International Criminal Court (ICC)

    “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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    EU needs Special Representative on International Justice, say Euro-MPs
    09.07.18
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    A group of European Parliament members have asked top EU diplomat Federica Mogherini to appoint as a matter of urgency a special representative on international humanitarian law and international justice. In a letter sent on June 29 to Federica Mogherini, the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, 34 members of the parliament in Strasbourg call for the “urgent establishment of a European Union Special Representative for International Humanitarian Law and International Justice”. The signatories suggest this should be decided for the 20th anniversary on...

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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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    "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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    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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    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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    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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    Palestine to bring Israel before ICC for “war crimes”
    17.05.18
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    The Palestinian Authority is preparing to refer Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes -- a potential key development for a case opened by the Court in 2015. A document referring Israel to the ICC for “war crimes” was signed in Ramallah on Tuesday evening by Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki and is expected to be filed with the Prosecutor next week. The decision was taken after the May 14 protests in Gaza, senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat told the press. Once Ramallah has filed the case to the office of ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, she will...

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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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    Myanmar facing ICC referral unless ‘proper’ Rakhine probe conducted: UN
    03.05.18
    Clare Hammond, Frontier

    Members of the United Nations Security Council have told Myanmar’s leaders there must be a “proper investigation” into a military crackdown in Rakhine State last August, which displaced almost 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to Bangladesh. British envoy to the UN Security Council, Ms Karen Pierce, said there were two routes to achieving this. “One is an ICC [International Criminal Court] referral. The second would be for the Burmese government to do it themselves,” she said. Her remarks came at a press conference in Nay Pyi Taw on Tuesday, which marked the end of a high-profile UN Security...

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    Week in Review: The importance of remembrance
    30.04.18
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    This week, JusticeInfo.net examined the significance of a memorial to the Armenian genocide recently inaugurated in a Geneva park. “Despite opposition from Ankara, the “Streetlights of Memory” were inaugurated in Geneva after 10 years of judicial and diplomatic battles,” explains our Geneva correspondent Frédéric Burnand. “The work of artist Melik Ohanian pays tribute to the Armenians massacred over a century ago in Turkey and also to the many Swiss who mobilized to help them as soon as the massacres started. This is a message that still resonates today.” “It is a good thing that Geneva...

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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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    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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    Week in Review: Victims feel ignored in Mali, Gambia and Tunisia
    08.04.18
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.Net

    The appearance of the former Islamist police chief of Timbuktu (northern Mali) before the International Criminal Court (ICC) was a highlight of this week in transitional justice. “Al Hassan” is suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity and was transferred to the ICC from Mali on March 31. Malian civil society expressed satisfaction at the appearance of this second Jihadist before the ICC. It comes after the ICC’s trial and conviction of Ahmad Al-Faqi Al-Mahdi, alias “Abu Turab”, for the destruction of Timbuktu’s cultural heritage during its occupation by the militant Jihadist...

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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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    Ugandan ex-rebel leader not mentally ill, experts tell the ICC
    29.03.18
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    The first stage of Dominic Ongwen’s trial is coming to an end before the International Criminal Court (ICC). In mid-April, prosecutors will call their last witness, and then it will be the turn of the defence to present its case. Ongwen, a former commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in northern Uganda. His lawyers, hoping for an acquittal, say he suffers from mental problems. “We all agree that Mr. Ongwen was in a traumatizing environment,” psychiatric expert Catherine Abbo told the Court on March 27 this year. After...

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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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    As Philippines withdraws, “quality justice” is best shield for ICC
    22.03.18
    Stéphanie Maupas,correspondent in The Hague

    After Burundi in 2016, the Philippines decided this March 16 to pull out of the Rome Treaty which created the International Criminal Court (ICC). In both cases, the decision followed announcements by the ICC Prosecutor that she was opening preliminary examinations on alleged crimes committed in those countries, including by their political leaders. The withdrawal decisions come in a specific context which is not linked to the standoff between some states notably in the African Union and the Court. According to a number of experts, recurring threats from states opposed to ICC decisions should...

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