International Criminal Court (ICC)
IVORY COAST: Ally of Ivory Coast ex-president charged with war crimes.
Charles Blé Goudé, the former Ivory Coast Minister for Sports and Youth and close political ally of ex-president Laurent Gbagbo, was charged Tuesday with war crimes and murder. Goudé has been in hiding since May 2011 when French special forces forced out and captured Gbagbo after his refusal to leave office following his loss to Alassane Ouattara in the December 2010 election. Sanctions were imposed on Goudé by the UN Security Council in 2006 for inciting attacks on UN personnel, and the warrant for Goudé's arrest was issued in July 2011. Goudé was extradited to the Ivory Coast from Ghana last week and is awaiting trial. Last month the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] confirmed its jurisdiction over Gbagbo. (Jurist, 22/01/13)
LIBYA: Muammar Gaddafi's son makes first appearance in Libya court.
The son of Libya's deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi appeared in court in Zintan, Libya, on Thursday. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is accused of transferring information related to Libya's national security to an ICC delegation. He is also accused of insulting Libya's new flag and attempting to escape from prison. Saif al-Islam and Gaddafi's former intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Sennussi, are detained in Libya and accused of crimes agains humanity. Zintan's court has fulfilled the ICC requirements necessary for the proceedings. However, the lawyer for Saif al-Islam told the ICC that her client could not be tried fairly in Libya since the trial would be motivated by a "desire for revenge" and that the ICC would damage its reputation by permitting the trial to commence in Libya. (Jurist, 06, 10, 17/01/13)
MALI: ICC opens investigation into Mali war crimes.
ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that her office has officially launched an investigation into possible war crimes committed in Mali. The decision was based on information gathered through preliminary investigations and used to publish a report on the current situation in Mali. Bensouda claims there is sufficient evidence to believe war crimes including murder, mutilation, torture and rape have been committed in Mali. The investigation with focus primarily on the Northern regions of Mali where much of the violence has taken place. Even though violence is still ongoing, Bensouda emphasized the crucial role justice can play in the reconciliation process. (Jurist, 16/01/13)
PALESTINE: Palestine could denounce Israel before the ICC for settlement growth.
Palestinian officials have announced that that the growth of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank will leave them no choice but to take Israel to the ICC, precisely one of the reasons why the Government of Benjamin Netanyahu opposed the United Nations decision to accept Palestine as "non-member observer State " in November last year. (, 24/01/13)
SYRIA: More than 50 countries urge the UN Security Council to refer Syria to ICC.
More than 50 countries asked the UN Security Council on Monday to refer the situation in Syria to the ICC in view of the Syrian authorities' failure to investigate and prosecute war crimes allegedly committed since March 2011 The letter stated: "Since the situation on the ground has only become more desperate, with attacks on the civilian population and the commission of atrocities having almost become the norm." Due to the fact that Syria is not a party to the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the ICC, the only way to investigate the matter is to receive a referral from the UN Security Council. (Jurist, 15/01/13)
    Ad Hoc International Criminal Tribunals
BANGLADESH: International Criminal Tribunal of Bangladesh rejects retrial plea by Jamaat-e-Islami leader.
The International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh (ICTB) rejected a plea on Monday from Jamaat-e-Islami Assistant Secretary General Abdul Qader Molla for a re-trial. Justice Obaidul Hassan of the ICTB rejected the petition for re-trial and ordered the defense to commence with arguments. The prosecution completed its arguments on December 27. Molla is among several leaders of JI on trial for war crimes charges who have petitioned for a new trial, claiming that the trial procedures have been compromised. (Jurist, 07/01/13)
LIBERIA – SIERRA LEONE: Charles Taylor begins appeal of war crimes convictions.
Former Liberian president Charles Taylor began his appeal in The Hague against his conviction and 50-year sentence for war crimes committed during the civil war in Sierra Leone. Taylor's 42-point appeal states that the the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) made "systematic errors" in evaluating evidence and relied on hearsay testimony of the 94 prosecution witnesses as the basis for its fact-finding. The former leader was sentenced to 50 years in prison in May after he was convicted of war crimes a month earlier. He was accused of planning as well as aiding and abetting crimes committed by rebel forces in exchange for diamonds during the civil war, including acts of terrorism, murder, rape, sexual slavery, conscripting or enlisting children into armed forces, enslavement and pillage. (Jurist, 22/01/13)
    Ordinary Justice and Traditional Justice Systems
BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA: Ex-police officer sentenced to 20 years for role in Srebrenica massacre.
The war crimes court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) sentence a former Bosnian Serb police officer to 20 years in prison for his role in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. Bozidar Kuvelja was found to have been actively involved in a 1995 military search for Bosnian Muslims in the village of Potocari during the Bosnian War. After seizing the victims from their homes, Kuvjela assisted members of his police unit in their transport to a warehouse collection point known as "the White House" where they were detained and subjected to physical abuse. Kuvjela then helped to separate the victims by sex, whereupon he and the others began the systematic execution of more than a thousand Muslim men and boys, ages 7 to 70. The prosecution has announced plans to appeal for a longer sentence in light of the nature of the crimes. (Jurist, 11/01/13)
COLOMBIA: Launching of report with data on crimes confessed by demobilized paramilitary in Colombia.
A report published by the Justice and Peace Unit of Colombia Prosecutor's Office released on January 1 discloses data on crimes confessed by demobilized paramilitaries. According to the report, paramilitaries ('paras') have confessed to a total of 39,546 crimes involving victims 51,906, 1046 massacres, 25,757 murders, 1,618 forced recruitments, 3,551 disappearances, 11,132 forced displacements, 1,168 extortions, 1,916 abductions, 96 rapes, 773 cases of torture and 65 drug trafficking cases. Likewise, the paramilitaries confessed to have had the complicity of 1,124 politicians, 1,023 military, 393 public servants and 10,329 people and demobilized. The report confirms that the so-called Law of Justice and Peace, is actually a cover-up for impunity and the legalization of a paramilitary strategy by the regime, conceived and materialized by the government of Alvaro Uribe Velez, according to data presented in the report. On the other hand, Hernán Giraldo, former paramilitary commander and former FARC leader could be tried for sex crimes committed by their subordinates, on Monday said Colombia's Deputy Prosecutor General. According to the Prosecutor General's Office, the former AUC commander Giraldo could be held responsible for thousands of sexual crimes committed against civilians during his time as commander of the AUC's "Tayrona Resistance Bloc."Giraldo demobilized in 2006 as a part of the Justice and Peace agreement with the Colombian government. He was extradited to the United States in 2008 on charges of drug trafficking. Meanwhile, Karina, a former leader of the FARC's 47th Front who surrendered in 2008, could be put on trial for ordering forced abortions.The Prosecutor General's Office said these and other commanders used sexual violence as an "organized and deliberate weapon of war." With regard to the peace process, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has stated it will follow the talks between the government of Juan Manuel Santos and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), as an observer. Radio Caracol has revealed that the Commission has expressed its desire to become an observer in the peace process and that the Colombian government has accepted. Radio Caracol has also informed that Humberto de la Calle, the government's chief negotiator will meet with the IACHR before travelling again to Havana to inform the Commission about the latest developments.(Colombia Report, 07/01/13 and EuropaPress, 28/01/13, notimundo2, enero 2013)
CHAD – SENEGAL: Former Chad dictator to face war crimes trial in Senegal.
Former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré will stand trial next month for alleged crimes against humanity, Senegal's Justice Minister Aminata Touré confirmed Tuesday. Senegal's national assembly adopted a law in December allowing Senegal to create a special tribunal with the African Union (AU), which has already been offered financial support by Belgium. The trial is expected to start in early February. Habré's accusations include torture, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during his eight-year rule from 1982 to 1990. (Jurist, 17/01/13)
CHILE: Former Chilean military oficials accused of slaying of Víctor Jara.
At least four former military officials were detained in Chile on Wednesday for their alleged role in the slaying of singer-songwriter Víctor Jara during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet (1974-1990). Jara was killed days after the coup that ousted left-leaning President Salvador Allende, and his death became a symbol of the political violence and human rights abuses that ravaged Latin America in the 1970s. Chilean prosecutors have accused two former lieutenants, Hugo Sánchez and Pedro Barrientos, of fatally shooting Jara and named six others as accomplices in the 1973 case. Sanchez was detained on Wednesday after surrendering to police, the judge in the case said. An extradition request will be made for Barrientos, who lives in the United States. On the other hand, six directors of Colonia Dignidad, a well-know torture centre during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, have been sentenced to up to eleven years prison terms for their complicity in of child abuses committed by the nazi center's director, Paul Schäfer. The Chilean Supreme Court has sentenced ten others to terms of probation. Amongst those sentenced to prison terms, one is from Chile and the rest are German. The whereabouts of at least one of accused have been unknown since May 2011, when he escaped to Germany. Villa or Colonia Dignidad was a complex built in the 1950s by German immigrants led by Schäfer. (Reuters, 02/01/13, EuropaPress, 28/01/13)
GUATEMALA: Dictator José Efraín Ríos Montt to be tried for genocide and crimes against humanity.
The priest Mario Orantes Nájera, sentenced in 2001 to 20 years in prison for "complicity in the extrajudicial execution" of Bishop Juan Gerardi, is to be set free this week, under the legal figure of redemption of penalties, which allows the release of prisoners who have served half of their sentence and credited good behaviour. Orantes has reiterated his innocence and said he will talk to the Archbishop of Guatemala, Julio Vian, to be redeployed in a parish. Regarding the firm rejection of Orantes' freedom expressed by the Human Rights Organization of the Archdiocese (ODHA), founded by the late Bishop Gerardi, Orantes said that everyone must respect the law and that the ODHA, who acted as private prosecutor in the trial, "has nothing to say about it." Mario Orantes was Gerardi's assistant in the parish of San Sebastián, where the prelate was beaten to death on April 26, 1998. Two days before his brutal murder, the bishop presented his report Guatemala: Never Again, an unprecedented investigation of the crimes committed during the civil war that bloodied this Central American country between 1960 and 1996. According to the study, which documented 54,000 cases of serious human rights violations, 90% of the crimes were committed by the army and paramilitary groups.Aditionally, a Guatemalan court has ruled that the dictator José Efraín Ríos Montt and his longtime collaborator José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez should respond in a trial for a series of massacres that would amount to genocide and crimes against humanity. Judge Miguel Angel Galvez said there was enough evidence linking the general to the killing of members of the Ixil Maya group to warrant the trial. (, 04/01/13; EuropaPress and BBC, 28/01/13)
EGYPT: Egyptian court accepts retrial of Hosni Mubarak and his interior minister.
The Egyptian Court of Cassation accepts the appeal introduced by former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and orders a retrial in which both the former president and his interior minister, Habib Al-Adly, were sentenced to life imprisonment for the bloody crackdown on protesters that led to the fall of the regime on February 11, 2011. In June 2011 Mubarak and Al-Adly were accused of the death of more than 850 protesters during the revolution. Instead, his two sons, Gamal and Alaa, along with six senior Interior Ministry officials were acquitted. They will all re-appear in court. (, 13/01/13)
ISRAEL – BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA: Israel accepts extradition of Bosnian Serb accused of involvement in Srebrenica massacre.
Israel's Supreme Court has ruled that a Bosnian Serb accused of involvement in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre can be extradited to Bosnia to face war-crimes charges. Aleksandar Cvetkovic, who has been living in Israel since 1996 and holds Israeli citizenship, was arrested last year. In August, a lower court ruled he can be sent back to Bosnia. On November 29, the Supreme Court upheld that ruling. Prosecutors accuse Cvetkovic of being part of a firing squad that executed up to 1,200 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica in July 1995. He said he was just an army driver when Serb forces killed more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys after they overran the town.The Srebrenica massacre was the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II. (RFE/RL, 08/01/13)
NEPAL – UNITED KINGDOM: Nepal army officer charged in UK with torture during 2005 civil war.
A Nepalese army officer was arrested and charged in the UK on Friday with two counts of torture during his country's civil war in 2005. Colonel Kumar Lama, a 46-year-old officer currently serving in the UN mission in Sudan, was arrested at his East Sussex home by Metropolitan Police officers on Thursday. Lama appeared before Westminster Magistrates' Court Saturday. District Judge Quentin Purdy ordered Lama to remain in custody until he appears at the Old Bailey in London on January 24. The charges stem from two separate incidents that allegedly occurred between April and May 2005, in the latter years of the war, at the Gorusinghe Army Barracks in Nepal. Police were permitted to arrest Lama under section 134 of the UK's Criminal Justice Act of 1988, which states that a public official may be arrested and charged with torture for intentionally inflicting severe pain or suffering on another regardless if the act was committed in the UK or elsewhere. Nepalese government officials have already expressed opposition to the arrest, claiming violations of international law and jurisdictional sovereignty. (Jurist, 05/01/13)
RWANDA – FRANCE: Rwanda genocide suspect arrested in France.
Rwandan genocide suspect Innocent Musabyimana was arrested Tuesday in France on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Rwandan officials issued an arrest warrant for Musabyimana in November. Prosecutors in Rwanda have requested that Musabyimana be extradited to Rwanda where he will stand trial for charges of genocide, murder, and rape, in connection to the 1994 Rwandan genocide. French authorities claim to be unaware of how Musabyimana came to France or how long he has been in the country. A French judge is expected to rule on the extradition request by January 30. If the judge grants this request, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault would sign an extradition order to send Musabyimana back to Rwanda to stand trial. On the other hand, pentecostal pastor Jean Uwinkindi, the first person to be transferred to Rwanda by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), has mounted a constitutional challenge before Rwanda's Supreme Court. His defence argues that the law under which he is being prosecuted violates his rights and needs to be changed. The Supreme Court said it will hand down a decision on February 22. Additionally, Rwandan Prosecutor-General Martin Ngoga accuses France of "doing nothing" to bring genocide suspects on its territory to justice, and says Kigali does not rule out legal action against France. "In eighteen years, France has not done anything with regard to the genocide suspects," says Ngoga, "because it is still protecting them." France has launched judicial investigations in several cases, but none has yet been brought to trial. These include the cases of Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka and former mayor Laurent Bucyibaruta which were referred to France by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1997. (Hirondelle News Agency, 22, 23/01/13 and Jurist, 25/01/13)
RWANDA – CANADA: Trial of professor extradited from Canada finally starts in Rwanda.
The trial of Léon Mugesera, former Rwandan politician extradited from Canada a year ago, starts in Rwanda. Charges against him include incitement to commit the genocide of 1994. The linguist and former teacher at the University of Rwanda is charged notably in connection with a speech at a big public rally of his MRND party in November 1992. During the session the judges and the public played the speech in question and laid out the facts supporting the charge of conspiracy to commit genocide. Mugesera has always protested his innocence, saying the Prosecutor has taken his speech out of context. The accused also faces four other charges, including conspiracy to commit genocide. (Hirondelle News Agency, 17/01/13)
MEXICO: The government enacts general law for victims.
The government of Mexico enacts the general law for victims, the result of the social pressure of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, led by poet Javier Sicilia. With the publication of the decree in the Official Journal of the Federation, President Enrique Peña Nieto fulfills the promise made on the first day of his administration, when he offered to unlock this legislation passed unanimously by Congress in April but appealed to the Supreme by the previous government, which considered it unfeasible and illegal. (, 10/01/13)
URUGUAY: Uruguayan government grants financial reparation to victims of military dictatorship.
Uruguay's government grants financial reparation to 277 victims of the military dictatorship that ruled the country between 1973-1985, as reported by the Special Commission in a statement released by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Economic reparation have been given to 148 families of victims killed or 'disappeared', 78 children born in captivity or detained with their parents for more than 180 days, 45 people who suffered serious injuries and to six children who 'disappeared' for more than 30 days. (Europapress, 11/01/13)
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