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Monday, May 9, 2016 - 11:13

By ICL Media Review

In this week's review, news about the Prosecution appeal of Seselj’s acquittal, the Ongwen and Al-Mahdi cases, the application for an investigation into the OTP on Ruto, STL contempt case closing arguments and more.

Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj

ICTY Prosecution appeals Seselj acquittal

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) prosecution has appeal the Trial Chamber’s acquittal of the Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj by asking the Appeals Chamber to overturn the acquittal, correct claimed errors in the verdict and convict the politician, or send the case for a retrial. The prosecution cited two main grounds of appeal – that “the trial chamber erred in law by failing to deliver a reasoned judgment” and that “the trial chamber erred in fact by acquitting the accused.” On 31 March 2016, the ICTY Trial Chamber acquitted Seselj of all charges – including crimes against humanity and war crimes – allegedly committed during the 1990s in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, finding that the prosecution had failed to prove its case.  The appeal will be heard before the Mechanism for International Tribunals (MICT), which will complete the remaining work of the ICTY. (Balkan Insight)

collage image of Ahmad-Al-Fariq-Al-Mahdi and Dominic Ongwen

ICC constitutes Trial Chamber for Ongwen and Al Mahdi cases following confirmation decisions

Following the decisions on the confirmation charges for the Pre-Trial Chamber in the cases of The Prosecutor v. Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi and The Prosecutor v. Dominic Ongwen, the Presidency of the International Criminal Court has constituted Trial Chamber VIII and IX respectively and referred each case to the Trial Chamber. Trial Chamber VIII – which will hear the Al Mahdi case - is composed of Judge Antoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua  (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Judge Bertram Schmitt (Germany) and Judge Raul C. Pangalangan (Philippines). Trial Chamber IX – which will hear the Ongwen case - is composed of Judge Bertram Schmitt(Germany), Judge Peter Kovacs (Hungary) and Judge Raul C. Pangalangan (Philippines). The judges will schedule a date for the opening of the respective trials in “due course”. (ICC WebsiteStar Africa)

Deputy President of Kenya William Ruto

Ruto defense seeks independent prosecutor to investigate Prosecution witnesses and staff

On 2 May, the Defense team for Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto filed an application before Trial Chamber V(A) seeking the appointment of an independent prosecutor to investigate the Office of the Prosecutor’s witnesses, intermediaries, and staff. The Defence allege that there is sufficient evidence to believe that witnesses and OTP intermediaries tampered or interfered with the collection of evidence for the OTP, and that ICC staff members engaged in sexual relations with witnesses, bribed witnesses, and been engaged in false financial claims.  The Defence applications states that the alleged conduct brought the administration of justice into disrepute. In April 2016, the ICC ended Ruto’s trial for crimes against humanity, concluding that the prosecution failed to bring sufficient evidence against Ruto. (Capital News)

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon building exterior

STL schedules closing arguments for contempt case

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon has scheduled the closing arguments in contempt case STL 14-06 against Al Akhbar newspaper and Mr Ibrahim Al Amin for 10:00 CET on Friday 13 May 2016. The trial, which began on 24 February 2016, has seen the charge of contempt and obstruction of justice (pursuant to Rule 60 bis of the Tribunal’s Rules and Procedures of Evidence) brought against Lebanese daily newspaper Al Akhbar and its Editor-in-Chief, Mr Ibrahim Al Amin. The defendants are accused of knowingly and wilfully interfering with the administration of justice by publishing information on 17 purported confidential witnesses in the STL’s Ayyash et al case. (STL Press Release)

Ban Ki-moon says deliberate hospital attacks are ‘war crimes’

Hours after a hospital was attacked in the Syrian city of Aleppo, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said that deliberate attacks on hospitals amount to “war crimes”. Specifically, Ban Ki-Moon said, “Let us be clear: Intentional and direct attacks on hospitals are war crimes. Denying people access to essential health care is a serious violation of international humanitarian law… When so-called surgical strikes end up hitting surgical wards, something is deeply wrong.” The bombing in Aleppo’s hospital killed more than 50 people including children and the only pediatrician in the area. The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a new resolution demanding that all parties in conflicts protect medical staff and facilities. There have been over 360 attacks on some 250 medical facilities in the country since Syria’s civil war began five years ago. (ABC News)

Sarajevo court acquits Jovan Popovic of CAH

The state court in Sarajevo has acquitted Jovan Popovic of crimes against humanity, ruling that the prosecution failed to prove whether he was guilty or even a member of any paramilitary group at the time the crimes occurred. Presiding Judge Stanisa Gluhajic said that, “After having carried out an analysis, the chamber has not been able to determine beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant Popovic committed the crimes with which he is charged in the indictment.” Both the prosecution and defence can appeal the verdict. (Balkan Insight)


ICL Media Review is an independent UK Small Charity, which aims to provide a daily survey of news and developments affecting international criminal law and international human rights in a neutral and impartial manner.


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