Habre appeal on 9 Jan, UNSC extends ICTY, Rwandan genocide trial delayed, and UN on Colombian amnesty bill

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Habre appeal to be heard on 9 Jan by Extraordinary African Chambers: The Extraordinary African Chambers – a special tribunal set up by Senegal and the African Union – will hear the appeal of former president of Chad Hissene Habre against his conviction for war crimes and crimes against humanity on 9 January 2017. The Extraordinary Chambers convicted Habre in May of this year for acts committed during his eight-year presidency from 1982-1990, and he received a life sentence for his crimes. Habre is thought to have overseen up to 40,000 politically-motivated murders, including many by the State intelligence police. Though Habre continues to refuse to recognise the jurisdiction of the special tribunal, his lawyers requested an appeal against May’s verdict. (News 24, Reuters, Yahoo News)

UNSC extends terms of office of ICTY judges until Nov 2017: The UN Security Council on Monday voted unanimously to adopt Resolution 2329 (2016), thereby extending the office of the ICTY’s seven permanent judges (comprising both the Trial Chamber and the Appeals Chamber) until November 2017. The extension will run until the 30th of November next year or until the completion of the cases to which the judges were or would be assigned, whichever is sooner. The Security Council’s Resolution also underlined that “States should cooperate fully with the ICTY” as well as with the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (the MICT); reappointed Serge Brammertz as the Prosecutor of the MICT; and emphasised that this extension of terms would be final. (Relief Web)

Ntaganzwa genocide trial before Rwanda court delayed for defence preparations: The Specialised Chamber for International Crimes of Rwanda’s High Court has postponed the hearing of Ladislas Ntaganzwa, a former Rwandan mayor accused of genocide and extradited from the DR Congo to Rwanda this March. Ntaganzwa is charged with participation in genocide and public incitement to commit genocide, as well as extermination, murder and rape as crimes against humanity. Appearing in court on Monday, he requested that his trial be delayed on the grounds that he had not had sufficient time to prepare his defence subsequent to his receipt of the indictment one week ago. The Prosecution agreed that an extension could be granted to the defendant on the condition that no further delays are raised at subsequent hearings prior to the commencement of the trial. The presiding judge agreed to grant Ntaganzwa until March 6 to prepare, but warned that he should not attempt to drag the case out. Ntaganzwa had previously been indicted by the ICTR, but was still at large when the ICTR closed – the international court subsequently handed its pending indictments over to Rwanda, which has since secured Ntaganzwa’s arrest. (The New Times)

UN OHCHR responds to amnesty bill in Colombia: As an amnesty law which would pardon all FARC members who are not suspected or convicted of grave violations of international humanitarian law is currently debated in Colombia’s Congress, the UN has urged the government to ensure the legislation “fully respects international standards regarding human rights.” The law is now before Congress following the Constitutional Court’s approval of the government’s new peace deal with FARC rebels, and would form part of a larger transitional justice system being constructed to accommodate the prosecution of 16,000 FARC members, 24,400 state officials and 12,500 civilians. Commentators have observed that the law must pass if FARC rebels are to demobilise and submit to vetting against war crime allegations. The statement by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia provides that the UN “recommends providing procedures and resources to ensure that amnesties contribute to the obtaining of truth, justice and reparation for victims,” and the UN’s mission chief in Colombia has cautioned that “the benefits granted must be the result of the fulfilment of commitments made by eventual beneficiaries of the measures. They cannot be the starting point nor become an end in themselves.” A vote on the amnesty law is expected by the end of the year. (Colombia Reports)

News Courtesy: ICL media review | News Uploader: Sharmin Jannat Bhutto

 

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