(For older news updates, please visit our news archive.)
20 January 2021: A complaint alleging torture has been filed against the new Interpol president, Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi at the specialised judicial unit for crimes against humanity and war crimes of the Paris Tribunal. He was elected for a four-year term as Interpol president in November 2021 despite concerns raised by human rights groups over his involvement in torture and arbitrary detentions in the UAE.
19 January 2021: The trial of Alaa M, a former Syrian doctor accused of crimes against humanity, began at the Frankfurt Higher Regional court. The accused allegedly committed several acts of torture in military prisons in Homs and Damascus before coming to Germany and working as a doctor in several hospitals until his arrest in June 2020.
18 January 2021: The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) dropped genocide, crimes against humanity and torture charges against Meas Muth, an ex-navy commander of the Khmer Rouge. Explaining the termination of the case, the judges argued that there was an absence of a "definitive and enforceable indictment".
14 January 2021: Six Lithuanian citizens have filed a lawsuit against former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev for war crimes committed on 11 -13 January 1991 in the aftermath of the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania, which resulted in the deaths of 14 unarmed civilians and injury to more than 700 people.
13 January 2021: The Higher Regional Court in Koblenz, Germany convicted Anwar Raslan, a former senior intelligence officer of the Assad regime in Syria, on charges of crimes against humanity involving torture, murder and rape. The landmark trial marks the first criminal case brought over state-led torture during Syria's civil war.
18 December 2021: The Guardian reported that Kamel Jendoubi, who served as the chairman of the Group of Eminent Experts in Yemen (GEE) – a panel mandated by the UN to investigate possible war crimes in Yemen, had his phone targeted with spyware made by Israeli surveillance firm NSO group. He was targeted "weeks before" his report to the Human Rights Council, where he outlined that the Saudi-led coalition in the Yemen war had committed serious violations of international humanitarian law.
17 December 2021: Despite strong opposition from the Ethiopian delegation, the UN Human Rights Council voted in favour of a resolution establishing a panel of experts to investigate war crimes and human rights violations that allegedly occurred during the war in Tigray, Ethiopia. The resolution, which was brought forward by the EU, passed with 21 states in favor, 15 opposed, including Russia and China, and 11 abstentions.
16 December 2021: Eight former Bosnian Serb army personnel were arrested on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Bosnian police. According to the Bosnian prosecutor's office, the accused were involved in the killing of around 100 Bosniaks in the southern Bosnian region of Nevesinje in 1992.10 December 2021: Min Aung Hlaing, the Burmese army general who declared himself prime minister of Myanmar following the February 2021 coup d'état, has been accused of committing crimes against humanity by the Myanmar Accountability Project (MAP) in a submission to the International Criminal Court. According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), approximately 1,305 people have been killed and 10,765 people have been arrested as a result of the military crackdown against anti-coup protestors.
9 December 2021: The Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court partially confirmed the charges brought by the ICC Prosecutor against Mahamat Said Abdel Kani, which include war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Bangui, Central African Republic in 2013. Said was surrendered to the Court on 24 January 2021, pursuant to an arrest warrant issued on 7 January 2019.
8 December 2021: Amnesty International published a briefing titled ‘One Step Forward, Two Steps Backwards: Justice in the Central African Republic’, where it reported that several persons suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity remain at large in the Central African Republic (CAR). The Special Criminal Court, a hybrid court that has jurisdiction over international crimes committed during a series of conflicts since 2003 in CAR, does not have a single suspect in pre-trial detention and there have been no criminal trials in nearly 20 months.
7 December 2021: In line with a previous judgement by a lower Dutch court, the Hague Court of Appeals ruled that Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and one other senior military official cannot be held liable in a case alleging war crimes committed during Israel’s 2014 offensive targeting Gaza.
6 December 2021: Today, the 20th session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened at the World Forum Convention Center in The Hague, The Netherlands. Addressing the Assembly, President of the ICC, Judge Piotr Hofmański, said: "If I had to summarise in one sentence what I want to say today, it would be this: 'the ICC is on a good path' while the President of the ASP, H.E. Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, noted the significance of Court as a central piece of global justice.
2 December 2021: Around sixty civil society organisations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, called for the restoration of a new independent panel of experts to collect and preserve evidence of possible war crimes by all sides in the armed conflict in Yemen. On 7 October 2021, the Human Rights Council rejected a resolution to renew the mandate of the previous panel of experts, Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen.
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.