(For older news updates, please visit our news archive.)
4 March 2021: Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda announced that the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has opened a formal investigation into the situation in Palestine. The probe will cover allegations of war crimes and other international crimes in the region of West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip since June 2014.
3 March 2021: A group of Syrian chemical attack survivors and Syrian rights groups have a filed a criminal complaint in France over the two August 2013 attacks in Douma and the Damascas suburb of Eastern Ghouta. The complaint points to the alleged responsibility of the Syrian government in the attacks which could constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.
2 March 2021: UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria's latest report states that tens of thousands of civilians in Syria were arbitrarily detained in enforced disappearances during the country's 10 year conflict. The report suspects that thousands have been subjected to torture, sexual violence, and arbitrary detention, offences that can amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
1 March 2021: Amnesty International reports that Eritrean troops fighting in Ethiopia's Tigray region, systematically killed hundreds of unarmed civilians in the northern city of Axum on 28-29 November 2020 in a massacre that may amount of crimes against humanity. Survivors interviews and satellite imagery analysis indicate widespread looting and shelling, as well as signs of mass burials near two of the city's churches.
26 February 2021: The Dutch parliament passed a non-binding motion declaring that the treatment of the Uighur Muslim minority in China amounts to genocide. The motion said that actions of Chinese government such as “measures intended to prevent births” and “having punishment camps” fell under the Genocide Convention. The Netherlands is the first European country to make such a declaration.
25 February 2021: The trial of Gibril Ealoghima Massaquoi, a suspected warlord from Sierra Leone has started in Finland. According to prosecutors, Mr. Gibril was a senior member of a rebel group that fought in Liberia from 1999 to 2003. He is accused of committing war crimes of killing civilians and soldiers who had just been disarmed, rape and recruiting child soldiers.
24 February 2021: Eyad al-Gharib, a former Syrian intelligence service agent was sentenced to four and a half years in jail by a German court for complicity in crimes against humanity over state sponsored torture by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government. This landmark trial on the principle of universal jurisdiction began in Germany last year.
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.