Archive for category War Crimes
Palestine to file case at ICC against Israel on 1 April: An executive committee member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation reported that Palestine will file a complaint against Israel for alleged war crimes at the ICC. The crimes were committed during last year’s war in Gaza in which some 2,200 Palestinians killed, most of them civilians. Palestine’s motion to join the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the ICC, becomes effective 1 April 2015, thus giving the Court jurisdiction over crimes in Palestine. (Al Arabiya).
Bensouda assures witness protection for all witnesses in Ongwen trial: During a visit to the Barlonyo Memorial Site in northern Uganda, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the Court will guarantee protection of all witnesses in the case against Dominic Ongwen. Bensouda also urged victims to reach out to the Office of the Public Council for Victims at the ICC and consider testifying against Ongwen, the commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army. Ongwen’s trial was supposedly set to begin 24 August 2015 but Bensouda has asked for an extension in order to conduct additional investigations. (Star Africa).
ICC AC’s judgment on Lubanga reparations addresses scope and measures for victims: On 3 March 2015, the ICC Appeals Chamber amended the judgment on reparations for victims in the case against Thomas Lubanga. Specifically, the appeals judges found that reparation measures should include integrating former child soldiers back into the community and that the trial court erred in finding Lubanga should not be liable for reparations because he was indigent. The appeals judges also found that “the trial chamber erred in holding that reparations award should be formulated and implemented to include victims of sexual and gender-based violence.” The appeals judges found that “that sexual and gender and gender-based violence cannot be defined as harm resulting from the crimes for which Mr. Lubanga was convicted.” Lubanga, the leader of the rebel group Congolese Patriotic Union, was sentenced in 2012 to 14 years in prison for war crimes. (Voice of America).
Mladic defence witness disputes date of meeting over Srebreica: A defence witness in the ICC case against Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic has disputed the date of a meeting of senior officials in Srebrenica. Miodrag Dragutinovic, the assistant to the chief of staff of the Zvornik Brigade at the time, testified that the meeting occurred 11 July 1995, one day after the fall of Srebrenica, and in contradiction with the prosecutions argument that the meeting occurred 12 July 1995. The meeting in question concerned “previous combat activities and future tasks” one of which was that “units were deployed in the Zepa sector to engage the Zepa brigade and neutralise its members.” In the days following the fall of Srebrenica, Bosnian Serb forces killed more than 7,000 Bosniak men and boys. (IWPR).
UN advises Sri Lanka to address mistrust on prospects of accountability: On Tuesday, 3 March 2015, the U.N. urged Sri Lanka’s new government to hold accountable those responsible for committing serious violations of international law during the country’s 26-year civil war. Additionally, the U.N. advised Sri Lanka to address mistrust among the Tamil population about whether the new government will achieve accountability and post-war reconciliation. The new government of President Maithripala Sirisena, which took power earlier this year, has promised to investigate alleged abuses and establish an independent judicial mechanism for investigations. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (Reuters, ABC).
African Commission issues decision against Sudan on arbitrary detention and torture: The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights issued a decision finding Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service arbitrarily detained and tortured three human rights defenders in November 2008. The African Commission also held that Sudan failed to investigate or redress the harms suffered by the three human rights defenders. Osman Hummaida, Amir Suliman and Monim El Jak were detained and tortured for a period of time in Sudan for allegedly supporting the ICC’s investigation into crimes committed in Darfur. (All Africa).
N Korea FM dismisses UN report on crimes against humanity: At the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday, 3 March 2015, North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong dismissed a recent U.N. report concluding the country committed crimes against humanity, including mass starvation. The Foreign Minister said the U.N. report was based on lies and called for its immediate revocation. The Foreign Minister also criticized the United States pursuit of human rights issues in other countries and claimed it was a “stereotyped method . . . to smear the countries disobedient to it.” (ABC).
ICC Appeals Chamber issues judgment amending the TC’s order for reparations: The ICC Appeal Chamber’s judgment on 3 March 2015 amended the Trial Chamber’s judgment on reparations in the case against the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Thomas Lubanga Dyilo. Lubanga Dyilo was found guilty of war crimes in March of 2012. The original Trial Chamber judgment from 7 August 2012 ordered collective reparations to be made through the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV). The Appeals chamber confirmed many parts of the Trial Chamber’s judgment including the reintegration of former child soldiers and affirmed reparations on a collective basis rather than an individual basis. The Appeals Chamber only amended the reparations to include an instruction to the TFV that it consult the victims that had individual requests of the collective nature of the reparations. (International Criminal Court)
Two further Khmer Rouge suspects charged in absentia by ECCC International Co-Investigating Judge: Two more former leaders of the Khmer Rouge, Im Chaem and Meas Muth, have been charged with crimes against humanity. Meas Muth has also been charged with war crimes. Both were charged in absentia by the International Co-Investigating Judge, Mark Harmon. Im Chaem has been charged for crimes committed at the Phnom Trayoung security centre and Spean Sreng worksite. So far, the ECCC has convicted three people, handing down life sentences to two. (Naharnet, The Phnom Penh Post, Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia) (for additional information please click here and here)
ICC Appeals Chamber confirms decision to replace Banda summons with an arrest warrant: On 3 March 2015, the ICC Appeals Chamber affirmed the decision to replace a summons with an arrest warrant for Sudanese rebel Abdallah Banda. Banda is charged with three counts of war crimes in Darfur and Sudan. The Trial Chamber originally issued the arrest warrant for Banda in September of 2014 requesting Sudan’s cooperation in the case. (Hirondelle News Agency)
ICTY Prosecution asks for continuance of Hadzic trial in face of his illness: The ICTY’s Prosecutor’s Office has filed a motion for a continuance of Goran Hadzic’s trial even though he might not be able to attend because of his illness. Hadzic was diagnosed with cancer last year, causing his trial to be suspended. Hazdic was charged with crimes against humanity during his former presidency of the Republic of Serbian Krajina in the 1991-1995 conflicts in Croatia. The Prosecutor’s Office stated in the motion that the Trial Chamber has the discretion to order the defense to further present evidence in the case, without the defendant’s presence. (InSerbia)
Ngudjolo faces immigration challenge after acquittal at ICC: Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui is being held in custody in the Netherlands pending deportation after his 2012 acquittal of war crimes and crimes against humanity was confirmed by the ICC. The former militia leader does not have a residence permit to stay in the Netherlands but fears being deported back to Congo for safety reasons. Ngudjolo’s defence have filed motions seeking asylum and also intend to appeal his detention and deportation. (ICC Observer).
Rwandan court upholds conviction of former justice minister for role in genocide: On 27 February 2015, Rwanda’s former justice minister’s sentence of life imprisonment for “being an accomplice to carry out . . . genocide” was upheld by the country’s high court. Agnes Ntamabyariro was convicted six years ago for crimes committed during the 1994 conflict in Rwanda in which 800,000 were killed. Lawyers for Ntamabyariro said the former justice minister may appeal the confirmation due to the severity of the punishment. (News 24).
US Government makes move to deport 150 Bosnian immigrants on war crimes allegations: U.S. immigration officials have identified some 300 Bosnian immigrants living in the United States believed to have been involved in war crimes and “ethnic cleansing” during the 1990s conflict in the former Yugoslavia. It is being reported that at least 150 of those identified, many of them former Bosnian soldiers, may be deported. Kathleen O’Connor, a human rights prosecutor at the Justice Department urged witnesses to come forward regarding war crimes in the former Yugoslavia and stressed that “justice can be served in the United States despite the fact that many years have gone by and that the conduct occurred overseas.” (New York Times).
Rwandan investigators urge action against BBC for program questioning genocide: Rwandan investigators are urging the government to ban BBC radio programs questioning the 1994 genocide from the country’s airwaves. Former top Rwandan prosecutor Martin Ngoga found the BBC “abused press freedom and free speech, violated its own editorial guidelines (and) transgressed journalistic standards.” The BBC has denied the accusations and said it had no intentions of “downplay[ing] or conceal[ing] the horrifying events of 1994.” (Malay Mail).
Bensouda urges Kony to surrender for trial at ICC: ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda urged Joseph Kony, a rebel chief of the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army, to surrender to the Court and stand trial. Bensouda vowed the rebel chief would receive a fair, independent and impartial trial. The Lord’s Resistance Army is accused of killing some 100,000 people in a conflict in northern Uganda nearly three decades ago. (Standard Digital).
Preparation made for a Special Court on Kosovo: Kosovo is preparing for the creation of a Special Court to prosecute killings and organ trafficking during the conflict in Kosovo; said Prime Minister Isa Mustafa on Monday, 2 March 2015. Specifically, the court will look at crimes by the former Kosovo Liberation Army against Serbs. Prime Minister Mustafa said experts were working to “harmonise the legislation related to the Special Court, the court’s statute and amendments to the Constitution that are required for the laws and statute to be adopted.” (InSerbia).
Amnesty appeals to UN Veto Powers to relinquish veto during mass atrocities: Amnesty International has issued a statement condemning the international response to the array of catastrophes which took place in 2014. Amnesty has asked that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council be forced to give up their power of veto in cases where atrocities are being committed as a way to prevent interference. Unfortunately, Amnesty does not see 2015 as being a better year for abuse victims.
Victims hope to have CAR crimes included in case against Ongwen: In a statement published February 18, the Association of LRA Victims in the Central African Republic, a local NGO well-known in Bangui, called for Ongwen’s case to be extended to crimes committed in the CAR between 2008 and 2014. The ICC Prosecutor wants Ongwen tried for three counts of crimes against humanity and four counts of war crimes.
European Court considering case of Iraq War deserter: Andre Shepherd, former U.S. military Apache helicopter mechanic, deserted his position in 2007. He has since claimed refugee status in Germany, however, to qualify as a refugee under the EU law, Shepherd would have to present evidence showing it was credible that war crimes would have been committed during his service in Iraq. Given the prison he could face in the US, it is unlikely he will be eligible for refugee status.
Mrs. Gbagbo appears before national trial and denies wrongdoing: Simone Gbagbo presented evidence for the first time in her trial in Abidjan. Mrs. Gbagbo denies all wrongdoing in her alleged role in inciting post election violence in 2010. In December 2014, the ICC denied the Ivory Coast’s admissibility application to try Mrs. Gbagbo nationally and ordered the Ivory Coast to surrender her to the Hague. By starting Mrs. Gbagbo’s trial, the Ivory Coast is proceeding in violation of the ICC’s decision. Mrs. Gbagbo’s husband, former President Laurent Gbagbo, is currently being tried at the ICC. (BBC, France24, ICC-CPI) (for additional information please click here and here)
ICC Prosecution to call final witness in Ruto / Sang case on 23 March: The 30th and last witness in the case against former Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang will testify on 23 March 2015. The ICC Public Affairs Unit stated that witness P0727 has been unwilling to testify and has put conditions upon testifying. The witness did not appear to testify on 2 February 2015, but will now testify by video from a secret location on 23 March. (CaptialFM)
At-large former lawmaker sentenced to life imprisonment by ICT Bangladesh: The International Criminal Tribunal of Bangladesh sentenced former lawmaker, Abdul Jabbar, to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity. The crimes against humanity were committed during the 1971independence war against Pakistan and include counts of genocide and religious persecution of the country’s Hindi minority. The court stated that Jabbar would get some leniency in mere imprisonment due to old age. Jabbar is still at-large and is thought to be in the United States. (The Economic Times, The Sun Daily) (for additional information please click here)
UNAMI and OHCHR report says HR violations in Iraq increasingly sectarian: A report produced by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights highlights the increase of human rights violations in Iraq. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have intentionally targeted members of Iraq’s different ethnic communities. The report covers a three month period from11 September to 10 December 2014. The report claims that many of the acts committed could constitute as war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide. (United Nations)
US federal court orders 218 million USD award against Palestinian Authority: A United States jury found in favor of ten American families for six attacks credited to the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Hamas over a decade ago. The Manhattan based court ordered the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority to pay 218 million USD. The United States Anti-Terrorist Act allows citizens harmed by terrorist acts to sue for damages in federal courts. Both groups stated that they would appeal the ruling. The Palestinian Authority signed the Rome Statute and submitted an Article 12(3) declaration in January 2015 in order to accept the ICC jurisdiction. (France24)
Amnesty highlights evidence of war crimes for Egyptian airstrikes in Libya: Amnesty International stated that violence in Libya is escalating and that civilians are feeling the impact of the attack. Amnesty claims that the Egyptian Air Force did not take the necessary precautions in their air strike over Libya to prevent civilian deaths. Amnesty has many eyewitness accounts that highlight the damage done over civilian populated areas in Libya. (Amnesty International)
UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria ready to publish names of alleged perpetrators: Investigators on the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Syria are prepared to release four lists documenting the names of individuals and groups allegedly guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity since conflict erupted in Syria in March 2011. The lists have been safeguarded at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva and allegedly include names of several senior commanders and armed group leaders. Commission investigators said “Not to publish the names at this juncture of the investigation would be to reinforce the impunity that the commission was mandated to combat.” (The Telegraph).
Sri Lanka Parliament passes witness protection law ahead of war crimes investigations: The new Sri Lankan government has passed a witness protection law to assist with national investigations into war crimes allegedly committed during the end of the country’s 26-year civil war. The law requires the government to establish safe houses to allow people to give evidence and participate in the national investigations. The Sri Lankan government has received pressure from the international community to fully investigate and prosecute crimes. The U.N. Human Rights Council recently delayed the release of a report investigating war crimes in Sri Lanka. (First Post).
Body of ICC witness possibly found: It is being reported that a body found in Tsavo National Park in Kenya may be that of a missing defence witness in the ICC case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto. ICC defence witness Meshack Yebei went missing on 28 December 2014 after leaving ICC protection. Final identification of the body by family and DNA samples is ongoing. (All Africa).
ICTY accused Hadzic asks for leave for medical treatment: Former president of the Republic of Serbian Krajina, Goran Hadzic, has requested provisional release from the ICTY in order to undergo chemotherapy for cancer. Hadzic’s defence argued the accused will be unable to attend the trial for months as it would negatively affect his health during chemotherapy. The former president is on trial for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the 1991-1995 conflict in Croatia. (InSerbia).
HR Advocacy groups lobby CAR Government to establish Special Court: Human rights advocacy groups are urging the Central African Republic’s government to adopt a law establishing a Special Criminal Court to prosecute those responsible for serious violations of international and human rights law. The Special Criminal Court would be part of the country’s national judicial system and consist of 14 national and 13 international judges. The human rights advocacy groups believe such a court will “strengthen” the country’s judicial system and “constitutes a balanced and innovative initiative to support the Central African judicial system, which is ravaged by the conflict triggered in 2012 by the armed groups in the northern part of the country.” (Jurist).
Ongwen discloses meeting with Kony in December 2014: A report by the Switzerland-based group Smalls Arms Survey states that Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Dominic Ongwen admitted meeting with LRA leader Joseph Kony near Darfur in December 2014. Ongwen first appeared before the ICC on 26 January 2015, after surrending to U.S. troops in the Central African Republic. Ongwen faces seven counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes charges. (Sudan Tribune).
Government to address Sri Lankan Parliament about UN HR Council report: The Sri Lanka government will make a statement to parliament on 20 February 2015 regarding the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) report and the government’s request to postpone its release. The UNHRC report concerns alleged war crimes committed in Sri Lanka. Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala De Silva requested that the government reveal its stance on the issue, the steps it would take, and to present parliament with the letter sent to the UN Human Rights Chief. Chief Government Whip Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka replied to the request stating that the government would present a response later on 20 February. (News.LK)
Ngudjolo Chui judgment on appeal of acquittal rescheduled to 27 Feb: The judgment on appeal of the acquittal for Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui has been rescheduled by the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court to next Friday, 27 February 2015. Chui was acquitted back in 2012 for three counts of crimes against humanity and seven counts of war crimes. These allegations stemmed from an attack on the village of Bogoro in the DRC. The Office of the Prosecutor appealed the verdict on 20 December 2012 and Chui was released from custody the following day. (International Criminal Court)