(For news updates older than two weeks, please visit our news archive.)
20 October 2017: The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has scheduled its judgment in the trial of Ratko Mladic on 22 November 2017. Mladic has been charged with the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war, for his alleged role in the Srebrenica massacre in July 1995. The Mladic judgment will be the last one delivered by the ICTY before the Tribunal’s closure on 31 December 2017.
19 October 2017: The US Federal Court in Philadelphia has found Mohammed Jabbateh, or Jungle Jabbah, guilty of two counts of fraud and two counts of perjury for lying to US government officials about his role as a combatant in the Liberian Civil War. Human rights groups welcomed the decision and called for the creation of a special court in Liberia to prosecute those responsible for war crimes during the 1989-1996 war.
18 October 2017: Amnesty International published a new report accusing Myanmar’s security forces of committing crimes against humanity on the Rohingya population of the northern Rakhine State. The NGO has documented the following crimes against humanity: unlawful killings, deportation and forcible displacement, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence, persecution based on ethnic and religious grounds, and other inhumane acts.
17 October 2017: Russian citizen Maxim Lapunov alleges that he was kidnaped and tortured for 12 days in Chechnya’s ‘gay purge’. Activists have called on the Russian government, so far unsuccessfully, to investigate the actions of the Chechen authorities which they believe amount to crimes against humanity.
16 October 2017: The NGO International Policy Group has petitioned the International Criminal Court calling for the investigation of Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka. The IPG alleges that they have intended to incite and instigate “the crimes of murder, torture, persecution, forceful evictions, rape and damage to public and private property”.
15 October 2017: Adeline Rwigara, mother of Diane Rwigara, told the Nyarugenge Intermediate Court that she had been victim of torture when she was in police custody. Adeline, Diane and her sister are being charged with inciting insurrection and “discrimination and sectarianism”. Diane Rwigara tried to challenge the Rwandan leader Paul Kagame in the 2017 August elections, criticising the human rights record of the regime.
14 October 2017: Ahmed al-Darbi, a Saudi detainee in the Guantanamo Bay wartime prison, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for his admitted role in a 2002 terrorist attack by Al Qaeda on a French oil tanker off the Yemeni coast. Mr. Darbi pleaded guilty in 2014 and cooperated as a witness with the US government.
13 October 2017: A Human Rights Watch report details credible evidence of 11 cases of serious abuse in detention in Turkey, all but one within the past seven months. The human rights group alleges that people accused of links with terrorism or with the 2016 military attempt have been tortured in police custody, while others have been abducted.
12 October 2017: The trial against former Guatemalan dictator José Efraín Ríos Montt for the Maya Ivil genocide is set to restart on Friday 13 October. In 2013, the High Risk Tribunal A had found Ríos Montt guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity, but the Constitutional Court had then vacated the ruling in a controversial split decision.
11 October 2017: Human Rights Watch report alleges widespread and systematic torture by the Rwandan military and accuses the judges of being complicit in the creation of a culture of impunity for the armed forces. The military uses arbitrary arrest, and in many cases torture, to force confessions out of suspects accused of crimes against state security and terrorism.
10 October 2017: The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina acquitted yesterday Bosnian Muslim Commander Naser Oric of war crimes against Serbs during the 1992-95 war. He had been accused of killing three Bosnian Serb prisoners near Srebrenica in 1992. In 2006, the ICTY Trial Chamber had convicted Oric of failing to prevent men under his command of killing and mistreating Bosnian Serb prisoners, but the conviction was quashed on appeal in 2008.
09 October 2017: A OPCW inquiry found that sarin was used in a March attack in Syria on Latamneh, an opposition-held town, and injured around 70 people. The report by the OPCW Syria Fact Finding Mission is due to be finalized within weeks and given to the Joint Investigative Mechanism on Syria, the UN war crimes investigators.
08 October 2017: Human Rights Watch reports that armed groups in the Central African Republic have used rape and sexual slavery as a tactic of war across the country during the nearly five years of conflict. The high levels of sexual violence, which could amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture, underline the importance of getting the newly established Special Criminal Court up and running.
07 October 2017: Christine Rivière, a French woman, was sentenced on Friday to 10 years by the Paris correctional tribunal, for conspiracy in view of preparing terrorist acts. She had morally and financially encouraged her son’s radicalization as he left to Syria in 2013. Rivière was arrested in July 2014 when she was allegedly preparing to move permanently to Syria after three previous visits to her son in ISIS-held areas.
New cases, briefs and videos
(For older announcements, please visit our announcements archive.)
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.
NEW ICD BRIEF: Nadia Grant, who is a former intern at the T.M.C. Asser Institute and is currently working with Médecins Sans Frontières, has written a new ICD Brief entitled 'Duress as a Defence for Former Child Soldiers? Dominic Ongwen and the International Criminal Court'. You can read the Brief here.
NEW CASE: The analysis of the Dutch Supreme Court's judgment in the case of Omar H is now available online. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal against the Court of Appeal's judgment in the case of Omar H, a foreign fighter convicted of training for terrorism. In upholding the Court of Appeal's judgment, the Supreme Court decided that training for terrorism in this context would be interpreted broadly and could include self-study.
NEW CASE: The analysis of the Sentencing Remarks of Mr. Justice Holroyde in the case of R v Anjem Choudary and Mohammed Rahman is now available online. Mr. Choudary and Mr. Rahman were found guilty by a jury verdict of inviting support for the proscribed terrorist organisation, the Islamic State, by signing an oath of allegiance and publishing a series of lectures online. They were both sentenced to 5.5 years' imprisonment and will be subject to notification requirements for 15 years after their release.
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 ICD BRIEF: Laetitia Ruiz, who is currently a PhD candidate at the International Victimology Institute Tilburg (INTERVICT) at Tilburg University, has written a new ICD Brief entitled 'Gender Jurisprudence for Gender Crimes?'.