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News archive 2013-2015

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December 2015

23 December 2015: Adopting a new resolution on Tuesday, the Security Council welcomed the completion of judicial work of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) set up in the wake of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, following delivery of the court’s last judgment on 14 December and its impending closure, set for 31 December 2015. The Security Council acknowledged its “substantial contribution…to the process of national reconciliation and the restoration of peace and security, and to the fight against impunity and the development of international criminal justice, especially in relation to the crime of genocide.” The ICTR will become the first ad hoc international criminal tribunal to complete its mandate and hand its remaining functions over to its residual mechanism, the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, which the Council set up in 2010 to carry out a number of essential functions of both the ICTR and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), after the completion of their respective mandates.

23 December 2015: UK judge has ruled that five Rwandan men accused of taking part in the country's 1994 genocide should not be extradited to face trial. District judge Emma Arbuthnot at Westminster Magistrates' Court said there was a real risk they would not get a fair trial in Rwanda. An attempt to extradite four of the men, who are all of Hutu ethnicity, was thrown out by the High Court in 2009 on similar grounds. The Crown Prosecution Service indicated it would appeal against the ruling.

22 December 2015: The East Africa Law Society has asked the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to quickly start a probe to establish if crimes against humanity are being committed in Burundi. President Nassor Khamis said in a letter to Fatou Bensouda on Friday that quick intervention will help end the violence in the country UN officials said is on the brink of civil war. Burundi said there was no need for peacekeepers but the African Union's (AU) Peace and Security Council has proposed sending 5,000, invoking for the first time a rule which allows it to deploy a force without a country's consent. The AU decision, drawn up late on Thursday, needs approval from the UN Security Council.

22 December 2015:  The US government’s investigation into the October 3, 2015 airstrike on a Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders, MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, should be treated as a criminal matter, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said  in a letter to US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. HRW found that there is a strong basis for determining that criminal liability exists. “The attack on the MSF hospital in Kunduz involved possible war crimes,” said Sarah Margon, Washington director. “The ongoing US inquiry will not be credible unless it considers criminal liability and is protected from improper command influence.” The attack, involving an AC-130 gunship firing for at least 29 minutes on a designated medical facility, killed at least 42 people and wounded dozens of others.  

21 December 2015: The African Union (AU) will be violating Burundi’s sovereignty if it goes ahead with plans to send in peacekeeping troops to the country to protect civilians and help restore peace, presidential adviser Willy Nyamitwe said. "Those who are bringing the issue of genocide [are] only in their minds. There is no genocide in Burundi", he added.  The AU’s Peace and Security Council approved sending peacekeepers to Burundi on Thursday to review the current situation in the country. Violence has been escalating in Burundi since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he was running for an additional term of office, and his subsequent re-election.

21 December 2015: On 19 December 2015, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo and Germain Katanga were transferredto a prison facility in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to serve their respective sentences of imprisonment. This constitutes the first time that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has designated a State for the enforcement of imprisonment's sentences, pursuant to article 103 of the Rome Statute. Lubanga and Katanga had each expressed a preference to serve their respective sentences of imprisonment in the DRC, their home country. The enforcement of the sentences of imprisonment shall be subject to the supervision of the Court and shall be consistent with widely accepted international standards governing the treatment of prisoners. Lubanga was sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment after having been found guilty, on 10 July 2012,  of the war crimes of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 years and using them to participate actively in hostilities. On 1 December 2014, the Appeals Chamber confirmed the conviction and sentence imposed. He has been detained at the ICC Detention Centre in The Hague since 16 March 2006. Katanga was sentenced, on 23 May 2014, to 12 years' imprisonment after being found guilty of one count ofcrime against humanity and four counts of war crimes. On 13 November 2015, a Panel of three Judges of the ICC Appeals Chamber reviewed his sentence and decided to reduce it. Accordingly, the date for the completion of his sentence is set to 18 January 2016.

18 December 2015: The man who bought the assault rifles his friend used in the San Bernardino massacre was charged yesterday with a terrorism-related charge alleging he plotted earlier attacks at a college they attended and on a congested freeway. Enrique Marquez Jr., 24, was charged with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists for those earlier plots with Syed Rizwan Farook. Those plans may never have come to light if not for the Dec. 2 terrorist attack where Farook and his wife used guns Marquez bought years ago to kill 14 people at a holiday meeting of Farook's co-workers. The couple were killed in the shootout.

18 December 2015: A new 86-pages Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, titled 'If the Dead Could Speak',features photographs and testimonies that document the deaths of nearly 7,000 people in detention facilities at the hands of Syria's security agencies. Many appear to have died from torture, beatings or starvation. HRW Deputy Director for the Middle East, Nadim Houry, said the Syrian Government must allow independent monitors in to see conditions in detention centres for themselves. Former detainees who have since been released, and guards who have also defected, have confirmed the horrendous conditions for those in custody in Syria, and say torture and malnutrition were widespread. The Syrian Government has previously and consistently rejected photographs or any evidence of torture inside its prisons.

18 December 2015: The African Union said violence in Burundi must end, the 54-member bloc said on Thursday. "Africa will not allow another genocide to take place on its soil," the AU's Peace and Security Council (PSC) said in messages posted on its Twitter account as it discussed the crisis in Burundi, adding there was "an urgent need for action to stop the killings." On Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that Burundi "is on the brink of a civil war that risks engulfing the entire region." Burundi descended into bloodshed in April when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his intention to run for a controversial third term, which he went on to win in July.

17 December 2015: On 10 December 2015, the District Court in the Hague issued its judgment in the so-called Context case, the largest terrorism case in the Netherlands in years. All nine suspects - eight men and one woman - were convicted. Six of the men were convicted on the basis of Article 140a of the Dutch Criminal Code (criminal organisation with terrorist intent), receiving punishments varying from three years, of which one year suspended, to six years. According to the Court, the six suspects were part of a Hague-based 'ronselorganisatie' (recruitment organisation), which incited, recruited, facilitated and financed youngsters who wanted to travel to Syria to fight. Of the six men, two are still participating in the armed conflict in Syria, whereas a third person has returned. The Judgment (in Dutch) can be found here.

17 December 2015: Saudi Arabia said Tuesday that 34 nations have agreed to form a new "Islamic military alliance" to fight terrorism, with a joint operations center based in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. The alliance was announced by Mohammed bin Salman, the country's Defence Minister and Deputy Crown Prince. Arab countries such as Qatar and the UAE will join the coalition, as well as Middle Eastern, Asian and African states including Pakistan, Malaysia, and Nigeria. Mohammed bin Salman said the new alliance would co-ordinate efforts against extremists in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan. When asked if the alliance would deploy troops on the ground, Saudi's Foreign Minister said "nothing is off the table". However, the coalition has faced criticism in that neither Iraq nor Syria, whose governments are close to Shia-ruled Iran, are in the coalition, nor is Afghanistan. 

17 December 2015: Two former top Bosnian Serb officials closely linked to ex-leader Radovan Karadzicopened appeals a the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia on Wednesday against their 22-year jail terms, accusing a judge of bias in their trial. Mico Stanisic and his subordinate Stojan Zupljanin were sentenced in 2013 for their roles in the Balkan country's 1992-95 war. Stanisic, 61, a former Bosnian Serb interior minister and former regional security services chief Zupljanin, 64, faced charges of war crimes andcrimes against humanity including murder and torture. Stanisic's lawyer Stephane Bourgon said one of the former trial judges in his client's case showed "reasonable... bias" in favour of convicting the court's suspects, including his own client.

17 December 2015: A man found guilty of lying about his participation in Bosnian war crimes in 1992, but later granted a new trial in Vermont, US, agreed on Wednesday to give up his United States citizenship and leave the country. If the man, Edin Sakoc, complies with his promises, prosecutors will dismiss the criminal charges against him, the government stipulated in a United States District Court filing in Burlington. Mr Sakoc is a Bosnian Muslim who was charged in 2013 with lying about his role in the Bosnian civil war when he applied for US citizenship. Prosecutors accused Mr Sakoc of raping a woman in the town of Pocitelj and aiding in the killings of two women in her Bosnian Serb family in July 1992. 

16 December 2015: The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, criticised the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Tuesday for its “empty promises” to bring Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir to trial for atrocities in Darfur. In 2005, the Security Council asked the ICC to investigate war crimes in Darfur. ICC judges issued arrest warrants in 2009 for Mr. Al-Bashir and other top officials for genocidecrimes against humanity and war crimes in the western Darfur region. Ms Bensouda called on the UNSC do more to demonstrate its commitment to Darfur, including aiding in the arrest of suspects against whom the Court has issued warrants of arrest. She concluded that “only strong and committed action by the Council and States will stop the commission of grave crimes in Darfur and ensure that the perpetrators of past crimes are held accountable.”

16 December 2015: Six genocide convicts have had their sentences cut by the Appeals Chamber of theInternational Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) as it handed down its last judgment on Monday. The six include a Rwandan minister who was sentenced to life in jail for her role in the 1994 genocide, and had her sentence cut to 47 years. Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, ex-Minister of Family Affairs and the only woman tried by the Tribunal, was found guilty in June 2011 on genocide charges for atrocities committed in Rwanda's southern Butare region. She has been in custody since July 1997. Two other convicts were ordered to be released after their sentences were cut. The Appeals Chamber said the sentence reduction was for “prejudice” to the six because their right to trial within a reasonable time had been violated. 

16 December 2015: The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia(ICTY) on Tuesday ordered the retrial of two former Serbian security officials who were acquitted two years ago of crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Balkan wars of the early 1990s. Appeals judges foundthat Jovica Stanisic, former head of Serbia's State Security Service (DB) and Franko Simatovic, an officer in the DB, had been mistakenly acquitted by trial judges who had misapplied the law. The pair have been in custody since 2003. Given the scale and complexity of the four-year trial, the error could only be fixed by a full retrial, said Presiding Judge Fausto Pocar.

15 December 2015: Two Swedish men were sentenced to life in prison on Monday for assisting in executions in Syria in 2013. Police found a USB stick containing films showing the killings during a search of one of their homes, a Swedish district court was told. The court argued that since the killings and the video intended to seriously intimidate the population of Syria, the two men's actions should be considered a terrorcrime. It was the first conviction of Swedish citizens on charges of "terror crimes" in Syria.

15 December 2015: The Greek Supreme Court prosecutor’s office on Monday presented two separate lawsuits to the Greek parliament against Education Minister Nikos Filis, over comments he made on television denying that an actual genocide took place against ethnic Greeks in the Pontus region of what is now Turkey. Greece recognised the genocide in 1994. The two lawsuits against Filis claim he violated a Greek law passed in 2014 that criminalises the denial of internationally recognised genocides and includes other matters including racism and xenophobia. Parliamentarians will review the lawsuits to determine if Filis’ parliamentary immunity should be lifted so he can stand trial.

15 December 2015: The Serbian government has published a draft of the country’s first national war crimesstrategy, pledging to remedy past failings and prosecute high-level perpetrators for large-scale crimes committed during the 1990s in the former Yugoslavia. The Justice Ministry said the strategy has three main goals: “adequate punishment of those responsible for war crimes, justice for victims, and location of the bodies of the missing”. The Justice Ministry has allowed about two weeks for anyone who wants to comment on the strategy to send in its queries. After that, the revised version of the strategy will be adopted.

14 December 2015: An Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) reserve officer who fought in Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014 was detained for questioning several weeks ago in the United Kingdom on charges ofwar crimes before diplomatic efforts secured his released. The officer, who came to Britain on a business trip, was released a few hours after being detained, thanks to the intervention of the Foreign Ministry with the assistance of the IDF's Operations Directorate and the IDF's international law division. British authorities apologised to Israel following the incident. Pro-Palestinian organisations have been lobbying foreign governments to arrest Israeli army officers and soldiers on charges that they committed war crimes in the counter-terror Operation Protective Edge campaign last year.

14 December 2015:  After two decades of work and 61 convictions at a cost of nearly $2-billion, theInternational Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is due to close. The Tribunal will deliver its 45th and final judgment today - an appeal ruling against six convictions - then it will formally close. The Tanzanian-based and United Nations-backed ICTR, set up in late 1994 to try the alleged masterminds behind Rwanda’sgenocide, is ending its work, with only its appeals chamber staying open for one final trial after December 31.  The ICTR became the first international court to pass a judgment on genocide and was also the first international court to recognise rape as a means of perpetrating genocide. In all, 93 individuals were indicted, consisting of politicians, businessmen, high-ranking military and government officials, heads of media and religious leaders. Two-thirds of them were sentenced, and more than 3,000 witnesses appeared in court to give their personal accounts.

14 December 2015: The European External Action Service (EEAS) has deployed eight security and intelligence experts to its missions in the Middle East, North Africa and Nigeria to boost its counter-terrorismefforts and take the fight to countries where many radicals are recruited. The EU’s new counter-terrorism attachés are tasked with reporting back to the EU delegations and the EEAS on domestic policy in the fields of counter-terrorism, violent radicalisation, organised crime, migration and corruption, and to help some of the host countries build up their own counter-terrorism capacity, using financial aid from the EU.

11 December 2015: A new United Nations Against Torture report says that the government of Azerbaijan has failed to prosecute a single torture case despite hundreds of allegations of torture in its detention facilities in the past few years, Human Rights Watch said today. The report of Azerbaijan’s fourth review under the Convention against Torture highlights the government’s denial of credible and consistent torture allegations and calls on the government to free unjustly imprisoned human rights defenders. The Committee published its conclusions on December 9, the same day the government freed an ailing prominent human rights defender, Leyla Yunus, who had been held for more than 16 months. The Committee Against Torture, consisting of 10 independent experts, scrutinized Azerbaijan’s record as part of its periodic review of the government’s compliance with the UN Convention against Torture. Azerbaijan has been a party to the convention since 1996.

11 December 2015: Interpol agents arrested a Rwandan who is among the nine most-wanted fugitives in the 1994 Rwanda genocide, officials said on Thursday. Ladislas Ntaganzwa, who had a $5m bounty on his head, had been on the run for 21 years. He was arrested in the eastern Congo city of Goma late on Monday. The UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) sought Ntaganzwa to answer charges related to participation in genocide and incitement to commit genocide. Richard Muhumuza, Rwanda’s prosecutor general, said the country has started extradition proceedings for Ntaganzwa to stand trial in Rwanda.

11 December 2015: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called on the Security Council yesterday to refer the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to the International Criminal Court (ICC). It is the latest chapter stemming from a report by the UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the DPRK almost two years ago, which found “unspeakable atrocities” driven by policies established at the highest level of State. The General Assembly has repeatedly called on the Security Council to take action by referring the situation in DPRK to the ICC.

10 December 2015: Hours after the International Crimes Tribunal-1 issued arrest warrants against eight people following a prosecution petition, police in Bangladesh on Wednesday arrested  four accused of war crimes for their alleged involvement in crimes committed in Mymensingh and Jamalpur during the 1971 Liberation War. Earlier in the day, a two-member tribunal led by Justice Md Shahinur Islam issued the arrest warrants. Police continue to seek arrest of the remaining four accused. 

10 December 2015: On Wednesday, the United Nations marked the first ever International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime  to remember the victims of the “crime of crimes” and to call for action against the rise of hostility, xenophobia and intolerance across the world. The day was chosen to mark 67 years since the adoption of the first international human rights treaty, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, in 1948.  To commemorate the day, the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Rwanda has built a new education center, which will host tens thousands of teachers and students every year to learn about the genocide and peace building. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message on the Day that there is a need to pay more attention to the warning signs, and be prepared to take immediate action to address them.

10 December 2015: The United Nations warned on Tuesday that violence in Burundi could degenerate into a civil war, after which "everything is possible", and stressed the urgent need for a political dialogue. Adama Dieng, a special UN adviser for the prevention of genocide, told reporters he was worried that both the government and the opposition were manipulating ethnic tensions in Burundi, pitting Hutus and Tutsis against each other. He stated: "I am not saying that tomorrow there will be a genocide in Burundi but there is a serious risk that if we do not stop the violence this may end with a civil war and following such a civil war anything is possible". Dieng says he is also calling on Burundi's neighbors, including Rwanda and Tanzania, which has seen a large influx of Burundians fleeing the violence, to help.

9 December 2015: A complaint has been lodged with police calling for British Prime Minister David Cameron to be arrested over "international war crimes", as Britain on Saturday launched its second air strike on Islamic State in Syria. Representatives of the Scottish Resistance, a pro-independence group, walked into Rutherglen Police Station near Glasgow on Friday, with copies of an 87-year-old peace treaty, which they claim Cameron broke last Wednesday when the government passed a vote to extend airstrikes in Syria. Led by campaigner James Scott, the men told a lone officer that Cameron broke the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact by voting to extend RAF airstrikes on Isis from Iraq into Syria.

9 December 2015: Amnesty International has published a scathing analysis of the weapons in the hands of the radical Islamic State movement (ISIL) used to commit war crimes. According to Amnesty International, the arsenal used to commit atrocities in Iraq and Syria comes from more than two dozen countries, including the United States and European Union countries. The report also documents ISIL and other groups getting hold of arms from Russia and other former Soviet states, and China. The report urges that steps be taken now to curb future arms proliferation in unstable countries and regions. It is calling on all countries to embargo Syrian government forces, as well as opposition groups implicated in committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious human rights abuses. 

9 December 2015: Police in Bosnia-Herzegovina  have arrested a former Bosnian army general suspected of war crimes against Serb prisoners of war during the 1992-95 war. The prosecutor's office said in a statement Tuesday that Sakib Mahmuljin is suspected of having not prevented a mujahedeen unit that operated on the territory he was in charge of in central Bosnia from kidnapping and killing 50 prisoners that Mahmuljin's units arrested during a 1995 battle. Prosecutors believe that Mahmuljin had information that the mujahedeen were preparing to commit the crime and once they did, he failed to punish them.

8 December 2015:  U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said on Monday he would soon announce changes to the national alert system to warn the public about terrorism risks. "We need to get [...] to a new system with an intermediate level," Johnson said. Under the current system, there are two levels for threats: imminent and elevated. A new level will be added to cover less serious threats, though officials declined to say what it will be called.

8 December 2015: An international conference taking place on Dec. 8-10 in Geneva will consider a resolution to hold an annual meeting of states that have ratified the Geneva Conventions to report on how they are enforcing its provisions to protect civilians, prisoners and the wounded in armed conflict, and on breaches of the Conventions, which are potential war crimes. "There is a glaring vacuum at the heart of the Geneva Conventions system", said Valentin Zellweger, Head of the Directorate of International Law at the Swiss foreign ministry, at the Graduate Institute of Geneva on Friday. Russia is leading an effort to defeat or dilute the proposal. There is "serious resistance among states" to the plan to strengthen compliance, put forward by Switzerland and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Zellweger said. The new mechanism would be the first modification in nearly 40 years, since additional protocols to the Geneva Conventions were agreed in 1977.

7 December 2015: The Indian Navy, which plays a crucial role in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and off Somalia coast, today said there has been no hijacking of any ship for the last two years "mainly due to the concerted efforts" of it along with the international maritime forces. Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command, Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba said "not a single ship under the escort of Indian Navy since 2008 has been hijacked by the pirates". Addressing media on board INS Sunayna, Lanba said that 53 naval ships have done the patrolling since 2008.  Lanba also voiced confidence that the Indian Navy is fully prepared to tackle terrorist threats. 

7 December 2015:  Human Rights Watch (HRW) has issued a report titled, “No More Excuses: A Roadmap to Justice for CIA Torture,” setting forth a legal case for the criminal prosecution of senior US officials for their roles as conspirators and accomplices in the illegal Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) torture program (2001-2009). The report names “US officials who created, authorized, and implemented the CIA program should be among those investigated for conspiracy to torture as well as other crimes", including offenses such as war crimes, assault, and sexual abuse. The report claims that the US government has not adequately accounted for these abuses and reports despite its obligation under international law to prosecute torture where warranted and provide redress to victims.

4 December 2015: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is reconsidering the legality of the only remaining conviction of a Guantanamo Bay detainee who once served as Osama bin Laden's personal assistant. In June, a divided three-judge appeals panel had ruled that the case against Ali Hamza al-Bahlul is legally flawed because conspiracy is not recognized a war crime under international law. That ruling could have limited the government's ability to prosecute terror suspects outside the civilian justice system. The Obama administration successfully appealed the ruling to the full court. It argues that Congress acted lawfully in making conspiracy a crime that can be tried by the special military tribunals created following the 9/11 attacks. Al-Bahlul was arrested after the attacks in Pakistan and turned over to the U.S. military. Two military commissions were later convened at Guantanamo Bay to try al-Bahlul for conspiracy, but those panels were dissolved. In 2008, charges were re-issued against al-Bahlul and a military commission convicted him of conspiracy, soliciting others to commit war crimes and providing material support to aterrorist organization. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and remains at the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

4 December 2015: France's National Assembly voted yesterday to send a bill criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide back to the Justice Commission, which had discussed the measure on 25 November. The measure is purportedly supported by the majority of the parliamentarians. A bill criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide was adopted by the French Parliament's Lower House in December 2011 and its Upper House - the Senate - in January 2012. However, it was declared unconstitutional one month later by France's highest judicial body, the Constitutional Council.

4 December 2015: Several people who were wrongly detained and allegedly tortured by Mexican police have been released after spending years in custody, human rights groups reported. The releases involved four people who were arrested in 2012 and 2013 in cities along the border with the United States and accused of crimes of which they were ultimately absolved. While in custody they were allegedly tortured physically and psychologically by police, and subjected to sexual abuse. They all walked free Wednesday. Amnesty international said in a statement that "the fact that judges in different states of the country can strike down shaky accusations based on torture shows us that there is some hope for justice in other cases".

3 December 2015: The parliament of Aragon, an autonomous region in northeast Spain, adopted a declaration recognising and condemning the Armenian Genocide on Wednesday. The text pays homage to the over 1.5 million victims of the genocide and asks all Turkish institutions, including the government, to acknowledge historical fact. Aragon is the fifth region in Spain that has recognised the Armenian Genocide, after the Basque Country, Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Navarre. In addition, the text pays tribute to the victims of the Armenian Genocide in the spirit of solidarity and European justice. It underlines that the European Union should make genocide prevention and punishment for crimes against humanity a top priority.

3 December 2015: Civil society members and mainstream media in Bangladesh on Wednesday asked the government to sever ties with Pakistan as anger mounted over Islamabad’s denial of committing war crimes during Bangladesh’s independence conflict in 1971. Following the executions in Bangladesh last week of senior opposition leaders convicted of war crimes during the conflict, Islamabad "rejected insinuation of 'complicity in committing crimes or war atrocities'" in a statement by the foreign office on Monday. "Nothing could be further from the truth," the statement added. Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, described as “unacceptable” Pakistan’s reaction against Bangladesh’s 1971 war crimes trial and execution of convicts, while the foreign office handed down a “strong” protest note summoning Islamabad’s envoy in Dhaka. On Monday, Dhaka University’s Vice-Chancellor AAMS Arefin Siddique told a rally: “Its [Pakistan] statement over the ongoing trial of the war criminals is blatant interference in our domestic affairs. After this [statement], there is no scope to maintain the diplomatic relation with Pakistan and our government should sever diplomatic ties with the country unless they seek unconditional apology.”

3 December 2015: Human right groups have called for an investigation of French soldiers active in Rwanda in 1994 on suspicion of complicity in the genocide. The International Federation of Human Rights and two other groups have accused French troops of abandoning Tutsis who were later killed by extremist Hutus. The groups claimed they were in possession of a fax from June 1994 that showed French soldiers had been informed that about 2,000 Tutsis were at risk of being killed in the Bisesero hills and that the intervention of the French army was needed. The groups are asking French authorities to include the document in a judicial investigation into the role of French troops in Rwanda that began after genocide survivors filed a case in 2005.

2 December 2015: The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has issued arrest warrants for two lawyers and an associate of the Serbian nationalist Vojislav Seselj, who is on trial for charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity but was temporarily released to seek medical treatment late last year. The Tribunal ordered the arrest of lawyers Peter Jojic and Vjerica Radeta from Seselj's defense team, as well as his wartime ally Jovo Ostojic, with all three being "charged with contempt of the Tribunal for allegedly having threatened, intimidated, offered bribes to, or otherwise interfered with two witnesses".

2 December 2015: Rwandan Justice Minister Johnston Busingye  is calling for a total ban on all people convicted of genocide crimes from being interviewed by journalists. The Minister told a gathering at the closure of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda that the media should be barred from accessing convicts because it reopens wounds of the genocide. Rwanda claims that a total ban on media interviews with persons convicted on genocide crimes is a way of preventing them from revising the history of the Rwandan genocide. In his speech, Mr Busingye criticised the UN tribunal for allowing media interviews to those jailed despite promising not to do so.

2 December 2015: Sri Lanka will set up a special court in the next few weeks to examine alleged war crimes committed in the final phase of its 26-year conflict with Tamil rebels said Chandrika Kumaratunga, who led Sri Lanka from 1994 to 2005 and now heads the reconciliation unit of President Maithripala Sirisena's government. She told reporters the mechanism would be a domestic one but might get technical assistance from international experts. The Sri Lankan military, under former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, was accused of committing grave human rights abuses during the war, which ended in 2009, and in its immediate aftermath.

1 December 2015: Activists on the ground in the Syria have accused Russia of dropping deadly white phosphorus on civilians, as its intensive bombing campaign against ISIS continues. Use of the chemical  is accepted under international law in order to light up the battlefield and provide cover for ground troops, but it is banned under the Geneva Conventions for use in densely populated areas or when directly targeted at infantry due to it being highly toxic and can burn through skin and bone. In these circumstances its use may amount to a war crime. Additionally, human rights organisations claim that Russian military airstrikes have killed more civilians than ISIS fighters in Syria since the start of its bombing campaign two months ago.

1 December 2015: Former Yugoslav Army general Vladimir Lazarevic will be released by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on 3 December, after serving two-thirds of his 14-year prison sentence, the president of Serbia’s national council for cooperation with the ICTY Rasim Ljajic has announced. Lazarevic's sentence was reduced from 15 to 14 years imprisonment in 2014 at an appeal that upheld his conviction for crimes against humanity during the Kosovo war in 1999. According to the verdict, Lazarevic aided and abetted the deportation of Albanians from Kosovo and committed other inhumane acts by providing practical assistance to members of the Yugoslav Army.

1 December 2015: China's Defence Ministry said on Friday that the first joint drill of anti-piracy patrols between Chinese naval forces and NATO ships took place last Wednesday in the Gulf of Aden. The exercise will help improve communications between ships on anti-piracy duties so that China and NATO can together maintain maritime security and stability in the Gulf of Aden, as China seeks a greater global security role.  This week, China said it was in talks with the Horn of Africa country Djibouti to build logistics "facilities" to support Chinese peacekeeping and anti-piracy missions. 

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November 2015


30 November 2015:
Perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence could be tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC) because they constitute crimes which offend the conscience of humanity as a whole, the ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has warned. “I will spare no effort to bring accountability for such heinous crimes. Where others may want to draw a veil over these crimes, I, as prosecutor, must draw a line under them,” she said in a statement marking the International Day for the elimination of violence against women.

30 November 2015:  The United Nations Security Council condemned a rocket attack that killed two UN peacekeepers and a contractor Saturday in northeast Mali, warning it could be a war crime. In a unanimous declaration, the council’s 15 member countries urged the Malian government to “swiftly investigate this attack and bring the perpetrators to justice and stressed that those responsible for the attack should be held accountable.” A statement from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reiterated this, stating: "The Secretary-General stresses the urgent need to bring the perpetrators of this attack to justice and reiterates that attacks targeting United Nations peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law".

30 November 2015: A Dutch court on Friday withheld the decision to have two Rwandan genocide suspects extradited to Rwanda to face genocide charges. The Hague district court ruled that the two defendants will be tried in the Netherlands, citing lack of a fair and impartial judicial system in Rwanda. The decision overturns the earlier ruling endorsing the transfer of both suspects to Rwanda to face charges. Jean-Baptiste Mugimba 56, and Jean Claude Iyamuremye 38 were arrested separately in 2013 and 2014 in the Netherlands. They are accused of various counts of crimes against humanity and genocide committed in Rwanda in 1994.

30 November 2015: The 14th Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) concluded in The Hague on Thursday with governments agreeing to include in the Assembly’s final report an interpretation of an ICC rule on the use of pre-recorded witness testimony currently under appeal in the crimes against humanity trial of Deputy Kenyan President William Ruto. The inclusion of the requested Kenyan language in the final report holds no obligations for states or the ICC and it remains for ICC appeals judges to decide on the application of Rule 68. 

27 November 2015: The Presidents of France and Russia agreed Thursday to tighten cooperation in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, although they remain at odds over their approach towards Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. French president Francois Hollande has been on a diplomatic drive since the Paris attacks to increase cooperation in tackling IS. Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on increasing intelligence sharing, intensifying their airstrikes against IS in Syria and cooperating on selected targets - two days after Turkey downed a Russian warplane near the Syrian border. "We agreed on a very important issue: To strike the terrorists only, Daesh and the jihadi groups only, and not to strike the forces and the groups that are fighting against the terrorists, Hollande said after the meeting. IS has claimed responsibility for deadly attacks against both of the countries' citizens in recent week: Nov. 13 attacks in Paris which killed 130 people, and the Oct. 31 bombing of a Russian passenger jet over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula that claimed 224 lives.

27 November 2015: Bangladesh has refuted the claim of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) that the war crimes trials at the International Crimes Tribunal were not fair. Saying that the statement is "highly disturbing", the government has sent a reply to the UN human rights body and protested such claim. On Tuesday, the OHCHR renewed its call to the government of Bangladesh to immediately institute a moratorium on the death penalty and abolish it. The statement came two days after Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, a senior politician from the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) party, and Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, a leader of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) were executed for crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation war.

26 November 2015: A Pakistani man was sentenced by a federal judge in New York to 40 years in prison on Tuesday for plotting to bomb a shopping center in England, as part of an al Qaeda plan to carry out terrorist attacks in Europe and the United States, including an attack on the New York subway system and a newspaper office in Copenhagen. After being extradited from the UK to the US, a jury found him guilty on charges including of providing material support to al-Qaeda and conspiracy to use a destructive device. Two other men, Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay, have pleaded guilty to US charges stemming from the New York subway plot. A third, Adis Medunjanin, was sentenced in 2012 to life in prison.

26 November 2015: A United States military inquiry into the US aircraft attack on a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) clinic in the Afghan city of Kunduz has found it was the result of "human error". The investigation states the crew of the aircraft mistook the clinic for a nearby government building that had been seized by Taliban fighters. At least 30 civilians were killed in the 3 October attack, amid a campaign to retake Kunduz from Taliban forces. In a press release on Wednesday, MSF said the US assessment reveals gross negligence and war crimes were committed and calls again for an independent and impartial investigation into the incident.

26 November 2015: A group of Russian lawmakers have submitted a Bill to parliament on holding to account anyone who denies that the 1915 killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces was genocide.  The leader of Russia's opposition A Just Russia party, Sergei Mironov, said on Wednesday that the Bill proposes a fine of up to 500,000 rubles (more than €7,000) for any denial of what is considered by Armenia and some other countries as genocide. Russia is among the 25 countries that has recognised the mass killings of Armenians in 1915 as genocide.

25 November 2015: The Namibian government has approved a recommendation by the Swapo Party for the country to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC). Namibian information Minister Tjekero Tweya said on Monday that the Cabinet approved the "position regarding possible withdrawal from the ICC, given the discussions of the Swapo Party central committee on the issue". The Swapo Party has over the years repeatedly criticized the ICC for being biased against African and other developing countries and targeting African leaders for indictment. Namibia, which joined the ICC in 2002, is the first African country announcing such a stance, two months after South Africa's ruling African National Congress also recommended that the country withdraws from the court. Zimbabwe is not a signatory to the Rome Statute but is on record denouncing the court, calling for the formation of an African Court of Justice.

25 November 2015: The International Criminal Court (ICC) is citing the Nigerian army for two alleged war crimes in the war against Boko Haram. The Islamic extremist group has reportedly been cited for six war crimes. In its Preliminary Examination Report on Nigeria, the ICC accused the military of indiscriminate arrest, detention, torture and extrajudicial killings of people suspected to be Boko Haram fighters. The army is also accused of attacking the civilian population as well as the recruitment of child soldiers by pro-government militia. Nigeria's defence headquarters have described the ICC report as "biased, subjective and unacceptable".

25 November 2015: Bahrain has criticized as "misleading" a Human Rights Watch report accusing the kingdom's authorities of torturing detainees and granting security officials impunity. Information Minister Isa al-Hammadi said the report published Monday is "misleading, unbalanced and controversial". Hammadi emphasized that Bahrain has establishes national watchdogs to probe any alleged illegal practices involving detainees and that such action is taken seriously by the kingdom.

24 November 2015: Belgian authorities have charged a fourth suspect with terrorism offences after they arrested 16 people on Sunday. The federal prosecutor said in a statement that the suspect, who was not identified, was charged with "participation in the activities of a terrorist group and a terrorist attack", referring to the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris. Authorities had charged three other suspects with the similar offences last week. The other 15 people detained on Sunday evening were released.

24 November 2015: Somali pirates have hijacked an Iranian fishing vessel with 15 crew members, a Somali official said on Monday amid warnings that piracy might be making a comeback in the Indian Ocean. Abdirizak Mohamed Dirir, director of the anti-piracy and seaport ministry in Puntland, a semi-autonomous region in Somalia, said the Iranian ship was taken on Sunday evening in waters off northern Somali city of Eyl. Two other Iranian fishing ships were captured by suspected pirates in March. Although there are still occasional cases of sea attacks, piracy near Somalia's coast has largely subsided in the past three years, mainly due to shipping firms hiring private security details and the presence of international warships.

23 November 2015: Bahraini security forces are torturing detainees during interrogation as regulatory bodies set up after the 2011 uprising "lack of independence" and officials are not held accountable, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said yesterday. Scores of opponents have been detained, with many facing trials, while others convicted of involvement in violence have been handed heavy sentences, including loss of citizenship and life in prison. In its report, HRW said that physical assaults include "being subjected to electric shocks; suspension in painful position [...]; forced standing; extreme cold; and sexual abuse". The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, set up by King Hamad to probe allegations of government wrongdoing, had already said in a November 2011 report that police had used "excessive force" and tortured detainees in that year's crackdown on opponents.

23 November 2015: After a dramatic security sweep in the historic city center of Brussels on Sunday, the Belgian authorities announced today that 16 people had been arrested in a joint police and military operation. This operation aimed at heading off what the Belgian Prime Minister described as a "serious and imminent" threat of a Paris-style terrorist assault. Eric Van der Sijpt, a magistrate and spokesman for the federal prosecutor's office said however that the main target of the clampdown, Salah Abdeslam, suspected to be one of the gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, was not among those arrested.

23 November 2015: Bangladesh has executed two opposition party leaders convicted of war crimes committed during the country's 1971 war of independence. Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, a senior politician from the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) party, and Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, a leader of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), were hanged in Dhaka Central Jail early Sunday, Bangladesh's national police chief AKM Shahidul Hoque confirmed. Bangladesh's International Crime Tribunal (ICT) sentenced them to death in 2013. Both had filed appeals, which were rejected by the court on 18 November 2015. Set up in 2010, the ICT has prosecuted more than a dozen opposition leaders for war crimes. In all, four people have now been hanged.

20 November 2015: The United Nations General Assembly's human rights committee has adopted a resolution condemning North Korea's bleak human rights situation and encouraging the Security Council to refer the country to the International Criminal Court. The European Union and Japan have been pursuing such resolution every year. This year, 112 States voted in favor of the resolution, while 19 voted against and 50 abstained.

20 November 2015: The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Thursday rapped Sudan for failing to arrest a Darfur rebel leader and said it would refer to the United Nations (UN) Security Council. In September 2014, the ICC issued an arrest warrant against Abdallah Banda, who faces three war crimes charges for his alleged role in an attack on African Union peacekeepers in September 2007 in northern Darfur, in which 12 peacekeepers died. His trial was supposed to start on 18 November 2014. "By disregarding the request to arrest and surrender Mr Banda [...] Sudan failed to comply with requests to cooperate with the court", the panel on three judges found. An earlier UN resolution has ordered the country, which is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, to cooperate with the ICC.

20 November 2015: South Africa has questioned why the International Criminal Court (ICC) does not try to arrest leaders involved in conflicts in Palestine and Afghanistan in the "current era of disorder" with the same vigor it pursues Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. In a speech delivered at a meeting of the Assembly of State Parties on Wednesday, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashaban said South Africa's commitment to human rights and the fight against impunity was beyond question, however it would not be quiet if it thought there were serious flaws in how the ICC interpreted the Rome Statute. She questioned whether it had become the universally accepted institution for justice as hoped for, or whether some permanent member of the United Nations Security Council could protect themselves and their allies from the court.

19 November 2015: The 14th Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is taking place from 18 to 26 November in the Hague, where civil society from around the world join ICC member states to address issues central to the Court's operations. On the first day of the Assembly on Wednesday, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke on behalf of the African Union in criticising the Court for its unrelenting focus on the continent, as it called for a case against Kenya's deputy president to be dropped. The Assembly of States Parties approved Kenya's agenda for discussion, which will take place today. Kenya wants to convince the Assembly that it was wrong for the Court to use Rule 68, which permits Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to use the evidence of witnesses who have disowned their testimony, in the case against Deputy President William Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua Sang, who are accused of committing crimes against humanity.

19 November 2015: Russia has submitted to the United Nations a revised version of a resolution on fighting the Islamic State. France is planning to submit its own resolution, as world powers scramble to make plans towards defeating the terrorist group. Russia put its new draft forwards on Wednesday, about two months after the Russian draft text was first presented to the Security Council in late September, but was rejected by the United States, Britain and France over a provision that calls for battling the IS extremists with the consent of the Syrian regime. The new version contains a similar provision, though Russian UN representative Vitaly Churkin said this time he hoped world powers could reach a consensus and the resolution calls for greater coordination among different powers in fighting the extremists.

19 November 2015: Bangladesh's Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected final appeals from two opposition leaders against death sentences for war crimes committed in the 1971 Liberation War. The Supreme Court's decision means Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid and Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury could be hanged as early as next week if the president does not grant them clemency. Earlier this month, Amnesty International criticised Bangladesh's handling of the two men's cases, claiming the trials were "clearly flawed" and condemning the death sentence.

18 November 2015: A new study released on Tuesday has shown that deaths from global terrorism increased by 80% in 2014, with 32,658 people being killed. The Global Terrorism Index report highlights that despite 78% of terrorist acts being concentrated in five countries - Pakistan, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq - terrorism is spreading, with more countries recording attacks and deaths than previously. The report states there has been a "dramatic rise" in terrorism over the last 15 years. Nine times more people are killed in terrorist attacks today than there were in 2000, with Islamist groups Boko Haram and ISIS together responsible for 51% of claimed global killings in 2014.

18 November 2015: Last week's attacks in Paris may constitute crimes against humanity according to the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights Karima Bennoune. She said on Tuesday "these attacks may constitute a crime against humanity and certainly one which viciously and deliberately targeted sites of arts and leisure where people come together to enjoy their cultural rights", while urging the international community to aide French authorities in ensuring that perpetrators are brought to justice in accordance with international law. On Friday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the "despicable terrorist attacks," and gave his full faith to the French authorities' ability to prosecute those responsible. 
 
18 November 2015: Bosnian authorities have arrested a police commissioner, a lawyer and a third Muslim Bosnian suspected of having committed war crimes against Bosnian Serb civilians during the 1992-95 war. Sarajevo lawyer Ibro Merkez and Gorazde police commissioner Esef Huric were arrested Tuesday morning suspected of having illegally imprisoned more than 100 Serbs at a local police station at the start of the war. A statement from the State prosecutor said the civilians were held for several months in inhuman conditions, so bad that two of them died. In a separate case, police arrested Ahmet Sejdic, a former army commander, under suspicion of illegal imprisonment, expulsion, torture and inhumane treatment of dozens of Serb civilians and prisoners of war.

17 November 2015: The Panel of the Section II for Organised Crime, Economic Crime and Corruption of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina handed down its verdict against Husein Bosnić on 5 November. Bosnić was found guilty of the criminal offence of Encouraging Terrorist Activities in Public, of Recruitment for Terrorist Activities and of Organising a Terrorist Group. He has been sentenced to seven years in prison. In 2013 and 2014, Bosnić was a religious authority in the so-called Salafi community organised in Bosnia and Herzegovina and he took actions for the purpose of propagating and increasing Islamic radicalism in the country and a wider region. He publicly held speeches, published through social networks, inciting the Salafi community members to become members of the ISIL organised terrorist group in the so-called Islamic State and to take part in the activities organised by the terrorist organization.

17 November 2015: The United Nations has said that all sides in Libya’s conflict are committing breaches of international law that may amount to war crimes, including abductions, torture and the killing of civilians. A joint report by the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), published on Monday, documented serious abuses and violations of international law between 1 January and 31 October of this year. The report calls on all those with effective control on the ground to immediately take action to stop acts in breach of international human rights and humanitarian law, stating that those involved in such infractions were criminally liable, including before the International Criminal Court, under which the situation in Libya continued to be investigated.

17 November 2015: Finland has arrested a 29-year-old Iraqi man on suspicion of committing war crimes in his home country last year. The Pirkanmaa Regional Court in southern Finland says the suspect, Jebbar-Salman Ammar, was being held in custody on suspicion of war crimes committed in Iraq in June 2014. The suspect can be held for four months during a preliminary investigation before being charged. This is the first war crimes investigation in Finland since 2006.

17 November 2015: The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has released her annual Report on Preliminary Examination Activities , including a probe into alleged war crimes committed by Israelis and Palestinians since June 2014. After the preliminary investigation was launched in January 2015, the ICC received and analysed 66 communiques from Israel, Palestine and various organisations around the world detailing incidents of alleged crimes said to have occurred since 13 June 2014. The Office of the Prosecutor said it was “in the process of conducting a thorough factual and legal assessment of the information available, in order to establish whether there is a reasonable basis to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court have been or are being committed.”

17 November 2015: A resolution on the Armenian Genocide has been adopted by a large majority at the 23rd European Green Party Council in Lyon, France. The resolution acknowledges that the Ottoman Empire perpetrated genocide against the Armenian people and calls on Turkey to recognise the Armenian Genocide and work towards reconciliation with Armenia and its people. The European Green Party called upon all countries that have not yet done so to publicly recognise the Armenian Genocide, underlining that doing so will positively impact the relations between Turkey and Armenia and help prevent further crimes against humanity.

16 November 2015:  A judge in Spain has issued arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and seven other former and current Israeli officials over a 2010 fatal raid by the Tel Aviv regime forces on a Gaza-bound aid ship in which war crimes were allegedly committed. The investigation into this case was launched after Spanish activists on board the main vessel in the flotilla, the Turkish-registered Mavi Marmara, filed a criminal complaint against Israeli officials involved in the raid. In response to the judge's order, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said: "We consider it to be a provocation. We are working with the Spanish authorities to get it cancelled. We hope it will be over soon."

16 November 2015: Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday granted early release to convicted war criminal Germain Katanga, making the Congolese warlord, sentenced to 12 years prison in 2014 for one count of crimes against humanity and four of war crimes, the first ICC convict to be released early.  A three-judge panel of the Appeals Chamber of the ICC conducted a review of Katanga's sentence under the guidelines provided in Rome Statute Article 110 that allow for judicial review of a sentencing term after the person has served two-thirds of their sentence. The judges decided that Katanga's sentence would be completed on 18 January 2016, reducing the sentence by 3 years and 8 months, after taking into consideration the time Katanga spent in detention before he was sentenced in May 2014 and a number of contributing factors outlined in the Rome Statute and the ICC rules of procedure and evidence.

16 November 2015: The International Criminal Court (ICC) has listed possible war crimes committed by the Nigerian army and the Boko Haram in the last six years of insurgency in the country. The ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor released a Preliminary Examination Report on Nigeria, in which it identified eight possible cases of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by both Boko Haram and the Nigerian military. According to the report, six of the cases were perpetrated by Boko Haram, while two were by the Nigerian military. The report states that the "Office will continue to analyse allegations of crimes committed in Nigeria and to assess the admissibility of the potential cases identified above in order to reach a decision on whether the criteria for opening an investigation are met".

16 November 2015: Prosecutors have submitted formal charges to International Crimes Tribunal-1 in Bangladesh against two war crimes suspects  for their alleged involvement in crimes against humanity during the country’s Liberation War in 1971. They were charged for the incidents of killing, mass killing, rape, torture and confinement during the nine-month-long war. The Tribunal fixed November 25 to decide whether it will take the charges into cognisance.

13 November 2015: International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutors said on Thursday that they had evidence suggesting that international forces in Afghanistan had caused serious harm to detainees by subjecting them to physical and psychological abuse. The court has been investigating alleged crimes committed since 2003 by all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan but in previous reports it has been more circumspect about alleged crimes and the harm caused. The determination marks a significant escalation of the ICC's long running investigation and could prove controversial in the United States, which is not a member of the court.

13 November 2015: The United Nations (UN) Security Council has unanimously voted to adopt a resolution condemning the killings, torture and human rights abuses plaguing Burundi amid fears that the language used by the government to describe its opponents is reminiscent of the rhetoric that paved the way for the Rwandan genocide. Thursday's resolution asks the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to deploy a team to Burundi to work with the government, the African Union and other partners to "develop options to address political and security concerns" and to present these options to the council within 15 days on actions that could be taken to end the violence. It also includes the threat of possible sanctions against those responsible for the violence. At least 240 people have been killed in the country since protests began in April against President Pierre Nkurunziza's successful quest for a third term. Some 200,000 are estimated to have fled to neighboring states.

13 November 2015: According to a report issue by Amnesty International on Wednesday, state-driven reforms adopted since 2010 within China's judicial system have failed to prevent torture and mistreatment of suspects as a means of forcing confessions. The report also alleges that Chinese lawyers who seek to aid judicial-torture victims are themselves subject to maltreatment and harassment. An ongoing state crackdown against human rights lawyers has seen the detention of 248 activists and attorneys, 28 of whom are still in custody or missing.

13 November 2015: Islamic State (IS) militants committed genocide against Iraq's Yazidis in the north of the country and carried out crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and war crimes against other minorities, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum said Thursday. According to a report of the museum's Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, these crimes were committed in Neneveh province between June and August 2014. IS militants have seized swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria. Neither country is a member of the International Criminal Court therefore its prosecutor is unable to open an investigation unless a referral is made by the 15-member Security Council of the United Nations.

12 November 2015: British arms exports to Saudi Arabia could be halted if investigations reveal it has broken international humanitarian law during its military campaign in Yemen. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond called for “proper investigations” into war crimes allegations against Riyadh, admitting that denials alone were not enough. Amnesty International has urged Britain to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia while "damning evidence of war crimes" is investigated and insists that, rather than apparently relying on Saudi Arabia to conduct its own investigation, the UK should conduct its own rigorous investigation into how weapons supplied to Riyadh have been used in Yemen.  

12 November 2015: A group of Venezuelan opposition figures has asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the country’s President, Nicolás Maduro, and other officials for “crimes against humanity”, the coordinator of opposition party Popular Will, Carlos Vecchio, said on Wednesday. The request to the ICC, which targets eight officials including Maduro, was made in the name of a group of alleged victims of the current regime, in which Vecchio has included himself. It lists vast numbers of alleged murders, illegal detentions and cases of torture that purportedly took place since February 2014 in the brutal, nationwide protests against Maduro's government. The request comes just weeks before the 6 December legislative elections in Venezuela.

12 November 2015: Kenya has published a Bill which seeks to repeal the International Crimes Act, moving the State one step closer to withdrawing from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Kenya's National Assembly will now seek to repeal the Act, which incorporates the Rome Statute into Kenyan law and obligates the government to cooperate with the ICC. The Bill was published on October 23, after approval by the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chaired by Ainabkoi MP Samuel Chepkonga, and is expected to be tabled this week, after the lapse of 14 days since publication. If the Bill is passed and assented to by the President, Kenya will become the first country to withdraw from the ICC.

11 November 2015: The European Commission’s 2015 progress report on Kosovo, published on Tuesday, has said that Kosovo prosecutors lack the willingness and the capacity to investigate war crimes cases when former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army are involved. The report also said that local prosecutors are in need of basic training because of the lack of technical expertise to tackle war crimes cases. In most of around 700 pending war crimes cases, the suspects are ethnic Serbs who mostly live in Serbia and so cannot be brought to court, it continued. The report called for witness protection - a key problem in staging successful war crimes prosecutions in Kosovo - to be improved.

11 November 2015: Colombia’s Prosecutor General Eduardo Montealegre on Monday announced an investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity by surviving commanders of the M-19 guerrilla group that demobilized in 1991. When the group disarmed in 199o, its members were pardoned by then-President Virgilio Barco and allowed to found the M-19 Democratic Alliance. However, almost 25 years after their demobilization, Montealegre wants to investigate the violent actions taken by the group while still active and revise the pardon, stating “if [M-19] actions constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity, the prosecution’s office can begin investigations against members of the M-19 leadership.”

11 November 2015: Amnesty International on Tuesday criticised a section of New Zealand's proposed UN Security Council resolution which calls for a renewal of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), yet proposes that the Palestinians halt their efforts to bring Israel to trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC).  In a statement, Amnesty expressed that it is "deeply concerned" that the move could damage chances for a lasting peace. Jonathan O’Donohue, International Justice Legal Adviser at Amnesty International, said "New Zealand’s proposal would deny thousands of Palestinian and Israeli victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity, the only chance to have their day in court.”

10 November 2015: A former Bosnian Muslim commander called on the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals to order Bosnia to drop war crimes charges against him, arguing he has already been tried in the case. Naser Oric, along with Sabahudin Muhic, stands accused of the murder of three Serb prisoners-of-war in 1992, in what the prosecutor's office in Sarajevo described as a "war crime against prisoners". His lawyer, Vasvija Vidovic, asked judges in The Hague to "issue an order requesting the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina to permanently discontinue proceedings against the applicant." In 2006, Oric was sentenced by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to two years in prison for not doing enough to protect Srebrenica's Serb population during the war, but he was acquitted on appeal two years later. His lawyer argues that his latest arrest in June in Switzerland on a warrant issued by Serbia is contrary to international law.

10 November 2015: Egypt criticised its foreign partners last week for ignoring calls to work harder to combat terrorism, after Western intelligence sources said there were signs Islamist militants may have bombed the Russian plane which crashed in Sinai. Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told a media conference: "The spread of terrorism, which we have for a long time called on our partners to tackle more seriously, did not get through to many of the parties which are now exposed and which are currently working for the interests of their citizens to face this danger".  He also expressed frustration that foreign intelligence about the cause of the crash had not been passed on to Cairo, stating "the information we have heard about has not been shared with Egyptian security agencies in detail" and he claimed "we were expecting that the technical information would be provided to us." 

10 November 2015: The Somali government has informed the city Civil and Sessions Court  that 120 of its nationals undergoing trial in Mumbai intend to plead guilty to charges of piracy. The pirates were arrested in a joint operation of the Indian Navy and Coast Guard in the Indian Ocean in 2011 for hijacking two ships and holding the crew to ransom. Two sailors from Pakistan and Iran were killed in the case. The pirates were charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Indian Arms Act and Indian Penal Code. Judge Abhinandan J Patangankar of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act Court will make a decision regarding the guilty plea on Friday.

9 November 2015: The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided by majority to dismiss the Prosecutor's appeal against the decision of Pre-Trial Chamber I requesting the Prosecutor to reconsider the decision not to initiate an investigation into the Mavi Marmara raid. The judges decided that the complaint filed by Komor Islands, where the ship was registered, was valid and the Prosecutor's decision not to proceed with the case should be readdressed. The Mavi Marmara was leading a flotilla of ships planning to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip when a raid on May 31, 2010 by Israeli special forces killed nine Turkish nationals and one Turkish-American dual national.  Last year, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda had noted that Israel had committed war crimes during the raid but the crime was not grave enough to warrant a trial at the ICC.

9 November 2015: Rwanda's President Paul Kagame officiated the 84th INTERPOL General Assembly last week which brought over 700 participants from 145 countries and international organisations to Rwanda . The President expressed gratitude to INTERPOL for its efforts in tracking down fugitives wanted for genocide in Rwanda, and helping to deliver justice for victims and survivors, but confirmed there remains much work to be done. On Friday, Kagame urged neighboring Burundi not to repeat genocide and that the Burundi President 'should have learned the lessons' of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.  

9 November 2015: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has heavily criticised Amnesty Intentional (AI) for its comments on Bangladesh’s freedom fighters and the trial of war criminals. Amnesty International, in a media statement on Oct 27 before the final verdict of Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid for war crimes and genocide, said their trials were seriously flawed and "serious crimes by freedom fighters" during the Liberation War have gone unpunished. On Sunday, the Prime Minister implied that AI may have been bribed in some way to make the statement by saying "they received something big for it," and they are trying to protect war criminals.  She also called the acts of AI "despicable" and stated that "we've strongly condemned it [the statement] and will continue to do so."

6 November 2015: British Prime Minister David Cameron said he believes it is likely that a bomb brought down a Russian passenger jet over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula last week, killing all 224 people on board. Although he noted that experts are not yet certain of the cause of the crash, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond reported that "there is a significant possibility that the crash was caused by an explosive devise on board of the aircraft". The Islamic State (IS) group has claimed responsibility for the disaster, but has so far not presented any firm evidence to back it up. Experts are examining the wreckage for any sign of terrorism. Russia's government has rejected that theory, saying it is too early to say what caused the crash, and Egyptian president Abel Fattah el-Sissi has dismissed IS's claim as "propaganda" and an effort to damage Egyptian security and stability.

6 November 2015: Islamic State (IS) jihadists are killing more civilians in Libya than the other warring factions, but all sides are committing "large-scale crimes", International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said Thursday. Violent deaths are on the rise in the country, where the United Nations (UN) is trying to broker a deal on a unity government that would be able to confront the growing threat from the IS group. The prosecutor told the UN Security Council that she was ready to undertake further investigations for possible war crimes in Libya, but added that her work was hampered by funding problems. Libya has had two administrations since August 2014, when the Islamist-backed militia alliance overran Tripoli. Prosecutor Bensouda added however that Libya's incessant conflict and political division may soon come to an end.

5 November 2015: AUSTRAC, Australia's anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing agency, revealed reports of suspected "terrorism-financing" have tripled in the past year, with over A$50 million being investigated. In its annual report released this week, the agency says it recorded a spike in terrorism-related "suspicious matter reports" from 118 in 2013/14 to 367 in 2014/15. AUSTRAC's report stated "the volume of terrorism financing in Australia is linked to the number of Australians travelling to join terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq" and the funding was for individual attacks and operations, but also for sustaining terrorist groups.

5 November 2015: Amnesty International (AI) has accused the Syrian State of  profiting from widespread and systematic enforced disappearances, which amount to crimes against humanity. The group said in its report released today the State was benefiting from an "insidious black market in which family members desperate to find out the fates of their disappeared relatives are ruthlessly exploited for cash". AI said nearly 60,000 civilians are believed to have "disappeared" since Syria's conflict began with anti-government protests in March 2011. The report states the government's campaign of enforced disappearances amounted to crimes against humanity and urged the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court. AI also urged the Security Council to impose targeted sanctions to pressure authorities.

5 November 2015: Five suspected former leaders of the Basque separatist movement ETA have been charged at a Spanish High Court for crimes against humanity in relation to a number of killings and kidnappings. Judge Juan Pablo Gonzalez opened an inquiry into the attacks in July in response to pressure from multiple victims' associations, which also had urged ETA leaders be tried for genocide although the charge was ultimately ruled out.  The court's charges only deal with crimes committed after 1 October 2004, the date the Spanish Penal Code was amended to include legislation on crimes against humanity. The maximum sentence the men can face under the legislation is 30 years imprisonment. In his decision to open the investigation, Gonzalez said the group's crimes were a "systematic attack against a segment of the civilian population" by means of coercion and terror.

4 November 2015: A 45 year-old suspect of war crimes committed during the Bosnian war (1992-1995) has been extradited from the Netherlands to Bosnia on Monday. The Bosnian national was a resident of the Dutch town Spijkenisse and had been in extradition detention since his arrest by the International crimes Unit of the Netherlands National Police. According to the extradition request made by the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Netherlands National Prosecutor's Office, the Dutch resident was allegedly the commander of a camp in Derventa in June 1992. He will face trial in Bosnia for the murder of two persons, for torture and for plundering the belongings of prisoners.

4 November 2015: Israeli legislation creating a separate crime of incitement to terrorism, as opposed to general incitement to violence, passed its first reading in Israel's Parliament on Monday. The Bill creates the crime of incitement to terrorism, which would not require the prosecution to prove the probability of the statements causing someone to commit an act of terrorism. The Bill passed a first reading with 34 in favor and nine opposed, and will go to the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee to be prepared for a second and third (final) reading.

4 November 2015: The United Kingdom police have been asked to assess the entourage accompanying Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on his three-day visit to Britain starting on Wednesday for suspects already being investigated in Britain for war crimes. Sisi, his prime minister and foreign minister have immunity from prosecution under international law, but he is known to travel with large delegations. Lesser members of his government, and military officials who were involved in organising the massive repression faced by the opposition in Egypt since the military coup in 2013, face arrest and interrogation on allegations of torture, unless the Egyptian government has applied for and obtained special mission immunity from the Foreign Office. Lawyers representing the Freedom and Justice Party are set to mount immediate challenges in court to any immunity from prosecution given by the Foreign Office to members of Sisi's entourage.

4 November 2015: Human Rights Watch has accused Syrian rebel groups outside Damascus of war crimes after they placed hostages, including civilians, in cages for use as "human shields" to deter government strikes. A video posted over the weekend showed dozens of captives, among them soldiers and civilians, in cages being transported to different parts of the Eastern Ghouta region outside Damascus. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the powerful Jaish al-Islam group had placed the caged captives in public squares to deter government bombing. Human Rights Watch said the practice "constitutes hostage-taking and an outrage against their personal dignity, which are both war crimes."

3 November 2015: Amnesty International (AI) raised questions about the trial and appeal processes of war criminals Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, days before their death penalty review petitions were due to be settled. In 2013, Jamaat Secretary General Mujahid and BNP leader Chowdhury were sentenced to death by the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh on charges of war crimes and genocide. According to AI, "serious flaws” occurred in their trial and appeal processes and said the trials “failed to meet international standards for fair trial”. Bangladesh State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam, in turn, said most of the contents of AI statement published on October 27 are unacceptable: “We are studying the full report and we will come up with a strong response to it”. In the meantime, the Bangladesh Supreme Court on Monday deferred until 17 November the hearing of petitions filed by the two condemned war criminals seeking review of the judgments.

3 November 2015: Despite an overall global reduction in serious piracy attacks this year, the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC) cautions against complacency in its 2015 report for the year to 30 September. To date, 190 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships have been officially counted this year, with the greatest number in Indonesia. In Southeast Asia, a piracy crackdown appears to be showing results, with only two hijackings reported in the third quarter of the year. Indonesian and Malaysian authorities have also arrested, and in some cases prosecuted, members of product tanker hijacking gangs. The arrests and prosecutions are praised by IMB Director Pottengal Mukundan, who claims "the robust actions taken particularly by the Indonesian and Malaysian authorities - including the arrest of one the alleged masterminds - is precisely the type of deterrent required".

3 November 2015: The number of terrorism investigations carried out by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (Asio) more than doubled to 400 in 2014 - 15, according to the security agency's annual report. Asio also made more than twice as many recommendations for passports to be refused or cancelled on security grounds in 2014-15 than the previous year. At the end of June 2015, the agency was aware of about 120 Australians fighting in Iraq and Syria, up from 60 at the same time last year. The agency identified two terrorist attacks in the past year and six other alleged terrorist plots had been disrupted, all initially identified by Asio and then handed over to law enforcement, the agency said.

2 November 2015:  The United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has secured the safe release of the remaining 13 abducted contractors after a successful extraction operation on Sunday. While 18 peacekeepers were freed last Thursday, the UN's head of mission in South Sudan, Ellen Margrethe Loj, called Friday for the immediate release of those UN colleagues seized by rebels, stating that their capture was a possible war crime. The US State Department also condemned the abduction of a total of 31 UN peacekeepers and staff members by rebel fighters, saying that such attacks "could constitute war crimes" and lead to UN sanctions. Around 100 rebel fighters, who have been battling the government for almost two years, seized the 30 UNMISS contractors last Monday. All were on a river barge carrying fuel for the UN mission.

2 November 2015: Dutch police have arrested a man of Afghan descent on suspicion of committing war crimes in Afghanistan more than 35 years ago, prosecutors said on Friday. Sadeq A., 64, was detained in Rotterdam last Tuesday, on suspicion of being part of an Afghan army commando unit who murdered mujahideen guerrilla fighters in eastern Afghanistan in April 1979. Sadeq A. was first arrested after the former Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December 1979. He was released in 1990, after which the Netherlands granted him asylum. According to the prosecutors' statement, Dutch prosecutors started to investigate Sadeq A.’s activities in Afghanistan in 2008, after victims’ relatives laid a complaint against him.

2 November 2015: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to “expedite” a probe into allegations of Israeli abuses and war crimes. Abbas, along with other senior Palestinian officials, met with ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in the Hague on Friday, where Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki apparently handed over a dossier to Bensouda. The meeting was the first since the Palestinians joined the ICC earlier this year. Soon after joining, the Palestinians urged the court to investigate Israel for alleged war crimes during last year’s conflict in Gaza.

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October 2015


30 October 2015: A draft UN resolution aimed at setting the stage for renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiation reportedly calls for a halt to Israeli settlement expansions and Palestinian action at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The draft resolution, obtained Thursday by the Associated Press, demands the parties to refrain from "referring a situation concerning Israel or the occupied Palestinian territories to the ICC". The Palestinians officially joined the ICC in April 2015 in hopes of prosecuting Israel for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 50-days Gaza conflict last year. ICC chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has opened a preliminary investigation.

30 October 2015: A report by Yale University has found there was strong evidence that large numbers of Rohingya Muslims are being deliberately persecuted by the government of Myanmar, with many killed. Accusations have been made of a systematic campaign of genocide against the minority ethnic Muslim group. Following race riots in 2012, which it is claimed were orchestrated by the military, more than 140,000 Rohingyas were relocated to ghetto-like camps. Myanmar is currently preparing for next week's historic elections. Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is running for office and has been largely silent on the issue of Rohingya's human rights.

29 October 2015: The International Criminal Court's Prosecutor says she has decided against opening a full investigation into allegations of crimes following a 2009 coup in Honduras. Prosecutors opened a preliminary probe in 2010 that concluded three years later that human rights violations did happen in the aftermath of the coup but did not amount to crimes against humanity that fall within the Court's jurisdiction. Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said Wednesday that she subsequently looked at fresh allegations of crimes committed early in 2010 in the Bajo Aguan region of Honduras but again concluded "that there is no reasonable basis for my Office to proceed with an investigation". Formally closing the preliminary examination, Bensouda stressed that her decision should not "minimise the crimes committed in Honduras or their impact on the victims."

29 October 2015: The long-awaited African Union Commission of Inquiry report on the South Sudan conflict (AUCISS) and the Separate Opinion submitted by one member of the AUCISS were released this week after nearly two years of brutal daily violence in South Sudan, sometimes described as a civil war. It finds that both the South Sudan government and rebels loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar committed human rights violations, some of which the report says constitute war crimes. The report says the violations included killings and murder, torture, cruel, inhumane and other degrading treatment, abductions, rape and other sexual and gender-based violations. However, the Commission says it did not have any reasonable grounds to believe that the crime of genocide was committed during the conflict.  The Commission says it has identified possible perpetrators on both sides that might bear the greatest responsibility and called for an African-led internationally supported court to prosecute the perpetrators of the war crimes.

29 October 2015: The International Criminal Court (ICC) has postponed the start of the trial of former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo until next year to give judges time to assess his health. Judges ruled Wednesday that the trial that was due to start on the 10 November will now get underway on 28 January 2016. They also scheduled a hearing starting Nov. 10 to question three experts who have assessed the 70-year-old Gbagbo's health and fitness to stand trial. Gbagbo is being tried alongside former youth leader Charles Ble Goude, who both face charges of crimes against humanity for their alleged involvement in violence that left some 3,000 people dead in the aftermath of the 2010 presidential elections.

28 October 2015: A Libyan man has been sentenced to six years in a UK jail for terrorism offenses and other charges related to a failed plan to send ammunition to militias operating inside Libya. Abdurraouf Eshati pleaded guilty to having documents linking him to a planned deal to send 1,100 tons of ammunition to Libya via Italy in contravention of a UN-imposed arms embargo. He was arrested by British police while trying to get to France in the back of a lorry with 19 other people at the port of Dover on 30 November last year, and found in possession of documents showing involvement in a £18.6m arms deal taking place in Italy and also plans to charter a cargo plane to deliver the ammunition.

28 October 2015: Despite India making its stance clear, the International Criminal Court (ICC) and Amnesty International have asked India to arrest Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, who is expected to arrive in the country today to attend the India-Africa summit. The ICC issued warrants for al-Bashir's arrest in 2009 and 2010, who is accused of masterminding genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in his campaign to crush a revolt in Sudan's western Darfur region. The Office of ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that even though India is not an ICC signatory, it was obliged to act as a UN Security Council resolution had lifted Bashir's immunity under international law and urged all member states to cooperate with ICC. Amnesty International has also urged India "not [to] turn a blind eye" on the charges against the Sudanese president.

28 October 2015: Airstrikes carried out by Russian warplanes in western Syria are reported to have killed dozens of civilians, according to Human Rights Watch, adding that the bombings may amount to war crimes. A series of Russian airstrikes in the city of Homs in western Syria on 15 October 2015 killed at least 59 civilians including 33 children, Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Sunday, citing local residents and activists. The group added that the attacks constituted “violations of the laws of war”. Russian forces have faced a series of allegations of striking civilian areas since they began bombing areas of Syria last month in an effort to bolster the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian American Medical Society has accused Russian warplanes of repeatedly targeting hospitals.

28 October 2015: Serbia is lagging behind on war crimes prosecutions and hasn’t yet brought a high-ranking suspect to court, the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe’s mission to Serbia said in a new report published on Tuesday. According to the report, none of the defendants prosecuted in Serbia so far held “high-ranking positions at the time of the offences”, while only 10 per cent of them were medium-ranking. It is reported that since 2010 there has been a decreasing number of cases, with fewer defendants and fewer victims, and war crime proceedings are also hindered by a “lack of resources and public support".

27 October 2015:  The European Court of Human Rights has reversed the conviction of a former Lithuanian state security agent on charges of genocide that did not exist at the time he was involved in operations against anti-Soviet rebels. Vytautus Vasiliauskas was convicted in 2004 for the genocide of Lithuanian partisans who resisted Soviet rule after World War II. A trial court convicted Vasiliauskas of genocide based on amendments made to the Lithuanian criminal code in 2003, which included protections for political groups. Facing a 6-year prison sentence, Vasiliauskas petitioned the European Court of Human Rights for review. He argued that his conviction violated Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) - no punishment without law - since he was found guilty on the basis of a law that didn't exist at the time of the accused incident in 1953. Ten years later, the European Court voted 9-8 to reverse Vasiliaukas' conviction on Oct. 20, agreeing that the ECHR prohibits retroactively applying criminal law to the accused's disadvantage.

27 October 2015: An investigation carried out by Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit has found what it claims amounts to "strong evidence" of a genocide coordinated by the Myanmar government against the Rohingya people. Yale University Law School confirmed this after spending eight months assessing evidence from Myanmar, including documents and testimony provided by Al Jazeera and the advocacy group Fortify Rights. The Lowenstein Clinic at the law school concluded that: "Given the scale of the atrocities and the way that politicians talk about the Rohingya, we think it's hard to avoid a conclusion that intent [to commit genocide] is present."

27 October 2015: The Refugee Action Collective Victoria has filed a complaint at the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the Australian government's treatment of asylum seekers and refugees. The complaint requests the ICC to investigate and prosecute ministers and former ministers of the Australian government, specifically former prime minister Tony Abbott, former immigration minister Scott Morrison, current immigration minister Peter Dutton, and attorney-general George Brandis. The document cites a range of actions taken by the Australian government which are in breach of international law and argues that some of these actions may amount to crimes against humanity. The complaint has been endorsed by 53 organisations, including unions, religious groups and refugee rights groups.

27 October 2015: Members of the International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) submitted a report on war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in east Ukraine to the International Criminal Court (ICC) last Friday. The delegation present in The Hague handed over a compilation of over 300 first-hand testimonies from victims and witnesses to representatives of the ICC's situation analysis section on Ukraine. On 8 September 2015, the Ukrainian government granted the ICC jurisdiction over all international crimes that have taken place on the territory of Ukraine.

26 October 2015: For the second time in two years, Kenya has requested the UN Security Council to defer the International Criminal Court (ICC) trial against Vice-President William Ruto and broadcaster Joshua Sang for crimes against humanity. The country's Permanent Mission to the UN, in a petition dated October 16, wants the UNSC to defer the case since Kenya's concerns over the matter have not been addressed since October 2013. Additionally, the African Union opposed Rule 68 of the Court’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence on recanted testimony in the case. The African Union Executive Council during the AU Summit in South Africa this year, called for the termination or suspension of charges against Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto until their proposal to amend the Article 27 of the Rome Statute is considered.

26 October 2015: The UN Security Council said last week the recent upsurge of violence in the Central African Republic may amount to war crimes and asked for the perpetrators to be held accountable. In a presidential statement approved by all 15 members, the Council called on the country's transitional government to launch investigations to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice, and said the UN peacekeeping mission in the country would provide technical assistance. According to Human Rights Watch, five days of sectarian violence in the capital city, Bangui, between September 25 and October 1, 2015, led to at least 31 targeted killings of civilians.

26 October 2015: A coalition consisting of 21 international and African non-governmental organisations are calling on India not to welcome Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir during a summit held in New Delhi this week. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has warrants out for his arrest to face charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Darfur. India claims that it is under no obligation to arrest the Sudanese President as it is not an ICC member state. However, the ICC Prosecutor called upon authorities to help aid impunity for the world's worst crimes by carrying out the arrest, noting that the UN resolution that asked the ICC to investigate in Darfur urged all states to cooperate fully with the ICC. This being said, Saudi Arabia has also invited al-Bashir to attend a summit next month.

23 October 2015: Amnesty International reported today that in Mexico, the number of torture complaints filed at the federal level more than doubled between 2013 and 2014 - from 1,165 to 2,403, according to data from Mexico's Federal Attorney General's Office. The latter told Amnesty International that they have "no hard data" on any charges issued in 2014 against those responsible. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has promised to present a new bill on torture to Congress as a first step to tackle this crisis.

23 October 2015: Dusan Dunjic, a defence witness in the case against former Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic has been found dead in his hotel room in the Hague, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) said Thursday. Police spokesperson told that at this stage "we have no reason to suspect that a crime has been committed". Dunjic was a forensic pathologist from Belgrade and has on numerous occasion testified as a defence witness in the trials of others accused before the tribunal. The defence case in Mladic's trial is ongoing, with judgment expected in November 2017. He faces 11 charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in Bosnia's brutal three-year civil war in the early 1990s.

22 October 2015: The Spanish mission to the United Nations will call a meeting among United Nations member states on the 4th November to discuss creating a special international criminal court on terrorism, Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Garcia-Margallo said Wednesday. "We have suggested this idea to create a special court on terrorism which would have jurisdiction on all of these cases. An international criminal court would reach places that The Hague (International Criminal Court) has not been able to reach and where national courts will not reach, so we can put an end to impunity", he said. The briefing came after a closed-door meeting where victims of terrorism told the 15 members of the UN Security Council about their experiences.

22 October 2015: Houthi forces supported by military forces loyal to former Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh may have violated the laws of war after Human Rights Watch (HRW) found they repeatedly fired mortar shells into populated neighbourhoods and confiscated food and medical supplies. In a report released on Tuesday, it is claimed Houthis fired mortar shells and artillery rockets indiscriminately into populated neighbourhoods in the southern Yemeni city of Taizz in August 2015, "without regard for the safety of its residents", killing at least 14 civilians. Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at HRW said:  "Houthi leaders should realize that they could someday face war crimes trials for ordering or taking part in indiscriminate rocket and mortar attacks on civilian neighbourhoods".
 
22 October 2015: Allegations that the Sri Lankan army committed war crimes during the conflict with Tamil rebels are “credible”, a government probe panel has said. The probe panel, commissioned by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, also backed the UNHRC's recommendation that foreign judges should have a role in the domestic inquiry and proposed the creation of a separate war crimes division within the Sri Lankan legal system to investigate war crimes allegations. The report, dated August 2015, was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.

21 October 2015: The Bosnian state prosecution on Monday has raised a war crime indictment against Djordje Ristanic for killing persecution, torture, rape and abuse of non-Serb civilians in Brcko from April to December 1992. Ristanic is charged with crimes against several hundreds of citizens illegally detained in Brcko, and the charges also cover the persecution of non-Serb civilians and mass robberies of Bosniak and Croat property after they were expelled. The indictment has been sent for confirmation to the Bosnian state court.

21 October 2015: Three European researchers from the association Yahad In Unum, that documented Nazi war crimes, are now investigating whether massacres committed by Islamic State jihadists against Iraq's Yazidi minority amount to genocide. The small team of researchers has travelled to collect evidence at a Kurdish refugee camp. They seek "to establish the stages of the criminal process for each category of the Yazidis - men, women, children - in order to back up the claim of genocide", told Andrej Umansky, criminal law specialist at Cologne University. When the jihadists made an unexpected push in August last year into parts of northern Iraq under Kurdish control, the Yazidis were the worst hit, with any massacred and abducted.

21 October 2015: While piracy in some of the world's most notorious areas has been on the decline, the densely populated waters of the Singapore and Malacca Straits have seen a "sharp rise" in attacks on commercial vessels, according to research release on Tuesday. Intelligence firm Dryad Maritime recorded 194 attacks on vessels in the first nine months of 2015 in South-East Asia, up 38% on the same period in 2014. Chief operating officer Ian Millen called for the three nations surrounding the Singapore Strait to provide a more permanent security presence in the area.

20 October 2015: On Monday, the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) filed a criminal complaint against Alfreda Frances Bikowsky, a high-ranking CIA official, for mistreatment of a German citizen who was detained and allegedly tortured for four months in 2003 in Afghanistan. Khaled El-Masri was on vacation in Macedonia when he was mistaken for Khalid Al-Masri, a suspect in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He was then transported to Afghanistan where he was detained under the direction of Bikowsky, who was deputy chief of the CIA's Bin Laden Issue Station. The ECCHR complaint is mostly based on the United States Senate Torture Report that was released in December.

20 October 2015: Former Bosnian Muslim commander Naser Oric pleaded not guilty on Monday to war crimes during the country's 1992-1995 war. Oric, who had been in charge of Srebenica's defence, and a Bosnian Muslim soldier are indicted for the murder of three Serb prisoners-of-war in 1992. In 2008, Oric was acquitted by the Appeals chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), but was arrested in June in Switzerland on a warrant issued by Serbia. He was however extradited to Bosnia and is being tried by a court set up to set up war crime cases, easing the burden on the ICTY. Oric's lawyers said previously that the court is trying him for the same crimes of which ha had been acquitted by the ICTY, but appeared more cautious on Monday.

19 October 2015: The colonel in charge of Burkina's military justice has told on Friday that General Gilbert Diendere, leader of the failed coup in Burkina Faso last month, faces eleven charges, including crime against humanity. On September 17, the country was brought to chaos for 6 days before the putsch collapsed. According to government figures, 14 people were killed and 251 injured in the unrest.

19 October 2015: Former Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim is reportedly claiming he has diplomatic immunity to halt a court case in London where he is accused of being responsible for the detention and torture of a British citizen. Fawaz al-Attiya has reported that Qatari agents acting on behalf of  Hamad bin Jassim falsely imprisoned him in Doha for 15 months where he was kept in solitary confinement, deprived of sleep and only let out in handcuffs to be interrogated. The former Prime Minister denies the allegations and court documents state that he plans to use diplomatic immunity to challenge the court's jurisdiction at a hearing due to be held later this week.

19 October 2015: Based on new photographs from inside the Afghan hospital that was destroyed by a United States airstrike, general director of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Christopher Stokes has claimed that the attack could have been deliberate. He said that "the extensive, quite precise destruction of [the hospital in Kunduz] does not indicate a mistake, the hospital was repeatedly hit" and that it must be investigated as a possible war crime. The bombing, which took place on 3 October 2015 and allegedly lasted for more than one hour, killed 22 patients and aid workers.

16 October: On Thursday, the Court of First Instance of The Hague has remanded a 61 year-old Dutch national into custody for 90 days. He is suspected of having committed war crimes against political opponents in Ethiopia in the late 1970's as a representative of the former Derg regime led by Colonel Mengistu. The man, who has been living in the Netherlands for some time and has received Dutch nationality, was arrested on 29 September 2015 in Amstelveen. He has been charged in absentia in Etiopia of a count of murder of alleged opponents to the regime and sentenced to life imprisonment and death. Under the Mengistu's regime Ethiopia suffered a period of repression and conflict that cost the lives of many thousands of people.

16 October: For the first time, the U.S. Justice Department has charged a suspect for terrorism and hacking. They represent a troubling convergence of the techniques used in cyber-attacks with terrorism, U.S. officials said. Ardit Ferizi, a Kosovo citizen based in Malaysia, is accused of stealing the personal data of U.S. service members and passing it to the Islamic State terrorist group, which urged supporters online to attack them. He was arrested a month ago and was detained in Malaysia on a U.S. provisional arrest warrant.

16 October 2015: The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled on Thursday that Switzerland violated a Turkish politician's right to freedom of speech by convicting him for denying that the massacre of Armenians during the Ottoman empire's rule was a genocide. The ruling was however welcomed by Armenia's government because the jusdges has recognized Armenians right to protection against hate speech. States can punish Armenian genocide denial if it is calculated to incite violence or racial disharmony. The ECHR said it did not have the authority to rule on whether the Armenian killings were a genocide or not, which was a job for international criminal courts.

15 October 2015: Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary General Saeb Erekat says new petitions will be sent to the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the Israeli regime for the crimes against Palestinians. The senior Palestinian official on Tuesday slammed Israel for extrajudicial killing of Palestinians, as well as committing field executions and collective punishment against them. This comes as White House press secretary Josh Earnest said after attacks on Tuesday that “the US condemns in the strongest possible terms the terrorist attacks, the recent terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians which resulted in the murder of three Israelis and left numerous others wounded.”

15 October 2015: German prosecutors say a 20-year-old German citizen has been arrested and his apartment in Frankfurt searched on suspicion that he committed war crimes in Syria. The federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement Wednesday that the accused is suspected of having posed next to two severed heads spiked on sticks while he was fighting in the Syrian civil war with a rebel group against President Bashar Assad’s army. The statement said the incident happened between March and April 2014.

15 October 2015: A New Zealand citizen has been found guilty of attempting to join the conflict in Syria. In 2013 Amin Mohamed, 25, obtained a New Zealand passport, quit his job, booked a flight to Istanbul and discussed travelling to Syria with a man named Handi Alqudsi. Following his arrest, Mohamed,  claimed he was travelling to Turkey on the way to meet his fiancée in Denmark. He was charged with attempting to enter a foreign state to engage in hostile activities and found guilty on three counts.

14 October 2015: The International Criminal Court (ICC) says South Africa will still be held accountable for not handing over Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir even if it decides to withdraw from the Court. This comes after Deputy Minister in the Presidency Obed Bapela said the ruling African National Congress party was making preparations for South Africa to leave the ICC. ICC Spokesperson Fadi Al-Abdullah said Tuesday: “If a State deposits a notice that they are withdrawing from the ICC Rome Statute, this withdrawal does not take effect until one year, at least, after this deposit. But even after the withdrawal becomes effective, still that does not effect any obligation that have been present before this date. So again, a withdrawal cannot effect past obligations or on-going proceedings."

14 October 2015: The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against two psychologists who devised the torture techniques used on three former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) prisoners. The CIA contracted psychologists James Mitchell and John "Bruce" Jessen, who allegedly designed and persuaded the CIA to adopt their torture techniques as official practice of the CIA. According to the lawsuit, they personally took part in many of the torture sessions and oversaw the entire program's implementation.The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Washington under the Alien Tort Statute

14 October 2015: Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged United Arab Emirates (UAE) officials to investigate and prosecute credible accusations of torture reported by detainees. In a report released on Wednesday, HRW claims that three former detainees and the relative of a current detainee have given detailed accounts of various torture incidents, including beatings, forced standings and threats of rape and death. HRW also stated that none of the detainees have been permitted to seek legal assistance. The detainees were members of a group of 10 Libyan businessmen arrested in 2014, possibly under suspected links to the Muslim Brotherhood which is considered a terrorist organisation in the UAE. In recent years, UAE has taken controversial actions in an attempt to battle terrorism.

13 October 2015: New Australian counter-terrorism laws are to be introduced  into Parliament next month, following criticism that existing anti-terrorism laws as inadequate and calls for them to be strengthened. As part of the  new counter-terrorism laws, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says Australians will be protected against the "incitement of genocide". Law changes requested by the New South Wales Government and agreed to by Attorney-General George Brandis could also see young people closely monitored under potential laws aiming to lower the age of control orders from 16 to 14 and an increase in the duration suspects can be held in detention. However, the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties said existing laws were adequate and the proposed changes would be excessive and in breach of human rights standards.

13 October 2015: Amnesty International has alleged that U.S.-backed Kurdish rebels may have committed war crimes in Syria by forcing thousands of people from their homes and knocking down buildings. Among the strongest accusations in its report released on Monday are quotes from civilians who said they were threatened with airstrikes from the U.S.-led coalition of militaries if they did not leave. According to the report, a fact-finding mission to northern Syria has uncovered a wave of forced displacement and home demolitions amounting to war crimes carried out by the Autonomous Administration led by the Syrian Kurdish political party Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat (PYD) controlling the area. The Autonomous Administration is a key ally, on the ground, of the US-led coalition fighting against the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

12 October 2015: World leaders have voiced their solidarity with Turkey, harshly condemning the devastating terrorist attack which took place on Saturday in the capital Ankara, killing almost 100 people. Among many others, US President Barack Obama vowed to side with Turkey in the fight against terrorism and German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the attack an assault on "civic rights, democracy and peace".  United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon denounced the terrorist bombings in Ankara, issuing a statement confirming "the Secretary-General condemns today's [Saturday] terrorist bombings in Ankara, Turkey" and that he "expects the perpetrators of these terrorist acts to be swiftly brought to justice”.

12 October 2015: Sudan's President, Omar al-Bashir, will attend the India-Africa summit (IAFS) later this month in New Delhi the Indian government has confirmed, despite the International Criminal Court (ICC) calling for his arrest. Two arrest warrants had been issued against al-Bashir in 2009 and 2010 by the ICC for alleged genocide and war crimes committed during the Darfur conflict in 2003. India is not party to the Rome Statute that created the ICC and New Delhi is not expected to oblige it by arresting al-Bashir, government sources said.

12 October 2015: The Supreme Court of Spain on Thursday upheld the dismissal of a case against 40 Rwandan officials accused of revenge killings following the 1994 genocide. The ruling revokes arrest warrants against the group, but 29 could still be prosecuted if they enter Spanish territory. The case was launched in 2008, when a Spanish judge issued international arrests warrants against Rwandan officials, accusing them of crimes against humanity, genocide and terrorism. Spain modified its universal jurisdiction laws last year, curbing its ability to pursue human rights cases globally. Human Rights Watch and other rights groups issued a joint statement opposing universal jurisdiction reform in Spain.

12 October 2015: South Africa plans to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) a deputy minister revealed on Sunday after a ruling party policy meeting, amid the criticism the government faces for failing to follow a court order in arresting Sudan's President earlier this year. According to Obed Bapela, deputy minister in the Presidency, the ICC has "lost its direction" and the ruling African National Congress (ANC) wants to withdraw South Africa after following certain processes.

9 October 2015: The United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) has found the Uzbek government responsible for the torture and ill-treatment of Mutabar Tadjibayeva, FIDH reported. The well-known human rights defender filed a complaint before the UNHRC describing a campaign of severe harassment, abuse and torture - including rape and forced sterilization - during her detention by Uzbek authorities between 2002 and 2009. FIDH President Karim Lahidji stated that "Uzbekistan needs to bring those responsible for these violations to justice and remedy the suffering caused to her".

9 October 2015: The Rwandan National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), yesterday, strongly condemned the acquittal of a Rwandan priest allegedly implicated in the 1994 Rwandan genocide by the French Tribunal de Grande Instance of Paris. CNLG executive secretary Jean Damascene Bizimina said that dropping charges against Wanceslas Munyeshyaka is "a genuine judicial comedy tinted with denial" and that the decision sets grounds for future impunity and the acquittal of several alleged genocide perpetrators who are settled on French soil since 1994.

9 October 2015: The International Criminal Court (ICC) said Thursday that prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has called for an inquiry into allegations of war crimes committed in the 2008 armed conflict between Russia and Georgia. In a statement, the Prosecutor has concluded that there was a 'reasonable basis to believe' crimes were committed during the five-day conflict over the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia, which Russia has recognized as an independent country. The ICC is already considering whether to open an investigation into crimes committed in eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists have been fighting the Ukrainian government forces since March 2014.

8 October 2015: The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina issued its first verdict over Islamic State recruitment in the Balkan country on Tuesday. The Court sentenced four men in total after being found guilty of the criminal offence of Unlawful Establishing and Joining Foreign Paramilitary or Para-police Formations. Nevad Husidic, 29, and Merim Keserovic, 19, both received a year-long sentence for planning to join the terrorist ISIL organisation in Syria. Husein Erdic, 33, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years for organising their trip, with the aim of joining a foreign paramilitary formation outside the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Additionally, Midhat Trako, 67, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for financing the trip. A full ICD analysis of this case will follow in due course.

8 October 2015: Deputy President of Kenya, William Ruto, has urged the International Criminal Court’s Appeals Chamber to reverse the admission of prior recorded testimony. Besides reversing the decision that admitted into evidence statements from hostile witnesses, Mr Ruto has also asked the Chamber to refer the matter back to the Trial Chamber that made the ruling , to determine appropriate directions. Through lawyer Karim Khan, the DP said in a 52-page appeal that amended Rule 68 on evidence is being used to his detriment because the allegations are central to the charges against him of crimes against humanity. In Ruto’s appeal, Khan cited reasons the August ruling should be set aside, describing the witness statements as “untested, unsworn, hearsay evidence”. 

8 October 2015: The Israeli government has been accused of “dodging the criminalisation of war crimes” and failing to bring the military’s internal investigation process in line with international law. Following the publication of a government panel report by the Ciechanover Commission, Israeli NGO Yesh Din stated that it “completely fails to fulfil its purpose, and most of the recommendations it contains remain general rather than practical and functional.” The NGO concludes that “there are still no prospects for improvement in Israel’s investigation and examination mechanism or for legislative measures that would bring Israel in line with its obligations under international law.”

7 October 2015: Aid agency Doctors Without Borders (MSF) seeks to invoke a never-used body, the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC) to investigate the US bombing of its hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz. MSF said it did not trust internal military inquiries into the bombing and that it is proceeding from the assumption that the attack might be a war crime. The IHFFC was set up in 1991 to investigate serious breaches of international humanitarian law. Neither the US nor Afghanistan is a signatory and therefore they would have to issue separate declaration of consent to the investigation of the Kunduz bombing.

7 October 2015: Amnesty International calls for suspension of arms transfer to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition and accountability for war crimes in Yemen. A report highlights unlawful airstrikes carried out by the coalition, which is armed by states including the USA, some of which amount to war crimes. Last week, attempts to set up an independent international investigation into the conflict at the UN Human Rights Council collapsed and instead a resolution was adopted supporting a national-led investigative committee.

7 October 2015: A French court has dropped a long-running case against Wanceslas Munyeshyaka, a Rwandan priest suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, a source at the prosecutor's office said on Tuesday. The decision follows a request by prosecutors in August for the case be dropped for lack of evidence. Munyeshyaka has always denied the charges. He was tried by a military court in absentia in Rwanda for similar crimes, including rape, and sentenced to life prison in 2006.6 October 2015: The South African government has asked for an extension in the deadline for submitting its explanation to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as to why it failed to arrest and surrender Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir when he was in the country for an African Union summit in June. The ICC issued two ICC warrants of arrest for Al-Bashir, in 2009 and 2010, for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide and had given SA until 5 October 2015 to outline its stance. On top of the request for an extension of yesterday's deadline, the government accused the ICC on Monday of infringing on South Africa's rights in its handling of the visit of the Sudanese President to the country.

6 October 2015: A coalition of Muslim groups has filed suit in New York against President Thein Sein of Myanmar and other government officials for alleged crimes against the Rohingya minority that they say amount to genocide. The complaint, filed on Thursday, asks United States Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman to issue summonses to Sein, Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin and other officials under the US Alien Tort Statute, which has been used in the past by foreign citizens seeking damages from human rights violations committed outside the United States.

6 October 2015:  The United States and six other nations began a five-day naval exercise on Monday aimed at combating piracy and other crimes in Southeast Asia’s heavily trafficked waters. The Singapore-based Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training Exercise (SEACAT) comes as piracy appears to be increasing in the South China Sea, where trillions of dollars in global trade transit annually. The exercise includes more than 100 US sailors and personnel from Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, with Bangladesh navy officials observing. SEACAT began as an anti-terrorism exercise in 2002 but has since expanded to include piracy, smuggling and other illicit activity.

5 October 2015: The medical charity Doctors Without Borders has pulled its staff out of the crisis-hit Afghan city of Kunduz after a US airstrike on its hospital and labeled the strike a war crime. The charity denounced the US military investigation, which is expected to be concluded in a matter of days, as an inadequate response, and said an independent international investigation must take place. Christopher Stokes, general director, said:  “Under the clear presumption that a war crime has been committed, MSF demands that a full and transparent investigation into the event be conducted by an independent international body.”

5 October 2015: International human rights organisations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, on Friday criticised the United Nations Human Rights Council for bowing to pressure from Saudi Arabia and passing a resolution on Yemen that shuns an independent  international war crimes investigation. The Netherlands, backed by a group of other Western countries, had proposed a United Nations inquiry, but the Council on Friday adopted by consensus a resolution largely drafted by Saudi Arabia, one of the main belligerents in the conflict. The resolution asked the United Nations human rights office only to provide technical assistance to a Yemeni inquiry  led by exiled President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

5 October 2015: The International Crimes Tribunal- 1 in Bangladesh issued death warrants on Thursday for two former ministers, Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed. The warrants were issued a day after the Tribunal received the copies of full judgments of the Supreme Court upholding the death penalty of Mojaheed, secretary general of Jamaat e Islami, and Chowdhury, a top leader of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), for committing crimes against humanity.

2 October 2015: The United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution on alleged war crimes and serious violations and abuses of human rights by all sides during Sri Lanka's armed conflict. The resolution, adopted by consensus yesterday and supported by Sri Lanka, calls for a credible accountability process and consultation of the victims and their families.

2 October 2015: Romanian Foreign Affairs Minister Bogdan Aurescu and his Spanish counterpart Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo hosted an event on ideas for and challenges against an international court to prosecute terrorism. The event has been carried out in New York on Tuesday, on the side-lines of the UN General Assembly meeting. The initiative on the creation of an international court against terrorism was lauched by Mr. Aurescu earlier this year, at the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union. It is now a Romanian-Spanish common project.

1 October 2015: An Indian court sentenced five people to death on Wednesday for planting bombs on Mumbai's local trains in July 2006, which killed 189 people and left over 800 injured. A further seven persons were sentenced to life in prison over their roles in the 2006 attacks. They were found guilty of terrorist activities and mass murder earlier this month, after a nine-year trial over the coordinated terrorist attacks.

1 October 2015: The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor on Wednesday called for sectarian bloodshed in the Central African Republic to stop, warning any war crimes committed will be punished. "I warn those alleged to be committing crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court that they can be held individually accountable", Fatou Bensouda said in a statement issued by the prosecutor's office. Bensouda opened a formal probe a year ago into what she termed an "endless list" of atrocities in the Central African Republic since mid-2012.

1 October 2015: The navies of South Korea and China will hold a joint anti-piracy drill in the Gulf of Aden, according to China's military on Wednesday, in the latest sign of military cooperation between the two nations. Both South Korea and China have joined international anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia.

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September 2015


30 September 2015:
French authorities have launched a probe into Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime for alleged crimes against humanity. It is reported that Paris prosecutors opened a preliminary inquiry on September 15 into war crimes committed by the Syrian government between 2011 and 2013. "Faced with these crimes that offend the human conscience, this bureaucracy of horror, faced with this denial of the values of humanity, it is our responsibility to act against the impunity of the assassins," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement. This news comes as world powers continue to be divided at the United Nations General Assembly over how to bring an end to Syria's civil war.

30 September 2015: A former Congolese vice president, Jean-Pierre Bemba, and four of his associates went on trial Tuesday at the International Criminal Court on charges that they tampered with witnesses, gave them money and urged them to testify in Mr. Bemba’s favor at his war crimes and crimes against humanity trial. Mr. Bemba is still in The Hague, awaiting a verdict in his trial for grave crimes attributed to his militia in the neighboring Central African Republic in 2002 and 2003. During that trial, the prosecution told the court on Tuesday, Mr. Bemba and his associates “corruptly influenced the testimony of numerous defense witnesses” to provide or withhold information. Prosecutors say Bemba, whose trial opened at the Hague court in 2010, hoped flawed testimony would lead to his acquittal in that case. All the suspects in the second trial deny any wrongdoing.

30 September 2015: Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office is investigating approximately 100 thousand criminal charges made against the FARC, the country’s largest guerrilla group that is currently engaged in peace talks. The crimes, some of which constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity, include forced displacement and the recruitment of child soldiers, among others. The reported numbers involve over 38,000 alleged incidents that constitute such international violations. Of these incidents there are currently 11,269 actives cases against over 16,000 FARC members, along with 1,858 convictions. In accordance with the policies agreed upon by both parties in the recent transitional justice deal, freedom will be granted to at least 1,600 guerrillas. The attorney general made clear that no amnesties or pardons will be delivered for international crimes.

29 September 2015: United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, for the first time is calling for the situation in Syria to be referred to the International Criminal Court. In his state of the world address to leaders from the UN's 193 member states, Ban Ki-Moon said "innocent Syrians pay the price of more barrel bombs and terrorism" and there must be no impunity for "atrocious" crimes. The UN chief insisted on a political solution to the conflict in Syria, now well into its fifth year with more than a quarter of a million people killed, and that five countries "hold the key" to a political solution to Syria: Russia, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran.

29 September 2015: Human Rights Watch has criticised Colombia's recent peace deal as being too soft on war crimes, in a new report released on Monday. The report claims that the recently closed transitional justice deal between the government and FARC rebels will not adequately punish perpetrators of war crimes committed during the country’s armed conflict. The government and the FARC rebel group last week signed an agreement that would punish perpetrators of war crimes who cooperate with justice to five and eights years of "restricted of liberty". According to Human Rights Watch, the deal would "also allow those most responsible for mass atrocities to completely avoid prison, denying their victims the right to justice in any meaningful sense of the word".

29 September 2015: A German court has sentenced two Rwandan rebel leaders to jail terms for masterminding massacres in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo from their homes in Germany, ending a four-year trial that has been hailed as a breakthrough by the UN. Ignace Murwanashyaka, head of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), received 13 years in prison on Monday for war crimes and of leading a terrorist organisation, while his deputy Straton Musoni was given eight years after being found guilty of leading a terrorist organisation, but acquitted of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The verdict fell short of prosecutors’ demands that Murwanashyaka be jailed for life, with no chance of a conditional release after 15 years, and that Musoni serve 12 years.  Musoni was allowed to go free as he had already been in pre-trial detention for almost six years and so qualified for conditional release for good behavior.

28 September 2015: Sri Lanka looks set to avoid a hybrid war crimes investigation involving foreign judges and prosecutors as the United States tables a watered down draft resolution in line with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s stand. The resolution refers to the importance of having foreign experts involved in a potential investigation, but does not make the condition mandatory and the involvement of any foreigners is at the discretion of the Sri Lankan authorities.  The main minority Tamil party the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said the resolution, initiated by the US and co-sponsored by Sri Lanka, was the "product of a difficult consensus".

28 September 2015:  A German court is due to issue its verdict today in the case against two Rwandan Hutu leaders charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity, allegedly committed in eastern Congo in 2009 and 2010, and of belonging to a terrorist group. Murwanashyaka and Musoni were the president and vice-president of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwandan (FDLR), and the trial, which began in May 2011 and was hailed as a breakthrough by the United Nations, was the first in Germany under the country’s Code of Crimes Against International Law, adopted in June 2002. Both men were living in Germany in November 2009 when they were arrested. If convicted, they face up to life in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity and up to 10 years for belonging to a terrorist group.

28 September 2015: An alleged Islamist extremist leader was handed over to the International Criminal Court on Saturday to face charges of ordering the destruction of religious monuments in the historic city of Timbuktu in Mali in 2012 , in the first such case before the tribunal. Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi was detained under an arrest warrant issued by the ICC last week and handed over by the authorities in Niger. He is accused "of war crimes allegedly committed in Timbuktu, Mali, between about 30 June 2012 and 10 July 2012, through intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to religion and/or historical monuments".

25 September 2015: Activists and Yezidi rights groups urge the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the atrocities committed by Islamic State (IS) militants against the religious minorities in Iraq as acts of genocide. On Thursday, members of Yazda International and Free Yazidi Foundation, backed by the Kurdish Regional Government of Iraq, met with ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to present their new report outlining how IS fighters have slaughtered, enslaved and raped thousands of Yazidis since it invaded their communities last August. The ICC does not have jurisdiction over Iraq or Syria. But it could go after IS fighters who are citizens of the 123 ICC member states, even though it has never pursue such a case. In April, the Prosecutor of the ICC declined to formally open an investigation into crimes committed by IS because the 'jurisdictional basis' for an examination is still 'too narrow', but remained open to receiving new evidence as it becomes available.

25 September 2015: The International Criminal Court (ICC) unveiled Thursday 60 new war crimes charges against Dominic Ongwen, deputy leader of Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The ICC plans to file the additional charges on December 21 on the top of seven initial accusations. Ongwen now faces a total of 67 counts. The charges all relate to attacks carried out on camps housing people who had been forced to flee their home in the Ugandan rebellion that started in 1987. More than 100 people died in the attacks on four camps between October 2003 and June 2004. Ongwen was abducted by the LRA as a child and became a child soldier before rising through the ranks to become one of its top commanders. He is the first leader of the LRA to appear before the ICC.

24 September 2015:  The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has defended the findings of its report on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka, which drew criticism from several quarters for its 'silence' on genocide in the nation. Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the OHCHR, stated: “This [the UN report] does not preclude such a finding [that genocide was committed] being made as a result of further criminal investigations, including by the hybrid court that we recommend. The crime of genocide requires specific objective and subjective elements. On the basis of the information we were able to gather, we did not come to the conclusion that these elements were met.”

24 September 2015: Colombia's President, Juan Manuel Santos, and the leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on Wednesday signed a breakthrough peace commitment in Havana, Cuba, setting the groundwork for a final accord within six months. The agreement establishes peace tribunals and a truth and reconciliation commission to provide justice for victims and to punish those who have perpetrated crimes during more than five decades of conflict. Under the deal, combatants will be covered by an amnesty law, except those who have committed war crimes and human-rights violations.

24 September 2015: Sri Lankan Prime Minister and Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs, Ranil Wickremesinghe, briefed the parliament on Wednesday on detailed plans to counter the report from the investigation of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka by the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR). Against the recommendations of the OHCHR, Wickremesinghe assured the nation that neither hybrid nor foreign methodologies would be involved in this process. He stated that the aim is to enforce local mechanisms through establishing of a South Africa-style Truth and Reconciliation Commission and getting the services of the International Red Cross, both of which will be governed by Parliament. 

23 September 2015: The International Criminal Court on Tuesday rejected an application by convicted Congolese war criminal Thomas Lubanga for his early release. There were no important grounds for such a decision, the ICC said. Lubanga's defence had argued that he was eligible to be released after serving more than two-thirds of his 14-year sentence. The 54-year-old warlord became the first person to be tried and convicted by the ICC since its founding in 2002. He was found guilty in 2012 of the recruitment, enlistment, and use of children under 15 years-old in an armed conflict.

23 September 2015: Pakistan's secret military court sentenced nine men to death and another to life in prison on terrorism-related charges on Monday. The court described the men as "nine hard core terrorists involved in killings of civilians and persons of Law Enforcement Agencies", and said they all admitted their crimes once convicted. The court was established in response to the Peshawar school attack and Pakistan's prime minister lifted the nation's six-year moratorium on the death penalty. Amnesty International called on the nation to stop sentencing people for violation of the 1997 Anti-Terrorism Act, which they described as "so vague that almost all crimes fall under [its] definition." However, at least 16 people have been sentenced to death by the military court in the last month.

23 September 2015: Sri Lanka's Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, on Tuesday rejected the United Nations' (UN) call for an international investigation into alleged war crimes in the country. He stated that discussions into establishing a credible domestic mechanism were under way and claimed "there is nothing to be got from abroad". This comes after a UN report identified strong indications that war crimes and crimes against humanity may have been committed during the country's civil war and UN rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein asked the government to establish "a hybrid special court, integrating international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators". At the same time, former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa criticised the findings of the UN probe into war crimes and called on the government to reject the report.

22 September 2015: A 91-year-old woman has been charged by German prosecutors for her involvement in Nazi war crimes. The woman has been charged with 260,000 counts of accessory to murder in relation to allegations that she was a member of the Nazi SS in Auschwitz, in charge of operating the radio of the camp commandant from April to July 1944. Prosecutors argue that she can be charged as an accessory as she helped the death camp function.

22 September 2015: The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., has developed a new online tool, called the Early Warning Project, which aims to produce early warnings that can help governments, policy makers, advocacy groups, and scholars decide where to concentrate their efforts against international crimes, including genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. According to the project's site, the Early Warning Project calculates a nation’s potential to commit atrocities based on current measures of economic and political instability as well as forecasts of future coup attempts and civil wars identified through an analysis of data sets that go back 50 years.

22 September 2015: EU countries stated in a joint statement at a debate devoted to North Korea at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday that the UN Security Council should refer the situation in North Korea to the International Criminal Court . In March 2014, UN investigators presented detailed evidence that the regime led by Kim Jong Un was directly responsible for gross human rights violations, including crimes against humanity.

21 September 2015: The International Criminal Court (ICC) granted Deputy President of Kenya William Ruto's request for more time to file his no-case-to-answer motion on Friday. With the extension of defence time, Ruto and co-accused Joshua Sang now have until October 23 to file their no-case-to-answer motions, which were due on Thursday next week, and the court also increased the page limit of each motion from 40 to 100 pages. Ruto and Sang are charged with crimes against humanity as indirect co-perpetrators of the 2007-08 post-election violence.

21 September 2015:  The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has set up a committee to study the UN report on Sri Lanka, presented at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in Geneva last Wednesday, in which it was strongly suggested that war crimes and crimes against humanity had been committed during the country's civil war. General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and Minister Duminda Dissanayake said the party appointed a committee to study the UN report on Sri Lanka and submit a report on it. The party will announce its stand on the UN Report based on the recommendations of the committee, he said. 

21 September 2015: The UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) handed down  its first judgment on Friday, finding journalist Karma Khayat in contempt of court for not removing a broadcast made in 2012.  Khayat will be sentenced on 28 September for ignoring the court order. The STL was set up to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

18 September 2015: A Kuwaiti court sentenced seven men to death on Tuesday, five of them in absentia, for their roles in a terrorist bombing at a Shiite mosque, claimed by the Islamic State group. In dealing with the bloodiest attack in Kuwait's history, Judge Mohammad al-Duaij said: "The court draws attention to the dangers of this extremist ideology that resorts to terrorism for its implementation." However, Amnesty International criticised the sentences, claiming that death sentences are not the way to tackle terrorism and the penalties should be overturned.

18 September 2015: South Africa's High Court on Wednesday denied the government leave to appeal against a court ruling that it should have arrested Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir during a visit in June this year. The government claimed that its obligations to the African Union, which include granting immunity to attending heads of state, trumped the laws of the International Criminal Court, who has issued an arrest warrant against Bashir for alleged war crimes. The High Court rejected the government's bid to appeal the ruling that it had a legal duty to arrest the Sudanese president.

18 September 2015: A court in Toulouse, France, on Tuesday refused extradition requests for a Rwandan man facing charges of genocide and crimes against humanity for his alleged part in the mass killings of 1994 in Rwanda.The court stated it denied extradition  because his actions were not crimes at the time they were committed and laws can not be applied retroactively.

17 September 2015: The United Nations has called for the establishment of a war crimes court to investigate "horrific" abuses allegedly committed by both the Sri Lankan government and Tamil rebels during the country's 26-year civil war. In a report published on Wednesday, patterns of grave violations were identified as taking place in Sri Lanka between  2002 and 2011, 'strongly indicating' that war crimes and crimes against humanity were most likely committed by both sides to the conflict. The report stated that creation of a hybrid court, which would integrate international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators, was an essential step toward justice because Sri Lankans distrust the government.

17 September 2015: The ICC International Maritime Bureau is calling for a global reporting system in the wake of an alarming uptick in the number of piracy and armed robbery attacks against ships at sea. The need for a worldwide sharing framework was concluded at the IMB International Meeting on Global Piracy, Armed Robbery and Maritime Security on 14 and 15 September in Kuala Lumpur, which involved more than 200 delegates from 30 countries who met to engage in discussion of the major risks factors in the evolving threat of international piracy.

17 September 2015: The genocide trial of a Swedish national, Claver Berinkindi, began on Wednesday in Stockholm. The Rwandan-born Berinkindi is charged with genocide and other crimes committed during the 1994 ethnic massacres in Rwanda. His trial is Sweden's second genocide case related to the 1994 killings in Rwanda, with the first resulting in the 2013 conviction of another Rwanda-born man.

16 September 2015: Parliament in Bosnia’s Serb-led entity Republika Srpska rejected a proposal from a Bosniak delegate to adopt a resolution condemning the Srebrenica massacres as