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New York, NY --
Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC)
--a global network of more
than 2,500 civil society organizations in 150 countries advocating for a fair,
effective and independent ICC and improved access to justice for victims of
genocide, war crimes and crimes
called on Egypt to demonstrate its
commitment to international justice and
the rule of law by ratifying the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
(ICC) and the Agreement on
Privileges and Immunities of the
Court (APIC). The Coalition has selected Egypt as a focus for its May 2012 Universal
Ratification Campaign (URC), a monthly campaign launched to encourage countries
to join the Rome Statute. Recent parliamentary elections and
upcoming presidential elections make this an opportune time for Egypt
to display its commitment to justice and
the rule of law by joining the Rome Statute, the Coalition said...
The Court of Appeal has ruled against an attempt by UBS (Bahamas) to appeal a decision of the court to the Privy Council in London saying the case at hand is not one of general public importance.
UBS had sought leave to appeal to the Privy Council the Court of Appeal's ruling from July 31, 2013, in which it ruled in favor of Standard Chartered Bank (Switzerland) in a matter relating to a $34.2 million claim by Standard Chartered Bank on UBS (Bahamas).
In that ruling, reviewing a decision of the chief justice which had struck out the Standard Chartered's claim, Justices Anita Allen, Christopher Blackman and Neville Adderley sent the case back to the Supreme Court for retrial.
The judges said at the time that the chief justice's ruling on the matter was "unsafe", and based on "incomplete evidence".
However, UBS (Bahamas) had, according to the most recent ruling from the Court of Appeal, sought to challenge its decision to send the matter back for a re-trial on numerous grounds that "for the most part, revolve around this court's purported failure to consider and make a determination on the facts, and its purported failure to apply the relevant law."
In response, the Court of Appeal held that the issue at hand is not "one of general public importance" and they will only be "properly answered" if the retrial that was initially ordered by the Court goes ahead.
"We believe it would be premature to send the matter to the Privy Council when all of the facts have not been established," said Justices Anita Allen, Stanley John, and Abudulai Conteh.
_The case revolves around a number of shares held as collateral for a loan by UBS (Bahamas) which the Bahamas office of the Swiss bank had agreed to transfer to Standard Chartered Bank (Switzerland), according to court documents.
The shares were beneficially owned by a mutual customer of the two banks, CIF, in 2008, who owed UBS (Bahamas) "in excess of $30 million".
According to the Court of Appeal judgment on the matter, an agreement to transfer the shares from UBS (Bahamas) to Standard Chartered (Switzerland) took place via the SWIFT messaging system in November 2008, after CIF obtained a loan from Standard Chartered Bank to pay its debt to UBS (Bahamas).
The two banks agreed to transfer the shares to Standard Chartered (Switzerland) once the Swiss bank sent $34.2 million - the amount of its loan to CIF to cover its UBS debt - to UBS.
On November 12, 2008, Standard Chartered (Switzerland) transferred the funds to UBS (Bahamas) and UBS (Bahamas) began initiating the process of transferring the shares - comprising 98,068 shares in Kingate Global Fund Limited and 36,356.58 shares in Thema Fund Limited.
However, in the meantime, the Bernie Madoff fraud led to a collapse in the value of the shares and a suspension of trading in them.
"The value of the shares collapsed as a result of the well-publicized Bernie Madoff fraud. On the 12th of December, 2008, before the shares were transferred, trading in the shares were suspended and this action was commenced on the basis that the shares could no longer be transferred," said the judgment on Standard Chartered's appeal against the chief justice's ruling.
"The plaintiff (Standard Chartered) had requested the return of the $34.2 million on the grounds that as the shares had not been and could no longer be transferred to it, the condition for payment had not been satisfied and therefore the plaintiff said it was entitled to the return of its money."
Standard Chartered (Switzerland) asserted that since the shares were not transferred following its transferral of $34.2 million to UBS, the "consideration for the payment under the contract had wholly failed".
However, UBS said that "it had performed all that was required of it under the contract".
Civil Society Says Accession to the Rome Statute Will Pave the Way for the Establishment of a Culture of Peace and Justice
York, USA - The Coalition for the International Criminal Court today
called on Nepal to demonstrate its commitment to justice and the rule of
law by acceding to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
(ICC)--the world's first and only permanent international court to
prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Nepal,
together with Rwanda, is the focus of the Coalition's Universal
Ratification Campaign (URC) for August 2012, a monthly campaign launched
to call upon a different country to join the Rome Statute--the ICC's
Hague--The Coalition for the International Criminal Court--a global
network of more than 2,500 non-governmental and civil society
organizations in 150 countries--today urged states to use the extended
nomination period for the upcoming International Criminal Court (ICC)
elections to continue to identify the most highly-qualified candidates
for the available positions. States parties to the Rome Statute--the
ICC's founding treaty--now have until 16 September 2011 to nominate
candidates for six judicial vacancies. The election, together with that
of the Prosecutor and six members of the Committee on Budget and
Finance, scheduled to take place at the tenth session of Assembly of
States Parties (ASP) in December 2011, represents the most significant
changeover in ICC officials since the creation of the Court...
NASSAU, The Bahamas - Community youth were drawn by the hundreds and encouraged to compete with each other on the basketball court, rather than criminal court.
Young men between the ages of 16 to 21 represented basketball teams from all nine centres in New Providence, as well as other areas, and competed at Englerston Park, Christie Park and Pinewood Park from dusk until late into the night.
"The objective of the whole thing is to get the young men to get to know each other from the different areas and to compete among each other, but to do it in a healthy environment and learn how to get along with each other through the sport of basketball," said Ella Lewis, New Providence Urban Renewal Coordinator.
"It's been extremely successful and every night the court is filled. We were wondering and see this is definitely the way to go in reaching the young men because they will come out to this. We have more than 300 people on the court both watching the game and participating. They are coming from all the different areas."
From March 30 to April 3, Urban Renewal Community Programme's nine centres held an Inter-Urban Basketball Jamboree, under the theme "You're My Brother". A spirit of community empowerment attracted thousands of spectators across New Providence communities for five days to watch teams play against each other for championship trophies from Englerston, Farm Road, Yellow Elder, Pinewood, Nassau Village, Bain & Grants Town, Elizabeth Estates, Flamingo Gardens, Fox Hill, Fort Charlotte, Kemp Road, and St. Cecilia.
Suspects to be arraigned in court today - As a result of intense police investigations into a number of serious crimes, Central Detective Unit Officers have charged the following persons who will appear in the Magistrate's Court, Nassau Street today to be formally charged...
By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Staff Reporter
NEW Court of Appeal President Anita Allen called her appointment to the head of the Bahamas' appellate court the "culmination and exclamation point of a lifelong love and passion for the law."
Judge Allen, formerly a senior justice of the Supreme Court, was sworn in yesterday as the new president of the Bahamas Court of Appeal at a brief ceremony at Government House attended by about 300 guests.
"There are defining moments in one's life, and certainly, today is one of them for me. It is the culmination and exclamation point of a lifelong love of and passion for the law," Judge Allen said after ...
Developers behind Cotton Bay Estates Limited have come up short in a Supreme Court ruling that denies the validity of $11 million worth of performance bonds.
The ruling, filed on behalf of Judge Stephen G. Isaacs, sided with CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank (Bahamas) and Penn's Renovation & Construction Company, claiming "the bonds are not valid and enforceable against the bank".
The Court of Appeal yesterday upheld a ruling by Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett...
During the 2012 general election, Sir Lynden Pindling's widow took to the political stage as a part of the PLP's strategy to use the late prime minister's legacy to help the party secure victory. It is debatable how successful was the strategy...
The Court of Appeal will today hear arguments on the appropriate sentence for a man whose murder conviction was reduced to manslaughter on appeal.
After substituting the murder conviction with one of manslaughter, the Court of Appeal gave Dominique Moss a 25-year sentence for killing a woman in Freeport, Grand Bahama.
The Privy Council sent the case back to the Court of Appeal last November after ruling that Moss had the right to be heard on an appropriate penalty.
At the Privy Council, Moss' attorney argued that the sentence of 25 years is, on the facts of this case, manifestly excessive both generally and in particular because the sentence imposed by the trial judge on his co-accused was one of six years.
The court ruled, "The defendant was, and is, entitled to address the proper factual basis for sentence now that the conviction for murder has been quashed.
"He is entitled to address the relative roles of the two accused. He is entitled to address the proper tariff for manslaughter in The Bahamas, the proper place within that tariff for the present."
The high court was referring to the sentencing range for manslaughter, and whether the crime deserves the most severe penalty.
In the early hours of the morning, the defendant and his co-accused took the female victim from a bar and onto a golf course with the object of having sexual intercourse with her, according to the evidence.
There was evidence that she was reluctant to go. Her body was found the next morning in standing water on the course.
Her throat had been cut to the extent that her head was almost severed from her body. There were signs of sexual assault. In police interviews Moss and Lotmore each asserted that the other had killed her.
Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis said last night he intends to table a bill in the House of Assembly today that would remove the impediments to capital punishment.
"We acknowledge the preponderance of modern research which asserts that it cannot be shown that the death penalty has a deterrent effect upon the mind of the would-be murderer," said Minnis in a new year's address televised on Cable 12.
"That may be so, but what is also clear in our Bahamas is that today there is a hardened criminal element who have nothing but contempt for law, order, or human suffering, and for whom there is no respect for human life, even the lives of innocent by-standers and children.
"At the very least there should be the certainty of sure punishment, and punishment which is appropriate to the crimes committed."
Minnis said the bill would address several weaknesses in the laws that have caused the Privy Council to overturn capital sentences for convicted murderers.
He said the bill would mandate that an appeal against the death penalty can only be made to The Bahamas' Court of Appeal and nowhere else; and if a delay between the conviction of the murderer and the proposed date of hanging is caused then the five-year limit imposed by the Privy Council would not apply.
Minnis said the bill would also mandate that the governor general prescribe time limits for the lodging and conclusion of all appeals against conviction, or constitutional appeals, and if the same are not concluded within such time limits, the Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy would be able to advise that the law should be brought into execution.
He said the bill would also seek to remove the constitutional right to trial by jury in cases of murder, manslaughter, or crimes involving the use of firearms to inflict harm or death, and particularly in instances where there is a likelihood of jury or witness tampering or intimidation.
He said in such instances the case would be heard by a panel of two Supreme Court judges along with a qualified non-judicial attorney called an assessor.
He noted that as the bill seeks to affect fundamental rights and freedoms, which are enshrined in the constitution, it would require a national constitutional referendum.
"My fellow Bahamians, it will be up to each and every one of you to decide whether these proposals become law by way of an amendment of our constitution," he said.
The last hanging in The Bahamas was carried out on January 6, 2000 when David Mitchell was executed for murdering a German couple.
There are three men in the country who are under the sentence of death: Kofhe Goodman, Anthony Clarke Jr. and Mario Flowers.
Chairman of the Constitutional Commission Sean McWeeney noted on Monday that capital punishment is unlikely as long as the Privy Council is the final court of appeal for the country.
The Constitutional Commission last year recommended the retention of the Privy Council as the final court of appeal, but called for the government to amend the law to increase the likelihood that the death penalty would be carried out.
It said Parliament should amend the law to "tie the hands" of the Privy Council.
In March 2006, the Privy Council ruled that the mandatory death sentence in The Bahamas was unconstitutional. Following that ruling, several men who were sentenced to death were resentenced to life in prison.
In 2011, Parliament passed a law outlining the categories of murder which would attract the death penalty.
Prime Minister Perry Christie recently told The Guardian that the government is "seriously considering" strengthening those laws.
The Bahamas hanged 50 men since 1929, according to records at Her Majesty's Prisons.
Preliminary issues were raised in the Supreme Court yesterday as a hearing over a bid to block the sale of 51 per cent of BTC to Cable and Wireless was due to open.
The hearing took placed in closed court before Justice Neville Adderley. Last month, unions representing BTC workers filed a writ in an attempt to block the sale of BTC.
The unions, the Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union (BCPOU) and the Bahamas Public Managers Union (BCPMU), filed a joint action in the Supreme Court raising a number of issues, among them questioning the right of
Halsbury Chambers Partner Nerissa Greene Wins Precedent-Setting Case Involving Prenuptial Agreements
Nerissa A. Greene, partner, Halsbury Chambers wins precedent-setting case in support of pre-nuptial agreements. Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett issued a comprehensive 24-page ruling affirming the contract.
INTERNATIONAL Development Bank consultants have compiled a scathing review of the government's highly touted Swift Justice Initiative (SJI), at the heart of their study the court reporting and transcription system...
An edict from a senior policeman banning ex-convicts and suspects wearing ankle bracelets from the world relays this weekend could cost the government a lot of money, according to Bar Association President Elsworth Johnson.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Leon Bethell made the pronouncement when announcing security arrangements for the race.
"Persons who wear ankle bracelets, those persons known to be gang members and those persons with the propensity to commit crime or cause mischief will not be allowed into the stadium," Bethell said.
The Nassau Guardian
contacted Bethell on Sunday to ask him what was the legal basis for the decision.
Bethell, who is also a lawyer, did not state any statutory provision that gave police the authority to impose additional sanctions on suspects on bail without the approval of the court.
"We're trying to save this country," he said.
"Persons who feel that they are aggrieved can take us to court, and we can say that we had information. You don't have the information that we have.
"We are going to police the stadium. If something goes wrong, you are going to be critical of your police force.
"The world will be on us, and while the world is watching The Bahamas, we cannot allow the criminal element to destroy our country."
According to Bethell's criteria for admission to the stadium, businessman Craig Flowers, who was convicted of allowing his premises to be used for a lottery; Bishop Randy Fraser, who was convicted of abusing his position of trust by having sex with a church member he was counseling and Carlos Lamm, a drug convict and former campaign general for Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald, would not be allowed into the stadium.
Johnson has urged people who fall into this subset to get a declaration from the Supreme Court alleging that their constitutional rights would likely be violated.
"We are a country of laws," the Bar Association president said.
"If one institution should be seen to be following the laws it is the police. These persons have constitutional right of movement. Only the court could restrict their movements.
"I don't agree that these persons should not be allowed to a public event at a public facility. That doesn't make any sense. This is not a police state."
Johnson said police should act on reasonable suspicion, not a just a hunch.
"It would be foolhardy for the police, without any good reason, to refuse to allow these persons into the stadium without reasonable cause because they will cost the government a lot of money that the government can ill afford to spend," he said.
Johnson said the police have the lawyers at the Office of the Attorney General at their disposal, if they had any doubts about the legality of their actions.
A justice of the Court of Appeal claimed he has suffered "nothing but embarrassment and hurt" as he dismissed claims made by two financial institutions that asserted a judgment he made should be set aside due to "apparent bias".
Both Justice Stanley John and Justice Christopher Blackman were hit with claims of possible bias by appellants Belgravia International Bank & Trust Company Limited and Experta Trust Company (Bahamas) Limited and calls for a February 2014 judgment in favor of CIBC Trust Company (Bahamas) to be set aside as a result in an appeal heard by the court.
On John's part, the claim stemmed from the fact that John's daughter, Amanda, was employed by Lennox Paton, the firm representing CIBC Trust Company (Bahamas). On Blackman's part, the appellants had claimed that a position he had held as a non-executive director of CIBC West Indies Holdings Limited, a corporate affiliate of CIBC between 1993-1994 and in 2001, and the employment of his son and sister with CIBC companies in Barbados, should have been disclosed by the judge due to the possibility of a resulting bias towards CIBC.
Pushpinder Saini, Q.C., appearing for the appellants, urged that there was a "duty of disclosure" on the part of Blackman and John at the
outset of the appeal in February 2013.
Addressing the claims, Blackman said the appellants did not assist in "stating what defining moment or event occurred" that would have prompted the judge to disclose a likelihood of bias.
"While extensive powers are vested in judicial officers, I don't think that the power of divination is one of them. So the question for the informed, reasonable and right minded person...(is) what would the fair minded and informed observer consider should have prompted John JA or myself in February 2013 to declare a relationship with Lennox Paton or CIBC?"
With respect to the allegation against John specifically, Blackman said he is of the view that "an informed, reasonable and right minded person, viewing the matter realistically and practically" could not have thought the decision by Lennox Paton to hire Amanda John in late 2013 could have been a factor for consideration in May 2013 when the hearing of the appeals concluded.
"In relation to myself, in the circumstance that I ceased to be a non-executive Director of CIBC related companies in 2001, the time that has elapsed is critical to the conclusion that it was more likely than not that an informed, reasonable and rightminded person....would conclude that it was more likely than not that bias or its apprehension (was) improbable.
"I am of the further view that such a person would reach the same conclusion in regard to my son and my sister's employment with the CIBC companies in Barbados, where there has been no relationship with CIBC Trust Company (Bahamas) Limited," he added.
"In the circumstances...I conclude that no reasonable apprehension of bias on the part of John or myself is established. Consequently there is no reason to vacate the judgment of the court dated February 26, 2014..." said Blackman.
Blackman also noted that each judge prepares and expresses their opinion independently, rather than having one member of the court "brief" the rest.
"(This) demonstrates that the independence and integrity of each member of this court is jealously guarded and respected both individually and collectively," said Blackman.
John said that while his 30 year old daughter, Amanda, had lived with him in The Bahamas he "had no personal input into her selection for pupilage with Lennox Paton" and he has not made "any contribution towards the facilitating of a work permit for her in The Bahamas."
"Further I say that I have not had, nor do I now have, any personal relationship with any member of the law firm of Lennox Paton or any other law firm in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas," said John.
Calling the allegations of bias "spurious", John said that they have "caused (him) nothing but embarrassment and hurt, particularly as the judgment sought to be impugned in these application was heard and determined before my daughter's engagement with Lennox Paton."
Also hearing the appeal, Justice Conteh agreed with Blackman's position, asserting that there was "not a scintilla of truth" in the allegations against the two other judges.
The judgment noted that while it is important that justice must be seen to be done, it is "equally" as important that judicial officers discouraging forum shopping.
This can be achieved by not, "acceding too readily to suggestions of bias, encourag(ing) parties to believe that by seeking the disqualifications of a judge, they will have their case tried by someone thought to be more liekly to decide the case in their favor."
The stay granted against the execution of the earlier Court of Appeal judgment on July 17, 2014, was discharged.
The underlying legal battle stemmed from a June 1996 agreement between CIBC and Belgravia, in which the two banks had agreed to act as co-trustees of a family trust. CIBC was ultimately replaced by Experta in July 2005, and Belgravia initiated legal action against CIBC for alleged breach of trust and the return of trust assets/monies still in its control.
His Excellency, the Governor-General, has, on the advice of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission, appointed Mrs Claire Hepburn as a Justice of the Supreme Court and has conferred on the Honourable Mr Justice Lyons the title of “Senior Justice”.
A U.S court has dismissed a case termed "straight out of a Hollywood script" involving a top law firm, an offshore bank and a $14 million inheritance, citing lack of jurisdiction.
President of the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) Nicole Martin yesterday appealed a Supreme Court ruling that ordered the union's Executive Council to hold an election on or before February 28, despite previously stating she would not appeal.
When the celebrations for Mark Knowles come to an end the former Bahamian tennis pro, could go to the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association's (BLTA) National Tennis Centre and watch the young and upcoming stars train on a facility named in his honor.
The debate over the Privy Council and whether The Bahamas should retain it as its final court of appeal was thrust back into the spotlight last week, when Law Lords in London ruled that Maxo Tido, convicted of the brutal murder of a teenage girl, should not have been sentenced to death for his crime.
In its ruling handed down on June 15, the Privy Council said that the crime did not warrant execution. "This was, in short, an appalling murder but not one which warrants the most condign punishment of death," wrote the Law Lords.
The case has now been sent back to the Court of Appeal for the imposition of "the appropriate sentence".
Execution remains the most severe punishment prescribed by the state for the crime of murder.
And it is frustrating to many that it is virtually impossible to carry out that punishment due to the appeals process, which normally takes years to complete.
Despite the regularity of the issuance of the death sentence, executions are uncommon. There has not been a hanging in The Bahamas since David Mitchell was executed on January 6, 2000.
In the 1993 Pratt and Morgan ruling, Her Majesty's Privy Council ruled that it would be cruel and inhumane to execute a murder convict more than five years after the death sentence was issued.
This ruling slowed the execution process. Murder trials take a long time to come up in this country and the appeals process after the death sentence is issued also takes years.
The country hanged 50 men since 1929, according to records kept at Her Majesty's Prison. Five of them were hanged under the first two Ingraham administrations (1992-2002); 13 were hanged under the 25-year rule of the Pindling government (1967-1992); and the remainder were executed between 1929 and 1967.
In 2006, the Privy Council also issued a ruling stating that the section of the Penal Code requiring a sentence of death be passed on any defendant convicted of murder "should be construed as imposing a discretionary and not a mandatory sentence of death."
The government has acknowledged that hangings are unlikely considering the five-year rule and the amount of time it takes for the appeals process to take place. However, despite this acknowledgment, capital punishment remains a legal punishment.
This commentary is not intended to offer an opinion on whether or not capital punishment is a fair or reasonable punishment. There are good arguments for and against hangings.
What is clear is that it is virtually impossible for the death sentence to be carried out. And appeals against the sentence add to the backlog of cases before various courts. The appeals waste time and money.
Anecdotally, the majority of Bahamians appear in favor of executions.
But what is the point of having the death penalty on the books if it is virtually impossible to carry out? Either we end the death penalty or divorce ourselves from the Privy Council.
As we all consider ways to reduce the number of matters before the court in order to make the criminal justice system more efficient, we must put this issue up for debate. Emotionalism is useless. The facts are the facts. Hangings, though desired, are unlikely.
We must now at least start the discussion of the post-hanging period in The Bahamas.
If we are to retain our relationship with the Privy Council -- and there are a number of sound reasons why we should -- new laws are needed, creating categories of murder. A proper definition of life in prison must also be brought forward along with a proper system of parole.
These are the issues that need to be debated when it comes to dealing with those who murder.
Either we accept the reality that our relationship with the Privy Council amounts to an end to the death penalty, or we seriously consider what it would mean to end our relationship with the Privy Council.