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War Crimes Prosecution Watch

Volume 7 - Issue 26
March 25, 2013


Editor in Chief
Jessica Feil

Managing Editors
Sana Ahmed
Sarah Nasta

Senior Technical Editor
Steven Paille

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 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.



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


International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

Special Court for Sierra Leone


Court of Bosnia & Herzegovina, War Crimes Chamber

International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Domestic Prosecutions In The Former Yugoslavia


Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia


Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal


United States

South & Central America






Universal Jurisdiction

Gender-Based Violence


NGO Reports




South Africa




Central African Republic & Uganda

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

Bemba's 15th Witness Continues Testimony in Closed Session
By Wakabi Wairagala
March 11, 2013

The fifteenth witness to testify for the defense in the war crimes trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba on Monday continued to give evidence in closed session. 'Witness D04-19' first took the witness stand on February 26, 2013. He is testifying in the trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) via video link from an undisclosed location.

Although it had earlier been expected that questioning of this witness would be completed last Wednesday, he has continued his testimony today. All of his testimony is in closed session, so it is not possible to know what the nature of this individual's evidence is. He is the first witness to testify since the resumption of the trial of the former Congolese vice president, which had been temporarily suspended last December.

Meanwhile, on March 6, 2013, judges issued an order granting a defense motion to also hear the testimony of the upcoming 'Witness D04-45' via video link. According to defense lawyers, hearing this individual's evidence via video link "would provide the greatest chance" of avoiding gaps in the presentation of evidence. For reasons not made public, this witness is unable to travel to the seat of the court in The Hague.

'Witness D04-45' is expected to take the stand following the completion of testimony by the current witness. The defense team has 63 individuals on its witness list, but many of them have expressed difficulties in travelling to The Hague to testify.

Prosecutors charge that during the armed conflict in the Central African Republic between October 2002 and March 2003, soldiers from Mr. Bemba Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) militia committed "repeated, widespread and brutal rapes, murders and pillaging of civilians."

Prosecutors charge that as commander-in-chief of the MLC, Mr. Bemba had the power to prevent and repress the commission of these crimes by his troops, but he did not do so. The soldiers were deployed into the conflict to support then president Ange-Félix Patassé, who faced a coup attempt led by his former army chief François Bozizé. Mr. Bemba denies all five charges against him.

The trial is scheduled to continue tomorrow morning.

Witness Questioned About Bemba's Battalion Deployed in Car
By Wakabi Wairagala
March 13, 2013

Today, the sixteenth witness to testify on behalf of Congolese war crimes indictee Jean-Pierre Bemba was questioned about a military unit in the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), the group the accused led.

'Witness D04-45' commenced his testimony at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Wednesday morning and testified almost entirely in closed session. In the brief moments of open court, defense lawyer Peter Haynes asked the witness what he knew about the MLC's 28th battalion. The witness responded that the 28th battalion was part of a larger brigade and consisted of "around 925 men" split into various units.

He said soldiers belonging to this battalion were deployed in the towns of Libenge and Zongo, both in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Many of Mr. Bemba's soldiers deployed in the conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) had earlier been stationed at Zongo, which lies near the common border.

Subsequent questions about the battalion were put to the witness in closed session, making it impossible to know the purpose of this line of questioning. The witness testified via video link from a location the court did not make public.

In their opening statement at the start of the trial back in November 2010, prosecutors stated that two MLC contingents, including the 28th battalion, were deployed from Congo to the neighboring country in October 2002, and that their progression in the conflict country was marked by gang rapes, mass killings, and looting against the civilian population. Mr. Bemba denies that he knew his troops were committing crimes in the CAR during 2002 and 2003 but failed to stop and to punish them.

At the start of hearings this morning, presiding Judge Sylvia Steiner stated that 'Witness D04-45' had been granted in-court protective measures, including the use of a pseudonym, image and voice distortion, and frequent use of private session in order to protect his identity.

Witnesses that appear before the ICC may sometimes be at risk of reprisal attacks. In addition to protective measures being put in place to conceal their identities from the public, psychological support, counseling, and security mechanisms such as relocation are also employed by the court's organs before, during, and after testimony.

Hearings are scheduled to continue tomorrow morning with further testimony from 'Witness D04-45.'

Bad Weather Disrupts Bemba Hearings
By Wakabi Wairagala
March 14, 2013

Today, hearings in Jean-Pierre Bemba's trial at The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) were disrupted due to "technical problems" caused by a snow storm. Judges were scheduled to hear testimony by 'Witness D04-45,' who is testifying via video link from an undisclosed location. However, after two hours of hearing the witness in closed session, it was announced that hearings were suspended until further notice.

"We are experiencing technical problems due to the snow storm. There is no estimate on how long it will take for communication to be established. For the time being, we can't proceed," said presiding Judge Sylvia Steiner.

According to news reports, wintry conditions have caused widespread disruption across Europe over the past two days. The bad weather presumably affected the quality of telecommunication between The Hague and the location where the witness is testifying from.

'Witness D04-45' started testifying yesterday when defense lawyer Peter Haynes questioned him about the 28th battalion of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), which was deployed in the Central African Republic (CAR) during 2002 and 2003. Only the questions relating to the size and location of this battalion prior to its deployment were put to the witness in open court; the rest of the questioning was done in closed session.

Mr. Bemba, an opposition leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is accused of failing to rein in his MLC soldiers as they allegedly raped, murdered, and pillaged in the neighboring country. He has pleaded not guilty to three counts of war crimes and two counts of crimes against humanity.

The trial is scheduled to resume tomorrow morning.

Bemba's Soldiers were "Integrated" into Central African Army
By Wakabi Wairagala
March 15, 2013

Jean-Pierre Bemba's troops deployed in the Central African Republic (CAR) operated jointly with that country's army, according to testimony heard today.

"There was a merger with FACA [Central African Armed Forces] troops," said 'Witness D04-45' while testifying about the operations of the 28th battalion of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC). The witness on Wednesday started his testimony in the trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) by way of video link from the Congolese capital Kinshasa.

Under questioning by defense lawyer Peter Haynes, he recalled that when the battalion crossed into the conflict country, it was initially based at Camp Beyale from October 28, 2002, before operations against rebels started two days later. These operations saw MLC troops together with FACA move to the suburb of Point Kilometre 12 (PK12) near the capital Bangui, where the rebels had set up their headquarters.

"We were able to drive them out. But the enemy had spent quite some time at PK12," said the witness, who testified with his image and voice distorted in order to protect his identity.

The witness said civilians in the area reported that the rebels had committed abuses, but he did not say in open court what these abuses were. 'Witness D04-45' said there were no problems between MLC soldiers and PK12 residents. Interactions between the Congolese soldiers and local residents were facilitated by the local soldiers, he said.

The witness recounted a visit to PK12 by Mr. Bemba, which lasted approximately 10 minutes. The purpose of the visit was to "convey a message of congratulations" to president Ange-Felix Patasse for driving the rebels out of town. Mr. Bemba's troops were in that country to help Mr. Patassé beat back an armed insurrection.

'Witness D04-45' testified that Mr. Bemba, who was accompanied to PK12 by high ranking Central African government officials, "told us to stay motivated, to keep our morale high and that we were under the command of this other side (FACA)."

Mr. Bemba is on trial at the ICC for allegedly failing to rein in his soldiers, who brutalized Central African civilians. He has denied the charges, arguing that once his soldiers crossed into the CAR, they fell under Mr. Patassé's command. He has also argued that any of the numerous other armed forces that were active in the 2002-2003 conflict could have been the perpetrators.

'Witness D04-45' also stated that Mr. Bemba's troops used communications devices provided by Central African authorities. "When the unit crossed over, it did not have any communications devices. It was Colonel Thierry of the Central African general staff who provided the communications devices," he said.

Thierry Lengbe headed the Center for Command Operations (CCOP), which coordinated all military operations against the insurgents. The witness said the devices were used to coordinate operations via a network managed by Central African radio operators.

The testimony by 'Witness D04-45' contradicts that of Colonel Lengbe who testified for the prosecution in November 2011. He said the Congolese troops operated independently of FACA, except for one joint operation on October 27, 2002 in PK13 suburb.

Furthermore, Colonel Lengbe said the MLC took along their communications equipment to the neighboring country. This radio equipment, according to him, could not communicate with that of the FACA.

The trial continues on Monday, March 18, with the cross-examination of 'Witness D04-45.'

Witness Says Bemba Troops Did Not Commit Crimes
By Wakabi Wairagala
March 18, 2013

Today, an individual who was among the Congolese troops deployed in the Central African Republic (CAR) during the 2002-2003 armed conflict told Jean-Pierre Bemba's trial that he was not aware of any crimes committed by his colleagues.

"Did the Movement for the Liberation of Congo commit any rapes, murders or pillage at all?" asked International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecution lawyer Eric Iverson.

"I cannot answer that question in general terms. However, regarding my group, I did not learn of any such cases," replied 'Witness D04-45' whose testimony started last Wednesday. He is testifying via video link from the Democratic Republic of Congo with protective measures including image and voice distortion. Most of his evidence is being heard in private session.

Last week, he testified about the composition of the 28th battalion of the MLC and the Congolese towns in which its soldiers were stationed prior to their deployment to the neighboring country.

He also recounted how Central African armed authorities provided communications equipment to the foreign troops, and described joint operations between the Congolese fighters and the Central African armed forces (FACA). The witness said the joint operations to drive back insurgents were coordinated through a radio network manned by Central African operators.

Mr. Bemba, 50, is on trial for allegedly failing to control his troops who allegedly raped, murdered, and plundered Central African civilians during their five-month intervention in that country. The troops were deployed into the conflict at the behest of then president Ange-Félix Patasse who was faced with a coup attempt.

'Witness D04-45' has testified that rebel forces led by François Bozizé were the perpetrators of crimes in the town of Point Kilomètre 12 (PK12), where they had their headquarters before they were driven out at the end of October 2002.

This afternoon, Mr. Iverson asked the witness whether he has told "the whole truth" to the chamber.

"Yes, I have been answering calmly to the questions by speaking the truth, the whole truth," the witness replied.

The cross-examination of 'Witness D04-45' continues tomorrow morning.

MLC Troops 'Were Not Present in Towns Where Crimes Were Committed'
By Wakabi Wairagala
March 19, 2013

A soldier who was deployed in the armed conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) during 2002 and 2003 says Jean-Pierre Bemba's troops were not deployed in some of the towns where prosecutors say crimes were committed.

Continuing his testimony at the International Criminal Court (ICC), 'Witness D04-45' said soldiers of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) were not deployed in the towns of Bossembele and Bozoum during December 2002. The witness said this was after prosecuting lawyer Eric Iverson showed him documents stating that the accused's fighters committed crimes in the two towns.

The witness was a member of the MLC's 28th battalion, one of the two that Mr. Bemba sent to the CAR in October 2002 to help the country's president, Ange-Félix Patassé, fight insurgents. Prosecutors allege that the accused's fighters committed rapes, killings, and pillaging but he failed to stop or to punish them. He denies the charges.

The witness also stated that if acts of violence had been carried out, General Andre Mazzi of the Central African armed forces "would have arrested them and prevented them from carrying out further crimes" since he was their operations commander.

'Witness D04-45' has stated that upon arrival in the conflict country, the Congolese troops were "integrated" into the national army for joint operations commanded by Central African officers.

The witness is testifying via video link from the Congolese capital Kinshasa. His testimony suggests that he was an insider in the MLC militia. In addition to judges granting him protective measures including the use of an in-court pseudonym, and his voice and image being distorted from the public, most of his evidence has been heard in closed session.

'Witness D04-45' is scheduled to continue giving evidence tomorrow morning.

Prosecutors Challenge Witness on Date Bemba Troops Joined Conflict
By Wakabi Wairagala
March 20, 2013

Today, the date on which war crimes accused Jean-Pierre Bemba's troops arrived in the Central African Republic (CAR) was the focus of the prosecution's cross-examination of a defense witness in the trial at The Hague.

Prosecuting lawyer Eric Iverson said the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) arrived in the conflict country two days earlier than the date given by the witness. He presented documents, purportedly authored by members of Mr. Bemba's militia, which showed soldiers from the group were deployed into the conflict before the October 28, 2002 date given by 'Witness D04-45.'

The witness, whose testimony has entered the fourth day, has previously told the court that seven to 10 soldiers from the MLC's 28th battalion were sent to the conflict country on October 26, 2002 for purposes of "assessing the situation in the field" but returned to Congo the same day. "Nobody stayed in Bangui on the 26th," he said, referring to the Central African capital.

However, a situation report Mr. Iverson presented to the witness mentioned the arrival of 151 MLC soldiers in Bangui as of October 26, 2002. Dated on the morning of the same day, the message was purportedly sent by the commander of the 28th battalion to the group's staff headquarters in the town of Gbadolite in Congo. In another message presented by the prosecution, the battalion commander on October 27, 2002 reports a calm situation and "high morale" among his troops.

"Wouldn't it be strange if an operations message was coming from Bangui if the 28th battalion were not even there?" Mr. Iverson asked.

"On the 27th, no soldier of the 28th battalion was on the other side. Late at night on the 28th is when they went across," responded the witness.

Subsequent questions on this matter were put to the witness in closed session. The witness is testifying by way of video link, with protective measures including image and voice distortion as well as the frequent use of private session.

Mr. Bemba denies that he took no action although he was aware that his troops were committing atrocities against Central African civilians. Prosecutors charge that upon deployment in the neighboring country on October 25, 2002, the Congolese troops carried out mass rapes, murder, and pillaging.

The former vice president of Congo contends that any of the armed groups that were active in the conflict country could have committed the crimes he is charged with. Besides, it is his defense that none of his troops were deployed into the CAR before October 30, 2002.

The cross-examination of 'Witness D04-45' continues tomorrow morning.

ICC Assures Kony Group of Safety
By Anne Mugisa
March 20, 2013

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has assured the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) top commanders that they will get a fair trial and will not be executed.

The ICC said that information reaching its Office of the Prosecutor indicates that members of the LRA are being misled that they will be killed or tortured by the ICC if they try to escape. The Court did not say who was misleading the LRA thus.

The Court reiterated that it has investigated and issued pending warrants against only top LRA commanders, Joseph Kony, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen.

"If these commanders surrender to ICC, they will not be tortured or killed. All their human rights will be protected and the case against them will be in accordance with accepted international human rights standards," the Court stated in a statement issued Monday evening.

The warrants of arrest against Kony, Odhiambo and Ongwen were issued in 2005 by the ICC judges, for crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed in northern Uganda. The crimes included murder, enslavement, sexual enslavement, rape attack against civilian population, pillage, forced enlistment of children, other inhumane acts.

The ICC statement said that the three will have a fair, impartial and public justice that respects all their rights, including the right to be represented by a lawyer of their choice, and to present evidence in their defence. And if convicted, the statement added, they will not be sentenced to death because the ICC does not impose the death penalty.

The ICC explained that the three commanders should choose between handing themselves over to face a fair justice process at the ICC or remain fugitives knowing well that military forces from many countries are looking for them. It pointed out that these military forces may corner, capture, and possibly wound them in the process if they do not surrender if they remain fugitives.

To the others who remain within the LRA ranks, the ICC urged them to abandon violence, stop committing crimes and "follow the bold steps of others before you who have returned home."

The ICC message was translated into French, Acholi, Sango, Swahili and Lingala and is meant to be transmitted in Uganda, areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and Southern Sudan where the LRA remains active.

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Darfur, Sudan

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

Sudan: Arrest Warrant Against President Turned 9 Years
Huffington Post
By Mariana Rodriquez Pareja
March 13, 2013

Becoming a president is an aspiration that many citizens, some of them well-intentioned, have for their country. Presidents represent their country around the world, supposedly seek what is best for their constituency and are responsible for ensuring their protection. A president should be a trustworthy person fighting for the common interest of all citizens.

However, this is not the case for the Sudan: the current Head of State -- Omar al-Bashir is subject to two arrest warrants for massive human rights violations committed in the Western province of Darfur.

On June 30, 1989, al-Bashir staged a coup d'état and deposed President al- Sayyid Ahmad Al-Mighani and Premier Sadiq- al Mahdi. Consequently, he split up the Revolutionary Command Council and appointed himself President of the Republic of Sudan, transforming it into a single Muslim state.

Civil conflict broke out in the Darfur region in 2003, resulting in the commission of several crimes -- including genocide. The Darfuri refugees had to flee to Chad after a Sudanese government supported militia, the Janjaweed, started killing civilians. This raised the attention of the international community, and the situation was considered by the UNSC as a "threat to peace and international security." For that reason, the International Criminal Court (ICC) was called to investigate the situation for the first time in history via a formal request provided under resolution 1593 (2005), binding on all states that are member to the United Nations.

Following the request and a careful examination of the evidence provided, the Pre-Trial Chamber 1 issued arrest warrants. The first one against al-Bashir is dated March 4, 2009, for crimes against humanity and war crimes, such as intentionally directing attacks against a civil population as such or against individual civilians not taking part in hostilities; pillage as a war crime; murder as crime against humanity; extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape as crimes against humanity. The second arrest warrant was issued by the same pre-trial chamber on July 12, 2010. This one is for charges of genocide, including genocide by killing; genocide by causing serious bodily or mental harm; and genocide by deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about physical destruction.

Both arrest warrants refer to crimes allegedly committed in Darfur. President al-Bashir remains at large, and the refusal of the Sudanese government to cooperate with the Court has been consistent ever since.

It is important that al-Bashir answers for the crimes he is accused of in front of an impartial and independent court of law, such as the ICC. He will not be the first Sudanese suspect to appear before the ICC. Previously, Bahr Idriss Abu Garda, accused of committing war crimes in the Darfur region, voluntarily appeared before Pre-Trial Chamber 1 in 2009, in response to a summons. He appeared before the ICC due to his conviction that he is innocent of the charges brought against him. In 2010, the same Pre- Trial Chamber refused to confirm charges against Abu Garda. Given that, if al-Bashir would like to deny the charges against him, he should declare his innocence before the ICC as Abu Garda did in the past. While the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC has a right to appeal the decision of the judges, the point is that a fair and impartial process will be taken, as it was in the case of Abu Garda. In addition, Sudan has the duty to honor the existing obligations emerging from its membership to the United Nations, one of which includes complying with the UN Security Council resolutions.

But that will not happen until all of us, as an international community, honor our promise made in Rome to end impunity for the most serious crimes of international concern when the funding treaty of the ICC was adopted by an overwhelming majority of states.

The ICC needs cooperation from States at all levels. In order to be effective and truly fight against global impunity, the Court needs to be able to rely on the cooperation it can receive from states and all relevant stakeholders, including also international and regional organizations. The ICC has no police force and no prisons. As per the Statute, states are responsible for arresting and surrendering ICC suspects to the Court, in gathering evidence, providing security to victims, and gaining access to crime sites, among many others.

Effective cooperation is one of the commitments governments assume as they become parties to the Rome Statute: it is the only way states will ensure the enforcement of the Court's work, decisions, and rulings. Finally, state-wide toleration instances of non cooperation constitute a blatant breach of international law.

We have to prevent this from happening; otherwise, we will be condoning impunity- which is exactly the opposite of we all seek.

Chad Urged to Execute Arrest Warrant Against Sudanese Leader
Sudan Tribune
March 15, 2013

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the Chadian government to arrest Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir of Sudan or bar him from entering Chad.

Last month Bashir accepted an invitation by his Chadian counterpart to attend the Greenbelt Conference of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States which is scheduled for next Monday.

Al-Bashir is sought by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes he allegedly masterminded in Sudan's western region of Darfur.

Chad, an ICC member, has already received Bashir three times, most recently in February when it hosted a summit for the community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD).


"Chad should join the many African countries that have said they'll arrest al-Bashir or prevent his visits," said Elise Keppler, senior international justice counsel at HRW. "Activists across Africa have called for Chad to stand with victims and to ensure that the Sudanese president is surrendered to the ICC for prosecution", she added.

HRW said that as a member of the ICC, Chad is obligated to cooperate with the court in the surrender of fugitives.

However, Chad maintains it is simply abiding by an African Union (AU) decision urging member states not to cooperate with the ICC in apprehending the Sudanese leader, though several countries did not abide by it.

HRW insisted that under international law, AU decisions cannot negate Chad's obligations as an ICC member.

"Chad's international treaty obligations cannot be wiped away by an AU decision. Chad should arrest al-Bashir, not welcome him", Keppler said.

At its January summit in Addis Ababa, the AU omitted the usual mention of its resolution urging its members to ignore ICC warrant against Bashir. A source told Sudan Tribune that African diplomats did not believe this was a pressing issue warranting discussion this time around.

The AU's stance has enabled al-Bashir to visit African ICC signatories such as Kenya, Djibouti, Malawi and Chad without incident, despite an outstanding arrest warrant issued for him by the Hague-based court in 2009. Both Malawi and Kenya cancelled return visits following international pressure.

Chad is the only ICC member to allow al-Bashir to visit multiple times, with the country subsequently reported to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for non-cooperation, along with other ICC members who received al-Bashir.

The UNSC chose to take no action against these nations, while the AU issued a resolution backing the decision of these countries to allow al-Bashir's visit.


In a statement released on Thursday and extended to Sudan Tribune, Amnesty International called on the UNSC to step in should the Chadian government once again fail to arrest al-Bashir.

Amnesty International's Africa programme director, Netsanet Belay, said the people of Darfur deserved justice and recognition for their suffering, saying that 10 years on the human rights situation on the ground remains dire, with civilians continuing to face attacks from government forces, pro-government militias and armed opposition groups.

"For the last 10 years, the people of Darfur have endured killings, kidnappings, sexual violence and looting. And while many incidents are reported to the police, perpetrators are rarely convicted," Belay said.

"For the human rights situation in Darfur to improve, impunity for perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and human rights violations must end. The Sudanese government needs to deliver indictees to the ICC and the international community should make every effort to arrest president al-Bashir and the other ICC-indictees", he added.


Close to 100 human rights groups and law societies across Africa signed a letter addressed to Chadian president Idriss Deby urging him to honour his country's obligations to the ICC in advance of al-Bashir's previous visit in February.

Signatories said Chad's continued refusal to act sent "damaging signals to victims of mass atrocities in Darfur and globally, and undermine Chad's credibility on issues of justice and accountability".

The European Union also expressed its concerns following the visit, although it stopped short of condemning the Chadian government outright.

During Chad's thorny relations with Sudan, Deby vowed at one point to execute the arrest warrant against al-Bashir, rejecting African Union (AU) resolutions granting him immunity. However, as relations improved Deby reversed his position.

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Democratic Republic of the Congo

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

Lawyers Brief ICC on Dutch Asylum Cases
By Jennifer Easterday
March 19, 2013

Dutch lawyers representing three individuals who appeared as witnesses before the International Criminal Court (ICC) have filed an amicus brief before the ICC. The lawyers informed Trial Chamber II about the witness' ongoing asylum proceedings and proceedings about their detention, currently pending before the Dutch Supreme Court.

The three witnesses were brought to The Hague in March 2011 to testify in the defense of Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, who were charged by the ICC with war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during an attack on Bogoro, a village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The witnesses had been imprisoned in the DRC pending charges related to the conflict there. Therefore, they were incarcerated at the ICC Detention Center during their time in The Hague.

During their testimony, the witnesses implicated the president of the DRC, Joseph Kabila, in crimes committed in Bogoro. For this, they claim, they will face torture or death if they are returned to the DRC. Therefore, they have claimed asylum in the Netherlands.

While the Dutch authorities have processed these asylum claims, the witnesses have remained in the ICC Detention Center for nearly two years. Their asylum lawyers claim this detention is unfair and have requested the ICC trial chamber to put an end to it. Meanwhile, Mathieu Ngudjolo has been acquitted of all charges and released. He was subsequently taken into detention by the Dutch authorities for not having a residence card and has filed his own claim for asylum in the Netherlands. Germain Katanga is still on trial, awaiting a decision about potential changes in the charges against him.

Delays in Asylum Claims

The witnesses filed asylum requests on May 12, 2011. The Dutch Immigration Service initially refused to process the requests according to normal Dutch asylum law. However, in December 2011, a Dutch court overturned this decision and the immigration procedure began in January 2012. According to their lawyers, the Immigration Service rejected the asylum claims in October 2012, referencing Article 1(F) of the 1951 Refugee Convention, and finding that returning the witnesses to the DRC would not violate Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). According to the asylum lawyers, the October 2012 decision was rendered over four months after the legal time limits for the Netherlands to process asylum claims.

The witnesses have appealed these decisions. An appeal hearing will be held on April 11, 2013 before the District Court of The Hague, sitting in Amsterdam. Normally, the lawyers explained, an appeal decision is given within six weeks of the hearing. However, in complex cases, they said, a delay is likely in these cases because they are complex and the three cases are being heard at the same time.

According to the witness' lawyers, the Netherlands has failed to properly investigate their claims. The Netherlands improperly investigated the witness' potential involvement in serious crimes, the lawyers claim. This faulty investigation led to the improper conclusion that the witnesses should be denied asylum according to Article 1(F) of the 1951 Refugee Convention, their lawyers asserted. The lawyers claimed the Netherlands also conducted an improper investigation into whether the witnesses could be safely returned to the DRC without being subject to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, a right protected by the ECHR.

These investigative failures form the basis of the witness' appeal before the Dutch District Court. In particular, the lawyers claim the Netherlands has violated the witness' rights under Article 3 of the ECHR. Given the current situation in the DRC and the situation of the witnesses, the lawyers told the ICC Trial Chamber that they expect the Dutch courts to consider the investigations faulty. In this case, the Immigration Services would have to conduct new investigations, causing further delay in the proceedings.

There are other reasons for potential delays, the lawyers submitted. There is a significant overlap between these cases and the asylum claim made by Mathieu Ngudjolo when he was released from the ICC Detention Center, they said. Therefore, they lawyers have requested the District Court to await the outcome of Ngudjolo's asylum procedure because it might require a reassessment of the facts of the witness' cases. This could lead to delays, as could additional appeals in the witness' cases. If the witness' win their appeals, a new decision must be made by the Immigration Services, which could also lead to up to six months of delay. This new decision would also be subject to review, a cycle which the lawyers claimed could be repeated several times. If the witness' lose their claim, the lawyers have indicated they will bring a petition before the European Court of Human Rights, a process that could cause as much as a year of further delay.

Challenges to Detention

The witnesses have also contested their continued detention at the ICC Detention Center. Their lawyers argue that this prolonged detention, without any proper charges against them and without a valid reason, violates Article 5 (the right to liberty and security of person) and Article 13 (right to effective remedy before a national authority) of the ECHR.

In September 2012, the Single Judge of The Hague District Court ordered the Netherlands to take custody of the witnesses. This decision was appealed and overturned by The Hague Court of Appeal in December 2012. The lawyers appealed this decision before the Dutch Supreme Court, arguing that the Court of Appeal had made several errors in legal reasoning and a misunderstanding of the decisions of Trial Chamber II of the ICC. The lawyers estimated that a decision in the Supreme Court case could take until March 2014, possibly longer.

The delays in these cases are not the witness' fault, the lawyers submitted. Therefore, the lawyers argued, the witnesses should not have to suffer the consequences of the delays by continuing their detention at the ICC. They have already been detained there for nearly two years. If the Trial Chamber does not intervene, the lawyers argued, the witnesses could face an additional year or more in the ICC's detention facility. The unfairness of this detention, they argue, is compounded by the fact that they have not received a valid court order from the DRC that would justify their detention in these circumstances. Based on these factors, the lawyers requested the Trial Chamber to end the detention of the witnesses.

The court has also received confidential replies from the DRC and the Netherlands in response to the trial chamber's request for information. There is no indication of when the judges will rule on prolonged detention of the witnesses.

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

ICC Prosecutor Drops Muthaura's Case
By Judie Kaberia
March 11, 2013

The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecution on Monday filed a motion seeking to drop all charges against former head of civil service Francis Muthaura, who is accused alongside President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta of crimes against humanity during the 2008 post-election violence.

"I have decided, as of the state of evidence available now, that we have no other choice but to withdraw the charges against Mr Muthaura," ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told The Hague-based court.

During a status conference for Muthaura and Kenyatta, Bensouda told the court that it was quite a difficult decision for the prosecution to make.

She explained that the absence of strong incriminating evidence and lack of witnesses compelled her to drop the charges.

She regretted that witnesses were compromised, while others had died before they could testify before the court.

"We have no evidence against Muthaura. There are other reasons... Several people who may have provided important evidence regarding Mr Muthaura's actions have died, while others are too afraid to testify for the prosecution."

"Other witnesses refused to speak with prosecution," she explained.

Bensouda also said lack of cooperation by the government in releasing key documents and also allowing the prosecution to get access to witnesses led to a weak case.

"The government of Kenya failed to cooperate... no access to witnesses or documents to shed light on Muthaura's case," she asserted.

She however said the other Kenyan cases were different from the Muthaura case and said the prosecution will continue to pursue them.

However presiding Judge Kuniko Ozaki put her into task to explain why the prosecution waited for trial date to be set without informing the trial chamber of the weakness of the case against Muthaura.

She was also told to explain how dropping charges against Muthaura would affect his co-accused President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta who is jointly accused of financing the Mungiki to carry out retaliatory attacks.

She was also asked to explain further to the court how the prosecution arrived at dropping the charges at such a stage despite being aware of Muthaura's case in last November.

Judge Ozaki made it clear to the prosecution that its decision will definitely have an impact in Kenyattas' case.

Uhuru Fights Off ICC Charges
Standard Digital News
By Felix Olick
March 13, 2013

President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta is fighting to have his case at The Hague referred back to the Pre-Trial Chamber for reconsideration.

This comes even as the prosecution filed a petition at the International Criminal Court (ICC) to withdraw all charges against his co-accused Francis Muthaura, citing insufficient evidence.

In his response to the prosecution's insistence that his case proceed to full trial, Uhuru poked holes in the prosecution arguments maintaining the pre-trial Judges were 'misled' to confirm charges against him.

"The Prosecution has failed to grapple with the fundamental impact on the integrity of the Confirmation Hearing caused by the falsity of the testimony provided by OTP-4, one of the three key witnesses relied upon by the Prosecution at the Confirmation Hearing," his defence counsel Steven Kay and Gillian Higgins argued.

He said the arguments of the prosecution during confirmation hearing were based on false evidence following admission by witness number four that he gave false testimony.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda recently admitted that witness number four, who linked Uhuru and Muthaura to the infamous State House meeting, lied. She, however, insisted Uhuru's case should proceed to full trial.

But in in his submission, Uhuru insisted the Prosecution presented a misleading account to the Trial Chamber five judges in respect to the events that led to the unjustified non-disclosure of the OTP-4.

He said at the confirmation hearing, a prosecution lawyer, Adesola Adeboyejo, fundamentally misled the Pre-Trial Chamber as to the strength and credibility of the evidence of OTP-4 and reliability of the prosecution.

He reminded the judges that Ms Adeboyejo stated the Prosecution had complete confidence in the credibility of all witnesses they presented.

Uhuru also argued his case had been weakened significantly since witness number four provided most evidence the judges relied on. He said for example, the said witness gave allegations regarding his provision of cash to local coordinators in Nakuru and Naivasha at the height of 2007 violence.

He also faulted Bensouda for "ambiguous dates" contrary to what was confirmed by Pre-Trial Chamber Judges led by Ekaterina Trendafilova.

He insisted during confirmation of charges, the Judges held that the State House meeting took place on December 30 and not on or about December 30 as held by the prosecution.

"The Defence notes that the PTC did not find that a meeting occurred at an ambiguous date as alleged by the Prosecution, rather it found the meeting occurred on December 30, 2007," the lawyers emphasised.

Cleared Kenyan ICC Suspect Faults Court's Investigation Process
By Thomas Whittle
March 13, 2013

Kenya's former Head of Public Service Ambassador Francis Muthaura has told the International Criminal Court (ICC) to be thorough in its investigations to avoid building weak cases on innocent people that can wreck family, businesses, career and personal relations.

He made the remarks after the ICC dropped charges on crimes against humanity leveled against him on Monday, which became the third case that the world court has dropped against the initial six Kenyans for their alleged role in the post election violence of 2007/08 that killed more than 1,200 people and displaced 650, 000 more.

"I am relieved but not celebrating because ICC case has hurt me by seeing that those supposed to protect the law are abusing it," said Muthaura, in his first press conference since the charges were dropped on Monday at the Hague, held in Nairobi on Wednesday.

Muthaura's case has set a precedent as the first case to be dropped by the ICC when it had been recommended for trial. The other two cases were dropped before they were confirmed for trial.

It means that three cases affecting President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta, his Vice President-elect William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua Sang will proceed for trial.

But the lawyers for the remaining accused have been working to convince the judges that like in the previous dropped three cases, the witnesses presented by the prosecutor cannot be relied on and are liars.

According to Muthaura's lawyer Karim Khan, the case against him was confirmed on strength of one witness, who said he was part of the meeting held at the State House Nairobi, and other at the Nairobi Club hotel, to plan retaliatory attacks against the killing of Kikuyu's in the Rift Valley region.

That witness has since admitted that he lied. The same witness was the star feature in the confirmation of the case against President-elect Kenyatta but the office of the prosecutor at the Hague said it had additional evidence against Kenyatta after the judges queried how Kenyatta's case could proceed yet a key witness had admitted that he lied.

"There is an abuse of the ICC mechanism," said Muthaura, emphasizing that he supported the setting up of the ICC when he was Kenya's Permanent Representative at the United Nations.

"I m happy that my mother who is 93 years and my father in law who is 91 years old have lived through to witness the case process, " he added.

While dismissing Muthaura's case, Chief ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that the witnesses had either been intimidated, bribed or had died and said the administration of President Mwai Kibaki had failed to offer the ICC full cooperation to access crucial documents and witnesses.

But lawyer Karim dismissed the allegations, saying that if indeed there was intimidation and bribery, the prosecutor should have issued a warrant of arrest against Muthaura.

"The allegations are a smokescreen meant to cover the reality of the collapse of the case from inside the prosecutor's office," Karim told journalists on Wednesday in Nairobi.

"Millions of dollars have been spent investigating this case, yet the case was riddled with a lot of inconsistencies. Some witnesses have been trying to covert justice," said Karim.

He declined to give his opinion regarding the status of the remaining cases against three Kenyans or even Kenyatta saying that that will be up to the ICC.

Kenyatta's case was intertwined with that of Muthaura, charged as an indirect conspirator in the murder, rape and displacement of population during the 2007/08 violence.

The violence was sparked by a dispute in the tally of the presidential votes pitting Prime Minister Raila Odinga and President Kibaki.

The dispute escalated into a near civil war but was mediated by former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, leading to the formation of a coalition government whose mandate will end once a new president is sworn in.

The swearing in of Kenyatta has been delayed until a petition filed by Odinga on allegations of rigging in favor of Kenyatta is heard and determined by the Supreme Court.

Karim who led the defense team of Muthaura took a swipe at the civil society groups that misled the ICC prosecution office with non-factual information against the accused Kenyans.

He said Kenyans need to scrutinize the civil society more to ensure that indeed they are working for the good for the society but are not secret societies.

He however did not name the civil society groups he was referring to. Earlier, there had been allegations that some civil society groups had coached witnesses against the accused Kenyans and that they had provided the prosecution office with non- concrete evidence that cannot now be collaborated.

"Some civil society groups in Kenya are perverting the institutions of justice," said Karim. He said a decision on whether Muthaura will sue the office of the prosecutor for compensation on wrongful confirmation of his case and subsequent embarrassment that it had caused had not been taken yet.

"It is only a few days after the charges were dropped and therefore we are yet to decide on whether to sue for compensation or not," he said.

Muthaura Not Entitled to Compensation
By Laban Wanambisi
March 17, 2013

The International Criminal Courts (ICC) says the former Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura is not entitled to compensation following the decision by the Office of the Prosecutor to drop charges against him.

In a media statement, the ICC Outreach Programme said Muthaura is not entitled to a refund of legal fees and other expenditures he may have incurred in the case after the charges against him were withdrawn because he has never been in ICC custody as outlined under the Rome Statute.

The Rome Statute states that a person who has been a victim of unlawful arrest and detention or a serious miscarriage of justice that led to a conviction after a trial may have the right to compensation.

"Mr Muthaura has never been arrested nor has he been in the ICC custody; thus, this situation does not apply to him," the statement explained.

In her notice to the court on Monday, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the prosecution dropped Muthaura's case because the government had failed to hand over vital documents.

She also argued that most of the witnesses in the Muthaura case had died while others had been bribed.

Under the Rome Statute, the prosecutor is allowed to issue a warrant of arrest if a suspect intimidates or threatens witnesses.

Through his lawyer Karim Khan, Muthaura said he will be seeking to sue the International Criminal Court and former ICC prosecutor Moreno Ocampo for deliberately misleading and falsely accusing him of crimes he never committed.

At the same time, the Public Outreach Programme said they are still waiting for the Judges to rule on whether President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto will be required to physically attend the their trials at the Hague.

Kenyatta's defence team had last month filed a request to have him attend the trials through video link.

The Outreach Programme statement explains that at the ICC trials cannot be conducted in the absence of the accused person. It emphasised that the accused must be physically present during the hearings.

"The Judges have yet to decide on this issue as to whether this participation would satisfy the legal requirement of the accused presence at his trial; we cannot speculate on their decision," the statement indicated.

The Judges are also expected to rule on whether the trials can be held in Kenya or Arusha as had been requested by defence lawyers.

Unless the Judges decide otherwise, ICC trials will take place at the seat of the Court in The Hague (The Netherlands) stated the Outreach team, adding that according to the Rome Statute, the conduct of trial in situation-related country or another location may also be ordered by the Judges.

"A decision by the Judges is expected on this issue. It is important to note that irrespective of the territory where the trials will take place, the cases remain under the ICC's jurisdiction - the trials will be conducted by the Judges and guided by ICC legal principles," stated the statement from the Outreach Programme.

The ICC said it expects continued co-operation with the government after the general elections in which Kenyatta (who is a suspect at the ICC) was declared President -elect.

The ICC expected all the Kenyan accused as well as Kenyan authorities to fully comply with all their obligations.

"Mr Kenyatta had declared on several occasions, and made written submissions to the ICC Judges, indicating his willingness to continue cooperating with the court," said the Outreach team.

ICC has scheduled a status conference on Monday at 5.30pm Kenyan time to discuss the fate of Kenyatta's case after withdrawal of charges against his co-accused Muthaura.

During the conference the parties will discuss the impact of withdrawal of charges against Muthaura on the Kenyatta case since both of them were jointly accused of planning Mungiki attacks in Nakuru and Naivasha during the 2008 post election violence.

Ruto and former radio presenter Joshua Sang's crimes against humanity case has been slated for May 28.

They are accused of having mobilised attackers and also funded them and provided weapons to carry out the attacks leading to multiple deaths. Kenyatta who is the only accused person in Kenya Case I is set to stand trial on July 9.

Uhuru Kenyatta Challenges ICC Case
BBC News
March 18, 2013

Lawyers for Kenya's President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta have urged the International Criminal Court to drop charges against him.

He denies accusations of instigating violence after the disputed 2007 poll.

The special hearing came a week after charges against his co-accused, Francis Muthaura, were dramatically dropped.

Mr. Kenyatta's lawyers argue charges against him are now compromised but the ICC prosecutor has said she has additional evidence against him.

The trial of Mr. Kenyatta, who narrowly passed the 50% threshold to win elections earlier this month, is scheduled to start in July.

In the aftermath of the election in December 2007 - when Raila Odinga narrowly lost to incumbent President Mwai Kibaki - more than 1,000 people were killed and about 600,000 were left homeless.

Mr. Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's founding president, is accused of organising attacks on members of ethnic groups seen as supporting Mr Odinga following the 2007 vote.

Last week, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the case against Mr Muthaura had been dropped as some witnesses were too scared to testify, while another had recanted part of his statement and admitted accepting bribes.

This key witness - known as witness number four - was present at a meeting where Mr. Muthaura and Mr. Kenyatta allegedly developed a plan to get the feared Mungiki sect to attack ethnic Kalenjins, seen as supporters of Mr. Odinga in 2007. Mr. Kenyatta's lead lawyer Stephen Kay has argued that as witness four is the only direct person linking Mr. Kenyatta to the Mungiki, without him there is no case against his client.

"To a certain extent we have lost faith in the decision-making as we warned the pre-trial chamber of the quality of the evidence and we were ignored," Mr Kay told the court, reports the AFP news agency.

"The evidence against Mr. Muthaura which called for the case to be withdrawn is exactly the same for Mr. Kenyatta," he said.

He urged the judges to send Mr. Kenyatta's case back to the pre-trial chamber for judges to assess what remains of the evidence - and decide whether it is substantial enough to justify a trial.

The BBC's Anna Holligan in The Hague says after the collapse of the case against his co-accused, there has been significant speculation that the charges against Mr Kenyatta may also be thrown out.

But the judges at Monday's hearing do not have the power to drop the charges, only to refer the case back to the pre-trial stage, she says.

This month's election in Kenya was largely peaceful, though Mr Odinga - again the defeated candidate, has filed a Supreme Court appeal against Mr Kenyatta's victory.

He says the electoral authorities have manipulated the result.

He has been serving as prime minister in the coalition government set up in the wake of the 2007/8 violence.

Mr. Kenyatta's running mate in the recent poll, William Ruto, is also due to stand trial at The Hague for orchestrating violence against supporters of Mr. Kibaki in 2007 - he strongly denies the allegation.

Analysts say the ICC cases bolstered their ticket, as voters saw it as interference in Kenya's domestic affairs.

If Mr. Kenyatta's trial on charges of crimes against humanity does go ahead, his lawyers are still hoping that the judges will allow him to attend via a virtual video link - rather than abandon his presidential seat in Nairobi, our reporter says. The ICC originally charged six people over the violence in Kenya but charges against two others were previously dropped.

Defense Lawyer Says Case International Court Against Kenyan President-Elect Should be Dropped
The Washington Post
March 18, 2013

A defense lawyer for President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya told judges at the International Criminal Court on Monday that prosecutors should drop their case charging him with orchestrating post-election violence in Kenya in 2007 and 2008 for lack of evidence.

The legal battle in The Hague came as Kenya's Supreme Court also is considering an appeal by Prime Minister Raila Odinga against the legitimacy of Kenyatta's victory in March 4 elections in which he won his country's presidency.

International Criminal Court prosecutors have charged Kenyatta with crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and deportation, for allegedly organizing attacks on supporters of his political rivals in the 2007 election. He denies all charges.

Weeks of violence after the late 2007 vote left more than 1,000 people dead and thousands more were forced from their homes.

Kenyatta was not in court in The Hague on Monday, but his lawyer Steven Kay told judges that the charges should be dropped after prosecutors scrapped charges against Francis Muthaura, who had been charged as a co-conspirator along with Kenyatta.

Judges formally dropped the case against Muthaura in a written decision Monday. Prosecutors withdrew the charges after a key witness, identified only as OTP 4, was discredited as a liar.

"What was withdrawn against Muthaura should have been withdrawn against Kenyatta," Kay said.

Kay said that the evidence of OTP 4 was also a critical part of the case against Kenyatta and that without it the prosecution case was underpinned mainly by hearsay evidence from just two witnesses.

"I am saying that because the key evidence against Muthaura which caused the withdrawal of his case is exactly the same for Kenyatta," Kay told judges. He said he would further explain his arguments in written filings.

Prosecutors argue they have enough evidence for the case against Kenyatta to continue. They also say it can continue, even though Kenyatta and Muthaura were charged as "indirect co-perpetrators" in the post-election violence.

Kenyatta's trial is scheduled to start in July, but Kay has urged judges to send the case back to a preliminary assessment of the strength of prosecution evidence in light of the decision to drop the case against Muthaura.

Odinga on Saturday asked Kenya's Supreme Court to void the March 4 presidential election, saying it was neither free nor fair.

Kenyatta - the son of Kenya's founding father - was declared winner by the narrowest of margins, 50.07 percent of the vote, breaking the 50 percent mark by about 8,000 votes out of 12.3 million cast.

The latest election and its aftermath have been largely peaceful, unlike the disputed 2007 vote.

But downtown Nairobi carried the scent of tear gas Saturday after police threw canisters at Odinga supporters who gathered despite warnings from police.

ICC Witness Against Ruto Steps Down
Standard Digital News
By Isaiah Lucheli
March 18, 2013

An International Criminal Court (ICC) witness who was expected to testify against the Deputy President elect William Ruto has stepped down.

Through lawyer Paul Gicheru the witness wrote to the ICC prosecutor withdrawing each and every piece of evidence attributed to him and asked to have his name removed from the list of the prosecution witnesses.

The witness in a sworn affidavit explains that during the 2007 general election he was a PNU official but after election he was induced and enticed to be a witness of the ICC. Ruto was one of the ODM pentagon members.

The witness has withdrawn all his statements which included claims that the post-election violence was planned; he also retracted his statement that he had visited the home of the Deputy President elect.

"I have never personally visited any of the homes of William Ruto and I did not witness any event and cannot vouch for the truth or otherwise of any allegation that has been made or attributed to me against him," said the witness in the affidavit. In a letter written to the prosecutor which the ICC responded to, the witness who comes from Nandi asked the prosecution to remove him from the list of witnesses lined up to testify against Ruto.

He further claimed in the affidavit that he was promised that he would be rewarded and settled either in Europe, America or Australia if he testified before the ICC and that his standard of living would improve tremendously.

"The under signed who is the proprietor of the above firm of advocates was approached by the above mentioned witness with a request to prepare an affidavit under the oaths and statutory declaration Act (Cap 15) of the laws of Kenya regarding his status as a witness in the first Kenyan case pending at the ICC at the Hague and on the nature of evidence has been attributed to him by your office," the letter addressed to Information and Evidence Unit of ICC read in part.

In the letter dated February 19, 2013, the witness demanded that ICC withdraws each and every piece of evidence attributed to him and also sought to have his name removed from the list of prosecution witnesses.

In its response, the ICC in a letter signed by the Trial Attorney Cynthia Tai addressed to Gicheru, the court acknowledged receipt of the witness letter but rejected accusation that the ICC has been involved in inducing witnesses to provide false testimony.

The ICC also asked the lawyer not to make the affidavit signed by the witness publicly, threatening of legal action.

"I am sure you will be aware that should this affidavit be made public in any way and the accusations directed against individuals in the OTP are proven to be false your client might as a result be subjected to criminal and civil liability proceedings," the letter read in part.

Gicheru explained that the witness had recorded many statements, given many interviews where he was alleged to have said that the 2007-2008 post-election violence in Rift Valley Province was planned, organised and financed by the Kalenjin community led by people who were arraigned before the International Criminal Court.

The bodies that interviewed him included the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNHCR), the commission of Inquiry into the Post election Violence (CPV) led by Justice Phillip Waki, the Kenya Police, Maina Kiai, Cynthia Tai and other officers from the International Criminal Court.

"I would like to state solemnly and swear that all the allegations that are attributed to me in the said interviews and statements are not true. To the best of my knowledge the 2007-2008 violence was spontaneous and was not planned or financed by anybody in Rift Valley including Henry Kosgei, Joshua Sang and William Ruto," he said.

He claimed that the interviews and statements that he made were induced by bitterness because of the rivalry between his political party PNU and ODM in his home area, which resulted in great hostility towards him and his family members who were perceived to be PNU supporters.

He claimed that upon agreeing to be a witness for the International Criminal he left Eldoret town in 2009, stayed in Nairobi under the protection of the Kenya National Commission for Human Rights and the International Medical Legal Unit (IMLU).

The witness claimed that in August 2010, he was flown to Arusha Tanzania by the International Criminal Court where he was confined in a room at the facility which he later learnt belonged to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

After several interviews he was flown to the Netherlands in or about the month of January 2011 Where he stayed in several locations together with his family.

"During my stay in the Netherlands my ID, Passport, photographs and all other documents belonging to me and my family members were confiscated," he said.

He stated that he received periodic payments from the office of the prosecutor (OTP) whenever they required me to attend to any issue touching on the evidence in that case.

He claims he was flown back to Kenya at his own request on 26th October 2012 and had engaged in deep soul searching and his conscience could no longer allow him to stand by and insist on the truth of matters and statements that are not true.

ICC to Review Case Against Kenya's President-Elect Uhuru Kenyatta
Global Post
By Daniel DeFrala
March 18, 2013

The International Criminal Court (ICC) will hold a special hearing to review charges against Kenya's president-elect, the BBC reported.

Uhuru Kenyatta is charged with crimes against humanity for his alleged part in the violence that killed more than 1,000 people and left over 600,000 homeless in the wake of Kenya's 2007 elections.

A similar case against former cabinet secretary Francis Muthaura, Kenyatta's co-accused, was dropped last week. Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said witnesses were afraid to testify, and one witness recanted a statement.

"We do not feel that we have a reasonable prospect of conviction and therefore withdraw the charges against him," Bensouda told judges, according to the Associated Press.

Now Kenyatta's lawyers will call for the ICC to postpone or drop the case against him, an unnamed lawyer with knowledge of the case told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

"The collapse of the case against Muthaura has a profound impact on the viability of the prosecution's case against Kenyatta," the lawyer said.

But prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said after Muthaura's case was dropped that the recanted testimony would not alter Kenyatta's case, and that more evidence was available to them.

The special hearing will begin on Monday, where it is expected Kenyatta's lawyers will push ICC judges to decide if there is enough evidence to move forward with a trial, the BBC reported.

"A status conference shall be held on March 18, 2013, starting at 15:00 (Hague time). The main purpose of the status conference is to discuss the application filed by the defense for Kenyatta on Feb. 5 and the consequences of the withdrawal of the charges against Muthaura for the case against Kenyatta," Presiding Judge Kuniko Ozaki said.

ICC Prosecutor Says Kenyatta Case Will Go to Trial
By John Irish
March 20, 2013

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) said on Wednesday that Kenya president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta would face a trial on charges of crimes against humanity but when that would happen was unknown.

Kenyatta, whose election earlier this month is being challenged by his rival, faces charges at the ICC over bloodshed in the aftermath of Kenya's 2007 election.

However, his lawyers said on Monday that the charges against him should be dropped after the case against a co-accused collapsed when an important witness's testimony was retracted.

"We will not drop the charges," prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told reporters in Paris. "It's not a question of if it goes to trial but when it goes to trial."

Bensouda said she was worried that bribery, intimidation and the Kenyan government's lack of cooperation seen in other cases could also impact the Kenyatta case.

"We still have difficulties with witness intimidation. This is ongoing," she told Reuters. "It's not stopping and I think it will get more serious."

Kenyatta's lawyers said the charges against him were clearly now based on hearsay after the witness retracted testimony in the case against former civil servant Francis Muthaura.

Kenyatta and Muthaura were among six suspects initially charged by ICC prosecutors with orchestrating violence after the 2007 election, when some 1,200 people were killed.

"Kenya is the most challenging situation that our office has had to deal with," Bensouda said.

When asked if the Kenyatta case could ultimately be in jeopardy due to bribes and intimidation she said: "We have a real risk of our witnesses being afraid to speak up and have anything to do with the ICC."

However, Bensouda said that unlike the Muthaura case, the ICC had more witnesses willing to testify against Kenyatta. "We continue to monitor our witnesses all the time," she said.

She added that the Kenyan authorities also were not cooperating sufficiently by providing only irrelevant documentation for cases.

"What the Kenyan government is claiming is that it has given us everything we have requested, but that's not correct. If you ask for 10 things you get four and they are not so relevant," she said.

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

Gaddafi Family 'Not in Algeria'
Standard Digital
March 22, 2013

Three of Col Muammar Gaddafi's children and his widow have left Algeria, its ambassador to Libya has said.

Aisha and Hannibal Gaddafi are wanted by Interpol following a request from the Libyan authorities, unlike a third child, Mohamed and his widow, Safia.

Abdel-Hamid Bouzaher said the family had left "a long time ago" without giving further details.

Earlier this week, one of Col Gaddafi's cousins, Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam, was arrested in Egypt.

Col Gaddafi's four close relatives sought refuge in Algeria in 2011 after the rebels reached the Libyan capital Tripoli during the war that ended his 42-year rule.

There are current whereabouts are not known.

News of the departure of the Gaddafi family from Algeria first surfaced in Arab media in November, citing unnamed sources.

This is the first official confirmation by Algerian authorities.

The office of the Libyan prime minister told the BBC it had no comment.

The BBC's Rana Jawad in Tripoli says Col Gaddafi's children were known for their lavish lifestyles while he was in power and some oversaw key sectors in the economy, like shipping and the state's telecommunications company.

Another of his sons - Saadi - fled to Niger after the war and he has been there ever since.

Saif al-Islam, who had been seen as his father's most likely successor, was captured in Libya, where he remains in detention, even though the International Criminal Court wants to put him on trial in The Hague for alleged crimes against humanity. Abdel-Hamid Bouzaher said the family had left "a long time ago" without giving further details.

Earlier this week, one of Col Gaddafi's cousins, Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam, was arrested in Egypt.

Col Gaddafi's four close relatives sought refuge in Algeria in 2011 after the rebels reached the Libyan capital Tripoli during the war that ended his 42-year rule.

There are current whereabouts are not known.

News of the departure of the Gaddafi family from Algeria first surfaced in Arab media in November, citing unnamed sources.

This is the first official confirmation by Algerian authorities.

The office of the Libyan prime minister told the BBC it had no comment.

The BBC's Rana Jawad in Tripoli says Col Gaddafi's children were known for their lavish lifestyles while he was in power and some oversaw key sectors in the economy, like shipping and the state's telecommunications company.

Another of his sons - Saadi - fled to Niger after the war and he has been there ever since.

Saif al-Islam, who had been seen as his father's most likely successor, was captured in Libya, where he remains in detention, even though the International Criminal Court wants to put him on trial in The Hague for alleged crimes against humanity.

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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

Is Ivory Coast Zeal to Prosecute Former Bad Guys Setting Up War in West Africa?
Christian Science Monitor
By Chris Stein
March 12, 2013

These days, Noel Evrard tries not to sleep in the same place for too long. He goes out less. He minds who he calls and who he talks to. When he meets people, he makes sure someone knows where he's going and who he is visiting.

Mr. Evrard, an ex-campaigner for deposed Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, has good reason to keep an eye on his back, even here in the capital of nearby Ghana, where he is in exile.

Over the last two months, Ghanaian authorities have pounced on three prominent former supporters of Mr. Gbagbo, including former youth leader Charles Blé Goudé, accused of running a deadly Ivory Coast youth militia.

All three figures were extradited swiftly to Ivory Coast to face trial in a court presided over by the government of President Alasaane Ouattara, who replaced Gbagbo.

"We think that Ouattara has people ready to go at any time to catch you and take you to Cote d'Ivoire," Evrard says, using the French name for the West African state. "We think that they know us. They know maybe where we live. We think we are not in security."

President Ouattara inherited a nation divided between his supporters and those of Gbagbo, whose refusal to accept the results of the 2010 presidential election led to a short civil war that killed 3,000, and a brief, high-profile French military intervention that led to the strongman's departure.

Gbagbo now awaits trial on charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC). His former budget minister is fighting extradition from Ghana to Ivory Coast on one of many arrest warrants issued for the former president's officials.

But human rights groups say the military and loosely affiliate militias that support Ouattara have engaged in a dragnet-style crackdown against suspected militants in Ivory Coast, and were also involved in brutal attacks in the country's western region.

The reports raise questions about whether Ouattara's regime can heal the rifts that have torn apart one of the region's most vibrant economies, a success-story for years, and the world's No. 1 exporter of cocoa.

A lack of accountability for both sides in Ivory Coast's civil war could undermine Ouattara's legitimacy, sidetrack the reconciliation process, and potentially lead to another war in a country struggling with intermittent armed conflict for more than a decade.

"Mr. Blé Goudé, Mr.Gbagbo, they did for sure nasty things. But it's only half of the story," says Rinaldo Depagne, a senior West African analyst based in London with the International Crisis Group.

An Amnesty International report in late February laid out allegations of murder and beatings by a government-allied militia during an attack on a refugee camp last year.

And a November Human Rights Watch report said that after a series of attacks on government targets last August and September, security forces detained dozens of young men in neighborhoods in Abidjan, subjected them to cruel treatment without any charges, and only released them after getting paid.

The Ivorian Minister of Human Rights and Public Liberties wrote in response to HRW's report that the arrests were targeted operations against people suspected of "coldly" killing Ivorian soldiers, ditching their weapons and melting back into Abidjan's neighborhoods.

"[The arrests] are based on a body of evidence and often denunciations," the ministry wrote. "They were well targeted and not massive."

"Things have changed since then, says Matt Wells, a Human Rights Watch researcher who just returned from a month-long trip to the country."The general human rights situation in terms of the severity and the number of abuses are definitely down," Mr. Wells says.

"It remains a question, are they down because of a true change in ... the military or are they down because there haven't been any security threats like what happened in August?" Either way, those who carried out the torture and detention still haven't been held to account, Wells says.

Perhaps the reason is because taking on the rebel forces who chased Gbagbo out of power would come with its own risks, says Scott Strauss, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"[Ouattara] depended on them for coming to power and keeps depending on them for security. So Ouattara is in a bind," Mr. Strauss says. "I think he probably understands the importance of having accountability of all sides, but he feels vulnerable."

Gbagbo's supporters also have plenty to answer for, Mr. Depagne says.

As leader of a militia group known as the "Young Patriots," Mr. Blé Goudé, the youth leader, was instrumental in stoking anti-foreigner sentiment in the country, turning militias against people from the country's northern half and immigrants from surrounding West African countries - both groups seen as supporting Ouattara.

In Gbagbo's final days, the Young Patriots set up roadblocks, and persons labeled or seen to be foreign were often beaten or killed. Methods included the infamous "necklacing," burning victims to death with gasoline-soaked car tires around the neck, according to evidence in a Human Rights Watch account. Ble Goude later went into hiding.

But in January he was caught in Ghana, and authorities there also arrested former gendarme head Jean-Noel Abehi and, in early February, student union leader Jean-Yves Dibopieuin.

"Part of the population sees those people, especially Blé Goudé, responsible for very, very serious violence," Depargne says. "And this part of the population will be probably happy to see him in front of the court."

But reconciliation requires justice for the winners as well as the losers, Mr. Strauss said.

"There's a large middle in Cote d'Ivoire that I think is persuadable, that looks at the current situation and asks if this is really different than what we had before," Strauss said. "Has the music just changed and the dance is still the same? I don't think Ouattara's convinced people."

Evrard, the former Gbagbo campaigner, remains unconvinced, and related a story of his brother being detained and beaten for five days in Ivory Coast during last year's crackdown.

"He has not forgot, he thinks about it a lot," Evrard says. "We cannot accept reconciliation when our children are in prison."

Trial of Gbagbo Ally Prosecution Asks for Short Adjournment
All Africa
March 14, 2013

The prosecution in the case of Justin Katinan, an ally of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo currently facing extraction process on Wednesday asked for a short adjournment.

Mr. Matthew Amponsah, Chief State Attorney, told the court that the case investigator who was to testify had been summoned to the High Court this morning hence could not do any business before the Osu District Magistrate Court. It therefore prayed the Magistrate Court for a short adjournment.

The court presided over by Mr Aboagye Tandoh obliged prosecution's request and adjourned the case to March 27.Katinan, a former Budget Minister, is now facing 20 counts of conspiracy to rob and robbery. His plea has not been taken. Prosecution had indicated that it will only call the case investigator as their witness. The state on December 18, 2012 filed the documents on the extradition process in court.

Katinan, who was spokesman of Cote d'Ivoire's ex-President Laurent Gbagbo, is facing possible extradition to his home country, which accused him of organizing raids on 10 banks during the last election crisis and stealing a total of around 300 billion CFA francs (592.91 million U.S. dollars).He was also charged with two killings allegedly committed at the height of the election crisis, which erupted after Gbagbo refused concede defeat in 2010.On September 29, last year, Ivorian authorities issued a warrant in respect of Katinan and informed the Ghanaian authorities that he was in Ghana and demanded his arrest.

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International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)

Official Website of the ICTR

First European Country Extradites Genocide Suspect to Rwanda
Hirondelle News Agency
March 11, 2013

The Norwegian authorities on Sunday handed over to Kigali a Rwandan ex-businessman wanted for his alleged role in the 1994 genocide, according to Rwandan media. Norway thus becomes the first European country to extradite a genocide suspect to Rwanda. Charles Bandora arrived on a KLM commercial flight, landing at Kigali international airport in the early evening, Radio Rwanda reported.

The Norwegian officials accompanying Bandora handed him over to Jean-Bosco Siboyintore, head of the judicial unit responsible for tracking genocide suspects abroad, according to the New Times newspaper.

Charles Bandora, who is now in the hands of the police, is described as an influential member of the former ruling party MRND of the late president Juvénal Habyarimana. He is accused of participating in training of Interahamwe militia in Bugesera, eastern Rwanda, and of having supervised massacres in 1994. Rwanda requested his extradition in 2008.

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Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL)

Official Website of the Special Court for Sierra Leone

Press Release: Appeals Chamber Upholds Contempt Convictions Against Former AFRC Leaders
Special Court for Sierra Leone
March 21, 2013

A three-judge panel of the Appeals Chamber has rejected the appeals by three former AFRC leaders convicted in September 2012 of contempt for interference with Prosecution witnesses. The appeal was heard by Justice Emmanuel Ayoola (presiding), Justice Renate Winter, and Justice Jon M. Kamanda.

Ibrahim Bazzy Kamara and Santigie Borbor Kanu (aka: "Five-Five") each appealed against their convictions and sentences of one year and fifty weeks for "knowingly and willfully interfering with the administration of justice" in violation of Rule 77(A) (ii) and (iv) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, by interfering with prosecution witnesses who had testified against them in their trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Kamara was convicted on two counts of otherwise interfering with a prosecution witness, and for knowingly disclosing the identity of a protected witness. Kanu was convicted on two counts of offering a bribe to a witness and otherwise interfering with a witness.

Samuel Kargbo (aka: "Sammy Ragga"), who pleaded guilty to two counts at his initial appearance in July 2011, appealed what he alleged was the trial judge's failure to order protective measures for him. A fourth defendant, Hassan Papa Bangura (aka: "Bomblast"), did not file a proper Notice of Appeal within the extended time granted him by the Appeals Chamber to do so.

In the summary of the decision read out in court by Presiding Judge Justice Emmanuel Ayoola, the Chamber found that many of Kamara and Kanu's grounds of appeal failed to comply with the Special Court's Practice Direction for Certain Appeals, noting that both their form and contents did not satisfy the standard of review for appeals from judgements.

The Judges dismissed Kamara's appeal as "incompetent" on the grounds that his Notice of Appeal failed to stipulate "the grounds on which the appeal was made" (Article I.1 of the Practice Direction), or "clearly delineate which filing or part of the filing constitutes grounds and which part of the filing constitutes submissions based on those grounds" (Article I.2).

"The Appeals Chamber is unable to overlook the fundamental flaw in the Notice of Appeal brought about by the manifest non-compliance with Rule 106(A) and the 2004 Practice Direction," Justice Ayoola said.

The Judges also dismissed Kanu's 27 grounds of appeal against conviction and three grounds of appeal against sentence, finding that "several, if not all, of his grounds of appeal suffer from similar deficiencies to those outlined in Kanu's grounds of appeal. The Judges dismissed Kargbo's appeal as "incompetent" on the grounds that it was not an appeal either against conviction or against sentence, and thus did not fall with the appellate jurisdiction of Appeals Chamber. "For the foregoing reasons, the Appeals Chamber...dismisses all the grounds advanced by Defence of Samuel Kargbo, Brima Bazzy Kamara and Santigie Borbor Kanu, affirms the sentences imposed on Samuel Kargbo, Brima Bazzy Kamara and Santigie Borbor Kanu by the Single Judge, and orders that the Judgement be enforced immediately pursuant to Rule 102 of the Rules," Justice Ayoola said.

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The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, War Crimes Chamber

Official Website [English translation]

Main Trial Commences in the Case v. Zoran Marinić
The Court of Bosnia & Herzegovina
March 14, 2013

Commencement of the man trial in the case v. Zoran Marinić before the Section I for War Crimes of the Court of BIH is scheduled to take place on 15 March 2013, starting at 11:00 a.m. in Courtroom 3.

On 10 January 2013, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina confirmed the Indictment in the Zoran Marinić case charging the accused with the criminal offense of War Crimes against Civilians.

The Indictment alleges, inter alia, that the accused Zoran Marinić, as a member of the HVO VP /military police/ 1761, in the territory of Busovaca Municipality in 1993, took part in the killings, tortures, inhumane treatment and infliction of physical injuries directed against Bosniak civilians as well as willful destruction of property.

Indictment Confirmed in the Case v. Osman Brkan et al.
The Court of Bosnia & Herzegovina
March 15, 2013

On 13 March 2013 the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina confirmed the Indictment under which the Accused Osman Brkan and Ibro Macić are charged with the criminal offense of War Crimes against Civilians.

The Indictment alleges, among other things, that during the armed conflict in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Accused Osman Brkan and Ibro Macić, as members of the Army of RBiH, together with other members of the Army of RBiH, violated the rules of international humanitarian law, in as much as on or about 13 June 1992 they came in the village of Blace, Municipality of Konjic, populated by Serbs, where they deprived four elderly women of their lives, and their bodies had never been found.

In addition to that, the Accused Ibro Macić is charged that in the period from April to October 1993, as a member of the Military Police of the Army of BIH, acting alone and together with several unidentified members of the Army of BIH, committed and participated in torture, sexual abuse and inhumane treatment on the premises of Primary School Musala in Konjic where Serb and Croat prisoners were detained.

Custody of Nedžad Hodžić Terminated
The Court of Bosnia & Herzegovina
March 19, 2013

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina issued the Decision in the case v. Mensur Memić et al. under which the custody of the Accused Nedžad Hodžić is terminated due to the expiration of custody which has been previously ordered.

Under the Decision of the Preliminary Hearing Judge dated 26 March 2010, the Accused Nedžad Hodžić was ordered into custody due to the risk of flight and hindering of the criminal proceedings by influencing the witnesses which may last no longer than three years from the confirmation of the Indictment, that is until 19 March 2013 or pending a new Decision of the Court. Bearing in mind the fact that custody of the Accused Hodžić can last until 19 March 2013, and the fact that the first-instance Verdict has not been pronounced in this case, the Court found that all requirements prescribed under the Criminal Procedure Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina have been met to terminate custody of the Accused Nedžad Hodžić.

Nedžad Hodžić is charged with the criminal offense of War Crimes against Civilians and War Crimes against Prisoners of War.

Indictment Confirmed in the Case v. Frano Vulić
The Court of Bosnia & Herzegovina
March 20, 2013

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina confirmed the Indictment under which the Accused Frano Vulić is charged with the criminal offense of War Crimes against Civilians.

The Indictment alleges that, during the armed conflict between the Croatian Defense Council (HVO) and the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Accused Frano Vulić, as a member of the HVO Military Police 3rd Company, 5th Battalion, Čapljina, in the prison known as Dretelj in the territory of Čapljina municipality, violated the rules of international humanitarian law in as much as on 14 July 1993, he allegedly stood guard at a hangar in which Bosniak men were detained, and knowing that they were inside came to the hangar window and by shooting automatic rifle he deprived three imprisoned civilians of their lives.

Main Trial Commences in the Case v. Dragomir Soldat et al.
The Court of Bosnia & Herzegovina
March 20, 2013

Commencment of the main trial before the Section I for War Crimes of the Court of BIH in the Case v. Dragomir Soldat et al. is scheduled to takeplace on 21 March 2013, starting at 01:00 p.m. in Courtroom 8.

On 11 January 2013, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina confirmed the Indictment under which the Accused Dragomir Soldat, Velemir Đurić and Zoran Babić are charged with the criminal offense of Crimes against Humanity.

The Indictment alleges, among other things, that during the period from late April 1992 through late September 1992, within a widespread and systematic attack of the army and police of the Serb Republic of BiH directed against the non-Serb civilian population in the territory of Municipality Prijedor, knowing of such an attack and being aware that their actions constituted an integral part thereof, Dragomir Soldat, in the capacity of a military police officer of the 43rd Motorized Brigade of the Army of Republika Srpska, ordered, perpetrated, aided and abetted, and Velemir Đurić, in the capacity of a member of the work unit - Reporting Center, and Zoran Babić, in the capacity of a reserve police officer and member of the First Intervention Platoon within the PSS Prijedor, perpetrated, aided and abetted persecution of the non-Serb civilian population on political, national, ethnic, cultural and religious grounds from the territory under control of the Army and Police of the Serb Republic of BiH by killings and other inhumane acts committed with the intention of causing great suffering or serious bodily injury or mental harm.

Second-Instance Verdict in Pustivuk Sent Out
The Court of Bosnia & Herzegovina
March 21, 2013

The Panel of Section I for War Crimes of the Appellate Division of the Court of BiH on 15 March 2013 sent out a written copy of the second-instance verdict in the criminal case of Srpko Pustivuk, dismissing as ill-founded the appeal filed by the BiH Prosecutor's Office and upholding the first-instance verdict.

The first-instance verdict acquitted Srpko Pustivuk of the charges that he committed the criminal offense of War Crimes Against Civilians under Article 173, Paragraph 1, Subparagraphs a), c) and e), of the Criminal Code of BiH (CC BiH), because it was not proven beyond any reasonable doubt that he committed the crime he was charged with.

According to the Indictment issued by the BiH Prosecutor's Office, the Accused Srpko Pustivuk was, inter alia, charged that on or about 29 May 1992, together with a group of a dozen armed soldiers of the First Serb Ilijaš Brigade, he took part in an attack on the civilians sheltered in a house in the village of Gornja Bioča, which is when two persons were killed, while three were injured. The Accused Pustivuk was also charged that on 31 May 1992, together with members of the Army of the Serb Republic of BiH and the police, he took part in an unlawful arrest and detention of Bosniak civilians in the elementary school, in Gornja Bioča.

The BiH Prosecutor's Office appealed the verdict, citing an essential violation of criminal procedure provisions and error of fact, proposing that the Appellate Panel grant the appeal as well-founded, revoke the verdict and order a retrial before the Appellate Panel, or modify the verdict by finding the Accused guilty of the criminal offense he has been charged with in the Indictment, and consequently impose an imprisonment sentence.

The Defense Counsel responded to the Prosecution appeal, arguing that the First-Instance Panel had made a proper decision, an proposed that the Appellate Panel dismiss the appeal as ill-founded and uphold the first-instance verdict in its entirety.

The Appellate Panel held a public session on 1 November 2012, allowing the Prosecutor and the Defense to present their cases, which is when they said they fully stood by their arguments submitted in writing, after which the Appellate Panel examined the challenged verdict within the limits of the appellate grievances, and ultimately issued the second-instance decision.

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International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)

Official Website of the ICTY

"Not Knowing and Not Seeing" at Srebrenica
Institute for War and Peace Reporting
By Goran Jungvirth
March 15, 2013

Two former Bosnian Serb officials this week blamed paramilitary units for any crimes committed against non-Serbs in their municipality, Bratunac.

Brothers Branimir and Aleksandar Tesic appeared as defence witnesses for wartime Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic, who represents himself in the courtroom and is conducting his own defence case.

Prosecutors allege that Karadzic, the president of Bosnia's self-declared 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 men and boys at Srebrenica in July 1995.

In relation to Bratunac muncipality, Karadzic is charged with the killing of at least 12 people in the village of Hranca and of at least 65 men in the village of Glogova in early May 1992. In addition, he is accused of responsibility for the killing of about 50 people who were detained in the Vuk Karadzic school in Bratunac between May 10 and 16, 1992.

During the cross-examination, prosecutors confronted both brothers with the fact that they had been present in Bratunac as Bosnian Serb forces "cleansed" the area and committed numerous crimes against non-Serbs, including murder.

The Tesic brothers denied that the Serb-run local authorities had anything to do with the crimes, and claimed they only found out later that it was the work of the paramilitaries.

According to other witnesses in the case, Branimir Tesic, who was deputy police commander in Bratunac, was involved in the process of collecting non-Serbs from the municipality and taking them to the local stadium. Women, children and elderly people were bused out of the municipality, while several hundred of the men were taken to the Vuk Karadzic School and held prisoner there.

Although he did admit he was there, policeman Tesic said he had not seen men being divided from the women, children and elderly. He claimed they came to the stadium "mostly voluntarily".

The prosecution argued that as a senior law-enforcement officer, Tesic must have been familiar with what had been happening to the men imprisoned near the police station, but the witness kept denying it. He said that the police were not allowed to interfere in what the army was doing with prisoners.

"I repeat, we were ordered not to interfere in the work of the [local] Territorial Defence, which was under the armed forces of the JNA [Yugoslav People's Army]," the witness said.

Branimir Tesic claimed that the Bosnian Serb police force did not participate in ethnic cleansing in the Bratunac area.

According to his testimony, the local police only did traffic management, both in 1992, when buses carrying non-Serbs left the area, and also in July 1995, when Serb forces took control of Srebrenica, which is about ten kilometres from Bratunac.

In the days that followed the takeover of Srebrenica, more than 7,000 Bosniak men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb forces.

The prosecution insisted that in 1995, Tesic must have known of the fate of the men and boys from Srebrenica, since there were policemen from the Bratunac police station on the buses that took prisoners to the places where they were killed.

Tesic denied this, and said that the police had not been tasked with securing the buses carrying thousands of prisoners from Srebrenica who spent the night of 13 July, 1995 in Bratunac. They were only tasked with securing the prisoners' passage to Kravica and Konjevic Polje.

Although he admitted to being in Potocari - where thousands of Bosniaks fled after the takeover of Srebrenica - on July 12, 1995, Tesic denied seeing boys and men being divided from their families.

"I did not see only women and children; there were men there as well. I was there only in the beginning, when people were being taken into the first buses. I was in Potocari for just a while - not even 30 minutes - and then I returned to my police station. That was the first day Muslims came to Potocari," he said, rejecting testimony given by insider witness and policeman Dragan Neskovic, who said that both he and Tesic "had seen the misery and distress of people he could not help".

Branimir Tesic's brother, Aleksandar Tesic, was a member of the Bosnian Serb Crisis Staff in Bratunac.

Like his brother, Aleksandar Tesic told the court that the local authorities were not to blame for the killing of non-Serbs in Bratunac; this was done by paramilitary units, he said.

He also said that after learning that the paramilitaries were responsible, the crisis staff decided to ban them from the area.

The prosecution reminded the witness that these volunteers were banished by local authorities only after they had become a threat to Serbs because of their intentions to loot property, and that they cooperated with the army and police in the persecution of non-Serbs.

Prosecutor Julian Nicholls said it was hard to believe that as a distinguished municipal official, Tesic was not aware of developments in his town. After all, the lawyer said, shots could be heard when prisoners were killed at the Vuk Karadzic school in 1992.

Aleksandar Tesic repeatedly denied that he had known anything about the events of May 1992, although he was in a nearby municipal building at the time.

"I later heard there were some prisoners. I did not hear about it that day or the next, but after a few days, maybe, because it was impossible to hide that," he said. "Those who wanted to know and who passed by the school probably saw. I did not go there and I did not see anything."

When it came to the events of 1995, however, the witness admitted to seeing a large pile of corpses in front of a warehouse in Kravica on July 14, a day after 1,000 prisoners from Srebrenica had been killed there.

"I think there were between 200 and 300 corpses in a pile which was around a metre-and-a-half high. From afar, it seemed to be piled firewood. That's what it looked like. When I came closer, I saw those were human corpses. We went slowly past them. It was horrible; the impression was horrific," the witness recalled.

He said he was afraid to approach the numerous armed Serb soldiers, and was in a hurry to transfer the recruits he was in charge of to Zvornik.

Tesic denied that as a municipal official and the local representative of the Bosnian Serb defence ministry, he would inevitably have been aware of actions take to cover up the scale of the Srebrenica killings.

"I did not know anything about that for a long time. I neither knew where [the corpses were removed from] nor where [they were hidden]," he said. "I preferred not knowing and not seeing certain things."

The trial continues next week.

Serbian Ex-Officials Seek Acquittals for Kosovo Convictions
Institute for War and Peace Reporting
By Velma Šarić
March 15, 2013

Lawyers for four Serbian former officials told the Hague tribunal this week why they believe their clients should be acquitted of convictions for war crimes in Kosovo in 1999.

Defence and prosecution lawyers presented the court with arguments for their respective appeals in the cases of Nikola Sainovic, a former deputy prime minister of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, former Yugoslav army generals Nebojsa Pavkovic and Vladimir Lazarevic, and police commander Sreten Lukic, all of whom were convicted in 2009.

A fifth individual convicted in the same case, former Yugoslav army chief-of-staff Dragoljub Ojdanic, dropped his appeal earlier this year, and prosecutors are not appealing against his sentence.

In February 2009, the trial chamber convicted the five men for their role in "a broad campaign of violence directed against the Kosovo Albanian civilian population conducted by forces under the control of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Serbian authorities, during which there were incidents of killing, sexual assault, and the intentional destruction of mosques".

The judges also found that "it was the deliberate actions of these forces during this campaign that caused the departure of at least 700,000 Kosovo Albanians from Kosovo in the short period of time between the end of March and beginning of June 1999. Efforts by the [Serbian police] to conceal the killing of Kosovo Albanians by transporting the bodies to various areas of Serbia also suggested that the killings were criminal in nature."

Sainovic, Pavkovic and Lukic, were found guilty of murder, persecution, and forcible transfer and sentenced to 22 years in prison. Lazarevic and Ojdanic were convicted of deportation and forcible transfer and given 15-year sentences.

Another defendant in the same case, former Serbian president Milan Milutinovic, was acquitted of all charges.

As Sainovic, Pavkovic, Lukic and Lazarevic appeal against their convictions, prosecutors are appealing for longer sentences for them.

At the beginning of this week's appeals hearing, Sainovic's defence counsel Toma Fila asked for his client to be acquitted, arguing that this was "a realistic demand as the verdict makes no sense, yields no logic, and cannot be supported by facts".

According to the 2009 verdict, Sainovic acted as "a political coordinator for Serb forces in Kosovo".

Fila sought to dispute this finding by arguing that Sainovic had no authority over the army or police.

"In addition, there is a discrepancy between the verdict and the indictment which clearly makes no sense," Fila told judges. "According to the indictment, [Sainovic] was the commander of the Joint Military and Police Staff in Kosovo and was therefore directly responsible for everything that happened, but when this proved to be untrue or not quite tenable as an argument, he suddenly became 'the political coordinator'."

Fila described the Joint Military and Police Staff as "more of a debate and discussion club than a real command" structure.

The defence lawyer argued that the police and military functioned properly "even during the NATO bombing campaign". They had their own chains of command and did not need Sainovic to "carry out anything".

Fila described his client as "a simple bureaucrat with no executive decision powers and no significant assertive influence over anyone".

"Sainovic was a member of the Socialist Party of Serbia and he did hold public office, by merits of which he was present at different meetings and in different structures. However, he did not have any decision making or executive powers, and to claim that - knowing Serbia's legal system and constitutional order - would be ridiculous", Fila said.

"He was not in any way close to [former Serbian president] Slobodan Milosevic," Fila added. "Their contact was minimal and only limited to courtesy and formalities".

Fila said that Milutinovic, who was Serbian president from 1997 until 2002, was much closer to Milosevic than his client.

"To be honest, I believe someone swapped Milutinovic and Sainovic while writing the verdict [in 2009] and understanding the facts. That's the only argument I can give, and this is injustice which needs to be addressed," the lawyer told the court.

He also disputed the existence of a "joint criminal enterprise" whose aim was to expel Albanians from Kosovo.

"It seems very illogical that Serbia [would have] chosen the worst possible opportunity to expel the Albanians, which was at the time of the NATO bombing", he said.

Responding to these arguments, prosecutor Peter Kraemer wondered aloud whether the defence lawyer had "actually read the verdict".

"The existence of a joint criminal enterprise is not based merely on patterns of crimes, but on a number of other things such as the sudden and significant increase of the presence of Serb troops on the ground at the eve of the NATO bombing, discrimination of Albanian civilians, provision of weapons to Serb civilians, and cover-up activities carried out by Serb authorities," Kraemer said.

"While I do agree with the claim that the police and military kept their chains of command during the NATO campaign, we mustn't forget that Sainovic and the Joint Military and Police Staff were part of those chains, and that the chains of command were used by Sainovic and the Joint Command to carry out Milosevic's orders," he added.

Once Fila had wrapped up his case, the defence counsel for Pavkovic, John Ackerman, took the stand. He said that his client's verdict was "unjust and political".

According to Ackerman, Pavkovic did everything he could to prevent crimes, and issued "two dozen orders urging the respect of international law, human rights, and prevention of crimes".

"So how can someone who repeats twice a week that crimes must not occur actually be part of a joint criminal enterprise?" Ackerman asked the judges.

He then presented a sheet with an overview of orders of this kind, saying that "it is unheard in international warfare that a commander had ever issued so many such orders, and was so actively involved in making sure that crimes did not happen".

Responding to Ackerman's arguments, prosecutor Kraemer said another document existed, "one which clearly shows that Pavkovic knew about the meetings and orders and reports [from Kosovo], which made him very aware of the criminal acts against Kosovo Albanians. And yet he failed to do anything."

"You see, these are much more important points, ones that show the real essence of the problem, and not just symbolic orders and papers written and issued knowing that they would never be respected," Ackerman said.

Defence lawyers for Lazarevic and Lukic also called for acquittals for their clients.

The appeals judgement will be rendered in due course.

Do Overturned Convictions Undermine Hague Tribunal?
Institute for War and Peace Reporting
By Rachel Irwin
March 20, 2013

When appeals judges at the Hague tribunal quashed the conviction of Momcilo Perisic for crimes committed during the 1990s war in Bosnia, it was the second time they had overturned a trial verdict in four months.

In September 2011, Perisic, who was chief of staff of the Yugoslav army during the Bosnian war, was convicted of aiding and abetting crimes committed against civilians during the 44-month sniping and shelling campaign directed against Sarajevo, which left thousands dead, as well as the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in which over 7,000 Bosniak men and boys were murdered. He was sentenced to 27 years in prison.

On February 28, appeals judges ordered his immediate release after dismissing the conviction.

In November 2012, Croatian generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac were released after the appeals bench fully reversed their convictions and dropped their prison sentences.

Gotovina was found guilty in April 2011 of ordering unlawful and indiscriminate attacks on Serb civilians during an operation to recapture the Krajina region of Croatia in August 1995. He was also found to be responsible for the deportation of at least 20,000 Serb civilians from Krajina; the murder, persecution and cruel treatment of Serb civilians; and counts of plunder and wanton destruction.

Like Gotovina, special police commander General Mladen Markac was convicted of eight out of the nine counts in the joint indictment. A third co-defendant in the case, Knin garrison commander General Ivan Cermak, was acquitted of all charges.

Gotovina was sentenced to 24 years' imprisonment, and Markac to 18 years, with credit for time already served.

When the appeals chamber quashed those sentences last November 16, both men left The Hague for a rapturous reception in Croatia.

While other defendants at the tribunal have had their sentences reduced or increased on appeal, the Perisic and Gotovina/Markac cases are the starkest examples of what can happen during the appeals process.

The cases raise numerous questions about how a complete reversal is even possible when Hague trials are supposed to not only establish a factual account of the wars in the former Yugoslavia, but also further truth, reconciliation and peace in the region. If a trial judgement of more than 1,000 pages, as in Gotovina's case, can be abruptly reversed in a 50-page appeals verdict, what does that say about the tribunal's overall credibility?

As Christian Axboe Nielsen, a historian at Aarhus University in Denmark, put it, "It's extremely problematic for the legacy of the tribunal that we essentially have two verdicts - which involve by tribunal standards relatively long prison sentences -not only reduced but also overturned completely, with the formerly convicted out as free men."

Nielsen has testified as an expert witness for the tribunal in several trials at the tribunal.

"The intensely problematic thing is explaining to the diverse populations of the former Yugoslavia how this makes any sense at all," he told IWPR.

Lawyers and academics who have analysed the two cases say that while unusual, total reversals are possible, as the appeals court has an enormous amount of discretion in how it reviews the facts and legal standards of cases.

Mark Ellis, executive director of the International Bar Association, told IWPR that the purpose of the appeals process is to examine "the way the trial chamber applied the law and whether or not evidence was there to support the trial chamber's decision".

However, as Ellis acknowledges, this explanation "doesn't help victims, it doesn't help the perception of the court, because [people ask] 'How could you get this so wrong? How could you go from one spectrum to another?' That's what is so frustrating about it."

Timothy Waters, an associate professor of law at the University of Indiana, said that while the appeals chamber's job is to arrive at judgements on the legal standards applied in individual cases, that is not how most people understand it.

"They either read a very short answer - guilty or not guilty - or they are looking for these grand narratives," he said. "The judicial process is right in the middle of that, telling a very complicated legal story that may have nothing to do with what happened in the broader sense."

In terms of how appeals decisions affect perceptions of the court, David Ohlin, an associate professor at Cornell University Law School in New York, said they can be interpreted in different ways.

"In one sense, you look at this and say, 'I have less confidence in the system because if the trial chamber can get things this wrong, then why should I believe anything a trial chamber says?'" he said.

"On the other hand, you can look at this and say, 'The appellate process isn't just a rubber stamp. It's a meaningful judicial review. It shows us that the process is legitimate."

Marko Attila Hoare, a British historian at Kingston University in London, agreed, noting that "if the appeals chamber always [followed] the trial chamber, that would raise questions about the whole process of impartiality and justice. This does show that the tribunal represents a range of judicial opinions and that judges do disagree with each other."


In the Gotovina case, the appeals judgement hinged on the distance between shell impacts and legitimate military targets during the Operation Storm offensive in 1995.

Reading out the verdict, tribunal president Judge Thedor Meron noted that the original trial chamber had concluded that both Gotovina and Markac were part of a joint criminal enterprise, JCE, with other members of the Croatian political and military leadership. The aim of this JCE was the "permanent removal of the Serb civilian population from the Krajina by force or threat or force".

The appeals verdict stated that the trial chamber used the distance between artillery shell impact sites and the nearest identified artillery targets "as the cornerstone and organising principle" for determining whether projectiles were aimed at lawful military targets. It found that the trial chamber had erred in finding that all impacts located more than 200 metres away from a legitimate target "served as evidence of an unlawful artillery attack".

The appeals bench found that the trial judgement contained no indication that any of the evidence "suggested a 200-metre margin of error". The judgement, Judge Meron said, was "devoid of any specific reasoning as to how the trial chamber derived this margin of error". As a result, the trial chamber's shell impact analysis could not be sustained.

The other findings in the original verdict - including the existence of a JCE - fell apart as a result.

Ohlin believes it was a "mistake" for the original trial chamber to "go to such a level of specificity" with the 200-metre standard - which they constructed themselves - because it opened them up to criticism from the appeals chamber.

"A large part of the appeals chamber judgement was devoted to the fact that this standard seemed arbitrary," he said.

Ohlin argues that the original trial judges could have reached the same conclusions from the other evidence available and did not need to devise the impact-to-target distance as a standard.

The final decision - to acquit Gotovina of all counts in the indictment - was controversial precisely because it stemmed from such a specific issue.

"The controversy seems to be, once you admit the [metre standard] is kind of weird and invented, do you throw everything out? This is what the appeals chamber did," Waters said, noting that two dissenting judges on the appeals bench did not believe the rest of the original judgement should have been discounted because of it.

Those two judges delivered scathing opinions of the view taken by their three colleagues in the majority.

"At every turn, rather than looking at the totality of the evidence and findings, the majority takes an overly compartmentalised and narrow view," wrote Judge Carmel Agius.

Judge Fausto Pocar said the entire appeals judgement "contradicts any sense of justice".


In the September 2011 judgement against Perisic, judges found that in his role as Yugoslav army chief, he "repeatedly exercised his authority to provide logistic and personnel assistance that made it possible for the [Bosnian Serb army] to wage a war that he knew encompassed systematic crimes against Muslim civilians".

Perisic was also found guilty, as a military commander, of failing to punish members of Serb forces in Croatia for launching rocket attacks on the capital Zagreb in May 1995.

When they reversed all these findings on February 28, appeals judges found that the original trial chamber "declined to consider whether Mr Perisic specifically directed aid" towards crimes committed by Bosnian Serb forces. Instead, they said, the original judges found that Perisic "made a substantial contribution to these crimes, knew that his aid assisted the crimes in Sarajevo and Srebrenica, and was aware of the general nature of the crimes".

That, however, was not enough to establish aiding and abetting, especially since the accused - based in Belgrade throughout the war - was "remote" from the crimes on the ground, the appeals bench concluded.

"The appeals chamber... reaffirms that no conviction for aiding and abetting a crime may be entered if specific direction has not been proved beyond a reasonable doubt," said Judge Meron, who presided over the appeals bench for the Perisic case as well as for Gotovina/Markac.

As with the Gotovina appeal judgement, the Perisic verdict was not unanimous, but there was only one dissenting opinion. Judge Liu Daqun of China would have upheld the aiding and abetting convictions for Sarajevo and Srebrenica.

Setting out his reasons for dissenting, Liu essentially concurred with the findings of the original judgement. He argued that "specific direction" was not required to prove aiding and abetting; that Perisic knew of criminal acts being committed by the Bosnian Serb army; and that the assistance provided to that force was crucial to its "very existence".

"Perisic's acts, which facilitated the large-scale crimes of the VRS [Bosnian Serb army] through the provision of considerable and comprehensive aid, constitute a prime example of conduct to which aiding and abetting liability should attach," Judge Liu wrote.

Observers point out that the legal standard now set for "aiding and abetting" has never been used at the tribunal before. Others say that the evidence was so circumstantial that it could have gone either way on appeal, and note that the original trial judgement was not unanimous, either.

Most agree that the requirement to show "specific direction" -in this case linking the aid given by Perisic and the Yugoslav army directly to crimes on the ground in Bosnia - is probably impossible to meet.

"We don't even have that order for the Holocaust. So it's not going to work that way," Waters said.

"One of the reasons why people want a stricter standard is because there are wars all the time, people are constantly involved in them, and where do we draw the line?" he asked. "The concern is that now we'll never be able to prove anything. But the reason not to worry about that is because what these cases mostly show is that courts and judges are prepared to push aside the standards when they want to reach a conclusion."

Other observers argue that both the Gotovina and Perisic appeal verdicts reflect a more cautious approach by appeals judges as the Hague tribunal moves towards the end of its work.

"The [appeals chamber] is afraid that some of the trial chamber rulings created new law that expands the range of potential enforcement, and they don't want to let that happen," said Eric Gordy, a senior lecturer in South East European Politics at University College London. "It's this new legal conservatism that's creeping in. They want to control the effects of what they established before."


Neither of these appeals judgements overturn the basic facts that have already been established about the wartime events in question, like, for instance, that Sarajevo was placed under siege, that a massacre occurred at Srebrenica, and that crimes were committed against ethnic Serbs during Operation Storm in Croatia.

But they do change the overall narrative of the Bosnian and Croatian conflicts, and especially perceptions on the ground.

"When you get an appeal being the exact opposite of the trial judgement, it makes it twice as impossible to imagine that these courts are telling stories that have authoritative narrative power," Waters said.

For example, many people were closely monitoring the outcome of the Perisic appeal because he was the first Serbian state official to be convicted of crimes that occurred in neighbouring Bosnia. His trial conviction was seen by some as formal proof that Belgrade was involved in that war, since former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic died before a judgement could be rendered.

Now, however, the assistance that Perisic gave to Bosnian Serb forces has been classified not as aiding and abetting crimes, but instead as a contribution to their overall war effort. This will have a profound impact on perceptions of Serbian state involvement.

With Perisic's acquittal, Waters said, "what happens in Belgrade is that it's treated like a general proof of collective innocence. That's a very different thing from what a conviction does in terms of narrative, if it does anything."

The Perisic case is not the final opportunity to demonstrate Serbian state involvement in Bosnia and Croatia. There is still one remaining Hague case in which high-level Serbian state officials are charged with wartime crimes in those two states. Judgement is pending in the trial of security service officials Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic.

While the Gotovina appeals verdict rested on technicalities, it was interpreted in Croatia as a full exoneration of Gotovina himself - who is revered as a war hero there - and moreover of the country's actions during Operation Storm.

According to historian Nielsen, the major Croatian newspaper Jutarnji List plastered its website with the headline "Croatia is Innocent" right after the acquittal was announced.

"This is a completely ridiculous and frankly unhelpful assertion that demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the entire point of the [tribunal]," Nielsen said, adding that the Croatian state "was never convicted in the first place".

"I understand the frustration of Serbs who say: 'We are not going to get anybody convicted for what happened in Croatia in 1995,'" he continued. "My answer to that would be, those types of convictions are going to have to happen in Croatia and Serbia, and I really hope for the sake of the region that they do happen."

As Dov Jacobs, an assistant professor at the University of Leiden in The Netherlands, points out, the appeals verdict "doesn't mean that no crimes were committed. That's not what the judgement says".


Many experts have long argued that war crime tribunals exist to deliver justice, not to determine the truth about any conflict, so expecting them to do the latter creates unrealistic expectations.

"Everybody put their eggs in one basket, [as if] the tribunal is going to come up with findings and this is going to resolve all of the disputes," said Gordy, the sociologist at UCL. "Probably if you think about it, no court could ever really do that."

Waters pointed out that with some exceptions, "the people who were outraged at Gotovina's conviction were overjoyed at his acquittal on appeal. We could do the same exercise with Perisic. This is an ethnic census."

In light of that, many wonder how these appeal judgements square with the tribunal's professed goal of not only establishing a factual record but also contributing to the lasting peace in the region.

Refik Hodzic, director of communications at the International Centre for Transitional Justice and a former tribunal spokesman, says people in the former Yugoslavia still have unanswered questions about why such radical reversals are possible on appeal.

"I'm talking specifically about the Gotovina judgement," he said. "People are saying, 'You have dismissed this 200-metre standard, so what is the new legal standard you are establishing? If this is not the correct criteria, then what is it? On what basis are you establishing that this is or isn't the right criteria?'"

"The importance of these judgements for people in the region goes far beyond the relationship between the accused and the court," Hodzic said.

Hague decisions are "seismic in their impact," and not just in the region, he added, recalling how a state prosecutor from Brazil who is leading the effort to prosecute past human rights abuses told him that he looked to precedents at the tribunal for challenging amnesty laws that would shield perpetrators.

"I was stunned to hear that," Hodzic said. "But it does carry enormous weight. It's an international UN court whose decisions have shaped international humanitarian law. To have that jurisprudence shifted dramatically without proper reasoning or explanation goes against what the tribunal's record has been."

In the future, he predicted, "the conduct of military commanders will be determined by these [Gotovina and Perisic] judgements and you will have people looking to them as the legal basis for their actions".

However, Waters, the law professor at the University of Indiana, does not believe that these appeal findings will necessarily set a new standard of proof for future cases. It is likely, he says, that judges will continue to sweep aside existing standards when it suits the circumstances of a case.

"That's not a happy conclusion to say that we have no standards, but it does suggest that this is not a precedent that will stand and determine the future. I don't think the [Perisic verdict] will tell us what will happen the next time we have a military intervener in a conflict," he said.

However, other defendants at the tribunal are already trying to use the two recent judgements in their favour.

Last week, during the appeal hearing for four Serbian officials convicted of crimes against Albanian civilians in Kosovo, lawyers for Yugoslav army General Vladimir Lazarevic argued that his conviction for deportation should not stand because there was no proof that he gave "specific direction" for the commission of crimes.

According to the SENSE news agency, the prosecution asked the appeal bench in this case not to apply the "specific direction" standard as it would run "contrary to the interest of justice".

Despite all the controversy, observers say that the Gotovina/Markac and Perisic appeal verdicts should not detract from the many solid cases of lower-level defendants tried at the tribunal.

"In a way, the [two recent cases] say much more about our need for an overly simplistic understanding of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, which translates into a lingering desire for symbolic convictions of the 'big guys'," historian Nielsen said.

Stanisic-Zupljanin Verdict Due
Institute for War and Peace Reporting
By Rachel Irwin
March 22, 2013

The judgement against two senior Bosnian Serb police officials will be delivered next week at the Hague tribunal.

Mico Stanisic, wartime head of the interior ministry in Bosnia's Republika Srpska, and Stojan Zupljanin, former chief of the regional security services centre, or CSB, in Banja Luka, are accused of being part of a joint criminal enterprise with other high-ranking Serb officials to "permanently remove Bosnian Muslims, Bosnian Croats, and other non-Serbs from the territory of the planned Serbian state".

Both men are charged with ten counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including persecution, extermination, murder, torture, cruel treatment, inhumane acts and deportation, in relation to several municipalities and detention facilities in Bosnia.

They are charged both with individual and superior responsibility, since prosecutors allege they failed to take measures to prevent or punish the crimes charged in the indictment.

Stanisic surrendered to the tribunal in 2005 while Zupljanin was arrested in Serbia in 2008. Their joint trial started in September 2009 and closing arguments in the case were held at the end of May 2012.

In his closing arguments, prosecutor Alex Demirjan said the Bosnian Serb police was instrumental in carrying out criminal acts that occurred "following a systematic pattern".

The judgement will be delivered in open court on March 27.

Karadzic Witness Pressed on Serb "Tigers"
Institute for War and Peace Reporting
By Rachel Irwin
March 22, 2013

A former Bosnian Serb official this week denied that municipal authorities invited paramilitary groups into the northeast Bosnian city of Bijeljina to assist with the capture of the town in April 1992.

Cvijetin Simic, testifying as a defence witness on behalf of wartime Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic, was chairman of the Bijeljina municipal assembly when war broke out.

Karadzic, who represents himself in court, questioned the witness very briefly by the accused and admitted his statement into evidence.

Then the prosecution asked Simic a series of forceful questions about what he knew of Arkan's Tigers, a notorious paramilitary group led by Zeljko Raznatovic, otherwise known as Arkan. The unit is accused of murdering and terrorising non-Serb civilians in Bijeljina as Bosnian Serb forces took over the town on April 1-2, 1992.

Karadzic - along with members of his presidency and other local officials - are alleged to have invited the Tigers (and other paramilitary units) into Bosnia despite the group's reputation for committing brutal crimes against civilians during the war in neighbouring Croatia.

The defendant is charged with responsibility for the killing of at least 48 civilians in Bijeljina during the capture of the town.

Prosecutors further allege that Karadzic 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".

Prosecuting lawyer Alan Tieger began his cross-examination by asking the witness if it was fair to say that, before the capture of Bijeljina, Arkan was already a "well-known" and "famous" figure who was highly thought of by Serbs but feared by Croats.

"I think that you've exaggerated it a bit," Simic replied. "As far as Bijeljina is concerned, he was well-known, but I don't know if he was liked or popular before these events, if that's what you mean."

Tieger pressed the issue, and reminded the witness that as head of the municipal assembly, he met representatives of all ethnic groups in the town, and had presumably been monitoring the war taking place just over the border in Croatia.

"Yet you have no idea how members of your community felt about this well-known but controversial figure. Is that your testimony?" he asked.

"I'm telling you that I think the citizens of Bijeljina did not think about Arkan until the first of April. I don't see any reason why they should have been afraid," Simic maintained.

Tieger then presented an article from the Los Angeles Times dated December 16, 1991, which referred to Arkan's "renown as a guerilla leader who leads Arkan's Tigers". Another report, this time from the Associated Press in January 1992, "refers to Arkan's fame and the fact that he's adored by the Serbian press", the lawyer said.

Given this "world-wide renown," Tieger questioned whether the witness could really have been "oblivious" to Arkan prior to April 1, 1992.

"I didn't say we didn't know; I said that citizens didn't think about Arkan. I believe the citizens of Bijeljina don't read - what was the name? The Los Angeles Times? I think the citizens of Bijeljina have absolutely no contact with that," Simic said.

"You know what, Mr Simic, I don't know if that's supposed to be serious, but you're not claiming to this court that people in Bijeljina would only have become aware of Arkan - and thought about Arkan - if they had happened to have a copy of the Los Angeles Times?" Tieger retorted, his voice rising.

"Well that's the evidence you're putting before me," the witness replied.

Simic added that in his view, Arkan's "media popularity started after these events [in April 1992] in Bijeljina. I think that's how it was, but the prosecution has some other information; I don't know."

Tieger pressed on, saying, "The fact is, Mr Simic, Arkan was there because the Bijeljina municipal authorities invited him in, right?"

"No, you keep trying - Arkan was there but how do you get this information that he was invited by municipal authorities?" the witness countered.

Tieger then played a video of the paramilitary leader talking into a microphone to what appeared to be a television reporter. Arkan said that his men "came here after being invited by the Territorial Defence and the Serb people of Bijeljina. Of course we came to our people's rescue."

The prosecutor put it to Simic that Arkan was "saying he was invited and that's why he showed up".

"In fact Mr Simic, you refer in one of your documents [to the fact] that you did invite armed and uniformed groups, but there were other groups that were uninvited that you thought should leave," Tieger said.

"Please. I don't know what kind of practice this is, to keep putting Arkan here - he says he was invited by the Serb people and the Territorial Defence, and is not mentioning the municipal assembly and the authority of the town of Bijeljina. You keep adding things that were not said. And in which document did I invite paramilitaries to Bijeljina?" Simic replied testily.

Tieger asked once more whether "armed and uniformed groups came to Bijeljina by way of invitation from legal organs of the municipality".

"No armed groups came at the invitation of the municipal authorities of Bijeljina," the witness insisted.

Tieger then asked whether the witness was aware of allegations made against Arkan after the takeover of Bijeljina, or that some "extremely famous" photos had been taken of his forces at the time.

"Who made which allegations?" Simic asked.

Tieger showed the witness a series of photographs, including one that is among the most well-known of the entire war.

The image, taken by American photojournalist Ron Haviv, depicts three people in civilian clothing laying face down on the pavement, slumped against each other. A puddle of blood oozes out from under them. Men in camouflage uniform stand by the bodies, one with his foot raised, ready to kick one of the victims in the head.

Simic said he had seen the photograph before, and Tieger asked whether he was aware that this image - and others - had been "published and distributed worldwide at the time and since then".

"I didn't know then that they were published throughout world and I don't know it now. I don't even know if they are from Bijeljina. Is there any identification of these people? What is to confirm their location?" the witness asked.

Tieger said that Haviv, the photographer, had explained how the photo was taken both on his own website and to various other outlets. According to these accounts, Arkan had been pleased with an earlier photo that Haviv had taken and allowed him to accompany the unit to Bijeljina. That earlier picture showed Arkan posing with his balaclava-clad men on a tank in Croatia, holding a tiger cub by the scruff of its neck.

According to Haviv's account, he saw a middle aged couple being brought screaming out of a house in Bijeljina. Arkan's men told him not to take any photographs. Then Haviv says shots rang out and the man fell to the ground. The woman bent down and held his hand, trying to stop the blood - a moment which Haviv managed to capture on film - but then she was shot as well. Another woman, who Haviv described as the second victim's sister, was also brought out and shot.

Haviv has said he took the photo of the victims being kicked during a brief moment when the soldiers were not looking.

Arkan was indicted by the tribunal but was gunned down in a Belgrade hotel in 2000 before he could be arrested.

"Is it your testimony that as president of the municipality at the time, and as a continuing resident, you had no awareness that these photos were of Bijeljina involving Arkan's forces?" Tieger asked the witness.

"I didn't know about these photographs at the time. I said I'd seen them in a book published in Bosnia. I can't recognise these people because I don't know Arkan's men and I don't know the victims, so how could I comment on either?"

When Karadzic had a chance to ask additional questions, he seemed to challenge the authenticity of the photos.

"Do you remember what the weather was like in early April? Is this woman sufficiently dressed for weather like that?" Karadzic asked, in reference to the image depicting the woman holding the man's hand after he had been shot. She wore a long skirt, a long-sleeved shirt and a beige colored sweater vest.

"I remember it was chilly. I wore an overcoat," Simic replied.

As for the photo of the soldier kicking the people, "do we know if those lying on the ground are dead or alive?" Karadzic asked

"I don't know, I don't know who they are," Simic said.

The trial continues next week.

[back to contents]

Domestic Prosecutions In The Former Yugoslavia

Serbia Can't Accept War Crimes Deal With Croatia Because of Law
March 12, 2013

Croatia recently forwarded to Serbia a draft agreement on the prosecution of war crimes but Belgrade cannot accept it because of legal obstacles, the Croatian and Serbian justice ministers said in Zagreb on Tuesday, adding that ways of solving this problem would be suggested by the two countries' experts next month.

The agreement should regulate the prosecution of war crimes committed in the 1990s, including the issue of indictments which the former Yugoslav army filed against Croatian citizens and which occasionally arrive from Serbia.

Serbian Justice Minister Nikola Selakovic said there were legal obstacles to signing the agreement in its present form.

Speaking at a joint news conference with his Croatian counterpart Orsat Miljenic, Selakovic said that under Serbian law, the court for war crimes in Belgrade had jurisdiction over the entire Yugoslavia.

Miljenic said the draft agreement was a good foundation for solving the issue. "We realise the limits in Serbia, which is why we moved an agreement that is above (national) law."

The two ministers said it was good to discuss this and that there were no longer banned topics in Croatian-Serbian relations.

"Sometimes we don't agree on anything but we at least agree that we don't agree on something. That was lacking in the past," said Selakovic.

"We will agree on some things and not on others. That's why it's important to discuss some other models," added Miljenic.

The two ministers also discussed an agreement on the enforcement of sentences, succession to the former Yugoslavia, ownership issues and the sharing of Croatia's experience in accession negotiations with the European Union.

Reporters asked Selakovic which water he drank at the meeting in Zagreb, alluding to an incident when, as an assistant at Belgrade's law school, he took a female student's bottle of Croatian water during class and threw it in the trash, saying he was doing so because it was not domestic Serbian water.

"I drank Croatian water, of course. When you come to Belgrade, I invite you to drink one of our waters," he said.

Croat Fighters 'Expelled Bosniaks from Villages'
Balkan Insight
March 14, 2013

At a trial for war crimes in Prozor in central Bosnia in 1993, witnesses said Bosnian Croat gunmen moved into villages, burned homes and forced out the people living there.

Prosecution witness Armin Pracic told the court in Sarajevo on Thursday that in the summer of 1993, Croatian Defence Council troops entered his village of Podanis in the Prozor municipality and killed two people.

He said he ran to the nearby garbage dump when he saw three soldiers chasing him.

"I hid under a rock and covered myself in garbage. The three of them stood over me and talked. I recognised the voices, it was the defendant Zeljko Jukic and the brothers Tomo and Ante Beljo. They were members of the [Bosnian Croat] Kinder platoon," said the witness.

Pracic said he remained hidden for a while until the soldiers did not come back. Then he heard a shot.

"I could not see a thing, but upon my return to the village I saw the body of [villager] Hata Pracic on the road. I did not see who killed her, but I know that is the exact way [the fighters] would have gone back," explained the witness.

He said that later that day he saw houses burning in the village.

Jukic is charged with having participated in the forcible resettlement of the Bosniak population from the Prozor municipality. He is also charged with murdering Bosniaks, among other crimes.

Witness Hajrudin Bektas also testified at the hearing that members of the Kinder platoon entered the village of Varvara in the summer of 1993 and took all the civilians to the high school in Prozor.

"Croatian Defence Council members entered the village. Mostly younger men, volunteers... Among them that day I saw Zeljko Jukic with an automatic rifle rounding up civilians," said Bektas, who added that he recognised Jukic because he already knew him.

The trial will resume on March 21.

Confusion Over Sex Abuse Claims at Bosnia Camp Trial
Balkan Insight
March 19, 2013

A witness at the trial for war crimes at the Dretelj detention camp in southern Bosnia in 1992 said prisoners were beaten but the defendant did not order sexual abuse.

On the second day of his testimony at the trial in Sarajevo on Tuesday, protected witness codenamed 'B' said that he had "caused confusion" when he told the court last week that one of the defendants, former Dretelj guard Ivan Medic, ordered two prisoners to have sex with each other.

On March 5, B said Medic had forced a prisoner at the detention camp to "put his sex organ into another prisoner's mouth".

But when questioned by Medic's defence why he did not say this in his pre-trial depositions, the witness said that the defendant only "happened to be there when it happened".

He added that if he said something different at the previous hearing, it was "a misunderstanding".

Medic, Ivan Zelenika, Srecko Herceg, Edib Buljubasic and Marina Grubisic-Fejzic are charged with involvement in torture and forcing Serb prisoners into hard labour in 1992 at the camp, where several people died as a result of being abused.

According to the indictment, Zelenika was an officer of the Croatian Defence Force, Herceg was commander of the Dretelj camp, Buljubasic was his deputy, while Medic and Grubisic-Fejzic were guards.

B said that a prisoner called Bozo Balaban was brought to Dretelj in early August 1992 and later died after being beaten.

He said that defendants Herceg and Buljubasic were present when Balaban was beaten but stressed that he could not confirm they were the ones who actually assaulted him.

Buljubasic however admitted to being involved in the fatal attack, but said he was acting under orders.

"Srecko Herceg did not participate in Bozo's murder, but I did," Buljubasic told the court.

Witness B said guards also forced prisoners to sing and, once, to dance for them.

The trial will resume on March 26 with the questioning of another protected witness.

Bosnian Croat Indicted for Dretelj Camp Murders
Balkan Insight
By Denis Dzidic
March 20, 2013

Bosnia's state prosecutor has filed an indictment against former Croat fighter Frane Vulic for killing civilian prisoners at the Dretelj wartime detention camp in 1993.

The state prosecutor's office on Wednesday charged former military policeman Vulic with killing three Bosniak men at the Dretelj prison camp in Capljina in the south of the country on July 14, 1993.

Vulic, who served during wartime with the Fifth Military Police Company of the Croatian Defence Council, HVO, is accused of shooting the detainees with an automatic rifle.

"While standing guard as a military police officer next to a hangar within the Dretelj camp where Bosniaks were detained, Vulic fired bullets through a window, killing three detainees," the prosecutor said in a statement.

Vulic was arrested last month and has been held in custody since then.

Five other people are already on trial for alleged war crimes at the Dretelj camp.

Mirko Zelenika, Srecko Herceg, Ivan Medic, Edib Buljubasic and Marina Grubisic-Fejzic, former members of the Croatian Defence Forces, are charged with the abuse, rape and murder of Bosnian Serbs held at the camp in 1992.

Bosnian Serb Fighters 'Beat School Captives Bloody'
Balkan Insight
March 20, 2013

At the trial of three Bosnian Serbs for war crimes in 1992, witnesses recalled violent assaults on prisoners at a village school near the town of Visegrad.

Witness Salko Sabanovic told the court on Tuesday that defendant Milos Pantelic beat him up while he was detained at a primary school in the village of Orahovci, hitting him several times and knocking out his teeth.

He added that he was beaten by other people too, but refused to give their names for fear of retribution.

"There were more of them, but I won't say who were the ones who hit me. I want to be able to return to my town," said Sabanovic.

Pantelic, together with Predrag Milisavljevic and Ljubomir Tasic, is charged with participating in murders, the forced transfer of people and other inhumane acts.

The indictment says that Milisavljevic and Pantelic committed the offences in 1992 while they were police reservists in Visegrad and Tasic was serving with the Bosnian Serb Army.

The second witness for the prosecution on Tuesday, Islam Cero, said that in late May 1992 he was among the group of captured civilians together with Sabanovic.

He said that some of 15 to 20 civilians held captive in the school in Orahovci were taken out for interrogation and returned covered in blood.

"They took Sabanovic out during the night. His head was all bloody," said Cero, adding that he did not know who hit Sabanovic.

The witness said that he saw defendant Pantelic among the soldiers at the school, saying that they previously worked together at the local sawmill.

He said that he had also seen Pantelic among soldiers who were standing near burning houses.

He added that he had seen Pantelic with a can of petrol earlier on the road to the school and that he saw the defendant pour the petrol over a stable and another soldier light it up.

The trial is set to resume on March 26.

Bosnian Serb Paramilitaries Accused of Beatings and Theft
Balkan Insight
March 21, 2013

A witness at the war crimes trial of ex-fighter Zoran Dragicevic testified that paramilitaries robbed, abducted and brutally assaulted him in Sarajevo in 1992.

Prosecution witness Esad Coho told the court in Sarajevo on Wednesday that defendant Dragicevic came to his home with Veselin Vlahovic (alias Batko) in May or June 1992 and took him to the Digitron Buje building, a residential block in the Grbavica neighbourhood of the capital, for alleged 'questioning'.

He said that when the paramilitaries arrived, Vlahovic stole 4,000 German marks and his watch and rings. Then he was taken to a room where he was beaten up by both Vlahovic and Dragicevic, who he knew by the nickname 'Krompir' (Potato).

"Krompir hit me first in the head and kidneys, and then Batko told me to lie down and he hit me. During that time, Krompir jumped on my back," said Coho.

He recalled losing consciousness several times during the beating, and said that another man also came in and hit him.

"My eyes shut from the abuse. I saw nothing and then Batko grabbed my neck and took me to another room," said Coho.

Dragicevic is charged with robbing and abusing non-Serbs in the Sarajevo settlements of Grbavica, Vraca and Kovacici between May 1992 and December 1994, as well as with rape.

Vlahovic has been tried for war crimes in a separate case and the verdict is expected soon.

Coho said that after he was assaulted, he was detained by the paramilitaries for a day, during which another man was also brought to the room and beaten up.

"That night they came again. Batko told me I should have been killed but he got an order to release me," said the witness.

The trial will resume on March 27.

Prijedor Mosque Executions Trial Starts in Bosnia
Balkan Insight
March 22, 2013

Three Bosnian Serb fighters went on trial in Sarajevo for war crimes against civilians who were killed at a village mosque in the north-west of the country in 1992.

Dragomir Soldat, Zoran Babic and Velemir Djuric went on trial on Thursday, charged with participating in the expulsion and murder of non-Serb civilians and other inhuman acts in the village of Carakovo in the north-western Bosnian municipality of Prijedor between late April and late September 1992.

"In the morning of July 23, 1992, Babic and Djuric, together with persons known only to them, under orders from Soldat, led men out of houses in Carakovo and took them to the local mosque, where they executed them," said the prosecutor, Slavica Terzic.

Some of the men survived the execution, she added, but died after defendants Djuric and Babic, along with some other people, set the mosque on fire.

On the same day, the indictment specified, Soldat went with another person to the house of villager Mirzan Mujadzic and told the soldier to take him out of the house with the intention of killing him, which he did.

Prosecutor Terzic told the court that eyewitnesses would describe the roles of the defendants at the time, and confirm the actions defined in the indictment.

According to the indictment, Soldat was a military policeman in the 43rd Motorised Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army, Djuric a member of the Intelligence Centre, and Babic a reservist policeman, a member of the First Intervention Platoon at the police station in Prijedor.

In her opening argument, Babic's lawyer Slavica Bajic said that the defendant was not guilty and that the prosecution could not prove the allegations against him. The other two defendants' lawyers did not present opening arguments.

The first prosecution witness will be called on March 28.

Bosniak Fighter Jailed for Abusing Serb Prisoners
Balkan Insight
March 22, 2013

Ex-fighter Nihad 'Fric' Hamzic was sentenced to two years in prison for crimes against Serb civilians held in wartime detention camps in Bosnia in 1992.

The district court in Doboj, in Bosnia's Serb-dominated entity Republika Srpska, ruled on Thursday that Hamzic was guilty of abusing the prisoners who were being detained at camps in Derventa and Bosanski Brod in northern Bosnia.

"Between April and August 1992, as a member of the Croatian Defence Council, Hamzic physically and mentally abused prisoners in the Rabic camp near Derventa, which held over 100 Serb civilians, as well as in the Tulek camp in Bosanki Brod," said the presiding judge, Hatidza Hodzic.

But Hamzic was acquitted of charges of committing crimes against civilians in the Polje camp near Derventa, and of forcing prisoners to dig trenches in nearby Tomasovo Brdo, as a result of which eight of them died.

He has the right to appeal against the verdict at Republika Srpska's supreme court.

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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)

Tribunal: Stoppage Splits Staff
The Phnom Penh Post
By Justine Drennan
March 12, 2013

Even as the Khmer Rouge tribunal's eight Cambodian transcribers publicly announced they had joined the strike yesterday, the total number of national staff strikers had been cut down by about half, due to pressure from the court's administration.

Following several reports of the Office of Administration telling interpreters and translators to end their strike or face replacement, an interpreter who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that threats and promises had managed to divide his Interpretation and Translation Unit (ITU).

"On my side, almost all translators are now returning to work," the interpreter said, distinguishing between translators, who deal with court documents, and interpreters, who convert the verbal proceedings between Khmer, English and French.

For those staff who returned to work, the Office of Administration "promised that their salary for the month of March would not be deducted should more funds [be] pledged", the interpreter said.

The ITU national staff had already softened their initial demands for full payment of their three months' overdue salaries the day after they began their strike, revising their statement to say they would return to work if their December salaries were paid but would strike again if they were not given new contracts by the end of March.

"Only seven court interpreters including me are still boycotting," the interpreter said yesterday, but added: "Without us, there will be no hearings for sure."

A transcriber who asked to be identified only as Dara agreed that interpreters were particularly important to proceedings.

Dara's unit had begun its strike last Monday, at the same time as the ITU, and informed the Court Management Section, Dara said. But unlike the ITU, the eight Cambodian transcribers responsible for writing down the court's proceedings in Khmer had received no response from the court administration.

"The ITU had to agree to strike first before we decided to join them on the strike, because maybe we're not as necessary," he said. "Maybe only the interpreters are necessary for the court, so they have more voice. They have more power."

Usually, the transcribers would have finished writing down the day's proceedings half an hour after court adjourned and would have finished editing and turned in their transcriptions a day later, but his team was refusing to hand over transcriptions from March 4, when striking began, Dara said.

Dara, whose wife gave birth to their fourth child in January, said more than three months without a salary had been very hard.

According to court press officer Neth Pheaktra yesterday, the Court Management Section and the Administration Office have requested that the strikers return to work through March as the administration tries to find a solution.

The EU is "working on pro-cessing" the remaining funds - approximately $300,000 - it pledged for 2012, which will be used to pay the staff's December salaries, Pheaktra said.

Groups Call on Tribunal to Find Salaries for Interpreters
VOA Khmer
By Kong Sothanarith
March 13, 2013

An international association of interpreters is calling for the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal to find a way to pay the salaries of staff at the court so that an atrocity crimes trial for three former regime leaders can continue.

The Switzerland-based International Association of Conference Interpreters called for "all parties concerned to attain a swift and satisfactory resolution" in what it called a "dire situation."

A handful of lawyers at the court have also called for the salaries to be paid, after interpreters for the court walked out in boycott earlier this month.

"As lawyers, international lead co-lawyers, and some civil party lawyers, we want to express our strong support to the interpreters and beyond them to all the national staff," eight lawyers said in a statement.

They called the interpretation and translation jobs at the court "crucial" to its function and urged the Cambodian government to remain involved in salary negotiations.

The court is struggling with funding and has not been able to pay Cambodian staff members since December.

The interpreter section of the court walked out at the beginning of a hearing on March 4, saying they would not return to work until their salaries for the previous three months were paid. Tribunal administration has been negotiating with the interpreters since then, while looking for more funding. Hearings have been halted in the meantime.

"We are waiting for the last chance," tribunal spokesman Neth Pheaktra said. "It's a budget pledged by the EU last year."

Last week, the staff of the Interpreters and Translators Unit of the court said they would continue to work if they are paid their December salaries, but will return to a boycott if they do not have a renewed contract for 2013 by the end of March. And few have returned to do some work, court sources said.

Meanwhile, seven transcribers have joined in the boycott, according to sources close to the court, who spoke on condition of anonymity. One of the transcribers wrote on the blog Khmerliterature on Monday that national staff have not been paid because "donors would like the Royal government to fulfill its obligation regarding national staff salaries."

That comment prompted Kong Sophy, head of the tribunal's management team, to warn that the transcriber could lose his or her position, However, Neth Pheaktra said the transcriber would not be fired, only reminded of his or her "duty as staff of the court."

'Intimidation' Thins Striker Ranks
The Phnom Penh Post
By Joe Freeman
March 13, 2013

More than a week after the first-ever walkout occurred at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, strikers are describing an increasingly hostile environment at the court - one in which threats of lost jobs and reduced salary, not to mention more subtle intimidation tactics, have become the norm.

One striking staffer said pressure was to blame for the thinning ranks of the protesters, whose numbers have dropped from more than 30 at the beginning of last week to about a dozen.

Most recently, one of the transcribers refusing to work at the tribunal said his job had been threatened in a Tuesday meeting with the Court Management Section after he released a statement about the strike to the media.

"They said I had abused the working conditions by leaking information, and we would not be paid during the period of the boycott, and in a letter, they said I would be fired," the transcriber, who asked to be identified as Dara, said.

Earlier that morning, Dara was cc'ed on an email sent by Kong Sophy, chief of the Court Management Section, to a number of recipients.

Without addressing Dara by name, the email suggested he should think about employment elsewhere.

"The writer shall be ended the contract as the transcriber and find a new job as analyst or journalist based on the quality of this article. I think this article was drafted by someone . . . [who] asked him to put his name [on it].

"He is [being] used by someone and takes [a] risk himself. He forgets about his job description at the moment."

Sophy did not immediately respond to a phone call or emails yesterday asking about allegations of threats. Neth Pheaktra, the court spokesman for the national side, also did not return requests for comment by press time.

Two hundred and seventy people - virtually all the Cambodian employees of the court - have gone without pay for three months. The majority, though, have not joined the walkout that the almost 30 members of the Interpretation and Translation Unit began on March 4.

The eight-member transcription unit also stopped working that day, though they did not announce it publicly until Monday.

Most of the interpreters returned to work this week, but about 15 staffers are still taking part in the boycott.

One of them, speaking on condition of anonymity, said in a recent interview there had been a toxic atmosphere even before the strike.

In February, during a botched strike attempt, an employee who had regularly sided with the administration ripped up the walkout petit-ion and stuffed the pieces in a trash can.

When members of the Interpretation and Translation Unit finally went on strike on March 4, they did so in the face of similarly intimidating pressure.

Sophy had carpeted them in a meeting that afternoon, according to a staffer who was present.

The staffer said everyone had been told the boycott was illegal, and that salaries for the month of March would be deducted for every day the strike continued.

"Also, it would not be guaranteed that we would be offered our salaries for the months of January and February even when the funds were available, if we were still staging the boycott," the staffer said, and that "possibly, the UN would be looking to find some replacements.

"If they could be found, we might be dismissed." The staf-fer attributed these warnings, and others, to the decision by some to return to work. Although it may seem the strikers, with their dwindling numbers, are losing their fight, they appear to be winning supporters from the international side of the court, which had remained silent for the past week.

Lawyers for civil parties and the defence, as well as the Asia-Pacific regional chapter of the International Assoc-iation of Conference Interpreters, have issued statements of support.

"In our capacity as lawyers, we are particularly aware of the importance of respecting ECCC staff members' fundamental rights, including the right to regular payment of their wages," read part of the statement released yesterday and signed by lawyers for the three senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge on trial in the tribunal's second case, and the defence team involved in the fourth case, which is still in the investigation phase.

"This is a basic right that must be respected, and it would be all the more shocking to see this right flouted by a tribunal assisted by the UN, whose vocation is to serve as an example."

Under the agreement that created the tribunal, the Cambodian government is responsible for paying the national side of the court.

But the national budget for 2013 is millions of dollars short, and the government has insisted it is unable to cover the shortfall. Instead, it has called for foreign donors to kick in the missing funds.

The court administration has not voiced a clear solution for the walkout, although staff say they will return to work if December salaries are paid.

A meeting is scheduled today at the court "regarding salary", according to an email obtained by the Post.

Clerk's File Block Inappropriate: Judges
The Phnom Penh Post
By Stuart White
March 13, 2013

The Supreme Court Chamber of the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday ordered the clerk of the court's Trial Chamber to forward it all available documents in the Case 002 case file, saying it had been inappropriately denied access to documents it felt were relevant to appeals filed by defence teams.

In their filing, judges at the tribunal's highest body maintained that the clerk - or greffier - had interpreted the court's internal rules in a way that was "erroneous and has caused unnecessary delays" by refusing to forward the chamber confidential documents that he had deemed irrelevant to the appeals being considered by the higher body.

"The determination of what, if any, documents on the case file are relevant to the proper adjudication of appeals... rests within the sole discretion of the Supreme Court Chamber," the filing read, before going on to demand "unrestricted access to the case file in Case 002" any time it receives an immediate appeal.

Michael Karnavas, defence attorney for Ieng Sary - whose appeal was cited in the filing - said the order to grant access to the complete court record "validates" his own efforts to create a complete record, the permissibility of which was the subject of the very appeal in question.

"We've been attempting throughout this process to create an objective, verifiable record that would allow the Supreme Court Chamber to determine whether errors... were being made by the trial chamber," said Karnavas, who had appealed the lower body's refusal to, among other things, allow him to videotape his client as evidence of the impact of his illness on his ability to follow proceedings.

"Whether the Supreme Court, after reviewing everything, will reverse the trial chamber's decision - that's something else. That we can't predict," he added, noting that it was nonetheless "encouraging to know that we're going to get a fair shake".

Karnavas went on to say that the Supreme Court's decision noted "something that should be self-evident to the Trial Chamber greffier".

"Judges who have been accused of erring, either in law or in fact... normally don't get to choose what [evidence] the higher court will review," he added. "Perhaps, looking at the decision, [the Supreme Court is] noticing that there is a pattern, and they should do something."

Last month, the higher chamber stunned observers by ordering the Trial Chamber to reconsider its controversial severance order - which had governed Case 002 proceedings from the start - saying judges had committed an error of law.

Lawyers Back Strike at Cambodia War Crimes Court
Bangkok Post
March 13, 2013

Lawyers at Cambodia's UN-backed court on Tuesday endorsed a strike by local staff over unpaid wages that has paralysed the trial of three elderly former Khmer Rouge leaders for over a week.

About 20 Cambodian translators and interpreters walked out on March 4, refusing to return until they receive salaries that have gone unpaid by the cash-strapped court for the past three months.

Some have gone back to work but proceedings remain suspended until the rest end their action.

Lawyers for the civil parties -- representing the thousands of plaintiffs -- gave their "strong support" to the strikers, deepening fears of a longer delay that could mean the octogenarian defendants do not live to see justice.

The oldest of the trio, 87-year-old Ieng Sary, is in hospital after falling ill on the same day of the walkout with stomach problems -- the latest in a string of ailments.

About 270 Cambodian employees at the court, including drivers, prosecutors and judges, have not been paid since November.

International court staff are paid from a separate budget and have so far received their salaries on time.

In a statement the lawyers said they were confident that the rights of the local staff will be "respected... in the interest of the civil parties, the victims and beyond them the Cambodian people".

The tribunal has faced frequent cash shortages since it was set up in 2006 to try those deemed responsible for the deaths of up to two million people under the brutal communist Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s.

In late 2011 the court ran out of money to pay hundreds of local staff, but was bailed out by a cash injection from Japan.

The Cambodian side of the tribunal, whose top donors also include the European Union, Australia, France, Germany and Britain, urgently needs over $7 million to cover costs for 2013.

The court has also been hit by a string of high-profile resignations amid allegations of political meddling.

Led by "Brother Number One" Pol Pot, who died in 1998, the Khmer Rouge wiped out nearly a quarter of Cambodia's population through starvation, overwork or execution in a bid to create an agrarian utopia during their 1975-79 rule.

"Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea, one-time head of state Khieu Samphan, and former foreign minister Ieng Sary deny charges of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.

Strike is Over...For Now
The Phnom Penh Post
By Joe Freeman and Justine Drennan
March 15, 2013

With the death of a defendant, budget woes and a walkout on the national side, the Khmer Rouge tribunal is going through a difficult time.

But a small piece of good news came out of the court yesterday, as striking staffers said they had agreed to temporarily return to work on Monday.

One of the strikers said that during a meeting yesterday, the Court Management Section "strongly assured" them their December salaries would be disbursed next week, meeting a key demand of the 16 employees who are refusing to work.

"On top of that, the office appeared to have treated us with more respect and dignity," one of the strikers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

"We were also assured our salary for March would not be ded-ucted, despite the fact that by Monday, we will have boycotted work for almost two weeks."

The striker said the death yesterday of Khmer Rouge tribunal defendant Ieng Sary and the "dire need for interpreting services during the investig-ation of the death" had also influenced the decision.

But the salary fight is not over. It was not immediately clear what would happen if pay cheques for January, February and March fail to go out by the end of March. One striker said the boycott would resume, but a transcriber was not so sure.

"The transcribers have not yet deci-ded [what to do] if money doesn't come through," he said.

The development, though temporary, effectively ends a stand-off that began on March 4 when members of the Interpretation and Translation Unit - later joined by a group of transcribers - walked out of the booth demanding three months of unpaid wages.

Two hundred and seventy Cambodian employees on the court's national side have not been paid since November.

Khmer Rouge Co-Founder Ieng Sary Dies
March 14, 2013

Ieng Sary, who co-founded Cambodia's brutal Khmer Rouge movement in the 1970s, served as its public face abroad, and decades later became one of its few leaders to face justice for the deaths of well over a million people, died Thursday. He was 87.

His death, however, came before any verdict was reached in his case, dashing hopes among survivors and court prosecutors that he would ever be punished for his alleged war crimes stemming from the darkest chapter in the country's history.

Ieng Sary was being tried by a joint Cambodian-international tribunal along with two other former Khmer Rouge leaders, both in their 80s, and there are fears that they, too, could die before justice is served. Ieng Sary's wife, former Social Affairs Minister Ieng Thirith, had also been charged but was ruled unfit to stand trial last year because she suffered from a degenerative mental illness, probably Alzheimer's disease.

Lars Olsen, a spokesman for the tribunal, confirmed Ieng Sary's death. The cause was not immediately known, but he had suffered from high blood pressure and heart problems, and had been admitted to a Phnom Penh hospital March 4 with weakness and severe fatigue.

"We are disappointed that we could not complete the proceeding against Ieng Sary," Olsen said, adding the case against his colleagues Nuon Chea, the Khmer Rouge's chief ideologist, and Khieu Samphan, an ex-head of state, will continue and will not be affected.

Ieng Sary founded the Khmer Rouge with leader Pol Pot, his brother-in-law. The communist regime, which ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, claimed it was building a pure socialist society by evicting people from cities to work in labor camps in the countryside. Its radical policies led to the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and execution.

Ieng Sary was foreign minister in the regime, and as its top diplomat became a much more recognizable figure internationally than his secretive colleagues. In 1996, years after the overthrown Khmer Rouge retreated to the jungle, he became the first member of its inner circle to defect, bringing thousands of foot soldiers with him and hastening the movement's final disintegration.

The move secured him a limited amnesty, temporary credibility as a peacemaker and years of comfortable living in Cambodia, but that vanished as the U.N.-backed tribunal built its case against him.

The Khmer Rogue came to power through a civil war that toppled a U.S.-backed regime. Ieng Sary then helped persuade hundreds of Cambodian intellectuals to return home from overseas, often to their deaths.

The returnees were arrested and put in "re-education camps," and most were later executed, said Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, an independent group gathering evidence of the Khmer Rouge crimes for the tribunal.

As a member of the Khmer Rouge's central and standing committee, Ieng Sary "repeatedly and publicly encouraged, and also facilitated, arrests and executions within his Foreign Ministry and throughout Cambodia," Steve Heder said in his co-authored book Seven Candidates for Prosecution: Accountability for the Crimes of the Khmer Rouge. Heder is a Cambodia scholar who later worked with the U.N.-backed tribunal.

Known by his revolutionary alias as "Comrade Van," Ieng Sary was a recipient of many internal Khmer Rouge documents detailing torture and mass execution of suspected internal enemies, according to the Documentation Center of Cambodia.

"We are continuing to wipe out remaining [internal enemies] gradually, no matter if they are opposed to our revolution overtly or covertly," read a cable sent to Ieng Sary in 1978. It was reprinted in an issue of the center's magazine in 2000, apparently proving he had full knowledge of bloody purges.

"It's clear that he was one of the leaders that was a recipient of information all the way down to the village level," Youk Chhang said.

Ieng Sary was arrested in 2007, and the trial against him started in late 2011. He faced charges that included crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.

Only one other former Khmer Rouge official has been put on trial: former prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, who was sentenced to life in prison.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has openly opposed additional indictments of former Khmer Rouge figures, some of whom have become his political allies.

Pol Pot himself died in 1998 in Cambodia's jungles while a prisoner of his own comrades.

Ieng Sary declined to participate in his trial, demanding that the tribunal consider the pardon he received from Cambodia's king when he defected in 1996. The tribunal, formally known as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, previously ruled that the pardon does not cover its indictment against him.

He denied any hand in the atrocities. At a press conference following his defection, he said Pol Pot "was the sole and supreme architect of the party's line, strategy and tactics."

"Nuon Chea implemented all Pol Pot's decisions to torture and execute those who expressed opposite opinions and those they hated, like intellectuals," Ieng Sary claimed.

Ieng Sary was born Kim Trang on Oct. 24, 1925, in southern Vietnam. In the early 1950s, he was among many Cambodian students who received government scholarships to study in France, where he also took part in a Marxist circle.

After returning to Cambodia in 1957, he taught history at an elite high school in the capital, Phnom Penh, while engaging in clandestine communist activities.

He, Ieng Thirith, Pol Pot and Pol Pot's wife eventually formed the core of the Khmer Rouge movement. Pol Pot's wife, Khieu Ponnary, also was Ieng Thirith's sister; she died in 2003.

Pol Pot was known as "Brother No. 1," Nuon Chea as "Brother No. 2" and Ieng Sary was "Brother No. 3."

In August 1979, eight months after the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge by a Vietnam-led resistance, Ieng Sary was sentenced in absentia to death by the court of a Hanoi-installed government that was made up of former Khmer Rouge defectors like Hun Sen, the current prime minister. The show trial also condemned Pol Pot.

Since he was in charge of the Khmer Rouge guerrilla movement's finances, Ieng Sary was believed to have used his position to amass personal wealth.

On Aug. 8, 1996, a Khmer Rouge rebel radio broadcast announced a death sentence against him for embezzling millions of dollars that reportedly came from the group's logging and gem business along the border with Thailand. But the charge appeared to be politically inspired, recognition that he was becoming estranged from his comrades-in-arms.

He struck a peace deal with Hun Sen and days later led a mutiny of thousands of Khmer Rouge fighters to join the government, which was a prelude to the movement's total collapse in 1999.

As a reward, Hun Sen, who has ruled Cambodia almost unchallenged for the past two decades, secured a royal amnesty for Ieng Sary from then-King Norodom Sihanouk, who himself was a virtual prisoner and lost more than a dozen children and relatives during Khmer Rouge rule. The government also awarded Ieng Sary a diplomatic passport for travel.

Between his defection and arrest, Ieng Sary lived a comfortable life, dividing time between his opulent villa in Phnom Penh and his home in Pailin, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold in northwestern Cambodia.

He and some of his former aides in the Khmer Rouge, intellectuals who were in a second generation of the group's leadership, made a short-lived attempt at forming a legal political movement.

US Says Death of Khmer Rouge Leader Shows Need to Expedite Cambodia Trials
The Washington Post
March 15, 2013

The U.S. says the death of Khmer Rouge co-founder and foreign minister Ieng Sary highlights the need to expedite the trials of leaders of the communist regime whose late 1970s rule killed an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says the U.S. continues to support Cambodia's U.N.-backed tribunal to bring to justice those responsible for atrocities.

She called for an "expeditious" and "comprehensive" process.

The 87-year-old Ieng Sary, who died Thursday, was one of the three Khmer Rouge leaders on trial in the Cambodia-based court, which opened in 2006. Despite $150 million in funding, there's been only one conviction.

Remaining on trial are ex-head of state Khieu Samphan, who is 81, and former chief ideologist, Nuon Chea, who is 86. Both are frail and have suffered strokes.

Khmer Rouge Tribunal Told to Get to Work
March 15, 2013

The death of a senior figure from the Khmer Rouge regime suggests a tribunal investigating war crimes in the 1970s isn't efficient, Human Rights Watch said.

Former Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister leng Sary died Thursday at age 87 in a Cambodian hospital. He was on trial for crimes against humanity committed by the regime that ruled the country from 1975-79.

Brad Adams, director of Asia programs at Human Rights Watch, said the slow work of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia meant few regime members would face justice.

"Cambodians now face the prospect that only three people will be held legally accountable for the destruction of their country," he said in a statement from New York.

Surya Subedi, U.N. special envoy on the rights situation in Cambodia, called on the tribunal to expedite its work.

"We owe it to the surviving victims of the Khmer Rouge, the families of the victims, and the whole of Cambodian society that continues to suffer from the impact of the Khmer Rouge to this day," he said.

Sary was free until 2007 when he was arrested. His wife, leng Thirith, was declared mentally unfit to stand before the tribunal.

With Death of Ieng Sary, Tribunal Faces Further Jeopardy
VOA Khmer
By Kong Sothanarith & Sok Khemara
March 16, 2013

The passing of Khmer Rouge co-founder Ieng Sary Thursday means the loss of testimony at the UN-backed tribunal, and the loss of another chance for victims of the regime to see justice done, court observers said Friday. It was also a reminder that the court is facing major challenges as it seeks now to continue the trial of two other leaders, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan.

The court is still facing a lack of funding, and it must hold a hearing later this month to see whether Nuon Chea, the regime's main ideologue, is healthy enough to continue a trial.

Cambodia and the international community must now "finish what they started," said James Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative, a US-based group monitoring the trial.

Critics say the court may not be able to finish proceedings that have cost more than $150 million and so far successfully tried only one suspect since 2006.

The court has been slow to do its work and to keep people informed, said Long Panhavuth, a trial monitor for the Cambodia Justice Initiative. And now it is facing a dearth of funding that has many Cambodian staff upset and caused a strike by interpreters and translators.

"The death of Ieng Sary can be a push for Cambodia and the UN to improve their cooperation in raising funds and pushing the Trial Chamber to achieve a criminal verdict while two defendants are still alive," he said.

For many observers, Ieng Sary's death before the completion of his trial has broader implications for the court.

"The UN and the Royal Government of Cambodia did not just promise to find justice and prevent acts of genocide for the survivors of the Cambodian genocide, but for the entire human race," said Chhang Youk, head of the Documentation Center of Cambodia. "So this promise should be attached to the obligation of allowing the tribunal to complete its work."

Peter Maguire, a Khmer Rouge researcher and author of "Facing Death in Cambodia," said the tribunal had become a "shining example" of wrongful thinking by the UN and the idea of "therapeutic legalism."

"By promising to deliver unquantifiables like 'truth,' 'reconciliation,' and 'healing,' the [tribunal] lost sight of the primary objective of any trial-establishing guilt or innocence of the accused," he said. "By getting mired in things like civil party participation, the court wasted precious time and money, and as a result will probably not finish the most significant war crimes trial since Nuremberg."

The tribunal, struggling with funding and legitimacy, and under constant criticism for political interference from senior Cambodian officials, must now move forward, observers said.

"The critical challenge now it seems to me in completing this trial is to ensure that there is adequate funding so that all staff of the [tribunal] who are needed can be working full time, dedicated to fulfilling the mandate of the [court]," OSJI's Goldston said.

It is up to the Cambodia government to ensure Cambodian staff at the court are paid, said Nushin Sarkarati, a staff attorney for the Center for Justice and Accountability. Cambodian staff say they have not been paid since December, and tribunal administration officials are currently seeking more funding from donors to provide the salaries.

"The continued failure of the government to fulfill its mandate under the ECCC Establishment Agreement has caused a dangerous disruption to the proceedings," Sarkarati said, referring to the court by its official acronym. "The smooth operation of the tribunal is imperative for justice to be achieved. If the United Nations and the government of Cambodia want to see justice served for the victims, they must confront the financial issues of the tribunal once and for all."

So far, donors have not pledged any new funding for the tribunal, a foreign diplomat close to the proceedings told VOA Khmer. Donors are instead pushing Cambodia to pay its share of the bill. "The international donors are more strictly adhering to this principle," the diplomat said.

Cambodian PM Denies Deterring Proceedings at UN-backed Khmer Rouge Tribunal
Global Times
March 19, 2013

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday denied that he deterred the proceedings at the United Nations-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal, saying that he also expressed concern over the tribunal's slow work.

The premier said that he expressed his concern while meeting separately with Ambassador Jean-Francois Cautain, head of EU Delegation to Cambodia, and British Ambassador to Cambodia Mark Gooding.

"For the trial of Khmer Rouge leaders, we expressed our joint concern while we met separately a few weeks ago because, firstly, the court is facing budget shortage and secondly, the accused are old, and recently, Ieng Sary died. If the trial remains delayed, this issue will...," Hun Sen said during the inauguration of the National Council on Green Growth.

The premier said that his remarks were to respond to the comments by Brad Adams, director of Asia programs at Human Rights Watch, who said that Hun Sen is the person hampering the proceedings at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC).

"For this tribunal, the rights and power are under the tribunal, the slow or fast proceedings are up to the tribunal, it is not dependent on me," Hun Sen said. "He should not pin the blame on me. "

Established in 2005, the UN-backed tribunal is seeking justice for an estimated 2 million people who died during the Democratic Kampuchea, or known as Khmer Rouge regime, from 1975 to 1979. As of last year, the hybrid court had spent about 175 million US dollars for its operations.

To date, the tribunal has achieved only one conviction, sentencing ex-chief of Tuol Sleng prison Kaing Guek Eav to life in prison for overseeing the deaths of around 15,000 people during the regime.

Last Thursday, ex-Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister Ieng Sary, who was one of the three senior Khmer Rouge leaders, being tried by the tribunal, died at the age of 87 due to illness.

The two ailing leaders facing trial are Nuon Chea, 86, also known as "Brother Number 2," former deputy secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, and Khieu Samphan, 81, the regime's former head of state.

They face a series of charges, including crimes against humanity, genocide, homicide, torture, and religious persecution over the deaths of an estimated 2 million people from starvation, overwork, torture, execution, and massacre during the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1979, according to the court's document.

The court is now facing another setback due to the fact that there is no budget to pay salaries for about 280 Cambodian staff. On March 4, more than 20 Cambodian staff in the translation and interpretation department went on strike to demand their unpaid salaries, forcing the court to temporarily close.

In Former Khmer Rouge Stronghold, Ieng Sary Mourned
VOA Khmer
By Kong Sothanarith
March 19, 2013

In the yard of a small wooden house in remote Banteay Meanchey province, the body of Khmer Rouge co-founder Ieng Sary lies in state, surrounded by wreaths and awaiting cremation. Visitors to the site all wore white, where former soldiers of the regime are indistinguishable from the "new people."

They came in small groups to pay their respects, following his death March 14 in Phnom Penh, were he was on trial for atrocity crimes. His body will be cremated about 100 kilometers from Pailin town, where in 1996 Ieng Sary led a major Khmer Rouge defection that helped end decades of civil war.

Here in Dong village, Malai province, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold, Ieng Sary was remembered as a hero and a nationalist, a far different picture than he will be remembered historically, as a man who helped the Khmer Rouge rise to brutal power and under whose partial leadership some 1.7 million people died from overwork, starvation or execution.

"We still have the old memory when he led us, the time when we were under his leadership," said Sok Pheap, a former Khmer Rouge commander in this mountainous region, where Ieng Sary's body was returned. "Now that he has passed away, we have our sympathy toward him as usual."

Yim Phanna, another former commander, said Ieng Sary had earned some merit by helping put an end to the war.

At his family's home in Dong village, many have come to pay their respects, his son, Ieng Vuth, who is the governor of nearby Pailin, said. "It's only quiet today," he told VOA Khmer. "Yesterday there were many people."

A photo of the man who helped Pol Pot form the Khmer Rouge lay by his body, 400 kilometers from where Ieng Sary was on trial at the time of his death. Phy Phoun, a villager here who was a witness on his behalf at the court, called Ieng Sary a "nationalist, who loved the populace."

In a nearby market, one that came only after peace in 1996, a man carrying a jug of water said, "He is luckier than Pol Pot, because he can be cremated."

Pol Pot, and now Ieng Sary, both died before they were tried for the grave crimes of Khmer Rouge cadre under their command. At the UN-backed court in Phnom Penh, the regime's chief ideologue, Nuon Chea, and its former head of state, Khieu Samphan, are still in detention and still on trial. Both men are aging, and victims and court observers fear they too will not see the end of their atrocity crimes trial.

"The death of Ieng Sary really shows that there has to be a need for an expeditious and comprehensive judicial process," US Embassy spokesman Sean McIntosh told VOA Khmer. "Either way, we have full confidence that judicial officials will deliver justice for the victims of the Khmer Rouge."

Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan said Ieng Sary's death was regrettable. "His loss is a message to all of us, not only the government of Cambodia, but partners for the tribunal, especially the UN, that we are running against time," he said. "This is the time of their old age."

Wife of Ieng Sary to Travel for His Funeral
VOA Khmer
By Kong Sothanarith
March 20, 2013

Ieng Thirith, the wife of deceased former Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Sary, will arrive in Malai district, Banteay Meanchey province, Wednesday for the funeral of her husband, family members said Tuesday.

Ieng Thirith had been on trial with her husband for atrocity crimes before the UN-backed tribunal found her mentally unfit to stand trial last year. The cremation ceremony of Ieng Sary, who died in Phnom Penh March 14, will take place on Thursday. Family members say Ieng Thirith is ill, but will be able to travel.

Mourners continue to visit the wooden house in Dong village, Malai province, where Ieng Sary lies in state, while monks pray over his body three times per day.

Ieng Sary's death adds to concerns the Khmer Rouge tribunal has been too slow in its proceedings, and that two more aging leaders-Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan-may not see their atrocity crimes trial to its conclusion.

The tribunal is also facing ongoing funding woes. Cambodian staff at the court have not been paid their salaries since December, prompting a walkout by translators there that lasted more than two weeks earlier this month. The translators have returned to work, with some of their salaries to be paid by upcoming funding, but the larger money issues remain.

David Scheffer, a former US ambassador-at-large for war crimes the UN's special expert for the tribunal, is visiting Cambodia this week to meet with Cambodian officials, officials said. A diplomat close to the court said Scheffer will meet with Cabinet Minister Sok An on Wednesday to discuss funding.

International donors have affirmed their commitment to the court, but they want to see the Cambodian government contribute more to the court, as well as other Asean countries, said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

UN, Cambodia Seeking Solution to Tribunal Funding Problems
VOA Khmer
By Heng Reaksmey
March 20, 2013

UN and Cambodian officials say they are committed to finding enough funding for the Khmer Rouge tribunal to continue its work.

This follows talks from former US ambassador-at-large for war crimes, David Scheffer, who is the UN's special expert for the tribunal, and Cabinet Minister Sok An on Wednesday.

The hybrid court needs about $35 million to operate in 2013, with $9.4 million for the Cambodian side, according to a joint statement.

So far, only $2.5 million has been funded for this year, tribunal spokesman Neth Pheaktra said. The international side of the court has enough money to continue through June, but the Cambodian side already needs $7 million, some of it for salaries for 270 staff members, he said.

Sok An and Scheffer said in the statement their objective was to find a solution to the "funding matters that can enable the [court] to complete its mission of achieving justice for crimes committed during the Khmer Rouge regime."

Government, UN Talk ECCC's Funding Woes
The Phnom Penh Post
By Joe Freeman
March 21, 2013

Senior United Nations and Cambodian government officials met in Phnom Penh yesterday to discuss the state of a court sinking under the pressure of funding shortages, strikes and fears of justice denied following the death of 87-year-old defendant Ieng Sary.

At the centre of the discussion were David Scheffer, the UN special expert on the Khmer Rouge tribunal, and Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.

Scheffer and a spokesman for the Council of Ministers were, however, tight-lipped about details of the meet. No ideas were floated on how the Cambodian government could fill a $7 million shortfall in the national side of this year's budget. No strategy was announced for how the trial could proceed, in the words of a statement released yesterday, "as expeditiously as possible with fair, efficient, and properly funded trial proceedings of the two remaining defendants".

By email, Scheffer said he was "busy with meetings", and said only: "We had frank and constructive discussions, and we continue to work together to find solutions to ensure that the ECCC continue its important work."

Ek Tha, a spokesman for the Council of Ministers' Press & Quick Reaction Unit, pointed to the public statement, which said that the death of Sary on March 14, the budget problems and the advanced age of the two remaining defendants "compel immediate attention by all stakeholders".

After Sary's death, the Trial Chamber terminated proceedings against him, handing over his body to family members, who will cremate him today.

The statement also said that Sok An expressed his appreciation for the commitment of national side staffers who have gone without pay for three months, a situation that caused the court's first strike earlier this month, when translators and interpreters refused to do their jobs. Though they returned to work on Monday, with promises of being paid this week, one staffer speaking on the condition of anonymity yesterday said that salaries had not been disbursed yet.

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A Battle for Syria, One Court at a Time
The New York Times
By Neil MacFarquhar
March 13, 2013

When members of a fledgling court system in Aleppo, Syria, refused to hand over newly refurbished offices to the head of a Shariah Board last month, four vehicles filled with heavily armed fighters promptly roared through the fence surrounding the five-story concrete building.

The fighters, so-called Shariah Board police, knocked down one cleric who objected, then carted off some 20 lawyers and other employees, whacking some with rifle butts, according to four members of an Aleppo lawyers association who spoke with witnesses.

More than a simple turf war, the confrontation was part of a secondary battle already playing out across Syria, even with its civil war unresolved. It is the fight over who will shape Syria's future.

"All neighborhoods want some kind of order," said Lamia Nahas, the head of external relations for the lawyers' group, the Aleppo Free Lawyers Association, and now the principal of a school for Syrian refugees in Turkey. "But we don't want Bashar to fall just to usher in worse, like the Islamists," she said, referring to President Bashar al-Assad.

While the bloody civil war to oust Mr. Assad grinds on, the various factions arrayed against him are already struggling to reinvent most institutions, including courts, schools, mosques and local administrations. Given that Syria seems to be fracturing into ever-smaller pieces where local warlords hold sway, it is hard to generalize. But there is no question that the Islamic extremists who have gained admiration and respect for their battlefield feats are trying to translate that into authority over society as a whole.

A Shariah Board - as the religious courts are called - recently ordered a secular critic lashed. In mosques, Islamists have pushed moderate clerics off the pulpit - at least once in mid-sermon - replacing them with speakers who harangue worshipers on topics like the evils of hair gel. In one Islamic school, first graders were urged to grow up to become jihadist fighters, said Azzam Khanji, head of education for Aleppo's Revolutionary Transitional Council, a sort of government in exile for liberated portions of the city.

The court system serves as a prime example of the contest for a postwar Syria. As crime has proliferated after government control vanished in many areas, Syrians clamored for security. Rebel leaders, particularly Islamists, responded by opening dozens of courts.

"It is almost the fashion to have your own courthouse now," complained Mazen Jumaa of the lawyers association, which monitors the new courts. The association was formed in 2011 to defend young people whose first peaceful antigovernment protests led to the uprising.

The group found that in many cases, fighters lacking training in Shariah, or Islamic law, not to mention civil law, handed down death sentences to government supporters with little or no defense. Commanders of the more secular Free Syrian Army were not much better, the group discovered.

Last fall, recognizing that they could not confront the Shariah courts directly, the Free Lawyers decided to try to reform them by joining forces.

An alliance called the Integrated Judicial Council of Aleppo was announced in December; it allowed for each of some two dozen courts in or around the city to be staffed with one lawyer and two religious scholars. Decisions would be based on both Shariah and the Arab League's unified penal code. Another group, the Free Judges Association, refused to join because of the heavy clerical presence.

Ideally, all clerics would have been let go, Ms. Nahas said, but the Islamists would reject a courthouse lacking a cleric. "We want a legal system, not a religious system," said Ms. Nahas, who wears a head scarf and avoids shaking hands with men, reflecting the social conservatism of many Syrians.

The courts have come to be dominated by Islamists in part because secular groups in areas no longer under government control lack the firepower and finances to enforce their writ. For example, when the council recently charged a Free Syrian Army militia leader with torturing a prisoner to death, his men surrounded the courthouse and threatened to open fire until he was released.

Despite the unity agreement, Shariah Board branches still pass judgments at their whim. Although various Islamist factions have a say in its administration, the Aleppo board is dominated by the Nusra Front, which the United States has designated as a terrorist organization.

During a recent demonstration organized by young secular activists, Islamist supporters unfurled one banner bearing the Muslim Shahada and another calling for a caliphate, or Islamic state. The Shahada is the creed also used on the flag: "There is no God but God, and Mohammed is his prophet."

A young activist, Wael Ibrahim, took the banners down and threw them into the crowd, an act that was posted on YouTube. The local Shariah Board summoned him and sentenced him to 10 lashes. Mr. Ibrahim then circulated a picture of the welts on his back.

"We did not rebel to have a caliphate," he said afterward, objecting that foreign Islamists were involved in his sentence.

In the confrontation over control of the courthouse last month, the detainees were released after several hours. The Shariah Board issued a statement online defending its actions as the original occupiers of the building and denying that its men had assaulted employees.

The commander who runs the Shariah Board in Bab al-Hawa, on the Turkish border, said he disapproved of the way the Aleppo group evicted the council, but he endorsed lashing Mr. Ibrahim for desecrating a Muslim symbol. The commander used an alias, Abu Abdelrahman al-Suri, for security reasons.

A 29-year-old with a heavy black beard and a black turban, the commander said he was a construction supervisor before the revolution, studying Shariah in informal private circles.

He said he gained his position as head of the court via his early revolutionary credentials as one of the founders of Ahrar al-Sham - Arabic for the Free People of Syria - among the largest of the puritanical organizations known as Salafis.

"We are not democrats," he said. Even in the absence of elections, he was convinced that Syrians wanted to live under Shariah. "From the beginning the Syrian revolution had an Islamic tinge," he said. "In a majority Sunni country, the law people would chose would be Shariah."

In Aleppo and other towns across northern Syria, Islamist organizations have also muscled their way onto mosque pulpits. Bassim, a 21-year-old activist in Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood, said he was in a mosque for Friday prayers last month when a group of Nusra Front fighters stormed the pulpit.

"The sermon addressed how the corrupt youth created by the regime follow fashion and use hair gel," Bassim said, calling the speech more of a harangue than a sermon. "He said we aped everything from the infidels."

He said the crowd, affronted, responded with catcalls like, "Where was that beard when Bashar was your boss?"

Many Syrians note that if the revolution has changed anything, it is their will to push back. Many argue that in a time of war, the Islamists may be gaining ground because of their military prowess, but once peace comes Syrians will reassert their natural religious moderation. They accuse the Western news media of exaggerating the presence of Islamists by focusing on isolated cases.

But for now, in villages around the country, the Islamists have the upper hand. After capturing the eastern city of Raqqa last week, the victors announced a Shariah Board with its own police force.

In Harem, a village near the Turkish border, the local military commander asked the Free Judges Association to establish a court to try some 107 suspected government loyalists. They started investigating in late December, said Talal Hoshan, a judge, and within a month had released 32 people and were ready to try the rest.

But the commander lacked the money to feed the prisoners, and after Mr. Hoshan failed to raise money from the opposition coalition, they were given to the local Shariah Board in late February.

"Syria right now is a jungle where everyone is competing to be the power," said Faraj, a young fighter. In many places, someone who was a baker or a taxi driver now controls hundreds of men and uses them to run one or two villages at his whim, he said. "Another six months of that and people are going to want Assad back because they are fed up."

U.N. Must Refer Syria War Crimes to ICC: Amnesty International
The Daily Star Lebanon
March 15, 2013

The U.N. Security Council must refer war crimes committed by both sides in Syria's two-year conflict to the International Criminal Court, Amnesty International said Thursday.

"How many more civilians must die before the U.N. Security Council refers the situation to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court so that there can be accountability for these horrendous crimes?" asked Ann Harrison, Amnesty's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.

The London-based human rights watchdog has repeatedly accused both the regime of President Bashar Assad and opposition fighters in Syria of war crimes and other abuses.

"While the vast majority of war crimes and other gross violations continue to be committed by government forces, our research also points to an escalation in abuses by armed opposition groups," the deputy director said in a statement.

"If left unaddressed such practices risk becoming more and more entrenched - it is imperative that all those concerned know they will be held accountable for their actions."

Amnesty said it has documented regime forces' use of "internationally banned weapons against civilians," and "the torture and summary killing of soldiers, pro-government militias and civilians" captured or abducted by rebel fighters.

It had also researched the army's use of ballistic missiles on the northern city and province of Aleppo.

"Hundreds of residents, many of them children, were killed and injured in three such recent attacks which wiped out entire families," said the rights group.

It gave the testimony of one woman, identified as 31-year-old Sabah, who lost three daughters, her husband, her mother, her sister and her other sister's three sons in one missile attack. "They were all killed; what is left for me in this life?" Sabah is quoted as saying.

In Aleppo, "the bodies of men and boys - shot in the head, hands tied behind their backs - are recovered almost daily from the river," Amnesty said.

"The bodies float downstream from a part of the city under the control of government forces."

Amnesty also documented abuses by rebel fighters, among them the use of child fighters and even an executioner.

"A video ... shows a boy apparently aged between 12 and 14 holding a machete standing over a man - later identified as Col. Izz al-Din Badr," Amnesty said.

"He lies prostrate on the ground with his hands behind his back. A voice in the background shouts: 'He doesn't have the strength.' The boy brings the machete down on the man's neck, cheered on by members of an armed opposition group."

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands uprooted in the conflict, which erupted in March 2011 with Arab Spring-inspired protests that led to an armed insurgency following a brutal crackdown.

UN to Probe Claims Chemical Weapons were Used in Syria
By Flavia Krause-Jackson
March 21, 2013

The United Nations said today it will investigate Syrian government claims that rebels used a chemical weapon, as President Barack Obama warned Syria to keep chemical arms off the battlefield and away from terrorists.

The UN's probe will focus on allegations by Syrian authorities that opposition forces killed 25 people in Aleppo province by launching a rocket laden with chemicals on March 19. The opposition said President Bashar al-Assad's troops used a toxic weapon.

The U.K. and France requested the investigation of two additional claims alleging chemical weapons use on March 19 near Damascus and on Dec. 23 in Homs. Rebels say those attacks were carried out by government forces.

"I have made it clear to Bashar al-Assad and all who follow his orders -- we will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people or the transfer of these weapons to terrorists," Obama said today in a speech in Jerusalem. "The world is watching, and we will hold you accountable."

The UN investigation is clouded by divergent versions of what happened. Rebels said Assad's forces used chemicals in the Aleppo assault and in a second attack on the same day in the suburbs of Damascus.

"I am of course aware that there are other allegations of similar cases involving the reported use of chemical weapons," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters in New York. He stressed the need for "unfettered access" and said the mission he described as difficult would be dispatched "as soon as practically possible."

'Red Line'

Getting access into Syria, where few journalists and aid workers are allowed entry, won't be easy. A UN team of monitors of the conflict in Syria departed last year, unable to leave their hotels or keep track of abuses committed on the ground.

The risk of chemical-weapons use raises the stakes in the two-year-old civil war. Obama has said Assad's regime would cross a "red line" if it unleashed its chemical weapons arsenal, the region's largest.

Obama said yesterday he was "deeply skeptical" of the regime's charges, while emphasizing the need to gather facts about the claim. Proven use of a deadly gas, he said, would be a "game-changer."

The U.S. supports "an investigation that pursues any and all credible allegations of possible chemical-weapons use in Syria, and underscores the importance of launching this investigation as swiftly as possible," Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, said in an e-mailed statement.

International Split

Both sides yesterday called for the UN to send a team of investigators. Western governments including the U.S., the U.K. and France are backing the rebels, while Russia is supporting the Assad regime, underlining splits in the international community over steps to stop hostilities from escalating.

Ban today showed he has some power to work around the impasse over Syria at the UN Security Council by dispatching a fact-finding mission. The most pertinent parallel goes back to the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war.

UN chemical warfare experts traveled to the region in 1984, 1986 and 1987 to look into Iranian claims that Iraq had used chemical weapons and concluded in all three trip reports that Saddam Hussein's regime had used gas on civilians.

Ban has repeatedly said the use of chemical weapons under any circumstances would constitute an "outrageous crime."

Behind the war of words about Syria lies a debate among Western powers on whether and how to weigh in more forcefully to end a crisis that has killed more than 70,000 people, spurred a refugee exodus that threatens to destabilize neighboring Jordan and Lebanon, and increased the threat of chemical arms falling into the wrong hands as chaos spreads.

U.K., France

The U.K. has said it will supply armored vehicles and body armor for the opposition. France said it may act alone to arm the rebels.

While Syria's government has produced, stored, and weaponized chemical arms, "little is known from open sources" about the stockpile's size and condition, the nonpartisan U.S. Congressional Research Service said in a report in December.

Assad's regime has been reported to have stocks of nerve and blister agents such as sarin, VX and mustard gas.

The Syrian opposition -- which just elected a new interim prime minister, Ghassan Hitto -- has accused Assad's forces of using chemical agents before, most recently on Dec. 23. There have been no confirmed cases, and it wasn't determined whether such allegations referred to deadly nerve agents such as sarin gas or nonlethal crowd-control irritants such as tear gas.

U.N. Investigators Get Another Year to Probe Syria Abuses
By Stephanie Nebehay
March 22, 2013

The United Nations gave its investigators another year to gather evidence of war crimes in Syria on Friday, saying they had already found horrifying first-hand accounts of murder, torture and rape.

The U.N. Human Rights Council condemned "gross violations" by Syrian government forces and allied militia, including shelling of populated areas and massacres during the two-year-old conflict.

Rebels were also carrying out atrocities, but not on the same scale, the 47-member Geneva forum added in a resolution brought by Arab and Western states.

"While the Syrian authorities have failed to prosecute alleged perpetrators, the international community must ensure that impunity will not prevail," said Ireland's ambassador Gerard Corr, speaking on behalf of the European Union (EU).

Only Venezuela voted against the resolution and five other countries abstained. Neither China nor Syria's ally Russia are members this year, so cannot vote.

Syria's ambassador Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui angrily rejected the text as "an aberration".

"There were no condemnations of the dangerous role of Turkey and Qatar to fuel this crisis through arming, financing and sending combatants of al Qaeda and terrorists," he said.


The Council renewed the mandate of its commission of inquiry, led by Brazilian expert Paulo Pinheiro, that has been documenting crimes committed during the conflict in which at least 70,000 people have been killed.

Pinheiro told the Council this month the Syrian government has stepped up indiscriminate heavy bombardments of cities while rebels were executing prisoners condemned in their own makeshift courts without due process.

"The commission of inquiry's latest report details horrifying first-hand accounts of murders, deliberate and systematic torture, rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence, targeted destruction of protected civilian property, including schools and mosques, and the use of children in fighting forces," U.S. ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe said on Friday.

"Those responsible for crimes against the Syrian people must be held accountable," she said, adding that President Bashar al-Assad had "lost all legitimacy and must step aside".

The resolution was the subject of heavy negotiations during much of the four-week annual session that ends later on Friday.

Switzerland and some EU states wanted the Council to make an explicit mention of the International Criminal Court (ICC) as the way to pursue criminal investigations, diplomats said.

But Arab states opposed the move and the final text noted "the relevance of referrals to the appropriate international criminal justice mechanism under appropriate circumstances".

"We said it was not the job of the Human Rights Council to look to the ICC," an Arab diplomat told Reuters.

Syria is not a party to the Rome Statute which set up the ICC, so the only way the Hague-based court can investigate the conflict is if it receives a referral from the U.N. Security Council, where major powers remain divided on the issue. (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal

ICT Adjourns Azam Case with Fine
Bangladesh News 24
March 12, 2013

ICT-1 judges had cautioned the defence counsel before that it would not adjourn proceedings due to general strikes.

The first war crimes tribunal of Bangladesh on Tuesday adjourned Jamaat-e-Islami guru Ghulam Azam's case for the day with a fine of Tk 1,000.

The three-judge International Crimes Tribunal - 1, set up to try crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War, had cautioned the defence counsel before that it would not adjourn proceedings due to general strikes.

A former Jamaat chief, Azam has been indicted for five war crimes charges including complicity, conspiracy and incitement. His defence is in the middle of summing up the case.

But the defence counsel remained absent on Tuesday, presumably due to a country-wide general strike enforced by the opposition, and filed for a day's adjournment through another lawyer citing 'personal difficulties'.

Prosecutor Zead-Al-Malum, the court's order noted, "vehemently opposed" the petition. Malum pointed out that there were other lawyers engaged in the case and further that this was merely a tactic to delay the proceedings.

Malum said that if the tribunal so directed, the prosecution would make arrangements to have the defence brought to the tribunal and continue with the proceedings.

The prosecutor also prayed that the adjournment may be allowed with a fine of Tk 2,00,000.

The tribunal said that the grounds presented were "not satisfactory" but still allowed the prayer for a fine.

Jamaat Guru in ICT-1

On Dec 12, 2011, 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 on Jan 11 and sent to jail the same day. Since that evening, the 90-year old former Carmichael College professor has been kept at the prison cell of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University for better treatment considering his delicate health.

Ghulam Azam's indictment hearing began on Feb 15 and the court charged him on May 13. A former chief of Jamaat-e-Islami, arguably the largest Islamist organisation in the subcontinent, Azam is allegedly among the key people who pioneered anti-liberation efforts in 1971 colluding with the Pakistani military junta of that time.

He is widely perceived to have been among the core group of right-wing supporters of the Pakistani Army, who came out strongly in support of a united Pakistan.

Ghulam Azam, then chief of Jamaat, was instrumental in setting up the infamous Peace Committee at the national level. The Razakars, an auxiliary force set up mainly to actively thwart the liberation forces, are said to have been mobilised through the Peace Committees across Bangladesh.

Among the most notorious vigilante militia are the Al Badr, whose membership is said to have been mainly dominated by the Jamaat's student wing called the Islami Chhatra Sangha at that time.

The Al Badr is alleged to have spearheaded execution of the intellectual elites of Bangladesh just days before the victory on Dec 16, 1971.

Azam 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 BNP founder Ziaur Rahman's rule. Having led Jamaat for long, Azam retired from active politics in 1999.

His party remains a key ally of the main opposition BNP. Two Jamaat leaders, also behind bars for war crimes charges, have even served as ministers during the BNP's last tenure in government between 2001 and 2006, when Azam's party was part of the ruling coalition.

Azam was indicted on five charges - 61 counts - including incitement, conspiracy, planning and complicity on May 13, 2012.

Gulam Azam was 'Lighthouse' for War Crimes
Bangladesh News 24
By Tanim Ahmed
March 18, 2013

The prosecution said on Monday that Jamaat-e-Islami guru Ghulam Azam was like a "lighthouse" for war crimes and atrocities during the 1971 Liberation War.

Tureen Afroz, a newly appointed prosecutor, presented elaborate arguments before the first war crimes tribunal of Bangladesh to establish the former Jamaat chief's superior role and responsibility during the war.

The three-judge International Crimes Tribunal-1, set up to try crimes against humanity during the nine-month War of Independence in 1971, indicted Ghulam Azam for five war crimes charges including complicity, incitement and conspiracy.

The tribunal is in the middle of closing arguments of Azam's defence but had allocated an hour to hear arguments of both sides regarding the former Jamaat chief's role and responsibility.

With only one junior lawyer present from the defence, the tribunal allowed a petition for a two-day adjournment for a cost of Tk 5,000.

Tribunal Chairman Justice A T M Fazle Kabir fixed the next date on Mar 20 and said that this amount and a previously imposed cost of Tk 1,000 must be paid on that day. "Or we will call the argument to a close," said the tribunal chief addressing the junior defence lawyer.

Citing war crimes laws from tribunals of Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, as well as the Rome Statute, Afroz said that 'mens rea' - meaning criminal intent - constituted an essential element of superior role and command responsibility. All three required the prosecution to show a higher degree of criminal intent.

Presenting her arguments with the aid of a laptop computer - a first at the tribunal - she said that the prosecution, however, was only obligated to prove their case as far as the International Crimes (Tribunal) Act of 1973 required.

Afroz explained that the law under which crimes against humanity were being tried in Bangladesh touches upon four aspects - direct participation of a superior officer, indirect participation through subordinates, failure to prevent and failure to punish, control or supervise the subordinates.

At this point Justice Kabir asked, "Does it not appear that this provision has been included keeping military officer in mind?"

Afroz said it did not. "Any commander or superior officer," she said citing the first few words of the provision, "could mean any civilian holding a high office."

She explained that 'superior officer' allowed the inclusion of civilian superiors under command responsibility. Furthermore, there is no difference of liability between military or civilian superiors.

She also said that this provision did not require the prosecution to show criminal intent as do the other statutes.

First, Afroz said, the prosecution would have to prove that the alleged crime had indeed been committed and second, it would have to prove the criminal liability of the superior.

In showing criminal liability, the prosecution would have to show that the accused, Ghulam Azam, indeed had an effective role over his subordinates. Then the prosecution would have to show that Azam had failed to prevent or punish his subordinates.

Tureen Afroz then referred to prosecution documents and witness testimonies that showed Ghulam Azam indeed held an office of influence during the war.

As regards the crimes committed, the prosecutor said the perpetrators were either the vigilante militia groups or Pakistani occupation army.

Afroz said the Razakar, Al Badr or Al Shams were all manned by "Jamaat members, or its student cadres".

She said, "By the first week of April 1971, Jamaat-e-Islami had transformed into an armed group. They took up arms to fight as members of a militia or paramilitary group."

That Azam had an effective superior role as the party chief is only evident. But Afroz also said that Ghulam Azam exercised a role of authority over the occupation army. "He was the one giving directions and identifying whom to attack."

Afroz said that Ghulam Azam was in direct communication with his subordinates. "He was giving public speeches all over the country. He gave speeches over radio, had meetings with the government."

Azam also decided on the future course of action and all the propaganda and information were issued from him, said the prosecutor.

"He even urged the government for arming the Razakars and funds were collected under his name. The receipts bore his signature as our exhibit before this tribunal shows."

Thus, Afroz said, Ghulam Azam could not evade criminal liability for the atrocities committed by either the vigilante militia groups as well as those by the Pakistani Army.

The prosecutor concluded saying that Azam had guided these forces to commit war crimes. "He was like a lighthouse, guiding war crimes and atrocities. His directives were like the guiding beacons to ships."

The tribunal asked the prosecutor for a written copy of her submissions, which the junior defence lawyer also echoed. Tureen Afroz said it would take her a couple of days to get that ready.

2 day adjournment at cost

The tribunal then took up the adjournment application of Ghulam Azam. The defence, like previous times, refrained from attending the proceedings on account of the countrywide general strike enforced by the opposition.

The tribunal asked why Imran Siddiq, who was supposed to reply to Tureen Afroz, was not present. The junior lawyer, Raihan Uddin, said the application citing 'personal difficulties' was not just for Mizanul Islam but also for Siddiq, son of Jamaat's chief defence counsel Abdur Razzaq.

The tribunal said, "We understand that Mr Mizanul Islam cannot come on such days but what of the others? The defence is in the middle of its closing argument and not a single lawyer comes in?"

The tribunal then said that the adjournment was allowed at a cost of Tk 5,000.

Justice Kabir said the previous Tk 1,000 imposed for another adjournment and this amount had to be paid by the next date, Mar 20.

Jamaat Guru in ICT-1

On Dec 12, 2011, 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 on Jan 11 and sent to jail the same day. Since that evening, the 90-year old former Carmichael College professor has been kept at the prison cell of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University for better treatment considering his delicate health.

Ghulam Azam's indictment hearing began on Feb 15 and the court charged him on May 13.

A former chief of Jamaat-e-Islami, arguably the largest Islamist organisation in the subcontinent, Azam is allegedly among the key people who pioneered anti-liberation efforts in 1971 colluding with the Pakistani military junta of that time.

He is widely perceived to have been among core group of right-wing supporters of the Pakistani Army, who came out strongly in support of a united Pakistan.

Ghulam Azam, then chief of Jamaat, was instrumental in setting up the infamous Peace Committee at the national level. The Razakars, an auxiliary force set up mainly to actively thwart the liberation forces, are said to have been mobilised through the Peace Committees across Bangladesh.

Among the most notorious vigilante militia are the Al Badr, whose membership is said to have been mainly dominated by the Jamaat's student wing called the Islami Chhatra Sangha at that time.

The Al Badr is alleged to have spearheaded execution of the intellectual elites of Bangladesh just days before the victory on Dec 16, 1971.

Azam 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 BNP founder Ziaur Rahman's rule. Having led Jamaat for long, Azam retired from active politics in 1999.

His party remains a key ally of the main opposition BNP. Two Jamaat leaders, also behind bars for war crimes charges, have even served as ministers during the BNP's last tenure in government between 2001 and 2006, when Azam's party was part of the ruling coalition.

Azam was indicted on five charges - 61 counts - including incitement, conspiracy, planning and complicity on May 13, 2012.

JI Protester Killed in New Bangladesh War Crimes Clashes
The Express Tribune
March 22, 2013

Bangladeshi police on Friday shot dead a protester in fresh clashes with thousands of supporters of the nation's biggest Islamic party angered by the ongoing war crimes trials of their leaders.

The incident occurred at Monirampur village in western Bangladesh when a mob of 3,000 people made a vain attempt to block police from arresting four activists of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, officials said.

The latest killing brought the death toll from clashes stemming from the trials to 89 since January 21 when the war crimes court handed down the first of its verdicts in cases dating back to the 1971 war.

The demonstrators "attacked our car in a bid to snatch the detainees", local police chief Ali Azam told AFP.

Police at first opened fire using rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the mob but "our lives were at stake and we were forced to open fire", he told AFP. "One bullet hit a Jamaat man who died on the way to hospital," he said.

For months, Jamaat has been staging nationwide strikes and violent demonstrations to protest against the war crimes trial which has placed nearly the entire party leadership in the dock.

The special tribunal is hearing cases of people accused of committing atrocities during Bangladesh's 1971 war.

Two of the party's leaders have already been convicted by the tribunal, including a vice-president sentenced to death last month. Two leaders of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) are also standing trial.

Both Jamaat and the BNP have charged that the trials are based on trumped-up charges and are more about the government seeking to settle political scores with the opposition than delivering justice in the Muslim-majority nation.

But the government says the trials are needed to heal the wounds of the 1971 war in which it says three million people were killed and 200,000 women raped. Independent estimates put the death toll between 300,000 and 500,000.

Analysts say the trial has plunged the impoverished country into one of its most turbulent chapters and threatens lasting damage to fabric of the world's eighth-most populous country.

Justice in Bangladesh: Another Kind of Crime
The Economist
March 23, 2013

In 1961 Israel kidnapped Adolf Eichmann from Argentina and put him on trial for crimes committed 20 years earlier. Eichmann had been secretary at the Nazis' Wannsee conference that led to the Holocaust. His trial in Jerusalem was a model of meticulous process. The prosecutor was Israel's attorney-general; the defence lawyer, a leading German attorney; the proceedings were broadcast. They were everything the Holocaust was not: open, subject to evidence and challenge, and legal.

Now consider the trials under way at the International Crimes Tribunal in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. There too, men are being tried for dreadful crimes committed many years ago, in this case in 1971, during Bangladesh's war of independence from Pakistan. The defendants have been accused of genocide, mass murder, mass rape and attempting to exterminate whole groups of people. But their trials have fallen a long way short of Israel's model of due process.

The government has interfered in the court's deliberations. Public discussion of the proceedings has been restricted. The number of defence witnesses was curtailed. One was even kidnapped on the steps of the court. In one case, the presiding judge resigned and the death sentence was handed down by three men who had not heard all the witnesses. In another, the defendant was represented by a lawyer who did not have nearly enough time to prepare a case. That also ended in a death sentence. These are profound judicial failings, falling short not only of the standards of the Eichmann trial but also of the requirements of Bangladeshi law. They contradict repeated government assurances that the trials would be models of judicial process.

The ostensible and laudable aim of these trials was to help Bangladesh come to terms with its past by bringing to justice those responsible for the crimes that marred the nation's birth. By this measure, the trials have been an utter failure. Because most of the accused are linked to Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamist group allied to the main opposition party, the court process has become enmeshed within the country's internecine politics. Jamaat thugs with home-made bombs have gone on the rampage; police have fought running battles with mobs; dozens have died. Bangladesh is descending into a spiral of intolerance. The government talks of banning Jamaat; the opposition is becoming more aggressively Islamist; rumours are spreading that an election due this year may be postponed.

The poisoned well Sadly, most Bangladeshis are cheering on the tribunal's flawed proceedings. When the court passed a life sentence (rather than a death sentence), the crowds that gathered to protest against this leniency were the biggest that had been seen in Dhaka for 20 years. Now the government wants to rewrite the law to allow death sentences to be applied retrospectively. Few seem to care a jot for due process; rather, everybody thinks that the defendants are getting their just deserts.

The Economist has no sympathy for the views of Jamaat or its backers. But justice does not exist solely for those with a particular approved outlook. As the Eichmann trial demonstrated, due process is essential to provide true justice to the victims of genocide. Eventually Bangladeshis will also come to recognise this and demand a proper accounting. But by then it will be too late. The war-crimes tribunal is poisoning the well from which Bangladesh will one day want to drink.

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United States

Ayotte Says Bin Laden Spokesman Should Go to Guantanamo Bay, Not Be Tried in US
Associated Press
March 8, 2013

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte says the Obama administration is wrong to bring a recently captured son-in-law of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida spokesman to court in New York.

In a Washington news conference Thursday with fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Ayotte said the Obama administration's lack of a war-time detention policy for foreign members of al-Qaida, as well as its refusal to detain and interrogate them at Guanatanmo Bay, makes our nation less safe.

Ayotte said military detention for enemy combatants has been the rule, not the exception.

She said a foreign member of al-Qaida should never be treated like a common criminal and should never hear the words, "You have a right to remain silent."

Drones Killing Innocent Pakistanis, U.N. Official Says
By Ben Brumfield and Mark Morgenstein
March 15, 2013

Farmers are on their way to tend their crops when a missile slams into their midst, thrusting shrapnel in all directions.

A CIA drone, flying so high that the farmers can't see it, has killed most of them. None of them were militants.

Such attacks by U.S. drones are common, the United Nations' special rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights said Friday in a statement on strikes in Pakistan's tribal region of North Waziristan.

The rapporteur, Ben Emmerson, told CNN the actions are of dubious international legality, despite the United States' assertions.

"I'm not aware of any state in the world that currently shares the United States' expansive legal perspective that it is engaged in a global war -- that is to say a non-international armed conflict with al Qaeda and any group associated with al Qaeda, wherever they are to be found, that would therefore lawfully entitle the United States to take action involving targeted killing wherever an individual is found," Emmerson said.

The American Civil Liberties Union and other U.S. groups are questioning the legitimacy of the President Obama-approved drone program, and they're looking for evidence for a legal battle.

On Friday, a U.S. federal appeals court ruled the CIA must acknowledge the existence of any records related to military unmanned drone strikes targeting individuals, such as overseas terror suspects.

The ACLU and others had filed a Freedom of Information Act request, but the CIA refused to confirm or deny it had any such records, citing national security.

"Adult males carrying out ordinary daily tasks were frequently the victims of such strikes," the statement from the U.N. office for human rights said. Some Pashtun men dress the same as Taliban members from the same region, hence the drone operators mistake them for terror targets, the statement said. It is also customary for Pashtun men to carry a weapon, making them virtually indistinguishable from militants to an outsider.

A beard and a turban

A Pakistani tribal elder who spoke with CNN noted hasty judgments based on appearances can be wrong.

"Just because I have a beard and wear a turban, does that make me part of the Taliban?" asked Malik Jalaluddin.

The United States has 8,000 drones, unmanned planes and helicopters flown by a remote control. They are outfitted with a video camera to help the operator spot targets and often armed with weapons used to neutralize them.

President Barack Obama has told CNN that a target must meet "very tight and very strict standards."

CIA director John Brennan has said that only in "exceedingly rare" cases have civilians been "accidentally injured, or worse, killed in these strikes."

Reports back the U.N. conclusion

Reports by independent groups corroborate Emmerson's account, concluding that drones mistakenly target and kill a significant number of civilians.

The New America Foundation estimates that in Pakistan, drones have killed between 1,953 and 3,279 people since 2004 - and that between 18% and 23% of them were not militants. The nonmilitant casualty rate was down to about 10% in 2012, the group says.

A study by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that since 2004, Pakistan has had 365 drone strikes that have killed between 2,536 and 3,577 people -- including 411 to 884 civilians.

The study concludes that the strikes have killed far more people than the United States has acknowledged, and traumatized many more innocent people.

That trauma is destroying a way of life, Emmerson said. "The Pashtun tribes of the ... area have suffered enormously under the drone campaign."

And tribal law prescribes revenge for the killing of a tribe member, which serves to radicalize more young men against the United States, he said.

Pakistan considers the strikes counterproductive, illegal and a violation of its sovereignty.

Durbin Nudges White House on Drones
By Albert Hunt
March 20, 2013

Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois says Congress needs to review the unilateral authority of presidents to use military force, and wants the White House to provide more information on its policy and legal rationale for drone strikes.

At a Washington breakfast sponsored the Wall Street Journal, the Democratic whip, who is a close ally of President Barack Obama, said it was important for Congress to ask whether it is "meeting our constitutional responsibilities."

After the Sept. 11 attacks, Congress authorized the White House to use force to combat terrorism, with few checks.

The administration's drone program, including the killing overseas of U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism, has recently generated scrutiny, although Democrats have been largely quiescent on the issue.

Durbin's comments, while they stopped short of criticism of the Obama administration, may provide an opening for other Democrats. Last week, John Podesta, the former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and the head of the Obama transition team after the 2008 election, published an op-ed in the Washington Post assailing the administration for sidestepping the law and for withholding from Congress the legal rationale for the drone program.

At the breakfast, Durbin also said he would propose a Social Security commission that would recommend changes to assure the solvency of the retirement program for 75 years. The panel probably wouldn't submit proposals until 2015. The recommendations would then be subject to an automatic up-or-down vote.

He also said there was "less than a 50 percent" chance of that Democrats and Republicans will reach a broad accord on budgetary and fiscal challenges this year.

He was optimistic, however, that a comprehensive immigration measure would be approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee next month and passed by Congress this year.

Guantanamo Hunger Strike Stems From Frustration: U.S. General
By Jane Sutton and David Alexander
March 20, 2013

About 24 Guantanamo prisoners involved in a hunger strike that began six weeks ago are upset by the U.S. government's failure to close the detention camp and hope to gain publicity for their plight, a Marine Corps general said on Wednesday.

General John Kelly, the head of U.S. military forces in the Latin America region, flatly rejected allegations from some prisoners that copies of the Koran had been mishandled, calling the claims "nonsense."

"No way has the Koran in any way, shape or form been in any way abused or mistreated," said Kelly, who told reporters he had been presented with copies of the "sacred Koran" by senior Muslim clerics during his three tours of duty in Iraq.

He told a Pentagon briefing that while it was acceptable for a nonbeliever to touch the Koran, in fact the only members of the Guantanamo staff who would ordinarily handle Korans would be translators, all of whom are Muslims.

Periodic hunger strikes have occurred at Guantanamo since shortly after the prison opened in January 2002 to house suspects captured in overseas counterterrorism operations after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

The prison has 166 inmates. Nearly all have been held for 11 years without charge, and about half have been cleared for transfer or release. Many are Yemenis who the United States will not repatriate at this time because of instability in that country.

More than 50 lawyers representing the prisoners sent a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last week urging him to help end the hunger strike, which they said began on February 6 to protest the confiscation of letters, photographs and legal mail, and the rough handling of Korans during searches of their cells.

They said the participants' health had deteriorated alarmingly, and that some had lost more than 20 or 30 pounds (9 to 14 kilograms). Kelly said the prisoners who spoke to Guantanamo staff cited other reasons for the strike.

"They had great optimism that Guantanamo would be closed. They were devastated apparently ... when the president backed off, at least (that's) their perception, of closing the facility," Kelly told the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee in Washington.

Captain Robert Durand, a spokesman at the detention camp, said 24 Guantanamo captives were on a hunger strike and eight had lost enough weight that doctors were force-feeding them liquid nutrients thorough tubes inserted in their noses and into their stomachs. Two were hospitalized with dehydration, he said.

The number of hunger strikers had grown from 14 on Friday, Durand said.

Kelly, who took over as head of U.S. Southern Command in November, said most of the prisoners took their food communally, making it difficult to determine whether they had skipped nine consecutive meals, the definition for a hunger strike at Guantanamo. He said some had snacks in their cells.

"Generally speaking, we think about 24 of them are on, say, hunger strike light, where they're eating a bit but not a lot, but they've declared that they're not eating," Kelly told reporters at the Pentagon.

He said the detainees who are being force-fed "present themselves daily, calmly, in a totally cooperative way, to be fed through a tube," adding "we also know they're eating when they're in their cells."

Upon taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama ordered the detention camp closed within a year, but Congress has blocked administration efforts to shut it down and made it increasingly difficult to resettle Guantanamo prisoners.

Obama did not mention Guantanamo in his January inaugural speech or his February State of the Union address, which some of the prisoners watched on television. In January, the State Department office charged with resettling Guantanamo prisoners was closed.

"That has caused them to become frustrated and they want to ... turn the heat up, get it back in the media," Kelly told lawmakers. "And we know that because they talk to us. We have actually a fairly positive relationship down there with most of the detainees."

The United States spends $114 million a year to run the Guantanamo prison, or about $687,747 per prisoner, according to the Government Accountability Office. That is about 20 times what the U.S. Bureau of Prisons spends per inmate to run its high-security prisons.

"President Obama is at a fork in the road. He can invest in Guantanamo or invest in justice," said Zeke Johnson, head of Amnesty International's Security with Human Rights Campaign.

"Why throw more money down the drain on a mission that has already failed? Instead of justice for the 9/11 attacks, Guantanamo has brought us torture, indefinite detention, unfair trials and hunger strikes."

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South & Central America


Chile's Former Political Prisoners Fight for Compensation
Santiago Times
By Charlotte Karrlsson-Willis
March 19, 2013

Former prisoners from Chile's Dawson Island prison camp meet with government leaders in bid to resolve compensation case.

Although a court decision awarded former prisoners of the infamous Dawson Island prison camp more than US$317,000, an appeal by an organization acting in legal defense of the government is prolonging the process, and keeping the victims from their money.

A group of former political prisoners, joined by Sen. Pedro Munoz, who represents the Magallanes Region where Dawson Island is located, met with Senate President Camilo Escalona Monday in the hopes of gaining support. The group wants the government to order the State Defense Advisors (CDE), a third-party organization dedicated to defending and assisting the Chilean government in judicial affairs, to drop their appeal and to allow the court's decision to be realized.

Following the meeting, Escalona stood behind the prisoners and their cause.

"We are going to request that the justice ministry and the president of the Republic look at the point of view of former political prisoners of Dawson Island, who 40 years after these events and already being 60 years old or more, are not able to wait for the continuation of the process," Escalona said after the meeting.

The decision, handed down by the 18th Civil Court in Santiago in January, ordered the Chilean government to pay each of the former prisoners US$317,000 in compensation for human rights abuses they suffered at Dawson Island during the Chilean dictatorship (1973-90). The court decision cited repeated instances of "systematic psychological and physical torture, centered around forced work at the concentration camp."

Dawson Island was set up as a work camp for political prisoners shortly before the military coup on Sept. 11, 1973 that deposed democratically elected President Salvador Allende and brought General Augusto Pinochet to power. Located 62 miles south of Punta Arenas in a region affected by Antarctic weather, a form of punishment was the deprivation of heat, blankets and clothes from the people held there.

The Chilean National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation report said that 99 prisoners were held at the work camp on Dawson Island during its time in operation (Sept. 1973 to Dec. 1974) while other groups, including Derechos Chile estimate more than 200 prisoners moved through the camp.

One of the most famous prisoners of the camp was Orlando Letelier, former Chilean ambassador to the United States, foreign minister and later defense minister in the Allende government. Letelier was arrested the same day the military took power and was held at Dawson Island for 11 months before being transferred to other prison camps and eventually released to exile. He was then killed by a car bomb in Washington, D.C., a plot orchestrated by the Pinochet regime.

Sen. Escalona explained why there is an obligation, despite the passing of time, to recognize the debt Chile owes those who were imprisoned on the island.

"As international experience suggests, these are defining experiences that, despite the passing of time ... continue to be present, through premature deaths, the impossibility of mending a life after surviving the conditions that took place during the arrest and subsequent physical torment," said Escalona.

"Therefore, the judge felt that the state should be responsible for compensation for every one of these people," he said.


Former Congressman Convicted for Notorious Paramilitary Massacre
Colombia Reports
By Zach Edling
March 8, 2013

The former president of Colombia's house of representatives was convicted on Wednesday of financing and orchestrating a 1988 paramilitary-led massacre that killed 43 people - a crime he previously denied taking part in.

Cesar Perez lost the 1988 mayoral race in the town of Segovia in the central Antioquia department to Rita Ivone Tobon, who ran as a Patriotic Union (UP) candidate. The UP was a political party founded by the FARC, Colombia's largest left-wing guerrilla group, and the Colombian Communist Party. The party was eventually decimated by assassinations primarily carried out by right-wing paramilitaries.

According to Alonso de Jesus Baquero (alias "Vladamir"), one of the leaders of the Segovia attack, Perez allegedly masterminded the assault in order to gain political power.

"He [Perez] asked Henry de Jesus Perez and Fidel Castano to remove leftists from he could have absolute political control over the region," said Vladamir.

The Segovia slaughter was preceded by threats against the town's citizens and UP members, of which Perez denied having any knowledge.

The attack eventually came to be known as one of the first paramilitary massacres carried out in Colombia. According to reports, paramilitaries descended upon the town's main square and murdered people suspected of being affiliated with the UP. The order reportedly came down from the infamous Castano brothers who led the AUC, the country's largest paramilitary organization.

Investigations into the massacre began in 2010 and Perez was arrested shortly thereafter. Though he has not yet been sentenced, Perez is expected to receive approximately 25-30 years in prison. He is 80 years old.

"I respected the town's decision," the lawmaker said in 2012.

Apparently not.

Former Colombian Paramilitary Leader Sentenced to 20 Years
Colombia Reports
By Parker Crooks
March 11, 2013

Former Colombian paramilitary leader "El Aleman" on Monday was sentenced to twenty years in prison over the 2002 forced disappearance and homicide of a farmer.

Freddy Rendon Herrera, the former commander of the officially demobilized Elmer Cardenas Bloc, was sentenced for the disappearance and killing of a farmer in Colombia's northwestern Antioquia department that took place June 2002. The former second in command, Elkin Jorge Castaneda a.k.a. "Hermogenes Maza," was also sentenced for the crime.

The victim, Marco Aurelio Manco, was killed in the Dabeiba municipality after the warlord suspected the victim to have collaborated with leftist guerrillas. The victim's body was thrown into the river where it turned up a week later. His family was forced to flea their home after the assassination.

Both El Aleman and Maza accepted a plea bargain where they pled guilty to crimes of murder of protected persons, displacement of people, and kidnapping.

Herrera is currently in a Colombian jail on other murder charges as well as kidnapping. While Colombian authorities are investigating the former AUC commander for hundreds of human rights violations, U.S. authorities have requested his extradition to face drug trafficking charges.

The Elmer Cardenas paramilitary group was part of paramilitary umbrella organization AUC until its demobilization in 2006. El Aleman's brother, Daniel Rendon alias "Don Mario," inherited most of the drug routes managed by the Elmer Cardenas Bloc and converted the officially demobilized organization into the still active "Los Urabenos."

6 Police Officers Arrested for 1996 Massacre
Colombia Reports
By Parker Crooks
March 20, 2013

One retired and five active police officers were arrested Tuesday for allegedly taking part in a 1996 massacre that left six suspected FARC rebels dead.

A prosecutor issued the arrest warrant for the six officers, for their responsibility as co-perpetrators of the crimes of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated murder in what became known as the Mondonedo massacre.

The massacre, which took place in early September 1996, actually involved three related incidences that resulted in four deaths at the Fute farm south of the capital on a hill known as Mondonedo, one in the Kennedy district of Bogota, and the other one in neighboring Fontibon.

The victims in the Mondonedo incident were tied up and shot in the head before their bodies were torched. The other two victims were shot by an unidentified man on a motorcycle.

Though the six victims killed in separate incidences, it was determined by the prosecution to investigate the crimes together since the victims all were alleged members of the urban Antonio Narino Front of the leftist rebel group FARC.

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Dart, Alom and Mahmood Plead Guilty to Terror Charges
By Dominic Casciani
March 15, 2013

Three British men have pleaded guilty to preparing for terrorism acts overseas.

One of the men used to be a police community support officer and another was a recent convert to Islam.

Richard Dart, Jahangir Alom and Imran Mahmood all pleaded guilty at a hearing at the Old Bailey ahead of their expected trial.

They were arrested in London weeks before the Olympic Games in July 2012. They will be sentenced later.

The three men were charged last year with engaging in preparation for acts of terrorism by travelling to Pakistan for training between July 2010 and July 2012 and by "advising and counselling" acts of terrorism by providing information about how to go to the country for the same purpose.

The precise activities of the men have not been disclosed in court ahead of sentencing, but the BBC understands that the operation involved security services in both the UK and Pakistan.

Mahmood had been the first to travel to Pakistan where security chiefs feared he was receiving training with jihadists near the border with Afghanistan. In the summer of July 2011, the Pakistani authorities detained him before deporting him to the UK. Dart and Alom had arrived in Pakistan the same summer.

All three men were arrested shortly before the Olympics amid intelligence that Dart and Alom wanted to use Mahmood's contacts to return to Pakistan.

Alom, 26, of Stratford in East London, used to be a police community support officer.

Using the name Abu Khalid, he appeared in a video posted on YouTube to talk about why he left the job.

"Before I was practicing, I used to be in the Met police. My profession was a Police Community Support Officer," he says.

"I was kind of misguided, completely misguided. I didn't know what Islam was at the time and I used to support police officers on the frontline and carry out Section 44 Terrorism Stops [a form of stop-and- search].

"I used to implement the kuffar [unbeliever's] law on the streets of London and I used to support the kuffar regime."

In the video, he says he became a PCSO to help his community, Muslim or not, and had hoped to climb up the police career ladder to become a chief inspector.

Asked why he left the police, he says that the decision came after he met a number of "brothers" who taught him the true path.

They convinced him that it was sinful to be in the police, despite leading scholars saying different.

His co-defendant Richard Dart is a 30-year-old white convert from Dorset who moved to London.

His step-brother made a BBC documentary in which he explored why Dart had turned to a radical interpretation of Islam and had taken the name Salahuddin al-Britani.

After moving to London he briefly worked as a security guard for the BBC.

In one incident in the film, Dart is seen on a megaphone at a protest in Barking, East London, as the 1st Battalion Royal Anglians return from Afghanistan.

"When are people going to wake up," he said. "You foolish people risk your life... misguide you into the hell fire... educate yourself... you foolish people."

In another incident, he accused football fans of leading "degenerate lifestyles" and of enslaving themselves to the devil.

Dart also appeared at events in London in which he said he was a representative of Muslims Against Crusades.

During the investigation into the three men, police recovered parts of text messages, including one mentioning "WB". Officers believed it referred to Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire - a town known for military repatriation processions from a nearby RAF base. It formed no part of the guilty pleas put forward at the Old Bailey which relate to activities overseas.

The home secretary subsequently banned the group in November 2011, saying that it was the latest incarnation of a group already on a list of proscribed terrorist organisations.

The leading public figure in the group before its ban was Anjem Choudary. He converted Dart and has appeared at the same events as him.

No evidence has been presented in court as to how Dart and his co-accused were recruited to commit the offences to which they have pleaded guilty - and Mr Choudary said he had no idea either.

"I have a responsibility towards my Muslim brothers and sisters," he told the BBC.

"But that does not mean we are training anyone, that we are sending anyone abroad to fight. We don't have any military colleges where someone is learning how to make bombs.

"If someone is doing anything like that - and I don't think Salahuddin and Jahangir are, by the way - they are doing it behind the scenes, they are not doing it from encouragement by us."

Alom's wife, Ruksana Begum, previously pleaded guilty to possession of information likely to be useful to a terrorist by having a memory card carrying copies of a jihadist magazine, Inspire.

The publication - aimed at English-speakers - included information about using handguns and remote detonation of explosives.

She received a 12-month jail sentence in December 2012.

Two of Begum's brothers were jailed last year after pleading guilty to a bomb plot that could have targeted the London Stock Exchange.

Abdul Miah was sentenced to almost 17 years and Gurukanth Desai to 12 years.

In mitigation, her lawyer told the court that she had obtained copies of the magazine to better understand the ideological background of offending that led to her brothers' incarcerations.

End Near for Trial of 275 Terror Suspects
March 19, 2013

The existence of the Ergenekon criminal network has been proven, a prosecutor has told a panel of Turkish judges in his final opinion in the case.

The presentation of prosecutor Mehmet Ali Pekguzel's 2,271-page opinion means the trial, which began in 2008, will soon end, Today's Zaman reported Tuesday.

Some 275 defendants have been charged with membership in Ergenekon, a secretive organization that used social and psychological engineering to promote its ultranationalist ideology.

The prosecutor is seeking life sentences for 64 suspects who include retired Gen. Ilker Basbug, a former chief of General Staff; three retired military officers; two journalists and a union leader.

Basbug was initially charged with establishing and administering a terrorist organization but Pekguzel now wants him convicted of attempting to overthrow the government.

The prosecutor wants 96 other suspects to receive prison sentences of up to 15 years on charges they were members of a terrorist organization.

Five other suspects, including the former mayor of Istanbul, fled the country after the investigation began in 2007.

Malaysia Charges 8 Filipinos with Terrorism Offenses Over Deadly Armed Siege in Borneo
The Washington Post
March 20, 2013

Malaysian prosecutors charged eight Filipino men with terrorism-related offenses Wednesday following an armed siege in Borneo that killed 71 people.

The eight are the first to face charges after an estimated 200 members of a Filipino Muslim clan slipped into Malaysia's Sabah state last month and took over a village to highlight their long-dormant territorial claim to the timber-rich state.

Subsequent firefights killed 62 clansmen and nine Malaysian police and army personnel, according to Malaysia's government. Some of the surviving Filipinos are believed to have fled back to the neighboring southern Philippines, while a few dozen are allegedly hiding on palm oil plantation land in Sabah.

Government prosecutors on Wednesday charged eight suspects in Sabah with waging war against Malaysia's king and harboring people who commit terrorist acts. The first offense carries a possible death penalty and the other imposes a maximum of life imprisonment on conviction.

It was not clear whether the suspects were clansmen who had been captured or other Filipinos believed to have abetted them in Sabah, which is home to about 800,000 Filipino settlers.

The men, whose ages ranged from 17 to 66, did not enter a plea, and no further hearing dates were immediately scheduled as the case was being transferred from a Sabah district court to a higher court, the Malaysian national news agency Bernama reported.

In Manila, Abraham Idjirani, a spokesman for the Philippine Muslim clan, condemned the filing of terrorism-related charges against the Filipinos, saying Malaysian prosecutors have not fully disclosed the evidence used in the complaints against the suspects. He said that he feared the rights of the Filipinos were being violated and that there was a lack of transparency in the handling of their cases.

"In the first place, these Filipinos, if indeed they were involved, were just defending their rights because Sabah belongs to the sultanate and the Filipino people and Malaysia is just the administrator," Idjirani said.

He asked Malaysian authorities to release the suspects and called on the Philippine government to provide them with legal and other help.

Malaysian and Philippine authorities had sought for weeks to end the siege peacefully by urging the clansmen to leave without facing charges. But a fatal shooting of two policemen by the Filipinos on March 1 prompted Malaysia to launch airstrikes and mortar attacks that drove the clansmen out of the remote coastal village.

Malaysia has detained more than 300 mostly Filipino suspects in recent weeks on suspicion of having been informants for the clansmen and other offenses, including unlawful possession of weapons and illegal entry into Sabah.

The clansmen's leaders in the Philippines say Sabah is rightfully theirs because the territory belonged to their royal sultanate for centuries before colonial rule. Sabah has been part of Malaysia since 1963, and many Filipinos have come there in recent decades to escape poverty and a long-running Muslim insurgency in the southern Philippines.

Omagh Bomb: Colm Murphy and Seamus Daly Found Liable at Retrial
March 20, 2013

Two men who were sued over the Omagh bomb have been found liable for the 1998 atrocity at their civil retrial.

The judge described the evidence against Colm Murphy and Seamus Daly as overwhelming.

The action was taken by the victims' families, who have been awarded £1.6m damages.

Twenty-nine people, including a woman pregnant with twins, were killed in the Real IRA attack on the County Tyrone town in August 1998.

Delivering his summary, Mr Justice Gillen recognised the scale of the terrorist outrage for which no one has ever been convicted.

"The barrier of time has not served to disguise the enormity of this crime, the wickedness of its perpetrators and the grief of those who must bear its consequences," he said.

"Even 15 years on nothing can dilute the pulsing horror of what happened."

Lord Brennan QC, who represented the families, said the bereaved relatives were determined that the damages would be paid.

"Enforcement will be pursued with vigour here and in other relevant jurisdictions," he said.

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan was killed in the bombing, described it as an "important judgement".

"We will be pursuing the judgement because it would be a very hollow judgement if it was merely words," he said.

"We will be doing our best to try and recover the damages but at the moment, we're just happy that we've got a judgement that we, the families, the victims, have held someone to account for what happened at Omagh."

During the retrial it was claimed that Colm Murphy supplied mobile phones to the bomb team.

Mr Justice Gillen said there was compelling circumstantial evidence that two phones linked to Colm Murphy were used in the attack, with anyone who knowingly provided them to the bomb team liable.

The builder's denials about lending his phone to anyone and subsequent explanation to police in the Irish Republic were wholly implausible and amounted to lies with no innocent explanation, according to the judge.

The coincidence of a similar unexplained use by the same phone in an earlier bombing in Banbridge was found to amount to further probative evidence of Murphy's involvement in the Omagh operation.

"To suggest that for a second time his phone had been mysteriously used without his knowledge moves one into the realm of fantasy," Mr Justice Gillen said.

He described Mr Murphy's explanation for failing to give evidence as being due to his lack of confidence in the judicial system as "bordering on the risible".

"It makes the prima facie case even stronger and renders it now overwhelming," he added.

The same verdict was returned against Seamus Daly, based on his conversation on one of the bomb-run phones less than an hour after the explosion.

Mr Daly's guilty plea and conviction for Real IRA membership in November 2000 was also taken into account.

"This was relevant not just to propensity but was logically probative in determining the issue of liability in this case," Mr Justice Gillen said.

Neither man was at the High Court in Belfast to hear the 73-page judgement.

"I have determined that both defendants were involved in assisting the preparation, planting and detonation of the bomb," Mr Justice Gillen said.

Stanley McCombe, who lost his wife Ann in the atrocity, said he hoped the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Garda Siochana in the Republic would now review the evidence following the verdict.

"Out of all this, what we have heard from the judge, I think the Gardai, PSNI, and the bodies that be, have to really look at all this information and all this evidence and see if there is a case that these people have to answer for," he said.

Mr Gallagher said the Omagh families would be seeking an "early meeting" with the PSNI chief constable, Matt Baggott.

"We believe it's important that he looks at the judgement that was delivered, that there could be the possibility of pursuing the individuals that we have held to account in a criminal court," he said.

"We just cannot accept that 31 people can be murdered and no-one can be brought to justice for that crime."

Following the verdict, Lord Brennan QC, said he wanted the nine-year-long legal battle brought to an end.

Opposing a stay on the judgment pending any further challenge, the barrister described the verdict against Mr Murphy and Mr Daly as "damning".

"The prospects on appeal are, in our submission, zero," he said.

"The defendants have had their full measure of legal aid and the ability to participate in this trial. Let it come to an end."

The barrister also confirmed plans to pursue all four men now held liable for the bombing.

To date, no-one has been successfully criminally prosecuted for the bombing.

In the absence of criminal convictions, the victims' families took a landmark civil action, seeking damages from the men they believed were responsible.

The retrial followed the original Omagh bomb civil case, which is believed to be the first time anywhere in the world that alleged members of a terrorist organisation have been sued.

The first trial concluded in June 2009, when a judge ruled that four men - Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt, Liam Campbell, Colm Murphy and Seamus Daly - were all responsible for carrying out the atrocity.

The 12 relatives who had taken the action were awarded more than £1.6m in damages.

Mr McCombe said the families had not received "one single penny" from that judgement.

However, the four men who were found liable subsequently launched appeals.

Michael McKevitt and Liam Campbell failed to have the civil judgement against them overturned two years later.

Colm Murphy and Seamus Daly were successful in upholding their appeals in July 2011, but the pair were then ordered to face a retrial of the civil case.

Mr Murphy a Dundalk-based publican and contractor, and former employee Seamus Daly, from Cullaville, County Monaghan, denied playing central roles in the atrocity.

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Group Envisions Legal Plan to Prosecute Somali Pirates
Voice of America
By Marthe Van Der Wolf
March 20, 2013

An international contact group on Somali piracy is developing the foundations for a legal framework so pirates can be prosecuted, convicted and serve their sentences in Somalia.

The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia is developing a regional prosecution model for Somali pirates that are captured at sea. The legal framework also will include guidelines for the future Somali police and Coast Guard on arresting pirates in international waters.

John Steed of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia said there are many challenges, as Somalia is a recovering state.

"Somalia doesn't have the legal framework that the international community would recognize, so most of the prosecutions take place in countries like the Seychelles and Kenya and elsewhere in the region," said Steed.

The Contact Group, established in 2009, includes more than 80 countries and international organizations such as the African Union, Arab League, European Union, and NATO. The group's primary goals are to end piracy of the coast of Somalia and to ensure that pirates are brought to justice.

Members meet twice a year in plenary session, but working groups meet regularly in different countries to develop and implement their policies and programs.

There currently are more than 1,200 Somali pirates who have been taken into custody and detained in 21 countries. Prisons have been built in different Somali regions, but overall capacity is still low, and prosecutions against accused pirates in Somalia are rare.

James Hughes of Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the ultimate goal is to have Somali pirates serve their sentences in their own country.

"In the shorter term those convicted in regional states can be returned to Somalia to serve their sentences in Somali prisons. And in the longer term of course, is to develop court and prison capacity in Somalia so that the Somali administration can bring those convicted of piracy to justice at home," said Hughes. "Obviously this will not happen overnight, this is a long-term process."

Pirate attacks off Somalia have dropped sharply in the past couple of years, as international navies patrol the coast and more ship owners install armed guards aboard their vessels.

The Contact Group said that piracy in the Gulf of Aden and nearby waters, however, is an ongoing and serious treat to the safe delivery of humanitarian aid to Somalia, and to the safety of commercial maritime routes and to fishing activities.

According to the International Maritime Bureau, 75 ships were attacked off Somalia during 2012, and 14 were hijacked.

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Universal Jurisdiction

S Africa Probes Alleged Zimbabwe Mass Rape
By Robert Kennedy
March 15, 2013

An unprecedented investigation by South African authorities into an alleged campaign of politically motivated mass rape in Zimbabwe has given hope that justice will finally be served four years on, and that more sexual assaults can be prevented as a new election approaches, human rights advocates say.

The South African investigation is under way into some 200 men allegedly linked to President Robert Mugabe's party, who are suspected in widespread rape throughout Zimbabwe during the tumultuous 2008 election period.

The cross-border probe marks the first time that rape is solely being scrutinised as a crime against humanity under a legal term known as "universal jurisdiction". The principle allows and obliges nations under international law to investigate and prosecute citizens from other countries, if the crimes are considered particularly heinous.

The police probe follows years of investigative work by international NGO AIDS-Free World and other organisations. AIDS-Free World interviewed 84 Zimbabwean women who swore in affidavits that they were raped by men - many times gangs of them - associated with Mugabe's Zanu-PF party during 2008 in an alleged strategy to influence the election.

All 84 women interviewed were members of the current Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, or its supporters. The evidence given to South African authorities contains the names of more than 200 alleged perpetrators linked to Zanu-PF, as well as testimony from doctors, eyewitnesses, and civil society organisations.

With Zimbabwe's general elections expected this year and Saturday's referendum on a new constitution, fears of new political violence are growing.

'Sexual terror'

Stephen Lewis, former UN special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, is a co-founder of AIDS-Free World. He told Al Jazeera that "contacts" within Zimbabwe are reporting that gang-rape "base camps" - similar to those established in 2008 - are now being reconstituted with elections on the horizon.

"That's why it's important that this story is told," Lewis said. "The message we're sending to Mugabe's regime is: 'You cannot get away with rape as a strategy for re-election.'" Al Jazeera could not independently verify that gang-rape "base camps" were being set up. Women's testimonies contained in a 2009 report by AIDS-Free World - titled "Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe's Zimbabwe" - narrated a grim story throughout its harrowing 65 pages.

No one knows exactly how many women were raped in 2008, but estimates range from "hundreds and possibly thousands", the report said.

Many said they were abducted and taken to camps where they were gang-raped, sometimes for days, by men who wore Zanu-PF caps and T-shirts, who chanted party songs and slogans, and who denounced Tsvangirai's MDC.

Some women said they were often raped in front of husbands, children, and other family members.

"The women - who were in every instance utterly devastated, some of them destroyed physically, psychologically, emotionally - they said to us, 'What we want more than anything else in the world is justice," said Lewis.

Four years later, that search for justice is now moving forward in neighbouring South Africa.

Unprecedented investigation

Lewis, also the former Canadian ambassador to the UN, said the South African Police Service (SAPS) has opened an "investigation docket", and two detectives have been assigned. The officers will start with one rape case and go from there.

"This matter is in our hands and we are looking into it," said SAPS spokesman Paul Ramaloko.

Lewis predicted an investigation would lead up the chain of command to the "most senior level at the Zanu-PF".

"It's difficult to believe - considering the mass scale of rape across the country - that the senior echelon of Zanu-PF didn't know what was taking place. Someone had to dispatch the rapists," Lewis said.

But Patrick Chinamasa, Zimbabwe's justice and legal affairs minister and a senior Zanu-PF member, denied the allegations in a phone call with Al Jazeera, saying they were made for "propaganda purposes".

"I have no knowledge of rape crimes committed in 2008," he said.

He also denounced South Africa for launching the cross-border investigation. "South Africa has no jurisdiction whatsoever to investigate allegations of rape in Zimbabwe," the minister said. "We are not a province of South Africa".

Another Zanu-PF official, Jonathan Moya, told The Zimbabwe Mail that South Africa's own human rights record puts into question its transnational investigation.

Moyo highlighted the massacre of 34 strikers at the Marikana mine last August by South African police, and the recent death of a taxi driver who was tied by uniformed officers to a van and dragged behind the vehicle.

"Who in their right mind really believes that a rogue police force like the SAP can have the moral or legal authority or legitimacy to investigate any alleged crime against humanity [in Zimbabwe]?" said Moyo.

Universal jurisdiction

Activists say regardless of who is investigating, the most important thing is that a probe is underway.

Zimbabwe has not ratified the Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, and therefore the ICC cannot investigate the mass rape allegations. However, South Africa has ratified the statute, and incorporated it into domestic law. That move not only allows but obligates South Africa to prosecute grave, cross-border crimes under the legal concept of universal jurisdiction.

Francois Larocque, a professor of international law at Canada's University of Ottawa, told Al Jazeera rape has never before been exclusively investigated in the context of universal jurisdiction.

Larocque - who assisted AIDS-Free World with its legal research - said other examples of universal jurisdiction used to prosecute international crimes include the trials of Nazi Adolf Eichmann in Israel in the 1960s, Adolfo Scilingo from Argentina in 2005 in Spain, and Rwandan Desire Munyaneza in Canada in 2009.

Countries that sign the Rome Statute - a binding international treaty - must investigate heinous crimes such as those allegedly committed in Zimbabwe, Larocque said.

"The primary jurisdiction to investigate, try and punish genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity lies with the signatory states," said Larocque. "It is their legal obligation to do so."

Karima Bennoune, professor of Law at University of California at Davis, applauded the move by South Africa to investigate, but said the struggle for justice was far from finished. For one thing, the alleged Zimbabwean perpetrators would have to cross onto South African soil before they could be apprehended and tried, she noted.

"The application of universal jurisdiction often happens at the intersection of law and politics," Bennoune said in an email. "The evidence will have to be found to build a case, and then the political will has to be mustered to go forward as well."

'World is watching'

Back in 2008, Mugabe's Zanu-PF was initially defeated by Tsvangirai's MDC, but without a sufficient majority to remove the 89-year-old strongman from power. The Election Commission called an election run-off and violence erupted. More than 200 people were killed and an estimated 200,000 displaced, according to local rights groups. After the run-off race was announced, MDC supporters said incidents of rape and torture intensified. Tsvangirai, meanwhile, withdrew from the race citing the violence.

AIDS-Free World launched its probe after a Harare-based organisation reported it was receiving a flood of rape reports. With the help of Zimbabwe-based groups, dozens of women were secretly moved out of the country to neighbouring Botswana and South Africa, where more than 300 hours of testimony was given and recorded.

Nine attorneys from the international law firm New Perimeter-DLA Piper agreed to work pro bono on the investigation, travelling six times to southern Africa to get the sworn affidavits alleging politically motivated rape.

Attorney Kristen Leanderson Abrams told Al Jazeera from Washington, DC the experience had changed her.

"It was unlike anything I've ever heard. I thought I knew what I was getting myself into terms of knowing what is going on around the world. But sitting two feet away from these women - you can't help but be changed as a person when you hear these horrifying stories," Abrams said.

Bennoune, the law professor, said South Africa's investigation "sends a strong message that can help to stop the scourge of politically motivated rape", and could create a "justice cascade" around the world.

She said there is a lot of excitement transnationally among women's rights defenders about the investigation.

"One hopes that this will be part of a new robust regional response to sexual violence," Bennoune said. "The investigation puts Mugabe and Zanu-PF on notice that the world is watching what happens in the lead up to the upcoming March 16 referendum, and the July general elections."

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Gender-Based Violence

UN Commission on Women Ends with Adoption of Global Plan to End Gender-Based Violence
UN News Centre
March 15, 2013

Top United Nations officials today welcomed an agreement by more than 130 Member States on the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls, and urged governments to translate the outcome of the 'historic' gathering into concrete actions to protect and promote women's human rights and fundamental freedoms.

"Violence against women is a heinous human rights violation, global menace, a public health threat and a moral outrage," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement attributable to his spokesperson.

"The Secretary-General hopes that all the partners who came together at this historic session and others around the world will now translate this agreement into concrete action to prevent and end violence against women and girls," the spokesperson added.

Thousands of representatives of governments, inter-governmental organizations, civil society, the private sector and UN partners collaborated on the outcome document of the two-week 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York.

The 17-page 'Agreed Conclusions' of the Commission "condemns in the strongest terms the pervasive violence against women and girls, and calls for increased attention and accelerated action for prevention and response," said in a statement the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), which supports the Commission.

UN Women said it welcomed the important focus on prevention in the document, particularly through education and awareness-raising, as well as an emphasis on addressing gender inequalities in the political, economic and social spheres.

Among the priorities in the document is the establishment of multi-sectoral services for survivors of violence, including for health, psychological support and counselling, as well as the need to protect the right to sexual and reproductive health.

Ending impunity is also highlighted in the text, according to UN Women, in the context of punishing perpetrators, along with improving collection of evidence and responding to victims.

As many as seven out of every 10 women will experience violence in their lifetimes, according to UN figures. While more than 125 countries have specific laws that penalize domestic violence, some 603 million women live in countries where it is not considered a crime.

"By adopting this document, governments have made clear that discrimination and violence against women and girls has no place in the 21st century," the UN entity said. "There is no turning back."

UN Women's Executive Director, Michelle Bachelet said she was "particularly heartened" that an agreement was reached now given that in 2003, when the Commission took up the topic of violence against women, participants could not agree on a plan.

"We will keep moving forward to the day when women and girls can live free of fear, violence and discrimination. The 21st century is the century of inclusion and women's full and equal rights and participation," added Ms. Bachelet.

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Non-Governmental Organization Reports

Syria: Summary Killings and Other Abuses by Armed Opposition Groups
Amnesty International
March 14, 2013

"My daughter shouted to me, 'mum, come quick and see dad.' He was on TV... as he was shown being killed, I pushed my daughter away to block her from seeing... but she did see."

Widow of Colonel Fou'ad Abd al-Rahman, as identified by his family, whose beheading with Colonel Izz al-Din Badr was aired on television and the Internet.

The dead bodies found every day in towns and villages across Syria bearing marks of execution-style killing and torture are the grim evidence of mounting war crimes and other abuses being committed not just by government forces, but also by armed opposition groups - some but not all more or less loosely affiliated with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) - in the context of the country's bitter internal armed conflict. Such groups are summarily killing people with a chilling sense of impunity, and the death toll continues to rise as more towns and villages come under the control of armed opposition groups.

Since March 2011, Amnesty International has closely monitored and documented the Syrian authorities' crackdown on opposition and repeatedly condemned the authorities' widespread as well as systematic attacks on the civilian population, which amount to crimes against humanity and, since 2012, war crimes in some instances. This briefing looks at serious abuses, some amounting to war crimes, committed by the burgeoning number of armed opposition groups operating in Syria, focusing mainly on summary killings.

The main targets for these summary killings are members of the various government armed and security forces, the shadowy pro-government militias known as shabiha, as well as suspected informers or collaborators (widely referred to by the opposition as mukhbireen and 'awayniyeh). Many were civilians, including journalists working for pro-government media and members of minority communities perceived by members of armed opposition groups as loyal to President Bashar al-Assad such as Shi'a or Alawite Muslims, although not all members of such communities are in fact pro-government.

In some cases, Amnesty International has been unable to determine which armed opposition group was responsible for particular summary killings. Several groups may have been active in the city, town, village or neighbourhood at the time of the killing. Some witnesses and relatives of victims are understandably reluctant to provide detailed information about the armed group for fear of retaliation. Verification has also been hindered by the lack of access to cities where killings are happening because of the dire security situation. However, the evidence gathered by Amnesty International, and the cases it has been able to verify, leave no doubt that armed opposition groups are responsible for a large number of summary killings and other egregious crimes. In addition to research conducted since the conflict began, including the examination of scores of videos showing alleged abuses by armed opposition groups since 2011, Amnesty International interviewed Syrians as well as Palestinian refugees previously resident in Syria in Lebanon in December 2012 and January 2013. They included residents of several Syrian towns and cities mainly in southern areas near Lebanon, as well as activists, citizen journalists, witnesses, survivors and relatives of victims; and followed this up with other research and interviews.

In addition to summary killings, various armed opposition groups including some affiliated to the FSA, are committing other war crimes and serious human rights abuses, including indiscriminate attacks which have led to civilian casualties; use of children in a military capacity; torture or other ill-treatment of captives; sectarian threats and attacks against minority communities perceived as pro-government; abductions and the holding of hostages. These are briefly highlighted below.

Syria: Government Bombs Rains on Civilians
Amnesty International
March 14, 2013

Civilians continue to be at the receiving end of increasingly frequent indiscriminate attacks by Syrian government forces. Imprecise weapons designed for the battlefield are killing, maiming and displacing growing numbers of civilians - many of them children. Unguided air-delivered bombs, artillery, rockets, and ballistic missiles which cannot be aimed at specific targets and do not distinguish between military targets and civilian objects, and internationally banned cluster munitions are being used daily against civilian residential areas in towns and villages, in utter disregard for the most fundamental principles of international humanitarian law.

Government forces also continue to commit other grave violations, including war crimes, notably they frequently arbitrarily detain, torture, disappear and extrajudicially execute men and boys suspected of support for armed opposition groups fighting the state or of support for political opposition to the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

In a recent two-week investigation in northern Syria Amnesty International visited 17 towns and villages in the Idlib, Jabal al-Zawiya and Jisr al-Shughour areas and Aleppo city, and carried out field investigations into indiscriminate attacks which killed more than 310 civilians (including more than 157 children and 52 women) and injured hundreds of others. The organization's findings show that the frequency and scale of such attacks - which constitute war crimes - has increased in recent months, with disastrous consequences for the civilian population.

In all of these cases the attacks were either direct attacks on civilians or indiscriminate; all available information indicates that there were no obvious military targets or military operations or confrontations at or near the sites of the attacks at the time of the attacks. The attacks were indiscriminate as the nature of the weapons and munitions used means that they cannot be aimed at specific targets. Even giving government forces the benefit of the doubt, and assuming that they believed that there were actually military targets in the areas attacked, the routine and repeated use of inappropriate battlefield weapons in residential areas or inherently indiscriminate weapons has meant that civilians were unlawfully killed and injured and civilian objects needlessly destroyed or damaged. These and other attacks investigated in previous months show a pattern of government forces targeting towns and villages which are under the control of armed opposition groups, invariably killing and injuring civilians. And in many such cases government forces carried out direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects - one of the gravest violations of international humanitarian law.

The number of civilians displaced by the conflict has skyrocketed in recent months, with several thousands of Syrians and others fleeing to other countries every day and many more moving from place to place within Syria in search of safe shelter. With Turkey having imposed strict restrictions on the entry of Syrian refugees in recent months, tens of thousands have been left stranded in dire humanitarian and health conditions in makeshift camps on the Syrian side of the border with Turkey.

USA: 'Judge Us by Our Actions': A Reflection on Accountability for U.S. Detainee Abuses 10 Years After the Invasion of Iraq
Amnesty International
March 15, 2013

A decade after the invasion of Iraq, the US government clearly does not consider full accountability for war crimes and human rights violations committed by US forces in Iraq and elsewhere to be a legal requirement. The world has seen how the USA has repeatedly failed to "deal with the wrongdoing", and how today it remains in serious breach of its international obligations on truth, remedy and accountability on the human rights violations that took place at the hands of US personnel in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantánamo and at undisclosed locations.

Libya: Stop Revenge Crimes Against Displaced Persons
Human Rights Watch
March 20, 2013

The Libyan government should take urgent steps to stop serious and ongoing human rights violations against inhabitants of the town of Tawergha, who are widely viewed as having supported Muammar Gaddafi. The forced displacement of roughly 40,000 people, arbitrary detentions, torture, and killings are widespread, systematic, and sufficiently organized to be crimes against humanity and should be condemned by the United Nations Security Council.

Newly released satellite imagery analysis shows the systematic destruction of large swaths of the town by arson and targeted demolitions after the fighting there had stopped in mid-2011, in an apparent attempt to prevent Tawerghans from returning home.

"Successive governments in Tripoli and local authorities in Misrata have failed to stop the ongoing persecution of an entire community and the destruction of the town," said Fred Abrahams, special advisor at Human Rights Watch. "This leaves a dark stain on the reputation of a new Libya that claims to respect human rights."

Armed groups from Misrata, about 30 kilometers north, have been responsible for most of the abuses. These groups accuse Tawerghans of having fought with or supported pro-Gaddafi forces during the 2011 conflict, and of committing war crimes in Misrata. The Libyan government and Misrata authorities have been unable to rein in these abusive armed groups.

Militia commanders and senior officials in Misrata could be held criminally responsible by domestic and international courts, including the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, for ordering these crimes, or for failing to prevent them or to punish the attackers, Human Rights Watch said.

In her last report to the UN Security Council in November 2012, the ICC chief prosecutor said her office was continuing to collect information about allegations of "killings, looting, property destruction, and forced displacement by Misrata militias" of Tawerghans to determine whether a new case should address these allegations.

Libyan authorities should also promptly investigate individual Tawerghans accused of committing serious crimes during the 2011 conflict, including alleged rapes and unlawful killings in Misrata, and if there is evidence of a crime, prosecute them to the full extent of the law, Human Rights Watch said. Punishing a community for alleged crimes by community members amounts to collective punishment.

Foreign governments that intervened militarily in Libya under a UN Security Council resolution to protect civilians forcefully condemned violations by the Gaddafi government but have failed to challenge effectively the ongoing abuses against Tawerghans and others, Human Rights Watch said. The double standard in addressing these crimes depending on who committed them erodes the credibility of governments that said they intervened to protect civilians.

Human Rights Watch called on the UN Security Council to condemn crimes against humanity against Tawerghans and to request the Libyan government to report back in three months on how it is fulfilling its responsibility to protect its population from mass atrocities. The Security Council should also impose sanctions against officials and militia commanders who ordered or failed to prevent these crimes, Human Rights Watch said.

Human Rights Watch interviewed 13 families from Tawergha, who gave detailed information about 17 people from the town who they say were captured and killed. They also showed photographs of bodies of those killed.

Thirteen of these victims were civilians killed after they had fled Tawergha in mid-August 2011, the families said. One was a civilian killed in detention in Misrata and one was a civilian captured and killed during the 2011 fighting, family members said. The remaining two were apparently killed in Sirte, during the fighting as Gaddafi was captured in October 2011 in unclear circumstances.

Tawergha leaders in Tripoli told Human Rights Watch that the number of Tawerghans who were captured and killed by militias after the conflict was much higher. They said the precise numbers are unknown because the community is displaced across Libya and the leaders lack full lists of those detained and killed.

Human Rights Watch interviewed two relatives of Milad al-Buma, 33, who said a militia from Misrata had detained al-Buma and his cousin Hussein Ihneish, 25, near Tripoli on August 28, 2011, a week after the family had fled Tawergha. The two men were taken to Misrata and never heard from again, the relatives said. In early 2013 the family obtained a photograph of al-Buma's dead body.

In a separate interview, two relatives of Ihneish gave the same details about his abduction and showed a photograph of his dead body that they said they obtained in late 2012. Neither family had received a death certificate or information about the place of burial.

Many Tawerghans currently detained have been held for more than one year without charges, a judicial review, or access to a lawyer. The same is true of most of the roughly 8,000 detainees held by the Libyan government or militias. Human Rights Watch has previously documented the use of torture against Tawerghan detainees, sometimes causing death.

Human Rights Watch also conducted new satellite imagery analysis based on five images taken between 2011 and 2012, allowing an analysis of destruction in Tawergha after the fighting there had stopped in mid-August 2011. The analysis identified 1,690 damaged or destroyed structures after the cessation of hostilities, more than 90 percent of which appear damaged by fire. The total number of destroyed structures is certainly higher, Human Rights Watch said.

The imagery and Human Rights Watch's repeated observations in 2011 of looted and burned buildings in Tawergha strongly suggest that the widespread and systematic destruction was intended to prevent residents from returning.

"The satellite images corroborate what we saw on the ground: the vast destruction of a town," Abrahams said. "The systematic looting, burning, and demolitions were organized and seem intended to keep people from going home."

A functioning justice system is needed to address crimes by all sides before, during, and after the 2011 conflict, Human Rights Watch said. Laws on transitional justice would help identify and punish people who committed crimes and promote reconciliation between communities and tribes.

The central government has formed a committee to work on the return of all internally displaced persons (IDPs) and Gaddafi supporters who fled abroad, but the details of its work remain unclear. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says that, as of January 2013, Libya had just under 60,000 internally displaced persons, half of them from Tawergha.

Human Rights Watch called on the national government and Misrata authorities, including militia commanders, to condemn attacks against Tawerghans and other displaced communities and to allow the voluntary return of people who wish to go home. The authorities should charge or release detainees based on the evidence, investigate allegations of torture and abuse of Tawerghan detainees, and investigate the widespread arson and property destruction.

In its March 2012 report, the UN International Commission of Inquiry on Libya concluded that Misrata militias had committed crimes against humanity of torture and killings of Tawerghans. "The Misrata thuwar [anti-Gaddafi forces] have killed, arbitrarily arrested and tortured Tawerghans across Libya," the report said. "The destruction of Tawergha has been done to render it uninhabitable."

On March 14, 2013, the UN Security Council passed resolution 2095, which expressed grave concern about "reprisals, arbitrary detentions without access to due process, wrongful imprisonment, mistreatment, torture and extrajudicial executions" in Libya and called on the government to "accelerate the judicial process, transfer detainees to state authority and prevent and investigate violations and abuses of human rights." The resolution underscored the government's primary responsibility for the protection of Libya's population.

The UN Human Rights Council is currently considering a draft resolution that urges Libya to investigate all violations of human rights and to expedite the return of displaced persons. The adoption of this resolution with the support of the Libyan government, expected on March 21 or 22, would send a positive message that Libya is committed to end these abuses, Human Rights Watch said.

Missing, Detained, and Dead

In January 2013 Human Rights Watch interviewed 13 Tawerghan families who gave details about 17 people from the town who they say were captured and killed. Human Rights Watch saw photographs of these men's bodies, shrouded in sheets and with a number, apparently readied for burial. None of the families had been able to obtain a death certificate or find out where their family member was buried.

Thirteen of the men were civilians who were captured by various militias and killed after they had fled Tawergha in mid-August 2011, the families said. One was a civilian who died from beatings in detention in Misrata and one was a civilian who was captured and killed during the fighting when he traveled from Misrata to nearby Tomina to buy gas for his car. Family members said that the other two were last seen in Sirte in October 2011, during heavy fighting in the town, and that they did not know how the person had died.

Human Rights Watch saw a list with names and individual photographs of 93 dead men who Tawergha leaders said had died since the conflict started in February 2011 and had been identified by their families. Whether each of these men was a civilian or combatant and the cause of their deaths remains unclear.

Tawergha leaders claim that up to 1,300 people from their town have died or been detained since February 2011 or are missing. Human Rights Watch could not verify this claim or assess whether those who died were killed unlawfully or died in combat. Some people from Tawergha fought with Gaddafi forces.

In one case, a man from Tawergha who did not want his name revealed for fear of retribution said an armed group from Misrata detained him in Sirte in October 2011, when Muammar Gaddafi was captured and killed there, and held him in Misrata until late 2012. Upon his release, he informed the family of Salah al-Treki, 38, that al-Treki had died in detention in December 2011 from beatings just after he was captured. Human Rights Watch saw a photograph of al-Treki's body.

"In Sirte they cracked his skull and broke bones - he was spitting blood," the released man told Human Rights Watch about al-Treki. "Don't have the body, don't know where it is."

On August 28, 2011, Hussein Ihneish, 25, previously an instructor in a Tripoli military academy, went to inspect a farm near Tripoli with his cousin, Milad al-Buma, 33, two of Ihneish's relatives said. The men were hoping the family could live there, after fleeing Tawergha earlier that month. The two men never returned and the family was unable to find out where they were. In late 2012 and early 2013, the Ihneish and al-Buma families received photographs of the men's dead bodies, but neither family knows where the bodies are buried.

In a third case, two relatives of Ahmad al-Ghariani, 24, said they last saw him on March 6, 2011, when he left his house in Tawergha to get gas for his car in Tomina. The family members said they called his phone and an unknown man answered, saying, "We caught [him], don't call him again."

Some weeks later the al-Ghariani family saw a video on the internet, which showed Ahmed being interrogated together with another man from Tawergha in an unknown location. In the video, both men are lying on the ground, bound and apparently injured. The family received no further news about Ahmad but, in late 2012, relatives received a photograph of his dead body. The location of the body remains unknown.

These reports of beatings and killings are consistent with accounts that people of Tawergha have previously given to Human Rights Watch. Some Tawerghans captured in Sirte in October 2011 with the convoy of Gaddafi were seen alive on video in the custody of Misratan militias and then seen dead in photographs. In the video, militia members are cursing Tawergha and searching for Tawerghans among the detainees.

The new head of the Misrata local council, Ismail Shaklawoon, told Human Rights Watch in January that 2,700 to 3,000 people were being held in civilian and military-run facilities in Misrata. He said he did not know how many of the detainees were from Tawergha.

About 1,300 Misrata detainees have been released since late 2011 after a review of their cases, Shaklawoon said. He blamed the national government for not doing more to get the judicial system up and running so all detainees could be screened and charged or released.

Justice Minister Salah Marghani told Human Rights Watch in January that the government acknowledged the urgency of screening all detainees and said he had recently ordered 24 more prosecutors to work in Misrata. The government is building a new prison with a capacity of 2,000 outside of Misrata, at a former aviation academy, to accommodate the city's prisoners under government supervision, he said.

Shaklawoon said that abuse in Misrata facilities was the result of individual misconduct and that all complaints are investigated. About four cases had gone to court, including two deaths in custody, he said, but he provided no details.

Satellite Imagery Analysis Shows Systematic Destruction

Human Rights Watch visited Tawergha repeatedly in August, September, and October 2011, and in January 2012, and observed extensive burning and looting of residential and commercial buildings in most parts of the town. In one case, looting continued in front of Human Rights Watch researchers while a militia from Misrata was standing guard.

During a January 2012 visit, Human Rights Watch saw Misratan militia members systematically burning one neighborhood by dousing homes with gasoline and setting them on fire.

Human Rights Watch has analyzed satellite imagery showing the extent of the damage from arson and targeted demolitions in the town after the fighting there had stopped. This analysis, together with on-the-ground findings, strongly suggests that the purposeful and systematic destruction of the town was intended to prevent returns.

Human Rights Watch analyzed five satellite images taken between July 28, 2011, and August 18, 2012. These images show 1,690 damaged and destroyed structures. More than 92 percent of these structures appear to have been damaged or destroyed by fire.

Not all structural damages are visible from the satellite imagery, so actual damages after the fighting in Tawergha are likely to be significantly higher, Human Rights Watch said.

The images show that two residential housing complexes were burned to the ground, and another five residential complexes were seriously damaged by fire. Virtually all large commercial and industrial or municipal facilities appear to have been destroyed by fire, including a complex of poultry farms on Tawergha's northern edge.

Human Rights Watch compared satellite imagery with videos posted on YouTube that appear to show militias using explosives to demolish a municipal water tower and residential buildings in Tawergha after hostilities had ceased. In three instances, Human Rights Watch matched the structures in the videos with the structures in the satellite imagery, thus confirming the use of explosives for controlled demolitions, as well as the locations and time periods for the videos.

During an October 2011 visit to Tawergha, an international documentary team also filmed armed men from Misrata firing weapons into abandoned residential buildings.

Based on the videos and satellite imagery analysis, Human Rights Watch identified in the satellite imagery at least 81 buildings and two water towers that were probably destroyed with explosives - nearly 5 percent of all detected damages across the town.

The satellite imagery analysis revealed two distinct periods of destruction. The first followed the capture of Tawergha in mid-August 2011 and continued until late October. The images show 240 sites that appear to have been damaged or destroyed during that period. Based on field research at that time, and because the imagery does not fully capture the extensive burning inside homes, Human Rights Watch believes the total number of damaged or destroyed buildings is probably much higher.

This first phase was followed by a relative pause of about a month. The second and main phase of destruction occurred between November 24, 2011, and May 25, 2012, when over 1,370 sites appear to have been damaged or destroyed. This represents over 81 percent of damaged structures detected from the imagery and appears to have been a more systematic effort to destroy structures.

On May 3, 2012, the main military body in Misrata, the Military Council, responded to Human Rights Watch's earlier charges of arson and property destruction in Tawergha by saying that the "torching and demolition of some homes in the Tawergha area" were "individual actions committed by people who suffered the worst abuses at the hands of the people of Tawergha."

Human Rights Watch believes the results of the satellite imagery analysis contradict this claim. The scale of the destruction and the time and resources required to damage or destroy over 1,600 industrial, commercial, and residential sites strongly suggests that the destruction was planned and systematic.

On several occasions, Human Rights Watch researchers witnessed looting, arson, and demolitions in Tawergha while Misrata militia members at nearby checkpoints watched. During one visit in October 2011, the checkpoint commander at the entrance of Tawergha denied to Human Rights Watch that looting or arson was taking place while a group of Misrata militia members about 100 meters away fired a rocket-propelled grenade into an unoccupied building. The commander then allowed the fighters to pass his checkpoint with a truck full of looted goods, including school desks.


During the 2011 conflict, Gaddafi forces used Tawergha as a base for attacks on Misrata and the surrounding area from March until August. Many Tawerghans supported Gaddafi, whose government claimed that Libyan opposition fighters would enslave Tawerghans if they took power. Hundreds of Tawerghans joined the army, both Misrata and Tawergha residents told Human Rights Watch.

Between March and May, Gaddafi forces besieged Misrata and repeatedly subjected the city to indiscriminate mortar and Grad rocket attacks that killed many civilians. In April, Human Rights Watch documented the government's use of cluster munitions in the city. Misratan fighters successfully defended the city and began to overpower Gaddafi forces in the area, with help from NATO airstrikes.

As Misratan fighters approached Tawergha around August 10, 2011, almost all residents of the town fled. They were then subjected to attacks, arrests, and harassment, mostly by militias from Misrata.

The displaced Tawerghans are now spread throughout Libya and unable to return. According to Tawergha community leaders, about 18,000 people are in Benghazi, 13,000 in Tripoli, and 7,000 in and around Sebha, in the south. Smaller numbers are in Tarhuna, Khoms, Sirte, Ajdabiya, and a few other places.

In Tripoli, the community is based mostly in four camps: at the Naval Academy in Janzur, near Airport Road, in the al-Fallah neighborhood, and in the Sarraj neighborhood. Basic humanitarian assistance comes mostly from LibAid, a Libyan government agency.

Security has improved over time at the Tripoli camps, with fewer raids by Misrata militias who claim they are searching for wanted men. On February 6, 2012, militias from Misrata raided the camp in Janzur and shot dead one man, three women, and three children.

Civil and military authorities in Misrata say that Tawerghans committed serious crimes against them during the 2011 conflict, including torture and rape. They blame the national government for failing to arrest and prosecute these Tawerghans.

Authorities in and around Misrata are also preventing thousands of people from returning to the nearby villages of Tomina and Kararim, also accusing them of siding with Gaddafi during the 2011 conflict. These authorities have failed to stop local militias from looting and burning homes in the two towns, Human Rights Watch said.

According to the head of the Tawergha council, Abulrahman Shakshak, interviewed in Tripoli in January, the town's civil register had 42,000 people prior to the conflict. About 37,000 people lived in Tawergha and around 5,000 lived in Misrata, he said. Some others lived in Tomina and Kararim.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says that, as of January 2013, Libya had 59,425 internally displaced persons. Of those, 30,000 came from Tawergha, 9,404 came from Sirte, and 9,200 came from the Nafusa Mountains, mostly members of the Masheshiya tribe, who are also perceived as having supported Gaddafi. About 6,100 people are reportedly displaced from Misrata, most believed to be originally from Tawergha. Another 2,400 people are Tuareg who fled Ghadames.

Legal Standards

Certain crimes committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack on a civilian population - as policy of the country or of an organization such as a militia - may constitute crimes against humanity. These crimes can include murder, torture, deportation or forced transfer, arbitrary detention, or persecution of a group on political, racial, ethnic, or other grounds.

The civilian and military leadership in Misrata, as well as the national government, have a legal obligation to prevent forces under their command from committing such crimes. They are obliged to support steps to hold those responsible for the crimes accountable. Failure to do so could result in criminal responsibility.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970 gave the International Criminal Court (ICC) ongoing jurisdiction over war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Libya since February 15, 2011. As such, the ICC could prosecute senior civilian officials, military commanders, or people effectively acting as military commanders for serious crimes committed by forces or subordinates under their effective command and control.

This can happen if the official or commander knew or should have known that his subordinates or forces were committing or were about to commit such crimes and failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures to prevent the crime, or to submit the matter to the competent authorities for criminal investigation and prosecution.

Recommendations to the National and Misrata Authorities

Publicly condemn revenge attacks against Tawerghans and other displaced communities and their property, and attempts to prevent them from returning home;

Make a public commitment to the right of return for the people of Tawergha and other displaced communities with appropriate financial, logistical, and security arrangements;

Investigate credible claims of torture and abuse of detainees in official as well as militia-run facilities and hold abusive officials, including commanders, to account;

Expedite the judicial screening of all detainees and prosecute or release individuals depending on the available evidence; and

Investigate evidence of arson and property demolition in Tawergha, including satellite imagery and videos, and hold accountable those who unlawfully destroy property.

Recommendations to the United Nations Security Council

Condemn crimes against humanity against Tawerghans;

Ask the Libyan government to brief the Security Council in three months on steps it is taking to fulfill its responsibility to protect the Tawergha community from crimes against humanity; and

Impose sanctions against officials and militia commanders who ordered or failed to prevent crimes against Tawerghans.

Recommendations to the Human Rights Council

Condemn the forced displacement, arbitrary detentions, torture, and killings of Tawerghans in the forthcoming resolution on Libya at the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council; and

Urge the Libyan government to take meaningful steps to halt these crimes against Tawerghans, ensure that such violations are investigated and the perpetrators held to account.

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Invitation: Witness to the Montreal Truth and Reconciliation Commission National Event, April 24-27, 2013
March 14, 2013

The next national event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) takes place in Montreal from April 24 to 27. Survivors or former students of the Indian Residential Schools System run by the Canadian government and four Canadian churches will gather with their families and the wider Canadian community and tell their stories.

Wherever you live, KAIROS invites you to watch the testimony, pray, and take action. See the PDF below for more information, a link to the event's live streaming website, a prayer, and an excerpt of Canada's apology to residential school survivors.

Through this national event you will hear courageous testimonies of peoples' experience in the schools. These stories are one part of a shared history that has been built on a broken relationship. The TRC's journey is one step towards a new and healed relationship based on full respect for Indigenous peoples. Whatever your background, please join in prayer or good thoughts for the survivors, their communities and their families, the Commissioners, and all who attend the hearings.

To learn more about the Indian Residential Schools System, its enormous impact on Indigenous people and communities, and how we can continue our common work towards reconciliation, truth and equity, please visit and


TRC Ordinance: Blanket Amnesty Provision Will Go, Say Party Leaders
March 12, 2013

Major political parties on Monday agreed in principle to remove the provision of blanket amnesty for crimes of serious nature in the proposed draft of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The new provision now states that "those implicated in serious crimes, including rape, would be sent for prosecution," as against the previous provision of blanket amnesty.

Parties have agreed that the proposed TRC would determine on the issue of clemency and punishment. According to a Nepali Congress leader, the draft says that the commission would determine which crimes are of serious nature.

As per the proposed provision, in cases where clemency will not be provided and those that have to be put up for trial, the commission would recommend the Office of the Attorney General to do so. On the appointment of members in the TRC , the new government to be formed would suggest names after consultations with the proposed high-level political mechanism which brings top leaders of four political forces together.

According to UCPN (Maoist) Vice-chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha, parties have settled "almost all the contentious issues in the package deal" except rank determination for the former Maoist combatants integrated into the national army. The other components of the deal include citizenship, voter rolls and removing constitutional difficulties. The NC and the UCPN (Maoist) are holding informal talks since Sunday to hammer out a deal on the rank issue. According to Shrestha, the deal will be inked after the agreement on rank as per the "gentlemen's agreement" among the parties. He, however, warned that the deal could still fall apart if the NC refuses to confer some top ranks on the former Maoist combatants.

On Monday morning, leaders of the major parties met Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi and presented him the draft on removing constitutional difficulties along with an 11-point political draft. Informed sources claimed that Regmi has expressed concerns over the explicit mention of the high-level political mechanism in the constitution. "He (Regmi) was of the view that while political consensus is important, complexities could arise if there is direct mention of the mechanism in the constitution," said an NC leader privy to the developments.

Regmi has reportedly told the parties that he will have no objection if the mechanism is mentioned in "an implicit manner." The chief justice also urged the leaders to increase the number of Cabinet members to 15, up from the 11 members outlined in the current draft agreement. "Regmi has also asked the parties to find ways to adjust former justices of the Supreme Court in the Cabinet,"

Some senior leaders claimed that Regmi could assume office as the executive head even before the verdict on the petitions challenging his appointment. The parties also decided to send all the documents-political and the ones concerning removal of constitutional difficulties and the TRC -to the President on Tuesday. An all-party meeting is scheduled for Tuesday.

Conflict Victims Decry Ordinance on TRC
The Himalayan Times
March 17, 2013

Victims of the decade-long insurgency have said that real reconciliation between victims and perpetrators was possible if the state provides justice to the victims to wipe out their sorrows.

Speaking at an interaction program organized by the Transitional Justice Service Center in the capital today, they said that the President has given an exemption to the criminals by issuing ordinance on Truth and Reconciliation. They also demanded that the ordinance should be withdrawn for amendment.

Sabitri Shrestha, who lost her two brothers-Ujjan Kumar Shrestha and Ganesh Kumar Shrestha- during the insurgency complained that she was lone for not getting support from political parties, legal practitioners and the President.

Likewise, widow of Arjun Lama, Purnimaya Lama said her husband was killed by giving torture for two months.

Another victim of the conflict, Laxmi Koirala said she was not feeling justice by the recently signed political agreement.

Rights activist Charan Prasai and advocate Dinesh Tripathi said the parties' decision to form the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was faulty.

TRC Ordinance Does Not Meet International Obligations: Diplomatic Community
By Kosh Raj Koirala
March 20, 2013

At a time when the kin of the conflict victims have expressed strong exception to the "opaque political deal" on the formation of Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the diplomatic community in Kathmandu is preparing to join the chorus with them.

Sources said various European as well as other diplomatic missions in Kathmandu have concluded that an ordinance relating to the proposed TRC published in the Nepal Gazette on Monday not only does not meet Nepal's international obligations, but also takes a "step backward" from what was proposed by the erstwhile parliament.

"Since it needs various improvements, we are currently in negotiations to pile up diplomatic pressure for necessary corrections in the proposed TRC," said a diplomatic source.

The latest position of the diplomatic community on the TRC ordinance comes in the wake of conflict victims objecting to the "unilateral" decision of the four major political forces on finalize the ordinance without holding consultations with them. The victims have accused the political parties of failing to meet their international obligations.

The proposed ordinance on TRC, in view of the diplomatic community, fails to meet international standards in many respects despite its optimistic preamble and Section 2, which is contravened by many of its following sections.

"The preamble has all the good words. It wants to end impunity, investigate serious human rights violations during the conflict, provide justice to the victims and create an environment of peace and reconciliation in the society," said a source familiar with the development.

Though Section 2 of the ordinance provides a list of nine kinds of serious human rights violations, there is no section in the ordinance that makes the perpetrators of crimes listed under Section 2 culpable. Likewise, the commission has been asked to work under the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, instead of making it directly answerable to the government or the president.

Section 2 has recognized murder, abduction and hostage taking, disappearance, causing deformities or disablement, physical or mental torture, rape and sexual violence, looting, seizure, breaking or arson of private and public property, forceful eviction from house and land or displacement by any other means and any type of inhuman act committed against international human rights or humanitarian law or other crime against humanity as cases of serious human rights violations.

What has drawn serious concern of the conflict victims and diplomatic community on TRC ordinance are the provisions in its sections 22 to 29, which clearly expose the mala-fide intention to eventually grant general amnesty to even those involved in serious cases of human rights violations during the conflict.

TRC is empowered to facilitate reconciliation if an appeal is either made by the perpetrator or the victim. It is feared that many of the perpetrators will appeal for such an arrangement, which in all likelihood may turn into a forceful reconciliation simply on the basis of a superficial apology or "compensation", given the high political access of the perpetrators. Likewise, the use of words such as the commission "may", instead of "must" to seek the consent of the victims prior to effecting reconciliation has increased the risk of justice being denied to the victims concerned.

Section 23, under "Amnesty Provisions" states that while carrying out investigation pursuant to the ordinance, the commission may, if deemed reasonable, recommend amnesty to the perpetrator explaining sufficient grounds and reasons thereof. Subsection 1 of the same section states that the commission may, on the basis of sufficient reasons, recommend for the grant of an amnesty. This is against the spirit of the preamble and other articles.

Likewise, subsection 2 states that notwithstanding anything contained in Sub Section (1), the commission shall not recommend amnesty to perpetrators of serious human rights violation cases, including rape, which lacks sufficient reasons and grounds for granting amnesty.

Additionally, Section 29 of the ordinance empowers the Attorney General to decide, upon a written request from the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, whether to file a case, creating cumbersome three-tier barriers "apparently to deny justice" to the conflict victims.

South Africa

TRC Evidence to Be Used in Double Murder Probe
Eyewitness News
By Nastasya Tay
March 13, 2013

Police intend using testimony from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in their investigation into the deaths of two young men, officials said on Tuesday.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) yesterday exhumed remains believed to belong to Corlett "Lolo" Sono and Siboniso Shabalala. The pair have been missing for over 24 years.

The bodies were buried as unidentified persons in 1988 after they were found in an open field with several stab wounds.

In 2012, an investigator from the police's Missing Person's Unit found records and photographs taken by mortuary officials in 1988 of men who were identified by family members as Sono and Shabalala. The families then gave the go-ahead for the exhumation.

The young men were last seen at Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's Soweto home and appeared to have been severely beaten.

Shabalala's mother named Madikizela-Mandela her son's killer in her testimony at the TRC.

Other witnesses described how "Mama Winnie" participated in whippings of Sono with a sjambok, accusing him of being a spy.

In 1997, Sono's father also told the commission his son had been beaten up and that Madikizela-Mandela told him that his son was an apartheid spy. He has since passed away.

Police spokesperson Tumi Shai said: "The procedure of investigations does not side-line any type of information that is gathered, therefore everything that is put forward will be utilized accordingly.

She told Eyewitness News they plan to launch a murder investigation now that the bodies have been found.

Once the face of South African resistance to white minority rule, the "Mother of the Nation" fell from grace in the 1980s as she became more militant in her fight against apartheid and increasingly paranoid about activists turning traitor.

The TRC, a body set up to investigate apartheid-era atrocities, found that Madikizela-Mandela and her former security detail, known as the Mandela United Football Club, had killed 18 people in Soweto, the sprawling township that served as the epicenter of anti-apartheid resistance.

In 1991, she was convicted of kidnapping and assaulting a minor who later died. Her jail sentence was reduced to a fine the following year.

No Clarity on TRC Cases
IOL News
March 17, 2013

The NPA is unable to reveal how many investigations into apartheid-era crimes are still ongoing, the Sunday Times reports.

National Prosecuting Authority spokeswoman Bulelwa Makeke said 350 cases were handed to it after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission disbanded.

However, she told the newspaper that since there was no proper data-capture system at the time, it was not possible to provide accurate information on the number of cases investigated.

In 2003, the priorities crime litigation unit took over the investigation of TRC cases from the human rights violations unit.

Makeke said the "small number" of cases investigated by this unit had been carried out upon specific requests.

The only successful prosecution was in 2007, when apartheid-era law and order minister Adrian Vlok and four police officials received suspended sentences for the attempted murder of Reverend Frank Chikane.

Former TRC commissioner Yasmin Sooka told the Sunday Times the failure to follow up on TRC cases was a "shocking insult to our democracy and the rule of law in South Africa".

"We can see the effect of this impunity in the ongoing police brutality, because no one is being held accountable. Killers continue to walk about in South Africa without being held accountable."

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Praise for Fatou Bensouda, in the Wake of Kenyatta and Muthaura
Justice in Conflict
By Mark Kersten
March 12, 2013

As readers are surely aware, it hasn't been a good week for the International Criminal Court (ICC).

First, ICC indictee Uhuru Kenyatta won the Kenyan Presidential election while his running-mate and fellow indictee, William Ruto, is set to become Kenya's next Vice President. But if the election of Kenyatta and Ruto weren't enough, numerous commentators have now pointed to the possibility that the ICC contributed to their victory. For example, the widely respected scholar Mahmood Mamdani observes that:

"The ICC is the single factor with the most influence on this election. The ICC process has polarised politics in Kenya because the electoral process did not unfold on a level playing field. Led by individuals who stand charged before the ICC, one side in the electoral contest is, and so it can not contemplate defeat. The simple fact is that, if defeated, they would lose all."

Writing in the New York Times, Michela Wrong came to a similar conclusion:

"Prosecutions are pending at the I.C.C. against the presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto for their alleged roles in a program of ethnic cleansing that traumatized Kenya's Rift Valley after the 2007 elections. Yet those cases gave the two men's Jubilee alliance a priceless fillip in last week's general election."

As observers recoiled from the reality that Kenya, a regional economic and diplomatic powerhouse, is set to join Sudan in having an ICC indictee as a sitting Head of State, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that she was dropping the charges against Francis Muthaura. A former civil servant, Muthaura was allied with Kenyatta and was indicted for his role in planning the 2007-08 post-election violence in Kenya. Kenyatta's lawyers predictably responded to the charges against Muthaura being dropped by arguing that the charges against Kenyatta should likewise be discarded. For her part, Bensouda made clear that "this decision applies only to Mr Muthaura. It does not apply to any other case."

At the same time, the international community hasn't been particularly eager to lend its support to the ICC. On the contrary, it has failed to demand that Kenya cooperate with the ICC (which is at least part of the reason why the charges against Muthaura had to be dropped) or respond concretely to the reality that an ICC indictee will lead Kenya for the foreseeable future. In a thought-provoking post on the subject, David Bosco considers the likelihood of key ICC allies backing up the Court in the wake of Kenyatta's victory:

The United States and some European states have warned that there would be "consequences" for the bilateral relationship if Kenyatta prevails. Those vague words suggest that the West might sever relations with a Kenyatta-led government, reduce aid, or curtail security cooperation. But if the ICC's first decade has demonstrated anything, it is that powerful states - even those most supportive of the court - will rarely elevate international justice above their other interests. The most damaging result of having an ICC indictee elected president might be how little the world will care.

All in all, it was as rough a week as any in the ICC's history. But there was one bright spot: the performance of ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

It must have been incredibly difficult for Bensouda to admit that she could not proceed with her case against Muthaura, especially in the context of Kenyatta's electoral victory. But her decision, and its timing, speaks volumes about her professionalism and character.

Importantly, this was a case that Bensouda inherited when she became Prosecutor. But she didn't throw anyone under the bus. Instead, she took the high road and took responsibility over the case's shortcomings and failures while pointing to the reality that the Kenyan government had been uncooperative in aiding the ICC's investigations.

At the same time, the decision to drop the charges also bolsters the credibility of Bensouda's claims that she puts the law above politics. A political analysis would surely have discouraged any announcement that the charges against Muthaura were to be dropped - at least in the wake of Kenyatta's victory. However, as Bensouda stated, "While we are all aware of political developments in Kenya, these have no influence, at all, on the decisions that I make." There are few things more brave and courageous than admitting when you're wrong. But that is exactly what Fatou Bensouda did - and she did so in the most difficult of circumstances. For that, she deserves our respect and praise.

Canada Threatens to Undermine the ICC?
Justice in Conflict
By Mark Kersten
March 13, 2013

Too often in the past few years, when the Canadian government has come up in human rights related news, it has been for all the wrong reasons. This was the case once again when, last week, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird was asked about what how Canada would respond if Palestine were to request the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate alleged crimes committed during the conflict between . Baird declared the following:

"We were very clear from the outset that further actions, like we've seen at UNESCO, like we've seen at the United Nations, particularly at the International Criminal Court will be ones which will not go unnoticed and will have certainly consequences in the conduct of our relations with the Palestinian Authority...We hope that they will honour the commitments that they made that they would not do that."

In short, the Canadian government has deemed that Palestine must be punished with unspecified "consequences" for its acceptance into UNESCO, its recognition as a state by the UN General Assembly and, now, for its interest in referring itself to the ICC.

It's one thing if the Canadian government wants to play a constructive role in establishing a lasting and durable peace between Israel and Palestine and genuinely believes that getting the ICC involved would hamper rather than help the Middle East peace process. Indeed, the utility of Palestine going to the ICC is debatable.

Baird's statement, however, is yet another example of the current Conservative government's blunt ideological approach to international affairs getting in the way of reasonable and responsible policy-making in the international arena. This has - and will - come at a significant political cost. Any leverage the government may have had in pushing Palestine and Israel towards peace has been further squandered. It didn't have to go down like this. Canada had previously played a constructive role as a mediating middle-power. As one observer wrote in the wake of Canada's threats against Palestine when it sought recognition of statehood at the General Assembly:

It wasn't always this way. Canada traditionally played a much more even-handed role in the conflict, realizing the need to support both Israel's security and Palestinian aspirations for statehood. But over the last decade Canadian policy on the Middle East conflict has become increasingly one-sided in its affinity for Israel.

For its part, Palestine has been left stunned by the Canadian government harsh response. In response to Baird's threats, Palestine's chief negotiator Saeb Erekat stated: "We do not know why Canada is showing all this hostility against us."

But it is another thing altogether to threaten unspecified - but clearly coercive and punitive - "consequences" because an international judicial institution might be requested to investigate alleged crimes against humanity under its jurisdiction. In this context, Baird's comments aren't just a threat to Palestine, they are a threat to the ICC. In effect, Baird is suggesting that the Canadian government will undermine international justice if the ICC investigate Israel or Palestine.

Sadly, it comes as little surprise that the current Canadian government would act so brazenly against the interests of international justice. I have previously written on the widespread concerns over the Canadian government's recent record in terms of its commitment to human rights and international obligations. In one case, that of the Afghan detainee transfer scandal, prominent international legal scholars, including William Schabas and Michael Byers, have even suggested that the ICC investigate alleged war crimes committed by Canadian forces. More recently, as David Petrasek points out in an excellent article on the subject, the Canadian government refused to support a Swiss-led initiative to have the Security Council refer the situation in Syria to the ICC - and has yet to explain its reasoning. The government's record is in sharp contrast to the reputation the country built as a state which was leader in matters of human rights protection, atrocity prevention and the international rule of law.

In short, the Canadian government hasn't just lost influence in Middle East Peace process. By conflating its staunchly and unrelentingly "pro-Israeli" approach with the need to do all that it can to ensure that Palestine does not seek recourse to the ICC, the Canadian government also risks undermining the Court and international criminal justice more broadly. Baird's approach thus poses a rather uncomfortable question: has Canada lost faith in the ICC as an institution?

Some Observations on the Turkel Report and the Investigation of Wrongdoing by the Armed Forces
EJIL: Talk!
By Alon Margalit
March 13, 2013

The long awaited Turkel report which examines Israel's practice of investigating allegations of wrongdoing during armed conflict by its security personnel was published in early February 2013. The report was issued by an expert Commission established by the Israeli government in June 2010 and headed by Jacob Turkel, a former judge of the Israeli Supreme Court. The Turkel Commission produced an earlier report in January 2011 which dealt with legal aspects of the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip and the interception of the Gaza-bound flotilla in May 2010. The second and final report of the Commission considers whether the mechanisms employed by Israel to investigate complaints regarding violations of the Laws of Armed Conflict (LOAC) attributed to members of its armed forces conform with the state's obligations under international law.

To a large extent, the Turkel report is a response to the report of the UN Human Rights Council Fact-Finding Mission (the Goldstone Report) that was published in September 2009 and looked into alleged violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law during the December 2008-January 2009 Gaza Conflict (codenamed by Israel as 'Operation Cast Lead'). The Goldstone Report, which was later endorsed by the UN General Assembly, found "major structural flaws" in the Israeli military justice system responsible for handling complaints of serious wrongdoing by Israeli soldiers, and further concluded that Israel's investigation policies do not meet the required international standards. The main concerns were the use of internal military investigations by the chain of command to examine complaints, as well as the dual role of the Israeli Military Advocate General (MAG). The Fact-finding Mission was troubled that the MAG's responsibility to provide legal advice to the military authorities creates a potential conflict of interest with the parallel responsibility to order the investigation and prosecution of unlawful actions which at times might be based on the MAG'S own legal advice.

Those issues were addressed by the Turkel Commission. Four Israeli members and two non-Israeli observers prepared the report for two years. They examined evidence provided by Israeli officials, academics and human rights NGOs, and further consulted several international law experts. The comprehensive report which analyses the duty to investigate under LOAC and the relevant Israeli practice includes a significant comparative element. To use the Commission's own words, the report stands out in the sense that "is the result of considerable efforts to derive the main principles of international law from sources that are often vague and unclear". It is therefore a valuable document which might have a meaningful impact beyond the concrete Israeli context.

In accordance with its terms of reference, the report concludes that the Israeli practice of investigating alleged wrongdoing during armed conflict generally complies with the requirements of international law. It however recommends to introduce a number of changes in the Israeli system, namely, institutional ones. For example, in order to strengthen the independence of the Israeli MAG who decides in what circumstances a criminal investigation shall be opened and a prosecution is to be held, the report suggested several amendments to the MAG's appointment procedures. It was further proposed to strengthen the status and independence of the Chief Military Prosecutor vis-à-vis the MAG to mitigate any appearance of partiality due to the MAG's dual role as the legal advisor to the military authorities and the head of the military prosecution system. The report also advised to set a time-frame for a decision to be made regarding the opening of an investigation and the initiation of disciplinary or criminal proceedings against suspected soldiers. The civilian oversight of military investigations was also considered. The Commission highlighted the need to formalise a procedure that will enable complainants to challenge decisions taken by the MAG in front of the Israeli Attorney General, as well as to establish a new a unit in the Ministry of Justice that will specialise in LOAC.

The Turkel report dealt with the investigation of LOAC violations as a whole, however the focus was the investigation of fatalities that have occurred during armed conflict. The main difficulty encountered by the Commission was the need to determine in what circumstances a duty to investigate arises. Clearly, under LOAC, not every death during armed conflict indicates a legal breach as deaths of combatants and civilians who take a direct part in hostilities, as well as civilian deaths which fall within proportionate collateral damage, are lawful. Civilian casualties that are the result of erroneous attacks normally do not trigger criminal responsibility as well. The report clarified that the duty to open a criminal investigation arises when there is a reasonable suspicion or acredible accusation that a war crime, including a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions, has been committed. Such an investigation is subject to the principles of independence, impartiality, effectiveness, thoroughness and promptness. It can be carried out by a military body according to these principles and as long as it is separate from the chain of command. Although there is no requirement for a transparent investigation under LOAC, as it may involve sensitive matters of national security, the Commission found that complying with this principle is 'desirable' and it seemed to focus on victims' right to receive information on criminal proceedings when they are held against soldiers, and on the accurate and full documentation of investigative actions and decisions taken in a specific case. More generally, the Commission stated that the scope of these principles and the manner they will be implemented are determined according to the circumstances of an armed conflict, and thus it probably referred to the practical constraints that hostilities entail and may adversely affect the quality of an investigation once opened.

Other LOAC violations - those which do not reach the threshold of a war crime - need only to be 'examined'; in other words, there is no requirement for a criminal investigation. This is also the case when a complaint is not sufficiently credible, or that the information received is only partial or circumstantial. In these cases, a fact-finding assessment should be conducted in order to clarify whether there is a need to investigate. The Commission added that this type of assessment also applies to exceptional or unexpected events, such as civilian casualties that were not anticipated when the attack was planned, and which do not give rise to a reasonable suspicion of a war crime.

In light of the Commission's analysis, it is noteworthy that the lack of foresight of civilian loss in a certain attack indeed negates the mental element which is an integral part of criminal responsibility, and thus a criminal investigation is not required in those incidents under international law. Similarly, there is no duty to criminally investigate an erroneous attack where, for instance, civilians were hurt after they were mistakenly identified as combatants. It is also important to notice that in certain attacks that were directed at a military objective, the collateral damage may be expected in advance, pass the proportionality test given the anticipated military advantage, and could not have been avoided despite all feasible precautions taken. In these instances, even a retroactive factual assessment - which does not amount to a criminal investigation - is not a legal obligation.

Two additional recommendations in the Turkel report with respect to command investigations and to classification issues deserve close attention. Perhaps the most far-reaching recommendation concerns the Israeli practice of using command investigations as an initial fact-finding procedure which helps to determine whether a specific incident justifies the opening of a criminal investigation. The Commission concluded that the fact-finding assessment mentioned earlier cannot be carried out by commanders due to the risk of harming a future criminal investigation. It further advised that this initial procedure will be conducted promptly by a special team which "shall be comprised of experts in the theatre of military operations, international law, and investigations". Yet, it is unclear how this arrangement differs, on a substantive level, from sending professional investigators of the military police or its equivalent to do the job notwithstanding there is no prima facie criminal wrongdoing.

Further, this recommendation seems to have a questionable ground in light of the comparative survey in the report that examined the investigation practice and mechanisms in a number of western democratic states. The Commission in fact found that in the absence of suspected criminality, the common practice is that such an initial fact-finding procedure is carried out by the chain of command.

It is in evidence that in subjecting the Israeli system to a higher standard, the Commission gave weight to the fact that Israel is an occupying power in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and to the special context of active hostilities which are taking place in occupied territory. Similar to the approach taken by the Israeli Supreme Court in the Targeted Killings case discussing Israel's operations in the oPt, and by the European Court of Human Rights in Al-Skeini discussing the UK operations in occupied South East Iraq, the Commission took into account that the belligerent state, while bound by LOAC rules when involved in hostilities, also bears obligations vis-à-vis the local population under the law of occupation and human rights law. This may not only affect the rules regulating the use of force but also those norms which are relevant to investigations, thus demanding a higher standard of professionalism and independence when looking into deaths of protected persons caused by the Occupant's security forces.

In contrast, it seems that in the absence of effective control during an international armed conflict, there is a more restricted duty to investigate casualties caused by non-criminal behaviour (under LOAC) given the quite limited scope of human rights law-based obligations of a belligerent state vis-à-vis enemy nationals. Similarly, one might wonder whether sending a special team of experts to perform an initial factual assessment in various incidents is practicable when hostilities in occupied territory reach a high-intensity threshold, namely when the number of fatalities had risen and when the responsible state does not able to maintain a stable effective control in the territory. It seems that the recommendation of a fact-finding procedure by an expert team in each and every case would be impossible to meet, and that in these circumstances, the prompt report and initial fact-finding will remain the responsibility of on-site commanders. Finally - and significantly - this recommendation appears to be inconsistent with the Israeli Supreme Court ruling in the B'tselem case (2011) where the Court upheld the existing investigation policy and stated that in the absence of suspicion of criminal wrongdoing, command investigations are the appropriate mechanism to examine civilian casualties during armed conflict. It would be interesting to see whether the Israeli government will adopt this recommendation, and in case it will, to what extent it will be followed in practice during operations.

Another recommendation that merits critical comment relates to classification, meaning the determination of the applicable normative framework and its implication on the duty to investigate. The Turkel Commission noted, correctly, that on many occasions "the question of the criminality of an act depends upon the legal regime that governs the specific activity during armed conflict, and especially whether an operation is governed by the law regulating the conduct of hostilities (e.g., combat operations), or law-enforcement norms (e.g., policing operations)". It further clarified that when a serious injury or death is caused to an individual in the context of law-enforcement activities, there is a duty to investigate (usually through a criminal investigation), and that in occupied territory, and especially in a prolonged occupation, "the default position is that the norms regulating the use of force are those of law-enforcement". In accordance with these important statements, the Commission recommended that initial reports on fatalities should be classified according to the legal framework of each incident, namely whether the incident occurred during combat operations or whether it is subject to a law-enforcement regime.

Nonetheless, whilst in relation to Israel's use of command investigations the Commission made a bold statement, the discussion of classification issues is lacking as important information that was presented to the Commission on this matter was not properly dealt with in the final report. During the hearings, the Israeli MAG testified that since 2010 the main activity of the security forces in the West Bank is law-enforcement-related, while the classification in relation to the Gaza Strip remains as one of an armed conflict. Israel's official position with respect to investigations is that between September 2000, when violence broke out in the oPt, and April 2011, when this position was updated, the entire oPt was under an armed conflict paradigm and Israeli operations - as well as its investigation policies - were governed by LOAC. This broad classification was effectively affirmed in 2011 by the Israeli Court in the B'tselem case.

It is not contested that high-intensity hostilities were taking place in the oPt in some stages during this long period and were indeed governed by LOAC. However during other stages it is doubtful whether the level of violence reached the intensity threshold to justify the application of LOAC norms. In fact, this question already arose at the early stage of the Second Intifada when a Fact-finding Committee which was established by Israelis and Palestinians to examine the events and how to prevent their recurrence noted that the classification of the confrontations as an armed conflict is too broad and "does not adequately describe the variety of incidents reported since late September 2000". The Committee was concerned that this classification had enabled Israel to refrain from investigating complaints regarding deaths that have occurred in what seemed as law-enforcement situations.

In a similar manner, a substantial effort was made, especially by human rights NGOs, to persuade the Turkel Commission that the level of violence in the West Bank had decreased dramatically in recent years, that LOAC was no longer applicable there, and that the fatalities caused by Israeli personnel must have led to the opening of criminal investigations. Unfortunately, these relevant and serious arguments - about how the law is being implemented in practice - were not addressed in the Turkel report.

Yep, Libya Is Stalling Concerning the Documents It Seized from the OPCD
Opinio Juris
By Kevin Jon Heller
March 15, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, I noted that the Pre-Trial Chamber had ordered Libya to return the documents it wrongfully seized from Melinda Taylor during her privileged meeting with Saif Gaddafi. I also predicted that Libya would try to avoid complying with the order by filing various motions challenging the Pre-Trial Chamber's decision.

Guess what? Libya has filed two motions in response, one asking for leave to appeal and the other asking the Pre-Trial Chamber to reconsider its decision. The arguments are the same in both motions, and the reconsideration motion doesn't even cite any legal basis - in the Rome Statute, in the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, or in ICC jurisprudence - for being able to request the Pre-Trial Chamber to reconsider its decision. The leave for appeal motion at least points to Art. 82(1)(d) of the Rome Statute - but as the OPCD points out in its response, that provision permits only the Prosecution and Defence ("Either Party") to seek interlocutory review of a Pre-Trial Chamber decision.

Moreover, even if the Pre-Trial Chamber erroneously allows Libya to invoke Art. 82(1)(d), that provision only permits interlocutory review of "[a] decision that involves an issue that would significantly affect the fair and expeditious conduct of the proceedings or the outcome of the trial." Whether the documents were wrongly seized has nothing to do with the fairness or expeditiousness of Libya's admissibility challenge; they are relevant only to Libya's prosecution of Saif in Zintan for allegedly violating national security and trying to escape custody, charges that - as Libya itself has admitted in the past - do not involve the "same conduct" that is at issue in the ICC proceedings. The OPCD makes the point well in its response:

68. When stripped of its indignation and rhetoric, it is quite clear that the current Request actually bears no relation to the Impugned Decision, but is simply a last ditch stalling tactic by the Govemment in order to obtain more time for its admissibility challenge. However, in light of the fact that the Impugned Decision only concems the discrete question as to the Government's obligation to retum these documents and destroy any copies, even if the Appeals Chamber were to grant suspensive effect of the Impugned Decision, this would have absolutely no impact on the pending admissibility proceedings. Appellate review would therefore fail to advance admissibility proceedings, which are already at a very advanced stage.

Once again, let me express my hope that the Pre-Trial Chamber will resolve Libya's admissibility challenge sooner rather than later. Each time it permits Libya to engage in these kind of stall tactics, the ICC loses a bit more credibility.

Broadcast of Mekong Pirate's Execution May Have Violated Chinese Law
Communis Hostis Omnium
By Roger L. Phillips
March 18, 2013

You likely have heard about the execution of Naw Kham, the Mekong Pirate found guilty of killing 13 Chinese in the Golden Triangle. See our prior coverage here. The moments leading up to the execution were televised live in China, although the execution itself was not. Siweiluozi's Blog points out this violates the spirit if not the letter of Chinese law meant to curb such public executions.

This prohibition was subsequently written into China's Criminal Procedure Law, and the relevant Supreme People's Court interpretation on implementation of the death penalty also prohibits "other acts that degrade the personality of criminals".

Siweiluozi's Blog also points to a commentary in the Changjiang Daily, the official "organ" of the party in Wuhan, providing the following critique:

Perhaps it is not illegal in China to broadcast live as the condemned are transferred to the execution ground, but I still oppose broadcasting live. Before, China used to have so-called public sentencing rallies and parade bound criminals in the streets for public viewing. Now, live broadcast of the transfer is no different in any real sense and is even more repulsive. Why? It is because the live broadcast voluntarily and consciously revived these kinds of backward, barbaric scenes lacking in any modern notion of rights or rule of law. The live broadcast even delivered these scenes right in front of your eyes, so that you didn't even need to go out of doors or be in the streets: you could see the barbarity and backwardness from your own home. You could say, in other words, that this live broadcast was itself barbaric and backwards, displaying no progress at all.

International Justice and Diplomacy
The New York Times
By Fatou Bensouda
March 20, 2013

Since the International Criminal Court became operational in 2002, we have witnessed an unprecedented integration between peace and security and international justice.

The I.C.C. Office of the Prosecutor is investigating and prosecuting cases in eight situations - Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Darfur, Kenya, Libya, Ivory Coast and Mali. The Office has also made a substantial contribution to international peace and security by proactively collecting information and monitoring situations under preliminary examination, including those in Guinea, Georgia, Colombia, Honduras, Korea, Nigeria and Afghanistan.

Yet despite this, we consistently hear voices questioning whether perpetrators of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide should always be prosecuted. This question has long been asked: Peace or justice? Shall we strive for peace at all costs, sacrificing justice on the way, or shall we soldier on in the pursuit for justice to end impunity?

Past negotiations have done just that: sacrificed justice for peace. Yet history has taught us that the peace achieved by ignoring justice has mostly been short-lived, and the cycle of violence has continued unabated.

As the I.C.C. is an independent and judicial institution, it cannot take into consideration the interests of peace, which is the mandate of other institutions, such as the United Nations Security Council.

However, justice can have a positive impact on peace and security: this is what the U.N. secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, calls the "shadow of the Court" - its preventative role, and its capacity to diffuse potentially tense situations that could lead to violence by setting a clear line of accountability. History will judge how the shadow of the I.C.C. may have contributed to peaceful elections in Kenya.

Other voices say the I.C.C. is an obstacle to peace. This is narrow and short-sighted. On the contrary, if anything, the "shadow of the Court" has helped to isolate individuals wanted by the I.C.C., or to kick-start negotiations.

In the case of the Lord's Resistance Army (L.R.A.) in Uganda, for example, I.C.C. arrest warrants against Joseph Kony and his top commanders are widely acknowledged to have played an important role in bringing the rebels to the negotiating table in the Juba Peace Process. This despite the threat by the L.R.A. to withdraw from the peace talks if arrest warrants remained in force.

Blackmail or "golden exiles" are no longer the ways to achieve sustainable peace. If the international community is to work toward long-lasting peace, critics must question why peace had proven elusive in a country such as Uganda long before these warrants were issued.

The role of the I.C.C. has never precluded or put an end to any peace process. While we should not presume that warlords are rational actors, and that every situation will be the same, the Court's impact on peace until now has been noted, and has proved to be a spur to action.

If we have learned anything from history, it is that accountability and the rule of law have been recognized as fundamental preconditions to provide the framework to protect individuals and nations from massive atrocities, to promote peace and international security, and to manage conflicts. Not only was prosecuting crimes seen as satisfying conceptions of fundamental justice, but also as a means to prevent their perpetration.

The debate about peace versus justice or peace over justice is a patently false choice. Peace and justice are two sides of the same coin. The road to peace should be seen as running via justice, and thus peace and justice can be pursued simultaneously.

The pursuit of justice, whether it be through national or international prosecutions, and the pursuit of peace, whether it be through truth and peace negotiations, can, and must, work together. They should not be seen as oppositional, not alternatives, but complementary.

All actors involved in situations where mass crimes have taken or are taking place - whether they are judicial institutions, mediators, peace negotiators, political leaders, civil society - have a crucial role to play, refining their strategies, adjusting to the legal limits, and coordinating their efforts to ensure a comprehensive and long-lasting peace.

My Office will continue to work hard to ensure justice for the victims and accountability for the perpetrators, and to contribute to the prevention of future crimes.

Barrier to Justice: Could Rwanda Prevent Ntaganda from Reaching The Hague?
Justice in Conflict
By Mark Kersten
March 20, 2013

Troubling signs have emerged that the transfer of Bosco Ntaganda to the International Criminal Court (ICC) may be "inhibited" by the Rwandan government. On Monday, Ntaganda stunned the world when he surrendered himself to the ICC via the US Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda.

The US government, which has stated that it is keen to transfer Ntaganda to the ICC as quickly as possible, is concerned that Rwanda will frustrate its efforts. According to Melanie Gouby and Mike Corder,

The United States government appears to be worried that Rwanda won't allow a warlord from Congo now camped out in the U.S. Embassy safe passage to the airport to be flown to the International Criminal Court for prosecution.

The U.S. hopes Rwanda will help facilitate the transfer of Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda from the U.S. Embassy in Kigali to the airport for a flight to the ICC in the Netherlands, the top U.S. State Department official on Africa, Johnnie Carson, said Wednesday.

"We hope that the Rwandan government will do its part," Carson said in a telephone press conference from Washington. "It is a small but significant part to ensure that Bosco Ntaganda is able to move freely from the American embassy compound to the airport where he will board a plane and go to The Hague."

Carson said it's important that Ntaganda's movement from the embassy to the airport "in no way be inhibited."

Carson also indicated that Rwanda hasn't yet assured cooperation with ICC officials en route to Rwanda. He noted that Rwanda, like the United States, is not a signatory to the Rome Statue that created the ICC and is not bound by international obligations to hand Ntaganda to the ICC.

The possibility of Rwanda seeking to undermine Ntaganda's transfer shouldn't come as a surprise. For the moment at least, Ntaganda's surrender means that everyone comes out a winner - except for the Rwandan government.

The American decision to help Ntaganda get to the ICC is a public and international relations victory for the country; in this case at least, the US appears firmly on the side of international justice. As far as the ICC is concerned, it will now have custody over a long sought-after rebel and can celebrate a very significant act of cooperation with the US. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is now rid of a potential obstacle which may help it progress in its fragile peace process with rebels in the country's Eastern provinces, including the M23. As far as Ntaganda is concerned, it is increasingly clear that his personal and physical safety was in jeopardy prior to his surrender. US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland stated yesterday that Ntaganda has sought "sanctuary" at the ICC. The former rebel is likely relieved to be in the protective custody of the US Embassy. Most importantly, communities in the Eastern DRC no longer have to fear "The Terminator". As one resident of Goma, where Ntaganda had hidden in plain sight for years,put it: "The war in Congo concerns every tribe; it doesn't matter if you are Lendu, Hema, Tutsi or Hutu. Everyone is happy he has surrendered."

As I argued in my post yesterday, however, Rwanda is in a precarious situation. The government of Paul Kagame supported and supplied Ntaganda and the M23. The government is surely anything but keen to see its relationship to rebels in the Eastern DRC further examined and exposed in The Hague.

At the same time, it would be misguided for Rwanda to directly prevent Ntaganda's transfer to The Hague. Nothing would so obviously betray their relationship to him. As I argued yesterday, Rwanda was (and would be) wise to take a hands-off approach towards Ntaganda's transfer in order not to appear to be actively interested in his predicament and thus undermine their case that they have nothing to do with him. However, Rwanda may seek to inhibit Ntaganda's transfer indirectly. Precisely what that would mean is unclear at the moment. But what we do know is that the potential for Rwanda to scuttle US efforts to transfer Ntaganda's transfer is real and the Americans are sufficiently concerned to come out and say so publicly.

When, how and, indeed, if Ntaganda actually gets to the ICC remains to be seen. But only when he finally arrives in The Hague will this saga end. When he does, of course, a new saga will begin.

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Jurisdiction over Israeli Settlement Activity in the International Criminal Court
Northwestern University School of Law, Law and Economics Research Paper Series No. 13-10
By Eugene Kontorovich
March 10, 2013

In the wake of the U.N. General Assembly's recent recognition of Palestinian statehood, the Palestinian government has made clear its intention to accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC), where it could challenge the legality of Israeli settlements. This Article explores the previously unexamined jurisdictional hurdles for such a case. (To focus on the jurisdictional issues, the Article assumes for the sake of argument the validity on the merits of the legal claims against the settlements.)

First, the ICC can only consider situations "on the territory" of Palestine. Yet the scope of that territory is undefined. An "occupation" can arise even in an area that is not the territory of any state - but ICC jurisdiction does not extend there. Thus even if Israel is an occupying power throughout the West Bank for the purposes of substantive humanitarian law, this does not establish that settlement activity occurs "on the territory" of Palestine. Moreover, the ICC lacks the power to determine the boundaries of states, and certainly of non-member states. Moreover, the Oslo Accords give Israel exclusive criminal jurisdiction over Israelis in the West Bank. Palestine cannot delegate to the ICC territorial jurisdiction that it does not possess.

Second, the ICC only takes situations of particular "gravity." Yet settlements are not a "grave breach" of the Geneva Conventions. No international criminal tribunal has ever prosecuted non-grave breaches. The ICC's gravity measure involves the number of people killed; for settlements it would be zero. Indeed, the ICC prosecutor triages situations by the numbers of victims; settlements do not appear to have direct individual victims. Finally, the ICC would at most only have jurisdiction over settlement activity from the date of Palestine's acceptance of jurisdiction. Settlement activity in this time frame would not immediately cross the Court's gravity threshold.

The impact of these issues goes beyond a possible settlements case. The controversy over a referral of Israel, a non-member state, raises important questions about the meaning of the ICC Statute. These have great importance for other non-member states, such as the United States. They also demonstrate the extent to which major aspects of the ICC Statute remain vague and undefined.

Applying International Fair Trial Standards to the Military Commissions of Guantanamo
Southern Illinois University Law Journal, Forthcoming
By David Jason Rankin Frakt
March 10, 2013

The Military Commissions Act was significantly revised in 2009. Even the most fervent critics of military commissions agree that the 2009 MCA is dramatically improved from earlier iterations. Yet despite the undeniable improvements, questions remain as to whether the military commissions as currently constituted comply with international law. Some critics have asserted that military commissions are still not "regularly constituted courts" and therefore are not in compliance with Geneva Convention. Common Article 3. Others have opined more generally that the military commissions do not meet international fair trial standards. On the other hand, Brigadier General Mark Martins, the current Chief Prosecutor of the military commissions, has argued that the military commissions do meet or exceed applicable fair trial standards under international humanitarian law.

In this article, I address the question of whether military commissions under the MCA of 2009 meet applicable international rule of law and fair trial standards as Brig Gen Martins asserts. In answering the question, I use a two-pronged analysis. First, I attempt to determine what international laws apply to military commissions conducted by the U.S. at Guantanamo. Then, I identify the specific fair trial requirements of these laws and analyze whether the rules and procedures, both in theory and in practice, comply with these standards.

I conclude that while military commissions arguably now comply with international humanitarian law, they still fall short, at least on paper, of meeting the more robust fair trials standards found in international human rights law. While current military commissions rules and procedures are in substantial compliance with these standards, significant concerns remain about the potential for the admissibility of evidence obtained by coercive means, the retroactive prosecution of non-war crimes in what is ostensibly a war crimes tribunal, and the openness of the process.

The Individualization of War: From Collectivism to Individualism in the Regulation of Armed Conflicts
Law and War, Sarat, Douglas, Umphrey eds., Stanford University Press, 2013
By Gabriella Blum
March 11, 2013

In a celebrated humanitarian move, wartime regulation has evolved from a predominantly state-oriented set of obligations - which viewed war as an inter-collective effort - to a more individual-focused regime. In fact, the regulation of armed conflict increasingly resembles, at least in aspiration, the regulation of police activities, in which it is the welfare of individuals, rather than the collective interest of the state, that takes center stage

I demonstrate that many contemporary debates over the laws of war, including the distinction between the jus ad bellum and jus in bello, proportionality, detention of combatants, and reparations for victims implicate exactly the tension between collectivism and individualism in the regulation of armed conflict.

I further argue that notwithstanding the humanitarian benefits of the move to greater concern over the human rights of those affected by war, reimagining war as a policing operation harbors real dangers that must not be overlooked. These include imagining more of policing as war, inhibiting military action for the protection of others, and inviting more aggressive acts "short of war" against targets around the world.

Knowing Women: Translating Patriarchy in International Criminal Law
Social & Legal Studies, Forthcoming
By Doris Buss
March 11, 2013

This article considers how international criminal courts produce knowledge about women's experiences of large-scale violence.

In 2001, the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia concluded that the crime of genocide had been committed in Srebrenica in 1995, and that the patriarchal nature of the Bosnian Muslim community was key to the genocide. This paper examines the processes by which the trial and appeal chambers came to know, and author an account of this community as patriarchal. I examine the transcripts of three witnesses who testified about the surviving community of Bosnian Muslim women, tracing how evidence was shaped and reshaped in the courtroom and then in the trial and appeal judgments. I argue here for the importance of exploring the mediating practices and actors that produce legal knowledge, to better understand how complex recognition of gendered harm unfolds, and is sometimes curtailed, through international criminal adjudication.

The 9/11 Military Commission Motion Hearings: An Ordinary Citizen Looks at Comparative Legitimacy
Southern Illinois University Law Review, Forthcoming
By Benjamin Davis
March 15, 2013

Under the Military Commission Act of 2009, since May 2012 the 9/11 Military Commission has been proceeding at Guantanamo Bay.

As an ordinary citizen observer in October 2012 at a remote feed in Fort Meade, Maryland and in late January 2013 at Guantanamo Bay, the author has followed the 9/11 military commission motion hearings. Numerous dualities became readily apparent: such as, Guantanamo Bay as tropical paradise and an unseen tropical detention hell; the impact of unseen detention and interrogation "offscreen" on the courtroom process "onscreen;" the virtual presence of offscreen classification authorities in the courtroom and the judge's control; the flexible law space of a military commission act built to stand alone and its amenability to diverse interpretations with other federal law and practice (Article III courts and courts-martial); the operability/inoperability and applicability/inapplicability of the Constitution; the defendants and the families of 2976 victims; military honor and duty and the intelligence community; legitimate and illegitimate government secrets and the citizen's right to the truth; the domestic observer and the international observer; a domestic law vision and an international law vision. All of these dualities (and others that become apparent as one processes the experience) flow together to make Guantanamo Bay more than a place but an idea. After grappling with the legitimacy of the Guantanamo Bay idea, the author suggests one ordinary citizen's view of what should be our next choices on adjudication, torture, indefinite detention, and accountability.

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War Crimes Prosecution Watch Staff

Professor Michael P. Scharf

and Brianne M. Draffin

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Jessica Feil

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International Criminal Court

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Special Court for Sierra Leone
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Thomas Puckett, Senior Editor
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