Archives


The archives of the JusticeInfo.net website have been available through our search tool since 2015. These archives are a real memory bank of Transitional Justice and reconciliation processes. They cover nearly 100 countries, focussing on, for example, the activities of special courts like the ICC, ICTY and ICTR, and Truth Commissions like the Truth and Dignity Commission in Tunisia. The dispatches of the Hirondelle News Agency, which covered the work of the ICTR from its start in 1997 to its closure in 2015, are included in the search tool.

Start
End
 (Reset)
    Was the destruction of Old Mostar Bridge a war crime?
    Was the destruction of Old Mostar Bridge a war crime?
    11.12.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    To what extent does the destruction of an architectural masterpiece constitute a war crime if that masterpiece is also used for military purposes? What, too, if the destruction of such a monument, like the Old Mostar Bridge, causes psychological and physical harm to a civilian population now under siege? How should military objectives, damage to cultural heritage, psychological and physical harm be weighed together? That was the headache posed by the last judgment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).  The ICTY’s last judgment on November 29 will be remembered for the televised live suicide of Slobodan Praljak, one of the six accused, as the sentence was being read out. But another aspect of this...

    Read more
    Week in Review: ICC debates “crime of aggression” as Yemen suffers and Croatia denies
    Week in Review: ICC debates “crime of aggression” as Yemen...
    09.12.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    The International Criminal Court’s annual meeting of 123 member countries started this week at the United Nations in New York. This year’s Assembly of States Parties (ASP) is discussing, among other things, whether the "crime of aggression" will be added to the ICC’s jurisdiction alongside war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. This debate is not just academic and legal. The "crime of aggression" -- i.e. one country aggressing another -- divides both ICC member and non-member States, because it could mean the indictment of State leaders in cases like Russia’s war in Georgia and/or annexation of Crimea, and the United States’, France’s and Britain’s intervention in Libya. Ugandan and Rwandan meddling in the Democratic...

    Read more
    Yemen situation worsening faster than we can respond, says ICRC chief
    Yemen situation worsening faster than we can respond, says...
    07.12.17
    Frédéric Burnand, correspondent in Geneva

    The violent death of former Yemeni president Ali Abdallah Saleh following his implicit offer to make peace with Saudi Arabia, risks fuelling the proxy war in Yemen between Riyadh and Teheran, according to some analysts, while some now see a possible end to the conflict. Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross says the humanitarian situation continues to worsen, as ICRC President Peter Maurer explains. Last Saturday, 48 hours before he was killed by his former allies – Houthi rebels supported by Iran --, Ali Abdallah Saleh had said he was ready to "turn the page” with Saudi Arabia. That was immediately welcomed by the Saudi-led  military coalition that has been fighting the Houthi-Saleh alliance since 2015. With no...

    Read more
    Opinion: More justice needed for war victims in Nepal
    Opinion: More justice needed for war victims in Nepal
    07.12.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    Nepal’s political elites hail the country’s transition from civil war as a success. But commissions for Truth and Reconciliation and on Enforced Disappeared Persons are not independent, and have not so far done their job. Many cases of civil war abuses filed before both national courts and UN bodies have not been adequately followed up, and victims are still waiting for justice.  On this Human Rights Day (December 10), let us call on all political actors in Nepal to respect victims’ right to truth, access to justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition for a peaceful future.The Maoist revolt in Nepal between 1996 and 2006 left thousands dead, as well as many disappeared. After the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was...

    Read more
    Possible 'elements of genocide' in Myanmar: UN rights chief
    Possible 'elements of genocide' in Myanmar: UN rights chief
    05.12.17
    AFP

    The UN rights chief called Tuesday for a fresh international investigation into Myanmar's abuses against its Rohingya Muslim minority, warning of possible "elements of genocide". Speaking before a special session of the UN Human Rights Council on the abuses against the Rohingya, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein condemned "widespread, systematic and shockingly brutal" attacks against the Rohingya, as well as decades of discrimination and persecution. An army-led crackdown has forced some 626,000 people to flee from northern Rakhine state and across the border into squalid camps in Bangladesh in recent months, leaving hundreds of villages burned to the ground. Myanmar's military denies accusations by the UN and US that it has committed...

    Read more
    Week in Review: ICTY suicide and children’s war drawings question international justice
    Week in Review: ICTY suicide and children’s war drawings...
    01.12.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo

    Croat war criminal Slobodan Praljak’s suicide in court, just as he was being sentenced to 20 years in jail,  puts a tragic final end to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). It is with those images, broadcast on the Internet, that the ICTY will close its doors at the end of December. This is the “lowering of the curtain on a courtroom become a crime scene”, writes AFP. The ICTY, set up by the United Nations in 1993, was the first international criminal tribunal after the post-World War II Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals. Born during the Balkan conflicts, the ICTY leaves a significant but also controversial legacy for international justice. “Never has a war been so documented, examined and...

    Read more
    Children’s drawings as evidence of war crimes
    Children’s drawings as evidence of war crimes
    01.12.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    “Deflagrations: Children’s drawings and adult wars”, a book published by Anamosa, recounts war in 150 children’s drawings. The book is accompanied by an exhibition until December 16 at the André Malraux médiathèque in Strasbourg. This is a beautiful book which appeals for peace. Colourless corpses, huts on fire, columns of refugees, bombing, fear and sadness. The 150 drawings put together by Zérane Girardeau tell of war through children’s eyes. The book “ Déflagrations, dessins d’enfants, guerre d’adultes”, published by Anamosa, reproduces a century of children’s drawings during war, the work of young witnesses from the First World War to the conflict in Syria. “These drawings allow us to situate ourselves for a moment outside the...

    Read more
    ICC won't prosecute Israel over deadly flotilla raid
    30.11.17
    AFP

    The International Criminal Court will not prosecute Israel over the deadly raid on a flotilla carrying humanitarian aid toward Gaza in May 2010, it was announced Thursday. "I have ultimately decided to reaffirm my previous decision of November 6, 2014," ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement, referring to when she ruled the incident was "not of sufficient gravity". However, sticking to that same judgement Bensouda said: "My conclusion remains that there is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed by some members of the Israel Defence Forces." Nine Turkish citizens died when Israeli marines stormed the Mavi Marmara, among eight ships trying to break a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. One more...

    Read more
    History of the ex-Yugoslav war crimes court
    30.11.17
    AFP

    The final verdict of the UN war crimes court for former Yugoslavia was its most dramatic, with a Bosnian Croat commander committing suicide in front of judges who had just upheld his sentence. Here is a snapshot of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which will formally close on December 31 after 24 years in operation. - Mission: war crimes - The United Nations established the ICTY in 1993 to try perpetrators of war crimes committed in the ethnic violence that followed the break-up of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. It is the first international war crimes tribunal since the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals on World War II. Based in The Hague, the court at its height employed about 1,200...

    Read more
    Chaos at UN court as Bosnian Croat defendant 'takes poison' and dies
    Chaos at UN court as Bosnian Croat defendant 'takes...
    29.11.17
    AFP

    The UN war crimes court for former Yugoslavia descended into chaos during it last judgement Wednesday when a defendant took poison to protest the upholding of his 20-year jail term. Bosnian Croat war criminal Slobodan Praljak died later in hospital, according to the HINA agency. UN judges were handing down judgement in the appeals case of six former Bosnian Croat political and military leaders, in the court's final verdict for war crimes committed during the bloody 1990s break-up of Yugoslavia. Seconds after his sentence was upheld, former military commander Slobodan Praljak, 72, shouted out angrily: "Praljak is not a criminal. I reject your verdict." He then raised a small brown bottle to his lips, and drank it down in full...

    Read more
    Tepid response to Myanmar-Bangladesh repatriation agreement
    Tepid response to Myanmar-Bangladesh repatriation agreement
    28.11.17
    OLIVER SLOW | FRONTIER

    Bangladesh and Myanmar say they will start repatriating refugees in two months, amid continued global pressure about the ongoing crisis in Rakhine State, in a move that humanitarian groups have called “premature” as refugees continue to cross the border. According to the United Nations, more than 620,000 people – overwhelmingly Muslims who identify as Rohingya – have crossed the border since August after a military crackdown that Washington last week said constitutes “ethnic cleansing”. After lengthy discussions, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Mr AH Mahmood Ali agreed a Memorandum of Understanding in Nay Pyi Taw on November 23. “This is a primary step. [They] will take back [Rohingya]. Now...

    Read more
    Croat leaders in last ICTY judgment for crimes in Bosnia
    Croat leaders in last ICTY judgment for crimes in Bosnia
    28.11.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    Latest UN judges uphold 25-year jail term on Bosnian Croat leader Prlic   On November 29, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is to hand down its last judgment before closing its doors in a few weeks’ time. The six accused were already tried by the lower court in 2013 and given prison sentences of 10 to 25 years for 26 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including persecution, murder, rape and sexual violence, forced displacement and inhuman acts. These six former top leaders of the self-proclaimed Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia are now being judged on appeal. The most prominent among them is Jadranko Prlic, a brilliant economist and former professor, who was invited to the United...

    Read more
    Justice leaves a bitter taste in the Balkans
    Justice leaves a bitter taste in the Balkans
    27.11.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    This December 21, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) will close its doors. Never have so many crimes provoked so much investigative work. Never has a war been so documented, examined and analysed by judicial authorities since the Second World War. Now it is time to analyse the record of this first international criminal tribunal, its successes and failures. This is indispensable, if only to learn lessons for the future of international justice.  What is most striking is the huge gap between judicial truth and the way it resonates in the societies most concerned. With courage, but also with sadness, the ICTY Prosecutor recognizes that those being glorified today are the war criminals and not their...

    Read more
    Week in Review: Victory for justice in Bosnia, and stigmatized girls in the DRC
    Week in Review: Victory for justice in Bosnia, and...
    27.11.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    The life sentence on Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic by the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was widely hailed as a victory for international law and justice. Mladic was found guilty of genocide in Srebrenica, crimes against humanity for ethnic cleansing of Bosnian towns and the siege Sarajevo, and war crimes for the hostage taking of UN personnel to stop NATO intervention during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina 25 years ago. Only Serb nationalists and Russia criticized this judgment, which comes as the ICTY prepares to close. The 1,800 pages of the judgment are also pages for history. “The judgment (…) relates dozens of dramatic events during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina (1992-1995), in which over...

    Read more
    Herceg-Bosna, bloody separatist bid of Bosnian Croats
    27.11.17
    AFP

    Six leaders of a self-proclaimed statelet for Bosnian Croats, declared during the Balkan country's bloody 1990s conflict, hear a verdict Wednesday from UN judges on their appeal against war crimes convictions. Here are details about their breakaway "republic", which they eventually hoped to merge with neighbouring Croatia: - War breaks out - When war broke out in Bosnia in 1992 as Yugoslavia fell apart, the country's Catholic Croats fought alongside Bosniak Muslims against Orthodox Serbs in the ethnically diverse country. But the nationalist leaders of ethnic Croats, who made up about 17 percent of Bosnia's population of 4.4 million, gradually became more open about their desire to be part of a "Greater Croatia". The...

    Read more
    Libya slave auctions: 'Everybody knew'
    Libya slave auctions: 'Everybody knew'
    24.11.17
    AFP

    World leaders may have been quick to voice outrage over video footage of Libyan slave auctions, but activists raised the alarm months ago -- and their warnings fell on deaf ears. Aid workers, rights groups and analysts say they had been shouting about rape, torture and forced work for thousands of black Africans in the war-torn north African country until they were blue in the face. But it took CNN's footage of young Africans being auctioned off near Tripoli, filmed on a hidden camera and aired on November 14, to force Western and African leaders into a flurry of condemnation. United Nations chief Antonio Guterres was "horrified"; African Union chief Alpha Conde was "outraged". France requested an urgent meeting of the UN...

    Read more
    Historic judgment on Bosnian Serb military chief Mladic
    Historic judgment on Bosnian Serb military chief Mladic
    23.11.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    Handing down its judgment on November 22, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) found former Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic guilty of genocide in Srebrenica, crimes against humanity and war crimes. He was sentenced to life in prison. “The true heroes are the victims and survivors who never gave up on their quest for justice,” said ICTY Prosecutor Serge Brammertz in a statement hailing the judgment. Mladic was found guilty of genocide in Srebrenica, crimes against humanity for ethnic cleansing of Bosnian towns and the siege of Sarajevo, and war crimes for the hostage taking of UN staff to stop NATO intervention. The former Bosnian Serb military commander is still hailed as a hero by the...

    Read more
    Yugoslav war crimes court helped end era of impunity
    23.11.17
    AFP

    Born from the fires engulfing the Balkans in the 1990s, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia closes next month having tried and judged dozens of those behind Europe's worst atrocities since World War II. From helping to write the history of the bitter conflict, to putting war criminals around the globe on notice that they too could up in the dock, to setting international jurisprudence for such crimes as genocide, law experts say the tribunal leaves an impressive legacy. It showed it was "possible to bring to justice the high-level figures responsible for the crimes committed in the Balkans conflict", said Diana Goff, an international lawyer and research fellow at the Clingendael Institute. And "it...

    Read more
    Four big challenges to Suu Kyi’s plans for northern Rakhine
    Four big challenges to Suu Kyi’s plans for northern Rakhine
    21.11.17
    SITHU AUNG MYINT | FRONTIER

    Myanmar's de facto leader  Aung San Suu Kyi travelled to Rakhine State this month on her first visit there since taking office. The November 2 trip took her to Sittwe, and to Maungdaw Township in northern Rakhine, where she met Rakhine and Muslims affected by the violence that has resulted in more than 600,000 Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh. At a time when the US and European Union are considering targeted sanctions against senior army officers over the operation launched in northern Rakhine after the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army attacked security posts in late August, Suu Kyi is trying to convince the international community that she is working hard to solve the crisis. Last month she established the public-private Union...

    Read more
    Key verdict due on Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic
    Key verdict due on Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic
    21.11.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is preparing to hand down on November 22 its verdict on Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic. Given the ICTY’s previous convictions of his main associates including Radovan Karadzic, a guilty verdict is widely expected.    Whilst a guilty verdict is expected, it will be key to see what sentence the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia imposes. Mladic faces a possible life sentence, but in March 2016 the ICTY unexpectedly sentenced former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic to 40 years in jail. It was nevertheless Karadzic who, from his fief of Pale overlooking Sarajevo that was besieged by his forces throughout the war,...

    Read more
    Ex-Yugoslavia would be worse off without UN Court, says ICTY Prosecutor
    Ex-Yugoslavia would be worse off without UN Court, says...
    20.11.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    On November 22, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yougoslavia (ICTY) is to hand down its verdict on Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic. This is the last verdict in a trial court of the Tribunal, which was set up by the United Nations in 1993. The ICTY is due to close its doors on December 31, 2017, after 25 years of investigations and trials, and after convicting 83 individuals for crimes committed during the conflicts in former Yugolsavia. Prosecutor Serge Brammertz talked to JusticeInfo about the legacy of the ICTY, the first international tribunal to be created after the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials. Justice Info: What is your view of the Tribunal’s legacy? Serge Brammertz: Despite all the problems that...

    Read more
    Politicians, war criminals: figures in the Balkan wars
    19.11.17
    AFP

    The UN court dealing with crimes committed during the wars that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia hands down its penultimate ruling on Wednesday, having delivered 83 convictions. Ahead of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) judgement of Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic, here is a rundown of the fate of other key players in the Balkan wars of the 1990s. - Milosevic, Serbian president: charged - Slobodan Milosevic was accused of fuelling ethnic conflict and mass murder in the former Yugoslavia during his 13 years of iron rule, defying international sanctions and NATO bombs. Elected Serbian president in 1990, he played a key role in supporting the Serb cause during the Croatian and Bosnian...

    Read more
    Mladic: Serb crusader charged over siege and slaughter
    19.11.17
    Ana Holdings AFP

    Ratko Mladic, who faces judgement Wednesday for alleged genocide, believed himself a crusading defender of the Serbs but was dubbed the "Butcher of Bosnia" for mass slaughter at the hands of his forces. The ruthless commander of Bosnian Serb troops in the 1990s civil war, Mladic came to symbolise a barbaric plan to rid swathes of Bosnian territory of Croats and Muslims and carve out a Serb-only state. Captured in 2011 after 16 years on the run, Europe's most wanted man was by then an ailing shadow of his former stocky self. But the general's defiance appeared undimmed during his trial at The Hague, although he was dogged by ill health, and the 74-year-old remains a hero to many Serbs to this day. To the families of war...

    Read more
    The 1990s Balkan wars in key dates
    19.11.17
    AFP

    Ahead of the judgement Wednesday of Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic, here is a timeline of the 1990s Balkans conflicts that tore apart the former Yugoslavia. - Bickering after Tito dies - Communist Yugoslavia, which emerged shortly after the end of World War II, was made up of six republics: Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Macedonia. Following the death of its autocratic leader Josip Broz Tito in 1980, the Yugoslav federation found itself in crisis, with bickering between ethnic groups and surging nationalist sentiments. By the time the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, inter-ethnic relations in Yugoslavia were at breaking point. The first multiparty elections in the republics in 1990 were won mostly by...

    Read more
    Week in Review: Victims still waiting for justice in Gambia, Sri Lanka and Laos
    Week in Review: Victims still waiting for justice in...
    17.11.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.Net

    This week JusticeInfo.net took a closer look at transitional justice issues affecting Gambia, where civil society is campaigning to bring ex-dictator Yahya Jammeh to justice, and Sri Lanka, where the government is dragging its feet on promises of justice for victims of the civil war. We also looked at human rights in a forgotten country, Laos. In Gambia Baba Hydara, son of journalist Deyda Hydara who was one of the suspected victims of Jammeh’s 25-year dictatorship, explained his fight to get justice. The journalist was assassinated on December 16, 2004, with Jammeh’s death squad widely believed to be behind his murder. Jammeh is currently in exile in Equatorial Guinea.  “We are aware that for the moment Gambia’s judicial system is...

    Read more
    A book on “Silent Repression in Laos”, five years after activist disappeared
    A book on “Silent Repression in Laos”, five years after...
    16.11.17
    Arnaud Dubus, southeast Asia correspondent

    Anne-Sophie Gindroz, an aid worker who was expelled by the Communist government of Laos in late 2012, has just written a book on her experience in that country. “Laos, the silent repression” (see attachment download above) comes five years after the disappearance of Laotian activist Sombath Somphone. The Laotian government has still not provided any information on his fate, despite international pressure. Gindroz worked for the Swiss NGO Helvetas in Laos for three years. Shortly before her expulsion, she had been a member of the organizing committee of the Asia-Europe People Forum, a forum of civil society organizations which took place in the Laotian capital Vientiane to coincide with an Asia-Europe summit of heads of State and...

    Read more
    'Mounting evidence' of Myanmar genocide: watchdogs
    'Mounting evidence' of Myanmar genocide: watchdogs
    16.11.17
    AFP

    Myanmar security forces slit the throats of Muslim Rohingya, burned victims alive, and gang-raped women and girls, according to two separate reports detailing mounting evidence of genocide against the minority group. Human Rights Watch focused on the use of sexual violence in its report on the military's campaign against the Rohingya, and concluded that the depredations amounted to crimes against humanity. "Rape has been a prominent and devastating feature of the Burmese military's campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya," said Skye Wheeler, a researcher at Human Rights Watch and author of the report. "The Burmese military's barbaric acts of violence have left countless women and girls brutally harmed and...

    Read more
    UN countries must press Sri Lanka on justice, say NGOs
    UN countries must press Sri Lanka on justice, say NGOs
    15.11.17
    Julia Crawford, JusticeInfo.Net

    International jurists of the Sri Lanka Monitoring and Accountability Panel (MAP)  say Sri Lanka’s government has made no credible progress on its transitional justice commitments, and are urging the international community to get tough. This comes as Human Rights Watch also called Wednesday for countries at the UN Human Rights Council to press Sri Lanka on time-bound reforms ensuring justice for serious crimes committed during the civil war that ended in 2009. The war, which pitted majority Buddhist Sinhalese of the south against minority Hindu Tamils of the north and east, left at least 40,000 people dead, 280,000 displaced and 65,000 disappeared.  President Maithripala Sirisena’s government made key pledges on justice reform at...

    Read more
    Cambodia's Duch and the analysis of a killer
    Cambodia's Duch and the analysis of a killer
    14.11.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and associate professor at Neuchâtel University

    Psychologist Françoise Sironi has been working with victims of mass violence for a quarter of a century. She was one of the founders of the Primo Levi Centre in Paris which provides care for torture victims. More recently she provided psychological expertise for the trial in Phnom Penh of Duch, who was director of the infamous S-21 prison during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. Some two million people were killed under the murderous Khmer Rouge regime of Pol Pot. As S-21 prison director, Duch was personally responsible for the torture and deaths of 17,000 people. Françoise Sironi wanted to find out what turns a person into a torturer. How did this man become so dehumanized? What psychological mechanisms might...

    Read more
    Guatemala: Courts Jeopardizing Fight Against Impunity,...
    13.11.17
    Human Rights Watch

     The remarkable progress Guatemala has made in prosecuting corruption and abuse could be reversed if the country’s highest courts don’t stop the egregious delays that are keeping powerful defendants from going to trial, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 56-page report, “Running Out the Clock: How Guatemala’s Judiciary Could Doom the Fight against Impunity,” documents a pattern of repeated and unjustifiable delays in criminal cases brought by the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and the Guatemalan Attorney General’s Office. “The fight against impunity in Guatemala has reached a critical moment,” said Daniel Wilkinson, managing director for the Americas at Human Rights Watch....

    Read more
    Guinea: Judges's 2009 Massacre Inquiry break new ground in combatting impunity, according to HRW
    Guinea: Judges's 2009 Massacre Inquiry break new ground in...
    13.11.17
    Human Rights Watch

    The panel of Guinean judges investigating the September 28, 2009 massacre of more than 150 protesters and rape of 100 women by the security forces during a peaceful protest concluded their investigation on November 9 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. The development is a major, much-awaited step in ensuring justice for the victims. The domestic investigation – which began in February 2010 – broke new ground in combatting impunity in the country, but progressed slowly amid political, financial, and logistical obstacles. During the investigation, the judges have brought charges against high-ranking members of the security forces. “Concluding the investigation into the 2009 massacre and rapes is a major development in the...

    Read more
    Week in Review: ICC says no to Burundi impunity, DRC starts historic rape trial
    Week in Review: ICC says no to Burundi impunity, DRC...
    12.11.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.Net

    The International Criminal Court’s decision to investigate crimes committed in Burundi, announced on Thursday, was the highlight of this transitional justice week.  This ICC decision came just two days before Burundi’s withdrawal from the Court became effective on October 27. It is the first country to pull out of the ICC. The ICC Prosecutor had opened a preliminary examination into crimes committed in Burundi before Bujumbura announced it was leaving the Rome Statute. “By quitting membership of the Court, Bujumbura thought it would secure impunity,” writes our ICC correspondent Stéphanie Maupas. “The Court has said otherwise.”  To stay in power, the regime of Pierre Nkurunziza has killed dozens if not hundreds of people and caused...

    Read more
    “Many options” to bring Jammeh to justice, says murdered Gambian journalist’s son
    “Many options” to bring Jammeh to justice, says murdered...
    10.11.17
    Maxime Domegni, West Africa correspondent

    Baba Hydara is the son of Gambian journalist Deyda Hydara, who was assassinated in 2004. The former regime of President Yahya Jammeh is widely suspected of being behind his murder. Baba Hydara has been fighting ever since to get justice for his father, who was one of the many victims of the Jammeh regime that ruled Gambia with an iron fist for nearly a quarter of a century. So it is natural that he is part of the new “Jammeh2Justice” coalition, which wants Jammeh tried for his crimes. The former dictator finally stepped down in January 2017 after being beaten in elections by current president Adama Barrow and is now in exile in Equatorial Guinea. JusticeInfo spoke to Baba Hydara, who says Gambia’s former torturers, wherever they are,...

    Read more
    ICC targets Burundi regime crimes
    ICC targets Burundi regime crimes
    10.11.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    The International Criminal Court (ICC) has approved a full investigation into serious crimes committed in Burundi since April 2015, it announced on Thursday. This investigation will look into suspected crimes against humanity committed by the Burundian regime. The decision was taken on October 25, just two days before Burundi’s official withdrawal from the ICC. By quitting membership of the Court, Bujumbura thought it would secure impunity. The Court has said otherwise. Those in power in Bujumbura have now got a long-awaited answer from the ICC, which says the perpetrators of crimes against humanity committed since April 2015 will be punished. Will fear change sides? “From now on the authors, co-authors and accomplices of the crimes...

    Read more
    Burundi's deadly crisis: A timeline
    10.11.17
    AFP

    Burundi has been gripped by turmoil since President Pierre Nkurunziza launched a bid for a third term in office more than two years ago. On Thursday the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened a full probe into alleged crimes committed during the crisis.  Between 500 and 2,000 people have been killed, according to different sources, and more than 400,000 people displaced from their homes. Here is a summary of key developments in the crisis in the central African country.   - Demonstrations start -   April 25, 2015: Nkurunziza is declared candidate for a third term by the ruling CNDD-FDD party. The following day thousands of protesters demonstrate in the capital, the start of six weeks of almost...

    Read more
    Religion is not the only reason for Rohingya displacement from Myanmar
    Religion is not the only reason for Rohingya displacement...
    07.11.17
    The Conversation

    Recent weeks have seen an escalation of violence against the Rohingya in Rakhine, the poorest state of Myanmar. A tide of displaced people are seeking refuge from atrocities – they are fleeing both on foot and by boat to Bangladesh. It is the latest surge of displaced people, and is exacerbated by the recent activity of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). Religious and ethnic differences have been widely considered the leading cause of the persecution. But it is becoming increasingly hard to believe that there are not other factors at play. Especially given that Myanmar is home to 135 official recognised ethnic groups (the Rohingya were removed from this list in 1982). In analysing the recent violence, much of the...

    Read more
    Opinion: Confronting transitional justice in Nepal
    Opinion: Confronting transitional justice in Nepal
    07.11.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    In Nepal, former parliamentarian and prominent Maoist leader Bal Krishna Dhungel was arrested on October 31, 2017 in Kathmandu and sent to jail. He had been found guilty in 2004 of killing Ujjan Kumar Shrestha of Okhaldhunga district, in the eastern hills of Nepal in 1998, at the beginning of the Maoist “Peoples’ War”. In 2004 the District Court convicted Dhungel of murder and sentenced him to life in prison with confiscation of property, but the Appeals Court cleared him in 2006. In 2010, the Supreme Court overturned the Appeals Court decision and upheld the District Court’s 2004 verdict. The Maoist Party publicly rejected the Supreme Court verdict and protected him politically, whilst the government in November 2011 recommended a...

    Read more
    Week in Review: Afghanistan and the ICC, step back for transitional justice in Tunisia
    Week in Review: Afghanistan and the ICC, step back for...
    04.11.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    This week has reflected the different faces of transitional justice as it hesitates, moves forward and sometimes moves back.   The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced on Friday that she will request Court approval to launch investigations into crimes committed in Afghanistan since 2003. Fatou Bensouda is targeting the Taliban and Afghan security forces and – in what is clearly the most politically sensitive part of the case -- CIA secret prisons and the US army. The US, which is not an ICC member State, has, like its Afghan allies, done everything to stop this procedure which started ten years ago. And there is nothing to guarantee that Bensouda’s initiative will be carried through. Three ICC judges,...

    Read more
       
    ICC Prosecutor targets Taliban and US crimes in Afghanistan
    ICC Prosecutor targets Taliban and US crimes in Afghanistan
    04.11.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is about to ask Court permission to investigate crimes committed in Afghanistan and secret CIA prisons in Europe, she announced on November 3. “In due course, I will file my request for judicial authorisation to open an investigation, submitting that there is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in connection with the armed conflict in Afghanistan,” says a statement from Bensouda. It took just four days for ICC President Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi to designate the three judges who will decide on Bensouda’s request, which she is expected to file soon. Taliban, American forces and the CIA Bensouda says in the statement...

    Read more
    Myanmar ‘ready to begin repatriation process’ despite disagreements
    Myanmar ‘ready to begin repatriation process’ despite...
    02.11.17
    NYAN HLAING LYNN in NAY PYI TAW & OLIVER SLOW in YANGON

    Myanmar's government says it is ready to begin scrutinising refugees who have fled to Bangladesh in the wake of recent violence in northern Rakhine State – the first step on the path to potential repatriation. Speaking to reporters in Nay Pyi Taw on Tuesday, government spokesperson U Zaw Htay said Myanmar is planning to begin the repatriation process as soon as possible. However, in a sign of the tense state of relations between the neighbouring countries, Zaw Htay also accused Dhaka of dragging its feet on repatriation. He said the government is concerned that Bangladesh has not agreed to repatriate refugees in accordance with a 1993 agreement. He refused to elaborate because the topic remains under discussion. He suggested that...

    Read more
    Burundi and ICC: Chronicle of a divorce foretold
    Burundi and ICC: Chronicle of a divorce foretold
    30.10.17
    Louis-Marie Nindorera (Bujumbura)

     Burundi's withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) entered into force on October 27, 2017. It is the final act of a divorce proceeding that began well before it was formally notified to the UN Secretary-General, twelve months ago. Indeed, the circumstances under which in 2004, Burundi ratified the Rome statute had already the appearance of a marriage of convenience doomed to fail, at the first couple quarrel. Be that as it may, by becoming the first state to exit the ICC, Burundi is also opening the blank page of this Court's jurisprudence on the effects of a withdrawal.  The Rome Statute of the ICC entered into force in Burundi on 1 December 2004. Nineteen months earlier, in June 2003, the...

    Read more
    Week in Review: CAR's challenges, a trial for Ethiopia, and Burundi withdraws from the ICC
    Week in Review: CAR's challenges, a trial for Ethiopia,...
    29.10.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    A highlight of this week in transitional justice was the visit of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to the Central African Republic (CAR).  In this fragile state ravaged by war, Guterres spoke up for the rule of law, the UN mission in the CAR (MINUSCA) and for justice rather than impunity. He had trouble convincing his Central African audience, which doubts MINUSCA’s impartiality and sees it as being on the side of CAR President Ange-Félix Touadera. The CAR is a country which “a group of criminals is trying to descend into Hell”, the UN Secretary General said on Thursday as he visited a camp for displaced Muslims in Bangassou. “I know it is difficult to talk of reconciliation when you have suffered,” he continued. “But the only...

    Read more
    In Burundi, 'bye bye ICC'
    28.10.17
    AFP

    Thousands of Burundians on Saturday answered the government's call to celebrate the country's withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, cheering the "historic" day using slogans such as "bye bye ICC". Burundi on Friday became the first ever nation to leave the world's only permanent war crimes tribunal, set up some 15 years ago to prosecute those behind the worst atrocities on the planet. Burundi hailed it as a "historic" day and called on people to rally across the country on Saturday. Some 5,000 people -- including hundreds of drivers of bicycle taxis, motorcycle taxis and tuk-tuks -- marched through the streets of the capital Bujumbura, singing and dancing to the sound of a brass band. Burundi mediator Edouard...

    Read more
    Dutch court to try Ethiopian for “Red Terror” crimes
    Dutch court to try Ethiopian for “Red Terror” crimes
    27.10.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    On October 30 a Dutch court is due to open the war crimes trial of Eshetu Alemu, 63, ex-member of the regime of former Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam. He is accused of war crimes, torture and illegal detentions. The trial is expected to last two weeks.   The trial due to open before a court in The Hague on October 30 is taking place 40 years after the events in question. The man who will appear in the dock faces four charges of war crimes -- for illegal detentions and cruel treatment -- and of torture. His indictment cites by name 321 victims, and refers to two events in particular.  In August 1978, Eshetu Alemu, an official of the Communist regime in Godjam, a former province in northwest Ethiopia, is said to have ordered...

    Read more
    Burundi becomes first nation to leave ICC
    Burundi becomes first nation to leave ICC
    27.10.17
    AFP

    Burundi on Friday became the first ever nation to leave the International Criminal Court, set up some 15 years ago to prosecute those behind the world's worst atrocities. "Burundi's withdrawal from the Rome Statute will take effect on Friday, 27 October 2017," an ICC spokesperson told AFP. The move comes a year to the day after Bujumbura officially notified the United Nations that it was quitting the world's only permanent war crimes tribunal. Burundi on Friday hailed it as a "historic" day and called on people to demonstrate across the country on Saturday in celebration. "The ICC has shown itself to be a political instrument and weapon used by the West to enslave" other states, said presidential office spokesman Willy...

    Read more
    ICC : Burundi Embraces Impunity
    ICC : Burundi Embraces Impunity
    27.10.17
    HRW

    (Nairobi, October 27, 2017) – Burundi’s official withdrawal of its membership from the International Criminal Court (ICC) became effective on October 26, 2017, following its formal notification of its withdrawal to the United Nations secretary-general a year earlier. Under the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding treaty, withdrawal takes effect one year after this notification. Burundi has been a state party to the ICC since 2004. Since April 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his controversial bid for a third term, government security forces and members of the Imbonerakure, the youth league of the ruling party, have cracked down on political opposition members and perceived ruling party opponents. In April 2016,...

    Read more
    Myanmar: The forgotten war in Kachin State
    Myanmar: The forgotten war in Kachin State
    24.10.17
    Dustin Barter, Frontier

    As the crisis in Rakhine grabs headlines, little attention is being paid to blocked aid deliveries, displacement and indiscriminate attacks on civilians in Myanmar's Kachin and northern Shan states. As displacement continues in northern Rakhine State, there is an urgent need for renewed international attention to consider and address broader, systemic conflict issues elsewhere in Myanmar. Blocked humanitarian assistance, mass displacement and indiscriminate attacks affecting civilians are nothing new – they’ve been happening for decades and escalating in the past year. Although Rakhine has been dominating the news, Kachin and northern Shan states are also in crisis, despite extensive responses by civil society. If the...

    Read more
    Five things to know about Kenya
    Five things to know about Kenya
    24.10.17
    AFP

    Kenya is one of east Africa's leading economies with a crucial tourism sector based on safaris and tropical beaches. As it heads to the polls on Thursday, here is some background. - Kenyatta father to son - Kenya became independent of Britain on December 12, 1963, scarred by the 1952-1960 Mau Mau rebellion against colonial rule that left at least 10,000 people dead. Independence struggle icon Jomo Kenyatta was the first black head of state and died in office in August 1978, succeeded by his vice president Daniel arap Moi. In late 1991 Moi abandoned single party rule and won presidential elections in 1992 and 1997. He was replaced in 2002 by Mwai Kibaki who went on to win re-election in late 2007 against opponent Raila...

    Read more
    Uhuru Kenyatta: president from father to son
    Uhuru Kenyatta: president from father to son
    24.10.17
    AFP

    Uhuru Kenyatta, who is set to win a second and final term in Thursday's election re-run, is the son of Kenya's founding president and a man who epitomises the country's elite. The 55-year-old US-educated multi-millionaire, whose family owns an array of businesses, properties and land, followed in his father's footsteps when he defeated his rival Raila Odinga to become president in 2013. Their rematch in August was again won by Kenyatta, with 54 percent of the vote, but the Supreme Court annulled the election due to "irregularities" and ordered a re-run. Kenyatta accepted the judges' ruling but angrily, calling the judges "crooks" and threatening to "fix" the courts if he wins on Thursday -- which is also his birthday. Odinga...

    Read more
    Week in Review: “Historic” judgment for Liberia and the...
    21.10.17
    François Sergent and Julia Crawford, JusticeInfo.net

    This week saw transitional justice faced once again with classic tensions between law and politics, justice and peace. As the ICC, supposed to be the “police force” of international justice, came under more fire, a US court delivered an important judgment linked to war crimes in Liberia, a country in the midst of elections where impunity still rules for the crimes of the civil war.  A court in Philadelphia on Wednesday found Mohammed Jabbateh (“Jungle Jabbah”) guilty of charges related to atrocities committed during the first Liberian civil war (1989-96). He is expected to be sentenced in coming months and could face up to 30 years in jail. In order to prove that Jabbateh entered the United States and obtained asylum under false...

    Read more
    Liberian found guilty of war crimes-linked charges in “historic” US case
    Liberian found guilty of war crimes-linked charges in...
    19.10.17
    Julia Crawford, JusticeInfo.net

    A court in Philadelphia on Wednesday found Mohammed Jabbateh (“Jungle Jabbah”) guilty of charges related to atrocities committed during the first Liberian civil war (1989-96). His two-week trial was the first time that Liberian war victims were able to testify in a public and fair trial, according to Swiss-based NGO Civitas Maxima, which has been monitoring the case. The jury of 12 in Philadelphia found Jabbateh guilty on two counts of fraud and two counts of perjury for lying to US officials about his background as a combatant in Liberia. Jabbateh was a commander of the ULIMO rebel group which fought against forces of former president Charles Taylor in Liberia. He faces up to 30 years in jail. No date was set for sentencing, but...

    Read more
    Nepal: "I have been naming the people responsible for my father’s disappearance"
    Nepal: "I have been naming the people responsible for my...
    19.10.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    The conflicting parties’ alliance (Nepali Congress and Maoist Centre) to share power in the government has destroyed the norms of justice and the agenda set by the Peoples’ Movement. They abused their authority without addressing conflict survivors’ key demands for truth and social justice. When the top level leaders from both sides of the conflict built an alliance with security forces to forget about past abuses, compromising standards for their mutual benefit and position, the hope for fair trials and justice has become a distance one for ordinary citizens. Instead of creating hope for the future, the political forces built a strong alliance with the security forces who were directly involved in the most egregious human...

    Read more
    Myanmar: Karen rebels urge nonviolent solution to Rakhine crisis on ceasefire anniversary
    Myanmar: Karen rebels urge nonviolent solution to Rakhine...
    18.10.17
    Sean Gleeson, Frontier

    One of Myanmar’s leading non-state armed groups has urged the government to find a “politically dignified and nonviolent” resolution to the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State, warning that failure to do so could jeopardise the government’s peace process. On Sunday, the second anniversary of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, the Karen National Union released a statement reaffirming its commitment to ending Myanmar’s decades-long history of civil conflict through political dialogue. However, it went on to criticise the northern Rakhine security crackdown that began in August, noting the parallels between events there and counterinsurgency campaigns conducted by the military elsewhere in Myanmar. “The handling of the crisis in...

    Read more
    ICC scandal: Who is watching the sheriff?
    ICC scandal: Who is watching the sheriff?
    18.10.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    A consortium of media known as the European Investigative Collaboration (EIC), of which French investigative website Mediapart is a member, has revealed certain facts that are embarrassing to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Court has opened an internal investigation and suspended two members of staff, but the scandal focuses on former ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo. Apart from the questions about individual responsibility, the main issue raised by these revelations is ICC governance. Indeed, how should the ICC Prosecutor, the Court’s “sheriff”, be watched over? When Luis Moreno Ocampo arrived in The Hague in 2003, he carried hopes for independent and ambitious international justice. On paper, Ocampo seemed ideal, and...

    Read more
    Is the United States Ready for a Truth-Telling Process?
    Is the United States Ready for a Truth-Telling Process?
    18.10.17
    ICTJ

    Fania Davis thinks the time has come for a truth-telling process about racial injustice in the United States. A noted activist and the founding director of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY), Davis has confronted systematic racism for decades, working from Birmingham, Alabama to the Bay Area and beyond. But she noticed renewed grassroots momentum to explore the legacy of slavery in the aftermath a white police officer killing Michael Brown, a black teenager, in Ferguson, Missouri three years ago. “I see Ferguson as kind of a marker,” she said at a conference at Kean University this summer. “We have seen this bubbling up of truth-telling since Ferguson, and it was those young people who stayed in the street, who...

    Read more
    Elections in Africa: democratic rituals matter even though the outlook is bleak
    Elections in Africa: democratic rituals matter even though...
    18.10.17
    André Guichaoua

    The multi-party systems established in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia in the early 1990s have endured despite electoral violence. But democratic hopes have been dashed or perverted throughout the rest of the region. The governments built on the ruins of the civil wars in Angola, Burundi, the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Uganda and Rwanda have all relied on armed political groups to stay in power. From June 2015 to August 2017 an uninterrupted series of general elections took place in Central and East Africa. Those in Burundi (2015) and the DRC (initially set for 2016) were expected to be the most problematic. In both the incumbent presidents were seeking to extend their mandates beyond a second term. In...

    Read more
    Is judicial wrangling fuelling Kenya's election turmoil?
    Is judicial wrangling fuelling Kenya's election turmoil?
    18.10.17
    Aileen Kimutai, Nairobi

    Kenya's annulled presidential elections have thrown the country into the worst political crisis since the 2008 post-election violence which saw over 1,000 people killed and hundreds of thousands displaced. Tension is high as the scheduled October 26 re-run approaches. "Kenya has had a very tough year so far and the going looks as if it will get tougher," says Robert Shaw, a public policy and economic analyst in Nairobi. "The country is dangerously polarized and fatigued, which is a lethal cocktail. There is an increasing number of antagonistic and inflammatory comments by some leaders that risk taking us back to the dark and awful days of the 2007/2008 post-election violence." He says a lot of what has been achieved in the seven...

    Read more
    Criminal justice a rare commodity in Central African...
    18.10.17
    AFP

    At Bouar appeal court, presiding judge Aime Pascal Delimo twiddles his thumbs, surveys his empty office and then, with a sigh, closes his door to leave early. Delimo wields jurisdiction over territory in western Central African Republic (CAR) that is the size of Austria. Violent crime here is chronic. But he has no work. In one of the world's poorest countries, the criminal justice system in Bouar and many other of CAR's provincial towns has quite simply broken down. "Normally we would be finishing at 3:30 pm, but given the pace of the court, I leave in the early afternoon, around 2:00 pm," Delimo says. "It's been four years I've been here and no criminal cases have been heard." He tries about 15 cases every year, all civil...

    Read more
    Week in Review: Human rights activist awarded as dictators cling on
    Week in Review: Human rights activist awarded as dictators...
    15.10.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    As we saw this week, transitional justice still appears far from countries such as Togo, Egypt and Burundi, whose people are still struggling under authoritarian regimes disrespectful of human rights and fundamental freedoms. In Togo, there is an open crisis between the dictatorial Gnassingbé dynasty that has been in power for more than 50 years and the population who aspire to democracy and rule of law. “In this small West African country, the factors for rebellion are being put in place,” writes our Lomé correspondent Maxime Domegni. “On the streets, the young people no longer hide their will to confront the authorities head-on. The Togolese people feel that they are at a turning point. The churches have lent their support to the...

    Read more
    Rwanda: The gruesome plight of children during the Tutsi genocide
    Rwanda: The gruesome plight of children during the Tutsi...
    11.10.17
    Emmanuel Sehene Ruvugiro, correspondent in Kigali

    The Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) launched on October 4 an online exhibition giving insight on how children were affected by the Rwandan genocide and conflicts in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. The exhibition, entitled “Children in Conflict – Evidence from the Archives of the International Criminal Tribunals”, shows that children were often deliberately targeted for sexual violence, torture, persecution, forcible transfer, murder and extermination. To know more about how children were affected in Rwanda, JusticeInfo’s Kigali correspondent spoke to Valérie Mukabayire, president of the Association of Genocide Widows (AVEGA –Agahozo) JusticeInfo: Approximately how many children were killed during the 1994...

    Read more
    Persecuted Egyptian activist wins human rights award
    Persecuted Egyptian activist wins human rights award
    11.10.17
    Frédéric Burnand, correspondent in Geneva

    Egyptian Mohamed Zaree on Tuesday received in Geneva the prestigious Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. The award honours his commitment despite personal risk. It also serves as a protest against the Egyptian President, whose repressive tactics know no bounds according to the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), of which Zaree is Egypt Country Director.   Mohamed Zaree was unable to travel to Geneva to receive the Martin Ennals Award because of a travel ban as he faces judicial investigations and the prospect of a possible 30-year prison sentence. His “crime” is a ceaseless commitment to the freedoms considered by the regime of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as a threat to State security.  “During his...

    Read more
    Courts in Myanmar ‘unequipped’ to administer justice, says report
    Courts in Myanmar ‘unequipped’ to administer justice, says...
    10.10.17
    Sean Gleeson, Frontier

    A new report has delivered a damning indictment of Myanmar’s judicial system, detailing judges sleeping through during testimony, defendants coerced into pleading guilty and most cases going to trial before legal counsel was organised for the accused. The report, published this month by the London-based legal support group Justice Base, was the culmination of more than 150 trial observations across four years in Yangon Region’s township and district courtrooms. Local legal professionals, employed by Justice Base as observers for the "Monitoring in Myanmar" report, documented rampant corruption in court administration, a culture of deference to police witnesses and judges, intervention in proceedings by other officials, and routine...

    Read more
    Week in Review: Scandal at the ICC, questions on Burundi and Mali
    Week in Review: Scandal at the ICC, questions on Burundi...
    08.10.17
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    The International Criminal Court is rocked by a huge scandal implicating its first Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, while the Central African Republic pursues its difficult quest for justice and the suffering continues of Burundi’s people, being used as a rampart by a regime that sees threats everywhere. Eight international media, members of the European Investigative Collaboration (EIC), have conducted a six-month investigation into the secrets of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which makes serious allegations against its first Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo. As JusticeInfo editorial advisor Pierre Hazan writes, the investigation found that “in 2011 the International Criminal Court asked for Côte d’Ivoire’s ex-president...

    Read more
    Scandal rocks International Criminal Court
    Scandal rocks International Criminal Court
    08.10.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    An enormous scandal has hit the International Criminal Court (ICC). After six months of investigations, eight international media of the European Investigative Collaboration (EIC) have produced findings that seriously undermine the ICC’s credibility and image of impartiality. They examined 40,000 confidential documents – diplomatic cables, banking documents and correspondence – obtained by French investigate website Mediapart. These documents throw for the first time a raw light on the political games of States around international justice and the dubious morality of Luis Moreno Ocampo, who was the ICC’s first Prosecutor from 2003 to 2012. Current ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, clearly embarrassed, issued a statement in which she...

    Read more
    “Embattled Burundi government using impoverished people as a rampart”
    “Embattled Burundi government using impoverished people as...
    04.10.17
    JusticeInfo.net

    In Burundi, repression has been directed at all democrats in the country since 2015, even if there has been some ethnic targeting, according to French sociologist and African Great Lakes specialist André Guichaoua. He says the core hardliners of embattled President Nkurunziza’s government are still trying to use the country’s “impoverished and pressurized population” as a rampart against perceived foreign threats. JusticeInfo spoke to André Guichaoua:   JusticeInfo: What is your assessment of the current human rights situation in Burundi? Is there still a risk of genocide as some observers were saying last year? Guichaoua: It is very difficult to assess the risk in a region that is regularly hit by widespread massacres. But...

    Read more
    Liberian war victims to testify in US “Jungle Jabbah” case
    Liberian war victims to testify in US “Jungle Jabbah” case
    03.10.17
    Julia Crawford, JusticeInfo

    The trial has begun in the United States of Liberian national Mohammed Jabbateh (“Jungle Jabbah”), a Pennsylvania resident suspected of war crimes. The former ULIMO rebel commander is charged with two counts of fraud in immigration documents and two counts of perjury. Now that the jury has been selected, war crimes victims from Liberia are expected to start testifying before the Pennsylvania court. Alain Werner, a lawyer and co-founder of Swiss NGO Civitas Maxima, has been working for many years to help Liberian war victims get justice, and his organization is following this case closely. He spoke to JusticeInfo from Geneva: JusticeInfo: Why has Jabbateh been charged with perjury and fraud, rather than war crimes? Alain Werner: As...

    Read more
    Syria : “These are the Crimes we are Fleeing”
    Syria : “These are the Crimes we are Fleeing”
    03.10.17
    HRW

    Over the last six years the Syrian crisis has claimed the lives of an estimated 475,000 people as of July 2017, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. All sides to the conflict have committed serious crimes under international law amid a climate of impunity. A range of groups have actively documented violations of human rights and humanitarian law in Syria. In late 2016, the United Nations General Assembly also created a mechanism tasked with analyzing and collecting evidence of serious crimes committed in Syria suitable for use in future proceedings before any court or tribunal that may have a mandate over these crimes. But for the most part, the wealth of information and materials available has not helped to...

    Read more
    Week in Review: Transitional justice under pressure in Tunisia and Myanmar
    Week in Review: Transitional justice under pressure in...
    01.10.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo

    The difficulties of transitional justice were illustrated this week in countries as diverse as Tunisia, Burundi, Myanmar and Nepal. In Tunisia,  a JusticeInfo investigation showed how abuses by the President of the Truth and Dignity Commission, Sihem Bensedrine, has herself weakened an already weak and vulnerable institution. Bensedrine, nicknamed Araïssa (the boss) is accused of “squandering public funds and recruiting staff in an anarchic and opaque way, so as to set up a parallel administration totally subservient to her orders”, writes our correspondent Olfa Belhassine. Sihem Bensedrine claims there is a “plot” against the Commission and the transitional justice process in Tunisia, but four Commissioners have resigned in protest...

    Read more
    Outrage at Suu Kyi over Rohingya crisis is “exaggerated”, says expert
    Outrage at Suu Kyi over Rohingya crisis is “exaggerated”,...
    01.10.17
    Frédéric Burnand, correspondent in Geneva

    The crisis that has been taking place in Myanmar since August – an attack by Muslim rebels, bloody clampdown by the army and flight to Bangladesh of hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya people – has provoked outrage across the world and denial from Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Syi, who is the country’s de facto leader. But Matthias Huber, a Swiss expert on Myanmar, says the world is being too hard on Suu Kyi. The United Nations announced on Wednesday it was preparing a humanitarian aid plan in case all the Rohingyas of Myanmar (also known as Burma) flee to Bangladesh to escape the violence. Meanwhile Myanmar decided to allow humanitarian organizations into Rakhine state, the scene of violence since August that has caused...

    Read more
    NGOs denounce 'crimes against humanity' in Myanmar
    NGOs denounce 'crimes against humanity' in Myanmar
    29.09.17
    AFP

    Nearly 90 non-governmental organizations have denounced "crimes against humanity" committed by authorities in Myanmar against the Muslim Rohingya minority and called on the international community to take action. Half a million Rohingya have crushed into camps in Bangladesh in just over a month, fleeing a military campaign in Myanmar and communal violence. "As more evidence emerges, it is clear that the atrocities committed by Myanmar state security forces amount to crimes against humanity," a joint statement from the groups said. The 88 NGOs, which included Amnesty International and the AFL-CIO called on UN member states to take "urgent action" to address the crisis. "In particular, we call on all states to immediately...

    Read more
    Rwanda: Post-Election Political Crackdown
    Rwanda: Post-Election Political Crackdown
    29.09.17
    HRW

    (Nairobi, September 29, 2017) – Rwandan authorities have arrested, forcibly disappeared, and threatened political opponents since the August 2017 presidential elections, Human Rights Watch said today. The incumbent, Paul Kagame, won the election with a reported 98.79 percent of the vote. Those targeted include a would-be independent presidential candidate, Diane Rwigara, and her family members and supporters, and several leaders and members of the Forces démocratiques unifiées (FDU)-Inkingi opposition party. “The Rwandan government’s crackdown shows that it is unwilling to tolerate criticism or accept a role for opposition parties, and it sends a chilling message to those who would dare challenge the status quo,” said Ida...

    Read more
    African vote throws UN Burundi abuse probe into question
    28.09.17
    AFP

    The UN rights council voted Thursday to send experts to help authorities in crisis-wracked Burundi to investigate violations, casting doubt on whether an independent international probe would be allowed to continue. The resolution, presented this week by a group of African countries, was controversial since it came on top of a far stronger text previously tabled by the European Union, the United States and Canada. That resolution, which will be voted on on Friday, calls for the UN's Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, which has accused the country's government of crimes against humanity -- including executions, torture and rape -- to continue its work. The African text, which passed with 23 votes in favour, 14 opposed and nine...

    Read more
    C. Africa president says genocide talk 'not justified'
    27.09.17
    AFP

    The president of the Central African Republic pushed back Wednesday against UN warnings of looming genocide in his country, saying the complex crisis could not be reduced to religious and ethnic strife. "We think that to talk about genocide at this stage is going too far... it is not justified," President Faustin-Archange Touadera told reporters in Geneva after addressing the Human Rights Council. He was asked about comments from the recently departed United Nations humanitarian chief, Stephen O'Brien, who said renewed clashes in the country had "the early warnings signs of genocide". Touadera countered that the factors fuelling the violence varied significantly in different places, with cases where people were fighting...

    Read more
    In Nepal Transitional justice in crisis
    In Nepal Transitional justice in crisis
    27.09.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    How can Truth Commissions function properly in a place like Nepal where alleged perpetrators set the agenda and control the commissioners in a situation of continuing insecurity where both victims and witnesses cannot speak out openly? The situation now, 11 years since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), is more complex and dangerous than the end of conflict in 2006. Security forces (both Nepal Army and Nepal Police) are becoming more powerful, and have almost destroyed evidence about past violations held in government offices. They intervene in every process, including blocking the proposed amendment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) act, with a focus on opposing criminalizing enforced disappearances....

    Read more
    Guinea: 8 Years Later, Justice for Massacre Needed (NGO)
    Guinea: 8 Years Later, Justice for Massacre Needed (NGO)
    27.09.17
    HRW

    (Conakry) – Guinea should move ahead to deliver justice, truth, and reparation for the grave crimes committed on September 28, 2009, at a Conakry stadium, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the Association of Victims, Parents and Friends of the September 28 Massacre said today in advance of the massacre’s eighth anniversary. On that day, security forces massacred more than 150 peaceful protesters, and more than 100 women were raped. Hundreds of injuries and widespread looting were also documented. An investigation into the crimes by a panel of Guinean investigating judges, opened in February 2010, has yet to be completed – eight years after the crimes were committed. “The judges investigating the September 28, 2009...

    Read more
    Questions and answers on Israeli settlements
    26.09.17
    AFP

    A Palestinian gunman opened fire at an entrance to the Israeli settlement of Har Adar in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, killing three security personnel and wounding another. Here are some key questions and answers on Israeli settlements: - What are settlements? - Settlements are Israeli villages, towns and even cities built on territory Israel seized during the Six-Day War of 1967. Some 430,000 Israeli settlers currently live in the occupied West Bank, along with 2.6 million Palestinians. A further 200,000 Israelis live in annexed east Jerusalem, along with at least 300,000 Palestinians, who want to make the sector the capital of their future state. Israel also seized part of the Golan Heights from Syria and the Gaza...

    Read more
    Women’s Victimization in Transitional Justice and their Fight : The Story of Taiwan
    Women’s Victimization in Transitional Justice and their...
    25.09.17
    Yi-Li Lee

    Women, even though they were main victims of Taiwan’s authoritarian regime, have been largely absent from the transitional justice mechanisms after Taiwan successfully transformed into a democracy. Following the discussion of women’s victimization in times of political oppression and the negative impacts of women’s absence in Taiwan’s current transitional justice process, this essay argues that the recent incorporation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women provides a gender-sensitive legal framework for female victims to overcome the social and institutional obstacles that they have faced in transitional justice issues. Women’s Victimization During the Authoritarian Regime Taiwan was...

    Read more
    Week in Review: When failure to tackle impunity hinders peace
    Week in Review: When failure to tackle impunity hinders...
    24.09.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.Net

    The exodus and massacre of Rohingyas, a mainly Muslim ethnic minority in Myanmar, marked the week in transitional justice. French President Emmanuel Macron said this was “genocide”, while the UN Secretary General called it ethnic cleansing. But according to Myanmar’s de facto leader, Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, this is a “huge iceberg of misinformation”. Everything indicates, however, that some 400,000 Rohingyas, i.e. nearly half of this community living in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine or Arakan, have fled their country pursued by the army, and that hundreds have been shot dead or died as their houses were torched by the military. Human Rights Watch on Friday published satellite photos showing the army’s scorched...

    Read more
    Myanmar: Satellite Imagery Shows Mass Destruction
    Myanmar: Satellite Imagery Shows Mass Destruction
    22.09.17
    HRW

    (New York) – New analysis of satellite imagery from Burma’s Rakhine State shows the near total destruction of 214 villages, Human Rights Watch said today. World leaders meeting at the United Nations should urgently adopt a General Assembly resolution condemning the Burmese military’s ethnic cleansing, while the UN Security Council should impose targeted sanctions and an arms embargo. The detailed satellite images, made possible due to a clearing of monsoon cloud on September 16, 2017, reveal destruction from burning much greater than previously known. They show the destruction of tens of thousands of homes across Maungdaw and Rathedaung Townships, part of the Burmese security forces’ campaign of ethnic cleansing that has forced...

    Read more
    Are Myanmar's Rohingya facing genocide or ethnic cleansing?
    21.09.17
    AFP

    Muslim Rohingya fleeing their homes in Myanmar are facing "ethnic cleansing" but whether they are victims of genocide remains unclear, international justice experts told AFP. About 422,000 refugees from the stateless Muslim minority have fled Myanmar's westernmost Rakhine state to Bangladesh since August 25, alleging torture and rape by Myanmar troops and Buddhist militias. Their plight has sparked UN accusations of military-led ethnic cleansing, but French President Emmanuel Macron has said the attacks amount to genocide. - What is the difference between genocide and ethnic cleansing? - "These are closely related terms and indeed, sometimes the means by which genocide is committed will be the same as those by which ethnic...

    Read more
    The persecution of Myanmar’s Rohingya goes back to independence
    The persecution of Myanmar’s Rohingya goes back to...
    21.09.17
    Engy Abdelkader, JD, LL.M.

    Some 420,000 Rohingya Muslims, a religious and ethnic minority community in Myanmar, have fled to neighboring Bangladesh since August this year. The United Nations has called the Rohingya the world’s most persecuted minority group and described the atrocities by Myanmar’s authorities as “ethnic cleansing,” whereby one group removes another ethnic or religious community through violence.But the persecution of the Rohingya is not new. My research on the Rohingya Muslim experience in Myanmar shows that this pattern of persecution goes back to 1948 – the year when the country achieved independence from their British colonizers. Here is their brief history. The legacy of colonialism The British ruled Myanmar (then Burma) for over a...

    Read more
    Central African Republic: 12 peace plans in 10 years and still at war
    Central African Republic: 12 peace plans in 10 years and...
    20.09.17
    Pierre Hazan

    In the last ten years, the Central African Republic has had a dozen peace plans. None have ever been implemented. Here we look back and analyse this serial failure, as people close to armed groups are admitted into government. This move by the president, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, “in the name of national reconciliation” comes as UN humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien warned there are “early warning signs of genocide in the Central African Republic”. Is the Central African Republic (CAR) a serial killer of peace plans? From the 2007 Sirte accord concluded under the late “Mediator and Guide of the Great Libyan Revolution” Muammar Gaddafi to the two agreements reached in recent months – one in Rome in June intiated by Vatican diplomacy...

    Read more
    The Rakhine crisis in Myanmar and the government’s options
    The Rakhine crisis in Myanmar and the government’s options
    19.09.17
    Sithu Aung Myint, Frontier

    The Myanmar government’s policy options for troubled Rakhine state are a choice between an army strategy focused on the 1982 Citizenship Law or implementing recommendations in the final report by the Annan commission. The coordinated attacks by extremists on 30 police posts and a Tatmadaw (army) camp in northern Rakhine in the early hours of August 25 came as no surprise to many political observers and conflict analysts. The attacks, which initially claimed the lives of 10 policemen, a soldier and two government officials, and also left dozens of extremists dead, followed a disturbing rise in tensions in northern Rakhine. The escalation was expected because the Rakhine problem was not being handled with the right policy. The...

    Read more
    French, Rwandan presidents hold rare meeting amid tense...
    19.09.17
    AFP

    Rwandan President Paul Kagame has met with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in New York for rare talks, Kigali said Tuesday, as diplomatic ties remain icy over the 1994 genocide. Kigali has long accused France of complicity in the genocide of some 800,000 mostly ethnic Tutsis, at the hands of Hutu extremists, angering Paris and straining relations. The Rwandan presidency said in a statement on Twitter that Kagame and Macron on Monday discussed "collaboration on issues of mutual interest including peace (and) security in Africa", on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Ties between Kigali and Paris had been on the mend until 2014 when Kagame repeated accusations that French soldiers were both accomplices and "actors"...

    Read more
    Week in Review: How words count in transitional justice
    Week in Review: How words count in transitional justice
    18.09.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    Transitional justice is also a question of words, like genocide or ethnic cleansing, resonant with bloody memories of Rwanda or the Balkans. Short of words to describe the massacre of Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar’s army, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres nevertheless recognized this week that it amounted to “ethnic cleansing”. "When one-third of the Rohingya population has got to flee the country, can you find a better word to describe it?" Guterres answered when questioned on his choice of words. But for the country’s de facto leader, Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, this is a “huge iceberg of misinformation”. Suu Kyi, who is more than ever the hostage of the army, defended the action of Myanmar’s military.  More than...

    Read more
    Carla Del Ponte blasts impunity in farewell speech
    Carla Del Ponte blasts impunity in farewell speech
    18.09.17
    AFP

    Outgoing Syria war crimes investigator Carla Del Ponte said on Monday she had quit her post out of frustration over "total impunity", in a fiery farewell speech. Del Ponte, an accomplished war crimes prosecutor, announced last month that she was leaving the Commission of Inquiry (COI) for Syria, a UN-backed panel that has collected evidence of alleged atrocities committed in the country since the outbreak of civil war in 2011. "I resign to put an end to my frustration," Del Ponte told the Human Rights Council, after the COI presented its latest report. "Seven years of crimes in Syria and total impunity. That is not acceptable". Del Ponte, a Swiss national, worked on the international tribunals that prosecuted war crimes,...

    Read more
    A movie takes on taboos of Lebanon's civil war
    A movie takes on taboos of Lebanon's civil war
    14.09.17
    AFP

    Nearly three decades after it ended, Lebanon's civil war returned to haunt Beirut this week at a screening of the film "The Insult," which forcefully explores the taboos of the conflict. The movie opened to rave reviews at the Venice Film Festival, earning accolades for its French-Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri and a Volpi Cup for Palestinian actor Kamel El Basha. The advance screening on Tuesday was overshadowed somewhat by Doueiri's brief detention for filming in 2012 in Israel despite Lebanese legislation banning citizens from visiting the Jewish state. But viewers still packed multiple halls Tuesday night to watch the film at a cinema in central Beirut, which was ravaged by the bitter 1975-1990 war that divided Lebanon's...

    Read more
    UN council calls for 'immediate steps' to end ethnic cleansing against Rohingyas in Myanmar
    UN council calls for 'immediate steps' to end ethnic...
    13.09.17
    AFP

    The UN Security Council on Wednesday broke its weeks-long silence on the crisis in Myanmar and called for an end to the violence as UN chief Antonio Guterres said the military campaign amounted to ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims. Following a closed-door meeting, the 15-member council including China, a supporter of Myanmar's former ruling junta, expressed concern about excessive force during security operations in Rakhine state and called for "immediate steps" to end the violence. It was the first time the council agreed on a united response to the crisis sparked by a military crackdown that followed attacks by Rohingya militants late last month. Some 380,000 Rohingya have fled across the border into neighboring...

    Read more
    In Myanmar, former child soldier punished for speaking out
    In Myanmar, former child soldier punished for speaking out
    13.09.17
    Hein Ko So, Frontier

    In Myanmar, the recent arrest of a man who gave an interview about his past as a child soldier has brought the issue to a wider audience ­but also raised fears about the military’s commitment to ending underage recruitment. Ko Aung Ko Htwe’s taste of freedom was brief. Barely a month after completing a 10-year prison sentence, he was re-arrested on August 18 and remanded the following day in Insein Prison. His alleged crime was speaking about his experience as a child soldier to the media. The interview prompted an officer from Yangon Region Command to file a complaint directly to Dagon Seikkan Township Court under section 505(b) of the Penal Code, which applies to an act with “intent to cause … fear or alarm to the public”. If...

    Read more
    ‘That guy should be killed’: Escaping a mob in Maungdaw, Myanmar
    ‘That guy should be killed’: Escaping a mob in Maungdaw,...
    12.09.17
    Mratt Kyaw Thu, Frontier

    Hostility greeted three journalists who made a clandestine trip to Maungdaw, in Myanmar's troubled Rakhine state, late last month after the security operation had began against those behind the August 25 attacks. When 10 journalists with domestic and international media organisations, including Frontier, arrived at Buthidaung jetty by river ferry from Sittwe on August 28 in the hope of travelling to Maungdaw, special branch police were everywhere. We’d taken the ferry with Border Guard Police escorting a consignment of yellow packages wrapped tightly with yellow tape. No one we asked knew what the parcels contained. Problems began soon after we left for Maungdaw. We were stopped by BGP at the 6-mile checkpoint outside Buthidaung....

    Read more
    UN genocide warning in Central African Republic reflects powerlessness
    UN genocide warning in Central African Republic reflects...
    12.09.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    When should one warn of genocide? Was the UN right to raise the alarm in recent days about a genocidal pattern in the Central African Republic? Is there not a risk that invoking the “crime of crimes” too quickly could devalue the term “genocide” and reduce its power to raise the alarm? In August, United Nations aid chief Stephen O’Brien warned the UN Security Council that there were “early signs of a genocide” in the Central African Republic (CAR). He was criticized by nearly all experts on the country for being overly alarmist. “Genocide is a precise concept,” explained Didier Niewiadowski, jurist and former advisor to the French embassy in Bangui, in an interview with JusticeInfo. “Is there currently a plan to systematically...

    Read more
    Colombia's FARC rebels need a leader
    Colombia's FARC rebels need a leader
    12.09.17
    Fabio Andres Diaz

    Ever since Colombia signed its fragile, contested peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in November 2016, the big question has been: What will this no-longer-armed insurgency do next? On Aug. 28, the FARC made its official reply. In its first congress since disarmament, the Marxist guerrilla group unveiled Colombia’s newest political party: the Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Común, or Commoners’ Alternative Revolutionary Force. “The new party will be built with many voices and diverse ideas,” announced Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, the FARC’s top commander, via Twitter. In keeping their well-known acronym but setting aside the violence, the FARC seems to be embracing the opportunities and...

    Read more
    Saudi-led strikes against children 'war crimes' in Yeman :...
    12.09.17
    AFP

    A series of Saudi-led coalition air strikes which killed 26 children in Yemen in June amount to war crimes, Human Rights Watch said on Monday. "The attacks, which struck four family homes and a grocery, in one case killing 14 members of the same family, caused indiscriminate loss of civilian life in violation of the laws of war. Such attacks carried out deliberately or recklessly are war crimes," the New York-based HRW said. Saudi Arabia leads an Arab military coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 to support the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi after Iran-backed Huthi rebels forced him into exile. HRW is urging the United Nations Human Rights Council, which is currently in session, to return the coalition to...

    Read more
    Week in Review: Transitional justice challenges in Burundi, Myanmar and Mali
    Week in Review: Transitional justice challenges in...
    11.09.17
    François Sergent

    The transitional justice week was marked by the publication of a new report on Burundi by the UN Human Rights Council. This report is even more damning than the previous one with regard to this small country in the Great Lakes region facing a bloody government clampdown since the 2015 re-election of President Pierre Nkurunziza which is widely seen as unconstitutional.   In an exclusive interview with JusticeInfo, UN rapporteur Fatsah Ouguergouz explains: “Since our last statement in June, we have seen the continuation of violations which are taking place in a more secretive way than in 2015 and 2016. This situation is ongoing. There is no sign of a positive development in this domain.” The human rights crisis in Burundi has...

    Read more
    Assad may win war but will preside over a ruined Syria
    Assad may win war but will preside over a ruined Syria
    11.09.17
    AFP

    Syria's President Bashar al-Assad appears to be winning the war against those who sought his overthrow, but he will preside over a ruined country with an economy in tatters. "Assad remains in charge of most of the population and most of the important territory, and I expect him to continue to rule most of Syria," said Aron Lund, a Syria expert with the Century Foundation think-tank. "The war goes on, but in the larger strategic sense he has defeated those who sought to depose him," Lund told AFP. The writing is on the wall even in the halls of the United Nations, where special envoy Staffan de Mistura last week bluntly urged Assad's opponents to be more pragmatic. "Will the opposition be able to be unified and realistic...

    Read more
    Unchecked Abuses by the Malian Army, according to HRW
    Unchecked Abuses by the Malian Army, according to HRW
    08.09.17
    HRW

     Mali and Burkina Faso military operations to counter the growing presence of Islamist armed groups in central Mali have resulted in serious human rights violations. Since late 2016, Malian forces have committed extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and arbitrary arrests against men accused of supporting Islamist armed groups, while a June 2017 cross-border operation by Burkinabe forces left two suspects dead. Human Rights Watch documented three common graves believed to contain the remains of at least 14 men executed after being detained by Malian soldiers since December. On several occasions, Malian forces severely beat, burned, and threatened dozens of men accused of supporting the Islamist armed groups....

    Read more
    Kosovo's 'Rambo', Serbia's arch-antagonist, set to be PM
    Kosovo's 'Rambo', Serbia's arch-antagonist, set to be PM
    07.09.17
    AFP

    A hero at home but considered a war criminal by Belgrade, Ramush Haradinaj is set to become Kosovo's prime minister just a few months after fighting against extradition to Serbia. If parliament approves his appointment as expected, this controversial former insurgent -- nicknamed "Rambo" by his comrades -- will have the job of relaunching crucial negotiations with his Serbian adversaries. The talks to "normalise" relations between Belgrade and Pristina, brokered by the European Union, have come to a standstill in recent months. Haradinaj has opposed the dialogue, calling for Belgrade to recognise Kosovo's independence before negotiations proceed. And Belgrade could hardly think worse of the new PM-designate, whom it wants to...

    Read more
    Recap of Syrian chemical weapons attacks since 2011
    06.09.17
    AFP

    United Nations war crimes investigators said Wednesday they have evidence showing the Syrian regime carried out an April sarin gas attack in Idlib province that killed dozens of people. The attack was the latest in a string of chemical strikes since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011. Here is a recap. - Damascus threatens to use chemical weapons - July 23, 2012: The Syrian government acknowledges for the first time that it has chemical weapons and threatens to use them in the event of military operations by Western countries, but not against its own population. The following month, then US president Barack Obama says the use or even movement of such weapons would be a "red line" for his administration. - Sarin gas...

    Read more
    Kenya’s Supreme Court has given an impossible deadline for the repeat election
    Kenya’s Supreme Court has given an impossible deadline for...
    06.09.17
    Dominic Burbidge

    The Kenyan Supreme Court has found that the August 8 presidential election result is invalid. It blames the electoral commission, not the declared winner, Uhuru Kenyatta. Kenya’s leading newspaper praises the decision as a step towards the rule of law, but I am less sure about what this means for the ability of the political establishment to stick to the terms of the country’s constitution. The Supreme Court has given the country 60 days to hold fresh elections. The time period is in accordance with section 140 (3) of the Constitution, but the court failed to tell the public exactly what the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had done wrong. This leaves Kenya with a compromised commission rerunning an...

    Read more
    The Kenyan supreme court decision may polarize the population
    The Kenyan supreme court decision may polarize the...
    05.09.17
    AiIeen Kimutai

    It has been hailed as a benchmark the Kenyan Supreme Court ruling that nullified the August 8 presidential election results while ordering for a re-run within 60 days. The August 11 election declaration gave  the incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta 54.27 per cent of the votes against the 44.74 per cent for his rival Raila Odinga of the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA). However NASA disputed the results, alleging "hacking"  of the electoral board database and  massive rigging in favour of the ruling Jubilee party. In the landmark ruling, four Supreme Court judges accepted that  the  Kenyan Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had "failed, neglected or refused to conduct the elections in a manner and the dictates of the...

    Read more
    Burundi government remains intransigent, says UN
    Burundi government remains intransigent, says UN
    04.09.17
    Frédéric Burnand, correspondent in Geneva

    Despite numerous mediation attempts, Burundi’s government and President do not intend to talk to the opposition, and repression is continuing. The authorities are showing the same intransigence with regard to the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, which has not been able to go to the country or hold talks with Bujumbura. Fatsah Ouguergouz, president of the Commission, gives this worrying assessment ahead of the final report which he is due to present to the 36th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in mid-September. How hard it is to give up power, even when the Constitution demands it and clinging on brings bloody repression. This is the situation personified by Burundi’s President  Pierre Nkurunziza, as Human Rights...

    Read more
    Week in Review: A victory for rule of law in Africa?
    Week in Review: A victory for rule of law in Africa?
    03.09.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    The highlight of  the week was undoubtedly Friday’s decision by the Supreme Court of Kenya to invalidate the August 8 presidential election, a first in Africa. Kenya’s media hailed the decision which, as said by daily newspaper The Star, "will reverberate for years to come in Kenya and around the continent". This is all the more so since President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta has accepted the decision, even if he launched a sharp verbal attack on the Court.   Representatives of opposition parties in Africa have also hailed the decision, including in Zimbabwe, Guinea and Mali. “The decision of the Kenyan Supreme Court is a historic act, and it is also a strong sign of democratic culture taking root in Africa,” said Guinean civil society...

    Read more
    Africa takes heart in Kenya election ruling
    Africa takes heart in Kenya election ruling
    03.09.17
    Nicolas Delaunay (AFP)

     Opposition leaders across Africa, long frustrated in their campaigns to topple firmly entrenched leaders, are hailing the shock overturn of last month's presidential vote in Kenya, calling it an example for their own countries to emulate. "If it happened in Kenya, it can happen in Zimbabwe as well," Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai told thousands of supporters at a rally on Saturday.Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has made three failed attempts at the Zimbabwean presidency, losing all of them to President Robert Mugabe, who has kept an iron grip on the country since 1980.Elections in Zimbabwe have been marred by violence, intimidation and charges of electoral fraud....

    Read more
    To Prevent Enforced Disappearances, Rethink the Justice and Security Equation
    To Prevent Enforced Disappearances, Rethink the Justice...
    31.08.17
    David Tolbert

    Nearly every city and village in Syria has a story to tell about enforced disappearances: civilians being snatched off the streets or from their homes by the police, Syrian military or an armed group, never to be heard from again. The victims are usually tortured, killed or enslaved. Their families are left haunted, not knowing if their loved ones are alive or dead. Today, we are seeing an alarming rise in the incidence of enforced disappearances around the world, particularly in a number of the “Arab Spring” states, such as Syria, Egypt and Yemen, where reaction has triumphed over hope for a rights-based future. In Syria, we are witnessing a catastrophe the consequences of which will be felt for generations to come....

    Read more
    UN says Venezuela policies designed to 'instil fear'
    30.08.17
    AFP

    The widespread rights abuses committed against protestors in Venezuela indicate that the country has implemented a policy of repression aimed at instilling fear in the population, the UN said Wednesday. A fresh UN report warned that the rights situation in Venezuela was at "grave risk" of unravelling further as the authorities continue to systematically and brutally repress demonstrators, and urged international action. The extent of the violations "points to the existence of a policy to repress political dissent and instil fear in the population to curb demonstrations at the cost of Venezuelans' rights and freedoms," the report from the UN human rights office said. "The generalised and systematic use of excessive force during...

    Read more
       
    Agony of Afghanistan’s Enforced Disappearances, according to HRW
    Agony of Afghanistan’s Enforced Disappearances, according...
    30.08.17
    Patricia Gossman

    As the world marks International Day of the Disappeared on August 30, learning the fate of the tens of thousands of Afghans who have been victims of enforced disappearance over the past four decades seems ever more remote. For their family members, that failure is like a wound that has never healed. Four years ago, Mohammad Rahim’s family finally held funeral services for him – 34 years after Afghanistan’s secret police took him away, never to be seen again.   The ceremony took place after Rahim’s name finally appeared on a “death list” of people detained and ordered executed in 1978-79. The list is the only official confirmation of the victims’ fate the families have ever received. Five thousand names are on it – a fraction of...

    Read more
    18,500 Rohingya cross into Bangladesh since fresh Myanmar...
    30.08.17
    AFP

    At least 18,500 Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh in the last six days since renewed fighting broke out between militants and the army in neighbouring Myanmar, the International Organization for Migration said Wednesday. "As of last night, 18,500 people have come across," from Myanmar's Rakhine State, Chris Lom, the IOM's Asia-Pacific spokesman, told AFP. Lom said exact figures were difficult to obtain because many of those who have made it into Bangladesh might not register with local authorities. Bangladesh, which already hosts some 400,000 Rohingya who have fled Myanmar over the years, has vowed to block new arrivals and has deported some of those it has caught trying to make the crossing. "We also know there are people...

    Read more
    Lawyer who felled Habré to pursue Gambian Yahya Jammeh
    Lawyer who felled Habré to pursue Gambian Yahya Jammeh
    30.08.17
    Pierre Hazan

    Human rights lawyer Reed Brody became known for working with the victims of General Augusto Pinochet of Chile and Haitian ex-dictator Jean-Claude (“Baby Doc”) Duvalier. More recently, Brody was counsel for victims of former Chadian dictator, Hissène Habré, who, after an interminable struggle, was sentenced by a special African court in Senegal to life in prison. Now, returning to Human Rights Watch after a  one-year absence, Brody is lending his support to the victims of Gambia’s ex-dictator Yahya Jammeh.  Jammeh ruled with an iron fist for 22 years before stepping down under popular pressure on January 21, 2017 after losing elections. During his rule, when he clamped down fiercely on all dissenting voices, he declared that he was a...

    Read more
    Charlottesville is part of our nation’s moral reckoning
    Charlottesville is part of our nation’s moral reckoning
    29.08.17
    Derek W. Black

    The number and exuberance of white nationalists who descended on Charlottesville sent emotional tremors through the nation. Some worried that this was the beginning of an expanding movement that would hearken us back to darker times. And many felt that President Donald Trump’s comments only made matters worse. The president’s implied moral equivalency between racist elements and counterprotesters emboldened the former: David Duke, a white nationalist leader and former KKK grand wizard, thanked the president for his “honesty” and willingness to “condemn the leftist terrorists.” As a civil rights scholar, however, this naked display of racism does not dampen my expectations for racial justice. We have been here before. In the...

    Read more
       
    Pre-Meditated Madness, the International Criminal Court, and Preliminary Examinations
    Pre-Meditated Madness, the International Criminal Court,...
    29.08.17
    Mark Kersten

    Attention among observers and scholars of international criminal justice has increasingly focused on what happens before the International Criminal Court (ICC) intervenes in a situation and issues arrest warrants for perpetrators of international crimes. Prior to the ICC opening an official investigation, the Office of the Prosecutor must conduct a so-called “preliminary examination” to determine whether a full-out intervention is justified. Despite growing scrutiny, the practices encompassed within the preliminary examination stage of ICC interventions remain under-examined and under-theorized. In this context, I drafted a paper last year, one that I hope will be published soon, entitled “Casting a Larger Shadow – Pre-Meditated...

    Read more
    Disappeared in Nepal : The survivors'unanswered questions
    Disappeared in Nepal : The survivors'unanswered questions
    29.08.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    Every year, as part of the global movement against enforced disappearances, we commemorate the International Day Against Enforced Disappearance. On this day, we, raise up the voices of families affected by enforced disappearance, express solidarity with the struggle for justice worldwide, and remember our beloved family members who were forcibly taken away from their communities and never seen again.  From 1996-2006, Nepal endured a civil war in which hundreds of citizens were forcibly disappeared by state forces and the Maoist rebels. It is a human tragedy to live in a state of ambiguity. When my father was forcibly detained and disappeared in 2001, never to be heard from again, my family tragedy destroyed my whole universe....

    Read more
    ICC should give victims free choice of lawyers, says Human Rights Watch
    ICC should give victims free choice of lawyers, says Human...
    28.08.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    In a new report, Human Rights Watch argues that victims should have free choice of lawyer to represent them at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The report, published on August 29, is entitled "Who will stand for us? Victims' legal representatives at the ICC in the Ongwen case and beyond".  “Over time, the court has tended to give less weight to the views of victims when it comes to decisions about who will represent them before the ICC,“ says Human Rights Watch. In its report published on August 29, the human rights organization urges the judges and Registry to harmonize together the procedures and give victims more possibility to choose freely who will represent them. The report analyses in detail the procedure for...

    Read more
    Ukraine: Unbearable uncertainty for families of the missing
    28.08.17
    ICRC

    For more than three years, eastern Ukraine has suffered conflict. Amid the world’s many other humanitarian crises, in Syria, or in Yemen for example, it can be easy to forget Ukraine. But the UN estimates that 10,000 people have lost their lives here since 2014. Thousands of families are grieving, and many, like Yuliia and Olha, have been condemned to wait for years to find out exactly what happened to their loved ones. “These are our fathers,” says Yuliia, taking a framed photograph off the shelf. “This one is Olha’s father, Serhii Uzakov, and this one here is my father, Volodymyr Bondarenko.” The two men disappeared almost three years ago. “It was November 27th 2014,” remembers Yuliia. “A group of armed men broke into our...

    Read more
    Week in Review: Disunity over the past
    Week in Review: Disunity over the past
    25.08.17
    François Sergent JusticeInfo.net

    Looking again at a divided past is part of transitional justice. How can a country, an institution come to terms with the memory of a past which still divides people? Sylvie Wuhrmann, director of the Fondation de l’Hermitage art gallery in Lausanne, Switzerland, puts it rather elegantly: “We should not punish the works of art because of their past. A museum is not a court but a place of remembrance.” The gallery is currently showing the exceptional art collection of Bürhle, a naturalized Swiss who made money selling canons to the Nazis. In an article published by our partner The Conversation, professor Jean-Michel Saussois says this exhibition is “also a lesson in history and sociology, leading us to reflect on this patron of the...

    Read more
    Annan 's Commission calls on Myanmar to end Rohingya repression
    Annan 's Commission calls on Myanmar to end Rohingya...
    24.08.17
    AFP

    Myanmar must scrap restrictions on movement and citizenship for its Rohingya minority if it wants to avoid fuelling extremism and bring peace to Rakhine state, a commission led by former UN chief Kofi Annan said Thursday. Rights groups hailed the report as a milestone for the persecuted Rohingya community because the government of Aung San Suu Kyi has previously vowed to abide by its findings. The western state, one of the country's poorest, has long been a sectarian tinderbox and mainly Buddhist Myanmar has faced growing international condemnation for its treatment of the Muslim Rohingya there. Annan was appointed by Suu Kyi to head a year-long commission tasked with healing long-simmering divisions between the Rohingya and...

    Read more
    UN aid chief warns of signs of genocide in Central African...
    23.08.17
    AFP

    United Nations aid chief Stephen O'Brien told the Security Council Tuesday there are early signs of genocide in the violence-plagued Central African Republic, according to diplomats. O'Brien made his remarks in a closed-door meeting -- which was not on the official council agenda and was called for by France -- following his recent visit to the country, one of the diplomats told AFP. The aid chief's warning echoed what he said earlier this month, when he told a UN meeting "the early warning signs of genocide are there" and urged more troops and police to bolster the UN peacekeeping mission in the strife-torn country. The United Nations maintains some 12,500 troops and police on the ground to help protect civilians and support...

    Read more
    Post-Charlottesville: Should we write off the past?
    Post-Charlottesville: Should we write off the past?
    22.08.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and associate professor at Neuchâtel University

    The French revolutionaries dreamed of writing off the past. But it is not so easy to throw the legacy of time past into the dustbin of history when it directly affects the present and future. This is the drama that played out recently in Charlottesville.  Through the fate of General Lee’s statue, what was at stake in Charlottesville was not what happened in the War of Secession (1861-1865), but rather the way Americans see themselves at a crucial turning point. For the first time, Americans citizens are contemplating the fact that in two decades Whites will be in the minority in the US. According to the US Census Bureau, in 2042, Hispanics will make up 30% of the population, Afro-Americans 15% and Asians 9%. Removing the statue of...

    Read more
    Week in Review: Focus on reparations
    Week in Review: Focus on reparations
    21.08.17
    François Sergent (JusticeInfo.net)

    The week in transitional justice was marked by the International Criminal Court’s decision on reparations to be paid following the 2012 destruction of mausoleums in Timbuktu, Mali.  The sum awarded ( 2.7 million Euros) is symbolic and the convict Ahmed Al Mahdi is indigent. But the International Criminal Court (ICC) intends to stress through this decision how serious is destruction of cultural and religious monuments, for victims and for the whole international community. During his trial a year ago, Al Mahdi was found guilty of supervising attacks on nine mausoleums in the “city of 333 saints” during the occupation of northern Mali by Jihadists, as well as on the main gate of the Sidi Yahia mosque, which according to legend would...

    Read more
    Malian Jihadist ordered to pay 2.7 million Euros in reparations to Timbuktu victims
    Malian Jihadist ordered to pay 2.7 million Euros in...
    18.08.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    Judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) handed down on Thursday August 17 their reparations order for the victims of Ahmed Al Mahdi. Al Mahdi, who has been convicted by the Court, pleaded guilty to war crimes for the destruction of nine mausoleums and the main gate of the Sidi Yahia mosque in Timbuktu during the occupation of northern Mali in 2012 by Jihadists of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI) and Ansar Eddine.  As well as telling of the crimes committed in Timbuktu in 2012, Al-Mahdi’s case before the ICC was especially about punishing those who destroy cultural heritage.  During his trial a year ago, he admitted to supervising attacks on mausoleums in the “city of 333 saints” and the main gate of the Sidi Yahia...

    Read more
    Rwanda: Presidential Elections in a context of very limited open political space, according to HRW
    Rwanda: Presidential Elections in a context of very...
    18.08.17
    HRW

    (Nairobi) – Presidential elections in Rwanda on August 4, 2017, took place in a context of very limited free speech or open political space, Human Rights Watch said today, as President Paul Kagame is sworn in for a seven-year term. Human Rights Watch released a chronology of violations of the right to freedom of expression, association, and assembly in Rwanda between the country’s December 2015 referendum – allowing the president to run for a third term – and the election, which Kagame won with a reported 98.79 percent of the vote. “Kagame’s landslide win came as no surprise in a context in which Rwandans who have dared raise their voices or challenge the status quo have been arrested, forcibly disappeared, or killed,...

    Read more
    ICC issues arrest warrant for Libyan strongman ally
    ICC issues arrest warrant for Libyan strongman ally
    16.08.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    On Tuesday August 15, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a new arrest warrant for crimes committed in Libya. Mahmoud al- Werfalli, an ally of Libyan strongman General Khalifa Haftar, is suspected of war crimes for murders committed in 2016 and 2017 in Benghazi region, northeast Libya. The alleged crimes were committed between 2016 and July 2017. Al-Werfalli is said to have murdered and ordered the murders of 33 prisoners who were civilians and disarmed combatants. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda deemed that he should be brought to justice for “his direct participation in seven separate rounds of executions, in which a total of 33 people were murdered in cold blood”. The arrest warrant cites several videos, filmed and posted...

    Read more
    Women's struggle in Myanmar is not a myth
    Women's struggle in Myanmar is not a myth
    16.08.17
    Khin Chan Myae Maung, Frontier

    The argument that gender inequality is not an issue in Myanmar is simply not borne out by the facts on the ground.Women’s rights is not a topic that needs a long-winded introduction; it has been a fight that has been taken up by millions across the globe in the hope of achieving basic human rights for women - young and old, born or chosen - everywhere. Despite the protests and movements made in the name of women rights, in this day and age there are still those who believe our struggle is not real. The issue of a lack of gender equality is by no means a myth – as was argued by the author of an article published in Tea Circle, “The myth Myanmar can afford to ditch” – here in Myanmar or elsewhere in the world. Regardless of whether a...

    Read more
    Tunisia adopts pioneering law on violence against women
    Tunisia adopts pioneering law on violence against women
    15.08.17
    Olfa Belhassine, correspondent in Tunis

    On July 26, Tunisia’s parliament adopted a law to fight violence against women, becoming the first Arab country to do so. This was the culmination of a long struggle by feminists, lasting more than 20 years. MPs present in parliament that evening unanimously approved the new Organic Law on Elimination of Violence against Women. The law’s adoption stirred emotions among most women MPs (72 out of a total 217), who launched cries of joy in parliament. Tunisia thus becomes the first Arab country and the 19th in the world to adopt legislation on fighting violence against women.  The new law is in application of the Constitution, whose Article 46 says that “the State must take all necessary measures to eradicate violence against...

    Read more
    ICC to award damages for jihadist Timbuktu destruction
    ICC to award damages for jihadist Timbuktu destruction
    14.08.17
    AFP

    War crimes judges will Thursday hand down a landmark ruling on reparations for the razing of Timbuktu's fabled shrines, but the victims' fund which is to implement the order warned it will not be easy. Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi was jailed for nine years in 2016 after he pleaded guilty to directing attacks on the UNESCO world heritage site during the jihadist takeover of northern Mali in 2012. Judges ruled last September that Mahdi "supervised the destruction and gave instructions to the attackers" who used pickaxes and bulldozers to hack apart some of the city's most ancient landmarks. Last month the judges announced they will hand down a decision on compensation for victims who suffered from the destruction of the ancient city's...

    Read more
    South Africa and al-Bashir: pragmatism at the ICC
    13.08.17
    Matt Killingsworth, University of Tasmania

      Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir returned to Khartoum, after evading possible arrest in South Africa in 2015. EPA/Marwan Ali   The International Criminal Court (ICC) has finally handed down it’s highly anticipated judgment on South Africa’s failure to arrest Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir. In a somewhat surprising decision, the court’s pre-trial chamber ruled that South Africa had failed to comply with its obligations as a signatory to the Rome Statute. But ICC judges stopped short of taking tougher action, choosing not to refer South Africa to either the Assembly of State Parties or the United Nations Security Council. Some have argued that the decision “may do the ICC more harm than good as far as being taken...

    Read more
    Week in Review: The high price of impunity in Syria and CAR
    Week in Review: The high price of impunity in Syria and CAR
    11.08.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    This week was marked by the resignation of Swiss war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte from the UN commission investigating crimes in Syria. “This commission does absolutely nothing," explained Del Ponte, accusing UN Security Council members of “not wanting to establish justice”. Russia, ally of Damascus has ever since the commission’s creation six years ago vetoed referring Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC), and Damascus has never authorized the Commission, which has produced numerous reports, to go to Syria. “Believe me, I have never seen such horrible crimes as are being committed in Syria,” added Del Ponte, who has also worked on Rwanda and former Yugoslavia. Her resignation, announced by Swiss media on the...

    Read more
    “Risk of Central African Republic exploding has never been so high”
    “Risk of Central African Republic exploding has never been...
    10.08.17
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    Dozens of people have been killed in recent weeks of fighting between armed groups in the Central African Republic (CAR), as a UN official warned of possible genocide. In this interview Didier Niewiadowski, jurist and former advisor to the French embassy in Bangui, gives his view of the situation in that troubled country. He agrees with the UN that “the risk of a national explosion has never been so high”, but says he does not at this stage see early warning signs of genocide.  Do you agree with UN Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O'Brien that there are early warning signs of genocide in the Central African Republic? Genocide is a precise concept. Is there currently a plan to systematically eliminate an...

    Read more
    Deadly C. Africa clashes raise genocide fears
    08.08.17
    AFP

    Witness reports of killings in the Central African Republic, some targeting aid workers, piled up Tuesday as the UN said it saw "early signs of a genocide" in the conflict-wracked nation. At least 60 people have been killed in recent weeks in fighting between armed groups in Ngaoundaye and Batangafo in the north, Kaga-Bandoro in the centre and Alindao and Gambo to the south, witnesses have told AFP. The fighting is largely between groups on opposing sides of the brutal conflict between Muslim and Christian militias that broke out in CAR in 2013 after President Francois Bozize was overthrown by a coalition of Muslim-majority rebel groups called the Seleka. Groups on both sides are now fighting for control of natural resources...

    Read more
    UN sees early warning signs of genocide in C. Africa
    08.08.17
    AFP

    Renewed clashes in the Central African Republic are early warning signs of genocide, the UN aid chief said Monday, calling for more troops and police to beef up the UN peacekeeping mission in the strife-torn country. Some 180,000 people have been driven from their homes this year, bringing the total number of displaced in the Central African Republic to well over half a million, said Stephen O'Brien. "The early warning signs of genocide are there," O'Brien told a UN meeting following his recent trip to the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. "We must act now, not pare down the UN's effort, and pray we don't live to regret it." O'Brien said it was time to authorize an increase in troops and police...

    Read more
    Syria and the lessons to be learned from Carla Del Ponte’s resignation
    Syria and the lessons to be learned from Carla Del Ponte’s...
    08.08.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and associate professor at Neuchâtel University

    Criminals like to commit their crimes in the dark. It is on this assumption that justice must be seen to be done if it is to help prevent crime. And so metaphorically, good triumphs over evil and light over darkness. In international public life this conviction has often produced a will to expose publicly the atrocities committed by war criminals, so as to shame them and dissuade others from associating with them. This "naming and shaming" approach was the reason United Nations Commissions of Inquiry were set up and is the preferred method of human rights organizations, convinced that reminding people of civilized norms and the laws of war will lead warring parties to commit less atrocities. However, this "naming and shaming" has...

    Read more
    Kenya: five things to know
    08.08.17
    AFP

    Kenya, which was holding elections on Tuesday a decade after deadly post-poll violence, is one of east Africa's leading economies with a crucial tourism sector based on safaris and tropical beaches. - Post-election violence - Kenya was a British colony until independence on December 12, 1963. Jomo Kenyatta, the country's first president, died in office in August 1978, to be succeeded by Daniel arap Moi. In late 1991 Moi abandoned the single party system under international pressure and won presidential elections in 1992 and 1997. Moi was replaced by Mwai Kibaki in late 2002 and the main opposition National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) won the legislative elections the same year. Kibaki went on to win re-election in late 2007...

    Read more
    HRW says Israel stripping Palestinians of Jerusalem...
    08.08.17
    AFP

    Human Rights Watch said Tuesday Israel had stripped nearly 15,000 Palestinians from Jerusalem of their right to live in the city since 1967 and warned that it could be a "war crime." "Israel claims to treat Jerusalem as a unified city, but the reality is effectively one set of rules for Jews and another for Palestinians," Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW's Middle East director, said in a report. Israel occupied east Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War in a move never recognised by the international community. The more than 300,000 Palestinians there have permanent residency status but are not Israeli nationals. While east Jerusalem residents are allowed to apply for citizenship, most do not as they view it as recognition of Israeli...

    Read more
    Week in Review: DR Congo, Tunisia, Mali and Côte d’Ivoire
    Week in Review: DR Congo, Tunisia, Mali and Côte d’Ivoire
    07.08.17
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    In this week’s transitional justice review, a rebel leader wanted for crimes against humanity is handed over to the authorities in Kinshasa, civil society in Côte d’Ivoire calls for support to victims raped during the 2010-2011 post-election crisis, and a look at Tunisia’s Truth and Dignity Commission half way through its public hearings. Rebel leader Sheka Ntabo Ntaberi had been under an arrest warrant from the Congolese authorities since January 2011, accused of crimes against humanity and committing with his militia mass rape in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). On August 4, he was handed over to the authorities in Kinshasa, after surrendering to the UN mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) on July 26 and being held in Goma,...

    Read more
    A Noble Dream: The Tenacious Pursuit of Justice in Guatemala
    A Noble Dream: The Tenacious Pursuit of Justice in Guatemala
    07.08.17
    Marcie Mersky (ICTJ)

    Bring General Ríos Montt and other high-ranking members of the military to trial in the Guatemalan courts for genocide? In 1999 it was a noble dream for justice for the thousands of Mayan victims of the country’s civil war, and for the entire country, but one with little apparent possibility of ever coming true. The UN-backed Guatemalan truth commission where I worked, the Historical Clarification Commission (CEH), had just released its findings that state forces had committed genocide in at least three regions of the country. The report vindicated human rights defenders and hundreds of Mayan communities who had for years denounced the wholesale slaughter of indigenous peoples and the razing of their villages during the early...

    Read more
    Veteran prosecutor to quit UN Syria probe that 'does nothing'
    Veteran prosecutor to quit UN Syria probe that 'does...
    06.08.17
    AFP

    Veteran former war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, who is on a UN commission probing rights abuses in Syria, has said she intends to resign because the body "does absolutely nothing". "I am frustrated, I give up," she told the Swiss newspaper Blick in an interview published on Sunday. "I have written my letter of resignation and will send it in the next few days". Del Ponte, a 70-year-old Swiss national who came to prominence investigating war crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, has been part of the four-member UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria since September 2012. The commission has been tasked with investigating human rights violations and war crimes in Syria since shortly after the conflict erupted in March 2011...

    Read more
    Doubts and Division in Guinea, as President hints at third term
    Doubts and Division in Guinea, as President hints at third...
    02.08.17
    Aïssatou Barry in Conakry

    The possibility of a third term for President Alpha Condé is dividing Guinea. Condé himself has made same indications that he wants to run again, but has refused to make an official pronouncement. His supporters are not hiding the fact that they want to change the Constitution. The opposition, supported by some civil society, is preparing for battle and brandishing threats. “Let’s stop having a dogmatic view of whether one, two or three mandates is best,” Condé said during a visit to France in April. “It’s not up to external powers to decide, it depends on each country and the will of its people.” This declaration has fueled suspicion in the country. Many observers think that since this declaration there is no more doubt Condé...

    Read more