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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.)

20 October 2021: Guernica 37, a group of human rights lawyers, will file a legal complaint to the UK police accusing 20 political and military leaders in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of being involved in crimes against humanity in Yemen. The dossier also calls for the immediate arrest of these individuals, including Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his Emirati equivalent Mohammed bin Zayed, should they enter the UK.

19 October 2021: A 96-year old German woman, who was caught shortly after an attempt to abscond from a court hearing last month on charges of committing war crimes during World War Two, appeared before a court in Itzehoe in northern Germany. She is accused of being an accessory to murder in more than 11,000 cases when she was a stenographer and typist in the commandant's office at the Stutthof camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

13 October 2021: Five biracial women, all born between 1945 and 1950 in the Democratic Republic of Congo when the country was a Belgian colony, sued the Belgian state for crimes against humanity for its role in separating them from their black mothers and African roots. They are hoping that Belgium will finally recognise its responsibility in the suffering endured by the thousands of mixed-race children who were snatched away from families and placed in religious institutions and homes by Belgian authorities during its colonial era.

12 October 2021: The NGO Allrise filed a compaint at the International Criminal Court (ICC), urging the ICC Prosecutor to investigate Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for his alleged attacks on the Amazon rainforest, its dependents and defenders, which they say amount to crimes against humanity

11 October 2021: The Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has asked the UN Secretary-General and the Bureau of the Assembly of States Parties of the Court to submit information on the identification of the authorities currently representing Afghanistan. Earlier last week, ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan had filed an application for an expedited order seeking authorisation to resume the Office of the Prosecutor's investigation in Afghanistan.

8 October 2021: The UN Human Rights Council has voted to shut down the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen, a body of independent experts mandated to investigate possible war crimes and other human rights violations in Yemen. It marks the first time in the council's 15-year history that a resolution was defeated.

7 October 2021: The trial of Josef S, a 100-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard, began at the Neuruppin state court. He is charged with 3,518 counts of accessory to murder while working in Sachsenhausen between 1942 and 1945 as an enlisted member of the Nazi party’s paramilitary wing.

5 October 2021: A former Serb paramilitary, identified only by his initials G.S., was sentenced to twenty years in prison by a court in Kosovo for committing war crimes involving the execution of 12 Kosovar Albanian men in three separate cases. These crimes were committed within the context of the Serb army, police and paramilitary forces' attacks on the villages of Sllovi and Terbovc of the Lipjan commune in April 1999.


New cases, briefs and videos

(For older announcements, please visit our announcements archive.)

CALL FOR PAPERS: The International Crimes Database invites submissions of short articles for publication in the online series ICD Briefs on the theme: 'Ecocide as an international crime? Perspectives from domestic and international law'. For more information, see here

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.