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Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo in the ICC courtroom during the delivery of his verdict on 21 March 2016 (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
13 April 2016 by Benjamin Duerr, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Jean-Pierre Bemba who was convicted of crimes against humanity and war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in March, is one of the richest men in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Research suggests parts of Bemba's wealth stems from Dutch brewer Heineken.

In March the ICC convicted Bemba of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by his troops in the Central-African Republic [IJT-191, blog].

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Serb ultra-nationalist politician Vojislav Seselj (Photo: Twitter/@seselj_vojislav)
31 March 2016 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Serb ultra-nationalist politician Vojislav Seselj was acquitted Thursday of all nine charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes and is now a free man presiding judge Jean-Claude Antonetti of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) ruled. Seselj, already provisionally released on health grounds, was not present in court.

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Radovan Karadzic before ICTY
24 March 2016 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on Thursday convicted former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic of genocide for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre and nine other counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison for his role in the 44-month siege of Sarajevo, the establishment of a network of detention camps in Prijedor where non-Serbs were abused and tortured and taking UN personnel hostage and many other crimes.

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Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo in the ICC courtroom during the delivery of his verdict on 21 March 2016 (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
21 March 2016 by Stephanie van den Berg

Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday ruled that Congolese politician Jean-Pierre Bemba's troops raped, murdered and pillaged civilians in the Central African Republic and that he, as their commander, could be held criminally responsible. The ruling is a historic one for the ICC as it is the first time the court has handed down convictions for sexual and crimes and also a first conviction on the basis of command responsibility [IJT-191].

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Initial appearance of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Aimé Kilolo Musamba and Fidèle Babala Wandu, 27 November 2013  (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
17 March 2016 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

The International Criminal Court will rule this coming Monday in the case of Congolese politician Jean-Pierre Bemba who stands accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Bemba, who was transferred to The Hague in 2008 was seen as the first 'big fish' to have been caught by the permanent war crimes court.

The accusations relate to crimes allegedly committed by his troops in the Central African Republic (CAR) during 2002 and 2003, when Bemba was asked by then CAR president Ange-Félix Patassé to provide support during a civil war. As commander of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), Bemba is held accountable for multiple rapes and other crimes by his troops in CAR.

IJT spoke to three experts and longtime observers of the Bemba case about the significance of the ruling for the ICC, for international justice and jurisprudence and for the victims.

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Refugees arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos in September 2015 (Photo: Flickr/Ben White - CAFOD)
08 March 2016 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Parallel to calls for the establishment of an international tribunal to address alleged war crimes committed in Syria [IJT-169], many European countries say they have stepped up screening procedures to weed out possible war criminals amid the influx of Syrian refugees. The Netherlands, which has been somewhat of a pioneer in this regard, last week announced that in 2015 they denied asylum to 10 Syrian nationals because they are suspected of committing war crimes. But past experience points to a wide gap between identifying potential perpetrators and actually bringing them to justice.

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Mali war crimes suspect Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi at his confirmation of charges hearing before the ICC (Photo: Twitter/ICC-CPI)
01 March 2016 by Benjamin Duerr, The Hague (The Netherlands)

In the first case of its kind, judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) have to decide whether the destruction of cultural property and related psychological harm to the population in Mali deserves the attention of the global court. At the confirmation of charges hearing which began Tuesday, the prosecutors said Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi should be tried for war crimes committed during the Islamist occupation of the city of Timbuktu.

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Prosecution picture of Malian ICC suspect Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi preaching to the crowd at the destruction of a Timbuktu shrine (Photo: Janet Anderson)
01 March 2016 by Janet H. Anderson, The Hague (The Netherlands)

If you listen to the prosecution’s presentation at the ICC today, Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, an Islamist from Timbuktu, was not only an expert in Islamic law – and recognised as such by his peers – a recruiter and an active member of the Islamic group Ansaredinne, but, most importantly, the ringleader behind the destruction of nine shrines in 2012.

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Post-conflict rubble in Gori, Georgia, on 25 August 2008 (Photo: Flickr/Chuck Simmins)
27 February 2016

In this month's IJT we ask if the ICC's probe into alleged war crimes in Georgia in 2008 risks being one-sided as the court could be dragged in to a new Cold War. Will prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's move out of Africa be able to escape accusations of bias after Russia has already announced it will not cooperate?

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Radovan Karadzic before ICTY
25 February 2016 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has a busy month ahead. As it prepares to close its doors next year it will hand down verdicts in two of its last trials. The Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic will hear a judgement in his historic case on 24 March, which could expand genocide in Bosnia beyond Srebrenica. A week later judges will hand down their ruling in the trial of firebrand Serb politician Vojislav Seselj, which has been shrouded in controversy. IJT asked Marko Milanovic, associate professor of law at the University of Nottingham and longtime ICTY observer, about what’s at stake in both cases.

 

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