Archive for category War Crimes
Syrian opposition submits documents to ICC Prosecution on use of chemical weapons: On Sunday, 20 April 2014, the opposition Syrian National Coalition (SNC) submitted 25 documents to the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC, which are to serve as evidence of the use of chemical weapons and the rape of Syrian citizens by Syrian forces who were acting under the control of President Bashar al-Assad. The SNC included in the submission an explanation that it is serving as a legal representative to the Syrian people. The group aims to represent victims of the Syrian civil war, which began in 2011. (Turkish Press).
Reporter held in Kiev for ‘war crimes’: On Sunday, 20 April 2014, Pro-Russian separatists in the Donetsk region detained Irma Krat, a Ukrainian journalist, for the commission of ‘war crimes’. On Monday, 21 April 2014, the separatists released a video of the journalist, who was blindfolded and explained in the video that she was arrested for allegedly having opposed the referendum, which is to take place on 11 May 2014 and determine the status of the Donetsk region. She was arrested while reporting from Slavyansk, concerning protests and shootings that had occurred in the town. (The Telegraph).
Ukraine requests ICC investigation, accepting ICC Jurisdiction: Ukraine has formally asked the ICC to investigate the deaths of civilians on its territory that occurred from 21 November 2013 to 22 February 2014. Ukraine hopes that the court will duly study the case but it is up to the prosecutor to decide whether to proceed with an investigation. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (ICC, NYT).
Ruto Witnesses compelled to testify: The ICC has summoned eight reluctant witnesses by way of subpoenas issued by the Kenyan government to testify in the Ruto trial. The prosecution continues to see witnesses withdraw from appearing and such actions have negatively affected several other ICC cases related to the Kenya poll violence. The court has made arrangements for the witnesses to appear by video-link and has asked the Kenyan government to make appropriate arrangements for security. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (ICC, BBC).
Kosovo PM calls for vote on war crimes court; expresses concerns: Kosovo’s premier has summoned parliament to vote on whether to establish a special court to try ethnic Albanian guerrillas accused of harvesting organs of murdered Serbs during the Balkan war. U.S. and European officials have warned that if the court is not established then the case will be referred to the U.N. Security Council. (Reuters).
ICC abandons Banda Trial start date; cites “logistical” issues: Trial Chamber IV of the ICC decided to vacate the 5 May 2014 date for the Banda Trial due to logistical issues. The chamber will decide in due course on further steps to take no later than 6 May 2014. (ICC).
Security Council condemns S. Sudan attacks; suggests “war crimes” committed: The Security Council has voiced its outrage on the violence in South Sudan. The UN Mission in South Sudan has encountered armed mobs and sustained numerous injuries in trying to keep its IDPs safe. The Council has called on the Government of South Sudan to immediately take steps to ensure the safety of all civilians and UNMISS contingents. (UN).
France to introduce resolution seeking ICC investigation of war crimes in Syria: In the next few weeks, France intends to present to the U.N. Security Council a resolution referring Syria to the ICC for war crimes; said French Ambassador to the U.N. Gerard Araud. In the meantime, France presented to the Council a report commissioned on behalf of Qatar containing over 50,000 photographs of alleged human rights abuses committed in Syria. Araud said the report triggered “several minutes of silence” by Council members. (Global Post).
Russia may seek ICC trial for Ukrainian ultranationalists: United Russia deputy Michael Markelov urged Russia to refer Ukrainian nationalist organizations, such as the Right Sector and UNA-UNSO, to the ICC for crimes committed during conflict in Chechnya, South Ossetia and the Balkans. The United Russia deputy hopes the ICC will recognize the “groups as extremists and ensur[e] an international status of political outcasts for them.” The ICC, however, is not legally obligated to consider Russia’s request. Russia, while a signatory to the Rome Statute, has yet to ratify the treaty. (RT).
INTERPOL Secretary General vows to continue to seek justice for Rwanda genocide victims: Speaking at the 6th International Expert Meeting on Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity in Kagali, INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald Noble said the international policy organization will continue to bring to justice those responsible for the 1994 Rwanda genocide. Noble asked all the INTERPOL member countries to fully cooperate and apprehend genocide suspects. Representatives from 41 member countries, as well as international organizations are attending the three-day meeting. (all Africa).
Darfur rebel’s ICC trial postponed until further notice due to “logistical difficulties”: The expected 5 May 2014, trial of Abdallah Banda at the ICC for war crimes has been postponed until further notice. Citing “logistic difficulties,” the Court stated it would “decide in due course on the further steps to take, after receiving additional submissions from the prosecution and registry.” Banda, who is not currently in custody as he voluntarily surrendered to the ICC, is accused of leading the September 2007 attack on an AU peacekeepers camp. (Naharnet).
Posted by carolinguentert in AU, CAR, Chad, Crimes against Humanity, Decision Review, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Gaddafi, Genocide, ICC, ICTR, ICTY, Investigations, Kenya, Libya, News about the Courts, Nigeria, Other domestic courts, Rwanda, Torture, Truth Commissions, Victims, War Crimes, Witnesses on April 15, 2014
ICTY rejects Mladic’s Rule 98bis application and find case to answer: On Tuesday, 15 April 2014, Trial Chamber I of the ICTY rejected Ratko Mladic’s 98 bis application for acquittal, a rule under the Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence that allows the Tribunal to acquit a defendant after an oral hearing if there exists no evidence to support a conviction. Upon dismissing the application, the Chamber held that even if Mladic has a defense to all of the counts against him, there is evidence to support all of the charges against him. (ICTY).
Libyan trial of Ex-Gaddafi Officials postponed amid concerns of a fair trial: On Monday, 14 April 2014, the Libyan government opened and subsequently adjourned the trial against Muammar Gaddafi’s sons and his former officials, due to incomplete investigations; particularly the investigation of evidence against Saadi Gaddafi remains incomplete. The case will proceed on 27 April 2014, in order to allow the investigators more preparation time and to set up video links for the sons and officials who were not brought to the court for security reasons. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International continue to express that the defendants’ right to a fair trial have been violated. The groups are concerned that not all of the defendants have had access to lawyers; that the defense teams have been restricted in their ability to assess evidence and case files; that interrogation strategies and detention conditions have been unfair; that Libya recently amended its Code of Criminal procedure to allow trials through video links, meaning the defendants, all of whom are being held in prisons and one of whom is being held in a secret location by a militia, will not physically appear at their trials; and that the Libyan justice system is generally unstable, in part because previous attacks against lawyers and judges in Libya have resulted in the suspension of courts throughout parts of Libya. The defense lawyers raised concerns about insufficient access to the case files in court. The ICC is still deliberating on the admissibility of the cases against Saif Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi, and a decision from the Appeals Chamber on whether the Libyan government is able to try them is still outstanding. (Reuters) (For more information on this topic, please click here, here, and here).
Ruto trial hears from satellite imagery expert and breaks for Easter: Lars Bromley, a UN specialist in satellite imagery, testified before the ICC in the case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and Kenyan journalist Joshua Arap Sang, explaining that at least 506 buildings were deliberately burned down in the Rift Valley following the election, and that 190 more buildings were “possibly burnt.” He based his analysis on satellite images, the deliberate nature of the burnings being evident from burn patters. The defense disputed the expert’s testimony. The trial is currently on break for the Easter holiday, after which the prosecution will likely call a witness who was instrumental in the confirmation of charges against Ruto. (Institute for War & Peace Reporting) (For additional information on this topic, please click here).
Habre defense team says trial is politically motivated: The defense team of former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre claims that the reasons behind his prosecution in Senegal were political and instigated by a Chadian spy agency. Habre, who is charged with having committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, and torture while he was in charge of Chad between 1982 and 1990, will stand trial in Senegal in 2015, where he was in exile for twelve years before being arrested last July. (Legalbrief Today).
ICTR Prosecutor asks for increased efforts to prosecute all suspects of 1994 crimes in Rwanda: In a commemoration address, Hassan Jallow, the chief prosecutor of the ICTR, asked for an increased effort to find and prosecute perpetrators of the genocide against Tutsis in 1994 who have not been tried, and that countries in which suspects of these crimes are located to transfer these alleged perpetrators to Rwanda in order to stand trial. He specifically mentioned Félicien Kabuga, Protais Mpiranya, and Augustin Bizimana, all of whom are fugitives and suspected of having played significant roles in the genocide. (AllAfrica).
UN High Commissioner for HR expresses concerns for amnesties in Nepal: Following the Nepalese government’s drafting of a law that would create a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a Commission on Disappeared Persons, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay warned that this legislation would allow these two panels to recommend amnesties for human rights abuses that occurred in Nepal. The government denies the existence of amnesty possibilities in the legislation, saying that amnesty would only occur with the victims’ consent. (Reuters).
Amnesty claims CAH and war crimes escalating in Nigeria: Amnesty International issued a report stating that violence has increased in northeastern Nigeria due to a higher number of attacks by Boko Haram and responses by Nigerian security forces, which has resulted in the death of at least 1,500 people since the beginning of the year. According the group, these events may be war crimes and crimes against humanity, and the group urged other countries, the African Union, and the UN to launch investigations into these acts. Amnesty International has documented attacks carried out by both Boko Haram and Nigerian security forces that occurred in January, February, and March 2014. (Amnesty International).
ICC brings al-Bashir complaint to UNSC: The ICC has informed the UN Security Council and the Assembly of States Parties about DRC’s noncooperation in the arrest and surrender of Omar Al Bashir. The Chamber has referred the matter to the UN Security Council and the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute with hopes that a decision on what measures should be taken will surface in the near future. (ICC).
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi to stand trial in Tripoli Monday: Concerns remain over the guarantee of fair trials for Gaddafi-era officials in Libya. HRW has reported that the inmates in Libyan prisons are not receiving their basic due process rights. The ICC has the authority to command Libyan authorities to cooperate with the court but such pressure to turn Saif al-Islam Gaddafi over to the ICC has been ignored thus far. (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (HRW/The Guardian).
ICTY anticipated 98bis decision in Mladic Case: 17 March 2014, the Defence team for Rato Mladic orally presented its motion pursuant to Rule 98bis. The Prosecution responded on 18 March 2014. The pronouncement of the Trial Chamber’s decision on the Rule 98bis motion for acquittal is scheduled for 15 April 2014. (ICTY).
Hadzic Witness unclear on past testimony: The final prosecution witness to testify against Goran Hadzic told judges last week that he could not confirm the accuracy of his earlier testimony. The witness told the Hadzic defence team that he could remember the meetings in Serbia which he had previously testified about, in which he and Hadzic allegedly received detailed instructions from the authorities in Belgrade, as well as equipment and arms. Hadzic’s defence case is scheduled to begin on June 24. (IWPR).
HRW advocates war crimes court in Kosovo: Kosovo’s parliament is expected approve the establishment of a special court located abroad to try alleged war crimes committed during and after the 1998-1999 Kosovo War. It is also expected that the Parliament will agree to extend the mandate of EULEX with hopes of brining individual accountability to past crimes. However, even if the special court is allowed to process, there are concerns that the weak state of Kosovo’s current justice system may inhibit its effectiveness. (HRW).
Katanga files notice of appeal on trial judgment: On Wednesday, 9 April 2014, the ICC reported that defense for Congolese militia leader Germain Katanga filed a notice of appeal. The defense “seek[s] to reverse the decision of conviction on each charge.” Katanga was convicted of war crimes last month for arming soldiers after violence erupted in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2003. Charges of rape, enlisting child soldiers and sexual slavery were dismissed. (Independent Online News).
Belgium and ICC come to agreement on interim release of accused: On Thursday, 10 April 2014, the ICC entered into an agreement with Belgium in which the country will receive detainees after interim release. The agreement specifies that Belgium will “provisionally receive detainees . . . on its territory on a temporary basis and under conditions established” by the ICC. Belgium is the first country to sign such an agreement with the Court. (International Criminal Court).
ICC Prosecution witness testifies to elections threats in Ruto case: A prosecution witness in the ICC case against Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang testified on Wednesday, 9 April 2014, that he was threatened with eviction after the 2007 presidential election in Kenya. The witness, a member of the Kikuyu ethnic group, described how Orange Democratic Movement supporters, upon learning of the election results, looted, burned down houses and ferried cars from Kenya’s Rift Valley in order to chase away Kikuyus who mostly voted for the Party of National Unity. (Institute for War & Peace Reporting).
France takes steps towards UN Resolution to refer Syrian crimes to the ICC: It is being reported that France is currently in the process of drafting a U.N. Security Council resolution that refers Syria to the ICC for war crimes. Three Security Council resolutions imposing sanctions on the Syrian government were previously vetoed by the country’s ally, Russia. However, the proposed resolution by France would be the first to authorize the ICC to try a non-member state in The Hague. While it is expected Russia may veto this resolution as well, diplomats reason the resolution could embarrass Syria’s ally. (New York Times).
French delegates suggest intent to refer Syria to ICC: France is currently seeking to propose a Security Council resolution that would refer Syria to the ICC for the prosecution of war crimes. Russia stands as the largest opposing force to any such resolution. The process is still in its infancy and many officials have refused to comment on specifics. (NYT).
Arguments conclude in Croatia-Serbia ICJ Case: The Croatia-Serbia ICJ case began in 1999. Since that time, Serbia has filed a countersuit against Croatia and would like to see the ICJ declare the Croatian armed forces’ 1995 action genocide against the Serbian people. The Croatian team still claims that the Serbian forces were excessive in their use of force. The final verdict may be announced by the end of this or early next year and may not be appealed. (B92).
UN concerned over continued violence in CAR: The UN human rights office has finished its preliminary investigation of the deadly events that took place on March 29 in Bangui, CAR. It has been determined that Chadian soldiers killed some 30 civilians and wounded more than 300 in an indiscriminate attack on a market. (UN News).
UN Secretary General commemorates 20-year anniversary of Rwanda Genocide: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reminds the international community that the atrocities that took place in Rwanda should not be forgotten and should not have occurred in the first place. Monday’s commemoration is part of a series of events that aim to remember the people murdered in Rwanda and to unite the people of Rwanda. (UN News).
Posted by carolinguentert in Admissibility / Primacy, Crimes against Humanity, Fair trial/Accused's rights, Gaddafi, Human Rights Violations, ICC, Ivory Coast, News about the Courts, North Korea, Other domestic courts, Post-Election Violence, Uganda, UN General Assembly, Victims, War Crimes on March 25, 2014
UN may seek special tribunal on North Korea as alternative to ICC: On Sunday, 23 March 2014, a diplomatic source revealed that the UN is considering creating a special court to try North Korean leaders who have committed human rights violations against North Korean citizens. This would serve as an alternative to referring the issue to the ICC, a decision that would likely be vetoed by China. The creation of a court would occur by majority vote in the UN General Assembly. (Yonhap News Agency).
Libya announces trial date for former Gaddafi officials: On Monday, 24 March 2014, Libya announced that on 14 April 2014, 37 high-level aides of Muammar Gaddafi will be tried in domestic proceedings. Among those to stand trial are Seif al-Islam Gaddafi and Saadi Gaddafi, the two sons of Muammar Gaddafi; Abdullah Senussi, the former intelligence chief and brother-in-law of Muammar Gaddafi; and dozens of former aides of Muammar Gaddafi. Al-Islam Gaddafi and al-Senussi are wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Libya in February 2011. The Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC previously rejected admissibility of al-Saddafi’s case, and based on complementarity, decided that he should instead be tried by Libyan authorities. Furthermore, the Pre-Trial Chamber rejected the challenge to the admissibility of Al-Islam Gaddafi’s case, deciding that his case would be heard before the ICC. However, both decisions were appealed, the outcomes of which are outstanding. Both al-Islam Gaddafi and al-Senussi have complained that their due process rights have been infringed, alleging that they have been denied access to counsel by the Libyan government. They have not been appointed counsel. On 6 March 2014, Saadi Gaddafi was extradited to Libya, and is now joined in the case to be heard before Libyan domestic courts. (Middle East Online).
US sends military planes to assist in hunt for LRA leader Kony: The U.S. will be sending military planes and additional special forces to Uganda this week in order to increase the search for LRA leader Joseph Kony. The U.S. is also offering a $5 million reward for Kony’s capture, and had previously sent forces to the area in 2011 to assist African troops in the search for Kony. The ICC has charged Kony with war crimes, and he is wanted for human rights abuses; namely, abducting children and forcing them to become child soldiers. (BBC).
Former Ivory Coast Youth Minister Goudé transferred to the ICC: On Monday, 24 March 2014, Charles Blé Goudé, the former Ivory Coast Youth Minister and former leader of the pro-Gbagbo militia group “Young Patriots”, was transferred from Ivory Coast to the ICC. He had been arrested and extradited to Ivory Coast on 17 January 2014. He is charged with committing four counts of crimes against humanity during the post-election violence in Ivory Coast between 16 December 2010 and 12 April 2011. (Hirondelle News Agency).
Narcisse Arido makes initital appearance for ICC contempt proceedings: On 20 March 2014, Narcisse Arido, who was wanted by the ICC for offenses against the administration of justice allegedly committed concerning the case The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, appeared for the first time before the Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC. Arido is charged with corruptly influenced ICC witnesses, of which he was informed during the appearance. The Defense was also present at the appearance, and Arido was represented by his lawyer. The determination of whether these charges will be confirmed or rejected will not be made on the basis of a hearing, but solely on the basis of the parties’ written submissions. (CPI-ICC).
UN panel lists individuals alleged to be accountable for crimes: On Tuesday, 18 March 2014, the head of the UN panel tasked with investigating human rights abuses committed in Syria said that the panel has identified individuals who were involved in the taking of hostages, executions, and torture in Syria and placed them on a “perpetrators list”. This list includes the heads of intelligence branches and detention facilities in which torture was carried out; military commanders who targeted civilians; airport officials under whose jurisdiction bomb attacks were planned and completed, and leaders of groups who targeted civilians. The panel was established by the UN HRC in order to investigate human rights abuses in Syria since March 2011, and to date, the panel has conducted over 2,700 interviews. (Fox News).
China opposes UN HR Council Resolution on crimes in N. Korea: China rejected South Korea’s request for China to support a UN Resolution to refer North Korean officials who have allegedly committed human rights abuses within North Korea to the ICC. The U.S., EU, and Japan are in favor of bringing the issue before the UN Security Council in order to bring about a referral to the ICC; however, China may exercise its veto power. Following the UN Commission of Inquiry’s recent conclusion that high-level officials in North Korea have committed crimes against humanity, the UN HRC is expected to decide on a resolution concerning North Korea’s human rights record. (Yonhap News Agency).
Malta approves extradition of Serbian CAH suspect to Croatia: On Thursday, 13 March 2014, a Maltese court ruled that Eror Gojko—a Serbian construction worker who is charged with committing crimes against humanity, kidnapping, torture, and unlawful deportation to concentration camps between 1991 and 1993 in the former Yugoslavia—will be extradited to Croatia for trial. He consented to the extradition, and the Maltese court did not address his charges. The charges against him are related to the disappearance of at least 17 people. (Reuters).
Civil Society petition questions ICTR acquittals: 15 civil society groups have signed a petition addressed to the president of the UN Security Council, questioning the ICTR Appeals Chamber’s decision to acquit and reduce the sentences of political and military officials who had been convicted by the Trial Chamber for crimes committed during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The petition is specifically against Judge Theodore Meron, the presiding Judge of the ICTR Appeals Chamber. One of the organizations, Rwanda Civil Society Platform, expressed its disagreement with the acquittal of Justin Mugenzi, Prosper Mugiraneza, Protais Zigiranyirazo, Augustin Ndindiliyimana, and François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye, as well as the reduction of the sentences of Anatole Nsengiyumva and Aloys Ntabakuze. (allAfrica).
Former Rwanda soldier sentenced in France: Pascal Simbikangwa was sentenced this Friday to a 25-year jail sentence. Sambikangwa is a former army captain who rose to become a high level official in Rwanda’s intelligence services. In 2008, he was arrested and accused of complicity in war crimes and genocide in which took place in 1994. France’s special genocide unit is hopeful that this verdict will lead to smooth future prosecutions. (Aljazeera).
Amnesty reports ongoing violence, civilian displacement in Darfur: As violence is Darfur intensifies almost half a million people have been forced from their homes of the last year. Eyewitnesses in the midst of the conflict have described large attacks carried out by armed militias against civilians. (Amnesty).
UN sends rights monitors to Ukraine; Security Council fails to pass Crimea Resolution: The UN Security Council failed to adopt a draft resolution which urged countries not to recognize the results of this weekend’s referendum in Crimea. In addition to this event, the UN has deployed a monitoring team to Ukraine to help establish facts surrounding alleged human rights violations. For additional information on this topic, please click here) (UN News).
Human Rights Council highlights ongoing plight of children in conflict: Ongoing armed conflicts have made a number of countries, such as Syrian, making them very dangerous places to be a child. SRSG Leila Zerrougui spoke in front of the HRC this past week highlighting that in Syria, South Sudan, CAR and in other countries children our being exploited and killed. She also urged the HRC to take action in order to prevent the deprivation of lifesaving humanitarian assistance to children. (UN News).