By Region

    The silence of the accused in Tunisia 
    20.09.18
    Olfa Belhassine, correspondent in Tunis

    In Tunisia, trials before specialized criminal chambers are due to resume on September 21. A Lawyers without Borders report based on observation of the nine trials already held stresses the absence of the suspects and the isolation of the judges. A wave of transfers of judges also threatens to perturb the upcoming proceedings. On May 29 this year, the trial of Kamel Matmati opened in Tunisia before the specialized criminal chambers charged with trying cases sent to them by the Truth and Dignity Commission. That first trial concerned the forced disappearance and death under torture of this...

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    Dominic Ongwen, the imperfect poster child of the ICC
    20.09.18
    By our correspondent in The Hague, Janet Anderson

    On September 18, the defence of Dominic Ongwen has begun to present its case before the International Criminal Court. Of the five leaders of Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army indicted by the ICC, Ongwen is the only one in the dock. He is also a unique story of an abducted child soldier now tried as a war criminal. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda earned a fearsome reputation over a thirty-year insurgency. Best known for abducting children and pressing them into service as soldiers, porters and sex slaves – a practise which, during the early 2000’s, forced thousands of young...

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    Why the ICC should rejoice when America attacks it
    18.09.18
    Thierry Cruvellier for The New York Times

    In an Op-ed for The New York Times, the editor of Justice Info, Thierry Cruvellier, unfolds the meaning of the renewed attack by the U.S. national security adviser John Bolton against the International Criminal Court (ICC). What's on the Trump's administration mind? What are the risks for the ICC? How the court may, in fact, receive renewed support from being Bolton's target. READ on The New York Times website: "Why the I.C.C. Should Rejoice When America Attacks It"

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    Revising the past: A Swiss response to a global debate
    17.09.18
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo.net

    To what extent should we take down statues, change the names of streets, towns and mountains when they bear the names of people who contributed to human misery? The spectacular removal in Charlottesville, US, of a statue of General Lee, a pro-slavery hero of the American South, is far from the only case. The debate is ongoing in several countries. But Switzerland has found its own, very Swiss response. How much should we wipe out the past according to the values of the present? The question is not new, but it has taken on a new resonance in Switzerland. Louis Agassiz was long a respected...

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    Week in Review 14/09/18
    14.09.18
    JusticeInfo.Net

    On September 10, US President Donald Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton launched a frontal attack on the International Criminal Court (ICC).  At the beginning of the George W. Bush presidency in 2002 Bolton was the main architect of a strategy against the ICC, which was just starting its work. This policy was abandoned three years later in favour of constructive cooperation between the United States – which does not recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction – and the court in The Hague. Under Obama, for example,  Washington helped get two ICC suspects arrested and transferred to the...

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    Namibians victim of genocide press for German apology
    13.09.18
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.net

    More than a century after massacres of indigenous people in former German South West Africa, now Namibia, their descendants and members of German civil society are pressing Berlin for an official apology. The recent returning of remains is not enough, they say. The massacres of Herero and Nama people by the German army in the former colony are considered by many historians to have been the first genocide of the 20th century. Chased from their land, the Hereros rose up in 1904, killing around 100 German civilians. The following year a smaller ethnic group, the Nama, joined their uprising....

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    Can John Bolton unite the friends of the ICC?
    13.09.18
    By our correspondent in The Hague, Benjamin Duerr

    The International Criminal Court (ICC) is in the spotlights of global politics after John Bolton, the national security adviser of US President Donald Trump, lashed out at the court. He outlined a strategy to undermine the work of the ICC, but his attacks could also rally its supporters behind the institution. If there were any doubts about the Trump administration’s position towards the ICC, John Bolton cleared them up. The US president’s national security adviser said on Monday the United States “will not cooperate with the ICC”, “will provide no assistance to the ICC” and “will not...

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    Paris arrest a new step to justice for Liberian war crimes
    11.09.18
    Thierry Cruvellier, JusticeInfo.net

    2018 is a good year for the activists who have vowed they will not let the crimes committed in Liberia’s wars of the 1990s go unpunished. After two landmark judgments in the United States, they have now got another arrest in Paris, and trials are also expected in three other European countries.  The identity of Kunti K., arrested on September 4 in the Paris suburb of Bobigny, has not yet been revealed. But the allegations against this former Liberian commander are as serious as they are many. He was a member of ULIMO, one of the main factions in the first Liberian civil war of 1989-1996,...

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    Week in Review: Myanmar regime and Liberian warlords under pressure
    10.09.18
    JusticeInfo.Net

    Judges of the International Criminal Court have stepped up pressure on the Myanmar regime by deciding that the court has jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed against the Rohingyas. The effect of this decision, rejected by the Burmese authorities, is likely to be very controversial. The court is giving itself the right to intervene on a country that is not a State Party to the ICC’s founding treaty, without going through the UN Security Council (where China and /or Russia would have used their veto). The judges considered that being forced to cross the border into Bangladesh (which...

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    Rohingya crisis: ICC steps in
    06.09.18
    AFP

    In a potentially decisive move, judges of the International Criminal Court consider that the crimes committed against Myanmar’s Rohingya people fall under its jurisdiction. The International Criminal Court said Thursday it had jurisdiction to probe the forced deportation of Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar's military as a possible crime against humanity. Some 700,000 people from the stateless Muslim minority have fled Myanmar's northern Rakhine state into neighbouring Bangladesh since August last year to escape a bloody military crackdown. The ICC's "pre-trial chamber... decided by majority...

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    Tunisia and the Struggle for Individual Rights, an interview with Slim Laghmani
    05.09.18
    Olfa Belhassine

    Emerging from dictatorship also requires legal reforms. In Tunisia, the report of the Commission on individual liberties and equality (Colibe) has sparked controversy by challenging the established social order, especially on equal inheritance rights for women. Philosopher and jurist Slim Laghmani is one of the nine members of Colibe. In an interview with JusticeInfo’s Tunis correspondent Olfa Belhassine, he explains how legal reform can help accelerate political transition.  JUSTICE INFO: Did you expect such a deluge of attacks and controversy when the Commission on individual liberties...

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    Central African human rights defenders say no to amnesty
    03.09.18
    Ephrem RUGIRIRIZA, JusticeInfo.Net

    As talks are announced in the Central African Republic between the government and armed groups, the country’s human rights organizations and their international partners such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) remain categorical that there should be no amnesty for serious crimes. In a statement published on August 24 in the capital Bangui, they restated their position, already expressed many times, that justice should not be sacrificed in the name of reconciliation. “Political dialogue must not be an excuse to forget the...

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    Week in Review: Congolese warlord’s trial ends, Burmese generals accused of genocide
    03.09.18
    Ephrem RUGIRIRIZA, JusticeInfo.Net

    In The Hague, the International Criminal Court (ICC) last week concluded its hearings in the trial of former Congolese militia leader Bosco Ntaganda.  And in New York, UN experts called for international prosecution of top Burmese army commanders accused of genocide against the Rohingya.  Former Congolese militia leader Bosco Ntaganda, 44, now awaits the verdict of his ICC judges. On Thursday, the last day of closing arguments, Ntaganda told the court he was a “revolutionary”, not a criminal. He is charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity for recruiting child soldiers and for...

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    Rakhine: Time for a new approach
    30.08.18
    Thomas Kean, Frontier Myanmar

    The next few months will be an incredibly difficult period for Myanmar, dealing a succession of further blows to the image of the country, its transition and its political leaders, notably State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.  The US State Department will soon release a highly detailed investigation into allegations of human rights abuses in northern Rakhine State. The weight of evidence is such that it may lead to a determination of genocide by the US. A UN Fact-Finding Mission set up to investigate allegations of rights violations in Rakhine as well as Shan and Kachin states since 2011...

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    Congolese rebel says he is a 'revolutionary' not a criminal
    30.08.18
    AFP

    Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda told international judges Thursday he was a "revolutionary and not a criminal" as arguments drew to a close in his three-year war crimes trial. Ntaganda, aged around 44, is accused of overseeing massacres of Lendu civilians by his rebel army in the Ituri region of northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002 and 2003. "I am a revolutionary, but I am not a criminal," Ntaganda told the International Criminal Court in The Hague. He faces war crimes and crimes against humanity charges for his role in the bloody conflict wracking the mineral-rich...

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    In Tunisia, calls to scrap the death penalty
    27.08.18
    Olfa Belhassine, Tunis

    In an open letter to the Tunisian president, two NGOs urge him to approve a recommendation by the Commission on Individual Liberties and Equality to scrap the death penalty. On August 8, President Beji Caied Essebsi received a letter from the Tunisian Coalition against the Death Penalty (CTCPM) and another NGO, Together against the Death Penalty (ECPM). The two organizations bring their support for a report by the Commission (COLIBE), headed by feminist MP Bochra Belhaj Hmida, which includes abolishing the death penalty as part of the “global movement” against capital punishment. The...

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    Week in Review: Retrial for Rwandan ex-minister, appeal for Rohingya children
    27.08.18
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    The retrial of former Rwandan Planning Minister Augustin Ngirabatware is to take place on September 24 to 28 before the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), which is the residual mechanism of the UN’s Rwanda tribunal.  According to an order posted on the Mechanism website, the calendar for testimonies of any defence and prosecution witnesses will be announced at a later date.  Ngirabatware, who holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Fribourg (Switzerland), was sentenced by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to 30 years in jail for...

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    Unpacking the request for early release by three Rwanda genocide prisoners
    23.08.18
    Jennifer Trahan, The Conversation

    Three Rwandan prisoners convicted of genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda have requested early release from the United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals. This has drawn widespread anger in Rwanda – from citizens and the government. We spoke to Jennifer Trahan about how this process might unfold. What is the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals and how does it work? It has taken over the remaining work of the two international criminal tribunals set-up to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in...

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    UNICEF warns of ‘lost generation’ of Rohingya youth, one year after Myanmar exodus
    23.08.18
    UN News Center

    The refugee crisis in Bangladesh sparked by the mass exodus of people from Myanmar almost a year ago risks creating a “lost generation” of Rohingya children who lack the life skills they will need in future, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned.Hundreds of thousands of mainly Muslim Rohingya continue to live in cramped and rudimentary camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar, after fleeing a military operation in Myanmar that was subsequently likened to “ethnic cleansing” by the UN’s top human rights official, Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein. According to UNICEF, the...

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    Week in Review: Ivorian amnesty and Bemba acquittal provoke reactions
    20.08.18
    Ephrem RUGIRIRIZA, JusticeInfo.Net

    In Côte d’Ivoire, the main transitional justice focus remained an amnesty granted on August 6 by President Ouattara to 700 people convicted or charged in relation to the post-election crisis of 2010-2011. In an August 17 declaration on its website, the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Côte d’Ivoire said it “welcomes this historic amnesty by the President of the Republic, which is a strong contribution to forgiveness and reconciliation, both conducive to stability, development and people’s wellbeing”. The declaration hails what it calls a “decision that carries hope”, whilst also urging the...

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