General Zdravko Tolimir Passed Away in Jail

Zdravko TolimirZdravko Tolimir passed away last night in the United Nations Detention Unit in The Hague.

In April last year, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) upheld the Trial Chamber’s convictions and found Tolimir, the former intelligence chief of the Bosnian Serb Army’s Main Headquarters, guilty of involvement in genocide against thousands of Bosniak men and boys from Srebrenica after the UN-protected ‘safe area’ was overrun by Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995.

Gen Zdravko Tolimir, 67, was given a life term in jail. The cause of his death has not yet been made public.

ICTR Delivers its Final Appeal Judgment

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) delivered its judgment of the appeals in the trial of The Prosecutor vs. Nyiramasuhuko et al. (Butare Case) on the 14th of December in the Courtroom of the ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania.

ictrThis is the final judgment issued by the Tribunal, which was established by the UN Security Council in 1994 with the mandate to try those responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of Rwanda and neighbouring States, between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 1994.

The appeal was lodged by Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, Arsène Shalom Ntahobali, Sylvain Nsabimana, Alphonse Nteziryayo, Joseph Kanyabashi, Élie Ndayambaje, and the Prosecution. The six accused in the case were, on 24 June 2011, variously convicted of crimes of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, incitement to commit genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for their role in crimes committed against Tutsis during the 1994 genocide. Continue reading

Rwanda Genocide: Arrest of Ladislas Ntaganzwa

Ladisla NtaganzwaOne of the last suspects wanted for alleged involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Ladislas Ntaganzwa, has been arrested in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ladislas Ntaganzwa, 53, is accused of organising mass rapes and the massacre of thousands.

He was one of nine suspects still wanted by the United Nations for their alleged role in the genocide, which left about 800,000 people dead. The others are still at large.

The genocide saw militias from the majority Hutu ethnic group killing Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

The indictment of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) describes his involvement in 1994 in the killing of more than 20,000 Tutsis between 14 and 18 April.

It says he “substantially participated in the planning, preparation and execution of the massacre”.

He told a group including Hutu civilians to surround Cyahinda parish, in southern Rwanda, “so that no Tutsis could escape and told them to kill Tutsis”, the indictment adds.

The ICTR has transferred his case to Rwanda.

ECCC: New Suspect Charged with Genocide in Case 004

ECCCThe International Co-Investigating Judge Michael Bohlander of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC) has charged Ta Tith, or Yim Tith, with crimes including genocide in Case 004.

A statement released today shows that the accused has been charged with genocide against the Khmer Krom, an ethnic minority from Southern Vietnam, as well as with the crimes against humanity of murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, imprisonment, torture, and forced marriage, and grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions.

Ta Tith was a secretary of the Khmer Rouge’s Northwest Zone at the time of the genocide which took place in the country from 17 April 1975 to 6 January 1979.

The Cambodia Daily reported that Ta Tith had been charged in person at the Court, after which he returned home with his lawyers.

Im Chaem and Maes Muth, suspects in Cases 003 and 004, had been charged with crimes allegedly committed during the Democratic Kampuchea regime earlier this year on 3 March 2015. Maes Muth was a high ranking navy commander in the Revolutionary Army of Kampuchea. Im Chaem was allegedly secretary of Preah Net Preah District in the North-West Zone. Ta An, or Ao An, the former deputy secretary of the Central Zone during the Democratic Kampuchea regime, had been charged on 30 March 2015.

As a result of the formal charges, Ta Tith and his lawyers now have access to the complete case file and are able to participate in the investigation.

Cases 003 and 004 are opposed by the Cambodian government, with Cambodian police having refused to execute arrest warrants issued by the International Co-Investigating Judge last year for suspect Meas Muth and Im Chaem.

Publication: The Armenian Genocide Legacy

The Armenian Genocide LegacyOn the centennial of the acts commonly referred to as the Armenian Genocide, academics and professionals from a variety of disciplines discuss the impact of the Genocide in their respective fields.

In this volume, they assess why it still remains relevant to discuss the Genocide today, as well as its global ramifications and its equally long-lasting mark.

Some contributions make the case for the use of aspects of the Armenian Genocide for comparative studies, in order to study the emergence of patterns between conflicts. Others focus on the impact of the Genocide on their specific fields of study.

Tackling this theme from the perspective of history, law, sociology, anthropology, political science, literature, education and media studies, The Armenian Genocide Legacy relies on an interdisciplinary approach to expose the complexity of the genocidal process, while marking the centennial of the Armenian Genocide.

To order the book, please click here.

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.

ECHR: Turkish Politician Had Right to Deny Armenian Genocide

Dogu Perinçek

Doğu Perinçek

Yesterday, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) delivered its judgment in the case of Perinçek v Switzerland. The Grand Chamber held by majority that there had been a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Mr Doğu Perinçek, a Turkish politician, had been convicted in Switzerland for publicly expressing the view that the mass deportations and massacres suffered by the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 and the following years had not amounted to genocide. At a press conference in Switzerland in May 2005, he stated that the allegations of the ‘Armenian genocide’ were an international lie. In two further public events in Switzerland he made further statements of a similar nature.

Mr Perinçek was finally convicted by the Swiss Federal Court on 12 December 2007. He lodged an application to the ECtHR to complain about his criminal conviction in June 2008. In a judgment of 17 December 2013, a Chamber of the Court held that there had been a violation of Article 10 of the Convention. The Swiss Government requested the case to be referred to the Grand Chamber. In the Grand Chamber proceedings, third-party comments were received from the Turkish Government, the Armenian Government, and the French Government.

The Court concluded that it had not been necessary, in a democratic society, to subject Mr Perinçek to a criminal penalty in order to protect the rights of the Armenian community at stake in the case. According to an official press statement of the Court, the Grand Chamber particularly took into account the following elements: Continue reading

Serbia Charges Eight Men over Srebrenica Massacre

Srebrenica MassacreProsecutors in Serbia have charged eight people over the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

The men charged today belonged to a special Bosnian-Serb police unit that was operating in the eastern village of Kravica when the killings took place.

According to the prosecutors, they herded the mainly Muslim victims into a warehouse where they were killed with machine guns and grenades in an assault that lasted all night.

Those charged included the unit’s commander, Nedeljko Milidragovic, also known as Nedjo the Butcher, who was accused of giving the order for the killings and saying that “nobody should get out alive”.

Nedeljko Milidragovic was already facing genocide charges in Bosnia but has been able to live freely in Serbia because of the lack of an extradition treaty. However, the situation has changed in March when he and the seven other suspects were arrested as a result of co-operation between the war crimes court in Belgrade and its counterpart in Sarajevo.

The eight men could face a maximum sentence of 20 years.

Russia Vetoes UN Resolution to Call Srebrenica Massacre as ‘Genocide’

Srebrenica MassacreRussia has vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution that would have described the Srebrenica massacre as “genocide”.

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said adopting it “would be counter-productive, would lead to greater tension in the region”.

Four members of the Security Council abstained while the remainder voted in favour.

The motion had angered Serbia, which rejects the term. Serbia does not have a seat on the Security Council, and had asked ally Russia to block the resolution.

The Serbian President, Tomislav Nikolic, called it a “great day” for his country.

The resolution had been drafted to mark the 20th anniversary of the atrocity, which came amid the bloody break-up of Yugoslavia into independent states.

During the Bosnian War, which saw Serbia-backed Bosnian Serb forces fighting the Muslim-led Bosnian government, thousands seeking shelter at what was supposed to be a UN refuge were slaughtered.

The resolution said that “acceptance of the tragic events at Srebrenica as genocide is a prerequisite for reconciliation”.

Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations criticized Russia’s veto, qualifying Russia’s veto as heart-breaking for the families and saying that “it is a further stain on this council’s record.” She argued amongst other things that the crime of genocide is “the crime that the United Nations Genocide Convention was written and ratified to prevent and punish. The crime of genocide in Srebrenica is what the genocide convention — which all of us have ratified — exists to prevent and punish. Reconciliation cannot be built by burying the dark parts of one’s history, however unsettling they may be.”

The Ambassador also highlighted the numerous testimonies which took place before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), describing the atrocities and leading the Yugoslavia Tribunal to convict numerous people of genocide in relation to the Srebrenica killings.