October 7th, 2013 by Raphaelle Rafin
By the Antonio Cassese Initiative for Justice, Peace and Humanity
Date: Friday 25 October 2013
Venue: European University, Florence, Italy
The Antonio Cassese Initiative for Justice, Peace and Humanity organizes a workshop on the topic Enforced Disappearance: Challenges to Accountability under International Law.
“Enforced disappearance remains one of the most heinous human rights violations. From the ‘political cleansing’ campaigns of oppressive regimes to the ‘war on terror’, hundreds of thousands of targeted opponents have disappeared without a trace, and their families left to live in uncertainty over their fate. Due to its complex nature as a multiple human rights violation and a very serious international crime, and the fact that it is, by definition, shrouded in secrecy, enforced disappearance poses particular problems with regard to accountability.
Today, in spite of a framework which includes the 2007 United Nations Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, several international courts and monitoring bodies with competence over the violation, as well as the International Criminal Court, these problems persist and new challenges emerge in the fight against impunity.
This Workshop, inspired by Antonio Cassese’s early dedication to the eradication of enforced disappearance in Chile, seeks to address some of the problematic issues raised by the ‘modern’ forms of enforced disappearance, and evaluate the effectiveness of the existing international framework.
Presentations will be given by leading experts in the field. In the active discussion that will follow each presentation, participants will have the opportunity to share views and experience in both an academic but also in a professional context. The Workshop is addressed to professionals in the fields of human rights and international criminal law, as well as PhD researchers and students with a demonstrated interest.”
Find out more about the programme here.
If you wish to participate, please register online.
For more information, please visit the Cassese Initiative website, Facebook and Twitter pages.
April 16th, 2013 by Julien Maton
The ADC-ICTY (Association of Defence Counsel practicing before the ICTY) published its latest newsletter. ADC-ICTY Newsletter Issue 45 covers recent decisions and trial developments before the ICTY, including among others Mićo Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin’s sentences of 22 years imprisonment, new Defence witnesses in the Karadžić case and Radisclav Krstić pleading not guilty for his charges of contempt of court.
The newsletter also addresses recent events at other international tribunals and at the International Criminal Court, as well as general international law updates.
April 14th, 2013 by Julien Maton
The iLawyerblog team has published its fourth newsletter on the latest developments in international justice, covering November 2012-March 2013.
It includes an interview with iLawyer John Jones QC, as well as a round-up of events and contributions from, among others, Amal Alamuddin, Miša Zgonec-Rozej, Daniel Robinson, Max du Plessis, and David Tolbert.
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?’
February 27th, 2013 by Julien Maton
iLawyerblog is delighted to announce that one of its members, iLawyer John Jones, a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers in London, has been appointed Queen’s Counsel.
Congratulations to John who will be officially appointed in a ceremony taking place on 27th March 2013.
February 10th, 2013 by Admas Habteslasie
In a recent article published on the Opinio Juris blog, Kevin Jon Heller discussed the latest development in the Libyan government’s ongoing admissibility challenge in the case of Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi. Heller critically discusses Libya’s recent request to the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber to disclose evidence supporting its admissibility challenge on an ex parte basis.
The Libyan government argued that if the Pre-Trial Chamber provides sensitive information to Gaddafi’s lawyers, the Office of the Public Counsel for the Defence (OPCD), the OPCD might leak it to “Gaddafi-regime loyalists” who would “undermine national criminal proceedings”.
Libya also argued that its ex parte disclosure is based on Article 59 of the Libyan Code of Criminal Procedure which provides an obligation of non-dislosure of investigative material prior to the accusatory phase of proceedings.
For Kevin Jon Heller, there is a formal problem with Libya’s argument, as read literally, Article 59 applies to disclosures to the Pre-Trial Chamber no less than to the OPCD. However, says Heller, Libya “never explains why it is free to breach Article 59 by disclosing information to the Pre-Trial Chamber but not free to breach it by disclosing information to the OPCD.”
For him, this argumentation simply reflects Libya’s ongoing contempt for the lawyers who work in the OPCD.
On 30 January, the Pre-Trial Chamber rejected Libya’s request to submit evidence ex parte, stating that it failed to assert to what extent the OPCD could be a source of risks that the domestic investigation be prejudiced and/or Libya’s national security jeopardized, if the OPCD was provided with the concerned material.
February 5th, 2013 by Julien Maton
The EU’s Human Rights Review Panel has just published its 2012 Annual Report, which includes a set of important recommendations regarding the future of EULEX with regard to the protection of human rights in Kosovo. iLawyer Guénaël Mettraux is a member of the Panel.
December 19th, 2012 by Julien Maton
by Guénaël Mettraux
In a 7 December op-ed in the New York Times entitled “Selective Justice for the Balkans”, David Harland, Executive Director for Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, started a conversation on what he saw as the failure of the ICTY to be equal to all.
Responding to that invitation, Marko Attila Hoare, an author and journalist, dissects what he regards as grave and numerous factual distortions underlying Harland’s argument.
Reading the two articles together is a sobering reminder that journalistic or scholarly commentaries on judicial decisions are rarely a purely objective thing. It also makes the case for the need for factual accuracy in reporting. Those involved in international criminal trials know how hard it is to make a credible and reliable record of events of this magnitude. Accuracy in this context is important because distortions will feed recrimination and heighten societal tensions. For the same reason, accuracy in reporting about such proceedings is just as important. Misrepresentations in commenting upon the judicial decisions of international criminal tribunals will not advance any sort of dialogue, and certainly not the humanitarian sort that we all wish for.
November 16th, 2012 by Raphaelle Rafin
On 11 November 2012, opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad signed an agreement in Doha to establish a national coalition aimed at uniting the various factions seeking to overthrow al-Assad. The Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces (Syrian National Coalition) is headed by Mouaz al-Khatib and includes the Syrian National Council, the previously dominant opposition umbrella group. The unity accord states that the Syrian National Coalition “supports the unification of the revolutionary military councils under the leadership of a supreme military council,” will establish a “national judicial commission,” and will “form a provincial government after gaining international recognition.”
Members of the new Syrian National Coalition in Doha, Qatar on November 11, 2012. © 2012 Reuters
First official recognitions came quickly from the Arab League and states of the Gulf Co-operation Council. On Tuesday, France became the first Western State to recognize the newly formed Syrian National Coalition as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people. Following a meeting with Mouaz al-Khatib, William Hague today announced that Britain was prepared to formally recognize the coalition. The United States have simply declared support for the coalition.
The creation of the Syrian National Coalition has already (re)opened international negotiations. Continue reading ‘New Syrian National Coalition: International Recognition, Arms Delivery and Human Rights’
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.
September 20th, 2012 by Julien Maton
Mustafa Amine Badreddine
Today, at the request of the Defence Counsel for Mustafa Amine Badreddine, the press office of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) issued the following press release:
Last Thursday, on 13 September 2012, the U.S. Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions against Mustafa Badr Al-Din, designating him pursuant to Executive Order 13224 “for providing support to Hizballah’s terrorist activities in the Middle East and around the world”.
The Defence for Mustafa Amine Badreddine (the ‘Defence’) considers that these sanctions amount to political interference with the on-going judicial process before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (the ‘Tribunal’). By referring to the indictment issued in June 2011 by the Prosecutor of the Tribunal to support the designation of Mr. Badreddine, the United States Government has shown scant regard for the presumption of innocence and for international criminal due process.
In particular, the Defence questions the rationale behind the timing of the sanctions, which do not appear, in so far as they concern Mr Badreddine, to be related to any alleged support on his part to the Assad regime. Rather, having been adopted a few weeks after a date was set for trial in March 2013, the imposition of sanctions appears to be an attempt to influence the Tribunal, prejudicing the minds of the judiciary against Mr. Badreddine in advance of his impending trial and thus interfering with the proper administration of justice. It is notable that in the US Treasury release there is no reference to the fact that Mr. Badreddine is presumed innocent of the charges brought by the STL Prosecutor.
It is highly questionable whether Mr. Badreddine can now ever receive a fair trial before the Tribunal, when the United States – a major sponsor of the Tribunal – has publicly and expressly branded him a “senior terrorist leader”.
Furthermore, the sanctions have paralysed the work of the Defence Team at a critical time in the judicial proceedings, co-counsel John RWD Jones, a dual U.K./U.S. citizen, now having to suspend his legal representation of Mr. Badreddine pending clarification as to whether he can continue to represent Mr. Badreddine without breaching the sanctions regime.
States, including members of the U.N. Security Council, donor countries and states of citizenship of Tribunal judges, should refrain from, and be vigilant against, attempts to influence international judicial proceedings.. The Defence had already alleged, in its submissions on the illegality of the Tribunal, that the Tribunal is an unlawful and political creation. The sanctions recently imposed by the United States on Mr. Badreddine only further weaken the Tribunal’s legitimacy, casting doubt on its ability to provide the accused with a fair trial.
The Badreddine Defence team is represented by Mr. Antoine Korkmaz (lead counsel), Mr. John RWD Jones (co-counsel), Ms. Pauline Baranes (legal officer) and Ms. Sarah Codde (case manager).
Antoine Korkmaz: email@example.com
John Jones: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pauline Baranes: email@example.com
Sarah Codde: firstname.lastname@example.org
July 4th, 2012 by Julien Maton
International Justice Tribune (IJT), a widely respected resource for global and transitional justice, will no longer be published at Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW).
Due to massive budgetary cuts faced by RNW last June, RNW has decided to focus on young audiences in countries where free speech is under threat.
Since its creation in 2004, IJT has been the only independent newspaper offering specialised journalistic coverage of international justice throughout the world.
As a free specialised press is essential to the main actors in the area of international justice, the IJT’s editors are seeking an imminent and sustainable solution for this non-costly project to survive in its present form.
You can help them doing so by signing their online petition and spreading the word on your blogs or other online networks.
May 16th, 2012 by Admas Habteslasie
- General Bosco Ntaganda
The ICC Prosecutor’s Office stated that it will seek arrest warrants for two Congolese rebel leaders, General Bosco Ntaganda and Sylvestre Mudacumura.
General Ntaganda was a leading figure within the Forces Patriotiques pour la libération du Congo (FPLC), the military wing of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), the organisaton formed by Thomas Lubanga. Lubanga’s conscription of child soldiers into the FPLC led to his being found guilty of war crimes by the ICC in March. A warrant was issued for General Ntaganda’s arrest in 2006 on the basis of his own involvement in the enlistment of child soldiers. The new warrant for Ntaganda’s arrest alleges, in addition, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed between September 2002 and September 2003 and draws on information revealed during Lubanga’s trial.
Ntaganda, who earned the nickname “The Terminator” during the Congolese civil conflict, is still a controversial and important figure in domestic Congolese politics. He was integrated into the regular Congolese forces as a General as a result of a peace deal organised by Congo’s president, Joseph Kabila, who for years resisted calls for Ntaganda’s arrest despite the outstanding ICC warrant and pressure from international NGOs. Kabila changed his position and began to push for Ntaganda’s arrest in April, following which Ntaganda defected from the Congolese army and, according to an investigation by Human Rights Watch, has begun to again recruit child soldiers.
Sylvestre Mudacumura is the Supreme Commander of the FDLR militia, who, according to the Prosecutor’s office, launched a campaign of attacks against the civilian populations in the Kivu regions of the Congo. Mudacumura is charged with five counts of crimes against humanity committed between January 2009 and August 2010.
The ICC Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, expressed his hope that “these two arrest warrants against leaders of militias… could help to stop the crimes”.
April 19th, 2012 by Julien Maton
L’équipe d’iLawyerblog a récemment publié sa première newsletter. Dans celle-ci figure notamment une interview de François Roux, le Chef du Bureau de la Défense du Tribunal Spécial pour le Liban.
En voici la version française :
1. Pourquoi avez-vous choisi ce poste et quels ont été les principaux défis jusqu’à présent?
La création d’un Bureau de la Défense comme Organe d’un Tribunal Pénal International est une nouveauté majeure, trop longtemps attendue, dont l’objectif est d’assurer l’égalité des armes entre la Défense et l’Accusation.
Le premier défi a été d’installer ce Bureau de la Défense dans le paysage, le faire admettre, faire reconnaître sa légitimité, sa mission et obtenir les moyens humains et financiers nécessaires afin d’offrir aux futures équipes de Défense les moyens, le soutien juridique et logistique, dont elles auront besoin pour réaliser effectivement l’ égalité des armes avec le Procureur.
Le Bureau de la défense a constitué une liste de plus de 120 avocats de 25 pays du monde, sélectionnés suite à une audition devant un panel d’avocats internationaux.
Il a travaillé à l’établissement de plusieurs textes comme la Police de l’Aide Juridictionnelle, la directive des Conseils, le Code de déontologie, ainsi qu’à la rédaction de plus de 100 memoranda qui sont mis à la disposition des Conseils sur différentes questions juridiques.
Il a établi des relations privilégiées aves les deux Barreaux du Liban et signé avec le Gouvernement Libanais un Protocole d’Accord pour permettre aux équipes de défense d’effectuer librement leurs enquêtes au Liban.
Continue reading ‘Interview de François Roux, Chef du Bureau de la Défense du Tribunal Spécial pour le Liban’
April 11th, 2012 by Julien Maton
Luis Moreno-Ocampo (Photo: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images Europe)
The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was earlier this month invited by “Independence Day” director Roland Emmerich for a dinner party dedicated to him. Surrounded by film directors, producers and actors, Luis-Moreno Ocampo used the opportunity to introduce attendees to Jedidiah Jenkins, Invisible Children’s Director of Ideology, and encourage them to support online video activism.
Invisible Children is the NGO behind the viral hit “Kony 2012″ video which was viewed by 100 million people in just six days after its release in early March.
Kony is accused of abducting children to use as fighters and sex slaves in Uganda.
According to Ocampo, the video will produce the arrest of Joseph Kony this year.
March 26th, 2012 by Julien Maton
The ICTY has published its Annual Outreach Report for 2011, setting out its activities and achievements during one of the most ambitious and dynamic periods for the programme since its inception.
The report reflects various aspects of the Tribunal’s enhanced outreach strategy at a defining moment in the Tribunal’s history as the end of its mandate approaches.
The report presents the full range of the Outreach Programme’s activities – from youth and media outreach to work with grass-root communities and judicial capacity building. Particular highlights range from a groundbreaking youth outreach project, in which 3,000 young people from high schools and universities across the former Yugoslavia will reflect with ICTY officials on the Tribunal’s contribution to justice in their communities, to the production of a feature-length documentary on the ICTY’s pioneering prosecution of wartime sexual violence. An analysis of the impact of Outreach’s enhanced presence on the Web through its new social media platforms is also presented.
The Outreach Programme was created in 1999 for the purpose of improving the understanding of the work of the Tribunal and its relevance in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. As the first programme of its kind, the Tribunal’s Outreach Programme set a precedent for other criminal tribunals which have since set up similar initiatives.
March 16th, 2012 by Julien Maton
In December 2010 the UN General Assembly designated March 24 as the International Day for the Right to Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims. The purpose of the day is to honor the memory of victims of gross and systematic human rights violations and promote the importance of the right to truth and justice. On March 24 the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) pays tribute to those who have devoted their lives to, and lost their lives in, the struggle to promote and protect human rights for all. This year the ICTJ would like to mark the day by drawing the world’s attention to the importance of the right to truth through a multimedia campaign titled “Can We Handle the Truth?”
The campaign presents five aspects of truth-seeking: truth commissions, judicial truth, the search for the missing, memory, and documentation. To illustrate these truth-seeking efforts, the ICTJ has chosen five countries from across the globe where such issues are relevant today: Kenya, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lebanon, Colombia, and Indonesia. Through text, video, and photographic content, the ICTJ aims to raise awareness of the right to truth among the human rights community and all the people it can reach.
The link to the campaign is: http://ictj.org/gallery/can-we-handle-truth