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Legal news

Ali Muhammad Ali Abd – Al-Rahman, accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur, appears for the first time before the International Criminal Court

Ali Muhammad Ali Abd – Al-Rahman is said to have led thousands of militiamen / Janjaweed under his command from approximately August 2003 to March 2004, allegedly responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes. Mr. Abd – Al-Rahman was transferred to the custody of the International Criminal Court on June 9, 2020, after having voluntarily surrendered in the Central African Republic. On June 15, 2020, he made his first appearance before Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court.

Félicien Kabuga, accused of genocide and crime against humanity in Rwanda, appeared before the Paris Court of Appeals investigative chamber

On May 16, 2020, Félicien Kabuga, alleged “financer” of the Rwandan genocide, was arrested in the Paris region. On May 20th, he appeared before the investigating chamber of Paris Court of Appeal and on June 3, the Court authorized his transfer to the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Courts (MTPI), in The Hague or in Arusha. Mr. Kabuga, accused of genocide and crimes against humanity committed between April 6 and July 17, 1994 in the Rwandan region of Kimironko (Kigali), appealed to the Court of Cassation, wishing to “be tried in France”.

The worrying impact of the coronavirus outbreak on detainees

On March 25, 2020, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and former French Health Minister Michelle Bachelet urged governments to allow some inmates to be let out of detention facilities amid the coronavirus outbreak. She stated that “in many countries, detention facilities are overcrowded, in some cases dangerously so. People are often held in unhygienic conditions and health services are inadequate or even non-existent. Physical distancing and self-isolation in such conditions are practically impossible”.[1]

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ICC: Authorisation to investigate the crimes committed in Afghanistan

On 5 March 2020, the ICC Appeals Chamber (AC) authorised the opening of an investigation into the crimes alleged to have been committed on the territory of Afghanistan since 1 May 2003, as well as other alleged crimes that have a nexus to the armed conflict in Afghanistan and are sufficiently linked to the situation in Afghanistan and were committed on the territory of other States Parties to the Rome Statute since 1 July 2002.

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ICC : Bosco Ntaganda sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment by a judgement of 7 November 2019, for 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed in Ituri, Democratic Republic of the Congo, in 2002-2003

In its assessment, the Trial Chamber VI of the ICC referenced aggravating circumstances for several of the counts, but failed to find allegations of witness interference as aggravating given a lack of findings on the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. The Chamber also found no mitigating circumstances warranting reduction of sentence in its analysis. Mr. Ntaganda is granted credit for the time he has served since March 2013. READ MORE

On 14 November 2019, Pre-Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Court authorised the Prosecutor to proceed with an investigation for the alleged crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction in the Situation Bangladesh/Myanmar.

Myanmar is not a State Party but Bangladesh ratified the ICC Rome statute in 2010. The Chamber considered that there exists a reasonable basis to believe widespread and/or systematic acts of violence may have been committed that could qualify as the crimes against humanity of deportation across the Myanmar-Bangladesh border and persecution on grounds of ethnicity and/or religion against the Rohingya population.

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On 27 November 2019, the ICC Appeal Chamber rejected Mr Bemba’s appeal against the ‘Decision Re-sentencing Mr Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Mr Aimé Kilolo Musamba and Mr Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo’ of 17 September 2018, which had sentenced him to one year imprisonment and a fine of 300 000 euros.

The Court found that the Trial Chamber did not fail to comply with its directions on re-sentencing, did not err in law or in fact, nor did it impose a disproportionate sentence. It stressed that : “3. It is unhelpful to compare the sentences imposed on different convicted persons without reference to the specific facts and individual circumstances of each person. 4. It is not an error to consider solvency as a relevant factor for the determination of a fine. Solvency is a relevant consideration in numerous jurisdictions and its underlying rationale is the need to ensure a deterrent effect.”

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On 12 December 2019, ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II partially confirmed the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity brought by the Prosecutor against Alfred Yekatom and Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona and committed them to trial.

The confirmation of charges hearing took place on 19 – 25 September 2019 with closing statements on 11 October 2019.

Pre-Trial Chamber II, composed of Judge Antoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua (Presiding Judge), Judge Tomoko Akane and Judge Rosario Salvatore Aitala, found that there are substantial grounds to believe that :

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