11 Apr 2012 - NPWJ News Digest on international criminal justice


UN warns Sierra Leone on threat response
By Michelle Nichols, IOL News, 11 Apr 2012

The U.N. Security Council warned Sierra Leone's government on Wednesday against over-reacting to security threats after a U.N. envoy questioned why it bought millions of dollars worth of assault weapons to equip police ahead of a November election.
Outgoing U.N. envoy Michael von der Schulenburg told the council that according to a leaked shipping document the weapons bought by SierraLeone in January included heavy machine guns and grenade launchers and the purchase was “of great concern.”


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: Impunity Must Become ‘a Relic of the Past’
By UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, SG/SM/14222, 11 Apr 2012

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s video message on the eighteenth anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda, delivered on 11 April:
Today, we mark the eighteenth anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda.  We remember the more than 800,000 innocent people who lost their lives.

This year’s theme is “learning from history to shape a bright future”.  Rwanda has learned from the appalling tragedy of 1994.  So has the world.  Rwanda is making progress towards building a more peaceful and just society.  The international community is striving to ensure that similar tragedies never happen again.



Karadzic asks for defence case postponement
By Expatica, 11 Apr 2012

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic asked the Yugoslavian war crimes court Wednesday to postpone the start of his defence case for almost a year, saying he needs to more time to prepare.
Facing 11 counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, Karadzic submitted a document to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) requesting that "the commencement of the defence case be scheduled for March 2013" to give him adequate time to prepare his defence.
The request came as prosecutors at the Hague-based ICTY wrap up their case against him for his part in the 1992-95 Bosnia war which left some 100,000 people dead and 2.2 million homeless.


DRC: Thorny issue of reparations for Lubanga’s victims
By IRIN News, 10 Apr 2012

Motorcycles, school fees, counselling, cash: Thomas Lubanga’s `kadogo’ (child soldiers) know what reparations they want from the International Criminal Court (ICC). Less clear is what a cash-strapped tribunal can offer damaged children taken from their families and forced to fight in a brutal ethnic conflict in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“They expect something that will really help them to heal, to help them to recover from the loss of their childhood, their education,” said Bukeni Waruzi, an expert on child soldiers and the programme manager for Africa and the Middle East at NGO Witness.

“When a child is recruited, the minute he gets in the camp, he is not the same as before. It doesn’t take 10 years for a child to become a child soldier, it takes two days maximum, and the mind is changed. How do you repair that?”


Libya rules out ICC trial for Saif al-Islam
By Al Jazeera, 09 Apr 2012

Libya will not send Saif al-Islam Gaddafi to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, the country's justice minister has said.
Saif al-Islam the most prominent son of the country's former leader, will instead be put on trial in his own country by Libyan judges, on charges of financial corruption, murder and rape, Ali Ashour told Reuters news agency on Sunday.
The second son of deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam is in a secret prison in the custody of the Zintan fighters who captured him last year during the country's bloody struggle to overthrow his father's regime.


Misrata leader could face charges of crimes against humanity: Human Rights Watch
By Libya Herald, 08 Apr 2012

Members of Misrata Local Council and other local leaders in the city could be held criminally responsible for ongoing serious crimes by forces under their command according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
In a a letter to the city’s military and civilian leaders, HRW said they could be held responsible by international organisations including the International Criminal Court (ICC).
HRW claimed there was the ongoing torture and abuse in detention facilities in and around Misrata and continued arrests, torture, and forced displacement of people from the nearby town of Tawergha. These abuses, it said, appeared to be so widespread and systematic that they might amount to crimes against humanity.


Wanted Congo warlord says he has not fled
By StarAfrica, 06 Apr 2012

Former Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, said Friday he had not followed other ex-rebels who deserted from the army in recent days.
"I am here, I'm not afraid," Ntaganda, who holds the rank of general in the Democratic Republic of Congo, told AFP in the eastern city of Goma, as an aide handed out a list of complaints from the defectors.


An Arab War-Crimes Court for Syria
By Aryeh Neier, New York Times, 04 Apr 2012

The United States and other governments don’t want to intervene militarily in Syria. That’s understandable; hardly anyone wants another Middle East war.

In seeking other ways to ensure that the Syrian government and its henchmen pay a price for slaughtering their citizens, United States officials are seeking ways to bring them to justice. A war crimes tribunal run by the Arab League could be the solution. The experience of war-torn countries like Bosnia has proved that such tribunals can work, if properly designed.