Archive for category Witnesses
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)
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.
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)
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).
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).
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).
ICC confirms charges against Bosco Ntaganda: The ICC has confirmed 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity against Bosco Ntaganda. The Prosecutor brought evidence of attempted murder, rape and sexual slavery that occurred in Congo’s Ituri district in 2002 and 2003 to the attention of the ICC. HRW expresses the hopes of many other human rights organizations which is that this decision to charge one ranking official of the ICC will lead to many more. (HRW).
CAR inquiry finds CAH and war crimes, but hesitates to affirm that genocide committed: The latest inquiry into the violence in CAR appears to contradict earlier reports of ethnic cleansing. The report states that anti-Muslim propaganda coming from non-Muslim quarters does no mean that genocide is being planned or that there is a conspiracy to commit genocide. Amnesty International objects to the findings in the latest report and argues that the displacement and violence against Muslims sectarian in nature and evidence that a genocide or massive displacement is occurring. (MWC News).
ICC decided to fund Saif Gaddafi legal team: The ICC has made the decision to fund the defence of Saif Gaddafi as a way to increase his chances of obtaining a fair trial before the court. It is likely that Gaddafi would be sentenced to death if found guilty by a court a Libya. UK politicians and military figures have protested this action by the ICC. (Telegraph).
Former Norwegian Minister willing to testify to crimes in Sri Lanka: Erik Solheim, former international development minister for Norway, is prepared to give evidence before any recognized international tribunal detailing the atrocities he witnesses during the final months of the decades-long Sri Lankan conflict. Solheim was involved in the brokered peace agreement that fell through in 2006. (Mint).
Mladic Trial hears first defence witness: The ICTY heard its first witness in the Ratko Mladic case. Mladic has been charged with 11 offenses, ranging from hostage taking to genocide. Mladic maintains his innocence. (Aljazeera).
Gaddafi ICC Admissibility Decision expected from Appeals Chamber 21 May: The Appeals Chamber of the ICC has scheduled a hearing on 21 May 2014 to deliver the judgment on the admissibility of the case against Gaddafi. (ICC).
Rwanda Court begins first genocide case transferred from ICTR: The genocide trial of Pastor Jean Uwinkindi is a first for the ICTR. Uwinkindi is charged with genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity. He is accused of killing Tutsis himself as well as ordering the execution of many others. (Hirondelle).
African Commission asked to intervene in second round of mass death sentences in Egypt: The application for the African Commission to intervene is the second application on behalf of the individuals sentenced to death on 22 March. The Freedom and Justice Party first asked the Commission to intervene concerning the first group (529 individuals) sentenced to death on 25 April, whereby the AC ordered Provisional Measures ordering Egypt to suspend the death sentences and up hold the individuals’ rights. Thereafter, Egypt has sentenced an additional 687 to death and the FJP is now asking for similar provisional measures in relation to this second group. (MEM).
ICC witness goes on hunger strike: Floribert Ndjabu has begun a hunger as a way to force the ICC to make a decision regarding his state of detention and application for asylum in the Netherlands. Ndjabu was one of three witnesses who sought asylum in the Netherlands after providing testimony for the prosecution in its case against the Congolese militia bosses Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui and Germain Katanga. (Yahoo News).
Government of Kenya granted extra time to leave to appeal witness summons decision: The ICC has granted a ten day extension to file leave to appeal the summons of eight witnesses to be forced to testify in the case against Deputy President Ruto. The ICC has made it clear that the time extension has been granted to the Kenyan government to make any application they find appropriate without prejudice to the Chamber’s decision. Standard Digital).
Clooney’s fiancée represents Senussi’s rights at the ICC: Amal Alamuddin currently represents Muammar Gaddafi’sformer spy chief, Abdullah al Senussi, against charges of crimes against humanity. Alamuddin has garnered international attention for her choice of controversial clients, including her work as legal adviser to Bahrain’s king. (The Guardian).
North Korea publish list of US human rights abusers: In response to a recent UN report detailing a number of alleged human rights abuses committed by the United States, the North Korean government has released its own report accusing the United States of its own human rights abuses. NK makes allegations of racism and that the US is the most violent nation in the world. (All Voices).