German Jihadist Convicted of War Crime

2. Ilawyer photo - German Jihadist Guilty of War Crime

© Torsten Silz/AFP

The Oberlandesgericht Frankfurt am Main, a Frankfurt Regional Court, has convicted Aria Ladjedvardi, a 21-year-old German Jihadist with Iranian roots, of two years in prison for committing a war crime for appearing in a set of photos with severed heads of Syrian army servicemen in Syria.

Indeed, between March 8 and April 16, 2014, a group of fighters attacked a checkpoint in the Idlib Province. According to the statement read by the court this Tuesday, they captured, beheaded and impaled the heads of two soldiers on spikes before putting them on public display.

The defendant posed with the heads of those soldiers in three photos found in his mother’s mobile phone, one of which was shared on the social network Facebook.

The Regional Court emphasized Mr Ladjevardi’s inacceptable behavior and held a violation of international humanitarian law for treating the two Syrian army soldiers “in a degrading and humiliating manner”.

Continue reading

Event: The War on Terror, Part II: International Law after Paris

Guest Lecture co-organized by the International Law department of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights as part of the Geneva Academy Wednesdays (GAW) series.

Paris

Date: Wednesday 16 December I 17:30

Venue:
Auditorium A2 I Maison de la Paix (Chemin Eugène-Rigot 2 – 1202 Geneva, Switzerland)

Marko Milanović – Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham and Visiting Professor at the Geneva Academy – will explore the key legal issues and challenges arising from the recent attacks carried out around the world by the Islamic State’s followers. In particular, Professor Milanović will address:

  • The interplay between international humanitarian law (IHL), human rights law and terrorism;
  • The geographic and temporal scope of IHL;
  • The law on the use of force, in light of the recent strikes by France, UK and other countries on Syrian soil.

Antonio Coco and Patryk Labuda will serve as discussants, after which the floor will be opened up to comments and questions.

If you plan to attend, please register here.

Event: Alliance Française – International Conferences

alliance-françaiseThe Alliance Française in The Hague is hosting a series of conferences in French on “International Law and European Questions”.

The first one will take place on 20 February at the Alliance Française and will be given by Mr. Gregory Mounier from Europol. The focus will be on the combat against organised crime and terrorism in Europe – the role of Europol.

The second will take place on 29 May and will feature Ms. Heleyn Unac, deputy head of the defence office at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The lecture will focus on the defence of accused persons before the international criminal courts.

For further information, click here.

Egypt: Journalists Jailed for Supporting Muslim Brotherhood

Journalists Greste (AUS), Fahmy and Mohamed (UK) ©Reuters

Journalists Greste (AUS), Fahmy and Mohamed (UK) ©Reuters

Three Al Jazeera journalists were sentenced today to seven-year and ten-year imprisonment on the counts aiding terrorists, doctoring footage and endangering Egypt’s national security by spreading false news and supporting Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. Former President Morsi’s movement was banned in September 2013 by a ruling covering “all the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood organization, the groups emerging from it, its associations, and any institution that branches from it or follows the group or receives financial support from it.”

Australian Peter Greste and British Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed were judged alongside other journalists who were tried in absentia, including Sue Turton and Dominic Kane, and students with alleged links to Islamist protests. Monitors cast doubt on the trial as the Prosecution evidence appeared too weak to convict any of the defendants. “Technically, I don’t see how a court can convict any of the defendants based on the evidence we have seen,” said Mohamed Lotfy, executive director of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), who has monitored the trial on behalf of Amnesty. “If they are convicted, it means that you are not allowed to hold any views that the government does not want you to believe – and that would be a complete attack on the freedom of expression.” Continue reading

UK: Secret Terror Trial Will be Held Partially in Public

The-Royal-Courts-of-Justi-007

The Court of Appeal in the Royal Courts of Justice (c) Graham Turner/The Guardian

Following the decision of the Court of Appeal delivered today, the secret terror trial of defendants AB and CD will be held in public.

The order was initially made by Mr Justice Nicol to grant the defendants anonymity and to exclude the public from the entirety of the trial. The Crown Prosecution Service had requested the unprecedented closed proceedings on the grounds that the case involved national security considerations.

In today’s ruling, the Court of Appeal lifted the anonymity order and identified the defendants as Erol Incedal (AB) and Mounir Rarmoul-Bouhadjar (CD). Both defendants are charged with possession of bomb making instructions; Incedal is further charged with preparing acts of terrorism, Rarmoul-Bouhadjar is further charged with an offence under the Identity Documents Act.

The Court also ordered that parts of the trial could be heard in public, including the swearing in of the jury, reading of the charges to the jury, and parts of the judge’s introductory remarks and of the Prosecution opening speech. In addition, a few accredited journalists will be entitled to hear the entirety of the proceedings, with the exception of a few very sensitive parts.

Lord Justice Gross expressed “concern” at the effect that holding the trial entirely in camera and granting the defendants anonymity would have on the fundamental principle of open justice. He did, however, state that the case was an “exceptional” one:

” We are persuaded on the evidence before us that there is a significant risk – at the very least a serious possibility – that the administration of justice would be frustrated were the trial to be conducted in open court … In our judgment, as a matter of necessity, the core of the trial must be heard in camera.”

The trial is set to commence on 16 June at the Old Bailey.

Terrorism Trial to be Held Entirely in Private in the UK

The-Royal-Courts-of-Justi-007

The Court of Appeal in the Royal Courts of Justice (c) Graham Turner/The Guardian

A terrorism trial against two defendants, known only as AB and CD, is set to commence in London on 16 June. The trial looks to be the first in modern legal history to be held entirely in private with the identity of the defendants withheld and both the media and the public excluded from the entirety of the proceedings.

This extraordinary turn of events follows an application by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Mari Reid, unit head of the counter-terrorism team in the special crime and counter-terrorism division of the CPS, gave evidence that there was a “serious possibility that the trial may not be able to go ahead” if it had to be held in public.

The order for the proceedings to be held in private was granted by Mr Justice Nicol on 19 May 2014. It is presently being appealed by the media to the Court of Appeal who heard submissions on the issue this Wednesday. Richard Whittam QC, senior Treasury counsel, argued that the exceptional nature of the case against the defendants merited the exclusion of the public from the proceedings.

The Court of Appeal was told that AB and CD are charged with serious terrorism offences, including possession of a document entitled “Bombmaking”. The evidence that the Crown are relying on could not be heard in public.

Lord Justice Gross stated that he will give the court’s decision on the appeal in a few days with a full judgement to follow

shortly thereafter.

Abu Hamza Found Guilty of Terrorism Charges

Abu HamzaToday, Abu Hamza has been found guilty of terror charges by a US court in New York. The 56-year old was facing 11 terrorism charges, including providing support to al-Qaeda and trying to set up an al-Qaeda training camp in Oregon.

In New York the jury of eight men and four women reached a unanimous guilty verdict on all 11 terror charges.

Facts of the case date back to the late 1990s, when Abu Hamza allegedly conspired to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon, to arrange for others to attend an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan, and to ensure there was satellite phone service for hostage takers in Yemen in 1998 who abducted two American tourists and 14 others.

Abu Hamza was first arrested in the United Kingdom in 2004 where he was found guilty of 11 charges, including encouraging the murder of non-Muslims, and intent to stir up racial hatred. Abu Hamza was sentenced to seven years in prison.

The same year of his conviction, the United States requested Abu Hamza’s extradition. Following a legal battle, the European Court of Human Rights finally authorized extradition after it was given assurances by the United States that Abu Hamza would neither be designated as enemy combatant (with the consequences that that entailed, such as the death penalty) nor subjected to extraordinary rendition.

He is due to be sentenced on 9 September where he faces a possible life imprisonment.

Court begins Jury selection for Abu Hamza Terrorism Trial

New York court begins today jury selection in the trial of Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, known as Abu Hamza al-Masri. Abu Hamza is facing 11 terrorism charges, including providing support to al-Qaeda and trying to set up an al-Qaeda training camp in Oregon.

hamza_2362290b

Islamic cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri Photo: EPA

Facts of the case date back to the late 1990s, when Abu Hamza allegedly conspired to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon, to arrange for others to attend an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan, and to ensure there was satellite phone service for hostage takers in Yemen in 1998 who abducted two American tourists and 14 others. Three Britons and an Australian were killed then as the Yemeni military attempted to rescue the hostages.

At a pre-trial hearing last week, Abu Hamza declared that the will testify on his own behalf, telling US district judge Katherine Forrest “I think I am innocent. I need to go through it, have a chance to defend myself.” Prosecution evidence mainly include media interviews and recordings of Abu Hamza’s weekly speeches at Finsbury Park mosque (London).

Abu Hamza was first arrested in the United Kingdom in 2004 where he was found guilty of 11 charges, including encouraging the murder of non-Muslims, and intent to stir up racial hatred. Abu Hamza was sentenced to seven years in prison.

The same year of his conviction, the United States requested Abu Hamza’s extradition. Following a legal battle, the European Court of Human Rights finally authorized extradition after it was given assurances by the United States that Abu Hamza would neither be designated as enemy combatant (with the consequences that that entailed, such as the death penalty) nor subjected to extraordinary rendition. Abu Hamza was extradited on 6 October 2012. He appeared before the New York court on 9 October and pleaded not guilty to the 11 charges.