International Legal News
Weekly update: 09 – 15 June 2020.
The following media round up of international legal and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period 09 – 15 June 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.
Denmark – 10 June 2020
For the first time in its history the European Court of Human Rights has held a hearing by video link, in line with the special measures adopted due to the global health crisis.
The hearing M.A. v. Denmark took place without an audience and the parties’ oral argument was transmitted by video link. In this case the applicant is a Syrian national who entered Denmark in January 2015 and was granted a residence permit, subsequently extended for one year at a time. He complains that Denmark has refused to issue his wife with a residence permit for family reunion purposes.
ICTY – 10 June 2020
On 10 June, Oxford University Press released a book entitled Legacies of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia – A Multidisciplinary Approach. This edited volume represents the most comprehensive publication to date on the legacy of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and provides a broad perspective on the contributions of the ICTY to law, memory and justice.
Darfur – 10/11/15 June 2020
On 10 June the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a statement to the United Nations Security Council on the Situation in Darfur, pursuant to UNSCR 1593 (2005). The statement discussed that on 09 June, ICC suspect, Ali Kushayb, was transferred to the custody of the Court, following his surrender. This is a pivotal development in the Darfur situation, especially for those victims who have waited so long for justice.
On 11 June, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the ICC reclassified as public, with redactions, a second warrant of arrest against Mr Ali Kushayb.
On 15 June, Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman appeared before Pre-Trial Chamber II’s Single Judge Rosario Salvatore Aitala of the ICC.
United States – 11 June 2020
On 11 June 2020, President Donald Trump issued ‘Executive Order on Blocking Property on Certain Persons Associated with the International Criminal Court.’ In essence this executive order authorises U.S. economic and travel sanctions against International Criminal Court (ICC) employees involved in an investigation into whether American forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan. In a statement responding to the US announcement, the ICC stated that “these attacks constitute an escalation and an unacceptable attempt to interfere with the rule of law and the Court’s judicial proceedings.”
President O-Gon Kwon, of The Assembly of State Parties (the management oversight and legislative body of the ICC) rejected the measures taken by the U.S. against the ICC. He stated that “they undermine our common endeavour to fight impunity and to ensure accountability for mass atrocities,” and “deeply regretted measure targeting Court officials, staff and their families.”
United Kingdom – 11 June 2020
A female prisoner is calling on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to step in over claims the UK government’s coronavirus measures are putting women behind bars at risk. The petition was drafted by Guernica 37-member, Carl Buckley.
El Salvador – 11 June 2020
After a decade of pre-trial litigation, a trial that is seeking justice for the 1989 massacre in El Salvador of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter finally began their testimony in a courtroom in Spain. Lawyers with the Guernica Centre for International Justice, and Spanish co-counsel Olle and Sese Abogados are acting as private prosecutors.
Yemen – 12 June 2020
On 12 June, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a statement on the desperate situation in Yemen, where the healthcare system is on the brink of collapse. OHCHR is fearful that countless lives will be lost not only to COVID-19 but as a result of malaria, cholera, dengue fever and other diseases.
Gambia – 12 June 2020
The US has charged alleged ‘death squad’ member with torture. The indictment in the United States on 11 June, of an alleged former Gambian “death squad” member on torture charges is an important step for Gambian victims and international justice, according to a coalition of human rights groups.
Libya – 14 June 2020
On 14 June, the Libyan Government of National Accord called on the UN Security Council to take up responsibility to file the evidence of Tarhouna mass graves with the ICC.
Iraq – 15 June 2020
A spike in violations of the right to free expression during widespread protests at the end of the former government’s term in office and during the Covid-19 pandemic underscores the need for Iraq’s new government to reform its laws, according to a Human Rights Watch report released on 15 June.
Russia – 15 June 2020
A Russian court has sentenced former United States marine Paul Whelan to 16 years in a maximum-security prison colony on espionage charges. The Moscow City Court’s verdict on Friday was condemned by the US envoy to Russia who said it was based on a “secret trial in which no evidence was produced.”
The Philippines – 15 June 2020
High-profile journalist Maria Ressa has been found guilty of libel in the Philippines’ in a case seen as a test of the country’s media freedom. The former CNN journalist is the head of a news site that’s critical of strongman President Rodrigo Duterte.