By Regions

    Malian Jihadist ordered to pay 2.7 million Euros in reparations to Timbuktu victims
    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. ...

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

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    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...

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    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...

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    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...

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    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...

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    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...

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    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...

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    “Risk of Central African Republic exploding has never been so high”
    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...

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    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...

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    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...

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    Syria and the lessons to be learned from Carla Del Ponte’s resignation
    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...

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    HRW says Israel stripping Palestinians of Jerusalem residency 'war crime'
    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...

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    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...

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    Veteran prosecutor to quit UN Syria probe that 'does nothing'
    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...

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    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...

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    Doubts and Division in Guinea, as President hints at third term
    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...

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    Guilt and denial at Tunisia’s Truth Commission hearings
    31.07.17
    Olfa Belhassine, correspondent in Tunis

    Tunisia’s Truth and Dignity Commission launched its public hearings on November 17, 2016 to shed light on nearly 60 years of human rights abuses. With 10 of the 20 planned hearings now having taken place, we look at the Commission’s half-way record. In Tunisia, the hearings’ official launch in a luxury club belonging to former First Lady Leyla Trabelsi Ben Ali sought to prove wrong the accusations of Commission inertia by leaders of Nida Tounes, current President Beji Caied Essebsi’s party, whilst most local media and politico-financial circles remained loyal to former president Ben Ali....

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    Week in Review: The thorny issue of reparations
    30.07.17
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    There is no justice without reparations. That is all the more true when it comes to international crimes. But the mechanisms of reparation are still problematic, whether at the International Criminal Court (ICC) or in national transitional justice systems like in Côte d’Ivoire. More than three years ago, the ICC sentenced former Congolese militiaman Germain Katanga to 12 years in jail for complicity in crimes against humanity and war crimes linked to the February 24, 2003 massacre in the village of Bogoro, in Ituri. On March 24, 2017, the judges evaluated at 3.75 million dollars (3.2M...

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    Tunisians tell Truth Commission of stolen elections
    28.07.17
    Olfa Belhassine, correspondent in Tunis

    Tunisia’s Truth and Dignity Commission has already held ten of its 20 planned public hearings. The last one, on July 21, examined the issue of electoral fraud under former presidents Bourguiba and Beni Ali. Mohamed Bennour, an activist of the centre-left Democratic Socialist Movement (MDS) – founded in 1978 by Ahmed Mestiri, former minister and dissident from Bourguiba’s regime -- was victim of several violations linked to electoral fraud. In 1981 he announced his candidacy for legislative elections that the authorities announced as “pluralist” and which raised much hope among Tunisians....

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