International Criminal Court (ICC)
CÔTE D'IVOIRE: Ex-president Gbagbo appears before ICC.
Former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo appeared before the ICC on Tuesday to determine whether the case against him will proceed to trial. Gbagbo's lawyers urged the court to rule that the ICC does not have jurisdiction, and that Gbagbo should be tried by the Ivory Coast authorities currently conducting their own investigation. Gbagbo has been accused of crimes against humanity. Currently scheduled to testify late next week, Gbagbo will be asked to speak to his involvement in the post-2010 election civil war that resulted in the death of approximately 3,000 people. Gbagbo is the first former head of state to be tried by the ICC. Human rights groups reminded ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda that Gbagbo is not the only suspect in crimes committed in his country. (Jurist, 19/02/13 and Hirondelle News, 20/02/13)
DR CONGO: Bemba trial to resume Monday with protected defence witness.
The trial of Congolese senator and former vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba is due to resume Monday with the testimony of a protected witness for the defence. Bemba is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes for abuses committed by his troops in the Central African Republic (CAR) in 2002 and 2003. Bemba's Mouvement for the Liberation of the Congo (MLC) party, now one of the most important opposition parties in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was at that time one of the main politico-military movements in the country. MLC fighters had been sent to the aid of the CAR president of the time, Ange-Félix Patassé, who was fighting a rebellion led by the current CAR president François Bozizé. (Hirondelle News, 21/02/13)
DR CONGO – HOLLAND: Ngudjolo is asylum seeker in Amsterdam, says lawyer.
Former Congolese militiaman Mathieu Ngudjolo is currently "held in an asylum seekers' hostel" in the Netherlands, according to one of his lawyers, Jean-Pierre Kilenda. Ngudjolo was acquitted on December 18, for lack of evidence of his criminal responsibility for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during a February 2003 attack on a village in Ituri, in DR Congo. He came out of jail three days later, after the Court rejected a prosecutor's request to keep him in the ICC prison in The Hague until appeals procedures were completed. According to Kilenda, Ngudjolo was arrested by the Dutch police as he came out of jail because he did not have a residence permit. The authorities were going to expel him, but he argued he faced a risk of persecution in DR Congo, and so he put in a request for asylum which is currently being processed. (Hirondelle News, 07/02/13)
KENYA: Kenya presidential candidate asks ICC to postpone trial.
The four Kenyans indicted by the ICC are called to appear before the Court for a preliminary conference pending the start of their trials in April, according to judicial sources. Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and MP William Ruto, who are running on a joint ticket for presidential elections in March, are indicted for crimes against humanity for their alleged role in 2007-2008 electoral violence. Also indicted with them are former Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura and journalist Joshua Sang. The trial of Ruto and Sang is due to start on April 10, while the trial of Kenyatta and Muthaura is set to start on April 11. The four have so far remained free and have appeared voluntarily before the ICC. The Court's Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has threatened to have them arrested if they incite violence during the campaign, and said the election will not affect the judicial process. A Kenyan court has given Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta a green light to run in presidential elections next month, despite being indicted by the ICC. Uhuru has formed an electoral alliance with MP William Ruto, who is also indicted by the ICC. Ruto is running as his deputy. (Hirondelle News, 08/02/13 and Jurist, 14/02/13 and AllAfrica, 27/02/13)
LIBYA: The ICC is seeking extradition of former intelligence chief Muammar Gaddafi.
The ICC has called on Tripoli to extradite Abdullah Senussi, former intelligence chief officer of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Charged with crimes against humanity by the Court, Senussi's lawyers have asked ICC judges to summon him as they fear he may not get a fair trial in Libya. The ICC had already ordered his arrest in 2011, for his role in violence against civilians during the revolt that overthrew the Libyan regime. Senussi fled to Mauritania, but was returned to Libya in 2012, where he awaits the start of the proceedings against him. The charges against the former head of Libyan intelligence are similar to those faced by Saif al-Islam, Gaddafi's son: persecution and murder of the insurgents, rape and corruption. The dictator's favourite son, according to the Court, was in fact a prime minister who gave the orders which were then carried out by Senusi. According to humanitarian organizations, including Human Rights Watch, 300,000 IDPs and 700,000 refugees in neighboring countries must be added to the thousands of people killed in the fighting. (El País, 07/02/13)
    Ad Hoc International Criminal Tribunals
LEBANON: Lebanon tribunal delays Hariri assassination trial.
The UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon delays the trial of four Hezbollah militants charged with the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. Counsel for the accused requested the delay in January citing, among other reasons, the continued absence of the accused. Judge Daniel Fransen has requested that the prosecution, defense and victims' representatives submit documents for a new tentative date to replace the original March 2013 trial date. (Jurist, 22/02/13)
RWANDA: Two former ministers acquitted on appeal.
The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) acquitted two former Rwandan ministers whom the lower court had sentenced to 30 years in jail. Justin Mugenzi was Minister of Trade during the 1994 genocide, while Prosper Mugiraneza was Public Service Minister. On September 30, 2011, both men were found guilty of conspiracy to commit genocide and direct and public incitement to commit genocide. The reason: their presence at two key meetings in April 1994. The Appeals Chamber overturned their conviction and ordered their immediate release. Rwandan Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga has called the ICTR's acquittal "extremely disappointing" and stated that "the appalling discrepancies in decisions, between the trial and appeals chambers in a number of cases including this one raises serious questions." On the other hand, Kigali has accused the ICTR of double standards, and threatened to throw out Tribunal observers monitoring the trial in Rwanda of Jean Uwinkindi, the first person transferred by the ICTR. "If the Tribunal does not appoint observers for the two cases transferred to France, we will expel its observers here," Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga said. At the end of 2007, the ICTR transferred to France the cases of Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, a former parish priest in Kigali, and Laurent Bucyibaruta, former prefect of Gikongoro in southern Rwanda. Pentecostal pastor Jean Uwinkindi was transferred to Kigali in April 2012."Why must our judicial system be monitored and not that of France, which hasn't done anything about these cases transferred so long ago? There is no fairness in that", continued Ngoga. The ICTR –or, after its closure, the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals– reserve the right to take back a case transferred to a country, if the conditions for a fair trial are not met. France has denied delaying to dispense justice to genocide fugitives on its soil, arguing that the halting of diplomatic relations between the two countries from 2006-2009 played a role in French courts not speeding up the process of trying the suspects. Rwanda's National Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga recently said that his office was weighing up the option of advising government to sue France for failing to extradite over 20 genocide fugitives or trying them. (Hirondelle News, 04, 05, 07/02/13 and AllAfrica, 05, 07/02/13)
SIERRA LEONE: Charles Taylor defense investigator sentenced for contempt.
Prince Taylor, an investigator for the Charles Taylor defense team in the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), has been sentenced to two years on each of four counts of interfering with witnesses who had testified in the Charles Taylor trial, and 30 months for interfering with Eric Senessie, who himself was convicted for interfering with witnesses. (Jurist, 16/02/13)
    Ordinary Justice and Traditional Justice Systems
ARGENTINA: Retired military officers are given life sentences.
Seven retired military officers were sentenced to life in prison for various human rights abuses committed during the "Dirty War" in Argentina from 1976-1983. News of the sentences was released in a statement by the Center of Judicial Information, an office affiliated with the Argentina Supreme Court. The seven officers were found guilty on charges of kidnapping, torture and homicide for their treatment of 69 prisoners who were held at a navy base in Mar del Plata, south of Buenos Aires. Four members of the navy were also sentenced to 25, 14, 12 and three years in prison, and two top police prefects were sentenced to 14 and 10 years for related human rights abuses. On the other hand, Julio Poch, the most famous of the eight pilots accused of 'death flights' in the third trial on crimes committed in the Escuela Mecánica de la Armada (ESMA), the clandestine detention centre during Argentina's military dictatorship, pleads not guilt before a federal court in Buenos Aires. Additionally, Luciano Benjamin Menendez, former head of the Third Army Corps, has pleaded "solely responsible" for the crimes committed in the clandestine center of La Perla, in the city of Córdoba, between the end of the Presidency of Maria Estela Martinez de Perón (1974-1976) and the early days of Argentina's 1976-1983 dictatorship. (La Radio de Sur, 15/02/13, Jurist, 02,17/02/13 and Europa Press, 28/02/13)
BANGLADESH: Abdul Kader Mullah gets life sentence for war crimes.
A war crimes tribunal in Bangladesh has found a leader of the main Islamist party guilty of crimes against humanity during the war for independence from Pakistan in 1971. Abdul Kader Mullah, of Jamaat-e-Islami, sentenced to life in prison, has denied all the charges. Official estimates say more than three million people were killed in the war. But the trial has sparked protest from supporters who accuse the government of pursuing a political vendetta. Thousands marched through the capital, Dhaka, on Monday, demanding the release of their leaders.There were reports of clashes between police and protesters, while the AFP news agency quoted police as saying they had fired rubber bullets. Jamaat has called a national strike. (BBC, 05/02/13)
GERMANY – LEBANON: European Court of Human Rights rule in favor of Khaled El-Masri.
The European Court of Human Rights Thursday ruled in favor of Khaled El-Masri, a German man of Lebanese origin, saying Macedonia was "responsible for his torture and ill-treatment" both in the country and after turning him over to US authorities. "The Court found Mr. El-Masri's account to be established beyond a reasonable doubt," it said in its decision, adding that Macedonia was responsible for a process in which "he had been a victim of a secret 'rendition' operation." The Macedonian government has been ordered to pay 60,000 euros in damages. According to his lawyer, Darian Pavli, El-Masri had initially asked for 300,000 euros. Pavli said the ruling was a "signal to all countries who are planning to collaborate with the US that these practices cannot be justified and that their governments and individuals will be held responsible." (Deutche Welle, 08/02/13)
GUATEMALA: Ríos Montt's trial will begin in August.
The court that will judge former president of Guatemala, Efrain Ríos Montt, rules that the trial of the former president for genocide and crimes against humanity will begin on August 14. Rios Montt is accused of having ordered fifteeen massacres between March 1982 and August 1983, where more than 1,700 people of ethnic Ixil were killed, while approximately 29,000 families had to flee to the mountains, where they were forced to live in inhuman conditions. Jasmine Judge Barrios, who is handling the case along with two other judges, has said that the date has been chosen for 'agenda reasons'. The trial will look into 900 evidence cases and hear the testimony of 150 witnesses. (Europa Press, 08/02/13)
HAITI: Jean Claude Duvalier is not going to the court of appeals.
The lawyers of former Haitian dictator Jean Claude Duvalier, alias Baby Doc ', have announced they will not go to the appeals court that had summoned him to clarify possible prosecution for crimes against humanity and embezzlement committed during his time at power. Coinciding with the anniversary of his fall, 'Baby Doc' should go to the Court of Appeals in Port au Prince to attend a hearing that could determine his future. A lower court filed the most serious complaints against Duvalier, such as alleged crimes against humanity and fraud. The victims appealed this first sentence –based on the prescription of the facts– in February 2012 and, after several postponements, the Court of Appeals has summoned the parties. (Europa Press, 07/02/13)
NORWAY – RWANDA: Norway court convicts Rwandan genocide defendant.
An Oslo City Court on Thursday sentenced a Rwandan man to 21 years for being an accomplice to the 1994 Rwandan genocide. His conviction is specifically related to 2,000 killings during April 1994 to which the defendant, Bugingo, had significant connection. Sadi Bugingo moved to Norway in 1994 after the genocide and has been working as a janitor in Bergen. He was uncovered and arrested as a result of a May 2011 investigation. Bugingo argued he was not responsible for the killings and instead tried to save the individuals that were being targeted. However, the court relied on several witnesses in attributing killings in Berenga, Economat and Kibungo to Bugingo. (Jurist and Hirondelle News, 14/02/13)
SENEGAL - CHAD: Senegal inaugurates special tribunal to try Hissèn Habré.
Senegal inaugurates a special tribunal to try former Chadian president Hissène Habré, accused of crimes committed in his country during his rule from 1982 to 1990. The former head of state has been living in exile in Senegal for the last 22 years. The tribunal was inaugurated by its "administrator", Ciré Aly Ba, in the presence of judges recently appointed to sit on the tribunal, according to Senegalese media.The preliminary phase of the trial, comprising an investigation by four Senegalese judges, is expected to last 15 months and to be followed by a trial in 2014. The inauguration of the tribunal marks a decisive turning point in the long campaign to bring to justice the former dictator of Chad Hissène Habré, according to a statement from the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues. (Hirondelle News, 08/02/13)
URUGUAY: Uruguayan High Court declares dictatorship trials unconstitutional.
The Uruguay Supreme Court ruled on Friday that a 2011 law allowing for investigations into crimes committed during the country's 1973-1985 dictatorship is unconstitutional. Uruguay's legislature passed the law in 2011, allowing the government to investigate human rights violations that occurred during the 12-year dictatorship and not subjecting these violations to a statute of limitations. The court struck down the law because it found that two of the articles were unconstitutional, effectively restoring the nation's 1986 Expiry Law which granted amnesty to military officials accused of human rights violations during the dictatorship era. (Jurist, 23/02/13)
    Truth Commissions
BRAZIL: Initial data presented by the Truth Commission.
At least 50,000 Brazilians were victims of some form of repression by the military dictatorship in its first year, according to data released by the National Truth Commission in a report to be submitted to the country's president, Dilma Rousseff, on abuses committed between 1964 and 1985. This figure, according to the Commission created almost a year ago, includes prisoners, exiled, tortured and family members who lost a relative, and people who were victims of some form of persecution. The new coordinator of the Commission, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, has explained that at least 30 million pages of documents have been examined to date and that the Commission has conducted hundreds of interviews. Pinheiro has said that in view of the amount of information that is available, the Commission will continue investigating until later this year, when the draft report should be ready. (Europa Press, 27/02/13)
PERU: Peruvian authorities return the remains of victims of Chungui killings to relatives.
Peruvian authorities return the identified remains of victims of all parties to the conflict recorded between 1984 and 1985 in Chungui, the violence centre used by Shining Path terrorist group in 1980. According to the prosecution, the 20 years of violence left 15,700 people missing in Peru, out of which just over 2,000 bodies have been exhumed, and about 1,000 identified. Relatives have received the document proving the identification made by the forensic teams which must now be exchanged for a death certificate in the town council. (El País, 31/01/13)
THE PHILIPPINES: Philippines law gives compensation to Marcos victims.
The Philippine president has signed a law to give compensation to victims of the country's former leader, Ferdinand Marcos. The government has set aside at least 10bn pesos ($224m) to compensate thousands of people who suffered rights abuses in the Marcos era. The money was recovered from Swiss bank accounts secretly maintained by Marcos during his 20 years in power. (BBC, 25/02/13)
To subscribe to the bulletins or to receive information from the School for a Culture of Peace,
To unsubscribe, click here
For any comments or suggestions, please write to:
Tel. +34 93 586 88 48   |   |
Edifici MRA (Mòdul Recerca A), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra (Barcelona)
If you cannot see the image, please click here

In compliance with Law 15/1999, of 13 December, on Protection of Personal Data, the School for a Culture of Peace informs that personal information is treated in strict confidence and incorporated into our general database in order to keep you updated on our activities.