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The archives of the JusticeInfo.net website have been available through our search tool since 2015. These archives are a real memory bank of Transitional Justice and reconciliation processes. They cover nearly 100 countries, focussing on, for example, the activities of special courts like the ICC, ICTY and ICTR, and Truth Commissions like the Truth and Dignity Commission in Tunisia. The dispatches of the Hirondelle News Agency, which covered the work of the ICTR from its start in 1997 to its closure in 2015, are included in the search tool.

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    Unfair ISIS Trial in Iraq Hands Women Harshest Sentences
    Unfair ISIS Trial in Iraq Hands Women Harshest Sentences
    22.02.18
    Human Rights Watch

    Six months after about 1,400 foreign women and children surrendered with Islamic State (ISIS) fighters to Iraqi security forces, Iraq’s courts are sentencing the women to life in prison and even to death for non-violent crimes. It’s just one indicator of how people viewed as colluding with ISIS are receiving unfair trials. The women have been charged with illegally entering Iraq and, in some cases aiding, abetting or having membership in ISIS, which carries the penalty of life in prison or death under Iraq’s counterterrorism law. In January, Baghdad’s Criminal Court sentenced a German woman to death. Two days ago, the same court convicted 11 Turkish women and an Azeri. One of the Turkish women was sentenced to death, and the...

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    Enclaves bombarded by the Syrian regime
    21.02.18
    AFP

    Before Eastern Ghouta there was Homs, Aleppo, Daraya -- rebel towns and enclaves that the Syrian regime pounded and besieged, forcing fighters to give up their arms and civilians to flee. - Homs - Syria's third city Homs was dubbed the "capital of the revolution," after anti-government protests erupted in March 2011, but from 2012 it came under a two-year siege. In 2014, rebels cornered by advancing regime forces agreed to be evacuated, although the government went on to besiege Waer, the last remaining opposition-held district in the city. During the siege nearly 2,200 people were killed in the Homs's Old City, according to the Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. In the historic centre of the city, completely in ruins,...

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    Human Rights Watch slams police brutality and slow reform in Tunisia
    Human Rights Watch slams police brutality and slow reform...
    19.02.18
    Olfa Belhassine, correspondent in Tunis

    Human Rights Watch recently published two reports on the human rights situation in Tunisia. One concerns police brutality during a wave of protests in January 2018, and the second is part of a 2018 World Report on human rights situations. Amna Guellali, Tunisia director at Human Rights Watch, tells Justiceinfo.net in this interview about the mixed picture of human rights in Tunisia today.  JusticeInfo.net: During popular protests this January against the rising cost of living, the authorities called activists of Fech Nestanew (“What are we waiting for?”) hooligans, and accused them of vandalism. Is that true?  Amna Guellali: It is clear that there were some acts of violence that HRW considers reprehensible, but there is not yet any...

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    Week in Review: Reconciliation as the key to a successful transition
    Week in Review: Reconciliation as the key to a successful...
    18.02.18
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.Net

    In the wide domain of “transitional justice”, reconciliation processes are the key to transition, as we see in many countries.    Mali, for example, is showing this once again through its weaknesses, as Justiceinfo’s Bamako correspondent Bokar Sangaré explains. Because the 2015 Algiers accord -- meant to reconcile the north and south and their communities -- has not been implemented, the situation is deteriorating dangerously. And it is worrying people both in Mali and the international community, especially since the country is due to hold presidential elections this year in a security situation that is worsening all across Mali.  “The longer we take to implement the security provisions of the Accord, the more the situation will...

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    Opinion: Nepal’s victims want real results from transitional justice
    Opinion: Nepal’s victims want real results from...
    15.02.18
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    The one-year extensions of Nepal’s two transitional justice mechanisms without necessary legal and institutional reforms ordered by the Supreme Court and the United Nations are insufficient to comply with international standards, international human rights groups said this week. Conflict victims have welcomed the extensions, but remain dissatisfied with the commissions. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists also said that “despite flaws in the law, and questions of legitimacy and capacity, victims and their families have given the benefit of the doubt to these bodies and submitted thousands of complaints”. The National Network of Families of Disappeared and Missing Persons (NEFAD), a...

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    Brazil: Court decision puts spotlight on crimes against indigenous people
    Brazil: Court decision puts spotlight on crimes against...
    15.02.18
    Fabio Cascardo

    In a historic decision regarding crimes against humanity committed by the military dictatorship (1964-1985) against the indigenous Kinja people (also known as Waimiri-Atroari), the Brazilian Federal Justice of the state of Amazonas put out restraining orders against the Federal Government and the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), opening the way for an unprecedented judicial acknowledgement of the violence suffered by the Kinja Indigenous during that period. In this first writ on 01.19.2018 the court obliged the Federal Government to present in the next 15 days all the documents concerning the military operations carried out between 1967 and 1977 in Amazonas and determined that FUNAI shall immediately protect the sacred sites...

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    South Africa: a giant of Africa
    13.02.18
    AFP

    South Africa is the continent's most industrialised economy and among its most developed, but marked by gaping inequalities rooted in years of racist white-minority rule that ended in 1994. - Apartheid - Black South Africans, around 80 percent of the population, voted for the first time only in 1994. It was a moment of jubilation after a bitter decades-long struggle against white-minority rule. British and Dutch settlers arrived at Africa's southern tip from the 17th century, first using it as a stopover on the shipping route to Asia and later claiming colonies. They imposed discriminatory laws early on, restricting non-whites to unskilled jobs and limiting land ownership and free movement. This developed into the radical...

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    How political violence can become criminal violence
    How political violence can become criminal violence
    12.02.18
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    According to the Gallup survey institute, the five most dangerous countries in the world in 2017 were Venezuela, South Africa, El Salvador, South Sudan and Liberia. With the exception of Venezuela, they have all been through civil war, and in South Sudan there is still war. South Africa, El Salvador and Liberia, on the other hand, all turned the page on political violence a long time ago, but criminal violence has taken its place. More awareness is needed to better understand the links between armed conflict and criminal violence.  South Africa, El Salvador and Liberia all have in common that they set up Truth and Reconciliation Commissions after apartheid or armed conflicts. These commissions shed light on the political violence...

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    Week in Review: Amnesia in Poland, violence in Venezuela and the Philippines
    Week in Review: Amnesia in Poland, violence in Venezuela...
    12.02.18
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    Poland’s adoption of a controversial law on the history of the Holocaust marked the transitional justice week. Once again, a country is trying to impose its vision of history through law and close all debate on its past. The text provides for prison sentences of up to three years for anyone who talks of “Polish death camps” or “attributes responsibility or co-responsibility of the Polish State in Nazi crimes”.  Historically, the extermination camps in Poland during the Second World War were German and the work of the Nazis without collaboration of the Warsaw government, unlike other countries such as France which collaborated with the enemy. Holocaust museum Yad Vashem writes clearly that to speak of Polish death camps is a...

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    PM calls on Poles to avoid "unnecessary anti-Semitic jokes"
    11.02.18
    AFP

    Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Sunday called on Poles to refrain from making anti-Semitic statements at a time when the country is under fire over a controversial Holocaust law. The new law sets fines or a maximum three-year jail term for anyone ascribing "responsibility or co-responsibility to the Polish nation or state for crimes committed by the German Third Reich -- or other crimes against humanity and war crimes" and set off criticism from Israel, the United States and France. "I would like to invite every one of you to contribute to positive thinking... to avoid anti-Semitic statements, because they are grist to the mill for our enemies, for our adversaries," Morawiecki said at a town hall meeting in the...

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    Wake up to suffering of Georgian victims, NGOs tell international court
    Wake up to suffering of Georgian victims, NGOs tell...
    08.02.18
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    In a report published on February 5, human rights organizations express concern for the situation of victims of the summer 2008 Russia-Georgia war.  Two years after the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened an investigation, they are calling on the Court to go faster. In The Hague, the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) asserts that the investigation is “progressing at full speed”. The 50-page report calls for the world not to forget victims of the lightning summer 2008 war (August 7-12, 2008) that pitted Russia against Georgia for the separatist province of South Ossetia. It is published by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Georgian Human Rights Centre (HRIDC). “Almost ten years have passed since the...

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    The US-led coalition in Syria: a timeline
    08.02.18
    AFP

    The US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group has avoided involvement in Syria's civil war, but on Thursday it said it killed more than 100 pro-regime fighters in the country. The international coalition was set up in 2014 to drive IS from territories it controlled in Iraq and Syria. Washington has deployed 2,000 soldiers in Syria, mainly special forces, who support the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an Arab-Kurdish coalition fighting the IS. - First air strikes - In September 2014, the US and Arab allies launch air strikes on the IS in Syria, opening a new front in the fight against the jihadist group, already targeted by raids in Iraq. - Support for Kurds - In October 2014 the US State Department reveals that...

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    ICC probing alleged crimes in Philippines, Venezuela
    ICC probing alleged crimes in Philippines, Venezuela
    08.02.18
    AFP

    The prosecutor at the International Criminal Court on Thursday unveiled new probes focusing on the deadly war on drugs in the Philippines and alleged abuses during Venezuela's political unrest. The unprecedented decision to launch two inquiries at once comes after ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda was petitioned by opposition leaders from the two countries, accusing their hardline governments of crimes against humanity. Bensouda said after "a careful, independent and impartial review... I have decided to open a preliminary examination into each situation." Both countries have signed the Rome Statute, underpinning the ICC, giving the tribunal authority to investigate crimes on their soil. In the Philippines, Bensouda's office will...

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    EU’s Balkan Strategy Misses Chance to Tackle Past Injustice
    EU’s Balkan Strategy Misses Chance to Tackle Past Injustice
    08.02.18
    Marlies Stappers, Thomas Unger

    The European Commission presented its strategy for the Western Balkans on Tuesday, giving countries in the region a clear perspective for EU accession.This is to be welcomed, and there is no discussion that the future of the region lies within the European bloc. However, unaddressed grievances from the 1990s wars continue to undermine the perspective for peace. The EU strategy notes that transitional justice processes are incomplete, adding that “all countries must unequivocally commit, in both word and deed, to overcoming the legacy of the past, by achieving reconciliation and solving open issues well before their accession to the EU”.The EU strategy, however, fails in providing a clear road map for change.Today, 20 years after...

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    Poland : "Fighting for historical truth with a penal code is the matter of weak states"
    Poland : "Fighting for historical truth with a penal code...
    07.02.18
    Tomasz Lachowski

    Reckoning with past evils never is an easy task. Undoubtedly, fighting for historical truth appears as an inherent right of each and every nation, what corresponds to the freely chosen shape of the politics of memory of a given state. Nevertheless, the ongoing discussion over the recent changes in the law on the Institute of National Remembrance (PINR) – named as a ‘Holocaust law’ in Western media – recently enacted by the Polish parliament, clearly shows how (even justified) intentions may be sunk by the legal and diplomatic short-sightedness of their authors. Today’s decision of the president Andrzej Duda to sign the bill, despite the assurances by politicians in Warsaw, definitely would not calm Poland’s partners in Tel Aviv,...

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    Poland tries to rewrite Holocaust history
    Poland tries to rewrite Holocaust history
    06.02.18
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    After putting pressure on the judicial system and the media, Poland’s authorities are now clamping down on how the country’s Second World War history is told. This authoritarian trend is worrying the European Union. January 27 marked the commemoration of 73 years since the liberation of Auschwitz. The day before, Poland’s Senate adopted by 57 votes to 23 against plus two  abstentions a law under which people who mention “Polish death camps” or attribute any responsibility of the Polish State in Nazi crimes can be sentenced to up to three years in jail. On February 6, Polish President Andrzej Duda signed this into law. The law has provoked the ire of the Israeli government, which “adamantly opposes” any attempt to modify historical...

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    Gambia: Many Jammeh loyalists still in high posts, says human rights defender
    Gambia: Many Jammeh loyalists still in high posts, says...
    06.02.18
    Maxime Domegni, West Africa correspondent

    A year after the fall of Yahya Jammeh’s bloody 22-year dictatorship, there is a wind of freedom blowing in The Gambia. But, at the same time, many Gambians are worried that the new government is trying to do “new things with old faces”. One of them is Fatou Jagne Senghor, a Gambian human rights defender who is West Africa regional director for the freedom of expression group Article 19. She spoke to JusticeInfo about her concerns, starting with how the secret service, formerly the feared National Intelligence Agency (NIA), is managed. JusticeInfo: What was the role of the National Intelligence Agency in Yahya Jammeh’s repression? Fatou Jagne Senghor: It is clear that for 22 years the NIA was at the heart of most of the human rights...

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    Afghanistan: NGO urges ICC not to forget Guantanamo crimes
    Afghanistan: NGO urges ICC not to forget Guantanamo crimes
    05.02.18
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    A human rights NGO has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to extend its likely investigations on Afghanistan to crimes committed at Guantanamo. On November 20, 2017, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda asked the court’s  judges for authorisation to open an investigation into crimes committed by US forces and the CIA in Afghanistan and Europe, as well as by the Taliban and the Afghan regime. The victims had until January 31, 2018 to support or reject this request. Their opinions should allow the judges to decide whether or not it is in victims’ interest to open an investigation. Several victims imprisoned in secret CIA prisons have sent opinions to the Court via human rights organizations including the Center for...

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    Week in Review: Testing times for TJ from Kosovo to Burundi
    Week in Review: Testing times for TJ from Kosovo to Burundi
    05.02.18
    François Sergent JusticeInfo.net

    This was a bad week for transitional justice, in Kosovo, Tunisia and Burundi. In Kosovo, the authorities are trying to stop the special tribunal charged with trying war crimes committed by UCK rebels between 1998 -2000, explains Pierre Hazan. That is not surprising given that former UCK commanders including President Hashim Thaçi and his Prime Minister are now in power in Pristina. The Serbs, who feel they have been abandoned by justice in the Balkans, were the primary victims of the crimes under the jurisdiction of the new tribunal, which is officially part of the Kosovo judicial system but based in The Hague to ensure independence. The European Union, which initiated the court, has already warned Kosovo’s leaders that any attempt...

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    Will contested Kosovo tribunal ever get off the ground?
    Will contested Kosovo tribunal ever get off the ground?
    01.02.18
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    Is the Kosovo war crimes tribunal dead before it even begins? Parliamentarians close to the country’s President and Prime Minister are trying to sabotage it. Meanwhile Switzerland has granted it funding support. In January 2018, Switzerland granted funding of 200,000 francs (181,200 euros) to the tribunal charged with shedding light on war crimes committed in Kosovo between 1998 and 2000, particularly the disappearance of 500 mainly Serb civilians in the context of conflict between separatists and Serb forces plus a NATO military intervention. But numerous parliamentarians from the party in power in Pristina remain determined to put an end to this new tribunal which could threaten key people in power who were commanders of the...

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    Opinion: Klaus Barbie and Burundi’s Truth Commission
    Opinion: Klaus Barbie and Burundi’s Truth Commission
    30.01.18
    Louis-Marie Nindorera, Burundian consultant on transitional justice

    January 27 was International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Seventy years on and thousands of miles from where it happened, this day for prevention of crimes against humanity also has resonance in Burundi. Louis-Marie Nindorera is a Burundian transitional justice expert. To mark this year’s international day, he penned these memories for Yaga, a collective of Burundian bloggers. It was 20 years ago, in 1994. I was driving in the north of Bujumbura in my Peugeot 205, taking a two-year-old girl to see the heights and plains of the Burundian capital, as had become my habit. A few weeks earlier my cousin had rescued this little girl from one of the many Red Cross trucks bringing hundreds of refugees, survivors of the unspeakable genocide...

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    Myanmar: A mass grave, an unprecedented admission and a few unanswered questions
    Myanmar: A mass grave, an unprecedented admission and a...
    29.01.18
    SITHU AUNG MYINT | FRONTIER

    The unprecedented admission by the Tatmadaw (Myanmar national army) that security forces were involved in unlawfully killing Muslims in Rakhine State may have implications for plans to repatriate verified refugees from Bangladesh. The True News Information Team at the Ministry of Defence said on January 10 that action would be taken against members of the security forces and civilians over the summary execution in Rakhine State of 10 men it described as “Muslim terrorists”. The announcement followed an investigation launched by the Tatmadaw on December 20, two days after it revealed the discovery of 10 bodies in a mass grave at a cemetery at Inn Din village, in Maungdaw Township, northern Rakhine. The investigation, which ended on...

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    Week in Review: Gambia, Mali, Tunisia and Iraq
    Week in Review: Gambia, Mali, Tunisia and Iraq
    29.01.18
    François Sergent JusticeInfo.net

    Transitional justice is moving forward in Gambia with the setting up of a Truth Commission.  The Commission’s task will be no less than to “mend the tissue of Gambian society, torn apart by 22 years of iron-fisted rule under ex-dictator Yahya Jammeh”, as our West Africa correspondent Maxime Domegni writes. The victims and their families expect much of this Commission, but they warn there will be no reconciliation without justice. “I often hear people talking about reconciliation, but there can be no talk of reconciliation without truth and justice for our loved ones who were killed,” says Aji Maly Ceesay, whose son Mamute Ceesay was disappeared in 2013 by Jammeh’s secret service. This phrase could well be spoken by all the victims...

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    Iraq: “Saving manuscripts is also saving people”
    Iraq: “Saving manuscripts is also saving people”
    25.01.18
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    What is the point of saving culture if you can’t save people? That seems a derisory question in the spiral of violence hitting Iraq and Syria for years. But not for Father Najeeb. He has managed to save thousands of precious manuscripts that Daesh wanted to destroy because, he says, “Man is like a tree and cannot live without his roots”. With his soft-spoke manner and obvious kindness, Father Najeeb does not look like a cowboy or an Indiana Jones come to save treasure. This, however, is what this former oil industry engineer born in Mosul has done. For a long time now, he has not been seeking black gold beneath the soil of Iraq but other resources also born there long ago: cross-cultural manuscripts that recount the stories of...

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    I visited the Rohingya refugee camps and here is what Bangladesh is doing right
    I visited the Rohingya refugee camps and here is what...
    25.01.18
    The Conversation

    Nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees have entered Bangladesh from Myanmar since September 2017. The Bangladeshi government’s plan to start repatriating them beginning this Tuesday, Jan. 22, has been postponed due to concerns about their safety. That the Bangladesh government agreed to the delay, speaks to its benevolent attitude toward the Rohingya refugees. In a recent trip to Bangladesh I witnessed this benevolence firsthand. I saw roads adorned with pro-refugee banners. Even those with opposing political views have come together to support the Rohingyas. The Bangladesh case stands in stark contrast to what happened in Europe in 2015, which faced an influx of a similar number of refugees, where many European countries saw rising...

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    No reconciliation without justice, say Gambia’s victims
    No reconciliation without justice, say Gambia’s victims
    25.01.18
    Maxime Domegni, West Africa correspondent

    As Gambia’s new authorities prepare to launch a Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, victims warn that there will be no reconciliation without justice. The process leading to the appointment of 11 Commission members is expected to be complete by the end of February. These rare birds, people of moral standing who have never been involved in human rights abuses or active in a political party, should be in post by then. According to a guide released by the Justice Ministry in mid-January, five Commission members will be designated by the country’s president, five will be elected (one from each region) and one will be a youth representative. This team of 11 will have the heavy task of mending the tissue of Gambian society,...

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    A Practitioners' Perspective on Forms of Justice in Peru...
    23.01.18
    ICTJ

    Jairo Rivas has a decade of experience working with reparations forms. In the aftermath of Peru’s internal armed conflict, Rivas helped distribute reparations to thousands of victims as Technical Secretary of the Reparations Council, an autonomous body established to implement the comprehensive reparations plan recommended by the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Rivas has also worked in Colombia, serving as senior advisor to the Director of the Special Administrative Unit for the Assistance and Comprehensive Reparations of Victims. There, he coordinated the registration process and the implementation of reparations from the internal armed conflict in that country. In both Peru and Colombia, registrar officers...

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    Kabul Hotel Attack a "War Crime", says HRW
    Kabul Hotel Attack a "War Crime", says HRW
    23.01.18
    Human Rights Watch

    This weekend’s attack on the Intercontinental Hotel was just the latest in a long string of incidents targeting civilians in Afghanistan. Those who ordered or carried out this serious violation of the laws of war are responsible for war crimes. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the hours-long attack on the hotel, during which gunmen killed at least seven Afghans and 11 foreign nationals, most of them shot dead in their rooms or the hotel dining room. The attackers, who reportedly entered through the kitchen, worked their way through the hotel floors, blowing open guests’ rooms and shooting whoever was inside, or detonating grenades. Some people were injured or killed jumping out of windows while trying to escape. The...

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    Syrian chemical weapons attacks
    23.01.18
    AFP

    Since the start of the conflict in Syria in 2011, the belligerents -- in particular the regime of President Bashar al-Assad -- have been accused on numerous occasions of using chemical weapons. Here is a summary. - Damascus threatens - The Syrian government acknowledges in July 2012 for the first time that it has chemical weapons and threatens to use them in the event of military operations by Western countries, but not against its own population. The following month, US President Barack Obama says the use or even movement of such weapons would be a "red line" for his administration. - Sarin attack - In August 2013 hundreds of people are killed in Damascus in chemical weapons strikes after Syrian troops launch an offensive in...

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    Salvadoran army colonel faces justice in Spain
    Salvadoran army colonel faces justice in Spain
    22.01.18
    François Musseau (Madrid)

    He no longer has the same charisma or the same look as he did when he was part of El Salvador’s army élite. At 74, former colonel Inocente Montano is still tall, but as he comes to the special high court in Madrid (Audiencia Nacional) he seems stooped, frowning and tense. There is good reason, because he has just been extradited to Spain from the United States. And, for the first time, a senior Salvadoran officer is to face justice in Spain for one of the most infamous massacres during the years of the "dirty wars" in central America: the assassination on November 16, 1989 of 6 Jesuits (of whom 5 Spanish), a Salvadoran cook and her daughter. This slaughter took place at the Central American University (UCA) of El Salvador, headed by...

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    Week in Review: Hope in Guinea, disappointment in Togo, impunity in Burundi
    Week in Review: Hope in Guinea, disappointment in Togo,...
    22.01.18
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    Will justice be done in Guinea in the very sensitive case of the September 28, 2009 massacre of 150 people in a stadium in the capital Conakry? This looks more likely after investigations closed in December 2017 and the suspects were referred for trial, but victims are not so happy.  Firstly, Justice Minister Cheik Sacko is already saying the government does not have the money to hold this trial, which could last 8 to 10 months according to him. So he has thrown the ball into the court of donors, mainly the US and Europe, who have been calling for years for light to be shed on this massacre that the United Nations has called a crime against humanity. Another reason for dissatisfaction is the dropping of charges against two officers...

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    Burundi: "Impunity for serious crimes remains the norm"
    Burundi: "Impunity for serious crimes remains the norm"
    19.01.18
    Human Rights Watch

    The Burundi government continued its repression of real and perceived political opponents in 2017, according to the annual report of Human Rights Watch published on January 18. This included murder, forced disappearance, torture and arbitrary arrest. In its determination to continue suppressing the population without the outside world's gaze, the regime of Pierre Nkurunziza has also declared all foreign investigators persona non grata.  The political and human rights crisis that began in Burundi in April 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced that he would run for a disputed third term, continued through 2017, as government forces targeted real and perceived opponents with near total impunity. Security forces and...

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    Living through the horrors of genocide: humanitarian workers in Rwanda
    Living through the horrors of genocide: humanitarian...
    19.01.18
    The Conversation

    They are on the frontlines of any major conflict or disaster – but how much is known about the daily experiences of humanitarian workers in these extreme situations? In their new book, Génocide et crimes de masse. L’expérience rwandaise de MSF (“Humanitarian Aid, Genocide and Mass Killings: Médecins sans frontières, the Rwandan experience, 1982-97”), Marc Le Pape and Jean-Hervé Bradol set out to answer some of these questions. The book is also informed by Bradol’s experience of working for Médecins Sans Frontières in Rwanda during the genocide. Here, they discuss their findings. You investigated humanitarian operations in the Great Lakes region between 1990 and 1997. This was a period of extreme violence against Rwandophone...

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    Will Guinea hold trial this year for 2009 stadium massacre?
    Will Guinea hold trial this year for 2009 stadium massacre?
    18.01.18
    Aïssatou Barry in Conakry

      In Guinea, investigations into the September 2009 massacre in Conakry have finally closed, seven years after the event. Announcing this on December 29, 2017, Guinean Justice Minister Cheik Sacko said the suspects have been referred for trial. On September 28, 2009 the military junta in power at the time brutally crushed a peaceful opposition protest, killing 156 people and raping more than 100 women, according to UN figures. The end of the judicial investigation seems to pave the way for a trial. A steering committee has been set up to prepare the first stages of the trial, although no date has been set for its opening. “Such an important case of mass crimes has no deadline, it will take place in Guinea,” Cheik Sacko told a press...

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    This is not Myanmar’s path to peace
    This is not Myanmar’s path to peace
    18.01.18
    Frontier

    Myanmar's government runs the risk of ceding so much control to the Tatmadaw (national army) that it simply becomes irrelevant to the peace process. The next 21st Century Panglong Union Peace Conference is supposed to be just a few weeks away, but you wouldn’t know it from the Tatmadaw’s recent behaviour. Extrajudicial killings, disruption of peace meetings, fresh offensives: if you are trying to get people around a table, it’s a strange way to go about it. In recent weeks, we’ve had the deaths of four Karenni Army soldiers in military custody and the shootout at a Tatmadaw base that left two Lahu People’s Militia members dead. In the north, fighting has erupted with both the Kachin Independence Army and Ta’ang National Liberation...

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    Nepal's TJ commissions need political will, not just more time
    Nepal's TJ commissions need political will, not just more...
    15.01.18
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    On January 5, 2018, Nepal’s cabinet decided to extend the tenure of the country’s two transitional justice (TJ) bodies for another year. But this was done without consulting primary stakeholders and without evaluating the work of the commissions over the last three years. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) were set up in February 2015 with an initial two- year mandate and a one-year extension to complete the assigned tasks. However, in three years both commissions failed to deliver satisfactory results. They continue to suffer because of their limited mandates and the fact that the government financially controls them. They seem incompetent and...

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    Week in Review: African dictators cling to power, as Tunisia protests austerity again
    Week in Review: African dictators cling to power, as...
    14.01.18
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.Net

    On JusticeInfo.net, French jurist Didier Niewiadowski looks at what he calls “exception for insecurity”, a pretext used by African dictators to postpone elections indefinitely. The best example, he writes, is Joseph Kabila in the Democratic Republic of Congo who, according to Niewiadowski, is “using the exception for insecurity with cynicism and provocation”. “His mandate expired definitively on December 19, 2016,” the writer explains, “but despite mediation by the National Episcopal Conference of Congo and the accords of December 31, 2016, the presidential election did not take place in 2017. Insecurity is clearly the primary reason used for not launching the first phases of the electoral process. And so the presidential mandate is...

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    For Muslims across Myanmar, citizenship rights a legal fiction
    For Muslims across Myanmar, citizenship rights a legal...
    11.01.18
    THOMAS MANCH | FRONTIER

    In Myanmar, members of the Muslim community are facing long delays in citizenship applications unless they acquiesce to officials’ suggestions that they be labelled “Bengali”. Ma Hnin Hlaing, a bright, young Bamar Muslim, cannot become a Myanmar citizen unless she agrees to be called “Bengali”. She finds the label offensive, but without citizenship she cannot complete the business law degree she began in 2014. If she cannot graduate she cannot become a lawyer, her chosen profession. Immigration officials insist she cannot be both Bamar and Muslim and must register as Bengali. She refuses. “It’s quite disgusting,” she said. “Why should I be treated as an alien in a country I was born in? That my ancestors died in?” Citizenship,...

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    ICC investigations in Burundi “will be difficult but not impossible”
    ICC investigations in Burundi “will be difficult but not...
    11.01.18
    Emmanuel Sehene Ruvugiro in Kigali

    Burundi’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) became effective in October 2017, after the Court had finished its preliminary examination on crimes committed since April 2015 in that country. But Burundi’s withdrawal does not put an end to the ICC investigations.  According to Stella Ndirangu, a Kenyan human rights lawyer working with the International Commission of Jurists, the challenge now is how the Court in The Hague will conduct investigations, since Bujumbura has clearly stated that it will not cooperate. She says the task will be difficult but not impossible. JusticeInfo: What are the legal consequences for the ICC of Burundi’s withdrawal? Stella Ndirangu: By the time Burundi withdrew, the ICC had been...

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    Key dates in Tunisia since 2011 revolt
    10.01.18
    AFP

    Key developments in Tunisia in the seven years since president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was toppled in a revolt that sparked a wave of uprisings in the region. - 2011: President flees - Ben Ali quits on January 14, 2011 after weeks of demonstrations sparked by the self-immolation of a fruit seller who was protesting police harassment and unemployment. He is the first leader to stand down in the Arab Spring, fleeing to Saudi Arabia after 23 years in power. In October, Islamist group Ennahda wins 89 of the 217 seats in a new constituent assembly, just months after being legalised in March. It is Tunisia's first free election. The assembly elects former opposition leader Moncef Marzouki as president in December. - 2012:...

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    War criminals: freed before serving out their jailtime
    War criminals: freed before serving out their jailtime
    05.01.18
    AFP

    Before former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori, several people convicted of crimes against humanity have been granted early release, from Nazis tried in Nuremberg to Argentinian military officers. - World War II - - Walther Funk: The former chief of the German Reichsbank from 1939 to 1945 is sentenced to life in prison at the Nuremberg trials in 1946 for having accepted gold extorted by the SS from deportees to concentration camps. He is freed in 1957 for health reasons. - Erich Raeder: The commander of the German Navy until 1943 is sentenced at Nuremberg to life in prison, before being freed in 1955 as he approaches 80 for medical reasons. - Maurice Papon: A senior official under France's wartime Vichy government, Papon...

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    As Yugoslav tribunal closes, a look back at its history
    As Yugoslav tribunal closes, a look back at its history
    03.01.18
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    In his last speech to the UN Security Council on December 6, 2017, ICTY President Carmel Agius expressed satisfaction that out of 161 persons indicted, all have been tried or have died, representing a 100% success rate, although the difficulties were many. This is all the more surprising because the first international criminal tribunal had everything against it. It was created in 1993, in the midst of war in Bosnia- Herzegovina, with no access to the former Yugoslavia, and was pushed by founding fathers who did not even want it to succeed!  The ICTY was proposed to the Security Council by French Foreign Minister at the time Roland Dumas (Resolutions 808 and 827) as a tool to deter crimes but above all to fend off accusations that...

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    How the ICTY has changed our world
    How the ICTY has changed our world
    03.01.18
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) closed its doors on December 31, 2017, after working for 24 years, issuing 161 indictments and nearly as many judgments, hearing 4,600 witnesses over 10,800 days of trials, producing millions of pages and costing billions of dollars. Apart from the Second World War, no war has been as studied and certainly none has been the subject of judicial procedures like the one that tore the former Yugoslavia apart in the 1990s.   So the time has come for a first evaluation, and the legacy of the ICTY is clearly considerable. Its major impact was to help judicialize international relations, and try to make this work even in wartime.  This is a revolution whose effects we...

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    French judges finish probe into attack that sparked Rwanda...
    21.12.17
    AFP

    French anti-terror judges have finished their investigation into the missile attack that sparked Rwanda's 1994 genocide and will now decide whether to send the highly sensitive case to trial, legal sources said Thursday. The missile strike on a plane near Kigali's airport in April 1994 killed Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana, triggering 100 days of bloodshed that left an estimated 800,000 people dead, mostly members of the Tutsi minority. The genocide has caused two decades of tension between Paris and Kigali, which accuses France of complicity in the killings through its support and military training for Habyarimana's Hutu forces who carried out most of the slaughter. The French probe over the missile attack -- set up in...

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    Nepal: Publish Commission Report on Terai Violence, says HRW
    Nepal: Publish Commission Report on Terai Violence, says HRW
    21.12.17
    Human Rights Watch

     Authorities in Nepal should immediately make public the December 14, 2017 report of a special commission on the Terai violence in 2015, Human Rights Watch said today. The High-Level Inquiry Commission was established in 2016 to investigate alleged excessive and indiscriminate use of force during violent protests that left at least 45 people dead, including nine police officers. While the commission officially handed its report to Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, the government has not indicated next steps based on the report’s findings and its recommendations. The victims of the violence and their families have a right to know what happened. “The Nepali government overcame political bickering to appoint an independent...

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    How the Yugoslav Tribunal Made History, according to HRW
    How the Yugoslav Tribunal Made History, according to HRW
    21.12.17
    Human Rights Watch

    Bullet holes, bloodstains and brain matter marked the walls of an empty barn, a crime scene processed to document the worst crime in Europe since the Second World War: the deliberate killings of more than 7,000 men and boys from the Bosnian town of Srebrenica. Journalists and human rights researchers had pieced together the horrifying story based on eyewitness accounts from the few who survived; and then investigators from the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal built a genocide case by collecting evidence from killing sites and exhuming mass graves. At the time war erupted amidst the breakup of socialist Yugoslavia in 1991, human rights investigations in Europe largely focused on the rights of political dissidents and minorities within...

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    State agents, militia 'planned' DRC massacres: rights group
    State agents, militia 'planned' DRC massacres: rights group
    20.12.17
    AFP

    Security forces and an army-backed militia planned massacres in an opposition stronghold in the Democratic Republic of Congo, human rights activists charged Wednesday, calling the killings "crimes against humanity". The southern Kasai region suffered "one of the worst human rights crises in the world" between March and July, the Paris-based International Human Rights Federation (FIDH) said in a report compiled with partner rights groups in the country. It includes heart-rending testimony such as that of a 27-year-old woman who described soldiers attacking her village and burning down houses. As she fled, she "saw a lot of corpses... of children, of villagers." The FIDH said the atrocities "were perpetrated mainly by elements...

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    Reuters journalists arrests a damning reflection on the state of Myanmar's democratic transition
    Reuters journalists arrests a damning reflection on the...
    20.12.17
    Frontier

    These are dark days for journalism in Myanmar. LET’S BE CLEAR: The detention of Reuters journalists Ko Wa Lone and Ko Kyaw Soe Oo is a brazen attack on the media and the principles of democracy. This is not about national security. This is about protecting the interests of the Tatmadaw and silencing those who do not blindly repeat the official line. However, this line – that security forces have not been involved in abuses in northern Rakhine – has already been widely discredited: by satellite imagery, by accounts of refugees, by physical evidence of abuses and even by journalists who visited Rakhine on a state-sponsored trip. The military’s investigation claimed that security forces acted with restraint in Rakhine State in the...

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    South Sudan: Stop Delays on Hybrid Court, says HRW
    South Sudan: Stop Delays on Hybrid Court, says HRW
    19.12.17
    Human Rights Watch

     South Sudan’s top officials have failed to make good on promises to establish an African Union-South Sudanese hybrid court to try international crimes committed during the country’s civil war, Human Rights Watch said today. Four years into the conflict, both parties continue to commit grave human rights crimes against civilians. Despite the August 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS), which envisioned the hybrid court, abuses by all parties persist as the conflict continues to spread. South Sudan’s transitional government has neither ended violations by its army nor made progress toward setting up the court. The lack of progress points to the need for measures like targeted sanctions against...

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    In Myanmar, possibly 'genocide', says UN rights chief
    In Myanmar, possibly 'genocide', says UN rights chief
    18.12.17
    AFP

    The UN rights chief told AFP Monday that Myanmar clearly "planned" violent attacks on its Rohingya minority, causing a mass-exodus, and warned the crackdown could possibly amount to "genocide". "For us, it was clear... that these operations were organised and planned," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in an interview. "You couldn't exclude the possibility of acts of genocide... You cannot rule it out as having taken place or taking place." Doctors Without Borders said Thursday that at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed in the first month of a Myanmar army crackdown on rebels in Rakhine state that began in August. And more than 655,000 of the Muslim minority have fled across the border into Cox's...

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    Week in Review: DRC, Ethiopia and crime of aggression,
    Week in Review: DRC, Ethiopia and crime of aggression,
    16.12.17
    François Sergent and Julia Crawford, JusticeInfo

    In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a military court sitting in the little town of Kavumu struck a historic blow for transitional justice in a place where sexual violence and powerful people generally go unpunished. The week also saw an important verdict for Ethiopia and a move to give the International Criminal Court jurisdiction over “aggression”.   “It was a historic verdict pronounced on Wednesday December 13 by a military court in South Kivu, eastern DR Congo, in the trial of some 20 members of the Army of Jesus militia (Jeshi la Yesu in Swahili) accused of rape and murder,” writes our correspondent Claude Sengenya. “Local politician Frédéric Batumike, head of this militia, and 11 of his co-accused were sentenced to life in...

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    UN says life terms for DRCongo child rapists a 'major...
    16.12.17
    AFP

    The UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo Saturday hailed as a "major advance" life sentences served this week on a provincial lawmaker and ten militiamen convicted of raping young girls. The group were jailed for life on Wednesday in the east of the country for raping about 40 children, including a baby, in what was judged as a crime against humanity. The defendants were said to belong to a militia group called "Djeshi ya Yesu" -- meaning "Army of Jesus" in Swahili -- led by South Kivu provincial lawmaker Frederic Batumike. The "unprecedented trial and the ruling constitute a major advance in the fight against impunity for sexual violence," said Maman Sidikou, the head of MONUSCO, the UN's peacekeeping mission in the...

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    Historic verdict in DRC child rape trial
    Historic verdict in DRC child rape trial
    14.12.17
    Claude Sengenya in Kavumu, South Kivu province of eastern DRC

    It was a historic verdict pronounced on Wednesday December 13 by a military court in South Kivu, eastern DR Congo, in the trial of some 20 members of the Army of Jesus militia (Jeshi la Yesu in Swahili) accused of rape and murder. Local politician Frédéric Batumike, head of this militia, and 11 of his co-accused were sentenced to life in jail. Two others were sentenced to one year, while six were acquitted. Their trial concerned the rape of some 40 children aged 8 months to 12 years in Kavumu, South Kivu, between 2013 and 2016. The trial lasted 17 days, during which the prosecution and civil parties brought evidence in a tireless attempt to convince the three military judges that these were “widespread and systematic” acts...

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    Dozen DR Congo child rapists handed life sentences
    Dozen DR Congo child rapists handed life sentences
    13.12.17
    AFP

    A dozen militiamen in eastern DR Congo were jailed for life Wednesday for raping about 40 children, including a baby, in what was judged a crime against humanity. The defendants were said to belong to a militia group called "Djeshi ya Yesu" -- meaning "Army of Jesus" in Swahili -- led by South Kivu provincial lawmaker Frederic Batumike. The children, ranging from babies aged just eight months to a 12-year-old girl, were kidnapped and raped between 2013 and 2016. A large crowd gathered in the area before Batumike and the 11 others were convicted by the military tribunal and "sentenced to life in prison for the crime against humanity by rape and murder". The verdict was delivered in a packed courtroom, concluding a trial that...

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    Burundi: The Rights Defender Nestor Nibitanga Detained,...
    13.12.17
    Human Rights Watch

    Authorities in Burundi have been holding a human rights activist since November 21, 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should immediately release the activist, Nestor Nibitanga, or charge him with a credible offense. The police accused Nibitanga, via twitter, of “threatening state security.” Nibitanga was arrested at his home in Gitega province and taken to the headquarters of the national intelligence service (Service national de renseignement, SNR), in Bujumbura, the capital. Human Rights Watch and other organizations have documented numerous cases of torture of detainees there. He was held incommunicado, without charge and without access to his family or a lawyer until December 4. He was then transferred to an...

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    Gambia: Truth Commission to Uncover Jammeh Abuses, says HRW
    Gambia: Truth Commission to Uncover Jammeh Abuses, says HRW
    12.12.17
    Human Rights Watch

    Gambia’s truth commission bill, to be debated on December 13, 2017, is an important opportunity to shed light on human rights violations committed during the rule of former President Yahya Jammeh, Human Rights Watch said today. The National Assembly should amend the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission bill to prohibit amnesties for those responsible for extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, rape, or torture, in accordance with international law and practice. “Gambia will greatly benefit from a truth-telling process that shines light on Jammeh’s abuses,” said Jim Wormington, West Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Gambian victims deserve a truth commission that gives them a platform to tell their...

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    In Myanmar, women targeted by human trafficking in Kachin
    In Myanmar, women targeted by human trafficking in Kachin
    11.12.17
    SU MYAT MON | FRONTIER

    Women’s groups in Myanmar's Kachin State say understaffed police with inadequate resources are hampering investigations into human trafficking and contributing to a crime wave in Myitkyina, in which women are often the targets. Since the conflict between the Tatmadaw (Myanmar army) and Kachin Independence Army resumed in 2011, bringing to an end a 17-year ceasefire, almost 100,000 people have been displaced.  The majority of those displaced live in camps close to Myitkyina, the state capital, and neighbouring Waingmaw. Women and children comprise more than half of the IDPs, and human traffickers are a constant menace, looking to take victims over the border into China. A serious shortage of officers and resources is making it...

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    Was the destruction of Old Mostar Bridge a war crime?
    Was the destruction of Old Mostar Bridge a war crime?
    11.12.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    To what extent does the destruction of an architectural masterpiece constitute a war crime if that masterpiece is also used for military purposes? What, too, if the destruction of such a monument, like the Old Mostar Bridge, causes psychological and physical harm to a civilian population now under siege? How should military objectives, damage to cultural heritage, psychological and physical harm be weighed together? That was the headache posed by the last judgment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).  The ICTY’s last judgment on November 29 will be remembered for the televised live suicide of Slobodan Praljak, one of the six accused, as the sentence was being read out. But another aspect of this...

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    Week in Review: ICC debates “crime of aggression” as Yemen suffers and Croatia denies
    Week in Review: ICC debates “crime of aggression” as Yemen...
    09.12.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    The International Criminal Court’s annual meeting of 123 member countries started this week at the United Nations in New York. This year’s Assembly of States Parties (ASP) is discussing, among other things, whether the "crime of aggression" will be added to the ICC’s jurisdiction alongside war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. This debate is not just academic and legal. The "crime of aggression" -- i.e. one country aggressing another -- divides both ICC member and non-member States, because it could mean the indictment of State leaders in cases like Russia’s war in Georgia and/or annexation of Crimea, and the United States’, France’s and Britain’s intervention in Libya. Ugandan and Rwandan meddling in the Democratic...

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    Yemen situation worsening faster than we can respond, says ICRC chief
    Yemen situation worsening faster than we can respond, says...
    07.12.17
    Frédéric Burnand, correspondent in Geneva

    The violent death of former Yemeni president Ali Abdallah Saleh following his implicit offer to make peace with Saudi Arabia, risks fuelling the proxy war in Yemen between Riyadh and Teheran, according to some analysts, while some now see a possible end to the conflict. Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross says the humanitarian situation continues to worsen, as ICRC President Peter Maurer explains. Last Saturday, 48 hours before he was killed by his former allies – Houthi rebels supported by Iran --, Ali Abdallah Saleh had said he was ready to "turn the page” with Saudi Arabia. That was immediately welcomed by the Saudi-led  military coalition that has been fighting the Houthi-Saleh alliance since 2015. With no...

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    Opinion: More justice needed for war victims in Nepal
    Opinion: More justice needed for war victims in Nepal
    07.12.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    Nepal’s political elites hail the country’s transition from civil war as a success. But commissions for Truth and Reconciliation and on Enforced Disappeared Persons are not independent, and have not so far done their job. Many cases of civil war abuses filed before both national courts and UN bodies have not been adequately followed up, and victims are still waiting for justice.  On this Human Rights Day (December 10), let us call on all political actors in Nepal to respect victims’ right to truth, access to justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition for a peaceful future.The Maoist revolt in Nepal between 1996 and 2006 left thousands dead, as well as many disappeared. After the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was...

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    Possible 'elements of genocide' in Myanmar: UN rights chief
    Possible 'elements of genocide' in Myanmar: UN rights chief
    05.12.17
    AFP

    The UN rights chief called Tuesday for a fresh international investigation into Myanmar's abuses against its Rohingya Muslim minority, warning of possible "elements of genocide". Speaking before a special session of the UN Human Rights Council on the abuses against the Rohingya, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein condemned "widespread, systematic and shockingly brutal" attacks against the Rohingya, as well as decades of discrimination and persecution. An army-led crackdown has forced some 626,000 people to flee from northern Rakhine state and across the border into squalid camps in Bangladesh in recent months, leaving hundreds of villages burned to the ground. Myanmar's military denies accusations by the UN and US that it has committed...

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    Week in Review: ICTY suicide and children’s war drawings question international justice
    Week in Review: ICTY suicide and children’s war drawings...
    01.12.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo

    Croat war criminal Slobodan Praljak’s suicide in court, just as he was being sentenced to 20 years in jail,  puts a tragic final end to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). It is with those images, broadcast on the Internet, that the ICTY will close its doors at the end of December. This is the “lowering of the curtain on a courtroom become a crime scene”, writes AFP. The ICTY, set up by the United Nations in 1993, was the first international criminal tribunal after the post-World War II Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals. Born during the Balkan conflicts, the ICTY leaves a significant but also controversial legacy for international justice. “Never has a war been so documented, examined and...

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    Children’s drawings as evidence of war crimes
    Children’s drawings as evidence of war crimes
    01.12.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    “Deflagrations: Children’s drawings and adult wars”, a book published by Anamosa, recounts war in 150 children’s drawings. The book is accompanied by an exhibition until December 16 at the André Malraux médiathèque in Strasbourg. This is a beautiful book which appeals for peace. Colourless corpses, huts on fire, columns of refugees, bombing, fear and sadness. The 150 drawings put together by Zérane Girardeau tell of war through children’s eyes. The book “ Déflagrations, dessins d’enfants, guerre d’adultes”, published by Anamosa, reproduces a century of children’s drawings during war, the work of young witnesses from the First World War to the conflict in Syria. “These drawings allow us to situate ourselves for a moment outside the...

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    ICC won't prosecute Israel over deadly flotilla raid
    30.11.17
    AFP

    The International Criminal Court will not prosecute Israel over the deadly raid on a flotilla carrying humanitarian aid toward Gaza in May 2010, it was announced Thursday. "I have ultimately decided to reaffirm my previous decision of November 6, 2014," ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement, referring to when she ruled the incident was "not of sufficient gravity". However, sticking to that same judgement Bensouda said: "My conclusion remains that there is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed by some members of the Israel Defence Forces." Nine Turkish citizens died when Israeli marines stormed the Mavi Marmara, among eight ships trying to break a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. One more...

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    History of the ex-Yugoslav war crimes court
    30.11.17
    AFP

    The final verdict of the UN war crimes court for former Yugoslavia was its most dramatic, with a Bosnian Croat commander committing suicide in front of judges who had just upheld his sentence. Here is a snapshot of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which will formally close on December 31 after 24 years in operation. - Mission: war crimes - The United Nations established the ICTY in 1993 to try perpetrators of war crimes committed in the ethnic violence that followed the break-up of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. It is the first international war crimes tribunal since the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals on World War II. Based in The Hague, the court at its height employed about 1,200...

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    Chaos at UN court as Bosnian Croat defendant 'takes poison' and dies
    Chaos at UN court as Bosnian Croat defendant 'takes...
    29.11.17
    AFP

    The UN war crimes court for former Yugoslavia descended into chaos during it last judgement Wednesday when a defendant took poison to protest the upholding of his 20-year jail term. Bosnian Croat war criminal Slobodan Praljak died later in hospital, according to the HINA agency. UN judges were handing down judgement in the appeals case of six former Bosnian Croat political and military leaders, in the court's final verdict for war crimes committed during the bloody 1990s break-up of Yugoslavia. Seconds after his sentence was upheld, former military commander Slobodan Praljak, 72, shouted out angrily: "Praljak is not a criminal. I reject your verdict." He then raised a small brown bottle to his lips, and drank it down in full...

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    Tepid response to Myanmar-Bangladesh repatriation agreement
    Tepid response to Myanmar-Bangladesh repatriation agreement
    28.11.17
    OLIVER SLOW | FRONTIER

    Bangladesh and Myanmar say they will start repatriating refugees in two months, amid continued global pressure about the ongoing crisis in Rakhine State, in a move that humanitarian groups have called “premature” as refugees continue to cross the border. According to the United Nations, more than 620,000 people – overwhelmingly Muslims who identify as Rohingya – have crossed the border since August after a military crackdown that Washington last week said constitutes “ethnic cleansing”. After lengthy discussions, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Mr AH Mahmood Ali agreed a Memorandum of Understanding in Nay Pyi Taw on November 23. “This is a primary step. [They] will take back [Rohingya]. Now...

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    Croat leaders in last ICTY judgment for crimes in Bosnia
    Croat leaders in last ICTY judgment for crimes in Bosnia
    28.11.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    Latest UN judges uphold 25-year jail term on Bosnian Croat leader Prlic   On November 29, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is to hand down its last judgment before closing its doors in a few weeks’ time. The six accused were already tried by the lower court in 2013 and given prison sentences of 10 to 25 years for 26 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including persecution, murder, rape and sexual violence, forced displacement and inhuman acts. These six former top leaders of the self-proclaimed Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia are now being judged on appeal. The most prominent among them is Jadranko Prlic, a brilliant economist and former professor, who was invited to the United...

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    Justice leaves a bitter taste in the Balkans
    Justice leaves a bitter taste in the Balkans
    27.11.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    This December 21, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) will close its doors. Never have so many crimes provoked so much investigative work. Never has a war been so documented, examined and analysed by judicial authorities since the Second World War. Now it is time to analyse the record of this first international criminal tribunal, its successes and failures. This is indispensable, if only to learn lessons for the future of international justice.  What is most striking is the huge gap between judicial truth and the way it resonates in the societies most concerned. With courage, but also with sadness, the ICTY Prosecutor recognizes that those being glorified today are the war criminals and not their...

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    Week in Review: Victory for justice in Bosnia, and stigmatized girls in the DRC
    Week in Review: Victory for justice in Bosnia, and...
    27.11.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    The life sentence on Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic by the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was widely hailed as a victory for international law and justice. Mladic was found guilty of genocide in Srebrenica, crimes against humanity for ethnic cleansing of Bosnian towns and the siege Sarajevo, and war crimes for the hostage taking of UN personnel to stop NATO intervention during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina 25 years ago. Only Serb nationalists and Russia criticized this judgment, which comes as the ICTY prepares to close. The 1,800 pages of the judgment are also pages for history. “The judgment (…) relates dozens of dramatic events during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina (1992-1995), in which over...

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    Herceg-Bosna, bloody separatist bid of Bosnian Croats
    27.11.17
    AFP

    Six leaders of a self-proclaimed statelet for Bosnian Croats, declared during the Balkan country's bloody 1990s conflict, hear a verdict Wednesday from UN judges on their appeal against war crimes convictions. Here are details about their breakaway "republic", which they eventually hoped to merge with neighbouring Croatia: - War breaks out - When war broke out in Bosnia in 1992 as Yugoslavia fell apart, the country's Catholic Croats fought alongside Bosniak Muslims against Orthodox Serbs in the ethnically diverse country. But the nationalist leaders of ethnic Croats, who made up about 17 percent of Bosnia's population of 4.4 million, gradually became more open about their desire to be part of a "Greater Croatia". The...

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    Libya slave auctions: 'Everybody knew'
    Libya slave auctions: 'Everybody knew'
    24.11.17
    AFP

    World leaders may have been quick to voice outrage over video footage of Libyan slave auctions, but activists raised the alarm months ago -- and their warnings fell on deaf ears. Aid workers, rights groups and analysts say they had been shouting about rape, torture and forced work for thousands of black Africans in the war-torn north African country until they were blue in the face. But it took CNN's footage of young Africans being auctioned off near Tripoli, filmed on a hidden camera and aired on November 14, to force Western and African leaders into a flurry of condemnation. United Nations chief Antonio Guterres was "horrified"; African Union chief Alpha Conde was "outraged". France requested an urgent meeting of the UN...

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    Historic judgment on Bosnian Serb military chief Mladic
    Historic judgment on Bosnian Serb military chief Mladic
    23.11.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    Handing down its judgment on November 22, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) found former Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic guilty of genocide in Srebrenica, crimes against humanity and war crimes. He was sentenced to life in prison. “The true heroes are the victims and survivors who never gave up on their quest for justice,” said ICTY Prosecutor Serge Brammertz in a statement hailing the judgment. Mladic was found guilty of genocide in Srebrenica, crimes against humanity for ethnic cleansing of Bosnian towns and the siege of Sarajevo, and war crimes for the hostage taking of UN staff to stop NATO intervention. The former Bosnian Serb military commander is still hailed as a hero by the...

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    Yugoslav war crimes court helped end era of impunity
    23.11.17
    AFP

    Born from the fires engulfing the Balkans in the 1990s, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia closes next month having tried and judged dozens of those behind Europe's worst atrocities since World War II. From helping to write the history of the bitter conflict, to putting war criminals around the globe on notice that they too could up in the dock, to setting international jurisprudence for such crimes as genocide, law experts say the tribunal leaves an impressive legacy. It showed it was "possible to bring to justice the high-level figures responsible for the crimes committed in the Balkans conflict", said Diana Goff, an international lawyer and research fellow at the Clingendael Institute. And "it...

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    Four big challenges to Suu Kyi’s plans for northern Rakhine
    Four big challenges to Suu Kyi’s plans for northern Rakhine
    21.11.17
    SITHU AUNG MYINT | FRONTIER

    Myanmar's de facto leader  Aung San Suu Kyi travelled to Rakhine State this month on her first visit there since taking office. The November 2 trip took her to Sittwe, and to Maungdaw Township in northern Rakhine, where she met Rakhine and Muslims affected by the violence that has resulted in more than 600,000 Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh. At a time when the US and European Union are considering targeted sanctions against senior army officers over the operation launched in northern Rakhine after the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army attacked security posts in late August, Suu Kyi is trying to convince the international community that she is working hard to solve the crisis. Last month she established the public-private Union...

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    Key verdict due on Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic
    Key verdict due on Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic
    21.11.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is preparing to hand down on November 22 its verdict on Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic. Given the ICTY’s previous convictions of his main associates including Radovan Karadzic, a guilty verdict is widely expected.    Whilst a guilty verdict is expected, it will be key to see what sentence the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia imposes. Mladic faces a possible life sentence, but in March 2016 the ICTY unexpectedly sentenced former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic to 40 years in jail. It was nevertheless Karadzic who, from his fief of Pale overlooking Sarajevo that was besieged by his forces throughout the war,...

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    Ex-Yugoslavia would be worse off without UN Court, says ICTY Prosecutor
    Ex-Yugoslavia would be worse off without UN Court, says...
    20.11.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    On November 22, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yougoslavia (ICTY) is to hand down its verdict on Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic. This is the last verdict in a trial court of the Tribunal, which was set up by the United Nations in 1993. The ICTY is due to close its doors on December 31, 2017, after 25 years of investigations and trials, and after convicting 83 individuals for crimes committed during the conflicts in former Yugolsavia. Prosecutor Serge Brammertz talked to JusticeInfo about the legacy of the ICTY, the first international tribunal to be created after the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials. Justice Info: What is your view of the Tribunal’s legacy? Serge Brammertz: Despite all the problems that...

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    Politicians, war criminals: figures in the Balkan wars
    19.11.17
    AFP

    The UN court dealing with crimes committed during the wars that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia hands down its penultimate ruling on Wednesday, having delivered 83 convictions. Ahead of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) judgement of Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic, here is a rundown of the fate of other key players in the Balkan wars of the 1990s. - Milosevic, Serbian president: charged - Slobodan Milosevic was accused of fuelling ethnic conflict and mass murder in the former Yugoslavia during his 13 years of iron rule, defying international sanctions and NATO bombs. Elected Serbian president in 1990, he played a key role in supporting the Serb cause during the Croatian and Bosnian...

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    Mladic: Serb crusader charged over siege and slaughter
    19.11.17
    Ana Holdings AFP

    Ratko Mladic, who faces judgement Wednesday for alleged genocide, believed himself a crusading defender of the Serbs but was dubbed the "Butcher of Bosnia" for mass slaughter at the hands of his forces. The ruthless commander of Bosnian Serb troops in the 1990s civil war, Mladic came to symbolise a barbaric plan to rid swathes of Bosnian territory of Croats and Muslims and carve out a Serb-only state. Captured in 2011 after 16 years on the run, Europe's most wanted man was by then an ailing shadow of his former stocky self. But the general's defiance appeared undimmed during his trial at The Hague, although he was dogged by ill health, and the 74-year-old remains a hero to many Serbs to this day. To the families of war...

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    The 1990s Balkan wars in key dates
    19.11.17
    AFP

    Ahead of the judgement Wednesday of Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic, here is a timeline of the 1990s Balkans conflicts that tore apart the former Yugoslavia. - Bickering after Tito dies - Communist Yugoslavia, which emerged shortly after the end of World War II, was made up of six republics: Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Macedonia. Following the death of its autocratic leader Josip Broz Tito in 1980, the Yugoslav federation found itself in crisis, with bickering between ethnic groups and surging nationalist sentiments. By the time the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, inter-ethnic relations in Yugoslavia were at breaking point. The first multiparty elections in the republics in 1990 were won mostly by...

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    Week in Review: Victims still waiting for justice in Gambia, Sri Lanka and Laos
    Week in Review: Victims still waiting for justice in...
    17.11.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.Net

    This week JusticeInfo.net took a closer look at transitional justice issues affecting Gambia, where civil society is campaigning to bring ex-dictator Yahya Jammeh to justice, and Sri Lanka, where the government is dragging its feet on promises of justice for victims of the civil war. We also looked at human rights in a forgotten country, Laos. In Gambia Baba Hydara, son of journalist Deyda Hydara who was one of the suspected victims of Jammeh’s 25-year dictatorship, explained his fight to get justice. The journalist was assassinated on December 16, 2004, with Jammeh’s death squad widely believed to be behind his murder. Jammeh is currently in exile in Equatorial Guinea.  “We are aware that for the moment Gambia’s judicial system is...

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    A book on “Silent Repression in Laos”, five years after activist disappeared
    A book on “Silent Repression in Laos”, five years after...
    16.11.17
    Arnaud Dubus, southeast Asia correspondent

    Anne-Sophie Gindroz, an aid worker who was expelled by the Communist government of Laos in late 2012, has just written a book on her experience in that country. “Laos, the silent repression” (see attachment download above) comes five years after the disappearance of Laotian activist Sombath Somphone. The Laotian government has still not provided any information on his fate, despite international pressure. Gindroz worked for the Swiss NGO Helvetas in Laos for three years. Shortly before her expulsion, she had been a member of the organizing committee of the Asia-Europe People Forum, a forum of civil society organizations which took place in the Laotian capital Vientiane to coincide with an Asia-Europe summit of heads of State and...

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    'Mounting evidence' of Myanmar genocide: watchdogs
    'Mounting evidence' of Myanmar genocide: watchdogs
    16.11.17
    AFP

    Myanmar security forces slit the throats of Muslim Rohingya, burned victims alive, and gang-raped women and girls, according to two separate reports detailing mounting evidence of genocide against the minority group. Human Rights Watch focused on the use of sexual violence in its report on the military's campaign against the Rohingya, and concluded that the depredations amounted to crimes against humanity. "Rape has been a prominent and devastating feature of the Burmese military's campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya," said Skye Wheeler, a researcher at Human Rights Watch and author of the report. "The Burmese military's barbaric acts of violence have left countless women and girls brutally harmed and...

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    UN countries must press Sri Lanka on justice, say NGOs
    UN countries must press Sri Lanka on justice, say NGOs
    15.11.17
    Julia Crawford, JusticeInfo.Net

    International jurists of the Sri Lanka Monitoring and Accountability Panel (MAP)  say Sri Lanka’s government has made no credible progress on its transitional justice commitments, and are urging the international community to get tough. This comes as Human Rights Watch also called Wednesday for countries at the UN Human Rights Council to press Sri Lanka on time-bound reforms ensuring justice for serious crimes committed during the civil war that ended in 2009. The war, which pitted majority Buddhist Sinhalese of the south against minority Hindu Tamils of the north and east, left at least 40,000 people dead, 280,000 displaced and 65,000 disappeared.  President Maithripala Sirisena’s government made key pledges on justice reform at...

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    Cambodia's Duch and the analysis of a killer
    Cambodia's Duch and the analysis of a killer
    14.11.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and associate professor at Neuchâtel University

    Psychologist Françoise Sironi has been working with victims of mass violence for a quarter of a century. She was one of the founders of the Primo Levi Centre in Paris which provides care for torture victims. More recently she provided psychological expertise for the trial in Phnom Penh of Duch, who was director of the infamous S-21 prison during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. Some two million people were killed under the murderous Khmer Rouge regime of Pol Pot. As S-21 prison director, Duch was personally responsible for the torture and deaths of 17,000 people. Françoise Sironi wanted to find out what turns a person into a torturer. How did this man become so dehumanized? What psychological mechanisms might...

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    Guatemala: Courts Jeopardizing Fight Against Impunity,...
    13.11.17
    Human Rights Watch

     The remarkable progress Guatemala has made in prosecuting corruption and abuse could be reversed if the country’s highest courts don’t stop the egregious delays that are keeping powerful defendants from going to trial, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 56-page report, “Running Out the Clock: How Guatemala’s Judiciary Could Doom the Fight against Impunity,” documents a pattern of repeated and unjustifiable delays in criminal cases brought by the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and the Guatemalan Attorney General’s Office. “The fight against impunity in Guatemala has reached a critical moment,” said Daniel Wilkinson, managing director for the Americas at Human Rights Watch....

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    Guinea: Judges's 2009 Massacre Inquiry break new ground in combatting impunity, according to HRW
    Guinea: Judges's 2009 Massacre Inquiry break new ground in...
    13.11.17
    Human Rights Watch

    The panel of Guinean judges investigating the September 28, 2009 massacre of more than 150 protesters and rape of 100 women by the security forces during a peaceful protest concluded their investigation on November 9 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. The development is a major, much-awaited step in ensuring justice for the victims. The domestic investigation – which began in February 2010 – broke new ground in combatting impunity in the country, but progressed slowly amid political, financial, and logistical obstacles. During the investigation, the judges have brought charges against high-ranking members of the security forces. “Concluding the investigation into the 2009 massacre and rapes is a major development in the...

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    Week in Review: ICC says no to Burundi impunity, DRC starts historic rape trial
    Week in Review: ICC says no to Burundi impunity, DRC...
    12.11.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.Net

    The International Criminal Court’s decision to investigate crimes committed in Burundi, announced on Thursday, was the highlight of this transitional justice week.  This ICC decision came just two days before Burundi’s withdrawal from the Court became effective on October 27. It is the first country to pull out of the ICC. The ICC Prosecutor had opened a preliminary examination into crimes committed in Burundi before Bujumbura announced it was leaving the Rome Statute. “By quitting membership of the Court, Bujumbura thought it would secure impunity,” writes our ICC correspondent Stéphanie Maupas. “The Court has said otherwise.”  To stay in power, the regime of Pierre Nkurunziza has killed dozens if not hundreds of people and caused...

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    “Many options” to bring Jammeh to justice, says murdered Gambian journalist’s son
    “Many options” to bring Jammeh to justice, says murdered...
    10.11.17
    Maxime Domegni, West Africa correspondent

    Baba Hydara is the son of Gambian journalist Deyda Hydara, who was assassinated in 2004. The former regime of President Yahya Jammeh is widely suspected of being behind his murder. Baba Hydara has been fighting ever since to get justice for his father, who was one of the many victims of the Jammeh regime that ruled Gambia with an iron fist for nearly a quarter of a century. So it is natural that he is part of the new “Jammeh2Justice” coalition, which wants Jammeh tried for his crimes. The former dictator finally stepped down in January 2017 after being beaten in elections by current president Adama Barrow and is now in exile in Equatorial Guinea. JusticeInfo spoke to Baba Hydara, who says Gambia’s former torturers, wherever they are,...

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    ICC targets Burundi regime crimes
    ICC targets Burundi regime crimes
    10.11.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    The International Criminal Court (ICC) has approved a full investigation into serious crimes committed in Burundi since April 2015, it announced on Thursday. This investigation will look into suspected crimes against humanity committed by the Burundian regime. The decision was taken on October 25, just two days before Burundi’s official withdrawal from the ICC. By quitting membership of the Court, Bujumbura thought it would secure impunity. The Court has said otherwise. Those in power in Bujumbura have now got a long-awaited answer from the ICC, which says the perpetrators of crimes against humanity committed since April 2015 will be punished. Will fear change sides? “From now on the authors, co-authors and accomplices of the crimes...

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    Burundi's deadly crisis: A timeline
    10.11.17
    AFP

    Burundi has been gripped by turmoil since President Pierre Nkurunziza launched a bid for a third term in office more than two years ago. On Thursday the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened a full probe into alleged crimes committed during the crisis.  Between 500 and 2,000 people have been killed, according to different sources, and more than 400,000 people displaced from their homes. Here is a summary of key developments in the crisis in the central African country.   - Demonstrations start -   April 25, 2015: Nkurunziza is declared candidate for a third term by the ruling CNDD-FDD party. The following day thousands of protesters demonstrate in the capital, the start of six weeks of almost...

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    Religion is not the only reason for Rohingya displacement from Myanmar
    Religion is not the only reason for Rohingya displacement...
    07.11.17
    The Conversation

    Recent weeks have seen an escalation of violence against the Rohingya in Rakhine, the poorest state of Myanmar. A tide of displaced people are seeking refuge from atrocities – they are fleeing both on foot and by boat to Bangladesh. It is the latest surge of displaced people, and is exacerbated by the recent activity of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). Religious and ethnic differences have been widely considered the leading cause of the persecution. But it is becoming increasingly hard to believe that there are not other factors at play. Especially given that Myanmar is home to 135 official recognised ethnic groups (the Rohingya were removed from this list in 1982). In analysing the recent violence, much of the...

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    Opinion: Confronting transitional justice in Nepal
    Opinion: Confronting transitional justice in Nepal
    07.11.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    In Nepal, former parliamentarian and prominent Maoist leader Bal Krishna Dhungel was arrested on October 31, 2017 in Kathmandu and sent to jail. He had been found guilty in 2004 of killing Ujjan Kumar Shrestha of Okhaldhunga district, in the eastern hills of Nepal in 1998, at the beginning of the Maoist “Peoples’ War”. In 2004 the District Court convicted Dhungel of murder and sentenced him to life in prison with confiscation of property, but the Appeals Court cleared him in 2006. In 2010, the Supreme Court overturned the Appeals Court decision and upheld the District Court’s 2004 verdict. The Maoist Party publicly rejected the Supreme Court verdict and protected him politically, whilst the government in November 2011 recommended a...

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    Week in Review: Afghanistan and the ICC, step back for transitional justice in Tunisia
    Week in Review: Afghanistan and the ICC, step back for...
    04.11.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    This week has reflected the different faces of transitional justice as it hesitates, moves forward and sometimes moves back.   The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced on Friday that she will request Court approval to launch investigations into crimes committed in Afghanistan since 2003. Fatou Bensouda is targeting the Taliban and Afghan security forces and – in what is clearly the most politically sensitive part of the case -- CIA secret prisons and the US army. The US, which is not an ICC member State, has, like its Afghan allies, done everything to stop this procedure which started ten years ago. And there is nothing to guarantee that Bensouda’s initiative will be carried through. Three ICC judges,...

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    ICC Prosecutor targets Taliban and US crimes in Afghanistan
    ICC Prosecutor targets Taliban and US crimes in Afghanistan
    04.11.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is about to ask Court permission to investigate crimes committed in Afghanistan and secret CIA prisons in Europe, she announced on November 3. “In due course, I will file my request for judicial authorisation to open an investigation, submitting that there is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in connection with the armed conflict in Afghanistan,” says a statement from Bensouda. It took just four days for ICC President Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi to designate the three judges who will decide on Bensouda’s request, which she is expected to file soon. Taliban, American forces and the CIA Bensouda says in the statement...

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    Myanmar ‘ready to begin repatriation process’ despite disagreements
    Myanmar ‘ready to begin repatriation process’ despite...
    02.11.17
    NYAN HLAING LYNN in NAY PYI TAW & OLIVER SLOW in YANGON

    Myanmar's government says it is ready to begin scrutinising refugees who have fled to Bangladesh in the wake of recent violence in northern Rakhine State – the first step on the path to potential repatriation. Speaking to reporters in Nay Pyi Taw on Tuesday, government spokesperson U Zaw Htay said Myanmar is planning to begin the repatriation process as soon as possible. However, in a sign of the tense state of relations between the neighbouring countries, Zaw Htay also accused Dhaka of dragging its feet on repatriation. He said the government is concerned that Bangladesh has not agreed to repatriate refugees in accordance with a 1993 agreement. He refused to elaborate because the topic remains under discussion. He suggested that...

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    Burundi and ICC: Chronicle of a divorce foretold
    Burundi and ICC: Chronicle of a divorce foretold
    30.10.17
    Louis-Marie Nindorera (Bujumbura)

     Burundi's withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) entered into force on October 27, 2017. It is the final act of a divorce proceeding that began well before it was formally notified to the UN Secretary-General, twelve months ago. Indeed, the circumstances under which in 2004, Burundi ratified the Rome statute had already the appearance of a marriage of convenience doomed to fail, at the first couple quarrel. Be that as it may, by becoming the first state to exit the ICC, Burundi is also opening the blank page of this Court's jurisprudence on the effects of a withdrawal.  The Rome Statute of the ICC entered into force in Burundi on 1 December 2004. Nineteen months earlier, in June 2003, the...

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    Week in Review: CAR's challenges, a trial for Ethiopia, and Burundi withdraws from the ICC
    Week in Review: CAR's challenges, a trial for Ethiopia,...
    29.10.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    A highlight of this week in transitional justice was the visit of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to the Central African Republic (CAR).  In this fragile state ravaged by war, Guterres spoke up for the rule of law, the UN mission in the CAR (MINUSCA) and for justice rather than impunity. He had trouble convincing his Central African audience, which doubts MINUSCA’s impartiality and sees it as being on the side of CAR President Ange-Félix Touadera. The CAR is a country which “a group of criminals is trying to descend into Hell”, the UN Secretary General said on Thursday as he visited a camp for displaced Muslims in Bangassou. “I know it is difficult to talk of reconciliation when you have suffered,” he continued. “But the only...

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    In Burundi, 'bye bye ICC'
    28.10.17
    AFP

    Thousands of Burundians on Saturday answered the government's call to celebrate the country's withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, cheering the "historic" day using slogans such as "bye bye ICC". Burundi on Friday became the first ever nation to leave the world's only permanent war crimes tribunal, set up some 15 years ago to prosecute those behind the worst atrocities on the planet. Burundi hailed it as a "historic" day and called on people to rally across the country on Saturday. Some 5,000 people -- including hundreds of drivers of bicycle taxis, motorcycle taxis and tuk-tuks -- marched through the streets of the capital Bujumbura, singing and dancing to the sound of a brass band. Burundi mediator Edouard...

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    Dutch court to try Ethiopian for “Red Terror” crimes
    Dutch court to try Ethiopian for “Red Terror” crimes
    27.10.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    On October 30 a Dutch court is due to open the war crimes trial of Eshetu Alemu, 63, ex-member of the regime of former Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam. He is accused of war crimes, torture and illegal detentions. The trial is expected to last two weeks.   The trial due to open before a court in The Hague on October 30 is taking place 40 years after the events in question. The man who will appear in the dock faces four charges of war crimes -- for illegal detentions and cruel treatment -- and of torture. His indictment cites by name 321 victims, and refers to two events in particular.  In August 1978, Eshetu Alemu, an official of the Communist regime in Godjam, a former province in northwest Ethiopia, is said to have ordered...

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    Burundi becomes first nation to leave ICC
    Burundi becomes first nation to leave ICC
    27.10.17
    AFP

    Burundi on Friday became the first ever nation to leave the International Criminal Court, set up some 15 years ago to prosecute those behind the world's worst atrocities. "Burundi's withdrawal from the Rome Statute will take effect on Friday, 27 October 2017," an ICC spokesperson told AFP. The move comes a year to the day after Bujumbura officially notified the United Nations that it was quitting the world's only permanent war crimes tribunal. Burundi on Friday hailed it as a "historic" day and called on people to demonstrate across the country on Saturday in celebration. "The ICC has shown itself to be a political instrument and weapon used by the West to enslave" other states, said presidential office spokesman Willy...

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    ICC : Burundi Embraces Impunity
    ICC : Burundi Embraces Impunity
    27.10.17
    HRW

    (Nairobi, October 27, 2017) – Burundi’s official withdrawal of its membership from the International Criminal Court (ICC) became effective on October 26, 2017, following its formal notification of its withdrawal to the United Nations secretary-general a year earlier. Under the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding treaty, withdrawal takes effect one year after this notification. Burundi has been a state party to the ICC since 2004. Since April 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his controversial bid for a third term, government security forces and members of the Imbonerakure, the youth league of the ruling party, have cracked down on political opposition members and perceived ruling party opponents. In April 2016,...

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    Myanmar: The forgotten war in Kachin State
    Myanmar: The forgotten war in Kachin State
    24.10.17
    Dustin Barter, Frontier

    As the crisis in Rakhine grabs headlines, little attention is being paid to blocked aid deliveries, displacement and indiscriminate attacks on civilians in Myanmar's Kachin and northern Shan states. As displacement continues in northern Rakhine State, there is an urgent need for renewed international attention to consider and address broader, systemic conflict issues elsewhere in Myanmar. Blocked humanitarian assistance, mass displacement and indiscriminate attacks affecting civilians are nothing new – they’ve been happening for decades and escalating in the past year. Although Rakhine has been dominating the news, Kachin and northern Shan states are also in crisis, despite extensive responses by civil society. If the...

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    Five things to know about Kenya
    Five things to know about Kenya
    24.10.17
    AFP

    Kenya is one of east Africa's leading economies with a crucial tourism sector based on safaris and tropical beaches. As it heads to the polls on Thursday, here is some background. - Kenyatta father to son - Kenya became independent of Britain on December 12, 1963, scarred by the 1952-1960 Mau Mau rebellion against colonial rule that left at least 10,000 people dead. Independence struggle icon Jomo Kenyatta was the first black head of state and died in office in August 1978, succeeded by his vice president Daniel arap Moi. In late 1991 Moi abandoned single party rule and won presidential elections in 1992 and 1997. He was replaced in 2002 by Mwai Kibaki who went on to win re-election in late 2007 against opponent Raila...

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    Uhuru Kenyatta: president from father to son
    Uhuru Kenyatta: president from father to son
    24.10.17
    AFP

    Uhuru Kenyatta, who is set to win a second and final term in Thursday's election re-run, is the son of Kenya's founding president and a man who epitomises the country's elite. The 55-year-old US-educated multi-millionaire, whose family owns an array of businesses, properties and land, followed in his father's footsteps when he defeated his rival Raila Odinga to become president in 2013. Their rematch in August was again won by Kenyatta, with 54 percent of the vote, but the Supreme Court annulled the election due to "irregularities" and ordered a re-run. Kenyatta accepted the judges' ruling but angrily, calling the judges "crooks" and threatening to "fix" the courts if he wins on Thursday -- which is also his birthday. Odinga...

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    Week in Review: “Historic” judgment for Liberia and the...
    21.10.17
    François Sergent and Julia Crawford, JusticeInfo.net

    This week saw transitional justice faced once again with classic tensions between law and politics, justice and peace. As the ICC, supposed to be the “police force” of international justice, came under more fire, a US court delivered an important judgment linked to war crimes in Liberia, a country in the midst of elections where impunity still rules for the crimes of the civil war.  A court in Philadelphia on Wednesday found Mohammed Jabbateh (“Jungle Jabbah”) guilty of charges related to atrocities committed during the first Liberian civil war (1989-96). He is expected to be sentenced in coming months and could face up to 30 years in jail. In order to prove that Jabbateh entered the United States and obtained asylum under false...

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    Liberian found guilty of war crimes-linked charges in “historic” US case
    Liberian found guilty of war crimes-linked charges in...
    19.10.17
    Julia Crawford, JusticeInfo.net

    A court in Philadelphia on Wednesday found Mohammed Jabbateh (“Jungle Jabbah”) guilty of charges related to atrocities committed during the first Liberian civil war (1989-96). His two-week trial was the first time that Liberian war victims were able to testify in a public and fair trial, according to Swiss-based NGO Civitas Maxima, which has been monitoring the case. The jury of 12 in Philadelphia found Jabbateh guilty on two counts of fraud and two counts of perjury for lying to US officials about his background as a combatant in Liberia. Jabbateh was a commander of the ULIMO rebel group which fought against forces of former president Charles Taylor in Liberia. He faces up to 30 years in jail. No date was set for sentencing, but...

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    Nepal: "I have been naming the people responsible for my father’s disappearance"
    Nepal: "I have been naming the people responsible for my...
    19.10.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    The conflicting parties’ alliance (Nepali Congress and Maoist Centre) to share power in the government has destroyed the norms of justice and the agenda set by the Peoples’ Movement. They abused their authority without addressing conflict survivors’ key demands for truth and social justice. When the top level leaders from both sides of the conflict built an alliance with security forces to forget about past abuses, compromising standards for their mutual benefit and position, the hope for fair trials and justice has become a distance one for ordinary citizens. Instead of creating hope for the future, the political forces built a strong alliance with the security forces who were directly involved in the most egregious human...

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    Myanmar: Karen rebels urge nonviolent solution to Rakhine crisis on ceasefire anniversary
    Myanmar: Karen rebels urge nonviolent solution to Rakhine...
    18.10.17
    Sean Gleeson, Frontier

    One of Myanmar’s leading non-state armed groups has urged the government to find a “politically dignified and nonviolent” resolution to the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State, warning that failure to do so could jeopardise the government’s peace process. On Sunday, the second anniversary of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, the Karen National Union released a statement reaffirming its commitment to ending Myanmar’s decades-long history of civil conflict through political dialogue. However, it went on to criticise the northern Rakhine security crackdown that began in August, noting the parallels between events there and counterinsurgency campaigns conducted by the military elsewhere in Myanmar. “The handling of the crisis in...

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    ICC scandal: Who is watching the sheriff?
    ICC scandal: Who is watching the sheriff?
    18.10.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    A consortium of media known as the European Investigative Collaboration (EIC), of which French investigative website Mediapart is a member, has revealed certain facts that are embarrassing to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Court has opened an internal investigation and suspended two members of staff, but the scandal focuses on former ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo. Apart from the questions about individual responsibility, the main issue raised by these revelations is ICC governance. Indeed, how should the ICC Prosecutor, the Court’s “sheriff”, be watched over? When Luis Moreno Ocampo arrived in The Hague in 2003, he carried hopes for independent and ambitious international justice. On paper, Ocampo seemed ideal, and...

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    Is the United States Ready for a Truth-Telling Process?
    Is the United States Ready for a Truth-Telling Process?
    18.10.17
    ICTJ

    Fania Davis thinks the time has come for a truth-telling process about racial injustice in the United States. A noted activist and the founding director of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY), Davis has confronted systematic racism for decades, working from Birmingham, Alabama to the Bay Area and beyond. But she noticed renewed grassroots momentum to explore the legacy of slavery in the aftermath a white police officer killing Michael Brown, a black teenager, in Ferguson, Missouri three years ago. “I see Ferguson as kind of a marker,” she said at a conference at Kean University this summer. “We have seen this bubbling up of truth-telling since Ferguson, and it was those young people who stayed in the street, who...

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    Elections in Africa: democratic rituals matter even though the outlook is bleak
    Elections in Africa: democratic rituals matter even though...
    18.10.17
    André Guichaoua

    The multi-party systems established in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia in the early 1990s have endured despite electoral violence. But democratic hopes have been dashed or perverted throughout the rest of the region. The governments built on the ruins of the civil wars in Angola, Burundi, the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Uganda and Rwanda have all relied on armed political groups to stay in power. From June 2015 to August 2017 an uninterrupted series of general elections took place in Central and East Africa. Those in Burundi (2015) and the DRC (initially set for 2016) were expected to be the most problematic. In both the incumbent presidents were seeking to extend their mandates beyond a second term. In...

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    Is judicial wrangling fuelling Kenya's election turmoil?
    Is judicial wrangling fuelling Kenya's election turmoil?
    18.10.17
    Aileen Kimutai, Nairobi

    Kenya's annulled presidential elections have thrown the country into the worst political crisis since the 2008 post-election violence which saw over 1,000 people killed and hundreds of thousands displaced. Tension is high as the scheduled October 26 re-run approaches. "Kenya has had a very tough year so far and the going looks as if it will get tougher," says Robert Shaw, a public policy and economic analyst in Nairobi. "The country is dangerously polarized and fatigued, which is a lethal cocktail. There is an increasing number of antagonistic and inflammatory comments by some leaders that risk taking us back to the dark and awful days of the 2007/2008 post-election violence." He says a lot of what has been achieved in the seven...

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    Criminal justice a rare commodity in Central African...
    18.10.17
    AFP

    At Bouar appeal court, presiding judge Aime Pascal Delimo twiddles his thumbs, surveys his empty office and then, with a sigh, closes his door to leave early. Delimo wields jurisdiction over territory in western Central African Republic (CAR) that is the size of Austria. Violent crime here is chronic. But he has no work. In one of the world's poorest countries, the criminal justice system in Bouar and many other of CAR's provincial towns has quite simply broken down. "Normally we would be finishing at 3:30 pm, but given the pace of the court, I leave in the early afternoon, around 2:00 pm," Delimo says. "It's been four years I've been here and no criminal cases have been heard." He tries about 15 cases every year, all civil...

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    Week in Review: Human rights activist awarded as dictators cling on
    Week in Review: Human rights activist awarded as dictators...
    15.10.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    As we saw this week, transitional justice still appears far from countries such as Togo, Egypt and Burundi, whose people are still struggling under authoritarian regimes disrespectful of human rights and fundamental freedoms. In Togo, there is an open crisis between the dictatorial Gnassingbé dynasty that has been in power for more than 50 years and the population who aspire to democracy and rule of law. “In this small West African country, the factors for rebellion are being put in place,” writes our Lomé correspondent Maxime Domegni. “On the streets, the young people no longer hide their will to confront the authorities head-on. The Togolese people feel that they are at a turning point. The churches have lent their support to the...

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    Rwanda: The gruesome plight of children during the Tutsi genocide
    Rwanda: The gruesome plight of children during the Tutsi...
    11.10.17
    Emmanuel Sehene Ruvugiro, correspondent in Kigali

    The Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) launched on October 4 an online exhibition giving insight on how children were affected by the Rwandan genocide and conflicts in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. The exhibition, entitled “Children in Conflict – Evidence from the Archives of the International Criminal Tribunals”, shows that children were often deliberately targeted for sexual violence, torture, persecution, forcible transfer, murder and extermination. To know more about how children were affected in Rwanda, JusticeInfo’s Kigali correspondent spoke to Valérie Mukabayire, president of the Association of Genocide Widows (AVEGA –Agahozo) JusticeInfo: Approximately how many children were killed during the 1994...

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    Persecuted Egyptian activist wins human rights award
    Persecuted Egyptian activist wins human rights award
    11.10.17
    Frédéric Burnand, correspondent in Geneva

    Egyptian Mohamed Zaree on Tuesday received in Geneva the prestigious Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. The award honours his commitment despite personal risk. It also serves as a protest against the Egyptian President, whose repressive tactics know no bounds according to the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), of which Zaree is Egypt Country Director.   Mohamed Zaree was unable to travel to Geneva to receive the Martin Ennals Award because of a travel ban as he faces judicial investigations and the prospect of a possible 30-year prison sentence. His “crime” is a ceaseless commitment to the freedoms considered by the regime of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as a threat to State security.  “During his...

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    Courts in Myanmar ‘unequipped’ to administer justice, says report
    Courts in Myanmar ‘unequipped’ to administer justice, says...
    10.10.17
    Sean Gleeson, Frontier

    A new report has delivered a damning indictment of Myanmar’s judicial system, detailing judges sleeping through during testimony, defendants coerced into pleading guilty and most cases going to trial before legal counsel was organised for the accused. The report, published this month by the London-based legal support group Justice Base, was the culmination of more than 150 trial observations across four years in Yangon Region’s township and district courtrooms. Local legal professionals, employed by Justice Base as observers for the "Monitoring in Myanmar" report, documented rampant corruption in court administration, a culture of deference to police witnesses and judges, intervention in proceedings by other officials, and routine...

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    Week in Review: Scandal at the ICC, questions on Burundi and Mali
    Week in Review: Scandal at the ICC, questions on Burundi...
    08.10.17
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    The International Criminal Court is rocked by a huge scandal implicating its first Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, while the Central African Republic pursues its difficult quest for justice and the suffering continues of Burundi’s people, being used as a rampart by a regime that sees threats everywhere. Eight international media, members of the European Investigative Collaboration (EIC), have conducted a six-month investigation into the secrets of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which makes serious allegations against its first Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo. As JusticeInfo editorial advisor Pierre Hazan writes, the investigation found that “in 2011 the International Criminal Court asked for Côte d’Ivoire’s ex-president...

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    Scandal rocks International Criminal Court
    Scandal rocks International Criminal Court
    08.10.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    An enormous scandal has hit the International Criminal Court (ICC). After six months of investigations, eight international media of the European Investigative Collaboration (EIC) have produced findings that seriously undermine the ICC’s credibility and image of impartiality. They examined 40,000 confidential documents – diplomatic cables, banking documents and correspondence – obtained by French investigate website Mediapart. These documents throw for the first time a raw light on the political games of States around international justice and the dubious morality of Luis Moreno Ocampo, who was the ICC’s first Prosecutor from 2003 to 2012. Current ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, clearly embarrassed, issued a statement in which she...

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    “Embattled Burundi government using impoverished people as a rampart”
    “Embattled Burundi government using impoverished people as...
    04.10.17
    JusticeInfo.net

    In Burundi, repression has been directed at all democrats in the country since 2015, even if there has been some ethnic targeting, according to French sociologist and African Great Lakes specialist André Guichaoua. He says the core hardliners of embattled President Nkurunziza’s government are still trying to use the country’s “impoverished and pressurized population” as a rampart against perceived foreign threats. JusticeInfo spoke to André Guichaoua:   JusticeInfo: What is your assessment of the current human rights situation in Burundi? Is there still a risk of genocide as some observers were saying last year? Guichaoua: It is very difficult to assess the risk in a region that is regularly hit by widespread massacres. But...

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    Liberian war victims to testify in US “Jungle Jabbah” case
    Liberian war victims to testify in US “Jungle Jabbah” case
    03.10.17
    Julia Crawford, JusticeInfo

    The trial has begun in the United States of Liberian national Mohammed Jabbateh (“Jungle Jabbah”), a Pennsylvania resident suspected of war crimes. The former ULIMO rebel commander is charged with two counts of fraud in immigration documents and two counts of perjury. Now that the jury has been selected, war crimes victims from Liberia are expected to start testifying before the Pennsylvania court. Alain Werner, a lawyer and co-founder of Swiss NGO Civitas Maxima, has been working for many years to help Liberian war victims get justice, and his organization is following this case closely. He spoke to JusticeInfo from Geneva: JusticeInfo: Why has Jabbateh been charged with perjury and fraud, rather than war crimes? Alain Werner: As...

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    Syria : “These are the Crimes we are Fleeing”
    Syria : “These are the Crimes we are Fleeing”
    03.10.17
    HRW

    Over the last six years the Syrian crisis has claimed the lives of an estimated 475,000 people as of July 2017, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. All sides to the conflict have committed serious crimes under international law amid a climate of impunity. A range of groups have actively documented violations of human rights and humanitarian law in Syria. In late 2016, the United Nations General Assembly also created a mechanism tasked with analyzing and collecting evidence of serious crimes committed in Syria suitable for use in future proceedings before any court or tribunal that may have a mandate over these crimes. But for the most part, the wealth of information and materials available has not helped to...

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    Week in Review: Transitional justice under pressure in Tunisia and Myanmar
    Week in Review: Transitional justice under pressure in...
    01.10.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo

    The difficulties of transitional justice were illustrated this week in countries as diverse as Tunisia, Burundi, Myanmar and Nepal. In Tunisia,  a JusticeInfo investigation showed how abuses by the President of the Truth and Dignity Commission, Sihem Bensedrine, has herself weakened an already weak and vulnerable institution. Bensedrine, nicknamed Araïssa (the boss) is accused of “squandering public funds and recruiting staff in an anarchic and opaque way, so as to set up a parallel administration totally subservient to her orders”, writes our correspondent Olfa Belhassine. Sihem Bensedrine claims there is a “plot” against the Commission and the transitional justice process in Tunisia, but four Commissioners have resigned in protest...

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    Outrage at Suu Kyi over Rohingya crisis is “exaggerated”, says expert
    Outrage at Suu Kyi over Rohingya crisis is “exaggerated”,...
    01.10.17
    Frédéric Burnand, correspondent in Geneva

    The crisis that has been taking place in Myanmar since August – an attack by Muslim rebels, bloody clampdown by the army and flight to Bangladesh of hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya people – has provoked outrage across the world and denial from Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Syi, who is the country’s de facto leader. But Matthias Huber, a Swiss expert on Myanmar, says the world is being too hard on Suu Kyi. The United Nations announced on Wednesday it was preparing a humanitarian aid plan in case all the Rohingyas of Myanmar (also known as Burma) flee to Bangladesh to escape the violence. Meanwhile Myanmar decided to allow humanitarian organizations into Rakhine state, the scene of violence since August that has caused...

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