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News archive

February 2019 


7 February 2019: The Guatemalan Congress votes to reform national reconciliation law and give absolute impunity for crimes against humanity including genocide and rape. Michelle Bachelet, the nited Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said it is a "drastic step backwards for rule of law and victims' rights".

6 February 2019:The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Executive Director Yury Fedotov noted in the UNSC that piracy and criminal activities on the high seas are becoming 'increasingly sophisticated', posing 'immediate danger to people's lives and safety'. He also elaborated upon the links between piracy, terrorism and illegal trafficking.

5 February 2019: The United Nations SG Antonio Guterres noted on Monday that there is a rise in the number of mercenaries, who contribute, among all, to terrorism and transnational crime. He stated also that the activities of the mercenaries 'evolved over the years'. Further, at the United Nations Security Council meeting presided by Teodoro Obiang Nguema from Equatorial Guinea, Obiang mentioned '...mercenary groups continue to act with total impunity in Africa'.

4 February 2019: Laurent Gbagbo, the former President of the Ivory Coast and the first former head of state tried at the International Criminal Court, was released from custody. The release follows his acquittal on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

1 February 2019: The Appeals Chamber of ICC has ordered today the conditional release of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé based on the condition that they live in an (yet to be specified) country pending the appeal of the prosecution. They were being prosecuted for four counts of crimes against humanity.

 

January 2019

30 January 2019: President Rodrigo Duterte has advocated for legislation that will lower the legal age of criminal responsibility in the Philippines to 12 years old. He initially wanted it to be 9 years old. This legislation is currently being debated at the Parliament. This decision comes in the context of Duterte's 'drug war' which is currently under preliminary investigation by the ICC for crimes against humanity.

29 January 2019: New details related to Edward R. Gallagher, a Navy SEAL (the USA) who was charged with a number of war crimes became known during the last hearing at the Naval Base San Diego last week. Additionally, immunity has been granted to seven Navy SEALs to testify for the Prosecution during the trial on the 19 February.

28 January 2019: Omar al-Bashir, the President of Sudan, indicted for alleged genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, remains at large. Nonetheless, he is facing protests against his rule across the country, including in the regions usually loyal to the President. As noted by an analyst Khalid al-Tijani '...the crisis has reached a new level'.

24 January 2019: Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona was transferred from France, where he was arrested, to the International Criminal Court custody yesterday. He is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed against Séléka group in CAR.

23 January 2019:  13,200 individuals charged or convicted of treason or terrorism have been pardoned in Ethiopia. Critics stated that the anti-terrorism law in that country de facto criminalised dissent or opposition.

22 January 2019:  According to a report submitted to the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Terrirory by Defense for Children International - Palestine and the City University of New York, Israeli forces and officials are responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity for the killing of Palestinian child protesters in Gaza. The report establishes proof children did not present any imminent, mortal threat or threat of serious injury.

21 January 2019: The International Criminal Court AC decided that Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé are to remain in custody. The decision follows an appeal by the Prosecutors, submitted against the TC's decision to release both individuals after their acquittal regarding crimes against humanity.

18 January 2019: In Bogotá, 21 people were killed and at least 68 injured in an attack which was described by President Iván Duque as a 'crazy terrorist act'. Car bombs were not unusual during the long-lasting conflict in that country, but no such attack took place within the last nine years.

17 January 2019: The International Criminal Court Trial Chamber I, by majority, Judge Herrera Carbuccia dissenting, found that there were no exceptional circumstances preventing the release of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé from ICC detention following their acquittal for crimes against humanity. The ICC Prosecutor may appeal this decision. It would be then for the Appeals Chamber to decide whether or not to maintain Mr Gbagbo and Mr Blé Goudé in ICC custody.

16 January 2019:  A terrorist attack on a hotel complex has been claimed by the group Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaida affiliated terrorist group.The same group was responsible for several attacks such as the Westgate shopping mall attack in 2013 and the Garissa University attack in 2015. The Nairobi attack shows that al-Qaeda’s east African affiliate retains the capability of bringing that form of urban terrorism to states beyond the Somali border.

15 January 2019: The ICC, by majority with a dissenting opinion of Judge Herrera-Carbuccia, has decided to acquit Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé for crimes against humanity. According to the court, the prosecution has failed to provide enough proof beyond a reasonable ground. The Court will reconvene tomorrow at 10am, as Senior Trial Attorney Eric Mcdonald has decided to avail himself of the possibility of appeal stated under article 81 of the Rome Statute.

14 January 2019:  The Helsinki District Court has found a corporal in the Iraqi army, guilty of committing war crimes. Indeed, according to the court, he was handed an 18-month suspended sentence for desecrating and violating the dignity of a dead body, which constitute war crimes under international law. In casu, the soldier had decapitated the body of an ISIS militant.

11 January 2019:  On Tuesday 15 January, the Trial Chamber 1 of the International Criminal Court will deliver a long-awaited decision for Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé-Goudé. The Chamber will determine whether to release them or not. Gbagbo has spent 7 years in detention accused of four counts of crimes against humanity and his defence team claims there is not enough evidence to proceed with the trial.

10 January 2019: The United Nations' Working Group on Arbitrary Detention published a report in which it accused Bahrain of arbitrarily arresting three members of the family of Sayed Alwadaei, an activist of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, without a warrant and a fair trial. According to the Working Group, this is not the first time Bahrain has arbitrarily detained people and declares that the systematic deprivation of citizens' liberty may constitute crimes against humanity.

9 January 2019: At least four cases are being prepared to be brought in The Netherlands regarding the war in Syria. Basing on the principle of Universal Jurisdiction, the Syria Legal Network - NL is attempting to obtain damages on behalf of Syrian citizens for their pain and suffering.

8 January 2019: A US citizen of Bangladeshi origin, Monir, has been arrested and accused of "killings, confinement, rape, arson and looting" cases during the 1971 war of independence of Pakistan. He will be tried by the widely criticised International Crimes Tribunal, a national court established by Bangladesh in 2010 to prosecute those accused of war crimes in 1971.

7 January 2019: The Helsinki Court of Appeals denied a request for early release of Pastor Francois Bazaramba from his life imprisonment. Bazaramba was convicted in 2012 for his role in the 1994 #Tutsi genocide.

4 January 2019: Eight individuals were charged with war crimes in Bosnia and Hercegovina. The charge is related to ill-treatment of twenty Serbs, which included sexual assault, severe physical and mental injuries as well as other acts, which may amount to torture.

3 January 2019: Special Warfare Operator Chief Edward Gallagher will be arraigned Friday at Naval Base San Diego on a long list of criminal charges including war crimes. Prosecutors argued that Gallagher had allegedly killed civilians with his sniper rifle as well as conducted the premeditated murder of a prisoner of war.

2 January 2019: On Monday, the Court of Appeal of Paris has ordered the extradition of Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona. He is suspected of committing war crimes in Central African Republic. He was allegedly in charge of coordinating the anti-balaka militias, accused of human rights abuses including mass killings and mutilation


December 2018

21 December 2018: On Thursday, a German Federal Court overturned the conviction of Ignace Murwanashyaka, former president of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, an ethnic Hutu militia. He was previously sentenced to 13 years in prison as an accessory to war crimes in Eastern Congo as well as of leading a terrorist organization. His case was sent for a retrial due to legal errors in the reasoning of the original verdict.

20 December 2018:The International Criminal Court is carrying out a preliminary examination of the situation in The Philippines to decide whether the 'war on drugs' there can constitute a crime against humanity. 5,050 persons were killed between July 2016 and November 2018, mostly by the police.

19 December 2018: Less than a month ago two Khmer Rouge leaders were convicted of genocide. However, it has been discovered that Victor Koppe, a defense counsel for Nuon Chea (one of the convicted men), was not a member of the Amsterdam Bar Association, as his membership had lapsed. In the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, each defendant's lawyers must be members of the bar in their home country. It is unclear at this point as to how the finding may affect the case, which is now on appeal.

18 December 2018: On Monday, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution by consensus in which it expressed serious concern at reports of torture, detention, rape, public executions, the imposition of the death penalty and "collective punishments extending up to three generations". These are widespread, systematic and gross human rights violations. The resolution also acknowledges the findings of the UN Commission of Inquiry on North Korea which gathered enough evidence of the commission of crimes against humanity.

17 December 2018: The Chief Prosecutor of the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, Serge Brammertz, stated that Croatia's no-cooperation policy with regard to certain war crimes leads to a deadlock as it comes to investigation and prosecution. Croatia refuses to collaborate with the neighbouring countries in situations when the indictments state that the suspected persons took part in a joint criminal enterprise with Croatian military or political officials.

14 December 2018: On Thursday, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution with a vote of 394 to 1 declaring that the crimes committed against the Rohingya constitute genocide. This comes at a time when the UN has called for Myanmar's generals to face an international tribunal on charges of genocide.

13 December 2018: Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona faces surrender to the International Criminal Court for alleged coordination of attacks on the Muslim population in the CAR in 2013 and 2014, which could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. Ngaïssona is currently a committee member of the Confederation of African Football.

12 December 2018: The Chief Prosecutor of the MICT, Serge Brammertz, has published a new report in which he denounces the lack of cooperation from the Croatian government as well as the blocking of several war crimes cases. In fact, in 2015, the Justice Ministry of Croatia said it will not provide court cooperation in cases.

11 December 2018: The Institute for Economics and Peace in Sydney published the Global Terrorism Index, which indicates that deaths caused by terrorism have fallen in the last three years. Ten States most affected by terrorism were all involved in a conflict and together they accounted for 84% of the terrorism-caused casualties. 

10 December 2018: Today marks the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Universal Declaration emerged from the horrors of World War II, which resulted in more than 65 million deaths, including six million Jews and hundreds of thousands of others who were systematically murdered during the Holocaust. Stunned by this carnage, the UN’s framers created an organization with three core objectives: advancing collective security, promoting economic development in poorer countries, and, for the first time, making the protection of human rights a global priority. The UN adopted the declaration on December 10, 1948, by a vote of 48-0, with eight abstentions. Eleanor Roosevelt, who led the effort, called it a “Magna Carta for all mankind.”

7 December 2018: A UN team (UNITAD) will begin investigating possible genocide of the Yazidi minority, alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by ISIS. The UNSC decided to bring to justice the ISIS fighters responsible for alleged atrocities in a resolution from September 2017.

6 December 2018: According to the Annual Report on Preliminary Examinations activities of the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC, the ICC continues the thorough factual and legal assessment of the Philippines' drug war in which President Rodrigo Duterte and other senior government officials are accused of promoting the killing of suspected drug users/dealers. 

5 December 2018: War crimes prosecutor Stephen Rapp stated that although the evidence of war crimes is often hard to find, in case of Syria there is very strong evidence. For instance, over 750,000 pages of the regime's documents have been accessed. The information collected points in the direction of war crimes more clearly than in case of any other conflict after the World War 2, including in Rwanda and Liberia. 

4 December 2018: Public International Law & Policy Group, a law firm specialized in international law, has found sufficient evidence that genocidecrimes against humanity and war crimes have been committed against the Rohingya and urges the international community to establish a criminal investigation.

3 December 2018: A Bosnian court in Sarajevo acquitted Naser Oric of war crimes. He was charged with killing Serbs in villages in vicinity of Srebrenica in 1992, a few years before the Srebrenica genocide.

November 2018
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30 November 2018: The UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals received complaints about alleged mistreatment of two Serbs, Milosevic and Martic, serving sentences for war crimes in Estonia. They could serve their sentences in Serbia, but such a decision is subject to the approval of the United Nations Security Council.

29 November 2018: Argentina decided to prosecute Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's crown prince, over alleged war crimes in Yemen. The Saudi leader arrived to Argentina in order to attend G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

28 November 2018: Santos López Alonzo was sentenced by a Guatemalan court for over 5,000 years of imprisonment. His sentence consists of 30 years for