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

29 September 2020: According to SkyNews investigations, evidence of a recent war crime has been discovered in Northern Yemen, alleged to have been orchestrated by the Saudi-led coalition, which is backed by the United States and Britain. The journalists claim to have gathered the evidence by examining the area and talking to multiple eyewitnesses as well as survivors of a recent massacre in the remote village of Washah near the Yemeni-Saudi border where there was an airstrike on a family home.

28 September 2020: The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) announced via twitter that French prosecutors had opened a formal investigation of BNP Paribas over its alleged complicity in crimes against humanity, genocide and torture in Sudan. Nearly a year ago, nine sudanese victims filed a complaint, with the help of the FIDH and Project Expedite Justice, against BNP Paribas for its involvement in the atrocities committed in Sudan between 2002 and 2008. The complaint alleged that BNP Paribas and its Swiss subsidiary served as the “de facto” bank for the Sudanese government at a time when the government committed massive human rights violations. 

25 September 2020: Former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) commander during the 1998-99 Kosovo conflict, Salih Mustafa, has been arrested in Kosovo and transferred to the Kosovo war crimes tribunal’s detention center in the Netherlands, the court said. The indictment charges Mustafa, 48, with four counts of war crimes including the beating and torture of at least six people and one murder. According to the indictment, Mustafa led a guerilla unit which ran a detention facility and interrogation site where inmates were beaten, tortured, given electric shocks and urinated on.

24 September 2020: According to the UN-backed Residual Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals in The Hague, Milivoj Petkovic has already been transferred to a Belgian jail to serve the remainder of his 20-year term for crimes against Bosniaks during the Bosnian war. Petkovic was convicted in 2017 of committing crimes against humanity, violations of the laws or customs of war, and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions between 1992 and 1994. He was found guilty of participating in a joint criminal enterprise intended to remove Bosniaks from territories of Bosnia and Herzegovina in which the Bosnian Croat leadership, along with the leadership of Croatia, wanted to establish Croat domination.

23 September 2020: According to CNN, former Foreign Affairs Secretary of the Philipines, Albert del Rosario, announced that Justice Antonio Carpio, an expert on the law of the sea, will serve as lawyer in charging Xi Jimping for crimes against humanity for Beijing's illegal moves in the disputed waters. The filing said China's encroachment on islands in the South China Sea, including the Spratly Islands, resulted in "environmentally destructive and illegal reclamations and artificial island building activities" in Scarborough Shoal and the Kalayaan Islands and deprived Filipino fishermen from livelihood.  

22 September 2020: Former Bosnian Serb army fighter, Ranko Radulovic has been indicted for crimes against humanity against the Bosniak civilian population in and around the Foca area as a member of the Bosnian Serb Army during the war. According to the prosecution, Radulovic, who has citizenship of Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, was charged with persecuting the Bosniak civilian population during July and August 1992, acting jointly with others and participating, as part of this prosecution, in an attack on civilians and villages that resulted in the deaths of victims.

21 September 2020: Eric Danboy Bagale, a former presidential guard from the Central African Republic was arrested in eastern France on Tuesday and taken to Paris. He is accused of leading a group of largely Christian militias which carried out revenge killings after the CAR's president was ousted in 2013. Mr Bagale has been indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity, both for his actions as head of former President François Bozizé's guard and later as head of the mostly Christian anti-Balaka militias, according to the AFP news agency.

New cases, briefs and videos

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

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.

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.