ICJ Media Review: South Africa reconsiders ICC withdrawal

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Sunday, July 8, 2018 - 11:37

By ICL Media Review

In this week's review, news about a second arrest warrant for Al-Werfalli, the appeal of Cambodia tribunal co-prosecutor on Im Chaem case closure, the MICT’s decision on Simatovic’s request for confidential info, Ntaganda closing statements schedule, the ICC Prosecutor's submissions on sentencing in Bemba et al, contempt case and more:

South Africa reconsiders ICC withdrawal

During a briefing at South Africa’s Department of International Relations, Ms Lindiwe Sisulu, South Africa’s international relations minister, suggested that the country was reconsidering its decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court. Ms Sisulu added however that consultations regarding the step are ongoing.  The decision to withdraw from the ICC was taken during the presidency of the former South African president Jacob Zuma, after the visit of Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir at the African Union Summit in Johannesburg in 2015. South Africa formally notified the UN secretary-general of its decision to withdraw from the ICC on 21 October 2016. In early 2017, the South African High Court ruled the decision, which was made without the prior approval of Parliament, was unconstitutional. (All Africa)

Lindiwe Sisulu, South Africa’s international relations minister at a past media briefing

South Africa’s international relations minister Lindiwe Sisulu at a past media briefing. (Photo: Lindiwe Sisulu/Facebook)

ICC Pre-Chamber issues second arrest warrant for Al-Werfalli for 2018 murders

On 4 July, the International Criminal Court’s Pre-Chamber I issued a second arrest warrant for Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf Al-Werfalli, premised on his alleged responsibility for the war crime of murder in Libya in January 2018. Mr Al-Werfalli, who is a major in the Al-Saiqa Brigade in Libya, is alleged to have shot ten people in Benghazi in front of the Bi-at al-Radwan Mosque. The warrant follows an initial arrest warrant against Mr Al-Werfalli that was issued by the ICC in August 2017, which was premised on his alleged responsibility for murder as a war crime in the context of seven other incidents in Libya involving 33 individuals, between June 2016 and July 2017. To date, Mr Al-Werfalli remains at large, and the ICC has requested that Libya arrest him and surrender him to the Court. (ICC PTC Arrest WarrantICC Press Release)

Cambodia tribunal International Co-Prosecutor appeals closing order of Im Chaem case

In the Im Chaem case before the ECCC, International Co-Prosecutor Nicholas Koumjian filed an appeal of the Co-Investigating Judges’ (“CIJs”) Closing Order, which found that Im Chaem does not fall under the personal jurisdiction of the ECCC. The appeal asserted that the CIJs failed to consider all the facts and their impact on whether Im Chaem was among those “most responsible” for the crimes under the ECCC’s jurisdiction, and failed to address facts of which they were seised, including facts regarding forced marriages, the persecution of various political and ethnic groups, torture, and enforced disappearances. Further, the appeal contended that the CIJs erred in their analysis of the crimes of extermination and enforced disappearances, and erred in their findings regarding In Chaem’s positions of authority, as no reasonable trier of fact could have failed to find that she was Koh Andet District Secretary and the Sector 13 Committee Member. (ECCC International Co-Prosecutor Appeal)

MICT Appeals Chamber makes decision on Simatovic’s request for access to confidential materials from Karadzic case

The MICT Appeals Chamber partially granted a request by Franko Simatovic for access to confidential inter partes material in the case against Radovan Karadzic. Simatovic’s request was submitted on the grounds that, due to overlap between the cases, the material would likely be of material assistance to his defence. The Appeals Chamber considered that Simatovic had established a nexus between his case and the Karadzic case, as both men were alleged to have been members of a joint criminal enterprise to permanently remove non-Serb inhabitants from parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It found, however, that he had not established a nexus between the cases with regard to alleged events in Sarajevo and other municipalities. As a result, the Appeals Chamber determined that Simatovic should be permitted access to the material in so far as it was concerned with events in certain specific regions, but that he should not receive material related to health and personal information about Karadzic, or material that lacked forensic purpose, such as material related to conditions of detention, provisional release, and remuneration of counsel. (MICT AC Decision)

UN Secretary General appoints Judge Meron to a new term as president of the MICT

Judge Theodor Meron was reappointed as president of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (the ‘Mechanism’), by the UN secretary-general. He will hold the office from 1 July 2018 until 18 January 2019. Judge Meron was elected as a judge of the UN ICTY in March 2001 and has since served as a judge on the ICTY and ICTR Appeals Chamber. The UN secretary-general has at the same time appointed Judge Carmel Agius as president of the Mechanism effective from 19 January 2019 until 30 June 2020, and reappointed 23 of the 24 judges of the Mechanism for another two-year term. In his speech, Judge Meron expressed “deep regret and respectful disagreement” regarding the failure to reappoint Judge Akay. Judge Akay is currently appealing his conviction by a Turkish criminal court in June 2017 of membership of a terrorist organisation. (MICT Press releaseIPP Media)

ICC judges set dates for closing statements in Ntaganda case

The ICC Trial Chamber VI set the date for closing statements in the case of Bosco Ntaganda for 28, 29 and 30 August 2018. The trial of Bosco Ntaganda commenced on 2 September 2015. As a former deputy chief of the general staff of the Force Patriotiques pour la Libération du Congo, he is accused of 13 charges of war crimes (including murder, enlistment and conscription of child soldiers, attacking protected objects and sexual slavery) and five charges of crimes against humanity (including murder, persecution and forcible transfer of the population) allegedly committed against the non-Hema civilian population in Ituri, DRC in 2002-2003. According to the indictment, he bears individual criminal responsibility for direct perpetration and indirect co-perpetration, ordering, inducing and other contributions to the commission of crimes, or as a military commander for crimes committed by his subordinates.  (ICC Trial Chamber Order)

ICC Prosecution notify Bemba contempt case trial chamber of submissions on sentence following acquittal

The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) at the International Criminal Court (ICC) has filed a notice of additional sentencing submissions to Trial Chamber VII prior to the sentencing hearing in the case of The Prosecutor v Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Fidèle Babala Wandu and Narcisse Arido. The accused are to be sentenced after having been convicted of crimes against the administration of justice at the ICC on 19 October 2016. On 8 June 2018, Mr Bemba was acquitted of crimes against humanity and war crimes in the main case. The OTP alleges that the acquittal demonstrates a new fact to be taken into account by the Trial Chamber as an aggravating factor in the sentencing exercise, as it demonstrates that the sophisticated and concerted plan by the accused to undermine the administration of justice was successful. The OTP alleges that to obtain Mr Bemba’s acquittal, the accused intentionally and irreversibly tainted the evidentiary record of the main case, and may have affected the decision of the Appeals Chamber on appeal. The OTP will elaborate on these submissions at the sentencing hearing on 4 July 2018. (OTP Notice of Submissions)

International Labour Organisation awards ICC translator damages on handling of 2012 detention in Libya

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has awarded damages to an ICC Translator who was detained in Libya while on a mission in 2012. The translator was there to hold a privileged meeting between four ICC officials (including provisionally appointed defence counsel and registry officials) and an accused person, Saif Gaddafi, who was being held by local militia forces in Zintan. During the mission, the ICC officials including the complainant were detained by the Zintan authorities and charged with offences relating to allegations that they had endangered national security. The complainant was held for 27 days before being released in July 2012. The complainant initially filed a request for compensation for damages in 2013 on the basis that the ICC had not adequately prepared the mission. This claim came before the ILO in 2014 after her initial claim was rejected by the ICC. In its decision released on 26 June 2018, the ILO considered that the complainant’s detention was a direct result of the ICC’s failure to properly prepare for the mission, specifically failing to establish a diplomatic basis for the mission by way of memorandum of understanding with Libyan authorities, failing to establish a mission plan and failing to ensure that all safety protocols were followed. The ILO also found that the complainant was continually mistreated by the Registrar in its handling of the case upon her return from Libya. The ILO has awarded the damages to the complainant and one of her co-detainees. (ILO Judgment)

Lead photo: Cyril Ramaphosa (Credit - The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa/Facebook)

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