ICJ Media Review: ICTY judgment finds Mladic guilty of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity

Saturday, November 25, 2017 - 12:05
In this week's review, news about the Judgment against Mladic, Lubanga reparations, ICC and Afghanistan, experts on Ongwen mental health and possible CAH against migrants in slave trade 
ICTY judgment finds Mladic guilty of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity; sentences him to life imprisonment 

On 22 November 2017, Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia convicted Ratko Mladić, former Commander of the Main Staff of the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS), of 10 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, namely: genocide and persecution, extermination, murder, and the inhumane act of forcible transfer in the area of Srebrenica in 1995; persecution, extermination, murder, deportation and inhumane act of forcible transfer in municipalities throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina; and murder, terror and unlawful attacks on civilians in Sarajevo; and of hostage-taking of UN personnel. For example, with regard to the count of genocide at Srebenica, the Chamber confirmed in delivering its Judgment that: “the prohibited acts, as set out in the legal definition of Genocide, of killing and causing serious bodily and mental harm were committed by the physical perpetrators against the Bosnian Muslims of Srebrenica. […] As explained in detail in the judgment, the Chamber found that the physical perpetrators intended to destroy the Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica, a substantial part of the protected group.”

Concurrently, Mladić was acquitted of one charge of genocide in municipalities within Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992. The Judgment convicts Mladić on the basis of his participation in and contribution to four joint criminal enterprises (referred to in shorthand by the ICTY as the Overarching JCE, the Sarajevo JCE, the Srebrenica JCE and the Hostage-taking JCE). It furthermore delivers accounts of mass rapes, brutal beatings and executions in detention, and the destruction of homes and mosques by troops under Mladić’ command.  For the crimes, Mladić was sentenced to life in prison – in determining this sentence, the Chamber explained when delivering the Judgment that it took into account the gravity of the crimes committed; “the crimes committed rank among the most heinous known to humankind and include genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity.”

Mladić may now appeal against the judgment – any appeal will be heard by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT).  The Judgment is the final Trial Judgment of the ICTY, and concludes a trial during which the Chamber sat for 530 days, heard evidence from 592 witnesses, and saw close to 10,000 exhibits. In its lifespan, the ICTY has indicted 161 persons for international crimes – 155 proceedings have been concluded, while 6 continue. (ICTY Judgment SummaryICTY Press ReleaseThe Wall Street JournalBBCThe Guardian)

ICC schedules hearing on Lubanga reparations

On 22 November, Trial Chamber II issued an order which scheduled a public hearing for 15 December where the Trial Chamber will issue its decision on reparations for victims in the case against Thomas Lubanga.  The Chamber’s decision will set out the reparations for which Lubana is responsible.  The order follows a decision of the Appeals Chamber on 3 March 2015 which instructed the Trust Fund for Victims to submit a draft implementation plan for collective reparations; thus amending the Trial Chamber decision of 7 August 2012 on the implementation process of reparations for the victims. (ICC-CPI)

ICC Prosecutor requests to open investigation into Afghanistan; public redacted

On 20 November 2017, the OTP of the ICC announced that it had submitted its request to investigate into Afghanistan (“Request”). On that same day, a public redacted version of the Request was submitted. The Request was both announced and convened at PTC by the Presidency on 3 November 2017. The public redacted version of the Request provides details on the allegations against the various groups. It includes allegations against members of the US armed forces and members of the CIA. It further includes allegations of torture and cruel treatment, use of black sites in Afghanistan and other countries and sexual violence. (OTP Press Release, Public redacted version of the Request)

ICC Trial Chamber makes decision on hearing mental health experts in Ongwen case

Following the Defence’s submission in 2016 of a psychiatric report and notification of its intention to raise a mental disease or defect defence, on 16 November 2017 the Trial Chamber granted the Prosecution’s requests to add three mental health experts to its list of witnesses and, accordingly, their reports and associated items to the list of evidence. In his reasoning, the Single Judge noted that the Defence had disclosed the psychiatric report after the deadline for the Prosecution’s lists of witnesses and evidence and that the Prosecution had indicated as early as January 2017 that it may seek to present its own mental health evidence. The Trial Chamber rejected the Prosecution request for all mental health experts to give evidence in a joint session at the close of the Prosecution’s evidence, finding that the issue is not so extraordinary that the experts need to be heard outside the standard trial framework. (ICC)

UN Sec Gen Guterres calls slave trade in Libya possible crime against humanity

UN Secretary-General António Guterres called upon competent authorities to investigate reports of migrants and refugees being sold as slaves in Libya, saying the acts may amount to crimes against humanity as well as human rights violations. Speaking more generally, Guterres said the exploitations of civilians by groups in conflict areas could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.  The African Union Chairperson, President Alpha Conde of Guinea, has similarly called for prosecutions. Libya’s Anti-Illegal Immigration Agency has opened an investigation into the auctions, aiming both to prosecute those responsible and to liberate and repatriate the victims. Secretary-General Guterres called for all countries to adopt the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocol on human trafficking. (CNNBBC, News24, The New Arab)



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