ICL Media Review – Week 44

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Friday, November 4, 2016 - 18:14

By ICL Media Review

In this week's review, news about statements from the ICC President and UN Secretary General on ICC withdrawals, the death of an ICTR convict, Kenya and Sudan, the ICC’s decision on prior recorded testimony, ICC Prosecution’s intercept evidence in the Ongwen case and war crimes charge against Limaj.

ICC President addresses UNGA on the Court’s 2016 record and state participation

On 31st October, ICC President Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi delivered her annual report to the UN General Assembly in which she insisted that state participation in the ICC must be maintained and grown. In light of the recent state withdrawals from the Court, President Fernández took the opportunity to emphasise the need for states to demonstrate their commitment to combating impunity, reminding the General Assembly that “the Court was not created to replace or compete with States. On the contrary, States have the duty and indeed the right to investigate and prosecute these crimes themselves in the first place. The role of the Court it to provide justice only when States fail to do so.”

She also reminded the General Assembly that the ICC had completed an unprecedented amount of activity in 2015-2016, including three judgements issues and two completed trials. A further two trials are currently underway at the Court, reparations are being determined in four additional cases, a new trial is set to begin, and ten situations are under active investigation. Further highlighting the achievements of the ICC to date, President Fernández noted that: “crucially, the creation of the ICC has given a voice to victims, who have the possibility to participate in the Court’s proceedings and to request reparations. The Trust Fund for Victims associated with the Court has already assisted more than 300.000 victims with physical and psychological rehabilitation as well as material support.” (ICC Press Release)

ICTR convict, Kayishema, dies in detention

Former Interhamwe militia member and ICTR-convicted génocidaire, Clément Kayisheme, has died while serving his sentence in a Mali prison. Kayishema was convicted by the ICTR on several counts of genocide and given a life sentence for his involvement in the mass murder of Tutsi individuals during the Rwandan genocide. (Rwanda Eye)

Uhuru Kenyatta

Kenyatta visits Sudan following ICC withdrawals

Kenyan President Kenyatta was in Sudan for a 2-day official visit to discuss bilateral ties between the two countries. The visit follows steps taken by three other African nations to withdraw membership from the ICC Rome Statute; Burundi, South Africa and The Gambia. Regarding the recent withdrawals from the ICC, Sudanese Foreign Minister Kamal Ismail stated that “Kenya is a member of the African Union, which has taken a collective decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court. It’s a question related to Kenya. The question of when Kenya will decide to withdraw is a decision that is up to Kenya”. (Africa NewsHerald)

Bosco Ntaganda

Ntaganda’s ICC Trial Chamber decides on admission of Rule 68 on prior recorded witness testimony

In the case of The Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda regarding the situation in the DRC, the ICC’s Trial Chamber VI has issued a preliminary ruling on the Prosecution’s application to admit certain witness evidence. The decision relates to the Prosecution’s request – under Rule 68(3) of the Rules for Admission of Prior Recorded Testimony of Witness – that the Chamber admits prior recorded testimony of a witness in the Ntaganda case, as well as a single paragraph from a previous statement made by the Witness in 2005 and three photographs referenced therein. For the prior recorded testimony, the Chamber decided that – on the basis that the evidence may significantly enhance the expediency of proceedings and that the Defence does not oppose the admission – the application of Rule 68(3) would in principle be appropriate in this instance, subject to the requirement that the Witness agrees to the introduction of this evidence and attests to its accuracy. For the single paragraph and three associated photographs however, the Chamber decided not to allow their admission under Rule 68(3), on the basis that the paragraph addresses a self-contained issue which would be more appropriately elicited directly from the Witness in Court. This preliminary ruling grants the Prosecution one hour in court to conduct the witness formalities required for the Rule 68(3) admission of the prior recorded testimony take effect. (ICC Trial Chamber decision

ICC Prosecution submits intercept evidence ahead of Ongwen trial

In the ICC case against Dominic Ongwen, the Prosecution submitted interceptions of LRA radio communications and requested it be admitted as evidence. This adds to the Prosecution’s evidence category 1 to 6, respectively comprising of short-hand rough notes of LRA radio communications, their logbooks containing summaries of communications, faxed copies of logbook entries, intelligence reports, sound recordings, and miscellaneous intercept evidence. Evidence category 1- 6 was submitted through a bar table motion in accordance with the Trial Chamber’s Initial Directions on the Conduct of Proceedings. The Prosecution argued that the evidence is “relevant to the issues at trial” and to the Ongwen’s charges, provides “valuable context” and “helps to establish the elements of the modes of liability”. According to the Prosecution, this evidence demonstrates the systematic nature of the sexual and gender-based violence perpetrated by the LRA. The trial against Ongwen is set to begin on 6 December 2016. (Prosecution submissions)

Fatmir Limaj

Kosovo Prosecutor files new charges against Limaj, previously acquitted by ICTY

The Special Prosecution of the Republic of Kosovo filed war crimes charges on Friday, 28 October against former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) commander turned politician, Fatmir Limaj. The Prosecution accuses Limaj, who was the commander of the KLA’s 121st Brigade at the time, of being allegedly responsible for the murder of two civilians in the village of Kravasari in November 1998. According to the indictment, Limaj “did not take reasonable and necessary measures within his power to prevent or halt” the killings in central Kosovo, and “intentionally did not undertake measures to discover the perpetrators of this crime”. Limaj, who was one of the most prominent leaders of the Albanian KLA which fought Slobodan Milosevic’s forces from 1998 to 1999, had also been charged, and later acquitted in 2005, by the UN-backed International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). He publicly denied the charges in a statement on Friday, saying that they mark the “continuation of his persecution”. Limaj is currently leading the main opposition party NISMA (Initiative for Kosovo) and is an MP in the Kosovo Assembly. (Yahoo News, Balkan Insight, Jurist)

First report of Commission of Inquiry on Eritrean crimes presented to UNGA

The first report of the Commission of Inquiry on Eritrean crimes was presented to the UN General Assembly on 28 October 2016 by Sheila Keetharuth, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea. Calling for protection for all Eritrean asylum-seekers, she stated that the report “underscore that it is not safe to forcibly return those who have left Eritrea” highlighting the Commission’s first report showing that almost all individuals forcibly repatriated were subjected to arrest, detention, ill-treatment and torture. Explaining that the Eritrean Government had “neither the political will nor the institutional capacity to prosecute the crimes documented”, she further stated the Commission’s recommendation was that “the UN Security Council refer the situation in Eritrea to the prosecutor of the ICC and that the African Union establish an accountability mechanism”. (UN website)

Ban Ki-moon

Ban Ki-moon concerned over ICC withdrawals, calls for improvement from within

On 28 October, UN Secretary General (UN SG) Ban Ki-moon expressed regret and concern over the announcement of three African countries of their decision to withdraw from the ICC. At a UN Security Council meeting on cooperation between the UN and regional organizations on matters of international peace and security, Ban Ki-moon stated that “I regret these steps, which could send a wrong message on these countries’ commitment to justice”, and that “deterring future atrocities, delivering justice for victims, and defending the rules of war across the globe are far too important priorities to risk a retreat from the age of accountability that we have worked so hard to build and solidify”. Ban also sought to address the concern raised by a number of African countries over the alleged African focus of the Court, stating that any challenge is best addressed not by diminishing support for the ICC, but by strengthening the Court from within. (UN News CentreReutersHRW)

UN Education Envoy implores ICC Prosecution to investigate Idlib, Syria attack

On 27 October, the UN Envoy for Education called for an immediate ICC investigation into the attack on a school compound in Idlib which left at least 20 pupils and teachers dead. “I am calling on the Security Council to immediately agree that the International Criminal Court Prosecutor conduct an investigation into what I believe is a war crime – with the intention that, if proven, the perpetrators will be hunted down and the case against them prosecuted before the [Court],” said UN Envoy Gordon Brown at a press conference at the UN Headquarters. (UN News Centre)

Photos:

  • Uhuru Kenyatta (IJ Monitor.org/Bing)
  • Bosco Ntaganda (plutonianmac.blogspot.com/Bing)
  • Fatmir Limaj (Flickr.com/Bing)
  • Ban Ki-moon (green-blog.org/Bing)

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.

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Anonymous
alexkiganda@gma...Wednesday, November 9, 2016 - 19:55
Anonymous
Nuradin Abdella...

ICC is the hope of poor and innocent people's in the world. They have to come clear if they don't have authority to lockup the mass murderers Africa leaders. Please don't allow the murderers to leave ICC.they are all mass killers bring them to justice . especially the current Ethiopia regime the genociders to justice.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 - 07:03
Anonymous