Victims of US Drone Strike Against The Netherlands



Two Somali citizens have taken legal action against the Netherlands for war crimes. The two nomads represented by Dutch lawyers Göran Sluiter and Liesbeth Zegveld, claim that they were hit and lost their two young daughters because of an American drone strike in January 2014. The US operation was meant to eliminate Ahmed Godane and resulted in the killing of several Al Shabaab members. At the time, no civilian casualties were reported by any media or Western officials.

The two victims claim that the Netherlands are co-reponsible for the attack since the Dutch intelligence has been providing crucial information on Somali communications to the US. The Intercept has revealed documentation stating that more than half of US interventions in Yemen and Somalia are informed by meta data, which is often provided by foreign partners. The use of these telecommunication data by the US army is the basis of the case brought by the two Dutch lawyers.

Sluiter, one of the lawyer, criticized the so-called precision of targeted done killings: “Drone strikes are only allowed if there are no innocent victims in the area. But obviously the drones are not controlled with due care”, Sluiter said. Controversies have recently became stronger around drone attack.  According to The Intercept, only 35 out of 200 killings by drone from 2012 to 2013 in Afghanistan were intended targets.

Sri Lanka – Expert Panel Nominated To Monitor Transitional Justice

UN Sri LankaThe Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (“TGTE”) has nominated a panel of five legal experts to monitor the design and implementation of the transitional justice mechanisms in Sri Lanka, including the judicial measures to investigate and prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide (“Monitoring Accountability Panel” or “MAP”).

Following the Report of the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka, dated 16 September 2015, and the UN Human Rights Council Resolution on ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka,’ dated 1 October 2015, the Sri Lankan Government undertook to establish accountability mechanisms to address the crimes committed during the Sri Lankan armed conflict. These will include a special criminal court with foreign judges and prosecutors.

The MAP will provide independent monitoring, advice, and recommendations, focusing on the effectiveness of accountability measures from a victims’ perspective. It will also consider issues of fair trial and due process for suspects and accused persons. The views and recommendations of the Panel will enable victims and other stakeholders to participate more effectively in the process and thus enhance the legitimacy of the measures.

The MAP shall formulate its opinions independently – irrespective of party political considerations or the agenda of any specific group (including the TGTE) – according to the interests of fair justice, applying international standards and best practices. The initial mandate of the Panel shall run from November 2015 to December 2016.

The Members of the Monitoring Accountability Panel have been selected for their legal expertise in international criminal law and human rights, national war crimes courts, and regional criminal cases. The Panel Members (in alphabetical order) are:

  • Marie Guiraud (France)
  • Peter Haynes QC (UK)
  • Richard J Rogers (UK)
  • Heather Ryan (USA)
  • Justice Ajit Prakash Shah (India)
  • Geoffrey Robertson QC will act as a consultant to the Panel, providing additional independent advice.

Naser Orić’s Defence Requests Termination of the Proceedings

Naser OricNaser Orić’s defense lawyers have called on the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals to order the termination of the proceedings against their client. The charges against him were brought before the State Court in Sarajevo

The defense of Naser Orić, who was tried by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), has asked Theodor Meron, the president of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, to appoint a panel of judges which would order the Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH) State Court to terminate the proceedings against the former BH Army commander in Srebrenica.

In the motion, the defence has invoked Article 7 of the Mechanism’s Statute, which stipulates that ‘no person shall be tried before a national court for acts constituting serious violations of international humanitarian law under the present Statute for which he or she has already been tried by the ICTY, the ICTR, or the Mechanism’. Orić’s defense has also invoked the Rules of Procedure which stipulate that if the president of the Mechanism receives reliable information that proceedings have been instituted before a national court against a person who has already been tried before one of the international tribunals, the president should issue a ‘reasoned order’ to ‘permanently terminate’ the proceedings. Continue reading

“A Well-Reasoned Opinion?”

Former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea appe

Nuon Chea (left) and Khieu Samphan

The Asian International Justice Initiative (AIJI) has written and published “A Well-Reasoned Opinion? Critical Analysis of the First Case Against the Alleged Senior Leaders of the Khmer Rouge”, a final, comprehensive report on the trial of Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan in Case 002/01 at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC).

On 7 August 2014, the ECCC reached an important institutional milestone when the Court published its long-awaited Trial Judgment in the first case against two of the surviving alleged senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge—Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan The Court found both men guilty of crimes against humanity, and sentenced them each to life imprisonment, while awarding “moral and collective reparations” to the 3,869 Civil Parties participating in the trial.

Despite hopes that the five-year process of judicial investigation, trial, deliberation, and Judgment-drafting would produce a rigorous and insightful final product, in reality, this report argues, the Case 002/01 Judgment fails to deliver the most fundamental output one expects from a criminal trial—systematic application of the elements of crimes to a well-documented body of factual findings. Based, in part, on insight gained from the continuous presence of a team of trial monitors throughout trial, this report provides commentary on “how a contentious and confusing trial process in Case 002/01 ultimately produced a similarly problematic final Judgment.”

ICC: Dismissal of Prosecutor’s Appeal Against Decision Requiring Review of the Mavi Marmara Case


The Mavi Marmara was the lead ship in a eight-vessel humanitarian convoy heading for Gaza.

Today the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided by majority to dismiss, in limine and without discussing its merits, the Prosecutor’s appeal against the decision of Pre-Trial Chamber I requesting the Prosecutor to reconsider the decision not to initiate an investigation into the situation referred to her by the Union of the Comoros with regard to “the 31 May 2010 Israeli raid on the Humanitarian Aid Flotilla bound for Gaza Strip”.

The Appeals Chamber found that, contrary to what the Prosecutor had submitted, the decision of Pre-Trial Chamber I was not one “with respect to […] admissibility” within the meaning of article 82 (1) (a) of the Rome Statute. The Prosecutor’s appeal was therefore inadmissible. As a part of its reasoning, the Appeals Chamber considered that to allow the Prosecutor’s appeal to be heard would rupture the scheme for judicial review of the Prosecutor’s decisions as explicitly set out in article 53 of the Statute, introducing an additional layer of review by the Appeals Chamber that lacks any statutory basis.

The Appeals Chamber’s decision was adopted by a majority composed of Judges Sanji Mmasenono Monageng, Howard Morrison and Piotr Hofmański. Judges Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi and Christine Van den Wyngaert appended a joint dissenting opinion on the admissibility of the Prosecutor’s appeal, concluding that they would declare the appeal to be admissible, without prejudice to their subsequent consideration of its merits. Continue reading

Investigation Reveals ‘Strong Evidence’ of Genocide against Rohingya

FILE - In this June 13, 2012 file photo, a Rohingya Muslim man who fled Myanmar to Bangladesh to escape religious violence, cries as he pleads from a boat after he and others were intercepted by Bangladeshi border authorities in Taknaf, Bangladesh. She is known as the voice of Myanmar's downtrodden but there is one oppressed group that Aung San Suu Kyi does not want to discuss. For weeks, Suu Kyi has dodged questions on the plight of a Muslim minority known as the Rohingya, prompting rare criticism of the woman whose struggle for democracy and human rights in Myanmar have earned her a Nobel Peace Prize, and adoration worldwide. (AP Photo/Anurup Titu, File)

Rohingya People who fled Myanmar to Bangladesh to escape violence (AP Photo/Anurup Titu)

According to a news article by Al Jazeera of Tuesday the 27th of October, there is ‘strong evidence’ that a genocide against the Rohingya people at the hands of the Myanmar government is, and has been, taking place.

The Lowenstein Clinic of Yale Law School, a clinic that undertakes a wide variety of projects involving students of Yale Law School and which is working on behalf of human rights organisations and individual victims of human rights abuses, spent eight months assessing evidence from Myanmar.

The clinic concluded that it was hard to avoid a conclusion that intent to commit genocide is present, given the scale of the atrocities and the way politicians in Myanmar talk about the Rohingya muslim minority of the country.

Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit and the advocacy group Fortify Rights provided documents and testimonies to the study. According to this evidence, “the government has been triggering communal violence for political gain by inciting anti-Muslim riots, using hate speech to stoke fear among the Myanmarese about Muslims, and offering money to hardline Buddhist groups who threw their support behind the leadership.”

Al Jazeera has also published a new documentary, Genocide Agenda, which consults legal and diplomatic experts on whether the governments campaign amounts to systematic extermination. Continue reading

Srebrenica Families Sue the Netherlands Before the ECHR

Srebrenica MassacreThe families of three Bosnian Muslims filed a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against the Netherlands for failing to investigate whether its peacekeeping commanders in Srebrenica allowed Bosniaks to be killed.

The move came after a Dutch appeals court ruled in April that Dutch Battalion (“Dutchbat”) commander Thom Karremans, his deputy Rob Franken and personnel officer Berend Oosterveen should not be prosecuted.

The appeal was brought by Hasan Nuhanovic, a Srebrenica survivor and former translator for the UN peacekeepers, and the family of Rizo Mustafic, who was killed by Bosnian Serb forces.

The three former UN Dutchbat commanders led the Dutch soldiers during the fall of the Muslim enclave. About 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered and buried in mass graves in mid-July 1995 at Srebrenica by Serb forces commanded by Ratko Mladic, now on trial for genocide and war crimes before the Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

When the Bosnian Serb Army overran Srebrenica, Nuhanovic’s relatives and Mustafic, along with several hundred others, sought refuge inside the Dutch peacekeepers’ base in Potocari.

Instead of finding safety however, they were handed to the Serbs by Dutch soldiers and subsequently killed.

Nuhanovic’s lawyer, Liesbeth Zegveld, said that she was optimistic about the case because the Dutch authorities should have at least brought the case before a criminal court, instead of just briefly dealing with it through a military prosecution.

“We think it is clear the Dutch authorities should have opened a criminal investigation and not just read historical records. The military prosecution said they read the historical records and found the three commanders were not criminally complicit. This was not at all for them to decide,” said Zegveld.

ICTY: Judge Agius and Judge Liu Elected President and Vice-President

Judge Agius

Judge Carmel Agius

Judge Carmel Agius (Malta) and Judge Liu Daqun (China) were elected by acclamation as President and Vice-President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia by the permanent judges in an Extraordinary Plenary Session yesterday, 21 October 2015. Judge Agius and Judge Liu will succeed President Meron and Vice-President Agius and will serve for a two year term starting November 17, 2015.

Judge Carmel Agius is currently the Tribunal’s Vice-President and has served in this role since 2011. He is also an Appeals Chamber judge of both the Tribunal and the ICTR. He was first elected to the Tribunal in 2001 and re-elected in 2004. Between 2003 and 2010, he was Presiding Judge of Trial Chamber II of the Tribunal during which time he presided over the Brđanin, the Orić and the multi-accused Popović trials. He was also engaged in the initial appearance and pre-trial preparation and disposal of several other cases.

Since 2010, he has been dealing with appeals from both the Tribunal and the ICTR. Presently, he is presiding over multiple appeal matters. Since 2003 he has chaired the Rules Committee of the Tribunal and has served as a member of the Tribunal’s Bureau. In 2010 and 2011, on behalf of the Tribunal he has coordinated and brought to a conclusion the drafting of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals which were submitted to and accepted by the UN Security Council, and later adopted by the judges of the Mechanism. In 2011 he was elected a Judge of the Mechanism. Continue reading

Sri Lanka: Judge Says War Crimes Claims Are Credible

Sri Lanka Civil WarA government-appointed Sri Lankan judge, Maxwell Paranagama, says allegations the army committed war crimes during the long conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels are “credible”.

The judge was leading the first government inquiry into the atrocities, one month after the UN released its own findings.

The President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, has already vowed to set up a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate further.

In his report, the judge said there were “credible allegations which […] may show that some members of the armed forces committed acts during the final phase of the war that amounted to war crimes giving rise to individual criminal responsibility”.

He called on the government to set up an internationally-backed judicial inquiry, which was also recommended in the UN report in September.

The UN report found that the sheer number of allegations, their gravity, recurrence and the similarities in their modus operandi, as well as the consistent pattern of conduct they indicated, all pointed towards system crimes. It emphasised that violations of international human rights law, serious violations of international humanitarian law and international crimes were allegedly committed by all parties to the conflict.

Among the crimes that were identified were unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, and arbitrary arrests of civilians by Sri Lankan security forces and paramilitary groups as well as brutal use of torture, particularly in the aftermath of the armed conflict when former. The report also says that there are reasonable grounds to believe that rape and other forms of sexual violence by security forces personnel was widespread against both male and female detainees.

The Sri Lankan war started in 1983 when the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (the LTTE) started an insurgency against the Sri Lankan government in order to create an independent Tamil state in the north and east of the country. In 2009, the Sri Lankan military defeated the LTTE, bringing the 26-year civil war to an end. The UN estimates that 40,000 Tamils died in the final army offensive.

Radislav Krstic Wins £50k After Suing British Government

Radislav KrstićRadislav Krstic has won more than £50,000 from the British government for failing to protect him from a savage prison attack.

Krstic, who is serving 35 years after being convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia for his part in the Srebrenica massacre, was being held at Wakefield prison when he was slashed with a razor blade.

Three Muslim extremists stormed his cell at the high security prison and cut his throat before leaving him for dead in the 2010 assault.

They held Krstic down and used a razor blade embedded in a tooth brush handle to cut his throat, neck and face.

Krstic claimed he has been left physically and mentally scarred and accused the prison authorities of negligently failing to protect him from the threat of attack by prisoners.

A judge, sitting at Central London County Court, has now ruled that the Ministry of Justice was negligent and awarded him £52,500 damages.

At the time of the attack, Krstic was being held in Britain under an agreement with NATO.

His attackers were all later convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

In his ruling, the judge said that Wakefield Prison had no appropriate facilities for protective confinement and Krstic should never have been transferred there.

Radislav Krstic serves now his sentence in a Polish jail.