 2013
Bosnian-Serb president testifies for Karadzic: On 9 April 2013, Milorad Dodik, president of the Serb portion of Bosnia, Republika Srpska, testified for the defense in the Radovan Karadzic case. Karadzic, former president of Republika Srpska, is charged with genocide and crimes against humanity by the ICTY. In his testimony, Dodik blamed the Muslims in Bosnia for starting the war and stated that Serbs were defending themselves. Dodik has consistently denied the Srebrenica genocide committed by Bosnian-Serbs and is critical of the ICTY and any other tribunal where Serbs have been sentenced for war crimes.
Ki-moon says war crimes investigation possible in South Sudan: On 9 April 2013, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that an investigation could be launched in South Sudan to analyze if war crimes were committed in an attack where five UN peacekeepers and seven other persons were killed. Ki-moon and the UN Security Council called for South Sudan’s government to quickly bring the perpetrators to justice. Although South Sudan is not a party to the Rome Statute, the ICC has jurisdiction over the killing of peacekeepers, which is a war crime. South Sudan blamed the attacks on a rebel group lead by David Yau Yau.
US calls for Sri Lanka to make public war crimes inquiry: On 9 April 2013, United States ambassador to Sri Lanka Michele J. Sison stated that Sri Lanka should make public an army inquiry into alleged war crimes committed at the end of Sri Lanka’s 30-year civil war. Sison said that Sri Lanka must confront the human rights abuses that were committed during the civil war in order to move forward. Recently, the UN Human Rights Council adapted a resolution, sponsored by the US, calling for an “independent and credible internal investigation” into alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.
Khmer Rouge Tribunal continues with testimony of French priest: On 10 April 2013, Francois Ponchaud, a French Catholic priest and Khmer Rouge historian, testified before the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. Ponchaud’s testimony resumed the tribunal proceedings as the court has recently struggled with funding and was delayed due to the death of a co-defendant, Ieng Sary. Two Khmer Rogue leaders, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, are currently being tried for crimes against humanity and genocide. Ponchaud told the court about atrocities that the Khmer Rouge infamously committed, but also heavily criticized Western states and the UN for standing by as atrocities occurred to the Cambodian people.
Sudanese military leader indicted by the ICC may be leading Darfur tribal violence: On 9 April 2013, it was reported that Ali Kushayb, who was indicted by the ICC in 2007 for war crimes, is leading tribal clashes in Darfur that began last week. The violence, which is spreading throughout Darfur, is between the Misseriya and Salamat tribes; the Misseriya have support of the Central Reserve Forces. The ICC wants Kushayb for murder, rape, and forcibly displacing thousands of people.
NY Judge approves extradition of war crimes suspect to Bosnia: On 9 April 2013, it was announced that there was enough evidence against Sulejman Mujagic for committing war crimes, a man living in Utica, NY, to extradite him to Bosnia to face trial. Mujagic is accused of killing an unarmed soldier and torturing another during the Bosnian War in 1995. Mujagic was fighting for a region that had seceded from the central government.
Guatemala war crime trial implicates current president: On 4 April 2013, a former Guatemalan soldier, Hugo Reyes, testifying in the Efrain Rios Montt trial accused President Otto Perez Molina of ordering pillaging and executions during the country’s 36-year civil war. Perez said the accusations are lies. Prosecutor Orlando Lopez stated that Reyes’ testimony is 100 percent credible, but reaffirmed that the focus is on Montt and that he would study the accusations against Molina after this case. Montt, the 86-year old ex-military strongman, is charged with genocide.
Slovakia calls for Hungary to extradite war crimes suspect: On 9 April 2013, Slovakian prosecutors pressed for the extradition of Hungarian 98-year old war crimes suspect Laszio Csatary. A Slovak court sentenced Csatary to death in 1948 for committing crimes against Jews during WWII, but that conviction was commuted to life in prison to align with Slovak law. Csatary, was arrested in Hungary last year and is under house arrest.
Posted by cdelaubenfels in Crimes against Humanity, DRC, ECCC, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Gender crimes, Genocide, Human Rights Treaties and Charters, ICC, ICTY, immunity, Investigations, Kenya, News about the Courts, Other domestic courts, Post-Election Violence, Rome Statute, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Torture, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on March 30, 2013
Slovak court commutes WWII criminal’s death sentence: On 28 March 2013, a Slovak court announced that the death sentence of 98 year old Laszlo Csataray, a World War II criminal, to life imprisonment. In 1948 Csataray was found guilty and sentenced to death in absentia for torturing Jews and organizing the deportation of nearly 16,000 Jews to Auschwitz. Csataray had lived as a fugitive until he was arrested by Hungarian authorities last year. The sentence was changed in order to comply with Slovak law, which abolished the death penalty in 1990.
Former Kenyan witness refuses to see ICC lawyers: On 24 March 2013, the lawyer for the Kenyan ICC witness who recently recanted his testimony stated that his client would not meet with ICC lawyers. The Office of the Prosecutor had written the witness asking for a meeting after the witness decided not to testify in the case against William Ruto. The former witness stated that ICC lawyers had tried to contact him directly and that he felt harassed. The Office of the Prosecutors denies the allegations put forward by the ex-witness.
Khmer Rouge tribunal confirms that defendant is fit for trial: On 29 March 2013, the UN-backed Cambodian war crime court confirmed that Nuon Chea, a former Khmer Rouge leader, was fit to stand trial even though he is “advancing [in] age and frailty.” Chea is charged, along with former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan, with crimes against humanity and war crimes for overseeing the “Killing Fields” that killed nearly two-million Cambodians during the 1970s. There have been concerns about the case continuing after co-defendant, Ieng Sary, recently passed away. The tribunal has struggled with funding, procedural, and political difficulties since its founding in 2006.
M23 allege that Ntaganda was attempting to take charge of group: On 28 March 2013, Rene Abandi, a spokesperson for Congolese rebel group M23, said that Bosco Ntaganda, currently under arrest at the ICC, was trying to take over the group. Abandi reported that there were fights between different factions of M23 after Ntaganda challenged the group’s military chief, Sultani Makenga. After Ntaganda lost the fight, he fled to the United States embassy in Rwanda where he requested to be sent to the ICC. The ICC has charged Ntaganda with war crimes and crimes against humanity including recruiting child soldiers, murder, rape, and pillaging.
Estonia ratifies crime of aggression amendment to Rome Statute: On 27 March 2013, Estonia became the fifth country to sign the crime of aggression amendment to the Rome Statute. Estonia’s UN representative Margus Kolga stated that ratifying the amendment is a “clear indication of the staunch support that Estonia has demonstrated towards the International Criminal Court.” If 30 state parties to the Rome Statute ratify the amendment, the ICC will be able to investigate the crime of aggression starting in 2017.
HRW calls on Sri Lankan government to investigate Deputy Minister’s role in atrocities: On 28 March 2013, Human Rights Watch called on the Sri Lankan government to investigate the role of Deputy Minister Karuna in war crimes committed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Recently Karuna, a former member of LTTE, has advocated for investigations of atrocities committed by the LTTE, but HRW states that Karuna is also responsible for committing war crimes, including mass murder, during the 26-year conflict in Sri Lanka. HRW alleges that Karuna has enjoyed immunity and he is only advocating for investigations into LTTE to silence his political opposition.
Former Bosnian Serb military leader sentenced to 45 years in prison: On 29 March 2013, a Bosnian war crime court sentenced former Bosnian Serb paramilitary leader Veselin Vlahovic to 45 years in prison, the maximum sentence. Vlahovic, commonly known as the Monster of Grbavica, was found guilty of murder, rape, and torture during the Bosnian War from 1992-1995. This is the highest sentence ever given in Bosnia. The war crimes department of the Bosnian court system was founded in 2005 to assist the overburdened ICTY.
Posted by kchin2014 in African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, AU, Crimes against Humanity, ECCC, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gender crimes, Genocide, Human Rights Treaties and Charters, Human Rights Violations, ICC, Investigations, Kenya, News about the Courts, Post-Election Violence, Responsibility to Protect, Rome Statute, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Syria, Torture, Truth Commissions, UN General Assembly, UN Human Rights Council, UN Security Council, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on March 26, 2013
UN to investigate growing North Korean prison camps: On 26 March 2013, South Korean legislator Ha Tae-kyoung announced that he learned from an official at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights that the UN is planning to launch an investigation into the growing number of North Korean prison camps. The investigation will employ satellite imaging technology provided by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research’s Satellite Applications Program (UNOSAT), along with witness testimony.
US official warns of US-led war crimes inquiry into Sri Lanka: On 25 March 2013, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake indicated that, if the Sri Lankan government continues to shirk its responsibility to lead an “independent and credible” inquiry into the allegations of war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan military against ethnic Tamil civilians, the United States may launch its own investigation.
Congolese warlord Ntaganda appears before ICC: On 26 March 2013, seven years after the court issued a warrant for his arrest, Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda appeared in before the International Criminal Court (ICC) to confirm his identity. Ntaganda, who faces allegations of recruiting child soldiers, murder, rape, ethnic persecution, and sexual slavery, surprised the world when he surrendered himself at the United States embassy in Rwanda last week. Many analysts suspect that Ntaganda’s surrender was precipitated by political changes that caused him to fear for his personal safety.
Experts declare former Khmer Rouge deputy fit for trial: On 25 March 2013, medical experts testified that, upon conducting physical and mental evaluations, 81-year-old Nuon Chea is fit to stand trial before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). Nuon Chea, known as “Brother Number Two,” was Pol Pot’s second-in-command during the bloody rule of the Khmer Rouge and the most senior Khmer Rouge official to stand trial before the court.
Zimbabwean government found guilty of torture: On 25 March 2013, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights notified the government of Zimbabwe that it has 90 days to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for the 2003 torture of human rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba. The decision, finding the Zimbabwean government criminally liable, was made in May 2012 and approved by the Executive Council of the African Union in January 2013. In its decision, the African Commission said that Shumba had submitted “more than adequate evidence” to support his allegation of torture and ill-treatment, including being subjected to prolonged electric shocks in the mouth, genitals, fingers, toes and other parts of the body. The Commission said Zimbabwe failed to open an official investigation, ordering it to do so within 90 days and bring those responsible to justice.
Mr. Paul Gicheru – lawyer for the witness who recanted his testimony against Kenya’s Deputy President-Elect William Ruto- rejected a request to meet with ICC officials in Nairobi last week. Gicheru said he declined the meeting because he did not have his client’s permission to hold the meeting. “I have told them my client stands by his sworn affidavits and that there is no need for a meeting over this,” he said. Meanwhile, the witness claims to have received numerous calls requesting meetings with ICC officials, stating that his interactions have bordered on “harassment, intimidation and intruding into my private life.”
DRC’s Bosco Ntaganda surrenders to the ICC: On 18 March 2013, General Bosco Ntaganda of the DRC surrendered to the US embassy in Kigali, Rwanda. Ntaganda is now being transported to The Hague, where he faces ten counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the ICC. Ntaganda has fought for numerous rebel groups, including most recently the M23, as well as the Congolese Army. The ICC released a statement thanking the US, Rwanda, and the DRC for helping secure Ntaganda, but urged the state to renew efforts to secure the arrests of other ICC suspects. Ntaganda is the first ICC suspect to surrender himself voluntarily.(For more information, click here).
ICC judges allow revised charges against Kenyatta: On 21 March 2013, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber granted ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request to revise the charges against Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s president-elect, including new evidence. The revised charges are in response to criticism from ICC trial judges who said that the prosecution dropping charges against Kenyatta’s co-conspirator, Francis Muthaura, radically weakened the case against Kenyatta. Kenyatta is charged with crimes against humanity for allegedly purchasing weapons used to kill and wound members of a rival tribe during the 2007-2008 post-election violence. In response to the charges against Kenyatta being revised, Kenyatta’s attorneys stated that they had lost faith in the ICC’s decision-making processes.
UN launches inquiry into human rights abuses in North Korea: On 21 March 2013, the UN Human Rights Council unanimously adopted a resolution condemning North Korea for alleged human rights violations including torture, food deprivation, and labor camps that may amount to crimes against humanity. The resolution also establishes a yearlong inquiry into North Korean practices led by Maruki Daruzman UN special rapporteur on North Korea. North Korean ambassador So Se Pyong rejected the resolution and denied the existence of any human rights violations in North Korea.
UN urges Sri Lanka to investigate war crimes: On 21 March 2013, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution urging Sri Lanka to investigate killings and disappearances during its 30-year civil war, especially 2009. The report further expressed concerns that killings, torture, restrictions on freedom of expression and speech are continuing in Sri Lanka. A UN panel discussing the resolution stated that there is evidence that both the Sri Lankan troops and the Tamil Tigers rebel group committed atrocities and war crimes, but stated that the government is responsible for most of the deaths. While the resolution is not binding, it may pressure the Sri Lankan government to prosecute crimes committed by the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels.
UN Begins Inquiry into North Korean Torture, Labor Camps: The United Nations began an investigation into what it identified as “widespread and systematic human rights violations” in North Korea today, in part to determine whether these violations amount to crimes against humanity. The resolution condemning alleged torture, deprivation of food, and labor camps was unanimously passed and establishes a year-long commission of inquiry. During the debate on the resolution in the Human Rights Council, North Korean Ambassador So Se Pyong protested the resolution as “an instrument that serves the political purposes of the hostile forces in their attempt to discredit the image of the DPRK.”
UN Urges Sri Lanka to Conduct War Crimes Investigation: The United Nations pressed Sri Lanka to engage in credible investigations into alleged atrocities committed during the country’s decades-long civil war, including killings and disappearances, through a resolution issued today. The UN also expressed concerns that such atrocities continue to occur, including reprisals against journalists and activists in the country. While this resolution is not binding, it serves the purpose of increasing pressure on the Sri Lankan government to investigate and prosecute these crimes. The forum (consisting of 47 members) adopted the resolution with 25 countries in favor (including India) and 13 opposed (including Pakistan). During the debates that preceded the resolution, Sri Lankan presidential envoy Mahinda Samarasinghe rejected the resolution as “highly intrusive” and urged states to vote against the resolution. “Why this preoccupation with Sri Lanka?” asked Samarasignhe. “Why this \inordinate and disproportionate level of interest in a country that has successfully ended a 30-year conflict against terrorism and demonstrated so much progress in a relatively short space of time?” The UN panel said it had “credible allegations” that troops and the Tamil Tigers committed atrocities and war crimes during the conflict; however, the panel placed the responsibility for the deaths largely with the government.
Kenyatta Case will Continue: On Wednesday, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that the ICC will not drop charges against Uhuru Kenyatta, president-elect of Kenya. Attorneys for Kenyatta had urged the ICC to dismiss the case Monday after charges against former Kenyan Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura were dropped. “Kenya is the most challenging situation our office has had to deal with,” said Bensouda, citing the government’s lack of cooperation and intimidation of the prosecution’s witnesses as complicating factors. Kenyatta is charged with crimes against humanity over his alleged involvement in the violence that followed elections in Kenya five years ago.
Posted by kchin2014 in Crimes against Humanity, ECCC, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gender crimes, Genocide, Human Rights Treaties and Charters, Human Rights Violations, ICC, Investigations, Kenya, News about the Courts, Post-Election Violence, Responsibility to Protect, Rome Statute, Sri Lanka, Syria, Torture, Truth Commissions, UN General Assembly, UN Human Rights Council, UN Security Council, Uncategorized, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on March 14, 2013
Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary dies at 87: On 14 March 2013, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) confirmed that Ieng Sary, who was charged with crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes, has died. Sary was the brother-in-law of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, and had served as foreign minister and deputy prime minister. During its brief reign from 1975 to 1979, the Khmer Rouge killed over 2,000,000 people. Lars Olsen, spokesperson for the court, stated that ”[w]e understand that many people are disappointed that we cannot complete the proceedings against Ieng Sary and determine his guilt ori nnocence on the charges against him, but Case Two is not over, and the charges against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan will be pursued.”
Amnesty International calls for ICC action in Syria: On 14 March 2013, Amnesty International Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Ann Harrison called upon the UN Security Council to refer war crimes cases, against both government and rebel forces, to the International Criminal Court (ICC). According to the group’s latest study, there is evidence of the use of “internationally banned weapons,” child soldiers, torture, extrajudicial killings, and the targeting of civilians. The ICC cannot act without a referral by the Security Council.
ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda requests charges against Francis Muthaura dropped: On 11 March 2013, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda requested that the charges against Francis Muthaura for inciting the post-election violence of 2007 in Kenya, be dropped. Bensouda stated that the charges could not be sustained because the Kenyan government has failed to produce necessary documents, because most of the witnesses had died, and because the remaining key witnesses had been bribed. Although the court has yet to approve the request, it is expected to do so in the coming days.
US Congressman Eliot Engel calls for independent investigation in Sri Lanka: On 14 March 2013, US Congressman Eliot Engel of New York submitted a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, stating that the United States should “join the call for an independent international investigation” into the Sri Lankan government’s post-war actions. Engel’s letter, which cites numerous flaws with the current investigative mechanism, the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), echoes growing international sentiment that the Sri Lankan government has not made a good faith effort to investigate documented human rights abuses.
Posted by kchin2014 in Crimes against Humanity, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gender crimes, Genocide, Human Rights Violations, ICC, Investigations, Kenya, News about the Courts, Post-Election Violence, Responsibility to Protect, Rome Statute, Sri Lanka, Torture, Truth Commissions, UN General Assembly, UN Human Rights Council, UN Security Council, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on March 13, 2013
UN panel on Syria seeks access to ICC: On 11 March 2013, Vitit Muntarbhorn, one of the four investigators on the special UN investigative panel on Syria, called for “access…directly to the Security Council and the General Assembly.” Thus far, the panel has only been able to present its findings to the UN Human Rights Council, which is unable to refer cases to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The special investigative panel on Syria currently does not have direct access to the UN Security Council, which exclusively holds the power to refer cases to the ICC, and has therefore only been able to present its findings to the Security Council on two occasions, neither of which was successful. It is not clear whether direct access to the Security Council would change the stance of China and Russia, who have been staunch allies of the Assad regime. The panel’s latest report has found strong evidence that the Assad regime and its allies are responsible for at least 20 massacres and other human rights abuses, which have left over 70,000 people dead. Syrian envoy to the Human Rights Council Faisal al-Hamwi has challenged the legitimacy of the report’s findings (click here).
ICC: Attorneys for president-elect Kenyatta call for review of evidence: On 11 March 2013, attorneys for Kenyan President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta, currently on trial before the ICC for inciting the post-election violence of 2007 which left more than 1,000 people dead and several more raped and deported, asked the court to review the evidence against him. A witness for the prosecution was recently found to have lied in their deposition, potentially undermining key evidence against fellow defendant Francis Muthaura and precipitating a confirmation of charges against the former Public Service Minister of Kenya. Because false testimony was also a part of the prosecution’s case against Kenyatta, his defense team argued that the charges against him should undergo similar review. The prosecution, which has not objected to the review of the charges against Muthaura, insists that a review of the charges against Kenyatta is not necessary because, while the witness’s testimony was key to the case against Muthaura, it was not key to the case against Kenyatta.
President of Sri Lanka continues to deny allegations: On 12 March 2013, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse continued to deny responsibility for the murder of the child of former Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leader V. Prabhakaran. London-based television network Channel 4 recently released photographs of Prabhakaran’s child, V. Balachandran (12), being held by the Sri Lankan military shortly before he was killed. In an interview conducted on 2 March 2013, Rajapakse denied responsibility, stating “[h]ad it happened, I would have known [it]. It is obvious that if somebody [from the armed forces] had done that, I must take responsibility. We completely deny it. It can’t be.” Regarding the mounting evidence that war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed by Sri Lankan forces, Rajapakse further stated that he believed that his government has been unfairly targeted by an “international conspiracy.”
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.”
Posted by kchin2014 in Crimes against Humanity, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Gender crimes, Genocide, Human Rights Treaties and Charters, Human Rights Violations, ICC, ICT of Bangladesh, India, Investigations, Kenya, News about the Courts, Post-Election Violence, Rome Statute, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Torture, UN Human Rights Council, UN Security Council, Victims, War Crimes on March 6, 2013
“Spoiled ballots” cause controversy in Kenya: On 5 March 2013, over 325,000 improperly cast ballots have been thrown out for failing to meet election standards, due to voter or administrative errors. According to early estimates including the “spoiled ballots,” 53% of votes were cast in favor of Uhuru Kenyatta, currently on trial for crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court (ICC), giving him an 11% lead over rival Prime Minster Raila Odinga, who had 42% of the vote. Since the “spoiled ballots” have thus far overwhelmingly favored Kenyatta, discarding them could diminish his lead, requiring a run-off election. However, a spokeswoman for the Kenyan election commission stated that a decision on the matter was forthcoming, but did not say when. Election Commission Chairman Isaak Hassan, as well as Odinga’s running mate, current Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, urged the Kenyan people to remain patient. As votes were cast on Monday, 19 people were killed by separatist rebel groups. However, the violence was limited in both intensity and scope, and did not approach the level of the violence following the 2007 elections,for which Kenyatta is allegedly responsible.
Kenya seeks to avoid repeat of 2007 violence following election: On 4 March 2013, 70% of registered voters cast ballots in the Kenyan national elections. Despite reports of separatist rebels killing 19 people in Mombassa, and gunmen invading two polling stations near the Somalian border, voting across the Country was largely peaceful. Carter Center Vice President for Peace Programs John Stemlau monitored polling stations stated that the organization was “impressed by the turnout and the patience of voters.” Many in Kenya feared a repeat of the 2007 post-election violence that left over 1,000 people dead, so Kenyans prepared for the 2013 national election by holding practice elections, improving election transparency, and improving voter identification. Community leaders volunteered their help in moderating disagreements, and all the candidates issued conciliatory statements of support for whoever wins the election. In order to be elected president, a candidate must secure at least 50% of the vote or a run-off will ensue. International organizations monitoring the elections are expected to release their reports on Monday’s election on 6 March 2013.
France to decide whether to prosecute Rwandan army captain: On 4 March 2013, Radio France Internationale issued a statement that French prosecutors are currently considering whether to charge former Rwandan army captain Pascal Simbikangwa, who was an intelligence officer in the government of former Rwandan President Habyarimnana. Simbikangwa has been in custody since 2008, when he was arrested while in Mayotte, a French territory. He may face charges of complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity. (For more information, click here.)
Death toll rises as violent protests continue in Bangladesh: On 5 February 2013, al Jazeera reported that the deaths caused by clashes between Islamist activists and police had risen to 80. Angered by the conviction of Jamaat-e-Islami vice president Delwar Hossain Sayeedi, for rape, torture, and murder committed during the atrocities of 1971, the protestors continued to attack police. Sayeedi is the third Jamaat leader to be convicted of crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 conflict. The violent protests and a two-day nationwide strike, both organized by Jamaat, have “crippled the country,” says Dhaka author Anis Ahmed. Since the violence began, Jamaat activists have killed civilians and police alike, recently killing a progressive blogger, setting fire to trains, and using homemade bombs. Ahmed fears that “a Jamaat gone underground could probably carry out regular terroristic attacks for some years to come.”
Social worker sets himself on fire as protestors demand action on Sri Lanka: On March 2013, an Indian social worker named Mani set himself on fire at the Collectorate complex in Nallavadu, Cudalore, as protestors rallied against Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse, calling for international intervention. Chief of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), Vaiko was arrested along with other pro-Tamil activists, such as the Tamil Desiya Iyakkam, as they picketed the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission, demanding an independent probe. Other protestors in the Madras High Court boycotted proceedings, while national organizations, such as the Tamil Nadu Advocates Association, Women Lawyers’ Association, and Madras High Court Advocates Association participated in a nationwide boycott of court proceedings. The Tamil Ealam Supporters’ Organisation (TESO) plans to continue the protests tomorrow. Protestors are demanding that India support the U.S.-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka currently being considered in the U.N. Human Rights Council.
Posted by kchin2014 in Balkans, Crimes against Humanity, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Genocide, Human Rights Treaties and Charters, Human Rights Violations, ICC, ICTY, ICTY Residual Mechanism, India, Investigations, Iraq, News about the Courts, Rome Statute, Sri Lanka, Torture, UN Human Rights Council, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on February 28, 2013
Momčilo Perišić acquitted by ICTY Appeals Chamber: On 28 February 2013, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) reversed the conviction and 27-year sentence of former Yugoslavian Chief of the General Staff Momčilo Perišić. Perišić was the most senior officer of the Yugoslavian Army (VJ) when its troops assisted the Army of the Republika Srpska (VRS) in committing crimes against humanity and violated laws or customs of war against the people of Sarajevo and Srebrenica, and was convicted of aiding and abetting those crimes, as well as failing to punish those responsible for the crimes committed in Zagreb.
The Appeals Chamber found that the Trial Chamber erroneously found that the element of specific direction was not an element of aiding and abetting criminal liability, and that the evidence does not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Perišić specifically directed VJ troops to assist the VRS in Sarajevo and Srebrenica. The Appeals Chamber also noted that, since the Trial Chamber did not find the VRS to be a criminal organization, Perišić was not necessarily responsible for its criminal activities when he directed the VJ to support to the VRS.
The Appeals Chamber also found that the evidence did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Perišić had effective control over the Serbian Army of the Krajina (SVK) when its troops committed war crimes in Zagreb. Pointing to Perišić’s disregarded orders to the SVK to stop the shelling of Zagreb, the Appeals Chamber concluded that the evidence did not support the finding that he was able to exercise control over the SVK.
Iraq: Kurdish leaders call for Rome Statute accession: On 27 February 2013, Kurdish Regional Government Minister of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs Aram Ahmed announced that the Kurdish people “want Iraq to become a member state in the ICC because it is a way for us to sign the Rome Statute and be part of the ICC in The Hague.” Referencing the Anfal Campaign which left over 182,000 Kurds dead, Ahmed reasoned that “[accession to the Rome Statute] is the right way to build a new Iraq and to employ all possible means to prevent the recurrence of such crimes in the future.”
Syrian activists collect evidence of regime’s crimes: On 26 February 2013, a Syrian activist and torture victim told the Associated Press that he was collecting evidence with hopes that one day, he would be able “to take [his] case to a Syrian court and a Syrian judge who will put [his] torturers in the same jail where [he] was held.” Only revealing his first name for security reasons, “Yashar” is a part of a growing number of activists in Syria who are gathering evidence against the Assad Regime. While such activists are united in their desire to bring those responsible to justice, they are divided on the question of proper venue. Many, like Yashar, want trials in Syria, while others, pointing to ineffective administration of justice in other post-revolutionary states, prefer prosecutions in the International Criminal Court (ICC). (Read more here.)
Talks between Serbia and ICTY show signs of promise: On 27 February 2013, legal advisor to the Serbian President and Ministry of Foreign affairs Oliver Antic announced that his meetings with ICTY officials to “improve the overall conditions of [Serbian] indictees and convicts” were fruitful. During his trip, Antic also met with Serbian indictees and convicts, and stated that “if [Serbia] is able to help [Serbian indictees and convicts] with something, [Serbia] will do so in line with the law.”
Indian government officials express concern over situation in Sri Lanka: On 28 February 2013, Rajya Sabha, India’s upper house of parliament, expressed concern over the alleged war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan military, yet stopped short of endorsing the idea of India voting in favor of the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka in the UN Human Rights Council. Foreign Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid stated that India regarded Sri Lanka as an ally, and that India has no intentions of unilaterally interfering with Sri Lankan affairs. In response to Khurshid’s accommodating stance on the matter, Indian state Tamil parties Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), along with the Left Front party (Left) staged a walkout.
North Korean prison camps steadily growing: On 27 February 2013, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea released satellite images of prison camps on the northeast coast of the country. According to Amnesty International, about 200,000 people (or one out of every 120 North Koreans) are being held in such prison camps. The images dispelled rumors that Camp 22, the largest camp, had been shut down. Another location, Camp 25, grew over 72 percent between 2009 and 2010, now holding an estimated 5,000 prisoners. No clear reason has been cited for the expansion, although some speculate that the regime change precipitated a crackdown.