International

    Week in Review: Bangui rejects hate message, Euro-MPs make an appeal
    16.07.18
    Ephrem RUGIRIRIZA, JusticeInfo.Net

    Central Africans from all sides have come out strongly against a message calling on Christians to avenge the deaths of priests and members of the faithful killed in recent days. That call came in a communiqué from the “Church Defence League”, a hitherto unknown organization which says it wants to “denounce the lack of action by national authorities and Catholic church leaders in the face of violence against priests and religious people”, according  to Radio Ndeke Luka. The Catholic church, Muslim organizations, journalists’ associations and other members of civil society have come out as...

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    “If the ICC had jurisdiction in Syria, it might save many lives”
    16.07.18
    Stéphanie MAUPAS, The Hague

    On July 17, the International Criminal Court (ICC) celebrates the 20th anniversary of its founding document, the Rome treaty. Interview with Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch (HRW). Justice Info: What is the significance of this 20th anniversary? Kenneth Roth: I think the creation of the ICC twenty years ago was an historic moment, because it signals theoretical commitment by the international community to attack the impunity that so often stood behind mass atrocities. So many abusive governments had figured out that if they kill or compromise their domestic...

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    "Recognizing sexual violence in conflict is part of sexual equality"
    21.06.18
    Frédéric Burnand, correspondent in Geneva

    Better fighting sexual violence in conflict, prosecuting perpetrators more efficiently and strengthening judicial procedures so that victims can get justice and reparation – this was the focus of a conference organized in Geneva by the NGO TRIAL International on June 18-19. TRIAL’s specialist in the field Lucie Canal talked to JusticeInfo about the progress made in the fighting such atrocities which have been ignored all too long. JusticeInfo: Why this focus now? Lucie Canal: For several years our organization has been working more and more on sexual violence, especially in the Democratic...

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    Sexual violence in conflict: how international guidelines can help investigators
    18.06.18
    Julia Crawford, JusticeInfo

    Swiss NGO TRIAL International, a partner of JusticeInfo that supports victims of international crimes, is putting the spotlight on sexual violence in conflict at a series of events in Geneva on June 18-19 to mark its fifteenth anniversary. Among the participants is Danaé van der Straten Ponthoz, who has in particular worked with TRIAL and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI), and is the co-author of the International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict (the “Protocol”). She spoke to...

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    Pay more attention to witness protection and reparations, says sexual violence expert
    16.06.18
    Julia Crawford, JusticeInfo

    Sexual violence in conflict is one of the most important but also hardest crimes to prosecute. Swiss NGO TRIAL International, a partner of JusticeInfo and Fondation Hirondelle that supports victims of international crimes, is putting the spotlight on this at a series of events in Geneva on June 18-19 to mark its fifteenth anniversary.  Kim Thuy Seelinger, director of the sexual violence project at the Human Rights Center of Berkeley University in California, will be among the participants. She spoke to JusticeInfo. JusticeInfo: What are the specific challenges and difficulties of...

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    Teachers’ Influence: Transitional Justice and the Impact of Education
    12.06.18
    Dr. John Sturtz

    The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, recently advocated a deeper form of education – one that “goes beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic to include skills and values that can equip people to act with responsibility and care…guided by human rights education to make informed choices in life, to approach situations with critical and independent thought, and to empathize with other points of view.” Education is an important part of transitional justice and calls for new ideas about what and how we teach young people. If the goal is to use...

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    UN schizophrenia and the choice of international judges
    31.05.18
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    International criminal justice puts forward the idea of universal, detached justice delivered by judges who are themselves completely independent and impartial because they are not part of the reality of societies at war whose crimes they judge. But the practices of the United Nations, international and mixed tribunals are questionable in terms of this ideal of justice. The blindfold on the eyes of Justice is a symbol of impartiality. It signifies that justice is (or should be) delivered objectively, without fear or favour, independently of the identity, power or weakness of the accused...

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    Week in Review: Views on the ICC and violence in Mali
    28.05.18
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    Once again this week, questions have been raised about current models of transitional justice and reconciliation procedures. Justice Info spoke to three lawyers and activists from Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire and Georgia, who shared their views on the International Criminal Court (ICC). These three perspectives shine a light on the Court’s impact and its failures.  Burundian lawyer Lambert Nigarura, listed as an “enemy of the country” and in exile since 2015, says “the regime is afraid of the Court” after the ICC launched investigations Burundi’s leaders for alleged crimes against humanity....

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    Week in Review: Israeli impunity and Gambian perseverance
    21.05.18
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    This week was marked by the events in Gaza and the possibility that those responsible in Israel might be brought before a court. The violence on May 14, which saw nearly 60 people killed by the Israeli army, has drawn anger and concern abroad. It coincided with the controversial inauguration of the new US embassy in Jerusalem. Israel is accused of “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity”, while the United States moved in the Security Council to block an “independent inquiry”, which the UN and numerous leaders have called for.   The Palestinian Authority is trying to refer Israel to the...

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    Week in Review: ICC and universal jurisdiction slowly making a mark
    06.05.18
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    It was an eventful week for transitional justice. Human rights activists in the Democratic Republic of Congo called on the oft-criticized International Criminal Court (ICC), whilst Human Right Watch said the ICC is inciting national jurisdictions to act. And in France, two Rwandan mayors accused of genocide returned to court for appeals proceedings seen as a test for universal jurisdiction. This week also saw World Press Freedom Day, with this year’s focus on the link between information, justice and the rule of law. Freedom of information is under more threaten than ever, in both...

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    OPINION: Justice and press freedom go hand in hand
    03.05.18
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    In Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial, Joseph K’s friend Ms Burstner says: “I find stories about justice extremely interesting. Justice has a strange power of seduction, don’t you think?” This is a terrible irony given the trial in the book, which has become a symbol of totalitarianism and tyranny. Justice and press freedom are good indicators of overall freedom in a country. The UN ritually celebrates press freedom for one day on May 3, and this year the theme is “Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law”.It is right to link justice and media, even if their practices and ways...

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    ICC: Reparation process “makes the Court to be relevant to society, beyond the Courtroom”
    24.04.18
    Stéphanie MAUPAS, The Hague

    In 2012, the International Criminal Court (ICC) handed down its first ever verdict in the trial of Congolese ex-militia leader Thomas Lubanga. Since then, there have been two other confirmed convictions of Congolese Germain Katanga in 2014 and Malian Ahmed Al Mahdi in 2016. However, victims are still waiting for reparations. JusticeInfo talked to Pieter de Baan, Executive Director of the Trust Fund for Victims. JusticeInfo: Since the opening of the Court in 2002, 16 years ago, reparations have never yet been implemented. How do you explain that? Pieter de Baan: I can acknowledge...

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    Without information, no reconciliation
    23.04.18
    JusticeInfo.net

    So the victims of the past do not become the perpetrators of the future: an animated presentation of JusticeInfo.Net.

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    Week in Review: One warlord on trial in the DRC, and one sentenced in the US
    22.04.18
    Ephrem RUGIRIRIZA, JusticeInfo.Net

    The trial of former Congolese militia leader Maro Ntumwa (dubbed the “Moroccan”) by a military tribunal in South Kivu, eastern DRC, opened on April 13 and continued this week. The accused is charged with “rape, sexual slavery, looting, attacks against a civilian population and on religious buildings” committed between 2005 and 2007, reports our correspondent Claude Segenya. “At the time, he 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 court,” he writes. For Sylvestre Bisimwa,...

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    Outsider Peter Lewis voted Registrar to reform the International Criminal Court
    01.04.18
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    British jurist Peter Lewis was on March 28 elected new Registrar of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Unlike his three predecessors, he is not an insider, but has solid experience as a Crown prosecutor in England and Wales. He succeeds Herman von Hebel of the Netherlands and will take up his post on April 16, with a mandate for five years. For the next five years, Peter Lewis will be the key man in the Court’s administration. The 18 ICC judges – of whom six have just been inaugurated – have elected a former British prosecutor to head the Registry. They passed over the favourites: Marc...

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    Week in Review: ICC withdrawals and fragile transitional justice
    26.03.18
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    How should the International Criminal Court react after first Burundi and now the Philippines decided to withdraw their membership? Numerous African countries have also threatened to do the same. Since withdrawal from the ICC only becomes effective after a year, ICC procedures with regard to the two countries can continue. Thus neither President Duterte, who is waging a merciless war on suspected drug traffickers, nor President Nkurunziza, accused of widespread and systematic human rights violations, are safe from prosecution.   “Withdrawal does not cancel out ICC judicial procedures,”...

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    Fight against impunity for mass crimes becomes more universal
    20.03.18
    Frédéric Burnand

    “Rarely has the fight against impunity been so dynamic” says Geneva-based group TRIAL International. “In 2017, countries in Africa, Europe, North America and Latin America tightened the net on war criminals by resorting to universal jurisdiction.” This is a legal principle under which countries can prosecute foreign war criminals when they visit or live on their territory.  “Last year, war crimes units (WCUs) around the world tightened the net on war criminals,” says the annual report of TRIAL International, which helps victims of mass crimes obtain justice. “While European countries...

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    Week in Review: Philippines to quit the ICC, while populism undermines the West
    19.03.18
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    At the International Criminal Court (ICC), registrar Herman Von Hebel this week announced that he is withdrawing his candidacy for a new five-year mandate. Von Hebel of the Netherlands had been severely criticized for his financial management of the Court. Twelve candidates remain in the running to succeed him, but a date has not yet been announced for the ICC judges to elect the new registrar. Still on the ICC, Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, whose country’s withdrawal from the Court became effective at the end of 2017, now has someone following in his path. His equally...

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    Democratic recession and transitional justice
    15.03.18
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    In an article that made an impact, American political sociologist Larry Diamond says that since 2006 we have been living through a “democratic recession”. The events of the past few weeks prove him right. The nomination to the post of US Secretary of State of Mike Pompeo, a supporter of torture, and of Gina Haspen to head the CIA are unfortunately the most recent symbols. Gina Haspen, directed a secret prison of the American intelligence services in Thailand where torture, especially waterboarding, was used against suspected “terrorists”. The Trump Administration is clearly not in line with...

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    ICC Registrar withdraws candidacy for new mandate
    15.03.18
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    The Registrar of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Herman von Hebel, decided on March 13 to withdraw as candidate for a new five-year mandate, JusticeInfo.net has learned. Von Hebel of the Netherlands had been sharply criticized for his management of the Court, especially in the context of the ReVision reform plan, aspects of which were deemed illegal by the administrative tribunal of the International Labour Organization (ILO) at the end of January. In total, these reforms may have cost the Court nearly 7 million Euros.  Twelve candidates are still in the running to succeed him. But...

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