International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Court Directs Witness 604 to Begin Testimony on Thursday

International Criminal Court (ICC) judges have directed Witness 604 to begin his testimony on Thursday in the trial of Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang.

Trial Chamber V(a) made the decision on Tuesday after listening to submissions from Gregory Mutai, the lawyer for Witness 604, the prosecution, the defense, the lawyers for victims, and the Registry.

Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji said that the preliminary assessment of the Victims and Witnesses Unit (VWU) was that Witness 604 was sufficiently fit to testify. On Monday, Mutai told the court Witness 604 was not able to testify immediately because he was suffering from depression, and he had filed a doctor’s report with the court last week to that effect. The … Continue Reading

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Witness Seeks to Adjourn Ruto and Sang Trial

A lawyer for a witness in the trial of Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang has applied to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for a 21-day adjournment to allow the witness additional time to prepare for his testimony.

Kenyan lawyer Gregory Mutai appeared for the witness via video link from Nairobi, Kenya on Monday in response to a summons Trial Chamber V(a) had issued to the witness to appear before it and testify. The witness was not named nor was he referred to by pseudonym, as is the practice of the court.

The summons issued to the witness flows from a decision Trial Chamber V(a) made ordering the Kenyan government to compel a total of nine witnesses … Continue Reading

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Proposed International Crimes Division Will Face Constitutional Challenges, Says Report

A new report has recommended a review of the proposed jurisdiction of a yet-to-be-set-up International Crimes Division of the Kenyan High Court because it is too wide, and it has also recommended that more thought is needed on how it will be established.

The report also concluded that proposals on how the International Crimes Division will handle cases emanating from the violence that shook up Kenya after the December 2007 presidential election are bound to face constitutional and other challenges if they are not changed.

On August 8, Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice (KPTJ) released a report titled A Real Option for Justice? that analyzes proposals on how an International Crimes Division of the High Court of Kenya could be formed. … Continue Reading

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Expert Witness Says Kenyan Government Failed to Protect Victims of Sexual Violence

A landmark class action case against the Kenyan government is unfolding in the Nairobi High Court. Sexual violence survivors and Kenyan non-governmental organizations (NGOs) acting on behalf of all victims of sexual violence committed in the aftermath of the 2007 Kenyan presidential election brought a case against the government alleging numerous violations of the Kenyan constitution for the government’s failures to protect them, to investigate and punish the perpetrators, and to provide reparations.

At the most recent hearing, the petitioners’ lead expert witness testified about these failures. The witness, Patricia Nyaundi, is a Kenyan women’s rights leader, a former member of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), and the secretary of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights. She argued … Continue Reading

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Start Date for Ntaganda’s ICC Trial to be Known Soon

Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) have called for a status conference to set the date for the commencement of the trial of Bosco Ntaganda, the former deputy chief of staff of the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (FPLC).

The order is in accordance with Article 132 of the court’s rules, which states that promptly after it is constituted, the trial chamber shall hold a status conference in order to set the date of the trial. Trial Chamber IV consisting of Judges Robert Fremr (presiding), Kuniko Ozaki, and Geoffrey Henderson was constituted by the court’s presidency on July 18 to try Mr. Ntaganda for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The crimes, including murder, attempted murder, rape, sexual slavery, … Continue Reading

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Judge Rejects Ntaganda’s Bid to Appeal Confirmed Charges

Bosco Ntaganda’s application to appeal at least eight of the 18 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity confirmed against him at the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been rejected.

In a July 4, 2014 decision, pre-trial judge Ekaterina Trendafilova ruled that Mr. Ntaganda’s argument that relying on indirect evidence, anonymous witness statements, or statements of deceased witnesses to confirm certain charges was erroneous, and accordingly constituted an appealable issue, was “misleading.”

In a June 16 application, Mr. Ntaganda’s defense lawyer Marc Desalliers sought leave to appeal the confirmation decision on grounds that the defense could not challenge evidence, including that from anonymous testimonies, hearsay, and deceased witnesses. According to Mr. Desalliers, pre-trial judges relied “exclusively on evidence that the Defense … Continue Reading

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As International Community Stands Aside, Serious Crimes in Darfur Continue

As the international community fails to bring Sudanese leaders to justice for alleged past atrocities in Darfur, serious crimes against Darfuris continue. Although the conflict in the region has faded from news headlines (and thus the international community’s agenda), reports indicate that the first half of 2014 brought death and destruction comparable to that at the height of the genocide in the region. Ongoing fighting, tensions, and insecurity surrounding the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the Sudanese government-affiliated militia, have driven hostilities and violence throughout North and South Darfur, with spillover effects to neighboring regions. This violence continues to force many Darfuri citizens to leave their villages in search of greater security. Since the beginning of 2014, nearly 300,000 Darfuris have … Continue Reading

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Justice Delayed is Still Justice

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) issued the first trial judgment today in a series of legal proceedings relating to the two surviving senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge. The case pertained to events beginning in 1975 and the accused, now both in their 80s, have been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

I worked as a legal officer analyzing the evidence and the legal charges filed against the accused in 2009. Even then, I wasn’t sure if this day would come. The advanced age of the defendants could have led to the premature conclusion of the entire proceedings, which occurred when the case was closed against a former co-accused, Ieng Sary who died in 2013, and his … Continue Reading

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Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan Found Guilty of Crimes against Humanity

New York (August 7, 2014)—Today’s conviction for crimes against humanity of the two most senior surviving leaders of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime marks a historic milestone both for international justice, and for Cambodia’s effort to confront its violent past.

Judges at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) sentenced both Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan to life imprisonment, after a trial focused on atrocities committed during the evacuation of Cambodian cities and town in 1975, and the executions of civil servants and military officers from the defeated regime.

Nuon Chea was the second most senior leader in the Khmer Rouge regime that ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979; Khieu Samphan served both as foreign minister and as head of state.

The … Continue Reading

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Judge Orders Prosecutor to Provide Details of Payments to Witnesses in Bemba Trial

The single pre-trial judge handling the witness tampering case against Jean-Pierre Bemba and four others has directed the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor to provide details of all reimbursements that were made to prosecution witnesses in Mr. Bemba’s ongoing war crimes trial.

Judge Cuno Tarfusser directed prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to provide this information to the chamber by August 4, 2014. The order followed a request by lawyers for Mr. Aimé Kilolo-Musamba – the former lead counsel for Mr. Bemba, who is now one of five individuals accused of bribing witnesses and presenting forged testimony before the ICC.

On June 27, 2014, Mr. Kilolo’s lawyers asked the judge to order the prosecutor to provide to them information they said was critical to his … Continue Reading

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