Category Archives: Ivory Coast

5 August 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Ivory Coast Court sentences former members of Gbagbo detail for PEV crimes: The bodyguard for former President Laurent Gbagbo’s wife has been convicted and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment by an Ivory Coast military court on Tuesday, 4 August 2015.  Anselme Seka Yapo was found guilty of voluntary homicide and assault and battery relating to crimes committed during the post-election violence in Ivory Coast in 2011.  The Ivory Coast military court also sentenced another former official, Jena-Noel Abehi, to five years imprisonment.  Abehi was head of the largest security forces’ camp in the Ivory Coast capital.  (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (Yahoo, The New York Times).

Kosovo to establish war crimes court following Parliamentary approval: Kosovo’s 120-seat Parliament approved a Constitutional amendment on Monday, 3 August 2015, allowing for the establishment of a war crimes court to investigate and prosecute crimes allegedly committed by ethnic Albanians during the 1990s Balkan wars.  The war crimes court will be located in The Hague and comprised of international judges.  The proposed establishment of the war crimes court garnered much opposition, with many ethnic Albanians fearing it will turn victims into perpetrators and damage the county’s image.  Petrit Selimi, Kosovo’s deputy foreign minister, on the other hand, said “The creation of the court is a necessary tool for Kosovars for the truth about our war for freedom. Perpetrators can never be equal with victims. Our war for freedom was not equal to Milosevic’s drive for genocide.” (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (The New York Times, Deutsche Welle).

Sri Lanka pledges response to UN war crimes report: On Tuesday, 4 August 2015, Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe announced that the country will address the human rights issues raised in the expected U.N. war crimes report at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva next month.  The expected U.N. report will be the result of a three-member panel appointed in June last year by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate grave human rights abuses committed by both sides involved in Sri Lanka’s 37-year civil war.  Sri-Lanka’s government is also expected to start its own investigation in the coming months. (Gulf Times).

UN Human Rights Council. Photo: United States Mission Geneva via Flickr (CC).

UN Human Rights Council. Photo: United States Mission Geneva via Flickr (CC).

4 August 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Omar Al-Bashir, President of Sudan. Photo: GovernmentZA via Flickr (CC).

Omar Al-Bashir, President of Sudan. Photo: GovernmentZA via Flickr (CC).

President Bashir plans to travel to New York to address the UNGA: Sudanese President Hassan al-Bashir is planning on traveling to New York in September to speak at the United Nations, despite being indicted by the ICC on war crimes and genocide charges. In 2013, when President Bashir wanted to speak at the UN, his US visa application was left pending, which prevented him from traveling. In June 2015 President Bashir left South Africa in face of a court rule that he should be banned from leaving pending the outcome of a hearing on his possible arrest. For more information on this issue, please click here. (EWN, Sudan Tribune)

ICC OTP seeks to add charges of sexual crimes to Ongwen trial: ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said 3 August 2015 that Former Lords Resistance Army commander, Dominic Ongwen may face new charges of slavery and other sexual related crimes if they succeeding getting the required evidence from Northern Uganda. Ongwen’s confirmation of charges hearing is scheduled for January 2016 at the ICC. The Office of the Prosecutor resumed investigations in Northern Uganda after Ongwen came into the custody of the court in January 2015. Prosecutor Bensouda said that currently they are only looking at crimes committed in Northern Uganda. (all Africa)

 Video emerges of beating of Saadi Gaddafi in Libyan prison: A video was posted in which it appears that prison guards are beating Saadi Gaddafi, one of the late Muammar Gaddafi’s sons, as well as other prisoners in a Tripoli prison. There are widespread allegations of prison abuses in Libya. The accusations of abuse, torture, and fair trail concerns were present in the recent sentencing of Saif and Senussi among others on 28 July. Tripoli’s prosecutor general said in a statement that he had launched an investigation to identify the guards and to “take the necessary legal action against them.” (Reuters) The video can be accessed by clicking here. (YouTube)

HRW calls on ICC to investigate both sides of Ivory Coast PEV: In a Human Rights Watch report released Tuesday, 4 August, 2015 the organization said that the ICC missed opportunities to maximize the impact of its work in Côte d’Ivoire. According to Human Rights Watch the prosecution’s decision to limit its initial investigations to one side of the country’s 2010-2011 post-election crisis lessened the court’s potential impact in the country. Elizabeth Evenson, senior international justice counsel at Human Rights Watch said “ICC officials need to make sure what the court does resonates in those communities. The ICC prosecution said that it will expand its investigations to all sides of the violence before the end or 2015. For more information on this issue, please click here. (Human Rights Watch, Yahoo! News)

8 July 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

International judge at ECCC resigns: Mark Harmon, an ECCC international judge, resigned from the Extraordinary Chambers for personal reasons yesterday, Tuesday, 7 July 2015.  Harmon, from the United States, recently issued an arrest warrant for Meas Muth, a former navy chief who allegedly ordered detainees to be sent to torture centers, which Cambodian police have failed to comply with.  He is the fourth judge to resign from the ECCC. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (iol news, Business Insider).

ICTY rejects Prosecution motion to resume case against Hadzic: On Monday, 6 July 2015, the ICTY Trial Chamber denied the prosecution’s motion to promptly resume the case against former Republic of Serb Krajina president Goran Hadzic.  Hadzic’s trial has been delayed since October 2014 due to the former’s president deteriorating health.  The prosecutor requested the trial be completed with defense witnesses testifying through depositions.  The ICTY Trial Chamber held this would be a violation of Hadzic’s rights.  (InSerbia).

 

Rios Montt trial in Guatemala City, Guatemala. May 9, 2013. Photo: coolloud via Flickr (CC).

Rios Montt trial in Guatemala City, Guatemala. May 9, 2013. Photo: coolloud via Flickr (CC).

Guatemala’s former President Rios Montt unfit to stand retrial for CAH: On 1 July 2015, the National Institute of Forensic Sciences found Jose Efrain Rios Montt is mentally incapable of standing trial for crimes against humanity. Specifically, Rios Montt has been found incapable of understanding the charges against him and of participating in his defense.  Rios Montt, the former Guatemalan president who ruled briefly during the 1980s, was previously found guilty of ordering mass killings but his conviction was overturned by Guatemala’s constitutional court.  A three-judge panel must now decide whether his new trial, expected to begin 23 July 2015, will proceed. (For additional information on this topic, please click here and here) (BBC, Global News, BBC).

 

Ivory Coast charges 20 with post-election war crimes: On 8 July 2015, it was reported that Ivory Coast charged 20 ex-rebels with war crimes.  The ex-rebels, including two senior commanders, allegedly were involved in the 2010-2011 violence after ex-leader Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept defeat in the presidential elections.  Gbagbo currently faces charges of crimes against humanity at the ICC for his role in the post-election violence. The 20 ex-rebels backed Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara, who is considered a clear favorite in the upcoming October 2015 presidential elections. (For additional information on this topic, please click here) (BBC, EuroNews).

 

Bosnian living in US extradited to Bosnia on war crimes charges: On Tuesday, 7 July 2015, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Almaz Nezirovic was extradited last week to Bosnia on war crimes charges.  Nezirovic, a former Bosnian prison camp guard, is accused of torturing unarmed civilian prisoners during the 1992 Bosnian civil war. An arrest warrant was issued for Nezirovic in 2003 by a judge in Bosnia-Herzegovina.  Earlier this year, a federal appeals court rejected Nezirovic’s argument that his extradition was barred due to the political nature of his actions. The appeals court held “the torture of civilians is not a political exercise.” (For additional information on this topic, please click here and here) (Fox News, Washington Times, ABC News).

Post by: Anna Mumford

 

7 May 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Ivory Coast reiterates plans to pay victims of PEV

Ivory Coast Government Authorities announced that they would pay victims of the 2010-2011 post-election violence, following an announcement by President Alassane Ouattara in December of the victims’ reparations fund. To date, approximately 74,000 victims have registered with the fund, set to begin payments in July of this year and promote reconciliation. A grace period was also announced, to allow additional victims to register and be compensated for losses during the period following Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to acknowledge Presidential Defeat. Nearly 3,000 people were killed between 2010 and 2011. (BBC News)

Trial of Ivory Coast’s Gbagbo and Blé Goudé to start in November

The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced Thursday that it would commence the trial of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé on 10 November 2015. Trial Chamber I indicated that the November start date was to accommodate Prosecution evidence disclosures, expected to continue through June 2015, and additional time for Defense preparation activities. (ICC Press Release)

International monitoring groups cite civilian, aid worker attacks in Yemen

Multiple watch groups, including the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) said this week that escalating violence in the Yemeni city of Aden resulted in “scores” of deaths among civilians and aid workers. An estimated 1,400 people have been killed and more than 300,000 have left for neighboring areas. Internally displaced individuals remain vulnerable from lack of infrastructure including medical and other assistance. Human Rights Watch specifically cited incidents of Pro-Houthi forces holding aid workers hostage, which it indicated were tantamount to war crimes. (For Human Rights Watch coverage, please click here) (HRW, UN News Centre)

10 March 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Simone Gbagbo sentenced to twenty years for Cote d’Ivoire violence: A court in the Ivory Coast has sentenced Simone Gbagbo, former first lady of the Ivory Coast, to twenty years in prison for her involvement in inciting post-election violence in 2010. Gbagbo’s lawyer, Rodrigue Dadje, stated that they would appeal the verdict by the end of the week. Gbagbo is still wanted by the International Criminal Court. Her husband, Laurent Gbagbo, is still awaiting trial at the ICC for crimes against humanity during the post-election violence. (Reuters)

Identity of deceased man confirmed as potential ICC Witness: The body thought to be of Meshack Yebei, a potential ICC witness, was found in early January. The Kenyan government has confirmed through DNA tests that the body is in fact that of Mr. Yebei. Yebei was a potential witness in the trial against President Ruto who was charged with crimes against humanity during the post election violence in Kenya. Mr. Ruto’s lawyers stated that Yebei was to be a witness for the defence. (BBC)

Human rights groups file Bamako complaint for Mali crime victims: The International Federation of Human Rights announced on 9 March 2015 that human rights groups have filed a war crimes complaint for victims in Mali. The complaint focuses on the events that occurred during 2012 and 2013 when armed groups occupied Timbuktu and the surrounding area. Human rights groups have identified fifteen people as responsible parties for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The ICC opened an investigation in January of 2013 against Mali for occurrences since 2012, but no cases have been brought so far against particular individuals. (Hirondelle News)

24 February 2015 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Mrs. Gbagbo appears before national trial and denies wrongdoing: Simone Gbagbo presented evidence for the first time in her trial in Abidjan. Mrs. Gbagbo denies all wrongdoing in her alleged role in inciting post election violence in 2010. In December 2014, the ICC denied the Ivory Coast’s admissibility application to try Mrs. Gbagbo nationally and ordered the Ivory Coast to surrender her to the Hague. By starting Mrs. Gbagbo’s trial, the Ivory Coast is proceeding in violation of the ICC’s decision. Mrs. Gbagbo’s husband, former President Laurent Gbagbo, is currently being tried at the ICC. (BBC, France24, ICC-CPI) (for additional information please click here and here)

ICC Prosecution to call final witness in Ruto / Sang case on 23 March: The 30th and last witness in the case against former Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang will testify on 23 March 2015. The ICC Public Affairs Unit stated that witness P0727 has been unwilling to testify and has put conditions upon testifying. The witness did not appear to testify on 2 February 2015, but will now testify by video from a secret location on 23 March. (CaptialFM)

At-large former lawmaker sentenced to life imprisonment by ICT Bangladesh: The International Criminal Tribunal of Bangladesh sentenced former lawmaker, Abdul Jabbar, to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity. The crimes against humanity were committed during the 1971independence war against Pakistan and include counts of genocide and religious persecution of the country’s Hindi minority. The court stated that Jabbar would get some leniency in mere imprisonment due to old age. Jabbar is still at-large and is thought to be in the United States. (The Economic Times, The Sun Daily) (for additional information please click here)

UNAMI and OHCHR report says HR violations in Iraq increasingly sectarian: A report produced by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights highlights the increase of human rights violations in Iraq. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have intentionally targeted members of Iraq’s different ethnic communities. The report covers a three month period from11 September to 10 December 2014. The report claims that many of the acts committed could constitute as war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide. (United Nations)

US federal court orders 218 million USD award against Palestinian Authority: A United States jury found in favor of ten American families for six attacks credited to the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Hamas over a decade ago. The Manhattan based court ordered the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority to pay 218 million USD. The United States Anti-Terrorist Act allows citizens harmed by terrorist acts to sue for damages in federal courts. Both groups stated that they would appeal the ruling. The Palestinian Authority signed the Rome Statute and submitted an Article 12(3) declaration in January 2015 in order to accept the ICC jurisdiction. (France24)

Amnesty highlights evidence of war crimes for Egyptian airstrikes in Libya: Amnesty International stated that violence in Libya is escalating and that civilians are feeling the impact of the attack. Amnesty claims that the Egyptian Air Force did not take the necessary precautions in their air strike over Libya to prevent civilian deaths. Amnesty has many eyewitness accounts that highlight the damage done over civilian populated areas in Libya. (Amnesty International)

11 December 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

ICC confirms charges against Blé Goudé: ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I confirmed charges of crimes against humanity against former Ivorian political leader Charles Blé Goudé today, 11 December 2014. The Chamber determined that substantial grounds existed to believe Blé Goudé committed or attempted to commit murder, rape and other inhumane acts in the Ivory Coast between December 2010 and April 2011. The Chamber examined more than 40,000 pages of evidence, including some 130 witness statements and 1200 audio and video recordings. (ICC).

ICC rejects Ivory Coast admissibility challenge after Mrs. Gbagbo appears in Abijan Court: Today, 11 December 2014, ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I rejected Simone Gbagbo’s admissibility challenge and reminded the country of its obligation to surrender the Ivorian politician to the Court. The Chamber found the Ivory Coast was “not taking tangible, concrete and progressive steps aimed at ascertaining whether Simone Gbagbo is criminally responsible for the same conduct that is alleged in the case before the Court.” Gbagbo is accused of murder, rape and other inhumane acts and persecution committed in the Ivory Coast between December 2010 and April 2011. (ICC).

UN officials say impunity should not be allowed following US torture report: On Tuesday, 9 December 2014, the U.S. Senate intelligence committee released a report finding that the U.S. government used torture. Some U.N. officials, such as U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism Ben Emmerson Q.C., have called for the prosecution of U.S. officials responsible. Furthermore, U.N. High Commission for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein stated that it’s “crystal clear” that the U.S. should ensure accountability and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that “prohibition against torture is absolute.” In addition, executive director of Amnesty International USA, Steven W. Hawkins stated that “Under the UN Convention against torture, no exceptional circumstances whatsoever can be invoked to justify torture, and all those responsible for authorizing or carrying out torture or other ill-treatment must be fully investigated.” (For additional information on this topic, please click here.) (The Guardian, Huffington Post).

ASP rejects Kenya’s agenda to address conduct of judges and prosecutors: Kenya’s request to add a supplementary agenda item relating to the conduct of the ICC and Prosecutor’s Office to the Assembly of States Parties annual meeting was rejected. Newly elected ASP President Sidiki Kaba explained “The Bureau does not recommend inclusion of the Kenyan agenda item on conduct of the Court and Prosecutor.” Kenya accuses the ICC of frivolous prosecutions, incorrect statutory interpretations of the Rome Statute and politicizing cases. (All Africa).

ICC Ruto defence team submit video and media evidence to show violence not incited: Defence for William Ruto submitted to the ICC video and newspaper clippings showing the Kenyan Deputy President did not incite violence. One video clip allegedly showed Ruto encouraging different communities to stay united and urged Kalenjins to welcome former President Mwai Kibaki and his family attending the memorial of freedom fighter ceremony in 2005. (Capital News).

African Court President meets with AU Commission Chairperson and EU delegation: Throughout this week, Justice Augustino Ramadhani, President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, has met with Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, and Gary Quince, Head of the European Union Delegation to the AU. Discussion with both included efforts to raise awareness of the Arusha-based African Court and help with its progression. Specifically, Ramadhani stressed that “We are in the process of attracting more African countries to ratify the Protocol” establishing the Court. (All Africa).

6 November 2014 – NEWS ABOUT THE COURTS

Bensouda finds war crimes committed by Israeli on Mavi Marmara but closes investigation: The ICC closed its preliminary examination into the “31 May 2010, Israeli raid on the Humanitarian Aid Flotilla bound for [the] Gaza Strip.” The ICC found that, although there is a reasonable basis to believe war crimes were committed, the legal requirements to open an investigation under the Rome Statute have not been met. Lawyers for the Comoros government, the owner of one of the vessels Israeli defence forces intercepted, intend to apply to the ICC judges for review. The lawyers claim the “Prosecutor’s decision marks the first time a State referral by an ICC States Party has ever been rejected . . . without even initiating an investigation.” (ICC, Reuters) (For additional information on this topic, please click here).

UN Human Rights Council condemns human rights records of Egypt’s military government: Egypt’s human rights record was under scrutiny this week in Geneva. U.S. UN Human Rights Council representative Keith Harper found actions taken by the Egyptian government to violate free speech, peaceful assembly and fair trial rights. Harper also urged the Egyptian government to release political prisoners and investigate excessive force of protestors by security forces. Egyptian forces, on the other hand, insisted the government acted within the bounds of law and added the actions were taken in an effort to “combat terrorism.” (Middle East Eye).

ICC schedules Bemba closing arguments for 12-13 November: Closing arguments in the ICC case against Jean-Pierre Bemba have been scheduled for 12-13 November 2014. The Prosecution and Defence will be allowed three hours and Victims representatives will be allowed one and a half hours for closing arguments. Bemba is charged with rape, murder and pillaging for crimes committed in the Central African Republic in 2002 and 2003. (The Hague Justice Portal).

Amnesty reports “callous indifference” to civilians by Israel, but crimes on both sides: On Wednesday, 5 November 2014, Amnesty International released a report full of eyewitness testimony and expert analysis. The report found Israel committed war crimes and showed “callous indifference” to civilians during its 50-day war in the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, the report claimed Palestinian armed forces fired rockets into civilian areas. The report urged both Israel and Palestine to join the ICC so that the Court may prosecute the alleged crimes. Israel officials have openly dismissed the report, claiming Amnesty International was biased and failed to document war crimes by Palestine groups in Gaza. (International Business Times) (For additional information on this topic, please click here).

ICC Prosecutors seek joint trial of Gbagbo and Goude: Prosecutors seek to try former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo and former youth leader Charles Ble Goude together at the ICC. The former president faces crimes against humanity for his participation in the 2010 post-election violence in the Ivory Coast that left some 3,000 dead. Charges against Ble Goude are still pending. Ble Goude’s defence finds talks of joinder of the cases to be “wishful thinking.” (ABC News).

ICTY considering provisional release of Seselj for medical treatment: Former Serbian leader Vojislav Seselj may be granted provisional release and allowed to leave the Hague in order to receive treatment for colon cancer, said an ICTY filing released on Wednesday, 5 November 2014. ICTY presiding judge is examining temporary release “to avoid the worst-case scenario.” Serbian doctors recently treating Seselj believe his cancer has spread to his liver. (The News Tribune).

ICTY convict Sreten Lukic to serve sentence in Poland: A Polish court decided that former Serbian police chief Sreten Lukic will serve his 20-year term in Poland. Lukic was convicted of war crimes by the ICTY in February 2009, for crimes committed in Kosovo. The final decision will be made by the country’s justice minister. Poland and 16 other countries have pledged to accept ICTY war criminals. (Ahram Online).

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