Croatian General Accused of Inciting Violence
Balkan Insight reported on 10 February that a Zagreb-based youth NGO has filed criminal charges against wartime Croatian General Branimir Glavas, accusing him of inciting violence and hatred at a rally to celebrate his release from jail in Bosnia and Herzgeovina in January after serving four years of a prison sentence for committing war crimes in Osijek in Croatia. http://bit.ly/1vjba07
Pakistan Supreme Court calls for joint effort to trace missing persons
The Express Tribune newspaper from Pakistan reported on 11 February that Pakistan’s Supreme Court has asked state and provincial authorities to launch coordinated efforts for the recovery of missing persons and to address the issue of unidentified bodies abandoned in different parts of the country. “There should be an effective mechanism so that whenever a dead body is found, the relatives of the missing persons should be contacted to identify it,” the Supreme Court…
The BiH Prosecutor’s Office is committed to the work of searching and identifying missing persons, Deputy Chief Prosecutor Gordana Tadic said today, pointing out that since 2013 the number of prosecutors working on missing persons cases has grown from one to 35.
Ms Tadic was speaking at a Town Hall meeting organized by ICMP at the Hotel Sarajevo in Sarajevo. The meeting brought together representatives of associations of families of missing persons, the BiH Missing Persons Institute (MPI), the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, and the BiH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees to discuss what has been done to resolve missing persons issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina so far, and what has to be done in the future.
Ema Cekic, from the Association of Families of Missing Persons, Vogosca, called for a common approach by BIH institutions, including the MPI and the State Prosecutor’s Office. “Cooperation among the associations of families of…
Migrants die of hypothermia after Lampedusa boat rescue
The BBC reported on 9 February that at least 27 migrants have died of hypothermia after being picked up near the island of Lampedusa, according to the Italian coast guard. They were part of a group of 105 people found on board an inflatable boat about 160 kilometres from the Italian territory. In October 2013, 366 migrants lost their lives when the fishing boat they were travelling in capsized off the coast. In response, Italy established a search and rescue mission called Mare Nostrum, but it was disbanded a year later. The European Union now runs a border control operation, called Triton, with fewer ships and a much smaller area of operations. http://bbc.in/1AdZwK7
Mexico defends probe of 43 missing students
AFP reported on 9 February that the Mexican attorney general’s office has rejected criticism of its conclusions in the case of the 43…
Independent Argentine panel criticizes Mexican probe of missing students
The Wall Street Journal reported on 8 February that the independent Argentine forensic team investigating the disappearance and presumed killing of 43 students in the Mexican state of Guerrero in September has identified irregularities in the investigation of the case by the Mexican authorities. The Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, brought in by the parents of the students to verify the government’s investigation, released its report late Saturday, concluding that the government seemed to be trying to make the physical evidence fit the testimony of alleged participants in the killing of the students and the burning of their bodies. http://on.wsj.com/1uuBfOR
150 people reported disappeared in Piedras Negras, Mexico
The Telesur network from Venezuela reported on 7 February that in the last 18 months more than 150 people have been reported as missing in the small city of Piedras Negras in the northern border…
Senior government officials and legal experts from Iraq completed a three-day seminar in The Hague today that focused on the use of forensic evidence in court-led processes regarding mass graves and missing persons.
The seminar brought together legal experts from domestic and international courts to assess and strengthen the capacity of the Iraqi justice system to address the issue of the missing effectively, and to formulate specific recommendations for legal reforms that will facilitate progress in this area.
The seminar was organized as part of an initiative of the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights (MHR).
The seminar examined ways of
- developing the standing of forensic evidence within Iraqi law to enable it to serve as primary evidence;
- strengthening the role of prosecutors regarding the collection of forensic evidence;
- harmonizing the Law on Mass Graves, the Law on Forensics (amended 2013) concerning the Medical Legal Institute, and criminal procedure law;
- examining legal protections for subjects of forensic…
Mexico to implement a law on enforced disappearances by June
The Latin American multimedia platform teleSUR reported on 4 February that the Mexican authorities have made a commitment to draft and enact a law on enforced disappearances by June. Mexico currently does not have such a law, despite the fact that the country has experienced a surge in enforced disappearances as a result of the war on drug cartels launched by former President Felipe Calderon in 2006. http://bit.ly/1C4zLei
Ban Ki-Moon calls on Kosovo to set up war crimes court
The InSerbia web portal reported on 5 February that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on the Kosovo authorities to speed up the establishment of a war crimes court. Ban encouraged Belgrade and Pristina to engage in serious dialogue, and noted that in the three months to 15 January “the responsible authorities in Belgrade and Pristina continued to pursue new sources of…
South Asian states urged to ratify UN convention on enforced disappearance
The Express Tribune in Pakistan reports today that legal experts and human rights activists meeting in Islamabad at a two-day conference organized by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and the International Commission of Jurists, have called on South Asian countries, including Pakistan, to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance. At the conference, delegates from Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the Philippines, India and Pakistan also urged countries in the region to implement recommendations made by the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances. http://bit.ly/1BWzl7c
More than 2,500 Colombian abduction cases presented to ICC
The Colombia Reports web portal reported on 4 February that more than 2,500 cases of disappearances allegedly perpetrated by the FARC rebel group have been presented to the International Criminal Court in The Hague by Inspector General Alejandro Ordonez….
Participants at meetings organized this week by ICMP in Tuzla and Brcko – the first of a series of Town Hall meetings that will be held throughout the country during February – unanimously agreed that the book-length Stocktaking Report published by ICMP, which describes two decades of work on accounting for missing persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a valuable platform for further dialogue on missing persons issues based on documented facts.
“We find and we feel that the issue of missing persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been addressed by ICMP without any kind of discrimination,” Milja Mitrovic of the Bijeljina Association of Missing Persons and the RS Association of Missing Persons said at the conclusion of today’s meeting in Brcko. “The presentation of the Stocktaking Report reflects this.”
At both meetings, representatives of associations of families of missing persons, the BiH Missing Persons Institute, the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, and…
ICJ: Serbia and Croatia did not commit genocide
On 3 February The Jurist reported Tuesday’s verdict of the International Court of Justice that Serbia and Croatia did not commit genocide against one another’s citizens during the 1990s conflict. While the court recognized that genocidal acts were perpetrated by both sides, neither side could provide sufficient evidence to prove the necessary specific intent to commit genocide. The court also noted that it could only judge the genocide claims under the Geneva Convention, and acknowledged that further crimes may have been committed by Serbia and Croatia. http://bit.ly/18MGlw8
Serbia and Croatia must provide justice for victims
Amnesty International issued a statement on 3 February calling on Serbia and Croatia to focus their efforts on ensuring accountability for crimes against humanity and war crimes and reparation for victims at the national level, following the ICJ ruling. “The fact that the court was unable to find…
At a meeting in The Hague this week, senior officials and legal experts from Libya launched an initiative to strengthen the Libyan justice system’s capacity to address the issue of missing persons.
Participants at a seminar organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons on Monday and Tuesday and entitled “Criminal Procedure and the Use of Evidence in Court-led Processes on Mass Graves and Missing Persons in Libya,” focused on how to expand the use of forensic evidence in court-led processes, and on clarifying inter-institutional responsibilities and legal obligations to family members of the missing.
While considerable progress has been made in building the technical capacity of the Libyan authorities, there are crucial gaps in the institutional and legal framework that need to be addressed in order to locate and identify the missing.
Recent political instability and violence has made it difficult to address much-needed legal reforms in a conclusive way, in…