Archive for category UN Security Council

26 February 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Amnesty appeals to UN Veto Powers to relinquish veto during mass atrocities:  Amnesty International has issued a statement condemning the international response to the array of catastrophes which took place in 2014.  Amnesty has asked that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council be forced to give up their power of veto in cases where atrocities are being committed as a way to prevent interference.  Unfortunately, Amnesty does not see 2015 as being a better year for abuse victims.

Victims hope to have CAR crimes included in case against Ongwen:  In a statement published February 18, the Association of LRA Victims in the Central African Republic, a local NGO well-known in Bangui, called for Ongwen’s case to be extended to crimes committed in the CAR between 2008 and 2014. The ICC Prosecutor wants Ongwen tried for three counts of crimes against humanity and four counts of war crimes.

European Court considering case of Iraq War deserter:  Andre Shepherd, former U.S. military Apache helicopter mechanic, deserted his position in 2007.  He has since claimed refugee status in Germany, however, to qualify as a refugee under the EU law, Shepherd would have to present evidence showing it was credible that war crimes would have been committed during his service in Iraq.  Given the prison he could face in the US, it is unlikely he will be eligible for refugee status.

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18 February 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Head of UN Inquiry says N Korea’s actions not genocide: Michael Kirby, chairman of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry into North Korea’s human rights violations, said that crimes committed at alleged North Korean political prison camps did not amount to genocide.  The former Australian judge expressed disappointment and said the Commission in making its findings was constrained by a “narrow definition” of genocide.  The Commission, nevertheless, did find that North Korea committed crimes against humanity and urged the U.N. Security Council to refer the situation to the ICC.  The Commission further wrote a letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “warning him that the officials of his government and possibly he himself might be accountable.”  (Japan Times).

Ban Ki-Moon to closely watch domestic mechanism for Sri Lankan accountability: On Tuesday, 17 February 2015, a spokesman for U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said the Secretary General will be carefully watching the development of a domestic accountability mechanism in Sri Lanka to investigate alleged human rights violations committed at the end of the country’s 26-year civil war.  The Secretary General finds it important that the new government in Sri Lanka demonstrate a firm and broad commitment to “accountability, reconciliation and human rights.”  The Secretary General’s comments follow the recent deferral of a U.N. Human Rights Commission report on Sri Lanka that was expected to be released next month.  (The Hindu).

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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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10 February 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

US journalists testifies before ECCC on US relations with Khmer Rouge: Elizabeth Becker, an American journalist, responded to questions from prosecutor Nicholas Koumjian on the United States’ relations with the Khmer Rouge during the Cold War. Becker testified at the trial of Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, former Khmer Rouge regime leaders. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union were at odds. When the Soviet Union supported Vietnam, the United States supported China causing the United States to inadvertently support the Khmer Rouge. This marks the second and final phase of Chea’s and Samphan’s trials for charges of crimes against humanity, including genocide. (Voice of America)

Nepal creates two commissions of inquiry into war crimes and disappearances: Law Minister Narhari Acharya stated that Nepal created two commissions of inquiry on Tuesday into war crimes and disappearances during its communist insurgency. The commission will have duration of two years. Disagreements between political entities in the region delayed the formation of these commissions. (Fox News)

Egyptian Foreign Minister praises Bensouda for rejecting Muslim Brotherhood complaint on CAH: On 1 February 2015, the International Criminal Court rejected a complaint filed by the Muslim Brotherhood against Egypt for crimes against humanity. Sameh Shokry, Egyptian Foreign Minister, thanked ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda for the court’s decision. Badr Abdel Atty, Foreign Ministry spokesperson, stated that Shokry stated that the complaint could “impede Egyptians efforts to combat terrorism.” The court stated that it could not consider such a case, as Egypt did not sign the Rome Statute. Cases against nonmembers of the Rome Statute would need to be referred by the United Nations Security Council. (The Cairo Post)

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13 January 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

DNA test requested for murdered ICC witness: Deputy President William Ruto’s attorney, Karim Khan, requested a DNA test of Meshack Yebei. Yebei was a potential witness in the trial against President Ruto and was found dead in western Kenya in early January. President Ruto was charged with crimes against humanity during the post election violence in Kenya. Yebei’s family consented to the DNA test and stated that Yebei never mentioned he was an ICC witness. Prosecutors stated that they had not been planning to call Yebei as a witness during trial due to his implication of trying to corrupt witnesses. Khan stated in a letter to the head of Kenya’s Criminal Investigation Department that Yebei had been a key witness for trial. Yebei had even been referred to the ICC’s Victims and Witness Unit for protection. Prosecutors stated that any suggestion that they were involved in Yebei’s abduction and murder was “outrageous and utterly false.” (BBC News, AllAfrica) (for additional information please click here)

Government says it wants to try Ongwen in Uganda: The government of Uganda stated that it wanted to try Lord’s Resistance Army rebel commander Dominic Ongwen. Ongwen recently surrendered and is in U.S. custody in Central African Republic. Ongwen is also wanted by the ICC. Uganda State Minister for Regional Cooperation Asuman Kiyingi stated that they would rather try him in Uganda than in the ICC because they have the capacity. A decision regarding whether Uganda gets to try Ongwen will be reached after consultations with the African Union, Uganda, United States, and United Nations. (NY Times)

Libyan trial of Saif Gaddafi and Al-Senussi delayed again: The trial of Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi and 36 other senior officials, including former security chief Abdullah Senussi, has been postponed once again. On 11 January 2015, trial opened and was subsequently adjourned until 25 January. This case opened in 2012 and has seen many setbacks. Those that stand accused could face the death penalty for “genocide, killing of unarmed civilians, abuses of power, human rights abuses, employing mercenaries and encouraging rape as a weapon of war.” The ICC indicted both Gaddafi and Senussi. After proceedings on Libya’s admissibility challenge, the ICC ordered the surrender of Gaddafi to the ICC. Libya has failed to comply with this order. (Libya Herald)

US Senators condemn Palestinian decision to join the ICC: Senators Lindsey Graham, Robert Menendez, Chuck Schumer, and Mark Kirk threatened Palestine over their decision to join the ICC. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas applied to join the ICC following a rejection on Palestine’s proposal for statehood by the United Nations Security Council. On 1 January Palestine submitted an Article 12(3) declaration that gives the ICC jurisdiction since 13 June 2014. Palestine also submitted documents to accede to the Rome Statute on 7 January. Senators issued a warning to Palestine stating “that if the Palestinians initiate an ICC judicially authorized investigation, or actively support such an investigation, all economic assistance to the PA” would end. (Press TV, International Criminal Court) (for additional information please click here)

UN report on crimes in CAR finds evidence of CAH and WC, but no genocidal intent: A UN report released last Thursday concluded that the events that conspired in the Central African Republic by the Seleka coalition and the anti-balaka did amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes. The commission of inquiry of the United Nations Security Council did not find any genocidal intent, but considered the ethnic cleansing of the Muslim population as a crime against humanity. (Tamil Guardian)

UN report on S. Sudan killings finds evidence sufficient for further investigations and prosecution: The United Nations stated that offenders of the ethnic massacres in Bentiu and Bor last April could be prosecuted based on extensive investigations into the matter. Offenders included members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition. The investigation comprised of site visits by human researchers and 142 interviews. (Radio Tamazuj)

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10 December 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC Prosecution seeks leave to appeal decision not to refer Kenya for non-cooperation: ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has asked the Court to appeal its March 2014, decision not to refer the Kenyan government to the Assembly of State Parties. Bensouda had accused Kenya of non-compliance for failing to disclose requested financial and communication documents in the case against President Uhuru Kenyatta and asked for a referral to the ASP and an indefinite postponement of Kenyatta’s trial.  Bensouda stated the ICC’s decision “unless soon remedied on appeal will be a setback to the proceedings in that it will leave a decision fraught with error to cloud or unravel the judicial.”  (Daily Nation).

ICC PTC finds Libya in non-compliance and refers Libya to the UNSC: ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I issued a decision on 10 December 2014, finding that Libya failed to comply with requests to surrender to the Court the son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, as well as to return specified documents seized to the appropriate parties and destroy any copies in Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi’s case.  The Chamber referred the matter of Libya’s non-compliance to the U.N. Security Council under article 87(7) of the Rome Statute.  The Security Council is asked to “consider any possible measure aimed at achieving Libya’s compliance with its outstanding obligations vis-à-vis the Court.” (ICC).

Africa, Cooperation and Resources focus of ASP meeting: On Monday, 8 December 2014, the annual session of the Assembly of States Parties began at the U.N. headquarters in New York.  Africa appears to be the focus of the meeting with newly elected ASP President Sidiki Kaba asking member states to help “change Africa’s negative perception of the court.”  Furthermore, Kenya’s U.N. Ambassador Macharia Kamau requested the ASP to address concerns the government and the Africa Union have regarding the ICC and the Prosecutor’s Office.  Human Rights Watch stressed that the ICC needs the appropriate political backing and resources to ensure justice for serious violations of international law.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (ABC News, Human Rights Watch).

UN official marks anniversary of Genocide Convention, saying no country immune:  Tuesday, 9 December 2014, marked the 66th anniversary of the signing of the Genocide Convention.  At the U.N. headquarters in New York, U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng paid tribute to those who lost their lives to genocide.  Dieng stated that “We must accept that there is no part of the world that can consider itself immune from the risk of genocide and all regions and all States must build resilience to these crimes.”  Dieng’s office intends to launch a new Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes this week that focuses on prevention strategies and warning signs. (UN News Centre).

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