The court rooms of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague have seen many a drama in the last twenty-four years, however nothing compared to the televised suicide of a defendant. And yet, this is what happened on 29 November 2017, at the end of the trial of six Bosnian Croats for crimes committed in Bosnia between 1992 and 1994. The judge, Carmel Agius, had just finished reading his verdict to the former general Slobodan Praljak, sentencing him to twenty years in prison, when the tall and imposing Praljak stood up, shouted at the judges and drank something from a small vial. One could see the other two defendants sitting next to him looking up in surprise, and the judge glancing over his reading glasses. At first, everyone took it as a typical case of the defendant causing a brief commotion before sitting back down or being accompanied out of the court room – like what happened recently with the Serbian war criminal Ratko Mladić. But soon a curtain was drawn and the court proceedings were interrupted. Live television transmission was suspended and Praljak was taken to hospital.
Tag Archives: ICC
Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, and Arbitrary Executions, presented animportant new report to the UN General Assembly on Friday. The report is on “Unlawful Death of Refugees and Migrants” — already an unordinary focus for her mandate. In recent years, her office has focused nearly exclusively on counter-terrorism, particularly on deaths by drone attacks.
As she explains, the report concerns “an international crime whose very banality in the eyes of so many makes its tragedy particularly grave and disturbing.” The contention is rather dramatic, and we believe that it is indeed historic, at least as far as reports by UN bodies are concerned.
Russia has withdrawn from the ICC – but with Donald Trump in the White House, it makes no difference
There was no particular surprise about the timing of Russia’s announcement that it was cutting links with the International Criminal Court. It came a day after the organisation’s chief prosecutor had classified the Kremlin’s annexation of the Crimea as an occupation and held that Russia was militarily involved in the separatist conflict in the Ukraine. The move also comes amid repeated charges from human rights organisations and Western governments that Russia has committed war crimes in its bombing campaign in Syria and demands for the court (the ICC) to launch an investigation.
Another one bites the dust. Following in the footsteps of Burundi and South Africa, on Wednesday Gambia became only the third ever nation to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC), according to media reports.
Except that is not quite true. On closer examination, it turns out that only South Africa has delivered the necessary instrument of withdrawal to the United Nations, thus beginning the year-long exit process. Officially, then, South Africa is the first and only country to withdraw from the ICC, with Burundi and Gambia expected to follow in short order.