Archive for category UN Security Council

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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8 December 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Following withdrawal of Kenyatta charges, Amnesty calls for justice for victims: President Kenyatta’s charges for crimes against humanity were dropped last week and Amnesty International now demands justice for the victims. Amnesty’s regional director for East Africa, the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region, Muthoni Wanyeki, stated that the ICC and the Kenyan government are failing the victims. Mitchelle Kagiri, Amnesty’s deputy regional director for East Africa, stated that the ICC should reopen investigations to find areas that were missed. (World Bulletin)

Israel initiates investigations into crimes in Gaza: The Israeli military has initiated investigations into crimes that occurred during the war between Israeli and Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip this past summer. The war lasted for fifty days and ended on August 23rd. The Israeli military already faced accusations of war crimes from Amnesty International and an inquiry from the United Nations Human Rights Council. (The New York Times)

ICT Bangladesh to amend tribunal’s founding act to include prosecution of an organisation: The International Criminal Tribunal Act of 1973 did not contain a provision for trying organisations in the court. The government is now trying to amend the Act in order to bring organisations like Jamaat-e-Islami before the court. The government wants to try Jamaat-e-Islami for crimes against humanity during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971. The proposed amendment will be given to the cabinet this December or in January. (Dhaka Tribune)

Interpol issues red notices for Muslim Brotherhood leaders: Interpol issued over forty arrest warrants for Muslim Brotherhood leaders this past week. This included Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, head of the Doha-based International Union of Muslim Scholars. An Egyptian security official stated that those on the warrant list are wanted for different terror-related crimes. He also stated that Egyptian authorities helped persuade Interpol that these members of the Muslim Brotherhood were fugitives and terrorists. (Albawaba News)

UNSC to evaluate N. Korea HR record: The United Nations Security Council will meet later this month due to ten of the fifteen members requesting to discuss North Korea’s rights record in a letter to Chadian Ambassador Cherif Mahamat Zene, whose country currently holds the council’s presidency. The meeting concerns referring Pyongyang to the ICC for crimes against humanity. UN diplomats stated that it was likely that China would block the move to refer North Korea to the ICC with its veto power. (China Post)

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5 December 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC Prosecutor withdraws charges against Kenyan President Kenyatta: Prosecutors at the ICC dropped the charges against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta for crimes against humanity. Kenyatta was indicted for inciting post-election violence in 2007. The charges were dropped after the ICC gave prosecutors a one-week deadline to submit evidence against Kenyatta or to drop the charges. Prosecutors had asked for more time to build its case on more than one occasion, claiming witnesses had been bribed or intimidated. The ICC gave this one-week ultimatum stating that any further delays would be “contrary to the interest of justice.” (BBC) (for additional information please click here)

Former UNAMID spokesperson asks Bensouda to push UNSC for Sudan inquiry: Aicha Elbasri, former United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur spokesperson, asked prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, to look into an alleged cover-up by UN peacekeepers in Sudan. Elbasri pushed Bensouda to ask the United Nations Security Council to look further into these matters. Elbasri’s letter stated that the UN peacekeepers assigned to investigate the claims of manipulating the truth about Darfur were part of “an internal, partial, biased and secretive process.” Elbasri stepped down as spokesperson in April 2013 with claims that she had been prevented from informing the public about the events occurring in Darfur. (Sudan Tribune)

ECCC Prosecution appeals judges’ decision not to consider foreseeable crimes: The Trial Chamber of the Khmer Rouge tribunal refused ECCC prosecutor’s claims against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan in crimes that the two did not directly order or oversee. The prosecutors are now appealing that decision stating that the defendants should be held accountable for crimes that were reasonably foreseeable. Chea and Samphan both are already facing life sentences for crimes against humanity and are appealing those decisions. William Smith, international deputy co-prosecutor, stated that the Trial Chamber should be able to consider crimes such as rape that were foreseeable from actions of the accused. (Cambodia Daily)

Seselj rejects return to ICTY detention after provisional release: Earlier this week, the prosecution filed a motion to send nationalist leader Vojislav Seselj back to ICTY detention. Seselj was accused with Serbian war crimes, but was provisionally released to seek treatment for cancer. Seselj vowed that he would not return to the Tribunal. Chief prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, stated that despite Seselj’s health condition, Seselj has still made many comments that insult victim communities. Brammertz also stated that these comments called into question the trial chamber’s assessment of Seselj’s condition for provisional release. (Journal of Turkish Weekly)

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24 November 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ECCC boycott results in trial adjournment until January 2015: The genocide trial for Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, two ex-Khmer Rouge leaders, has been adjourned until 8 January 2015. Khieu Samphan’s defence attorneys continued to boycott the proceedings for the defendant. Both defendants wanted more time to file appeal documents on their life sentences for crimes against humanity in a previous trial in August. Judge Nil Nonn stated that the court did not have any other alternative, but would pursue misconduct proceedings against the attorneys. (eNews Channel Africa)

 Activist calls for UNSC attention to alleged rapes in Darfur: Ahmed Hussein Adam, researcher at Cornell University, calls to the UN Security Council to probe into the security and humanitarian situation in Darfur and protect civilians. Hussein Adam urged the Security Council to inquire into the mass rape of women in Tabit. He expressed disappointment by victims and their families in the Security Council’s decision for the Sudanese government to conduct investigations. Hussein Adam does not think that Sudan should investigate itself and called for the ICC to investigate, as well as add more charges. (Radio Dabanga)

ICC Prosecution Witness testifies about treatment in witness protection: An ICC prosecution witness, referred to as Witness 800, states how he considered recanting his statement for the prosecution in a trial due to the treatment by protection officers. An individual, referred to as person 19, told him about an offer from another individual, referred to as person 7. Witness 800 considered taking the offer because the amount of money his family received was not enough to support them. This is not the first instance of witness interference in the trial against Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang who both face three counts of crimes against humanity. (AllAfrica)

HRW says Israeli’s demolition of Palestinian homes could be war crime: On 22 November 2014, Human Rights Watch called upon Israel to stop its practice of demolishing Palestine terrorists’ homes. The NGO states that this practice unlawfully punishes those who did not commit terrorist acts and could constitute as a war crime. Three current houses have been slated for demolition, but the families have appealed. Mohammed Mahmud, the families’ lawyer, stated that their petition would be heard by an Israeli military court on Sunday. (Israel National News)

Nizami appeal filed and Mobarak verdict expected at ICT Bangladesh: Mobarak Hossain, alleged Razakar commander, has his verdict coming out on Monday for his trial. Mobarak stands accused of crimes against humanity during the Liberation War. The prosecution sought the death penalty at the end of trial in May. Motiur Rahman Nizami, Jamaat chief, has appealed his verdict from the ICT to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. Nizami was sentenced to death for crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War. Nizami is seeking acquittal from all war crimes charges. (Dhaka Tribune) (for additional information click here)

ICC conduct official visit to Bulgaria: Prosecutor General of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr Sotir Tsatsarov, invited ICC officials for an official visit to Bulgaria to meet with high-level Bulgarian representatives. ICC officials included President of the ICC, Judge Sang-Hyun Song, ICC Prosecutor, Mrs Fatou Bensouda, and ICC Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova. Bulgarian officials repeated Bulgaria’s commitment to the ICC and international criminal justice. (International Criminal Court)

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20 November 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Khieu Samphan Defense misses ECCC deadline to end boycott: On Monday, 17 November 2014, ECCC judges gave Khieu Samphan until 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, 18, November 2014, to end the boycott of his defense team in Case 002/02 or else face expedited proceedings.  Samphan has apparently ignored this order and has not withdrawn instructions to his defense team to boycott proceedings.  Samphan defense counsel Anta Guisee stated that “It’s not a whim from his part to annoy the Trial Chamber but a urge to be able to defend himself properly.”  (The Cambodia Daily).

Jamaican Judge Robinson elected to the bench at ICJ: The ICJ has elected Jamaican Judge Patrick Lipton Robinson to serve a nine-year tenure beginning February 2015. Judge Robinson’s election followed several rounds of voting in which the Security Council and General Assembly were deadlocked.  Judge Robinson consistently received more than 2/3 majority votes in the General Assembly while Argentina’s Susana Ruiz Cerutti, who withdrew last Wednesday, received the majority in the Security Council.  Judge Robinson is the first Jamaican and second Caribbean person to serve on the Court.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (StabroekNews.com, Jamaica Observer).

FIDH concerned by effect ICC reforms will have on victims’ participation: The International Federation for Human Rights submitted comments to the ICC relating to proposals for changes to the Registry’s structure and managerial framework.  While supporting the Registry in its initiative for improvement, the FIDH is concerned that the reform process “may fundamentally affect the rights of victims to participate and obtain legal representation.”  Specifically, the FIDH notes that the reform could, among other things, deprive victims of external independent counsel and prevent sufficient victim/counsel contact.  (FIDH).

ICTY spokesman says Chamber can monitor Seselj’s actions while released:  ICTY spokesperson Magdalena Spalinska said the Tribunal retains discretion to take suitable action over the provisional release of former Serbian leader Vojislav Seselj.  Seselj was granted provisional release earlier this month on the condition he not interfere with victims or witnesses and he return to the Tribunal if summoned.  Last week, Seselj made public appearances which could be seen as interfering with victims and witnesses.  (B92).

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19 November 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Resolution passed at UN urging SC to refer N. Korea to ICC: On Tuesday, 18 November 2014, the U.N. General Assembly’s human rights committee approved a resolution urging the Security Council to hold North Korea and its leader Kim Jong-un accountable for crimes against humanity.  The non-binding resolution cites the U.N. commission of inquiry report issued earlier this year that found evidence of human rights abuses in North Korea committed under policies “established at the highest level of the state for decades.”  China and Russia, permanent members of the Security Council, were against the resolution which will now go to the General Assembly for vote in December.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (The Guardian).

STL hears testimony from Lebanese MP: Former Lebanese Minister Marwan Hamade testified at the Special Tribunal of Lebanon this week on the strained relationship between Syrian President Bashar Assad and former Lebanon Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.  Hamade described, among other things, how Assad allegedly humiliated Hariri in public outings and expected “complete obedience” from the former prime minister prior to the February 2005, assassination of Hariri.  The Special Tribunal is currently trying five men in absentia for the assassination. (The Daily Star).

Sri Lankan Commission of Inquiry to begin collecting evidence: Secretary to the Sri Lankan Presidential Commission H.W. Gunadasa said that the Commission will be accepting written statements concerning abuses committed during the country’s civil war that ended in 2009.  Gunadasa said the statements will be received until 31 December 2014, at which point the Commission will begin inquiries and investigations of alleged war crimes and human rights abuses.  The Commission is tasked with investigating and reporting on the events leading up to Sri Lanka’s civil war and whether any person or group should be held responsible.  (Global Post).

ECCC gives boycotting defense team ultimatum: On Monday, 17 November 2014, ECCC accused Khieu Samphan was told to end the boycott of his trial by defense counsel or else face expedited proceedings, such as the appointment of a new defense team or “any other action the court may deem appropriate.”  Samphan’s counsel were not present in the courtroom on Monday when the ECCC judges considered how to address the ongoing boycott.  Since 17 October 2014, proceedings in Case 002/02 have been adjourned as Samphan and co-accused Nuon Chea ordered their defense counsel to boycott until certain procedural complaints were resolved.  (The Cambodia Daily).

DRC military tribunal sentences army officer and rebel commander to death:  Congolese military lieutenant, Nzanzu Birotsho, and rebel leader of the Ugandan Islamist Allied Democratic Forces, Jamil Makulu, were sentenced to death on Monday, 17 November 2014, by the Democratic Republic of Congo military tribunal.  The senior army officer and the rebel commander were both convicted of terrorism and belonging to an insurrection movement and will likely face only prison time as the country observes a moratorium on carrying out death sentences.  (Reuters).

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