ICJ Media Review: Human rights organisation calls on Liberia's new President to investigate and prosecute civil war crimes

Like Liberian President George Weah
Sunday, January 28, 2018 - 14:12

By ICL Media Review

In this week's review, news about Ongwen and fair trial violations allegations, witness testimony in the Stanisic and Simatovic retrial, final submissions in the Bemba appeal, Lubanga victims and reparations, Ntaganzwa’s lawyer, war crimes in Liberia and President Weah, and more

ICC Trial Chamber rejects Ongwen defense submissions on fair trial violations

On 24 January, the ICC’s Trial Chamber IX rejected Defence submissions regarding alleged fair trial violations in the case of The Prosecutor v. Dominic Ongwen, and its request that the trial be stayed until the violations are remedied. While the Defence had argued that Ongwen had not been provided with a complete and timely translation of the confirmation of charges decision into Acholi, the Trial Chamber noted that the ICC Statute does not require an entire confirmation decision to be translated into the accused’s language, and that an accused is only entitled to such translations necessary to meet the requirements of fairness. Given that Ongwen was in possession of an Acholi translation containing the charges since well before trial, and the Defence never mentioned a need for translations, the Trial Chamber held that the Defence request, coming 13 months into the trial, was untimely and unjustified. (ICC TC Decision)

Witness testifies in retrial on command responsibility of Stanisic

On 23 January, a protected Prosecution witness in the Stanisic and Simatovic retrial testified that in 1991, he saw Milan Martic, former interior minister of a rebel Croatian Serb wartime statelet, call Jovica Stanisic his “true and only commander”. Stanisic, the former chief of the Serbian State Security Service, is currently on retrial before the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), after he and his deputy, Franko Simatovic, were acquitted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Trial Chamber in 2013, and then ordered for a retrial by the ICTY Appeals Chamber in 2015. Both are accused of participating in a joint criminal enterprise to forcibly remove Croats and Muslims in an effort to create a unified Serb state. In his testimony, the witness claimed that he saw Stanisic at a special police training camp in Croatia, and that paramilitary forces allegedly under the control of the Serbian State Security Service killed their prisoners. On cross-examination, the witness testified that Stanisic’s speech to police officials was more analogous to “fatherly encouragement” than “formal orders”. (BalkanInsight)

Parties submit final submission in Bemba case after appeal hearing

On 19 January, at the invitation of the Appeals Chamber, the Prosecutor, the Appellant and the Legal Representative of the Victims in the Bemba proceedings each submitted additional written observations to clarify any points made or refuted before the Chamber during the appeal hearing. Among other points, the Prosecutor sought to clarify the nature of superior responsibility under Article 28 of the Rome Statute. The Victims’ Representative made submissions regarding underlying acts not found in the confirmation of charges as well as the legal qualification of acts. The Prosecutor and Victims’ Representative each made submissions on the existence of an organisational policy within the meaning of Article 7 of the Rome Statute. The Appellant made submissions on the standard of proof of underlying acts and the power to amend the confirmed charges. Bemba was sentenced in June 2016 to 18 years’ imprisonment for crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Central African Republic between 2002 and 2003. He appealed his conviction on the basis that his right to a fair trial had been violated, the conviction exceeded the charges and evidence presented at trial, he did not have command responsibility in respect of the relevant acts, and that the Prosecution failed to establish the contextual elements of the alleged crimes. (Prosecution final submissionsDefence final submissions, Victims final submissions)

Lubanga victims file notice of appeal again Trial Chamber decision concerning reparations

On 15 January, the Legal Representative of the V01 Group of Victims filed a notice of appeal against the Trial Chamber’s Decision of 15 December 2017 on reparations payable by Thomas Lubanga Dyilo. The Decision set the amount of Lubanga’s liability for collective reparations at USD 10,000,000. According to the Victims’ Representative, the Decision impermissibly identified which victims would be eligible for the collective reparations. The notice of appeal stated that the Trial Chamber erred by: engaging in an individual assessment of the eligibility of the potential victims for collective reparations; discriminating against participating victims by using different approaches to assess their eligibility for collective reparations; and not applying the principles enunciated in its decision to the individual dossiers and failing to provide adequate reasons in its grounds for rejection. (Victims’ notice of appeal)

Rwandan genocide suspect Ntaganzwa rejects lawyer

On 22 January, Rwandan genocide suspect Ladislas Ntaganzwa announced he would reject his assigned defence counsel. He claimed that defence counsel Laurent Bugabo, who had been assigned to him by the Rwandan Bar Association, was always busy with other work and was not conducting his defence properly. Mr Ntaganzwa was allegedly involved in the genocide of over 20,000 Tutsis in 1994 and is currently facing trial at the Specialised Chamber for International Crimes in Rwanda. The hearings have been adjourned until 7 February 2018. (New Times)

Human rights organisation calls on Liberia's new President to investigate and prosecute civil war crimes

The Center for Justice and Accountability, or Monrovia based Global Justice and Research Project called upon the newly elected Liberian President George Weah to pursue investigation and prosecution of crimes committed during the civil war in Liberia. The Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission found in its 2009 Report serious violations of national law, crimes against humanity and war crimes including sexual slavery or recruitment of child soldiers. As part of the Report, the TRC recommended an establishment of the Extraordinary Criminal Tribunal in Liberia. Even though some indictments against the alleged perpetrators were issued in Europe and the U.S and some led to convictions, to date, no crimes mentioned in the TRC Report were prosecuted inside Liberia. The Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission was created in May 2005 by the TRC Act as a result of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement concluded between the Liberian Government, political parties and the two main rebel groups in 2003 in Accra, Ghana. The Commission’s mandate was to investigate gross violations of human rights, international humanitarian law, sexual violations and economic crimes committed during the civil war in Liberia between January 1979 and October 2003.  (Front Page Africa)

Palestinians call on ICC to act against Israel

On 20 January, the Palestinian Authority issued a call to International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to “prevent the continuation of crimes against the Palestinian people.” This statement came as a response to the detention 16 year old Ahed al Tamimi by Iraeli authorities for assaulting of Israeli Defence Force soldiers. The statement also highlighted the alleged unlawful killing of 16 Palestinians, and the detention of 720 people including 184 children. On 16 January 2015, the Office of the Prosecutor announced a preliminary investigation into the situation in Palestine. (World Israeli NewsTRT WorldKUNA)

ICC Opening of Judicial Year 2018

On 18 January, the ICC marked the opening of the judicial year with a ceremony in the Hague, the Netherlands. The event was attended by over 50 senior judges representing the national jurisdictions of 25 States Parties to the Rome Statute, 8 regional and international courts, and the ICC itself. This is the first time the ICC has formally opened the judicial year. This occasion also coincided with the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute. (ICC press releaseOpening RemarksAddress of Anthony Carmona, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago)

EU takes action on allegations of Kenya’s human rights violations to indigenous people

On 19 January, The European Union has suspended funding to the Kenyan government over allegations of human rights abuses against the indigenous Sengwer community. Due to forced evictions and violence against the Sengwer, the EU ceased funding to the WaTER project, which seeks to improve access to clean water. However, the Sengwer community is calling for government action to stop the persistent human rights abuses against them, and for the government to roadmap a plan for the future (GNNLiberia).

Photo: UN Peacekeeping/Twitter

David D Y Choi

Under the Sky, One should be equal as long as Human Being. Underprivileged social class, Before the birth, even after the death, this underprivileged group should follow the pre-framed given route. Upon realizing that crossing the given route is limited, its trial object would be named as ‘Betrayer’ or targeted as ‘Gov. Sanction’. Extending of this status, urged and resulted let David create hand written images between # 1 and # 58. Still, there, no one, no response, no way to get out, its condition is extended. Its usefulness, it condition should be extended as usual. David D Y Choi , Mar., 2018 ( e-mail ; [email protected], or [email protected] ) Personal URL : http://www.cdyera.wordpress.com ( at URL, on the bottom site, linked images are available )

Monday, March 5, 2018 - 05:13