International Criminal Court (ICC)
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: ICC prosecutor voices concern over situation in Central African Republic
Fatou Bensouda, chief prosecutor for the ICC, released a statement expressing her concern over the deteriorating security situation in the Central African Republic (CAR). Bensouda called upon the international community to assist the CAR government and reiterated the commitment of her office to prosecuting war crimes. Bensouda relied upon findings from the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) in determining that the crimes currently being committed in CAR fall within the ICC prosecutor's jurisdiction. The CAR has experienced significant violence since the Seleka rebel coalition ousted president François Bozizé in March. (BBC, 10/08/13; Jurist, 08/08/13)
CONGO, DR: Jean-Pierre Bemba trial resumes
The trial of Congolese senator Jean-Pierre Bemba resumed with the defence presenting a new witness. The witness testified by videoconference, and several parts of his testimony were heard behind closed doors. The Congolese politician is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Chad in 2002 and 2003 by members of his former rebel movement, the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC). Also, the defence for Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda requested their client’s release, saying his detention was not justified. The ICC suspects Ntaganda of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed on his orders in Ituri, northeast Democratic Republic of Congo, between September 2002 and September 2003. His lawyer, Marc Desalliers, submits that Ntaganda, who gave himself up to the Court, does not intend to flee justice. (Hirondelle News, 23/08/13)
KENYA: Kenyatta asked to propose trial location
The ICC judges due to try new Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta invited the parties to submit proposals by August 13 on where the trial should be held. The trial is due to start on November 12 before the ICC. In a Court decision, the prosecution, defence, legal representatives of victims and ICC Registry are asked to say whether they will leave the trial location up to the judges or if they want the trial opening and/or any of the hearings to be held in Kenya or Tanzania. On the other hand, the ICC has relocated five top witnesses ahead of the start of hearings for the postelection violence cases against President Uhuru Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and journalist Joshua Arap Sang. The five were flown from a neighbouring country to another location in the region from where they will board flights to different destinations in Europe in readiness to testify in the cases. Ruto and Sang's cases come up for hearing starting September 10 at The Hague. (All Africa, 05/08/13 and Hirondelle News, 02/08/13)
NIGERIA: ICC prosecutor says Boko Haram may be committing crimes against humanity
The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC has reason to believe that, based upon the findings of a preliminary investigation, crimes against humanity have been committed in Nigeria by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram. Information available provides a reasonable basis to believe that since July 2009 Boko Haram has launched a widespread and systematic attack that has resulted in the killing of more than 1,200 Christian and Muslim civilians in different locations throughout Nigeria. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in May to combat Boko Haram. Thousands of people in north-eastern Nigeria have been uprooted in the conflict, with more than 6,000 fleeing to Niger for safety, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported in June. (All Africa, Jurist, 06/08/13)
    Ad Hoc International Criminal Tribunals
BANGLADESH: Bangladesh court rules Jamaat-e-Islami is an illegal political party
A Bangladesh high court ruled that Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) was illegally registered as a political party and therefore cannot bring forward candidates for the country's January 2014 election. The court stated, however, that JI may be re-registered if it amends its charter and reapplies for registration. This decision comes as a victory for protesters who have demanded that JI be banned due to its role in the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, but protests have begun over the court's decision and are anticipated to continue on. (Jurist, 01/08/13)
RWANDA: Kigali keeps Munyagishari in jail
A court in Kigali decided to keep in jail a former political leader transferred last month by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Bernard Munyagishari is the second and last ICTR accused person to be handed over to the Rwandan judicial authorities for trial. During the 1994 genocide he was secretary-general of the former ruling party MRND for the northern town of Gisenyi, and also head of the Interahamwe militia in the same region. According to the ICTR indictment, he is charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. (Hirondelle News, 09/08/13)
SENEGAL – CHAD: Investigations start in former Chadiann president Hissène Habré
Investigating magistrates of the special court set up in Senegal to try former Chadian president Hissène Habré have begun a two-week mission to Chad. They will hear victims and witnesses for both the prosecution and defence. They also plan to visit certain sites. Habré, who has been living in exile in Senegal for 22 years, was arrested on June 30 at his Dakar home. Two days later, he was charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture, committed between 1982 and 1990 when he was in power in Chad. (Hirondelle News, 23/08/13)
SIERRA LEONE – LIBERIA: Charles Taylor appeals judgment set for 26 September
The Appeals Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) will hand down its judgment on September 26 in the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, the first ex-head of state to be convicted by an international court since the Nuremberg trials. On April 26, 2012, Charles Taylor was found guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Sierra Leone during that country’s civil war. A month later, the judges sentenced him to 50 years in jail. Both defence and prosecution filed appeals, and an appeals hearing was held on January 22 and 23. (Hirondelle News, 28/08/13)
    Ordinary Justice and Traditional Justice Systems
ARGENTINA: The Argentinian authorities arrest Teodoro Sabbino alledgedly responsible for human rights violations
The Argentine authorities have detained Teodoro Sabbino in Mar del Plata for alleged human rights violations committed during the military dictatorship (1976-1983). The warrant was issued by the Federal Court of Mar del Plata. During his arrest the officers found weapons and documents of the military dictatorship in his flat, including a credential issued by the U.S. government. Sabbino, who is 80 years old, retired from the Navy in 1983. On the other hand, the Supreme Court of Chile approved the extradition of former Argentine judge, Otilio Romano, for human rights crimes. Romano fled to Chile two years ago to avoid trial for his alleged involvement in more than 100 crimes against humanity while working as a prosecutor during the 1976-1983 Argentine "Dirty War". (Jurist, 22/08/13 and Europa Press, 16/08/13)
BOSNIA: Bosnia police chief sentenced to 14 years for war crimes
The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has sentenced Goran Saric, a former police chief, to 14 years for crimes against humanity. His charges specifically involved detention, forced transfer and murder of civilian Bosniak population of Sarajevo's Centar municipality between June and July 1992 during the Bosnian Civil War in violation of Article 172(1)(h) of BiH's Criminal Code. The court held that Saric was responsible for the "expulsion of the entire Bosniak population on ethnic and religious grounds." Saric's indictment was confirmed in January 2012, three months after he was taken into custody (Jurist, 29/08/13)
BURUNDI – RWANDA – CONGO, DR: Agathon Rwasa is accused of genocide
Burundian judicial authorities said Thursday that Congolese Tutsi refugees in Burundi have filed a plaint against former Hutu rebel leader Agathon Rwasa for “genocide, destruction and looting”. The Banyamulenge (name given to Tutsis from South Kivu province in eastern DRC) want Rwasa tried for the August 2004 massacre of some 160 refugees in Gatumba camp, west of the Burundian capital Bujumbura. (Hirondelle News, 23/08/13)
COLOMBIA: First conviction for the five responsable for the killing of a ‘false positive’
After more than five years demanding justice for their children, killed by Colombian soldiers and presented as combat casualties, internationally known Mothers of Soacha heard the first conviction for the five responsible for the extrajudicial execution of Fair Leonardo Porras, a mentally disabled young man who ran errands to help support his mother. The High Court of Cundinamarca ruled that the “false positives” strategy was part of "a systematic and widespread criminal plan which amounts to crimes against humanity. The Court highlighted that although the process only related to Porras’ disappearance and death, 11 other young men from Soacha suffered the same fate at the time of the events, January 2008. The so-called "false positives" are under scrutiny by the ICC. (El Tiempo, 01/08/13; Periodismo Humano, 31/07/13)
CONGO, DR: Congo's Gen Dabira arrested in France over 'massacre
A general from Congo-Brazzaville was briefly arrested in France and has been put under formal investigation for crimes against humanity, officials say. It relates to the disappearance in 1999 of about 350 refugees who returned to Brazzaville from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. Gen Norbert Dabira told AFP he was "totally innocent" and would not leave France during the investigation. Congolese authorities have always denied the returnees were massacred. Rights groups and relatives of the missing say they were arrested, tortured and then executed upon their return to Congo on suspicion of backing an anti-government militia. Gen Dabira was among 15 top army officers cleared of charges relating to the incident in a Congolese court in 2005. (BBC, 23/08/13)
GERMANY: Germany prosecutor says Auschwitz investigation is almost complete
The head of the German prosecutors' office that specializes in investigating Nazi crimes has reported that its investigation into 50 individuals suspected of serving as guards at Auschwitz is almost complete. The individuals are being investigated under a new legal theory, which argues that a person who served in a death camp can be charged as an accessory to murder. Prosecutor Kurt Schrimm has reported that the prosecutors' office plans on recommending charges against most of the individuals who have been investigated and who are still alive. State prosecutors will then determine if there is enough evidence against the individuals to officially press charges. (Jurist, 27/08/13)
GUATEMALA: Female judges in charge of femicide cases in Guatemala
The Criminal Court for Crimes of Femicide and Other Forms of Violence Against Women in Guatemala, consisting of three female judges, held its first hearing. The Law Against Femicide and Other Forms of Violence Against Women, which imposed the creation of the courts, was passed in 2008 in response to the wave of killings. Among other things, the Law establishes preventive measures, criminal offenses and penalty mechanisms aimed at guaranteeing women the right to be free from physical, psychological, sexual, moral or patrimonial offences. The cases admitted by specialized courts are handled by female judges trained in gender related issues. According to statistics provided by the National Judicial Center for Analysis and Documentation, only 7.5 percent of cases of femicide and other forms of violence against women result in a conviction in an ordinary court, while in specialized courts the figure now exceeds 30 percent. (NRW 15/08/13)
HUNGARY – GERMANY: Nazi war crimes suspect dies awaiting trial
Ladislaus Csizsik-Csatary, a 98-year-old former senior Hungarian police officer in the Slovakian city of Kosice Hungarian man charged with the unlawful execution and torture of people in connection with the Holocaust, has died in a Hungarian hospital. Csatary was awaiting trial, which was set to begin in September. He was apprehended in Budapest in July 2012 and placed under house arrest in June this year. The arrest came after the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), a Jewish human rights organization committed to finding and prosecuting Holocaust war criminals, submitted new evidence to the Budapest prosecutor's office detailing the war crimes allegedly committed by Csatary. The evidence submitted indicates Csatary aided in the deportation of 15,700 Jews to Auschwitz, and was one of the main actors responsible for deporting 300 Jews from Kosice to Kamenetz-Podolsk in Ukraine, where they were killed in 1941. A court in Czechoslovakia sentenced Csatary to death in absentia in 1948, but the country subsequently abolished the death penalty before dividing into Slovakia and the Czech Republic. In March a Slovakian court altered Csatary's sentence to life imprisonment. (El País, Jurist, The Guardian and BBC 12/08/13)
ISRAEL – BALKANS: Israel extradites a Bosnian Serb for his alleged role in the Srebrenica massacre
The Israeli authorities have extradited to Bosnia a Bosnian Serb immigrant wanted for his alleged involvement in the killing of more than 8,000 Muslim men in Srebrenica in 1995, as reported by the Ministry of Justice of Israel. Aleksandar Cvetkovic, who has lived in Israel since 2006, was arrested in 2011 in compliance with an international arrest warrant. According to several witnesses, Cvetkovic participated in the worst massacre perpetrated in Europe since the end of World War II, but the defendant claims that he simply worked as an army driver when Srebrenica fell to Serbian troops. This is the first extradition carried out by Israel for genocide, as stated by the Ministry of Justice, that has said that Cvetkovic-- with Israeli citizenship through marriage - could not justify the non-implementation of the extradition order. (Europa Press, 15/08/13)
LYBIA: Libya prosecutors to try Gaddafi son, spy chief for murder
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi has been charged with murder, relating to the 2011 Libya conflict. Lybian prosecutors have also charged former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi with murder. If convicted, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for his alleged role in murdering civilians during the 2011 uprising. According to prosecutors, al-Senussi confessed to collaborating to produce car bombs in Benghazi during the uprising. The trial for Gaddafi and al-Senussi is scheduled to begin September 19. Al-Senussi and Saif al-Islam Gaddafi also face charges of crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court (ICC). In July the ICC rejected Libya's request to suspend the order to hand over Saif al-Islam Gaddafi. (Jurist, 28/08/13)
SYRIA: UN rights chief calls for independent probe of Syria war crimes
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged an independent investigation into whether war crimes were committed when armed opposition groups in Syria allegedly executed dozens of captured government soldiers in Khan Al-Assal, a district in the northern province of Aleppo last month. Between July 22 and July 26, footage taken by opposition forces was posted on the Internet depicting government soldiers being ordered to lie on the ground, while other videos show several bodies scattered along a wall and a number of bodies at an adjacent site. Pillay noted that based on the analysis carried out by her team, armed opposition groups in one incident—documented by a video—executed at least 30 individuals, the majority of whom appeared to be soldiers. Pillay also added that the events in Khan Al-Assal are further evidence that flagrant violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed by all parties have tragically become the norm in the Syrian conflict. (Jurist, 04/08/13)
THAILAND: Thailand lawmakers urged to reject proposed amnesty law
A proposed amnesty bill in Thailand could allow police to go unpunished for use of excessive force against civilians, Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned. The bill, proposed by majority party member Worachai Hema, would excuse the behavior of all members of the military and police forces who were accused of malfeasance following the 2006 coup that ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. HRW's executive director said, "To ensure justice for the victims of violence and to end Thailand's longstanding culture of impunity, the amnesty bill should exclude perpetrators of abuses and instead make them accountable for their crimes." The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has also expressed concern about the proposed legislation. (Jurist, 06/08/13)
    Peace talks
COLOMBIA: The Colombian Government and the FARC do not agree as to the type of justice to be applied after the peace agreement
FARC insisted on the formation of a committee of national and international jurists, to explore with all the communities the scope of State responsibility for what happened in the last decades of internal conflict. In late August, seven of the nine judges of the Constitutional Court gave, after six months of intense legal debate, its blessing to the Legal Framework for Peace, the 'road map' of the Colombian State in negotiations with rebel groups. The judges said it was not against the Constitution that the State should prioritize the investigation and punishment of major crimes committed in the context of the conflict. However, they set clear limits to the scope of peace negotiations. They said, for example, that those who aspire to the benefits of alternative penalties shall meet requirements such as ending the war, giving up the arms, delivering children in their ranks and the bodies of the victims. They also pointed out to the need to adopt transitional justice measures. The next step would be for Congress to regulate the norm and for Prosecution to classify the crimes and name those responsible. On the other hand, the International Criminal Court (ICC) sent a letter to the Constitutional Court, indicating that too low a sentence or a pardon for certain crimes within the framework of agreements to be reached with the FARC, would immediately imply the ICC could apply its jurisdiction in Colombia. Timoshenko, leader of the FARC, rejected the government's decision, as it was not agreed with the guerrilla. Moreover, the FARC's negotiating delegation in Cuba said that the FARC would not comply with a legal framework which has been unilaterally designed. (El Tiempo, El Colombiano, El Espectador, Semana, 1-30/08/13)
HUNGARY: New investigations and compensations for Roma murders
Hungary's National Bureau of Investigation (NNI), the country's central police investigation office primarily dealing with terrorism and other national security threats, is reopening its investigation into a series of Roma killings that took place in 2008 and 2009. During the two-year murder spree, right-wing extremists undertook nine arson attacks and other crimes, resulting in six deaths. In addition, 55 people, nearly all of whom were Roma, suffered life-threatening and other injuries. A handful of suspected murderers were apprehended in August 2009, and their trial began in early 2011. Recently, in early August, they were sentenced. Three received life in prison, and an accomplice was sent to prison for 13 years. Each of them has since appealed the rulings. Hungary's minister in charge of human resources, Zoltan Balog, had already announced his government intended to compensate survivors of the attacks and the families of the victims, explaining that the Hungarian state bore part of the responsibility for the series of murders. Balog also said government offices neglected their duties during the investigations. That marks a severe reprimand for the former Socialist-Liberal governing coalition. Balog's announcement is significant as It represents the first time that a minister has admitted the Hungarian state's complicity in a crime while concluding that such missteps demand some sort of restitution program. (Deutsche Welle, 27/08/2013)
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.