Archive for category Victims
Kenya making progress in amending ICC rules: Reports indicate that through a formal presentation, Guatemala and Greece asked to amend Article 134 of the ICC Rules of Procedures to allow accused persons who are “mandated to fulfill important and extraordinary public duties” in their states to waive the requirement to be present at their trial. Instead, the amendment would let counsel represent the accused, who would not have to attend the trial at The Hague or follow it through video proceedings. Kenya, Japan, and South Africa all support the proposed amendment. Kenya’s second goal, to give sitting presidents immunity until their term has expired, will likely not be addressed until February at the Assembly of State Parties, even though Kenya is pushing for a special summit. Both changes would benefit Kenya, which has publicly objected to the requirement that President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto be present at their trials, whether in person or through video links. (Standard Digital).
Security Council condemns LRA war crimes, calls for support: On Monday, 25 November 2013, the UN Security Council condemned the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in a presidential statement, urging the group to cease its activities, disarm, and release abductees. The Council also asked the UN Office for Central Africa, UN peacekeeping missions, and the international community to support the implementation of the UN Regional Strategy, which is meant to address the activities of the LRA. The Council also applauded the efforts of the African Union Regional Cooperation Initiative and emphasized the importance of regional efforts to combat the LRA. The Security Council has repeatedly denounced the crimes against humanity and war crimes the LRA has committed in several African nations over the course of 15 years, especially the group’s use of child soldiers. (UN News Centre).
Serbian Prosecutor’s Office wants 15-year sentence for Juric: The Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office demanded that Ilija Jurisic, who served as a commander during the Bosnian War, be sentenced to 15 years in prison for allegedly ordering a large-scale attack on former Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) soldiers during their retreat from Tuzla, Bosnia, even though the withdrawal had allegedly been agreed upon previously. 51 soldiers died and 50 were wounded during this attack, a war crime for which Juric has been indicted in a domestic proceeding. Juric was already convicted in 2009 and sentenced to 12 years in prison, which was overruled by the Appellate Court in 2010, and the current rehearing seeks to establish why the JNA had withdrawn from Tuzla and whether Juric ordered the attack on the JNA.
Mbeki says ICC should not interfere in Africa: Former South African President Thabo Mbeki criticized the ICC’s prosecution of African leaders on Talk To Al Jazeera. In his opinion, the international community should focus on building peace in Africa, instead of imposing justice from the “outside.” He mentioned the trials of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir; intervening in the conflict is more important than prosecuting these leaders, especially when their leadership and influence could be useful in brokering peace. Justice, he explained, does not trump peace. Using his own country as an example, Mbeki stated that South Africa’s move from apartheid to democracy would have been far less smooth had former South African President F.W. de Klerk, who was an integral part of ending apartheid, been brought before the ICC during the conflict. (Al Jazeera Media Network).
Unnamed witness called by judges testifies in Bemba trial: A witness under the pseudonym “Witness CHM-01” testified at the trial against Jean-Pierre Bemba on Monday, 18 November 2013 before the ICC. The judges, as allowed by Articles 64 and 69, had called the witness; none of the parties in the trial had called him to provide evidence, even though several witnesses from both sides had mentioned his name. The witness is testifying through a video link from an undisclosed location. It is not yet clear how the witness was involved in the MLC. Mr. Bemba is charged with committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Central African Republic between October 2002 and March 2003. (Open Society Justice Initiative).
African Court to hold conference to raise awareness: The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights is organizing a continental conference in order to raise awareness about the court’s activities and promote human rights in African states. The Court feels that it has been underutilized; in seven years, it has only handled 28 petitions concerning contentious matters and five requests for advisory opinions. Senior officials believe that this under-utilization is due to the fact that the individuals and entities who are allowed to bring petitions before the Court are largely unaware of its existence. The conference will be attended by the president and judges of the court, representatives from international organizations, and Professor Makame Mbarawa, the Tanzanian Minister of Communication, Science and Technology. (Tanzania Daily News).
Leaders urge Sri Lanka to investigate war crimes following summit: During the Commonwealth Summit, which was held in Sri Lanka over the course of three days, several human rights groups appealed to world leaders to pressure Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to investigate war crimes that allegedly took place during and after the civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, who was in attendance, stated that it would be possible for Sri Lanka to set up a war crimes tribunal before March, to which President Rajapaksa responded that Sri Lanka had started investigations, but that this process will take longer than a few months. He had previously stated that his troops did not commit war crimes during the conflict, which lasted 26 years. Secretary Hague’s comments followed UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s condemnation of the alleged war crimes, and his warning of a UN-led investigation should Sri Lanka fail to launch an independent inquiry. (To read more about this topic, please click here.) (Voice of America, BBC).
Nine AU states may be barred from voting on Rome Statute amendments: The ICC announced that nine out of its 122 members are in arrears and will therefore be unable to vote in this week’s Assembly of State Parties meeting in The Hague. Though the list of states has not been officially released, Tanzania, Senegal, Niger, Ghana, Gabon, Djibouti, Comoros, Guinea, and Liberia are all indebted to the Court and may lose their voting rights. These votes may be necessary to amend the ICC rules of procedure laid out in the Rome Statute, an effort Kenya is leading in order to excuse President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto from attendance at their trials, to amend Article 27 to grant sitting heads of governments immunity, and to amend Article 70 so that court officials can be charged with offenses against administration of justice and the powers of the Independent Oversight Mechanism may be expanded. If all 122 members attend the meeting, Kenya needs 81 members to support its proposals. (The Star).
Botswanan judge appointed to Sierra Leone court: On 16 October 2013, the Botswanan Administration of Justice announced that Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, appointed the Hon. Justice Dr. O.B.K. Dingake as a judge on the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone, which is continuing the mandate of the Special Court of Sierra Leone. Justice Dingake is a jurist and scholar, and will sit on the Court as required by the president of the Court. (Government of Botswana).
Security Council split on ICC deferral: The U.N. Security Council is split over whether to delay the ICC cases against Kenya’s sitting heads of state. Last week, the 15 state parties met to discuss an AU backed resolution calling for a deferral to allow President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto time to fulfill their executive duties at home. Experts opposed to the resolution argue a postponement may defer justice for victims. The U.N. Security Council is expected to vote this week on whether to approve the deferral. (All Africa).
Ivory Coast party seeks release of former President: The Ivorian Popular Front has officially requested the ICC release former President Laurent Gbagbo from custody. The opposition political party claims Gbagbo is being illegally detained after the ICC failed to present sufficient evidence of wrongdoing. The party’s organizer demanded the former President return to the Ivory Coast to “reconcile the people.” For the past two years, Gbagbo has been held in The Hague on charges of crimes against humanity for his participation in the 2010 post-election violence. (All Africa).
Kenya attacks planned after 2007 election, says ICC witness: A prosecution witness testified last week that members of the Orange Democratic Movement, a political party supported by ICC indictee William Ruto, planned attacks against the rival Party of National Unity. The protected witness told judges members of the Orange Democratic Movement stocked bows, arrows and rocks “with the objective of forcibly expelling” people of a differing ethnic group from their communities once the 2007 presidential election results were announced. Ruto, alongside co-accused Joshua arap Sang, is charged with inciting and ordering attacks that killed and displaced thousands of civilians after the party he supported was defeated in the election. (All Africa).
ICC judges call witness for Bemba trial: A judge ordered witness is expected to testify in the trial of Jean Pierre Bemba at the ICC on 18 November 2013. The evidence to be presented by the witness has not been disclosed, however, the individual has been “repeatedly mentioned” by other participants during the proceedings. The witness will first be examined by the judges. The prosecution, victim representatives and defense will then each have an opportunity to question the witness on relevant issues, as well as evidence that concerns credibility and mitigating or aggravating circumstances. The former Vice President of the DRC is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes. (All Africa).
ICC rejects Gbagbo’s appeal against pretrial detention: On Tuesday, 29 October 2013 the ICC announced that former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo must remain in custody until he is tried, rejecting his appeal against his continuous pretrial detention in The Hague. Gbagbo has been in custody for almost two years, and his indictment has not been confirmed; it is still unclear whether he will stand trial. Gbagbo is charged with committing crimes against civilians following the 2010 Ivory Coast elections. (The Associated Press).
U.S. plans to aid Uganda in its search for Kony: The U.S. is reportedly increasing efforts to catch Joseph Kony by possibly stationing Osprey aircraft in Uganda. Such aircraft fly like planes but are capable of landing like helicopters, which would significantly aid African and U.S. troops in searching for Kony. This would also double the number if U.S. troops stationed in Uganda, which is leading the search for Kony. Kony, the commander-in-chief of the rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and three other LRA leaders have been indicted by the ICC for crimes against humanity and war crimes. The LRA fought the Ugandan government for 20 years, and is allegedly responsible for killing and kidnapping civilians from villages, many of whom were children. (Voice of America).
Chowdhury appeals death sentence handed down by ICT: On Tuesday, 29 October 2013, Salauddin Quader Chowdhury’s defense lawyer filed an appeal with the Supreme Court against the death penalty awarded by with the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), which had sentenced Chowdhury to death by hanging on 1 October 2013 for the torture, murder, and genocide he committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. Chowdhury was a Standing Committee member of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party. (Dhaka Tribune).
STL holds pre-trial conference in Hariri case: On Tuesday, 29 October 2013, the Trial Chamber of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is holding a pre-trial conference concerning the case against four Lebanese individuals indicted for assassinating former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and killing 21 others in a 2005 terrorist attack in Beirut. The conference is meant to help shift the case from the pre-trial to the trial stage, and will be open to the public. This is the first time the Trial Chamber has held such a meeting. The case was transferred from the Pre-Trial Chamber to the Trial Chamber, and the trial is set to begin on 13 January 2014. (Kuwait News Agency).
ICC reverses ruling excusing Ruto from attending his trial: The appeals chamber of the ICC ruled on Friday, 25 October 2013 that Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto can only be excused from attending his trial under “exceptional circumstances”, reversing the earlier ruling which had excused Ruto from attending much of his trial. The appeals chamber noted that Ruto may only be excused from attending when judges have considered all other alternatives and it is “strictly necessary”, since Ruto is “not merely a passive observer of the trial but an active participant”. Decisions on whether Ruto will be excused from certain parts of his trial will therefore be made on a case-by-case basis. (Sabahi).
Posted by carolinguentert in Crimes against Humanity, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Genocide, Guantanamo, Human Rights Violations, ICC, ICTY, Investigations, Kenya, News about the Courts, Other domestic courts, Post-Election Violence, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on October 22, 2013
ICC Appeals Chamber to announce judgment on Ruto’s presence at trial: On Tuesday, 22 October 2013, the Appeals Chamber of the ICC announced that on Friday, 25 October 2013, it will deliver its judgment on Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s appeal against the Trial Chamber, which had granted Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto conditional excusal from being physically present at his trial. The Appeals Chamber will decide whether he must attend the entirety of his hearing, instead of limited sessions. On Friday, 18 October 2013 the Trial Chamber granted Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s request to be excused from being present at his trial, but he must attend the opening and closing statements of all parties, hearings of victims, the delivery of judgment in his case, and if he is found guilty, sentencing hearings, the delivery of sentencing, the entirety of victim impact hearings, and reparation hearings. He was excused from being present at the other sessions to accommodate his presidential duties. Bensouda is currently trying to decide whether in addition to Ruto’s case, she should appeal the Trial Chamber’s decision regarding Kenyatta. (ICC-CPI, The Star). (For additional information on this topic, please click here and here).
Fourth witness in Ruto trial disowns testimony: The fourth witness in the trial against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto disowned part of the testimony presented by the prosecution, which linked Ruto to the term “madoadoa”; a blot in the voting pattern. The witness denied having been at 64 Stadium in Eldoret during the 2007 election campaigns, even though the prosecution maintained that the witness had previously told them that he had attended the rally. The witness also denied having heard Ruto refer to Kikuyus as “madoadoa” in the context of three-piece voting for the Orange Democratic Movement. Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji said that any evidence given by the prosecution that conflicts with the witness’s statements would not be accepted by the court. (Capital FM).
Amnesty International says U.S. drone strikes could be war crimes: After investigating nine missile attacks that recently took place in Pakistan, Amnesty International issued a report that the secret drone campaign the CIA undertook against suspected terrorists in Pakistan may constitute war crimes, and that the US officials who conducted the attack should be tried for these attacks. The report was issued in conjunction with an investigation by Human Rights Watch concerning six missile attacks in Yemen, which the group believes may violate international human rights law, the laws of armed conflict, and Barack Obama’s guidelines concerning the use of drones. Both groups have focused their investigations on civilian deaths. (The Guardian).
ICC announces new investigation strategy: The ICC’s 122 member states received guidelines last week concerning a new investigation strategy soon to be adopted by the ICC. Experts say that the new strategy will improve evidence gathering, and although details about the guidelines have not been released, they will aid the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) in bringing cases. For example, prosecutors will be able to ensure that cases are ready at an earlier stage in ICC proceedings and that court investigators can corroborate evidence collected by third parties, both of which have been challenges prosecutors have faced in the past. Judges at the ICC have previously criticized the OTP and the ways in which evidence was collected and investigations conducted, which this new strategy is meant to rectify. (Institute for War & Peace Reporting).
Guantánamo prosecutor agrees al-Qaida suspect should be tried in federal court: The chief war crimes prosecutor of the Guantánamo Bay Navy Base said on Monday, 21 October 2013 that he agrees with the Obama administration’s decision to prosecute Abu Anas al Libi in a federal court as opposed to a military commission. Libi is an alleged al-Qaida conspirator accused of participating in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which killed 224 people. Libi was detained by U.S. forces on 5 October 2013 in Tripoli, Libya, interrogated on a war ship, and brought to a New York court; he was not brought to Guantánamo. (Miami Herald).
Russian MFA to terminate Mladic’s ICTY trial: The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) announced that it is working towards the early termination of General Ratko Mladic’s trial before the ICTY. Opposition to the trial led to the formation of the Public Committee for the Protection of Mladic six months ago, which views the work of the Tribunal as violating international law, because the judge presiding over the case is Dutch, and a Dutch battalion was present in Srebrenica, which the group believes would create impartiality. Mladic is accused of committing genocide and crimes against humanity in the blockade of Sarajevo, where 10,000 people died, and an incident in Srebrenica, where between 7,000 and 8,000 Bosnians were killed. (InSerbia).
AU to consider withdrawing from Rome Statute at summit this week: AU member states will consider passing a resolution to withdraw from the Rome Statute at a summit beginning on Friday, 11 October 2013 in Addis Ababa, which, if passed, would be advisory and AU member states would then domestically consider withdrawal. Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir, who has been indicted by the ICC for genocide, will travel to Ethiopia on Friday in order to convince other AU member states to withdraw from the ICC. Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki declared earlier this month that Tunisia would boycott the meeting, because he supports the ICC’s prosecution of African leaders accused of international crimes. Botswana has also voiced its support of the ICC, and South Africa, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Zambia have also affirmed that they do not plan to withdraw from the Rome Statute. On Monday, 7 October 2013, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan publicly supported the ICC, rejecting the argument that the ICC has been too focused on crimes occurring in Africa and explaining that he considers the ICC to be a court of last resort that is best equipped to address international crimes. Approximately 130 groups across Africa have backed the ICC, and have been urging AU member states to refrain from withdrawing from the Rome Statute. (Sudan Tribune, Voice of America, The New Age). (For more information on this topic, please click here, here, and here).
Second witness in Ruto trial testified to ODM command structure: The second witness in the trial against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto testified before the ICC on Monday, 7 October 2013, explaining the command structure within the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leading up to the 2007 elections. The witness testified that ODM’s Pentagon had consisted of Odinga, Ruto, former Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, former Minister Joe Nyagah, Mining and Tourism Secretary Najib Balala, and Lands, Housing and Urban Settlements Secretary Charity Ngilu. Ruto and former ODM Chairman Henry Kosgey had led the ODM campaigns in the Rift Valley. Ruto has been charged with committing crimes against humanity in the post-election violence in Kenya in 2007/2008. (All Africa).
Extradition case against Kenyan journalist wanted by ICC began Monday: The extradition case against the Kenyan journalist Walter Barasa, for whom the ICC issued an arrest warrant last week, began on Monday, 7 October 2013. Attorney General Githu Muigai confirmed that the office of the Interior Cabinet Secretary received the arrest warrant from the ICC, and the case was ready for submission to the Kenyan judiciary on Monday. Chief Justice Willy Mutunga will appoint a judge to preside over this case, which is the first to be heard before the International Crimes Division (ICD) of the High Court of Kenya, an international crimes tribunal created in April. Barasa is charged with corruptly influencing ICC witnesses in the case against Deputy President William Ruto. (BERNAMA-NNN-KBC).
International Crimes Tribunal allows four witnesses in Nizami trial: On Monday, 7 October 2013, the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh allowed the defense to produce four out of 25 witnesses in the case against Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami. Justice ATM Fazle Kabir explained that limiting the number of defense witnesses to four would allow for a fair trial. The defense had originally submitted a list of 10,111 witnesses to the court in July 2012, and upon objection by the prosecution, the defense shortened the list to 25 witnesses on 3 October, 2013. Nizami, a Jamaat leader, is charged with 16 counts of crimes against humanity and genocide allegedly committed during the 1971 Liberation War. (The Daily Star).
Nigerian human rights group to ask ICC to investigate recent killings: The Socio-Economic and Rights Accountability Project, a Nigerian Human rights group, said on Sunday, 6 October 2013 that it would petition the ICC to investigate the recent killings of students and teachers in northeast Nigeria as crimes against humanity. Suspected of the killings are Islamic militants from the Boko Haram terrorist network, which means “Western education is forbidden.” The group is accused of killing hundreds of civilians throughout three states in Nigeria, causing President Goodluck Jonathan to declare a state of emergency on May 14, 2013. He also initiated a military response in order to drive the suspected militants out of these areas. (ABC News).
ICC unseals arrest warrant against Charles Blé Goudé: On Monday, 30 September 2013, the Pre-Trial Chamber I of the ICC unsealed an arrest warrant against Ivorian Charles Blé Goudé, which had initially been issued on 21 December 2011. Blé Goudé is accused of working with former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo in inciting pro-Gbagbo forces to attack civilian populations between December 2010 and April 2011, following the national election. Specifically, he allegedly controlled and instructed youth militias who were part of the Ivorian Defense and Security Forces and loyal to Laurent Gbagbo. Following the warrants of arrest for Laurent Gbagbo and the former first lady Simone Gbagbo, this is the third warrant of arrest the ICC has issued for individuals involved in the post-election conflict in Côte d’Ivoire. (CPI-ICC).
Special Bangladeshi war crimes court to give verdict on senior BNP leader: 16 months after the International Crimes Tribunal indicted senior BNP leader Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury on 23 charges of committing crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War, the special war crimes court is set to deliver its verdict on Tuesday, 1 October 2013. The trial was conducted before a three-member tribunal, the chairman of which announced the delivery of the judgment. The prosecution noted that it could prove 17 of the 23 charges beyond doubt and was expecting Chowdhury to receive the death penalty, whereas Chowdhury’s defense counsel claimed that they were able to prove his innocence during the trial. Chowdhury is the second of two BNP leaders to be tried for war crimes, and he is specifically accused of killing 200 civilians, collaborating with the Pakistani Army to kill and torture people, persecution, and killing philanthropist and industrialist Nutun Chandra Singha. (IBN Live).
International criminal law experts push for special tribunal in Syria: A group of international war crimes experts calling for the creation of a conflict-specific war crimes tribunal in Syria will formally introduce the relevant draft statutes at the National Press Club in Washington on Tuesday, 1 October 2013. The special tribunal would serve to try high-level officials, rebels, and soldiers who may have committed war crimes during the Syrian civil war and aim to prevent such atrocities in the future. The statutes have been in development for about two years, and a spokesman for the drafters said that the U.S. is sympathetic to the creation of a Syrian war crimes court. While Sharif Shehadeh, a Syrian legislator and political analyst, expressed that the Syrian judicial system is adequate and a special court therefore unnecessary, the Free Syrian Army welcomes the idea of a special tribunal. Even though Syria is not party to the ICC, Human Rights Watch commented that the ICC would ensure a more fair trial of top-level officials than a special tribunal would. (The Associated Press).
Hearings in Bemba trial to be postponed: For reasons that have not been made public, the testimony of the fourth to last defense witness in the trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba at the ICC has been moved form Tuesday, 1 October 2013 to Wednesday, 2 October 2013. Due to his professional commitments, the witness is allowed to testify remotely via video link from an undisclosed location. Bemba is the former vice-president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and leader of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo, and is charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity as commander of troops that allegedly committed atrocities against civilians during the 2002-2003 armed conflict in the Central African Republic. (The Trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo).
UNHRC issues warning of international investigation to Sri Lanka: In an oral report to the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday, 25 September 2013, UN Human Rights Commissioner Navanethem Pillay warned that Sri Lanka could face an international investigation, unless the Sri Lankan government comprehensively scrutinized the human rights violations that were committed against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam during the Sri Lankan civil war. If such an investigation is not carried out by March 2014, she warned, the international community has a duty to intervene and examine the alleged war crimes. The report followed her visit to Sri Lanka in August, where she assessed that the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa had not made progress in investigating the crimes committed against the LTTE, nor had Colombo initiated any new efforts to credibly examine the allegations. The Sri Lankan delegation to the UNHCR has rejected the report and international involvement. (World Socialist Website).
Kenyan MP supports suspension of ICC cases against Kenyatta and Ruto: Ken Kiloku, a member of parliament of Narok East, voiced his support to have the ICC trials against President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto suspended, citing insecurity and political instability in Kenya as a justification. He explained that the leaders should be given time to address security issues in Kenya, especially in light of the recent Westgate Mall terrorist attack. He also accused Fatuo Bensouda, the ICC chief prosecutor, of threatening the Deputy President of Kenya, asking her to respect the wishes of Kenyans. (The Star).
ICC Trial against Ruto and Sang begins: On Tuesday 10 September 2013 the ICC trial against William Ruto and Joshia arap Sang began in The Hague with a plead of ‘not guilty’ from the accused and opening statements from the Prosecution, Defence and Victims counsel. The Prosecution laid out its case that Ruto planned the post-election violence which took place in December 2007 and January 2008 for 18 months before the 2007 Presidential elections, and Sang assisted by broadcasting meeting locations and dispensing hate speech over his radio program on Kass FM. Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s opening remarks also stated that the recent withdrawal of several prosecution witnesses is worrying and must be investigated. Counsel for Ruto, Karim Khan, criticised the quality of the Prosecution’s investigation saying the case is “crumbling before it started” and witness withdrawal is evidence of an incompetent investigation. Counsel for the victims Wilfred Nderitu supported the ICC process saying that a lasting solution to prevent future periodic violence must be undertaken and this process must include justice. (For additional information on this topic, please 1. click here, 2. click here, 3. click here, and 4. click here). (BBC, ABC, The Standard, allAfrica, Business Daily Africa).
Motion to withdraw from the Rome Statute passes the Kenyan Senate: On Tuesday evening, 10 September, a motion for Kenya to withdraw from the Rome Statute was passed in the Kenyan Senate. Last week, the parliamentary motion was passed by the National Assembly and sent to the Senate for debate and voting. In both Chambers members of the political party Cord boycotted the vote and walked out of the meeting after defending the Rome Statute and opposing withdrawal during debate. The motion will now be drafted into a petition by the Majority Leader Prof Kithure Kindiki and presented to the ICC President and UN Security Council. Rights groups such as Amnesty International criticised Kenya’s move to leave to the ICC saying that “it is a disturbing attempt to deny justice to the hundreds of thousands of people.” Uganda support Kenya’s move with Uganda’s Deputy Foreign Minister Henry Okello Oryem saying that the ICC is biased against African leaders and not ruling out that Uganda might also seek to withdraw from the Rome Statute. (For addition information on this topic, please 1. click here, and 2. click here). (Washington Post, Business Ghana, CISA News Africa).
STL Trial Chamber head judge resigns: On Tuesday 11 September 2013 the resignation of the head of the STL’s Trial Chamber, Judge Robert Roth, was announced. The Court stated that Roth’s resignation was “due to judicial discussions and differences in opinion and concepts.” Roth had been a Judge at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon since September 2011. (Daily Star).
Posted by cdelaubenfels in Crimes against Humanity, DRC, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gaddafi, Human Rights Violations, ICC, Investigations, Kenya, News about the Courts, North Korea, Other domestic courts, Post-Election Violence, Torture, UN General Assembly, UN Security Council, Victims, War Crimes on August 28, 2013
Syria accused of crimes against humanity: On 27 August, the United Nations condemned the attacks on its weapon inspectors, who were investigating the possible use of chemical weapons. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that the international community cannot “cannot allow impunity in what appears to be a grave crime against humanity,” referencing the use of chemical weapons. The most recent chemical weapons attack occurred outside of Damascus and resulted in the death of over 300 civilians, including children.
UN investigators urge North Korea to allow a visit: On 27 August, the three member UN expert panel assigned to investigate human rights violations in North Korea urged the government to allow them to visit. However, the North Korean government called the probe slanderous and stated that they do not commit human rights abuses. The expert panel completed hearings in South Korea where they heard testimony from former occupants of North Korean prison camps on the human rights violations occurring within, including torture, forced abortions, and public executions. It is estimated that there are 80,000-120,000 prisoners in the labor camps. The UN panel is set to release their report on the abuses by the end of 2013.
Gaddafi seeks assistance from UK over trial concerns: On 27 August, the lawyers representing Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, urged the British government to do all within its powers to assure that Gaddafi is not tried in Libya. The lawyers contend that Gaddafi will only receive a show trial and will be subjected to the death sentence when convicted. Gaddafi is being charged with crimes relating to the events after protests began against his father in 2011, including torture and murder; he is also wanted by the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity. Gaddafi’s trial is set to begin in Tripoli on 19 September.
ICC President criticizes ICC Prosecution over Kenyan case: On 26 August, the ICC Presidency criticized the ICC Prosecution over their changed decision in the trial of Kenyan Deputy-President William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang from preferring a Kenyan or Tanzania venue to preferring The Hague. The Presidency’s criticism of ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s new position is centered around the abrupt change in view without explanation and not providing the defense time to respond to the new submission. Ruto and Song will be on trial before the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity in relation to the 2007-2008 post-election violence in Kenya.
UN to begin inquiry into Sri Lankan war crimes: On 25 August, the UN announced that its top rights official, Navi Pillay, would begin probes into Sri Lankan war crimes, after the Sri Lankan government recently dropped resistance to such inquiries. The probe will focus around the events of the final months of the separatist war in 2009, when some have estimated 40,000 civilians died. Until recently, the war zones of Northern Sri Lanka had been off limits to journalists, aid workers, and UN staff.
Former Congolese general arrested in France for crimes against humanity: On 23 August, the French government arrested former Congolese General Norbert Dabira for war crimes committed in the DRC. The arrest is in relation to the disappearance of approximately 350 refugees in 1999. Although the Congolese government claims that the refugees were massacred, human rights groups and relatives of the refugees claim the refugees were tortured and then executed. Under French law, Dabira will first be investigated by a panel of judges who will decide if there is enough evidence to take the case to trial.
46 former Auschwitz guards facing arrest: On 27 August, it was announced that 46 former Auschwitz prison guards were facing arrest in Germany. German courts are set to issue arrest warrants soon, they will be charged with aiding and abetting murder.
Posted by cdelaubenfels in Crimes against Humanity, Decision Review, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Genocide, Human Rights Violations, ICC, ICT of Bangladesh, ICTY, Investigations, jurisdiction, Kenya, News about the Courts, North Korea, Other domestic courts, Post-Election Violence, Rome Statute, UN Human Rights Council, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on August 21, 2013
ICC judges suspend decision to excuse Ruto from appearing at trial: On 20 August, the ICC Appeals Chamber suspended a ruling by the Pre-Trial Chamber that allowed Kenyan Deputy-President William Ruto to be present at only essential ICC hearings. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda appealed the Pre-Trial Chamber’s decision, arguing that Ruto should be present at trials with co-accused Joshua Arap Sang. This is not a final decision by the Appeals Chamber, instead if the Chamber is unable to reach a final decision by the beginning of Ruto’s trial on 10 September, Ruto will need to attend all hearings until a final decision is made. Ruto is charged with three counts of crimes against humanity in relation to the 2007-2008 post-election violence in Kenya.
U.N. panel hears testimony on North Korean prison camp: On 20 August, the U.N. Commission of Inquiry into North Korean human rights abuses heard testimony from former prison camp inmates. The witnesses stated that public executions and torture are daily occurrences in the North Korean prison camps. There are approximately 150,000-200,000 inmates in the prison camps. This is the first time North Korea’s human rights record will be examined by an expert panel, but few believe the tribunal will have any immediate impact. The U.N. commission has stated that it is inappropriate to discuss ICC jurisdiction because North Korea is not a member to the Rome Statute.
ICTY clears Krstic of contempt of court: On 18 July, ICTY judges cleared Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstic of contempt of court for refusing to participate in the trial of Radovan Karadzic. Krstic is currently serving 35 years in prison for aiding and abetting genocide. Judges stated that post-traumatic was a reasonable excuse for refusing to testify. Karadzic remains on trial for genocide and crimes against humanity.
ICT of Bangladesh begins war crimes probe: On 20 August, the International Criminal Tribunal of Bangladesh began a probe of the actions of the Jamaat-e-Islami party during Bangladesh’s 1971 war for independence. Jamaat had led anti-liberation forces during the war. Jamaat leaders have already been convicted of crimes against humanity. Earlier verdicts against Jamaat deemed the group a criminal organization and stated that there should be no role for the group within the government.
Argentina holds crimes against humanity trials: On 19 August, Argentina officials announced that eleven trials for crimes against humanity, in relation to the 1976-83 military dictatorship, are being held throughout Argentina. One trial alone will feature 68 defendants accused of kidnapping, torture, and murder. Another trial is reviewing crimes committed relating to the CIA led Operation Condor, which targeted political opponents of Latin American military dictators.
KLWCT to hear charges against Israel: On 19 August, the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal announced that it will hear war crimes and genocide charges against former Israeli army general, Amos Yaron, and the State of Israel from 21 to 24 August. This is the first time that charges will be heard against the State of Israel in compliance with due process. If found guilty of the charges, the parties will have their names included in the KLWCT’s Register of War Criminals. The KLWCT was established in response to the ICC, which some opined favored the interests of Western nations.
Indicted Nazi war criminal dies: On 14 August, Laszlo Csatary, a former Hungarian Nazi policeman, died in Budapest at the age of 98. Csatary had been indicted for war crimes during the Holocaust for cruelty to Jews and aiding their deportation to death camps. Csatary was set to stand trial soon.