Saturday, June 11, 2011

ICC in the Media, Update #31

On May 30, 2011 the ICC judges dismissed the request of the "Kenya six" for the cases to be tried locally. The court held that there was insufficient evidence of investigation and local proceedings taking place within Kenya to justify such a measure. Interestingly, even the previously dissenting Judge Kaul joined the opinion. However, the suspects have stated that they are going to appeal the decision, primarily on procedural grounds, arguing that the defense had a right to an oral hearing which they were unfairly denied, and that differing "universe[s]" of evidence between the parties created errors of fact. Also in the Kenya case, ICC judge Ekaterina Trendafilova recently ordered the Victims and Witnesses Unit to examine the Prosecutor's assessments of Kenya's witness protection status. Recently post-election violence suspects Ruto and Sang wrote to the ICC judges requesting that they sanction Prosecutor Ocampo for embarrassing the court by asking it to make "baseless assertions and allegations" in a recent evidence dispute. However, Ocampo reportedly replied by saying that the arguments lack merit, and if the attacks on his office continue, he in turn will seek sanctions against them. In other news, Ocampo reportedly told the Security Council that Omar al-Bashir, wanted by the ICC for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, is continuing to commit atrocity crimes within Sudan. Human Rights Watch has confirmed this statement, saying that there has been a surge in government-led attacks in the region since December 2010. Reportedly, the Office of the Prosecutor has received evidence that Gaddafi authorized a policy of "mass rape" and, to that end, issued troops with Viagra-type drugs. The Office is said to be further investigating the issue. In an ongoing case, the ICC has suspended the return of three witness to the Democratic Republic of the Congo pending further investigation into their safety if returned. Reportedly the three individuals are seeking political asylum in the Netherlands. Photo credit: The Guardian.

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