On June 25, 2015, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Ms. Fatou Bensouda, met with the Palestinian foreign minister, Riad al-Malki, on the cases Palestine wishes to refer under the Rome Statute.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki leaves the ICC at the Hague ©Reuters
Palestine, which joined the ICC on April 1, 2015, delivered files to the ICC Prosecutor on two sets of facts that would allegedly amount to war crimes committed by Israel. The first set would inform allegations of civilian killings and wrongful treatment of prisoners throughout the occupied territories, and more especially 2014 military operations Brother’s Keeper and Protective Edge. The second set of information cover Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The question of whether illegal settlements can amount to war crimes has not yet come before the ICC, but Ms. Bensouda said “The settlements will definitely be part of this examination phase.” While the information delivered by Palestine is not considered criminal evidence, they will inform the Prosecutor’s examination of the situation that began in January 2015 and her decision to possibly open a criminal investigation.
The Dutch state has reached a compensation agreement with the relatives of three men who were sent out of the Dutch army compound in Srebrenica and killed by Bosnian Serbs.
The five relatives will receive payouts of several tens of thousands of euros, broadcaster Nos says. In addition, defence minister Jeanine Hennis has formally apologised for the way the men were sent to their deaths.
The agreement ends a legal dispute which began in 2002. The Dutch supreme court said in 2013 the Dutch state can be held responsible for the death of the three Muslim men in the siege of Srebrenica during the Yugoslavia war in 1995.
Interpreter Hasan Nuhanovic, who lost his father and brother, and relatives of electrician Rizo Mustafic said Dutch soldiers serving under the UN flag in the Muslim enclave did not do all they could to protect their relatives from the Bosnian Serb army.
Over 8,000 men and boys were murdered and buried in mass graves when the enclave was overrun and the massacre remains the subject of other legal action. The Netherlands had earlier offered each relative €20,000 but this was rejected as insufficient. Their lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld said the sum which has been agreed is ‘decent’ and that the relatives now hope to find peace.
Former 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
Photos: BINUCA/Balepe Mokosso Dany
The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed a panel to investigate the UN response to allegations of sexual abuse surrounding a deployment of foreign military forces in the Central African Republic (CAR). The three-member independent investigation panel is headed by Former Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps, the ICTR and MICT Prosecutor Justice Hassan Bubacar Jallow and Yasmin Louise Sooka, a South African human rights activist.
In a statement, the UN spokesperson shared that the Secretary-General was “deeply concerned”. Although the allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse of children were made against foreign military forces not under the command of the United Nations in the Central African Republic, the UN has been criticized for its failures and delays in responding to the allegations.
The latest scandal comes after the recent leaked internal UN report detailing accusations of sexual abuse of children by peacekeepers from France, Chad and Equatorial Guinea between December 2013 and June 2014 in Bangui that led to the temporary suspension of Anders Kompass.
The panel will start working in July to review both the allegations, the UN response and any shortcomings in existing procedures covering serious crimes by the Organization and related personnel, host State forces and non-State actors. The investigation report, expected in a ten-week time, will be made public.
Professor Michael Bohlander (Germany) has been appointed as new Reserve International Co-Investigating Judge at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), replacing Judge Olivier Beauvallet (France) who was appointed as International Judge in the Pre-Trial Chamber earlier this year.
Professor Bohlander is currently Chair in Comparative and International Criminal Law at Durham Law School, where he has been a professor since 2004.
From 1991 to 2004 Professor Bohlander served as trial and appellate judge in criminal and civil matters in the courts of the East German Free State of Thuringia, in the transitional stage after German unification in 1990. From 1999 until 2001 he served as a Senior Legal Officer of a Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Professor Bohlander holds a doctorate of law from Saarland University, where he also obtained his law degree.
Judge BAIK Kang Jin (Republic of Korea) was also appointed as new International Judge in the Pre-Trial Chamber. He replaces judge Rowan Downing (Australia) who resigned earlier this year.
A Bosnian court has granted compensation for the first time to a war crimes victim in criminal proceedings in a case against two former Bosnian Serb soldiers who raped a teenage girl during the 1992-95 war.
Courts have jailed hundreds of war criminals but have always directed victims to pursue compensation in expensive civil procedures which many victims avoided because it required them to reveal their identities.
Bosiljko Markovic and Ostoja Markovic were sentenced to 10 years in prison on Wednesday and ordered to pay 13,520 euros ($15,160) to a Croat woman they raped during the Serb attack on her village in 1992.
Experts say the verdict paves the way for adjustments in legal practice that would compensate victims and bring criminals to justice in one trial.
General Karake ©Getty Images
General Karenzi Karake, director general of Rwanda’s National Intelligence and Security Services, was arrested on Saturday, 20 June at Heathrow Airport on the basis of a European Arrest Warrant. The warrant, issued by Spain in 2008, indicts Gen. Krake, along with 39 other current or former high-ranking Rwandan military officials for alleged war crimes committed during the 1994 genocide. At the time, Gen. Karake, who is also a member of Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), was the head of military intelligence.
Rwandan officials reacted after the arrest, Foreign Minister Mushikiwabo calling it “an outrage” and Rwanda’s High Commissioner to the UK “an insult”. The warrant issued by Spain has been criticized as highly politicised by Rwandan and US diplomats. It questions the responsibility in the killings of the RPF, the Tutsi-led rebel movement that put an end to the killings and seized control of Rwanda in 1994.
General Karake remains on remand ahead of a court hearing on Thursday. He is also accused of ordering the killing of three Spanish nationals working for Medicos del Mundo.
Omar Al Bashir
Pretoria High Court Judge Hans Fabricius has granted the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC) a temporary order to prevent Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir from leaving South Africa until the urgent application to have him arrested has been heard.
The application has been brought by the SALC on behalf of a group of human rights organisations.
Yesterday, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has called on South Africa to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir who is in the country for an African Union (AU) summit.
Omar al-Bashir Bashir is wanted for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide over the conflict in Darfur.
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.
Pope Francis has approved the creation of a tribunal to hear cases of bishops accused of covering up child abuse by paedophile priests.
The tribunal will have the power to punish bishops who failed to protect young victims.
Last year, the UN strongly criticised the Church for failing to stamp out abuse and for allowing cover-ups.
The Palace of the Holy Office, which stands on the edge of the Vatican, will host the Tribunal. The palace will have to rearrange its furniture to make room for the secretary and staff of its new “Judicial Section”.
This section will work as a formal tribunal. It will investigate Catholic bishops who may have covered for priests suspected of child sex abuse, and will have the power to punish bishops found to have acted improperly.
The Pope’s decision followed a recommendation from the Pope’s newly created panel on clerical sex abuse. The panel was set up by Pope Francis in 2013 to help dioceses improve abuse prevention measures and support victims. It is made up of 17 clerics and lay people from around the world.