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30 November 1999 by BENJAMIN BIBAS and EMMANUEL CHICON

The Moroccan Equity and Reconciliation Commission (IER), crea- ted by royal decree in April 2004, is now halfway through its mandate. A unique experience in the Arab-Muslim world, this ...

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30 November 1999 by ARNAUD GRELLIER

The first trial of the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet could take place in France ? without him. On 22 October, the Paris prose- cutor's office called for the case to be referred be ...

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30 November 1999 by HEIKELINA VERRIJN STUART

Over the last few weeks, British defence counsels Steven Kay and Gillian Higgins have given the Appeals Chamber of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) the opportunity to straighten out a trial gone awry after the Trial Chamber judges' decision of 3 September 2004 to impose defence counsel upon an unwilling Slobodan Milosevic.

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30 November 1999 by ANDRE-MICHEL ESSOUNGOU

“Counsel Degli has committed acts of dishonesty, fraud and deception. These serious breaches of professional ethics justify his withdrawal from the case.” This was the unequivocal tone of the decision taken on 27 October by the administration of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to dismiss the lawyer representing General Gratien Kabiligi. The radical decision was taken following an ICTY enquiry, which on the face of it looks extremely damaging for the Togolese lawyer. 

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30 November 1999

All defendants boycott trials at special court

The youthful interim leader of the former Rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) movement, the self-styled General Issa Sesay, has ordered his former battle group commander Morris Kallon to join him and all the other defendants in the ongoing war crimes trials in Sierra Leone to boycott court hearings.

Military shambles

Over the last few years, speed and firmness have been the official watchwords at hearings before the Arusha Tribunal. Yet, both are sorely lacking in Military II trial which involves the former chief of staff of the army, General Augustin Bizimungu, the former chief of staff of the gendarmerie, General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, the former commander of the reconnaissance battalion Major François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye, and his second in command, Captain Innocent Sagahutu.

Milosevic in self defence

Slobodan Milosevic sounded almost jubilant when he called two French witnesses, both former UNPROFOR members sympathetic to the suffering of the Serb people. Nurse Eve Crepin's testimony was so general that presiding judge Patrick Robinson dismissed it as "a conversation with a cup of tea on the veranda". But her partner, former army doctor Patrick Barriot, gave evidence that sparked intense questioning from both prosecutors and judges.

Guantanamo trials in deadlock

Three years after the creation of the Guantanamo prison, the 550 detainees in the war on terrorism risk filling up American courtrooms. Lawyers and human rights activists are attacking every aspect of the legal strategy set up by the American administration to try so-called enemy combatants. In such a context, the next few months will prove critical for the success or failure of the military commissions.

 

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30 November 1999

Councillor Rutaganira strikes a good deal

At the beginning of the New Year, if the judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) stick to the terms of the agreement between the defence and the prosecutor, Vincent Rutaganira can consider himself a lucky man. On 8 December, the former district councillor of a small town in western Rwanda not only became the fourth Rwandan to plead guilty before a UN court. He will also be distinguished by the unprecedented conditions in which the prosecutor accepted his confession.

Report on torture does not close a chapter

They are 35,000 men and women, imprisoned under the regime of General Pinochet, who were abused, tortured or raped, then silenced and forgotten by the Chilean institutions and courts. In early December, the publication of the report on Torture and Political Imprisonment under the military dictatorship has finally put an end to the denial of these crimes by granting them official recognition as victims of the dictatorship.

Van Anraat and the chemical solution

Dutchman Frans Van Anraat recently declared in a television interview that his deliveries of chemical substances to Iraq was just something he had done on the side. He had received a request from Iraq and had successfully delivered. Had he not done it, somebody else would have, he said. At the time, the Dutch public prosecutor had contemplated charging him with export violations, but since the crimes took place in the late 1980s, it was too late. The crimes would be considered prescriptible. On 6 December, 2004, the businessman was arrested and charged with complicity in genocide and war crimes.

 

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30 November 1999

French court closes Brazzaville Beach case

On 22 November, judges at the Paris Appeals Court threw out all proceedings related to the disappearances at the Brazzaville Beach port. In doing so, they have probably buried the case for good. They also spared Congo-Brazzaville's leaders from prosecution for their alleged role in the disappearance of 353 refugees sailing into the Brazzaville port from the Democratic Republic of Congo in May 1999.

Unlikely Conspiracy

Nothing seems to be going right for the Government I trial at the Arusha Tribunal. The trial, which began a year ago, was adjourned after six months, and then, in October, the Appeals Chamber ordered it to start again from scratch before a new panel of judges. Today, it is the focus of renewed battles between defence teams and the prosecutor's office.

Military trial: chronicle of a crisis foretold

Once more, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is walking on very thin ice. Not only is it reeling from having lost an entire year in the Government I trial, but serious problems now threaten to short-circuit the Military I trial.

Test trial in Lumumbashi

Back from his visit to this isolated town in the south-eastern province of Katanga, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Colonel Mbombo Nzadi seems satisfied. He considers that "it was essential for us to speak to the people on the ground and better understand the circumstances" and therefore that the visit by the tribunal "has helped".

 

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30 November 1999

Kay offers Milosevic trial a way forward

Over the last few weeks, British defence counsels Steven Kay and Gillian Higgins have given the Appeals Chamber of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) the opportunity to straighten out a trial gone awry after the Trial Chamber judges' decision of 3 September 2004 to impose defence counsel upon an unwilling Slobodan Milosevic.

​A Pinochet trial in France?

The first trial of the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet could take place in France - without him. On 22 October, the Paris prosecutor's office called for the case to be referred before the Paris criminal court, where the former president would be tried in absentia for the "abduction and torture" of several French nationals and Franco-Chileans who disappeared between 1973 and 1975.

A settling of bad accounts

“Counsel Degli has committed acts of dishonesty, fraud and deception. These serious breaches of professional ethics justify his withdrawal from the case.” This was the unequivocal tone of the decision taken on 27 October by the administration of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to dismiss the lawyer representing General Gratien Kabiligi. The radical decision was taken following an ICTY enquiry, which on the face of it looks extremely damaging for the Togolese lawyer. 

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30 November 1999

Truth report spares no parties

For those who have followed the tribulations of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) for almost three years, its official report, which was published on 5 October, constitutes a small miracle. No one could have predicted such a logically structured, abundantly detailed, and well-written report two years ago when the Commission almost dissolved itself through sheer negligence. Even a year ago when the report was first due out, hopes for a turnaround were not high.

Truth Commission and Court, a troubled cohabitation 

The TRC report devotes no less than 60 pages to the turbulent relationship between the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Working in parallel with the TRC, the court is mandated to try a handful of suspects thought to be chiefly responsible for crimes committed during the civil war.

Pinochet to face new legal threat

A new legal front against Augusto Pinochet could begin on 5 November when Chile's Appeals Court examines another request to strip the former dictator of his legal immunity. The demand was filed on 5 October by the daughters of Carlos Prats, the former commander-in-chief of the army and ex vice-president, who was murdered in Buenos Aires in September 1974.

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30 November 1999

Mladic and Belgrade in the firing line

The sensitive issue of cooperation between Serbia and the ICTY is on the agenda in a meeting on 4 October between the prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Carla del Ponte and Serbian president Boris Tadic, accompanied by his prime minister Vojislav Kostunika. Del Ponte's arrival in Belgrade on 1 October coincides with mounting pressure from the international community for Serbia to do more in its power to hand over war criminals, including the ICTY's most wanted fugitive, Ratko Mladic.

Blaskic: repairing rather than retrying

After arriving at The Hague in 1996, Tihomir Blaskic, a former colonel in the HVO (Croatian Defence Council), told his wife and son it would take three months to defend himself against charges that he had command responsibility for one of the war's most horrendous massacres: the Ahmici massacre in the Lasva Valley in April 1993. On 2 August this year, after a case with more than its share of twists and turns, Blaskic was released after being resentenced on appeal to nine years.

Two officers, two sides of the military coin

After the 1994 Rwandan genocide, few people would have believed that two officers with such contrasting profiles would find themselves in a joint billing at the Arusha court. Yet since September 20, and accompanied by two other high-level officers from the ex-Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR), Generals Augustin Ndindiliyimana and Augustin Bizimungu have appeared side by side before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

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