ICJ Media Review: Trust Fund for Victims makes final submissions on reparations in Al-Mahdi case

Saturday, June 24, 2017 - 00:00

By ICL Media Review

MICT grants review of conviction of Ngirabatware before ICTR

The UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) has granted a request for review of the ICTR judgment in the case of The Prosecutor v. Augustin Ngirabatware, such that proceedings on the merits of the case will now go forward before the Appeals Chamber – the case had previously been halted following the arrest and detention of one of its judges in Turkey. Judge Akay, who was provisionally released in Turkey on 14 June 2017 pending the appeal of his conviction, has confirmed his willingness to continue the Ngirabatware case. Ngirabatware, the former Rwandan Minister of Planning, was sentenced by the MICT Appeals Chamber in December 2014 for committing direct and public incitement to commit genocide, as well as for instigating, aiding and abetting genocide. With the temporary release of Judge Akay, the Appeals Chamber has now indicated it will hold a review hearing to consider new evidence. (MICT Press ReleaseZee News)

Chea Defence presents closing arguments before ECCC

In the closing statement of defendant Nuon Chea in Case 002 ongoing at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), defence lawyer Doreen Chen criticised the “cherry-picking” of evidence and drew attention to the fact that the alleged crimes had not occurred in a “historical vacuum.” Chen stressed that there was no policy of forced marriage under the Khmer Rouge (drawing on the findings of two expert witnesses), underlined that some quotes attributed to Chea remain unverifiable, and emphasised that policies introduced by the Khmer Rouge should not be judged with ignorance or inherent anti-socialist bias. The defence furthermore argued that incidents of sexual violence did not amount to a Khmer Rouge policy of encouraging sexual violence. A final argument was also made to the effect that the Khmer Rouge’s alleged twin policies of killing target groups while using forced marriages to bolster the population are two objectives that “are irreconcilable.” (Phnom Penh Post)

Trust Fund for Victims makes final submissions on reparations in Al-Mahdi case

In the case of The Prosecutor v. Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi currently at reparations stage at the ICC, the Trust Fund for Victims have made their final submission to Trial Chamber VIII. The submission document focuses on five main observations: 1) issues that may impact the timeframe for the implementation of the order for reparations (including the continued instability in Northern Mali, and the displacement of many victims); 2) the feasibility of implementing certain proposed modalities or awards for reparations proposed by the parties and participants; 3) issues relevant to the funding of the awards for reparations; 4) the possibility of activities in Mali under the Trust Fund’s assistance mandate; and 5) the potential cooperation of the government of Mali in the reparations proceedings. On this final point, the Trust Fund for Victims submitted that the government of Mali’s participation could potentially include: (i) raising awareness that destruction of cultural property is a crime that results in significant moral, cultural and economic harm; and (ii) promoting and investing in the rehabilitation of the tourism industry of Timbuktu. (ICC Court Records)

Detained MICT judge from Turkey convicted and sentenced; MICT responds

Judge Aydin Sefa Akay, a UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) Judge and Turkish national, has been convicted by a Turkish criminal court in Ankara on a charge of membership in a terrorist organisation and sentenced to over seven years of imprisonment. This first instance judgment is subject to appeal. MICT President Judge Theodor Meron noted that he “deeply regrets this action of the Turkish authorities, in further breach of Judge Akay’s protected status under the international legal framework.” On this note, the MICT has released a statement addressing the inconsistency of the arrest, detention and prosecution of Judge Akay with his UN diplomatic immunity and the binding judicial order by the MICT to Turkey in January 2017. Judge Meron also brought the issue to the UN Security Council in March 2017. (MICT Press Release)

ICC AC confirms jurisdiction for war crimes of rape / sexual slavery of child soldiers in Ntaganda trial

On 15 June, the ICC Appeals Chamber unanimously rejected Ntaganda appeal against the decision of Trial Chamber VI (TC) which found that it has jurisdiction over counts of alleged war crimes of rape and sexual slavery of child soldiers. The Defense appealed the TC decision related to its “authority to adjudicate the alleged conduct and is without prejudice to the guilt or innocence of the accused which will be determined only at the end of the trial” on the ground that “rape and sexual slavery could not pertain to acts committed by members of an armed group against other members of the same armed group”. The Defence considered that such a decision amounts to a “substantial and unjustified extension of the scope of war crimes law“.

The President of the Appeals Chamber, Judge Sanji Mmasenono Monageng, stated that “international humanitarian law (IHL) not only governs actions of parties to the conflict in relation to each other but also concerns itself with protecting vulnerable persons during armed conflict and assuring fundamental guarantees to persons not taking active part in the hostilities”. The Appeals Chamber concluded that IHL does not “categorically excludes members of an armed group from protection against crimes committed by members of the same armed group” and, hence, found no error in the TC’s conclusion. (ICC Website)

OTP says Gaddafi son, Saif, and Al-Tuhamy must be transferred to ICC

In a statement issued on 14 July 2017, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor called for the immediate arrest and transfer to The Hague of Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled.  In regards to Saif Gaddafi, the OTP noted recent reports that Gaddafi was released from detention in Zintan and granted amnesty under Libya’s laws.  In response, the OTP clarified that the ICC arrest warrant issued against Gaddafi in June 2011 remained valid and Libya was still under an obligation to immediately transfer Gaddafi to The Hague considering that the ICC’s admissibility ruling found that Gaddafi’s case was admissible before the Court.  The OTP stated that this obligation was regardless of any amnesty law in Libya and stated that “[h]elping a fugitive to escape justice must not be tolerated, and Mr Gaddafi must be surrendered to the custody of the Court.”  

The OTP similarly called for the immediate arrest and surrender of Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled to The Hague following his arrest warrant for crimes against humanity and war crimes which was unsealed and made public on 24 April 2017.  The OTP said about the surrender of both suspects: “It is imperative for both suspects to be apprehended and immediately surrendered to the custody of the ICC so that their guilt or innocence can be established through the Court's independent and impartial judicial proceedings, and for justice to be done, and seen to be done.  Accountability for Rome Statute crimes and the deterrent effect of the law are equally important components of achieving sustainable peace and stability in Libya.” (ICC OTP Statement)

ICC to decide on South Africa’s failure to apprehend al-Bashir

ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II, which is adjudicating the question of South Africa’s compliance with its obligations under the Rome Statute, provided notification that its decision would be issued on 6 July during a public hearing.  The PTC’s decision under Article 87(7) of the Rome Statute will decide whether South African failed to comply with its obligations under the Rome Statute by not arresting Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir when he travelled to South Africa in June 2015 despite being subject to an ICC arrest warrant, and whether the ICC should refer South Africa to the UN Security Council and/or Assembly of State Parties, if it is found to be in non-compliance. (ICC Press ReleaseICC PTC decision)

Romanian prosecutors announce trial of ex-President for CAH against protestors in 1990

On 13 June, Romanian prosecutors announced that ex-President Ion Iliescu, along with 13 other officials, will stand trial on charges of crimes against humanity for the Bucharest protest events in June 1990 where four people were killed, 1 380 were injured and 1 250 arrested. The events took place a month after Iliescu’s election while the new government “called in tens of thousands of club-wielding miners to help police put down the demonstration” and thanked them for their “high sense of civic duty”. The former president was first charged in 2005 with murder and attempted murder.

Charges were dropped in 2007. In 2014, the European Court of Human Rights criticised Bucharest in 2014 for “failing to fully examine the crimes committed in the aftermath of the revolution”. In 2015, Romanian Prosecutors questioned Iliescu again. Amongst the thirteen others former officials facing trial: Prime Minister Petre Roman, intelligence chief Virgil Magureanu, two leaders of the powerful miners’ union and a former deputy prosecutor. (Euractiv)

Khmer Rouge leaders should spend life in prison, Co-Prosecutors urge at ECCC 

On 15 June, Prosecutors at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia asserted during closing statements in the case against Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea that both accused should be issued sentences of life imprisonment.  Co-prosecutor Chea Leang said that Samphan and Chea were responsible, among a small group, for planning and implementing policies in the Khmer Rouge’s regime which resulted in the alleged crimes.  Leang said that “[b]y handing down such a sentence it will reflect the gravity of the crimes committed by the accused.” (Washington Post)

Photo: ICC-CPI/Flickr 


No comments yet.