Weekly update: 13 – 21 July 2020
The following media round up of international legal and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period 13 – 21 July 2020.
The Guernica Group will provide weekly media updates from the International Criminal Court, European Court of Human Rights, United Nations, European Union and other sources. Should you wish to contribute or submit a media summary, opinion piece or blog, please send to Nenad Vucijak for consideration.
Sudan – 13 July
On 12 June 2020, Pre-trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a decision severing the case against Mr Ali Muhammad Ali Abd al-Rahman; who was previously named on the indictment against him as Mr Ali Kushayb. The PTC held that, without prejudice to reviewing the situation in light of relevant developments, it was necessary to sever the case against Mr Kushayb, as provided by article 64(5) of the statute and rule 136 of the Rules.
Kosovo – 14 July
Kosovo’s President, Hasim Thaci, was interviewed by the Specialist Prosecutor at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) in the Hague, following his recent indictment on war crimes charges. Mr Thaci has denied any wrongdoing and said in a press statement that he believes “in peace, truth, reconsideration and justice. [He believes] in dialogue and good relations with all neighbours.”
Lebanon – 14 July
The STL Trial Chamber has announced that the judgment in the case of Ayyash et al. will be delivered on 07 August 2020. It was first anticipated in mid-May but has been delayed due to Covid-19.
Mali – 14 July
On 14 July, the trial in the case of The Prosecutor v. Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud opened before Trial Chamber X of the ICC. The defendant, Al Hassan, is a Malian national who was allegedly a member of Ansar Eddine, a local Islamist militant faction of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb that took over the Malian capital, Timbuktu, in mid-2012 during a Tuareg uprising.
Cambodia – 16 July
A Special Panel of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) unanimously dismissed an application to disqualify six appeal judges, filed by the Co-Lawyers for Khieu Samphan.
Central African Republic - 16 July
On 16 July, Trial Chamber V released a Decision setting the commencement date of the trial in the Yekatom and Ngaissona case. The Court noted that it was mindful of both its obligation to ensure a fair and expeditious trial and that the accused are tried without undue delay, its obligations with regard to the protection of victims and witnesses pursuant to Article 68(1) of the Statute, as well as the special circumstances under the Coronavirus Pandemic.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) – 17 July
The ICC marked 17 July, the Day of International Criminal Justice. Commemorations this year focused on the theme of resilience in crisis and conflict. Amidst the global pandemic, gross violations of human rights continue to unfold across the world; there is an outcry for justice.
Belarus – 17 July
At the end of a week which has seen further mass arrests during demonstrations in Belarus, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called on the authorities to ensure full respect for the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and of association. According to information from various NGO and media sources, over 300 people, including a dozen journalists covering the protests, were detained by police during protests on 14 and 15 July.
Mali – 17 July
Amid continuing tensions in Mali, where there has been a series of anti-government protests in recent weeks, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged the authorities to ensure that security forces refrain from resorting to unnecessary or excessive force in policing demonstrations or otherwise interacting with protesters.
Bulgaria – 21 July
In the case of Velkov v. Bulgaria, the European Court of Human Rights found a violation of the right not to be tried or punished twice for the same offence. The applicant, a supporter of Lokomotiv Plovdiv football club, was subjected to both administrative and criminal penalties for a breach of the peace during a match in 2008. The Court held that, given the lack of sufficiently close connection of substance between the two sets of proceedings against the applicant, they could not be regarded as forming part of an integral scheme of sanctions under Bulgarian law aimed at combating the phenomenon of sports hooliganism.