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International Legal News

Weekly update: 24 – 30 November 2020

The following media round up on international and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period of 24 – 30 November 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 Ned Vucijak for consideration.

Côte d’Ivoire – 16 November 2020

Amnesty International has reported that dozens have been killed and hundreds injured in post-election violence in Côte d’Ivoire since the election on 31 October 2020. It also reports that dozens of opposition members have been arrested and the opposition leader Pascal Affi N’Gguessan has been held in detention with no contact with his family or lawyers. Witnesses have reported violent clashes involving machetes and guns, with security forces overwhelmed.

On 17 November 2020, the Kosovo Specialist Prosecutor made public a redacted version of the Request for arrest warrants and related orders which was originally filed on 28 May 2020. The Request relates to Hashim Thaci, Kadri Veseli, Jakup Krasniqi and Rexhep Selimi and alleges that they engaged in witness interference using their positions of power and influence over members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and population of Kosovo in general.

On 19 November 2020, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) publicly released redacted findings from a four-year inquiry into the scope and extent of misconduct by its forces in Afghanistan. The inquiry was led by Major General Brereton, senior Army Infantry Officer and a Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. Known as the ‘Brereton Report,’ the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force Afghanistan Inquiry Report covered incidents that were alleged to have occurred between 2005 and 2016.

On 23 November 2020, the Congolese Operational Military Court, sentenced Ntabo Ntaberi (alias “Sheka”) and his co-accused, Nzitonda Habimana Séraphin, to life imprisonment in a landmark judgment. Sheka was one of the leaders of a militia group called Nduma Defence of Congo (NDC), which operated in the eastern province of North Kivu together with allied militias such as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), headed by Séraphin Nzitonda. Together with other militias, they were accused of orchestrating raids on villages in mid-2010 during which more than 400 people were allegedly raped and almost 300 were killed.

On 24 November 2020, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission released its preliminary findings into alleged human right violations and mass killings that occurred in Maikandra, in the Tigray Region, earlier in November. Between 14 to 19 of November, the Commission sent a team of investigators to several areas across the Region. The preliminary findings suggest that at least 600 civilians were killed in ethnically driven violence in Maikadra town.

According to a press release of 24 November 2020, on Friday 11 December 2020, the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, will deliver its Judgment in the case concerning Immunities and Criminal Proceedings (Equatorial Guinea v. France.)

In the case of Sik v. Turkey (no. 2) the European Court of Human Rights held that there had been a violation of the right to liberty and security, and a violation of freedom of expression.

The case concerned the pre-trial detention of the journalist Ahmet Sik, who was suspected of disseminating propaganda in favour of organisations considered to be terrorist organisations or of assisting them through articles and interviews published in the Turkish daily newspaper Cumhuriyet and social media posts, all of which criticised government policy.

In the case of Bardali v. Switzerland the European Court of Human Rights held that there had been no violation of the Convention. The case concerned the applicant’s conditions of detention in Champ-Dollon Prison in the Canton of Geneva.

Azerbaijan’s Prosecutor General, Kamran Aliyev, reported that his office is investigating alleged war crimes committed by Armenian and Azerbaijani forces during the fight over Nagorno-Karabakh. These alleged war crimes include instances of Azerbaijani troops executing Armenian prisoners of war and defiling the bodies of Armenian servicemen, some of which have been documented by videos circulating on social media.

On 30 November 2020, Trial Chamber IX of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that the judgment on conviction or acquittal pursuant to article 74 of the Rome Statute in the case The Prosecutor v. Dominic Ongwen will be delivered on 04 February 2021 at 10:00 (The Hague local time). The delivery was initially scheduled for 12 January 2021.


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