Arusha, September 22, 2013 (FH) – In the week gone by, the UN Secretary General said in New York that use of chemical weapons constitutes a war crime. Meanwhile in The Hague, the International Criminal Court (ICC) warned against any form of witness tampering.

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Use of chemical weapons is a war crime: Ban Ki-moon made this declaration last Monday before the UN Security Council in New York. He confirmed that such weapons were used on a large scale in the suburbs of Damascus, Syria, where many civilians including children died on August 21. The Secretary General said the international community has a duty to hold the authors of this crime to account and “to ensure that chemical weapons never re-emerge as an instrument of warfare".


Court warns against witness tampering: The ICC Chamber trying Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang warned Wednesday against any form of witness tampering. Presiding judge Chile Eboe-Osuji issued a reminder that any act of corruptly influencing, intimidating or retaliating against a witness is an offence against the administration of justice of the Court, according to the ICC’s founding treaty, the Statute of Rome.

Call for the arrest of Sudan’s President: The ICC called on the US government to arrest Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir, who has requested a visa to attend the UN General Assembly taking place in New York from September 24 to October 2. The ICC has issued two arrest warrants for Bashir for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. He is wanted for crimes allegedly committed in Darfur, in western Sudan. 

Call for transfer of two Libyan suspects to ICC: Human rights organization Amnesty International on Wednesday called on the Libyan authorities to hand over to the ICC Saïf Al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the late former dictator, and former intelligence chief Abdullah Senoussi. “Both men should be handed over to the ICC immediately,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahrahoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa. The call was issued Wednesday as Saïf Al-Islam was due to go on trial before a local court. He appeared in court on Thursday in the western town of Zintan. The judge adjourned the trial until December 12.


The Appeals Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) is due to hand down its judgment Thursday in the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor.