Former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. Photo: theduran.com via Bing (CC).
Former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. Photo: theduran.com via Bing (CC).

UK High Court rejects private prosecution against former PM Blair for crime of aggression: On 31 July, Britain’s High Court blocked an attempt to bring a private prosecution against former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The prosecution bid was led by former Iraqi general Abdulwaheed Shannan Al Rabbat, who alleged that Tony Blair committed a “crime of aggression” by intervening in Iraq in 2003. After that Westminster Magistrates’ Court turned down his bid last year, Mr Al Rabbat sought a judicial review in the attempt to get the Supreme Court to overturn a 2006 House of Lord decision that found that the crime of aggression does not exist under the law of England and Wales. Echoing said ruling, the High Court also found that while the concept of a “crime of aggression” does exist under international law, it does not exist in domestic law at present. “Having formed the view that there is no prospect of the Supreme Court overturning the decision [by the lower court], it is our duty to refuse permission to bring the proceedings for judicial review,” said the ruling. Commenting on the decision, a spokesperson from the UK attorney general’s office did however underscore that the case had raised “important issues about the scope of the criminal law”. “It should be for Parliament, and not the courts, to create new criminal offences. This principle was upheld when the House of Lords ruled in 2006 that the ‘crime of aggression’ does not exist in English law,” he added. (AlJazeera, BBC)

Former Gambian Interior Minister, Ousman Sonko. Photo: jollofnews.com via Bing.
Former Gambian Interior Minister, Ousman Sonko. Photo: jollofnews.com via Bing.

Swiss prosecutors expand proceedings for CAH against former Gambian minister: Swiss Federal Prosecution has broadened its criminal proceedings against the Gambia’s former interior minister Ousman Sonko to investigate his alleged involvement in crimes against humanity. Sonko has been in custody since January 2017, after Trial International filed a criminal complaint accusing him of having personally taken part in acts of torture while serving as interior minister by commanding a special police squad known for its brutality against citizens. Sonko served as Gambia’s interior minister from 2006 to 2016 under ousted Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh. He fled to Europe last year after being fired from his post by the former president and applied for asylum in Switzerland in November 2016 following a rejection from Sweden. Switzerland does have jurisdiction on the matter after that in 2011 it adopted a legislative amendment in which it recognised the principle of universal jurisdiction over individuals responsible for serious international crimes. The Swiss prosecutor’s office has now reportedly broadened the investigation into Sonko’s alleged activities after reviewing statements by several criminal and civil prosecutors as well as witnesses. (SwissInfo, TV360Nigeria)

Argentinian court sentences 4 judges to life for 1976-83 CAH: Four former Argentinian federal judges were sentenced to life in prison for crimes against humanity committed during Argentina’s 1976-1983 dictatorship by a court in Mendoza. The judges were initially tried as accomplices for failing to investigating the kidnapping, torture and murder of dissenters. The prosecution then charged them as principals on the basis that their “inaction on the petitions preceded the disappearance of more than 20 dissenters. The judgement has been applauded by a number of human rights group which have been seeking accountability for the actions of civilian perpetrators during the dictatorship years. (Jurist)