Case School of Law Logo


FREDERICK K. COX
INTERNATIONAL LAW CENTER

War Crimes Prosecution Watch

Volume 6 - Issue 19
December 19, 2011

PILPG Logo

Editor in Chief
John K. Sawyer

Managing Editors
Emily Werner
Rachel Wolbers

Senior Technical Editors
Boris Block
Cameron MacLeod

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.

Opinions expressed in the articles herein represent the views of their authors and are not necessarily those of the War Crimes Prosecution Watch staff, the Case Western Reserve University School of Law or Public International Law & Policy Group.

Contents

INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

Central African Republic & Uganda Darfur, Sudan Democratic Republic of the Congo Kenya Libya Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

AFRICA

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

Special Court for Sierra Leone

EUROPE

Court of Bosnia & Herzegovina, War Crimes Chamber

International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Domestic Prosecutions In The Former Yugoslavia

MIDDLE EAST AND ASIA

Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal

NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA

United States

TOPICS

Terrorism

Piracy

Gender-Based Violence

REPORTS

UN Reports

NGO Reports

TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSIONS

Canada

Kenya

Nepal

Thailand

COMMENTARY AND PERSPECTIVES

WORTH READING

INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

Central African Republic & Uganda

Official Website of the International Criminal Court
ICC Public Documents - Cases: Central African Republic
ICC Public Documents - Situation in Uganda

Expert Tells Court Bemba was Supreme Commander and Had Direct Control Over His Troops
BembaTrial.org
By Wakabi Wairagala
December 6, 2011

A military expert today testified that Jean-Pierre Bemba had the means of exerting direct control over his troops deployed in the Central African conflict.

Daniel Opande, a retired Kenyan military officer, is the fourth expert witness to testify in the trial of the former Congolese opposition leader at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

He stated that his review of documents received from the court's prosecutors indicated that Mr. Bemba, through wire and radio transmissions, had "assured means" of issuing direct commands to his troops deployed in the conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) from his headquarters in Congo. He added that information from the field was communicated to the accused via the same means.

"If you have the means to monitor, the distance doesn't matter. There are commanders who are thousands of miles away from their troops, but they are still in control of their troops," said the witness.

General Opande has written a report for the court on military command structures and command responsibility. The report is partly based on material provided by the Office of The Prosecutor (OTP), including witness statements and other literature. It highlights similarities between the accused's rebel movement and conventional military forces.

Mr. Bemba, the MLC commander-in-chief, is on trial at The Hague-based court over rapes, murders, and pillaging allegedly committed by his soldiers deployed in the Central African conflict during 2002 and 2003. Prosecutors charge that Mr. Bemba made no efforts to train his troops on the law of war, that he ignored or discounted specific complaints about serious crimes committed by his soldiers, and that he made no efforts to punish them. He has pleaded not guilty to all five charges against him, arguing that he had no control over his troops once they entered the neighboring country.

General Opande has previously commanded United Nations peacekeeping missions in Angola, Liberia, Mozambique, Namibia, and Sierra Leone. He stated that a military commander has to be "very clear" while speaking to his troops in order for them to perform the right actions and not to leave them "in doubt" of their mission. "You do not want the officers to guess," he added.

The general, who has interactions with rebel forces seeking to overthrow governments in countries where he has worked, stated that it was "common practice" for these forces, termed "guerrillas" to adopt the structure and chain of command of conventional armed forces.

"To what extent did you find the same features in the information you reviewed regarding the MLC?" asked prosecution lawyer Eric Iverson.

"I found that the MLC had a staff organization which was quite synonymous with any military organization. It was well established, with staff at every level of command and control," replied the general, also known as 'Witness 219.' He said that amongst the MLC staff was a chief of staff, intelligence officer, operations officer, and logistics officer, all of whom kept their commander-in-chief "informed" of what was going on.

At the time of their intervention in the neighboring country, the MLC were a rebel movement seeking to overthrow the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo. In his report, the general concludes that the overall command of the militia was vested in Mr. Bemba as both the political and supreme military leader.

"Whatever the MLC was doing was done in accordance with his [Bemba's] instructions," said the general.

However, the Kenyan general contended that there were certain limitations to his report. According to him, interviews with certain individuals in the CAR and the Congo, as well as site visits to the MLC's area of operation "were not done."

In addition to victims and witnesses to alleged crimes, the ICC allows persons whose education, training, and experience qualify them to provide an assessment, opinion, or judgment within an area of expertise in trials at the court, to testify.

The prosecution has previously called three expert witnesses. These are Dr. André Tabo, an expert on sexual violence as a tool of war, Dr. Adeyinka Akinsulure-Smith, a psychologist who testified about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among Central African rape survivors, and Professor William Samarin, a linguist and anthropologist.

General Opande continues his testimony tomorrow morning.

Prosecutors Barred From Questioning Expert About Testimony of Insider Witness
BembaTrial.org
By Wakabi Wairagala
December 7, 2011

International Criminal Court (ICC) judges have barred prosecutors in the trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba from questioning a military expert about the testimony of 'Witness 213,' a former insider in the group the accused leads.

The questioning was disallowed to ensure the "defense is not prejudiced by the general giving new opinions for the first time on topics not addressed in his court report." The defense had objected to questioning the expert about this testimony, arguing that prosecutors had not disclosed to them in a timely manner that they intended to question the expert on elements related to the former insider's testimony.

General Daniel Opande, a retired Kenyan military officer and former commander of United Nations peacekeeping missions in Africa, started testifying yesterday. He has written for the court a report on military command structures and command responsibility, based on literature and other material, including witness statements, provided to him by prosecutors.

Last week, defense lawyers protested the prosecution's late disclosure of the expert's "supplementary" report, which they claimed reviewed more evidence than the expert's initial October 2010 report. As such, the defense asked for General Opande's testimony to be delayed, to allow them "sufficient opportunity" to review the more recent report and consult their experts about it.

Whereas judges declined to delay the commencement of the expert's testimony until January 2012, they ordered prosecutors not to ask him to provide an opinion "for the first time" on ten undisclosed documents not relied upon in his initial report.

Yesterday, prosecution lawyer Eric Iverson presented transcripts of the in-court testimony by 'Witness 213,' intending to question the expert about them, drawing defense objections.

This morning, judges emphasized that prosecutors could not question the expert about the testimony of 'Witness 213' and other witnesses whose evidence was only reviewed in the latest report.

"The prosecution is not entitled to question General Opandeon the testimony of 'Witness 213' because he was not referred to in the general's first report," said Presiding Judge Sylvia Steiner. She reiterated that the "scope" of the prosecution's questioning of the expert should only be "based on the in-court testimony of those witnesses analyzed or referenced in his report" and no other witnesses. It is unclear whether or not the other witnesses are also insider witnesses.

'Witness 213,' a former Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) insider, last month testified about the group's military structure and operations.

Meanwhile, this afternoon General Opande stated that all military and rebel forces have a system of reporting, including situation reports from the battlefield.

"Every 24 hours there will be a situation report from the lowest command to the highest command," he said. The situation report covers aspects such as operations, intelligence, logistics, and casualties.

Mr. Bemba has denied that he had direct command over his soldiers but failed to effectively control them as they brutalized civilians in the Central African Republic (CAR) during their deployment in the country between October 2002 and March 2003. Prosecutors charge that he is criminally responsible for three war crimes (murder, rape, and pillaging) and two crimes against humanity (murder and rape) stemming from the MLC's misconduct.

The trial continues tomorrow morning with the cross-examination of General Opande.

Bemba Defense Claims Witness Statements Contradict Expert's Report
BembaTrial.org
By Wakabi Wairagala
December 8, 2011

Today, Congolese war crimes accused Jean-Pierre Bemba's defense questioned a military expert about the statements of two witnesses who testified that the accused's troops deployed in the Central African Republic (CAR) conflict fell under the command of that country's authorities.

General Daniel Opande, a Kenyan military expert who started testifying on Tuesday, wrote a report on military structures and command responsibility in the context of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) operations in the 2002-2003 Central African armed conflict. Prosecutors have submitted his report as part of their evidence.

According to excerpts from the statements of two witnesses going by the pseudonyms 'Leonard' and 'Marcel,' the accused told his troops that they had been placed under the command of CAR authorities. They stated that these instructions were issued both before the Congolese soldiers left their base and when Mr. Bemba visited the Central African capital Bangui.

'Marcel' was also quoted as saying that Mustafa Mukiza, who commanded the Congolese troops during their expedition in the conflict country, received orders from the Central African chief of staff. Both 'Marcel' and 'Leonard' stated that the MLC's electronic communication devices only worked in the Congo; as such, they communicated through the CAR military radio network.

At the time, the Congolese troops were allied with forces loyal to that country's then president, Ange-Félix Patassé, who was battling an armed rebellion that sought his overthrow. Mr. Bemba is on trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for allegedly failing to control his troops who prosecutors say carried out rapes, murders, and pillaging. He has pleaded not guilty.

'Leonard' and 'Marcel' are some of the witnesses whose statements General Opande reviewed before writing his report. The General reviewed literature and statements from 11 witnesses - six victims of alleged MLC brutality and five individuals believed to be aware of the group's military structure and command.

Defense lawyer Aime Kilolo-Musamba contended that the expert's report, which concluded that Mr. Bemba had direct command of his troops throughout their stay in the conflict country, was mainly based on the evidence of witnesses who didn't have knowledge of the MLC's command structure.

On Tuesday, General Opande conceded that there were limitations to his report, as he neither made site visits nor interviewed CAR and MLC officers.

Moreover, it emerged today that prosecutors did not give the expert material pertaining to a Central African national inquiry into individuals deemed culpable for crimes committed during the conflict.

"Are you aware of that [inquiry] and did the prosecution make this material available to you?" asked Mr. Kilolo-Musamba.

"I am not aware of that, and nobody has mentioned that to me until now," replied General Opande.

As part of the inquiry, Bangui's Prosecutor-General, Firmin Feindiro, conducted interviews with his country's military officers who commanded operations during the conflict. Mr. Feindiro testified in the trial last April, and stated that his inquiry found that Mr. Patassé coordinated and commanded the military operations against the insurgents.

"When an offensive or counter-offensive was organized, it was the president that organized it," Mr. Feindiro's report said. Furthermore, the top Central African prosecutor stated that he did not find sufficient evidence implicating Mr. Bemba in the crimes committed.

The defense will continue to cross-examine General Opande Friday morning.

Defense Insists Patassé Commanded Bemba's Troops
BembaTrial.org
By Wakabi Wairagala
December 9, 2011

The defense of Jean-Pierre Bemba on Friday questioned a military expert about the testimonies of witnesses who stated that the command of the former Congolese vice president's militia during their participation in the 2002-2003 Central African armed conflict fell under then president Ange-Félix Patassé. The statements were made by two colonels of the Central African Republic (CAR) armed forces, Thierry Lengbe and Joseph Mokondoui, as well as two witnesses going by the pseudonyms 'Oscar' and 'Mathew.'

General Daniel Opande, who concluded his testimony today, was called by prosecutors to give evidence about military command structures and command responsibility. The retired Kenyan army officer and former commander of various United Nations peacekeeping missions in Africa has written an expert report in which he concludes that Mr. Bemba was the supreme commander of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) soldiers involved in the armed campaign, and that he had "assured means" of issuing direct commands to his troops stationed in the conflict country.

In October 2002, Mr. Patassé called upon the support of Mr. Bemba's private army to help him stave off a coup attempt. Prosecutors charge that once deployed in the neighboring country, widespread murder, looting, and rape against the civilian population marked the Congolese soldiers' progression. As their commander-in-chief, Mr. Bemba is being tried at The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) with failure to control or punish his errant soldiers.

According to excerpts from the statements by 'Mathew' and 'Oscar,' the Congolese troops received orders directly from Mr. Patassé via his defense minister. Colonel Lengbe and Colonel Mokondoui were quoted as stating that loyalist Central African armed forces' manoeuvres and strategy, as well as that of the MLC, were coordinated at the Center for Command Operations (CCOP). At the time, they said, this center was located at Camp Beyale in the capital Bangui and was under the command of the country's army chief of staff, André Mazzi.

Asked by defense lawyer Aime Kilolo-Musamba whether, had he been aware of this information, it would have had an impact on his report, General Opande replied, "It would have had an impact on my report provided that the information was the practice."

Yesterday, Mr. Kilolo-Musamba questioned General Opande about the statements of 'Marcel' and 'Leonard,' two other witnesses who testified that the Congolese soldiers fell under the command of Central African authorities. Whereas 'Oscar', 'Mathew,' and the two Central African colonels' statements were not part of those that informed the expert's report to the ICC, those by 'Marcel' and 'Leonard' were among them. Colonel Mokondoui and Colonel Lengbe have testified in the trial over the last two months.

In denying the charges against him, Mr. Bemba argues that once his troops left Congo, they fell under the direct command of Mr. Patassé and that it was him that should have been held accountable for their alleged crimes. Mr. Patassé passed away in April this year before prosecutors concluded their investigations into the Central African conflict.

The conclusion of General Opande's evidence brings to 36 the number of prosecution witnesses who have testified in the trial since its opening in November 2010. Four more prosecution witnesses will testify in 2012.

Next week, the court will break for the winter recess with hearings in the trial scheduled to resume on Monday, January 16, 2012.

Military Expert Says Bemba Bore Command Responsibility but Defense Faults His Testimony
BembaTrial.org
By Wakabi Wairagala
December 9, 2011

A military expert this week stated that Congolese war crimes accused Jean-Pierre Bemba had direct control over his troops that were deployed in the Central African Republic (CAR), and he had the capacity to stop them from committing the crimes over which he is on trial.

At the center of the trial against Mr. Bemba is whether he was aware that his troops were committing these crimes and whether he had the means to stop or to punish them but chose not to. The accused, a former vice president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), denies he commanded the troops deployed in the conflict country, arguing that once they left Congolese territory, they fell under Central African military authorities.

General Daniel Opande, a military expert called by prosecutors, asserted that the accused had the means of exerting direct control over his Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) troops deployed in the Central African conflict during 2002 and 2003.

He added that his review of documents received from the court's prosecutors indicated that Mr. Bemba, through wire and radio transmissions, had "assured means" of issuing direct commands to his troops from his headquarters in Congo. He added that information from the field was communicated to the accused via the same means.

"If you have the means to monitor, the distance doesn't matter. There are commanders who are thousands of miles away from their troops, but they are still in control of their troops," said the witness.

The general, who has interacted with various rebel forces seeking to overthrow governments in countries where he has commanded United Nations peacekeeping operations, said that it was "common practice" for such "guerrilla" forces to adopt the structure and chain of command of conventional armed forces.

"To what extent did you find the same features in the information you reviewed regarding the MLC?" asked prosecution lawyer Eric Iverson.

"I found that the MLC had a staff organization which was quite synonymous with any military organization. It was well established, with staff at every level of command and control," replied the General, also known as 'Witness 219.' He said that amongst the MLC hierarchy were a chief of staff, intelligence officer, operations officer, and logistics officer, all of whom kept their commander-in-chief "informed" of what was going on.

At the time of their intervention in the neighboring country, the MLC was a rebel movement seeking to overthrow the Congolese government. In his report, the General concludes that the overall command of the militia was vested in Mr. Bemba as both the political and supreme military leader.

"Whatever the MLC was doing was done in accordance with his instructions," said the witness.

He stated that all military and rebel forces have a system of reporting, including situation reports from the battlefield. "Every 24 hours there will be a situation report from the lowest command to the highest command," he said. The situation report covers aspects such as operations, intelligence, logistics, and casualties.

However, the expert conceded that there were limitations to his report. According to him, interviews with certain individuals in the CAR and the Congo, as well as site visits to the MLC's area of operation "were not done."

The defense, which started its cross-examination on Thursday, claimed that some statements made by former MLC insiders who testified for the prosecution were in contradiction to the expert's testimony.

According to excerpts from the statements of two witnesses going by the pseudonyms 'Leonard' and 'Marcel,' the accused told his troops that they had been placed under the command of CAR authorities. They stated that these instructions were issued both before the Congolese soldiers left their base and when Mr. Bemba visited the Central African capital Bangui.

'Marcel' was also quoted as saying that Mustafa Mukiza, who commanded the Congolese troops during their expedition in the conflict country, received orders from the Central African army chief of staff. Both 'Marcel' and 'Leonard' stated that the MLC's electronic communication devices only worked in the Congo; as such, they communicated through the CAR military radio network.

'Leonard' and 'Marcel' are some of the witnesses whose statements General Opande reviewed before writing his report. The general reviewed literature and statements from 11 witnesses - six victims of alleged MLC brutality and five individuals believed to have been aware of the group's military structure and command.

Defense lawyer Aime Kilolo-Musamba contended that the expert's report was mainly based on the evidence of witnesses who lacked knowledge of the MLC's command structure.

Moreover, it emerged on Thursday that prosecutors did not give the expert material pertaining to a Central African national inquiry into individuals deemed culpable for crimes committed during the conflict.

"Are you aware of that [inquiry] and did the prosecution make this material available to you?" asked Mr. Kilolo-Musamba.

"I am not aware of that, and nobody has mentioned that to me until now," replied General Opande.

As part of the inquiry, Bangui's Prosecutor-General, Firmin Feindiro, conducted interviews with his country's military officers who commanded operations during the conflict. Mr. Feindiro testified in the Bemba trial last April and stated that his inquiry found that former president Ange-Félix Patassé coordinated and commanded the military operations against the insurgents.

"When an offensive or counter-offensive was organized, it was the president that organized it," Mr. Feindiro's report said. Furthermore, the top Central African prosecutor stated that he did not find sufficient evidence implicating Mr. Bemba in the crimes committed.

Furthermore, the general was questioned about the statements of two colonels of the CAR armed forces: Thierry Lengbe and Joseph Mokondoui, plus two witnesses going by the pseudonyms 'Oscar' and 'Mathew.'

According to excerpts from the statements by 'Mathew' and 'Oscar,' the Congolese troops received orders directly from Mr. Patassé via his defense minister. Colonel Lengbe and Colonel Mokondoui were quoted as stating that loyalist Central African armed forces' manoeuvres and strategy, as well as that of the MLC, were coordinated at the Center for Command Operations (CCOP). At the time, they said, this center was located at Camp Beyale in the capital Bagui, and was under the command of the country's army chief of staff, André Mazzi.

Asked by Mr. Kilolo-Musamba whether, had he been aware of all this information, it would have had an impact on his report, General Opande replied, "It would have had an impact on my report provided that the information was the practice."

The statements by 'Oscar', 'Mathew,' and the two colonels were not part of those that informed the expert's report. Colonel Mokondoui and Colonel Lengbe testified in the trial over the last two months.

International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutors charge that Mr. Bemba was the president and commander-in-chief of the MLC and that he "effectively acted as a military commander and had effective authority and control over the MLC troops" who allegedly "committed crimes against the civilian population, in particular, rape, murder and pillaging." Prosecutors contend that Mr. Bemba knew that his troops were committing crimes but did not take "all necessary and reasonable measures within his power to prevent or repress their commission."

In denying the charges against him, Mr. Bemba argues that once his troops left Congo, they fell under the direct command of Mr. Patassé and that it was him that should have been held accountable for their alleged crimes.

On Wednesday, judges barred prosecutors from questioning the military expert about the testimony of 'Witness 213,' a former insider in the group the accused leads who testified last month about its military structure and operations.

The questioning was disallowed to ensure the "defense is not prejudiced by the general giving new opinions for the first time on topics not addressed in his court report." The defense had objected to questioning the expert about this testimony, arguing that prosecutors had not disclosed to them in a timely manner that they intended to question the expert about elements related to the former insider's testimony.

Defense lawyers protested the prosecution's late disclosure of the expert's "supplementary" report, which they claimed reviewed more evidence than the expert's initial October 2010 report. As such, the defense asked for General Opande's testimony to be delayed, to allow them "sufficient opportunity" to review the more recent report and consult their experts about it.

Whereas judges declined to delay the commencement of the expert's testimony until January 2012, they ordered prosecutors not to ask him to provide an opinion "for the first time" on ten undisclosed documents not relied upon in his initial report.

Mr. Iverson had attempted to present transcripts of the in-court testimony by 'Witness 213,' intending to question the expert about them. However, judges reiterated that prosecutors could not question the expert about the testimony of 'Witness 213' and other witnesses whose evidence was only reviewed in the latest report.

"The prosecution is not entitled to question General Opande on the testimony of 'Witness 213' because he was not referred to in the general's first report," said Presiding Judge Sylvia Steiner. She added that the "scope" of the prosecution's questioning of the expert should only be "based on the in-court testimony of those witnesses analyzed or referenced in his report" and no other witnesses. It was unclear whether or not the other witnesses are also insider witnesses.

The court is on break for the winter recess, with hearings in the trial scheduled to resume on Monday, January 16, 2012.

[back to contents]

Darfur, Sudan

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

ICC Prosecutor Presents New Case in Darfur
ICC Press Release
December 2, 2011

Today the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, requested Pre-Trial Chamber I to issue an arrest warrant against the current Sudanese Defense Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur from August 2003 to March 2004.

The evidence allowed the Office of the Prosecutor to conclude that Mr. Hussein is one of those who bears the greatest criminal responsibility for the same crimes and incidents presented in previous warrants of arrest for Ahmed Harun and Ali Kushayb issued by the Court on 27 April 2007. Mr. Hussein was then Minister for the Interior for the Government of Sudan and Special Representative of the President in Darfur, with all of the powers and responsibilities of the President. Mr. Hussein delegated some of his responsibilities to Mr. Harun, the Minister of State for the Interior, whom he appointed to head the "Darfur Security Desk."

The crimes were perpetrated during attacks upon the towns and villages of Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar and Arawala in the Wadi Salih and Mukjar Localities of West Darfur. The attacks followed a common pattern: the Government of Sudan forces surrounded the villages, the Air Force dropped bombs indiscriminately and foot soldiers, including Militia/Janjaweed, killed, raped and looted the entire village, forcing the displacement of 4 million inhabitants. Currently, 2.5 million remain in camps for Internally Displaced Persons.

In the "Prosecution v. Harun & Kushayb" case, Pre-Trial Chamber I ruled that Local Security Committees coordinated these attacks. They were supervised by State Security Committees which reported to Mr. Harun, who in turn, according to the evidence, reported to Mr. Hussein. "The evidence shows that this was a state policy supervised by Mr. Hussein to ensure the coordination of attacks against civilians", said Moreno-Ocampo.

"Moreover, the evidence shows that directly and through Mr. Harun, Mr. Hussein played a central role in coordinating the crimes, including in recruiting, mobilizing, funding, arming, training and the deployment of the Militia/Janjaweed as part of the Government of the Sudan forces, with the knowledge that these forces would commit the crimes," said the Prosecutor.

The Prosecutor considered that Mr. Hussein should be arrested in order to prevent him from continuing with the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court.

After careful consideration, the Office of the Prosecutor has decided to publicly seek a warrant against Mr. Hussein to encourage further public focus on Government of the Sudan policy and actions, and promote cooperation in taking action to arrest Mr. Hussein and the 3 other individuals subject to ICC warrants, as established by UN Security Council Resolution 1593 (2005).

The Prosecutor emphasized that Mr. Hussein is presumed innocent and will be given full rights and the opportunity to defend himself. Pre-Trial Chamber I will review the evidence and make a decision on the Prosecution's request.

This is the fourth case of the International Criminal Court in Darfur. To date, ICC judges have issued arrest warrants against Ahmad Harun and Ali Kushayb - for crimes against humanity and war crimes; warrants of arrest against Omar Al-Bashir for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes; and summonses to appear for rebel leaders Abdallah Banda, Saleh Jerbo and Abu Garda for war crimes.

The Prosecutor will brief the United Nations Security Council on the situation in Darfur on 15 December 2011 at UN Headquarters.

George Clooney's Satellites Build a Case Against an Alleged War Criminal
Time World
By Mark Benjamin
December 3, 2011

The International Criminal Court is compiling evidence of possible recent war crimes in southern Sudan, allegedly directed by Sudanese Defense Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, the same man whom a prosecutor at the court wants to apprehend for alleged crimes eight years ago in Darfur. An internal ICC memo outlines the Darfur crimes and says Hussein is "currently central to the commission of similar crimes," now along the border between the North and South, including the killings of thousands of civilians.

The ICC documents obtained by TIME show a significant portion of this new investigation is based on data from the Satellite Sentinel Project, a network of private spy satellites and analysts organized by George Clooney in partnership with John Prendergast's Enough Project. The satellites have been snapping pictures of northern Sudan since December of last year. "We are the antigenocide paparazzi," Clooney told TIME then. (See photos of George Clooney in Sudan.)

The new investigation comes just as ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo requested an arrest warrant for Hussein with respect to war crimes allegedly committed in Darfur from August 2003 to March 2004. Hussein allegedly engaged in war crimes by dispatching troops and militias to that far western region, indiscriminately killing tens of thousands of civilians in an effort to suppress rebellion in the region against the regime in Khartoum.

The documents obtained by TIME show the ICC is separately building a case that Hussein may be behind the killing of civilians over the past year in Kordofan, Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile state and South Sudan. The North is seeking to secure control over those oil-rich regions in the central area of the country along the border between the North and South.

The internal ICC-investigation-division memo says evidence suggests that military forces from North Sudan and their affiliated militias have committed "grave crimes." It adds that military forces under Hussein's command are conducting military operations in these areas and, just like in Darfur, utilizing proxy militias to carry out atrocities. The memo cites the deaths of at least 2,000 civilians since early this year. Tens of thousands have been displaced, the memo adds. (Read "George Clooney's Eyes in the Sky Monitor the Sudan Situation.")

The ICC memo says Clooney's satellites captured images of the results of bombing of villages in the Abyei region in late May, which resulted in the displacement of 30,000 people, as well as pictures of the movement of northern artillery and thousands of troops in Karmuk in Blue Nile state. The memo also discusses reports from the Enough Project about the deaths of 211 civilians in South Sudan and documenting the North dispatching proxy militias to the South.

The fact that the ICC is investigating Hussein's role in possible atrocities in the South does not necessarily mean he will face arrest for any actions there. The satellites have been snapping photos of the border region since late last year. On the news about a possible warrant for Hussein for his actions in Darfur, Prendergast said in a statement that Hussein is "part of a small cabal making most of the decisions on war strategy, not just in Darfur but also in the current hot spots of South Kordofan and Blue Nile. They are responsible for the forcible displacement of literally millions of Sudanese over the course of the last eight years."

ICC Prosecutor: Sudanese President's `Destiny' is to Face Justice for Alleged War Crimes
Washington Post
December 15, 2011

The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court said Thursday that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's "destiny" is clear: he will face justice for alleged genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Luis Moreno Ocampo said it took 18 years to arrest all 161 people indicated by the U.N. tribunal prosecuting war crimes in former Yugoslavia, and al-Bashir will eventually be arrested and handed over to the ICC.

"International justice is here to stay," he told a news conference after briefing the U.N. Security Council. "It will take time but the destiny is clear. He will face justice."

Moreno Ocampo said all countries - including Sudan - have a legal obligation under the Security Council resolution that referred the Darfur conflict to the court in 2005 to arrest al-Bashir and two other Sudanese indicted by the ICC.

Sudan's U.N. Ambassador Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman disputed Moreno Ocampo's allegations of war crimes against Sudanese officials, stressing that Sudan is not a party to the Rome statute that established the court "and we do not recognize the ICC."

Moreno Ocampo said that at the closed Security Council meeting there was "full support for arrest warrants issued" by the court.

He said many ambassadors said "Sudan should cooperate with the court because it's not about being a member of the ICC, but about complying with Security Council resolutions."

The prosecutor said he asked the council "to come up with a comprehensive strategy integrating political negotiations with justice efforts," and to address the refusal by Chad and Malawi to arrest al-Bashir when he visited.

Osman said Moreno Ocampo had ignored the government's efforts to promote peace in Darfur and "falsely" sought an arrest warrant earlier this month for Sudan's defense minister, Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, who has been heavily involved in these negotiations in order "to prevent the peaceful efforts of the government to establish peace and security in Sudan."

The prosecutor alleged that Hussein committed crimes against humanity and war crimes by helping orchestrate atrocities in Darfur.

A panel of judges will study evidence filed by Moreno Ocampo before deciding whether to issue a warrant for Hussein's arrest.

Darfur was plunged into turmoil in 2003, when ethnic African rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated Sudanese government, whom they accused of discrimination.

The Khartoum government is accused of retaliating by unleashing Arab militias on civilians - a charge the government denies. The U.N. estimates 300,000 people have died and 2.7 million have been displaced in the conflict.

Wanted Men Still Committing Crimes in Darfur - ICC
Reuters Africa
By Louis Charbonneau
December 15, 2011

A group of senior Sudanese officials indicted by the International Criminal Court, including the president, continue to commit genocide in western Sudan, the court's prosecutor said on Thursday.

The ICC has issued arrest warrants against President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for genocide as well as former Interior Minister Ahmed Haroun and Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kushayb for war crimes in the Darfur region of western Sudan.

ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo recently asked the court's judges to issue a warrant for Defense Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein in connection with Darfur.

Speaking to the 15-nation U.N. Security Council, Moreno-Ocampo said it was essential that the indicted men be arrested as they are still committing grave crimes in Darfur.

"The execution of the arrest warrants will end the crimes in Darfur," Moreno-Ocampo said. "The individuals sought by the court are still allegedly committing genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur."

"The world knows where the fugitives of the court are," he said. "They are in official positions, controlling the government of the Sudan, commanding military operations in different parts of the Sudan."

He also reported to the council that ICC member Malawi failed to live up to its statutory obligations by failing to arrest Bashir when he visited the country.

Kenya also failed to arrest Bashir when he visited it last year, but a Nairobi court ruled recently that the government must arrest Bashir if he visits the country again.

Council Expands Abyei Peacekeeping Role

Sudan's U.N. Ambassador Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman sharply criticized Moreno-Ocampo for his approach to Darfur, saying his recent request for an indictment of the defense minister raised serious legal questions. He also accused the prosecutor of being biased against the government of Sudan.

"Why did he wait for five years or more to come with this accusation?" Osman told reporters after addressing the Security Council. He added that Hussein did "a great job, a very patriotic job" dealing with insurgents in the country.

He said Moreno-Ocampo's aim was "to prevent the peaceful efforts of the government to establish peace and security."

The prosecutor said Khartoum continued to refuse to cooperate with his investigation. Sudan is not a party to the ICC and does not recognize its authority. But the Security Council referred the case of Darfur to the council in 2006, making Sudan's cooperation with the ICC mandatory.

U.N. officials say as many as 300,000 people have died and over 2.7 million been driven from their homes in eight years of ethnic and politically motivated violence in Darfur, a remote region of Western Sudan. Khartoum says 10,000 have died.

Separately, the Security Council agreed unanimously to expand the mandate of the 4,000-strong Ethiopian force in Abyei, known as UNISFA, to help Sudan and South Sudan monitor their volatile border region Abyei.

The border area has become increasingly tense since South Sudan seceded in July. Khartoum and Juba have refused to withdraw their troops from the area in keeping with a June agreement signed in Addis Ababa.

Sudan's army took Abyei in May in a show of force that triggered an exodus of more than 100,000 civilians after the southern army attacked a northern army convoy.

South Sudan seceded after a January referendum called for under a 2005 peace deal that ended a decades-long civil war which saw more than 2 million people killed. Such a vote was originally also planned in Abyei but was never held as both sides have been unable to agree on who can participate.

[back to contents]

Democratic Republic of the Congo

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

Asylum Applicant Must be Returned to the DRC, Trial Chamber Orders
KatangaTrial.org
By Jennifer Easterday
December 8, 2011

In May 2011, four International Criminal Court (ICC) witnesses filed applications for asylum in the Netherlands. The witnesses had been brought to The Hague from a prison in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where they had been imprisoned for over five years for their alleged role in the murder of UN peacekeepers.

They were brought here to testify for the defendants in the trial of Thomas Lubanga as well as the Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui trial. The witnesses were supposed to be returned to the DRC after their testimony. However, they claimed that if they returned to the DRC, they would face mistreatment and human rights abuses-and possibly death-because of their testimony.

Three of the witnesses, Floribert Njabu, Pierre Célestin Mbodina Iribi, and Sharif Manda Ndadza Dz'Na, testified before Trial Chamber II in the Katanga-Ngudjolo trial. Their asylum claims have been discussed extensively on www.katangatrial.org: Three Defense Witnesses Blame the DRC for Bogoro Attack, then Seek Asylum in the Netherlands; Three Defense Witnesses Blame the DRC for Bogoro Attack, Part II; Trial Chamber Orders Protective Measures, Says Witnesses Could be Returned to DRC if Asylum Claim Rejected; and Judges Decide that Detained Witness Could be Securely Returned to the DRC. One of the witnesses, Djokaba Lambi Longba, testified before Trial Chamber I in the Lubanga trial. His testimony has been previously described on the www.lubangatrial.org here.

This issue is novel and groundbreaking at the ICC. It raises issues of cooperation between three international players: the ICC; its Host State, the Netherlands; and the DRC, where the ICC's Office of The Prosecutor has ongoing investigations. It also touches upon issues of human rights, international asylum law, relationships between internal Dutch government authorities, Dutch domestic law, and important political considerations. How these witnesses are treated, both by the ICC Trial Chambers and by Dutch authorities will set a precedent for the future.

Moreover, adding to the complication, it is not clear whether the ICC Trial Chambers will take a unified approach. The two Trial Chambers, which are not obligated to follow the decisions of the other, have taken different approaches to this unique problem. The Appeals Chamber has not weighed in, denying a request for instructions on how to appeal a Trial Chamber II decision submitted by the Netherlands. The approach of Trial Chamber II has been described elsewhere (see above, postings on www.katangatrial.org). This post covers developments in the case before Trial Chamber I in the Lubanga case.

Trial Chamber I Orders Longba Back to DRC

In October, the Lubanga Trial Chamber ordered that the Registry send Longba back to the DRC, in spite of his pending Dutch asylum application. Earlier, the Chamber had temporarily deferred the witness' return. The Chamber had held that under Article 21 of the Rome Statute, it had the obligation to ensure that the witness be provided with a real (as opposed to theoretical) opportunity to make a claim for asylum and to give the Dutch authorities the chance to consider the asylum application before the witness returned to the DRC. The Trial Chamber held that if the Dutch authorities thought the witness' asylum claim justified deferring his return to the DRC, the Court would give custody of Longba to the Netherlands, since the ICC would then "have no continuing power to detain him."

The Chamber had then ordered the Registry to consult with the Dutch authorities about transferring Longba into the control of the Netherlands. Thus, transferring custody of Longba was contingent upon the Dutch authorities' intended to defer his departure pending a decision on his asylum claim.

After this order was rendered, the witness asked the Chamber to reconsider. He claimed that his health would be endangered if he were transferred to the Dutch authorities. He was concerned that if transferred, the Dutch might not respect the rights usually given to asylum seekers because of the special nature of this case.

The Netherlands also thought Longba should remain in ICC custody. The Netherlands refused to consult with the Registry on the transfer. It did not intend to defer Longba's return to the DRC, it submitted to the Chamber. It was the ICC's responsibility to delay Longba's transfer until his asylum application was complete, the Dutch argued.

The Netherlands considered that the witness should remain at the ICC Detention Center throughout the asylum proceedings. The Netherlands argued that Longba was transferred to the Detention Center according to an agreement between the ICC and the DRC, and that this did not mean the Netherlands was obliged to accept an illegal undocumented foreigner into its territory. Moreover, according to the Netherlands, it does not have jurisdiction to put Longba into custody while his asylum application is being considered.

Based on these submissions from the Netherlands, the Trial Chamber decided that the Registry should return Longba to the DRC. The Chamber reasoned that deferring his departure had been subject to the condition that the Netherlands take custody of Longba pending a decision on his asylum application. The Chamber considered that by giving the Netherlands the opportunity to take custody of Longba-which the Netherlands refused-the Chamber had discharged its duties under Article 21(3) of the Rome Statute.

The Trial Chamber therefore ordered the Registry to proceed with arrangements to send the witness back to the DRC. It is now up to the Netherlands to decide whether it is necessary to intervene to take control of the witness until his asylum application has been decided, the Chamber concluded.

Longba Argues He Should be Transferred to Dutch Authorities

Now Longba has changed his mind and has requested that Trial Chamber I revoke its return order and instead, order his transfer to Dutch custody. Asylum proceedings have begun, but there is pending litigation about the nature and scope of the proceedings, counsel for Longba contends. The Dutch want to hold "quasi" asylum proceedings in the ICC Detention Center.

This means that according to the decision of the Trial Chamber, the witness' departure for the DRC must be suspended and he must be transferred to the Dutch authorities, they argue. This hasn't happened, and counsel for the witness claims that it is because the Dutch authorities are intentionally trying to deprive Longba of protection under Dutch law.

Unlike in the Katanga-Ngudjolo case, the Trial Chamber in the Lubanga case accepted an amicus brief from the two Dutch attorneys who are representing all four witnesses. The brief argued that Longba should be transferred to the Dutch authorities. The witness will face great security risks because of his testimony if he is returned, counsel claims.

The brief is summarized below.

Progress of Dutch Asylum Proceedings

Before the Dutch immigration authorities, Longba's asylum case has been joined with the cases of the other three witnesses. However, it is not clear to what extent the brief's submissions regarding Longba apply to the Katanga-Ngudjolo witnesses.

In September, the Dutch immigration authorities confirmed that the asylum request would be processed under national law and began to work with the witness' counsel to find dates for asylum hearings. The Dutch government confirmed that the Dutch national asylum procedure is fully accessible to ICC witnesses. However, according to the amicus brief, the immigration authorities then claimed that they were being delayed because of the need to negotiate with the Registry of the ICC.

At the end of September, the immigration authorities changed tracks. According to the witness' lawyers, the immigration authorities told the witnesses that their applications were no longer going to be considered as national asylum requests, but were instead regarded as "requests for protection." The immigration authorities did not consider that the Dutch asylum procedure was applicable in these cases, and the proceedings were to be held within the ICC Detention Center. Hearings are scheduled to take place in November and December, according to the amicus brief.

Counsel for the witnesses argued that the decision to create an "extraordinary quasi asylum procedure" was "not supported by any legal reasoning or adequate motivation." They claim that the Dutch government's insistence that the asylum proceedings be conducted in the ICC Detention Center is a bath faith abuse of the Detention Center. They sought Dutch judicial review of the detention issue, but the Dutch District Court ruled in favor of the Netherlands. Counsel are appealing that decision, but argue before the ICC that Trial Chamber I should order the release Longba to the Netherlands because, having initiated asylum proceedings, the Dutch government has accepted the presence of the witness on Dutch territory.

It appears as though there is little information about how the Dutch authorities will process a "request for protection." It is not clear whether this will closely follow standard asylum procedures, or whether it will diverge significantly.

Counsel for the witnesses, concerned about this vagueness, raised several questions with the Dutch authorities about this novel procedure, including whether:

The normal procedural safeguards would be applicable;

The European Asylum System was applicable;

The Congolese witnesses would be able to receive effective protection via a refugee status if the well-founded fear of persecution is established;

The Congolese witnesses would be able to attend hearings if judicial review is necessary;

If an appeal would have a suspensive effect in conformity with international standards of asylum procedures; and

Why an administrative court should declare itself competent to pass judgment on an asylum procedure with "absolutely no formal basis in Dutch or international law.

Is the Netherlands Violating the European Convention on Human Rights?

Counsel for the witnesses argues that the "extraordinary" quasi asylum practice runs contrary to rights protected by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Article 3 of the ECHR prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This, counsel for the witnesses argue, is the key provision at issue in this case. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has held that Article 13 of the ECHR guarantees the availability of a national level remedy to enforce ECHR rights, although states "are afforded some discretion" in how they will provide that remedy.

In the amicus brief, counsel argued that with regards to Article 3, the ECtHR has held that an effective remedy under Article 13 would require the following:

Independent and rigorous scrutiny of a claim that there exist substantial grounds for believing that there was a real risk of treatment contrary to Article 3 in the event of the witness' expulsion to the DRC; and

A remedy with automatic suspensive effect (i.e., the remedy would automatically suspend Longba's removal from the Netherlands until the proceedings had concluded).

Even if the Dutch authorities are allowed "some discretion" in how they conform to their ECHR obligations, counsel for the witnesses claim that the quasi asylum procedure may not meet the effective requirements. There is no guarantee that it will provide access to a judicial body or a remedy with automatic suspensive effect, they argue. The quasi asylum procedure "gives the Netherlands complete discretion" about how the witnesses will be dealt with, counsel argued. Moreover, they protest, there is no justification for this new procedure.

Increasing Threats in the DRC

Earlier this year, upon orders from the Trial Chamber in the Katanga-Ngudjolo trial, the ICC Registry and the DRC authorities worked together to develop security measures so that if the Katanga-Ngudjolo witnesses were returned, they would be adequately protected. In the Lubanga amicus brief, counsel argue that the Court should reassess the Congolese assurances about the security measures, which were related only to the detention of the witnesses.

In addition to general complaints about the DRC's human rights record, they point to the recent intimidation and physical attack of family members of the four witnesses as an example of the threats the witnesses-and their families-face in the DRC.

The brief states that one witness' wife was threatened twice by "individuals belonging to [DRC President] Kabila's party and regime." The attackers, they claim, specifically referred to the witness' role in the ICC case. In another incident, four soldiers from the Congolese Army (FARDC) violently attacked the home of one of the witnesses. As a result, a 13-year-old family member of one of the witnesses died.

These attacks are evidence that the DRC assurances regarding the safety of the witnesses have "no value," counsel contends.

Dutch Will Send Longba Back to DRC if Claim Fails, Counsel Argue

Counsel for the witness argues that the ICC should not be concerned about failing to fulfill its duty to return the witness to the DRC if the Dutch authorities reject the asylum claim.

"There is an increasingly strict Dutch policy to expel any illegal alien on its territory," counsel note. Should the asylum application fail, counsel reassure, a rejection of the asylum application would trigger an immediate return to the DRC. This would mean that the ICC's obligations to return the witnesses would be met, the counsel contends.

The amicus brief requests that if the witness is not released, the witness be allowed to attend his Dutch asylum proceedings and that the ICC aid in his transfer to such hearings. Counsel also request that the ICC facilitate family visits for the four witnesses because they have been at the ICC Detention Center for eight months and miss their families.

At the time of posting, the Trial Chamber in the Lubanga case had not made any additional orders regarding Longba. It remains to be seen whether the witnesses from the Katanga-Ngudjolo case and the Lubanga case will be afforded the same treatment by the ICC, and how their asylum applications will be handled by the Dutch authorities.

[back to contents]

Kenya

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

Robust Witness Protection Unit Key to PEV Cases
AllAfrica.com
By Oliver Mathenge
December 9, 2011

Lack of an operational witness protection unit is the greatest obstacle to resolving cases of police killings related to the 2008 post-election violence, a new report suggests.

The report released Friday by the New York-based Human Rights Watch says that a large number of witnesses are afraid of testifying for fear of being attacked. It further says that Parliament should move to ensure that a "special mechanism" is established to deal with the cases that have not been handled.

The report says that the Witness Protection Agency will have to prove itself before many election violence witnesses are willing to testify in court adding that its activation should be an urgent priority.

The report is calling on the government to urgently provide full funding to the existing Witness Protection Agency and ensure that it is "robust, credible, and has the option of relocating at-risk, high value witnesses outside Kenya".

"In Kisumu, the father of two victims of police shootings told Human Rights Watch that while he would be willing to testify, "Others would be afraid to come and testify because they are afraid they could be killed," the report says.

In another account, a local government official in Kisumu whose brother was killed by police told the NGO that although he would be willing to testify before a special mechanism, he would fear the consequences.

"If you're a civil servant you're not supposed to accuse the government of anything. The following day you might get a letter and be told that you've been sacked," the report quotes the official as saying.

The report is also calling on the international community to consider offering support, including training, human resources support, and financing, on the condition that the mechanism is credible, independent, and capable of protecting witnesses.

The report comes just over a month before the country knows the verdict of a case involving former police commissioner Hussein Ali at the International Criminal Court. The post-master general is accused of having instructed the police not to interfere with the criminal gang Mungiki at the height of the chaos.

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is also alleging that the officers under his watch had a shoot to kill order which left close to 400 people dead.

The HRW report says that many Kenyans question the agency's ability to adequately protect witnesses at all, given the history of attacks on witnesses that are attributed to the police who ought to play a role in protecting them.

"The police commissioner sits on the agency's board; while the board need not be privy to sensitive information held by the agency, one civil society activist questioned the wisdom of any role for the police commissioner in witness protection, given the number of cases likely to arise involving police as perpetrators," the report says.

One Kenyan activist, the 99-page report says, told Human Rights Watch that the ICC is "the first institution Kenyan politicians have come across that they cannot bribe, kill, or intimidate," making it the focus of many victims' hope for justice.

The report also says that on the government should urgently increase funding to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to enable it handle pending post-election violence cases.

The said that prosecution on most of the cases has stalled due to the lack of capacity in the DPP's office. It is asking the government to recruit an additional 400 prosecutors as a way of boosting the DPP's capacity.

This, it says, will not only help solve the post-election violence cases but will also aid in future prosecutions of various cases in the country.

Kenyans' date with Ocampo, Bensouda
The Standard
By Chris Wamalwa
December 11, 2011

The Hague Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is scheduled to hold a Town Hall-style forum with the Kenyan Diaspora in America on the 2008 post-election violence and International Criminal Court (ICC) process in Kenya.

The meeting, which has attracted the attention of many Kenyans living abroad, is set to take place on Friday, December 16 in New York, and the speakers include Moreno-Ocampo's deputy who is billed to succeed him when he leaves ICC next July.

Gambia-born Mrs Fatou Bensouda was picked by ICC as a compromise candidate to take over from the controversial and outspoken Moreno-Ocampo. Coming as Kenyans await Pre-Trial Chamber II ruling on whether all or a few of the Kenyan six high-profiled suspects should be committed to trial, or set free altogether, the discussions will also focus on next year's elections.

Back in Kenya it is reported three of the suspects are unsettled by the meeting, which they believe will be used by the ICC to gauge the mood of Kenyans over The Hague process, and consequently fear its proceedings may be used to justify a 'political judgment' detrimental to their side.

Indeed, sources reveal, some friends of the suspects were last week contemplating sending lawyers to the US to sit in the meeting and ask questions favourable to their interests. However, formalities of visa technicalities and time factors made them change mind.

According to the organisers, the event will feature interactive discussion between a diverse group of other guest speakers, including Prof Makau Mutua, a Kenyan legal scholar teaching in the US, Ms Lupita Nyong'o, one of Kenya's top actresses and Mr Mwashuma Nyatta, a Kenyan-born, US-based artist.

"The event will feature a frank discussion on the interplay between the International Criminal Court and the upcoming elections in Kenya in 2012. This event will provide a forum to discuss the role of Kenyans living abroad in contributing to peace and justice in Kenya in 2012," explained Shamiso Mbizvo, a Kenyan student at Harvard University, who sent out the invitations and is receiving confirmations.

In an e-mail invitation sent to Kenyans living in the US, the Kenya Global Unity (KGU) President Eng. Charles Kodi, explained: "Many Kenyans here have confirmed they will attend the meeting because if the people suspects are not charged, it is likely there will be another circle of violence after next year's elections."

Speaking to The Standard on phone from Connecticut, Kodi said so far the confirmation of Kenyans planning to attend was overwhelming.

"This should serve to show Kenyans especially those in leadership just how ordinary Kenyans are concerned about the whole ICC and post-poll violence prosecutions are being handled. Barely a year to the elections, Kenyans are living with fear at the prospects of another cycle of violence in the country," he added.

The meeting comes amid disturbing reports that only two Kenyans have been convicted over the killing of some 1,500 people during the country's worst violence four years ago. The damning report released by Human Rights Watch laid the blame squarely on Judiciary and police incompetence.

A probe by the watchdog rights body into a Department of Public Prosecutions report that claimed that 94 post-violence cases had resulted in convictions found out only two people had in fact been convicted of murder. A further three have been convicted of robbery with violence, one of assault and another of grievous body harm, the New York-based group said.

"Hundreds of inquest files literally gather dust in police stations," the group said in a report released Friday. Neela Ghoshal, the group's East Africa researcher said: "Police officers have been unwilling to investigate their colleagues, the general quality of investigations has been poor and some police prosecutors have proven incompetent."

Kenyan police killed at least 405 people during the weeks of chaos, injured more than 500 others and raped dozens of women and girls, but enjoy "absolute impunity," the group said.

Hundreds of others were murdered in what quickly turned from a dispute over election results into ethnic revenge killings.

The ICC has charged six top Kenyan politicians and officials over the unrest after Kenya failed to set up a local tribunal to try the perpetrators.

They include Deputy Prime minister Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's first president, former Cabinet ministers William Ruto and Henry Kosgey, ex-police chief Mohammed Hussein Ali, Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and Kass FM's head of operations and presenter Joshua arap Sang.

"The limited success of cases in the ordinary courts shows that Kenyan authorities have been unwilling or unable to prosecute post-election violence," the report added.

Kenya is scheduled to hold general elections next year in which Uhuru and Ruto plan to run for presidency. The rights group voiced worry that suspects in the poll chaos have not been prosecuted.

"We are concerned about the fact that most of those who have been suspected of being involved in the post-election violence haven't been held accountable," Ghoshal told reporters.

"The fact that the ICC is prosecuting six high-level suspects, if the charges against those suspects are confirmed, we would hope that that would reduce the probability of post-election violence this time around," HRW added.

HRW: Kenya Needs Independent Tribunal to Handle Poll Violence Cases
The International Criminal Court Kenya Monitor
By Tom Maliti
December 14, 2011

Kenya's criminal justice system cannot handle cases originating from the blood-letting of almost four years ago because the few that have made it through the system have either been poorly investigated or prosecuted, a new Human Rights Watch report says.

No prominent individual has gone to trial for the violence that almost ripped apart Kenya between December 2007 and February 2008, the report says. In addition, none of the cases of sexual violence from that period have gone past the initial reports lodged with the police, says the report that was released last week.

Despite widespread allegations of police shootings during the violence that followed Kenya's December 2007 presidential poll, only a few cases have gone to court, and some suspects have been acquitted because of suspected evidence tampering, the report says.

In light of its findings, Human Rights Watch recommends Kenya revives an initiative to form a tribunal that will deal with cases not already before the International Criminal Court (ICC) because justice for most victims remains elusive.

"It is pretty clear the government has shown it doesn't have the stomach to handle high level cases," said Neela Ghosal, the researcher of the Human Rights Watch report titled "Turning Pebbles."

Kenya challenged the cases of six prominent citizens that are before the ICC, arguing wide ranging constitutional changes will ensure the criminal justice system can handle cases dealing with crimes against humanity. The court has rejected Kenya's challenge.

A 2009 bill presented to parliament to form a tribunal to handle the post-election violence cases failed to garner the two-thirds majority needed to amend the constitution and make the tribunal legal. The bill proposed tribunal staff be a mix of foreigners and Kenyans in order to help shield its work from political interference given the sensitivity of many of the cases that would come before it.

The tribunal was proposed at the time because the country's criminal justice system was damaged by corruption, incompetence, under-staffing, and underfunding.

"We're not there yet and it will take several years for Kenya to be where it needs to be," said Ghoshal, referring to constitutional changes made last year that have forced changes in the leadership of the judiciary and prosecutor's office.

Many of the post-election cases under investigation by the police have never moved beyond the filing of a complaint, Human Rights Watch found while reviewing a February 2009 report prepared by the department of public prosecutions. No inquest files have been opened for some killings, and where inquest files have been opened, investigations are incomplete.

During confirmation hearings for the new independent post of Director of Public Prosecutions before parliament, earlier reported on here, Keriako Tobiko told legislators in June this year that there are 700 cases in court related to the post-election violence. Of these, he said, 300 had been concluded and half of the perpetrators have been convicted. Tobiko did not give details about the crimes suspects had been charged with or the profiles of the suspects. He also said that there are 3,500 cases under investigation.

In a March 2011 report, however, the department states only 94 cases had resulted in convictions, Human Rights Watch reported. The organization also found prosecutors say they secured convictions in 49 sexual violence cases linked to the post-election violence., but when HRW researchers reviewed some of the cases using court documents and interviewing police and judicial officers, they found only one case related to the post-election violence and resulted in an acquittal, not a conviction.

Human Rights Watch also found that although a police task force formed to look into sexual offences received 66 complaints, none of those were followed up. In many of the complaints the alleged perpetrators were police officers the victims could identify.

During pre-trial hearings for the Kenya cases before the ICC, the work of the police task force came up because some of the suspects are facing rape charges. Defense lawyers for former police chief Mohammed Hussein Ali said the fact Ali set up the task force to look specifically into allegations of sexual violence against police officers showed he could not have condoned the acts.

Civil cases have had better success, with the courts deciding in favor of victims who have sued the government for their suffering. The problem, the report points out, is that the government has hidden behind a law that shields it from having to follow court orders and pay damages to the victims.

However, the post-election violence cases are not the first where the government has been sued for damages as a result of human rights violations committed by its officers, and in most of the previous cases the government has made payments as ordered by the courts. Most of those cases relate to violations that occurred during the governments of former Presidents Daniel arap Moi (1978-2002) and Jomo Kenyatta (1964-1978).

"Turning Pebbles," is based on a review of prosecutors' reports of the cases in court so far in relation to the post-election violence. The report compares those reports against the court documents of 76 cases. It is also based on interviews of 176 people, including victims, prosecutors, other lawyers, the police, and human rights activists. Human Rights Watch took seven months to research the report between March and November this year.

Kenya's post-election violence claimed more than 1,000 lives before it ended in February 2008 following a month of mediation by an African Union panel led by former United Nations chief Kofi Annan. The other members are former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, and former Mozambican Cabinet Minister Graca Machel.

[back to contents]

Libya

Official Website of the International Criminal Court
ICC Public Documents - Situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

Mexico Says Foiled Plan To Smuggle In Gaddafi Son
Reuters
December 8, 2011

Mexico uncovered and stopped an international plot to smuggle late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's son Saadi into the country using fake names and false papers, authorities said Wednesday.

A Canadian woman, a Danish man and two Mexicans were arrested on November 10 and 11 over an elaborate plan to bring Saadi Gaddafi, who is now in Niger, and his family to Mexico using forged documents, safe houses and private flights, they said.

Mexican officials acted on a tip in September about the network, which planned to settle the family near the popular tourist spot of Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast, Interior Minister Alejandro Poire said.

In preparation for the family's arrival, the criminal ring bought properties around Mexico and opened bank accounts. It also arranged for private flights to smuggle in the family and set up identities under assumed names, including Moah Bejar Sayed and Amira Sayed Nader, authorities said.

The plotters themselves used a network of flights between Mexico, the United States, Canada, Kosovo and the Middle East to plan the route and organize the logistics for Saadi's arrival, Poire said.

"Mexican officials ... succeeded in avoiding this risk, they dismantled the international criminal network which was attempting this and they arrested those presumed responsible," he told a news conference.

The plan was to bring Saadi - a businessman and former professional soccer player - and his family to a multimillion-dollar estate in Punta Mita, the Canadian newspaper National Post reported.

Punta Mita is a swanky area with luxury hotels about 25 miles from Puerto Vallarta.

'You Can Get Away'

The Canadian woman, Cynthia Ann Vanier, was the ringleader of the plot and directly in touch with the Gaddafi family, Mexican authorities said.

They said the Danish man, Pierre Christian Flensborg, was in charge of logistics. The Mexican suspects were identified as Jose Luis Kennedy Prieto and Gabriela Davila Huerta, also known as de Cueto.

Mexico, fighting to contain raging drug-related violence, has broken some major cartels into smaller criminal gangs that may be willing to help international criminals and militants, said one academic who specializes in regional security issues.

"Mexico ... has a reputation deservedly or not for lawlessness and so it was probably a calculation that if you go to Mexico ... you can get away and hide out," said David Shirk, director of the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego.

Saadi Gaddafi's lawyer Nick Kaufman said his client was still in Niger, where he fled as his father's 42-year rule crumbled in August. Niger has said he would remain in the West African nation until a United Nations travel ban is lifted.

"He is fully respecting the restraints placed on him presently by the international community," Kaufman told Reuters.

Like many senior members of the Gaddafi regime, Saadi was banned from traveling and had his assets frozen by a U.N. Security Council resolution when violence erupted in Libya earlier this year.

Interpol has issued a "red notice" requesting member states to arrest Saadi with a view to extradition if they find him in their territory.

Gadhafi's Daughter Pushes for Death Probe
CNN
By CNN Wire Staff
December 13, 2011

The daughter of ousted Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi is pressing U.N. war-crimes prosecutors to investigate the October deaths of her father and one of her brothers during Libya's civil war.

In a letter released Tuesday, Aisha Gadhafi's lawyer questioned whether the International Criminal Court has taken any steps to investigate the deaths of Gadhafi and his son Mutassim. The attorney, Nick Kaufman, said both "were captured alive at a time when they posed no threat to anyone," only to be "murdered in the most horrific fashion" after their capture.

"If your office is not currently investigating the aforementioned crimes, could you explain why and what steps have you taken to ensure that the Libyan authorities are, themselves, investigating the matter properly and in accordance with international investigative standards?" Kaufman wrote to the court's chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

There was no immediate response to the letter from the prosecutor's office.

Gadhafi ruled Libya with an iron fist for nearly 42 years before being overthrown in August. Libya's transitional government said he was killed in the cross-fire between its fighters and Gadhafi loyalists after he was captured in his hometown of Sirte on October 20.

The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and two major human rights groups called for an investigation into Gadhafi's death in October. An autopsy determined the 69-year-old fugitive died from a gunshot wound to the head, but the pathologist who performed the procedure would not reveal whether the wound was inflicted at close range or from a distance.

And the bodies of the ousted ruler, his son and his longtime defense minister were put on display in a meat-market refrigerator for several days before being buried -- a step Kaufman said was "in complete defiance of Islamic law."

"The images of this savagery were broadcast throughout the world, causing my client severe emotional distress," Kaufman wrote.

Kaufman questioned whether the ICC was investigating the NATO airstrike that preceded Gadhafi's capture, whether it had received any details of the autopsies and why it did not dispatch an independent expert to the post-mortems.

Aisha Gadhafi fled to Algeria along with several other family members as the regime crumbled in August. She is a lawyer who assisted in the defense of ex-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who was hanged in 2006, and a onetime U.N. goodwill ambassador.

Gadhafi's son and top aide, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, was captured in November, Libyan authorities said. Senior Libyan military officials said they believed he was trying to make his way to neighboring Niger, where a brother, Saadi, was granted asylum.

Gadhafi's youngest son, Saif al-Arab, was reported killed in a NATO airstrike in April. And son Khamis Gadhafi, who led an army brigade blamed for the massacre of prisoners in a warehouse outside Tripoli, was killed in a late-August battle in northwestern Libya, rebel commanders said.

Gaddafi Death 'May Be War Crime'
The Press Association
December 15, 2011

The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) has said there are "serious suspicions" that the death of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was a war crime.

Luis Moreno Ocampo told reporters after briefing the UN Security Council that he sent a letter to the head of the National Transitional Council asking what the new government's plans are to investigate alleged war crimes by all parties, including the rebels.

The uprising against Gaddafi's 42-year rule erupted in February, quickly escalated into civil war, and ended in October with Gaddafi's capture and death in unclear circumstances.

Witness accounts and video taken of the deposed dictator after his capture by rebel fighters show that he was beaten and abused by his captors, and there were strong indications he was killed in custody.

"The death of Muammar Gaddafi is one of the issues to be clarified - what happened - because there are serious suspicions that it was a war crime," Mr Moreno Ocampo said.

He said what the ICC does on Gaddafi's death and other war crimes will depend on what Libya's interim government does because under the Rome statute that established the war crimes tribunal, the ICC only steps in if national authorities are unwilling or unable to act.

Mr Moreno Ocampo said his office is working closely with Libyan authorities not only on Gaddafi's case but on those of his son, Saif al-Islam, and former intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senoussi, who were captured and face ICC charges.

Libya's new leaders have said they will try al-Islam at home even though they have yet to set up a strong court system. The ICC wants to be certain the government will be capable of putting on a fair trial for al-Islam and al-Senoussi.

Mr Moreno Ocampo said that the judges at the ICC have asked the National Transitional Council to inform them of their plans before January 10. He said if the government challenges the ICC's jurisdiction, it will be up to the judges to decide where the two accused will be tried.

In the meantime, he said, his office is continuing its investigation. "We are sure there were massive rapes, quite sure," Mr Moreno Ocampo said. "We're trying to define who ordered them."

[back to contents]

Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

Official Website of the International Criminal Court
ICC Public Documents - Situation in the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire

Ivory Coast's Gbagbo Faces War Crimes Court
Aljazeera
December 5, 2011

Laurent Gbagbo, the former president of Ivory Coast, has faced International Criminal Court (ICC) judges for the first time after his transfer to The Netherlands from a northern Ivory Coast jail cell last week.

Gbagbo, 66, appeared before a pre-trial chamber on Monday to verify his identity and hear the charges against him, Al Jazeera's Tim Friend reported from The Hague.

The hearing served primarily to establish Gbagbo's identity, to make sure that he understands what he is being accused of and that he understands his rights.

"If I am being accused it means that there is evidence on the basis of which I am being accused ... I would like to see what that evidence is, I will challenge that evidence, and then you hand down your judgement," Gbagbo, the first former president to appear before the court, said at Monday's proceedings.

The former president said that he had been "deceived" in being brought to The Hague, and also described the events leading up to his arrest. According to him, his palace was surrounded by 50 tanks and "helicopters were dropping bombs" on the complex.

"I was arrested under French bombs," said Gbagbo "It was the French army that did the job."

Next hearing set

Judge Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi said that Gbagbo must reappear before the court on June 18 for a hearing to confirm the charges against him.

Prosecutors will be tasked at that hearing of convincing judges that there is enough evidence to try Gbagbo for his alleged crimes.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, ICC chief prosecutor, has defended the credibility of the case [Al Jazeera]

"The International Criminal Court is helping [the Ivory Coast] to identify if Mr Gbagbo is responsible for crimes or not, to identify what happened there. Establishing the law to help them to live together," Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the court's chief prosecutor, told Al Jazeera.

"This court is impartial, it has nothing to do with the parties involved in the conflict and its changing completely history in the world. In the past, heads of state were able to commit crimes, and nothing happened to them. Eventually, they go to golden exile. Now, Mr Gbagbo, a former head of state, is facing justice. That is a new time we are living: no more crimes, no more atrocities."

Gbagbo faces four counts of crimes against humanity, including murder and rape, over violence after last year's November 28 polls.

The election that spiralled into conflict in 2010 was won by rival Alassane Ouattara, but Gbagbo refused to hand over power. His insistence that he was the winner triggered a months-long civil conflict that left at least 3,000 people dead and more than a million displaced.

Gbagbo was removed from power in April with the help of French and United Nations troops that fought alongside Ouattara's forces.

Ouattara's fighters

Gbagbo's extradition to the ICC has prompted fears of fresh unrest in the West African nation, with supporters of his Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) party last week calling on supporters to "regroup for imminent action".

"Gbagbo's transfer to The Hague gives us all the reason we need to stand up. The day will come," Charles Ble Goude, a prominent pro-Gbagbo activist, told the pro-Gbagbo daily, Notre Voie.

However, Al Jazeera's Nazanine Moshiri, reporting from Abidjan on Monday, said that "there is no sense that there [are] going to be protests" over Gbagbo's appearance in court.

She explained that the live feed for Gbagbo's appearance was not being shown on Ivory Coast television and that most of the leaders in his party had either fled the country or gone into hiding.

Some human rights groups have asked why fighters for Ouattara have not also been arrested, despite evidence that they too committed abuses.

"In all of our reports, we made it clear there were violations of human rights on both sides," Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said in Geneva.

"President Ouattara has consistently expressed his commitment to fight against impunity in a fair and balanced way by going after all the perpetrators, regardless of their status or political affiliation. So this is something we would be encouraging him to do."

Moreno-Ocampo has said that investigations into the case are continuing, and that they will include supporters of President Ouattara.

Ivory Coast: Calls for More Prosecutions
Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR)
By Kris Kotarski
December 14, 2011

Following the transfer of former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo to The Hague last month, international justice experts are urging the International Criminal Court, ICC as well as the national authorities to follow up on pledges to investigate individuals on both sides of the 2010-11 conflict.

Some 3,000 people were killed in fighting following the presidential election of November 2010, when a defeated Gbagbo refused to concede power to his presidential rival, Alassane Ouattara. ICC judges have found that there are reasonable grounds to believe that forces loyal to Gbagbo attacked the civilian population in the port city of Abidjan and in the west of the country.

The fighting subsided with Gbagbo's capture in April this year .

He appeared before the ICC on December 5, charged with four counts of crimes against humanity including murder, rape, persecution and other inhumane acts during the period when he refused to hand over power.

The 25-minute hearing in front of presiding Judge Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi of Argentina marked the first time that a former head of state has appeared in front of the permanent war crimes court since its inception in 2002.

Gbagbo will face a confirmation of charges hearing next June, when prosecutors must convince judges they have enough evidence to bring him to trial.

Experts warn that failing to administer justice comprehensively and even-handedly is likely to aggravate the tensions surrounding a parliamentary election held on December 11 this year, which was boycotted by members of Gbagbo's party, the Ivorian Popular Front, FPI.

"The ICC's success in Côte d'Ivoire [Ivory Coast] will ultimately be determined by its willingness to prosecute individuals from both sides - not only the side that is now out of power," said Matt Wells, an Africa researcher with the New York-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch, who co-authored a recent report on the 2010 violence.

"Gbagbo's transfer is an important step toward accountability, but victims of crimes by pro-Ouattara forces remain without justice at home and abroad. If the ICC is to play a successful role in Côte d'Ivoire's return to rule of law, it needs to show that both the victors and the defeated must answer for grave crimes."

Early results from the parliamentary election give Ouattara's Republican Assembly party, RDR, at least 123 seats in the 255-seat National Assembly. while its main ally, the Ivory Coast Democratic Party, PDCI, took 93.

The low turnout in these polls stands in stark contrast to last November's disputed election, in which about 80 per cent of the electorate took part.

A spokesman for Gbagbo, Justin Kone Katinan, labelled this year's poor turnout a "silent revolt".

Observers warn that Ouattara will lose legitimacy if those of his supporters accused of perpetrating mass violence are not brought to book.

"The prosecutions within Côte d'Ivoire for crimes committed during the post-election period remain one-sided, with at least 120 charged from the Gbagbo camp and no one charged from the pro-Ouattara forces," Wells said. "While the Ivorian government continues to promise impartial justice and refers to ongoing investigations, the reality looks like victors' justice. To end the impunity that has fuelled the decade of violence in Côte d'Ivoire, President Ouattara must quickly show that his forces are not above the law."

During an October visit to Abidjan, the ICC's chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, promised to investigate crimes on all sides of the conflict. He hinted that up to six people will be investigation for possible involvement in post-election atrocities.

Some observers are concerned about the wider political effects that the ICC's indictment of Gbagbo could have on Ivory Coast.

Mike McGovern, assistant professor of anthropology at Yale University and author of "Making War in Côte d'Ivoire", worries that the timing of Gbagbo's recent transfer to the ICC may have harmed the delicate reconciliation process in the war-torn country.

"Someone like Ocampo will say that this is about justice, [and the ICC founding treaty] the Rome Statute. And this is true. But immediate politics in [Ivory Coast] is also important," McGovern said. "If the perception is out there that Ouattara is excluding his political opponents with the collusion of outside actors, then his legitimacy will suffer. There were very serious crimes, and if there is a sense that there is victors' justice, then the tensions will only rise."

The transfer of Gbagbo to the ICC has infuriated his FPI supporters, who called his arrest a "political kidnapping" and threatened to withdraw from the ongoing process of reconciliation.

Shortly after his arrest, a party statement called on supporters to "regroup for imminent action". While there has been no resurgence of mass violence, the government of Ivory Coast reports that at least five people were killed in the run-up to the December 11 ballot.

In the most serious incident, on December 7, three people were killed and three others wounded when a rocket was fired at a residential compound near a PDCI rally in the southern town of Grand-Lahou. The party is part of the coalition supporting Ouattara.

Junior defence minister Paul Koffi Koffi also told the press that a candidate from Ouattara's RDR party was burnt to death and a young villager killed in separate incidents.

As well as ensuring justice is administered for atrocities committed on both sides of the conflict, experts say reforming the security sector is key to long-term stability in Ivory Coast.

Cote d'Ivoire was torn apart by armed conflict in 2002 when a mutiny grew into a full-scale rebellion that split the country in two. The army loyal to Gbagbo controlled the south, and the Forces Nouvelles, loyal to Guillaume Soro, an Ouattara ally who is now prime minister, controlled the north.

Despite a continuing United Nations peacekeeping mission and an arms embargo established in 2004, as well as peace agreements signed in 2005 and 2007, the tensions have never been resolved.

Divisions within the security forces are seen as being at the root of the 2010 crisis. Efforts to unify the rival military forces are crucial to long term stability, analysts say.

"The objective is to go from a country that had two armies to a country with one army and one police command," said Arthur Boutellis, a senior policy analyst at the International Peace Institute and author of "The Security Sector in Côte d'Ivoire: A Source of Conflict and a Key to Peace".

Integration will be difficult to achieve because military affiliation and easy access to weapons are a way of earning a living for many, especially in the north.

If one side only is demobilised and not the other, that will only serve to jeopardise security, Boutellis warned.

"Progressive downsizing of the military is necessary for stability," Boutellis said. "They need a large development plan for all of the country, and there needs to be a demilitarisation of their entire society - not just of guns, but of minds."

Despite the huge challenges, Boutellis says, the reconciliation process since the violence around the 2010 election has been a lot more successful in the security forces than it has in the wider political sphere.

Former rival units, while not formerly integrated into the same force, have been brought together under a single command structure.

"That is the first step," Boutellis said. "And Ouattara has been successful in reintegrating the command. In each core of the army, if the number one is from one side, the number two [is] from the other."

However, progress has been fragile, and the ICC indictment against Gbagbo plus pressure on Ouattara to indict combatants on his own side have created a difficult dynamic.

Prior to the 2010 election, Ouattara forged an alliance with the Forces Nouvelles. This relationship would be at risk if he initiated criminal investigations against soldiers from the force - potentially weakening his grip on power.

"Prosecuting [fighters who supported him] would be very difficult, especially since some of the Forces Nouvelles people are now in very key positions," Boutellis said. "[Ouattara] owes a lot to a lot of these people."

Prime Minister Soro also political ambitions, which would not be helped by making alienating the security services aligned with him.

"So far things have held together," Boutellis said. "However, an attempt at the politicisation of sections of the security services and a coup can never be ruled out."

The final piece in the jigsaw is economic development, which could help ease political tensions and reduce the powerful role of armed forces.

"The priority is the economic side of the equation, and this will be the sine qua non condition for keeping people demobilised and keeping the youth occupied," Boutellis said. "Luckily, Côte d'Ivoire is not Burundi or Sierra Leone, so there is a lot of room for economic growth to make this dynamic simpler."

[back to contents]

AFRICA

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)

Official Website of the ICTR

Security Council Challenged to Find Host Countries for ICTR Acquitted Persons
Hirondelle News Agency
December 5, 2011

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) made a special appeal to the United Nations Security Council to find a lasting solution of getting host countries to acquitted persons who remain in safe houses under the Tribunal's protection.

‘'The Tribunal has had no other choice but to call upon the assistance of the Security Council to find a sustainable solution to this issue,'' stated ICTR President, Judge Khalida Rachid Khan in a letter to the President of the Council.

She explained that efforts to find host countries for the five acquitted persons proved unsuccessful due to the absence of a formal mechanism to secure the support of the member states to accept those persons in their countries.

Three persons whose acquittals have been confirmed on appeal are still trying to find a host country. They are former Rwandan Transport Minister André Ntagerura, General Gratien Kabiligi and Protais Zigiranyirazo, brother-in-law of the late former president Juvénal Habyarimana.

Two more people are waiting to know whether their acquittals will be confirmed by the ICTR Appeals Chamber including, former Foreign Affairs Minister Jérôme Bicamumpaka and former Health Minister Casimir Bizimungu.

Ntagerura has been looking for a host country for the longest time. He was acquitted by the lower court in February 2004 and the decision was confirmed on appeal in February 2006.The Tribunal considers the settlement of persons acquitted by an international criminal tribunal to be a fundamental expression of the rule of law and is concerned about the consequences of failing to fulfill this obligation,'' ICTR President underlined.

In the same letter, President Khan also told the Security Council that the effort to track down the remaining nine fugitives including the top on the list, Felicien Kabuga, the alleged financier of genocide was still on. ‘'The Prosecutor continues to seek due diligent from Kenya in the discharge of its international obligation pursuant to Security Council resolution 1966 (2010) by expediting work on the tracking and arrest of this top-level fugitive,'' she states.

Apart from Kenya, the letter also called upon other member states especially the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the neigbouring Great Lakes countries and countries in the Southern African region to double efforts in tracking down the remaining fugitives believed to be in the hide out in those countries.

The other two most wanted fugitives are ex-Rwandan minister for Defence, Augustine Bizimana and former Presidential Guard Commander, Major Protais Mpiranya.

ICTR President Judge Khan and the Prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow are expected next Wednesday, December 7, 2011 to present before the UN Assembly in New York reports on the progress and challenges facing the Tribunal in the implementation of the exit strategy. It was expected that the Tribunal would conclude its first instance trials by December 31, 2011 but it is now evident that it is not possible despite all the efforts made.

Prosecution Requests Life Imprisonment for Captain Nizeyimana
Hirondelle News Agency
December 7, 2011

Prosecution in the case of former Rwandan military officer, Captain Idelphose Nizeyimana Wednesday asked the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to hand down life imprisonment sentence if the accused were convicted of crimes allegedly committed in the 1994 genocide.

‘'The only appropriate punishment according to the prosecution position is the imposition of sentence of life imprisonment,'' Prosecution Attorney Drew White said before the Chamber Presided by Judge Lee Muthoga during closing arguments.

White, quoting some of the rules of discipline of the Rwandan army told the Chamber that the accused was duty bound to ensure the defence of the nation and public order but said that was not the case with the accused, claiming he did not punish those under his commander who committed the crimes.

According to the prosecution, Nizeyimana was second in command, in charge of intelligence and military operations at the Non-Commissioned Officers School (ESO) in Butare, ordering, supervising and organizing massacres of Tutsis in various places in the region, including that of Tutsi Queen Rosalie Gicanda, on April 21, 1994.

White mentioned about 15 utterances which he said constituted to the accused intention to commit the crimes against the Tutsis. ‘'The fate of the Tutsis have been sealed off, no Tutsi should survive or Inyenzi (Tutsis) should be exterminated clearly indicated the criminal intention,'' White quoted some of the statements allegedly given during the court proceedings.

About the accused involvement in the killing of Queen Rosalie Gicanda, prosecution said credible witnesses had testified on the event including her granddaughter and a cook.

Lead defence Counsel John Philipot on his side said his client acted appropriately as an army officer during war times. He submitted that the prosecution has failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubts. ‘'My client was not in charge of ESO (Non-Commissioned Officers School), had no real powers and did not have defecto powers over the alleged subordinates,'' he elaborated.

The Counsel also advanced defence of alibi showing that at some point in time within months of April and May, 1994, his client was at Mata Tea Factory in Gikongoro prefecture, conducting military training for new recruits.

‘'This trial is now under your hands. We urge you to stand up for the truth and justice to acquit Mr Nizeyimana,'' Philpot concluded.

Capt. Nizeyimana opened his defence case on May 9, 2011 to counter charges of genocide, extermination, murder and rape.

He was arrested in Uganda on October 5, 2009 and transferred to the UN Detention facility in Arusha, Tanzania the following day. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in his initial appearance on October 14, 2009.

His trial took off on January 17, 2011 and the prosecution called 38 witnesses, whereas the defence also called the same closed its case on February 25, 2011.

ICTR Prosecutor Wants Kenya, Zimbabwe to Act Over Kabuga and Mpiranya
Hirondelle News Agency
December 8, 2011

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Hassan Bubacar Jallow, has asked the UN Security Council to request Kenya and Zimbabwe to fully discharge their obligations in arresting genocide fugitives, Felicien Kabuga and Protais Mpiranya.

Presenting his report on the progress and challenges facing the Tribunal in the implementation of the exit strategy on December 7, Jallow said that the joint ICTR-Kenya Police Task Force has been reactivated and operating since November 2010 to secure the arrest and transfer of Felicien Kabuga to ICTR for trial.

"Kenya must cooperate fully with the ICTR to bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion. Reliable information received by ICTR indicates Mpiranya's presence in Zimbabwe. The security council should request both Kenya and Zimbabwe to fully discharge their obligations in this respect," he said.

Kabuga, the alleged financier of the 1994 genocide and Mpiranya, who was commander of presidential guard in Rwanda, are among the remaining nine genocide suspects indicted by ICTR, who are still on the run. Jallow said that tracking and arrest of the fugitives remains one of priorities of prosecutor's office.

According to him, he has continued diplomatic engagement with relevant states with a view to securing their cooperation in the tracking and arrest of the remaining fugitives. Such initiatives, he said, complement the continuous efforts of the Tracking Unit in his office.

"I am hopeful that with greater cooperation from Member States of the Great Lakes Conference that many fugitives located in the territories of the Conference will be arrested and brought to account thereby serving the interests of global justice as well as regional peace and stability," he said.

ICTR Appeals Chamber to Decide Fate of Bagosara Wednesday
Hirondelle News Agency
December 12, 2011

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Wednesday will hand down its judgment in the case of two former Rwandan senior military officials, including the alleged mastermind of the 1994 genocide, Colonel Théoneste Bagosora.

The other official is Lieutenant Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva. Bagosora, former Director of Cabinet in the Defence Ministry and Nsengiyumva, who was in charge of military operations in Gisenyi, are appealing against life imprisonment sentences imposed on them on December 18, 2008.

They were convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. A Trial Chamber found Col. Bagosora with command responsibility over the army between April 6 and 9, 1994 and was responsible for the killings of Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and 10 Belgian peacekeepers in charge of her security.

During hearing of his appeal on April 1, 2011, Bagosora refuted such finding, alleging that during the period in question, the army had its chief, who was General Marcel Gatsinzi at the time. He said that the post of Director of Cabinet he held was political and he could not assume ministerial responsibilities.

‘'I admit that between April 7 and 9, 1994, I replaced the Minister of Defence but with limited powers. In my capacity as Director of Cabinet, I could not act as the minister because I did not have all the ministerial powers,'' he told the Appeals Chamber.

However, General Gatsinzi, who was summoned by the Chamber to testify as its own witness during the same hearing, said that all members of the army were answerable to the Minister of Defence whose duties were replaced by Bagosora as the Director of Cabinet on his absence.

"Bagosora was in the high rank. He was obeyed as he represented the Minister of Defence, who was not present at the time," said Gatsinzi, who was appointed army chief of staff on the night of April 6, 1994. He is currently Minister for Natural Disaster and Refugee Affairs in Rwanda.

He added, "Col. Bagosora circumvented me. He communicated directly with commanders of the Para-battalion and presidential guard. There was a parallel network within the ministry coordinated by Bagosora."

Addressing the Chamber on the same matter, the prosecution alleged that the evidence produced during the trial "overwhelmingly "showed that Bagosora, as Director of Cabinet of the Ministry of Defence, assumed the highest authority of the army in absence of the Minister.

The defence, however, submitted to the contrary, alleging that the testimony by Gatsinzi was hearsay and there was no evidence leading to the conclusion that Bagosora had effective control of the army.

Nsengiyumva was found responsible for massacres committed at Mudende University, Nyundo parish, as well as the targeted killings of civilians in the area under his command. He was also found guilty of sending militiamen to the Bisesero area of Kibuye prefecture to kill Tutsi refugees in June 1994.

The two were originally jointly tried with two other military officers, Brigadier-General Gratien Kabiligi and Major Aloys Ntabakuze, ex-Commander of Para-Commando Battalion, in the so-called "Military I case".

Ntabakuze was also convicted of same offences and sentenced to life imprisonment by the lower court, while Kabiligi was acquitted. However, Ntabakuze's appeals case was separated from the others after his lead counsel, American lawyer Peter Erlinder, failed to show up on March 30, 2011 for the appeal hearing. Ntabakuze's appeal was heard on September 27, 2011. The Appeals Chamber is still drafting the judgment.

Prosecution Gives up Appeal in Four Ex-Rwandan Ministers’ Case
Hirondelle News Agency
December 13, 2011

The prosecution will not appeal against the trial judgment handed down by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to four former Rwandan ministers on September 30. Two of them were acquitted, while the rest were sentenced to 30 years in jail.

"We see no ground of appealing in this case," Chief of the Appeals and Legal Advisory Division within the Office of the Prosecutor, James Arguin, told Hirondelle News agency on Tuesday.

On September 30, 2011, a Trial Chamber of the Tribunal ordered the immediate release of ex-Rwandan ministers Casimir Bizimungu (Health) and Jérome Bicamumpaka (Foreign Affairs), for insufficient evidence.

It sentenced to 30 years imprisonment Justin Mugenzi (Trade) and Prosper Mugiraneza (Public Service), of conspiracy to commit genocide and direct and public incitement to commit genocide for their role in removing the prefect of Butare on April 17, 1994, and replacing him two days later.

The Chamber concluded that the dismissal of prefect Jean-Baptiste Habyarimana was intended to undermine the real and symbolic resistance to the genocide in Butare.

Based on Mugenzi's and Mugiraneza's participation in the decision to remove Butare's Tutsi prefect, Jean-Baptiste Habyarimana, the Chamber convicted them for conspiracy to commit genocide.

The Chamber also noted that Mugenzi and Mugiraneza also attended the inauguration ceremony for the new prefect on April 19, 1994, where President Théodore Sindikubwabo gave an inflammatory speech.

Judge Emile Short issued a dissenting opinion on the sentence, saying the two convicts deserved a reduction of five years for violation of right to trial without undue delay.

The ministers were jointly charged with genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, crimes against humanity (murder, extermination and rape) and war crimes in the case known as Government II.

Prosecution Seeks Enhancement of Sentence Against Kanyarukiga
Hirondelle News Agency
December 14, 2011

The prosecution Wednesday asked the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to increase the 30-year-imprisonment sentence imposed on former Rwandan businessman Gaspard Kanyarukiga, for his role in the 1994 genocide.

Kanyarukiga was convicted of genocide and extermination, as a crime against humanity, on November 1, 2010, for planning, with others, the demolition of a church in western Rwanda, on April 16, 1994. About 2,000 Tutsis, who had taken refuge in the church in Kivumu commune, Kibuye prefecture, were killed.

"Kanyarukiga successfully planned the massacres of 2,000 Tutsi refugees. He participated in the planning of the demonstration of the church on April 16, 1994 and, hence contributed significantly in the crime," Prosecutor Steffen Wirth told presiding Judge Patrick Robinson.

He also faulted as irrelevant two criteria considered by Trial Chamber, including Kanyarukiga's absence during the massacres and his direct participation to the crime in assessing the sentence. "The Appeals Chamber should find that the Trial Chamber committed an error and increase the sentence imposed," he argued.

However, Kanyarukiga's Lead Counsel David Jacobs, asked the Appeals Chamber to set free his client or significantly reduce the sentence imposed if the conviction would be upheld. He submitted that Kanyarukiga was tried and convicted of charges which were not known to him.

"Kanyarukiga is an innocent man who has been wrongly convicted. He was not informed in the amended indictment of crimes he was convicted. His conviction was unfair and should be vacated," he said.

The counsel also alleged that there was no basis upon which the Trial Chamber could conclude that there was collusion among witnesses, who support Kanyarukiga's defence of alibi that during massacre he was not at Nyange Church.

"Kanyarukiga had 13 alibi witnesses who came from different places. There was no evidence to show these people met or colluded. The conclusion by the trial Chamber sabotaged the defence case," he submitted.

Kanyarukiga is not the only Rwandan linked with the massacre at Nyange church. Among others, are parish priest Athanase Seromba, currently serving life imprisonment sentence and Grégoire Ndahimana, former mayor of the commune, who was recently sentenced to 15 years in jail.

Kanyarukiga was not an educated, but was influential businessman in Rwanda and money is what made him known in the society. Apart from his native commune, the convict had also business in Kigali where he had a second wife.

His trial took off on August 31, 2008. He was arrested in South Africa on July 16, 2004 and transferred to Arusha three days later.

Defence Requests Appeals Chamber to Acquit Lieutenant Hategekimana
Hirondelle News Agency
December 15, 2011

The defence for ex-Rwandan military officer, Lieutenant Ildephonse Hategekimana, Thursday requested the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to acquit its client for prosecution's failure to prove him guilty.

"The prosecution has proved nothing here. There is no doubt Hategekimana is innocent. Find him not guilty and acquit him," the appellant's Lead Counsel Jean de Dieu Momo, told the Chamber presided by Judge Fausto Pocar.

Hategekimana, who commanded the small military camp of Ngoma, in Butare (southern Rwanda) in 1994, was sentenced to life imprisonment on December 6, 2010 for genocide and crimes against humanity for his role in massacres of some individuals and ordering genocide of Tutsi refugees at the Ngoma church.

The counsel alleged that evidence given by prosecution to substantiate the charges were not of eye witnesses, hence hearsay.

He alleged that his client's fundamental rights of fair trial and presumption of innocence had been violated. He cited examples of a written drawing posted in the ICTR corridor suggesting that Hategekimana was guilty. The counsel also said he was denied access to exculpatory materials supporting his client's innocence.

"The ICTR has trampled on these fundamental rights. There is no any other relief to remedy the situation other than immediate release. Give back his (Hategekimana) dignity and free him," the Counsel appealed.

In what appeared to support his lawyer's position, Hategekimana briefly addressed the Chamber saying, "you should not convict somebody who is innocent. I am innocent. It is better to save a guilty person rather than convicting an innocent person."

Responding to the defence submissions, the prosecution said there were no inconsistencies of evidence given by its witnesses regarding Hategekimana's presence and participation in crimes at various massacre sites.

"The evidence given in relation to the events was coherent and credible. The appellant (Hategekimana) was clearly identified. We have direct and circumstantial evidence, placing him squarely at the scene of crimes" Prosecutor Alfred Orono Orono told the Chamber.

Hategekimana was arrested in Congo Brazzaville on February 16, 2003 and transferred to Arusha UN-Detention three days later. His trial started on March 16, 2009.

[back to contents]

Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL)

Official Website of the Special Court for Sierra Leone

Liberia: Taylor’s Verdict Due Next Month?
The New Dawn
December 2, 2011

The UN backed Special Court for Sierra Leone says it is yet to set an exact date for the handling down of its verdict in the Charles Taylor's trial, though it said it could be next month, January 2012.

Taylor is facing eleven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international law, for the war in Sierra Leone.

The arguments in his trial ended some eight months ago after a three and a half year of proceedings. Since then the court is yet to decide whether evidence presented during the trial indicates Taylor's guilt or innocence.

The UN backed Special Court for Sierra Leone Communications Director Peter Andersen told this paper via telephone Thursday that he could not give an exact date for the ruling but it could be early next year.

Mr. Andersen said this was so because the court had earlier planned to give its ruling in September of this year but that was pushed to October and later December and as it stands the court is now thinking of early next year, which is January but again warning that he could not be definite.

Mr. Andersen had informed this paper in an earlier publication that the delay in the trial's verdict is related to the more than 50,000 pages of transcripts, the 1,100+ exhibits, and other matters relating to the judicial process.

The judges received all of the evidence tendered by the parties--amounting to testimony from 115 witnesses and 1097 exhibits.

There had been speculations that the delay was tied to the just ended presidential and legislative polls here. But Andersen in an email in October that it was only an unconfirmed report.

"Also, if you have "unconfirmed reports" that the judges are taking the Liberian elections into consideration, and then I can only say that it is "unconfirmed speculation" by people not close to the court. Those of us here know that the delay has nothing to do with politics," Mr. Andersen added.

[back to contents]

EUROPE

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, War Crimes Chamber

Official Website [English translation]

Closing Arguments of Defense in the Srpko Pustivuk Case
The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina
December 5, 2011

Closing arguments of Defense before Section I for War Crimes of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in the Srpko Pustivuk case have been scheduled for December 6, 2011, starting at 9.00 a.m. in Courtroom 7.

On July 30, 2010 the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) confirmed the Indictment in the Srpko Pustivuk case charging Srpko Pustivuk with the criminal offense of War Crimes against Civilians from Article 173 (1), items a) and c) and paragraph 2, item e) in conjunction with Article 180 of the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Article 29 of the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Indictment inter alia alleges that the accused Pustivuk on or about May 29, 1992 together with a group of ten armed soldiers of the 1st Srpska Ilijas Brigade came to a family house in Gornja Bioca. On this occasion the accused Pustivuk allegedly together with other soldiers, having fired their infantry weapons, one civilian and wounded three. As further alleged in the Indictment, the accused Pustivuk on May 31, 1992 together with members of the Army of Serb Republic of BiH and Police took part in unlawful arrests and detention of Bosniaks in the elementary school in Gornja Bioca.

Indictment Confirmed in Muhidin Basic and Another Case
The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina
December 8, 2011

On December 7, 2011, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina confirmed the Indictment charging Muhidin Basic and Mirsad Sijak with the criminal offense of War Crimes against Civilians.

The Indictment suggests that on January 25, 1994 the accused Muhidin Basic as the Chief of State Security Service Olovo Wartime Department and the accused Mirsad Sijak, as a Military Police Officer, a member of 122nd Light Brigade of the BiH Army, together with other two unknown members of the BiH Army, had a forced sexual intercourse with a women who was visiting a prisoner in the prison in Vares.

Plea Hearing in the Oliver Krsmanovic Case
The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina
December 13, 2011

A plea hearing in Oliver Krsmanovic case is scheduled before Section I for War Crimes of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina for December 14, 2011, beginning at 14:30 hrs, in the Courtroom 7.

The Indictment alleges inter alia that in the period from spring 1992 to the fall 1995, the Accused Oliver Krsmanovic, as a member of the 2nd Podrinjska Light Infantry Brigade, perpetrated and aided in the perpetration of murders and enforced disappearances of the non-Serb civilian population of Visegrad Municipality. According to the Indictment, the Accused Krsmanovic participated in severe deprivation of physical liberty and other inhumane acts intentionally causing strong bodily and mental pain and suffering to the non-Serb civilians. It is also alleged that on June 27, 1992, the Accused Krsmanovic, together with Milan Lukic and members of his group, participated in an unlawful imprisonment of 70 Bosniak civilians and their killing in the settlement of Bikavac, Visegrad Municipality. In early June 1992, the Accused Krsmanovic participated in the rape and other forms of grave sexual abuse of the Bosniak women unlawfully detained in the Vilina Vlas hotel in Visegrad Municipality.

Commencement of Trial in the Veselko Raguz and Another Case
The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina
December 13, 2011

A commencement of trial before Section I for War Crimes of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), in the Veselko Raguz and another case, has been scheduled for November 14, 2011, starting at 1.00 p.m. in Courtroom 7.

On September 5, 2011, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina confirmed an indictment in the Veselko Raguz and another case, charging Veselko Raguz and Ivo Raguz with War Crimes against Civilians.

The indictment alleges that in the period from early July to late August 1993, in Stolac and Capljina, during the armed conflict between the Army of BiH and the HVO, Veselko Raguz as the Commander of the Fourth Battalion of the HVO Brigade Knez Domagoj, and Ivo Raguz as its member, acted in violation of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Allegedly, the Accused Veselko Raguz ordered, aided, or directly participated in the unlawful abduction and detention of Bosniak civilians, transfer of Bosniak women and children, as well as ordered, assisted, or directly participated in the physical abuse, inhumane treatment and torture of detained civilians, and he did not prevent or punish such acts committed by members of his battalion or other HVO members, over whom he had effective control, even though he knew about them. According to the Indictment, the Accused Ivo Raguz participated in the physical abuse of detained civilians.

Status Conference and Commencement of Main Trial in the Fikret Planincic et al. Case
The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina
December 14, 2011

A status conference and commencement of main trial before Section I for War Crimes of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in the Fikret Planincic et al. case have been scheduled for December 15, 2011, starting at 1.00 p.m. in Courtroom 6.

On October 11, 2011, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina confirmed an Indictment in the Fikret Planincic et al. case charging the accused Fikret Planincic, Rasim Lisancic and Sead Menzil with War Crimes against Civilians in violation of Article 173(1) a) and f) while the accused Rasim Lisancic is also charged with item c).

The Indictment inter alia alleges that the accused Fikret Planincic, Rasim Lisancic and Sead Menzil as member of the Territorial Defense (TO) Kotor Varos, along with other members of TO took part in the attack on Serb civilians in the village of Serdari, Kotor Varos Municipality. The consequences of the attack were 16 persons in the age from 4 to 60 years killed, infliction of severe physical wounds, destruction of property and inhumane treatment of civilians.

Oliver Krsmanovic Enters a Not Guilty Plea
The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina
December 14, 2011

At a plea hearing before Section I for War Crimes of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the accused Oliver Krsmanovic entered a not guilty plea.

The Indictment alleges inter alia that in the period from spring 1992 to the fall 1995, the Accused Oliver Krsmanovic, as a member of the 2nd Podrinjska Light Infantry Brigade, perpetrated and aided in the perpetration of murders and enforced disappearances of the non-Serb civilian population of Visegrad Municipality. According to the Indictment, the Accused Krsmanovic participated in severe deprivation of physical liberty and other inhumane acts intentionally causing strong bodily and mental pain and suffering to the non-Serb civilians. It is also alleged that on June 27, 1992, the Accused Krsmanovic, together with Milan Lukic and members of his group, participated in an unlawful imprisonment of 70 Bosniak civilians and their killing in the settlement of Bikavac, Visegrad Municipality. In early June 1992, the Accused Krsmanovic participated in the rape and other forms of grave sexual abuse of the Bosniak women unlawfully detained in the Vilina Vlas hotel in Visegrad Municipality.

[back to contents]

International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)

Official Website of the ICTY

Tolimir Defence Case Date Set
Institute for War & Peace Reporting
By Velma Saric
December 9, 2011

At a status conference held this week, Hague tribunal judges set January 9, 2012 for the beginning of the defence case in the trial of Zdravko Tolimir, a former high-ranking officer in the Bosnian Serb Army, VRS.

However, Tolimir - who is representing himself in court - requested that the defence case start two weeks later, after the Orthodox Christmas and New Year holidays observed by Serbs, which start later than their western European counterparts. He explained that a postponement would enable defence witnesses to spend the holiday period with their families before they came to The Hague to testify.

Presiding judge Christopher Flügge said that the trial chamber would have to take time to consider this request, adding that "the accused has to consider that there are certain organisational issues at the tribunal as a whole, and that the extension of the deadline may cause significant overall delays in the tribunal’s work".

Tolimir informed the judges that he would not make an opening statement at the beginning of the defence case, but would immediately start questioning the first witness.

He is planning to call four witnesses and has asked for 36 hours to question them. Tolimir, whose trial began in February 2010, is expected to wrap up the defence case by the beginning of March next year.

During the 1992-95 war in Bosnia, Tolimir was assistant commander for intelligence in the VRS main staff, reporting directly to the army’s commander General Ratko Mladic.

Mladic is currently awaiting trial for genocide at the Hague tribunal.

Tolimir is charged with eight counts, including genocide, extermination, murder, and the forced transfer and deportation of Bosniaks from the eastern Bosnian enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa in July 1995.

The first indictment against Tolimir was presented in February 2005 and he was arrested on May 31, 2007. On December 16, 2009, he pleaded not guilty to all counts.

ICTY Still Aiming for December 2014 End Date
Institute for War & Peace Reporting
By Alexandra Arkin
December 9, 2011

The president of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, ICTY, says it is continuing to work towards completing all the cases before it by the end of 2014, despite constraints placed on its work by a lack of resources.

Judge Theodor Meron delivered a progress report on the tribunal’s completion strategy to the United Nations Security Council in New York on December 7. It was the first time he had addressed the Security Council since assuming the ICTY presidency in November.

Judge Meron said limited manpower and the need to ensure that all indicted persons received fair trials had slowed the tribunal’s work, as had the recent arrests of ex-Bosnian Serb Army chief Ratko Mladic, and the former leader of Croatia’s rebel Serbs, Goran Hadzic.

Mladic was arrested in May after 16 years on the run, and Hadzic was apprehended in July after evading arrest for seven years.

Judge Meron told the Security Council it was impossible to predict when judgements would be issued in the trials of these two individuals.

The judge provided an update on the 15 ongoing cases. Two are in at the pretrial stage, seven are in trial and six have reached the appeal stage. Of those at trial, judgements are expected this year in six cases, and judgement in the case against former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is expected in 2014. One appellate judgement is due in 2012, and the remaining five in 2013.

Judge Meron also informed the council about specific measures he had adopted to accelerate the tribunal’s work, especially with regard to appeals. These included halving the time taken to translate judgments, and changing the method for assigning judges to contempt cases to minimise disruption.

Another challenge facing the tribunal was staff retention, Judge Meron said.

"Nothing is thus done to remedy the grave problem of large-scale departures of often our most talented staff, including some critically needed legal officers from trial and appeals teams," he said, according to an unofficial transcript of his address that the tribunal released. "All of this impacts on the right of the accused to a fair and expeditious trial, and on the prospects for the timely implementation of the completion strategy."

He went on to describe the affect of the staffing shortage on the operation of the tribunal. "Unless something is done to help us with staff retention... we cannot guarantee that estimates for the completion of core work of the tribunal will not be further revised," he said.

The ICTY has proposed a "retention bonus", taking the form of a modest payment similar to that given to staff whose contracts are terminated early. But no progress has been yet been made in putting this in place in meetings with the UN secretariat.

Judge Meron also reiterated the concern of his predecessor, Judge Patrick Robinson, over whether the United Nations detention unit will have the capacity for convicted war criminals to serve their sentences. He asked the Security Council to repeat its request to states to cooperate with the tribunal in enforcing the sentences it imposed. Despite the challenges facing the ICTY, Meron said it had achieved "significant successes."

The arrests of Mladic and Hadzic mean there are no fugitives still being sought by the ICTY, and every living person indicted by it has been or will face trial, either at the tribunal itself or in courts of national jurisdictions.

Meron said that with respect to legal doctrine, the greatest achievement of the ICTY and its "sister court" the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda had been the contribution they made to the development of international criminal law.

"This corpus of jurisprudence outweighs by far that of Nuremberg," he added.

The ICTY has also aided in the prosecution of war crimes cases in the former Yugoslav states themselves.

Meron praised his predecessor Judge Robinson, whose "outstanding achievements", he said, had "significantly strengthened the ICTY".

The formal report on the ICTY’s completion strategy was submitted to the Security Council in November by Judge Robinson. It was the 16th report of its kind. Since May 2004, the Security Council has required assessments from the tribunal’s president and prosecutor every six months.

Former Officer Convicted of Contempt
Institute for War & Peace Reporting
By Alexandra Arkin
December 9, 2011

Former Bosnian Serb army security and intelligence officer Dragomir Pecanac was convicted of contempt of court this week and sentenced to three months’ imprisonment for failing to appear before the Hague tribunal to testify in the trial of ex-Bosnian Serb officer Zdravko Tolimir earlier this year.

The tribunal found Pecanac guilty on December 9 of having knowingly and wilfully interfered with the administration of justice by failing to appear before the chamber as a prosecution witness, or to show good cause why he could not comply with the August 31, 2011 subpoena ordering him to appear.

After receiving the subpoena, Pecanac said he was willing to appear but could not testify, for health and other reasons. He later he obstructed attempts by tribunal staff to facilitate his safe transfer to The Hague, refusing to speak to or meet them and insisting they contact him through the authorities in Serbia.

The chamber then issued an order in lieu of an indictment for contempt on September 21. Pecanac was arrested in Belgrade six days later and pleaded not guilty to the contempt charges on October 19. The trial was held last week.

The Hague tribunal ruled that the defendant’s excuses did not show "good cause" why he could not comply with the subpoena, and that his failure to testify had deprived the chamber of relevant evidence.

"Contempt of the tribunal is a serious offence, which goes to the essence of the administration of justice," the chamber wrote in the judgment. "By his failure to comply with the subpoena and to appear at the seat of the tribunal and testify, the accused has acted against the interests of justice."

Pecanac’s three-month sentence is subject to credit being given for 74 days he has already spent in detention.

Witness Insists Stanisic Not Part of VRS Command
Institute for War & Peace Reporting
By Velma Saric
December 9, 2011

The trial of two former senior Serbian intelligence officials, Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic, continued this week with the appearance of a defence witness who told the court that Stanisic was not involved with the Bosnian Serb Army, VRS, chain of command in any way.

Stanisic and Simatovic are charged with participating in a joint criminal enterprise, the aim of which was to forcibly and permanently remove non-Serbs from large areas of Croatia and Bosnia, through persecution, murder and deportation of Croat, Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat populations.

The witness, Manojlo Milovanovic, is a retired VRS officer. In 1994 and 1995, Milovanovic served as chief of staff of the VRS, which was commanded by General Ratko Mladic, arrested last May after 16 years on the run, and now awaiting trial at the tribunal.

Milovanovic described Mladic as "someone he regularly saw as a colleague", and added that during the war, they actually shared a small office with two chairs and one desk.

The appearance this week was not Milovanovic's first at the Hague tribunal, or even in the Stanisic and Simatovic trial. He appeared before the chamber in this case in April 2010, where he confirmed the authenticity of the so-called "Mladic diaries", seized in February 2010 from the Belgrade apartment of Mladic’s wife.

The wartime diaries, which contain Mladic’s handwritten notes for the period between June 1991 and late 1996, have already been used in several other trials at the tribunal.

At the outset of what was referred to as an "additional examination of the witness", Stanisic’s defence counsel Wayne Jordash said the questioning would relate primarily to "those parts of the diaries which, at the time of the witness’s first appearance, were not available in any other language except their Serbian original".

Jordash said that "the defence did not doubt the witness testimony about the diaries’ authenticity, nor their authenticity itself", but that there "were parts of the diaries which were clearly of dubious authenticity and were being closely reviewed by the defence".

Mladic was described by the witness as an "old-school Yugoslav officer - one who would jot down everything that was said in a meeting as soon as the meeting was over, including his own observations".

Milovanovic added that "this was a feature most trained army professionals learned during their military training in the [Yugoslav People's Army] JNA".

Asked by the defence counsel whether he knew why "there were no entries from the period in 1995 in which the events around Srebrenica had happened", the witness said that he did not know, and had never felt the need to "ask Mladic anything about these events".

In the Srebrenica massacre of July 1995, some 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were murdered by Bosnian Serb forces.

Milovanovic added that he was "personally deployed elsewhere during that time so [he] knew only that what everyone else knew, and that was nothing special".

According to the indictment, between April 1991 and December 1995, Stanisic and Simatovic helped to establish, supply with arms, and finance paramilitary groups that acted in close coordination with the JNA, the Serb Territorial Defence, the VRS, and the ethnic Serb force in Croatia, SVK. These groups became known for carrying out atrocities against non-Serb civilians.

In relation to one group known as ‘Knindze’, which was commanded by Dragan Vasiljkovic, aka Kapetan Dragan, Mladic remarked that "one policeman complained about [the group] having gone wild", after which, according to Milovanovic, Mladic told him "to ensure that these things don't happen any more. They must either be under our control or sent back to Serbia or wherever else they came from".

The co-accused Simatovic was allegedly the first commander of a Serbian state security special operation unit, known as the Red Berets, which is accused of carrying out ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Croatia.

The witness said that there was little he could say about the unit, but that he did meet Simatovic in western Bosnia, where the accused "presented the unit" to him.

"But it didn't seem that there was much to be added about them, they seemed to be assisting; doing what special police units do in their regular work," Milovanovic said.

The witness also said he could not remember a meeting which Mladic allegedly recorded on August 2, 1992, in which wartime Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic is noted as asking "to have the Red Berets put under [VRS] control when operating in Republika Srpska".

Milovanovic added, however, that he "saw no reason as to why that particular statement would not be accurate".

When Jordash asked the witness whether he knew when Mladic and the accused Stanisic had met for the first time, he said he did not and could not know.

When Jordash remarked that Stanisic's name only appeared in Mladic's notes on a meeting held on July 2, 1993, Milovanovic said, "Stanisic was a name I myself had personally already heard, but not through Mladic, nor was the name ever discussed in any meetings which we held at the general staff".

He said he regarded Stanisic as an important figure because of his rank, but did not consider him to be involved with the VRS chain of command in any way.

However, asked by Jordash why the notes from that same meeting on July 2, 1993 also mentioned "financing for training centres in [Serb-held] Pale and Hercegovina", the witness said that "it makes very little sense, since it would be the first time I ever heard of any VRS training centres in either Pale or Hercegovina".

Regarding financing, asked whether he could give any comment about a July 8, 1993 entry in Mladic's diary alleging that "Stanisic said that they [Serbian DB, security service] would take over the financing of the [Republika Srpska] police forces", the witness said that he considered this to be "unrealistic".

"The police forces, as far as I know, did not receive any funding from Serbia," he said.

"The army did receive salaries for more than 7,000 officers in the VRS, as help from the VJ [Yugoslav Army], but I don’t imagine that there was a similar arrangement for the police. In fact, they were poor and ill-equipped throughout the war."

Stanisic and Simatovic were arrested by the Serbian authorities on June 13, 2003.

The trial continues next week.

Karadzic Challenges Pathologist on Remains at Srebrenica
Institute for War & Peace Reporting
By Rachel Irwin
December 9, 2011

Bosnian Serb wartime president Radovan Karadzic this week suggested to an expert witness that bodies found in mass graves after the July 1995 Srebrenica massacre had in fact been there for months or years beforehand.

"Many of the bodies [were found] wearing two or three layers of clothing," noted Karadzic, who represents himself in the courtroom. "A war had lasted in that area for 44 months.... Do you agree that it’s far more likely that these individuals were killed in winter rather than summer?".

Prosecution witness Christopher Lawrence replied, "Why they were wearing multiple layers of clothing, I don’t know."

Lawrence who was formerly the chief forensic pathologist for the Hague tribunal, and is now state forensic pathologist for Tanzania, Australia.

In 1998, working out of a mortuary in the Bosnian city of Visoko, he oversaw the examination of human remains that were exhumed from various mass graves relating to the Srebrenica massacre.

According to the prosecution’s summary of his previous evidence at the tribunal, pathologists working on Lawrence’s team examined 2,239 body bags containing the remains of a minimum of 883 individuals. The team identified more than 1,000 definite gunshot wounds and 44 definite blindfolds.

Some 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were murdered by Bosnian Serb forces when the Srebrenica enclave was captured in July 1995. The massacre has been classified as genocide in previous judgements at the tribunal and at the International Court of Justice, also based in The Hague.

Karadzic is charged with individual and superior responsibility for Srebrenica, as well as for the 44-month siege of Sarajevo that left nearly 12,000 people dead.

The indictment - which lists 11 counts in total - alleges that he was responsible for crimes of genocide, persecution, extermination, murder and forcible transfer which "contributed to achieving the objective of the permanent removal of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from Bosnian Serb-claimed territory".

Karadzic was arrested in Belgrade in July 2008 after 13 years on the run. Witness testimony in this trial got under way in April 2010.

At the beginning of his testimony, Lawrence told prosecutors that he was "dealing with very difficult remains" and as a result it was sometimes impossible to say exactly how a person had died.

"You need to understand that many of these bodies were quite badly decomposed and body parts were no longer associated [with a specific body]," Lawrence said.

In certain cases - as illustrated by photos of a human brain with a bullet lodged in it - it was clear that "the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head", the witness said.

At other times, however, bodies were "disarticulated".

"Where bodies were disarticulated and we were not able to put them back together, we could not tell what the cause of death was," Lawrence said.

He added that he was not able to determine a time of death from his examinations.

Later, Karadzic asked him about the blindfolds found on some of the bodies and showed a photo of what was apparently a blindfolded, badly decomposed human head.

The witness said he thought the photo depicted the front of the head, but he was not sure.

"Don’t you think we’d be able to see the nasal cavity?" Karadzic asked.

"Possibly, but ... a lot of facial features have been lost. I cannot tell whether we are looking at the face or the back of the head," Lawrence said.

Karadzic then produced video footage of "Islamic fighters" who he said wore headbands similar to the blindfolds found in the graves. The witness was unable to confirm this.

Lawrence said that the bodies from one particular grave had bullet wounds in their joints - including elbows, knees and legs - followed by a "fatal gunshot wound to the head".

"As a pathologist, I never use the word torture, but one wonders if these injuries were not deliberately inflicted," Lawrence said.

Karadzic suggested this injuries could have been sustained by "scatter-shot fire, opened while the individual was fleeing and moving his arms and legs about".

The witness said he didn’t know, but that he had only found the pattern in one grave.

Karadzic wondered how bodies in a single grave could be in different states of decomposition, and Lawrence said that the process "can vary from top to bottom" due to differences in oxygen levels and moisture.

The accused once again asked whether the witness was able to "rule out" that the people in the mass grave were killed before July 1995.

"I told you I can’t tell just by looking how long they’ve been dead for. From looking at the bodies alone, I couldn’t rule out that possibility - it would be on the basis of other investigations," the witness said.

When Karadzic was finished with his cross-examination, the prosecution presented photos related to the accused’s contention that the people must have died in winter because they were found wearing multiple layers of clothing.

"These are still images from Potocari [near Srebrenica] on the 12 and 13 of July, 1995," prosecuting lawyer Christopher Mitchell told the witness. The photos depicted men wearing long-sleeved shirts, vests and even coats.

An older man in one of the photos wore a red sleeveless sweater and carried a coat. Mitchell then presented another photo which he said showed the remains of this particular man, the red of his sweater still visible.

Karadzic interjected and said he was referring "not to clothing on the upper body but on the lower body".

The trial will continue in January, after the court’s winter recess.

[back to contents]

Domestic Prosecutions In The Former Yugoslavia

Three Men Indicted for War Crimes Against Serbs in Sarajevo
Ahram Online
December 12, 2011

Bosnia's war crimes court on Monday confirmed an indictment against three men accused of running a military prison where Serbs were beaten and persecuted in Sarajevo during the 1992-1995 war.

Besim Muderizovic, 59, Ramiz Avdovic, 56, and Romanian-born Iulian Nicolae Vintila, 47, were charged with taking part "in a joint criminal enterprise which aimed ... to introduce a system of inhumane treatment of Serb civilians," the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

At the time Muderizovic ran a military prison of the Muslim-dominated Bosnian army in Sarajevo, Avdovic was a commander of the guards, while Vintila was a guard at the jail.

According to the prosecutor, at least 200 Serb civilians were detained in the prison where they were beaten, persecuted and obliged to do forced labor, while 18 died while being held there.

Some 10,000 civilian residents of Sarajevo were killed during the 44-month siege of the capital by Serb forces in the inter-ethnic Bosnian war.

A number of Serb civilians in Sarajevo were killed by Muslim forces, although the figure can not be independently established and varies from 250 to 2,500 depending on the source.

Some 100,000 people were killed during the war in Bosnia, while some two million people - almost half the pre-war population - were displaced.

Bosnia Arrests Three Muslims Over War Crimes
Focus News Agency
December 14, 2011

Three Bosnian Muslims, including two active police officers, were arrested Wednesday accused of involvement in the torture of ethnic Croats during the country's 1992-1995 war, prosecutors said, cited by AFP.

Enes Maksumic, 42, Azem Ibrovic, 41, both policemen from Jablanica, and Jusuf Hindic, 57, were detained some 70 kilometres (40 miles) south of Sarajevo, the prosecutors said in a statement.

A former military officer Nihad Bojadzic, already detained and charged in another case of war crimes against Bosnian Croats, will also be questionned as part of the same war crimes investigation.

Bojadzic and the three men are suspected of taking part in the maltreatment and torture of several Croat civilians and prisoners of war in 1993, the prosecutors said.

At the time Bojadzic was a deputy commander of a special unit of Bosnia's Muslim-led army believed to be responsible for the crimes in Jablanica region.

Bojadzic was charged in 2010 for his role in the killing of 19 Croat civilians and three soldiers in April 1993 in the southern village of Trusina.

Although allies against Serb forces during most of the war, Bosnian Croats and Muslims fought each other for 11 months in 1993 and 1994 in central and southern part of the country.

Bosnia's inter-ethnic conflict claimed some 100,000 lives and forced some 2.2 million people, or half of the country's population, to flee their homes.

[back to contents]

MIDDLE EAST AND ASIA

Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC)

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

Khmer Rouge Leaders’ Evidential Hearing Starts in Phnom Penh
VOA Khmer
By Robert Carmichael
December 5, 2011

On Monday, the United Nations-backed tribunal investigating Cambodia's murderous Khmer Rouge movement began hearing evidence against three former leaders. The three accused in the long-awaited trial deny charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Monday's session was dominated by the Khmer Rouge's chief ideologue, Nuon Chea, the man known as Brother Number 2.

In the course of the morning and afternoon sessions, Nuon Chea, who was deputy to the late Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, lashed out at Vietnam as he has done consistently over the years.

He blames Cambodia's eastern neighbor, Vietnam, for the crimes with which he and the other defendants are charged. He says people are wrong to accuse the Khmer Rouge.

"Everything was under the control of Vietnam, from the Hanoi headquarters, from the Ho Chi Minh headquarters," said Nuon Chea. "So these crimes; war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide were not [by] Cambodian people, it was Vietnam who killed Cambodians."

It was familiar rhetoric from a man who continues to deny personal responsibility for the policies that cost the lives of as many as 2.2-million people or around one in four of Cambodia's population.

Other than blaming Vietnam and so-called "bad elements" in the revolution that took place in the 1960s and 1970s, Nuon Chea also told the court of his political awakening as a young man living under colonial rule two decades earlier.

"When I was young I lived under the French colony," he added. "I witnessed with my own eyes the mistreatment of the French toward Cambodian people. People were beaten, arrested and imprisoned and I also witnessed the rich mistreated other people. Treated them as slaves."

He says those injustices motivated his decision.

Nuon Chea says that he only understood Vietnam's designs on Cambodia when he was studying in Hanoi in the early 1950s. He says it was then that he realized that Vietnam wanted to control Cambodia.

"I was so disappointed to hear that, because I was fighting very hard against the French for independence, but what would be independence under the control of another country?" he said.

Nuon Chea was the only defendant to address the court on Monday. The former head of state Khieu Samphan will speak later, once the tribunal has finished hearing from Nuon Chea.

The third defendant, former foreign minister Ieng Sary, has said he will not testify.

Given the complexity of the case, the age of the defendants, who are all in their 80s, and their health, the tribunal has divided it into a series of smaller trials.

That means it can hand down judgments as it proceeds and reduces the risk that one or more of the defendants could die without a ruling being issued, as happened at the trial of the former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic.

This first mini-trial will examine the alleged crimes against humanity in the forced movement of people.

That refers to two events in 1975, the year Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia and drove everyone out of the towns and cities. Later that year, they forced hundreds of thousands of people to move across the country into work camps.

But it appears likely that Nuon Chea will continue to blame others for those deaths.

"I do not want the next generation to misunderstand the history," he said. "I do not want them to think that the KR are bad people, are criminals. Nothing is true about that."

This first mini-trial is expected to take around two years. Further mini-trials, should they happen, will deal with the other charges; Genocide, war crimes and the other crimes against humanity.

Former Cadre Sees Rise of Khmer Rouge Under ‘Aggression’
VOA Khmer
By Kong Sothanarith
December 7, 2011

A former Khmer Rouge soldier on Wednesday defended the formation of the communist movement before the UN-backed court, saying it was to defend against "foreign aggression."

Long Norin, 73, a former Khmer Rouge intellectual, said the regime gathered strength from the conflict around it, following a call by then ousted monarch Norodom Sihanouk.

"Everyone joined the party because our country was under aggression," he told the court, as a trial for three jailed leaders continues. He did not specify which country he refered to, but Khmer Rouge leaders in the past have blamed Vietnam and the US for the rise of the regime.

Sok Sam Oeun, executive director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, said this "strategy" was aimed at avoiding harsh punishments from the court.

Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary are facing atrocity crimes charges, including genocide, for leading the movement, which led to the deaths of at least 1.7 million.

The trial is shedding historical light on the secretive movement, with hundreds of Cambodians in attendance. The Khmer Rouge movement during the US war with Vietnam and in the wake of a US-backed coup to remove Norodom Sihanouk from power. Many people joined the movement in an effort to put the monarch back on the throne.

On Tuesday, a former deputy district chief named Klam Fit, who is now 65, told the court the regime was able to gather some strength from ethnic minorities in the northeast, who "didn’t know who the enemy was or what the revolution was."

"I didn’t know what the party was," he said. "Was it rock or wood?"

On Wednesday, Romam Yun, an ethnic minority and former governor of a district in Ratanakkiri province, said the regime was "principally good at the beginning," but that in the end there were "killings without reason."

Nuon Chea, before leaving the courtroom early with complaints of high blood pressure, reiterated his justification for the formation of the regime, which was meant to "cleanse" Cambodia of colonial and capitalist influences. These, he said, "were the enemy."

KRT Defence Motions Denied
Phnom Penh Post
By Bridget Di Certo
December 13, 2011

The Trial Chamber’s decision to reject defence counsel’s petitions to have New Zealand Judge Silvia Cartwright removed and investigated was published by the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday.

In a decision dated December 2, the Trial Chamber dismissed defence motions to have Cartwright investigated and permanently disqualified due to a perception of "bias" stemming from ex parte meetings between Cartwright, international co-prosecutor Andrew Cayley and the deputy director of administration at the tribunal.

Nuon Chea’s defence counsel believed these meetings gave the appearance of "bias" by Cartwright towards Cayley and his office.

Ieng Sary’s defence had petitioned the chamber for further information about the meetings to correct any such perception.

Both motions were denied by the Trial Chamber as invalid and void of merit. In the decision, the Trial Chamber found it was common for international courts to have administrative meetings among UN staff.

Cartwright sits next to Trial Chamber president Nil Nonn on the judges’ bench when the court is in session. Throughout opening statements and the first week of evidence last week, those in the court gallery witnessed Nil Nonn frequently turning to Cartwright when deliberating decisions.

A motion by Nuon Chea’s defence counsel for an investigation into alleged political interference at the tribunal, filed with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on October 24, was also rejected yesterday.

The defence team had filed a criminal complaint with the national court requesting an investigation into alleged interference by senior government officials, including Prime Minister Hun Sen, at the tribunal.

Hun Sen, Senate president Chea Sim, National Assembly president Heng Samrin and eight other officials allegedly participated in a "common criminal plan" to interfere with the court’s work, according to a copy of the complaint. Nuon Chea’s defence team was not available for comment.

KR Tribunal: Questions Over Witness ‘Deaths’
Phnom Penh Post
By Bridget Di Certo
December 13, 2011

Co-prosecutors at the Khmer Rouge tribunal have requested an investigation into Confirmation of Death certificates for trial witnesses that predate statements given by them to co-investigating judges in Case 002.

A memo from the Trial Chamber’s senior legal officer to the Witness/Expert Support Unit chief directed the WESU to conduct inquiries into the date discrepancies and also to determine "whether these witnesses are in fact deceased".

Deputy prosecutor William Smith told the Post the prosecution needed "some clarity on whether the witnesses are dead". The fact that some death certificate dates precede interview dates raises a suspicion the certificates may have been doctored.

Case 002, involving the highest-ranking surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime, relies heavily on witness testimony.

The first witness heard by the court was Long Norin, a close aide of former Minister of Foreign Affairs Ieng Sary into at least the late 1990s.

Long Norin refuted prosecution insinuations that he was reluctant to testify against his former boss, a man he had been close to for 40 years.

Ieng Thirith Will Not Yet be Released: Tribunal
VOA Khmer
By Heng Reaksmey
December 13, 2011

The Khmer Rouge tribunal said Tuesday it would not grant immediate release to jailed regime leader Ieng Thirith, who had been found mentally unfit to stand trial.

In a decision by the tribunal’s Supreme Court Chamber, an appeal by prosecutors to hold Ieng Thirith was granted.

"The Supreme Court Chamber found that the Trial Chamber must exhaust all available measures potentially capable of helping [Ieng Thirith] to become fit to stand trial," the UN-backed court said in a statement.

The decision was made "in the light of the possibility, albeit slight, of a meaningful improvement in the mental health of the Accused."

Medical experts told the court earlier this year Ieng Thirith’s mental state had deteriorated under Alzheimer’s disease and she could no longer remember her time as the regime’s social affairs minister.

"The Supreme Court Chamber concluded that the original ground for keeping the Accused in provisional detention, namely to ensure her presence during the proceedings, remains valid and relevant," the court said.

The judges have requested additional treatment for Ieng Thirith "which may help improve her mental health to such extent that she becomes fit to stand trial," the court said. "Such treatment is to be carried out in a hospital or other appropriate facility in Cambodia."

Ieng Thirith would then be re-evaluated within six months to determine whether she is fit to stand trial, the court said. She will remain in detention at the tribunal until further arrangements for her treatment can be made.

The decision was welcomed by victims of the regime.

Chhum Mey, 79, who survived the Khmer Rouge torture center at Tuol Sleng, said she should be held by the court because she has been accused of mass killings.

"If the court releases Ieng Thirith, I will stand in front of the convoy bringing her out of detention," said Chea Por Houy, 73, another survivor of the regime. "I’ll let the cars hit me, because I’m not afraid to die."

Nuon Chea Says Evacuation was Planned to Protect Population
VOA Khmer
By Kong Sothanarith
December 13, 2011

Nuon Chea, the former Khmer Rouge leader known as Brother No. 2, told the UN-backed tribunal Tuesday he and Pol Pot had purposely designed the mass exodus of Cambodians from Phnom Penh when the movement came to power in April 1975.

The eviction from the city to work camps in the countryside was the beginning of nearly four years of failed policies and internal strife that led to the deaths of some 1.7 million Cambodians under the regime, but Nuon Chea told the court Tuesday it had been done to protect citizens from US and Vietnamese counter-attack after the movement came to power.

"We had to temporarily evacuate people in Phnom Penh to wait and see the situation, how Vietnam would act and how the US would interfere, so people would not die," said Nuon Chea, who wore glasses and spoke in an articulate voice.

Nuon Chea is charged with atrocity crimes, including genocide, alongside Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary, for their roles as leaders of the regime.

When the Khmer Rouge took over Phnom Penh, on April 17, 1975, they began marching people out of the city almost immediately.

Prosecutors at the court said this was the beginning of the mass atrocities of the Khmer Rouge, as people began dying immediately after they were forced to leave their homes.

Nuon Chea said the populace of Phnom Penh was divided up and sent to work in regions for rice cultivation and other agricultural labor.

"They came to work together [with others], ate communally and learned about the cooperative," Nuon Chea said. "We rendered the people who didn’t know how to work into workers."

Starvation set in, he said, because of "betrayal" by local powerbrokers.

Ieng Sary refused to answer questions from the court on Tuesday, while Khieu Samphan, in an hour-long statement, said he had been elevated to a powerless position as nominal head of the regime.

Ieng Thirith Hospital-Bound
Phnom Penh Post
By Bridget Di Certo
December 14, 2011

Ieng Thirith will be remanded to detention and undergo medical treatment to improve her mental abilities, in the anticipation she will one day stand trial, the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s court of final appeal decided yesterday.

The Supreme Court Chamber decided to grant the co-prosecutors’ immediate appeal against the Trial Chamber’s decision last month to unconditionally release Ieng Thirith as she was unfit to stand trial.

In a sharp criticism of the Trial Chamber’s "sweeping conclusion", errors of law and delegation of responsibilities to the co-prosecutors, the judges of the Supreme Court decided in a vote of 6-1 that Ieng Thirith should continue medical treatment and be re-examined in six months’ time.

"A parallel objective [to ensuring the accused’s presence at trial] is to foster the improvement of the mental health of the accused," the judges wrote.

One of the experts who examined Ieng Thirith, New Zealand geriatrician John Campbell, suggested a trial of the drug Donepezil, which has a 33 per cent effectiveness rate, to improve Ieng Thirith’s cognitive function.

One in three was a probability that, "from the point of view of the various interests in trying the case, should not be dismissed", the Supreme Court Judges said.

The former-Khmer Rouge Minister for Social Action was found unfit to stand trial by the Trial Chamber on November 17, two working days before opening statements in the landmark Case 002 began at the tribunal.

Ieng Thirith’s defence counsel first raised queries about her mental abilities in February this year.

New Zealand geriatrician Campbell examined Ieng Thirith in June and concluded she had a "moderately severe dementing illness, most probably Alzheimer’s disease" and recommended her doctors reduce her medication in order to better examine her mental abilities. The Trial Chamber found that while there was a possibility that Ieng Thirith could attempt to feign cognitive impairment, it was considered unlikely that Ieng Thirith could falsely present with dementia.

International Co-Prosecutor Andrew Cayley said his office was "very satisified that the Supreme Court Chamber recognised the strong public interest that the matter be pursued".

Defence counsel for Ieng Thirith declined to comment on the decision.

[back to contents]

Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Official Website of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon
In Focus: Special Tribunal for Lebanon (UN)

STL Not Investigating False Witnesses, Says Tribunal’s Registrar on Twitter
The Daily Star
By Patrick Galey
December 8, 2011

The U.N.-backed court probing the 2005 assassination of statesman Rafik Hariri is not investigating "false witnesses" in the case, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon said Wednesday.

In a question-and-answer session with journalists and members of the public on Twitter, STL Registrar Herman von Hebel said that since no allegedly false testimonies had been given to the court, the issue would remain a matter for an initial United Nations investigation.

"For the STL, there are no false witnesses since there have been no witnesses testifying in the courtroom," von Hebel said on the court’s official Twitter feed. "In case of a false witness before the court, the judges can hold them in contempt of court. Any issues relating to individuals allegedly providing false information to the [U.N. International Independent Investigation Committee (UNIIIC)] is a matter for Lebanon and the U.N."

Among the charges leveled against the court by detractors is that much of the evidence gathered by the UNIIIC - the initial investigation into Hariri’s assassination - is based on false testimonies. In particular, two self-proclaimed former Syrian intelligence officers, Mohammad Zuheir Siddiq and Husam Taher Husam, provided information to the investigation that has since been discredited.

Both alleged high-level Syrian involvement in Hariri’s killing, and have been living under protection for several years. In 2009, shortly after the STL’s foundation, the Office of Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare declared that Husam and Siddiq were no longer of interest to the court.

Senior March 8 figures have called for the STL to investigate the issue of false witnesses.

Von Hebel also commented on a series of information leaks that have hampered the investigation into the 2005 bombing and stoked controversy surrounding the court.

"We do recognize that there have been leaks. This was primarily from the UNIIIC period. Stories about leaks from the STL itself have been greatly exaggerated," Hebel said. "At any rate, any such stories won’t impact judicial proceedings as the judges will only consider evidence presented in court."

The court has been subjected to accusations of politicization since its inception, in spite of several public attempts by senior STL figures to defend their integrity and impartiality.

Von Hebel was asked whether he knew that "most" Lebanese did not have faith in the tribunal. In response, he tweeted: "It’s too early to pass judgment on STL. The first trial has yet to begin and we should be judged by the fairness of our trials."

Reports have emerged that STL Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare - who in June accused four Hezbollah members of Hariri’s assassination - is finalizing an indictment in the case of Marwan Hamadeh, the former telecommunications minister who survived an attempt on his life in October 2004. In addition, the STL is known to be probing the files of slain Communist Party leader George Hawi and former Deputy Prime Minister Elias Murr.

Von Hebel said that the reports of an imminent indictment in the cases were premature. "As you know there have been 3 connected cases on which we’ve established our jurisdiction. The prosecution continues to examine the cases in order to determine whether there is a basis to submit an indictment to the Pre Trial Judge," he said.

Lebanon finally agreed last week to provide its share of 2011 funding - equivalent to over $30 million - to the court in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1757, which is due for renewal in March 2012.

Von Hebel said that while STL President Sir David Baragwanath had recommended that the court’s mandate be renewed, the decision rested outside the tribunal’s control.

"The president of STL recommended an extension of the mandate to the U.N. secretary-general," Von Hebel said.

"The [secretary-general] will consult the government of Lebanon and the Security Council. It is finally for the [secretary-general] to decide on the extension."

Prosecutor Bellemare Decides Not to Seek Reappointment for a Second Term
Special Tribunal for Lebanon
December 14, 2011

The Prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for the Lebanon, Daniel Bellemare, has informed the Secretary-General of the United Nations that, for health reasons, he does not intend to seek reappointment for a second term as Prosecutor at the end of February 2012.

Bellemare stated, "It has been an honour and a privilege to seek justice for the people of Lebanon. While this long and difficult journey is far from over, solid foundations have been laid to achieve justice and accountability for the attack of 14 February 2005 and connected cases, through the rule of law."

"I am proud to leave behind a strong team of committed professionals who have assisted me in the past three years in carrying out our challenging mandate and will continue to ensure that justice is achieved for the people of Lebanon," said Prosecutor Bellemare.

Media Advisory: Reaction to the Announcement of the STL Prosecutor
Special Tribunal for Lebanon
December 14, 2011

Following the announcement by Daniel Bellemare that he will leave the STL next year these are the reactions of the three other principals at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon:

President of the STL, Judge Sir David Baragwanath:

"Daniel Bellemare has undertaken a difficult job with vigour and determination. During his time as the Prosecutor of the STL, Mr Bellemare oversaw the stepping up of the investigation. He also tackled the challenge of the transition to judicial activity. These achievements follow a distinguished career in the Canadian justice system. The staff of the Tribunal wish Mr Bellemare a prompt return to full health."

STL Registrar, Herman von Hebel:

"As STL Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare has single-mindedly pursued that office’s responsibility to investigate the attack on 14th February 2005. His commitment to fulfill the duties of a Prosecutor at an international Tribunal has been unwavering. This led to the submission and confirmation of an indictment earlier in the year. More recently the Pre-Trial Judge accepted the request of the Prosecutor to establish jurisdiction over the three connected cases. I wish him a speedy recovery from illness."

Head of the Defence Office, Francois Roux:

"I regret that the Prosecutor’s health has forced him to retire from the pursuit of justice. Despite our different points of view, I want to underline the Prosecutor’s resolve in the exercise of his difficult mandate. The Tribunal would not be where it is today without his efforts. My staff and I wish that his health will continue to improve."

Media Advisory: Victims Participation Unit Holds Training Seminar for Counsel
Special Tribunal for Lebanon
December 16, 2011

Leidschendam 15 December 2011 - The Victims' Participation Unit of the Registry of the STL, has held a two and a half day training seminar for counsel who may represent victims participating in proceedings before the Tribunal.

The seminar was attended by 30 people including 11 Lebanese counsel and 11 international counsel who are on the Tribunal's List of Victims' Counsel or who represent applicants for victims' participation. Counsel representing victims before the International Criminal Court and their assisting staff also took part in the training.

The seminar was organized in cooperation with the International Criminal Court, in particular its Office of Public Counsel for Victims, which has particular expertise in the field of victims' legal representation.

During presentations, discussions and practical exercises, Lebanese and international counsel had an opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise and to meet representatives of the Tribunal.

The Pre-Trial Judge will consider applications from victims for participation before the Tribunal in the coming months. When he has made a decision, the victims who are accepted to participate may be represented by counsel in proceedings before the Tribunal.

[back to contents]

Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal

S Q Chy’s Proceedings Plea Rejected
Bangladesh News 24
December 5, 2011

The war crimes tribunal has rejected both petitions, one for staying proceedings, of BNP MP Salauddin Quader Chowdhury.

The International Crimes Tribunal was also expected to hear the Chittagong MP's six new petitions including one asking for live broadcast of the trials.

Charged with war crimes like murder, rape, arson and loot, Salauddin Quader had pleaded the court that the tribunal where he is undergoing trial violated the constitution as well as its own rules. He had said that violation of the constitution meant sedition, and his mere presence in the courtroom made him party to the same crime - sedition.

The tribunal noted that the petition for staying further proceedings either brought up constitutional points, especially regarding the 15th Amendment which altered the constitution's Article 7.1 and 47.3. Such matters would have taken up elsewhere and not at the war crimes tribunal which is bound by its laws and rules of procedure.

Furthermore, the tribunal stated that some of the points raised by Salauddin Quader had already been taken to court and dealt with. As such, that 'petition stands rejected,' stated Justice Nizamul Huq, after citing the relevant laws and explaining to Salauddin Quader sitting in the dock how he might in fact be arrested even during the investigation period.

As regards the other petition challenging the court's order of taking into cognisance charges against him, the tribunal said that it was not under any legal obligation to hear the accused when it is taking charges into cognisance.

The tribunal said that the accused will be given ample opportunity to speak later when the court forms formal charges against him. Salauddin Quader's second petition was thus rejected too.

The six-time parliament member was put behind bars almost one year after he was charged with crimes like murder, rape, arson and loot.

His six petitions include appeals that the tribunal abide by the international covenants where Bangladesh is a state party, recognition of Evidence Act 1872 and Code of Criminal Procedure 1898, allow 11 months to prepare his defence as the prosecution has been that much time.

In line with the recommendations from US ambassador-at-large Stephen J Rapp, Salauddin Quader will also move the court for defining crimes against humanity in more detail.

The tribunal said it would hear these petitions on Dec 12.

Freedom Fighter Narrates Mar 25 Sayadee Role
The Daily Star
December 7, 2011

A freedom fighter told the International Crimes Tribunal on Wednesday that Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee had assisted Pakistani occupation forces in looting valuables and set fire to locals’ houses in Parerhat area of Pirojpur.

Mahabubul Alam Hawlader was the first to place deposition as prosecution witness against the detained Jamaat-e-Islami leader in connection with charges of crimes against humanity allegedly committed by Sayedee during the 1971 War of Liberation.

The ICT, which is dealing with the crimes committed during the country’s independence struggle 40 years ago, started recording statements of prosecution witnesses against Sayedee Wednesday.

During the first day’s deposition, first witness Alam and second witness Ruhul Amin Nabin got the floor.

After Alam finished his deposition around 1:00pm, second Nabin started his deposition. As he could not complete his statement, he will continue it when the court resumes at 10:30am Thursday.

Both the witnesses narrated the atrocities committed by Pakistan Armed Forces in the name of ‘Operation Searchlight’ on unarmed Bangladeshis in the night of March 25, 1971.

Mahbubul Alam Hawladar, 60, who worked as a spy for the freedom fighters during the war in Pirojpur, narrated how Sayedee spearheaded groups of collaborators to loot over 60 homes and shops in the district, and how he ordered the killing of Bisha Bali, a Hindu community member in the Umedpur village of Pirojpur district.

"During the war, I was serving as a freedom fighter in the Sundarban freedom fighters camp. My responsibility was to act as a spy and collect confidential information for the freedom fighters," he said.

"Through Pirojpur, the collaborators and peace committee members conducted rapes, arsons, murdered many innocent people and members of the Hindu community," he told the court. "They also handed many women over to the Pakistani occupational forces so they could be forcefully raped."

"As a spy, I observed all these criminal activities and delivered the information to the Sundarban freedom fighters camp. This was my responsibility during the war."Alam narrated.

"On the morning of May 7, I was outside the house and heard that the occupational forces are coming to Parer Haat. And the Parer Haat peace committee members are waiting at the rickshaw stand to greet them," he said.

"I went to Parer Haat and hid myself near the rickshaw stand. I saw 52 members of Pakistani occupational forces arriving in 26 rickshaws and members of the peace committee greeting them," he added.

"Delwar Hossain Sayedee, who is very fluent in Urdu, spoke to Captain Ezaz, a captain of the occupation forces.

"The collaborators then guided the Pakistani forces inside the Parer Haat bazaar.

"They pointed shops and residences of Hindus and Awami League activists supporting the liberation war to Captain Ezaz," said Hawladar, adding, "Captain Ezaz than ordered his forces to raid those [shops and houses]".

After the raid started, Hawladar saw the situation turning worse and he fled from the spot. He later came to learn that some 30 to 35 shops and houses were looted in the raid.

"The items looted during the loot were distributed under the lead of Sayedee Shaheb," he told the court.

Before Alam’s deposition, the three judges’ panel headed by its Chairman Justice Nizamul Huq rejected two petitions moved by Sayedee.

Of the two petitions, one was filed seeking adjournment of the depositions while another requested for copies of some documents from the prosecution.

The jail authorities had produced Sayedee around 10:00am before the tribunal started the day’s proceedings.

The tribunal on October 3 framed 20 specific charges against Sayedee for murdering civilians and collaborating with the Pakistani occupation army to kill and torture unarmed people.

The court on November 21 fixed December 7 for the depositions of the prosecution witnesses.

"There he is, Sitting at the Back..."
Bangladesh News 24
By Tanim Ahmed
December 7, 2011

The war crimes tribunal saw its first witness testimony against Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee, putting him in the scene of murder, loot and arson.

The International Crimes Tribunal, trying alleged war criminals of Bangladesh's 1971 Liberation War, also introduced a computer transcription of 60-year old freedom fighter Mahbubul Alam Howladar's testimony with a slight makeover.

The first witness put Jamaat-e-Islami's executive council member Sayedee at the spot where Peace Committee members greeted Pakistani troops in Bagerhat on May 7.

Sayedee is charged with 20 counts of war crimes including murder, rape, arson and loot.

Howladar, in a green silk kurta with dark brown pants and leather sandals, began recounting from his memory the fiery speech of Mar 7, 1971 by founding father and president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman when he urged the people to rise up against repression with whatever they had and declared that this time the war was for liberation.

He said that Sayedee, being conversant in Urdu, was the one who conversed with one Captain Ejaz of the Pakistani army and identified people who supported the liberation struggle, supporters of Awami League and Hindus.

Howladar said Sayedee was in charge of looking after a fund built from the looted goods. The Jamaat leader had also led loot and plunder on several occasions at Bagerhat, according to his testimony.

Engaged as an intelligence gatherer for the freedom fighters of a sub-sector of Sector 9, he would report developments back to the headquarters in the Sundarbans.

Apparently Captain Ejaz had taken away 22 seers of gold and silver from a strongbox buried at the shop of a Hindu businessman. He then named Bagerhat as 'Golden' Bagerhat for offering such bounty.

Light brown curtains, matching the wood of the furniture in the courtroom, hanging from the tall windows and a large screen on the wall behind the three-judge bench, lent a new look.

Computer monitors were placed in front of each of the judges, one in front of the prosecution, one before the defence and another in front of the accused in the dock.

However, the slight man, with thinning hair and a short beard, spoke in a restrained pace and the newly introduced transcription slowed down the proceedings noticeably with the judges continually intervening to correct errors as the lone transcriber laboured on.

Justice Nizamul Huq briefed the lawyers that for their security and protection, the witnesses would not provide further particulars about themselves other than their names, age and religion.

"No one will be allowed to ask witnesses further questions about their details, either."

The witness was then asked to begin his deposition slowly so that the transcriber could type up what was being said. Howladar was asked to slow down a number of times for clerical reasons.

Howladar recounted one event of Jun 2, 1971 where members of Razakar, an auxiliary unit formed by the Jamaat-e-Islami that collaborated with the Pakistani occupation forces, came to Umedpur village of Pirojpur.

The freedom fighter hid behind a bush and watched the Razakar men loot and torch a number of Hindu households of the village. Upon finding Bisha Bali, a Hindu man who could not flee because he was sick, the men dragged him out and tied him to a coconut tree.

He remembered Sayedee telling one of the Razakar cadres, "Since we have found one here, let's kill him."

"The Razakar man then shot Bisha Bali dead."

By the end of his deposition Howladar was asked if he could identify Sayedee in the court room. He replied pointing at the dock, "Yes, there he is, sitting at the back."

The tribunal chair instructed that the records reflect that the accused has been identified.

The defence refused to begin its cross-examination immediately saying that it was not prepared but relented upon the insistence of the tribunal. Defence counsel Mizanul Islam left it by simply mentioning that none of the prosecution had presented any of the exhibits that the witnesses mentioned as being on the seizure lists.

The defence will continue its cross-examination on Sunday. But the prosecution continued with its second witness deposition bringing in another freedom fighter Ruhul Alam Nabin.

Earlier, the court rejected three petitions of the defence, requesting disclosure of exculpatory evidence, disclosure of documents and investigation reports and adjournment of the proceedings.

However, in response to one petition from the defence asking for a longer time to submit its list of witnesses and other documents it wishes to rely upon, the tribunal said although it believed that defence had been given enough time, one more week will be given.

But Justice Huq clearly told the defence that Dec 14 would be the final chance for the defence to submit the papers.

Prosecutor Syed Haider Ali countered the defence applications moved by defence counsel M Tajul Islam, while another prosecutor Saidur Rahman conducted the testimony.

Proceedings Against Sayadee Adjourned Until Sunday
Bangladesh News 24
December 8, 2011

Trial proceedings against Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee facing war crimes charges have been adjourned until Dec 11.

The International Crimes Tribunal dealing with suspected war criminals involving 1971 Liberation War on Thursday set the date after completion of deposition by a second witness Ruhul Alam Nabin who fought for the creation of Bangladesh in 1971.

On Wednesday, the tribunal saw its first witness testimony from 60-year old freedom fighter Mahbubul Alam Howladar who put Sayedee in the scene of murder, loot and arson. He put Jamaat-e-Islami's executive council member Sayedee at the spot where Peace Committee members greeted Pakistani troops in Parerhat on May 7, 1971.

By the end of his deposition Howladar was asked if he could identify Sayedee in the court room. He replied pointing at the dock, "Yes, there he is, sitting at the back."

The tribunal chair instructed that the records reflect that the accused has been identified.

The defence refused to begin its cross-examination immediately, saying that it was not prepared but relented upon the insistence of the tribunal.

Defence counsel Mizanul Islam left it by simply mentioning that none of the prosecution had presented any of the exhibits that the witnesses mentioned as being on the seizure lists.

The defence will continue its cross-examination on Sunday.

But the prosecution continued with its second witness deposition bringing in another freedom fighter Ruhul Alam Nabin.

Earlier, the court rejected two of the three petitions of the defence, requesting disclosure of exculpatory evidence, disclosure of documents and investigation reports and adjournment of the proceedings.

However, in response to one petition from the defence asking for a longer time to submit its list of witnesses and other documents it wishes to rely upon, the tribunal said although it believed that defence had been given enough time, one more week will be given.

But Justice Huq clearly told the defence that Dec 14 would be the final chance for the defence to submit the papers.

Prosecutor Syed Haider Ali countered the defence applications moved by counsel M Tajul Islam, while another prosecutor Saidur Rahman conducted the testimony.

Sayedee is charged with 20 counts of war crimes charges including murder, rape, arson and loot.

Radio Bangladesh Tapes of 1971 War Missing, Destroyed
Gulf Times
December 9, 2011

Officials of state-run Radio Bangladesh have said a number of politically crucial tapes, many containing evidence of crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War, have been destroyed or have disappeared after the August 15, 1975 killing of Bangladesh’s founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

"Many of the Liberation War documents which contained the statements of the top collaborators and leaders of perpetrators of 1971 crimes against humanity disappeared after August 15, 1975," director general of Bangladesh Betar AKM Shamim Chowdhury told newsmen in Dhaka yesterday.

Chowdhury said he believed many of the destroyed tapes could be used as evidence as a trial on 1971 war crimes was underway at the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT).

The station was then known as Radio Pakistan. It was used as a "propaganda machine" as it broadcast the statements of Pakistani junta’s and that of several top collaborators like Ghulam Azam and other who spearheaded a campaign of hate against those who sought freedom.

A senior radio official said some recorded tapes on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Liberation War, however, were found from an abandoned file cabinet in.

"Radio Bangladesh is now using them," he said.

Radio Bangladesh’s deputy director Akhtar Jahan Dolon said a senior official of the radio took away several recorded statements of Mujib and interviews of his family members apparently on orders from influential quarters. "These tapes were never found afterwards," he said.

Former regional director of Radio Bangladesh and recipient of Independence Award Ashfakur Rahman said a group of uniformed military personnel led by Mujib’s convicted killer Major Dalim had seized Mujib’s recorded statements and dumped it in a steel file cabinet, locked it and took the key away with them after August 15, 1995.

"In 1994-1995, the tapes were recovered from one of the abandoned file cabinets in a corridor on the third floor," he said.

Radio Bangladesh’s director of transcription Kamal Ahmed said his section had now collected several audio documents on Mujib and the Liberation War and digitized them.

Resist Conspiracy Over War Crimes Trials
Bangladesh News 24
December 10, 2011

The law minister has asked the people to step up against those trying to create controversies over the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) in a bid to save perpetrators of crimes against humanity during the 1971 liberation war.

"Everyone should stand up and save the tribunal from such attempts as it is holding trials of war criminals," Shafique Ahmed said on Saturday while unveiling the third album of the 'Jagoron-er Gaan' series at Suhrawardy Udyan.

"Perpetrators, responsible for the murder of three million people and violation of 200,000 women during the liberation war, are currently at the dock of the tribunal," he said.

The government is working to complete their trial and continue the country's progress based on the four basic doctrines of democracy, socialism, secularism and nationalism, he added.

"But a certain quarter is trying to save those perpetrators by creating controversies over the tribunal," Shafique said.

Jagoron Sangskriti Chorcha O Gobeshona Kendra, a platform that studies cultural history of national uprisings, and telecom operator Banglalink jointly published the album to mark the 40th Anniversary of Bangladesh's independence.

It consists of 40 songs that inspired the freedom fighters and countrymen during the 1971 liberation war.

The previous albums, published in 2009 and 2010, contained a total of 172 songs that had encouraged movements from anti-British movement to the 1971 liberation war.

Sayedee Defence Questioning Witness
Bangladesh News 24
By Tanim Ahmed
December 11, 2011

Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee's defence will continue its cross-examination of witness Mahbubul Alam Howladar before the war crimes tribunal on Wednesday.

Tuesday was the third day that the Jamaat executive council member's defence questioned the 60-year old freedom fighter from Pirojpur in a case where Sayedee has been charged on 20 counts of crimes against humanity.

Defence counsel Mizanul Islam handed over to another colleague of his team Mohammed Kafil Uddin Chowdhury a little after lunch.

Throughout the day, the defence raised numerous objections regarding the prosecution's repeated interventions which they said were obstructing them from establishing that Howladar's veracity as a witness was questionable.

The first attempt of the defence to establish that the freedom fighter was not a dependable witness began with his education. Howladar had apparently taken Matriculation exams and failed.

Mizanul Islam pointed out that he had mentioned his birth year as 1959, which would mean that he was only 12 years during Bangladesh's Liberation War in 1971.

Alluding to the general practice of concealing one's real age at the time of appearing in the secondary education final exam, Howladar replied, "In case of educational records, it could happen."

The defence also asked him about his broken marriage. Howladar had apparently asked for dowry from his first wife, a case in which he was convicted and is currently on bail.

The judges objected to bringing out such matters in public since it only dealt with Howladar's personal life. Judge AKM Zaheer Ahmed said, "There is no point bringing out such matters. They are scandalous."

Nizamul Huq agreed saying that such matters would not really make a difference.

Defence counsel Tajul Islam argued that if a man could ask for money in marriage, he could well ask for money for doing something else indicating that Howladar might have had monetary interests for testifying against Sayedee.

The judges relented and let the defence continue, although with periodic interventions from the prosecution.

The defence objected that the prosecution's statements and comments were preventing them in their cross-examination and the questions were losing their intended result.

Sayedee's counsel, Mizanul Islam, at one point told the court that he would be a lot more vocal except that, "[The chief prosecutor Ghulam Arieff Tipoo] had gotten his licence in 1958 and I was born in 1960!"

"And the less said about us younger ones the better," Tajul Islam was quick to add.

After another round of interventions where Tipoo prompted the defence's line of questioning and suggested alternative questions, Zaheer Ahmed lightly told him, "I see you haven't been able to teach your junior lawyers well enough."

Howladar told the court that he had been framed in a false case of dowry as he had first sued his wife and it was only their ploy.

The defence also asked Howladar about a burglary conviction where he was jailed. The witness said that he had been tried in absentia and jailed. "But I challenged it later and was acquitted."

However, Howladar's statements regarding his presence in the court on the day of the judgement appeared contradictory, which the defence pointed out 'questioned truthfulness of the witness'.

The tribunal had mentioned that as soon as an individual has been acquitted, the entire line of questioning around that specific incident became 'redundant'.

The defence then said that at least the questioning reveals that Howladar was not telling the truth.

Kafil Uddin Chowdhury could not complete his cross-examination by the end of the day and it will continue on Wednesday.

The International Crimes Tribunal had adjourned the cross-examination on Sunday in the face of opposition from the prosecution when defence counsellor Mizanul Islam introduced a document and proceeded to question the witness regarding its contents.

It resumed on Monday after submission of certain documents by the Jamaat leaders' defence.

Just before adjourning for lunch, AKM Zaheer Ahmed, a member of the three-judge tribunal, recounted an anecdote from his younger days about a senior advocate's line of questioning.

The judge had apparently failed to make much out of the advocate's roundabout style of cross-examination and had asked him when he would get to the point. The advocate had replied, "Very soon, sir."

When after an hour, the judge asked the same question, the advocate had the same answer although he apparently did not seem to be anywhere close to the point.

Addressing defence counsel Mizanul Islam, who has been conducting the cross-examination. Zaheer Ahmed said, "I must ask you in the same vein, when will you come to the point?"

It was now Mizanul Islam's turn to recount his anecdote about a senior advocate he had known. "If the judge asked such a question, he would say, 'If you discharge my client, I won't ask even one more question'."

Zaheer Ahmed's anecdote came after hours of cross-examination by Mizanul Islam.

Sayedee is the first to face prosecution for his alleged war crimes in 1971 including murder, rape, arson and loot.

The prosecution on Sept 4 proposed the framing of charges against Sayedee on 31 counts for crimes against humanity and genocide in ICT Case-1/2011. The tribunal indicted Sayedee on 20 counts on Oct 3.

Apart from Sayedee, Jamaat chief Matiur Rahman Nizami, secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed and assistant secretaries general Mohammad Kamaruzzaman and Abdul Quader Molla, and Bangladesh Nationalist Party's standing committee member Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, also a lawmaker, have been detained, along with others, on charges of committing war crimes.

The tribunal is expected to take charges against the other Jamaat leaders into cognisance on Dec 18.

The tribunal, however, on March 31 granted conditional bail to former BNP MP and minister Abdul Alim.

War Crimes Charged Against JI Leader Azam
Zee News
December 12, 2011

Bangladesh government on Monday pressed war crime charges against fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) leader Ghulam Azam at the International Crimes Tribunal, calling him a "key collaborator" of the then Pakistani regime during the 1971 Liberation War.

"We brought 52 charges against Ghulam Azam at the Tribunal seeking him to be tried as an accused of 'crimes against humanity' during the Liberation War," prosecution lawyer Syed Rezaur Rahman said, ahead of the 40th anniversary of Bangladesh's victory in the freedom struggle on December 16.

He said the three-judge International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) headed by Justice Niazamul Haq asked the prosecution to bring the charges against the former JI chief through the registrar of the tribunal for its consideration.

Rahman said the prosecution also requested the ICT to consider ordering Azam's arrest when it looks into the charges of his involvement in the Pakistani troops' notorious 'Operation Searchlight' of March 25, 1971 when they suddenly cracked down on unarmed people.

Azam, a provincial minister under the then Pakistani regime in 1971, was stripped off his nationality as he fled the country at the fag end of the Liberation War but got it back after a legal battle following his return home in 1976.

In an interview to a private television channel, Azam, now in his early 80s, denied the charges and said "I did not do anything for which I will have to seek apology from the nation."

"What I did, I had done for the benefit of the people, to save people," he told the Baishakhi TV yesterday, adding that he, however, was prepared for arrest to face the trial.

But the investigators earlier said they found clear evidence that he was the key man under whose directives the perpetrators of crimes against humanity acted in 1971.

The development at ICT came a day after the prosecution formally accused three top JI leaders of war crimes.

The ICT also set December 18 for hearing of charges against current JI chief Motiur Rahman Nizami, Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed and Assistant Secretary General Muhammad Quamruzzaman.

It granted prosecution one more week to submit charges against another Assistant Secretary General of the party Abdul Qader Mollah.

The right wing JI, which is a key ally of main opposition BNP of ex-prime minister Khaleda Zia, had opposed the country's independence siding with the then Pakistani regime.

Five of the seven war crime suspects detained so far to face the trial belonged to Jamaat-e-Islami, while the rest two are leaders of BNP.

ICT Appoints Lawyer for SQ Chy
Bangladesh News 24
December 12, 2011

The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) has decided to appoint a lawyer to represent BNP leader Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury in the ongoing war crimes trials.

Supreme Court lawyer Mohammad Badiuzzaman has been appointed the defence counsel in line with International Crimes Act 1973, said an order of the three-strong ICT bench, headed by Justice Nizamul Haque, on Monday.

Formal charges brought against Chowdhury and all related papers from the registrar's office will have to be sent to Badiuzzaman. From now on, he will represent the defendant, added the order.

Chowdhury had been defending himself in the tribunal, dramatically avoiding the tribunal's request to appoint a lawyer on his behalf.

His six petitions, filed on Dec 5, included appeals that the tribunal abide by the international covenants where Bangladesh is a state party, recognition of Evidence Act 1872 and Code of Criminal Procedure 1898, and allowing 11 months to prepare his defence as the prosecution has had that much time.

The court has will hear the appeals on Dec 19.

On Oct 4, the prosecution submitted its investigation report against Salahuddin Quader for his alleged crimes against humanity during the 1971 liberation war. On Nov 14, the ICT formally framed charges against him.

A case was filed against the BNP MP on July 26, 2010. The investigation agency had appealed to the tribunal on Dec 15 last year to detain him. Within a day of filing the appeal, he had been arrested on the charge of killing one during a general strike when a car was torched.

He had subsequently been shown arrested for crimes against humanity on Dec 19 last year.

Apart from Chowdhury and Delwar Hossian Sayedee, Jamaat chief Matiur Rahman Nizami, secretary-general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, assistant secretaries-general Mohammad Kamaruzzaman and Abdul Quader Molla, and former member of BNP founder Ziaur Rahman's cabinet Abdul Alim were arrested for committing crimes against humanity during the Liberation War.

However, Alim was later freed on conditional bail.

Defence to Grill 1st Witness Again Thursday
Bangladesh News 24
December 14, 2011

Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee's defence will continue to question the first prosecution witness for the fourth day on Thursday at the war crimes tribunal.

Counsel Mohammed Kafil Uddin Chowdhury, who had taken over from Mizanul Islam on Tuesday, resumed his cross-examination on Wednesday trying to discredit and question Mahbubul Alam Howladar's veracity as a witness.

Manjur Ahmed Ansari had taken over from Kafil Uddin and began questioning after lunch, painstakingly taking Howladar through the names and particulars of his neighbours, establishing the location of his house in his village and its general topography.

An executive council member and former MP of a Pirojpur constituency, Sayedee has been indicted on 20 counts of crimes against humanity at the International Crimes Tribunal set up deal with such offences during Bangladesh's Liberation War of 1971. His alleged crimes include murder, rape, loot and arson.

When by the end of the day the counsel still did not seem anywhere near an evident conclusion nor did he make an obvious headway with the questioning, the tribunal chairman Justice Nizamul Huq wondered when the defence would come to the point.

Despite his earlier warning to the defence saying that they would only get until 4:15pm Wednesday for examining the first witness, Huq softened his position by the close of the day's proceedings.

Addressing the defence he said, "You have been conducting cross-examination of the witness for three days. And now you say that you are only coming to the point?"

Tajul Islam stuck to his earlier point saying that the defence had to be given enough time and opportunity to properly contest all the points since there were 18 counts involving this single witness.

Justice A T M Fazle Kabir said, "Not at all. You can't just pull numbers out of your hat like that!"

Tajul Islam replied, "Well there are at least six or seven then."

Huq told Tajul Islam that it takes a toll on the witness being grilled by senior lawyers for hours on end. "God forbid, if you were ever to take the witness stand and if you were grilled like this, you would perhaps understand."

Tajul Islam replied: "Your honour, if I lied incessantly and if I made so many false statements, it would perhaps be natural that I am questioned for such a long time.

Judge A K M Zaheer Ahmed pointed out that three counsels had conducted cross-examination by turn. "You see one lawyer has taken his turn then another came in and once he tired, a third one came in. The witness goes through similar sufferings. You should keep that in mind."

Justice Nizamul Huq: "All I am saying is that you should ask yourselves where you are if you are only coming to the point after three days of cross-examination."

Tajul Islam: "But we have not asked a single unwarranted question. And you will see that all our questions had a point."

Justice Huq responded: "We are not questioning your line of questioning, although we could. We have not said for a single time what is the point of a certain question, or why you are asking a certain question. I am only asking you to look within yourself.

Earlier, before lunch Kafil Uddin Chowdhury suggested that Howladar was not at all a freedom fighter as he had claimed, nor did he have any relation with Major Ziauddin Ahmed, a sub-sector commander who had a camp inside the Sundarbans.

Kafil Uddin also suggested that contrary to his claims, Howladar had never been given any responsibility to gather intelligence for the freedom fighters. Howladar, however, denied the suggestions and held that the counsel's contention was false.

The court adjourned the hearing soon after the cross examination started and set Thursday for further hearing.

Kafil Uddin Chowdhury picked up from Tuesday when he was asking Howladar about how much time it would take him to visit the Major Ziauddin's camp inside the Sundarbans.

Howladar had earlier said that he had visited the camp at least 50 times during the war but could not say how much time it had taken him since there were obstacles and dangers on the way. "It would vary depending on the situation," he had answered.

Kafil Uddin began on Wednesday asking how far inside the Sundarbans this camp was located. Howladar said he did not know. "I generally contacted at the Sharankhola camp."

Kafil Uddin enquired about the details of that camp, its structure, the sub-sector commander's office and so on. Howladar said the office was located in a structure that previously housed forest office. However, he had not seen any board with the names of commanders in that sub-sector, nor had he seen a typist or personal secretary working for Ziauddin during his visits.

Kafil Uddin asked how long it would take Howladar after the war, during normal times to get to the camp. "It would take the better part of a day," Howladar said.

Howladar then added that on Tuesday he had stated visiting the camp about 50 times, which was perhaps inaccurate. It would be closer to 20, he mentioned.

It was barely half an hour since the questioning had begun around 10:40am, when Mizanul Islam stood up despite much difficulty (the counsel generally moves in a wheel chair and conducts cross-examination sitting down with permission of the court) to register an objection.

"It has been 25 minutes that we have begun cross-examination and the prosecution has interrupted every single question."

Several prosecutors immediately spoke up countering his objection and questioning the defence's line of cross-examination.

Judge A K M Zaheer Ahmed, who appears to have taken on the responsibility of explaining the defence questions in an easier language for the benefit of the court as well as the witness, replied, "Why don't we take a half-hour recess, and you fight it out?" he said indicating both the prosecution and the defence.

At this point, Sayedee stood up in the dock and requested permission to address the court. At first he requested permission for his brother to enter the court, who was apparently held back by security.

The tribunal chief Justice Nizamul Huq said people would not be allowed after proceedings began. However, he granted Sayedee's request.

The second point that the accused wanted to make was also about the repeated interruption of the prosecution during cross-examination of the witness. "If such disturbances continue then the image of this court would be tarnished."

Nizamul Huq replied, "We will hopefully be able to do just that, rest assured."

Kafil Uddin then proceeded to ask Howladar about the structure of Ziauddin's command. He asked how many commanders there were under him. To this, Huq said, "I don't understand this question. Major Ziauddin was a sub-sector commander himself. How can there be commanders under him?"

The counsel replied that he fully understood the question and took full responsibility for his line of cross-examination.

Kafil Uddin then dropped several names and asked if Howladar knew the persons named Paritosh Kumar Paul or Babul Gazi. The witness could not recall being acquainted with such persons and said he would not be able to tell without further details.

The counsel also asked Howladar about two books on the Liberation War - one memoirs of Major Ziauddin and another by the Pirojpur District Council - that the witness said he had not read and did not know about. Kafil Uddin said, "You are denying the existence of these books because they do not mention you."

Kafil Uddin then asked about two applications by Howladar dating back to 2004 and 2005 where he had asked for help from the government and from the local Freedom Fighters Command Council. When asked if both of these were recommended by Delwar Hossain Sayedee, Howladar said, "He had provided the recommendation as the sitting MP, not as an individual."

"Subsequently during the current regime," Kafil Uddin told Howladar, "Your freedom fighter's allowance was verbally cancelled by the current MP since you had been enlisted during Khaleda Zia's regime and had sought help with Sayedee's recommendation."

The witness said it was not true. He also denied Kafil Uddin's contention that local people had submitted an application to the ruling MP challenging his being a freedom fighter. Howladar replied that such applications have been there in case of other people. "But not in my case."

At this point, when the defence objected rather strongly to the prosecution prompting answers for the witness, judge Zaheer Ahmed took an uncharacteristically stiff face and said, "Henceforth, if there is any such prompting from the prosecution, the records will show that the answer was 'led by the prosecution' in brackets."

"I am trying to explain every single question in easy Bengali so that the witness understands it well. Should there be further queries or questions, please raise your hand."

Sayedee is the first to face prosecution for his alleged war crimes against humanity.

The prosecution on Sept 4 proposed the framing of charges against Sayedee on 31 counts for crimes against humanity and genocide in ICT Case-1/2011. The tribunal indicted Sayedee on 20 counts on Oct 3.

Apart from Sayedee, Jamaat chief Matiur Rahman Nizami, secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed and assistant secretaries general Mohammad Kamaruzzaman and Abdul Quader Molla, and Bangladesh Nationalist Party's standing committee member Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, also a lawmaker, have been detained, along with others, on charges of committing war crimes.

The tribunal is expected to take charges against the other Jamaat leaders into cognisance on Dec 18.

The tribunal, however, on March 31 granted conditional bail to former BNP MP and minister Abdul Alim.

[back to contents]

NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA

United States

Nazi Hunters Launch New Drive to Prosecute War Criminals
Agence France Presse
By Deborah Cole
December 14, 2011

The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center launched a new drive in Germany Wednesday to catch the last perpetrators of the Holocaust still at large based on a major legal precedent set this year.

Efraim Zuroff told a news conference that the Center would offer a reward of up to 25,000 euros ($32,450) for information leading to the capture and conviction of now elderly people implicated in Nazi crimes during World War II.

"The passage of time in no way diminishes the guilt of the killers," Zuroff said. "Old age should not afford protection to mass murders. Each of the victims deserves that an effort be made to find their murderers."

Zuroff heads the Jerusalem office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Los Angeles-based organisation named after the Holocaust survivor who was perhaps the best-known Nazi hunter until his death in 2005.

He said a ground-breaking precedent set by the conviction in Germany in May of former camp guard John Demjanjuk, 91, could open the door to a new wave of criminal cases.

A Munich court sentenced the Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk to five years imprisonment for helping the Nazis kill almost 30,000 Jews during his time at the Sobibor extermination camp in German-occupied Poland during World War II.

In a legal first, it found that simply demonstrating Demjanjuk's employment at the camp, rather than his involvement in specific murders, was enough to implicate him in the killings committed there.

Demjanjuk, who was deported from the United States to stand trial, had denied the charges and is free pending an appeal before a federal court.

"The Demjanjuk case should pave the way for the prosecution of many people who on a daily basis, for an extended period of time, were involved in mass murder," Zuroff said, joined at the press conference by an opposition deputy, Dietmar Nietan, and former MP Gert Weisskirchen.

The new drive, called Operation Last Chance 2, follows a previous programme launched in the Baltic states in 2002 and extended to Germany in 2005.

It is co-managed by the US-based Targum Shlishi foundation and is aimed at helping governments locate Nazi war criminals in 33 countries.

Zuroff said that the previous campaign turned up 603 suspects around the world of whose cases 102 were submitted to prosecutors.

He said the new drive would focus on German or foreign men who served in death camps or the Einsatzgruppen, special mobile death squads deployed mainly in occupied Poland and the Soviet Union before the camps opened.

With perpetrators dying off, or becoming too frail to face trial, he said the number of potential defendants may amount to only about 40.

Zuroff said the Simon Wiesenthal Center now gave Germany relatively high marks for cooperation after decades of indifference and worked closely with the central office for the investigation of Nazi war crimes, based in the southwestern city of Ludwigsburg.

"We want to do whatever we can to help the German legal authorities bring these Holocaust perpetrators to justice," Zuroff said.

"We are hoping that this effort will inspire and encourage and motivate faster action."

He said those providing information would be given 5,000 euros for the indictment of a suspect, 5,000 euros for a conviction and 100 euros per day for the first 150 days of imprisonment, for a maximum total of 25,000 euros.

Zuroff announced an international tips hotline: +49-1573-494-7307.

Nietan acknowledged that Germany had long dragged its feet in the postwar years in hauling Nazi war criminals to court but had an obligation now to make up for lost time.

"This society must face up to its responsibility -- there must be no statute of limitations or line drawn under history," he said.

Influence Industry: Sudan Hires its First U.S. Lawyer in Years, Prompting Protests
Washington Post
By Dave Eggen
December 14, 2011

The Obama administration has allowed the Republic of Sudan to hire its first U.S. lawyer in years, prompting strong objections from human rights groups and some members of Congress.

Bart S. Fisher, a veteran international trade lawyer, is being paid $20,000 a month by Sudan to help the strife-torn African nation in its attempts to have U.S. economic sanctions lifted and be removed from the State Department's list of terrorism-sponsoring governments, according to federal registration documents.

The hiring has angered U.S. human rights activists and some lawmakers because of the Sudanese regime's history of alleged genocide and other atrocities against its citizens during a decades-long civil war. Fighting has flared again this year along the border with newly independent South Sudan, displacing an estimated 400,000 people and prompting new accusations of indiscriminate bombing and illegal killings by the Khartoum government.

Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), a longtime critic of the Sudanese regime, attacked Fisher in the House and during a news conference this week for agreeing to work for "a genocidal government" that "has blood on its hands." He also said he suspected the administration may have issued a license to Fisher because of the lawyer's past campaign contributions to President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other Democrats.

"I don't know how Mr. Fisher sleeps at night," Wolf said on the House floor Tuesday, adding later: "If he has received one penny from the government of Sudan, he should return it immediately."

An alliance of activists, Act for Sudan, plans to picket Fisher's Washington offices on Friday. "Our government should not be seeing this as the time to reward the government of Sudan," said Act for Sudan spokesman Eric Cohen.

Fisher said in an interview Wednesday that the objections are misplaced and based on the erroneous idea that he is working as a lobbyist. Under the terms of the license issued by the Treasury Department, which enforces sanctions against Sudan, Fisher may only represent the Khartoum government in legal matters and is forbidden from lobbying or engaging in public relations, records show.

"I am not a lobbyist," Fisher said. "I am a lawyer, and the Embassy of the Republic of Sudan is my client."

The State Department has designated Sudan a state sponsor of terrorism since 1993, when the United States imposed sanctions on the country for harboring terrorists such as Osama bin Laden. The restrictions remained amid persistent allegations of genocide and other crimes during a 20-year civil war. A fragile peace agreement in 2005 led to the formation this year of the new nation of South Sudan.

The Khartoum regime has long sought ways to persuade the U.S. government to lift its restrictions, including the hiring of a Washington lobbyist in 2005, who was later prosecuted for working on behalf of the country in violation of sanctions.

The Washington Post reported in 2009 that the regime had worked through the nation of Qatar to enlist the help of former Reagan administration official Robert "Bud" McFarlane, who is now an adviser to Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign.

Documents filed with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act show that Fisher was hired Nov. 1 to "counsel and assist the Republic of the Sudan in satisfying appropriate U.S. conditions to reduce and eliminate the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations and related U.S. laws." A license allowing the deal was issued by Treasury on Nov. 16, records show.

The fee is $20,000 per month, paid quarterly. Fisher's wife also received a gift of a purse and two candlestick holders from the republic on Nov. 2, disclosure records show.

A Treasury official, speaking on background, said that the agreement adheres to sanction guidelines because legal representation, but not lobbying or public relations, is allowed.

"Recognizing the importance of due process and opportunity for redress, our regulations ensure that even the worst actors have the opportunity to challenge the blocking of their property before U.S. government agencies and courts," the official said in a statement.

Fisher said Sudan's government needs legal representation to continue implementing the 2005 peace accord, which includes complex negotiations over transportation and other infrastructure issues with South Sudan.

"Is it controversial? Yes. But is it improper to have counsel under the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? I don't think so," Fisher said. "Why would they not have a right to counsel like anyone else?"

Obama Drops Veto Threat Over Military Authorization Bill After Revisions
New York Times
By Charlie Savage
December 14, 2011

President Obama will not veto a military authorization bill that contains several disputed provisions about the treatment of terrorism prisoners, the White House announced Wednesday, signaling a likely end to a political battle over detainees and executive power.

The administration had threatened to veto versions of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 passed by the House and the Senate, arguing that provisions would open the door for the military to perform policing functions inside the United States, and that they would infringe on executive branch powers.

But the White House said in a statement that adjustments made by a House-Senate conference committee had sufficiently addressed its concerns.

"As a result of these changes, we have concluded that the language does not challenge or constrain the president's ability to collect intelligence, incapacitate dangerous terrorists, and protect the American people, and the president's senior advisors will not recommend a veto," it said.

Civil liberties groups still object to the revised bill. But other critics of earlier versions - notably, Representative Adam Smith of Washington State, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee - praised the changes and urged that the bill be passed. On Wednesday, the House approved the bill, 283 to 136; it goes to the Senate.

The administration and Congress have been wrestling for months over proposed rules and limits for handling terrorism cases.

The bill that emerged from the conference committee on Tuesday dropped a section from the House version that would have banned using civilian courts to prosecute Qaeda suspects. It also dropped a House-written provision enacting a new authorization to use military force against Al Qaeda and its allies.

But the bill includes a narrower provision, drafted by the Senate, authorizing the government to detain, without trial, suspected members of Al Qaeda or its allies - or those who "substantially supported" them - bolstering the authorization it enacted a decade ago against the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Another section would require officials to hold noncitizens suspected of being Qaeda operatives in military custody. The administration had focused its objections on that section, but the panel expanded the executive branch's ability to make exceptions.

It also added language declaring that the new law would not restrict the existing authority of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in terrorism matters. Still, the bureau's director, Robert S. Mueller III, testified on Wednesday that he remained concerned that it would introduce "uncertainty" about what should happen at the time of an arrest.

Another provision would require the attorney general to consult with military and intelligence agencies before charging a terrorism suspect in civilian court.

The bill also would require the defense secretary to certify, before transferring any Qaeda-related detainee to another country, that it has met certain security conditions - expanding a rule that currently applies only to prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. But the bill would also relax the certification requirements, which the Pentagon has said are too onerous to meet.

Accused Wiki-Leaker Faces Judgment Friday
CNN
By Ashley Fantz
December 15, 2011

More than one and a half years have passed since a boyish-looking 22-year-old Army private was arrested, suspected to be behind the biggest intelligence leak in U.S. history.

Much has been written about him. Politicians, pundits, celebrities and protesters have had something to say.

But the single voice that could tell the real story has never been heard.

Bradley Manning, are you finally going to speak?

Will you say anything when a military arraignment begins on Friday at an Army base in Maryland, the first step in the government's case that intends to figure out how hundreds of thousands of its classified Afghan, Iraq and diplomatic documents came to be published on WikiLeaks.org?

Manning is facing 22 charges of violating military code, ranging from theft of records to aiding the enemy. The latter charge is likely, experts say, to land Manning in prison for life. But, if a general sees fit, the law allows that Manning could be eligible for the death penalty, a historic turn in a case that is already unprecedented.

So what has this young soldier from small-town Oklahoma got to say for himself?

Defense attorney David Coombs isn't saying whether his client will speak at the Article 32 hearing, held to determine whether there's enough evidence to merit a court-martial, which is expected to last a week.

Manning has been held at Kansas' Fort Leavenworth prison and will be transported for the hearing to Fort George Meade, where, incidentally, the National Security Agency has its offices. Security for media will be intense; there are only 10 spots for reporters in the tiny courtroom, so most will be relegated to a media room with a single closed-circuit television showing the hearing. The military has said it will cut that feed whenever material it deems classified is discussed in the courtroom.

An Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, Coombs has a reputation for cutthroat and creative military lawyering, his contemporaries tell CNN. He is also an active blogger. He's been posting about the Manning case, including his client's alleged mistreatment at Quantico, since taking the case in 2010. An attorney for the Bradley Manning Support Network says the group has paid about $150,000 in expenses toward Manning's defense, money raised mostly in small donated increments online.

Earlier this month, Coombs hinted on his blog at how he might defend Manning. He filed in court record, and then blogged, a kind of witness wish list. Coombs said it described military personnel who, if he could call them, would testify that Manning behaved like an unhinged, potentially dangerous soldier on base in Iraq. Manning's superiors repeatedly missed chances to either remove him from his intelligence job or revoke his security clearance, the document said.

A few days later, Coombs posted another filing protesting the military's apparent rejection of all but 10 of his requested witnesses. The military told CNN that it will not comment until Friday's hearing.

"If Coombs uses the defense -- the 'It's not my fault, they didn't stop me' -- that's not going to fly with a military jury. That's not even a defense," said Michael Waddington, a criminal defense attorney who has tried at least 150 Article 32 hearings and many court-martial trials.

"The problem is that (the defense) is not really addressing the charges themselves. You're not saying 'I didn't leak anything, you can't prove it,'" explained Waddington, who served two tours as an Army defense lawyer and has worked as a special assistant United States attorney and as an Army chief of military justice.

Psychological problems

Military juries typically don't respond well to defense strategies that try to evoke sympathy for a defendant based on his or her alleged psychological problems, he said.

"To them, psychological problems are, like, 'Who cares?' The military takes a lot of people who have psychological problems, (then) they turn away and act like they don't see it. It's common. It will not be a shock to a military panel -- the jury -- and they aren't going to be appalled by that."

Waddington said he's tried several cases in which his clients' mental instability was known by military co-workers and superiors, yet those in power did little or nothing before a crime occurred.

Waddington pointed to the case of Maj. Nidal Hasan to illustrate his point. Hasan was an Army psychiatrist who will face a court-martial in March. Hasan is accused of killing 13 people and wounding dozens in a shooting November 5, 2009, at Fort Hood, Texas.

A Senate report earlier this year found that various federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies missed an opportunity to prevent the rampage, even though they had information that Hasan supported Islamic extremism, had communicated with a terrorism suspect, and acted in a way that waved red flags about his mental stability.

The report mirrored a Pentagon review which said that Hasan continued to advance despite concerns from others around him.

In early November, victims' families filed suit asking $750 million from the military for failing to prevent the bloodbath.

In Manning's case, if the prevention argument won't work, Waddington says, neither will painting him as a whistle-blower. In the opinion of some observers, including Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, the documents published by WikiLeaks deserved to be brought to light and Manning was "brave" -- in Ellsberg's words -- to leak the information. Others who support Manning's actions contend that, at worst, war crimes and an effort by the U.S. and its allies to cover up atrocities were revealed by the leaks. That was the general thrust of The Guardian's coverage on the intelligence, which The Guardian independently examined. Numerous reports, including those in The New York Times, which also independently analyzed the documents, said that the WikiLeaks disclosures revealed widespread corruption in both wars, a gross waste of money and mistreatment of detainees.

"If you're going to appeal to a military jury, whistle-blower doesn't work," Waddington said. "The thinking they have is that when you sign up for a certain job in military intelligence and you manage data that is secret, you have a duty to protect that information."

Overclassified, overcharged

Coombs may have better luck if the defense concentrates on four other arguments, the attorney suggests.

First, Coombs should try to demonstrate that the documents Manning allegedly downloaded were not marked individually as classified, and therefore he could not be held accountable for knowingly taking secret intelligence. He might also want to present the argument, bandied in numerous media reports, that the information Manning had access to has been overclassified. In other words, it's not necessary that a cable about Saudi royals having wild parties be classified in the same way as a cable about Tehran's nuclear activity.

The defense attorney should also drive home the idea that the government has gone overboard with its charges -- especially aiding the enemy -- without proving that any actual harm was caused by the leaks, Waddington said.

"This isn't a case of someone sneaking behind enemy lines and handing over passwords to the computer system or giving a key to the back entrance to the military base," said Waddington. "This is someone who downloaded some information he shouldn't have, which has not been proven to have harmed anyone or national security."

Third, the defense can try to show that Manning won't get a fair trial due to comments President Barack Obama made last year at a fundraiser. Obama said that Manning broke the law.

"I have to abide by certain classified information," Obama said on a video posted on YouTube. "If I was to release stuff, information that I'm not authorized to release, I'm breaking the law. ... We're a nation of laws. We don't individually make our own decisions about how the laws operate. ... He broke the law."

There isn't anyone who reports to the commander in chief who would want to go against that, said Waddington, so the case seems unfair from the start.

A controversial witness

If Waddington were defending Manning, he said, his first priority would be to attack the credibility of Adrian Lamo, a California hacker who says Manning reached out to him in an Internet chat and confessed to downloading intelligence and giving it to WikiLeaks.

Neither Manning nor his counsel has confirmed or denied that Manning was indeed the one writing the instant messages in the chat log. WikiLeaks and the news organizations that published stories based on the leaked material have never identified who gave it to them.

Lamo told CNN.com last year, and reiterated in interviews throughout the past year, that he turned Manning in to the FBI because he believed that what Manning wrote to him could be used to harm national security.

In an unrelated incident, Lamo was convicted in 2004 on one count of computer crimes after breaking into the New York Times, Microsoft and Lexis-Nexis computer systems and has reportedly breached Excite@Home's company network and broken into the internal networks of Yahoo! and MCI WorldCom.

Lamo has repeatedly told CNN.com over the past year that his hacking is in his past and he had altruistic intentions when it came to turning in Manning.

Lamo was on the list of witnesses Coombs wants to question at the Article 32 hearing. Reached via e-mail late Wednesday, Lamo responded to CNN.com's question about whether he would testify.

Lamo wrote that he was in a "pre-hearing meeting." He e-mailed, "I'll be in the area, but can't confirm that I'll testify."

"I would put that guy on trial and make him lay out the evidence he has against Manning," said Waddington. "He would be the weakest link, to me, in the government's case."

Civil Liberties Group Calls for Privacy Protections Involving Domestic Drones
CNN
By Jim Barnett
December 15, 2011

A leading organization advocating individual rights is recommending new rules and limits to protect the privacy of Americans in advance of expected expanded use of domestic drones by police and other law enforcement agencies.

In a report released Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union recommends drones not be deployed indiscriminately unless there are grounds to believe the unmanned aerial planes will collect evidence about a specific crime, adding government power "needs to be subject to checks and balances."

The report called for a system of rules to effectively use the technology "without bringing us a large step closer to a 'surveillance society' in which our every move is monitored, tracked, recorded and scrutinized by the authorities."

"The prospect of cheap, flying video surveillance cameras will likely open the floodgates," said Jay Stanley, the report's co-author and senior policy analyst with the ACLU.

The ACLU says next month the FAA is expected to propose new rules to make it easier for law enforcement to gain permission to use drones in the United States, which could lead to expanded use by local police departments and other agencies.

"If we can set some good privacy ground rules, our society can enjoy the benefits of this technology without having to worry about its darker potentials," the report said.

The ACLU points out there are already regulations imposed on law enforcement, for example requiring officials to get a warrant to take thermal images of someone's home.

The report calls for rules, limits and regulations on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or drones. It recommends restrictions on how unmanned aircraft are used and procedures for the retention of images of identifiable individuals.

The ACLU says drones are currently used by some law enforcement agencies including the Department of Homeland Security and police departments in Texas, Florida and Colorado. The courts should impose limits on the use of drones for surveillance, prohibiting them from becoming pervasive, according to the report.

"The deployment of drone technology domestically could easily lead to police fishing expeditions and invasive, all encompassing surveillance that would seriously erode the privacy that we have always had as Americans," said Catherine Crump, ACLU's other co-author.

[back to contents]

TOPICS

Terrorism

Men Arrested Under Security Certificates Shocked by CSIS Torture Allegations
The National Post
December 5, 2011

Advocates for five men arrested under security certificates said they were stunned to learn that Canada's spy agency believed cases against them could fall apart if it could not use information obtained by torture.

On Saturday, the Montreal Gazette revealed that in 2008, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) warned the minister of public security that it could become impossible to use security certificates to arrest and deport suspected terrorists if it was prohibited from using information from foreign regimes known to use torture.

In a letter obtained by the Montreal Gazette, former CSIS director Jim Judd warned that a proposed bill then before Parliament "could render unsustainable the current security certificate proceedings." A security certificate is a means by which the government may detain and deport non–citizens perceived as a threat to national security.

The letter calls into question CSIS's assurances that it did not countenance the use of torture abroad.

On Sunday, an advocacy group representing men who have been detained under security certificates hailed the report as proof that CSIS and top government officials knew terror cases might not stand up without information obtained under duress.

"It's very disturbing that CSIS is so dependent on information that's obtained from the use of torture that they would consider that these cases would fall apart without it," said Mary Foster, a member of the Coalition Justice for Adil Charkaoui.

Charkaoui, 37, was arrested in 2003 under a security certificate and cleared in 2009. He is seeking compensation from the federal government and has led a campaign against the arbitrary arrest of terror suspects.

"It is unbelievable. CSIS has been lying to us for years," Charkaoui said in a statement. Charkaoui charged that by signing security certificates against him and other suspects after he received the warning from Judd, then–public safety minister Stockwell Day was "effectively condoning the use of torture and condemning us to several more years of arbitrary detention."

Hassan Almrei, another former terror suspect cleared of allegations in 2009, also hailed the revelation. "It really makes me sick to think that when I was sitting in solitary confinement on secret allegations for almost eight years, the head of CSIS knew that my case, and the cases of the other men held on security certificate, were completely baseless, because they were likely based on information that came from torture," the Toronto man said in a statement.

In February 2007, the Supreme Court struck down the security certificate legislation as unconstitutional and the government passed a new law to replace it in 2008.

In his letter, Judd urged the minister to fight a Liberal amendment to prohibit CSIS and the courts from using information obtained by torture or "derivative information" —information initially obtained by torture but subsequently corroborated by legal means.

But despite Judd's urging, the government passed the amended Bill C–3 in February 2008.

However, Foster said the letter reveals an alarming readiness to use information that might have been obtained by torture despite the legal ban on doing so. "CSIS on their own evaluation thought that these cases were built on information that the law said they couldn't use," she said.

"It's disturbing that they then went ahead and advised the ministers to issue the certificates. And it's disturbing that the ministers went ahead and signed it, knowing that CSIS believed that it was based on information that would not pass (scrutiny)," she added.

In addition to Charkaoui and Almrei, the coalition is also demanding that the government drop charges against Toronto men Mahmoud Jaballah and Mohammad Mahjoub as well as Mohamed Harkat of Ottawa.

In an email message on Friday, CSIS spokeswoman Tahera Mufti said the agency opposes the mistreatment of any individual by any foreign entity. "We do not condone the use of torture or other unlawful methods in responding to terrorism and other threats to national security," she wrote.

Turkish Court Arrests 16 Suspects in KCK Investigation
Today's Zaman
December 8, 2011

A Turkish court on Wednesday ordered the arrest of 16 suspects and the release of four others pending trial as part of the investigation into the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella political organization including the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorist organization.

In simultaneous raids conducted in Agri, Igdir, Bitlis, Diyarbakir, Izmir and Istanbul on Wednesday, police detained 20 suspects who were believed to be part of the KCK. The deputy mayor of Agri's Dogubayazit district and an Agri Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) provincial chairman were also among the detainees.

After interrogation by police, the suspects were referred to court. The court approved the arrest of 16 suspects, including the Dogubayazit deputy mayor and the BDP's Agri provincial chairman. The court released four other suspects pending trial.

The suspects have been accused of organizing illegal demonstrations and acts of terrorism, recruiting members for a terrorist organization and organizing attacks on security forces and state property. The court also released four suspects pending trial. Police also seized a large amount of physical documents related to the KCK, digital documents and files, banners to be used in illegal demonstrations, a firearm and 6,400 pills.

Furthermore, Istanbul's Besiktas Courthouse on Thursday rejected a request from 34 KCK suspects, including 33 lawyers, for their release. Additionally, the Istanbul Prosecutors' Office requested that eight KCK suspects who had been released be arrested again. The Besiktas court decided in favor of the arrest of four of these suspects, including Mahmut Alinak, a former Democracy Party (DEP) deputy and lawyer for PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. Alinak was arrested in the eastern province of Kars on the same day.

Police have recently stepped up operations against the KCK. The KCK investigation began in December 2009, and a large number of Kurdish politicians, including several BDP officials, have been detained in connection with the case.

The suspects stand accused of various crimes, including membership in a terrorist organization, aiding and abetting a terrorist organization and attempting to destroy the country's unity and integrity. The detainees include mayors and municipal officials from the BDP, which has said the investigation is the government's way of suppressing its politicians and denies any links between the suspects and terrorist organizations.

Canadian Troops in Afghanistan to Hand over Afghan Prisoners to US Authorities
The Washington Post
December 9, 2011

Canada says prisoners captured by Canadian troops in Afghanistan will now be handed over to the United States, not local authorities.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Friday that the government has completed a new transfer agreement enabling the delivery of Canadian–captured prisoners to the U.S. detention facility at Parwan, north of Kabul.

The new agreement reverses a policy under which suspected Taliban fighters were sent to Afghanistan's notorious intelligence service or Kandahar's Sarpoza prison.

About 950 Canadian soldiers remain in Afghanistan in a training, noncombat role following the end of the combat mission last summer. This means they will rarely, if ever, engage in prisoner captures.

Baird did not explain how Canadian soldiers would now be in a position to take prisoners.

German Police Arrest Alleged Al–Qaeda Cell Member
Deutsche Welle
By Dagman Breitenbach and Joanna Imepy
December 12, 2011

Heavily–armed police in the western German city of Bochum have arrested an alleged Islamist terrorist, suspected of planning attacks as part of a terror cell whose leader was under orders from al Qaeda.

The 27–year–old man, Halil S., who cannot be fully named for legal reasons, is said to have been a member of the so–called Dusseldorf Cell. Sources said he had been under surveillance since July.

In a statement Thursday, federal prosecutors in Karlsruhe said the German citizen had raised funds for terrorist activities through bogus online sales on the web auction site eBay in November.

S. is charged with plotting terrorist attacks for al Qaeda, as well as forgery, organized fraud and data crime.

The Dusseldorf Cell's alleged chief, Abdeladim El–K., was arrested along with two others in April. Police said two of them had tried to construct a detonator they planned to use to bomb targets in Germany. El–K. had been sent to Germany by an al–Qaeda chief in Afghanistan to carry out terrorist strikes.

Police searched for evidence at 16 homes and two offices in three German states, including the homes of five suspects associated with S. Some 150 police officers were involved in the operation.

German Interior Minister Hans–Peter Friedrich said, "the case shows that Germany and Europe are still at the crosswires of Islamist terrorism." However it appears the terror suspect had no concrete plans. Friedrich added that it was important "to stay vigilant in the future."

The interior minister of the state of North Rhine–Westphalia, where the incident took place, said the arrests were a successful blow against Islamists and showed that the security services were "on guard."

Yemenis Capture Six Al–Qaeda Operatives
CNN
December 13, 2011

Six al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula operatives –– including one high–value target –– were captured by Yemeni security forces, the country's embassy in the United States said Tuesday.

Musaed Al–Barbari, an AQAP leader who authorities say attacked the Sanaa International Airport in 2009, was among those captured, the embassy said.

"The terrorism suspects have been carrying out surveillance, and planning missions aimed at targeting government and high ranking security officials," the embassy said. "Furthermore, the cell was planning on orchestrating attacks on foreign missions and critical state installations."

Authorities found weapons, explosives as well as training and recruiting material in the possession of Al–Barbari, the embassy said.

The embassy also sought to clarify an earlier report –– attributed to security forces –– that 15 AQAP prisoners had escaped from a south Yemen prison Monday.

The fugitives were not members of al Qaeda, but they were facing other criminal charges, the embassy said. Three of the escapees have been captured so far, it said.

[back to contents]

Piracy

Seven Somali Pirates to be Tried in Seychelles
AfricaNews
By Tatenda Malan
December 13, 2011

British navy arrested the suspected pirates after a helicopter–led chase in the Indian Ocean.

Britain's navy RFA Fort Victoria ship was patrolling an area off the coast of Somalia and the Seychelles when it received information that a Spanish fishing vessel had come under attack by a group of pirate vessels.

Warning shots were fired from a Royal Naval helicopter before Royal Marines from RFA Fort Victoria, supported by the helicopter, captured the vessels.

Seychelles' Home affairs minister Joel Morgan said his country agreed to accept the seven suspected pirates for prosecution because piracy was a threat to Seychelles' tuna fishing industry, according to the Seychelles Nation.

"As we made clear in the past, these aggressive acts will not be tolerated and we will fulfill our responsibilities to protect our economic interests and the people who work within the maritime sector and bring these men to justice," he said.

British high commissioner to Seychelles Matthew Forbes was quoted as saying he was pleased British forces were able to thwart the attack.

"Seychelles' willingness to prosecute pirates serves as an excellent example to other states and we are working with our international partners to ensure that convicted pirates can be repatriated to Somalia to serve their sentences."

Piracy is rife in the Indian Ocean, particularly off the coast of Somalia.

Somalia has not had a functioning national government since 1991 and Islamist insurgents control much of the south and centre of the country.

[back to contents]

Piracy

Gender Based Violence

Victims of Khmer Rouge Sex Crimes Want Voice in Court
VOA Khmer
By Heng Reaksmey
December 7, 2011

Family members of sexual assault victims under the Khmer Rouge say they want to have their voices heard at the UN–backed tribunal.

As the court undertakes its second trial to date, of Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary, judges have said sexual violence will not be counted specifically among the crimes they are tried for.

That is upsetting for people like Kong Vanna, 54, who said Wednesday his sister had been raped by four Khmer Rogue soldiers before she was killed.

"They have to be responsible for what they have done," he said. "Those Khmer Rouge leaders should be sentenced to life in jail, not only for my family, but a lot of families of victims."

Preap Phin, 45, said she was forced to watch as her sister was raped by Khmer Rouge soldiers. "I have only a body, but I have no feelings," she said. "If I could take revenge on the Khmer Rouge leaders by my own hand, I would, but I will let the law punish them."

The three leaders have been charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and other atrocity crimes, but the court will not address the sexual violence undertaken by Khmer Rouge soldiers.

Im Sophea, outreach coordinator for the victims unit of the court, said judges must make decisions on who will testify before the court. Around 600 sexual abuse victims have filed complaints as civil parties, he said. Forced marriage will fall under the purview of this case, he added.

Doung Savorn, who is in charge of a gender–based violence program at the Cambodian Defenders Project, said in this case, 002, victims of sexual violence that do not fall under forced marriage will not testify. However, he encouraged such victims to speak out in public, beyond the court.

Next International Criminal Court Prosecutor Pledges To Prosecute Sexual and Gender Crimes
The Associated Press
November 24, 2011

The next chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court pledged Tuesday to strengthen efforts to bring to justice the perpetrators of sexual and gender crimes.

A day after her election by the 119 countries that support the tribunal, Gambian lawyer Fatou Bensouda said too often gender crimes go unreported and unpunished and the victims are trivialized, denigrated, threatened and silenced, which enables the abuses to continue unimpeded.

In its first cases, she said, the ICC has sent the message that this is no longer acceptable and must stop.

The International Criminal Court, which began operating in 2002, is the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal. It is a court of last resort, stepping in only when countries are unwilling or unable to prosecute alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

At the moment, the ICC is dealing with cases from Congo, the Central African Republic, Uganda involving the Lord's Resistance Army, the Darfur conflict in Sudan, the recent Libyan uprising, and post–election violence in Kenya and Ivory Coast.

At present, crimes such as rape, sexual slavery, and forced prostitution and pregnancy are alleged in some cases before the court in all of these situations except Libya, where an investigation of alleged gender–based crimes is still under way.

Bensouda, who will become the first woman and first African to hold the top prosecutorial job when she takes over from Luis Moreno Ocampo in mid–2012, said it was important to give the first speech following her election at Tuesday's launch of a Gender Report Card critiquing the court's work on gender–based crimes at a New York hotel attended by women's rights activists, U.N. officials and diplomats.

"This office, under my tenure, will continue and will make sure that these crimes that they have suffered will be punished —their perpetrators being arrested and prevented from committing additional crimes," she said. "This is a commitment that I make to all of you today."

Bensouda said that throughout her legal career as justice minister in her native Gambia, trial attorney at the tribunal prosecuting key figures from the 1994 Rwanda genocide, and as the ICC's deputy prosecutor since 2004, "I have always placed a big emphasis on addressing and prosecuting sexual and gender crimes."

She paid tribute to women's rights groups working in conflict areas who are often the only support for victims of gender violence and pledged that as chief prosecutor her office will strengthen cooperation with them "to support their efforts and to continue our efforts to reach out to more victims."

The 352–page Gender Report Card prepared by the Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice, an international women's rights group that advocates for gender justice at the ICC and elsewhere, contains many recommendations, including strengthening the court in assisting victims and enabling their participation in court proceedings, and increasing funding to effectively prosecute gender based crimes.

Brigid Inder, executive director of the Women's Initiative, said the ICC statute contains the most far–reaching and forward–looking provisions for prosecuting gender–based crimes, but its prosecution record so far shows there is still work to be done.

"While gender–based crimes are regularly charged by the ICC, they continue to be the most vulnerable category of crimes addressed by the court," Inder said. "A high proportion of these charges are dismissed before the trial phase due to quirky judicial decisions, insufficient evidence or incorrect characterization of the facts regarding sexual violence."

UN Officials Urge Eradication of Sexual Violence in Africa's Great Lakes Region
The UN News Centre
December 15, 2011

Deputy Secretary–General Asha–Rose Migiro today stressed that efforts to restore peace and stability in Africa's Great Lakes region will not come to fruition unless the scourge of sexual violence is completely eradicated and justice systems are strengthened to end impunity.

"Sexual violence not only wreaks havoc in the lives of individual women and girls — it also causes lasting damage to the social fabric and economies of the Great Lakes region," Ms. Migiro told the Fourth Ordinary Summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

"We see it in failed harvests, lost productivity, fractured families, protracted insecurity and reduced political participation," she added, emphasizing the need for access to health, psychosocial and judicial services for survivors of sexual and gender–based violence. They must also be assisted to rebuild their lives, she said.By punishing the perpetrators, we can lift this burden of blame and shame from the backs of innocent victims.

Ms. Migiro urged heads of State and government gathered at the summit to ensure that the ICGLR's Protocol on Prevention and Suppression of Sexual Violence against Women and Children, as well as the Protocol on Judicial Cooperation, are enshrined in national laws.

The Deputy Secretary–General said she was encouraged by the recommendations of ministers in charge of gender in the region, which cover key areas, including prosecuting perpetrators, supporting victims and strengthening national legal and financial capacities.

She pointed out that Secretary–General Ban Ki–moon is leading a UN system–wide effort to end violence against women, including domestic violence, harmful traditional practices and sexual violence as a tactic of war and terror. Those efforts include the UNiTE to End Violence against Women and Girls campaign launched in 2008.

Margot Wallström, the Secretary–General's Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, urged leaders in the region to ensure that all relevant government departments — justice, defence, security, education and interior — and not just ministries in charge of gender and health — are engaged in the fight against sexual and gender–based violence.

"We have seen that rape can be a life sentence for the survivors," said Ms. Wallström. "They are sanctioned socially and economically. Their freedom of movement, health and human dignity is denied.

"By punishing the perpetrators, we can lift this burden of blame and shame from the backs of innocent victims. Formal accountability, recognition and redress can make the difference between rape being a traumatic event, and rape being an event that permanently destroys lives and livelihoods.

"In short — this is everyone's business — from gender experts to generals; from local police to regional and international peacekeepers. We must continually expand the circle of action."

She said the UN stands ready to deploy a newly–constituted team of experts on the rule of law to assist governments affected by conflict to strengthen institutional safeguards against impunity. All national and regional early–warning mechanisms should also be attuned to the risk of impending, ongoing or escalating sexual violence to trigger rapid response, she added.

"To disarm the weapon of rape, we must recognize — once and for all — that it is not a 'private' issue to be silenced. It is a political and security issue that demands a political and security response," said Ms. Wallström.

The ICGLR was set up in the wake of the 2002–2006 war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with the assistance of the African Union, UN and aid donors.

It is intended to facilitate the implementation of the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the region signed in December 2006 by 11 heads of State and government – Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic (CAR), DRC, Kenya, Rwanda, Republic of Congo, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia.

While in Uganda, Ms. Wallström has held meetings with a series of senior Government officials from the region, including Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete.

[back to contents]

REPORTS

United Nations Reports

U.N. Rights Chief Pillay Says Syria Toll Over 5,000
Reuters
By Patrick Worsnip
December 13,2011

The death toll in Syria's nine–month crackdown on an uprising against President Bashar al–Assad has now passed 5,000, United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay told the Security Council on Monday.

The figure represents a sharp increase over the more than 4,000 that she cited just 10 days ago.

"Today I have reported that the figure exceeds 5,000," Pillay told reporters after briefing the council in closed session on what she called the "intolerable situation" in Syria.

The figure included civilians, defecting soldiers and those executed for refusing to shoot civilians, but did not include members of the military and other security forces killed by opposition forces, she told the council.

More than 14,000 people were reportedly in detention, at least 12,400 had sought refuge in neighboring countries and tens of thousands had been internally displaced, she said, also citing "alarming reports" of moves against the city of Homs.

"Independent, credible and corroborated accounts demonstrate that these abuses have taken place as part of a widespread and systematic attack on civilians," Pillay said, according to briefing notes seen by Reuters.

She told the council her information was based on information from more than 230 witnesses, participants said.

Pillay repeated suggestions that the actions of the Syrian government could constitute crimes against humanity and issued a fresh call for the council to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court.

Western envoys on the council, frustrated by Russian and Chinese blocking of action by the 15–nation body on Syria, lined up after the briefing to tell journalists they were shocked by what they had heard.

'HORRIFYING BRIEFING'

"It was the most horrifying briefing that we've had in the Security Council over the last two years," British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said after the session, which was arranged despite opposition from Russia, China and Brazil.

French Ambassador Gerard Araud said, "It is scandalous that the council, because of opposition from some members and the indifference of others ... has not been able to act to exert pressure on the Syrian authorities."

The Western envoys, who also included ambassadors from the United States, Germany and Portugal, gave no indication of how they would seek to revive the issue in the council. Lyall Grant said any action would depend on the outcome of Arab League meetings to be held in coming days.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said he too was troubled by the "tragic developments in Syria" and that "there is more in fact in the council that unites us than divides us," but he gave no sign of a change of approach by Moscow.

He repeated accusations that Western countries had gone into "regime–change mode," adding, "The tragedy is that if things were allowed to degenerate and to go in the direction of further provocation, of fanning further confrontation, then maybe (there would be) hundreds of thousands dead."

Asked what action Moscow might agree to, Churkin said, "There are no proposals."

Western countries say their proposed measures, such as sanctions, have been stymied by veto–holders Russia and China, which have already killed one resolution.

Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari said Pillay should never have been brought before the council and that the session was part of a "huge conspiracy concocted against Syria since the beginning."

He charged that Pillay "is not objective, is not fair, she is not genuine ... in the report she presented." She had "trespassed her mandate, she allowed herself to be misused in misleading the public opinion," he told reporters.

[back to contents]

NGO Reports

Khan Al–Ahmar: Forced Expulsion of Bedouins from Area C
International Solidarity Movement
By Alistair George
December 13, 2011

"From the 1970's until today, the Israelis used to demolish our tents and houses but not to deport us" says Abu Hamis, a member of the Jahalin Bedouin tribe . "We used to rebuild our places but the new policy which they are adopting is that they want to not only demolish the houses, but to deport us from the area."

Abu Hamis lives in the tinyvillageof Khan Al–Ahmar, located in the arid, rocky East Jerusalem periphery where steep mountain slopes plummet to the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea. The Israeli settlement of Ma'ale Adumim, considered illegal under international law, is visible on the hill above the village. The settlement is currently home to around 35,000 people; however,Israel has plans to expand it to create a city of 100,000.

This massive expansion will require the transfer of Arab Bedouin communities living in the area and is part of a wider plan —outlined to the UN by the Israeli authorities —to forcibly transfer all Bedouin communities from Area C, the 62% of land in the West Bank under full Israeli civil and military control. The plan would involve transferring around 27,000 people and it could begin as soon as January 2012.

"This is a huge story" says Eyal Hareuveni, a researcher at Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem. "Evacuating Area C for all the Bedouin communities actually means taking 20% or more of all the Palestinians that live in Area C and transferring them without their consent to another area. Legally, forced eviction is considered a grave violation of human rights, and there are some NGOs that are already calling it a war crime."

A mass forcible eviction, which seems the most likely outcome of the plans of the Israeli authorities, would be a breach of the Geneva Conventions —which is a war crime, for which there is personal criminal liability.

There are also grave environmental concerns with the proposed relocation site for many of the Jahalin Bedouin communities, which is located next to a potentially highly toxic rubbish dump east of Jerusalem.

Furthermore, B'Tselem and the Bedouin communities of Area C claim that the plan to expand Ma'ale Adumim will sever the connection between the southern and the northern part of theWest Bank for Palestinians —effectively ending the possibility of a two–state solution.

The forced transfer of the Jahalin community

The 22 Bedouin families (160 inhabitants) of Khan Al–Ahmar have homes that are mostly shacks made from corrugated iron and wood, with metal fences holding livestock —the primary source of income for the village. The village had 1500 goats for over 10 years, but now they have 150. They have a single camel, when they once had thirty. The inhabitants are no longer allowed to work in the Israeli settlements as they once did. Two electricity lines pass nearby, but the village is not allowed to connect to these networks, so they have to use small diesel–powered generators. Unlike many of the Bedouin communities in the area, who have to import water in highly expensive containers, the village does have some running water.

The village's existence is in stark contrast to Ma'ale Adumim which has swimming pools, libraries, a transport system, health facilities, shopping malls and subsidized water and electricity.

Demolition orders have been issued by the Israeli authorities for all of Khan Al–Ahmar's structures, including the village's school which serves five Bedouin communities in the area with 85 students.

Abu Hamis said that, "The most basic need for any human being is to have an education...after we built the school I invited the council of Ma'ale Adumim to the school in order to create some kind of cooperation between us and they came here and they showed us they are very happy that we have a school now. Three days later we received a demolition order and the excuse was that it's a 'danger for the settlement'."

Nicola Harrison, from UNRWA (United Nations Relief Works Agency), says that the timeline of Israel's Civil Administration's plan is unclear, and they refuse to show the written plans to anyone outside of the Israeli authorities. "What's very clear is that the civil administration has confirmed that they do plan to move the Area C population who do not have a building permit, and they are going to go ahead with identifying different locations throughout Area C," she said. The plan would remove around 2,300 members of the Jahalin tribe in the area.

A previous expulsion of Bedouin communities by the Israeli authorities occurred in the 1990's, after the Oslo Agreement was signed in 1993. However, Harrison said, "The 90's was a compensation package after the forcible relocation, with bulldozers and multiple demolitions. This time they are very much trying to avoid the chaos of that, and they're going to use much smaller drip–by–drip techniques to exhaust everyone into accepting the package so they don't have to come with bulldozers. However, they have confirmed several times that, if the Bedouin refuse this 'nice package,' they will be demolished anyway and moved by force."

According to Harrison, the relocation package is likely to include a plot of land, building permission, leaseholds and a certain amount of money, depending on the size of the family. Abu Hamis says that the plans would not leave them with enough land to graze their livestock and would endanger their traditional way of life. The area has been home to the Jahalin tribe since 1948, when they were forced to leave the Negev following the creation of Israel. There is no doubt that Khan Al–Ahmar badly needs development, but the school and the struggle to gain running water are examples of progress.

Environmental Issues

Israel's Civil Administration have indicated that they will try to re–locate around 100 Bedouin families, comprising around 800 people, to a site next to Jerusalem's primary rubbish dump, near Abu Dis and to the homes built for Jahalin people forcibly transferred by Israel in the 1990's. The Jahalin communities, human rights organizations, and UNRWA are concerned that this site would endanger the health of the community.

According to Eyal Hareuveni, "The dumpsite was supposed to be closed in 2006, then 2007, 2010, 2011 and now it's supposed to be closed down in 2012. 95% of the dumping is from Israel, the only reason they choose to dump here is that it is cheaper than dumping in Israel...This is the legal justification because the Palestinians are 'enjoying it' as well. According to the Israeli Ministry of the Environment, this is the worst dump that Israelis using."

The site contains 7 million tonnes of waste and the Israeli authorities have failed to monitor the gases emitted from the site, so they have no way of knowing whether it is safe. The rubbish–choked valley is completely open for anyone to access; people from the nearby Bedouin community can be seen searching through the mounds of trash for valuable scrap metal.

The Israeli authorities plan to rehabilitate the rubbish site in order to forcibly re–locate Bedouins in Area C and house them there —however, the Jerusalem and Ma'ale Adumim municipalities and the Civil Administration have not yet agreed on a plan to rehabilitate the site.

Hareuveni says that relocating the Bedouins to the site of the rubbish dump is "typical of any plans that the civil administration has all over Area C...the main purpose of the civil administration is to limit the possibility of expansion for any Palestinian community. The plan for the dump site is another example of how they don't care about the livelihoods of the Palestinians."

He claims that the plans to remove Bedouins in other parts of Area C will inevitably produce more environmental problems.

In the Jordan Valley most of the areas were closed down for Palestinians because there were settlements or fire zones or nature reserves or even landmine fields. So there aren't any places were the Bedouin communities can keep their traditional way of life or livelihood in the Jordan Valley and the issue of water is much more crucial there than it is here. Water has been taken by the settlements in theJordanValleyfor many years and there are established [Bedouin] communities in theJordanValleythat are losing their livelihood because of the lack of water or diminishing water resources.

Expansion of Ma'ale Adumim and the end of the two–state solution

"This is the most strategically important expansion of settlements in the West Bank. If this compound will be built, it's most likely that the two state solution won't be viable anymore" says Hureuveni.

The so–called E1 compound is the proposed site for the expansion of Ma'ale Adumim. Around 10 Bedouin communities reside within the compound and will be forced to make way for the planned expansion, including the village of Khan Al–Ahmar.

The E1 compound was annexed to Jerusalem municipality after the Oslo agreement in the beginning of the 1990's. The Israelis plan to build 4000 houses here to expand Ma'ale Adumim; according to Hareuveni, the master plan for the expansion in E1 has already been passed by Israel's Civil Administration. It only needs the approval of the Ministry of Defense.

The only road connecting the south of the West Bank to the north, that Palestinians are permitted to use, passes through the municipality of Ma'ale Adumim—it is also the only road Palestinians are allowed to use which passes through a settlement, as the road does not pass through a built–up part of the settlement.

According to Hareuveni, if the Bedouins are transferred from the area, and the expansion of Ma'ale Adumim is enacted, "it will seal East Jerusalem from the east and East Jerusalem will be disconnected from the West Bank because there will be no territorial contiguity between the north of the West Bank and the south part of the West bank. Any future Palestinian entity will be divided by a northern canton and a southern canton."

It will also facilitate the breaking up of the Ramallah —East Jerusalem –Bethlehem economic link which comprises 35–40% of the Palestinian economy

There are currently no credible plans for an alternative road for Palestinians to use. Israel had begun to build part of a road that could eventually pass near Jerusalem but the project stalled in 2007. Hareuveni adds that there is another alternative, "but this seems like a fantasy —it is called 'Road 80' that is supposed to encircle all of Ma'ale Adumim block and connect them [Palestinians] back to Ramallah —but this is a huge engineering project that will cost billions of dollars, and there is no approval."

Hareuveni says that when articles are published in the press, they usually only cover one part of the story, focusing on either the house demolitions, or the plan to move Bedouin communities to the rubbish site, or the plans to expand the E1 compound —with all issues covered in isolation. However, he insists that "all these [issues] are interrelated. They wouldn't do anything with the Bedouin communities unless there was some wish to expand Ma'ale Adumim to E1, and they wouldn't speak about transferring the Bedouin communities unless there was the option of expanding the Jahalin village near the dump site."

As UNWRA and many human rights organizations claim, the forcible transfer of people under occupation is a grave breach of the Geneva Convention and a war crime with personal criminal liability for those in power. Furthermore, the expansion of Ma'ale Adumim will, in all likelihood, carve up the West Bank into unconnected northern and southern cantons, destroying any possibility of a future two–state solution.

It is under this threat that Abu Hamis of the Bedouin Khan Al–Ahmar village makes an appeal to mobilize forces.

"[We need to] put pressure on the Israelis to stop their plans," said Abu Hamis. "We want to live in freedom, we want to live in dignity in our land here and we want our children to live in the best conditions without any problems or deportation...Next month, there is a real danger that we will be pushed from this area —we need all of you to be beside us."

Panama: Fresh Investigations Urged After Manuel Noriega Extradition
Amnesty International
December 13, 2011

Panamanian authorities must launch new investigations into Manuel Noriega's role in a string of human rights violations dating back to the 1960s, Amnesty International said today after the former military leader was extradited from France.

Upon his arrival in Panama on Sunday night, the 77–year–old former general was taken straight to a Panamanian prison, where he faces multiple jail terms for the killing of political opponents and other charges.

Amnesty International is calling for investigations to reveal the full extent of his involvement in crimes against humanity —including enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions.

"Fresh investigations are needed into Manuel Noriega's role in serious human rights violations both during and before his rule," said Sebastian Elgueta, Researcher on Central America for Amnesty International.

"The courts owe it to the victims to clarify the extent of his involvement in these violations that took place over several decades."

Noriega served as Panama's de facto military leader from 1983 to December 1989, when US troops invaded Panama and deposed him.

Since he was deposed, Panamanian courts have investigated, tried and convicted him in absentia for the killing of political opponents, unlawful detention, and various other abuses. Among these killings are the assassination in 1985 of former Deputy Minister for Health Dr. Hugo Spadafora and the execution of Major Moisés Giroldi Vera, the leader of a failed coup attempt in October 1989.

Other violations include the excessive use of force by security forces against public protests in 1987, deadly electoral violence in May 1989, and the October 1989 "Albrook Massacre", in which 12 others were summarily executed for their part in the coup attempt led by Major Moisés Giroldi Vera.

Amnesty International is calling for fresh investigations into those crimes, as well as into Noriega's alleged role in crimes under international law committed before his military rule.

These include the enforced disappearances of Everett Clayton Kimble and Luis Quiroz Morales in 1968 and 1969, as well as the abduction and extrajudicial execution of Heliodoro Portugal by state agents in 1970.

Amnesty International believes that trials in absentia should be avoided as they are unjust, except when the accused deliberately absents him or herself after the trial has begun.

"Manuel Noriega should be present to hear the full prosecution case and be able to refute facts and present a full defence. With anything less, the reliability of the verdict will always remain in doubt and justice will not be seen to be done," said Sebastian Elgueta.

In 2010, Noriega was extradited from the USA to France where he had been sentenced in absentia in 1999 to seven years in jail. He was convicted of laundering millions of euros through French banks.

Before that, Noriega served 20 years in a US prison after being convicted on charges of drug trafficking, money laundering and racketeering.

Syria: Shoot to Kill Commanders Named
Human Rights Watch
December 15, 2011

Former Syrian soldiers identified by name 74 commanders and officials responsible for attacks on unarmed protesters, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The report names commanders and officials from the Syrian military and intelligence agencies who allegedly ordered, authorized, or condoned widespread killings, torture, and unlawful arrests during the 2011 anti–government protests. Human Rights Watch has urged the Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and impose sanctions against the officials implicated in abuses.

The 88–page report, "'By All Means Necessary!': Individual and Command Responsibility for Crimes against Humanity in Syria," is based on more than 60 interviews with defectors from the Syrian military and intelligence agencies. The defectors provided detailed information about their units' participation in attacks, abuses against Syrian citizens, and the orders they received from commanders and officials at various levels, who are named in the report.

"Defectors gave us names, ranks, and positions of those who gave the orders to shoot and kill, and each and every official named in this report, up to the very highest levels of the Syrian government, should answer for their crimes against the Syrian people," said Anna Neistat, associate director for emergencies at Human Rights Watch, and one of the authors of the report. "The Security Council should ensure accountability by referring Syria to the International Criminal Court."

The defectors' statements leave no doubt that the Syrian security forces committed widespread and systematic abuses, including killings, arbitrary detention, and torture, as part of a state policy targeting the civilian population, Human Rights Watch said. These abuses constitute crimes against humanity.

Killings of Protesters and Bystanders

All of the defectors interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that their commanders gave standing orders to stop the overwhelmingly peaceful protests throughout the country "by all means necessary" during regular briefings to soldiers and armed units and prior to their deployment. The defectors said that they understood the phrase "by all means necessary" as an authorization to use lethal force, especially since they had been given live ammunition instead of other means of crowd control.

About half the defectors Human Rights Watch interviewed said the commanders of their units or other officers also gave them direct orders to open fire at protesters or bystanders, and reassured them that they would not be held accountable. In some cases, officers themselves participated in the killings.

"Amjad," who was deployed to Daraa with the 35th Special Forces Regiment, said that he received direct verbal orders from his commander to open fire at the protestors on April 25:

The commander of our regiment, Brigadier General Ramadan Ramadan, usually stayed behind the lines. But this time he stood in front of the whole brigade. He said, "Use heavy shooting. Nobody will ask you to explain." Normally we are supposed to save bullets, but this time he said, "Use as many bullets as you want." And when somebody asked what we were supposed to shoot at, he said, "At anything in front of you." About 40 protesters were killed that day.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has said that more than 5,000 people have been killed since the start of the protests. Human Rights Watch has documented many of these killings.

Syrian authorities —most recently President Bashar al–Assad, in an interview on December 7 —have repeatedly claimed that armed terrorist gangs, incited and sponsored from abroad, were responsible for the violence in the country since the uprising began in March. Human Rights Watch has documented several incidents in which demonstrators and armed neighborhood groups have resorted to violence, and the number of armed attacks on security forces by military defectors has significantly increased since September. However, the majority of protests that Human Rights Watch has been able to document since the uprising began in March has been largely peaceful. The defectors Human Rights Watch interviewed disputed the government's claim about armed gangs and said that the protesters they observed were not armed and did not present a significant threat to the soldiers.

Arbitrary Arrests, Torture, and Executions

Information provided by the defectors corroborates Human Rights Watch's findings of widespread arbitrary arrests and torture of detainees across Syria. The defectors described large–scale, arbitrary arrests during protests and at checkpoints, as well as "sweep" operations in residential neighborhoods across the country that have resulted in hundreds, and at times, thousands, of arrests.

Defectors told Human Rights Watch that they routinely beat and mistreated detainees and that their commanders ordered, encouraged, or condoned these abuses. Those who had worked in or had access to detention facilities told Human Rights Watch that they witnessed or participated in torture.

"Hani," a member of the Special Operations branch of Air Force Intelligence, described the orders he received:

On April 1, we were conducting arrests in Mo'adamiyeh neighborhood in Damascus. We received our orders from Colonel Suheil Hassan. He told us explicitly to beat people severely on the heads, and not to worry about the consequences. We also used electric cattle prods. He verbally communicated the order to us, before we were dispatched.

We were beating people inside the buses, and then at the detention facility at the base. At the detention facility, we would first put people in the yard, and beat them randomly, without any interrogation. I was involved in escorting prisoners to the yard, and then to the detention facility. That day we arrested about 100 people. We put all of them in a 5–by–5 meter cell.

My unit was also involved in beating people. My heart was boiling inside, but I couldn't show it because I knew what would happen to me.

Three defectors described to Human Rights Watch incidents of summary executions and deaths from torture, involving 19 victims. Lieutenant–Colonel "Ghassan," who served in the Presidential Guard, said that around August 7, he witnessed a summary execution of a detainee at a checkpoint in Douma:

I was stationed at a checkpoint in the Abdul Ra'uf neighborhood in Douma. My shift was supposed to be from 4 p.m. to midnight. I arrived at 3:45 p.m. and immediately heard screams and sounds of beatings from an abandoned building near the checkpoint. I went in, and it turned out that Colonel Mohamed Saker, who had the shift at the checkpoint before me, had arrested someone from the "wanted" list. I wanted to take over right away to stop it, and said it was my shift. But Saker said, "No, be patient, we'll deal with him first."

Seven soldiers were beating the man whom they had arrested. When I came, he was still alive. He was screaming, and the soldiers were swearing and laughing. It lasted for about five minutes longer, and then he died. He stopped moving, and I saw blood coming out of his mouth.

When I took over, I informed Khadur [commander of 106th brigade of the Presidential Guard, Brigadier General Mohamed Khadur] that we had a fatality. He ordered us to leave the checkpoint and the body behind. We went back to headquarters. Somebody must have picked up the body. People saw us coming out of that building.

Local activists have reported more than 197 executions and deaths in detention as of November 15.

Defectors also provided further information about the denial of medical assistance to wounded protesters, the use of ambulances to arrest the injured, and the mistreatment of injured people in hospitals controlled by intelligence agencies and the military, a disturbing pattern that Human Rights Watch and other organizations have documented.

Command Responsibility

Under international law, commanders are responsible for international crimes committed by their subordinates if the commanders knew or should have known about the violations and failed to investigate and stop them.

Human Rights Watch said that given the widespread nature of killings and other crimes committed in Syria, scores of statements from soldiers about their orders to shoot and abuse protesters, and the extensive documentation of these abuses by international and local organizations and the media, it is reasonable to conclude, at minimum, that Syria's senior military and civilian leadership knew about them. The ongoing killings, arrests, repression, and general denials of responsibility by the Syrian government also make clear that officials have failed to take any meaningful action to address these abuses.

Furthermore, Human Rights Watch has collected information indicating that the Syrian military and civilian leadership have been closely involved in the violent crackdown on protesters.

"Try as he may to distance himself from responsibility for his government's relentless brutality, President Assad's claim that he did not actually order the crackdown does not absolve him of criminal responsibility," Neistat said. "As the commander–in–chief of the armed forces, he must have known about the abuses —if not from his subordinates, then from UN reports and the reports Human Rights Watch sent him."

Human Rights Watch also called for the investigation of other high–level officials for their command responsibility for crimes against humanity. These officials include: Imad Dawoud Rajiha, defense minister; Imad Fahed al–Jasem el–Freij, the Army chief of staff; Maj. Gen. Abdul Fatah Kudsiyeh, director of the Military Intelligence Department; Maj. Gen. Jamil Hassan, director of the Air Force Intelligence Directorate; Maj. Gen. Ali Mamlouk, director of the General Intelligence Directorate; and Maj. Gen. Mohamed Dib Zeitoun, director of the Political Security Directorate.

"The Syrian officials who engaged in these crimes must know they'll have to pay for them eventually," Neistat said. "And they must know that they'll end up holding the bag even as President Assad claims he didn't know anything."

Repercussions for Disobeying Orders

The consequences for disobeying orders and challenging government claims about the protests have been severe. Eight defectors told Human Rights Watch that they witnessed officers or intelligence agents killing soldiers who refused to follow orders.

"Habib," a conscript soldier from the 65th Brigade, 3rd Division, told Human Rights Watch that a soldier from his battalion was killed around April 14 for not following orders of Colonel Mohammed Khader, the battalion commander, to shoot at protesters in Douma:

The soldiers were in front. Colonel Khader and the security agents were standing right behind us. Yusuf Musa Krad, a 21–year–old conscript from Daraa, was standing right next to me. At some point the colonel noticed that Yusuf was only shooting in the air. He told First Lieutenant Jihad from the regional branch of Military Intelligence. They were always together. Jihad called a sniper on the roof, pointed at Yusuf, and the sniper then shot Yusuf twice in the head. Security agents took Yusuf's body away. The next day we saw Yusuf's body on TV. They said that he had been killed by terrorists.

Three defectors told Human Rights Watch that the authorities had detained them because they refused to follow orders or challenged government claims; two said that security forces beat and tortured them.

Recommendations

Human Rights Watch called on the United Nations Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the ICC. Because crimes against humanity are considered crimes of universal jurisdiction, all states are responsible for bringing to justice those who have committed them.

Human Rights Watch also specifically called on Russia, one of the few countries that still supports the Syrian government, to end its opposition to strong Security Council action on Syria; to suspend all military sales and assistance to the Syrian government, given the real risk that weapons and technology will be used to commit serious human rights violations; and, in bilateral meetings, to condemn in the strongest terms the Syrian authorities' systematic violations of human rights.

"Over 5,000 Syrians have lost their lives, and countless more have been injured, arrested, and tortured, as Russia has wasted time defending Assad's ruthless slaughter and empty promises of reform," Neistat said. "The Russian government has a duty to protect the Syrian people, not its brutal government killers."

Additional Witness Statements From the Report

"Mansour," a member of Air Force Intelligence in Daraa, said that in April the commander in charge of Air Force Intelligence in Daraa, Colonel Qusay Mihoub, gave his unit orders to "stop the protesters by all possible means," which included the use of lethal force:

Our orders were to make the demonstrators retreat by all possible means, including by shooting at them. It was a broad order that shooting was allowed. When officers were present, they would decide when and whom to shoot. If somebody carried a microphone or a sign, or if demonstrators refused to retreat, we would shoot. We were ordered to fire directly at protesters many times. We had Kalashnikovs and machine guns, and there were snipers on the roofs.

"Osama," who served in the 555th Airborne Regiment, 4th Division, said that Brigadier General Jamal Yunes, the regiment commander, gave the troops verbal orders to shoot at protesters during their deployment to Mo`adamiyeh, a neighborhood of Damascus, in May:

Initially, when the protest started, Brigadier General Jamal Yunes told us not to shoot. But then he received additional orders from Maher [Maher al–Assad, the commander of the 4th Division and President al–Assad's younger brother]. He had some kind of paper that he showed the officers, and then the officers pointed their guns at us, and told us to shoot straight at the protesters. These officers later told me the paper contained orders from Maher to "use all possible means."

"Zahir," deployed to Banyas, Bayda, and Basateen in April and May, described how officers in his unit and accompanying intelligence agencies carried out arrests and looting in the towns they invaded:

In Bayda, we broke the doors and took whatever we wanted. The mukhabarat [intelligence agencies] were arresting people; in one area, they arrested 10 old men to force their children to turn themselves in. The same continued in Banyas, where we went the next days. In Basateen, we looted everything, both my unit and others. We always took money, and then whatever was there: gold, mobiles, electronics, and sometimes even women's clothing. I saw the mukhabarat and some soldiers also touching women inappropriately, pretending to be looking for bombs and explosives.

"Salim," an officer with the 46th Special Forces Regiment who was stationed at the Idlib camp, described the mistreatment of detainees brought to the camp under the watch of the commander who oversaw the operations in Idlib, Imad Fahed Al Jasem:

From July to September, I observed how the mukhabarat brought detainees to the camp [in Idlib], usually 10 to 30 people, around 9 or 10 p.m., after every protest —and they happened almost daily. They lined them up, blindfolded, put them on their knees, and beat them up. They swore at them, and put their feet on people's heads. It was outside, right near my office. They beat them up while waiting for Al Jasem [Imad Fahed Al Jasem, who oversaw the operations in Idlib] to come to inspect the detainees.

When Al Jasem arrived, he would swear at the detainees for participating in the protests. And then they would take them to a nearby prison. The prison was guarded by the soldiers from my unit, so I sometimes went there. They held the detainees there for a night, in a 6–by–7 meter room, without food or water.

"Nizar," who was a guard in the military hospital in Homs from mid–April to mid–September 2011, described the beating and torture of injured protesters detained at the hospital:

The mukhabarat and the army brought the injured and unloaded them in the yard next to the emergency area. Everybody would start beating them, including doctors and nurses. All the detainees were blindfolded.

After the initial beating in the yard, the nurses and guards took the wounded into the emergency room, provided them some basic assistance, and then the mukhabarat took them. They first held them in a detention facility on the premises for a few days; the army police was in charge of it. Then members of the Air Force Intelligence took them away in their cars. That was the case with every single injured person brought to the hospital. I think people were tortured in the detention facility because I regularly heard their screams. People with serious wounds were taken to intensive care and guarded there by army police. Sometimes, soldiers would go in there, and I would hear people screaming; I think they were beating them inside there.

Colonel Dr. Haitham Othman was in charge of the hospital. The chief doctor in the hospital was trying to tell him and the mukhabarat not to torture people because the hospital's job was to treat people and not to torture them, but everybody just ignored him.

We were not supposed to allow any family members in. When relatives asked at the gate, we told them that this was an army hospital and it didn't have any civilians.

[back to contents]

TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSIONS

Canada

Dark secrets of residential schools to become part of national memory
Times Colonist
By Judith Lavoie
December 13, 2011

When Butch Dick hears people saying that First Nations should get on with their lives and forget the 120-year legacy of residential schools, he puts aside his personal haunting memories and thinks of his mother.

"People say 'Get over it. It's all over, all done,' " the Songhees First Nation elder told a Truth and Reconciliation Commission news conference in Victoria.

"Then I think of my mother, who lost all her kids in one day to an RCMP officer and an Indian agent. I can't get over that," he said.

Memories and legacies from the five Vancouver Island residential schools will be at the heart of a regional event to be hosted by the commission in Victoria next April.

The event will be a chance for all Canadians, both aboriginal and non-aboriginal, to learn about the legacy of the residential school system, said Commission chairman Justice Murray Sinclair.

"There's a tremendous opportunity on the Island to bring together people who have experience of the schools and those who know very little about it," he said.

There are probably about 2,500 residential school survivors on Vancouver Island, but with friends, families and members of the public, the message should reach at least 25,000 people, he said.

The regional event, to be held at Victoria Convention Centre April 13 and 14, will follow community hearings in Port Hardy, Campbell River, Port Alberni and Duncan. A national event will be held in Vancouver in 2013.

It is important for non-aboriginal people to hear the stories because while First Nations children were taken from their families and told in school that they were savages and heathens and their culture was irrelevant, children in public school were being taught the same thing, Sinclair said. Stepping stones to mutual respect now have to be built from scratch, he said. "Then we must ask ourselves the question that is most important. Now that we know about this, what do we need to do about it," he said.

The commission has

$60 million funding through the 2007 Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement with a five-year mandate. One aim is to establish a national memory, Sinclair said.

"We don't want it ever to happen that, in four, five or six generations from now, people can say it never happened. We need to make sure there's a record," he said. More than 150,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit children were taken from their families and placed in 130 residential schools across the country between the 1870s and closure of the last school in 1996.

Barney Williams, a member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, who sits on the advisory survivors committee, was sent to residential school when he was five.

Now it is time to come together with conversation, rather than anger, he said.

"It's an opportunity to turn the page on a dark chapter of Canada and start to move forward as people together," Williams said.

Kwakwaka'wakw Chief Bobby Joseph, who spent 11 years in a residential school, said the commission is breaking the secrecy around one of Canada's darkest secrets. "We need a way to live with each other in mutual respect, so I am asking all Canadians of all faiths and all colours to come to this event in Victoria in April," he said.

Kenya

Maasai Urge State to Return Nairobi Ancestral Land
The Nation
By Peter Ng’Etich
December 12, 2011

Community representatives told the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission sitting at Maasai Technical Training Institute in Kajiado on Monday that the land was grabbed and some of them have been rendered squatters since independence.

They said the plan by the government to have Kajiado and Namanga as Nairobi Metropolitan was a ploy to take over their remaining land and render more of them squatters.

Maasai elder John Maitai, who presented a memorandum during the hearings preside over by Commissioner Gertrude Chawatama said historical injustices meted on them included attack by wild animals.

"Land has been grabbed from us (Maasai) and should be returned. This includes Ngong and Embakasi.

Land in Athi River was grabbed after the Maasai leased it to the Kenya Meat Commission for purposes of feeding livestock," he said.

Another elder James Turere said the community lost about 1,912 acres of land in a place called Shireport in Kitengela that borders Nairobi National Park in Kajiado District after the colonial government declared that it lay in Machakos County.

"This land was being used for a government project in conjunction with the International Livestock Research Institute.

"The land was never returned to us. We have been trying to get it back, but it has been difficult," he said.

Mr Turere said the title deeds they had were no longer recognised and urged the government to help them get their land back.

"We have been beaten by the grabbers, our homes burnt...yet this land is rightfully ours," he said.

Children Tell Truth Body How They Were Raped and Burnt
The Standard
By Ally Jamah
December 14, 2011

Emotions ran high in Nairobi as children related harrowing tales of defilement, torture, and violence to Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission.

Thirty-five children selected from across the country told the truth body how they were brutally defiled by police officers who were still walking scot-free.

Among those who gave testimony were children who were in the ill-fated Kiambaa Church at the height of post-election violence.

"I was defiled by a police officer who was supposed to take me to hospital. I was 14-years-old then. My family has attempted many times to bring the officer to justice but our efforts are being frustrated by the police themselves. What an injustice," he said.

Another child revealed how she was defiled by an elderly neighbour in Nyeri and impregnated but police have been dragging their feet in bringing the culprit to book due to his influence.

"I had trouble giving birth. My birth canal was not big enough for a baby to pass through. I had to undergo surgery at great risk to my life. I feel even more pain that the man who defiled me has escaped justice," she said.

The children made their testimonies in camera and their identities concealed.

"When I remember the day the church in Kiambaa was burnt while I was inside, I just shake uncontrollably in fear," said a 14-year-old victim of the blaze that claimed 30 lives.

Members of the public who attended the hearings shed tears as the children related their ordeal in the hands of their tormentors. According to TJRC officials, the thematic hearings for children was to give them a chance to testify before the commission and share their stories.

"This session provides an opportunity for TJRC to zero in on patterns of violence affecting children, to unveil the systematic character of these violations and to understand their linkages to past and present violations, said TJRC acting chair Tecla Namachanja.

She explained that during violent conflict, children suffered the worst human rights violations and were often exposed to rape, torture, female genital mutilation, forced labour and prostitution.

Today, the commission will conduct institutional hearings that will create a space for organisations and institutions working with children, such as child protection agencies and key Government ministries, to share their experiences and expertise on behalf of children.

In addition, the stakeholders will be asked to present recommendations in relation to their experiences.

TJRC has conducted individual hearings in all regions countrywide apart from the Coast Province and listened to the testimony of more than 500 people.

Nepal

UN Rights Body to Leave Nepal
News24
December 12, 2011

The UN said on Monday its rights watchdog is to leave Nepal at the request of the government, sparking fears that war crimes committed during a 10-year insurgency could go unpunished.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) was set up in Nepal six years ago during the brutal conflict, but the period for which it had been granted permission to stay ended last week.

"Any OHCHR country office comes by an invitation of the host country. Nepal decided that the presence of OHCHR-Nepal is no longer needed and decided not to extend the mandate," said Chun Gurung, a spokesperson for the rights body.

Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists said in a joint statement that the OHCHR was needed to drive through human rights commitments made in the peace deal signed in November 2007.

Under the agreement inked by political parties including the former Maoists insurgents, who are now in power, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission is to be set up to investigate war crimes during the insurgency, which ended in 2006.

The rights' groups raised concerns about delays in setting up the commission and said the OHCHR's "expert assistance can help to ensure that Nepal complies with its international human rights obligations".

Some 16 000 people died in the Maoist conflict with government security forces, while tens of thousands were displaced.

The former rebels joined mainstream politics in 2006 and went on to win elections for parliament two years later.

The Maoists had lobbied for the continued presence of the UN body before they formed a government.

"The government should not forget the struggles that brought them to power, and all political leaders should work together to ensure that the promises they made are honoured," said Tejshree Thapa of Human Rights Watch.

Thailand

Panel Urges Reconciliation
The Nation
December 9, 2011

The Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand (TRCT) has strongly recommended a different approach in dealing with criminal acts associated with the turbulent political conflict, which it said could be traced to the infamous share-concealment scandal of Thaksin Shinawatra.

In its second report, the commission, set up by the Abhisit government, has emphasised the need to differentiate politically-driven criminal acts from common suspected crimes. And this principle should not be limited to only the red shirts, whose tumultuous campaign was plagued with allegations of violent activities and met with a drastic government crackdown in May last year, the commission said.

"TRCT sees the prosecution of criminal cases according to the Royal Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situations BE 2548 (2005), the offence of unlawful assembly of ten or more persons under Section 215 of the Criminal Code, and other relevant cases relating to incidents of political violence before and after the 19 September 2006 coup, including cases of lese majeste under Section 112 of Penal Code and Computer Related Crime Act BE 2550 (2007) as all being related to the political conflict," it said.

"TRCT believes that political conflict that has occurred in the past was a significant factor in later violence and violation of criminal law by various parties. The violence and violation of criminal law that occurred cannot be considered as normal social behaviour ... because the violation is fundamentally based upon political perspectives. Hence, even if such illegal behaviour affects and harms individuals and the public and requires that perpetrators be held legally accountable, criminal responsibility and criminal punishment may not conform to the punishment philosophy and may not render justice and contribute to resolving the conflict."

The commission led by Kanit na Nakhon made the following recommendations:

- Accusations and prosecution be clarified to see if they are consistent with the exceptional circumstances and if accusations are unduly harsh.

- Proceed in earnest with the temporary release of detainees.

- Keep in mind accused persons and defendants are not villains or criminals as in regular criminal cases but are accused of committing an offence in order to achieve political goals. If they can't be granted temporary release, the government should arrange for their detention in an appropriate place.

- The principle of criminal justice which uses criminal prosecution measures and punishment is not appropriate for the current situation in our country. It is thus appropriate to study and apply the theories of transitional justice and restorative justice.

- Prosecutors should be requested to co-operate by delaying prosecution of these cases and by not taking them to court until collection of the relevant information is complete - correct and reliable.

- Rehabilitation of all parties affected by violent incidents is an important condition for bringing about reconciliation. An ad-hoc committee should be set up to supervise this process.

- The government, no matter how difficult it is, must be neutral.

- Remuneration should be paid to defendants after a final judgement is made by the court to dismiss the case.

[back to contents]

COMMENTARY AND PERSPECTIVES

Political Interference and Judicial Misconduct Impede Justice in Cambodia
Jurist
By Nisha Valabhji
December 6, 2011

The issue of political interference in the work of the judiciary at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) and its impact on the fundamental right to a fair trial has become a matter of grave concern. The ECCC is a UN-assisted court located in Cambodia and established pursuant to the Agreement between the Cambodian government and the UN [PDF], signed in 2003. Several major NGOs, the executive director of the International Bar Association, and individual commentators have addressed this issue in recent months, calling for measures to be taken.

On October 5, 2011, the Cambodia Daily newspaper reported Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong as saying that only Cambodia can decide how many additional suspects the Khmer Rouge tribunal will prosecute. This statement echoed similar remarks made by other high-level Cambodian government officials, including Prime Minister Hun Sen, which were reported in the local press. The foreign minister's remarks came at a critical time with Cases 003 and 004 before the ECCC.

Such remarks evince a clear and blatant disregard for the concept of the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, as well as a gravely erroneous assumption that the Cambodian government must be able to dictate the outcome of a legal process. Developments in Case 003 have unfortunately only reinforced this view. Commenting on the long-standing and deep-seated problems in the Cambodian judiciary, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia, Surya Subedi, emphasized on October 23, 2011, that "the independence of the judiciary needs to be anchored in fundamental laws on the judiciary, which have been awaiting adoption since 1993."

A principled approach must be taken with regard to the manifold problems at the ECCC and the rule of law must be upheld. If an institution responsible for adjudicating allegations of the most serious crimes - serious violations of international humanitarian law - is subject without doubt to governmental interference, fair trial rights cannot be guaranteed in its proceedings, and any decision in any case which has political implications for the ruling government will likely be subject to political interference.

Where such interference manifests itself in judicial decisions which lack legal basis and appear to be written to force particular outcomes, and which, as in three recent opinions of the ECCC's Pre-Trial Chamber in Case 003, consistently demonstrate a split between the national judges (who constitute a majority in every judicial chamber, in line with the Agreement) and the international judges, dangerous and undesirable legal precedents are set in the still-developing field of international criminal law. In their dissenting opinions in these recent decisions - rendered on October 24, 2011, November 2, 2011, and November 15, 2011, respectively - the international judges meticulously set out what they consider to be numerous irregularities and legal errors in the work of Co-Investigating Judges Siegfried Blunk and You Bunleng in Case 003. Judge Blunk recently resigned from the court.

Tellingly, in another decision rendered on September 9, 2010, concerning a defense appeal related to requests to summon six high-level officials as witnesses in Case 002, the Pre-Trial Chamber split again on national and international lines. The minority international judges held that "no reasonable trier of fact could have failed to consider that the above-mentioned facts and their sequence constitute a reason to believe that one or more members of the [Cambodian Government] may have knowingly and willfully interfered with witnesses who may give evidence before the [Co-Investigating Judges]." The dissenting international judges concluded with an appeal, stating that it was imperative that the Pre-Trial Chamber "do its utmost to ensure that the charged persons are provided with a fair trial." Further, pursuant to the court's internal rules, if a supermajority decision by the second instance chamber (such as the Pre-Trial Chamber) cannot be reached, the decision rendered in the first instance stands, thereby depriving the parties of the right to a decision on appeal.

Such a situation is detrimental to the truth-finding process and to the determination of the precise boundaries of individual criminal responsibility - a complex process in and of itself - and undermines the rights of the accused in Case 002 and the suspects in Cases 003 and 004.

While independent and impartial investigations into political interference and judicial misconduct at the ECCC should be conducted immediately, the UN should also start exploring other solutions for the court without delay. It should, for example, consider revisiting the terms of the Agreement. Or it should consider the withdrawal of cooperation and ceasing to provide assistance to the court pursuant to the provisions of Article 28 of the Agreement.

This issue also has important implications for the work of other courts in the international criminal justice system and is therefore not isolated to the future of the ECCC. It must be resolved in full accordance with the rule of law and principles set out in the UN Charter, rather than with an adherence to the current framework whose negative legacy is only too painfully obvious to see.

A Response to Christian De Vos by Gideon Boas
Opinio Juris
By Gideon Boas
December 7, 2011

This article [Christain De Vos’s article ‘Someone Comes Between One Person and Another’ in The Melbourne Journal of International Journal] deals carefully with the Lubanga proceedings before the ICC, and in particular the difficulty caused by the Prosecution collecting information through the extensive use of confidentiality agreements under Article 54(3)(e) of the Rome Statute. One of the great difficulties confronting prosecutors in international war crimes trials is the collection of reliable evidence with which to build their cases and to secure conviction. Such investigations invariably occur in foreign countries, with limited cooperation and potential witnesses who may be either in genuine fear or who may themselves be compromised by their own role in events.

The ICC prosecutors are not alone in managing these difficult issues. At the first of the modern international criminal tribunals, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the obtaining of information on condition of confidentiality so as to generate new evidence that might assist in particular prosecutions caused considerable difficulties. In particular, the use of ‘Rule 70’ material to which often attached national security implications for State providers had the constant potential to conflict with the obligation of the prosecution to disclose all potentially exculpatory material to an accused. While the problem was often avoided, it required prosecutors there to be very careful about the terms upon which they agree to accept information under strict terms of confidentiality. Indeed, some prosecutors steadfastly - and quite rightly - would refuse certain information proffered for just such reasons. It is troubling that the prosecutors in the Lubanga case were unable to secure agreement from information providers even to allow the Chamber to conduct an ex parte review of the material until a stay of proceedings had been ordered. This process raises questions about investigation approaches and the ethics of prosecuting war crimes in such difficult circumstances.

The other - and possibly more troubling - aspect dealt with in this article relates to the use of so-called ‘intermediaries’. The clear problems associated with the reliability of evidence obtained by the prosecutors through intermediaries, and a refusal to comply with orders of the Trial Chamber, led to a stay of proceedings.

I have long been troubled by the use of information collected by persons other than the Office of the Prosecutor in these trials. Obvious questions about partiality and reliability arise, even in the best of circumstances. In the Milosevic proceedings, for example, a considerable body of information had been collected by NGOs in relation to the Kosovo indictment. In particular, Human Rights Watch had an operation on the ground collecting confidential witness statements, among other things, that were transferred to the Office of the Prosecutor to assist in its investigation. I became deeply troubled by the prosecutors’ endeavour to have admitted into evidence these statements and even to have the content of that evidence summarised and presented to the Court as quite remote hearsay evidence about very serious crimes. The relaxed rules of evidence in international criminal courts and tribunals makes more critical sound investigation and evidence collection practices.

The regrettable course of the Lubanga trial highlights the problems associated with prosecuting war crimes trials in international courts and, specifically, investigation and trial preparation practices employed by prosecutors in these difficult conditions. This article highlights well these tensions and makes important recommendations for future proceedings.

Epilogue to Hotel Rwanda
American Society of International Law Insights
By Gregory Townsend
December 7, 2011

The 2005 Academy Award-nominated filmHotel Rwanda laid bare the horrors of the Rwandan genocide to audiences and viewers around the world. The film depicted two particular genocidal archvillains opposite Don Cheadle’s portrayal of the protagonist, hotelier Paul Rusesabagina. The film’s closing credits refer to the cases of these two "genocidaires." The first case was that of George Rutaganda, who was convicted in 1999. The second case was that of Major-General Augustin Bizimungu, which remained unresolved when the film was released.

Earlier this year, however, a Trial Chamber of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda ("ICTR") convicted Bizimungu and sentenced him to thirty years in prison. Those who saw the film may recall scenes in which Bizimungu’s character is depicted as a single-malt drinking officer who - for money or self-serving purposes - kept at bay the Interahamwe militia that sought to kill the more than 1,200 displaced civilians sheltered at the Hôtel des Mille Collines.

This Insight examines the ICTR’s judgment against Bizimungu and several related cases.

Ten days after the start of the Rwandan genocide in April 1994, Bizimungu was promoted to Chief of Staff of the Rwandan Armed Forces. After the genocide, Bizimungu fled, but was arrested in 2002 in Angola and transferred to the seat of the Tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania. The trial of Bizimungu, along with three other Rwandan military co-defendants, before a three-judge panel of UN-appointed judges, spanned five years and ended in June 2009. As this trial followed an earlier trial against different senior military officers, it was dubbed the "Military 2" case. The Trial Chamber heard seventy-two prosecution witnesses, the last of whom was UN peacekeeper General Roméo Dallaire (on whom the character portrayed by Nic Nolte was based) and 136 defense witnesses. The judges conducted a site visit to Rwanda in 2009, but did not visit the Hôtel des Mille Collines as the trial did not focus on events there.

On May 17, 2011, after two years of deliberations, the Trial Chamber found Bizimungu guilty of committing genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. Relying on testimony of rape victims and other survivors, the Trial Chamber found that "soldiers under the command of Bizimungu" carried out "systematic killings" and rapes that sought to destroy Rwanda’s Tutsi ethnic group

Two of Bizimungu’s co-defendants, François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye and Innocent Sagahutu - both in custody since 2000 - received twenty-year sentences. The Trial Chamber found that they ordered the killing of Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and that they were criminally responsible as superiors for the killing of ten Belgian peacekeeping soldiers participating in the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda ("UNAMIR").

The remaining co-defendant, Augustin Ndindiliyimana, the chief of the Rwandan Gendarmerie who was arrested in January 2000 - more than eleven years before judgment day - was sentenced to time served. As part of the mitigating evidence in his favor, the Trial Chamber noted that a witness testified "that a platoon of gendarmes was sent to the Hotel des Milles Collines to assist the UNAMIR unit there."

Those who saw Hotel Rwanda also may recall the other villain depicted, Georges Rutaganda. In one of the first scenes, a wooden crate bursts at the beer-distributing warehouse belonging to Rutaganda’s character and hundreds of machetes spill out. In April 1994 in Rwanda, Rutaganda also served as vice president of the Interahamwe, the youth wing and militia of the ruling political party.

In 1999, a Trial Chamber of the Tribunal convicted Rutaganda of genocide, finding that he ordered the butchering of civilians, and sentenced him to life in prison. On appeal in 2003, a five-judge Appeals Chamber affirmed Rutaganda’s life sentence, and, by a majority, overturned two acquittals on lesser counts, thereby entering convictions against Rutaganda for war crimes for several murders connected to the armed conflict. Convicting Rutaganda - a civilian - for war crimes against civilian victims in a civil war context represented a major legal landmark in international humanitarian law. It constituted the first international conviction for violations of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, applicable in civil wars. This holding remains pertinent today because it shows that the international community can rightfully prosecute war crimes, including those committed by civilians, occurring in a civil war in any country. In June 2009, the Tribunal transferred Rutaganda to a prison in Benin to serve his life sentence, and he died there in October 2010.

About five weeks after convicting Bizimungu for, inter alia, the rapes committed by his subordinates, another Trial Chamber handed down a judgment with several similar findings in a six-defendant case - the so-called "Butare" case - that included Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, Rwanda’s former Minister of Family and Women’s Development (and the Tribunal’s only female defendant). The Trial Chamber in Butaresimilarly found that she "ordered Interahamwe to rape Tutsis . . . and bears responsibility as a superior for their rapes." The Trial Chamber, in its written judgment spanning more than 1,500 pages, also found that her son, co-defendant Arsène Shalom Ntahobali, personally "raped Tutsi women . . ., ordered Interahamwe to rape Tutsis, and aided and abetted the rapes of a Tutsi."

Though often acting in concert with her son and other perpetrators, on the charge of conspiracy to commit genocide, the Trial Chamber inButare convicted only Nyiramasuhuko, as it found that she, as a Minister,

entered into an agreement with members of the Interim Government on or after 9 April 1994 to kill Tutsis within Butare préfecture with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, the Tutsi ethnic group. As a member of the Interim Government, Nyiramasuhuko participated in many of the Cabinet meetings at which the massacre of Tutsis was discussed, and took part in the decisions which triggered the onslaught of massacres in Butare préfecture.

The Trial Chamber gave Nyiramasuhuko and Ntahobali life sentences, and convicted the other co-defendants, namely two governors and two mayors. Though it was Nyiramasuhuko’s duty to promote the rights of women, she will be recorded in history as the first woman ever convicted by an international court of genocide and for ordering rape as a crime against humanity.

Bizimungu and Nyiramasuhuko (and their co-defendants still in custody) are likely to appeal their convictions; they will remain in the Tribunal’s detention facility until their appeals are decided. If the Appeals Chamber affirms their convictions, they will serve out the remainder of their sentences in one of the eight countries that have agreed to imprison Tribunal convicts.

For many observers, the Tribunal’s recent convictions of Bizimungu and Nyiramasuhuko serve as a just finale for these real-life genocidal characters and a fitting epilogue to Hotel Rwanda’s message of ending impunity for perpetrators of international crimes.

Rwanda: 2012 Will Be Critical for Justice, Genocide Fugitive Trackers Say
All Africa
December 12, 2011

2011 may go down as the turning point in ensuring that genocide fugitives don't continue to evade justice.

The year saw ground-breaking decisions that paved the way for the extradition of suspects to Rwanda to stand trial for crimes committed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The rulings were rendered by different jurisdictions including courts in European countries, where some of fugitives have, for long, benefited from domestic legal inadequacies and unwillingness to extradite them, to remain at large.

"Following such decisions by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) as well and the Supreme Court of Norway, the national prosecution authority believes there is enough jurisprudence to guide Europe on how to handle Rwandan Genocide fugitives," said John Bosco Siboyintore, the head of the Genocide Fugitives Tacking Unit (GFTU).

The GFTU is a subsidiary of the National Public Prosecutions Authority set up to track, indict and seek extradition of persons responsible for 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, who remain on the run.

The decision by the ECHR, which gave the green light to the extradition to Rwanda of Sylvere Ahorugeze, who was arrested and subsequently referred for trial in Rwanda, was appealed in the court's Grand Chamber.

Legal minds predict that chances are very high that the Grand Chamber will uphold the lower court's ruling, citing a similar decision by other jurisdictions, notably the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), have set precedence.

"We are closely monitoring cases of three people; the decision by the Grand Chamber, the decision on Charles Bandora and the final decision at ICTR before we could make the next move; definitely 2012 is going to be a busy year," Siboyintore said.

The ICTR case, in which Jean Uwinkindi, a suspect in the custody of the Tanzania-based UN tribunal, was referred to Rwanda by the Referral Chamber, awaits a final decision by the Appeals Chamber.

Bandora, a former core member of the MRND party that orchestrated the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, is accused of supervising killings in the Bugesera region, where he was a renowned businessman.

"We have cases in France, Switzerland, United Kingdom that, in the past, rejected extradition requests in circumstances and grounds that have substantively changed," reads a statement from NPPA spokesperson, Alain Mukurarinda.

Requests that were notably denied in the United Kingdom include those that concerned four Rwandans, three of them former commune (district) mayors and a medical doctor, who were released on grounds they could not be tried in the European country.

"Those requests will be revived," Mukurarinda stated.

Different incentives have been put in place to facilitate the transfer of genocide fugitives, including establishment of a special law governing how these suspects will be extradited, either from national jurisdictions, or from the ICTR.

Extradition law

Meanwhile, MP Francois Byabarumwanzi, believes that the extradition law, that is before Parliament, will also play a key role in guiding the extradition process.

Byabarumwanzi, who is the chairperson of the parliamentary standing committee on Human Rights and the Fight against the Genocide, which is scrutinising the bill, noted: "Extraditions have previously taken place but we had to use special treaties with the concerned countries."

The law defines terms and conditions under which extradition to or from Rwanda can be carried out.

"It is absurd that some countries have done little to ensure that these people are brought to book. Genocide suspects should either be tried in the host country or extradited; there should not be any compromise," he said.

According to the lawmaker, while African countries should play an exemplary role in ensuring that Genocide fugitives are prosecuted, most of them have chosen to do little or nothing to bring them to book.

Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama said that the legal instrument will help remove any ambiguities in the extradition process, not only with regard to Genocide fugitives, but also other offenders.

"Yes, we have had extraditions even before this (draft) law, but we have been doing so based on laws of other countries. Once passed, this law will outline the basic principles that underpin extradition," the minister said.

This year alone saw six arrests in Europe, with at least 43 rogatory commissions coming to Rwanda to investigate fugitives on their soils. However, no such missions were undertaken by any African country, even though Rwanda has sent out dozens of arrest warrants to several African states.

However, Siboyintore still sounded optimistic that African states, too, 'will do the needful', insisting it was just a matter of time.

"In August, this year, Rwanda hosted a meeting of African prosecutors, and we used the forum to call for their support in arresting the (Genocide) fugitives," he said.

He said the delegates' response was encouraging; adding that the Genocide fugitive tracking unit expected concrete action from African states, come 2012.

Statistics from GFTU indicate that over 1,000 suspects remain at large in various countries. Arrest warrants have been issued for at least 100 of them, all of which have been channelled through Interpol, the prosecution says.

Cambodia: Paying Justice No Mind
Radio Netherlands Worldwide
December 13, 2011

Cambodia's UN-backed war crimes tribunal on Tuesday ruled against freeing the Khmer Rouge's ailing former "First Lady" on health grounds and said she would undergo medical treatment instead.

The court's highest appeal body overturned a decision last month to unconditionally release Ieng Thirith, 79, after experts said she was unfit for trial because she has dementia and most likely Alzheimer's disease.

"The supreme court chamber concluded that the original ground for keeping the accused in provisional detention, namely to ensure her presence during the proceedings, remains valid and relevant," judges said in a statement.

They added that the former social affairs minister would be transferred to a hospital or similar facility for medical treatment "which may help improve her mental health to such an extent that she becomes fit to stand trial".

Her case will then be reviewed "no later than six months" after the start of her treatment, they said.

Court spokesman Lars Olsen said it was unclear how soon Ieng Thirith would be moved from the detention facility where she has been held since 2007 with three other former regime leaders.

"I can't say how long it will take but obviously it's a pressing matter," Olsen told AFP.

Ieng Thirith’s lawyers had called for her release, but prosecutors had argued that the tribunal should keep her under observation for six months to see whether her condition improves.

Judges admitted, however, that the chance of Ieng Thirith recovering enough to answer to charges of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity was "slight" as medical experts have said her condition was unlikely to improve.

The 79-year-old is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes along with three other defendants. Tribunal observers consider it highly unlikely that Ieng Thirith will ever face trial.

But freeing Ieng Thirith -- who was Pol Pot's sister-in-law -- would have dismayed many Khmer Rouge survivors still haunted by the horrors of the 1975-1979 regime, blamed for the deaths of up to two million people.

Led by "Brother Number One" Pol Pot, who died in 1998, the Khmer Rouge wiped out nearly a quarter of the Cambodian population, through starvation, overwork and execution in a bid to create an agrarian utopia.

Last month's ruling on Ieng Thirith's health came just days before the start of her long-awaited trial alongside her husband and former foreign minister Ieng Sary, "Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea and ex-head of state Khieu Samphan.

The ICC’s Disappointing Track Record
Spiegel Online International
By Kai Ambos
December 14, 2011

No one can accuse the International Criminal Court (ICC), which was founded in 1998 and started operating in the summer of 2003, of not having noble goals. The preamble of the Rome Statute, the Court's founding document, states that "the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole must not go unpunished" and that "such grave crimes threaten the peace, security and well-being of the world."

Just how difficult it is to accomplish this mission has become evident in the past eight years. So far, the ICC has not passed a single judgment. Its first case, involving Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, a warlord from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who is on trial for war crimes related to child soldiers, is still dragging on. A judgment is expected at any moment, but it has already been postponed several times. Even when it comes, an appeal will still be possible.

The number of cases pending before the ICC has grown fast. Today, the court is investigating Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, as well as Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, the son of Libya's former dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Most recently, the government of Ivory Coast extradited Laurent Gbagbo, the country's former president, to face charges of crimes against humanity.

To succeed, the ICC's has to rely on the international community. Whether its arrest warrants are obeyed or not depends on the territorial state concerned and other third countries. Gbagbo was handed over to the ICC, but al-Bashir was not. Instead, he has even traveled abroad, including to countries that are members of the ICC but which failed to arrest him. Just this week, the ICC delivered its first non-cooperation decisions against Malawi and Chad, which received al-Bashir without taking further action. Thus, it is only fair to say that the ICC's track record has been mixed at best. In addition, the fact that only Africans have been put on trial so far makes the court vulnerable to accusations of being an "African Criminal Court."

To date, the ICC's most visible, and probably most important, organ is the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP). Argentina's Luis Moreno-Ocampo has been heading the OTP since June 2003. His deputy, Fatou Bensouda, a Gambian lawyer, will succeed him in June 2012. The ICC's 120 member states elected her as their consensus candidate on Dec. 12. Observers consider her a good choice, not only because she is a woman from Africa, but just as much because she is likely to have learned from her predecessor's failures.

Indeed, legal experts do not assess Moreno-Ocampo's performance favorably. David Kaye, a specialist in international law, recently wrote a damning verdict in the journal Foreign Affairs. His telling headline was: "Who's afraid of the International Criminal Court?" His essay summed up what is wrong with Moreno Ocampo, including a "management and decision-making style that has alienated subordinates and court officials alike," "petty battles over turf and resources," "erratic decision-making," "brash behavior" and "charges of politicization." Moreno Ocampo's recurring judicial setbacks have cast doubt on his office, Kaye wrote.

In the international criminal law community, many share Kaye's views. English-language media and websites have even demanded Moreno-Ocampo's resignation. Some feel that he only managed to stay in office for so long thanks to his diplomatic skills.

The sad truth is that he is a prosecutor who prefers holding press conferences to reading files. He enjoys making grand statements about being "the world's most powerful prosecutor," but does not spend much time diligently assessing intricate legal matters. One particularly embarrassing scene in the documentary "Prosecutor," which tries to paints a flattering portrait of Moreno-Ocampo, shows him stepping out of a helicopter on to a muddy village square in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, dressed in a spotless white suit. It gives the impression that he had come to this godforsaken place to lecture the people about the importance of international criminal justice.

Moreno-Ocampo is also a prosecutor who is slow in taking decisions, at least, it seems, if his decisions could annoy the major world powers, especially the permanent members of the Security Council. The Palestinian declaration regarding alleged war crimes committed by Israel during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip at the end of 2008 is a case in point. The Palestinian National Authority lodged this declaration on Jan. 22, 2009 but no decision has yet been taken by the prosecutor.

In sharp contrast, when the Security Council, with an unanimous vote of all its 15 members, decided to refer the Libyan situation to the ICC on Feb. 26, 2011, the prosecutor announced only four days later, on March 2, that he believed there was sufficient evidence to begin a full-scale investigation. Is it surprising then, if some people see the prosecutor -- rightly or not -- as a puppet of the global powers?

In sum, it is not to be unfair to Moreno-Ocampo, the first chief prosecutor of the first permanent global criminal court, if one concludes that he will go down in history as a man of grand words and large ego rather than as a professional and successful prosecutor. His failures should have taught his successor Bensouda a few lessons. Let's hope she'll do better.

Gaddafi’s Daughter Demands ICC Probe into Father’s Death
The Times of India
December 15, 2011

The daughter of slain Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi has asked the International Criminal Court if it will probe the killing of her father and her brother.

Aisha Gaddafi's lawyer Nick Kaufman said yesterday he had written to ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo asking for more information on the October 20 killing of Muammar Gaddafi and his son Muatassim Gaddafi.

"Aisha wants to know if he is investigating the murders and if not, why he is not," Kaufman told AFP.

The former dictator and his son were killed after their capture by forces loyal to the National Transitional Council.

In a letter to the prosecutor, Kaufman wrote that Muammar and Muatassim Gaddafi were captured alive at a time when they threatened no one.

They were both killed soon after and their bodies put on display.

"As you are aware, your analysis of the situation in Libya requires you to investigate the commission of alleged crimes by all parties to the conflict," Kaufman said.

The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Muammar Gaddafi on June 27 for crimes against humanity carried out as he tried to suppress the Libyan revolt.

Another son, Seif al-Islam, and former information minister Abdallah Al-Senoussi are subject to similar warrants. Seif al-Islam Gaddafi was arrested November 19 and there are unconfirmed reports Al-Senoussi was also captured.

ICC spokeswoman Florence Olara could not confirm if the prosecutor had received the letter.

The ICC has jurisdiction in Libya matters under a UN Security Council resolution from February 26.

Aisha, her brothers Mohamed and Hannibal, her mother Safiya and other family members were allowed to flee to Algeria for humanitarian reasons, according to Algiers.

[back to contents]

WORTH READING

Status of Government Forces in Non-International Armed Conflict
International Law Studies
By Sean Watts
December 13, 2011

Abstract: Legal voids exist and operate nowhere more clearly and widely in international law than in the laws of war applicable to non-international armed conflicts (NIAC). Status of government actors in NIAC provides an intriguing and specific example of just such a void. Where the protections and obligations of the law of armed conflict are premised almost entirely on the status of affected persons, the law of NIAC spurns such classifications, as well as the taxonomy of status-based protection generally. Yet modern forms of conflict and State practices may soon place pressure on the NIAC status void. Increasing media attention, growing international oversight, and progressively heightening sensitivity to the suffering produced by NIAC conspire to match the legal protective regime of NIAC with that of international armed conflict, including perhaps the latter's use of status. This Article offers explanations of the likely influences behind the NIAC status void and offers logical, structural, and operational arguments in its defense. The Article concludes by addressing a series of considerations related to generalizations about international legal voids as an opportunity to reflect more deliberately on an appropriate interpretive approach to the law of NIAC.

Criminalized State: The International Criminal Court, the Responsibility to Protect, and Darfur, Republic of Sudan
Ohio Northern University Law Review
By Matthew H. Charity
December 13, 2011

Abstract: The international community continues to struggle with the question of what to do when a nation fails to protect its own people from systemic neglect, mistreatment, or even genocide. For many years, this debate pitted proponents of humanitarian intervention by a third-party against those who believe that all others must defer to the sovereign right of the state to control its own affairs and the affairs of its people. In the midst of this debate, the international community has adopted a middle road: insisting that states must acknowledge their responsibility to protect their populations and if the state manifestly fails to protect its population, empowering the United Nations Security Council to act for the United Nations and intervene.

This "Responsibility to Protect," recognized and adopted in the U.N. 2005 World Summit Outcome and reaffirmed by the Security Council in 2006, faces its most serious test when the Security Council has recognized that a state has failed to protect its population from crimes against humanity but has also resisted Security Council steps of intervention. Where the authorities have thus failed, individual government agents have opened themselves to criminal liability for a failure to protect over and above any direct liability for involvement in crimes against humanity. This Article argues that this additional liability creates a necessary incentive for cooperation with the international community to prevent further harms and has the potential to positively change the discourse on intervention, sovereignty, and protection of persons.

[back to contents]

War Crimes Prosecution Watch Staff

Advisors
Professor Michael P. Scharf

and Brianne M. Draffin

Editor in Chief
John K. Sawyer

Managing Editors
Emily Werner
Rachel Wolbers

Senior Technical Editors
Boris Block
Cameron MacLeod

Associate Technical Editors
Randall Bray
Steven Paille
Greg Scholand
Payne Tatich

Emerging Issues Advisor
Judge Rosemelle Mutoka

Contact: warcrimeswatch@pilpg.org

International Criminal Court

Central African Republic &Uganda
Casey Fitzpatrick, Senior Editor
Danielle Fritz, Associate Editor

Darfur, Sudan
Adam Centner, Senior Editor
Erin Davis, Associate Editor

Democratic Republic of the Congo
Kimberly Brown, Senior Editor
Kapree Harrell-Washington, Associate Editor

Kenya
Karelia Rajagopal, Senior Editor
Catrina Otonoga, Associate Editor

Libya
Kimberly Brown, Senior Editor
Sana Ahmed, Associate Editor

Africa

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
Meri Nagapetyan, Senior Editor
Amy Wojnarwsky, Associate Editor

Special Court for Sierra Leone
Ben Zimmerman, Senior Editor

Europe

European Court of Human Rights
Sarah Corradi, Senior Editor
Jeffrey Bieszczak, Associate Editor

Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, War Crimes Section
Michaela Rossettie, Senior Editor
Dong Hyun Kwak, Associate Editor

International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
Rebecca Stanger, Senior Editor
Sarah Cotterell, Associate Editor

Domestic Prosecutions in the Former Yugoslavia
Ashtyn Saltz, Senior Editor
Paul Salamon, Associate Editor

Middle East and Asia

Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia
Benjamin Galea, Senior Editor
Sarah Nasta, Associate Editor

Special Tribunal for Lebanon
Helena Traner, Senior Editor
Hyder Syed, Associate Editor

Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal
Melinda Robinson, Senior Editor
Ruchi Asher, Associate Editor

War Crimes Investigations in Burma
Kyle Johnson, Senior Editor
Neal Robin, Associate Editor

North and South America

United States
Phillipe Benard, Senior Editor
Noah Fowle, Associate Editor

Inter-American Court of Human Rights
Melinda Robinson, Senior Editor
Rebecka Hawkins, Associate Editor

Topics

Terrorism
Jon-Paul McConnell, Senior Editor
Christopher Cassaniti, Associate Editor

Piracy
Mark Silvaggio, Senior Editor
Jeffrey Garrette, Associate Editor

Universal Jurisdiction
Max Stahlberg, Senior Editor
Nicholas Weiss, Associate Editor

Gender-Based Violence
Theresa Chung, Senior Editor
Scott Friedman, Associate Editor

Reports

UN Reports
Theresa Chung, Senior Editor
Katlyn Kraus, Associate Editor

NGO Reports
Sara Corradi, Senior Editor
Jessica Rubin, Associate Editor

Truth and Reconciliation Commissions

Candice Sengillo, Senior Editor
Vijyalakshmi Patel, Associate Editor

Commentary and Perspectives

Keith Edmund White, Senior Editor
Russell Caskey, Associate Editor

Worth Reading

Jessica Feil, Senior Editor
Effy Folberg, Senior Editor

War Crimes Prosecution Watch is prepared by the
International Justice Practice of the Public International Law & Policy Group
and the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center of
Case Western Reserve University School of Law
and is made possible by grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York
and the Open Society Institute.

Grotian Moment: The International War Crimes Trial Blog:
http://law.case.edu/grotian-moment-blog/

Frederick K. Cox International Law Center:
http://law.case.edu/centers/cox/

Cox Center War Crimes Research Portal:
http://law.case.edu/war-crimes-research-portal/

Public International Law & Policy Group -  http://www.pilpg.org/

To subscribe or unsubscribe from this newsletter, please email warcrimeswatch@pilpg.org.