Archive for March, 2013
March 30th, 2013 by Julien Maton
On 27 March 2013, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) dismissed by majority the appeal raised by the Defence of Germain Katanga against the decision of Trial Chamber II giving notice of a possible change in the legal characterization of the form of responsibility with which Mr Katanga is charged.
Mr Katanga is allegedly responsible for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity jointly through another person (article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute). On 21 November 2012, Trial Chamber II gave notice to the parties and participants of a possible re-characterisation of the form of responsibility to article 25(3)(d) of the Rome Statute (contributing in any other way to the commission of the crimes by a group of persons acting with a common purpose). On 10 January 2013, the Defence appealed this decision.
Last Thursday, Judge Sang-Hyun Song read a summary of the Appeals Judgment in open session. The Appeals Chamber considers that the timing of the Trial Chamber II decision, which was issued at the deliberation stage, and the scope of the envisaged change in the legal characterisation are in conformity with regulation 55 (2) of the Regulations of the Court. The Appeals Chamber also finds that the Trial Chamber’s decision does not violate the rights of Mr Katanga to a fair trial. However, the Appeals Chamber cannot determine conclusively now whether the trial as a whole will remain fair as this will depend to a large extent upon how the Trial Chamber conducts the further proceedings and, in particular, on the measures it will take to protect Mr Katanga’s rights.
The Appeals Chamber also emphasises that, considering the advanced stage of the proceedings, the Trial Chamber will need to be particularly vigilant in ensuring Mr Katanga’s right to be tried without undue delay.
Germain Katanga, Congolese national, is charged with three counts of crimes against humanity and seven counts of war crimes allegedly committed, on 24 February 2003, during the attack against the Bogoro village. It is alleged that this attack was carried out by combatants led by Germain Katanga, that it was part of a widespread attack directed not only against a military camp located in Bogoro village but also against the civilian population of the village. His trial started on 24 November 2009.
March 29th, 2013 by Julien Maton
Radislav Krstić, former Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army, has been charged with contempt of the Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for failing to comply with, or to show good cause why he could not comply with, a subpoena in which he was ordered to testify in the case of Radovan Karadžić.
On 23 October 2012, the Chamber issued a subpoena ordering Krstić to appear and testify in the Karadžić case on 15 January 2013, in response to a Motion to subpoena issued by the Karadžić Defence. On 7 February 2013 in response to Krstić’s urgent Motion requesting the Chamber to stay the enforcement of the subpoena on medical grounds, the Chamber ruled that Krstić’s mental and physical health was such that he was able to testify.
Following his refusal to testify on 7 February 2013, the Chamber ordered a more detailed report on Radislav Krstić’s physical and mental health. On 13 March 2013, having reviewed the medical report, the Chamber found that there were no medical reasons which would amount to good cause for him to not comply with the subpoena.
After Krstić’s renewed refusal to testify, the Chamber issued this Thursday an order in lieu of an indictment for contempt.
Rule 77(A) of the Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence provides that the Tribunal may hold in contempt those who knowingly and wilfully interfere with its administration of justice, including any person who being a witness before a Chamber persistently refuses or fails to answer a question.
On 19 April 2004, Radislav Krstić was sentenced to 35 years’ imprisonment following his conviction for aiding and abetting the genocide committed at Srebrenica in July 1995.
March 28th, 2013 by Julien Maton
The British home secretary, Theresa May, has lost her latest legal attempt to deport the radical Islamist cleric Abu Qatada back to Jordan.
The three appeal court judges stated that “torture is universally abhorred as an evil”, and states cannot expel someone where there is a real risk that they will face a trial based on evidence obtained by torture.
The home secretary attempted to overturn a ruling last November by the special immigrations appeals commission (Siac) in London blocking Qatada’s return to Jordan to stand trial because “there was a real risk he would be subject to a flagrant denial of justice”.
The judges said the court accepted that Qatada “is regarded as a very dangerous person”, but that was not “a relevant consideration” under human rights laws. Continue reading ‘Abu Qatada To Stay in the UK’
March 27th, 2013 by Julien Maton
Mićo Stanišić (left) and Stojan Župljanin
Mićo Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin, two former high level officials in Bosnian Serb structures, were today each sentenced to 22 years imprisonment by the Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed between April and December 1992 in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).
Mićo Stanišić, former Bosnian Minister of Internal Affairs, was convicted of crimes committed in 20 municipalities throughout BiH and also of murder and torture as violations of the laws or customs of war. Stanišić was found not guilty of extermination as a crime against humanity.
Stojan Župljanin was Mićo Stanišić’s direct subordinate and the most senior police officer in the Autonomous Region of Krajina in northwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Trial Chamber convicted him of crimes committed in eight municipalities in BiH. He was also convicted of extermination as a crime against humanity and murder and torture as violations of the laws or customs of war. Continue reading ‘ICTY: Stanišić and Župljanin Sentenced to 22 Years Imprisonment’
March 25th, 2013 by Julien Maton
by Maison du Barreau de Paris
Date: 16 May 2013, 9.00 to 13.00
Venue: Maison du Barreau, Hôtel de Harlay, 2, Rue de Harlay, 75001 Paris
- 20 years later: the disintegration of models. International justice confronted to its internal problems, Franck Petit, Journalist (International Justice Tribune).
- A justice dependent on its donors? Rafaëlle Maison, Professor of International Law at the University of Paris XI.
- Common law’s victory, Civil law’s defeat? Jean-Marie Biju-Duval, Lawyer at the Paris Bar.
- The creation of international investigation magistrates, an efficiency guarantee? François Roux, Lawyer, Head of Defence Office of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon;
- Back to domestic courts: A Canadian trial, the Mungwarere case, Philippe Larochelle, Lawyer at the Bar of Quebec.
- Can international criminal law inspire French criminal procedure? Vincent Courcelle-Labrousse, Lawyer at the Paris Bar.
If you wish to register, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Participation is free of charge.
March 22nd, 2013 by Ellie Geranmayeh
Bosco Ntaganda was escorted this morning to the International Criminal Court (ICC) detention centre in The Hague, Netherlands. Bosco Ntaganda, better known as the ‘Terminator’ and a key suspect of war crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (‘DR Congo’), had sought refuge in the US embassy in Rwanda on Monday. According to the US State Department, Ntaganda had requested transfer to the ICC which issued a warrant for his arrest in 2006. The ICC confirmed that this is the first time that a suspect has surrendered himself voluntarily to be in the ICC’s custody.
The ICC detention centre in Scheveningen
Ntaganda, who was born into the Tutsi ethnic group, is alleged to have conscripted child soldiers and ordered ethnic persecution during his time as general of a militia group in the DR Congo between 2002 – 2003. It is thought that since then, Ntaganda has fought for other rebel groups including the Congolese national army and the ‘M23′ which is believed to have links with the Rwandan government.
The eastern parts of the DR Congo have been tarnished with conflicts since 1994 after the migration of ethnic Hutu groups accused of carrying out war crimes in Rwanda. Ntaganda joined the rebel forces at the age of 17. The same rebel forces, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, are now the ruling party in Rwanda. Ntaganda was also in charge of the troops that carried out the 2008 Kiwanji massacre in which 150 people were massacred in a one day. Continue reading ‘Congolese Rebel Leader Ntaganda Transferred to the ICC’
March 21st, 2013 by Raphaelle Rafin
Earlier this week, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) approved the Reform of the Rules of Procedure, Policies and Practices. Resolution 1/2013 came as the result of a process for strengthening the inter-American human rights system which begun in 2011. Following consultations with Member States, civil society, victims and academics, the IACHR aimed to find a balance between strengthening the continental system for the defense and promotion of human rights and providing victims with a more flexible instrument to defend their rights. The reform also intends to enhance the transparency of the IACHR actions and should facilitate access to relevant information in its accountability.
The text adopted by the IACHR amends 13 articles of the Rules of Procedure, improving all steps of the procedure including precautionary measures, initial proceedings, admissibility and examination of the merits. Amendments also focus on reporting mechanisms and an archives strategy. The reform measures are expected to take effect on 1 August 2013.
The IACHR will hold today a press conference at 11:00 am in Washington DC (15:00 GMT). It will be webcast live.
March 20th, 2013 by Raphaelle Rafin
The ADC-ICTY (Association of Defence Counsel practicing before the ICTY) just published its latest newsletter. ADC-ICTY Newsletter Issue 44 covers recent decisions and trial developments before the ICTY, including cases of Šainović et al., Karadžić, and Hadžić. The newsletter also addresses recent events at the international courts and tribunals as well as general international law updates.
March 20th, 2013 by Raphaelle Rafin
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda © Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/digital retouching by GNM Imaging
“Peace or justice? Shall we strive for peace at all costs, sacrificing justice on the way, or shall we soldier on in the pursuit for justice to end impunity?” International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda gave her views on the question in an open editorial published yesterday by the New York Times.
Fatou Bensouda reacts to voices questioning the legitimacy of her office’s work. Responding to criticisms on the need to always prosecute perpetrators of the most serious crimes, Mrs. Bensouda states that justice cannot be sacrificed for peace and that, as an independent institution, the ICC’s role is not to play a part in securing or restoring peace. And yet, she affirms international justice would not only be no obstacle to peace processes but it would have contributed, at many occasions, to the success of the latter.
For Bensouda, the ICC’s positive impact on peace is indirect; it is based on a diffuse idea which would impose a clear message to all actors of international peace: accountability has become the rule, no one can escape justice. The influence of the ICC through the “shadow of the Court” would have proven to facilitate peace negotiations even when the Court was only remotely involved, such as in the Juba Peace Process.
Confident in the achievements of her office, Mrs. Bensouda announces her will to continue her work, convinced that justice and peace are intimately connected.
Fatou Bensouda is speaking today at the Forum for New Diplomacy hosted by the International Herald Tribune and the Académie Diplomatique Internationale.
March 19th, 2013 by Ravipal Bains
The 57th session of the United Nations Commission for Women (UCW) concluded with an agreement of 131 states to end discrimination against all forms of violence against women. The 2013 session of the UCW was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 4 to 15 March 2013. The focus of the session was on the elimination of all forms of violence against women as well as reviewing the equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS.
Michelle Bachelet speaks at the opening of the Commission on the Status of Women on 4 March 2013 at the United Nations Headquarters. Photo Credit: UN Women/Catianne Tijerina
The 17-page final document called the ‘Agreed Conclusions‘ of the Commission prioritises the “need to establish multi-sectoral services for survivors of violence, including for health, psychological support and counselling, as well as the need to protect the right to sexual and reproductive health.” The global plan urges the governments to translate the outcome of the ‘historic’ gathering into actions to protect and promote women rights. The text also highlights the need for ending impunity in the context of punishing perpetrators, along with improving collection of evidence and responding to victims. The accord also includes provisions on sexual and reproductive rights. Continue reading ‘UN Commission for Women Adopts Global Plan Against Gender Based Violence’
March 18th, 2013 by Raphaelle Rafin
Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo announced today on her twitter account that Bosco Ntaganda, a Congolese fugitive wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), presented himself at the US Embassy in Kigali. “We have learned today that Bosco Ntaganda entered Rwanda and surrendered to US Embassy in Kigali,” Louise Mushikiwabo said.
The ICC first issued a warrant of arrest for Bosco Ntaganda in 2006. Ntaganda is suspected of having committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, including recruiting child soldiers, murder, rape and sexual slavery, and persecution in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The US Embassy has not confirmed the news, but the transfer of Bosco Ntaganda to the ICC would not be automatic. Neither Rwanda nor the USA is a party to the Rome Statute and has therefore no obligation to extradite Ntaganda to the ICC.
March 17th, 2013 by Julien Maton
US drone ©Reuters
The United States has violated Pakistan’s sovereignty and destroyed tribal structures with unmanned aerial drone strikes near the Afghan border, warned Ben Emmerson, the UN Special Rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights.
Returning from a three-day visit to Islamabad, Ben Emmerson said he had been given assurances that there was no tacit consent by Pakistan to the use of drones on its territory.
“As a matter of international law the US drone campaign in Pakistan is being conducted without the consent of the elected representatives of the people, or the legitimate Government of the State”.
Emmerson said the Pashtun tribes, living in the largely lawless region bordering Afghanistan in Pakistan’s west, have suffered enormously under the drone campaign.
“These proud and independent people have been self-governing for generations, and have a rich tribal history that has been too little understood in the West,” he said. “Their tribal structures have been broken down by the military campaign in FATA and by the use of drones in particular.”
Officials told the Special Rapporteur that since 2004, there have been at least 330 drone strikes on the territory of Pakistan.
Islamabad’s records shows that about 2,200 deaths had been caused by drone strikes and a further 600 people had suffered serious injuries. Moreover, the Pakistani Government has been able to confirm that at least 400 civilians had been killed, and that a further 200 individuals were regarded as probable non-combatants.
The United States has 8,000 drones, unmanned planes and helicopters flown by a remote control. They are outfitted with a video camera to help the operator spot targets and often armed with weapons used to neutralize them.
The visit to Pakistan was the first by Emmerson as Special Rapporteur mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to conduct an inquiry into the civilian impact and human rights implications of the use of drones in the context of counterterrorism operations. Emmerson was joined by iLawyer Amal Alamuddin, Counsel to the Inquiry, on the visit.
March 17th, 2013 by Julien Maton
Former Guatemalan dictator José Efraín Ríos Montt - Photo: AP
Last January, a judge ruled that José Efraín Ríos Montt, who presided over one of the bloodiest periods of Guatemala’s civil war, will stand trial on charges of crimes against humanity and genocide in connection with the killing of 1771 indigenous Ixil Mayans during his rule in 1982-1983.
Many consider that such ruling is symptomatic of a transformation in Guatemala’s justice system, but also all over Latin America, which leads the way in terms of national authorities trying to prosecute significant crimes.
Despite a series of inquiries finding him responsible for these crimes, Ríos Montt had enjoyed immunity from prosecution for 12 years while he was serving as a congressman until he lost a re-election race last year.
During that period, he also maneuvered his allies into the judiciary, so that when prosecutors did try to act, judges paralyzed the proceedings, taking years to consider requests to release military documents or pushing appeals back through multiple lower courts. Continue reading ‘Guatemala: Nobody is Above the Law?’
March 17th, 2013 by Julien Maton
Mićo Stanišić (left) and Stojan Župljanin
The Trial Chamber Judgment in the case of Mićo Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin, two former high ranking Bosnian Serb officials accused of crimes committed against non-Serb civilians in various areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina between April and December 1992, is scheduled to be rendered on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
Mićo Stanišić was Minister of the Bosnian Serb Ministry of Internal Affairs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in charge of public and state security, a position which gave him overall control of all police and security structures of the Bosnian Serb entity, the indictment alleges. Stojan Župljanin was Mićo Stanišić’s direct subordinate and the most senior police officer in the Autonomous Region of Krajina in northwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Mićo Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin are accused of persecution, extermination, murder, deportation, torture, cruel treatment and inhumane acts committed against non-Serb civilians in various areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina between April and December 1992. According to the indictment, Stanišić and Župljanin participated in a joint criminal enterprise whose primary objective was to permanently remove Bosnian Muslims, Bosnian Croats and other non-Serbs from the territory of the planned Serbian state.
The Prosecution alleges that, as a consequence of their positions of superior authority over the Serb forces, Stanišić and Župljanin were not only aware of the crimes committed by their subordinates but also encouraged and facilitated the commission of these by failing to take necessary measures to prevent such acts and punish the perpetrators.
The Judgement will be broadcast live on the Tribunal website.
March 14th, 2013 by Julien Maton
Ieng Sary, a co-founder of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge movement in the 1970s, has died while on trial before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). He was 87.
The Former Deputy Prime Minister of Foreign Affairs was accused together with Nuon Chea, Deputy Secretary of the Communist Party, and former head of state Khieu Samphan for genocide, crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions committed during the 1975-1979 Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia.
Mr Sary’s wife Ieng Thirith faced the same charges but was declared unfit for trial by the ECCC last year after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Ieng Sary was the brother-in-law of the Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, with whom he founded the organisation. Pol Pot died in 1998 while hiding in Cambodia’s jungles.
Many fear that only Khieu Samphan will live to hear his verdict as Nuon Chea has been in and out of hospital for years.
March 13th, 2013 by Ellie Geranmayeh
Abu Ghaith, Osama Bin Laden’s son-in-law and alleged former al-Qaeda spokesman, last week pleaded not guilty in front of a New York District Court Judge, in relation to charges of conspiracy to kill US nationals. The full trial is set to commence on 8 April 2013 and is expected to last around three weeks.
In the court filings, prosecutors have alleged that Abu Ghaith acted as al-Qaeda’s main spokesperson from May 2001 – 2002, including issuing warning of attacks similar to the September 11 attacks in New York. Assistant U.S. Attorney John P. Cronan noted that Abu Ghaith provided an “extensive post-arrest statement” totaling 222 pages but details of this statement will be kept confidential until the trial.
Controversy surrounds the manner in which US officials were given custody of Abu Ghaith (originally a Kuwaiti national), who was being deported from Turkey to Kuwait but whose deportation was intercepted in Jordan last week. US officials have provided little guidance about how Abu Ghaith was captured on 28 February 2013 and afterwards brought over to the US on 1 March 2013.
The civilian court setting has been criticised by some Republicans who believe the Obama administration should prosecute Abu Ghaith, who is in their view an enemy combatant, at Guantanamo Bay’s military tribunal.
Abu Ghaith is the most senior Qaeda figure to face criminal trial in New York.
March 12th, 2013 by Jessica Peake
On Thursday, March 7, 2013, the Appeals Chamber of the ICTY terminated the appeal proceedings against Milan Gvero following his death on February 17, 2013.
Milan Gvero’s was the Assistant Commander for Morale, Legal and Religious Affairs of the VRS Main Staff and, along with six others, was charged with crimes in and around Srebrenica in Popovic et al. Mr. Gvero was convicted of persecution and forcible transfer, and being a member of a joint criminal enterprise (JCE) to forcibly remove the Muslim population from Srebrenica and Zepa from about March 8 1995 to end of August 1995. Mr. Gvero was sentenced to five years imprisonment and granted provisional release pending appeal on June 28, 2010.
Mr. Gvero died, aged 75, in a Military hospital in Belgrade on February 17, 2013.
March 11th, 2013 by Julien Maton
Today, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) dropped all charges against Kenyan former Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura, who was accused of crimes against humanity for his alleged involvement in deadly violence that erupted after Kenya’s 2007 presidential election.
“I have decided, as of the state of evidence available now, that we have no other choice but to withdraw the charges against Mr Muthaura,” ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement.
Four prominent Kenyans, including first-round presidential poll winner Uhuru Kenyatta, faced charges at the ICC over deadly post-poll violence during which prosecutors say more than 1,100 people died and more than 663,000 people were displaced in Kenya’s Rift Valley.
However, Bensouda said that in Muthaura’s case some witnesses were refusing or unable to provide vital evidence.
“The witnesses that had conveyed evidence have been killed or died, others refuse to speak to the Prosecutor.”
She also accused Kenyan authorities of not fully cooperating with the Court.
Ms Bensouda added that her decision had no relation to Mr Kenyatta’s election victory.
“Let me be absolutely clear on one point – this decision applies only to Mr Muthaura. It does not apply to any other case. [...] While we are all aware of political developments in Kenya, these have no influence, at all, on the decisions that I make as Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. “
The announcement is an unprecedented admission of failure by prosecutors, and the first time in the 10-year-old Court’s history that they have dropped a case so close to trial.
March 9th, 2013 by Ravipal Bains
The lobby of the CIA Headquarters Building in McLean, Virginia, 2008 ©REUTERS/Larry Downing
Ben Emmerson, the United Nations’ (UN) special rapporteur on protection of human rights and counter terrorism has called on the government of the United States to release the findings of inquiry into the secret Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) detention and interrogation practices.
Mr. Emmerson, speaking at the presentation of his report on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, said United States authorities must “publish without delay, and to the fullest extent possible, the report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence into the CIA’s secret detention and interrogation programme.” The Senate Select Committee on intelligence had carried out an investigation into the CIA secret detention and interrogation programme. The committee completed its report in December 2011 but it has not been published. Continue reading ‘Special Rapporteur Calls for Truth and Accountability on CIA Rendition Programme’
March 8th, 2013 by Raphaelle Rafin
- Herman von Hebel
Herman von Hebel, current Registrar of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) has been elected today Registrar of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Mr von Hebel will succeed Ms Silvana Arbia in mid-April 2013 for a five-year mandate.
Mr von Hebel, a Dutch national, was appointed registrar of the STL by the UN Srecretary-General in December 2010. Before joining the STL he was deputy registrar then registrar of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. From 2001 until 2006 he was senior legal officer at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
See Mr Herman von Hebel’s Statement of qualifications and Executive summary.
March 8th, 2013 by Raphaelle Rafin
State of Palestine, 2011. A. (centre) was arrested for throwing stones and released. A. says his interrogators fed him, but also shouted at him. © UNICEF/NYHQ2011-1509/MOUHSSINE ENNAIMI
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) published a report yesterday on the detention conditions of Palestinian children in Israel and outlined practical measures that could improve the treatment of minors in the Israeli military detention system. The report entitled Children in Israeli Military Detention: Observations and Recommendations is the result of a ten-year compilation of interviews and of cases documented through the monitoring and reporting mechanism on grave child rights violations. The information gathered revealed consistent and persistent allegations of ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention. The study concludes that “the ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process, from the moment of arrest until the child’s prosecution and eventual conviction and sentencing.” UNICEF’s briefing paper highlights that “in no other country [but Israel] are children systematically tried by juvenile military courts.” Continue reading ‘Palestinian Children’s Rights in Israeli Military Prisons’
March 7th, 2013 by Julien Maton
By the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland, Galway
The Summer School on the International Criminal Court offered by the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway, is the first of its kind.
During five days of intensive lectures, leading academics on the subject and legal professionals working at the International Criminal Court will provide a detailed working knowledge of the establishment of the Court, its applicable law, its structures and its operations.
Lectures will also speak about related issues in international criminal law, including: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, the crime of aggression, universal jurisdiction, immunities, and the role of the victims.
During the week-long programme, participants will be given the opportunity to network with the speakers in a relaxed and friendly environment, ensuring the programmes are instructive and enjoyable.
The 2013 ICC Summer School will take place from 17 to 21 June 2013.
If you wish to register, click here.
March 6th, 2013 by Raphaelle Rafin
12 African Union peacekeepers were killed during the attack on the Haskanita military base in September 2007
Today, the International Criminal Court (ICC) set the date for the commencement of the trial in the case Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain and Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus for 5 May 2014. The delay was deemed necessary to allow the adoption of measures meant to ensure that trial proceedings will not be interrupted, including witness protection and training for Zaghawa interpreters.
The case against Abdallah Banda and Saleh Jerbo concerns crimes which were allegedly committed during an attack led by the two accused and directed against the compound of the African Union Mission in Sudan at Haskanita on the evening of 29 September 2007. Charges of war crimes were confirmed by the Pre-Trial Chamber in March 2011. The Pre-Trial Judges established that there were substantial grounds to believe that MM. Banda and Jerbo are criminally responsible as co-perpetrators for three war crimes, namely violence to life, intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units and vehicles involved in a peacekeeping mission; and pillaging.
Both accused are not subject to arrest warrants and continue to be bound by the conditions set in the summonses to appear issued by the ICC. Abdallah Banda and Saleh Jerbo will be the first accused to be tried in the situation in Darfur. The situation was referred to the ICC by United Nations Security Council on 31 March 2005.
March 4th, 2013 by Raphaelle Rafin
International Multiplier Conference by the Leuven Institute of Criminology (LINC) under the auspices of ART-IP project (Awareness Raising and Training Measures for the Istanbul Protocol in Europe)
Date: 15 March 2013, 9.30 to 17.15
Venue: Small Aula (room 00.15), Faculty of Theology, Maria Theresia College, Leuven, Belgium
Torture and related acts constitute one of the most common and devastating challenges to the physical and mental health of individuals, groups and society. Not only do they affect the well-being of individuals in their countries of origin or in host countries in Europe, they also have an impact on the way in which government services and professionals deal with their consequences. Ill-treatment and torture still occur in many parts of the world and also Europe faces the problems associated with this social plague.
The Istanbul Protocol (Manual on Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment) is the joint United Nations and World Medical Association standard for training in the “assessment of persons who allege torture and ill treatment, for investigating cases of alleged torture, and for reporting such findings to the judiciary and any other investigative body”. It sets out concrete strategies to make the existing standards about torture better known around the world and became an official UN document in 1999.
After a general introduction of the existing international instruments against torture and the specific contribution of the Istanbul Protocol, two sets of parallel workshops will focus on the particular aspects for the health profession and the legal profession. Specific attention is also given in two consecutive creative workshops to the elaboration of visual training aids for the further dissemination of the Istanbul Protocol and the fight against torture in general. A detailed programme is available here.
Participation is free of charge but advance registration is required. To register please send an email to Sonja Wellens.
March 3rd, 2013 by Julien Maton
Shirani Bandaranayake with President Mahinda Rajapaksa. - ©AFP
On 10th January 2013, the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, was removed from office by a vote of Parliament, after a Select Committee of seven government ministers declared her guilty of misconduct.
A report by Geoffrey Robertson QC published this week by the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) concludes that the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka was innocent of the misconduct charges which brought about her impeachment.
The report highlights that Mrs Bandaranayake, Sri Lanka’s first woman judge, was forced out because her “careful and conscientious” rulings had displeased the government and the family of President Rajapakse.
For the Australian lawyer, the charges against her are not based on evidence and some of the allegations could not conceivably amount to ‘misconduct’.
He says that the most basic rights of a defendant were denied by the seven government ministers who put her on a secret trial. They were all biased against her and refused to allow entry not only to the public but to distinguished international observers. They gave her no time to prepare a defence and told her there were no witnesses to be called when this was not the position.
The report calls for the UK to subject the seven Sri Lankan cabinet ministers who convicted her, and 117 government Parliament Members who signed a “false and fabricated” impeachment motion to be refused entry visas and to have their bank accounts in Britain frozen. It wants Sri Lanka suspended from the Commonwealth, and urges the Queen not to attend the November Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, which will be held in Sri Lanka.