back to top
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.
back to top
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.
back to top
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.
back to top
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.
back to top
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.
back to top
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.
back to top
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.
back to top
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.
back to top
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.
back to top
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.
back to top
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 sentenced Claver Berinkindi to life imprisonment for his role in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda on Monday. Berinkindi is a Swedish citizen who was originally from Rwanda. He was convicted of genocide as well as other international crimes. In addition to the sentence, fifteen victims were awarded damages, marking the first time a Swedish court has awarded damages to victims of genocide.
17 May 2016: Five Australians were arrested and charged with terrorism related offences. Due to the prior cancellation of their passports, they allegedly planned to leave Australia in a fishing boat and then travel to join the Islamic State in Syria. They are charged with making preparations for incursions into foreign countries to engage in hostile activities and are due to appear before a magistrate in Melbourne later this week.
16 May 2016: Indonesian Defence Minister, Ryamizard Ryacudu, has urged ASEAN nations to assist with preventing piracy in the regions waterways. He requested joint patrolling and cooperation among ASEAN countries, noting that incidences of piracy had increased in past months in waters surrounding the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.
15 May 2016: The trial of former Guatemalan military dictator, José Efráin Ríos Montt, will nowrecommence following its separation from the trial of José Manuel Rodríguez Sánchez. The separation was requested by the plaintiffs in the case and it annuls the hearings up until 2 May. Montt is accused of being responsible for the murders of 1,771 Indigenous Ixil-Maya people during the Guatemalan civil war. He was previously convicted in 2013 and sentenced to 80 years' imprisonment but this was overturned by the Guatemalan Constitutional Court.
14 May 2016: In a joint statement, the International Commission of Jurists, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International criticised parts of the recent agreement to form a new coalition government in Nepal. They took particular issue with the amnesty provisions within the agreement as they argue it entrenches impunity and is aimed at shielding perpetrators from the decade-long civil war from prosecution, ultimately harming the transitional justice process.
14 May 2016: Although there is an outstanding warrant for his arrest at the International Criminal Court (ICC), Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has not been arrested despite his recent travels. al-Bashir is accused of five counts of crimes against humanity, two counts of war crimes and three counts ofgenocide, and has had two arrest warrants issued against him by the ICC, respectively in March 2009 and July 2010. In spite of the arrest warrants, al-Bashir has recently travelled to Indonesia, Ethiopia and was in Uganda for the inauguration of President Yoweri Museveni.
13 May 2016: An American Federal Appeals Court heard arguments relating to previously dismissed claims by former detainees at Abu Ghraib prison. The claims were initially thrown out by the District Court and the plaintiffs are requesting that the charges against CACI Premier Technology INC, which was hired to conduct interrogations at the Iraqi prison, be reinstated. The plaintiffs argue that the employees of the company conspired to have the soldiers torture them.
13 May 2016: Former Rwandan mayor, Tito Barahira, argued that he was just "an ordinary citizen" and that he played no role in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. He is currently on trial with Octavien Ngenzi in France and they are accused of genocide and crimes against humanity for orchestrating 'massive and systematic summary executions during the genocide.
12 May 2016: Human Rights Watch has suggested that a car bombing, claimed by the Islamic State (IS), in Baghdad on 11 May constitutes a crime against humanity that fits the pattern of crimes committed by IS. The attack killed at least 63 people, with many victims being women.
back to top
12 May 2016: The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, a United Nations-mandated human rights inquiry, condemned recent attacks on civilians and infrastructure (such as hospitals) that have occurred in Aleppo city and at an IDP camp in Idlib. It noted that these attacks are unlawful and in violation of international humanitarian law, and suggested some may also constitute war crimes.
12 May 2016: Colombia's Attorney General announced that is currently investigating five top leaders from the country's National Liberation Army (ELN) guerilla group for nearly 16,000 war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Attorney General's office confirmed that this includes ELN leader, Nicolas Rodriguez Bautista, and four other high-level rebels.
11 May 2016: Former Ivorian First Lady Simone Gbagbo's trial will commence in Abidjan on 31 May. She has been accused of war crimes that allegedly occurred during the 2010-2011 post-election violence in Cote d'Ivoire. A warrant for her arrest has also been issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC), where she is charged with four counts of crimes against humanity for her role in the same post-election violence. Her case at the ICC will remain in the Pre-Trial phase until she is transferred to the Court.
11 May 2016: Motiur Rahman Nizami was hanged at Dhaka Central Jail, Bangladesh at one minute past midnight today. He had been the head of the banned Jamaat-e-Islami party and was convicted of war crimesfollowing the the 1971 war of independence.
11 May 2016: The trial of Former President Laurent Gbagbo and youth leader Charles Blé Goudé at the International Criminal Court (ICC) resumed on Monday, 9 May. Gbagbo and Blé Goudé are both charged with 4 counts of crimes against humanity, including charges relating to murder, rape, persecution, and attempted murder, and their trial commenced on 28 January 2016.
10 May 2016: Human Rights Watch has called for Motiur Rahman Nizami's death sentence to be suspended in light of serious concerns regarding fair trial rights. Nizami's review petition was rejected on 5 May by the Supreme Court in Bangladesh, paving the way for the death penalty to be carried out in the coming days. Nizami was charged with 16 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and was ultimately convicted of 5 of these charges by the Bangladeshi International Crimes Tribunal for his involvement in Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence.
9 May 2016: UN special representative Jan Kubis reported to the UN Security Council that more than 50 mass graves have been discovered in parts of Iraq that had been previously occupied by the Islamic State. He also emphasised that the Islamic State continues to forcibly recruit Yazidi children, conduct kidnappings, killings, rape, and torture, which may constitute crimes against humanity, war crimes or genocide.
9 May 2016: Authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) said they have arrested General Leopold Mujyambere, a deputy commander of a rebel group linked to the Rwandan genocide. He was recognised during a routine police stop and transferred to Kinshasa. The DRC military justice system will decide whether to try him in the DRC or to extradite him to Rwanda.
8 May 2016: Two former Kabarondo mayors, Octavien Ngenzi and Tito Barahira, go on trial in France this week over the killings of hundreds of people at the Kabarondo Catholic Church in April 1994. They are accused of genocide and crimes against humanity, charges which they both deny. This is the second trial of suspected perpetrators who live in France.
6 May 2016: The former Congolese warlord and convicted war criminal, Germain Katanga, is back on trialin the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He is charged with, inter alia, war crimes and crimes against humanity that occurred in Ituri in the fighting between 1999 and 2007. In 2014, Katanga was found guilty by the International Criminal Court of being an accessory to a crime against humanity (murder) and of war crimes. He completed his sentence for these convictions in January 2016.
6 May 2016: The second genocide trial against José Efráin Ríos Montt and José Manuel Rodríguez Sánchez was interrupted this week following the grant of a provisional amparo by an appeals court. The amparo was filed by civil parties representing victims and claimed that the proceedings, which are conducted behind closed doors, are illegal under Guatemalan law.
5 May 2016: UN political affairs official, Jeffrey Feltman, affirmed that attacks on hospitals and using starvation as a weapon during conflict amount to war crimes. He further called for the situation in Syria to be referred to the International Criminal Court to enable those responsible for crimes to be held accountable,describing life for those located in Aleppo as "horrendous and [having] ... lost all sense".
4 May 2016: Deliberate attacks on hospitals amount to “war crimes,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moonsaid on Tuesday just hours after another hospital was targeted in the Syrian city of Aleppo. “Let us be clear: intentional and direct attacks on hospitals are war crimes. Denying people access to essential health care is a serious violation of international humanitarian law,” Ban said in a speech to the UN Security Council in New York. “When so-called surgical strikes end up hitting surgical wards, something is deeply wrong.” The Security Council unanimously adopted a new resolution demanding all parties in conflicts to protect medical staff and facilities.
4 May 2016: The International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh sentenced four men to death Tuesday for killing, torture, arson and looting during the nation's independence war against Pakistan in 1971. The court, accused by rights groups of holding flawed proceedings, said the four were involved in the deaths of nine people. Only one suspect was in court for the verdict. Authorities are still searching for the other three. The three-judge tribunal also sentenced a fifth man to life in prison on two murder charges.
4 May 2016: A German suspected jihadist denied committing war crimes in Syria on the first day of his groundbreaking trial on Tuesday. Aria Ladjedvardi told the court in Frankfurt he had been forced to pose for photographs alongside the severed heads of two victims of the Syrian civil war against his will. The 21-year-old is the first person to go on trial in Germany on charges of committing war crimes in Syria. He is accused of desecrating the dead over the pictures.
3 May 2016: Canada is prepared to join a key UN anti-torture agreement more than a decade after it was adopted. The UN's Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture allows for the establishment of national and international systems for inspecting detention centres where torture often takes place in secrecy. Although various other states have already done so, Canada has not yet ratified the protocol. The Harper government twice promised to do so, but never did. The new Trudeau government will follow through, says Chantal Gagnon, a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion.
2 May 2016: Germany is due to begin its first war crimes trials over atrocities committed in Syria. The suspects to appear in court this week include a man who was pictured posing with severed heads, the leader of a notorious Islamist group and a Syrian who is accused of kidnapping a UN soldier. Authorities have been dealing with 25 to 30 tip-offs every day from asylum seekers reporting possible jihadists who could be looking to carry out attacks on German soil.
2 May 2016: The American commander overseeing all US wars in the Middle East stressed Friday that the US bombing of a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan in October was an accident caused by extreme circumstances that ultimately did not amount to a war crime, despite continued pressure from international groups pressing for criminal action. The Pentagon has released its full report detailing the night of chaos and horror that left 42 patients and staffers dead at the hospital. MSF reiterated its request for Barack Obama to permit an independent inquiry into a US attack on its hospital after the US military investigation failed to yield criminal charges.
back to top
18 April 2016: British police arrested five people on suspicion of preparing acts of terrorism as part of an investigation linked to the attacks in Brussels and Paris. Three men and a 29 year old woman were arrested in Birmingham on Thursday. On Friday morning, another man was detained at London's Gatwick airport.
18 April 2016: On Friday, Leon Mugesera, a Rwandan politican who fought deportation from Canada for 16 years, was sentenced to life imprisonment in Rwanda for inciting his countrymen to commit genocide. Mugesera was accused of having delivered a speech in Rwanda in 1992 in which he suggested that members of the Tutsi ethnic group should be exterminated. His speech is considered to have been a trigger for the massacre of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 1994.
15 April 2016: Seven Somali pirates were sentenced to between six and 15 years' imprisonment by a French court on Wednesday for the hijacking of a French yacht that left the owner dead and his wife facing a kidnapping ordeal in the Gulf of Aden in 2011. Two members of the gang, Farhan Abdisalamn Hassan and Ahmed Abdullahi Akid, were identified as the "recruiters" and were handed 15 year year sentences. Farhan Mohamoud Abchir, a minor at the time of the hijacking who has since developed schizophrenia while in prison according to his lawyer, was given the lightest sentence of six years.
15 April 2016: A 49 year old Liberian national and resident of East Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, Mohammed Jabbateh, was indicted in Philadelphia on Wednesday on two counts of immigration fraud and two counts of perjury for failing to disclose his crimes in Liberia when he applied for political asylum in 1998. US Attorney Zane David Memeger said in a press statement that Jabbateh had concealed his identity as an officer of the United Liberation Movement for Democracy in Liberia. "This defendant allegedly committed unspeakable crimes in his home country, brutalising numerous innocent victims," Memeger said. Jabbateh has been accused of committing or ordering troops to commit murder and torture, public rape, the enslavement of civilian noncombatants, and other crimes motivated by race, religion, nationality, ethnic origin or political opinion.
14 April 2016: A French Court has ruled that Radomir Susnjar, who has been accused of crimes against humanity in Bosnia and Herzegovina, can be extradited to face the charges. Mr Susnjar has been accused of being part of a Bosnian Serb paramilitary group who were responsible for the massacre of 59 Bosnian Muslims in Visegrad in June 1992. Mr Susnjar's French lawyer has confirmed he will appeal the extradition decision to the French Court of Cassation.
13 April 2016: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "can successfully be prosecuted for war crimes". That is the conclusion of the Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA), a group of independent lawyers, that has obtained top-secret documents from the highest levels of the Syrian government. The documents allegedly prove that Assad was the commander responsible for the torture and killing of his own citizens. This is the first international war crimes investigation completed by an independent group without a court order, yet funded by governments. The CIJA asserts that all that is needed to successfully prosecute Assad is a court to hear the case.
13 April 2016: A Serbian rights group, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC), announced Tuesday that it will be appealing a fine imposed by the First Basic Court in Belgrade to compensate the Serbian Army Chief of General Staff for damages caused by publicly linking him to war crimes in Kosovo during the 1998-1999 conflict. Natasa Kandic, the former head of the HLC, described the verdict by the court as “political” and promised to take it to the European Court of Justice if necessary.
12 April 2016: A "remarkable" decline in maritime piracy in Southeast Asia has been recorded for the first quarter of this year; however, attacks have significantly increased in the northernmost part of the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Africa. During the first three months of the year, only 13 maritime crime cases werereported in Southeast Asia, compared to 35 for the same period last year, according to a global report by Dryad Maritime, released early Tuesday in London. It is the lowest number recorded in 10 years by Dryad, which provides information and analysis on attacks and incidents. According to the consultancy's chief operating officer Ian Millen, this is primarily "because the criminal gangs have come under a lot of pressure. They've been subject to a proactive effort in law enforcement and also in deterrence".
12 April 2016: The German criminal police receives between 25 and 30 reports about war crimes per day from refugees arriving in the country, a regional broadcaster reported on Monday. Some 2,800 testimonies have already been registered in Germany, with most of the evidence coming via the routine interviews that all asylum seekers give to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) when applying for asylum in Germany. At least one suspected war criminal has already been arrested, and 13 investigations have been launched.
11 April 2016: Former Lebanese minister of information Michel Samaha, convicted last year of terrorism-related charges, was sentenced on Friday to 13 years in prison, Lebanon’s official National News Agency said. The Lebanese authorities arrested Mr. Samaha in 2012 and accused him of smuggling explosives into Lebanon from Syria for use in terrorist attacks. Named as an accomplice in the same suit was a high-ranking security official from Syria, Ali Mamlouk, who is close to the Syrian President Assad. Lebanon’s government remains divided between allies of Assad and those who oppose him. Mr. Samaha is firmly in Assad’s camp, and his trial has prompted accusations of judicial meddling in a country with a long history of political violence.
11 April 2016: Belgian authorities on Saturday charged four more suspects, Mohamed Abrini, Osama K., Herve B. M. and Bilal E. M., with "participating in terrorist acts" in relation to the suicide bombings in Brussels, the federal prosecution office said. The attacks killed 32 people and wounded 270 others. Two other suspects arrested in the last couple of days were released "after thorough interrogation".
11 April 2016: The South Africa Department of Justice said in a statement on Friday that it has filed for leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court against the judgment delivered by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) last month. In that judgment‚ the SCA said the government's conduct in failing to take steps to arrest and detain Al-Bashir for surrender to the International Criminal Court when he was in South Africa was inconsistent with South Africa’s obligations under the Rome Statute as well as under domestic implementing legislation, and therefore unlawful. “After scrutinizing the SCA judgment and seeking legal opinion‚ the government believes that the interpretation of legislation relating to immunity granted to a foreign sitting head of state needs pronouncement by the Constitutional Court as the apex court in the land and final arbiter on constitutional matters‚” justice department spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said in the statement.
11 April 2016: Police and a Kosovo-based human rights body said Friday that a former Serb general suspected of war crimes against ethnic Albanian civilians has been detained. Behxhet Shala of the Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms, said Milovan Bojovic was arrested a day earlier after illegally crossing into Kosovo at the Merdare border point. Police spokesman Baki Kelani also confirmed the name. He said in a cell phone message that prosecutors have launched an investigation for illegal border crossing but declined to confirm war crimes charges.
8 April 2016: The Presidency of the International Criminal Court (ICC) approved the request of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to prosecute Mr Germain Katanga on 7 April 2016. Mr Katanga completed his sentence, which was reduced on 19 December 2015, on 18 January 2016 in the State of enforcement, the DRC. A key factor, among others, in the decision was that the domestic proceedings relate to different conduct from the prior proceedings before the ICC. This marks the first occasion that the Presidency has interpreted and applied article 108(1) of the Rome Statute, which concerns requests to prosecute, punish or extradite sentenced persons in the custody of a State of enforcement.
7 April 2016: The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court stated on Wednesday that the crimes against humanity case against Kenya's deputy president William Samoei Ruto and former broadcaster Joshua Arap Sang collapsed after 17 witnesses withdrew their cooperation with the court as a result of intimidation. ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda issued an assessment Wednesday, blaming the failure of the case to political interference in Kenya. "Due to deliberate and concerted efforts to derail this case through witness interference, the judges have been prevented from determining the guilt or innocence of the accused on the full merits of the case," said Bensouda in a statement issued from The Hague. "What is also troubling is that the onslaught against this case has — for now — denied the victims of the 2007-2008 election violence in Kenya the justice they so rightly deserve." Prosecution witnesses "were subjected to intimidation, social isolation and threats to prevent them from testifying," Bensouda said.
7 April 2016: A Syrian man was arrested in Germany on Wednesday for allegedly committing war crimes in Syria in 2012, Germany’s federal public prosecutor said. 41-year-old Ibrahim Al F. was arrested Wednesday in the Western state of North Rhine-Westphalia. He's accused of leading a militia in 2012 made up of 150 members of the Ghurabaa al-Sham group, which fought against President Assad's government. Prosecutors say the group led by the suspect primarily pursued its own interests, plundering areas of Aleppo and seizing and torturing people until it received ransoms.
6 April 2016: The prosecution at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia will appeal against last week’s verdict acquitting Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj of war crimes andcrimes against humanity. Serge Brammertz, chief prosecutor, said judges had ignored a large body of evidence when they freed Seselj, who was accused of stoking murderous ethnic hatred with fiery rhetoric against Bosnian Muslims and Croats in the early 1990s.
5 April 2016: Trial Chamber V(A) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) today terminated the case against William Samoei Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang. The majority, consisting of Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji and Judge Robert Fremr, agreed that the charges were to be vacated following requests by Mr Ruto and Mr Sang that the Chamber find there was 'no case to answer'. Judge Herrera Carbuccia added a dissenting opinion. The decision may be appealed and does not prevent the commencement of a new trial either at the ICC or in a national jurisdiction.
5 April 2016: On 24 March 2016, Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) confirmedwar crimes charges against Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi that relate to the destruction of historical and religious monuments in Timbuktu, Mali. In a statement of the same date, the ICC Prosecutor announced that Mr Al Madhi had expressed his desire to plead guilty to the charges relating to the destruction of cultural property during the confirmation of charges proceedings. This marks the first time an accused has notified the ICC of his intention to plead guilty.
4 April 2016: The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has indefinitely haltedthe trial of former Croatian Serb rebel leader Goran Hadzic, who was provisionally released a year ago for ill health, his lawyer said on Saturday. The 57-year-old is the last of 161 suspects charged by the Court. The former leader of the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina in Croatia during the 1990s war, Hadzic is accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
1 April 2016: Belgian authorities approved the extradition of Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam to France on Thursday. Abdeslam, the sole surviving suspect in the November terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 130 people, was arrested in Brussels on March 18 after four months on the run as Europe's most wanted man. After his four-month flight from the law ended on March 18, Abdeslam officially confirmed that he will not fight his transfer back to Paris. "The transfer is authorized," a statement from the state prosecutor's office said. Abdeslam's lawyer, Cedric Moisse, said that is client "would like to cooperate with the French authorities. This is his will and this is the word he wants everybody to hear."
1 April 2016: The ex-commander of a Communist-era Labour camp in Romania has been jailed for 20 years for ‘crimes against humanity’. The camp run by 88-year old Ioan Fishur, in the late 1950s and early 60s, was known for its particularly brutal treatment of political prisoners.
back to top
31 March 2016: Vojislav Šešelj, President of the Serbian Radical Party and a former member of the Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, was acquitted today by The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in relation to events that occurred during the period of August 1991 until September 1993. He was acquitted of six counts of war crimes (murder, torture and cruel treatment, wanton destruction, destruction or wilful damage done to institutions dedicated to religion or education, plunder of public or private property) and three counts of crimes against humanity (persecution, deportation and the inhumane act of forcible transfer). The Parties can appeal the judgment.
30 March 2016: A federal court in Salta province of Argentina sentenced former bus company owner Marcos Levín to 12 years in prison yesterday, making him the first businessman in the country’s history to be convicted for crimes against humanity committed during the last military dictatorship. Levín, the ex-owner of the La Veloz del Norte transport company, was given the sentence along with two former police officers, Víctor Hugo Bocos and Víctor Almirón, for their role in the kidnapping and torture of his former employee Víctor Manuel Cobos. Another ex-police officer, Enrique Cardozo, was given an eight-year prison sentence.
30 March 2016: Bangladesh's largest Islamist party chief Motiur Rahman Nizami filed an appeal with the Supreme Court Tuesday against his death sentence for war crimes in 1971. If his review petition is rejected, the last option for him will be to seek presidential mercy. Bangladesh's Supreme Court on January 6 upheld a death penalty for the 73-year-old over war crimes committed during the country's war of independence 45 years ago. Lawyers of Nizami, president of the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party, submitted the review petition on behalf of their client, who is now in a prison in Kashimpur on the outskirts of capital Dhaka.
29 March 2016: Seven suspected Somali pirates are due in court in Paris on Tuesday over the hijacking of a French yacht that left the owner dead and his wife facing a hellish kidnapping ordeal. The trial of the seven men, aged between 25 and 32, is due to run for a fortnight from March 29. They face possible life imprisonment if convicted.
29 March 2016: Belgian authorities have announced that they have arrested and charged three terrorismsuspects following a Europe-wide effort to identify and capture ISIS terrorist-cell members following last week's suicide bombings in Brussels. One of the suspects, who was believed to be involved in the Brussels airport attack, was later released. Two other men, Aboubakar A. and Rabah N., were charged with terrorist activities and membership of a terrorist group. Rabah N. was wanted in connection with a related raid in France last week that authorities say foiled an apparent attack plot.
24 March 2016: Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader, was convicted of genocide, war crimesand crimes against humanity by The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on Thursday for leading a campaign of terror against civilians that included the slaughter of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995 and the nearly four-year siege of Sarajevo. Karadzic, 70, was sentenced to 40 years in prison at the conclusion of the trial that covered close to 500 trial days since he was first in the dock at the court in July 2008. Karadzic is the most senior political figure to be tried for events in the Bosnian war, which was part of the breakup of Yugoslavia.
24 March 2016: The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has created an independent panel to explore legal avenues for prosecuting North Korean leaders for crimes against humanity. The council, based in Geneva, passed a resolution calling for the appointment of independent experts to identify and recommend “practical mechanisms of accountability” for abuses detailed in a landmark 2014 report of a commission of inquiry. The commission of inquiry recommended that the United Nations Security Council refer the situation to the International Criminal Court, but obtaining a Security Council resolution to that end could prove difficult with China, North Korea’s traditional ally, wielding a veto. The UNHRC resolution is intended to keep up the pressure on North Korea’s leadership by identifying alternative approaches for bringing to justice those responsible for abuses.
24 March 2016: The International Criminal Court ruled Wednesday there is enough evidence to try Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) commander Dominic Ongwen for crimes committed in Uganda. The Hague-based tribunal "confirmed 70 charges brought by the prosecutor against Dominic Ongwen," saying "there are substantial grounds to believe that Dominic Ongwen is responsible" for crimes including murder, rape, torture and using child soldiers. Ongwen, who surrendered Ongwen, who surrendered early last year and was handed over to the ICC, is the only senior LRA commander currently in the court's custody.
23 March 2016: A Finnish court has given an Iraqi man a 13-month suspended sentence for war crimescommitted in his home country last year, finding him guilty of degrading the body of a dead enemy soldier. Prosecutor Juha-Mikko Hamalainen said Tuesday that the 23-year-old former Iraqi army soldier had posted a picture of himself with the decapitated head on his Facebook page “for all to see,” and had admitted to the crime. Last week, in a similar but unrelated case, a court in southern Finland gave another Iraqi man a 16-month sentence for committing war crimes in Iraq in 2015.
23 March 2016: Terrorist organization IS has claimed responsibility for a wave of bombings that killed at least 30 people in Brussels. The news comes from IS's official press office. In a statement IS speaks of several suicide attackers who carried out attacks using explosive belts and devices.
22 March 2016: The International Criminal Court (ICC) convicted former Congolese vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba of two counts of crimes against humanity (murder and rape) and three counts of war crimes(murder, rape, and pillaging). He became the first person ever to be convicted for sexual violence at the ICC. The conviction of Bemba — who was far from the battleground while his militia committed its crimes — was noteworthy in a second respect: it was the first time the court had applied the principle of command or superior responsibility. The judges found that Bemba was culpable for having “failed to prevent” the crimes committed by his subordinates, and for doing nothing to punish the offenses.
21 March 2016: Top level Rwandan genocide suspect Ladislas Ntaganzwa was flown from Kinshasa to Kigali on Sunday to face trial three months after his arrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The 53-year old former mayor is to be tried on nine counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and violating the Geneva Conventions during the 1994 genocide in which around 800,000 people were killed, mostly ethnic Tutsis.
21 March 2016: An Iraqi migrant to Finland has been found guilty of committing a war crime after he posted images of himself on Facebook posing with the head of an Islamic State group fighter. Jebbar Salman Ammar, 29, was given a 16-month suspended sentence by the Pirkanmaa district court, which found he had desecrated the corpse of a fighter by posting three images on Facebook of himself with the decapitated fighter’s head in the Iraqi city of Tikrit.
21 March 2016: Saudi Arabia and its allies could be “commissioning international war crimes” by killing thousands of civilians in hospitals, markets, schools and even at weddings in Yemen, the United Nations haswarned. Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, condemned an air strike in Yemen last week and added that the coalition was "responsible for twice as many civilian casualties as all other forces put together".
21 March 2016: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the American government has determined that ISIS' actions against the Yazidis and other minority groups in Iraq and Syria constitutegenocide. The administration is willing to "cooperate with independent efforts to investigate genocide," said spokesman Josh Earnest, adding that the government is prepared to support the ICC in gathering evidence.
17 March 2016: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told the Congress he needs more time to determine whether atrocities committed by the Islamic State group constitute genocide, but a decision will be made “very soon,” according to the State Department. Despite rising pressure from activists for official protection for the region’s embattled Christian communities, State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters Wednesday that Kerry would not decide before the March 17 deadline set by lawmakers.
17 March 2016: A Guatemalan court convened Wednesday for a fourth attempt to try former dictator Efrain Rios Montt on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity during the Central American nation’s long and bloody civil war. Rios Montt, an 89-year-old ex-general who seized power in a coup and was de-facto president from 1982-83, is accused in the killings of nearly 2,000 indigenous Ixil Guatemalans by soldiers under his regime. His former intelligence chief, Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez, is a co-defendant. Rios Montt was convicted at a previous trial in 2013 and given an 80-year prison sentence, but that was overturned on procedural grounds.
17 March 2016: Judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) averted a potential stand-off between the European Union and Serbia on Wednesday by excusing a war crimes suspect from returning to The Hague for his verdict because he needed medical treatment unavailable there. The decision, overturning an earlier compulsory court summons for nationalist politician Vojislav Seselj, avoided the risk of a confrontation that could have led to EU sanctions on Serbia for failing to carry out the summons. Seselj's judgment on nine charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity will be delivered on 31 March. It is the first time that judges at the ICTY will hand down an initial verdict without the accused in court - although defendants have been absent for appeals judgments.
16 March 2016: The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) of Bangladesh on Tuesday night issued a death warrant for condemned Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami for his war crimes during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. He orchestrated the massacre of Bangladeshi intellectuals in 1971 using his Al-Badr militia.
16 March 2016: The Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa on Tuesday confirmed that the government had acted unlawfully when it failed to detain Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir when he visited South Africa (SA) last year despite an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court (ICC). Unless successfully appealed, it means that SA is obliged to arrest him or anyone else who has been indicted for international crimes by the ICC. Bashir is wanted by the ICC for war crimes, crimes against humanity andgenocide.
15 March 2016: A Belgian court has sentenced a former Somali pirate kingpin to 20 years in prison over the hijacking of a Belgian ship off the coast of Somali. Mohamed Abdi Hassan, also known as Afwayne, announced his retirement from piracy in January 2013 to advocate against piracy, but his past dealings caught up to him later that year when he was lured into Belgium and arrested by authorities upon his arrival. Hassan was convicted of crimes related to the hijacking of the Belgian ship Pompeii in 2009 and sentenced Monday to 20 years by the Bruges Criminal Court in northwest Belgium. The ship’s 10 crew members were held by Somali pirates for more than two months before a ransom of more than $2 million was paid for their release.
15 March 2016: The United States House of Representatives approved a resolution Monday that declares the Islamic State is committing genocide against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East. The resolution was passed without a single dissenting vote, 393-0, sending a strong signal to Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who has been deliberating for months whether to declare the atrocities genocide.
15 March 2016: A Swedish court has ordered the arrest of a Syrian on suspicion of war crimes in his home country in 2012. The Orebro District Court says the 45-year-old man allegedly participated in execution-style killings four years ago in the northwestern city of Idlib. The court said on Monday that the suspect, registered as living in the central Swedish town of Karlskoga, should be arrested immediately pending a detention hearing, for fear that he might flee the country to avoid prosecution.
14 March 2016: A U.N. report describing sweeping crimes like children and the disabled being burned alive and fighters being allowed to rape women as payment shows South Sudan is facing "one of the most horrendous human rights situations in the world," the U.N. human rights chief said Friday. Zeid Raad al-Hussein lamented the crisis in the nearly 5-year-old country has been largely overlooked by the international community, and his office said attacks against civilians, forced disappearances, rape and other violations could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. The U.N report released Friday is the work of an assessment team deployed in South Sudan between October and January and says "state actors" bear most responsibility for the crimes. It said Zeid recommends that the U.N. Security Council consider expanding sanctions already in place by imposing a "comprehensive arms embargo" on South Sudan and consider referring the matter to the International Criminal Court if other judicial avenues fail.
14 March 2016: Authorities have re-arrested a former leader of a militia accused of torturing and mutilating civilians during Sierra Leone's civil war. Moinina Fofana was convicted by a United Nations-backed special court in 2007 of war crimes and crimes against humanity including murder, cruel treatment, pillage and collective punishment. He received a 15-year sentence and was granted provisional release in February 2015 after serving two-thirds of his sentence. He was transferred to serve the rest of his term under strict conditions and monitoring in his community in Bo, Sierra Leone's second-largest city. The president of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone revoked the release Wednesday, said senior protection officer Thomas Konie Akinbobola. Police arrested Fofana Thursday, and he was brought to Sierra Leone's capital Freetown on Friday, the officer said. Akinbobola did not specify which condition was breached, but he said Fofana is "not free to participate in any political activity until May 2018, when the remaining sentence of the total 15 years should expire."
11 March 2016: South Sudanese government soldiers killing more than 60 men and children by deliberately letting them suffocate in a cargo container in October 2015, could be considered a war crime, Amnesty International said on Friday. In a report detailing the atrocity by government soldiers for the first time, the London-based rights watchdog called for the perpetrators to be prosecuted.
11 March 2016: A Serbian nationalist currently awaiting sentencing from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has set fire to EU and NATO flags in Belgrade and insisted he will not be present for the verdict in The Hague later this month. Vojislav Seselj was given permission to return to Serbia in 2014 for cancer treatment prior to the court's judgment over charges of crimes against humanity. The 61-year-old is accused of leading Serbian volunteers to "cleanse" large parts of Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia's northern Vojvodina region during the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s. ICTY judges have ordered Seselj to appear before them in person on 31 March. He was due to appear at Serbia's own war crimes court in Belgrade to discuss the demand but the session was postponed for procedural reasons.
10 March 2016: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called on the Turkish Parliament on Wednesday to recognize the Soviet deportation of the Crimean Tatars in 1944 as genocide. The protection of the rights of the Crimean Tatars is one of the issues being discussed by Poroshenko and Turkish leaders during his two-day visit to Ankara.
10 March 2016: Intelligence analysts believe that an additional former Guantánamo Bay detainee has engaged in terrorist activity after his release, while seven more have been added to a roster of those who might be causing problems, according to data disclosed on Monday. Most of the former detainees newly believed to be causing problems were released by the Obama administration, according to a semiannual report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The number of ex-detainees now confirmed to have rejoined terrorist groups is seven, according to the report, while the number of detainees released under the Obama administration that intelligence analysts suspect have reengaged in terrorist activities is now 12.
9 March 2016: Kosovo's president-elect has pledged to "fully support" a new war crimes court prosecuting members of the guerrilla group he once led -- despite a question mark hanging over whether he himself will be indicted. Hashim Thaci, elected by parliament in February as the next head of state, made his name as political leader of the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which fought against Serbia for independence in the late 1990s. The new court, due to open in The Hague this year, will try crimes allegedly committed by senior KLA members. The court's creation stems from a Council of Europe report in 2011, which accused Thaci of heading a mafia-style network involved in assassinations, unlawful detentions and even trafficking captives' organs during and after the war.
9 March 2016: Two Iraqi men have been charged with war crimes by Finnish prosecutors, the Helsinki prosecutor's office said on Tuesday. Helsinki District Prosecutor Juha-Mikko Hamalainen says the cases, which are not connected, involve two men under the age of 30 who arrived in Finland last autumn. The men are charged in connection with incidents that took place in Iraq in 2014 and 2015 and involved the desecration of bodies, with the charges being based on images and information found on the internet, Hamalainen said. Both men have denied the charges.
8 March 2016: Kenya has released from its jails 7 Somali men held for being involved in piracy activities after completing their sentences. Kenya is one of a few countries that are prosecuting pirates, but the cases are notoriously difficult to prosecute and take a long time to complete. More than 1000 Somali pirates are in prisons around the world. Some of them have been already convicted while others are still waiting to be prosecuted.
8 March 2016: The Bangladesh Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the death penalty for one of the top leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, Mir Quasem Ali, for war crimes during the 1971 independence war with Pakistan, which included killing and torturing freedom fighters.
4 March 2016: A Guatemalan court on Wednesday ordered two former military officers convicted of holding women as sex slaves, as well as murder and forced disappearances during the nation's civil war to pay their victims just over $1 million in compensation. Esteelmer Reyes Giron, a lieutenant colonel, and Heriberto Valdez Asij, a civilian with links to the army, were sentenced last Friday to a total of 360 years in prison for crimes against humanity dating back to the early 1980s. The court in Guatemala City on Wednesday ordered Reyes to pay $65,000 to each victim and Valdez to pay $32,000 to each victim and to the families of seven men who had disappeared.
4 March 2016: On 3 March 2016, Hugo Roger Martinez Bonilla, Foreign Minister of El Salvador, depositedhis country’s instrument of ratification of the amended Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court(ICC). El Salvador thus became the first country to ratify the Statute and the Kampala Amendments at the same time – it will be the 124th State Party to the Rome Statute and the 28th State Party to the Kampala Amendments.
3 March 2016: An anti-torture report published by the Council of Europe strongly criticises excessive police force and poor prison conditions in Greece. The Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) released the report on Tuesday, which confirms “a widespread and deep-rooted problem of police ill-treatment in Greece", highlighting an excessive use of force by the Delta motorcycle police unit in Athens. It also criticised “the inadequate nature of investigations into allegations of ill-treatment by law enforcement officials, characterised by systemic failings by the police and judicial authorities.” The report welcomed commitments from the justice ministry to tackle the issues and improve the health care facilities.
3 March 2016: The US House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday unanimously passed two resolutions to increase pressure on the Obama administration to do more to stop Islamic State terrorists and to help the people of Syria. The first resolution accuses Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies, singling out Russia and Iran, of committing war crimes against Syrian civilians.The war crimes resolution calls for the creation of an international war crimes tribunal to prosecute anyone guilty of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria. The Committee also passed a second resolution, which expresses the sense of Congress that the atrocities committed by Islamic State against Christians, Yazidis and other ethnic and religious minorities constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
2 March 2016: Former Guantanamo prison chief Geoffrey Miller failed to appear Tuesday before a French court despite a summons over accusations of torture by two ex-detainees. Nizar Sassi and Mourad Benchellali, both French citizens, were arrested by US forces in Afghanistan before being transferred to Guantanamo Bay prison. They were held there from the end of 2001 until 2004 and 2005 respectively, before being sent home. A French probe into their case began after they filed a complaint in court. In an expert report submitted to a French judge last year, lawyers for Sassi and Benchellali accused Miller of "an authorised and systematic plan of torture and ill-treatment." According to the report, Miller "bears individual criminal responsibility for the war crimes and acts of torture inflicted on detainees in US custody at Guantanamo".
2 March 2016: Hours after Bangladesh's International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) issued warrants of arrest for three people on Tuesday for their alleged involvement in committing crimes against humanity during the Liberation war, police arrested two suspects identified as Abdul Mannan 64, and Abdul Aziz alias Habul, 63. On Tuesday morning, ICT prosecutor Sabina Yesmin Khan Munni submitted a petition to the tribunal seeking their arrest saying that war crimes investigator Shahjahan Kabir began investigation against the three on October 16, 2014 and had received evidences of their involvement in committing rapes, looting, abduction and torture.
2 March 2016: A German court ruled Monday that 95-year-old former Nazi SS medic was not fit to attend court for criminal charges stemming from his time at Auschwitz. Hubert Zafke was serving as a medic in the SS at the biggest death camp in occupied Poland where he was deployed in 1943 and is accused of being an accessory to the murder of 3,681 people at Auschwitz. He was scheduled to go on trial Monday following a ruling last December that he was fit to stand trial. A doctor determined Sunday that Zafke suffers from high blood pressure, stress and suicidal thoughts, which, along with his age, make him too frail to stand trial. The court scheduled the next hearing date for March 14.
1 March 2016: Nepal has rejected all the 29 recommendations on human rights that were made during the 23rd Universal Periodic Review in Geneva including the conventions directly related to transitional justice. In its reply to the UN Human Rights Council, the government said Nepal is yet to be prepared to enact the conventions ratified earlier. “It should not be perceived as Nepal’s refusal to accept the recommendations made by the UN member states,” said Ramesh Dhakal, joint-secretary at the Law and Human Rights division of the Prime Minister’s Office. “Nepal is preparing itself to adopt the conventions in future.” Nepal has thus far refused to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, all of which are considered to be relevant for post-conflict nations.
1 March 2016: Dutch officials have identified 30 war crimes suspects among tens of thousands of asylum seekers who arrived in the country last year, the justice ministry said Monday. Ten of them were from Syria, while the others are from Eritrea, Nigeria, Sudan and Georgia Deputy Justice Minister Klaas Dijkhoff said. 20 of the suspects could not be sent back because of ongoing wars or fears of inhumane treatment. A similar Dutch investigation in 2014 identified around 50 war crimes suspects, even though the number of refugees reaching the country was much lower that year.
back to top
29 February 2016: A Guatemalan court on Friday sentenced a former lieutenant colonel and a former paramilitary fighter to 120 years and 240 years in prison respectively, for sexual slavery and other crimes against humanity during the country's decades-long civil war. The retired officer, Esteelmer Reyes Giron, was found guilty of crimes against humanity for holding 15 women in sexual and domestic slavery and for killing another woman and her two young daughters. Heriberto Valdez Asij, a civilian with military connections, was convicted on the same charges, as well as the forced disappearance of seven men. It is the first time that a local court has handed down a judgment for such crimes in the country, which is seeking to address abuses committed during its 1960-1996 civil war.
29 February 2016: The confirmation of charges hearing against an alleged Islamist militant accused of destroying monuments at the fabled city of Timbuktu will take place on Tuesday, in an unprecedented case before the International Criminal Court (ICC). Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi will be the first to appear before the ICC facing war crimes charges for allegedly ordering an attack on a historic monument. According to the ICCarrest warrant, Faqi is accused of being "responsible individually and jointly with others ... for committing war crimes by deliberately attacking" religious and historic monuments between June 30, 2012 and July 10, 2012. Prosecutors will be seeking to convince three judges they have enough evidence to try Faqi in what will also be the first case brought by the ICC over the violence that rocked the western African nation of Mali from 2012 to 2013.
29 February 2016: Civil society organisations TRIAL, REDRESS and Advocacy Forum on Friday launcheda joint campaign to demand justice for victims of international crimes in Nepal. The campaign “Real Rights Now” was launched to draw the attention of the government to abide by the decisions of the United Nations and acknowledge the rights of the victims' rights and needs. For years, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has repeatedly found Nepal responsible for gross human rights violations against its own citizens, including illegal arrests, torture and enforced disappearances, yet not one person has been prosecuted. The campaign includes a website with victims’ stories and tools for action.
29 February 2016: A US-led naval training exercise against piracy off the coast of west Africa turned into a real rescue mission after the tanker was hijacked by pirates. Navies from the United States, Ghana, Togo and Nigeria tracked the hijacked tanker through waters off five countries before Nigerian naval forces stormed aboard on 20 February amid a shootout that killed one of the pirates. Capt Heidi Agle, the commodore in charge of US operations in Africa and Europe, stated it was the first big success in international maritime cooperation in the pirate-ridden Gulf of Guinea.
26 February 2016: In a report released on Thursday, the UN has said that all sides of the conflict in Libya may be guilty of war crimes. The report documents widespread violations and abuses, including torture and ill-treatment, in the past two years and claims those responsible should face investigation and prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The report documented abuses committed in Libya between 2014 and 2015 and warned the situation had deteriorated dramatically during that period. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said in a statement: "One of the most striking elements of this report lies in the complete impunity which continues to prevail in Libya and the systemic failures of the justice system".
26 February 2016: Amnesty International (AI) has criticised a justice deal between Colombia’s government and FARC guerrillas in its annual report that was published Wednesday. The NGO’s criticism centers on what they consider to be shortcomings in the transitional justice deal that established a transitional justice system to provide justice for the victims of war crimes committed during the country’s 51-year-long armed conflict. According to AI, this deal doesn’t meet international standards when it comes to granting truth, justice and reparation to victims.In its report, AI also criticised the inability of the Colombian justice system for its high degree of “impunity” for war crimes reported years ago.
26 February 2016: Sri Lanka remains open to foreign participation in a special court to examine allegations of war crimes in the nation's 26-year civil war, its Foreign Minister said Thursday. A UN resolution that was passed with the government's backing in October calls for a court supported by foreign judges, lawyers and investigators. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has previously said that foreign participation was not needed for an impartial inquiry. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said Thursday that was only the President's opinion and the participation of foreign actors is being considered.
26 February 2016: The German Bundestag held a debate on the Armenian Genocide yesterday and decided to postpone the vote for the new Armenian Genocide bill proposed by the Alliance 90/The Greens political party. The ruling coalition said it’s not the proper time to adopt the bill and proposed to continue the discussions in the coming weeks to prepare a new finalised document by April 24, 2016. Chairman of the Alliance 90/The Greens Cem Ozdemir agreed to withdraw his bill on condition that the new document to be agreed before April 24 clearly mentions the events of 1915 as genocide, accepts Germany’s role in the massacre and contributes to the normalisation of the Armenian-Turkish relations.
25 February 2016: Government forces in Burundi are killing, abducting, torturing, and arbitrarily arresting scores of people, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). In a report released yesterday, HRW researchers allege security forces have tortured or ill-treated suspected opponents so severely during arrests or in detention that some almost died. HRW urges the Burundian government to grant full access to two UN special rapporteurs and a member of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, to investigate abuses in Burundi, and suggests the UN Security Council should urgently seek the Burundian government’s consent for the deployment of a strong UN political mission with a substantial international police component as a deterrent against attacks and abuses.
25 February 2016: Amnesty International has claimed that at least 30 countries, including Australia, illegally forced refugees to return to countries where they would be in danger last year, while war crimes or other violations of the "laws of war" were committed in at least 18 countries. In its annual State of the World report, Amnesty warned that many governments were brazenly breaking international law. Amnesty Secretary General Salil Shetty said that short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns had led to an "unprecedented assault on human rights" in 2015.
25 February 2016: Impunity for serious human rights violations amid war crimes was recorded by Amnesty International as one of the biggest problems in Ukraine in 2015. Executive Director of Amnesty International in Ukraine, Tetiana Mazur, said at the presentation of the Amnesty International annual report for 2015 by experts at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center: "One of the biggest problems recorded by Amnesty International in Ukraine is the problem that is not new to our country - the problem of impunity for serious human rights violations. It refers both to the war crimes, committed by both parties to the conflict in the east of our country, and the violations and abuses which took place during Euromaidan protests". According to her, little progress has been observed in the investigation into this case, and even less in bringing the perpetrators to justice.
24 February 2016: The number of children who have died fighting for Islamic State (IS) in the past year is nearly twice the previous estimate, according to a US report. Researchers at Georgia State University tracked IS propaganda and eulogies over 13 months and found that three times as many children were involved in operations than during 2014. The propaganda claimed 89 boys aged eight to 18 had been killed fighting in a number of different combat roles. The data was published by the US military's Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. Under international law, the participation of children under 18 in armed conflict is generally prohibited, and the recruitment and use of children under 15 is a war crime.
24 February 2016: A group of Britain's top legal authorities have written to UK Prime Minister David Cameron to press him to take the first step towards war crimes prosecutions against Islamic State militants by making use of the UK’s position on the UN Security Council. The cross-party group of peers insist jihadist attacks on Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East must now be classed officially as genocide. Earlier this month, the European Parliament voted unanimously to classify the systematic killing and persecution of religious minorities in the Middle East as a genocide.
23 February 2016: Civilians are the primary victims of "rampant, pervasive and ever-present" war crimesin the Syrian war, a new UN report said on Monday. Furthermore, "crimes against humanity continue to becommitted by government forces and by ISIS (Islamic State)." The report, issued by an independent UN commission of inquiry into Syria, calls for accountability for horrific crimes committed during the war to be included in the peace process. The commission renewed its appeal to the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Russia and China previously blocked a Western attempt to refer the conflict to the ICC.
22 February 2016: Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta are to launch an anti-terrorism commission that will aim to help the next US administration counter radicalisation among Muslims. Blair said during an interview in Washington on Sunday that the upcoming commission, which also hopes to guide European leaders, will gather experts to study extremist groups like the Islamic State and recommend ways to weaken their appeal among disaffected youth. It is being sponsored by the CSIS Commission on Countering Violent Extremism and commission organisers said they plan to produce a report by the end of July.
22 February 2016: Amnesty International has accused Russia of committing some of the most “egregious”war crimes seen in decades, including deliberately targeting civilians and rescue workers in Syria. Tirana Hassan, director of Amnesty's crisis response programme, said the attacks are ongoing - with strikes documented on schools, hospitals and civilian homes. She claimed the bombing of civilian targets by Russian and Syrian forces was in itself a war crime, but warned there have been consistent reports of second bombardments which injure and kill humanitarian workers and civilians attempting to evacuate the wounded and the dead.
22 February 2016: Lawyers for accused war criminal Dragan Vasiljkovic have launched legal action claiming judges assigned to his case are biased and requesting all the judges recuse themselves. Former Serbian paramilitary leader Vasiljkovic is facing trial in Croatia accused of war crimes committed in Croatia in the early 1990s. Mr Vasiljkovic was the first person to be extradited from Australia charged with war crimes. The Croatian Supreme Court has received a motion filed by Mr Vasiljkovic's lawyers claiming judges are biased because they lived in or near areas where the alleged crimes were committed. The motion could delay a trial, which Mr Vasiljkovic's lawyers say "could start in a couple of months".
22 February 2016: A 21-year-old German citizen has been charged with committing a war crime after being arrested in October last year. A photo of the man posing with severed heads in Syria was released on social media and led to the man's arrest. Federal prosecutors said Friday that the man, identified only as Aria L., travelled to Syria in early 2014 with the intention of joining Islamic extremist militias, where he met an acquaintance from Germany who gave him weapons training.
19 February 2016: On 24 March, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) will hand down a verdict in the trial of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, who is charged with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the Srebrenica massacre. His trial opened in October 2009 and the closing arguments wrapped up in October 2014. Karadzic will be the highest level official to be judged for crimes committed during the Balkan wars, after Slobodan Milosevic, the late Serbian president, died in 2006 while on trial.
19 February 2016: Human Rights Watch has reported that abuses committed by Islamic armed groups and government forces are spreading across Mali. HRW documented that Islamist groups have threatened, raped and killed civilians and Malian security forces have carried out military operations that have resulted in arbitrary detention and torture. Such acts may constitute war crimes. Both sides have committed abuses since the start of 2016.
19 February 2016: An Israeli NGO called OneFamily, which supports terrorism victims and their families, has handed a confidential six-point plan to better fight terrorism in Israel to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a private meeting. The top-secret document was drafted by US legal luminaries Alan Dershowitz and Avi Bell. While Chantal Belzberg, Director of OneFamily, said they could not discuss its contents, she described it as containing “six legally defensible, actionable ways to save Jewish lives from terrorism” and “the message is that there are tools available to the government today that they can use to create more deterrence that would ultimately prevent terrorism”.
18 February 2016: The Minister of Foreign Affairs, East Africa, Regional and International Cooperation, Dr Augustine Mahiga, revealed at a news conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday that Tanzania will not pull out of the International Criminal Court (ICC), despite the fact it has raised concerns on a number of issues. Dr Mahiga commented: "We are members of the Rome Statute that established the ICC and much as we have registered our concerns in regard to what is perceived as segregation against Africans we will not pull out." He added that they have, however, called for reforms of the Court by strengthening its organisation to be able to serve justice to all.
18 February 2016: A group of NGOs have written a joint letter to the Special Rapporteur of the International Law Commission on crimes against humanity regarding the draft articles for a Convention on crimes against humanity. In light of the upcoming presentation of a second set of draft articles for the consideration of the International Law Commission (ILC), the civil society organisations affirmed their belief that "a strong text on crimes against humanity which fully comports with existing treaty and customary international law norms would be an extremely valuable contribution to this field". However, the letter informed the ILC of their view that provisions for the obligation to extradite or prosecute and universal jurisdiction are essential aspects of the proposed Convention.
18 February 2016: The Italian government has released thousands of previously classified documents related to Nazi war crimes committed in Italy during World War II. On Tuesday, the historical archives of the Chamber of Deputies put an index of some 13,000 pages of material on its website. The documents concerned specifics of crimes ranging from anti-Jewish persecution to massacres of civilians that in total resulted in 15,000 deaths. The documents were declassified by a parliamentary commission after it investigated the concealing of files related to the crimes.
17 February 2016: Human Rights Watch has reported unidentified aircraft attacked a hospital compound in the city of Derna, eastern Libya, on 7 February 2016, alleging the acts may constitute war crimes. Two bombs struck the Al-Wahda Hospital compound in the Bab Tobruk area, killing at least two civilians, including a child, and causing extensive damage. HRW called upon UN Security Council members to impose sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, on individuals responsible for serious crimes, as reaffirmed in resolution 2213, adopted in March 2015.
17 February 2016: Turkey’s Parliament has extended the deployment of the Turkish Naval Force in the Gulf of Aden, Somalian territorial waters and the Arabian Sea to tackle piracy for another year. Parliament’s approval of a government motion dated Feb. 9 went into force after being published in the Official Gazette on Feb. 16. Accordingly, the Naval Forces’ mission has been extended for one more year. Among the tasks defined under the anti-piracy mission are performing reconnaissance and patrol duties; radioing ships suspected of piracy/armed robbery; intervening in accordance with international law if the ship is not flying any flag; and using appropriate force if necessary.
17 February 2016: Human Rights Watch research released today shows that Taliban forces in Afghanistan have recruited scores of children to their ranks since mid-2015, and have been training and deploying children for various military operations. In Kunduz province, the Taliban have increasingly used Islamic religious schools to provide military training to children between the ages of 13 and 17, many of whom have been deployed in combat. The report claims the Taliban's deployment of individuals under the age of 18 violates international law applicable in Afghanistan and, in cases involving children under 15, is a war crime.
16 February 2016: France and Turkey have said that air strikes on hospitals in northern Syria constitutewar crimes. The UN has reported that up to 50 people have been killed in missile attacks on at least five medical facilities and two schools in northern Syria's Aleppo and Idlib provinces. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the raids violated international law and "cast a shadow" over efforts to end Syria's five-year civil war, while France's Foreign Minister said the attacks "constitute war crimes".
16 February 2016: Bosnia's police arrested an ex-convict of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and two others on Monday for war crimes committed early in the country's 1992-95 war. Former Bosnian Serb policeman Darko Mrdja was jailed in 2004 for 17 years by the ICTY after he confessed to taking part in a 1992 massacre of more than 150 Bosnian Muslims. He was released in 2013. The police on Monday arrested Mrdja, Radenko Marinovic and Milan Gavrilovic on fresh charges on the orders of the State war crimes prosecutor.
16 February 2016: A UN human rights expert on North Korea wants supreme leader Kim Jong Un to know that he and other senior officials can be held accountable if they are found responsible for crimes against humanity committed under their leadership. Special Rapporteur Marzuki Darusman called on the Human Rights Council (HRC) to "arrange to have an official communication" addressed to North Korean leaders by the Council, the UN human rights chief or the rapporteur himself. Marusman made the call in a 13-page report made public today ahead of a review of North Korea's rights record by the HRC as part of its session beginning 29 February 2016.
15 February 2016: The Chief Prosecutor Office of the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) in Bangladesh wrote to the Law Ministry yesterday seeking "necessary actions" against war crimes prosecutor Mohammad Ali for "breaching discipline and code of conduct, and serious professional misconduct". Earlier on February 4, Mohammad Ali was withdrawn from all cases involving the tribunal “in the public interest”, allegedly for using his influence to help an accused being tried by the ICT for crimes against humanity to secure bail.
15 February 2016: International Criminal Court Appeals Judges ruled Friday that statements made by five witnesses who later changed their stories or refused to testify against Kenya's deputy President, William Ruto, cannot be used as evidence. Judges last year allowed prosecutors to use the statements as evidence against Ruto and his co-accused Joshua Sang, both accused of committing crimes against humanity, saying the witnesses effectively pulled out of the case because of intimidation or bribes. The decision hinged on legal arguments about the court rule used by prosecutors and the Trial Chamber to admit the statements. Appeals Judge Piotr Hofmanski said the rule was applied "retroactively to the detriment of the accused" and effectively threw out the five witnesses' statements.
15 February 2016: A former refugee who concealed Bosnian war-era crimes will be deported from the US after living in Minnesota for 18 years, a US District Court judge decided Thursday. Zdenko Jakiša is wanted in Bosnia for war crimes committed in the 1990s during the Bosnian War. Jakiša and his wife immigrated to the United States in 1998, obtaining permanent residency four years later. Jakiša pleaded guilty in July 2015 to lying on immigration forms more than a decade ago when applying for refugee status and his green card. In the applications, Jakiša denied his involvement with the HVO, a notorious military group that fought against the Bosnian Serbs.
15 February 2016: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has reduced piracy and sea robberies to a mere two cases per year since taking over the guarding of Malaysian coasts and territorial waters 11 years ago. Its Director-General Adm Datuk Ahmad Puzi Ab Kahar said 38 cases were reported in the Straits of Malacca in 2004 but once the MMEA was formed the following year, only 10 cases occurred. The Agency, he said, worked together with the marine police, navy and Marine Department in guarding over 6,000km of coasts and borders.
12 February 2016: The judge presiding over the trial for Chad's former dictator of Hissène Habré who faces charges of crimes against humanity, torture and war crimes during his rule has said a verdict will be given by May 30. The prosecutor requested that Habré be sentenced to life in prison if convicted. Habré's defense lawyers argued against his direct role in abuses, and said the basis for the case lacked credibility. This trial marks the first time that the leader of one African country has been tried by the courts of another, using the principle of universal jurisdiction.
11 February 2016: A new report released today by Human Rights Watch (HRW) has documented a number of attacks on and military use of schools during the hostilities in eastern Ukraine. The reportdocuments how both Ukrainian government forces and Russia-backed militants have carried out indiscriminate or deliberate attacks on schools. The rights group urged the government of Ukraine to protect children’s safety and access to education, while commenting that targeted attacks on educational institutions that do not constitute military objectives and indiscriminate attacks that fail to distinguish civilian objects, such as schools, are prohibited under the laws of war, and can be prosecuted as war crimes.
11 February 2016: On Friday 12 February 2016, the South African Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) will hear the State's petition for leave to appeal in the al Bashir matter. The petition pertains to the South African government’s failure to arrest Sudanese President Omar al Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the alleged perpetration of crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes, when he arrived in South Africa in June 2015. Despite a High Court ruling that ordered that al Bashir be arrested and detained for subsequent transfer to ICC, the government allowed al Bashir to leave the country. The Court then found that the State’s actions were unconstitutional and therefore invalid. After being denied leave to appeal by the North Gauteng High Court, the State is taking the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal alleging that President Bashir is protected by head of state immunity hence their alleged inability to arrest him for transfer to the ICC.
11 February 2016: The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) piled pressure on Serbia to arrest three suspects over alleged witness-tampering in the war crimes case of Vojislav Seselj, accusing Belgrade of failing to cooperate with the UN tribunal. The Tribunal issued arrest warrants in January 2015 for indicted war criminal Seselj's defence team lawyers, Petar Jojic and Vjerica Radeta, as well as for a former war-time associate, Jovo Ostojic. Judge Alphons Orie, told Belgrade's legal representative, Sasa Obradovic: "It is clear to the chamber that Serbia is not cooperating in this matter" and stated that Belgrade has "had more than a year to arrest them". He then ordered Serbia to hand in "detailed reports every two weeks" of its efforts to detain the suspects. In Belgrade, Serbian Justice Minister Nikola Selakovic said his government would send a protest note to the court over its "arrogant behaviour" towards Obradovic.
11 February 2016: A report on war crimes committed by Kiev’s army and militia in eastern Ukraine is now available in English. It’s compiled by Russia’s Investigative Committee and covers 54 criminal cases. The report, entitled ‘The Tragedy of South-Eastern Ukraine: The White Book of Crimes’, was initially published last year in Russian. Wednesday’s presentation of the book in English was aimed at attracting the attention of the international public to the problem of combating international crimes in Ukraine. Kiev’s "special operation" in the east of Ukraine, aimed at suppressing the protest movement in the Donbass Region, has been in progress since the middle of April 2014 and has brought about numerous civilian casualties and the general destruction of local infrastructure.
10 February 2016: The Chief Prosecutor of the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) in Bangladesh has withdrawn Prosecutor Mohammad Ali “in the public interest” from all cases involving the Tribunal, which carries out proceedings related to investigation and trials of 1971 war crimes. According to a letter signed by Chief Prosecutor Ghulam Arieff Tipoo on 4 February, Prosecutor Ali has been withdrawn from all case proceedings, including the cases against war crimes suspects Shamsul Haque and Hossain Tarafdar. The letter states Prosecutor Ali will not be able to represent the prosecution in any trial at the tribunal and has been asked to stay away from case proceedings until any further notice.
10 February 2016: The UN Human Rights High Commissioner said on Tuesday the United Nations will not force Sri Lanka to accept a role for international judges in investigating possible war crimes during the 26-year Tamil insurgency, but any process must be impartial and independent. Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, ending a four-day visit to Sri Lanka to assess the investigation, commended some efforts by President Maithripala Sirisena's government but said much still needed to be done. He added that the mechanism will have to satisfy victims, but stated that the UN's "preference was initially and our preference still is a hybrid type mechanism with international participation."
10 February 2016: A Bosnian Serb general convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) of genocide in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, and described as the "right hand" of Ratko Mladic, has died in his cell in the Hague. Zdravko Tolimir, 67, died Monday night at the ICTY's detention unit, the tribunal said in a statement. Tolimir, the Bosnian Serb Army's top intelligence officer, was convicted in December 2012 of genocide and other crimes in the massacre by Bosnian Serb forces of some 8,000 Muslim men in Srebrenica, eastern Bosnia, and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
9 February 2016: The International Criminal Court (ICC) said Saturday it will probe how the names of several confidential witnesses in the trial of former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo were accidentally revealed last week. The ICC's head of public information Sonia Robla said Friday's incident in which a closed session of Gbagbo's crimes against humanity trial was mistakenly broadcast on the court's public channel "will be investigated". A clip of the hearing widely circulated on social media shows ICC judge Cuno Tarfusser calling for the trial to go into a closed session at the request of lead prosecutor Eric MacDonald, but the microphones are left open and a total of four witness' names were revealed. The ICC issued a formal apology for the incident on Monday, with presiding judge Cuno Tarfusser stating: "What happened on Friday afternoon... is of utmost and inexcusable gravity for which the chamber, but I would say the whole ICC, apologises. It is of such gravity that the chamber has ordered an ... internal investigation in order to find out how this could have happened."
9 February 2016: All sides in the conflict in Syria are committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, a UN report released on Monday has found. The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria claims in their report that thousands of detainees have been killed while in the custody of the warring parties in Syria over the past four and a half years, with thousands held by the Government beaten to death or dying from torture and anti-Government groups brutalising and executing prisoners in war crimes and crimes against humanity. The report calls on the Security Council to adopt targeted sanctions against persons, agencies and groups suspected of responsibility or complicity in deaths, torture and enforced disappearance.
8 February 2016: A French general has testified for the first time in a probe into the role of French forces during the 1994 Rwandan genocide held last month in Paris, denying all claims that the French army was complicit in the genocide in Rwanda. General Jean-Claude Lafourcade was questioned over claims that France’s UN-mandated Operation Turquoise, which he led, left ethnic Tutsis to be slaughtered by Hutu killers in the western Bisesero hills in June 1994. The retired general dismissed as “completely false” allegations that French soldiers supplied arms to the Hutu extremists. Lafourcade was questioned primarily as a result of a 2005 complaint filed in France by survivors of the massacre. Rwandan President Paul Kagame has accused Paris of complicity in the genocide because of its support of the Hutu nationalist government that carried out the mass slaughter. Paris has repeatedly denied such accusations and insists that French forces worked to protect civilians.
8 February 2016: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday flagged the threat of sea-borne terrorand piracy as two key challenges to maritime security. Modi said "the threat of sea-borne terror, of which India has been a direct victim, continues to endanger regional and global peace and stability". He said piracy, too, remains a strong challenge against the backdrop of Somali pirates targeting merchant vessels, including those of India. Modi went on to reveal after hosting the 3rd India-Africa Summit and the India-Pacific Island Cooperation, the country would now host the first-ever global maritime summit in April.
8 February 2016: A United States Federal judge approved Spanish extradition requests on Friday ordering the deportation of a former Salvadoran colonel, where he will stand trial for war crimes allegedly committed in San Salvador in 1989. Inocente Montano is accused of helping facilitate killings of six Jesuit priests during El Salvador’s civil war. The extradition fight began in 2011 when a Spanish judge issued an indictment charging Montano with the murder counts. Nineteen others were charged by Spain, with most still living in El Salvador. El Salvador said on Saturday it had detained four former soldiers accused of killing six Jesuit priests during the country's civil war, and would keep searching for 12 other suspects who remain at large.
5 February 2016: The European Parliament unanimously passed a resolution on Thursday characterizing the Islamic State militant group’s (ISIS) systematic killing and persecution of religious minorities in the Middle East as genocide. The resolution states that those who intentionally commit atrocities for ethnic or religious reasons should be brought before criminal courts for violations against international law, crimes against humanity, and genocide. ISIS has systematically targeted religious minorities, particularly Assyrian Christians and Yazidis.
5 February 2016: Sri Lanka's president Maithripala Sirisena said on Thursday he would abide by a UN resolution calling for a credible war crimes tribunal to investigate allegations of atrocities in the country's war against Tamil separatists. He said UN investigators would not take part in the inquiry, but their views would be taken into account. Sri Lanka's previous government, led by Mahinda Rajapaksa, rejected international pressure for a UN war crimes investigation, and major political parties remain opposed to any external involvement in the investigation. The army and Tamil Tiger rebels were both accused of atrocities in the 26-year war, which ended in 2009. Between 80,000 and 100,000 people are estimated to have died in the conflict.
4 February 2016: The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the decision of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, holding Monday that a Somali torture claim lacked a "sufficient nexus" with the US to allow jurisdiction under the Alien Tort Statute. In 1987, Farhan Warfaa was taken from his home in Somalia, beaten, and tortured for approximately three months and shot by Yusuf Ali, a colonel in the Somali National Army. Ali had been living in Virginia for eight years before Warfaa, still living in Somalia, filed the initial claim in 2004. Even though Ali is now a US resident, the court held that Warfaa had filed no claim that "touches and concerns" the US, as all events occurred in Somalia. Another claim, under the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA), was allowed to proceed. Ali is calling for immunity from his actions as a foreign official, which TVPA would deny.
4 February 2016: Russian Investigative Committee chief Alexander Bastrykin has allegedly said the interpretation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of events in South Ossetia in August 2008 as an international armed conflict between Russia and Georgia during which Russia controlled the actions of the South Ossetian authorities is ungrounded. He said "if the events are to be interpreted from the viewpoint of the 1949 Geneva conventions, which regulate the legal regime of an armed conflict, then it would most likely be logical to give them the status of a non-international armed conflict". Last month, the ICC authorised an investigation into possible war crimes perpetrated during the conflict in South Ossetia.
3 February 2016: Russia's Justice Ministry stated on Tuesday that Russia cannot participate in the International Criminal Court's (ICC) investigation into war crimes committed during the conflict in South Ossetia, Georgia, in 2008 as it has not ratified the Rome Statute. Russia signed the Rome Statute in 2000, but has not yet ratified it. The ICC has launched an investigation into the military conflict in South Ossetia in 2008, stating "there is a reasonable basis to believe that crimes within the ICC's jurisdiction have been committed in Georgia. Such crimes include crimes against humanity[...] and war crimes”.
3 February 2016: The International Criminal Court has announced it will deliver its verdict in the case The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo on Monday 21 March 2016 in an open session. The trial in the Bemba case started on 22 November 2010 and the closing oral statements were given on 12 and 13 November 2014. Mr Bemba is allegedly criminally responsible, as a military commander, for two counts of crimes against humanity and three counts of war crimes allegedly committed in the Central African Republic in 2002-2003.
3 February 2016: Another two men were sentenced to death on Tuesday after being found guilty by the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh of war crimes during the country's independence war against Pakistan in 1971. Obaidul Haque Taher and Ataur Rahman Nani were convicted of killing seven people and raping a woman in the northern district of Netrokona, and of torturing six others to death after abducting them.
2 February 2016: Amnesty International has criticised the reinstatement of a Nigerian general it accuses of war crimes in the fight against Boko Haram. Amnesty International named Maj Gen Ahmadu Mohammed and eight other officers in a report last year, accusing the military of killing more than 8,000 detainees. He was sacked for unrelated reasons before recently being reinstated. Amnesty's secretary general Salil Shetty said in a statement: "Major General Mohammed must be investigated for participating in, sanctioning or failing to prevent the deaths of hundreds of people".
2 February 2016: The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) annual piracy report reveals that piracy and armed robbery on the world’s seas is persisting at levels close to those in 2014, despite reductions in the number of ships hijacked and crew captured. South East Asia still accounts for most of the world's incidents, Nigeria is a hotspot for violent piracy and armed robbery, and incidents in Vietnam surged from seven in 2014 to 27 in 2015. However, no Somali-based attacks were reported in 2015.
2 February 2016: The United Nations has said that there should be no amnesty for people suspected of committing war crimes as talks aimed at ending Syria's war continued to struggle in Geneva. Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, the top UN human rights official, maintained on Monday that the deliberate starvation of Syrians was a potential war crime and a crime against humanity that should be prosecuted and not covered by any amnesty that may be agreed as part of a peace deal.
1 February 2016: Members of Shia militias, who the Iraqi government has included among its state forces, have committed possible war crimes in Iraq, according to Human Rights Watch. The militias have been repeatedly accused of abuses including summary executions, kidnappings and destruction of property in the course of the war against the extremist group Islamic State. According to HRW, they abducted and killed scores of Sunni residents in a central Iraq town and demolished Sunni homes, stores, and mosques following the 11 January 2016 bombings claimed by Islamic State.
1 February 2016: A lawyer at a Dutch human rights legal firm, Prakken d’Oliveira, filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday against the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari. The complaint was filed on behalf of 17 unnamed victims and alleges to set out evidence of crimes against humanity—including torture and murder—committed by Nigerian security forces against pro-Biafran protesters. It follows from the complaint that since the election of President Buhari in 2015, the violence against Biafrans has seriously intensified. It also calls upon the ICC Prosecutor to launch without delay criminal investigations in the Situation of Nigeria.
1 February 2016: Human Rights Watch (HRW) claim in a report released on Saturday that mass graves in Iraq are being disturbed, which could lead to destroyed evidence in proving possible genocide committed against the Yazidi. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights says the killings may have amounted to genocide. HRW is urging authorities in Iraq to have international forensic experts analyse the graves for evidence of any possible crimes and to preserve any evidence found.
back to top
29 January 2016: The African Union (AU) summit taking place on Saturday is expected to adopt a report that recommends, among others, collective withdrawal of African States from the Rome Statute that establishes the International Criminal Court ( ICC). In a meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the AU Executive Council that comprises foreign affairs ministers from the continent already adopted a report that highlights Africa’s misgivings with the Court. The cases against Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang and the one against Sudan president Omar al Bashir are key among items straining ICC’s relationship with Africa.
29 January 2016: The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution on Wednesday condemning the actions of ISIS in Iraq and Syria as genocide. The resolution "Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq" states that ISIS "has perpetrated acts of genocide and other serious crimes punishable under international law." The resolution was drafted in response to the targeting of religious minorities in the Middle East and was passed by 117 votes for and just 1 against. The European Parliament is now expected to vote on a similar resolution on the situation of Christians in the Middle East on Thursday, 4 February 2016.
28 January 2016: On Thursday, Laurent Gbagbo, the former president of Ivory Coast, will go on trial at the International Criminal Court, facing four counts of crimes against humanity stemming from the violence surrounding the 2010 presidential election. The first former head of state to be tried by the court, Gbagbo lost Ivory Coast's 2010 presidential runoff to Alassane Ouattara but refused to step down, sparking violence that killed more than 3000 people. Prosecutors say he bears responsibility for murder, rape and other crimes carried out by those fighting to keep him in office. He is standing trial alongside Charles Ble Goude, Gbagbo's former youth minister accused of inciting violence against Ouattara supporters.
28 January 2016: A trial opened in Lithuania on Wednesday against dozens of former Soviet militaryofficials accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity in a 1991 crackdown against the Baltic state's pro-independence movement. Russia has refused to cooperate with the investigation and most of the accused, who live outside Lithuania, will not attend the trial. Fourteen civilians were killed by the Soviet army in January 1991, prosecutors say, all but one of them during the storming of the state television headquarters and TV tower by Soviet paratroopers. More than 700 others were wounded.
28 January 2016: The International Criminal Court (ICC) has authorised an investigation into possiblewar crimes perpetrated during a conflict between Russia and Georgia. The investigation relates to the conflict in 2008 centred on South Ossetia, a breakaway region of Georgia. In October last year, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda formally requested to be allowed to open a full investigation into the 2008 war in South Ossetia. On Wednesday a panel of three judges agreed to the request, concluding that “there is a reasonable basis to believe that crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction have been committed in the situation in Georgia”.
27 January 2016: Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the Sri Lankan government on Monday to fulfill its commitments to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) by ensuring that foreign judges and prosecutors play a significant role in the mandated accountability mechanism to address war crimes. Referring to a statement made by President Maithripala Sirisena on January 21 that he will not agree to international involvement as Sri Lanka "have more than enough specialists, experts and knowledgeable people in our country to solve our internal issues", HRW said the consensual resolution agreed at the UNHRC in October 2015 cannot be negotiated and stated "Human Rights Council member and observer countries that backed the consensus October 2015 resolution, should make clear that foreign participation in a war crimes tribunal was already decided by the council and is not subject to renegotiation".
27 January 2016: A panel of UN experts has said the United Nations Security Council should consider creating an international commission of inquiry to investigate alleged human rights abuses by all sides in Yemen's conflict. In their report, the panel claims the Saudi-led coalition waging an air war in Yemen has carried out 119 sorties that violated humanitarian law and UN figures suggest more than 5,800 people have been killed and 27,000 wounded since last March. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has been increasingly vocal in his criticism of the Saudi campaign in Yemen and earlier this month, he warned that cluster bomb attacks by the coalition on Sanaa could amount to a war crime.
27 January 2016: The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo on Tuesday commenced the trial of Naser Oric, the wartime commander of Srebrenica's defence forces charged with war crimes against Serb prisoners of war, alleged to have taken place in 1992. Together with Oric, also indicted in the case is Sabahudin Muhic, a former member of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Oric had already been indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for command responsibility for crimes against Serbs in the area of Srebrenica. He was acquitted of the charges in a trial that ended in 2008.
26 January 2016: The Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) has called upon theInternational Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the flooding of the border between Gaza and Egypt and the closure of the Rafah crossing. AOHR UK submitted two communications to the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC on Monday inviting the Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute both the "deliberate infiltration of seawater into Gaza’s territory and the closure of the Rafah crossing". The organisation claim both acts constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity and are, therefore, under ICC jurisdiction.
26 January 2016: Europol announced on Monday the formation of a strategic center to combat terrorismin Europe. EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos announced the creation of the European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC), which aims to boost cooperation among Europol member states in their fight against terrorist threats in Europe. Europol said that the ECTC, based in The Hague, would focus on "tackling foreign fighters, sharing intelligence and expertise on terrorism financing, online terrorist propaganda and extremism, illegal arms trafficking and international cooperation to increase effectiveness and prevention."
26 January 2016: Ships travelling through waters off the coast of Somalia face an increased risk of piracythis year, fostered by deteriorating political conditions in the center of the Horn of Africa nation, according to Colorado-based risk adviser, IHS Inc. Conditions that fueled piracy in 2005-2012 are seen to be re-emerging, meaning Somali pirates may soon regain safe havens vital to operations. IHS additionally said about 60 percent of commercial shipping traveling through the “historic piracy zone” no longer carry privately contracted armed security personnel on board because of costs and perceptions that piracy is not a significant risk.
25 January 2016: North Korea's leadership should face trial for crimes against humanity due to making no improvement in their human rights record since a 2014 UN report on the country, says UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Marzuki Darusman called for pursuing criminal responsibility of the DPRK leadership on Friday, two years after the UN report concluded that North Korean security chiefs and possibly leader Kim Jong Un should face international justice for ordering systematic torture, starvation and killings. Darusman said on Friday that “not much has changed in the country almost two years after the report of the Commission of Inquiry."
25 January 2016: Nearly 60 investigations of war crimes committed by UK soldiers in Iraq have beendropped, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed. The Iraq Historic Allegations Team (Ihat) has decided not to proceed in 57 cases and a further case was stopped by the military's prosecuting authority. Ihat was set up to review and investigate allegations of abuse made by Iraqi civilians against UK armed forces personnel in Iraq during the period of 2003 to July 2009. It currently lists more than 1,300 allegations under investigation, ranging from murder to low-level violence, with some 280 of those being allegations of unlawful killing.
25 January 2016: A Nigerian lawyer, Femi Falana, has urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate allegations of crimes against humanity committed against the Nigerian people by some former and serving military, public officials and private persons involved in diverting the $2.1billion arms fund - money which was meant to buy equipment for the military fighting Boko Haram. In a petition sent to the Prosecutor of the ICC, Falana stated: “The failure of a former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to prevent widespread and systematic corruption amounts to complicity under the Rome Statute, and therefore fits the legal requirements of a crime against humanity”. The lawyer also sought the prosecution of former national security advisor, Sambo Dasuki, saying his trial by the current administration should not stop the international body from probing him.
22 January 2016: United Nations Security Council ambassadors are in Burundi for the second time in less than a year in order to meet President Pierre Nkurunziza today and press for peace in the violence-torn country. Fearing the violence may escalate to genocide, two former Presidents of Burundi on Thursday calledupon the UN Security Council to back the deployment of peacekeeping troops in order to avoid the country "becoming another Rwanda".
22 January 2016: The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) yesterday released a report documenting the "shocking crimes" committed by all sides in the South Sudan conflict. Filed with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the report said that "violations and abuses of human rights, as well as violations of international humanitarian law, have been committed, possibly amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity". Such crimes reported to have occurred in the area include extra-judicial killings, disappearances, gang-rapes, sexual slavery, forced abortions, and child recruitment.
22 January 2016: A leading Kosovo Serb politician, Oliver Ivanovic, was sentenced to nine years in prison yesterday for war crimes against ethnic Albanian civilians. Ivanovic, who was leader of a paramilitary police unit in 1999, was the first senior Kosovo Serb official tried by the EU's Rule of Law Mission (Eulex) in Kosovo. Four other Kosovo Serbs charged together with him were acquitted. Serbian officials denounced Thursday's verdict, warning it could re-ignite ethnic tensions in the already volatile region.
21 January 2016: Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal has set up a committee to gather information about the 195 Pakistani prisoners of war, who were charged as “war criminals” but finally repatriated to their country. Chief coordinator of the Tribunal's Investigation Agency, Abdul Hannan Khan, revealed that the five-member committee will collect information and related documents about the possible crimes committed by the Pakistani soldiers during Bangladesh’s liberation war in 1971. While it is “not a formal probe” against the alleged Pakistani “war criminals,” the agency will start collecting all necessary documents about them in view of the growing public demand.
21 January 2016: Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) forces are deliberately destroying Arab villages under their control, according to an Amnesty International report released on Wednesday. The human rights group said these actions could amount to war crimes. The report contains satellite images that appear to corroborate the scale of the destruction. The number of displaced persons is estimated in the tens of thousands. Amnesty’s senior crisis response adviser Donatella Rovera said: “The forced displacement of civilians and the deliberate destruction of homes and property without military justification may amount to war crimes.” The KRG claims the regions are a threat to security because the occupants largely sympathize with Islamic State, which is disputed by Amnesty International.
20 January 2016: The confirmation of charges hearing of Dominic Ongwen, a former commander of the Lord's Resistance Army, is due to commence on Thursday before the International Criminal Court. He currently faces seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the rebel group's reign of terror in Uganda, led by Joseph Kony. In the five-day confirmation hearing, prosecutors will lay out the charges to a three-judge bench seeking to show that the evidence is solid enough to put Ongwen on trial. The judges will then have to determine whether Ongwen should stand trial.
20 January 2016: A United Nations report released yesterday has documented acts committed by Islamic State in Iraq, many of which may amount to "war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide". The report, produced by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, states at least 18,802 civilians were killed in violence in Iraq from January 2014 to October 2015, and 36,245 civilians were wounded. In addition to the "staggering" civilian death toll, it is estimated that some 3,500 persons, mostly women and children, are currently being held as slaves by Islamic State militants.
20 January 2016: The Court of Appeal in London ruled yesterday that a key clause in the UK's TerrorismAct 2000 is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) if it is used to detain journalists. Lord Dyson said that the powers contained in Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 were flawed. Schedule 7 of the Act allows travellers to be questioned in order to find out whether they appear to be terrorists. They have no right to remain silent or receive legal advice, and they may be detained for up to nine hours. The judges concluded that, when "used in respect of journalistic information or material”, Schedule 7 violates freedom of expression because it is not “prescribed by law”.
19 January 2016: The Democratic Republic of Congo said it plans to prosecute notorious militia leader Germain Katanga, who had been scheduled to leave prison in Kinshasa on Monday after completing a sentence handed down by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Justice Minister Alexis Thambwe Mwamba said Katanga was implicated "in other cases just as serious" as the one he was convicted for by the ICC in 2014 and "will not leave" prison. He said one of the other cases concerns Katanga's alleged role in the killing of nine UN peacekeepers in the country's northeast in 2005. Katanga was sentenced to 12 years in prison by the ICC in 2014 for complicity in crimes against humanity and war crimes over the 2003 attack on the village of Bogoro, including murder and pillage. In November 2015, the ICC cut Katanga's sentence after he voiced regret and for good behavior.
19 January 2016: The South African (SA) government is set to argue before the Supreme Court of Appeal next month that, as a serving Head of State, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir could not be arrested on an order by a South African court. The government was severely criticised for allowing Mr Bashir — who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity — to flee SA in June last year, despite an interim court order that he should not be allowed to leave. The High Court in Pretoria found that SA had a duty to arrest Mr Bashir, ordered his arrest, and held the government's decision not to detain him was inconsistent with the constitution. The government has asked the Supreme Court of Appeal to set aside the High Court’s order, arguing that Mr Bashir is immune from arrest by a South African court for as long as he is a serving Head of State. The Supreme Court of Appeal will hear the case on 12 February.
19 January 2016: Two men from Virginia, US, one who was allegedly attempting to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group and a man accused of helping him, were arrested on Friday on terrorism charges. Joseph Hassan Farrokh is charged with attempting to provide material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organisation. Mahmoud Amin Mohamad Elhassan was charged with aiding and abetting Farrokh. Both are scheduled to appear before a US magistrate judge in Alexandria today.
18 January 2016: Police in Indonesia have arrested 12 suspected terrorists since the deadly attack in Jakarta on Thursday, one of whom had received fund transfers from Islamic State. According to National Police Chief Badrodin Haiti, the money was sent via Bahrun Na’im, an Indonesian militant who is believed to be heading an IS brigade of Indonesians in Syria. Haiti said the 12 suspects were arrested in West Java, Central Java and East Kalimantan and were in possession of a variety of weapons.
18 January 2016: Norwegian police are investigating 20 persons among asylum seekers from Syria suspected of war crimes, following tips from refugees and local immigration authorities. A police official stated they have decided to use a lot of resources on uncovering war criminals among the refugees arriving now: "We are spending quite a lot of resources on finding these people, because we don't want them to wander freely around the streets of Norway." He said tips from refugees have increased as the number of refugees has grown and have amounted to about 100 tips over the past six months.
18 January 2016: A special court is being set up in The Hague to try war crimes committed during the 1999-2000 war in Kosovo. The European Union-funded court will "try serious crimes allegedly committed in 1999-2000 by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army against ethnic minorities and political opponents". The court, officially called the Kosovo Relocated Specialist Judicial Institution, is set to begin operating later this year and will be made up of international judges.
15 January 2016: Pakistan said it had arrested members of the Islamist terror group widely blamed for a four-day attack on an airbase in India that threatened to wreck a thaw in relations between the two countries. Islamabad announced on Wednesday that several individuals belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammad, a group designated as a terrorist organization by the UN, had been arrested based on information supplied by India and Pakistan’s own investigations.
15 January 2016: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued his strongest warning to date on the use of sieges as a tactic of war as preparations gathered steam for talks on ending the five-year conflict on 25 January. "Let me be clear: the use of starvation as a weapon of war is a war crime," Ban Ki-moon told reporters. "All sides - including the Syrian government which has the primary responsibility to protect Syrians - are committing this and other atrocious acts prohibited under international humanitarian law," he said.
14 January 2016: A judge at the International Criminal Court has postponed a crucial pretrial hearing for an alleged Islamic radical, Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, charged with involvement in the 2012 destruction of historic mausoleums and a mosque in Timbuktu. Al Mahdi, who was sent to the court in September, had been due to attend a hearing starting January 18 at which judges were to assess whether evidence against him is strong enough to merit a trial. Yesterday, the hearing was postponed until March 1 to give his defense more time to prepare. Al Mahdi is the first suspect in the court's custody charged with the war crime of deliberately attacking religious or historical monuments.
14 January 2016: The shooting of a Philadelphia police officer last week is being investigated as a suspected act of terrorism, the FBI Director James Comey said on Wednesday. Investigators said Archer told them he was "following Allah" and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, and he believed the police department defends laws that are contrary to Islam. Authorities believe Archer traveled to Saudi Arabia in 2011 and to Egypt in 2012 and are investigating the purpose of those trips.
13 January 2016: Residents of the besieged Syrian town of Madaya have told U.N. investigators how the weakest in their midst, deprived of food and medicines in violation of international law, are suffering starvation and death, the top U.N. war crimes investigator said yesterday. The U.N. commission of inquiry documenting war crimes in Syria, composed of independent experts, has long denounced use of starvation by all sides in the Syrian conflict as a weapon of war, and has a confidential list of suspected war criminals. "Siege tactics, by their nature, target the civilian population by subjecting them to starvation, denial of basic essential services and medicines," the commission's chairman Paulo Pinheiro said on Tuesday. "Such methods of warfare are prohibited under international humanitarian law and violate core human rights obligations with regard to the rights to adequate food, health and the right to life, not to mention the special duty of care owed to the well-being of children."
13 January 2016: The International Criminal Court held the first public hearing in its new permanent headquarters yesterday. The hearing was called to discuss an application made by lawyers for Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and his co-accused, broadcaster Joshua arap Sang, to dismiss the crimes against humanity case against them after six witnesses withdrew their testimony. Ruto's defense team argued that the prosecution did not present sufficient evidence that he helped organize violence that left hundreds dead and forced thousands from their homes in the aftermath of disputed presidential elections in 2007. Prosecutors urged the judges not to throw out the case.
12 January 2016: The retrial of former Guatemala dictator Efrain Rios Montt on charges of genocide andcrimes against humanity was suspended again for the court to resolve outstanding legal petitions, a judge said on Monday. A hearing on Monday was held behind closed doors and Rios Montt did not attend because of "mental incapacity", according to the court. A trial one year ago was also suspended when the defence sought the removal of one of the judges on the case.
12 January 2016: Finnish police say they have arrested an Iraqi man suspected of war crimes in his home country last year. Detective Superintendent Jari Raty says the 23-year-old man is suspected of being involved in war crimes in Tikrit while fighting on the side of Iraqi forces when they recaptured the city from the Islamic State group in April 2015.
12 January 2016: United Kingdom officials have announced that about 280 of their military personnel are being investigated for alleged war crimes during their stationing in Iraq. The Iraq Historic Allegations Team, the government-established criminal investigation into claims of murder, abuse and torture during the Iraq war, informed the veterans they were involved in an incident under its investigation.
11 January 2016: A Guatemalan court will begin a special closed-door retrial today of former Guatemalan President Efrain Rios Montt on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity committed during his 1982-1983 rule, after courts denied his appeal last month to have the trial cancelled. Prosecutors hope to reassert a conviction against the ex-general delivered in a May 2013 trial but which was overturned within days by Guatemala's constitutional court, which ordered the new trial. In the discarded verdict he was sentenced to 80 years in prison. Rios Montt is accused of being responsible for the murders of 1,771 indigenous Mayan Ixils during his reign at the height of Guatemala's 36-year civil war, which ended in 1996.
11 January 2016: United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern over the use of cluster bombs in Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition of Arab nations, following the report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) that cited several instances of the use of such bombs in residential neighborhoods. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric commented: "The Secretary-General is particularly concerned about reports of intense airstrikes in residential areas and on civilian buildings in Sanaa, including the Chamber of Commerce, a wedding hall and a center for the blind". He added that "the use of cluster munitions in populated areas may amount to a war crime due to their indiscriminate nature."
11 January 2016: Former Serb paramilitary commander Dragan Vasiljkovic has been indicted by a Croatian court for war crimes. He was charged with the torture, mistreatment and killings of imprisoned Croatian soldiers and policemen in June and July 1991 and for his part in planning an attack on the town of Glina and surrounding villages, in which civilians were killed and property looted and destroyed. Vasiljkovic has been in custody in Croatia since July 2015, after he was deported from Australia. He has denied the allegations and sought to avoid extradition from Australia on the grounds that he would not have a fair trial in Croatia.
11 January 2016: Sri Lanka has set in motion the process to set up domestic mechanisms to probe allegedwar crimes against ethnic Tamils and the consultations for this will begin next week, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said last Thursday. Sri Lanka was the subject of UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR)Resolution in 2014 which called for an international investigation into alleged war crimes and human rights abuses. The UN Human Rights Chief reiterated the call for an international investigation in his report at the last September session of the UNHRC and proposed a hybrid court. However, the joint resolution adopted at the end of the session allowed for a domestic mechanism and offered Sri Lanka technical support to set it up.
7 January 2016: Human Rights Watch (HRW) has reported that Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces airdropped cluster bombs on residential neighborhoods in Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, yesterday. Although the rights group state that it has not yet been established whether the latest attacks caused civilian causalities, arms director at HRW, Steve Goose, said: “The coalition’s repeated use of cluster bombs in the middle of a crowded city suggests an intent to harm civilians, which is a war crime.”
7 January 2016: Police in Bangladesh arrested a war crimes suspect on Wednesday about an hour after the three-member International Crimes Tribunal-1 issued an arrest warrant against him for his alleged involvement in crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War. The suspect, Md Emdadul Huq, 78, was chief of Peace Committee of Chunta Union in the district during th1971 war. Prosecutor Rezia Sultana Chamon submitted a petition seeking his arrest for sake of proper investigation saying that the investigation agency had already begun investigation against him, recorded statements of 25 witnesses and it had found two specific charges against Emdadul. The tribunal fixed 16 February 2016 for the next hearing.
7 January 2016: Security forces in Guatemala arrested 14 retired military officers on Wednesday, all charged with committing crimes during the country’s civil war, the Prosecutor’s Office announced. The suspects face charges of crimes against humanity involving massacres and disappearances of people by security forces under their command. They are being held in a military base prison ahead of a court hearing expected Friday. Among those detained were former army chief of staff Benedicto Lucas García, who served during his brother Romeo Lucas García’s presidency (1978-82). Lucas Garcia’s time in office is among the bloodiest of the 36-year conflict. A former military intelligence chief, Manuel Antonio Callejas, was also detained, as was one of the generals who ousted General Lucas García in a 1982 coup.
7 January 2016: A Serbian refugee who admitted to lying on immigration documents about whether he ever engaged in genocide or ethnic cleansing has been sentenced by a US court in Ohio to two years in prison. Slobodan Mutic will be sent back to Croatia to face trial for alleged war crimes after serving his sentence in the United States, said Mike Tobin, a spokesman for the US Attorney's Office in Cleveland. Authorities say Mutic admitted in an affidavit in 1992 that he and another man killed a Croatian couple while members of a Serbian militia group. Mutic also is a suspect in a third killing in that region that isn't related to ethnic cleansing. Interpol issued an arrest warrant for Mutic in 2002.
6 January 2016: A UK judge ruled at the end of December that five Rwandan men accused of taking part in the 1994 genocide should not be extradited to face trial. Vincent Brown, Charles Munyaneza, Emmanuel Nteziryayo, Celestin Ugirashebuja and Celestin Mutabaruka were accused of playing an active part in the country's genocide. They were held in the UK in 2013 after an extradition request from the Rwandan government and denied involvement. District judge Emma Arbuthnot at Westminster Magistrates' Courtsaid there was a real risk they would not get a fair trial in Rwanda. The Crown Prosecution Service indicated it would appeal against the ruling. An attempt to extradite four of the men was also rejected by the High Court in 2009 on similar grounds.
6 January 2016: Bangladesh’s Supreme Court today upheld the death sentence of the leader of the country’s largest Islamist party for war crimes committed by him during the 1971 liberation war against Pakistan, clearing the way for his execution. The Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by Motiur Rahman Nizami, head of the Jamaat-e-Islami party,who was convicted last year by the Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal for committing war crimes, removing the last legal barrier to executing him by hanging unless he gets presidential clemency, which is unlikely. Prosecutor Tureen Afroz said: "The Court upheld the death sentence in three out of four charges. We're very happy. Most importantly, the death penalty was upheld for the killings of the intellectuals."
5 January 2016: The city of Chicago has paid $5.5 million in reparations to 57 people whose claims that they were tortured by police decades ago were found to be credible. The money was paid Monday to victims of a police unit commanded by former police commander Jon Burge from the 1970s through the early 1990s. More than 100 men, mostly African-American, have accused Burge and officers under his command of shocking, suffocating and beating them into giving false confessions, some of which landed them on death row. Burge has never been criminally charged with torture, but he served a four and a half year sentence for lying about the torture in a civil case and was released from a halfway house last year. The $5.5 million adds to more than $100 million that has been paid in court-ordered judgments, settlements of lawsuits and legal fees over the years related to the torture scandal.
5 January 2016: Three men suspected of committing war crimes in the Srebrenica region at the start of the 1992-1995 war were arrested Monday in Tulza, a town in northern Bosnia and Herzegovina. The three, former members of Bosnian Muslim armed forces, are suspected to have killed 10 Serb civilians who surrendered when the village of Zalazje came under attack on July 12, 1992, the prosecutor said in a statement.
5 January 2016: The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) formally closed on 31 December, after issuing 45 judgments. The ICTR, established in 1994, was the first international tribunal to deliver verdicts against those guilty of committing genocide. Within its 21 years, the ICTR sentenced 61 persons to terms of up to life imprisonment for their roles in the Rwandan genocide. There were 14 acquittals, and 10 accused were transferred to national courts. An International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals has been established and eight fugitives remain at large.
4 January 2016: UK soldiers who fought in the Iraq War may face prosecution for war crimes, according to the head of a unit investigating alleged abuses, Mark Warwick. UK forces withdrew from Iraq in 2009, although lawyers are continuing to refer cases to the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT), the government-established criminal investigation into murder, abuse and torture claims linked to the six-year military mission. The inquiry has considered at least 1,515 possible victims, of whom 280 are alleged to have been unlawfully killed. Mr Warwick said there were "lots of significant cases" and that discussions would be held over whether they met a war crimes threshold.
4 January 2016: A Rwandan pastor accused of leading and coordinating attacks on minority Tutsis during Rwanda's 1994 genocide was sentenced to life imprisonment last Wednesday by Rwanda's High Court. Jean Bosco Uwinkindi, Pentecostal Church pastor, was convicted of "genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity". Uwinkindi pleaded not guilty and said that he would appeal the verdict. Uwinkindi, 64, was arrested in Uganda in 2010 and the following year his case was referred from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, in Tanzania, to the Rwandan national court system. It was the first such referral.
4 January 2016: Prosecutors in Bosnia on Thursday charged a former member of the Presidency and three other men with war crimes involving killing, torture and forcible deportation of civilians during the country’s 1992-95 war. Borislav Paravac, who served as the Serb member of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency from 2003 to 2006, is accused of “willing and active” participation in deportation, looting, beatings, torture and killing of non-Serb civilians near the northern towns of Doboj and Teslic. He is the second former Serb president to be tried.
2013 - 2015
Please follow this link for older news items: news archive 2013 - 2015