Archive for October, 2012
October 30th, 2012 by Julien Maton
One year ago, Antonio Cassese, one of the most distinguished scholars and judges in international law and international criminal law, passed away.
Justice, peace and humanity were principles that guided his life and work. He was an exceptional thinker, teacher, and humanist, but also a great mentor and friend to many people. To continue his legacy, the Antonio Cassese Initiative for Justice, Peace and Humanity has been founded.
Its mandate is to promote global education, training and operational activities in various disciplines dear to Antonio Cassese, including human rights, peace, international justice, transitional justice and development.
To that end, the Antonio Cassese Initiative will rely on sharing the outstanding skills and expertise available through the global network of experts, friends and admirers of Antonio Cassese. A range of activities will be organized in collaboration with national and international institutions requiring its services, such as lectures, conferences, workshops and training courses for local professionals. In addition, the Antonio Cassese Initiative will provide support and advice to experts and institutions operating in the area of justice, peace and humanity.
If you wish to apply to be included in the roster of experts and instructors to offer your specific expertise to the various activities sponsored by the Initiative, click here.
If you wish to become a supporter or a sponsor of the Initiative, click here.
October 30th, 2012 by Julien Maton
by Mariya Nikolova
A version with footnotes and references is available here.
Sir David Baragwanath, Judge and President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon
On 24 October 2012, the Appeals Chamber (AC) of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) delivered its decision on the Defence challenges to the jurisdiction and legality of the STL.
The AC dismissed the appeals, confirming the Trial Chamber’s (TC) previous ruling that the STL was established as an independent institution (i.e., not a UN subsidiary organ, and not a treaty-based hybrid jurisdiction) by SC Resolution 1757 (2007). The AC adopted the view of the TC ruling that the Security Council did not abuse its powers when adopting Resolution 1757 creating the STL. By virtue of this Resolution, the AC said, the Security Council effectively integrated the provisions of a draft agreement, previously negotiated between the UN and Lebanon but not ratified by the latter.
According to the AC, the Security Council did not therefore impose an agreement on Lebanon (which would have probably been ultra vires), but rather gave its provisions binding effect by virtue of Resolution 1757. Finally, the AC held by a majority that the STL cannot judicially review the Security Council’s actions, not even when they pertain to the question of the legality of the Tribunal.
This followed the somewhat disappointing reasoning of the TC, which had also summarily set aside the Tadic precedent of limited incidental authority to review UNSC resolutions (as well as a host of subsequent international judicial practice). The practical effect of the AC majority’s view is to put beyond the scope of judicial review the actions of the Security Council. From the point of view of persons subjected to its jurisdiction, this directly affects and undermines their rights to access to justice and to an effective remedy in relation to any violation of their rights which might have resulted from the actions of the Council. The majority’s position on that point could also affect the appearance of independence and impartiality of the Tribunal vis-à-vis its political creator.
It is precisely on the issue of judicial review that the Separate and Partially Dissenting Opinion by Judge Baragwanath provides some interesting reflections. While not questioning the “uniquely high status of the Security Council […] and the fact that [it] has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, coupled in particular with its expansive powers under Chapter VII” , Judge Baragwanath appropriately asked the question “whether the rule of law requires any, and if so what, scope for some limited review” by the STL? Continue reading ‘STL Judge Baragwanath’s Separate and Partially Dissenting Opinion Contributes to the Ongoing Debate on Judicial Review Powers Over Security Council Resolutions’
October 29th, 2012 by Julien Maton
The International Bar Association (IBA) is currently seeking high calibre legal interns to work on its International Criminal Court (ICC) Programme in The Hague to commence 7 January 2013.
The internship provides a unique opportunity to gain experience in the evolving field of international criminal justice.
The deadline for applications is November 15 2012.
The International Bar Association (IBA)’s Human Rights Institute commenced the IBA International Criminal Court Programme in 2005.
The Programme monitors fair trial and defence related issues at the ICC and encourages the legal community to engage with the work of the Court. The IBA’s work includes thematic legal analysis of the ICC’s pre-trial and trial proceedings, and ad hoc evaluations of legal, administrative and institutional issues which could potentially affect the rights of defendants, the impartiality of proceedings and the development of international justice.
The Programme also acts as the interface between the Court and the global legal community. As such, special focus is placed on monitoring emerging issues at the Court of particular relevance to lawyers and collaborating with key partners on specific activities, such as the IBA/ICC List Counsel Campaign, to increase engagement of the legal community on ICC issues.
Programme information is disseminated through regular reports, expert discussions, workshops and expert legal analysis. Based at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the IBA’s ICC Programme consults and interacts with Court officials, civil society organisations, academics and international lawyers.
Click here for information on how to apply.
October 28th, 2012 by Julien Maton
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon
The Appeals Chamber of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon has unanimously dismissed Defence challenges to the Tribunal’s legality.
Defence counsel for the four Accused had challenged, before the Trial Chamber, the legality of the Tribunal arguing that it violates Lebanese sovereignty, that the Tribunal has selective jurisdiction and no authority to try the Accused.
On 27 July, the Trial Chamber dismissed the Defence motions noting that the Tribunal was created by Security Council Resolution 1757 and the Trial Chamber did not have the authority to review this Resolution. It rejected all Defence challenges. The decision was appealed by counsel for three of the four Accused.
Four of the five Appeals Chamber judges agreed in their decision, issued last Wednesday, that they lacked the authority to review a Security Council Resolution. However, in a separate opinion, Judge David Baragwanath expressed the view that the STL, as a court of law, must exercise a limited authority to review certain aspects of Security Council resolutions. He nonetheless concluded that the Defence Counsel have failed to establish that the Security Council acted beyond its authority and joined the other judges in dismissing the appeals.
Defence Counsel have argued in both Chambers that while the 14 February 2005 attack was tragic, it did not constitute a threat to international peace and security, which was the prerequisite for the Security Council’s intervention to establish the STL. The Appeals Chamber “considers that the Security Council has a broad discretion as to the characterization of a particular situation as a threat to peace and security and that the Tribunal cannot judicially review the Security Council’s actions.”
The judges of the Appeals Chamber also noted that once the Security Council identified the existence of a threat to peace and security under its Charter, it had discretion to determine which measures are required to maintain or restore international peace and security, in this case, the creation of a Tribunal.
October 28th, 2012 by Dina Mahmoud
A recent report by the Robert Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights emphasised the human rights violations taking place in the occupied Western Sahara by the Algerian authorities, and called for urgency in implementing a permanent international mechanism for the protection of the human rights of the Saharan people.
In a consultative meeting the day after the publication of the report, the national Algerian Panel for Solidarity with the Saharan Population, the National Advisory Panel for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, and a delegation from Western Sahara called for the UN to accept its responsibility for the Western Sahara case and the Saharan people’s right to a referendum and determining their own future. Continue reading ‘NGOs Call the UN to Protect the People of Western Sahara’
October 27th, 2012 by Julien Maton
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama during the last US Presidential debate
During the last US Presidential debate, Mitt Romney claimed that, if elected US President, he would bring Iran’s President, Mahmud Ahmadinejad, before the “World Court” for incitement to genocide. Can he?
In an interview given to The Economist, Ilawyer Guénaël Mettraux gives his opinion. For him, it not impossible, but very unlikely to happen.
October 24th, 2012 by Julien Maton
by Mariya C. Nikolova
A version with footnotes and references is available here.
It has been commonly noted that the United Nations and European Union mandated missions in Kosovo lack proper accountability mechanisms for human rights violations committed in the course of their mandate. One of the main criticisms has been that victims of such violations are effectively deprived of a forum before which they can bring their claims, which in itself undermines the goals and aspirations of the organizations and violates their right to have access to justice.
Based on extensive consultations, and taking into account the need for providing redress for possible violations, the European Union established the Human Rights Review Panel (HRRP) in 2009. The HRRP is a non-judicial accountability mechanism endowed with the power to review alleged human rights violations by European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) in the conduct of its executive mandate. The HRRP can make non-binding recommendations on the basis of its findings, and follow up on the implementation of its recommendations with the Head of EULEX.
As such, the HRRP complements other already existing accountability mechanisms in EULEX and is inspired by other recently established accountability bodies – the Human Rights Advisory Panel of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the Ombudsperson Institution in Kosovo. Continue reading ‘The European Union Human Rights Review Panel: A Unique EULEX Accountability Mechanism’
October 22nd, 2012 by Julien Maton
General Ante Gotovina
On 15 April 2011, the Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) sentenced Ante Gotovina to 24 years imprisonment.
According to the judgement (Volume I – Volume II), Ante Gotovina, Commander of the Split Military District of the Croatian Army, from 9 October 1992 to March 1996, was overall operational commander of the military offensive called “Operation Storm” that aimed to reconquer the Krajina region, south of Croatia, the last pocket of resistance still held by Serbs in Croatia in 1995.
The judges held that General Gotovina contributed to the planning and preparation of Operation Storm and failed to make a serious effort to prevent and follow up on crimes reported to have been committed by his subordinates against Krajina Serbs. Based on these considerations, the Chamber found that General Gotovina’s conduct amounted to a significant contribution to a joint criminal enterprise (JCE).
Like many others, British journalist Brian Gallagher vividly criticized Ante Gotovina’s conviction in relation to the 200-metre rule upon which the entire conviction of the General rests. According to this rule, any shells that fell outside of 200 metres from a legitimate target were deemed to hit a civilian target and so to be unlawful. For Brian Gallagher, the problem is that this 200-metre rule was never mentioned during the trial and thus the general had no chance to refute it.
Brian Gallagher also refers to an expert report made by General Sir Timothy Granville-Chapman for Gotovina Defence. For General Chapman, former commander in chief of the British Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, the evidence suggests the Croatians gunners took “particular care”, born out by the high proportion of rounds that fell within 200M. General Chapman then takes the example of the British army in Afghanistan and says that based on the above, the British troops could well face some form of prosecution, no matter how conscientious they are. Indeed, for General Chapman, the judgement is “extraordinarily unsafe in terms of the precedent it sets in the use of indirect fire […]” and could bring about “serious consequences for commanders concerned.”
However, on 21 June 2012, the Appeals Chamber rejected the Defence motion that contained the report, saying that such evidence could have been admitted at the original trial, which leads Brian Gallagher to wonder if the Defence was supposed to guess that the judges would come up with a 200-metre rule…
The Appeals Chamber should render its verdict in December.
October 22nd, 2012 by Julien Maton
L’Université de Limoges, en partenariat avec l’Union Européenne, a fondé le COJITE. Ce dernier est un centre expert et indépendant de mise en valeur, de connaissance, et d’analyse de la justice des conflits armés.
A cette fin, le COJITE a entrepris de créer à Limoges une plate-forme technologique de valorisation scientifique et de diffusion des archives audiovisuelles des juridictions pénales, notamment internationales, chargées d’apurer le passif judiciaire des conflits. Le COJITE a également constitué, en association avec des partenaires internationaux (en Belgique, en Bosnie-Herzégovine, au Cambodge, au Rwanda, et en Serbie) un centre de réflexion sur le fonctionnement, les résultats et l’impact de la justice internationale transitionnelle.
Si vous souhaitez de plus amples informations sur les activités du Centre, le COJITE dispose d’un site web et d’une page facebook.
October 18th, 2012 by Raphaelle Rafin
On Tuesday 16 October, a US Court of Appeals has reversed the conviction of Salim Hamdan, the first Guantanamo detainee sentenced by a US military commission in 2008. Acquitted of the conspiracy charge, he was then convicted of giving material support to terrorism and was sentenced to 66 months of imprisonment. He was found to have served five years in US custody and was transferred in November 2008 to Yemen to serve out the remaining months of his sentence.
Defendant Salim Hamdan at his trial inside the war crimes courthouse at Camp Justice, Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba. Sketch: Janet Hamlin, Photo: AFP
Mr. Hamdan was arrested in Afghanistan in 2001. He initially left Yemen, his home country, for Pakistan and then Afghanistan in 1996, attended a Qaeda training camp, met Bin Laden, and became a driver carrying jihadis and their weapons. Salim Hamdan eventually became Bin Laden’s personal driver and was even told by Bin Laden several days before Sept. 11, 2001, that they would have to evacuate their compound because of an impending operation that might provoke retaliation. In his 2008 trial, Mr. Hamdan admitted working for the al-Qaeda leader in Afghanistan from 1997 to 2001 for $200 a month, but said he worked for wages, not to wage war on the US. Following his arrest, he was sent to Guantánamo Bay soon after it opened in early 2002.
Even after being released, Salim Hamdan continued to challenge his conviction which was first upheld by the Court of Military Commission Review in 2011. On Tuesday, the Appeals Court decided to “reverse the decision of the Court of Military Commission Review and direct that Hamdan’s conviction for material support for terrorism be vacated”, since it found the charges of material support for terrorism was not an existing war crime at the time of the acts for which Salim Hamdan was convicted.
In its decision, the Appeals Court also analyses the international law of war and notes that at the time Hamdan committed the acts in question, although “the international law of war proscribed a variety of war crimes, including forms of terrorism […], [it] did not proscribe material support for terrorism as a war crime. Indeed, the Executive Branch acknowledges that the international law of war did not – and still does not – identify material support for terrorism as a war crime.” Judge Brett Kavanaugh added that “if the government wanted to charge Hamdan with aiding and abetting terrorism or some other war crime that was sufficiently rooted in the international law of war at the time of Hamdan’s conduct, it should have done so.”
The decision of a civilian court such as the Appeals Court could affect other cases of Guantanamo detainees: each of the seven men who have been tried before a military commission at Guantanamo was convicted on a charge of “material support for terrorism”, although only two — David Hicks, an Australian who pleaded guilty in 2007 and was repatriated and freed soon after, and Salim Hamdan — were convicted solely of that charge.
October 18th, 2012 by Jessica Peake
- (c) Reuters
On Tuesday, October 16, 2012, Radovan Karadzic opened his defense before the ICTY Trial Chamber III by denying responsibility for war crimes. Mr Karadzic, who is conducting his own defense, told the Court that he is “a mild man, a tolerant man with great capacity to understand others“, and said he should be “rewarded for all the good things [he has] done”, instead of standing trial for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Radovan Karadzic was a founding member of the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS), and its President until July 1996. He was the Chairman of the National Security Council of the Republicka Srpska (RS – formally the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina), the President of the three-member Presidency of RS from May-December 1992, and then the sole President of Republika Srpska and Supreme Commander of its armed forces. As well as being accused of individual responsibility for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, Mr Karadzic is also accused of having been in a joint criminal enterprise with Ratco Mladic and other individuals. In particular, the Prosecution alleges that the joint criminal enterprise had the objectives of spreading terror among the civilian population of Sarajevo through a campaign of sniping and shelling, eliminating the Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica and, to take United Nations personnel as hostages. It is alleged that Karadzic, Mladic and others intended the overarching joint criminal enterprise to “permanently remove Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from Bosnian Serb-claimed territory in BiH.“
Mr Karadzic refutes all charges and claims that he did “everything within human power to avoid the war and to reduce the human suffering“.
October 17th, 2012 by Jessica Peake
Yesterday began the trial of Goran Hadzic – the final trial that will be held at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) before it concludes its work in accordance with its mandate and completion strategy.
Mr Hadzic was indicted in June 2004 on crimes against humanity – including persecution, extermination, murder, imprisonment, torture, inhumane acts, deportation and forcible transfer – and war crimes, including murder, torture, cruel treatment, destruction and plunder. He was arrested on July 20, 2011.
Mr Hadzic was the President of the Government of the self-proclaimed Serbian Autonomous District Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem, and subsequently President of the Republic of Serbian Krajina. It is alleged that he participated in a joint criminal enterprise as a co-perpetrator with the purpose of the permanent forcible removal of a majority of the Croat and other non-Serb population from a large part of the Republic of Croatia in order to make it part of a new Serb-dominated state.
The trial will take place before ICTY Trial Chamber II, presided over by Judge Guy Delvoie. The Chief Prosecutor is Douglas Stringer, and Mr Hadzic will be represented by Zoran Zivanovic and Christopher Gosnell.
October 17th, 2012 by Jessica Peake
On Tuesday October 9 the President of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), Justice Shireen Iris Fisher, and Prosecutor Brenda J. Hollis appeared before the U.N. Security Council to address the Council on the “achievements of the Special Court and the upcoming completion of [its] mandate.”
October 31 will be the 12th anniversary of Resolution 1325, a resolution which urges the “increased representation of women at all decision-making levels”, and President Justice Fisher was keen to emphasize that the Special Court is an embodiment of that organization, as the President, Prosecutor, Registrar and Principal Defender are all women.
Both President Fisher and Prosecutor Hollis highlighted that the tribunal is in the concluding stages of its final case, and will soon deliver its final appellate judgment in the Charles Taylor case, which will be the final determination of Mr Taylor’s guilt or innocence. President Fisher proudly emphasized that the Special Court for Sierra Leone has been extremely successful as the first hybrid court – a partnership between national authorities and the United Nations. Continue reading ‘The President and Prosecutor of the SCSL Present at the UN Security Council’
October 17th, 2012 by Raphaelle Rafin
The United Nations Security Council is set to debate the role of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in an open meeting Wednesday 17 October 2012. Mr. Rosenthal, the Permanent Representative of Guatemala, introduced the agenda for his October presidency of that body and announced a debate on the item “Promotion and strengthening of the rule of law in the maintenance of international peace and security” which would focus on the Council’s linkages with the International Criminal Court.
United Nations Security Council diplomats vote on a resolution during a meeting on Libya at U.N. headquarters in New York on February 26, 2011. © 2011 Reuters
Human Rights Watch has published a critical analysis of these ties, saying an “on-again off-again” approach to the International Criminal Court by the U.N. Security Council is an assault on justice and undermines the credibility of the ICC in promoting justice. Continue reading ‘Human Rights Watch critical of UN Security Council ties with the ICC’
October 16th, 2012 by Raphaelle Rafin
The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has remaining intern positions to fill for the period starting in January 2013.
The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (Tribunal) offers legal professionals, graduate law students, and undergraduate law students who are in their final stages of education the possibility to enhance their professional training in the unique environment of an international court. The opportunity to make an internship in the Appeals Chamber is open to those candidates who have an educational background in various areas of law, including national criminal law, public international law, international humanitarian law and human rights law. Continue reading ‘Internship at the ICTY Appeals Chamber – Call for Applications’
October 16th, 2012 by Jessica Peake
The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia released suspect Ieng Thirith on September 16, 2012. On October 9 the Court issued further information about that release and the reasons why.
Former Khmer Rouge minister Ieng Thirith at the ECCC in Phnom Penh on April 30, 2010. (TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP/Getty Images)
The Trial Chamber has declared Ieng Thirith unfit to stand trial because she suffers from “moderate to severe dementia, likely Alzheimer’s disease”. This decision was made based on the evidence of five independent medical experts who examined the accused in the Spring of 2011. In Summer 2011 the Trial Chamber determined her unfit to stand trial due to her illness, however in December 2011 the Supreme Court Chamber found that the ECCC was “obliged to exhaust all measures available to help improve Ieng Thirith’s mental heath such that she may become fit to stand trial.” Unfortunately, the medical treatment prescribed was futile, and in August 2012 experts again concluded her unfit to stand trial.
Due to the advanced stage of her illness, and resulting long and short term memory loss, the Trial Chamber has determined that Ieng Thirith would be unable to sufficiently understand the course of the proceedings against her and subsequently would be unable to adequately instruct her lawyers and to effectively participate in her own defence. Consequently, as there is no prospect that she can be tried before the Trial Chamber, the Court no longer had any legal basis for her detention and ordered her immediate unconditional release.
The Prosecution did not oppose the release, however have appealed the decision to release her without conditions. The Prosecution have requested that she should be subject to certain conditions including being required to surrender her passport and identity card, to reside at a specific address, to be available for weekly security checks and to refrain from contacting any of the other co-accused or witnesses and experts.
As Ieng Thirith has been deemed unfit prior to the conclusion of the trial, the Court will not render a judgement against her. However, the charges against her have not been withdrawn.
For more information see here.
October 15th, 2012 by Dina Mahmoud
Anti-corruption training jointly organised by the Jordanian national Anti-Corruption Commission and the EU began in Jordan on Sunday 7th October 2012. In an opening speech made on behalf of the head of the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Secretary General of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Mr. Ali Al-Damoor, said that this training was a result of Jordan’s continuous efforts of cooperation with the EU in the fight against corruption, and its efforts in implementing the UN Convention Against Corruption (ratified by Jordan in February 2005), and for the purpose of benefitting from the Finnish experience in the fight against and prevention of this global phenomenon.
Training topics focused on the updating of investigation methods of crimes of corruption, and on the role of the Anti-Corruption Commission in investigating, coordinating, and cooperating with regulatory bodies that play a significant role in uncovering instances of exces de pouvoir and breach on the side of management and finances, therefore safeguarding the public’s money. Continue reading ‘Anti-Corruption Training held in Jordan’
October 10th, 2012 by Julien Maton
Representatives of the Office of Public Counsel for the Defence, Mohamed Youssef, left, Xavier-Jean Keita, center, and Melinda Taylor, right, at the start of a hearing in the Gaddafi case.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) held its first public hearing in the case of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.
One of Gaddafi’s lawyers, Melinda Taylor, has warned the ICC its reputation would be harmed if it allows a trial inside Libya.
Ms Taylor was speaking at a hearing that will ultimately decide whether Gadhafi is tried in his homeland — where he could face the death penalty — or at the ICC, where the maximum sentence is life imprisonment.
“How can the ICC achieve lasting respect for international law… if it cedes jurisdiction to a domestic court which has been organised to convict rather than achieve justice?”, said the Australian lawyer.
The ICC’s jurisdiction is based on the principle of complementarity, meaning it only takes on cases from countries where authorities are unwilling or unable to prosecute defendants. The Gaddafi case is a test of that principle as the Judges will have to balance the desire of Libya to prosecute Gaddafi with its ability to do so, as the country is still in a rebuilding process after forty years under Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
Ms Taylor, who is court-appointed, said such a trial would be motivated by revenge, not justice and argued that a Libya trial would mean death for her client.
“Although the Libyan government has danced around the issue, let’s be very clear: if convicted Mr Gaddafi will be hanged,” she told the hearing.
At the opening of the hearing on Tuesday, Libyan lawyer Ahmed al-Jehani told the ICC judges that Libyan authorities “needed time” to organise a fair trial for Mr Gaddafi, and that they had not ruled out some level of ICC involvement.
Mr Gaddafi has been held in the mountain town of Zintan since being captured by rebels almost a year ago. Libyan authorities have repeatedly refused to hand him over to the ICC for trial in The Hague.
The ICC Judges will render their decision in weeks or months.
October 8th, 2012 by Julien Maton
Ilawyerblog Guest Blogger Göran Sluiter has been assigned by the Defence Support Section of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) as a foreign lawyer to represent a Suspect named in Case File 004.
Goran Sluiter is a Dutch criminal defence lawyer from Amsterdam and also a professor in international criminal law at the University of Amsterdam. He has extensive experience in international criminal law having worked as a judge in international crimes cases in the Netherlands and for defence teams at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Court.
The identity of any Suspect named in Case 004 remains confidential.
October 6th, 2012 by Raphaelle Rafin
Yesterday, the British High Court has ruled on the last proceedings concerning five alleged terrorists, Babar Ahmad, Tahla Ahsan, Abu Hamza, Abdel Bary and Al-Fawaz, who have been detained in the United Kingdom pending extradition to the United States of America where they face various charges of terrorism. Each of the claimants had brought separate claims for judicial review and for stays of their extradition, raising different issues in each case except for an issue common to four of them relating to the prison conditions they would experience at ADX Florence, Colorado.
An armoured police motorcade arrives at Long Lartin prison to collect Abu Hamza and four other terrorism suspects for extradition to the US. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images
Their appeal to the British High Court came after the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) rejected their complaints on April 2012. The ECtHR had ruled that neither the conditions of detention at ADX Florence nor the length of the possible sentences would amount to a violation of Article 3 of the European Convention if the applicants were extradited.
In yesterday’s decision, the British High Court has dismissed the five claimants’ applications for permission to apply for judicial review or for a re-opening of the statutory appeals. The decision ends a lengthy process of appeals and applications that has continued for some eight years in the case of three and fourteen years in the case of two. The Court concluded that “there is no appeal from our decision” and that “their extradition to the United States of America may proceed immediately.”
A few hours later, the five men were on two planes that left a military airbase in Suffolk and landed on the US soil on Saturday morning. Abu Hamza is set to go before a judge within 24 hours of landing and will appear in an open hearing following his arrival at an airport in New York State.
October 3rd, 2012 by Raphaelle Rafin
by the Soros Foundation-Latvia and the Riga Graduate School of Law, in cooperation with the Open Society Justice Initiative
Date: 11-12 October 2012
Venue: Soros Auditorium, Stockholm School of Economics, Riga, Latvia
The conference will bring together experts working in the field of human rights. It aims to examine the legal aspects of the application of human rights in post-socialist countries twenty years after the breakup of the Soviet Union and the end of socialist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe. These aspects can best be explored by placing the issues into a wider historical, social and political context. An objective is to identify characteristic problems in upholding the rule of law and safeguarding human rights in post-socialist countries, as well as lessons that can be learned from the post-socialist transition to democracy.
Speakers: Manfred Nowak, Professor of the Constitutional Law and Human Rights at the University of Vienna; Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights; Francoise Tulkens, Judge, European Court of Human Rights; Adam Bodnar, Vice-President of the Board, Polish Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights; Assistant Professor at the Human Rights Chair of the Warsaw University, Faculty of Law and Administration, Poland; Bojana Urumova, Deputy to the Director of the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe, and many others.
The conference will be held in English. A simultaneous translation into Latvia will be provided.
For further information and to register, click here.
October 1st, 2012 by Admas Habteslasie
In a development that could have wide-reaching ramifications for the relationship between the Dutch government and the International Criminal Court (ICC), an Amsterdam court recently ruled that three witnesses testifying at the ICC who applied for asylum in the Netherlands must be transferred to Dutch custody.
A Dutch district court had ruled in December that the witnesses could apply for asylum in the Netherlands. However, the witnesses have remained in ICC custody since then and the more recent decision requires the Dutch government to take custody of the witnesses.
The three unnamed witnesses had been transferred to the ICC’s detention centre in the Hague in May 2011 in order to testify in the ICC’s ongoing case against Congolese militia leader Germain Katanga. Prior to their transfer, the witnesses were awaiting trial in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Two of the witnesses had been detained in Congo in 2005 under an accusation of being involved in the murder of U.N. troops, while the third was detained in 2010 on suspicion of treason. According to the Dutch lawyer representing the witnesses in their asylum application, they feared for their safety if returned to Congo due to the fact that their testimonies incriminated the Congolese President Joseph Kabila in large-scale human rights violations.
The Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) had initially refused to accept the asylum applications of the three witnesses. The IND’s position was likely influenced by the Headquarters Agreement
between the ICC and the Netherlands, which stipulates that persons summoned by the ICC are not subject to Dutch law. The Dutch court’s recent decision entrenches an apparent loophole whereby ICC detainees may bring themselves under Dutch law by applying for asylum. It has been noted
by commentators that this development may complicate the ICC’s future attempts to transfer detainees from other countries. The court ordered the Dutch government to take custody of the witnesses within four weeks.