Archive for category Witnesses

5 December 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

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)

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24 November 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ECCC boycott results in trial adjournment until January 2015: The genocide trial for Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, two ex-Khmer Rouge leaders, has been adjourned until 8 January 2015. Khieu Samphan’s defence attorneys continued to boycott the proceedings for the defendant. Both defendants wanted more time to file appeal documents on their life sentences for crimes against humanity in a previous trial in August. Judge Nil Nonn stated that the court did not have any other alternative, but would pursue misconduct proceedings against the attorneys. (eNews Channel Africa)

 Activist calls for UNSC attention to alleged rapes in Darfur: Ahmed Hussein Adam, researcher at Cornell University, calls to the UN Security Council to probe into the security and humanitarian situation in Darfur and protect civilians. Hussein Adam urged the Security Council to inquire into the mass rape of women in Tabit. He expressed disappointment by victims and their families in the Security Council’s decision for the Sudanese government to conduct investigations. Hussein Adam does not think that Sudan should investigate itself and called for the ICC to investigate, as well as add more charges. (Radio Dabanga)

ICC Prosecution Witness testifies about treatment in witness protection: An ICC prosecution witness, referred to as Witness 800, states how he considered recanting his statement for the prosecution in a trial due to the treatment by protection officers. An individual, referred to as person 19, told him about an offer from another individual, referred to as person 7. Witness 800 considered taking the offer because the amount of money his family received was not enough to support them. This is not the first instance of witness interference in the trial against Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang who both face three counts of crimes against humanity. (AllAfrica)

HRW says Israeli’s demolition of Palestinian homes could be war crime: On 22 November 2014, Human Rights Watch called upon Israel to stop its practice of demolishing Palestine terrorists’ homes. The NGO states that this practice unlawfully punishes those who did not commit terrorist acts and could constitute as a war crime. Three current houses have been slated for demolition, but the families have appealed. Mohammed Mahmud, the families’ lawyer, stated that their petition would be heard by an Israeli military court on Sunday. (Israel National News)

Nizami appeal filed and Mobarak verdict expected at ICT Bangladesh: Mobarak Hossain, alleged Razakar commander, has his verdict coming out on Monday for his trial. Mobarak stands accused of crimes against humanity during the Liberation War. The prosecution sought the death penalty at the end of trial in May. Motiur Rahman Nizami, Jamaat chief, has appealed his verdict from the ICT to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. Nizami was sentenced to death for crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War. Nizami is seeking acquittal from all war crimes charges. (Dhaka Tribune) (for additional information click here)

ICC conduct official visit to Bulgaria: Prosecutor General of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr Sotir Tsatsarov, invited ICC officials for an official visit to Bulgaria to meet with high-level Bulgarian representatives. ICC officials included President of the ICC, Judge Sang-Hyun Song, ICC Prosecutor, Mrs Fatou Bensouda, and ICC Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova. Bulgarian officials repeated Bulgaria’s commitment to the ICC and international criminal justice. (International Criminal Court)

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4 November 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ECCC Chambers orders Defence to appear November 17:  Defence teams currently boycotting hearings in Case 002/02 have been ordered to appear November 17 before the ECCC.  Accordingly, both teams have been threatened with counsel substitution if the boycott continues. The defence teams argue that more time for trial preparation is needed but such arguments have been largely brushed aside by the ECCC.  (Phnom Penh Post).

STL Judge postpones contempt hearing for news editor al-Khayyat:  Khayyat and its parent company have been accused of contempt and obstruction of justice in connection with the disclosure of personal details of secret witnesses in the Hariri case.  A delay in the hearing has come in response to a request from the defense sufficient time to investigate.  Once trial begins, both sides expect a speedy conclusion.  (Daily Star).

ICC President appeals for widespread adoption of Rome Statute:  On 30 October 2014, Judge Sang-Hyun Song in his capacity as President of the ICC plead his case for the adoption of the Rome Statute by States while in front of the UN General Assembly.  Judge Song highlighted the similarities shared between the ICC and the UN.  (The Hague).

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21 October 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC Judge orders release of members of Bemba Team and others

On Tuesday, October 21, the Judge of Pre-Trial Chamber II at the ICC ordered the release of several individuals connected to the Case of Prosecutor v. Bemba, Kilolo, et. al. The Judge, Cuno Tarfusser, considered the circumstances of detention for several members of Mr. Bemba’s defense team, a defense witness, and one other individual from the DRC government. The four were detained in November 2013 for allegedly obstructing justice in the Case of Mr. Bemba. Judge Tarfusser ordered release for the four to ensure pre-trial detention was not disproportionately long for the charges. A confirmation of charges decision is anticipated, and any corresponding detention will be decided at that time. (ICC Press Release)

Former Pinochet Regime Minister arrested for allegedly aiding killings

On Monday, the ex-mayor of Providencia was arrested for allegedly perpetrating crimes including homicide and torture during the Pinochet Regime. Christian Labbe Galilea will be prosecuted along with nine other regime leaders, for acts committed as a member of the DINA Secret Police. The human rights division of the Chile Interior Ministry pursued the charges against the former military leaders, and indicated that they would contact Brazilian authorities regarding alleged torture training conducted in 1972-1973 in Brazil. Defense attorneys for Labbe said they would appeal the charges and seek unlawful association charges. (BBC, Reuters) For additional information on this topic, please click here.

ICT-1 sets date for charges hearing against three accused

The International Crimes Tribunal – 1 announced it would consider charges against three accused on November 5. The three suspects, Sheikh Sirajul Haque, Khan Akram Hossain, and Abdul Latif Talukdar, allegedly committed murder and other crimes during the Liberation War of 1971. Mr. Haque was said to have killed more than 650 civilians, while the two other individuals were alleged to have converted hundreds of Hindus and murdered several civilians. (Daily Star)

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1 October 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICTY Karadzic trail closing statements: The ICTY heard closing arguments in the case against former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic this week.  UN prosecutor Alan Tieger stated Karadzic was responsible, along with others, for cleansing Bosnia’s Muslims and Croats from Serb-claimed territories. Karadzic, conducting his own defense, took responsibility for crimes committed by the Republika Srpska but denied being aware of the killings. Karadzic faces charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of wars for crimes committed during the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (Saudi Gazette, BBC News Europe).

ICTR confirms criminal responsibility and life sentence of Nzabonimana: On 29 September 2014, the ICTR Appeals Chamber confirmed a life sentence against Callixte Nzabonimana for conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity. The Appeals Chamber ordered Nzabonimana remain in the Tribunal’s custody until it is decided where the former Rwandan youth minister is to serve his sentence. (Hirondelle News Agency).

Public testimony ends at Ivory Coast Truth Commission: Tuesday, 30 September 2014, ended public testimony of at least eighty victims and perpetrators who spoke on the serious violations of international law committed following the 2000 presidential election in the Ivory Coast. The Ivory Coast truth commission was formed to investigate the bloody political violence after opposition leader Laurent Gbagbo was elected in 2000. (AFP).

ECCC accused appeal conviction and sentence: Defense for former leaders of the Khmer Rouge, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphank, have appealed their life sentences for crimes against humanity for their roles in forced evacuations. The two ECCC accused denied the charges and argued the conviction was a miscarriage of justice. The second phase of the trial for genocide, forced labor and political purges is expected to being 17 October 2014. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (The Guardian, Phnom Penh Post).

ICC Judges reject Kenyatta request to skip status conference: ICC judges have rejected Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s request to miss the Court’s status conference because of conflicts. The ICC considered the status conference a “critical juncture” in the proceedings and requires the accused to be present. Kenyatta’s defense requested the status conference be rescheduled. (For more information on this topic, please click here) (All Africa).

 

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24 September 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC opens investigation into recent war crimes and CAH in CAR:  A report issued by the ICC on Wednesday, 24 September 2014, confirms that an investigation has been opened into crimes committed in the Central African Republic by the mainly-Muslim Seleka alliance and the mostly Christian anti-Balaka militia. The allegations include murder, rape and recruiting of child soldiers. Investigators for the ICC will now begin the process of gathering evidence to support charges against those suspected of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity since the conflict began in 2013. (Reuters).

African Commission undertakes fact finding mission into CAR violations: From 10 to 14 September 2014, a three member delegation of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights conducted a find finding mission in the Central African Republic. The mission consisted of, among other things, discussions with CAR officials, working sessions with UN representatives, meetings with NGOs, visits to refugee camps and gathering of testimony from victims and witness. The delegation intends to issue a detailed report with recommendations to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in January 2015. In the meantime, the delegation has expressed concern that serious violations of human rights have and are continuing to be committed in the CAR. (ReliefWeb).

Karadzic trial closing arguments to be held on 29 August:  The ICTY has scheduled closing arguments for 29 September 2014, in the case against Radovan Karadzic. The former Bosnian Serb president faces charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or custom of wars for crimes committed during the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict. (ICTY).

Sweden arrests two Rwandans for involvement in 1994 genocide: Two unidentified Rwandans suspected of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide have been arrested in Sweden. The arrests come some two months after a Swedish appeals court confirmed a genocide conviction against Stanislas Mbanenande, a low level commander involved in five massacres in western Rwanda. (All Africa).

HRW says assassination spree in Libya possible CAH: The scores of political assassinations in Libya since 2012 may amount to crimes against humanity, said Human Rights Watch. These assassinations include the 19 September 2014, killing of five civilians, two activists, members of the security forces and a cleric in the eastern city of Benghazi. Human Rights Watch stated that the failure and unwillingness of the government of Libya to initiate investigations into the crimes and prosecute those responsible has “fostered a culture of impunity that has fueled further abuses.” (Human Rights Watch).

Israel and Palestine consider investigations and next steps for crimes on both sides: The Israeli military is investigating suspected war crimes committed by its operations during the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip. It is estimated more than 2,000 Palestinians were killed in Israel’s military campaign in July and August this year. Palestine’s Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the country will soon decide whether to sign the Rome Statute of the ICC and be able to file a complaint against Israel in the Court for war crimes.  (For more information on this topic, please click here) (The Times of Israel, McClatchy DC).

ECCC announces 17 October as date for final phase of trial: The second phase of the trial of Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan at the ECCC is scheduled to being on 17 October 2014. In this final phase, the two former senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge face allegations of genocide, forced labor and political purges. The two were convicted last month of crimes against humanity for their roles in forced evacuations. (Voice of America).

NGO report provides new evidence of HR violations by Sri Lanka: The British rights group, Freedom From Torture, released a report today, 24 September 2014, documenting acts of detention, torture and sexual violence in Sri Lanka. The acts, carried out by Sri Lanka’s security forces, have mostly been aimed at ethnic Tamils and have occurred since the country’s civil war ended in 2009.  Sri Lanka’s cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella claims the “report is totally biased” and Freedom From Torture “have anti-Sri Lanka elements and continue undue pressure on Sri Lanka by leveling baseless allegations.” (UCA News).

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17 September 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

UN Commission on Syria highlights crimes committed by Assad regime: The head of the U.N. commission investigating war crimes in Syria, Brazilian diplomat Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, said the “Syrian government remains responsible for the majority of the civilian casualties, killing and maiming” in the country. Speaking in front of the 47-nation U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday, 16 September 2014, Pinheiro described the sieges and attacks which have killed nearly 200,000 people since the start of the Syrian civil war. (US News).

ICC Prosecution Witness testifies about Ruto’s presence at fundraising event: On Tuesday, 16 September 2014, the ICC heard testimony from witness 604 relating to a fundraising event attended by Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto.  The witness’ statements appeared contradictory from earlier testimony.  Ruto faces three counts of crimes against humanity for acts committed after the 2007 presidential election in Kenya. (All Africa).

Belgium welcomes accused acquitted of genocide at the ICTR: It is being reported that former Rwandan general Augustin Ndindiliyimana has been granted a Belgian visa. Ndindiliyimana was acquitted of genocide by the ICTR Appeals Chamber this past February. The ICTR has pushed for member states to host acquitted persons and those who have served their sentences. (All Africa).

Victims’ lawyer says Kenyatta phone records fake: Victims’ lawyers in the ICC case against Kenyan President Kenyatta Uhuru claim cell phone data records provided to the prosecution are fabricated. Lawyer Fergal Gaynor accused the President of devoting “enormous resources” to end the case and obstructing access to important records.  (All Africa).

Argentina gives Government records to Inter-American Court of Human Rights: Documents relating to some 280 meetings of military leaders ruling the country of Argentina from 1976 to 1983 were disclosed to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on Tuesday, 16 September 2014.  Argentina’s Defense Minister, Agustin Rossi, delivered the records which reveal, among other things, how the leaders ruled the country at the time and the decisions that were made. (Telesurtv).

Group of NGOs asks ICC for local tribunal and justice without delay in CAR: Several human rights groups, such as the Central African Human Rights League and the International Federation for Human Rights, have urged the ICC to launch an investigation into crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes committed in the Central African Republic. The groups have also requested the U.N. peacekeeping mission to help in the establishment of a special court in the CAR to fight impunity and bring to justice those responsible for serious violations of international law. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has already opened a preliminary investigation into crimes committed in the CAR. (All Africa).

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