(For older news updates, please visit our news archive.)
22 May 2018: Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) will deliver the verdict in Jean-Pierre Bemba’s appeal on 8 June. Bemba, a former vice president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, was convicted in March 2016 for war crimes and crimes against humanity of murder, rape, and pillaging. He appealed both his conviction and the 18-year prison sentence. Prosecutors also appealed the sentence, which they asked judges to raise to 25 years.
18 May 2018: Human Rights Watch published a new report on the Central African Republic’s newly established Special Criminal Court. The report finds that, despite important progress since 2017, the court will need more support from the United Nations and government donors to prosecute grave crimes, including widespread killings, rape and sexual violence, and destruction of homes.
16 May 2018: In a statement to AFP, Ms. Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, reacted to the killing of protestors on the Gaza border. Ms. Bensouda vowed that she was watching closely the unrest in Gaza and that she would “take any action warranted” to prosecute crimes. The situation in Palestine is currently under preliminary investigation at the ICC.
15 May 2018: At least 58 Palestinians were killed and about 2,700 wounded during clashes at the Gaza-Israel border during protests against the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, which marked the deadliest day in Gaza since the 2014 war. According to the UN OHCHR, most of the protesters appeared to have been unarmed or not presenting an imminent threat to the Israeli Security Forces at the time of their killing or injury.
14 May 2018: During a UN Security Council meeting, the International Criminal Court’s Prosecutor Ms. Fatou Bensouda condemned the Libyan authorities’ failure to arrest Mahmoud Al-Werfalli, a war crimes suspect accused of executing 33 Libyans in 2016 and 2017 and a major in the Libyan National Army. The ICC warrant against Mr. Al-Werfalli was issued in August 2017.
11 May 2018: The International Criminal Court's Pre-Trial Chamber I issued orders scheduling a status conference on 20 June 2018 to be held in closed session, only in the presence of the Prosecutor. The purpose of the hearing is to adjudicate the Prosecutor’s request pursuant to Article 19(3) of the Rome Statute for a ruling on whether the Court may exercise jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of the Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh.
8 May 2018: Colombia’s truth commission officially began working on Tuesday to expose the truth behind the atrocities committed during Colombia’s five decades of war. The commission will operate for three years and convene hearing on select incidents of violence. It will conduct public hearings and facilitate private meetings between victims and perpetrators across the country, in order to help victims heal from the trauma of the conflict.
26 April 2018: Human Rights Watch reported that the Israeli military has repeatedly denied Palestinian permits to build schools in the West Bank and demolished schools built without permit, creating pressure on Palestinians to leave their communities. According to HRW, such actions violate Israel’s obligations as an occupying power. It also stressed that the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court prohibit widespread, unlawful destruction of property, as well as forcible transfer of civilians within an occupied territory.
25 April 2018: A Liberian warlord known as “Jungle Jabbah” has been sentenced to 30 years in prison in the US for lying about his role in Liberia’s civil war. Despite being convicted of immigration fraud and perjury instead of war crimes, the trial was believed to be a monumental victory for Liberians and the "first case to provide some justice for victims of Liberia's civil war".
24 April 2018: In a report to the Security Council on 16 April 2018, the UN Secretary-General included Myanmar Armed Forces on an annual blacklist of groups that are “credibly suspected” of carrying out sexual violence during conflict. The acts were allegedly perpetrated during military “clearance” operations in October 2016 and August 2017 against the ethnic Rohingya community in Myanmar.
23 April 2018: Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic begins his two-day appeals hearing on Monday before judges of the UN MICT. Karadzic was convicted in 2016 by the ICTY of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia as president of the Bosnian Serb Republic, and was sentenced to 40 years of imprisonment. He has filed 50 grounds of appeal and asked for reversal of the entire judgment as well as a new trial. A verdict is expected by the end of 2018.
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.