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News updates

[Advanced summer programme] Terrorism, counter-terrorism and the rule of law

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

26 July 2022: In Colombia the Special Peace Tribunal, tasked with investigating atrocities committed during the conflict between the state and the FARC, has charged 19 soldiers with war crimes and crimes against humanity for the murder of 303 people, predominantly civilians, between 2005 and 2008.

22 July 2022: The International Court of Justice has rejected Myanmar’s objections to the genocide case, brought to the Court by Gambia against Myanmar based on the 1948 Genocide Convention, over its treatment of the Rohingya minority. The court will now proceed to hearing the merits of the case.

21 July 2022: The UN mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has reported that the Taliban has been responsible for human rights violations since they seized power in 2021. These violations include extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary arrests and inhumane punishments.

20 July 2022: According to Amnesty International, the Myanmar military is committing war crimes by planting antipersonnel landmines on a massive scale in and around villages in the Kayah region, killing and injuring civilians. Antipersonnel landmines are an indiscriminate weapon and their use has been banned internationally under international humanitarian law.

15 July 2022: During a conference at the headquarters of the International Criminal Court in the Hague, 45 states have signed a political declaration in order to coordinate international efforts to bring Russia’s military forces to justice. The states also promised to provide funds to assist the ICC, the prosecutor general’s office in Ukraine and efforts of the United Nations to investigate war crimes.

14 July 2022: A Swedish court has sentenced former Iranian official Hamid Noury to life in prison for his role in the mass execution and torture of political prisoners in the 1980’s. Noury was convicted for war crimes committed in Iran under the principle of universal jurisdiction. 

13 July 2022: A French court has sentenced Laurent Bucyibaruta, a former Rwandan prefect, to 20 years in prison for his role during the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda. Bucyibaruta was acquitted as a perpetrator of genocide, but was found guilty as an accomplice to genocide and crimes against humanity.

12 July 2022: The BBC has reported that UK Special Forces in Afghanistan may have unlawfully killed at least 54 (unarmed) persons between November 2010 and May 2011. Additionally, the BBC found evidence that Senior officers were aware there was a concern over possible unlawful killings, but failed to report the suspicions to military police.

11 July 2022: Romania has opened an investigation into possible crimes against humanity committed in (neighbouring state) Ukraine since the invasion by Russia. The Romanian Prosecutor's office emphasized upon the severity of the consequences of the attacks for the civilian population. 

7 July 2022: A federal court in Argentina has sentenced nineteen former military officers for crimes against humanity committed during the military dictatorship (1976-1983). The crimes included forced disappearances, murder, torture and the abduction of children.

6 July 2022: The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has stated that arbitrary detention of civilians, as well as enforced disappearances, has become widespread in the parts of Ukraine that are under the control of the Russian military and affiliated armed groups.

5 July 2022: The Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya has identified new suspected mass graves in Tarhuna, Libya, and found evidence of widespread and systematic perpetration of enforced disappearances, extermination, murder, torture and imprisonment amounting to crimes against humanity, committed by militias.

4 July 2022: French prosecutors have opened an investigation into allegations of complicity in war crimes against French corporation Groupe Castel. The corporation is suspected of having made payments to local armed militia in the Central African Republic.

1 July 2022: Pre-Trial Chamber 1 of the ICC has issued three arrest warrants in the context of the situation in Georgia with the three individuals being accused of war crimes. The arrest warrants relate to conduct during the 2008 armed conflict between Russia and Georgia. 

28 June 2022: A German court will deliver its verdict in the trial of a 101-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard charged with complicity in war crimes during the Holocaust. Josef Schuetz is accused of involvement in the murders of 3,518 prisoners between 1942 and 1945.

New cases, briefs and videos

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

NEW BRIEF: A new ICD Brief is available on the International Crimes Database entitled "The Crime of Ecocide Through Human Rights: A New Tool for Climate Justice", by Lisa Oldring and Kate Mackintosh. This Brief is part of the ICD Ecocide Brief Series. 

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.