(For older news updates, please visit our news archive.)
20 June 2018: Today the International Criminal Court (ICC) is to decide whether it has a mandate to investigate the alleged crimes against humanity related to the Rohingya crisis. The ICC has already requested Bangladesh to make an opinion on whether prosecution is possible. Bangladeshi Foreign Affairs and Law ministries have been urged by the National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh to assist the ICC with regard to the potential prosecution. The Commission collected testimonies of 53 Rohingya women allegedly sexually abused in Myanmar.
19 June 2018: The ICC Pre-Trial Chamber decided on the conduct of the proceedings against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi (allegedly criminally responsible for crimes against humanity). The decision was taken following the defendant’s challenge to the admissibility of the case on the basis of the ne bis in idem principle. The Pre-Trial Chamber asked the Prosecutor, victims and the UN Security Council to submit written observations by 28 September 2018. A legal representative for victims was appointed.
18 June 2018: An apcourt in Copenhagen, Denmark ordered the Danish government to compensate 18 civilians tortured in 2004 during an operation 'Green Desert' near Basra, Iraq. The court ruled that although the soldiers of the Danish battalion did not take part in the abuse, they failed to prevent it. The amount of compensation awarded to the 18 individuals was 30,000 danish kroner ($4,600). Defence Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen noted that the judgment would be appealed against.
15 June 2018: In this interesting article, Alex Whiting discusses how the International Criminal Court Appeals Chamber’s acquittal of Mr Jean-Pierre Bemba would impact the Court and its rules.
14 June 2018: Trial opened in Sarajevo for two former Bosnian Serb Army soldiers on genocide charges. Mile Kosoric, the former commander of the Bosnian Serb Army’s Vlasenica Brigade, and Momcilo Tesic, a member of the brigade’s Military Police Squad, are accused of killing men from Srebrenica, raping women and robbing Bosniaks of money and gold in July 1995.
13 June 2018: Trial Chamber VII of the International Criminal Court ordered interim release of Mr Jean-Pierre Bemba, following his acquittal on war crimes and crimes against humanity charges.
12 June 2018: Human rights organizations called on the International Criminal Court to investigate atrocities allegedly committed by the Mexican military in a crackdown on drug crime in the Chihuahua region. The groups presented a dossier to prosecutors documenting alleged slayings, torture, rapes and forced disappearances involving 121 victims during 2008-2010, claiming they amounted to crimes against humanity.
11 June 2018: Germany’s federal prosecutor issued an international arrest warrant for Syria’s Air Force Intelligence chief, Jamil Hassan, for crimes against humanity. The warrant alleges that Hassan ordered his forces to torture, murder and commit sexual crimes against hundreds of detainees in Syria between 2011 and 2014.
8 June 2018: The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court decided on Friday, by majority, to acquit ex-Congolese politician Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo from the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Appeals Camber decided that the Trial Chamber III “had erroneously convicted Mr Bemba for specific criminal acts that were outside the scope of the charges as confirmed” and had made "serious errors” in “its assessment of whether Mr Bemba took all necessary and reasonable measures to prevent, repress or punish” the crimes committed by his subordinates. Mr Bemba will remain in detention on account of another case in which he has been convicted of offences against the administration of justice, pending a decision of Trial Chamber VII in that case.
8 June 2018: A confidential Asutralian governmental defence inquiry has found that some members of Australia’s elite special forces allegedly committed war crimes in Afghanistan amid a “complete lack of accountability” from the military chain of command.
New cases, briefs and videos
(For older announcements, please visit our announcements archive.)
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.
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 CASE: The case analysis of United States of America v. Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh is now available online. Tairod Pugh is an US citizen and a US Air Force veteran who was convicted for providing material support to a terrorist organisation by attempting to travel to Syria in order to join ISIL, and obstruction of justice. Pugh attempted to reach Syria through Turkey and on 10 January 2015, the defendant took a plane from Cairo and landed in Istanbul airport where he was denied entry. On 15 January, he was deported from Egypt to the US and was arrested the following day in New Jersey.
NEW CASE: The case analysis of Prosecutor v. Abdelkarim El. B. is now available online. On 8 November 2016, German foreign fighter Abdelkarim El B. was convicted of membership in a terrorist organisation abroad, illegally possessing a Kalashnikov, and committing a war crime by treating a protected person in a gravely humiliating or degrading manner. He had travelled to Syria in September 2013 in order to fight for ISIL. On 7 November 2013, El. B. and his fellow ISIL fighters found the corpse of a Syrian army soldier. While the defendant was filming and verbally encouraging them, the other fighters cut the nose and ears of the dead body, stepped on it and then shot it in the face.
NEW CASE: The case analysis of Prosecutor v. Mouhannad Droubi is now available online. On 26 February 2015, Droubi, a Syrian citizen, was sentenced by the Södertörn District Court in Sweden to five years in prison for crimes against international law (war crime) and gross assault. Droubi, who fought for the Free Syrian Army against the pro-government forces, had taken refuge in Sweden and was granted residency in 2013. In July 2014, the Swedish police discovered a video of him, along with at least five other FSA fighters, violently assaulting a man who appeared to be a pro-regime fighter with a truncheon and a whip.