Archive for category Victims
ICC Prosecutor outlines new policy against gender-based violence: Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, recently launched the Court’s new policy related to Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes. Bensouda assured those present at her speech at the UN that the new policy would aim to strengthen the Office’s capacity to investigate and prosecute the high numbers of gender-based crimes committed around the world which fall in the Court’s jurisdiction. (ICC).
Palestine secures observer status before ICC: Palestine will receive a seat at the ICC. Palestine will now be able to request that the ICC investigate alleged war crimes that have taken place in the occupied territories in the capacity of an observer state. Consequently, Palestine is now recognized as a state by the signatories to the Rome Statute. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (Aljazeera, JPost).
Brazil President declines human rights investigations against former military: President Dilam Rouseff has received a great deal of criticism after making the decision not to support the prosecution of military officers responsible for abuses during the 1964-85 years of dictatorial rule. (Reuters).
Georgia ratifies aggression provisions of ICC Statute: Georgia is the latest country to ratify the amendments to the Rome Statute on the crime of aggression. Once thirty States Parties have ratified the amendments, the Court may proceed exercising jurisdiction over the crime of aggression. (RTTnews).
Ukraine seeks ICJ Case against Russia: Ukraine has announced that the country seeks to initiate proceedings in the ICJ against Russia for the alleged violation of a UN convention on terrorism. Claims have also been failed with the ECHR by Ukraine. The UN human rights office has asked that an immediate investigation be carried out to assess the number and severity of alleged war crimes. (Rapsinews).
Following withdrawal of Kenyatta charges, Amnesty calls for justice for victims: President Kenyatta’s charges for crimes against humanity were dropped last week and Amnesty International now demands justice for the victims. Amnesty’s regional director for East Africa, the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region, Muthoni Wanyeki, stated that the ICC and the Kenyan government are failing the victims. Mitchelle Kagiri, Amnesty’s deputy regional director for East Africa, stated that the ICC should reopen investigations to find areas that were missed. (World Bulletin)
Israel initiates investigations into crimes in Gaza: The Israeli military has initiated investigations into crimes that occurred during the war between Israeli and Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip this past summer. The war lasted for fifty days and ended on August 23rd. The Israeli military already faced accusations of war crimes from Amnesty International and an inquiry from the United Nations Human Rights Council. (The New York Times)
ICT Bangladesh to amend tribunal’s founding act to include prosecution of an organisation: The International Criminal Tribunal Act of 1973 did not contain a provision for trying organisations in the court. The government is now trying to amend the Act in order to bring organisations like Jamaat-e-Islami before the court. The government wants to try Jamaat-e-Islami for crimes against humanity during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971. The proposed amendment will be given to the cabinet this December or in January. (Dhaka Tribune)
Interpol issues red notices for Muslim Brotherhood leaders: Interpol issued over forty arrest warrants for Muslim Brotherhood leaders this past week. This included Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, head of the Doha-based International Union of Muslim Scholars. An Egyptian security official stated that those on the warrant list are wanted for different terror-related crimes. He also stated that Egyptian authorities helped persuade Interpol that these members of the Muslim Brotherhood were fugitives and terrorists. (Albawaba News)
UNSC to evaluate N. Korea HR record: The United Nations Security Council will meet later this month due to ten of the fifteen members requesting to discuss North Korea’s rights record in a letter to Chadian Ambassador Cherif Mahamat Zene, whose country currently holds the council’s presidency. The meeting concerns referring Pyongyang to the ICC for crimes against humanity. UN diplomats stated that it was likely that China would block the move to refer North Korea to the ICC with its veto power. (China Post)
ICC Prosecutor withdraws charges against Kenyan President Kenyatta: Prosecutors at the ICC dropped the charges against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta for crimes against humanity. Kenyatta was indicted for inciting post-election violence in 2007. The charges were dropped after the ICC gave prosecutors a one-week deadline to submit evidence against Kenyatta or to drop the charges. Prosecutors had asked for more time to build its case on more than one occasion, claiming witnesses had been bribed or intimidated. The ICC gave this one-week ultimatum stating that any further delays would be “contrary to the interest of justice.” (BBC) (for additional information please click here)
Former UNAMID spokesperson asks Bensouda to push UNSC for Sudan inquiry: Aicha Elbasri, former United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur spokesperson, asked prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, to look into an alleged cover-up by UN peacekeepers in Sudan. Elbasri pushed Bensouda to ask the United Nations Security Council to look further into these matters. Elbasri’s letter stated that the UN peacekeepers assigned to investigate the claims of manipulating the truth about Darfur were part of “an internal, partial, biased and secretive process.” Elbasri stepped down as spokesperson in April 2013 with claims that she had been prevented from informing the public about the events occurring in Darfur. (Sudan Tribune)
ECCC Prosecution appeals judges’ decision not to consider foreseeable crimes: The Trial Chamber of the Khmer Rouge tribunal refused ECCC prosecutor’s claims against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan in crimes that the two did not directly order or oversee. The prosecutors are now appealing that decision stating that the defendants should be held accountable for crimes that were reasonably foreseeable. Chea and Samphan both are already facing life sentences for crimes against humanity and are appealing those decisions. William Smith, international deputy co-prosecutor, stated that the Trial Chamber should be able to consider crimes such as rape that were foreseeable from actions of the accused. (Cambodia Daily)
Seselj rejects return to ICTY detention after provisional release: Earlier this week, the prosecution filed a motion to send nationalist leader Vojislav Seselj back to ICTY detention. Seselj was accused with Serbian war crimes, but was provisionally released to seek treatment for cancer. Seselj vowed that he would not return to the Tribunal. Chief prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, stated that despite Seselj’s health condition, Seselj has still made many comments that insult victim communities. Brammertz also stated that these comments called into question the trial chamber’s assessment of Seselj’s condition for provisional release. (Journal of Turkish Weekly)
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).
On Tuesday, October 21, the Judge of Pre-Trial Chamber II at the ICC ordered the release of several individuals connected to the Case of Prosecutor v. Bemba, Kilolo, et. al. The Judge, Cuno Tarfusser, considered the circumstances of detention for several members of Mr. Bemba’s defense team, a defense witness, and one other individual from the DRC government. The four were detained in November 2013 for allegedly obstructing justice in the Case of Mr. Bemba. Judge Tarfusser ordered release for the four to ensure pre-trial detention was not disproportionately long for the charges. A confirmation of charges decision is anticipated, and any corresponding detention will be decided at that time. (ICC Press Release)
On Monday, the ex-mayor of Providencia was arrested for allegedly perpetrating crimes including homicide and torture during the Pinochet Regime. Christian Labbe Galilea will be prosecuted along with nine other regime leaders, for acts committed as a member of the DINA Secret Police. The human rights division of the Chile Interior Ministry pursued the charges against the former military leaders, and indicated that they would contact Brazilian authorities regarding alleged torture training conducted in 1972-1973 in Brazil. Defense attorneys for Labbe said they would appeal the charges and seek unlawful association charges. (BBC, Reuters) For additional information on this topic, please click here.
The International Crimes Tribunal – 1 announced it would consider charges against three accused on November 5. The three suspects, Sheikh Sirajul Haque, Khan Akram Hossain, and Abdul Latif Talukdar, allegedly committed murder and other crimes during the Liberation War of 1971. Mr. Haque was said to have killed more than 650 civilians, while the two other individuals were alleged to have converted hundreds of Hindus and murdered several civilians. (Daily Star)
ICTY Karadzic trail closing statements: The ICTY heard closing arguments in the case against former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic this week. UN prosecutor Alan Tieger stated Karadzic was responsible, along with others, for cleansing Bosnia’s Muslims and Croats from Serb-claimed territories. Karadzic, conducting his own defense, took responsibility for crimes committed by the Republika Srpska but denied being aware of the killings. Karadzic faces charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of wars for crimes committed during the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (Saudi Gazette, BBC News Europe).
ICTR confirms criminal responsibility and life sentence of Nzabonimana: On 29 September 2014, the ICTR Appeals Chamber confirmed a life sentence against Callixte Nzabonimana for conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity. The Appeals Chamber ordered Nzabonimana remain in the Tribunal’s custody until it is decided where the former Rwandan youth minister is to serve his sentence. (Hirondelle News Agency).
Public testimony ends at Ivory Coast Truth Commission: Tuesday, 30 September 2014, ended public testimony of at least eighty victims and perpetrators who spoke on the serious violations of international law committed following the 2000 presidential election in the Ivory Coast. The Ivory Coast truth commission was formed to investigate the bloody political violence after opposition leader Laurent Gbagbo was elected in 2000. (AFP).
ECCC accused appeal conviction and sentence: Defense for former leaders of the Khmer Rouge, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphank, have appealed their life sentences for crimes against humanity for their roles in forced evacuations. The two ECCC accused denied the charges and argued the conviction was a miscarriage of justice. The second phase of the trial for genocide, forced labor and political purges is expected to being 17 October 2014. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (The Guardian, Phnom Penh Post).
ICC Judges reject Kenyatta request to skip status conference: ICC judges have rejected Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s request to miss the Court’s status conference because of conflicts. The ICC considered the status conference a “critical juncture” in the proceedings and requires the accused to be present. Kenyatta’s defense requested the status conference be rescheduled. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (All Africa).
ICC opens investigation into recent war crimes and CAH in CAR: A report issued by the ICC on Wednesday, 24 September 2014, confirms that an investigation has been opened into crimes committed in the Central African Republic by the mainly-Muslim Seleka alliance and the mostly Christian anti-Balaka militia. The allegations include murder, rape and recruiting of child soldiers. Investigators for the ICC will now begin the process of gathering evidence to support charges against those suspected of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity since the conflict began in 2013. (Reuters).
African Commission undertakes fact finding mission into CAR violations: From 10 to 14 September 2014, a three member delegation of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights conducted a find finding mission in the Central African Republic. The mission consisted of, among other things, discussions with CAR officials, working sessions with UN representatives, meetings with NGOs, visits to refugee camps and gathering of testimony from victims and witness. The delegation intends to issue a detailed report with recommendations to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in January 2015. In the meantime, the delegation has expressed concern that serious violations of human rights have and are continuing to be committed in the CAR. (ReliefWeb).
Karadzic trial closing arguments to be held on 29 August: The ICTY has scheduled closing arguments for 29 September 2014, in the case against Radovan Karadzic. The former Bosnian Serb president faces charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or custom of wars for crimes committed during the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict. (ICTY).
Sweden arrests two Rwandans for involvement in 1994 genocide: Two unidentified Rwandans suspected of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide have been arrested in Sweden. The arrests come some two months after a Swedish appeals court confirmed a genocide conviction against Stanislas Mbanenande, a low level commander involved in five massacres in western Rwanda. (All Africa).
HRW says assassination spree in Libya possible CAH: The scores of political assassinations in Libya since 2012 may amount to crimes against humanity, said Human Rights Watch. These assassinations include the 19 September 2014, killing of five civilians, two activists, members of the security forces and a cleric in the eastern city of Benghazi. Human Rights Watch stated that the failure and unwillingness of the government of Libya to initiate investigations into the crimes and prosecute those responsible has “fostered a culture of impunity that has fueled further abuses.” (Human Rights Watch).
Israel and Palestine consider investigations and next steps for crimes on both sides: The Israeli military is investigating suspected war crimes committed by its operations during the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip. It is estimated more than 2,000 Palestinians were killed in Israel’s military campaign in July and August this year. Palestine’s Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the country will soon decide whether to sign the Rome Statute of the ICC and be able to file a complaint against Israel in the Court for war crimes. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (The Times of Israel, McClatchy DC).
ECCC announces 17 October as date for final phase of trial: The second phase of the trial of Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan at the ECCC is scheduled to being on 17 October 2014. In this final phase, the two former senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge face allegations of genocide, forced labor and political purges. The two were convicted last month of crimes against humanity for their roles in forced evacuations. (Voice of America).
NGO report provides new evidence of HR violations by Sri Lanka: The British rights group, Freedom From Torture, released a report today, 24 September 2014, documenting acts of detention, torture and sexual violence in Sri Lanka. The acts, carried out by Sri Lanka’s security forces, have mostly been aimed at ethnic Tamils and have occurred since the country’s civil war ended in 2009. Sri Lanka’s cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella claims the “report is totally biased” and Freedom From Torture “have anti-Sri Lanka elements and continue undue pressure on Sri Lanka by leveling baseless allegations.” (UCA News).