International Criminal Court (ICC)

    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    Week in Review: Mali elections raise hopes
    30.07.18
    Ephrem RUGIRIRIZA, JusticeInfo.Net

    The eyes of the world are on Mali, where voters went to the polls on Sunday July 29 in presidential elections. It is hoped these polls will help the country emerge from its current stalemate in implementation of the 2015 peace accord, which provides notably for transitional justice mechanisms after years of serious human rights violations. The international community is also hoping that a relaunch of the peace accord could boost the fight against Jihadist groups which continue to launch attacks in Mali and in the whole Sahel region. On the eve of the poll, UN Secretary General Antonio...

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    ICC Information and Outreach for Palestine victims
    23.07.18
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) have ordered the opening of an outreach programme for victims of the situation in Palestine, marking a new twist in the handling of this case. On July 13, 2018, three judges ordered the ICC Registry to open a “system of public information and outreach activities among the affected communities and particularly the victims of the situation in Palestine”. In the judges’ view, the Registry “should establish a continuous system of interaction between the Court and victims, residing within or outside of Palestine, for as long as the situation in...

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    Week in Review: Twenty years of the International Criminal Court
    23.07.18
    Ephrem RUGIRIRIZA, JusticeInfo.Net

    This week was marked by the celebration on July 17 of 20 years since the signing of the Rome treaty which founded the International Criminal Court (ICC). Despite its difficulties in arresting top suspects like Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir, despite the veto of big powers that stops it intervening in situations like Syria, and despite various attempts by governments to manipulate it, “the ICC opened up the possibility of global justice”, says Human Rights Watch director Kenneth Roth in an interview with JusticeInfo. Created as the world’s first permanent international criminal court, to...

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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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    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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