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21 Mar 2012-NPWJ News Digest on International Criminal Justice
Rwanda:Gacaca closure postponed to June 18
kigali, Hirondelle News Agency, 21 Mar 2012
Rwandan government announced on Monday that the Gacaca courts closure ceremony was postponed to June 18. According to Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Pascal Ruganintwari, “there are no cases left before Gacaca courts”, but the official closure had to be delayed again because of some backlog in documents translation.
The closure of Gacaca courts was first announced in 2007 but has been postponed several times due to what officials call complexity of certain cases and the discovery of new facts.
Gacaca courts have the competence to try all genocide suspects except top planners at national and prefectural level. They can impose sentences of up to life imprisonment which is now the maximum sentence in Rwanda.
Gacaca judges are volunteers and are not professional lawyers but rather people elected by their communities on the basis of integrity. Some have, however, themselves been accused of genocide, subsequently tried and convicted or acquitted. Some have also been caught at corruption.
Afghan transition process on track despite recent violent incidents
Ján Kubiš, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, UNNews, 21 Mar 2012
The transition process in Afghanistan remains on track despite recent tragic incidents, the United Nations envoy to the country said today, adding that efforts continue to strengthen the capacity of national institutions to maintain rule of law and provide services to the population.
“Recent events should not overshadow positive trends and developments,” said Jan Kubiš, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), in a briefing to the Security Council.
“The transition so far has been on track and on target and the Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF) have proven that they are up to the task,” he said, referring to the gradual transfer of security responsibilities from the UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to national authorities.
He said that he has, during his interactions with the leadership and other Afghans in the first two months as head of UNAMA, drawn hope from the strong expressions of the desire for peace.
Congo-Kinshasa: Serious Human Rights Violations Committed During Elections - UN Report
Allafrica.com, 20 Mar 2012
Serious human rights violations, including killings, disappearances and arbitrary detentions, were committed by Congolese and security forces during last year's presidential and legislative elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to a United Nations report released today.
The report documents the killing of at least 33 people by security forces in Kinshasa, the capital, between 26 November and 25 December, as well as the wounding of 83 others, most of them by bullets. In addition, 16 people remain unaccounted for and 265 people were arrested, many of them saying they were arbitrarily detained and tortured while in confinement.
The 28 November election was only the country's second multi-party vote since independence from Belgium in 1960.
Malawi: Ex-President's Son Arrested After Unrest
Allafrica.com, 20 Mar 2012
A Malawian opposition legislator, Atupele Muluzi, was arrested on Tuesday in the wake of unrest in the capital, Lilongwe, on Sunday.
The Nyasa Times reports that Muluzi - who is the son of former President Bakili Muluzi and reportedly aims to contest the presidency himself in 2014 - was arrested at a roadblock while travelling from Lilongwe to the country's main commercial centre, Blantyre.
Police spokesperson Dave Chingwalu told the Times, "We want to question him." On Monday the Times reported that police raided Muluzi's home in the early hours of the morning but failed to find him. Police sources told the Times that a warrant had been issued for his arrest on charges of "inciting [the] public to engage in violence and destroying property".
The arrest follows a bid by Muluzi to hold a series of rallies around the capital on Sunday, and police attempts to stop them. In one area residents set a police station on fire after security forces teargassed one of the rallies.
ICTY hosts a study visit of Serbian students
ICTY Press Release, 20 Mar 2012
The Tribunal is hosting a two-day study visit of students of Law and Political Science from universities in Serbia, organised in cooperation with the Organisation of Security and Cooperation (OSCE) Mission to Serbia.
Twelve students from the universities of Belgrade, Niš and Novid Sad are visiting the Tribunal. The students will meet with the Prosecutor Serge Brammertz, Judge Christoph Flϋgge, Judge Stefan Trechsel and other senior staff members from the Registry, the Office of the Prosecutor and Defence to learn about the Tribunal’s work, its achievements and jurisprudence. The students will attend presentations on a variety of topics, including the weighing of evidence and writing of ICTY judgements, the Tribunal’s work with witnesses and the principle of equality of arms.
The visit forms part of Outreach’s efforts to contribute to the process of dealing with the past by encouraging young people to take an active interest in the Tribunal’s work and achievements as well as wider issues of justice, transitional justice mechanisms and post-conflict social recovery.
Mauritania agrees to Senussi extradition, Libya says
By Laurent Prieur and Hadeel al Shachi, Reuters, 20 Mar 2012
Mauritania has agreed that Muammar Gaddafi's intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, arrested in Nouakchott last week, can be extradited to Libya, Libya's deputy prime minister said on Tuesday.
The decision, if implemented, sets Libya on a collision course with France and the Hague-based International Criminal Court, which also want Senussi, Gaddafi's right-hand man before the Libyan dictator's overthrow and death in a revolt last year.Mauritania 'to extradite former Gaddafi spy chief to Libya'
UN judge quits Cambodia war crimes tribunal
Al Jazeera English, 19 Mar 2012
An international judge has resigned from the UN-backed Khmer Rouge war crimes tribunal, citing political interference by Cambodia's government after he tried to investigate more suspects. Judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet, the Swiss co-investigator, whose predecessor Siegfried Blunk quit for similar reasons in October, said he had been constantly undermined by his Cambodian counterpart, You Bunleng.
"The situation is completely blocked," Kasper-Ansermet told AFP. In a statement released by the court, Kasper-Ansermet said that "You Bunleng's active opposition to investigations into cases 003 and 004 has led to a dysfunctional situation".
"Judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet considers that the present circumstances no longer allow him to properly and freely perform his duties," the statement said.
ICTR Registar Presents possible candidates for Monitoring Mechanism
Arusha, Hirondelle News Agency , 19 Mar 2012
The Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) submitted on March 16 a list of international institutions to the President of the Tribunal which could be selected to serve as Monitoring Mechanism for the genocide trial of Pastor Jean Uwinkindi in Rwanda.
On February 24, then ICTR President Judge Khalida Rashid Khan ordered the stay of transfer to Rwanda of Pastor Uwinkindi until the establishment of a suitable monitoring mechanism for his trial.