Archive for category War Crimes
U.N. investigation of Syrian war crimes points to Assad and other senior officials: Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, announced on Monday, 2 December 2013 that UN investigations are increasingly revealing that senior Syrian officials, including President Bashar Assad, committed crimes against humanity and war crimes in Syria. Pillay’s statements added to the growing pressure on Syria to take action before the peace conference set to take place in Geneva in January. Pillay also stated that the list of suspected criminals will remained sealed until national or international authorities request it in order to conduct a credible investigation and possibly commence prosecution. Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad rejected Pillay’s remarks. (The Washington Post).
Kilolo Musamba, Wandu, and Bemba appear before ICC: On 27 November 2013, Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Fidèle Babala Wandu, and Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, who were arrested and charged with having committed offences against the administration of justice in the trial of Bemba, appeared before Pre-Trial Chamber II of the ICC. Judge Cuno Tarfusser confirmed the identity of the three suspects, explained the charges against them and their rights under the Rome Statute, and scheduled the confirmation of charges proceeding, which will determine whether the case will be heard before the Trial Chamber. Bemba is separately charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the Central African Republic between 2002 and 2003; Kilolo Musamba was his lead counsel and Wandu was a member of the DRC Parliament and Deputy Secretary General of the MLC. (ICC-CPI).
ASP issues resolution to amend ICC Rules: In its twelfth session, the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute (ASP) adopted eight resolutions, including a resolution on Amendments to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence. Rule 68 has been amended to facilitate the use of prior recorded testimony in trial; Rule 100 now eases the ability of the Court to sit in a State other than the host State, as well as the decision to hear a case in whole or in part; and the newly adopted Rules 134 bis, ter and quater regulate the use of video technology, excusal from a defendant’s presence at trial, and a defendant’s excusal from presence at trial due to extraordinary public duties. The Rules were amended in order to improve the efficiency of the ICC while protecting defendants’ rights. Other resolutions concerned the 2014 budget, totaling 121.6 million euro; construction of the permanent premises of the ICC; cooperation to enhance expedition arrest of suspects; complementarity; the establishment of the Independent Oversight Mechanism; and strengthening the ICC and the ASP. (ICC-CPI).
Kenya will not submit Kenyatta records to ICC: On Monday, 2 December 2013, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda accused Kenya of failing to comply with the Office of the Prosecutor’s (OTP) April 2012 request for Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s financial records and other relevant documents. Bensouda stated that the records are relevant to several issues in the trial, including the allegation that Kenyatta financed several of the crimes with which he is charged before the ICC. According to Bensouda, Kenya has refused repeated requests for these records for 19 months, which is why the OTP is now asking the judges in the trial to refer this matter to the ASP. (Expatica.com).
Trial Chamber requests list of first 10 witnesses against Kenyatta: On Monday, 2 December 2013, the judges presiding over Kenyatta’s trial instructed Bensouda to submit a list of the first 10 witnesses she will call in the prosecution of Kenyatta, as well as the order in which they will be called, by 16 December 2013. Once the trial begins on 5 February 2014, the OTP must submit monthly updates of its witness list to the Trial Chamber. Even though the Trial Chamber would like both the prosecution and defense to limit their questioning of each witness to four hours, it is expected that the prosecution will question 32 witnesses over the course of 190 hours, and that the defense will take about 400 hours to cross-examine all of the prosecution witnesses. (Capital News).
Seselj demands dismissal of trial and compensation: Following the disqualification of Judge Frederik Harhoff, Serbian politician Vojislav Seselj demanded that the ICTY throw out the case against him and compensate him with 12 million euro. He is charged with committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in the former Yugoslavia, and had opposed the replacement appointment of Judge Mandiaye Niang, arguing that such a replacement should not occur a few months before the rendering of the judgment, since the new judge was unfamiliar with the trial. The prosecution countered with the precedent of the case against Slobodan Milosevic, in which a judge had stepped down at a late stage in the proceedings, and his replacement had certified that he had familiarized himself with the trial record. The prosecution therefore requested that the proceedings continue as soon as Judge Niang has familiarized himself with the existing record. (Institute for War & Peace Reporting).
Human Rights Watch calls on ICC to expedite Afghanistan investigation: Following the ICC’s conclusion in November that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch urged the OTP of the ICC to expedite its inquiry into these crimes. Specifically, Human Rights Watch called for a fact-finding mission to Afghanistan, both to collect testimonies and to improve communication with the Afghan government and various international organizations. The investigation began in 2007, during which time the OTP has considered whether or not to formally investigate these alleged crimes. (Firstpost).
Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone judges sworn in: On Monday, 2 December 2013, 16 judges were sworn in for the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone, which will replace the SCSL. The U.N. Secretary General appointed ten judges, and the government of Sierra Leone appointed six judges, all of whom will serve part-time on a roster. Witnessed by Sierra Leonean Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Franklyn Bai Kargbo and UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Miguel de Serpa Soares, the judges promised they would “without fear or favour, affection or ill-will, serve as a Judge of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone honestly, faithfully, impartially and conscientiously.” The Residual Court will resolve the ongoing obligations of the SCSL, which is due to close later this month. (Africa News).
Congolese soldier to remain at ICC; single judge rules: On 18 November 2013, an ICC judge denied release from court custody a Congolese military leader accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes. Bosco Ntaganda argued his voluntary surrender for two arrest warrants and his lack of travel documents showed his commitment to remain in The Hague and cooperate fully with the ICC. The Single Judge rejected these arguments and found Ntaganda’s “prior ability to escape for such a lengthy period of time, until the moment of his choosing, enhances his motivation to flee when the circumstances allow.” Ntaganda faces charges for enlisting child soldiers and committing crimes of rape, murder and slavery during the 2002-2003 Congolese conflict. (All Africa).
ECCC Chamber rules second trial for Khmer Rouge leaders “imperative”: On Monday, 25 November 2013, the ECCC’s Supreme Court Chamber held it was “imperative” to commence as soon as possible the next trial against Khmer Rouge senior leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan. The Chamber found that any delay in trying the two leaders may violate the right to a speedy trial and create issues for continued pre-trial detention. The Chamber noted concerns of “financial malaise” by the ECCC was “irrelevant and inappropriate.” The two senior leaders face charges of genocide in the next trial. (The Cambodian Daily).
Painful visit to Bosnian mass grave for ICTY President: ICTY President Theodor Meron visited a mass grave in Bosnia this Monday, 25 November 2013, where the remains of at least 430 unidentified Bosniak and Croat victims have recently been excavated. Many of the victims were killed in concentration camps and home searches by Serbs during the early 1990s war. Meron, a Holocaust survivor, said it was “very difficult to speak at [a] place where one stands face to face with the horror a man can do to another man.” (Springfield News-Sun).
Bensouda requests additional funds for ICC operations: ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has asked the ICC Assembly of States Parties to approve an additional Sh2.3 billion for next year’s operations. Bensouda said the increased funding was necessary to “carry out deeper investigations to meet the required threshold of proof.” Tiina Intelman, President of the ICC Assembly of States Parties, said an increase in the Court’s budget for operations is a process that requires either an amendment to the Rome Statute, which takes time, or a change to the rules, which has a more immediate effect. (All Africa).
Trinidad’s Henderson appointed ICC judge: The Assembly of States Parties elected Geoffrey Andrew Henderson of Trinidad and Tobago to the ICC. Henderson, a graduate of the University of West Indies Law Faculty and the Sir Hugh Wooding Law School, takes the seat of recently named Trinidad President Sir Anthony Carmona. Henderson’s term will end on 10 March 2021. (Carib Journal).
Kenya making progress in amending ICC rules: Reports indicate that through a formal presentation, Guatemala and Greece asked to amend Article 134 of the ICC Rules of Procedures to allow accused persons who are “mandated to fulfill important and extraordinary public duties” in their states to waive the requirement to be present at their trial. Instead, the amendment would let counsel represent the accused, who would not have to attend the trial at The Hague or follow it through video proceedings. Kenya, Japan, and South Africa all support the proposed amendment. Kenya’s second goal, to give sitting presidents immunity until their term has expired, will likely not be addressed until February at the Assembly of State Parties, even though Kenya is pushing for a special summit. Both changes would benefit Kenya, which has publicly objected to the requirement that President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto be present at their trials, whether in person or through video links. (Standard Digital).
Security Council condemns LRA war crimes, calls for support: On Monday, 25 November 2013, the UN Security Council condemned the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in a presidential statement, urging the group to cease its activities, disarm, and release abductees. The Council also asked the UN Office for Central Africa, UN peacekeeping missions, and the international community to support the implementation of the UN Regional Strategy, which is meant to address the activities of the LRA. The Council also applauded the efforts of the African Union Regional Cooperation Initiative and emphasized the importance of regional efforts to combat the LRA. The Security Council has repeatedly denounced the crimes against humanity and war crimes the LRA has committed in several African nations over the course of 15 years, especially the group’s use of child soldiers. (UN News Centre).
Serbian Prosecutor’s Office wants 15-year sentence for Juric: The Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office demanded that Ilija Jurisic, who served as a commander during the Bosnian War, be sentenced to 15 years in prison for allegedly ordering a large-scale attack on former Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) soldiers during their retreat from Tuzla, Bosnia, even though the withdrawal had allegedly been agreed upon previously. 51 soldiers died and 50 were wounded during this attack, a war crime for which Juric has been indicted in a domestic proceeding. Juric was already convicted in 2009 and sentenced to 12 years in prison, which was overruled by the Appellate Court in 2010, and the current rehearing seeks to establish why the JNA had withdrawn from Tuzla and whether Juric ordered the attack on the JNA.
Mbeki says ICC should not interfere in Africa: Former South African President Thabo Mbeki criticized the ICC’s prosecution of African leaders on Talk To Al Jazeera. In his opinion, the international community should focus on building peace in Africa, instead of imposing justice from the “outside.” He mentioned the trials of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir; intervening in the conflict is more important than prosecuting these leaders, especially when their leadership and influence could be useful in brokering peace. Justice, he explained, does not trump peace. Using his own country as an example, Mbeki stated that South Africa’s move from apartheid to democracy would have been far less smooth had former South African President F.W. de Klerk, who was an integral part of ending apartheid, been brought before the ICC during the conflict. (Al Jazeera Media Network).
Bemba Case faces arrests, allegations of witness tampering: The has announced that four high level Congolese people have been arrested for alleged witness tampering in the war crimes trial of former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba. It is alleged that the suspects were part of a corruption network formed to influence and bribe witnesses. (For additional information, please click here.) (UN News, Google News).
ICC confirms Senussi trial to continue in Libya: The ICC has rejected an appeal by Senussi to have his domestic trial in Libya suspended. The ICC has stated that the continuation of a domestic trial in Tripoli will not interfere with the case the ICC has against Senussi. (Saudi Gazette).
Kenyan Government indicates plans to investigate additional PEV cases: The Kenyan government is in the process of establishing a team of special investigators to deal with Post Election Violence. 5,000 pending PEV cases have already been referred to the police for fresh investigations. (All Africa).
HRW reports ongoing war crimes in CAR: HRW has reported that violence in CAR is still bubbling to the surface. General Hamat claims to be fighting a defensive war against a rebel group known as the anti-balaka. According to HRW the general is wreaking havoc in many villages and it is not clear if there is a legitimate rebel force amassing or if those who are fighting back are just frightened locals. (HRW).
Alleged Croatian war criminal wins extradition appeal, remains in Australia: Serb military commander, Dragan Vasiljkovic, will be allowed to stay in Australia and avoid extradition to Croatia for questioning in connection with war crimes. Mr. Vasiljkovic has been found to have committed crimes of torture and rape and has admitted to commanding a deadly assault on the Village of Glina in Croatia. (The Australian).
Unnamed witness called by judges testifies in Bemba trial: A witness under the pseudonym “Witness CHM-01” testified at the trial against Jean-Pierre Bemba on Monday, 18 November 2013 before the ICC. The judges, as allowed by Articles 64 and 69, had called the witness; none of the parties in the trial had called him to provide evidence, even though several witnesses from both sides had mentioned his name. The witness is testifying through a video link from an undisclosed location. It is not yet clear how the witness was involved in the MLC. Mr. Bemba is charged with committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Central African Republic between October 2002 and March 2003. (Open Society Justice Initiative).
African Court to hold conference to raise awareness: The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights is organizing a continental conference in order to raise awareness about the court’s activities and promote human rights in African states. The Court feels that it has been underutilized; in seven years, it has only handled 28 petitions concerning contentious matters and five requests for advisory opinions. Senior officials believe that this under-utilization is due to the fact that the individuals and entities who are allowed to bring petitions before the Court are largely unaware of its existence. The conference will be attended by the president and judges of the court, representatives from international organizations, and Professor Makame Mbarawa, the Tanzanian Minister of Communication, Science and Technology. (Tanzania Daily News).
Leaders urge Sri Lanka to investigate war crimes following summit: During the Commonwealth Summit, which was held in Sri Lanka over the course of three days, several human rights groups appealed to world leaders to pressure Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to investigate war crimes that allegedly took place during and after the civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, who was in attendance, stated that it would be possible for Sri Lanka to set up a war crimes tribunal before March, to which President Rajapaksa responded that Sri Lanka had started investigations, but that this process will take longer than a few months. He had previously stated that his troops did not commit war crimes during the conflict, which lasted 26 years. Secretary Hague’s comments followed UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s condemnation of the alleged war crimes, and his warning of a UN-led investigation should Sri Lanka fail to launch an independent inquiry. (To read more about this topic, please click here.) (Voice of America, BBC).
Nine AU states may be barred from voting on Rome Statute amendments: The ICC announced that nine out of its 122 members are in arrears and will therefore be unable to vote in this week’s Assembly of State Parties meeting in The Hague. Though the list of states has not been officially released, Tanzania, Senegal, Niger, Ghana, Gabon, Djibouti, Comoros, Guinea, and Liberia are all indebted to the Court and may lose their voting rights. These votes may be necessary to amend the ICC rules of procedure laid out in the Rome Statute, an effort Kenya is leading in order to excuse President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto from attendance at their trials, to amend Article 27 to grant sitting heads of governments immunity, and to amend Article 70 so that court officials can be charged with offenses against administration of justice and the powers of the Independent Oversight Mechanism may be expanded. If all 122 members attend the meeting, Kenya needs 81 members to support its proposals. (The Star).
Botswanan judge appointed to Sierra Leone court: On 16 October 2013, the Botswanan Administration of Justice announced that Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, appointed the Hon. Justice Dr. O.B.K. Dingake as a judge on the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone, which is continuing the mandate of the Special Court of Sierra Leone. Justice Dingake is a jurist and scholar, and will sit on the Court as required by the president of the Court. (Government of Botswana).
Security Council to vote on deferral of Kenyatta trial: The fifteen member states of the U.N. Security Council will vote on a resolution this Friday, 15 November 2013, calling for a one year suspension of the ICC trials against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto. The AU backed resolution will need the support of at least nine member states in order to pass. Experts have predicted, however, that the resolution will fail since seven members are currently signatories of the ICC. (Global Post).
French court decides to extradite Rwandans: A French appeals court ruled this week that two genocide suspects could be extradited to Rwanda. The country has previously denied extraditions because of concerns suspects will be denied fair trial rights. However, French Judge Jean Bertholin assured Claude Muhayimana and Innocent Musabyimana that if the extradition was approved by a higher court, the two would “be guaranteed a fair trial” in Rwanda. Muhayimana and Musabyimana are accused of participating in mass killings of ethnic Tutsis during the 1994 genocide that claimed around 800,000 lives. (Global Post).
Kenyatta seeks public testimony of prosecution witnesses: Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked the ICC to deny granting protective measures of prosecution witnesses. Kenyatta argued suppressing identities and granting immunity from self-incrimination “constitutes an incentive for witnesses to lie and put forward false claims.” Kenyatta stated any measures violated his right to a fair and public trial. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda earlier requested protective measures for ten of the fifteen witnesses expected to testify against the President. (The Star).
Habre proceedings to be aired in Senegal and Chad: The trial of the former dictator of Chad, President Hissene Habre, will be broadcasted on television and radio in Senegal and Chad. Senegalese Justice Minister Sidiki Kaba announced the two countries were in the process of “work[ing] out which media outlets . . . will be given responsibility for the transmission.” Habre is being tried by a special court in Senegal for crimes against humanity and war crimes related to his 1982-1990 rule. (Global Post).
Security Council split on ICC deferral: The U.N. Security Council is split over whether to delay the ICC cases against Kenya’s sitting heads of state. Last week, the 15 state parties met to discuss an AU backed resolution calling for a deferral to allow President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto time to fulfill their executive duties at home. Experts opposed to the resolution argue a postponement may defer justice for victims. The U.N. Security Council is expected to vote this week on whether to approve the deferral. (All Africa).
Ivory Coast party seeks release of former President: The Ivorian Popular Front has officially requested the ICC release former President Laurent Gbagbo from custody. The opposition political party claims Gbagbo is being illegally detained after the ICC failed to present sufficient evidence of wrongdoing. The party’s organizer demanded the former President return to the Ivory Coast to “reconcile the people.” For the past two years, Gbagbo has been held in The Hague on charges of crimes against humanity for his participation in the 2010 post-election violence. (All Africa).
Kenya attacks planned after 2007 election, says ICC witness: A prosecution witness testified last week that members of the Orange Democratic Movement, a political party supported by ICC indictee William Ruto, planned attacks against the rival Party of National Unity. The protected witness told judges members of the Orange Democratic Movement stocked bows, arrows and rocks “with the objective of forcibly expelling” people of a differing ethnic group from their communities once the 2007 presidential election results were announced. Ruto, alongside co-accused Joshua arap Sang, is charged with inciting and ordering attacks that killed and displaced thousands of civilians after the party he supported was defeated in the election. (All Africa).
ICC judges call witness for Bemba trial: A judge ordered witness is expected to testify in the trial of Jean Pierre Bemba at the ICC on 18 November 2013. The evidence to be presented by the witness has not been disclosed, however, the individual has been “repeatedly mentioned” by other participants during the proceedings. The witness will first be examined by the judges. The prosecution, victim representatives and defense will then each have an opportunity to question the witness on relevant issues, as well as evidence that concerns credibility and mitigating or aggravating circumstances. The former Vice President of the DRC is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes. (All Africa).
Sang opposes deferral of his ICC case: Joshua Arap Sang is against the deferral of his case before the ICC and would like to have his case heard as soon as possible, even though he noted that he understood why Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto are pushing for a deferral of their cases. He explained that he respects their mandates in Kenya, but that deferral is unnecessary in his own case because he has no such duties. Sang is indicted with committing crimes against humanity in the post-election violence in Kenya. (Standard).
Students and educators demand charges against Qaisar; ICT prosecution to charge soon: The ICT prosecution will likely submit formal charges against Syed Mohammad Qaisar to the ICT, which will decide whether or not to accept the charges after examining the documents prepared by the prosecution. Qaisar, who is allegedly the leader and founder of the “Qaisar Force”, which was associated with the Pakistani army during the war, will likely be charged with committing crimes against humanity and genocide in the 1971 Liberation War. On Saturday, 10 November 2013, attendees of a “Student-Teacher Rally” urged the government to immediately execute the verdict and punish those who committed war crimes. They also demanded a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami politics and the politics of its student wing Islami Chattra Shibir. (To read more about this topic, please click here.) (The Daily Star, Dhaka Tribune).
EULEX charges against former Kosovo rebels: A EU prosecutor indicted 15 former Kosovo rebels last week, charging them for allegedly killing and torturing civilians at a detention center in Kosovo in the 1998-99 separatist war with Serbia. Though the EU rule of law mission (EULEX), which prosecutes war crimes cases in Kosovo, did not name the defendants, the defendants reportedly include members of Prime Minister Hashim Thaci’s Democratic Party of Kosovo. Some of the defense lawyers have rejected the charges. The case will be heard before the Mitrovica Basic Court in Kosovo. (BBC).
ICRC clears Sri Lankan Army of IHL violations against LTTE: In a cable signed 15 July 2009, which has since been leaked through the WikiLeaks database, U.S. Ambassador to Geneva Clint Williamson stated that Jacques de Maio, the Head of Operations for South Asia of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), had disclosed that the Sri Lankan Army had purposely chosen a slow approach in the civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), choosing a high number of military deaths over high civilian casualties, which a faster battle would have brought about. According to de Maio, the Sri Lankan Army had taken allegations of International Humanitarian Law violations into consideration during the war and changed its tactics to reduce civilian deaths, meaning it did not commit crimes against humanity. (The Nation).
Kenyan DPP wants Barasa tried before the ICC: Keriako Tobiko, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) of Kenya, wants journalist Walter Barasa to be tried at the ICC, because no investigation or prosecution has been initiated against Barasa in Kenya. The DPP has also opposed Barasa’s request to be provided with the documents of his case. The ICC has charged Barasa with interfering with witnesses in the cases against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Arap Sang, and wants to extradite Barasa to The Hague. (AllAfrica).
UN urges international donors to fund Khmer Rouge tribunal: UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson appealed to international donors and the Cambodian government to fund the Khmer Rouge tribunal. He said that in order to hold Khmer Rouge leaders accountable, the tribunal must be supported financially, because “[w]ords do not pay the bills.” The Court’s budget for the coming year has been scaled back, and evidentiary hearings of the Court’s second trial are expected to begin soon. (The Phnom Penh Post).
Chilean granted justice at international court: An 80 year old Chilean who was severely tortured after the Pinochet regime took power in 1973 was granted a huge victory from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights this week. The Court ruled the Chile government must investigate the abuses toward Leopoldo Garcia and find those responsible for compensation. Garcia was detained after a 1973 coup and tortured into divulging names of suspected Socialists. Garcia was eventually transferred to London where he has lived for 40 years. However, Garcia has struggled throughout his life to find work and provide for his family in a foreign country. He believes Chili should “assume responsibility” for what happened to him by the Pinochet regime.
Delay of Rios Montt trial angers victims: Victims of genocide and crimes against humanity during Guatemalan President General Efrain Rios Montt’s 1982-83 rule are frustrated by the decision to delay his retrial. Amnesty International reports Mayan-Ixil indigenous people feel “let down” and worry the former President will evade justice. Rios Montt’s guilty conviction by a Guatemalan criminal court was overturned shortly after by the country’s highest court. The retrial is expected January 2015.
Serbian war crimes prosecutor charges two former Serbian army officers: Serbia’s War Crimes Prosecutors have charged two Yugoslav army leaders of war crimes. Parole Gavrilovic and Rajko Kozlina are accused of ordering an attack on a civilian village during the 1998-99 Serbian War that killed at least 27 Kosovar. A Serbian investigating judge will decide whether to indict and arrest the two leaders.
Habre appeal denied by international court: On 5 November 2013, the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States held the Extraordinary African Chambers was satisfactorily established to try the former Chadian President Hissene Habre for crimes against humanity and war crimes. Habre filed a motion on 23 April 2013, challenging the legitimacy of the Extraordinary African Chambers to try him for crimes committed during his rule from 1982 to 1990. The Court found the Chambers consisted of a “special ad hoc procedure of international character” capable of holding Habre’s trial. Victims of his rule have called the Court’s decision “a huge relief.”
Kenyatta deferral gets more support: Another African country is now publicly supporting the postponement of the ICC case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. On 5 November 2013, Jean Kimani, Kenya’s High Commissioner, stated Botswana was of the position the Kenyatta trial should not only be deferred, but also held locally. Kimani clarified that Botswana’s support for Kenya’s President did not interfere with the country’s commitment to the Rome Statute and the ICC.
Gaddafi’s son speaks from prison: Seif al-Islam, the son of former Libyan dictator Muanmar Gaddafi, answered three prepared questions from a journalist on 5 November 2013. Sitting behind bars in a Zintan prison outside the Tripoli capital, Seif al-Islam told the journalist he was well and permitted visitors. Seif was captured in November 2011 by ex-rebel forces. He is also wanted by the ICC and was charged by a Tripoli court.
Nigeria seeks change at ICC: Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathon assured the international community on Tuesday, 5 November 2013, that his country would continue supporting the ICC. However, Jonathon urged the Court to defer the pending case against Kenya’s sitting head of state. Jonathon argued Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta needed to remain in Africa to fulfill his executive duties during the country’s period of instability.
ECCC defendants maintain not-guilty at closing arguments: On 31 October 2013, the two surviving former leaders of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge asked to be acquitted as closing arguments were made at the ECCC. Nuon Chea and Khieu were initially charged with crimes against humanity. It is expected that a verdict will be delivered in the first half of 2014. (UN News).
In absentia death sentences for two ICT-Bangladesh defendants: On 3 November 2013, Chowdhury Mueen Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khan were found guilty of carrying out episodes of torture and murder during the war of independence from Pakistan in 1971. Defense lawyers are calling the trial a farce while veterans of the war were said to be cheering the decision. (Reuters).
Kenya ICC trial delayed; encouraged by UN African members: Rwanda, Togo and Morocco circulated a draft resolution among UN Security Council members this last Friday asking to defer the ICC trials of President Kenyatta and his deputy Ruto for one year. The Security Council has the ability to defer ICC proceedings for one year under Article 16 of the Rome Statute. (For more information on this topic, please click here, here.) (Reuters, CNN).