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08 Feb 2012 NPWJ News Digest on international criminal justice
Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed resigns amid unrest
BBC News, 07 Feb 2012
Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed has resigned after weeks of demonstrations and a mutiny by some police officers.
Vice-President Waheed Hassan was sworn in vowing to uphold the "rule of law".
Mr Nasheed is being held against his will by security forces at the presidential palace in the capital …
Kenya: Ocampo Dismisses Appeal Requests By ICC Suspects
By Oliver Mathenge, 06 Feb 2012
International Criminal Court Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has dismissed requests by Kenyan suspects to be allowed to appeal the decision confirming their cases.
The prosecutor dismissed the issues raised by the suspects as not appealable, adding that they are just disagreements with the ruling.
He says that the suspects have erred in trying to show that the pre-trial Judges made mistakes by giving more credibility to the prosecution witnesses and evidence.
Rwanda petitions AU, UN over indictments
By Gaaki Kigambo and Berna Namata, 05 Feb 2012
Rwanda has petitioned the African Union and the United Nations for its officials who were indicted by French and Spanish judges to be relieved of what it perceives as politically motivated judicial decisions.
In 2006, French judge Louis Bruguière indicted nine government officials for complicity in the assassination of former Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana.
In 2008, based on Bruguière’s investigations, Spanish judge Andreu Merelles indicted 40 high-ranking government officials for committing crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and terrorism, between 1990 and 2002.
Whereas the French indictments now lie in a shambles after Bruguière’s investigations were re-examined by his predecessor Marc Trévidic and found to have been false, they have not been officially withdrawn.
International court ruling: immunity for Nazi-era war crimes
By Derek Scally, 04 Feb 2012
THE UN’s highest court has confirmed German immunity from prosecution over cases involving Nazi-era war crimes.
The International Court of Justice in The Hague threw out a ruling by Italy’s highest court holding Germany liable for the 1944 Nazi massacre of 250 Italian partisans in Tuscany.
Germany went to The Hague, arguing that a 1961 compensation payment of DM40 million to Italy had fulfilled German obligations under international law. It argued that no court had jurisdiction to force a foreign country to pay reparations and that the Italian ruling violated international rules on foreign state immunity.
Khmer Rouge Chief Jailer Gets Life in Prison
By Sopheng Cheang, Associated Press, 03 Feb 2012
A U.N.-backed tribunal's Supreme Court lengthened the sentence for the Khmer Rouge's chief jailer to life imprisonment on Friday because of his "shocking and heinous" crimes against the Cambodian people.
The surprise ruling increased a lower court's 19-year sentence for Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch. Prosecutors had appealed the sentence as too lenient, and outraged survivors had feared the man who oversaw the torture and killing of thousands could one day walk free.
Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago Hold Talks on Criminal Justice Reform
Caribbean Journal, 01 Feb 2012
The governments of Venezuela and Trinidad have begun discussions about potential cooperation on penal reform, offender management and other criminal justice issues.
Trinidad’s Justice Minister Herbert Volney met yesterday with Venezuelan Ambassador Maria Eugenia Marcano Casado for discussions at the International Waterfront head office of the Ministry of Justice.
Volney indicated Trinidad would “welcome the opportunity” to share its findings on criminal justice, saying that both countries had begun a “paradigm shift” in the reform of their systems.
Guatemala Genocide Ruling a Triumph for Survivors
By Paul Seils, 01 Feb 2012
(…) a Guatemalan court ruled the country's former president, General Efraín Ríos Montt, will stand trial for genocide and crimes against humanity committed thirty years ago. After decades spent hiding behind parliamentary immunity he will finally be held accountable for ordering massacres, disappearances, and the systematic destruction of hundreds of communities. The last few decades have seen a revolution in the global struggle against impunity, but even for those of us who follow the pursuit of justice in Guatemala closely, Thursday's decision ranks among the most astonishing developments. Belatedly, but valiantly, a new breed of prosecutors, led by Attorney General Claudia Paz, have finally allowed his victims' pleas for justice to be heard.
In 2004 the Guatemalan government admitted before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that Ríos Montt's regime had pursued a strategy of genocide. The case before the court back then was the Plan de Sánchez massacre in July 1982, where more than 260 people were murdered. The army arrived at dawn, rounding up the villagers, cutting off all escape routes, dividing the women into two groups; one for raping before their deaths and the other just for killing. To save bullets women were crowded into a small house that was set on fire with grenades. The Plan De Sánchez massacre was one of well over 300 massacres during the worst phase of the civil war and was by no means the largest.