ICL MEDIA REVIEW: A REVIEW OF ICL & HRL DEVELOPMENTS, 8– 14 April 2019

 Sudanese President Al-Bashir ousted and arrested in Sudan:  On 11 April 2019, an announcement was made on Sudanese State TV that President Omar Al-Bashir had been removed from office by the military and arrested.  Defence Minister Awad Ibn Ouf stated that the military was currently under control of the Government and that a 3 day state of emergency was put in place, including the closing of borders and airspace for 24 hours and suspension of the constitution.  It was explained that a military-led transitional council was put in place to govern for a two year period after which an election would take place.  In exact whereabouts of President Al-Bashir in State custody are unknown, and no announcements were made about the outstanding arrest warrant against President Al-Bashir before the International Criminal Court.  The Court issued its first arrest warrant against President Al-Bashir on 4 March 2009 and a second on 12 July 2010 for five counts of crimes against humanity, two counts of war crimes and three counts of genocide occuring between 2003 and 2008, and under article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute. (BBCThe Guardian)

German ISIS member on trial in Munich for war crimes, murder of Yazidi girl: The trial of Jennifer W., a former ISIS member, started before the Higher Regional Court of Munich on 9 April 2019. Jennifer W., a 27-year-old German national, and her husband allegedly enslaved a 5-year-old Yazidi girl in the summer of 2015. As a result of their ill-treatment, the girl died of thirst. Charges against Jennifer W. include murder, war crimes, membership in a foreign terrorist organization and weapons violations. After joining the ISIS in Iraq in 2014, she served as a member of the Hisbah, the morality police assigned to patrol areas in Falluja and Mosul. She was previously arrested in Turkey in 2016 and, after being deported to Germany, she was released from custody. According to the prosecution, her role required her to supervise women within the organisation, including enforcing a dress code and where necessary, to intimidate them by carrying a gun and an explosive vest. According to Yazda, an organisation documenting crimes committed against the Yazidi minority, the case symbolises “one of the highest-profile cases against a female member of the terrorist group”. The 5-year-old Yazidi girl and her mother as a co-plaintiff are represented by Natalie von Wistinghausen, a co-counsel on Oneissi Defence team at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and Amal Clooney. The trial is due to proceed in September 2019. If convicted, Jennifer W. will face life imprisonment. (New York TimesYazda

MICT Trial Chamber rejects Simatovic’s Defence request for acquittal: The Trial Chamber of the International Residual Mechanism (‘MICT’) rejected a request for acquittal filed by the Simatovic Defence. In its request, the Defence argued that the Prosecution failed to prove his involvement in war crimes in Croatia and Bosnia in the 1990s. Rule 121 of the Rules allows the Trial Chamber to enter an acquittal if there is no evidence on which a conviction could be based. According to the Trial Chamber, enough evidence existed on the record regarding Simatovic’s role in organising, training, arming and supervising the special units from Serbia operating in Croatia and Bosnia. Accordingly, the presentation of Defence evidence is scheduled to commence on 18 June 2019. Stanisic served as a former chief of the Serbian State Service. He and his deputy, Simatovic, were accused of participating in a Joint Criminal Enterprise to remove Croats and Muslims from Serbia during the war. They were both acquitted in 2013. The ICTY Trial Chamber ruled that although Serb fighters did commit atrocities in Croatia and Bosnia, there was insufficient evidence linking Stanisic and Simatovic the charged crimes. The ICTY’s Appeals Chamber fully overturned the acquittal on 15 December 2015 and the new trial commenced at the beginning of 2017. (N1 Info)

ICC schedules judgment in Jordan Al-Bashir appeal: The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) will deliver its judgment on the appeal by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in the Al-Bashir case on 6 May 2019. This appeal follows the decision of Pre-Trial Chamber II (PTC) on 11 December 2017 that Jordan had failed to comply with its obligations under the Rome Statute by not arresting Mr Al-Bashir and surrendering him to the court. The PTC ordered that Jordan be referred to the assembly of state parties. Jordan appealed this decision on 12 March 2018 and since then the Appeals Chamber has requested submissions from Sudan, Mr Al-Bashir, other states and international organisations as well as legal experts.  Mr Al-Bashir is the subject of two arrest warrants concerning war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide alleged to have been committed in Darfur, Sudan from 2003 to 2008. (ICC press releaseScheduling Order

Malaysia announces ICC Rome Statute withdrawal shortly after ratification: On 5 April 2019, Malaysia’s prime minister, Mahatir Mohamad, announced that he would not ratify the Rome Statute due to pressure from the majority Muslim opposition. The prime minister stated that the withdrawal was “not because we are against it but because of the political confusion about what it entails, caused by people with vested interest.” He also rejected allegations by the opposition that joining the treaty would undermine Malaysia’s sovereignty and the immunity of members of Malaysia’s royal families who rule nine of its thirteen states. Malaysia had earlier signed a notice of accession to the Statute that was supposed to take effect on 1 June 2019. (Jurist

Congolese rebel leader, Masudi Alimasi Kokodiko, responsible for mass rapes arrested: The Congolese rebel leader of the Raia Mutomboki militia,  Masudi Alimasi Kokodiko, was arrested on 2 April 2019 in South Kivu’s Shabunda territory after being wounded in a firefight. Kokodiko is accused of  orchestrating mass rapes and other atrocities. In particular, a 2012 UN-led investigation found that the Raia Mutomboki militia, along with two other militias, were responsible for the deaths of more than 260 civilians in ethnic massacres in North Kivu province and in 2018, a UN Security Council panel of experts said his forces used child soldiers and had gang-raped at least 17 women in the town of Lubila. (Reuters)

 

ICLMR contributors to this article include: Beatrice Tesconi, Jess Lacey, Margaux Lenormand, Shannon Raj Singh, Zuzana Drexlerova, Louise Dumas, Portia Karegeya, Catherine Dunmore, Alex Foster, Ari Bilotta, Michael Herz, Zoja Bajželj, Harriet Schiavone, Kate Gibson Boyd and Haydee Dijkstal. Contributor bios can be found  HERE.

Sareta Ashraph