(For older news updates, please visit our news archive.)
16 January 2019: A terrorist attack on a hotel complex has been claimed by the group Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaida affiliated terrorist group.The same group was responsible for several attacks such as the Westgate shopping mall attack in 2013 and the Garissa University attack in 2015.
The Nairobi attack shows that al-Qaeda’s east African affiliate retains the capability of bringing that form of urban terrorism to states beyond the Somali border.
15 January 2019: The ICC, by majority with a dissenting opinion of Judge Herrera-Carbuccia, has decided to acquit Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé for crimes against humanity. According to the court, the prosecution has failed to provide enough proof beyond a reasonable ground. The Court will reconvene tomorrow at 10am, as Senior Trial Attorney Eric Mcdonald has decided to avail himself of the possibility of appeal stated under article 81 of the Rome Statute.
14 January 2019: The Helsinki District Court has found a corporal in the Iraqi army, guilty of committing war crimes. Indeed, according to the court, he was handed an 18-month suspended sentence for desecrating and violating the dignity of a dead body, which constitute war crimes under international law. In casu, the soldier had decapitated the body of an ISIS militant.
11 January 2019: On Tuesday 15 January, the Trial Chamber 1 of the International Criminal Court will deliver a long-awaited decision for Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé-Goudé. The Chamber will determine whether to release them or not. Gbagbo has spent 7 years in detention accused of four counts of crimes against humanity and his defence team claims there is not enough evidence to proceed with the trial.
10 January 2019: The United Nations' Working Group on Arbitrary Detention published a report in which it accused Bahrain of arbitrarily arresting three members of the family of Sayed Alwadaei, an activist of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, without a warrant and a fair trial. According to the Working Group, this is not the first time Bahrain has arbitrarily detained people and declares that the systematic deprivation of citizens' liberty may constitute crimes against humanity.
9 January 2019: The first ICD Brief of 2019 is now available on our website! Matt Brown has written on the evacuation of Eastern Aleppo in Syria, dealing with a question as to whether it could be classified as forced displacement under international law.
9 January 2019: At least four cases are being prepared to be brought in The Netherlands regarding the war in Syria. Basing on the principle of Universal Jurisdiction, the Syria Legal Network - NL is attempting to obtain damages on behalf of Syrian citizens for their pain and suffering.
8 January 2019: A US citizen of Bangladeshi origin, Monir, has been arrested and accused of "killings, confinement, rape, arson and looting" cases during the 1971 war of independence of Pakistan. He will be tried by the widely criticised International Crimes Tribunal, a national court established by Bangladesh in 2010 to prosecute those accused of war crimes in 1971.
7 January 2019: The Helsinki Court of Appeals denied a request for early release of Pastor Francois Bazaramba from his life imprisonment. Bazaramba was convicted in 2012 for his role in the 1994 #Tutsi genocide.
New cases, briefs and videos
(For older announcements, please visit our announcements archive.)
NEW CASES: The twelve summaries (available in the database) added are related to terrorism, attempted terrorism, and providing material support. Most of the cases are from the United States as well as England and Wales, and relate to (attemped) fighting in Syria and Iraq (foreign fighters). They give a good insight of common law approaches to prosecuting terrorism-related offences. An example of a new case analysis is United States of America v. Nader Elhuzayel and Muhanad Badawi. 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. In the preparation of the US cases for the ICD database, the Asser Institute received assistance from students enrolled in the International Justice Project of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law.
NEW BRIEFS: The new briefs (available here) are related to the work and legacy of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (‘ICTY’), that operated from 1993 - 2017. Among its accused were Slobodan Milošević, Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić. The tribunal was formally closed last year after 24 years of operation and after having issued 161 indictments. The authors of these Briefs have all worked for the ICTY.
Appeals on errors of fact
Rupert Elderkin’s ICD Brief concentrates on the ICTY’s appeals on errors of fact. It highlights the Appeals Chamber’s little deference to the trial chambers’ factual findings. By implicitly identifying the judges responsible for those judgements, the Appeals Chamber unnecessarily raised doubts about the judicial professionalism of the institution.
Role of defence in international criminal proceedings
In their Brief, Fiana Reinhardt and Lisa Feirabend examine the changing perception of the importance and role of the defence in international criminal proceedings. They emphasise the changing role of the defence before the ICTY, and how the lessons learnt there are reflected in the practice of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the International Criminal Court.
Jonas Nilsson elaborates upon the last case before the ICTY, the trial of Ratko Mladić. Nilsson analyses its pre-trial and trial proceedings and expands on its lessons learned that are of relevance to present and future courts and tribunals. Nilsson also provided a lecture on this topic in the context of the Supranational Criminal Law Lecture Series, which can be viewed here.
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.