Africa

    “No peace for the CAR while armed groups hold balance of power”
    24.06.17
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    Thierry Vircoulon, a researcher at the French International Relations Institute (IFRI), lectures on security issues in Africa. In an interview with JusticeInfo.Net, he is pessimistic about the chances that a ceasefire for the Central African Republic (CAR) signed in Rome on June 19 will be implemented. He says there is no chance of a lasting peace deal so long as armed groups continue to hold sway on the ground. On June 20, only a few hours after the accord was signed, clashes between militia groups left up to a hundred people dead in Bria, in central CAR. Thierry Vircoulon, researcher at...

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    UN court to review genocide conviction against a former Rwandan minister
    20.06.17
    AFP

    A UN tribunal has agreed to review its appeals judgement against a former Rwandan minister found guilty of genocide crimes, a case blocked for months by the detention of one of the court's top judges. In a statement released Monday the UN's Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals said in a rare legal move it would review its ruling convicting Augustin Ngirabatware for his role in Rwanda's 1994 genocide in which an estimated 800,000 people were killed. Ngirabatware, planning minister at the time of the genocide, was found guilty of inciting, aiding and encouraging militiamen in his home district of Nyamyumba in northwestern Rwanda to kill their Tutsi neighbours. He was...

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    “Terminator” tells ICC he tried to help civilians in Congo
    19.06.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    Former Congolese militiaman Bosco Ntaganda has been testifying in his own defence since June 14 before the International Criminal Court (ICC). He is on trial for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Ituri, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2002 and 2003, when he was second in command of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) militia. The Prosecution says his military campaign caused the deaths of some 60,000 people. But Ntaganda told the court he protected civilians. Ntaganda is trying to paint a rather romantic self-portrait. “I am not guilty of anything,” he told...

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    How Equatorial Guinea Turned Corruption into an Art Form
    19.06.17
    Human Rights Watch

    For the past two decades, Equatorial Guinea has been one of Africa’s largest oil producers and on paper, it is a middle-income economy. Yet instead of spending the country’s oil riches on improving life for ordinary Equatorial Guineans, the government has squandered its enormous wealth on questionable infrastructure projects – highways to nowhere, empty 5-star hotels – where corruption is rife. A new Human Rights Watch report has found that a combination of gross mismanagement and high-level corruption has left the country’s health and education sectors on their knees, and among the worst...

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    Gabon probes threats to leader before ICC visit
    17.06.17
    AFP

    Gabon authorities said Saturday that they were investigating threats by a critic of President Ali Bongo, including an ultimatum to step down before the arrival of an International Criminal Court team next week. The threats included a warning that government buildings had been set with explosives, and came as armed men stormed the offices of several media outlets on Friday demanding the broadcast of an audio and video message urging Gabonese citizens to revolt. The ultimatum was made by Roland Desire Aba'a Minko, a supporter of opposition leader Jean Ping, who was narrowly defeated by Bongo in presidential elections last year. The ICC team is set to arrive for a two-day visit Tuesday for...

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    UN says Burundi still torturing and killing opponents
    15.06.17
    AFP

    Burundi security forces and government-allied militia are continuing to torture and kill opponents, UN investigators said Thursday, allegations denied by the government. The investigators from the UN's Commission of Inquiry on Burundi have been denied entry to the country said there was a "feeling of deep and widespread fear" in more than 470 testimonies gathered from people who had fled to neighbouring countries. "Today we can say that our initial fears concerning the scope and gravity of human rights violations and abuses in Burundi since April 2015 have been confirmed," the...

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    Rwanda genocide shaped me, Congolese ex-rebel Terminator tells war crimes judges
    14.06.17
    AFP

    A former Congolese rebel commander told war crimes judges Wednesday the "horrific events" he saw during Rwanda's 1994 genocide shaped him to vow to do everything he could to prevent "it happening again". Almost two years after his trial opened, Bosco Ntaganda took the stand for the first time expected to talk about events in 2002 and 2003, when his rebel forces rampaged through neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo's gold-rich Ituri province, murdering and raping civilians and plundering their possessions. Instead, the man once dubbed "The Terminator" told the International...

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    ICC calls for 'immediate arrest' of Kadhafi son
    14.06.17
    AFP

    The International Criminal Court chief's prosecutor on Wednesday called for the "immediate arrest and surrender" of Moamer Kadhafi's son Seif al-Islam, who was reportedly set free by a militia in Libya. An arrest warrant issued by the Hague-based ICC in 2011 "remains valid and Libya is obliged to immediately arrest and surrender" the late dictator's son "regardless of any purported amnesty law in Libya," Fatou Bensouda said. Kadhafi's second son and heir-apparent was said to have been released on Friday by a militia that controls the town of Zintan in western Libya. The group, which...

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    Long road to justice for Tunisian torture victim in Switzerland
    14.06.17
    Frédéric Burnand, correspondent in Geneva

    In 2004, Abdennacer Naït-Liman filed a complaint in Geneva to obtain reparations for torture suffered in the Tunisian Interior Ministry in 1992. However, it was in vain. Now the case of this Tunisian exiled in Switzerland is before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the highest court of appeal on the continent. Depending on the outcome, this case could open a new path for torture victims in countries of asylum. “We are opening doors in the hope that victims of international crimes like torture and war crimes can have other recourse than criminal trials,” said...

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    DRCongo 'Terminator' to tell judges 'he's a human being'
    13.06.17
    AFP

    Bosco Ntaganda will give a full account of his role as a Congolese rebel commander in 2002-03 when he takes the stand at the International Criminal Court on Wednesday, his lawyer has said. Almost two years after his trial opened, the man once dubbed "The Terminator" will take the stand to recall events in 2002 and 2003, when his rebel forces rampaged through the vast central African country's gold-rich Ituri province, murdering and raping civilians and plundering their possessions. "Mr Ntaganda will describe everything he did in the conflict. Step-by-step and day-by-day and give a full...

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    Kenya : Wachira Waheire meets his torturer 20 years later
    13.06.17
    International Center for Transitional Justice

    Wachira Waheire strode into Nairobi’s Sankara Hotel, made his way to the café attached to its lobby and scanned the room carefully. He was meeting someone he had not seen in 20 years, but as he sifted through the faces in the café he was confident all he needed was a glimpse and he would recognize his guest. “You don’t forget your torturers,” he says. “These memories are so vivid it’s like they just happened.” Wachira is something of a professional interviewer of torturers: as a Human Rights Officer at Kenya’s Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) from 2010 to 2012, it...

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    Make migrant trafficking crime against humanity: police chiefs
    08.06.17
    AFP

    European police and naval chiefs on Thursday called for migrant trafficking of the kind currently taking place in Libya to be declared a crime against humanity. At talks in Rome, senior figures in the fight against the deadly trade said such a move would both draw attention to the gravity of the crimes they are trying to stop and make it easier to do so. "Migrant trafficking as it takes place in Libya should be considered an international crime, a crime against humanity," said Admiral Enrico Credendino, the head of a European naval force charged with combating trafficking in the Mediterranean. Europol's Robert Crepinko said it was time to redefine the nature of traffickers' actions...

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    Will the ICC take up crimes against migrants in Libya? 
    06.06.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    Amid the chaos in Libya, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in April denounced a veritable “slave market” where migrants are being sold for forced labour or sexual exploitation. But will the ICC investigate? A few weeks later, after a surprise visit to Libya, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said he was “shocked to discover the difficult conditions in which refugees and migrants live”, and denounced the “terrible” conditions in refugee centres in Libya. The two organizations launched a humanitarian programme for the 600,000 migrants, refugees and displaced...

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    Week in Review: Challenges of confronting the past in CAR and Tunisia
    06.06.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    Once again the Central African Republic (CAR) dominated transitional justice news this week. The UN published a damning report on human rights violations in the country, while the Prosecutor of the CAR’s Special Criminal Court, a Congolese military jurist, made his first visit to Bangui to prepare his task. According to the UN report, Colonel Toussaint Muntazini Mukimapa’s task is huge. The UN report documents 620 of grave human rights violations committed in the CAR between 2003 and 2015. They include sexual violence, acts of torture in detention centres, extrajudicial executions, violence...

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    Central African Special Court needs public strategy, says UN
    02.06.17
    JusticeInfo.Net

    In a report published this week in Bangui, the United Nations documents 620 cases of grave human rights violations committed in the Central African Republic from 2003 to 2015. They include sexual violence, acts of torture in detention centres, extrajudicial executions, violence of an ethnic or religious nature, recruitment of child soldiers, attacks on aid workers and UN peacekeepers. The report’s authors make a series of recommendations, notably to the Prosecutor of the Special Criminal Court (SCC), a hybrid court being set up within the CAR’s judicial system to bring to justice those most...

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    Will Congolese warlord tell ICC of Rwandan and Ugandan roles?
    29.05.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    The trial of former militia leader Bosco Ntaganda resumed on May 29 at the International Criminal Court (ICC) with the Defence presenting its case. Ntaganda is charged with 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ituri, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in 2002 and 2003. Since the start of his trial in September 2015, the Prosecutor has called 71 witnesses to the stand. Now it is the turn of the Defence, which plans to call more than 100 witnesses, including Ntaganda himself. Bosco Ntaganda has decided to testify, but there are no signs that he will make a real...

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    Week in Review: Surprise clampdown on corruption in Tunisia
    29.05.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    Tunisia remains in the forefront of transitional justice with a surprise move this week on financial transparency. Prime Minister Youssef Chahed arrested suspected leaders of trafficking and corruption. These people are talked about in an International Crisis Group (ICG) report, “Blocked Transition: Corruption and Regionalism in Tunisia”. Tunisians, used to impunity for politicians and their clans, can hardly believe this news, explains JusticeInfo’s Tunis correspondent Olfa Belhassine. At stake is not only the past but also the present. According to ICG, all key sectors in Tunisia are...

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    “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...

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    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...

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    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...

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