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 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?'.
NEW CASE: The case analysis of Prosecutor v. Imane B. et al. is now available online. In the 'Context' case, a large terrorism case in the Netherlands, nine individuals were found guilty of various terrorism offences, ranging from online incitement to the recruitment of individuals to travel to Syria. This case arose out of investigations into the flow of foreign fighters from the Netherlands - namely people heading to Syria in order to join various terrorist groups, including ISIS and al-Nusra. The prosecution successfully argued that an organisation existed in the Netherlands that aimed at recruiting other people to support terrorist groups in Syria and to travel to join the fighting. The case also looked into the use of social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, and its role in recruiting individuals.
The nine accused, including several individuals who had travelled to Syria, faced charges concerning incitement to join terrorist groups, the dissemination of inciting materials, the recruitment of people to travel to Syria, the participation in training to commit terrorist crimes, the participation in a criminal and terrorist organisation, and other charges relating to inciting hate and defamation. The defendants were all convicted of differing offences and their sentences ranged from seven days' to six years' imprisonment.
NEW CASE: The case of Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Radmilo Vuković aka Rade is now available online. Radmilo Vuković was charged with war crimes against civilians in 2006. In his capacity as member of the military forces of the so-called Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, also known as “Republika Srpska”, Vuković allegedly raped a woman from the Foča municipality. On 13 August 2008, the Appeals Panel of the War Crimes section of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina did not find Vuković guilty, because the main piece of evidence provided by the victim and presented before the Appellate Panel contained inconsistencies. Therefore, it could not be established beyond reasonable doubt that Vuković raped the woman.
CALL FOR INTERNS: The T.M.C. Asser Instituut in The Hague is looking for two full-time interns, for a period of six months, for recently graduated or advanced law students specialising in public international law, and more specifically in counter-terrorism, international criminal law, international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Students who wish to apply should send their letter of motivation and CV (in Europass format), in English and MS-Word only, to HRM@asser.nl before 9 March 18:00 The Hague time. Interviews will take place in the third week of March (14-15 March). The envisaged starting date is 21 March 2016. For more information see here.
NEW CASE: The case of United States v. William L. Calley Jr. is now available online. William Laws Calley Jr. was born on 8 June 1943 in Miami, Florida. Calley was a former army officer in the United States and found guilty of war crimes involving the killing hundreds of unarmed, innocent South Vietnamese civilians in the My Lai Massacre on 16 March 1968, during the Vietnam War. After several reductions, Calley’s original sentence of life in prison was turned into an order of house arrest, but after three years, President Nixon reduced his sentence with a presidential pardon.
NEW CASE: The case of Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Slavko Šakić is now available online. Slavko Šakić was born on 18 November 1972 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In July 1993, he allegedly detained a number of Bosnian Muslims in a motel in Bugojno, taking their money and jewellery. Šakić was also suspected of having inflicted physical injuries on some of the detained civilians. On 5 September 2008, Šakić concluded an agreement with the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina according to which he admitted guilt for the alleged crimes. On 29 October 2008, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina found Šakić guilty of war crimes against civilians and sentenced him to eight years and six months in prison.
NEW CASE: The case of Doe et al. v. Constant is now available online. Emmanuel Constant was the founder of the Revolutionary Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti (FRAPH), a death squad that terrorised supporters of Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide who was overthrown in September 1991. Members of the FRAPH killed, put in prison, and abused supporters of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide during the military regime that ruled Haiti between September 1991 and October 1994. Constant, as the leader of FRAPH, was found guilty of torture, crimes against humanity, and the systematic use of violence against women committed during the military regime and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was ordered to pay $19 million in damages to three women who survived the crimes committed under Constant’s control.
NEW CASE: The case of Public Prosecutor v. Sebastien Nzapali is now available online. Sebastien Nzapali, aka “King of Beasts”, was commander of the Garde Civile in 1991 during the regime of President Mobutu Sese Seko in the territory of the Democratic Republic of Congo (before known as Zaire). During that time, Nzapali gave orders for the arrest of a customs officer working at the port of Matadi, his detention and for his subsequent torture. After the fall of President Mobutu in 1997, Nzapali fled to the Netherlands. In September 2007, the District Court of ‘s Hertogenbosch sentenced Nzapali to ten years' imprisonment after being found guilty on a range of charges, including self-enrichment and unlawful arrests.
NEW CASE: The case of Snedden v Minister for Justice for the Commonwealth of Australia is now available online. Dual Australian-Serbian citizen “Captain Dragan” (Dragan Vasiljkovic, known in Australia as Daniel Snedden) was the first Australian citizen to be extradited from Australia. Croatia alleges that Snedden committed war crimes in 1991 and 1993 whilst in command of Serbian paramilitary troops. The Court held that there was no reviewable error in the Minister’s determination under Section 22 of the Extradition Act 1988 (Cth) that Snedden should be extradited. The Court also held that because the Minister was not bound to consider Article 129 of the Third Geneva Convention in making his determination, any errors in the interpretation of that Article would not vitiate the decision.
NEW CASE: The case of A v. Secretary of State for the Home Department (No. 1) is now available online. This case involved nine defendants – Mahmoud Abu Rideh, Jamal Ajouaou and seven unnamed individuals, all foreign nationals living in the U.K. – who were detained without trial as they were linked to terrorist organisations. They challenged the lawfulness of their detention as violation of Article 5(1)(f) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The House of Lords opined that the possibility of indefinite detention of foreign nationals indeed breached Article 5(1)(f) ECHR but stated that constant terrorism threats could constitute an immediate danger and threat to national security; which is a lawful basis to derogate from Article 5 (see Article 15 ECHR). However, in the current case the measures were disproportionate by nature and discriminatory in their effect. Therefore, the House of Lords decided that Section 23 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, which allowed for indefinite detention of foreign suspects who could not leave the U.K., was declared incompatible with the U.K.’s international human rights obligations enshrined in the ECHR.
NEW VIDEOS: On 24 September 2014, Geoff Roberts, from the Sabra Defence Team (Special Tribunal for Lebanon), provided a lecture in the context of the Lebanon lecture series on war crimes. Four video excerpts of his lecture explaining various aspects of war crimes can be viewed here.
NEW ICD BRIEF: Dr. Megumi Ochi, Post-Doctoral research fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) at Kyoto University (Japan), has written a new ICD Brief on the "Gravity Threshold before the International Criminal Court: An Overview of the Court's Practice". You can read the Brief here.
NEW VIDEO: On Monday 22 September 2014, Matthew Gillett, Senior Staff Member, Appeals Division, Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Nema Milaninia, Appeals Counsel with the Office of the Prosecutor, ICTY, provided a lecture in the context of the Lebanon lecture series on crimes against humanity. A short excerpt from that lecture, explaining the general elements of crimes against humanity, can be found here.
NEW CASE: The case of Al-Aulaqi v. Obama et al. is now available online. The case revolves around Anwar Al-Aulaqi, an American-born cleric with dual U.S.-Yemeni citizenship who was a member of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and had gone into hiding in Yemen, from where he regularly published videos propagating the jihad. The U.S. Treasury Department had allegedly designated him for targeted killing. Therefore, his father, Nasser Al-Aulaqi, filed a complaint claiming that the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Director of the CIA unlawfully authorised the targeted killing, and seeking an injunction prohibiting them from intentionally killing his son. The Columbia District Court found that the plaintiff, the father, had neither legal standing in court for his claims, nor was the claim justiciable under the Alien Tort Statute. The Court also ruled that the political question doctrine barred it from adjudicating the case. On 7 December 2010, Nasser Al-Aulaqi’s complaint was dismissed on those grounds, while the defendants’ motion to dismiss was granted. Anwar Al-Aulaqi was killed by a drone strike in Yemen on 30 September 2011.
NEW ICD BRIEF AND INTERVIEW: Tomas Hamilton, PhD candidate at King's College London and former Visiting Researcher at the Asser Institute, has written a new ICD Brief titled "Regulating the Arms Trade - The Potential of International Criminal Law". You can read the Brief here. Tomas also completed an interview for the International Crimes Database on the same topic. His interview can be viewed here.
NEW ICD BRIEF: Carola Lingaas, PhD candidate at the University of Oslo (Norway), has written a new ICD Brief on "Defining the Protected Groups of Genocide Through the Case Law of International Courts". You can read the Brief here.
NEW CASE: The case of Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Ratko Bundalo, Neđo Zeljaja and Đorđislav Aškraba is now available online. All three persons were Serbian officials accused of involvement in crimes against humanity during the Yugoslav wars in the 1990’s. Bundalo and Zeljaja were found guilty in first instance and sentenced to 19 and 15 years’ imprisonment respectively. Aškraba was acquitted of all charges. Bundalo and Zeljaja appealed against their conviction, while the prosecutor appealed against Aškraba’s acquittal as well as against the height of the sentences of the other two. On 28 January 2011, the second instance verdict found the accused guilty of the crime against humanity of persecution. Bundalo was sentenced to a 22-year prison sentence and Zeljaja to 15 years. The accused were acquitted of certain charges under the indictment because the acts charged against them were not codified as a criminal offence under the law, and/or because it was not proven that the accused committed the acts. Against the accused Aškraba, a partial retrial was ordered.
NEW CASE: The case of Regina v. Evans et al. is now available online. Seven UK soldiers were on patrol in Iraq on 11 May 2003, with the mission to look out for and halt persons attempting to smuggle money via Iran. The soldiers chased a car which appeared to be avoiding the checkpoint and used force against both occupants; with one of them dying as consequence of his injuries. The UK military prosecutor accused the seven soldiers of murder and violent disorder. The judge found that there were serious issues with the evidence and it was unclear whether their use of force – which was in principle allowed as part of their mission – had been unlawful in the current case. Furthermore, no individual soldier could be identified as the person dealing the fatal blow, and no one could be individually found to have joined or encouraged an unlawful assault. Hence, all seven were acquitted of all charges.
NEW ICD BRIEF: Joanna Nicholson, guest researcher at PluriCourts - Centre for the Study of the Legitimate Roles of the Judiciary in the Global Order at the Faculty of Law, University of Oslo - has written an ICD Brief titled "Can War Crimes be Committed by Military Personnel against Members of Non-opposing Forces?". You can read the Brief here.
NEW ICD BRIEF: Maria Laura Ferioli, a PhD candidate in international criminal law in a joint doctorate between the University of Bologna and the University of Amsterdam, has written an ICD Brief on "The Impact of Cooperation of States on the Right to Liberty of Detained Suspects before the ICC: A Contextual Approach". The Brief can be found here.
NEW ICD BRIEF: Anne-Marie Verwiel and Karlijn van der Voort, partners at law firm Verwiel & Van der Voort, and María Barral Martínez, who completed an internship at Verwiel & Van der Voort, have written a new ICD Brief focusing on "Prosecuting Journalists at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon: A Challenge to Freedom of Speech?". You can read the Brief here.
NEW VIDEO: On Wednesday 21 January 2015, Mrs. Harriet Ssali Lule, Deputy Registrar of the International Crimes Division (ICD) of the High Court of Uganda, gave a lecture in the context of the Supranational Criminal Law Lecture Series, entitled: “The International Crimes Division of Uganda, the first domestic international crimes court in Africa”. The video can be found here.
NEW CASE: The Case concerning the Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2002 (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Belgium) is now available online. On 11 April 2000, a Belgian investigating judge issued an arrest warrant in absentia against the incumbent Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Abdulaye Yerodia Ndombasi, charging him with offences constituting grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols and crimes against humanity. On 14 February 2002, the International Court of Justice ruled that the issuance and circulation of the arrest warrant violated Belgium’s international obligations towards the DRC in that Belgium failed to respect, and infringed, Mr Yerodia’s immunity as Minister for Foreign Affairs and the inviolability enjoyed by him under international law. The Court required Belgium to cancel the arrest warrant and inform as such the authorities to whom it was circulated.
NEW CASE: The case of The Prosecutor v. Yvonne Basebya is now available online. It is the first case of genocide charges before a Dutch court and took place against the Rwandan Yvonne Basebya. Rwandan authorities alerted the Netherlands about her husband being listed as wanted in Rwanda in 2007, leading to Basebya being arrested in 2010 on suspicion of involvement in the Rwandan genocide. The District Court of The Hague ruled on 1 March 2013 that Basebya’s guilt on several of the genocide and war crimes charges could not be established. However, her repeated singing in public of a notorious anti-Tutsi song before the youth, unemployed and lower or uneducated and using her local notable upper-class position, combined with her repeatedly expressed hatred against the Tutsis, did qualify as incitement to genocide. She was sentenced to six years and eight months in prison pursuant to the Dutch War Crimes Act: the maximum sentence at the time.
NEW REPORT: On 15 October 2015 the T.M.C. Asser Instituut (The Hague) and the Antonio Cassese Initiative for Justice, Peace and Humanity (Geneva) co-organised a Symposium on the "International Legal Aspects of Countering Piracy", in the context of the 50 year anniversary of the T.M.C. Asser Instituut and this year's establishment of the Antonio Cassese Initiative Foundation in the Netherlands. The detailed report of the Symposium is now available online.
NEW CASE: The case of Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Branimir Glavaš is now available online. The case of Branimir Glavaš marks the first time that a high-ranking Croatian politician was sentenced for war crimes committed during the Croatian war of independence (1991-1995). Glavaš has always denied any wrongdoing and he protested his detention and trial in Croatia by going on a 40-day hunger strike in 2006. After several appeals, on 2 June 2010, the Croatian Supreme Court sentenced Glavaš to eight years’ imprisonment for the war crimes of murder and torture of civilians. Glavaš attempted to evade sitting out his sentence by fleeing to Bosnia, but to no avail: there, he was arrested as well and the Bosnian courts upheld the verdict issued by their Croatian colleagues.
NEW CASE: The case of The Public Prosecutor v. Heshamuddin Hesam is now available online. The Afghani Heshamuddin Hesam applied for political asylum in the Netherlands in 1996, but this was refused due to suspicion of his involvement in torture and war crimes during the war in Afghanistan in the 1980’s. The Hague District Court convicted him for war crimes and torture committed by him as head of the military intelligence agency KhaD-e-Nezami (KhAD) and as superior for failing to prevent these crimes from being committed by his subordinates. He was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment. The Court of Appeal affirmed this decision. Consequently, Hesam appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that the previous courts had erred in law on several points. The Supreme Court disagreed and, accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.
NEW CASE: The case of The Public Prosecutor v. Habibullah Jalalzoy is now available online. The Hague District Court convicted Habibullah Jalalzoy for war crimes and torture committed as a member of the military intelligence agency KhaD-e-Nezami (KhAD). The Court of Appeal affirmed this decision. Consequently, Jalalzoy appealed at the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court disagreed with Jalazoy's argument that both the District Court and Court of Appeal had erred in law on several points, and held that Dutch courts had jurisdiction over the crime, that prosecution was admissible, that the crimes were not time-barred, and that the convictions had been in conformity with the law. Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.
NEW ICD BRIEF: Arron N. Honniball, a Ph.D. Candidate at Utrecht University, has written a new ICD Brief focusing on "The 'Private Ends' of International Piracy: The Necessity of Legal Clarity in Relation to Violent Political Activists". The Brief can be found here.
NEW CASE: The case of Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Paško Ljubičić is now available online. Ljubičić was initially indicted for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and other grave violations of the laws of war, allegedly committed by himself and by Croatian military police forces under his command in 1993, during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, following a plea agreement, the charges were reduced to include only war crimes against civilians. Ljubičić signed the plea agreement, which the Court accepted. He was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment.
NEW ICD BRIEF: Alina Balta, a former T.M.C. Asser Instituut intern and graduate of Tilburg University, has written a new ICD Brief focusing on "Protection of Schools During Armed Conflict". The Brief can be found here.
NEW SPEAKING NOTES: On Wednesday 9 September 2015, Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court James Stewart gave a lecture in the context of the Supranational Criminal Law Lecture Series, entitled: "International criminal law - a personal note on its practice and current challenges". Unfortunately, the recording failed but Mr. Stewart has been so kind to allow us to upload his speaking notes.
NEW CASE: The case of Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Željko Mejakić, Momčilo Gruban and Duško Knežević is now available online. All men were initially indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia for charges of crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, torture and other inhumane acts. However, in 2006, they were transferred to Bosnia and Herzegovina to be tried there. The Trial Panel found them guilty. They appealed against their conviction; the Appellate Panel partly granted their appeal, but mostly for insignificant parts, leading to Mejakić’s and Kneževic’s conviction and sentence to be upheld.
CALL FOR INTERNS: The T.M.C. Asser Instituut in The Hague is looking for a recently graduated or an advanced law student specialising in counterterrorism and International Criminal/Humanitarian/Human Rights Law to work for a contract project related to foreign terrorist fighters. This is a full-time internship for a period of six months, starting 19 October 2015. Students who are interested in applying can send their letter of motivation and CV (in Europass format), in English and MS-Word only, to HRM@asser.nl at latest by 25 September 2015 at 17:00 CET. For more information, please see here.
NEW CASE: The case of Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Momčilo Mandić is now available online. Momčilo Mandić, who was Assistant Minister of the Interior of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in April 1996, was indicted before the Court of BiH in 2006 on allegations of involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the armed conflicts that broke out in the former Yugoslavia in 1991. Mandić was acquitted by the Court in first instance, as it could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt that he had been involved in these acts, and neither could it be established that he was, indeed, a superior with the possibility to either order such acts to be committed or to take measures against subordinates. The prosecution appealed, but to no avail; on 1 September 2009, the Appellate Panel upheld the acquittal.
NEW CASE: The case of Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Mladen Milanović is now available online. Mladen Milanović, who was a prison camp guard during the war in the former Yugoslavia, was accused of war crimes against civilians. After more than six years of proceedings before several courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Supreme Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina ultimately found Milanović guilty of the charged crimes and sentenced him to one year and four months in prison (with credit for time already spent in custody) on 14 January 2014.
NEW CASE: The case of Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Zoran Marić is now available online. Zoran Marić, a former soldier in the Army of Republika Srpska, was indicted by theCourt of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) on suspicion of involvement in war crimes committed in 1992. Marić was charged with co-perpetration – together with fellow soldiers – of torture, inhumane treatment and murder of Bosniak civilians. Although he initially pleaded not guilty, he came to a plea agreement with the prosecutor, pleading guilty to the crimes he was indicted for. The Court of BiH, after evaluating the evidence, found the agreement acceptable and sentenced Marić to fifteen years’ imprisonment.
NEW CASE: The case of Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Jadranko Palija is now available online. Jadranko Palija, a former member of the Serbian army, was accused of having committed war crimes against civilians and crimes against humanity during the armed conflict in the former Yugoslavia. On 28 November 2007, Palija was found guilty on all charges by the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and sentenced to 28 years in prison. He appealed against his conviction, but this did not help him: on 24 April 2008, the Appellate Panel of the Court ruled that the Trial Panel had been correct in both its analysis of the facts and the application of the law. Therefore, the conviction and prison sentence were both confirmed.
NEW CASE: The case of Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Appellant, v. Léon Mugesera, Gemma Uwamariya, Irenée Rutema, Yves Rusi, Carmen Nono, Mireille Urumuri and Marie-Grâce Hoho, Respondents is now available online. Léon Mugesera, a former politician in Rwanda, fled Rwanda in 1993. Mugesera, together with his wife and their five children, sought asylum in Canada, which was granted. However, in 1995, the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) became aware of the arrest warrant and issued an order to deport Mugesera to Rwanda for trial. The Federal Court of Appeal held that the deportation order should not have been issued as there was not sufficient evidence that Mugesera had indeed been involved in the Rwandan genocide as alleged. However, the Canadian Supreme Court quashed this decision on 28 June 2005, ruling that the Court of Appeal had applied an incorrect standard of review and that, in fact, the IRB had been right all along.
NEW CASE: The case of Ali Zaki Mousa and others, claimants, v. Secretary of State for Defence, defendant, and Legal Services Commission, interested party is now available online. The claimant in Mousa v. UK, Ali Zaki Mousa, represents about 100 Iraqis – with the possible addition of 100 more after intervention – who were allegedly tortured or otherwise ill-treated during their detention at British military bases in Iraq, often without being charged. The Court found that the current investigating bodies were too much intertwined with the army itself and did not constitute independent bodies of judicial review, as required by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Therefore, the Secretary of State was ordered to initiate proper investigations.
NEW CASE: The case of the Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Abduladhim Maktouf is now available online. Abduladhim Maktouf was arrested on 12 June 2004 in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), initially on suspicion of economic crimes committed in the context of the electronics business he was working in. However, following in-depth investigations, he was indicted and found guilty of war crimes against civilians, and he received a five-year prison sentence.
NEW CASE: The case of the Public Prosecutor v. M.P. et al. is now available online. The Zadar County Court of Croatia, in its verdict of 24 April 1997, convicted in absentia 19 officers of the so-called Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) for the siege of the city of Zadar, which caused the death of at least 30 civilians and the destruction of significant parts of the city. The officers were found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and sentenced to prison sentences that ranged from ten to 20 years. However, as they had left Croatia before the initial indictment, the convicted persons have not yet been caught.
NEW CASE: The case of the Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Željko Lelek is now available online. On 19 February 2009, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)’s Appellate Panel issued a second instance verdict in the case against Željko Lelek, upholding his conviction for crimes against humanity. However, in the second instance his sentence was increased from 13 to 16 years’ imprisonment as the Appellate Panel attached greater weight to the aggravating circumstance in the case.
NEW CASE: The case of the Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Zijad Kurtović is now available online. Zijad Kurtović, a commander of a military police platoon of the Bosnian army, was accused of involvement in war crimes committed during the war between Croatia and Bosnia (1992-1995). In first instance, Kurtović was found guilty on all charges and sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment. Kurtović appealed on several grounds, arguing that the first instance Panel had erred in law (using the wrong law) and in fact (wrongly established certain facts). The prosecution also appealed against the sentence, which was, in its view, too lenient. The Appellate Panel partly agreed with Kurtović where it concerned the classification of the crimes. However, the findings on the facts remained further unchanged. Therefore, the Appellate Panel amended the conviction to only include war crimes against civilians and the wanton destruction of religious monuments. The prosecutor’s appeal was dismissed; the 11-year prison sentence was upheld.
NEW CASE: The case of the Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Radmilo Vuković aka Rade is now available online. Radmilo Vuković was born on 28 July 1952 in the village of Rataje located in the municipality of Foča, southeastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. In his capacity as member of the military forces of the so-called Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, also known as “Republika Srpska”, Vuković allegedly had sexual intercourse with a woman from the Foča municipality without her consent. On 13 August 2008, the Appeals Panel of the War Crimes section of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina did not find Vuković guilty, because the main piece of evidence provided by the victim and presented before the Appellate Panel contained inconsistencies. Therefore, it could not be established beyond reasonable doubt that Vuković raped the woman.
NEW CASE: The case of the Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Mirko Todorović and Miloš Radić is now available online. Todorović and Radić were found guilty of participating in an attack conducted in Bratunac on 20 May 1992, which was directed against Bosnian Muslim (Bosniak) civilians. On that day, Todorović and four other members of the Serbian army arrested 14 Bosniak civilians and brought them to a house where one of the civilians was killed. Todorović, together with Radić, did not allow the other civilians to leave the house. The civilians were beaten, cursed, and their money and valuable items were taken away. Subsequently, the civilians were brought to a slope on a nearby creek, lined up and killed.
NEW CASE: The case of Polyukhovich v. The Commonwealth of Australia and Another is available online. Ivan Timofeyevich Polyukhovich was born in the village of Serniki in the Pinsk region, Ukraine. Polyukhovich became an Australian citizen in 1958. In January 1990, a case was brought against Polyukhovich in Australia for his alleged involvement in the mass killing of approximately 850 people from the Jewish ghetto in Serniki village and for killing 24 other people between August and September 1942. Their bodies had been exhumed in June and July 1990. On 18 May 1993, Polyukhovich was acquitted because there was not sufficient evidence to continue with the case.
NEW CASE: The case of the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor v. Miroljub Vujović et al. is now available online. The accused in the case were all members of the Vukovar Territorial Defence force (TO) or of the volunteer unit called “Leva Supoderica”. On 18 November 1991, members of the Croatian armed forces surrendered themselves to the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA). As a result, they had to enjoy certain rights and protection under international law because they were prisoners of war. For instance, they had to be treated humanely, should not be beaten or killed. Nevertheless, they were taken to the Ovčara farm in the Vukovar municipality on 20 and 21 November 1991, where they were brutally beaten, injured, and killed by members of the TO force (including the accused). Approximately 200 Croatians were killed at the Ovčara farm.
NEW CASE: The case of the Ad Hoc Prosecutors v. Timbul Silaen is now available online. Timbul Silaen worked as police chief in East Timor in 1999. As such, he was responsible for the security during the independence referendum held in the country on 30 August 1999. Before and after the referendum, deadly incidents took place between people in favour of East Timor’s secession from the Republic of Indonesia and the pro-Indonesian supporters. Approximately 1000 people died, 80% of the territory was destroyed, and 250,000 people were forcibly evacuated to Indonesia. Silaen was prosecuted because as a commander he allegedly failed to stop his subordinates from committing crimes and also failed to bring them to court in order to be prosecuted. In 2002, the Indonesian Ad Hoc Tribunal for East Timor did not found Silaen guilty as a commander because it could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that his subordinates had committed the crimes.
NEW ICD BRIEF: Laura Paredi, PhD Candidate at the University of Milan, has written a new ICD Brief focusing on "The War Crime of Terror: An analysis of international jurisprudence". Check it out here.
CALL FOR INTERNS: The T.M.C. Asser Instituut in The Hague is looking for two university and university of applied science students in the final stages of their bachelor’s degree or during/after their master’s degree, with a solid background in international criminal law, to work on the International Crimes Database (ICD). Students who wish to apply should send their letter of motivation, a CV and a recent (within the last year) academic writing sample to HRM@asser.nl by Wednesday 24 June C.O.B. Interviews will take place in the week of 6 July 2015. The envisaged start date is 15 July 2015. For more information see here and here.
NEW CASE: The case of The Queen (on the application of Maya Evans) v. Secretary of State for Defence is now available online. The case came as a result of information that Afghan terror detainees transferred by the British Armed Forces to the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) were beaten and physically mistreated. Maya Evans, a U.K. peace activist, sought to stop that practice and brought a case before the British High Court of Justice. On 25 June 2010, the Court decided that there was a chance that detainees were indeed mistreated at the NDS detention facility in Kabul. Therefore, the Court banned detainee transfers to this NDS facility. Transfers to the NDS facilities in Kandahar and Lashkar Gah remained allowed, although the Court imposed a series of ‘safeguards’ and monitoring arrangements on all future transfers of detainees.
NEW CASE: The case of The Deputy General Prosecutor for Serious Crimes v. Col. Herman Sedyono et al. is now available online. The defendants in this case took part in a widespread or systematic attack directed against civilians that were in favour of an independent East Timor. One of the accused, Herman Sedyono, was the Bupati (District Administrator) of the Covalima District, one of the 13 districts in East Timor. As such, he was bearing the primary responsibility for maintaining peace and security in the region. Most of the other accused were Commander or just member of the Indonesian security authorities (TNI) or the Indonesian police force (POLRI), which were both promoting autonomy within the Republic of Indonesia. In 1999, the Mahidi and the Laksaur pro-Indonesian militia groups, with the help of the TNI and POLRI, and with support from the Covalima District administration, repeatedly committed attacks against the Covalima population (mainly against those that were in favour of independence). The 16 accused were charged with encouraging, assisting and failing to stop, arrest or prosecute the perpetrators of the crimes.
CALL FOR ABSTRACTS: The ICD invites submissions of short articles for publication in the online paper series of the ICD, the ICD Briefs. Please send an abstract of your submission (500 words, incl. brief biographies or author affiliations) to email@example.com by 1 July. Please also include a CV with your submission. Authors of selected abstracts will be informed by 15 July. Selected authors should be prepared to submit a full paper for review by 1 October. Find out more about the selection process and guidelines for ICD Briefs here.
NEW CASE: The case of The Ad Hoc Prosecutor v. Lt. Col. Inf. Soedjarwo is now available online. Lieutenant Colonel Soedjarwo was a military commander of the Indonesian National Army (TNI) in the district of Dili between 9 August 1999 and 20 December 1999. Soedjarwo was found guilty of crimes against humanity because he failed to prevent his troops from attacking the Diocese office of Dili and the residence of Archbishop Belo in Dili on 4 and 6 September 1999. At least 13 civilians who were seeking refuge at these two places were killed during the attack.
NEW CASE: The case of Teófila Ochoa Lizarbe et al v. Telmo Ricardo Hurtado Hurtado is now available online. On 14 August 1985, 60 women, children and elderly men were killed in the highlands village of Accomarca in Peru’s southern Andean region of Ayacucho. This massacre is known as the Accomarca Massacre. The plaintiffs brought a complaint against Telmo Ricardo Hurtado Hurtado (Second Lieutenant (Subteniente) in the Peruvian Army) who was responsible for the command of the soldiers that committed the killings. The plaintiffs sought justice on behalf of all the members of the Asociación de Familiares Afectados por la Violencia Política del Distrito de Accomarca (Association of Relatives of the Victims of Political Violence in Accomarca) who lost relatives in the massacre. Hurtado was found guilty for the crimes committed in connection with the Accomarca Massacre. On 4 March 2008, the District Court for the Southern District of Florida ordered Hurtado to pay $37 million in damages to the plaintiffs.
NEW CASE: The case of the Public Prosecutor v. Oie Hee Koi and connected appeals is now available online. During the fighting between Indonesia and Malaysia, twelve Malaysian Chinese members of the Indonesian Air Force who were heavily armed, infiltrated into Malaysia (ten by parachute and two by boat). They were arrested, convicted pursuant to Malaysian law and sentenced to death. The Federal Court of Malaysia held that two members were protected pursuant to international law, in particular the Geneva Prisoners of War Convention of 1949. On appeal, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council decided that they were not protected under the 1949 Geneva Convention because they were nationals of Malaysia (the state that detained them). Therefore, they could be prosecuted under national law for offences against that law.
NEW CASE: The case of Physicians for Human Rights and others v. Prime Minister of Israel and others & Gisha Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement and others v. Minister of Defence is now available online. When Hamas, a Palestinian armed resistance group, came into power in Gaza, southern Israel was increasingly subject to heavy missile attacks. On 27 December 2008, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) began a large-scale military operation that Israel initiated in the Gaza Strip in order to stop the shooting of mortars. During that operation, also known as “Operation Cast Lead”, the IDF entered the Gaza Strip and attacked targets used by Hamas. In January 2009, two organizations filed a complaint against Israel and claimed that during the operation, the IDF did not protect medical centers and personnel, did not help with the transfer of wounded people, and did not supply electricity to the Gaza Strip. The Israeli Supreme Court found that Israel was acting reasonably and had not violated any international rules.
NEW CASE: The case of the Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Dragoje Paunović is now available online. Dragoje Paunović was born on 19 June 1954 in the town of Mojkovac in northern Montenegro. Paunović was a senior officer of a small military formation attached to the Battalion of Rogatica, a battalion part of the Bosnian Serb Army. In the period May to September 1992, attacks were carried out by military and police forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina and by Serbian paramilitary formations against the Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) living in the municipality of Rogatica. On 15 August 1992, Paunović used 27 Bosniaks as protection during a clash between the army of the Republika Srpska and the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Bosniaks were detained in the Rasadnik detention camp in Rogatica, and later driven to the town of Jacen in Rogatica where 24 of them were subsequently killed under the orders of Paunović. The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina found Paunović guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to 20 years in prison.
NEW VIDEO: On Tuesday, 17 March 2015, Raji Sourani, Director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, and Shawan Jabarin, Director of Al-Haq, gave a lecture in the context of the Supranational Criminal Law Lecture Series, entitled: "Palestine and the International Criminal Court". The video can be found here.
NEW CASE: The case of Mamani et al. v. Sánchez de Lozada, and Mamani et al. v. Sánchez Berzain is now available online. It concerns the case of nine relatives of people killed during a series of national protests in Bolivia in October 2003, who brought a case in the U.S. against the former President of Bolivia, Sánchez de Lozada, and the former Minister of Defence of Bolivia, Sánchez Berzaín. The plaintiffs claimed that Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Berzaín were responsible for the killing of more than 400 people in Bolivia during the suppression of the protests directed against the government’s policies. In particular, the plaintiffs claimed that Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Berzaín gave orders to the Bolivian security forces to use deadly force against protestors. The plaintiffs asked for compensation. On 29 August 2011, a U.S. Court of Appeals dismissed their claims because they had not presented enough evidence to establish a link between both Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Berzaín and the killings.
NEW CASE: The case of Her Majesty the Queen (Prosecutor) v. Désiré Munyaneza is now available online. Désiré Munyaneza was born in December 1966 in Rwanda. Between the beginning of April and the end of July 1994, Hutus killed approximately 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda. During that period, Munyaneza was one of the leaders of the Interahamwe Hutu paramilitary organisation in Butare, which played a major role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. In 1997, Munyaneza fled to Canada to avoid prosecution. However, in October 2005 he was arrested in Canada on suspicion of his involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. In May 2009, the Quebec Superior Court found Munyaneza guilty for the criminal offences of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for abducting, raping, sexually assaulting, and killing Tutsis, and for pillaging of their properties. He was sentenced to life in prison.
NEW CASE: The case of Regina (on the application of Robert Lewis Manson) (Claimant) v. The Bow Street Magistrates' Court (First Defendant) and Carmarthen Justices (Second Defendant) is now available online. In March 2003, Phil Pritchard and Toby Olditch, peace activists, entered the bases of the Royal Air Force (RAF) and tried to disable the planes located there. They acted in an attempt to prevent a crime by the U.K. and the U.S., namely the preparation of a war against Iraq. Two other activists, Margaret Jones and Paul Milling, also entered the RAF base. All the activists were charged in the U.K. In their defence, they claimed that the actions of the U.K. and the U.S. were illegal. Their defence was rejected by the English courts because the alleged crime was a crime under international law but not under English criminal law.