International Criminal Court (ICC)
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: ICC opens war crimes preliminary investigation
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has opened a preliminary investigation into possible war crimes in the Central African Republic (CAR). ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said her office has reviewed reports detailing acts of extreme brutality by various groups, including hundreds of killings, cases of rape and sexual slavery, destruction of property, pillaging, torture, forced displacement, and recruitment and use of children in hostilities. The violent conflict in the Central African Republic between the Government and the Séléka coalition of rebel groups has lasted for over a year. According to Médecins Sans Frontières, all communities are affected by the violence, although lately there have been collective reprisals against Muslims. About 30,000 refugees have fled to Chad and 10,000 to Cameroon. (ICC, BBC, 07/02/14, Hirondelle News, 08/02/14, Jurist, 10/02/14)
CONGO, DR: Hearings in Ntaganda case confirm charges
A pre-trial Chamber of the ICC has confirmed the charges against rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda. Over a period of five days ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda argued that Ntaganda and the Union of Congolese Patriots rebel group had persecuted civilians based on ethnic grounds and had recruited child soldiers. Ntaganda is charged with 13 counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity in 2002 and 2003 in northeast DR Congo. Lawyer Marc Desalliers has denied the 18 charges. Over the last two decades an estimated five million people of died in the war and the struggle over mineral resources. (BBC, 10/02/14, Hirondelle News, 16/02/14)
KENYA: Delays and obstructions in Kenyatta case
The ICC Office of the Prosecutor has requested that the court grant a new indefinite delay for the trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, claiming that the Kenyan government has threatened witnesses and restricted access to information. Meanwhile, Kenyan Attorney General, Githu Muigai, told the ICC that he would not turn over President Kenyatta’s financial records without a court order in compliance with Kenyan law. As Kenya's Central Bank is independent, the proper procedure for releasing bank records is to go through the Kenyan court system, but the ICC is not equipped to pursue national lawsuits. Kenyatta is being prosecuted for his alleged involvement in inciting violence after the country’s 2007 elections, which led to more than 1,100 deaths. (Jurist, 05, 14/02/14)
NORTH KOREA: OHCHR believes North Korea authorities should be brought before the ICC
The UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights has released a report on North Korea detailing widespread crimes against humanity, including murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, enforced disappearances and knowingly causing starvation. The report, that includes testimonies from over 80 victims and witnesses, recommends that North Korea should be brought before the ICC. The report will be debated by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in March. North Korea has rejected the report, claiming that it was based on faked evidence and is an instrument of a political plot. (OHCHR, Jurist, 17/02/14)
    Ad Hoc International Criminal Tribunals
RWANDA: Appeals chamber acquits military commanders Ndindiliyimana, Nzuwonemeye, and Sagahutu
The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has acquitted two former senior military commanders, and reduced the sentence for a third. Augustin Ndindiliyimana, former head of the Rwandan parliamentary police, had been convicted by the lower court to 11 years in prison for genocide, extermination as a crime against humanity and murder. Francois-Xavier Nzuwonemeye, former commander of a military reconnaissance battalion, and Innocent Sagahutu, his second in command, had been sentenced to 20 years of aiding and abetting in the 1994 murder of Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana. The appeals court found that the Chamber had committed errors when assessing Ndindiliyimana and Nzuwonemeye’s responsibility in the killings, and acquitted them. As for Innocent Sagahutu, the Appeals chamber reversed certain convictions and reduced his sentence to 15 years in prison. Genocide survivors in Kigali expressed outrage at the decision. (ICTR, BBC, 11/02/14; Jurist, 13/02/14; Hirondelle News, 16/02/14)
    Ordinary Justice and Traditional Justice Systems
GERMANY – RWANDA: Rwandan mayor Rwabukombe jailed for 14 years
A German court has convicted Onesphore Rwabukombe, former mayor of Kiziguro, Rwanda, to 14 years in prison for ordering the massacre of between 400 and 1200 ethnic Tutsis who had taken refuge in a church in Kiziguro in 1994. This is the first trial taking place in Germany linked to the Rwandan genocide. His lawyer said she was planning to appeal the German court’s decision. In December 2013, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) sentenced the mayor of Kivumu to 25 years in prison for a similar crime. (Jurist, 19/02/14; Hirondelle News, 21/02/14)
FRANCE – RWANDA: French Court denies extradition arguing that 1994 genocide can not be tried in Rwanda
The French Court of Cassation has blocked the extradition of Claude Muhayimana, Innocent Musabyimana, and Laurent Serubuga to Rwanda for alleged crimes committed during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. The court overturned previous decisions that approved extradition arguing that the accused could not be tried for genocide and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in 1994 because Rwandan law punishing such offenses did not exist until 1996. On the other hand, a French court opened a trial against former Rwandan intelligence officer Pascal Simbikangwa, accused of arming and encouraging Hutu militia who committed massacres of Tutsis. He is the first person to be tried in France for suspected involvement in the Rwandan genocide. (Hirondelle News, 08/02/14, Jurist, 27/02/14)
HAITI: Former President Duvalier can be judged for crimes against humanity
A Haitian appellate court has ruled that former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier can be charged with crimes against humanity, including murder and torture of political opponents and corruption. Haitian authorities reopened a criminal case against Duvalier three years ago after he returned to the country from a 25-year exile in France. But the case has been stalled for almost a year while a lower court ruled that the statute of limitations had expired. The army and paramilitary forces have been blamed for hundreds of murders and disappearances during Duvalier’s presidency (1971-1986). (Jurist, 21/02/14)
PERU: Fujimori acquitted after investigation on forced sterilizations
Prosecutor Marco Guzman has acquitted former president Alberto Fujimori and his former ministers of health due to lack of evidence of immediate responsibility in the inquiry about forced sterilizations committed between 1990 and 2000. The prosecutor argued that no crime against humanity had been committed, but that elements did exist indicating the violation of human rights. In May 2009 the case was dismissed, but in June 2013 it was reopened following a recommendation by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Victims and civil society organizations have rejected the decision to close the investigation because it ignores the more than 2,000 reported cases of women who were forcibly sterilized in the poorest rural areas of the country. (El Comercio, Peru This Week, Reuters, 24/01/14)
RWANDA: National court tries the first accused transferred from ICTR
The trial of the first suspect transferred in April 2012 from the Tanzanian-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to a Rwandan national court began on February 26. Former preacher Jean Bosco Uwinkindi is accused of genocide and crimes against humanity for allegedly having led a group of Hutus in the massacre of over 2000 Tutsi civilians in the Kanzenze commune. The accused was indicted by the ICTR in 2001 and was arrested in 2011 as he entered Uganda from the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Jurist, 26, 27/02/14)
SERBIA: Nine ex-paramilitaries found guilty of Kosovo killings
The War Crimes Chamber at the High Court in Belgrade has handed down sentences ranging from two to 20 years in prison for nine Serbian former paramilitaries, members of the Sakali (Jackals) unit, for their involvement in the killing of more than 120 civilians from the Albanian community in April and May 1999. Prosecutors concluded that they had raped, murdered and robbed victims in the villages of Cuska, Zahac, Pavlan and Ljubenic in western Kosovo. Two other paramilitaries were cleared of all charges. Deputy War Crimes Prosecutor Bruno Vekaric pointed out that some rafts owned by the cooperating witness in the Cuska case had been set on fire in Belgrade on the same day of the sentence, an indication of the risks faced by those contributing to the War Crimes Chamber. The armed conflict in Kosovo (1998-99) was between the Albanian armed group ELK and the Serbian government. (BBC, 11/02/14; InSerbia, 12/02/14)
SPAIN: Parliament limits capacity to judge crimes against humanity
The Spanish Parliament has passed a law limiting the ability of the Spanish judicial system to try cases of crimes against humanity. While under the current law it was possible to bring any case of crimes against humanity before the court, the new law, which will take effect at the end of March, will limit trials for crimes against humanity to those cases involving Spanish citizens or foreign citizen residents in Spain. The elimination of the principle of universal jurisdiction that allowed Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, among others, to be prosecuted will affect several ongoing investigations into human rights violations, such as alleged genocide, terrorism and torture by former commanders in Guatemala, genocide in Tibet, or the torture of prisoners in Guantanamo. (El País, 28/02/14)
USA - GUATEMALA: Guatemala ex-officer convicted for lying to immigration
A federal judge in California has sentenced Jorge Sosa, a former officer of the Army of Guatemala, to 10 years in prison for misleading US immigration officials with regard to his involvement in the massacre of 200 people in Dos Erres, Guatemala, in 1982. After completing his sentence Sosa can be extradited to Guatemala to stand trial for his role in the massacre. In 2000 Guatemala admitted to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights its responsibility in the massacre, but in 2004 a court ruling granted amnesty to some of the perpetrators. The 1996 peace agreement between insurgents and the Guatemalan government ended 36 years of civil war, which caused over 200,000 deaths, with military and state paramilitary forces being responsible for most of them. (AP, The Sacramento Bee, 2/10/14; Jurist, 2/11/14)
    Truth commissions
SRI LANKA: Steps towards a Truth and Reconciliation Commission
The government of Sri Lanka has announced an official visit to South Africa as part of plans to consider the creation of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission modelled on the post-apartheid body. Several human rights organisations, opposition parties and international actors have criticised the lack of political will to investigate the truth and promote reconciliation. The main opposition group, United National Party, issued a statement demanding a domestic investigation into war crimes committed by all sides in the conflict. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has instead called for an international investigation considering that domestic authorities failed to properly investigate and prosecute alleged war crimes. Sri Lankan authorities have rejected the calls for an international inquiry and have defended their country's own processes. The 25 year long conflict between the LTTE Tamil rebel group and the majority-Sinhalese government caused up to 100,000 deaths, with nearly 40,000 people dying in the last five months of fighting. (Time, 19/02/14; Jurist, 05, 25/02/14, Deutsche Welle, 25/02/2014)
EL SALVADOR: Supreme Court orders investigation of the San Francisco Angulo massacre despite Amnesty Law
The Supreme Court of El Salvador has ordered the country's Attorney General to investigate the 1981 San Francisco Angulo community massacre where more than 45 people were killed, including women and children. The crimes were allegedly committed by army troops during the country’s internal armed conflict. A Truth Commission was created after the 1992 peace accords that ended twelve years of civil war. But in 1993 an Amnesty Law that prevented the prosecution of those responsible for war crimes was passed. In September 2013 the Supreme Court agreed to consider a complaint by 20 civil society organizations to repeal the Amnesty Law. (Reuters, El País, 06/02/14)
GREECE – GERMANY: Germany rejects compensation for Greek Jews extorted by Nazis
A German finance ministry spokesperson has rejected a claim by the Jewish community of the city of Thessaloniki, Greece, but offered the group cooperation on unspecified future projects. The claim demands compensation for a forced 2.5 million drachma ransom paid to a Nazi commander in July 1942 to release thousands of Jewish men submitted to forced labour. Despite the payment, most of the victims were deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. After the German ministry rejection, the Thessaloniki Jewish community has filed the case before the European Court of Human Rights. In recent years Greece has stated that it reserves the right to claim more wartime reparations. (AFP, 26/02/14)
LIBYA: The government will repair rape victims as war victims
The Libyan government has issued a decree stating that women who were raped during the 2011 uprising against former President Muammar Gaddafi should be recognised as war victims. The law, which entitles women to compensation, contains measures such as financial assistance, physical and psychological health care, protection for children born of these rapes, and measures to facilitate their adoption. A June 2011 report by the ICC prosecutor estimated that hundreds of women had been raped and stated that rape was allegedly used as a tool of war by Gaddafi Security forces. Viagra-type drugs were even provided to encourage sexual assault by soldiers. The decree has also been extended to the “Amazons”, women who were subjected to sexual slavery by former President Muammar Gaddafi and his officers. (Al Huffington Post, 20/02/14; Hirondelle News, 21/02/14)
JAPAN: Controversy in the Japanese public broadcaster with regard to the role in of the country in World War II
Japanese public broadcaster NHK has been involved in two controversies with regard to the Japanese role in World War II. NHK chairman, Katsuto Momii, said the military use of sex slaves during WWII was a practice common in any country at war. Some days later, Naoki Hyakuta, a member of the NHK board of governors, said during a campaign for a right-wing candidate in Tokyo that the Nanking Massacre never happened. China says that up to 300,000 civilians and soldiers died in Nanjing, during the 1937-38 winter, when the Japanese military entered the city. Some Japanese historians dispute these figures. Coinciding with territorial disputes, tension has been on the rise in recent months between Japan and China over the portrayal of events in WWII. (BBC, 04/02/14)
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, 09193 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.