06 September 2010 by Julia Romasevych and Paul Anstiss

Fact-finding at the international tribunals is not as precise as we think. Nancy Combs, Professor of Law at William and Mary Law School, explores this in her new book 'Fact-finding without facts: the uncertain evidentiary foundations of international criminal convictions'.

02 November 2010 by Thijs Bouwknegt

Commercially motivated pillage has taken on increasing importance in recent years as the illegal exploitation of natural resources has emerged as a primary means of financing conflict. But efforts to hold disreputable commercial actors responsible for war crimes or other serious human rights violations have been frustrated, frequently because of difficulties in proving corporate complicity. Larissa van den Herik of Leiden University organised the conference ‘Corporate War Crimes: Prosecuting Pillage of Natural Resources’ in The Hague last week.

21 April 2008 by Lars Waldorf

The Rwandan Parliament is currently finalizing a new amendment to the gacaca law that will shift more serious genocide cases-including rape-from the national courts to gaca-ca’s 1,545 community courts. This will be the third time the Gacaca law has been formally amended since it was first issued in 2001-and that’s not counting the various executive decrees that have also reshaped gacaca. 

05 May 2008 by our Arusha correspondent

Presented as "historic" by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the hearing that was held April 24 opened, quite belatedly, the very first public debate on one of the prosecution's five requests for the transfer of defendants to Rwanda. Chief Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow made the first move, exhorting the judges to look to France's example, saying, "The court of appeal [of Chambery] has pronounced on the same issue, in the context of a request (...) for the extradition of one Kamana Claver to Rwanda on charges of genocide and charges of crimes against humanity.

05 May 2008 by Louis-Martin Rugendo

With the announced closing of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), some of its detainees could be transferred to Rwanda for trial. In anticipation of these still hypothetical transfers, the UN is converting a detention block within the Mpanga prison at great expense.

30 November 1999

ICC joins the Congolese chess game

​On 23 June, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Luis Moreno Ocampo announced he was opening his first investigations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). According to his press release, Ocampo has already been "carefully analysing the situation in DRC" since July 2003. But the new step, which marks the difference between a "preliminary analysis" and the opening of an investigation, is notable for the legal process that could lead to the first trials before the international court, and is highly significant in the current political context.

Five Rwandan files kept on the back burner

On June 8, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) convicted France of failing to prepare its case against the Rwandan priest Wenceslas Munyeshyaka within a reasonable timeframe. The initial complaint, implicating him in the 1994 genocide, was filed nine years ago in July 1995. Although this is the first time such a case has been heard before the ECHR, the situation is not unique. Complaints filed between 1995 and 2001 against four Rwandans suspected of genocide who are residing in France are still pending in the French courts.

23 January 2006

DRC awaiting first arrest warrants

On January 10, Serge Brammertz, the deputy prosecutor in charge of investigations at the International Criminal Court (ICC), was given a six-month temporary assignment as head of the UN's fact-finding committee on the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister. Since his departure, Congolese NGOs, which had already advised the Court to issue arrest warrants before the December 18 referendum, are concerned that the ICC "legal proceedings will be stalled" in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In a country where individuals suspected of war crimes hold political office, and whose terms may be renewed following the March 5 legislative elections, the question is: why is the ICC waiting to issue its first arrest warrants in the DRC?

IER: truth without punishment

King Mohammed VI of Morocco has reason to be satisfied. Since completing its work a couple of weeks ago, the Equity and Reconciliation Commission (IER) has been flooded with compliments. The United States, France, Great Britain and many other countries have expressed their support for this unprecedented initiative in truth and democratization in the Arab-Islamic world. Never before has a country in this region embarked upon such a critical assessment of its past. But beyond the symbolic nature of the IER report, what exactly does it say?

The steel giant and the memory of Omarska

​In August 1992, Europe discovered the existence of concentration camps in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the Prijedor region, Serb authorities were subjecting non-Serb civilians to inhuman detention conditions, torture and murder at Omarska, Keraterm and Trnopolje. Those images went around the world and remain one of the symbols of the Bosnian drama. After the conflict Omarska returned to what it used to be: an iron ore mine. But after buying the mine, international steel giant Mittal Steel must now deal with the strong memories.

Brief news:
• ICC: 6 victims to participate in DRC proceedings
• ICTR: The Uwilingiyimana mystery
• Spain accuses Cavallo
• The Netherlands: 15 years for Van Anraat
• Chile: Fujimori stays in prison
• Argentina: Lukic extradited to the ICTY
• Bosnia: a bloody and disorderly arrest

05 February 2007

“We must focus on what has been achieved”

Thirty-six year old Raid Juhi al-Saedi was an investigating judge in the city of Al-Najaf (southern Iraq) in 2002 at the end of Saddam Hussein's regime. After the war began, he was appointed chief investigating judge at the Baghdad Central Criminal Court. He came to the Iraqi High Tribunal (IHT) in 2003, where he was the first judge to agree to be identified in public. He presided over the opening of Saddam's trial. Hard-working, intelligent and ambitious, Juhi al-Saedi has survived several assassination attempts. He headed up the investigations in the now ended Dujail case and the ongoing Anfal case.

ICTY sifts through the Markale massacre

For more than ten years, Bosnian Serbs have insisted that Sarajevo Muslims bombed their own at the City Market on 28 August 1995, leaving 43 people dead and around 90 wounded. The logic behind their reasoning was that the people of the city that had been under siege for more than three years were desperate to make the world aware of their suffering and to trigger NATO air strikes against Bosnian Serb positions around Sarajevo. In the first weeks of Dragomir Milosevic's trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), new light was shed on the question of who was responsible for the Markale Market massacre.

The mother Theresa of Kigali

"That was a strange kind of trial," whispered a disappointed Rwandan woman who, along with many relatives and supporters of the widow of Rwanda's ex-president, had come to watch her defend herself before the Refugee Appeals Board. It took six long hours of hearings on January 25 for this administrative jurisdiction to decide whether there were "serious reasons to believe" that Agathe Habyarimana had any responsibility in the 1994 genocide.

Peru caught up in its contradictions

In this first part of a three articles series on reparations, IJT investigates Peru's case. Although political violence in Peru has largely subsided, the country is still avoiding addressing the aftermath of more than two decades of massive human rights violations. And though laws have been passed in order to begin compensating victims and their families for some of the damage inflicted upon them, the process is still struggling under the weight of government bureaucracy and political considerations.

Brief news:

• Amnesty for war crimes in Afghanistan

• Iraq : "Chemical Ali" shows no regrets

• ICC: Charges against Thomas Lubanga upheld

• Senegal: Habré, not before "at least three years"

02 April 2007

Canada unveils universal jurisdiction

The first case under Canada’s Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act (2000) opened at the main courthouse in Montreal on March 26, 2007. The defendant, who has been in custody since being arrested in Toronto nearly eighteen months ago, walked into the courtroom more nattily attired than any previous occupant of the prisoner’s box. Désiré Munyaneza, a Rwandan charged with genocide, wore a color-coordinated suit, shirt and tie. He looked around, spotting his wife, other family members, attorneys and the single judge.

Trial of political leaders running aground

One of the most important trials before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has again run into difficulty following the withdrawal of a judge for health reasons. Nine years after the arrest of the three defendants—leaders of the former presidential party (MRND) who are among the prime suspects in the 1994 genocide—the trial is unlikely to finish before 2008, the completion date set by the UN Security Council for all ICTR trials.

Van Anraat, a high-stakes second round

The appeals arguments in the trial of Frans van Anraat will be held at The Hague from April 4-25. On December 23, 2005 a Dutch court sentenced the 65 year-old businessman to 15 years in prison for complicity in war crimes committed by former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, his cousin Ali Hassan al- Majid and his son in law Hussein Kamal al-Majid. Both parties are challenging the lower court's judgment and legal reasoning.

Brief news:


Ernesto Baez at confession

"Parabusiness" scandal revealed


Registrar of the court dismissed


Lubanga's defense demands appropriate means


21 May 2007

End of the officers' trial: 13 years later, what proof?

From May 28 to June 1, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will hear closing arguments from the Prosecutor and defense in its most important trial - that involving Colonel Théoneste Bagosora, the former Chef de Cabinet at the Ministry of Defense and the presumed architect of the 1994 genocide. The trial has centered around allegations that Bagosora led a conspiracy that planned the genocide well in advance of the killings. Now, after twelve years of investigation and more than five years of trial, what do we actually know?

Europe supports the ICC without fail and without zeal

Since its conception, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has found its most fervent supporters in Europe. No fewer than 20 European countries participated in the pro-ICC "like-minded group" of 58 during the Rome Statute negotiations in 1998. This diplomatic activism—rewarded by the election of judges from Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Latvia and other European states to the permanent court—has continued unfailingly within the European Union (EU). However, on a practical level, the cooperation is less effective and relations with the ICC remain bilateral for the most part, just like relationships between States regarding universal jurisdiction cases.

Brief news:

• France: Judicial inquiry into Agathe Habyarimana

• ICC: Judge Jorda resigns

• ICTR: Controversy over the presidency

• Complicity in genocide: the double response from The Hague

• Tribunal for lebanon: to be passed by force?