Archive for category UN Security Council


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).

Leave a comment


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).

Leave a comment


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).

Leave a comment


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).

Leave a comment


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).

Leave a comment


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).

Leave a comment


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).

Leave a comment

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).

Leave a comment

4 February 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICTY Prosecutor comments on reconsideration motion in Perišić case: On Monday, 3 February 2014, ICTY Prosecutor Serge Brammertz announced that his Office requested that the ICTY Appeals Chamber reconsider its acquittal of Momčilo Perišić, the former Chief of Staff of the Yugoslav Army, who had been convicted to 27 years in prison for aiding and abetting crimes committed in Sarajevo and Srebrenica between 1993 and 1995. In its motion for reconsideration, the Office of the Prosecutor argued that the “specific direction” requirements on which the Appeals Chamber based the acquittal is incorrect and should be overturned. (ICTY).

Witness from explosive unit testified at STL: On Monday, 3 February 2014, Abdel-Badih al-Soussi, who was the manager of the explosives unit of the Internal Security Forces at the time Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated, testified before the STL. Although he had not gone to the crime scene immediately following the explosion, he had attended a meeting at the military court that afternoon, to which a member of the explosives bureau had brought car parts from the site. The judge ordered that the parts be examined and the site cordoned off to the public. Soussi testified that he did not ask that the car parts be returned to the crime scene, nor did the judge discuss during the meeting whether parts of the motorcade should be removed. (The Daily Star).

Judge replaced on Kenyatta Trial Chamber: Following a decision by the Presidency of the ICC, Judge Geoffrey A. Henderson replaced Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji in the case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta before Trial Chamber V(b). Judge Henderson is from Trinidad and Tobago, and was elected at the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute in November 2013. He will serve as a judge at the ICC until 10 March 2021. Judge Eboe-Osuji had excused himself from the trial. (ICC-CPI).

U.S. urged to suspend aid due to human rights violations in Egypt: On Monday, 3 February 2014, the Working Group on Egypt, as part of the NGO Human Rights First, released a statement that it had sent a letter to U.S. President Obama, urging his administration to cease sending aid to Egypt until the Egyptian government progresses in transitioning to a democracy and improves human rights conditions within the country. According to the NGO, depriving Egypt of aid until progress has been made sends a clear signal that the U.S. does not tolerate the human rights abuses that have occurred in Egypt, which are documented in a report the group recently released. (Human Rights First).

Former Bangladeshi Minister indicted for war crimes: On Sunday, 2 February 2014, the International Crimes Tribunal-2 indicted Syed Mohammad Qaisar, a former Bangladeshi minister from the Jatiya Party, on 16 charges of war crimes, including the commission of genocide. He and his group, the “Quaisar Bahini”, allegedly committed crimes against humanity in Habiganj and Brahmanbaria during the 1971 Liberation War. According to the prosecution, Quaisar had also served as a commander of the Rajakars, which was an auxiliary group of the former Pakistani army. The opening statement of the prosecution will be made on 4 March 2014. (Z News).

AU issues statement urging united front concerning ICC and Kenya, Sudan cases: In a statement issued Saturday, 1 February 2014, the AU expressed that it was not pleased with the UN Security Council’s refusal to defer the trials of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto, and Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir. The AU encouraged all of its members to comply with AU decisions and stand together on this issue in order to defer the proceedings. Botswana is currently the only AU member state that has officially opposed the AU’s decision to challenge the ICC cases. (Sudan Tribune).

Leave a comment

23 December 2013 – DECISION REVIEW

Court/Tribunal: International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

Decision Title: Decision on Bernard Munyagishari’s Third and Fourth Motions for Admission of Additional Evidence and on the Appeals Against the Decision on Referral Under Rule 11 bis

Chamber: Appeals Chamber

Case Name: Bernard Munyagishari v. The Prosecutor

Date: 3 May 2013


Executive Summary:

  •  Both Defendant Munyagihari and the Prosecution appealed the Referral Chamber’s decision transferring, with conditions, his case from the ICTR to the national Rwandan courts. The defendant first asked the Appeals Chamber to consider additional evidence, which it rejected. The defense the presented ten grounds upon which it argued that the Referral Court erred when reaching the decision to transfer the case. The Appeals Chamber dismissed all but one, according to which the Appeals Chamber required that the Prosecution amend the Indictment to reflect that the national proceedings will not pursue joint criminal enterprise as a mode of liability. The Prosecution argued against two of the four conditions that the Referral Chamber had ordered to the national proceedings; the Appeals Chamber struck the conditions.


Principles found in decision:

  • Even if proposed additional evidence meets the requirements under Rule 115 for admission after-the-fact, if the additional evidence would not have been dispositive in the original decision, the Appeals Court will not consider the evidence
  • An Indictment against a defendant must completely and accurately reflect the charges against the defendant, so as to effectuate his right to be so informed. If the mode of liability is changed in a transfer case, this change must be reflected in an amended indictment
  • The U.N. Security Council Resolutions regarding the ICTR do not require retention of high-level cases at the Tribunal
  • In arguing that national proceedings will not adequately maintain international standards for the defendant’s detention, the defendant must show case-specific evidence of inadequate conditions for his transfer case. He cannot rely upon general evidence about the national prison system as a whole
  • Ensuring a defendant’s rights to counsel does not require that an attorney appointed to represent an indigent defendant in a case transferred to a national court have previous international experience in order to ensure
  • If a referring court requires third-party monitoring of cases transferred to national courts to ensure a fair trial, the monitoring system need not be established before the case is transferred to the national system


Decision Background: Mr. Munyagihari is indicted before the Tribunal for events stemming out of the Rwandan Genocide of 1992-1994. He is charged with conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide, or alternatively complicity in genocide, murder and rape as crimes against humanity. On 6 June 2012, the Tribunal’s Referral Chamber issued the Impugned Decision, in which it ordered the case referred for trial before the High Court of Rwanda. The referral of the case to a domestic court was subject to the domestic court’s ability to meet four conditions set out by the Referral Chamber.

In June 2010, both the defense and the prosecution filed notices of appeal against the decision to refer the case to a domestic Rwandan court. In November and December of 2012, the defense filed two motions for the consideration of additional evidence on the decision to refer the case to Rwanda, both of which the Appeals Chamber dismissed. The defense filed a third motion for the consideration of additional evidence on 11 February 2013, and filed a fourth motion to consider additional evidence on 4 April 2013. In his third motion, the defendant requested that, pursuant to Rule 115 of the Rules, an article published in the New York Times on 6 February 2013, and a communiqué published on 7 February 2013, regarding an alleged absence of a system to monitor any tribunal undertaken in Rwanda. In his fourth motion, the defendant requests that the Tribunal consider a report published on 25 March 2013 by Amnesty International, allegedly revealing serious deficiencies with the Rwandan judicial system and his ability to receive a fair trial in a national proceeding.

The defendant  challenged the decision to refer his case to domestic Rwandan proceedings. He advanced ten grounds upon which he contested the decision.

The Prosecution also appealed the Impugned Decision, challenging in one ground of appeal the Referral Chamber’s subjection of the national proceedings to two conditions. 

Decision Review:

Third and Fourth Motions for Consideration of Additional Evidence—

The Appeals Chamber first considered the defense’s third and fourth motions to hear additional evidence on the referral of the case to domestic Rwandan courts. The Appeals Chamber noted that under Rule 115, a motion to hear additional evidence shall not be filed more than 30 days from the filing of the reply brief unless there is a showing of good cause for delay, and that this limit applies to appeals from referral decisions; the Chamber noted that the defendant filed his motions outside of the allotted time frame. However, because the articles of additional evidence were not published in their original source until after the 30-day window, and were thus not available during the allotted time frame, the Appeals Chamber found good cause for delay, and stated it would consider the evidence.

Rule 115 allows for the admission of additional evidence on appeal when a party has possession of material that was not presented at trial, and that represents evidence on a question of fact that was at issue during trial. In order to be considered on appeal, the evidence must not have been available at trial in any form, and must not have been discoverable in any form through the exercise of due diligence. The additional evidence must be relevant and credible. If the evidence is relevant and credible, but was available during referral proceedings, the Appeals Chamber may allow it if the moving party can establish that its exclusion would constitute a miscarriage of justice.

The Appeals Chamber found that the additional evidence presented in the Third Motion met all of the admission requirements under Rule 115. The Chamber, however, found that the additional evidence would not have been a decisive factor in the Impugned Decision. The Appeals Chamber found that the hearings on referral adduced satisfactory evidence of Rwanda’s willingness to hold the trial, and found concerns allegedly raised by the evidence in the Third Motion are speculative. As such, the Appeals Chamber found that the evidence in the Third Motion could have had any impact on the Referral Chamber’s decision to refer the case to Rwanda.

The Appeals Chamber found that the Amnesty International report requested in the Fourth Motion met all of the Rule 115 requirements for admission. However, the Appeals Chamber found that the evidence would not have been a decisive factor in the decision to refer the case to Rwanda. The Amnesty report concerned issues and problems that occurred in another defendant’s trial, and that the present defendant’s trial would be protected under Rwandan law by additional assurances and protections afforded to cases referred by the Tribunal; the former case did not have these protections. Thus, the Chamber found that the differences between the two cases were significant such that the Amnesty report could not have had an impact on the referral decision.

Pursuant to the above, the Appeals Chamber dismissed the defendant’s third and fourth motions to consider additional evidence.

Defense Challenge to the Impugned Decision—

The defendant challenged the decision to refer the case to the domestic Rwandan court system. He advanced ten grounds upon which he contested the Referral Chamber’s decision. Under Rule 11, the Tribunal may refer a case to national proceedings, upon findings that the defendant will receive a fair trial, and that the defendant will not be subjected to the death penalty.

The Referral Chamber holds the discretion to refer a case to national proceedings, and the Appeals Chamber will only interfere if the Referral Chamber’s decision was based on discernible error.

GROUND 1: The Prosecution declared that if the case were referred to Rwanda, it would no longer pursue joint criminal enterprise against the defendant as a mode of liability. The Referral Chamber found that it was not necessary to amend the Indictment against the defendant based upon this concession, finding that the defendant’s rights would not be prejudiced. The defendant argued that the Referral Chamber erred in failing to order the Prosecution to amend the Indictment to reflect the change in mode of liability.

  • The Appeals Chamber found that failing to amend the indictment would subject the defendant to an indictment that did not clearly and accurately inform him of the charges he faces. The Appeals Chamber found that the Referral Chamber erred in not requiring amendment of the Indictment to give effect to the concession that joint criminal enterprise liability would not be pursued at the national level. The Appeals Chamber ordered the Prosecution to amend the Indictment to reflect its concession as to joint criminal enterprise liability.

GROUND 2: Noting that U.N. Security Council Resolutions referring the situation in Rwanda to the International Tribunals contemplated transferring the cases of intermediate and lower-ranked Rwandan officials to national courts, rather than the transfer of cases involving senior official, the defendant argued that the Referral Chamber erred in finding that his case could be transferred to Rwandan courts.

  • The Appeals Chamber found that the Referral Chamber was bound by Rule 11 bis of the Rules when making its decision whether to refer the case, which did not require the consideration of the defendant’s level of responsibility
  • The Appeals Chamber further found that the U.N. Resolutions left the implementation strategy for the Rwandan Tribunals to the discretion of the Tribunal. The U.N. Resolutions did not require the referral of only lower-level defendants to national courts. The Referral Chamber did not err in finding that it could refer the case to Rwanda
  • The Appeals Chamber dismissed the defendant’s second ground of appeal


GROUND 3: The defendant argued that the Referral Chamber erred in finding that transferring the case to Rwanda would not lead to undue delay of the trial. The defendant noted four specific conditions which it contended that the Chamber did not adequately assess.

  • The Appeals Chamber noted that the Referral Chamber addressed and rejected the defendant’s arguments regarding the four factor’s impact on undue delay, and that he could not use an appeal to relitigate the issues
  • Regarding any error of the Referral Chamber to fail to consider the cumulative effects of the factors, the Appeals Chamber found that the consideration of the four factors cumulatively would not have changed the decision
  • The Appeals Chamber rejected the third ground of appeal

GROUND 4: The defendant argued that the Referral Chamber erred in failing to establish that a presumption of innocence against the defendant would in fact be maintained during the national proceedings.

  • The Appeals Chamber found that, when read in its entire context, the Impugned Decision indicates that the Referral Chamber adequately considered whether the defendant’s right to presumed innocence would be respected in practice in national proceedings
  • The Appeals Chamber dismissed the fourth ground of appeal

GROUND 5: The defendant argued that he had previously been convicted in absentia through proceedings in Rwanda, and that therefore the referral of his case to Rwanda would violate Nin bis in idem. The Referral Chamber had found that the previous Rwanda judgment against the defendant was vacated by the Court of Appeals, and thus proceedings in Rwanda would not violate double jeopardy. The defendant noted that subsequent confusion around the disposition of that case (whether he had been convicted or acquitted) meant that the Chamber could not definitively find that a conviction had been nullified, and thus whether national proceedings would violate double jeopardy.

  • The Appeals Chamber noted that evidence as to the previous Rwandan judgment does not establish whether the defendant was acquitted or convicted in that case. Thus, the Referral Chamber erred in basing its decision on the double jeopardy question on a finding that the defendant’s conviction had been vacated.
  • The Appeals Chamber found, however, that the national Court of Appeals had vacated the judgment in that case, regardless of which finding on guilt was reached. Therefore, the Referral Chamber did not err in finding that national proceedings would not violate double jeopardy
  • The Appeals Chamber dismissed ground five

GROUND SIX: The defendant argued that the Referral Chamber erred in finding that conditions of detention in Rwanda would meet international standards of detention, in light of evidence that allegedly showed that prison conditions in Rwanda do not meet international standards.

  • The Appeals Chamber found that the Impugned Decision properly considered the legal framework in Rwanda, and its implications for meeting international standards of detention
  • The Appeals Chamber found that the evidence presented, purporting to show the poor running of the Rwandan prison system, was irrelevant in that it concerned the total national prison system, and not the separate facilities for cases referred from the Tribunal
  • The Appeals Chamber dismissed ground six

GROUND 7: The defendant argued that the Referral Chamber erred in finding that he would, in practice, have access to defense witnesses under the same conditions as those testifying for the prosecution.

  • The Appeals Chamber found that the Referral Chamber sufficiently considered the defendant’s access to witnesses. Its considerations went beyond the legal framework in Rwanda, and examined in length factors implicating the defendant’s ability to access witnesses
  • The Appeals Chamber found that the defendant failed to show that the Referral Chamber erred in its findings underlying its decision
  • The Appeals Chamber dismissed ground seven

GROUND 8: The defendant argued that the Referral Chamber erred in finding that his right to an effective defense would be maintained in Rwanda. He argued that the Referral Chamber failed to ensure that Rwanda would be able to provide sufficient funds to defense counsel to carry out necessary work.

  • The Appeals Chamber found that the Referral Chamber did not err in considering all of the relevant Rwandan law regarding the right of an indigent defendant to have effective assistance of counsel
  • The Appeals Chamber noted that should adequate funding not be provided, the case is subject to revocation from Rwandan proceedings
  • The Appeals Chamber dismissed ground eight

GROUND 9: The Referral Chamber held that it would be in the best interests of justice if the Rwandan proceedings were subject to some form of outside monitoring. The defendant argued that the Referral Chamber erred in allowing transfer of his case before an independent monitoring system in Rwanda has been established.

  • The Appeals Chamber found that the defendant had not established how the fact that he has yet to be informed of which organization will monitor the national proceedings substantive affects his rights
  • The Appeals Chamber found that the defendant failed to establish how his transfer to Rwanda before the actual appointment of monitors would substantively affect his rights or deprive him of the monitoring protections implemented by the Referral Chamber. The Appeals Chamber also noted that national proceedings are subject to revocation if monitors are not appointed
  • The Appeals Chamber dismissed ground nine

GROUND 10: The defendant argued that the Referral Chamber directly interfered with proceedings of the national trial when it imposed conditions on any national proceedings. The defendant argued that the Referral Chamber does not have the power to directly interfere with national proceedings, and thus exceeded its jurisdiction. Further, the defendant argued that the fact that the Referral Chamber found it necessary to impose additional conditions on the national proceeding, meant that the national proceedings would not sufficiently guarantee his rights to a fair trial. As such, the defendant argued that the Referral Chamber erred in allowing the transfer.

  • The Appeals Chamber found that while a referral chamber may add additional considerations on to a transfer case in order to ensure that a defendant will receive a fair national trial, it must be satisfied that the basic national proceedings will afford the defendant rights comparable to Article 20 of the Statute. Thus, in allowing the transfer, the Referral Chamber found that at base, the national proceedings would afford the defendant adequate rights
  • The Appeals Chamber also noted that the conditions imposed upon the national proceedings are not mandatory: the Rwandan legal system may decline to accept the referred case if it does not wish to comply with the imposed conditions. Thus, the Referral Decision does not mandate any course of action from the national system, nor interfere with the independent and discretionary decisions of the national system. The Appeals Chamber found that the Referral Chamber has not exceeded its jurisdiction.
  • The Appeals Chamber dismissed ground ten

Prosecution’s Appeal—

The Prosecution appealed two of the four conditions upon which the Referral Chamber rested the transfer of the case to national courts. The first condition challenged was that Rwanda provide the defendant with a lawyer with previous international experience. The second condition was that the Rwandan authorities provide the Tribunal with a written assurance that Articles 54 and 55 of the Code of Criminal Procedure would not be used during the trial. The Prosecution argued that while a referral chamber may impose conditions on the transfer of cases to national courts, its discretion to do so was not unlimited, and the conditions must be limited to that which is necessary to ensure a fair national trial. The Prosecution argued that these conditions were not necessary to afford the defendant a fair trial, and as such constituted abuse of discretion. Further, the Prosecution argued that the referral chamber may not interfere too far on the sovereign conduct of the national court system, and argued that the two imposed conditions reached beyond the referral chamber’s authority to impose conditions on sovereign systems.

The Appeals Chamber found that there is no requirement at the Tribunal, or in any relevant international legal instrument, that an appointed attorney have prior relevant international experience. The Appeals Chamber found that if Rwanda appoints a national attorney who has all of the relevant national qualifications and licenses, the attorney provides the defendant adequate representation of counsel. Thus, it found that the Referral Chamber erred in requiring the first condition. The Appeals Chamber set aside the first condition.

The Appeals Chamber found that in regards to the second challenged condition, the Referral Chamber was concerned that the functioning of domestic Rwandan criminal procedure could potentially open defense witnesses to prosecution for acts testified to during the trial of a referred case. This could thus impact the defense’s ability to access witnesses for his case. The condition was meant to allay witness fears of prosecution, in order to increase defense access. The Appeals Chamber found, however, that following amendments to transfer laws in 2009, and improvements in witness protection, adequate safeguards are in place to address witness concerns and increase the likelihood of their appearance. As such, the Appeals Chamber found that the condition was not necessary to ensure a fair trial, that the concerns it addressed were speculative, and thus the Referral Chamber erred in requiring it. The Appeals Chamber set aside the second condition.

To access the full Decision, click here.

Leave a comment


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 304 other followers