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International Legal News

Weekly update: 01 – 10 December 2020 The following media round up on international and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period of 01 – 10 December 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.

UK/Sri Lanka – 30 November 2020

British mercenaries are being investigated by the Metropolitan Police for their involvement in war crimes during the Sri Lankan civil war. The private security company Keenie Meenie Services (KMS) trained a unit of the Sri Lankan police known as the Special Task Force (STF) in the 1980s to fight Tamil separatists. The STF is alleged to have committed a number of human rights abuses including executions without trial and killings of Tamil civilians. KMS is alleged to have provided or flown helicopter gunships that were involved in massacres.

On 30 November 2020, the Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided to postpone the delivery date of the judgment in the Ongwen case to 12 January 2021. Ongwen is an alleged former commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army, who is charged with 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity purportedly committed in northern Uganda after 1 July 2002. His trial began on 06 December 2016.

On 02 December 2020, the Organisation of American States (OAS) published a follow-up report on the situation in Venezuela. The Report follows a 2018 Report which gave evidence of potential crimes against humanity in the country and was submitted to the ICC Prosecutor, urging her to open an investigation.

On 03 December 2020, the Swiss Federal Criminal Court opened the trial against Alieu Kosiah, a former Liberian rebel commander. Kosiah is accused of multiple charges of war crimes, including sexual violence, murder and recruitment of child soldiers, allegedly committed between 1989 and 1996 during the first Liberian civil war. International Criminal Court - 07 December 2020

On 07 December 2020, the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation rejected a claim brought against the International Criminal Court by some of its Judges. The Judges challenged the Assembly of States Parties’ (ASP) implied rejection of their request to correct and update the judicial salary and pension. They asked the Tribunal to order the Court to review, update and correct the conditions of service for the ICC Judges, which has been in effect since 31 January 2018.

In the case of M.M. v. Switzerland, the European Court of Human Rights held that there had been no violation of the Convention.

The applicant is a Spanish national who was born in 1980 in Switzerland. The case concerned the applicant’s expulsion from Switzerland for a period of five years following the imposition of a 12-month suspended prison sentence for having committed acts of sexual nature against a minor and consumed narcotics.

In the case of Victor Rotaru v. the Republic of Moldova the Court held that there had been a violation of freedom of movement.

The case concerned the Moldovan authorities’ refusal over several years to issue the applicant with a passport, on the grounds that he had failed to repay a debt owed to a bank.

The domestic legislation, as applied in the present case, had not yet provided the applicant with sufficient procedural guarantees to prevent the risk of an abuse of power on the part of the authorities, and the applicant had been deprived of the necessary protection against arbitrariness required by the rule of law in a democratic society.

In the case of Panioglu v. Romania the European Court of Human Rights held that there had been no violation of the Convention.

The case concerned professional penalties suffered by a judge, in particular concerning promotion, for an article she had written in the press. The article had severely criticised the President of the Court of Cassation’s activities as a prosecutor under the repressive communist regime.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) says that it will not take action against the UK, despite finding evidence British troops committed war crimes in Iraq. A 180-page report says hundreds of Iraqi detainees were abused by British soldiers between 2003 and 2009. But the ICC could not determine whether the UK had acted to shield soldiers from prosecution. The MoD said the ICC report “vindicates our efforts to pursue justice where allegations have been founded.” The ICC told the BBC: “It is without dispute there is evidence war crimes were committed.” Ireland - 10 December 2020

The European Court of Human Rights declared inadmissible the applications in the cases of L.F. v. Ireland, K.O’S. v. Ireland and W.M. v. Ireland.

In the 1960s each of the applicants underwent surgical symphysiotomies in Irish maternity hospitals either during or in advance of labour. Their cases were among 10 applications introduced by women who had undergone symphysiotomies in different Irish maternity hospitals in the 1960s and 1970s. The applicants complained that the use of the procedure in Ireland had not been the subject of a Convention-compliant domestic investigation and that, in addition, they had been unable to fully litigate their claims at the domestic level.


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