Archive for category Sudan
Trial Chamber VI of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced Wednesday that the start of the Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda will be the second or third week of July, rather than 2 June 2015. Opening statements from the prosecution are expected in August. This decision follows efforts by defense counsel to push the trial to November and support from prosecution and victims’ representatives to retain the original trial date. The Presidency of the ICC is currently considering an application from the Trial Chamber to hold opening statements in Bunia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and consequentially the Registry requested approximately one month to facilitate this effort. Mr. Ntaganda is charged with thirteen counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity, for his involvement in crimes committed in Ituri, DRC between 2002 and 2003.
On Wednesday, April 22, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) heard final appeals directly from several accused of crimes committed in the Butare Region. Following submissions by the Prosecution, the accused including Pauline Nyiramasuhuko were given opportunity to speak to the Court before judges consider and make their decision later this year. The Case marks the final appeal for the ICTR. (For additional information, please click here)
Sudanese President and ICC Indictee Omar al-Bashir recently declined to travel to Indonesia for the Asian-African Summit, following election obligations and international calls for his arrest. The Sudanese Foreign Affairs Minister will replace him, and a spokesman said the decision was made so al-Bashir could “monitor post-election operations.” The International Criminal Court issued a first arrest warrant against al-Bashir in 2009 and again in 2010, on charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide.
ICTY Prosecutor Brammertz asks Trial Chamber to issue a verdict for Seselj soon: ICTY prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, asked the Trial Chamber to make a final verdict in Vojislav Seselj’s case for alleged war crimes. Brammertz’ asked for a final verdict due to Seselj’s behavior whilst on a provisional release for health purposes. The ICTY found at the end of March that Seselj violated the conditions for his provisional release and ordered him to return to the Hague to await the verdict. Tensions heightened between Serbia and Croatia during Seselj’s release to Serbia. Seselj was seen publicly burning a Croatian flag as a sign of defiance for being ordered back to the Hague. (Dalje, Yahoo! News) (for additional information click here)
Human Rights organizations write letter to UNSC to reopen ICC investigation in Sudan: A letter sent to the United Nations Security Council by a group of Sudanese and international humanitarian and human rights organizations asked the UNSC to reopen ICC investigations in Darfur. The organizations asked the UNSC to persevere in the arrest of indicted war criminals related to the situation in Darfur. They also urged the UNSC to advise ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to reopen investigations into the matter. (All Africa)
ICC Prosecution last witness in Ruto case says fearful of testifying: Witness 7271 is the final ICC prosecution witness in Deputy President William Ruto’s case for crimes against humanity. Witness 727’s lawyer, Goran Sluiter, stated that his client is hiding in the Netherlands and fears for his life. Witness 727 has refused to testify at trial three times before, causing the Trial Chamber to adjourn. (All Africa)
Victims of Malvinas War torture will bring case to IACHR: The victims of torture during the 1982 Malvinas War are bringing their case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. During the Malvinas War, Argentine soldiers were tortured by senior officers whilst serving on the Malvinas Islands. The leader of Centro de Ex-Combatientes Islas Malvinas (CECIM), Ernesto Alonso, stated that the complaint will be filed within two weeks. (Buenos Aires Herald)
Cyprus makes Armenian genocide denial a crime: The denial of the Armenian genocide is now a crime when the Parliament of Cyprus voted in the resolution. The resolution was passed unanimously on Thursday. Armenpress states that the penalty for the denial of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes is now a prison sentence of 5 years and a fine of 10,000 Euros. (Asbarez)
ICC TC allows Prosecutor to bring appeal to ASP on non-cooperation of Kenyan Gov in Kenyatta case: ICC Trial Chamber V(B) has granted Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request to appeal the Chamber’s 3 December 2014 decision to the Assembly of State Parties. Trial Chamber V(B)’s 3 December 2014 decision rejected the Prosecutor’s application that the Kenyan government failed to cooperate with the Court and thus, the Chamber declined to refer the matter to the Assembly of States Parties. The appeal concerns whether the Chamber has the discretion to make a finding of non-compliance and refer the matter to the Assembly of State Parties and if so, whether the Chamber erred in the exercise of its discretion. (Standard Digital).
ICC refers Sudan to UNSC over failure to arrest President Bashir: Today, 9 March 2015, the ICC issued a ruling finding Sudan failed to fulfill its international obligations and surrender President Omar al-Bashir to the Court. The ICC further referred the matter back to the U.N. Security Council “to take the necessary measures they deem appropriate.” Despite the issuance of two arrest warrants against Bashir for genocide and war crimes, the President has traveled freely around Africa and not arrested by ICC member states. (Daily Star).
Amnesty calls for investigation of torture in Mexico: (Amnesty International). Today, 9 March 2015, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Punishment Juan E. Méndez presented a report to the Human Rights Council concerning the widespread torture by Mexico’s police and security forces. The report outlines how the government of Mexico has failed to investigate complaints from tortured victims and how government doctors disregard signs of torture in medical forensic reports. Amnesty International is calling for Mexico’s government to address these allegations of torture through “prompt, impartial and thorough” investigations.”
Palestine to file case at ICC against Israel on 1 April: An executive committee member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation reported that Palestine will file a complaint against Israel for alleged war crimes at the ICC. The crimes were committed during last year’s war in Gaza in which some 2,200 Palestinians killed, most of them civilians. Palestine’s motion to join the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the ICC, becomes effective 1 April 2015, thus giving the Court jurisdiction over crimes in Palestine. (Al Arabiya).
Bensouda assures witness protection for all witnesses in Ongwen trial: During a visit to the Barlonyo Memorial Site in northern Uganda, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the Court will guarantee protection of all witnesses in the case against Dominic Ongwen. Bensouda also urged victims to reach out to the Office of the Public Council for Victims at the ICC and consider testifying against Ongwen, the commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army. Ongwen’s trial was supposedly set to begin 24 August 2015 but Bensouda has asked for an extension in order to conduct additional investigations. (Star Africa).
ICC AC’s judgment on Lubanga reparations addresses scope and measures for victims: On 3 March 2015, the ICC Appeals Chamber amended the judgment on reparations for victims in the case against Thomas Lubanga. Specifically, the appeals judges found that reparation measures should include integrating former child soldiers back into the community and that the trial court erred in finding Lubanga should not be liable for reparations because he was indigent. The appeals judges also found that “the trial chamber erred in holding that reparations award should be formulated and implemented to include victims of sexual and gender-based violence.” The appeals judges found that “that sexual and gender and gender-based violence cannot be defined as harm resulting from the crimes for which Mr. Lubanga was convicted.” Lubanga, the leader of the rebel group Congolese Patriotic Union, was sentenced in 2012 to 14 years in prison for war crimes. (Voice of America).
Mladic defence witness disputes date of meeting over Srebreica: A defence witness in the ICC case against Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic has disputed the date of a meeting of senior officials in Srebrenica. Miodrag Dragutinovic, the assistant to the chief of staff of the Zvornik Brigade at the time, testified that the meeting occurred 11 July 1995, one day after the fall of Srebrenica, and in contradiction with the prosecutions argument that the meeting occurred 12 July 1995. The meeting in question concerned “previous combat activities and future tasks” one of which was that “units were deployed in the Zepa sector to engage the Zepa brigade and neutralise its members.” In the days following the fall of Srebrenica, Bosnian Serb forces killed more than 7,000 Bosniak men and boys. (IWPR).
UN advises Sri Lanka to address mistrust on prospects of accountability: On Tuesday, 3 March 2015, the U.N. urged Sri Lanka’s new government to hold accountable those responsible for committing serious violations of international law during the country’s 26-year civil war. Additionally, the U.N. advised Sri Lanka to address mistrust among the Tamil population about whether the new government will achieve accountability and post-war reconciliation. The new government of President Maithripala Sirisena, which took power earlier this year, has promised to investigate alleged abuses and establish an independent judicial mechanism for investigations. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (Reuters, ABC).
African Commission issues decision against Sudan on arbitrary detention and torture: The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights issued a decision finding Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service arbitrarily detained and tortured three human rights defenders in November 2008. The African Commission also held that Sudan failed to investigate or redress the harms suffered by the three human rights defenders. Osman Hummaida, Amir Suliman and Monim El Jak were detained and tortured for a period of time in Sudan for allegedly supporting the ICC’s investigation into crimes committed in Darfur. (All Africa).
N Korea FM dismisses UN report on crimes against humanity: At the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday, 3 March 2015, North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong dismissed a recent U.N. report concluding the country committed crimes against humanity, including mass starvation. The Foreign Minister said the U.N. report was based on lies and called for its immediate revocation. The Foreign Minister also criticized the United States pursuit of human rights issues in other countries and claimed it was a “stereotyped method . . . to smear the countries disobedient to it.” (ABC).
ICC Appeals Chamber issues judgment amending the TC’s order for reparations: The ICC Appeal Chamber’s judgment on 3 March 2015 amended the Trial Chamber’s judgment on reparations in the case against the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Thomas Lubanga Dyilo. Lubanga Dyilo was found guilty of war crimes in March of 2012. The original Trial Chamber judgment from 7 August 2012 ordered collective reparations to be made through the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV). The Appeals chamber confirmed many parts of the Trial Chamber’s judgment including the reintegration of former child soldiers and affirmed reparations on a collective basis rather than an individual basis. The Appeals Chamber only amended the reparations to include an instruction to the TFV that it consult the victims that had individual requests of the collective nature of the reparations. (International Criminal Court)
Two further Khmer Rouge suspects charged in absentia by ECCC International Co-Investigating Judge: Two more former leaders of the Khmer Rouge, Im Chaem and Meas Muth, have been charged with crimes against humanity. Meas Muth has also been charged with war crimes. Both were charged in absentia by the International Co-Investigating Judge, Mark Harmon. Im Chaem has been charged for crimes committed at the Phnom Trayoung security centre and Spean Sreng worksite. So far, the ECCC has convicted three people, handing down life sentences to two. (Naharnet, The Phnom Penh Post, Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia) (for additional information please click here and here)
ICC Appeals Chamber confirms decision to replace Banda summons with an arrest warrant: On 3 March 2015, the ICC Appeals Chamber affirmed the decision to replace a summons with an arrest warrant for Sudanese rebel Abdallah Banda. Banda is charged with three counts of war crimes in Darfur and Sudan. The Trial Chamber originally issued the arrest warrant for Banda in September of 2014 requesting Sudan’s cooperation in the case. (Hirondelle News Agency)
ICTY Prosecution asks for continuance of Hadzic trial in face of his illness: The ICTY’s Prosecutor’s Office has filed a motion for a continuance of Goran Hadzic’s trial even though he might not be able to attend because of his illness. Hadzic was diagnosed with cancer last year, causing his trial to be suspended. Hazdic was charged with crimes against humanity during his former presidency of the Republic of Serbian Krajina in the 1991-1995 conflicts in Croatia. The Prosecutor’s Office stated in the motion that the Trial Chamber has the discretion to order the defense to further present evidence in the case, without the defendant’s presence. (InSerbia)
Sri Lanka requests delay on UN war crimes report: Sri Lankan officials have asked the UN for a delay in the releasing of the report investigating the atrocities of the war between the Tamil Tigers and government forces. A delay in the report’s release until August should give enough time for internal mechanisms to be established. UN officials said the timetable for the report’s release has not been changed as of it. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (BBC, Reuters)
UN Libya Mission concerned over deteriorating political, human rights situation: The UN has released a report lamenting the conditions in Libya. The report highlights the vulnerable situation of migrants in Libya as well as those behind bars with no foreseeable way to challenge their incarceration. There is hope that once the State institutions are strong enough, Libya will stabilize and the fact finding and reconciliation commission will be able to operate more effectively. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (UN, Jurist)
HRW Report details mass Sudan rapes last October: According to HRW, Sudanese army forces raped more than 200 women and girls in an organized attack on the north Darfur town of Tabit in October 2014. The UN and AU have been urged to take aggressive steps to stop any further abuses from occurring. HRW has also urged the ICC to further investigate Darfur and push for more involvement. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (HRW, Reuters)
ECOWAS Court highlights importance of regional human rights mechanism: The President of West Africa’s Community Court has called on the community and the ECOWAS Commission for the development of an instrument that will ensure the human rights of the 300 million citizens of West Africa. The new ECOWAS Court President has also called for more enforcement in regards to the court’s authority in order to strengthen its presence. (All Africa)
DNA test requested for murdered ICC witness: Deputy President William Ruto’s attorney, Karim Khan, requested a DNA test of Meshack Yebei. Yebei was a potential witness in the trial against President Ruto and was found dead in western Kenya in early January. President Ruto was charged with crimes against humanity during the post election violence in Kenya. Yebei’s family consented to the DNA test and stated that Yebei never mentioned he was an ICC witness. Prosecutors stated that they had not been planning to call Yebei as a witness during trial due to his implication of trying to corrupt witnesses. Khan stated in a letter to the head of Kenya’s Criminal Investigation Department that Yebei had been a key witness for trial. Yebei had even been referred to the ICC’s Victims and Witness Unit for protection. Prosecutors stated that any suggestion that they were involved in Yebei’s abduction and murder was “outrageous and utterly false.” (BBC News, AllAfrica) (for additional information please click here)
Government says it wants to try Ongwen in Uganda: The government of Uganda stated that it wanted to try Lord’s Resistance Army rebel commander Dominic Ongwen. Ongwen recently surrendered and is in U.S. custody in Central African Republic. Ongwen is also wanted by the ICC. Uganda State Minister for Regional Cooperation Asuman Kiyingi stated that they would rather try him in Uganda than in the ICC because they have the capacity. A decision regarding whether Uganda gets to try Ongwen will be reached after consultations with the African Union, Uganda, United States, and United Nations. (NY Times)
Libyan trial of Saif Gaddafi and Al-Senussi delayed again: The trial of Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi and 36 other senior officials, including former security chief Abdullah Senussi, has been postponed once again. On 11 January 2015, trial opened and was subsequently adjourned until 25 January. This case opened in 2012 and has seen many setbacks. Those that stand accused could face the death penalty for “genocide, killing of unarmed civilians, abuses of power, human rights abuses, employing mercenaries and encouraging rape as a weapon of war.” The ICC indicted both Gaddafi and Senussi. After proceedings on Libya’s admissibility challenge, the ICC ordered the surrender of Gaddafi to the ICC. Libya has failed to comply with this order. (Libya Herald)
US Senators condemn Palestinian decision to join the ICC: Senators Lindsey Graham, Robert Menendez, Chuck Schumer, and Mark Kirk threatened Palestine over their decision to join the ICC. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas applied to join the ICC following a rejection on Palestine’s proposal for statehood by the United Nations Security Council. On 1 January Palestine submitted an Article 12(3) declaration that gives the ICC jurisdiction since 13 June 2014. Palestine also submitted documents to accede to the Rome Statute on 7 January. Senators issued a warning to Palestine stating “that if the Palestinians initiate an ICC judicially authorized investigation, or actively support such an investigation, all economic assistance to the PA” would end. (Press TV, International Criminal Court) (for additional information please click here)
UN report on crimes in CAR finds evidence of CAH and WC, but no genocidal intent: A UN report released last Thursday concluded that the events that conspired in the Central African Republic by the Seleka coalition and the anti-balaka did amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes. The commission of inquiry of the United Nations Security Council did not find any genocidal intent, but considered the ethnic cleansing of the Muslim population as a crime against humanity. (Tamil Guardian)
UN report on S. Sudan killings finds evidence sufficient for further investigations and prosecution: The United Nations stated that offenders of the ethnic massacres in Bentiu and Bor last April could be prosecuted based on extensive investigations into the matter. Offenders included members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition. The investigation comprised of site visits by human researchers and 142 interviews. (Radio Tamazuj)