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24 October 2005 by Laurent Abadie

In a decision unprecedented in the history of international justice, a trial chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) ruled on October 12, in a 2-1 vote, that the former Prime Minister of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj, "may appear in public and engage in public political activities to the extent which UN Mission in Kosovo [UNMIK] finds would be important for a positive development of the political and security situation in Kosovo." The Prosecutor is "appalled" by the decision and has filed a suspensive request. As a result, Haradinaj has not been allowed to speak in public for more than two days.

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10 October 2005 by HEIKELINA VERRIJN STUART

In July, a British court sentenced a former Taliban to twenty five years in prison for torture and hostage-taking [see IJT no. 30]. Now a Dutch court has tried two former Afghan generals for war crimes and acts of torture committed under the communist regime between 1978 and 1992. This Hague-based trial, from September 18 - October 7, has made one thing clear: the almost insurmountable complexity of investigating and prosecuting crimes committed 15 to 25 years ago in a still-violent, chaotic and far away country like Afghanistan.

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10 October 2005 by Lucien O. Chauvin

Abimael Guzmán, the famous leader of Peru's Maoist Shining Path group, began facing judges September 26 in his third trial. Guzmán and 23 of his followers who were allegedly members of the outlawed party's Central Committee are being tried by a special anti-terrorism court presided by Judge Pablo Talavera and two other magistrates. There are, however, only 12 defendants in the courtroom. The others are being tried in absentia.

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10 October 2005 by Adele Waugaman

Most people hear the words "war crime" and think of the Nuremberg Trials or Slobodan Milosevic's trial, but that may soon change. Up till now, British soldiers have never been charged under this highly symbolic label. However, in July the British Attorney-General reversed this trend by announcing that three soldiers were being charged with "war crimes under the ICC Act [of] 2001". That announcement made Britain the first member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to charge its own citizens under such law.

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10 October 2005 by Abdul Razzaq al-Saiedi

Saddam Hussein is scheduled to stand trial starting October 19th, more than 20 months after Americans arrested the former Iraqi leader. The trial will begin with Dujail, a town 35 miles north of Baghdad, where 143 people were killed by forces loyal to Saddam in 1982 in a reaction to an assassination attempt against Saddam. The former president will stand trial alongside 7 other defendants including his half-brother and former head of the Mukhabart secret police, the former prime minister, former Vice chairman of the Baath Party and the former chief judges of the revolution court.

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10 October 2005 by HEIKELINA VERRIJN STUART

For the last five weeks, at Slobodan Milosevic's invitation, the ultra nationalist Vojislav Seselj, former opposition leader and deputy prime minister of Serbia during the war in the former Yugoslavia, has testified in his defence. Since 23 August, Seselj, who is also accused by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), has presented as facts opinions previously expressed by Milosevic. When the judges asked for evidence, Seselj replied that it existed but that he did not have it.

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10 October 2005 by Anne-Laure Porée

Five months after the entry into force of the accord between the United Nations and the Cambodian government, there has been little sign of progress in setting up the extraordinary chambers to try former Khmer Rouge leaders. Michelle Lee, who was appointed by the secretary-general to coordinate legal assistance on 25 August, is still not in post. Kofi Annan is not set to assign international judges until the end of October. A growing number of observers are openly pessimistic about holding the trials 25 years after the fall of the Pol Pot regime.

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10 October 2005 by Thierry Cruvellier

The arrest in Gabon of a former leader of the Interahamwe militia Joseph Serugendo coincided with the resumption of the trial of three leaders of the former Rwandan presidential party, the MRND, at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The defendants are principaly accused of having founded and commanded the MRND youth militia, the Interahamwe.

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10 October 2005 by Thierry Cruvellier

The dual mechanism to establish crimes and responsibilities in Burundi will take longer to put into place than first announced. IJT has learnt that on 30 September, Kofi Annan will not be submitting his report to the UN Security Council on the creation of the special chamber to try those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and in parallel, a truth commission. [see IJT-23]. It is now widely accepted that more time is needed to consult the nation and its leadership in the light of the recent political upheavals in Burundi.

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10 October 2005 by ARNAUD GRELLIER

Juan Guzman Tapia retired from the magistracy in May 2005. During his career, he prepared hundreds of cases against ex-dictator Augusto Pinochet filed by families of disappeared persons in Chile. On a visit to Paris to promote his autobiography "Aboard the World," he spoke to IJT.

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