Event: ICC Performance Indicators – Debriefing on the Glion Retreat

International Criminal Court New PremisesDate: Tuesday, 24 May, 17:00 – 18:30

Venue: The Hague Institute for Global Justice, Sophialaan 10, 2514 JR The Hague

In partnership with the Embassy of Switzerland to the Netherlands, The Hague Institute for Global Justice will host a debriefing on the International Criminal Court Retreat on Performance Indicators which took place in Glion, Switzerland, at the beginning of April. The aim of this debriefing is to share the objectives and outcomes of the retreat with a broader public and to generate a valuable discussion on the topic of performance indicators.

In 2014, the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute requested the ICC to “intensify its efforts to develop qualitative and quantitative indicators that would allow the Court to demonstrate better its achievements and needs, as well as allowing States Parties to assess the Court’s performance in a more strategic manner”.

It reaffirmed its interest in the following year.  To assist the Court in this complex exercise, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, in cooperation with the ICC and the Open Society Justice Initiative, hosted an informal retreat in Glion, Switzerland, on 6-8 April 2016.

The discussion was based on the 2015 Report of the Court on the development of performance indicators.

Speakers:

  • Ms. Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi – Judge, President of the International Criminal Court
  • Mr. Jürg Lindenmann – Ambassador, Deputy Director of the Swiss Directorate of International Law
  • Mr. James Goldston – Executive Director of the Open Society Justice Initiative
  • Moderator: Mr. Lyal Sunga – Head of the Rule of Law Program, The Hague Institute for Global Justice

If you wish to register, click here.

Switzerland: Arrests and Possible Extraditions of Two Kosovan War Crimes Suspects

Kosovo WarLast week, the Swiss authorities have arrested two Kosovans wanted by Serbia for suspected war crimes.

The men, whose identity was kept confidential, are suspected of committing war crimes as members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) during the 1998–99 war.

The first man is suspected of participating in armed attacks in 1998 against two villages situated in Kosovo.

Serbia accuses him of a range of crimes, including murder, rape and conducting illegal arrests.

The second man was arrested during a routine check in Geneva and is suspected of having killed a civilian in 1999.

The Serbian authorities have requested their extradition but both men have refused it.

Moreover, Kosovo insists that it should handle cases of suspected war crimes committed by Kosovan citizens, and not Serbia.

In that vein, the Kosovo Justice Minister sent a letter to his Swiss counterpart to object to any plans to extradite the men to Serbia.

The Swiss Justice Ministry confirmed that the Swiss Justice Minister had received a letter, and had responded, addressing his concerns.

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

Naser Oric Will Be Extradited to Bosnia

Naser OricFormer Bosnian army commander Naser Oric will be extradited to Bosnia and Herzegovina following an order from the Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) on Thursday.

“Oric stated at the hearing on this request that he agreed to be extradited to Bosnia and Herzegovina. This permitted the FOJ to approve the extradition immediately in simplified proceedings,” the FOJ said in a statement.

Oric’s extradition was initially requested by Serbia, who had issued a warrant for his arrest last year accusing him of the murder of 9 Serb civilians in Srebrenica in July 1992. Swiss authorities arrested Oric on the 10th of June on this Serbian warrant, but on Monday, the Prosecutors Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina called on Switzerland not to extradite Oric, a Bosnian citizen, to Serbia. The Bosnian authorities urged Switzerland to return Oric to them instead.

According to the FOJ, “The decisive points here are the same criminal acts on which both requests are based were committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that Oric is a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

During the 1992-1995 war, Naser Oric was the commander of Muslim Bosniak forces in the Srebrenica region of Bosnia. The region fell to Bosnian Serbs in July 1995 and 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed by Serb forces. Continue reading

Swiss Arrest of Former Bosnian Military Commander Without Legal Basis?

Naser Oric

Naser Oric

Swiss authorities followed improper procedure in their arrest of former Bosnian Muslim military commander Naser Oric in Geneva on Wednesday, said Bosnia’s Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic on Friday in Sarajevo.

Oric’s arrest is based on an international warrant issued by Serbia which alleges his participation in war crimes in the 1990’s. However the Bosnian authorities were surprised by the accusations, having received no information from Serbia. Moreover, Oric’s name had been deleted from the Interpol wanted list long ago.

In 2006, Oric was sentenced by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to two years in prison for not doing enough to prevent crimes committed against Serbs during the Balkan conflict. He was acquitted of all charges two years later.

The Bosnian Prime Minister urged Serbia on Friday to observe the provisions of a bilateral agreement dating from 2013, which calls for the process to be conducted in the suspect’s homeland – in this case Bosnia.

Guatemalan Ex-Police Chief’s Life Sentence Upheld on Appeal

Erwin Sperisen

Erwin Sperisen

On 12 May 2015, Erwin Sperisen, former head of Guatemala’s National Civil Police, was found guilty of 10 murders by the Criminal Division of the Court of Justice in Geneva, Switzerland. Sperisen thereby lost his appeal against a life sentence for killing prisoners in his home country.

On 6 June 2014, Sperisen had been sentenced to life imprisonment for involvement in extra-judicial killings of seven inmates committed during a police raid on the El Pavon prison outside Guatemala City in 2006.

Sperisen fled to Switzerland in 2007, and as a dual Swiss-Guatemalan citizen, he could not be extradited to Guatemala from Switzerland.

On appeal, the Court of Second Instance re-examined the part Sperisen played in the extrajudicial executions of 10 prisoners during operations carried out by the Guatemalan police. The Swiss Criminal Court upheld his conviction for the 7 inmates of El Pavon prison and also found the former police chief guilty of the murder of three prisoners who had escaped from El Infirnito jail the year before.

Given the seriousness of the acts, the number of victims and the lack of empathy and awareness displayed by the former Chief of the Guatemalan National Police, the judges in the Geneva Criminal Court considered that only a sentence of life imprisonment would be likely to punish the accused.

TRIAL, a Geneva-based NGO called the confirmation of Sperisen’s life sentence a victory for the fight against impunity. According to the Director of TRIAL “[T]he sentence passed is proof that the justice system is able to prove the involvement of the State and its representatives in serious human rights violations, and bring them to justice. We hope that Erwin Sperisen’s conviction will set an example, particularly to the Spanish authorities, who must now prosecute his immediate superior, former minister Carlos Vielman, for the same acts.”

Sperisen was detained in 2012, two years after Guatemala issued arrest orders over the killings at the El Pavon prison.The orders followed an investigation by the UN-backed international commission against impunity in Guatemala (CICIG).