Posts Tagged ‘International Criminal Court – ICC’

USA: Schluss mit der Straflosigkeit!

Freitag, Dezember 19th, 2014

“December 17, 2014 | The Brussels Tribunal

Stop Torture! Accountability: YES – Impunity: NO

On 9 December 2014, the US Senate released its CIA torture report. The investigation confirmed what globally has been known for many years: the US Central Intelligence Agency and US-outsourced national authorities in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere have been involved in an extensive range of torture applications.

Compelling evidence has become available, especially since 2001, the beginning of the Afghanistan war, through investigations by the European Parliament and national judicial authorities, as well as two major reports presented by Swiss Senator Dick Marty in 2006 and 2007 to the Council of Europe, on secret CIA detention centres in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere.  

The US Senate report makes it clear that cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment of captives by the CIA and its collaborators have been carried out on a continuous basis. Such treatment cannot be justified in any manner, even if the US Government reservations with which it signed the UN torture convention in 1994 were to be taken into account.

CIA personnel and others willfully participated in following executive orders and directives thereby violating the UN torture convention and the Geneva Convention III. In this way they have committed serious crimes for which they must be held accountable.

The UN Special Representative on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights, Ben Emmerson QC has reminded us that “torture is a crime of universal jurisdiction”.

The U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Raad al-Hussein, said it is “crystal clear” under international law that the United States, which ratified the U.N. Convention Against Torture in 1994, now has an obligation to ensure accountability. He further added: “If they order, enable or commit torture, recognized as a serious international crime, they cannot simply be granted impunity because of political expediency”.

US President Obama must be aware that not holding the perpetrators accountable is a victory for impunity and will have far-reaching implications for global security.

We, signatories from all parts of the world, therefore urge the US Government and its Attorney General, to start a judicial process with a sense of urgency in compliance with principles of equality before the law. If they fail to do so, other international bodies, such as the International Criminal Court, will have the obligation under international law to assure that justice is done.

You can read about and sign the petition in the following languages: English, Swedish, Spanish, Dutch, French, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, Persian, Arabic.

You can sign the petition (instructions in German) here. “


(Quelle: Global Policy Forum.)

Ost-Timor / Australien: Gerichtsfeste Real-Satire

Sonntag, April 27th, 2014

“Australia ordered by The Hague to stop spying on Timor-Leste

International Criminal Court makes landmark ruling after Australian agents seize documents from tiny nation in oil and gas row

By Jonathan Pearlman, Sydney
3:31PM GMT 04 Mar 2014

Australia has been ordered to stop spying on the fledgling nation of TimorLeste amid a dispute over $40 billion (£21.5 billion) oil and gas reserves, in a landmark decision by the International Court of Justice.

Believed to be the first time the court has ordered a Western nation to stop spying, a majority of the judges ruled that documents seized by Australian agents in December must be kept “under seal” and cannot be used during an ongoing dispute over the lucrative resources of the Timor Sea.

The court did not agree to Timor-Leste’s request to have the documents returned, but ruled that Australia cannot use the documents to TimorLeste’s “disadvantage” and “shall keep under seal the seized documents and electronic data and any copies”.

The dispute marks a souring of the previously close friendship between the two nations following Australia’s leading effort to help Timor-Leste finally gain independence from Indonesia in 2002.

A legal expert, Donald Rothwell, from the Australian National University, said the spying case was “unprecedented” and was the first time a country had been given orders on how to deal with documents obtained by spies.

Australia is accused of conducting widespread espionage during talks with the tiny nation one of the world’s poorest countries in the lead-up to a 2006 treaty which led to a fifty-fifty split of the lucrative Greater Sunrise fields.

Timor-Leste wants the treaty annulled and has taken the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. That case is unlikely to be finished before next year.

Last December, agents from ASIO, Australia’s domestic spy organisation, raided the office in Canberra of Bernard Collaery, a lawyer representing Timor-Leste. The seized documents are believed to relate to the alleged espionage by Australia and to the admissions of a former Australian spy who has claimed that Australia bugged Timor-Leste’s government offices during the treaty talks.

Timor-Leste’s ambassador to Britain, Joaquim da Fonseca, said he was “very satisfied with the result of the hearing”.

The court “appreciated the seriousness of the harm that could be caused by the seizure and the detention of the documents which belong to Timor Leste,” he said.

Australia has undertaken not to use the documents it seized as part of the treaty dispute but will use them for “national security” purposes, presumably to try to prosecute the whistle-blower spy.

George Brandis, Australia’s attorney-general, has personally promised not to look at the seized documents without informing the court. But he welcomed the court’s ruling that Australia did not have to return the seized documents.

“This is a good outcome for Australia,” he said.

The Australian Government is pleased with the decision refusing Timor Leste’s application for the delivery of the documents taken into possession by ASIO.” ‘


(Quelle: La’o

USA: Drohneneinsätze und Völkerrecht

Montag, Juni 25th, 2012

“Drone strikes threaten 50 years of international law, says UN rapporteur

US policy of using drone strikes to carry out targeted killings ‘may encourage other states to flout international law’

By Owen Bowcott in Geneva, Thursday 21 June 2012 17.54 BST

The US policy of using aerial drones to carry out targeted killings presents a major challenge to the system of international law that has endured since the second world war, a United Nations investigator has said.

Christof Heyns, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, summary or arbitrary executions, told a conference in Geneva that President Obama’s attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere, carried out by the CIA, would encourage other states to flout long-established human rights standards.

In his strongest critique so far of drone strikes, Heyns suggested some may even constitute “war crimes”. His comments come amid rising international unease over the surge in killings by remotely piloted unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Addressing the conference, which was organised by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a second UN rapporteur, Ben Emmerson QC, who monitors counter-terrorism, announced he would be prioritising inquiries into drone strikes.

The London-based barrister said the issue was moving rapidly up the international agenda after China and Russia this week jointly issued a statement at the UN Human Rights Council, backed by other countries, condemning drone attacks.

If the US or any other states responsible for attacks outside recognised war zones did not establish independent investigations into each killing, Emmerson emphasised, then “the UN itself should consider establishing an investigatory body”.

Also present was Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Zamir Akram, who called for international legal action to halt the “totally counterproductive attacks” by the US in his country.

Heyns, a South African law professor, told the meeting: “Are we to accept major changes to the international legal system which has been in existence since world war two and survived nuclear threats?”

Some states, he added, “find targeted killings immensely attractive. Others may do so in future … Current targeting practices weaken the rule of law. Killings may be lawful in an armed conflict [such as Afghanistan] but many targeted killings take place far from areas where it’s recognised as being an armed conflict.”

If it is true, he said, that “there have been secondary drone strikes on rescuers who are helping (the injured) after an initial drone attack, those further attacks are a war crime”.

Heyns ridiculed the US suggestion that targeted UAV strikes on al-Qaida or allied groups were a legitimate response to the 9/11 attacks. “It’s difficult to see how any killings carried out in 2012 can be justified as in response to [events] in 2001,” he said. “Some states seem to want to invent new laws to justify new practices.

“The targeting is often operated by intelligence agencies which fall outside the scope of accountability. The term ‘targeted killing’ is wrong because it suggests little violence has occurred. The collateral damage may be less than aerial bombardment, but because they eliminate the risk to soldiers they can be used more often.”

Heyns told the Guardian later that his future inquiries are likely to include the question of whether other countries, such as the UK, share intelligence with the US that could be used for selecting individuals as targets. A legal case has already been lodged in London over the UK’s alleged role in the deaths of British citizens and others as a consequence of US drone strikes in Pakistan.

Emmerson said that protection of the right to life required countries to establish independent inquiries into each drone killing. “That needs to be applied in the context of targeted killings,” he said. “It’s possible for a state to establish an independent ombudsman to inquire into every attack and there needs to be a report to justify [the killing].”

Alternatively, he said, it was “for the UN itself to consider establishing an investigatory body. Drones attacks by the US raise fundamental questions which are a direct consequence of my mandate… If they don’t [investigate] themselves, we will do it for them.”

It is time, he added, to end the “conspiracy of silence” over drone attacks and “shine the light of independent investigation” into the process. The attacks, he noted, were not only on those who had been killed but on the system of “international law itself”.

The Pakistani ambassador declared that more than a thousand civilians had been killed in his country by US drone strikes. “We find the use of drones to be totally counterproductive in terms of succeeding in the war against terror. It leads to greater levels of terror rather than reducing them,” he said.

Claims made by the US about the accuracy of drone strikes were “totally incorrect”, he added. Victims who had tried to bring compensation claims through the Pakistani courts had been blocked by US refusals to respond to legal actions.

The US has defended drone attacks as self-defence against al-Qaida and has refused to allow judicial scrutiny of the UAV programme. On Wednesday, the Obama administration issued a fresh rebuff through the US courts to an ACLU request for information about targeting policies. Such details, it insisted, must remain “classified”.

Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s national security project, said: “Something that is being debated in UN hallways and committee rooms cannot apparently be talked about in US courtrooms, according to the government. Whether the CIA is involved in targeted lethal operation is now classified. It’s an absurd fiction.”

The ACLU estimates that as many as 4,000 people have been killed in US drone strikes since 2002 in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Of those, a significant proportion were civilians. The numbers killed have escalated significantly since Obama became president.

The USA is not a signatory to the International Criminal Court (ICC) or many other international legal forums where legal action might be started. It is, however, part of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) where cases can be initiated by one state against another.

Ian Seiderman, director of the International Commission of Jurists, told the conference that “immense damage was being done to the fabric of international law”.

One of the latest UAV developments that concerns human rights groups is the way in which attacks, they allege, have moved towards targeting groups based on perceived patterns of behaviour that look suspicious from aerial surveillance, rather than relying on intelligence about specific al-Qaida activists.

In response to a report by Heyns to the UN Human Rights Council this week, the US put out a statement in Geneva saying there was “unequivocal US commitment to conducting such operations with extraordinary care and in accordance with all applicable law, including the law of war”.

It added that there was “continuing commitment to greater transparency and a sincere effort to address some of the important questions that have been raised”.


(Quelle: The Guardian.)

Siehe auch:

US drone strikes ‘raise questions’ – UN’s Navi Pillay
Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns
Obamas leise Killer

Süd-Sudan: Bashir bei Unabhängigkeitsfeiern nicht erwünscht

Dienstag, Mai 17th, 2011

“Protests planned if Bashir attends South Sudan independence celebrations

By John Actually

The South Sudanese government’s intention to invite the president of north Sudan, Omar Al Bashir, to attend independence celebrations has sparked serious debate among the citizens of South Sudan, reported a South Sudanese newspaper on 15 May.

One group believes that, what will be the Republic of South Sudan as of the 9 July, has a moral obligation to arrest Bashir and hands him to International Criminal Court (ICC). Another group Bashir showed be allowed to celebrate and acknowledge the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

The CPA was signed by north and South Sudan, ending more than two decades of civil war. A stipulation of the agreement was the right of the South Sudanese to vote in a plebiscite. They voted overwhelmingly in favour of secession in January 2011.

Bashir has an arrest warrant against his name for crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur.

According to The Citizen newspaper, the group that is opposed to Bashir presence at the celebrations has been organized by relatives of the 1992 Juba massacre. The group affirms that the relatives of the victims are preparing to protest against Bashir if he turns up.

“The widows are planning to walk naked into the venue of the celebration if Bashir is among the world leaders”, said one widow.

The world will witness protests against Bashir that day. We will walk naked to the celebration venue unless we are promised that Bashir will be arrested and taken to the ICC for the charges of genocides and atrocities against humanity,” she explained.

Merekase Lorna, a human rights campaigner, said if Bashir attends the celebrations, the authorities should arrest him once the Republic of South Sudan anthem ends and her flag is flying.

Sudan People’s Liberation Movement secretary for political affairs, Antipas Nyok Kucha has suggested that Bashir will be the first leader to come and recognise Southern independence.

Before the independence vote in January 2011 Bashir said he would “congratulate and celebrate with you” to the people of South Sudan, should they choose to vote in favour of secession. The rhetoric has soured, with regards to the controversial Abyei over, which north and south Sudan are claiming ownership, Bashir said he was willing to return to war with the south.”

(Quelle: Protests planned if Bashir attends South Sudan independence celebrations – Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan.)

USA: Wie hält’s Du es mit dem Internationalen Strafgerichtshof?

Donnerstag, Juli 1st, 2010

U.S. Hijacks ICC conference

By Francis Njubi Nesbitt

The United States managed to foil the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) adoption of the crime of aggression as part of its mandate during the just-concluded review conference in Kampala, Uganda. Despite the fact that the United States is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, and thus did not have a vote at the conference, U.S. negotiators cajoled a majority of the state parties to delay the definition and adoption of the crime of aggression for another seven years. Where the Bush administration used threats and tried to intimidate, the Obama team offered sweet-talk and enticements to get states to delay the amendment expanding ICC jurisdiction to include the crime of aggression. It also managed to water down the definition of aggression and to exempt U.S. personnel from prosecution. The latter was a goal of the previous administration and the reason for U.S. hostility toward the ICC.   

Crowing with satisfaction, the State Department reported on June 16 that the agreement had ensured “total protection for our Armed Forces and other U.S. nationals going forward.” This indemnity was achieved by a series of amendments that exempted non-state parties from prosecution and gave the U.N. Security Council the power to determine if a crime of aggression has occurred. If the Security Council finds that aggression has not occurred, then the prosecutor would have to seek a majority vote of pre-trail judges and even then, the Security Council would still have the power to thwart the process with a binding Chapter 7 resolution disapproving the action. Even if the United States becomes a state party to the ICC at some point, it could still opt out of having U.S. citizens prosecuted for aggression. 

The Carrot Approach

The success in promoting U.S. interests was achieved by offering inducements, such as “generous” support for national legal systems in state parties through information sharing and support in arresting suspects. The focus on national legal remedies for war crimes and crimes against humanity has been touted as the alternative to international justice. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda — which I am currently visiting — and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, in particular have been criticized for spending hundreds of millions of dollars with little to show for it. Critics such as President Paul Kagame of Rwanda argue that the local Gacaca courts, based on indigenous norms, are faster and more relevant to ordinary Rwandans than distant international tribunals. Both the international tribunals and the local courts, however, suffer from the malady; both tend to prosecute the “losers” and ignore crimes that may have been perpetrated by the victors. The only exception is the Special Court for Sierra Leone which prosecuted both sides of the civil war. 

Another incentive offered to mitigate U.S. meddling is “cooperation,” such as information sharing and support in the location and arrest of suspects. ICC officials argued before the conference that the United States could provide critical counterintelligence support in the search for, and arrest of, indicted war criminals such as Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army. The ICC charged Kony with individual criminal responsibility on 33 counts of crimes against humanity including, murder, mutilation, rape, mass burnings, and enslavement. It issued an arrest warrant for him on July 7, 2005. The United States has also designated Kony a “specially designated terrorist” (SDT), a designation that allows the United States to block his assets and criminalize any association with the said individual or group.  Other SDTs include Osama bin Laden and Hamas. 

A Renewed U.S. Role

Despite its success in delaying the ICC’s jurisdiction over aggression, the United States failed in its main objective to defeat the amendment altogether. Instead, the United States tried to politicize the ICC by enhancing the role of the Security Council and therefore giving permanent members the power to subvert the process. Ironically, this is the very issue, politicization, that the United States claimed was the problem with the ICC in the first place.

This renewed engagement with the ICC suggests that the Obama administration is interested in shaping international law while remaining immune to prosecution under the very laws it helps develop. In the case of the ICC, the cover story is that the United States is concerned that its troops engaged in peacekeeping around the world may be subject to malicious prosecution.    

Critics of the ICC argue that it is a toothless watchdog because it relies on member states to arrest suspects. They point to Omar al-Bashir of Sudan who continues to thumb his nose at the ICC, despite an arrest warrant issued in 2009 for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. The counter argument is that international war crimes tribunals have successfully prosecuted heads of state including former Prime Minister John Kambanda of Rwanda, and former presidents Slobodan Milošević of Serbia and Charles Taylor of Liberia.

The latter case is particularly instructive as the Special Court for Sierra Leone, which prosecuted Taylor for his role in the civil war, is a hybrid of national and international justice, bringing together both local and international prosecutors and judges. Such hybrid processes have also worked in the case of Cambodia where a U.N.-backed tribunal is trying senior members of the Khmer Rouge for violations of international humanitarian law. Locating the tribunals in the countries where the crimes were committed both enhances the capacity of national judicial systems and involves the local communities in the process. In some cases, however, powerful individuals are able to thwart efforts to establish local tribunals. In such cases, for example the recent experience in Kenya, it may be necessary to resort to international courts.    

Although critics are furious at the role of the United States in shaping the agenda of the review conference, this reengagement with international institutions is a positive step. The United States can play a role in the international arena by supporting efforts to bring suspects such as Kony to justice and putting pressure on sitting presidents such as Omar al-Bashir. Meanwhile, expanding the jurisdiction of the ICC to include aggression will be revisited in 2017, giving activists and other interested parties another opportunity to advocate for the increasing role of the ICC in international law.

Francis Njubi Nesbitt is a Foreign Policy In Focus contributor and teaches African politics and conflict resolution at San Diego State University. He is the author of Race for Sanctions (Indiana University Press, 2004) and is completing a book on peacemaking in the Horn of Africa.

Recommended Citation:

Francis Njubi Nesbitt, “U.S. Hijacks ICC conference” (Washington, DC: Foreign Policy In Focus, June 29, 2010)


(Quelle: FPIF.)

UN: Umstrittener Internationaler Strafgerichtshof

Donnerstag, Juni 10th, 2010

“ANALYSIS: Mixed report card for ICC

KAMPALA, 10 June 2010 (IRIN) – The International Criminal Court (ICC) is beginning to deliver justice to survivors of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, but the world has yet to fully commit to ending impunity for the gravest crimes, according to participants at a conference reviewing the court’s legal foundation.

“The Rome Statute has been described as the greatest advance in international law since the UN Charter,” Oby Nwankwo, executive director of Nigeria’s Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre, said in Uganda, where the 31 May-11 June conference is taking place. “While the ICC has its shortcomings, it provides a backstop to impunity.”

Established by the Statute on 1 July 2002, the ICC now has 111 state parties, 18 judges, and field offices in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uganda, Central African Republic (CAR) and Chad. It is conducting investigations in the DRC, Uganda, CAR, Kenya and Sudan, and has issued 13 arrest warrants for eight cases.

But critics say the Court has taken too long to conclude cases and is too focused on African countries. Describing the ICC as “European-driven, African-focused and irretrievably flawed”, David Hoile of the African Research Centre said its “claims to international jurisdiction and judicial independence are institutionally flawed and the Court’s approach has been marred by blatant double standards and serious judicial irregularities”.

The Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies cited the uneven and imbalanced landscape of global politics as a factor. “For Africa, a key concern is the relationship between the UN Security Council and the ICC, specifically the Council’s powers of referral and deferral,” a summary of an ISS symposium on “The ICC that Africa wants” stated.

“The skewed international power of the UNSC creates an environment in which it is more likely that action will be taken against accused from weaker states,” it added.

An analyst, who requested anonymity, said this view had been amplified by the 2008 high-profile indictment of Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir. “That indictment has driven a wedge between supporters and opponents of the Court,” she told IRIN. “It has led to all manner of accusations, clouded the ICC’s record and continues to elicit controversy.”

But asked how he could effect an arrest against Bashir, Prosecutor Louis Moreno Ocampo was bullish. “Arresting Bashir is a matter of time; the Court is permanent, so it can wait,” he told reporters. “The current challenges faced by the Rome Statute are not a product of failure, they are a product of success,” he said. “The Court is today fully operational, executing its judicial mandate and far exceeding expectations.”

Asked if he had a plan B, Ocampo said: “The states decide the law, I only apply it.”

His upbeat assessment was shared by ICC President Judge Sang-Hyun Song. “The system of international justice has developed faster than expected,” he said. “The threat of prosecution at the ICC has already deterred some criminals… the [Kampala] conference will review ways to increase domestic capacity.”

At the conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was asked if the ICC was toothless. He responded: “We are witnessing the birth of a new age of accountability. We hope to take stock of the Court’s progress and strengthen it for the future.”

He hailed the presence in Kampala of the US, which was participating as a non-state party for the first time. “I understand the US is very seriously reviewing its decisions,” he added.


Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary-General, defended the Court. “When I meet Africans from all walks of life, they demand justice: from their own courts if possible, from international courts if no credible alternative exists,” he said. “The ICC does not supplant the authority of national courts. Rather, it is a court of last resort, governed by the principle of complementarity.”

Taking stock

The Kampala conference is characterised by lively debates on the impact of the Rome Statute on survivors and affected communities; complementarity, cooperation, peace and justice; and the crime of aggression (although there is no agreement on its definition).

Various speakers called for more support for the Court. “Words are cheap, it is in providing the court with support that the rubber meets the road,” Richard Dicker, international justice director at Human Rights Watch, said. “State parties need to do a great deal better… unless governments actually make arrests, the ICC cannot deliver justice to victims of mass atrocities.”

Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai struck a more cautious tone. “At community level, there are a lot of expectations about the ICC, but it can only do so much,” she said.

Civil society organizations called on states that have signed the Rome Statute to enact comprehensive implementing legislation. Only five African countries have done so: Burkina Faso, CAR, Kenya, Senegal and South Africa. “Such legislation makes genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity crimes under domestic law and provides cooperation with the ICC,” they said in a statement.

Compensation calls

They also called for the promotion of victims’ rights, including compensation. “Hundreds of victims are already participating in situations and cases before the ICC… [but] lack of execution of arrest warrants, lengthy proceedings and limited cases are only a few of the areas where the victims have expressed disappointment and frustration with the ICC,” they noted. 

Survivors attending the meeting urged the Court to ensure adequate compensation. “When I came back, I could not find my parents and I am told they were all killed during the war,” said David Etilu, 16, who was abducted at nine by the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and taken to Garamba, northeastern DRC.

“I am alone, without a sister or brother. I have nowhere to stay. My expectation of this conference is improved life, where I will get what I need in life,” he told IRIN at the conference. “ICC and the government should find the means to educate me, how I can be accommodated and other things that a human being requires in life. Those are all that I need.”

But Kristin Kalla, acting executive director of the Trust Fund for Victims, said resources were limited. The Fund has taken up projects in northern Uganda and the DRC worth four million Euros (US$4.8 million).

“Funding is still limited to take up every person [who] qualifies and we are appealing to member states and other donors and the private sector to come in and help because this is the moment to have something to show to the victims,” she said.

Ocampo echoed calls for compensation. “The victims do not have to wait for convictions to be assisted. This is something we are discussing – how to continue the process and assist victims at the same time.”

Ahead of the opening ceremony, survivors of the LRA conflict in northern Uganda said the court was selective in the application of justice. The survivors, some disabled, others former displaced persons and abductees, child mothers and those who lost relatives, met ICC President Song in Gulu district on 29 May. They called on the ICC to investigate Ugandan soldiers who may have committed crimes during the conflict.”

(Quelle: IRIN News.)