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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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27 June 2005 by Franck Petit

At the end of the Brussels trial of the two Rwandan businessmen accused of war crimes, the outcome was far from cut and dried. While the die was cast for Etienne Nzabonimana after the defence wrapped up its case on 24 June, lawyers representing Samuel Ndashyikirwa were still waiting to plead on the 27th. The verdict is expected on June 29.

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27 June 2005 by Thierry Cruvellier

After serving three years as chief prosecutor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, David Crane will be leaving his post on 30 June. On 25 and 26 June, he chaired a work session in Freetown with the prosecutors of the International Criminal Court [ICC] and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda [ICTR] and the deputy prosecutor of the Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [ICTY]. In an interview given to International Justice Tribune on the eve of the meeting, Crane reflected on the lessons learnt from the Sierra Leone experience. He said that the investigations into businessmen involved in the conflict are still ongoing and assured that it is only a matter of time before Nigeria arrests Charles Taylor and hands him over to the Special Court.

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27 June 2005 by Franck Petit

As the trial of the two Rwandan businessmen reaches its third week before the Brussels criminal court, Ephrem Nkezabera, a former banker and Interahamwe leader, presented a detailed financial portrait of his once "model" client, Etienne Nzabonimana, the main defendant in the dock.

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13 June 2005 by MYRIAM HERNANDEZ

On 7 June, former Chilean President Augusto Pinochet had a day of victory and defeat. The victory was the Santiago appeal court's decision to end proceedings against him and his former interior minister, retired General Cesar Benavides, on charges relating to the repression of political opponents as part of Operation Condor. The defeat came from the plenary hearing at the same court, which lifted his political immunity in the case of the millions of dollars deposited in Riggs Bank in Washington, DC.

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13 June 2005 by HEIKELINA VERRIJN STUART

Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army [LRA, the rebel movement in northern Uganda], and another LRA chief would be the object of the first arrest warrants issued by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court [ICC], the French daily Le Monde revealed on 10 June. For the last two months, the silence surrounding the maturation of the Uganda file has generated much speculation over the strategies being pursued.

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