(For news updates older than two weeks, please visit our news archive.)
28 July 2016: The Co-Investigating Judges at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia have forwarded the case file of Im Chaem (Case Number 004/01) to the Co-Prosecutors for their final submissions. Im Chaem is charged with, inter alia, crimes against humanity, including allegations relating to murder, enslavement, extermination, imprisonment, persecution and imprisonment, and was allegedly the secretary of the Preah Net Preah District in the North-West Zone of Cambodia.
28 July 2016: Amnesty International has released a report, '"We are still running": War Crimes in Leer, South Sudan', in which it details alleged war crimes and other abuses that have harmed civilians and were committed by government forces. Senior Crisis Advisor Lama Fakih highlighted the ongoing impunity in South Sudan and called for effective investigations into the alleged abuses.
27 July 2016: UNICEF Australia has said that it is 'deeply concerned by the inhumane treatment of children in the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre' in Australia's Northern Territory, as documented in a Four Corners program on 25 July 2016. It has further stated that '[t]he use of prolonged periods of solitary confinement, strip searches and an unjustifiable use of force may amount to torture by the Government responsible' for the care of the children in detention. In response to the broadcast, Prime Minister Turnbull announced there will be a commission of inquiry into the instances of abuse at the Don Dale facility that will also investigate whether these abuses occur throughout the remainder of the Northern Territory's detention system.
27 July 2016: Rwandan Enock Ruhigira, who is facing genocide and crimes against humanity charges in Rwanda, was arrested at Frankfurt airport in Germany on 20 July 2016. He was previously believed to have been living in New Zealand and the Rwandan National Public Prosecution Authority spokesperson Faustin Nkusi has confirmed that extradition documents are currently being prepared to be submitted in Germany.
26 July 2016: The Contempt Judge at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) has announced that the sentencing hearing in the contempt case against Mr. Ibrahim Mohamed Ali Al Amin and Akhbar Beirut S.A.L will take place on 29 August 2016. The judgment in this case was delivered on 15 July 2016 and found both defendants guilty of interfering with the administration of justice. The maximum penalties for contempt at the STL include imprisonment for up to 7 years and/or a fine of up to 100,000 euros. The contempt proceedings are associated with the primary proceedings in the Ayyash et al. case. This case considers allegations of terrorism in relation to the attack on the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
26 July 2016: The UN has released its Mid Year Report on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict in Afghanistan. In so doing, it noted that civilian casualties have reached a record high in the first half of 2016, with one third of victims being children. The report also details other human rights violations and alleged war crimes, including 'the deliberate targeting of women in the public sphere, use of children in armed conflict, sexual violent against boys and girls, attacks on educational and health facilities, abductions and summary executions'.
25 July 2016: Amnesty International has called for international monitors to be given access to detainees in Turkey in light of evidence it has received that alleges there have been instances of beatings and torture in the wake of the coup attempt. They have also raised concerns surrounding the new decree, which was passed under the government's new powers that stem from the declared state of emergency, that increases the amount of time an individual can be held without charge from 4 days to 30 days.
25 July 2016: Stanford Law School has provided advice and a report to Ferrovial, a Spanish infrastructure company, that states its directors and employees may be liable for prosecution for crimes against humanity in relation to services provided to Australian camps in Nauru and on Manus Island. Ferrovial became responsible for managing Australia's offshore detention centres in May 2016, after its purchase of the company Broadspectrum. Currently, 843 men are being held on Manus Island and 466 people, including 50 children, are being held in Nauru. Australia's immigration detention system has attracted criticism from the UN, who found that it constituted arbitrary and indefinite detention.
24 July 2016: Peru's former leader, Alberto Fujimori, has requested for the second time a presidential pardon in relation to crimes committed during his time in power. Fujimori was convicted of, inter alia, torture, kidnapping and enforced disappearances and was sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment. He is now approaching his 78th birthday and his request comes five days before President-Elect Pedro Pablo Kuczynski is due to take office.
24 July 2016: On 22 July 2016, the Polish parliament voted to recognise the massacre of 100,000 Poles by Ukrainian nationalists in the 1940s as a genocide. The resolution also acknowledged the reprisal attacks by Poles on Ukrainian villages and expressed its gratitute to Ukrainians who attempted to intervene to save Polish lives. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has expressed his regret over the resolution.
23 July 2016: UN Special Representative to Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamamoto said that explosions that targeted civilians gathered to protest in Dehmazang square in Kabul city on 23 July 2016 were war crimes. He strongly condemned these explosions and called for accountability for the perpetrators of such attacks, noting that they were 'particularly heinous because [they...] targeted civilians as they exercised their rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression'.
23 July 2016: On 21 July 2016, Amnesty International released its report entitled 'You don't exist: Arbitrary Detentions, Enforced Disappearances, and Torture in Eastern Ukraine'. It alleges that Ukrainian authorities, paramilitary groups and separatist groups have all detained civilians suspected of supporting or working for the other side. They also allege there have been instances of torture during the detention of civilians.
22 July 2016: On 22 July 2016, the District Court in The Hague issued its judgments in the cases concerning four men who were charged with committing terrorist crimes in 2012-2014. At the time of judgment, they were presumed to still be in Syria. The Court found that the men joined IS, Jabhat al-Nusra or another jihadist armed group. They were all convicted of participating in a criminal organisation with a terrorist objective. In addition, they were found guilty of preparation for terrorist crimes. It was also established that one had joined a training camp for the armed jihad (with another person acquitted on this charge) and two others were found guilty of incitement to commit terrorist crimes (with a third person acquitted on this charge). The men were each sentenced to six years' imprisonment. The four judgments - for now only available in Dutch - can be found here, here, here and here.
22 July 2016: The United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has urged other countries fighting the Islamic State to do more to gather evidence of war crimes. Mr Johnson proposed a UK summit to examine how to tackle this issue and emphasized that more needed to be done to collect evidence in territory the group has lost.
22 July 2016: The appeal in the case of Prosecutor v Radovan Karadzic has been filed. The notice of appeal contains 50 grounds of appeal against the original judgment issued on 24 March 2016, where Radovan Karadzic was found guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity, and violations of the laws or customs of war.
21 July 2016: A new Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International Report on Ukraine has identified examples of torture and secret detention from parties to both sides of the conflict. The report found that the Ukrainian authorities and pro-Kiev paramilitary groups have detained civilians suspected of involvement with or supporting Russian-backed separatists, while the separatist forces have detained civilians suspected of supporting or spying for the Ukrainian government.
20 July 2016: A report reveals that German federal prosecutors are currently pursuing more than 130 cases against foreign fighters in connection with the civil wars in Iraq and Syria, with an additional 50 cases so far referred to state prosecutors.
18 July 2016: The Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal has sentenced three men to death and five men to life sentences for crimes against humanity. The charges included rape, murder, confinement and torture of unarmed civilians.
17 July 2016: Today marked International Criminal Justice Day, to mark the anniversary of the signing of the Rome Statute in 1998.
15 July 2016: El Salvador’s Supreme Court’s has voted 4-1 to overturn an amnesty law in place covering its 12 year civil war.The ruling made it clear that amnesty was lifted for not only those accused of directly committing crimes, but also the command structures of the military and guerrilla forces who gave the orders.
New cases, briefs and videos
(For older announcements, please visit our announcements archive.)
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?'.
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.