ADC-ICTY Affiliate Membership

ADC ICTYThe Association of Defence Counsel Practising Before the ICTY (ADC-ICTY) has a new membership category. In addition to the constitutional membership categories of Full and Associate Members, the ADC-ICTY now welcomes “Affiliate Members”.

This new category is aimed at young practitioners, scholars, students and interns that have an interest in the ADC-ICTY and its activities. By becoming an ADC-ICTY affiliate member, young professionals will have the chance to stay in touch with fellow colleagues and friends, participate in monthly seminars, trainings and field trips, take part in the ADC Mock Trials and advocacy trainings, and remain part of the ADC-ICTY’s larger network.

Members will receive the biweekly ADC-ICTY newsletter and are invited to contribute to its Rostrum section. Moreover, the ADC-ICTY will be sending monthly information on job openings and events in the field of international (criminal) law.

Membership fees are 70 Euros per year. A reduced rate of 30 Euros per year is available for students and unpaid interns. Further information is available here.

For the application form, click here.

New Guest Blogger: Professor Alex Whiting

Alex WhitingIlawyerblog is pleased to announce the arrival of Alex Whiting as part of its team as guest blogger.

Alex Whiting is a Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School where he teaches, writes and consults on domestic and international criminal prosecution issues.

Previously, he worked for 18 years as a U.S. and international prosecutor. From 2010 until 2013, he was in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Before going to the ICC, Alex Whiting taught for more than three years as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, again with a focus on prosecution subjects. From 2002-2007, he was a Trial Attorney and then a Senior Trial Attorney with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Before going to the ICTY, he was a U.S. federal prosecutor for ten years.

Alex Whiting attended Yale College and Yale Law School. His publications include Dynamic Investigative Practice at the International Criminal Court, 76 Law and Contemporary Problems 163 (2014), International Criminal Law: Cases and Commentary (2011), co-authored with Antonio Cassese and two other authors, and In International Criminal Prosecutions, Justice Delayed Can Be Justice Delivered, 50 Harv. Int’l L. J. 323 (2009).

Ukraine Accepts ICC jurisdiction over Alleged Crimes Committed between November 2013 and February 2014

UkraineToday, the International Criminal Court (ICC) received a declaration lodged by Ukraine accepting the ICC’s jurisdiction with respect to alleged crimes committed in its territory from 21 November 2013 to 22 February 2014. The declaration was lodged under article 12(3) of the Rome Statute which enables a State not party to the Statute to accept the exercise of jurisdiction of the Court.

The acceptance of the ICC’s jurisdiction does not automatically trigger an investigation. It is for the ICC Prosecutor to decide whether or not to request the judges’ authorisation to open an investigation, if the Prosecutor considers that the information available to her establishes the existence of a reasonable basis to open an investigation.

If an investigation is opened, it will also be for the ICC Prosecutor to decide, on the basis of the evidence collected, whether to ask the ICC judges to issue arrest warrants or summonses to appear for persons charged with the commission of crimes falling under the ICC’s jurisdiction.

Appointment of Wayne Jordash as Queen’s Counsel

Wayne Jordash QCiLawyerblog is delighted to announce that one of its members, iLawyer Wayne Jordash, a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers in London and founding partner of Globalrightscompliance LLP, has been appointed Queen’s Counsel.
Congratulations to Wayne who was appointed in a ceremony taking place on 15th April 2014.

Syria Torture Photos Displayed at the UN Security Council

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) yesterday examined photographs of about 11,000 Syrians said to have been tortured, starved and killed by the Syrian government’s forces.

Tramline bruises are produced by blows with rod-like objects, the report explains. ©Carter-Ruck and Co.

Tramline bruises are produced by blows with rod-like objects, the report explains. ©Carter-Ruck and Co.

Most of the photographs were collected by a Syrian military police photographer, code-named Caesar, who smuggled them out on flash drives when he defected and joined an anti-Assad opposition group. “Caesar”, a crime scene photographer for the Syrian military police, was assigned in 2001 to photograph corpses at a military hospital that received bodies from three detention centres in the Damascus suburbs. In his testimony, the photographer described a highly bureaucratic system:

“The procedure was that when detainees were killed at their places of detention their bodies would be taken to a military hospital to which he would be sent with a doctor and a member of the judiciary, Caesar’s function being to photograph the corpses… There could be as many as 50 bodies a day to photograph which require 15 to 30 minutes of work per corpse,” the report said. “The reason for photographing executed persons was twofold. First to permit a death certificate to be produced without families requiring to see the body, thereby avoiding the authorities having to give a truthful account of their deaths; second to confirm that orders to execute individuals had been carried out.” Continue reading

ICTY Rejects Ratko Mladić’s Request for Acquittal

In an oral decision delivered yesterday, the judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) rejected Ratko Mladić‘s request for acquittal.

The request was made under Rule 98bis of the Rules of Procedure of the ICTY, which allows the judges to enter a judgment of acquittal after the close of the Prosecution case where “there is no evidence capable of supporting a conviction.”

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Ratko Mladić (c) The Telegraph

Mladić, the former Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS), is charged with several counts of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes alleged to have been carried out in the course of a joint criminal enterprise to remove Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Muslims from the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is allegedly responsible for the devastating incidents that occurred at Srebrenica in July 1995, where it is estimated several thousand Bosnian Muslim men were executed in the course of a single day.

In his request for acquittal, he argued that the Prosecution had failed to prove (a) the requisite genocidal intent; (b) sufficient control over non-VRS elements which perpetrated some of the crimes with which Mladić is charged; and (c) specific incidents with which he is charged. The prosecution, and eventually the judges, dismissed the defence arguments.

Mladić’s trial commenced on 16 May 2012, 17 years after he was first indicted. The Prosecution closed their case on 26 February 2014; the request for acquittal has come at the half-way point with the Defence due to open their case in May 2014.

Court begins Jury selection for Abu Hamza Terrorism Trial

New York court begins today jury selection in the trial of Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, known as Abu Hamza al-Masri. Abu Hamza is facing 11 terrorism charges, including providing support to al-Qaeda and trying to set up an al-Qaeda training camp in Oregon.

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Islamic cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri Photo: EPA

Facts of the case date back to the late 1990s, when Abu Hamza allegedly conspired to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon, to arrange for others to attend an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan, and to ensure there was satellite phone service for hostage takers in Yemen in 1998 who abducted two American tourists and 14 others. Three Britons and an Australian were killed then as the Yemeni military attempted to rescue the hostages.

At a pre-trial hearing last week, Abu Hamza declared that the will testify on his own behalf, telling US district judge Katherine Forrest “I think I am innocent. I need to go through it, have a chance to defend myself.” Prosecution evidence mainly include media interviews and recordings of Abu Hamza’s weekly speeches at Finsbury Park mosque (London).

Abu Hamza was first arrested in the United Kingdom in 2004 where he was found guilty of 11 charges, including encouraging the murder of non-Muslims, and intent to stir up racial hatred. Abu Hamza was sentenced to seven years in prison.

The same year of his conviction, the United States requested Abu Hamza’s extradition. Following a legal battle, the European Court of Human Rights finally authorized extradition after it was given assurances by the United States that Abu Hamza would neither be designated as enemy combatant (with the consequences that that entailed, such as the death penalty) nor subjected to extraordinary rendition. Abu Hamza was extradited on 6 October 2012. He appeared before the New York court on 9 October and pleaded not guilty to the 11 charges.

Gaddafi Brothers’ Trial Begins in Libya

Saif al-Islam

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi after his capture in 2011 (c) The Guardian

The trial of Saif al-Islam and Saadi Gaddafi, sons of deposed Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, begins today in Tripoli. The brothers are accused of coordinating a campaign to murder, torture, and bombard civilians during the Libyan civil war in 2011. They are also accused of plundering state resources in order to fund their extravagant lifestyles.

They are being tried alongside Abdullah al-Senussi, the former intelligence chief to Muammar Gaddafi, as well as two former prime ministers and 34 senior officials of the old regime.

Security concerns have caused the trial to be moved to the maximum security Al Hadba prison. Yet, when the trial commences, Saif al-Islam will not be present as the rebel militias responsible for his detention in Zintan province continue to refuse to hand him over. He will be tried instead by video link.

Both Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah al-Senussi are the subject of proceedings before the International Criminal Court. In May 2013, judges ruled that Saif al-Islam should be surrendered to The Hague but in October 2013, found that Libya is fit to try al-Senussi for themselves. The latter decision is being appealed by defence counsel for Mr al-Senussi.

Event: Lecture “Addressing Crimes against the Environment under the Rome Statute”

Asser InstituteDate: 23 April 2014, at 6.30pm

Venue: T.M.C. Asser Instituut, R.J. Schimmelpennincklaan 20-22, The Hague, Netherlands

Organizer: T.M.C. Asser Instituut, in cooperation with the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) and the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies of Leiden

Speaker: Steven Freeland is Professor of International Law at the University of Western Sydney, Australia, ‘Marie Curie Visiting Professor’ at the iCourts Centre of Excellence for International Courts, Denmark, and a Visiting Professor in International Law at the University of Copenhagen and University of Vienna.

The lecture is public and free of charge. Registration is not necessary, seats are available on a first-come-first-served basis.

For more information, click here.

Prosecution and Defence for Germain Katanga Appeal Judgement

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Germain Katanga (c) AFP

On 9 April 2014, both the prosecution and the defence for Germain Katanga filed notices of appeal at the International Criminal Court.

Mr Katanga was convicted by a majority of Trial Chamber II on 7 March 2014 for war crimes and crimes against humanity for arming the Congolese militia who carried out an attack on civilians at the village of Bogoro in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 24 Febraury 2003. His contribution, according to the majority of the Chamber, was to act as the intermediary between the weapons and ammunition suppliers and those who physically perpetrated the crimes. Judge Van den Wyngaert dissented in strong terms with the finding of the majority.

The defence intend to appeal the whole of the judgment convicting Mr Katanga and request a reversal of the verdict on all charges. The prosecution are appealing the finding of acquittal on the charges of rape and sexual slavery.

The trial of Mr Katanga was originally joined to that of Mr Ngudjolo but was severed when the majority of the chamber activated Regulation 55 of the Regulations of the Court to recharacterise the legal qualification of the charges, in a move that has attracted strong criticism.