ICL Media Review - Week 45
In this week's review, news about the ICC and the Libya situation, Bemba’s Notice of Appeal against Article 70 judgment, Article 70 in the Ntaganda case, the EU’s war crimes report on the Balkans and more.
ICC Prosecutor tells UNSC about making Libya situation a priority
On 9 November 2016, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda addressed the UN Security Council on the Situation on Libya before the court, including on the cases against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi. Bensouda’s annual address, since the situation was referred to the ICC by the Security Council under Resolution 1970, noted that the Prosecution will make the Libya Situation a priority in 2017 due to the “widespread violence, lawlessness and impunity in the country and the tragic consequences of the conflict borne by civilians”. She also noted that the Security Council’s referral gave the Court jurisdiction over crimes committed after 15 February 2011.
With regards to the case against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, the Prosecutor addressed reports that Gaddafi had been released from detention in Zintan on a grant of amnesty and stated that sources including the Libyan Prosecutor-General’s office have stated that the this position is incorrect. Gaddafi’s ICC case was declared admissible after Libya initiated an admissibility challenge and the Court ordered Libya to transfer Gaddafi to the Court. The Prosecutor also addressed the litigation against Abdullah Al-Senussi, whose ICC case was found to be inadmissible. Bensouda stated that her office is waiting for a report from the UN Support Mission in Libya regarding the proceedings in Al-Senussi domestic trial in which he received the death penalty, but stated that no new evidence had arisen to re-examine the Pre-Trial Chamber’s decision on the admissibility of the case at the ICC. (UN News Centre, ICC Press Release)
Bemba files Notice of Appeal against Article 70 Judgment
On 7 November, Bemba’s Defence filed a Notice of Appeal against his conviction on the Article 70 case contempt case. The Notice of Appeal states that the timing of the appeal is affected by the Registry’s notification to the Defence on funding issues and explains that the Registry’s position impacts both the time and resources available to the Defence to prepare its appellate arguments and its submissions. On 22 October 2016, Trial Chamber VII rendered its judgment in the Article 70 contempt cases against Bemba and his former Defence team and political allies. It decided that the accused were responsible for soliciting the false testimony of witnesses and/or guilty of aiding and abetting their false testimony. The Chamber further decided that Mr. Bemba would remain in detention. (Bemba Defence filing)
Prosecution discloses evidence of possible Article 70 contempt in Ntaganda case
On 7 November, the ICC Prosecution filed a Communication of the Disclosure of Evidence obtained pursuant to Article 70 in the case against Bosco Ntaganda. In this document, the Prosecution stated that it has documents (ICC Detention Centre non-privileged contact, visitors logs, and recordings of non-privileged phone conversations from 22 March 2013 onwards) which reveal the accused’s involvement in “a broad scheme to pervert the course of justice, including by coaching potential Defence witnesses, obstructing Prosecution investigations and interfering with Prosecution witnesses”. The Prosecution, assessing these communications as “material to the Defence’s preparation of the case” and intending to “rely on these communications”, chose to disclose “all records and recordings of Ntaganda’s and Lubanga’s non-privileged communications from 22 March 2013 onwards” to the Defence. The Prosecution stated that it will file a separate request about the appropriate measures to be taken to ensure the integrity of the proceedings. (ICC Prosecution Submission)
EU Annual report on efforts of Balkan States to address war crimes
On 9 November, the European Union issued an annual progress report on the work done to address crimes committed in the Balkan States, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo. The report found that all three States required improvement on their commitments to addressing crimes committed during the war. The report noted that Serbia must do more to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia including cooperating with extradition requests from the Tribunal. With regards to Kosovo, the report noted that local war crimes prosecutors and police are under resourced and funded. Also, there was a backlog of war crimes cases in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The report highlighted the large number of cases associated with crimes committed during the war, namely over 6900 cases which needed to be addressed by the domestic jurisdictions. (Balkan Insight)
ICTY Prosecutor comments on Croatia’s statements on ‘selective justice’
ICTY Prosecutor Serge Brammertz has stated that the recent arrest of former members of Croatian forces during the 1990s war in Bosnia and Herzegovina was not “selective justice”, as alleged by Croatian politicians. Brammertz stated that the politicians’ statements may give an impression of “undue political influence”, and called for the respect and the protection of both the independence of prosecutors and the judiciary. He noted that charges and indictments were filed by the Office of Prosecutor of Bosnia and Herzegovina “regardless of the nationality of victims or perpetrators” and “based only on the strength of evidence”. Brammertz added that the ICTY Prosecution Office will keep on monitoring and reporting on this case. He called for a significant improvement of regional cooperation in relation to war crimes in order to reach European standards. (Total Croatia News)
- Fatou Bensouda (brightsblog.wordpress.com/Bing)
- Jean-Pierre Bemba (ICC-CPI/Michael Kooren/Flickr)
- Serge Brammertz (en.wikipedia.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.