Week 3 2017 ICL Media Review

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Friday, January 20, 2017 - 00:00

By ICL Media Review

In this week's review, news about the reopening of the Ongwen trial and a decision on medical examinations, a hearing on detained Turkish judge, release of former Ksovo PM, charges against former Romanian President, Islamic State accused of crimes against humanity in Iraq and more

ICC Prosecution submits 1006 items of evidence as Ongwen trial resumes

As the case of The Prosecutor v Dominic Ongwen reopened on 16 December before Trial Chamber IX at the ICC with the beginning of the Prosecution’s case, the OTP applied, by way of a written ‘bar table’ motion, to admit 1006 items of evidence. The Chamber previously ruled in its Rule 140 Decision that participants may submit evidence in writing through a ‘bar table’ application. The ‘bar table’ contains a record of each item of evidence and captures data including the category of evidence, an item description, its relevance and probative value for the Prosecution’s case, its incriminatory characterisation, its source, and its disclosure date. The categories of the evidence cover a wide range of types, including audio and video material, police crime files, forensic records, photographs, and intelligence documents, and each piece of evidence is relevant either to a charged crime location, persecution, sexual and gender based crimes or crimes relating to the conscription or use of child soldiers. In the request document, the Prosecution states that each of the 1006 items proves one or more discrete issues in the Prosecution’s case; corroborates facts that will be presented to the Chamber by witnesses who will provide oral testimony at trial; and possesses indications of reliability to warrant its admission and to enable the Chamber to fairly evaluate it. Ongwen’s trial resumed this week on January 16th with the beginning of the Prosecution’s case. (ICC Prosecution Filing, The GuardianRFIAfrica News)

MICT holds hearing on detained Turkish judge

On 17 January, the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) held a hearing in order to resolve the issue of the ongoing detention of one of the MICT’s judges, Aydin Sefa Akay, whose detention has frozen an appeals case underway at the MICT. Judge Akay, who is Turkish, was one of 41,000 people arrested by Turkish authorities following the failed coup of 15 July 2016. His continued detention has brought to a halt the appeals case of former Rwandan minister Augustin Ngirabatware, who was sentenced to three decades imprisonment by the ICTR for his role in the Rwandan genocide; Judge Aydin is serving as part of the five-judge bench hearing the appeal. Both the Prosecution and the Defence team in Ngirabatware’s case have asked the MICT to issue an order for the release of Judge Akay without further delay, and presiding Judge Theodor Meron has stated that he will issue his ruling on the matter as soon as possible. Turkey did not attend the MICT’s hearing on Tuesday. (Yahoo)

ICC TC rejects Ongwen leave to appeal on Medical exam

On 12 December, Trial Chamber IX of the ICC in the case of The Prosecutor v. Dominic Ongwen rejected accused, Dominic Ongwen’s leave to appeal on its previous decision concerning a medical examination for Ongwen.  On 27 December 2016, the Defense team for Ongwen sought leave to appeal the Trial Chamber’s decision of 16 December rejecting the Defence’s 5 December request for a “psychological and/or psychiatric examination of Mr Ongwen to determine his fitness to stand trial”.   In deciding to reject the Defense’s leave to appeal, the Trial Chamber first considered the Defense’s submissions on the appropriate standard to apply to determine an accused’s fitness to stand trial but decided that there is no issue arising from the impugned decision which requires appeal.  Second, the Trial Chamber dismissed the Defense’s argument that the Chamber misconstrued its original request and expert report about Ongwen’s fitness to stand trial; stating that there was nothing ambiguous to misunderstand in those Defense documents and therefore the Defence merely disagreed.  Overall the Chamber decided that the Defense’s leave to appeal did not met the requirements for granting leave under Article 82(1)(d). (ICC TC Decision)

Haradinaj released from French detention; under judicial supervision 

Ramush Haradinaj, ex prime minister of Kosovo, was released from detention by the appeals court in the town of Colmar on 12 January 2016. The Court ordered Haradinaj to remain in France under judicial supervision.  Reports state that he will live in Strasbourg and will check in with police twice a week while Belgrade’s extradition request is considered.  In addition, further reports on the Serbian arrest warrant and indictment against Haradinaj state that a Serbian court has expanded the indictment to include crimes committed in Kosovo which were not taking into consideration during his trial and re-trial before the ICTY. The report states that before the end of the week the new elements of the indictment will be presented before the French court in charge of dealing with the case. (Balkin InsighteuronewsB92)

Romania indicts former President for CAH

Romania’s Military Prosecutor’s Office charged Ion Iliescu, former Romania President, of crimes against humanity for having allegedly used miners for quashing an anti-government demonstration in Bucharest from 13 to 15 June 1990. Other former officials have apparently already been indicted, and some others like PM Petre Roman and Deputy PM Gelu Voican-Voiculescu are currently being investigated in relation to the case. The Prosecutor’s Office alleges that the former President organised and coordinated “a total and systematic attack” against the civilian population of the capital and the demonstrators at the University square in Bucharest with the participation of armed forces of the Interior Ministry, the information service and “over 10,000 miners and workers from other regions of the country”. The Prosecution alleges that “4 persons were killed with firearms, 3 were wounded, physical and psychological trauma was inflicted on 1,269 persons and 1,242 persons were sent to prison for political reasons”. (Novinite)

HRW calls ISIS Iraq bombings “CAH”; calls for compensation

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said that the recent car and suicide bombs in Baghdad by the Islamic State, which targeted crowded civilian areas including markets and hospitals, amount to crimes against humanity. HRW has called for the Iraqi authorities to establish mechanisms to address the needs of victims, in particular a comprehensive compensation plan. Under a 2009 law, amended in 2015, a committee was formed in Iraq to compensate those affected by terrorism through material compensation, pension, land or financial grant. However, it has been criticised due to its slow procedures, taking an average of two years to process claims. (Human Rights Watch)

Kosovo indicts alleged former KLA leader for war crimes

Remzi Shala, a former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) guerrilla, has been charged with committing war crimes by Kosovo’s Special Prosecution. The charge relates to the detention of a Kosovo Albanian civilian who was suspected of collaborating with Serbian forces by the KLA fighters. The indictment dates back to October 19, 2016, but was concealed until now. (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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