Africa

    “In CAR, the Touadera regime has totally lost credibility amongst the population"
    22.05.17
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    Recent developments in the Central African Republic (CAR), where more than a hundred civilians and some half a dozen UN peacekeepers were killed this week in new violence, look like warning signs of political rebellion in a context of impunity and government inertia, according to jurist Didier Niewiadowski, former advisor to the French embassy in the CAR. His analysis is uncompromising.  This former French diplomat thinks the CAR, with its leaders “out of touch with the country’s realities” risks looking like the Democratic Republic of Congo or Somalia as it was. In this interview, he talks...

    Read more
    Week in Review: Transitional justice is “an art not a science”
    22.05.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    In an excellent new book, our colleagues at American NGO ICTJ recognize that transitional justice is “an art, not a science”. The International Center for Transitional Justice, a specialist in the field, says that “part of the art is in understanding the context (of the country concerned), including the opposition to justice”.  ICTJ could have been talking about the Central African Republic (CAR), which was hit by new attacks this week. Unprecedented violence directed mainly at the United Nations force (MINUSCA) left dozens of people dead in Bangassou in the south of the country. “The...

    Read more
    Two charged for 2004 murder of Gambian journalist Hydara
    19.05.17
    AFP

    Two fugitive former army officers have been indicted over the 2004 murder of prominent Gambian journalist Deyda Hydara, judicial sources said. The court in Banjul also separately issued an arrest warrant for ex-interior minister Ousman Sonko over the death of former intelligence chief Daba Marenah. Hydara, 65, an outspoken critic of then president Yahya Jammeh, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in his car on the outskirts of Banjul in December 2004. He was the editor and co-founder of the independent newspaper The Point and a one-time Gambia correspondent for Agence France-Presse...

    Read more
    Which court for which crimes in the Central African Republic?
    17.05.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    The Central African Republic (CAR) is still torn by militia violence and is struggling to rebuild after the 2012-2014 civil war, which left some 5,000 people dead and turned nearly 900, 000 Central Africans into refugees and displaced people. In a country where the government controls only a small part of the territory, justice is trying to find a way forward. The Special Criminal Court, created in 2015, now has its Prosecutor and several judges, while the International Criminal Court has since 2014 been investigating crimes committed during the CAR civil war. “The attack against...

    Read more
     
    Week in Review: CAR appoints Special Court judges as amnesty debate continues
    15.05.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    The transitional justice week was again dominated by the Central African Republic (CAR), where there is a recurring debate on “impunity” for the parties to the country’s conflict – in the name of peace and reconciliation for some, but to the detriment of justice.  The issue is all the more poignant in a week when the CAR, divided and still at war in much of the country, marked the second anniversary of the Bangui National Forum, of which the aim was national reconciliation. President Touadera, elected a year ago, has started setting up the Special Criminal Court, a hybrid court with Central...

    Read more
    Gambia's 'broken' justice system struggles with victims' ire
    12.05.17
    AFP

    Gambians want swift justice for the crimes of fallen dictator Yahya Jammeh's regime but the new government faces an uphill battle to jail the most prolific abusers. Silenced for 22 years, victims shot or tortured by Jammeh's security services are now speaking out, along with families whose loved ones have been pulled from recently found unmarked graves. But the cash-strapped government refuses to put anyone else in the dock, burnt by a high-profile, politically charged case this year that has run into procedural and systemic problems. "In terms of prosecutions, we are not at that...

    Read more
    High stakes in Kenya's presidential elections
    09.05.17
    Sekou Toure Otondi, University of Nairobi

    After the 2007 general election, Kenya experienced its worst politically triggered ethnic violence since independence. The violence was caused by a dispute between the two main presidential candidates – Raila Odinga and his opposition Orange Democratic Movement, and Mwai Kibaki, who was defending his seat on a Party of National Unity ticket. But this was not the first time Kenya experienced violence around a general election. Since the reintroduction of multiparty politics in 1992 ethnic violence has repeatedly reared its ugly head around election time. Even in elections that were considered peaceful, as was the case in 2002 and 2013, the threat of politically instigated ethnic...

    Read more
    Rwanda tribunal ex-convict tries to go to Burundi
    04.05.17
    JusticeInfo.net

    Captain Innocent Sagahutu is back in the “safe house” in Arusha, Tanzania, where he has been living for several years alongside others freed by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). For the last three weeks or so he had been in the hands of Tanzanian security services, who accused him of trying to cross into Burundi without travel documents.  Sagahutu, an officer in the former Rwandan army, was convicted for the murder of Belgian UN peacekeepers in Kigali in April 1994 at the start of the Rwandan genocide. Captain Innocent Sagahutu was stopped on March 10 in the Tanzanian...

    Read more
     
    Swiss extend detention of Gambian ex-minister
    03.05.17
    AFP

    Switzerland said Wednesday it has extended the detention of former Gambian interior minister Ousman Sonko after "progress" in a crimes against humanity probe. Sonko was a top lieutenant of The Gambia's fallen dictator Yahya Jammeh, who was forced from office in January by west African powers after he refused to accept defeat in a December election. Sonko has been accused of overseeing and committing torture while heading the interior ministry from 2006 to 2016. He fled to Sweden after Jammeh sacked him in September, before arriving in Switzerland in November. Swiss authorities...

    Read more
    Tunisia: Empowerment through the Arts
    01.05.17
    Sahar Ammar

    The sufferance marking the legacy of sixty years of dictatorship cannot be felt, touched and expressed through the sophisticated speeches of politicians and government members. It is only through the stories of victims that pain and hope can be crystalized. The bridge between the darkness of the past and the lightness of the future can be truthfully and faithfully revealed in the honest tears of a mother who wants to bury her son, in the deep breath of a prisoner for whom torture became a matter of daily routine and in the harsh guilt of someone who witnessed the persecution of his friends...

    Read more
    Week in Review: Habré judgment sets an example
    01.05.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    The Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) Appeals Court decision of April 27 confirming a life sentence on former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré for crimes against humanity was the major event of this week in transitional justice. This verdict by the African court set up in Dakar, Senegal, by the African Union was hailed by defenders of human rights and justice both in Africa and the rest of the world. Coming more than 30 years after the crimes were committed, the judgment has taken much time. But it vindicates the persistence and determination of Chadian victims who, with the help of NGOs...

    Read more
    Is Africa doing better than Europe on new regional criminal courts?
    28.04.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and associate professor at Neuchâtel University

    The contrast could not be more glaring. Both the African Union and the European Union have created for the first time a regional criminal tribunal to try the perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity. But the result is radically different and the comparison is hardly flattering for Europe.  This Thursday, appeals judges of the Extraordinary African Chambers, sitting in Dakar, confirmed the life sentence against former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré for war crimes and crimes against humanity. In contrast, the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, set up by the European Union, is...

    Read more
     
    Habré conviction is a “tribute to the persistence of victims”
    27.04.17
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    Appeals judges of the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC), sitting in Senegal, on Thursday confirmed a life sentence on former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré for war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture committed in his country between June 1982 and December 1990, although they acquitted him of rape. For those who have followed the long saga of bringing Habré to justice, this final verdict is “a tribute to the persistence” of the victims. Philip Grant, director of Swiss NGO TRIAL International, is one of them. JusticeInfo asked him about the significance of this verdict for the...

    Read more
    Uganda's brutal Lord's Resistance Army: timeline
    25.04.17
    AFP

    Key dates in the history of Uganda's brutal Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), which the United States and Uganda have decided to stop hunting down, saying the rebels have been neutralised. One of Africa's longest-surviving rebel groups, the LRA has terrorised parts of central Africa for 30 years, becoming notorious for mutilations, massacres, kidnappings, and the forced enrolment of children. - January 1987: a year after the takeover of Uganda by rebel leader Yoweri Museveni, voodoo priestess Alice Auma Lakwena takes up arms to topple the new regime. Her Holy Spirit Movement is defeated at the end of 1987. - 1988: Joseph Kony, presented as Lakwena's cousin, takes over the fight at the...

    Read more
    Joseph Kony: uncatchable, brutal rebel chief
    25.04.17
    AFP

    Brutal rebel commander Joseph Kony has sowed terror across four African nations for three decades, even evading capture by US and Ugandan soldiers who have now given up the chase. The former Catholic altar boy became one of Africa's most notorious rebels at the head of his Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), combining religious mysticism with an astute guerilla mind and bloodthirsty ruthlessness. The US passed a law in 2010 to deploy around 100 special forces to work with regional armies in hunting down Kony but is now withdrawing while the rebel leader remains at large, though his power is much diminished. Kony's marauding insurgency claimed to be fighting to overthrow the Ugandan...

    Read more
    Chad's Hissene Habre awaits appeal verdict for war crimes
    25.04.17
    AFP

    Chad's former president Hissene Habre will Thursday hear the final decision on an appeal against a life sentence for war crimes, crimes against humanity and rape, following his landmark conviction last year. The Extraordinary African Chambers, a body created by Senegal and the African Union (AU), sentenced Habre last May to life behind bars, an unprecedented ruling seen as a blow to the impunity long enjoyed by repressive rulers. In July, the court further ruled that Habre should give up to 30,000 euros ($33,000) to each victim of abuses committed during his 1982-1990 rule, as well as...

    Read more
     
    From exile to appeal: Key dates since Habre fled Chad
    25.04.17
    AFP

    Key dates in Chad since the overthrow of former dictator Hissene Habre to his appeal against a life sentence for war crimes and crimes against humanity alleged to have occurred between 1982 and 1990: - Exile in Senegal - - Dec. 11, 1990: Habre is overthrown by rebel troops led by Idriss Deby and flees to Senegal where he gets political asylum. His regime is accused by rights groups of brutally repressing, torturing or killing opponents since 1982. - Investigation - - May 21, 1992: A Chadian commission of inquiry says Habre's regime killed more than 40,000 people, many of them...

    Read more
    Offering New Insights on Memory and Memorialization for Uganda
    24.04.17
    Lino Owor Ogora

    From November 25, to December 9, 2016, I was privileged to join a select group of 25 participants who attended a two-week seminar on truth, justice and remembrance in Berlin, Germany. I was the only Ugandan in the group, and one of five Africans, a factor which I felt highlighted the significance of my presence there.   I arrived in Berlin on a chilly Thursday evening on November 24, 2016. I was eager to get my first glimpse of the city, given that it was my first visit to Germany. Prior to this, all I knew about Germany was what we had been taught in European history regarding the first and second world wars. In Uganda Berlin was especially famous for the Berlin Conference of 1884...

    Read more
    Week in Review: Central African Republic, Geneva, Tunisia and the environment
    23.04.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    History resonates with time, and the crimes of the past cannot be erased from memory as if with the stroke of a pen. And so this week in the Central African Republic (CAR), courageous NGOs said no to amnesty and impunity.  According to a statement by the Network of Central African NGOs for Human Rights Promotion (RONGDH), such an amnesty has already been suggested to President Faustin-Archange Touadéra by the African Union. This is quite simply “a macabre and doomed proposal”, according to lawyer Mathias Mourouba, RONGDH deputy national coordinator, as quoted on April 18 by the Network of...

    Read more
    Rethinking customary law in Somaliland: specific jurisdiction for rape to promote post-conflict development
    24.04.17
    Rakiya Omaar and Caitlin Lambert

     Somaliland does not enjoy international recognition as an independent state, but it does have what its people regard as their most precious asset : peace. After seceding from Somalia in May 1991, following a prolonged and bloody civil war, a shattered territory had to be rebuilt from scratch by people impoverished and scarred by years of exile, mainly in refugee camps in neighbouring Ethiopia. Despite the odds, Somaliland has established a functioning system of governance with little outside assistance while the rest of Somalia remains at war. This success is underpinned by the...

    Read more