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News updates

(For news updates older than two weeks, please visit our news archive.)
  
15 September 2017: A Syrian asylum-seeker and former fighter with Damascus' government  forces has been charged with war crimes in Sweden on suspicion that he posed in front of dead or wounded combatants from the Islamic State group in January 2014. His trial is scheduled to start in Stockholm on September 18.

14 September 2017:
  In a new report, Amnesty International says that today more than 20,000 survivors of wartime sexual violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina are being denied justice. The report reveals the horrifying consequences of these crimes and the inexcusable obstacles preventing victims to have access to the support they need and the legal redress they are entitled to.

13 September 2017:  Metropolitan police's war crimes unit, SO15, has begun a preliminary assessment of the evidence following a request to investigate allegations that United Arab Emirates (UAE) security officials and politicians authorised the torture of three Qatari citizens in the UAE. The three complainants were detained on arrival in the UAE in 2013 and 2014 and eventually released in early 2015.

13 September 2017:  Human Rights Watch reported that the Saudi-led coalition carried out five apparently unlawful airstrikes in Yemen since June 2017, killing 16 children among 39 civilians. Such attacks amount to war crimes, whether carried out deliberately or recklessly, and show that the promises to improve compliance with international humanitarian law made by the coalition have not brought better protection, in particular for children. The United Nations should immediately take action and respond to continuous violations and crimes committed by all parties to the conflict by creating an independent, international investigation into abuses at its September session.

12 September 2017:  Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said on Monday that Venezuelan security forces may have committed crimes against humanity against protesters. He called for an international investigation into the events and said the government was using criminal proceedings against opposition leaders, arbitrary detentions, excessive use of force, ill-treatment of detainees, torture.

11 September 2017:  A powerful article and interesting opinion on the dramatic situation of the Rohingya population in Myanmar and Aung Suu Kyi's conduct.

11 September 2017:  The fight against terrorism 16 years after the 9/11 attacks. A perspective on how the United States' counterterrorism efforts have developed during the years and where they stand today.

10 September 2017:  Two of five men arrested as part of an investigation into the banned neo-Nazi group National Action have been released without charge. The men, including four serving soldiers, were held on suspicion of terror acts last week. All suspects were arrested on suspicion of being concerned with the commission, preparation and instigation to acts of terrorism under the 2000 Terrorism Act. They were also arrested on suspicion of being members of a proscribed organization under the Terrorism Act.

9 September 2017:  In a report issued on Monday 4 September 2017, the United Nations accused the government of Burundi of severe human rights violations and the commission of crimes against humanity. The Burundi government rejects the accusations.

9 September 2017:  Press conference held on 5 September 2017 by Ms Catherine Marchi-Uhel, Head of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to assist in the investigation and prosecution of persons responsible for the most serious crimes under international law in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011.

8 September 2017:  A Rwandan man was charged on 6 September over genocide accusations in Sweden. He allegedly is responsible for the murder, attempted murder, rape and abduction of members of the Tutsi ethnic group in April and May 1994.

8 September 2017:  Alleged members of a banned neo-Nazi group and serving members of the British Army have been arrested on suspicion of being concerned with the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism under the 2000 Terrorism Act; on suspicion of being members of a proscribed organisation, National Action. The arrests come months after a far-right terror cell was uncovered in the German army.

7 September 2017:  In a new report, Human Rights Watch said under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt's regular police and National Security officers routinely torture political detainees with techniques including beatings, electric shocks, stress positions, and at times rape. Such widespread and systematic torture may amount to a crime against humanity.

6 September 2017:  On Tuesday, a French woman whose radicalised son fought in Syria, where he allegedly died, stood trial accused of financing terrorism. Appearing before the Paris Criminal Court Nathalie Haddadi and her younger son both face charges of aiding and financing terrorism. A second man, a friend of Haddadi's deceased son, is also on trial. Haddadi has persistently held that the charges against her are unfounded. It appears her son had developed radicalised views after serving prison time in France in 2014.

5 September 2017:  A United States Federal court has dismissed a lawsuit against pro-Israeli American donors accused of contributing to war crimes and ethnic cleansing in Palestine, having financed, encouraged and deliberately collaborated with settlement officials in the commission of violence. The judge ruled the issues raised where beyond the court jurisdiction.

5 September 2017:  Forensic architects are using new methods to expose state violence, war crimes and human rights violations. It has historically been difficult for investigators, journalists and architects to access sites where violence has occurred. Today social media offers forensic architects a source of documentary evidence on the basis of which a narrative of acts of violence can be built. The emergence of forensic architecture as a discipline signals the crucial feature of temporary conflicts: the fact that these take place with cities, affecting the civilian population.

4 September 2017:  The moving story of Yazidi thirteen-year-old Emad Tammo, abducted by extremists and held in captivity for three years before being found beneath the wreckage of Mosul's Old City at the beginning of July. He has been reunited with his family and is now adjusting to his new life in Canada. The Yazidi community in Sinjar, north-western Iraq, was targeted by extremists in 2014. Its members have been victims of unimaginable cruelty. Thousands were kidnapped, tortured, killed, sold as slaves, died of dehydration and exhaustion as they tried to escape the onslaught. The United Nations has deemed their ordeal an ongoing genocide, and war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed against them. Emad's reunification with his family shows there is always hope. It shows the need for the international community and countries all over the world to take action to prevent atrocities from happening as well as to offer victims safety.

3 September 2017:  The Basic Court in Prizren, Kosovo, issued a 30-day detention order for Bogdan Mitrovic, suspected of having committed war crimes against the civilian population and serious violations of the laws and customs of non-international armed conflicts in the Suhareka/Suve Reka area of Kosovo in the spring of 1999.

2 September 2017:  The importance of breaking the cycle of impunity and holding accountable those who committed torture. Why the lawsuit against psychologists James Elmer Mitchell and John 'Bruce' Jessen who designed the pst-9/11 CIA torture program matters and why its extreme brutality and the horror it caused shall not be forgotten.


New cases, briefs and videos

(For older announcements, please visit our announcements archive.)


NEW VIDEOS: New videos available online. These include 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. 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 VIDEO: On 15 May 2017, Benjamin Ferencz, the only surviving Nuremberg war crimes prosecutor, provided a lecture in the context of the Supranational Criminal Law Lecture Series co-organised by the International Humanitarian and Criminal Law Platform on his life dedicate to the pursuit of international criminal justice. The video recording of the lecture can be viewed here. A report on the event can be found here

NEW ICD BRIEFNadia 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 CASEThe 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 CASEThe 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 CASEThe 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 CASEThe 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 BRIEFLaetitia 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?'. 

NEW CASE
: The case analysis of Prosecutor v. Imane B. et al. is now available online. In the 'Context' case, a large terrorism case in the Netherlands, nine individuals were found guilty of various terrorism offences, ranging from online incitement to the recruitment of individuals to travel to Syria. This case arose out of investigations into the flow of foreign fighters from the Netherlands - namely people heading to Syria in order to join various terrorist groups, including ISIS and al-Nusra. The prosecution successfully argued that an organisation existed in the Netherlands that aimed at recruiting other people to support terrorist groups in Syria and to travel to join the fighting. The case also looked into the use of social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, and its role in recruiting individuals. 

The nine accused, including several individuals who had travelled to Syria, faced charges concerning incitement to join terrorist groups, the dissemination of inciting materials, the recruitment of people to travel to Syria, the participation in training to commit terrorist crimes, the participation in a criminal and terrorist organisation, and other charges relating to inciting hate and defamation. The defendants were all convicted of differing offences and their sentences ranged from seven days' to six years' imprisonment. 

NEW CASE: The case of Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Radmilo Vuković aka Rade is now available online. Radmilo Vuković was charged with war crimes against civilians in 2006. In his capacity as member of the military forces of the so-called Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, also known as “Republika Srpska”, Vuković allegedly raped a woman from the Foča municipality. On 13 August 2008, the Appeals Panel of the War Crimes section of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina did not find Vuković guilty, because the main piece of evidence provided by the victim and presented before the Appellate Panel contained inconsistencies. Therefore, it could not be established beyond reasonable doubt that Vuković raped the woman.

CALL FOR INTERNS: The T.M.C. Asser Instituut in The Hague is looking for two full-time interns, for a period of six months, for recently graduated or advanced law students specialising in public international law, and more specifically in counter-terrorism, international criminal law, international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Students who wish to apply should send their letter of motivation and CV (in Europass format), in English and MS-Word only, to HRM@asser.nl before 9 March 18:00 The Hague time. Interviews will take place in the third week of March (14-15 March). The envisaged starting date is 21 March 2016. For more information see here.

NEW CASE: The case of United States v. William L. Calley Jr. is now available online. William Laws Calley Jr. was born on 8 June 1943 in Miami, Florida. Calley was a former army officer in the United States and found guilty of war crimes involving the killing hundreds of unarmed, innocent South Vietnamese civilians in the My Lai Massacre on 16 March 1968, during the Vietnam War. After several reductions, Calley’s original sentence of life in prison was turned into an order of house arrest, but after three years, President Nixon reduced his sentence with a presidential pardon.

NEW CASE: The case of Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Slavko Šakić is now available online. Slavko Šakić was born on 18 November 1972 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In July 1993, he allegedly detained a number of Bosnian Muslims in a motel in Bugojno, taking their money and jewellery. Šakić was also suspected of having inflicted physical injuries on some of the detained civilians. On 5 September 2008, Šakić concluded an agreement with the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina according to which he admitted guilt for the alleged crimes. On 29 October 2008, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina found Šakić guilty of war crimes against civilians and sentenced him to eight years and six months in prison.

NEW CASE: The case of Doe et al. v. Constant is now available online. Emmanuel Constant was the founder of the Revolutionary Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti (FRAPH), a death squad that terrorised supporters of Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide who was overthrown in September 1991. Members of the FRAPH killed, put in prison, and abused supporters of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide during the military regime that ruled Haiti between September 1991 and October 1994. Constant, as the leader of FRAPH, was found guilty of torture, crimes against humanity, and the systematic use of violence against women committed during the military regime and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was ordered to pay $19 million in damages to three women who survived the crimes committed under Constant’s control.