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Rwanda - 05.15.2003
Former information minister gets life sentence for genocide

The International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR) sentenced Eliézer Niyitegeka, information minister in the Rwandan interim government in 1994, to life imprisonment on 15 May. He was convicted of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and public and direct incitement to genocide. Niyitegeka was arrested in Kenyan on 9 February 1999. His trial began on 17 June 2002 in Arusha, Tanzania (the ICTR’s headquarters). The court adjourned to consider its verdict on 28 February 2003.

Prosecutors alleged that, as soon as the Hutu-dominated interim government was formed on 8 April 1994, Niyitegeka participated with other cabinet members in preparing a plan to exterminate Tutsis. Furthermore, he personally participated in massacres in the hills of Bisesero in the western province of Kibuye. According to the estimates of the Rwandan authorities, a million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

France - 04.25.2003
Appeal court upholds Gen. Aussaresses’ conviction

The Paris appeal court on 25 April upheld the conviction of Gen. Paul Aussaresses for "complicity in war crimes by condoning them." The Paris magistrates court had sentenced him on 25 January 2002 to a fine of 7,500 euros for defending the crimes he committed during the war in Algeria in his book Special Services, Algeria 1955-57, published in May 2001. His two publishers, Olivier Orban of the Plon publishing house and Xavier de Bartillat of Perrin were each fined 15,000 euros. In his book, Gen. Aussaresses defended the French army’s use of torture in Algeria.

Crisis in Iraq - 03.19.2003
Declaration on the safety of journalists and media personnel in situations involving armed conflict

The situation in Iraq has induced the Damocles Network and Reporters without Borders to remind the belligerent parties of the principles governing international humanitarian law, which protect journalists and media personnel in cases involving armed conflict. To this end, the two organisations have issued a "Declaration" that was adopted at the end of the workshop session on this subject held on 20 January. They urge all press freedom organisations to join them in this initiative.

The Participants,

Whereas the freedom of the media and the free and unhindered exercise of journalism are essential in order to guarantee the right of individuals and of the public to be informed under all circumstances ;

Having noted with concern that journalists and news media personnel are increasingly subject to attack during armed conflicts ;

Being aware that propaganda is an integral part of every armed conflict ;

Recalling that the media must not be exploited for the purpose of inciting anyone to commit unlawful acts of war, genocide, or acts of violence ;

Reaffirming :

That journalists and other information professionals are deemed to be civilians and that, as such, they are protected by international humanitarian law ;

That media equipment and facilities are deemed to be civilian objects subject to the protection inherent in this statute, unless it has been determined that they are being used for military purposes ;

That journalists and media equipment and facilities must be subject neither to attacks nor to reprisals.

Do hereby agree as to the following :

1. The morale of the adversary’s civilian population does not constitute a military objective.

2. Media used for propaganda purposes do not constitute military objectives ; they do not fulfil the conditions of "effective contribution to military action" and of "definite military advantage" laid down in Article 52, paragraph 2 of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 (Protocol I). Consequently, media used for propaganda purposes shall not be attacked, totally or partially destroyed, captured or neutralised and their broadcasts shall not be subjected to jamming.

3. Media shall enjoy immunity from direct attack, unless they are being exploited for the purpose of inciting people to commit illegal acts of warfare, genocide, or acts of violence.

4. It is prohibited to launch any attack against media equipment and facilities used for military purposes which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.

5. During an attack on media equipment and facilities used for military purposes, all feasible precautions must be taken with a view to avoiding, and in any event to minimising, loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects.

6. In the event of an attack against media equipment and facilities used for military purposes that may affect the civilian population, an effective and definite warning must be given in due time and by effective means, unless circumstances do not permit it.

Drawn up in Paris on 20 January 2003 in French and English, each text being equally authentic.

List of signatories :

-  Reporters without Borders
-  World Press Freedom Committee

Other news

Belgium - 03.12.2003
Debate over Belgium’s law of universal jurisdiction

Two draft laws are currently being debated in Belgium. One would interpret the 1993 law of universal jurisdiction. The other would amend it, bringing it into line with the Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court. The Belgian senate approved the two draw laws at the end of January. It is now up to the chamber of deputies to finally endorse their adoption.

France - 02.21.2003
File closed in complaint against the president of Zimbabwe

Serbia - 02.20.2003
International arrest warrant against the former head of Serbian Radio-television (RTS)

ICTY - 12.11.2002
Journalists excused from giving court evidence

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has announced rules about taking evidence from war reporters, partially exempting them from having to appear before it. Reporters Without Borders welcomes the decision.

International justice - 11.27.2002
A website to help the victims

The Damocles Network, legal arm of Reporters Without Borders, launches its website. For once, a website doesn’t just give you the key legal documents but offers a guide that victims of international crimes can use.

RWANDA - 11.25.2002
"Hate-media" trial to resume

The trial of three former media figures accused of encouraging genocide in 1994 will resume before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on 2 December, after an adjournment for organisational reasons.

RWANDA - 11.25.2002
Genocide : semi-traditional courts to be set up throughout the country

The gacaca community courts created to try those responsible for the 1994 genocide have been a success in pilot areas.

UKRAINE - 11.21.2002
Criminal enquiry opens into killing of journalist

Mikhailo Kolomiets, head of the Ukrainian news agency Ukrainski Novyny, was found hanging from a tree in Belarus. His mother and colleagues do not believe he killed himself.

MOZAMBIQUE - 11.21.2002
President Chissano’s son implicated in murder of journalist

Two men on trial for the murder of investigative journalist Carlos Cardoso have accused Nyimpine Chissano, son of Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano, of ordering the killing.

COTE D’IVOIRE - 11.12.2002
UN Security Council can and must take case to ICC

Reporters Without Borders and the Damocles Network have asked the UN Security Council to refer to the ICC the crimes committed during the present fighting. Now they have appealed to UN secretary-general Kofi Annan to support their request.