Archive for category STL

6 May 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Jumblatt testifies at STL in Hariri case: On Monday, 4 May 2015, Lebanon’s leader of the Progressive Socialist Party, Walid Jumblatt, testified before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in the case of the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Jumblatt has a strained relationship with the Syrian leadership which was intensified by the assassination of Hariri, his close political ally. A former STL spokesman said Jumblatt’s testimony is expected to “provide some insight that we haven’t heard before” about the context of the assassination. (Al Arabiya).

Refugees of PEV return to Kenya: 720 Kenyans internally displaced by the 2007-2008 post-election violence were received by the country’s authorities at the Malaba dispensary yesterday, 6 May 2015. The Kenyans were among 4,000 refugees who fled to Uganda at the height of the violence.  Over 500 more are expected to return next week.  The ICC is currently conducting proceedings for charges of crimes against humanity relating to the post-election violence, including charges against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang. (The Star).

Amnesty warns of impunity issues in CAR draft constitution: Amnesty International is warning Central African Republic delegates in an open letter that their draft constitution could provide sitting presidents with impunity for nearly all crimes except “high treason.”  Specifically, Amnesty International is urging the delegates to amend the draft constitution and recognize that anyone, no matter what the position, can be held accountable for violations of international law.  Amnesty International’s letter was sent before the 4 May 2015, national reconciliation forum in Bangui in which the delegates were attending. (Standard Digital).

US supports creation of hybrid court for South Sudan crimes: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced support for a hybrid court to hold those responsible for crimes committed in South Sudan since the civil war began in 2013. Kerry also pledged $5 million US dollars for the start of the hybrid court, which would combine international and domestic law.  Since the civil war began in South Sudan, at least 50,000 people have been killed and more than a million displaced.  (Daily Mail).

Report publishes accounts of Israeli soldiers on strategy in Gaza: The Israeli group Breaking The Silence, who collected testimony from dozens of unnamed, combat soldiers involved in last year’s Gaza war, is alleging in a new report that Israeli forces engaged in indiscriminate fire that killed Palestinian civilians.  It is being reported that the Breaking The Silence report could support claims that war crimes were committed.  More than 2,200 Palestinians were killed during the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas.  (AlJazeera).

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17 April 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

STL begins contempt trial against Lebanese journalist and her TV station: Lebanese journalist, Karma Khayat, and her al-Jadeed TV station stand accused of obstruction of justice for the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Khayat and the TV station both deny identifying witnesses or compromising the case against Hariri’s alleged killers. Khayat stated that that this is an attempt to silence the media when journalists in Lebanon have the same rights as those in the West. Khayat also stated that the list she published was redacted without identifying statements and a full list was published later by someone else. Prosecutor Kenneth Scott stated “If witnesses are too frightened to come to this tribunal, then this tribunal is finished.” (BBC, The Guardian, Daily Star) (for additional information click here and here)

Acquitted Ngudjolo Chui seeks asylum in Switzerland: Ngudjolo Chui, who was acquitted by the ICC, is now applying for asylum in Switzerland.  Chui is applying for asylum for fear of being deported from the Netherlands back to Kinshasa. After being acquitted by the ICC Trial Chamber and having the acquittal affirmed by the ICC Appeals Chamber, Chui was arrested by Dutch authorities immediately after the trial as he was leaving the courtroom. The Dutch authorities brought him straight to the airport to be deported back to the DRC and was forced onto a Kenya Airways passenger plane to Kinshasa. Chui had to assert certain things during his defense that now put his life at risk if he goes back to the DRC. Chui had asserted that in asylum applications to the Dutch authorities after his Trial Chamber acquittal.  As the plane was about to takeoff, an emergency order from a Dutch immigration judge to hear asylum arguments forced the plane to return to the terminal. Since then, Chui has been at the detention unit at the Schiphol Airport trying to sort out immigration issues and apply for a humanitarian visa. (Letemps)

UNSC hears accounts of chemical weapons use in Syria: The United Nations Security Council heard first-hand accounts of chemical weapons used in Syria on Thursday. Syrian doctor, Saher Sahloul, reported the use of chlorine gas in Idlib that left six dead. Qusai Zakarya, a victim of an attack in Ghouta in August of 2013 was also present. The UNSC considered whether action was needed to stop the attacks. Organizations like Human Rights Watch called for investigations into these attacks and alleged that they were war crimes. (News24)

Hadzic arrives in Serbia after ICTY grants provisional release: The International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) granted a provisional release to former Croatian Serb rebel leader Goran Hadzic for cancer treatment on 13 April 2015. Hadzic stands accused of 14 alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1991-95 war in Croatia. Hadzic arrived in the Serbian capital on 16 April 2015 and was escorted by police to Novi Sad, where he will receive his cancer treatment. (Turkish Weekly)

US Senator indicates move to introduce CAH provision in US law: U.S. Senator Dick Durbin announced during his speech at Northwestern University School of Law that he intends to reintroduce Crimes Against Humanity legislation in Congress. Durbin stated a US law needs to be in place against crimes against humanity. (International Criminal Justice Today)

 

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27 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Final ICC Prosecution witness in Ruto / Sang case found and begins testifying:  The final prosecution witness for both President William Ruto’s and journalist Joshua Sang’s hearings has been located and began testifying from a video link from a secret location at the Hague.  The witness was absent and failed to testify earlier. International Criminal Court Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, asked for more time in pursuing the witness. Prosecution wanted several weeks to locate the witness as they claimed the person was a key witness with crucial evidence to the case. Defence claimed that prosecution should only be given a few days. (All Africa) (for additional information click here)

OHRHC plans to open field office in Seoul to monitor N. Korea HR: The officer of human rights of the  Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights plans to open a field office in Seoul to monitor human rights in North Korea. This comes from last year’s report by the UN Commission of Inquiry that recommended the establishment of a field office after alleging that North Korea’s leaders committed crimes against humanity.  (Voice of America News)

Former PM questioned at STL over arrested generals: Former Prime Minister of Lebanon, Fouad Siniora, provided testimony at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Siniora denied any direct involvement in the 2005 arrest and release of four Lebanese generals charged in relation to Rafik Hariri’s assassination. Siniora was the current prime minister of Lebanon during the assassination. (Daily Star)

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25 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Final Prosecution witness in Ruto / Sang case fails to appear:  The final Prosecution witness in the trial against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang failed to appear before the ICC to testify on Monday, 23 March 2015.  The ICC judges were thus forced to adjourn the trial. It is being reported that the judges and parties in the case were to hold a conference meeting today, 25 March 2015, to discuss the status and progress of the case. The witness was the Prosecution’s last before its closing arguments.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (All Africa, Capital News).

Former PM testifies at STL of Hariri crime scene tampering: Today, 25 March 2015, former Prime Minister of Lebanon Fouad Sinoira testified at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon claiming members of the Lebanese-Syrian security apparatus tampered with the crime scene of the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.  Sinoira also said members of the security apparatus “bullied” Lebanese officials and “violated the dignities and freedoms” of Lebanese citizens.  The defense suggested the members had a privileged relationship with then Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, whom the defense claim may have had motive to kill Hariri. (The Daily Star).

AU States urged to ratify Protocol for African Court: During a Pan African Parliament meeting on Monday, 16 March 2015, Chairperson of the Justice and Human Rights Committee Onyango Kakoba urged African Union states to ratify and make a declaration on the Protocol of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights.  Of the 54 African Union member states, only 28 states have ratified the Protocol adopted in 1998 and only 7 states have made a declaration to allow access to the Court. Chairperson Kakoba also serves as the Leader of the Ugandan Delegation and the the country has ratified, but not yet made a declaration on the Protocol. (All Africa).

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11 February 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Northern Provincial Council in Sri Lanka issues resolution asking for international investigation on genocide: On Tuesday, 10 February 2015, the Tamil-controlled Northern Provincial Council in Sri Lanka adopted a resolution asking the U.N. Human Rights Council to investigate and report on claims of genocide during the country’s 26-year civil war.  The resolution noted that customary law required the U.N. to prevent and punish genocide and stated that the U.N. Security Council should refer the situation to the ICC for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. A U.N. report estimates that nearly 40,000 people were killed during the last few months of the country’s civil war. (Colombo Page, Bangkok Post) (For additional information on this topic, please click here).

STL accused at large was target of January Israeli airstrikes in Syria:  It is being reported that the January 2015 Israeli airstrike on a convoy in Syria was targeting a Hezbollah member currently being tried in absentia by the Special Tribunal of Lebanon.  The Hezbollah member, Mustafa Badreddine, is accused of being involved in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.  While no sources have been cited in the report, it is alleged six Hezbollah members and an Iranian general were killed in the attack.  Badreddine allegedly “dropped out of the gathering at the last minute” and was not in the convoy during the attack.  (Lebanon News).

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19 November 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Resolution passed at UN urging SC to refer N. Korea to ICC: On Tuesday, 18 November 2014, the U.N. General Assembly’s human rights committee approved a resolution urging the Security Council to hold North Korea and its leader Kim Jong-un accountable for crimes against humanity.  The non-binding resolution cites the U.N. commission of inquiry report issued earlier this year that found evidence of human rights abuses in North Korea committed under policies “established at the highest level of the state for decades.”  China and Russia, permanent members of the Security Council, were against the resolution which will now go to the General Assembly for vote in December.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (The Guardian).

STL hears testimony from Lebanese MP: Former Lebanese Minister Marwan Hamade testified at the Special Tribunal of Lebanon this week on the strained relationship between Syrian President Bashar Assad and former Lebanon Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.  Hamade described, among other things, how Assad allegedly humiliated Hariri in public outings and expected “complete obedience” from the former prime minister prior to the February 2005, assassination of Hariri.  The Special Tribunal is currently trying five men in absentia for the assassination. (The Daily Star).

Sri Lankan Commission of Inquiry to begin collecting evidence: Secretary to the Sri Lankan Presidential Commission H.W. Gunadasa said that the Commission will be accepting written statements concerning abuses committed during the country’s civil war that ended in 2009.  Gunadasa said the statements will be received until 31 December 2014, at which point the Commission will begin inquiries and investigations of alleged war crimes and human rights abuses.  The Commission is tasked with investigating and reporting on the events leading up to Sri Lanka’s civil war and whether any person or group should be held responsible.  (Global Post).

ECCC gives boycotting defense team ultimatum: On Monday, 17 November 2014, ECCC accused Khieu Samphan was told to end the boycott of his trial by defense counsel or else face expedited proceedings, such as the appointment of a new defense team or “any other action the court may deem appropriate.”  Samphan’s counsel were not present in the courtroom on Monday when the ECCC judges considered how to address the ongoing boycott.  Since 17 October 2014, proceedings in Case 002/02 have been adjourned as Samphan and co-accused Nuon Chea ordered their defense counsel to boycott until certain procedural complaints were resolved.  (The Cambodia Daily).

DRC military tribunal sentences army officer and rebel commander to death:  Congolese military lieutenant, Nzanzu Birotsho, and rebel leader of the Ugandan Islamist Allied Democratic Forces, Jamil Makulu, were sentenced to death on Monday, 17 November 2014, by the Democratic Republic of Congo military tribunal.  The senior army officer and the rebel commander were both convicted of terrorism and belonging to an insurrection movement and will likely face only prison time as the country observes a moratorium on carrying out death sentences.  (Reuters).

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17 July 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Sri Lanka brings in foreign experts to investigate war crimes: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided to involve foreign experts in the country’s investigation of possible war crimes during its 26-year civil war. The Sri Lanka government said the purpose of the experts was to “double check what [the country] has found so far and to get some international backing.” The President’s decision follows intensified pressure from the international community for Sri Lanka to investigate and hold accountable those responsible for war crimes. (Reuters).

STL: German expert witness identifies fragments of “car that killed Hariri”: A prosecution witness at the Special Tribunal of Lebanon identified the parts of a vehicle involved in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The expert witness testified that the parts likely belonged to a Mitsubishi truck that was seen by cameras moments before the explosion that killed the Prime Minister. The defense, on the other hand, argued the explosion could have been the result of an underground bomb and have contested whether the vehicle from the camera was present during the time of the bombing. The Special Tribunal is currently trying five men in absentia for the assassination. (The Daily Star).

ICTY prosecution seeks rejection of Seselj’s damages claim: ICTY prosecutor Mathias Marcussen considers the detainment of Vojislav Seselj legal in light of the court order and indictment against the former Serbian leader for serious violations of international law. Seselj recently filed a 12 million euro damages claim against the ICTY for unlawful deprivation of liberty due to his nearly decade long detention. (InSerbia).

ICC names chamber that will hear Barasa case: Bulgaria’s Ekaterina Trendafilova, Italy’s Cuno Tarfusser and Belgium’s Christine Van den Wyngaert will preside over the ICC case against journalist Walter Barasa. Barasa is charged for witness interference related to the trial of Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang. (All Africa).

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