Our former General Secretary, Counsel Jean FLAMME PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 30 October 2014 15:56

Has addressed to ICB to inform that “lawyer Jean-Jacques KABONGO MANGENDA, former member of Jean Pierre BEMBA’s team of defense, has been released in October, 21th as a decision of the Preliminary Chamber II of the International Criminal Court, after eleven months of provisory detention” but who remains in prison because the Netherlands, where he has worked as a lawyer for eight years and the United Kingdom, where he lives with his wife and children, have refused to receive him in their territories.

Counsel Jean FLAMME insists that the order of release in the Preliminary Chamber II has become ineffective because lawyer KABONGO MANGENDA continues “in situation of illegal detention”. Our colleague begs us to acquaint all members of BPI of this situation of illegal detention in prison of ICC.

Indigenous Communities Take Chevron to Global Court for 'Crimes Against Humanity' PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 28 October 2014 15:18

Chevron's repeated refusal to clean up its toxic contamination of Ecuador's Amazon rainforest constitutes an "attack" on civilian populations and should be investigated by the International Criminal Court in the Hague, impacted indigenous and farming communities charged this week in a formal complaint (pdf) to the global body.

“In the context of international criminal law, the decisions made by Chevron’s CEO, John Watson, have deliberately maintained—and contributed to—the polluted environment in which the people of the Oriente region of Ecuador live and die every day,” states the complaint, which was submitted to the ICC's Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Thursday on behalf of approximately 80 affected communities, totaling tens of thousands of people.

In 2011, impacted communities won a judgment in an Ecuadorian court against Texaco (acquired by Chevron in 2001) for its toxic waste dumping in the Lago Agrio region in northeastern Ecuador between 1964 and 1992, which created an ongoing environmental and public health crisis, including high cancer rates and reported birth defects among residents. Last year, Ecuador's National Court of Justice upheld the verdict but cut the initial mandated payment from $18 billion to $9.5 billion.

Chevron has repeatedly refused to pay the $9.5 billion ordered by Ecuadorian courts and even took the step of removing most of its assets from Ecuador in an apparent effort to avoid paying. Petitioners slam what they call "multiple collateral attacks against the judgment and the lawyers who represented the affected communities."

After years of legal battles, impacted peoples have not seen any reparations.

“The health conditions imposed on the indigenous and farmer communities that live in the Oriente constitute a serious and sustained attack on the population that has lived there peacefully for centuries,” states the ICC complaint. “The damages, which have been documented and confirmed in countless inspections conducted for the Ecuadorian case, brought various consequences, including water contamination, ground contamination, cancer, forced displacement, extermination of two ethnic groups, and many other disastrous conditions that are described in the annexes to this communication.”

The petition charges that the systemic harm inflicted by Chevron constitutes a "crime against humanity" and therefore is of concern to the international community.

"It is critical that all legal mechanisms be fully utilized to put an end to what is effectively impunity for a major American oil company that is committing human rights crimes against vulnerable populations," said Pablo Fajardo, lead lawyer for the impacted communities.

Mladić Prosecution allowed to reopen its case-in-chief to present evidence from Tomašica mass grave PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 27 October 2014 15:01

The Trial Chamber in the case of Ratko Mladić granted today the Prosecution’s motion to reopen its case to present recently discovered evidence regarding the Tomašica mass grave in the Prijedor municipality, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).

Following this decision, the Prosecution will now be able to tender the evidence of six expert and seven fact witnesses, as well as additional documentary evidence. The time of re-opening will be determined by the Trial Chamber in due course.

The Chamber ruled that the Prosecution was unable to present the Tomašica evidence earlier, taking into account that the grave was discovered in September 2013, at a time when the OTP case-in-chief was ongoing, and also considering the time needed to analyse the grave and compile witness statements and expert reports.

The Judges also found that the fresh evidence was relevant to the case, and had probative value, noting especially the Prosecution submission “that the Material clarifies the organised and large-scale nature of killings in Prijedor, and the VRS’s [Army of Republika Srpska] role therein”.

The Chamber conceded that the re-opening will prolong the trial, but that the delay will not be undue. The Judges considered that the OTP’s motion was filed early in the Defence case, and the Defence will “have ample opportunity to present any evidence in response to the Material as part of its case”.

The Prosecution submitted a motion to the Trial Chamber requesting to reopen its case-in-chief on 26 August 2014. OTP asked to present previously unavailable evidence in relation to a recently discovered mass grave in Tomašica.

The Defence filed its response to the Prosecution’s motion on 9 September 2014. The Defence argued that reopening the case at this stage would prejudice the defence case and that an adjournment would be unavoidable while the defence is in the middle of presenting its case, among other reasons.

Bemba, Kilolo et al. case: ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II grants interim release to four suspects PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 08:51

The 21st October 2014, Judge Cuno Tarfusser, Single Judge of Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC), reviewed motu proprio the detention of the suspects in the case The Prosecutor v. Bemba, Kilolo et al. and ordered the release of Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Fidèle Babala Wandu and Narcisse Arido.

The Chamber found that, since the reasonableness of the duration of the detention has to be balanced inter alia against the statutory penalties applicable to the offences at stake in these proceedings, the release was necessary to avoid that the duration of the pre-trial detention become disproportionate. In this case, in the event of conviction, the Court may impose a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years, or a fine, or both.

The four suspects, Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Fidèle Babala Wandu and Narcisse Arido, will be released, respectively, to Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and France. The suspects shall appear before the Court when requested.

Pre-Trial Chamber II’s decision will be implemented as soon as the ICC Registry finalises all the necessary arrangements. The Office of the Prosecutor may also appeal this decision and request suspensive effect.

Jean-Pierre Bemba, the fifth suspect in this case, will remain in detention in connection with ongoing proceedings in another case before the Court, The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo.

ICC Prosecutor and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights pledge to further strengthen collaboration PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 20 October 2014 14:57

On Wednesday, 15 October 2014, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Mrs. Fatou Bensouda, met with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein in Geneva, Switzerland.

At the meeting, Prosecutor Bensouda congratulated High Commissioner Zeid on his recent appointment as the sixth United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and together they discussed ways to further strengthen collaboration between their respective Offices.  “Fostering respect for human rights and accountability for mass crimes are critical and complementary goals,” said Prosecutor Bensouda. “As with his predecessor, Mrs. Navi Pillay, High Commissioner Zeid is an esteemed champion of human rights and the rule of law.  I look forward to working closely with him and to explore additional avenues for synergies that can be pursued with full respect for our respective independent mandates,” she added.

"The ICC plays an essential role in contributing to accountability for serious human right violations and other international crimes," Commissioner Zeid said. "We see its involvement in certain situations as a vital element not only for the purposes of accountability but also as a disincentive to others to commit such crimes and violations."

The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC conducts independent and impartial investigations and prosecution of the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.  The Office of the Prosecutor is currently conducting eight investigations in Uganda; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, Sudan; Central African Republic; Kenya; Libya; Cote d’Ivoire and Mali. The Office is also conducting preliminary examinations relating to the situations in Afghanistan, Colombia, Georgia Guinea, Honduras, Iraq, Nigeria, Ukraine and the situation referred by the Union of the Comoros.

As the principal United Nations office mandated to promote and protect human rights for all, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) leads global human rights efforts, speaks out objectively in the face of human rights violations worldwide. OHCHR provide a forum for identifying, highlighting and developing responses to today's human rights challenges, and acts as the principal focal point of human rights research, education, public information, and advocacy activities in the United Nations system.

Since Governments have the primary responsibility to protect human rights, the OHCHR provides assistance to Government, such as expertise and technical trainings in the areas of administration of justice, legislative reform, and electoral process, to help implement international human rights standards on the ground.  It also supports National Human Rights institutions and engages with civil society actors.


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