Kenya: ICC Terminates the Ruto and Sang Case

Ruto and Sang ICC

William Ruto and Joshua Sang at the International Criminal Court (ICC)

Today, the Trial Chamber V(A) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided that the case against William Ruto and Joshua Sang is to be terminated.

The Chamber considered the requests of Mr Ruto and Mr Sang that the Chamber find that there is ‘no case to answer’, dismiss the charges against both accused and enter a judgment of acquittal.

On the basis of the evidence and arguments submitted to the Chamber, Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji and Judge Robert Fremr, as the majority, agreed that the charges are to be vacated and the accused are to be discharged. They provided separate reasons for this decision.

Judge Fremr found that there is no case for the accused to answer based on the fact that the Prosecution did not present sufficient evidence on which a reasonable Trial Chamber could convict the accused. Accordingly, he considered that there is no reason to call the Defence to bring their case or to prolong the proceedings any further.

Judge Eboe-Osuji, concurring with Judge Fremr’s evidential assessment, also vacated the charges and discharged the accused without prejudice to re-prosecution in the future. However, he declared a mistrial in the case, because it cannot be discounted that the weaknesses in the Prosecution case might be explained by the demonstrated incidence of tainting of the trial process by way of witness interference and political meddling that was reasonably likely to intimidate witnesses. In his opinion, Judge Eboe-Osuji also discussed several matters including reparations, immunities and elements of the “crimes against humanity” definition.

The majority of the Chamber also concluded that a judgment of acquittal was not the right outcome, but only vacation of the charges and discharge of the accused. The majority also agreed that there is no reason to re-characterise the charges. Continue reading

New Book on the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

Book ECCCThe Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia  Assessing their Contribution to International Criminal Law

Edited by Simon M. Meisenberg and Ignaz Stegmiller

The ECCC were established in 2006 to bring to trial senior leaders and those most responsible for serious crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge regime. Established by domestic law following an agreement in 2003 between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the UN, the ECCC’s hybrid features provide a unique approach of accountability for mass atrocities.

The book entails an analysis of the work and jurisprudence of the ECCC, providing a detailed assessment of their legacies and contribution to international criminal law. The collection, providing a foreword by ICC Judge Chung and containing twenty chapters from leading scholars and practitioners with inside knowledge of the ECCC, discuss the most pressing topics and its implications for international criminal law. These include the establishment of the ECCC, subject matter crimes, joint criminal enterprise and procedural aspects, including questions regarding the trying of frail accused persons and the admission of torture statements into evidence.

This book is the first comprehensive study on the work and functioning of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). It highlights that the ECCC has delivered a rich jurisprudence that deserves scrutiny and analysis in order to explore its contribution to international criminal justice. General criticism towards the ECCC and many aspect of international criminal law may be superficial, missing a critical assessment of the law and practice of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. The book therefore attempts to contribute to a better understanding of the challenges encountered not only by the ECCC, but by international criminal justice as a whole.

To order the book click here

Myanmar: New Government Inherits Problems and Promise of Special Economic Zones

By Vani Sathisan (International Legal Advisor, International Commission of Jurists) and Bobbie Sta. Maria (Senior Researcher for Southeast Asia, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre)

Myanmar Special Economic ZoneWhile SEZs are supposed to be a driver for Myanmar’s economic growth, their impacts on the rights of affected communities indicate that this growth is reserved for businesses and investors.

This is a long form version of this article published by Reuters on 1st April 2016.

More than half a century of military rule ostensibly comes to a close on April 1, when Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) officially takes over Myanmar’s government and the first civilian President since 1962 starts leading the nation. Despite these extraordinary developments, daunting challenges remain in Asia’s second poorest country. Myanmar’s military still controls key governmental functions; the country is barely emerging from decades of civil conflicts; rule of law and institutions are weak; the economy is fragile and dominated by crony companies; corruption, and human rights abuses remain stubbornly persistent.

The outgoing government initiated a number of significant changes, including efforts to encourage economic development through foreign trade and investment. This strategy included heavily promoting foreign investment through three major special economic zones (SEZ): a Japanese supported zone focused on manufacturing in Thilawa, near Yangon; a Thai supported zone initially focused on heavy industry including petrochemicals in Dawei in the south; and a Chinese supported zone in Kyaukphyu in the northwest, envisioned as a trade corridor connecting the Chinese, Indian and ASEAN economies. These were said to build on Myanmar’s strategic location and low-cost production base for export destinations in the region.

The NLD recently announced that while it supports the zone in Thilawa, it will reconsider the continuation of the Dawei and Kyaukphyu SEZs, study commitments made by the former government to investors, and speak with relevant stakeholders. This is a crucial process and many hope that the NLD does not lose sight of its commitments in its Election Manifesto, including encouraging “foreign investment in line with the highest international standards”, and laying down “paths for economic cooperation that can bring sustainable long-term mutual benefits”. Continue reading

Event: Lecture and Book Launch on the Legal Ramifications of the Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide LegacyDate and Time: 12 April 2016, at 19:00h

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

This lecture, and launch of the book The Armenian Genocide Legacy, is organised in cooperation with the International Humanitarian and Criminal Law Platform.

Speakers:

  • Alexis Demirdjian, Trial Attorney, Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court
  • Nolwenn Guibert, Legal Officer in Trial Chambers, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

Alexis Demirdjian will be providing an overview introduction of the book, and one of his co-authors, Nolwenn Guibert will deal with the issue of reparations and compensations.

The book itself is an interdisciplinary volume that Alexis Demirdjian led as editor. It contains 20 chapters drafted by specialists and academics from a variety of disciplines, including law, history, political science, sociology, anthropology, literature, education and media studies.

The main themes of the book are (1) the relevance of the Armenian Genocide in modern-day academic studies, as a prototype to further comparative studies, and (2) the impact of the Genocide on various fields of study in particular questions of identity (anthropology), coping mechanisms (through literature and filmic representations) and interstate politics.

A quarter of the book is dedicated to legal ramifications, including the chances of success of a case before the International Court of Justice, the status of the Armenian case and whether it fits the definition of genocide, sexual violence during the Genocide, the issue of genocidal intent and excuses of counter-insurgency, the issue of reparations and finally questions relating to the failure of judicial systems during armed conflicts.

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