Archive for category UN Human Rights Council

13 May 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Bensouda says ICC Prosecution considering investigation into ISIS crimes in Libya: On Tuesday, 12 May 2015, Fatou Bensouda told the U.N. Security Council that the ICC Prosecutor’s Office was considering opening investigations into crimes committed by Islamic State militants against civilians in Libya, noting the alleged crimes fall within the jurisdiction of the ICC. The Chief Prosecutor stated, however, that the primary responsibility to investigate and hold accountable those responsible for the alleged crimes rests with the individual states. Bensouda also addressed the ICC cases against Saif Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi. Bensouda said Libya remained in non-compliance with the ICC’s order to surrender Gaddafi to the Court and that the Prosecutor’s Office would continue to, and the Security Council is encourage to, put pressure on the country to comply with the request.  Regarding Al-Senussi, Bensouda stated that the Prosecutor’s Office reviewed evidence of the proceedings and concluded “it is not in possession of new facts that would fully satisfy it that the basis on which the case against Mr Al-Senussi had previously been found inadmissible before the ICC has been negated.” (For the transcript of Bensouda’s statement, please click here) (Reuters, Kasmir Watch).

US human rights record criticized at UNHRC review: Racial discrimination and police brutality in the U.S. were the main concerns voiced during the country’s second universal periodic review at the United Nations’ Human Rights Council on Monday, 11 May 2015.  Additionally, member states criticized the U.S. for its failure to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, the use of the death penalty, child labor, human trafficking and inadequate protection of migrant workers and indigenous peoples.  The member states also provided the U.S. with recommendations for improving its human rights record. (Aljazeera).

IACHR issues preliminary measures on violence against ethnic groups in Costa Rica: In accordance with a resolution by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Costa Rican government has until 15 May 2015 to adopt measures protecting the lives and personal integrity of the Bribri and Teribe ethnic groups.  The resolution also granted precautionary measures in favor of the Bribri community whose land has been illegally occupied by non-indigenous landowners and aims to safeguard the Teribe communit from ethnic violence. A University of Costa Rica law professor says the resolution and precautionary measures are an important first step in order to get the case before the IACHR.  (IPS News).

ICTY says incompetent to consider Seselj motion on disqualification and discipline of Brammertz: The ICTY Trial Chamber has found itself incompetent to consider Vojislav Seselj’s motion to disqualify and discipline ICTY Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz. The three member Trial Chamber also warned Seselj that any further remarks against the prosecutor that have already been investigated were an abuse of the proceedings. In April 2015, the former Serbian leader filed a complaint with the Trial Chamber accusing the chief prosecutor of obstruction of justice.  (InSerbia).

International Commission reports enough evidence to prosecute Assad and senior Syrian officials: The Commission for International Justice and Accountability reported that it has gathered enough evidence to prosecute Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and 24 senior officials in his regime for war crimes.  The Commission, who worked with 50 Syrian investigators that smuggled official documents out of the country during a three-year operation, says the evidence includes communications between senior officials ordering mass arrests and detentions. Prosecution cases have been prepared using the evidence collected in anticipation of the establishment of a war crimes tribunal in the future. (The Guardian).

ICTY Prosecutor begins mission to Sarajevo: ICTY Prosecutor Serge Brammertz is in Sarajevo this week, 12 to 14 May 2015, in preparation for his six month report to the U.N. Security Council on the implementation of the ICTY’s Completion Strategy.  The Prosecutor is expected to meet with authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the High Judicial, the Prosecutorial Council and representatives of the international community.  Brammertz’s report to the U.N. Security Council is scheduled for early June 2015. (ICTY).

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10 April 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Spanish judge approves genocide charges concerning Western Sahara crimes: Genocide charges against current and former Moroccan officials for crimes against humanity from 1975-1991 have been approved by a Spanish judge. These crimes occurred in Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony. Former Moroccan governor, Abdelhafid Ben Hachem, is one of the officials that stands accused. Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Maria stated that the Spanish government respected the judicial decision, but no comment was made on possible extradition of the officials. (News24, ABCNews) (for additional information click here)

High Commissioner for HR reports evidence of crimes by and against Boko Haram: United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jordan’s Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein, stated that his office received reports finding further evidence of Boko Haram crimes that could constitute as war crimes and crimes against humanity. Mass graves and other evidence of killings have been found in north-eastern parts of Nigeria. The Islamist group Boko Haram has attempted to expand its activities. Al-Hussein also received credible reports of crimes committed by Nigerian and other international forces against Boko Haram. Al-Hussein called for a transparent investigation into these allegations. (Today Online, Christian Today) (for additional information click here)

Report cites to additional evidence of crimes in Ukraine: Amnesty International stated that there is additional evidence of crimes committed by Kremlin-backed fighters of Ukranian prisoners. Russian mercenary Arseniy Pavlov confessed to killing Ukrainian prisoner of war Ihor Branovytsky and 15 other Ukranian prisoners. This comes from the Pavlov’s taped confession and there are reports of further evidence that might be considered war crimes. Based on this evidence, Amnesty has called for prompt investigations and prosecutions into these crimes. (Kyiv Post, The Guardian) (for additional information click here)

Obama expected to speak to Castro about HR in Cuba: President Barack Obama is expected to speak with Cuban President Raul Castro concerning human rights. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson stated that the interaction would occur during the Summit of the Americas in Panama 10-11 April. Jacobson stated that Obama stated that the U.S. thinks the current circumstances of human rights in Cuba is inadequate. (Voice of America News)

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31 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UNHRC adopts resolution on impunity introduced by Armenia: On 27 March 2015, a resolution to prevent genocide was adopted by the 28th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. This resolution was authored by Armenia, but Armenia’s Foreign Ministry stated that it currently has 64 states as co-authors. The resolution states the importance of holding those responsible for genocide criminally accountable for their actions. (Asbarez)

FIDH submits report on WC and CAH against Israel: The International Federation for Human Rights submitted a report to the International Criminal Court highlighting war crimes and crimes against humanity that occurred on the Gaza Strip last year. FIDH reported that Israel committed these war crimes, highlighting examples of attacks against civilians as proof. FIDH collected testimonies from victims of the war between Israel and Palestine from July to August of last year. Palestine is set to become a member of the Rome Statute, meaning that the ICC will have jurisdiction on 1 April. (PressTV)

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30 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICTY finds Seselj breached provisional release, orders return: On Monday, 30 March 2015, ICTY appeals judges found that Vojislav Seselj breached the terms of his provisional release and ordered the former Serbian leader to return to The Hague. Seselj was granted provisional release in November 2014 to seek medical care in Serbia under the condition that he not interfere with victims or witnesses and return to the tribunal if summoned.  After arriving in the country, Seselj told supporters that he would not return to the ICTY voluntarily and challenged officials to attempt to arrest him.  Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said the government will “respond in the coming days.”  (For additional information on this topic, please click here and here) (Reuters, Wall Street Journal, The News Tribune).

ECCC indicts Ao An in Case 004:The ECCC’s international co-investigating judge has charged Ao An in Case 004 with premediated murder under the 1956 Cambodian Penal Code and crimes against humanity.  The crimes were allegedly committed at Kok Pring execution site, Tuol Beng security centre and Wat Au Trakuon security centre.  The defense for the former member of the Khmer Rouge will now have access to the case file and be able to participate in the investigation.  (ECCC).

RSCSL rejects request from Taylor for prison transfer to Rwanda: Former Liberian President Charles Taylor’s motion to be transferred to a prison in Rwanda to serve the remainder of his sentence was denied by the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone.  The RSCSL Trial Chamber found, among other things, that transferring Taylor to Rwanda could pose a threat to peace and security and found that the former president’s family’s inability to travel to the United Kingdom was not interference by the RSCSL.  Taylor had claimed that his family was unable to visit him in the United Kingdom where he was serving his 50-year prison sentence and it would be more humane for him to be imprisoned in Africa.  (All Africa).

Amnesty Report find Hamas responsible for war crimes in Gaza: On Thursday, 26 March 2015, Amnesty International released a report finding the Palestinian militant group Hamas committed war crimes during the Gaza War.  Specifically, the report said Hamas was responsible for firing rockets and mortar shells in Israel resulting in the death of thousands of civilians.  The accusatory report follows Palestine’s recent application for membership in the ICC which began an investigation into alleged war crimes during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in January 2015.  (Foreign Policy).

UNCHR says human rights defenders risk murder in Libya: The U.N. Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (UNCHR), jointly with the U.N. Support Mission in Libya, released a report highlighting the abuse and threats faced by human rights defenders in Libya.  UNCHR urged the government of Libya to meaningfully investigate the alleged abuses and hold accountable those responsible.  UNCHR also recommended sensitivity training for investigators, reparations for victims of the abuse, release of those unjustly detained and cooperation with the ICC. The U.N. Human Rights Council intends to send a team to investigate the human rights abuses in Libya. (Libya Herald).

France seeks UNSC referral of ISIS to ICC: France is urging the U.N. Security Council to refer the Islamic State militant group to the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Iraq and Syria.  The ICC Prosecutor is unable to open an investigation into crimes committed in non ICC member states unless referred by the 15-member Security Council. If the matter were to be referred, the ICC prosecutor and judges will then have to decide whether the referral of the militant group is legitimate. (Reuters).

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24 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN Special Rapporteur for HR in Palestine suggests Israel violations: A report prepared by United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Makarim Wibisono, suggests Israeli violations in Gaza in 2014. Wibisono stated at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva that the civilian deaths in Gaza casts doubt upon Israel’s dedication to international humanitarian law. (BBC)

HRW urges Cambodia to act on charges issued against Khmer Rouge by Int’l judge: Judge Mark Harmon, co-investigating judge of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, charged two former leaders of the Khmer Rouge, Im Chem and Meas Muth, with crimes against humanity and war crimes on 3 March 2015. Harmon did not forward these charges to Cambodian police due to their lack of cooperation. Human Rights Watch urges the Cambodian government to act on these criminal charges. Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch, stated that if the government fails to act, the United Nations should end its participation and funds should be cut off from the tribunal. (Human Rights Watch, Jurist) (for additional information please click here)

ICT Bangladesh investigators find evidence of war crimes against 8 suspects: Evidence has been found against 8 suspects of Jamalpur for crimes against humanity and war crimes during the 1971 Liberation War. ICT Bangladesh investigators will submit their report to the prosecution soon. (The Daily Star)

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23 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

OHCHR says ISIS attacks on Yazidi community may constitute genocide and war crimes: A new report commissioned by the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights claims crimes committed against the Yazidi community in Iraq by ISIS may constitute genocide and war crimes.  The report, consisting of over 100 interviews of survivors, found that ISIS targeted and killed hundreds of men and boys of the Yazidi population in Iraq and committed rape, abduction and forced separation of families. Thousands of Yazidis were forced to flee villages in northern Iraq because of ISIS last summer in which many were killed or captured. (BBC).

ICC judges propose holding Ntaganda trial opening in Bunia, DRC: On Thursday, 19 March 2015, ICC Trial Chamber VI judges recommended to the ICC Presidency that opening statements in the trial against former Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda be made in Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo. The judges found that conducting part of the trial in Bunia would “bring[] the judicial work of the Court closer to the most affected communities.”  ICC Rules of Procedure and Evidence authorize the ICC judges to make the recommendation, which is then considered by the ICC Presidency in consultation with DRC authorities.  Ntaganda, a former Congolese military leader, is accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the 2002-2003 Congolese conflict.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (All Africa, ICC).

ICC Ruto / Sang trial resumes for final Prosecution witness: The final Prosecution witness in the ICC trial against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang is expected to begin testimony today, 23 March 2015.  The witness, who has been unwilling to testify and who has placed conditions before testifying, is the last witness scheduled before the Prosecution makes its closing arguments.  Ruto’s and Sang’s defense teams are expected to thereafter file a “no-case-to-answer” motion.   (All Africa).

ICC Trust Fund for Victims affirms commitment to reparations for victims in Lubanga case: The Board of Directors of the ICC Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) held its annual meeting in The Hague from 17-19 March 2015.  The TFV Board reaffirmed its commitment to reparations for victims in the case against Thomas Lubanga, the leader of the rebel group Congolese Patriotic Union, who was convicted in March 2012 of recruiting child soldiers.  Specifically, the TFV Board intends to advance its reparations reserve to provide for collective reparations awards and to consider the ICC Appeals Chamber’s suggestion to expand its assistance mandate to those not included in the reparations order.  The TFV Board also plans on meeting with victims, their communities and other stakeholders while it develops the draft implementation plan for reparations due 3 September 2015. (ICC).

Protestors in Sri Lanka reject domestic probe, demand international investigation: Tamils in Sri Lanka are protesting the new government’s plan for a domestic investigation into alleged human rights abuses committed during the last phase of the country’s 26-year civil war. Tamils, demanding an international investigation into the crimes instead, claim to have no faith in a domestic probe by the Sri Lankan government.  A resolution adopted by the U.N. Human Rights Council in March 2014 requiring an international investigation was delayed by 6 months.  (The Economic Times).

Polish soldiers cleared of violating Geneva Convention protections of civilians in Afghanistan: Four Polish soldiers have been cleared of war crimes in relation to the August 2007 attack on the village of Nangrarkhel in Afghanistan which killed 6 civilians.  The soldiers, being tried in a military court in Warsaw and accused of violating the Geneva Conventions protection of civilians in Afghanistan, claimed innocence and blamed the attack on faulty weaponry.  The four were convicted by the military court of lesser offenses.   (JURIST)

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19 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN Report suggests ISIS genocide and war crimes in Iraq: The UN believes that ISIS has not only committed international war crimes and crimes against humanity, but possibly genocide as well.  The Yazidi minority in Iraq has been at the focus of intense violence perpetrated by ISIS.  The UN has urged the Baghdad government to join the ICC to ensure that ISIS will be held accountable for the atrocities committed even if the current conflict does not subside in the near future. (For additional information on this topic, please click here, here) (UN, Reuters, DW).

UN calls on Pakistan to halt executions, reinstate death penalty ban: The Pakistan government has announced that it has withdrawn its moratorium on the death penalty for all cases, not only those related to terrorism.  The UN has expressed deep concern in regards to this decision and hopes that the government will reconsider.  (UN).

ICC Judges advocate for Ntaganda opening statements to be held in DRC: Trial Chamber IV has recommended that the trial of Bosco Ntaganda be held in the DRC.  The Chamber states that it is has made this request with the intention of bringing the judicial work of the Court closer to the most affected communities.  (ICC).

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