Archive for category UN Security Council
UN renews call for chemical weapons investigation in Syria: UN special envoy on the Middle East peace process Robert Serry says the United Nations remains “gravely concerned” about the allegations of chemical weapons use in the Syrian conflict. “Amid mounting reports on the use of chemical weapons, we once again urge the government of Syria to allow the investigation to proceed without further delay,” said Serry in a statement to the UN Security Council. An unnamed Western diplomat speaking on the condition of anonymity further stated that information would continue to be passed on to UN leader Ban Ki-moon, and said that the alleged chemical weapons attacks had occurred since the beginning of April. While Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government called for a UN investigation, they have continually blocked UN experts who seek access to all parts of the country to investigate these claims.
Kenyan ambassador stands behind open criticism of ICC: Kenyan ambassador to the UN Macharia Kamau has affirmed his criticism of the ICC as a failing institution in an open opinion published in The Nation yesterday. Macharia made similar criticisms of the Court earlier this month. Deputy President William Ruto – who is facing trial at the ICC – notably distanced himself from Kamau’s criticisms. “The main purpose of the ICC seems to be [to] advance the career interest[s] of a handful of jurists and academics, and to enrich international law jurisprudence. I can see no reason to sacricice the interests of Kenyans to such vain ends,” said Macharia, referencing the trials of Ruto and Kenya’s sitting president Uhuru Kenyatta.
ICC opens preliminary investigation of complaint against Israel: ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda met with lawyers representing the African state of Comoros yesterday in response to Comoros’ complaint about Israel’s raid on a humanitarian aid flotilla bound for Gaza. Bensouda said she will open a preliminary investigation. Eight Turks and one Turkish-American were killed and several Palestinian activists wounded when Israeli commandos raided the ship, which was registered in Comoros. “My office will be conducting a preliminary examination in order to establish whether the criteria for opening an investigation are met,” said Bensouda. “After careful analysis of all available information, I shall make a determination that will be made public in due course.”
Ruto pledges Kenya’s commitment to ICC : Deputy President William Ruto pledged Kenya’s continued support and commitment to the ICC, while maintaining that in his own case, he was a “victim of a conspiracy of lies.” Ruto faces three charges of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the post-election violence that lead to over a thousand deaths. “The new administration, popularly elected in free and fair elections, will continue to cooperate with the court,” said Ruto to the ICC. “The president [Kenyatta – who also faces charges at the ICC] and I firmly believe in the rule of law and that the truth must be found.”
Kenyan AG to lead delegation to ICC in wake of Kamau letter: Kenyan attorney General Githu Muigai will travel to the Hague this week to meet with ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. The Kenyan government was recently forced to disown a letter sent by Macharia Kamau, the country’s permanent representative at the United Nations, asking the U.N. Security Council to terminate the cases against three Kenyans at the ICC, including the country’s President and Deputy President. “The official position of the Kenyan government is that it has cooperated fully with the ICC and intends to continue cooperating within the framework of the Rome Statute and International law. The government applied to co-operate with the court and we were granted. In pursuit of this, a high powered government delegation will be at The Hague next Wednesday to meet court officials,” said AG Muigai.
AKM Yusaf arrested in connection with war crimes: On 12 May 2013, it was announced the leader of Jamaat-e-Islami, was arrested in the capital Dhaka and charged with offences dating back to Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence with Pakistan. Jamaat opposed Bangladeshi independence from Pakistan in the war but denies accusations that some of its leaders committed murder, rape and torture during the conflict. (For additional information on this topic, please click here)
Sayedee Appeal: On 13 May 2013, it was announced the Bangladeshi Islamist politician, Delwar Hossain Sayedee, will have his appeal in front of The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on May 22 for the hearing of an appeal against the war crimes tribunal’s death sentence verdict. The International Crimes Tribunal found the 73-year-old Jamaat-e-Islami nayeb-e-ameer guilty of murder, abduction, confinement, torture, rape, persecution, torture, looting, forceful religious conversions and setting homes ablaze in rural areas of southern district Pirojpur during the 1971 Liberation War period.
Libyan trials seen as Nuremberg moment: On 8 May 2013, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda addressed the UN Security Council and said that the Libyan government has an opportunity to set an example for the rest of the world by conducting fair and transparent trials. Rumors of rebel crimes are still surfacing but Bensouda hopes that Libya’s actions when prosecuting alleged war criminals will endeavor to seal the primacy of the rule of law, due process and human rights for future generations
Tanzanian soldiers arrive in DRC: On 10 May 2013, it was reported that a contingent of Tanzanian soldiers arrived in the eastern city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today as part of the intervention brigade authorized by the United Nations to help neutralize armed groups in this volatile part of the country. In March the Security Council authorized the deployment of an intervention brigade within the existing UN peacekeeping operation in the country (MONUSCO) to carry out targeted offensive operations, with or without the Congolese national army, against armed groups that threaten peace in eastern DRC.
Posted by iclmediareview in Admissibility / Primacy, Crimes against Humanity, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gaddafi, Human Rights Violations, ICC, ICT of Bangladesh, Investigations, Kenya, News about the Courts, North Korea, Torture, UN Human Rights Council, UN Security Council, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on May 9, 2013
Bensouda addresses UNSC on Libya trials as Al-Senussi’s family pleads for access: On 8 May 2013, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda addressed the UN Security Council on Libya proceedings before the ICC. Bensouda referred to the current cases against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi as Libya’s “Nuremberg moment”; stating that “By conducting fair, just, and transparent judicial proceedings for all alleged perpetrators, while also continuing to respect the ICC judicial process, Libya can set a lasting example for other States.” Bensouda also told the Security Council that the ICC Prosecutor’s Office is conducting on-going investigation into other crimes in Libya and against other Gaddafi officials who are outside of Libya. Bensouda said that her office would decide whether to lodge a new case in the “near future.” Bensouda highlighted Libya’s close cooperation with the Prosecution by citing to a recent visit to the ICC by Libya’s new Prosecutor General and Libya’s ICC focal point, and noting that she will be travelling to Libya soon. Bensouda’s address was followed on 9 May 2013, by a statement from the family of Abdullah Al-Senussi which urged Libya to allow Al-Senussi access to his lawyers and family. The statement emphasised that Al-Senussi has not been granted any access to legal representation during his detention and likened his detention to “passive torture.” (For additional information on this topic, please 1. click here, and 2. click here).
Kenya’s UN representatives ask for ICC trials to be terminated: On 2 May 2013 Kenyan Permanent Representative to the UN Macharia Kamau wrote UNSC President Menan Kodjo a confidential letter which asked the UN Security Council to terminate the cases against Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto and Josua arap Sang. Kamau asked that his petition be presented to ICC Prosecutor Fatou Besounda during her visit to the UN Security Council this week. The letter is reported to say: “What this delegation is asking for is not deferral. What this delegation is asking for is the immediate termination of the case at the Hague without much further ado.” Kamau’s letter is followed by a statement to the UN General Assembly last month by Kenya’s deputy Permanent representative Koki Muli Grignon who questioned the Court’s performance. In response to the letter, lawyers for accused William Ruto distanced Ruto from the plea, saying that “I have spoken to my client, His Excellency the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya, Mr William Ruto, and I can confirm and he has made clear that he was not consulted on anything to do with New York. A letter being circulated is not government policy … His Excellency the Deputy President believes in the rule of law and he believes in Kenya observing its international obligations.” Bensouda dismissed the letter stating that: “The letter referred to by the Permanent Representative of Rwanda has not been transmitted to us. We therefore reserve our right to respond to it in detail in due course and we hope that will be given that opportunity once it has been transmitted to us.” (For additional information on this topic, please click here).
ICT of Bangladesh sentences Kamaruzzaman to death: On Thursday 9 May 2013, the ICT of Bangladesh handed down its fourth death sentence. In a packed courtroom in Dhaka, Muhammad Kamaruzzaman was convicted of five counts of mass killings, rape, torture and kidnapping and sentenced to death. Kamaruzzaman’s charges related to the death of at least 183 persons in Sherpur in northern Bangladesh during the 1971 independence war. As the fourth death sentence to be handed down since January, it is feared that today’s verdict will prompt another wave of violence in Bangladesh. Defence lawyer Ehsan Siddiky said that his client would pursue an appeal in what he claimed was a politically motivated trial. Kamaruzzaman will have one month to lodge his appeal.
Charges against Kenyatta amended: The ICC Prosecution has filed a new document containing charges (DCC) and pre-trial brief in the case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta which add charges of gun killings in Naivasha and Nakuru. In March 2013, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber granted the Prosecution the opportunity to amend the charges to include gunshot crimes. The charges now allege that the Mungiki and PNU youth were deployed to areas near Nakuru where guns, machetes, knives, broken bottles and petrol bombs were used to kill and mutilate victims.
UN HR Council names North Korea crimes probe team: The UN Human Rights Council has named a three member team to investigate alleged abuses in North Korea. Following a mandate set by the UN Human Rights Council during its March session, the Council named former Australian judge Michael Kirby, Serbian human rights campaigner Sonja Biserko and an Indonesian Marzuki Darusman who has been monitoring abuses in North Korea for the UN HR Council since 2010. The team has been mandated to investigate “systematic, widespread and grave violations” and ensure “full accountability, in particular for violations which may amount to crimes against humanity.”
Guatemalan CAH trial enters into closing arguments: The trial against José Efraín Ríos Montt and José Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez has entered its 26th session and proceeded to closing arguments after beginning in March and hearing the testimony of 90 Ixil Maya victims. The trial has heard testimony from victims who have recounted evidence of rape, assassination, torture, and infanticide relating to the charges. Since beginning proceedings, the trial has had several delays at the defence’s request.
US Supreme Court rules on Alient Tort Statute: On 17 April 2013, the US Supreme Court ruled on the Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum case. The Court held that the victims of gross human rights in Nigeria were not entitled to relief under the ATS—further, a majority of the court held that the ATS does not apply to human rights violations committed in other countries. Human Rights First criticizes the decision as “undermining the United States’ status as a leader on human rights.” Before this decision, the ATS was an important tool in holding gross human rights violators accountable to their victims in U.S. courts. (To read to full Supreme Court Decision, click here).
New Policy allows UN officials to freely interact with persons summoned to ICC: On 15 April 2013, the UN announced a new policy that will allow UN officials to freely engage with persons before the ICC. The policy will be in effect for Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy-President William Ruto. On a similar note, UN officials are supposed to avoid contact with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir because he is not cooperating with the ICC.
Rwanda keeps ICC out of Africa: On 15 April 2013, it was reported that Rwanda had won a behind-the-scenes battle at the UN Security Council, keeping the ICC out of human rights abuses in Africa. Rwanda reportedly said that the ICC “condemns crimes committed by some but not others.” Rwanda is supposedly angry at the ICC for indicting Bosco Ntaganda and Laurent Nkunda, M23 rebels who are reported to be backed by Rwandan President Paul Kagame. Last year a UN panel said that both Rwanda and Uganda commanded and supported M23 rebels—ICC investigations of the link could lead to charges against Kagame.
ICC visits Colombia to review state crimes: On 15 April 2013, the ICC visited Colombia to review the peace process with FARC and other human rights violations. The ICC stated they encourage the peace talks between Colombia and FARC, but such negotiations must meet the standards of the Rome Statute. The ICC also examined Colombia’s response to false killings, where 3,000 Colombian civilians were murdered and dressed as guerillas to raise the military’s body count —prosecution of these cases have been stagnant. The ICC has investigated Colombia for ten years, but has not prosecuted any cases.
HRW alleges that Al-Shabaab attacks are war crimes: On 16 April 2013, HRW stated that Al-Shabaab’s recent attacks on a Somalian courthouse amounted to war crimes due to its failure to regard civilian life. Al-Shabaab’s spokesperson took responsibility for the attack, but said it was a justified military target because the court was ruling contrary to Islamic law. It is reported that at least 30 people died in the attack. Humanitarian law, which is applicable in Somalia, protects civilians and civilian objects from deliberate. The UN is currently focusing on judicial reform in Somalia.
UK vows to prosecute war crimes in Syria: On 16 April 2013, the UK’s Secretary of State William Hague promised to bring those in Syria responsible for war crimes to justice. Hague accused Syrian regime of massive human rights abuses. The UK has trained more than 300 journalists and activists on how to document human rights violations. Hague further called for an urgent response to the human rights violations occurring.
Activists call for review of ICTY: On 10 April 2013, the UN General Assembly held a debate on the performance of the ICTY. Nearing the 20th anniversary of the ICTY, activists and legal scholars are calling for a comprehensive review of the tribunal. At the same time, Serbian representatives allege that the ICTY was an “inquisition” against Serbia. While Serbians are more concerned with the outcome of ICTY trials, legal experts hope to focus on the length of trials, treatment of evidence, and outreach efforts.
STL President’s visit to Lebanon not connected to leaks: On 15 April 2013, the STL confirmed that STL President David Baragwanath’s visit to Lebanon was not connected to recent leaks. Last week there was a reported leak within the STL of confidential witnesses, although the STL emphasized that the leaked witnesses were not accurate. The STL stated that Baragwanath’s trip was planned “long before the fiasco.” The Hague-based STL has indicted four members of Hezbollah for the 2005 assassination of Lebanese President Hariri.
Construction begins on new ICC building: On 16 April 2013, the ICC held a ceremony commemorating the ground breaking of the permanent ICC building. The Netherlands provided the land for the building free of charge; Rome Statute state parties are funding the project. ICC President Judge Sang-Hyun Song stated, “An institution of global significance deserves a world class premises.”
Rwanda hopes to stop court dispute before UN: On 14 April 2013, Rwanda, the council president for April, announced that it would stop the UN Security Council from praising the International Criminal Court. Rwanda is organizing a Security Council meeting on April 15 to discuss conflict prevention in Africa when traditionally the 15-member body would release a statement. The seven ICC members on the council — Argentina, Australia, Britain, France, Guatemala, Luxembourg and South Korea — insist on acknowledging the work of the court in ending impunity for war crimes. Rwanda said it would not accept a statement which mentions the ICC which it has strongly criticized.
UN debates role of international criminal courts: On 10 April 2013, the United Nations General Assembly today held its first ever debate on the role of the international criminal justice system in reconciliation, with its president stressing the vital part it must play not just in looking back on past atrocities but in bringing former foes together to build a better and more inclusive tomorrow. Over the past two decades various international criminal courts have been set up, either under UN sponsorship or in cooperation with the world body, to judge war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in countries as diverse as the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia.
Luxembourg ratifies: On 10 April 2013, Luxembourg became the fourth State Party of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to ratify amendments to the Rome Statute that were adopted in a historic consensus at the 2010 Review Conference of the International Criminal Court in Kampala, Uganda. The January 15, 2013, ratification brings the controversial amendments another step closer to entering into force. If the requisite number of states ratify the proposed amendments, the ICC’s jurisdiction would dramatically increase in scope, likely having profound global implications for current armed conflicts.
Prosecutions in Guatemala offer hope to survivors: On 12 April 2013, a senior United Nations official announced the welcomed efforts of Guatemalan authorities to investigate crimes of sexual violence that occurred during the country’s 36-year internal conflict, and urged authorities to ensure a fair trial and protections for the witnesses and others involved.
Posted by cdelaubenfels in Crimes against Humanity, ECCC, Gender crimes, Genocide, Human Rights Violations, ICC, ICTY, Investigations, jurisdiction, News about the Courts, Rome Statute, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Torture, UN Human Rights Council, UN Security Council, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on April 10, 2013
Bosnian-Serb president testifies for Karadzic: On 9 April 2013, Milorad Dodik, president of the Serb portion of Bosnia, Republika Srpska, testified for the defense in the Radovan Karadzic case. Karadzic, former president of Republika Srpska, is charged with genocide and crimes against humanity by the ICTY. In his testimony, Dodik blamed the Muslims in Bosnia for starting the war and stated that Serbs were defending themselves. Dodik has consistently denied the Srebrenica genocide committed by Bosnian-Serbs and is critical of the ICTY and any other tribunal where Serbs have been sentenced for war crimes.
Ki-moon says war crimes investigation possible in South Sudan: On 9 April 2013, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that an investigation could be launched in South Sudan to analyze if war crimes were committed in an attack where five UN peacekeepers and seven other persons were killed. Ki-moon and the UN Security Council called for South Sudan’s government to quickly bring the perpetrators to justice. Although South Sudan is not a party to the Rome Statute, the ICC has jurisdiction over the killing of peacekeepers, which is a war crime. South Sudan blamed the attacks on a rebel group lead by David Yau Yau.
US calls for Sri Lanka to make public war crimes inquiry: On 9 April 2013, United States ambassador to Sri Lanka Michele J. Sison stated that Sri Lanka should make public an army inquiry into alleged war crimes committed at the end of Sri Lanka’s 30-year civil war. Sison said that Sri Lanka must confront the human rights abuses that were committed during the civil war in order to move forward. Recently, the UN Human Rights Council adapted a resolution, sponsored by the US, calling for an “independent and credible internal investigation” into alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.
Khmer Rouge Tribunal continues with testimony of French priest: On 10 April 2013, Francois Ponchaud, a French Catholic priest and Khmer Rouge historian, testified before the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. Ponchaud’s testimony resumed the tribunal proceedings as the court has recently struggled with funding and was delayed due to the death of a co-defendant, Ieng Sary. Two Khmer Rogue leaders, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, are currently being tried for crimes against humanity and genocide. Ponchaud told the court about atrocities that the Khmer Rouge infamously committed, but also heavily criticized Western states and the UN for standing by as atrocities occurred to the Cambodian people.
Sudanese military leader indicted by the ICC may be leading Darfur tribal violence: On 9 April 2013, it was reported that Ali Kushayb, who was indicted by the ICC in 2007 for war crimes, is leading tribal clashes in Darfur that began last week. The violence, which is spreading throughout Darfur, is between the Misseriya and Salamat tribes; the Misseriya have support of the Central Reserve Forces. The ICC wants Kushayb for murder, rape, and forcibly displacing thousands of people.
NY Judge approves extradition of war crimes suspect to Bosnia: On 9 April 2013, it was announced that there was enough evidence against Sulejman Mujagic for committing war crimes, a man living in Utica, NY, to extradite him to Bosnia to face trial. Mujagic is accused of killing an unarmed soldier and torturing another during the Bosnian War in 1995. Mujagic was fighting for a region that had seceded from the central government.
Guatemala war crime trial implicates current president: On 4 April 2013, a former Guatemalan soldier, Hugo Reyes, testifying in the Efrain Rios Montt trial accused President Otto Perez Molina of ordering pillaging and executions during the country’s 36-year civil war. Perez said the accusations are lies. Prosecutor Orlando Lopez stated that Reyes’ testimony is 100 percent credible, but reaffirmed that the focus is on Montt and that he would study the accusations against Molina after this case. Montt, the 86-year old ex-military strongman, is charged with genocide.
Slovakia calls for Hungary to extradite war crimes suspect: On 9 April 2013, Slovakian prosecutors pressed for the extradition of Hungarian 98-year old war crimes suspect Laszio Csatary. A Slovak court sentenced Csatary to death in 1948 for committing crimes against Jews during WWII, but that conviction was commuted to life in prison to align with Slovak law. Csatary, was arrested in Hungary last year and is under house arrest.
Court/Tribunal: International Criminal Court
Decision Title: Decision on the non-compliance of the Republic of Chad with the cooperation requests issued by the Court regarding the arrest and surrender of Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir
Chamber: Pre-trial Chamber II
Case Name: Prosecutor v. Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir
Date: 26 March 2013
Decision Background: In March 2005, the U.N. Security Council referred the situation in Darfur, Sudan to the International Criminal Court. In 2009 and 2010, the Court issued arrest warrants for Omar Al-Bashir, president of Sudan. The arrest warrants have yet to be executed.
In 2009 and 2010, the Court issued a request to all parties to the Rome Statute, directing all State Parties to cooperate with the arrest and surrender of Al-Bashir.
In 2010, Bashir visited the Republic of Chad, without arrest. In August of that year, the Court informed the Security Council and the Assembly of State Parties as to Al-Bashir’s visit to Chad, who has been a State Party to the Rome Statute since 2007. In December of that year, the Court also issued a decision regarding the Republic of Chad’s refusal to arrest and surrender Al-Bashir while on Chad territory.
In March 2012, the Darfur situation and the case against Al-Bashir to Pre-trial Chamber II.
On 14 February 2013, the Court received notice that Al-Bashir might again visit the Republic of Chad and the State of Libya between 16-17 February. On 15 February, the Court sent notifications to Chad and Libya, inquiring into Al-Bashir’s visit, and reminding Chad about its obligations vis-à-vis the arrest and surrender of Al-Bashir. A similar note had been sent to Chad on 12 February 2013. The Republic of Chad acknowledged receipt of the earlier note. Al-Bashir’s visit to Chad did occur between 16-17 February, without prior consultation with the Court by the Republic of Chad.
On 22 February, the Court issued a decision requesting that the Republic of Chad to submit observation to the Court regarding its failure to execute the arrest and surrender of Al-Bashir, and its failure to consult with the Court regarding any problems that may have impeded the country’s ability to execute its arrest and surrender duties while Al-Bashir was in Chad. The Court ordered this report to be filed no later than 14 March 2013.
The Republic of Chad filed no request for an extension on the 14 March deadline, but did not file its report with the Court until 21 March. The report contained no explanation for the late filing.
Decision Review: The Court found that regarding the report due 14 March 2013, the Republic of Chad failed to provide an explanation for its lateness, as required by regulation 35(2) of the regulations. Thus the Court found Chad to be in noncompliance with a Court order, and noted that under regulation 29(1), the Court is empowered to issue an order regarding the non-complying state as it deems necessary in the interest of justice.
The Court further found that for the present purposes, the Republic of Chad is a party to the proceedings, and due to its noncompliance with the 14 March deadline without explanation, waived its right to be heard on the larger matter – namely, the issue of Al-Bashir’s arrest and surrender (or lackthereof).
The Court further re-iterated that as a state party to the Rome Statute, it is under an obligation to comply with decisions and orders of the Court, including the arrest warrants against Al-Bashir issued by the Court. The Court found that the Republic of Chad has repeatedly failed to fulfill its obligations, in spite of the fact that Al-Bashir had entered Chad territory on numerous occasions since the arrest warrant was issued. The Court further found that in addition to a failure to arrest and surrender Al-Bashir, the country had further failed to consult the Court about any of the visits made by Al-Bashir during the relevant period.
The Court found that the Republic of Chad’s behavior indicated a deliberate decision to disregard the orders of the Court, and the U.N. resolution regarding Al-Bashir more broadly. In light of this deliberate noncompliance, the Court noted article 87(7) of the Statute, which provides that the Court may, when a state party fails to comply with orders of the Court, refer the situation to the Assembly of State Parties, and to the Security Council. The Court elected to use article 87(7), and ultimately decided to refer Chad to the Assembly of State Parties, and to the Security Council.
To access the full Decision, click here.
Posted by kchin2014 in African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, AU, Crimes against Humanity, ECCC, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gender crimes, Genocide, Human Rights Treaties and Charters, Human Rights Violations, ICC, Investigations, Kenya, News about the Courts, Post-Election Violence, Responsibility to Protect, Rome Statute, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Syria, Torture, Truth Commissions, UN General Assembly, UN Human Rights Council, UN Security Council, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on March 26, 2013
UN to investigate growing North Korean prison camps: On 26 March 2013, South Korean legislator Ha Tae-kyoung announced that he learned from an official at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights that the UN is planning to launch an investigation into the growing number of North Korean prison camps. The investigation will employ satellite imaging technology provided by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research’s Satellite Applications Program (UNOSAT), along with witness testimony.
US official warns of US-led war crimes inquiry into Sri Lanka: On 25 March 2013, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake indicated that, if the Sri Lankan government continues to shirk its responsibility to lead an “independent and credible” inquiry into the allegations of war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan military against ethnic Tamil civilians, the United States may launch its own investigation.
Congolese warlord Ntaganda appears before ICC: On 26 March 2013, seven years after the court issued a warrant for his arrest, Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda appeared in before the International Criminal Court (ICC) to confirm his identity. Ntaganda, who faces allegations of recruiting child soldiers, murder, rape, ethnic persecution, and sexual slavery, surprised the world when he surrendered himself at the United States embassy in Rwanda last week. Many analysts suspect that Ntaganda’s surrender was precipitated by political changes that caused him to fear for his personal safety.
Experts declare former Khmer Rouge deputy fit for trial: On 25 March 2013, medical experts testified that, upon conducting physical and mental evaluations, 81-year-old Nuon Chea is fit to stand trial before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). Nuon Chea, known as “Brother Number Two,” was Pol Pot’s second-in-command during the bloody rule of the Khmer Rouge and the most senior Khmer Rouge official to stand trial before the court.
Zimbabwean government found guilty of torture: On 25 March 2013, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights notified the government of Zimbabwe that it has 90 days to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for the 2003 torture of human rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba. The decision, finding the Zimbabwean government criminally liable, was made in May 2012 and approved by the Executive Council of the African Union in January 2013. In its decision, the African Commission said that Shumba had submitted “more than adequate evidence” to support his allegation of torture and ill-treatment, including being subjected to prolonged electric shocks in the mouth, genitals, fingers, toes and other parts of the body. The Commission said Zimbabwe failed to open an official investigation, ordering it to do so within 90 days and bring those responsible to justice.
Mr. Paul Gicheru – lawyer for the witness who recanted his testimony against Kenya’s Deputy President-Elect William Ruto- rejected a request to meet with ICC officials in Nairobi last week. Gicheru said he declined the meeting because he did not have his client’s permission to hold the meeting. “I have told them my client stands by his sworn affidavits and that there is no need for a meeting over this,” he said. Meanwhile, the witness claims to have received numerous calls requesting meetings with ICC officials, stating that his interactions have bordered on “harassment, intimidation and intruding into my private life.”
ICC Witness in Kenya case accuses Prosecution of harassment: On 24 March 2013, it was announced that a key witness who recanted evidence he had given against deputy president-elect William Ruto is now accusing the office of the ICC prosecutor of harassment. The witness alleges that officials from the ICC had made frantic telephone calls trying to get him to stand by his testimony. He further claims that the evidence he gave was obtained from him through coercion and that some of it was falsified by officials at the prosecution office.
UN launching investigation into alleged chemical weapons in Syria: On 21 March 2013, the United Nations announced it would investigate Syria’s allegations that rebel forces used chemical weapons in an attack near Aleppo. The investigation will focus on the specific incident brought to the attention of the United Nations by the Syrian government. The United Nations hopes that the launching of this investigation will remind the international community that the use of chemical weapons is a crime against humanity. (For additional information on this topic, please click here).
Secretary Gen and SC implore end to fighting in CAR: On 25 March 2013, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for the swift restoration of constitutional order in the Central African Republic (CAR) after rebels seized the capital, Bangui, in fierce fighting, forcing President François Bozizé to flee. Secretary General Ban is concerned by the dire humanitarian situation in the country and the reports of ongoing looting in the capital, Bangui, including of United Nations property. All non-essential UN staff have already been evacuated and will be temporarily housed in Yaoundé, Cameroon. (For additional information on this topic, please click here).