ICL Media Review: Uganda ordered to compensate former LRA fighter Thomas Kwoyelo

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Monday, October 15, 2018 - 13:13

By ICL Media Review

In this week's review, news about Judge Meron’s disqualification on the Karadzic appeal, the postponement of the Lubanga reparations hearing, the African Commission’s decision on compensating an LRA fighter, Rwanda’s penal code supporting genocide, South Sudan’s opposition to a hybrid tribunal and more:

Judge Meron disqualifies himself from Karadzic appeal; declines Judge Antonetti’s request to rescind appointment of Judge Ivo Nelson de Caires Batista Rosa in place: 

27 September 2018, Judge Theodor Meron of the Appeals Chamber of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT), and presiding judge over the Prosecutor v. Radovan Karadžić (Karadžić case) issued an order deciding to immediately withdraw from the Karadžić case. On September 25 2018, Karadžić filed a motion to disqualify Judge Meron before Judge Jean-Claude Antonetti. The motion was filed pursuant to Rule 18 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the Mechanism, seeking to disqualify Judge Meron on the basis of an appearance of bias resulting from ‘cumulative participation in judgements’ where Judge Meron was extensively confronted with evidence and findings on issues pertinent to the Karadžić appeal, and for the conclusions drawn from those cases, and the subsequent conviction of Karadžić’s subordinates.

Judge Meron noted that Karadžić had made no allegation of actual bias, nevertheless, in order to not impede the progress of the case, and in the interests of justice Judge Meron withdrew from the case.  Judge Meron then made an order to see himself replaced, following Article 12(3) of the Statute of the Mechanism, with Judge Ivo Nelson de Caires Batista Rosa. Making the composition of the Bench in the Karadžić case Judge Sekule, Judge Prüsse Joensen, Judge Ricardo de Prada Solaesa, Judge Gatti Santana, and Judge Nelson de Caires Batista Rosa.  On 2 October 2018, Judge Antonetti also made a filing, inviting Judge Meron to withdraw his order appointing the Judge Nelson de Caires Batista Rosa to replace Meron. The following day, 3 October 2018, Judge Meron made a decision in response to Judge Antonetti declining the request, reiterating that Meron’s decision was based on the interests of justice and the speedy conclusion of the Appeal, and not due to any impartiality on Judge Meron’s part. (Decision of 27 September, Order Replacing Judge, Judge Antonetti's Request, Decision of 3 October) 

Lubanga reparations hearing postponed to December 2018

On 4 October 2018, the ICC Appeals Chamber made a scheduling order postponing the reparations hearing in the Lubanga case to December 2018. The hearing, in which the Appeals Chamber is expected to hear submissions and observations from the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) and the legal representatives of the V01 and V02 groups of victims, as well as the Office of Public Counsel for Victims had initially been scheduled for 17 October 2018. (ICC AC Order)

Uganda ordered to compensate former LRA fighter Thomas Kwoyelo

 The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has ordered the Ugandan government to compensate former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Thomas Kwoyelo for violating his rights under the African Charter, including his right to equality before the law and his right to a fair trial. Mr Kwoyelo is currently facing charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity including willful killing, enslavement, torture, taking hostages, sexual violence and the destruction of property in Gulu and Amuru in Uganda. Mr Kwoyelo has been in detention awaiting trial for almost ten years and proceedings are still stuck at the pre-trial stage. The Supreme Court of Uganda has repeatedly delayed the hearings for various reasons including, most recently, insufficient funds to conduct the trial. In contrast, the case of Dominic Ongwen, another alleged senior member of the LRA, is currently on trial at the International Criminal Court. He was arrested in 2014 and his trial commenced in 2016.  The Defence is currently presenting its evidence in this case before the ICC in the Hague.  The orders in relation to Mr Kwoyelo were made by the Commission in its ruling held at its 62nd ordinary session in Banjul in Gambia last week. The Ugandan government has been ordered to pay compensation based on “international standards” and to report progress back to the Commission within 180 days. (Monitor)

Rwanda’s penal code introduces sanction for entities that support genocide

Rwanda has released a new penal code which stipulates that any company or institution will face dissolution if it supports genocide or crimes against humanity by any means. The new code came into force on 30 September 2018. It is the first time that Rwandan law has explicitly held institutions accountable for genocide and crimes against humanity. This development has been welcomed by scholars and the Rwanda Civil Society Platform. The Rwandan Penal Code also imposes superior responsibility for a subordinate who commits war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide. (New Times)

South Sudan Government opposes the creation of hybrid court for civil war crimes

South Sudanese government officials have expressed opposition to the creation of a hybrid war crimes court to try those accused of committing war crimes during South Sudan’s civil war. The hybrid court, as well as compensation and reparations for the victims of crimes committed, are mandated by Chapter Five of the peace agreement which ended the civil war. Government officials report that while obstacles to implementation of the peace agreement are unwelcome, focus should be on bringing sustainable peace to South Sudan by promoting reconciliation, healing and peaceful co-existence while considering matters of accountability later. (VOA news)

Human rights group reports grave human rights violations in Bahrain in July

The Bahrain Forum for Human Rights (BFHR), an independent human rights group, has reported 844 alleged cases of grave human rights violations in Bahrain in July including arbitrary arrests, torture, forced disappearances, imprisonment of political dissidents, and other violations of freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly.  The International Center for Supporting Rights and Freedoms (ICSRF), a member of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, has urged the ruling monarchy to ensure that all Bahraini detention centers treat detainees humanely and observe UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMRs). (Press Tv)

Photo: Screengrabs/NTV Uganda-YouTube

ICL Media Review is an independent UK 'Small Charity' which provides a daily publication on updates and developments in International Criminal Law and Human Rights Law.  Since 2015, ICLMR has partnered with Justice Hub to provide the content for each Friday's edition of ICJ Media Review

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