Archive for category UN Security Council
U.K. threatens Sri Lanka with international inquiry: The U.K. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, William Hague, warned Sri Lanka that if it did not investigate allegations of sexual violence committed by government forces during its 26-year civil war it would be subject to an international inquiry. Hague warned the country that it had until the Human Rights Council met in March to conduct an independent and credible investigation. Sri Lanka is one country that has not yet signed the U.K.’s declaration to end sexual violence during conflict. (Sunday Times).
Bosnian Serbs arrested for CAH: The Bosnian prosecution office has charged nine suspects with crimes against humanity related to the country’s 1992-1995 civil war. The nine Bosnian Serb policeman allegedly “expelled, deported, illegally imprisoned, tortured, or killed non-Serbian civilians . . . in a systematic campaign against the Muslim and Croatian populations.” Nearly 100,000 died and millions were replaced as a result of the civil war. (Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty).
Bemba restrictions lifted at ICC: An ICC judge has ordered the immediate lifting of detention restrictions placed on Jean-Pierre Bemba and his recently imprisoned lead defense counsel, Aime Kilolo-Musamba. During detention, the two had been restricted to 30 minute phone calls, one hour monitored visits with family, and an initial 72 hour of no contact. Bemba argued the restrictions violated his right to counsel and Kilolo said it prevented him from presenting an adequate defense. Kilolo was arrested in November on allegations of witness interference and forged evidence. (Bemba Trial).
ICC investigations flawed, says Kenyan lawyers: Lawyers met in Nairobi on Tuesday, 3 December 2013, to protest ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s handling of investigations into Kenya. The lawyers claimed Bensouda and her predecessor forged evidence and relied on unreliable witnesses. One lawyer was quoted as saying: “It appears as though the court was determined to confirm the charges and the prosecution was convinced that there were substantial grounds to proceed with the case even though the investigations were questionable.” The ICC is currently trying Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and the case against the country’s sitting President will commence in February 2014. (All Africa).
Cooperation between ICTY and Serbia positive: It is expected the chief prosecutor of the ICTY, Serge Brammertz, will report positively to the U.N. Security Council on Serbia’s cooperation with the tribunal on Thursday, 5 December 2013. Brammertz met with officials in Serbia last month “to discuss transfer of documents and access to government archives and witnesses.” It appears the transition of matters between the ICTY and Serbia has gone smoothly and efficiently. Brammertz presents his findings twice a year to the Security Council. (In Serbia).
Bosnian war criminals to be released: A local court that issued judgements in over 100 cases since its establishment in 2005 to aid the ICTY is expected to release hundreds of Bosnian war criminals. In July 2013, the European Court of Human Rights ruled the local court erred in convicting and punishing accused under a 2003 criminal code. The ECHR concluded the court should have been applying a less stringent 1976 statute that was in force at the time the crimes were committed. The local court will now need to schedule retrials. (The Malay Mail).
Indonesia offers support to Cambodia and Thailand after ICJ verdict: Indonesia has pledged to aid Cambodia and Thailand as the two countries carry out the ICJ’s recent decision concerning the ownership of a Hindu temple. Indonesia stated it was “ready to assist in whatever means if both countries ask for its support in implementing the ICJ order.” In November 2013, the ICJ granted Cambodia ownership of the temple located near the Cambodian-Thai border. (Phnom Penh Post).
Sierra Leone Residual Court elects Kenya’s Wiki as President: Kenya’s Phillip Waki was elected President of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone on 3 December 2013. Waki previously served as an alternate appeals judge at the SCSL and sat on the Kenyan Court of Appeals and High Court. Justice Jon Kamanda of Sierra Leone was elected as Vice President. (The Star).
Kenya making progress in amending ICC rules: Reports indicate that through a formal presentation, Guatemala and Greece asked to amend Article 134 of the ICC Rules of Procedures to allow accused persons who are “mandated to fulfill important and extraordinary public duties” in their states to waive the requirement to be present at their trial. Instead, the amendment would let counsel represent the accused, who would not have to attend the trial at The Hague or follow it through video proceedings. Kenya, Japan, and South Africa all support the proposed amendment. Kenya’s second goal, to give sitting presidents immunity until their term has expired, will likely not be addressed until February at the Assembly of State Parties, even though Kenya is pushing for a special summit. Both changes would benefit Kenya, which has publicly objected to the requirement that President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto be present at their trials, whether in person or through video links. (Standard Digital).
Security Council condemns LRA war crimes, calls for support: On Monday, 25 November 2013, the UN Security Council condemned the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in a presidential statement, urging the group to cease its activities, disarm, and release abductees. The Council also asked the UN Office for Central Africa, UN peacekeeping missions, and the international community to support the implementation of the UN Regional Strategy, which is meant to address the activities of the LRA. The Council also applauded the efforts of the African Union Regional Cooperation Initiative and emphasized the importance of regional efforts to combat the LRA. The Security Council has repeatedly denounced the crimes against humanity and war crimes the LRA has committed in several African nations over the course of 15 years, especially the group’s use of child soldiers. (UN News Centre).
Serbian Prosecutor’s Office wants 15-year sentence for Juric: The Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office demanded that Ilija Jurisic, who served as a commander during the Bosnian War, be sentenced to 15 years in prison for allegedly ordering a large-scale attack on former Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) soldiers during their retreat from Tuzla, Bosnia, even though the withdrawal had allegedly been agreed upon previously. 51 soldiers died and 50 were wounded during this attack, a war crime for which Juric has been indicted in a domestic proceeding. Juric was already convicted in 2009 and sentenced to 12 years in prison, which was overruled by the Appellate Court in 2010, and the current rehearing seeks to establish why the JNA had withdrawn from Tuzla and whether Juric ordered the attack on the JNA.
Mbeki says ICC should not interfere in Africa: Former South African President Thabo Mbeki criticized the ICC’s prosecution of African leaders on Talk To Al Jazeera. In his opinion, the international community should focus on building peace in Africa, instead of imposing justice from the “outside.” He mentioned the trials of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir; intervening in the conflict is more important than prosecuting these leaders, especially when their leadership and influence could be useful in brokering peace. Justice, he explained, does not trump peace. Using his own country as an example, Mbeki stated that South Africa’s move from apartheid to democracy would have been far less smooth had former South African President F.W. de Klerk, who was an integral part of ending apartheid, been brought before the ICC during the conflict. (Al Jazeera Media Network).
Africa hot topic at ICC summit: The ICC’s annual summit, the Assembly of States Parties, opened this Wednesday, 20 November 2013. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon began the event by stressing the need for all U.N. members to ratify the Rome Statute and support the ICC in its efforts to end impunity. The fact that all the ICC’s prosecutions are currently focusing on Africa, particularly the cases against Kenya’s sitting heads of state, was at the forefront of the discussions. Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Minister Amina Mohamed questioned the Court’s “veracity and effectiveness” and accused the Court of “ignoring” and “treating with contempt and suspicion” the country’s attempts to delay the trials for security reasons. A special session was scheduled for Thursday to discuss amendments to the ICC’s rules that would permit sitting heads of states to waive the right to be present at trial. President of the Assembly of States Parties Tina Intelmann said the session would give the Assembly the opportunity to review the rules but it was unlikely a decision would be reached. (To read more about this topic, please click here.) (Washington Post, The Star).
Security Council votes against Kenyatta deferral: On 20 November 2013, the U.N. Security Council voted to dismiss an AU backed motion requesting a one year deferral of the ICC case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. The motion was two votes short of passing. Seven members of the Security Council, including China and Russia, voted in favor while eight were against. Kenyatta’s trial for crimes against humanity will begin in February 2013. (The Maravi Post).
Ruto to participate in ICC summit: ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has requested Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto refrain from discussing the ICC case against him at the ICC annual summit which opened on Wednesday, 20 November 2013. Bensouda “note[d] the apparent conflict of interest between Ruto’s public position as leader of the Kenyan delegation and his personal position as an accused in proceedings before the court.” The ICC previously advised Ruto to not discuss the crimes against humanity trial in the media. Bensouda asked the ICC to clarify if this pertained to the annual summit as well. (AFP).
Trial of Congolese officers for human rights offenses begins: A military trial against 39 officers began in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday, 20 November 2013. The officers have been charged for failing to control their soldiers from committing rape and other human rights violations against civilians. The offenses were committed by fleeing soldiers after a rebel group captured a city in the eastern part of the country for 10 days in November 2012. The rebel group was defeated only a couple weeks ago.
Security Council opts not to pass Kenyatta trial delay bid: On 15 November 2013, the resolution put to a vote before the UN Security Council on the deferral of the ICC trials of Kenya’s President and his deputy failed to pass. Nine votes were needed to approve the resolution but only eight were cast. (UN News).
Korean victims appeal to ICC: Family members of people abducted during the Korean War have decided to formally sue Kim Jong-un for unlawful detention and failure to address such abuses. The group filing the legal motion will also be providing supporting evidence, all of which will be submitted to the ICC on Wednesday of this week. (globalpost).
AU considers bid to alter Rome Statute: Kenya is counting on the support of numerous African countries to vote in favor of amendments to the Rome Statute which seek to excuse President Kenyatta and his deputy from continuous attendance of their cases as the have been cooperating with the court. Kenya would also like to see an amendment added to Article 27 that would grant immunity to sitting heads of state. Unfortunately, there are nine countries that are arrears and will lose their voting rights. (The Star).
Cameron uses Sri Lanka visit to encourage war crimes investigation: Prime Minister Cameron, while attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, made vocal his commitment to see that a human rights inquiry take place in Sri Lanka to investigate alleged war crimes. Cameron stated that if the Sri Lankan government did not take action in the next four months than he would call for a full credible and independent international inquiry. (For additional information on this topic, please click here). (The Guardian, SKY).
UK investigation alleges war crimes in Egypt: A high-profile legal team from the UK appointed by the Muslim Brotherhood have accused the military in Egypt of a number of crimes and human rights abuses since becoming the interim government upon Mohamed Morsi’s ousting in July. It is likely that a case will be brought in front of the ICC of the ICJ. (Aljazeera).
African Commission adopts treaty protecting individuals with Albinism: The UN human rights office welcomes the adoption of the first-ever resolution protection people with albinism by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The UN, while encouraged by these initial steps, would like to see all African States take action by enacting similar resolutions. (UN News).
Security Council to vote on deferral of Kenyatta trial: The fifteen member states of the U.N. Security Council will vote on a resolution this Friday, 15 November 2013, calling for a one year suspension of the ICC trials against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto. The AU backed resolution will need the support of at least nine member states in order to pass. Experts have predicted, however, that the resolution will fail since seven members are currently signatories of the ICC. (Global Post).
French court decides to extradite Rwandans: A French appeals court ruled this week that two genocide suspects could be extradited to Rwanda. The country has previously denied extraditions because of concerns suspects will be denied fair trial rights. However, French Judge Jean Bertholin assured Claude Muhayimana and Innocent Musabyimana that if the extradition was approved by a higher court, the two would “be guaranteed a fair trial” in Rwanda. Muhayimana and Musabyimana are accused of participating in mass killings of ethnic Tutsis during the 1994 genocide that claimed around 800,000 lives. (Global Post).
Kenyatta seeks public testimony of prosecution witnesses: Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked the ICC to deny granting protective measures of prosecution witnesses. Kenyatta argued suppressing identities and granting immunity from self-incrimination “constitutes an incentive for witnesses to lie and put forward false claims.” Kenyatta stated any measures violated his right to a fair and public trial. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda earlier requested protective measures for ten of the fifteen witnesses expected to testify against the President. (The Star).
Habre proceedings to be aired in Senegal and Chad: The trial of the former dictator of Chad, President Hissene Habre, will be broadcasted on television and radio in Senegal and Chad. Senegalese Justice Minister Sidiki Kaba announced the two countries were in the process of “work[ing] out which media outlets . . . will be given responsibility for the transmission.” Habre is being tried by a special court in Senegal for crimes against humanity and war crimes related to his 1982-1990 rule. (Global Post).
Security Council split on ICC deferral: The U.N. Security Council is split over whether to delay the ICC cases against Kenya’s sitting heads of state. Last week, the 15 state parties met to discuss an AU backed resolution calling for a deferral to allow President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto time to fulfill their executive duties at home. Experts opposed to the resolution argue a postponement may defer justice for victims. The U.N. Security Council is expected to vote this week on whether to approve the deferral. (All Africa).
Ivory Coast party seeks release of former President: The Ivorian Popular Front has officially requested the ICC release former President Laurent Gbagbo from custody. The opposition political party claims Gbagbo is being illegally detained after the ICC failed to present sufficient evidence of wrongdoing. The party’s organizer demanded the former President return to the Ivory Coast to “reconcile the people.” For the past two years, Gbagbo has been held in The Hague on charges of crimes against humanity for his participation in the 2010 post-election violence. (All Africa).
Kenya attacks planned after 2007 election, says ICC witness: A prosecution witness testified last week that members of the Orange Democratic Movement, a political party supported by ICC indictee William Ruto, planned attacks against the rival Party of National Unity. The protected witness told judges members of the Orange Democratic Movement stocked bows, arrows and rocks “with the objective of forcibly expelling” people of a differing ethnic group from their communities once the 2007 presidential election results were announced. Ruto, alongside co-accused Joshua arap Sang, is charged with inciting and ordering attacks that killed and displaced thousands of civilians after the party he supported was defeated in the election. (All Africa).
ICC judges call witness for Bemba trial: A judge ordered witness is expected to testify in the trial of Jean Pierre Bemba at the ICC on 18 November 2013. The evidence to be presented by the witness has not been disclosed, however, the individual has been “repeatedly mentioned” by other participants during the proceedings. The witness will first be examined by the judges. The prosecution, victim representatives and defense will then each have an opportunity to question the witness on relevant issues, as well as evidence that concerns credibility and mitigating or aggravating circumstances. The former Vice President of the DRC is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes. (All Africa).
China supports delay of Kenyatta case at ICC: China, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, urged the ICC on Tuesday, 5 November 2013, to postpone the case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta for at least a year. China’s U.N. Ambassador Liu Jieyi argued the dignity of Kenyatta must “be fully protected and respected” and that the Kenyan leader needed time to “concentrate on discharging [his] constitutional duties.” Kenyatta is on trial for crimes against humanity. The ICC case against him was previously suspended from November to 5 February 2014. (Eurasia Review).
30 killed in Nigerian attack; Islamist militants blamed: Members of an Islamist militant group responsible for a deadly attack on a wedding party in Nigeria this past Saturday, 2 November 2013, could face charges of crimes against humanity, said U.N. Human Rights Office Spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly. Pouilly reported the Nigerian government established a panel to investigate and report on alleged human rights abuses being committed in the country. Since 2009, thousands of Nigerians have been killed or displaced in the militant group’s fight to overthrow the government and replace it with a Islamist regime. (Voice of America).
International reports focus on U.S. drone strikes: Recent reports by U.N. special rapporteurs, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have examined whether the U.S.’s use of drone strikes complies with international humanitarian law. Amnesty International noted that lethal force outside armed conflict is legal only when proportionately used to protect life. The NGO stressed attacks must be targeted against militants and not harm civilians. Amnesty International’s report considered the drone strikes by the U.S. in Pakistan likely “constitute[d] extrajudicial executions” and were in violation of international law. Similarly, Human Rights Watch concluded certain U.S. drone strikes in Yemen “may have violated the laws of war because the individual attacked was not a lawful military target.” (The Guardian).
Thailand and Cambodia prepare for ICJ verdict: The ICJ’s expected 11 November 2013, ruling on the ownership of the Hindu temple located near the border of Thailand and Cambodia has many security officials worried. It is feared internal political disputes between either country’s government and opposition forces may “create a situation for misunderstanding” and “ignite a [border] conflict.” The Thai and Cambodian Foreign Ministers met last week to discuss military restraint and stability along the border. (The Nation).
ECCC defendants maintain not-guilty at closing arguments: On 31 October 2013, the two surviving former leaders of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge asked to be acquitted as closing arguments were made at the ECCC. Nuon Chea and Khieu were initially charged with crimes against humanity. It is expected that a verdict will be delivered in the first half of 2014. (UN News).
In absentia death sentences for two ICT-Bangladesh defendants: On 3 November 2013, Chowdhury Mueen Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khan were found guilty of carrying out episodes of torture and murder during the war of independence from Pakistan in 1971. Defense lawyers are calling the trial a farce while veterans of the war were said to be cheering the decision. (Reuters).
Kenya ICC trial delayed; encouraged by UN African members: Rwanda, Togo and Morocco circulated a draft resolution among UN Security Council members this last Friday asking to defer the ICC trials of President Kenyatta and his deputy Ruto for one year. The Security Council has the ability to defer ICC proceedings for one year under Article 16 of the Rome Statute. (For more information on this topic, please click here, here.) (Reuters, CNN).
Ruto responds to AU request for deferral: Mere days after the AU urged the permanent international court to defer the case against two Kenyan executives, Deputy President William Ruto reiterated his intention to cooperate fully with the ICC. On Tuesday, 15 October 2013, Ruto stated that he “more preferably . . . would want to work with the court’s decision to grant [the executives] excusal from continuous attendance” in The Hague. The AU, on the other hand, announced its plan to find alternate means of deferrral if the ICC did not delay the Kenyan President’s trial for one year pursuant to Rome Statute Article 16. (Voice of America).
Russian committee seeks termination of ICTY’s Mladic trial: A Russian committee established specifically to research the charges and legality of the ICTY’s case against Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic has requested the UN Security Council terminate the remaining proceedings. According to committee Chairman Pavel Dorohin, the Tribunal is prejudiced against Serbs and the judges consistently deny the accused fair trial rights. Mladic faces charges of genocide and crimes against humanity over accusations the military leader directed attacks against civilians during the 1992-1995 Bosnian War. (In Serbia).
ICC witness in Ruto trial talks death, destruction: An ICC prosecution witness testified on Tuesday, 15 October 2013, to discovering dead bodies, some eaten by animals, and burnt down and looted houses in the wake of Kenya’s 2007 presidential election. The witnesses statements were presented as evidence in the shared trial against Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang for crimes against humanity. Ruto argued the “methodology of the prosecution to manipulate, buy and bribe witnesses in their bid to incriminate us in these allegations [was] appalling.” (All Africa).
Cambodia-Thailand land dispute to be resolved next month at ICJ: On 11 November 2013, the ICJ is expected to rule on the ownership of an area of land near the Cambodian and Thai border. The 4.6 square km disputed area is in close proximity to the Preah Vihear temple Cambodia was awarded in 1962 by the ICJ. Cambodia is prepared to cooperate with Thailand after the decision is issued and claims the verdict will not affect the country’s good relationship with its neighbor. (Global Times).
ICC judges to rule on admission of untried evidence: Former Vice President of the DRC Jean Pierre Bemba has filed motions challenging the prosecution’s request to admit nearly 3,000 pages of transcripts not previously admitted as evidence in the ICC trial. Bemba alleged the introduction of transcripts the defense had no opportunity to cross examine violates fair trial rights. The former Vice President argued the Court’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence affords an accused the chance to “make submissions on reliability, probative value or prejudice of . . . potential new evidence.” ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, however, argued the relevance and probative value of the evidence outweighed any potential prejudicial effect on Bemba. (Open Society Foundation).
Rwandan President criticizes ICC: Rwanda’s Paul Kagame is the latest African President to criticize the ICC for prosecuting sitting heads of state. In a recent African Review report, Kagame accused Western powers of unfairly targeting Africans and engaging in “selective” justice. Zimbabwe’s president previously warned Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta against attending his pending ICC trial in The Hague because of bias. (News 24).
Former President Taylor requests Rwandan incarceration: On 14 October 2013 it was reported that Charles Taylor would rather serve his fifty year sentence in Rwanda instead of the UK. Taylor argued in a letter to the court that his incarceration in the UK would put an undue burden on his relatives. Taylor’s appeal was rejected and it was later confirmed by a UK minister that his sentence would be served in a UK prison. (BBC).
Closing statements at ECCC set for this week: The ECCC has hearing final statements of former regime leaders in the near future. The UN-backed court will on Wednesday enter the last phase of the trial of “Brother Number Two” Nuon Chea, 87, and ex-head of state Khieu Samphan, 82. The court is currently investigating two possible new cases but analysts believe a shortage of funds and politics may restrict the start of any new proceedings. (AFP).
AU Summit says Kenyatta should not attend trial; draws international criticism: The AU has called on the ICC to delay the trial of Kenyan President Kenyatta. During a recent AU summit the continent’s relationship to the ICC was in focus. African leaders accuse the ICC of unfairly targeting people on the continent and ignoring the rest of the world. (Aljazeera, Amnesty Int.). For more information on this topic, please click here.
ICC allows Libyan Trial of al-Senussi: On 12 October 2013 it was announced that al-Senussi will be tried in Libya. ICC judges have ruled that Libya has produced a sufficient number of competent authorities to carry out a proper investigation of al-Senussi’s alleged crimes. (Aljazeera).