Archive for May, 2012
May 11th, 2012 by Julien Maton
by Akshaya Kumar
Photo: UPI/Mohamaad Hosam
This Wednesday, May 9, Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) delivered an open letter signed by over 60 members of Libyan civil society to the National Transitional Council (NTC), the country’s interim governing body. The letter demands the repeal of two pieces of legislation and the amendment of a third, arguing that the NTC’s newly promulgated transitional justice measures undermine the nascent rule of law being established in the post-Gaddafi era. Warning that the vague and retaliatory quality of these laws are a “terrifyingly familiar echo” of Libya under dictatorship, the letter concludes “for us Libyans to be able to transition to a state that truly promotes responsible citizenship [...], accountability must be enshrined over impunity.” Echoing the argument advanced in the letter, Mark Kersten’s detailed post on the topic at Justice in Conflict evaluates the amnesties proposed in Law 38 and concludes that while a limited program might have had merits, the “problem” with the NTC proposal is that its blanket application excuses too much. Kevin Jon Heller at Opinio Juris reminds that these new amnesties evidence the need for the OTP to consider accusations of serious international crimes against the rebels, since “when it comes to accountability for the new Libyan government, it’s the ICC or nothing.”
The fact that Law 38 grants a broad amnesty for all acts “made necessary” for the “success and protection” of the February 17 revolution has gone unmentioned in Western media or by the United Nations mission in Libya, which has focused its recent advocacy efforts on allegations of torture in Misrata. When asked about Law 38, the spokesperson for the Secretary General was only able to say that he hadn’t “seen anything” on the subject. Notably, Amnesty International’s response emphasizes the restrictions on freedom of speech created by Law 37, but does not even mention the amnesties. Similarly, Human Rights Watch focuses its critique on Law 37′s provisions authorizing jail time for those who spread “rumors” or “news” that weakens “public morale” or hampers the “national defense.” Although unmentioned in the LFJL open letter, Human Rights Watch has also drawn attention to the NTC’s problematic proposed vetting measures, which could severely restrict the eligible candidates for the upcoming June elections.
Unquestionably, the limits on free speech outlined in Law 37, which criminalizes statements that “offends” the uprising, and Law 15, which prohibits open media discussion of fatwas, are problematic. Similarly, the aggressive vetting procedures being used by the new Integrity and Patriotism Commission could potentially impact the freedom and fairness of the upcoming electoral process. However, the absence of discussion about the political and legal viability of amnesties created by Law 38, particularly in the shadow of a pending ICC investigation and open questions of about complementarity, is undeniably curious. While neither of the two current ICC indictees, Saif al-Islam and Abdullah al-Senussi, will benefit from these new amnesties, the OTP can and should continue investigations into alleged crimes by revolutionary forces. In the event that those investigations lead to warrants against February 17 revolutionaries, these newly promulgated amnesties could help the ICC make the case that the charges are admissible despite the complementarity restrictions outlined in Article 17 of the Rome Statute.
Akshaya is completing studies for a concurrent JD from Columbia Law School and an LLM in Human Rights, Conflict and Justice from the School of Oriental and African Studies.
May 10th, 2012 by Julien Maton
A shackled detainee being transported inside Guantánamo Bay prison (Photo:Brennan Linsley/AP Photo)
An article in the New York Times highlights the denial of the rights of the Guantánamo detainees during the judicial process in front of American courts.
The article takes the example of the ruling of the federal appeals court in the District of Columbia against Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, a Yemeni citizen accused by the American government to have fought with the Taliban after being recruited by Al Qaeda. For the majority of the court, such report must be assumed to be accurate under “a presumption of regularity,” unless there is “clear evidence to the contrary.”
The article reports that Mr. Latif sustained head injuries in a 1994 car accident in Yemen and went to Pakistan for medical treatment in 2001. He then traveled to Kabul to find a Yemeni man who promised to help him. He was arrested near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and transferred to Guantánamo where he has been held since 2002.
The government’s assertion that the accused fought along the Taliban is only based on an intelligence field report stating Mr. Latif said he had a hand, not a head, injury.
According to the article, in treating the report as reliable, the court gave the government an unfair and almost insurmountable advantage, while the trial court had judged the report unreliable and uncorroborated and found Mr. Latif’s story plausible and supported by medical records.
The US Supreme Court is expected soon to consider a request to review the case. It should reverse the appellate decision, whose finding is contrary to the Supreme Court’s 2008 ruling in Boumediene v. Bush that allowed Guantánamo detainees who aren’t Americans to “meaningfully” challenge the legality of their detention before federal courts through habeas corpus petitions.
May 10th, 2012 by Shannon Torrens
Military I Trial Judgment (Photo: Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images)
On Tuesday 8 May 2012, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) delivered three Judgments in the cases of former Rwandan military officials, Major Aloys Ntabakuze and Lieutenant Ildephonse Hategekimana, in addition to businessman Gaspard Kanyarukiga. The Appeals Chamber reduced the sentence of Ntabakuze from life to 35 years and affirmed both the life sentence of Hategekimana and the 30 year sentence of Kanyarukiga.
Ntabakuze an ex-Commander of the Rwandan Para-Commando Battalion was arrested in Kenya on 18 July, 1997. On 18 December 2008, he was found guilty by Trial Chamber I of genocide, crimes against humanity (murder, extermination, persecution, and other inhumane acts) and serious violations of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II (violence to life), based on on the killings of Tutsi civilians perpetrated by his subordinates in Kabeza, at Nyanza hill, and at the Institut african et mauricien de statistiques et d’economie during the Rwandan Genocide. Ntabakuze was initially tried as part of the Military 1 Case alongside three other military personnel, which commenced on 2 April 2002.
Hategekimana, was arrested in Congo Brazzaville on 16 February 2003. He was alleged to have commanded the small military camp of Ngoma, in Butare during the Genocide, with his trial starting on 16 March, 2009. Trial Chamber II found Hategekimana guilty on 6 December, 2010, of genocide and crimes against humanity for his role in ordering the massacre of Tutsi refugees at the Ngoma church and sentenced him to life imprisonment. The final appellant Kanyarukiga, a former businessman from the former Kivumu Commune (Western Province), was arrested in South Africa on 16 July 2004. His trial began on 31 August 2008 and he was subsequently convicted by Trial Chamber II on 1 November 2010 of genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity, for planning with others the demolition of the Nyange Church in the Western Province killing 2,000 Tutsis. He was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment.
Continue reading ‘Ntabakuze, Hategekimana and Kanyarukiga ICTR Appeal Judgments’
May 9th, 2012 by Dina Mahmoud
In a recent press release, the Arab League confirmed that the second and final delegation of its monitoring mission in Algeria had arrived in the capital city of Algiers on 6 May 2012. This second delegation, along with the first one which arrived 3 days before, is scheduled to complete the final preparations for the imminent parliamentary elections due to take place on 10 May 2012.
Since its arrival, the second delegation has directed voters to the voting stations across the 28 provinces of the country, following a mapping system organised by the first delegation.
The 132-member mission is the largest team sent by the Arab League to supervise elections since the beginning of its monitoring functions back in 1995. This mission is the fourth one that the Arab League has sent during electoral periods in Algeria, following on from the elections of 1997, 2004 and 2009.
The upcoming parliamentary elections on 10 May 2012 will see 44 political parties and a number of independent candidates fight for a place amongst the 462 places in the bicameral Parliament of Algeria.
May 9th, 2012 by Julien Maton
In a recent article in the HuffingtonPost, Kip Hale, Senior Counsel at the American Bar Association (ABA), argues that international human rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs) sometimes undermine the causes they defend by failing to provide constructive solutions to human rights violations.
The author takes the example of the NGOs that monitor the work of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), which have recently faced the resignations of two international investigating judges due to political interferences and close connections between the suspects in Cases 003 and 004 with members of the existing Cambodian government.
Kip Hale regrets that these NGOs did not provide “coherent and robust solutions” instead of putting forth “melodrama and cynicism”, citing among others a Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who questioned whether this and other ECCC problems were “worth the trouble.”
For the author, it is statements like these that call into question the tactics of the human rights community. The irresponsibility of these statements should not be overlooked just because ”we believe in the mission of the messengers.”
The American Senior Counsel suggests that the NGO’s recommendations should have been presented with a firm and sensible tone, advocating for instance for what the United Nations (UN) did when faced with the second investigating judge’s resignation, Laurent Kasper-Ansermet. The UN stated in its response that it would nominate a new investigating judge but would also remain vigilant and expect the full cooperation and assistance of the Cambodian government to the nominee in the undertaking of his duties.
For Kip Hale, such statement accomplished what the international NGO’s response failed to do — place the ECCC in a position that makes success possible.
May 9th, 2012 by Shannon Torrens
Judge Vagn Joensen (Photo: ICTR)
by New York City Bar Association
Date: 4 June 2012, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Venue: 42 West 44th Street (between 5 th and 6 th Avenues)
Speakers: International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) President Vagn Joensen will discuss the historic residual mechanism for the ICTR which is due to begin functioning on 1 July, 2012 and the significant changes in the ICTR rules over which he presided. He will also discuss jurisprudence developed at the ICTR on women’s human rights. The discussion will be followed by a period for questions and answers.
Background: Judge Vagn Joensen from Denmark was elected President of the ICTR in February 2012, assuming his duties on 2 March 2012. He replaced Judge Khalida Rachid Khan from Pakistan. He was vice-President of the ICTR from August 2011 to February 2012. Prior to joining the ICTR in May 2007 as an ad litem judge and member of Trial Chamber III, President Joensen was a judge at the Danish High Court, Eastern Division in Copenhagen since 1994 and also served as an international judge for the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) from 2001 to 2002. Judge Joensen has been the chairperson of the Tribunal’s rules committee since its inception in 2007 and was the presiding judge of Trial Chamber III. He obtained a Master of Law in 1973 at the University of Aarhus and of the University of Copenhagen and has also studied at the City of London College and Harvard Law School.
The New York City Bar Association (City Bar), founded in 1870, is a voluntary association of lawyers and law students. Since 1896, the organization, formerly known as the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, has been headquartered in a landmark building on 44th Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in Manhattan. Today the City Bar has over 23,000 members. Its current president, Samuel W. Seymour, began his two-year term on May 18, 2010. The NYC Bar’s member services include career development workshops.
Sponsored by: African Affairs Committee, Christina Holder, Chair; Council on International Affairs, Mark R. Shulman, Chair; United Nations Committee, Katlyn Thomas, Chair; Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice, Alexander Papachristou, Executive Director.
Registration: There is no charge for this program. Register online here.
May 8th, 2012 by Julien Maton
Date: Wednesday, 9 May 2012 at 7 pm
Venue: The Hague Institute for Global Justice, Sophialaan 10, The Hague
Details: The Coalition for the International Criminal Court, in conjunction with the Asser Institute, would like to invite you to a panel discussion of recent efforts by four witnesses at the International Criminal Court (ICC) to seek asylum in the Netherlands. Their cases are currently pending before Dutch courts, and this event aims to address the implications for asylum policy and host state-ICC relations.
The panel includes Professor Göran Sluiter of the University of Amsterdam, asylum lawyer Philip-Jan Schüller, and Dr. Joris van Wijk of the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. Participants will provide updates on the status of the asylum proceedings, which will be followed by a general discussion of their broader social, legal and political implications.
This event forms part of the ‘Supranational Criminal Law Lecture Series,’ which is held this year in honor of Judge Antonio Cassese.
May 8th, 2012 by Shannon Torrens
ECCC (Photo: ECCC)
Prior to his leaving the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) on Friday 4 May, Judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet issued his own Decisions on the two suspects of Case 003. In doing so he alleged that former Navy Chief Meas Muth and former Air Force Chief Sou Met, both high ranking commanders in the Revolutionary Army of Kampuchea should be considered two of those “most responsible for the crimes committed” by the Khmer Rouge, advising that the ECCC has the jurisdiction to bring the suspects to justice. The names of the two suspects were redacted from the official Decisions, which were not signed off on by the National Co-Investigating Judge You Bunleng, in furtherance of a long drawn out disagreement with his counterpart Judge Kasper-Ansermet. The Decisions, which were the final judicial acts of Judge Kasper-Ansermet before he left the Court on Friday, stated that they did not “establish that the Suspect is guilty,” nor were they “a finding of the commission of the crimes alleged in the Second Introductory Submission, which are matters left to the jurisdiction of the Trial Chamber and have yet to be established.”
Continue reading ‘Reserve Co-Investigating Judge Issues Decisions on Suspects in Case 003 at ECCC’
May 7th, 2012 by Shannon Torrens
Judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet (Photo: ECCC/File)
On Friday, Judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet, Reserve International Co-Investigating Judge at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), distributed a press release on what was his last official day at the Court. Judge Kasper-Ansermet resigned from his post in March 2012 effective from 4 May, due to alleged interference by the Cambodian government with regards to Cases 003 and 004 at the ECCC and what he believes to be a lack of cooperation by National Co-Investigating Judge You Bunleng. Judge Kasper-Ansermet explained in the statement that he worked in a “highly hostile environment and was severely impeded in the day-to-day performance of his duties”. The Judge accused former and current colleagues at the ECCC of interfering with the investigations into Cases 003 and 004 and noted that he had contacted the relevant authorities with his concerns. The United Nations has yet to name Judge Kasper-Ansermet’s replacement, although as previously stated on this blog, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has announced that the process is underway.
In his final press release as Reserve International Co-Investigating Judge, Kasper-Ansermet stated that: ”For reasons which are manifestly more political and financial than strictly judicial,” his “prerogatives were constantly called into question by his national counterpart for no material legal reason,” creating impediments to the Judge fulfilling his duties at the Court. As a result, he felt that he must tender his resignation to the United Nations Secretary General. Judge Kasper-Ansermet further stated that, “In light of the internal investigations into the violation of ECCC Internal Rule 35″ (whereby “the ECCC may sanction or refer to the appropriate authorities, any person who knowingly and wilfully interferes with the administration of justice”), he “has reason to believe that several individuals, both current and former staff members of the ECCC, have interfered with the conduct of the investigation in Case File 004.” The Judge went on to state that he has reported this matter to the criminal prosecution authorities of the Kingdom of Cambodia and calls upon all “competent authorities” including the Kingdom of Cambodia and the United Nations to “take a clear and common stand concerning the future of Case Files 003 and 004 so as to restore the image and dignity of the ECCC and uphold international justice.”
Continue reading ‘Judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet’s Final Press Release at the ECCC’
May 5th, 2012 by Anna Bonini
Mustafa Badreddine (Photo: www.alarabiya.net)
On 4 May 2012, the defence team for Mustafa Badreddine filed a motion challenging the legality of the establishment of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (‘STL’). According to the Badreddine team, the Security Council exceeded its powers when it adopted Resolution 1757(2007) establishing the Tribunal. The Badreddine team argued, based partly on the Tadic interlocutory appeal jurisdiction decision of the ICTY Appeals Chamber of 2 October 1995, that the STL has the jurisdiction to review the lawfulness of its own establishment (the principle known as la competence de la competence or Kompetenz Kompetenz), and by extension, the legality of the Security Council resolutions establishing the Tribunal. On this basis, the Badreddine defense requested that the Trial Chamber state that the STL has been unlawfully established.
The key arguments put forward by the Badreddine team in support of its position that the establishment of the STL was unlawful are as follows:
• The Security Council abused its powers when it adopted resolution 1757 (2007) as the assassination of former Prime Minister Hariri, and the deaths and wounding of many others, on 14 February 2005, while tragic, could not in any sense be considered to pose a threat to international peace and security. It did not constitute an armed conflict and it did not create any cross-border effects. While the Security Council had a wide margin of appreciation in deciding on threats to international peace and security, its powers were not unlimited, and were subject to review by the Courts, including by the STL;
Continue reading ‘Badreddine Defence Challenges Legality of STL Establishment’
May 5th, 2012 by Anna Bonini
by the Forum for International Criminal and Humanitarian Law
Date: 7 June 2012, 9:00 – 12:45
Venue: Oslo (location to be confirmed)
Speakers: ICC Prosecutor-elect Fatou Bensouda, Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni, State Secretary Gry Larsen, Ambassador Anniken R. Krutnes, Mr. Gilbert Bitti, and Mr. Pieter de Baan among the speakers.
The ICC Statute is more progressive than the legal frameworks of other international criminal jurisdictions with regard to victim participation and reparations. But participation in criminal proceedings may have little if any effect on the reintegration of victims in society. Reparations may assist victims during the process of transition that societal reintegration entails, but only to a limited extent. Full reintegration entails a much broader spectrum of normalization in the lives of victims: it requires a return to work or education, the housing market, family structures, civil society engagement, and social inclusion. The process has a significant socio-psychological dimension. What are the concrete needs of victims for successful reintegration? What are the relevant limitations of the ICC’s current mandates regarding victim participation, assistance and reparations? How far does the responsibility of the international community extend? Is there a need for national regulation to foster the societal reintegration of victims of core international crimes? The seminar is intended to address these and other issues.
For further information and bookings, click here.
May 5th, 2012 by Raphaelle Rafin
The World Press Freedom Day was celebrated yesterday. 3 May was designated by the UN General Assembly in 1993 as a date celebrating the fundamental principle of press freedom and an occasion to raise awareness on the importance of defending the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession. This year’s theme for World Press Freedom Day was ‘New Voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies.’
World Press Freedom Day logo. Credit: UNESCO
“A free press gives people access to the information they need to make critical decisions about their lives. It holds leaders accountable, exposes corruption, and promotes transparency in decision-making,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message marking World Press Freedom Day. In a joint declaration, UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon and UNESCO Director-General Ms. Irina Bokova highlighted the role of new and old media in the change in the Arab world: “Newfound media freedom is promising to transform societies through greater transparency and accountability. It is opening new ways to communicate and to share information and knowledge. Powerful new voices are rising – especially from young people – where they were silent before.”
At this occasion, UNESCO is organizing a series of events in Tunis. The events include an international conference on contemporary media and an award ceremony for the winner of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. This year, the Prize went to Eynulla Fatullayev, an Azerbaijani journalist and human rights activist, for his work and fight for freedom of the press and freedom of expression, which caused him to be imprisoned in 2007.
Continue reading ‘World Press Freedom Day’
May 5th, 2012 by Shannon Torrens
Isaac Endeley (Photo: ECCC)
Isaac Endeley has been appointed as the new Chief of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) Defence Support Section, taking up the post on 17 April 2012. The post has been vacant since the resignation of British born international lawyer, Richard Rogers in November 2010. On his resignation, Mr. Rogers said that the the ECCC operates “in a country where the institutions of justice and respect for the rule of law are still developing.” He added that “the greatest challenge for the defense remains the threat of political interference that may undermine the independence of the court.” This sentiment echoes today with the recent resignation of two ECCC Judges over alleged governmental interference in the court’s work.
From February 2005 to his posting at the ECCC, Mr. Endeley worked as a Legal Officer in the Chambers Support Section and in the Defence Counsel and Detention Management Section at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha Tanzania, administering the ICTR’s Legal Aid programme. Mr. Endeley is originally from Cameroon and holds a Bachelor’s degree and a Certificate in Education from Keele University in the UK, a Master’s degree and a PhD from the Université de Montréal in Québec, Canada and a Juris Doctor degree from William Mitchell College of Law in Minnestoa, USA. Prior to his time at the ICTR, Mr. Endeley worked as an Attorney-Editor for WestLaw and was a Professor of Political Science and International Relations at universities in the USA and Canada.
Continue reading ‘Isaac Endeley Appointed as Chief of ECCC Defence Support Section’
May 4th, 2012 by Shannon Torrens
The Pre-Trial Conference in the case of The Prosecutor v. Ratko Mladić resumed on Thursday 3 May 2012 at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Opening statements in the Case are scheduled for 16 May 2012 at 9:00 in Courtroom I, with the Prosecution intending to call its first witness on 29 May. At the Pre-Trial Conference, the Defence team of Mladić requested an adjournment of the trial for ninety days. Mladić’s Defence lawyer Branko Lukić said that delays by the Prosecution in disclosing material, prevented the defence team from undertaking a proper preparation with the relevant documents and that this may affect the fairness of the trial against the Accused.
Ratko Mladić (Photo: AP/Martin Meissner, Pool-File)
In making the application Lukić asked the Chamber to exercise its power “to prevent injustice against our client.” The defence explained that they had received pertinent documents from the Prosecution only one week prior to the Conference and were therefore in need of an additional ninety days to study the materials on evidence and witnesses, in order to adequately prepare for the trial. Trial Chamber I denied the two Defence requests with written reasons to follow. The Chamber noted that it had denied Defence requests for the postponement of the start of the trial on several occasions. The Defence had previously requested that the trial commence in October 2012, in order to allow it to review all materials received by the Prosecution, but the Chamber found that the Defence was sufficiently prepared to start the trial before their proposed October date.
Ratko Mladić, a former Bosnian Serb Military leader has been charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war committed during the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in 1995 for genocide, persecutions, extermination, murder, deportation, inhumane acts, terror, unlawful attacks and taking hostages committed primarily against Bosnian Muslim, Bosnian Croat and other non-Serb civilians in Bosnia and Herzegovina from May 1992 to late 1995. Of particular note, the indictment alleges that forces under Mladić’s command committed genocide and other crimes when they executed over 7,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in July 1995. It is alleged that Mladić committed these crimes as part of a Joint Criminal Enterprise (JCE). Wayne Jordash has previously voiced concerns over the ICTY’s use of the JCE doctrine on this blog.
Mladić was captured in Serbia on 26 May 2011 and transferred to the United Nations Detention Unit in The Hague by the end of that month. His trial began on 3 June 2011 and he subsequently plead not guilty to all charges. Earlier this week, Serge Brammertz, Prosecutor of the ICTY said he believes that Mladić, 70, who has complained of various health problems in the past is physically and mentally fit to stand trial. He said that Mladić “well knows what this trial is about and what he’s charged with.” On 10 February, the Office of the Prosecutor informed the Chamber that it intended to call a total of 410 witnesses in the case against Mladić, of which 158 will give evidence in person. The Prosecution further intend to present approximately 27,906 exhibits during the course of the case and will use an estimated 200 hours of hearing time to adduce this evidence.
May 4th, 2012 by Shannon Torrens
The Principal Defender of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) today appointed Morris Anyah as Assigned Appeals Counsel. An experienced international appeals lawyer and co-counsel on the Taylor Defence team since 2007, Mr. Anyah will conduct the appeal of convicted former Liberian President Charles Taylor. On 26 April 2012, Trial Chamber II of the SCSL unanimously found Mr. Taylor guilty beyond reasonable doubt of aiding and abetting, pursuant to article 6.1 of the SCSL Statute, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) rebels in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Liberia’s neighbouring Sierra Leone during the indictment period of the SCSL and for planning the commission of the crimes in attacks on Kono and Makeni in December 1998, and in the invasion of and retreat from Freetown between December 1998 and February 1999.
Morris Anyah (Photo: SCSL)
Mr. Anyah was educated in the United States at the University of Dayton Law School and the University of Illinois at Chicago and was called to the Bar in 1996. Prior to his time at the SCSL, Mr. Anyah worked in private practice in the US and was Assistant State Attorney in Chicago. He subsequently worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) as a Legal Officer in the Office of the Prosecutor, he presented arguments before the Appeals Chamber in the genocide case against former Rwandan Prime Minister Jean Kambanda, and in two other genocide cases before the ICTR Appeals Chamber, namely The Prosecutor v. Jean-Paul Akayesu and The Prosecutor v. Clément Kayishema and Obed Ruzindana. Since 2011 Mr. Anyah has served as victims’ counsel before the International Criminal Court (ICC), representing over 200 victims in a case involving two defendants charged with crimes against humanity in Kenya.
The Office of the Defence at the SCSL is headed by the the Principal Defender, currently Claire Carlton-Hanciles, a Sierra Leonean lawyer, who replaced Elizabeth Nahamya in November 2009. The Office was established in February 2003, pursuant to Rule 45 of the Rules of Evidence and Procedure of the SCSL. The primary duty of the SCSL Defence Office is to provide legal assistance in order to ensure the rights of the Accused are protected. Structurally, the Defence Office consists of the Principal Defender, a Deputy Principal Defender and Duty Counsels for each case. Its intent is to provide legal and administrative support to the individual defence teams of which there is only one left, that of former Liberian President Charles Taylor. The Office has a dual role of both advocating on behalf of the defence and also overseeing the budgets of the defence teams, which at time causes conflict within the Court when there are competing priorities. The Office also maintains a list of criminal defence counsel who may act as Duty Counsel or lead the defence or appeal of an accused.
The Prosecution’s Sentencing Brief was submitted on 3 May and is publicly available, while the Defence Sentencing Brief is due on 10 May. Sentencing arguments will be held on 16 May with the Sentencing Judgment due on 30 May.
May 4th, 2012 by Admas Habteslasie
- Jean-Pierre Bemba (http://www.rfi.fr/)
The ICC began hearing the testimony of victims participating in proceedings against Jean-Pierre Bemba this week. On Tuesday, the first victim to testify in court recounted being raped by a group of soldiers from the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), the rebel group headed by Bemba.
Victims were permitted to give oral and written evidence to the Chamber by a decision issued on last 22 February. A second victim is expected to provide evidence today on murder, rape and pillaging committed by the Congolese troops and on Mr Bemba’s visit to the town of Sibut. Three further witness statements by Victims will be admitted into evidence without any viva voce testimony. The proceedings can be followed in streaming through the ICC Website.
The former vice-president of Congo Jean-Pierre Bemba, who headed the MLC during the Second Congo War, faces three counts of war crimes and two of crimes against humanity for murder, rape and pillage committed by MLC members in the Central African Republic between October 2002 and March 2003.
May 3rd, 2012 by Anna Bonini
In a written submission Thursday, SCSL Prosecutor Brenda Hollis requested that Charles Taylor be sentenced to 80 years imprisonment. The Prosecution submitted that the ‘extreme magnitude’ of the crimes of which Mr Taylor was found guilty last 26 April warranted such a long-term sentence, which would ‘reflect the essential role Mr. Taylor played in crimes of such extreme scope and gravity’.
The Sentencing Brief also refers to Mr Taylor’s position, both as President of Liberia and within the West African regional body. According to the Prosecution, this position distinguishes Mr Taylor from any other individual that has appeared before the SCSL: his abuse of authority was all the more egregious given that West African leaders had repeatedly entrusted him with a role to facilitate the peace process.
64-year-old Charles Taylor will be sentenced on May 30. His Defence Sentencing Brief has not yet been distributed. Oral arguments on the issue are scheduled for 16 May, when the accused will also be given a chance to address the Court in person.
For further details as to the recent events in the Charles Taylor case, click here.
For iLawyer Wayne Jordash’s analysis of the recent judgement, the dissent expressed by Mr Sow and the implications for the Special Court in general, click here.
May 3rd, 2012 by Admas Habteslasie
Heads of State of the East African Community (Source:AfricanArguments.org)
The legislative arm of the East African Community (EAC), the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), passed a resolution on 26 April calling for the transfer of the ongoing ICC case against four Kenyan nationals to the regional East African Court of Justice (EACJ).
The four indictees (the ‘Ocampo Four’) have been charged in connection with their alleged involvement in the widespread violence in Kenya that followed the controversial presidential elections which took place in 2007. Kibaki and Odinga, who were both candidates at those elections, are now President and Prime Minister of Kenya respectively, following a power-sharing agreement that was subsequently implemented. Amongst the four charged are two individuals currently serving in the Kenyan government: Francis Kirimi Muthaura, head of the Kenyan civil service and Cabinet Secretary, and Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, Deputy Prime Minister and former Minister for Finance. William Samoei Ruto, former higher education minister and Joshua Arap Sang, current head of operations at Kass FM in Nairobi, are also charged.
Continue reading ‘East African Community asks ICC to transfer Ocampo Four cases’
May 3rd, 2012 by Shannon Torrens
Saloth Ban, the nephew of deceased Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot and former Secretary General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Democratic Kampuchea has given evidence at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) in relation to Case 002 of Ieng Sary, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan. The witness told the court that Pol Pot showed no favouritism towards any of his family and no one was immune from the regime’s actions. He gave the example of Pol Pot’s oldest sister-in-law Khieu Thirath, who was killed in a Khmer Rouge security centre. For this reason Saloth Ban said that despite his family connection to Pol Pot, he feared the regime and the danger it posed to his own family’s wellbeing.
In this vein, the witness, now sixty seven years of age gave evidence that he lived in fear of the “terrifying” regime, as did the Foreign Minister, Ieng Sary. The witness described the inner workings of the Khmer Rouge regime and in particular the mechanisms of Ieng Sary’s Foreign Ministry. Saloth Ban told the court that there had been mass arrests inside the Foreign Ministry, claiming that cadre had been urged to seek out “internal enemies” of the regime. Saloth Ban further said that Ieng Sary had called on intellectuals such as Professors living abroad to return to the country and when they did, he detained them at Boeung facility in Phnom Penh. The witness said that from time to time a security cadre named “Pang” would visit the ministry and arrest people who had returned from abroad. Saloth Ban’s testimony corroborates that of S-21 prison Chief Duch and is part of the Prosecution’s attempt to tie Khmer Rouge leaders Ieng Sary, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan together as part of a Joint Criminal Enterprise.
Continue reading ‘Pol Pot’s Nephew Saloth Ban Gives Evidence at the ECCC’
May 3rd, 2012 by Anna Bonini
Significant developments are reported this week in relation to the proceedings brought in Canada and in Denmark against suspected Rwandan genocidaires.
In Ottawa, Mr Jacques Mungwarere, a former Rwandan schoolteacher, is accused of having taken part in mass killings of civilians, including notorious massacres in two churches and a hospital in Kibuye. He is being prosecuted under Canada’s Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act 2000, which grants the court extra-territorial jurisdiction. Mr Mungwarere had initially chosen to have his case heard before both a trial and a jury, an unprecedented decision for a genocide suspect. On 30 April, however, Mr Munwarere changed his mind and elected to be tried by a judge alone. The group of potential jurors was therefore dismissed.
In Copenhagen, the Danish Supreme Court announced that a Rwandan accused residing in Denmark and suspected of playing an important role in the 1994 genocide can be tried before Danish courts in relation to those events. The identity of the accused remains, for the time being, unknown. He is suspected of the killing of ‘many Tutsis’ in April and May 1994 at road blocks and at a location known as Kabuye Hill, where the victims had sought refuge. The trial against him will start next September in Roskildewhen. Danish officials wonder whether the Rwandan authorities will co-operate in the proceedings by sending witnesses to the trial. The Rwandan Government previously expressed its dissatisfaction with the handling of the case, and with Denmark’s decision not to hand over the suspect in spite of a pending extradition request by Rwanda.
The Catholic Church in Kibuye, now a genocide memorial. During the 1994 genocide, over 10,000 people were told to seek refuge in the church, and were then slaughtered there (Photo: www.thejonesexperience.com)
May 3rd, 2012 by Admas Habteslasie
- Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi (Source: Rex Features)
The Libyan government has officially requested that the International Criminal Court abandon its case against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the former Libyan leader. In an application to the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber, the Libyan government asked that the case be considered inadmissible on the grounds that the Libyan criminal justice system is already actively pursuing proceedings against Mr Gaddafi. Libya also asked that the ICC’s request that Saif Al-Islam be surrendered to its jurisdiction be quashed.
The principle of complementarity, whereby the ICC defers to domestic investigations of cases otherwise within its jurisdiction, is a key characteristic of the ICC’s jurisdictional framework. Libya’s application emphasised that complementarity applied irrespective of the fact that the case was referred to the ICC through the UN Security Council. In support of its argument, Libya cited the ICC’s earlier Al Bashir Decision, which stated that investigations and prosecutions initiated through UN Security Council referrals should take place in accordance with the ICC’s existing procedural framework.
May 2nd, 2012 by Anna Bonini
Justice Emmerson, appearing as defence counsel for Mr Haradinaj before the ICTY
Last week, Registrar John Hockin swore in four new Judges of the International Residual Mechanism of Criminal Tribunals: Aydin Sefa Akay (Turkey), Jose Ricardo de Prada Solaesa (Spain), Ben Emmerson (UK), and Aminatta Lois Runeni N’gum (The Gambia).
The Residual Mechanism has a roster of 25 judges, which has already partially been filled with Judges currently serving in the ICTY and the ICTR. The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals is a mechanism established by UN Security Council resolution 1966 (2010) to finish the work begun by these two tribunals.
Personal congratulations to Ben Emmerson from iLawyer Wayne Jordash. Justice Emmerson will bring unrivalled experience in international criminal and human rights law to the remaining appeals at the ICTY. It would be difficult to find a more accomplished and knowledgeable lawyer to fulfil this important role.
May 2nd, 2012 by Anna Bonini
by Wayne Jordash
As the celebration of Taylor’s conviction is played out in the international media, the fact that the Trial Chamber, after nearly 14 months, has still to complete the drafting of the actual Judgment has received scant attention. As pointed out by Geoffrey Robertson QC on 16 April 2012 in Newsweek Magazine, one “disquieting feature of the case is the time the court has taken to deliver this judgment—thirteen months, no less, since the final speeches finished”. Obviously, hurriedly, completing a 44 page summary of the highlights of Taylor’s guilt to ensure that the 26 April deadline was met is not the same as completing a carefully drafted judgment that can circulate within Chambers and be the focus of finely tuned deliberations and frank exchange of judicial views on the myriad of relevant detail.
(Photo: AP Pool/P. Dejong)
Accordingly, the controversy arising from Justice Sow’s stifled but poignant ‘dissent’ must be looked at in light of his forthright remarks that he would have acquitted Taylor and was unable to proffer his opinion prior to the hearing on the 26 April 2012 because “no serious deliberations” had taken place. Whilst rumours of the lack of, or serious impediments to, deliberations had been circulating for many months amongst insiders at the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), there is a good deal of difference between views quietly expressed in the living rooms and restaurants of the Hague and the view of an experienced judge, who, despite a questionable locus to intervene, felt sufficiently strongly about perceived irregularities, to risk bringing himself, the Taylor Judgment and the SCSL into disrepute on such a momentous occasion.
Continue reading ‘SCSL: Delayed Justice’
May 2nd, 2012 by Anna Bonini
Senior Kosovo politician and former KLA commander Fatmir Limaj won another legal battle today in Kosovo. A panel composed by two European Union judges and a Kosovar judge dropped the case against him and three associates.
Mr Limaj was on trial in a war crime case by European Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX). He was charged in connection with killings, torture and other offenses against Kosovo Albanian and Serb civilians in the detention center of Klečka during the war. Last 21 March, the Court declared inadmissible the written evidence given by Agim Zogaj, a key prosecution witness, who had since committed suicide. On the same date, the presiding judge ordered the release of the defendants from detention or other restrictive measures. Today, Mr Limaj and his associates were definitively cleared of all allegations.
Fatmir Limaj had previously been charged by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia for war crimes allegedly committed in the Lapušnik prison camp. In November 2005, he was acquitted and released, and returned to Kosovo.
May 1st, 2012 by Anna Bonini
The oral submissions on sentencing in the case of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo have been scheduled to take place next 13 June before the ICC Trial Chamber I.
The Prosecution and the legal representatives of victims shall file submissions by 14 May on the evidence presented during trial that may be applicable to the sentence, along with their views as to the length of imprisonment to be imposed. The Defence will have until 28 May to respond and file its own submissions on sentencing. In addition, the Defence is to notify the Chamber as to whether it will seek authorisation to present new evidence during the sentencing hearing.
Last 14 March, Mr Lubanga Dyilo was found guilty of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 and using them to participate in hostilities.