Crimes against humanity, War crimes and Genocide

    Liberian found guilty of war crimes-linked charges in “historic” US case
    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...

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    Myanmar: Karen rebels urge nonviolent solution to Rakhine crisis on ceasefire anniversary
    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...

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    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...

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    Week in Review: Human rights activist awarded as dictators cling on
    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...

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    Rwanda: The gruesome plight of children during the Tutsi genocide
    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,...

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    Week in Review: Scandal at the ICC, questions on Burundi and Mali
    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...

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    “Embattled Burundi government using impoverished people as a rampart”
    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...

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    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...

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    Outrage at Suu Kyi over Rohingya crisis is “exaggerated”, says expert
    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...

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    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...

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    Week in Review: When failure to tackle impunity hinders peace
    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...

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    Central African Republic: 12 peace plans in 10 years and still at war
    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...

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    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...

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    ‘That guy should be killed’: Escaping a mob in Maungdaw, Myanmar
    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...

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    UN genocide warning in Central African Republic reflects powerlessness
    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...

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    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...

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    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...

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    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...

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    Agony of Afghanistan’s Enforced Disappearances, according to HRW
    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...

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    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...

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