Review of International Tribunal Decisions for the week of October 8, 2012

This week’s review has decisions from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

International Criminal Law

ICTY

Prosecutor v. Karadžić[1]

Decision (Registry)

The Registrar determined the Accused must contribute a certain sum to his defense costs based in part on the value of his family home (as joint property under the laws of the Republika Srpska) and by policy all property owned by spouses (his wife is the co-owner of a business, including its property value) including pensions and his other property in the former Yugoslavia and his UNDU bank account. All of this is considered “means” within the legal aid system.

ICTR

Jean-Baptiste Gatete v. The Prosecutor[2]

Appeals Judgment

The Appeals Chamber affirmed Gatete’s convictions and granted, Judge Pocar partially dissenting and Judge Agius dissenting, the Prosecution’s ground of appeal on the failure to enter a conviction for conspiracy to commit genocide. The Appeals Chamber entered, Judges Pocar and Agius dissenting, a conviction for conspiracy to commit genocide.

The Appeals Chamber reduced Gatete’s sentence to 40 years of imprisonment as a remedy for the violation of his right to be tried without undue delay. He is to remain in the United Nations Detention Facility in Arusha, Tanzania, pending his transfer to the country in which he will serve his sentence.

ECCC

Case No. 002

On 8 October 2012 the Trial Chamber issued a memorandum informing the “parties and the public” of its decision to expand the scope of the trial to include three new locations.[3] However, the scope was not expanded to include all crimes requested by the prosecution, mostly due to issues of prolonging the trial.[4] The Chamber also requested that the parties submit their final views on the law before the close of evidence in order to help move the trial process along.[5]

ICC

Prosecutor v. Gbagbo[6]

Background

On 15 August 2012, the Single Judge granted the OPCV leave to file legal observations only on the Accused’s fitness to stand trial.[7] The Accused filed for leave to appeal that decision.[8] The request was denied.

Reasoning

The Chamber noted that Article 82(1)(d) requires a decision to involve an issue that would significantly affect the fairness or outcome nature of the trial and that an immediate resolution by the Appeals Chamber would materially advance the proceedings.[9] The Single Judge noted that issue is limited to determining if the individual victims’ interests would be affected by a decision on delaying the proceedings.[10] This is not, as the accused states, an issue of their interest in his fitness to stand trial.[11] As the Accused failed to identify an appealable issue, the request was dismissed.[12]

International Human Rights Law

ECtHR

Abdelali v. France[13]

Chamber Judgment

Background

The case concerned the objection lodged by Mr. Abdelali against his conviction in his absence and sentencing to six years’ imprisonment for drug trafficking. The French courts had refused to allow him to raise a plea of nullity, holding that he had been on the run when the investigation was concluded. The Court found a violation.

Reasoning

The Court found that allowing the applicant to bring objection proceedings so that he could be tried again in person, without however authorising him to raise any plea of nullity was insufficient, disproportionate and robbed the concept of a fair trial of its essence. The Court held that the mere fact that the applicant had been absent from his home or that of his parents was not sufficient to consider that he had been aware of the proceedings against him and was “absconding”.

Alkaya v. Turkey[14]

Chamber Judgment

Background

The applicant, Ms Yasemin Alkaya, is well known in Turkey as a cinema and theatre actress. On the morning of 12 October 2002 her home was broken into while she was there. She alerted the police and lodged a complaint. On 15 October 2002 the daily newspaper Akşam published an article on the break-in, accompanied by a photograph of the applicant and giving her exact address. She filed suit for invasion of privacy and lost. The ECtHR found a violation.

Reasoning

The Court held that the choice of one’s place of residence was an essentially private matter and that the free exercise of that choice formed an integral part of the sphere of personal autonomy protected by Article 8. A person’s home address constituted personal data or information which fell within the scope of private life and as such was eligible for the protection granted to the latter.


[1] IT-95-5/18-T, 11 October 2012.

[2] Text is from the press release

[3] Memorandum at ¶ 1.

[4] Ibid. at ¶ 2.

[5] Ibid. at ¶ 4.

[6] ICC-02/11-01/11, 11 October 2012.

[7] Ibid. at ¶ 6.

[8] Ibid. at ¶ 7.

[9] Ibid. at ¶ 14.

[10] Ibid. at ¶ 16.

[11] Ibid. at ¶ 18.

[12] Ibid at ¶ 19.

[13] Applciation No. 43353/07, 11 October 2012. Text is taken from the press release.

[14] Application no. 42811/06, 9 October 2012. All text is taken from the press release.

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