PILPG: War Crimes Prosecution Watch Volume 11, Issue 6 – May 30, 2016

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Michael P. Scharf

War Crimes Prosecution Watch

Volume 11 – Issue 6
May 30, 2016


Kevin J. Vogel

Technical Editor-in-Chief
Jeradon Z. Mura

Managing Editors
Dustin Narcisse
Victoria Sarant

War Crimes Prosecution Watch is a bi-weekly e-newsletter that compiles official documents and articles from major news sources detailing and analyzing salient issues pertaining to the investigation and prosecution of war crimes throughout the world. To subscribe, please email warcrimeswatch@pilpg.org and type “subscribe” in the subject line.

Opinions expressed in the articles herein represent the views of their authors and are not necessarily those of the War Crimes Prosecution Watch staff, the Case Western Reserve University School of Law or Public International Law & Policy Group.



Central African Republic

Sudan & South Sudan

Democratic Republic of the Congo


Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

Lake Chad Region — Chad, Nigeria, Niger, and Cameroon





Rwanda (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda)




Court of Bosnia & Herzegovina, War Crimes Chamber

International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Domestic Prosecutions In The Former Yugoslavia


Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia



Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal

War Crimes Investigations in Burma


Truth and Reconciliation Commission



Gender-Based Violence

Commentary and Perspectives

Syrian Network for Human Rights: Mare’e City goes between the ISIL’s Hell and Kurdish Self Management Forces’ Burns

Mare’e City goes between the ISIL’s Hell and Kurdish Self Management Forces’ Burns
Fears threat the lives of 1700 families

Since the beginning of February 2016, the government forces, (security, army, and militias, both local and foreign Loyalties), with the intensive support of Russian raids, started to launch a wide attack aimed at cutting the only road linking between the northern and the western countryside of Aleppo and the neighborhoods of Aleppo that are under the control of the armed opposition factions. This campaign coincided with the military campaign led by Kurdish Self Management forces through the Syria Democratic Kurdish Forces.
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Refugees Flock to Europe as Migrant Boats Capsize in Mediterranean

By Sarah Lafen

Impunity Watch Desk Reporter, Europe

ROME, Italy –This past week, more than 14,000 refugee migrants from Libya were rescued from the Mediterranean Sea by European forces.  At least 65 migrants have died in shipwrecks associated with these rescue missions.  Spanish and Irish vessels, Spanish planes, Luxembourgian planes, and the Italian navy have all contributed to the rescue of these refugee migrants.

One of the refugee migrant ship that capsized this past week in the Mediterranean (Photo Courtesy of Reuters)

Warmer spring weather has led to a surge in migrants attempting the journey from the North African coast to Europe’s borders.  The crossing between Italy and Libya is now the main route used by migrants since a deal between the European Union (EU) and Turkey has decreased the number of migrants from entering Greece via the Aegean Sea.  Under the deal, all new “irregular” migrants crossing from Turkey to Greece must be returned to Turkey.  Turkey must also take all measures necessary to prevent any newly developed land or sea routes accessible to migrants from Turkey to the EU.

Many European nations have voiced reluctance to take in migrant refugees.  Some rescued migrants are taken to Porto Empedocle on the Sicilian coast, and some are placed in Sicilian and Greek shelters.  However, not all refugees will be granted asylum in the EU once they arrive.  Most rescued migrants are asked to leave the EU within seven days of their arrival.  To prevent the potential massive influx of asylum seekers, some have suggested sending these migrants straight back to Libya despite its currently being a war-zone.  Austria has gone so far as to change its laws to prevent migrants from applying for asylum at their border.  Germany has recently revealed plans to add Morocco and Tunisia to its list of “safe countries” which would prevent migrants from those countries to qualify for asylum in Germany.

These migrants pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to make this journey to Europe, and travel from a wide variety of countries including Morocco, Tunisia, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Eritrea, and Sudan.

For further information, please see:

CNN — 700+ Migrants Missing or Feared Dead in Mediterranean Shipwrecks — 30 May 2016

The Irish Times — Migrant Crisis: Shipwrecks ‘kill up to 700’ UN Agency Says — 29 May 2016

The Guardian — Dozens Feared Dead as Migrant Boat Capsizes in Mediterranean — 28 May 2016

BBC — Migrant Crisis: Many Feared Dead in Shipwreck off Libya — 26 May 2016

European Commission — EU-Turkey Agreement: Questions and Answers — 19 March 2016

Boko Haram says They are Willing to Negotiate the Release of the Chibok Girls

By: Samantha Netzband

Impunity Watch Reporter, Africa


ABUJA, Nigeria—It has been over two years since the abduction of 219 girls from the Chibok school in Nigeria.  Islamic extremist group Boko Haram is responsible for the abduction.  Boko Haram has killed at least 2,600 people in Nigeria, but they are looking to make a deal with the government for the release of the girls.

chibok girls

Screenshot taken from a video showing some of the Chibok girls alive. (Photo Courtesy of CNN)

Amir Muhammad Abdullahi, who is reportedly second-in-command of Boko Haram, has said that only a third of the original number of girls abducted remain captive.  The Nigerian government has had success in securing the return of 11,595 people between February and April of this year.

One Chibok girl was recently released in what the government is perceiving as a sign of good faith from the members of Boko Haram.  She was found in the Sambisa forest reserve with a suspected member of Boko Haram.  The girl reported that only 6 of the captive girls have died, rather than the larger number claimed by Abdullahi.  The girl believes that they may be located in the Sambisa forest reserve where she was found.  The Sambisa forest reserve is a large forest located near the border of Cameroon.

Reports of a second Chibok girl release turned out to be false. The head of Chibok Abducted Girls Parents group said the second girl was not one of the abducted girls.  The second girl is said to have been abducted from her home in Madagali.  She was returned along with 96 other citizens who had been abducted from their homes and held hostage.

Abdullahi says that no one is winning the battle that Boko Haram has waged with Nigeria.

For further information please see:

Pulse – Insurgents reportedly call for truce to release Chibok girls – 22 May 2016

International Business Times – Boko Haram willing to discuss surrender and release of Chibok girls – 21 May 2016

All Africa – Nigerian Army Confirms Rescue of Another Chibok School Girl – 20 May 2016

BBC – Boko Haram abductees freed in Nigeria – 20 May 2016

Justice for Sergei Magnitsky: White House Rejects Crude Attempt to Repeal Magnitsky Sanctions

31 May 2016 – The White House has reaf­firmed its com­mit­ment to the US Mag­nit­sky Act in a strongly-worded response to a peti­tion posted on the White House web­site in April 2016 by an anony­mous “R.T.” call­ing for the repeal of the US Mag­nit­sky Act.


“More than six years after his [Magnitsky’s] death, we remain dis­turbed by the impunity for this and other vio­lent crimes against activists, jour­nal­ists, and the polit­i­cal oppo­si­tion. We are also con­cerned by the grow­ing atmos­phere of intim­i­da­tion toward those who work to uncover cor­rup­tion or human rights vio­la­tions in the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion,” said the White House in its state­ment in response to the petition.


The White House reit­er­ated its posi­tion on the Mag­nit­sky Act expressed ear­lier by the U.S. State Department:


“The Admin­is­tra­tion intends to carry out and fully imple­ment the Mag­nit­sky Act. It reflects our sup­port for human rights and that those respon­si­ble for human rights abuses should be held to account…That’s what the act says; that’s what we intend to do.”


The White House said that indi­vid­u­als added to the U.S. Mag­nit­sky sanc­tions list in Feb­ru­ary 2016 “play sig­nif­i­cant roles in the repres­sive machin­ery of Russia’s law enforce­ment sys­tems,” and their inclu­sion was effected “after exten­sive research, includ­ing con­sul­ta­tions with Russ­ian and/or inter­na­tional civil society.”


“Efforts to imple­ment the Mag­nit­sky Act have so far resulted in a sig­nif­i­cant list of indi­vid­u­als respon­si­ble for Magnitsky’s death and sub­se­quent cover-up, as well as oth­ers respon­si­ble for gross human rights vio­la­tions. The list pro­motes account­abil­ity for their actions,” said the White House in its online response to the petition.


The anti-Magnitsky peti­tion was a lat­est in a series of pro­pa­ganda and intim­i­da­tion attempts by the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment and its prox­ies since the begin­ning of the year to over­turn the Mag­nit­sky Act in the US and pre­vent its pas­sage in Canada and Europe.


These ini­tia­tives were launched by Russ­ian For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter Sergei Lavrov at a Jan­u­ary 2016 press con­fer­ence where he alluded to new devel­op­ments in the Mag­nit­sky case. Since then, the Rus­sians set up an anti-Magnitsky Act NGO in Delaware called the Human Rights Account­abil­ity Global Ini­tia­tive Foun­da­tion. This newNGO is being rep­re­sented by Natalia Vesel­nit­skaya, the Russ­ian lawyer for alleged money laun­derer Denis Kat­syv, whose com­pa­nies are sus­pected by the US Jus­tice Depart­ment and the Swiss Gen­eral Pros­e­cu­tor of receiv­ing pro­ceeds from the US$230 mil­lion crime Sergei Mag­nit­sky had uncovered.


Another anti-Magnitsky ini­tia­tive included two anti-Magnitsky pro­pa­ganda films. The first one was aired in April 2016 in Russ­ian lan­guage on the main pro-Kremlin Russ­ian TV sta­tion. It claimed the dis­cov­ery of a CIA plot to mur­der Sergei Mag­nit­sky in Moscow deten­tion in order to blame his death on the Russ­ian author­i­ties. To authen­ti­cate the pur­ported CIA plot, the Rus­sians forged CIA doc­u­ments and retained Andrew Ful­ton, a for­mer UK diplo­mat, who now chairs GPW, a pri­vate spy firm in Lon­don, to sign a report “ver­i­fy­ing” the Russian-produced doc­u­ments as gen­uine CIA documents.


The sec­ond anti-Magnitsky pro­pa­ganda film was pro­duced for a West­ern audi­ence by film­maker Andrei Nekrasov, who claims Sergei Mag­nit­sky was not beaten in cus­tody and was not a whistle­blower despite pub­licly avail­able evi­dence to the con­trary. Nerkasov’s film bases its asser­tions on state­ments from ex-Russian Inte­rior Min­istry offi­cers Kar­pov and Lap­shov, both sanc­tioned by the US Gov­ern­ment for their role in the Mag­nit­sky case.


U.S. Pres­i­dent Obama signed the Sergei Mag­nit­sky Rule of Law Account­abil­ity Act of 2012 into law on Decem­ber 14, 2012. In Feb­ru­ary 2016, U.S. Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry sub­mit­ted to Con­gress the third annual report out­lin­ing the U.S. Government’s actions to imple­ment the Mag­nit­sky Act, and a new list of per­sons added to the Mag­nit­sky sanc­tions list.


“Despite widely-publicized, com­pelling evi­dence of crim­i­nal con­duct result­ing in Sergei Magnitsky’s deten­tion, abuse, and death, Russ­ian author­i­ties have failed to bring to jus­tice those respon­si­ble. This law [Mag­nit­sky Act] holds Rus­sians account­able for their roles in the Mag­nit­sky case or their respon­si­bil­ity for cer­tain gross vio­la­tions of human rights,” said the White House in its statement.


For fur­ther infor­ma­tion please contact:


Jus­tice for Sergei Magnitsky

+44 207 440 1777

e-mail: info@lawandorderinrussia.org





White House online response to the petition