Archive for category Victims
Alleged Ouattara supporter apprehended in Ivory Coast: On Saturday, authorities in Cote d’Ivoire announced that they had a former member of Alassane Ouattara’s military regime in custody. Amade Oueremi allegedly ordered attacks against supporters of Laurent Gbagbo during violent post-election protests in 2011. Then-outgoing President Gbagbo refused to leave office after national elections declared Ouattara the victor. Authorities suggest Oueremi will be transferred to Abidjan, where he will face charges. Gbagbo was arrested shortly after the riots and transferred to The Hague, where he is awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court.
UN Human Rights Office indicates CAH may have been committed in Nigeria: A spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said this weekend that Boko Haram’s recent violent attacks could constitute crimes against humanity. Rupert Colville said Friday that the hundreds of civilian deaths in Nigeria, largely accredited to the militant group Boko Haram, were of great concern to the international community. Anything amounting to widespread and systematic attacks or ethnic cleansing against the population could be prosecuted. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon echoed these sentiments.
LRA casualties surpass 100,000 according to UN: On Monday the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released a key figure from its report on the impact of the Lord’s Resistance Army and civilian welfare in Central Africa. It concluded that over 100,000 individuals had been killed since 1987, during which time the LRA had also committed atrocities including child abduction and forced displacement. The LRA’s current leader, Joseph Kony, reportedly led the group in attacks against civilians in Uganda, and is thought to be on the run in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, or other speculated locations. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court for these crimes.
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.
Ruto’s lawyers seek trial postponement: On 26 April 2013, Kenyan Deputy-President William Ruto’s lawyer, Karim Khan, asked the ICC to postpone Ruto’s trial until at least November so the defense can prepare properly. Ruto’s case has already been delayed once to give the defense adequate time to prepare; Ruto is set to go on trial on 28 May. Khan stated that the prosecution has delayed transferring crucial information to the defense. Ruto is charged with three counts of crimes against humanity for his role in the 2007-2008 post-election violence. Last week Ruto requested the ICC waive his right to be present at trial; this week the lawyers for the victims of the post-election violence opposed that request. (To read more on this topic, click here.)
HRW calls on Chad to arrest Sudanese Defense Minister: On 25 April 2013, Human Rights Watch called on the government of Chad to arrest Sudanese defense minister Abdel-Rahim Mohammed Hussein, who is attending a conference in the country and is wanted by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity. This is the first time Hussein has visited a state party to the Rome Statute since being charged by the ICC in March 2012. Hussein served as Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s interior minister during the height of the conflict in Darfur in 2004; former ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo stated that Hussein is among those who “bear greatest criminal responsibility” for the atrocities committed in Sudan. Although as a state party Chad has the obligation to arrest any suspects, Chad has repeatedly allowed Bashir to visit. While the AU has urged member states not to cooperate with the ICC in arresting Bashir, Chad and other state parties to the Rome statute have received pressure from hundreds of human rights groups, law societies, and the European Union to execute ICC arrest warrants.
Death of Khmer Rouge leader worries victims: On 25 April 2013, victims of the 1970s Cambodian atrocities commented that they worried that justice will not be served on the two Khmer Rouge leaders on trial. Last month Ieng Sary, a former leader of Khmer Rouge, died in the midst of trial. Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, the former Khmer Rouge leaders on trial, are both aging and the trial is progressing slowly. The Khmer Rouge Tribunal, which was founded in 2006, has only convicted one person in relation to the atrocities that killed approximately 2-million Cambodians.
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.
Posted by cdelaubenfels in African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, AU, CAR, Crimes against Humanity, ECCC, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gender crimes, Genocide, Human Rights Treaties and Charters, Human Rights Violations, ICC, ICTY, Investigations, Ivory Coast, jurisdiction, Kenya, News about the Courts, Post-Election Violence, Rome Statute, Rwanda, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on April 6, 2013
Three more witnesses refuse to testify against Kenyatta: On 5 April 2013, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda revealed that three more prosecution witnesses have refused to testify against Kenyan President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta. Bensouda has blamed the multiple witnesses refusing to testify on harassment and threats. The trial of Kenyatta, who is charged with crimes against humanity revolving around 2007-2008 post-election violence, is set to begin on July 11. It is unclear at this time how this will affect Kenyatta’s case going forth; some parties have called for the case to be sent back to the Pre-Trial Hearing to determine if there is enough evidence against Kenyatta to take the case to trial.
Krstic pleads not guilty at ICTY: On 4 April 2013, former Bosnian Serb Army officer Radislav Krstic plead not guilty to contempt of court for refusing to testify in the ICTY case against Radovan Karadzic. Krstic has declared that he won’t testify on behalf of Karadzic because of poor health. However, after investigation, the ICTY chamber stated that Krstic is mentally and physically fit to testify. In 2004 the ICTY sentenced Krstic to 35-years imprisonment for aiding and abetting genocide at Srbrenica in 1995.
Panama to face charges before Inter-American Court of Human Rights: On 26 February 2013, the IACHR began a case against Panama at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for alleged human rights abuses. Panama is accused of failing to meet its obligation to provide its indigenous peoples with “an adequate and effective procedure for access to their ancestral territory.” Further, the IACHR claims that Panama did not respond to interference by third parties in indigenous territories, amounting to discrimination. Panama’s case was referred to the Court because Panama had refused to comply with recommendations put forth by the IACHR.
African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights “strongly condemns” military takeover in CAR: On 4 April 2013, the ACHPR released a statement criticizing the military takeover in the Central African Republic. The statement indicated that the lives lost in the takeover were a serious violation of the rights guaranteed by the African Charter and that perpetrators of pillaging and armed violence should be brought before competent courts. The statement further said that the CAR military in charge must still meet its regional and international human rights commitments. Finally, the commission called on the international community, in particular the AU and Economic Community of Central African States, to take necessary steps to restore CAR to constitutional order.
HRW report criticizes Ivory Coast for biased implementation of justice: On 4 April 2013, Human Rights Watch released a report criticizing Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara for unevenly administering justice relating to 2010 post-election violence. The 2010 violence occurred when former President Laurent Gbago, who is currently facing war crimes charges before the ICC, refused to step down after losing the election, more than 3000 people were killed. Although Ouattara’s administration admits that his supporters committed human rights violations, none have been charged with crimes while the government has charged more than 150 Gbago supporters of crimes. The HRW report raises concern that such uneven administration of justice may have great negative impacts long-term. On a different note, on 4 April the Ivory Coast began an exhumation of the victims of the 2010 violence. The Justice Minister Genenema Coulibaly said that the exhumations will allow families to grieve and the country to hold transparent and fair trials. (For more on the topic, please click here.)
East African citizens call for expansion of EACJ jurisdiction: On 5 April 2013, Justice Johnson Busingye, the Principle Judge of the East African Court of Justice, declared that East African citizens have the right to work for an extension of the jurisdiction of the EACJ. East Africans have called for the EACJ—which has jurisdiction over matters of interpretation and applications of treaties, employment disputes, and commercial arbitration—to extend its jurisdiction to handle war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide cases. Busingye mentioned that some East Africans do not support the ICC because of conceptions that it is only targeting Africans; he declared that focusing on empowering regional courts might eliminate anxiety around the ICC.
Khmer Rouge Tribunal receives loan from international side of tribunal: On 5 April 2013, the international side of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal loaned $2-million to the Cambodia side of the tribunal so the court can continue its operations. The loan is a temporary fix that will keep more court staff from boycotting work. The tribunal’s money crisis occurs as the tribunal is trying two former Khmer Rouge Leaders, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, the court’s second case since its inception in 2006. International donors have been reluctant to fund the court due to allegations of mismanagement and corruption.
US and Uganda suspend hunt for Joseph Kony: On 3 April 2013, United States and Ugandan officials announced the temporary suspension of their joint hunt for suspected war criminal Joseph Kony, due to violence and political upheaval in the Central African Republic. The recent violence, which forced CAR President Francois Bozize to flee the country where Kony is believed to be hiding. Although the CAR rebel groups are not affiliated with Kony or his Lord’s Resistance Army, they have refused to cooeprate with the Ugandan military in their quest to bring justice to the man believed to be responsible for the abduction and employment of child soldiers. The United States has 40 troops in CAR to train and advise the primarily Ugandan forces looking for Kony, and neither country is planning on withdrawing them unless the political situation is unresolvable.
The suspension of the search overshadows yesterday’s announcement by US Secretary of State John Kerry of “up to $5 million for information that leads to the arrest, transfer, and conviction of the top three leaders of the LRA: Joseph Kony, Okot Odhiambo, and Dominic Ongwen. All three are charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.” (For more information, click here.)
Kenya: Victims call for accelerated proceedings against President-elect Kenyatta due to witness intimidation: On 4 April 2013, counsel for the victims of the post-election violence of 2007 Fergal Gaynor asked the Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to accelerate President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta’s trial, rather than referring the case to the Pre-Trial Chamber. Gaynor characterized defense counsel’s seeking of confirmation of charges as a frivolous delay tactic. In the companion case against Ruto Sang, counselor for the victims Wilfred Nderitu announced his opposition Kenyatta standing trial in absentia.
US and European ambassadors to attend Kenyatta inauguration: On 4 April 2013, it was announced that, despite warnings of consequences to Kenya for allowing and assisting the alleged perpetrator of crimes against humanity to take office, western countries are planning to send diplomats to the inaugeration of Uhuru Kenyatta. Despite its apparent departure from international norms, Kenya remains of high strategic value to the west, which fears that alienating the country would push it closer to countries such as India and China.
President of Malawi announces ICJ case in dispute with Tanzania: On 3 April 2013, Malawian President Joyce Banda announced that Malawi will file suit in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) alleging that the African Forum of Former Heads of States unfairly favored Tanzania by sharing Malawian documents with Tanzania prior to submission. The two countries are disputing whether oil and gas deposits under Lake Malawi are Malawian or Tanzanian territory.
President of Egypt travels to Sudan in efforts to strengthen relations: On 4 April 2013, President of Egypt Mohammed Morsi began a two-day visit to Sudan to meet with the country’s president Omar al Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of genocide. Despite an arrest warrant that has stood since 2009, al Bashir has traveled throughout the region, including Egypt. The two countries, which currently claim most of the Nile River, are strategic allies against upstream countries who seek to renegotiate territory agreements.
Posted by cdelaubenfels in Admissibility / Primacy, amnesty, AU, CAR, Crimes against Humanity, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gaddafi, Genocide, Human Rights Violations, ICC, ICTR, ICTY, immunity, Investigations, jurisdiction, Liberia, Libya, News about the Courts, Other domestic courts, Rome Statute, South Sudan, Sudan, Truth Commissions, Uganda, Victims, War Crimes on April 4, 2013
Libya seeks to try Senussi: On 3 April 2013, the ICC published Libya’s Admissibility Challenge against Abdullah Al-Senussi pursuant Article 19 of the Rome Statute. The Admissibility Challenge requested that the Court find Libya able and willing to try Al-Senussi in Libya, and as a result of filing the Admissibility Challenge asked that the Court’s outstanding Request for Arrest and Surrender of Al-Senussi be postponed pursuant to Article 95 of the Rome Statute. The ICC indicted Al-Senussi, Muammar Gaddafi’s former spy chief, in June 2011 for crimes against humanity. Al-Senussi is currently jailed in Libya after he was extradited from Mauritania to Libya in September 2012. The Libyan government has said that trying Al-Senussi is an important part of building a democratic Libya based on the rule of law. Al-Senussi’s defense lawyer, however, doubts Libya’s ability to provide a fair trial and may result in the death penalty—which the ICC does not condone. Libya’s Article 19 Admissibility Challenge against AL-Senussi follows Libya’s Admissibility Challenge against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi which was filed on 1 May 2012 with continuing proceedings on admissibility to date. A decision on the Admissibility Challenge against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi is expected soon.
United States announces $5-million bounty for Kony: On 3 April 2013, the Obama administration announced a five-million dollar bounty for Joseph Kony, leader of the Uganda rebel group Lord’s Resistance Army, and his top aides. There is an ICC arrest warrant out for Kony for crimes against humanity. Previously the United States had only issued rewards for war crimes suspects wanted by the ICTR and ICTY, this is the first reward offered for suspects wanted by the ICC. Kony, who is accused of ordering widespread atrocities in Uganda since the 1980s, is suspected to be in hiding in the Central African Republic.
United States N.G.O. calls for war crimes investigation into Sudan: On 3 April 2013, a United States based advocacy grouped released a report alleging that Sudan has committed war crimes since 2011 in southern Sudan. The report details testimony and photographic evidence of the burning of farm and grazing land and the destruction of 42 villages and calls for an international criminal investigation. On 2 April, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda renewed her call for the arrest of Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir and other suspects wanted by the ICC. Bensouda made the statement at a ceremony marking the beginning of genocide awareness month; Bashir has outstanding ICC warrants for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. On 1 April, President Bashir announced that the government would release political prisoners; a welcome announcement to human rights advocates, but one met with skepticism. (For additional information on this topic, please click here and here
France announces first trial of a Rwandan for genocide: On April 2 2013, a French court, for the first time, ordered a Rwandan to be tried in national courts for genocide. Pascal Simbikangwa, a former Rwandan army captain who was arrested in France in 2008, is facing charges of complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity. In 2010, France established a court to try genocide and crimes against humanity involving suspects detained in France. France has been unwilling to extradite genocide suspects to Rwanda out of concern for fair trials, but has sent some suspects to the ICTR in Tanzania. The spokesperson for Rwanda’s national prosecution authority praised France’s decision to try genocide suspects.
Slovakia to hold a new trial for 98 year old Hungarian Nazi: On April 2 2013, a Slovak court declared that they will seek the extradition of 98-year old war criminal, Laszlo Csatary, to Slovakia so he can be tried for crimes against humanity. Csatary was convicted in absentia of war crimes in 1948 and was sentenced to death. In order to facilitate with extradition request with Hungary and to comply with current Slovakian law, Slovakia confirmed that it would seek life imprisonment. Between 1941 and 1944, Csatary tortured Jews and sent 16,000 to death camps.
Charles Taylor comments on the death of Moses Blah: On April 2 2013, former Liberian President Charles Taylor commented on the death of Moses Blah, the man who succeeded Taylor. Taylor said he forgave Blah for testifying against him at the ICC where Taylor was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Blah had been Vice President under Taylor’s regime and testified to Taylor’s interactions with child soldiers. Taylor said Blah was a victim of an international conspiracy.
Nepal Supreme Court blocks probe into civil war crimes: On 2 April 2013, the Nepalese Supreme Court blocked a new law that would establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to probe war crimes committed during Nepal’s ten year civil war. Judge Shushila Karki issued an interim order against the law out of concerns that the commission could allow amnesties for serious human rights violations. More than 17,000 citizens died during the civil war between Maoist rebels and the state.
Posted by kchin2014 in CAR, Crimes against Humanity, ECCC, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Fatuo Bensouda, Gender crimes, Genocide, Human Rights Treaties and Charters, Human Rights Violations, ICC, Kenya, News about the Courts, Rome Statute, South Sudan, UN General Assembly, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on April 2, 2013
Sudan: opposition groups confirm release of seven political prisoners: On 2 April 2013, head of the Sudanese opposition coalition National Consensus Forces Farouk Abu Issa confirmed that President Omar al Bashir was delivering on his 1 April 2013 promise “to release all political prisoners” by releaseing seven political prisoners from the Kober prison in Khartoum. Rights groups and the opposition believe that many more such prisoners are being held after a crackdown on anti-austerity protestors last year. Bashir’s 1 April speech announced that he was making good of a peace agreement with South Sudan.
ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda calls for Bashir’s arrest in genocide awareness month announcement: On 2 April 2013, International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda “call[ed] upon all States, whether parties to the Rome Statute or not, to cooperate with the ICC in seeking [and] pursuing accountability for genocide…we must not forget victims of the Darfur genocide.” President Omar al Bashir was indicted on charges of genocide in 2010, but several signatory states of the Rome Statute have failed to meet their obligation to arrest the indicted President of Sudan, calling into question the relevance and effectiveness of the ICC.
South African National Defence Union calls upon national government to push for ICC indictment of Djotodia: On 1 April 2013, National Secretary Pikkie Greeff called upon the South African government to “initiate the indictment” of Central African Republic (CAR) leader Michel Djotodia for allegedly using child soldiers against the South African National Defence Force as the rebel group took control of CAR last week. Noting that “[u]sing child soldiers to conduct acts of war and aggression is a violation of human rights an an international act of criminality,” Greeff stated that “[t]he South African government has a legal duty to enforce international human rights law,” and that “failing to do so would constitute a tacit but gross condonation of human rights violations and criminal conduct of a warlord abusing children as soldiers.”
ECCC announces payment of overdue salaries: On 30 March 2013, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) announced that it would pay the overdue salaries, owed for the months of January through April, to its employees, but did not specify the amounts to be paid. Despite spending $141.1 million from its establishment in 2006 to the end of 2011, the tribunal has only obtained one conviction, calling into question the relevance and effectiveness of the ECCC.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon congratulates Kenyatta on victory: On 30 March 2013, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon congratulated Kenyan President-Elect Uhuru Kenyatta, acknowledging his victory which was made official by the Kenyan Supreme Court this weekend. Ban also called upon Kenyans to remain calm and congratulated Prime Minister Raila Odinga for acknowledging his defeat following the ruling. Ban did not address the issue of Kenyatta’s current imprisonment in The Hague for allegedly inciting the violence that followed the country’s last elections which left 1,100 people dead, 3,500 injured, and over half a million displaced.
US Department of State spokesperson will not ignore ICC charges against Kenyan President-elect: On 1 April 2013, United States Department of State Spokesperson for African Affairs Hilary Renner announced that the country “cannot ignore the serious charges that have been set out in the International Criminal Court indictment, and will calibrate [US] engagement accordingly.” This is consistent with United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson’s previous warning to the Kenyan government. Although Renner did not specify what the US response would be, she called upon Kenya to “uphold its international obligations” and called upon Kenyatta, Ruto, and the Kenyan government “to live up to commitments of seeking justice for the victims of the 2007-2008 post-election violence, including by cooperating fully with the ICC process.”
Posted by cdelaubenfels in Crimes against Humanity, DRC, ECCC, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Gender crimes, Genocide, Human Rights Treaties and Charters, ICC, ICTY, immunity, Investigations, Kenya, News about the Courts, Other domestic courts, Post-Election Violence, Rome Statute, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Torture, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on March 30, 2013
Slovak court commutes WWII criminal’s death sentence: On 28 March 2013, a Slovak court announced that the death sentence of 98 year old Laszlo Csataray, a World War II criminal, to life imprisonment. In 1948 Csataray was found guilty and sentenced to death in absentia for torturing Jews and organizing the deportation of nearly 16,000 Jews to Auschwitz. Csataray had lived as a fugitive until he was arrested by Hungarian authorities last year. The sentence was changed in order to comply with Slovak law, which abolished the death penalty in 1990.
Former Kenyan witness refuses to see ICC lawyers: On 24 March 2013, the lawyer for the Kenyan ICC witness who recently recanted his testimony stated that his client would not meet with ICC lawyers. The Office of the Prosecutor had written the witness asking for a meeting after the witness decided not to testify in the case against William Ruto. The former witness stated that ICC lawyers had tried to contact him directly and that he felt harassed. The Office of the Prosecutors denies the allegations put forward by the ex-witness.
Khmer Rouge tribunal confirms that defendant is fit for trial: On 29 March 2013, the UN-backed Cambodian war crime court confirmed that Nuon Chea, a former Khmer Rouge leader, was fit to stand trial even though he is “advancing [in] age and frailty.” Chea is charged, along with former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan, with crimes against humanity and war crimes for overseeing the “Killing Fields” that killed nearly two-million Cambodians during the 1970s. There have been concerns about the case continuing after co-defendant, Ieng Sary, recently passed away. The tribunal has struggled with funding, procedural, and political difficulties since its founding in 2006.
M23 allege that Ntaganda was attempting to take charge of group: On 28 March 2013, Rene Abandi, a spokesperson for Congolese rebel group M23, said that Bosco Ntaganda, currently under arrest at the ICC, was trying to take over the group. Abandi reported that there were fights between different factions of M23 after Ntaganda challenged the group’s military chief, Sultani Makenga. After Ntaganda lost the fight, he fled to the United States embassy in Rwanda where he requested to be sent to the ICC. The ICC has charged Ntaganda with war crimes and crimes against humanity including recruiting child soldiers, murder, rape, and pillaging.
Estonia ratifies crime of aggression amendment to Rome Statute: On 27 March 2013, Estonia became the fifth country to sign the crime of aggression amendment to the Rome Statute. Estonia’s UN representative Margus Kolga stated that ratifying the amendment is a “clear indication of the staunch support that Estonia has demonstrated towards the International Criminal Court.” If 30 state parties to the Rome Statute ratify the amendment, the ICC will be able to investigate the crime of aggression starting in 2017.
HRW calls on Sri Lankan government to investigate Deputy Minister’s role in atrocities: On 28 March 2013, Human Rights Watch called on the Sri Lankan government to investigate the role of Deputy Minister Karuna in war crimes committed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Recently Karuna, a former member of LTTE, has advocated for investigations of atrocities committed by the LTTE, but HRW states that Karuna is also responsible for committing war crimes, including mass murder, during the 26-year conflict in Sri Lanka. HRW alleges that Karuna has enjoyed immunity and he is only advocating for investigations into LTTE to silence his political opposition.
Former Bosnian Serb military leader sentenced to 45 years in prison: On 29 March 2013, a Bosnian war crime court sentenced former Bosnian Serb paramilitary leader Veselin Vlahovic to 45 years in prison, the maximum sentence. Vlahovic, commonly known as the Monster of Grbavica, was found guilty of murder, rape, and torture during the Bosnian War from 1992-1995. This is the highest sentence ever given in Bosnia. The war crimes department of the Bosnian court system was founded in 2005 to assist the overburdened ICTY.
Court/Tribunal: International Criminal Court
Decision Title: Decision on the Withdrawal of Charges against Mr. Muthaura
Chamber: Trial Chamber V
Case Name: Prosecutor v. Francis Kirimi Muthaura and Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta
Date: 18 March 2013
Decision Background: In 2012, charges against both Uhuru Kenyatta and Francis Muthaura were confirmed, and the ICC Presidency referred the case to the Chamber. In early February 2013, the defense for Kenyatta and Muthaura both filed applications requesting that the question as to whether confirmation of the charges against the defendants be referred to the Pre-Trial Chamber for reconsideration. On 11 March 2013, during the court-ordered status conference regarding the February filings, the Prosecution submitted that it was withdrawing the charges against Mathaura. On the same day, the Prosecution filed a formal notice of withdrawal of the charges with the court.
In its filing, the Prosecution argued that it was still within its discretion to unilaterally withdraw charges against the defendant – without the court’s granting leave to do so – owing to the fact that the formal trial against the defendant had not yet commenced. In the alternative, the Prosecution argued that the fact that there is insufficient evidence to convict the defendant should warrant leave to withdraw the charges. The defense essentially agreed with the Prosecution’s contentions, agreeing that the Prosecution should have unilateral discretion to withdraw the charges, and that subsequent to the withdrawal of charges, the entire case against Muthaura should end as soon as possible. Likewise, it submitted that if leave to withdraw the charges is required, it requested that leave be granted as quickly as possible.
The Common Legal Representative for Victims submitted to the court the position that leave to withdraw charges would be necessary before charges against the defendant can be withdrawn. It also argued that should the Chamber dismiss the charges against Muthaura, it should do so without prejudice to the Prosecution’s ability to bring future charges against the defendant, should circumstances change.
Decision Review: Article 61(4) of the Statute allows the Prosecution to amend or withdraw charges against the defendant at any time before the confirmation hearing, upon proper notification to the Pre-Trial chamber of the reasons for withdrawal. Article 61(9) allows the Prosecution to withdraw charges against a defendant once trial has commenced only with the permission of the Chamber. The Chamber found that the Statute does not address the current situation –a request to withdraw charges after the confirmation hearing but before the trial.
Considering the fact that the Prosecution believed that there would be insufficient to convict the defendant at trial, and the fact that the Prosecution did not believe that it could secure evidence to convict the defendant, the Chamber granted the withdrawal of charges against Muthaura. Its decision was bolstered by the fact that the defense did not contest the withdrawal of charges.
Due to the dismissal of the charges against Muthaura, the Chamber noted that certain conditions placed on Muthaura, which were to have effect throughout the trial proceedings, are now moot and no longer have effect. The exception to the cessation of conditions on Muthaura are any protective measures taken in regards to victims, which have effect even beyond the conclusion of trial proceedings. All other motions and applications pending against Muthaura pursuant to the dismissed proceedings are also rendered moot.
Interestingly, the Chamber seemed to grant the removal of charges without squarely addressing the question of whether or not the Chamber’s specific leave to withdraw is required. It granted the application, but it remains unclear as to whether formal granting was a necessary precondition to cancelling the case against the defendant at this stage of the proceedings.
To access the full Decision, click here.