International brief ~ ICTY charges camp commander with war crimes

[JURIST] In Thursday's international brief, Savo Todovic, former deputy commander of the Serb-run Foca concentration camp [University of the West of England backgrounder], was officially charged at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia [ICTY official website] on Wednesday. The indictment [official text in French] alleges a combination of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and breaches of the Geneva Convention, for a total of 18 charges. Todovic was turned over to the Court on Saturday, following his surrender to Bosnian Serb officials. Todovic is the first war crimes suspect to be surrendered by the Bosnian Serb government [official website] to the ICTY, and has raised hopes that the promises of support and cooperation from the Bosnian Serb government will actually be enforced. Read the ICTY press release.

In other international legal news ...

  • In a ruling published Wednesday, Manhattan US Magistrate-Judge Frank Maas allowed the extradition of Muhamed Sacirbegovic, naturalized US citizen and former Bosnian ambassador to the UN, to Bosnia and Herzegovina [official website]. Sacirbegovic faces an investigation by Bosnian officials on allegations that he embezzled over $2.5 million USD from the Bosnian mission to the UN. Maas stayed the actual deportation order by 10 days, to allow defense counsel time to file a habeas petition to appeal the ruling. Sacirbegovic was placed under house arrest after posting a total of $6 million USD in bail. Sacirbegovic argues that there is no valid extradition treaty between the US and Bosnia, and that Bosnia has failed to show probable cause for an investigation into a crime that, even if committed, occurred on US soil. ISN News has more.

  • Former Zimbabwian Minister of Information Jonathan Moyo filed a civil suit Thursday alleging defamation of character by Lands Minister John Nkomo and Zanu-PF chief Dumiso Dabengwa and asking for over $300,000 USD in damages. Moyo was fired from his position in December, as the internal ranks of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF [official party website] party jockeyed for favor in light of Mugabe's announcement that he would not seek reelection in 2008. Moyo, the author of Zimbabwe's controversial media restriction laws, was accused of organizing a coup to overthrow Mugabe, and was fired not only from his position as Minister of Information, but also from the upper ranks of the Zanu-PF. The parliamentary seat that Moyo then decided to run for was promptly reserved for a female candidate in order to meet the government's quota of women in office. South Africa's Independent Online has local coverage.

  • An official Sudanese government [official website] commission investigating the human rights situation in Darfur published its findings Thursday. The commission, led by former judge Dafalla al-Hajj Yusuf, held that serious human rights breaches had occurred at the hands of both sides of the conflict, but that, although rape and torture as well as murder was committed, there was no evidence of genocide. The commission also claimed that the total number of deaths from both sides of the conflict did not exceed "a few thousand persons" and that the widely accepted UN figures of over 70,000 dead "are not accurate". The commission is seen as an attempt by the Sudanese government to diffuse the upcoming January 25 report by a UN Security Council [official website] mandated investigation into the abuses in Darfur. That report is expected to be highly critical of the government and to lay out very serious figures and charges. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage [JURIST country archive] of the situation in Sudan. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage.


 

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