Israeli Lawyers Make History in the ICC

Post date: Dec 21, 2011 11:52:39 PM

On Friday, December 16, 2011, the Pre-trial Chamber of the ICC declined to confirm the charges against Callixte Mbarushimana and ordered his immediate release.

Mbarushimana was detained since October 2010 when France executed an arrest warrant by the ICC. France surrendered Mbarushimana to The Hague on 25 January 2011 where he has been detained ever since. The Pre-trial stage is a necessary stage before going to trial where the Prosecutor has to convince the court that there is "sufficient evidence to believe that there is substantial reasons to believe the suspect committed the crimes".

Out of five decisions on the charges of the Prosecutor at the ICC, four were confirmed and one was not rejected: this was in the case of the Prosecutor v. Abu Garda in the Sudan situation. However, Abu Garda was not in the custody of the ICC and his appearence before the court was on a voluntarily basis.

With the decision, the Israeli team of lawyers defending Mbarushimana has made history and set a precedent, as it is the first time a person detained at the ICC would be released unconditionally and at this stage of the procedure. The defendant was represented by Nick Kaufman and ALMA member - Yael Vias Gvirsman at the Pre-trial stage.

The Prosecutor has notified the Court of his intention to apply for leave to appeal the decision and asked for the stay of Mbarushimana's release. However, on December 19, 2011 the Pre-Trial Chamber rejected the Prosecution's request and confirmed its order for immediate release of Mbarushimana - otherwise the detention will be arbitrary and illegal