Tag Archives: The Hague

The Hague, The Netherlands, seat of the International Criminal Court.

ICC Announces Third Arrest Warrant from Ivory Coast

Flag of Ivory Coast

The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced yesterday the existence of an arrest warrant for Charles Ble Goude, a former top aide to former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo. Ble Goude’s warrant had been under seal since 2011.   Ivory Coast is not formally a state party to the ICC, but accepted the court’s jurisdiction in 2011 and asked the ICC to probe the post-election violence.

Gbagbo was the first former head of state to appear and face charges at the ICC.  The pre-trial chamber found insufficient evidence at the confirmation of charges hearing, that determination is being appealed by the Office of the Prosecutor.

Former first lady Simone Gbagbo has also been accused of crimes against humanity, and is in custody in Ivory Coast, which recently declined to send her to The Hague to face charges at the ICC.

Ble Goude fled Ivory Coast after the election defeat, was arrested in Ghana and returned to Ivory Coast in January. The Gbagbos and Ble Goude are accused of Crimes Against Humanity in the post election violence in Ivory Coast.

On 23 November 2011, Pre-Trial Chamber III issued a warrant of arrest for Laurent Gbagbo (“Mr Gbagbo”), having found reasonable grounds to believe that he was criminally responsible as an “indirect co-perpetrator” pursuant to article 25(3)(a) of the Statute for the crimes against humanity of murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, other inhumane acts and persecution, committed in Côte d’Ivoire during the period between 16 December 2010 and 12 April 2011.  P.2 Decision to Adjourn.  Footnotes omitted. 

ICC Judge Issues Warning About Identifying Witnesses

Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji during the Ruto/Sang trial this week issued a warning, described by the court as a “special reminder,” that identifying or harassing witnesses is a violation of International Criminal Court rules and may constitute Contempt of Court. Joshua Sang is a prominent broadcaster and William Ruto a politician who is current Kenya’s Deputy President.  According to a press release by the court:

Speaking at the beginning of this afternoon’s hearing, Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji stated that “it is an offence against the administration of justice in this Court, pursuant to Article 70 of the Rome Statute, for anyone to do anything intentionally that would amount to corruptly influencing a witness, obstructing or interfering with the attendance or testimony of a witness, or retaliating against a witness for giving testimony in a case before the Court”. Article 70 provides that, for such conduct, the Court may impose a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years or a fine.

Judge Eboe-Osuji added that such conduct “may also amount to contempt of Court” and stressed that “any revelation of the identity of a witness whose identity has been protected by this Court amounts to an offence in [the ICC].  So too will any attempt to engage in any such revelation”. The Chamber called on everyone inside and outside the Courtroom, as well as members of the press, bloggers, social media members or participants and their websites or other online presence “to desist from doing anything that would reveal or attempt to reveal the identity of protected witnesses or to engage in secondary dissemination of such wrongful and illegal information”. The Presiding Judge concluded the special reminder by stating that “such conduct will be investigated and the culprits will be prosecuted.”

Ruto and Sang are charged with Crimes Against Humanity, including murder, connected to post-election violence in Kenya in 2007-2008.  Ruto was elected Deputy President of Kenya earlier this year. President Uhuru Kenyatta was also indicted and is scheduled to begin later this year.

As blogged earlier:

The  six, dubbed the “Ocampo Six” by the Kenyan media, included Ruto, Sang and Uhuru Kenyatta, who was elected president of Kenya in March. The name “Ocampo Six” was a reference to then ICC prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo. At the confirmation of charges hearing, a sort of probable cause hearing, two of the “Ocampo Six” were dismissed from the case as the court found there was not sufficient evidence to hold them for trial. A third defendant, the co-defendant of Kenyatta, Francis Kirimi Muathara had the charges against him withdrawn by the prosecutor, leaving Kenyatta as the sole defendant in his case, and Ruto and Sang.  Several witnesses have said they will not testify against Kenyatta, the ICC does not have the power to compel witnesses to testify.

Several witnesses have also declined to testify against Ruto, according to this court, four witnesses withdrew last week:

The Prosecutor’s Opening statement describing the case is below.

Part of Ruto’s Opening is available here:

Lubanga Found Guilty

By Jvhertum (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Schevenigen Prison in the Netherlands where ICC prisoners spend pretrial detention.

Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) today announced a guilty verdict for Thomas Lubanga Dyillo in his war crimes trial in The Hague.  Lubanga was accused of recruiting and conscripting child soldiers as the leader of the Union of Congolese Patriots, (UPC) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

According to the Lubanga Trial blog:

The ICC judges ruled that the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that Lubanga is guilty of the crimes charged. Judge Adrian Fulford, Presiding Judge of the Trial Chamber, in delivering the verdict said that there was reasonable evidence to believe that Lubanga was involved in a recruitment drive for his UPC rebel group and that such drive included conscripting children and using them for combat purposes. The judges also found that Lubanga personally used children as his bodyguards.

Lubanga was the first accused brought into the custody of court. Lubanga was brought to the court in May of 2006, his trial began in January 2009.  The defense began presenting its case in January 2010.  The case was stopped in 2009 to consider the addition of charges at the request of victims, and for other reasons throughout the trial, failure to disclose evidence by the prosecution, transcription and translation errors, and other issues.  The case was submitted to the court after closing arguments in August 2011.

At one point, the trial chamber ordered Lubanga released, finding that he could not have a fair trial because of the failure of the prosecution to disclose evidence and comply with court orders.  That decision was overturned by the appeals chamber and the trial resumed.

The defense has a right to appeal the verdict to the appeals chamber.  Now that there is a verdict, the court may also begin the reparations phase and determine the appropriate amount and form of reparations to the victims recognized and allowed to participate in the case.

Philippines Ratifies the Rome Statute

This week The Philippines became the 117th nation to ratify the Rome Statute and submit its citizens and politicians to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The nation offered the following official statement:

“The Philippines, a democracy that champions international law and the rule of law, views being party to the Rome Statute of the ICC as a vital part of the on-going global campaign to end impunity and violence against individuals and to further strengthen a rules-based international system, specifically in relation to international human rights law and humanitarian law,” Philippine Permanent Representative Ambassador Libran Cabactulan said.

“It is a clear signal of the importance with which the Philippines places to this treaty,” he added.

Ambassador Cabactulan further elaborated that, “The ICC also serves as a deterrent against genocide and other heinous crimes and ensures that all perpetrators of these serious crimes of concern are held accountable.

The ICC sits in The Hague, The Netherlands and has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide within the territory of the 117 nations that have ratified the treaty, or by their citizens, or when the United Nations Security Council refers a situation to the ICC for investigation.  So far, the Security Council has referred the situation in Darfur, Sudan and in Libya.  In response the prosecutor has sought, and obtained, warrants for the arrest of two heads of state, Muammar Qadafi of Libya, and Omar Al Bashir, President of Sudan.

State’s Parties to the Rome Statute are, among other things charged with enforcing the court’s warrants.  Should those with outstanding warrants appear on their territory, those 117 nations are expected to effect the arrest.