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News updates

[Summer programme] Online summer law programme on international criminal law & international legal & comparative approaches to counter-terrorism [Advanced summer programme] Terrorism, counter-terrorism and the rule of law

(For older news updates, please visit our news archive.)

25 May 2022: The International Crimes Team of the Dutch Police has arrested a 34-year-old man on suspicion of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Syria in 2013. The man was allegedly a member of a prominent Syrian militia associated with the Syrian regime.

24 May 2022: The Palestinian foreign ministry has announced that it has formally asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in addition to other crimes committed by Israel against Palestinians.

23 May 2022: A Ukrainian court has sentenced Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin to life imprisonment during the first war crimes trial since the Russian invasion. Shishimarin was found guilty of war crimes and premeditated murder in relation to the killing of an unarmed civilian.

20 May 2022: A French court of appeal has confirmed charges of complicity in crimes against humanity and financing of terrorism against Lafarge, a cement company, in relation to allegations of payoffs to the Islamic State group and other armed groups in Syria. An earlier court ruling from 2019 in favor of Lafarge was overturned by the French supreme court.

19 May 2022: A German woman, who joined the Islamic State group in Syria at 15-years-old in 2015, has been found guilty of membership of a terrorist organization and been given a two-year suspended prison sentence. The German judges found that the charges of aiding and abetting of crimes against humanity, in relation to the purchasing and enslaving of a Yazidi woman, could not be proven. 

17 May 2022: International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan has announced that a team of 42 investigators, forensic experts and support personnel has been deployed to Ukraine in order to advance the Office’s investigations and to provide support to Ukrainian national authorities. The deployment, with cooperation of the Dutch Government, represents the largest investigation of the Office since its establishment.

17 May 2022: Human Rights Watch has stated that armed Islamist groups and government security forces in Burkina Faso are committing increased abuses against civilians, such as killings, summary executions and rape. HRW urges the Burkina Faso government, who took power after a coup in January 2022, to protect civilians from attack and to ensure that its forces respect human rights.

16 May 2022: The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions urges the international community to support the Ukrainian investigations into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Special Rapporteur emphasizes the importance of co-operation between the international and national (forensic) investigators.

13 May 2022: A former Rwandan army officer suspected of involvement in the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda has been arrested in the Netherlands. According to the Rwandan authorities, the former officer played a prominent role in the massacres committed in the Rwandan capital of Kigali and the municipality of Mugina.

13 May 2022: The UN Human Rights Council has passed a resolution to initiate an investigation by a Commission of Inquiry into possible war crimes by the Russian forces in the regions surrounding Kyiv as well as other areas in Ukraine.

12 May 2022: The Ukrainian Prosecutor General has announced the opening of the first war crimes trial against a member of the Russian forces, 21-year-old Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin, since the start of the conflict. Shishimarin is accused of killing an unarmed civilian and is currently in custody in Ukraine.

11 May 2022: French investigative judges have opened an inquiry into torture allegations against Emirati General Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi, the current president of Interpol. Two British citizens, who had been arrested in the United Arab Emirates and state to have been tortured, will be giving evidence at the Specialized Judicial Unit for Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes of the Paris Tribunal. 

New cases, briefs and videos

(For older announcements, please visit our announcements archive.)

CALL FOR PAPERS: The International Crimes Database invites submissions of short articles for publication in the online series ICD Briefs on the theme: 'Ecocide as an international crime? Perspectives from domestic and international law'. For more information, see here

NEW CASES: Case analysis of the summary of the judgment in the Husayn (Abu Zubaydah) v. Poland case (July, 2014) is now online. It can be accessed here.

NEW CASES: Case analysis of the summary of the judgment in the Abu Zubaydah v. Lithuania case (May, 2018) is now online. It can be accessed here.

NEW CASES: Case analysis of the summary of the judgment in the The Prosecutor v Ayyash et al. case (August, 2020) is now online. It can be accessed here.

NEW VIDEO: A new video is available online. The very first online (Zoom) Supranational Criminal Law (SCL) lecture was organised on 3 June 2020, titled ‘Challenges to Prosecuting Paramilitaries: Insights from the former Yugoslavia and Syria’. Speakers were Dr Iva Vukušić, Visiting Research Fellow at Department of War Studies, King’s College London, Ali Aljasem, MA, Researcher at the History Department, Utrecht University and Dr Matthew Gillett, Director, Peace and Justice Initiative and Trial Lawyer, Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC. The video recording can be viewed here

NEW VIDEO: A new video is available online. On 10 February 2020, Dr Christopher Soler, Judge Kimberly Prost and Dr. Yasmin Naqvi provided a lecture at the Asser Institute in the context of the Supranational Criminal Law Lectures Series (SCL). The lecture was organised to celebrate the publication of the book The Global Prosecution of Core Crimes under International Law. The video recording can be viewed here

NEW BRIEF: A new ICD Brief is available on the International Crimes Database entitled “Human Rights Remedies for Violations of the Law of Armed Conflict: Reflections on the Right to Reparation in Light of Recent Domestic Court Decisions in the Netherlands and Denmark”, by Vessela Terzieva.

Vessela Terzieva is an international criminal lawyer and an external PhD researcher at the University of Amsterdam. Her ICD Brief relates to recent decisions in the Netherlands and Denmark awarding compensation for damage at the hands of the military during armed conflict, including the July 2019 ruling of the Dutch Supreme Court in the 'Mothers of Srebrenica' case. It explores how these decisions contribute to the debate on the right to reparation for victims of international humanitarian law violations.

NEW CASES: New case summaries are available on the International Crimes Database!

Prosecutor v Ayyash et al.

Two of the five new case summaries relate to the case of The Prosecutor v Ayyash et al. before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). In its Interlocutory Decision of 16 February 2011 (available here), the Appeals Chamber of the Tribunal found whilst it was bound to apply Lebanese criminal law, international law could be used to aid in the interpretation of these domestic provisions. Significantly, the Chamber concluded that the crime of terrorism exists in customary international law. In the STL Trial Chamber Decision of 1 February 2012 (available here), the Tribunal found that the four accused may be tried in absentia, as all four of the accused had absconded or otherwise could not be found and all reasonable steps had been taken to secure their presence.

Prosecution of Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan

The other three summaries (herehere and here) relate to the trial of Nuon Chea, the former Deputy Secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, and Khieu Samphan, the former Head of State of Democratic Kampuchea, before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). This string of cases culminated in the conviction and life sentence of Chea and Samphan for crimes against humanity relating to the forcible transfer of the population, as well as war crimes and crimes against humanity committed at security centres and worksites. Both were also found guilty of genocide of the Vietnamese people, whilst Chea was also guilty of genocide of the Cham people.

The Asser Institute received assistance from the Washington College of Law Internship Programme in the preparation of these case summaries.