Review of International Tribunal Decisions for the week of July 2, 2012

This week’s review has cases from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the International Criminal Court (ICC), and The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). The decisions related to issues of off-site court sessions, detention of witnesses, the right of the accused to be informed of the charges against him, nuisance actions and forced medication.

International Criminal Law

ICTY

Prosecutor v. Karadžić[1]

Decision on Accused’s Motion for Trial Sessions to be Conducted in the Former Yugoslavia and for Invitation to Governments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska, and Serbia

The Accused submitted a motion to have court sessions in the Former Yugoslavia which the Chamber rejected for lack of a reasoned basis for the request, in that he did not justify his statement that it would be more “convenient”.[2]

ICC

Prosecutor v. Katanga & Chui[3]

Order on duty counsel’s requests concerning the detention of Witnesses DRC-D02- P-0236, DRC-D02-P-0228 and DRC-D02-P-0350

Background

Three witnesses called to the Court to testify filed asylum charges in the Netherlands and the Court and Dutch authorities have failed to reach an agreement on who would “bear responsibility” for them while the applications are pending.[4] The witnesses filed requests to be released from detention while their applications are pending.[5] The witnesses requested authorization to use confidential material before the Court in their asylum proceedings, a ruling on the Registry in asylum proceedings and who has responsibility for detaining the witnesses.

Reasoning

The Chamber decided that the confidential material could be used before the Dutch courts.[6] The Chamber also decided that the Registry should facilitate the appearance of the witnesses should they be called in the asylum proceedings.[7] The Chamber finally noted that, as previously decided, the detention of the witnesses should not be unreasonably extended and further observed the continuing issues in this regard as described in previous decisions.[8]

Prosecutor v. Ruto & Sang[9]

Order for the prosecution to file an updated document containing the charges

The Accused requested that the Prosecution be ordered to file an updated document containing the charges in order to reflect the manner in which the charges were confirmed by the Pre-Trial Chamber.[10] The Trial Chamber noted that the Accused have a right to be informed of the charges against them and that the charges shall be read to the Accused before the start of trial.[11] Other Trial Chambers have ordered the Prosecution to produce a similar document and in this case it will be useful going forward.[12] The Prosecution should therefore draft such a document and submit it to the defense to ensure that they agree that the new document accurately reflects the decision on the confirmation of charges.[13]

International Human Rights Law

ECtHR

Martínez Martínez and Pino Manzano v. Spain[14]

Chamber Judgment

Background

The case concerned a couple living in the vicinity of an active stone quarry. They complained about the noise and the dust pollution and claimed compensation from the authorities for the damage suffered. No violation of the right to private and family life.

Reasoning

The Court noted that the applicants were living in an industrial zone that was not meant for residential use, as shown by various official documents produced by the Government. The domestic courts carefully considered the complaints and commissioned an expert report that found that the noise and pollution levels were equal to or slightly above the norm, but were tolerable.

X v. Finland[15]

Chamber Judgment

Background

The case concerned the confinement of a paediatrician to a mental health hospital and her being forcibly administered with drugs, in the context of criminal proceedings against her for aiding and abetting a mother to kidnap her daughter, suspected of being sexually abused by her father. The Court found a violation of the right to liberty and security and the right to protection to private life.

Reasoning

The Court found that the paediatrician’s involuntary confinement in a mental hospital as well as her being forcibly injected with drugs had been based on a law which lacked proper safeguards against arbitrariness.


[1] IT-95-5/18-T, 4 July 2012.

[2] Ibid. at ¶¶ 5-6.

[3] ICC-01/04-01/07, 1 June 2012.

[4] Ibid. at ¶ 1.

[5] Ibid. at ¶¶ 2-3.

[6] Ibid. at ¶¶ 9-11.

[7] Ibid. at ¶¶ 12-13.

[8] Ibid at ¶ 14.

[9] ICC-01/09-01/11, 5 July 2012.

[10] Ibid. at ¶ 3.

[11] Ibid at ¶¶ 4-5.

[12] Ibid. at ¶¶ 6-7.

[13] Ibid. at ¶ 7.

[14] Application no. 61654/08, 3 July 2012. All text is taken from the press release.

[15] Application no. 34806/04, 3 July 2012. All text is taken from the press release.

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