Archive for category UN Security Council

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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3 April 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICTY Prosecutor Brammertz asks Trial Chamber to issue a verdict for Seselj soon: ICTY prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, asked the Trial Chamber to make a final verdict in Vojislav Seselj’s case for alleged war crimes.  Brammertz’ asked for a final verdict due to Seselj’s behavior whilst on a provisional release for health purposes. The ICTY found at the end of March that Seselj violated the conditions for his provisional release and ordered him to return to the Hague to await the verdict.  Tensions heightened between Serbia and Croatia during Seselj’s release to Serbia. Seselj was seen publicly burning a Croatian flag as a sign of defiance for being ordered back to the Hague. (Dalje, Yahoo! News) (for additional information click here)

Human Rights organizations write letter to UNSC to reopen ICC investigation in Sudan: A letter sent to the United Nations Security Council by a group of Sudanese and international humanitarian and human rights organizations asked the UNSC to reopen ICC investigations in Darfur. The organizations asked the UNSC to persevere in the arrest of indicted war criminals related to the situation in Darfur. They also urged the UNSC to advise ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to reopen investigations into the matter. (All Africa)

ICC Prosecution last witness in Ruto case says fearful of testifying:  Witness 7271 is the final ICC prosecution witness in Deputy President William Ruto’s case for crimes against humanity. Witness 727’s lawyer, Goran Sluiter, stated that his client is hiding in the Netherlands and fears for his life. Witness 727 has refused to testify at trial three times before, causing the Trial Chamber to adjourn. (All Africa)

Victims of Malvinas War torture will bring case to IACHR: The victims of torture during the 1982 Malvinas War are bringing their case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. During the Malvinas War, Argentine soldiers were tortured by senior officers whilst serving on the Malvinas Islands. The leader of Centro de Ex-Combatientes Islas Malvinas (CECIM), Ernesto Alonso, stated that the complaint will be filed within two weeks. (Buenos Aires Herald)

Cyprus makes Armenian genocide denial a crime:  The denial of the Armenian genocide is now a crime when the Parliament of Cyprus voted in the resolution. The resolution was passed unanimously on Thursday. Armenpress states that the penalty for the denial of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes is now a prison sentence of 5 years and a fine of 10,000 Euros.   (Asbarez)

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30 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICTY finds Seselj breached provisional release, orders return: On Monday, 30 March 2015, ICTY appeals judges found that Vojislav Seselj breached the terms of his provisional release and ordered the former Serbian leader to return to The Hague. Seselj was granted provisional release in November 2014 to seek medical care in Serbia under the condition that he not interfere with victims or witnesses and return to the tribunal if summoned.  After arriving in the country, Seselj told supporters that he would not return to the ICTY voluntarily and challenged officials to attempt to arrest him.  Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said the government will “respond in the coming days.”  (For additional information on this topic, please click here and here) (Reuters, Wall Street Journal, The News Tribune).

ECCC indicts Ao An in Case 004:The ECCC’s international co-investigating judge has charged Ao An in Case 004 with premediated murder under the 1956 Cambodian Penal Code and crimes against humanity.  The crimes were allegedly committed at Kok Pring execution site, Tuol Beng security centre and Wat Au Trakuon security centre.  The defense for the former member of the Khmer Rouge will now have access to the case file and be able to participate in the investigation.  (ECCC).

RSCSL rejects request from Taylor for prison transfer to Rwanda: Former Liberian President Charles Taylor’s motion to be transferred to a prison in Rwanda to serve the remainder of his sentence was denied by the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone.  The RSCSL Trial Chamber found, among other things, that transferring Taylor to Rwanda could pose a threat to peace and security and found that the former president’s family’s inability to travel to the United Kingdom was not interference by the RSCSL.  Taylor had claimed that his family was unable to visit him in the United Kingdom where he was serving his 50-year prison sentence and it would be more humane for him to be imprisoned in Africa.  (All Africa).

Amnesty Report find Hamas responsible for war crimes in Gaza: On Thursday, 26 March 2015, Amnesty International released a report finding the Palestinian militant group Hamas committed war crimes during the Gaza War.  Specifically, the report said Hamas was responsible for firing rockets and mortar shells in Israel resulting in the death of thousands of civilians.  The accusatory report follows Palestine’s recent application for membership in the ICC which began an investigation into alleged war crimes during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in January 2015.  (Foreign Policy).

UNCHR says human rights defenders risk murder in Libya: The U.N. Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (UNCHR), jointly with the U.N. Support Mission in Libya, released a report highlighting the abuse and threats faced by human rights defenders in Libya.  UNCHR urged the government of Libya to meaningfully investigate the alleged abuses and hold accountable those responsible.  UNCHR also recommended sensitivity training for investigators, reparations for victims of the abuse, release of those unjustly detained and cooperation with the ICC. The U.N. Human Rights Council intends to send a team to investigate the human rights abuses in Libya. (Libya Herald).

France seeks UNSC referral of ISIS to ICC: France is urging the U.N. Security Council to refer the Islamic State militant group to the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Iraq and Syria.  The ICC Prosecutor is unable to open an investigation into crimes committed in non ICC member states unless referred by the 15-member Security Council. If the matter were to be referred, the ICC prosecutor and judges will then have to decide whether the referral of the militant group is legitimate. (Reuters).

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9 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC TC allows Prosecutor to bring appeal to ASP on non-cooperation of Kenyan Gov in Kenyatta case: ICC Trial Chamber V(B) has granted Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request to appeal the Chamber’s 3 December 2014 decision to the Assembly of State Parties. Trial Chamber V(B)’s 3 December 2014 decision rejected the Prosecutor’s application that the Kenyan government failed to cooperate with the Court and thus, the Chamber declined to refer the matter to the Assembly of States Parties.  The appeal concerns whether the Chamber has the discretion to make a finding of non-compliance and refer the matter to the Assembly of State Parties and if so, whether the Chamber erred in the exercise of its discretion. (Standard Digital).

ICC refers Sudan to UNSC over failure to arrest President Bashir: Today, 9 March 2015, the ICC issued a ruling finding Sudan failed to fulfill its international obligations and surrender President Omar al-Bashir to the Court.  The ICC further referred the matter back to the U.N. Security Council “to take the necessary measures they deem appropriate.”  Despite the issuance of two arrest warrants against Bashir for genocide and war crimes, the President has traveled freely around Africa and not arrested by ICC member states. (Daily Star).

Amnesty calls for investigation of torture in Mexico:  (Amnesty International). Today, 9 March 2015, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Punishment Juan E. Méndez presented a report to the Human Rights Council concerning the widespread torture by Mexico’s police and security forces.  The report outlines how the government of Mexico has failed to investigate complaints from tortured victims and how government doctors disregard signs of torture in medical forensic reports.  Amnesty International is calling for Mexico’s government to address these allegations of torture through “prompt, impartial and thorough” investigations.”

 

 

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26 February 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

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

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

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

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