Archive for category International Criminal Court
Callixte Mbarushimana, the FDLR leader wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes allegedly committed in the Kivus in 2009, was transferred by the French authorities to The Hague yesterday.
See the Jurist report here.
Callixte Mbarushimana is the fifth person to be arrested following the issuance of an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court.
His initial appearance before the Court should take place on Friday at 9.30 CET. See the ICC press release here.
Callixte Mbarushimana’s Lawyer Contests Validity of Arrest Warrant – Divulgation Issues With OTP Continue
After Callixte Mbarushimana’s failure to stop the French authorities from transferring him to The Hague, Nicholas Kaufmann, his lawyer, has a new trick up his sleeve to try to get his client released: contesting the validity of the arrest warrant that was issued on 28 September 2010. We are not yet even close to the trial stage of the proceedings, and already problems are appearing that are worth commenting upon.
The claim. Mr. Kaufman’s main argument is that the arrest warrant for Callixte Mbarushimana was “sought and issued at a time when the case against him was plainly inadmissible” because there was an ongoing investigation regarding these same crimes and his client in Germany. This, he argues, despite the Prosecution’s claims that there were no such investigations in any State when they applied for the arrest warrant, and in violation of the fundamental principle of complementarity the International Criminal Court functions on.
To put it in simple terms, the Defence’s filing argues in elaborate and lawyerly terms that the Prosecution lied on a fundamental condition of admissibility – that there is no ongoing investigation for the same crimes anywhere – to get the Pre-Trial Chamber to issue the arrest warrant.
For now, it is hard to assess the validity of Mr. Kaufman’s claims, and it is better to wait for the Prosecution’s rebuttal due on Monday to pass any form of judgment or comment on this. However, it doesn’t stop there. Read the rest of this entry »
David Bosco is raising the alarm on his excellent blog The Multilateralist over at Foreign Policy on some potentially very bad news for the international criminal justice project, regarding the ICC’s difficulties in Africa and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s delicate mission in an explosive-as-ever Lebanon.
The post is not very long, so it is difficult for me to quote excerpts without quoting the entire thing (which would not be appropriate without the author’s approval), so I can only strongly suggest you read it.
I do not have time for a detailed response, so I will have to content myself with two quick observations:
Regarding an engineered African withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the threat is undeniably there, and I do not doubt the credibility of the reports David Bosco mentions. However, things are a little more complex than what they appear, as Africa is a) not a homogeneous block – some African States are very pro-ICC, others a bit less, a few outright anti-; b) some African States do have an interest in having the ICC intervening in their country, and c) I was surprised while reading the statements given by delegations at the latest Assembly of States Parties at how conciliatory and even positively low-profile the African States’ declarations were. You’d think for a continent plotting to leave the Rome Statute in a coup, they would raise the issues bothering them in a louder fashion than what they did last month.
I sincerely doubt anything would happen before the Prosecutorial elections next year. The African group has a strong chance of having elected an African Prosecutor for the ICC, and I simply do not see them forfeiting that chance.
Regarding the situation in Lebanon, it is particularly delicate and one I have been meaning to write on for quite a while, and probably will as soon as I have a little more time on my hands (I still have a pile of reports on Lebanon to go through first). But it seems clear that the difficulties at the heart of the peace versus justice debate have never been so discernible and clear-cut than it is there. This is a situation to monitor and think about, for both sides.
Hopefully, I will have time to write more about each situation soon.
As readers may know, I have been paying particular attention to the African Union’s attempt to put together a comprehensive counter-terrorism treaty, and have already posted some thoughts on the matter on the al-Wasat blog a few days before Christmas.
A few more thoughts occurred to me today as I was reading (for my current employer) the statements given by delegations to the Ninth Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court, which took place last month in New York. I still have a handful to go through, but so far the delegation from Nigeria’s statement (PDF file) has particularly caught my attention.
From the third paragraph of the statement, I quote and emphasize:
One significant contribution of our common efforts in developing an international criminal justice under the Rome Statute is the strengthening of the international community, acting in concert, to check the activities of armed non-state actors. As we all know, these are usually armed groups that operate outside state control or authority, often constituting threats to corporate existence of their victim states through operational styles marked by horrendous acts of impunity.
I was intrigued by the mention of ‘armed non-state actors’, also known as non-State armed groups. Of course, that term means many things. In fact, it is fairly self-explanatory: any armed group that is not under the direct control of a State is, logically, a non-State armed group.
But as I read that I subconsciously understood “terrorist groups” and that has brought me back to what I wrote last month. Read the rest of this entry »
For those who are looking for it, the link to watch the ICC Prosecutor’s Press Conference regarding the investigations and prosecutions in the situation in Kenya is the following: http://livestream.xs4all.nl/icc5.asx
The ICC website seems to be down at the moment of writing, but hopefully they’ll get it fixed within the 8 next minutes.
UPDATE: The ICC website is still down, but the livestream is alive and kicking.
UPDATE II: At 12.34 CET, the conference is now over.
UPDATE III: For those who missed the Conference but wish to listen to it nonetheless, RNW has made it available at the following address: http://www.rnw.nl/international-justice/article/ocampo-names-kenyan-suspects.
From the ICC website (emphasis being, as always, mine):
ICC Prosecutor: alleged war crimes in the territory of the Republic of Korea under preliminary examination
The Office of the Prosecutor has received communications alleging that North Korean forces committed war crimes in the territory of the Republic of Korea. The Prosecutor of the ICC, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, confirmed that the Office has opened a preliminary examination to evaluate if some incidents constitute war crimes under the jurisdiction of the Court. They are:
- the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island on the 23 November 2010 which resulted in the killing of South Korean marines and civilians and the injury of many others; and
- the sinking of a South Korean warship, the Cheonan, hit by a torpedo allegedly fired from a North Korean submarine on 26 March 2010, which resulted in the death of 46 persons.
The Republic of Korea has been a State Party to the Rome Statute since 13 November 2002. As such, the ICC has jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide possibly committed on the territory of the Republic of Korea or by its nationals since 1st February 2003, date on which the Statute entered into force in the Republic of Korea.
This, in combination with the recent Wikileaks regarding China’s readiness to drop the North Korean regime could make for an interesting situation to follow in Korea. The ICC as an instrument of justice, contributing to the reunification of the two Koreas?
Let’s not quite go beyond ourselves yet, but hey, why not? Read the rest of this entry »
This is a guest post by my good friend and journalist Mélanie Gouby, who is currently in the Kivus, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Being aware of her views on the Bemba Trial, I asked her if she would be willing to write a guest post for The International Jurist to share them and perhaps begin a discussion on the latest ICC trial. She readily accepted, and made time in what I know to be a very busy schedule to write the post in the briefest delays, for which I am very grateful.
You can read more of Mélanie Gouby’s work on her blog, Going with the Wind (Facebook page here), recently nominated in the Best New Blog category for the 2010 Aid Blog Awards. You can also follow her on Twitter @Melaniegouby.
The scales of the atrocities committed in central Africa over the last two decades is unmatched by any other conflict since World War Two, if only in the number of deaths. The Democratic Republic of Congo in particular has seen millions of people being massacred, raped, maimed, dying of diseases in insalubrious refugees camps and losing everything that made them human beings. Congo is an ongoing genocide. The reasons to the never-ending violence, devastating in a country already striped to the bones, are numerous. From the conveniently illegal mineral trade to the political factions trying to get their share of power, there is not one solution to end it. But there is one demand that unite all Congolese people: Justice. Read the rest of this entry »
For some reason, this story keeps catching my interest. Here is the latest development (excerpt):
A Kenyan official today confirmed that the summit will take place in Addis Ababa to prevent Bashir’s presence from overshadowing the meeting.
“We don’t want to take our eyes off the ball. This is a very crucial meeting and we want to extract a commitment from the main actors in Juba and Khartoum that they will respect the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and that they will play their role in ensuring the referendum goes ahead peacefully,” acting Foreign affairs Permanent Secretary Patrick Wamoto was quoted as saying by the ’Daily Nation’ newspaper.
Wamoto said that invitations for the summit in Addis Ababa went out in President Kibaki’s name because Kenya chairs the subcommittee on Sudan in the IGAD.
He further said Kenya would have preferred that the meeting be held in Naivasha where the North-South peace agreement was signed but the risk that Bashir’s presence would provide the main focus of international attention during the meeting forced a rethink.
Needless to say, I do not miss Moses Wetangula.
Many thanks to Uli Zumsande for sending me this via Twitter.
Previous posts on the subject:
- A Rapid Follow-Up to the al-Bashir in Kenya Saga
- The al-Bashir in Kenya Saga Continues
- An Intolerable Affront
The current tensions between the African Union and the International Criminal Court are often the object of international criminal lawyers’ discussions, and are particularly seized upon by skeptics and critics of the Court. For the Court and its supporters however, it has also been the subject of much reflection and concern, and this up to the highest levels (see ICC President Song’s opening remarks at the ICC-NGO biannual meetings a few weeks ago). Tensions and frustrations are flaring, and there seems to be no end to the standoff between the UN Security Council and the ICC on one side, and the African Union and Sudan on the other.
In the midst of these frictions that clearly threaten the ICC’s credibility in Africa, the Institute for Security Studies published last week an excellent Position Paper titled “An African expert study on the African Union concerns about article 16 of the Rome Statute of the ICC”, written by three African international law experts, namely Dapo Akande, Max du Plessis and Charles Chernor Jalloh.
As the title very clearly suggests, the authors give a very detailed analysis of the African Union’s position towards article 16 of the Rome Statute, in particular as it relates to the current tensions arising from the ICC’s involvement in Darfur.
Before giving some of my personal thoughts on the study’s findings, I first have to say that this report is brilliant and enlightening. It takes a very clear and rigorous approach to the raised questions on the role article 16 has to play, and makes the case for the African Union’s position without falling into the usual anti-West postcolonial political rhetoric that I find too often pollutes the debate and makes the real legal case inaudible. Although some would say there’s nothing new in the study for anyone who has followed AU-ICC relations closely, I still find that it puts a fresh perspective and offers a coherent analysis that puts the difference pieces of the puzzle in order.
I would recommend the reading of this report to anyone interested in understanding the state of ICC-AU relations, and more specifically, the legal aspects of the AU’s position towards the ICC.
I won’t summarize and go over the entire report, but briefly mention three main ideas that I think structure the paper and that particularly shed light on the ongoing conflict: Read the rest of this entry »
So al-Bashir did not go to Kenya today. Instead, the IGAD summit that was initially supposed to take place in Nairobi will take place instead at a date still to be determined in Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia, which is not a State Party to the Rome Statute and therefore is not bound to execute the arrest warrants. At the insistence of the United States, Security Council Resolution 1593, which referred the situation of Darfur to the International Criminal Court, makes that very clear at paragraph 2 (emphasis is mine):
2. Decides that the Government of Sudan and all other parties to the conflict in Darfur, shall cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the Court and the Prosecutor pursuant to this resolution and, while recognizing that States not party to the Rome Statute have no obligation under the Statute, urges all States and concerned regional and other international organizations to cooperate fully;
Kenya did respond to Pre-Trial Chamber I’s request (see my previous post) by merely stating that there was no plan for the Sudanese President to come, which was, once the summit was moved to Ethiopia, true.
There’s not much to say here, and perhaps the saga ends here. The Pre-Trial Chamber’s “warning shot” probably did, despite (former) Kenyan Foreign Minister Wetangula’s claims, dissuade Kenya from holding the summit and receiving Bashir.
I did particularly enjoy Mr. Wetangula’s arguments in that article, not only claiming that Kenya did not push for the summit to be held in Ethiopia because of the ICC Judges’ request (to be fair, only the Kenyan authorities know for certain, but that’s very unlikely), but also said some pretty ludicrous things, such as “We have no demands from the ICC and we are not the arresting agents of the ICC so that is not an issue” (oh, really? Just imagine what people like Moses Wetangula would say if ICC investigators conducted an arrest à la Eichmann), and “ICC does not have a hold on Kenya, we are a signatory to a treaty establishing it so we cannot live under fear over a treaty that we are just a party to” (to be honest, I’m not really sure what that means).
As for the “former” in front of Foreign Minister, Mr. Wetangula resigned last Wednesday over allegations of corruption.