ICJ Media Review: Iraq asks UN for assistance in collecting evidence against Daesh

Saturday, August 26, 2017 - 12:55

By ICL Media Review

In this week’s review, news about the Stanisic and Simatovic retrial, the Al-Mahdi Reparations decision, Jovo Ostojic’s death and the ICTY, a conviction for sheltering Mladic, investigations into Daesh in Iraq, and more.
Iraq asks UN for assistance in collecting evidence against Daesh

According to a letter sent from Iraq’s Foreign Minister to the UN Secretary-General on 16 August 2017, Iraq and the United Kingdom are working on a draft Security Council resolution seeking assistance in collecting evidence to prosecute members of the Islamic State group for crimes against humanity in Iraq. The move follows the launch by Belgium, Britain and Iraq of a global campaign to ensure accountability in September 2016 and urging by representatives of Iraq’s Yazidi community. (Arab NewsReuters)

Nigeria’s government sets up judicial mechanism to review human rights compliance of armed forces

The Nigerian government has established a judicial commission to review the compliance of its armed forces with rules of engagement, human rights law and international humanitarian law. It is anticipated that the seven-member commission will commence immediately and submit its report and findings, which may include recommendations, within the next 90 days. (Amnesty InternationalLawyard)

Serbian Court finds General guilty of hiding fugitive; Mladic

The Belgrade Appellate Court has found retired Bosnian Serb army general Marko Lugonja guilty of hiding Ratko Mladic in his Belgrade apartment in 2002, when Mladic was a fugitive attempting to avoid extradition to the ICTY, where he faced charges including genocide. The verdict states that: “The Court has established that Lugonja committed the crime of helping a crime perpetrator, considering the fact that the defendant himself admitted having committed the crime, that he admitted Mladic to his apartment at the urging of general Zdravko Tolimir, that Mladic stayed at his apartment for five or six days, that it was his choice to admit Mladic to his apartment and that he knew that an indictment against Mladic had been filed before the ICTY and that an arrest warrant against him had been issued. He helped Mladic because he was his commander”. The court sentenced Lugonja to a six-month parole sentence; he will not serve the sentence unless he commits the same or a similar crime within the next year. (Balkan Insight)

ICTY issues revised indictment order in contempt case after Jovo Ostojic’s death

On 17 August 2017, the ICTY Trial Chamber I issued a Revised Order in Lieu of Indictment in the Jojic et al. case terminating all proceedings with respect to Jovo Ostojic following his death. The remaining accused are Petar Jojic and Vjerica Radeta, against whom international arrest warrants are outstanding. They are charged with contempt of the Tribunal for allegedly having threatened, intimidated, offered bribes to, or otherwise interfered with two witnesses in the former trial against Vojislav Seselj and a related contempt case against him. (ICTYBalkan Insight)

Stanisic and Simatovic retrial resumes at the MICT

The retrial of two former leaders of the Serbian State Security Forces, Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic, for war crimes allegedly committed in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, resumes on 22 August 2017 before the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), following the summer recess. The re-trial will resume with the testimony of a protected prosecution witness, delivered via video link. The first instance trial at the ICTY acquitted Stanisic and Simatovic in 2013, subsequent to which the Appeals Chamber quashed the verdict and ordered a retrial in 2015. Stanisic and Simatovic face charges for the alleged persecution, murders, deportations and forcible resettlement of Croat and Muslim civilians. (Balkan Insight)

ICTY Prosecution seeks admission of new evidence in Stanisic and Simatovic retrial

The Prosecution in the Stanisic and Simatovic retrial has filed a supplemental submission in support of its request to admit the testimony and expert report of Christian Nielsen, an expert historian with specialist knowledge of Serbia’s Ministry of the Interior (MUP) structures. The Prosecutor says Nielsen’s evidence is critical to its case, as his expertise goes to the parameters of authority and influence of the accused, both de jure and de facto, within the MUP. It submitted that the new evidence is admissible because it was unavailable during the original trial and does not unduly prejudice the accused. (MICT Prosecution Submission)

ICC order Al-Mahdi to pay individual and collective reparations; emphasis the importance of cultural heritage:

On August 17 2017 the Trial Chamber VIII of the ICC issued a reparations order in the case of The Prosecutor v. Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi. With Mr Al Mahdi having already admitted guilt, and been convicted for the destruction of protected objects as a co-perpetrator under Articles 8(2)(e)(iv) and 25(3)(a). Nine of the ten religious sites destroyed by Mr Al Mahdi a former member of the militia group Ansar Dine, were UNESCO World Heritage Sites, they were destroyed in Timbuktu in mid-2012, during the Malian Civil War. Citing a UNESCO submission, the Chamber stressed the importance that the culture of such sites bares on communities, saying the destruction of cultural heritage seeks to “disrupt the social fabric of societies”.

The Chamber found that the actions of Mr Al Mahdi were both an actual and proximate cause of economic harm suffered by the Timbuktu community, thus damages awarded sought to redress both the destruction of the sites and the consequential economic loss suffered by people whose livelihoods depended on the destroyed mausoleums, as well as the moral harm inflicted upon the Timbuktu community. The Chamber in turn divided the reparations along these lines.

The Chamber heard submissions as to estimated costs and monetary losses resulting from the destruction of the sites, noting the challenges in attaching a monetary value to moral harm. Nevertheless, the Chamber concluded that Mr Al Mahdi’s total liability amounted to 2.7 million euros in expenses for individuals and collective reparations. The Chamber also issued some symbolic measures. Noting Mr Al Madhi’s indigence, the Chamber stated the Trust Fund for Victims is to engage in fundraising exercises in order the pay the reparations, with priority given to the payment of individuals when implementing the award. (ICC TC Decision, ICC Press Release)

Photos: ICC-CPI/Flickr and Wikimedia 


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