11 February 2020: Six Libyan families sued Libyan eastern-based renegade commander Khalifa Haftar and the United Arab Emirates government in a federal U.S. court on Monday for their alleged roles in committing war crimes in Libya. In the lawsuit filed in the Federal District Court of the District of Columbia, the families, whose relatives were murdered, injured or faced attempted killings are seeking $1 billion in damages. According to the plaintiffs’ attorneys, Martin F. McMahon & Associates, Haftar is "not just a war criminal, but also a U.S. citizen with assets and family members in the U.S. and he can and will be held accountable for his illegal and barbaric acts".
10 February 2020: Five leaders of a predominantly Christian militia in the Central African Republic have been handed life sentences for war crimes and crimes against humanity after dozens of Muslims were slaughtered in a southeastern town in May 2017. Twenty-eight individuals were also given terms ranging from 10-15 years of forced labour, mainly for murder and illegal possession of weapons. CAR's Justice Minister, Flavien Mbata said that it was the first time a sentence for crimes against humanity had been handed down by a CAR court.
7 February 2020: Former reservist policeman Goran Stanisic was charged with participating in the deportation of Kosovo Albanians during the war in 1999, as well as committing other war crimes against civilians. Kosovo’s Special Prosecution claims that Stanisic participated in the deportation of the Kosovo Albanian civilian population and was involved in killings and other unlawful acts, in violation of international humanitarian law.
6 February 2020: 78 women and 50 children were released by an armed group in South Sudan early this week. They were among more than 500 women and children abducted between April and August 2018 by the pro-Riek Machar Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO RM) and subjected to repeated rape, sexual slavery and forced marriage. South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, has been marred by years of armed conflict and instability following a political crisis which has resulted in the commission of serious alleged war crimes.
5 February 2020: On 1 February 2020 Kiribati became the 123rd State Party to the Rome Statute of the ICC, thus becoming the newest ICC member, and the 16th State Party among the Pacific Island states. Adopted in July 1998, the Rome Statute led to the establishment of the International Criminal Court – the only permanent international judicial mechanism with the objective of investigating and prosecuting genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression in 2002.
4 February 2020: This week the ICC Appeals Chamber will hold a hearing in the Gbagbo and Blé Goudé case to hear observations on the application of Mr Laurent Gbagbo of 7 October 2019, requesting the Appeals Chamber to reconsider its judgment of 1 February 2019 which imposed conditions on the release of Mr Laurent Gbagbo and Mr Blé Goudé following their acquittal. Mr Gbagbo and Mr Blé Goudé were charged with crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Côte d'Ivoire in 2010 and 2011.
3 February 2020: Islam Alloush, a former spokesperson for Jaish al-Islam, a group largely based in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta and suspected for the disappearance of a number of prominent human rights activists, has been arrested in France for war crimes. It is alleged that Jaish al-Islam carried out a "reign of terror" in the areas it controlled and numbered more than 20,000 fighters. Alloush is thought to have travelled to France on an Erasmus student visa.
31 January 2020: At the 7th annual dinner of the Coordinating Council Of The Armenian Organizations in France (CCAF), historian Taner Akçam said that recognition of Armenian Genocide was a precondition for peaceful society in Turkey. Akçam maintained that Turkey's acknowledgement of the atrocities of its predecessor, the Ottoman empire, was a precondition for its people to be able to live in peace and tranquillity, not only with one another but with the other people of the region.
30 January 2020: A Dutch district court has thrown out a case alleging war crimes against former Israeli Armed Forces chief Benny Gantz brought by a Dutch Palestinian who lost six relatives in an Israeli air strike on Gaza in 2014, saying it did not have jurisdiction. “A Dutch judge is not competent to rule on the case of the claimant,” presiding Judge Larisa Alwin said, explaining that universal jurisdiction could be applied for individual criminal responsibility but not in a civil case. In civil cases in national courts, Gantz enjoys immunity from prosecution due to his government function at the time of the alleged crimes, Alwin said.
30 January 2020: A former member of Guatemala's paramilitary community patrols was arrested Wednesday on charges of crimes against humanity, after he was deported from the United States. Francisco Cuxum Alvarado allegedly participated in mass rapes of indigenous women between 1981 and 1985, during the country’s 36-year civil war. He was a member of a civil militia that helped government forces violently remove, rape and massacre Maya Achi people from the Rio Negro area.
29 January 2020: Miladin Trifunovic, the wartime commander of the Vogosca Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army, went on trial at the Bosnian state court on Tuesday for committing crimes against humanity in the Vogosca and Ilijas area in 1992. The indictment alleges that Trifunovic’s actions were part of a widespread and systematic attack by the Bosnian Serb Army on the Bosniak civilian population in the municipalities of Vogosca and Ilijas between early July 1992 and December 16 that year.
28 January 2020: The European Union has called on the Myanmar government to act on the report by a government-established international panel that found war crimes and grave human rights abuses had been committed in Rakhine State in 2017. The commission, headed by senior Philippine diplomat Rosario Manalo, said in its 461-page report that war crimes had been committed during the massive military campaign against the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) between August 25 and September 5, 2017.
27 January 2020: Today the world marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. From the perspective of the ICC, the vow of 'never again' is a shared responsibility regarding which the Court stands ready to play its part. In a statement by the President of the ICC, Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, that part requires the ICC to put itself between the victims and the atrocities that the world had in mind when creating the ICC, even if this means brooking political attacks against the Court itself.
27 January 2020: The Special Department for War Crimes of the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has filed an indictment against Ljuban Ećim, born in 1964 in Svilajnac, Serbia. Ećim is charged with committing crimes against humanity in Kotor Varoš and surrounding areas from the beginning of June 1992 until mid-1994, having participated in a joint criminal enterprise, with other commanders and members of the military and police.
24 January 2020: The trial of Thomas Kwoyelo, a former commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), resumed last week before the International Crimes Division (ICD) sitting at the High Court of Uganda in Gulu. Kwoyelo is facing 93 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed between January 1995 and December 2005 in northern Uganda.
23 January 2020: The Court of Nations has ordered Myanmar to “take all measures within its power” to prevent its military or others from carrying out genocidal acts against the Rohingya, who it said faced “real and imminent risk.” In a unanimously - ruled order issued by a panel of 17 judges, and read by presiding Judge Abdulaqawi Ahmed Yusuf, the court upheld the provisions of the 1948 Genocide Convention, saying Myanmar had "caused irreparable damage to the rights of the Rohingya. The ICJ also essentially put Myanmar under court oversight, telling it to submit regular reports to the tribunal explaining what steps it had taken.
22 January 2020: The International Criminal Court delays jurisdiction ruling on Israel war crimes case over document length amid calls for sanctions against it. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accuses the Hague Court of a "full frontal attack" on democracy and the Jewish people's right to live in Israel in light of its prosecutor's intent to probe Israel's alleged war crimes against Palestinians.
21 January 2020: An independent commission established by Myanmar's government has concluded there are reasons to believe that security forces committed war crimes in counterinsurgency operations that led more than 700,000 members of the country's Muslim Rohingya minority to flee to neighboring Bangladesh. The commission however asserts that there is no evidence supporting charges that genocide was planned or carried out against the Rohingya.
20 January 2020: President Donald Trump insists that Iranian cultural sites are fair game for US military, dismissing concerns that it may constitute a war crime under international law. He further threatens punitive sanctions on Iran if US troops were expelled in retaliation for an American air strike in Baghdad that killed a senior Iranian official. Iran however promises to retaliate, and the Iraqi parliament responded on Sunday by voting to oust US troops based in the country.
15 January 2020: The trial of Malko Koroman, former chief of the Serbian police’s Public Security Station, commenced in Bosnia on Monday. Koroman faces charges of crimes against humanity relating to allegations that he organised and enabled unlawful arrests and detentions at both the Public Security Station and a nearby gym, as part of a widespread and systematic attack on the Bosniak civilian population in 1992. It is alleged that the detainees were subjected to torture and murder. Witnesses for the prosecution are due to be called on 27 January.
14 January 2020: The Supreme Court of Bangladesh has upheld the death sentence of Syed Mohammad Qaisar for crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 Liberation War. Qaisar, a former state minister of the Jatiya Party in Bangladesh, had appealed the conviction and sentence given to him by Bangladesh’s now defunct International Crimes Tribunal-2 in 2014. This is the 9th crimes against humanity case to be dealt with by the Supreme Court.
13 January 2020: Violence committed recently in the Democratic Republic of the Congo may amount to crimes against humanity, according to the United Nations. At least 701 people have been killed and 168 injured in attacks in the Ituri province involving Hema and Lendu communities between December 2017 and September 2019. In particular, Lendu armed groups have become highly organised in orchestrating attacks against the Hema, with the objective of taking control of their land and resources. The grave violence committed includes sexual violence and beheadings, including against women and children.
10 January 2020: Former politician Charles Blé Goudé has been convicted in absentia in Côte d'Ivoire and sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment for charges of murder, rape and torture committed during a period of post-election violence in 2010-2011. In January 2019 Blé Goudé and former President Laurent Gbagbo were acquitted by the International Criminal Court of crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the same period on the basis that there was no case to answer. As per the ruling of the Court, Blé Goudé remains in the Netherlands pending a possible appeal of this decision.
9 January 2020: A report released by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) in the United States has indicated that crimes against humanity may have been committed by China in the Xinjiang region. The report specifically refers to the mass internment camps in China that have been used to detain the Uighur, Kazakh and other ethnic minorities. The report states: ‘Scholars and rights groups provided a strong argument, based on available evidence, that the "crimes against humanity" framework may apply to the case of mass internment camps’ in China. It also calls on governments to implement sanctions against China for this conduct.
7 January 2020: A statement released by Human Rights Watch has indicated that if carried out, US President Donald Trump’s threats of targeting cultural sites in Iran could constitute war crimes. These threats have arisen in the context of tensions following a drone strike of 3 January that killed commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani. Human Rights Watch stated: “Trump’s threats against Iran’s cultural heritage reflect his administration’s broader disregard for human rights in Iran and elsewhere”, also urging the US to comply with the laws of armed conflict at all times.
17 December 2019: A former Argentinian police officer has been extradited from France to Argentina. Mario Sandoval is suspected of crimes against humanity, including torture, allegedly committed during Argentina’s dictatorship. In particular, he is implicated in the killing of architecture student Hernán Abriata, who disappeared from a secret detention center in Buenos Aires in 1976. Sandoval has been living in France for over 30 years, working as a university lecturer and security advisor to French officials. Argentina first requested his extradition in 2012 and Sandoval had continued to deny and appeal the accusations against him, until last week when France’s top administrative court approved his extradition.
16 Dec 2019: Bosnian prosecutors have indicted Milan Lukic, a Bosnian Serb paramilitary leader who was previously convicted of war crimes and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2012 by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Following an interrogation of Lukic in Estonia, where he is currently serving his life sentence, the Bosnian prosecutor has issued an indictment for crimes that were not covered in the ICTY case. This indictment includes war crimes relating to the torture and execution of 20 people seized from a train passing through Bosnia in 1993 by the White Eagles/Avengers paramilitary group, led by Lukic. The indictment has been sent to the Bosnian State Court for confirmation.
12 December 2019: Pre-Trial Chamber II (PTC II) of the International Criminal Court has confirmed the charges against Alfred Yekatom and Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona. PTC II unanimously decided that there is substantial grounds to believe Yekatom and Ngaïssona are responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Central African Republic between 2013-2014, committing both to trial.
11 December 2019: Montenegro's Court of Appeal has confirmed the conviction of former Yugoslav soldier Vlado Zmajevic of war crimes for the murder of four ethnic Albanians in Kosovo in 1999. He faces a sentence of 14 years' imprisonment. This judgment is final and cannot be appealed. To date, Montenegro has only tried six war crimes cases.
10 December 2019: Charges against former Liberian first lady Agnes Reeves Taylor have been dismissed in a United Kingdom court. Taylor was charged with torture and conspiracy to commit torture allegedly committed during Liberia’s civil war and has remained in custody since her arrest in 2017. Her ex-husband, former Liberian President Charles Taylor, is currently serving a 50 year sentence for aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Sierra Leone.
9 December 2019: The Assembly of States Parties has approved a Swiss proposal enabling the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute the war crime of intentional starvation of civilians in non-international armed conflicts. Previously, starvation of civilians was only a war crime under the Rome Statute if committed during international armed conflicts. As pointed out by scholar Kevin Jon Heller on the Opinio Juris blog, this amendment will only apply to States Parties who choose to ratify it.
5 December 2019: An Argentinian rights group has released a report alleging that members of Bolivia’s de facto government are responsible for crimes against humanity. The report states: "We have found that the repressive system set up by the de facto government has caused dozens of deaths, hundreds of arbitrary detentions, thousands of wounded, countless cases of coercion and torture, rapes and other crimes against the physical, psychological and sexual integrity of the victims who are men, women, children, the elderly and members of vulnerable groups”.
4 December 2019: The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (OTP) has confirmed its decision not to open an investigation into an attack by Israeli Defense forces on a Flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. The OTP has maintained its position that this situation is not sufficiently grave to open an investigation. This follows a decision by the Pre-Trial Chamber in November 2018 ordering the OPT to reconsider its decision not to open an investigation into the Comoros situation.
2 December 2019: A former senior military official has been indicted in Guatemala on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the country’s 36-year civil war. Luis Enrique Mendoza Garcia is due to be tried in March for his role in an operation in the 1980s that led to the death of at least 1,771 of the Maya Ixil Indigenous group and displaced thousands. Mendoza Garcia is the fourth military official to be indicted recently for genocide against the Maya Ixil community, alongside Benedicto Lucas Garcia, Manuel Callejas and Cesar Noguera.
29 November 2019: A group of Brazilian lawyers and former ministers have lodged a complaint with the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court against President Jair Bolsonaro. The Arms Commission for Human Rights Defense and Brazil’s Human Rights Advocacy Collective (CADHu) requested that the Prosecutor investigate allegations that Bolsonaro is guilty of inciting genocide of Indigenous peoples and committing crimes against humanity for failure to protect the Amazon forest in light of the recent fires.
28 November 2019: The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court has rejected the appeal of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo and confirmed the September 2018 Re-Sentencing Decision of Trial Chamber VII. In this decision the Trial Chamber sentenced Bemba to one year of imprisonment and ordered a 300,000 euro fine for witness interference during the proceedings against him.
25 November 2019: In response to the BBC Panorama/Sunday Times joint investigation which found that the United Kingdom armed forces have been involved in repeatedly covering up evidence of war crimes committed in Iraq and Afghanistan, a joint letter authored by the directors of a number of human rights organisations has called on whichever political party which will form the next UK government to take action to address these allegations. The crimes revealed in the investigation include the murder of children, torture and the killing of civilians. The letter calls for prompt and effective investigation by a fully independent body, where appropriate leading to the domestic prosecution of those responsible, as well as cooperation with any investigation the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court may take into these alleged crimes.
22 November 2019: The head of the Raia Mutomboki militia group, Frederic Masudi Alimasi, has been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by a military court in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Alimasi was found guilty of the crimes against humanity of rape, murder, torture, sexual slavery, deprivation of liberty, looting and destruction of property. The court also held that the Congolese state was responsible for failing to protect civilians and ordered it to pay damages to over 300 victims.
21 November 2019: An Iranian national has been detained in Sweden and awaits a decision by Swedish prosecutors as to whether he will be charged with crimes against humanity. Hamid Nouri was arrested upon arrival at the international airport in Stockholm. He is accused of involvement in the execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988 in his former position as assistant prosecutor in Iran’s prison system. This is the first time that a high-level Iranian official could be prosecuted in a foreign country for crimes committed in Iran pursuant to the principle of universal jurisdiction.
20 November 2019: Two US soldiers, Lieutenant Clint Lorance and Major Mathew Golsteyn, have been granted presidential pardons in relation to war crimes cases. Lorance had been convicted and sentenced to 19 years’ imprisonment for the shooting of Afghani civilians in 2013, whilst the trial of Golsteyn for allegedly executing an unarmed Afghani civilian suspected of being a Taliban bomb-maker was set to commence in February 2020. The demotion of Petty Chief Officer Edward Gallagher, who earlier this year was acquitted of the murder of a 17 year old ISIS militant, but convicted of posing with a corpse for a picture, has also been reversed.
19 November 2019: The Pre-Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Court has granted the Prosecutor’s request to open an investigation into the Situation in Myanmar/Bangladesh. This follows the Jurisdiction Decision of September 2018 which indicated that the ICC has jurisdiction over crimes where at least one element of the crime was perpetrated in the territory of a State Party to the Rome Statute. As such, the Court found it has jurisdiction over the crime against humanity of deportation of the Rohingya population from Myanmar, which is not a State Party to the Rome Statute, to Bangladesh, which is a State Party.
15 November 2019: Aung San Suu Kyi, head of state of Myanmar, has been named among other high level officials in a case filed in Argentina relating to crimes against humanity committed against the Rohingya population. This case has been brought pursuant to the principle of universal jurisdiction, enshrined in Argentinian law. A separate case was also launched this week in the International Court of Justice relating to violations of the Genocide Convention by Myanmar.
14 November 2019: A court in Vietnam has convicted an Australian national of a the crime of "terrorism to oppose the people’s administration’ and sentenced him to 12 years', alongside two Vietnamese citizens. The three men belong to an organisation called the Viet Tan, which the Vietnamese government has designated as a terrorist organisation, but has been described by the United Nations as "a peaceful organisation advocating for democratic reform". The group has called the proceedings a “sham trial” and accused the government of "criminalizing human rights advocacy".
13 November 2019: A Paris Court of Appeal has overturned the decision to prosecute the French company Lafarge for crimes against humanity, but has upheld the charges of financing terrorism. Lafarge continues to be under investigation over allegations that a subsidiary of the company continued to operate factories during the conflict in Syria and paid money to intermediaries who negotiated with ISIS to transfer employees and supplies through dangerous areas in order to evacuate the country.
12 November 2019: Five torture survivors from Syria have filed a criminal complaint in Norway against officials from the Syrian intelligence services and military. The victims, supported by several human rights groups, have requested Norwegian prosecutors to investigate the allegations of torture and crimes against humanity. 17 officials have been identified as being involved in the alleged crimes committed in 14 different detention facilities. Currently, similar claims of crimes in Syria have been brought in France, Sweden and Austria pursuant to universal jurisdiction, with the first trial expected to start in Germany in early 2020.
11 November 2019: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has released a decision on the definition of terrorism. The decision discusses the development of the definition of terrorism under Pakistani law, highlighting the emergence of a concept of terrorism that is based upon the objective and motivation of the particular crime. In particular, an act will be considered terrorism if it is intended to undermine the State, rather than based on whether it causes fear and insecurity in society. The Supreme Court indicated that this approach is more consistent with international perspectives than the previous 'effects-based' definition adopted in Pakistan, calling on the legislature to amend and clarify terrorism legislation to reflect the current approach.
8 November 2019: Bosco Ntaganda has been sentenced by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to 30 years’ imprisonment for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo between 2002-2003. This is the longest sentence that has been handed down by the Court to date. Ntaganda was convicted in July of 18 counts including murder, rape and the use of child soldiers. He is also the first person to be convicted of sexual slavery before the ICC.
7 November 2019: The South African government is considering a bill that will initiate the process for withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The International Crimes Bill is currently before the South African Parliament’s Justice and Correctional Services Committee. It criminalises genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes and creates an alternative system to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute international crimes at the domestic level. South Africa was reprimanded by the ICC in 2015 for failing to arrest then sitting President of Sudan Omar Al-Bashir during a visit to South Africa, in spite of a warrant for his arrest that had been issued by the ICC. In support of the bill, the South African government has cited concerns that the ICC is not in compliance with international law by failing to respect the immunity of heads of state. The leader of the opposition party Democratic Alliance has indicated the party will oppose the bill.
6 November 2019: The trial of Fabien Neretse, a former Rwandan official and alleged Hutu militia leader, has commenced in Belgium. Neretse is accused of committing genocide in Rwanda in 1994. This is the fifth trial in Belgium in relation to the conflict in Rwanda of 1994 but the first in which the accused has been charged with the crime of genocide. The charges relate in particular to the killing of Belgian citizen Claire Beckers, her husband Isaïe Bucyana, a Tutsi, and their daughter Katia.
4 November 2019: The municipality of Gjakova/Djakovica’s Office for the Collection and Documentation of War Crimes in Kosovo has filed 102 new criminal complaints to the police relating to alleged war crimes committed by Serbian nationals. This is the 13th time the Office has filed criminal complaints of this nature, bringing the total number of complaints to around 1,600. The head of the office, Shkendije Hoda, stated: “The aim of these complaints is to provide help and provide evidence about [war] crimes. We see that the police have the will to deal with our evidence”.
31 October 2019: Prosecutors in Germany have charged two alleged former Syrian secret service officers with crimes against humanity. Anwar Raslan is alleged to have led an investigation unit which is accused of torturing detainees, and has been charged with 59 counts of murder, as well as rape and aggravated sexual assault. Eyad al-Gharib is accused of reporting directly to Raslan, and arresting protesters who were then delivered to the investigation unit’s prison, known as Branch 251. He has been charged with abduction and torture. Raslan and Gharib sought asylum in Germany in 2014 and 2018 respectively, and were arrested in February in a joint operation by German and French police. The trial is set to start in 2020.
30 October 2019: The Trust Fund of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) in Gambia is to receive $1 mil from assets seized from former President Yahya Jammeh. The funds are to provide compensation to victims of Jammeh’s regime. The Trust Fund is unique in that the compensation is paid directly from the TRRC. Gambia’s Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou stated: “... former President Yahya Jammeh was a central pillar of terror and human rights abuses that were unleashed on ordinary Gambians and others under his leadership. Consequently, the government deems it more fitting and just that reparations for his victims should be granted directly from his wealth and assets”. An investigation by the Gambian government uncovered that Jammeh stole $362 mil from the State during his time as President.
28 October 2019: The first person to be tried for terrorism offences in the United Kingdom for fighting against ISIS has been convicted. Aidan James was found guilty of attending a terrorist training camp in Iraq. He travelled to Iraq in August 2017, where he underwent combat training with the YPG and had several interactions with the PKK. He arrived back in the UK in February 2018, where he was arrested upon arrival at Liverpool airport and charged with terrorism offences the following day. He is due to be sentenced on 7 November.
25 October 2019: The Prosecutor for the Kosovo Specialist Chambers based in The Hague has summoned former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army’s (KLA) general staff/former politician Azem Syla for questioning. The prosecution is currently investigating alleged war crimes committed by KLA during and just after the 1998-1999 war in Kosovo. It is not currently known whether Syla as been invited to The Hague as a witness or possible suspect. Several other Kosovo Albanians have also been invited for questioning.
24 October 2019: The head of the United Nations fact-finding mission on Myanmar has warned that there is a “serious risk of genocide reoccurring” against the Rohingya Muslim minority still residing in the country. In an address to the General Assembly’s human rights committee, Marzuki Sarusman stated: “Myanmar is failing in its obligations under the Genocide Convention to prevent genocide, to investigate genocide and to enact effective legislation and to enact effective legislation criminalizing and punishing genocide”. Recently, the fact-finding mission transferred 1,227 interviews of victims and witnesses to the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, a new UN body.
23 October 2019: The Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court has filed an appeal requesting the Appeals Chamber to declare a mistrial for the proceedings against Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé which resulted in their acquittal in January. Former head of state Gbagbo and former his deputy Blé Goudé were acquitted of crimes against humanity related to post-electoral violence in 2010-2011 in Côte d'Ivoire. Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda sought the declaration of mistrial on the basis that the trial judges failed to comply with the Court’s rules when rendering the acquittals without offering written explanations, as at the time of the acquittal only oral reasons were offered, with the decision being issued six months later. She also argues that the Trial Chamber applied inconsistent and unpredictable legal and evidentiary standards in considering the defense motion for stay of proceedings. The first paragraph of the filing states “[t]o build public trust, it is essential for the Court to act predictably and in accordance with the applicable law”.
21 October 2019: The French Court of Cassation has upheld the life sentence of two Rwandans who were convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity committed in 1994 in Rwanda. Octavian Ngenzi and Tito Barahira, successive Mayors (Bourgmestres) of the former Kabarondo Commune, were accused of participating in the massacre of Tutsi refugees at the Kabarondo Catholic Church, resulting in the death of 1,200 people.
18 October 2019: The Court of Appeal in Bucharest, Romania, has acquitted two former Securitate officers who were accused of committing crimes against humanity, leading to the death of political dissident Gheorghe Ursu whilst detained in 1985. Marin Parvulescu and Vasile Hodis were former members of Romania’s political police for the communist regime, who maintained their innocence throughout the trial process. They were accused of conducting interrogations of Ursu and subjecting him to systematic beatings. The judgment is not final and will be appealed by the Ursu family’s legal counsel. Four others have already been convicted in relation to Ursu’s death.
17 October 2019: The proceedings against Thomas Kwoyelo in the International Crimes Division of the Ugandan High Court have been indefinitely adjourned. The adjournment relates to a dispute between the prosecution and defense about the use of closed sessions. Kwoyelo is a former Lord’s Resistance Army commander who has been charged with 93 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed between January 1995 and December 2005 in northern Uganda.
16 October 2019: Mental health experts will provide testimony for the defense in the proceedings against Dominic Ongwen before the International Criminal Court (ICC). Trial Chamber IX has allowed the experts to testify to Ongwen’s mental state during the period which he has been charged with committing crimes against humanity and war crimes, but not as to his current mental state. The hearings will take place late November. The testimony will support the defense's argument that Ongwen had mental illness or defect during the period when the crimes are alleged to have been committed and as a result he is not responsible for these crimes. Ongwen faces charges of 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed when he was a commander in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Uganda between July 2002 and December 2005.
15 October 2019: Genocide Watch has re-issued a genocide alert for the Kurdish, Christian and Yezidi minority populations in North East Syria following the recent Turkish incursion, suggesting the ‘Turkish narrative is used as a "self-defense justification" for genocidal massacres of Kurds.’ The warning was originally issued in January 2018 when Turkish forces launched cross-border military operations in Afrin in North West Syria in order to target the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). Genocide Watch has also co-signed a joint statement with 97 humanitarian organisations active in Syria condemning the Turkish offensive and warning of the risks that the situation will develop into a wide-scale conflict.
14 October 2019: An Iraqi national who was extradited from Greece to Germany is facing charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and human trafficking. The suspect, identified as Taha A.-J, is alleged to have been a member of terrorist organization Islamic State since 2013. German Prosecutors allege Taha was married to German national Jennifer W and that in 2015 the couple bought a 5 year old Yazidi girl and her mother as slaves. Whilst enslaved, the mother and child were forced to convert to Islam and were beaten, with the child dying of dehydration whilst chained outdoors. The Prosecution argue that this killing was part of Islamic State’s wider plan to exterminate Yazidis and constitutes genocide. The trial of Jennifer W commenced in Germany in April.
10 October 2019: Former federal prosecutor Roberto Domingo Mazzoni and former penitentiary warden Pablo César Casco are the first civilians to be convicted for crimes against humanity perpetrated during Argentina’s 1976-1983 military dictatorship. The Tribunal Oral Federal Penal court in Resistencia sentenced both to 11 years’ imprisonment and banned both from public office for life. Mazzoni was convicted for not investigating crimes, malfeasance and applying illegal pressure. Casco was convicted for the politically motivated torture of prisoner Hugo Dedieu, who was detained at U7 penitentiary where Casco was previously warden.
9 October 2019: The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) has issued a Review Judgement in the Case of Prosecutor v Augustin Ngirabatware rejecting Ngirabatware’s claim that the key witnesses in his trial had truthfully recanted their testimonies. In 2012 Augustin Ngirabatware was convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda of direct and public incitement to commit genocide, instigating and aiding and abetting genocide and the crime against humanity of rape through the extended form of joint criminal enterprise. In its first decision in 2014, the IRMCT confirmed the convictions of direct and public incitement to commit genocide and instigating and aiding and abetting genocide, quashed the crime against humanity conviction and sentenced Ngirabatware to 30 years’ imprisonment.
8 October 2019: Amnesty International released a report, entitled “Do you think we will prosecute ourselves: No prospects for accountability in South Sudan”, highlighting what it calls the “crippled justice system” in South Sudan. The report criticises the lack of independence of the judiciary, as well as the government of South Sudan for granting blanket amnesties for international crimes and failing to investigate and prosecute alleged war crimes committed by both government and opposition forces in the armed conflict since 2013. “By repeatedly granting these blanket amnesties, the President violates South Sudan’s obligations under international law and denies victims’ rights to truth, justice and reparations”. The report calls for the establishment of a hybrid transitional justice mechanism, which was provided for in the peace agreements of 2015 and 2018 but never materialised.
7 October 2019: The United Nations Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution to create an independent fact-finding body to investigate human rights violations in Venezuela since 2014. Allegations against the Venezuelan government include enforced disappearance, arbitrary arrests, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and extrajudicial killings. The resolution was presented by the Lima Group, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Paraguay, and Peru. Human Rights Watch has called on the body to share information with the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, which opened a preliminary examination into the situation of alleged crimes against humanity in Venezuela in February 2018, and also called on other States to prosecute torture cases pursuant to universal jurisdiction.
3 October 2019: A law firm has petitioned the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate alleged crimes against humanity committed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, including the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The filing states: "Mohammed Bin Salman, through command or superior responsibility, is guilty of murder, torture, rape, extortion, illegal detentions, wrongful prosecution and the death penalty, i.e., crimes against humanity as defined in Article 7 of the Rome Statute".
2 October 2019: The Bosnian Constitutional Court has rejected the appeal filed by former Serbian paramilitary leader Gojko Jankovic. Jankovic was convicted in 2017 and sentenced to 34 years’ imprisonment for crimes against humanity committed against the non-Serb civilian population of Foča, including unlawful detention, murder, torture and rape and sexual enslavement of young women and girls. He was originally indicted before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), with his case being referred to Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2005.
1 October 2019: The Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court has confirmed the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity of Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud. The Chamber found there are substantial grounds for concluding that Al Hassan is responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes in Timbuktu, Mali between 2012-2013.
27 September 2019: Nine Sudanese victims have filed a criminal complaint in a French Court relating to alleged complicity of BNP Paribas (BNPP) in crimes against humanity, torture and genocide in Sudan. The filing was supported by FIDH and Project Expedite Justice. Between 2002 and 2008 the Sudanese government is alleged to have committed numerous international crimes which led to the death of more than 300,000 civilians. In proceedings in the United States related to BNPP’s breach of US sanctions, the company admitted to acting as Sudan’s foreign bank during this period. Investigations are also ongoing in France relating ot BNPP’s role in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
26 September 2019: The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, has announced her intention to appeal the acquittal of former Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo. In January 2019, Gbagbo and his deputy Charles Blé Goudé were acquitted of crimes against humanity relating to post-electoral violence in 2010-2011 in Côte d'Ivoire that led to the death of around 3,000 people.
25 September 2019: An indictment against Salim Jamil Ayyash has been made public by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The indictment relates to attacks against three Lebanese politicians, Mr Marwan Hamade, Mr Georges Hawi and Mr Elias El- Murr. It contains five charges, including conspiracy to commit a terrorist act (alternatively criminal association), committing terrorist acts, intentional homicide with premeditation and attempted intentional homicide with premeditation. Both a Lebanese and international arrest warrant has been issued for Ayyash, whose current whereabouts is unknown.
24 September 2019: The confirmation of charges hearing in The Prosecutor v. Alfred Yekatom and Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona has commenced at the International Criminal Court. The hearing is scheduled until 27 September 2019, with the Pre-Trial Chamber to delivery its decision on whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed with a trial within 60 days. Alfred Yekatom and Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona are alleged to be responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Central African Republic between 2013-2014.
23 September 2019: Liberian President George Weah has endorsed the creation of a war crimes court to secure justice for the atrocities committed during Liberia’s civil wars. In a letter to the legislature, President Weah wrote: “I ... do hereby call on the National Legislature to advise and provide guidance on all legislative and other necessary measures towards the implementation of the TRC [Truth and Reconciliation Commission] report, including the establishment of the Economic and War Crimes Court.” To date, the few cases dealing with crimes committed during the Liberian civil wars have been dealt with outside of Liberia, pursuant to universal jurisdiction.
19 September 2019: The Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court has granted the request of the Prosecution to bring an appeal against its decision to block investigations into war crimes committed in Afghanistan. In April the Chamber found that it was not in the interests of justice to allow the proposed investigation, a decision for which it was heavily criticised for giving the appearance that the Court had given into political pressure from the United States.
18 September 2019: The Hague District Court in the Netherlands has held a hearing on a war crimes case against former Israeli commander Benny Gantz. The claimant is a Dutch/Palestinian man who seeks damages from the accused and a co-defendant, Amir Eshel, for their role in killing six of his relatives during the 2014 Gaza War. Counsel for the defendants argued that a Dutch court was not an appropriate forum for this matter, which should be dealt with in Israel, with the claimant’s lawyer arguing that Palestinians do not have recourse to justice in Israel. The Dutch courts may hear war crimes cases pursuant to universal jurisdiction enshrined in Dutch law, so long as the claimant cannot get a fair trial elsewhere. A decision as to whether the case can proceed is expected in January 2020.
16 September 2019: A report by the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria has suggested that all parties to the ongoing conflict may have committed war crimes. It indicated that the failure of US-led coalition forces to take the necessary precautions to discriminate between military objectives and civilians during air strikes may constitute war crimes. Moreover, the campaign by the Syrian government and allied Russian forces appearing to target medical facilities, schools, markets and farmland may also constitute war crimes. Finally, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a jihadist group formerly known as the Nusra Front, has been accused of firing rockets indiscriminately and killing civilians.
13 September 2019: The United Nations Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar has handed over its evidence of international crimes to the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM). The evidence has been transferred in a way to ensure its integrity for possible future use in prosecutions. The IIMM was established by the United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 39/2 to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyse evidence of the most serious international crimes and violations of international law committed in Myanmar since 2011 and to prepare files in preparation for criminal prosecutions. The Head of the IIMM, Nicholas Koumjian, officially commenced his function on 1 July 2019.
12 September 2019: Colombian energy company EMP has been called to appear before the Colombian Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) in relation to its role in flooding an area where prosecutors were looking for hundreds of missing persons. In 2002 the crime syndicate La Oficina de Envigado took control of the city of Medellin and hundreds of people went missing from a valley that was flooded by EMP, which is now the site of a controversial hydroelectric dam project. EMP will appear before the JEP to clarify its role in the flooding and preventing the search for the missing persons. The JEP has also ordered the inspection of two quarries in Medellin where, according to a local court, 300 people are buried.
11 September 2019: The European Union has set up a counter-terrorism register in hopes of facilitating the prosecution of returning foreign fighters from Iraq and Syria. The database will collect information from all EU countries on ongoing investigations and prosecutions of terrorist suspects and is hoped to lead cooperation between States that will prevent suspects from escaping prosecution or being prosecuted for lesser crimes due to lack of evidence or insufficient coordination of parallel investigations, culminating in the prosecution of war crimes. It is also hoped the new tool could prevent terrorism in Europe.
9 September 2019: The lawyer representing 23 civil parties in the case relating to the 2015 Paris attacks has applied to the Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office to try the defendant Salah Abdeslam for crimes against humanity instead of terrorism offences. Abdelam is the only survivor of the attacks in Paris and Saint-Denis that left 131 dead and almost 500 injured.
6 September 2019: The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has ordered Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to reconsider her decision not to open an investigation into an attack by the Israeli Defence Force on a flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip in 2010. The Appeals Chamber rejected the Prosecutor's appeal of the 2015 decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber holding that the Prosecutor had made a material error in determining that the incident was not of "sufficient gravity" to warrant further action by the ICC. The Chamber acknowledged that the decision whether or not to pursue an investigation ultimately lies with the Prosecution.
5 September 2019: The trial of a Syrian national accused of committing war crimes in Syria has commenced in the Netherlands under Dutch universal jurisdiction laws. It is alleged that Ahmad al Khedr, aka Abu Khuder, is a member of the Nusra Front. He has been charged with membership of a terrorist organisation, as well as the war crime of murder in relation to the summary execution of a Syrian soldier. Al Khedr had been living in the Netherlands since 2014, where he had been granted temporary asylum.
4 September 2019: A report submitted to the United Nations by the Group of International and Regional Eminent Experts on Yemen indicates that states such as France, Iran, the United Kingdom and the United States which have supported or provided assistance to parties to the conflict in Yemen, for example through arms transfers, may be complicit in war crimes. The report outlines a host of violations committed by both sides to the conflict that may lead to criminal responsibility for war crimes, including unlawful airstrikes, the use of shelling and snipers, starvation as a method of warfare, enforced disappearance, arbitrary arrest and detention, sexual and gender-based violence, torture and other ill-treatment, hostage-taking, violations affecting children and attacks on civilians.
2 September 2019: A date has been set in January 2021 for the war crimes trial of the five men accused of planning and supporting the September 11 terrorist attacks. The trial will take place at the United States military base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where the defendants have been held since 2006. The war crimes charges include terrorism, hijacking and almost 3,000 counts of murder.
30 August 2019: The Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal has sentenced former Jamat-e-Islami supporter Md Abdus Samad Musa to death for crimes against humanity and war crimes, including the murder of 15 people, arson attacks, looting, confinement and torture during the Liberation War in Bangladesh in 1971. This decision is not final and can be appealed. To date the Tribunal has convicted 89 people, 62 of which have been sentenced to death.
28 August 2019: A German court has brought charges against a Syrian national for war crimes relating to his involvement in fighting with Islamic State against the Syrian government. The suspect is accused of posing for a picture with a severed head of what is presumed to be an opposition fighter and mocking the victim. If convicted, the suspect, who is currently imprisoned for other offences, faces an additional sentence of between 1-10 years’ imprisonment.
27 August 2019: A report released by the United Nations Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar on sexual and gender-based violence concludes that “rape and other sexual violence have been a particularly egregious and recurrent feature of the targeting of the civilian population in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States since 2011”. The Mission considers these grave violations to amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. It considers the Tatmadaw, Myanmar’s armed forces, to be the main perpetrator of these crimes, and calls for the investigation and prosecution of senior military officials.
26 August 2019: Jose Miguel Narvaez, former deputy director of Colombia’s former intelligence agency DAS, has requested to submit to the Colombian Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) war crimes tribunal. Narvaez was convicted in 2018 and sentenced to 26 years’ imprisonment for involvement in the murder of journalist/comedian Jaime Garzon in 1999, and 8 years’ for his role in wiretapping perceived political opponents of former President Uribe. If Narvaez can demonstrate his sincere intention to tell the truth and provide redress to victims, his cooperation with the tribunal could lead to his early release.
23 August 2019: In a bid to halt the sale of British Weapons to Saudi Arabia, a report has been submitted to the UK government by a team of international lawyers and a Yemeni humans rights group presenting new evidence of alleged war crimes committed in Yemen by the coalition led by Saudi Arabia. In a statement, the organisations behind the report stated “[t]he coalition has continued to carry out apparently unlawful attacks throughout the course of the conflict, failed to credibly investigate, and whitewashed significant civilian harm”.
22 August 2019: The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) has terminated proceedings against Nuon Chea following his death, in accordance with Cambodian criminal law and its own procedural rules. Chea was alleged to have been the most senior official serving in Pol Pot's regime and was convicted of crimes against humanity in 2014 and genocide in 2018. The defence argued that the proceedings relating to its appeal notice of 1 July 2019 should be considered posthumously in the interests of justice.
21 August 2019: The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard has expressed concerns that fair trial standards have not been accorded to a group of French nationals convicted of terrorism offences and sentenced to death in Iraq. It was reported that these individuals were subject to torture and ill-treatment whilst detained in Iraq. The Special Rapporteur has urged the French government to enter into an extradition agreement with Iraq, stating "[t]here are serious allegations that the sentences were handed down following unfair trials, with the accused having no adequate legal representation or effective consular assistance".
20 August 2019: Testimony provided by Inês Etienne Romeu, the sole survivor of a clandestine prison known as the 'House of Death' in Petrópolis in the 1970's, could lead to the conviction of former Brazilian army Sergeant Antônio Waneir Pinheiro de Lima. De Lima had previously been found to be protected by Brazil's amnesty laws. Two out of three Federal Tribunal Judges have overturned a decision to this effect, finding that the allegations against de Lima, including rape and kidnapping, constitute crimes against humanity and are therefore not covered by the amnesty.
19 August 2019: International Criminal Court (ICC) Pre-Trial Chamber I Judges Péter Kovács and Marc Perrin de Brichambaut have opposed the request of defence counsel for Malian militant Al Hassan Ag Abdoal Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud for the disqualification of Pre-Trial Chamber I on the basis of the participation of Judge Reine Alapini-Gansou. The request highlights concerns with Judge Alapini-Gansou's former positions as Commissioner for the African Commission on Human and People's Rights and Head of the Human Rights Component of the Mission de l'Union africaine pour le Mali et le Sahel (MISAHEL) affecting her impartiality in the proceedings against Al Hassan, on the basis that she had previously been involved in proceedings against the defendant "in an investigative and advisory capacity". Al Hassan is accused of committing crimes against humanity and war crimes in Timbuktu, Mali, between April 2012 and January 2013, with the request coinciding with the beginning of his confirmation of charges hearing.
12 July 2019: The United Nations Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution, passed narrowly by four votes, authorising United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to launch an investigation into alleged extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and Crimes Against Humanity committed by President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte. The official death toll from Duterte’s “war on drugs” is at 5,300, however human rights groups estimate the real figure is somewhere between 12,000-20,000.
11 July 2019: Two petitions for the disqualification of Judge Brichambaut at the International Criminal Court have been dismissed. Early this month it was reported that the Plenary of Judges determined that the evidence presented did not meet the high threshold for disqualifying a judge on grounds of impartiality. Accusations against Judge Brichambaut included that he had continued to engage in a variety of professional activities aimed at advancing the political and military interests of France and that he showed signs of bias when speaking about issues under litigation.
10 July 2019: The trial of two Dutch alleged Islamic State militants has commenced in the District Court of The Hague’s International Crimes Chamber, sitting in Schiphol, the Netherlands. Oussama Achraf Akhlafa has been charged with war crimes allegedly committed in Iraq and Syria, including posing with a corpse and sharing images of dead victims online, as well as membership in a terrorist organisation. The second defendant, Reda Nidalha, is accused of membership of a terrorist organisation and recruiting radical jihadists via Facebook. This is the first trial in the Netherlands dealing with war crimes committed by alleged Islamic State militants.
9 July 2019: Yesterday the confirmation of charges hearing in the Al Hassan case commenced before the International Criminal Court. According to the warrant of arrest, Mr Al Hassan was allegedly a member of Ansar Dine and a de facto chief of the Islamic Police in Mali. He is alleged to have committed a number of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Timbuktu, Mali, between April 2012 and January 2013.
8 July 2019: Former Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda has been convicted before the International Criminal Court on 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Ituri, DRC, between 2002-2003. In the ruling, Judge Robert Fremr stated that Ntaganda was a “key leader” who gave orders to “target and kill civilians”. Ntaganda is also the first person to be convicted of sexual slavery before the International Criminal Court.
5 July 2019: The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has requested that the Court authorise an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity committed in Bangladesh and Myanmar. The Prosecutor has conducted a preliminary examination into alleged crimes committed against the Rohingya population in Myanmar and Bangladesh and has indicated in the request that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the crimes against humanity of deportation, other inhumane acts and persecution under article 7 of the Rome Statute have been committed. In September 2018 the Court ruled that it has jurisdiction over the situation, as one element of the crime of deportation had been committed in a State Party to the Rome Statute (Bangladesh).
5 July 2019: A military court in San Diego in the United States has found Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, who had been accused of war crimes allegedly committed in Iraq, not guilty on a number of charges. In the high-profile case, Gallagher had been charged with first-degree murder for allegedly fatally stabbing a 17 year old ISIS militant in a US military hospital and with the attempted murder of civilians, and was acquitted on both charges. He was convicted for posing and taking a photograph with a dead body.
4 July 2019: The Iranian Center for International Criminal Law (ICICL) has filed a communication with the International Criminal Court requesting the Prosecutor to open a preliminary examination into alleged war crimes committed by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. The alleged war crimes highlighted in the communication include intentionally directing attacks against civilians; intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in humanitarian assistance missions; attacks against buildings dedicated to hospitals and places where the sick and wounded are collected; and intentionally directing attacks against protected objects, including buildings dedicated to education.
3 July 2019: The High Court in Podgorica, Montenegro, has convicted former Yugoslav soldier Vlado Zmajevic of war crimes in relation to the murder of four ethnic Albanians in Zegra, Kosovo, in 1999. Zmajevic faces 14 years’ imprisonment for the war crimes of attacking the civilian population. This is the first war crimes trial in Montenegro in recent years, with only six other cases having previously been opened.
2 July 2019: West Africa is becoming a new "hotspot" for maritime piracy, according to a report released by the organisation One Earth Future. The report outlines incidents of hijacking, kidnapping, robberies and boarding attempts in a number of different regions, highlighting increases in West Africa from 54 incidents in 2015 to 112 in 2018. It indicates poverty, political instability, a lack of proper law enforcement and many lucrative targets as the reasons for this increase, with the Gulf of Guinea being the worst affected region worldwide.
1 July 2019: The Presidency of the International Criminal Court has rejected the request by Germain Katanga to revoke its previous authorization for new proceedings to go ahead against Katanga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After serving the sentence ordered by the ICC, Katanga has remained imprisoned in the DRC and faces trial there. His lawyer requested the Presidency revoke its authorization of these proceedings on the basis that Katanga’s fair trial rights had not been respected. The Presidency decided that whilst it did have the power to revoke its previous decision, that course of action was not warranted under these circumstances as the standard for reconsideration, that new information be presented indicating that the prosecution undermines fundamental principles of processes of the Rome Statute or otherwise affects the integrity of the Court, had not been met.
28 June 2019: The Secretary-General of the United Nations has released a report on the prevention of genocide. The report states that the “prevention of the crime of genocide is intrinsically connected to the prevention of crimes against humanity and war crimes” and “[c]onsequently, initiatives aiming at preventing one of the crimes will, in most circumstances, also cover the others.” It also highlights that the United Nations “must change the culture of reaction to one of prevention and be prepared to invest the necessary resources.” There is an emphasis in the report on education surrounding genocide as being a key aspect of prevention, as well as a number of recommendations for measures relating to national capacities and on raising awareness and education.
27 June 2019: Libyan warlord General Khalifa Haftar is being sued for alleged war crimes in a US Federal Court by four Libyan families. Haftar, a dual Libyan-US citizen, is accused of carrying out indiscriminate bombings in Libya, resulting in many civilian deaths. Since April, Haftar has made advances towards Tripoli with the aim of seizing power from the internationally recognised government established there by a peace agreement of 2015.
26 June 2019: International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has filed a notification indicating her intention to request authorisation to open a formal investigation into the situation in Bangladesh and Myanmar concerning the treatment of the Rohingya people. A United Nations fact finding mission concluded that mass killings and gang rape of Muslim Rohingyas had been carried out by Myanmar’s military. This notification follows a finding by the Court in September 2018 that it has jurisdiction over the situation, as one element of the crime of deportation had been committed in a State Party to the Rome Statute (Bangladesh).
25 June 2019: The ramming of a Philippine fishing boat by a Chinese vessel may boost the complaint of crimes against humanity against Chinese President Xi Jinping before the International Criminal Court, according to former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario. Del Rosario and former Ombudsperson and Supreme Court Justice Conchita Carpior Morales filed the complaint in March of this year on behalf of 300,000 Filipino fishermen who are the victims of Chinese activities in the South China Sea. The filing came two days before President Rodrigo Duterte withdrew the Philippines from the Rome Statute on March 17.
24 June 2019: Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard has called the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul an international crime attracting universal jurisdiction. In a report released on the killing, she indicates that a number of arguments can be made to support the assertion that Khasoggi's killing was an international crime, including that it amounted to an act of torture or ill-treatment and that it constituted a violation of a jus cogens norm, arguing that there is no a priori legal or normative reasons why a single execution cannot constitute an international crime. Callamard has called on States to ensure that any individuals identified by an independent, impartial and effective investigation as being responsible are promptly brought to justice, as well as on United Nations Secretary General António Guterres to establish an independent expert panel to determine individual responsibility for the killing.
21 June 2019: The request made by defence counsel for Bosco Ntaganda to have Judge Kuniko Ozaki disqualified from Ntaganda’s case has been dismissed. It was argued in the request that Judge Ozaki’s concurrent service as a diplomatic ambassador for Japan “was incompatible with her judicial independence” and that a “Judge who is not independent cannot be reasonably perceived as being impartial”. The Plenary of the Judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC), consisting of Judges Perrin de Brichambaut, Herrera Carbuccia, Mindua, Schmitt, Kovács, Pangalangan, Akane, Alapini-Gansou, Prost and Aitala, held “that the Disqualification Request fails to demonstrate that the circumstances of Judge Ozaki’s tenure as Ambassador of Japan to Estonia, which had been authorised pursuant to article 40(4) of the Statute, satisfies the high threshold necessary to rebut the presumption of impartiality.”
20 June 2019: The Dutch Public Prosecution Service has announced charges against four suspects for alleged involvement in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH1 in July 2014. According to investigators in the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) the accused are allegedly responsible for bringing the anti-aircraft system used in the attack from Russia to eastern Ukraine. A trial in the District Court in the Hague is due to begin on 9 March 2020.
19 June 2019: The Center for Constitutional Rights, a US NGO, has filed a complaint with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, requesting an investigation into US interference with the International Criminal Court in relation to the request to launch an investigation in Afghanistan. The Center argues that threats made by the Trump administration, including of prosecution and denial of visas, influenced the decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber to reject the Prosecution’s request to open an investigation.
18 June 2019: France has arrested three individuals for alleged crimes against humanity committed in Chad and Sudan between 2005-2010. Amongst them is General Mahamat Nouri, who planned a failed coup against current President of Chad Idriss Deby in 2008.
17 June 2019: Human Rights Watch has indicated that an attack by Houthi forces on a civilian airport in Saudi Arabia may constitute a war crime. 26 people were injured in the attack, and Human Rights Watch has called on Houthi forces to cease targeting civilian infrastructure. Michael Page, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch stated: “Unlawful Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Yemen never justify Houthi attacks on Saudi civilians.”
14 June 2019: Former Congolese leader in the Patriotic Resistance Front of Ituri (FRPI) militia Germain Katanga faces a second trial in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), after serving time for his conviction by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Despite being due for release in 2016 Katanga remains imprisoned, with the second trial against him commencing in February 2016 and provisional release being denied. Ituri civil society president Jean-Bosco Lalo stated: "To pursue Katanga again in the DRC after the ICC prosecutions is judicial harassment, it's unfair. We believe that Katanga has already paid for his mistakes and crimes". In January 2019 Katanga’s former legal counsel at the ICC requested the ICC Presidency to revoke its decision to authorise prosecution in the DRC.
13 June 2019: United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals President Carmel Agius has called on States to cooperate and accept 9 individuals acquitted of genocide and currently stranded in Arusha for relocation. In the bi-annual report addressed to the United Nations Security Council, President Agius indicates that “the status quo presents a humanitarian crisis that profoundly affects the fundamental rights of the nine persons”, which “threatens to cast a shadow over both the Mechanism and the United Nations more broadly.”
12 June 2019: A group of United Nations (UN) human rights experts have called for an independent investigation to be launched into alleged human rights violations in the Philippines. “We have recorded a staggering number of unlawful deaths and police killings in the context of the so-called war on drugs, as well as killings of human rights defenders.” The joint statement also expressed serious concern about the withdrawal of the Philippines from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
11 June 2019: The Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court has sought leave to appeal the April decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber rejecting the request to open a formal investigation into the situation in Afghanistan. Three issues are raised in the motion, namely: the interpretation of ‘interests of justice’; the Pre-Trial Chamber’s discretion under the relevant provisions; and the Pre-Trial Chamber’s understanding of the scope of any investigation it may authorise. It is stated that all of these “issues significantly affects the fair and expeditious conduct of the proceedings”. Several victims who participated in the proceedings have also filed an appeal directly with the Appeals Chamber, on the basis of the findings of the Pre-Trial chamber on its jurisdiction and the interpretation of “interests of justice”.
7 June 2019: A report released by Kosovo’s Anti-Corruption Agency has revealed that a convicted war criminal has been working as an adviser to Kosovo President Hashim Thaci for the last four months in secret. Rrustem Mustaka was a commander in the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and was convicted of war crimes in 2013 and imprisoned for four years.
6 June 2019: Discussions on the creation of an international tribunal to prosecute fighters from the Islamic State (ISIS) are gaining momentum across Europe, in response the hundreds of European ISIS supporters and their families currently being detained by the Kurdish led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Syria. However, human rights groups have raised concerns about the creation of such a tribunal, including relating to legitimacy concerns about overlooking atrocities committed by other actors in the conflict.
5 June 2019: A Canadian government inquiry has found that Canada is complicit in genocide against indigenous women. The 1,200 page report, which is the result of three years of research, has found that indigenous women are 12 times more likely to be killed or disappeared than other women in Canada and links this to deep-rooted colonialism and state inaction.
4 June 2019: The Concurring and Separate Opinion of Judge Mindua on the investigation of the situation in Afghanistan at the International Criminal Court was released late last week. The opinion states: “I fully concur with my learned two colleagues in rejecting the Prosecutor’s ‘Request for authorisation of an investigation pursuant to article 15’”. The opinion sought to clarify Judge Mindua’s opinion regarding the issues of the scope of the Pre-Trial Chamber’s authorisation of an investigation and the meaning of the expression "interests of justice".
3 June 2019: A submission by international lawyers Juan Branco and Omer Shatz to the International Criminal Court (ICC) has called for the prosecution of the EU and member states for the deaths of thousands of migrants who drowned in the Mediterranean fleeing Libya. The submission alleges that the EU, and members states such as Italy, Germany and France have committed crimes against humanity: “In order to stem migration flows from Libya at all costs … and in lieu of operating safe rescue and disembarkation as the law commands, the EU is orchestrating a policy of forced transfer to concentration camps-like detention facilities [in Libya] where atrocious crimes are committed.” No particular politicians or officials are singled out for specific responsibility, but the submission does quote diplomatic cables and comments from national leaders, such as Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron.
29 May 2019: An Amnesty International report on the “War in Raqqa” indicates that US-led coalition forces have caused the death of over 1,600 people in strikes against Islamic State in Raqqa, Syria. Amnesty claims that this has involved disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks that violate international humanitarian law (IHL), constituting war crimes. Amnesty has called on the coalition to take responsibility for the high number of civilian deaths. Separately, it has come to light that nearly 800,000 documents have been smuggled out of Syria, containing evidence of alleged war crimes committed by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
28 May 2019: Human Rights Watch has released a report detailing grave abuses against civilians amounting to war crimes committed by Egyptian forces in the Sinai Peninsula. The report documents the conflict in the North Sinai region that has killed and wounded thousands of individuals since 2013, based on a two year investigation. Michael Page, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch stated: “This horrific treatment of Sinai residents should be another wake-up call to countries like the US and France that heedlessly endorse Egypt’s counterterrorism efforts.”
27 May 2019: Controversy has arisen regarding statements made by US President Donald Trump that he will consider giving pardons to particular US armed forces personnel who have either been convicted of or will stand trial for war crimes. Gabor Rona, Visiting Professor of Law and Director of the Law and Armed Conflict Project at Cardozo Law School, has authored a blog post arguing that, as Commander in Chief of the US armed forces, President Trump may be committing a war crime by issuing these pardons under the principle of command responsibility, for failing to punish violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) committed by his subordinates. The International Committee of the Red Cross has also weighed in on the debate, releasing a statement on the legality of pardons for war crimes under IHL, albeit without explicitly mentioning any particular case.
24 May 2019: According to the United Nations mission to Mali, a March attack in which 157 people were killed in Ogossagou was “planned, organized and coordinated” and could amount to a crime against humanity.
23 May 2019: A Syrian national has been arrested in the Netherlands on suspicion of having committed war crimes and terrorist offences in Syria. The man is accused of acting as a commander of a terrorist Jabhat al-Nusra battalion. He will be brought before the District Court in The Hague, the court that has appointed to rule on cases concerning international crimes.
22 May 2019: The defence counsel for Bosco Ntaganda has filed a request for the disqualification of Judge Kuniko Ozaki pursuant to art 41(2) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. In the request, it is argued that Judge Ozaki’s concurrent service as a diplomatic ambassador for Japan “was incompatible with her judicial independence” and that a “Judge who is not independent cannot be reasonably perceived as being impartial”. It is this lack of appearance of impartiality that is the basis of the request, as “[t]he appearance of a serving Ambassador of a State sitting on the bench of an ongoing case at the ICC profoundly undermines, in the eyes of an objective observer, the judicial character of the Court.” The request highlights that Judge Ozaki’s subsequent resignation from her ambassadorial post does not restore the appearance of her independence or impartiality, given the belated timing of her resignation, her failure to acknowledge that the resignation is required by the dictates of judicial independence and the negative impact on her interests because of the resignation.
21 May 2019: The man accused of killing 51 people in the Christchurch mosques attack in New Zealand on March 15 has been charged with the offence of “engaging in a terrorist act”, in addition to facing murder and attempted murder charges. It is the first time anyone in New Zealand has been charged with this offence.
20 May 2019: Judge Liu Daqun of the International Residual Mechanisms for Criminal Tribunals has revoked an order referring a contempt case to Serbia, after witnesses raised concerns about their safety. Vjerica Radeta and Petar Jojic were charged in 2012 with tampering with witnesses in the trial against their party leader, Vojislav Seselj. A summons has been issued for the return of Radeta and Jojic to the Hague to be tried, however they are refusing to cooperate, arguing that extradition to the Hague could only be for accusations of war crimes, not contempt of court, on the basis of a Serbian High Court ruling in 2016.
16 May 2019: Amnesty International has presented evidence suggesting the commission of war crimes in Libya and has urged the ICC Prosecutors to undertake an investigation of the situation there. According to Amnesty, eye witness testimony and satellite imagery reveals evidence of indiscriminate attacks in residential areas and attacks on migrant and refugee detention centres. “Deliberate attacks on civilians and civilian property, and indiscriminate attacks that kill or injure civilians amount to war crimes. All sides have an absolute obligation under international law to protect civilian lives and to clearly distinguish between civilians and fighters during their attacks.”
15 May 2019: Amnesty International has called on the international criminal justice system to take a “vigorous response” to crimes against humanity committed in Venezuela, including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detentions and deaths and injuries. Americas director at Amnesty International Erika Guevara-Rosas said: “As we have been saying for years, in Venezuela there is a systematic policy of repression against opponents or those perceived to be opponents simply because they are protesting, for which Nicolás Maduro’s government must be held accountable before the international justice system”. You can read the full report here.
14 May 2019: Sudanese prosecutors have announced that former President Omar al-Bashir has been charged in relation to the killing of protestors during demonstrations that led to his removal from government. It is reported that the prosecutor’s office indicated that al-Bashir and others have been accused of incitement and complicity in relation to these deaths. Two arrest warrants for the arrest and surrender of al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court relating to charges of crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes remain outstanding.
13 May 2019: The United States has revoked the visas of several Colombian judges. It was reported that Counstitutional Court magistrates Antonio Lizarazo and Diana Fajardo were informed their visas were revoked, following their refusal to dine with US Ambassador Kevin Whitaker after alleging he was involved in "meddling" over the country's war crimes tribunal. This also follows criticism by the US of Colombian courts not allowing the extradition of suspects of war crimes on war trafficking charges in order to prioritize the victims of the conflict in Colombia.
10 May 2019: A Kosovo parliamentary commission has approved a draft resolution accusing Serbia of committing genocide of Albanians during the 1998-99 war. The resolution alleges that Serbians were responsible for over 270 killings and that 1,600 people still remain missing. It also proposes a Day of Commemoration of Genocide against Albanians in Kosovo, calls on Serbia to recognise that it committed genocide and crimes against humanity and requests the introduction of laws penalising justification, minimisation or denial of the genocide in Kosovo.
9 May 2019: Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), addressed the United Nations Security Council on the progress of bringing perpetrators of international crimes in Libya to account. She stated that “the first and indispensable step” for the international community is to ensure that the outstanding arrest warrants of Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf Al-Werfalli, and Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled are executed and that these suspects are transferred to the ICC for prosecution for war crimes. She emphasised that: “Such a development would send a strong and necessary message to the victims of grave crimes in Libya, that the Council and the international community at large are serious about pursing justice...and committed to taking concrete action towards that end”. Bensouda appeared before the Security Council in New York despite the previous revocation of her visa by US authorities. Conflict continues in Libya, with the United Nations most recently expressing concern in relation to airstrikes in Eastern Tripoli that led to dozens of civilian deaths.
8 May 2019: Ahmad Al Faqi Al-Mahdi has been transferred to a prison in Scotland to serve his 9 year sentence. Al-Mahdi was convicted in 2016 by Trial Chamber VIII of the International Criminal Court (ICC) after pleading guilty of the war crime of directing attacks against religious and historic buildings in Mali in 2012. He was the first accused to plead guilty at a trial before the ICC.
7 May 2019: Human Rights Watch has called on States participating in Côte d’Ivoire’s third Universal Periodic Review before the United Nations Human Rights Council to raise concerns over its failure to provide justice for victims of post-election human rights abuses that arose in 2010-2011. In August 2018 an amnesty was announced in Côte d’Ivoire for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other human rights abuses committed during this period. The West Africa Director at Human Rights Watch stated: “The lack of justice for thousands of victims of one of Côte d’Ivoire’s worst episodes of political violence is a stain on the government’s rights record and threatens the country’s peace and stability.”
6 May 2019: The International Criminal Court (ICC) Appeals Chamber has confirmed the decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber II finding that Jordan failed to comply with its obligations to arrest and surrender (now former) Sudanese President al-Bashir whilst he was present on its territory, but reversed the referral of Jordan to the Assembly of State Parties (ASP) and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for this failure. The Court held that as under Art. 27(2) of the Rome Statute immunities do not bar the ICC's jurisdiction and this reflects customary international law, there is therefore no immunity for Heads of State under customary international law before international courts and tribunals.
6 May 2019: The Syrian Network for Human Rights has released its monthly special report documenting notable human rights violations in April 2019 committed by the main perpetrator parties to the conflict in Syria. The report outlines that during this period there were 324 civilian deaths, 459 cases of arbitrary arrests and at least 51 attacks on civilian objects. It is suggested that Syrian-Russian forces committed extrajudicial killings, arrest, torture and enforced disappearance, as well as engaging in indiscriminate attacks and attacks on civilians amounting to war crimes. It is reported that Islamist extremist groups were also involved in such human rights violations, and that indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks by the alliance of International Coalition forces and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces are also considered to be in violation of international humanitarian law (IHL), amounting to war crimes. The report calls on the United Nations to take a number of measures to help relieve the situation in Syria as well as refer the situation to the International Criminal Court so that perpetrators can be prosecuted.
3 May 2019: The Public Prosecutor in Sudan has ordered the interrogation of former President Omar al-Bashir on charges of money laundering and financing terrorism. The Prosecutor also indicated that other senior officials will also be investigated. Reuters also reports that the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) has presented the Transitional Military Council currently in power a draft constitutional document on how it envisages future civilian rule in Sudan. This has followed continued protests since the ousting of al-Bashir demanding a civilian-led interim government.
2 May 2019: The Presidency of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has confirmed that Judge Kuniko Ozaki has resigned her post as Japanese Ambassador to Estonia. The notification issued highlights that the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on 23 April 2019 that the resignation of Judge Ozaki was officially accepted by the Government of Japan on 18 April 2019.
1 May 2019: Bosco Ntaganda's defence counsel has requested the disqualification of International Criminal Court (ICC) Judge Ozaki pursuant to Art. 40(2) of the Rome Statute on the basis of her appointment as Ambassador of Japan in Estonia. Ntaganda’s counsel argue that Judge Ozaki’s role as a senior Japanese diplomat in an EU State Party to the Rome Statute “creates the appearance that she is not independent”. This move has followed calls that Judge Ozaki must “resign – or be removed” in light of her diplomatic appointment following a decision by a majority of the ICC Judges in March allowing Judge Ozaki’s request to stay on as a non-full-time judge alongside her diplomatic post, as it “was not incompatible with the requirements of judicial independence”. The request by Ntaganda's counsel asks the Judges to reconsider this decision and disqualify Judge Ozaki.
30 April 2019: Judge Péter Kovács of the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has postponed the confirmation of charges hearing for former Malian militant Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud. Al Hassan is accused of religious and gender-based persecution in Mali and has been charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes. A warrant for his arrest was issued on 27 March 2018 and he has been in custody since 31 March 2018 when he surrendered to the Court. The postponement from 6 May to 8 July 2019 was justified on the basis of procedural delays experienced by the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP). The OTP said that the continuing insecurity in Mali has made the collection of witness testimonies and implementing protective measures for witnesses difficult, the latter of which are required to be instituted before the identities of the witnesses can be disclosed to the defence.
29 April 2019: A Chamber of the Special Jurisdiction of Peace (JEP) in Colombia has ordered the arrest of Hernan Velasquez, also known as "El Paisa", a former commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) during the Colombian civil conflict. The order relates to the former rebel leader's failure to participate in reconciliation efforts mandated by the country’s peace deal, which was introduced in 2016 signaling the end of the conflict. In particular, Velasquez is accused of failing to provide testimony in a case relating to guerilla kidnappings, and as such he is no longer protected by the benefits of the peace agreement, such as avoiding jail time for war crimes. Velasquez has previously been sentenced to imprisonment in relation to his involvement in a 2003 car bombing in Bogota.
26 April 2019: Four former Presidents of the International Criminal Court’s Assembly of States Parties have called for an independent assessment of the Court’s functioning in the wake of the decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber rejecting the Prosecutor’s request to open an investigation into into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Afghanistan. Prince Zeid Raad al Hussein, Bruno Stagno Ugarte, Christian Wenaweser and Tiina Intelman expressed concern about the “…growing gap between the unique vision captured in the Rome Statute… and some of the daily work of the Court”, claiming that “… the powerful impact of the Court’s central message is too often not matched by its performance as a judicial institution.”
25 April 2019: This week Ecuador’s National Assembly approved the ratification of the Kampala Amendments to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). This makes Ecuador the 38th ICC State Party and 7th Latin American State to ratify the Amendments on the Crime of Aggression adopted in Kampala in 2010. According to Parliamentarians for Global Action the ratification “sends a clear message to the international community of Ecuador’s public commitment to international peace and accountability for international crimes and reaffirms that Latin America remains at the forefront of the rule of law.”
24 April 2019: Saudi Arabia has executed 37 people, 33 of which were part of the country’s Shi’a minority, in connection with terrorism-related crimes. It is reported that a statement by the official Saudi Press Agency indicated the men were executed “for adopting terrorist and extremist thinking and for forming terrorist cells to corrupt and destabilise security”. Amnesty International has expressed concerns about Saudi Arabia’s escalating use of the death penalty and of sham trials violating international standards and allegedly using torture evidence, stating in particular that “the death penalty is being used as a political tool to crush dissent from within the country’s Shi’a minority”.
23 April 2019: A terrorist attack in Sri Lanka over the weekend targeting churches and hotels has caused the death of 310 victims and left a further 500 injured. The main suspect is a little-known Islamic organisation recognised for being anti-Buddhist, but which had not previously been linked to terrorism, and which is suspected of having received “international support”. A state of emergency has been called in Sri Lanka and 40 people have been arrested in connection with the attacks.
18 April 2019: A report prepared by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has revealed that despite evidence of reduction in the levels of torture or ill-treatment in Afghan detention centres, overall figures remain “disturbingly high”. The report is based on interviews with more than 600 detainees across 77 facilities, and shows on average almost one in three conflict related detainees provided “credible and reliable” accounts of torture or ill-treatment. The report called on the Afghan Government to take a number of measures to eradicate torture.
17 April 2019: The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, has expressed concerns over the escalating violence in Libya, stating: “I will not hesitate to expand my investigations and potential prosecutions to cover any new instances of crimes falling within the Court’s jurisdiction, with full respect for the principle of complementarity. No one should doubt my determination in this regard”. She has called on all parties to the fighting to refrain from committing war crimes and fully respect international humanitarian law, including protecting civilians and civilian infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and prisons. The Office of the Prosecutor is currently investigating several cases in relation to the Libyan situation, which was referred by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970 (2011).
16 April 2019: The President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, was deposed last week by the Sudanese military. A transitional military council has taken over governance of Sudan, imposing a two year transition period to be followed by elections. Demonstrations that began in December calling for the removal of al-Bashir from government have continued, with opposition groups demanding a civilian transition government be instated immediately. The transitional military council have indicated that they will accept a new prime minister chosen by opposition parties. The council has also stated that it will not extradite al-Bashir to The Hague to face the International Criminal Court, which issued two warrants for al-Bashir's arrest in 2009 and 2010 for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. It has been reported that instead al-Bashir may be tried domestically by Sudanese courts.
15 April 2019: The Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court has unanimously rejected the Office of the Prosecutor's request to open an investigation into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Afghanistan. In the decision, the PTC II considered the significant time that elapsed between the crimes and the request, the "scarce cooperation" during the preliminary examination and the likelihood that evidence and witnesses would be still available relevant to its ultimate finding that "the current circumstances of the situation in Afghanistan are such as to make the prospects for a successful investigation and prosecution extremely limited" and therefore "an investigation into the situation in Afghanistan at this stage would not serve the interests of justice". The PTC II also highlighted that the nature of the crimes and the context in Afghanistan mean the investigation would require "a significant amount of resources" which would have to be redirected from other situations with greater prospects of leading to trials.
12 April 2019: The trial of a German national, identified as Jennifer W, for war crimes has commenced in Munich. The woman is accused of enslaving a five year old Yazidi girl and letting her die of thirst. The charges against her include murder, war crimes, membership in a foreign terrorist organisation and weapons violations, for which she faces a life sentence. The woman travelled to Iraq in 2013 to join ISIS and was deported back to Germany in 2016 whilst trying to renew travel documents in Turkey.
11 April 2019: The United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has warned that attacks of civilians in Libya may amount to war crimes. Libya has faced violence and instability since 2011 when leader Muammar Gaddafi was deposed and killed. It is reported that rebel leader Gen Haftar, who heads the Libyan National Army (LNA), is making advances on the capital, Tripoli, after taking control of southern Libya and its oil fields earlier this year. The Libyan Prime Minister, Fayez al-Serraj, has accused Haftar of attempting a coup to take control of the country. This Sunday there were UN-backed peace talks planned between the opposition groups, however it is no longer clear whether they will go ahead. The World Health Organization has reported that in the past 6 days there have been 56 deaths, including medical workers, another 266 people injured and thousands displaced as a result of the clashes.
10 April 2019: Romania’s former President Ion Iliescu has been charged with crimes against humanity for his role in the revolution that overthrew the communist regime in 1989. Iliescu, alongside former Deputy Prime Minister Gelu Voican Voiculescu and former Air Force Cdr Iosif Rus, has been accused of spreading misinformation to spread terror, as well as simulating a trial to summarily convict and execute communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena. Approximately 862 people were killed during the revolt.
9 April 2019: Malaysia has decided to withdraw from the International Criminal Court just one month after acceding to the Rome Statute. Following the accession in March, an alliance of the United Malay National Organization (UMNO) and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) heavily criticised the government over concerns that the ICC could prosecute the King, as supreme commander of the State's armed forces, and threaten Malaysia’s sovereignty. Human Rights Watch has called on Malaysia to reverse this decision, stating it “makes a mockery of the government’s commitment to justice”.
8 April 2019: The first trial of Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) members for war crimes has commenced in Uganda. Thomas Kwoyelo has been accused of murder, rape and enslavement in the context of the Ugandan conflict from 1987-2006. He pleads not guilty to all 93 counts against him. Mr. Kwoyelo is the first LRA rebel to appear before the Ugandan International Crimes Division, which was established in 2008.
5 April 2019: The United States has revoked the entry visa for the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda. The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has stated: "If you're responsible for the proposed ICC investigation of US personnel in connection with the situation in Afghanistan, you should not assume that you will still have or get a visa, or that you will be permitted to enter the United States. We're prepared to take additional steps, including economic sanctions if the ICC does not change its course". The move is in response to the ICC's investigation into whether the US engaged in war crimes, such as torture at secret CIA-run detention sites, in Afghanistan.
4 April 2019: Amnesty International has reported that increased air strikes in Somalia by United States forces have led to civilian deaths that may constitute war crimes. The report investigates five instances in Lower Scabelle, Somalia, involving the death of 14 civilians and injuries to 8. In 2018 and in response to the Amnesty Report, the US has denied that civilians have been killed during the course of the strikes, and that all resulting deaths are members of Al-Shabaab, an armed group currently engaged in conflict with the Somali government. US Africa Command (AFRICOM) stated: "In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducts airstrikes to defend the people of Somalia against terrorism, and to assist the Federal Government of Somalia as it works to alleviate security challenges." Amnesty International contests these claim and calls on the US to carry out effective investigations, acknowledge civilian casualties, provide victims and their families with reparations, allow for safe and accessible means for communities to self-report civilian casualties and ensure all strikes are carried out in compliance with international humanitarian law.
3 April 2019: A delegation from the United Nations Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT) has arrived in Sri Lanka to investigate allegations of torture, which have continued since the end of the civil conflict in 2009. The delegation will meet with government bodies, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and other civil society actors. This visit comes just after the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution granting Sri Lanka another two years to implement processes ensuring reconciliation, accountability and human rights. Amnesty International has expressed disappointment that the resolution does not address Sri Lanka's failure to implement these processes to date. A report from human rights group Freedom from Torture states that "torture has continued in a context of ongoing security operations in post-conflict Sri Lanka, despite the new government's promise of a 'zero tolerance' policy on torture".
2 April 2019: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) and Thai human rights group Fortify Rights have released a report accusing a transnational crime syndicate of committing crimes against humanity by trafficking Rohingya Muslims feeling Myanmar, as well as Bangladeshi citizens travelling to Malaysia. According to the report, between 2012 to 2015 approximately 170,00 people fled to Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand following violence in Myanmar. Traffickers are accused of murder, enslavement, imprisonment, torture, rape, starvation and forced displacement of victims during this period. Mass graves have been discovered in both Thailand and Malaysia. Thailand has convicted over 60 people for human trafficking in 2017, including 9 government officials, however according to the CEO of Fortify Rights Matthew Smith, such investigations have not occurred in Malaysia. It has been reported that human traffickers profited from between US$50 to US$100 million each year from this trade.
1 April 2019: The United Kingdom has joined forces with the Seychelles to tackle piracy in the Indian Ocean. Piracy is said to cost the international economy between $7 billion - $12 billion per year. The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) will assist under the Navigation, Stabilisation Advice and Training (SONSAT) program in the Seychelles. This consists of raising awareness of government officials on the existing infrastructure to deal with maritime piracy, such as the World-Wide Navigational Warning Service and the Rescue Coordination Centres. The tourism industry in the Seychelles is impacted by piracy in the region, as are the UK’s economic interests as it uses the surrounding waters for trade.
29 March 2019: Prosecutors in Switzerland have indicted a Liberian national, Alieu Kosiah, for war crimes during the first Liberian civil war. Swiss Investigators are currently looking into a dozen other cases relating to war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. This is the first instance of an international criminal law indictment being raised in the Swiss criminal justice system. The suspect is accused of being a former commander for the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO) and of committing murders, rape and other activities “aimed at enslaving and terrorising the population in the Lofa County between 1993 and 1995".
28 March 2019: A Lithuanian court has found the Soviet Union’s last defense minister, Dmitry Yazov, guilty of war crimes and has sentenced him to 10 years imprisonment in absentia. The conviction was part of a trial of over 60 former Soviet officials for a violent suppression of Lithuania’s independence movement in January 1991 that left 14 people dead and hundreds injured. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite has stated: “On this historic day, justice has come. Those responsible for the death of peaceful freedom defenders have been sentenced”.
27 March 2019: Eight Lebanese citizens have been charged with ‘terrorism’ in the United Arab Emirates. All are Shia Muslims, and Human Rights Watch has reported that they have been subjected to prolonged solitary confinement and denied legal representation in a trial ‘marred with violations’. The charges are yet to be made public, with UAE media reporting the group has links to Hezbollah, a group that has been categorised as a terrorist organisation by UAE.
26 March 2019: A Canadian court has ruled that the sentence of Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen and former Guantanamo Bay detainee, has expired. Khadr was born in Canada and sent to Afghanistan by his father, a member of al-Qaeda. He was captured in 2002 at age 15, and spent the following decade at the US Guantanamo Bay detention center. He was convicted by a US military commission in 2010 of war crimes and sentenced to 8 years imprisonment, subsequently being transferred to a prison in Canada after striking a plea deal in 2012. He was released on bail in 2015 and has sued the Canadian government for violating his constitutional rights and being complicit in his detention at Guantanamo Bay, receiving a C$10.5 million settlement.
25 March 2019: Saša Cvetković, a former member of Republika Srpska Army, has been found guilty of war crimes and convicted for the rape of two women and the murder of two civilians in a village near Srebrenica in 1992. He was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment and ordered to pay compensation of 15,000 BAM to one of the sexual violence victims. This is the 13th case where victims of sexual violence during conflict have been awarded compensation before the courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
22 March 2019: The United Nations Human Rights Council condemned Israel for human rights violations, including war crimes, regarding the IDF’s response to the violent riots at the Israel-Gaza border during the Great Return March, which began exactly a year ago. The Council adopted a UN report which investigated the killings of 189 demonstrators, including 35 children, in Gaza between the 30th of March and the 31st of December, 2018. The report says: “The commission found reasonable grounds to believe that individual members of the Israeli security forces, in the course of their response to the demonstrations, killed and gravely injured civilians who were neither directly participating in hostilities nor posing an imminent threat.”
The report was instantly denounced as “biased” and “anti-semitic” by Israel and its closest allies.
21 March 2019: According to a new report of Amnesty International, the United States may have committed war crimes as it bombed al-Shabab militants in Somalia. Researchers for Amnesty International investigated five U.S. airstrikes and found that they had resulted in 14 civilian deaths. They found that the airstrikes killed farmers, women and an eight-year-old girl, whom the group assessed had no ties to al-Shabab. "Due to the nature of the attacks, the U.S. government is violating international humanitarian law and these violations may amount to war crimes", said a researcher working for the group.
20 March 2019: The UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals Appeals Chamber has updeld Radovan Karadzic conviction and sentenced him to life prison.
Judge Vagn Prüsse Joensen, the presiding judge of the Appeals Chamber, said an earlier prison term of 40 years (handed down in 2016) "inadequately reflected" the gravity of the crimes. Karadzic was found guilty of genocide and nine other counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his actions in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
19 March 2019: The withdrawal of the Philippines from the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the ICC, became effective as of 17 March 2019. However, it will not impact any on-going consideration of alleged crimes against humanity committed before the withdrawal entered into force. Should any further similar crimes be committed after 17 March 2019, the ICC will not have jurisdiction.
18 March 2019: Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State of the USA said the United States will withdraw or deny visas to any International Criminal Court personnel directly responsible for investigating possible war crimes by US forces or allies in Afghanistan. The Trump administration already threatened in September to ban ICC judges and prosecutors from entering the US and sanction funds they have there if the court launched a probe of war crimes in Afghanistan. In November 2017, the ICC prosecutor requested authorization from judges to initiate an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan since May 1, 2003, including in states where the CIA held prisoners.
15 March 2019: Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic will face the IRMCT's Appeals Chamber on Wednesday for a ruling that will end one of the highest profile legal battles stemming from the Balkan wars of the 1990s. Karadzic, 73, was sentenced to 40 years in prison in 2016 after being convicted of genocide for the July 1995 Srebrenica massacre. Prosecutors are seeking a life sentence and a second genocide conviction for his alleged role in a policy of targeting non-Serbs across Bosnia in the early years of the war while Karadzic is appealing against his conviction.
14 March 2019: Reporters Without Borders said Tuesday it had asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the murders of 102 journalists in Mexico from 2012 to 2018. According to the secretary general of Reporters Without Borders, Christophe Deloire, these crimes against humanity (constitute) a generalized and systematic attack on a civilian population: journalists.
13 March 2019: Guatemalan lawmakers are moving forward with a proposal to grant amnesty for war crimes committed during the country’s brutal 36-year civil war. The bill would free more than 30 former army officers, soldiers and civil defense patrolmen within 24 hours and halt investigations into thousands of cases. Backers of the amnesty say they are simply trying to move on and promote peace. But for victims and their families, the bill is a denial of justice and a negation of history.
12 March 2019: Jean-Pierre Bemba, former vice-president and rebel leader in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), is seeking 69 millions of euros in compensation from the International Criminal Court after being acquitted of war crimes by the Appeals Chamber last June. The payment sought from the ICC also includes compensation for legal costs and losses in the value of assets frozen by the court while he was in prison. If awarded, the money will "provide reparations to the people of the Central African Republic".
11 March 2019: A New York Federal Court Judge has dismissed a case against Germany relating to the alleged genocide in Namibia in the early 1900s. The claim was brought in relation to allegations of colonial German troops killing of tens of thousands of Herero and Nama people in what was then called German South West Africa under an extermination order issued by German General Lothar von Trotha. The case was dismissed as inadmissible on the basis of the principle of sovereign immunity making prosecution of Germany impossible. Lawyers representing the plaintiffs have stated that they intend to appeal the decision.
8 March 2019: A report released by several human rights groups has highlighted the role of the United States and Europe in alleged war crimes committed in Yemen. The report, entitled ‘Day of Judgment: The Role of the US and Europe in Civilian Death, Destruction, and Trauma in Yemen’, highlights the humanitarian crisis that has evolved in Yemen in light of the Saudi and UAE led war on Houthi rebels. According to the report, 4 years into the conflict approximately 20,000 civilians have been killed or wounded and half the population faces famine.
7 March 2019: Two legal teams have called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate crimes against humanity allegedly committed by Syrian Presiden Bashar al-Assad. The legal teams have suggested that the jurisdiction decision of the ICC on the situation of the Rohingyas in Myanmar in 2018 may be a basis for which Syria can be prosecuted, despite not being party to the Rome Statute. The case was submitted to the Office of the Prosecutor on behalf of 28 Syrian refugees in Jordan who have been forcibly displaced.
6 March 2019: On Monday March 4 Malaysia acceded to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, Mr. O-Gon Kwon stated, "[t]his commitment sends a strong signal to the Asia-Pacific region and the world, reinforcing the independent system of international criminal justice to fight impunity and prevent the most serious crimes under international law." Global Parliamentarians for Action have applauded this decision, highlighting that Malaysia is now "the 124th State Party to the first permanent judicial institution having jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression."
5 March 2019: It has been reported that Pakistan will lodge a complaint against India at the United Nations, claiming India has engaged in 'eco-terrorism' in relation to the damage of pine trees during Indian air strikes in Pakistani territory on February 26. India has stated that it engaged in a pre-emptive airstrike against a militant terrorist group. The strike follows a suicide bombing in which 40 Indian security personnel were killed earlier this month.
4 March 2019: Croatia has confirmed the release of former Bosnian Croat battalion commander Marko Radic last December. Radic was convicted of Crimes Against Humanity by the Bosnian State Court in Sarajevo in 2011, where he was given a 21 year sentence for involvement in setting up prisons and ordering the arrest and unlawful detention of Bosniak civilians in Mostar. Radic had been transferred to Croatia, where his sentence was reduced to 12.5 years by a court in Zabreb on the basis that the Croatian domestic legal system does not recognise Joint Criminal Enterprise as a mode of liability.
1 March 2019: A United Nations commission of inquiry has reported on violence on the border of Israel and Gaza during mass protests in 2018, claiming Israeli forces may have committed crimes against humanity. The panel accused Israeli forces of killing and injuring demonstrators not posing an imminent threat of death or serious injury to others, nor participating in hostilities. The Israeli Foreign Ministry released a statement blaming the militant group Hamas for the violence and claiming the UN report is a product of anti-Israeli bias. The panel has called on Israel to investigate all protest-related injuries and deaths in accordance with international standards to determine if crimes against humanity or war crimes have been committed.
28 February 2019: The US District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania has recently found that claims which involve war crimes and crimes against humanity that were committed within Liberia can be brought in US courts under the Alien Tort Statute. The plaintiffs’ are survivors of the July 1990 St. Peter’s Lutheran Church Massacre, with the Court finding Alien Tort Statute claims sufficiently “touch and concern” the US to “displace the presumption against extraterritorial application”.
27 February 2019: Prosecutor of the ICC Fatou Bensouda has requested the Court to dismiss the appeal filed by Jean-Pierre Bemba on the grounds that the penalty imposed upon him for witness tampering was "a manifestly excessive and disproportionate sentence". In September 2018, the ICC fined Jean-Pierre Bemba 300,000 euros and sentenced him to 12 months for witness tampering during his War Crimes trial. In a statement, Bensouda said that "[the Court] should not be asked to displace judicial certainty in favour of devoting countless time and resources to frivolous and obscure litigation."
26 February 2019: The Lima Group has requested the International Criminal Court (ICC) to assess the current crisis in Venezuela. On 5 January Juan Guaido was elected as president of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, which all other government branches refused to recognise. Over 50 States recognise Guaido, with incumbent President Maduro characterising his move for power as a coup staged by the US. The statement by the Lima Group indicated "[w]e have decided to turn to the International Criminal Court with a request to take into account the grave humanitarian situation in Venezuela, the criminal violence of [Venezuelan President] Nicolas Maduro's regime against civilians and the denial of access to international aid, which is a crime against humanity".
25 February 2019: The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals has announced it will rule on the appeal of convicted war criminal Radovan Karadžić on 20 March, 2019. In March 2016, Karadzic was found guilty of genocide relating to the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, crimes against humanity and war crimes including persecution, extermination, murder, deportation, forcible transfer, terror, unlawful attacks of civilians and hostage-taking and was sentenced to 40 years imprisonment.
22 February 2019: The United Nations Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, in a report it will submit to the Human Rights Council next month, detailed continuing war crimes and crimes against humanity, and intensifying repression by the country’s security services. The report emphasized the role of South Sudan’s oil industry as “a major driver for the violations of International Humanitarian Law witnessed there.”
21 February 2019: On 20 February 2019, the International Criminal Court Pre-Trial Chamber II decided to join the cases of Mr. Alfred Yekatom and Mr. Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona allegedly responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Central African Republic. The Chamber also scheduled the hearing on the confirmation of the charges in the joint case for 18 June 2019.
20 February 2019: A Swedish court has convicted a man who fought against the Islamic State group in Iraq of war crimes for posting macabre pictures and videos on Facebook. The asylum-seeker, who arrived in Sweden in late 2015 with his wife and two children, has confessed to being in the pictures but denied committing war crimes
19 February 2019: Switzerland's Federal Court has rejected the opposition to a recently-unveiled monument commemorating the Armenian genocide in Geneva. opposition from Turkey also made the monument a diplomatic headache into which the federal government was forced to wade. The #genocide was recognized by the parliament of Geneva in 2001 and by the Swiss federal parliament in 2003.
18 February 2019: FBI is dismantling a special unit that investigates international war crimes. The unit has had a hand in many high-profile prosecutions including the Liberian warlord Thomas Woewiju. The dismantling of the unit raises concerns on the enforcement of human rights law putting in jeopardy prosecutions.
15 February 2019: FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño, “Timochenko,” testified before Colombia’s war crimes tribunal about his involvement in mass kidnapping during the armed conflict. As a result of the peace process, 5,000 of the 7,000 active FARC members have been granted amnesty. The rest, including alleged war criminals like Timochenko, will have to stand trial in the Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz for crimes against humanity.
14 February 2019: The government of Israel has asked a Dutch court to dismiss war crimes allegations against Benny Gantz, an ex-military chief who is challenging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the April 9 election. A Dutch-Palestinian man originally from the Gaza Strip is suing Gantz and Israel's former air force chief, Amir Eshel, for their roles in an airstrike on his family's home that killed six relatives. An internal Israeli military investigation determined the airstrike had killed four militants. It said the attack was permissible under international law, and argued the Dutch court does not have jurisdiction.
13 February 2019: According to the UN Human Rights Commission, the United States may be violating the UN Convention Against Torture by force-feeding immigrant detainees on a hunger strike inside an El-Paso detention facility. This would constitute “ill-treatment” as stated under the Convention. Force-feeding also raises ethics issues for medical professionals working inside ICE facilities. World Medical Association Declaration of Tokyo, states that when prisoners refuse food and physicians believe they are capable of "rational judgment concerning the consequences of such a voluntary refusal of nourishment, he or she shall not be fed artificially."
12 February 2019: Matthew Goldsteyn, a captain and a US Army Special Forces soldier, is investigated for war crimes allegedly committed in Afghanistan in 2010. The case was initially closed in Nov 2013, when the Army did not find enough evidence to prosecute him.
11 February 2019: Military activity has increased in Myanmar since early January. Reportedly, detention of civilians, blocking of aid and firing the villages take place in northern part of the country.
8 February 2019: The publication of a memo by Radio France and Mediapart, suggests that French intelligence, DGSE, knew about the attack on the plane carrying the Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana, a Hutu, which is considered the event that triggered the genocide that killed 800,000 people. It also establishes that this attack must have been premeditated for a long time by Hutu extremists.
7 February 2019: The Guatemalan Congress votes to reform national reconciliation law and give absolute impunity for crimes against humanity including genocide and rape. Michelle Bachelet, the nited Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said it is a "drastic step backwards for rule of law and victims' rights".
6 February 2019:The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Executive Director Yury Fedotov noted in the UNSC that piracy and criminal activities on the high seas are becoming 'increasingly sophisticated', posing 'immediate danger to people's lives and safety'. He also elaborated upon the links between piracy, terrorism and illegal trafficking.
5 February 2019: The United Nations SG Antonio Guterres noted on Monday that there is a rise in the number of mercenaries, who contribute, among all, to terrorism and transnational crime. He stated also that the activities of the mercenaries 'evolved over the years'. Further, at the United Nations Security Council meeting presided by Teodoro Obiang Nguema from Equatorial Guinea, Obiang mentioned '...mercenary groups continue to act with total impunity in Africa'.
4 February 2019: Laurent Gbagbo, the former President of the Ivory Coast and the first former head of state tried at the International Criminal Court, was released from custody. The release follows his acquittal on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes.
1 February 2019: The Appeals Chamber of ICC has ordered today the conditional release of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé based on the condition that they live in an (yet to be specified) country pending the appeal of the prosecution. They were being prosecuted for four counts of crimes against humanity.
30 January 2019: President Rodrigo Duterte has advocated for legislation that will lower the legal age of criminal responsibility in the Philippines to 12 years old. He initially wanted it to be 9 years old. This legislation is currently being debated at the Parliament. This decision comes in the context of Duterte's 'drug war' which is currently under preliminary investigation by the ICC for crimes against humanity.
29 January 2019: New details related to Edward R. Gallagher, a Navy SEAL (the USA) who was charged with a number of war crimes became known during the last hearing at the Naval Base San Diego last week. Additionally, immunity has been granted to seven Navy SEALs to testify for the Prosecution during the trial on the 19 February.
28 January 2019: Omar al-Bashir, the President of Sudan, indicted for alleged genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, remains at large. Nonetheless, he is facing protests against his rule across the country, including in the regions usually loyal to the President. As noted by an analyst Khalid al-Tijani '...the crisis has reached a new level'.
24 January 2019: Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona was transferred from France, where he was arrested, to the International Criminal Court custody yesterday. He is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed against Séléka group in CAR.
23 January 2019: 13,200 individuals charged or convicted of treason or terrorism have been pardoned in Ethiopia. Critics stated that the anti-terrorism law in that country de facto criminalised dissent or opposition.
22 January 2019: According to a report submitted to the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Terrirory by Defense for Children International - Palestine and the City University of New York, Israeli forces and officials are responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity for the killing of Palestinian child protesters in Gaza. The report establishes proof children did not present any imminent, mortal threat or threat of serious injury.
21 January 2019: The International Criminal Court AC decided that Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé are to remain in custody. The decision follows an appeal by the Prosecutors, submitted against the TC's decision to release both individuals after their acquittal regarding crimes against humanity.
18 January 2019: In Bogotá, 21 people were killed and at least 68 injured in an attack which was described by President Iván Duque as a 'crazy terrorist act'. Car bombs were not unusual during the long-lasting conflict in that country, but no such attack took place within the last nine years.
17 January 2019: The International Criminal Court Trial Chamber I, by majority, Judge Herrera Carbuccia dissenting, found that there were no exceptional circumstances preventing the release of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé from ICC detention following their acquittal for crimes against humanity. The ICC Prosecutor may appeal this decision. It would be then for the Appeals Chamber to decide whether or not to maintain Mr Gbagbo and Mr Blé Goudé in ICC custody.
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: 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.
4 January 2019: Eight individuals were charged with war crimes in Bosnia and Hercegovina. The charge is related to ill-treatment of twenty Serbs, which included sexual assault, severe physical and mental injuries as well as other acts, which may amount to torture.
3 January 2019: Special Warfare Operator Chief Edward Gallagher will be arraigned Friday at Naval Base San Diego on a long list of criminal charges including war crimes. Prosecutors argued that Gallagher had allegedly killed civilians with his sniper rifle as well as conducted the premeditated murder of a prisoner of war.
2 January 2019: On Monday, the Court of Appeal of Paris has ordered the extradition of Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona. He is suspected of committing war crimes in Central African Republic. He was allegedly in charge of coordinating the anti-balaka militias, accused of human rights abuses including mass killings and mutilation.
21 December 2018: On Thursday, a German Federal Court overturned the conviction of Ignace Murwanashyaka, former president of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, an ethnic Hutu militia. He was previously sentenced to 13 years in prison as an accessory to war crimes in Eastern Congo as well as of leading a terrorist organization. His case was sent for a retrial due to legal errors in the reasoning of the original verdict.
20 December 2018:The International Criminal Court is carrying out a preliminary examination of the situation in The Philippines to decide whether the 'war on drugs' there can constitute a crime against humanity. 5,050 persons were killed between July 2016 and November 2018, mostly by the police.
19 December 2018: Less than a month ago two Khmer Rouge leaders were convicted of genocide. However, it has been discovered that Victor Koppe, a defense counsel for Nuon Chea (one of the convicted men), was not a member of the Amsterdam Bar Association, as his membership had lapsed. In the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, each defendant's lawyers must be members of the bar in their home country. It is unclear at this point as to how the finding may affect the case, which is now on appeal.
18 December 2018: On Monday, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution by consensus in which it expressed serious concern at reports of torture, detention, rape, public executions, the imposition of the death penalty and "collective punishments extending up to three generations". These are widespread, systematic and gross human rights violations. The resolution also acknowledges the findings of the UN Commission of Inquiry on North Korea which gathered enough evidence of the commission of crimes against humanity.
17 December 2018: The Chief Prosecutor of the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, Serge Brammertz, stated that Croatia's no-cooperation policy with regard to certain war crimes leads to a deadlock as it comes to investigation and prosecution. Croatia refuses to collaborate with the neighbouring countries in situations when the indictments state that the suspected persons took part in a joint criminal enterprise with Croatian military or political officials.
14 December 2018: On Thursday, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution with a vote of 394 to 1 declaring that the crimes committed against the Rohingya constitute genocide. This comes at a time when the UN has called for Myanmar's generals to face an international tribunal on charges of genocide.
13 December 2018: Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona faces surrender to the International Criminal Court for alleged coordination of attacks on the Muslim population in the CAR in 2013 and 2014, which could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. Ngaïssona is currently a committee member of the Confederation of African Football.
12 December 2018: The Chief Prosecutor of the MICT, Serge Brammertz, has published a new report in which he denounces the lack of cooperation from the Croatian government as well as the blocking of several war crimes cases. In fact, in 2015, the Justice Ministry of Croatia said it will not provide court cooperation in cases.
11 December 2018: The Institute for Economics and Peace in Sydney published the Global Terrorism Index, which indicates that deaths caused by terrorism have fallen in the last three years. Ten States most affected by terrorism were all involved in a conflict and together they accounted for 84% of the terrorism-caused casualties.
10 December 2018: Today marks the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Universal Declaration emerged from the horrors of World War II, which resulted in more than 65 million deaths, including six million Jews and hundreds of thousands of others who were systematically murdered during the Holocaust. Stunned by this carnage, the UN’s framers created an organization with three core objectives: advancing collective security, promoting economic development in poorer countries, and, for the first time, making the protection of human rights a global priority. The UN adopted the declaration on December 10, 1948, by a vote of 48-0, with eight abstentions. Eleanor Roosevelt, who led the effort, called it a “Magna Carta for all mankind.”
7 December 2018: A UN team (UNITAD) will begin investigating possible genocide of the Yazidi minority, alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by ISIS. The UNSC decided to bring to justice the ISIS fighters responsible for alleged atrocities in a resolution from September 2017.
6 December 2018: According to the Annual Report on Preliminary Examinations activities of the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC, the ICC continues the thorough factual and legal assessment of the Philippines' drug war in which President Rodrigo Duterte and other senior government officials are accused of promoting the killing of suspected drug users/dealers.
5 December 2018: War crimes prosecutor Stephen Rapp stated that although the evidence of war crimes is often hard to find, in case of Syria there is very strong evidence. For instance, over 750,000 pages of the regime's documents have been accessed. The information collected points in the direction of war crimes more clearly than in case of any other conflict after the World War 2, including in Rwanda and Liberia.
4 December 2018: Public International Law & Policy Group, a law firm specialized in international law, has found sufficient evidence that genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes have been committed against the Rohingya and urges the international community to establish a criminal investigation.
3 December 2018: A Bosnian court in Sarajevo acquitted Naser Oric of war crimes. He was charged with killing Serbs in villages in vicinity of Srebrenica in 1992, a few years before the Srebrenica genocide.
30 November 2018: The UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals received complaints about alleged mistreatment of two Serbs, Milosevic and Martic, serving sentences for war crimes in Estonia. They could serve their sentences in Serbia, but such a decision is subject to the approval of the United Nations Security Council.
29 November 2018: Argentina decided to prosecute Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's crown prince, over alleged war crimes in Yemen. The Saudi leader arrived to Argentina in order to attend G20 summit in Buenos Aires.
28 November 2018: Santos López Alonzo was sentenced by a Guatemalan court for over 5,000 years of imprisonment. His sentence consists of 30 years for crimes against humanity and additional 30 years for every one of 171 victims of the massacre in the village Dos Erres, which took place on 7 December 1982.
27 November 2018: A 95-year-old man alleged to have been a guard at a Nazi concentration camp Mauthausen has been charged with over 36,000 counts of serving as an accessory to murder. It is yet another charge related to Nazi war crimes. Earlier this month a former SS man was put on trial in Germany.
26 November 2018:Alfred Yekatom, suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity, appeared before the International Criminal Court for the first time. Defence lawyer Xavier-Jean Keita raised a point that Yekatom was subjected to torture back in CAR but Judge Antoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua noted that these allegations cannot be dealt with immediately. An official hearing to confirm Yekatom's charges will take place on 30 April 2019.
23 November 2018: Charles Bandora appealed his 30-year sentence for genocide in the Supreme Court in Kigali, Rwanda. He was found guilty by the High Court Specialised Chamber for International Crimes in May 2015. The appeal concentrates on the fact that, according to Bandora's lawyers, there was not enough evidence for a conviction.
22 November 2018: The Trump Administration is considering naming Venezuela a State sponsor of terrorism. Analysts highlighted that in consequence the US will reduce its capacity to provide humanitarian help to those under Maduro's rule.
21 November 2018: A lawsuit was filed in a Paris court against Abu Dhabi Crown Prince when he visited France. He was accused of war crimes, complicity in torture and inhumane treatment. The alleged crimes were to take place in Yemen.
20 November 2018: The Civil Society Group from Kosovo filed 61 complaints to the Special Prosecution in Pristina. The complaints concern alleged war crimes committed by Serbs in Gjakova/Djakovica during the 1998-1999 war. This is the seventh time that activists from the municipality file criminal complaints to prosecutors.
19 November 2018: Alfred Yekatom ('Rambo') has been handed over to the International Criminal Court - ICC. He is allegedly responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity which were to take place in the Central African Republic between December 2013 and August 2014.
16 November 2018: Two leaders of Khmer Rouge (Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan), the most senior ones out of those still alive today, have been found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity, which took place between 1977 and 1979. Regardless of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia decision the two men were already serving life sentences for crimes against humanity.
15 November 2018: The Kosovar Court of Appeals upheld the verdict that Fatmir Limaj, the current Deputy PM of Kosovo, should be acquitted of war crimes charges. The charges concerned killings of two Albanian civilians during the Kosovo War, when Limaj was a commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army.
14 November 2018: Over a dozen of Russian veteran organisations are intending to call the International Criminal Court - ICC to investigate the use of mercenaries by Russia in Syria and a number of other States, in relation to alleged war crimes committed.
13 November 2018: The US decided to stop refueling of Saudi-led coalition aircraft used in Yemen. There is a number of war crimes that allegedly took place during the conflict in Yemen. More than 10,000 people have been killed and over 2 million have been displaced. In addition, widespread famine prevails in the country.
12 November 2018: Myanmar and Bangladesh are about to repatriate thousands of the Rohingya people. The transfer is to take place despite of the UN's and the Rohingya's opposition. Recently, a UN fact-finding mission described the violent campaign against Rohingya as genocide.
9 November 2018: The courts and prosecution offices in Bosnia and Hercegovina made it harder for journalists to access information about, among all, war crimes trials. The law still states that trials are publicly accessible but since 2012 transparency has decreased following the Agency for the Protection of Personal Data's instruction that data concerning trials should not be published automatically.
8 November 2018: 202 mass graves with up to 12,000 corpses have been discovered so far in Iraq. The UN stated that they may serve as evidence of crimes committed by ISIS. The collection of evidence on genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity started in August 2018.
7 November 2018: A 94-year-old German appeared in a court for a trial regarding his alleged assistance in murdering hundreds of individuals at a Nazi concentration camp. He is tried in a youth court because he was under 21 when the alleged war crimes took place.
6 November 2018: France has issued arrest warrants for three top Syrian security chiefs for their alleged involvement in war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture, forced disappearances. Earlier this year, in June, Germany issued a similar arrest warrant for a Syrian airforce intelligence official. Prosecuting members of the Assad government is especially difficult as Syria has not signed the Rome Statute.
5 November 2018: Fatou Bensouda, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, stated in her last speech to the UN Security Council that her office keeps the position that Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi should be arrested. It is despite his call to declare the arrest warrant inadmissible.The international arrest warrant for the son of the Lybian dictator and a former de facto Prime Minister was issued in June 2011. He is charged with crimes against humanity.
2 November 2018: Yesterday the UN Human Rights Committee published its findings on Sudan. It noted with concern that Sudan failed to bring to justice 'Sudanese nationals and officials on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes' within its national system, or let the International Criminal Court prosecute these individuals.
1 November 2018: Germany, following an appeal, reopened a war crimes case against two suspected leaders of a rebel group, Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). Prosecuting lawyers stated that the two men should be given longer sentences. Before, they were sentenced to 13 and 8 years of imprisonment.
31 October 2018: Jack Smith, the chief prosecutor of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor's Office, visited Kosovo for the first time since taking his post. The court is investigating war crimes, which took place during the Kosovar independence war in the late 90s.
30 October 2018: A former officer in the Afghanistan army was charged with war crimes by German prosecutors. The man allegedly took part in abuse of prisoners. The suspect was arrested near Munich on October 25.
29 October 2018: A publishing house which is part of the Serbian Defence Ministry published a book about the 1999 NATO military campaign in Kosovo. The book was written by Nebojsa Pavkovic, a former commander of the Yugoslav Army’s Third Battalion, who is now serving a 22-year prison sentence for war crimes.
26 October 2018: The case of a person who has sent ten packages containing explosive materials to certain Democrats, Donald Trump critics and CNN New York offices is treated as a case of domestic terrorism. The manhunt for the sender is ongoing.
25 October 2018: Pursuant to the UN, genocide of the Rohingya is still ongoing in Myanmar. Thousands of people are fleeing the country, according to the chair of the UN fact-finding mission there. The UN special investigator on human rights in Myanmar noted that the Rohingya need 'freedom of movement, access to basic health services'. She noted that 'repatriation is not possible now'.
24 October 2018: Two members of the US Navy SEAL were accused of war crimes. Lt. Jacob 'Jake' Portier faces a charge in relation to aiding covering up a number of alleged war crimes committed by a Special Operations Chief Edward 'Eddie' Gallagher. Both men are, among all, allegedly linked to an execution of an ISIS detainee, which took place last year.
23 October 2018: The UN accused a South Sudanese armed group called Sudan People's Liberation Army - in Opposition of crimes against humanity. The crimes were allegedly committed in the Western Equatoria region. What is especially disappointing, according to the Secretary-General and Head of UNMISS David Shearer, is the fact that the violence of the group escalated during the peace agreement negotiations.
22 October 2018: Upon a request from the UN, a Sri Lankan commander will be recalled from his mission with the UN peacekeeping contingent in Mali. He is suspected to be responsible for alleged war crimes committed during the Sri Lankan civil war, which ended in 2009.
19 October 2018: A CE and a chairman of a Swedish company Lundin Oil are accused of complicity in alleged war crimes that took place in Sudan in the 2000s. The company is suspected of providing financial support to several militias and the Sudanese army.
18 October 2018: Former prisoners of ''re-education" camps in Xinjiang region in China state that torture, rape and killings take place there. The dominant group of inmates in the camps are Muslim Uyghurs. The detention is supposed to force them to abandon their religion and support the Chinese Communist Party.
17 October 2018: For the first time, the Public Prosecution Service in The Netherlands decided to pursue legal action against a Dutch jihadi allegedly guilty of a war crime. The trigger for such an action was that the man posted a photo on social media of himself smiling next to an individual who had been crucified.
16 October 2018: Several thousands Croats took part in protests in Vukovar demanding bringing to justice perpetrators of the war crimes committed during the 90s war. The protest had also allegedly other political motives.
15 October 2018: The new counter-terrorism bill in the UK poses a risk to free speech and access to information. In the light of this, the cross-party joint committee proposed 29 changes to the bill. The security minister Ben Wallace claimed that a proposal for changes is disappointing, as the measures in the bill are ''necessary, proportionate and compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights".
12 October 2018: A former Bosnian army commander Atif Dudakovic and 16 others were charged with war crimes which took place during the 1992-1995 war. The accused are allegedly responsible for murdering over 300 Serbs, mostly elderly civilians.
11 October 2018: French Polynesia filed a claim at the ICC for alleged crimes against humanity, for which it wants to held accountable all the living French presidents. The claim is related to nuclear tests conducted on islands belonging to French Polynesia.
10 October 2018: Rwanda has a new penal code, which for the first time holds institutions accountable for crimes against humanity and genocide. Any institution or company supporting crimes against humanity or genocide will face dissolution.
9 October 2018: Michèle Coninsx, the Executive Director of the UNCTED, briefed the UNSC noting that there is an increasing involvement of the terror groups in criminal activities. Likewise, criminal groups more often offer their services, such as counterfeiting, to terror groups.
8 October 2018: 2018 Nobel Peace Prize is shared between Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege. Both of them contributed to fighting sexual violence during armed conflicts. Rape and sexual violence can constitute war crimes.
5 October 2018: One more mass grave was uncovered in Sri Lankan Northern province, near Mannar. This grave, with remains of 136 persons, together with another one discovered in the area in 2013 and containing 84 skeletons, points to war crimes committed in the area.
4 October 2018: The government of South Sudan is against setting up a war crimes court. Creation of a hybrid court was a key point in the peace deal recently agreed upon between those who took part in the five-year civil war in the country.
3 October 2018: Qatar objected to the allegations by Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates of supporting terrorism at the UN General Assembly on Saturday. The meeting did not bring any progress in the Gulf crisis. An embargo imposed last year by the aforementioned States and Egypt on Qatar remains in place.
2 October 2018: German police arrested 7 men suspected of building a far-right terrorist group called Revolution Chemnitz. Officially, 83 persons were killed in Germany by neo-Nazi and other extremist groups since 1990. A separate investigation by news outlets suggests the number of killed individuals amounts to 169.
1 October 2018: Seven man were arrested for allegedly planning to commit a big-scale terrorist attack in The Netherlands. The planning was at advanced stage. The terrorism threat level in the country remains at the same level: it is substantial, at 4 on a scale of 5.
28 September 2018: The leaders of six countries (Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru) asked the president of the ICC to investigate possible crimes against humanity committed in Venezuela. It is the first time that ICC member States seek investigation of alleged crimes committed on the territory of another State.
27 September 2018: A Guatemala City court decided that the crime of genocide was perpetrated during the 36-year civil war. However, Jose Mauricio Rodriguez, a former military intelligence chief, was acquitted of both genocide and crimes against humanity.
26 September 2018: A commander of a Ghoraba as-Sham group, consisting of 150 members and taking actions under the Free Syrian Army (FSA) umbrella group, was sentenced to life imprisonment for war crimes by a German court.
25 September 2018: Canadian parliament unanimously voted to declare that the crimes committed by the Myanmar military against Rohingya Muslims constitute genocide.
24 September 2018: A 94-year-old man is to face trial in a juvenile court in Germany. He is accused of being an accessory to war crimes: hundreds of murders in a Nazi concentration camp during the World War II. Because the man was younger than 21 years old when the alleged offences took place, he will not be tried in an adult court.
21 September 2018: The International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism, the purpose of which is bringing to justice individuals responsible for severe crimes committed during the conflict in Syria, has planned to open two cases concerning alleged war crimes by the end of 2018.
20 September 2018: The ICC has opened a preliminary examination of the alleged crimes against humanity committed during the Rohingya crisis. It can be a first step in a widespread investigation of the Burmese military crackdown, which resulted in death of 700,000 people and displacement of thousands individuals.
19 September 2018: The ICC fined Jean-Pierre Bemba 300,000 euros and sentenced him to 12 months for witness tampering during his war crimes trial. Due to the time served already, the jail term will not be enforced. Judge Bertram Schmitt stated the sentencing should be understood as a "cautionary example".
18 September 2018: After the signing of the peace deal in South Sudan, the United Nations Human Rights Commission on South Sudan is calling on the government to set up a hybrid court to address potential war crimes and crimes against humanity.
17 September 2018: The European Union in a Draft Resolution urges Myanmar to provide effective justice mechanisms for alleged crimes against humanity committed during the Rohingya crisis and to accept the jurisdiction of the ICC. The Draft Resolution follows the outcome of an independent fact-finding mission which has found evidence for a 'genocidal intent' of Myanmar officials.
14 September 2018: A UN inquiry commission concluded that Syrian government forces and/or affiliated militias committed the war crime of using chemical weapons and launching indiscriminate attacks three times during January and February. Up to now, 33 usages of chemical weapons have been attributed to the Syrian government.
13 September 2018: Palestinians have filed a new complaint with the ICC against Israel because of the planned demolition of the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al Ahmar in the West Bank. Due to the complainants, the demolition might amount to war crimes.
12 September 2018: The ICC declared that it will continue its work 'undeterred' by the threats of the Trump administration to impose sanctions on ICC judges if investigations into alleged war crimes committed by US military and intelligence services in Afghanistan proceeded.
11 September 2018: Despite an agreement signed with the government of Mali three years ago, armed groups are undermining peace in that country. There is a number of groups linked to human trafficking, drug smuggling and terrorism operating in Mali. The UN has named individuals and groups threatening the implementation of the agreement despite signing it, what constitutes an unusual move from the side of that organisation.
10 September 2018: Trump administration has threatened to impose sanctions on the ICC judges and prosecutors if they proceed with an investigation concerning alleged war crimes committed by Americans in Afghanistan. The sanctions would include banning from entry to the United States, sanctioning funds as well as prosecution before the American courts.
7 September 2018: Yesterday the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I ruled that the Court has jurisdiction over the alleged deportation (a potential crime against humanity) of the Rohingya population from Myanmar to the neighbouring Bangladesh.
6 September 2018: Amnesty International published a report indicating that hundreds of prisoners in South Sudan are subject to torture and inhuman treatment. Between 2014 and 2016 at least 20 people died in detention. Notably, South Sudan is a party to the United Nations Convention against Torture.
5 September 2018: The British government has still not decided whether to start a judge-led inquiry into the post-9/11 human rights abuses, including torture, in which the United Kingdom was involved. The deadline for the decision mentioned by the Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan passed on 3 September.
4 September 2018: A group of farmers from Israel has filed a complaint against Hamas in the ICC. The farmers wish that the Hamas leaders were prosecuted for alleged war crimes. The filing was related especially to the torching of fields in southern Israel.
3 September 2018: The Northern Provincial Council in Sri Lanka has passed a resolution to ask the United Nations Human Rights Council to establish a court where individuals responsible for alleged war crimes and human rights abuses that happened during the civil war would be put on trial.
31 August 2018: Closing statements in Bosco Ntaganda’s case at the ICC took place between 28 and 30 August 2018. Ntaganda faces 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He claimed that he was unfairly called the ‘Terminator’ and that he never harmed any civilians. He stated as well that false testimony had been given by the witnesses.
30 August 2018: A complaint with the ICC was filed accusing President of The Philippines Rodrigo Duterte of murder and crimes against humanity. The filing was made by activists and families of eight victims of Duterte's 'war on drugs'.
29 August 2018: Human remains taken from Namibia following what is often called 'the first genocide of the 20th century' are to be returned to the country from Germany. Nonetheless, the descendants of those affected by the massacre point out that still no formal apology or reparations were made.
28 August 2018:Jean-Pierre Bemba, acquitted of war crimes by the ICC earlier this year, cannot run in the presidential elections in the DRC. The decision was taken by the electoral commission and it is due to the fact that there is still a pending case against Bemba at the ICC, regarding interference with witnesses.
27 August 2018: Human Rights Watch has published a report questioning the credibility of the Joint Incidents Assessment Team's work in Yemen. This group of investigators has been organised to investigate the coalition's military actions, including alleged war crimes.
24 August 2018: A year after its creation by the UNSC, a UN investigative team has started work on collection and preservation of evidence related to alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed by ISIS in Iraq.
23 August 2018: Rohingya refugees who return to the Rakhine State in Bangladesh are being tortured and imprisoned by Myanmar authorities. Some returnees testified to the Human Rights Watch that they were sentenced for four years for illegally crossing the border. A description of various torture methods used was also provided.
22 August 2018: Jakiw Palij, a 95-year-old Nazi war crimes suspect and a former concentration camp guard was deported from the US to Germany. He came to the US under false pretenses and lived there for many years remaining uncrecognised. He is the last Nazi suspect whose deportation from the US was ordered.
21 August 2018: Argentina intends to request the ICC to investigate potential crimes against humanity in Venezuela. Chile, Colombia and Paraguay are cooperating with Argentina on working on the filing. According to the Argentinian President Mauricio Macri, the request may be submitted in the upcoming weeks.
20 August 2018: Amnesty International calls Vietnam to investigate alleged torture and ill-treatment of individuals who attended a concert in Ho Chi Minh, where pre-Communist era (yet apolitical) songs were performed. The police beat the concertgoers, concentrating especially on rights activitsts present at the venue.
17 August 2018: The number of terrorist attacks around the world is declining. The number of attacks was 20% lower in 2017 in comparison to 2016, with the number of fatalities decreasing by 24%. A big decline is especially visible in the Middle East and Africa.
16 August 2018: There are calls to investigate whether the USA violated international law by its support for the Saudi coalition in Yemen, as potentially war crimes could have taken place. The USA offers military support and intelligence to the coalition. According to the Yemen Data Project, one in three Saudi bombings hits civilian targets.
13 August 2018: Drone attacks on Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and at the airport in Abu Dhabi mark a start of an era of so-called terrorism by joystick. Attacks from the air have become the domain of not only States, but also of the non-State actors.
10 August 2018: The National Human Rights Commission (‘NHRC’) in Nepal has criticised a number of penalty provisions in the draft bill of the transitional justice act for their leniency. The NHRC has proposed at least 59 changes. The provision suggesting three years of community service as a punishment for war crimes met with special criticism.
9 August 2018: There has been a significant increase in piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. Nigeria alone recorded 31 incidents in its territorial waters. It is currently a State with the most attacks against vessels in the second quarter of 2018.
8 August 2018: President of Côte d'Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, stated that 800 people accused of crimes related to the 2010-11 crisis in the country would be granted amnesty. It is now unclear how many of the alleged perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity will be tried.
7 August 2018: A number of the Islamic State militants have surrendered to the Afghan government in Jowzjan province in order not to be captured by the Taliban. Although the perpetrators of the alleged war crimes are going to be prosecuted, the provincial authorities stated that the rest of the detainees will be freed under the government amnesty plan. It is despite of the fact that President Ashraf Ghani opposed amnesty for Islamic State loyalists.
6 August 2018: The head of the UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) stated that the recent suicide attack inside a Shia mosque in Gardez 'may amount to war crimes'. Fourty eight persons were killed in that attack and more than seventy were injured.
3 August 2018: German authorities arrested Sivatheeban B. The man is suspected of membership in a foreign terrorist organisation and committing war crimes in Sri Lanka as a member of Tamil Tigers. According to prosecutors he belonged to the group between 2006 and 2009.
1 August 2018: A US court has heard the first oral argumentation in a case concerning the so-called 'first genocide of the 20th century'. The term relates to the mass extermination of Nama and Herero people in South West Africa (now Namibia) by German colonial troops.
31 July 2018: The persecution of Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang, China is worsening and it may amount to crimes against humanity. Several hundred thousand to one million of Uyghurs have been detained in extralegal re-education camps.
30 July 2018: The Humanitarian Law Centre, an NGO based in Belgrade, claims that Serbia stalls prosecution of war crimes related to the 1990s conflict. Within the past six months there was no notable progress with regard to the implementation of the national war crimes prosecution strategy.
27 July 2018: A Commission of Inquiry consisting of three persons and led by David Crane has been set up by the UN to investigate into situation in Gaza. As stated by Human Rights Watch earlier this year, war crimes could have taken place there since the start of the Gaza Border Protests in March 2018.
26 July 2018: The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture ('CPT') has published a report based on six visits to Azerbaijan from 2004 to 2017. The report states that torture and other 'severe physical ill-treatment' is widespread in prisons in that country. President of the CPT called for a 'decisive action' in this regard.
25 July 2018: Montenegrin police have arrested Predrag Vukovic ('Madzo'), who is accused of committing war crimes in the Kosovar village of Ljubenic in 1999. Serbian war crimes prosecutors were looking for Vukovic since 2014.
24 July 2018: The UK government decided not to seek assurances that no execution would take place in case of two formerly British terrorism suspects, currently held in the US. El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey are accused of being members of 'The Beatles' ISIS cell. They were stripped of their British citizenship.
23 July 2018: A number of senior Sri Lankan commanders who have been sent to act as UN peacekeepers were involved in alleged war crimes during the Sri Lankan 26-year civil war.
20 July 2018: ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre has released information that Asian piracy is at a ten year low. Notably, just in the time span from January to June 2018 a 15% decrease was noted in comparison to the same period in 2017.
19 July 2018: The new government in Spain has announced that it is willing to establish a truth commission investigating crimes against humanity committed during Francisco Franco's dictatorship. An estimate of 140,000 people disappeared during that time, not including those killed during the civil war.
18 July 2018: The ICC's jurisdiction over the crime of aggression was activated on 17 July 2018. Less than 40 countries (35 as of 22 February 2018) have so far ratified the amendment enabling their leaders to be found liable for that crime.
17 July 2018: The FARC leaders, including Rodrigo Londoño, appeared for the first time at a new special peace tribunal established in Colombia. They had to respond to allegations of war crimes committed during five decades of the conflict in the country.
16 July 2018: Former Democratic Republic of Congo Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba has been nominated for presidential elections due to take place in December this year. The nomination has taken place five weeks after Bemba's acquittal of war crimes and crimes against humanity charges at the ICC.
13 July 2018: Mahmoud al-Werfalli, a Libyan commander alleged to have directly committed and to have ordered war crimes in Lybia, has escaped from prison. The ICC has issued an arrest warrant for him in August 2017, but al-Werfalli is yet to appear before the court.
12 July 2018: Amnesty International urges that abuses taking place in secret detention facilities, perpetrated by the United Arab Emirates forces and Yemeni militias associated with them, should be investigated as war crimes.
11 July 2018: The UN has stated that allegedly war crimes took place in South Sudan. Three commanders were identified as the most responsible. The UN has called for introducing new sanctions against senior figures in the country.
10 July 2018: Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists state that Nepal's current draft law on prosecuting crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture and other international crimes does not meet international standards. Twelve years have passed since the end of a civil war in Nepal.
9 July 2018: The United States boycotted an informal meeting of the UN Security Council, organised in order to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute. Other opponents of the ICC Statute, including China and Russia, were present at the meeting and participated in discussions. As suggested by one of the officials, the non-appearance of the US is likely to be linked to the potential investigation of war crimes, allegedly committed by members of the US military in Afghanistan.
6 July 2018: Amnesty International stated that forcible transfer of the Palestinian population from the village Khan al-Ahmar, and settling Israelis there, violates Geneva Convention IV and amounts to war crimes.On 24 May 2018 the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the entire village can be destroyed.
5 July 2018: Prosecutors in the Jean-Pierre Bemba's trial allege that Bemba's acquittal was based on tainted evidence. Bemba was previously charged with five counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes, but the conviction was overturned on appeal. After a one day hearing conducted yesterday judges will consider the sentence.
4 July 2018: The Organization of American States is of an opinion that there are reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed in Venezuela. The widespread, systematic attack against the civilian population consists of murder, sexual violence, torture, arbitrary detention and persecution. The regime in Venezuela denies existence of a crisis and denies access to humanitarian help.
3 July 2018: Human Rights Watch claims that the Israeli officials' apparent approval of firing on Gazan demonstrators who posed no immediate threat to life may amount to war crimes. Since March 2018, 124 persons were killed during the demonstrations and over 4,000 were wounded with live ammunition.
2 July 2018: Iraq has executed at least twelve individuals convicted of terrorism crimes. Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi ordered immediate execution following the finding of the bodies of eight IS captives on the road the day before. The way trials and executions of IS suspects are conducted raises concerns of various rights groups.
29 June 2018: Théodore Rukeratabaro was jailed for life as the Stockholm District Court found that he played a 'leading role' in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Rukeratabaro arrived to Sweden in 1998 and was naturalised in 2006. He is the third genocide suspect to be convicted in Sweden. Rwanda commended the court's decision.
28 June 2018: Colombia’s senate diminished the powers of the tribunal where crimes related to the conflict with the FARC were supposed to be tried. In effect, the tribunal’s capacities hardly reflect what was agreed upon between the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC. Meanwhile, the ICC urges speedy investigation of the alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity and is ready to investigate if Colombian justice system is unwilling or unable to start proceedings.
27 June 2018: The UN Human Rights Council issued a report concerning the conflict in the Kasai region in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which generally ended at the end of 2017. The report states that that all sides to the conflict committed war crimes and crimes against humanity
26 June 2018: France handed over Radomir Susnjar, a war crimes suspect, to Bosnia. The Bosnian prosecutor's office stated that he was charged with participating in an operation in which 57 Muslim Bosniaks were burned alive, as well as robbery and illegal detention of civilians near the eastern town of Visegrad in 1992. Susnjar lived in France for years before being tracked down.
25 June 2018: The UN Human Rights Council stated that the Donald Trump’s policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the border “may amount to torture”.
22 June 2018: ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda addressed the United Nations Security Council, urging it ‘to take steps to facilitate’ the dialogue between the Prosecutor’s Office and the Government of Sudan, with regard to the alleged crimes against humanity and alleged war crimes committed in Darfur.
21 June 2018: The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic stated that the siege of eastern Ghouta was ''barbaric and medieval". It noted that actions of pro-Government forces, armed groups and members of terrorist groups amount to war crimes.
20 June 2018: Today the ICC is to decide whether it has a mandate to investigate the alleged crimes against humanity related to the Rohingya crisis. The ICC has already requested Bangladesh to make an opinion on whether prosecution is possible. Bangladeshi Foreign Affairs and Law ministries have been urged by the National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh to assist the ICC with regard to the potential prosecution. The Commission collected testimonies of 53 Rohingya women allegedly sexually abused in Myanmar.
19 June 2018: The ICC Pre-Trial Chamber decided on the conduct of the proceedings against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi (allegedly criminally responsible for crimes against humanity). The decision was taken following the defendant’s challenge to the admissibility of the case on the basis of the ne bis in idem principle. The Pre-Trial Chamber asked the Prosecutor, victims and the UN Security Council to submit written observations by 28 September 2018. A legal representative for victims was appointed.
18 June 2018: An apcourt in Copenhagen, Denmark ordered the Danish government to compensate 18 civilians tortured in 2004 during an operation 'Green Desert' near Basra, Iraq. The court ruled that although the soldiers of the Danish battalion did not take part in the abuse, they failed to prevent it. The amount of compensation awarded to the 18 individuals was 30,000 danish kroner ($4,600). Defence Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen noted that the judgment would be appealed against.
15 June 2018: In this interesting article, Alex Whiting discusses how the International Criminal Court Appeals Chamber’s acquittal of Mr Jean-Pierre Bemba would impact the Court and its rules.
14 June 2018: Trial opened in Sarajevo for two former Bosnian Serb Army soldiers on genocide charges. Mile Kosoric, the former commander of the Bosnian Serb Army’s Vlasenica Brigade, and Momcilo Tesic, a member of the brigade’s Military Police Squad, are accused of killing men from Srebrenica, raping women and robbing Bosniaks of money and gold in July 1995.
13 June 2018: Trial Chamber VII of the International Criminal Court ordered interim release of Mr Jean-Pierre Bemba, following his acquittal on war crimes and crimes against humanity charges.
12 June 2018: Human rights organizations called on the International Criminal Court to investigate atrocities allegedly committed by the Mexican military in a crackdown on drug crime in the Chihuahua region. The groups presented a dossier to prosecutors documenting alleged slayings, torture, rapes and forced disappearances involving 121 victims during 2008-2010, claiming they amounted to crimes against humanity.
11 June 2018: Germany’s federal prosecutor issued an international arrest warrant for Syria’s Air Force Intelligence chief, Jamil Hassan, for crimes against humanity. The warrant alleges that Hassan ordered his forces to torture, murder and commit sexual crimes against hundreds of detainees in Syria between 2011 and 2014.
8 June 2018: The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court decided on Friday, by majority, to acquit ex-Congolese politician Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo from the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Appeals Camber decided that the Trial Chamber III “had erroneously convicted Mr Bemba for specific criminal acts that were outside the scope of the charges as confirmed” and had made "serious errors” in “its assessment of whether Mr Bemba took all necessary and reasonable measures to prevent, repress or punish” the crimes committed by his subordinates. Mr Bemba will remain in detention on account of another case in which he has been convicted of offences against the administration of justice, pending a decision of Trial Chamber VII in that case.
8 June 2018: A confidential Australian governmental defence inquiry has found that some members of Australia’s elite special forces allegedly committed war crimes in Afghanistan amid a “complete lack of accountability” from the military chain of command.
7 June 2018: German prosecutors are investigating a suspected former member of Nazi mobile killing squads for involvement in WWII massacres carried out by the “Einsatzgruppen”. This is the third such case to be opened in Germany in recent months based on a legal argument that someone who enabled war crimes could be charged with accessory to murder , even if they can't be linked to specific deaths.
6 June 2018: Sixteen Syrian men and women filed a criminal complaint in Austria against 24 senior officials in the Syrian government for the war crimes and crimes against humanity of murder, torture, serious bodily harm and deprivation of liberty, pursuant to Austria’s universal jurisdiction rules.
5 June 2018: Investigations by Amnesty International in the city of Raqqa, Syria led to allegations that US-led Coalition forces killed hundreds of civilians and injured thousands in the offensive to take back the city from the ISIS. Read the report here.
4 June 2018: On May 31, the United Nations secretary-general appointed British barrister Karim Khan QC to head a team tasked with collecting and preserving evidence of serious crimes committed by ISIS in Iraq. Human Rights Watch argued that the team’s mandate allows it to document serious crimes committed by ISIS but failed to include within its scope of work the abuses, including war crimes, by anti-ISIS forces.
1 June 2018: A report published by Amnesty International alleges that the Nigerian security forces have been abusing thousands of women and girls who survived the rule of Boko Haram. The allegations include, among others, detention, physical abuse and rape, sometimes in exchange for food.
31 May 2018: The International Criminal Court received victims submissions on behalf of 400 Rohingya women and children on Wednesday, in support of the Prosecutor’s Request seeking a ruling on the question of whether the ICC may exercise its jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of the Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh.
30 May 2018: A three-member panel of experts of the Organization of American States (OAS) found that Venezuelan officials in the government of President Nicolas Maduro have committed crimes against humanity. The 400-page expert report, together with supporting evidence, will be forwarded to the International Criminal Court, according to Secretary General of the OAS.
29 May 2018: The Central African Republic (CAR)’s Special Criminal Court is due to start its formal investigations next week into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the country’s recent political violence. The court will be based in CAR and is composed of both national and international judges.
28 May 2018: The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) invited submissions from Sudan and its president, Al Bashir, on the legal questions raised by Jordan in its appeal against the Court’s decision to refer Jordan’s non-compliance to the ICC Assembly of States Parties (ASP) and the UN Security Council (UNSC). This will be the first time that the ICC Appeals Chamber will consider non-compliance referrals to the ASP and the UNSC.
25 May 2018: Oceans Beyond Piracy released its review for 2017, showing that pirate attacks remain a serious threat off the Horn of Africa, the coast of Latin America and in the Gulf of Guinea. According to the lead author, “pirate groups retain their ability to organize and implement attacks against ships transiting the region.” Read the full report here.
24 May 2018: The high-profile Molina Theissen case has reached a verdict in Guatemala. Four retired senior members of the Guatemalan military, including two high-ranking officers previously thought to be untouchable, were convicted yesterday of crimes against humanity for the illegal detention, torture, and sexual violation of Emma Molina Theissen and for the enforced disappearance of Emma’s 14-year-old brother Marco Antonio during the country's civil war in 1981. A fifth official was acquitted of all charges.
23 May 2018: Palestine referred the situation in Palestine since 13 June 2014 to the International Criminal Court on Tuesday, requesting “the Prosecutor to investigate … past, ongoing and future crimes within the court's jurisdiction, committed in all parts of the territory of the State of Palestine". Read the statement by the ICC Prosecutor here.
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.
20 April 2018: Interesting article on how the principle of functional immunity under international law might be used by the United States against the International Criminal Court’s exercise of jurisdiction on U.S. personnel in the war crimes probe in Afghanistan.
19 April 2018: On 17 April, Mr Peter Lewis, a UK national, was sworn in as Registrar of the International Criminal Court for a period of five years.
18 April 2018: Five key suspects of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide have been placed under fresh investigations in the UK by the Metropolitan Police’s War Crimes Unit. The suspects were alleged to have held key leadership positions under the regime during the genocide. Rwanda issued indictments against them 11 years ago, while the indictments were not executed by the UK judiciary due to fair trial concerns.
17 April 2018: German prosecutors have charged a 94-year-old former SS guard at the Auschwitz death camp as an accessory to mass murder. The accused is a German national born in Serbia who allegedly served as a guard at Auschwitz in late 1942 and early 1943. It is estimated that 13,335 people were sent to the gas chambers during that time.
16 April 2018: Read this Just Security article that analyses the strengths and weaknesses of existing domestic and international legal arguments supporting the coordinated airstrike launched by the US, UK, and France over suspected chemical weapons use in Syria. On 14 April, the UN Security Council rejected a proposal by the Russian Federation to condemn the act as aggression.
13 April 2018: The global shipping industry reported 66 incidents of maritime piracy in the first quarter, with the Gulf of Guinea accounting for most of the increase. In Q1, a total of 100 crew members were taken hostage and 14 kidnapped from vessels; 39 vessels were boarded, 11 fired upon and four hijacked. The numbers mark a 50% increase in piracy attacks cases, compared to 43 cases in Q1 2017 and 37 in 2016.
12 April 2018: The Appeals Chamber of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT) reversed Vojislav Šešelj’s 2016 acquittal delivered by the Trial Chamber of the ICTY and convicted him of crimes against humanity. It also reversed the Trial Chamber’s finding that there was no widespread or systematic attack against the non-Serbian civilian population in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mr. Šešelj was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment.
11 April 2018: The OHCHR and the UN Support Mission in Libya published a report which revealed the arbitrary dentention and torture of thousands of people in Libya by armed groups, including those affiliated with the state. Many detainees have been held without charge or trial since the 2011 revolution that overthrew former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Read the full report here.
10 April 2018: Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has asked for the Court’s ruling on whether it has jurisdiction over the deportations of Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh. The ruling will “assist in her further deliberations concerning any preliminary examination she may independently undertake”. Read the full request here.
10 April 2018: The Syrian city of Douma suffered from suspected chemical attack during the weekend that has resulted in the death of at least 42 people. This attack came almost exactly a year after the deadly sarin gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhun. In a report, Human Rights Watch has compiled a timeline of chemical weapons attacks that took place in Syria since 2013.
9 April 2018: Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Ms. Fatou Bensouda, issued a statement regarding the worsening situation in Gaza, highlighting that “violence against civilians - in a situation such as the one prevailing in Gaza – could constitute crimes under the Rome Statute”, “as could the use of civilian presence for the purpose of shielding military activities.” The situation in Palestine is currently under preliminary examination at the ICC.
6 April 2018: Read this interesting article published on Just Security on the International Criminal Court's preliminary examination into the situation in Afghanistan, including allegations against US personnel, and how it might play out between the Court and the United States.
5 April 2018: Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud, who was extradited to The Hague last week, appeared for the first time before the single judge of Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court. The opening of the confirmation of charges hearing is provisionally scheduled for 24 September 2018 to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that Al Hassan committed crimes against humanity and war crimes in Timbuktu, Mali.
4 April 2018: Former Guatemalan military dictator Efraín Ríos Montt died at the age of 91 while facing genocide charges for his role during the most brutal phase of the Guatelaman civil war that lasted from 1960 to 1996. Ríos Montt was convicted in 2013 of genocide and crimes against humanity, while the verdict was vacated by the Constitutional Court ten days after. At the time of his death, he was facing a retrial that started in October 2017.
3 April 2018: On Saturday, Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud was surrendered to the International Criminal Court by the Malian authorities and arrived at the ICC’s detention centre in the Netherlands. Al Hassan is suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity for the destruction of cultural heritage and sexual and gender-based crimes allegedly committed in 2012 and 2013 in Timbuktu, Mali.
29 March 2018: Judges of the International Criminal Court elected Mr. Peter Lewis (UK) as Registrar for a period of five years, succeeding Mr. Herman von Hebel (Netherlands) whose current five-year mandate ends on 16 April 2018.
28 March 2018: In its first report, the International Impartial Independent Mechanism Investigating Serious Crimes in Syria (IIIM) claimed to have amassed an “overwhelming volume” of testimony, images and videos documenting atrocities committed by all parties during Syria’s war. The IIIM also claimed to have been preparing case files and engaging with war crimes investigative units of states, including in Europe.
27 March 2018: Former Bosnian military leader Ratko Mladić on Thursday appealed his conviction to the UN Mechanism for International Tribunals. Mladić was tried and convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, then sentenced to life imprisonment on 22 November 2017.
26 March 2018: Human rights groups are calling upon the Chadian government to comply with the reparation order awarded in 2015 by a Chadian criminal court to 7000 victims of Habré regime. The court had convicted 20 security agents from the Habré era on charges of murder, torture, kidnapping, and arbitrary detention.
25 March 2018: Interesting blogpost by Elvina Pothelet on the possibilities of prosecuting the punitive demolition of Palestinian homes as war crimes at the International Criminal Court. The current policy of the Israeli government consists of demolishing the home of relatives of Palestinians suspected of security offences against Israel.
24 March 2018: Human Rights Watch is urging the British government to change their policy towards Saudi Arabia and its involvement in the war in Yemen. The rights group, which documented 87 unlawful attacks by the Saudi-led coalition, declared that by supplying arms to the Saudis, Britain risks complicity in war crimes.
23 March 2018: Interesting blogpost by Theresa Reinold on the latest African Union summit and its implication for the organisation’s relationship to the International Criminal Court. The AU announced that it would seek, through the UN General Assembly, an ICJ advisory opinion on the question of immunity.
22 March 2018: A report by Ancile Avocats, commissioned by Amnesty International and ACAT, found that France’s arms export to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates could be in contravention of its international commitments. Indeed, the arms supplied could be used by the two states to commit war crimes in the war on Yemen.
21 March 2018: On 21 and 22 March, the UK Court of Appeal will hear a case pertaining to the immunity of members of special missions visiting the UK with the approval of the Foreign Office. The case arises from the refusal of the Metropolitan’s Police to arrest Lt. General Mahmoud Hegazy, an Egyptian General suspected of torture and other ill-treatment.
20 March 2018: In this interesting blogpost, Jennifer Trahan reflects on Burundi’s withdrawal from the international criminal court. She considers the need for state parties and the civil society to adopt a revitalised approach to advancing ratifications of the Rome Statute.
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.
6 March 2018: Activists have accused South Sudan’s government of funding militias responsible for atrocities committed during the ongoing civil war with profit from Nilepet, the state oil company, while the government has dismissed the accusations. Last month, the UN identified more than 40 South Sudanese military officers who might be responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
5 March 2018: UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution today, calling on war crimes investigators to “urgently conduct a comprehensive and independent inquiry into recent events in Eastern Ghouta” in Syria. The resolution also specifically condemned "the indiscriminate use of heavy weapons and aerial bombardments against civilians, and the alleged use of chemical weapons".
2 March 2018: UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein warned that the ongoing siege of Syria’s Eastern Ghouta has likely resulted in "war crimes, and potentially, crimes against humanity”. The government-led siege began on 18 February has resulted in a shortage of food and vital medicine, and has trapped some 400 000 civilians.
1 March 2018: David Schwendiman, Chief Prosecutor of the newly running Kosovo Specialist Chambers, a tribunal in The Hague prosecuting war crimes and crimes against humainty allegedly occurred during the Kosovo War, is being made to leave the job at a critical stage of the tribunal’s work with no designated successor.
22 February 2018: According to Amnesty International, the new campaign of escalated bombings by the Syrian government and its allies in Eastern Ghouta amounts to war crimes. Over the past 3 days, at least 270 civilians have been killed by the strikes and the last humanitarian convoy to arrive was in November 2017.
21 February 2018: UN Special Rapporteurs Agnes Callamard and Niels Melzer are urging the US government to halt the execution of Doyle Hamm, a seriously ill man, stressing that given medical condition, using lethal injection could amount to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, and possibly torture.
20 February 2018: Court B of the National Criminal Court of Peru decided yesterday not to apply Alberto Fujimori’s presidential grace. Mr. Fujimori could be tried for his alleged responsibility for the murders of six people in Pativilca, which could amount to crimes against humanity.
19 February 2018: According to Human Rights Watch, Iskander Erimbetov, a businessman from Kazakhstan, has been tortured by the Kazakh authorities while in detention. On 22 January the Almaty City Prosecution Office opened a criminal investigation into the torture allegations.
18 February 2018: Between 20 November 2017 and 31 January 2018, the International Criminal Court has received 1.17 million statements from Afghanistan citizens. The statements include accounts of alleged war crimes committed by both the Taliban, ISIS, the Afghan Security Forces and the US-led coalition.
17 February 2018: US and Britain are divided over what to do with British foreign fighters El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey. While the US diplomats and military officers argue that the two should be returned and tried in the UK, British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson declared they should never set foot in the country again.
16 February 2018: The Sarajevo state court acquitted Goran Saric of involvement in the 1995 Srebrenica genocide as the court could not determine that the defendant knew about the genocidal intention of the main perpetrators. Goran Saric was a former commander of the Bosnian Serb Interior Ministry’s special police brigade.
15 February 2018: The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court announced on 8 February that her office would open a preliminary examination of the situation in the Philippines. The examination will analyse the crimes allegedly committed in the context of Duterte’s “war on drugs”, which has been re-activated by the government in recent months.
14 February 2018: Interesting blogpost by Joanne Neenan on the role of the International Criminal Court in protecting the rights of children born of rape in war. By analysing the Ongwen case and the crime of forced pregnancy, Neenan considers the ICC’s capacity to recognise their rights and repair the harms against them.
13 February 2018: Four survivors of the 1990 massacre, which killed about 600 civilians in the St Peter’s Lutheran Church of the Liberian city of Monrovia, are bringing a civil lawsuit before the US district court for the eastern district of Pennsylvania against Moses Thomas. The lawsuit argues that Thomas bears responsibility for the murders in his capacity as head of the military unit.
12 February 2018: Reuters has issued a new report on the massacre of 10 Rohingya men by Myanmar soldiers and villagers in Inn Din. The report states that an order to clear the village had been passed down the military chain of command. Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein had declared in December that genocide could not be ruled out in Myanmar.
11 February 2018: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called for urgent international action in Syria, including a referral to the International Criminal Court, following reports of the escalation of violence in the opposition-held Eastern Ghouta and Idlib regions. According to the UN OHCHR, 230 civilians died last week as a result of airstrikes by the Syrian government and its allies.
10 February 2018: Two British foreign fighters, Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, have been captured by Syrian Kurdish fighters. According to the US government they likely committed torture and group executions. The victims' families and experts believe they should stand trial in Britain.
09 February 2018: The ICC prosecutor formally announced the preliminary examination into the situations in the Philippines and in Venezuela. The preliminary examination of the situation in the Philippines will analyse crimes allegedly committed since at least 1 July 2016, in the context of the "war on drugs" campaign. The preliminary examination of the situation in Venezuela will analyse crimes allegedly committed since at least April 2017, in the context of demonstrations and related political unrest.
08 February 2018: The ICC is reportedly moving on a complaint accusing Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte of crimes against humanity in relation to the war on drugs. According to President Duterte’s spokesperson, the Philippines has been informed of a preliminary examination to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to establish that the case falls under the ICC’s jurisdiction.
08 February 2018: Polish President Andrzej Duda signed Poland’s new Holocaust bill that would make it illegal to accuse Poland of complicity in crimes committed by Nazi Germany, including the Holocaust. Under the law, use of terms such as “Polish death camps” in relation to Auschwitz and other camps in Nazi-occupied Poland would lead to a fine or a jail sentence of up to three years. The new bill has raised international controversy due to its implications on free speech and historical facts.
07 February 2018: UN war crimes experts are investigating multiple reports that bombs allegedly containing banned chlorine have been used against civilians in the Syrian towns of Saraqeb, Idlib and Douma, Ghouta, at least the sixth time the Syrian regime has allegedly used such weapons. Paulo Pinheiro, chief of the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, said that sieges in eastern Idlib and Ghouta “involve the international crimes of indiscriminate bombardment and deliberate starvation of the civilian population.”
06 February 2018: Former Bosnian Serb Army chief Ratko Mladic’s defence asked judges at the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals to annul the verdict sentencing him to life imprisonment for genocide and other crimes, citing medical test results of “both mild cognitive decline and mild dementia”.
05 February 2018: Poland is looking to prosecute 1,600 former Nazi officials accused of war crimes and has submitted 400 requests for assistance to Interpol. Most cases are linked to mass executions and the pacification of Polish villages during the German occupation from 1939 to 1945, as well as crimes against the civilian population during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising.
02 February 2018: A Human Rights Watch report found that armed groups in Benghazi, Libya, are preventing internally displaced families from returning to their home, accusing them of terrorism or supporting terrorism. Some families were tortured, and their property was seized. According to the NGO, such attacks on civilians could amount to war crimes.
01 February 2018: US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order on Tuesday to continue the operations in Guantánamo Bay detention centre, despite widespread allegations of torture and human rights violations. The executive order not only allows for the centre to remain open, but also allows for the US to transport new persons to the facility.
01 February 2018: Interesting blogpost by Toby Cadman on Bangladesh’s failure to investigate the allegations of crimes against humanity involving its State Security Services. Cadman considers the possibility for the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to open a preliminary examination into the situation.
31 January 2018: Tomislav Kovac, the former Ministry of Interior of the Republika Srpska, has been indicted by the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina for genocide. He has been charged with participating in a joint criminal enterprise which aimed to exterminate Bosnian Muslims of Srebrenica from 6 July to 1 November 1995.
30 January 2018: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met with President Omar al-Bashir on grounds of operational necessity. The UN confirmed that Ban Ki-moon’s policy of keeping absolute minimum contacts with individuals indicted by the International Criminal Court remains unchanged.
29 January 2018: Polish lawmakers have approved a bill to make it a criminal offence to use statements suggesting that Poland bears responsibility for the crimes against humanity committed by Nazi Germany in the death camps during World War Two.
28 January 2018: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is again urging the UNSC to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court. The secretary-general called attention on the blocking of aid deliveries and medical care to millions in the country.
27 January 2018: The International Criminal Court’s Prosecutor has repeated her call to Libya to make all necessary steps to immediately arrest and surrender Mr al-Werfalli to the ICC. Al-Werfalli was shown executing 10 persons in Benghazi despite being the subject of an ICC arrest warrant since 15 August 2017.
26 January 2018: Interesting blog post by Milica Kostić on the impact of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Balkans. Kostić analyses the result of the most recent public opinion survey conducted in Serbia and published in December 2017.
26 January 2018: Court B of the National Criminal Court in Peru will rule today on the application of the presidential grace granted to Alberto Fujimori last December. Fujimori had been sentenced in 2009 to 25 years in prison for crimes against humanity.
25 January 2018: The UN mission in Libya demanded the handing over of al-Werfalli to the International Criminal Court after reports of his involvement in the summary executions in front of Benghazi’s Bayaat al-Radwan mosque emerged. The Court has issued an arrest warrant against al-Werfalli last August.
24 January 2018: Human Rights Watch stated that those who ordered or carried out this weekend’s attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul are responsible for war crimes. According to the UN, attacks in Afghanistan harming civilians have increased sharply in 2017.
24 January 2018: Twenty international human rights organisations have addressed an open letter to George Weah, the president of Liberia, urging his administration to investigate and prosecute war crimes. The Liberian civil wars led to the death of an estimated 250,000 people.
23 January 2018: The British police is investigating a group of United Arab Emirates officials for torture and cruel treatment inflicted on three Qatari nationals between 2013 and 2015. According to the alleged victims’ lawyer, if they were to enter the UK, the officials may be questioned and arrested under the principle of universal jurisdiction.
22 January 2018: Cases of maritime piracy in Indian Ocean off Somalia coast increased in 2017, as nine attacks were recorded in 2017, up from two in 2016. Somali pirates retain the capacity and intent to launch attacks against merchant vessels hundreds of miles from their coastline, raising fears that sustained attacks could raise insurance and freight costs for importers.
19 January 2018: The families of Japanese abducted by North Korea will present a petition to the International Criminal Court requesting an investigation into the disappearances as a case of crimes against humanity. The aim is to raise international attention about the issue.
18 January 2018: Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed on 16 January 2018 to complete the repatriation of the Rohingya refugees within two years. Amnesty International declared that the “returns cannot be safe or dignified until there is a fundamental change in Myanmar, including accountability for crimes against humanity”.
17 January 2018: According to FIDH, UN HRC members should urge Mali to prosecute those responsible for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Northern and Central Mali conflict. Even though some trials have taken place, FIDH reports that other cases remain in suspense because of the fragile security situation or their politically sensitive character.
16 January 2018: According to Human Rights Watch, the armed group Al-Shabab has threatened and abducted civilians to force communities to hand over their children for indoctrination and military training in recent months. Conscripting or enlisting children under the age of fifteen into armed forces is a war crime.
15 Januray 2018: The Cape Town Magistrate’s Court has granted a postponement in the Augustinus Kouwenhoven case to wait for extradition documents from the Department of Justice. Mr Kouwenhoven was convicted for crimes against humanity by a Dutch Court and sentenced to 19 years’ imprisonment.
14 Januray 2018: Mr Justice Kerr, passing judgment at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, ruled that a group of 34 veterans of Eoka, the Greek Cypriot nationalist guerrilla organisation, had the right to claim damages to Britain. The veterans allege that they were tortured and subjected to human rights abuses at the hands of British colonial forces during the struggle for independence in the 1950s.
13 Januray 2018: Emilie König is a French citizen who joined ISIL in Syria in 2012 and is allegedly a prominent propagandist and recruiter for the terrorist organisation. Currently detained in the Kurdish Region of Syria, Ms. König pleads to be repatriated and tried in France. The French government stated last week that it favoured having its citizens tried where they are caught.
12 Januray 2018: The centre for constitutional rights and co-counsel filed a motion for order granting writ of habeas corpus on 11 January 2018 against Trump’s Guantanamo policies on behalf of 11 “forever prisoners”. The CCR argues that the petitioners’ perpetual detention and torture violate the Constitution and the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
11 January 2018: According to the latest report of the International Maritime Bureau, there were 180 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ship in 2017, which is the lowest annual number of incidents since 1995. The report also takes note of the indictment of six Somali pirates in Seychelles who are charged with “committing an act of piracy” and face up to 30 years’ imprisonment.
10 January 2018: German prosecutors declared that a Bosnian man, Milorad Obradovic, was arrested for the purpose of extradition at Munich airport after the Bosnian authorities issued a warrant for his arrest. Mr. Obradovic is suspected of illegally detaining and killing around 120 Bosnian Muslim civilians, which could constitute war crimes, in the village of Miska Glava in July 1992.
09 January 2018: According to a survey by Doctors Without Borders (MSF), at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed by Myanmar’s security forces in the month following the government-led crackdown in the Rhakhine state late August. The government has denied allegations of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, but it has refused the entry of UN investigators and journalists in the country.
08 January 2018: BBC reported that at least 10 hospitals in rebel-held areas of Syria have suffered, over the past 10 days, direct air or artillery attacks. The attacks on rebel-held Eastern Ghouta have killed at least 25 civilians last week, even though the Syrian government and the Russian military have consistently denied targeting civilian areas.
07 January 2018: The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) presented its preliminary finding on the suicide attack of 4 January in Kabul, which killed 13 civilians and injured 19. UNAMA found that the “use of indiscriminate explosive devices in civilian populated areas, in circumstances almost certain to cause immense suffering to civilians, may amount to war crimes”.
06 January 2018: Following an attempt in December by lawmakers to extend the jurisdiction of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers to non-nationals, the US, Britain, France, Germany and Italy have called on the Kosovo politicians and lawmakers to “abandon any thought of repealing or re-negotiating any aspect of the law”. The five nations perceive the attempt as calling into question Kosovo’s commitment to the rule of law.
05 January 2018: Interesting blog post by Marissa Brodney and Meritxell Regué on the International Criminal Court’s 15 December 2017 Reparations Decision in the Lubanga case. It explores the ICC’s divergent methods of calculating a convicted person’s monetary liability.
04 January 2018: Ethiopia’s prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn has announced that political prisoners held in Maekelawi, a prison camp notorious for torture, will be released and that the camp will be closed. According to Human Rights Watch, torture and solitary confinement are commonly used in Maekelawi.
04 January 2018: Eshetu Alemu, who was sentenced to life by the Hague District Court on 15 December for war crimes carried out during Ethiopia’s Red Terror purges, is appealing against his conviction. His lawyer argues that the defence was unable to properly investigate the authenticity of documents and that some witnesses could not be questioned.
03 January 2018: Interesting blogpost by Dapo Akande on the Assembly of State Parties’ adoption of three amendments adding to the list of war crimes within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and the implications of criminalising conduct under the ICC Statute which do not amount to customary international law crimes.
02 January 2018: The independent expert review initiated by the ICTY regarding the passing of Mr. Praljak concluded that the poison could not have been detected before he drank it. Justice Hassan B, Jallow found that “the small size of the object, the limitations in the rules on intrusive searches, and the nature of the screening equipment available … contributed to making it difficult to detect the contraband.”
01 January 2018: The Bosnian state prosecution has indicted on 28 December fourteen former commanders and members of the Bosnian Army, the local Territorial Defence force, the Croatian Defence Council, police and paramilitary groups who took part in the 1992/1993 attacks in the Konjic area and surrounding villages. They are charged with crimes against humanity including murder, torture and sexual violence.
28 December 2017: In its 2017 statement on children in conflict, UNICEF declared that children caught in war zones are increasingly being used as weapons of wars, including as child soldiers, suicide bombers, and human shields. The agency called on all parties in conflicts to respect international humanitarian law and end violations against children and targeting of civilian infrastructure.
28 December 2017: The UN Office of the High Commissioner for human rights issued a statement condemning the presidential pardon granted on 24 December to Alberto Fujimori and denouncing it as a “major setback for the rule of law in Peru”. He had been sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment by Peru’s Supreme Court in 2005 for crimes against humanity, murder, and aggravated kidnapping.
27 December 2017: Human Rights Watch reported that Yezidi fighters allegedly forcibly disappeared and killed 52 civilians from the Imteywit tribe in June 2017. The human rights group calls upon the Iraqi criminal justice authorities to investigate and prosecute those responsible, adding that summary executions and torture during an armed conflict constitute war crimes.
27 December 2017: The state court in Sarajevo convicted Azra Bašić was found guilty of crimes against civilians and prisoners of war in Derventa and Polje from April to May 1992. The former member of the Bosnian-Croat forces was sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment.
22 December 2017: UN Secretary General António Guterres described the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia as “a pioneer in creating the contemporary architecture of international criminal justice” during his keynote address at the closing ceremony of the court. He emphasized that the tribunal, which heard testimony from almost 5000 people, gave a voice to victims.
21 December 2017: Belal Betka, an Australian citizen, was charged with incursion into foreign countries with the intention of engaging in hostile activities, and entering and remaining in a declared area. He allegedly travelled to the Raqqa province in Syria between March and July 2015. The region was declared an area where a listed terrorist organisation is engaging in hostile activities on 4 December 2014.
20 December 2017: The “significance of the inclusion of the crime of aggression within the ICC’s remit will not be in the prosecutions that result, but rather in the discussions that ensue, focused on illegal wars, their causes, and when to hold leaders individually responsible for them.” Interesting opinion by Alex Whiting on the activation of the crime of aggression at the ICC: does it matter?
19 December 2017: The German Central Office for the investigation of Nazi crimes has turned over to state authorities 9 new cases involving former guards in Auschwitz, Mauthausen-Gusen, Buchenwald and Ravensbrück. Camp guards have been previously prosecuted under German law for accessory to murder.
18 December 2017: Opinion by Ida Sawyer, the Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch, regarding the UN Committee Against Torture’s concluding observations on Rwanda and following denial by the government. Sawyer calls on the Rwandan government to implement its treaty obligations by investigating the allegations of torture and enforced disappearances.
17 December 2017: The court of Bukavu which deployed a ‘mobile court’ in Kavumu, DRC convicted 11 Congolese militia members of crimes against humanity for murder and the rape of 37 young children. The 11 accused including Frederic Batumike, the provincial lawmaker and mastermind of the attacks, were sentenced to life in prison.
16 December 2017: The Hague District Court sentenced on Friday Eshetu Alemu, an aide to former dictator Menthistu, to life in prison for war crimes carried out during Ethiopia’s 1977 “Red Terror” purges. Under Dutch universal jurisdiction laws, the court found the accused guilty on all charges including arbitrary detention, inhumane treatment, torture and mass murder.
15 December 2017: Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court has issued an additional decision on reparations in the Lubanga case, setting the amount of collective reparation to $10 million. Lubanga was found guilty by the court of the war crimes of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 and using them to participate actively in hostilities.
14 December 2017: A report written by US law firm Cunningham Levy Muse and commissioned by the Rwanda government finds that the French government and its military officials were involved in supplying weapons and providing shelter to the perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The Rwandan government calls upon France to declassify all evidence related to the genocide.
13 December 2017: A report by the International Bar Association, Navi Pillay, Thomas Buergenthal and Mark Harmon declares that Kim Jong-un and other North Korean officials should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity. Based on interviews with 103 defectors, the report found that 10 out of the 11 recognized crimes against humanity have been committed in the state’s camps for political prisoners.
12 December 2017: The International Criminal Court Pre-Trial Chamber II found on Monday that Jordan had failed to comply with its obligations under the Rome Statute by failing to arrest President Omar al-Bashir when he visited Amman last March. The Chamber has referred the matter to the UN Security Council and the Assembly of State Parties.
11 December 2017: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on the Congolese authorities on Friday to investigate and punish the perpetrators of the attack which killed 15 Tanzanian UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The UN chief said the attack amounted to a war crime and was the worst one on the organisation in recent history.
10 December 2017: Guus Kouwenhoven, a Dutch business man convicted in April of being complicit to the war crimes committed by Charles Taylor forces in Liberia and Guinea, was arrested on Friday in South Africa following a Dutch warrant. According to the Court of Appeal of 's-Hertogenbosch, Kouwenhoven used his two timber companies in Liberia as a cover to smuggle arms between 2000 and 2003.
09 December 2017: The prosecutor of the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris has indicted the top Lafarge executives, including its former CEO on terrorist financing charges. The company is accused of having paid ISIL between 2013 and 2014 in order to keep their factory open in Jalabiya in Syria.
08 December 2017: The UN Security Council issued a presidential statement condemning the slave trade of migrants in Libya as heinous abuses of human rights, which it declared “may also amount to crimes against humanity”. The Council called upon the Libyan authorities to conduct an investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice.
07 December 2017: The Assembly of State Parties to the International Criminal Court have elected six new judges for a nine-year term starting in March 2018. The election follows the Court’s judicial election process which replaces a third of the 18 judges every three years.
06 December 2017: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid bin Ra’ad declared before the Human Rights Council that the persecution of Rohingya by Myanmar’s security forces may amount to genocide. He said UN investigators have received "concordant reports of acts of appalling barbarity committed against the Rohingyas" leading to about 626,000 Rohingyas fleeing to Bangladesh.
06 December 2017: Amnesty International calls upon the International Criminal Court to urgently open a preliminary examination regarding Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s murderous “war on drugs”. The NGO alleges that the state’s judiciary has proven itself unwilling and unable to hold those responsible for the crimes against humanity to account.
05 December 2017: The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor had declared there is a “reasonable basis” to believe that UK soldiers committed war crimes against persons in their custody during the Iraq conflict. She, however, dismissed the allegations that British troops committed war crimes on the battlefield.
05 December 2017: The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court issued her annual Report on Preliminary Examination Activities. Between October 2016 and November 2017, she completed three preliminary examinations resulting in the decision to seek judicial authorisation to open an investigation regarding Burundi and Afghanistan.
04 December 2017: The state parties of the International Criminal Court will meet from 4 to 14 December at the annual session of the Assembly of State Parties. On the agenda, the states will discuss the 2018 budget, elect six new judges and consider activating the ICC’s authority over the crime of aggression.
03 December 2017: On 22 November, the International Crimes Division of Uganda sitting at the Kampala High Court confirmed in the pre-trial hearing of the Thomas Kwoyelo case, that customary international law is applicable in the domestic courts of Uganda. Kwoyelo, a former commander in the Lord’s resistance army is facing charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity on 93 counts.
02 December 2017: The Highest Regional Court in Celle ruled on 29 November that Oskar Groening, a former Auschwitz guard known as the “bookkeeper of Auschwitz” was fit to go to prison. He had been convicted in 2015 for his role in the murder of 300,000 people during the Holocaust.
01 December 2017: Interesting article by Dieneke de Vos summarising the existing jurisprudence in the context of corporate criminal accountability for international crimes. This post is the latest of Just Security’s series on the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case Jesner v. Arab Bank.
01 December 2017: The International Criminal Court prosecutor stands by her previous decision not to open a full-scale investigation into the storming by Israel forces of an aid flotilla heading to Gaza in 2010. She found a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed by the Israel Defence Forces, but the act was not of ‘sufficient gravity’ to be admissible before the court.
30 November 2017: The Federal Oral Court No. 5 of Buenos Aires sentenced 29 former officials to life in prison on Wednesday for crimes against humanity committed between 1976 and 1983 at the Naval Mechanical School of Argentina. The case documented the former military dictatorship’s widespread practice of killing civilians by throwing them from aircraft.
30 November 2017: Inocente Orlando Montano, a former Salvadoran army colonel has been extradited to Spain to face crimes against humanity and terrorist murder charges relating the 1989 massacre of six Jesuits priests, their housekeeper and her teenage daughter in El Salvador. The US District Court of North Carolina ruled on 21 August 2017 that he could be extradited to Spain to stand trial under universal jurisdiction.
29 November 2017: A new Human Rights Watch report claims that the Venezuelan government has systematically used brutal treatment, including torture, against anti-government protesters and political opponents between April and September 2017.
29 November 2017: Mr. Khattala, a former militia leader from Libya was convicted on Tuesday on four counts— including providing material support for terrorism and conspiracy to do so - for his role in the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, which killed a US ambassador and three other Americans. He was acquitted on 14 other counts, including murder.
28 November 2017: New report by Amnesty International alleges that the oil giant Shell played a part in a brutal campaign by the Nigerian security forces to silence protests in the Ogoniland region in the 1990s. The NGO calls on Nigeria, the UK and the Netherlands to investigate Shell for complicity in murder, rape and torture.
27 November 2017: A blogpost by Marko Milanovic attempts to decipher the judgment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Ratko Mladic case. The accused was found guilty on all counts, except for count 1, genocide in Bosnian municipalities other than Srebrenica. The 2500 pages judgment can be found here and a summary here.
26 November 2017: Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara called on the International Criminal Court on Saturday to indict criminals who are selling African migrants in Libyan slave markets. He declared that condemning the slave auction was not enough, and that the issue would be on the agenda at the Africa-EU Summit in Abidjan next week.
25 November 2017: Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova, the President of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, declared the court ready to proceed with its first indictments. The court, based in The Hague, has jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, war crimes and other crimes under Kosovo law, which allegedly occurred between 1 January 1998 and 31 December 2000.
24 November 2017: Interesting blogpost by Jens David Ohlin reviewing the judgment of 22 November 2017 by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Mladic case. The blog elaborates on the court’s findings regarding the legal doctrine of joint criminal enterprise in international criminal law.
23 November 2017: The trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court will deliver its decision on 15 December 2017 setting the amount of reparations for which Mr. Lubanga is liable. The Trial Chamber found Lubanga guilty in 2012 of the war crime of the enlistment and conscription of children under the age of 15 into the FPLC, a decision confirmed by the Appeals Chamber in 2014.
22 November 2017: On 22 November 2017, Ratko Mladic was found guilty by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity during the armed conflict in Bosnia Herzegovina from 1992 to 1995. The Chamber sentenced him to life imprisonment.
22 November 2017: UNHCR report found that multiple men and boys in the Syria crisis were subjected to sexual violence including sexual torture by multiple parties to the conflict. A focus group of refugee women in Jordan estimated that 30 to 40% of all adult men in their community had experienced sexual violence while in detention in Syria.
21 November 2017: UN Secretary General said in a statement that he was horrified by the reported auctioning of African migrants in Libya as slaves. He added, “Slavery has no place on our world and these actions are among the most egregious abuses of human rights and may amount to crimes against humanity” and asked the relevant UN actors to conduct an investigation.
21 November 2017: The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has formally requested on Monday authorisation to investigate alleged crimes in Afghanistan since 2003. The OTP found a reasonable basis to believe that the following crimes occurred: crimes against humanity and war crimes by the Taliban, war crimes by the Afghan National Security Forces, and war crimes by members of the US armed forces and the CIA in secret detention facilities.
20 November 2017: UN secretary-general António Guterres argued that upholding human rights and the rule of law was the safest way to prevent a vicious circle of instability, and unquestionably a part of the solution in fighting terrorism. He called on foreign governments to prosecute foreign fighters who return to their country instead of killing them in combat.
19 November 2017: The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia will pronounce its last judgment in the Mladić case on 22 November 2017 at 10:00. The accused is indicted for two counts of genocide, five counts of crimes against humanity, and four counts of violations of the laws or customs of war. Pending the outcome of the trial, key information and a timeline and of the case can be found here.
18 November 2017: An Amnesty International report released on Friday claims that both the Islamist insurgents and the Philippines’ military forces may have committed war crimes in the Marawi city 5-month battle. The NGO calls for an independent investigation into the conflict during which more than 1,100 people were killed.
17 November 2017: Luisa Ortega, ex-Prosecutor General of Venezuela, turned over more than 1,000 pieces of evidence to the International Criminal Court, calling upon the Court to open an investigation into President Nicolas Maduro and four other senior officials for alleged crimes against humanity. In 2006, the OTP had declined to open an investigation but added that the decision could be reconsidered in light of new evidence.
16 November 2017: New report by Human Rights Watch found that since 25 August 2017, Myanmar security forces have committed widespread rape and sexual violence against women and girls as part of a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims in Burma’s Rakhine State. According to the NGO, these violations amount to crimes against humanity and should be investigated by the International Criminal Court.
16 November 2017: Interesting blogpost by Abel Knottnerus on the jurisprudence of the International Criminal Court regarding Omar al-Bashir’s immunity. The author is a PhD researcher at the University of Groningen working on ‘African Presidents and the International Criminal Court’.
15 November 2017: Guernica 37 IJC presented a dossier to the International Criminal Court seeking an investigation into the role of Khalifa Haftar, the leader of the Libyan National Army, in Libya’s ongoing power struggle. The group alleges that Haftar and his forces have committed crimes against humanity, including extensive destructions, torture and murder.
15 November 2017: The International Criminal Court and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture have concluded an agreement for the monitoring of conditions of detention of persons sentenced by the Court. President of the Committee, Mykola Gnatovskyy insisted on the importance for international tribunals to “live up to the high standards that they demand of States in upholding individual rights”.
14 November 2017: Dutch women Laura Hansen was convicted on Monday 13 November of preparing and supporting terrorist acts, and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment by the Court of Rotterdam. She had travelled with her husband and two children to Syria and Iraq in September 2015 to support her family while her husband fought for ISIL.
13 November 2017: New Amnesty International report alleges that forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad in Syria have committed international crimes through their “starve or surrender” strategy and sieges that have devastated areas controlled by the opposition. The report claims that the regime’s strategy of systematically preventing crucial food and medicine supplies from entering civilian areas while mounting bombing campaigns amounts to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
12 November 2017: Ugandan President and current chairman of the East African Community Yoweri Museveni has condemned the International Criminal Court’s decision to launch an investigation into the Burundi conflict. At the invitation of Uganda's government, Sudanese president al-Bashir is expected to visit the country this week, despite the ICC’s arrest warrant against him.
11 November 2017: The presiding judge of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) rejected the pleas of Ratko Mladic’s defence lawyers to postpone the 22 November 2017 judgment. The defence had contended that Mladic, 75, was no longer mentally and physically competent to appear in court.
10 November 2017: More than 50 Tamil men seeking asylum in Europe claim they were abducted, raped and tortured by government forces in Sri Lanka. The Associated Press conducted interviews with 20 men and reviewed 32 medical and psychological evaluations, alleging that they had been accused by a special police unit of trying to revive the Tamil Tigers.
10 November 2017: On 9 November 2017, the Pre-Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Court issued a public version of its decision authorizing the prosecutor to open an investigation regarding crimes allegedly committed in Burundi by the government and government-linked groups against political foes from 26 April 2015 to 26 October 2017. The Chamber considered that the prosecutor had presented enough evidence of crimes against humanity to merit a formal investigation, including murder, torture, rape and persecution.
09 November 2017: The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court told the UN Security Council on 08 November that the situation in Libya remains dire and promised to seek new arrest warrants if serious crimes continue to be committed. She also demanded the arrest and transfer of the suspects already subject to arrest warrants, including Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
08 November 2017: The Netherlands Public Prosecutor’s Office has demanded a life sentence for a 63 year-old man on 8 November 2017, for a series of war crimes including arbitrary detention, torture and killing of opponents of the 1970s revolutionary regime in Ethiopia. The Prosecutor’s Office concluded that the erstwhile Dergue-representative in Gojjam is responsible for an atrocious campaign against real and perceived members of the opposition.
08 November 2017:The UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2383 on 7 November 2017 urging the Somali authorities to continue the passing of anti-piracy and maritime laws, to establish security forces with clear roles and jurisdiction to enforce them, as well as to strengthen the capacity of its courts to investigate and prosecute those responsible for piracy. The Security Council also called upon member states to “adopt legislation to facilitate prosecution of suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia”.
07 November 2017: The ballistic missile strike by Houthi-Saleh forces in Yemen on Riyadh’s main international airport on 4 November 2017 is most likely a war crime, Human Rights Watch said today. As a response, the Saudi government has temporarily closed all Yemeni ports, stating that humanitarian aid could continue to enter the country under strict coalition vetting procedures. The NGO calls upon all parties to the conflict to respect the international legal obligation to facilitate humanitarian aid to civilians.
06 November 2017: Ex-Guantanamo detainee Djamel Ameziane is suing the Canadian government, raising further questions about Canada’s complicity in the abuse of detainees at the detention facility. Ameziane was held for more than 11 years until his release in December 2013. The claim alleges that the Canadian security services co-operated with their US counterpart by providing information and conducting interrogations in Guantanamo, despite the widespread allegations that US forces were torturing detainees.
05 November 2017: Agnes Callamard, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, and Arbitrary Executions, presented a report on 27 October to the UN General Assembly criticising the international community’s failure to protect the lives of migrants and investigate their deaths. Addressing killings by both State and non-State actors, she declared that the International Criminal Court “should consider preliminary investigation into atrocity crimes against refugees and migrants”.
04 November 2017: The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has announced on Friday that she seeks a judicial authorisation of the pre-trial chamber to investigate allegations of crimes against humanity and war crimes in Afghanistan since 1 May 2003. The investigation would look at crimes allegedly committed by “any party to the armed conflict” meaning, inter alia, armed opposition groups, such as the Taliban, the Afghan government forces, but also the US forces and the CIA.
03 November 2017: A report by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq found that ISIL fighters executed at least 741 Iraqi civilians in Mosul during the nine-month battle against government forces and committed numerous grave violations of IHL, amounting to international crimes. The report calls upon Iraq to accept the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction with respect to the specific situation.
03 Novembre 2017: The Cour d’assises of Paris sentenced Abdelkader Merah to 20 years of prison for complicity in terrorism. Merah was found to have helped in the preparation of the 2012 Toulouse attacks committed by his younger brother, Mohamed Merah. A second man, Fettah Malki was sentenced to 14 years for his role in providing the gun, ammunition and a bullet-proof vest to the attacker.
02 Novembre 2017: The Special Prosecution of the Republic of Kosovo announced that there is insufficient evidence to support allegations that agriculture minister Nenad Rikalo tortured ethnic Albanians during the 1990s war. In the event of new evidence coming to light, the Special Prosecution may launch a new investigation into the commission of war crimes.
02 November 2017: Interesting blogpost by Marko Milanovic reflecting on Trump’s recent statements, the relationship between US counterterrorism and international humanitarian law, the concept of “enemy combatant”, and the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
01 November 2017: Silvia Fernández De Gurmendi, the President of the International Criminal Court, introduced to the UN General Assembly on Monday the ICC’s annual report, which was adopted without a vote. She called for greater cooperation in holding atrocity crime perpetrators accountable, and noted that “the Court is not perfect, but it is working, it has matured, and it is delivering”.
31 October 2017: The Guatemalan High Risk Court “C” notified the parties that it would hear the high-profile Molina Theissen case beginning on 1 March 2018. Five retired senior military officers were charged last March with crimes against humanity for the illegal detention, torture, and rape of Emma Molina Theissen and for the enforced disappearance of her 14-year-old brother, Marco Antonio Molina Theissen, in 1981.
30 October 2017: A Dutch-Ethiopian national goes on trial in The Hague. He is accused of committing war crimes, including ordering the deaths of 75 prisoners and the incarceration and inhumane treatment of 240 people, during purges in Ethiopia known as the “Red Terror” in the 1970s.
30 October 2017: On 27 October, Burundi became the first nation ever to leave the International Criminal Court. Despite the move, a preliminary investigation launched by the ICC prosecutor in April 2016 into possible crimes against humanity in Burundi would continue, as its withdrawal does not affect the Court's jurisdiction with regards to crimes alleged to have been committed until 27 October 2017.
27 October 2017: Egypt’s Court of Cassation upheld on Wednesday the sentences of six policemen convicted of torturing Talaat Shabeeeb to death in a Luxor police station, in 2015. The Court confirmed the 7-year jail term of Samir Hani, the main officer, as well as the 3-year jail sentences of the fiver other policemen involved. Moreover, it ordered Major General Magdi Abdul Ghaffar to pay a $85,000 fine.
26 October 2017: The Trump administration imposed new sanctions on eight individuals and a business affiliated with the Islamic State in Yemen and with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, in the first coordinated action taken with a newly formed centre to combat terrorism financing led by the US and Saudi Arabia. Among the individuals sanctioned on Wednesday were Abu Sulayman al-Adani, the head of the Islamic State’s Yemen affiliate and Nashwan al-Wali al-Yafi’I, the group’s chief financial officer.
25 October 2017: An interesting article on the degree to which contemporary treaty-making envisages the liability of legal persons for international crimes. The author, Sean Murphy, is the UN International Law Commission’s Special Rapporteur for Crimes Against Humanity.
25 October 2017: Amnesty International denounces the ninth Russian veto at the UNSC on Tuesday as “equivalent of a green light for war crimes” in Syria. The veto prevented the renewal of the mandate of the OPCW‘s Joint Investigative Mechanism, which reports on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
24 October 2017: Hilal Elver, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, declared in a press release that famine can constitute a war crime or a crime against humanity, if it comes from deliberate action of the State or other players. After noting that more civilians die from hunger related to conflicts than in direct combat, she added that “it is crucial that the international community understands that it is an international crime to intentionally block access to food, food aid, and to destroy production of food.”
23 October 2017: Hearings in Ethiopian war crimes case will begin on 30 October before the Hague Court of First Instance in The Netherlands. The accused has already been sentenced to death in Ethiopia for the murder of suspected opponents of the Dergue-regime of Colonel Mengistu in the late 70s. He has been charged with war crimes, but also with acts of torture, the killing of 75 young prisoners, as well as the incarceration and inhumane treatment of 240 people.
23 October 2017: An interesting blog post on the crime of aggression and its legal framework under the Kampala Amendments. The author, Astrid Reisinger Coracini is a Lecturer at the University of Salsburg and the Director of the Salzburg Laz School on International Criminal Law, Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law.
22 October 2017: US veterans filed a lawsuit in the Columbia District Court last Tuesday against five big pharmaceutical firms for funding terrorist organizations in Iraq. The suit, filed by more than 100 veterans for injuries sustained in combatting terrorist forces in Iraq, accuses the firms of violating the Anti-Terrorism Act by giving medicine and medical devices to Sadrists to sell in Iraq through the corrupt Iraqi Ministry of Health.
22 October 2017: The UN subcommittee on Prevention of Torture has suspended a visit to Rwanda, citing obstructions imposed by the government and fears that interviewees would suffer reprisals. Rwandan authorities barred the delegation from accessing some detention sites and made it impossible for them to conduct private and confidential interview, thus preventing it to fulfil its mandate under OPCAT.
21 October 2017: A new report of the International Maritime Bureau has revealed that a total of 121 incidents of piracy and armed robbery have been reported against ships in the first nine months of this year. The report lauded the effort of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency for preventing an attack off Pulau Yu and detaining ten hijackers.
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.
06 October 2017: The International Criminal Court released a statement on the recent media allegations concerning the former Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo and staff members of the ICC Office of the Prosecutor. The current Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, has reported the allegations to the Independent Oversight Mechanism, which determined that the matter will proceed to a full investigation.
05 October 2017: On 2 October 2017, the trial of Liberian Mohammed Jabbateh, nicknamed Jungle Jabbah, began in Philadelphia. Jabbateh is not, strictly speaking, charged with war crimes, as he stands accused of failing to disclose his criminal actions during the Liberian civil war to US immigration authorities. Nevertheless, in order to prove that he lied about his role during the war, the prosecutors will have to establish that he committed, ordered, or oversaw the commission of war crimes.
04 October 2017: Following a Syrian soldier’s conviction in Sweden for war crimes, Swedish investigators are pursuing cases against an additional 13 people, says Human Rights Watch. German authorities are also investigating 17 people suspected of crimes in Syria and Iraq, under universal jurisdiction.
03 October 2017: Janet Benshoof, President of Global Justice Center, advocates a referral of the Rakhine situation to the International Criminal Court, either by the UNSC or by Myanmar's government. As Myanmar’s 2008 Constitution guarantees the military total immunity for the crimes it commits, she argues that a self-referral to the ICC is the only way Myanmar can comply with its obligations under the Geneva and Genocide Conventions.
02 October 2017: Human Rights Watch has accused Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps of recruiting Afghan immigrant children to fight in Syria. Under Article 8 of the International Criminal Court’s Statute, recruiting children under the age of 15 to participate actively in hostilities is a war crime.
01 October 2017: Ismael Habib, a Canadian national from Quebec, was sentenced to 9 years for attempting to leave Canada to participate in terrorist activity. He had been found guilty in June of attempting to join ISIS.
30 September 2017: The UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution establishing a group of international experts to investigate war crimes and violations of international humanitarian law by all parties in the Yemeni civil war. The group of experts has been given a year-long mandate to report on any abuses in Yemen from September 2014 onwards.
29 September 2017: The Australian House of Representative’s Federation Chamber has called on the Australian government to investigate and prosecute Australians who have committed sexual and gender-based war crimes and crimes against humanity, as members of ISIS or other international terrorist groups. The chambers also calls on the government to support international efforts to gather evidence, investigate and prosecute those responsible for international crimes perpetrated by ISIS.
28 September 2017: Human Rights Watch accuses Burmese security forces of committing crimes against humanity against the Rohingya population and requests targeted sanctions as well as an arms embargo on the Burmese military. The NGO urges the UN Security Council to demand that Burma allow aid agencies access to people in need, permit entry to a UN fact finding mission to investigate abuses, and ensure the safe and voluntary return of those displaced. Measures to bring those responsible before the International Criminal Court should also be discussed.
27 September 2017: A former Serbian paramilitary commander with Australian dual citizenship has been sentenced to 15 years for war crimes by the Court of Split in Croatia. Dragan Vasiljkovic was found guilty of torturing detainees in the rebel stronghold of Knin and orchestrating a deadly attack on the town of Glina, during the Croatian war of independence.
27 September 2017: Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni, the ‘father of international criminal law’ and Nobel Peace Prize, passed away on Monday, at the age of 79. Prof. Bassiouni’s work changed the face of international criminal law and led, inter alia, to the creation of the International Criminal Court.
26 September 2017: Three NGOs have filed a lawsuit in Paris against the French bank BNP Paribas, alleging that it knowingly approved a transfer of $1.3 million from the Rwandan central bank to an arms dealer during the Rwandan genocide in 1994, despite the UN arms embargo. The public prosecutor has opened an investigation into allegations of complicity in genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
26 September 2017: Following a criminal complaint by TRIAL International, Switzerland opened a war crimes investigation into Rifaat al-Assad, an uncle of Bashar al-Assad in 2013. Four years later, the NGO and the complainants’ lawyers are challenging the Office of the Attorney General and denouncing a denial of justice for their clients.
25 September 2017: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called torture not only “deeply wrong” but also counterproductive from an interrogator’s perspective. The OCHCR is planning to co-create a Manual on Investigative interviewing, with the UN’s Police Division.
24 September 2017: The Sessions Court of Kuala Terengganu in Malaysia sentenced eleven Indonesian pirates to 16 years of jail for attempting to hijack an oil tanker of the coast of Malaysia. A report by the International Maritime Bureau found that there were three attacks by pirates in Malaysian waters in the first half of 2017.
23 September 2017: Amnesty International criticised the current systematic approach to victims’ participation at the International Criminal Court, echoing a Human Rights Watch report. It called for a new approach to policy for victims’ legal representation to prevent a further drift away from ensuring victims’ views and concerns are given the priority they deserve when it comes to decisions about their legal representation.
22 September 2017: The UN Security Council authorised the establishment of an investigation team to support Iraq’s domestic efforts to hold ISIL accountable for acts that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed in the country. According to the unanimously adopted resolution, the team will consist of both international and domestic experts who will work on “equal footing”, with an initial mandate of two years.
21 September 2017: Four Palestinian human rights groups have submitted a 700-page communication to the International Criminal Court, alleging that high-level Israeli officials have been complicit of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. In a statement, the groups urged the ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to open a full investigation into the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory.
20 September 2017: A U.N. Commission of Inquiry urged the International Criminal Court to investigate possible crimes against humanity committed in Burundi during the country’s two-year crisis. The abuses include torture, extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances and rape.
19 September 2017: Former Chief prosecutor of the ICTY and ICTR Carla Del Ponte resigned from the U.N. Commission of Inquiry because of a lack of political backing. Del Ponte reported that enough evidence existed to convict President Bashar al-Assad of war crimes but that the deadlock in the U.N. Security Council led to “seven years of crime in Syria and total impunity”.
18 September 2017: Kosovo’s Supreme Court upheld the verdict convicting ten ex-members of the Kosovo Liberation Army of crimes of torture against civilians during the 1998-99 conflict. The convicted men were all members of the ‘Drenica Group’, including former security chief and ambassador Syleman Selimi.
17 September 2017: France’s highest court ruled that the researcher Francois Graner could be denied access to sensitive archives from the Mitterrand presidency concerning the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The Court said that a law protects presidential archives for 25 years following the death of a head of state. Even though Francois Hollande had announced in 2015 the declassification of the archives on Rwanda for the period of 1990-95, the Mitterrand archives will not become available before 2021.
16 September 2017: Amnesty International released new evidence of an “orchestrated campaign of systematic burnings” by Myanmar security forces targeting dozens of Rohingya villages over the last three weeks. Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International's crisis response director, has declared that the clear and systematic pattern of abuse operated by the security forces amounts to crimes against humanity.
15 September 2017: A Syrian asylum-seeker and former fighter with Damascus' government forces has been charged with war crimes in Sweden on suspicion that he posed in front of dead or wounded combatants from the Islamic State group in January 2014. His trial is scheduled to start in Stockholm on September 18.
14 September 2017: In a new report, Amnesty International says that today more than 20,000 survivors of wartime sexual violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina are being denied justice. The report reveals the horrifying consequences of these crimes and the inexcusable obstacles preventing victims to have access to the support they need and the legal redress they are entitled to.
13 September 2017: Metropolitan police's war crimes unit, SO15, has begun a preliminary assessment of the evidence following a request to investigate allegations that United Arab Emirates (UAE) security officials and politicians authorised the torture of three Qatari citizens in the UAE. The three complainants were detained on arrival in the UAE in 2013 and 2014 and eventually released in early 2015.
13 September 2017: Human Rights Watch reported that the Saudi-led coalition carried out five apparently unlawful airstrikes in Yemen since June 2017, killing 16 children among 39 civilians. Such attacks amount to war crimes, whether carried out deliberately or recklessly, and show that the promises to improve compliance with international humanitarian law made by the coalition have not brought better protection, in particular for children. The United Nations should immediately take action and respond to continuous violations and crimes committed by all parties to the conflict by creating an independent, international investigation into abuses at its September session.
12 September 2017: Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said on Monday that Venezuelan security forces may have committed crimes against humanity against protesters. He called for an international investigation into the events and said the government was using criminal proceedings against opposition leaders, arbitrary detentions, excessive use of force, ill-treatment of detainees, torture.
11 September 2017: A powerful article and interesting opinion on the dramatic situation of the Rohingya population in Myanmar and Aung Suu Kyi's conduct.
11 September 2017: The fight against terrorism 16 years after the 9/11 attacks. A perspective on how the United States' counterterrorism efforts have developed during the years and where they stand today.
10 September 2017: Two of five men arrested as part of an investigation into the banned neo-Nazi group National Action have been released without charge. The men, including four serving soldiers, were held on suspicion of terror acts last week. All suspects were arrested on suspicion of being concerned with the commission, preparation and instigation to acts of terrorism under the 2000 Terrorism Act. They were also arrested on suspicion of being members of a proscribed organization under the Terrorism Act.
9 September 2017: In a report issued on Monday 4 September 2017, the United Nations accused the government of Burundi of severe human rights violations and the commission of crimes against humanity. The Burundi government rejects the accusations.
9 September 2017: Press conference held on 5 September 2017 by Ms Catherine Marchi-Uhel, Head of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to assist in the investigation and prosecution of persons responsible for the most serious crimes under international law in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011.
8 September 2017: A Rwandan man was charged on 6 September over genocide accusations in Sweden. He allegedly is responsible for the murder, attempted murder, rape and abduction of members of the Tutsi ethnic group in April and May 1994.
8 September 2017: Alleged members of a banned neo-Nazi group and serving members of the British Army have been arrested on suspicion of being concerned with the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism under the 2000 Terrorism Act; on suspicion of being members of a proscribed organisation, National Action. The arrests come months after a far-right terror cell was uncovered in the German army.
7 September 2017: In a new report, Human Rights Watch said under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt's regular police and National Security officers routinely torture political detainees with techniques including beatings, electric shocks, stress positions, and at times rape. Such widespread and systematic torture may amount to a crime against humanity.
6 September 2017: On Tuesday, a French woman whose radicalised son fought in Syria, where he allegedly died, stood trial accused of financing terrorism. Appearing before the Paris Criminal Court Nathalie Haddadi and her younger son both face charges of aiding and financing terrorism. A second man, a friend of Haddadi's deceased son, is also on trial. Haddadi has persistently held that the charges against her are unfounded. It appears her son had developed radicalised views after serving prison time in France in 2014.
5 September 2017: A United States Federal court has dismissed a lawsuit against pro-Israeli American donors accused of contributing to war crimes and ethnic cleansing in Palestine, having financed, encouraged and deliberately collaborated with settlement officials in the commission of violence. The judge ruled the issues raised where beyond the court jurisdiction.
5 September 2017: Forensic architects are using new methods to expose state violence, war crimes and human rights violations. It has historically been difficult for investigators, journalists and architects to access sites where violence has occurred. Today social media offers forensic architects a source of documentary evidence on the basis of which a narrative of acts of violence can be built. The emergence of forensic architecture as a discipline signals the crucial feature of temporary conflicts: the fact that these take place with cities, affecting the civilian population.
4 September 2017: The moving story of Yazidi thirteen-year-old Emad Tammo, abducted by extremists and held in captivity for three years before being found beneath the wreckage of Mosul's Old City at the beginning of July. He has been reunited with his family and is now adjusting to his new life in Canada. The Yazidi community in Sinjar, north-western Iraq, was targeted by extremists in 2014. Its members have been victims of unimaginable cruelty. Thousands were kidnapped, tortured, killed, sold as slaves, died of dehydration and exhaustion as they tried to escape the onslaught. The United Nations has deemed their ordeal an ongoing genocide, and war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed against them. Emad's reunification with his family shows there is always hope. It shows the need for the international community and countries all over the world to take action to prevent atrocities from happening as well as to offer victims safety.
3 September 2017: The Basic Court in Prizren, Kosovo, issued a 30-day detention order for Bogdan Mitrovic, suspected of having committed war crimes against the civilian population and serious violations of the laws and customs of non-international armed conflicts in the Suhareka/Suve Reka area of Kosovo in the spring of 1999.
2 September 2017: The importance of breaking the cycle of impunity and holding accountable those who committed torture. Why the lawsuit against psychologists James Elmer Mitchell and John 'Bruce' Jessen who designed the pst-9/11 CIA torture program matters and why its extreme brutality and the horror it caused shall not be forgotten.
1 September 2017: An article on high-impact, low-cost terrorism across Europe. Attacks of such kind pose a new challenge for governments, which have developed strategies to target the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria's (ISIS) revenue sources since 2014 and are now to adapt and implement new ways to stop small dollar flows contributing to ISIS terrorist attacks.
31 August 2017: The United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein expressed alarm at the violence and the incitement to further violence in the north of Rakhine State since the recent attacks on security forces in three northern townships of the state. He called all sides to adhere to and respect human rights law.
30 August 2017: Jagath Jayasuriya, a former Sri Lankan general accused of war crimes by human rights groups, left Brazil, where until recently he held the position of ambassador. The suits against him are based on Jayasuriya's role as a commander in the final phase of Sri Lanka's civil war in 2009. They allege he oversaw military units that attacked hospitals and killed, disappeared and tortured thousands of people.
29 August 2017: Human Rights Watch published a report that compares the way victims' lawyers were selected in one ongoing trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) to broader trends in court practice. It found that the ICC practice falls short of ensuring victims' views are adequately considered in the decisions on whether and how to organize their legal representation.
28 August 2017: What should justice look like after the Islamic State? An article by Nadim Houry, Human Rights Watch Director of the Terrorism and Counterterrorism Program, illustrates the challenges of the judiciaries in Iraq and Syria and the issues caused by the enforcement of wide reaching counterterrorism laws. Given the scale and nature of the crimes committed by the Islamic State, the articles suggests efforts to introduce international crimes into Iraqi and Syrian law should be a priority.
27 August 2017: Afghanistan is under pressure by human rights activists to expand its anti-torture laws enacted months ago to permit victims of abuses by security forces to seek compensation and restitution. An annex to the legislation would allow victims to take governmental forces before a civil court. As of now, it is for the state to investigate and prosecute members of its own forces accused of torture, something that activists and investigators say happen rarely.
26 August 2017: The attack on a Shi'ite mosque in Kabul on Friday that caused the death of at least 28 people may amount to a war crime, United Nations officials and Human Rights Watch said. More than 50 people were wounded, including women and children, and the number of casualties may still rise.
25 August 2017: 33-year old Mohammad Abdullah, a Syrian man suspected of committing war crimes in Syria, has been placed by Swedish authorities in pre-trial detention. Formal charges should be filed before September 7.
24 August 2017: The United Nations Assistance Mission to Iraq published a report on Tuesday 22 August 2017 urging the Iraqi government to ensure the protection of those individuals sexually victimized by Islamic State forces. According to the report, thousands of women and girls have been the victims of physical and mental abuses as a result of the atrocities committed against them. While the government has taken some positive steps to address this dramatic situation, the report calls on the state to ensure access to justice and effective remedies for victims, proper reintegration into society and prevention from discrimination of those perceived as affiliated with the Islamic State.
23 August 2017: Interesting article on INTERPOL's history and role, and the fear of 'red notices' being misused to target innocent people and silence authoritarian regimes' opponent. Would there be the need for external scrutiny?
23 August 2017: The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released a report on Sunday on the human rights violations committed during attacks on the Mirza Olang village earlier this month. At least 36 people were killed by Taliban and local Islamic State's fighters. While UNAMA verified the killings and the separation of women and children, it could not verify claims of beheadings, abductions of women and sexual assaults, and further investigation is needed. According to the report, the acts committed may amount to war crimes.
22 August 2017: In a letter addressed to the United Nations Secretary General, six human rights organizations expressed grave concerns about the rapid deterioration of the security situation in the Central African Republic (CAR). Since the start of the year, more than 800 civilians have been killed. Lewis Mudge, a researcher with Human Rights Watch in the CAR, speaks about the country's conditions.
22 August 2017: A United States judge has cleared the way for CoI Inocente Orlando Montano, suspected of having killed six Jesuit priests in El Salvador in 1989, to be extradited to Spain to stand trial under Spain's universal jurisdiction law.
21 August 2017: On Friday, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia announced that it has terminated proceedings against Jovo Ostojic, after he died on June 30 this year, and ordered the cancellation of an arrest warrant against him. Ostojic was charged alongside Vjerica Radeta and Petar Jojic of being in contempt of court for threatening and interfering with witnesses at Vojislav Seselj's trial.
20 August 2017: Australian police charged three men with committing terrorist acts on suspicion of starting fires at a Shiite Muslim mosque in Melbourne last year. Two of the men were already in custody and awaiting trial on suspicion of plotting bomb attacks in Melbourne, while a third was arrested on Saturday. All face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment over the arson attack at the Imam Ali Islamic Centre in December 2016.
20 August 2017: The general command of the Libyan National Army (LNA) said on Thursday that Mahmoud al-Werfalli had been arrested and was being investigated by a military prosecutor. The arrest comes after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant for Werfalli last week accusing the suspect of murder as a war crime.
19 August 2017: Jean Twagiramungu, a Rwandan man accused of helping masterminding the genocide in the former Gikongoro Prefecture, was extradited from Germany on Friday. He was arrested in Frankfurt two years ago and had since been battling extradition.
19 August 2017: New evidence of the atrocities committed by Japan's Unit 731 during World War II were released on Friday 18 August 2017.
19 August 2017: An article depicting the dramatic situation of the Yazidi minority in Iraq and the cause of Ms Murad, victim of the horror perpetrated by the Islamic State and now crusading to obtain justice and promote accountability.
18 August 2017: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced on 17 August 2017 a settlement in a lawsuit against two psychologists who designed the torture techniques three former CIA prisoners were victims of.
17 August 2017: The International Criminal Court on Thursday found that Ahmad Al Faqi is liable for individual and collective reparations for overseeing the destruction of cultural heritage sites in Timbuktu. The Court found he is liable for 2.7 million euros in expenses. The order stresses the fundamental importance of cultural heritage.
16 August 2017: On Wednesday 16 August 2017, Iraq asked for the international community's assistance to collect and preserve evidence of crimes perpetrated by Islamic State's militants. It said it is working with the United Kingdom to draft a United Nations Security Council resolution to establish the investigation.
16 August 2017: A report from the International Centre for the Study of Violent Extremism details the unimaginably horrific torture methods and abuses endured by those fallen into the Islamic State's hands. For a brief article summarising the report, see here.
15 August 2017: The International Criminal Court issued a warrant of arrest for Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf Al-Werfalli. He is allegedly responsible for murder as a war crime in the context of seven incidents, involving 33 persons, during the non-international armed conflict in Libya.
14 August 2017: The United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Syria has gathered enough evidence for President Bashar al-Assad to be tried and convicted for the commission of international crimes, a member of the Commission said. While the Syrian government denies reports by the Commission documenting widespread war crimes, the Commission chronicled incidents such as chemical weapons attacks, acts of genocide against Iraq's Yazidi population, siege tactics, the bombing of aid convoys. All parties to the conflict have allegedly committed war crimes, and all have been investigated.
13 August 2017: The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that Judge Scott Silliman should have recused himself in a case concerning multiple defendants who were charged with aiding in the 9/11 terror attacks. The petitioner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed argued that the judge was biased in the matter.
13 August 2017: An investigation conducted by the Myanmar government found no crimes against humanity took place during the violence in Rakhine state last year. Allegations of ethnic cleansing and gang rapes were denied, and while the occurrence of some crimes was acknowledged, they were attributed to individual members of security forces.
12 August 2017: Senior European commission officials warned of Britain's urgent need for clarifying its position on security issues in order to avoid the risk to miss out on vital new counter-terrorism tools. The British government's ambiguity on how it plans to fit into Europe's evolving security apparatus leaves doubts as to what kind of cooperation will be possible in the future.
11 August 2017: On 9 August 2017, Burundi's National Assembly adopted a bill on the setting up of the National Observatory for the Prevention and Eradication of Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity. The body will have the function of clarifying and identifying all crimes committed in the country, monitoring the development of Burundian society in regards to international crimes, preventing and eradicating acts of genocide, war crimes and other crimes against humanity, as well as proposing measures to effectively combat impunity. It will also promote and enforce legislation addressing international crimes, suggest victims' rehabilitation policies and contribute to the implementation of a program of awareness-raising and education for peace and national reconciliation.
10 August 2017: Fares A. B., a Syrian 29-year-old man thought to have committed war crimes in his home country, has been arrested and detained in Germany. He is suspected of being a member of the Islamic State and of abusing at least three prisoners, repeatedly hitting another victim in the head and shooting and killing a man for alleged blasphemy in a public execution before leaving the man's body on display.
10 August 2017: Colombia's transitional justice system received the case files of 12,000 alleged military war criminals. About 4,500 soldiers currently in prison have requested to be included in the transitional justice mechanism that would permit them to leave jail while awaiting to be tried, while the Defence Ministry has sent another 7,494 case files of military members who were either convicted or investigated on war crimes charges. In addition, the system is facing a number of legal issues, among which those arising from the case of the more than 4,000 extrajudicial executions conducted by the military under former President Alvaro Uribe, as the acts have been qualified in different ways. The transitional justice system was approved earlier this year and is currently choosing the judges and international assistant judges. The justice process is expected to take force in October.
9 August 2017: The United Nations calls for more troops to be deployed in the Central African Republic as clashes renew. O'Brien, the United Nations aid chief, said the situation shows the early warning signs of a genocide.
8 August 2017: A Mumbai court sentenced 16 Somali pirates to seven years in prison for hijacking a fishing vessel that had sailed from Iran in 2011 and taking the crew hostage. The pirates are to be deported to Somalia once they serve their prison terms.
7 August 2017: Carla del Ponte, member of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Syria, said on Sunday 6 August 2017 she will leave the Commission due to the lack of political backing from the United Nations Security Council, which she said renders the Commission's job impossible.
7 August 2017: On Friday 4 August 2017, Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka was handed over to the Congolese authorities in Kinshasa after he turned himself in to the United Nations peacekeeping forces in North Kivu at the end of July.
6 August 2017: The defence team for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, sentenced to life without parole for the murder of 16 Afghans, plans to raise the possible use of controversial malaria drug as justification for the crimes committed. The drug may have allegedly caused potential long-term neurological damage and serious psychiatric side effects. Defence attorneys hope this could persuade judges to lessen Bales' sentence.
6 August 2017: A Rwandan man who sought asylum in the United States after claiming of fleeing the country due to the genocide was charged by United States prosecutors with immigration fraud and perjury. Jean Leonard Teganya, 46 years old, reached the United States in 2014 where he applied for asylum, lying about having been part of the political party that led the killing during the genocide in 1994. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison.
5 August 2017: Former Gambian interior minister Ousman Sonko will remain in Swiss detention for another three months after the country's attorney general broadened an investigation into whether he committed crimes against humanity. Sonko has been in pre-trial detention since January, after Trial International filed a criminal complaint accusing him of torture. Sonko was interior minister from 2006 to 2016, when he fled to Sweden and then to Switzerland, where he applied for asylum in November and was taken into custody in January.
4 August 2017: At the third year marking the anniversary of the Yazidi genocide in Iraq, Islamic State (ISIS) members have yet to be brought to justice for war crimes and crimes against humanity. While it is unclear how many suspected ISIS fighters are in custody in Iraq, human rights groups have documented the deplorable and inhumane conditions of the detention facilities where the suspects are imprisoned. A resolution has been presented to the United Nations Security Council for an independent investigation to collect evidence of the atrocities committed against Iraqis by ISIS.
4 August 2017: On Thursday, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Syria said the Islamic State is continuing to commit genocide against the Yazidi minority in Iraq, situation which remains largely unaddressed. Thousands of Yazidi remain missing and some 3'000 women and girls in Syria are subject to horrific violence.
3 August 2017: Earlier this month, reports announced the planned closure of the United States' Department Office of Global Criminal Justice (GCJ). The Office is tasked with advising the Secretary of States and the government on the prevention of and response to international crimes. For an overview of the reasons why the office should not be closed, click here.
2 August 2017: The militant group Hezbollah gathered dozens of foreign journalists to their mountain bases on the border between Lebanon and Syria with a view to show the way it triumphed in the area. Among other things, it addressed the policies adopted by the United States in the fight against terrorism.
1 August 2017: A High Court in the United Kingdom ruled that former Prime Minister Tony Blair will not be prosecuted for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The court held that the crime of aggression Blair is accused of committing does not exist under English and Welsh law and therefore he cannot be charged.
31 July 2017: An Argentinian court sentenced four former federal judges to life in prison for the commission of crimes against humanity during the country's 1976-1983 dictatorship. The judges were originally charged as accomplices for failure to investigate the kidnapping, torture and murder of dissenters. They were subsequently tried as principals on the basis of the fact their inaction preceded the disappearance of more than 20 dissidents.
30 July 2017: In the United States, a federal court judge refused to drop a lawsuit against two psychologists who helped devise the C.I.A.'s interrogation program after 9/11, clearing the way for the case to proceed to trial in September. The three plaintiffs had argued that they were detained and tortured in C.I.A.'s detention facilities using techniques designed by the two former military psychologists, who served as C.I.A.'s contractors.
29 July 2017: An Iraqi army division trained by the United States (US) government allegedly executed several dozens prisoners in Mosul's Old City, Human Rights Watch said. The organisation calls for the US government to suspend all assistance and support to the 16th Division pending Iraq's full investigation of the allegations and appropriate prosecution.
29 July 2017: Fugitive rebel leader Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka surrendered to the United Nations forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on 26 July 2017. He is wanted for crimes against humanity, including the mass rape of at least 378 civilians in the eastern DRC between 30 July and 2 August 2010.
28 July 2017: Egypt established a national council for combating terrorism, giving it broad authority to set policies to fight extremism. The council is chaired by Sisi and includes the head of parliament, the prime minister, the head of Al-Azhar and several ministers.
27 July 2017: The European Court of Justice (ECJ) overruled the General Court's view of 2014 that the Council of the European Union had insufficient evidence to maintain asset freezes and travel bans on Hamas. The lower court had found that the listing of Hamas as a terrorist organisation was based on media and internet reports rather than decisions by a competent authority. However, the ECJ said such decisions were not required for groups to stay on the list, only for their initial listing. In a parallel case, the top court did rule that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) of Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tigers, should be removed from the European Union's terrorism list.
26 July 2017: The European Union's Court of Justice (ECJ) is set to rule today on whether Hamas, the Palestinian political organisation, should be removed from the EU's 'terror' list. In December 2014, a lower European court said Hamas should be removed from the list because the EU's decision to place it on the 'terror' sanctions list was based on information from the media and internet, and not the result of an independent investigation. The European Council, in turn, appealed the decision.
25 July 2017: Philippines President Duterte announced this week that the so-called war on drugs which is scourging the country will continue despite international concern over grave human rights violations. Among the great alarm expressed by the international community, in October the International Criminal Courtexpressed concern over the occurrence of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines in connection with Duterte's campaign.
24 July 2017: On Monday, prominent journalists and other staff of a Turkish opposition newspaper went on trial on terrorism charges in a case that critics of President Erdogan consider attack on free speech. Several hundred people gathered outside the central Istanbul court to protest against the prosecution of 17 writers, executives and lawyers of the Cumhuriyet newspaper.
23 July 2017: United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced the possible closing of the Office of Global Criminal Justice (OGCJ) in state department reorganisations. Human rights advocates fear closing the office would hamper efforts to combat impunity, raise awareness of atrocities committed all over the world and bring international crimes perpetrators to justice.
22 July 2017: Amnesty International reported that Cameroon's security forces have tortured hundreds of people accused of supporting the Islamist group Boko Haram. The crimes committed may amount to war crimes. Evidence shows American military personnel visiting notorious torture chambers sites. The Cameroonian government was presented with Amnesty International report several months ago but has yet to respond to the accusations.
21 July 2017: The European Union (EU) is rallying dozens of countries to stop the trade of torture equipment and lethal-injection drugs, which could make it harder for the United States to perform executions. It will call for an alliance against trading products used for executions and torture acts. Mongolia, which outlawed the death penalty in 2015, and Argentina, which has a similar legislation to the EU, will jointly launch the initiative with the EU in September.
20 July 2017: Last week, the International Criminal Court ordered to review whether Laurent Gbagbo, the former Ivory Coast president, should be released from detention while the trial against him for crimes against humanity continues. Gbagbo and his former militia leader Charles Ble Goude have been charged with crimes committed during the post-election violence that broke out in Ivory Coast in 2011.
19 July 2017: 29 indigenous organizations from across South America have come together in Brazil and taken actions against governments for failing to protect the lives and lands of uncontacted peoples -a situation they say may amount to genocide. In June 2017, a conference with representatives of groups from Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Paraguay and Venezuela condemned the alarming increase of violence against indigenous peoples across the continent and described the failure to properly protect the territory of uncontacted peoples as genocide. Brazil has recently made cuts to its indigenous affairs agency, leaving uncontacted peoples dangerously exposed to violence caused and diseases carried by outsiders. The country has two genocide convictions in its courts, both for crimes against indigenous peoples.
18 July 2017: In light of the upcoming International Criminal Court's anniversary, the Statute of which was adopted on 17 July 1998, Human Rights Watch calls for an increased support to the Court by the international community.
17 July 2017: Atrocities in Syria and Iraq: the obstacles to combat impunity being political, not the lack of evidence, human rights lawyer says. Prosecutors in several European countries are processing investigations on alleged international crimes in Syria using universal jurisdiction legislation. Furthermore, in light of the incredible amount of available evidence, it is possible to draw a list of those allegedly responsible for the countless atrocities that have been committed so far by all parties to the conflict.
16 July 2017: A United Nations (UN) special rapporteur has concluded that the use of torture by Sri Lankan security services is endemic. In particular, he raised concerns in regards to the draft revised anti-terror laws prepared by the government, which would leave police forces' routine use of torture to obtain confessions without being monitored or checked. The rapporteur reported that authorities use the legislation disproportionately against members of the Tamil community. He added that 80% of those most recently arrested in late 2016 complained of torture and ill-treatment following their arrest. There seems to exist an alarming climate of impunity for officials committing such criminal acts. He furthermore reported that numerous prisoners had been in detention without trial for several years.
15 July 2017: Leopold Munyakazi, prominent Rwandan academic, has been sentenced to life imprisonment by a domestic court after being convicted of genocide. After fleeing Rwanda he sought refuge in the United States, where he taught French in Baltimore until being suspended in 2008 following an indictment issued by the Rwandan government. He was extradited to Rwanda last year. He opposed his transfer to the country and denied all charges against him.
14 July 2017: Amnesty International said it identified a pattern of attacks by Iraqi forces and the United States-led military coalition backing them that may amount to war crimes during the fight to regain control over the city of Mosul. Islamic State's fighters are as well accused of violating international humanitarian law by inter alia deliberately endangering the lives of civilians by using them as human shields and impeding the advance of Iraqi and coalition forces. Amnesty calls for a thorough investigation into whether war crimes have indeed been committed by all parties to the conflict.
13 July 2017: Yazidis from Iraq joined thousands of Bosnian Muslims at a commemoration on Tuesday 11 July 2017 of the 8,000 men and boys killed in 1995 at Srebrenica and called for the atrocities committed against the Yazidis by the Islamic State (ISIS) to be recognized as genocide. Tuesday's commemoration of the killings 22 years ago included the burials of 71 newly identified victims bringing the total number of those interred near the town to 6,575. More than 1,000 men and boys are still missing. Yazidis will commemorate the Sinjar massacre in August. "We have endured horrific abuses and persecution -the Bosnian Muslims at the hands of Serbs and Yazidis at the hands of ISIS- and we share the memories and recognize each other's feelings" said Hussam Abdukah, a Yazidi lawyer who is documenting ISIS crimes and involved in a peacebuilding project in northern Iraq.
12 July 2017: A group of Swedish lawmakers filed a complaint accusing Turkish President Erdogan of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in the southeast of Turkey. The complaint, filed to the Swedish International Public Prosecution Offices, names Erdogan and several ministers among whom Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. It is the first of this kind in Sweden against a head of state.
11 July 2017: Last week, Italy made torture a crime after decades of non-compliance with its human rights obligations. However, Human Rights Watch notes how the compromise text which was approved falls short of the bar set by European and international bodies to which Italy is a member, failing to meet international law standards. The flaws rest with how the law defines the scope of the crime and its statute of limitations, determining Italy will continue to be in violation of its international obligations.
10 July 2017: Last week, it was reported that Police from a region in the Philippines was considering issuing mandatory identification cards to thousands of Muslims living there. Authorities claimed that the policy is a counter-terrorism measures. Human Rights Watch noted how such an alarming measure would further single out Muslims in the country and violated individuals' rights to equal protection of the law, freedom of movement, and other basic rights.
9 July 2017: The spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed grave concern about the arbitrary arrests and detentions of human rights defenders in Turkey on suspicion of membership to terrorist group. Among those arrested, regional director of Amnesty International Idil Eser. It is feared the activists are at a significant risk of torture and abuses.
8 July 2017: On 5 July 2017 Italy's Chamber of Deputies approved a controversial bill outlawing torture. The bill was passed by a vote of 198 t0 35.
8 July 2017: Last week, Poland requested the extradition from the United States of a man accused of Nazi war crimes. Michael Karkoc, 98, is a former commander of an SS-led unit responsible for burning Polish villages and killing civilians during World War II.
7 July 2017: On July 6 2017, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court delivered its decision finding that South Africa failed to comply with its obligations by not arresting and surrendering Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to the Court while he was on South African territory between 13 and 15 June 2015. The Chamber however decided not to refer South Africa's non-compliance to the Assembly of State Parties or the United Nations Security Council.
7 July 2017: The Dutch government announced that the suspects allegedly responsible for downing flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014 will stand trial in The Netherlands. The decision was taken at the request of the countries cooperating in the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which has been investigating the circumstances of the disaster. The countries involved are: The Netherlands, Australia, Malaysia, Belgium, Ukraine. On 17 July 2014, a Malaysian Airlines Boeing crashed in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers on board, after being shot down by a missile. For more information in English, click here. For more information in Dutch, click here.
6 July 2017: The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), with the support of more than 100 Mexican organisations, submitted a report to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) requesting her Office to open a preliminary examination into the crimes committed in the Mexican state of Coahuila from 2009 until 2016. The report details how crimes against humanity were committed, including arbitrary detention, torture and enforced disappearance.
6 July 2017: A decision on whether to open a formal investigation before the International Criminal Court(ICC) into potential crimes committed in Afghanistan since 2003 has been delayed. The investigation would include possible violations committed by the Afghan authorities, the United States armed forces and the Central Intelligence Agency and the Taliban and its affiliates. The Office of the Prosecutor said it received new information from the government of Afghanistan that could influence her decision.
5 July 2017: Judge Catherine Marchi-Uhel was appointed late Monday by the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres to lead the International Impartial and Independent Mechanism, a legal team that will collect and preserve evidence of international crimes committed in Syria for domestic courts or an international body to use. The Mechanism was created by a General Assembly resolution in December in efforts to tackle the climate of impunity which has been reigning in the country since the beginning of the conflict.
5 July 2017: Tomorrow Thursday 6 July 2017 the International Criminal Court (ICC) will rule on whether South Africa violated its international law obligations by failing to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who remains at large and in office as conflict rages in Darfur despite two arrest warrants issued in 2009 and 2010. He is charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The landmark decision will set a precedent for co-operation between countries and the ICC.
4 July 2017: A new report by FIDH, the International Federation for Human Rights, and its partner organisations in Burundi draws a disturbing picture of the situation in the country today, two years after the crisis broke out in April 2015 when demonstrations against the president's announcement to run for office for the third term were violently repressed. Since then, a cycle of violence has seen the death of more than 1,200 people and the fleeing of more than 400,000. There may have been between 400 and 900 victims of forced disappearance, several hundred or even thousands of people tortured, and over 10,000 people arbitrarily detained. The current repression has been characterised by genocidal dynamics and the political landscape is shrinking down to one party, the CNDD-FDD, which seems to be willing to retain power at all costs.
3 July 2017: On Friday 30 June 2017, Myanmar said it would refuse to grant visas to three United Nations (UN) experts in charge of investigating recent violence against Muslims in the country. The UN reported in February that police officers and soldiers had allegedly killed hundreds of people of all ages, gang-raped women and girls and forced as many as 90,000 Rohingya from their homes. Those and other brutal actions were very likely to amount to crimes against humanity.
2 July 2017: A report released by SNHR, the Syrian Network for Human Rights, documents the death toll due to torture in Syria from March 2011 until June 2017. At least 13,029 individuals have died, including 164 children and 57 women. Of those, Syrian regime forces have killed 12,920 individuals, including 161 children and 41 women. The remaining deaths are attributed to Self-Management Forces, ISIS, Fateh al Sham Front, armed opposition factions and other parties. The issue of torture being committed by both governmental and non-governmental forces involved in the conflict is not being adequately addressed and duly tackled on the international level, said the chairman of SNHR Fadel Abdul Ghany.
1 July 2017: Fifteen years ago, on 1 July 2002, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court came into force. Although far from realising its full potentials, the Court has shown how international criminal justice works in the fight against impunity for heinous crimes and has been a bastion of hope. States should increase their efforts to support it.
30 June 2017: Amnesty International denounces once again Duterte's bloody and lawless anti-drug campaign since assuming the presidency of the Philippines a year ago. No credible investigation into the widespread extrajudicial executions, which may amount to crimes against humanity, has been conducted, nor into the numerous heinous crimes and human rights violations committed. James Gomez, Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said that a preliminary investigation into the mass killings by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court may be the best option.
29 June 2017: Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) faces accusations of complicity in genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Rwanda genocide. It is alleged the bank participated in financing the purchase of 80 tonnes of arms that served to perpetrate crimes during the genocide and that the intentions for which the transfer was authorized could not have been doubted. Three NGOs are leading the allegations: Sherpa, Ibuka France and Collective of Civil Parties for Rwanda (CPCR). A separate claim was also filed last week against 'X' for complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity during the Rwandan genocide by the group Survie.
28 June 2017: On Monday, the United Nations criticised a decision by a Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) military tribunal not to prosecute seven soldiers for crimes against humanity. The seven soldiers were already on trial for war crimes and other offences -including murder, mutilation and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment- allegedly committed in the Kasai region. They are being prosecuted over a video that emerged in February showing a group of uniformed men opening fire on civilians, and then walking among at least 20 bodies. On Saturday, prosecutors in the trial, which commenced on 5 June 2017, had dropped the war crimes charges but kept the others until Monday, when however they decided not to pursue crimes against humanity charges either.
27 June 2017: Yemen's government has opened an investigation into alleged torture and enforced disappearances by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its allied Yemeni forces in the south of the country. A six-member committee was ordered to focus on areas recaptured from Houthi fighters and their allies. The panel has 15 days to conclude its investigations. Reports of abuses were revealed last week in two separate investigations conducted by Human Rights Watch and Associated Press. It was said that the UAE financed, armed and trained Yemeni forces that have arbitrarily detained, forcibly disappeared, tortured and abused dozens of people during security operations in the southern governorates. The revelations prompted concerns about alleged United States involvement. The war in Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world, has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced more than three million and ruined much of the country's infrastructure. In March, the United Nations Food Programme said that nearly half of Yemen's 22 provinces were on the verge of famine, while more than 1'300 people have died of cholera since late April, in the second outbreak of the infection in less than a year.
26 June 2017: A recount of the situation across the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine, where war crimes such as arbitrary detention, torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions have been documented. Stanislav Aseev and Igor Kozlovsky among the victims of such practices.
26 June 2017: On Saturday, the president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia said authorities will need to harness a spirit of reconciliation to pursue the legacy of the Tribunal in bringing justice to victims once it closes down at the end of the year. It was said the Tribunal met its responsibility to bring to justice those most responsible for the atrocities committed during the wars of the 1990s, and that now regional authorities need to carry on its work.
25 June 2017: The British van driver suspected of attacking Muslim worshippers near a London mosque appeared in court on Friday charged with terrorism-related murder and attempted murder. The Crown Prosecution Service said it would argue that the accused "motivated by extreme political views and a personal hatred of Muslims, acted to kill, maim, injure and terrify as many people as possible" during the attack.
24 June 2017: Khieu Samphan and Noun Chea, the most senior living members of the Khmer Rouge government in Cambodia, were given an opportunity to address the Phnom Penh chamber on Friday as the trial before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) concludes. In the occasion, Samphan, the former head of state of what was Kampuchea, used the opportunity to reject claims that the government was involved in the genocide in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979 that killed more than 2 million people. Chea declined to address the court, while his lawyer spoke on his behalf affirming Chea believed he was part of a show trial. Samphan and Chea already received life sentences in 2014 for crimes against humanity.
23 June 2017: Amnesty International calls for the commencement of an urgent investigation into allegations of torture and arbitrary detention of prisoners held in secret detention facilities in Southern Yemen by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), its allied Yemeni forces and possibly the United States. The organisation calls for the launch of a United Nations-led investigation into the UAE's and the other States' role into setting up such a network of torture where thousands of Yemeni have disappeared. Moreover, by continuing to supply weapons to the UAE and its coalition partners which could be used to facilitate enforced disappearances, torture and serious violations on international humanitarian law in Yemen, the United States and western European countries risk to violate core human rights principles and become complicit in the commission of war crimes.
23 June 2017: CIA torture techniques: a lawsuit filed by two former prisoners and the family of a third man who died in custody while detained in CIA's secret detention facilities against two contractors who may be accountable for the horrific techniques reveals new details about the interrogation program.
22 June 2017: United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights called for an independent investigation into the human rights situation in Kasai, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He condemned the establishment of armed militia supported by the authorities and allegedly accompanied by state security forces and police. He furthermore stated that serious abuses have been committed, and that mass graves have been discovered across the province. The UN believes these mass graves were being investigated by two UN experts who were found murdered in March.
21 June 2017: A special anti-terrorism court in India recently found six men guilty for the 1993 terrorist bombings in Mumbai where almost 300 people were killed and hundreds injured. The special court was formed under the order of the Terrorism and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA), a controversial law that has allegedly led to human rights violations.
20 June 2017: The government of the Central African Republic (CAR) and armed groups signed a peace accord on 19 June 2017 which includes a ceasefire and political reform measures and could put an end to the conflict. The question of whether victims of atrocities and their families will see justice however remains unanswered, Human Rights Watch notes, contending that two courts, the International Criminal Court and the Special Criminal Court could provide for the opportunity to bring victims justice and lasting peace.
19 June 2017: On Monday 19 June 2017, proceedings resumed in the case of a former Rwandan minister convicted of involvement in the genocide. The United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals announced that it will review the conviction of Augustin Ngirabatware, sentenced on appeal to 30 years in 2014 for inciting, instigating, aiding and abetting genocide as over 800'000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu extremists. Ngirabatware last year filed a request for review of his convictions, saying new evidence that came to light after his conviction could exonerate him. The case was stalled after United Nations judge Aydin Sefa Akay was detained last year in Turkey, his native country, in the aftermath of the failed coup. He was convicted last week of membership to a terrorist organization and sentenced to seven and a half years' imprisonment, but released pending appeal. He denies the allegations.
18 June 2017: On 13 June 2017, two former Serbian policemen went on trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia for the second time over their alleged involvement in the ethnic cleansing that took place during the Balkan conflicts in to 1990s. The initial trial of Jovica Stanisic, former head of Serbia's State Security Service and Franko Simatovic, his alleged right-hand man, resulted in their acquittal in 2013, but an appeals judge ordered their retrial.
17 June 2017: On 15 June 2017, Facebook offered additional insight on its efforts to remove terrorism content, a response to political pressure in Europe to militant groups using the platform for propaganda and recruiting. It revealed it ramped up use of artificial intelligence such as image matching and language understanding to identify and remove content quickly. Facebook and other social media have been pressured by governments to do more to remove militant content and hate speech, and their broad legal protections against liability for their users' content may become subject to stricter limitations.
16 June 2017: On 14 June 2017, the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor called for the immediate arrest and surrender of suspects Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled. Latest media reporting alleged that Mr Gaddafi was released from custody of the Abu-Bakr al-Siddiq Brigade of Zintan, Libya. The Prosecutor announced of being currently verifying the reports and taking the necessary steps to determine the suspect's whereabouts.
15 June 2017: Nigerian military rejected a call for senior army officers to be investigated for possible war crimes in the fight against Boko Haram Islamists. Amnesty International named six serving or retired army officers whom it said should be probed to establish whether they were responsible for murder, torture and disappearances. It alleged that more than 1,200 people have been extra-judicially killed and thousands more arbitrarily arrested during the conflict. The army chief of civilian-military affairs dismissed the accusations saying a report showed there was no evidence against any of the commanders. Similar and separate claims were made in the past and by other human rights groups, and they have all typically been dismissed. Amnesty International called for a presidential commission of inquiry into the allegations and for the report dismissing the accusations to be made public.
14 June 2017: The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) last week renewed her calls to the United Nations (UN) Security Council and the international community to support her office's efforts in tackling and pursuing justice for human rights violations in Darfur, Sudan. She particularly urged all UN Member States, especially those that are party to the Rome Statute, to arrest and surrender suspects of international crimes committed in Sudan, including President Omar Al Bashir. She stressed that accountability is a pre-requisite for sustainable peace in Darfur.
13 June 2017: Amriyev, torture survivor arbitrarily detained in Belarus and wanted by Chechnya authorities, has been unlawfully handed over to Russia notwithstanding human rights groups concerns for his life and allegations that the charges against him are spurious. Amnesty International called on June 9 on Russian authorities to release him and plead under no circumstances should his life be placed at further risk by surrendering him to Chechnya.
12 June 2017: Belarusian authorities have detained a Chechen man seeking to avoid being returned to Chechnya, where he says he was tortured by police in the past, and are preparing to hand him over to Russia. Amriyev reported in 2013 to have been kidnapped by police authorities in Chechnya who tortured him for two days, hanging him in handcuffs and subjecting him to electric shocks. It is feared he could face abuse, torture, or even death if he is returned to Chechnya, where he is wanted on suspicion of using forged documents.
11 June 2017: On 8 June 2017, European police and naval chiefs called for migrant trafficking as the one currently taking place in Libya to be declared a crime against humanity. They said the move would both draw attention to the gravity of the crimes that authorities are trying to stop and would make it easier to do so. Europol's Robert Crepinko said it was time to redefine the nature of traffickers' actions to better reflect their tragic impact. More than 5,000 migrants died in the Mediterranean last year and at least as many people or more may have died in the Sahara.
10 June 2017: A lawsuit against the psychologists behind the CIA's interrogation techniques used in the war on terror was filed last month by a Guantanamo Bay detainee in order to compel the psychologists to provide information to Polish authorities investigating a CIA black site in the country. The lawsuit contains information as to what it describes as the torture of Abu Zubaydah, who was held in the CIA secret detention facility in Poland in 2002 and 2003, and who has been in Guantanamo Bay since 2006. The lawsuit says James Elmer Mitchell and John "Bruce" Jessen, because of their role in the interrogation program and their presence at the site, have information relevant to the investigation being conducted by the Polish authorities. Mitchell and Jessen's contract was terminated in 2009 and a United States Senate investigation in 2014 found that their techniques produced no useful intelligence. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the psychologists in 2015 on behalf of Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ahemd Ben Soud and the estate of Gul Rahman, who died in custody. The men contend they were tortured using techniques Mitchell and Jessen designed. A trial is set for early September.
9 June 2017: On 7 June 2017, survivors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide received compensation paid by convict Claver Berinkindi, currently serving a life sentence in Sweden for murder, incitement to murder, attempted murder and abduction. Berinkindi left Rwanda during the genocide and reached Sweden in 2002, where he applied for refugee status. He obtained citizenship in 2012 and was arrested in 2014. He is the second Rwandan man to be sentenced to life by a Swedish court.
8 June 2017: The maritime sector being rocked by a spike in piracy in recent months, there is the need to address the mental health effects on those who suffer piracy first-hand. An interview with the regional director for South Asia at the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) explains more.
7 June 2017: Bosnia's Serb Republic leader on Tuesday banned any teaching about the siege of Sarajevo and genocide in Srebrenica, denying for the first time that Bosnian Serb forces besieged and attacked people in the capital for years during the 1990s war. In 1995, more than 8,000 Muslim Bosniaks were massacred in Srebrenica, the atrocity amounting to genocide. In the siege of Sarajevo, hundreds of thousands of people were bombed and shot at, kept without food, water and electricity for nearly four years; more than 11,000 people died, including 1,100 children.
6 June 2017: The biggest diplomatic crisis in years has hit the Gulf after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of being the cause of destabilisation in the region due to its alleged support for Islamist groups. The countries said they would halt all land, air and sea traffic with Qatar, expel its diplomats and order Qatari citizens to leave the Gulf states within 14 days. Since Qatar relies heavily on imports from its neighbours, food shortages are feared after Saudi Arabia closed its sole land border. Saudi Arabia declared it cut diplomatic ties due to Qatar's "embrace of various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilising the region", while Egypt said that "all attempts to stop it from supporting terrorist groups failed". The United States Secretary of States, Rex Tillerson, said the move would not affect counter-terrorism efforts. Since 2014, Qatar has repeatedly denied that it funds extremist groups.
5 June 2017: The United States (US) Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced a bipartisan bill introduced in April, the Syrian War Crimes Accountability Act of 2017, which would strengthen US support for justice in Syria. The new bill requests the State Department to report on how the US is promoting accountability in Syria, which could help integrate justice for war crimes into US policy. The Committee adopted amendments to ensure US support for justice is comprehensive, better balanced and more impartial, but is still does not cover all parties involved in the war. The bill needs to pass the full Senate and the House to become law. It is seen as a small but meaningful step towards justice in the Syrian conflict.
4 June 2017: Fifty years after Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip at least five categories of major violations of international human rights and humanitarian law taking place during the occupation have identified, said Human Rights Watch (HRW). The crimes include: unlawful killings, forced displacement, abusive detention, the closure of the Gaza Strip and other unjustified restrictions on movement, and the development of settlements along with the accompanying discriminatory policies disadvantaging Palestinians. Many of Israel's abusive practices have been carried out in the name of security. Palestinians armed groups have also carried out a number of attacks in violation of international humanitarian law.
3 June 2017: On 1 June 2017, the United Kingdom Metropolitan Police's War Crimes Unit arrested Reeves Taylor, former wife of imprisoned ex Liberian President Charles Taylor. She was subsequently charged with torture. She is alleged to have committed crimes while working with the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), group led by her former husband during Liberia's brutal civil war. This is the third arrest by European authorities of a suspect associated with crimes committed during the conflict: commander Martina Johnson was arrested in Belgium in 2014, and Alieu Kosiah, commander from the opposing United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy, was arrested in Switzerland in 2014.
2 June 2017: On Thursday, an Austrian man accused of committing war crimes in eastern Ukraine has been released from custody in his home country after credibly denying the allegations against him. The investigation remains open but the suspect is now free to travel. He was accused to have killed combatants or civilians in danger or injured while fighting alongside Ukrainian forces against pro-Russian separatists.
1 June 2017: A new report released on Tuesday 30 April 2017 by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) claims that human rights violations within the Central African Republic (CAR) may amount to war crimes. The report maps 13 years of violence in the country, from 2003 since 2015, listing 620 incidents and concluding that the majority of such incidents constitute serious international human rights violations and many could also be deemed war crimes.
31 May 2017: Poland has extradited to Austria a 25-year-old Austrian man, identified as Benjamin F., suspected of war crimes after he allegedly killed civilians and surrendered enemy troops while fighting for Ukrainian forces, authorities said on Tuesday. More than 10,000 people have died since the hostilities broke out in Ukraine in April 2014.
30 May 2017: Zoran Vukotic, a Kosovo Serb extradited from Montenegro last year and charged with war crimes against ethnic Albanian civilians in 1999, pleaded not guilty at the first hearing on Monday in Mitrovica Basic Court.
29 May 2017: A moving recount of the atrocious suffering that Hellenah Mukansigaye, a victim of rape during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, went through during and in the aftermath of the conflict. A story of despair, perseverance and faith.
28 May 2017: Nepali political parties and security forces accused of war crimes during the country's decade-long civil war are not ensuring efforts to bring justice to victims. More than 17,000 people were killed and more than 1,300 disappeared during the conflict between governmental forces and Maoist rebels. While the war ended more than a decade ago, families and victims are still waiting to find out what happened to their loved ones and who is responsible for their suffering. A study by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) found there was a widespread misunderstanding of transitional justice in Nepal.
27 May 2017: Iraq's Interior Ministry has launched an investigations into allegations of human rights violations perpetrated by its forces against the Islamic State (IS) in Mosul. The allegations were first reported by German Der Spiegel magazine, claiming that an Iraqi photographer embedded with the police unit had witnessed killing, torture and rape of IS suspects.
26 May 2017: Myanmar's military rejected allegations by the United Nations (UN) of the commission of atrocities during the crackdown on Rohingya Muslims last year, which forced approximately 65,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh as the military searched for a handful of insurgents who killed nine policemen in attacks on border posts between Myanmar and Bangladesh in Rakhine state. The military said it found the allegations to be false, after reportedly interviewing 3,000 villagers and 184 military officers and troops. The UN report in February, compiled from interviews with those who fled, accused the military of abuses including gang-rapes, savage beatings and murder. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said the attacks amount very likely to crimes against humanity.
25 May 2017: On 23 May 2017, the second European Union (EU) Day against Impunity for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes was held. The event's emphasis was on stepping up collective action and cooperation within the EU when fighting impunity.
24 May 2017: The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a statement regarding the alarming situation in the Central African Republic (CAR), urging the violence to stop. The current situation appears extremely precarious, with allegations of serious crimes committed against civilians, peacekeepers and humanitarian workers. The reported crimes may fall under ICC jurisdiction. She called on all individuals and groups in the CAR engaged in violence, including those who appear to be linked to the anti-Balaka and ex-Seleka groups, to desist.
24 May 2017: On Tuesday 23 May 2017 Somali pirates hijacked an Iranian fishing vessel to use it as the mother ship to attack other, more valuable ships. Local fishermen have been angered by the return of unlicensed international fishing vessels to Somali waters. The region is also suffering from a severe drought that threatens to push the nation back into famine. The attack comes as part of an upsurge in piracy following years of relative calm.
23 May 2017: Human Rights Watch has called on those participating in the NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday to ensure that torture has no place in the counter-terrorism efforts that are high on the summit's agenda. This is essential in a context where European leaders are involved in the discussion concerning a shared approach to counter-terrorism policy with a United States President who, during his election campaign, has promised to resume torture practices such as waterboarding and worse. The European Court of Human Rights has found in a series of cases that European intelligence agents enabled the CIA to abduct US national security suspects from Europe, detain and torture them in secret detention centres set up in and outside Europe. Notwithstanding developments, there has never been full accountability. It is vital for European leaders to stand against resuming torture practices, secret detention centres and extraordinary rendition, and make clear to the Trump administration that there would be negative consequences if such inhumane practices were to be adopted again.
23 May 2017: On Monday, a German court put on trial for war crimes a man suspected to be a former Syrian rebel commander fighting for a group linked to the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Identified as 42-year-old Ibrahim Al F., the man is accused of personally committing acts of torture while allegedly commanding a 150-strong neighbourhood militia in Aleppo said to have been looting homes and capturing and mistreating civilians. He was arrested in April 2016 after one of his alleged victims recognised him in Germany, and will face life imprisonment if convicted. The trial is set to run at least until September.
22 May 2017: The African Union has sought the international community's support in the Central African Republic (CAR) in order to fight Joseph Kony after the United States and Uganda withdrew their troops from tracking down Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) members. The African Union's Peace and Security Council (PSC) said on Friday that the LRA still poses a threat.
21 May 2017: Since 2011, the Syrian Accountability Project (SAP) at Syracuse University has been documenting the unfolding of crimes in Syria, in a effort to build a trial package from a neutral perspective and collect evidence to be used for domestic or international prosecutions in the future. SAP was created by David Crane, founding Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
20 May 2017: An interview with the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative raises awareness of the involvement of children in piracy: its scale, how this is intertwined with terrorism, and the reasons why children are chosen over adults.
19 May 2017: A federal judge on Thursday dismissed two lawsuits seeking to hold Facebook Inc. liable for supporting terrorist groups by letting them use its social media platform to further their goals. A lawsuit by relatives of American victims of Hamas attacks was dismissed due to the fact the federal Communications Decency Act regulating internet content immunizes Facebook from liability. A lawsuit by approximately 20,000 Israeli citizens who feared harm from future violence was also dismissed.
18 May 2017: A Rwandan man arrested in Denmark last week over an arrest warrant on his role in the 1994 genocide has been remanded on May 18, 2017 by a Danish Court until June 15, 2017. The suspect was allegedly part of a group of 200 individuals that attacked a university where over 1,000 people were killed, and was allegedly leading militiamen in an attack against a church where more than 3,000 had sought refuge.
17 May 2017: Uganda's President Museveni has written to the country's security and law enforcement chiefs warning that torture should be stopped, if happening, since it does not work in the fight against crime. The President reacted to the pressure exercised by media reports alleging the perpetration of torture practices by enforcement agencies.
16 May 2017: The Supreme Court of Bangladesh on Monday upheld the conviction of Delwar Hossain Sayeedi, an Islamist preacher sentenced to life imprisonment for his involvement in the 1971 liberation war. Sayeedi was charged for a number of crimes in connection to his role supporting the Pakistani army during the war, ranging from kidnapping and rape to forced religious conversion. The judgment was delivered rejecting the pleas from both sides, the state seeking a death sentence, while the defence seeking an acquittal. In 2009, the country established the International Crimes Tribunal, charged with detaining, prosecuting and punishing those responsible for committing genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the 1971 conflict.
15 May 2017: Last week, Uganda's police were accused of torturing suspects to illicit confessions. Over the last 15 years, Human Rights Watch has interviewed hundreds of Ugandans who say they were tortured by police, specifically by a string of units which have changed name and location over time, but whose brutality inexorably repeats itself.
14 May 2017: The United Nations (UN) Committee against Torture called on Bahrain on May 12, 2017, to release prominent activist Nabeel Rajab from more than nine months of solitary confinement and investigate widespread allegations of ill-treatment and torture of detainees. The UN experts cited continued, numerous and consistent allegations of widespread torture and ill-treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in all places of detention in Bahrain. A climate of impunity seems to be prevailing. The panel voiced concerns at reports of coerced confessions obtained under torture, including those of three men executed in January and two men facing the death penalty, Mohammed Ramadhan and Hussain Ali Moosa.
13 May 2017: During the trial of Hissene Habre, former President of Chad, horrific accounts of rape and sexual slavery were heard. Among such recounts, Khadidia Zidane explained how, almost 30 years earlier, Habre had summoned her from prison to the presidential palace and raped her. Habre was convicted on May 30, 2016, of crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture, including rape and sexual slavery. Last month, all convictions were upheld but one: Habre was in fact acquitted or raping Zidane. The appeals court took pains to emphasise that the acquittal was a procedural matter and did not reflect on Zidane's credibility. Although the appeals decision was overall seen as a victory, Habre's rape acquittal should not be allowed to go unnoticed. It should stand to remind us of the challenges that survivors of sexual violence face when considering the disclosure of their experience, and of the reforms needed in a legal process that often fails to support victims in coming forward and revealing the suffering they were subject to.
12 May 2017: Amnesty International and civil society organisations in Central African Republic (CAR) launched on Wednesday a national campaign urging authorities in CAR to tackle a deeply rooted culture of impunity which has prevented thousands of victims of human rights abuses and international crimes from receiving justice. The campaign calls on authorities to commit to a tougher stance against impunity and for CAR's technical and financial partners to support the government's efforts, including by funding the country's new Special Criminal Court.
11 May 2017: A 27-year-old man was sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in Austria after being found guilty of killing 20 people in Syria. The man, accused of shooting unarmed or wounded Syrian soldiers following a battle in the city of Homs, was arrested in western Austria in June. Arrived as an asylum-seeker in the country, it appears he had told others at a refugee shelter that he had been involved in the commission of the crime when he was fighting with an Islamist rebel group called the Farouq Brigade, linked to the Free Syrian Army. He is expected to appeal the conviction.
10 May 2017: The International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda expressed great alarm in a statement on Monday at the inhumane detention conditions of thousands of migrants in Libya. She said her Office was examining whether an investigation could be opened into crimes against them. According to the International Organization for Migration, 20'000 migrants are held by criminal groups in irregular detention centers in Libya, while growing numbers of them are traded in slave markets before being held for ransom, forced labour, sexual exploitation. ICC Prosecutor therefore told the United Nations Security Council that her office continues to collect and analyse information relating to serious and widespread crimes allegedly committed against migrants attempting to transit through Libya.
9 May 2017: United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism Ben Emmerson said last week that Saudi Arabia's anti-terrorism laws are too broad and a threat to individual rights. Emmerson also expressed concern about the reported prosecution of writers and activists for their non-violent actions; he urged the government to establish an independent review mechanism to re-examine those prosecuted for political expression. Emmerson also expressed concerns about Saudi Arabia's failure to adequately investigate its counter-terrorism actions in Yemen, which the UN estimate are responsible for 60% of Yemeni civilian casualties.
8 May 2017: Stories of those who undertake their quest to reach Europe: how migrants who survive the Sahara face torture and gross abuses in Libya. Libya, via Niger, is the only viable passage left to Europe for West African asylum seekers after the border controls in routes through the Canary Islands, Algeria and Morocco were increased in recent years. Nearly 300'000 people crossed the desert from Niger to Libya between February and December 2016, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported. The country is a lawless state were armed groups compete for land and resources, Islamic State militants are present in parts of the territory and large weapons and people-smuggling networks operate with impunity. Asylum seekers surviving the journey until there are faced with a new hell once in the country.
8 May 2017: Legal experts on Thursday said there was growing evidence to prove atrocities committed by Islamic State (IS) against Iraq's Yazidi minority, including sexual slavery and mass killings, legally constitute genocide. In August 2014, IS militants began an assault on the Yazidi religious community's heartland in Sinjar, northern Iraq, home to approximately 400'000 Yazidis, a religious group whose beliefs combine elements of several ancient Middle Eastern religions. IS considers them devil-worshippers. United Nations investigators estimate that more than 5'000 Yazidis have been slaughtered and some 7'000 women forced into sexual slavery.
7 May 2017: Peru's national prosecutors' office said on Friday it has opened an investigation into allegations of crimes against humanity related to the military's fight against leftist guerrillas in the 1990s, in a case involving former President Ollanta Humala. The investigation comes as testimony from two new witnesses suggests that soldiers under Humala's command at the Madre Mia military base tortured and murdered civilians.
6 May 2017: Switzerland said on Wednesday it has extended the detention of former Gambian interior minister Ousman Sonko after 'progress' in a crimes against humanity probe. Sonko was a top lieutenant of Gambia's fallen dictator Yahya Jammeh. Sonko has been accused of overseeing and committing torture while heading the interior ministry from 2006 to 2016. He fled to Sweden before arriving in Switzerland in November. Swiss authorities arrested Sonko in January and have since interviewed witnesses, seized documents and asked for additional evidence from the new government led by Adama Barrow. Sonko's arrest followed a criminal complaint filed on behalf on his alleged victims by the civil society group TRIAL International.
5 May 2017: Tortured Chechen homosexual men recount the agony they were subject to. Chechen officials deny not only the reported torture of homosexuals, but sometimes their very existence.
4 May 2017: Powerful recount of the violence against Rohingya in Myanmar. Reuters reports that the attack on the village of Dar Gvi Zar, on November 12 and 13, claimed dozens of lives. The killings marked the start of a two-week military onslaught across about 10 Rohingya villages in northwest Rakhine State. Rohingya elders estimate some 600 people were killed. A United Nations report from February said the likely toll was hundreds. At least 1'500 homes were destroyed, according to Human Rights Watch. Countless women were raped, eyewitnesses, doctors and aid workers said. It was the latest round of ethnic bloodletting in Myanmar, a majority Buddhist country where the roughly one million Muslim Rohingya are marginalised, often living in camps, with not access to healthcare and education, and uprooted and killed in pogroms. The article pieces together how events unfolded drawing from interviews with Rohingya refugees, diplomats, aid workers and Myanmar government officials. The army has denied there were widespread abuses and said it was carrying out a legitimate counterinsurgency operation. As thousands of Rohingya were fleeing across the border to Bangladesh, Aung Suu Kyi was not in the country.
4 May 2017: New evidence supports the conclusion that Syrian government forces have used nerve agents on at least four occasions in recent months: on April 4, 2017, in a chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun that killed at least 92 people, and on three other occasions in December 2016 and March 2017, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on May 1st, 2017. These attacks are part of a broader pattern of Syrian government forces' use of chemical weapons fulfilling the features required for the acts to be characterised as crimes against humanity.
3 May 2017: Australian extremist Islamic militants are using travel and retail gift cards to fund terrorism in the war town Middle East. The federal intelligence agency AUSTRAC has recently identified 12 cases of gift cards allegedly being used to fund terrorism, with transactions of up to $170'000 being made in the likes of Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. The intelligence agency cited another 66 suspicious money transfers in nations that are recognised as transit areas for terrorism. It seems cards are being used by terrorists worldwide.
2 May 2017: There is division among people in northern Uganda on whether the trial of former Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) commander Dominic Ongwen is justified. Proponents who say the trial is fair cite various reasons, among them being the gravity of the crimes allegedly committed, the need to ensure justice for victims, and the fact Ongwen did not make any attempts to escape the LRA and benefit from an amnesty program in place at the time. On the other hand, many people still hold to the view that Ongwen's trial is unfair. They cite reasons ranging from his abduction and indoctrination into the LRA at a young age, to the fact that the LRA as an organisation should be the one to blame for the crimes committed, and that many other senior LRA commander who some believe have committed worse crime than Ongwen have not been held accountable.
1 May 2017: Piracy from a different perspective. A story of how poverty and the lack of the rule of law may have forced young Somali fishermen to become pirates in order to fight foreign ships illegally fishing off the coasts of the country and destroying the local way of life and the people's possibilities of subsistence.
1 May 2017: Argentine national Teodoro Anibal Gauto, living in Haifa and holding Israeli citizenship, will not be extradited. He is accused in Argentina of the commission of crimes against humanity during the country's military dictatorship from 1976 until 1983; he would have served at La Cacha, a secret detention center used by the military regime. Israel decided not to revoke Gauto's citizenship in light of the fact that during his 14 years in the country he has not committed any crimes.
1 May 2017: An Austrian man suspected of war crimes in the conflict in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine was arrested in Poland on Sunday. A spokesperson of the prosecutor's office said the man is accused of killing soldiers involved in fighting at the Donetsk airport who had surrendered and/or civilians. Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014, and fighting broke out in eastern Ukraine the following month between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian government forces, a conflict in which close to 10'000 people have been killed.
30 April 2017: On Thursday, a French court refused an extradition request for former Kosovo Prime Minister Haradinaj, facing war crimes charges in Serbia. The suspect was released shortly thereafter and parties were given five days to appeal. Haradinaj was a senior commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army, the ethnic Albanian guerrilla force opposing Misolevic during the Kosovo war. He was tried twice and acquitted of 37 charged of war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
29 April 2017: Eric Olsen, CEO of cement manufacturer LafargeHolcim, announced on Monday that he will resign after the discovery that the business paid armed groups in Syria to prevent a factory from closing. French prosecutors are investigating the payments and human rights groups filed a complaint in a domestic French court against the company for allegedly been complicit in financing the Islamic State and in war crimes. In February, France approved a law to hold parent corporations liable for subsidiary human rights violations.
28 April 2017: On Monday, a Cameroonian military tribunal sentenced a journalist to 10 years in prison on terrorism charges, including for failing to report acts of terrorism to the authorities. The trial has drawn criticisms from human rights groups. Ahmed Abba, journalist for Radio France International, was convicted on the basis of evidence showing he had been in contact with Boko Haram militants and that he was aware of future attacks. Since his arrest in 2015, he has denied the charges. Amnesty International said that Abba's conviction, furthermore after being subject to torture and an unfair trial, is a clear evidence that Cameroon's military courts are not competent to try civilians and should not have jurisdiction in these cases. Abba's lawyer said he would appeal.
28 April 2017: French intelligence services said they have scientific proof that the Syrian regime was responsible for a suspected chemical attack that killed 87 people. On April 4, 2017, the rebel-held Khan Sheikhun was attacked. 31 children were among the dead. Samples taken at the scene showed that sarin gas was used and that this was produced by the Syrian regime. The substance used contains hexamine, a component which was also found in a gas attack in northwest Syria in 2013.
27 April 2017: The Appeals Chamber of the Extraordinary African Chambers confirmed ex-Chadian dictator Hissène Habre's sentence to life imprisonment. Habre had been convicted on May 30, 2016 for the commission of crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture, including sexual violence and rape. The Appeals Chamber also decided on an appeal by lawyers representing the victims on the reparations awarded to victims on July 29, 2016.
26 April 2017: On Monday, lawyer Jude Josue Sabio asked the International Criminal Court in The Hague to charge President Duterte and 11 other Philippine officials with mass murder and crimes against humanity in the killings of thousands of people over three decades. He contends Duterte is the mastermind of a campaign that has killed more than 9'400 people since 1988, when Mr Duterte was first elected mayor of Davao City in the southern Philippines. Mr Sabio represents two men who say they were paid assassins for Mr Duterte when he was mayor of Davao City, but filed the case on his own.
25 April 2017: On April 24, 2017, the International Criminal Court (ICC) unsealed the warrant of arrest for Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled allegedly responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the context of the situation in Libya in 2011. The warrant of arrest was issued under seal on April 18, 2013. Mr Al-Tuhamy is charged with four crimes against humanity and with three war crimes. The warrant was unsealed upon the Prosecution's request to do so since reclassifying it as public may facilitate the suspect's arrest and surrender and foster support and cooperation from the international community.
24 April 2017: The UK Ministry of Justice announced on Friday plans to separate 28 'extremists' from the main stream prison population by placing them in one of three separation centers. The prisoners who will be subject to the separation are those involved in planning terrorism or are considered to pose a risk to national security. The centers are deemed necessary to combat the raise of extremism in prison. Prisoners in such centers will undergo a review by experts every three months; they can be returned to the general prison population if it is determined that their risk can be effectively managed in prisons. The decision has been subject to critics.
23 April 2017: Police arrested a 30-year-old man on Wednesday on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism. Ha was detained under the Terrorism Act 2000. On Saturday, a second man was arrested as part of an investigation in London by counter-terrorism officers.
23 April 2017: An international human rights commission has accused Brazil of failing to obey its own constitution and ring-fence ancient tribal territories in a landmark court case that pits the state against indigenous people. Brazil could be forced to pay damages if it loses the trial in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights which is hearing evidence from both sides in Guatemala. The case seeks to end a dispute over land which the indigenous Xucuru people say has dragged on for decades, costing it lives and eroding an ancient way of life. It is the first time the Brazilian state stands accused of indigenous rights violations at an international court.
22 April 2017: Human Rights Watch wrote to Gambia's Attorney General and Minister of Justice on April 21, 2017, welcoming the important steps the government of President Adama Barrow has already taken to end the impunity that underpinned Jammeh's era. The organisation shared its recommendations to ensure fair, credible accountability for past violations in Gambia after interviewing dozens of torture survivors, former detainees an family members of Gambians killed or forcibly disappeared during the Jammeh's time in power, including people targeted as long as 1996 and as recently as January 2017.
22 April 2017: The Spokesperson for the European Naval Force (EU NAVFOR), which operates off the Somali coast to deter piracy along the Indian Ocean coastline and in the Gulf of Aden, said pirates are returning to sea due to the intensified insecurity in recent months. The EU NAVFOR works with China's PLA Navy and other partners, among which Somali authorities, to defeat acts of piracy in the area. The EU NAVFOR's mandate has been extended to 2018 by the EU last December.
21 April 2017: The Court of Appeal in 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, sentenced 74-year old Guus K. to a prison term of 19 years after finding him accessory to war crimes committed by the armed forces of Charles Taylor in Liberia and the Republic of Guinea between 2000 and 2003. The man also provided weapons to the regime, violating the arms embargo imposed by the United Nations. For the English press release, see here.
21 April 2017: On Thursday, Rwanda's High Court sentenced to life imprisonment Bernard Mungyagishari, accused of leading and coordinating attacks on Tutsis in 1994. The man, who headed a government-allied militia known as the Interahamwe, in Rwanda's west, was convicted of crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity. Mungyagishari's lawyers said they would appeal. An estimated 800'000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed during the genocide in just about 100 days.
21 April 2017: The European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) said on Thursday that a police reservist, identified as Z.V., was charged with war crimes against the civilian population while serving as a police officer and at a detention camp in northern Kosovo. The crimes includes "brutal and unlawful killings, inhuman treatment causing immense suffering, application of measures of intimidation and terror, property confiscation, pillaging and stealing of property".
20 April 2017: Activists are working to evacuate LGBT+ individuals from Chechnya as international pressure intensifies over reports of mass arrests and human rights violations targeting gay men. The Russia LGBT Network, an NGO based in the country, says it considers the alleged arrests, torturing and honour killing to amount to crimes against humanity.
19 April 2017: The Holocaust files kept by the United Nations War Crimes Commission (UNWCC) have been made publicly available, potentially debunking many assumptions about the Nazi genocide of the European Jews. The files document how war crimes were handled by the Allies between 1943 and 1949, and include lists of alleged war criminals, files of charges brought against them, minutes of meetings, reports, correspondence, trial transcripts and other related materials. The Wiener Library in London announced this week that it is making 900 gigabytes of data -copied as PDFs from originals kept at the United Nations headquarters in New York- publicly available this Friday, April 21.
18 April 2017: UK Attorney General (AG) in bid to block case against Tony Blair over Iraq war. Jeremy Wright QC argues crime of aggression does not exist in English law, even though his predecessor reportedly claimed otherwise. The AG is going to court to demand the rejection of an attempt to prosecute Tony Blair over the Iraq war. The private prosecution seeks the trial in a British court of Tony Blair, the foreign secretary Jack Straw and Lord Goldsmith, the AG at the time. It seeks their conviction for the crime of aggression and is based on the findings of last year's Chilcot report into the British decision to join the invasion of Iraq under the false pretext that the Hussein regime had weapons of mass destruction.
17 April 2017: For several weeks now, a brutal campaign against LGBT people has been sweeping through Chechnya. Law enforcement and security agency officials under control of the head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, have rounded up dozens of men on suspicion of being gay, torturing and humiliating the victims. Some of the men have forcibly disappeared; others were returned to their families barely alive from beatings. At least three men apparently have died since the brutal campaign began.
16 April 2017: The International Criminal Court (ICC) has launched an interactive free SMS platform designed to create awareness and engage local communities in the ongoing Dominic Ongwen case. The platform will enable subscribers to receive and respond in three languages, Acholi, Ateso and English to regular public information at no cost. It will give victims and communities affected by the crimes alleged, and the general population of Uganda, the opportunity to follow the proceedings before the Court. It was developed in cooperation with the Canadian NGO 'Peace Geeks' with the aim to deepen the dialogue between Ugandan population and the representatives of the ICC engaged in outreach initiatives since 2006.
15 April 2017: Scotland Yard is examining allegations of war crimes by Saudi Arabia in Yemen. The Metropolitan police confirmed that their war crimes unit was assessing whether criminal prosecutions could be brought over Saudi Arabia's devastating aerial campaign in Yemen. The war has killed more than 10'000 civilians and displaced more than 3 million people, and the country is on the verge of famine while civilians die of starvation. The Saudi-led coalition has been accused of killing thousands of civilians and triggering a humanitarian catastrophe. The UK, which along the US supports the Saudis against the Houthis, has been urged to reconsider its arms exports to Saudi Arabia in light of the bloody air campaign, particularly considering May's official visit to Saudi Arabia.
14 April 2017: At the end of March, the transitional justice system in charge of trying war crimes committed during Colombia's armed conflict has ordered the immediate release of 63 military war criminals. The Defence Ministry had asked for the probational liberty of more than 1'000 members of the military, who have their case reviewed by the transitional justice tribunal and confess their crimes before a Truth Commission. In total, more than 24'400 imprisoned or tried state officials will be called to take part in the transitional justice system that was agreed upon in November 2016.
13 April 2017: The International Criminal Court (ICC) marks Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month, holding that 'victims must come first'. The ICC joins global efforts during April to draw attention to the crime of genocide and the importance of accountability for such crimes. On the occasion of the Genocide Awareness Month, the Court reaffirms its commitment to addressing the plague of such atrocity crimes through its judicial work, as part of the broader global justice system including national, regional and international mechanisms. Grave crimes must not go unpunished, and victims must come first.
13 April 2017: Pictures and videos taken last weekend in the city of Saraqeb, north-western Syria, show bright lights typically produced by incendiary weapons. Other videos posted on social media show incendiary weapons used in attacks on the nearby villages of Latamneh and Ma'aret Hurmah on April 8. Syrian government forces have used these and other types of Russian or Soviet-made incendiary weapons since 2012, causing civilian deaths and burning homes and infrastructures to the ground. The best course of action for other countries concerned about civilian harm in Syria is to condemn such use of incendiary weapons and embrace the relevant international law, including through pressing for the enforcement by Russia of Protocol III of the Convention on Conventional Weapons in Syria, Human Rights Watch said.
12 April 2017: Hearings began in Spain on Monday regarding potential war crimes committed by President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria. The case is the result of a Spanish national's brother being abducted and tortured in Damascus before being executed in 2013. The family was able to identify the body after a forensic photographer smuggled pictures out of Syria. The investigation involves nine of Assad's closest aides.
11 April 2017: Egyptian President announced a national state of emergency following two terror attacks on Coptic Christian churches on Sunday, for which the Islamic State claimed responsibility. President el-Sisi announced his intention to declare a state of emergency for the next three months, during which more soldiers will be deployed to protect public buildings, police will be able to arrest civilians without laying charges, authorities will be able to search homes without warrants, large gatherings will be banned, and there will be tighter censorship. The new measures must be approved by the Egyptian parliament before being implemented.
10 April 2017: Zambia should reaffirm its membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC) to best advance justice for victims of atrocities, a group of African organizations and international nongovernmental organizations with a presence in Africa said. Zambia's government began public consultation on the country's ICC membership the week of March 27, 2017. This was in response to the African Union summit's adoption in January of an 'ICC withdrawal strategy'. An unprecedented 16 countries, including Zambia, entered reservations to this decision.
8 April 2017: The New York County District Attorney's Office indicted James Jackson, a man suspected of having stabbed to death his victim, Timothy Caughman, in March, on two state terrorism charges never before used in Manhattan: murder in the first degree (in furtherance of an act of terrorism) and murder in the second degree as a crime of terrorism. The case results to be interesting for a number of reasons, among which the fact that States rarely levy such charges since terrorism is almost exclusively dealt with by the federal government, and furthermore because the accused is a 'white supremacist charged with murdering a black man'. While 'radical Islamic terrorism' is what politics mostly and almost solely refer to, Jackson's prosecution and other similar cases could expand people's notion of such crime.
7 April 2017: Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) called on judges to hold South Africa accountable for failing to arrest Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir when he visited the country in 2015. Two arrest warrants have been issued for Al-Bashir involving numerous charges, including crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of genocide. Prosecutors argue that the ICC must hold South African officials responsible and that South Africa's grant of immunity to Al-Bashir contradicts provisions in the Rome Statute.
6 April 2017: The United States (US) Department of Justice said that it paid victims over $800 million from the US Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund. The money compensated the survivors and families of victims of the Iranian hostage crisis, the Kenyan bombings, the attack on the U.S.S. Cole and other international terrorist events. Congress established the fund last May with the money seized from individuals convicted of money laundering and related financial crimes. In the next few weeks, the amount of money issued in compensation is expected to rise over a billion.
5 April 2017: On 4 April 2017, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands ruled, in the context of criminal proceedings against 'Tamil Tigers' convicted in the Netherlands for involvement in the group 'Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam' (LTTE), that Dutch criminal law can be applied to members of an armed opposition group who commit terrorist offences outside the territory of the Netherlands in the course of an internal armed conflict. International humanitarian law does not apply exclusively to such cases in a manner that renders general criminal law inapplicable. For the English press release, see here. For the cases themselves (in Dutch only), see here.
5 April 2017: Dozens feared dead from chemical exposure in Syria, Human Rights Watch said. International law prohibits chemical attacks. With 192 member states, the Chemical Weapons Convention is one of the strongest weapons bans in international law. Syria joined the Convention and gave up its chemical weapons program in 2013 after a chemical weapon attack, likely carried out by government forces, killed hundreds in a suburb in Damascus. Nevertheless, the government has not stopped such brutal and inhumane practice, and chemical attacks have instead become a regular occurrence in Syria. The Security Council, including Russia and China, should condemn this latest attack and support steps to hold those responsible to account.
5 April 2017: United Nations (UN) war crimes investigators said on Tuesday they were looking into an alleged chemical weapons attack on a Syrian town in Idlib as well as reports of a subsequent attack on a medical facility where injured people were being treated. In a statement condemning the attack, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria said the use of chemical weapons as well as any deliberate targeting of medical facilities would amount to war crimes and serious violations of human rights law.
4 April 2017: Six aid workers were ambushed on March 25 as they were traveling from Juba, Republic of South Sudan, towards the town of Pibor. Rebels said that the South Sudan government should be held responsible for the killing, while the government said it was too early to say who was behind the attack. This is the deadliest single assault on humanitarian staff in a three-year-old civil war.
4 April 2017: Two men who were born in Germany but do not have Garman citizenship will be deported to countries in North Africa, where their parents migrated from, over suspicions that they were planning on a terrorist attack. German officials say it is the first time the government is making such a move. A federal judge has rejected the men's bid to avoid deportation. Police arrested the suspects, ages 22 and 27, in a city of Gottingen in a massive raid in February.
3 April 2017: Gambia will set up a truth and reconciliation commission to look into crimes committed by the former regime, and it will offer to pay reparations to victims, Justice Minister announced last week. The Minister said the truth and reconciliation commission will be established in the next six months. The government of new President Adama Barrow has promised to reverse many of the actions taken under former leader Yahya Jammeh, who fled into exile in January. Last month, nine former high-ranking officers with the National Intelligence Agency were arrested and charged with murder in the death of an opposition activist.
2 April 2017: Former Guatemalan dictator Efrian Rios Montt has been ordered to stand for a second trial on genocide charges, this time for the deaths of some 200 people in the 1982 Dos Erres Massacre, human rights authorities said on Friday. The 90-year-old Montt is facing another trial for genocide in a separate case involving the Mayan Ixil population. In August 2015 however, the former leader was declared medically unfit to face a standard trial. The Dos Erres massacre, which took place over three days in December 1982, was the work of a counterinsurgency unit known as the Kaibiles in the rural village of Dos Erres in northern Guatemala. The soldiers shot, strangled and bludgeoned the villagers to death with sledgehammers, and one admitted to throwing a baby into the village well. In 1994, forensic anthropologists found the remains of 162 bodies in the well, including 67 children. The case led to the sentencing of four soldiers to 6'060 years each in 2011.
1 April 2017: On Friday, the International Criminal Court's prosecutor said that recent acts of violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including the killing of foreign United Nations (UN) experts, could constitute war crimes. About 400 people have been killed in the Kasai region, including two UN experts from Sweden and the United States and their interpreter.
31 March 2017: Millions in Yemen are being knowingly pushed to the brink of famine, Oxfam reports. Nearly 7 million people have been pushed to starvation and 70% of the population is in need of humanitarian aid. Urgent action on two fronts is needed: an immediate resumption of the peace process and for donors to provide the additional 2.1 billion USD the United Nations say is needed for the humanitarian response. Currently the appeal is only 7% funded. Over the last two years, airstrikes and fighting have killed more than 7'600 people, including over 4'600 civilians, forced over 3 million people from their homes and left 18.8 million people -70% of the population- in need of humanitarian assistance, the greatest number in any country in the world. Sajad Mohamed Sajid, Oxfam's Country Director in Yemen, said: "if the parties to the conflict -and those fuelling it with arms sales- continue to ignore Yemen's food crisis, they will be responsible for a famine. The people of Yemen are being starved to death".
30 March 2017: Romania's High Court of Cassation and Justice upheld the 20-year prison sentence of Ion Ficior for crimes against humanity. Ficior was the commander of the Periprava labor camp from 1958 to 1963, during which approximately 103 political prisoners died. Former detainees accused him of having been subject to inhumane conditions. The court also upheld the ruling obliging Ficior, the interior ministry, the finance ministry, and the National Penitentiary Administration to pay 335'000 USD in damages to eight former political prisoners and their families. In February 2016, the court had upheld another conviction for the commission of crimes against humanity by Visinescu, former chief of the Ramnicu Sarat prison under Nicolae Ceausescu.
29 March 2017: An Ivory Coast court has found former first lady Simone Gbagbo not guilty of crimes against humanity. Gbagbo was on trial for serious human rights violations during the post-election crisis which followed Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to cede power to President Ouattara after the November 2010 presidential elections. The crisis degenerated into political violence and eventually a resumption of armed conflict. Between December 2010 and May 2011, at least 3'000 civilians were killed and more than 150 women were raped, with serious human rights violations committed by both sides. Simone Gbagbo had previously been sentenced to serve 20 years in Ivory Coast for crimes against the state during the post-election crisis. The whole judicial process has been deemed flawed by many irregularities and leaves unanswered serious questions about her alleged role in the brutal crimes that were committed.
29 March 2017: The Kosovo Specialist Chambers on Monday adopted the Rules of Procedure and Evidence. This brings the court to the brink of being operable. The matter now shifts to the Constitutional Court of Kosovo to decide the legality of the adopted procedures. The court will have 30 days to decide on the issue, and if affirmed, the Kosovo Specialist Chambers will become a functioning court. The Chamber also adopted the Code of Judicial Ethics and Rules on the Assignment of Specialist Chambers Judges. The court was established to prosecute war crimes stemming from the conflict of the late 1990's and early 2000's. Last month the European Union appointed 19 international judges to the Chambers.
28 March 2017: In a landmark decision, a judge in Spain's national court agreed on Monday to hear criminal proceedings against high-ranking members of Syria's security services over the 2013 death of Abdul, a 43-year-old delivery van driver in Syria with no known political connections. The complaint, filed by Abdul's sister Amal, accuses nine of Bashar al-Assad's top security chiefs of state terrorism, alleging that they used government institutions to commit crimes of extreme violence aimed at terrorizing the civilian population and silencing dissent after Arab Spring protests in 2011. Abdul's photo was among the 55'000 images brought out of Syria in 2014 by a former forensic officer code-named Caesar, documenting the torture and deaths of more than 6'700 prisoners in Assad's prisons. The case reflects accelerating efforts in Europe to bypass the political obstacles that have thwarted access to other international justice remedies for crimes committed in the Syria's war.
27 March 2017: An apparent Saudi-led coalition attack on a boat carrying Somali civilians off the coast of Yemen is likely to be a war crime, Human Rights Watch said. Several witnesses reported that on March 16, 2017, a helicopter fired on the boat, killing at least 32 of the 145 Somali migrants and refugees on board and one Yemeni civilian. Another 29, including 6 children, were wounded, and 10 more remain missing. All the parties to the conflict denied responsibility for the attack. Only the Saudi-led coalition has military aircraft; the Houthi-Saleh forces do not. Somalia, which supports the coalition, called on it to investigate.
26 March 2017: Jordan should deny entry to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir or arrest him if he enters the country, Human Rights Watch said. News reports say al-Bashir has been invited to visit Jordan on March 29, 2017, to attend the 28th summit of the Arab League. He has been a fugitive from the International Criminal Court (ICC) since 2009, being subject to two ICC arrest warrants. The charges are for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes .
26 March 2017: On Friday, pirates hijacked a Somali fishing vessels with ten Yemeni crew aboard off the coast of Somalia's northern Puntland region. The pirates may have taken the vessel to use it in hijacking a larger target ship in the Indian Ocean. Earlier this month, Somali pirates hijacked an oil tanker as it was transporting oil from Djibouti to Mogadishu .
25 March 2017: Bangladesh observes Genocide Day for the first time to commemorate the atrocities that the Pakistani forces carried out on unarmed civilians in the wake of Bangladesh's War of Liberation in 1971.
25 March 2017: Prosecutors in Bosnia and Herzegovina say a woman wanted for war crimes she allegedly committed against Serb civilians during the country's 1992-95 war has been extradited from Switzerland. She is accused of the 'particularly cruel' murder of a 12-year-old Serb boy in 1992.
25 March 2017: The United Nations (UN) agreed on Friday to widen the investigation into widespread violations in North Korea with a view to documenting alleged crimes against humanity for future prosecution. North Korea said it rejected the resolution adopted by the UN Human Rights Council. The Council called for North Korea to cooperate and allow access for UN investigators. A UN commission of inquiry, in a landmark 2014 report based on interviews and hearings with defectors, catalogued massive violations -including large prison camps, starvation and executions- that it said should be brought to the International Criminal Court.
24 March 2017: The Center for Justice & Accountability (CJA) filed a lawsuit on Thursday in the US District Court of Massachusetts against former Haitian Mayor Jean Morose Viliena alleging he committed crimes against humanity in Haiti between 2007 and 2009. The lawsuit was filed under the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991, which allows civil actions to be filed in the US against individuals who subject others to torture or extrajudicial killings under authority of a foreign nation when remedies in the location of the conduct have been exhausted .
24 March 2017: The International Criminal Court (ICC) Trial Chamber II awarded individual and collective reparations to the victims of the crimes committed by Germain Katanga on February 24, 2003, during an attack on the village of Bogoro, in the Ituri district of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Chamber assessed the extent of the physical, material and psychological harm suffered by the victims at a total monetary value of approximately USD 3'752'620. Observing the principle of proportionality, the Chamber set the amount of Mr Katanga's liability at USD 1'000'000 . 297 victims were awarded with a symbolic compensation of USD 250 each, as well as collective reparations in the form of support for housing, income-generating activities, education aid and psychological support. Because of Mr Katanga's indigence, the Trust Fund for Victims was invited to consider using its resources for the reparations and present an implementation plan by the end of June 2017.
23 March 2017: Tomorrow March 24, 2017, Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) will deliver its order for reparations to victims in the case of Germain Katanga. Mr Katanga was sentenced in 2014 to a total of 12 years' imprisonment after being found guilty, as an accessory, of one count of crimes against humanity and four counts of war crimes committed on February 24, 2003 during the attack on the village of Bogoro, in the Ituri district of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He was later transferred to a DRC prison to serve his sentence, reduced by the ICC Appeals Chamber, which he completed in January 2016. Mr Katanga remains in prison in the DRC due to national judicial proceedings against him relating to other alleged crimes .
23 March 2017: Human Rights Watch says the Islamic State (ISIS) executed and dumped the bodies of possibly hundreds at a site near Mosul. The bodies of those killed, including security forces, prisoners and women, were thrown into a naturally occurring sinkhole located in an area known as Khasfa. Local residents said that before pulling out ISIS laid improvised landmines at the site. The site is one of dozens of ISIS mass graves found between Iraq and Syria, but could be the largest discovered so far. While it is not possible to determine the number of people executed in the area, the estimates of residents reach into the thousands. Widespread or systematic murder carried out by a state or organized group as part of an attack against a civilian population -as part of a policy to commit murder- constitutes a crime against humanity, while the deliberate killing of civilians and civilian or military prisoners during armed conflict constitute a war crime .
23 March 2017: On Monday, more than 850 family members of victims of the 9/11 attacks filed a lawsuit against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The suit alleges that Saudi Arabia provided support to al Qaeda in multiple ways and seeks unspecified damages, with the primary motive of trying to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the terrorist attacks .
22 March 2017: Bemba et al. case: Trial Chamber VII of the International Criminal Court issues sentences for five convicted persons. On October 19, 2016, the Chamber found Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Aime Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Fidele Babala Wandu and Narcisse Arido guilty of various offences against the administration of justice. Sentencing was delivered today for all the convicted persons; in particular, Mr Bemba was condemned to one year imprisonment, to be served consecutively to his existing sentence in the Main Case, and was additionally fined EUR 300'000, to be paid to the Court within 3 months of its decision and subsequently be transferred to the Trust Fund for Victims .
22 March 2017: On Tuesday, Pakistan's National Assembly voted overwhelmingly to reinstate military courts in the country for two years, after a two months lapse. The courts were first introduced for two years in January 2015 to expedite the cases of terrorists after Pakistani Taliban attacked an army school in Peshawar killing more than 140 people, mostly children. Almost all of those who voted for the amendment acknowledged setting up a parallel system of justice is not an ideal solution, but said the step was necessary to deal with the extraordinary level of terrorism; human rights activists complain the military courts fail to provide transparent justice and violate the suspects' legal rights. The court were at the time introduced as a temporary solution, while promises were made to reform the country's civilian justice system.
22 March 2017: The head of anti-piracy operations in the semi-autonomous Puntland region of Somalia said he has been fired for speaking out about illegal fishing, which he claims could trigger a new outbreak of piracy in the Indian Ocean. Pirates hijacked an oil tanker off Somalia last week, the first such attack in the region since 2012 .
22 March 2017: New Zealand's troops could potentially face an international war crimes case over allegations that New Zealand Special Air Service (NZ SAS) members were involved in the killings of civilians in Afghanistan, an international law expert says. Allegations in a book were made according to which six civilians were killed and fifteen injured during a raid north of Kabul. New York University adjunct law professor Alison Cole argued the book could be used as evidence by prosecutors at the International Criminal Court .
22 March 2017: On Tuesday, Twitter said it suspended 376'890 accounts in the second half of 2016 for "promotion of terrorism", an increase of 60% over the prior six-month period. The latest suspensions bring the total number of blocked accounts to 636'248 from August 2015; the actions come with social networks being under pressure from governments around the world to use technology tools to lock out jihadists and others who use the platforms to recruit and launch attacks.
21 March 2017: The Libyan National Army (LNA) has been accused of war crimes as it paraded the mutilated bodies of Islamist fighters around Benghazi after regaining control of the city. The exhumation and reported mutilation of the corpse of Islamist leader Jamal Makhzoum has been condemned as a war crime by the Libyan National Commission for Human Rights .
20 March 2017: Philippine President Duterte vows anti-drug war campaign will continue and will be 'brutal' as death toll passes 8'000 mark. On Sunday, the President said he would not be intimidated by the prospect of the International Criminal Court (ICC) putting him on trial. More than 8'000 people have died since Duterte took office on June 30 last year and began his anti-drugs campaign. Two men, including a self-confessed assassin who is expected to file a case this month or in April before the ICC, have testified before the Philippine Senate saying they were part of an alleged 'death squad' in Davao that killed at Duterte's behest. But Senate members found no proof of extrajudicial killings.
20 March 2017: The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) opened on Monday the appeal hearings for former Bosnian Croat leader Jadranko Prlic and five others. Prlic was sentenced by the ICTY in 2013 to 25 years in prison on charges of murdering and deporting Muslims during the war. Five other Bosnian Croat military and political leaders were also handed heavy prison terms after having been found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. All six are now appealing .
19 March 2017: Seven Congolese Army officers have been arrested and charged with war crimes after a video surfaced last month appeared to show uniformed soldiers opening fire on a group of civilians in a massacre that left at least 13 individuals dead. The video depicts a squad of soldiers gunning down a group of people, which included women and possibly children, in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Kasai-Central Province. Analysts who saw the video said that it revealed a government-sponsored massacre of civilians and that it could be used as evidence of war crimes .
18 March 2017: Amnesty International has urged US President Donald Trump not to approve arms sales to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Arming the two Gulf countries could implicate the US in possible war crimes in Yemen, and doing so while simultaneously banning travel to the US from Yemen would be even more unconscionable .
18 March 2017: A New York court convicted on Thursday Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan Harun on federal terrorism charges for his involvement in the deaths of US servicemen in Afghanistan. Harun was charged with multiple terrorism offences, including conspiracy to murder American military personnel in Afghanistan and conspiracy to bomb the US Embassy in Nigeria .
17 March 2017: On Thursday, descendants of the Namibia genocide victims had their first day in court in New York. Tens of thousands of Herero and Nama people were killed from 1904 to 1908 by German colonial rulers. The class-action lawsuit filed by the tribes in New York seeks reparations and demands that their representatives be included in negotiations between Germany and Namibia on the issue. They filed the claim in January under the Alien Tort Statute, which allows non-US citizens to make claims before US federal court for international law violations .
17 March 2017: Somali pirates who had hijacked an oil tanker on Monday have released it without conditions, according to officials. The crew members were freed unharmed and without payment of a ransom, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry declared. Earlier in the week, authorities were still trying to determine whether the gunmen were organised pirates or fishermen whose equipment was destroyed by illegal fishing vessels, as they claimed to be. It was the first hijack off Somalia's coast since 2012. In 2015, Somali officials warned that piracy could return unless the international community helped to create jobs and security ashore, as well as to combat illegal fishing at sea. Some Somali fisherman did turn to piracy after their livelihoods were destroyed by illegal fishing from foreign trawlers, which benefited from the lack of a functioning coastguard in the country due to years of conflict .
17 March 2017: The European Union called on Thursday for the United Nations (UN) to send an international fact-finding mission urgently to Myanmar to investigate allegations of torture, rapes and executions by the military against Rohingya Muslim minority. A UN report last month, based on interviews with survivors in Bangladesh, said the Myanmar army and police had committed mass killings and gang rapes of Rohingya in a campaign that may amount to crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. Some 750'000 people have fled Rakhine state to Bangladesh since Myanmar's military began a security operation last October in response to what it says was an attack by Rohingya insurgents on border posts in which nine police officers were killed.
16 March 2017: Criminal investigators say they have built a case documenting the widespread torture and murder of Syrian detainees by the Assad regime. They rely on official photos and meticulously detailed documents. More than 700'000 pages from Syrian intelligence and security archives have in fact been smuggled out by the Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA), an independent group of legal experts, through a secret network. Investigators also have access to 55'000 pictures of detainees' bodies which were smuggled out by a former forensic photographer code-named Caesar, who worked at Tishreen military hospital.
16 March 2017: Four people were jailed in Germany for forming a far-right terrorist group. The Munich State Court sentenced three men and a woman to prison terms between three and five years for forming a far-right terrorist group in Germany with a plan to bomb refugee homes as a tactic to scare migrants into leaving the country. The four individuals founded the so-called Oldschool Society in August 2014, a group which grew to have about 30 members, with plans to commit attacks on foreigners and refugees due to the group's racist, anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim beliefs. The group had planned to attack a refugee shelter in the Saxon town of Bornia in May 2015, but police had it under surveillance and detained the four founding members before they could carry out any terrorist act. Germany has seen a sharp increase in attacks on refugee homes in the last two years .
16 March 2017: Today is the 29th anniversary of the Halabja Massacre. On March 16, 1988, Saddam Hussein's Iraqi air forces bombed with chemical weapons the city of Halabja, in Southern Kurdistan. At least 5'000 people died as an immediate result of the chemical attack, three quarters of whom were women and children, and a further 7'000 people were injured or suffered long term illnesses. The Iraqi High Criminal Court recognized the Halabja massacre as an act of genocide on March 1, 2010 .
16 March 2017: On Monday, Colombia's senate approved a constitutional reform to set up special war crimes courts, a key component of the historic peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) reached in November, and also one of its most contested elements. The court system will be made up of three sections: a truth commission, a unit to search for missing people, and a temporary, autonomous body to try crimes committed during the armed conflict before December 1, 2016.
15 March 2017: As war crimes and crimes against humanity continue to go unpunished in Syria, an Amnesty International campaign marking the sixth anniversary of the crisis calls on world leaders to take immediate action to deliver justice, truth and reparations to the millions of victims of the conflict. The Justice for Syria campaign calls on governments to end impunity and make accountability a reality for the Syrian people by supporting and funding the investigative mechanism on Syria voted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2016 and by enforcing universal jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute, in their own courts, suspected perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria .
15 March 2017: Suspected pirates have hijacked an oil tanker off the coast of Somalia, Somali officials and piracy experts said. This is the first such seizure of a large commercial vessel on global trade route since 2012. The Aris 13, which was carrying fuel from Djibouti to Mogadishu, reported on Monday of being approached by two skiffs. Eight Sri Lankan crew members were aboard.
14 March 2017: Germany and Italy deport suspected terrorists to Tunisia. German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere confirmed on Sunday that a Tunisian man responsible for a deadly museum attack in Tunisia in 2015 will be deported. The man is also suspected of having connections with the Islamic State in Germany. The Italian Interior Ministry also announced on Sunday that a man allegedly linked to the Berlin market attacker Anis Amri was expelled .
14 March 2017: The European Court of Justice on Tuesday rejected an argument by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam requesting that their activities be not classified as "terrorist acts". The arguments were submitted as support for four individuals who had their assets frozen due to the accusation that they were financing acts of terror by financing The Tamil Tigers. The Court ruled that the freezing of assets was acceptable holding that the acts of the Tamil Tigers were admissible as terrorist acts .
13 March 2017: Bangladesh unanimously adopted a resolution declaring March 25th "Genocide Day", in remembrance of the atrocities carried out by the Pakistani Army in the night of March 25, 1971.
13 March 2017: Bosnian prosecutors said that they are investigating Sakib Softic, the attorney who made a failed submission before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to reverse a 2007 ruling that cleared Serbia for genocide. The Court said the request had to be rejected since it was not made by a legitimate agent acting on behalf of Bosnia's tripartite presidency. The Court's rejection of the case prompted Bosnia's prosecutor to open a case and investigate allegations about Softic's role in bringing the claim before the ICJ.
12 March 2017: A Swedish District Court has recently ruled that non-state armed groups have the capacity under international law to establish courts and carry out penal sentences, but only under certain conditions. This may be the first time that any domestic or international court has made a definitive ruling in this regard.
11 March 2017: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Thursday denied a request by Bosnia to reopen a 2007 case that cleared Serbia of playing an active role in the genocide committed during the war in Bosnia in the 1990s. A few weeks ago, just before the 10-year window to ask for a review of the case expired, a team of lawyers filed a request for the ICJ to revise the ruling, arguing that evidence had become available since 2007 that would demonstrate the active role of the Serbian state, and the scale of its involvement, during the war .
10 March 2017: International human rights lawyer Amal Clooney and young Yazidi woman who was enslaved and raped by Islamic State fighters pushed Iraq to allow for a United Nations investigations into international crimes committed by the group. The Islamic State is committing genocide against the Yazidis in Syria and Iraq to destroy the minority religious community through killings, sexual slavery and other crimes, United Nations experts reported .
10 March 2017: Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders paid tribute to activists who risk their lives in Syria to gather evidence of atrocities, saying this should be used to prosecute those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity. He was speaking at a meeting of experts discussing progress in setting up an independent database to store and analyse evidence of international crimes committed in Syria's civil war. The database, established late last year by the United Nations General Assembly, will send a message that efforts to ensure accountability for atrocities continue .
9 March 2017: On Thursday, an armed group affiliated with the Islamic State reportedly claimed responsibility for the day-long attack on the Sardar Mohammed Daud Khan hospital, the main treatment centre for wounded Afghan soldiers. At least 30 people were killed and dozens wounded. Those who carried out the attack have committed war crimes. Attacks directly targeting health care in Afghanistan have increased since 2014, Human Rights Watch says.
8 March 2017: On International Women's day, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein says that it is heartening that women are mobilising in massive numbers to call for their rights to be respected, and observes that a backlash against women's rights is "a backlash that hurts us all". His Office launched today a joint report with the African Union and United Nations Women which shows the progress and constraints in the achievements of women's rights in Africa.
8 March 2017: On Tuesday, South Africa formally revoked its withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, after its High Court blocked the government's decision to pull out of the Rome Statute having found the instrument of withdrawal to be unconstitutional and invalid.
8 March 2017: Amnesty International calls for member states of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to demand a proper investigation into alleged chemical attacks by Sudanese government forces in the Jebel Marra region of Darfur. The organisation published a report alleging the use of chemical weapons against civilians from January to August 2016, which would have left an estimated 200 to 250 people dead and many more injured .
7 March 2017: On Monday, hearings began before the International Court of Justice with Ukraine alleging that Russia has supported pro-Russia separatist fighters in Ukrainian territory, which lead to the shooting down of flight MH17, bombing residential areas and peaceful political rallies, and other acts of terrorism; Ukraine further contends that Russia has attempted the "cultural erasure" of Crimean Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians.
6 March 2017: On Thursday, Jordan executed 15 inmates, including 10 convicted of terrorism. Jordan had previously imposed a nine-year moratorium on the death penalty, which was lifted in January 2015. Samah Hadid, Deputy Director at Amnesty International's Beirut regional office said that "the horrific scale and secrecy around these executions is shocking".
5 March 2017: A French court on Thursday delayed its decision on whether to extradite former Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj to Serbia, where he is wanted on war crimes charges. The court agreed with the Prosecutor's request for more information, and the case will be examined again on April 6. Serbia's government requested his extradition after French police arrested Haradinaj in January on a Serbian arrest warrant. Haradinaj, a guerrilla fighter in Kosovo's 1998-1999 war for independence from Serbia was previously cleared by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) .
4 March 2017: On Thursday, a Rwandan man, Mr Ngombwa, has been sentenced to 15 years imprisonment before facing deportation from the USA to his home country. The Federal Prosecutor said he was a local leader of an extremist party during the genocide. He was convicted at trial of falsely telling authorities that he was the brother of an exiled Rwandan Prime Minister and thus subject to persecution. The District Judge said she would leave punishment for the atrocities Mr Ngombwa allegedly committed during the genocide to the Rwandan authorities, where he is indicted and will be deported after serving his sentence in the USA .
3 March 2017: The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), together with seven Syrian torture survivors as well as two Syrian lawyers submitted the first criminal complaint against six high-level officials of the Syrian Military Intelligence Service to the Office of the German Federal Public Prosecutor. The complaint addresses crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in three prisons in Syria. It aims for the initiation of an investigation by the Prosecutor into the individual criminal responsibility of the suspects, as well as the issuance of international arrest warrants against them .
3 March 2017: Two Syrian men, one of whom facing war crimes charges in the killing of 36 Syrian civilian government employees, have been arrested on Wednesday and Thursday in Germany and accused of membership in a terrorist organization. They are suspected of belonging to a combat unit of the Nusra Front .
2 March 2017: The United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria found that war crimes have been committed by both government and rebel forces during the battle for control over Aleppo. Among the crimes reported, the attack by government forces to a humanitarian convoy is described as 'meticulously planned and ruthlessly carried out' and 'one of the most egregious attacks' during the reviewed period. The report furthermore refers to the employment of brutal tactics the victims of which were civilians, such as siege, aerial airstrikes, the use of chlorine bombs and cluster munitions, etc., to force armed groups to surrender. It finds that the agreement reached between the parties that lead to the evacuation of the remaining population in eastern Aleppo amounts to the war crime of forced displacement.
2 March 2017: Philippine police is falsifying evidence to justify extrajudicial and unlawful killings in a "war on drugs" that has caused more than 7'000 deaths, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says in a new report. The report says that President Rodrigo Duterte and other senior officials instigated killings of mainly urban poor in a campaign that could amount to crimes against humanity . In response to the accusations, the Philippine National Police has challenged HRW to present evidence to prove the allegations made.
1 March 2017: The Spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights says that between March 26, 2015 and January 31, 2017 the United Nations received reports of the recruitment of 1'476 children in Yemen to be used in armed conflict; however, the numbers are likely to be much higher. The recruitment and use of children in armed conflict is prohibited by international human rights law and international humanitarian law, and may amount to a war crime when concerning children under the age of fifteen.
1 March 2017: Russia and China have vetoed a United Nations (UN) resolution to impose sanctions on Syria over the alleged use of chemical weapons during the war. The resolution was put forward in response to the results of an investigation by the UN and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which found that government forces were responsible for three chlorine gas attacks and that IS militants used mustard gas.
28 February 2017: On Monday, Dragan Vikic, wartime commander of Bosnian interior ministry special police units in besieged Sarajevo, former interior ministry chief and two former policemen pleaded not guilty to war crimes before the state court in Sarajevo. They are accused of being responsible for the murders of eight Yugoslav People's Army soldiers captured in April 1992.
27 February 2017: A group of Namibian citizens, members of the Herero and Nama people, travelled to Berlin to raise awareness of the mass killings perpetrated by German colonists at the start of the twentieth century. Representatives of the two indigenous people have also filed a class-action law suit in New York against Germany in order to seek reparations for genocide.
26 February 2017: Two British men caught trying to leave the UK have been sentenced to years of imprisonment after pleading guilty to terrorism related charges. Since 2012, approximately 600 UK citizens have been stopped while trying to fly to conflict countries to join extremist groups.
26 February 2017: An international opinion tribunal has been set up to address crimes committed against the Kachin and Rohingya communities in Myanmar. The Permanent People's Tribunal (PPT) will be holding the inaugural session of the first-ever Tribunal on Myanmar on March 6 and 7. The PPT holds hearings like conventional courts would, but its verdicts are not legally binding.
25 February 2017: The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is urging the United Nations Human Rights Council and the United Nations' members to bring human rights violations committed by North Korea before the International Criminal Court.
25 February 2017: The South Kivu Military Court (Democratic Republic of the Congo) acknowledged that crimes against humanity had been committed during the Mutarule massacre in 2014, and that victims are entitled to receive compensation. The Court however did not convict any of the defendants for crimes against humanity.
24 February 2017: On Wednesday Rami K., Iraqi ex-soldier who reached Germany in 2015, appeared before a Berlin court on charges of war crimes. He is accused of posing for photographs with the decapitated heads of two IS fighters, before sharing the pictures online. The accused contended he was forced to pose with the victims' heads, or he would have been executed.
23 February 2017: The Extraordinary Chamber in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) dismissed charges against a former cadre of the Khmer Rouge regime. Im Chaem, in her 60s, was charged with murder and crimes against humanity. The ECCC ruled she did not fall under its jurisdiction in light of the fact she was not a senior leader of the regime or one of the most responsible officials.
22 February 2017: On 22 February, the District Court in The Hague convicted The Hague resident Martijn N. to 31 months' imprisonment, of which 12 months suspended, for an attempt to participate in a criminal terrorist organisation and for preparing murder, manslaughter and arson with a terrorist objective. The 23-year-old man was twice arrested in Turkey as he tried to cross the border into Syria. The District Court noted that the sentence should act as a deterrent to others who may have similar plans. See here for more information (in Dutch).
22 February 2017: The High Court in Pretoria (Republic of South Africa) has ruled the government's decision to give notice to withdraw from the International Criminal Court was unconstitutional and invalid, and ordered the notice to be revoked.
22 February 2017: The President of the Central African Republic appointed last week a special prosecutor for the new Special Criminal Court. The Court will partner with the International Criminal Court and offer a chance to break the cycle of impunity that has allowed individuals to continue to perpetrate crimes in the country.
21 February 2017: The United Nations (UN) said that the trial of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the ousted leader, did not meet international standards and should be brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC). The UN report cites serious violations of due process and allegations of torture that were not properly investigated. It calls on Libyan authorities to ensure Saif is surrendered to the ICC.
20 February 2017: Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that Islamic State's (ISIS) fighters are arbitrarily detaining, ill-treating, torturing and forcibly marrying Sunni Arab women and girls under their control in Iraq. These are the first gender-based crimes against Sunni Arab women that HRW has been able to document.
20 February 2017: Iran has contested a ruling issued by Canada's Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarding $300'000 in legal costs to those claiming to be victims of Iranian support for resistance groups. Compensation was sought under Canada's Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act.
19 February 2017: Former Argentine army chief was arrested on Friday for his alleged role in the kidnapping and torture of three victims in the late 1970s, while he was a lower-ranking officer during the military dictatorship.
18 February 2017: The European Parliament adopted a new directive to ensure stronger controls at the European Union's (EU) external borders and prevent the preparation of terrorist acts. It furthermore approved a regulation strengthening the screening of EU and non-EU individuals entering Europe. Approximately 5'000 Europeans have joined conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
17 February 2017: Germany's Federal Constitutional Court rejected an appeal aiming to annul the bill adopted by the Bundestag in 2016 recognising the Armenian genocide. The Court held that there was not enough evidence that the recognition of the genocide violated the law. The plaintive already stated he would bring the case to the European Court of Human Rights.
17 February 2017: Yesterday the Stockholm District Court sentenced a former Syrian opposition fighter to life imprisonment for war crimes committed in Syria. The accused was found guilty of participation in the mass execution of seven men in 2012. The Swedish court analysed whether non-governmental actors could establish their own courts to maintain law and order in an armed conflict and concluded it could be possible, but that in this case the soldiers could not have received a fair trial in a matter of days.
16 February 2017: The Svea court of appeal in Stockholm upheld the life sentence of a man accused of having committed genocide during the Rwandan conflict in 1994. The court held that Claver Berinkindi, who became a Swedish citizen a few years ago, was guilty of murder, attempted murder and kidnapping of more than thousand people.
16 February 2017: The German Attorney-General has issued an international arrest warrant against an ISIS Commander for genocide and war crimes committed against Yezidis in 2014. According to the German newspaper Die Welt, the Commander is responsible for the abduction of thousands of Yezidi women. The Federal Criminal Police Office identified him thanks to the testimonies of Yezidi victims.
15 February 2017: The Muslim leader of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, announced last week that he would request a revision of the 2007 judgment by the International Court of Justice which cleared neighbouring Serbia of direct responsibility for genocide during the 1992-1995 war. Bosnia's Serb Chairman Mladen Ivanic warned against the widening of ethnic rifts in the country as a consequence of that decision.
14 February 2017: In Belgium, Hakim Elouassaki, a returning jihadi fighter, has been sentenced to 28 years' imprisonment. Former member of Sharia4Belgium, Elouassaki has been convicted for the murder of a captive in 2013 because his family could not pay the ransom. The whole story came to light after he made a phone call to his girlfriend in which he bragged about the murder. This is Belgium's first conviction for a terrorist murder committed in Syria.
14 February 2017: Amnesty International published a report referring to 23 instances of torture and ill-treatment committed by Tunisian security officials. The rights group fears that democratic reforms in the country are being undermined by the risk of "brutal tactics" used by the country's security forces.
13 February 2017: This Morning, the Global Legal Action Network and the Stanford International Human Rights Clinic submitted a legal petition to the International Criminal Court criticising Australia's offshore immigration detention regime. The petition suggests the office of the prosecutor of the Court should investigate possible "crimes against humanity committed by individuals and corporate actors".
12 February 2017: Last week, Nepal has decided to extend the mandates of two commissions dealing with the investigation of war crimes committed during the country's decade-long civil war. The one-year extension was made right before the expiration of the initial two-year mandate during which no case was investigated.
11 February 2017: Gambia's new president Adama Barrow has confirmed that the country will remain part of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Last October, the then president Yahya Jammeh stated the country's intention to no longer be a part of the ICC because of the Court's disproportionate prosecution of African leaders.
10 February 2017: According to a report released by Amnesty International, in the past years as many as 13 000 people, mostly civilians, have been hanged in a Syrian military prison in such a way that the NGO accuses the government of 'running a human slaughterhouse'. Amnesty declared that the hangings amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity .
9 February 2017: The Sri Lankan Foreign Minister said the country needed more time to fulfill its promise to the United Nations to investigate allegations of war crimes committed during the country's 26-year civil war. In a 2015 joint resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council, Sri Lanka promised it would work toward ethnic reconciliation, including by investigating possible abuses.
9 February 2017: The Swiss police arrested former Gambian interior minister Ousman Sonko in Bern after Trial International files a complaint accusing him of, inter alia, serious assault and false imprisonment. The Swiss Office of the Attorney General said it would investigate the complaint and that it was not excluded he would be prosecuted for crimes against humanity.
8 February 2017: Yesterday marked the beginning of the judicial review aiming to prevent the further sale of United Kingdom arms to Saudi Arabia. Campaigners claim that Saudi Arabia is using these arms to commit indiscriminate airstrikes in Yemen, possibly amounting to war crimes. According to the UK and the EU arms sales rules, arms export must be halted if there is a "clear risk" that the weapons are being used to breach international humanitarian law.
8 February 2017: The European Union has appointed 19 international judges to the Kosovo Specialist Chambers. The Court's duty will be to investigate and try cases of alleged war crimes committed by ethnic Albanian rebels during and after the 1998-1999 Kosovo guerilla war.
7 February 2017: According to a new Amnesty International (AI) report up to 13.000 people believed to be opponents of Bashar al-Assad have been hanged in one of Syria's most infamous prisons. The report cites that thousands of other people held in Saydnaya prison died because of the torture they endured there. AI is of the opinion that the government's practices amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
7 February 2017: Yesterday the trial of eight former Bosnian Serb police officers suspected of war crimes started in Belgrade. More than two decades after the Bosnian war ended this trial is considered to be an important step in Balkan reconciliation efforts.
6 February 2017: Colombia's prosecution is planning on bringing charges against almost 200 companies for crimes against humanity. The companies are accused of financing paramilitary death squads active in the banana-growing region of the country. Among the companies facing charges are Chiquita's subsidiary, Dole and Del Monte.
5 February 2017: Lawyers representing the sister of a Syrian man allegedly tortured to death in a detention centre in Damascus in 2013 have launched a criminal complaint against nine Syrian security and intelligence officials in a Spanish court. The plaintive claims she is a victim of state terrorism because her brother was arbitrarily detained, forcibly disappeared, tortured and executed.
4 February 2017: The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, said that Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi promised to investigate the allegations of crimes against humanity committed against Rohingya Muslims. A United Nations investigation published on Friday found that security forces and police have committed massive killings, gang rapes and burned villages in northern Rakhine State.
3 February 2017: The Mexican human rights organization SMX Collective called for Rabobank executives to be prosecuted for being accessories to criminal cartels in Mexico. The human rights group claims the bank has been complicit to "murder and other crimes against humanity" as some of the bank's personnel allegedly failed to disclose suspicious transactions and withheld documents. If the Dutch prosecutor's office accepts to press charges, it will be the first time a bank would stand trial not only for money laundering, but also for the consequences of these actions on the population.
2 February 2017: The leaders of several African countries revealed their support for a strategy of collective withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC). Prior to this, the African Union (AU) issued a document introducing the idea of a coordinated withdrawal from the ICC of African countries, unless the Court was reformed. The AU said that many African states feel like the ICC is unfairly targeting them.
1 February 2017: Amnesty International (AI) raised its voice in order to condemn the extrajudicial killings as part of the war on drugs in the Philippines and has asked the International Criminal Court to prosecute those responsible if the Philippines failed to do so. AI fears the widespread and systematic killings of alleged drug offenders may amount to crimes against humanity.
1 February 2017: The European Court of Justice ruled yesterday that individuals seeking asylum in the European Union can be denied if they have any ties to terrorism. According to the Court "it is not necessary that the asylum seeker personally committed terrorist acts, or instigated such acts, or participated in their commission".
31 January 2017: The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, strongly advised American President Donald Trump not to revive torture policies. Melzer specified that waterboarding indeed constitutes torture and that the use of torture cannot be morally or legally accepted.
30 January 2017: In a report to the UN Security Council, an expert panel declared that the Saudi-led coalition as well as the Houthi Shia rebels may have committed war crimes in Yemen. The panel's examination of a number of coalition's airstrikes and rebel's attacks on civilian amenities reveals violations of international humanitarian law principles, including proportionality and precaution.
29 January 2017: A report released by Human Rights Watch states that children detained in Iraq by the Kurdistan regional government on suspicion of links to ISIS were victims of torture. The human rights group estimates that more than 180 boys under the age of 18 are currently being held without the knowledge of their family members.
28 January 2017: The UN announced that the international panel charged with assisting in the investigation and prosecution of individuals responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Syria since March 2011, approved by a UN General Assembly Resolution last month, will be headed by a senior judge or prosecutor with extensive experience in criminal investigation and prosecution.
27 January 2017: Yesterday, Switzerland arrested former Gambian interior minister Ousman Sonko. According to the Bern prosecutor, Sonko is under investigation for alleged crimes against humanity committed during the regime of former president Yahya Jammeh. The arrest occurs as Gambia welcomed its new president Adama Barrow earlier this week after he had fled the country because Jammeh refused to give up power.
27 January 2017: According to a poll released earlier today by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, one-quarter of the genocide survivors living in the United Kingdom experienced discrimination or abuse based on their religion and ethnicity.
26 January 2017: Two American lawyers have been accused by the California State Bar of embezzling benefits owed to Armenian genocide survivors. According to the State Bar, the lawyers misrepresented two nonprofit groups they created in order to steal the funds. They have both denied the veracity of the charges against them.
26 January 2017: Vladimir Vukcevic, Serbia's former chief prosecutor for war crimes, claims the Bar association of Belgrade refuses to register him as a lawyer, thus preventing him from practicing law in Serbia, because he did not prosecute enough cases with Serb victims. Vukcevic added he would wait for a reply from the Bar Association before filing a complaint. In January 2016, Vukcevic, the country's first and only chief war crimes prosecutor resigned from office.
25 January 2017: Yesterday, Vladimir Razvodov, a former OMON (Special Purpose Mobility Unit) officer, was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Lithuanian Court of Appeals and sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment. This opposes the 2015 Vilnius District Court's decision where he was acquitted.
24 January 2017: Beginning February, the High Court will review a case dealing with the legality of British arms export to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen. This case could potentially set a vital precedent for the British arms export policy. For almost two years now, Saudi forces have been accused of dropping bombs on the civilian population of Yemen, which could amount to war crimes.
23 January 2017: Former Israel Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni cancelled a trip to Brussels amid news that a Belgian Court ordered her arrest for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The crimes were allegedly committed in connection with the military operation 'Cast Leas' in the Gaza strip during her time as Minister from 2006 to 2009.
22 January 2017: Human Rights Watch denounced the imminent execution in Bahrain of two men sentenced to death for the murder of a policeman. The NGO claimed that authorities failed to seriously investigate the two men's allegations, supported by credible evidence, that their criminal confessions were obtained as a result of torture.
21 January 2017: Increasing piracy activity in the waters west of the Philippines is causing shipowners to divert their vessels through other routes. Official accounts report 16 pirate attacks since March 2016 in the Sulu and Celebes Seas, and a dozen crew members are currently held hostage by Filipino militants.
20 January 2017: Earlier this week, Amnesty International denounced Iran's persistent use of cruel and inhuman punishments such as whipping, amputation and forced blinding. Randa Habib, Amnesty International's Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said these inhuman punishments violate the absolute prohibition on torture and other ill treatment.
20 January 2017: Yesterday, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons severely condemned the bombing of camps for internally displaced persons in Nigeria as a means for fighting Boko Haram. According to initial reports, as many as 50 people were killed and 200 were injured by the strike.
19 January 2017: The Sawab Centre, a joint United Arab Emirates and United States initiative announced it would launch a social media campaign to highlight the Islamic State's committed atrocities and crimes against humanity. The three-day campaign on the Sawab Centre's social media pages will be run in English as well as in Arabic.
19 January 2017: Nine Serbian activists of Youth Initiative for Human Rights were attacked for protesting during an event organised by the Serbian Progressive Party. According to Mia Mitic, one of the assaulted activists, the group was beaten by several men after interrupting and protesting against convicted war criminal Veselin Sljivancanin's speech.
18 January 2017: According to an Amnesty International (AI) report, recent security laws in Europe have disadvantaged ethnic and religious groups, in particular Muslims. AI based its findings on the human rights analyses of 14 European member states.
18 January 2017: On Monday Ukraine filed a lawsuit against Russia at the International Court of Justice for acts of terrorism and discrimination. In a press release, the Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pavlo Klimkin accused Russia of unlawful aggression in Ukraine and contempt for the Ukrainian's basic human rights.
17 January 2017: Garo Paylan, an Armenian member of the Turkish Parliament representing the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party has been suspended for mentioning there had been a "genocide against minorities". Paylan's right to attend plenary session has been suspended for three days.
17 January 2017: Yesterday, the Prosecution at the International Criminal Court (ICC) presented its case against Dominic Ongwen, former child soldier and commander of the Lord's Resistance Army. Dominic Ongwen first appeared before the ICC back in January 2015 following his arrest and he subsequently appeared before the Court multiple times in relation to his Confirmation of Charges Hearing and Judgment. Yesterday he pleaded not guilty to charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity including murder, pillage, rape and enslavement.
16 January 2017: According to a report from the Syrian Network for Human Rights, no less than 12.958 barrel bombs were dropped by the Syrian regime in 2016. The report further highlights that barrel bombs are indiscriminate weapons with a huge destructive impact and that the dropping of those bombs by a plane constitutes a war crime.
15 January 2017: Ramush Haradinaj, the former prime minister of Kosovo, arrested by the French authorities earlier this month, has been released on bail by decision of a French court. Serbia wants to try the former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army for war crimes allegedly committed during the 1998-1999 conflict in the former Yugoslavia. He was previously tried and acquitted by the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
14 January 2017: According to an international watchdog, ten years after its civil war, Nepal has failed to punish war crime perpetrators. Activists say the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission to Investigate Enforced Disappearances, two panels set up to hear complaints, do not meet the international standards and were set up under legislation allowing amnesties.
13 January 2017: During a debate in Parliament British politicians have called for an independent inquiry into breaches of humanitarian law allegedly committed during the recent civil war in Yemen, as Saudi Arabia's progress in delivering a report on its investigation into its own allegations of war crimes is deemed too slow.
12 January 2017: According to a global maritime watchdog, in 2016 sea piracy has been at its lowest point in 18 years with 191 incidents compared to 246 in 2015. However, kidnappings of crew members are increasing off West Africa and in the Sulu Seas near the Philippines.
12 January 2017: In the United States, the families of three victims of the Islamic State attacks in Brussels and Paris decided to sue Twitter for failing to keep the terrorist organization off its platform. The lawsuit alleges Twitter has played a "uniquely essential role in the development of ISIS's image, its success in recruiting members from around the world, and its ability to carry out attacks and intimidate its enemies".
11 January 2017: In a recent report, Amnesty International (AI) deplored the fact that many war crimes perpetrators remain unpunished in the Central African Republic. According to the organisation "thousands of victims of human rights abuses are still waiting for justice to be served, while individuals who have committed horrific crimes like murder and rape roam free". For this reason AI is calling for funds to rebuild the country's justice system and establish a Special Criminal Court to hold perpetrators to account.
11 January 2017: A Maryland resident and former Guatemalan soldier possibly linked to a 1982 attack on the village of Dos Erres in Guatemala has been arrested by U.S. federal agents. Jose Mardoqueo Ortiz Morales is the fifth suspect arrested in the U.S. for the slaughter of civilians in Dos Erres. He is wanted in Guatemala for murder, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
10 January 2017: In a parish of Bugesera, a district of the Eastern province of Rwanda, more than 160 genocide perpetrators engaged in a process of reconciliation with survivors. As part of the process they are asked to confess their crimes and ask for forgiveness. Overall, this programme is perceived rather positively by victims who see it as a way to achieve true unity and reconciliation.
10 January 2017: Yesterday, Chad's former president Hissene Habre appealed his conviction for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Last May, Mr. Habre had been sentenced to life imprisonment by the Extraordinary African Chambers for summary execution, torture and rape. He always refused to recognise the court's authority.
9 January 2017: The Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council and Chair of the UN/ISSG Task Force on Humanitarian Access in Syria, Jan Egeland, stated during a press conference that the interruption of water that has deprived millions of Syrians of clean access to water constitutes a war crime.
8 January 2017: The Sri Lankan Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms has recommended the appointment of a hybrid court, which would be composed of international and local judges, to adjudicate allegations of war crimes committed during Sri Lanka's civil war. The recommendation echoes a 2015 report by the UN Human Rights Commission.
7 January 2017: The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has received a petition by a group of Ugandan lawmakers asking for an investigation into possible genocide and crimes against humanity allegedly committed by national security forces when clashing with a tribal militia last year in Western Uganda.
6 January 2017: In the United States two indigenous groups have brought a case for damages against Germany for the alleged genocide of their ancestors in Namibia between 1904 and 1908. Germany has repeatedly refused to recognize a genocide ever occurred.
6 January 2017: On Tuesday the International Criminal Court (ICC) rejected the defence's challenge of its jurisdiction in the Ntaganda case. Contrary to what the defence had claimed, the Court decided it did have jurisdiction over the counts relating to the alleged war crimes of rape and sexual slavery of child soldiers. Trial Chamber VI argued that there was no reason to exclude members of the same armed force as potential victims of these war crimes.
5 January 2017: The former prime minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj was arrested by French border police upon his arrival at Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg airport. French authorities acted on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by Serbia in 2004 concerning war crimes allegedly committed during the 1998-1999 Kosovo War. Haradinaj was previously tried and acquitted in 2008 and 2012 by the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
4 January 2017: After being operational for more than two decades the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) will definitely close down in November 2017. By this date, the ICTY will have to hand down its verdicts in its three remaining cases.
4 January 2017: Harry Sarfo, a German citizen and Islamic State deserter has been charged with war crimes by the German authorities for his possible involvement in a mass execution in Syria in 2015. Questions about his responsibility began to rise after an execution video in which he appears was published. Mr. Sarfo previously served a three year's imprisonment sentence for participation to a terrorist organisation and violation of the German weapons laws.
3 January 2017: In a recent meeting the Rwandan government approved a bill authorising the ratification of the convention on extradition between Rwanda and the Republic of Congo. Once this bill is approved by parliament, the Rwandan government will be able to request the extradition of 11 genocide suspects currently residing in Brazzaville.
3 January 2017: The Myanmar government has decided to open an investigation on human rights abuses committed by the police forces against the Rohingya Muslim community after a video showing villagers getting beaten by police was leaked this weekend. Last week 23 Nobel laureates and world leaders urged the government of Myanmar to take action in order to stop the "human tragedy amounting to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity".
2 January 2017: In a letter to the United Nations Security Council, 23 Nobel laureates and world leaders expressed their discontent towards Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi for her failure to uphold the human rights of the Rohingya Muslim minority. They called for urgent action in order to prevent "ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity". Earlier this year, an Amnesty International report had already highlighted the heavy persecution endured by the Rohingya.
1 January 2017: Isis has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack in an Istambul nightclub on Saturday night. The suspect of the shooting responsible for the killing of 39 people still remains at large.
31 December 2016: The Swedish prosecutor's office has said last week that a former Syrian opposition fighter had been accused of war crimes over the alleged execution of seven pro-government soldiers. The man, who appears in a video showing the killings, denies committing any crime.
23 December 2016: Five men have been arrested earlier this week in Melbourne as they were suspected of plotting a terrorist attack in three different places in the city on Christmas day. Three of them have already faced court and have been denied bail.
23 December 2016: The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution this week in order to establish an independent panel to investigate possible war crimes in Syria. The resolution was adopted with 105 in favour, 15 against and 52 abstentions. It calls upon all states and all parties to the conflict to provide information and cooperate with the panel.
22 December 2016: A 31-year-old Syrian refugee, referred to as Shadi, accused the Lebanese authorities of torture because they suspected him to be gay. Shadi told Human Rights Watch that he was detained and tortured at the Lebanese Military Intelligence, Ministry of Defence, Military Police and Internal security Forces centres. In 2014 the UN Committee against Torture found in a report that "torture in Lebanon is a pervasive practice that is routinely used".
22 December 2016: The next hearing in Guatemala's Molina Theissen case before High Risk Court C has been postponed to 13 January 2017. This hearing is of great importance because Judge Victor Hugo Herrera Rios will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to send five indicted military officers to trial for illegal detention, torture, sexual violence and enforced disappearance.
21 December 2016: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he feared a genocide was about to start in South-Sudan unless immediate action was taken. In this context, he also mentioned the necessity for the Security Council to impose an arms embargo on South-Sudan.
21 December 2016: IBUKA, the umbrella organisation for genocide survivors, condemned the United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals' (MICT) decision to grant an early release to two convicted masterminds of the Rwandan genocide, Ferdinand Nahimana and Emmanuel Rukundo. IBUKA's president, Jean Pierre Dusinguzemungu deplored the fact that the victims did not yet get the justice they deserve.
20 December 2016: Germany's Federal Constitutional Court threw out a string of complaints against a decision of the country's parliament to label the killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide. The judges argued that the plaintiff had not sufficiently proven that his fundamental rights had been violated.
20 December 2016: Former Macedonian policeman Johan Tarculovski has entered the Macedonian parliament. Tarculovski previously served a eight years' prison sentence after he was convicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. He was found guilty of leading a police unit that killed ethnic Albanian civilians near Skopje in 2001.
19 December 2016: The ICTY Appeals Chamber will hear the case of former Bosnian Croat leader Jadranko Prlic and five others between 20 and 28 march 2017. The six ex-top Bosnian Croat officials are appealing their sentence of May 2013 for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the Balkan wars.
19 December 2016: The ICTY Appeals Chamber will hear the case of former Bosnian Croat leader Jadranko Prlic and five others between 20 and 28 march 2017. The six ex-top Bosnian Croat officials are appealing their sentence of May 2013 for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the Balkan wars.
18 December 2016: The Local Support Committee for Victims of Terrorist Acts (CLSV), a French committee aimed at providing coordinated administrative support, including for legal and financial issues, to victims of terrorism was inaugurated in Paris on Friday. The new entity was created with the support of a broad group of government agencies.
17 December 2016: NATO officially ended its counter-piracy mission, operation Ocean Shield, off the coast of Somalia on Thursday. Carried out since 2012 alongside EU's Operation Atalanta, the international mission is deemed to have been a great success and contributed to significantly reduce maritime piracy in the Indian Ocean.
16 December 2016: Former Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic's trial before the ICTY officially ended yesterday with final remarks by the prosecution and by Mladic's defense team. Deliberations over verdicts on 11 counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity are expected to last nearly a year.
15 December 2016: The United Kingdom Government has confirmed that Western forces are using satellites as well as aircrafts in order to collect evidence of possible war crimes committed in Syria. Earlier this week, the United Nations stated that civilians were being killed by pro-government militias in Aleppo. On top of this aerial surveillance, evidence is also being collected from social media and from local testimonies.
15 December 2016: Ekaterina Trendafilova, former International Criminal Court judge, has been appointed as the first president of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers. From January on, the 'host state agreement' between the Netherlands and Kosovo will enter into force. This agreement forms the legal basis for the Specialist Chambers to conduct proceedings in the Hague, in order to try former Kosovo Liberation Army fighters for alleged crimes committed during and after the war with Serbian forces. The Court, which will have an international staff but operate under Kosovo law, is expected to start its first activities next year.
14 December 2016: Fatou Bensouda, the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court made a statement yesterday before the United Nations Security Council on the situation in Darfur, in which she regretted that the five suspects against whom warrants of arrests have been issued still remain at large. She added that the Security Council's failure to act not only undermined the Council's and Court's credibility but that it also eroded public confidence in the common responsibility to end impunity for the most serious crimes as well as the ability to help victims attain justice.
14 December 2016: The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights accused Syrian pro-government forces of killing civilians in Aleppo. The High Commissioner urged the international community to take the necessary steps to ensure that the people who have fled, surrendered or been captured are treated in line with international law. He added that the Syrian government is under the obligation to provide assistance to the sick and wounded, to the civilians and fighters, without discrimination.
13 December 2016: For the first time a Serbian court will try eight men for taking part in the Srebrenica massacre in 1995. The eight men are charged with war crimes for taking part in the killing of hundreds of Muslims near Srebrenica as part of multiple accounts of mass killings by Bosnian Serb forces.
13 December 2016: Last weekend a Roma Serb, identified as S.B., was arrested in Bosnia-Herzegovina and extradited to Kosovo. S.B. is charged with war crimes and accused of being part of a paramilitary group that tortured Albanians in 1999 near Pristina. Around 10 000 people died and 1700 more went missing during the 1998-1999 war.
12 December 2016: The Seychelles Court of Appeal ruled on Friday on two separate cases of piracy. While it found that there was not enough evidence to maintain the June 2016 conviction of five Somalis on piracy charges, the Court dismissed the appeal of 8 other Somali pirates and upheld their sentence of 14 years of imprisonment.
11 December 2016: Nagorno-Karabakh Republic's (Artsakh) Human Rights Defender Ruben Melikyan published its second interim report concerning atrocities committed by Azerbaijan Armed Forces against Artsakh servicemen and civilians during its April 2016 military offensive. Alleged violations include war crimes, more specifically, torture, executions and mutilation of dead bodies.
10 December 2016: According to a survey conducted by the International Committee of the Red Cross in 16 countries, nearly half of Americans believe that torture can be useful, and that it can be used against an enemy fighter to extract information.
9 December 2016: The International Criminal Court (ICC) and African States Parties to the Rome Statute held a retreat in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this week. The need for increased dialogue between the African States Parties and the ICC as well as the importance of the principle of complementarity were highlighted.
9 December 2016: Two men were sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment in Sydney for preparation of a terrorist act. They planned on bombing a Sydney Shia prayer hall and stabbing people in the kidneys. Both men were first arrested in February 2015 when the counter-terrorism police searched their apartment and found a hunting knife, a machete and a homemade Islamic State flag.
9 December 2016: Human Rights Watch (HRW) called for an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia and warned that the United States (US) might be complicit in Saudi atrocities committed in Yemen. HRW stated that countries, such as the US, that are supplying the Saudi government with weapons, cannot credibly claim that Saudi Arabia is not using the arms against civilians. US-produced weapons were used in some of the deadliest attacks so far, which according to HRW appear to have been war crimes.
8 December 2016: A United Nations watchdog urged the Sri Lankan government to investigate what he referred to as "routine torture" of detainees by the country's security forces. The United Nations Committee against Torture reported the abductions of people disappearing into "white vans". He also rebuked the government for failing to prosecute war crimes that occurred during the Sri Lankan civil war.
8 December 2016: A 24-year-old Iraqi man has been convicted for war crimes by a Swedish court after posting pictures of decapitated Islamic State fighters on social media. The man claimed he had fought for the Iraqi government. The Court concluded that even deceased people are to be protected against violations of their personal dignity under Swedish law and the Geneva Conventions. The Blekinge District Court sentenced him to six months of imprisonment.
8 December 2016: The Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia demanded during the closing arguments that Ratko Mladic be sentenced to life imprisonment. Mladic has been charged with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the ethnic cleansing against Muslims in the 1992-1995 Bosnian war.
7 December 2016: Dominic Ongwen, a former Commander of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda pleaded not guilty to 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the start of his trial yesterday in front of the International Criminal Court (ICC). It is the first time a LRA leader appears in front of the ICC. Dominic Ongwen was himself kidnapped by the LRA when he was a boy and forced to become a child soldier.
7 December 2016: The four-year trial of Bosnian Serb Commander Ratko Mladic in front of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia is coming to an end as the closing arguments of the case have started this Monday. Mladic is among others facing charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. The verdict in this case is expected beginning 2017.
7 December 2016: On Monday, Judge Claudette Dominguez of High Risk Tribunal "A" of the National Courts of Guatemala imposed a travel ban on Congressman Edgar Justino Ovalle. Ovalle is currently facing an impeachment procedure aiming at revoking his congressional immunity in order to prosecute him for war crimes in the Creompaz case.
6 December 2016: The Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal awarded a death sentence to fugitive Idris Ali Sardar for war crimes committed during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.
5 December 2016: A Chilean Court rejected a war crimes lawsuit against three justices of the Israeli Supreme Court under the Universal jurisdiction principle. The Three justices had authorized the construction of a security wall for the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The lawsuit was rejected on the grounds that Israel is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and therefore is not subject to its jurisdiction.
4 December 2016: Concluding a field visit to Turkey, including a tour of numerous prison facilities, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture said in a press conference in Ankara that torture and other forms of ill-treatment of detainees seem to have been widespread in Turkey after the failed coup of 15 July.
4 December 2016: A prosecutor of the Bosnian War Crimes Chamber in the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has indicted six former Bosnian Serb officials for their alleged role in the killings of dozens of Muslims during the Balkan Wars. The six Bosnia Serbs, whose whereabouts are unclear, also alleged to have attacked about 1000 people in the Srebrenica area in 1992.
3 December 2016: In a news release, Human Rights Watch accused the Russian-Syrian coalition to have committed war crimes during the bombing campaign of opposition-controlled territory in Aleppo in September and October. According to the NGO, the Coalition's airstrikes were indiscriminate, notably for including the use of cluster munitions and incendiary weapons, and deliberately targeted at least one medical facility.
3 December 2016: Two Iranian men were arrested in an Iranian diplomatic car in Kenya and charged with collecting information to facilitate a terrorist act after allegedly filming the Israel Embassy in Nairobi. The two men, who have been detained by Kenya's Anti-Terrorism Police Unit, pleaded non-guilty before a Kenyan Court on Thursday.
2 December 2016: In a letter to Dutch officials, Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe’‘s Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed his concern over three new counter-terrorism measures proposed in the Netherlands. The Commissioner believes that the provisions could potentially violate human rights and urged the officials to adapt the legislation in order to offer a better protection of these rights, while still preventing violence. The measures could among others possibly interfere with the freedom of movement, the right to privacy and family life as well as unduly burden minority groups.
2 December 2016: A spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern regarding the current situation in Myanmar. As such, the UN found there was "a wide range of violations against the Rohingya, including arbitrary deprivation of nationality, severe restrictions of the freedom of movement, threats to life and security, denial of rights to health and education, forced labor, sexual violence, and limitations to their political rights, among others". The report also raised the possibility that the pattern of violations could amount to crimes against humanity.
1 December 2016: The Rwandan government announced that it has launched an inquiry regarding the possible role of 20 French military officials in the 1994 genocide. These unknown 20 individuals are to be questioned for information. During the genocide about 800 000 people were killed, mostly minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
1 December 2016: On Tuesday the police in Montenegro have arrested Miroslav Jovic, a Croatian citizen, at the airport of Tivat. Jovic had been sentenced in absentia to 15 years of imprisonment in May 2006 for war crimes committed in the 1990's.
30 November 2016: An American federal judge has ruled that the lawsuit against former Mayor Richard Daley could go forward. Daley is accused of turning a blind eye to evidence that Chicago police detectives tortured dozens of black suspects into murder confessions. He was asked to make a deposition in two other lawsuits regarding torture allegations before, but these cases were settled before he could testify under oath.
30 November 2016: The trial against Dominic Ongwen in front of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is scheduled to start on 6 December. Mr. Ongwen was a former Commander in the Sinia Brigade of the Lord’‘s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda. He stands trial for 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity occurring during attacks against civilians in 2003-2004.
29 November 2016: Today, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the Sarajevo authorities will sign an agreement to open a new information center in Sarajevo. The center will offer direct access to public files and archive materials from the ICTY to the general public and will be the first of its kind in former Yugoslavia.
29 November 2016: A group of German lawyers submitted a criminal case against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to German Prosecutors. The lawyers are seeking to launch a case for the alleged war crimes committed by al-Assad’‘s forces and foreign allies in Aleppo. German law allows such prosecution under the principle of universal jurisdiction, which allow countries to pursue foreigner for crimes committed abroad. The complaint is among others based on Amnesty International reports and the accounts of asylum seekers in Germany.
28 November 2016: A UNHCR Official declared that the Burmese government is currently engaging in acts of ‘ethnic cleansing’ against the Rohingya Muslim community, in the context of on-going violence against the minority group sparked by the murder of nine border guards in Myanmar on October. More than 200 000 Rohingya Muslims have already fled to neighboring Bangladesh in an attempt to escape an alleged genocide.
27 November 2016: On Friday, a German court issued a one year and nine month suspended sentence to a member of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) for being a member of a foreign terrorist organization and for heading PKK activities in Bremen, Germany. In its ruling, the Court took into account Turkey’s persecution of Kurds and support for ISIS.
26 November 2016: The fifteenth session of the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court concluded on Thursday evening in The Hague with, notably, the adoption of five resolutions by consensus on: ‘‘the 2017 budget of the Court; the permanent premises; cooperation; amendments to the Rules of Procedures and Evidence and the strengthening the International Criminal Court and the Assembly of State Parties’‘.
25 November 2016: This Monday, a cooperation agreement related to witnesses’‘ protection has been signed between Argentina and the International Criminal Court. The Court offers this type of protection in order to allow witnesses to testify safely. There are now 18 such agreements between the Court and different states.
25 November 2016: The United Nations Human Rights Committee ordered Sri Lanka to provide Canadian Roy Samathanam with an adequate compensation for his unlawful detention and torture. The Committee added that the Sri Lankan government needed to locate and prosecute those responsible. Samathanam was locked up under the authority of anti-terrorism measures and was accused of acting against the national security.
24 November 2016: On the occasion of a side event hosted during the 15th Session of the Assembly of State parties to the Rome Statute, the non-profit organization No Peace Without Justice called for the International Criminal Court to open an investigation against Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines, in relation to alleged extra-judicial killings amounting to crimes against humanity committed in the context of the Government's war on drugs. The Organization submitted that Duterte's liability could be triggered under Article 25(3)(b) of the Rome Statute.
23 November 2016: According to the Bosnian state prosecution, Azra Basic, a Croatian woman, has been extradited from the United States to Sarajevo. Basic allegedly committed war crimes against Serbs during the 1992-1995 war. She is more specifically accused of killing one Serb civilian and torturing several others in the Bosnian town of Dervanta in 1992.
22 November 2016: The French anti-terrorism police have arrested seven people in Strasbourg and Marseille who were accused of preparing a new potential terrorist attack. Six of the arrested suspects were unknown to the French intelligence services.
22 November 2016: Jean Baptiste Mugimba and Jean Claude Lyamuremeye, two Rwandans who were extradited from the Netherlands, pleaded not guilty during their preliminary Rwandan court hearing in Kigali on Monday. Both men face charges of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, complicity in genocide, crimes against humanity and the formation of a criminal gang. Mugimba is additionally charged with incitement to genocide.
21 November 2016: The appellate judgment in Case 002/01 against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan will be delivered by the Supreme Court Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia on Wednesday 23 November at 9.00 am. The two men were sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity.
20 November 2016: Judge Claudette Dominguez of High Risk Court A in Guatemala has rejected the defence’‘s motion to dismiss the charges against former Guatemalan dictator Jose Efrain Rios Montt. The defence argued that he was mentally incompetent. He has been charged with the crimes of aggravated homicide and crimes against humanity.
19 November 2016: Jean Claude Seyoboka has been extradited from Canada to Rwanda to face charges relating to genocide. Mr. Seyoboka was a lieutenant in the Rwandan military and has been charged with participating in the killing of 72 Tutsis in Kigali. he travelled to Canada in 1995 where he obtained refugee status.
19 November 2016: Two Syrian men, Kamel THJ and Azad R, were charged with membership in a terrorist organization by German prosecutors. They allegedly fought with Ahrar al-Sham, one of the groups fighting in the conflict in Syria, and they arrived in Germany in 2015 via Turkey.
18 November 2016: On his first trip to Kosovo and Serbia, Davis Schwendiman, chief prosecutor of the Kosovo Special Chambers, has stated: "I am not after organisations, I am not after ethnicities, I am looking at individual responsibility for what was done". He emphasized that the Chambers, which will be located in The Hague and examine alleged crimes committed by former Kosovo Liberation Army fighters between 1998-2000, "will be independent and free of any political influence".
18 November 2016: Ibrahim Al F, a Syrian man suspected of leading a unit of 150 militiamen, has been charged with war crimes, including kidnappings, in relation to the conflict in Syria. He is believed to have been a commander in the group Ghurabaa al-Sham which was part of the Free Syrian Army. Ibrahim Al F allegedly "imprisoned and tortured" people who tried to prevent his group from looting in Aleppo.
17 November 2016: Russia has signaled its intention to withdraw its signature and, therefore, not become a State Party of the International Criminal Court (ICC). While Russia had previously signed the Rome Statute, the ICC's foundational treaty, it had not ratified it and thus was never a State Party. Russia mentioned the ICC's failure to "become a truly independent, authoritative international tribunal", its perception as being "ineffective and one-sided", and "the Court's attitude vis-à-vis the situation of August 2008" in Georgia in its press release on the topic.
16 November 2016: The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has published the annual Report on Preliminary Examinations for 2016. There are currently eight situations under preliminary examination, including Afghanistan, Colombia, Guinea, Iraq, UK, Palestine, Nigeria, Ukraine and Comoros. The Prosecutor is hoping to make final determinations for Afghanistan and Comoros very soon. In particular, the report states, inter alia, the Prosecutor believes the "war crimes of torture and related ill-treatment, by US military forces... and in secret detention facilities" occurred in Afghanistan.
15 November 2016: Bosco Ntaganda's defence team has asked judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) to stay proceedings until next year due to allegations of witness tampering against Mr. Ntaganda. Mr. Ntaganda is accused of 13 counts of war crimes and 5 counts of crimes against humanity at the ICC, and his trial before Trial Chamber VI opened on 2 September 2015.
15 November 2016: UN Envoy on Genocide Prevention Adam Dieng has warned that South Sudan is at risk of "an outright ethic war" and a genocide occurring. Mr. Dieng drew attention to the 'Inflammatory rhetoric, stereotyping and name calling [that] have been accompanied by targeted killings and rape of members of particular ethnic groups, and by violent attacks against individuals or communities on the basis of their perceived political affiliation".
14 November 2016: The Netherlands has extradited two Rwandan men, accused of participating in the genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s, to Rwanda. Jean Claude Lyamuremye and Jean Baptiste Mugimba were given to Rwandan authorities on 12 November and, according to Rwanda's prosecutor general, they are considered to have played a key role in the Rwandan genocide in which over 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu extremists'".
14 November 2016: Human Rights Watch has released its briefing note for the 15th Session of the International Criminal Court's Assembly of States Parties. The briefing note addresses issues such as the recent withdrawals from the Rome Statute, what the ICC's impact is in affected communities, and responding to non-cooperation with the ICC.
13 November 2016: The ongoing crimes against humanity trial of Simone Gbagbo in Cote d'Ivoire has been adjourned again after Ms. Gbagbo failed to attend the hearing. Ms. Gbagbo is also the subject of an arrest warrant at the International Criminal Court, where she is accused of having committed crimes against humanity during the post-election violence in Cote d'Ivoire in 2010-2011.
12 November 2016: Human Rights Watch (HRW) has alleged that the Islamic State's forces have launched chemicals attacks on the Iraqi town Qayyarah, which is near Mosul. HRW argues that, in at least three attacks, the Islamic State used a chemical agent known as "vesicants" or blister agents. Moreover, HRW reaffirmed that the "use of toxic chemicals as a means of warfare is a serious threat to civilians and combatants [, and]... is a war crime".
11 November 2016: Austrian officials have arrested and charged an individual who is accused of committing war crimes in Syria. The unnamed man, who is a former member of the Free Syrian Army had boasted about killing wounded soldiers in Syria following his arrival in Austria and has been charged with up to 20 counts of murder as a war crime.
11 November 2016: Amnesty International (AI) has called for urgent investigations into alleged instances of torture and extrajudicial executions by individuals wearing Iraqi federal Police uniforms in villages of the outh of Mosul, Iraq. According to AI, the victims were attacked due to their alleged affiliation with the Islamic State. Lynn Maalouf, the Deputy Director for Research at AI's Beirut Office, said that "[d]eliberately killing captives and other defenceless individuals is prohibited by international humanitarian law and is a war crime".
10 November 2016: The defence team for Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo has filed a notice of appeal in relation to the Article 70 judgment delivered on 19 October 2016. In this judgment, Mr. Bemba and four others were found guilty of various offences against the administration of justice, including in relation to witness tampering, by Trial Chamber VII of the International Criminal Court.
10 November 2016: Fatou Bensouda, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, has announced that the investigation into the situation in Libya will be a priority in 2017. Ms. Bensouda highlighted factors such as widespread violence, impunity in the country and a desire to assist victims as reasons for this decision. She further noted that the Office of the Prosecutor intends to apply for new warrants of arrest in the near future and requested the Security Council's support in the ongoing investigations.
10 November 2016: The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution that authorises the continued fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia. Although piracy in this area has decreased since 2011, the Security Council renewed its authorisation for international forces to participate in combatting attacks as piracy 'still remained a matter of grave concern'.
9 November 2016: Amnesty International (AI) has raised concerns about the safety of civilians in eastern and western Aleppo city, Syria, following the end of an humantarian pause in the fighting. Samah Hadid, the Deputy Director for Campaigns at AI in Beirut, stated that '[g]iven the track record of forces fighting in Aleppo ... Amnesty International fears there will be very high civilian casualties as Syria forces, supported by Russia, escalate attacks in order to seize control of the city', possibly including further violations ofinternational humanitarian law.
8 November 2016: Bosco Ntaganda, who is currently on trial at the International Criminal Court for allegedly committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, has requested that communications restrictions imposed by the Court be removed. The restrictions were initially imposed due to fears of witness interference and coaching but Ntaganda's defence team has said the measures are no longer necessary or proportionate to 'ensuring the safety of witnesses, preventing breaches of confidentiality and ensuring the integrity of proceedings'.
7 November 2016: A French teenager has been convicted of 'publicly condoning an act of terrorism' and given a 3 month suspended sentence for naming his Wifi network 'Daesh 21'. According to the teenager's lawyers, during the investigation the police searched the teenager's phone, computer, including social media accounts, and his bank records but found no other evidence of any links to the Islamic State.
6 November 2016: Mahin Khan has been sentenced to 8 years' imprisonment in relation to a plot to attack a motor vehicle office in Phoenix, Arizona. Mr. Khan had earlier pleaded guilty to terrorism charges, including conspiracy to commit terrorism and conspiracy to commit misconduct involving weapons. He was believed to have been communicating online with a member of the Islamic State group.
5 November 2016: Human Rights Watch has released a report in which it details concerns it has about Belgium's response to recent terrorist attacks. The report 'details measures that place prisoners detained for terrorism in prolonged isolation, and allow the government to suspend passports and review terrorism suspects' phone and email logs without judicial approval'. Other issues raised include the revocation of citizenship and the criminalisation of comments 'that stop short of direct incitement to terrorism'.
4 November 2016: After having notified the United Nations of its intention to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC), South Africa's government has now presented a bill in parliament to repeal their ICC membership. A final vote has not yet been held and members of South Africa's opposition party have indicated they oppose the withdrawal.
3 November 2016: Amnesty International has released a report in which it details alleged instances of torture of refugees and migrants arriving in Italy. The report, entitled 'Hotspot Italy: How EU's flagship approach leads to violations of refugee and migrant rights', describes instances of beatings, electric shocks and sexual humiliation by authorities as part of the registration, screening and expulsion process for newly arrived asylum seekers.
3 November 2016: The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has requested that Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo's sentence be increased to 25 years, arguing that the initial sentence failed to reflect the nature of the crimes and the harm suffered by victims. Mr. Bemba was found guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes in March 2016 and sentenced to 18 years' imprisonment. He was subsequently found guilty of offences against the administration of justice in another case before the ICC in October 2016 but has yet to be sentenced.
2 November 2016: The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has released its latest quarterly report in which it notes that piracy is at a 20-year low globally. In comparison to January-September 2015, there has been a 25% decrease in attacks for the same period in 2016. Moreover, while there have been no attacks in Somalia so far this year, the IMB has highlighted an increase in piracy in Indonesia.
1 November 2016: The President of the International Criminal Court has appeared before the UN General Assembly to present the Court's annual report. In her speech, President Silva Fernandez de Gurmendi highlighted the 'unpredecented judicial activity of the Court in 2015-2016, including three judgements issued [,] ... two trials held in their entirety', and ten situations under ongoing investigation. The President also stressed the need for ongoing commitment by States Parties and the international community to the Court.
31 October 2016: UN Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has stated that the use of indiscriminate rocket warfare targeting civilians in Aleppo could amount to war crimes. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the attacks by rebels in the last 3 days have led to the deaths of at least 41 civilians and hundreds of mortars have been lobbed.
31 October 2016: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed his regret over the decision of three African states to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC). However he also noted that all gains and achievements by international tribunals have come alongside challenges and setbacks, stressing that 'such challenges are best addressed not by diminishing support for the ICC, but by strengthening it from within'.
30 October 2016: The UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights in Eritrea has recommended that the situation in Eritrea be referred to the International Criminal Court due to the commission of alleged crimes against humanity. Sheila Keetharuth, a member of the Commission, told the UN General Assembly that '[t]he crimes of enslavement, imprisonment, enforced disappearances, torture, other inhumane acts, persecution, rape and murder have been committed as part of a widespread and systematic campaign against the civilian population'.
30 October 2016: The Special Prosecution of the Republic of Kosovo has filed war crimes charges against Fatmir Limaj. The indictment accuses Mr. Limaj, a member of the Kosovo Liberation Army, of being responsible for the murder of two civilians executed in October 1998 as he was a commander of Brigade 121.
29 October 2016: UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-terrorism and Human Rights Ben Emmerson has presented a new report on the impact of counter-terrorism measures on the human rights of migrants and refugees to the UN General Assembly. In his report, he highlighted that there has been increase in anti-terrorism measures being used in managing the flow of migrants and that this is because of the unfounded 'perception that terrorists take advantage of refugee flows to carry out acts of terrorism, or that refugees are somehow more prone to radicalisation'. He instead reaffirmed that policies that 'respect human rights, justice, and accountability ... are an essential element of effective counterterrorism policies' and that migrants should not be stigmatised as possible terrorists.
28 October 2016: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has advocated for investigations into airstrikes that killed 22 children in a school compound in Syria as, if found to be deliberate, he argued the attack may be a war crime. The Secretary-General further stated that '[i]f such horrific acts persist despite global outrage, it is largely because their authors, whether in corridors of power or in insurgent redoubts, do not fear justice. They must be proved wrong'.
28 October 2016: A French judge has opened an investigation into the disappearance of two French-Syrian nationals in 2013 in Syria following a request by the Parisian prosecutor. Mazzen Dabbagh and his son, Patrick, were arrested in Syria in November 2013 and have not been seen since. This investigation is part of broader efforts in France to address alleged cases of torture, forced disappearances and crimes against humanity in Syria.
28 October 2016: On 21 October, Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) approved a plan for symbolic collective reparations for victims in the Lubanga case. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo was found guilty in 2012 of the war crime of conscripting and using child soldiers, and was sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment. The Trial Chamber found the proposed reparations 'project [would] "provide for an enabling environment to develop and implement service-based collective reparations awards" and "creates a safe environment for victims to come forward ... without undue fear for their safety or reputation"'.
27 October 2016: Amnesty International (AI) has said that the US-led coalition's air strikes in Syria have killed at least 300 civilians. Throughout their research, AI investigators spoke with numerous witnesses, examined satellite evidence, and collected video and photographic evidence. Lynn Maalouf, AI's deputy director for research in Beirut, has argued that '"[s]ome of these attacks may constitute disproportionate or otherwise indiscriminate attacks'" and AI has called for independent investigations into possible international crimes.
27 October 2016: A man has been arrested in Sweden for his alleged role in the genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s. The man's identity has not yet been revealed but prosecutors have said that he is suspected of committing genocide and other violations of international law.
26 October 2016: Alongside Burundi and South Africa, Gambia has announced that it will also withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC). Sheriff Bojang, Gambia's information minister, cited 'the persecution of Africans and especially their leaders' by the ICC as well the lack of an indictment for 'Western war criminals' as reasons for withdrawing.
26 October 2016: On 24 October, a Guatemalan court indicted Manuel Benedicto Lucas Garcia, Francisco Luis Gordillo, Edilberto Letona, Hugo Ramiro Zaldana and Manuel Antonio Callejas for crimes committed in relation to 'the 1981 kidnapping and disappearance of 14-year-old boy Marco Antonio Molina Theissen, including the torture and rape of his sister Emma Guadaloupe'. They have been charged with crimes against humanity, forced disappearance and aggravated rape and their indictments have been described as a 'step toward clarifying the historical truth in brutal crimes carried out at the hands of the military during Guatemala's ... civil war'.
25 October 2016: In the Molina Theissen case in Guatemala, a decision is expected on 25 October regarding whether retired general Benedicto Lucas Garcia will be charged with forced disappearance, crimes against humanity and aggravated sexual assault. Four other defendants involved in this case will also receive a decision as to whether they shall be charged with aggravated sexual assault. These charges concern the alleged illegal detention and sexual assault of Emma Guadalupe Molina Theissen in Military Zone 17 in Quetzaltenango.
24 October 2016: Across Europe, trials surrounding alleged crimes that occurred in Syria are beginning to emerge. Human Rights Watch (HRW) has identified prosecutions in several European countries, including Sweden, Germany and France, where universal jurisdiction laws and evidence from Syrian refugees have allowed the investigation and prosecution of alleged crimes against humanity, torture and war crimes that occurred in Syria. HRW has stated that while 'all these cases have shortcomings, ... they represent small but vital steps towards ending impunity for crimes committed in Syria'.
24 October 2016: Human Rights Watch has reacted to South Africa's notice of withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC), with International Justice Director Richard Dicker saying that the withdrawal '"would be a huge reversal of ... [South Africa's] role as a leader promoting victims' rights and the values in its post-apartheid constitution"'. Sadiki Kaba, the President of the ICC's Assembly of States Parties, has asked South Africa to reconsider its decision.
23 October 2016: Najmaddin Faraj Ahmad, a man accused of being behind the recruitment of people to fight in Syria and Iraq, can now be extradited from Norway to face charges in Italy. Mr. Ahmad, who is also known as Mullah Krekar, is suspected of being behind Rawti Shax, a terrorist group operating in Europe. Mr. Ahmad was arrested in November 2015 in Norway upon Italy's request.
22 October 2016: A federal appeals court in the US has reinstated a lawsuit brought by four former inmates of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The four inmates are suing CACI Premier Technology, a company that contracted personnel to the US military in the early 2000s. These contractors allegedly tortured detainees during interrogations, including via beating detainees, taking their clothing and threatening them with dogs.
22 October 2016: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein has described the 'the weekslong bombardment and siege of rebel-held parts of Aleppo [as] "crimes of historic proportions" that had turned the ancient Syrian city into a "slaughterhouse"'. The Commissioner called for a war crimes investigation and the Human Rights Council subsequently adopted a resolution calling for an immediate end to the fighting in Aleppo.
21 October 2016: Following Burundi's vote to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC), Reuters isreporting that South Africa is also planning on withdrawing from the Court. According to a document seen by Reuters, South Africa '"has found that its obligations with respect to the peaceful resolution of conflicts at times are incompatible with the interpretation'" given by the ICC. The UN has not confirmed receipt of the document.
21 October 2016: The Registry of the International Criminal Court has issued a call for experts on reparations for victims to assist with the Al Mahdi case. Following Mr. Al Mahdi's war crimes conviction in September, the trial will now enter the reparations phase and experts can be called to 'assist ... in determining the extent of any damage, loss and injury to or in respect of victims and to suggest various options concerning the appropriate types and modalities of reparations'.
20 October 2016: 8 ex-Yugoslav military officers, including Borislav Djukic, have been charged with war crimes that were allegedly committed in Croatia. They are accused of ordering attacks on civilians or failing to prevent crimes by their soldiers, including 'torture, rape, expulsion and killing of more than 100 civilians during fighting in Croatia in 1991-95'.
19 October 2016: Trial Chamber VII of the International Criminal Court has found all 5 accused individuals guilty of offences against the administration of justice in the Bemba et al. case. The 5 individuals concerned are: Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, who was convicted of crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Bemba case earlier this year; Aime Kilolo Musamba; Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo; Fidele Babala Wandu; and Narcisse Arido. The penalties for the offences will be pronounced in due course.
19 October 2016: Amnesty International (AI) has released a report, entitled 'Punished for Daesh's crimes': Displaced Iraqis abused by militias and government forces, which details alleged human rights abuses and war crimes, including torture, arbitrary detentions, forcible disappearances and extrajudicial executions, committed by paramilitary militias and government forces in Iraq. Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at AI, said that '[a]fter escaping the horrors of war and tyranny of IS, Sunni Arabs in Iraq are facing brutal revenge attacks ... and are being punished for crimes committed by' the Islamic State group.
19 October 2016: President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi has signed the decree, which was voted upon last week by Burundi's parliament, that enables Burundi to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC). In response to the vote, the ICC's President of the Assembly of States Parties, H.E. Mr. Sidiki Kaba, stated that the loss of any state 'would represent a setback in the fight against impunity' and he invited 'the Burundian authorities to engage in a dialogue'. According to President Nkurunziza's website, the decision to leave will be effective immediately. The vote came after the ICC's Prosecutor opened of a preliminary examination into the situation in Burundi in April 2016.
18 October 2016: Tomorrow at 14:30, Trial Chamber VII of the International Criminal Court (ICC) will deliver its verdict in the Bemba et al. case. This case, which has 5 co-accused, concerns allegations of offences against the administration of justice, namely influencing witnesses or presenting false or forged information before the ICC. The alleged crimes are connected to Mr. Bemba's initial case in which he was found guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes, and sentenced to 18 years' imprisonment.
18 October 2016: Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has released a statement in which she discusses concerns that alleged crimes committed in September 2016 in Kinshasa, Democractic Republic of the Congo (DRC), may come within the jurisdiction of the ICC. She further stated that '[i]t is imperative that all activities and actions in the territory of the DRC, irrespective of their actors, nature or form, be conducted with extreme restraint and a sense of responsibility'.
17 October 2016: An Amnesty International (AI) report has accused the Australian government of 'subjecting refugees and asylum seekers to an elaborate and cruel system of abuse - brazenly flouting international law'. AI has found that the offshore processing system on Nauru amounts to torture due to '[t]he combination of refugees' severe mental anguish, the intentionally harmful nature of the system, and the fact that the goal of offshore processing is intended to intimidate or coerce others to achieve a specific outcome'. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has described AI's report as 'absolutely false'.
16 October 2016: On Saturday, African leaders signed a binding agreement concerning maritime security at a summit in Togo. The new agreement hopes to improve responses to issues such as piracy, including via enhanced information sharing between African nations. It will also 'create new national and regional institutions to improve security in African waters [and] ... signatories pledged a string of measures to protect the maritime environment and fight trafficking in drugs, arms and people'.
15 October 2016: Amnesty International and FIDH have emphasised the ongoing need for justice for crimes in South Sudan in a joint briefing and have called for the establishment of a hybrid court. Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International's Director for Research & Advocacy, has said that 'as world attention has focused on ending the fighting, accountability for violations that could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity has been put on the backburner'.
14 October 2016: The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, has issued a statement regarding reports of extra-judicial killings in the Phillipines. Ms. Bensouda mentioned reports that over 3,000 people may have been killed in the last three months in the crackdown against drug dealers and users. Ms. Bensouda stated that she is 'deeply concerned about these alleged killings and the fact that public statements of high officials ... seem to condone' them. She noted that her office will continue to monitor developments and that extra-judicial killings may come within the jurisdiction of the ICC when 'committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population pursuant to a State policy to commit such an attack'.
14 October 2016: Over 10-15 October, an African Union-sponsored summit on maritime security is being held in Togo and issues relating to the rising levels of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea will be discussed. While efforts at stemming piracy near Somalia have been achieving progress, efforts aimed at combatting piracy off the West African coast have not had similar success. The summit in Lome hopes to 'draw up and sign a charter on maritime security' to help address this issue among others.
13 October 2016: Special Forces Sergeant Kevin Frost has come forward about alleged war crimescommitted by Australian forces during the war in Afghanistan. There is an ongoing investigation into these allegations with the assistance of Justice Paul Brereton, a Supreme Court judge in NSW. Sergeant Frost has said that he assisted in covering up the shooting of a prisoner of war and 'believes he should face further consequences for his role in [the cover up] ..., including jail time'.
13 October 2016: On Wednesday, Burundi's parliament voted to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC). Prior to leaving the ICC, the bill will first need approval from Burundi's upper house and also its president. The vote comes after the ICC opened a preliminary examination into the situation in Burundi in April 2016.
13 October 2016: The fourth Bahia Blanca crimes against humanity trial or the 'Army case' has commenced in Buenos Aires. This trial 'addresses alleged human rights abuses committed under the last military dictatorship between 1976 and 1977, [and] is focused on the Fifth Army Corps headquarters and clandestine detention centres in the region'. The trial features 38 suspects, including some individuals who have previously been convicted in earlier trials concerning crimes against humanity.
12 October 2016: The second trial of Simone Gbagbo in Cote d'Ivoire for crimes against humanity has resumed following a two-month break. The trial began in May 2016 and focuses on alleged crimes 'committed during the post-electoral crisis in 2010-11'. Ms. Gbagbo is also the subject of an arrest warrant at the International Criminal Court, where she has been charged with crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and persecution.
11 October 2016: The UN Security Council has failed to pass two resolutions relating to air strikes in Aleppo, Syria. The first, which was drafted by France and included provisions aimed at ending air strikes and military flights over Aleppo, was vetoed by Russia. The second, which was drafted by Russia and included the previous ceasefire deal, failed to achieve the votes required. The French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has previously described the bombing in Aleppo as war crimes and is reportedly working on ways to bring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.
10 October 2016: UN human rights experts Agnes Callamard, Juan Mendez and Ben Emmerson havereleased a statement about the use of the death penalty in cases involving terrorism. They noted that some states have started to reintroduce the death penalty in order to address terrorism but argued that this is 'problematic' as '[t]here is a lack of persuasive evidence that the death penalty could contribute more than any other punishment to eradicating terrorism'.
10 October 2016: As of 10 October 2016, the Trial Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia will resume hearings in Case 002/02. This case has two co-accused, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, whose charges concern genocide and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949. This is the second trial against the co-accused who have previously been found guilty in Case 002/01 of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life imprisonment.
9 October 2016: The Mechanism for the International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) has announced a project in which it will 'unify the entire judicial records of the ICTR, ICTY, and the MICT into a single comprehensive database ... [which will] allow users to undertake a comprehensive search across the judicial records of all three organisations with a single search query'. The MICT is currently calling for feedback about the present system in order to improve the new system.
8 October 2016: Following the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court's (ICC) announcement in April 2016 that it will commence a preliminary examination into the situation in Burundi, officials from Burundi have announced that it will withdraw from the ICC. In opening the preliminary examination, the Prosecutor drew attention to 'reports detailing acts of killing, imprisonment, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence as well as cases of enforced disappearance' in Burundi since April 2015.
8 October 2016: The International Criminal Court will hold its first ever public hearings into the issue of reparations in the Lubanga case. Lubanga was convicted of enlisting and conscripting child soldiers in 2012 and was sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment. According to Pieter de Baan, the executive director of the Trust Fund for Victims, through the hearings it is hoped that 'wider insights' will be gained in order to complete the current plan for reparations.
7 October 2016: The Prosecutor's Office at the International Criminal Court (ICC) will conduct a visit in Israel and Palestine from 5 to 10 October. The purpose of the trip is to 'undertake outreach and education activities ... and to explain the preliminary examination process' - it is not to investigate alleged crimes. Palestine is currently in the preliminary examination phase at the ICC following the lodgement of a declaration in 2015. The ICC has jurisdiction over '[a]lleged crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, since 13 June 2014'.
6 October 2016: The International Court of Justice has upheld objections to jurisdiction raised in cases concerning nuclear disarmament, which halts the cases before they enter the merits phase of proceedings. The three cases were commenced by the Marshall Islands and involved the United Kingdom, Pakistan and India. They concerned the obligations of parties to the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and other customary obligations to negotiate in relation to nuclear disarmament.
5 October 2016: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein has said that current air strikes on civilian targets in Aleppo, Syria may amount to crimes against humanity and he has reinforced the need for a referral to the International Criminal Court. In discussing the current state of affairs in Aleppo, the High Commissioner referred to the battles of Warsaw and Stalingrad in World War II and he emphasised that labelling opposition forces 'terrorist groups' does not negate a state's obligations under the laws of war.
5 October 2016: Judge Jorge Guzman Urquilla has ordered that investigations into the El Mozote massacre in El Salvador be reopened. This order follows the Supreme Court's reversal of amnesty provisions that prevented the prosecution of war crimes committed during the civil war in El Salvador from 1979-1992. According to victims' rights groups, approximately 1,000 people were killed in El Mozote and nearby villages in December 1981. A prior UN truth commission found that Col. Domingo Monterrosa, Col. Armando Azmitia and six other officers were responsible for these events. Both Col. Monterrosa and Col. Azmitia are now deceased.
5 October 2016: In Argentina, a new trial has opened that will examine alleged crimes against humanity committed in the former 'Automotores Orletti III and IV' clandestine detention centre. Among the accused are former members of the the SIDE Intelligence Agency and the Federal Police who operated during the military dictatorship in the 70s and 80s. It is alleged that the centre was the site of detentions, torture and executions.
4 October 2016: The new Kosovo Special Chambers' Chief Prosecutor, David Schwendiman, has emphasised that the Chambers will protect all witnesses and keep their testimony confidential in order to prevent intimidation or harassment. Witness intimidation has been a serious concern in relation to addressing crimes that occurred in Kosovo and the new Chambers have acknowledged it will be one of its 'key challenges'. The Chambers will prosecute 'crimes committed by Kosovo Liberation Army members from 1998 until 2000' and will have jurisdiction over crimes such as crimes against humanity and war crimes.
4 October 2016: Amnesty International (AI) has called upon members of the European Parliament to support new measures that prohibit the trade in torture equipment. Amendments to Regulation (EC) 1236/2005 are due to be voted on today in a plenary sitting and AI has advocated for the closing of loopholes. One such example allows EU-based companies or companies that trade in the EU to advertise products that they cannot import or export into the EU, including thumbcuffs, electric stun hand-cuffs, spiked batons and weighted leg restraints.
3 October 2016: The Colombian referendum surrounding the peace deal to end the longterm conflict with Farc has been rejected. The deal was concluded after 4 years of negotiations and '[b]oth government and rebels have repeatedly said that the deal was the best they could achieve'. Since the results, government and rebel leaders have reaffirmed their desire for peace. The deal had received some criticism due to its amnesty provisions that could have prevented those who confessed to crimes, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, from spending time in prison.
2 October 2016: A Spanish court has convicted Lahcen Ikassrien and sentenced him to 11.5 years' imprisonment for 'leading a recruitment cell that sent jihadists to fight in Syria'. He has been found guilty of leading a terrorist organisation, with links to the Islamic State and Al-Nusra groups, and falsifying an official document. Mr. Ikassrien had previously been held at Guantanamo Bay and was extradited to Spain in 2005. Eight other individuals, who were members of the cell, were also sentenced to 8 years' imprisonment for membership of a terrorist organisation.
1 October 2016: The United Nations Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution that establishes a commission of inquiry for Burundi. The Commission will operate for one year and will 'conduct a thorough investigation into human rights violations and abuses in Burundi since April 2015, and [will] ... identify alleged perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses in Burundi with a view to ensuring full accountability'. It will continue the work of UN experts who have already identified suspects and alleged crimes against humanity.
30 September 2016: The Center for Investigation and Documentation on Human Rights in North Korea was opened in South Korea this week. This Center will collect evidence of alleged crimes against humanity committed by North Korea by, inter alia, interviewing North Korean escapees, South Koreans who were abducted, and soldiers previously captured by North Korea.
30 September 2016: The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has commenced a preliminary investigation into the situation in Gabon following Gabon's self referral to the ICC. Within its referral, Gabon gave the ICC a start date of May 2016 and provided no end-date. The preliminary examination will examine 'the information available to reach a fully informed determination on whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation pursuant to the criteria established by the Rome Statute', and it will look at alleged crimes 'committed by any groups or individuals involved in the situation'.
30 September 2016: Amnesty International (AI) has released the results of its investigations into the use of chemical weapons against civilians in Darfur, Sudan. Some of its findings include that between 200-250 people may have died as a result of the use of chemical weapons and that at least 30 potential chemical weapon attacks have occurred so far in 2016. AI has suggested these attacks amount to war crimes and called upon the UN Security Council to investigate the use of chemical weapons.
29 September 2016: Following his conviction and sentencing earlier this year, Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo has formally launched an appeal of his conviction. Mr. Bemba was convicted of 2 counts of crimes against humanity and three counts of war crimes in March 2016 and was sentenced in June to 18 years' imprisonment. Mr. Bemba is also an accused in the Bemba et al. case which concerns alleged witness interference. A judgment in this case is expected on 19 October 2016.
29 September 2016: In a joint Spanish, Belgian and German operation, 5 suspected members of the Islamic State terrorist group have been arrested across Europe. According to a Spanish Interior Ministry spokesman, they were allegedly following the Islamic State's orders, and aimed to incite terrorism and recruit people. They also allegedly operated a Facebook page called 'Islam in Spanish'.
29 September 2016: The United States has extradited Leopold Munyakazi, a Rwandan fugitive who is wanted in Rwanda to face genocide charges. According to Rwanda's prosecutor-general, Mr. Munyakazi 'is considered one of the key ideologues of the genocide, in which over 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed'. Mr. Munyakazi has maintained his innocence throughout the extradition process.
28 September 2016: The Human Rights Watch Executive Director of the Americas Division, Jose Miguel Vivanco, has raised concerns about the landmark deal between Colombia and FARC due to its approach to justice and impunity. Mr. Vivanco has argued that 'the justice component of the agreement ... will compound impunity in the country' as it allows those, whether guerrilla fighters or armed forces, who confess to their crimes, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, to avoid imprisonment. While the agreement is a cause for celebration, Mr. Vivanco warns that 'the risk is entirely too apparent that grave human rights violations could happen again' if those responsible for crimes are left unpunished.
28 September 2016: UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has suggested that Russia may be involved in attacks that have directly targeted civilians in Syria. Mr. Johnson's comments came after heavy bombing in Aleppo and the attack on an aid convoy last week. He warned that directly targeting civilians would constitute a war crime. Russia has denied responsibility for these attacks.
27 September 2016: Trial Chamber VIII of the International Criminal Court has today found Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi guilty of war crimes and sentenced him to 9 years' imprisonment in relation to the destruction of historical and religious buildings in Timbuktu, Mali. For further information, please see here and here.
27 September 2016: Swiss voters have approved a law concerning new surveillance powers for use againstterrorism and cyber crime suspects. Amongst other things, this law will enable the Swiss national intelligence service to tap phones and computer networks, and it enhances international cooperation with foreign intelligence agencies. Amnesty International has raised privacy concerns in relation to the new law and has argued it may infringe upon the freedom of expression.
27 September 2016: War crimes investigators have expressed their frustration at the lack of global backing to prosecute alleged Islamic State (IS) criminals before an international tribunal. The Commission for International Justice and Accountability, an indepedent investigative group, has 'built a case implicating the entire IS command structure in a plot to kidnap Yazidi women and girls and establish a sex-slave market'. However, Bill Wiley, the head of the group, has lamented the lack of solid action by coalition governments and NGOs in 'transforming ... evidence into criminal prosecution'.
26 September 2016: The verdict in the case against Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi will be delivered tomorrow at 11.30am by Trial Chamber VIII at the International Criminal Court. Mr. Al Mahdi pleaded guilty on 22 August 2016 to war crimes charges that relate to the destruction of cultural heritage, including religious monuments, in Mali in June-July 2012. The hearing may be streamed online here.
25 September 2016: Ardit Ferizi, a Kosovar citizen, was sentenced to 20 years ' imprisonment in the US following pleading guilty to having, inter alia, provided material support to the terrorist group Islamic State. Mr. Ferizi admitted to having illegally accessed a server that contained, among other things, 'personally identifiable information ... belonging to tens of thousands of ... customers, including members of the military and other government personnel'. He then sent this information to Junaid Hussain, 'a now-deceased ISIL recruiter and attack facilitator', who subsequently released the information via twitter.
24 September 2016: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has highlighted the importance of protecting cultural property in areas where conflicts are ongoing. In so doing, he focused on threats to cultural heritage in the Middle East, Northern Africa, Yemen and Mali, labelling attacks on cultural property as war crimes. The Secretary-General further noted that attacks on cultural items 'aim to tear at the fabric of societies' and he called upon the international community to do more to prevent the destruction of cultural heritage.
24 September 2016: The appellate judgment in case 002/01 against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan will be delivered on 23 November 2016. They were initially found guilty of crimes against humanity at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia in August 2014 and sentenced to life imprisonment. Both accused filed appeals against the initial judgment, identifying a total of 371 grounds of appeal.
23 September 2016: Various international groups have been campaigning for the establishment of an international investigation by the UN Human Rights Council into alleged war crimes in Yemen. Of particular concern are the air strikes carried out by a Saudi-led coalition that have allegedly led to the killing of many civilians and that have allegedly targeted protected sites, including hospitals and schools. Last month, the UN Human Rights office said that these air strikes had caused 60% of all civilian casualties since March 2015.
23 September 2016: Yesterday, Human Rights Watch and other NGOs called upon the African Union to 'end consideration of a call for mass withdrawal of its members from the International Criminal Court (ICC)'. Among the African Union's concerns are the lack of immunity from prosecution for sitting heads of states and other senior officials at the ICC, as exemplified in attempts to prosecute Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto of Kenya, and claims that the ICC is unfairly targeting Africa.
22 September 2016: Today, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) delivered a decision in the case of Mustafic-Mujic and Others v the Netherlands. In this case, relatives of people killed in the massacre at Srebrenica in 1995 claimed that Dutch authorities had failed to properly investigate Dutch servicemen who had 'allegedly [sent the applicants'] ... relatives to their probable death by ordering them to leave the safety of the UN peacekeepers' compound after the Bosnian Serb forces had overrun Srebrenica and its environs'. The ECtHR dismissed the application, finding that 'there had been extensive and repeated investigations by national and international authorities' that left 'no lingering uncertainty as regards the nature and degree of involvement' of the Dutch servicemen. The Court also found that the decision not to prosecute the servicemen was not biased, inconsistent, excessive or unjustified.
22 September 2016: Bosco Ntaganda has ended his hunger strike that he instituted in protest against communications restrictions imposed by the International Criminal Court due to concerns of witness coaching. Following the arrangement of a visit from his wife, he has also resumed providing instructions to his lawyers, 'putting an end to a 14-day boycott of proceedings in his trial'. Mr Ntaganda is charged with 13 counts of war crimes and 5 counts of crimes against humanity. His trial is ongoing.
22 September 2016: On 19 October 2016, the International Criminal Court will deliver its first verdict in an evidence tampering trial. The Bemba et al. case has 5 accused persons and concerns allegations of offences against the administration of justice that are connected to the Bemba case. Mr Bemba, who was convicted of crimes against humanity and war crimes in March, and his co-accused, including members of his defence team, are suspected of 'corruptly influencing witnesses by giving them money and instructions to provide false testimony, presenting false evidence and giving false testimony in the court room'.
21 September 2016: On Tuesday, the EU introduced new measures to combat terrorism and, in particular, foreign fighters. Some of these measures include allowing the EU to freeze assets and impose travel bans on individuals without reference to the UN's own lists, preventing non-EU nationals with terrorist links from entering the EU, and preventing individuals from leaving to travel to Syria.
21 September 2016: Dragan Vasiljkovic has pleaded not guilty to war crimes charges at the start of his trial in Croatia. Mr Vasiljkovic, who was extradited from Australia in July 2015 following a 10 year legal battle, is allegedly responsible 'for the torture and killings of prisoners in ... Knin, and the attack in 1991 on a police station in ... Glina in which civilians were expelled, robbed and killed'. He has called the indictment 'a staged story' as well as 'comical, shamless and insolent'.
21 September 2016: Three experts, working on behalf of the UN's human rights office, have recommended the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry for Burundi in light of their finding that crimes against humanity may have been committed over the last 1.5 years. The experts examined the 14 month period prior to 30 June 2016 and found that '[g]ross human rights violations have and are taking place [and that] ... [g]iven the country's history, the danger of the crime of genocide also looms large'.
20 September 2016: The investigators of an United Nations Inquiry Panel on Syria have reported that interviewing new arrivals from Syria in Europe is becoming more challenging. The Panel is in the process of identifying suspects who have committed war crimes or crimes against humanity in Syria and continues to advocate for the Syrian situation to be referred to the International Criminal Court. The Panel's chairman, Paulo Pinheiro, requested that countries hosting new arrivals grant access to the Panel so it can continue its work.
19 September 2016: Trial Chamber V(B) of the International Criminal Court has referred Kenya to the Assembly of States Parties due to its lack of cooperation with the Court. The Prosecution had initially brought the issue of non-cooperation in the case of Mr Uhuru Kenyatta before the Chamber in 2013 and in December 2014, the Chamber noted that the Kenyan government had not met the good faith cooperation required by the Rome Statute. Today's decision 'noted ... that this situation has persisted even following a period of active judicial supervision and ... it appears that no further progress has been made'. Since the Prosecution's initial application, the case against Mr Kenyatta has been terminated.
19 September 2016: Bangladesh's International Crimes Tribunal has submitted charges against eight people: Rezaul Karim, ABM Yunus Ali, Yusuf Ali, Omar Ali, Belayet Hossain, Nasir Uddin, Kazi Badruzzaman and Ismail. They are charged with crimes against humanity that allegedly took place during Bangladesh's liberation war in 1971.
18 September 2016: According to the International Maritime Bureau, piracy in Southeast Asia makes up the majority of sea attacks globally. Comparatively, there were 178 attacks in Southeast Asia during 2015 and 'none in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea region near Somalia ... after a multinational security crackdown there'. Within Southeast Asia, there is evidence that some of these attacks are being carried out by groups such as Abu Sayyaf, an extremist group that has pledged allegiance to terrorist group Islamic State.
17 September 2016: Eight people who allegedly belonged to a group supporting the Islamic State have been charged under Brazilian anti-terrorism law. These Brazilian nationals were arrested prior to the Rio games and were suspected of planning an attack on the games itself. They have been charged with, inter alia, promoting a terrorist organisation and criminal organisation, inciting children to commit crimes, and recruiting members for a terrorist organisation.
17 September 2016: According to local media reports, Uruguay is in the process of establishing a prosecutor's office that will specialise in investigating crimes against humanity. Last week, the Uruguayan government sent a bill to Congress that seeks to establish this office. If established, the new office will consider crimes against humanity and human rights abuses committed during the 1973-1985 military dictatorship.
16 September 2016: The Prosecutor of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, David Schwendiman, has stated that he will work 'fairly, vigorously and without fear' in his duties. The Chambers are currently being set up and will investigate alleged crimes, including organ harvesting, committed during the conflict in Kosovo. The Chambers will operate with international judges and prosecutors who apply Kosovar law and, according to Registrar Fidelma Donlon, it is hoped that the Chambers will start their judicial work in 2017.
16 September 2016: The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has released a Policy Paper that discusses case selection and prioritisation. This document aims to provide 'sound, fair and transparent principles and criteria' to guide the exercise of the Prosecutor's discretion in determining which cases should be prosecuted or investigated. Principles, such as the independence, impartiality and objectivity of the Prosecutor's office as well as the gravity of the alleged crime and other legal considerations, form important parts of the policy.
15 September 2016: Bosco Ntaganda, a suspect currently on trial at the International Criminal Court, has commenced a hunger strike and instructed his lawyers to no longer act on his behalf. Mr. Ntaganda has expressed his distress surrounding visiting restrictions imposed by the court amid concerns of witness interference. Mr. Ntaganda is accused of having committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the DRC.
14 September 2016: According to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, Ukraine and Poland have decided to collaborate in relation to an investigation into the 'Volhynia genocide' or massacre. While Poland has recognised these events as genocide, the Ukrainian parliament has condemned this decision. The massacre occurred during 1943-1944 when the Nazis occupied Poland and was part of 'an ethnic cleansing operation carried out ... by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army'.
14 September 2016: A Judge in Paris has ordered the ongoing detention of three women, Sarah H, Ines M and Amel S, who are accused of involvement in planning terrorist attacks in France. The women are allegedly part of the Islamic State group and their charges relate to an abandoned car filled with gas cylinders, another planned attack and attacking police officers during their arrest. Lamine A, Sarah H's fiance, was also arrested and charged with failing to report a pending terrorist attack.
13 September 2016: United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, has condemned the Syrian government at the opening of a three-week session of the U.N. Human Rights Council. Zeid said Syria was one of five countries that routinely refused to cooperate with human rights investigators amidst allegations of war crimes.
12 September 2016: The US State Department has accused the Islamic State (IS) of committing genocide against the Yazidi community. According to the State Department's annual report on religious freedom around the world, IS fighters left dozens of mass graves in the Sinjar area. US Deputy Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who presented the report, said that the actions of [IS] were genocidal, because the group killed "Yazidis because they are Yazidi, Christians because they are Christian, Shia Muslims because they are Shia."
9 September 2016: In the United Kingdom, four terrorism suspects have been charged with planning terrorist acts after a major security operation in central Birmingham. The four men were arrested on 26 August and have now been charged with what counter-terrorism officials believe may have been a possibly imminent attack.
8 September 2016: A Lebanese citizen wanted in the United States for suspected ties to terrorism has been detained at Argentina's international airport. Khalil Mohamed El Sayed was trying to enter Argentina with false Paraguayan documents and was flagged on an Interpol list, according to Argentine state media. It is not clear for what specific reason El Sayed is a suspect.
7 September 2016: A Nepalese army officer has been cleared of torturing suspected Maoist detainees following two war crimes trials in the United Kingdom (UK). Lieut Col Kumar Lama was charged under a 1988 Criminal Justice Act that allows the prosecution in the UK of alleged foreign war criminals. He was accused of mistreating prisoner Janak Raut during the Nepalese Civil War that lasted between 1996 and 2006. The Prosecutor, Duncan Penny QC, said: "The crown has carefully and thoroughly considered the evidence on the remaining count and there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction."
7 September 2016: Six former Bosnian Serb soldiers and military policemen have been arrested on the suspicion that they committed war crimes against over 60 Bosniaks, including children, in the Milici municipality in 1992. The State Investigation and Protection Agency arrested Branko Jolovic, Milomir Milosevic, Nenad Vukotic, Nikola Losic, Dejan Milanovic and Radomir Pantic, who are all former soldiers or military policemen with the Bosnian Serb Army.
6 September 2016: David Schendiman has been appointed as the chief prosecutor of the new Hague-based Special Court designed to try former Kosovo Liberation Army fighters for alleged crimes committed during and after the 1998-99 war with Serbian forces. The alleged crimes include killings, abductions, illegal detentions and sexual violence.
5 September 2016: Mir Quasem Ali, a financier for the Jamaat-e-Islami party has been hanged at a prison on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Mr. Ali was convicted of murder, confinement, torture and incitement to religious hatred during the 1971 war of independence from Pakistan. The war crimes tribunal set up by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2010 has set off violent protests and drawn criticism from opposition politicians. Human rights groups say the tribunal’s procedures fall short of international standards. The government rejects that assertion.
5 September 2016: Germany’s foreign minister has said the Bundestag resolution recognising the 1915 massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide is “non-binding”, following media reports the German cabinet would disavow the resolution so as to continue using Turkey’s Incirlik airbase. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has been quoted as saying "The German parliament naturally has the right and the freedom to pass any resolution it likes, but the Bundestag itself has said that not every resolution is legally binding."
2 September 2016: The Paris prosecutor has announced harsher prison sentences for returning French foreign fighters, saying the country faces an increased risk of attacks as the Islamic State group weakens in Iraq and Syria. Francois Molins, whose office is in charge of terrorism investigations, told Le Monde newspaper that his office will hand down more severe criminal charges, with possible sentences up to 30 years, in cases that might previously have drawn maximum sentences of 10 years. Molins said there were 26 terrorism cases in 2013, while today his office is following 324 cases.
1 September 2016: On 30 August 2016, the final appeal of Mir Quasem Ali against his sentence of the death penalty was rejected. Mir Quasem Ali was convicted of murder, confinement, torture and incitement to religious hatred that occurred during Bangladesh's war of independence in 1971. He was a media tycoon and a financier of the Jamaat-e-Islami party.
30 August 2016: A 62-year-old naturalised Dutch citizen, Eshetu A., will go on trial in The Hague in November this year for his alleged involvement in war crimes in Ethiopia during the 1970s. Mr. Eshetu A. is accused of involvement in the killing of 75 people, the torture of 9 people in captivity, and the detention of over 300 people in poor conditions without trial. Mr. Eshetu A. has been sentenced to death in absentia in Ethiopia and Ethiopia had previously requested his extradition from the Netherlands.
29 August 2016: A ceasefire has entered into effect in Colombia between the FARC rebel group and the government ending one of the world’s longest insurgencies, notable for numerous allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity throughout the 52 year old war. The ceasefire came into effect at midnight local time and is the result of four years of peace talks between the two parties. Farc leader Rodrigo Londono, known as Timoleon Jimenez or Timochenko, gave the order to stop firing stating "Never again will parents be burying their sons and daughters killed in the war…. All rivalries and grudges will remain in the past."
26 August 2016: An Argentine court has sentenced former General Luciano Benjamin Menendez to life in prison for crimes against humanity committed at secret Dirty War-era detention centers in the late 1970s. Menendez stood trial with 42 other defendants who will also be sentenced after a nearly four year so-called "mega-trial" involving events related to over 700 victims. The General was in charge of two clandestine jails, known as La Perla and La Ribera, in the province of Cordoba where torture, assassinations, and other human rights abuses were carried out during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship. He was charged with over 600 cases of torture, over 300 murders and forced disappearances, unlawful detentions, and other crimes against humanity committed at the two detention centers between 1976 and 1978.
26 August 2016: The United Nations Special Adviser on Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, has expressed concern at inflammatory statements concerning the genocide in Rwanda that were made by a senior official of the ruling party in Burundi and cautioned that such statements could constitute incitement to violence. On 16 August, Pascal Nyabenda, at that time the President of the ruling Conseil national pour la défense de la démocratie-Forces pour la défense de la démocratie (CNDD-FDD) party and President of the National Assembly suggested that the genocide in Rwanda was a “fabrication of the international community” and that it was used to remove the Hutu government that was in place at the time. Mr. Dieng said in a statement issued by his Office that “[This] has the potential to inflame ethnic tensions, both within Burundi and outside its borders.”
25 August 2016: A cross-stone dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide has been opened and consecrated in the yard of the Armenian Church of St. Virgin Mary in the Swedish city of Södertälje. The ceremony was led by His Grace Bishop Markos Hovhannisyan. Armenian Ambassador to Sweden Artak Apitonyan, Södertälje Major Boel Godner and Fr. Tiran Petrosyan. Ambassador Apitonyan noted that “the first-ever cross-stone dedicated to the memory of the Armenian Genocide victims unveiled in Sweden is not only of religious and cultural value.” “It also symbolizes the devotion of the Armenian community of Sweden to national identity, as well as the decisiveness of the Armenian nation to continue the struggle for the recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide.”
25 August 2016: The Colombian government and the Farc rebel group have signed a peace accord, putting an end to more than five decades of conflict, notable for numerous alleged war crimes. Both sides have agreed to work together to address social exclusion, to deliver justice to the victims of the conflict and build a stable and enduring peace. The announcement was made in the Cuban capital, Havana, where peace talks were launched in November 2012. The conflict has killed an estimated 220,000 people and displaced millions.
24 August 2016: France and Germany are set to ask the European Commission to force technology companies to limit the encryption used to keep messages private. The rule is being proposed as a way of helping governments monitor communications between suspected terrorists. The French Interior Ministry said that it would only use the powers to monitor people who were being investigated.
23 August 2016: Amnesty International (AI) have condemned the hanging in Iraq of 36 men convicted of a mass killing of soldiers, saying some of their confessions were extorted under threats and torture. AI called on the Iraqi authorities to establish a moratorium on executions and to hold "fair and transparent" trials for those accused of involvement in the massacre.
22 August 2016: A military court in the Democratic Republic of Congo has begun the trial of 215 members of an armed group accused of killing hundreds of civilians in and around Beni town in the northeast of the country. The initial six suspects who were present in Court are accused of participating in the killing of 51 people with machetes near Beni town and are charged with "participation in an insurrectional movement, crimes against humanity for murder and terrorism," according to Colonel Jean-Paulin Esosa, who presides over the military court.
22 August 2016: Iraq has hanged 36 men convicted over the massacre of hundreds of soldiers near the city of Tikrit in June 2014. Most of the victims are believed to have been young Shia recruits who were based at Camp Speicher when Tikrit was overrun by Islamic State militants. It is estimated that up to 1,700 people died in one of the worst atrocities committed in Iraq in recent times.
22 August 2016: The trial of Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi has begun at the International Criminal Court, with the suspect entering a guilty plea. Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi faces charges of war crimes for destroying nine shrines and a mosque in Timbuktu, Mali, in 2012. Prosecutors say he was a member of Ansar Dine, an Islamist group that occupied the city's world heritage site for months.
18 August 2016: A new report by Amnesty International has revealed horrific examples of torture in Syria. The report citing the words of detainees said "Since the current crisis in Syria began in 2011, the situation has become catastrophic, with torture committed on a massive scale.” The Report added that prison torture is occurring now on an industrial scale, with more than 17,000 people believed to have been killed in custody and tens of thousands of others enduring horrific treatment on a daily basis.
17 August 2016: The US Department of Defense has announced the transfer of 15 detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the United Arab Emirates as part of President Obama's ongoing efforts to close the facility prior to the end of his presidency. The detention centre, which has been described by Amnesty International as 'a symbol of torture, rendition and indefinite detention without charge or trial', was established in January 2002 in order to house 'enemy combatants' from the 'war on terror'. 61 detainees remain at the centre.
17 August 2016: Prime Minister Peter O'Neill of Papua Guinea and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton of Australia have confirmed that the Manus Island regional processing centre will close. The centre is currently home to 854 male asylum seekers and refugees, and, after the closure, it is unclear where they will be sent as Mr. Dutton stated none will be resettled in Australia. The centre and the Australian government have received international criticism in the past. In 2015, the UN found that Australia was systematically violating the Convention against Torture due to the conditions at the centre and, in 2016, professors at Stanford Law School warned that those operating the centre may be liable for prosecution for crimes against humanity.
16 August 2016: The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has confirmed the indictment against Almir Dzinic. Mr. Dzinic has been charged with Organising a Terrorist Group in contravention of article 202d of the Bosnian Criminal Code. He is alleged to have travelled with his family to Turkey and subsequently Syria in December 2015. He then allegedly joined the Islamic State and participated in combat until he left Syria in July 2016.
15 August 2016: Amnesty International (AI) has stated that a suspected chlorine attack on a residential neighbourhood in Aleppo, Syria would constitute a war crime if confirmed. Magdalena Mughrabi, the Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme for AI, has said that the attack 'signals a distressing pattern in the use of chemical weapons by regime forces'.
15 August 2016: The German government has proposed new measures to combat terrorism, including enhanced surveillance, hiring more police officers, criminalising expressions of sympathy for terrorism and greater intelligence sharing across Europe. Thomas de Maiziere, Germany's interior minister, said the new measures are necessary to face and counter the new threats presented by terrorism.
14 August 2016: The UN Committee against Torture has expressed its deep concerns surrounding an increase in alleged instances of torture of individuals held in detention in Burundi. The Committee recommended that all alleged crimes be investigated and prosecuted where appropriate in a prompt, efficient and impartial manner. Amnesty International emphasised that '[t]he spike in torture cases ... in Burundi since the onset of the crisis is extremely alarming and must be urgently addressed by the Burundian government'.
14 August 2016: A spokesperson for the European Union (EU) has stated the EU 'regrets that Chad, a State Party of the [International Criminal] Court, did not fulfil its legal obligation this week, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1593, to execute the arrest warrant against Sudanese President Al-Bashir who visited the country on 8 August'. President Al-Bashir is currently the subject of two arrest warrants from 2009 and 2010 at the International Criminal Court that accuse him of committing crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.
13 August 2016: Twelve Somalis have been sentenced to five years' imprisonment by a court in Mauritius in relation to sea piracy. On 14 July 2016, they were convicted of piracy for their roles in an attack in January 2013 against the MSC Jasmine, a Panamanian-flagged container ship.
13 August 2016: On 11 August 2016, 20 year old Jaelyn Young was sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment followed by 15 years' probation by a US District Court for attempting to join the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq. Ms. Young pleaded guilty to terrorism charges, namely conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organisation, earlier in March 2016. She was initially arrested in August 2015 with her boyfriend, Muhammad Oda Dakhlalla, prior to boarding a flight to Istanbul. Mr. Dakhlalla also pleaded guilty to similar charges and is due to be sentenced on 24 August 2016.
12 August 2016: Bangladesh's International Crimes Tribunal has sentenced Sakhawat Hossain to death following his conviction on war crimes charges. Mr. Hossain, who is a former member of Parliament for the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was sentenced with seven others, all of whom received sentences of life imprisonment. Lawyers for the defendants have said they'll appeal the verdict.
12 August 2016: The trial of Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi before Trial Chamber VIII at the International Criminal Court is scheduled to commence on 22 August 2016. Mr. Al Mahdi has been charged with war crimes due to his alleged role in the destruction of historical and religious monuments in Timbuktu, Mali. He has previously indicated that he intends to plead guilty to the charges.
11 August 2016: Zayn al-Ibidin Muhammed Husayn (also known as Abu Zubaydah) will have a hearing before the Periodic Review Board on 23 August 2016 in relation to his continued incarceration at Guantanamo Bay. Mr. Zubaydah was initially captured in Pakistan in 2002 and was mistakenly suspected of being a senior member of Al Qaeda, the terrorist organisation that claimed responsibility for the 9/11 attacks in New York. He was then 'used as a guinea pig for [the CIA's] ... post-9/11 torture program'. Mr. Zubaydah’s attorney, Joseph Margulies, stated '"[w]e anticipate our client will make a statement" at the hearing', marking the first time Mr. Zubaydah will have an opportunity to speak publicly about his time in detention.
10 August 2016: German authorities have identified eight suspects - four men and four women - who they allege were responsible for war crimes during the Nazi era. The Central Office of the State Justice Administrations for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes has opened preliminary investigations on suspicion of involvement in the murder of thousands of people. 'The investigations concern four men and four women who worked at the German concentration camp in Danzig' according to lead investigator Jens Rommel.
9 August 2016: Four Burundian lawyers who gave information to the United Nations about alleged torture in Burundi face disbarment as retribution for their testimony. The four lawyers - Armel Niyongere, Lambert Nigarura, Dieudonné Bashirahishize and Vital Nshimirimana - contributed to a report by Burundian NGOs for the July 28-28 review by the UN Committee Against Torture. The UN Committee stated that 'the Burundian prosecutor asked the president of the Bujumbura Bar Council to strike the lawyers off, alleging that they had committed several offences, including involvement in an insurrectionist movement and an attempted coup'.
9 August 2016: The EULEX Kosovo Court has convicted a former ethnic Albanian guerrilla fighter of war crimes against civilians after the Kosovo war ended. A statement from the mission said Xhemshit Krasniqi was sentenced to eight years in prison for the 'arrest, illegal detention, violation of bodily integrity, health and torture of several witnesses and unknown civilians'. He was also handed a 1,500 euro fine.
8 August 2016: The war crimes trial of four Noakhali men in Bangladesh's International Crimes Tribunal has commenced. The accused include Amir Ali, Md Joynal Abedin, Abdul Kalam and Md Abdul Kuddus and, according to the prosecution, they were involved with Razakar Bahini, an auxiliary force of the Pakistani occupation army. The accused face charges concerning, inter alia, the killing, abduction and torture of people from several villages.
8 August 2016: An Australian man, Phillip Galea, has appeared in the Melbourne Magistrate's Court in relation to terrorism charges. Mr. Galea, who has been linked to anti-immigration groups such as Reclaim Australia, was arrested in raids following several months of investigations as police believed 'the threat to members of our community was escalating'. Mr. Galea has described the charges as a 'conspiracy against the patriot movement'.
7 August 2016: South Africa's Constitutional Court will hear arguments on 22 November 2016 in relation to an appeal by the government concerning whether it was obliged to arrest President Omar al-Bashir when he visited South Africa in June 2015. Mr. al-Bashir is currently the subject of an arrest warrant at the International Criminal Court, where he has been charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.
7 August 2016: Joseph Chilenge, the presiding officer of the African Union's Economic, Social and Cultural Council, has stated that African countries are considering 'a massive withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) because the judicial system [is] ... dysfunctional'. In his address at an event organised by the Center for Peace and Media Initiative, Mr. Chilenge also stated that the African Union has plans to enlarge the jurisdiction of the African Court to include international crimes.
6 August 2016: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein 'deplored the execution of 20 people in Iran ... for purported terrorism-related offences'. In so doing, he highlighted concerns regarding the use of vague criminal charges, and the failure to guarantee due process and fair trial rights for the accused individuals.
6 August 2016: Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International has said that 'the Australian government has violated the rights to be free from torture and other ill-treatment, and from arbitrary detention, as well as other fundamental protections' in relation to its forced transferral of asylum seekers to a processing centre on Nauru. Both NGOs have called for the immediate resettlement of the refugees in Australia and for the Australian government to close the offshore processing facility.
5 August 2016: A UNHCR Report has stated that there are grounds to believe that on 4 August, ISIS captured up to 3,000 IDPs (internally displaced people) from villages in Hawiga District in Kirkuk Governorate trying to flee to Kirkuk city. According to the report, 12 of the IDPs were killed in captivity.
5 August 2016: UN Officials have documented 217 cases of sexual violence in South Sudan’s capital Juba, during last month’s outbreak of fighting, most of them alleged to have been committed by government security forces. South Sudan’s civil war started in December 2013 and continues to the present day.
5 August 2016: Montenegro's police have arrested a Montenegrin suspected of killing at least six ethnic Albanians, including two women, during the late 1990s war in Kosovo. The man arrested on 4 August, was identified as 47-year-old Vlado Zmajevic, who had joined Serbian forces fighting Kosovo Albanian separatists seeking independence from Serbia.
4 August 2016: A former army officer, who fought for the Pakistani forces in 1971, has been arrested in Comilla (Bangladesh) on charges of war crimes, following a warrant of arrest from the Bangladesh War Crimes Tribunal.
3 August 2016: The jury in a torture case against Lt Col Kumar Lama failed to reach a verdict after 26 hours of deliberations. A decision will be made in September on whether the British-based Nepalese army colonel should face a retrial.
3 August 2016: Former Bosnian Serb police official Ljubomir Borovcanin, who was jailed for 17 years for aiding the murder of Bosniaks from Srebrenica, has been released after serving two-thirds of his sentence. Borovcanin was the wartime deputy commander of the Bosnian Serb interior ministry’s special police brigade, and had been serving his sentence in Denmark.
2 August 2016: In Israel, the Knesset’s Education, Culture and Sports Committee has announced that it recognizes the Armenian genocide and has urged the government to formally acknowledge the 1915 murder of 1.5 million Armenians as such. The Committee's Chairman expressed 'regret that the State of Israel does not currently recognize the genocide....and called on Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to do so.'
1 August 2016: Brazilian authorities have arrested a man wanted since 1992 for allegedly committing war crimes during fighting that raged in the former Yugoslavia. Brazil's federal prosecutors office said in a statement that police arrested Nikola Ceranic, 47, in the city of Indaiatuba, about 45 kilometers (20 miles) northwest of Sao Paulo.
1 August 2016: The full judgment in the Hissène Habré case has been released. On May 30, 2016, former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré was convicted of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture, including sexual violence and rape, by the Extraordinary African Chambers and sentenced to life in prison.
29 July 2016: On 28 July 2016, the Croatian Supreme Court announced it had quashed the verdict against Branimir Glavas and ordered a full retrial in his case. Mr. Glavas was convicted of war crimes in 2010 by a Zagreb court and sentenced to 8 years' imprisonment for the abduction, torture and murder of at least 10 Serbs during the early stages of the 1990s war in Croatia.
29 July 2016: On 15 July 2016, the Swiss Federal Criminal Court convicted a man for attempting to join Islamic State (IS), a terrorist group, in the first case of its kind in Switzerland. The 26 year old man was arrestedin April 2015 before he was able to get on a flight to Istanbul. The court held he intended to travel to Turkey in order to join IS and subsequently die as a martyr. The man was given an 18 month suspended sentence.
29 July 2016: The Swiss government has provided some information on the criteria to be used in determining whether to strip nationality from dual citizens who leave Switzerland to join terrorist organisations, such as Islamic State. Dual citizens may lose their Swiss nationality, inter alia, 'if they "endanger in the long term Switzerland's good relations with another state by insulting that state"', if they attack Swiss independence, or if they are involved with propaganda that could harm the country. The revocation of citizenship will usually only occur following a legal conviction, although some exceptions exist.
28 July 2016: The Co-Investigating Judges at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia have forwarded the case file of Im Chaem (Case Number 004/01) to the Co-Prosecutors for their final submissions. Im Chaem is charged with, inter alia, crimes against humanity, including allegations relating to murder, enslavement, extermination, imprisonment, persecution and imprisonment, and was allegedly the secretary of the Preah Net Preah District in the North-West Zone of Cambodia.
28 July 2016: Amnesty International has released a report, '"We are still running": War Crimes in Leer, South Sudan', in which it details alleged war crimes and other abuses that have harmed civilians and were committed by government forces. Senior Crisis Advisor Lama Fakih highlighted the ongoing impunity in South Sudan and called for effective investigations into the alleged abuses.
27 July 2016: UNICEF Australia has said that it is 'deeply concerned by the inhumane treatment of children in the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre' in Australia's Northern Territory, as documented in a Four Corners program on 25 July 2016. It has further stated that '[t]he use of prolonged periods of solitary confinement, strip searches and an unjustifiable use of force may amount to torture by the Government responsible' for the care of the children in detention. In response to the broadcast, Prime Minister Turnbull announced there will be a commission of inquiry into the instances of abuse at the Don Dale facility that will also investigate whether these abuses occur throughout the remainder of the Northern Territory's detention system.
27 July 2016: Rwandan Enock Ruhigira, who is facing genocide and crimes against humanity charges in Rwanda, was arrested at Frankfurt airport in Germany on 20 July 2016. He was previously believed to have been living in New Zealand and the Rwandan National Public Prosecution Authority spokesperson Faustin Nkusi has confirmed that extradition documents are currently being prepared to be submitted in Germany.
26 July 2016: The Contempt Judge at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) has announced that the sentencing hearing in the contempt case against Mr. Ibrahim Mohamed Ali Al Amin and Akhbar Beirut S.A.L will take place on 29 August 2016. The judgment in this case was delivered on 15 July 2016 and found both defendants guilty of interfering with the administration of justice. The maximum penalties for contempt at the STL include imprisonment for up to 7 years and/or a fine of up to 100,000 euros. The contempt proceedings are associated with the primary proceedings in the Ayyash et al. case. This case considers allegations of terrorism in relation to the attack on the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
26 July 2016: The UN has released its Mid Year Report on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict in Afghanistan. In so doing, it noted that civilian casualties have reached a record high in the first half of 2016, with one third of victims being children. The report also details other human rights violations and alleged war crimes, including 'the deliberate targeting of women in the public sphere, use of children in armed conflict, sexual violent against boys and girls, attacks on educational and health facilities, abductions and summary executions'.
25 July 2016: Amnesty International has called for international monitors to be given access to detainees in Turkey in light of evidence it has received that alleges there have been instances of beatings and torture in the wake of the coup attempt. They have also raised concerns surrounding the new decree, which was passed under the government's new powers that stem from the declared state of emergency, that increases the amount of time an individual can be held without charge from 4 days to 30 days.
25 July 2016: Stanford Law School has provided advice and a report to Ferrovial, a Spanish infrastructure company, that states its directors and employees may be liable for prosecution for crimes against humanity in relation to services provided to Australian camps in Nauru and on Manus Island. Ferrovial became responsible for managing Australia's offshore detention centres in May 2016, after its purchase of the company Broadspectrum. Currently, 843 men are being held on Manus Island and 466 people, including 50 children, are being held in Nauru. Australia's immigration detention system has attracted criticism from the UN, who found that it constituted arbitrary and indefinite detention.
24 July 2016: Peru's former leader, Alberto Fujimori, has requested for the second time a presidential pardon in relation to crimes committed during his time in power. Fujimori was convicted of, inter alia, torture, kidnapping and enforced disappearances and was sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment. He is now approaching his 78th birthday and his request comes five days before President-Elect Pedro Pablo Kuczynski is due to take office.
24 July 2016: On 22 July 2016, the Polish parliament voted to recognise the massacre of 100,000 Poles by Ukrainian nationalists in the 1940s as a genocide. The resolution also acknowledged the reprisal attacks by Poles on Ukrainian villages and expressed its gratitute to Ukrainians who attempted to intervene to save Polish lives. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has expressed his regret over the resolution.
23 July 2016: UN Special Representative to Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamamoto said that explosions that targeted civilians gathered to protest in Dehmazang square in Kabul city on 23 July 2016 were war crimes. He strongly condemned these explosions and called for accountability for the perpetrators of such attacks, noting that they were 'particularly heinous because [they...] targeted civilians as they exercised their rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression'.
22 July 2016: On 22 July 2016, the District Court in The Hague issued its judgments in the cases concerning four men who were charged with committing terrorist crimes in 2012-2014. At the time of judgment, they were presumed to still be in Syria. The Court found that the men joined IS, Jabhat al-Nusra or another jihadist armed group. They were all convicted of participating in a criminal organisation with a terrorist objective. In addition, they were found guilty of preparation for terrorist crimes. It was also established that one had joined a training camp for the armed jihad (with another person acquitted on this charge) and two others were found guilty of incitement to commit terrorist crimes (with a third person acquitted on this charge). The men were each sentenced to six years' imprisonment. The four judgments - for now only available in Dutch - can be found here, here, here and here.
22 July 2016: The United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has urged other countries fighting the Islamic State to do more to gather evidence of war crimes. Mr Johnson proposed a UK summit to examine how to tackle this issue and emphasized that more needed to be done to collect evidence in territory the group has lost.
22 July 2016: The appeal in the case of Prosecutor v Radovan Karadzic has been filed. The notice of appeal contains 50 grounds of appeal against the original judgment issued on 24 March 2016, where Radovan Karadzic was found guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity, and violations of the laws or customs of war.
21 July 2016: A new Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International Report on Ukraine has identified examples of torture and secret detention from parties to both sides of the conflict. The report found that the Ukrainian authorities and pro-Kiev paramilitary groups have detained civilians suspected of involvement with or supporting Russian-backed separatists, while the separatist forces have detained civilians suspected of supporting or spying for the Ukrainian government.
20 July 2016: A report reveals that German federal prosecutors are currently pursuing more than 130 cases against foreign fighters in connection with the civil wars in Iraq and Syria, with an additional 50 cases so far referred to state prosecutors.
18 July 2016: The Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal has sentenced three men to death and five men to life sentences for crimes against humanity. The charges included rape, murder, confinement and torture of unarmed civilians.
17 July 2016: Today marked International Criminal Justice Day, to mark the anniversary of the signing of the Rome Statute in 1998.
15 July 2016: El Salvador’s Supreme Court’s has voted 4-1 to overturn an amnesty law in place covering its 12 year civil war.The ruling made it clear that amnesty was lifted for not only those accused of directly committing crimes, but also the command structures of the military and guerrilla forces who gave the orders.
12 July 2016: Yesterday, the Appeals Chamber of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) issued a decision in which it reversed the Trial Chamber’s decision to continue the trial against Mr Mustafa Amine Badreddine in the Ayyash et al. case and ordered the Trial Chamber to terminate the proceedings against Mr Badreddine. By majority, the Appeals Chamber found that there was sufficient evidence presented before the Trial Chamber to prove the death of Mr Badreddine.
11 July 2016: Former Bosnian Serb policemen Goran Vujovic, Miroslav Duka and Zeljko Ilic were sentenced to a total of 23 years in prison for crimes against humanity committed in Bileca in 1992. The Bosnian state court found Vujovic, Duka and Ilic guilty on Friday of taking part in the abuse and torture of Bosniak and Croat civilians at the police station in Bileca and in a student dormitory in the southern town.
11 July 2016: The family of Ms Colvin - an American killed working for The Sunday Times in Syria - plans to sue the Syrian government over her death. US-based Center for Justice and Accountability and co-counsel Shearman and Sterling LLP have filed a lawsuit against the Syrian government in a US District Court on behalf of Ms Colvin's sister Cathleen Colvin and other surviving family members. CJA executive director Dixon Osburn added: "This is the first war crimes case against the Assad regime - but it won't be the last.
7 July 2016: An Austrian court has sentenced a Bosnian Muslim man to 10 years in jail over the massacre of 16 civilians in a Serb village during the 1992-5 Bosnian war. The 48-year-old man, who now has Austrian citizenship, was accused of attacking the village of Serdari as part of a large group of Bosnian Muslims in September 1992.
6 July 2016: In France, two Rwandan mayors - Octavien Ngenzi, and Tito Barahira have been jailed for life over the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. The Paris court said on Wednesday that Octavien Ngenzi, 58, and his predecessor Tito Barahira, 64, were guilty of crimes against humanity, “massive and systematic summary executions” and genocide in their village of Kabarondo, where some 2,000 people seeking refuge in a church were bludgeoned and hacked to death.
5 July 2016: The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) has released a statement 'correcting assertions contained in an article publish by the Telegraph' which commented on the 'Chilcot Report' due to be released tomorrow into the United Kingdom's involvement in Iraq. The situation in Iraq is currently under preliminary examination by the OTP.
4 July 2016: The prosecutor of a special Paris court established to try Rwandan genocide suspects has called for life sentences on Monday against two former mayors accused of taking part in the mass murder of Tutsis. The two - former mayors of the small town of Kabarondo - are accused of participating in "massive and systematic summary executions".
1 July 2016: The ICTY Appeals Chamber yesterday dismissed an appeal by former Bosnian Serb officials against their conviction, upholding a 22-year jail term imposed for their roles in "ethnic cleansing" during the 1990s conflict. Mico Stanisic and Stojan Zupljanin had appealed against the 2013 sentence after they were convicted of leading a campaign to rid Bosnia of Muslims, Croats and other non-Serbs during the 1992-1995 conflict.
1 July 2016: A group of German politicians and public figures have filed a lawsuit against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accusing him of war crimes in the Turkish military’s ongoing operations against Kurdish groups in the country’s southeast. Lawyers for the group, Britta Eder and Petra Dervishaj, stated in their filing that “Our clients consider it a moral duty to bring charges for systematic war crimes in Turkey here in the Federal Republic [Germany] as is possible according to the Code on International Criminal Law,” The suit claims that Turkey committed war crimes in Kurdish areas of the country, particularly in the city of Cizre where civilians taking shelter in basements were found burned, some perhaps burned alive.
30 June 2016: German prosecutors have announced they are dropping their investigation of a former SS officer suspected of war crimes in Italy. Prosecutors in Stuttgart say a criminal prosecution is no longer possible against Wilhelm Kusterer because the 94-year-old is unable to stand trial for health reasons. He was sentenced in absentia to lifetime imprisonment by an Italian court in 2008 after a court there found him guilty of participating in the 1944 Marzabotto massacre of some 770 people.
29 June 2016: The Eritrean Government has denounced a United Nations Report published on 8 June which accused the Government of perpetrating crimes against humanity. The UN commission of inquiry said they have reasonable information to believe that slavery, imprisonment, forced disappearance, torture and other inhuman acts like persecution rape and murder have been committed in Eritrea since 1991. Hanna Simon, Eritrea’s Ambassador to France told reporters. “For me they have crossed the red line. When we talk of crimes against humanity we need to have tangible proof. And right now there is none.”
27 June 2016: Yesterday, 26 June, Palestine ratified the Kampala amendment on the crime of aggression. In doing so they became the 30th State Party to ratify the amendment, which now opens the possibility for the Assembly of States Parties to adopt after 1 January 2017 the decision to activate the Court’s treaty-based aggression-related jurisdiction provided for in Art. 15bis (3) of the Rome Statute.
26 June 2016: Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi, has picked the two lawyers who represented Deputy President William Ruto as his defence lawyers at the International Criminal Court. Lawyers Karim Khan and Dato Shyamala Alagendra will be part of Saif-ul-Islam’s team of four lawyers alongside Khaled Zaydi of Libya and Maître Marcel Ceccaldi of Paris.
23 June 2016: The verdict in a Rwanda Genocide trial held in France against Octavian Ngenzi and Tito Barahira has been set for 6 July. Octavian Ngenzi, 58, and Tito Barahira, 64, were former mayors of Kabarondo in eastern Rwanda. The trial is being heard before Paris' Cour d'Assises.
21 June 2016: Jean-Pierre Bemba was sentenced today to 18 years in prison for crimes committed in the Central African Republic from October 2002 to May 2003. Bemba was found guilty in March on five charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, with the prosecution asking for a minimum 25-year sentence.
20 June 2016: A suicide bomber has killed 14 Nepalese security guards today who were travelling to work at the Canadian Embassy in Kabul. Their minibus exploded en-route to work killing 14 of those on board. This attack has been condemned by the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who stated 'Today’s attack on security workers in Kabul is appalling and cowardly... our thoughts are with the victims as we stand with the Afghan people.'
19 June 2016: Jean-Pierre Bemba will be sentenced tomorrow at the ICC for crimes committed in the Central African Republic from October 2002 to May 2003. Bemba was found guilty in March on five charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, with the prosecution asking for a minimum 25-year sentence.
17 June 2016: Iceland have become the 29th State to ratify the Crime of Aggression under the Rome Statute. For the ICC to have jurisdiction over the crime it requires 30 ratifications, and is then subject to a decision to be taken after 1 January 2017 by the same majority of States Parties as is required for the adoption of an amendment to the Statute.
16 June 2016: In the last two weeks there have been three new cases added to the docket of the International Court of Justice. One of the cases is between Equatorial Guinea and France focusing on the immunity from criminal jurisdiction of Equatorial Guinea's Second Vice-President in charge of State Defence and Security and the legal status of the building which houses its Embassy in France.
15 June 2016: The European Council today approved a one-year budget for The Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office of 29.1 million euros. The Kosovo and Dutch governments signed an agreement in January on locating the chambers and prosecutor’s office in The Hague. However, for the court to become fully operational, it still needs final approval from the Dutch Parliament.
15 June 2016: In the 2016 Europe Lecture held in The Hague yesterday, UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova stated that “The destruction of heritage is inseparable from the persecution of people. This is why we consider the protection of cultural heritage today as far more than a cultural issue. This has become a humanitarian imperative, and a security issue.”
15 June 2016: Visiting the International Criminal Court yesterday Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, met with ICC President Silvia Fernandez de Gurmandi, and Deputy Prosecutor James Stewart, to explore ways to deepen cooperation on the protection of cultural heritage and the fight against impunity of war crimes. Ms. Bokova stated that “UNESCO and ICC have come a long way together, to strengthen the rule of law, to change the mindset about the destruction of cultural heritage, and we are determined to go further, to end impunity for deliberate destruction of cultural heritage.”
14 June 2016: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights announced yesterday that between 6 and 12 June at least 224 civilians were killed in Syria. It added that at least one man was executed by ISIL in the same period.
14 June 2016: Yesterday the UN Security Council extended the mandate of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) until 15 December 2016. The current mandate was set to expire on 15 June. The Council expressed its support for the ongoing efforts of UNSMIL and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General 'to facilitate a Libyan-led political solution to the challenges facing Libya.'
13 June 2016: Gunmen in Libya have killed 12 individuals who were recently released from jail for taking part in acts of repression during the 2011 revolt against Muammar Qaddafi. A Tripoli Court had ordered their release last Thursday, but the following day their bodies were found. The UN Special Envoy to Libya Martin Kobler condemned the murders and called for a prompt and “transparent” investigation, commenting that he was “shocked and dismayed by the reports of murder of so many detainees released by a Tripoli court.
13 June 2016: Monitoring groups in Syria have reported that at least 27 people were killed in an attack over the weekend in Idlib and Maarat al-Numan. At least 21 people, five of them children, were killed in raids, including on a marketplace, in Idlib city, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday. Another six are reported to have been killed in aerial bombardments in the town of Maarat al-Numan, about 30km south of Idlib city.
13 June 2016: The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, Dainius Pūras, has condemned the direct targeting and continued damage and destruction of medical units, such as hospitals and other healthcare facilities, in the continuing conflict in Syria. Mr. Pūras said “The sheer number of such facilities being hit, as well as information relating to some of the incidents, suggests that some hospitals and other medical facilities may have been directly targeted.” and that "the intentional deprivation of people’s right to access medical care, goods and services through the destruction of hospitals and other medical facilities “is a clear violation of the right to health.”
12 June 2016: Former Chadian ruler Hissène Habré has decided to appeal against his life sentence for war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture and sexual slavery. The trial judgment finding Habré guilty of these charges was announced on 30 May 2016 by the Extraordinary African Chambers. The appeal was submitted last Friday to the Extraordinary African Chambers, which is an institution established by Senegal and the African Union to try Hissène Habré for crimes committed under his rule. A spokesperson from the Court – Marcel Mendy stated that the ‘Chambers will now put in a place a court of appeals, likely around August.'
11 June 2016: Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, who was convicted of crimes against humanity and war crimes by the International Criminal Court on 21 March 2016, is due to be sentenced before Trial Chamber III on 21 June 2016. The Chamber may impose a prison sentence as well as a fine or a forfeiture of proceeds, property or assets derived from the crime.
10 June 2016: Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, has appeared before the UN Security Council to present the ICC's 23rd report on the situation in Darfur. In so doing, she noted that '[i]t has been more than a decade since the ... Security Council ... referred the situation in Darfur to my Office ... [and today], those victims' quest for justice is still as far from being realised as it was eleven years ago'. Ms. Bensouda highlighted Sudan's consistent failure to comply with Security Council resolutions, the inaction of the Security Council in response and the consequent ability of those under warrants of arrest, including Mr. Al Bashir, to continue travel freely and to avoid facing charges.
10 June 2016: Abdelkarim El B., a German national, has had additional charges brought against him in relation to his time in Syria. In addition to the original charges relating to membership of a terrorist organisation, namely Islamic State (IS), he has also been charged with war crimes - he is accused of descrating the body of a dead person along with fellow IS members, all of which was filmed on his phone. Prosecutors claim that Abdelkarim was at the forefront of the fighting in Syria and his trial is due to start on 22 August 2016 in Germany.
10 June 2016: Former CIA operative, Sabrina de Sousa, will be extradited to Italy to serve a four year prison sentence for her role in the CIA's extraordinary rendition program. She was convicted in absentia in Italy of participating in the 2003 kidnapping, that occurred in Milan, and subsequent rendition of Egyptian terror suspect, Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr. Mr. Nasr was then allegedly transferred to Egypt and allegedly tortured by Egypt's State Security Intelligence before being released in 2007.
9 June 2016: On 8 June 2016, the District Court in The Hague published the English, unofficial translation (only the Dutch text of the full verdict is authentic) of the 10 December 2015 judgment in the so-called Context case, the largest terrorism case in the Netherlands in years. The 200-page judgment
not only includes considerations on jurisdiction, terrorist intent, incitement, recruitment, training and participation in a criminal (terrorist) organisation, but also on several aspects of international humanitarian law (the relationship between international humanitarian law and the EU Framework Decision on Terrorism, the non-international armed conflict in Syria, the status of foreign fighters under international law, etc). The judgement (in English) can be found here. The ICD will soon publish a case analysis of the judgment, which will be placed under a forthcoming tab that will collect as much case law on the foreign fighters phenomenon as possible.
9 June 2016: Yesterday, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea, which is tasked with investigating violations of international human rights law in Eritrea, released its second report in which it finds there are 'reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity, namely, enslavement, imprisonment, enforced disappearance, torture, other inhumane acts, persecution, rape and murder, have been committed in Eritrea since 1991'. The Commission also noted that Eritrea cannot currently provide accountability for these crimes without significant reform and thus recommended that the Security Council refer the situation to the International Criminal Court.
9 June 2016: On Wednesday, the EU Parliament passed a resolution in which it called upon EU Member States to investigate secret prisons in their territory that held CIA prisoners and participated in the rendition program. In passing the resolution, the EU Parliament noted there has been '"apathy shown by member states and EU institutions" about recognising "the multiple fundamental rights violations and torture" that took place in US CIA "rendition" operations on European soil between 2001 and 2006'. The Parliament also noted that although it has been over a year since the release of the US Senate Study into the CIA's rendition program, no perpetrators have been convicted and there has been a lack of cooperation by the US government with EU member states.
9 June 2016: ReCAAP (The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia) has released its May report, which notes that piracy and armed robbery is down 65% from the same time period last year. In the relevant time period surveyed, only one Category One incident, the hijacking and attempted cargo theft of the vessel Hai Soon, occurred, with six other minor incidents reported.
8 June 2016: High Risk Tribunal A in Guatemala is due to rule on 7 June on whether the military officials accused in the CREOMPAZ case will proceed to trial. Evidentiary hearings have been taking place since 3 May in the case that accuses "now retired military officers ... of criminal reponsibility for ... enforced disappearances, torture, sexual violence, and extrajudicial execution carried out between 1981 and 1987 in Military Zone 21..., a former military base that was the center of military coordination and intelligence in Coban, Alta Verapaz, and is now used to train UN peacekeepers".
8 June 2016: In the US, Nicholas Teausant, a 22-year-old, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for attempting to join Islamic State in Syria. Teausant had pleaded guilty in December to attempting to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organisation and he will be subject to an additional 25 years of supervision after his release.
8 June 2016: Hungary's parliament has passed a constitutional amendment that gives additional powers to the government during a state of emergency. These measures include the power to limit social media and the public's right to assemble in a terrorist emergency. Additionally, if a terrorist threat or attack occurs, parliament can declare a state of emergency for up to 15 days and use military forces inside the country.
7 June 2016: The suspension of the retrial of former head of state Jose Efrain Rios Montt and his former chief of intelligence General Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez has been upheld by an appeals court. The accused are charged with genocide and crimes against humanity committed against the Maya Ixil population in Guatemala. The original suspension was ordered following a request by civil parties to the case that argued the case violated Guatemalan law and that it should be separated. The ruling requires that two new tribunals be constituted to hear the two cases separately.
7 June 2016: On 2 June, the International Criminal Court (ICC) received its newest Member State, El Salvador. El Salvador is the ICC's 124th Member State and party to the Rome Statute. The President of the ICC, Silva Fernandez, welcomed El Salvador and commented "If we wish to see the remaining States of the world join the ICC, all parts of the Rome Statute system have to remain active in offering their support and encouragement for non-States Parties that are thinking of ratification. Our system is now stronger than ever with 124 States Parties, but there is a long way to go to universality. Without universal participation, the Court cannot achieve its global mandate".
6 June 2016: The Open Society Foundations have released a report in which they argue there is a "reasonable basis" to believe that Mexican government forces and the Zetas drug cartel have committed crimes against humanity over the past decade. The report calls upon Mexico to create an internationalised body to investigate and prosecute alleged crimes, including corruption.
3 June 2016: Yesterday, the German Parliament voted to adopt a resolution in which it declared the killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 a genocide. This raises the number of EU states who recognise the killings as genocide to 12 out of 28. In response, the Turkish government labelled the vote "null and void" and recalled its ambassador to Germany.
3 June 2016: Hassan Guleed, a Somali prisoner in Guantanamo Bay who is an alleged member of East Africa's Al Qaeda, has spoken of "mental torture" inside the high security section of the prison before a military judge. This marked his first appearance before a US court since his capture in 2004 and he has not been charged with any crimes.
2 June 2016: In an oral decision on 1 June 2016, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon decided by majority that the Ayyash et al. case will continue and will await further information from the Lebanese government concerning the death of accused Mustafa Amine Badreddine. The judges determined that there is not yet sufficient evidence to confirm Mr. Badreddine's death and their reasoning will be provided in a written decision to follow.
2 June 2016: In an unsworn statement, Aimé Kilolo Musamba declared that he wasn't aware witnesses he allegedly bribed and coached were lying. In the Bemba et al. trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC), he stated "Nothing suggested to us or to me that the witnesses were lying about the events they were describing or their participation in the events". Kilolo is currently on trial along with 4 co-accused in the ICC's first contempt proceedings.
2 June 2016: The International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh has sentenced one man to death and another two to life imprisonment for war crimes. They were convicted of killing two fighters, raping women and confining and torturing unarmed people during Bangladesh's war of independence with Pakistan in 1971. Defence lawyers said they will appeal the decision.
1 June 2016: The trial of former First Lady Simone Gbagbo has commenced in Cote d'Ivoire. She is accused of crimes against humanity and has previously been sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment for "attacking state authority". Human Rights groups have raised concerns about the trial, including their lack of involvement in all stages and the failure to pursue other suspects. Human Rights Watch has also highlighted the need for further legal reforms, especially in relation to witness protection.
31 May 2016: The trial of Dominic Ongwen at the International Criminal Court is due to open on 6 December 2016. The Prosecution expects to commence with the presentation of evidence in early 2017. Ongwen's charges, which include crimes against humanity and war crimes, were confirmed by Pre-Trial Chamber II on 23 March 2016. Ongwen is an alleged former commander in the Sinia Brigade of the Lord's Resistance Army.
30 May 2016: The verdict in the case of Chad's former leader, Hissene Habre, was handed down today. Mr Habre has been found guilty of crimes against humanity and has been sentenced to life imprisonment in Senegal before the Extraordinary African Chambers in the Senegalese courts. He was also convicted of rape, sexual slavery and ordering killings.
30 May 2016: The closing statements in the International Criminal Court's first contempt proceedings are set to be heard starting from tomorrow, 31 May 2016. The case, Bemba et al., concerns allegations that Mr. Bemba and four others interfered with witness testimony in the main case, the Prosecutor v Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo. The closing statements are anticipated to last 3 days and may feature unsworn statements by two of the accused.
30 May 2016: Former Ivorian First Lady Simone Gbagbo's second trial in Cote d'Ivoire will commence tomorrow, 31 May 2016. She has already been sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment for "attacking state authority" in relation to the post-election violence in 2010 in Cote d'Ivoire. In her second trial, she faces charges of crimes against humanity. An outstanding arrest warrant for Gbagbo remains at the International Criminal Court, where her husband, Laurent Gbagbo, is also the subject of ongoing criminal proceedings.
29 May 2016: Argentina's last dictator along with 14 former military officials were sentenced to imprisonment for human rights crimes, including kidnapping, forced disappearance and torture. Reynaldo Bignone was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment by an Argentine federal court in a case that marked the first time a court has found that Operation Condor "was an international criminal conspiracy carried out by the U.S.-backed regimes in Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay".
28 May 2016: Across Europe, national authorities are seeking testimony from refugees regarding war crimes that have occurred in Syria. States, such as Germany, France and the Netherlands, are working with refugees to collect evidence of war crimes and genocide in order to prosecute individuals accused of these crimes in Europe. While some European countries have legislation that enables them to prosecute international crimes wherever they occur, the alleged perpetrator still needs to first be within their jurisdiction to start the case.
27 May 2016: An UN team from the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture has suspended its investigations in Ukraine. The team, which is looking into allegations of torture, has claimed that they were unable to access certain sites that are under the control of Ukraine's domestic intelligence agency. The delegation determined that the lack of cooperation and access to sites had compromised the integrity of the visit.
27 May 2016: An Ugandan Court has convicted seven of the thirteen men tried on terrorism charges in relation to the 2010 bombing in Kampala. The suicide bombings were claimed by Somalia's al-Qaida-linked al-Shabaab and killed 76 people. All of the men had pleaded not guilty.
27 May 2016: In an address before the UN Security Council, International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda highlighted that "[s]uccess in Libya ... depends on the collective determination and will of all relevant actors to meaningfully contribute to the course of bringing perpetrators to justice and by so doing, help deter the commission of future crimes". Ms. Bensouda further noted the progress made by national law enforcement agencies and emphasised the ongoing positive cooperation with the ICC. The ICC's own investigation has similarly progressed but more slowly than desired due to the ongoing security situation in Libya and a lack of resources.
26 May 2016: On Wednesday, Mladen Mitrovic was convicted of obtaining his US citizenship by fraud. It was found that he failed to disclose his role as a guard at a Bosnian concentration camp during the 1990s and that, consequently, he had lied on his naturalisation application form. Federal prosecutors alleged that he led prisoners into a makeshift torture chamber and participated in the beatings. Mitrovic faces 10 years' imprisonment and deportation.
25 May 2016: In the retrial of Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic at the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), the first witnesses have been scheduled to give their testimony in the first half of 2017. The retrial follows the ruling by the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in December 2015 in which their initial acquittal was quashed. Both accused have pled not guilty to the charges.
25 May 2016: Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, an accused in the Mali situation, remains set to become the first person to admit his guilt at the International Criminal Court (ICC). His lawyer has indicated that Mr. al-Mahdi will plead guilty to a single charge of "the war crime of attacking buildings dedicated to religion and historic monuments". He is jointly accused of ordering or carrying out the destruction of 9 mausoleums and part of Timbuktu's Sidi Yahia mosque. There will be a joint hearing and sentencing decision later in 2016.
24 May 2016: Yesterday marked the first annual EU Day Against Impunity for Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes. The objective of this day was to raise awareness of these crimes and to promote national investigations and prosecutions that concern them. The Dutch Minister of Security and Justice stated that "It is primarily the responsibility of states to investigate and prosecute alleged perpetrators of core international crimes. International criminal courts and tribunals are often set up as courts of last resort, and are not able to prosecute [all] ... violations of international criminal law".
23 May 2016: Kaing Guek Eav or Duch has been scheduled to testify in Case 002/02 at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia from 26 May. He will testify about Security Centres and Internal Purges, focusing on the S-21 Security Centre. Although subject to ongoing appeals, Duch has already been convicted of crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions in Case 002/01and sentenced to life imprisonment.
23 May 2016: Further war crimes charges have been submitted at the Bangladesh's International Crimes Tribunal. The charges list six accused: Sheikh Md Abdul Mazid, Md Abdul Khalek Talukder, Md Kabir Khan, Abdur Rahman, Abdus Salam Beg and Nuruddin. The charges include murder, genocide, rape, abduction, torture, arson and looting.
22 May 2016: Bosnian prosecutors have charged Mirsad Hodzic, a former Islamic fighter with Egyptian origins, with war crimes. Hodzic is accused of taking at least 5 ethnic Croat civilians hostages while he was fighting alongside the Bosnian Muslims in the conflict in the 1990s. The hostages were allegedly tortured and beaten.
22 May 2016: A federal judge in Canada denied an application to review a decision that determined Henri Jean-Claude Seyoboka may be deported to face charges in Rwanda. Seyoboka, who has lived in Canada since 1996, was previously involved in the Rwandan military where he patrolled roadblocks - a fact that he did not disclose in his refugee application in Canada.
21 May 2016: The Central African Republic has launched a national committee for the prevention and punishment of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and all forms of discrimination. It is hoped that the committee will assist national reconciliation and help identify early warning signs of violence. The committee consists of members of government, civil society, women's associations, youth and religious leaders.
21 May 2016: An Afghan detainee, known as Obaidullah, has been cleared for release from Guatanamo Bay. Obaidullah, who was previously charged with war crimes and terrorism-related offences, was approved for release by the Periodic Review Board, who found that "the risks that the detainee presents can be adequately mitigated". The charges against him were dropped by the government in 2011.
20 May 2016: Human Rights Watch has issued a report concerning life under the Islamic State in Sirte, Libya. In the report, it documents serious crimes, including possible crimes against humanity and war crimes, allegedly committed against those living in Sirte as well as a host of alleged human rights abuses. It further requests, inter alia, that all parties to the conflict take additional measure to protect civilians and that Libyan authorities prosecute those accused of crimes.
19 May 2016: The US Senate has passed a bill that would permit American victims and their families to sue foreign states deemed responsible for attacks committed on US soil. If it is ultimately enacted, it would apply to any foreign state who either directly commit attacks or those who aid the culprits or their organisations. Previous statements by the White House indicate its opposition to this bill.
19 May 2016: The International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh has issued arrest warrants for two accused. Mohammad Liaquat Ali and Aminul Islam, also known as Rajab Ali, are charged with the war crimes of mass killing, murder, abduction, torture and looting during the war in Bangladesh in 1971.
18 May 2016: On Monday, the Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Court (ICC) commenced sentencing hearings in the case of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo. Bemba was convicted of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including counts relating to rape, on 21 March 2016. The Prosecutor is seeking a minimum sentence of 25 years while the Defence has argued that the 8 years he has previously spent in detention during his trial are sufficient.
17 May 2016: A Swedish Court