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FREDERICK K. COX
INTERNATIONAL LAW CENTER

War Crimes Prosecution Watch

Volume 3 - Issue 34
December 8, 2008

Editor in Chief
Margaux Day

Managing Editor
Niki Dasarathy

War Crimes Prosecution Watch is a bi-weekly e-newsletter that compiles official documents and articles from major news sources detailing and analyzing salient issues pertaining to the investigation and prosecution of war crimes throughout the world. To subscribe, please email warcrimeswatch@pilpg.org and type "subscribe" in the subject line.

Contents

Court of Bosnia & Herzegovina, War Crimes Chamber

Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

International Criminal Court

The Trial of Alberto Fujimori

International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

Special Court for Sierra Leone

Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia

United States

UN Reports

NGO Reports

 

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, War Crimes Chamber

Official Website

Zrinko Pičić found guilty
Court of BiH
November 28, 2008

On 28 November 2008 the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) pronounced the first-instance Verdict in the Zrinko Pinčić case finding the Accused Zrinko Pinčić guilty of the criminal offence of War Crimes against Civilians and sentenced him to nine (9) years of imprisonment.

The operative part of the Verdict reads that the Accused Pinčić is guilty because as a member of the HVO /Croat Defense Council/, in the capacity of the secretary of the HVO Hrasnica with the "Herceg Stjepan" Brigade Konjic, during the period from November 1992 until March 1993, in the village of Donje Selo, Konjic Municipality, he used to come to the house in which Serb civilians were detained, women and children, and the person "A" and her bed-ridden mother.

The Accused Pinčić on several occasions took the person "A" from the room in which other civilians were detained to another room and forced her to sexual intercourse several times, holding his rifle by the bed and threatening her that he would bring 15 soldiers and that she would see what would then happen to all of them.

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) issued a decision extending prohibitive measures ordered against the Accused Pinčić on 26 June 2008. The Accused shall be ordered into custody in case of non-adherence to these measures.

Kondic et al: Wishing for death
BIRN Justice Report
December 1, 2008

A Prosecution witness says that he was detained in various detention camps for more than a year.

Testifying as a Prosecution witness at the trial of the three persons charged with crimes committed in Kljuc, Hilmija Hamidovic spoke about the torture he suffered during the course of his one-year detention in various objects, which made him try to commit suicide. "During my detention they beat me up so hard that I begged them to kill me. Death was something precious at that time," said Hamidovic, adding that members of "Red Berets" captured him in Kljuc on May 9, 1992. 

The State Prosecution charges Vinko Kondic, Bosko Lukic and Marko Adamovic with participating in organizing a group of people and abetting them to commit genocide, as well as crimes against humanity in the Kljuc area in the course of 1991 and 1992. Hamidovic said that, after having captured him, "Red Berets" members took him to the police station, where they beat him up, adding that they transferred him to "Mali logor" near Banja Luka on the following day, May 10, 1992.  "On our way to the barracks one of the three members of 'Red Berets' examined and beat me all the time. An unknown man also beat me in the barracks corridor. Judging by his voice, I thought that he was from Montenegro," Hamidovic said.

After having been beaten in "Mali logor" this witness was admitted to a hospital in Banja Luka, where he tried to commit suicide after some time. As requested by the witness, the Trial Chamber prohibited disclosure of details concerning to this event, because members of his family did not know about it.  As he said, severe beating of this witness continued during the course of his detention in Stara Gradiska and Manjaca and Batkovici detention camps, where he was held in 1992 and 1993. "I was in a group of 12 other Croats, who were transferred from Stara Gradiska to Manjaca on June 15, 1992. When we got there we were met by 'Red Berets' members, who beat us up with sticks and cables. I remember that, at some point, there were about 640 detainees in the stable in Manjaca," Hamidovic said. This witness said that he was transferred, together with other men, to "Batkovici", near Bijeljina, but he did not say when this happened. He stayed there until his exchange on October 9, 1993. "When they brought us there they told us that this was a transit center and we would soon be exchanged. I stayed there for 10 months, before being exchanged near Travnik. In the course of my detention they did not beat us, but detainees performed various types of work," Hamidovic said.

The witness said that "Red Berets" came to Kljuc in the second half of 1991, adding that they were "police for special purposes". The examination of this witness is due to continue on Wednesday, December 3. 

Pelemis and Peric: Reasons for custody
BIRN Justice Report
December 1, 2008

The State Prosecution files a custody extension motion with the State Court, in the case of the two former members of Zvornik Brigade of the Republika Srpska Army, charged with genocide.

David Schwendiman, Prosecutor at the trial of Momir Pelemis and Slavko Peric, asked for extension of custody in the case of the two indictees, claiming that there was a "danger that he may seek to escape, influence witnesses or accomplices", also adding that their release would "disturb public order and peace of returnees and residents in Zvornik area". 

The Defense of the two indictees objected the proposal, calling it "generalized and not concrete", suggesting to the Court to allow their clients to defend themselves while at liberty, while banning them from leaving their place of residence. 

The Court will render its decision at a later stage. 

Momir Pelemis and Slavko Peric have been held in custody since November 5 this year, when they were arrested by the State Investigation and Protection Agency, SIPA. On December 1, the State Court confirmed the indictment charging them with genocide in the Srebrenica area in July 1995. 

The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina charges Pelemis, as deputy commander and chief of staffs of the First Battalion with the Zvornik Brigade of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, and Peric, as assistant commander for security of the same Brigade, with having "planned, ordered and supported" the murder of detained Srebrenica residents, who were brought to "Kula" school in Pilica, in Zvornik municipality.

Miodrag Stojanovic, Peric's Defense attorney, said that his client was "not a man who would escape", because, since 2003 he "has voluntarily reported to the Hague investigators, State Prosecution and SIPA members several times". "I do not have any place to escape to. I am an innocent man. I was 17 kilometres away from the place where the crimes, charged upon me, were committed. I have never been convicted," Pelemis said concerning the custody extension motion. 

Inductee Peric told the Court that he was "a peaceful and dignified man", objecting the custody extension, because he "has got a family to support". "In this case the reasons for custody are much stronger than the family reasons, mentioned by the indictees," Prosecutor Schwendiman said, adding that some less severe prohibiting measures would be "insufficient."

Another indictment for Jajce crimes
BIRN Justice Report
December 2, 2008

The State Prosecution files another indictment against two persons, who reside on the territory of another state, for crimes committed in Jajce. The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina filed an indictment against Jovo Jandric and Slobodan Pekez for crimes against civilians committed in Jajce municipality in 1992. The indictment has been submitted to the State Court for confirmation. 

An international warrant has been issued against Jandric and Pekez. Data available to the State Prosecution suggest that they are currently in the Republic of Serbia, where they "were examined as suspects". 

The State Prosecution charges Jandric and Pekez, as former members of the army and police of Republika Srpska, participated in murder and intentional causing of bodily suffering of Bosniak civilians, who lives in Ljojici and Cerkazovici villages in Jajce municipality. 

The indictment alleges that Jandric and Pekez, acting together with a group of other soldiers, gathered civilians from Ljojici and Cerkazovici, on September 10, 1992, and took them, while threatening them with guns, to a location called Draganovac, where they took away their valuables. 

The indictment further alleges that they then took them to Tisovac place and "ordered them to stand at the edge of a cliff", shooting them afterwards. The State Prosecution considers that 23 civilians were killed and several were severely or less severely wounded in this way. 

Jandric and Pekez are mentioned as accessories in the crimes committed in Jajce in the indictment, filed by the State Prosecution against Mirko (son of Spiro) Pekez, Mirko (son of Mile) Pekez and Momir Savic, who were sentenced, by a first instance verdict, to 71 years' imprisonment.  

The Appellate Chamber recently confirmed the verdict against Mirko (son of Mile) Pekez, sentencing him to 29 years' imprisonment, while ordering a retrial of the two other indictees, who were sentenced, by the first instance verdict, to 21 years' imprisonment each.

Commencement of trial in the Radomir Vuković and another case scheduled
State Court of BiH
December 3, 2008

A commencement of trial before the Section I for War Crimes of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in the Radomir Vuković and Another case, has been scheduled for 4 December 2008 starting at 9:00a.m. in courtroom 7. Radomir Vuković and Zoran Tomić are charged with the criminal offense of Genocide.

As alleged in the Indictment, there is grounded suspicion that as members of the Special Police Force Unit of the II Šekovići Detachment, during the period from 10 to 19 July 1995, with the intent to partly exterminate a group of Bosniak people, the accused Radomir Vuković and Zoran Tomić participated in a joint criminal enterprise with the aim of forcibly removing around 40 thousand civilians from the UN Safe Area Srebrenica and execute more than 7,000 Bosniaks.

According to the Indictment, on 12 July 1995 the accused Vuković and Tomić participated in the search of Bosniak villages around Potočari aiming to expel them to the territories controlled by the Army of RBiH. On 13 July 1995 as further alleged in the Indictment, the accused Vuković participated in capturing thousands of Bosniak men who were trying to escape from the UN Safe Area. On the same day, the accused Vuković and Tomić allegedly participated in escorting a column of about thousand of captured Bosniaks from the village of Sandići to the warehouse of the Kravica Farming Cooperative, knowing that they would be executed.  After detaining the captured Bosniaks in the warehouse, II Detachment members started killing the captured Bosniaks by firing from automatic weapons and by throwing hand grenades. The Accused Vuković allegedly participated in the liquidation of the detained Bosniaks by throwing grenades on them.

Kondic et al: Unfounded requests by Defense
BIRN Justice Report
December 3, 2008

At the trial for crimes committed in the Kljuc area, the Trial Chamber refused, "as unfounded", the request, filed by inductee Vinko Condi's Defense, to examine his personal doctor, who was expected to give his opinion about the earlier findings of the team of experts. "We consider that the Defense's request is unfounded and unacceptable, because the team of experts, whom we engaged earlier, gave a detailed analysis and final conclusion, indicating that Kondic was capable of following the trial for two hours per day," Trial Chamber Chairwoman Jasmina Kosovic said.

Due to Kondic's poor health state the trial for Kljuc crimes has been postponed on several occasions. 

Vinko Kondic, Bosko Lukic and Marko Adamovic are charged with having participated, in 1991 and 1992, in organizing and abetting a group of people to commit genocide, as well as crimes against humanity and war crimes in Kljuc municipality. In late July 2008, a team of medical experts, acting on a request by the Trial Chamber, examined Kondic and reviewed his medical reports in the Clinical Centre of Sarajevo University, determining that the first indictee was capable of following the trial for "two or two and a half hours every day". 

The Defense of Kondic proposed that Miroslav Kovacevic be examined, in order to give his opinion concerning the findings of the team of experts, because the Defense considers them "unacceptable". The State Prosecution objected this proposal earlier on. 

At this hearing the first inductee's Defense cross-examined Hilmija Hamedovic, Prosecution witness, whose examination began on December 1, 2008. Read more: Kondic et al: Wishing for death

Hamedovic was detained in various detention camps, in 1992 and 1993, where he was physically abused. He said that he performed forced labor, just like other detainees, while he was detained in Batkovici, near Bijeljina. 

"In Batkovici all policemen treated us in a correct manner. They escorted us to Majevica and Ugljevik, where we performed forced labor," Hamedovic said in the course of cross-examination. This witness also said that not all detainees from Kljuc, who were brought on December 13, 1992, survived the detention camp in Batkovici.

The trial is due to continue on Wednesday, December 10, 2008.

[back to contents]

Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC)

Official Website of the Extraordinary Chambers
Official Website of the Khmer Rouge Trial Task Force
Official Website of the United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials (UNAKRT)

Khmer Rouge ‘Confrontation' Postponed
VOA News
By Sok Khemara
November 20, 2008

A confrontation hearing between jailed Khmer Rouge leaders Duch and Nuon Chea at the Khmer Rogue tribunal was postponed this week.

Duch, who ran the infamous Tuol Sleng prison and is due to be tried early next year, has said Nuon Chea, the movement's chief ideologue, ordered the more than 12,000 killings at the prison.

Nuon Chea's lawyer, Son Arun, said he told the investigating judges he "was not ready" and the documentation of the case included thousands of pages.

Investigating judges say they will have the two confront each other in a private hearing.

A postponed date was not announced.

Meanwhile, a high-ranking UN official has canceled his visit, where he was expected to discuss the tribunal's ongoing corruption allegations.

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Peter Taksoe-Jensen was expected to meet Council Minister Sok An, but he said Wednesday the trip was postponed "to find a suitable meeting date with the Cambodian authorities."

Genocidal loopholes in Cambodia
Asia Times
By Stephen Kurczy
December 2, 2008

The Khmer Rouge's alleged former chief executioner and head of state will both appear in court this week in Cambodia. Yet instead of reeling the radical Maoist regime's most senior leaders closer to justice, the two-and-a-half-year-old United Nations sponsored tribunal's final hearings for this year will showcase defense stall tactics and set up one defendant to be the first, and possibly the only, cadre convicted for the regime's crimes against humanity.

French attorney Jacques Verges, who represents Khieu Samphan, the former Khmer Rouge head-of-state, will argue later this week before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) that the failure to translate all evidence into

French has violated his client's right to a fair trial and thereby warrants his release.

Meanwhile, the court is expected to announce whether former torture prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, will be tried under the 1956 Cambodian penal code and Joint Criminal Enterprise, a form of liability that holds all members of a conspiracy responsible for each other's crimes. The ruling could prove disadvantageous to the defense, as the Khmer Rouge is accused of some of the most egregious violations of international humanitarian law in the 20th century during its three-year, eight-month and 20-day rule.

While Duch nears conviction for crimes committed during his oversight of the S-21 prison in Phnom Penh and the notorious Choeung Ek killing fields nearby, where a combined 12,380 detainees died, observers say Khieu Samphan's case showcases a defense team vigorously defending its client.

"The Khieu Samphan hearing will very much send the message, 'sounds like the court is hung up on technical details and administrative issues'. The other one, with Duch, looks a lot like a trial that is actually going to deliver something in the foreseeable future," said John Ciorciari, senior legal advisor to the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam).

The last time Verges appeared in the ECCC, on April 23, he refused to speak because all evidence was not translated into French. The pre-trial judges found that Verges' refusal to cooperate violated Khieu Samphan's right to be represented and "right to a timely hearing". The sideshow earned Verges a warning from the court, but also an eight-month delay in procedures.

More than a year has passed since the court placed Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot's right-hand man in detention for his alleged role in "directing, encouraging, enforcing or otherwise rendering support to [the Communist Party of Kampuchea] policy which was characterized by murder, extermination, imprisonment, persecution on political grounds and other inhumane acts such as forcible transfers of the population, enslavement, and forced labor." Because of the delays and legal stalling tactics, Ciorciari said Khieu Samphan's trial is unlikely to begin until 2010.

That's good news for Verges, former advocate for Nazi Gestapo officer Klaus Barbie and the Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal. He has said that the ECCC "borders on lynch-mob justice". Observers don't expect to see Khieu Samphan's release when the pre-trial chamber rules this week on Verges' appeal, legal experts say, but do anticipate another entertaining presentation from Verges. As Verges himself said in a November interview with German magazine Der Spiegel, "A good trial is like a Shakespeare play, a work of art."

Verges "is someone with a lot of tricks up his sleeve, and he's very masterful at using criminal processing in a way that tells a larger narrative about justice", said Beth Van Schaack, assistant law professor at the US's Santa Clara University School of Law who served on the criminal defense team for John Walker Lindh, the American citizen who joined Afghanistan's Taliban. "He'll be using whatever legal loopholes that he can find. To a certain extent, that's what we expect from a defense."

Verges and other defense lawyers can't claim full responsibility for delaying the UN tribunal. Twice in the past two years the court has been rocked by allegations of internal corruption. The Open Society Justice Initiative in 2007 said tribunal staff paid kickbacks for their positions and this year in August the UN Office of International Oversight Services in New York said multiple tribunal staffers had complained of graft.

John Hall, associate professor at Chapman University School of Law in California, has said the corruption allegations could "fatally" damage the tribunal if the Cambodian government cannot stamp it out. Not surprisingly, Verges has also called the entire court into question, saying in the Der Spiegel interview, "It may be that the trial against Duch will begin soon, but not the trials against the other four prisoners … because the tribunal in Phnom Penh has already gambled away its credibility and legitimacy."

Ailing comrades

Meanwhile, the aging Khmer Rouge cadres complain of illness. Khieu Samphan, 77, was treated in May for a minor stroke. Ex-foreign minister Ieng Sary, 83, entered the hospital in late July after doctors discovered blood in his urine during a routine checkup. Duch, at 66, is the junior by at least a decade to the other four detainees. Yet aside from Duch, none of the detainees are expected to go to trial until late 2009 or 2010, two years after the trials were originally expected to conclude.

"The more likely thing is that [Duch] happens to be the only one convicted before the other four all croak. He will, in a narrow legal sense, be the only one who got nailed," DC-Cam's Ciorciari said by telephone from Stanford University.

"It sounds a bit like Duch is being set up to be the fall guy," said Cambodia historian David Chandler, the author of Brother Number One and Voices from S-21 and an emeritus professor of history at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

However, the court on December 5 will rule on the very issue that could prevent Duch from becoming the fall guy: whether to allow as a form of criminal liability Joint Criminal Enterprise, a legal theory wherein members of a conspiracy are held responsible for each individuals' actions.

On January 7, 1979, when Vietnamese forces entered Phnom Penh and stumbled on Duch's detention center, "Troops discovered a number of recently killed persons still chained to iron beds, and thousands of documents scattered in and around the buildings," according to Duch's indictment. Twenty years later, the former math teacher was found in Battambang province living under a pseudonym. He had converted to Christianity and had his children baptized. Duch was arrested and placed in Cambodian military jail until July 2007, when he was transferred to the ECCC detention center.

The court's pre-trial investigation included interviews with Duch wherein he admits to receiving and conveying orders to execute, and also interviews with numerous witnesses, S-21 personnel and detainees that detail Duch's instructions to use electric shock, asphyxiation and fingernail extraction as methods of interrogation.

In their August 8 indictment, the co-investigators narrowed Duch's liability to crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949. It's what they did not charge Duch with that is the subject of the December 5 hearing. The co-prosecutors appealed the closing order because they believe Duch is also liable under the 1956 Cambodian Penal code - for homicide and torture - and Joint Criminal Enterprise (JCE).

JCE is not clear-cut. In three briefs to the court, submitted in late-October, three legal experts offered differing views on JCE applicability, which comes in three classifications: JCE I, where participants share intent, such as in a heist when both the robber and the driver share the intent to rob a bank; JCE II, where participants engage in a common design, such as in a concentration camp when both the prison guards and the incinerator operators share tasks indispensable for the achievement of the camp's main goals; and JCE III, where participants in a common design are liable for those results foreseeable even if not necessarily intended, such as when the forced eviction of a city leaves the young, sick and elderly dying along the roadside.

JCE III has been rejected outright as a mode of participation in Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland, and remains highly criticized in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. But in Antonio Cassese's brief to the court on JCE, the editor-in-chief of the Journal of International Criminal Justice backs the form of liability and cites from the 1947 International Military Tribunal Judgment at Nuremberg: "Hitler could not make aggressive war by himself. He had to have the cooperation of statesmen, military leaders, diplomats, and business men. When they, with knowledge of his aims, gave him their cooperation, they made themselves parties to the plan he had initiated."

Cassese's parallel is plain: though Brother Number 1 Pol Pot is dead, his crimes were part of a larger conspiracy that arguably included cooperation from the five Khmer Rouge leaders in detention today. Allowing JCE as a form of liability in Duch's case would bring the four other Khmer Rouge leaders in detention - Khieu Samphan, former foreign minister Ieng Sary, his wife former social affairs minister Ieng Thirith, and the regime's chief ideologue Nuon Chea - closer to responsibility for the atrocities at S-21 and further from escaping culpability.

"If I were a prosecutor trying to nail the other four," said DC-Cam's Ciorciari, "I would want to link them to Duch, because his crimes are the easiest to prove. If a prosecutor wants - and it would be wise - to link them all to Tuol Sleng, I would want to use a legal theory, like Joint Criminal Enterprise, that would enable me to connect these others to the very provable atrocities of Tuol Sleng."

Compelling evidence

Evidence already links Duch's torture prison with the four other detainees. Duch's named "superiors," whose identities are redacted in the indictment, are believed to include at least Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan. Chandler has said the chain of command passed down from Pol Pot to Nuon Chea to Son Sen, the deputy prime minister of the Khmer Rouge's Democratic Kampuchea government, to Duch at S-21, which was known of and approved by Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith and Khieu Samphan.

By allowing JCE as a form of liability, the court may cast a net so wide that it implicates and leads to the subpoena of senior Cambodian officials serving in today's government; a year ago, Norodom Sihanouk's official biographer Julio Jeldres said the court appeared on the verge of collapse when it was questioned if the former king should testify. (See Khmer Rouge tribunal in jeopardy (again) Asia Times Online, September 18, 2007.)

"JCE will bring other people to light," said Beth Van Schaack of Santa Clara University. "If the investigation becomes too wide-ranging, subpoenaing sitting members of the government, it could provoke some government backlash," she said by telephone from San Francisco.

It remains debatable whether all three forms of JCE existed on April 17, 1975, when Pol Pot's ragtag army first marched into Phnom Penh. Cassese, an ardent backer of JCE, has been called biased by the defense because he was one of the five appellate judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia who authored the very phrase "joint criminal enterprise."

If the pre-trial chamber on December 5 announces that JCE is not allowed, the co-prosecutors say "the full scope of torture or mistreatment of detainees that was practiced at S-21" will not be covered. Of additional concern is that the prosecutors gambled away a half-year of precious time. While Duch's trial was anticipated to begin in September, court spokesman Peter Foster said the prosecutors' appeal pushed the starting date into the first quarter of 2009.

"The important thing to realize is it shouldn't be considered a delay. This isn't something out of left field," Foster said. The tribunal "takes as long as it takes. There's no ending mandate. What there is, are international standards."

Van Schaack agreed, arguing that even if JCE is unexpectedly barred as a form of liability, this decision will allow the co-investigating judges to hone in on evidence and frame future indictments. "Resolving jurisprudential questions is never a waste of time," she said. "There's no doubt that people are disappointed by the lack of progress. There's no doubt that it would have been nice had things moved along, but that's one of the problems of ad hoc justice, it takes time."

But what amount of time - and money - is justifiable? Rival goals of a speedy trial, yet on an international standard, will collide in public view during the final ECCC hearings of 2008 and may incite major donors of the proceedings, such as the US, to speak up and demand results, said Ciorciari.

In September the US pledged its first donation of US$1.8 million. Yet the US remains concerned about the ECCC's ability to meet international standards and address corruption in an efficient manner, John Bellinger, a legal adviser to the US secretary of state, said on November 14 in an address at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Massachusetts. He told the audience, "Justice delayed is justice denied."

Already over-budget and nearing its original end-date with not a single trial begun, the tribunal must measure the cost of justice for the victims of the Khmer Rouge, Ciorciari said, either with a trial hurdling stall tactics and rushing to a timely end, or with a trial stretching beyond the natural lives of detainees, costing hundreds of millions of dollars more, and resulting in only one conviction.

"If someone doesn't say 'giddy-up,' we're in real danger."

Cambodia moves closer to first trial of Khmer Rouge leaders
AFP
December 2, 2008

Cambodia's genocide court will decide on Friday whether a charge that could have wide-ranging effects on top Khmer Rouge leaders should be added to the indictment of the regime's former prison chief.

Kaing Guek Eav — better known as Duch —was indicted in August for allegedly overseeing the torture and extermination of more than 12,000 men, women and children when he headed Tuol Sleng prison, known as S-21. The 66-year-old faces charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, making him the first leader of Cambodia's brutal 1975-1979 communist regime to stand trial at the UN-backed tribunal.

Court officials had hoped that the hearing would start in September, but prosecutors appealed against the indictment, saying it failed to go far enough and portray a "full and truthful account" of Duch's crimes. The court is now set to rule on the appeal, under which prosecutors demanded that the charge of "commission of crimes through participation in a joint criminal enterprise as a mode of liability" be added to Duch's indictment.

Because of its very nature, the charge is opposed by other Khmer Rouge leaders who fear that a conviction in Duch's case could leave them automatically liable. "These are all important issues that need to be addressed for Duch and relate to the cases against the other defendants," said John Ciorciari, a senior legal advisor for the Documentation Centre of Cambodia, which collects evidence of Khmer Rouge atrocities.

The controversial "joint criminal enterprise" (JCE) is a legal doctrine that allows a court to hold multiple people responsible for crimes when they act as part of a coordinated process, according to legal officials. "It makes it a bit easier to hold defendants guilty, because they need not kill someone or order killings themselves to be held responsible," Ciorciari said.

He said the judges will also decide during the hearing whether joint criminal enterprise is a "viable principle" in the Khmer Rouge court. "The importance of the December 5 hearing for them is that it will set a few key precedents" for the senior Khmer Rouge leaders, said Ciorciari. "Their (judges') decision will probably influence not only Duch but other defendants as well," he added. Duch, a mathematics teacher who became the Khmer Rouge's torturer-in-chief, has been in prison since 1999 for his role at Tuol Sleng. He was formally transferred to the tribunal and indicted in July 2007.

Thousands of inmates were taken from the centre he ran for execution at Choeng Ek, now known as the Killing Fields. Up to two million people were executed or died of starvation and overwork as the regime emptied Cambodia's cities, exiling millions to vast collective farms in a bid to forge an agrarian utopia during its rule.

The defence teams of four other former Khmer Rouge leaders who are detained by the court for crimes committed by the regime have expressed fears that the court's decision will affect their clients. They have asked for intervention on the issue of joint liability, but the court has denied them. "Every (defence) team is concerned that a major decision on a far-ranging-legal issue...will affect not only Duch but other accused persons," said Andrew Ianuzzi, a legal consultant for Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea's defence team. Nuon Chea was the Khmer Rouge's former "Brother Number Two," the most senior of the regime's cadres held by the tribunal.

But the trial of Duch will be moving forward and is getting closer, court officials said. The hearing "marks the end of appeals... which will enable the trial to start sometime soon in the first quarter of 2009," tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said, adding that "no more investigation" is needed for Duch's case.

A lawyer for victims of the regime said that if the appeal is rejected the trial could start in March, but if not then it could be delayed for many more months. Established in 2006 after nearly a decade of negotiations between Cambodia and the UN, the long-stalled tribunal seeks to prosecute crimes committed 30 years ago by senior Khmer Rouge leaders.

KRouge tribunal to consider additional charge for Duch
Phnom Penh Post
By Georgia Wilkins
December 3, 2008

Legal experts say prosecution for participating in a ‘joint criminal enterprise' could expand scope of trials, leading to indictment of additional suspects.

The Khmer Rouge tribunal is expected to rule Friday on whether top prison chief Kaing Guek Eav should face an additional charge that observers say could make other defendants automatically liable for crimes committed during the regime.

Co-investigating judges submitted their case against Kaing Guek Eav, more commonly known as Duch, to the trial chambers in August with the hopes of a trial starting the following month.

But prosecutors appealed, saying the case against the 66-year-old former head of Tuol Sleng prison was not broad enough.

The court is set to rule on whether to apply the additional charge of "commission of crimes through participation in a joint criminal enterprise as a mode of liability".

The controversial doctrine would allow prosecutors to pursue multiple people for crimes when they acted as part of a coordinated group, according to legal experts.

"[Joint criminal enterprise] allows the court to try defendants for crimes in which they didn't pull the trigger or inflict abuse directly ... [defendants] can be held liable if they planned, instigated, or aided and abetted crimes," John Ciorciari, a senior legal adviser to the Documentation Centre of Cambodia, wrote in the latest edition of the centre's magazine, Searching for the Truth.

"JCE matters largely because it would expand the universe of acts by Khmer Rouge defendants that could constitute crimes. Consequently, it would raise the likelihood of convictions," he added.

The speed of justice

Legal observers say that it is unclear whether applying joint criminal enterprise would speed up the trials of the five regime leaders currently in custody.

"[Joint criminal enterprise] could either speed up the trial, or it could delay the trial further," Long Panavuth, a court monitor for Open Society Justice Initiative, told the Post Tuesday.

"If the same evidence is used to try many suspects, then it could be faster. But if it is used to cover more crimes, it could delay investigations," he added, saying that the ruling could also help determine whether additional suspects would be submitted to the court.

In a response to the prosecution's appeal, the defence has argued that the doctrine was only designed to be used when the various roles of the defendants were unclear, which was not the case during the Khmer Rouge regime.

"Every [defence] team is concerned that a major decision on a far-ranging legal issue ... will affect not only Duch but other accused persons," said Andrew Ianuzzi, a legal consultant for Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea's defence team.

Verges returns to the KRT
Phnom Penh Post
By Georgia Wilkins and Sam Rith
December 4, 2008

FORMER Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan is to return to the dock today for a public hearing that will once again see his co-lawyers demand his entire case file be translated into French.

Co-lawyers Sa Sovan and Jacques Verges declared in August that their client's trial could not proceed until thousands of pages of court documents were translated into Verges' native tongue, French.

They are now appealing the court's decision to deny the translation.

Verges, nicknamed the "devil's advocate" for defending notorious figures such as Nazi war crimes suspect Klaus Barbie, claims it is impossible to ensure a fair trial if he cannot understand the charges against his client.

"When we detain someone with no clear explanation of why he was arrested, it is illegal and an abuse of human rights," Verges' counterpart Sa Sovan told the Post Wednesday.

"Our purpose is not to delay the trial. I support my co-lawyer and demand documents be translated into French."

But observers have been more sceptical of the defence team, in particular of Verges, who is known for his abrupt and theatrical defence style.

"This is a defence technique to delay the trial," said Sok Sam Oeun of the Cambodian Defenders Project. 

Remembering the real regime
Phnom Penh Post
By Vorak Ny
December 4, 2008

The legacy of the Khmer Rouge will live on much longer than its victims, who perished under the brutal regime. Its legacy continues to have visible effects on Cambodian's lives. I, too, woke up with a feeling of denial that April 17th never took place. It is nonetheless still impossible to escape Cambodia; it keeps coming back.

Looking at the recent photo exhibition by Gunnar Bergstrom in August of 1978, the pictures were troublesome and disturbing - an almost deserted city. In 1978, Cambodian were dying in their thousands.

What was it like in Sweden in 1978? I wouldn't know and neither would Cambodians living in a country engulfed in war under the Khmer Rouge. But only Gunnar Bergstrom, himself and his team visiting the country, would know.

Phnom Penh in 1978 may have looked like Stockholm, but it was a city with over two million people at the height of war in 1975. Simply imagine a mass evacuation within days with no humanitarian aid and no diplomatic ties with the outside world.

Does it require critical thinking to see what is so obviously at hand? A picture taken in deserted streets, houses, hospitals and schools. What's not to see or what did his conscience tell him that was morally imperative, for example, in the one photograph Gunnar Bergstrom took standing in front of the deserted bus station in Kampong Cham, a city which used to be the second most populated and once served as a major transit town between Phnom Penh, standing empty.

In his second visit to the country, Gunnar Bergstrom admitted more than his conscience told him in 1978. He was allowed to freely roam the deserted cities, sleep on the victim's bed, wine and dine with Khmer Rouge at the Royal Place. Could the regime be more accommodating to blind him?

Humanity is Gunnar Bergstrom's central misjudgment during his visit to Cambodia in 1978. The team [that travelled with Bergstrom on a propaganda tour] witnessed no torture, saw no starvation, and experienced no misery.

Thirty years on, only five surviving suspects of the Khmer Rouge are now in custody, but none have been charged with genocide. Pol Pot and Ta Mok, Yugoslavia's Slobodan Milosevic and Chile's Augusto Pinochet, all died before they could be brought to justice. Yet, it is their victims that prevailed and outlasted their evil acts.

Anything that nature didn't kill, the Khmer Rouge did in just a few short years. The blame is passing down from highest to lowest cadres, denial and acknowledgement of the killings. Those that are still alive blame the dead.

Politics is a dirty word and there are many hands in Cambodia's blood. China has been lobbying hard to suppress the trials because of Beijing's support for Pol Pot and its efforts to export revolution to the region, while most believed that the Chinese-supported atrocities during the Khmer Rouge regime could far exceed the horror of the Rape of Nanjing. To date, Beijing claims no criminal liability for alleged Khmer Rouge atrocities in Cambodia. The rest is most likely to follow.

In the 1970s and 1980s, America was still reeling from an embarrassing defeat in Vietnam and the Watergate scandal at home. The Soviet Union was at its peak, expanding its influence in Afghanistan, while the Vietnamese were occupying Cambodia. Yet the West is proud - their people are living in an open society, free. As a war refugee, I have to be optimistic and live my life almost in denial.

Cambodia underwent one of the 20th century's most appalling experiments in both political and social upheaval. I arrived in the US with only a pair of pants, one shirt and a winter jacket given to me at the airport. Books and scrap notes were probably the most valuable items in my possession; the notes that helped me piece together the missing pieces to the puzzle of life under the Khmer Rouge and beyond.

Pol Pot's death may have brought the end of one man responsible for the death of millions of his countrymen and exposed one of the worst genocidal regimes of the 20th century. But to those born after 1980, the Khmer Rouge's legacy is a distant childhood memory of their parents' past. But his death became an unfinished tragedy as Cambodians learned that the cost of justice does not end with the death of their loved ones.

Had one been able to foresee the fallout of the regime and the liberation of Cambodia by the country's historic foe, the occupation of Vietnam in the 1980s, would things have worked out differently? Would the re-education and executions been avoided? Pol Pot and his clique went to their graves without any sense of guilt or regret, and it is unlikely that any of those still living will. It is no coincidence that they are human, just as it is no coincidence that they too were born Cambodian.

The few aging Khmer Rouge leaders indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity have no intention of going down alone and quietly into the history of war crimes and genocide. In his defense, Brother No 2 Nuon Chea wants the evidence held by China, the US and Vietnam to disclose their spy networks and intelligence reports, including names of the US National Security Advisers: Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski.

I learned to have forgiveness in my heart. The desire for revenge and justice remain. Condoning the Khmer Rouge's brutal acts has been difficult, and revenge largely depends on how much one can accept and understand the true nature behind it.

The world has changed in the 60 years since the Nuremburg trials. With the Khmer Rouge tribunal now in place, I can only hope that justice will find its place and a new chapter can open. Writing helps me recall happy times, and above all, it preserves the voices and faces of my family who I dearly love.

The Appeals Chamber rules on preventative relocation of witnesses
International Criminal Court Press Release
December 4, 2008

Situation: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Case: The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui

In its Judgment of 26 November, the Appeals Chamber found that "the Prosecutor cannot unilaterally preventively relocate witness". In cases of disagreement between the assessment of the Victims and Witnesses Unit of the Registry ("VWU") and the Prosecutor, the ultimate arbiter of whether the serious measure of relocation should be undertaken is the Chamber.

These were the findings of the majority of the Judges of the Appeals Chamber when dismissing the appeal of the Prosecutor against the decision of Pre-Trial Chamber I issued on 18 April 2008 and made public in a redacted version on 25 April 2008. Two Judges, Judge Pikis and Judge Ntanda Nsereko had issued dissenting opinions on the matter.  

According to the Appeals Chamber, VWU, located within the Registry is the most appropriate body to take decisions on the relocation of witnesses. The VWU is not a party to the proceedings and therefore will be able to assess the need for relocation of a witness neutrally.  

Notwithstanding the above, the Judges noted that the Prosecutor still has a significant role to play in relation to matters of relocation. "(…) one measure that the Prosecutor can take pursuant to article 68 (1) of the Statute is that of making an application for relocation to the Registrar on behalf of a particular witness. This would include providing the Registrar with all necessary information to assess that application, based at least in part upon the knowledge that the Prosecutor has of the situation on the ground", the Chamber stated. 

The Judges emphasised the vital importance of cooperation between the Prosecutor and VWU "to ensure as a matter of the highest priority, that witnesses are appropriately protected".  

The Victims and Witnesses Unit (VWU), within the Registry, maintains a Protection Programme for relocation of witnesses. The relocation of a witness involves his or her transfer to a new location and the re-settlement of the witness in the new location. The relocation of a witness is likely to have serious consequences for his or her life.  

The Prosecutor and counsel may file applications for the inclusion of witnesses in the Protection Programme. As provided by the Regulations of the Registry, the VWU shall make an assessment as to whether the persons concerned should be included in the Protection Programme; the decision as to their inclusion is being taken by the Registrar

Prior to the confirmation of charges hearing in respect of Mr. Katanga and Mr. Ngudjolo Chui, the Prosecutor had requested that several of the witnesses upon whom he intended to rely at that hearing be included in the Protection Programme and that they be relocated as part of their protection. Following an assessment pursuant to regulations 96 (3) and (4) of the Regulations of the Registry, the Registrar rejected the applications of the Prosecutor in respect of three witnesses. Following this decision of the Registrar, the Prosecutor proceeded to "preventively relocate" the three witnesses himself. 

In the Decision on Evidentiary Scope of the Confirmation Hearing, Preventive Relocation and Disclosure under Article 67(2) of the Statute and Rule 77 of the Rules, the impugned decision in this case, the Pre Trial Chamber ruled inter alia that the Prosecutor should immediately put an end to the practice of preventive relocation. The Pre-Trial Chamber found that the Prosecutor did not have the authority to relocate witnesses himself and that he must rely of the VWU for that purpose.   

The Pre-Trial Chamber granted leave to appeal in this respect.  

Dissenting opinion of Judge Georghios M. Pikis and Judge Daniel David Ntanda Nsereko 

In the opinion of the minority of the Judges, the Rome Statute expressly confers power upon the Prosecutor to take on his own accord measures for the safety, dignity and privacy of witness and witness including preventive relocation during both, the investigation and prosecution of crimes.

Former KRouge prison chief to face extra charges: court
AFP
December 6, 2008

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Cambodia's genocide court on Friday ruled that the former Khmer Rouge prison chief will face extra charges, paving the way for the first public trial of a leader of the brutal regime.

Kaing Guek Eav -- better known as Duch -- was formally indicted in August, accused of overseeing the torture and extermination of more than 12,000 men, women and children when he headed Tuol Sleng prison, known as S-21.

Judges in August ordered the 66-year-old to stand trial on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity relating to his role in the 1975-1979 communist regime, which wiped out up to two million people.

But prosecutors said the indictment failed to go far enough and portray a "full and truthful account" of Duch's crimes.

The pre-trial chamber of the court on Friday approved the appeal, removing the last obstacle to his trial, which is expected early next year.

"The pre-trial chamber... finds that the domestic crimes of torture and premeditated murder can be added to the closing order," said head judge Prak Kimsan.

During the hearing, Duch sat in the courtroom in a grey polo shirt, slouching in his chair and staring passively ahead of him.

The decision Friday widens the scope of the charges against the former teacher and makes it easier to convict him under domestic law.

"I think it gives more weight to what Duch has been charged with already." said Hong Kimsuon, a lawyer representing victims of the Khmer Rouge.

Judges did not, however, add the accusation that Duch participated in a "joint criminal enterprise."

The controversial "joint criminal enterprise" is a legal doctrine that allows a court to hold multiple people responsible for crimes when they act as part of a coordinated process, according to legal officials.

Because of its nature, the charge is opposed by other Khmer Rouge leaders, who fear that a conviction in Duch's case would leave them automatically liable.

Established in 2006 after nearly a decade of negotiations between Cambodia and the UN, the long-stalled tribunal seeks to prosecute people for crimes committed 30 years ago. Friday's ruling brings those trials a step closer.

"This sets up the trial for the first quarter of 2009. There will be a trial management meeting in January," tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath told AFP.

Duch will be the first leader of Cambodia's brutal 1975-1979 communist regime to stand trial at the UN-backed tribunal.

A mathematics teacher who became the Khmer Rouge's torturer-in-chief, he has been in prison since 1999 for his role at Tuol Sleng. He was formally transferred to the tribunal and indicted in July 2007.

Up to two million people were executed or died of starvation and overwork as the regime emptied Cambodia's cities, exiling millions to vast collective farms in a bid to forge an agrarian utopia.

Duch is one of five Khmer Rouge leaders who have been detained by the court for their alleged roles in the regime.

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Democratic Republic of the Congo (ICC)

Official Website of the International Criminal Court
ICC Public Documents - Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

International Justice/ICC: Oct '08
Institute for War and Peace Reporting
November 24, 2008

IWPR staff travelled to Bunia in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to launch a new radio programme aimed at increasing public awareness about war crimes trials at the International Criminal Court, ICC, in The Hague.

The fortnightly programme, Facing Justice, was broadcast for the first time in October around the Congo in Lingala, Swahili and French. IWPR's partner is Search for Common Ground, which distributes the programme via a network of more than 90 partner radio stations.

The Bunia launch was attended by more than 20 community leaders, including representatives from Ituri's main political parties, justice NGOs, lawyers, journalists and military and civilian court officials.

Facing Justice producer Stephanie Wolters and Richard Pituwa, managing editor at the radio station Canal Revelation in Bunia, explained that the programme will draw on contributions from IWPR-trained journalists in DRC, staff at IWPR Netherlands, legal experts, civil society, political analysts, human rights activists and government representatives.

Canal Revelation, Bunia's most popular radio station, will broadcast Facing Justice in Ituri along with two others, Radio Candipe and RTK Bunia. All promised to give feedback and monitor listener response.

The show was conceived after the IWPR Netherlands project team met local journalists and editors in DRC last year. They confirmed that independent and balanced reporting on sensitive issues such as war crimes is currently lacking and that radio was an effective means of disseminating such reports.

Though DRC has five nationals indicted by the ICC, recent surveys suggest most Congolese know little about the court. The vast majority believe it is important to hold those who committed war crimes accountable and that this will be necessary to secure peace in the country. Congolese people including the victims of war crimes would like to participate in ICC-related activities but few know how to access information on the court.

Bunia, the capital of the Ituri region, was chosen for the launch as it features heavily in the ICC indictments. Militia leaders Thomas Lubanga, Germain Katanga, Mathieu Ngudjolo and Bosco Ntaganda are all from the area and are accused by the ICC of committing war crimes there.

Early responses to Facing Justice has been excellent.

In South Kivu province, stations surveyed by Search for Common Ground said they received numerous requests to rebroadcast the first programme.

"Facing Justice is appreciated and listened to. Facing Justice will soon become a slogan for certain people," said Radio Messager du Peuple in Uvira.

Radio Deogratias, in Katanga, said Facing Justice is filling an important need, "The Congolese population is very preoccupied with justice in the Congo and international justice."

RT Pweto in Pweto, also in Katanga, added, "Good programme. Good impression. Congratulations. There are too many requests for rebroadcast."

UN investigating possible war crimes in Congo
Associated Press
By John Heilprin
November 26, 2008

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. officials have opened investigations into whether war crimes have been committed in eastern Congo, saying they have alarming evidence of targeted killings and possibly massacres of civilians.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon raised the possibility of war crimes and crimes against humanity in a report Wednesday to the Security Council that recommends U.N. peacekeepers who make up the world's largest such contingent should remain in Congo through 2009.

"The forced displacement of populations and evidence of the targeted killings of civilians are alarming. In the current climate, the possibility of massacres of civilians cannot be ruled out," he said in the report.

Alan Doss, the U.N.'s top envoy to Congo, told the council that the peacekeeping force, known as MONUC, had recently opened "several investigations into alleged massacres and extra-judicial executions."

"All belligerents have committed serious atrocities against civilians," Doss said. "Women and children have suffered most from the recurrent fighting. Sexual violence is rampant and many armed groups continue to recruit children into their ranks."

Doss said a team has begun investigating the possible killings of at least 26 people — a figure that could grow "substantially higher" — around Kiwanja, about 45 miles north of Goma, the provincial capital. The inquiry followed reports that rebels killed dozens of people two weeks ago while fending off an attack from the army, pro-government Mai Mai militias and Rwandan Hutu rebels.

"We don't want to rush to judgment, it's important. But, we do know that those killings occurred in areas that the CNDP had taken over," said Doss, referring to the National Congress for the Defense of the People, or CNDP, headed by rebel leader Laurent Nkunda.

In April, the International Criminal Court published an arrest warrant for CNDP's chief of staff, Congolese militia leader Bosco Ntaganda, who is wanted for the alleged forced conscription of child soldiers in the Ituri region of eastern Congo about five years ago.

"The CNDP is one of the groups against which there are credible reports of serious crimes committed in the two Kivu provinces — including sexual crimes of unspeakable cruelty," the court had said.

Ban reported that Congolese and foreign armed groups have committed serious human rights abuses with impunity, including mass killings, rapes, torture, abductions, forced recruitment of child soldiers, forced labor and sexual slavery.

Those include, according to his report, "a resumption of atrocities" against Congolese civilians by the notorious Ugandan rebel group Lord's Resistance Army. It abducted some 177 Congolese children and killed an estimated 76 adults between mid-September and early October, Ban reported.

The International Criminal Court has also issued arrest warrants for leaders of that rebel group, which has been fighting a 20-year insurgency in northern Uganda.

About 1.35 million people are displaced by the Congolese fighting between rebel and government forces in the areas of North and South Kivu and Ituri, Ban said.

Ban's fears, including the risk that the conflict could spill over into the broader region, reflect growing international concerns.

In a report Tuesday, New York-based Human Rights Watch charged that Congo's government, on orders from the president, had killed an estimated 500 opposition members, dumping the bodies in the Congo River and in mass graves. President Joseph Kabila's spokesman called the report "nonsense."

Last week, the Security Council unanimously approved sending almost 3,100 additional peacekeeping troops, which would bring the total in Congo, including police, to more than 20,000.

British deputy ambassador Karen Pierce stressed the importance of getting the reinforcements on the ground as soon as possible. European nations, the most likely to provide troops for such a force, have so far been reluctant to commit troops.

But Belgian Foreign Minister Karel de Gucht said at U.N. headquarters that his and several other European nations are considering pooling soldiers to supplement the U.N. force — a "bridging" force in the coming months that has Ban's support.

De Gucht has called for the European Union to send at least 2,000 soldiers, but support for that has been lukewarm.

In a letter made public Wednesday, Rwanda's foreign ministry urged the regional nations and international community to support an agreement between Rwanda and Congo earlier this month.

The two nations agreed to take military action to root out Hutu militias operating in eastern Congo and to promote a political solution to the differences between the Congolese government and Nkunda's forces.

Nkunda says he is protecting minority Tutsis from Hutus who fled to Congo after Rwanda's 1994 genocide. Critics say he is more interested in power and accuse his forces of committing human rights abuses.

Rwanda's Foreign Ministry said "the root cause of the conflict" in eastern Congo is the Rwandan Hutu FDLR militia, which incorporates some combatants who participated in the Rwandan genocide.

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, the U.N. envoy trying to help end the recent fighting, said this week that the issue of what to do about the FDLR must be addressed.

A third element in the violence in the Congo this year has been the Mai Mai militias that operate between the margins.

Since the fighting intensified in August with an offensive by Nkunda to seize large sections of the country, more than 250,000 people have been forced to flee their homes, and cholera has become a major problem in camps for the displaced.

The rebel forces also have set up their own local administrations and are collecting taxes on the region's rich minerals and other goods moving through their territory.

Congo suspects plead not guilty to war crimes
Associated Press
By Mike Corder
November 27, 2008

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Two Congolese warlords pleaded not guilty Thursday at the International Criminal Court to charges of murder, rape and using child soldiers during a deadly attack on a village in 2003.

Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo entered their pleas to three counts of crimes against humanity and seven war crimes at a pretrial hearing at the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal.

No date was set for their trial to start, but it is expected to get under way next year.

They are accused of leading militia forces who killed more than 200 people in the village of Bogoro in eastern Congo in 2003, hacking many of their victims to death with machetes.

Prosecutors allege some survivors were raped and then turned into sex slaves for the fighters.

Katanga and Ngudjolo are the first of the four suspects the court has in its custody to formally enter pleas to charges against them.

Another Congolese warlord, Thomas Lubanga, will not plead until his trial starts on Jan. 26, although his attorney has said he will also plead not guilty to charges of using child soldiers.

All three suspects were involved in ethnic fighting in the province of Ituri in 2002-2003, part of a simmering conflict that most recently has erupted in the nearby North and South Kivu provinces where rebel leader Laurent Nkunda's forces are fighting the government.

U.N. peacekeepers are investigating widespread allegations that both sides are committing war crimes in that conflict.

At a preliminary hearing in June, Carine Bapita, a lawyer for one survivor of the attack on Bogoro, told judges that the woman, identified only as A012, "lost also six of her children, killed with machete blows, and of course all of her cows and property."

The International Criminal Court has filed charges against alleged war criminals in Congo, Central African Republic, Uganda and Sudan since it started work in 2002.

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Darfur, Sudan (ICC)

Official Website of the International Criminal Court
ICC Public Documents - Situation in Darfur, Sudan

ANALYSIS: ICC arrest warrant for Sudan president likely to be issued secretly
Sudan Tribune
By Wasil Ali
December 2, 2008

(WASHINGTON) — A long awaited decision by the judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the indictment of Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir is likely to remain confidential until precautions are taken to ensure safety of UN staff and aid operations in Sudan.

The ICC prosecutor Luis-Moreno Ocampo warned in a speech at the Council for Foreign Relations Symposium last October that the international community must be prepared for the issuance of an arrest warrant.

"The Judges will decide on the arrest warrant sooner or later and States should adjust to this simple fact sooner than later. We are not going away; the call for justice is not going away; the arrest warrant, if issued, will not go away. States and multilateral organizations have to plan for a post arrest warrant situation" Ocampo said.

Two weeks before the ICC prosecutor presented his case requesting an arrest warrant for Al-Bashir, he informed the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon of his plans prompting heightened security measures by the UN missions throughout the Sudan.

On July 11th the Washington Post officially broke the news that Al-Bashir will be charged by the prosecutor after intense speculations on the identity of the new suspect(s) in the ICC's second case on Darfur. It was UN officials who leaked what Ocampo has told them.

At that point in time the ICC prosecutor had control over when the names of suspects could be released after considering all relevant factors relating to security of witnesses as well as the impact of possible retaliatory actions by Khartoum on humanitarian and peacekeeping efforts in Darfur.

Despite stepped up harassment by Sudanese authorities to aid workers the situation in Darfur has largely remained stable following the indictment of Al-Bashir. There was no wide scale retaliation by Khartoum of the magnitude expected by most observers.

The next stage is the post-warrant phase if the judges go ahead and endorse the 10 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes against Al-Bashir. The arrest warrant then becomes a reality for Khartoum and thus poses more likelihood of retaliation.

After a case is presented to the ICC judges by the prosecutor, it is up to them to review the evidence and issue a decision accordingly. Generally speaking any ruling by the ICC judges on an arrest warrant is to be made public unless the prosecutor specifically requests that it remains under seal.

A sealed decision on an arrest warrant serves two purposes; enhancing chances of apprehending suspects since they are not aware that their arrest is being sought or to take certain measures in the areas where the case is being investigated to protect witnesses and victims alike.

In the ICC case of Uganda against leaders of Lord Resistance Army (LRA) the prosecutor requested that the arrest warrants remain under seal saying that their immediate disclosure could "subject vulnerable groups in Uganda to the risk of retaliatory attacks by the LRA and undermine continuing investigative efforts".

It was only three months later that the prosecutor asked that the judges to issue an order unsealing the warrants for the five LRA leaders saying that this step would become a "feasible and powerful means of garnering international attention and support for arrest efforts, thus further ensuring the protection of victims, potential witnesses and their families".

In the case of the Central African Republic (CAR), the arrest warrant was only unsealed after the suspect Jean-Pierre Bemba, former Congolese Vice president, was taken into custody by Belgian authorities and transferred to The Hague.

In both cases however, the applications submitted by the prosecutor were not made public and no one was aware of their existence or their content.

But in Al-Bashir's case the approach by the ICC prosecutor was different which he justified by saying that his office determined that indicting a sitting head of state carries inevitable political implications and a public discussion is needed on the issue.

Furthermore the investigations on the Darfur case took place outside Sudan and thus all his witnesses reside in safe locations. The biggest issue at stake is retaliation by Khartoum against Darfur civilian population, aid agencies and UN staff. An abrupt decision by the ICC judges could put all those at immediate risk.

Sudanese officials have given ample threats since July on an upcoming "tsunami" in the region if the arrest warrant is issued as the justice minister strongly put it. This included expelling Darfur peacekeepers, aid agencies, withdrawing from UN. Some even have suggested that Darfur may become a safe haven for terrorist groups as a result.

At the conclusion of the heavily redacted public application against the Sudanese president released in September, the ICC prosecutor made four requests of the judges including "entering a finding that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Al-Bashir committed the crimes charged in this application" and issuing an arrest warrant.

However the prosecutor's office withheld the other two requests he made to the judges of Pre-Trial Chamber I which could imply that sealing the decision was one of them.

Technically, a decision by the ICC judges could have already been issued. The last public activity on the case was submission of additional information to the Judges on November 17th by the prosecutor.

This also means that the Sudanese president risks being apprehended if he travels abroad even if the arrest warrant is issued under seal.

Darfur genocide continues: ICC prosecutor
AFP via Google News
December 4, 2008

UNITED NATIONS — Sudan's government is still supporting genocide in Darfur, including through rape and holding up humanitarian aid, the International Criminal Court prosecutor said Wednesday.

"Genocide continues," Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the UN Security Council, accusing Sudan of refusing to cooperate with the court.

"Rapes in and around the (refugee) camps continue. Humanitarian assistance is still hindered. More than 5,000 displaced persons die each month," he said.

Moreno-Ocampo urged the 15 Security Council member nations to be prepared for the possibility of an ICC-issued warrant for the arrest of Sudan's President Omar al-Beshir.

In July Moreno-Ocampo asked the ICC for an arrest warrant for Beshir on 10 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

A panel of judges is reviewing the evidence to determine whether there are reasonable grounds to try Beshir. It would be the court's first indictment of a sitting head of state.

"The judges will rule shortly on this application," Moreno-Ocampo said. "It is time to be prepared for their ruling."

Moreno-Ocampo later told reporters that it is "crucial that the Security Council is prepared to ensure the implementation" of the ICC's decision.

A decision on the warrant could be made next month, he said.

Moreno-Ocampo claims that Beshir has personally instructed his forces to wipe out three ethnic groups in the western Darfur region, where conflict has been raging since 2003 when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated regime.

UN officials estimate that up to 300,000 people have died in the Sudan conflict and 2.7 million have been forced to flee their homes. Khartoum claims only 10,000 have died.

Some nations friendly to Sudan, including China, believe that a warrant for Beshir's arrest would only make things worse.

The African Union (AU) and the Organization of the Islamic Conference have called for a one-year suspension of the process, citing article 16 of the ICC's founding Rome statutes.

In such a case the Security Council would need to pass a resolution postponing all ICC investigations of Beshir for 12 months.

Western nations oppose such a move, and to date no country has formally called for the council to invoke article 16.

In his statement, Moreno-Ocampo also lashed Khartoum for failing to hand over two Sudanese charged with crimes against humanity in Darfur.

In May 2007, the court issued arrest warrants for Sudan's minister of humanitarian affairs Ahmed Haroun, and pro-government Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kosheib.

"Rumors of an investigation of Ali Kosheib have not materialized to this day," Moreno-Ocampo said.

Council member diplomats called on Sudan to hand over the accused, with France's UN Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert saying Sudan was under "obligation to cooperate" with the ICC.

"The dispute by the government of Sudan contesting both the authority of the Security Council and the court's competence is unacceptable," Ripert said.

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Uganda (ICC)

Official Website of the International Criminal Court
ICC Public Documents - Situation in Uganda

Uganda's Ability to Try Rebels Questioned Institute for War & Peace Reporting
Institute for War & Peace Reporting
By Rachel Irwin
November 21, 2008

As International Criminal Court, ICC, judges begin a formal review of Ugandan war crimes cases, Kampala's proposal to try them itself is coming under scrutiny.

ICC judges will examine the cases against the rebel Lord's Resistance Army, LRA, suspects to determine if they should go ahead, as well as to decide if they can be prosecuted in Uganda's proposed special court – which was reportedly established after LRA leader Joseph Kony refused to face trial in The Hague.

However, analysts point out that Uganda's lack of legislation to prosecute war crimes is a clear obstacle to putting Kony and his men on trial in the country.

At the centre of the matter lies a bill that has been languishing in Uganda's parliament since 2004. The legislation proposes to make the crimes of the Rome Statute – which underpins the rules of the ICC – punishable under Ugandan law. If passed, it would allow the country to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity, including genocide.

But law experts say that even if the draft statute is approved, Uganda's constitution would prevent the legislation from being used to charge the LRA commanders with war crimes committed during the country's 20-year civil war.

"Under general law, you cannot prosecute an individual for an action that did not constitute a crime [at the time it was committed]," said Joseph Manoba, coordinator of the Uganda Coalition for the International Criminal Court, UCICC, in Kampala.

That means that any crime committed prior to the passage of the ICC bill would be ineligible for prosecution as a war crime, explained Manoba.

The ICC issued warrants of arrest for Kony and four other LRA commanders in 2005.

The rebel leader alone faces a total of 33 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed since July 2002 – including murder, rape, enslavement, pillaging and the forced enlistment of child soldiers.

Since July 2006, the LRA has been engaged in on-off peace talks with Kampala, from its base in the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC.

While Kony has repeatedly stated that he will not sign a peace agreement until the ICC charges are dropped, he has indicated that he might be willing to be tried in a Ugandan court.

As IWPR reported in September, Uganda has already appointed three judges to a special division of the high court which has been created specifically to try the LRA leader, who is in hiding in DRC.

The agreement to set up the special division of the high court was contained in the reconciliation and accountability annex to the peace agreement negotiated early this year between the Kampala government and the LRA. Although the annex was endorsed by both the government and the LRA on February 19, the final agreement remains unsigned.

Whether this special court would be allowed to prosecute the crimes in Kony's indictment - in the event of the ICC bill being passed - is the subject of some debate among Ugandan and international law experts.

Barney Afako, a Ugandan lawyer and an adviser to the LRA peace negotiations, said that the wording of the Ugandan constitution is "at best, ambivalent", and some interpretations of it might allow for the prosecution of certain crimes, including crimes against humanity, once the ICC bill is passed.

In order for this to happen, he explained, the matter would first have to go before the constitutional court, allowing judges to make a ruling on whether certain crimes could be charged retrospectively.

Marieke Wierda, director of the prosecutions programme at the International Center for Transitional Justice, said that if the ICC bill is passed, Uganda could then pass additional legislation to help tackle the retrospective problem, allowing war crimes to be prosecuted at the special court. However, exactly how this might work is unclear.

In the meantime, she said the crimes in Kony's ICC indictment could be prosecuted under existing national law pertaining to murder, rape, and kidnapping.

She urged the international community to assist Uganda in finding "creative ways" to prosecute the LRA crimes under domestic legislation.

For instance, she suggested creating a guideline for prosecutors to investigate instances of murder, rape and abduction only if the crimes formed part of a "widespread, systematic attack" on the civilian population.

According to Wierda, an LRA trial held in Uganda – even one using existing laws – would have much more international significance than one held in The Hague.

"For the international community, it's an important investment to have Ugandans, at this moment, build their own capacity," said Wierda.

"I'm not saying everything is perfect and there won't be any problems… [But] I think [a trial in Uganda] would have much more impact than a trial in The Hague."

But many law experts believe that the crimes of which Kony stands accused are too severe, systematic and widespread to be prosecuted under Uganda's domestic law.

"These are systematic crimes that have no principle for prosecution within our Ugandan court," said Manoba. "It's best for the ICC to deal with [them]."

David Donat Cattin, director of the international law and human rights programme at Parliamentarians for Global Action, agreed, saying that the country's national law was inadequate to deal with large-scale crimes, such as the kidnap of thousands of children.

How – and if – Kony will be tried remains to be seen, particularly as the ICC bill seems no closer to being passed, four year after it was introduced to parliament.

One point of considerable contention stems from the fact that according to Uganda's constitution, a sitting president is immune from prosecution. However, the legislation enshrined in the ICC bill would allow for all persons including the head of state to be indicted.

Some analysts and parliamentarians have argued that in order to pass the draft legislation, Uganda would have to amend its constitution to allow for presidential prosecution.

Others, like Donat Cattin, say this argument is merely a stalling tactic employed by those who don't want to see the bill passed. No president, he added, is immune from international law and many countries with presidential immunity have passed this kind of legislation already.

Afako, meanwhile, said the reasons for the delay are mainly political.

"[The bill] is not being legislated in a vacuum," he said. "There's an unfinished war… It becomes a political statement to enact the ICC bill. It's not some dry, administrative act any more. It's politically charged, and that's why it's stalling."

ICC Lawyers to Help Uganda on Joseph Kony
The New Vision
By Ganzi Muhanguzi
November 28, 2008

Two American lawyers formerly working for the International Criminal Court and other experts on war crimes are in the country to help Uganda in implementing the key aspects of the Juba agreement on accountability and reconciliation.

Michael Newton, a professor at Vanderbilt University Law School and his colleague, Michael Scharf, are part of a team of experts from Public International Law and Policy Group in the country at the invitation of the Government.

The group is set to provide technical assistance to the justice, law and order sector in designing a traditional justice system, in a project funded by USAID.

Ruth Kirinda, an official at USAID, disclosed that the project, code named Incentivising peace in Uganda: Promoting accountability and reconciliation will include building the capacity of Uganda's justice policy makers for drafting legislation related to High Court's war crimes division, traditional justice mechanisms as well as reconciliation.

"The project demonstrates the continued partnership between the United States Government and Uganda to promote sustainable peace," Kirinda said.

Lord's Resistance Army chief, Joseph Kony is expected to sign a peace deal to end the two-decade war in the north today.

Newton, who was part of every ICC action for the last decade, including the trials of former Yugoslavian leader Slobodan Milosevic and Liberia's Charles Taylor, says Uganda's law sector has a huge task to restore peace. "Uganda has taken up a great task of peace and reconciliation with the trial of war crimes," he said.

Ugandan Rebel Kony Still Refuses to Sign Peace Deal
Reuters
By Skye Wheeler
November 30, 2008

Uganda's fugitive rebel leader Joseph Kony told traditional elders he will not sign a final peace deal until an international arrest warrant for him is scrapped, the chief mediator said on Sunday.

Riek Machar, the vice president of south Sudan, said Kony met about 20 religious and cultural dignitaries from Uganda who trekked deep into the Congolese forest to try to convince him to lay down his arms after two decades of war.

The war has killed tens of thousands of people, uprooted two million more in northern Uganda alone and driven others from their homes in neighbouring parts of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and oil-producing south Sudan.

"Kony says he will not sign until the issue of the ICC (International Criminal Court) is resolved, until the deferrals are made," chief mediator Machar told Reuters in a clearing in the remote south Sudanese border village of Nabanga.

Kony, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) guerrillas, is wanted by prosecutors in The Hague for his role in a conflict that has destabilised a swathe of central Africa.

Uganda's government has said it will ask the U.N. Security Council to defer the ICC charges if he signs a peace deal.

Machar said there was a slim chance the elders might return to the bush on Monday for more talks with Kony, but he suspected the elusive rebel chief already had quit the area.

"I'm staying and I'm going to try to understand the issue fully," Machar said. "But knowing his behaviour, he is probably now elsewhere ... I don't see new ideas that have come out of his discussions with the elders."

WHAT NEXT?

Mediators gave Kony until the end of November to give his final approval to the peace deal after he repeatedly failed to sign the pact as planned in April. Experts say they have few options while he refuses to leave his well-defended hideouts.

Kampala, Kinshasa and Khartoum have vowed to attack him if he doesn't disarm. But Congolese and U.N. troops are tied up clashing with Laurent Nkunda's rebels further south in the Kivu region, and Kony's gunmen are well-trained and experienced.

Sunday's rare meeting took place at a freshly cut camp surrounded by heavily armed LRA fighters.

The elders, who left Nabanga on Friday, returned looking downcast. One participant said the atmosphere had been tense, and they were searched repeatedly by the rebels.

Kony's fighters are notorious for massacring civilians, mutilating survivors by slicing off their lips or ears, and kidnapping thousands of children who are forced to serve as fighters, porters or sex slaves.

"We do not expect there will be a signing soon," the U.N. envoy for the talks, former Mozambiquan president Joachim Chissano, told reporters at the airport in south Sudan's capital Juba after he returned from Nabanga by helicopter.

LRA Chief Negotiator Denies Uganda Rebel Leader is Stalling for Time
Voice of America
By James Butty
December 2, 2008

The government of Uganda says it will consult with regional leaders on the fate of Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebel leader Joseph Kony, who, despite repeated assurances refused again over the weekend to sign the final peace agreement.

Ugandan Defense minister Ruth Nankabirwa reportedly said a summit of regional presidents, convened by the chief mediator and South Sudan Vice President Dr. Riek Machar would advise on the talks.

A delegation of religious and traditional leaders from Uganda's conflict-affected northern region who met with Kony over the weekend has also reportedly expressed disappointment in the rebel leader.

Kony has in the past used durations of talks to re-arm, train, and mobilize in preparation for more fighting. LRA chief peace negotiator David Matsanga told VOA he and the LRA leader have not been deceiving Ugandans and the international community.

"General Joseph Kony told us that we should go there (Ri-Kwamgba) as his negotiators, and we which did meet him, sit down with him, which we did. This time it was not through proxy. It was face-to-face and a physical meeting. I was accompanied by many, many elders from northern Uganda and other religious leaders, and General Joseph Kony plainly came out and told us the reasons as to why he was not signing. The most important thing is the indictments. So they want the indictments from the ICC to be removed before they can sign," he said.

Reports from northern Uganda said the religious and traditional leaders who went to Ri-Kwamgba hoping to witness the signing of the final agreement were disappointed in the rebel leader.

But Matasanga said the disappointment was not the making of rebel leader Joseph Kony.

"Not only elders from northern Uganda, very many people are not comfortable that this (the agreement) has not taken place. All the elders who where there, we all pleaded with General Joseph Kony to sign this agreement, but General Joseph Kony said he can only sign the agreement once the indictments are removed. And we could not argue with him any more than that. We spent there two days with General Joseph Kony and we discussed a number of things. He has told us his difficulties, and we have put these difficulties to Dr. Rick Michar the South Sudan Vice President who is the chief mediator," Matsanga said.

Matsanga again denied that he, as chief LRA peace negotiator, was partly to blame for what some have called Kony's repeated misleading promises to sign the final peace agreement.

"I think that is a very wrong question to be asked because I have not misled anybody and I have not told anybody any thing contrary to that. Kony has appeared himself, he has told us what is the problem. So there is no question of misleading here. We went, we met Kony, we sat down, and we talked and talked and talked. Kony understands the agreement; he has read it from page to page two only that he doesn't want to sign it because of the indictments," Matsanga said.

On the threat of military action against the LRA leader if he did not sign the final deal, Matasanga said he knew nothing about a military threat against Kony.

"I am not a military operator; I don't prefer military action and I don't have any privy to any military plans that the government of Uganda or the government of Congo may be planning. I am a chief negotiator; I negotiated an agreement; it is a good agreement but General Kony has said he cannot sign it because of the indictments. Whether they want to take military option, it is their problem," Matsanga said.

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The Trial of Alberto Fujimori

Fujimori on Trial

Fujimori's lawyers continue to present evidence to disprove accusations
Fujimori On Trial
November 24, 2008

Nov. 19, 2008

One hundred twenty-second session. Former President Alberto Fujimori's health once again generated delays in the trial. His lawyers continued to present evidence in his defense; however, the evidence demonstrates the formal aspect of Fujimori's government and does not contradict the Public Prosecutor's accusation, which states that there was a double strategy in the counter-subversive struggle: one strategy was formal and public and respected human rights, as reflected in official documents, and the other was a clandestine structure with no documents based on a dirty war.

1. Incidents during the hearing

Fujimori's health generates more delays in the hearing

A report from the Institute of Legal Medicine (IML) was read, indicating that Fujimori has high blood pressure, edema, peripheral vascular insufficiency, hypoalbuminaemia and prolonged stasis, in addition to chronic gastritis and a pancreatic cyst.

The IML recommended to reevaluate his therapy with a cardiovascular specialist, monitor his blood pressure every four hours, modify his diet and to not remain seated longer than 90 minutes during trial sessions. The reevaluation will be carried out by the National Institute for Neoplastic Illnesses (INEN) in four weeks and excess movement should be limited.

Dr. Loayza recommended having 15 or 20 minutes of rest after each 90-minute session in order for Fujimori to have therapy to move his lower limbs, avoiding edemas and hypertension.

The Court's measures

In accordance with the IML's recommendations, the Court established that the trial sessions will take place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:00am to 10:30am, 10:50am to 12:20pm, and from 12:40pm until 2pm. The Court also ruled that Fujimori is not to be transferred from his current detention center and in the case of his needing to testify in another trial, it must be on Tuesday or Thursday in Fujimori's detention center.

Evidence presented by Fujimori's defense

Lawyer Gladys Vallejo Santa María based the defense's evidence on various official documents from Fujimori's government, including directives, regulations, plans from the Ministry of the Interior and a human rights record.

According to the lawyer, these documents prove that Fujimori's government established limits in the counter-subversive struggle. Thus each action was carried out with full respect of human rights and subversive groups were only eliminated when they refused to put down their weapons.

Later, Lawyer Vallejo presented five groups of official documents under these titles:

1. "Strategic planning for national defense during Fujimori's government"
2. "Political actions carried out by Fujimori in the counter-subversive struggle"
3. "Circulation of information on respecting human rights within the Armed Forces"
4. "Circulation of information on respecting human rights in the rural defense groups" (rondas campesinas)
5. "The Commander's functions"

Questioning by the Public Prosecutor

Public Prosecutor Avelino Guillén stated that the evidence presented reiterated the accusation made by the Public Prosecutor's Office regarding the utilization of a public and official structure in the counter-subversive struggle.

Guillén also said that "these regulations, directives and plans did not exist for the Colina Military Detachment that was formed within the army, with the objective to eliminate people; these norms were not fulfilled in reality." According to Guillén, the Colina Detachment was part of the informal and clandestine structure, designed in the National Intelligence Service (SIN).

Questioning from the lawyers for the victims' families

Lawyer Carlos Rivera Paz signaled that the documents presented by Fujimori's defense serve to justify the legal counter-subversive strategy; however, in practice, the violation of human rights was not prohibited.

II. Incidents surrounding the trial

Fujimori will be able to testify in Vladimiro Montesinos' trial

According to the measures taken by the Court trying Fujimori, Montesinos' trial can be transferred to Fujimori's cell in order to for the former president to testify.

Trial against Fujimori is shelved

The Judicial Power shelved the trial against Fujimori for allegedly using pubic funds to give US$30,000 to a group of people in the north of Peru for his third reelection in 2000. The Court claimed the case was shelved because Fujimori's responsibility cannot be proven.

III. Next session

In the next session on Monday, Nov. 24, Fujimori's defense lawyers will continue presenting evidence for the third consecutive session.

There will be no trial session on Friday, which has been declared a holiday due to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum held in Lima this year. In 2000, Fujimori attended the APEC summit in Brunei on Nov. 15, and then flew directly to Japan, where he sent his resignation from the presidency by fax. His daughter, also a current member of Peruvian Congress, Keiko Sofía Fujimori, has declared that this was planned several days beforehand.

Fujimori's defense continues to present evidence proving his innocence
Fujimori On Trial
November 27, 2008

November 24, 2008

One hundred twenty-third session. Former President Alberto Fujimori's defense continued to present evidence in order to demonstrate his innocence.

1. Inside the courtroom

Evidence presented by Fujimori's defense

Lawyer Gladys María Vallejo continued to present evidence, including: army manuals, regulations, government orders, regulations on military command, reports, supreme decrees and other documents in order to disprove the Public Prosecutor's accusation against Fujimori. The evidence covered the following issues:

1. Planning of counter-subversive operations.
2. Armed institutions' control system.
3. Civic actions and public works completed during Fujimori's government. According to Vallejo, Fujimori did not approve a dirty war strategy, but rather approved of a national strategy that was based on public support through civic action by military personnel. In reference to this assertion, she presented various supreme decrees passed between 1992 and 1994 that gave goods to campesino communities (indigenous populations in the Peruvian highlands) and shantytowns.
4. Resulting policy of pacification in Fujimori's government.
5. International experiences and low-intensity conflicts.

Vallejo asserted that her client did not participate in the planning and execution of counter-subversive operations, but rather participated only as a member of the Unified Pacification Command (CUP, for its initials in Spanish) and the National Defense Council (CDN). Decisions are made by popular vote in both of these organizations.

It's important to keep in mind that the National Defense System was presided by the president, then Alberto Fujimori. The National Defense System included the CUP — the body "in charge of assuring the participation of all citizen sectors in all National Pacification activities in the internal front in response to terrorist actions and illegal drug trafficking" — as well as the CDN, the highest decision making body in the National Defense System, which established the policies that guided national defense, under the president. This is all in accordance with article 11 of Legislative Decree No. 743, signed by Fujimori on Nov. 8, 1991, just four months after he assumed the presidency.

Questioning from the Public Prosecutor's Office

According to the Public Prosecutor's Office, the documents presented by Fujimori's defense do not disprove its accusation that the former president approved of a dirty war strategy. Fujimori is not being accused for the documents presented, but rather for implementing a dirty war strategy as part of his government's counter-subversive efforts, the Public Prosecutor said.

Thus according to the Public Prosecutor, though these documents are official and were complied with institutionally, in practice a dirty war was implemented through parallel official bodies, including the Colina Military Detachment whose job was to eliminate people suspected of subversive activities.

The Public Prosecutor further argued that it would not be possible for these two government responses to subversive activity — one official and one clandestine — to have been executed without Fujimori's knowledge. Seeing as the clandestine strategy was executed by official military personnel, military vehicles and planned in military bases, it must have had official backing.

Questioning from the lawyers for the victims' families

Lawyer Carlos Rivera Paz reiterated that the manuals and orders offered by Fujimori's defense were used for the "troops in sight" but not for the "troops out of sight," in reference to Grupo Colina.

II. Incidents surrounding the criminal trial

Fujimori in Montesinos' trial

On Nov. 17, the Court currently trying Vladimiro Montesinos — Fujimori's former top advisor — made all the arrangements for the former president to testify. However, due to the absence of Montesinos' lawyer, the session was suspended. The former advisor currently stands trial for homicide and embezzlement, among other charges.

The Court trying Montesinos will decide today if Fujimori will be summoned again to testify.

Due to complications in Fujimori's health, members of his political party have stated that the ex-president should not testify in Montesinos' trial. Alejandro Aguinaga, pro-Fujimori congressman and Fujimori's personal doctor, said "The Court cannot attack the former president's human rights. Now Fujimori's health is the responsibility of those three judges."

III. Next session

In the next session, scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 26, Fujimori's lawyers will continue to present evidence to disprove the Public Prosecutor's accusation.

Since this trial's start on Dec. 10, 2007, a total of 83 witnesses have been presented by the prosecution (including the Public Prosecutor's Office and the lawyers for the victims' families) and Fujimori's defense to testify. Afterward, 21 trial sessions were dedicated to the presentation of evidence demonstrating Fujimori's participation in the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta crimes, as well as the kidnap of journalist Gustavo Gorriti and Samuel Dyer.

Fujimori's lawyers are currently presenting evidence for the fourth consecutive session in order to disprove the Public Prosecutor's accusation. On finishing, the Court will take a small recess, allowing both parts to prepare their concluding arguments and will then emit its decision.

Defense questions testimony from Public Prosecutor's witnesses
Fujimori On Trial
December 2, 2008

December 1, 2008

One hundred twenty-sixth session. Former President Alberto Fujimori's defense continued to present evidence, basing its debate during this session on the validity of testimonies from former Colina members, who the Public Prosecutor's Office presented to testify.

I. Inside the courtroom

1. International observers. León Carlos Arslanián, Ricardo Gil Lavedra, Jorge Valerga Araoz and Guillermo Ledesma — all Argentine magistrates who tried and sentenced the Argentine military junta (1984-1985) in a trial in 1985 — were present for this session. The magistrates sentenced Farael Videla and Emilio Massera to life in prison, Roberto Viola to 17 years in prison, Armando Lambruschini to eight years and Orlando Agosti to four years.

2. San Román's testimony. Last session, Fujimori's defense questioned the evidential value of the testimony given by Máximo San Román, who was vice president of Peru from 1990 until the April 5, 1992 coup d'état. Therefore, during this session the Public Prosecutor's Office and the lawyers for the victims' families defended the value of San Román's testimony as evidence.

3. Evidence presented by Fujimori's defense. Lawyer Johan Pinedo led Fujimori's defense during this session, along with Gladys María Vallejo. Fujimori's principal lawyer, César Nakazaki, was absent once again for this session.

Validity of military officials' testimony: Víctor Silva Mendoza, former head of the Army Intelligence Service (SIE), as well as Marcos Flores Albán, Hugo Coral Goycochea and Pablo Atúncar Cama.

According to the defense, these testimonies are not valuable as evidence since the witnesses have given inconsistent and contradictory declarations before the national police force, the Public Prosecutor's Office and in other military and civilian trials from 2001 to date:

3.1 For Silva Mendoza, the defense presented 19 testimonies.
3.2 For Flroes Albán, 17 testimonies.
3.3 For Coral Goycochea, 12 testimonies.
3.4 For Atúncar Cama, 9 testimonies.

Fujimori's defense signaled that Flores Albán, Coral Goycochea and Atúncar Cama changed their initial versions, in which they denied having formed part of the Colina Military Detachment and having participated in its crimes. However, after having received the benefits of an effective collaboration from 2001 onward, the military officials changed their testimonies.

The law establishes benefits for effective collaboration in the realm of organized crime. Law 27378, in force since Dec. 20, 2000, calls for certain "rewards" such as a "sentence reduction" for giving information, as long as this information is useful and serves in clarifying the crime at hand. Furthermore, in 2001 illegal million-dollar bank accounts of high-ranking military officials during Fujimori's government were found.

Works carried out by the Peruvian Army's National Development Office. Lastly, the defense presented a series of agreements signed from 1994 to 1999 between the Transport and Communications Ministry and the Defense Ministry, in efforts to show that the policy of Fujimori's government was to get closer to the population through civic works, such as building highways.

4. Questioning from the Public Prosecutor's Office. According to Public Prosecutor Guillén, while the defense lawyers question the testimonies of some of his witnesses, the fact that they use this testimony implies it is valid for them.

The Public Prosecutor claims that though the witnesses mentioned have omissions in their testimonies, there is consistency in the main aspects:

4.1 Flores Albán: Gave important information on how the Colina Military Detachment functioned, about the Plan Cipango, Nicolás de Bari Hermoza Ríos' speech in the Army General Command in June 1992 to military intelligence officials, including Colina members.
4.2 Coral Goycochea: Testimony changed due to his decision to collaborate effectively, in accordance with Law No. 27378, and give a voluntary confession.
4.3 Atúncar Cama: Gave information on the follow-up and order to eliminate leftist politicians Yehude Simon (currently Prime Minister) and Javier Diez Canseco (former congressman). The order did not receive the "green light" in the end and was thus not executed.

5. Questions from the lawyers for the victims' families. According to the lawyers for the victims' families, based on national criminal jurisprudence, if a witness changes his or her testimony, this does not invalidate all that has been declared, but rather should be evaluated by the magistrates at the time to make a decision.

II. Next session

In the next session, scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 3, Fujimori's lawyers will continue presenting evidence for the seventh consecutive session. On Dec. 10, a year will have passed since the trial's start.

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International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)

Official Website of the ICTY

Gotovina's authority over the HV(O)
SENSE Tribunal: ICTY
December 1, 2008

The defense has not denied that General Ante Gotovina was authorized to institute disciplinary proceedings against members of HV troops. It has denied that as the commander of the 'occupying force' in BH, Gotovina had the same authority over HVO units

In the summer and autumn of 1995, General Ante Gotovina exercised command over a number of Croatian Army (HV) units, and over elements of the HVO, the armed force of the BH Croats. Prosecution military expert Renaud Theunens maintained in his report that in the course of Operation Storm Gotovina failed to punish perpetrators from the HVO ranks under the command of the Split Military District. Defense counsel Luka Misetic today tried to prove that the general did not have the power to do so.

The defense counsel put it to the witness that the HVO was the armed force of another state; Gotovina did not have the power to discipline its troops despite the fact that they were under his control during the operations Summer '95, Storm and Maestral. The defense counsel cited as an example the armed forces belonging to NATO member states that operate together in some situations under mutual command but do not meddle in prosecution policy when soldiers violate discipline. The defense counsel also noted that while the accused general operated in BH, he was the commander of 'the occupying force', while in Croatia he was the commander of 'the domestic force'. There is a substantial difference between the two, the defense counsel noted.

The Belgian military expert said that he had found documents in the Croatian military archives where Gotovina issues 'very strict' orders regarding 'order and discipline' in the HVO units. According to the witness, this means that Gotovina was able to impose disciplinary measures for violations. The witness however agreed that he had seen no documents where the commander of the Split Military District actually took measures against the HVO members. In the final analysis, Theunens contends, Gotovina was 'at least in a position' to learn about the crimes committed by the HVO soldiers and to report them to their regular commands.

On the eighth day of Renaud Theunens' testimony, Ante Gotovina's defense completed its cross-examination. In the next five days the expert will be questioned by Ivan Cermak's defense. The defense of the third accused on trial for crimes committed during and after Operation Storm, Mladen Markac, has indicated that it will take one day to cross-examine Theunens.

Bosnia: NATO troops raid home of Radovan Karadzic
International Herald Tribune
December 2, 2008

PALE, Bosnia-Herzegovina: NATO troops searched Radovan Karadzic's family home Tuesday for evidence of contacts to the network that has helped genocide suspect Ratko Mladic evade arrest.

NATO spokesman Derek Chappell said family members were questioned at their home in Pale, near Sarajevo. Soldiers were seen carrying out suitcases and boxes from the house. Karadzic's wife and daughter were among those at home.

Former Bosnian Serb leader Karadzic has been in the custody of the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague since July.

"Even though Radovan Karadzic is at The Hague awaiting trial, we believe there are connections between the organized support networks of Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic," Chappell said.

"The purpose of (the) operation is to search for information, evidence about this connection," he said, adding that the investigators were "pleased with the result."

The Karadzic house was frequently raided over the course of a decade while the former Bosnian Serb leader was on the run. It was believed that a support network that included his family financed and facilitated his years of hiding. He was finally arrested in Belgrade, where he lived under a false identity and practiced alternative medicine.

Karadzic and his former general Mladic are accused of having masterminded the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica and the armed siege of Sarajevo during the 1992-95 war. The U.N. tribunal believes Mladic is hiding in neighboring Serbia.

Mladic and Croatian Serb wartime leader Goran Hadzic are the last two fugitives sought by the court based in The Hague, Netherlands.

Karadzic's daughter, Sonja Karadzic-Jovicevic, said Tuesday's NATO action was just another attempt to put pressure on her father and the family.

"With us they talked about the support network of Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic. They also asked us who my father was in contact with during the war and during his hiding and the time he had a false identity," she said.

Hague: Mladic can face trial after 2011
B92
December 2, 2008

Hague Judge Fausto Pocar says that the two remaining Hague fugitives could face trial, even after 2011, when the Tribunal is scheduled to close, if needs be.

At a conference in Belgrade today entitled "War Crimes Trials—the Current Moment, Results, Prospects," Pocar said that 2011 did not have to mark the end of the Tribunal's work.

"The UN Security Council can extend the mandate of the court and I believe that they will do so," Pocar said.

Other participators in the conference agreed that the extradition of both Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadžic was absolutely essential.

State Secretary in the Justice Ministry Slobodan Homen said that Serbia was determined to honor all its obligations to the Hague Tribunal.

Homen said that completion of cooperation was necessary for Serbia and for justice, for apologizing to the victims, and also for the moral, material and political damage that the fugitives were inflicting on the country.

Today's conference in Belgrade is dedicated to war crimes trials involving judges from Serbia, the Hague Tribunal and countries in the region.

Homen said that 46 war crimes indictees had been extradited to the Hague Tribunal thus far, and that 91 defendants had been tried in the 258 cases heard before the Serbian courts over the last five years.

He said that the latest European Commission report also sent an encouraging signal that Serbia was on the right path in its efforts to complete its Hague obligations and help try war crimes cases.

Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic said that the rule of law in Serbia was not possible without shattering the prejudices in institutional and professional work, which were direct consequences of the wartime conflicts.

He said that the process of confronting the facts regarding war crimes was always slow and difficult, and that, unfortunately, the initial spur to face these things did not come from the societies whose citizens had participated in these wars and violations of humanitarian law, but from abroad.

Supreme Court President Vida Petrovic Škero said that, by law, war crimes cases did not expire because of their special gravity.

She said that cooperation with the Hague Tribunal and courts in the region was of essential importance, especially for protecting witnesses and gathering evidence that was hard to come by because the crimes had been committed many years ago.

Belgrade District Court President Siniša Važic said that because of the planned culmination of the Hague Tribunal's work, regional courts should go to added lengths to cooperate in solving expert, legal, organizational and personnel-related problems.

The conference was organized by the Belgrade District Court's War Crimes Chamber in conjunction with the OSCE mission to Serbia, and with the support of the Justice Ministry and the National Council for Cooperation with the Hague Tribunal.

Trial Chamber wants restrictions on Šešelj lifted
B92
December 2, 2008

The Hague Tribunal Trial Chamber responsible for the case against Vojislav Šešelj wants restrictions lifted on the his phone calls.

A resumption of monitoring Šešelj's conversations with his legal advisers would prevent him from putting up an effective defense, and would impinge on his right to a just trial, said the Trial Chamber.

The statement signed by Judge Jean Claude Antonetti (presiding) says that in view of the cases that are ongoing at the European Court of Human Rights, the Trial Chamber called on Tribunal Secretary Hans Holthuis "to carry out the consequences of these arguments."

In so doing, the Trial Chamber effectively advised the Secretariat against resuming "communication checks" after the expiry of the measures in December.

The Secretariat's decision to monitor Šešelj's calls applied initially until the end of November, though it remains unclear whether the measures have been extended.

Holthuis has opposed the Trial Chamber's request and called on Tribunal President Patrick Robinson to react.

He claims that the Trial Chamber has no jurisdiction over the custody unit in Scheveningen, which was why he wanted Robinson to give his opinion.

The measures against Šešelj were introduced in late September, after it became public knowledge that the war crimes suspect had been abusing his telephone privileges to deal with Serb Radical Party (SRS) matters and other conversations totally unrelated to the preparation of his defense. It was also believed that he was using the calls to tamper or intimidate witnesses.

Šešelj subsequently claimed that he no longer discussed the trial with his legal advisers, only the political situation and private matters.

The SRS leader is accused of war crimes against non-Serbs in Croatia, Vojvodina and Bosnia-Hercegovina between 1991 and 1993.

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International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)

Official Website of the ICTR

ICTR Roots for Cooperation against Impunity
The New Times
By Gashegu Muramira
November 28, 2008

The President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Dennis Byron has called for increased cooperation between the court and national prosecution authorities.

Byron was yesterday addressing a forum that brought together representatives of different national prosecution services, and members of the civil society at the East African Hotel, Arusha Tanzania.

He described the forum as crucial, saying that it was essential in order to effectively close the impunity gap for international crimes especially at a time when the UN court is coming towards its closure.

"The tribunal depends on the continued assistance of member states to accomplish its mandate. Cooperation is required in many aspects including arrests of fugitives, possible transfer of cases, enforcement of sentences and relocation of acquitted persons and persons who have their sentences," Byron said.

However, Byron underscored that the relation between national and international prosecution of international crimes is not a one-way street.

The ICTR President cautioned that national judicial authorities also can and should benefit from international justice systems and from the heritage they will leave behind.

ICTR Prosecutor Justice Hassan Bubakar Jallow, revealed that experience and the records of the ad hoc international tribunals and the pool of talent are at the disposal of national institutions.

The call for cooperation comes a few months after many analysts have described international justice as a myth where some countries use it to serve their interests at the expense of others.

Germany and France, among other UN member states, have been cited as showing little will in the promotion of international justice.

Germany recently freed two Genocide suspects Onesphore Rwabukombe and Callixte Mbarushimana who are wanted to answer for crimes committed in 1994.

Among other criminals living in Germany is Ignace Murwanashyaka, the leader of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a rebel outfit made up of elements responsible for the 1994 Tutsi Genocide and operating in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Senate Endorses Rwanda, ICTR Transfer Agreement
The New Times
By Robert Mugabe
December 1, 2008

The Upper Chamber of Parliament Friday endorsed the law authorising the ratification of the agreement between the government of Rwanda and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which paves way for the transfer to Rwanda of ICTR convicts to complete their sentences.

The agreement, according to Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama, was signed earlier this year but required a legislative nod for it to be operational.

Rwanda has persistently requested that convicts of the Arusha-based ICTR, be transferred to serve their sentences.

"An ICTR commission visited Rwanda and found we fulfilled all technical requirements and it was after this that we signed the agreement," said Karugarama who is also Rwanda's Attorney General.

Several convicts have remained at the ICTR detention facility even after their sentences were passed.

"And we signed this agreement so we are just waiting for this law to be adopted by the cabinet and published, then we wait for their cooperation," Karugarama told the Senate.

The minister added that it would be more convenient for the convicts of the tribunal, which was set up to try key suspects of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis, to serve their sentences in Rwanda as their relatives will have easy access to them.

Karugarama explained that so far, countries that have applied to host the convicts include France, Botswana, Mali and Rwanda.

The only country where convicts have been transferred to is Mali, where five people including former Prime Minister Jean Kambanda are currently detained.

The tribunal convicted Kambanda to life imprisonment.

When the minister was asked by the Senate, what were the interests of countries like Mali apply to host Genocidaires, he said that perhaps the UN gives then some money to host them.

In a separate interview with The New Times, Karugarama said that after the law is published in the official Gazette, they will wait for action from ICTR.

"We have to do what we can do, which is our part and wait for our partner which is the ICTR," Karugarama said. Meanwhile, talks are on between Rwanda and the UN tribunal whose mandate expires next year, to have all unfinished cases tried by Rwandan courts.

Established by the UN Security Council in December 1994, the ICTR has so far completed 34 cases, some apprehended suspects have not yet put on trial while others remain at large including Felicien Kabuga who has been branded the 'financier of the Genocide.'

Ex-Rwandan Top Singer Gets 15 Years Jail Over 1994 Genocide
Hirondelle News Agency
December 2, 2008

Arusha, 2 December, 2008 (FH)-Rwanda's former famous composer and singer, Simon Bikindi (54), has been handed down a 15 years sentence for his role to incite killings of ethnic Tutsis during the 1994 genocide.

Delivering the judgement Tuesday, Presiding judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Chamber III, Monica Weinberg de Roca, said that Bikindi was guilty of direct and public incitement to commit genocide towards end of June, 1994, but was found not guilty of five other charges of conspiracy to commit genocide; genocide or alternatively complicity in genocide; murder and persecution as crimes against humanity, reports Hirondelle Agency.

"The Chamber recalls its finding that towards the end of June 1994, in Gisenyi Prefecture, on the main road between Kivumu and Kayove, Bikindi used public address system to state that the majority population, the Hutu, should rise up to exterminate the minority, the Tutsi," the judge told the fully-packed court room, adding that the accused used the same system to ask if people had been killing Tutsi, who he referred as snakes.

"The Chamber finds that both statements, over loadspeakers, were made publicly'', she said, underscoring that the address constituted a direct call to destroy the Tutsi ethnic group.

She reminded that direct and public incitement to commit genocide was by definition, a crime of the most serious gravity which affects the very foundations of the society and shocks the conscience of humanity.

"... You have abused your stature as a well-known and popular artist perceived to be an influential member of the MRND and an important figure in the Interahamwe movement by using your influence to incite genocide," underscore the Argentinian judge.

However, the three-bench Chamber has ruled that Bikindi would get credit of seven years that he has already served in the prison while waiting for his trial, which started in September, 2006 and concluded in November, last year.

Bikindi was arrested in The Netherlands in July 2001 and transferred to the UN Detention Facility in Arusha in March 2002.

Before the genocide, Bikindi was working at the Ministry of Youth and Association Movements of the Rwandan government and was also Director of the performance group, Irindiro Ballet. He left Rwanda 4 April, just two days before the genocide, but returned via Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) around 12 June, 1994.

He is first Rwandan musician to be sentenced over the 1994 genocide by a UN Court.

When contacted for comment, ICTR's Prosecutor, Hassan Jallow, said that he was satisfied over Bikindi's conviction. "We will study the judgement and consider how to proceed."

This is the second judgement to be delivered by the ICTR this year. Two more judgements are expected before end of the month. So far, 32 accused have been convicted and five acquitted.

The UN Court was established in November 1994 by Security Council to try the key suspects of the genocide, which according to the UN estimates claimed lives of about 800,000 people, mostly ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Closing Arguments Begin in Trial of Four Ex-Rwandan Ministers
Hirondelle News Agency
December 2, 2008

Arusha, 2 December 2008 (FH) - The closing arguments in the trial of four former ministers before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), began Monday with the closing arguments of the prosecutor and Tuesday it will be the defence's turn.

The case involves former ministers Casimir Bizimungu (Health), Jerome Bicamumpaka (Foreign Affairs), Justin Mugenzi (Commerce) and Prosper Mugiraneza (Civil Service).

On Monday, the prosecutor tried to point out that the government in power from April to July 1994 had the means of stopping the genocide but they did not try anything to stop the massacres. They chose to do nothing. If they had wanted to, they would have done so. They did not have any intention of stopping the massacres, claimed Paul N'garua, representing the Office of Prosecutor (OTP).

The Kenyan magistrate indicated that in addition to the authority on the personnel of their respective departments, the defendants exerted a de facto control on "the administrative authorities, militiamen, police, gendarmes and soldiers".

For him, the argument according to which they were powerless vis-ŕ-vis the situation is "ridiculous". On the contrary, he said, "they added fuel on the fire" by their inflammatory speeches which some were relayed via Radio libre des mille collines (RTLM). "

N'garua explained that at the road blocks, the Interahamwe militiamen always had their ear on their radios to listen for instructions from their leaders.

During the massacres, the armed civilians acted in accordance with the instructions of the four accused. There was an intention to destroy Tutsis for the defence of the fatherland, he added. N'garua supported that during the massacres, each killer was convinced to belong to "a vast battalion of Hutus, a kind of abstract army under the command of the four accused".

The purpose of the peace messages launched through international media by officials of the interim government were, according to him, only to mislead the international community on their true intention, "a joint criminal enterprise" aiming at exterminating Tutsis.

The prosecution team will request the sentences during the last phase, which will last until the end of the week.

Reacting first, Michelyne Saint Laurent, Bizimungu's main counsel, invited the Chamber "to speak of law", without pleasing anyone. "It is not easy to defend the indefensible", said the Canadian lawyer, considering that the prosecutor had not proven beyond any reasonable doubt the guilt of the defendants.

On trial for crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity, the four former ministers have claimed their innocence. Their trial began in November 2003. The closing arguments should end Friday.

Butare Trial Adjourned Indefinitely
Hirondelle News Agency
December 2, 2008

Arusha, 02 December, 2008 (FH) - Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Tuesday adjourned the longest and the largest trial popularly known as "Butare Trial" sine die after the last witness, Elie Ndayambaje, former Mayor, completed his own defence.

It has already been confirmed that at least one witness would be called to re-testify and probably four others would do the same if the Chamber grants the pending motions.

The Chamber also ordered the parties to submit their closing briefs by February 17, 2009 and thereafter would have 45 days before they submit their oral briefs.

Other defendants accused jointly with Ndayambaje are: former Minister of Family and Women Affairs, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko and her son Arsene Shalom Ntahobali; former Governors Sylvain Nsabimana and Alphonse Nteziryayo; and Ex-mayor of Ngoma Commune, Joseph Kanyabashi.

All have pleaded not guilty to genocide and crimes against humanity.

The case which commenced in June 2001, has consumed a total of 714 trial days so far.

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Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL)

Offical Website of the Special Court for Sierra Leone
The Sierra Leone Court Monitoring Programme

Nigeria: War Crimes in Sierra Leone - Nigerian Victims May Get Compensations
AllAfrica.com
By Ise-Oluwa Ige
December 3, 2008

Victims of atrocities committed by former Liberian President, Charles Taylor may receive compensation if the former warlord is convicted.

Stephen Rapp, the Chief Prosecutor of Taylor at The Hague, Netherlands, made the disclosure during a press conference in Abuja.

Rapp who hailed the role played by the Federal Government to arrest Taylor said that assets owned by Taylor were being traced across the globe.

Rapp explained that the assets recovered from Taylor would be handed over to Liberian government to be used as compensation for victims of the war who come forward to make claims.

According to him, the United Nations plans to establish a victim compensation fund for victims of the civil war in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Some Nigerians who were residents of Liberia were victims of the war.

Some had their hands amputated.

Meanwhile, contrary to earlier reports that Nigerian government was not cooperating with a team of experts set up by the United Nations Security Council to trace assets belonging to Taylor, Rapp said that there were reports showing that Nigeria had been very supportive of efforts to bring Taylor to justice.

He said, "since the first day of the court, the government of Nigeria has given us full support".

"Its representative at the United Nations has served on our management committee and it has made financial contributions.

Taylor was charged with 11 counts touching on crimes against humanity and war crimes involving murder, mutilations, rape, terror against civilians, enslavement, pillage and the use of child soldiers.

Rapp said that the evidence that has been presented against Taylor at the Hague showed that no one was more responsible for the suffering caused in Sierra Leone.

He said "the prosecution has nearly completed its case against Taylor with over 80 witnesses having testified.

"Once we close our case in the new year, the Defence will begin the presentation of its evidence and judgment is expected sometime in 2009 to be followed by an appeal.

According to him, Taylor's trial is both a concrete example and a symbol of a turning point for the region.

"Few thoughts he would ever see the inside of a courtroom. But the world refused to allow him escape justice," he added.

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Special Tribunal for Lebanon

In Focus: Special Tribunal for Lebanon (UN)

March Date for UN Tribunal into Lebanese Premier’s Death
The Earth Times
November 26, 2008

Beirut - The UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon into the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri is to begin its work in March, the London-based al-Hayat newspaper said Wednesday. UN legal counsel Patricia O'Brien is expected to make the announcement later Wednesday in a progress report.

The UN Security Council is preparing a resolution for the "technical extension" of the mandate of the current UN chief investigator into the assassination, Daniel Bellemare, for three extra months after the current mandate ends on December 13.

Bellemare is due to present his periodic report on the investigation to the Security Council in early December, the report said.

Bellemare's report will not include any names of suspects since he will present all the names and evidence as a prosecutor at the tribunal.

Hariri was murdered in a massive bomb blast along with 20 other people in February 2005.

The tribunal investigation into his death marks the first time that a UN international criminal court will be trying a "terrorist" crime committed against a specific person.

Hariri's killing has been widely blamed on Syria and its Lebanese allies, a charge that Damascus has so far denied.

Siniora Thanks Ban for Progress on Hariri Tribunal
The Daily Star
By Hussein Abdallah
December 1, 2008

BEIRUT: Prime Minister Fouad Siniora met with UN chief Ban Ki-moon in Doha on Sunday to discuss recent developments on the Special Tribunal to try suspects in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The talks took place on the sidelines of the International Conference on Financing for Development in the Qatari capital.

"I am extremely glad to announce that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is on the right track and will be launched on March 1, 2009," Ban told reporters after the meeting.

"I discussed the issue with Premier Siniora and I learned that the Lebanese side is pleased with that date ... We agreed that the launching of the tribunal will be a step forward towards putting an end to unpunished crime," he said.

Ban added that the investigation team would be moving to The Hague in January 2009.

"This is an opportunity to thank the UN Security Council for its role in establishing the tribunal and stress that the council's backing is extremely important for the tribunal to remain in a strong position," the secretary general said.

For his part, Siniora said he hoped the launching of the tribunal would help Lebanon become a country where crime will always be punished.

"I would like to thank the secretary general and all Security Council members for their efforts ... I would also like to thank all the countries who made financial contributions to see the tribunal functioning," the premier said.

Siniora also told reporters that the Shebaa Farms and the border village of Ghajar were among the key issues that he discussed with the UN chief.

"We proved to the secretary general that Lebanon had just claims regarding both the Shebaa Farms and Ghajar," he said. "As far as the Shebaa Farms are concerned we all know that a demarcation of borders to determine the land's ownership does not require the presence of technicians and experts in the Israeli-occupied territory ... The demarcation can be done on maps."

Israel disputes Lebanon's ownership of the territory and claims that it belongs to Syria. The Syrians refuse to engage in delineation on this particular part of the border in the presence of Israeli occupation.

As for Ghajar, Siniora noted that the Israelis have clearly violated UN Security Council Resolution 1701 by refusing to leave the Lebanese (northern) section of the village since the summer war of 2006.

Siniora also held talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Doha.

Abbas thanked the premier for the Cabinet's recent decision to establish diplomatic ties with Palestine.

Abbas also called on all Palestinian refugees currently living in Lebanon to respect the country's laws.

Separately, Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) leader MP Michel Aoun, who spent 15 years in exile after a failed "war of liberation" against Syrian forces in Lebanon, is set to make an unprecedented visit to his one-time foe.

"This is an introductory visit to turn over a painful page in Lebanese history and look to the future," FPM MP Ibrahim Kanaan told AFP on Sunday.

He said the visit would probably take place this week.

Aoun, a former commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces, was the head of an interim government when he was forced into exile after being defeated by a Syrian offensive in 1990 at the end of Lebanon's 15-year Civil War.

He returned in May 2005, a month after Damascus ended a 29-year military presence in Lebanon in the aftermath of Hariri's assassination. He then went on to form Lebanon's single-largest bloc of Christian MPs in the elections that followed.

Aoun, 73, stunned many observers the following year when he entered into an alliance with the Iranian- and Syrian-backed Hizbullah, a move that opponents say has caused his popularity to slip.

Syria and Lebanon launched diplomatic ties for the first time in October. Damascus was widely blamed for the killing but denies involvement.

Aoun's visit to Damascus has already come under fire from the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority.

"It's natural for Aoun to choose to visit Syria as he belongs to a Syrian-Iranian alliance. The Syrian regime is the only beneficiary of this visit," Fares Soueid, a senior member of the anti-Syrian March 14 Forces, told AFP.

Aoun also caused a stir when he visited Iran in October and held talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

News reports on Sunday said that Aoun's visit was likely to take place on Tuesday, when President Michel Sleiman is also due to visit Berlin for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Security Council States Receive Report on Probe into Hariri Assassination: Commission “Probably Nearing Stage where it’s Ready to Bring Indictments”
The Daily Star
By Michael Bluhm
December 2, 2008

BEIRUT: The new report from the UN commission investigating the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri will most likely be released on Tuesday, while UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's office began distributing the report on Monday to UN Security Council members, a UN official told The Daily Star.

The report comes only days after Ban announced the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon, to try suspects in Hariri's killing and other political crimes, was expected to be established on March 1 next year in The Hague.

The UN will make the progress report public only after all Security Council member states receive a copy, said Farhan Haq, spokesman for the secretary general's office. The Security Council will meet on Tuesday to set a date to review the report, while the council has made tentative plans to deal with the report around December 15, Haq added.

The commission's last report, issued in March, said a "criminal network" perpetrated Hariri's February 2005 assassination, which sparked mass demonstrations that led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops after a 29-year presence in Lebanon.

Canadian prosecutor Daniel Bellemare, who heads the investigation commission, will become the tribunal's first prosecutor, and he will probably submit indictments in the killing around the time he takes office at the tribunal, said Marieke Wierda, director of the criminal justice program at the International Center for Transitional Justice.

"It suggests the commission is probably nearing a stage where it's ready to bring indictments," added Wierda, who served as a lawyer at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and has worked with various international tribunals for more than 10 years.

Although the investigation team has yet to name any suspects in the killing, many in Lebanon's March 14 political alliance have blamed Damascus for the assassination and for much of the other violence that has plagued Lebanon's recent past. Syrian President Bashar Assad has denied any Syrian role in the killing and said he would not allow Syrian citizens to appear before the tribunal.

Many Lebanese have speculated about the length of time to set up the court since the February 2005 assassination, while Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said Damascus had received offers to terminate the tribunal in return for facilitating a presidential election in Lebanon. Lebanon endured a six-month vacuum atop the state until Michel Sleiman's election in May.

"These delays have given rise to a level of skepticism about when this is going to happen," said Wierda, adding that Ban's setting the March 1 date was a positive development.

Local media continue to debate how much progress Bellemare has made, with some doubt revolving around job postings on the tribunal's website. The site advertises six vacancies for investigators, whose job description includes "developing a comprehensive investigation plan to ensure that all investigative avenues are addressed ... conduct[ing] all facets of investigations, which will include developing leads, analyzing information and intelligence, conducting and recording interviews of witnesses, examining physical evidence and making recommendations on follow-up."

In addition, the date of the tribunal's official establishment might well be less important than other issues, such as the rules for procedure and evidence to be established by the tribunal's 11 judges, Wierda said.

The judges will not conduct their initial meeting to divide their number among the tribunal's various chambers until after March 1, said tribunal registrar Robin Vincent.

At the tribunal's headquarters in The Hague, meanwhile, work is focusing on adding security measures and hiring staff, Vincent added. A security fence should be completed around the tribunal - a former Dutch intelligence services office - by the end of this year, along with new screening facilities at the building's entrance and secure parking arrangements, Vincent said.

The tribunal should add more than 70 employees by January 2009, including staff for security, finance, procurement and information technology, he added. The tribunal's management committee has approved a roughly $51 million budget for 2009, although Vincent still has to work out the details of the expenditures, he added.

The tribunal will also pursue a public outreach program, striving to emphasize to the Lebanese public the independence of the tribunal, he said.

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Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia

Official Website of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia

Saah Gbolie Was Responsible for my Torturing…Taiwon Gongloe Tells TRC
The Inquirer
By C. Winnie Saywah & Rose M. Saulwas
November 27, 2008

The former human rights activist, Tiawon Gongloe has blamed his brutal encounter while in prison under the Taylor-led government on instructions from Margibi County Representative Saa Gbollie. 

Even though, the former Deputy Director of Police for Operations, now Representative recently denied before the Commission ever harming any civilian during his service with the Liberia National Police (LNP). Gongloe told the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) on November 26, 2008, that it was upon Gbollie’s secret meeting with three of the inmates that he was ordered to take off his clothes and be mal-handled in prison.

 “Everything was fine in the cell until about 10:30pm when I heard the Deputy Director of Police for Operations Saa Gbollie entering the building. When I heard Saa Gbollie, I said to myself that I was completely finished. True to my suspicion, three of the inmates were called upstairs by Saa Gbollie. 

When they returned these friendly inmates who have earlier been so friendly, prior to the arrival of Saa Gbollie, began to call me dissident collaborator and started to beat and kick me unmercifully. Then they ordered me to take off my clothes,” Gongloe explained in a very sad mood. 

Explaining what he termed the most terrible time in his life, Cllr. Gongloe said that he was arrested by Major Dolo Mark of the Criminal Investigation Division of the LNP and asked to explain the motive underlying his speech which he delivered in Conakry at the conference of the Mano River Civil Society Movement. 

He narrated that his fate began when Madam Marie Washington misinterpreted his speech on the former KISS FM radio and television which apparently got President Charles Taylor angry. “I was order detained by Major Dolo. I was striped completely naked and tortured through the night”, Mr. Gonloe disclosed. 

Cllr. Gongloe explained that on the morning of April 25, 2002, he was again taken for further investigation upstairs, but because he could not stand or walk, the entire membership of the Liberia Bar Association present at the Police Headquarters insisted that he be taken at the hospital for treatment before any further questioning. 

“I was taken to the S.D. Cooper Hospital. While at the hospital, I heard President Taylor saying something about my detention. He said if you think you are a big time lawyer and Charles Gankay Taylor can not arrest you, then you are a damn fool. I will not release Cllr. Gongloe under any kind of international pressure,”Cllr. Gongloe retrospect. 

Cllr. Gongloe said he was later released anyway, but got rearrested at the Roberts International Airport and briefly detained by the National Security Agency (NSA). He said that he was released on June 19, 2002 upon the intervention of the ailing Catholic Bishop Michael Francis and he departed Liberia for Ghana with his family on June 21, 2002. 

He said that from his experience, the Liberian conflict evolved from exclusion and discrimination of participation in the social, economic and political affairs of the country since its foundation. 
The nation’s Solicitor General said that suppression of freedom of expression had a major contribution to the conflict pointing out that the various administrations throughout the Liberian history have shown love for and patronized praise singers while hating with passion those who speak the truth or express view opposed to the prevailing view in governments. 

The SG further attributed the low level of education, corruption and greed, lack of respect for the rule of law and the lack of human rights in general as major causes that have undermined the development and the law which is expected to be an instrument of genuine peace in the country. 

Cllr. Gongloe said that as for the 1980 military coup, it was executed to rescue detained members of the Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL) who were in prison at the time. 

The Solicitor General of Liberia noted that the rescue mission was based on popular rumors that the coup makers had ethnic connections with the detained PAL partisans. 

He added that besides the rescued mission coup plot, he attributed the Liberian conflict to the spread of dangerous rumors and that one lesson that should be learned from crisis is to discourage rumors noting that there should be an open space so that everyone can speak openly to discourage the spreading of dangerous rumors. 

He then suggested to the TRC that there must be national policies against discrimination and freedom of speech must be observed at all times while the Legislature must seek to enact stronger laws against corruption and strengthen the law on armed robbery law and that the human rights provisions in the constitution of Liberia be taught in Liberian schools. 

Liberian Former Speaker Says There Were Arms, Ammunition in Lutheran Church
New Liberian
By Mambu James Kpargoi, Jr.
November 28, 2008

Truck loads of arms, ammunitions and military hardware were recovered from the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church compound following the July 29, 1990 massacre, former Transitional Speaker George Dweh claimed.

He said soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia led by Captain Yonbu Tailey massacred hundreds of civilians in the Church because there was military hardware stored in the compound.

Mr. Dweh told commissioners of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Thursday that Captain Tailey led soldiers to the church after intercepting an NPFL radio communication in Paynesville that the church was being used as launching pad for a planned attack on the Executive Mansion.

Mr. Dweh was testifying at the ongoing public hearings of the TRC at Monrovia’s historic Centennial Memorial Pavilion.

“Doe and I never went to the Lutheran Church. That is a lie. Doe will never go to a church and kill people. Following the massacre, Doe was angry with Tailey. He told him that he had destroyed him internationally,” the former transitional speaker who was accused of participating in the killings said.

He said President Doe ordered the arrest of Tailey but he displayed a truck full of arms, ammunitions and uniforms recovered from the church.

“Doe ordered General David Nimely to arrest and detain Tailey pending court martial, but Tailey showed a truck full of arms, ammunition, red berets, uniforms and boots he took from the church. What were they doing there?”

Dweh however admitted that Tailey was a death squad commander who was feared because of his spiritual powers.

Hundreds of women, children and men who had taken refuge in the church were massacred on Sunday, July 29, 1990.

Initial reports at the time of the massacre put the death toll at 200 to 300. Survivors of the attack said troops had broken into the church and killed men, women, children and babies with knives, guns and cutlasses. Witnesses said at least 600 refugees were killed putting the number of refugees in the church at 2,000.

Reports said a group of 30 soldiers firing machine guns stormed the church compound around 8:30 pm and fired point blank at some of the 2,000 refugees who had been there since National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) rebel forces reached the capital.

Under the theme: “Understanding the Conflict Through its Principal Events and Actors,” the ongoing hearings are addressing the root causes of the conflict, including its military and political dimensions.

The hearings are focused on events between 1979 and 2003 and the national and external actors that helped to shape those events.

The TRC was agreed upon in the August 2003 peace agreement and created by the TRC Act of 2005. The TRC was established to “promote national peace, security, unity and reconciliation,” and at the same time make it possible to hold perpetrators accountable for gross human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law that occurred in Liberia between January 1979 and October 2003.

Then Rebel Chief of Staff Denies War Atrocities…Denies Conscripting Child Combatants…Says They Were Instead Sent To School
TRC Press Release
December 1, 2008

Denying allegations of atrocities, a former commander of Charles Taylor’s defunct National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) said the rebel group did not conscript child combatants. 

Retired General John Teah said instead of recruiting child combatants, the NPFL leader opened educational institutions for children to keep them from war activities. 

“We did not recruit children to fight for us. Our leader His Excellency Charles Ghankay Taylor opened schools for the children in Gbarnga and other places for them to go to school.” 

Teah, deputy chief of staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) during the regime of Taylor said the NPFL treated civilians with care, adding that the group during its existence launched military operations during the early morning hours to prevent civilians’ casualties. 

Also refuting accusations of gross human rights violations by witnesses appearing before the TRC, he added that civilians were treated with respect because they were not the front’s target.  
 
He was testifying Tuesday at the ongoing public hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion in Monrovia. 

“I never killed, looted and raped during the war. I operated by the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice). I always had the handbook of the Red Cross with me during the war. I never looked into dead bodies pockets,” the former Training Commandant of the NPFL added. 

But Gen. Teah admitted supervising the 1992 NPFL Octopus Operations that led to the death of hundreds of civilians in and around the suburbs of Monrovia. 

The former NPFL strongman’s testimony is in continuation of a wave of denials at the TRC by principal military and political actors about their alleged roles in the Liberian civil conflict. Several political and military actors previously appearing before the commission also denied wrong doings during the country’s years of civil conflict.

Liberia is recovering from years of conflict that was the backdrop for horrific human rights violations, including arbitrary killings, use of child combatants, rape and sexual violence, separation of families, and looting and destruction of properties by various warring factions. Out of a population of 3 million, an estimated 300,000 Liberians were killed, with as many as 1.5 million displaced.

Liberia: TRC Releases List of Alleged Perpetrators
AllAfrica.com
December 2, 2008

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia (TRC) has released for public information and notice a listing of perpetrators and alleged perpetrators the Commission is requesting to appear before it to address themselves to allegations of war crimes and gross human rights violations including violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws during the course of the Liberian crisis from 1979 to 2003.

The publication includes violators and alleged perpetrators who have elected to ignore the TRC process and refused to appear before the Commission in respond to allegations against them respecting the roles they played during the crisis.

The TRC also published a list of "Persons of interest" who to date have not appeared at the Commission but are considered persons who have particular knowledge and information about past events deemed expedient to the inquiry process of the commission because of their roles, positions in government or privy to public policy issues over the period 1979 to 2003.

TRC Chairman, Cllr. Jerome J Verdier, Sr said "... these publications have become necessary as a matter of public notice and citation to these personalities at large because some people have deliberately avoided the Commission by becoming both elusive and evasive, changing their addresses or residence very frequently, authorizing their agents or staff not to receive communications from the TRC and deliberately lying about the service of citations by the Commission".

Cllr. Verdier: "This is yet another attempt of the Commission to ensure that its processes and procedures are fair to such an extent that everyone is given an opportunity to be heard by the Commission and be confronted with the allegations, information and evidence the Commission have gathered about them before the Commission makes any determination on their roles, actions or complicity to war crimes and massive human rights violations that characterized the Liberian conflict..."

The Commission says its latest action is consistent with promoting due process and the last attempt of the Commission to ensure that people needed by the Commission appears voluntarily and avoid confrontation with the laws of Liberia controlling the process.

Continuing, the Commission says this action is also consistent with its 2007 Public Bulletin No.7, published early this year, on the use of Warrant and Compulsory Processes in which the Commission declared in counts 1 and 2, that

1. "In consideration of the National Reconciliation objectives of the TRC, and the sound discretionary authority it enjoys the Commission will spare no effort utilizing persuasion and moral suasion, etc to ensure the voluntary compliance or attendance of witnesses to the TRC Process.

2. The TRC will resort to the use of its compulsory process such as subpoenas, warrants or arrest as a matter of last resort when all other efforts shall have failed or where such compulsory process is the best option under the circumstances".

Concluding, the statement stated that the list is by no means exhaustive, and called on all persons to comply with the citation and notice of the Commission to appear, reiterating that the use of the Commission's compulsory subpoena powers remains an open option and that the Commission will not hesitate to prosecute anyone who fails to testify under Section 12.12 of the Penal Laws of Liberia which provides as follows:


"Refusal to testify before or hindering certain official bodiesA person has committed a first degree misdemeanor if without lawful privilege or excuse, in the course of an official proceeding before the legislature, an administrative body of government or any lawfully constituted body of government, he Refuses, after lawful process, to appear or to produce the material required of him, or be sworn or make equivalent affirmation as a witness, or answer a pertinent question and continues in such refusal after the person presiding thereat directs him to answer and advises him that his continuing refusal may subject him to criminal prosecution; or
Purposely hinders such official proceeding by noise or violent or tumultuous behavior."

List of perpetrators or alleged perpetrators needed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to respond to various violations of human rights and international humanitarian law ranging from murder, massacre, and rape to forced Displacement, etc, levied against them by victims of the civil war.

These individuals are required to call at the TRC offices on 9th street between 9:00am and 6:00pm daily from December 1 to December 17, 2008. The TRC can be contacted at these numbers: 06574953 & 06545968.

Abraham dorley
Abu keita aka small soldier
Alex tolbert alias gen young devil
Alieu korsia
Alphonso duo
Amos cheyee
Amos kollie
Augustine tamba aka kitalay
Austin clarke
Benjamin yeaten (50)
Bestman kpadeh
Beyan Mulbah
Big boy jerry
Bodio Toe aka Dirty Water
Boye Tarley
Brook Goukanue
Charles Gtaylor
Charles George
Charles Kollie
Chemor Kuyateh
Christopher Cambo
Co. Zorkpay
D. K. Bracewell
Daniel Gweh
Daniel T Seth
David Daniel Sulon
Doepu Menkazohn
Dominic Sayeh
Dorbor Momolu
Dwight S. Harvey
Edward Farley
Elijah Tarpeh aka Dust to Dust
Emmanuel Clark
Emmanuel Samuels
Emmanuel Vambo
Emmette Sando Gray Mr.
Eric wongbay
Eric Y. Barkpoh
Erick Flahn
Ericson Bardea
Ericson Bardio
Esther Swen (Sticky Panties)
Eugene Wilson
Folbure Jabateh
Francis Dolo
Gen George Mansuo
General Kangar
General Saye
George Menyon
Gonoe Gladiah aka Bad Child
Harrison Ziaquin
Horatious Dan Morais
Jacob Davis
James Cooper
James Dennis
James King aka Shavy Shevy
James Kpaquah
James Lazalee
James Smith
Jefferson Jallah
Jerry Risks
Joe Doe
Joe Tuah
John Gbaylea
John Teah
John Wilson
Joseph Karnwea (Bush Devil)
Joseph Montgomery
Joseph Mulbah
Junior Conteh
Junior Kargbah
Junior Kiagba
Junior Matadi
Junior Shawalin David
Kofi Zack, General
Kula Fasama
Kula Kamara aka Dead Body Bone
Lawrence Dorbor
Leroy Suah aka Gio Devil
Lotter Zayzay
Mallison Blackie
Mango Menlor
Marcus Kollie (Rebel Baby)
Marcus Seebo
Marcus Williams
Mark Dolo
Mark Goonwan
Martina Johnson
Matthew Dolo
Mcdonald Tarpeh
Michael Davis
Milton s. Vambakolo
Mohammed (Kamara) Keita
Mohammed Bah
Moses Samukai
Mohammed Kanneh (Bad Blood)
Mohammed Keita aka Turtle Bone
Mohammed Kelleh (Pupu Scatter)
Momo Gebbah (Bull Dog)
Moris Morris aka Town Devil
Morris Myers
Morris Saye
Michael/Marcus Davis aka Sundagar Dearboy
Moses Ghoan aka General Noriega
Moses Kpan
Moses Loverboy Mulbah
Moses Pewee (Torbor Jr.)
Moses Tarley
Nuku Johnson
Nyondueh Monorkomna
Ofori Diah ( Iron Jacket)
Oldpa Bennie
Papa Kromah
Paul Dowel aka Double Trouble
Paulson Garteh (General Satan)
Paye Dolopaye
Paye Suah
Peter Giah
Peter O' Togbah
Peter Saye
Philip Tweh aka Quick to Fire
Philip Komegar
Prince N. Karduan
Paul Tuazaman
Quokar - General Kokar
Roland Duo
Rufus Fassue
Sam Conteh
Samuel nimely
Samuel Saye
Sando Botoe Kiazolu
Sando Bouto ( Boute)
Sartee K. Bropleh
Saturday Tuah
Siafa Norman
Sidiki Konneh
Sonpon Toe Doe
Steve White
Steven Dorley
T. Junior Quayee
Peter Fineboy
Tamba Kwenda
Tamba nyankan
Taplah Johnson (Pupu Scatter)
Targbeh Saydee aka Dirty Prick
Tarkpor Wotoe
Thomas Banqarqo
Togbah Commander
Tony aka Father Do Good
Varley Keita
Varley Tarley
Varney Gagama
Varney Goyah
Varney Konneh
Victor Sieh aka Rambo
William B. Toe
William Barclay (Bill 60)
Willie Tokpa (Togba)
Wulu Gowah
Yeanany Keryeazue
Zack Freeman aka Quick to Kill
Zawie Doe
Zean Korghah
Zizzag Massah
War names /nom de guere
Different Devil
Oldman
Bullet Fly
Ray
Crazy
Gbandi Boy
Bullet Bounce
Dead Body Jacket
Cobra
Kpelle boy , Jr.
General Zero - Zero Red
Pepper Soup
Arthur Trig
Black Devil
3 Body Man
To God
Do it Quick
Pump Your Jaw
Cable Wire
Lucky Boy Kallay

List of perpetrators or alleged perpetrators who have been invited but refused to appear before the TRC in response to various forms of human rights and international humanitarian law violations ranging from murder, massacre, rape to forced displacement, etc, levied against them.

This is the TRC's last call to these individuals. These individuals are required to call at the TRC offices on 9th Street between 9:00am-6:00pm daily from December 1 to December 17, 2008. The TRC can be contacted at these numbers: 06574953 & 06545968.

Charles G. Taylor
Christopher Vambo(Mosquito)
Coocoo Dennis
Edward Farley
Eugene Wilson
Gborbo Gblinwon
George Boley
Melvin Sogbandi
Momo Gebbah (Bull Dog)
Ofori Diah Aka Iron Jacket
Roland Duo
Ruth Milton
Sando Johnson

List of persons of interest to the TRC inquiry process who are required to appear before the TRC because of their unique experiences and knowledge of events of the past covering the period 1979 - 2003. these personalities are required to call at the trc offices on 9th street between 9:00am-6:00pm daily from december 1 to december 17, 2008. the TRC can be contacted at these numbers: 06574953 & 06545968.

Aaron Darwolea
Abel S. Gboloh
Abraham Dorley
Adolphus Nyanay
Aisha Konneh
Aisha Konneh
Albert Paye
Albert sumeh
Albert Toe
Alex Jackson
Alfred Suah
Aloysius Sackie
Amos Barclay
Amos Lincoln Bailey
Andrew Koah
Anthony Kesselly
Anthony Maque
Anthony Ponnie
Archie Williams
Arthur Saah
Benedict Mentee
Benjamin Gee
Benoni Urey
Brihima Kaba
Buster Sammatuai
Charles Bennie
Charles Bright
Chemor Kuyateh
Chief Samuel Toah
Chris Davis
Clarence Simpson
Coral Peabody
Daniel johnson
David Kpormakpor
Dusty Wolokollie
Edward Zamay
Edwin Lloyd
Edwin Zelee
El-Mohammed Sheriff
Emmnuel Shaw
Ernest Vafee
Ezekiel Pajibo
Florence Chenoweth
Forkpa Gissi
Gabriel nimely
Gaye Getteh
George Tarweh
Gladys Johnson
Harry Yuan
Henry Kiawu
Ignatius Clay
Isaac Monger
Isaac Nyenabo
Isaac Wennie
Jackson E Doe
James Chelly
James Kiawu
James Kiawu
James Kiawu
Jamil Morris
Jerry Gbahn
Joe Tuah
John gbeto
John Miller
John T. Teah
John V. Tubman
Jonathan Taylor
Jonh Tarnue
Joseph Kpeyou
Joseph Sackor
Joseph Z.B Kpargbor
Josephus Karbar
Junior Mitchell
Kabena J'aineh
Khaleed Mikkawi
Koboi Johnson
Kollonseh Gonyon
Lansana Fofana
Lavali Supowood
Lawrence guannu
Liawa Bouyou
Lucia Massally-Yallah
Marcus Seebo
Marie Johnson
Matthew Giobay
Milton S. Yambakolo
Mohammed Jabateh
Mohammed joumandy
Momolu V. Sackor Sirleaf
Morris Dukuly
Morris Myers
Morris Myers
Moses Dorbor
Moses Thomas
Moses Wright
Noah Bordolo
Nyan Mantee
Paul Doe
Paul Mulbah
Paul Tuah
Peter Bonner Jallah
Peter Dahn
Peter Giah
Philip Commenga
Philip Karmh
Prince K. Bargue
Prince Nagbe
Raleigh Seekie
Ramsy Moore
Rancy George
Reginald Goodridge
Robert Beer
Roland Anderson
Roland Massaquoi
Ruth Caesar
Sam Kerfalla
Sam Kolleh
Sampson Kinguah
Samuel Banwon
Samuel Nimely alias PI
Samuel Wlue
Sekou Donzo
Selley Thompson
Shadrack Demeh
Signel Alimadi
Swen Dickson
Sylvester Moses
Thomas Woewiyu
Thomas Ziah
Timothy Mulbah
Toga Macintosh-Gayewea
Tony Gonyor
Varney Konneh
Vivian Coke
Walter Gwanigale
William Glay
William Gould
William Tolbert III
Vallah Kebeh

 

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United States

Guantanamo judge rejects 'forced' confession
AFP
Novebmer 21, 2008

A US military judge in Guantanamo Bay has thrown out the US government's evidence against an Afghan detainee because it was obtained under coercion, a rights group said Friday.

The decision came late Wednesday in a preliminary hearing in the trial of Mohammed Jawad, arrested in Kabul in 2002 as a teenager on charges of throwing a grenade that wounded two American soldiers and their Afghan interpreter.

A representative for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who was present at the hearing at the tribunal at the US military base in Cuba, revealed that Jawad's confession had been rejected as evidence in the case.

"Colonel Stephen Henley held that evidence collected while Jawad was in US custody cannot be admitted in his trial" because the evidence was "gathered through coercive interrogations," the ACLU said in a press release.

Accused of having committed "war crimes," Jawad, who is now about 23 years old, is set to face trial on January 5 before a military commission at the Guantanamo prison.

"Previously, the government had told the judge that Jawad's alleged confessions were the centerpiece of its case against him," the ACLU said.

"If the government continues to prosecute this case, it will only provide further evidence that the military commissions system is a sham aimed at obtaining convictions regardless of the facts or the law," said ACLU staff attorney Hina Shamsi.

The lead prosecutor in Jawad's case, lieutenant Colonel Darrel Vandeveld, quit in September due to "ethical concerns."

Judge Orders Release of 5 Guantanamo Prisoners
Los Angeles Times
By David G. Savage
November 21, 2008

A federal judge ruled here for the first time Thursday that the Bush administration had no basis for holding several of its long-term prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and he ordered that five of the Algerian natives go free.

The question in the case was whether the men, who lived in Bosnia and had never fought or been near a battlefield, had plotted with Al Qaeda and were planning to fight in Afghanistan. In Thursday's ruling, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, a Bush appointee, said the government's case was weak because it relied on only one unnamed witness who linked the men to Al Qaeda. They deserve to be released, he said.

"This is a good day for the American justice system," said Robert C. Kirsch, part of a team of Boston lawyers who spent much of the last seven years trying to win the Algerian men their freedom. "They were swept up by mistake. This is remarkable because Judge Leon essentially told the government, you don't have a case and you never had a case against these men."

Leon had earlier decided that the Guantanamo prisoners had no right to seek their freedom in court. The Supreme Court in June overruled that decision in the case of Lakhdar Boumediene vs. Bush and said the Guantanamo prisoners had the right to habeas corpus -- to be heard by a judge. However, despite years of litigation, no prisoner at Guantanamo has been released as a result of a judge's order.

In the fall of 2001, the Algerian-born men whose case was decided Thursday were suspected of plotting to bomb the U.S. Embassy in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. But a court in Bosnia rejected the allegation and released the men. Then, U.S. authorities took them into custody and shipped them to the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay.

In January 2002, President Bush referred to the case in his State of the Union address. "Our soldiers, working with the Bosnian government, seized terrorists who were plotting to bomb our embassy," he said.

But when the case went before the judge, the administration's lawyers dropped that claim. Instead, they asserted that the Algerians planned to travel to Afghanistan to take up arms against U.S. forces. Leon concluded there was little or no evidence to prove the men made such a plan.

However, he ruled Thursday that one of six Algerians, Bensayah Belkacem, was linked to Al Qaeda and could be held indefinitely as an "enemy combatant."

It is not certain that the ruling Thursday will force the government to release the five men. The Justice Department can appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, and that could easily delay a decision. The appeals court has generally endorsed the Bush administration's policies.

But President-elect Barack Obama has said he intends to close the Guantanamo prison. Civil libertarians expect that most of its remaining 250 detainees will be released.

Peter Carr, a Justice Department spokesman, said he was disappointed with Thursday's ruling but stopped short of saying it would be appealed. He said the case of the Algerian men involved "extraordinary circumstances where wartime enemies have been captured abroad" and were held based on classified information. His statement suggested the judge had failed to give full weight to the classified evidence. "We are promptly reviewing the decision" before deciding on an appeal, he said.

Civil libertarians said Thursday's decision confirmed what the Bush administration's critics had long assumed -- that the cases against the Guantanamo prisoners would not stand up if they were examined by an independent judge.

"For seven years, the Bush administration sought to avoid the courts because it had no evidence and sought instead to create a lawless prison," said Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. "We must note that justice here, however, comes seven years too late."

In its ruling in June, the Supreme Court told judges in Washington to move promptly to review the cases of the scores of Guantanamo prisoners who had filed habeas corpus claims. Leon and several other judges have taken up that task, but it has been slow going. The high court said the government could hold an "enemy combatant," but it did not define exactly who qualified.

Last month, another federal judge ruled that 17 Chinese Muslims held at Guantanamo should be released, but in that case, the administration had conceded the prisoners were not enemy combatants.

However, their release has foundered on the question of where they can go. The Chinese Muslims could not be returned to China because they faced persecution there, and the Bush administration objected to releasing them in the United States. Their case goes back before the appeals court next week.

 

US Appeals Court Hearing into Guantanamo Uighurs
AFP
November 24, 2008

Lawyers for 17 Muslim Uighurs held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, renewed an appeal for their release onto US soil Monday saying US authorities could not hold them indefinitely.

The case, which has proven a headache for the US administration, was back before the courts after the government appealed a decision last month that all 17 prisoners of Chinese-nationality should be freed in the United States.

"They can't be detained indefinitely," said Sabin Willett, representing the 17 who have languished in the US military "war on terror" camp in Cuba for more than six years without charge.

But despite arguments from their lawyers that the base was a prison, government lawyer Gregory Carre said the men were being held in "relatively unrestricted conditions" in Guantanamo Bay.

"It's regrettable they are in this situation, but we are actively seeking another country to take them," he said.

The group has been held in limbo at Guantanamo -- despite being cleared for release by the US government -- because officials can not find a country willing to take them.

The men cannot be returned to China because of fears they would be tortured there as political dissidents.

On October 7 federal judge Ricardo Urbina ordered that the 17 men should be released in the Washington area where Uighur families are willing to shelter them.

But the government contested the decision, arguing it would set a bad precedent for others who are held in Guantanamo and pose a security risk. And the original ruling was frozen.

Three appeal court judges questioned government lawyers for almost an hour. Judge Judith Roger argued that the government had failed to provide evidence that the Uighurs, who hail from China's remote Muslim northwestern Xinjiang province, presented a security risk.

But two other judges seemed to be more favorable towards the government.

The Uighurs were living in a self-contained camp in Afghanistan when the US-led coalition bombing campaign began in October 2001. They fled to the mountains, but were turned over to Pakistani authorities, who then handed them over to the United States.

Only Albania has so far agreed to take in Uighur detainees, welcoming a group of five in 2006.

Salim Ahmed Hamdan to leave Guantanamo
Los Angeles Times
By Carol J. Williams
November 25, 2008

Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's onetime driver and the first of only two terrorism suspects convicted at Guantanamo Bay, is being transferred from the offshore prison to his Yemeni homeland, a government lawyer familiar with the case said Monday.

Hamdan, who is about 40, was found guilty of material support for terrorism by a six-member military jury in August.

He was acquitted of the more serious charge of conspiracy and sentenced to just five months longer than the five-plus years he had served, mostly in maximum security isolation, at the U.S. naval base in Cuba.

The disclosure that Hamdan was already off the base or would be within hours signaled that the Bush administration had conceded its effort to severely punish the $200-a-month Al Qaeda driver had failed.

Bush administration officials sought and were denied reconsideration of Hamdan's 66-month sentence after trial by the Pentagon's Office of Military Commissions. Prosecutors deemed the term too lenient. They had asked that Hamdan serve 30 years to life.

Government lawyers had cast him as one of those who helped plot and execute the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

During Hamdan's three-week trial, his defense lawyers elicited testimony portraying the slight, soft-spoken defendant as a hired hand with a fourth-grade education, a man who drove Bin Laden and at times acted as a bodyguard but was excluded from the terrorist group's inner circle.

About 100 of the 250 prisoners still at Guantanamo are Yemenis. Many of them are expected to be sent home once President Bush leaves office and the Pentagon is compelled to dismantle the prison and the interrogation and prosecution operations that have drawn international condemnation.

A lawyer involved in the commissions said he regarded the transfer of Hamdan as the "grease" needed to launch the repatriation of Yemenis after years of diplomatic standoff between the U.S. and Yemeni governments.

Neither the spokeswoman for the task force that operates the detention facilities, Navy Cmdr. Pauline A. Storum, nor commissions spokesman Joseph DellaVedova, responded to requests for confirmation of Hamdan's transfer.

Pentagon officials routinely refuse to discuss detainee movements, claiming security concerns.

The Yemeni news agency, SABA, reported from the capital Sanaa that "well-informed sources said on Monday that U.S. authorities would extradite Salim Hamdan to Yemen in the coming few days."

Monday marked exactly seven years since Hamdan was captured at a roadblock near Kandahar, Afghanistan, as he returned from taking his wife and a daughter to Pakistan to escape the bombardment of suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban strongholds in the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks.

He was held by U.S.-led Afghan fighters, then by clandestine U.S. government agents for two months before he was sent to Guantanamo.

Hamdan had cooperated with his captors while in Afghanistan, testimony during his trial indicated. Information thought to have led to his reduced sentence and acquittal on the conspiracy charge was disclosed to the military judge and jury during a closed session.

Hamdan has a wife and two daughters in Yemen.

Ex-terrorism prosecutor flags flaws at tribunal
Associated Press
By Larry Neumeister
November 29, 2008

Like many human rights observers, Anthony Barkow has harsh words about the government's treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. But Barkow offers a unique perspective: He's the only observer who successfully prosecuted terrorist sympathizers in his former life as an assistant U.S. attorney in Manhattan.

President-elect Barack Obama has vowed to close the prison on the U.S. Navy base in Cuba, but no decision has been made about how and where to try the detainees. Barkow said the federal courts can handle most national security issues but did not want to take a position on where the prosecutions should occur.

"Federal prosecutors would like doing cases like this — and they can do them, too," he said in a recent interview after returning from observing military tribunals at Guantanamo for a week.
He acknowledged that the tribunals are more protective of classified information, interrogation techniques and U.S. relationships with foreign governments than are U.S. district courts. But, he insisted, "certainly, all of these things could be done in federal court."

Barkow was a federal prosecutor for 12 years, much of that time under the Bush administration.
He left the office in May, soon after arguing the appeal of three defendants convicted in 2005 of letting Egyptian Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman communicate with his followers from the U.S. prison cell where he is serving a life sentence. Abdel-Rahman was convicted in 1995 in a plot to blow up five New York City landmarks.

Today, the 39-year-old Barkow is executive director of the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law at New York University School of Law, a think tank dedicated to the promotion of good government practices in criminal matters.

He lived at Guantanamo for a week in September, returning to his tent at night to write a blog about his observations for the group Human Rights First. One of the things that surprised him most was the lack of openness.

Court observers, including himself, the media and representatives of human rights groups, sat behind a glass partition during the most sensitive proceedings, listening to testimony with a 40-second or so tape delay.

Monitors could press a button to black out information they believed was classified, some of which was later revealed to be trivial. Barkow gave an example of censors blotting out a reference by 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed to a book by Richard Nixon — "as if the book title was classified."

He said defendants were unable to understand the proceedings and the court and jury unable to completely hear them. As a result, the record did not accurately reflect what happened.

In one blog, he wrote that some interpreters "are simply not up to their tasks," which led to "deathly slow and inefficient" proceedings in which interpreters sometimes got it wrong even when working at half speed.

Deborah Colson, a Human Rights First lawyer, said Barkow's observations about the interpreters were important, noting how "that really undermines the system as a whole."

Because of security concerns, families of the victims and the accused were not permitted to attend the hearings and no other observers were allowed in without military clearance.

Barkow wrote almost longingly of access to federal courts where "the public, victims and their families, scholars, the entire media, and others can follow federal court proceedings as closely as they wish."

In the interview, Barkow acknowledged that the Guantanamo cases are complicated because so many detainees were picked up on battlefields and interrogated by the military or the CIA to gather intelligence rather than build a criminal case. The detainees, he said, had been so traumatized by their treatment that establishing attorney-client relationships was "extremely difficult and often impossible."

But he said federal terrorism prosecutors have dealt with most of those problems in one form or another in the federal court system, though not as frequently.

Barkow said he was impressed by judges at Guantanamo who seemed fair and were patient and respectful with defendants, and that most prosecutors and defense lawyers seemed earnest, professional and well-meaning. But they were left "practicing within a flawed, ad hoc system," he said.

Jameel Jaffer, dirctor of the ACLU National Security Project, said it was useful to hear observations from prosecutors and defense attorneys.

"Lawyers who have prosecuted cases or defended cases in ordinary federal court should and will find aspects of the Guantanamo system to be totally unacceptable," he said.

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UN Reports

International Criminal Court Prosecutor seeks charges against rebels in Darfur
UN News Service
November 20, 2008

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) today presented evidence against three rebel commanders for their role in last year’s deadly attack against peacekeepers in the war-ravaged Sudanese region of Darfur, vowing that he “will not let such attacks go unpunished.”

Some 1,000 rebels attacked the Haskanita camp in South Darfur state on 29 September 2007, killing 12 peacekeepers serving with the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) – a predecessor to the joint UN-AU peacekeeping mission known as UNAMID – and wounding eight others.

The three commanders “planned, led their troops and directed the attack… and completely destroyed AMIS facilities and property, directly affecting aid and security for millions of people of Darfur who are in need of protection,” ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said, according to a press release issued by the Court.

“No one is above the law,” he added.

The Prosecution has concluded that there are reasonable grounds to believe the three commanders bear criminal responsibility for three counts of war crimes for murder, intentionally directing attacks against personnel and objects involved in a peacekeeping mission and pillaging.

He later told the UN News Centre that the rebels’ names are sealed because “the best way to ensure their appearance is to keep confidential their names for now,” adding that they must “recognize that they have to respect the Court.”

Mr. Moreno-Ocampo expressed outrage against the attack on peacekeepers in Haskanita, saying that “this cannot happen,” for “if you attack them, there is no hope for the civilians.”

Although he said that he expects no cooperation on the part of the Sudanese authorities, he stressed that it is his “duty to show that the law will be enforced very seriously.”

Today’s presentation of evidence to the ICC could help to further the Darfur peace process, the Prosecutor said, because “applying the law will help to establish law and bring peace to the region.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said in a statement issued by his spokesperson that he “emphasizes that the United Nations respects the independence of the Court and its judicial process, and stresses the critical importance of full compliance by all parties to the actions of the Court.”

He said that the two UN peacekeeping missions operating in Sudan will continue to work in an “impartial manner, cooperating in good faith with all partners to further the goal of peace and stability in the country,” adding that the world body will also press ahead with its humanitarian and development efforts in the country.

The investigation of the three rebel commanders is the ICC’s third arising from the situation in Darfur, which was referred to The Hague-based Court by the Security Council in 2005.

In July, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo requested an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for allegedly committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide over the last five years in Darfur.

The ICC has issued arrest warrants for Ahmad Muhammad Harun, former Sudanese Minister of State for the Interior, and Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kushayb. In presenting his evidence against them to the Court, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said that they “jointly committed crimes against the civilian population in Darfur.”

More than 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed in Darfur, an impoverished and relatively arid region on Sudan’s western flank, since rebels began fighting Government forces and allied Janjaweed militiamen in 2003. Another 2.7 million civilians have had to flee their homes.

UN tribunal for Rwandan genocide holds discussions on possible referral of trials
UN News Service

November 20, 2008

The Prosecutor of the United Nations tribunal set up after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda has been holding talks with his counterpart inside the African Great Lakes nation on possibly referring tribunal cases to the small Great Lakes country for trial.

Hassan Bubacar Jallow, Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), today wrapped up two days of consultations with Martin Ngoga, Rwandan Prosecutor-General, in Arusha, Tanzania, where the tribunal is based.

The discussions during the meeting – which was also attended by Aloys Mutabingwa, Rwanda’s representative to the tribunal – focused on the strategy for referring ICTR cases to Rwanda.

“The parties welcomed the recognition by the ICTR that the Rwandan courts are independent and impartial,” according to a press release issued by the tribunal today. “They however took note that for various other reasons, the ICTR has declined for the time being to refer cases to Rwanda.”

The two prosecutors also discussed ways in which obstacles to the referral of cases could be overcome, with Mr. Ngoga emphasizing the commitment of Rwanda to take the necessary remedial measures.

An estimated 800,000 Rwandans, mostly ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus, were murdered – often by machete or club – during a period of about 100 days starting in early April 1994.

UN investigating possible war crimes in Congo
Associated Press

By John Heilprin
November 27, 2008

U.N. officials have opened investigations into whether war crimes have been committed in eastern Congo, saying they have alarming evidence of targeted killings and possibly massacres of civilians.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon raised the possibility of war crimes and crimes against humanity in a report Wednesday to the Security Council that recommends U.N. peacekeepers who make up the world's largest such contingent should remain in Congo through 2009.

"The forced displacement of populations and evidence of the targeted killings of civilians are alarming. In the current climate, the possibility of massacres of civilians cannot be ruled out," he said in the report.

Alan Doss, the U.N.'s top envoy to Congo, told the council that the peacekeeping force, known as MONUC, had recently opened "several investigations into alleged massacres and extra-judicial executions."

"All belligerents have committed serious atrocities against civilians," Doss said. "Women and children have suffered most from the recurrent fighting. Sexual violence is rampant and many armed groups continue to recruit children into their ranks."

Doss said a team has begun investigating the possible killings of at least 26 people — a figure that could grow "substantially higher" — around Kiwanja, about 45 miles north of Goma, the provincial capital. The inquiry followed reports that rebels killed dozens of people two weeks ago while fending off an attack from the army, pro-government Mai Mai militias and Rwandan Hutu rebels.

"We don't want to rush to judgment, it's important. But, we do know that those killings occurred in areas that the CNDP had taken over," said Doss, referring to the National Congress for the Defense of the People, or CNDP, headed by rebel leader Laurent Nkunda.

In April, the International Criminal Court published an arrest warrant for CNDP's chief of staff, Congolese militia leader Bosco Ntaganda, who is wanted for the alleged forced conscription of child soldiers in the Ituri region of eastern Congo about five years ago.

"The CNDP is one of the groups against which there are credible reports of serious crimes committed in the two Kivu provinces — including sexual crimes of unspeakable cruelty," the court had said.

Ban reported that Congolese and foreign armed groups have committed serious human rights abuses with impunity, including mass killings, rapes, torture, abductions, forced recruitment of child soldiers, forced labor and sexual slavery.

Those include, according to his report, "a resumption of atrocities" against Congolese civilians by the notorious Ugandan rebel group Lord's Resistance Army. It abducted some 177 Congolese children and killed an estimated 76 adults between mid-September and early October, Ban reported.

The International Criminal Court has also issued arrest warrants for leaders of that rebel group, which has been fighting a 20-year insurgency in northern Uganda.

About 1.35 million people are displaced by the Congolese fighting between rebel and government forces in the areas of North and South Kivu and Ituri, Ban said.

Ban's fears, including the risk that the conflict could spill over into the broader region, reflect growing international concerns.

In a report Tuesday, New York-based Human Rights Watch charged that Congo's government, on orders from the president, had killed an estimated 500 opposition members, dumping the bodies in the Congo River and in mass graves. President Joseph Kabila's spokesman called the report "nonsense."

Last week, the Security Council unanimously approved sending almost 3,100 additional peacekeeping troops, which would bring the total in Congo, including police, to more than 20,000.

British deputy ambassador Karen Pierce stressed the importance of getting the reinforcements on the ground as soon as possible. European nations, the most likely to provide troops for such a force, have so far been reluctant to commit troops.

But Belgian Foreign Minister Karel de Gucht said at U.N. headquarters that his and several other European nations are considering pooling soldiers to supplement the U.N. force — a "bridging" force in the coming months that has Ban's support.

De Gucht has called for the European Union to send at least 2,000 soldiers, but support for that has been lukewarm.

In a letter made public Wednesday, Rwanda's foreign ministry urged the regional nations and international community to support an agreement between Rwanda and Congo earlier this month.

The two nations agreed to take military action to root out Hutu militias operating in eastern Congo and to promote a political solution to the differences between the Congolese government and Nkunda's forces.

Nkunda says he is protecting minority Tutsis from Hutus who fled to Congo after Rwanda's 1994 genocide. Critics say he is more interested in power and accuse his forces of committing human rights abuses.

Rwanda's Foreign Ministry said "the root cause of the conflict" in eastern Congo is the Rwandan Hutu FDLR militia, which incorporates some combatants who participated in the Rwandan genocide.

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, the U.N. envoy trying to help end the recent fighting, said this week that the issue of what to do about the FDLR must be addressed.

A third element in the violence in the Congo this year has been the Mai Mai militias that operate between the margins.

Since the fighting intensified in August with an offensive by Nkunda to seize large sections of the country, more than 250,000 people have been forced to flee their homes, and cholera has become a major problem in camps for the displaced.

The rebel forces also have set up their own local administrations and are collecting taxes on the region's rich minerals and other goods moving through their territory.

UN investigating possible war crimes in Congo
Associated Press

December 1, 2008

The international tribunal being set up to try those responsible for political killings in Lebanon, particularly the 2005 attack that killed former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, is on track to begin its work on 1 March 2009, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced on Sunday, following a meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

The date was agreed upon by both men during their meeting today in Doha, Qatar, where they are attending the United Nations follow-up conference on financing for development.

"I and Prime Minister Siniora agree that the launch of the Special Tribunal will be a significant step towards the end of impunity," Mr. Ban said in remarks to the press after the meeting. "We also hope that the Security Council will endorse the plan."

The Council asked Mr. Ban last year to set up the court after Mr. Sinior a informed the 15-member body that all domestic options had been exhausted.

The Special Tribunal is designed to try those accused of recent political murders in Lebanon, particularly the February 2005 assassination of Mr. Hariri in a massive car bombing in downtown Beirut that killed 22 others.

A number of steps have been taken over the course of this year to formally set up the court, including the signing of a headquarters agreement with the Netherlands, the appointment of the Prosecutor, Registrar and judges, and the establishment of a management committee.

The probe into the killings is being carried out by the International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC), headed by Daniel Bellemare, a Canadian prosecutor.

Mr. Ban said that the staff of the IIIC in Beirut will gradually transfer to The Hague starting on 1 January. "This will be carried out in a manner that ensures that there is no interruption to the IIIC investigation," he noted.

The Secretary-General thanked those countries that have contributed funds to the Special Tribunal, and encouraged all Member States to pledge their financial support for the coming years so that the court will be able to function on a firm financial footing.

In his latest report on the preparations for the tribunal, Mr. Ban also noted that all practical arrangements will be in place for the prosecutor to arrive on 1 March.

 

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NGO Reports

"Chemical Ali" Sentenced to Death a Second Time
Amnesty International

December 2, 2008

Two senior former officials in Saddam Hussein's government were sentenced to death on Tuesday. 'Ali Hassan al-Majid (nicknamed "Chemical Ali") and 'Abdul Ghani 'Abdul Ghafour, were sentenced by the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal (SICT) for their role in the killing of thousands of people during the 1991 anti-government uprising in southern Iraq.

Other defendants received prison sentences ranging from 15 years to life. They include former defence minister Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Ta'i, who received 15 years, and Hussein Rashid al-Tikriti, who received a life sentence. Three others were acquitted.

If the death sentences against 'Ali Hassan al-Majid and 'Abdul Ghani 'Abdul Ghafour are upheld by the tribunal's Appeals Chamber, they will be executed within 30 days.

'Ali Hassan al-Majid, former Ba'ath Party commander of the northern region, Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Ta'i and Hussain Rashid al-Tikriti have already been sentenced to death by the SICT for their roles in the so-called Anfal campaign of 1988 that led to the deaths of some 180,000 Iraqi Kurds. Their death sentences were upheld by the SICT's Appeals Chamber on 4 September 2007.

On 27 February 2008, Iraq's Presidential Council approved the death sentence imposed on 'Ali Hassan al-Majid but is reported to have argued that Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Ta'i and Hussain Rashid al-Tikriti, as military personnel, were obeying orders and should not be executed.  All three are still in US military custody.

The Iraqi and US governments signed a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) on 27 November 2008 under which all those detained by US forces will be handed over to the Iraqi authorities after 31 December 2008. All former officials, including 'Ali Hassan al-Majid, Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Ta'i, Hussain Rashid al-Tikriti and 'Abdul Ghani 'Abdul Ghafour, are likely to be executed.

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