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12 September 2005 by Santiago O’Donnell

After weeks of excavations, it came as something of a surprise that the body of María Claudia García, Uruguay's most emblematic victim of state terrorism, was still missing. The information seemed trustworthy enough, divulged in an official report presented by Gen. Guillermo Bertollotti, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, to the Uruguay president, Tabaré Vázquez.

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12 September 2005 by Lucien Chauvin

Peru's judiciary opened the most important human rights trial in the country's history on August 17, when the Anti-Corruption Court began taking testimony in the trial of 57 defendants accused of taking part in a paramilitary death squad, the Colina Group.

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12 September 2005 by Massimo Moratti and Berber Hettinga

It could be called the third generation of international justice: after the UN's international courts for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Rwanda, and the mixed model of Sierra Leone, the newest and most eagerly-awaited experience - outside the International Criminal Court in The Hague - has its headquarters in Sarajevo. The Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) War Crimes Chamber is a semi-international court housed on the premises of the BiH state court, the highest court in the country since the 1995 peace accords. Ten years after the end of the war, the chamber is about to open its first trial on 14 September.

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25 July 2005 by HEIKELINA VERRIJN STUART

On 10 July, a District Court in The Hague extended the custody of Dutch businessman Frans van Anraat for a second three-month period (see IJT-17). The 62-year-old is charged with complicity to commit genocide and war crimes for supplying Saddam Hussein's regime with substances that were allegedly used to produce chemical weapons.

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25 July 2005 by Franck Petit

Following Spain, Belgium and France, Britain is the fourth European country this year to try a non-national in a case of universal jurisdiction. In the first trial of its kind to be heard in England, an Afghan warlord, Farayadi Sarwar Zardad, 42, was convicted of torture committed in his home country before the Old Bailey criminal court in London. He was given a 20-year prison sentence on 19 July.

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25 July 2005 by Emmanuel Chicon

After lengthy proceedings and political interference from the French foreign office (see inset), a criminal court in Nîmes finally tried Mauritanian officer Ely Ould Dah in his absence on 30 June and 1 July. In this, the first French trial based on universal jurisdiction, the court sentenced him to the maximum prison term of 10 years for "torture and acts of barbarity".

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25 July 2005 by SIMPLICE ONGOUYA

After a discreet opening at 6 p.m. on 19 July, which the plaintiffs had not been invited to attend, the trial known as the “disappeared of the Beach” finally got underway before the Brazzaville criminal court on 21 July. 16 officers, including four generals, faced charges brought by 76 plain-tiffs in connection with the disappearance of 353 refugees in May 1999. The refugees were fleeing the war in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in a boat that docked at the Brazzaville port. They were never heard from again. The authorities have always denied any involvement, but this politically sensitive trial should shed new light on the affair.

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11 July 2005 by HEIKELINA VERRIJN STUART

On 13 July 1995, Rizo Mustafic, an electrician working at the UN compound in Potocari, near Srebrenica, was expelled from the camp by a Dutch officer. Not long after, he was killed. Today, members of his family, together with a former UN interpreter at the military base, Hasan Nuhanovic, are making a legal bid before a Dutch national court in The Hague to claim damages. Aware of the political and financial consequences such a precedent could have for the Dutch state, the court has examined witness testimony carefully. One 10 July, the plaintiffs announced their decision to go to trial.

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11 July 2005 by HEIKELINA VERRIJN STUART

Naser Oric was commander of the Bosnian Muslim military zone in Srebrenica in the early 1990s. The prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) described Oric as "a warlord, drunk with power". Soldiers from the Dutch UN battalion portrayed him as "a crook, a robber, a pimp and a murderer". He is the only Srebrenica Muslim to be tried at the ICTY. His trial, which began on 6 October 2004, has shed light on a little-known aspect of Srebrenica's history.

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27 June 2005 by Santiago O’Donnell

The Argentine Supreme Court changed the course of history on 14 June by abolishing the two amnesty laws known as "due obedience" and "full stop" passed in the late 1980s. Until now, the laws have shielded officers suspected of having committed crimes against humanity. The high court ruling could clear the way for prosecutions of 400 formerly low-ranking officials, accused of abduction, torture and murder during the military dictatorship of 1976 to 1983.

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