Africa

    Burundi: "Impunity for serious crimes remains the norm"
    19.01.18
    Human Rights Watch

    The Burundi government continued its repression of real and perceived political opponents in 2017, according to the annual report of Human Rights Watch published on January 18. This included murder, forced disappearance, torture and arbitrary arrest. In its determination to continue suppressing the population without the outside world's gaze, the regime of Pierre Nkurunziza has also declared all foreign investigators persona non grata.  The political and human rights crisis that began in Burundi in April 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced that he would run for a...

    Read more
    Living through the horrors of genocide: humanitarian workers in Rwanda
    19.01.18
    The Conversation

    They are on the frontlines of any major conflict or disaster – but how much is known about the daily experiences of humanitarian workers in these extreme situations? In their new book, Génocide et crimes de masse. L’expérience rwandaise de MSF (“Humanitarian Aid, Genocide and Mass Killings: Médecins sans frontières, the Rwandan experience, 1982-97”), Marc Le Pape and Jean-Hervé Bradol set out to answer some of these questions. The book is also informed by Bradol’s experience of working for Médecins Sans Frontières in Rwanda during the genocide. Here, they discuss their findings. You...

    Read more
    Will Guinea hold trial this year for 2009 stadium massacre?
    18.01.18
    Aïssatou Barry in Conakry

      In Guinea, investigations into the September 2009 massacre in Conakry have finally closed, seven years after the event. Announcing this on December 29, 2017, Guinean Justice Minister Cheik Sacko said the suspects have been referred for trial. On September 28, 2009 the military junta in power at the time brutally crushed a peaceful opposition protest, killing 156 people and raping more than 100 women, according to UN figures. The end of the judicial investigation seems to pave the way for a trial. A steering committee has been set up to prepare the first stages of the trial, although no...

    Read more
    Week in Review: African dictators cling to power, as Tunisia protests austerity again
    14.01.18
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.Net

    On JusticeInfo.net, French jurist Didier Niewiadowski looks at what he calls “exception for insecurity”, a pretext used by African dictators to postpone elections indefinitely. The best example, he writes, is Joseph Kabila in the Democratic Republic of Congo who, according to Niewiadowski, is “using the exception for insecurity with cynicism and provocation”. “His mandate expired definitively on December 19, 2016,” the writer explains, “but despite mediation by the National Episcopal Conference of Congo and the accords of December 31, 2016, the presidential election did not take place in...

    Read more
     
    ICC investigations in Burundi “will be difficult but not impossible”
    11.01.18
    Emmanuel Sehene Ruvugiro in Kigali

    Burundi’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) became effective in October 2017, after the Court had finished its preliminary examination on crimes committed since April 2015 in that country. But Burundi’s withdrawal does not put an end to the ICC investigations.  According to Stella Ndirangu, a Kenyan human rights lawyer working with the International Commission of Jurists, the challenge now is how the Court in The Hague will conduct investigations, since Bujumbura has clearly stated that it will not cooperate. She says the task will be difficult but not...

    Read more
    Key dates in Tunisia since 2011 revolt
    10.01.18
    AFP

    Key developments in Tunisia in the seven years since president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was toppled in a revolt that sparked a wave of uprisings in the region. - 2011: President flees - Ben Ali quits on January 14, 2011 after weeks of demonstrations sparked by the self-immolation of a fruit seller who was protesting police harassment and unemployment. He is the first leader to stand down in the Arab Spring, fleeing to Saudi Arabia after 23 years in power. In October, Islamist group Ennahda wins 89 of the 217 seats in a new constituent assembly, just months after being legalised in March. It is Tunisia's first free election. The assembly elects former opposition leader Moncef...

    Read more
    French judges finish probe into attack that sparked Rwanda genocide
    21.12.17
    AFP

    French anti-terror judges have finished their investigation into the missile attack that sparked Rwanda's 1994 genocide and will now decide whether to send the highly sensitive case to trial, legal sources said Thursday. The missile strike on a plane near Kigali's airport in April 1994 killed Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana, triggering 100 days of bloodshed that left an estimated 800,000 people dead, mostly members of the Tutsi minority. The genocide has caused two decades of tension between Paris and Kigali, which accuses France of complicity in the killings through its support and military training for Habyarimana's Hutu forces who carried out most of the slaughter. The...

    Read more
    State agents, militia 'planned' DRC massacres: rights group
    20.12.17
    AFP

    Security forces and an army-backed militia planned massacres in an opposition stronghold in the Democratic Republic of Congo, human rights activists charged Wednesday, calling the killings "crimes against humanity". The southern Kasai region suffered "one of the worst human rights crises in the world" between March and July, the Paris-based International Human Rights Federation (FIDH) said in a report compiled with partner rights groups in the country. It includes heart-rending testimony such as that of a 27-year-old woman who described soldiers attacking her village and burning down...

    Read more
     
    South Sudan: Stop Delays on Hybrid Court, says HRW
    19.12.17
    Human Rights Watch

     South Sudan’s top officials have failed to make good on promises to establish an African Union-South Sudanese hybrid court to try international crimes committed during the country’s civil war, Human Rights Watch said today. Four years into the conflict, both parties continue to commit grave human rights crimes against civilians. Despite the August 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS), which envisioned the hybrid court, abuses by all parties persist as the conflict continues to spread. South Sudan’s transitional government has neither ended violations by...

    Read more
    UN says life terms for DRCongo child rapists a 'major advance'
    16.12.17
    AFP

    The UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo Saturday hailed as a "major advance" life sentences served this week on a provincial lawmaker and ten militiamen convicted of raping young girls. The group were jailed for life on Wednesday in the east of the country for raping about 40 children, including a baby, in what was judged as a crime against humanity. The defendants were said to belong to a militia group called "Djeshi ya Yesu" -- meaning "Army of Jesus" in Swahili -- led by South Kivu provincial lawmaker Frederic Batumike. The "unprecedented trial and the ruling constitute a major advance in the fight against impunity for sexual violence," said Maman Sidikou, the head of...

    Read more
    Historic verdict in DRC child rape trial
    14.12.17
    Claude Sengenya in Kavumu, South Kivu province of eastern DRC

    It was a historic verdict pronounced on Wednesday December 13 by a military court in South Kivu, eastern DR Congo, in the trial of some 20 members of the Army of Jesus militia (Jeshi la Yesu in Swahili) accused of rape and murder. Local politician Frédéric Batumike, head of this militia, and 11 of his co-accused were sentenced to life in jail. Two others were sentenced to one year, while six were acquitted. Their trial concerned the rape of some 40 children aged 8 months to 12 years in Kavumu, South Kivu, between 2013 and 2016. The trial lasted 17 days, during which the prosecution and...

    Read more
    Dozen DR Congo child rapists handed life sentences
    13.12.17
    AFP

    A dozen militiamen in eastern DR Congo were jailed for life Wednesday for raping about 40 children, including a baby, in what was judged a crime against humanity. The defendants were said to belong to a militia group called "Djeshi ya Yesu" -- meaning "Army of Jesus" in Swahili -- led by South Kivu provincial lawmaker Frederic Batumike. The children, ranging from babies aged just eight months to a 12-year-old girl, were kidnapped and raped between 2013 and 2016. A large crowd gathered in the area before Batumike and the 11 others were convicted by the military tribunal and "sentenced...

    Read more
     
    Burundi: The Rights Defender Nestor Nibitanga Detained, says HRW
    13.12.17
    Human Rights Watch

    Authorities in Burundi have been holding a human rights activist since November 21, 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should immediately release the activist, Nestor Nibitanga, or charge him with a credible offense. The police accused Nibitanga, via twitter, of “threatening state security.” Nibitanga was arrested at his home in Gitega province and taken to the headquarters of the national intelligence service (Service national de renseignement, SNR), in Bujumbura, the capital. Human Rights Watch and other organizations have documented numerous cases of torture of detainees there. He was held incommunicado, without charge and without access to his family or a lawyer...

    Read more
    Gambia: Truth Commission to Uncover Jammeh Abuses, says HRW
    12.12.17
    Human Rights Watch

    Gambia’s truth commission bill, to be debated on December 13, 2017, is an important opportunity to shed light on human rights violations committed during the rule of former President Yahya Jammeh, Human Rights Watch said today. The National Assembly should amend the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission bill to prohibit amnesties for those responsible for extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, rape, or torture, in accordance with international law and practice. “Gambia will greatly benefit from a truth-telling process that shines light on Jammeh’s abuses,” said Jim...

    Read more
    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...

    Read more
    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...

    Read more
     
    Week in Review: Victims still waiting for justice in Gambia, Sri Lanka and Laos
    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...

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

    Read more
    Week in Review: ICC says no to Burundi impunity, DRC starts historic rape trial
    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...

    Read more
    “Many options” to bring Jammeh to justice, says murdered Gambian journalist’s son
    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...

    Read more