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FREDERICK K. COX
INTERNATIONAL LAW CENTER

War Crimes Prosecution Watch

Volume 6 - Issue 24
February 27, 2012

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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 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

Universal Jurisdiction

Gender-Based Violence

REPORTS

UN Reports

NGO Reports

TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSIONS

Canada

Kenya

Nepal

Sri Lanka

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

Testimony of Last Prosecution Witness Pushed to Next Week
BembaTrial.org
By Wakabi Wairagala
February 22, 2012

The testimony of the last prosecution witness in the Jean-Pierre Bemba trial will be heard from next Wednesday, not today, as had earlier been scheduled. Going by the pseudonym 'Witness 36,' this witness will testify via video link from Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Court officials said "the witness was not available to start the testimony at the dates previously set, thus [the trial] was postponed." They did not elaborate.

Earlier this month trial judges granted a request by prosecutors to hear the evidence of this witness through the use of video link. Prosecutors stated that testimony via video link "would prevent the inevitable pain and suffering [the witness] would endure by traveling to The Hague." They said the witness sustained injuries last July that had affected his medical condition but gave no further details.

This witness, like the three who have testified this year, is a former insider in the Movement for the Liberation of Congo, the group led by the accused. Prosecutors have described him as "an important percipient witness" whose unavailability would deny the prosecution its right to a fair opportunity to present its case and would also deprive the chamber of evidence essential for determining the truth.

Mr. Bemba's trial opened in November 2010, although he had been in International Criminal Court detention since July 2008. He is charged with failure to rein in his soldiers who reportedly killed, raped, and looted during their deployment in the Central African Republic.

A status conference is scheduled for next Tuesday, with the evidence of 'Witness 36' expected to commence on Wednesday.

Uganda: Kwoyelo Asks Court to Summon DPP Over Refusal to Grant Him Certificate
All Africa
By Anthony Wesaka
February 22, 2012

Former Lord's Resistance Army rebel Thomas Kwoyelo has asked court to summon the Director of Public Prosecutions to show why he should not be arrested and committed to Luzira Prison for refusing to grant him an amnesty certificate despite a court order directing them to do so.

Besides Mr Richard Buteera, Mr Kwoyelo also wants the chairman Amnesty Commission, Mr Peter Onega, to appear before court to show the same cause.

Through his lawyers, Mr Kwoyelo filed the application before the High Court in Kampala yesterday.

By press time, the registrar of the court had not fixed a date in which the DPP and Mr Onega were to appear.

Mr Kwoyelo was battling more than 53 charges of murder, willful killing, kidnap with intent to kill, aggravated robbery, and destruction of property resulting from the war in northern Uganda.

Yesterday's application arises from the January 25 ruling by High Court judge Vincent Zehurikize, who ordered Mr Buteera and Mr Onega to grant Mr Kwoyelo his amnesty certificate, saying he qualified for one.

Earlier ruling

Prior to the ruling, Mr Kwoyelo through his lawyers had asked the court to compel the DPP and the Amnesty Commission to grant him the amnesty certificate following an earlier Constitutional Court ruling that ordered so on September 22 last year.

The ruling also required that the International Crimes Division of the High Court that was sitting in Gulu ceases to try Mr Kwoyelo immediately.

According to Mr Kwoyelo's lawyers, Mr Buteera and Mr Onega had not complied with the court orders.

In a related application filed before the same court, the Attorney General (AG) has asked the court to stay Judge Zehurikize's ruling, stating that they have appealed against it.

Mr Lino Anguzu, a senior state attorney, in his affidavit to support the stay of the execution of judge Zehurikize's orders says: "It would render the appeal useless if Kwoyleo is released before it's heard and determined...."

Mr Anguzu says in his affidavit that if Kwoyelo is released, he would rejoin the LRA.

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Darfur, Sudan

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

Understanding the Prosecutor's Application for Warrant of Arrest for Sudanese Minister of Defense Hussein
International Justice Project
By Rachel Doane
February 16, 2012

On December 2, 2011, Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo submitted an official request to Pre-Trial Chamber I ("PTC I") for a warrant of arrest for Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein ("Hussein") for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur, The Sudan from August 2003 to March 2004.

Who is Hussein?

Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein is the Minister of Defense for the Republic of the Sudan. At the time of the alleged crimes, Hussein served as the Minister of the Interior, as well as being the Darfur Special Representative of President Bashir. In his position, Hussein headed State and Local Committees, the Sudanese Armed Forces, and intelligence agencies, along with the Militia/Janjaweed. He was also in charge of internal security issues as a prominent member of the National Security Council ("NSC'), which gave him control of the police, the Popular Police Force ("PPF"), civil defense, drug control, and prisons and traffic police. Through the Committees, he allegedly assisted in the "recruiting, mobilizing, funding, arming, training, inciting, and deployment of the Militia/Janjaweed" and made use of the Militia/Janjaweed despite having knowledge of their reputation for brutality. Hussein also may have played a pivotal role in the creation and execution of the Government of Sudan's ("GoS") plan to suppress rebel forces and the civilian groups that were purported to support them. Hussein was the direct superior to Ahmad Harun, a senior official of the Bashir Government who is currently wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity and war crimes. As his deputy, Harun was obliged to follow the orders of Hussein and report new developments back to him on a regular basis. As such, it is the belief of the Office of the Prosecutor that Hussein is the person of greatest responsibility for the crimes against humanity and war crimes detailed in the Harun & Ali Kushayb case.

What were the Crimes?

The crimes detailed in the Prosecutor's report occurred over the course of seven months between 2003 and 2004, in the villages of Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar, and Arawala, in the Wadi Salih and Mukjar Localites of West Darfur. The Prosecutor proposes 42 separate counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity (21 counts of each respectively) for which he believes Hussein is criminally responsible. Crimes against humanity listed in the report include: Rape, inhumane acts, forcible transfer, murder of civilians, torture, and persecution. War crimes listed include: destruction of property, pillaging, murder, rape, outrage upon personal dignity, and attacks against civilians.

Why Should Hussein be Held Accountable?

There are several reasons for which the Prosecutor believes Hussein must be held legally accountable for these crimes, including that Hussein intentionally participated in and helped to facilitate the crimes detailed in the report. This includes his position of authority over the Committees, Harun, the police, several reserve forces, and the Militia/Janjaweed. He was allegedly responsible for the training, arming, and deploying the Militia/Janjaweed forces sent to implement the GoS plan to attack the civilian population of Darfur, specifically the Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa tribes. According to one witness, "the Government of Sudan is not run by well-established institutions, but rather by influential people." According to the Prosecutor, Hussein is one of the influential people who had full knowledge of the crimes committed in Darfur-Not only did he not stop these crimes from happening, but he also perpetuated the violence by coordinating it. Throughout this time period, Hussein purportedly denied, downplayed, and covered up the heinous crimes being committed under his watchful eye.

If the Court grants the Prosecution's request, Hussein will be the fourth senior official from the GoS for which the Court has issued warrants. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the Sudan will cooperate with the ICC or Rome Statute provisions requiring it to arrest and surrender Hussein in this situation.

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Kenya

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

Kenyans Almost Split in Half Over ICC Accused's Presidential Bids
The International Criminal Court Kenya Monitor
By Tom Maliti
February 21, 2012

Should Kenyan leaders Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and William Samoei Ruto pursue their presidential ambitions despite facing a possible trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC)? The Kenyan public is almost split in half on the issue, according to a new poll.

Furthermore, almost half of those polled believe that nothing will happen if either individual is barred from contesting the presidential poll, expected by March 2013 at the latest.

This is significant because supporters of Deputy Prime Minister Kenyatta and former Cabinet Minister Ruto are passionate, sometimes bordering on the fanatical, which has raised fears of negative reactions during the ICC process. Also, political leaders supporting the two men have sought to emphasize reconciliation over retribution whenever questions are raised about how to deal with the violence that engulfed Kenya for two months after the December 2007 poll. The political leaders generally take the line that there is no need to reopen old wounds, suggesting some violence may occur if retribution is followed instead of reconciliation.

The Ipsos Synovate poll on the presidential ambitions of Kenyatta and Ruto was released on Monday but was conducted at the same time as an earlier one that looked into people's views on the ICC ruling to confirm charges against Kenyatta, Ruto, and two others on several counts of crimes against humanity. Ipsos Synovate did not release this section of the poll because of a High Court of Kenya ban on debate on whether Kenyatta and Ruto should be presidential aspirants. The High Court, which imposed the ban on February 2, lifted it on February 17.

Ipsos Synovate found that 48 percent of Kenyans support Kenyatta vying for the presidency despite his case before the ICC. On the opposite end, 46 percent of Kenyans do not believe Kenyatta should vie for the presidency now that the court has ruled he should stand trial. The remainder either do not know or did not respond to the question.

For Ruto, opinion is equally divided. Ipsos Synovate found that 47 percent support his presidential bid, while another 47 percent opposed it. The remainder either did not know or did not respond to the question.

When asked what would occur if Kenyatta was barred from running for president, 45 percent of the respondents said nothing would happen. Almost a third, or 28 percent, said that Kenyatta's supporters would cause violence due to incitement, and nine percent said that he would have to accept the decision, according to the poll.

A slightly higher number - 47 percent - thought nothing will happen if Ruto is barred from contesting for Kenya's presidency, according to the poll. Again, almost a third, or 29 percent, said that Ruto's supporters would cause violence due to incitement, and eight percent said that he would have to accept the decision.

Notable is that Prime Minister Raila Odinga still leads a presidential contest if Kenyatta and Ruto do not participate, according to the poll. Odinga has the support of 34 percent of the respondents and his nearest rival is Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka with 22 percent.

This is significant because it means Kenyatta's and Ruto's support base is up for grabs in a scenario where neither man stands for presidency. This is explained by the numbers in the same poll when it takes into account a Kenyatta and Ruto candidacy.

In such a scenario Odinga remains the front runner, with 31 percent support. Kenyatta comes in second, with 24 percent, followed by Musyoka (10 percent) and Ruto (six percent). Once the two ICC accused persons are removed from the scenario, Musyoka's support rises by 12 percentage points, but he does not gain all the support enjoyed by Kenyatta and Ruto, even though the vice president has been in a loose alliance with the two men.

Equally significant is that in a scenario where Kenyatta and Ruto are not presidential candidates, there are 17 percent of the respondents who say they are undecided, representing a potentially huge swing block.

In the case of Kenyatta and Ruto standing as presidential candidates, the undecided group is 15 percent of the respondents. Therefore, either way, the presidential field is far from clear. No presidential aspirant has secured the nomination of their political party so far, keeping the electoral field open.

The Ipsos Synovate poll is based on telephone interviews with 1,523 respondents conducted between January 27 and February 1, 2012. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.5 percent. The company funded the poll.

Kenyan Court Says AG Can Continue With Appeal Against Bashir Warrant
The International Criminal Court Kenya Monitor
By Tom Maliti
February 22, 2012

Kenya's second highest court has allowed the Attorney General to continue with an appeal case he has filed challenging a High Court ruling that the Kenyan government must arrest Sudan's leader if he comes to the country.

A three-man bench of the Court of Appeal made the decision in response to a preliminary objection against the Attorney General pursuing the appeal that the Kenya Section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) submitted. ICJ-Kenya had contended that between the time it first argued in November 2010 for the government to be compelled to arrest Sudanese President Omar Ahmad Hassan al-Bashir and when the High Court made its ruling a year later, the Attorney General had been stripped of powers of criminal prosecution and an independent Director of Public Prosecutions had been appointed. Therefore the Attorney General should not be allowed to argue a criminal case, ICJ-Kenya lawyer Wilfred Nderitu argued in December last year.

Court of Appeal judges Emmanuel O'Kubasu, Erastus Githinji, and Onyango Otieno disagreed in their decision issued on February 17, saying that the case before them is neither a civil nor a criminal case because the question before the court is about enforcement of a court order.

"In view of the foregoing, we are satisfied that the Attorney General is a proper party to these proceedings and we accordingly find no merit in the preliminary objection," the judges said in their ruling.

ICJ-Kenya had raised the preliminary objection in December when the appeal case first came up for hearing. The Court of Appeal said it would issue its decision at the end of January but was unable to do so because the judges went to the port of city of Mombasa to adjudicate other appeals there.

No date has been set for when the judges will continue with the case.

When they next sit they will be expected to hear arguments on the Attorney General's application for a stay against the enforcement of the International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant the High Court issued November last year until the main appeal is heard and determined. In December, the Attorney General had applied for interim orders to be issued while the judges determined the preliminary objection. The judges rejected that application.

For now, the High Court's order to the government to arrest al-Bashir if he visits Kenya still stands.

Nderitu told ICC Kenya Monitor he intends to appeal against the Court of Appeal's dismissal of his preliminary objection before the Supreme Court, the country's highest court.

ICC Fixing Cases Uhuru Lawyer Says
The Star
By Walter Menya
February 22, 2012

The lead lawyer for Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta has accused the International Criminal Court of 'fixing' the case against his client. In January the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber confirmed charges against Uhuru, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, former Public Service head Francis Muthaura and Kass FM radio journalist Joshua arap Sang over their alleged role in the 2007-08 post-election violence. All four have filed appeals seeking to overturn the indictments and avoid full trial.

However, Prof Steven Kay, who leads Uhuru's defence, told a public debate at the School of African and Oriental Studies in London that international tribunals were fixed, hostile to suspects and guided by powerful political forces bent on making "some individuals an example." The topic of the panel discussion on February 3 was 'International Justice: Between Impunity and Show Trials' and is available at the video-sharing website YouTube.

Panellists in the discussion, organised by the International Criminal Law Bureau, included Polina Levina from the ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo's office. Levina was part of the prosecution team that handled the Kenyan cases. "I think the fix is massive behind the scenes. That we have to face. And I'm afraid I saw that in the 'organisational policy' reasoning of Pre-Trial Chamber II on the Kenya case, because they stretched that definition in a way that no one had written about before," stated Kay. He said it was like trying a football club's supporters for crimes against humanity because the prosecutor needs some credibility.

He questioned the efficacy of show trials in dispensing justice to suspects as well as victims of international crimes. "Because they don't like violence in elections in Africa, somebody has got to be made an example. They are saying we have a problem in Kenya and we have to do something. Let us put a trial going and keep everybody quiet. That might be a good or bad reason but as I understand it that is not what justice is all about," Kay argued. "This crusade against impunity has given a device to governments to subvert the truth crusade and justice and provide something that goes against justice," he added.

Levina however disagreed, arguing that the ICC had achieved what no Kenyan court could do by merely making the two presidential hopefuls appear before it. "For the first time, people who had enjoyed a semi-divine status and packaged themselves as untouchable were brought to answer before a judge and the message was sent that everybody was subordinate to the law."

In November last year, Ocampo admitted that politics influences the arrival of cases in the Hague when discussing Libya at a meeting of the American Society of International Law at the University of California, Los Angeles. Ocampo accepted there is "one standard for 119 member states (who have signed the Rome Statute) and another standard for every other country."

Kenyan legal scholar Dr Godfrey Musila said the comments by Ocampo were "a first and very significant". Ocampo openly admitted that the UN Security Council exercises political discretion in choosing which countries to refer to the ICC. He used the example of Libya which was referred to the ICC during last year's violent rebellion and Syria which was not.

ICC spokesman Fadi El Abdalla defended Ocampo saying he was "just playing with words... That means that there are two ways, or two different bases for the ICC to have jurisdiction. That however does not mean that the Prosecutor applies double standards. Following a referral, whether by a State party or by the UNSC, the Prosecutor remains independent," Abdalla said.economy.

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Libya

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

Delays In A Trial Show Libya's Legal Disarray
The New York Times
February 15, 2012

One of the first trials involving Libyans detained on suspicion of links to the government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi is turning into a prime example of the shortcomings of the country's justice system.

At a hearing in the eastern city of Benghazi on Wednesday, a Qaddafi-era judge in a Qaddafi-era military courtroom planned to hear evidence against 50 people accused of the Qaddafi-era crime of "treason against the revolution."

But the judge postponed the hearing because the militia that has detained the defendants refused to bring them to court.

The case underlines how much power still lies with the hundreds of militias that fought Colonel Qaddafi's forces during the eight-month rebellion, which ended when the dictator was captured and killed in October.

It also indicates how, one year after the start of the uprising, the Transitional National Council now governing Libya has made little progress in filling the void left by the collapse of the dictatorship.

The council has so far failed to extend its control over the militias. It has also not taken control over the scores of detention centers these groups use to hold people accused of links to the Qaddafi government. Human rights groups say these centers hold thousands of people, including some who have been tortured.

The leader of the council, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, acknowledged its shortcomings in an interview with Al Jazeera on Wednesday.

"After the liberation, the national council's deficits surfaced," he said. He added that the 72-member council was "very slow" in making decisions, largely because "everybody is afraid that if they speed up, financial corruption will take place."

Wednesday's proceedings were the second attempt at a hearing for about 50 men detained by a powerful Benghazi militia known as the Feb. 17 Martyrs. The men are accused of having links to Colonel Qaddafi's government. The judge served under the colonel but defected to the rebels. Because the council has yet to write new laws, the defendants are being tried under the Qaddafi-era legal code.

The trial's first session on Feb. 6 was postponed because the defendants did not have a lawyer. On Wednesday, their lawyer arrived, but the militia refused to bring the men in its custody to court, citing security reasons.

The defendants' lawyer, Saleh Omran, said the militia had too much power.

"The brigade controls everything in this part of Libya," Mr. Omran said. "If they wish, they can release prisoners or keep them as long as they want."

Libya's Court Says It Is 'Incompetent' In Qaddafi Loyalists' Case, Orders Civil Trial For Them
Al Arabiya News
February 22, 2012

A Libyan military court ruled on Wednesday that 50 people accused of fighting for Muammar Qaddafi and helping a mass jail break by alleged supporters of the deposed leader should be freed and tried instead in a civilian court.

"We decided the court is incompetent in this matter," said Ali Hamdi, a judge in the court in the eastern city of Benghazi.

Defense lawyers welcomed the ruling, saying most of the accused were civilians and that the military court on a base in the eastern city of Benghazi was struggling to try the case.

"We feel this court is under pressure and... does not have the necessary judicial independence," Saleh Omran, who represents 17 of the accused, denying that his clients were Qaddafi supporters, told Reuters.

"They helped the prisoners escape from jail because some of those held were their relatives and they were protecting them. It has nothing to do with Qaddafi's men," he said.

"This proves that justice is doing well and on the right track," the lawyer, Hussein Gheniwa, told AFP.

A transitional government was appointed in November to lead Libya to elections but it is struggling to impose order on myriad armed groups that toppled Qaddafi last year after 42 years in power.

It has been keen to try Qaddafi's family members and loyalists at home, but human rights activists worry that a weak central government and a lack of rule of law could rob them of the right to a fair trial.

The defendants are facing charges of using force against the revolutionary forces, terrorizing civilians and helping prisoners escape, as well as inciting people to commit crimes. Omran said some of those charges carry the death penalty.

The defendants are part of a militia that helped what officials from the transitional council said at the time were about 300 Qaddafi loyalists escape from custody in July.

Fifteen witnesses called to give evidence on Wednesday did not show up and hearings have been postponed twice since the trial began on Feb. 5, for security reasons and pending a request by some of the lawyers to review the evidence.

The accused were rounded up in July last year in Benghazi, cradle of the popular uprising, during a raid by former rebels against a cell of Qaddafi backers.

The ruling National Transitional Council said at the time that several escaped prisoners of war were hiding within the armed group in a Benghazi license-plate factory.

Rebels had seized TNT explosives and several pickup trucks equipped with machineguns, according to the same sources. The cell was blamed for a prison break and accused of planning to plant car bombs in Benghazi.

Moammar Gadhafi's Daughter Seeks Death Certificate
Associated Press
By Toby Sterling
February 22, 2012

Lawyers for the daughter of Moammar Gadhafi have filed a formal petition at the International Criminal Court seeking an authorized copy of the former Libyan leader's death certificate.

Aisha Gadhafi's lawyer Nick Kaufman said Wednesday the move is intended in part to show that Libya's National Transitional Council isn't capable of holding a fair trial for her brother Seif al-Islam, who was arrested in the country's remote southern desert in November.

The war crimes court in The Hague, Netherlands has previously told Aisha, who is in Algeria, to seek information via Libya's new authorities. But Kaufman says no part of the new government has responded to her requests for basic information about her father's death usually accorded to relatives, and it is not clear where she should apply.

Kaufman said by telephone Wednesday, "who are the Libyan 'authorities?'"

The Hague court, which was authorized by the U.N. to investigate war crimes committed during Libya's civil war, dropped its case against Moammar Gadhafi after his death at the hands of opposing forces on Oct. 20.

However, the court, known by its acronym ICC, has not yet ruled on the new Libyan government's plans to try Seif and former Libyan intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senoussi in Libya. The ICC indicted the men for crimes against humanity, including multiple murders, allegedly committed during the former regime's crackdown on dissent.

Although the court only pursues war crimes cases a country itself cannot or will not try, Libyan authorities must still persuade international judges that the men will get a fair trial, on basically the same charges they would have faced in The Hague.

Judges have asked Libya whether Seif is being held incommunicado, as Kaufman asserts, and whether ICC officials can visit him to check on his health and ask him whether he has legal representation.

The transitional government's reply was filed confidentially in January.

Kaufman said Libya's reluctance to disclose the death certificate - copies of which have been widely circulated on the Internet - shows it is even less likely to turn over documents such as an autopsy report, which may contain incriminating evidence.

The court's prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the United Nations last year there are "serious suspicions" Moammar Gadhafi's death was itself a war crime because he may have been summarily executed after being taken into custody.

Kaufman said Libya's new government has a moral and legal obligation to give Aisha information such as the death certificate, autopsy report and exact location of Moammar's grave.

"Why are the Libyan authorities claiming they are capable of trying Seif al-Islam when they can't take care of properly handling a single document?" Kaufman said.

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Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

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

Cote d'Ivoire: Trial of Former President Laurent Gbagbo at the ICC
All Africa
February 15, 2012

The lawyer of former president Laurent Gbagbo is the subject of a front-page headline in L'Inter which informs readers that "before the June 18 trial of Gbagbo, his lawyer is encouraging people to bear witness against supporters of Ouattara." According to the paper, Emmanuel Altit made the call after a meeting with the interim president of the former ruling FPI, Silvain Miaka Ouretto.

Gbagbo Supporters Stage Hague Protest
AFP
February 18, 2012

Several hundred supporters of ex-Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo protested Saturday outside the International Criminal Court (ICC) prison where the former leader is awaiting a tribunal hearing.

"Today is very special for us. It was on this day 20 years ago that after a demonstration President Gbagbo was put in prison by Mr (Alassane) Ouattara," Brigitte Kuyo, who represents Gbagbo's FPI party in Europe said.

"As history is repeating itself, we are here to remember that day. We have been told President Gbagbo has been brought from his jail cell to this side of the prison so he can hear our support," she told an AFP reporter at the prison.

The supporters who said they were from the Netherlands, France, Italy and Britain, gathered outside the ICC's detention unit in the Dutch seaside suburb of Scheveningen, where Gbagbo has been locked up since his transfer to The Hague on November 30 last year.

Police estimated the number of protesters at 300, while organisers said around 1,000 marchers, draped in Ivorian flags and carrying placards walked from the French Embassy near downtown The Hague to the prison a few kilometres away.

There, under the watchful eye of Dutch police, they sang pro-Gbagbo songs and listened to several speakers.

"We want to tell president Gagbo we will not give up the fight," said Abel Naki, president of the pan-African CRI association, an organisation he said fought for African rights.

The first former head of state to be surrendered to the ICC, Gbagbo, 66, was imprisoned in The Hague after being transferred by plane from northern Ivory Coast, where he had been under house arrest since April.

He faces charges before the ICC for his involvement in crimes committed during five months of post-presidential election violence after the restive west African country's disputed November 2010 polls.

Gbagbo's refusal to hand over the reins to his long-time opponent and now President Ouattara, plunged the world's top cocoa-grower into a deadly crisis which the United Nations said claimed around 3,000 lives.

Organisers said some 3,000 demonstrators were expected on June 18, when Gbagbo is to appear before ICC judges in a hearing to determine whether the charges against him will be confirmed or not.

Gbagbo, then an opposition leader, was arrested with others during demonstrations on February 18, 1992, when Felix Houphouet-Boigny was president and Ouattara prime minister.

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AFRICA

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)

Official Website of the ICTR

Prosecution Supports Survivors Request Over "Inadequate" Sentences
Hirondelle News Agency
February 13, 2012

The prosecution has supported the application by two leading victims' rights groups, who are asking the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to hear them, saying certain sentences imposed by the trial court are "grossly inadequate".

"The prosecutor supports the request by Ibuka and Survivors Fund for leave to submit a brief as amicus curiae (in the case of ex-Rwandan military leaders, including two generals) in connection with the prosecutor's sentencing appeals," reads part of response obtained by Hirondelle News Agency on Monday.

Rwandan survivors' group Ibuka and British NGO Survivors' Fund want to be heard in the appeals case for former army Chief of staff Augustin Bizimungu and that of the Gendarmerie Augustin Ndindiliyimana, who were sentenced by trial court on May 17, 2011.

"Notwithstanding the oral testimony of some victims who testified as witnesses, the prosecutor agrees that the victims' collective voice, as such, was lacking during both the trial process and in the sentencing part of the judgment," the prosecution submitted.

According to the response, victims were in a unique position to assist Chambers in the determination of appropriate sentences, particularly given the nature of crimes committed such as genocide and crimes against humanity, which resulted in mass killings and suffering of helpless Tutsi civilians in 1994.

The Trial Chamber convicted the two generals of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, whereas ex-Commander of the Reconnaissance Battalion, Major Francois-Xavier Nzuwonemeye and member of the unit, Captain Innocent Sagahutu, were found guilty of crime against humanity and war crimes.

Bizimungu was sentencend to 30 years in jail, while Ndindiliyimana was sentenced to time served and instantly released. Nzuwonemeye and Sagahutu received 20 years custodian punishment each.

In their application, Ibuka and Survivors' Fund stated that the sentences imposed by the Trial Chamber do not further the primary sentencing goals of deterrence and retribution, tolerate impunity among those responsible for committing the gravest crimes, and demean the dignity of victims and survivors.

As representatives of Rwandan genocide victims, they seek only to have a voice so that the Tribunal could fashion sentences that better reflect its mission of preventing impunity and its commitment of doing justice to the victims' memory.

The two groups said an Appeals Court decision which "drastically" reduced sentences on Colonel Theoneste Bagosora and Lieutenant Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva from life imprisonment to 35 and 15 years, respectively, forced them to file the application in question.

Danish Judge Elected New ICTR President
Hirondelle News Agency
February 14, 2012

Judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda have elected Danish Judge Vagn Joensen as new President of the Tribunal, says an ICTR press statement issued on Monday. He will take over from current President Khalida Rachid Khan of Pakistan on March 2. Judge Khan is to be redeployed to the ICTR Appeals Chamber in The Hague next month.

Judge Joensen joined the Tribunal in May 2007 and has been its Vice-President since August 2011. Judge Florence Rita Arrey of Cameroon has been elected new Vice-President of the Tribunal, taking over from Judge Joensen today, according to the same press release.

Born in 1950, Judge Joensen holds a Master of Law from the University of Arhus. Before joining the ICTR he was a judge at the Danish High Court in Copenhagen from 1994. He also served as an international judge for the UN mission in Kosovo from 2001 to 2002, and taught law at two Danish universities.

Among the ICTR cases presided by Judge Joensen are special deposition hearings to preserve evidence against the Tribunal's most wanted fugitive Felicien Kabuga, alleged financier of the 1994 genocide.

Judge Joensen becomes the sixth President of the Tribunal since its establishment in November 1994. The first President was Senegalese Judge Laity Kama, followed by Navanethem Pillay of South Africa and Judge Eric Mose of Norway. Judge Dennis Byron from St. Kitts and Nevis took over next, before being replaced by Judge Khan.

Judge Joensen joined the ICTR as an "ad litem" (non permanent) judge, the press statement notes. In July 2011, the UN Security Council decided that ad litem judges were now eligible to stand in, and vote for, elections for the Tribunal's presidency and vice-presidency. Under the previous rules, these important posts were in danger of having no eligible candidates, since all permanent judges of the Tribunal are due to leave the Trial Chambers in the coming months.

The ICTR aims to complete its first instance trials by the end of June this year and all outstanding appeals cases by the end of 2014.

Rwanda Creates Special Chamber for International Crimes
Hirondelle News Agency
February 16, 2012

Rwanda's Superior Council of the Judiciary on Wednesday set up a Special Chamber at the High Court to try international crimes. This Chamber is expected to try persons accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity transferred from foreign countries and from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

The High Court is the second highest court in the land after the Supreme Court.

The decision was taken at a meeting on Wednesday of the Superior Council of the Judiciary, chaired by Supreme Court president Sam Rugege, according to a statement from the spokesperson for courts and tribunals, Charles Kaliwabo.

The new Chamber will have 6 judges, including Athanase Bakuzakundi, who will be its president.

The first person expected to appear before the Special Chamber is Léon Mugesera, who was deported from Canada on January 24 this year after a long legal battle against extradition. Mugesera, had been living in Canada since 1993. He had been wanted by Kigali since 1995, notably in connection with a 1992 speech in which he allegedly incited Hutus to kill Tutsis. Mugesera denies the allegation, saying his words have been taken out of context.

At the time of the speech, Mugesera was vice-president in the Gisenyi prefecture (northwest Rwanda) of the former ruling party MRND.

The second person likely to appear before the Special Chamber is Pastor Jean Uwinkindi, the first person that the ICTR has decided to transfer to Rwanda for trial. The Tribunal's administrative authorities have until February 23 to effect his transfer from Arusha.

These two transfers could encourage other countries, notably in Europe, to send Rwandans accused of participating in the 1994 genocide back to face justice in their own country.

Resumption for Ex-Rwandan Minister's Case Set for February 20
Hirondelle News Agency
February 17, 2012

Defence hearing in the case of former Rwandan Planning Minister Augustin Ngirabatware is expected to resume on February 20, 2012 before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

The defence is expected to call its two last witnesses within the week. They include protected witness DWAN 114, who will testify through video link from Vienna, Austria and witness DWAN 112 expected to travel from Togo to the seat of the Tribunal in Arusha, to give his evidence.

Thirty-three witnesses have already testified for Ngirabatware, who is charged with conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide or in the alternative, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and extermination and rape as crimes against humanity.

Immediately after the defence testimony, the court is anticipated to receive eight extra witnesses from the prosecution, in attempt to dispute alibi evidence for the accused who claims that he was not in Rwanda as of April 23 to May 23, 1994.

Ngirabatware alleges that he had visited Senegal and Swaziland within the contentious period. According to the Rules of the Tribunal, the defence is also entitled to call witnesses to produce "evidence in rejoinder" to contradict such rebuttal evidence, if need arises.

Canadian Lawyer Assigned New Lead Counsel for Ngirabatware
Hirondelle News Agency
February 20, 2012

The Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Adama Dieng, has appointed Canadian lawyer, Mylene Dimitri, new Lead Counsel for genocide-accused and former Rwandan Planning Minister, Augustin Ngirabatware, in replacement of British Peter Herbert.

"The Registrar has appointed me as Lead Counsel for the accused," Dimitri told Presiding Judge William Hussein Sekule during a court session at the resumption of the ex-minister's trial on Monday.

Dimitri, who was co-Counsel for the accused takes over from British Peter Herbert, who left the Tribunal under undisclosed circumstances two weeks ago. His last court session took place on February 3, 2012, when the trial was adjourned sine die for lack of defence witnesses. When asked on the matter, the spokesperson of the Tribunal, Roland Amoussouga, said that the removal of Peter Herbert was announced in a confidential decision by the Registry.

Dimitri becomes the third Lead Counsel to represent the defendant. The first was American Professor David Thomas, who was discharged by the accused in July 2009. It was reported that Thomas was turned down on grounds that the accused had lacked confidence on him.

Hearing of the case resumed on Monday with the testimony of protected defence witness DWAN 114, who was an observer with the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) in Kigali and later Gisenyi prefectures.

The last but one witness testified through video link from Vienna, Austria. The trial continues Tuesday.

Ngirabatware is charged with conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide or in the alternative, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and extermination and rape as crimes against humanity.

He was arrested in Germany in connection with the charges on September 17, 2007 and transferred to ICTR custody in Arusha, Tanzania on October 8, 2008. His trial took off on September 22, 2009. A doctor in economics, the former minister has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Prosecution, Defence Challenges Judgment for Former Rwandan Mayor
Hirondelle News Agency
February 21, 2012

The prosecution and defence have lodged notices of appeal to challenge some findings in the judgment delivered on November 17, 2011 in the case of former Rwandan Mayor Gregoire Ndahimana by a Trial Chamber at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

The former Mayor of Kivumu commune in Kibuye prefecture, Western Rwanda, was sentenced to a 15-year term for genocide and extermination as crime against humanity.

According to its notice of appeal dated February 17, 2012, the prosecution seeks enhancement of the sentence to life imprisonment. ''The 15 years sentence was manifestly inadequate, given Ndahimana's stature as bourgmestre, the gravity of the crimes he committed and the abuse of the trust and confidence invested in him by the people of Kivumu Commune," reads part of the notice of appeal signed by Deputy Prosecutor Bongani Majola.

Furthermore, the prosecution seeks to faulty several other findings by the Trial Chamber in relation to the participation of Ndahimana in massacres of about 2000 Tutsis who had sought refuge at Nyange Church in the commune on April 15 and 16, 1994.

On the other hand, according to its notice of appeal also filed on February 17, 2012, the defence requests the Appeals Chamber to quash both the conviction and the sentence imposed on the former mayor, following several errors by the Trial Chamber in relation to his participation in the massacres.

The defence, in addition, challenges the refusal by the Trial Chamber to accept the convict's defence of alibi over his presence at the massacre site on April 16, 1994 and that the sentence imposed on him was "manifestly unfair and unjust."

Ndahimana was convicted of genocide and extermination by aiding and abetting as well as by virtual of his command responsibility over the communal policemen in connection to the events at the Nyange Church on April 15 and 16, 1994.

He was arrested in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on August 10, 2009 and transferred to United Nations Detention Facility in Arusha on August 21, the same year. Ndahimana's trial took off September 6, 2010.

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Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL)

Official Website of the Special Court for Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone: Court Rejects Taylor Appeal to Re-Open Defence Case
allAfrica
By Tamba Jean-Mathew
February 12, 2012

The United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone has rejected a request by the lawyers of former Liberian president Charles Taylor to reopen his defence case.

Judges at the court unanimously ruled on Friday that the Taylor defence "has failed to establish any justification for the re-opening of its case".

On January 31, Taylor's defence team submitted a motion to the court requesting permission to introduce pages from a UN Experts Panel on Liberia report on the flow of Liberian mercenary groups into Cote d'Ivoire.

Taylor's lawyers argued in their submission that the report supports their argument that during the Sierra Leonean conflict, it was possible for fighters to cross from Liberia into Sierra Leone "without being under the direction and control of Mr Taylor and without the implicit approval of the Government of Liberia".

Among other things, the court is trying Taylor for his role in the war in neighbouring Sierra Leone where it is alleged that the former president sent mercenaries.

However, court judges counter- argued that they considered the effect that reopening of the case would have on this stage of the proceedings.

Denied all charges

They further said that "the fact that the crime base and time frame, which are subjects of the charges against Taylor, do not bear correlation to the subject of the Expert Panel Report that talks about the flow of Liberian fighters into Cote d'Ivoire".

"The Trial Chamber considers that at this advanced stage of the proceedings, re-opening the trial would result in undue delay," the judges concluded.

Taylor is charged with 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of Sierra Leone from November 1996 to January 2002.

But he has denied all the charges against him and has described the trial a conspiracy of Western countries, mainly the United States and the United Kingdom to get him out of Liberia.

"My involvement in Sierra Leone was to help bring peace to that country," he argued. The final judgment of his trial is expected to be handed down before June this year. Special Court: Justice Richard Lussick Elected Presiding Judge of Trial Chamber II

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EUROPE

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, War Crimes Chamber

Official Website [English translation]

Plea Hearing in the Case v. Mustafa Delilovic et al.
The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina
February 20, 2012

A plea hearing in Mustafa Delilovic et al. case is scheduled to take place before the Section I for War Crimes of the Court of BiH on February 21, 2012, at 1 p.m. in Courtroom 4.

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina confirmed on January 12, 2012 the Indictment against Mustafa Delilovic and others under which the Accused Mustafa Delilovic, Fadil Covic, Mirsad Sabic, Nezir Kazic, Becir Hujic, Halid Covic, Serif Mesanovic and Nermin Kalember are charged with the criminal offense of War Crimes against Civilians and criminal offense of War Crimes against Prisoners of War.

The Indictment reads, among other things, that Mustafa Delilovic, as the President of the Municipal Assembly Hadzici and in the capacity as President of the Crisis Staff, later Wartime Presidency of the Hadzici Municipality, Fadil Covic, in the capacity as Chief of the Public Security Station Hadzici and at the same time member of the Crisis Staff, later Wartime Presidency of the Hadzici Municipality, Mirsad Sabic, in the capacity as active police officer of the Public Security Station Hadzici and Commander of the Police Station Pazaric, Nezir Kazic, in the capacity as Commander of the 9th Mountain Brigade of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Becir Hujic, in the capacity as warden of the Silos camp and Deputy warden of the Silos camp, Halid Covic, in the capacity as one of the Deputy Wardens of the Silos camp, and Warden of the Silos camp, Serif Mesanovic, in the capacity of Deputy warden of the Silos camp, and in the capacity as Warden of the warehouse in Krupa barracks in Zovik, and in the capacity as one of the Deputy Wardens of the Silos camp, Nermin Kalember, in the capacity as guard in the Silos camp, in the period from May 1992 to January 1996 knowingly and willingly participated in the systemic joint criminal enterprise and by planning, ordering, committing, inciting, aiding and abetting committed the criminal offense of War Crimes against Civilians and the criminal offense of War Crimes against prisoners of War of Serb ethnicity in the facilities such as Silos in Tarcin, 9.maj Primary School in Pazaric and the warehouse of the Krupa barracks in Zovik.

Plea Hearing in the Case v. Slobodan Grujic
The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina
February 20, 2012

A plea hearing in Slobodan Grujic case is scheduled to take place before the Section I for War Crimes of the Court of BiH on February 21, 2012, at 1 p.m. in Courtroom 3.

On December 29, 2011, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina confirmed the Indictment in the case v. Slobodan Grujic under which the Defendant is charged with the criminal offense of War Crimes against Civilian Population contrary to Article 173(1)(c) of the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Indictment alleges, among other things, that the Defendant Slobodan Grujic, as a member of the Baljkovica Unit of the Army of Serb Republic of BiH together with other persons shot and killed ten Bosniak civilians from the territory of Zvornik Municipality.

Public Session of the Appellate Panel in the Case v. Gojko Klickovic et al.
The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina
February 21, 2012

A public session of the Panel of the Appellate Division, Section I for War Crimes of the Court of BiH in the case v. Gojko Klickovic et al. is scheduled to take place on February 22, 2012, beginning at 10.00 a.m., in Courtroom 4.

Following the main trial, the Trial Panel of Section I for War Crimes delivered a Trial Verdict on November 5, 2010 acquitting the Accused Gojko Klickovic and Mladen Drljaca of charges for the criminal offense of Crimes against Humanity in violation of Article 172(1)(h) as read with (a), (d), (e), (f), (g) and (k), all in conjunction with Article 180(1) of the Criminal Code of BiH. The Accused Jovan Ostojic has also been acquitted of charges for the criminal offense of Crimes against Humanity in violation of Article 172(1)(h) as read with (a), (e), (f) and (k), in conjunction with Article 180(2) of the CC BiH.

Slobodan Grujic Enters a Not Guilty Plea
The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina
February 21, 2012

At today's plea hearing before the Section I for War Crimes of the Court of BiH, the Accused Slobodan Grujic entered a not guilty plea.

On December 29, 2011, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina confirmed the Indictment in the case v. Slobodan Grujic under which the Defendant is charged with the criminal offense of War Crimes against Civilian Population contrary to Article 173(1)(c) of the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Indictment reads, among other things, that the Defendant Slobodan Grujic, as a member of the Baljkovica Unit of the Army of Serb Republic of BiH together with other persons shot and killed ten Bosniak civilians from the territory of Zvornik Municipality.

Accused in the Case of Mustafa Delilovic et al. Enter a Not Guilty Plea
The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina
February 21, 2012

At today's plea hearing in Mustafa Delilovic et al. case the Accused Mustafa Delilovic, Fadil Covic, Mirsad Sabic, Becir Hujic, Halid Covic, Serif Mesanovic and Nermin Kalember entered a not guilty plea.

A plea hearing with regard to the Accused Nezir Kazic will be subsequently scheduled.

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina confirmed on January 12, 2012 the Indictment against Mustafa Delilovic and others under which the Accused Mustafa Delilovic, Fadil Covic, Mirsad Sabic, Nezir Kazic, Becir Hujic, Halid Covic, Serif Mesanovic and Nermin Kalember are charged with the criminal offense of War Crimes against Civilians and criminal offense of War Crimes against Prisoners of War.

The Indictment alleges, among other things, that Mustafa Delilovic, as the President of the Municipal Assembly Hadzici and in the capacity as President of the Crisis Staff, later Wartime Presidency of the Hadzici Municipality, Fadil Covic, in the capacity as Chief of the Public Security Station Hadzici and at the same time member of the Crisis Staff, later Wartime Presidency of the Hadzici Municipality, Mirsad Sabic, in the capacity as active police officer of the Public Security Station Hadzici and Commander of the Police Station Pazaric, Nezir Kazic, in the capacity as Commander of the 9th Mountain Brigade of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Becir Hujic, in the capacity as warden of the Silos camp and Deputy warden of the Silos camp, Halid Covic, in the capacity as one of the Deputy Wardens of the Silos camp, and Warden of the Silos camp, Serif Mesanovic, in the capacity of Deputy warden of the Silos camp, and in the capacity as Warden of the warehouse in Krupa barracks in Zovik, and in the capacity as one of the Deputy Wardens of the Silos camp, Nermin Kalember, in the capacity as guard in the Silos camp, in the period from May 1992 to January 1996 knowingly and willingly participated in the systemic joint criminal enterprise and by planning, ordering, committing, inciting, aiding and abetting committed the criminal offense of War Crimes against Civilians and the criminal offense of War Crimes against prisoners of War of Serb ethnicity in the facilities such as Silos in Tarcin, 9.maj Primary School in Pazaric and the warehouse of the Krupa barracks in Zovik.

First Instance Verdict in Darko Dolic Upheld
The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina
February 22, 2012

The Panel of the Appellate Division of Section I for War Crimes of the Court of BiH, following the appellate session rendered the Second Instance Verdict in the case of Darko Dolic on December 1, 2011. The Panel refused the appeal of the Prosecutor's Office of BiH as unfounded and upheld the First Instance Verdict of April 26, 2011. The Second Instance Verdict was sent out on February 17, 2012.

The Trial Panel of Section I for War Crimes, following the main trial, rendered a Verdict acquitting the Accused Dolic of charges of War Crimes against Civilians under Article 173(1)(c),(e) and (f) in conjunction with Article 29 and Article 180(1) of the Criminal Code of BiH. The Accused Dolic was acquitted of charges that during the armed conflict between the Army of RBiH and Croat Defense Council (HVO) on the territory of the Municipality of Prozor, as a member of the sabotage -- reconnaissance platoon "Jastrebovi" he took part in maltreatment -- intentional inflicting of physical and mental pain on detained Muslim civilians and in robbing of the civilians and that he forced persons to sexual intercourse by means of threat of direct attack on their body.

The Prosecutor's Office of BiH appealed this Verdict claiming essential violations of the criminal procedure and erroneously and incompletely established state of facts. The Prosecution moved the Panel of the Appellate Division of the Court of BiH to uphold the appeal and revoke the First Instance Verdict and to hold a retrial. The Defense for the Accused Darko Dolic in the response to the Appeal, moved the Panel to refuse it as unfounded and uphold the First Instance Verdict in its entirety.

At the public session of the Appellate Panel, the Prosecution presented its appeal and the Defense gave its response. They maintained their written submissions. The Accused Darko Dolic agreed with the submissions of his counsel. Having reviewed the First Instance Verdict in light of appellate claims, the Appellate Panel decided that the appellate claims of the Prosecution were unfounded. The Appellate Panel also concluded that the First Instance Verdict was lawful and proper, with completely established state of facts and valid and acceptable reasons regarding all decisive facts which provided foundation for the decision on acquittal in the case of the Accused Darko Dolic.

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International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)

Official Website of the ICTY

Mladic Trial to Start in May
Institute for War & Peace Reporting
By Rachel Irwin
February 17, 2012

Opening statements in the trial of Bosnian Serb wartime army general Ratko Mladic will commence on May 14, 2012, judges ruled this week. Witness testimony will begin two weeks later, on May 29.

Judges had originally envisaged starting the trial at the end of March, but Mladic's defence raised numerous objections to this during the last status conference, mainly due to the "hundreds of thousands of documents" involved in the case, the fact that the defence team had not yet been finalised, and the state of health of the accused.

Branko Lukic, Mladic's lawyer, said that any start date before October 2012 would be "unjust".

The judges addressed those concerns in their February 15 scheduling order, stating that the three medical reports they had received indicated that the accused was well enough to attend court sessions. Furthermore, they said that while the defence needed time to review the vast amount of material, "the defence is sufficiently prepared to start the trial before October" and that "the exact number of pages reviewed by the defence... is not exclusively what determines the start of trial".

The matter of assembling the defence team would be dealt with confidentially, they added.

Mladic, 69, was arrested in Serbia on May 26, 2011, after spending 16 years as a fugitive.

He was the commander of the Bosnian Serb army from 1992 to 1996, and is alleged to have been responsible for some of the worst atrocities of the Bosnian war. These include the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, which resulted in the murder of some 8,000 Bosniak men and boys, as well as the shelling and sniping campaign against Sarajevo, which killed about 12,000 civilians.

He is also charged with crimes of genocide, persecution, extermination, murder and forcible transfer. The indictment against him was reduced this past December at the judges' request, and it now deals with a total of 106 crimes instead of 196, and the number of Bosnian municipalities involved has been cut from 23 to 15.

The core elements of the case -- the siege of Sarajevo, the massacre at Srebrenica, crimes committed in various municipalities, and the taking of United Nations hostages -- remains the same, and the indictment still contains 11 counts.

The prosecution has stated that it intends to call a total of 410 witnesses, 158 of whom are expected to appear in court.

The next status conference will be held on March 29.

Witness Talks of "Orchestrated" Srebrenica Capture
Institute for War & Peace Reporting
By Velma Saric
February 17, 2012

A former officer in the Bosnian Serb Army, VRS, told the trial of Radovan Karadzic this week that the take-over of Srebrenica in July 1995 was "well-orchestrated", and that it was made to clear to him beforehand that a massacre was planned.

Momir Nikolic, formerly chief of security and intelligence in the VRS's Bratunac Brigade, appeared at Karadzic's trial as a prosecution witness.

Nikolic was himself indicted by the Hague tribunal for war crimes committed in Srebrenica. In 2003, he reached a plea agreement with the prosecution and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. In his plea agreement, Nikolic agreed to testify at other tribunal trials relating to the Srebrenica genocide.

Prosecutors allege that Karadzic -- who was president of the self-declared Bosnian Serb state, Republika Srpska, from 1992 to 1996 -- is 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".

He is also accused of planning and overseeing the 44-month siege of Sarajevo that left nearly 12,000 people dead, as well as the massacre of some 8,000 Bosniak men and boys at Srebrenica in July 1995.

In his plea agreement, Nikolic, who is currently serving his sentence in Finland, admitted to having been present at meetings in which the planned killing of Bosniaks were discussed openly by VRS officers. He also said he was involved in the forced removal and transfer of Bosniak civilians, and that was aware of mass murders committed by VRS forces after the fall of Srebrenica.

During the examination-in-chief, prosecutor Julian Nicholls showed the witness a document issued on July 4, 1994 by the commander of the Bratunac Brigade, Slavko Ognjenovic.

In this document, Ognjenovic instructed units subordinate to him to make "the living conditions in the [Srebrenica] enclave impossible, so that [those inside] leave the enclave en masse as soon as possible, realising that they can't survive there".

Nikolic told the prosecutor that he found this document "problematic", to say the least.

"As an army officer, I am aware that such document would be an excuse for indiscipline," he said. "It would give a green light for illicit military actions, such as ambushes, increased sniper activity, or diversions into enemy territory."

Nikolic added that he was "aware that people in Srebrenica were living a horrible life, with not enough food, not enough resources to cure the sick".

According to the witness, the key moment when he realised what was going to happen to the people in Srebrenica was on the morning of July 12, 1995, during a conversation he had with Vujadin Popovic and Svetozar Kosoric, former security officers for the VRS Drina Corps.

"They told me that. . . the women and children would be deported into Muslim-held territory. They also said that all men of military age would be separated. I remember asking them what they meant by 'separated' and Popovic's response was, 'What else [but that] all Muslims should be killed'".

Nikolic added that when he looked at Kosoric, he "smirked and gave the same answer, using the very same words".

Asked by the prosecutor why he didn't do anything to prevent this or oppose the plan, Nikolic said he "simply couldn't".

"I didn't dare to," he continued. "I had bad experiences from before, knowing what happens when one tries to oppose something like that. But I know that now I would act differently. I would try to do something, somehow, to help people who were being taken away into death."

The witness told the court that after the fall of Srebrenica, he was under the impression that the majority of Bosniak men captured were not connected with the Bosnian government army, and had nothing to do with the "crimes which had been committed in the surrounding villages against the Serbs".

"The people who came to Potocari were those who had done nothing bad and genuinely believed that they had nothing to fear," Nikolic said.

"Only a few [Bosniak] men were actually lucky enough to leave Srebrenica on the first convoy, under the UN escort. I can't remember the exact number, but it was small," he added.

The witness then told the judges that on July 13 he was ordered to "secure the road between [the nearby towns of] Bratunac and Konjevic Polje, since General Mladic was supposed to pass by on that day, and I was in his escort".

Ratko Mladic, VRS commander-in-chief at the time, is also facing trial for genocide at the Hague tribunal.

"Mladic spoke to the prisoners who were being detained in Konjevic Polje. He told them that they have nothing to fear, that they shouldn't worry because they will be exchanged soon," Nikolic said.

However, he added that he soon found out that Mladic did not much care about the prisoners' destiny.

"I asked Mladic, perhaps naively, what would really happen to them. He looked at me, and instead of giving me a reply, he simply waved his hand, as if saying, 'Who cares?'"

"Once we arrived at our destination, I was told to report to Ljubisa Beara," he added.

Beara was the chief of security of the VRS main staff. In June 2010, he was convicted of genocide at the Hague tribunal and sentenced to life in prison.

"I asked Beara the same question," continued the witness. "He looked at me and said that [Bosniak prisoners] would be gathered, transported, and killed."

Nikolic told the court that many VRS officers who were involved in this crime were "convinced that these [Bosniak] men have to be killed".

The only disagreement was about where it should happen, he said, adding, "I remember that Beara had a fight with Miroslav Deronjic about where the killing should take place."

Deronjic, who was the chairman of the local board of Karadzic's Serb Democratic Party, SDS, in Bratunac was given a ten-year sentence by the Hague tribunal in 2004, and died in jail in 2007.

"It was an awkward discussion," the witness continued. "At one point, Deronjic, who was acting as a host to the meeting, pulled out a bottle of brandy and put it on the table. It was then decided, in a friendly atmosphere, that the prisoners should be transferred to [the town of] Zvornik."

During the cross-examination of the witness, Karadzic -- who is representing himself in court -- said that he wanted to "clarify a few points from the broader point of view, before discussing the details".

Karadzic put it to the witness that all problems in the VRS began "in 1992, with the arrival of the [Serb] paramilitaries".

"Among them were all sorts of bad people -- criminals, psychopaths and sick minds capable of doing any evil," Karadzic said. "This was a war of people's armies, not of professional armies. And this is why all these horrible things happened."

Nikolic said that he would not venture to engage in "such speculation", and that what Karadzic was explaining "wasn't related in any way to what happened in Srebrenica and its surroundings in July 1995".

"There is a connection," Karadzic replied. "There was hatred going on there for centuries, which served as fuel to the laws of chaos and led to the events which happened there in July 1995. This was a chaos. . . not something that happened upon order or command."

Nikolic said he did not agree.

"The operations [in Srebrenica] were definitely not unplanned, or without control," he said. "There was management and command on site. There were, of course, single incidents. . ., but the whole [operation] was well-orchestrated."

The accused also claimed that he "had no knowledge of any shooting of the imprisoned people from Srebrenica".

Nikolic said that he had, however, heard Deronjic referring to "instructions he received from Radovan [Karadzic] that the prisoners are not to be killed in the area of his municipality [Bratunac], but rather transferred to Zvornik".

Karadzic also tried to refute Nikolic's claims that there was not enough food for the besieged people in the enclave.

"For example, there were claims that there were some 45,000 people in the enclave, whereas the real number was much lower," Karadzic said.

"I don't agree," Nikolic responded, "because from what I know there really were 40,000-45,000 people in Srebrenica, and the quantities of food entering the enclave were definitely insufficient to feed all of them."

"Maybe they shouldn't have given so much food to the [Bosnian] army then, because [the army] ate it all up," said Karadzic. "Instead of guarding positions [around the enclave], they should have devoted themselves to producing food."

Karadzic was arrested in the Serbian capital Belgrade in July 2008, after having spent 13 years on the run.

The trial continues next week.

Key Witness Absent from Haradinaj Trial
Institute for War & Peace Reporting
By Rachel Irwin
February 17, 2012

The conclusion of the prosecution's case against ex-Kosovo prime minister Ramush Haradinaj hung in the balance this week as a key witness failed to show up and apparently refused to testify.

Witness 80, as he is called, failed to give testimony this week. The same witness had refused to testify in the original 2007 proceedings against Haradinaj, a former commander in the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, and his two co-defendants Lahi Brahimaj and Idriz Balaj, also ex-KLA members.

In 2008, Haradinaj was acquitted of all 37 counts against him, which included the murder and torture of Serb civilians as well as of suspected Albanian and Roma collaborators during the late nineties conflict in Kosovo.

Balaj was acquitted, while Brahimaj was found guilty of cruel treatment and torture and sentenced to six years in prison.

Prosecutors appealed against the acquittals, claiming that the trial had been "infected" by witness intimidation. As a result, they said, they were unable to secure the testimony of two key witnesses, one of them being Witness 80.

The other witness, Shefqet Kabashi, was recently convicted of contempt and could face further charges for once again refusing to answer questions when he appeared in August as a witness in the retrial.

The current partial retrial of the case stems from a July 2010 appeals judgement which found that trial judges "failed to appreciate the gravity of the threat that witness intimidation posed to the trial's integrity", and that they placed too much emphasis "on ensuring that the prosecution took no more than its pre-allotted time. . . irrespective of the possibility of securing potentially important testimony".

Appeals judges ruled that Haradinaj and Balaj should be retried on six counts of murder, cruel treatment and torture, and Brahimaj retried on four of those counts.

After a two-and-a-half month hiatus, the retrial convened this week specifically to hear Witness 80 testify, but when the hearing began on February 13, he was not there.

Prosecuting lawyer Paul Rogers alluded to a delay in "legal proceedings" taking place in the country where the witness lives. As a result, the witness was unable to travel to The Hague and might not be available again until May.

This prompted a sharply-worded debate among the parties on how exactly to proceed, given that the retrial has already lasted several months and the three defendants have a right to be tried in a reasonable amount of time.

Rogers alluded to the fact that the bench has already indicated it wants to have Witness 80 appear in person in The Hague. But since this would not possible any time soon, he said he had asked the defence to "reconsider their objections to other methods of hearing evidence" such as a video link.

Haradinaj's lawyer, Ben Emmerson, completely rejected this suggestion as "second-class justice", and said that if Witness 80 could not testify according to the current schedule, the prosecution should close its case.

He also noted the effect of live confrontation on another protected witness in the retrial, known by the number 81.

"Having seen the effect of live confrontation and cross-examination on Witness 81, which, as we submit, has destroyed any scrap of credibility that the witness may have entered courtroom with, to then to proceed to a trial where a form of second-class justice is meted out in respect of Witness 80, who gives evidence on the same counts. . . and in circumstances where similar credibility challenges are to be made, would be. . . grossly prejudicial to the accused," Emmerson said.

In addition, he noted that in March, it would be seven years since Haradinaj was indicted, and that "a surprising amount of the time that has elapsed since then has been, in one way or another, attributable to the refusal of this particular witness to testify, both in the first trial . . . and in these proceedings".

Emmerson stressed that "nothing mentioned in private session concerning the position in the country in which [Witness 80] resides, in any sense justifies his unwillingness to attend and testify voluntarily". In fact, Emmerson said, "it demonstrates a resolute commitment to non-cooperation" and "he is still saying that whatever happens, he will not give evidence".

The only option that would be fair, Emmerson said, would be to travel to where the witness resided and attempt to hear his evidence there.

"I venture to suggest that the trial chamber would hesitate long and hard before ordering that effort and expense for a witness who for seven years has messed the tribunal about," Emmerson continued, adding later that these concerns were still "not good enough" a reason to resort to video link testimony.

"We are dealing with a witness upon whom the case against my client entirely hinges," he concluded. "Where credibility is an issue, it's simply not enough to say a video link is as good... because it isn't and everyone knows it isn't."

Prosecuting lawyer Rogers disagreed, saying, "It has repeatedly been held that this method of video conferencing does meet the interests of justice and the rights of the accused."

Presiding Judge Bakone Justice Moloto said a decision on the matter would be delivered at a "later stage".

Judges Reject Experts' Brief in Gotovina Appeal
Institute for War & Peace Reporting
By Rachel Irwin
February 17, 2012

Appeals judges at the Hague tribunal have rejected an attempt by a group of military and legal experts to submit a brief on behalf of Croatian general Ante Gotovina, convicted for his role in the 1995 Operation Storm offensive.

In April 2011, Gotovina was convicted of ordering unlawful and indiscriminate attacks on Serb civilians during the offensive, which was launched by Croatian forces on August 4, 1995 to retake the Serb-controlled Krajina region of the country.

He was also found responsible for the deportation of at least 20,000 Serb civilians from the Krajina, as well as for the murder, persecution and cruel treatment of Serb civilians. In addition, he was convicted on counts of plunder and wanton destruction.

He was sentenced to 24 years in prison. His lawyers have appealed against the verdict.

On January 13 this year, 12 experts filed an amicus curiae -- or "friend of the court" -- brief requesting the appeals bench to "reconsider the findings" concerning artillery attacks carried out as part of Operation Storm.

In a decision issued the following day, appeals judges said they were "not convinced that the applicants' submissions would assist in determining the issues on appeal", and they therefore declined permission to file the amicus curiae brief.

They explained said the principal criterion used to decide whether outside parties could file an amicus curiae brief was whether this would assist the appeals chamber in considering the questions that were before it.

The brief filed by the experts "addresses numerous factual issues and provides interpretations of evidence on the record". In this respect, judges said, it "repeats the task undertaken by the trial chamber and by the appeal briefs of Gotovina and the prosecution".

The appeals judges also noted that the application did not disclose that one of the authors of the brief had testified as an expert witness for Gotovina's defence. This raised concerns about the objectivity of the brief, they said.

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Domestic Prosecutions In The Former Yugoslavia

Member of Bojovic's Group Wanted for War Crimes
Emg.rs
February 14, 2012

The request for Spain to extradite Luka Bojovic, Vladimir Milisavljevic and Sinisa Petric will contain documents and evidence accusing them of crimes that have not yet been investigated officially, the Serbian Justice Ministry told Tanjug on Tuesday.

The files will contain material used as the basis for preliminary criminal proceedings against Petric on suspicion that he led a platoon during the NATO bombing in 1999, which killed more than 90 ethnic Albanian convicts at a prison. Petric disappeared in 2003, and the preliminary criminal proceedings for the war crime were started by the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor, based on the criminal charges filed by the Humanitarian Law Centre.

The warrant issued by the Serbian Interpol, which caused his arrest in Spain, was issued on Petric because he has to serve a 15-year prison sentence. He has served less than 5 years of that. Petric was sentenced to death in Serbia, because he killed a family of three in 1994, during a robbery he committed as a member of Marinko Magda's group. The sentence was later changed to 15 years in prison and he was sent to the prison in Pozarevac, eastern Serbia.

From Pozarevac, he was moved together with 11 other convicts serving time for the most serious offences to the Dubrava prison in Kosovo, and it is suspected that weapons arrived at the prison together with them. The prosecutor's office is investigating whether they killed the ethnic Albanian prisoners after being promised freedom in return.

All incriminating evidence in possession of the war crimes prosecutor will be delivered to Spain along with other documentation and the extradition request, because it is required so that he could be prosecuted for the war crime as well after he is extradited.

According to the Council of Europe Convention on Extradition, when an accused is extradited, he can no longer be tried for crimes that were not mentioned in the extradition request. For now, Bojovic is wanted by Serbia based only on the organized crime prosecutor's indictment, where he is described as the heir of the dead leaders of the Zemun Clan and suspected of three murders and two attempted murders.

Milisavljevic is wanted in order to serve a 40-year prison sentence for crimes committed as a member of the Zemun Clan and another 30 years for involvement in the assassination of Serbia's former prime minister Zoran Djindjic in 2003. He is also wanted for taking part in the murders that Bojovic is accused of. Bojovic, Milisavljevic and Petric were arrested in Valencia on February 9 based on a warrant by the Serbian Interpol.

Vladimir Mijanovic, who was best man at Bojovic's wedding, was arrested with them, but Serbia has issued no warrant on him and he was not detained by the Spanish police.

Bosnia Arrests Four Croats for War Crimes Against Serbs
Naharnet
February 22, 2012

Four Bosnian Croats, including a woman, were arrested on Wednesday accused of committing war crimes against Serb civilians at the start of the 1992-1995 war, justice officials said.

The former members of paramilitary forces are suspected of committing war crimes against Serb civilians in a detention camp in May 1992, shortly after the start of the war, the Bosnian war crimes prosecutor's office said.

The prisoners in the camp in the southern Bosnian town of Dretelj were "tortured, beaten, raped and persecuted in an extremely humiliating way," it said in a statement, adding that some had died and others were still missing.

At the time the suspects, now aged between 44 to 59, were either top camp officials, guards or members of a Bosnian Croat militia.

Top officials accused over atrocities committed during the Bosnian war, which killed about 100,000 people, are tried by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), while local courts handle smaller cases.

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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)

Court Shows Khmer Rouge had Clear Structure
VOA Khmer
By Kong Sothanarith
February 13, 2012

Prosecution at the UN-backed tribunal on Monday sought to demonstrate the Khmer Rouge had a clear administrative structure in place even before they came into power, diminishing defense arguments that leaders on trial had no knowledge of atrocities as they took place.

Three top leaders--Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary--are facing charges that include genocide for their leadership of the Khmer Rouge, in the court's second case to date.

Unlike its first trial, in which torture chief Duch admitted responsibility and asked for the forgiveness of the family members of victims, the three leaders currently before the court have consistently denied they knew of the atrocities.

French deputy prosecutor Vicnent de Wilde D'Estmael presented a Pol Pot speech prior to the Khmer Rouge rise to power to demonstrate the party had a hierarchical structure with lower echelons and higher levels of leadership.

Under Khmer Rouge leadership, individuals had to respect the collective, and private citizens had to respect the "Angkar," or Organization, he said.

Cambodian deputy prosecutor Veng Huot said Khieu Samphan had attained the movement's highest rank, head of state, through two decades of resistance.

"He knew broadly the situation before being in power," Veng Huot said. "He knew of acts in liberate zones and of the atrocities."

Tribunal Prosecutors Seek to Tie Khmer Rouge Crimes Together
VOA Khmer
By Kong Sothanarith
February 14, 2012

Prosecution at the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal continued to present evidence on Tuesday seeking to connect three former regime leaders in joint criminal conduct.

The three leaders--Noun Chea, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary--are charged with atrocity crimes that include genocide. But they are also being charged under a judicial principal known as joint criminal enterprise, which considers each individual responsible for crimes committed by a group.

International deputy prosecutor William Smith introduced an audio interview of Ieng Sary by researcher Stephen Heder in which the former Khmer Rouge foreign minister explained discussions with Pol Pot over evacuating Phnom Penh a year before the regime took over Cambodia in April 1975. In the interview, Ieng Sary explained discussions with Pol Pot and Chinese leader Zhou Enlai about what would happen after the movement took power.

The prosecution has been working to demonstrate a clear hierarchy and leadership within the regime and on Tuesday posited that leaders made collective decisions.

Cambodian deputy prosecutor Chan Dara Reaksmey told the court Tuesday Ieng Sary had seen armed struggle as the primary means of taking over the country, a policy that began openly in March 1970, with China providing weapons.

Nuon Chea, the regime's ideologue, has said that armed struggle was a secondary consideration to be used only after politics. However, prosecution says he was a part of the decision to use armed might as early as 1967.

Regime Victims Tell Tribunal of Organized Atrocities
VOA Khmer
By Kong Sothanarith
February 15, 2012

Witnesses testified before the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Wednesday to demonstrate the regime had committed organized atrocities even before its rise to power in 1975. Through an attorney, victims of the regime told the UN-backed court of crimes of torture and execution.

"At the end of 1973, seven months after my marriage, my husband was escorted away by a group of about 12 militants," one woman said through her lawyer, Sam Sok Kong. "My husband was tied up and nailed to a cross. He was tortured on it, and he died a week later."

Prosecution at the court this week has sought to show a systematic regime with a leadership structure and hierarchy who leaders on trial--Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary--were guilty of joint criminal conduct.

This included forced marriages, separation of families, oppression of minorities and religious beliefs and imprisonment, torture, forced work, starvation and execution.

Civil party lawyers presented evidence that Khieu Samphan, prior to becoming head of state for the regime and before it rose to power, was involved in decision-making and bore responsibility for atrocity crimes.

At court on Wednesday afternoon, defense for Nuon Chea, the regime's chief ideologue, again called for the disqualification of Trial Chamber judge Silvia Cartwright, rather than presenting evidence in the client's defense.

Judges at KRT Fail to See Eye to Eye Again
Phnom Penh Post
By Bridget Di Certo
February 16, 2012

International and Cambodian judges in the Khmer Rouge tribunal's Pre-Trial Chamber are again in deadlock over a government-opposed investigation into Khmer Rouge regime criminals.

Co-Investigating Judges last year rejected New Zealander Rob Hamill's application for civil party status in Case 004 for crimes committed against his brother Kerry by the regime that eventually executed him.

Hamill's lawyers appealed the rejection, saying the decision was unreasoned and premature, adding they had not been given access to any information in the Case 004 investigation.

Cambodian Pre-Trial Chamber judges said in a joint opinion on Tuesday that they concluded there must be no suspects in Case 004 and no persons who were a "leader or most responsible" for the crimes committed during the DK period, because no suspects had been arrested by the Co-Investigating judges.

International judges said in a joint opinion issued the same day that the Office of the Co-Investigating Judges were undermining the entire regime for victims at the court.

As well as lacking in transparency, the judges' actions were procedurally defective and seriously impaired victim's rights, they said.

Hamill claims to have suffered harm as a direct consequence of crimes committed against his brother, who was arrested in August 1978 by the DK Navy and transferred to the S-21 security centre where he was interrogated, tortured and executed.

This is the second time this week that Cambodian and international judges have drawn dichotomous conclusions about the legal provisions of the court.

Earlier this week, international judges Rowan Downing and Chang-Ho Chung accused Pre-Trial Chamber president Prak Kimsan of attempting to turn judicial decisions into administrative acts and excluding the international judges from decision-making.

Any party's appeals relating to the two government-opposed cases 003 and 004, must in the first instance be decided by the Pre-Trial Chamber, and to date the Chamber has proven unable to reach a common consensus on such appeals.

Clair Duffy of court monitor Open Society Justice Initiative told the Post earlier this week that Cambodian judges in the chamber have consistently voted along government lines in the two cases.

Prime Minister Hun Sen opposes cases 003 and 004.

Nuon Chea Says Court Evidence 'Not Correct'
VOA Khmer
By Kong Sothanarith
February 16, 2012

Jailed Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea on Thursday rejected documentation evidence against him put forward by prosecution and civil party lawyers at the UN-backed tribunal, calling it "not clear" and "not correct."

Nuon Chea, the regime's chief ideologue, has so far been the only one of three leaders on trial for atrocity crimes to repeatedly address the court in his defense. That defense has been in part to question the authenticity of documentation.

Prosecutors this week have sought to establish the Khmer Rouge's formal leadership structure, with three leaders charged with atrocity crimes with joint criminal intent.

"All descriptions related to military command, the steering committee, quoted from certain individuals, are not correct," Nuon Chea told the court Thursday. "Meanwhile, it is necessary to listen to audio recordings of the interview with me to make sure whether these were my words or not."

Defense for former foreign minister Ieng Sary and former head of state Khieu Samphan objected to the use of documentation evidence and requested its authentication.

Ieng Sary defense attorney Kong Sam On said evidence provided by the Documentation Center of Cambodia was only partial and meant to cast an accusatory light on the defendant.

In his 15-minute statement to the court Thursday, Nuon Chea accused the office of investigating judges of bias, and he requested witnesses be brought forward for his defense.

He also asked why there have been no discussions at the court of the US bombing of Cambodia prior to the rise of the Khmer Rouge, as well as the "ill intentions" of neighboring countries he said were "related" to the regime's ascent.

$45 Million for Tribunal Under Consideration
VOA Khmer
By Sok Khemara
February 16, 2012

International donors to the Khmer Rouge tribunal are currently considering more funding for the UN backed court, officials said Wednesday.

A diplomat from one donor country said the package under consideration was $35 million for the international side and $10 million for the Cambodian side of the hybrid court, which has had continuous financial troubles that threaten its longevity, even as it puts three leaders on trial.

"As you know, the court is funded from voluntary contributions from member states," said Martin Nersirky, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. A budget proposal "is being considered by the donor states," he said. "And that's where we are at the moment."

The court has so far tried one Khmer Rouge cadre, prison chief Duch, and is undertaking the trial of three former top leaders--Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary. Two more cases are before the court, but they would require the indictment of five more suspects, and their completion remains in doubt.

A meeting on funding is scheduled at the UN for Feb. 24, according to a donor country diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Tribunal spokesman Neth Pheaktra said Wednesday the court's budget proposal is confidential, but he confirmed that a court delegation will travel to New York next week to discuss it with donors.

"We are optimistic that donors will pledge more financial assistance for the Khmer Rouge tribunal in order to allow the court to fulfill its work and mission in seeking truth and justice," he said.

The proposed budget reportedly covers costs for the current trial, pursuit of two more cases and administrative work.

The court has so far spent at least $150 million on investigations and trials, but it has been dogged by allegations of mismanagement, corruption and political interference from Cambodian leaders who oppose further cases going forward.

Tribunal Officials Take Funding Case to UN
Phnom Penh Post
By Bridget Di Certo
February 17, 2012

The United Nations-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal will request US$89 million from the international community next week when officials fly to New York on Monday to present UN headquarters with the tribunal's budget.

"For the coming two years (2012 and 2013), the ECCC is requesting approval of the proposed budget of roughly $89 million, of which around $45 million is for 2012 and around $43 million is for 2013," public-affairs officer Huy Vannak told the Post.

"For the two-year plan of the ECCC, the national side of the ECCC is requesting roughly $20 million and the international side of the ECCC is requesting roughly $69 million."

Cambodian staff at the court are not being paid because the national side of the ECCC has run out of money.

Some Cambodian staff members have not received their salaries since October last year, and a team of legal officers from the Office of the Co-Prosecutors have asked that they be allowed to leave their positions in favour of paid work until the funding crisis is resolved.

Court Begins Reparations Campaign
VOA Khmer
By Kong Sothanarith
February 20, 2012

The Khmer Rouge tribunal has launched a campaign to raise public awareness of reparations it brings to victims of the infamous S-21 prison in central Phnom Penh.

The court has put together a document collecting a series of confessions and apologies made by the prison's director, Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, during the UN-assisted court's legal proceedings.

"It is crucial to show Duch's confession and responsibility to the victims," said Neth Pheaktra, a spokesman for the court.

The supreme chamber of the Khmer Rouge tribunal has sentenced the 69-year-old prison director to life in jail and ordered a publication of the verdict and his apology as part of reparation.

The conclusion of the case marks the first final verdict the court has made during six years of work.

Three other top leaders - chief ideologue Noun Chea, former head of state Khieu Samphan, and foreign minister Ieng Sary - are on trial in a separate case. None of them has acknowledged responsibility for atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge's 1975-79 rule of Cambodia. An estimated 1.7 million people died during the period from starvation, disease, execution and overwork.

The 27-page document released by the tribunal shows Duch expressing remorse.

"I acknowledge the responsibility, especially, torture and the killing," said the document referring to confession Duch made during his first trial in early 2009. The document is now available online on the court website.

Before the final verdict earlier this month, Duch originally had been sentenced to 35 years in prison by the Trial Chamber, and he was slated to serve about 19 years behind bars.

"His apology was just a small part of justice," said Bou Meng, one of the few survivors of S-21.

However, Bou Meng said he is satisfied with the life sentence.

Chum Mey, another survivor, said few Cambodians have access to the Internet and that most victims will not have access to the tribunal's new public document.

The court says it will increase its national outreach through more public screenings of the court's proceedings.

Im Sophea, head of coordination of Victims Support Section, said the court is printing 10,000 copies of Duch's confession and apologies to distribute locally and abroad.

Nuon Chea Team Blamed for 'Chaos'
Phnom Penh Post
February 21, 2012

Foreigners working at the Khmer Rouge tribunal were responsible for embroiling the court in chaos that was akin to incitement, government officials said yesterday at a snap news conference.

Press and Quick Reaction Unit deputy president Keo Remy called the conference to attack criticisms of alleged public statements by Prime Minister Hun Sen about the guilt of one of the tribunal's three elderly accused, who are being tried for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

"There is nothing wrong in expressing that Nuon Chea is a killer and was involved in genocide during the Pol Pot regime," Keo Remy told about 10 journalists.

"[Nuon Chea defence lawyer Michiel Pestman] is taking the opportunity to bring in political issues at the KR tribunal to cause chaos," he said, adding: "I found that the chaos was always made by some foreigners [at the tribunal].

"We will not surrender to incitement caused by a small group of foreigners," he said, adding that comments by court monitor Open Society Justice Initiative in Monday's Post show they consistently back those doing the inciting.

Keo Remy said Hun Sen continued to consider his legal options in response to Michiel Pestman's call for the tribunal to "officially condemn" the premier's statements.

Government attorney Key Tech told the Post: "There is still no official discussion. I will wait to see."

No motion from the Nuon Chea defence team calling on the Trial Chamber to prevent the premier making further prejudicial comments on Case 002 was publicly available by deadline yesterday.

Tribunal legal affairs spokesman Lars Olsen said the admissibility of any such motion would be up to the Trial Chamber to determine.

Michiel Pestman could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Dutch to Testify Next Month, Officials Say
Phnom Penh Post
By Bridget Di Certo
February 22, 2012

Khmer Rouge security and detention centre chief Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, would take the stand again at the Khmer Rouge tribunal next month to testify in the case against the alleged Khmer Rouge regime power trio currently on trial, court officials said yesterday.

Duch, whose sentence was increased to life imprisonment for his crimes during the brutal communist regime, will give testimony in the case against Brother No. 2 Nuon Chea, ex-president Khieu Samphan, and former deputy prime minister for foreign affairs Ieng Sary.

"We can confirm that he will give testimony in the next part of the hearings," press officer Neth Pheaktra told the Post.

"But we have no other details yet."

According to a scheduling order of the court's Trial Chamber, Duch will give testimony on the roles of the accused, among other things.

In sentencing Duch, judges at the tribunal found that accused Nuon Chea was his direct supervisor while Duch operated the notorious S21 prison in Phnom Penh.

The Khmer Rouge tribunal also announced yesterday that it would deliver the promised reparations to Duch's victims, now that his final sentence had been handed down.

These reparations were in two parts, one part being the publication of a compilation of Duch's statements of apology and acknowledgments of responsibility.

The compilation, available on the ECCC website will be published in local media in the coming days.

Phnom Penh Post will publish a summary of the compilation this week.

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Special Tribunal for Lebanon

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

Media Advisory - Defence Counsel Sworn In
Special Tribunal for Lebanon
February 15, 2012

The eight lawyers assigned to the accused in the Ayyash et al. case have been sworn in.

The counsel were assigned by the Defence Office to the four men accused of carrying out the 14th February 2005 attack. The STL Trial Chamber recently ruled that in absentia proceedings should be held in this case.

All the defence counsel signed a declaration that they will exercise their duties "with integrity and diligence, honourably, freely, expeditiously and conscientiously". The counsel also committed to "scrupulously respect professional confidentiality and the other duties imposed by the Code of Professional Conduct for Counsel Appearing Before the Tribunal".

"This undertaking is an important step for counsel to accept the responsibilities bestowed upon them", said Francois Roux, the Head of the Defence Office. "It underlines the high ethical standards that counsel need to perform their difficult and challenging tasks", he added.

The President of the Tribunal, Judge Sir David Baragwanath told the counsel, "I welcome you to the STL and wish you well in exercising the vital role you have accepted, both for the rights of the accused and in the interests of the rule of law in Lebanon and the international community."

Biographies of the Defence Counsel will be available on the STL website in due course.

STL Refuses to Confirm Media Reports on New Indictment
The Daily Star
February 18, 2012

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon spokesperson refused to confirm Friday local media reports that the court's prosecutor had filed a draft indictment in three cases to the pre-trial judge.

Marten Youssef only said that it was up to the prosecutor alone to decide when to file an indictment for review. "It is also his prerogative to file it confidentially and ex-parte, in which case, we would not be privy to that filing," he told The Daily Star.

Quoting sources close to STL Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare's office, Lebanon's Al-Akhbar newspaper reported Friday that Bellemare submitted recently to Judge Daniel Fransen a draft indictment in the attempted assassinations of former Deputy Prime Minister Elias Murr and MP Marwan Hamadeh, as well as in the assassination of former Lebanese Communist Party leader George Hawi.

In October 2004, Hamadeh was seriously injured in a car bomb attack in Beirut. Hawi was assassinated on June 21, 2005 while Murr survived an assassination attempt on his life on July 12 of the same year.

A judicial source told The Daily Star that Lebanon had received no official information on the matter.

If the media reports prove accurate, Fransen would assess the indictment and could ask the prosecution for additional material if it is not sufficient.

The local newspaper said that Bellemare, who is leaving his post at the end of February, also submitted additional documents related to the STL's indictment in the case of the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Al-Akhbar said that a fifth person might be indicted in Hariri's case.

Last June, four members of Hezbollah -- Mustafa Amine Badreddine, Salim Jamil Ayyash, Hussein Hasan Oneissi and Assad Hasan Sabra -- were named in an indictment by the U.N.-backed court, which was established in May 2007 to investigate and try Hariri's assassins.

Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah strongly denies any involvement of his party in Hariri's assassination, dismissing the court as an "American-Israeli" tool targeting the resistance. The Hezbollah leader had vowed not to hand over the indicted "even in 300 years." The dispute over the STL led to the collapse of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri's Cabinet in January last year.

Amendments to the Rules of the Tribunal
Special Tribunal for Lebanon
February 20, 2012

The Judges of the STL have approved some amendments to the Tribunal's Rules of Procedure and Evidence (RPE). There were a limited number of changes, which clarified the existing rules especially in relation to victims. These include:

-The Prosecution, Defence and the Victims' Participation Unit (VPU) can make submissions on requests from victims wishing to participate in the proceedings. Submissions are limited to legal issues to protect the confidentiality of victims' applications.

-The Pre-Trial Judge will decide on the grouping of victims wishing to participate in the proceedings. This decision cannot be appealed.

-It will now be easier for victims who participate in the proceedings to also appear as witnesses before the Tribunal.

The Judges also decided that the Prosecution must immediately inform the Head of the Defence Office about the arrest of a suspect or an accused. This will strengthen the rights of the Defence.

The updated RPE are available on the STL website.

Hariri Prosecutor Says Justice Awaits for People of Lebanon
AFP
February 20, 2012

The outgoing prosecutor at the UN-backed tribunal set up to try suspects over the murder of Lebanese ex-prime minister Rafiq Hariri said Monday that justice awaits for the people of Lebanon.

Daniel Bellamare is due to end his mandate at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) at the end of this month, just weeks after the court announced it would try four Hezbollah members for the 2005 Hariri assassination even though they remain at large.

"As my professional involvement with the people of Lebanon comes to an end, I would like to leave you with a message of hope. Historic days lie ahead for justice and the people of Lebanon," Bellamare said in a statement.

"But justice does not happen overnight. In this respect, the Lebanese people, and especially the victims, have been patient. For this, I want to thank all of you."

The Hague-based court said earlier this month that Salim Ayyash, Mustafa Badreddine, Hussein Anaissi and Assad Sabra will be tried in absentia for the massive February 14, 2005, car bombing in Beirut that killed Hariri and 22 others, including a suicide bomber.

Bellemare, the former head of the Federal Prosecution Service in Canada, took up his post as the STL prosecutor in March 2009 but said last year that he would not seek a second term.

He is due to leave on February 29 but a successor has not been named.

The court sent arrest warrants for the four suspects to Beirut in June, and Interpol issued a "red notice" in July. But the authorities in Lebanon, where the government is dominated by the Iranian- and Syrian-backed Hezbollah militant group, have failed to arrest them.

Hezbollah, which is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by Washington, has denied involvement in the Hariri murder.

Bellemare Thanks Lebanese for Support Before STL Resignation
The Daily Star
By Willow Osgood
February 21, 2012

The prosecutor for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon thanked the Lebanese for their support and emphasized his continued belief in the "fight against impunity" in an open letter released Monday, just over a week before he is to resign from his position.

"I want to thank you for your support and trust in carrying out these profoundly important mandates. And for the journey of progress we have traveled together," Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare wrote in the letter, addressed to "the People of Lebanon."

Bellemare announced last December that he would not seek to be reappointed as prosecutor for the U.N.-backed court's second mandate, which is expected to begin in March. As the STL's first prosecutor, he has led the investigation into the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri since 2009.

Nearly three years on, Lebanon remains deeply divided over the court, which is denounced by many as a Western tool targeting the resistance and lauded by others as the means to achieve justice in the aftermath of the assassinations of the mid-2000s, a position that Bellemare defended in the letter.

"During my tenure, I often felt that the fight against impunity would be a long and difficult journey. Nonetheless, I continued to be passionate about the mission and about Lebanon," he wrote. "The people of Lebanon deserve no less. They deserve a society free of impunity, a society based on a culture of accountability."

Under Bellemare, the focus of the investigation centered on telecommunications records that he alleges implicate four members of Hezbollah in the 2005 attack that killed Hariri and 22 others. The four indicted men remain at large and Bellemare's successor will take up the case against them when in absentia proceedings begin later this year.

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri took to Twitter Monday to reiterate that the court will "try those individuals responsible for the assassination of Rafik Hariri, and not a party or a group or a sect."

Bellemare admitted the difficulty of his task but wrote that his decision to resign was also not easy.

"While it has been anything but easy, it has been immensely fulfilling both personally and professionally," he wrote. "It should come as no surprise that my decision not to seek reappointment for a second term was indeed a very difficult one."

He also thanked the Lebanese authorities for their "continued cooperation and assistance."

Bellemare did not mention whether he intends to submit an additional indictment in the Hariri case or connected cases before he resigns. Reports of an impending indictment began after the prosecutor met with a number of political and judicial officials on a farewell visit to Lebanon last month.

The court said earlier this month that the process to appoint a new prosecutor was "under way."

Separately, the STL announced Monday several amendments -- most of which relate to the participation of victims in the upcoming trial -- to its Rules of Procedure and Evidence.

One amendment allows the pretrial judge to decide on the grouping of victims of the 2005 attack who wish to participate in the trial. It is possible, for example, that individuals belonging to the same family could be considered as one group.

Ban Extends Mandate of UN-Backed Tribunal in Lebanon
UN News Centre
February 22, 2012

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has extended the mandate by another three years of the United Nations-backed independent tribunal set up to try suspects in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.

Mr. Ban extended the mandate of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), which is based in The Hague in the Netherlands, by three years from 1 March this year, according to information released by Mr. Ban's spokesperson.

Mr. Hariri and 22 others were killed on 14 February 2005 after a massive car bomb exploded as his motorcade passed through central Beirut.

Salim Jamil Ayyash, Mustafa Amine Badreddine, Hussein Hassan Oneissi and Assad Hassan Sabra, all Lebanese nationals, have been indicted over the killing. They will be tried in absentia after the STL determined earlier this month that all reasonable attempts had been made to inform the four men of the charges they face and to bring them before the court.

Mr. Ban's spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General reaffirms the UN's commitment to support the efforts of the STL to uncover the truth behind the bombing so as to bring those responsible to justice and to send a message that impunity for such major crimes will not be tolerated.

The tribunal is an independent court created at the request of the Lebanese Government, with a mandate issued by the Security Council.

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Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal

Legal Aid to SQC Not Fair, Claims wife
Bangladesh News 24
February 13, 2012

Farhat Quader Chowdhury, wife of senior BNP leader Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury arrested on charges of his alleged involvement in crimes against humanity during the Liberation War, has claimed that her husband is not being provided proper legal aid in line with the International Human Rights Act.

The lawyers of the BNP leader have also made similar complaints to the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) and appealed to halt proceedings of the war crimes case against him for eight years.

The appeal was made on Sunday, a day before the tribunal is scheduled to decide on Monday whether it will frame charges against the BNP lawmaker, tribunal's registrar Mohammad Shahinur Rahman told bdnews24.com.

In the appeal, the defence lawyers sought the tribunal to provide them probe report of the investigation agency, other relevant information and documents against Chowdhury within the next 14 days.

The tribunal was requested in the appeal to review the laws of the tribunal, and visit the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Crimes (Tribunal) (Amended) Act-1973 as per the Rome statute.

After the submission of the appeal, Farhat Quader at a press conference at the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president's room told reporters that the ruling Awami League in its previous term had signed the ICCPR on Sept 6, 2000. Besides, Bangladesh also signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Rome Statute of the international crimes tribunal act.

"The appeal has been made so that the laws are followed properly," she said.

"You can't make the tribunal controversial. Either you run it under the native laws or under the practicable international laws. We would not get fair justice if it is made controversial. You can bring him (Chowdhury) to Hague, if necessary," she added.

Farhat Quader alleged that the International Crimes (Tribunal) Act-1973 was enacted for the trial of military personnel. "Why others should be tried under the law (formulated for the military personnel)?"

On March 25, 2010 the government constituted a three-member tribunal, investigation body and a lawyers' panel to try war criminals under the provisions of the 1973 International War Crimes (Tribunal) Act.

Crimes Against Humanity: Ghulam Azam's Tribunal Day
BD Can
February 16, 2012

The International Crimes Tribunal will pass its decision on February 23 whether it would grant bail to war crimes accused and former Jamaat-e-Islami chief Ghulam Azam.

The date was fixed on Wednesday after hearing on the Ghulam Azam's bail petition had ended.

The three-member tribunal headed by its Chairman Justice Nizamul Huq is scheduled to hold hearing Wednesday afternoon on another petition of Ghulam Azam seeking adjournment of the trial proceedings against him.

Former Jamaat-e-Islami ameer and war crimes suspect Ghulam Azam was brought to the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) from BSMMU.

The defense lawyers Wednesday sought permission for supplying homemade meals to former Jamaat Amir Ghulam Azam, detained on charge of his alleged crime committed against humanity during 1971 Liberation War.

During his bail petition hearing, the lawyers placed the plea to the International Crimes Tribunal.

The court proceedings started at around 10:35am.

Barrister Abdur Razzak again sought fresh copy of unclear 25 pages documents.

In reply, the court asked the prosecution to submit clear copy of the 25 pages of documents within two days.

Ghulam Azam, who faces charges on 62 specific crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 Liberation War.

ICT is scheduled to hold a hearing today on charge framing against the former Jamaat chief in connection with crimes against humanity during the 1971 liberation war.

On January 9, the tribunal accepted the charges and asked his counsel Abdur Razzaq to produce the ex-ameer before the court on January 11. Otherwise, it warned, it would issue a warrant of arrest against Azam.

On January 11 Ghulam Azam appeared before the tribunal which rejected his bail petition and ordered the authorities to send him to Dhaka Central Jail. But Azam was shifted to a prison cell at BSMMU hospital on the same day.

On the day, ICT also fixed February 15 for holding of a hearing on charge framing against him.

Ghulam Azam Urged ME Not to Recognise Bangladesh
The Daily Star
February 16, 2012

Apprehending defeat in the Liberation War, former Jamaat-e-Islami chief Ghulam Azam fled to Pakistan and tried to convince countries in the Middle East not to recognise Bangladesh, the prosecution told the International Crimes Tribunal yesterday.

Chief Prosecutor Ghulam Arieff Tipoo said this while reading out the formal charges against the former Jamaat ameer at the tribunal yesterday. Ghulam Azam, 89, is facing charges on 62 specific crimes against humanity committed during 1971.

Tipoo said after Ghulam Azam escaped from Bangladesh on November 22, 1971, he formed "East Pakistan Restoration Committee" in Lahore. He used the committee to launch an anti-Bangladesh movement in the name of an Islamic movement and tried to influence the Middle East into not recognising Bangladesh, he added.

The three-member tribunal led by its Chairman Justice Nizamul Huq yesterday began hearing the formal charges against Ghulam Azam. The formal charges contain 191 pages and yesterday 44 of them were read out before the tribunal.

The tribunal will continue the hearing today [Thursday]. The court also set February 23 for delivering a verdict on Ghulam Azam's bail petition.

Ghulam Azam was produced before the tribunal yesterday but he left after lunch break. The hearing continued in his absence.

According to the formal charges read out by the prosecution, Ghulam Azam, as a leader of the East Pakistan Restoration Committee, met a Saudi prince after the Liberation War.

"The Hindus have taken over East Pakistan. . .They have knocked down mosques and turned them into temples. They have burned the Quran. They have killed many Muslims," the prosecution quoted Ghulam Azam as telling the prince.

The prosecution said Ghulam Azam's Bangladesh citizenship was revoked in 1973, but he returned to the country on August 11, 1978, during the regime of Maj Gen Ziaur Rahman. He got into the country on a Pakistani passport, according to the formal charges.

Earlier in the day, after the hearing on a bail petition of Ghulam Azam, the tribunal said it would deliver a verdict on February 23. This is Ghulam Azam's second bail prayer. His first was rejected on January 11 when he appeared before the court, which sent him to jail.

Yesterday, the former Jamaat ameer also filed several other petitions, which the court heard and disposed of before it went into lunch break at 1:00pm.

The petitions included illegible pages and missing documents among the volumes of documents the prosecution gave to the defence.

Abdur Razzaq, chief counsel for Ghulam Azam, also said the defence had not received copies of the case diaries, which the prosecution claimed had been submitted to the court.

The court then ordered the defence to collect the case diaries from the court. It also ordered that legible copies be given to the defence team within two days.

The prosecution was further directed to provide the defence with missing documents, which were mentioned in the index but were not provided to the defence.

The tribunal, however, rejected a fourth petition which asked for a copy of the original complaint that the defence claimed had triggered the investigation and led to the case.

In his submission, Abdur Razzaq argued that the complaint was at the heart of the case and the defence had a right to obtain a copy of it.

Countering the petition, prosecutor Rana Dasgupta referred to several provisions, which made it clear that the complaint was part of the case diary.

The petition was then rejected.

Another petition, seeking adjournment of hearing on formal charges, was scheduled to begin yesterday. The hearing is pending with the court and is expected to begin after the hearing on formal charges finishes today.

BAIL PETITION

Defence lawyer Imran Siddiq, in a lengthy bail petition for Ghulam Azam, said his client had motor difficulties and was suffering from old-age complications.

He claimed that hospital food made the 89-year-old more ill and that he had lost weight. He said Ghulam Azam should be given bail as he would not flee the country and would face trial.

Chief prosecutor Tipoo, however, said the ground for the bail prayer is pretty much the same as Ghulam Azam's first bail prayer, which had been rejected by the court. He said Ghulam Azam had been effectively the "mastermind and springboard in steering the paraphernalia of Jamaat" and other organisations like the peace committees and Razakars, Al Badr and Al Shams.

These organisations collaborated with the Pakistani occupation army in 1971 and actively engaged in thwarting the liberation forces, he said.

The former Jamaat chief made an attempt to address the court as arguments over his bail petition went on. When Razzaq brought that to the court's attention, the tribunal chairman said, "But he addresses the court through you."

The court then fixed February 23 for delivering the verdict on the bail petition.

Ghulam Azam is one of the front men who actively helped the Pakistani occupation forces' attempt to foil the birth of Bangladesh in 1971.

The prosecution on January 5 brought 62 specific charges against the former Jamaat chief. On January 9, the tribunal accepted the charges and ordered Ghulam Azam's chief counsel Abdur Razzaq to produce him before the court on January 11.

On January 11, Ghulam Azam appeared before the tribunal, which rejected his bail petition and ordered the authorities to send him to Dhaka Central Jail. They also fixed February 15 for hearings on charges framing.

The arrestee was moved to a prison cell of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University hospital for treatment the same day.

Ghulam Azam is among six Jamaat-e-Islami leaders and two BNP leaders now facing war crimes charges at the tribunal.

'Sayedee Was Involved in my Brother's Murder'
Bangladesh News 24
February 20, 2012

The president of the Narail District Bar Association has put Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee at the scene of his elder brother's murder in 1971.

Also a former two-time MP, elected in 1986 and 1988, Saif Hafizur Rahman told the war crimes tribunal on Monday that Jamaat executive council member Sayedee was directly involved in the murder of his elder brother and two others during the independence war.

The International Crime Tribunal, set up to try crimes against humanity during the 1971 war, has indicted Sayedee on 20 counts of such crimes including murder, rape, loot and arson.

The 65-year old, 27th that the prosecution has produced, said that his brother, Saif Mizanur Rahman, who was a magistrate of Pirojpur in 1971, which was then a 'sub-division', the sub-divisional police officer Faizur Rahman and the acting sub-divisional officer Abdur Razzaque were picked up by Razakars and murdered on the bank of the nearby Baleshwar River.

Hafizur Rahman said he had heard of the incident from Khan Bahadur Syed Mohammad Afzal, a collaborator of the Pakistan Army.

The Razakars were one of the platforms set up by the Jamaat-e-Islami, besides other platforms like the Al Badr and Al Shams, to actively thwart the freedom struggle and oppose the pro-liberation forces. They were notorious for their atrocities and extent of collaboration with the Pakistani occupation forces.

Mizanur Rahman's widow, Hafizur Rahman's sister-in-law, had informed the family of the murder. Hafizur Rahman had gone to Pirojpur with his father and sister and heard about what had happened first hand from Afzal.

"He told us that my brother was collaborating with the freedom fighters and was actively supporting the liberation forces. So he was killed along with others."

Afzal had taken his brother away in a car along with one Munnaf Razakar. Hafiz said Delwar Hossain was present in that car. "I heard later that this Delwar Hossain later became known as Delwar Hossain Sayedee."

Mizanul Islam began cross-examination and resumed it after the lunch recess. Manjur Ahmed Ansari concluded the witness interrogation.

Mizanul Islam asked the witness whether he had made his bar association pass a resolution that none of its members would be allowed to fight a case against him on behalf of the local indigenous communities with whom Hafizur Rahman had a dispute over property.

The witness denied the charge.

When pointed out that such a report had been published on July 26, 2009 in a widely circulated Bengali daily newspaper, the Narail Bar president said he had sent a rejoinder denying the allegations but it was never printed.

The witness also said, on being asked, that he never initiated any legal proceedings against the newspaper despite another allegation against him in the same report claiming that he was party to producing false documents relating to the ownership of the disputed property.

When suggested that the witness had agreed to testify in a false case against Sayedee at the directives of Awami League only so that he could run for MP with the ruling party's ticket, the former Jatiya Party MP said it was not true.

After conclusion of the cross-examination the prosecution began reading formal charges against Jamaat guru Ghulam Azam and finished reading 151 pages of 191.

The material covered on Monday dealt mostly with incitement committed by Ghulam Azam during 1971 when he was chief of Jamaat's East Pakistan unit.

There were numerous instances cited from newspapers reporting on Ghulam Azam's meetings with the Pakistani military junta of that time as well as his speeches at different party meetings.

Hearing of the formal charges against the former Jamaat chief will continue on Feb 22.

FIRST CASE TO TRIAL

Sayedee's is the first case to proceed to the trial stage at the tribunal. The prosecution on Sept 4 proposed framing of charges against him on 31 counts for crimes against humanity and genocide.

On Oct 3, the tribunal indicted Sayedee on 20 counts.

The tribunal also sent Jamaat's former chief Ghulam Azam to jail on Jan 11. His indictment hearing began on Feb 15 and the tribunal is expected to rule on a second bail petition on Feb 23.

Besides Sayedee, Jamaat chief Matiur Rahman Nizami, secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujaheed and assistant secretaries general Mohammad Kamaruzzaman and Abdul Quader Molla, and Bangladesh Nationalist Party's standing committee member and MP Salauddin Quader Chowdhury have been detained on war crimes charges.

The tribunal granted conditional bail to former BNP lawmaker and minister Abdul Alim on March 31 last year. The bail was extended further on Jan 16, ordering him to be present in the court on Mar 15 when the prosecution has been directed to submit formal charges against the BNP leader.

Ghulam Azam Lent Support to Tikka Khan
The Daily Star
February 21, 2012

Former Jamaat-e-Islami chief Ghulam Azam met General Tikka Khan at least twice after the Pakistani occupation forces massacred thousands of defenceless Bangalees on March 25, 1971 and assured him of full cooperation, the prosecution told the International Crimes Tribunal yesterday.

Prosecutor Zead Al Malum said the first meeting with the then East Pakistan governor general was held on April 4, 1971 at the governor's house in Dhaka where Azam met Tikka as part of a 12-member team.

The second was a private meeting of the duo, he added.

At the meetings, Azam termed the freedom fighters "armed intruders", proposed, in company of others, to form a Peace Committee, and promised to provide all-out assistance to the Pakistani army to maintain "law and order".

Malum said this while reading out the formal charges against Ghulam Azam before the tribunal.

Ghulam Azam, 89, is facing charges on 62 specific crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 war. He is one of the front men who actively helped the Pakistani military's attempt to foil the birth of Bangladesh.

The three-member tribunal headed by Justice Md Nizamul Huq continued hearing the formal charges against Azam for the third day yesterday.

The formal charges contain 191 pages and 151 of them have so far been read out before the tribunal, which is scheduled to hear the charges tomorrow.

Yesterday's reading covered mostly charges of incitement committed by Ghulam Azam during 1971 when he was chief of Jamaat's East Pakistan unit.

There were numerous instances cited from newspaper reporting on Ghulam Azam's meetings with the Pakistani military junta as well as his speeches at different party meetings.

Reading out from the charges, the prosecutor said Ghulam Azam referred to the movement for liberation as "loathed attack from India" while addressing different programmes.

As the ameer of East Pakistan's Jamaat-e-Islami, Azam was in an authoritative position. But he did not stop the Pakistani rulers or army from carrying out crimes against humanity, the prosecutor commented.

Therefore, he is not free from the charges, he added.

Earlier, Prosecutor Nurjahan Begum Mukta began reading out the formal charges. She gave examples of Azam's role as a superior leader in different crimes against humanity committed in 1971.

Azam was not brought to the tribunal yesterday from his prison cell at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University hospital due to his old age and physical weakness.

He is among six Jamaat and two BNP leaders now facing war crimes charges at the tribunal.

S Q Chy's Defence Seeks Six Charges Withdrawn
Bangladesh News 24
February 22, 2012

BNP MP Salauddin Quader Chowdhury's defence has appealed for the withdrawal of six of the 25 charges against him at the war crimes tribunal.

The International Crimes Tribunal, set up to try crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War, also concluded hearing the first part of formal charges against former Jamaat-e-Islami chief Ghulam Azam.

Prosecutor Zead-Al-Malum pleaded for some time to prepare for the second part, which the court agreed. Video clippings and certain other points will be presented before the tribunal in order to answer a few of the court's queries on Feb 27.

The first agenda of the day, hearing further witnesses in another case against Jamaat executive council member Delwar Hossain Sayedee did not take place as the prosecution could not produce the witness.

Prosecutor Syed Haider Ali told the court that the witness scheduled to testify had fallen sick and the doctors had prescribed complete bed rest. However, he mentioned that there was a possibility of having other witnesses on Thursday.

Ahsanul Haq and Fakhrul Islam placed the petition after the tribunal had finished hearing the 191-page formal charge against Ghulam Azam.

Haq was still making his arguments on the first petition that the tribunal had taken up for hearing when the court went into lunch recess.

Ahsanul Haq is also expected to argue for the BNP policymaker's bail with additional grounds on which the tribunal had agreed to hear him further although it had been disposed of earlier. That petition is expected to be taken up after hearing the current petition.

Also a former prime ministerial advisor on parliamentary affairs, when BNP chief Khaleda Zia was in office, SQ Chowdhury's senior counsel argued that since six cases were lodged against his client under the Collaborators Act of 1972 and since that act, Presidential Order No 8 or 1972, has been revoked, those cases should be dropped from the formal charge against Chowdhury.

Ahsanul Haq's argument revolved around the fact that since the Fifth Amendment to the constitution had been declared invalid, all its effects no longer exist either. He argued that since this amendment had repealed the Collaborators Act, cancellation of the amendment has brought back that law.

He pointed out that a section of the Collaborators Act stipulates that no other court can try cases under this law. Haq also contended there were no sections in the International Crimes Tribunal Act that allowed other cases to be shifted to this court.

The counsel from Chittagong also argued that this would further open up the possibility of double jeopardy -- meaning double trial for the same offence -- which the constitution forbids.

"Since that is the highest law of the country, there is no way of going beyond that."

Haq said, "It is my submission that the prosecution withdraws six of the 25 charges and save itself from embarrassment later on."

The counsellor further said that even the prosecution admitted to those cases being lodged against his client mentioning their details in the seizure list.

He told bdnews24.com during the recess, "Well, at least it would be six fewer charges for me to deal with. Better less than more!"

The prosecution submitted formal charges against Salauddin Quader on Nov 14, 2011 and the tribunal took them into cognisance three days later.

The Chittagong MP was shown arrested for war crimes charges on Dec 20, 2010 five days after his arrest.

The investigating agency submitted a 119-page report with around 8,000-page data report to the chief prosecutor on Oct 3 in a bid to prove allegations of war crimes during the 1971 Liberation War.

Besides Jamaat executive council member Delwar Hossain Sayedee whose case is the most advanced, Jamaat chief Matiur Rahman Nizami, secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujaheed and assistant secretaries general Mohammad Kamaruzzaman and Abdul Quader Molla, and Bangladesh Nationalist Party's standing committee member and MP Salauddin Quader Chowdhury have been detained on war crimes charges.

The tribunal has also sent Jamaat-e-Islami's former chief Ghulam Azam to jail on Jan 11. The second part of his formal charge hearing has been fixed on Feb 27.

Indictment hearings of Jamaat secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujaheed and the party's assistant secretary-general Mohammad Kamaruzzaman are set to begin later this month on Feb 23 and Feb 29 respectively.

The tribunal granted conditional bail to former BNP lawmaker and minister Abdul Alim on March 31 last year. The bail was extended further on Jan 16, ordering him to be present in the court on Mar 15 when the prosecution has been directed to submit formal charges against the BNP leader.

Ghulam Azam Hailed Pak Army Atrocities
The Daily Star
February 23, 2012

Former Jamaat-e-Islami chief Ghulam Azam gave frequent statements praising and supporting the atrocities of the Pakistani occupation forces during the Liberation War in 1971, the International Crimes Tribunal was told yesterday.

Reading out the formal charges against Ghulam Azam, the prosecution said he repeatedly praised the Pakistani army and its auxiliary forces for protecting "Pakistani ideologies" and holding back the "miscreants and insurgents devastating the country".

Ghulam Azam, 89, is facing charges on 62 specific crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 war. He is one of the front men who actively helped the Pakistani occupation forces' attempt to foil the birth of Bangladesh in 1971.

He had exclusive control over auxiliary forces, including the Peace Committee, Al Badr and Al Shams; and called for supplying the forces with modern arms so that they could effectively support the Pakistani army, the prosecution said, quoting a number of newspaper reports published in 1971.

The newspapers included the dailies Ittefaq, Sangram, Purbadesh, Pakistan and Azadi.

The three-member tribunal headed by Justice Md Nizamul Huq finished hearing the 191-page formal charges against Ghulam Azam yesterday.

Ghulam Azam was not brought to the tribunal yesterday from his prison cell at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University hospital. The court excused him from being present due to his old age and physical weakness.

The tribunal, however, ordered the police to produce him before the court on February 27 when the prosecution will present a number of video clips and slides showing Ghulam Azam's role during the Liberation War.

According to Prosecutor Zead Al Malum, the videos include 1971 news items from TV channels CBS, NBC, CNBC and BBC, which the prosecution have collected from the US.

The videos also include a US government documentary that US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues Stephen J Rapp had given to the prosecution on behalf of the US government, Malum told reporters following yesterday's court proceedings.

Ghulam Azam is among six Jamaat-e-Islami leaders and two BNP leaders now facing war crimes charges at the tribunal.

Chief Prosecutor Ghulam Arieff Tipoo along with prosecutors Saiful Islam, Nurjahan Begum Mukta and Zead Al Malum read out the formal charges before the tribunal yesterday.

"On June 18, 1971, while talking to journalists in Lahore airport, Ghulam Azam snubbed any possibilities of giving power to the elected officials, and pledged support to the Pakistani rulers to maintain peace," said Saiful Islam.

He had termed the pro-liberation people as "separatists" and called on to the government to hand arms to "reliable people" to save Pakistan's ideology, said Islam, adding that Ghulam Azam referred to the Jamaat-e-Islami, Al Badr and Al Shams members as reliable people.

Ghulam Azam gave a similar statement on at least three other occasions, according to the formal charges.

"On August 8, 1971, he called the insurgency 'Mir Jafari' [treachery similar to what Mir Jafar did to overthrow the last free nawab of Bangla] activities and a part of Indian conspiracy," said Nurjahan Begum Mukta, quoting news reports of the dailies Sangram, Purbadesh and Ittefaq.

On the same day, he thanked the Pakistani army for managing to hold back the "miscreants" in the face of "massive adversities", the prosecutor said.

Ghulam Azam also praised the role of peace committee members and collaborators; and called on the Bangalee Muslims to accept Pakistani ideologies if they wanted to "save their existence" on two other occasions, the prosecution said.

Later, prosecutor Zead Al Malum said 38 prisoners of Brahmanbaria jail including policeman Shiru Miah were killed on Ghulam Azam's orders.

"He held meetings with Abul Ala Maududi, Yahya Khan and Tikka Khan," said the prosecutor, adding that Ghulam Azam was involved in conspiring against innocent Bangalees and instigating assaults on them.

Reading out the concluding section of the formal charges, Chief Prosecutor Ghulam Arieff Tipoo prayed to the tribunal to take action against Ghulam Azam as per provision of the International Crimes Tribunal Act.

In his submission, Tipoo said the detained Jamaat leader had committed crimes against humanity and peace alongside genocide, killing and other grievous offences during the Liberation War.

TRIAL OF SAYEDEE

Earlier on the day, the tribunal adjourned until today the recording of prosecution witnesses' deposition against Jamaat Nayeb-e-Ameer Delawar Hossain Sayedee, who is also facing charges of crime against humanity at the tribunal.

The court passed the adjournment order since the scheduled prosecution witness did not appear before the tribunal due to personal difficulties.

Ghulam Azam Denied Bail Again
Bangladesh News 24
February 23, 2012

The war crimes tribunal has rejected the second bail petition for Jamaat --e-Islami guru Ghulam Azam.

The International Crimes Tribunal, set up to try crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War, said that it found no documents substantiating the former Jamaat chief's claim of deteriorating health.

Justice Nizamul Huq, chairman of the tribunal, stated in his order that charges had already been taken into cognisance and the court was currently in the middle of hearing formal charges. The order said that the prisoner had been in custody since Jan 11, 2012, which was not unreasonably long.

The order further noted the points that former Jamaat chief's counsel Abdur Razzaq had made during his arguments. Razzaq had elaborately listed the number of ailments that Azam is suffering from and that the 89-year old could not move freely.

Razzaq had also stated that Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University could not provide the kind of treatment that Ghulam Azam required. He had also argued about unreasonable detention and further added that there was no reason to believe that his client would be convicted based on the charges.

The chief prosecutor, Ghulam Arieff Tipoo, had pointed out that this man had become a symbol of war crimes in Bangladesh. Tipoo had said that Ghulam Azam was practically the springboard of anti-liberation forces like the Razakars, Al Badr, Al Shams and the infamous Peace Committees that he mobilised sitting at the helm of Jamaat in 1971 and also effectively controlling Jamaat's erstwhile student wing the Islami Chhatra Shangha.

Tipoo had also cited the example of another 89-year old war criminal, John Demjanjuk, a US resident who was extradited to Germany and jailed.

Demjanjuk was given five years in prison for his role as the guard of a Nazi concentration camp where over 28,000 Jews were killed.

The court said that the petitioner had been in jail since Jan 11 and it had not been more than a month and half, which could not be said to be "unreasonable".

Justice Huq stated in his order about Azam's supposedly worsening health. "We do not find new materials in support of the claim that his health condition is deteriorating."

The tribunal noted that the petitioner is accused to be the "mastermind" behind the establishment of the notorious auxiliary forces which collaborated with the Pakistani Army in 1971.

Tribunal chairman Justice Huq noted that Azam had been alleged to be instrumental in mobilising his party and its student cadres into establishing the Al Badr, Al Shams, Razakars and the Peace Committees across the country which perpetrated numerous criminal activities. Azam also allegedly incited mass killing and he notedly demanded arms from Pakistan government during the war for Razakar units, according to the charges.

Justice Huq said that the Bangabandhu medical university was among the best hospitals in the country. "There is no other place in Bangladesh that can provide better treatment."

The order finally stated that the court was not inclined to enlarge Ghulam Azam on bail at this stage of the trial.

Abdur Razzaq immediately started his submissions seeking permission of the court to supply home-cooked food to Azam.

While Justice Nizamul Huq pointed out that the matter of food quality had nothing to do with the tribunal and that the counsel should instead go to the appeals forum under the prison rules instead of coming to him.

Abdur Razzaq said his client was under the jurisdiction of the tribunal. "There is no place in God's earth that we can turn to."

However, the tribunal chief told the lawyer that this was a simple matter of the prison regulations and senior defence counsel should perhaps first seek permission from jail authorities and this court may rule on the matter only afterwards.

As such, the matter was left pending for another week. Huq fixed next Thursday (March 1) for further hearing.

On Dec 12, the prosecution brought a 52-point charter of charges against Azam and appealed for his arrest. Later, following the tribunal order, charges were re-arranged and presented to the tribunal on Jan 5.

He was produced before the tribunal by its order on Jan 11 and sent to jail on the same day. Since that evening Ghulam Azam has been shifted to the prison cell of the Bangabandhu medical university for better treatment considering his delicate health.

Azam had allegedly also spoke in favour of Pakistan to the Middle Eastern countries during the war, according to the prosecution.

He stayed in London for seven years after 1971 and returned to Bangladesh in 1978 during Ziaur Rahman's rule. Having led Jamaat for long, Azam retired from active politics in 1999.

The second of part of Azam's formal charges will be presented to the court on Feb 27 in the form video clippings from presumably historical footage.

Sayedee Case Adjourned Till March 4
Bangladesh News 24
February 23, 2012

The war crimes tribunal on Thursday adjourned the case against Jamaat leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee till Mar 4.

Prosecutor Syed Haider Ali appealed for time as he was unable to produce the 28th witnesses in a case against the Jamaat-e-Islami executive council member.

The International Crimes Tribunal, set up to try war crimes of 1971 Liberation War, indicted Sayedee on Oct 3 last year on 20 counts of crimes, including murder, rape, arson and loot.

Interestingly, tribunal chairman justice Nizamul Huq preempted the prosecutor even before he could speak. "Your witness didn't come and you need more time. Is that it?" Huq asked.

Haider Ali could not but meekly agree.

"It has become a common submission; nothing new," the tribunal chief remarked. "I want you to give a date, and this time a firm date on which you will be able to produce your witness."

The prosecution has been facing problems with witnesses and has repeatedly failed to produce witness.

But prosecutor Haider Ali said he could not give a fixed date for certain: "They have a lot of problems to come on a certain date. But I will try."

"What do you mean try?" Huq asked, to which Haider Ali replied: "What more can one do? All I can do is try."

At this, tribunal member judge A K M Zaheer Ahmed remarked, "I think it would be best if you set a date and let us know. That way there will not be any imposition from our part."

As Haider Ali left it to the "court's convenience", Zaheer Ahmed said, "Don't worry about our convenience. At least two of us will always be here."

Addressing his tribunal colleague, justice Huq said, "Even one is good enough; any day is convenient for us."

'BRING WITNESSES TO DHAKA'

Continuing to address the prosecutor, justice Huq suggested that Haider Ali should bring as many witnesses as possible to Dhaka because the tribunal has already given the order for witness protection and other necessary matters.

"We have given the order and you have the authority," he said. "Bring them to Dhaka and produce them here one by one."

Huq also told the prosecutor that he would also have to think about how many witnesses the prosecution would depose for the case. The prosecutor replied that he had indeed given the matter some thought and would proceed accordingly.

As the judge indicated the prosecution's problem with producing witnesses, Haider Ali told Nizamul Huq, "But I have not asked for time on too many occasions. This is only the third time I am praying for time."

Specifying that for the tribunal it was the prosecution and not individuals, the tribunal adjourned proceedings till Mar 4.

FIRST CASE TO TRIAL

Sayedee's is the first case to proceed to the trial stage at the tribunal. The prosecution on Sept 4 proposed framing of charges against him on 31 counts for crimes against humanity and genocide.

The tribunal indicted Sayedee on 20 counts on Oct 3 last year.

The tribunal also sent Jamaat's former chief Ghulam Azam to jail on Jan 11. His indictment hearing began on Feb 15 and the tribunal rejected his second bail petition on Thursday.

Besides Sayedee, Jamaat chief Matiur Rahman Nizami, secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujaheed and assistant secretaries general Mohammad Kamaruzzaman and Abdul Quader Molla, and Bangladesh Nationalist Party's standing committee member and MP Salauddin Quader Chowdhury have been detained on war crimes charges.

The tribunal granted conditional bail to former BNP lawmaker and minister Abdul Alim on March 31 last year. The bail was extended further on Jan 16, ordering him to be present in the court on Mar 15 when the prosecution has been directed to submit formal charges against the BNP leader.

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NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA

United States

Appeals Court Won't Hear Guantanamo Suicide Suit
Associated Press
By Nedra Pickler
February 21, 2012

An appellate court ruled Tuesday that the families of two Guantanamo detainees who the government says hanged themselves in their cells cannot sue for damages in U.S. courts.

The families of the detainees claimed former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other U.S. officials were responsible for the deaths in 2006 and sued for unspecified money damages. They say the detainees died after being subject to arbitrary detention, torture, inhuman treatment, violations of the Geneva Conventions and cruel and unusual punishment at the U.S. detention center.

Three conservative judges on the federal appeals court in Washington ruled that U.S. courts lack the authority to consider lawsuits related to treatment of Guantanamo detainees under the Military Commissions Act passed by Congress in 2006. They said the Supreme Court has given federal judges only the authority to determine whether detainees are being properly held or should be released.

The judges wrote that although the families argued the Military Commissions Act's failure to allow treatment suits is unconstitutional because it does not provide a way to challenge violations of constitutional rights, "the only remedy they seek is money damages, and, as the government rightly argues, such remedies are not constitutionally required." The judges who issued the opinion were David Sentelle and Stephen Williams, both nominated by President Ronald Reagan, and President George H.W. Bush nominee Raymond Randolph.

Yasser Al-Zahrani and Salah Ali Abdullah Ahmed Al-Salami were among three men who the military said were found hanging in their cells by their bed sheets in June 2006. Military investigators said suicide notes found in their pockets expressed their desire for martyrdom, while the lawsuit raises doubts about the official explanation that they killed themselves and says the cause of death remains an open question.

"The court's decision today means that men like them can be tortured and even killed at the hands of U.S. officials, and no court can have anything to say about it," said Pardiss Kebriaei, who argued the case for the families before the appeals court.

The three were the first of six prisoners who have died in apparent suicides since the detention center opened on the U.S. base in Cuba in January 2002. Two other prisoners have died from what officials said were natural causes.

Al-Zahrani, 22 years old when he died, was from Saudi Arabia and captured in Afghanistan in late 2001, according to the suit by the men's families. Al-Salami, 37, was from Yemen and arrested by local forces in Pakistan in March 2002. The lawsuit says both had gone on long hunger strikes to protest their imprisonment and treatment.

The suit was filed on their families' behalf by the New-York based Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents dozens of detainees. The group said the family of the third detainee, 30-year-old Saudi Mani Shaman Al-Utaybi, did not want to participate in the suit.

High-value Guantanamo Bay Detainee Majid Khan, in First, Reaches Plea Deal
Washington Post
By Peter Finn
February 22, 2012

A former Baltimore area resident held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has reached a plea agreement with military prosecutors that calls for him to testify at the trials of other detainees in exchange for a much-reduced sentence and eventual freedom, according to officials familiar with the case.

The plea agreement with Majid Khan, 31, is the first with a high-value detainee who was previously held by the CIA at a secret prison overseas.

Khan's plea agreement could mark the beginning of an effort to accelerate the number of military commission cases by the new chief military prosecutor, Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, who assumed his position in October.

"What we are beginning to see are the fruits of putting General Martins in as chief, and he is bringing rigor, professionalism and energy to" a system that was stalled, said Charles "Cully" D. Stimson a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs in the George W. Bush administration and now a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation. "You would expect cases to start flowing, and one part of that is pleas."

There are 171 detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay, and an Obama administration task force had recommended that 36 of them be prosecuted in federal court or military commissions.

Khan was charged this month with war crimes, including murder, attempted murder, spying and providing material support for terrorism. Unusually, the case was almost immediately referred to a commission, signaling that a deal was in the works. Such referrals typically take weeks or months.

Khan was captured in Pakistan in March 2003. He vanished into the CIA's network of prisons until President Bush announced in September 2006 that Khan and 13 other high-profile detainees, including Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, had been transferred to Guantanamo Bay.

Khan's June 2008 detainee assessment at Guantanamo Bay found him to be a high risk to the United States and its allies, a low detention threat, and of "high intelligence value."

In recent days, Khan, a Pakistani citizen who was a legal U.S. resident, was moved out of the top-security Camp 7, which houses the high-value detainees, in anticipation of an arraignment next week at which he will enter a guilty plea, said the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity in advance of the hearing.

Khan has agreed, if requested, to testify at military commission trials in the next four years, and he would then be eligible to be transferred to Pakistan at some point after that, the officials said. Khan has a wife and daughter in Pakistan.

The officials would not specify the amount of time Khan would serve if he fulfills his obligations under the agreement.

"There is an arraignment next week, and Mr . Khan has every right to enter any motion," said Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale, a Pentagon spokesman.

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TOPICS

Terrorism

Indonesia Court Accuses Militant in Bali Blasts
The New York Times
By Sara Schonhardt
February 13, 2012

An Indonesian court on Monday indicted Umar Patek on charges including premeditated murder for his alleged role in the 2002 terrorist bombings on the resort island of Bali.

Mr. Patek is believed to be a leading member of the radical movement Jemaah Islamiyah, an Al Qaeda splinter group blamed for the Bali bombings that killed 202 people.

Mr. Patek is one of the last remaining suspects in the Bali blast and security analysts say his trial is important because of its potential to reveal crucial information about the links between Al Qaeda and its affiliated terror networks in Southeast Asia.

His extradition in August from Pakistan, where security forces had arrested him seven months earlier near Abbottabad, the town where United States Navy Seals killed Osama bin Laden last May, was considered a boon for Indonesian intelligence.

Prosecutors have also charged Mr. Patek with illegally possessing firearms and explosives and concealing information about other terrorist acts.

Iraqi–Born Islamist Cleric in Norway Terror Trial
Fox News
February 15, 2012

An Iraqi–born cleric pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of making death threats against politicians and encouraging suicide bombings.

Prosecutors said Mullah Krekar, a 55–year–old Islamist who came to Norway as a refugee in 1991, faces several years in prison if found guilty by Oslo District Court.

Since his arrival, Krekar has made frequent trips to Iraq where in 2001 he founded the Kurdish Ansar al–Islam, a group suspected of organizing suicide bombings against coalition forces in Iraq, and listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and other nations.

In 2005, a Norwegian court declared Krekar a national security threat and ordered him deported, but later postponed the move because of concerns he could face execution or torture in Iraq.

In June 2010, Krekar said at a news conference organized by the foreign press club in Oslo that if he were deported to Iraq and killed, Norwegian officials would "pay with their lives," according to a transcript included in the indictment presented in court.

"If I die it will be the beginning of killings," he said, according to the transcript.

Prosecutor Marit Bakkevig said Krekar had violated Norwegian terror laws by "threatening to commit murder for the purpose of creating fear in the society," which carries a maximum 12–year sentence. "The statements appear as persistent threats," she told the court.

Krekar is also charged with trying to force a reversal of the deportation order by threatening officials, or obstructing the government from performing its duties, with a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.

In addition, he has allegedly threatened several people on various websites, including three Kurds living in Norway, the prosecution said.

In 2009, on NBC's news program "The Wanted," Krekar said that America had deserved the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, and condoned suicide bombings against Americans in Iraq. Because the interviews were conducted in Norway, he is being tried in the Scandinavian country for these statements.

By condoning suicide bombings, he was charged with "publicly encouraging illegal actions," which has a maximum eight–year sentence.

The prosecution told the court that Norwegian security police initiated the investigation of Krekar after the NBC interviews.

During the proceedings, court officials were shown several TV clips of Krekar, including the NBC program, causing the bearded cleric to occasionally smile and at times shake his head. The clips were not visible to the public.

Krekar has said that he stands by the statements he made to the journalists. But his lawyer, Brynjar Meling, said he is discussing with Bakkevig about modifying how Krekar's alleged threats are described in the transcripts. "Some of the translations are absolutely wrong," Meling told The Associated Press.

Meling insists Krekar has not broken the law.

"It should not be looked upon as threats," Meling said.

Meling said this is "a test case" for drawing the line between Norwegian terror laws and freedom of speech.

The gray–robed Krekar appeared calm, making notes during the first day of the trial, expected to last three weeks.

Krekar, who told the court he lives at a secret address and has no job, has denied links to Al Qaeda and says he no longer leads Ansar al–Islam, an Al Qaeda–linked group, which has vowed to set up a conservative Islamic state in northern Iraq. Its members have trained in Afghanistan and provided safe haven to Al Qaeda members fleeing the U.S. invasion there.

Police File for First Ever Prosecution of Terror Suspects in Czech Rep.
CZECHPOSITION.com
By Tom Jones
February 15, 2012

The Czech police's anti–organized crime unit (ÚOOZ) has completed an investigation into eight suspected members of a terrorist cell arrested in Prague and Berlin last spring. The group is reportedly linked to Jamaat Shariat — a terrorist organization that seeks to establish an Islamic state under Sharia Law in Russia's North Caucasus region.

"On Tuesday we received the case materials," Prague 2 head prosecutor Tomás Bláha told TV Nova, adding that a decision on whether to prosecute the suspects will be taken by mid–March.

According to the station, ÚOOZ — which is also responsible for countering terrorism — had passed their findings to the State Prosecution Service with a recommendation to prosecute four suspects on terrorism charges. If the the service decides to prosecute in line with the police's recommendations, the first trial on terrorism charges in the Czech Republic's post–communist history will follow.

Russia's FSB intelligence agency concluded that Jamaat Shariat leader Magomedal Vagarov, killed resisting arrest in August 2010, was the main organizer of the double suicide bombings in the Moscow metro in March 2010 in which 40 people were killed and over 100 injured. Mariam Sharipova, Vagarov's wife and widow of another former Jamaat Shariat leader, Umalat Magomed (killed by special forces in December 2009), was one of the suicide bombers in the Moscow attacks.

ÚOOZ spokesman Pavel Hanták confirmed to Czech Position that the terrorism suspects are also suspected of forging travel and identification documents or knowingly handling or using such documents, along with another three people still in custody since last spring.

Hanták said it was uncertain that the three who ÚOOZ has recommended be prosecuted only on forgery charges were aware the false documents and ID papers would be used by members of a terrorist organization. ÚOOZ previously said the forged documents, reportedly including counterfeit Bulgarian passports, were of very high quality.

According to initial reports from last May, Czech police on April 6, 2011, arrested two Bulgarian nationals, a Moldovan, and three Russian citizens — one of Chechen ethnicity and two from Dagestan — while German police (with whom they were sharing information) arrested two Russian nationals in Berlin, after conducting surveillance of the suspects for over two years. In addition to the forged documents, weapons including machine guns and hand grenades were reportedly seized in Prague when the suspects were arrested.

Hanták said that of the four recommended for prosecution on terrorism charges, three are Russian nationals and one Moldovan, and two of those three Russian citizens were arrested in Berlin.

Thai Police Seek 5th Suspect after Bombings
CNN
By Kocha Olarn
February 17, 2012

Thai police want to arrest another Iranian allegedly behind the bombs in Bangkok, a fifth member of a group they say intended to strike Israeli diplomats.

Authorities plan to seek a court warrant for Nikkhahfard Javad, a 52–year–old man who was seen leaving the Bangkok building where the first blast took place on Tuesday, Police Maj. Gen. Anuchai Lekbumrung said Friday.

A Thai criminal court already has issued arrest warrants for four Iranians.

The Bangkok blasts went off a day after a device attached to an Israeli Embassy van in New Delhi exploded, wounding four people. Another device, found on an embassy car in Tbilisi, Georgia's capital, was safety detonated.

The Thai National Security Council has drawn a tentative link between the bombs in Bangkok and those in India and Georgia, saying the materials used in the explosive devices were similar.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blamed Tehran for the attacks. But Iran has denied the accusation, saying that "Israeli agents are often the perpetrators of such terrorist acts."

Indian police said Thursday that they have not established an Iranian tie to the New Delhi bombing.

Thai authorities have said they are holding three Iranian suspects –– Saeid Moradi, 28, whose legs were blown off by his own bomb –– and Mohammad Hazaei, 42, who was taken into custody Tuesday at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport as he tried to board a plane to Malaysia. Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, 31, was arrested Wednesday by Malaysian authorities in Kuala Lumpur.

All three face charges that include joint assembling of explosive devices, joint possession of explosive devices without permits and causing an explosion injuring other persons. Moradi also faces charges of attempted killing of state officials on duty and the intentional attempted killing of other persons.

A fourth Iranian, a woman identified as Rohani Leila, remained at large. She is suspected of renting the house where the first device exploded, apparently by accident.

Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim group active in Lebanon that the United States views as a terrorist organization, has denied involvement in the bombs in Thailand, India and Georgia.

"We are not afraid to say that we had nothing to do with these explosions," Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, said in a televised address from an undisclosed location in Lebanon. Hezbollah has received financial and political assistance, as well as weapons and training, from Iran.

Nasrallah denied that the anniversary of the death of a Hezbollah commander Imad Mugniyah in 2008 in an explosion in Damascus, Syria, had inspired the attacks –– a theory posited by some security analysts.

Thai authorities have said that they do not believe Hezbollah is connected to the bombings in Bangkok.

Last month, Thai authorities charged a Lebanese man they said they believed was a member of Hezbollah with possession of explosive materials. The police charged the man, Atris Hussein, after finding outside Bangkok "initial chemical materials that could produce bombs."

The authorities said they believed Hussein was trying to attack spots in Bangkok popular with Western tourists.

Lawyer for Indonesian Terrorism Suspect Rejects Murder Charge
CNN
By Kathy Quiano
February 20, 2012

The lawyer for Umar Patek, an Indonesian man accused of assembling the bombs used in the 2002 Bali attacks, argued Monday that his client was not directly involved in the planning of the bombings, contesting a murder charge from prosecutors.

Patek faces several charges including premeditated murder, which carries the death penalty if he is convicted. The bombings on the Indonesian resort island of Bali killed 202 people, including foreign tourists.

The 44–year–old Patek was one of Indonesia's most wanted terrorists, with a $1 million bounty on his head from the U.S. government's "Rewards for Justice" program.

He doesn't deny helping assemble the bombs used in the Bali attack but was unaware how they would ultimately be used, said his lawyer, Asludin Hatjani.

The prosecution's charges are "vague and far from the truth," Hatjani said Monday after appearing in court. The defense is also arguing that an anti–terrorism law introduced in Indonesia in 2003 cannot be used retroactively for the 2002 attacks.

Prosecutors have used several articles under the penal code, the emergency rule law and the 2003 anti–terrorism law to charge Patek.

After almost a decade on the run, Patek was arrested on January 25, 2011, in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A few months after his capture, U.S. Navy SEALs found and killed al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in the Pakistani city. Patek was extradited to Indonesia in August.

He had been planning to travel from Pakistan to Afghanistan, his lawyer said.

Patek's trial, which is expected to go on for months, began last week. It adjourned Monday for another week.

Indonesian authorities allege that Patek admitted his role in the Bali attacks to investigators, saying he helped assemble the explosives.

He also faces charges of bringing in illegal weapons; giving weapons and explosives training; and planning and assembling explosives for church bombings in Jakarta in 2000.

Patek is one of the last figures associated with a splinter group of the terror network Jemaah Islamiyah, responsible for the Bali bombings and other major attacks on Indonesian soil.

Many in that group, like Patek, trained and fought in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the early 1990s and were deeply influenced by bin Laden's teachings.

Three of the masterminds of the Bali bombings –– Imam Samudra, Amrozi bin Nurhasyim and Ali Ghufron –– were executed in 2008.

Patek fled to Mindanao in the southern Philippines with several other Indonesian militants. One of them was Dulmatin, another former JI member, who returned to Indonesia and helped set up a military–style training camp in province of Aceh. He was killed in a police raid just outside Jakarta in October 2010.

Patek returned to Indonesia from the Philippines in 2009. Prosecutors allege he was involved in preparing firearms for the Aceh training camp, a charge the defense disputes.

"Patek was only in transit in Indonesia and was not involved in training of firearms," said Hatjani. "He was there to attend a wedding and he didn't even see the firearms."

Indonesian authorities have tried and convicted hundreds of terrorists since the 2002 Bali bombings. The arrests of senior militants with combat experience have weakened the terror network and its capability to launch major attacks.

According to recent reports by the International Crisis Group, the terror threat in the country remains but has shifted to attacks on Indonesian authorities, with smaller groups or radicalized individuals targeting the police.

Costly Terror Trial Ends with Acquittals
CNN
By Peter Taggart
February 22, 2012

One of Northern Ireland's biggest and most expensive terrorist trials ended Wednesday with 12 of 13 defendants cleared of all charges against them, including murder, kidnapping and having guns.

The suspected members of the pro–British or loyalist paramilitary group the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) were being tried at Belfast Crown Court on the word of two self–confessed UVF members, brothers David and Robert Stewart.

Nine of the accused were acquitted of murdering paramilitary leader Tommy English in October 2000. The 40–year–old Ulster Defence Association (UDA) member was gunned down in front of his wife and young children on Halloween night during a bloody feud between rival groups.

The Stewart brothers admitted to their part in English's killing and agreed to testify to get a reduced sentence. The so–called "supergrass" non–jury trial started in September 2011 but Wednesday ended with the judge branding the prosecution witnesses "unreliable."

Justice John Gillen said the Stewarts were "ruthless terrorists who had lived on a daily diet of lies."

Up to 200 people including armed police were in the courtroom, and supporters cheered when the not guilty verdicts were read out. A spokesman for the UVF–linked Progressive Unionist Party, Ken Wilkinson, said the proceedings had been "a show trial" which had cost "in the region of 20 million pounds" (approximately $31 million).

He added, "The supergrass system failed in the 1980s and it has failed today." Supergrass is a slang term for an informer.

The one defendant convicted of any offenses was found guilty of possession of a sledgehammer intended for use in terrorism and intending to pervert justice.

One of those cleared of murder is alleged loyalist leader Mark Haddock, who had been accused of ordering the death of UDA boss English. Haddock, aged 43, had been named as a police agent in a 2007 report on the UVF by former Northern Ireland police ombudsman Nuala O'Loan. O'Loan said a UVF gang based in the Mount Vernon estate in north Belfast had been involved in up to 15 murders and that the Northern Ireland police special branch unit had allowed informers within the Mount Vernon group to act with impunity.

The Ulster Volunteer Force and Ulster Defence Association were responsible for the killings of hundreds of people during the conflict between pro–British and pro–Irish forces in Northern Ireland over a 30–year period known as the Troubles. Most of their victims were Catholic civilians. The groups have remained active since the signing of the Good Friday peace agreement in 1998.

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Piracy

Denmark Hands Suspected Somali Pirates to Kenya for Trial
Agence France-Presse
February 18, 2012

The four Somalis, who were taken aboard the Danish naval vessel patrolling the pirate–infested waters off the coast of the anarchic Horn of African nation on January 7, arrived by airplane in Kenya's port city Mombasa.

"We are happy the Kenyan government has agreed to try the suspected pirates on their soil," Danish foreign ministry official Tomas Konigsfeldt said, after the suspects were handed over to Kenyan police.

Denmark had previously sought to hand the men to the Seychelles for prosecution under an agreement that allows regional countries to try suspected pirates, but the Indian Ocean island turned down the request.

"We call upon other countries which signed the agreement to allow suspected pirates tried on their land too," said Konigsfeldt.

Kenya has already tried and convicted several Somali pirates. The four are expected to appear in court in Mombasa on Monday.

Danish warships are patrolling the seas off Somalia as part of an international anti–piracy force to protect commercial shipping.

Two decades of lawlessness have carved up Somalia into mini–fiefdoms ruled by gunmen and militia, encouraging rampant piracy.

Britain's Anti-Piracy 'Conveyor Belt' Stretches from Somalia to Seychelles and Back
The Telegraph
By Mike Pflanz
February 22, 2012

Near the top of the highest peak in the Seychelles, with views of the azure Indian Ocean and miles of white–sand beaches, stands a small single–storey prison that is now a far–flung outpost of Britain's lead role prosecuting Somalia's pirates.

Within the walls of Montagne Possé, six officers from Her Majesty's Prison Service are helping to guard 88 men accused of robbery on the high seas.

The prison's British deputy–superintendent, Will Thurbin, was, until a little over a year ago, Governor of HMP Parkhurst on the Isle of Wight.

Down off the mountain in the archipelago's capital, two lawyers on secondment from the Crown Prosecution Service in London handle all pirate trials on behalf of the Seychelles' attorney–general.

More than 5,000 miles from home, these six men and three women are part of a British–funded "conveyor belt" that sees pirates arrested by the Royal Navy, guarded by British prison officers, tried by CPS prosecutors and sentenced to prisons built with British money. Britain has also paid for sophisticated new surveillance equipment for the country's coast guard and even the Seychellois Police sniffer dogs were trained in Surrey.

Britain has already spent £9 million — more than any other nation, and a quarter of all United Nations Indian Ocean counter–piracy funds — to train prison staff, help upgrade cells or build new prisons, and to improve local lawyers' expertise in the Seychelles, Somalia and Kenya.

That funding is necessary because under European human rights law and international legal standards, pirates arrested at sea must be transferred to countries that will give them a fair trial and house them in decent prisons.

Without the improvements, existing facilities will become swamped and suspected pirates would simply be released back to Somalia, reinforcing what one British diplomat in the region called "their sense of invulnerability".

Joel Morgan, the Seychelles' home affairs minister, told The Daily Telegraph that Britain's role in helping his country combat piracy was "very significant". A new intelligence–sharing scheme was agreed yesterday between the two countries, named RAPPICC.

"That came about thanks principally to Britain, and other countries must now make their efforts to join into the scheme so that it truly can achieve the goals it has set out," he said. "The UK has been a very strong partner in the whole process from our point of view and the British government, its military and its High Commission here have all been exemplary in the way they have come to help."

Almost a fifth of the 500 prisoners being held at Montagne Possé in the Seychelles are Somali pirates, either awaiting trial or already serving their sentences.

For Mr. Thurbin, Britain's lead role in bringing Indian Ocean prisons up to international standards is "wise economics."

"It's that discussion, what is prison for, and for me whether you are a Somali, a Seychellois, or you're in Britain, it's about rehabilitation," he said.

"The public perception of pirates is quite often lock them up and throw away the key. The reality is that at some point this person will be back on the streets, or on the seas, again. My argument is, while I've got a captive audience, I work with them to help them better themselves so that when they are released, they are less of a risk to the public."

Michael Mulkerrins, one of the two CPS lawyers assigned to the Seychelles, said the mentoring and expertise brought by he and his colleague, Charlie Brown, would allow more prosecutions in the future. "By having us here, I think we can say that the Seychelles will now and in the future have a great deal more confidence to take on more pirate cases," he said.

A key barrier to that, however, has been the lack of prison facilities in Somalia itself. Facilities in the Seychelles and Kenya are already full, and both are struggling to take any more than a trickle of newly arrested pirates.

But a new prison built by the UN and with £600,000 of British money will open next year in the central Somali town of Garowe, in the country's semi–autonomous region of Puntland. It will house up to 500 convicted pirates.

Major upgrades to prisons in Hargeisa, in Somaliland, and Bossaso, in Puntland — both more than half funded by Britain — will also soon begin taking prisoners transferred from the Seychelles.

This will allow the Seychelles, for example, breathing space to refocus on what Mr. Morgan called "pirate king–pins".

The support of Britain and other countries for counter–piracy projects, including funding prosecution and imprisonment, was "critical", said Alan Cole, head of the UNODC's office in Nairobi. "It gives the international community the ability to say there is no impunity for pirates, that arrest and prosecutions will continue, and that they will ensure Somalia is assisted to play its part in that process," he said.

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Universal Jurisdiction

Former Rwandan Prosecutor Released on Bail in Belgium
Hirondelle News Agency
February 20, 2012

A Belgian court ordered on February 17 the release on bail of Mathias Bushishi, a former Rwandan Prosecutor who allegedly participated in the 1994 genocide.

Bushishi was arrested in Brussels in April 2011 following an international arrest warrant for war crimes and genocide issued by Rwanda. He is accused of helping to plan and coordinate massacres of Tutsis in the Butare region. He will be tried in Belgium under a law of "universal jurisdiction" that allows the national courts to hear cases of crimes against humanity.

The Belgian court ruled that there were sufficient guarantees for Bushishi, who has been living in Belgium with his family since 1999, to be temporarily released. His bail was set at 7,500 Euros, and he will be subjected to legal restrictions pending his trial.

Three other Rwandans were arrested with Bushishi in 2011 in Belgium. They have already been released on bail.

However, a fourth Rwandan held in Belgium since last year, Fabien Neretse, the former head of the Rwandan coffee office, remains in custody.

Neretse, 54, was arrested in France on June 30 and turned over to Belgium on account of a European arrest warrant issued on June 24 in Brussels. He is suspected of involvement in the April 9, 1994 murder in Kigali of Claire Beckers, the Belgian wife of a Rwandan.

The judges considered that the risk Neretse would escape justice was too high.

No trial is expected before 2013.

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Gender Based Violence

UN Report on Sexual Violence During Conflict Singles Out Worst Offenders
The UN News Centre
February 23, 2012

The annual United Nations report documenting conflict–related sexual violence around the world today for the first time names some of the military forces, militia and other armed groups that are suspected of being among the worst offenders.

The groups listed in the report include the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in the Central African Republic (CAR) and in South Sudan, armed militia groups and former armed forces in Côte d'Ivoire, and the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The report provides examples of how sexual violence has threatened security and impeded peacebuilding in post–conflict situations, such as in Chad, CAR, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Timor–Leste, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and how it has been used in the context of elections, political strife and civil unrest in Egypt, Guinea, Kenya and Syria, among others.

"Conflict–related sexual violence is not specific to one country or continent: it is a global risk. The terror of unarmed women facing armed men is age–old and universal," said the Secretary–General's Special Representative Margot Wallström, who presented the report to the Security Council in New York.

The report stresses that over the past year there have been several new and ongoing armed conflicts where sexual violence was widespread and, in some instances, may have been systematically targeted at civilians by armed forces and armed groups with the intent of punishing, and humiliating the population.

"Wars have entered the marketplaces where women trade; they follow children en route to school; and haunt the prison cells where political activists are detained," Ms. Wallström told the Council, adding that when rape is part of political coercion it threatens collective peace and security with long–term consequences.

The report highlights the need to put measures and frameworks in place not just to address sexual violence in conflict but to prevent it, and outlines various UN initiatives that seek to identify early warning signs of sexual violence, and to ensure that peace agreements address this issue so it is not repeated in the future.

"The terms of the debate have shifted from reacting to sexual violence like any other tragedy, to preventing it like any other threat. Instead of talking about women's wartime suffering — year after year after year — protection mechanisms have been established. Instead of seeing the same few women — in meeting after meeting — we are building a broad coalition," Ms. Wallström said.

Ms. Wallström also emphasized the need to protect not only women and children but also men from sexual violence. She expressed particular concern about the reported sexual abuse of men in detention in Syria as a method of extracting intelligence.

The report, which covers the period from December 2010 to November 2011, also underscores the importance of ensuring that sexual violence does not continue in post–conflict situations, as there are many cases when this type of violence will prevail long after wars have ended.

"As a process of intimidation, targeted rape is often a precursor to conflict, as well as the last weapon to be relinquished in its wake. It is important not to exclude from consideration sexual violence that continues after the guns fall silent," she said.

Under–Secretary–General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous and Amina Megheirbi from the Non–Governmental Organization (NGO) Working Group on Women, Peace and Stability also addressed the Council, with representatives of more than 40 Member States slated to speak later.

Mr. Ladsous highlighted various UN missions that are working with governments to empower women and implement measure to prevent sexual violence. He stressed that accountability and political will from Member States is essential, and called on all countries to commit to mandates that protect women and integrate them into political life.

Ms. Megheirbi echoed Mr. Ladsous' remarks, arguing that without full participation of women in society and ending of impunity for those who have committed sexual crimes, there cannot be lasting peace and stability.

Following the discussion, the Security Council reaffirmed its commitment to the implementation of several resolutions on women and peace and security in a statement issued by Ambassador Kodjo Menan of Togo, which holds the rotating Council presidency this month.

The Security Council stressed the importance of prevention, early warning, and effective response to sexual violence when it is used as a war tactic, and urged all parties to conflict to comply with their obligations under international law.

The Council also called on Member States to work with the UN to increase their access to health care, psychosocial support, legal assistance and socio–economic reintegration services for victims of sexual violence. In addition, the Council reiterated women's vital role in conflict resolution and peacebuilding, noting that under–representation in these areas must be addressed.

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REPORTS

United Nations Reports

UN Report on Sexual Violence During Conflict Singles Out Worst Offenders
The UN News Centre
February 23, 2012

The annual United Nations report documenting conflict–related sexual violence around the world today for the first time names some of the military forces, militia and other armed groups that are suspected of being among the worst offenders.

The groups listed in the report include the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in the Central African Republic (CAR) and in South Sudan, armed militia groups and former armed forces in Côte d'Ivoire, and the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The report provides examples of how sexual violence has threatened security and impeded peacebuilding in post–conflict situations, such as in Chad, CAR, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Timor–Leste, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and how it has been used in the context of elections, political strife and civil unrest in Egypt, Guinea, Kenya and Syria, among others.

"Conflict–related sexual violence is not specific to one country or continent: it is a global risk. The terror of unarmed women facing armed men is age–old and universal," said the Secretary–General's Special Representative Margot Wallström, who presented the report to the Security Council in New York.

The report stresses that over the past year there have been several new and ongoing armed conflicts where sexual violence was widespread and, in some instances, may have been systematically targeted at civilians by armed forces and armed groups with the intent of punishing, and humiliating the population.

"Wars have entered the marketplaces where women trade; they follow children en route to school; and haunt the prison cells where political activists are detained," Ms. Wallström told the Council, adding that when rape is part of political coercion it threatens collective peace and security with long–term consequences.

The report highlights the need to put measures and frameworks in place not just to address sexual violence in conflict but to prevent it, and outlines various UN initiatives that seek to identify early warning signs of sexual violence, and to ensure that peace agreements address this issue so it is not repeated in the future.

"The terms of the debate have shifted from reacting to sexual violence like any other tragedy, to preventing it like any other threat. Instead of talking about women's wartime suffering — year after year after year — protection mechanisms have been established. Instead of seeing the same few women — in meeting after meeting — we are building a broad coalition," Ms. Wallström said.

Ms. Wallström also emphasized the need to protect not only women and children but also men from sexual violence. She expressed particular concern about the reported sexual abuse of men in detention in Syria as a method of extracting intelligence.

The report, which covers the period from December 2010 to November 2011, also underscores the importance of ensuring that sexual violence does not continue in post–conflict situations, as there are many cases when this type of violence will prevail long after wars have ended.

"As a process of intimidation, targeted rape is often a precursor to conflict, as well as the last weapon to be relinquished in its wake. It is important not to exclude from consideration sexual violence that continues after the guns fall silent," she said.

Under–Secretary–General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous and Amina Megheirbi from the Non–Governmental Organization (NGO) Working Group on Women, Peace and Stability also addressed the Council, with representatives of more than 40 Member States slated to speak later.

Mr. Ladsous highlighted various UN missions that are working with governments to empower women and implement measure to prevent sexual violence. He stressed that accountability and political will from Member States is essential, and called on all countries to commit to mandates that protect women and integrate them into political life.

Ms. Megheirbi echoed Mr. Ladsous' remarks, arguing that without full participation of women in society and ending of impunity for those who have committed sexual crimes, there cannot be lasting peace and stability.

Following the discussion, the Security Council reaffirmed its commitment to the implementation of several resolutions on women and peace and security in a statement issued by Ambassador Kodjo Menan of Togo, which holds the rotating Council presidency this month.

The Security Council stressed the importance of prevention, early warning, and effective response to sexual violence when it is used as a war tactic, and urged all parties to conflict to comply with their obligations under international law.

The Council also called on Member States to work with the UN to increase their access to health care, psychosocial support, legal assistance and socio–economic reintegration services for victims of sexual violence. In addition, the Council reiterated women's vital role in conflict resolution and peacebuilding, noting that under–representation in these areas must be addressed.

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NGO Reports

Getting Children Off the Battlefield
Human Rights Watch
By Jo Becker
February 13, 2012

When Aruna was a young teenager in Sri Lanka, members of the rebel Tamil Tigers repeatedly came to her home, telling her parents that it was their duty to give a child "for the cause." During the war, the Tamil Tigers routinely recruited children as young as 12 into their forces, sending them into frontline combat against government forces, and deploying girls like Aruna as suicide bombers.

When Aruna's parents refused to let them take their daughter, the Tamil Tigers burned down their house. The family fled the area, but the threats continued. Finally, Aruna agreed to join. She told me, "I was afraid if I didn't go, they would take my younger sister." Aruna was 15.

Incredibly, until a decade ago, it was legal under international law to recruit children as young as Aruna and send them into combat. That changed 10 years ago on February 12, 2002, when a new United Nations treaty took effect, setting 18 as the minimum age for conscription or direct participation in armed conflict.

Thousands of children are still participating in armed conflicts. As a human rights researcher, I've heard dozens of their stories in countries like Sri Lanka, Uganda, and Burma. But what is less–well–known is the remarkable progress made in ending the use of child soldiers.

Two–thirds of the world's countries have signed onto the UN treaty, prompting a seismic shift in how government and military leaders address the use of child soldiers. While the treaty was being negotiated in the late 1990s, I heard diplomats rationalizing the use of children by military forces. The US, too, initially opposed the treaty. But today, virtually no one defends the practice.

In 2001, the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers identified over 30 countries where children were participating in armed conflict. Today, children are fighting in about 15. In some countries, the use of child soldiers stopped with the end of conflict. The end of civil wars in countries like Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nepal, and Sri Lanka allowed the demobilization of tens of thousands of child soldiers.

But in other cases, international muscle has made a difference. Every year the UN publishes a list of governments and armed groups that use child soldiers. The UN Security Council has threatened sanctions — including arms embargoes, asset freezes, and travel bans — against those that refuse to end the practice. As a result, 17 governments and non–state armed groups in 10 countries have signed agreements to stop recruiting children and to release children from their forces.

Until a few years ago, it was almost unheard of for an individual commander to face penalties for using child soldiers. Today, recruiting or using children under age 15 is considered a war crime, and individual commanders are being convicted and sent to prison. The Special Court for Sierra Leone convicted eight people for brutal crimes during Sierra Leone's war. All were found guilty of using child soldiers and are serving prison sentences, ranging from 15 to 52 years. Verdicts are expected soon in the trials of Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia, and Thomas Lubanga, a Congo militia leader who was the first person put on trial by the International Criminal Court. Both are charged with recruiting and using child soldiers. These trials attach an added stigma to child recruiters: that of war criminal.

The United States is another illustration of how far we've come. In the late 1990s, the US was one of the few countries to oppose setting 18 as the minimum age for combat in international law. The US armed forces had long deployed 17–year–old soldiers on the battlefield and did not want to change its practices. But growing attention to the widespread use of child soldiers — including forced recruitment and exploitation of young children — persuaded the US to support strong international standards.

Not only did the US ratify the treaty and raise its deployment age to 18, but Congress adopted groundbreaking laws to cut off US military assistance to other governments that persisted in using child soldiers contrary to international law and to prosecute or deport child recruiters who come to the United States. On February 6, one of the laws was used for the first time when a US judge ordered the deportation of a former Liberian warlord living in upstate New York because of his group's use of child soldiers during Liberia's civil war. In addition, the Obama administration is withholding $2.7 million in foreign military financing from the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo until it ends its recruitment and use of child soldiers.

To be sure, we are a long way from eradicating the problem. Aruna escaped the Tamil Tigers, and Sri Lanka's war has since ended. But last year, children were recruited into forces in the conflicts sparked by the Arab Spring in Yemen and Libya. In Afghanistan, an alarming increase in suicide bombings by children has involved children as young as seven. Groups like the rebel FARC in Colombia and the Lord's Resistance Army in central Africa continue to use children with impunity and with little regard for international pressure.

The experience of the last decade, however, shows that the governments and groups still using child soldiers are increasingly considered pariahs, and that strategic pressure and the new consensus of international law can protect children from war. The challenge now is to build on the momentum that exists, and to make better use of the existing tools — including sanctions, prosecutions, and UN negotiations — to persuade the remaining outliers that children have no place in war.

Ten years after the child soldiers treaty took effect, there's a lot to celebrate, but still a lot to be done.

Belgium/Senegal: World Court to Hear Habré Trial Dispute
Human Rights Watch
February 16, 2012

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has set arguments to begin on March 12, 2012, in a case between Belgium and Senegal over the fate of the former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré. The case could result in a binding legal order compelling Senegal to extradite Habré to Belgium if it does not prosecute him, Human Rights Watch said today.

Habré, who has been living in Senegal for more than 20 years, is wanted by Belgium on charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture for acts committed during his rule, from 1982 to 1990. Belgium recently filed its fourth request seeking Habré's extradition after Senegal rebuffed the others.

"This is the case that could finally force the Senegalese government to allow Habré to be brought to trial," said Reed Brody, counsel and spokesperson at Human Rights Watch, who has worked with Habré's victims for 13 years. "Senegal's legal obligation to prosecute or extradite Habré is clear."

Belgium filed suit against Senegal at the ICJ in February 2009 after Senegal failed to prosecute Habré domestically but also refused to extradite him. In May 2009, the ICJ accepted Senegal's formal pledge not to allow Habré to leave Senegal pending its final judgment.

Habré was first indicted in Senegal in 2000, but after political interference by the Senegalese government that was denounced by two UN human rights rapporteurs, the country's courts said that he could not be tried there. His victims then filed a case in Belgium. After four years of investigation, a Belgian judge requested his extradition, in September 2005. A Senegalese court ruled that it lacked jurisdiction to decide on the extradition request.

Belgium made a second extradition request on March 15, 2011. On August 18, the Dakar Appeals court declared the request inadmissible, saying that the Belgian arrest warrant did not accompany the extradition request. On September 5, Belgium filed a third extradition request. However, on January 10, 2012, the Court of Appeals again declared the request inadmissible, saying that the arrest warrant attached to the extradition request was not an authentic copy. On January 17, Belgium filed a fourth request for Habré's extradition, and alleged that it was the Senegalese government that was not transmitting the papers properly to the court.

"Belgium has stood by the victims from the beginning," said Clement Abaifouta, president of the Association of Victims of the Crimes of Hissène Habré, who as a prisoner under Habré was forced to dig graves for more than 500 fellow inmates. "We hope that the world court will see through the Senegalese government's charades and will order Senegal to hand Habré over to Belgium to face trial."

The ICJ, which sits in The Hague, is the United Nations' highest court. The court deals generally with cases between UN member states and it has no jurisdiction to prosecute individuals. Its rulings can be legally binding on states.

Belgium's application charges that Senegal has violated the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment by failing to prosecute or extradite Habré, and has breached its obligations to bring to justice those accused of crimes against humanity.

In May 2006, the United Nations Committee against Torture found that Senegal had violated the Convention against Torture and called on Senegal to prosecute or extradite Habré, but Senegal has not complied with that ruling. In July 2011, Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, reminded the Senegalese governments that "[i]t is a violation of international law to shelter a person who has committed torture or other crimes against humanity, without prosecuting or extraditing him."

The public hearings at the ICJ will extend until March 21. A ruling is not expected for a few months.

Hissene Habré ruled Chad from 1982 until he was deposed in 1990 by President Idriss Déby Itno and fled to Senegal. His one–party regime was marked by widespread atrocities, including waves of ethniccampaigns. Files of Habré's political police, the Direction de la Documentation et de la Sécurité (DDS), which were discovered by Human Rights Watch in 2001, reveal the names of 1,208 people who were killed or died in detention. A total of 12,321 victims of human rights violations were mentioned in the files.

Somalis: Warring Parties Put Children at Grave Risk
Human Rights Watch
February 20, 2012

Somalia's warring parties have all failed to protect Somali children from the fighting or serving in their forces, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Islamist insurgent group al–Shabaab has increasingly targeted children for recruitment, forced marriage, and rape, and attacked teachers and schools, Human Rights Watch said.

"For children in Somalia, nowhere is safe," said Zama Coursen–Neff, deputy children's rights director at Human Rights Watch. "Al–Shabaab rebels have abducted children from their homes and schools to fight, for rape, and for forced marriage."

The 104–page report,"No Place for Children: Child Recruitment, Forced Marriage, and Attacks on Schools in Somalia," details unlawful recruitment and other laws–of–war violations against children by all parties to the conflict in Somalia since 2010. The report is based on over 164 interviews with Somali children, including 21 who had escaped from al–Shabaab forces, as well as parents and teachers who had fled to Kenya.

Human Rights Watch called on all parties to the conflict, involving Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and African Union forces (AMISOM) against al–Shabaab, to release any child soldiers in their ranks, protect children formerly associated with fighting forces, and protect schools, teachers, and students from attack.

Since Somalia's conflict intensified in 2010 and 2011, al–Shabaab has increasingly forced children, some as young as 10, to join its dwindling ranks. After several weeks of harsh training, al–Shabaab's child recruits are then sent to the front lines, where some serve as "cannon fodder" to protect adult fighters, Human Rights Watch found. Others have been coerced into becoming suicide bombers.A 15–year–old boy told Human Rights Watch that in 2010, "Out of all my classmates — about 100 boys — only two of us escaped, the rest were killed. The children were cleaned off. The children all died and the bigger soldiers ran away."

Al–Shabaab has also abducted girls for domestic and front–line service, as well as to be wives to al–Shabaab fighters. Families who try to prevent their children's recruitment or abduction by al–Shabaab, or children who attempt to escape, face severe consequences and even death.

The TFG military and militias aligned with it are deploying children in their forces despite commitments from Somali officials since late 2010 to end the recruitment and use of children, Human Rights Watch said. To date, the TFG has failed to hold anyone to account for this abuse. It has also detained children perceived to be supporters of al–Shabaab instead of providing them with rehabilitation and protection in accordance with international standards.

"Al–Shabaab's horrific abuses do not excuse Somalia's Transitional Federal Government's use of children as soldiers," Coursen–Neff said. "The TFG should live up to its commitments to stop recruiting and using children as soldiers, and punish those who do. Governments backing the TFG should make clear that these abuses won't be tolerated."

Al–Shabaab's violations of the laws of war include attacks on schools, teachers, and students, Human Rights Watch said. The armed grouphas deployed its fighters and heavy weapons in schools, often packed with students, and used children as "human shields." Terrified students described to Human Rights Watch being locked in schools, awaiting often indiscriminate return artillery fire from TFG and African Union forces.

In schools in areas under their control, al–Shabaab officials have recruited children and teachers and imposed their harsh interpretation of Islam on the school curriculum. Students and teachers told Human Rights Watch that al–Shabaab banned English, science, and other subjects, and even killed teachers who resisted. As a result, many schools have shut down, after teachers fled and many children dropped out. Schools that have remained open provide little or no substantive education.

Human Rights Watch also called on the TFG, its allied militias, and the African Union troops to identify schools in areas of their military operations, including outside of Mogadishu, to minimize the risk to them.

International supporters of the TFG, including the United Nations, European Union, African Union, and the United States, have not paid sufficient attention to human rights violations by the government, including recruitment and use of children as soldiers, Human Rights Watch said.

Human Rights Watch urged intergovernmental institutions and governments, including states in the region, to place children's protection and other human rights concerns high on the agenda when they meet in London to discuss the Somalia crisis on February 23, 2012. They should increase support for human rights monitoring and reporting and use any leverage they have on warring parties to protect children and their secure access to education.

"If world leaders meeting in London want to address Somalia's future, it's crucial for them to protect this shattered generation of children from further horror and invest in their education and security," Coursen–Neff said.

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TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSIONS

Canada

Residential schools likened to genocide
Herald News
By Chinta Puxley
February 18, 2012

The chairman of Canada's truth and reconciliation commission says removing more than 100,000 aboriginal children from their homes and placing them in residential schools was an act of genocide.

Justice Murray Sinclair says the United Nations defines genocide to include the removal of children based on race, then placing them with another race to indoctrinate them. He says Canada has been careful to ensure its residential school policy was not "caught up" in the UN's definition.

"That's why the minister of Indian affairs can say this was not an act of genocide," Sinclair told students at the University of Manitoba Friday. "But the reality is that to take children away and to place them with another group in society for the purpose of racial indoctrination was -- and is -- an act of genocide and it occurs all around the world."

About 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Metis children were forced to attend the government schools over much of the last century. The last school closed outside Regina in 1996.

The $60-million truth and reconciliation commission is part of a landmark compensation deal between the federal government, the Crown and residential school survivors. It is about halfway through its mandate and has visited about 500 communities, where it has heard graphic details of rampant sexual and physical abuse.

The commission has taken 25,000 statements from survivors so far and has heard from about 100 people who worked in the schools, Sinclair said.

Their legacy has left an indelible impact on Canadian society, he added. The commission has heard stories of survivors continuing the cycle of abuse with their own children.

Even those who worked at the schools are not immune. Many of them were victims, too, and suffer lingering guilt and shame.

"We've had teachers come forward to us and spoken to the commission . . . about how they so hated the experience of teaching in a residential school that they quickly left," Sinclair said.

"They never put the fact that they worked at a residential school on their resume and they always kept that fact hidden from everybody, even from their own families." Just as children of school survivors suffer with their parents' pain, so, too, do children of those who worked in the schools, Sinclair said.

Children of staff members also attended the schools and still grapple with what they saw and experienced there. Some watched their parents become deeply depressed later in life as they came to realize what they had been a part of.

"In many ways, they also feel victimized by having been in residential schools. There is a great mixture of experiences here."

The commission is expected to release an interim report shortly about what it's heard so far.

USLCES to Receive $100,000 from Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Lillooet News
February 22, 2012

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has recommended that USLCES (Upper St'at'imc Language, Culture and Education Society) receive funding from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) for a language project.

A total of $100,000 has been approved for the project, titled "Toward Reversing Language Loss Due to Residential Schooling through St'at'imc Language Documentation, Curriculum Development and Language/Culture Education."

USLCES project manager and grant writer Marilyn Napoleon told the News last week the project has three components:

1. A Grade 8 unit with a focus on language and cultural loss due to residential schooling. The unit will be offered at Lillooet Secondary School.

2. A documentation and archival component to allow St'at'imc people to tell their residential school stories

3. A language revitalization component that is focused on families learning St'at'imcets (St'at'imc Language) in their homes and communities using an immersion approach.

"We're putting together a team to work on that," Napoleon said of the Grade 8 unit. Commenting on the second component, she said it's important to gather the stories of residential school survivors now, particularly because a generation of elders is passing on.

She said USLCES will use curriculum guides and other aids to provide support for the third component of the project -- in-home language instruction -- "so the fluent speaker doesn't have to do it all." She said a master/apprentice approach would be used for the in-home language instruction, with the best scenario involving a fluent speaker and a learner who has some knowledge of the language, ensuring others in the home can pick it up more easily.

There is an urgent need for more people to become fluent in St'at'imcets or else the language could die. "We're losing a lot of the people who spoke the language," said Napoleon. "Ten years, ago we did a count and there were 100 fluent speakers. We just counted again this last year and there were 60 fluent speakers. We haven't been replacing them."

She said USLCES has tried a variety of mentoring and teaching approaches, but this is the first time a language program will be used within a family setting.

The St'at'imcets language revitalization project has a completion deadline of Mar. 31, 2013.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is a component of the 2005 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. The Settlement Agreement resulted from negotiations among the Government of Canada; the Assembly of First Nations (AFN); other aboriginal organizations; the Anglican, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and United Churches; and legal counsel for former students. The Agreement's aim was to develop a fair, final and comprehensive package to resolve the tragic legacy of Indian Residential Schools.

The Commission's mandate is to inform all Canadians about what occurred in Indian Residential Schools. It will document the truth of what happened in the schools by gathering statements from survivors, their families, communities and anyone else personally affected by the residential school experience.

Kenya

Calls to Hold Coast TJRC hearing
The Star
By Kerubo Lornah
February 13, 2012

Ilishe Trust now wants people from the Coast to be given an opportunity to give final feedback on the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission's report before it is tabled in Parliament. According to the organisation's programme officer Chirema Josephat Kombo, the hearings at the Coast were done casually and without seriousness.

He claimed that the commission did not conduct its work in an independent manner. "These people mainly operated from government halls and there was tight security everywhere. There was fear among the commissions who would as a result cut short some of the witnesses who wanted to address most controversial issues like Kayabombo and Islamic Party of Kenya," he said.

Speaking in White Castel Hotel in Mikindani, Kombo claimed that the hearings were rushed and that important issues were done casually. "All land issues were lumped together. For example, there was no investigation carried to confirm the findings. It will be interesting to see what kind of recommendations they will come up with and if they will stand a legal process," he said.

Kombo also said that the commission looked confused, overwhelmed, apathetic and non-committal to the whole process. "It seemed like the commission was just out to deliver on its terms of reference and get over with it," he said. The officer further observed that the presence of security officers affected the victims' participation. "In fact, the process was more of a provincial administration process. It was not a people's process as the public was left out," he added. "Civic education was carried out in chief's offices while most of the TJRC offices were based at DOs' offices and this is the same leadership that has been used over time by the rich to terrorize communities."

He challenged the commission to deal with injustices said to be committed by the Kenyatta, Moi and Kibaki governments. "We would like to tell TJRC that we are watching and waiting for its recommendations which should address Coast issues to ensure that justice is done," he said. Acting TJRC chairperson Tecla Namachanja said that they did their work well.

"We already collected 40,000 and 2000 memoranda and we were selecting statements representing the issue and we listened to more 10 people in every sitting. If we could have listened to everyone it could have taken us a long time," she said. Namachanja said that they conducted the interviews and hearings in neutral grounds a fact she said was done countrywide. She said TJRC is an independent institution.

Kiplagat Bashed at the Wagalla Massacre Fete
The Star
By Nzau Musau
February 15, 2012

The 28th anniversary of the infamous Wagalla massacre of 1984 was held yesterday with special calls on Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat to keep off the affairs of Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission. At the low-key memorial held at Charter Hall in Nairobi attended by the massacre victims, orphans and friends, speaker after speaker insisted that the best gift Kiplagat could give to the people of Wagalla would be to kip off the commission and to give it ample time to compile its final report on the matter.

Mandera Central MP Abdikadir Mohamed, Wajir West's Adan Keynan, Northern Kenya minister Ibrahim Elmi, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights commissioners Fatma Ibrahim and Fatuma Dhulo and truth commissioners Ahmed Farah, Ron Slye and Berhanu Dinka attended the anniversary.

"Kiplagat has no honour left in him. I appeal to the President to save us by sacking him. And since he has been earning his salary and benefits for doing nothing, he should be made to pay back all the money he has received, which should be shared among the victims," said Ibrahim. She asked the truth commission to consider recommending building of two monuments-one in Wagalla airstrip and another in Wajir town - in honour of the victims. She called on the Judiciary to fast track Wagalla cases still stuck in the local courts.

Keynan told the memorial that President Kibaki had unconstitutionally refused to sign a Bill which sought to repeal the Indemnity Act of 1970. The Act protected the military and public officers from prosecution over atrocities committed in North Eastern province between 1963 and 1967. The Act also covers Marsabit, Isiolo, Tana River and Lamu districts. "We plead with him, if for nothing else for his legacy and gratitude to the people of North Eastern, to sign into law this Bill," said Keynan, adding that the province had suffered three decades of human rights violations by state agents.

Abdikadir assured the gathering that the recommendations of the truth commission will not be ''sat on'' as Parliament will ensure it is implemented both ''in letter and spirit''. He said justice for the victims of Wagalla is particularly essential in affirming the reality of the new kenya with a new constitution. "For 28 years and as the rest of the country celebrated Valentine, we as people of Wajir have been mourning our losses," said commissioner Farah, who also comes from Wajir.

Commissioner Dinka said the truth commission hopes to bring to closure the matter of Wagalla in its report. His colleague Slye assured that TJRC will not only make recommendations, but will also "try to understand why the massacre happened''. The organiser of the memorial and founder of the Truth Be Told Network, Salah Abdi, said the memorial will continue to celebrated as a reminder to the state that it should never again commit such atrocities to its citizens.

Nepal

Kin of Conflict-Era Disappeared Demand Justice
The Himalayan
February 17, 2012

Kin of those who disappeared during the decade-long conflict today called on the government to make public the whereabouts of their family members and form two key commissions to probe into war-time rights abuses.

The victims, who gathered to mark the alleged arrest and killing of teenager Maina Sunuwar at the hands of security forces eight years ago, said that although the Supreme Court ordered the government to form the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission on the Disappeared based on international human rights standards in June 2007, the state has not done so.

"We filed a complaint against the forced disappearance of my father at various national and international human rights and legal fora but all in vain," said Ram Kumar Bhandari, whose father was held by then Royal Nepali Army in Simpani VDC-3, Lamjung, in December, 2001.

"The government has not paid heed to a single call from rights bodies to form the two commissions," he said. "Nepalis are suffering due to the political leaders' lack of interest on issues of transitional justice and war crimes," said Bhandari.

When the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in November 2006 declaring an end to the conflict, the government and the seven parties agreed to inform kin of the disappeared about their family member's status within 60 days. However, as 60 months (five years) have passed with no progress on the issue, the plight of those whose relatives have disappeared continues to worsen. They live in limbo, they have been ignored and their tears have never dried, said Bhandari.

Manjima Dhakal, daughter of advocate Rajendra Dhakal, who disappeared in 1999, said her family does not want any compensation from the state but wants to know the status of her father. Dhakal said the families of conflict victims have been struggling for justice and truth behind incidents of rights violations during the armed conflict.

Laxmi Koirala (40) of Gorkha-3, whose husband was killed by then Maoist rebels during the conflict period, said any kind of pardon for any rights violates was unacceptable.

Sri Lanka

U.S. Delivers Strongest Message Yet to Sri Lanka
The Hindu
By R. K. Radhakrishnam
February 13, 2012

The United States has despatched two senior officials to convey to Sri Lanka that it has to deliver on its promise of conducting an inquiry into war crimes, or face international sanction.

"The United States will support a very straightforward resolution that the government of Sri Lanka has not yet done enough to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee, and comprehensively address the question of accountability," said the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert O'Blake when asked if the U.S. will support a resolution in the forthcoming session of the UNHRC.

"A very important part of the whole process of reconciliation will be accountability," he said. While stressing on the need for an internal mechanism, Mr. Blake made it clear that if the internal mechanism failed, there would be pressure to establish "some sort of international mechanism" to probe human rights abuses. "We encourage our friends in the Sri Lankan government to ensure credible and transparent investigation," he added.

The highest ranking officer to visit Sri Lanka since the visit of the former U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights Mario Otero met, among others, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and did some plain talking on taking action on human rights excesses that took place in the final stages of the war with the Tamil Tigers, that ended with the emphatic victory of the government, in May 2009.

"Reports such as the U.N. panel of experts report describes in some detail some of their concerns human rights violations and the war crimes allegations that have occurred particularly in the end stages of the conflict from January to May 2009. . . The LLRC report did not cover [these] in detail," said Mr. Blake, here at a press interaction. "This is very, very important in achieving a just and durable settlement and reconciliation. So we talked in detail with our friends in government about that," he added.

Many Sri Lankans have criticised the U.S. and have often tried to point to its own record on human rights in Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, and in other places across the world. Ever since the publication of the report of the United Nations Secretary-General's Panel of Experts on Accountability issues in Sri Lanka in April 2011, friends of Sri Lanka have mounted a campaign to get the country and its government off the hook of international scrutiny. Sri Lanka, too, set up the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee, along the lines of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, to go into the reasons for the conflict and suggest the way forward.

The LLRC submitted a series of interim recommendations and submitted its final report in December 2011. The LLRC report itself says there was no progress in implementation of the interim recommendations.

The U.S. announced the "successful" completion of talks between the government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil National Alliance, an umbrella organisation of Tamil parties that represents Tamils of the Northern Province. "

The U.S. supports the successful conclusion of the current dialogue between the government of Sri Lanka, and the Tamil National Alliance. And, from talking to both sides, we understand that they are not really far apart. So we hope that the dialogue can resume and can reach a successful conclusion, and then, whatever is agreed, can be discussed. . . in the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC)," he said when asked if the continuation of the government- TNA talks meant that the PSC was redundant.

After his recent visit to Pakistan, Mr. Rajapaksa, will now visit Singapore on February 15 and 16, Presidential Spokesperson Bandula Jayasekara said. He is expected to also talk about the forthcoming UNHRC session.

Thailand

Nobel Winners Annan, Ahtisaari Say Reconciliation Requires Compromise
Bangkok Post
February 19, 2012

Thailand's political leadership needs to compromise and make sacrifices to move national reconciliation forward, former United Nations Secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kofi Annan said yesterday in an interview with the Bangkok Post.

All sectors of society need to take ownership of the process, Mr Annan said, but added that people in key positions should compromise. They need to consider what's in the best interests of the nation. They should ask themselves: What should I do to help the nation?

He cited South Africa as an example where Nelson Mandela and WF de Klerk both had to make compromises to move reconciliation efforts forward.

Mr Annan and former president of Finland Martti Ahtisaari have been in Bangkok since Thursday as guests of the Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand (TRCT). Both men said they were in Thailand to support and encourage ongoing reconciliation efforts with the TRCT and a wide range of facilitators.

"We came to listen, to learn and to share our experiences. We did not come to mediate," said Mr Ahtisaari.

During their visit, both men have met Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Mr Abhisit's team. They also met business operators as well as relatives of those killed during the 2010 red shirt protests.

Among those they met were Nicha Hiranburana Thuwatham, the widow of Col Romklao Thuwatham who was killed during the April 10, 2010 clashes at Khok Wua intersection, and Payao Akkahad, the mother of Kamolket Akkahad, the volunteer medic who was killed inside Wat Pathumwanaram on May 19 of the same year.

Yesterday, the Nobel laureates met with women's groups and other activists, including the Women's Council of Thailand.

Red shirt member Sudsa-nguan Sutheesorn and outspoken writer Lakana Tunvichai were present at a meeting with Mr Annan and Mr Ahtisaari.

Ms Sudsa-nguan views the visit by both men as a publicity stunt by the TRCT, adding that it would have been more appropriate to invite persons with experience in resolving political conflicts, such as Mr Mandela, to share their views.

But at least the visit of the two Nobel laureates has helped draw the international community's attention back to Thailand's national reconciliation process, she said, adding that it remained the responsibility of the previous and current administrations to determine the truth of past political crises.

Both laureates said in a joint statement that the TRCT is making an important contribution that remains highly relevant.

"We believe that reconciliation is everybody's business," the statement said. "To be effective, reconciliation must be inclusive and take into account the views of all sectors of society. It is essential to establish the facts and the truth.

"Based on our experience, reconciliation in any society is a long and arduous process. We are pleased that in our discussions we have heard a desire by the TRCT and all stakeholders to work together to nurture an open space for debate and to provide and effective channel for dialogue.

"Our hope is that the reconciliation process will continue, leading to an equitable, prosperous Thailand based on the rule of law and respect for human rights."

In a separate interview with the Bangkok Post, Mr Annan was asked to comment on the role of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in reconciliation.

Mr Annan did not speak specifically on Thaksin's role but reiterated that it was up to the country's political leaders to find a way to bridge gaps.

"They [the political leaders] have to set the tone. They have to be seen as one. Put the country first. The country is bigger than they are," he said.

Mr Annan stressed that national reconciliation cannot be left to the TRCT alone. Apart from the government and political leadership, civil society and groups and religious groups need to also take responsibility for the process.

The problems here can be resolved but its takes time and there are other countries which are in a worse situation, said Mr Annan, who was personally involved in the national reconciliation process in Kenya.

After the 2000 elections in Kenya, violence and fighting erupted, causing 1,300 deaths and the displacement of some 650,000 people.

Mr Ahtisaari said that in some cases civil society groups had taken over the drive to reconciliation. He pointed out that one positive aspect of Thailand is that it is a tolerant society.

Mr Annan agreed that emotions on both sides were high and that this was normal as people had lost their loved ones, or had their properties damaged or destroyed. They want the truth so they can attain closure and adequate compensation.

"Frustration and anger is normal," Mr Annan said, adding that he hopes Thailand's leaders shows set the right tone for reconciliation as he believes most Thais want to live in peace.

Mr Ahtisaari appealed to the media saying "you also have a role to play".

Mr Annan added that it was necessary for Thailand to have an open space for reconciliation and ensure that dialogue and communication continues.

Asked to comment on the tenure of the TRCT expiring in six months, Mr Annan said the commission should discuss with the government whether to extend this. He stressed that national reconciliation efforts take time to bear fruit.

Compo Ruled Out for Those Convicted of Protest Crimes
Bangkok Post
By Pradit Ruangdit
February 21, 2012

Compensation for victims of political violence will go to affected people, state officials, and Thai and foreign journalists _ but those found guilty of related crimes will not be eligible.

Thongthong Chandrangsu, permanent secretary of the PM's Office Ministry, said yesterday his sub-committee has set compensation criteria for the Truth for Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which will oversee the process.

Family members or close relatives of those killed in the violence can present evidence and apply for compensation. Those who were injured or left disabled, or who suffer from any ongoing illness must apply in person. The TRC will set a deadline for applications, and the Social Development and Human Security Ministry will verify them.

Meanwhile, teachers in the violence-plagued southern border provinces are demanding danger money from the state.

Teachers in Narathiwat, Yala, Pattani and Songkhla provinces discussed the demand in Pattani yesterday following the government's decision to pay up to 7.5 million baht to the families of those killed in political violence.

Boonsom Thongsiphlai, president of the Federation of Teachers in the southern border provinces, said teachers deserved fair compensation for their contribution to national security in the South, even if they were not killed or hurt in political protests. Since the southern insurgency flared seven years ago, 155 teachers have been murdered.

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COMMENTARY AND PERSPECTIVES

Kenya: ICC 'Fixing' Cases, Uhuru Lawyers Says
AllAfrica.com
February 22, 2012

The lead lawyer for Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta has accused the International Criminal Court of 'fixing' the case against his client. In January the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber confirmed charges against Uhuru, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, former Public Service head Francis Muthaura and Kass FM radio journalist Joshua arap Sang over their alleged role in the 2007-08 post-election violence. All four have filed appeals seeking to overturn the indictments and avoid full trial.

However, Prof Steven Kay, who leads Uhuru's defence, told a public debate at the School of African and Oriental Studies in London that international tribunals were fixed, hostile to suspects and guided by powerful political forces bent on making "some individuals an example." The topic of the panel discussion on February 3 was 'International Justice: Between Impunity and Show Trials' and is available at the video-sharing website YouTube.

Panelists in the discussion, organised by the International Criminal Law Bureau, included Polina Levina from the ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo's office. Levina was part of the prosecution team that handled the Kenyan cases. "I think the fix is massive behind the scenes. That we have to face. And I'm afraid I saw that in the 'organisational policy' reasoning of Pre-Trial Chamber II on the Kenya case, because they stretched that definition in a way that no one had written about before," stated Kay. He said it was like trying a football club's supporters for crimes against humanity because the prosecutor needs some credibility.

He questioned the efficacy of show trials in dispensing justice to suspects as well as victims of international crimes. "Because they don't like violence in elections in Africa, somebody has got to be made an example. They are saying we have a problem in Kenya and we have to do something. Let us put a trial going and keep everybody quiet. That might be a good or bad reason but as I understand it that is not what justice is all about," Kay argued. "This crusade against impunity has given a device to governments to subvert the truth crusade and justice and provide something that goes against justice," he added.

Levina however disagreed, arguing that the ICC had achieved what no Kenyan court could do by merely making the two presidential hopefuls appear before it. "For the first time, people who had enjoyed a semi-divine status and packaged themselves as untouchable were brought to answer before a judge and the message was sent that everybody was subordinate to the law."

In November last year, Ocampo admitted that politics influences the arrival of cases in the Hague when discussing Libya at a meeting of the American Society of International Law at the University of California, Los Angeles. Ocampo accepted there is "one standard for 119 member states (who have signed the Rome Statute) and another standard for every other country."

Kenyan legal scholar Dr Godfrey Musila said the comments by Ocampo were "a first and very significant". Ocampo openly admitted that the UN Security Council exercises political discretion in choosing which countries to refer to the ICC. He used the example of Libya which was referred to the ICC during last year's violent rebellion and Syria which was not.

ICC spokesman Fadi El Abdalla defended Ocampo saying he was "just playing with words... That means that there are two ways, or two different bases for the ICC to have jurisdiction. That however does not mean that the Prosecutor applies double standards. Following a referral, whether by a State party or by the UNSC, the Prosecutor remains independent," Abdalla said.

How 'Friends of Syria' Meeting Showcases International Weakness
Christian Science Monitor
By Howard LaFranchi
February 23, 2012

As the "Friends of Syria" group of countries prepares for its inaugural meeting Friday, the largely toothless proposals from the US and other participants for aiding Syria's besieged civilians are raising questions about the international community's role.

The United States is talking about pressuring President Bashar al-Assad into opening Syria to humanitarian aid -- a strategy that has been tried by the Arab League and the United Nations Human Rights Council and has failed. Some European countries speak of "shaming" Russia into dropping its opposition -- as expressed in its Security Council veto earlier month -- to international action on Syria.

The international intervention in Libya last year had some experts declaring that henceforth there would be no retreat from an international "responsibility to protect" civilians. In September, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the principle, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2005, had advanced "from crawling to walking to running" in less than a decade.

But the Syria crisis has many reassessing the doctrine's stature in international affairs.

"If Libya showed us how far we've come, then Syria has shown us how far we have to go" in establishing this principle, says Simon Adams, executive director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect in New York.

Friday's meeting in Tunis, Tunisia, will focus on humanitarian aid and on ways to help the disjointed Syrian opposition form a united and democratic alternative to the Assad regime, officials close to the conference plans say.

But the chances of anything meaningful happening are remote as long as the international community remains divided, some say.

"People are getting a bit dreamy about what is going to be possible and how quickly things are going to be able to happen as a result of the Tunis meeting," Mr. Adams says. "I don't know why anyone would think Assad is suddenly going to open the country to international involvement, when he has resisted that so far."

But the US insists that one of three "pillars" of action for the Tunis meeting will be a firm message to Mr. Assad of his "responsibility" to allow international humanitarian organizations access into Syria.

"What we want to have come out [Friday] is a strong international, unified position on this that sends a strong message to the Syrian regime that they are the ones that have a responsibility to allow this access in," a senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Thursday en route to Tunis.

The other two "pillars," the official says, are developing the path to a political transition in Syria -- in part through helping the opposition Syrian National Council get organized -- and reinforcing the sanctions that many countries have already imposed. But even some countries that are at the forefront of the international effort behind Friday's meeting say that in reality, little meaningful action is likely to happen until the international community overcomes its deep divide over Syria. Both Russia and China vetoed Security Council action.

The key to effective humanitarian action in Syria will be getting back to the UN in New York, says one senior European diplomat in Washington, also speaking on condition of anonymity. "We do support the principle of a responsibility to protect, but it has to stand on international legitimacy, and that means getting a Security Council resolution behind it."

And the key to Security Council action will be finding a formula that is acceptable to a very wary Russia. Having a large turnout in Tunis Friday will be one important step in getting Russia to "yes," the European diplomat adds.

A large showing by Arab and regional representatives will help convince Russia that "what it is doing or not doing in New York is weakening [its] relations with the Arab world," the European official says.

The diplomat says that European officials who have met recently with Russian counterparts are sensing that Russia is looking for a way to emerge from the isolation it has felt since vetoing the Syria resolution. A recent signal from Russia that it would support Security Council action on a UN humanitarian envoy to Syria is a start, the official says.

"We see that as a slight move that could advance the dynamic for humanitarian action," the official says.

Supreme Court to Hear Corporate Human Rights Case
Chicago Tribune
By James Vicini
February 24, 2012

The Supreme Court will weigh next week whether corporations can be sued in the United States for suspected complicity in human rights abuses abroad, in a case being closely watched by businesses concerned about long and costly litigation.

The high court on Tuesday will consider the reach of a 1789 U.S. law that had been largely dormant until 1980, when human rights lawyers started using it, at first to sue foreign government officials. Then, over the next 20 years, the lawyers used the law to target multinational corporations.

The case before the court pits the Obama administration and human rights advocates against large companies and foreign governments over allegations that Royal Dutch Shell Plc helped Nigeria crush oil exploration protests in the 1990s.

Administration attorneys and lawyers for the plaintiffs contend corporations can be held accountable in U.S. courts for committing or assisting foreign governments in torture, executions or other human rights abuses.

Attorneys for corporations argue that only individuals, such as company employees or managers involved in the abuse, can be sued, a position adopted by a U.S. appeals court in New York. Other courts ruled corporations can be held liable.

The justices will hear an appeal by a group of Nigerians who argue they should be allowed to proceed with a lawsuit accusing Shell of aiding the Nigerian government in human rights violations between 1992 and 1995.

California attorney Paul Hoffman, who will argue on behalf of the plaintiffs, said corporations, under the 1789 law, were permissible defendants and that corporate civil liability was a general principle of international law.

"Businesses involved in genocide, crimes against humanity or other serious human rights violations deserve no exemption from tort liability," he said in a brief filed with the court.

NO EXEMPTION FOR GENOCIDE

The Obama administration supported the corporate liability argument, as did international human rights organizations and Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Representing Shell at the arguments, Kathleen Sullivan, a former dean of the Stanford Law School in California, said U.S. and international law do not allow corporate liability for the alleged offenses. She said the post-World War Two Nuremberg tribunals covered prosecutions of individuals, not corporations.

She warned of the consequences of allowing such lawsuits.

"Even a meritless ... suit against a corporation can take years to resolve," she said in a brief, adding that corporations may reduce their operations in less-developed nations where such abuses tend to arise.

The British, Dutch and German governments supported Shell and said it violates international law to apply a U.S. law from more than 200 years ago to acts that take place in other countries and have no connection to the United States.

Also backing Shell are various multinational corporations and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce business lobby. Robin Conrad, head of the group's legal arm, said that if the Supreme Court upholds corporate liability, "the global business community will face yet another wave of frivolous and expensive litigation."

In the past two decades, more than 120 lawsuits have been filed in U.S. courts against 59 corporations for alleged wrongful acts in 60 foreign countries, lawyers in the case said.

Many of the lawsuits have been unsuccessful, though there have been a handful of settlements, the lawyers said. Many of the cases, having dragged on for years, are still pending.

Among the cases: Indonesia villagers accused Exxon Mobil Corp's security forces of murder, torture and other abuses in 1999-2001; Firestone tire company was accused of using child labor in Liberia; and Ford Motor Co and other firms were accused of aiding South Africa's apartheid system.

The Alien Tort Statute from 1789 states that U.S. courts shall have jurisdiction over any civil lawsuit "by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States."

In its first substantive look at the law in 2004, the Supreme Court ruled it can be used for certain well-established international law violations, but did not determine who may be held liable.

A ruling in the case is expected by the end of June.

The Supreme Court case is Esther Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co, No. 10-1491.

Potential Perils of Localizing International Criminal Justice
JURIST
By Gregory Gordon
http://jurist.org/forum/2012/02/gregory-gordon-eccc.php

The UN and the government of Cambodia have recently locked horns in a confrontation over installing, on a permanent basis, an international investigating judge at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). The Swiss jurist at the center of the controversy, Laurent Kasper-Ansermet, whom the Cambodian government opposes, has been filling in on a temporary basis after the recent resignation of German Investigating Judge Siegfried Blunk. Blunk's resignation was prompted by allegations that, in concert with Cambodian Investigating Judge You Bunleng, he was blocking the investigation of Cases 003 and 004, focusing on lower-level Khmer Rouge officials with ties to Cambodian leader Hun Sen. For his part, Blunk claimed interference from the Cambodian government. Kasper-Ansermet has publicly indicated his support for pursuing the 003 and 004 investigations and ostensibly that is why the Cambodian government will not give him its blessing (claiming he has unethically used Twitter to publicize his stance). There is no doubt that Hun Sen is trying to kill cases 003 and 004. Unfortunately, this is not the first time the ECCC has had to deal with transparency issues related to the Cambodian government. For example, among other things, there have been reports of kickbacks from ECCC Cambodian employees to Cambodian officials in return for their jobs, a system that reflects a common practice in Cambodia.

These transparency issues call into question one of the central tenets of evolving conventional wisdom in international criminal law circles: rather than dispense remote justice in The Hague, efforts should be more localized. There are certainly many compelling reasons for this approach. Among others, trials within the atrocity jurisdiction permit easier access to evidence and witnesses, furnish the victim population with direct and proximate access to proceedings that touch them directly, allow for local norms and traditions to be integrated into the proceedings, and, looking beyond the immediate case at hand, help establish a local justice infrastructure and culture that can be developed over time and possibly inspire long-term domestic rule of law reform.

Perhaps it is time to reevaluate conventional wisdom, however. It may be well to recall what prompted the trend toward the more exclusively international justice paradigm that was established in Nuremberg in 1945 and culminated in Rome with the adoption of the International Criminal Court's statute in 1998. In particular, it might behoove us to consider the aftermath of World War I. As world leaders reflected on the war crimes committed in that horrendous conflict, they resolved to bring German perpetrators to justice. But those efforts were derailed by local interference.

Article 228 of the Versailles Treaty provided for the prosecution of German war criminals by Allied military tribunals. Pursuant to this provision, the UK initially requested the surrender and British-jurisdiction trial of 854 men accused of war crimes. Among them were some of Germany's most venerated military leaders: Ludendorff, von Moltke, von Tirpitz and von Hindenburg. The Germans refused. However, they did agree to try themselves a limited number of lesser ranking men. The trials were conducted under German law in Leipzig's Criminal Senate of the Imperial Court of Germany. But German legislation permitted a British delegation to participate as co-prosecutors. Succumbing to local resistance, the British ultimately indicted only seven German military officials (one, a submarine commander, disappeared and evaded trial).

And what was the result of these trials? Three officers charged with mistreating prisoners of war were sentenced, respectively, to prison terms of a whopping two, six and 10 months respectively. Two submarine officers, the subordinates of the commander who vanished, were convicted of sinking a British hospital ship and sentenced to four years each. These two ultimately escaped from prison through the help of their jailers. The French and Belgians also participated in the prosecution under the same conditions. Of the five French prosecutions, only one resulted in a conviction; none for the Belgians. The French and Belgians withdrew from the trial process before its completion due to the Germans' lax prosecution of the cases.

In the end, international justice was thwarted by local obstruction. It was too much to ask the defendants' fellow citizens to try their own. Mere participation by outsiders could not compensate for the insiders' bad faith. So world leaders opted for an international approach after World War II (justified as well, granted, by domestic capacity deficits). After a Cold War hiatus, the international approach carried the day again with the creation of the ad hoc tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, in 1993 and 1994, respectively, as well as the International Criminal Court in 1998.

At the dawn of the new millennium, after the "tribunal fatigue" of the 1990s, the trend toward local took hold. The international community worked with domestic leaders to create "hybrid" judicial mechanisms for Sierra Leone in 2002 (Special Court for Sierra Leone or SCSL) and Cambodia in 2003 (the ECCC). They were considered "hybrid" since, while situated in the countries where the crimes took place, they included international staff and international laws. The SCSL looked more international, with the lead prosecutor being a non-Sierra Leonean (the deputy is a native) and the judicial chambers consisting of a majority of international judges. The court itself is outside of Sierra Leone's domestic court system. While the ECCC has co-prosecutors and co-investigating judges who are Cambodian and international, the judicial chambers have a majority of Cambodian judges. The chambers are also embedded within the Cambodian court system.

At the time the ECCC was created, the trend toward localization was in full swing. But given the problems with domestic interference and corruption in Cambodia, it might have made sense to buck the trend. The ongoing ECCC debacle is a cautionary tale about the potential consequences of blind devotion to localization. The lessons learned from this experience ought to have special significance for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, scene of some of the worst mass atrocities in the past 15 years. Congolese officials have been considering creation of a hybrid court to try the individuals most responsible for those crimes. But the proposed court would only provisionally employ international personnel who would be phased out over time. Even during the period of participation by foreigners, as with the ECCC, there would be a majority of Congolese judges in chambers. The court would be similarly ensconced within the municipal judicial system. Given DR Congo's high degree of corruption and judicial dysfunction, the Cambodian experience suggests this may not be a viable proposal. Perhaps a more internationalized hybrid court, along the lines of the SCSL, would make more sense. Given the complete shambles that is the DR Congo justice infrastructure, and the need for timely justice, even the SCSL model may not be realistic. For the trial of high-level Congolese perpetrators, establishment of a tribunal in The Hague or Arusha may be the only realistic answer for now.

The point is that the existence and extent of atrocity justice localization should be considered on a case-by-case basis. In addition to the SCSL, we are seeing success stories in the countries that represent the republics of the former Yugoslavia. The hybrid War Crimes Chamber in the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, for example, appears to be doing an exemplary job of trying cases transferred to it from the ICTY. But that model may not work for DR Congo or other countries, such as Cambodia, so thoroughly lacking in justice culture and infrastructure. The ghosts of Leipzig remind us that localization may ultimately contribute more to the culture of impunity than to the rule of law. We ignore them at our own peril.

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WORTH READING

International Decision: Situation in the Republic of Kenya: No. ICC-01/09-02/11-274 - Judgment on Kenya's Appeal of Decision Denying Admissibility
American Journal of International Law
By Charles C. Jalloh
February 18, 2012

A fundamental pillar of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is Article 17, which enshrines the complementarity principle - the idea that ICC jurisdiction will only be triggered when states fail to act to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes within their national courts or in circumstances where they prove unwilling and or unable to do so. The problem is that, as shown in this case report in the American Journal of International Law on the first ICC Appeals Chamber ruling regarding a state party's objection to the court's assertion of jurisdiction over its nationals, the appellate chamber has wrongly interpreted the text and effectively killed the spirit of Article 17. It devised, in its Kenya judgment, an untenable legal test that states must prosecute the same persons for substantially the same conduct as the tribunal's prosecutor in order to displace the court's jurisdictional claims and successfully secure their first right to prosecute. This leaves no "margin of appreciation" for states to make different charging decisions of persons and conduct arising out of the same events. Thus, I argue that while in the short term this covert judicial offensive against the complementarity bargain struck by states may work for the ICC, at least in Kenya, in the long-term, it will not. The denial of Kenya's admissibility challenge when the state was taking some investigative steps to address the post-election violence is not only a missed opportunity for the ICC to show it is serious about "positive complementarity," it may have set a dangerous precedent that will likely undermine the ICC's future effectiveness.

Prosecuting the Gaddafi's: Swift or Political Justice?
Amsterdam Law Forum
By Geert-Jan Knoops
February 21, 2012

In this article the author assesses the legality and legitimacy of the Gaddafi arrest warrant; was the issuance thereof a matter of swift justice or was it merely meant to serve as political pressure in overthrowing a detrimental regime? To this end the available evidence at the time the arrest warrants were issued, political motives behind the arrest warrants and differences - or actually similarities - between the Syrian and the Libyan situation, are discussed. Moreover, the trial prospects of Saif Al Islam Gaddafi, who is facing a trial before either a Libyan court or the International Criminal Court, are analysed. The case review in this article illustrates the dynamics of politics within International Criminal Law.

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War Crimes Prosecution Watch Staff

Advisors
Professor Michael P. Scharf

and Brianne M. Draffin

Editor in Chief
John K. Sawyer

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Emily Werner
Rachel Wolbers

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Cameron MacLeod

Associate Technical Editors
Randall Bray
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Payne Tatich

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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
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Sarah Nasta, Associate Editor

Special Tribunal for Lebanon
Helena Traner, Senior Editor
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Ruchi Asher, Associate Editor

War Crimes Investigations in Burma
Kyle Johnson, Senior Editor
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Cox Center War Crimes Research Portal:
http://law.case.edu/war-crimes-research-portal/

Public International Law & Policy Group -  http://www.pilpg.org/

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