Archive for category UN Security Council

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  Samphan has apparently ignored this order and has not withdrawn instructions to his defense team to boycott proceedings.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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12 November 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC confirms charges against all suspects in Bemba contempt case: ICC judges have confirmed charges of offenses against the administration of justice against Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Aime Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Fidele Babla Wandu and Narcisse Airdo. The charges are in connection to witness testimony, such as influencing witnesses, bribery and providing false testimony, in the case against Bemba from 2011 to 2013. The five suspects are committed to trial. (ICC).

Bensouda warns UNSC of security situation in Libya, and HRW writes to OTP: The ICC Chief Prosecutor warned the U.N. Security Council this week that the deteriorating security and political situation in Libya has “significantly hampered [the Prosecution's] ability to effectively investigate in the country.” Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda also called on the government of Libya to surrender to the ICC the son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, and to closely monitor the developments in the case against Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief Abdullah Al-Senussi. It was found that Al-Senussi could receive a fair trial and Libya was able and willing to conduct the trial. (For additional information, please click here) (UN News Centre, Human Rights Watch).

Closing arguments begin in Bemba case: On Wednesday, 12 November 2014, ICC Prosecutors urged the Court in closing arguments to convict Jean Pierre Bemba for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and pillaging. Specifically, Bemba’s troops are accused of “barbarity” in the Central African Republic. Lawyers for Bemba, who has pleaded not guilty to the ICC charges, claim his troops were under the authority of Central African Republic authority when the crimes were committed. (Capital News).

HRW says Mali peace agreement must include provisions on justice and accountability: Human Rights Watch has weighed in on the military and political crisis in northern Mali. Senior West Africa researcher Corinne Dufka said the final agreement between the Malian government and armed groups involved in the conflict “should include provisions to support the prosecution of war crimes, strengthen the truth-telling commission, and ensure the vetting of security force personnel.” Human Rights Watch had previously researched and documented the alleged war crimes committed during the 2012-2013 armed conflict between Malian soldiers and armed opposition groups. (Human Rights Watch).

Fair trial in Chad called for of Habre’s former security officers: On Monday, 10 November 2014, Human Rights Watch called for the “fair and transparent” trial of over 25 security agents in Chad accused of murder, torture, kidnapping, arbitrary detention and assault and battery. The special court in Chad is charged with prosecuting those most responsible for serious violations of international law committed during Habre’s rule from 1982 to 1990. (Jurist).

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11 November 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC confirms charges against five in Bemba Trial

Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court on Tuesday confirmed several charges against five individuals in connection with the Case of Bemba, Kilolo, et. al. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, former defense counsel Aimé Kilolo Musamba, and three others allegedly enticed witnesses into providing false testimony, and the Court on Tuesday found there was sufficient evidence to send the case to trial. Chambers declined the Defence motion to stay proceedings while opting not to confirm charges for false or forged documents. Mr. Bemba is on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed while serving as Commander-in-Chief of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo in DRC. (ICC)

ICC Prosecutor demands action in Libya, citing stability concerns

Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, on Tuesday described growing concern that the deteriorating security situation in Libya is threatening long-term justice efforts. Specifically, Ms. Bensouda highlighted attacks on civilians and armed conflicts, as well as the targeting of human rights workers, media, and legal workers as a threat to ICC investigations in the region. In response, international rights groups called on the United Nations Security Council to act and end impunity. (UN News Centre, HRW) For additional information, please click here

Former officials of Habre Regime to face trial in Chad

On Monday, 10 November, Human Rights Watch welcomed the decision by an African court to try 26 former members of Hissen Habre’s Regime. The accused allegedly committed murder, torture, and kidnapping, among other crimes, during Habre’s Dictatorship. Habre is currently awaiting trial in Dakar, Senegal at the Extraordinary African Chambers. (HRW)

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3 November 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Kenyan NGO seeks signatures on ICC criticism of government: The Kenyan Citizens Coalition, a non-governmental organization, stated that the Kenyan government is not to blame for the lagging case against President Uhuru Kenyatta. The NGO stated that the ICC has not properly investigated the case and should not allocate the blame onto the Kenyan government. The Kenyan Citizens Coalition announced plans to start collecting signatures from citizens, Kenyan Organizations, and International Partners to compel the ICC to stop apportioning the blame. The organization’s convener, Ngunjiri Wambugu, stated that these signatures will be compiled into a memorandum that will be sent to the United Nations Security Council, the Assembly of States Parties to the ICC, the European Union, and the African Union. ICC judges will soon rule whether the prosecutor Fatou Bensouda will be granted more time for investigations against Kenyatta and suspend the trial date or to throw the case out altogether. (Capital News)

ICTR celebrates 20 year anniversary: The UN-ICTR for Rwanda will celebrate its 20th year operating in Arusha. Prosecutor for the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, will join for celebrations and as panelist with other prosecutors to debate on the lessons of empowerment of national jurisdictions to prosecute international crimes. The ICTR was established in 1994 following the Rwandan genocide between the Hutus and the Tutsis. The ICTR to date has indicted 93 individuals total, 61 of which were sentenced. (Daily News)

141 human rights organizations support trial of Habré: 141 African human rights organizations from 32 different countries issued a letter on 2 November 2014 praising the efforts of Senegal and the African Union to prosecute crimes. Former Chadian president, Hisséne Habré, stands accused of thousands of political killings and torture from 1982 to 1990. Habré was indicted in July 2013 by the Extraordinary African Chambers and is now in pretrial detention. Habré’s trial would begin in early 2015 if judges rule that a trial is justified. The letter states that a fair and transparent trial for Habré, if the case went forward, would help hold those accountable for their crimes. The letter also calls for fair and transparent trials for officials from Habré’s administration whose trials are scheduled to begin November 13th. (Human Rights Watch)

Libyan court postpones trial of former Gaddafi officials: Libyan court has postponed the trial of ex-officials that served under former leader Muammar Gaddafi until 16 November 2014. This postponement is connected to the proceedings against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi before the ICC. The ICC has ordered Libya to hand over Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi to be tried before the ICC. With respect to Senussi, the ICC Appeals Chamber found in July 2014 that Senussi could be tried before local Libya courts. The trial of 23 defendants occurred in Tripoli’s al-Hadba prison while Saif Al-Gaddafi is being tried in Zintan. The defendants are charged with numerous crimes including charges of genocide and incitement to rape. (Bernama, African News) (for additional information please click here)

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30 October 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC rejects Gbagbo application for provisional release: The request by former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo for provisional release was denied by the ICC on Wednesday, 29 October 2014.  Gbagbo, who faces charges of crimes against humanity, had asked the Court to be briefly released in order to attend his mother’s funeral. ICC judges in a written ruling found they could not grant the request “when doing so runs such a risk of endangering the population in Cote d’Ivoire, Court staff and Mr. Gbagbo himself.” (ABC News).

UN HR Committee urges Israel to investigate crimes committed against Gaza: In a report released Thursday, 30 October 2014, the U.N. Human Rights Committee urged the Israeli government to “thoroughly, effectively, independently and impartially” investigate crimes committed in the Gaza Strip. The report further requested Israel to uphold the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and ensure those most responsible for the alleged violations are prosecuted and sanctioned.  The latest Israel-Palestine conflict this year lasted 51 days and claimed more than 2,100 lives. (JURIST).

Amnesty says war crimes committed by Libyan militia: Amnesty International posted satellite images on its website this Thursday, 30 October 2014, indicating that fighters from both sides of the conflict in Libya have committed war crimes.  Amnesty International also posted a statement finding that “[a]rmed groups have possibly summarily killed, tortured or ill-treated detainees in their custody and are targeting civilians based on their origins or perceived political allegiances.”  The conflict in Libya was triggered in August after armed forces from the western city of Misrata seized Tripoli.  (Reuters).

UN experts calls on UN GA to refer N. Korea to ICC: U.N. human rights expert Marzuki Darusman addressed a committee of the General Assembly on 28 October 2014.  Darusman urged the committee dealing with human rights issues to refer the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the ICC for alleged crimes against humanity.  Darusman was a member of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the DPRK which released a 400-page report in February concerning the situation in the country.  (UN News Centre).

Cases investigated for Syrian war crimes: The Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA) is preparing cases against three Syrian government officials allegedly responsible for serious violations of international law.  CIJA leader William Wiley says the group has reviewed over 500,000 pages of documents and information gathered from defectors and prisoners in Syria.  Where the cases would be heard, however, remains unknown.  Courts in Syria have been unwilling to hear the evidence against the government officials and an ICC referral has been prevented by Russian and Chinese veto power at the U.N.  (Reuters).

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29 October 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Korea may allow UN visit in exchange for dropping push for referral: Special U.N. human rights investigator Marzuki Darusman told reporters this week that diplomats from North Korea have granted his request to visit the country. The visit is supposedly conditioned on the deletion of two provision of the General Assembly resolution urging the Security Council to refer North Korea to the ICC. The provisions concern the recommendation that the ICC prosecute human rights abuses in the country and the warning that the Court prosecute North Korea’s leader for crimes against humanity.  Darusman is a member of the panel that issued the U.N. report earlier this year drawing attention to reports of alleged human rights abuses in North Korea. (The New York Times).

ICT of Bangladesh sentences Nizami to death: Jamaat-e-Islami leader Motiur Rahman Nizama was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to death by the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh.  Specifically, Nizama was found guilty of orchestrating the killing of scholars during the 1971 Liberation War.  Security was heightened throughout Bangladesh’s major cities before the judgment, which had been postponed from June of this year, as similar verdicts against Nizami’s senior lieutenants caused severe unrest and political violence. (The Guardian).

Bensouda emphasises role of justice in peace and security at UNSC meeting: ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda briefed the U.N. Security Council in New York on Thursday, 23 October 2014.  Bensouda discussed the importance to the ICC and the U.N. Security Council of preserving the rights of civilians during conflicts and protecting peacekeeping missions. Bensouda also stressed the continued need for coordination and cooperation between all parties, including States Parties, in regards to U.N. Security Council referrals and resolutions.  Bensouda noted that “[t]he Council assumes a crucial role in the emerging system of international criminal justice and must embrace this role with all the opportunities for constructive engagement that it provides.” (ICC).

Netherlands rejects Syrian asylum seekers suspected of war crimes: It has been reported at least five Syrian asylum seekers suspected of involvement in war crimes have been denied refugee status in the Netherlands. Some fifteen more asylum seekers from Syria are supposedly still under investigation.  Netherlands stopped deporting those suspected of war crimes back to Syria in 2011 for security concerns.  (Dutch News.nl).

Bensouda attends Darfur Women’s Symposium in DC:  ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda participated in the American-based Women’s Action Group symposium titled “Women and Genocide in the 21st Century: The Case of Darfur” this past weekend in Washington D.C.  Bensouda stressed that the ICC will continue to cooperate with Darfur and work toward the arrest of President Omar Al Bashir. Bensouda further urged all States Parties to the ICC to fulfill their obligations and hand Al Bashir over to the Court. The symposium focused on the alleged genocide in Darfur and the need to protect women. (allAfrica).

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