ICL Media Review - Week 30
By ICL Media Review
In this week's review, news about Bashir’s travels reported to the ICC, complaint filed with OTP on torture in Palestine, notice of appeal in Karadzic case and more.
Bashir’s travels reported to Pre-Trial Chamber
On 27 July, the Registry of the International Criminal Court submitted a report to the Pre-trial Chamber II concerning the travels of individuals for whom a warrant of arrest has been issued by the Court. In its submissions, the registry reported that Mr Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir has travelled to the State of Qatar, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Rwanda, despite two warrants of arrest issued against Bashir. The Registry’s request to Qatar and Rwanda to cooperate with the immediate arrest and surrender of Bashir to the Court were left unanswered. (ICC Registry report)
The defence counsel for former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has filed an appeal, calling for his conviction to be overturned or a new trial granted, alleging a lack of fair trial standards at the ICTY. In March, the ICTY found Karadzic guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity – sentencing him to 40 years imprisonment for his involvement, inter alia, in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. According to Defence Counsel Peter Robinson, the appeal argues that Karadzic “was subjected to a political trial that was simply designed to confirm the demonisation of him and the Bosnian Serb people”, and further that judicial errors “violated the presumption of innocence, created an unmanageable trial and made a fair trial impossible.” The appeal also alleges that the judges at the ICTY exhibited double standards, unfairly favouring the prosecution’s requests. A concurrent appeal will be filed by the prosecution, on the grounds that Karadzic should be convicted for seven additional counts of genocide in other Bosnian municipalities (counts which he was acquitted of in March), and that he should be sentenced to life imprisonment. The Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals will rule on both appeals. (DW, Balkan Insight, Thomson Reuters)
Newly elected officials of the ICCBA meet with ICC president, prosecutor and registrar
Three officials from the newly-constituted International Criminal Court Bar Association (ICCBA) have completed their first official visit to the ICC president, prosecutor and registrar. The ICCBA is an independent association separate from the ICC. It will act as a bar association for counsel eligible to practice before the ICC, thereby reinforcing the notion of equality of arms (and counsel independence) at the Court. David Hooper QC (ICCBA President), Ghislain Mabanga, (Vice President, ICCBA Victims) and Charles Taku, (Vice President, ICCBA Defence) were welcomed at the ICC, where President Fernández de Gurmendi noted the importance of an independent body to give voice to counsel, and Prosecutor Bensouda emphasised the role of a peer-led association in reinforcing high professional standards. The ICCBA’s President Hooper stated that “We have been greatly encouraged in our meetings with the president, prosecutor and registrar and by their clear recognition of the positive role we can play in the future development of the ICC. The ICC has been all the poorer in not having had an association to provide an independent and effective voice for defence and victims counsel. I am sure that now we have such an association we can and will step up to play our part.” (ICC Press Release)
NGOs file complaint with ICC over torture by Palestinian security services
The International Forum for Democracy and Human Rights (IFDHR) and the Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHRUK) have filed a complaint with the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor under Article 15 of the Rome Statute. The complaint sets out allegations of systematic torture of detainees by the Palestinian security services operating in the West Bank: the General Intelligence Services, the Preventative Security Force and each of the other six security agencies (employing about 70,000 security personnel) of the Palestinian Authority. They are alleged to have engaged in methods including daily beatings, electrocution, and threats of sexual violence. The Preventative Security Force alone is accused of using torture on 949 separate occasions. The AOHRUK has stated that “it has become clear that the use of torture is so widespread within detention facilities that it can only be part of a systematic and widespread attack upon the fundamental liberties of Palestinian citizens”, thereby constituting a “crime against humanity”. The OTP will next proceed to examine the complaint. (Middle East Monitor)
Company managing Australian off-shore refugee camp advised of liability for CAH
Spanish corporation Ferrovial has been warned by experts at Stanford Law School that its individual directors and employees risk prosecution for crimes against humanity under the ICC Statute because of the company’s management of Australia’s immigration detention camps on Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. The legal warning follows a recent report by advocacy group NBIA and Melbourne’s Human Rights Law Centre, indicating that 22 European and North American banks and 6 investment funds – through their financial backing of Ferrovial – have been complicit in Australia’s human rights abuses. Australia’s immigration detention regime has previously been held, by multiple UN bodies, to be in contravention of international law. Many detainees have been in the Manus and Nauru centres for almost three years. At least 29 cases of rape and sexual violence have been reported, and the former chief psychiatrist of the detention centres has described them as “inherently toxic.” (The Guardian)
The ICL Media Review is an independent UK Small Charity, which aims to provide a daily survey of news and developments affecting international criminal law and international human rights in a neutral and impartial manner.