Archive for category UN Human Rights Council
Victims withdraw support for ICC case against Kenyatta: On 9 June 2013, it was announced that Ninety-three victims of Kenya’s post-election violence have formally withdrawn support for International Criminal Court (ICC) cases against President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto, three months before the trial is scheduled to begin. The ICC said the victims’ withdrawal would have “no consequence” on the case, as the main burden of proving the charges rests with the prosecutor.
Cambodia protests in anticipation of July elections: On 8 June 2013, it was reported that 28 lawmakers belonging to Cambodia’s two only opposition parties were told they were no longer valid members of parliament by a permanent parliamentary committee. The committee said it was taking the step as the parties had joined to form a new opposition organization ahead of July elections and were therefore not eligible to remain as MPs. The US State Department is deeply concerned about this action and supports a political process that includes the full participation of all political parties on a level playing field.
UN Envoy hopeful prior to DRC, M23 peace talks: On 8 June 2013, it was announced by the United Nations that the Special Envoy for Africa’s Great Lake’s region has urged the DRC and M23 to engage in earnest discussion to resolve all outstanding issues. The UN has called for the demobilization of all armed groups active in eastern DRC, and urge all parties to comply with all their obligations under international law.
UN Commissioner Pillay concerned by Egypt convictions of NGO workers: On 7 June 2013, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, expressed concern about the convictions of NGO workers in relation to the right of association. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday said in a statement that the conviction and sentencing of a number of local and foreign NGO employees is a sign of “an increasingly restrictive environment” for civil society in the country.
UN expert issues opinion on US drone policy; asks for clarity: On 7 June 2013, Special Rapporteur, Ben Emmerson, has called for more clarity on aspects of President Barack Obama’s speech last month on United States counter-terrorism policy, particularly on the use of drones. Emmerson states that after a close reading of the text of the speech and of the guidelines, some key questions remain obscure.
ICTY acquittal shocks war victims: Two former Serbian officials were acquitted today by the ICTY for crimes committed during the 1990s Bosnian War. ICTY judges found the prosecution failed to provide enough evidence to prove that Jovica Stanisic, head of Serbia’s secret police, and Franko Simatovic, head of special operations in the secret police, possessed the requisite intent for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Serbia applauded the ICTY for conducting fair trials and helping the country establish the truth. Nonetheless, the acquittals were met with disappointment from war victims who continue to wait for a conviction of a government official for atrocities that claimed the lives of more than 100,000.
(For additional information on this topic, please click here.)
Pillay considers referral to ICC best way to end Syrian conflict: On Wednesday, 29 May, the UN Human Rights Council held an urgent debate in Geneva to discuss the escalating conflict in Syria. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay insisted that referral to the ICC for adjudication is the most effective way to end the dispute. Pillay commended US Secretary of State John Kerry and officials from Russia and France for the recent proposal of a peace conference in Geneva that could foster discussions between the Syrian Government and rebels.
ICC Judge withdraws from Lubanga impartiality appeal: ICC President Judge Sang-Hyun Song has withdrawn from reviewing a claim by Thomas Lubanga that the judge is impartial. Judge Song is handling Lubanga’s appeal against his March 2012 conviction and sentence of 14 years in prison for recruiting child soldiers. Lubanga claims Judge Song’s alleged public support of Lubanga’s conviction at a November 2012 conference and the judge’s position on the board of the United Nations Children’s Fund Korea creates an appearance of bias. Judge Song denies that any of his statements at the conference specifically discussed the merits of the Lubanga case and also stated he is not directly involved with the running of UNICEF Korea. Judge Song currently remains on the bench handling Lubanga’s appeal. No ruling has been made on the impartiality claim.
Negative responses to AU’s allegation ICC targets Africa: Kenya’s former Prime Minister Raila Odinga openly criticized the AU’s recent resolution calling for the ICC trial of President Uhuru Kenyatta to be tried in and by Kenya. Odinga expressed disbelief that the countries of Africa could voluntarily avail themselves to the jurisdiction of the ICC and then claim the Court is singling the continent out based on race. African activists have also spoken out and described the AU resolution an attempt to “pervert the course of justice.” These individuals have questioned the AU’s motive for exempting President Kenyatta from ICC prosecution, yet, previously handing over other African leaders to the Court.
(For additional information on this topic, please click here.)
ICTY convicts six Bosnian Croats: Six accused on trial for forcibly displacing and murdering Muslims and other non-Croats during the Bosnian conflict in the early 1990s, were found guilty today for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The ICTY judges held the leaders engaged in a joint criminal enterprise in an effort to create a “Greater Croatia.” The tribunal handed down prison sentences ranging from 10 to 25 years, with former prime minister Jadranko Prlic receiving the longest. The five other convicted wartime leaders are former defence minister Bruno Stojic, former militia heads Slobodan Praljak and Milivoj Petkovic, former military policy commander Valentin Coric, and former head of prisoner facilities Berislav Pusic. All six are expected to appeal. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.)
Bensouda fires back at claims ICC targeting Africa because of race: ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda responded sharply to accusations the court’s investigations were discriminately targeting African states at a 28 May UN meeting in New York. Bensouda argued that the AU’s charges that the ICC choose cases on the basis of race wrongly shifted the focus of the ICC indictments and the protection of the Court from victims to the perpetrators. Bensouda said the AU’s stance insulted the thousands of African victims subject to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. She vowed the ICC would remain politically independent and impartial. The Prosecutor’s statements came one day after the AU adopted a resolution urging the ICC to refer back to Kenya the cases of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto. (For additional information on this topic, please 1. click here, and 2. click here).
Witness testifies Mladic “directly involved” in Srebrenica attacks: Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic’s trial continued at the ICTY with testimony from lieutenant colonel Mirko Trivic. Trivic claimed he met with Mladic in Srebrenica in July 1995, and that Mladic gave him orders to prepare for an offensive on the UN protected co-operative. A witness testified the previous week that he personally watched the murder of five Muslims and observed piles of bodies around Srebrenica that same month. Mladic is on trial for genocide, crimes against humanity, and taking international peacekeepers hostage.
UN Human Rights Council plans urgent debate on Syria: The Council’s three-week session opened on Monday with a recommendation that the Syrian government’s human rights violations be referred to the ICC for prosecution. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, voiced her concern for the safety of civilians, citing reports of aerial attacks in residential areas and the targeting of schools and hospitals. Present Syrian Ambassador Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui called these charges unfounded and challenged the Council to provide proof of such violations. Ambassador Hamoui claimed the focus on his country was the result of bias and impartiality to rebel troops. U.S., Turkey, and Qatar diplomats nonetheless persuaded the Council to hold a second urgent debate to focus on the Syria civil war. The debate is scheduled for today, 29 May 2013.
Death penalty for ICT criminals to be carried out by August: The execution of three war criminals in Bangladesh is expected by July or August of this year, according to Minister of Information Hasanul Haq Inu. Two top leaders and a former Jamaat activist were found guilty by the ICT for crimes committed during the 1971 Liberation War. The criminal appeals should conclude by June.
STL’s investigation of 2005 bombing to move quickly and carefully: On 14 May 14 2013, STL officials and the NGO Justice Without Frontiers met to discuss the on-going investigation into the 2005 bombing that killed 23 people, including former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. The STL vowed to move the investigation along quickly to help the victims. The NGO stated this would be done in a “careful” manner to avoid leaks of confidential information.
Post by: Anna Mumford
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.
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.
Nepal court blocks domestic truth commission: On 1 April 2013, it was announced that the Supreme Court of Nepal has suspended an attempt by the government to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate crimes that took place enduring the country’s 10-year civil war. Justice Sushila Karki issued the interim order after concerns that the new law could allow for amnesties for serious crimes became evident.
Former foreign minister of Egypt opposes joining ICC: On 1 April 2013, the former foreign minister of Egypt Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said that any move by Cairo to ratify the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court (ICC) will hurt the country’s interests. Last month the Egyptian justice minister Ahmed Mekki said that the government will soon join the ICC after figuring out a workaround to the issue of Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir who is wanted by the Hague-based court on ten counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide allegedly committed in Darfur.
Human rights watch demands due process for extradited Libyans: On 30 March 2013, Human Rights Watch released a statement which stated that Libya should ensure that two Libyans with ties to the previous government of Muammar Gaddafi who were extradited from Egypt on March 26, 2013, are treated humanely and granted their full due process rights. Libya should grant humanitarian and human rights organizations access to them to monitor their detention conditions and treatment and respect for their basic rights as detainees – including giving them access to a lawyer and promptly taking them before a judge. Many Libyans who worked officially or unofficially for the previous government fled Libya in mid-2011 after Gaddafi fell, most of them to Egypt and Tunisia.
Kiobel decision expected soon: On 1 April 2013, it was reported that the United States Supreme Court is poised to issue a ruling in the case of Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum. The stakes are enormous – the case will determine whether victims of human rights abuses on foreign soil, who often lack any other viable legal remedy, can bring suit against corporations in US courts. According to the plaintiffs, Royal Dutch Petroleum, parent company of Shell, was complicit with the brutal Nigerian dictatorship in “a widespread and systematic campaign of torture, extrajudicial executions, prolonged arbitrary detention, and indiscriminate killings constituting crimes against humanity to violently suppress this movement”. The Kiobel case is the first time the issue of corporate liability under the ATS has reached the Supreme Court.
UN HR experts ask for an end to Bangladesh violence: On 29 March 2013, a group of United Nations independent human rights experts called for an immediate stop to violence in Bangladesh and a return to peaceful demonstrations following reported large-scale protests since early February. The demonstrations are largely linked to the decisions of the Bangladeshi International Crimes Tribunal, which was established in 2010 to try people accused of committing atrocities, including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, in the South Asian nation, including during the country’s 1971 independence war. Clashes in recent weeks between security forces and activists have reportedly killed at least 88 people and injured hundreds of others. Clashes in recent weeks between security forces and activists have reportedly killed at least 88 people and injured hundreds of others.
New Deputy High Commissioner for HR: On 15 March 2013, it was announced that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Flavia Pansieri of Italy as the new Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights. Ms. Pansieri will replace Kyung-wha Kang of the Republic of Korea. Most recently, Ms. Pansieri served as the Executive Coordinator of the UN Volunteers (UNV) Programme. She brings to her new position nearly 30 years of experience with the UN around the world, including in Yemen, China, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos and New York.
Posted by kchin2014 in African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, AU, Crimes against Humanity, ECCC, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gender crimes, Genocide, Human Rights Treaties and Charters, Human Rights Violations, ICC, Investigations, Kenya, News about the Courts, Post-Election Violence, Responsibility to Protect, Rome Statute, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Syria, Torture, Truth Commissions, UN General Assembly, UN Human Rights Council, UN Security Council, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on March 26, 2013
UN to investigate growing North Korean prison camps: On 26 March 2013, South Korean legislator Ha Tae-kyoung announced that he learned from an official at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights that the UN is planning to launch an investigation into the growing number of North Korean prison camps. The investigation will employ satellite imaging technology provided by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research’s Satellite Applications Program (UNOSAT), along with witness testimony.
US official warns of US-led war crimes inquiry into Sri Lanka: On 25 March 2013, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake indicated that, if the Sri Lankan government continues to shirk its responsibility to lead an “independent and credible” inquiry into the allegations of war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan military against ethnic Tamil civilians, the United States may launch its own investigation.
Congolese warlord Ntaganda appears before ICC: On 26 March 2013, seven years after the court issued a warrant for his arrest, Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda appeared in before the International Criminal Court (ICC) to confirm his identity. Ntaganda, who faces allegations of recruiting child soldiers, murder, rape, ethnic persecution, and sexual slavery, surprised the world when he surrendered himself at the United States embassy in Rwanda last week. Many analysts suspect that Ntaganda’s surrender was precipitated by political changes that caused him to fear for his personal safety.
Experts declare former Khmer Rouge deputy fit for trial: On 25 March 2013, medical experts testified that, upon conducting physical and mental evaluations, 81-year-old Nuon Chea is fit to stand trial before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). Nuon Chea, known as “Brother Number Two,” was Pol Pot’s second-in-command during the bloody rule of the Khmer Rouge and the most senior Khmer Rouge official to stand trial before the court.
Zimbabwean government found guilty of torture: On 25 March 2013, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights notified the government of Zimbabwe that it has 90 days to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for the 2003 torture of human rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba. The decision, finding the Zimbabwean government criminally liable, was made in May 2012 and approved by the Executive Council of the African Union in January 2013. In its decision, the African Commission said that Shumba had submitted “more than adequate evidence” to support his allegation of torture and ill-treatment, including being subjected to prolonged electric shocks in the mouth, genitals, fingers, toes and other parts of the body. The Commission said Zimbabwe failed to open an official investigation, ordering it to do so within 90 days and bring those responsible to justice.
Mr. Paul Gicheru – lawyer for the witness who recanted his testimony against Kenya’s Deputy President-Elect William Ruto- rejected a request to meet with ICC officials in Nairobi last week. Gicheru said he declined the meeting because he did not have his client’s permission to hold the meeting. “I have told them my client stands by his sworn affidavits and that there is no need for a meeting over this,” he said. Meanwhile, the witness claims to have received numerous calls requesting meetings with ICC officials, stating that his interactions have bordered on “harassment, intimidation and intruding into my private life.”
DRC’s Bosco Ntaganda surrenders to the ICC: On 18 March 2013, General Bosco Ntaganda of the DRC surrendered to the US embassy in Kigali, Rwanda. Ntaganda is now being transported to The Hague, where he faces ten counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the ICC. Ntaganda has fought for numerous rebel groups, including most recently the M23, as well as the Congolese Army. The ICC released a statement thanking the US, Rwanda, and the DRC for helping secure Ntaganda, but urged the state to renew efforts to secure the arrests of other ICC suspects. Ntaganda is the first ICC suspect to surrender himself voluntarily.(For more information, click here).
ICC judges allow revised charges against Kenyatta: On 21 March 2013, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber granted ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request to revise the charges against Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s president-elect, including new evidence. The revised charges are in response to criticism from ICC trial judges who said that the prosecution dropping charges against Kenyatta’s co-conspirator, Francis Muthaura, radically weakened the case against Kenyatta. Kenyatta is charged with crimes against humanity for allegedly purchasing weapons used to kill and wound members of a rival tribe during the 2007-2008 post-election violence. In response to the charges against Kenyatta being revised, Kenyatta’s attorneys stated that they had lost faith in the ICC’s decision-making processes.
UN launches inquiry into human rights abuses in North Korea: On 21 March 2013, the UN Human Rights Council unanimously adopted a resolution condemning North Korea for alleged human rights violations including torture, food deprivation, and labor camps that may amount to crimes against humanity. The resolution also establishes a yearlong inquiry into North Korean practices led by Maruki Daruzman UN special rapporteur on North Korea. North Korean ambassador So Se Pyong rejected the resolution and denied the existence of any human rights violations in North Korea.
UN urges Sri Lanka to investigate war crimes: On 21 March 2013, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution urging Sri Lanka to investigate killings and disappearances during its 30-year civil war, especially 2009. The report further expressed concerns that killings, torture, restrictions on freedom of expression and speech are continuing in Sri Lanka. A UN panel discussing the resolution stated that there is evidence that both the Sri Lankan troops and the Tamil Tigers rebel group committed atrocities and war crimes, but stated that the government is responsible for most of the deaths. While the resolution is not binding, it may pressure the Sri Lankan government to prosecute crimes committed by the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels.
UN Begins Inquiry into North Korean Torture, Labor Camps: The United Nations began an investigation into what it identified as “widespread and systematic human rights violations” in North Korea today, in part to determine whether these violations amount to crimes against humanity. The resolution condemning alleged torture, deprivation of food, and labor camps was unanimously passed and establishes a year-long commission of inquiry. During the debate on the resolution in the Human Rights Council, North Korean Ambassador So Se Pyong protested the resolution as “an instrument that serves the political purposes of the hostile forces in their attempt to discredit the image of the DPRK.”
UN Urges Sri Lanka to Conduct War Crimes Investigation: The United Nations pressed Sri Lanka to engage in credible investigations into alleged atrocities committed during the country’s decades-long civil war, including killings and disappearances, through a resolution issued today. The UN also expressed concerns that such atrocities continue to occur, including reprisals against journalists and activists in the country. While this resolution is not binding, it serves the purpose of increasing pressure on the Sri Lankan government to investigate and prosecute these crimes. The forum (consisting of 47 members) adopted the resolution with 25 countries in favor (including India) and 13 opposed (including Pakistan). During the debates that preceded the resolution, Sri Lankan presidential envoy Mahinda Samarasinghe rejected the resolution as “highly intrusive” and urged states to vote against the resolution. “Why this preoccupation with Sri Lanka?” asked Samarasignhe. “Why this \inordinate and disproportionate level of interest in a country that has successfully ended a 30-year conflict against terrorism and demonstrated so much progress in a relatively short space of time?” The UN panel said it had “credible allegations” that troops and the Tamil Tigers committed atrocities and war crimes during the conflict; however, the panel placed the responsibility for the deaths largely with the government.
Kenyatta Case will Continue: On Wednesday, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that the ICC will not drop charges against Uhuru Kenyatta, president-elect of Kenya. Attorneys for Kenyatta had urged the ICC to dismiss the case Monday after charges against former Kenyan Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura were dropped. “Kenya is the most challenging situation our office has had to deal with,” said Bensouda, citing the government’s lack of cooperation and intimidation of the prosecution’s witnesses as complicating factors. Kenyatta is charged with crimes against humanity over his alleged involvement in the violence that followed elections in Kenya five years ago.
Posted by kchin2014 in Crimes against Humanity, ECCC, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gender crimes, Genocide, Human Rights Treaties and Charters, Human Rights Violations, ICC, Investigations, Kenya, News about the Courts, Post-Election Violence, Responsibility to Protect, Rome Statute, Sri Lanka, Syria, Torture, Truth Commissions, UN General Assembly, UN Human Rights Council, UN Security Council, Uncategorized, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on March 14, 2013
Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary dies at 87: On 14 March 2013, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) confirmed that Ieng Sary, who was charged with crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes, has died. Sary was the brother-in-law of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, and had served as foreign minister and deputy prime minister. During its brief reign from 1975 to 1979, the Khmer Rouge killed over 2,000,000 people. Lars Olsen, spokesperson for the court, stated that ”[w]e understand that many people are disappointed that we cannot complete the proceedings against Ieng Sary and determine his guilt ori nnocence on the charges against him, but Case Two is not over, and the charges against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan will be pursued.”
Amnesty International calls for ICC action in Syria: On 14 March 2013, Amnesty International Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Ann Harrison called upon the UN Security Council to refer war crimes cases, against both government and rebel forces, to the International Criminal Court (ICC). According to the group’s latest study, there is evidence of the use of “internationally banned weapons,” child soldiers, torture, extrajudicial killings, and the targeting of civilians. The ICC cannot act without a referral by the Security Council.
ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda requests charges against Francis Muthaura dropped: On 11 March 2013, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda requested that the charges against Francis Muthaura for inciting the post-election violence of 2007 in Kenya, be dropped. Bensouda stated that the charges could not be sustained because the Kenyan government has failed to produce necessary documents, because most of the witnesses had died, and because the remaining key witnesses had been bribed. Although the court has yet to approve the request, it is expected to do so in the coming days.
US Congressman Eliot Engel calls for independent investigation in Sri Lanka: On 14 March 2013, US Congressman Eliot Engel of New York submitted a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, stating that the United States should “join the call for an independent international investigation” into the Sri Lankan government’s post-war actions. Engel’s letter, which cites numerous flaws with the current investigative mechanism, the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), echoes growing international sentiment that the Sri Lankan government has not made a good faith effort to investigate documented human rights abuses.