AC Judgment for Stanisic and Zupljanin, Gaddafi request to ICC, ECCC testimony on purges, and more

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ICTY AC affirms TC Judgment against Stanisic and Župljanin: On 30 June 2016, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia affirmed the convictions of Mićo Stanišić, former Minister of the Interior of Republika Srpska, and Stojan Župljanin, former Chief of the Regional Security Services Centre of Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The judgment confirms that Stanišić and Župljanin are criminally responsible for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, including persecutions, murder, torture and extermination. The Chamber dismissed all of their grounds of appeal, which included arguments that their right to a fair trial had been violated due to the participation of Judge Frederik Harhoff in the proceedings, as he had been disqualified from another case. The Chamber also affirmed the Trial Chamber’s conclusion that both of the accused significantly contributed to the joint criminal enterprise and possessed the requisite intent. The Chamber did, however, find that the Trial Chamber had failed to provide a reasoned opinion on various matters, but concluded that these errors did not invalidate the judgment. (ICTY Press Release)

Saif Gaddafi new defence team to request that ICC case declared inadmissible: On 27 June, the newly formed defence team for Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi held a press conference in The Hague to announce the formation of the new team and plans for future steps. Karim Khan, one of the lawyers for Saif, announced that he will request that the International Criminal Court drop the case against Saif, citing the Court’s double jeopardy provision by requesting that the case currently at the ICC against Saif be declared inadmissible. Khan stated that as Saif, the former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s son, has already been tried and convicted in Libya for the same crimes alleged at the ICC, he cannot be tried twice and the ICC must therefore find the ICC case to be inadmissible before the Court. This is despite the fact that the original sentence assigned after Saif’s conviction before Libya courts – a death sentence – has yet to be carried out. (The Quint)

ECCC hears testimony from son of Cadre on purges in the East Zone: Meas Soeurn, the son of former Khmer Rouge official Seng Hong, testified in the internal purges segment of the trial against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan. His father acted as deputy to East Zone secretary Sao Phim and Soeurn acted as a messenger, amongst other roles, for his father. In his testimony, Soeurn spoke of the purges of cadres, who were accused of betraying the party and colluding with the Vietnamese. He also recalled leaflets being dropped in the East Zone depicting Sao Phim as a traitor. Soeurn testified that Sao Phim did not want them to fight back but instead said that he would try to solve the problems by communicating with Pol Pot. (Phnom Penh Post, Cambodia Daily)

German MPs file war crimes complaint against Turkish President Erdogan: A group of German MPs and public figures have filed a lawsuit against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, former prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu and other government officials and members of the military and police. The lawsuit accuses them of committing war crimes in the Kurdish areas of the country, where according to the suit civilians were found burned, some perhaps alive. According to Britta Eder and Petra Dervishaj, lawyers for the group, despite the alleged crimes being committed outside German territory, it is possible under German law for the group to file the suit due to the Code on International Criminal Law. (Massis Post) 

UN Human Rights Council. Photo: United States Mission Geneva via Flickr (CC).
UN Human Rights Council. Photo: United States Mission Geneva via Flickr (CC).

Amnesty calls for suspension of Saudi Arabia from UN HR Council: On June 29 2016, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch issued a joint statement accusing Saudi Arabia of committing ‘gross and systematic violations of human rights’ and obstructing justice for war crimes through its position on the UN Human Rights Council. The groups demanded the country’s immediate suspension from the Human Rights Council (HRC) and an independent inquiry into the situation in Yemen, stating that ‘the credibility of the UN Human Rights Council is at stake’. Saudi Arabia is accused of committing grave war crimes through its coalition in Yemen, where it has carried out deadly airstrikes on civilians, which the HRC has failed to investigate. In addition, at home, the country is accused of carrying out hundreds of executions, sentencing children to death row, and has harshly cracked down on any form of opposition. The groups state that Saudi Arabia has thus far managed to evade accountability from the UN by threatening to disengage from the UN and withdraw its financial support for humanitarian projects. Amnesty and Human Rights Watch also strongly criticised the international community, in particular the U.S. and the U.K., for continuing to ‘put business, arms and trade deals before human rights’. (Salon, AmnestyUSA)

German Prosecutors drop investigation after finding 94 yr old Nazi war crimes suspect unfit to stand trial: On 29 June 2016, German prosecutors announced that the case against former SS soldier Wilhelm Kusterer is to be scrapped due to the 94-year-old’s poor health. In 2008, Kusterer was sentenced to life in prison in absentia in Italy for his participation in the 1944 Marzabotto massacre of 770 civilians. However, Jan Holzner, the spokesperson for the Stuttgart prosecutors, stated that in addition to health reasons there is insufficient evidence in Germany to secure a conviction. (ABC News, Jerusalem Post)

Post by: Firouzeh Mitchell

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