(For older news updates, please visit our news archive.)
19 January 2021: Al Jazeera reports that, former members of the Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebel group have expressed concern for their lives. The FARC who were accused of committing serious war crimes in a five-decade long conflict, surrendered their weapons to a UN peace mission in 2017. Since the deal, 253 former fighters have been killed including four this year but it is unclear who the perpetrators are, further complicating the peace process. The United Nations Security Council repeated its call for more attention to the security issues affecting former rebels and human rights activists in Colombia.
18 January 2021: The House of Lords in UK rejected the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill. The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights said the proposed law “raises the abhorrent possibility of serious crimes such as rape, murder or torture being carried out under an authorisation”. The Bill will be sent back to the House of Commons for consideration.
15 January 2021: The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) of the United States Congress has declared that in its report that new evidence had emerged in the past year indicating that crimes against humanity and possibly genocide are occurring against Uighurs in the Xinjiang province of China. Al Jazeera notes that, China has been widely condemned for setting up complexes in Xinjiang that it describes as vocational training centres to stamp out extremism and give people new skills, but others have called them concentration camps.
14 January 2021: Human Rights Watch in its World Report 2021 has declared that Yemen's armed conflict continued to violate the laws of war over the past year, including with new apparent war crimes. It calls upon the international communtity to undertake international justice efforts to address the dire humanitarian crisis in Yemen which has been further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
13 January 2021: The British foreign secretary has stated that China's treatment of Uighur people amounts to torture. He said that he has set out measures designed to ensure no companies allow the use of forced labour from Xinjiang province in their supply chain. He also proposed a review of export controls to Xinjiang province but refrained from imposing sanctions.
12 January 2021: The Special Department for War Crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina has filed for an indictment against seven persons for committing crimes against humanity during the armed conflict. They are accused of violating Article 172 of the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the widespread and systematic attack that was carried out in the spring and summer of 1992.
11 January 2021: A South Korean court ordered Japan to compensate 12 women who were forced to work in its wartime brothels as comfort women, a Japanese euphemism for sex abuse victims. Justice Kim Jeong-gon said in the ruling that, "it was a crime against humanity that was systematically, deliberately and extensively committed by Japan in breach of international norms". Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Japan could not accept the court ruling and said the lawsuit should be dropped.
New cases, briefs and videos
(For older announcements, please visit our announcements archive.)
NEW CASES: Case analysis of the summary of the judgment in the Husayn (Abu Zubaydah) v. Poland case (July, 2014) is now online. It can be accessed here.
NEW CASES: Case analysis of the summary of the judgment in the Abu Zubaydah v. Lithuania case (May, 2018) is now online. It can be accessed here.
NEW CASES: Case analysis of the summary of the judgment in the The Prosecutor v Ayyash et al. case (August, 2020) is now online. It can be accessed here.
NEW VIDEO: A new video is available online. The very first online (Zoom) Supranational Criminal Law (SCL) lecture was organised on 3 June 2020, titled ‘Challenges to Prosecuting Paramilitaries: Insights from the former Yugoslavia and Syria’. Speakers were Dr Iva Vukušić, Visiting Research Fellow at Department of War Studies, King’s College London, Ali Aljasem, MA, Researcher at the History Department, Utrecht University and Dr Matthew Gillett, Director, Peace and Justice Initiative and Trial Lawyer, Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC. The video recording can be viewed here.
NEW VIDEO: A new video is available online. On 10 February 2020, Dr Christopher Soler, Judge Kimberly Prost and Dr. Yasmin Naqvi provided a lecture at the Asser Institute in the context of the Supranational Criminal Law Lectures Series (SCL). The lecture was organised to celebrate the publication of the book The Global Prosecution of Core Crimes under International Law. The video recording can be viewed here.
NEW BRIEF: A new ICD Brief is available on the International Crimes Database entitled “Human Rights Remedies for Violations of the Law of Armed Conflict: Reflections on the Right to Reparation in Light of Recent Domestic Court Decisions in the Netherlands and Denmark”, by Vessela Terzieva.
Vessela Terzieva is an international criminal lawyer and an external PhD researcher at the University of Amsterdam. Her ICD Brief relates to recent decisions in the Netherlands and Denmark awarding compensation for damage at the hands of the military during armed conflict, including the July 2019 ruling of the Dutch Supreme Court in the 'Mothers of Srebrenica' case. It explores how these decisions contribute to the debate on the right to reparation for victims of international humanitarian law violations.
NEW CASES: New case summaries are available on the International Crimes Database!
Prosecutor v Ayyash et al.
Two of the five new case summaries relate to the case of The Prosecutor v Ayyash et al. before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). In its Interlocutory Decision of 16 February 2011 (available here), the Appeals Chamber of the Tribunal found whilst it was bound to apply Lebanese criminal law, international law could be used to aid in the interpretation of these domestic provisions. Significantly, the Chamber concluded that the crime of terrorism exists in customary international law. In the STL Trial Chamber Decision of 1 February 2012 (available here), the Tribunal found that the four accused may be tried in absentia, as all four of the accused had absconded or otherwise could not be found and all reasonable steps had been taken to secure their presence.
Prosecution of Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan
The other three summaries (here, here and here) relate to the trial of Nuon Chea, the former Deputy Secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, and Khieu Samphan, the former Head of State of Democratic Kampuchea, before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). This string of cases culminated in the conviction and life sentence of Chea and Samphan for crimes against humanity relating to the forcible transfer of the population, as well as war crimes and crimes against humanity committed at security centres and worksites. Both were also found guilty of genocide of the Vietnamese people, whilst Chea was also guilty of genocide of the Cham people.
The Asser Institute received assistance from the Washington College of Law Internship Programme in the preparation of these case summaries.