ICJ Media Review: Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone approves Charles Taylor’s Request for a new Attorney

Like Former Liberian President Charles Taylor
Saturday, May 26, 2018 - 14:54

By ICL Media Review

In this week's review, news about Palestine’s ICC referral and reactions, the ICC Appeals Chamber’s decision on amicus requests, Bashir’s travels, scheduling order for Bemba Appeals judgment, Guatemalan convictions for crimes against humanity, report on crimes by the Nigerian military, Charles Taylor’s representation and more

Palestinian Foreign Minister meets with ICC Prosecutor to call for investigation

On 22 May 2018, the Palestinian foreign minister Riad Malki met with ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to call for an immediate investigation into crimes committed by Israelis against the Palestinian people. The ICC has been conducting a preliminary probe since 2015 into alleged crimes in the Palestinian territories, but this is the first time that Palestine has formally referred the situation to the ICC. This step comes after Israeli soldiers killed 62 Palestinian protesters on 14 May 2018. Palestine became a member of the ICC in April 2015. As such, while Israel is not a party to the Rome Statute, its nationals could be tried by the ICC for crimes committed on Palestinian territory. (ABC NewsAl Jazeera)

Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone approves Charles Taylor’s Request for a new Attorney

The Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone has approved the request for a new attorney from Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia. Mr Taylor is serving a sentence of 50 years imprisonment after having been found guilty of 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law, including murder, forced labour and slavery, recruiting child soldiers and rape. The request for a new attorney came after claims he had been mistreated while detained in a British prison. (Front Page Africa)

Complaint filed at ICC over Gaza Killings

On 17 May 2018, Lyon-based lawyer Gillles Devers filed a complaint to the ICC alleging war crimes committed against Palestinians in Gaza, during protests since December 2017. The complaint was filed on behalf of 562 victims and details individual case files on each specific injury or death. Further case files are expected to be filed for the additional 62 Palestinians killed during protests on 14 May 2018. Mr Devers stated that he hoped the recent strong statements made by the ICC Prosecutor and many nations in response to the killings on 14 May, along with the detailed evidence collected by New Zealand investigator Julie Webb-Pullman, would indicate that there would now be a breakthrough in ICC action over the situation in Gaza.  (Full complaint

Statements of ICC Prosecutor and Israel Foreign Ministry in reaction to Palestine referral

Following Palestine’s referral of the deteriorating situation in the country to the ICC on 22 May 2018, both, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel and the ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda released statements commenting on this historic step. Calling the action taken by Palestine an invalid and illegal political decision, Israel, through its Ministry of Foreign affairs, challenged the referral on the principle of jurisdiction as “Israel is not a member of the Court and because the Palestinian Authority is not a state.”  In her statement, Fatou Bensouda emphasised the rules and principles governing the opening of an investigation, as stipulated in the Rome Statute and its Policy Paper on Preliminary Examinations. At the same time, she gave assurances that the next steps taken will be guided in accordance with the Office’s mandate.

Article 53(1)(a)-(c) of the ICC Rome Statute provides the legal basis for determining whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation irrespective of the manner by which the preliminary examination was initiated. The rules require that the alleged crimes fall within the temporal, subject-matter, territorial or personal jurisdiction of the Court. Further, the Office of the Prosecutor has to be satisfied the principle of complementarity has been met and the alleged crime is of sufficient gravity in order for the case to be admissible. Lastly, there shall not be any overriding reason to believe that opening the investigation would not serve the interest of justice. The referral by Palestine is the eighth referral received from a State Party. While Israel did not sign the Rome State, Palestine joined the ICC on 1 January 2015. The situation in Palestine covering the period from 13 June 2014 onward has been subject to preliminary investigations since 16 January 2015. (ICC OTP StatementIsrael MFA Press Release)

ICC Appeal Chamber Decision on the requests to file amici curiae in the Al-Bashir Case

The Appeal Chamber of the International Criminal Court has released its decision on 21 May 2018 to allow submissions from various amici curiae in the case of The Prosecutor v Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir. Requests to participate in the hearing as amici curiae were received from 17 different parties, including Mexico and various international law academics. The Appeal Chamber has ordered that the amicis submissions be submitted by 18 June 2018, with a response from the Prosecutor due on 16 July 2018, and a response from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan orally during the hearing which is listed on 10 – 12 September 2018. The submissions come as part of the appeal hearings after Pre-Trial Chamber II of the ICC referred the conduct of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan failed to comply with its obligations under the Rome Statute in not arresting Omar Al-Bashir on a warrant issued by the court on charges of genocide and war crimes. On 29 March 2018, the Appeals Chamber issued an Order inviting State Parties and professors of international law to file requests for leave to submit observations on the merits of the legal questions in the appeal of Jordan against the Pre-Trial Chamber’s Decision.  (AC Decision)

Al-Bashir travels to Turkey despite ICC warrant

On Friday 18 May, Omar Al-Bashir visited Turkey for a meeting of Muslim nations on the situation in Jerusalem, defying the ICC arrest warrant which has been issued against him. The ICC issued two arrest warrants against Mr Al-Bashir on 4 March 2009 and 12 July 2010 for five counts of crimes against humanity (murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape), two counts of war crimes (intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking part in hostilities, and pillaging), and three counts of genocide allegedly committed against the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups in Darfur, Sudan, from 2003 to 2008. He cannot be tried by the ICC until he is arrested and brought before the court. (Sundiata Post)

UN Human Rights Council vote to send war crimes investigators to Gaza

On 18 May, the UN Human Rights Council voted to send a team of independent investigators to investigate possible war crimes carried out by Israeli forces. The Council passed a resolution to “urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry… to investigate all alleged violations and abuses… in the context of the military assaults on large-scale civilian protests that began on 30 March 2018.” Human Rights Official Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein suggested that the stark contrast in casualties on each side of the incident was suggestive of a disproportionate response. Out of the 47 member states of the human rights council, two members voted against the resolution (the United States and Australia) and 14 countries abstained. (Al JazeeraFrance 24Coastal Digest)

Guatemalan court convicts four former military officers of crimes against humanity

This week in Guatemala, a group of former senior military officers was convicted of crimes against humanity, as well as aggravated sexual abuse and forced disappearance, crimes committed during the country’s 36-year civil war. Specifically, four of the officers were held responsible for the 1981 abuse and rape of Emma Guadalupe Molina Theissen, a 21 year old social and political activist, who was interrogated, tortured and raped as part of the military junta’s “national security doctrine”, while three more were found guilty of the forced disappearance of her 14-year-old brother. The verdict marks the first prosecution of senior military officers for serious human rights violations since the 2013 genocide conviction of former dictator Efrain Rios Montt was overturned. (The Guardian)

Amnesty Report says war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Nigerian military

A report released by Amnesty International says that Nigeria’s military has committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity in connection with its fight against Boko Haram. The report is based on more than 250 interviews over a period of two years, including women and girls who fled or were forced from villages previously controlled by Boko Haram. It details accounts of the satellite camps set up by the Nigerian military for IDPs. According to the report, the military may have violated the international humanitarian law by forcibly displacing civilians, and has violated human rights law by imposing movement restrictions on those in the camps, arbitrarily detaining people in camp screening operations, and failing to provide IDPs with adequate food, water, and healthcare. Further, Amnesty claims to have documented patterns of rape and sexual exploitation in the camps by the Nigerian military. In its recommendations, the report calls for urgent food assistance to IDPs, the immediate closure of unofficial detention facilities, and for the federal government to ensure accountability for the abuses, including by releasing a recent report on the armed forces’ compliance with their human rights obligations, implementing its recommendations, and establishing a reparations programme. Nigeria’s military disputed Amnesty’s findings as false and based on fictitious incidents, and a statement from the presidency questioned the report’s credibility. (Amnesty International ReportReuters)

ICC Appeals Chamber issues scheduling order of 8 June for Bemba appeal judgment

On 18 May 2018, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court has issued a scheduling order for the Bemba judgment. On 8 June 2018, the Appeal Chamber of the ICC will deliver its judgment on the appeals against verdict pursuant to Article 74 of the Rome Statute, and sentence pursuant to Article 76 of the Rome Statute, in the case of The Prosecutor v. Jean Pierre Bemba. On 16 March 2016, Bemba was sentenced to 18 years of imprisonment for crimes committed in the Central African Republic between October 2002 and March 2003. He was found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt as a military commander responsible for crimes against humanity (murder and rape) and war crimes (murder, rape, and pillage) by Trial Chamber III of the ICC. (ICC Press Release, ICC Appeals Chamber Order).

Photo: Special Court for Sierra Leone


Is there anyway to charge the US? How is there not a mechanism to hold the US accountable for anything it does overtly or covertly? Is there a way to remove the US from the security council?

I’m a US citizen frustrated by the ineffectual nature of the UN.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - 16:31
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 , May 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 )

Sunday, May 27, 2018 - 04:23