Archive for category War Crimes
ICC Prosecution opens a preliminary examination in Palestine: On 16 January 2015, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda opened a preliminary examination to examine the situation currently in Palestine. The preliminary examination has been opened based on the Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute, which gives the ICC jurisdiction since 13 June 2014. The preliminary examination will allow the ICC to examine the information to see if there is a reasonable basis for a full investigation into Palestine. (International Criminal Court)
Fingerprints reveals that body found is not of ICC witness: Fingerprints revealed that the body found in a Kenyan river was not the body of missing ICC witness Meshack Yebei. The fingerprints taken off the body were those of Yusuf Hussein, but DNA tests will soon tell whom the body belongs to. Karim Khan, Deputy President William Ruto’s attorney, stated that Yebei was a witness in Ruto’s trial. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda stated that Yebei was not included on the ICC’s witness list for due to a scheme to corrupt witnesses. (ABC News)
Stephen Rapp is stepping down as US Ambassador of War Crimes: Stephen J. Rapp has been the US Ambassador of war crimes for almost five and a half years during the Obama administration. Rapp is stepping down from his position, though it has not been formally announced. Rapp joined the administration in 2009 with a reputation for holding people responsible for war crimes. Rapp started out his career as a victim of a kidnapping and led on to be a federal prosecutor in Iowa, a United Nations prosecutor for Rwanda and Sierra Leone. University of Michigan professor, Steven Ratner, stated that Rapp improved US relations with the ICC, but has had little success in getting American intelligence agencies to share information about human rights abuses abroad. It is unclear how soon Rapp will be stepping down from his position and who will replace him. (Foreign Policy)
Amnesty says Boko Haram attack of Baga should be investigated for CAH and WCs: Amnesty International released satellite images of attacks by Boko Haram militants on the towns of Baga and Doron Baga. The released images contain before and after pictures that show the amount of damage done to the towns. Over 3,700 structures were damaged or demolished in the attacks. These images also corroborate testimonies gathered by Amnesty International on the attacks. Amnesty International stated that killing of civilians and destruction of property are war crimes and crimes against humanity that should be investigated. US Secretary of State, John Kerry, also labeled the attack as a crime against humanity. (Amnesty International, NDTV) (for additional information please click here)
ECCC accused concerned by stand-by counsel: Judges at the Khmer Rouge tribunal ordered stand-by counsel for Khieu Samphan for trial due to the boycott of proceedings by current counsel. During a hearing on 8 January, Samphan’s defense team claimed that the court was putting pressure on their client. Shortly afterwards, Samphan was rushed to the hospital with dizziness and high blood pressure. An attorney for Khieu Samphan stated in an email that the presence of stand=by counsel made Samphan anxious and could have contributed to going to the hospital. (Cambodia Daily)
DNA test requested for murdered ICC witness: Deputy President William Ruto’s attorney, Karim Khan, requested a DNA test of Meshack Yebei. Yebei was a potential witness in the trial against President Ruto and was found dead in western Kenya in early January. President Ruto was charged with crimes against humanity during the post election violence in Kenya. Yebei’s family consented to the DNA test and stated that Yebei never mentioned he was an ICC witness. Prosecutors stated that they had not been planning to call Yebei as a witness during trial due to his implication of trying to corrupt witnesses. Khan stated in a letter to the head of Kenya’s Criminal Investigation Department that Yebei had been a key witness for trial. Yebei had even been referred to the ICC’s Victims and Witness Unit for protection. Prosecutors stated that any suggestion that they were involved in Yebei’s abduction and murder was “outrageous and utterly false.” (BBC News, AllAfrica) (for additional information please click here)
Government says it wants to try Ongwen in Uganda: The government of Uganda stated that it wanted to try Lord’s Resistance Army rebel commander Dominic Ongwen. Ongwen recently surrendered and is in U.S. custody in Central African Republic. Ongwen is also wanted by the ICC. Uganda State Minister for Regional Cooperation Asuman Kiyingi stated that they would rather try him in Uganda than in the ICC because they have the capacity. A decision regarding whether Uganda gets to try Ongwen will be reached after consultations with the African Union, Uganda, United States, and United Nations. (NY Times)
Libyan trial of Saif Gaddafi and Al-Senussi delayed again: The trial of Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi and 36 other senior officials, including former security chief Abdullah Senussi, has been postponed once again. On 11 January 2015, trial opened and was subsequently adjourned until 25 January. This case opened in 2012 and has seen many setbacks. Those that stand accused could face the death penalty for “genocide, killing of unarmed civilians, abuses of power, human rights abuses, employing mercenaries and encouraging rape as a weapon of war.” The ICC indicted both Gaddafi and Senussi. After proceedings on Libya’s admissibility challenge, the ICC ordered the surrender of Gaddafi to the ICC. Libya has failed to comply with this order. (Libya Herald)
US Senators condemn Palestinian decision to join the ICC: Senators Lindsey Graham, Robert Menendez, Chuck Schumer, and Mark Kirk threatened Palestine over their decision to join the ICC. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas applied to join the ICC following a rejection on Palestine’s proposal for statehood by the United Nations Security Council. On 1 January Palestine submitted an Article 12(3) declaration that gives the ICC jurisdiction since 13 June 2014. Palestine also submitted documents to accede to the Rome Statute on 7 January. Senators issued a warning to Palestine stating “that if the Palestinians initiate an ICC judicially authorized investigation, or actively support such an investigation, all economic assistance to the PA” would end. (Press TV, International Criminal Court) (for additional information please click here)
UN report on crimes in CAR finds evidence of CAH and WC, but no genocidal intent: A UN report released last Thursday concluded that the events that conspired in the Central African Republic by the Seleka coalition and the anti-balaka did amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes. The commission of inquiry of the United Nations Security Council did not find any genocidal intent, but considered the ethnic cleansing of the Muslim population as a crime against humanity. (Tamil Guardian)
UN report on S. Sudan killings finds evidence sufficient for further investigations and prosecution: The United Nations stated that offenders of the ethnic massacres in Bentiu and Bor last April could be prosecuted based on extensive investigations into the matter. Offenders included members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition. The investigation comprised of site visits by human researchers and 142 interviews. (Radio Tamazuj)
ICC Prosecutor unable to pursue Darfur investigations; cites non-cooperation: According to statements from the prosecutor of the ICC, current investigations in Sudan’s Darfur region will cease. The situation in Darfur is in the process of deterioration and little has been done by the council to assist in the prosecutor’s attempt to being perpetrators to justice. The ICC and the UN consider the violence in Sudan to be a serious concern, but little can be accomplished without cooperation from Sudan and neighboring countries. The investigations in Darfur will remain in a state of hibernation until further notice. (For additional information on this topic, please click here, here) (ICC, UN, Aljazeera)
Ten officials arrested in Bosnia, suspected of war crimes: Bosnian officials have made the arrest of ten Bosnian Serb wartime officials arrested on suspicion of committing war crimes. The men are suspected of planning, supervising and conducting the persecution of around 120 Bosnians from a village near the eastern town of Zvornik on July 14, 1992. (Reuters)
Local DRC Court sentences leader to life in prison for crimes against humanity: Lieutenant Colonel Bedi Mobuli Engangela has been sentenced to life in prison by a court in the DRC for perpetrating crimes against humanity. Engangela was in command of a unit which was accused of gang rapes and other crimes. (Yahoo)
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)
North Korea issues report countering Western human rights allegations: In response to a report by the UN General Assembly, which recommended referring the DRKP and its leader, Kim Jong Un, to the International Criminal Court to face charges including crimes against humanity, the DRKP issued a rebuttal refuting all claims. Despite the UN findings, it is expected that China and Russia, DRKP supporters, will use their veto power to keep any charges from being filed against the DRKP and its leader. (IBTimes).
Former Jamaat, BNP Parliament Member held, anticipating charges by ICT-1: War crimes suspect and former BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami lawmaker Mawlana Sakhawat Hossain, was arrested in Masterpara, of Uttar Khan by authorities and later brought before the ICT-1. Sakhawat is suspected of being involved in the commission of war crimes during 1971. It is expected that the prosecution for bring charges of war crimes against Sakhawat as soon as the necessary amount of evidence has been gathered to substantiate such allegations. (Daily Star).
Egyptian Court refuses corruption charges against former President Mubarak: An Egyptian court has dismissed charges against President Mubarak in connection with the death of protesters during the 2011 uprising against him. However, Mubarak will not walk free, hw was found guilty of theft of public funds and will continue to serve the remaining time left of his three-year house arrest sentence. Discussions of an appeal are underway. (Aljazeera).