100th Newsletter of the ICTY Association of Defence Counsel

ADC-ICTY-300x300The Association of Defence Counsel Practising Before the ICTY (ADC-ICTY) has published the 100th issue of its newsletter.

This edition covers the recent developments in the Mladić case as well as in the Karadžić case, where the Defence filed two motions before the Appeals Chamber of the MICT (Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals) requesting on one hand the Prosecution to disclose statements to the Defence and on the other hand access to Ex Parte Filings in Completed Cases.

The newsletter also addresses the recent developments which took place at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, as well as in Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, where a war crimes trial is held against a former Bosnian Presidency Member, Borislav Paravac, accused of having participated in a joint criminal enterprise, targeting the Bosniak and Croat civilian population in Doboj (Northern Bosnia) between May 1992 and the end of 1993.

The newsletter also contains an op-ed analysis on the recent conviction of Radovan Karadžić and whether his conviction impedes Ratko Mladić’s right to a fair trial.

U.S.: Croatian Woman Can Be Extradited on War Crimes Charges

Azra Basic

Azra Basic

U.S. Federal appeals judges have recently upheld a decision allowing the extradition of Azra Basic to Bosnia and Herzegovina, a Muslim Croatian woman accused of murder and torture during the 1992-1995 Bosnian War.

Basic had challenged a ruling by U.S. District Judge that said Basic could be deported to face trial in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Basic came to the United States as a refugee in 1994. She settled in Kentucky and became a naturalized citizen in 2007.

Basic’s attorney argued that a treaty does not allow extradition of U.S. citizens to Bosnia and that Bosnian authorities did not issue a proper arrest warrant for her.

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, ruling that the treaty in place between the United States and Bosnia does not bar Basic from being extradited.

The Court of Appeals also said that while there was no warrant of arrest against Basic as such, other documents in the file constituted a valid warrant. Continue reading

Death of John R.W.D. Jones QC

John JonesIt is with extreme sadness that we announce the death of our dear friend and colleague John R.W.D. Jones QC.

John was a pioneer in the field of international criminal law, an adventurer, a great friend and a loving and devoted father.

We will miss John terribly.

Our loving thoughts are with Misa, their wonderful boys and John’s family.

(http://www.doughtystreet.co.uk/news/article/doughty-street-mourns-john-jones-qc)

(http://www.eccc.gov.kh/en/articles/statement-defence-support-section-passing-john-rwd-jones-qc)

Event: Trials in Absentia in International Criminal Justice

IBADate: 8 June 2016 from 14:00-17:30

Venue: The Hague Institute for Global Justice, Sophialaan 10, The Hague, Netherlands

This event is organized by the International Bar Association.

The Keynote presentation will be delivered by the President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), Judge Ivana Hrdlicková. 

Following the Keynote presentation, two panels of experts will discuss issues related to the theory and practice of trials in absentia: ‘Trials in absentia: human rights law & the judicial process’ (moderated by Dr Mark Ellis, IBA Executive Director) and ‘Effective representation & ethics in trials in absentia‘ (moderated by Ms Anne-Marie Verwiel, expert in international criminal practice).

 Topics to be addressed include

  • Issues related to the fairness of proceedings, including notice to the accused, the right to re-trial, and effective assistance of Counsel
  • The tensions between the promotion of the rule of law, fair trial rights and efficiency of proceedings
  • The future of trials in absentia in international criminal law

The panelists include Mr Geoffrey Robertson QC, the former President of the UN’s Special Court for Sierra Leone, Mr François Falletti, the former Chief Prosecutor of the Paris Court of Appeals, Dr Guido Acquaviva, the Deputy Registrar of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, Ms Héleyn Uñac, Deputy Head of the Defence Office of the STL, as well as other international experts and practitioners with experience in in absentia trials, including at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the Bangladesh War Crimes Tribunal.

Participation is free of charge. However, prior registration is required to attend the event.

You can register by sending the name and email of all attendees to Hague.Events@int-bar.org before 25 May 2016.

For the full programme of the event, click here.

Rwandan Politician Sentenced to Life Imprisonment for Genocide

Léon Mugesera

Léon Mugesera

Last Friday, Léon Mugesera has been sentenced to life imprisonment in Rwanda for inciting his countrymen to commit genocide.

Mugesera was accused of having delivered a fiery speech in Rwanda in 1992 in which he suggested that members of the Tutsi ethnic group should be exterminated. His speech is considered to have been a trigger for the massacre of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 1994.

Some excerpts from the speech were played repeatedly on Rwandan radio stations, including Radio Mille Collines.

Mugesera was a political adviser to the party of then president Juvenal Habyarimana. He fled Rwanda in 1992 settling with his family in Canada as a refugee and working as a lecturer in linguistics at Laval University.

In 1995, the Canadian government initiated extradition proceedings to send him back to Rwanda, where he was wanted for genocide. Mugesera was extradited in January 2012. His trial began in November 2013 in Kigali.

According to his lawyer, the Canadian government made “a big mistake” in not being more wary of the Rwandan government led by Paul Kagame, claiming that Mugesera did not get a fair trial and was doomed from the start.

“His speech was a very harsh one but it was not an incitement to murder or genocide or hatred,” his lawyer said. He added that Mugesera is a “great democrat” who could have become president of Rwanda.

Amnesty International: Israel Must Cease Intimidation of Palestinian Human Rights Defenders

Palestine IsraelAmnesty International issued a report this week calling on the Israeli authorities to end their long-standing attacks on Palestinian human rights defenders (HRDs) and halt the climate of intimidation of HRDs in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).

According to the report, Israel is routinely violating Palestinians’ rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association in the OPT and are targeting HRDs, including by arbitrary arrest and detention, imprisonment, injury and torture. Israel authorities also are failing to protect HRDs from attacks by Israeli settlers and other extreme right wing activists, and in some cases they have been complicit in such attacks.

The report of Amnesty International lists a number of specific situations where human rights defenders have been intimidated, threatened by death, arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned.

In February and March 2016, a staff member and the director of Al-Haq, a prominent Palestinian human rights NGO, were subjected to a number of death threats. According to the report, these threats are directly connected to the organisation’s work with the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Israeli ministers allegedly made calls alluding to threats, including of physical harm and deprivation of basic rights, against Omar Barghouti, a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activist, at an anti-Boycott Divestment and Sanction conference in Jerusalem on 28 March 2016. Continue reading

French Court of Appeal Rules to Extradite Suspected War Criminal

Radomir SusnjarToday, the Paris Court of Appeal ruled to extradite Radomir Susjnar, a suspected Bosnian Serb paramilitary, to Bosnia-Herzegovina to face charges of crimes against humanity.

Bosnia-Herzegovina wants Susnjar to face accusations he was part of a Bosnian Serb paramilitary group that massacred 59 Bosnian Muslims in the city of Visegrad in June 1992.

Witnesses say Susnjar personally locked the people – most of them women, children or elderly – inside a house and set it on fire. All but eight of them perished.

He was arrested in the Paris region in April 2014.

The court’s ruling in favour of extradition on international principles was a relief to victims, who had called on the court not to set precedent they feared would allow war criminals to find a safe haven in France. Continue reading

Book Launch: Foreign Fighters under International Law and Beyond

Foreign Fighters International LawDate: 31 May 2016, at 7pm.

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

This bookForeign Fighters under International Law and Beyond, offers various perspectives, with an international legal focus, on an important and underexplored topic, which has recently gained momentum: the issue of foreign fighters. It provides an overview of challenges, pays considerable attention to the status of foreign fighters, and addresses numerous approaches, both at the supranational and national level, on how to tackle this problem. Outstanding experts in the field – lawyers, historians and political scientists – contributed to the present volume, providing the reader with a multitude of views concerning this multifaceted phenomenon. Particular attention is paid to its implications in light of the armed conflicts currently taking place in Syria and Iraq.

Programme:

  • 19:00: Welcome and introduction by Dr. Christophe Paulussen, T.M.C. Asser Instituut & ICCT
  • 19:10: Presentation by Dr. Francesca Capone, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna
  • 19:30: Presentation by Prof. Edwin Bakker, Institute of Security and Global Affairs & ICCT and Mr. Mark Singleton, ICCT
  • 20:00: Q&A
  • 20:30: Closure by Dr. Christophe Paulussen and Mr. Frank Bakker, T.M.C. Asser Press

Registration for this event is mandatory. In order to register, please click here.

MICT: Launch of First Online Exhibition of Archives

UN MICTThis week, the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) launched its first online exhibition entitled “A Glimpse into the Archives”.

The purpose of this exhibition is to allow the general public to contextualize, access, and understand the value of the archives of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda (ICTR) and for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which are now in the custody of the Mechanism.

The exhibition features a selection of interesting items to illustrate the diversity of the records in the archives. The items include photographs of artefacts used as evidence in court, drawings made by witnesses, and an extract from a historic trial judgement.

The exhibition aims to create an interactive experience. Each image has descriptive details and links to databases where other records can be found.

This exhibition is an opportunity to reflect on the many facets these records have: they document the judicial process while also depicting specific events that are part of larger contexts. The archives also help make tangible the complexity of the events that took place in Rwanda and in the former Yugoslavia.

ICTY: Prosecution Will Appeal the Acquittal of Vojislav Šešelj

Seselj

Vojislav Šešelj

Today, the ICTY Prosecutor, Serge Brammertz stated that his Office will appeal the acquittal of Vojislav Šešelj.

The Office of the Prosecutor considers that there has been “a fundamental failure” by the Trial Chamber Majority to perform its judicial function and to properly adjudicate core aspects of the Prosecution’s case by, among other things, failing to consider large parts of the evidentiary record, making unreasonable and conflicting factual findings, or failing to properly apply the elements of modes of liability such as joint criminal enterprise and aiding and abetting in accordance with established case-law.

Moreover, the Prosecution explains that the Trial Chamber Majority unreasonably allowed for the possibility that criminal conduct was simply a lawful contribution to the war effort, despite the overwhelming body of evidence pointing against it. According to the Prosecution, this led the Trial Chamber Majority to unreasonably credit the possibility that: expelling civilians was a humanitarian gesture; that incendiary hate speech was simply morale boosting for the Serb forces; and that the deployment of ethnic cleansing forces was a measure to protect the Serb population.

Vojislav Šešelj, 61, had been charged with three counts of crimes against humanity and six of war crimes over ethnic cleansing in Croatia, Bosnia and the Serbian province of Vojvodina between August 1991 and September 1993.

The charges involved the forcible transfer of tens of thousands of civilians; torture, sexual assaults, beatings and other physical abuse of detained non-Serbs; the destruction of homes, religious sites, cultural institutions; and hate speech. Continue reading