Africa

    Political resistance: how cross-cutting frictions drive and define transitional justice in Tunisia
    18.07.18
    Mariam Salehi

    Transitional justice is inherently political. It emerges from political concerns, influences politics and power structures. In a transitional society, transitional justice has an important role to play in shaping the ‘new political architecture’,[i] in deciding who may participate in what capacity in future politics, as well as in granting access to material and non-material resources that in turn may facilitate access to decision-making procedures and positions of power. After the uprising in 2010/11 that culminated in the fall of the authoritarian regime of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia...

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    France upholds life sentences for Rwanda genocide mayors
    06.07.18
    AFP

    A French court on Friday upheld life sentences for two former Rwandan mayors for taking part in the massacre of hundreds of ethnic Tutsis during the country's 1994 genocide. Octavien Ngenzi, 60, and Tito Barahira, 67, had launched an appeal after they were found guilty in 2016 of crimes against humanity, genocide and summary executions in their village of Kabarondo. Relatives of the pair sobbed quietly as the ruling was read out in court, while Ngenzi and Barahira listened in silence. They will have five days to decide whether they will appeal the ruling again to a higher...

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    ICC Prosecutor says Bemba acquittal based on false testimony
    05.07.18
    Stéphanie Maupas,correspondent in The Hague

    As the International Criminal Court (ICC) prepared to hold a hearing this July 5 in a second, witness tampering case against Congolese Senator Jean-Pierre Bemba and his co-accused, the Prosecutor says his acquittal in early June for crimes in the Central African Republic (CAR) was based partly on false testimonies. 48 hours before the witness tampering sentencing debates, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court filed a new deposition. Fatou Bensouda considers that witness tampering by the former Congolese vice-president had an impact on the acquittal decision of June 8. Whilst...

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    War-ravaged South Sudan at a glance
    20.06.18
    AFP

    South Sudan, the world's newest country, has been mired in a devastating civil war for more than four years, with tens of thousands of people killed, nearly four million displaced and its economy in ruins. War broke out when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup just two years after the country gained independence from Sudan in 2011. With the two men to meet on Wednesday in the latest international effort to stop the fighting, here is some background. - World's youngest state - Before independence, the south of Sudan was ravaged by two civil wars (1956-1972 and 1983-2005) that pitted mainly Christian and animist insurgents in the south...

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    Jean-Pierre Bemba, former Congolese warlord and Kabila foe
    12.06.18
    AFP

    Jean-Pierre Bemba, who was provisionally freed Tuesday by the International Criminal Court following an acquittal last week, is a former warlord and adversary of Congolese President Joseph Kabila. His interim release relates to a case in which he was handed a one-year jail sentence and fined 300,000 euros ($350,000) in 2017 for bribing witnesses during his main war crimes trial. He is still awaiting sentencing on July 4 in a secondary trial which he lost on appeal. Bemba, a former vice president of the Democratic Republic of Congo however won his main war crimes trial on appeal in which he was previously convicted and sentenced to 18 years for rapes, killings and looting committed by...

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    DRC's Jean-Pierre Bemba: key dates
    12.06.18
    AFP

    Key dates of DR Congo's Jean-Pierre Bemba, acquitted on appeal on warcrimes charges by the International Criminal Court (ICC), and whose interim release was ordered on Tuesday: - November 4, 1962: Born in Bogada in the northwest Equateur province, his father was a rich businessman close to former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. - 1997: Leaves Kinshasa when the late rebel leader Laurent Desire Kabila overthrows Mobutu. - 1998: Founds the rebel Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), backed by neighbouring Uganda and opposed to the Kabila regime. - October 2002-March 2003: Sends his private militiamen to the Central African Republic to help put down a coup against then president...

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    Legal Witnessing and Mass Human Rights Violations: Remembering Atrocities
    12.06.18
    Benjamin Thorne

    International criminal courts and tribunals, such as the ICT for Rwanda, are commonly understood within legal scholarship as the primary tool that is utilized after mass human rights violations. This is so not only in addressing impunity, but also in uncovering the truth of what happened and why. Victims play a pivotal role in these processes of justice. However, there are significant limitations in legal collective understandings of the past. In legal transitional justice scholarship, these have received sparse critical investigation.   Legal witnesses and their contribution to tribunals...

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    Gambia: Fatou Jatta, HIV activist who went through Yahya Jammeh “HIV cure program” asks for justice
    12.06.18
    Maxime Domegni

    In The Gambia, according to local media, over 9,000 Gambians went through Yahya Jammeh’s so-called 'treatment program', with a majority of HIV patients. “The testimony of survivors makes obvious that significant numbers of deaths resulted from Jammeh's HIV cure”, notes the international advocacy organization AIDS-Free World.  "Shocked and outraged by the actions of the former dictator of The Gambia…AIDS-Free World is determined to defend people living with HIV who, like those who suffered at Jammeh's hands, have experienced a gross violation of their rights”, Sarah Bosha, Legal Research and...

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    The possibility of transitional justice post-Mugabe in Zimbabwe
    13.06.18
    Dr Thompson Chengeta

     Through a reign of terror and a ruinous economic policy, the ZANU-PF Government of Zimbabwe [GoZ] not only violated the rights of Zimbabweans but broke the relationship between the Government and its citizens. In order to rebuild Zimbabwe, the broken relationship must be mended. As African elders say, “the ruin of a nation begins in the homes of its people”. The recently initiated transitional justice processes such as the national peace and reconciliation have the potential to fix the relationship between the GoZ and its citizens. Nevertheless, while scholars and organisations may...

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    ICC acquits warlord and former congolese vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba
    08.06.18
    Jan HENNOP

    International war crimes judges Friday acquitted former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba on appeal, overturning an 18-year sentence for war crimes committed in the Central African Republic (CAR). "Mr Bemba cannot be held criminally liable for the crimes committed by his troops in the Central African Republic," presiding judge Christine Van den Wyngaert told the International Criminal Court in The Hague. "The Appeals Chamber in this instant reverses the conviction against Mr Bemba... and in relation to the remaining criminal acts it enters an acquittal," Van den Wyngaert...

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    Gambian to continue to be “resilient, peaceful and resolute”, commends Ade Lekoetje, UN representativ
    07.06.18
    Maxime Domegni

    Since Yahya Jammeh’s left the power in The Gambia, in January 2017, the country is going through a delicate political transition and running a transitional justice process. After getting rid of the dictatorship, the young and vulnerable Gambian democracy, has to rely on the supports from the international community. One of the main actors of the diplomatic support to one of the smallest countries of Africa is the United Nations System. We met, in The Gambia, Ade Lekoetje,the UN Resident Coordinator, for an exclusive interview. Though she believes the transitional justice is going...

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    Week in Review: Tunisian trial and questions on UN judge selection
    04.06.18
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    An important event of the transitional justice week was the start of trial in Tunisia in the case of Kamel Matmati, who was kidnapped by former president Ben Ali’s police, died under torture 27 years ago and his body disappeared without a trace.  Kamel Matmati's case was transferred by the Truth and Dignity Commission on March 2 to the specialized chamber at the court in Gabes. This trial is the first before a specialized chamber and so is seen as a test case. The 14 accused, including ex-president Ben Ali, his interior minister Abdallah Kallel, former police chief  Mohamed Ali Ganzoui and...

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    What prospects for an African Court under the Malabo Protocol?  
    31.05.18
    Eden Matiyas

    The future of the Malabo Protocol to create an African Court of Justice and Human Rights remains uncertain. Despite hopes that it could add a regional accountability layer and strengthen “African solutions for African problems”, it is also criticized for granting immunity to sitting Heads of States and Government. The African Union (AU) foresees an alternative to the International Criminal Court (ICC) that consists of extending and strengthening the jurisdiction of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), to deal with international crimes committed in Africa. In 2014, the AU...

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    Lawyer Reed Brody believes Gambian ex-dictator can be brought to justice in Ghana
    23.05.18
    Maxime Domegni

    Families of victims of the 2005 massacre of some 50 migrants in The Gambia, along with Ghanaian human rights organizations, launched a new push for the extradition of former Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh in Accra, Ghana, on Wednesday May 16. Senior Adviser to Human Rights Watch Reed Brody, who helped bring former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré to justice, was also there to support them. Brody thinks that if the socio-political and security situation in The Gambia is not ready for a trial of the former dictator, the political conditions now exist for his extradition to Ghana. Jammeh has been...

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    France upholds landmark Rwandan genocide conviction
    24.05.18
    AFP

    France's highest court on Thursday upheld a landmark conviction against a former Rwandan intelligence agent for his role in the country's 1994 genocide. Pascal Simbikangwa, 58, was sentenced to 25 years in 2014 in a trial that marked a turning point in France's approach to genocide suspects living on its soil. The former presidential guard member had already lost an appeal against his conviction for crimes against humanity and genocide in 2016. The Cour de Cassation, France's court of final appeal, on Thursday ruled it was "obvious" that Simbikangwa had "willingly participated in abuses against the Tutsis and against the civilian population in general". Simbikangwa, who has been...

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    Special Central African Court must be operational for “long-term stability”
    24.05.18
    Ephrem RUGIRIRIZA, JusticeInfo.Net

    In a report on the Central African Republic (CAR) published on May 18, Human Rights Watch (HRW) calls for more political and financial support to the Special Criminal Court (SCC), which is being set up to try serious crimes committed in the country since 2003. The report, which comes as the CAR is experiencing a new upsurge of violence including in the capital Bangui, looks at the progress, obstacles and challenges for the Special Criminal Court in its initial phases. JusticeInfo.Net talked to Elise Keppler, associate director of the International Justice Programme at Human Rights...

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    The challenges of reintegrating child soldiers in South Sudan
    23.05.18
    Eden Matiyas

     One of the most troubling trends of the armed conflict in South Sudan is the use of children as soldiers. South Sudan is among the ten countries with the highest number of child soldiers in the world. Yet political efforts to disarm, demobilize and reintegrate these child soldiers have been limited and challenging. Since independence in 2011, South Sudan has experienced numerous violent struggles. And according to the United Nations, ever since the eruption of the civil war in 2013, both military and opposing armed groups in the conflict have recruited about 19,000 children as...

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    Burundi: three years of bloody political crisis
    15.05.18
    AFP

    The small central African state of Burundi has been mired in a bloody crisis since 2015 over President Pierre Nkurunziza's bid to cling to power, the unrest claiming 1,200 lives. The violence has stoked fears of a return to the 1993-2006 civil war in which 300,000 people died. As the country votes Thursday on constitutional reforms that would enable Nkurunziza to rule until 2034, here is a recap of the past three years of unrest. - Demonstrations erupt - On April 26, 2015, a day after Nkurunziza is declared candidate for a third term in office by his ruling CNDD-FDD party, thousands gather in the capital in protest, defying a ban on demonstrations. It is the start of six weeks of...

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    CAR: Are ex-Seleka preparing to march on Bangui?
    19.04.18
    Ephrem Rugiririza, with Radio Ndeke Luka

    The latest joint operation by UN peacekeepers and Central African forces in Bangui’s PK5 district is viewed by factions of the ex-Seleka rebels as an attack on Muslims. In response, some militia have organized protest shut-downs in the areas under their control. And over the weekend these former rivals, now magically reconciled, started gathering heavily armed forces at Kaga Bandoro, in the north. What are they planning? The UN force has issued a warning. Frequently accused of doing nothing, the UN force decided to act in the capital by launching on April 8 “operation Soukoula Km5” to...

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    Congolese court tries ex-militia leader for crimes against humanity
    16.04.18
    Claude Sengenya, special envoy to Kalehe, in the South Kivu province of eastern DRC

    In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a military tribunal has been sitting since Friday April 13, in Kalehe, South Kivu province, for the trial of a former militia leader accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes. Maro Ntumwa, known as “the Moroccan”, is charged with “rape, sexual slavery, looting, attacks against a civilian population and on religious buildings” committed between 2005 and 2007. At the time, the accused was the right-hand man of Bedi Mobuli Engengela, dubbed “Colonel 106”, a former leader of the Mai-Mai militia who has already been convicted by a military...

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