(For older news updates, please visit our news archive.)
23 September 2021: Thomas Andrews, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, presented a report to the UN Human Rights Council in which he accused the country's military junta of carrying out systematic attacks against civilians that may amount to crimes against humanity. He further said that more than 1,100 people have been killed, at least 8,000 arbitrarily arrested and more than 230,000 forcibly displaced since the current regime seized control on 1 February.
22 September 2021: Hundreds of people protested outside Namibia's parliament, as the National Assembly was due to vote on an agreement, in which Germany acknowledged that it had committed genocide in colonial-era Namibia and promised $1.3 billion in financial support to descendants of the victims.
21 September 2021: The Rwandan High Court’s Special Chamber for International Crimes and Cross-border Crimes sentenced Rwandan critic and political opponent Paul Rusesabagina to 25 years in prison for being a member of a terrorist group and for committing terrorist acts. However, several media outlets and NGOs have reported that the trial was blighted with multiple violations of the right to a fair trial, calling into question the fairness of the verdict.
20 September 2021: The UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi has reported that crimes including arbitrary detention and execution, torture and intimidation have not stopped in spite of a pledge by President Evariste Ndayishimiye to address the country's dire human rights record. The Commission was established by the Human Rights Council in 2016 to conduct investigations into human rights violations and abuses in Burundi since April 2015, including on their extent and whether they may constitute international crimes.
17 September 2021: The trial of Salih Mustafa, a former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) commander indicted on charges of war crimes, opened on Wednesday, marking the first trial heard at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers. In their opening statement, The Prosecutors argued that there is irrefutable evidence that Mustafa is guilty of the torture of at least six people and the murder of another.
16 September 2021: The Human Rights Watch have reported that Eritrean soldiers and Tigrayan fighters committed "clear war crimes" by raping, detaining and killing Eritrean refugees in the conflict-stricken northern region of Tigray in Ethiopia. Fighting between Ethiopia's federal troops and forces loyal to the Tigray's Liberation Front (TPLF), which controls the region, broke out in November 2020 and has created a severe humanitarian crisis leaving 400,000 people facing famine-like conditions, according to the United Nations.
15 September 2021: The International Criminal Court (ICC) Pre-Trial Chamber 1 granted the ICC Prosecutor the request to investigate crimes against humanity allegedly committed on the territory of the Philippines between 1 November 2011 and 16 March 2019 in the context of the so-called 'war on drugs' campaign.
14 September 2021: The Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM) presented its third annual report to the UN Human Rights Council, where it warned that serious crimes and violations of international law, including crimes against humanity, continue to be committed in Myanmar. The Mechanism was created by the UNHRC to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyse evidence of the most serious international crimes and violations of international law committed in Myanmar since 2011 and to prepare files focusing on the criminal conduct of persons responsible.
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 (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.