WEEK 15 2017 ICL MEDIA REVIEW

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Friday, April 14, 2017 - 00:00

By ICL Media Review

Charges filed against Gotovina in Bosnia

According to local media, Bosnian Serb police have filed war crime charges against former Croation General Ante Gotovina for his role in the 1992-95 war. A police spokeswoman in the Bosnian town of Trebinje said that the police filed charges to the state prosecutor’s office against an individual with initials A.G. on suspicion of “committing war crimes against civilians and humanity”, while not explicitly confirming the identity of the reported person. General Gotovina was tried for war crimes by the ICTY in 2008, specifically in the context of Operation Storm, an August 1995 operation that he commanded. Following an initial sentence of 24 years, Gotovina was acquitted of all charges by the Appeals Chamber in 2012. The Trebinje police is now reportedly accusing him of war crimes allegedly committed in 1992 in the western Bosnian region of Livno. (Total Croatia News, Radio Free Europe)

Extension for filing of appeal granted in ICC Contempt case

On 10 April, the ICC Appeals Chamber issued its decision on the extension of time limits for documents in support of the appeals in the Bemba et al. case. The Appeals Chamber was persuaded that good cause had been shown within the meaning of regulation 25(2) of the Regulations of the Court, and thus decided to grant a one-week extension to the time limit for the documents in support of the appeals for Mr Kilolo, Mr. Mangenda, Mr Arido, Mr Babala and Mr Bemba. The new deadline for the submissions is Monday, 24 April 2017. The five were convicted in October 2016 by ICC Trial Chamber VII for ‘offences against the administration of justice’ (violating Article 70 of the Rome Statute), including corruptly influencing witnesses in the Bemba case. (ICC AC Decision)

African Court lobbies Egypt and Tunisia to allow individual direct access 

In the upcoming week, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) will undertake sensitisation visits to Egypt and Tunisia to lobby for direct access of the countries’ nationals to the Court. “For the Court to achieve its objectives and further strengthen African human rights systems, a greater number of countries must ratify the Protocol and make the declaration under Article 34(6),” said AfCHPR President Sylvain Oré while explaining the objective of the visit. The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which establishes the Court, was adopted in June 1998. Under its Article 5(3) provision, a Declaration under Article 34(6) allows for NGOs and individuals to institute cases directly before the Court without having to go through the African Commission first. Since its adoption, only 30 out of 55 member states of the African Union have ratified the Protocol, and only seven state parties to the Protocol have signed an Art. 34(6) Declaration. Tunisia, unlike Egypt, has ratified the Protocol in 2007, but both countries have yet to make a Declaration under Article 34(6). (AllAfrica)

UK Int’l Development Sec says violence in S. Sudan amounts to genocide

According to the International Development Secretary, Priti Patel, the violence in South Sudan has reached the level of genocide. Only last month, a UN report described the situation in South Sudan as “teetering on the edge of genocide”, with ethnic cleansing being perpetrated mostly by government force and their allies. Following her visit to South Sudan, Ms Patel urged foreign leaders to do more to force the country’s government to end what she described as a “scorched earth policy” and an “absolutely abhorrent and inhumane” situation. “It’s tribal, it’s absolutely tribal, so on that basis it’s genocide,” she said, calling upon regional leaders to help lead a national dialogue to bring peace and reconciliation to the country. (The Independent)

UN recognises the 23rd Anniversary of Rwanda Genocide; calls for prevention

Commemorating the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda, United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, said that the only way to honour the memory of the victims is to ensure that such events never happen again. Guterres said that “preventing genocide and other monstrous crimes is a shared responsibility and a core duty of the United Nations”. He called on society to “work together to build a future of dignity, tolerance and human rights for all”. (UN News Centre)

ICC hosts stakeholders, experts for medical ethics in detention seminar

On 6 and 7 April, the International Criminal Court ran a seminar on ‘Medical Ethics Matters in a Detention Environment’. The seminar, which was organised by the ICC Registry and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), saw a diverse group of stakeholders engage in discussions on global ethical standards and policies. (ICC Press Release)

Prosecutors request South Africa referral to UN Security Council over al-Bashir

Last week the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber heard oral arguments from representatives of the Government of South Africa on legal issues regarding South Africa’s decision to allow Sudanese President Bashir to leave South Africa during his visit two years ago, despite its obligations resulting from an ICC warrant against Bashir.  South Africa maintained the position that they did not believe they were under an obligation to arrest al-Bashir during a visit to South Africa two years ago, as under South African law sitting heads of states are granted immunity from prosecution.

The Prosecution at the ICC have requested that South Africa be reported to the Security Council or the Court’s assembly of member states for defying an arrest warrant against Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir. Prosecutors Julian Nicholls has said that “without cooperation from the state parties in the arrest and surrender [of suspects] the court will be unable to carry out its most basic functions”. (Reuters)

UN Secretary General forms task force to combat sexual exploitation and abuse

UN Secretary General, António Guterres, has asked Jane Holl Lute to lead a high-level task force to improve the UN’s approach in tackling sexual exploitation and abuse. In 2016 Lute was appointed, by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as Special Coordinator on improving the Organisation’s response to sexual exploitation and abuse. A new, four-fold UN strategy will aim to focus on the rights and dignity of victims, and on accountability and the end impunity for those guilty of crimes and abuses.  The task force will also reach broadly to external experts and those affected, and raise awareness and sharing best practices. In addition, Guterres has announced plans to appoint a victims’ rights advocate at UN Headquarters, and a trust fund to assist victims has been established. (UN News Centre)

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