Week 14 2017 ICL Media Review

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Friday, April 7, 2017 - 12:00


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In this week's review, South Africa appears before the ICC, the UN investigation into the Syria chemical attack, arguments around Bosnian Serb general’s request for provisional release, and more

South Africa appears before ICC over Bashir visit

Legal representatives from the Government of South Africa appear before the ICC in a hearing on April 7, in which the Government has been asked to explain its actions during a visit from ICC-indicted Sudanese President Al-Bashir.  Following the hearing the Chamber will decide whether South Africa’s obligations to the ICC to arrest President Al-Bashir were violated and if the ICC will refer South Africa’s actions to the UN Security Council.  South Africa has argued that it did not arrest the Sudanese President while he was in South Africa attending an African Union summit in June 2015 because he had head of state immunity. (Independent)

UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria investigating recent chemical weapon attack

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria said that it is looking into the alleged chemical weapons attack that occurred in the northwestern province of Idlib last week, and the ensuing attack on the medical facility where people were being treated. The attack is believed to have led to the death of more than 80 people, 27 of whom were children. In a statement condemning the attack, the UN Commission underscored that the use of chemical weapons and deliberate targeting of medical facilities “would amount to war crimes and serious violations of human rights law”. (Reuters)

ICTY Prosecution opposes Mladic request for medical related provisional release

In a filing issued last week, the Prosecution team in the Ratko Mladic case at the ICTY opposed the Defence’s request to have the former Bosnian Serb general released for medical treatment in Russia. The Defence filed the motion for Mladic’s provisional release two weeks ago, arguing that the defendant’s health condition was seriously deteriorating following a short hospitalization for an undisclosed medical issue in March. In its filing, the Prosecution objected to the request noting that The Hague is already offering Mladic the best possible medical treatment and that the motion for his provisional release should hence be denied. “[Mladic’s] long history as a fugitive from justice and the severity of the charges against him demonstrate the risk he would abscond prior to judgment,” reads the Prosecution’s filing. The Prosecution also said that the defendant himself acknowledged that the medical treatment that he received in The Hague following his arrest saved his life. Mladic, 74, has been on trial at ICTY since 2011 and is facing 11 charges, including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.. (Business Insider)

Ntaganda TC issues guidance on Contacts Protocol with dual witnesses as Prosecution closes case

On 4 April, ICC Trial Chamber VI, in the case of The Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda, issued its ‘Decision on the Defence request regarding the application of certain protocols’. The latter sought to provide guidance specifically on the application of the Contacts Protocol and the Protocol on dual status witnesses following a request from the Defence. On 27 March, Mr. Ntaganda’s Defence had requested clarification on the application of the Contacts Protocol to potential meetings between the Defence and certain individuals who, ‘despite being on the Prosecution’s list of witnesses, have not and will not testify as Prosecution witnesses’. Following the Prosecution’s filing of the notice of the end of its case-in-chief, the Chamber issued its guidance on the matter noting that, given that the Prosecution had clearly indicated that it did not intend to rely on certain individuals that appeared on its list of witnesses, the provision of the Contact Protocol no longer applied and said individuals could hence be contacted by the Defence and consent to such a meeting without first seeking the views of the Prosecution. With respect to dual status individuals, or those who appear on the Prosecution’s list of witnesses and are also victims represented by the Legal Representative for Victims, the Chamber echoed the LRV’s submission by noting that the ‘Protocol on dual status witnesses’ continues to apply regardless of the fact that the Prosecution will not longer rely on their testimony. As a result, whenever the Defence wishes to contact an individual with dual status, it should notify the LRV of its intention as soon as possible. (ICC Trial Chamber Decision)

Prosecutor says certain crimes in DRC within ICC jurisdiction

On 4 April, the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC issued a statement addressing the recent escalation of violence in the Kasaï provinces of DRC. “There have been reports of violence between local militias and Congolese forces, the killing of many civilians and non-civilians, kidnappings and summary executions of persons, including of United Nations experts on mission and their accompanying persons,” said ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in the statement. “Such acts could constitute crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC,” added Bensouda, reminding all parties involved that the Court has opened an investigation in DRC in 2004 and that the situation in the Kasaï province is being closely monitored. Calling upon all parties to refrain from resorting to violence, Bensouda urged the DRC authorities to conduct genuine investigations into the matter and bring perpetrators to justice. “I shall not hesitate to take action if acts constituting crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC are committed and to take all necessary measures to prosecute those responsible in accordance with the principle of complementarity,” concluded Bensouda. (ICC OTP Statement, NY Times)

UN Commissioner suggests Jordan broke treaty obligations as al-Bashir host

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein has said that Jordan broke its treaty obligations under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court by receiving Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Bashir in 2009 and 2010. (Reuters)

UN Yemen Envoy asks Security Council to pursue peace plan

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, has urged the Security Council to put pressure on the parties involved in the conflict in Yemen to constructively discuss the peace process framework. The framework, which was presented to the parties by the Special Envoy, includes a set of political and security measures designed to end the conflict and aid the creation of a transitional government. (UN News Centre)

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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