When an international criminal tribunal in The Hague is mentioned, the majority of people think about the International Criminal Court. However, three other such courts are functioning in The Hague, one of them being the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. And as it applies national law, it is a very unique international tribunal. Why was it established? In what ways does it differ from the other tribunals? The answers are brought by its President, Judge Ivana Hrdličková.
Madame President, as she is called at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, was a judge in the Czech Republic in both civil and criminal cases who, at the same time, focused her academic interests on Islamic law and human rights. She also served as an expert on the Council of Europe on money laundering and terrorist financing matters at the so-called Moneyval. She was appointed a judge at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in 2012 and became its President in 2015. In February 2018 she was re-elected for a third term of eighteen months.
The November Bulletin opens with an exceptional contribution - following the interviews with the Presidents of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the so-called Kosovo Chambers, we bring an interview with another President of a judicial institution based in The Hague. Judge Theodor Meron is a real guru of international criminal justice who presided for many years over the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Currently he presides over the tribunal that replaced it.
Additionally, the Czech representatives in the Venice Commission, Kateřina Šimáčková and Veronika Bílková, discuss the outcomes of the October session of the commission. It mainly concerned a reform of judiciary in Romania but also counter-terrorist measures in Moldova.
Taking effect on August 1, 2018, Denmark has joined a list of countries that has enacted bans on wearing face coverings in public, joining other countries that have certain limitations on face veils in public such as France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Bulgaria and Austria.
What is the “Burqa Ban?”
Briefly, the most common body coverings worn by Islamic women are the hijab, the niqab and the burqa. The hijab is most common as it simply refers to covering up in general, and many times refers to headscarves worn by women. The niqab, which is a more concealing traditional Islamic wear describes a face veil, which leaves the area surrounding the eyes clear. Finally, a burqa is an Islamic veil covering the entire face and body. The burqa is quite rare in Western societies and is practiced the least.
Chechnya is an autonomous republic of Russia, located in the North Caucasus, near the Caspian Sea, in southern Russia. With a reported (though disputed) population of around 1.3 million people, the Chechen Republic is also, arguably, one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a homosexual.
The crisis was first made aware to the public on April 1, 2017 in the newspaper, “Novaya Gazeta.” The paper reported that numerous men between the ages of 16 and 50 had simply disappeared. The paper continues to specify the men were arrested for their practice of, or suspicion of, “non-traditional sexual orientation”.
The October Bulletin opens with an exclusive interview with the President of the relatively new court in The Hague. Judge Ekaterina Trendafilová presides over the so-called Kosovo tribunal (Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor's Office). What crimes will this institution, located in the world’s judicial capital, focus on?
Additionally, this year’s Nobel Peace Prize is being discussed, which was awarded to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad as an appreciation for their long-term activities against the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.
Furthermore, there are a number of articles regarding current human rights developments. These articles are divided into the following four categories: International Criminal Justice; European System of Human Rights Protection; International Politics, Business and Human Rights; and the Czech Republic and Human Rights.
In recent months North Korea and the United States have launched a process to reconcile some of the differences existing between their political cultures. More specifically, the overarching goal of the US in the summit is the nuclear disarmament of North Korea.
North Korea – United States Summit
The attempt to disarm is a step in the right direction when dealing with Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, but it is of vital important to consider his optics; what does North Korea Want? As a result of the historical meeting with President Trump and one of the world’s superpowers at the first summit meeting occuring on June 12, 2018 in Singapore, Kim Jong-Un and his cohorts gain a small amount of international recognition, and through this the argument could be made, inadvertent acceptance and even legitimacy. However, is this what the US and the international community wanted – acceptance and recognition of one of the world’s most authoritarian regimes that has committed countless human rights violations against its own citizens?
In October, The Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC) based in Venice published the final thesis of the head of the Czech Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, Jan Lhotský. EIUC annually publishes five of the best theses online from its E.MA human rights programme. In the text, Jan Lhotský analyses the functioning of the UN human rights treaty bodies that are based in Geneva and proposes a concrete reform for 2020 when the UN General Assembly is expected to decide on the necessary changes.