Mixed tribunals

    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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    “Better for Africans to try Africans,” Says Habré Prosecutor
    29.06.16
    Vony Rambolamanana

    After a long fight by victims of Hissène Habré, the former Chadian dictator was finally brought to justice, convicted and sentenced to life in jail on May 30, 2016, by the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) in Senegal, for war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture. He has appealed. In an interview with JusticeInfo, EAC Prosecutor Mbacké Fall hails the Court’s verdict and hopes this judgment will send a clear signal to any African leaders who commit grave violations of their citizens’ rights.   JusticeInfo: What is your reaction to this judgment?   Mbacké Fall: As the Prosecutor, I...

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    “Transitional justice is well-suited to the Central African Republic”
    21.06.16
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    Didier Niewiadowski travelled all over the Central African Republic (CAR) from 2008 to 2012 when he was cooperation and cultural advisor at the French embassy. This academic who also taught law for years in other African countries, urges new CAR President Faustin Archange Touadéra to put a transitional justice process in place quickly, because building up a normal judicial system is a long-term project in the country’s current context. In an interview with JusticeInfo, the French jurist also said he thinks the new president’s slogan “breaking with the past” needs to be qualified, given the...

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    Week in Review: A Historic Judgment for Africa
    06.06.16
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    The life sentence against former Chadian president Hissène Habré handed down on May 30 by the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) in Dakar marks a historic turning point for transitional justice. It is historic because of the gravity of the crimes committed (more than 40,000 people killed or disappeared during Habré’s eight-year dictatorship), the fact that the convict was a Head of State, and the nature of the tribunal, an African court in Africa composed of African judges trying an African.   Observers agree that the trial was exemplary. It gave a strong voice to victims, notably women...

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    Africa Can Try Its Criminals If There Is Political Will, Says FIDH
    03.06.16
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    The May 30 conviction of former Chadian president Hissène Habré for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed under his rule “shows African countries are well able to try perpetrators of mass crimes in Africa, if they have the will to do so,” says Florent Geel, head of the  Africa desk at the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). Habré, who has been living in exile in Senegal since 1990, was sentenced to life in prison by the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC), a special court sitting in Dakar. JusticeInfo: What is the importance of this judgment for the world, and for...

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    Habré Gets Life Sentence in Historic Judgment
    30.05.16
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo

    A former African head of State was on Monday convicted by African judges sitting at an African court, in the name of Africa. Former Chadian President Hissène Habré was sentenced to life in jail for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed under his rule (1982-90). The Extraordinary African Chambers’ historic judgment in Senegal, where Habré has been in exile for some 20 years, did not come as a surprise.    This judgment is the culmination of a judicial battle waged for more than 20 years by victims and their lawyers, supported by several international organizations including Human...

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