Archive for category War Crimes

31 October 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC President calls for universal ratification of Rome Statute at GA: Judge Sang-Hyun Song, President of the ICC, stated the importance for all States to join the ICC to the UN General Assembly on 30 October 2014. President Song emphasized that the strength of the ICC is dependent upon support of the states. He asked all states to consider joining the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding treaty, in order to obtain international justice for crimes committed and deter future crimes. President Song stated that significant State contributions have been made to the court, but emphasized the disappointment that arrest and surrender of 13 persons are still outstanding.

ICT of Bangladesh to deliver Mir Quasem Ali verdict on 2 Nov: The International Crimes Tribunal-2 announced on Thursday that the verdict of Mir Quasem Ali, the third man in command in Al-Badr during Bangladesh’s Liberation War, would be on Sunday. Mir Quasem was indicted on 5 September 2013 on 14 charges of war crimes that include murder, abduction, and torture. The announcement of his verdict date comes a day after the chief of Al-Badr, Motiur Rahman Nizami, was sentenced to death by ICT-1. 24 people testified against Mir Quasem from 11 December 2013 to 27 April 2014, while the defense produced three witnesses. Prosecutor Tureen Afroz stated that they have proved the charges against Mir Quasem and are seeking the maximum penalty. Defense attorney Tanvir Ahmed Al Amin stated that the prosecution has proved nothing and demanded Mir Quasem’s discharge.

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30 October 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

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

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

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

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

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

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28 October 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN Inquiry leads ask for China support in N. Korea ICC referral

The United Nations team that led an investigation into war crimes committed in North Korea on Wednesday asked that China support a referral of the case to the International Criminal Court. Michael Kirby was the chair of the commission of inquiry tasked with identifying any crimes committed and ongoing in North Korea. The resulting report outlined ongoing abuses, and has provided evidence to potentially refer North Korea to the ICC. Leaders were concerned Wednesday that China would use its veto power to block any action to refer North Korea. For additional information on this topic, please click here and click here (Reuters, Washington Post)

Rwanda Prosecutor appeals for cooperation in pursuing suspects

Richard Muhumuza, the Prosecutor General of Rwanda, vowed that he would collaborate with prosecutors and legal systems throughout Africa to pursue and apprehend remaining war crimes suspects. He spoke at the meeting of the General Assembly of the Africa Prosecutors’ Association, and appealed for cooperation to ensure extradition of suspects. Specifically, he spoke about individuals suspected of perpetrating crimes in the 1994 Rwanda Genocide, who had not been apprehended to date. (AllAfrica)

Team of investigators to present findings ICT of Bangladesh Prosecution

A report detailing evidence against three International Crimes Tribunal suspects will be turned over to the Prosecution, for consideration. The investigation arm of the ICT compiled a report against Forkan Mollick, Mohidur Rahman, and Afsar Hossain, in relation to alleged mass killings, rape, and forced conversions, among other charges. (BDNews)

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27 October 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN official says rape used as weapon of war in S. SudanU.N. Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, stated that the Sudanese government Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA) uses rape as a weapon of war in its current conflict with opposition forces. Bangura stated that women are sent out for firewood and other tasks since men would be killed at SPLA checkpoints, while women are raped at these checkpoints. Bangura stated that sexual violence in conflict could constitute as a war crime or crime against humanity. Bangura has urged government and opposition officials to stop the use of sexual violence and notified both that these crimes will be prosecuted through national and international courts. (Voice of America)

ECCC defense team warned of misconduct and obstructing proceedings: The Trial Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) has issued warnings to lawyers representing Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan for misconduct in walking out of the courtroom during opening statements on 17 October and for failing to appear at a trial management meeting. The court accused the attorneys of obstructing proceedings for boycotting their clients’ genocide trial. Kong Sam Onn, Khieu Sampan’s Cambodian lawyer, stated they are acting on behalf of their clients’ wishes in order to draft an appeal brief on earlier convictions for crimes against humanity that carried life sentences in prison. Both defense teams have been ordered to be present in court for another trial management meeting set for Tuesday, but Sam Onn stated that they would not appear unless ordered by their client. Under Rule 38, judges have the ability to impose sanctions on lawyers or refer them to their bar associations for disciplinary action, a process that could ban lawyers from appearing before the ECCC. (Cambodia Daily)

Inter-American Crt of HR decision called “unacceptable” and “biased” by State: Last year, a Dominican court ruled that people born to illegal migrants did not automatically receive citizenship rendering many stateless. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) gave the government six months to invalidate the ruling stating that it discriminated against Dominicans born of Haitian descent. The Dominican Republic has rejected this ruling calling it “unacceptable” and “biased.” Amnesty International stated that this reaction demonstrates a disregard for international law and the country’s legal responsibilities. The court found abuses against human rights in the Dominican Republic’s Law 169/14, which created two categories of people: those who were registered in the Dominican civil registry and those with undeclared births that labeled them as foreigners. The IACHR found the requirement of having Dominicans register as foreigners as a violation of international human rights law. (Fox News, Amnesty International) (For additional information on this topic, please click here)

Argentinian court sentences 15 to life for crimes against humanity: Argentine Federal Court sentenced 15 individuals to life for crimes against humanity during the Argentine military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983. Four others were sentenced between 12 to 13 years in prison and one was absolved. Soldiers, policeman, and former politicians were among those accused for genocide of Argentinians and the kidnapping and murder of Laura Carlotto, daughter of Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo founder, Estela de Carlotto. These proceedings began in December of 2013 and finished last Friday with the guilty verdict. (teleSUR)

Rwandan opposition leader files complaint at African Court: Victoire Ingabire, a jailed Rwandan opposition figure, filed a complaint in demand of a retrial with the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Ingabire was convicted for “conspiracy in harming authorities through terrorism and war,” minimizing the Rwandan genocide, and spreading rumors to incite violence. She was sentenced to 15 years in prison last December. Ingabire wants the court to strike down Rwanda’s laws banning genocide revisionism and spreading rumors. The United Democratic Forces party stated that Ingabire should be freed upon retrial and paid damages for the detention. (Naharnet)

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24 October 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICT of Bangladesh accused dies in prison waiting for appeal: Former chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) party, Ghulam Azam, died of a heart attack on Thursday night in a prison cell. Azam was found guilty over a year ago by the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh for crimes against humanity and war crimes during the 1971 war of independence against Pakistan. He was sentenced for 90 years in prison for conspiracy, planning, incitement, complicity, and murder. Azam’s death occurs a day after the Supreme Court scheduled appeal proceedings concerning his sentencing for 2 December 2014. (The Guardian, Business Standard) (For additional information on this topic, please click here).

Kenyan Government approaches ASP over violations of the Rome Statute: Kenya has sought out the Assembly of State Parties to explore its concerns of ICC conduct in relation to the situations in Kenya. Kenya sent a letter to the ASP on 16 October 2014 to explore these concerns in depth at the upcoming meeting in New York. It is currently unclear the exact requests made by the Kenyan government however the letter requested ‘immediate remedial solution’ to the trials involving Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto. (allAfrica)

UN investigators asks China to support referral of N. Korea crimes to ICC: Head of the UN Commission of Inquiry into human rights abuses in North Korea, Michael Kirby, has asked China to support the referral of Pyongyang’s actions to the ICC on suspicion of crimes against humanity. Western diplomats have speculated that China will use its veto power on the UN Security Council to vote against North Korea’s referral. However, Kirby stated on Wednesday 22 October 2014 that this result should not be assumed as China has only ten vetoes against resolutions in the council. North Korea’s crimes will soon be discussed in the U.N. General Assembly’s Third Committee, which can put political pressure on countries targeted by its resolution. (Reuters)

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23 October 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICTY allows Prosecution to present evidence of mass graves in Mladic trial: ICTY prosecutors will be allowed to present evidence concerning a mass grave discovered in the village of Tomasica in the case against former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic. The mass grave, discovered in 2013, held more than 400 remains believed to be of Bosniak and Croat ethnicity. Investigators also believe the people were killed during the time Mladic led an attack against Sarajevo during the Bosnian war. Mladic is charged with, among other things, widespread killing, torture, forced labor and physical, sexual and psychological violence. (CNN).

Appeals proceedings for ICT of Bangladesh convict to start on 2 December: Appeals proceedings in the case against Jamaat-e-Islami leader Ghulam Azam are scheduled to begin 2 December 2014. The ICT of Bangladesh found Azam guilty last year of conspiracy, planning, incitement, complicty and murder for crimes committed during the anti-Liberation efforts in 1971. The leader was sentenced to 90 years imprisonment. (bdnews24.com).

War crimes trial against 10 Serb paramilitary starts in Croatian court: The Osijek County Court began proceedings on Tuesday, 21 October 2014, against ten former Serb paramilitaries. The ten accused are charged with war crimes for the killing of seventeen Croatian civilians and seven prisoners or war in Trpinja and Borovo Naselje in 1991. The prosecution expects to call more than 80 witness during the trial. The defense are arguing the accused were not present in Trpinja at the times of the alleged unlawful detention, maltreatment, torture, rape and murder. (dalje.com).

ECCC Defence skips Court management meeting on boycott: On Tuesday, 21 October 2014, the defence for both ECCC accused Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan missed meetings aimed at trying to settle the boycotts of the second phase of Case 002. The accused intend to boycott the second phase of the proceedings claiming the trial judges are biased and the defense lawyers cannot simultaneously represent them in this phase as well as the appeals in the first phase. The former senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge were convicted in August 2014, in the first phase of Case 002 for crimes against humanity. (The Cambodia Daily).

Ukrainian parliament expected to ratify Rome Statute: Tanya Mazur, the director for Amnesty International’s office for Ukraine, expects the Ukrainian parliament to ratify the Rome Statute of the ICC. Once ratified, ICC prosecutors would be entitled to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country when national courts are unwilling or unable. The early parliamentary election is scheduled for 26 October 2014, in Ukraine. (RIA Novosti).

Prosecution witness recalled in Bemba case: The presiding judge in the ICC case against Jean-Pierre Bemba announced that the prosecution witness who was recalled earlier this month will testify in full closed hearings. The witness is expected to give evidence on issues of witness credibility over the course of three days. The judges, prosecution, victims’ lawyers and defense will all get an opportunity to question the witness. Bemba faces charges of rape, murder and pillaging for crimes committed in the Central African Republic between 2002 and 2003.

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21 October 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC Judge orders release of members of Bemba Team and others

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)

Former Pinochet Regime Minister arrested for allegedly aiding killings

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.

ICT-1 sets date for charges hearing against three accused

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)

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