The Assembly of State Parties in response to a campaign by the government of Kenya changed the rules of procedure to allow a sitting head of state to be absent during parts of his/her trial. The Prosecutor appealed this change in the rules of procedure. Meanwhile, the start date of the trial in the case against Kenyan President Kenyatta has been postponed to 7 October 2014 in order to provide the Government of Kenya with more time to provide the requested records by the Prosecutor. This also gives the Prosecutor time to deal with problems of evidence, since several witnesses have been intimidated and have withdrawn their testimonies. Walter Barassa is now under arrest for influencing three ICC witnesses. Because the Kenyatta case is the first trial against a sitting head of state, the outcome is crucial for the credibility and legitimacy of the Court, as the Court's central purpose is to hold state officials accountable. Read AMICC's analysis of the Kenyan cases here. More on the case here.
On 1 January 2015, President of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Mahmoud Abbas, lodged a declaration under article 12(3) of the Rome Statute accepting jurisdiction of the ICC over crimes allegedly committed "in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, since June 13, 2014." Palestine's declaration grants the Court retroactive jurisdiction, or jurisdiction over crimes committed before the nation's accession. Without this declaration, the Court would only have jurisdiction over the most serious of crimes committed subsequent to Palestine's accession to the Rome Statute. On 2 January 2015, Palestine deposited its instrument of accession to the UN Secretary General (UNSG), Ban Ki-Moon. The UNSG confirmed that Palestine will be joining the ICC on April 1 shortly thereafter. The Prosecutor, in accordance with Regulation 25(1)(c) of the Regulations of the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), has since opened a premilinary examination into the Palestine-Israel situation. Only after reviewing all available evidence will the OTP render a determination as to whether or not an investigation is justifed. Learn more here.
In seeking the jurisdiction of the ICC over crimes committed on Ukrainian territory, Ukraine speeds up the process by declaring the acceptance of jurisdiction by the Court, while taking the time to draft a constitutional amendment to allow for ratification of the Rome Statute. The turning to the Court by Ukraine in a time of national threat demonstrates that the Court has become an established part of the international order. More on the ongoing discussion here.
On 3 March 2015, the Appeals Chamber pronounced its judgment in the case of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo (DRC) regarding reparations to victims. Mr. Lubanga was found guilty on 14 March 2012, generating the need to deal for the first time with reparations for victims. At the time, the Trial Chamber concluded that it should make its decision a complete policy on reparations, which the Trial Chamber and Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) could apply when making judgments about handling reparations in the future. This decision was appealed by both sides. In its recent judgment, the Appeals Chamber modified and amended the "decision establishing the principles and procedures to be applied to reparations" and thus established the final principles for reparation. The Appeals Chamber confirmed in its policy that the judgment may provide both individual and collective reparations, but that reparations in the case of Mr. Lubanga will be awarded only collectively. Thus, the Appeals Chamber instructed the TFV to compose a plan of how to implement collective reparations, which would describe how to implement the principles the Appeals Chamber established. These principles are general concepts that the Trial Chamber can apply to a future case in light of its specific circumstances. One of the Appeal Chamber's key amendments of the principles links the responsibility of reparations intrinsically with the convicted. The Appeals Chamber further instructed that implementation be finished in six months, during which time all victims are to be treated fairly and equally, regardless of whether they participated in the trial proceedings.
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