Archive for category UN Human Rights Council

24 February 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Mrs. Gbagbo appears before national trial and denies wrongdoing: Simone Gbagbo presented evidence for the first time in her trial in Abidjan. Mrs. Gbagbo denies all wrongdoing in her alleged role in inciting post election violence in 2010. In December 2014, the ICC denied the Ivory Coast’s admissibility application to try Mrs. Gbagbo nationally and ordered the Ivory Coast to surrender her to the Hague. By starting Mrs. Gbagbo’s trial, the Ivory Coast is proceeding in violation of the ICC’s decision. Mrs. Gbagbo’s husband, former President Laurent Gbagbo, is currently being tried at the ICC. (BBC, France24, ICC-CPI) (for additional information please click here and here)

ICC Prosecution to call final witness in Ruto / Sang case on 23 March: The 30th and last witness in the case against former Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang will testify on 23 March 2015. The ICC Public Affairs Unit stated that witness P0727 has been unwilling to testify and has put conditions upon testifying. The witness did not appear to testify on 2 February 2015, but will now testify by video from a secret location on 23 March. (CaptialFM)

At-large former lawmaker sentenced to life imprisonment by ICT Bangladesh: The International Criminal Tribunal of Bangladesh sentenced former lawmaker, Abdul Jabbar, to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity. The crimes against humanity were committed during the 1971independence war against Pakistan and include counts of genocide and religious persecution of the country’s Hindi minority. The court stated that Jabbar would get some leniency in mere imprisonment due to old age. Jabbar is still at-large and is thought to be in the United States. (The Economic Times, The Sun Daily) (for additional information please click here)

UNAMI and OHCHR report says HR violations in Iraq increasingly sectarian: A report produced by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights highlights the increase of human rights violations in Iraq. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have intentionally targeted members of Iraq’s different ethnic communities. The report covers a three month period from11 September to 10 December 2014. The report claims that many of the acts committed could constitute as war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide. (United Nations)

US federal court orders 218 million USD award against Palestinian Authority: A United States jury found in favor of ten American families for six attacks credited to the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Hamas over a decade ago. The Manhattan based court ordered the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority to pay 218 million USD. The United States Anti-Terrorist Act allows citizens harmed by terrorist acts to sue for damages in federal courts. Both groups stated that they would appeal the ruling. The Palestinian Authority signed the Rome Statute and submitted an Article 12(3) declaration in January 2015 in order to accept the ICC jurisdiction. (France24)

Amnesty highlights evidence of war crimes for Egyptian airstrikes in Libya: Amnesty International stated that violence in Libya is escalating and that civilians are feeling the impact of the attack. Amnesty claims that the Egyptian Air Force did not take the necessary precautions in their air strike over Libya to prevent civilian deaths. Amnesty has many eyewitness accounts that highlight the damage done over civilian populated areas in Libya. (Amnesty International)

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23 February 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria ready to publish names of alleged perpetrators: Investigators on the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Syria are prepared to release four lists documenting the names of individuals and groups allegedly guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity since conflict erupted in Syria in March 2011.  The lists have been safeguarded at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva and allegedly include names of several senior commanders and armed group leaders.  Commission investigators said “Not to publish the names at this juncture of the investigation would be to reinforce the impunity that the commission was mandated to combat.” (The Telegraph).

Sri Lanka Parliament passes witness protection law ahead of war crimes investigations: The new Sri Lankan government has passed a witness protection law to assist with national investigations into war crimes allegedly committed during the end of the country’s 26-year civil war. The law requires the government to establish safe houses to allow people to give evidence and participate in the national investigations. The Sri Lankan government has received pressure from the international community to fully investigate and prosecute crimes. The U.N. Human Rights Council recently delayed the release of a report investigating war crimes in Sri Lanka. (First Post).

Body of ICC witness possibly found: It is being reported that a body found in Tsavo National Park in Kenya may be that of a missing defence witness in the ICC case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto.  ICC defence witness Meshack Yebei went missing on 28 December 2014 after leaving ICC protection.  Final identification of the body by family and DNA samples is ongoing.  (All Africa).

ICTY accused Hadzic asks for leave for medical treatment: Former president of the Republic of Serbian Krajina, Goran Hadzic, has requested provisional release from the ICTY in order to undergo chemotherapy for cancer. Hadzic’s defence argued the accused will be unable to attend the trial for months as it would negatively affect his health during chemotherapy. The former president is on trial for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the 1991-1995 conflict in Croatia. (InSerbia).

HR Advocacy groups lobby CAR Government to establish Special Court: Human rights advocacy groups are urging the Central African Republic’s government to adopt a law establishing a Special Criminal Court to prosecute those responsible for serious violations of international and human rights law. The Special Criminal Court would be part of the country’s national judicial system and consist of 14 national and 13 international judges.  The human rights advocacy groups believe such a court will “strengthen” the country’s judicial system and “constitutes a balanced and innovative initiative to support the Central African judicial system, which is ravaged by the conflict triggered in 2012 by the armed groups in the northern part of the country.”  (Jurist).

Ongwen discloses meeting with Kony in December 2014:  A report by the Switzerland-based group Smalls Arms Survey states that Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Dominic Ongwen admitted meeting with LRA leader Joseph Kony near Darfur in December 2014. Ongwen first appeared before the ICC on 26 January 2015, after surrending to U.S. troops in the Central African Republic.  Ongwen faces seven counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes charges. (Sudan Tribune).

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20 February 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Government to address Sri Lankan Parliament about UN HR Council report: The Sri Lanka government will make a statement to parliament on 20 February 2015 regarding the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) report and the government’s request to postpone its release. The UNHRC report concerns alleged war crimes committed in Sri Lanka. Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala De Silva requested that the government reveal its stance on the issue, the steps it would take, and to present parliament with the letter sent to the UN Human Rights Chief. Chief Government Whip Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka replied to the request stating that the government would present a response later on 20 February. (News.LK)

Ngudjolo Chui judgment on appeal of acquittal rescheduled to 27 Feb: The judgment on appeal of the acquittal for Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui has been rescheduled by the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court to next Friday, 27 February 2015. Chui was acquitted back in 2012 for three counts of crimes against humanity and seven counts of war crimes. These allegations stemmed from an attack on the village of Bogoro in the DRC. The Office of the Prosecutor appealed the verdict on 20 December 2012 and Chui was released from custody the following day. (International Criminal Court)

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17 February 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN HR Council grants 6 mo delay to release of Sri Lanka war crimes report: The United Nations Human Rights Council granted the Sri Lankan government a six month delay in releasing its report on alleged war crimes. The report, led by former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, was due next month, but UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein stated that he recommended a deferral until September. A Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry official stated that the delay would help the “new government’s move to establish democratic process for accountability issues.” These war crimes stem from the previous government who stands accused of human rights violations during the final stages of the civil war in May of 2009. The United Nations Human Rights Council began their own investigation in March after stating that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had failed to properly conduct his own investigation. Once released, the United Nations report would be the basis of which the HR Council would recommend to hold those accountable for crimes, including a referral to the International Criminal Court. (Reuters, New York Times, Aljazeera) (for additional information please click here and here)

Extraordinary African Chambers finds enough evidence against Habre to proceed to trial: The Extraordinary African Chambers found enough evidence against Hissene Habre for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture to go forward with trial. This evidence comes from witness and victim interviews, documents from Habre’s secret police, and a visit to mass graves during a 19-month pretrial investigation conducted mainly in Chad. These allegations stem from Habre’s eight-year rule in Chad, though he was overthrown over 20 years ago. Habre lived in exile in Senegal until he was detained in 2013. The trial is expected to begin in May or June and will have two Senegalese judges and a lead judge from another African Union member state. (Defence Web)

HRW calls Libyan beheadings a war crime: Human Rights Watch stated that the killing of 21 people by a Libyan extremist group constituted as a war crime. A video was published on 15 February 2015 that showed the 21 men beheaded on a beach thought to be in western Libya. HRW called for Libyan officials to hold those accountable for the acts and for the United Nations to establish a mechanism to investigate and prosecute the crimes. The Libyan extremist group has pledged its loyalty to ISIS, another extremist group. (Human Rights Watch)

Kurdish Gov investigating atrocities committed against ISIS: Images posted on Twitter of beheaded ISIS militants have been confirmed as legitimate by the Kurdish government. These tactics committed against ISIS fighters mirrors the extremist group’s own tactics. The beheadings occurred on 30 January 2015 during a battle to drive ISIS out of the city of Kirkuk. The Kurdish government is investigating the atrocities committed. Kurdish Regional government spokesperson Safeen Dizayi stated that there is no justification for treating dead corpses in this manner. (CTV News)

Official says N Korea not guilty of any crime while asking for HR conference to be cancelled: The United Nations General Assembly urged the UN Security Council to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity back in December. North Korea’s UN ambassador, Jang Il Hun, stated on Monday that the threat of referral was not worrisome since they are not guilty of the alleged crimes. Hun also stated that he asked the United States to cancel a conference to be held at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies concerning human rights in North Korea. Hun sent a formal request to his counterpart in the State Department, but the request was denied, as it was not a U.S. government event. (Euronews)

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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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5 February 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Chui Acquittal Appeal Decision Expected 24 February: Former leader of National Integrationist Front, Mathieu Ngudjolo, was originally charged with various counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes on 18 December 2012.  On 21 December 2012, Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui was released from custody. On 20 December 2012, the Office of the Prosecutor appealed the verdict. The Appeals Chamber of the ICC will deliver its verdict in regards to the appeal on the 24 February 2015. (ICC).

Libya Parliament Cancels Political Isolation Law: Libyan parliament members passed a law in 2013 blacking Gaddafi-era officials from taking part in politics.  However, this law was passed amid extraneous pressures being applied to law makers in Tripoli by armed groups.  The parliament has effectively revoked the law but concerns over whether the Tobruk-based legislature will accept its revocation remain at the forefront.  (BBC).

UN Urges Kosovo to Establish Special Court for War Crimes: Secretary General Ban Ki-moon lauded the work of the United Nations Interim Administrative Mission in Kosovo, but remains persistent in his desire establish a special court to try cases arising from the findings of the European Union Special Investigative Task Force.  (b92).

UN Human Rights Council Names New Head of Gaza Inquiry: The United Nations Human Rights Council has formed an inquiry to investigate the possible occurrence of war crimes which took place during the summer’s Gaza conflict. The former chairman, William Schabas, resigned among accusations of bias.  He has been replaced with Mary McGowan Davis, a former justice of the New York Supreme Court. (NYTimes).

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8 December 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Following withdrawal of Kenyatta charges, Amnesty calls for justice for victims: President Kenyatta’s charges for crimes against humanity were dropped last week and Amnesty International now demands justice for the victims. Amnesty’s regional director for East Africa, the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region, Muthoni Wanyeki, stated that the ICC and the Kenyan government are failing the victims. Mitchelle Kagiri, Amnesty’s deputy regional director for East Africa, stated that the ICC should reopen investigations to find areas that were missed. (World Bulletin)

Israel initiates investigations into crimes in Gaza: The Israeli military has initiated investigations into crimes that occurred during the war between Israeli and Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip this past summer. The war lasted for fifty days and ended on August 23rd. The Israeli military already faced accusations of war crimes from Amnesty International and an inquiry from the United Nations Human Rights Council. (The New York Times)

ICT Bangladesh to amend tribunal’s founding act to include prosecution of an organisation: The International Criminal Tribunal Act of 1973 did not contain a provision for trying organisations in the court. The government is now trying to amend the Act in order to bring organisations like Jamaat-e-Islami before the court. The government wants to try Jamaat-e-Islami for crimes against humanity during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971. The proposed amendment will be given to the cabinet this December or in January. (Dhaka Tribune)

Interpol issues red notices for Muslim Brotherhood leaders: Interpol issued over forty arrest warrants for Muslim Brotherhood leaders this past week. This included Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, head of the Doha-based International Union of Muslim Scholars. An Egyptian security official stated that those on the warrant list are wanted for different terror-related crimes. He also stated that Egyptian authorities helped persuade Interpol that these members of the Muslim Brotherhood were fugitives and terrorists. (Albawaba News)

UNSC to evaluate N. Korea HR record: The United Nations Security Council will meet later this month due to ten of the fifteen members requesting to discuss North Korea’s rights record in a letter to Chadian Ambassador Cherif Mahamat Zene, whose country currently holds the council’s presidency. The meeting concerns referring Pyongyang to the ICC for crimes against humanity. UN diplomats stated that it was likely that China would block the move to refer North Korea to the ICC with its veto power. (China Post)

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