Weekly update: 6 - 13 January 2020
The following media round up of international legal and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period 6 - 13 January 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 Nenad Vucijak for consideration.
International Criminal Court: 6 January 2020
On 6 January 2020, the Trial Chamber X of the International Criminal Court scheduled the opening of the trial in the case of The Prosecutor v. Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud for 14 July 2020. In addition, the Chamber decided that the presentation of evidence by the Prosecution in the case will commence on 25 August 2020. Mr Al Hassan was transferred to the ICC on 31 March 2018 following a warrant of arrest issued by the Chamber for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
European Court of Human Rights: 7 January 2020
The European Court of Human Rights will be holding one hearing in January 2020, X and Others v Bulgaria (application no.22457/16) which concerns allegations of the sexual abuse of three children in an orphanage in Bulgaria before their adoption by an Italian couple in June 2012.
Bahrain: 8 January 2020
Bahrain’s High Criminal Court of Appeals has upheld the death sentences of Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa. Both men were convicted in an unfair trial that used evidence obtained through torture. The verdict, which had been scheduled on Christmas day, was postponed to 8 January after international media exposed Bahrain’s use of holidays to conceal harsh sentences. On 22 October 2018, the Court of Cassation overturned their verdicts and ordered a case review. This was on the basis of evidence, including medical reports by a doctor from the Public Prosecution documenting torture allegations, which had not been considered by the court in the original trial. In sentencing the men to death for a second time, the High Criminal Court of Appeals has almost certainly based its rulings on confessions obtained through torture- as there is no forensic evidence linking the men to the bombing in question.
European Court of Human Rights: 9 January 2020
In its decision in the case of B.L and Others v France (application no.48104/14) the European Court of Human Rights has unanimously declared the application inadmissible. The case concerned asylum-seekers housed in a tent camp in Metz, who complained about the poor conditions in which they were accommodated. The Court declared that a filure to maintain contact with their lawyer demonstrated a lack of interest in the proceedings and that they had failed to provide the Court with any specific information concerning the actual living conditions during that period.
Democratic Republic of Congo: 10 January 2020
An investigation carried out by the UN Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) in the DRC, found that at least 701 people have been killed and 168 injured following attacks involving the Hema and Lendu communities in the country’s northeast province of Ituri, between December 2017 and September last year. Since September 2018, Lendu armed groups have become increasingly organized in carrying out attacks against the Hema and members of other ethnic groups such as the Alur. Among their objectives is to take control of the land of the Hema communities and their associated resources.
El Salvador: 10 January 2020
A new law in El Salvador opens a door for tens of thousands of forced displacement victims in the country to access life-saving humanitarian assistance and have their basic rights restored. The legislation also protects, aids and offers durable solutions to people who may be either at risk or who have already been internally displaced, due to violence perpetrated by criminal gangs.
Saudi Arabia: 13 January 2020
Human rights group Reprieve called the kingdom a ‘pariah state; and questions why it is hosting this year’s G20 summit. Saudi Arabis executed 184 people in 2019, the most in a calendar year in six years, calling it a “grim milestone” for the kingdom. Of the executions announced, 88 were Saudi nationals, 90 were foreign nationals and six people were of unknown nationality. 37 people were executed by the Saudi government on a single day on 23 April, including three who were children when they committed their alleged offences.
Palestine: 13 January 2020
The Israeli Prison Service transferred at least 33 Palestinian child detainees on Monday from Ofer Prison to Damoun without the presence of adult representatives, a move slammed by Palestinian activists and civil organisations. A researcher at the Palestinian Prisoners’ Centre for Studies, said the transfer is in violation of the law that states prisoners under the age of 18 cannot be moved from one prison to another without adult representatives. In addition to the risk of being physically abused by Israeli forces, this transfer puts the lives of these Palestinian children in danger.
Guatemala: 14 January 2020
Guatemalan civil society groups are pressuring authorities to arrest President Jimmy Morales for corruption as soon as his successor takes office. For more than half of his four-year term, Morales has been plagued by allegations of illegal campaign financing, he has denied any wrongdoing. As president, his immunity from prosecution will lapse on Tuesday afternoon when president- elect Alejandro Giammattei is inaugurated, but Morales will likely regain immunity just hours later when he is expected to be sworn into the Central American Parliament.