Mixed tribunals

    Universal jurisdiction gains ground from Pinochet to Syria
    27.03.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    Universal jurisdiction is making slow but steady progress as a tool against impunity, and not only in Europe. This is according to a report published on Monday March 27 by five human rights organizations. Forty-seven people suspected of crimes committed in another country were tried before national courts in 2016, according to the report, entitled Make Way for Justice. This marks slow but steady progress for the principle of universal jurisdiction, which is being used more widely, including outside the European Union. “Despite constant attacks, universal jurisdiction continues to be a...

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    Week in Review: Tunisia’s difficult transition, no justice for Syria and Sri Lanka
    06.03.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    In Tunisia, a lawyer is fighting for the decriminalization of cannabis use. The issue might seem marginal in comparison with war crimes and crimes against humanity. But for him, imprisonment of mostly young cannabis users under a law of the former Ben Ali regime, is proof that the country’s democratic transition still has a long way to go.  Lawyer Ghazi Mrabet is fighting to scrap “Law 52”, and he is not alone. Both Prime Minister Youssef Chahed and President Beji Caied Essebsi also say they want the law revoked. “This lawyer and human rights activist is now urging a presidential pardon for...

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    Sri Lanka’s victims demand justice, while government plays for time
    03.03.17
    Julia Crawford, JusticeInfo.net

    Sri Lanka’s government this week asked the UN Human Rights Council for more time to fulfil its promises under a 2015 Resolution on justice for civil war victims. The international community welcomed the surprise election of President Maithripala Sirisena in early 2015 and his promises of justice and reconciliation, but a new report from international jurists of the Sri Lanka Monitoring and Accountability Panel (MAP) says the government has done little and is acting in bad faith. The civil war, pitting majority Buddhist Sinhalese of the south against minority Hindu Tamils of the north and...

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    Week in review: Court blow for South Africa and challenges facing CAR’s Special Court
    27.02.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    The transitional justice week was marked notably by a South African court’s decision that the country’s notification of withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) was unconstitutional. This is at least a victory for the rule of law.  The decision of the High Court in Pretoria is based on procedure and does not stop the government from going ahead with ICC withdrawal, according to Hugo van der Merwe, Research Director at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) in Cape Town, who spoke to JusticeInfo. It nevertheless forces the government to go through...

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    “UN and African Union should act together to end impunity in the CAR”
    25.02.17
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    In the Central African Republic (CAR), President Touadera’s February 14 nomination of a Prosecutor for the Special Criminal Court* is an important step, but should not raise unrealistic hopes, according to jurist Didier Niewiadowski, a former adviser to the French embassy in Bangui. He says the presence in Touadera’s government of people close to former president François Bozizé, and the current de facto partition of the country will make Congolese Prosecutor Toussaint Muntazini Mukimapa’s task difficult.  JusticeInfo: Can a Special Criminal Court, which is unlikely to issue its first...

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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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    Week in Review: CAR and Gambia take positive steps on justice
    20.02.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    This week Africa and Africans showed that transitional justice, so often criticized on that continent, can complement national justice.  The Central African Republic (CAR) finally appointed a Prosecutor for its future Special Criminal Court, a mixed tribunal to be composed of national and international judges. This is the first step in a long transitional justice process, in a country divided and ravaged by conflict. CAR’s President Touadéra has appointed a Congolese jurist and military man, Toussaint Muntazini Mukimapa (also author of an article by JusticeInfo.net on complementarity...

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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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    Ex-Chad leader Habre to appeal war crimes conviction
    09.01.17
    AFP

    Chad's former president Hissene Habre was to begin an appeal Monday against his life sentence for war crimes and crimes against humanity after his conviction was hailed as a landmark for Africa. The Extraordinary African Chambers, a body created by Senegal and the African Union, sentenced Habre in May to life behind bars, an unprecedented ruling that was seen as a blow to the impunity long enjoyed by repressive rulers. In July, Habre was further ordered to pay up to 30,000 euros ($33,000) to each victim who suffered rape, arbitrary detention and imprisonment during his rule, as well as to...

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    Peace and justice for Colombia?
    29.11.16
    Christine Renaudat, correspondent in Bogota,

    In Colombia, FARC rebels and the government last week signed a revised peace deal to end half a decade of civil war. But the opposition says changes are only cosmetic, and it is not clear how justice will be applied to certain sections of the army. “Unanimity is not possible”, chief government negotiator Humberto de la Calle had already warned. The peace agreement, narrowly rejected by voters on October 2 and signed in revised form on November 24, continues to divide Colombians. After studying its 310 pages, the opposition gave its verdict. The changes, according to opposition leader and...

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    Court upholds life sentences for Khmer Rouge leaders
    23.11.16
    AFP

    Cambodia's UN-backed court upheld life sentences for two top former Khmer Rouge leaders on Wednesday for crimes against humanity, in a verdict welcomed by survivors of the brutal regime. "Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea, 90, and ex-head of state Khieu Samphan, 85, were the first top leaders to be jailed in 2014 from a regime responsible for the deaths of up to two million Cambodians from 1975-1979. They appealed their convictions, accusing the court of a string of errors and the judges of failing to remain impartial due to their personal experiences under the regime. In a lengthy ruling...

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    “Donors should have been firmer” before meeting on Central African Republic
    17.11.16
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    A donor conference for the Central African Republic is taking place Thursday November 17 in Brussels, with participants including the country’s new president Faustin-Archange Touadéra. His record after nearly a year in office is disappointing, especially with regard to fighting impunity and corruption, which are at the root of the country’s three-year crisis. In an interview with JusticeInfo, jurist and former cultural advisor to the French embassy in Bangui Didier Niewiadowski urges donors to make sure their funding is not misspent.  Does the  Touadera government have a record to reassure...

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    What prospects for peace in Colombia after the referendum?
    01.11.16
    Julia Crawford, Justice Info

    The world was expecting an end to half a century of conflict in Colombia, but on October 2 the Colombian people voted “no” to a peace accord signed on September 26 by President Juan Manual Santos and the leader of the Marxist Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC). Colombian jurist Maria Teresa Garrido, who now lives in Switzerland, thinks there is still hope for peace, given the expressed determination of the peace signatories and the fact that the accord was rejected by only a narrow margin (50.2% against and 49.8% in favour). The agreement provides for transitional justice...

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    FIDH urges international justice for Burundi and South Sudan
    01.09.16
    Ephrem Rugiririza

    Burundi and South Sudan were a central focus of discussions at the 39th World Congress of the International League for Human Rights (FIDH), which took place from August 23 to 27 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Among the “urgent resolutions” adopted by the federation’s 178 member organizations, two concern Burundi and South Sudan specifically.  FIDH appeals to the UN and the African Union to act, urging international justice to prosecute grave crimes committed in both countries. Urgent action is needed, according to FIDH. The organization’s congress called on International Criminal Court...

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    World must help save South Sudan, says expert
    09.08.16
    Julia Crawford, JusticeInfo

    In South Sudan, a fragile peace deal signed in August 2015 looks in doubt as fighting again erupted in Juba this July and Vice-President Riek Machar fled the capital. Many civilians have not only died but also been the target of serious human rights abuses. The US-based Enough Project recently published a report looking at some of the underlying causes of the conflict in South Sudan. In this interview, report author Brian Adeba tells JusticeInfo there will be no end to impunity unless the international community ensures the peace deal is applied. South Sudan, the world’s oil-rich newest...

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    UN List of Suspected Congolese Civil War Criminals to Stay Secret
    25.07.16
    Habibou Bangré, correspondent in Kinshasa

    The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights declared in Kinshasa on Thursday that his office’s data base on suspected perpetrators of serious crimes committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from 1993 to 2003 will remain secret. He said this was because measures are lacking to protect victims and witnesses, but a senior UN official who wishes to remain anonymous claimed African countries are exerting pressure to stop the list being published. In October 2010, the Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights published its “Mapping” report on serious crimes committed in the DRC...

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    Hissène Habré: From Head of State to Convicted Rapist
    20.07.16
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo Editorial Advisor, in N’Djamena

    In a society as conservative as Chad’s, taboos were too strong. So, for 25 years, women had remained silent. “There was too much shame and fear,” says Kaltouma Defallah. In her modest house in N’Djamena, a fan tries to cool the room down, whereas the outside temperature in the sun is 42 degrees. Tears run down the cheeks of this former Air Africa hostess as she watches a video of her testimony before the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) in Dakar on October 20. Kaltouma’s testimony, along with those of three of her companions, told the Court that the former Chadian president was not only...

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    CAR Judicial System Needs Complete Overhaul, Says Expert
    18.07.16
    Vony Rambolamanana in Geneva

    Restoring a reliable, trustworthy justice system in the Central African Republic (CAR) involves overcoming many challenges. That was the unanimous conclusion of a June 28 meeting at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva with participants including Marie-Thérèse Keita-Bocoum, independent expert on human rights in the CAR. Rehabilitation of the collapsed justice sector will, however, be impossible as long as there is continuing insecurity, caused by armed groups who seem to want to challenge the new, democratically elected government. Participants at the meeting hailed the CAR’s adoption of a...

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    Sri Lanka Court Needs International Judges For Credibility, Say Experts
    02.07.16
    Julia Crawford, JusticeInfo

    In October, the new Sri Lankan government of President Maithripala Sirisena co-sponsored a UN Human Rights Council Resolution calling for a wide range of transitional justice mechanisms after 26 years of armed conflict with the Tamil Tigers. These include a war crimes court with participation of international judges, prosecutors and lawyers. But the government now seems to be backtracking. At the end of June, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said he “remains convinced that international participation in the accountability mechanisms would be a necessary guarantee...

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