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News updates

(For news updates older than two weeks, please visit our news archive.)

31 August 2015: Over 20 human rights organisations issued a statement on Thursday calling for the United Nations to set up an official inquiry on war crimes during the ongoing Saudi-led attack on Yemen.  By the end of September, the UN Human Rights Council will meet, and the signatories of the letter aim at pressuring the international body to call for an inquiry there.  The document, signed by numerous regional and international human rights groups, expresses its concern over the deaths of 2,000 people, mostly civilians, and warns of the humanitarian crisis in the country. 

31 August 2015: On September 2, the trial of Bosco Ntaganda will start in The Hague at the International Criminal Court (ICC), nine years after the court issued its first arrest warrant against him. Ntaganda, a rebel leader who fought with various armed groups, and was later a general in the Congolese army, is the fourth person to be tried before the ICC for grave international crimes allegedly committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The charges again Ntaganda include 13 counts of war crimes and 5 counts of crimes against humanity,  all allegedly committed in Ituri in 2002-2003.

28 August 2015: Naser Oric, a former Bosnian Muslim commander, was charged alongside one of his former lieutenants with war crimes during the 1992-1995 war, Bosnian prosecutors said. He was arrested in June in Switzerland on a warrant issued by Serbia. But Switzerland decided to extradite him to his home country instead. In 2006, Oric was sentenced by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to two years in prison for not doing enough to protect Srebrenica's Serb population during the war. He was acquitted on appeal. 8,000 Muslim men and boys were victims of the 1995 Srebenica massacre by Bosnian Serb forces.

28 August 2015: A Russian military court sentenced two Ukrainian activists to respectively 20 and 10 years in prison for the charge of conspiring to commit terror attacks. Oleg Sentsov, a filmmaker, and Aleksandr Kolchenko, an ecologist and antifascist activist, allegedly conducted arson attacks against pro-Russian groups during the Russian occupation of Crimea. The trial has drawn much criticism for what some view as the suppression of dissidents by the Russian government. Its placement in military court has also been questioned, as under international humanitarian law, an occupying power must prosecute any defendants in civilian courts under the occupied country's law. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine persists following the Crimean Annexation and has often been labeled the biggest crisis between Russia and the West since the end of the cold war.

27 August 2015: A Guatemalan court held on Wednesday that while the former Guatemalan leader Ríos Montt can stand trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, he cannot be sentenced because the 89-year-old suffers from dementia. Ríos Montt can be found guilty or not guilty, but will not receive a sentence because of his health conditions. His lawyers have the option to appeal against the ruling.

27 August 2015: Malaysia and Indonesia are deploying rapid reaction teams to combat a soaring number of piracy attacks on merchant vessels in one of the world's busiest shipping chokepoints, said Malaysian First Admiral Maritime Zulkifili bin Abu Bakar. Over 70 ships have been attacked in the Malacca and Singapore straits, on the western side of the Malay Peninsula, this year, the highest number since at least 2008, including at least seven at the end of last week. The surge of attacks has led the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), or coastguard, to deploy a helicopter-equipped special task and rescue (STAR) team at Johor Bharu.

27 August 2015: The US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Nisha Biswal, has said that the US will be collaborating with Sri Lanka on a resolution on human rights and war crimes in Sri Lanka at the September session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).  The resolution will be drafted in collaboration with the Sri Lankan government, key stakeholders within and outside Sri Lanka, and the international “core group” on Sri Lanka. Biswal stated that the collaboration will be on a resolution that is supportive of Sri Lanka's government, which wants to conduct its own investigation into alleged war crimes. The American officials did not say what the new resolution would contain, but said it will follow a report by the U.N. Human Rights Council scheduled to be released next month.

26 August 2015: The Supreme Court in El Salvador ruled on Monday that the country's street gangs and those who supported them financially will now be classified as terrorist groups. The ruling was made as part of a denial of attempts to challenge the constitutionality of the El Salvador's Special Law Against Terrorist Acts. The court defined terrorism as the 'organized and systematic exercise of violence', placing any gang which attempts to claim state powers in that category. The freezing of funds belonging to those tied to terrorist groups was also deemed constitutional by the court.

26 August 2015: France has formally opened a terrorism investigation into a prevented attack on a train in France last week. The decision to open an investigation was based on the actions of 26-year-old Moroccan suspect Ayoub el-Khazzani on the train last Friday night and information from other European authorities about his travels and apparent links to radical Islam, prosecutor François Molins said.  

26 August 2015: A Guatemalan court ruled on Tuesday that the former leader Ríos Montt must face a new trial for genocide committed during his rule. The court agreed, however, to hold the trial behind closed doors as he has dementia. Ríos Montt will not be required to attend the trial, but will be represented by his lawyers. The decision ends months of wrangling over the former leader's mental state. The panel of three judges set a new trial date for January, though appeals of their ruling were expected from both sides.

25 August 2015: Three persons have been arrested in Egypt under its new anti-terror law for spreading Islamic State propaganda. The three accused have been ordered to be held in detention for 15 days pending an investigation. Egypt's new counter-terrorism law, which was approved last week by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has come under fire from rights groups who say that the law infringes on the right to freedom of the press.

25 August 2015: Amnesty International has accused Burundi security forces of torturing protestors. In their briefing released on Monday, Amnesty stated that security forces used belts and iron bars to intimidate and extract confessions from opponents of President Pierre Nkunrunziza. The briefing also highlighted in the increase in the use of torture in Burundi since April, when Nkurunziza announced he would run for a third term in office.

25 August 2015: Estonian Justice Minister, Urmas Reinsalu, has called for an international tribunal to be set up in order to investigate Communist crimes. Reinsalu insists that the crimes committed by the Communist regime should be investigated the same way as Nazi crimes. The call by Estonia follows the passing of a decommunisation law in Ukraine in April of this year, which condemns Communist and Nazi regimes and bans their propaganda in Ukraine. The law came into effect on 21 May 2015.

24 August 2015: The head of the United Nations’ cultural agency, UNESCO, strongly condemned the Islamic State group’s demolition of an ancient Christian monastery and exhumation of a saint’s tomb in Syria. The monastery’s razing came amid new reports that more Syrian Christians had been abducted by Islamist fighters and were being forced to convert to Islam or pay off their captors with a so-called tax. Irina Bokova, the director-general of UNESCO, described the attacking of minority groups and their heritage sites as 'war crimes'.

24 August 2015: In a report released on Friday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights calls for an end to 'endemic impunity' for crimes in Darfur as Sudan fails to investigate serious human rights violations. In the report by the UN human rights agency, more than 400 serious rights abuses were documented in Darfur last year. The UN rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, called for both the Khartoum government and rebel movements to cooperate with both domestic investigations and those at the International Criminal Court (ICC), which began in 2005. The ICC has issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on charges of war crimes and genocide in Darfur.

24 August 2015: The Sudanese government has appointed a new special prosecutor for Darfur crimes to succeed Yasir Ahmed Mohamed who was redeployed elsewhere. The new prosecutor of the special tribunal for Darfur war crimes is named as al-Fatih Issa Taifoor and he assumed his post officially in the state of North Darfur where he arrived on Saturday. Khartoum created this position in 2003 to prove to the international community its seriousness in trying the perpetrators of crimes allegedly committed in the course of the Sudanese government’s war against armed rebels in western Sudan. However, the previous three prosecutors who occupied the position failed to bring charges against any individual despite credible reports of atrocities committed during the zenith of the conflict in 2003 and 2004.

21 August 2015: French public prosecutors have called for charges to be dismissed in the case of Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, 21 years after they started proceedings against him. In 1995, a complaint was submitted by Rwanda's genocide survivors alleging that Munyeshyaka, a Catholic priest, participated in acts of genocide. Proceedings were opened before French and Rwandan courts. In 2007 the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda indicted him with four counts of genocide and crimes against humanity and eventually handed the case over to French courts. Although Munyeshyaka's behaviour and statements during and after the slaughter "raise very many questions", the inquiry has been unable to conclusively confirm any "certain and specific actions" that prove his active participation, Prosecutor Francois Molins stated Wednesday.

21 August 2015: On 19 August, ICC trial judges allowed the prosecution's request for admission of recanted witness statements as evidence against Deputy President William Ruto. The judges also allowed statements of missing witnesses. Prosecutor Bensouda told the judges of "the existence of an organised and effective scheme to persuade prosecution witnesses to withdraw or recant their evidence, through a combination of intimidation and bribery". The application to use statements by witnesses who either recanted or withdrew from testifying was filed pursuant to Rule 68. The admission of the statements in expected to move to the Appeals Chamber. Mr. Ruto is charged of crimes against humanity in relation with the post-election violence in Kenya.

20 August 2015: The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court reversed Trial Chamber V(B)'s decision on Wednesday regarding the Kenyan Government's alleged non-compliance with its obligations under the Rome Statute in the case The Prosecutor v. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, due to errors in the Trial Chamber's assessment. Prosecutors dropped charges of crimes against humanity against Kenyatta in December, maintaining they were unable to build their case because of obstruction by Kenyan authorities. Reading the appeal court's decision, Presiding Judge Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi said trial judges had failed to consider some aspects of prosecutors' noncooperation complaint and ordered them to review the decision.

20 August 2015: U.N. political chief Jeffrey Feltman stated in a prepared text for a briefing to the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday that the Syrian government's airstrikes on the Damascus suburb of Douma on Sunday, that killed some 100 people, "would be yet one more war crime for which those responsible must be held accountable." The Douma attack was one of the deadliest since Syria's crisis began in March 2011. The UN Security Council has unanimously approved a statement backing intensive preparatory talks on key issues to restore peace to Syria.

19 August 2015: The genocide trial of former Guatemalan dictator Rios Montt has been suspended until 25 August. The Guatemalan court postponed deciding whether the former leader is fit to stand trial a few hours after his lawyers handed in a medical report claiming that he suffers from dementia. In May 2013, Rios Montt was found guilty of committing genocide and crimes against humanity in the 1980's, but the verdict was overturned just 10 days later, allegedly due to errors in the judicial process.

19 August 2015: A Vermont man is to face retrial in February or March next year on charges he lied about his role in Bosnian war crimes committed in the early 1990's. Earlier this summer, Edin Sakoc's conviction was overturned after a judge ruled prosecutors made new comments in his January trial that had not been included in the original indictment.

18 August 2015: Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has signed a tough counter-terrorism law that gives state security officers wider immunity from prosecution, expands the government's surveillance powers and penalizes journalists for contradicting official accounts of militant attacks. President Sisi vowed to bring in tough counter-terrorism legislation in June, following the assassination of Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat by car bomb. Rights groups, including Amnesty International, have warned that the new measures would effectively ban the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.

18 August 2015: Amnesty International has stated that all sides fighting in Yemen may be committing war crimes in a report released on Monday. The rights group accused both the Saudi-led coalition carrying out airstrikes in Yemen and forces on the ground supporting and opposing the rebels, known as Houthis, in their report on the fighting. More than 4,000 people have been killed, with half of them being civilians. Amnesty has called upon the United Nations to establish an international commission of inquiry to investigate these 'alleged war crimes'.

18 August 2015: The United Nations Committee against Torture has recommended 'Switzerland to criminalise torture outside of crimes against humanity and the Geneva Conventions framework'. In publishing its findings on the countries it examined (Slovakia, Iraq and Switzerland) during the its latest session from 27 July to 14 August, the Committee recommended Switzerland to set up torture as a criminal offence, in conformity with Article 1 of the Convention against Torture.  

17 August 2015: A full bench of the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa, has reserved judgment on the government's application for leave to appeal against a June 15 order that Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir be arrested and handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face charges for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, sitting with two other judges in Pretoria, reserved judgment until a date to be decided.  

17 August 2015: A court in southeastern Congo has charged 34 persons with genocide in connection with ethnic violence that has killed hundreds over the past two years. The 34 suspects are also facing charges for crimes against humanity and have been arrested and presented before the court. A law enacted in 2013 authorised civilian courts to try cases of genocide and crimes against humanity.

17 August 2015: Five Somali pirates were sentenced to life by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, VA, on Thursday. The pirates must spend life in prison for waging a mistaken and unsuccessful attack on a U.S. Navy ship that was based in Little Creek, Virginia, in 2010. One of the surviving pirates of the attack was given a lighter sentence for cooperating with federal prosecutors, while the remaining five went to trial and were convicted.

New cases, briefs and videos

NEW CASE: The case of Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Momčilo Mandić is now available online. Momčilo Mandić, who was Assistant Minister of the Interior of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in April 1996, was indicted before the Court of BiH in 2006 on allegations of involvement in war crimes  and crimes against humanity committed during the armed conflicts that broke out in the former Yugoslavia in 1991. Mandić was acquitted by the Court in first instance, as it could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt that he had been involved in these acts, and neither could it be established that he was, indeed, a superior with the possibility to either order such acts to be committed or to take measures against subordinates. The prosecution appealed, but to no avail; on 1 September 2009, the Appellate Panel upheld the acquittal.

NEW CASE: The case of Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Mladen Milanović is now available online. Mladen Milanović, who was a prison camp guard during the war in the former Yugoslavia, was accused of war crimes against civilians. After more than six years of proceedings before several courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Supreme Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina ultimately found Milanović guilty of the charged crimes and sentenced him to one year and four months in prison (with credit for time already spent in custody) on 14 January 2014.

NEW CASE: The case of Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Zoran Marić is now available online. Zoran Marić, a former soldier in the Army of Republika Srpska, was indicted by theCourt of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) on suspicion of involvement in war crimes committed in 1992. Marić was charged with co-perpetration – together with fellow soldiers – of torture, inhumane treatment and murder of Bosniak civilians. Although he initially pleaded not guilty, he came to a plea agreement with the prosecutor, pleading guilty to the crimes he was indicted for. The Court of BiH, after evaluating the evidence, found the agreement acceptable and sentenced Marić to fifteen years’ imprisonment.

NEW CASE: The case of Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Jadranko Palija is now available online. Jadranko Palija, a former member of the Serbian army, was accused of having committed war crimes against civilians and crimes against humanity during the armed conflict in the former Yugoslavia. On 28 November 2007, Palija was found guilty on all charges by the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and sentenced to 28 years in prison. He appealed against his conviction, but this did not help him: on 24 April 2008, the Appellate Panel of the Court ruled that the Trial Panel had been correct in both its analysis of the facts and the application of the law. Therefore, the conviction and prison sentence were both confirmed.

NEW CASE: The case of Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Appellant, v. Léon Mugesera, Gemma Uwamariya, Irenée Rutema, Yves Rusi, Carmen Nono, Mireille Urumuri and Marie-Grâce Hoho, Respondents is now available online. Léon Mugesera, a former politician  in Rwanda, fled Rwanda in 1993. Mugesera, together with his wife and their five children, sought asylum in Canada, which was granted. However, in 1995, the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) became aware of the arrest warrant and issued an order to deport Mugesera to Rwanda for trial. The Federal Court of Appeal held that the deportation order should not have been issued as there was not sufficient evidence that Mugesera had indeed been involved in the Rwandan genocide as alleged. However, the Canadian Supreme Court quashed this decision on 28 June 2005, ruling that the Court of Appeal had applied an incorrect standard of review and that, in fact, the IRB had been right all along.

NEW CASE: The case of Ali Zaki Mousa and others, claimants, v. Secretary of State for Defence, defendant, and Legal Services Commission, interested party is now available online. The claimant in Mousa v. UK, Ali Zaki Mousa, represents about 100 Iraqis – with the possible addition of 100 more after intervention – who were allegedly tortured or otherwise ill-treated during their detention at British military bases in Iraq, often without being charged. The Court found that the current investigating bodies were too much intertwined with the army itself and did not constitute independent bodies of judicial review, as required by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Therefore, the Secretary of State was ordered to initiate proper investigations.

NEW CASE:
The case of the Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Abduladhim Maktouf is now available online. Abduladhim Maktouf was arrested on 12 June 2004 in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), initially on suspicion of economic crimes committed in the context of the electronics business he was working in. However, following in-depth investigations, he was indicted and found guilty of war crimes against civilians, and he received a five-year prison sentence.

NEW CASE: The case of the Public Prosecutor v. M.P. et al. is now available online. The Zadar County Court of Croatia, in its verdict of 24 April 1997, convicted in absentia 19 officers of the so-called Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) for the siege of the city of Zadar, which caused the death of at least 30 civilians and the destruction of significant parts of the city. The officers were found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and sentenced to prison sentences that ranged from ten to 20 years. However, as they had left Croatia before the initial indictment, the convicted persons have not yet been caught.  

NEW CASE:
The case of the Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Željko Lelek is now available online. On 19 February 2009, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)’s Appellate Panel issued a second instance verdict in the case against Željko Lelek, upholding his conviction for crimes against humanity. However, in the second instance his sentence was increased from 13 to 16 years’ imprisonment as the Appellate Panel attached greater weight to the aggravating circumstance in the case.

NEW CASE: The case of the Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Zijad Kurtović is now available online. Zijad Kurtović, a commander of a military police platoon of the Bosnian army, was accused of involvement in war crimes committed during the war between Croatia and Bosnia (1992-1995). In first instance, Kurtović was found guilty on all charges and sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment. Kurtović appealed on several grounds, arguing that the first instance Panel had erred in law (using the wrong law) and in fact (wrongly established certain facts). The prosecution also appealed against the sentence, which was, in its view, too lenient. The Appellate Panel partly agreed with Kurtović where it concerned the classification of the crimes. However, the findings on the facts remained further unchanged. Therefore, the Appellate Panel amended the conviction to only include war crimes against civilians and the wanton destruction of religious monuments. The prosecutor’s appeal was dismissed; the 11-year prison sentence was upheld.

NEW CASE: The case of the Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Radmilo Vuković aka Rade is now available online. Radmilo Vuković was born on 28 July 1952 in the village of Rataje located in the municipality of Foča, southeastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. 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 had sexual intercourse with a woman from the Foča municipality without her consent. 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.

NEW CASE: The case of  the Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Mirko Todorović and Miloš Radić is now available online. Todorović and Radić were found guilty of participating in an attack conducted in Bratunac on 20 May 1992, which was directed against Bosnian Muslim (Bosniak) civilians. On that day, Todorović and four other members of the Serbian army arrested 14 Bosniak civilians and brought them to a house where one of the civilians was killed. Todorović, together with Radić, did not allow the other civilians to leave the house. The civilians were beaten, cursed, and their money and valuable items were taken away. Subsequently, the civilians were brought to a slope on a nearby creek, lined up and killed.

NEW CASE: The case of Polyukhovich v. The Commonwealth of Australia and Another is available online. Ivan Timofeyevich Polyukhovich was born in the village of Serniki in the Pinsk region, Ukraine. Polyukhovich became an Australian citizen in 1958. In January 1990, a case was brought against Polyukhovich in Australia for his alleged involvement in the mass killing of approximately 850 people from the Jewish ghetto in Serniki village and for killing 24 other people between August and September 1942. Their bodies had been exhumed in June and July 1990. On 18 May 1993, Polyukhovich was acquitted because there was not sufficient evidence to continue with the case.

NEW CASE: The case of the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor v. Miroljub Vujović et al. is now available online. The accused in the case were all members of the Vukovar Territorial Defence force (TO) or of the volunteer unit called “Leva Supoderica”. On 18 November 1991, members of the Croatian armed forces surrendered themselves to the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA). As a result, they had to enjoy certain rights and protection under international law because they were prisoners of war. For instance, they had to be treated humanely, should not be beaten or killed. Nevertheless, they were taken to the Ovčara farm in the Vukovar municipality on 20 and 21 November 1991, where they were brutally beaten, injured, and killed by members of the TO force (including the accused). Approximately 200 Croatians were killed at the Ovčara farm.  

NEW CASE:
The case of the Ad Hoc Prosecutors v. Timbul Silaen is now available online. Timbul Silaen worked as police chief in East Timor in 1999. As such, he was responsible for the security during the independence referendum held in the country on 30 August 1999. Before and after the referendum, deadly incidents took place between people in favour of East Timor’s secession from the Republic of Indonesia and the pro-Indonesian supporters. Approximately 1000 people died, 80% of the territory was destroyed, and 250,000 people were forcibly evacuated to Indonesia. Silaen was prosecuted because as a commander he allegedly failed to stop his subordinates from committing crimes and also failed to bring them to court in order to be prosecuted. In 2002, the Indonesian Ad Hoc Tribunal for East Timor did not found Silaen guilty as a commander because it could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that his subordinates had committed the crimes.

NEW ICD BRIEF: Laura Paredi, PhD Candidate at the University of Milan, has written a new ICD Brief focusing on "The War Crime of Terror: An analysis of international jurisprudence". Check it out here.  

CALL FOR INTERNS:
The T.M.C. Asser Instituut in The Hague is looking for two university and university of applied science students in the final stages of their bachelor’s degree or during/after their master’s degree, with a solid background in international criminal law, to work on the International Crimes Database (ICD). Students who wish to apply should send their letter of motivation, a CV and a recent (within the last year) academic writing sample to HRM@asser.nl by Wednesday 24 June C.O.B. Interviews will take place in the week of 6 July 2015. The envisaged start date is 15 July 2015. For more information see here and here.

NEW CASE: The case of The Queen (on the application of Maya Evans) v. Secretary of State for Defence is now available online. The case came as a result of information that Afghan terror detainees transferred by the British Armed Forces to the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) were beaten and physically mistreated. Maya Evans, a U.K. peace activist, sought to stop that practice and brought a case before the British High Court of Justice. On 25 June 2010, the Court decided that there was a chance that detainees were indeed mistreated at the NDS detention facility in Kabul. Therefore, the Court banned detainee transfers to this NDS facility. Transfers to the NDS facilities in Kandahar and Lashkar Gah remained allowed, although the Court imposed a series of ‘safeguards’ and monitoring arrangements on all future transfers of detainees.

NEW CASE: The case of The Deputy General Prosecutor for Serious Crimes v. Col. Herman Sedyono et al. is now available online. The defendants in this case took part in a widespread or systematic attack directed against civilians that were in favour of an independent East Timor. One of the accused, Herman Sedyono, was the Bupati (District Administrator) of the Covalima District, one of the 13 districts in East Timor. As such, he was bearing the primary responsibility for maintaining peace and security in the region. Most of the other accused were Commander or just member of the Indonesian security authorities (TNI) or the Indonesian police force (POLRI), which were both promoting autonomy within the Republic of Indonesia. In 1999, the Mahidi and the Laksaur pro-Indonesian militia groups, with the help of the TNI and POLRI, and with support from the Covalima District administration, repeatedly committed attacks against the Covalima population (mainly against those that were in favour of independence). The 16 accused were charged with encouraging, assisting and failing to stop, arrest or prosecute the perpetrators of the crimes. 

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS:
The ICD invites submissions of short articles for publication in the online paper series of the ICD, the ICD Briefs. Please send an abstract of your submission (500 words, incl. brief biographies or author affiliations) to editors@internationalcrimesdatabase.org by 1 July. Please also include a CV with your submission. Authors of selected abstracts will be informed by 15 July. Selected authors should be prepared to submit a full paper for review by 1 October. Find out more about the selection process and guidelines for ICD Briefs here.

NEW CASE: The case of The Ad Hoc Prosecutor v. Lt. Col. Inf. Soedjarwo is now available online. Lieutenant Colonel Soedjarwo was a military commander of the Indonesian National Army (TNI) in the district of Dili between 9 August 1999 and 20 December 1999. Soedjarwo was found guilty of crimes against humanity because he failed to prevent his troops from attacking the Diocese office of Dili and the residence of Archbishop Belo in Dili on 4 and 6 September 1999. At least 13 civilians who were seeking refuge at these two places were killed during the attack.

NEW CASE: The case of Teófila Ochoa Lizarbe et al v. Telmo Ricardo Hurtado Hurtado is now available online. On 14 August 1985, 60 women, children and elderly men were killed in the highlands village of Accomarca in Peru’s southern Andean region of Ayacucho. This massacre is known as the Accomarca Massacre. The plaintiffs brought a complaint against Telmo Ricardo Hurtado Hurtado (Second Lieutenant (Subteniente) in the Peruvian Army) who was responsible for the command of the soldiers that committed the killings. The plaintiffs sought justice on behalf of all the members of the Asociación de Familiares Afectados por la Violencia Política del Distrito de Accomarca (Association of Relatives of the Victims of Political Violence in Accomarca) who lost relatives in the massacre. Hurtado was found guilty for the crimes committed in connection with the Accomarca Massacre. On 4 March 2008, the District Court for the Southern District of Florida ordered Hurtado to pay $37 million in damages to the plaintiffs.  

NEW CASE:
The case of the Public Prosecutor v. Oie Hee Koi and connected appeals is now available online. During the fighting between Indonesia and Malaysia, twelve Malaysian Chinese members of the Indonesian Air Force who were heavily armed, infiltrated into Malaysia (ten by parachute and two by boat). They were arrested, convicted pursuant to Malaysian law and sentenced to death. The Federal Court of Malaysia held that two members were protected pursuant to international law, in particular the Geneva Prisoners of War Convention of 1949. On appeal, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council decided that they were not protected under the 1949 Geneva Convention because they were nationals of Malaysia (the state that detained them). Therefore, they could be prosecuted under national law for offences against that law.

NEW CASE: The case of Physicians for Human Rights and others v. Prime Minister of Israel and others & Gisha Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement and others v. Minister of Defence is now available online. When Hamas, a Palestinian armed resistance group, came into power in Gaza, southern Israel was increasingly subject to heavy missile attacks. On 27 December 2008, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) began a large-scale military operation that Israel initiated in the Gaza Strip in order to stop the shooting of mortars. During that operation, also known as “Operation Cast Lead”, the IDF entered the Gaza Strip and attacked targets used by Hamas. In January 2009, two organizations filed a complaint against Israel and claimed that during the operation, the IDF did not protect medical centers and personnel, did not help with the transfer of wounded people, and did not supply electricity to the Gaza Strip. The Israeli Supreme Court found that Israel was acting reasonably and had not violated any international rules.   

NEW CASE:
The case of the Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Dragoje Paunović is now available online. Dragoje Paunović was born on 19 June 1954 in the town of Mojkovac in northern Montenegro. Paunović was a senior officer of a small military formation attached to the Battalion of Rogatica, a battalion part of the Bosnian Serb Army. In the period May to September 1992, attacks were carried out by military and police forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina and by Serbian paramilitary formations against the Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) living in the municipality of Rogatica. On 15 August 1992,  Paunović used 27 Bosniaks as protection during a clash between the army of the Republika Srpska and the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Bosniaks were detained in the Rasadnik detention camp in Rogatica, and later driven to the town of Jacen in Rogatica where 24 of them were subsequently killed under the orders of Paunović. The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina found Paunović guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to 20 years in prison.

NEW VIDEO: On Tuesday, 17 March 2015, Raji Sourani, Director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, and Shawan Jabarin, Director of Al-Haq, gave a lecture in the context of the Supranational Criminal Law Lecture Series, entitled: "Palestine and the International Criminal Court". The video can be found here.

NEW CASE: The case of Mamani et al. v. Sánchez de Lozada, and Mamani et al. v. Sánchez Berzain is now available online. It concerns the case of nine relatives of people killed during a series of national protests in Bolivia in October 2003, who brought a case in the U.S. against the former President of Bolivia, Sánchez de Lozada, and the former Minister of Defence of Bolivia, Sánchez Berzaín. The plaintiffs claimed that Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Berzaín were responsible for the killing of more than 400 people in Bolivia during the suppression of the protests directed against the government’s policies. In particular, the plaintiffs claimed that Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Berzaín gave orders to the Bolivian security forces to use deadly force against protestors. The plaintiffs asked for compensation. On 29 August 2011, a U.S. Court of Appeals dismissed their claims because they had not presented enough evidence to establish a link between both Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Berzaín and the killings.

NEW CASE: The case of Her Majesty the Queen (Prosecutor) v. Désiré Munyaneza is now available online. Désiré Munyaneza was born in December 1966 in Rwanda. Between the beginning of April and the end of July 1994, Hutus killed approximately 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda. During that period, Munyaneza was one of the leaders of the Interahamwe Hutu paramilitary organisation in Butare, which played a major role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. In 1997, Munyaneza fled to Canada to avoid prosecution. However, in October 2005 he was arrested in Canada on suspicion of his involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. In May 2009, the Quebec Superior Court found Munyaneza guilty for the criminal offences of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for abducting, raping, sexually assaulting, and killing Tutsis, and for pillaging of their properties. He was sentenced to life in prison. 

NEW CASE: The case of Regina (on the application of Robert Lewis Manson) (Claimant) v. The Bow Street Magistrates' Court (First Defendant) and Carmarthen Justices (Second Defendant) is now available online. In March 2003, Phil Pritchard and Toby Olditch, peace activists, entered the bases of the Royal Air Force (RAF) and tried to disable the planes located there. They acted in an attempt to prevent a crime by the U.K. and the U.S., namely the preparation of a war against Iraq. Two other activists, Margaret Jones and Paul Milling, also entered the RAF base. All the activists were charged in the U.K. In their defence, they claimed that the actions of the U.K. and the U.S. were illegal. Their defence was rejected by the English courts because the alleged crime was a crime under international law but not under English criminal law.