(For older news updates, please visit our news archive.)
19 March 2018: Five lawyers have filed a prosecution application in the Melbourne magistrates’ court under universal jurisdiction against Aung San Suu Kyi, on charges of crimes against humanity for the deportation or forcible transfer of population. Christian Porter, the Australian attorney general, found that the case could not proceed because Aung San Suu Kyi has complete immunity.
18 March 2018: Interesting article on the problem of foreign fighters portraying themselves as aid workers, and the need for a differentiating solution ensuring that aid still reaches the people who need it.
17 March 2018: The UN OHCHR has released a new report detailing human rights violations that occurred in the early parts of the Mexican government’s investigation in the kidnapping of 43 students from Ayotzinapa in Mexico. The report found evidence of arbitrary detention and torture in 34 cases.
16 March 2018: A new report of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria found that acts of sexual and gender-based violence have been perpetrated throughout Syria by most warring parties, including the government forces, ISIL militants and rebel groups. The acts constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.
16 March 2018: The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) tribunal in Colombia will begin collecting evidence and preparing for its first hearings. The tribunal, a transitional justice mechanism, was designed to try former government soldiers and FARC rebels for war crimes committed during the Colombian conflict.
15 March 2018: President Rodrigo Duterte declared planning to withdraw the Philippines from the International Criminal Court on Thursday. This statement follows the opening of a preliminary examination by the ICC prosecutor into alleged crimes against humanity committed during the war on drugs.
14 March 2018: The UN OHCHR’s fact-finding mission in Myanmar reported that Facebook played a determining role in the human rights abuses committed against the Rohingya minority by fuelling hate speech. UN special rapporteur Yanghee Lee previously stated that the violence against the Rohingya bears the hallmarks of genocide.
13 March 2018: A report by the United Kingdom’s Inspectorate of Prisons revealed that the Home Office is keeping torture victims in detention at Harmondsworth immigration removal centre. The report found that despite accepting evidence of torture in 9 out of 10 sample cases, the Home Office continued to detain all but one of the people involved.
12 March 2018: A new report by Amnesty International reveals that there is a dramatic increase of security infrastructure in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, where military bases, helipads and roads are built on burned villages. On Friday, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein called for the referral of the situation to the ICC, which he has described as ethnic cleansing that could amount to acts of genocide.
11 March 2018: On 11 March, the judges of the International Criminal Court elected for three years Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji as President of the Court. Judge Robert Fremr and Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut were elected as Vice-Presidents.
10 March 2018: On 8 March, the International Criminal Court’s Appeals Chamber confirmed, for the most extent, the Reparations Order in the Al Mahdi case. After having amended the Order on two points, the Chamber ruled that the Trial Chamber could request the assistance of the Trust Fund for Victims to undertake the administrative screening of beneficiaries of individual reparations meeting the criteria set out by the Trial Chamber.
9 March 2018: The International Criminal Court’s Appeals Chamber delivered on March 8 its Judgment on the appeals against the Reparations Order in the Katanga case. The Chamber confirmed most of the Reparations Order, but it ordered the Trial Chamber to carry out a new assessment of the applications of five applicants who had claimed reparation for transgenerational harm.
9 March 2018: The International Criminal Court’s Appeals Chamber issued on March 8 its judgments on the appeals against verdict and sentence in the Bemba et al. case. The Appeal Chamber acquitted Mr Bemba, Mr Kilolo and Mr Magenda of the charge of presenting evidence that a party knows is false or forged, but confirmed the convictions in the remaining charges. It reversed their sentences, and ordered the Trial Chamber to make a new determination.
8 March 2018: The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) dismissed the Oneissi Defence’s Rule 167 application for acquittal. The Court ruled that the 2005 bombing that killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was a terrorist act and that evidence presented by prosecutors “could” lead to the conviction of four suspects.
7 March 2018: The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria released its newest report documenting violations occurred between July 2017 and January 2018. According to the report, air strikes by Russia and a U.S.-led coalition killed civilians in Syria on a large scale last year, while the Assad government carried out unlawful chemical weapon attacks in rebel-held eastern Ghouta.
New cases, briefs and videos
(For older announcements, please visit our announcements archive.)
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.
NEW VIDEO: New video available online. On 7 June 2017, Dr. Kinga Tibori-Szabó and Megan Hirst provided a lecture at the Asser Institute in the context of the Supranational Criminal Law Lectures Series.
The speakers shared their views on the issue of victims’ entitlement to procedural fairness guarantees in the context of international criminal proceedings before the International Criminal Court and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The video recording can be viewed here and a report on the event can be found here.
NEW CASE: The case analysis of R. c. Habib is now available online. On 19 June 2017, Canadian citizen Ismaël Habib was the first adult found guilty of attempting to leave Canada to participate in the activities of a terrorist group. Even though the accused conceded that he had the primary intent of leaving Canada, there was a dispute on his reasons for doing so. While Mr. Habib argued that he wished to join his first wife and children in Syria, the prosecution contended that the defendant’s intent was to join ISIS and participate in its terrorist activities.
NEW CASE: The case analysis of R v Blackman is now available online. On 15 September 2011 a badly wounded insurgent was killed in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, by Alexander Blackman, then an Acting Colour Sergeant of the Royal Marines. On the basis of apparent premeditation, Blackman was convicted of murder by the court martial. In this appeal, however, the court considered fresh evidence suggesting that Blackman was incapable of making rational judgements or exercising self-control as a result of adjustment disorder and several “exceptional stressors”.
CALL FOR PAPERS: In view of the ICTY closing its door at the end of this year and in an effort not to lose the valuable insights from its former employees, the ICD invites submissions of short articles for publication in the online paper series of the ICD, the ICD Briefs. The call for papers is reserved exclusively for current and former staff of the ICTY. The Briefs are ultimately between 5,000 and 7,500 words (excluding footnotes), relating to any area of international criminal law or jurisprudence. Please send your draft paper to email@example.com by 1 March 2018. Please also include a CV with your and indicate when you worked at the ICTY, in what role and in which section. Find out more about the selection process and guidelines for ICD Briefs here.
NEW VIDEOS: New videos available online. These include the only surviving Nurmeberg war crimes prosecutor, Benjamin Ferencz's lecture provided in the context of the Supranational Criminal Law Lecture Series co-organised by the International Humanitarian and Criminal Law Platform on his life dedicated to the pursuit of international criminal justice, and lectures from Guido Acquaviva and Dov Jacobs in the context of the Lebanon lecture series. The video recording of the lecture provided by Benjamin Ferencz can be viewed here and a report on the event can be found here. The video excerpts of Guido Acquaviva's lecture on war crimes can be found here. The video excerpt of Dov Jacobs's lecture on genocide can be found here.