Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Verdict in ICC's Landmark First Case Due on March 14

Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court will issue the verdict in the case of The Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo on Wednesday, March 14. Lubanga, a Congolese warlord, is charged with conscripting child soldiers under the age of 15. Stay tuned to AMICC's website and social media for more information about this historic decision.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

ICC Broadens Investigation into Alleged Crimes in Côte d’Ivoire to Cover Period from 2002

By Anjie Zheng

On 23 February 2012, Pre-Trial Chamber III of the ICC authorized expanding the investigation in the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire to include atrocities under the Court's jurisdiction that occurred between 19 September 2002 and 28 November 2010.

This greatly broadens the scope of the investigation. In 3 October 2011, the Court had authorized investigating only alleged crimes committed after 28 November 2010 in the West African nation. Yet violence in Côte d’Ivoire dates back to an attempted coup in 2002, which prompted political turmoil.

During the 2010 elections, former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo initially refused to concede defeat to current president Alassane Ouattara. In the ensuing dispute, over 3000 people were allegedly killed, 72 disappeared, and 520 subject to arbitrary arrest and detentions. Additionally, over 100 people reported cases of rape.

The newly expanded investigation will treat the alleged 2002-2010 crimes as a single situation in the "ongoing crisis involving a prolonged political dispute and power-struggle culminated in the events in relation to which the Chamber earlier authorised an investigation."

Although Côte d’Ivoire is not a State Party to the Rome Statute of the ICC, it has nonetheless accepted the jurisdiction of the Court. This is the first time the Court has opened up a case in such circumstances.

Monday, February 20, 2012

US Rep. Royce (R-Calif.) Introduces Legislation in Congress to Reward Capture of ICC Suspect Kony

A newly proposed "Department of State Rewards Program Update and Technical Corrections Act of 2012," could, if passed, reward actionable intelligence that leads to the arrest of Joseph Kony, alleged Commander-in-Chief of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The legislation, introduced on 17 February 2012 by Rep. Edward Royce (R-Calif. 40th District) updates the US State Department's Rewards Program to include transnational organized crime. The 1984 Program currently only rewards information regarding terrorists, narcotics traffickers and specific international war criminals. Under the updated legislation, the Program could target those indicted by international, hybrid, or mixed tribunals for genocide, war crimes, or crimes against humanity.

Rep. Royce, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, was one of the original sponsors of the 2010 Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act. The law sought to "bring an end to the brutality and destruction that have been a hallmark of the LRA across several countries for two decades." In October 2011, President Obama deployed US troops to Uganda, South Sudan, Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo aid regional forces in combating the LRA.

The ICC issued a warrant of arrest under seal for Joseph Kony on 8 July 2005. Kony is charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity including rape, sexual enslavement, and forced conscription of children. Rep. Royce said that the legislation would be another tool to target the world's worst.

The text of the legislation, H.R. 4077, is intended to amend Title 22 of the US Code, section 2708 (b), to permit the Secretary of State "to pay a reward to any individual who furnishes information leading to - (10) the arrest or conviction in any country, or the transfer to or conviction by an international criminal tribunal (including a hybrid or mixed tribunal), of any foreign national accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide, as defined under the statute of such tribunal." In effect, the US could provide a cash reward to an individual who provides information that leads to the prosecution of an individual to be tried at the ICC.

A rule of construction set out in the proposed legislation seeks to address a possible conflict with anti-ICC legislation that is still on the books: "Nothing in this Act shall be construed as authorizing the use of activity precluded under the American Servicemembers' Protection Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-206)." ASPA, as it is known, prohibits US cooperation on specific ICC cases, subject to waiver under the Dodd Amendment, and states that "no funds appropriated under any provision of law may be used for the purpose of assisting the investigation, arrest, detention, extradition, or prosecution of any United States citizen or permanent resident alien by the International Criminal Court." Since the Royce legislation is limited to rewarding individuals for providing information leading to the transfer of conviction of a foreign national, no such conflict is likely.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Video: Two Presidents of ICC's Assembly of States Parties, in Forum at Columbia University, Discuss Court's First 10 Years

As part of its annual Ambassador series, the Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies presents Ambassador Christian Wenaweser, the Permanent Representative of Liechtenstein to the United Nations, and Ambassador Bruno Stagno Ugarte of Costa Rica, Director of the Security Council Report to discuss "The Impact of the International Criminal Court on International Security." Each has served a three-year term as President of the ICC's governing body, the Assembly of States Parties.

Moderated by Jean Marie Guéhenno, the Arnold A. Saltzman Professor of Professional Practice in International and Public Affairs and Director of SIPA's Center for International Conflict Resolution.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

ICC in the Media, Update #59

During the past week the media focused on a range of ICC activities. Last week Aisha Gaddafi, Muammar Gaddafi's daughter and Seif al-Islam's sister, delivered a request to the ICC offering to provide information to the Pre-Trial Chamber to assist in their determining an appropriate course of action. She cited her reason for offering the information as a desire to protect the interests of her brother. On Thursday the ICC judges rejected Aisha's request, saying that allowing it would be contrary to court procedure. Reportedly, the request was more aimed toward gaining permission to contact her brother than providing information, as the request initially indicated. Last week the African Union met in Dar es Salaam, and reportedly the heads of state discussed whether the ICC unfairly targets Africans. Reportedly the meeting resulted in a pledge for governments to review the role and functions of the ICC. The United Nations Secretary-General reportedly said that African criticism over the ICC is unfounded, pointing to the fact that most African governments have supported the ICC and its activities. Furthermore, Ban Ki-Moon reportedly pointed out that most of the Court's cases have not been initiated by the ICC itself. Meanwhile in the Kenya case, the announcement of the confirmation of charges against four of the suspects has reportedly created domestic controversies. The confirmation has sparked debate over whether the charged should be forced to resign from their government posts and, more importantly, whether 2012 presidential hopefuls Ruto and Kenyatta should be permitted to run. Justice Minister Kilonzo, shown in the video below, believes that allowing the suspects to continue would run contrary to Kenyan law.