International Criminal Bar

Justice has no Borders

We attach the interview with Jordi Palou-Loverdos, a member of BPI-ICB ICB published in the Diari Ara.

Jordi Palou-Loverdos: "The UN has sought to judge and condemn the losers"

Defense lawyer for eight Spanish families victims of violence in Rwanda.

Barcelona lawyer Jordi Palou-Loverdos trying for years to families victims killed in the savage violence Rwandan find and receive justice, but as crimes committed in 1997 and 2000 have had no place in the jurisdiction of International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and legislative change in Spain makes it difficult moment can prosecute those responsible, quoting the principles of international justice.

ICTY and MICT President Theodor Meron today offered his congratulations to the ICTY’s sister tribunal, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), on the 20th anniversary of its creation.

In congratulating the ICTR, President Meron said, “the creation of the ICTR on 8 November 1994, along with the creation of the ICTY a year earlier, started a true revolution in international humanitarian law by ending impunity for serious international crimes. Even though the ICTR and the ICTY were established as ad hoc tribunals with limited geographical jurisdiction, the creation of these institutions in the early 1990s marked the beginning of a new era in international law, as well as international affairs.”

Established by the Security Council in 1994, the ICTR prosecutes individuals responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of Rwanda and neighbouring States, between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 1994. Those atrocities left a reported one million people dead.

President Meron underlined that “the ICTY and ICTR share a common goal, to ensure accountability for the most heinous crimes ever committed, and the vast wealth of their combined jurisprudence has proven tremendously helpful in the adjudication of cases before the tribunals”.

In addition to being the first Tribunal to ever deliver a conviction for genocide and to recognise rape as a means of perpetrating genocide, the ICTR became the first international tribunal to hold representatives of the media responsible for inciting the perpetration of genocidal acts.

Since its inception 20 years ago, the ICTR has indicted 93 individuals and has sentenced 61 of these individuals for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

On the occasion of a ceremony commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Genocide in Rwanda, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon said on Thursday that the UN had made important lessons from the failure of the international community to respond to the genocide in 1994.
"We always remember the 800,000 innocents who were brutally murdered", Ban said at the opening in New York of the event entitled "Kwibuka 20" with the slogan "Remembrance, Unity, Renewal". Genocide in Rwanda was a historic failure of the community international, who has not responded to the crimes committed.
The Secretary General stressed that the UN has taken a number of lessons from this failure and improved responsiveness since.
"States Member have adopted the responsibility to protect. We have established the Office of the Special Adviser to the United Nations on the Prevention of Genocide" he said. "We have strengthened our capacity for mediation and preventive diplomacy. We have also initiated new efforts to protect civilians on the ground, including the recent political "open" in southern Sudan."
Ban Ki-Moon also highlighted the activities of the International Criminal Court, international tribunals and national courts. "The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, with the cooperation of Rwanda and other states, continues to prosecute people for their alleged role in the genocide", he said.
Ban Ki-Moon urged the people and Government of Rwanda to continue to promote the openness needed for healing and reconciliation and deepen respect for human rights.
However, the Secretary General felt that more needed to be done to fully integrate and apply the lessons learned from the failure of the international community in Rwanda.
He cited the collective inability to prevent atrocities in Syria over the past three years.

With nine men linked to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda still on the run, the Prosecutor who would help to try them is today urging Member States to cooperate with the United Nations war crimes tribunal and its successor body to track down and arrest the fugitives.
At a press conference at the UN Headquarters in New York, Justice Hassan Bubacar Jallow, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunal reiterated the UN’s call on Member States “to live up to their obligations to cooperate with the [residual mechanism], and the tracking and the arrest of these fugitives.”

Today, the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia acquitted of the 9 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity attributed to him by the events in the Balkan War.

The sentence, with their respective acquittal comes 13 years after they surrender voluntarily and to grant him permission to return to Belgrade for treatment for an illness.

According to the judges, the prosecution has failed to prove the relationship between the crimes committed, and the speeches of Mr. Seselj. In actual words, he was not the ideologue of ethnic cleansing, in fact, his speeches are harangues words, in any case isn't considered a call to murder.

 

Today’s guilty verdict handed down by a UN Court in The Hague against former Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadžić for genocide and other crimes under international law marks a major step towards justice for victims of the armed conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) found Karadžić guilty on one count of genocide, five counts of crimes against humanity and four counts of war crimes for his role in the armed conflict, both for his individual responsibility and as part of a joint criminal enterprise.

He was sentenced to 40 years’ imprisonment. His lawyers have said they will appeal.

The Court convicted Karadžić of genocide in relation to the massacre in Srebrenica, where more than 7,000 Bosnian men and boys were killed. It also found him responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes including the torture, rape and killing in detention of thousands, perpetrated with the intent to systematically remove the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat populations in territories claimed by Bosnian Serbs.

The court found that his role in the siege of Sarajevo was so instrumental that without his support it would not have occurred. It held that the whole population of Sarajevo was terrorized and lived in extreme fear, facing indiscriminate attacks between 1992 and 1995.

He was acquitted of one count of genocide in relation to crimes committed against both Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats in seven municipalities in 1992.

Karadžić held several of the highest positions in the Bosnian-Serb leadership during the three-year war in which his forces were pitted against Bosnian-Muslim and Bosnian-Croat forces, commanding operations against both military forces and the civilian population.

While the death toll from the Bosnian War stands at 100,000, including some 38,000 civilian victims, fewer than 1,000 war crimes cases have been investigated and prosecuted at the state level.

The fate of thousands has still not been revealed. Amnesty International urges authorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina to commit truly to resolving the 8,000 outstanding cases of enforced disappearances from the war, and to provide access to truth, justice and reparation for the families.

Since it was established in 1993, the ICTY has indicted 161 persons for crimes under international law committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. Proceedings have been concluded in the cases of 149 accused, including seven individuals convicted of genocide at Srebrenica. There are still ongoing cases against 12 individuals, including a genocide case against former Bosnian-Serb military leader Ratko Mladić.

 

The Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) reported today that it will release the verdict in the trial that followed against former Bosnian-Serbian leader Radovan Karadzic for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide during the war of Bosnia (1992-1995).

The Appeals Chamber issued its Judgement in the Popović et al. case, concerning five senior Bosnian Serbian military officials for crimes perpetrated by Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995, following the takeover of the protected areas of Srebrenica and Žepa.

The final convictions for the five Appellants stand as follows.

The Special Court for Sierra Leone was set up jointly by the Government of Sierra Leone and the United Nations. It is mandated to try those who bear the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law committed in the territory of Sierra Leone since 30 November 1996.

Thirteen indictments were issued by the Prosecutor in 2003. Two of those indictments were subsequently withdrawn in December 2003 due to the deaths of the accused.

The trials of three former leaders of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), of two members of the Civil Defence Forces (CDF) and of three former leaders of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) have been completed, including appeals. The trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor is in the Defence phase at The Hague.

As tribunal closes, UN chief hails achievements in ensuring accountability in Sierra Leone.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has congratulated the staff of the United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), which closes today, on their important achievements over the past 11 years in ensuring accountability for crimes committed during the country’s decade-long civil war.
The SCSL, an independent tribunal set up jointly by the Government of Sierra Leone and the UN, is mandated to try those who bear the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law committed in the country since 1996.
Based in the capital city of Freetown, the Special Court carried out numerous trials since its establishment in 2002, including those of various leaders in the country as well as of former Liberian President Charles Taylor. The trials saw first-ever convictions for attacks against UN peacekeepers, forced marriage as a crime against humanity, and for the use of child soldiers.

Oral Hearings Conclude in Taylor Appeal, Judges Will Now Retire to Deliberate and Consider Judgement.

Lawyers for the Prosecution and Defence made their final arguments before the Appeals Chamber this week in the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor. The five Judges and one Alternate Judge heard Appeal Submissions from the parties on Tuesday, and their Responses and Replies on Wednesday.

On 26 April 2012, the Trial Chamber found Mr. Taylor guilty on all 11 counts of the indictment, finding that he had participated in the planning of crimes, and of aiding and abetting crimes, committed by rebel forces in Sierra Leone. On 30 May 2012, the Trial Chamber sentenced him to a prison term of 50 years.

The Defence has presented 42 grounds of appeal, arguing that the Trial Chamber made systematic errors in the evaluation of evidence and in the application of law sufficiently serious to “reverse all findings of guilt entered against him” and to vacate the judgement. The Defence brief also questioned the fairness of the trial and the judicial process itself, and challenged the 50 year sentence imposed by the Chamber as being “manifestly unreasonable.”

The Prosecution has also appealed the judgement on four grounds, arguing that Mr. Taylor should have been found guilty of other modes of liability, and that he should have received a significantly longer sentence.

For the oral arguments, the Appeals Chamber asked both the Prosecution and the Defence to address six questions (set forth in full below), looking at the application of international law to modes of liability, the extent to whether uncorroborated hearsay evidence may be relied upon in determining findings of fact, and how existing jurisprudence relating to adjudicated facts should be applied to a Defence motion to admit adjudicated facts after the Prosecution had closed their case.

Both parties expressed appreciation for the opportunity to address “these important legal questions”.

Four persons convicted last month of contempt for interfering with the administration of justice at the Special Court were sentenced today to terms of imprisonment ranging from 18 months to two years.

Ibrahim Bazzy Kamara and Santigie Borbor Kanu (aka “Five-Five”), who were each convicted on two

counts of interfering with the administration of justice, were sentenced to prison sentences of two years on each count. Justice Teresa Doherty reduced their sentences by two weeks in consideration of their changed conditions of detention during the trial. The contempt convictions will be served concurrently, meaning they will each serve a total of one year and fifty weeks, in addition to the sentences they are currently serving at Mpanga Prison in Rwanda on convictions for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Kamara was convicted on September 25 for attempting to induce a witness to recant (to state that he testified falsely) testimony given before the Special Court, and for disclosing the identity of a protected witness. Kanu was convicted of offering a bribe to a witness, and for otherwise attempting to induce a witness to recant testimony given in Special Court proceedings.

Hassan Papa Bangura (aka “Bomblast) was sentenced to two 18-month prison terms for his convictions on two counts of offering a bribe to a witness, and of otherwise attempting to induce a witness to recant testimony given before the court. The two sentences will run concurrently. He will receive credit for the time he spent in detention during his trial.

Samuel Kargbo (aka “Sammy Ragga”) received two 18-month suspended sentences, meaning that he will serve no jail time as long as he remains of good behaviour for the next two years. Kargbo pleaded guilty at his initial appearance in July 2011 to offering a bribe to a witness and of otherwise attempting to induce a witness to recant his testimony. He subsequently testified for the prosecution.

During the four-month trial, the court held proceedings at the SCSL courthouse in Freetown and in an ICTR courtroom in Kigali, Rwanda. Bangura and Kargbo participated in their trial in Freetown, and Kamara and Kanu participated in Rwanda. The two courtrooms were connected by VTC video link.

Under the Special Court Rules which were in effect at the time the offences were committed, the court could have imposed a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment, a fine of two million leones (approximately $500), or both.

STL Contempt Judge sets date for start of trial in the contempt case against Al Jadeed S.A.L. and Ms Karma Al Khayat (14-05)

Fifteen NGO representatives from Lebanon have completed training on monitoring international criminal proceedings, with a three-day study visit to The Netherlands.

The aim of the training was to provide Lebanese NGOs with the necessary information and skills to effectively monitor international criminal proceedings, especially those before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

The Contempt Judge Nicola Lettieri issued an order scheduling a status conference in the case against Akhbar Beirut S.A.L. and Ibrahim Mohamed Ali Al Amin for Friday 12 September 2014.

In his order, Judge Lettieri invited Mr Al Amin to participate in the status conference, which will start at 3 PM (CET).

The hearing will cover the following items:

Issues related to counsel's representation of the Accused;

The state of the pre-trial proceedings;

Any other matter of relevance that the Parties wish to discuss.

The scheduling order follows a decision by a panel of judges dismissing Mr Al Amin's request to disqualify Judge Lettieri from hearing the case.

As with all public hearings, members of the media and public are invited to attend the proceedings.

A hearing for the issuance of a decision on jurisdiction in the contempt case against New TV S.A.L and Ms Karma Mohamed Tahsin Al Khayat (case no. STL-14-05) has been scheduled for Thursday 24 July. In this hearing Judge Nicola Lettieri will issue a decision on the jurisdiction of the Tribunal to hear cases of contempt with respect to legal persons.
The Defence motion challenging such jurisdiction was filed on 16 June 2014. By the same date, 18 amicus briefs related to jurisdiction were submitted by individuals and organisations in Lebanon and elsewhere.
In the scheduling order, the Contempt Judge stressed that the legal issues raised are important for the Tribunal and the Lebanese public. The Judge will read a summary of the decision and provide the written full version of the ruling during an open hearing starting at 3:00 PM (CET).

An international judge announced his resignation from the U.N.-backed war crimes trials in Cambodia on Tuesday, the fourth to quit so far and another blow for the troubled tribunal probing the atrocities of the 1970s Khmer Rouge regime.

Mark Harmon, from the United States, said in a statement his reasons for stepping down after three years in Phnom Penh were "strictly personal" and "with considerable regret". He did not elaborate.

Several of Harmon's predecessors at the hybrid United Nations-Cambodian court have alleged political interference and a lack of cooperation by Cambodia's government, which contains remnants of the Khmer Rouge regime.

Prime Minister Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge soldier, has warned more trials could cause anarchy and a return to civil war. He has promised to thwart new indictments and once said he would be happy if the U.N. packed up and left.

The decade-old tribunal has so far delivered verdicts involving three high-profile leaders from the 1975-1979 "killing fields" era. Attempts to pursue more cases have been met by strong government resistance.

Cambodian police have refused to act on an arrest warrant Harmon has issued for Meas Muth, a former navy chief alleged to have sent detainees to a torture center where some 14,000 people died.

Court spokesman Lars Olsen said Harmon's resignation was unrelated to any development in cases he was working on. Harmon would continue his role until his replacement was sworn in.

The Trial Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) has denied a request from the Co-Prosecutors to appoint an amicus curiae counsel on a temporary basis, and has ordered the Defence Support Section to appoint one international and one national Court Appointed Standby Counsel for Khieu Samphan.

The Trial Chamber took this action as a result of its finding that the conduct of KHIEU Samphan and his Defence counsel over the last two months, including the failure to appear in court, obstructed proceedings. The Chamber has taken this action with a view to preventing such obstruction from occurring again.

Media reports indicate that questions have arisen at recent court outreach events concerning whether there will be more cases at the ECCC after Cases 003 and 004. The International Co-Prosecutor, Nicholas Koumjian, reiterates that the consistent policy of his office remains as first announced by his predecessor on 8 September 2009: no further cases will be submitted to the Co-Investigating Judges. The focus of the International Co-Prosecutor and his staff remains squarely on completing the cases currently on appeal, at trial and under investigation fairly and expeditiously, so that justice can be done and seen to be done and a fuller measure of accountability achieved for the crimes committed during the period of Democratic Kampuchea.

The Trial Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) has adjourned trial hearings in Case 002/02 until 09:00 on 8 January 2015. The adjournment is a consequence of the continued refusal of counsel for Khieu Samphan to participate in the proceedings in Case 002/02 before 29 December 2014, when the brief on Khieu Samphan’s appeal in Case 002/01 is due.

Before adjourning, the Chamber noted that its primary responsibility is to commence and conduct the trial in Case 002/02 in a fair and expeditious manner for the interests of justice to prevail. The Chamber noted that none of its concessions, including a reduction in trial days from three days a week to two days a week, have succeeded in bringing the counsel for Khieu Samphan back into the courtroom.

Coalition for the International Criminal Court

4Th International Meeting Of Defence Offices

25 & 26 November 2016 London, United Kingdom

SUMMARY REPORT

 

Defence Office of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Dear Madam, Sir,

The Defence Office of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon thank you again for your participation in the Fourth International Meetings of Defence Offices which were held in London, on 25th and 26th of November 2016.

Please find attached the Summary report of the Meetings in French, English and Arabic. 

You will also find attached the questionnaire on Defence Investigations, which we thank you for completing in the language of your choice, and sending back to us, if you have not already done so. As Johann said during the Meetings,your answers will be very useful in that they will illustrate the Guide to Investigations with concrete examples from you experience.

Thank you again for your participation and we hope to see you again in Nuremberg for the Fifth Meetings in 2017.

Kind regards,