(For older news updates, please visit our news archive.)
18 February 2020: According to ICC records, Brazil, Hungary, Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic and Australia have asked the court over the past two weeks to let them file “amicus brief” opinions on the case against Israel. Some, including Germany, said they would argue the court’s jurisdiction did not extend to the Palestinian territories. The ICC’s pre-trial chamber is preparing to accept arguments on the court’s jurisdiction to adjudicate war crime suits against Israelis for their actions in east Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza as of June 13, 2014.
17 February 2020: The United States has imposed an entry bar on Sri Lanka’s army chief, Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva, citing his alleged involvement in war crimes during the final stages of the country’s civil war. According to a statement on Sunday, Sri Lanka denounced the ban, reiterating that there were no substantiated or proven allegations of human rights violations against Silva.
14 February 2020: Zijad Hamzic, who was acquitted of war crimes against Serbs in the Kladanj area, is suing the state for 7,860 euros in compensation because he was put under house arrest and barred from travelling. Hamzic and six other defendants were acquitted in September 2017 of the unlawful detention, beating and inhumane treatment of Serb civilians in Stupari, near Kladanj, between May 1992 and July 1993.
13 February 2020: The United Kingdom, Turkey and the United States have been asked to open police investigations into alleged war crimes committed by the United Arab Emirates and its mercenaries in Yemen in 2015 and 2019, and arrest Emirati officials under the principle of universal jurisdiction. Yemeni complainants filed charges through a UK law firm asserting that UAE officials hired mercenaries to attack and kill civilians.
12 February 2020: Sudan's transitional authorities and rebel groups from Darfur have agreed that those wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes in the region should appear before the tribunal. Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted in April 2019 after months of nationwide protests, faces five counts of crimes against humanity and two counts of war crimes at the ICC in The Hague. The crimes were allegedly committed during Sudan's military campaign in Darfur between 2003 and 2008.
11 February 2020: Six Libyan families sued Libyan eastern-based renegade commander Khalifa Haftar and the United Arab Emirates government in a federal U.S. court on Monday for their alleged roles in committing war crimes in Libya. In the lawsuit filed in the Federal District Court of the District of Columbia, the families, whose relatives were murdered, injured or faced attempted killings are seeking $1 billion in damages. According to the plaintiffs’ attorneys, Martin F. McMahon & Associates, Haftar is "not just a war criminal, but also a U.S. citizen with assets and family members in the U.S. and he can and will be held accountable for his illegal and barbaric acts".
10 February 2020: Five leaders of a predominantly Christian militia in the Central African Republic have been handed life sentences for war crimes and crimes against humanity after dozens of Muslims were slaughtered in a southeastern town in May 2017. Twenty-eight individuals were also given terms ranging from 10-15 years of forced labour, mainly for murder and illegal possession of weapons. CAR's Justice Minister, Flavien Mbata said that it was the first time a sentence for crimes against humanity had been handed down by a CAR court.
New cases, briefs and videos
(For older announcements, please visit our announcements archive.)
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.
NEW CASES: New case summaries of the two most recent decisions in The Public Prosecutor v. Guus Kouwenhoven in the Netherlands are now available online. The 's-Hertogenbosch Court of Appeal decision found Guus Kouwenhoven guilty of weapons smuggling and complicity in war crimes committed by Charles Taylor's regime in Liberia during the second civil war from 1999-2003. The Court found that the amnesty scheme implemented by Charles Taylor's government shortly before Taylor fled Liberia did not prevent the prosecution of Kouwenhoven in the Netherlands, and sentenced Kouwenhoven to 19 years' imprisonment. The Supreme Court of the Netherlands upheld this decision, finding that the Court of Appeal had correctly decided that the amnesty scheme did not prevent the prosecution of Kouwenhoven.
NEW BRIEF: The first ICD Brief of 2019 (available here) is now available on our website! Matt Brown has written on the evacuation of Eastern Aleppo in Syria, dealing with a question as to whether it could be classified as forced displacement under international law.
NEW CASES: The twelve summaries (available in the database) added are related to terrorism, attempted terrorism, and providing material support. Most of the cases are from the United States as well as England and Wales, and relate to (attemped) fighting in Syria and Iraq (foreign fighters). They give a good insight of common law approaches to prosecuting terrorism-related offences. An example of a new case analysis is United States of America v. Nader Elhuzayel and Muhanad Badawi. Both Mr. Elhuzayel and Mr. Badawi were convicted by a federal jury of conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist group, the Islamic State (IS). The defendants had used social media accounts to support IS, and Mr. Badawi had filmed Mr. Elhuzayel pledging allegiance to IS and promising to travel to Syria to fight. Mr. Elhuzayel was arrested prior to boarding a flight to Israel via Turkey. They were also found guilty of financial fraud charges, the proceeds of which had been used to fund the travel. In the preparation of the US cases for the ICD database, the Asser Institute received assistance from students enrolled in the International Justice Project of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law.