ICJ Media Review: UN human rights chief calls for probe into possible abuses by Venezuelan security forces

Friday, September 15, 2017 - 15:48

By ICL Media Review

In this week's review, news about the ICC Prosecution and Al-Werfalli, observations on reducing Lubanga’s sentence, UK police to probe UAE torture, Venezuela human rights, and Australian to investigate armed forces for war crimes:

ICC Prosecutor renews call for arrest of Libyan accused, Al-Werfalli

On 13 September, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda renewed her call for the immediate arrest of Libyan national Mahmoud al-Werfalli. On 15 August, Pre-Trial Chamber I of the ICC issued a public arrest warrant for al-Werfalli, a senior Libyan military commander allied with General Khalifa Haftar, for the war crime of murder under Art 8(c)(i) of the Rome Statute. In particular, the arrest warrant alleges al-Werfalli’s criminal responsibility for the killing of 33 people during seven incidents in and around Benghazi from 3 June 2016 to 17 July 2017. Bensouda’s renewed call comes amid conflicting reports over whether al-Werfalli has been arrested. Despite the Libyan National Army’s earlier announcement that al-Wefalli has been arrested, the ICC Prosecutor underscored that she also has received reports that he may still be at large “and may have been involved in additional killings since the ICC warrant of arrest was issued”. (BreakingNews)

UN human rights chief calls for probe into possible abuses by Venezuelan security forces

High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein stated that Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’ investigation suggests that Venezuelan security forces may have committed crimes against humanity. The High Commissioner said the question would need to be confirmed in a criminal investigation. He also called on the UN Human Rights Council to set up an international investigation into alleged human rights violations. The OHCHR reported in August that extensive and apparently deliberate human rights violations were committed in the context of anti-government protests. Venezuela’s foreign minister rejected the allegations. (ReutersInternational Business TimesUN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights)

UK Met Police asked to investigate UAE torture of Qatari victims

The UK’s Metropolitan Police service’s war crimes unit, SO15, has commenced a preliminary assessment of a referral of allegations that up to 10 security and political officials in the United Arab Emirates authorized the torture of three Qatari citizens detained in the UAE. The referral received by the war crimes unit requests that a scoping exercise is carried out pursuant to the Crown Prosecution Service’s SO16 guidelines and Section 134 of the 1988 Criminal Justice Act – the latter of which gives the UK universal jurisdiction over the crime of torture.

The three Qatari nationals – Dr Mahmoud Abdul Rahman Al Jaidah, Hamad Ali Muhammad Ali Al Hammadi and Yousef Abdul Samad Al Mullah – were detained in the UAE between 2013 and 2014, and between them their allegations include being beaten, subjected to electric shocks, hung upside down, drugged, kept in solitary confinement and threatened with death. Barrister Rodney Dixon, who is representing the Qataris, has stated that: “We have highlighted in our file that there’s a history of widespread, systematic torture in the UAE. The police have said they will commence a scoping exercise in accordance with joint police [and] Crown Prosecution Service guidelines.” (The Guardian)

DRC government objects to review of Lubanga sentence imposed by ICC judges 

The Registry of the ICC has reported to the three appointed judges of the court’s Appeals Chambers that the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has objected to a reduction of the sentence of Thomas Lubanga. Lubanga is currently serving the 14-year sentence he was given on 10 July 2012 for the war crimes of enlisting and conscripting children under the age of 15 years and using them to participate actively in hostilities. Pursuant to Article 110 of the ICC Statute – which provides that at the two-thirds point of a sentence the Court must review whether the sentence should be reduced – the three Appeals Chamber judges appointed for the sentence review ordered the DRC to file their observations on the matter by 8 September 2017. The government of the DRC responded to this order on the 8th of September, informing the Court Registry of the negative opinion of the Congolese government on a reduction of the sentence of Lubanga, but in its response the government referred to an annexed letter which was not attached – the Registry is therefore currently following up to obtain the letter. (ICC Court Record dated 5 September 2017, ICC Court Record dated 11 September 2017)


Photos: UN Geneva and ICC Flickr 

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Friday, January 12, 2018 - 04:49