ICJ Media Review: President Rodrigo Duterte threatens ICC investigators with arrest

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Saturday, April 21, 2018 - 15:50
 
In this week's review, news about Mladic’s health, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) Trial Chamber disqualification motion, the STL Prosecution’s request to withdraw indictment confirmation, the ICC Registrar’s final report and new Registrar sworn-in, Ongwen closing briefs, and more
 
President Rodrigo Duterte threatens ICC investigators with arrest

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened the International Criminal Court Prosecution with the arrest of a staff member if they do any investigating, arguing that the Philippines is no longer an ICC member.  The ICC will have jurisdiction over the Philippines until March 2019 as the withdrawal is yet to come into effect, per Article 127 of the Rome Statute. Article 127 (2) outlines that state withdrawals do not affect investigations that commenced prior to the withdrawal. Moreover, the ICC may investigate wherever a state is unwilling or unable to investigate.  In February 2018, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced the start of a preliminary examination into a complaint by a Philippine lawyer which accused Duterte and other officials of war crimes. Duterte has suggested that the ICC no longer has any ‘authority’ over the Philippines and questioned the ICC’s involvement in the Philippines. Though Philippines police have killed more than 4000 people since July 2016, in what has been described by human rights groups as executions, Duterte has argued that the Philippines never joined the ICC as it was not announced in the state’s official gazette. Duterte has promised to continue with his drug crackdown. (Reuters

Medical Reports submitted on Mladić’s health care

In the case of Prosecutor v Mladić before the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), the Registrar filed medical reports prepared by experts in neurology and cardiology, arguing that these reports confirm that Ratko Mladić is being provided with adequate medical care at the UN Detention Unit and rejecting the Defence’s allegations of medical negligence. In its submissions, the Registrar also refuted the Defence’s assertions that it had failed to properly disclose all requested medical documents to Mladić, and rejected the argument that the Defence’s presence during Mladić’s medical examinations is necessary. To the contrary, the Registry argued that the Defence’s presence would contravene medical ethics and practice, as it would violate the confidentiality of medical information and run the risk of interfering with the free communication between doctor and patient. (MICT Filing)

Panel established to consider Oneissi request for disqualification of Trial Chamber Judges

In the main case before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Prosecutor v Ayyash et al., the President of the Tribunal, Judge Ivana Hrdličková ,designated a panel to review a motion submitted by the Defence for Hussein Hassan Oneissi requesting the disqualification and withdrawal of the Trial Chamber Judges. In its motion, the Oneissi Defence submitted that the STL Trial Chamber has been biased and partial in its conduct towards the Defence since the close of the Prosecution case. The panel designated by President Hrdličková consists of Judge Daniel Nsereko, Presiding, Judge Walid Akoum and Judge Nicola Lettieri, who will determine whether the judges should be disqualified. (STL Press Release)

ICC directs closing briefs in Ongwen case

On 13 April, following the Prosecution’s notice of closure of evidence in the proceedings against Dominic Ongwen, ICC Trial Chamber IX invited closing briefs to be filed six weeks after the Presiding Judge’s declaration of the closure of the submission of evidence and ordered that closing statements would be held two weeks after such filing. The Presiding Judge also stipulated that it was not necessary for the fairness of trial that Acholi translations of the closing submissions must be filed, given that the closing briefs are merely a summary and reiteration of the parties’ and participants’ views and have no independent evidentiary value. (ICC)

Lebanon tribunal Prosecution withdraws request for indictment confirmation in ‘Connected Cases’

One 12 April 2018, the Prosecutor at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon filed a Notice of Withdrawal of its request to confirm the Indictment submitted in July 2017 relating to case STL-17-07/I. The Prosecution is revising the Indictment in order to reflect additional evidence, and it intends to re-submit an updated version of the indictment to the Pre-Trial Chamber at a later date. (STL press releases)

Decision on the reclassification of items admitted into evidence in the Ntaganda Case

On 16 April 2018, ICC Trial Chamber VI issued a decision on the reclassification of evidence in the case of The Prosecutor v Bosco Ntaganda. The decision came after the parties had previously been directed by the Chamber to coordinate with each other and the Registry on whether items of evidence classified as confidential could be reclassified as public, with or without redactions. The Prosecution submitted a list of 134 items and their proposed classification on 28 March and the Defence submitted its observations on 29 March. In its decision, the Chamber directed that the Office of the Prosecutor reclassify certain items and also directed that certain items be properly redacted and then reclassified as public. Mr Ntaganda is facing 13 counts of war crimes and 5 counts of crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2002 and 2003. (Chamber DecisionProsecution SubmissionsDefence Submissions)

ICC Registrar end of mandate report

On 16 April, the former Registrar of the ICC, Herman von Hebel, published a report reflecting on the five years of his mandate at the Registry and summarising the main achievements during that period. The report highlights achievements including improved cooperation between the organs of the court, improved witness support and protection, reform of the role of the Registry Legal Office, the creation of the Division of External Operations and improved human resources and staff welfare policies. (ICCFull Report

New ICC Registrar takes oath

On 17 April, Mr Peter Lewis was sworn in and commenced his five year term as  Registrar of the International Criminal Court after being elected on 28 March 2018. He made the solemn declaration in the presence of ICC President, Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, and the President of the Assembly of State Parties, Mr O-Gon Kwon . Mr Lewis succeeds Mr Herman von Hebel, who was elected Registrar on 8 March 2013. Mr Lewis served as Chief Executive of the Crown Prosecution Service in England and Wales and has extensive experience in criminal law. Mr Lewis will pursue his functions in accordance with Article 43 of the Rome Statute which vests in him responsibilities for the non-judicial aspects of servicing the Court as the principal administrative officer. (ICC Press Release)

ICC President concludes official visit to Nigeria

The President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, made an official visit to Nigeria between 10 and 13 April 2018. The aim of the visit was to discuss ways to strengthen the international criminal justice system and end impunity for the most serious international crimes with Nigerian leaders. During the visit, Nigeria expressed its commitment to the ICC and Judge Eboe-Osuji thanked Nigeria for its continued support. (ICC)

Photo: Mindanao Hour of the Philippine Information Agency

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