Archive for category Torture
TRJC Report names Kenyatta and Ruto: On 22 May 2013, the Kenyan Truth Reconciliation and Justice Commission released publically its Report which investigated Kenya’s post-election violence of 2007-2008 and made recommendations. The report named President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto in connection with the PEV but did not make recommendations on investigation and prosecution due to the fact that both face trial before the ICC. The report recommended that further investigations and prosecutions by the Kenyan authorities should be initiated against certain “high-profil personalities” within the Kenyan Government; naming newly appointed Minister of Mining Najib Balala and two senators for investigation. The Report asked President Kenyatta to issue a public apology for all human rights violations suffered by Kenyans since the country’s independence.
ICT of Bangladesh rejects Kaiser’s bail application: On Wednesday 22 May 2013, the ICT of Bangladesh rejected an application for bail made by Jatiya Party leader and former Minister of agriculture, Syed Mohammad Kaiser. Justice Obaidul Hassan, Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice M Shahinur Islam explained that bail was not granted in order to ensure a fair investigation into the Prosecution’s case. The defence’s bail application stated that Kaiser is in poor health and needed access to proper medical treatment, while the Prosecution countered that Kaiser’s influence in the community would affect the Prosecution’s investigation. The Court ordered the case to move forward and ordered the Prosecution to file a progress report by 17 June 2013.
Argentina charges former Ford Motors executives with CAH: On Tuesday 21 May 2013, Argentinian prosecutors charged three former executives of Ford Motors in Argentina with crimes against humanity relating to the kidnapping and torture of union workers following the 1976 military coup. Pedro Muller, Guillermo Galarraga and Hector Francisco Jesus Sibilla, the former factory director, human resources chief and security manager respectively, are accused with disclosing names, pictures, and home addresses to security forces who used this information to detain, torture and interrogate union workers at Ford Motors. All three accused were ordered to house arrest and bail was set at $142,000 each.
Ruto and Sang appear in ICC status conference: On Tuesday 14 May 2013, ICC accused William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang appeared before the ICC Trial Chamber during a status conference to discuss the commencement of trial, appearance during trial and witness issues. William Ruto asked judges to waive his right of appearance and allow the Deputy President to appear once during the most important hearings. Making a short statement to the Court, Ruto emphasized his commitment to cooperate with the Court while stating “I am aware that my responsibility to the court as an individual must be balanced by my constitutional responsibility as Deputy President.” During the same status conference, Sang objected to an application by the Prosecution to recall two witnesses and add three new witnesses to the witness list. Sang also responded to the Prosecution’s proposal to limit the testimony of an investigator who is to be called before the Court to answer questions on issues concerning Prosecution witnesses. Both Ruto and Sang asked that the new trial date be set for November 2013 in order to allow the Defence to properly review Prosecution disclosure which the Defence says has been submitted late to the Defence. (For additional information on this topic, please click here).
Arrest of former Chadian police chief Djibrine welcomed: Campaigners and human rights groups in Chad have welcomed the arrest of the former head of the Directorate of Documentation and Security in Chad; former President Hissene Habre’s political police force during the 1980s. Djibrine is accused of the torture and killing of opposition activists in the 1980s, and was arrested based on a lawsuit filed by 13 Chadian individuals who suffered abuse under the leadership of Habre. It is unknown whether Djibrine will be tried domestically in Chad or in Senegal before the special tribunal created in conjunction with the African Union to try Habre.
ICC Prosecutor denies witness allegations and pressures Kenya’s cooperation: ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has denied allegations that witnesses have given the Court false information following the recent withdrawal of witness testimony by several witnesses who gave information against President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto. Bensouda stated that she is “not aware of any witness that has given false information to the ICC.” This week Bensouda also stated while in Geneva that the ICC maintains expectations that Kenya will cooperate with the prosecution on the cases. Bensouda stated “I have been very clear all the time about this matter. I have stated that what we want is the full and unwavering cooperation of the Kenyan Government. In the event that this doesn’t happen, we will have no option but to bring the matter to the attention of the Chamber for direction.” (For additional information on this topic, please click here).
HRW urges India to protect witness before ICT of Bangladesh: HRW has urged the Government of India to protect Bangladeshi national, Shukhoranjan Bali, who is said to be a key defence witness to the ICT of Bangladesh and was reported missing just before he was due to give testimony before the Tribunal. HRW alleged that Bali was abducted and forced to enter India where he was arrested for entering the country illegally. HRW stated “The apparent abduction of a witness in a trial at the ICT is a cause for serious concern about the conduct of the prosecution, judges and government.” Bali claims he was abducted while at the courthouse by police and held in the custody of the Bangladeshi authorities for several weeks before being forced to enter India. Bali has completed his 110 day sentence for entering India illegally but continues to be held in detention. HRW asked that Bali not be returned to Bangladesh before a possible claim for asylum can be heard by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Argentinian convicted of CAH dies in prison: It is reported that Argentina’s former military leader Jorge Rafael Videla has died of natural causes in an Argentinian prison. Videla, 87, was serving a life since 2010 for the crimes against humanity related to his responsibility for the death of 31 individuals during Argentinian’s military rule from 1976 to 1983. The period from 1976 to 1983 is known for the regime’s “dirty war” which resulted in the torture and killing of over 30,000 people. In 1985 Videla was sentence to life in prison for murder, torture and other crimes but was pardoned due to an amnesty in 1990. In 2010 Argentina’s Supreme Court reinstated his life sentence by upholding a 2007 federal initiate which overturned Videla’s pardon.
AKM Yusaf arrested in connection with war crimes: On 12 May 2013, it was announced the leader of Jamaat-e-Islami, was arrested in the capital Dhaka and charged with offences dating back to Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence with Pakistan. Jamaat opposed Bangladeshi independence from Pakistan in the war but denies accusations that some of its leaders committed murder, rape and torture during the conflict. (For additional information on this topic, please click here)
Sayedee Appeal: On 13 May 2013, it was announced the Bangladeshi Islamist politician, Delwar Hossain Sayedee, will have his appeal in front of The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on May 22 for the hearing of an appeal against the war crimes tribunal’s death sentence verdict. The International Crimes Tribunal found the 73-year-old Jamaat-e-Islami nayeb-e-ameer guilty of murder, abduction, confinement, torture, rape, persecution, torture, looting, forceful religious conversions and setting homes ablaze in rural areas of southern district Pirojpur during the 1971 Liberation War period.
Libyan trials seen as Nuremberg moment: On 8 May 2013, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda addressed the UN Security Council and said that the Libyan government has an opportunity to set an example for the rest of the world by conducting fair and transparent trials. Rumors of rebel crimes are still surfacing but Bensouda hopes that Libya’s actions when prosecuting alleged war criminals will endeavor to seal the primacy of the rule of law, due process and human rights for future generations
Tanzanian soldiers arrive in DRC: On 10 May 2013, it was reported that a contingent of Tanzanian soldiers arrived in the eastern city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today as part of the intervention brigade authorized by the United Nations to help neutralize armed groups in this volatile part of the country. In March the Security Council authorized the deployment of an intervention brigade within the existing UN peacekeeping operation in the country (MONUSCO) to carry out targeted offensive operations, with or without the Congolese national army, against armed groups that threaten peace in eastern DRC.
Guatemalan Tribunal finds first head of state guilty of genocide: On 10 May 2013, a three judge tribunal in Guatemala found the country’s former military leader Efrain Rios Montt guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity for his responsibility of ordering the killing of 1,771 Ixil Maya people in 1982 and 1983. Rios Montt was sentenced to 50 years for his conviction on genocide charges, and 30 years for the crimes against humanity charges. Though other international crimes tribunals have delivered convictions on the crime of genocide, Rios Montt is the first former head of state to be convicted of genocide. Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez, Rios Montt’s former military intelligence chief who was tried with Rios Montt, was acquitted of the charges against him. Rios Montt is said to have been in power during the most violence phase of Guatemala’s civil war which lasted from 1960 to 1996.
Second witness withdraws testimony against Ruto: It is reported that a second ICC witness has informed the ICC Prosecution of his unwillingness to testify for the Prosecution against Kenya Deputy President William Ruto. In an affidavit sent to the ICC, the witness explained that he was a PNU official who was “induced and enticed” to be a witness when the ICC promised to reward him for his testimony by relocated him to America, Australian or Europe and promising that his standard of living would improve.
Haiti’s Duvalier trial enters preliminary observations proceedings: On 9 May 2013, the President of the Haitian Court of Appeal, Judge Jean Joseph Lebrun, moved the trial against former Haitian leader Jean Claude Duvalier from complaint proceedings into the preliminary observations proceedings. Duvalier is being prosecuted for crimes against humanity and misappropriation of public funds. The trial has heard complaints from victims and family members of victims who were tortured and abused in detention under Duvalier’s regime. The preliminary observations phase is set to begin 16 May 2013.
Chad agrees to allow investigations in Chad for Habre trial: On 9 May 2013, Chad’s Justice Minister Jean-Bernard Badare signed an agreement with Senegal’s Justice Minister Aminate Toure which will allow investigations in Chad to be used in the prosecution of former Chadian leader Hissene Habre trial before the Extraordinary African Chambers in Senegal. The agreement guarantees that judges from the Extraordinary African Chambers are allowed to travel to Chad, speak with witnesses and conduct prison visits.
Posted by iclmediareview in Admissibility / Primacy, Crimes against Humanity, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gaddafi, Human Rights Violations, ICC, ICT of Bangladesh, Investigations, Kenya, News about the Courts, North Korea, Torture, UN Human Rights Council, UN Security Council, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on May 9, 2013
Bensouda addresses UNSC on Libya trials as Al-Senussi’s family pleads for access: On 8 May 2013, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda addressed the UN Security Council on Libya proceedings before the ICC. Bensouda referred to the current cases against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi as Libya’s “Nuremberg moment”; stating that “By conducting fair, just, and transparent judicial proceedings for all alleged perpetrators, while also continuing to respect the ICC judicial process, Libya can set a lasting example for other States.” Bensouda also told the Security Council that the ICC Prosecutor’s Office is conducting on-going investigation into other crimes in Libya and against other Gaddafi officials who are outside of Libya. Bensouda said that her office would decide whether to lodge a new case in the “near future.” Bensouda highlighted Libya’s close cooperation with the Prosecution by citing to a recent visit to the ICC by Libya’s new Prosecutor General and Libya’s ICC focal point, and noting that she will be travelling to Libya soon. Bensouda’s address was followed on 9 May 2013, by a statement from the family of Abdullah Al-Senussi which urged Libya to allow Al-Senussi access to his lawyers and family. The statement emphasised that Al-Senussi has not been granted any access to legal representation during his detention and likened his detention to “passive torture.” (For additional information on this topic, please 1. click here, and 2. click here).
Kenya’s UN representatives ask for ICC trials to be terminated: On 2 May 2013 Kenyan Permanent Representative to the UN Macharia Kamau wrote UNSC President Menan Kodjo a confidential letter which asked the UN Security Council to terminate the cases against Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto and Josua arap Sang. Kamau asked that his petition be presented to ICC Prosecutor Fatou Besounda during her visit to the UN Security Council this week. The letter is reported to say: “What this delegation is asking for is not deferral. What this delegation is asking for is the immediate termination of the case at the Hague without much further ado.” Kamau’s letter is followed by a statement to the UN General Assembly last month by Kenya’s deputy Permanent representative Koki Muli Grignon who questioned the Court’s performance. In response to the letter, lawyers for accused William Ruto distanced Ruto from the plea, saying that “I have spoken to my client, His Excellency the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya, Mr William Ruto, and I can confirm and he has made clear that he was not consulted on anything to do with New York. A letter being circulated is not government policy … His Excellency the Deputy President believes in the rule of law and he believes in Kenya observing its international obligations.” Bensouda dismissed the letter stating that: “The letter referred to by the Permanent Representative of Rwanda has not been transmitted to us. We therefore reserve our right to respond to it in detail in due course and we hope that will be given that opportunity once it has been transmitted to us.” (For additional information on this topic, please click here).
ICT of Bangladesh sentences Kamaruzzaman to death: On Thursday 9 May 2013, the ICT of Bangladesh handed down its fourth death sentence. In a packed courtroom in Dhaka, Muhammad Kamaruzzaman was convicted of five counts of mass killings, rape, torture and kidnapping and sentenced to death. Kamaruzzaman’s charges related to the death of at least 183 persons in Sherpur in northern Bangladesh during the 1971 independence war. As the fourth death sentence to be handed down since January, it is feared that today’s verdict will prompt another wave of violence in Bangladesh. Defence lawyer Ehsan Siddiky said that his client would pursue an appeal in what he claimed was a politically motivated trial. Kamaruzzaman will have one month to lodge his appeal.
Charges against Kenyatta amended: The ICC Prosecution has filed a new document containing charges (DCC) and pre-trial brief in the case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta which add charges of gun killings in Naivasha and Nakuru. In March 2013, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber granted the Prosecution the opportunity to amend the charges to include gunshot crimes. The charges now allege that the Mungiki and PNU youth were deployed to areas near Nakuru where guns, machetes, knives, broken bottles and petrol bombs were used to kill and mutilate victims.
UN HR Council names North Korea crimes probe team: The UN Human Rights Council has named a three member team to investigate alleged abuses in North Korea. Following a mandate set by the UN Human Rights Council during its March session, the Council named former Australian judge Michael Kirby, Serbian human rights campaigner Sonja Biserko and an Indonesian Marzuki Darusman who has been monitoring abuses in North Korea for the UN HR Council since 2010. The team has been mandated to investigate “systematic, widespread and grave violations” and ensure “full accountability, in particular for violations which may amount to crimes against humanity.”
Guatemalan CAH trial enters into closing arguments: The trial against José Efraín Ríos Montt and José Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez has entered its 26th session and proceeded to closing arguments after beginning in March and hearing the testimony of 90 Ixil Maya victims. The trial has heard testimony from victims who have recounted evidence of rape, assassination, torture, and infanticide relating to the charges. Since beginning proceedings, the trial has had several delays at the defence’s request.
Karadzic seeks subpoena for Mladic to testify in war crimes trial: On 18 April 2013, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic sought a subpoena to compel former Serbian Military Chief Ratko Mladic to serve as a defense witness at this upcoming ICTY. Karadzic argues that Mladic may be a key defense witness and can testify that Karadzic was not aware of the plans that lead to the Srebrenica massacre. Karadzic and Mladic, the alleged chief architects of the atrocities committed by Serbs during the Bosnian war, were originally indicted together, but not stand trial separately. Both men are charged with genocide and other war crimes.
HRW says Senussi has not seen a lawyer nor been told his charges: On 17 April 2013, HRW released a statement saying that Abdullah al-Senussi, Muammar Gaddafi’s intelligence chief, had not seen a lawyer nor been informed of his charges since being in Libyan jail. HRW interviewed Senussi on Wednesday; it was the first visit by an international human rights organization to Senussi’s Libyan jail cell. Senussi is suspected to have played a large role in atrocities committed by the Gaddafi regime; he is also wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity committed during the Libyan uprising in 2011. Libya, which plans to adopt a democratic constitution this year, hopes to try Senussi at home; human rights activists, however, worry that Senussi will not be able to receive a trial that meets international standards.
Kosovo ex-rebel retried for war crimes: On 18 April 2013, the retrial of Fatmir Limaj, a top ethnic Albanian rebel during the 1998-99 Kosovo War and a current politician, and nine associates began. Limaj plead not guilty to charges of torture and killing of Serbs and Albanians at a detention center in Kosovo. The retrial was triggered when the Supreme Court of Kosovo annulled a verdict of a lower court acquitting Limaj and the others. The lower court was annulled because they had wrongfully thrown out the evidence of a guard who worked at the Kosovo detention camp and had left a diary, but was found dead a month before Limaj’s trial was to begin. British judge Malcolm Simmons is the chair of the panel trying Limaj.
Ruto asks ICC to lift attendance requirement: On 18 April 2013, Kenyan Deputy-President William Ruto asked the ICC to lift its demand that requires Ruto to be present at The Hague whenever his trial was on. Ruto is charged by the ICC with crimes against humanity in relation to the 2007-2008 post-election violence in Kenya. Ruto’s attorney proposed that Ruto be in attendance at the opening, closing, judgment, and any hearing which his attendance is expressly requested; the defense further contended that Ruto will always be able to follow the trial via video link. The defense argued that the Rome Statute only states that an accused shall be entitled “to be present at the trial,” but does not state that attendance is mandatory; Congolese warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba was authorized by the ICC to be absent from his trial on two occasions. Ruto contends that his proposal would allow him to balance his Kenyan constitutional duties with his personal commitment to cooperate with the ICC.
Footage of Mladic shows him telling Muslims to “survive or perish”: On 19 April 2013, the trial of Ratko Mladic continued. Video footage of Mladic was shown where he told Muslim captives that they could “survive or perish.” Contrarily, the defense showed footage of Dutch General Thom Karemans telling Mladic that the Srebrenica Muslims had smuggled lots of weapons into their enclave. Mladic is charged by the ICTY for genocide, crimes against humanity, and taking international peacekeepers hostage between 1992-1995.
STL president confirms that Lebanon will support STL’s response to witness leak: On 18 April 2013, STL president David Baragwanath, finishing a four day tour of Lebanon, stated that he had received assurances that Lebanon would support the STL’s response to recent witness leaks fully. Last week hackers infiltrated a Lebanese newspaper’s website and posted names of STL witnesses on its frontpage. The STL is investigating the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri; four Hezbollah members have been indicted in the case, but have not been apprehended.
Rwanda and EALA ask for ICTR archive to be transferred to Rwanda: On 18 April 2013, the East African Legislative Assembly supported Rwanda in its effort for ICTR archives to be transferred to Rwanda. The EALA, which is meeting from 16-26 April, has focused on the legacy and implications of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. For one, the EALA passed a resolution asking the East African Countries summit to call on the UN to establish an International Trust Fund for Survivors of Genocide against the Tutsi.
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 ICTY, ICC, ECCC, Human Rights Treaties and Charters, Genocide, Crimes against Humanity, Sri Lanka, DRC, Rome Statute, Victims, War Crimes, Kenya, Torture, Rwanda, Other domestic courts, Investigations, Witnesses, immunity, News about the Courts, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Gender crimes, Post-Election Violence 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 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 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.”