Archive for category UN Security Council

28 May 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN Kosovo Envoy says domestic war crimes court is essential: The creation of a robust special court to adjudicate suspected crimes in Kosovo is taking shape.  Recently, progress to establish the special court has increased due to the results found by an EU special investigative task force that there is sufficient evidence to indict a handful of individuals for serious crimes committed during this period. (Yahoo News).

Sri Lanka General proclaims innocence; would welcome opportunity to “clear” his name:  Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, once General of the Sri Lankan army that defeated the Tamil Tigers, has issued a statement declaring his welcoming of an investigation into his actions during Sri Lanka’s civil war.  Fonseka asserts that he was in no way involved in any type of war crime and wishes to clear his name of any false allegations.

Mujahid Appeal Verdict expected from Bangladesh Supreme Court:  It has been announced that the verdict on an appeal by Jamaat-e-Islami leader Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid against his death sentence awarded by a war crimes tribunal will be out on June 16. Mujhahid was convicted on 5 of the 7 war crime charges levelled against him.  He was found guilty of orchestrating the murder if unarmed intellectuals and mass executions.

Seselj outspoken about planned appeal against return to The Hague:  Vojislav Seselj has stated that he plans to appeal the order to return to The Hague issued by the UN war crimes.  Seselj has made clear that he has no plans of returning to the UN tribunal which has charged him with recruiting paramilitary forces during the Balkans wars.  (DW).

UN Security Council adopts resolution to condemn violence against journalists:  The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution that calls for the release of all media professionals who have been kidnapped or taken as hostages, in situations of armed conflict.  This act by the UN comes in response to the increasingly dangerous world that journalists in conflict stricken countries inhabit.  It has also been determined that Syria is the deadliest place to be a journalist.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (UN, Euronews).

ECCC witness testifies to poor working conditions, executions in Case against Chea, Samphan:  A victim of the Khmer Rouge, Hun Sethany, testified before the Extraodinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia during Case 002/02 against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan.  She wept onpenly as she recounted the events that plagued her and her family during the late 1970s while under the control of the Khmer Rouge.

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26 May 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICTY Prosecutor to visit Belgrade: Chief Prosecutor of the ICTY, Serge Brammertz, is set to visit Belgrade in preparation of his biannual report to the United Nations Security Council. The Chief prosecutor of the ICTY must submit a report on his completion strategy every six months. (InSerbia)

Serbia says no order released from ICTY on Seselj’s return: Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic stated that Serbia has not yet received an official order from the ICTY for Vojislav Seselj’s return to detention after his provisional release. Vucic stated that the Serbian government would act in accordance with Serbian and international law once the order was received. (InSerbia)

Jamaican Justice Minister announces legislation to join ICC: Justice Minister, Senator Mark Golding, stated that legislation is currently being drafted in the Senate that will allow Jamaica to join the ICC. According to Golding, the legislation should be enacted by the end of the year. (The Gleaner)

Taylor’s appeals against decisions on detention denied: Former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor, has had appeals denied. His first appeal was against his fifty-year sentence in jail and the second appeal appealed the motion denying him a transfer out of the UK to Rwanda. The President of the Residual Court for Sierra Leone Justice Philip N. Waki denied both of these appeals. (The New Dawn Liberia)

MINUSMA investigating human rights violations in Mali: The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, MINUSMA, stated that it would investigate human rights violations in Mali. Deputy UN spokesman Farhan Haq stated that MINUSMA has sent an investigation team into northern Mali. MINUSMA is concerned with the continuous armed conflict found in the region. (Global Times)

Shamsuddoha arrested after ICT Bangladesh issues warrant: ICT Bangladesh recently issued a warrant for Shamsuddoha, a war crimes suspect. Shamsuddoha was arrested along with four others of the the sixteen total suspects. (Business Standard)

CAR taking lessons on special court from Habre trial: Central African Republic, CAR, wants to learn from the Senegalese Extraordinary African Chambers conducting the Hissène Habre trial. Habre is being tried for alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes during his reign as Chadian President. CAR voted to set up its own Special Court to bring to justice those who committed crimes against humanity or war crimes in the CAR region since 2003. (All Africa)

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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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12 May 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC’s first acquitted accused deported to DRC: Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, formerly accused of war crimes, was deported back to the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Monday. Chui was acquitted by the ICC and filed for asylum in the Netherlands for fear of safety in the DRC.  Dutch authorities dismissed his application and sent him back to the DRC. Géraldine Mattioli-Zeltner, international justice advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, stated that HRW is calling on the DRC authorities to ensure Chui’s safety and security in the DRC. HRW is also calling upon dutch authorities and the ICC to monitor the situation. (Expatica, Human Rights Watch) (for additional information click here)

HRW calls for ICC investigation into on-going crimes in Libya: Human Rights Watch urged the United Nations Security Council to look at ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda’s briefing on Libya. HRW called for an investigation into the ongoing crimes happening in Libya. HRW states that Libyan authorities have not responded properly to ongoing situation. They have not investigated or prosecuted those responsible for crimes. HRW is looking to the ICC to properly investigate these crimes. (Human Rights Watch)

ECCC victim representation faces funding cuts: Lawyers at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia have seen recent cuts in their salaries. Victim representation has seen major funding cuts due to  donor shortages. Attorneys from the Cambodian Defenders Project (CDP) and Legal Aid to Cambodia (LAC) stated that these cuts may dictate whether or not they continue representation of victims in the court. (Phnom Penh Post)

ICT Bangladesh issues 11 arrest warrants: ICT Bangladesh issued 11 arrest warrants for alleged Razakars of Jessore, for war crimes committed during the Liberation War in 1971. “The suspects are Ibrahim Hossain, Billal Hossain, Sheikh Majibur Rahman, Abdul Aziz Sardar, Aziz Sarder, Kazi Oahidul Islam, Lutfar Moral, Abdul Khaleq Moral, Akram Hossain, Ozehar Moral, and Mushiar Rahman.” (The Daily Star)

African Commission for HR’s 56th session concludes: The 56th Ordinary Session on Human and Peoples’ Rights concluded with resolutions that support “the strife against prevalence of human rights violations in Africa.” Commissioner Mute of the African Commission stated that the Commission passed resolutions that condemned xenophobic attacks in South Africa, urged Kenyan human rights, and rehabilitation rights for torture victims. (All Africa)

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17 April 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

STL begins contempt trial against Lebanese journalist and her TV station: Lebanese journalist, Karma Khayat, and her al-Jadeed TV station stand accused of obstruction of justice for the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Khayat and the TV station both deny identifying witnesses or compromising the case against Hariri’s alleged killers. Khayat stated that that this is an attempt to silence the media when journalists in Lebanon have the same rights as those in the West. Khayat also stated that the list she published was redacted without identifying statements and a full list was published later by someone else. Prosecutor Kenneth Scott stated “If witnesses are too frightened to come to this tribunal, then this tribunal is finished.” (BBC, The Guardian, Daily Star) (for additional information click here and here)

Acquitted Ngudjolo Chui seeks asylum in Switzerland: Ngudjolo Chui, who was acquitted by the ICC, is now applying for asylum in Switzerland.  Chui is applying for asylum for fear of being deported from the Netherlands back to Kinshasa. After being acquitted by the ICC Trial Chamber and having the acquittal affirmed by the ICC Appeals Chamber, Chui was arrested by Dutch authorities immediately after the trial as he was leaving the courtroom. The Dutch authorities brought him straight to the airport to be deported back to the DRC and was forced onto a Kenya Airways passenger plane to Kinshasa. Chui had to assert certain things during his defense that now put his life at risk if he goes back to the DRC. Chui had asserted that in asylum applications to the Dutch authorities after his Trial Chamber acquittal.  As the plane was about to takeoff, an emergency order from a Dutch immigration judge to hear asylum arguments forced the plane to return to the terminal. Since then, Chui has been at the detention unit at the Schiphol Airport trying to sort out immigration issues and apply for a humanitarian visa. (Letemps)

UNSC hears accounts of chemical weapons use in Syria: The United Nations Security Council heard first-hand accounts of chemical weapons used in Syria on Thursday. Syrian doctor, Saher Sahloul, reported the use of chlorine gas in Idlib that left six dead. Qusai Zakarya, a victim of an attack in Ghouta in August of 2013 was also present. The UNSC considered whether action was needed to stop the attacks. Organizations like Human Rights Watch called for investigations into these attacks and alleged that they were war crimes. (News24)

Hadzic arrives in Serbia after ICTY grants provisional release: The International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) granted a provisional release to former Croatian Serb rebel leader Goran Hadzic for cancer treatment on 13 April 2015. Hadzic stands accused of 14 alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1991-95 war in Croatia. Hadzic arrived in the Serbian capital on 16 April 2015 and was escorted by police to Novi Sad, where he will receive his cancer treatment. (Turkish Weekly)

US Senator indicates move to introduce CAH provision in US law: U.S. Senator Dick Durbin announced during his speech at Northwestern University School of Law that he intends to reintroduce Crimes Against Humanity legislation in Congress. Durbin stated a US law needs to be in place against crimes against humanity. (International Criminal Justice Today)

 

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16 April 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

STL hears opening statements in obstruction case against Khayat:  Karma Khayat and her TV station are accused of obstruction of justice in connection with reporting the events surrounding the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri. The prosecution asserts that that Khayat and al-Jadeed deliberately set out to reveal the identities of witnesses who had been promised anonymity.  (For more information on this topic, please click here.)  (BBC, Reuters)

Kosovo Court sets framework for domestic war crimes court: Chapters 2 and 3 of the Kosovo Constitution have been affirmed.  Such amendments will effectively allow for the establishment of a war crimes court. The court will likely deal with war crimes committed by the now disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army.  (b92)

HRW highlights sexual violence as a “tactic of war”: Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has issued a report that urges the UN Security to “integrate attention to sexual violence into its monitoring and field visits to conflict-affected countries, and to take preventive steps and measures to ensure accountability, including sanctions and referrals to the International Criminal Court.”  A number of ongoing conflicts involve the use sexual violence as a way to terrorize civilian populations.  The secretary-general acknowledged the devastating effects such crimes have on victims and the under-reporting that generally occurs under such circumstances, thereby urging the Security Council to take a more active role in assisting victims and preventing crimes.  (HRW)

UN Leaders implore action to combat human rights violations linked to terrorism: Special Rapporteur, Ben Emmerson, acknowledges in a press release issued today that the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms must be firmly established in any attempt to dispel terrorism forces.   The press release also suggests a lack of respect for the rights of those suspected of terrorism.  (UN News)

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8 April 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICTY Appeals Chamber upholds life sentence:  The life sentence imposed on Zdravko Tolimir for genocide was upheld by the ICTY Appeals Chamber on Wednesday, 8 April 2015.  Tolimir, a former senior Bosnian Serb military leader directly reporting to commander Ratko Mladic, was convicted in December 2012 for crimes committed during the 1995 Srebrenica massacre which killed some 8,000 Muslim men and boys.  Presiding ICTY Appeals Judge Theodore Meron said “In light of these genocide convictions alone, the Appeals Chamber considers that Tolimir’s responsibility does not warrant a revision of his sentence.”  Ratko Mladic and former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic are the last remaining suspects at the ICTY charged in relation to Srebrenica.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (Newsweek, Wall Street Journal).

Bensouda says ICC has no jurisdiction to prosecute ISIS: While there is evidence Islamic State insurgents committed “crimes of unspeakable cruelty”, an ICC investigation and prosecution “appear limited”, said Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Wednesday, 8 April 2015.  Bensouda stated that the Court lacked jurisdiction into the situation in Syria and Iraq as neither are member parties to the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the ICC, and the United Nations Security Council had not requested an investigation.  Nonetheless, the Chief Prosecutor stated “The international community pledged that appalling crimes that deeply shock the conscience of humanity must not go unpunished.”  Bensouda noted that non-members could grant the ICC jurisdiction over the crimes, the U.N. Security Council could refer the matter or the Court could exercise “personal jurisdiction” over citizens of member states.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (The Guardian, Reuters).

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