Archive for category UN Security Council

21 April 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Ukraine requests ICC investigation, accepting ICC Jurisdiction:  Ukraine has formally asked the ICC to investigate the deaths of civilians on its territory that occurred from 21 November 2013 to 22 February 2014.  Ukraine hopes that the court will duly study the case but it is up to the prosecutor to decide whether to proceed with an investigation.  (For more information on this topic, please click here) (ICC, NYT).

Ruto Witnesses compelled to testify:  The ICC has summoned eight reluctant witnesses by way of subpoenas issued by the Kenyan government to testify in the Ruto trial.  The prosecution continues to see witnesses withdraw from appearing and such actions have negatively affected several other ICC cases related to the Kenya poll violence.  The court has made arrangements for the witnesses to appear by video-link and has asked the Kenyan government to make appropriate arrangements for security.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (ICC, BBC).

Kosovo PM calls for vote on war crimes court; expresses concerns:  Kosovo’s premier has summoned parliament to vote on whether to establish a special court to try ethnic Albanian guerrillas accused of harvesting organs of murdered Serbs during the Balkan war.  U.S. and European officials have warned that if the court is not established then the case will be referred to the U.N. Security Council.  (Reuters).

ICC abandons Banda Trial start date; cites “logistical” issues:  Trial Chamber IV of the ICC decided to vacate the 5 May 2014 date for the Banda Trial due to logistical issues.  The chamber will decide in due course on further steps to take no later than 6 May 2014.  (ICC).

Security Council condemns S. Sudan attacks; suggests “war crimes” committed:  The Security Council has voiced its outrage on the violence in South Sudan.  The UN Mission in South Sudan has encountered armed mobs and sustained numerous injuries in trying to keep its IDPs safe.  The Council has called on the Government of South Sudan to immediately take steps to ensure the safety of all civilians and UNMISS contingents.  (UN).

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17 April 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

France to introduce resolution seeking ICC investigation of war crimes in Syria: In the next few weeks, France intends to present to the U.N. Security Council a resolution referring Syria to the ICC for war crimes; said French Ambassador to the U.N. Gerard Araud. In the meantime, France presented to the Council a report commissioned on behalf of Qatar containing over 50,000 photographs of alleged human rights abuses committed in Syria. Araud said the report triggered “several minutes of silence” by Council members. (Global Post).

Russia may seek ICC trial for Ukrainian ultranationalists: United Russia deputy Michael Markelov urged Russia to refer Ukrainian nationalist organizations, such as the Right Sector and UNA-UNSO, to the ICC for crimes committed during conflict in Chechnya, South Ossetia and the Balkans. The United Russia deputy hopes the ICC will recognize the “groups as extremists and ensur[e] an international status of political outcasts for them.” The ICC, however, is not legally obligated to consider Russia’s request. Russia, while a signatory to the Rome Statute, has yet to ratify the treaty. (RT).

INTERPOL Secretary General vows to continue to seek justice for Rwanda genocide victims: Speaking at the 6th International Expert Meeting on Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity in Kagali, INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald Noble said the international policy organization will continue to bring to justice those responsible for the 1994 Rwanda genocide. Noble asked all the INTERPOL member countries to fully cooperate and apprehend genocide suspects. Representatives from 41 member countries, as well as international organizations are attending the three-day meeting. (all Africa).

Darfur rebel’s ICC trial postponed until further notice due to “logistical difficulties”: The expected 5 May 2014, trial of Abdallah Banda at the ICC for war crimes has been postponed until further notice. Citing “logistic difficulties,” the Court stated it would “decide in due course on the further steps to take, after receiving additional submissions from the prosecution and registry.” Banda, who is not currently in custody as he voluntarily surrendered to the ICC, is accused of leading the September 2007 attack on an AU peacekeepers camp. (Naharnet).

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14 April 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC brings al-Bashir complaint to UNSC:  The ICC has informed the UN Security Council and the Assembly of States Parties about DRC’s noncooperation in the arrest and surrender of Omar Al Bashir.  The Chamber has referred the matter to the UN Security Council and the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute with hopes that a decision on what measures should be taken will surface in the near future.  (ICC).

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi to stand trial in Tripoli Monday:  Concerns remain over the guarantee of fair trials for Gaddafi-era officials in Libya.  HRW has reported that the inmates in Libyan prisons are not receiving their basic due process rights.  The ICC has the authority to command Libyan authorities to cooperate with the court but such pressure to turn Saif al-Islam Gaddafi over to the ICC has been ignored thus far.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here.)  (HRW/The Guardian).

ICTY anticipated 98bis decision in Mladic Case:  17 March 2014, the Defence team for Rato Mladic orally presented its motion pursuant to Rule 98bis.  The Prosecution responded on 18 March 2014.  The pronouncement of the Trial Chamber’s decision on the Rule 98bis motion for acquittal is scheduled for 15 April 2014.  (ICTY).

Hadzic Witness unclear on past testimony:  The final prosecution witness to testify against Goran Hadzic told judges last week that he could not confirm the accuracy of his earlier testimony.  The witness told the Hadzic defence team that he could remember the meetings in Serbia which he had previously testified about, in which he and Hadzic allegedly received detailed instructions from the authorities in Belgrade, as well as equipment and arms.  Hadzic’s defence case is scheduled to begin on June 24.  (IWPR).

HRW advocates war crimes court in Kosovo:  Kosovo’s parliament is expected approve the establishment of a special court located abroad to try alleged war crimes committed during and after the 1998-1999 Kosovo War.  It is also expected that the Parliament will agree to extend the mandate of EULEX with hopes of brining individual accountability to past crimes.   However, even if the special court is allowed to process, there are concerns that the weak state of Kosovo’s current justice system may inhibit its effectiveness.  (HRW).

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10 April 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Katanga files notice of appeal on trial judgment: On Wednesday, 9 April 2014, the ICC reported that defense for Congolese militia leader Germain Katanga filed a notice of appeal. The defense “seek[s] to reverse the decision of conviction on each charge.” Katanga was convicted of war crimes last month for arming soldiers after violence erupted in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2003. Charges of rape, enlisting child soldiers and sexual slavery were dismissed. (Independent Online News).

Belgium and ICC come to agreement on interim release of accused: On Thursday, 10 April 2014, the ICC entered into an agreement with Belgium in which the country will receive detainees after interim release. The agreement specifies that Belgium will “provisionally receive detainees . . . on its territory on a temporary basis and under conditions established” by the ICC. Belgium is the first country to sign such an agreement with the Court. (International Criminal Court).

ICC Prosecution witness testifies to elections threats in Ruto case: A prosecution witness in the ICC case against Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang testified on Wednesday, 9 April 2014, that he was threatened with eviction after the 2007 presidential election in Kenya. The witness, a member of the Kikuyu ethnic group, described how Orange Democratic Movement supporters, upon learning of the election results, looted, burned down houses and ferried cars from Kenya’s Rift Valley in order to chase away Kikuyus who mostly voted for the Party of National Unity. (Institute for War & Peace Reporting).

France takes steps towards UN Resolution to refer Syrian crimes to the ICC: It is being reported that France is currently in the process of drafting a U.N. Security Council resolution that refers Syria to the ICC for war crimes. Three Security Council resolutions imposing sanctions on the Syrian government were previously vetoed by the country’s ally, Russia. However, the proposed resolution by France would be the first to authorize the ICC to try a non-member state in The Hague. While it is expected Russia may veto this resolution as well, diplomats reason the resolution could embarrass Syria’s ally. (New York Times).

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9 April 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN human rights chief: Atrocities committed by Syrian regime “far outweigh” rebel actions: On Tuesday, 8 April 2014, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay briefed the U.N. Security Council on the human rights abuses committed in Syria. Pillay urged the deadlocked Security Council to refer to the ICC both the Syrian government and the opposition groups, but noted “the actions of the forces of the government—killings, cruelty, persons in detention, disappearances—far outweigh” those of the rebels. Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari dismissed Pillay’s comments as biased and claimed the High Commissioner had ignored numerous letters he sent documenting abuse by the opposition. (CBC News).

Atrocities in Rakhine State may amount to crimes against humanity: The latest attacks on aid groups in western Myanmar has caused severe shortages of water, food and medical supplies for Rohingya Muslims. Since last month, over 170 humanitarian aid workers were pulled from the Rakhine State, leaving some 700,000 people vulnerable. U.N. envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana said the recent attacks, coupled with the “long history of discrimination and persecution against the Rohingya community . . . could amount to crimes against humanity.” (Arab News).

UN investigator examines N. Korea abductions of Japanese citizens: Marzuki Darusman met with Japanese officials this week concerning the 1970s and 1980s abductions of Japanese citizens in North Korea. Darusman, a member of the U.N. commission that reported in February on North Korea’s crimes against humanity, recognized Japan’s assistance in preparing the report and discussed the next steps in the investigation. The U.N. report received favorable support by the Human Rights Council in March 2014 and is expected to be presented at the 17 April 2014, U.N. Security Council meeting. (Global Post).

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7 April 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

French delegates suggest intent to refer Syria to ICC:  France is currently seeking to propose a Security Council resolution that would refer Syria to the ICC for the prosecution of war crimes.  Russia stands as the largest opposing force to any such resolution.  The process is still in its infancy and many officials have refused to comment on specifics.  (NYT).

Arguments conclude in Croatia-Serbia ICJ Case:  The Croatia-Serbia ICJ case began in 1999.  Since that time, Serbia has filed a countersuit against Croatia and would like to see the ICJ declare the Croatian armed forces’ 1995 action genocide against the Serbian people.  The Croatian team still claims that the Serbian forces were excessive in their use of force.  The final verdict may be announced by the end of this or early next year and may not be appealed.  (B92).

UN concerned over continued violence in CAR:  The UN human rights office has finished its preliminary investigation of the deadly events that took place on March 29 in Bangui, CAR.  It has been determined that Chadian soldiers killed some 30 civilians and wounded more than 300 in an indiscriminate attack on a market.  (UN News).

UN Secretary General commemorates 20-year anniversary of Rwanda Genocide:  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reminds the international community that the atrocities that took place in Rwanda should not be forgotten and should not have occurred in the first place.  Monday’s commemoration is part of a series of events that aim to remember the people murdered in Rwanda and to unite the people of Rwanda.  (UN News).

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26 March 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

South Korea joins Japan and EU on draft resolution on North Korea human rights situation: On Sunday, 23 March 2014, South Korea, Japan and the European Union presented a draft resolution to the U.N. Human Rights Council concerning the alleged human rights abuses in North Korea. The draft resolution urged the U.N. to refer the “systematic, widespread and grave violations” of human rights to an “appropriate” international judicial body. Additionally, the resolution contained recommendations by a U.N. commission established in March 2013 to officially investigate for one year North Korea’s violations of international law. It is expected that the resolution will be voted on by the 47 states making up the U.N. Human Rights Council this week. (Yonhap News Agency).

African rights court hears first freedom of expression case: The first freedom of expression case commenced in the African Court on Human and People’s Rights on Thursday, 20 March 2014. The case came before the African rights court after journalist Lohé Issa Konate was convicted in Burkina Faso of, among other things, defamation and public insult for alleging in his newspaper the State Prosecutor was corrupt. Konate was sentenced to one year imprisonment, a hefty fine and publication of his newspaper was suspended for six months. Amici submissions in the African rights court case argue Konate was denied his right to freedom of expression and his punishment was disproportionate to the crime. A judgment is expected June 2014. (Southern Africa Litigation Centre).

UN report notes Syria’s non-compliance with resolution to permit free access to humanitarian aid: The U.N. released a 13-page report on Monday, 24 March 2014, detailing the Syrian government’s failure to comply with a February 2014 resolution authorizing free access to humanitarian aid. The report, delivered to the U.N. Security Council, described a “worsening” security situation in Syria and requested “an immediate end to violence and a negotiated political solution to the conflict.” The report estimates that 200 people are dying per day in the country and over 3.5 million are in need of humanitarian aid. (Ammon News).

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18 March 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN panel lists individuals alleged to be accountable for crimes: On Tuesday, 18 March 2014, the head of the UN panel tasked with investigating human rights abuses committed in Syria said that the panel has identified individuals who were involved in the taking of hostages, executions, and torture in Syria and placed them on a “perpetrators list”. This list includes the heads of intelligence branches and detention facilities in which torture was carried out; military commanders who targeted civilians; airport officials under whose jurisdiction bomb attacks were planned and completed, and leaders of groups who targeted civilians. The panel was established by the UN HRC in order to investigate human rights abuses in Syria since March 2011, and to date, the panel has conducted over 2,700 interviews.  (Fox News).

China opposes UN HR Council Resolution on crimes in N. Korea: China rejected South Korea’s request for China to support a UN Resolution to refer North Korean officials who have allegedly committed human rights abuses within North Korea to the ICC. The U.S., EU, and Japan are in favor of bringing the issue before the UN Security Council in order to bring about a referral to the ICC; however, China may exercise its veto power. Following the UN Commission of Inquiry’s recent conclusion that high-level officials in North Korea have committed crimes against humanity, the UN HRC is expected to decide on a resolution concerning North Korea’s human rights record. (Yonhap News Agency).

Malta approves extradition of Serbian CAH suspect to Croatia: On Thursday, 13 March 2014, a Maltese court ruled that Eror Gojko—a Serbian construction worker who is charged with committing crimes against humanity, kidnapping, torture, and unlawful deportation to concentration camps between 1991 and 1993 in the former Yugoslavia—will be extradited to Croatia for trial. He consented to the extradition, and the Maltese court did not address his charges. The charges against him are related to the disappearance of at least 17 people. (Reuters).

Civil Society petition questions ICTR acquittals: 15 civil society groups have signed a petition addressed to the president of the UN Security Council, questioning the ICTR Appeals Chamber’s decision to acquit and reduce the sentences of political and military officials who had been convicted by the Trial Chamber for crimes committed during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The petition is specifically against Judge Theodore Meron, the presiding Judge of the ICTR Appeals Chamber. One of the organizations, Rwanda Civil Society Platform, expressed its disagreement with the acquittal of Justin Mugenzi, Prosper Mugiraneza, Protais Zigiranyirazo, Augustin Ndindiliyimana, and François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye, as well as the reduction of the sentences of Anatole Nsengiyumva and Aloys Ntabakuze. (allAfrica).

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17 March 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Former Rwanda soldier sentenced in France:  Pascal Simbikangwa was sentenced this Friday to a 25-year jail sentence.  Sambikangwa is a former army captain who rose to become a high level official in Rwanda’s intelligence services.  In 2008, he was arrested and accused of complicity in war crimes and genocide in which took place in 1994.  France’s special genocide unit is hopeful that this verdict will lead to smooth future prosecutions.  (Aljazeera).

Amnesty reports ongoing violence, civilian displacement in Darfur:  As violence is Darfur intensifies almost half a million people have been forced from their homes of the last year.  Eyewitnesses in the midst of the conflict have described large attacks carried out by armed militias against civilians.  (Amnesty).

UN sends rights monitors to Ukraine; Security Council fails to pass Crimea Resolution:  The UN Security Council failed to adopt a draft resolution which urged countries not to recognize the results of this weekend’s referendum in Crimea.  In addition to this event, the UN has deployed a monitoring team to Ukraine to help establish facts surrounding alleged human rights violations.  For additional information on this topic, please click here)  (UN News).

Human Rights Council highlights ongoing plight of children in conflict:  Ongoing armed conflicts have made a number of countries, such as Syrian, making them very dangerous places to be a child.  SRSG Leila Zerrougui spoke in front of the HRC this past week highlighting that in Syria, South Sudan, CAR and in other countries children our being exploited and killed.  She also urged the HRC to take action in order to prevent the deprivation of lifesaving humanitarian assistance to children.  (UN News).

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19 February 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

U.N. panel finds widespread human rights abuses in North Korea: A 400-page investigatory report documenting alleged human rights abused being carried out in North Korea was released by a special U.N. commission.  The report, which has already gained support from countries such as the U.S. and South Korea, reveals widespread and systematic acts of torture, starvation and executions. International scholars, who argue the acts could warrant an ICC prosecution, fear China, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and a close ally of North Korea, would veto a referral to the permanent international court. North Korea has yet to respond to the report that is expected to be presented next month in Geneva to the U.N. Human Rights Council. (Wall Street Journal).

Kenyan AG Githu Muigai addresses  ICC: Domestic law prevents the disclosure of the Kenyan President’s financial records, said Attorney General Githu Muigai while speaking to ICC judges in The Hague on 13 February 2014. The attorney general informed the judges that proper procedure required the request for records to be submitted first to the local prosecutor for authorization. Muigai also denied that Kenya’s failure to comply with the ICC prosecution’s request for financial records violated its responsibilities to the Court.  (Institute for War & Peace Reporting).

Frankfurt: Genocide trial of Rwandan mayor begins: A German higher court commenced proceedings on 18 Tuesday 2014, against former Rwandan mayor Onesphore Rwabukombe. Rwabukombe, an ethnic Hutu, is charged with the mass killing of nearly 4,000 ethnic Tutsi during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Some 50 witnesses are expected to testify in the first Rwandan genocide case tried in Germany. Rwabukombe faces life imprisonment if convicted. (The Local).

Socio-Political Scientist Herve Maupeu testifies at Ruto/Sang ICC trial: The trial of Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang resumed in The Hague on 17 Monday 2014 after the Christmas recess. An expert witness on Kenya’s social and political history, Herve Maupeu, testified that the country’s sitting head of state Uhuru Kenyatta had been a member of the Orange Democratic Movement’s leadership circle. Deputy President Ruto is a supporter of the Orange Democratic Movement which is alleged to have planned attacks against the rival political party. (Standard Media).

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