(For news updates older than two weeks, please visit our news archive.)
17 November 2017: Luisa Ortega, ex-Prosecutor General of Venezuela, turned over more than 1,000 pieces of evidence to the International Criminal Court, calling upon the Court to open an investigation into President Nicolas Maduro and four other senior officials for alleged crimes against humanity. In 2006, the OTP had declined to open an investigation but added that the decision could be reconsidered in light of new evidence.
16 November 2017: New report by Human Rights Watch found that since 25 August 2017, Myanmar security forces have committed widespread rape and sexual violence against women and girls as part of a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims in Burma’s Rakhine State. According to the NGO, these violations amount to crimes against humanity and should be investigated by the International Criminal Court.
16 November 2017: Interesting blogpost by Abel Knottnerus on the jurisprudence of the International Criminal Court regarding Omar al-Bashir’s immunity. The author is a PhD researcher at the University of Groningen working on ‘African Presidents and the International Criminal Court’.
15 November 2017: Guernica 37 IJC presented a dossier to the International Criminal Court seeking an investigation into the role of Khalifa Haftar, the leader of the Libyan National Army, in Libya’s ongoing power struggle. The group alleges that Haftar and his forces have committed crimes against humanity, including extensive destructions, torture and murder.
15 November 2017: The International Criminal Court and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture have concluded an agreement for the monitoring of conditions of detention of persons sentenced by the Court. President of the Committee, Mykola Gnatovskyy insisted on the importance for international tribunals to “live up to the high standards that they demand of States in upholding individual rights”.
14 November 2017: Dutch women Laura Hansen was convicted on Monday 13 November of preparing and supporting terrorist acts, and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment by the Court of Rotterdam. She had travelled with her husband and two children to Syria and Iraq in September 2015 to support her family while her husband fought for ISIL.
13 November 2017: New Amnesty International report alleges that forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad in Syria have committed international crimes through their “starve or surrender” strategy and sieges that have devastated areas controlled by the opposition. The report claims that the regime’s strategy of systematically preventing crucial food and medicine supplies from entering civilian areas while mounting bombing campaigns amounts to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
12 November 2017: Ugandan President and current chairman of the East African Community Yoweri Museveni has condemned the International Criminal Court’s decision to launch an investigation into the Burundi conflict. At the invitation of Uganda's government, Sudanese president al-Bashir is expected to visit the country this week, despite the ICC’s arrest warrant against him.
11 November 2017: The presiding judge of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) rejected the pleas of Ratko Mladic’s defence lawyers to postpone the 22 November 2017 judgment. The defence had contended that Mladic, 75, was no longer mentally and physically competent to appear in court.
10 November 2017: More than 50 Tamil men seeking asylum in Europe claim they were abducted, raped and tortured by government forces in Sri Lanka. The Associated Press conducted interviews with 20 men and reviewed 32 medical and psychological evaluations, alleging that they had been accused by a special police unit of trying to revive the Tamil Tigers.
10 November 2017: On 9 November 2017, the Pre-Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Court issued a public version of its decision authorizing the prosecutor to open an investigation regarding crimes allegedly committed in Burundi by the government and government-linked groups against political foes from 26 April 2015 to 26 October 2017. The Chamber considered that the prosecutor had presented enough evidence of crimes against humanity to merit a formal investigation, including murder, torture, rape and persecution.
09 November 2017: The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court told the UN Security Council on 08 November that the situation in Libya remains dire and promised to seek new arrest warrants if serious crimes continue to be committed. She also demanded the arrest and transfer of the suspects already subject to arrest warrants, including Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
08 November 2017: The Netherlands Public Prosecutor’s Office has demanded a life sentence for a 63 year-old man on 8 November 2017, for a series of war crimes including arbitrary detention, torture and killing of opponents of the 1970s revolutionary regime in Ethiopia. The Prosecutor’s Office concluded that the erstwhile Dergue-representative in Gojjam is responsible for an atrocious campaign against real and perceived members of the opposition.
08 November 2017: The UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2383 on 7 November 2017 urging the Somali authorities to continue the passing of anti-piracy and maritime laws, to establish security forces with clear roles and jurisdiction to enforce them, as well as to strengthen the capacity of its courts to investigate and prosecute those responsible for piracy. The Security Council also called upon member states to “adopt legislation to facilitate prosecution of suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia”.
07 November 2017: The ballistic missile strike by Houthi-Saleh forces in Yemen on Riyadh’s main international airport on 4 November 2017 is most likely a war crime, Human Rights Watch said today. As a response, the Saudi government has temporarily closed all Yemeni ports, stating that humanitarian aid could continue to enter the country under strict coalition vetting procedures. The NGO calls upon all parties to the conflict to respect the international legal obligation to facilitate humanitarian aid to civilians.
06 November 2017: Ex-Guantanamo detainee Djamel Ameziane is suing the Canadian government, raising further questions about Canada’s complicity in the abuse of detainees at the detention facility. Ameziane was held for more than 11 years until his release in December 2013. The claim alleges that the Canadian security services co-operated with their US counterpart by providing information and conducting interrogations in Guantanamo, despite the widespread allegations that US forces were torturing detainees.
05 November 2017: Agnes Callamard, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, and Arbitrary Executions, presented a report on 27 October to the UN General Assembly criticising the international community’s failure to protect the lives of migrants and investigate their deaths. Addressing killings by both State and non-State actors, she declared that the International Criminal Court “should consider preliminary investigation into atrocity crimes against refugees and migrants”.
New cases, briefs and videos
(For older announcements, please visit our announcements archive.)
NEW VIDEO: New video available online. On 7 June 2017, Dr. Kinga Tibori-Szabó and Megan Hirst provided a lecture at the Asser Institute in the context of the Supranational Criminal Law Lectures Series. The speakers shared their views on the issue of victims’ entitlement to procedural fairness guarantees in the context of international criminal proceedings before the International Criminal Court and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The video recording can be viewed here and a report on the event can be found here.
NEW CASE: The case analysis of R. c. Habib is now available online. On 19 June 2017, Canadian citizen Ismaël Habib was the first adult found guilty of attempting to leave Canada to participate in the activities of a terrorist group. Even though the accused conceded that he had the primary intent of leaving Canada, there was a dispute on his reasons for doing so. While Mr. Habib argued that he wished to join his first wife and children in Syria, the prosecution contended that the defendant’s intent was to join ISIS and participate in its terrorist activities.
NEW CASE: The case analysis of R v Blackman is now available online. On 15 September 2011 a badly wounded insurgent was killed in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, by Alexander Blackman, then an Acting Colour Sergeant of the Royal Marines. On the basis of apparent premeditation, Blackman was convicted of murder by the court martial. In this appeal, however, the court considered fresh evidence suggesting that Blackman was incapable of making rational judgements or exercising self-control as a result of adjustment disorder and several “exceptional stressors”.
CALL FOR PAPERS: In view of the ICTY closing its door at the end of this year and in an effort not to lose the valuable insights from its former employees, the ICD invites submissions of short articles for publication in the online paper series of the ICD, the ICD Briefs. The call for papers is reserved exclusively for current and former staff of the ICTY. The Briefs are ultimately between 5,000 and 7,500 words (excluding footnotes), relating to any area of international criminal law or jurisprudence. Please send your draft paper to email@example.com by 1 March 2018. Please also include a CV with your and indicate when you worked at the ICTY, in what role and in which section. Find out more about the selection process and guidelines for ICD Briefs here.
NEW VIDEOS: New videos available online. These include the only surviving Nurmeberg war crimes prosecutor, Benjamin Ferencz's lecture provided in the context of the Supranational Criminal Law Lecture Series co-organised by the International Humanitarian and Criminal Law Platform on his life dedicated to the pursuit of international criminal justice, and lectures from Guido Acquaviva and Dov Jacobs in the context of the Lebanon lecture series. The video recording of the lecture provided by Benjamin Ferencz can be viewed here and a report on the event can be found here. The video excerpts of Guido Acquaviva's lecture on war crimes can be found here. The video excerpt of Dov Jacobs's lecture on genocide can be found here.
NEW ICD BRIEF: Nadia Grant, who is a former intern at the T.M.C. Asser Institute and is currently working with Médecins Sans Frontières, has written a new ICD Brief entitled 'Duress as a Defence for Former Child Soldiers? Dominic Ongwen and the International Criminal Court'. You can read the Brief here.
NEW CASE: The analysis of the Dutch Supreme Court's judgment in the case of Omar H is now available online. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal against the Court of Appeal's judgment in the case of Omar H, a foreign fighter convicted of training for terrorism. In upholding the Court of Appeal's judgment, the Supreme Court decided that training for terrorism in this context would be interpreted broadly and could include self-study.
NEW CASE: The analysis of the Sentencing Remarks of Mr. Justice Holroyde in the case of R v Anjem Choudary and Mohammed Rahman is now available online. Mr. Choudary and Mr. Rahman were found guilty by a jury verdict of inviting support for the proscribed terrorist organisation, the Islamic State, by signing an oath of allegiance and publishing a series of lectures online. They were both sentenced to 5.5 years' imprisonment and will be subject to notification requirements for 15 years after their release.
NEW CASE: The analysis of the plea agreement in the case of United States of America v. Mufid A. Elfgeeh is now available online. Mr. Elfgeeh pleaded guilty in December 2015 to providing material support to a foreign terrorist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). As part of the guilty plea, Mr. Elfgeeh acknowledged he had encouraged support for ISIL via social media, he had been involved in trying to recruit foreign fighters, and he had provided financial assistance.
NEW CASE: The case analysis of United States of America v. Nader Elhuzayel and Muhanad Badawi is now available online. Both Mr. Elhuzayel and Mr. Badawi were convicted by a federal jury of conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist group, the Islamic State (IS). The defendants had used social media accounts to support IS, and Mr. Badawi had filmed Mr. Elhuzayel pledging allegiance to IS and promising to travel to Syria to fight. Mr. Elhuzayel was arrested prior to boarding a flight to Israel via Turkey. They were also found guilty of financial fraud charges, the proceeds of which had been used to fund the travel.
NEW ICD BRIEF: Laetitia Ruiz, who is currently a PhD candidate at the International Victimology Institute Tilburg (INTERVICT) at Tilburg University, has written a new ICD Brief entitled 'Gender Jurisprudence for Gender Crimes?'.