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News updates

[Online] Advanced summer programme on terrorism, countering terrorism and the rule of law

(For older news updates, please visit our news archive.)

2 July 2021: The United States and the United Kingdom embassies in Kabul accused the Taliban of war crimes by carrying out revenge murders of dozens of civilians in the southern town of Spin Boldak in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. Clashes between Afghan and Taliban forces have recently surged as US and NATO troops plan to complete their final withdrawal by August 31 2021.

29 July 2021: Alla Mousa, a Syrian doctor, has been charged with crimes against humanity by Germany for allegedly killing one person and torturing several others in military hospitals in the Syrian cities of Homs and Damascus. Mr Mousa had arrived in Germany in 2015 to practice medicine before being arrested last year on 18 counts of torture. 

28 July 2021: Prosecutors in Sweden charged an Iranian man with war crimes for his involvement in mass executions of "a large number" of prisoners who sympathised with the leftist opposition group Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) in 1988. The MEK was allied with the Iraqi army and fought alongside them during the war with Iran, between 1980 and 1988. The accused, who has not been named, is also suspected of subjecting the prisoners to torture and inhumane treatment.

27 July 2021: Human Rights Watch has reported that apparent war crimes were committed by Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups during the May 2021 fighting in the Gaza Strip and Israel. The NGO conducted an investigation that included the three Israeli strikes that led to the death of 62 Palestinian civilians alongside the launching of more than 4360 unguided rockets and mortars toward Israeli population centres by the Palestinian armed groups. Gerry Simpson, associate crisis and conflict director of the organization, underscored the "consistent unwillingness of the Israeli authorities to seriously investigate alleged war crimes" and therefore highlighted the "importance of the International Criminal Court's inquiry." 

26 July 2021: Valentin Inzko, the outgoing head of Bosnia’s Office of the High Representative (OHR), introduced new changes to the country's criminal code, which outlaws the denial of genocide and the glorification of war criminals. Anyone convicted of these crimes may face up to five years in prison. 

23 July 2021: Navi Pillay, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, has been chosen to lead the UN Human Rights Council's open-ended commission of inquiry into alleged war crimes and other violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law committed in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories during the 11 day conflict between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas in Gaza. She will be joined by Miloon Kothari of India, the first UN special rapporteur on adequate housing, and Australian international human rights law expert Chris Sidoti to make up the three-person investigative team. 

21 July 2021: The Supreme Court of the Philippines has ruled that the country is obliged to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in criminal proceedings, directly contradicting President Rodrigo Duterte's assertion that the ICC has no jurisdiction. This judgment comes amidst recent developments in the Court, involving the ICC Prosecutor requesting judicial authorisation to investigate alleged crimes committed since at least 1 July 2016, in the context of the "war on drugs".

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 (herehere 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.