(For older news updates, please visit our news archive.)
13 November 2018: The US decided to stop refueling of Saudi-led coalition aircraft used in Yemen. There is a number of war crimes that allegedly took place during the conflict in Yemen. More than 10,000 people have been killed and over 2 million have been displaced. In addition, widespread famine prevails in the country.
12 November 2018: Myanmar and Bangladesh are about to repatriate thousands of the Rohingya people. The transfer is to take place despite of the UN's and the Rohingya's opposition. Recently, a UN fact-finding mission described the violent campaign against Rohingya as genocide.
9 November 2018: The courts and prosecution offices in Bosnia and Hercegovina made it harder for journalists to access information about, among all, war crimes trials. The law still states that trials are publicly accessible but since 2012 transparency has decreased following the Agency for the Protection of Personal Data's instruction that data concerning trials should not be published automatically.
8 November 2018: 202 mass graves with up to 12,000 corpses have been discovered so far in Iraq. The UN stated that they may serve as evidence of crimes committed by ISIS. The collection of evidence on genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity started in August 2018.
7 November 2018: A 94-year-old German appeared in a court for a trial regarding his alleged assistance in murdering hundreds of individuals at a Nazi concentration camp. He is tried in a youth court because he was under 21 when the alleged war crimes took place.
6 November 2018: France has issued arrest warrants for three top Syrian security chiefs for their alleged involvement in war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture, forced disappearances. Earlier this year, in June, Germany issued a similar arrest warrant for a Syrian airforce intelligence official. Prosecuting members of the Assad government is especially difficult as Syria has not signed the Rome Statute.
5 November 2018: Fatou Bensouda, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, stated in her last speech to the UN Security Council that her office keeps the position that Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi should be arrested. It is despite his call to declare the arrest warrant inadmissible.The international arrest warrant for the son of the Lybian dictator and a former de facto Prime Minister was issued in June 2011. He is charged with crimes against humanity.
2 November 2018: Yesterday the UN Human Rights Committee published its findings on Sudan. It noted with concern that Sudan failed to bring to justice 'Sudanese nationals and officials on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes' within its national system, or let the International Criminal Court prosecute these individuals.
1 November 2018: Germany, following an appeal, reopened a war crimes case against two suspected leaders of a rebel group, Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). Prosecuting lawyers stated that the two men should be given longer sentences. Before, they were sentenced to 13 and 8 years of imprisonment.
31 October 2018: Jack Smith, the chief prosecutor of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor's Office, visited Kosovo for the first time since taking his post. The court is investigating war crimes, which took place during the Kosovar independence war in the late 90s.
30 October 2018: A former officer in the Afghanistan army was charged with war crimes by German prosecutors. The man allegedly took part in abuse of prisoners. The suspect was arrested near Munich on October 25.
New cases, briefs and videos
(For older announcements, please visit our announcements archive.)
NEW CASES: The twelve summaries (available in the database) added are related to terrorism, attempted terrorism, and providing material support. Most of the cases are from the United States as well as England and Wales, and relate to (attemped) fighting in Syria and Iraq (foreign fighters). They give a good insight of common law approaches to prosecuting terrorism-related offences. An example of a new case analysis is United States of America v. Nader Elhuzayel and Muhanad Badawi. 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. In the preparation of the US cases for the ICD database, the Asser Institute received assistance from students enrolled in the International Justice Project of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law.
NEW BRIEFS: The new briefs (available here) are related to the work and legacy of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (‘ICTY’), that operated from 1993 - 2017. Among its accused were Slobodan Milošević, Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić. The tribunal was formally closed last year after 24 years of operation and after having issued 161 indictments. The authors of these Briefs have all worked for the ICTY.
Appeals on errors of fact
Rupert Elderkin’s ICD Brief concentrates on the ICTY’s appeals on errors of fact. It highlights the Appeals Chamber’s little deference to the trial chambers’ factual findings. By implicitly identifying the judges responsible for those judgements, the Appeals Chamber unnecessarily raised doubts about the judicial professionalism of the institution.
Role of defence in international criminal proceedings
In their Brief, Fiana Reinhardt and Lisa Feirabend examine the changing perception of the importance and role of the defence in international criminal proceedings. They emphasise the changing role of the defence before the ICTY, and how the lessons learnt there are reflected in the practice of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the International Criminal Court.
Jonas Nilsson elaborates upon the last case before the ICTY, the trial of Ratko Mladić. Nilsson analyses its pre-trial and trial proceedings and expands on its lessons learned that are of relevance to present and future courts and tribunals. Nilsson also provided a lecture on this topic in the context of the Supranational Criminal Law Lecture Series, which can be viewed here.
NEW VIDEOS: New videos available online. On 22 March 2018, David Schwendiman, former Specialist Prosecutor at the Kosovo Specialist Prosecutor’s Office, provided a lecture on his time at the Kosovo Specialist Prosecutor’s Office and the challenges ahead. On 31 January 2018, Jonas Nilsson, team leader of the Mladić case in Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, gave a lecture on ‘The Mladić Trial - An Insider's View’. Both lectures were given in the context of the Supranational Criminal Law (SCL) Lectures Series hosted by the T.M.C. Asser Instituut. The video recordings for both lectures can be viewed here. The report on the Mladić Trial lecture can be found here.
INTERNSHIP VACANCY: We are currently hiring for the International Criminal Law and Legal Aspects of Counter-Terrorismintern Internship position (French required). The intern will work on the International Crimes Database and capacity building projects on International Criminal law and Transnational Criminal Law. The internship will be based at the T.M.C. Asser Instituut in The Hague (Deadline: 3 April 2018).
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.