Weekly News Recap (21-27 Sept 2020)

Photo by Roel Wijnants via Flickr

ICC Registry identifies five possible scenarios to bring proceedings closer to Rohingya

On 21 September 2020, the Registry of the International Criminal Court (ICC) submitted to the Pre-Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Court its Observations on the Victims’ Joint Request concerning hearings outside the host State (the Netherlands) within reasonable proximity of the affected populations, in relation to the situation in Bangladesh/Myanmar.

The Registry of the ICC provided five possible scenarios, namely a judicial visit by a Chamber or an appointed Single Judge to a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh; organizing a testimony via a video-link with a witness based in Bangladesh; a Chamber or a Single Judge explaining a decision on victims’ participation to the victims based in Bangladesh; holding a full confirmation of charges hearing in Bangladesh and holding the decision on the confirmation of charges hearing in Bangladesh.


Conclusion of the public hearings in the case of the Islamic Republic of Iran v. the United States of America

On 21 September, the public hearings on the preliminary objections raised by the United States of America in the case concerning alleged violations of the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights (the Islamic Republic of Iran v. the United States of America) concluded and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will now begin deliberation.

On 16 July 2018, the Islamic Republic of Iran instituted proceedings against the United States of America before the ICJ, concerning a dispute concerning alleged violations of the Treaty. The violations of the Treaty were allegedly done by the decision of the United States to re-impose in full effect and enforce sanctions and restrictive measures targeting Iran and Iranian companies and/or nationals, which the United States had previously decided to lift in connection with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – an agreement on the nuclear programme of Iran reached on 14 July 2015 by Iran, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, plus Germany and the European Union. On 23 August 2019, the United States of America filed preliminary objections to the jurisdiction of the Court and to the admissibility of the Application.


The African Union Ten Year Action Plan on Child Labour plan moves toward implementation

The African Union (AU) has reported on 21 September that it is initiating discussions with stakeholders on the implementation of AU’s Ten Year Action Plan to Eradicate Child Labour, Forced Labour, Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery (2020-2030) adopted during the AU Summit held in February 2020.

The AU Ten Year Plan is implemented in juxtaposition with the International Labour Organization’s Convention 182, an instrument that emphases the subset of worst forms of child labour. The AU Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child upon which the Ten Year Plan is anchored, recognise the child’s right to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development. In a bid to create a continental consensus on child labour, the AU working with partners has a plan to intensify continent-wide consultations with its stakeholders and social partners in Africa on the implementation of the Ten Year Plan, identifying areas of collaboration in order to build stronger partnerships and scaling up action against child labour.


The Government of the Union of the Comoros Requests Leave to Appeal the Pre-Trial Chamber’s Decision 

On 22 September, Comoros filed a request for leave to appeal the decision of Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court of 16 September 2020 which decided against asking the Prosecutor to reconsider for a third time its decision not to investigate the Comoros situation despite finding the Prosecution failed to genuinely conduct its prior reconsideration and committed errors. Comoros alleges that the Pre-Trial Chamber committed an error of law and procedure by deciding not to request the Prosecution to reconsider its decision not to open an investigation.


French prosecutors have opened an inquiry into BNP Paribas bank over claims of complicity in international crimes in Sudan

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), which had filed a complaint against the French bank, announced on 24 September that an investigation had been opened. Almost a year ago, nine Sudanese victims backed by rights groups including the FIDH filed a criminal complaint against BNP Paribas for allegedly facilitating crimes committed in Sudan between 2002 and 2008, particularly in the war-torn western region of Darfur. It has been confirmed by a judicial source that the investigation was opened on 26 August.


Volkswagen to compensate workers over torture in Brazil

It has been reported on 25 September that German carmaker Volkswagen will pay $6.4m in compensation to former workers at a Brazilian factory who sued the company for collaborating with the country’s military during the 1964-1985 dictatorship. Workers and their families sued Volkswagen five years ago over human rights violations. A 2016 review found that Volkswagen’s agents gave employees’ names to police hunting for people described as “subversives”.


Arrests by the Kosovo Specialist Prosecutor and the beginning of the victims’ participation process at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers

Salih Mustafa was arrested by the Kosovo Specialist Prosecutor’s Office on 24 September and was transferred to the Detention Facilities of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague on the same day. The indictment against Salih Mustafa was confirmed on 12 June 2020. The indictment charges Salih Mustafa of individual criminal responsibility for arbitrary detention, cruel treatment, torture and murder, all constituting counts of war crimes under international law. The initial appearance of Salih Mustafa will be a public hearing, scheduled for 28 September.

On 24 September, the Kosovo Specialist Chambers has reported that the process for victims to apply to participate in future proceedings has now begun. Persons who can demonstrate that they have personally suffered harm, including physical, mental or material harm, as a direct result of alleged crimes contained in a confirmed indictment, may now apply to participate in the proceedings. A Judge will then decide whether the person who applied can become a participating victim before the Kosovo Specialist Chambers.

On 25 September, Hysni Gucati was arrested by the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office and was transferred to the Detention Facilities of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague. An arrest warrant was issued for the suspect for offences against the administration of justice, namely intimidation of witnesses, retaliation and violation of secrecy of proceedings.

On 26 September, Nasim Haradinaj was arrested and transferred to the Detention Facilities of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague. He is also charged with offences against the administration of justice, namely intimidation of witnesses, retaliation and violation of secrecy of proceedings.





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