In this week’s review, news about the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s scheduling order on the Judgment in case concerning the accused Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, referral of Venezuela to the ICC by Rome Statute members, Germany’s sentencing for Syrian crimes, ICC invitation for further submissions in Bashir / Jordan appeal, reparations hearing in Lubanga case and more.
Khmer Rouge Tribunal Trial Chamber issues scheduling order for judgement in Case 002/02
The Trial Chamber in Case 002/02 concerning the Accused Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, notified the parties that it will announce the summary of the trial judgement on 16 November 2018 at 9:30 am in the ECCC Main Court. Nuon Chea, the deputy secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea and Khieu Samphan, the head of state of Democratic Kampuchea were charged with the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and Grave Breaches of the Geneva Conventions. The charges are based on the findings from numerous work camps, execution sites, and cooperatives as well as evidence regarding the alleged armed conflict between Democratic Kampuchea and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Both accused were indicted in 2010 and due to the nature of the charges, the court decided to sever the case into several trials, bearing the title Case 002/01 and Case 002/2. In the judgment delivered in August 2014, the two were found guilty of crimes against humanity. The trial in the Case 002/02 commenced in October 2014, trying Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan on the crimes of genocide, forced marriages, internal purges and ill-treatment of Buddhists. At the time of delivery of the judgment, the two accused will be 92 and 87 years old. (ECCC Order, ECCC Press Release)
Five South American countries and Canada ask ICC to probe Venezuela
In a historic move, Canada is joining with five South American countries to formally refer the situation in Venezuela to the International Criminal Court. Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay, Chile and Peru expressed their decision to refer Venezuela to the ICC in August 2018 after a panel of international independent experts appointed by the Organisation of American States released its report documenting alleged crimes in May 2018. The referral to the ICC was signed by the six countries on 26 September 2018, in the UN Headquarters in New York. This is the first time a member state has referred the situation in another country to the ICC.
Venezuela, the first South American country to join the ICC, has been caught up in a humanitarian and socio-economic crisis since at least the beginning of 2014. According to the OAS report, more than 12,000 people have been arbitrarily detained. The investigations identified over 8,292 extrajudicial killings since 2015, all of which may constitute crimes against humanity under Article 7 of the Rome Statute. The report implicated high-ranking security as well as political officials in these crimes.The ICC Prosecutor opened a preliminary examination into the situation in Venezuela on 8 February 2018. The scope of the preliminary examination includes allegations that the State security forces have used excessive force to repress demonstrations and arrest and detain opposition members since August 2017. (CBC)
German court hands down life sentence for Syrian crimes
On 24 September 2018, a court in Dusseldorf sentenced a Syrian national, known as Ibrahim A., to life imprisonment for war crimes committed in Syria in 2012. This is a total sentence for crimes including murder and kidnapping, as well as the commission of the war crimes of torturing and killing persons protected under international humanitarian law. The court found that Ibrahim A was in command of a militia unit of at least 150 people, which was part of the Free Syrian Army. He used the political vacuum which resulted from the ongoing conflict in Syria to commit the crimes. He has the right to appeal the sentence. (Sputnik News, Court Press Release)
US report on Rohingya crisis declines to label crimes
On 24 September 2018, the US State Department released a report into the situation in Myanmar. It is the result of an investigation involving over 1000 interviews with Rohingya men and women in refugee camps in Bangladesh. The report found that Myanmar’s military waged a “well-planned and coordinated” campaign of mass killings, gang rapes and other atrocities against the Rohingya minority in the country. Notably, the report did not go so far as to ‘legally classify the acts as ‘genocide’ or ‘crimes against humanity’. According to US officials, the report could be used to justify sanctions or other punitive measures against Myanmar. (Time, Reuters)
ICC invites submissions from Jordan, Sudan and Al-Bashir on Art 87(7) appeal
On 20 September 2018, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court made orders permitting Sudan and Sudanese president Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir each to file submissions on Jordan’s appeal against the decision of 12 March 2018 by the Pre-Trial Chamber regarding Jordan’s non-compliance with a request by the Court for the arrest and surrender of Mr Al-Bashir. They are equally permitted to make submissions concerning issues raised during the appeal hearing, which took place from 10 to 14 September 2018. (Orders permitting submissions, Jordan referral, Decision on non-compliance by Jordan)
Hearing scheduled on reparations in Lubanga case
On 21 September 2018, the ICC Appeals Chamber made scheduling orders for the appeals by the V01 group of victims and Thomas Lubanga Dyilo on the Court’s reparations decision of 15 December 2017. It made orders permitting the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) to submit written observations on the appeal and to attend the appeal hearing, and permitting Lubanga, the legal representatives of the V01 and V02 groups of victims and the Office of Public Counsel for Victims to respond to the TFV’s observations. The Appeals Chamber fixed 17 October 2018 to hear submissions and observations. (Scheduling order, ICC Decision on size of reparations)