International Criminal Court (ICC)

    S.African court rules against govt plan to pull out of ICC
    22.02.17
    Susan NJANJI AFP

    A South African court on Wednesday ruled the government's plan to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) was "unconstitutional and invalid", providing a boost to the embattled Hague-based institution.The ICC has been rocked by threats of withdrawal in recent months, with complaints focusing on its alleged bias against Africa.South Africa announced in October it had lodged its decision to pull out with the United Nations, following a dispute over Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visiting the country in 2015.South African authorities refused to arrest Bashir despite him facing...

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    Challenges of the new Special Court for the CAR
    21.02.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial adviser and associate professor at the University of Neuchâtel

    A Special Criminal Court to deal with war crimes in the Central African Republic (CAR) is now being set up. On February 14, President Faustin-Archange Touadéra appointed as Prosecutor of this Special Court Toussaint Muntazini Mukimapa, a military prosecutor in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the coming weeks, national and international judges for the court are also expected to be appointed, and will then need to get down to work to make operational this semi-international tribunal, whose  mandate is to try suspected perpetrators of the most serious crimes committed in the CAR since...

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    Central African Special Court gets Congolese Prosecutor
    17.02.17
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    On February 14, Central African Republic (CAR) president Faustin-Archange Touadéra signed a decree appointing the Prosecutor of the country’s Special Criminal Court (SCC). The appointment of jurist and military man Colonel Toussaint Muntazini Mukimapa, a military prosecutor in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is an important step towards the setting up of the SCC, which has a mandate to try suspected perpetrators of serious human rights violations committed in the CAR since 2003. But the Prosecutor’s task will be difficult in a country where more than half the territory is still in...

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    After 15 years, ICC States still debating crime of aggression
    15.02.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    In 2017, member States of the International Criminal Court (ICC) are supposed to promulgate the Kampala amendments to the Court’s Statute, giving the ICC a green light to prosecute those most responsible for crimes of “aggression”.  But what seemed to be a formality now looks again like a subject of debate.  France and the UK in particular are playing for time. The issue will not be raised at the ICC Assembly of States Parties in December this year, and jurists fear that it will be postponed indefinitely. This is a crime concerning leaders, their ministers and army chiefs. On paper, the ICC...

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    Israel settler law angers world powers but Trump
    03.02.17
    AFP

    Israel faced mounting international criticism Tuesday over a new law allowing the appropriation of private Palestinian land for Jewish settler outposts, but the United States remained notably silent. The United Nations, Britain, France and Israel's neighbour Jordan were among those coming out against the legislation passed in parliament late Monday. "This bill is in contravention of international law and will have far reaching legal consequences for Israel," UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a statement. The law legalises dozens of wildcat outposts and thousands of settler...

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    ICC : Why Withdrawing from the Rome Statute Undermines International Justice for Everyone
    07.02.17
    Adama Dieng, United Nations Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide

    July 2017 marks 15 years since the Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court came into force. Many years of painstaking and protracted regional and international diplomacy preceded its adoption in order to secure consensus on the importance of creating a permanent international criminal court that could try the most serious crimes - genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.   The process that led to the coming into force of the Statute in July 2002 was the shortest in the history of treaty ratification processes, signaling not only the commitment of the...

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    Gambia: Will justice one day catch up with Yahya Jammeh?
    06.02.17
    Maxime DOMEGNI, regional correspondent

    It was under threat of a military intervention by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that Yahya Jammeh, President of Gambia for 22 years, finally decided to cede power to the winner of the December 1, 2016 election. Jammeh, who is now in Equatorial Guinea, is counting on the protection of his host country to avoid accountability for the many crimes and human rights abuses committed under his regime. As he went into exile on the night of Saturday January 21, Yahya Jammeh left behind him a wounded nation whose scars will take time to heal. Under the regime of the man who...

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    Week in Review: Africa and the International Criminal Court, Tunisia and  Myanmar
    06.02.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo

    Once again this week, Africa and its relations with the International Criminal Court were in the spotlight.  During the African Union summit this week, AU leaders recommended a mass withdrawal of African States from the International Criminal Court. But this declaration, coming after announcements by South Africa, The Gambia and Burundi that they are withdrawing from the Court, hides deep divisions within the AU, explains a Human Rights Watch analyst. Important countries like Senegal and Nigeria reiterated their support for the ICC, along with Cape Verde, Zambia, Tunisia and Malawi. New...

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    Congo : The Challenges of the First Implementation of the ICC's Reparations Mandate
    31.01.17
    Kirsten J. Fisher, Ph.D.

    On 14 March 2012, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo (Lubanga) was found guilty before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the war crime of conscripting or enlisting children under the age of 15, and using them to participate actively in hostilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This was the first conviction for the ICC and an important step in the international condemnation of the use of child soldiers. With this conviction came a sentence of 14 years in prison for Lubanga and the hope of justice for his victims – children as young as 11 who were forced to fight and die,...

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    Central African suspects of international crimes in “position of power”
    29.01.17
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    In a January 11 report on the Central African Republic (CAR), Amnesty International says several people suspected of international crimes are still circulating freely. According to the report entitled The long wait for justice: Accountability in Central African Republic,  attempts to bring these suspects to account have been thwarted by lack of resources on the part of the CAR authorities and the United Nations mission in the country (MINUSCA). JusticeInfo talked to Balkissa Ide Siddo, Central Africa Researcher at Amnesty International.  Your organization talks in the report of people...

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    Act on CAR Special Court to halt “staggering impunity”, say rights groups
    20.01.17
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    Nearly a year after elected institutions were installed in the Central African Republic (CAR), armed groups continue to sow death in the country, despite relative stabilization of the capital, Bangui. Seleka and Antibalaka militia, no doubt encouraged by the total impunity they have so far enjoyed, do not seem ready to put down their weapons. In two separate reports, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch call for the rapid setting up of the Special Criminal Court provided for in a law of 2015.  “Sectarian violence and attacks on civilians continued in central and western regions of...

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    Targeted State killings abroad as a new form of war
    17.01.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    Since September 11, 2001, the strategy of targeted killings has become more and more widespread internationally, in the name of the War on Terror. But the question of their legality is controversial. The widening of targets is turning this tactic into a specific way of waging war. Almost immediately after Al Qaeda attacked American soil on September 11, 2001, the United States promised it would hit its enemies wherever they were in the name of the “war” on terror. Paris did the same thing in Mali in 2013, still as part of the fight against armed Jihadists. Then, after the November 23, 2015...

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    Africa-France Summit Participants Should Stand With Victims
    13.01.17
    Elise Keppler

    The Africa-France Summit, taking place Friday and Saturday in Bamako, Mali, offers an important moment for African countries and France to stand with victims of grave international crimes by voicing their support for the International Criminal Court (ICC). Withdrawals from the ICC, announced by South Africa, Gambia, and Burundi, pose unprecedented challenges for the court in Africa and could impede access to justice for victims of heinous crimes when their own country’s courts are not an option. While the ICC is not on the official summit agenda, those attending can still find time to...

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    Gabon’s election rivals continue battle before the ICC
    19.12.16
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    On December 15, the lawyer for Jean Ping, recent candidate in Gabon’s elections, filed a complaint to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) accusing the Gabonese authorities of crimes against humanity. This comes after the Prosecutor opened a preliminary examination at the end of September at the request of the government.  This is the saga of Ali Bongo versus Jean Ping. The two candidates in Gabon’s August 2016 elections have decided to prolong their battle through the ICC. Bongo’s proclaimed victory, contested in the streets by supporters of Ping, resulted in violence,...

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    Hopes for justice in Mali after start of coup-leader’s trial
    16.12.16
    Mamadou Ben Chérif Diabaté in Bamako

    In Mali, civil society hopes the trial of the 2012 coup leader Amadou Haya Sanogo which opened on November 30 will pave the way for independent justice and an end to impunity. Sanogo and and 17 others are accused in connection with the massacre of 21 “Red Berets” who attempted a counter-coup after Sanogo seized power from President Amadou Toumani Touré in 2012. The trial is highly symbolic, even if it will not get properly under way until next year.  At the time of the coup on March 22, 2012, Amadou Haya Sanogo had only the rank of Captain in an army where there were many more senior...

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    ICC calls S. Africa and UN to explain lack of cooperation on Bashir
    14.12.16
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    South Africa has been summoned to appear before the judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on April 7, 2017, over its failure to arrest Sudanese President Omar al Bashir in June 2015. The United Nations has also been called to this unprecedented hearing, in which judges are to decide if Pretoria’s refusal to arrest Bashir was a breach of its obligations to the Court and, if so, whether the violation should be referred to the Assembly of States Parties (ICC member states) and UN Security Council. This summons, decided by the judges, opens a new chapter in relations between the ICC...

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    Week in Review: Landmark trials and landmark struggles for transitional justice
    12.12.16
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo

    Transitional justice, the focus of our website, is still a little understood concept, according to Kora Andrieu, an expert in the field. “The problem with transitional justice, he says, is that the term can be taken to mean that it is justice which is in transition, whereas the idea is rather justice applied to the special context of democratic transitions.” And so this week, whether before the courts of Israel or France, transitional justice continued trying to forge its identity. The Israeli case is emblematic. Settlers on Palestinian land and their allies in the Knesset (Israeli...

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    Ugandan child soldier turned "war criminal" on trial at ICC
    07.12.16
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    The trial of Ugandan Dominic Ongwen, a former child soldier turned commander of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), started at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday December 6. Ongwen is accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in northern Uganda between 2002 and 2005. Seated in the box for the accused, Dominique Ongwen scribbled in the pages of his notebook as a court Registry official read out one by one the 70 charges against him. As the 58th one was read out, his lawyer Krispus Ayena Odongo rested his head against the back of his seat, whilst Ongwen...

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    Israel moves to “legalize” all West Bank settlements
    06.12.16
    Aude Marcovitch, correspondent in Jerusalem

    Next to Route 60, a road that crosses the length of the West Bank, to the northeast of Ramallah lies the Israeli settlement of Ofra. If you go through this place peopled by some 3,000 inhabitants, a ribbon of tarmac climbs up a nearby hill. From there you have a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside. It is there that a group of radical young Israelis who say they want to “live in a community on our Biblical land”, settled in 1996. This is the outpost of Amona, which now has 40 families living there. It is the biggest “outpost” (unauthorized settlement) in the West Bank and is now...

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    Kony’s killers – are child soldiers accountable when they become men?
    06.12.16
    Samuel Okiror

    The trial of Dominic Ongwen, a senior member of the notorious Lord’s Resistance Army, opens on Tuesday before the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Many horrors will be recounted, but the case also throws up deep ethical questions: is a child, brutalised and turned into a killer, fully responsible for his or her actions? If the abuses of government forces aren’t also being investigated, at what point does it become victor’s justice? Abducted by the LRA at the age of 10, Ongwen became a protégé of rebel leader Joseph Kony and was forced to witness and carry out acts of extreme...

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