#GlobalJusticeWeekly – The week in review

Narcisse Arido, suspected of witness interference and presenting forged or false evidence in the Jean-Pierre Bemba case, makes his first appearance in front of ICC judges. ICC-CPI.

In addition to updates on ICC cases and investigations and developments in the fight against impunity around the world, this blog will feature a regular weekly round-up of global justice news and views. We call it #GlobalJusticeWeekly.

You can receive #GlobalJusticeWeekly, as well as a monthly Coalition Bulletin and other updates, via email by signing up for our mailing list.

In this edition of #GlobalJusticeWeekly, you’ll find news and views on:

Central African Republic

In the Washington Post, Human Rights Watch’s Peter Bouckaert called for the US to support a UN peacekeeping mission in the CAR, detailing the abuses experienced by the country’s Muslims. In an insightful interview, Bouckaert also spoke about his use of social media to mobilize international response to the crisis. Narcisse Arido was this week transferred to ICC and today made his first appearance before ICC judges. He is suspected of witness interference and presenting forged or false evidence in the Jean Pierre-Bemba case.

Kenya

The Kenya Human Rights Commission’s Betty Murungi told IWPR that efforts to demonize the ICC by Kenyan politicians and African governments have reduced support for the Court in Kenya, while a new poll reported an increasing number of Kenyans support terminating the cases against Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto. The Kenyan High Court ruled that Walter Barasa, suspected of witness interference in the Ruto/Sang case, can be arrested and transferred to the ICC. Meanwhile, Ruto objected to Barasa’s challenge to Kenya’s cooperation with the ICC. The Star reported that during the 2013 presidential election, a British PR firm was used to sell the ICC as a tool of Western imperialism and present Kenyatta and Ruto as victims. Fergal Gaynor, legal representatives for victims in the Kenyatta case, said that all of his clients support the ICC, while a Kenyan activist discussed what justice means to victims in Kenya.

Darfur

FIDH condemned the arrest and detention of two Sudanese activists in connection with anti-government protests in Darfur, and the Darfur Bar Association denounced the death of a student protester in Nyala, Darfur. While the governor of North Darfur survived an ambush in a town briefly seized by rebels, A North Darfur Janjaweed leader refused to enter into talks with a government delegation sent to negotiate after his group attacked government forces. The militia group has sinceclaimed control over four towns.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Several Coalition members, including Human Rights WatchAmnesty InternationalFIDHAvocats Sans FrontieresPhysicians for Human RightsRENADHOC, the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice and the Open Society Justice Initiative welcomed the partial conviction of Germain Katanga, but expressed disappointment that he was acquitted on charges of rape and sexual slavery, as well as the use of child soldiers. Residents of Ituri, DRC welcomed the verdict, hoping that it will deter future crimes. The verdict has been the subject of much debate online. A group of 134 organizations, including the Coalition, urged the ICC prosecutor to continue investigations in the DRC and for the government to take steps to ensure greater accountability at the national level. Avocats Sans Frontieres is providing free legal aid in order to bolster the administration of justice in eastern DRC. Rape survivors from Minova, DRC testified in court.

Libya

In a resolution extending the mandate of its support mission in Libya, the UN Security Council urged the Libyan government to cooperate with the ICC and called on UN member states to support Libya’s efforts to end impunity.

Côte d’Ivoire

The Ivoirian government decided to transfer ICC suspect Charles Ble Goude to The Hague. Amnesty International welcomed the decision.

Uganda

A Ugandan state prosecutor asked the Supreme Court to allow the trial of LRA member Thomas Kwoyelo to go forward, arguing that the law providing him with amnesty is unconstitutional.

Mali

FIDH welcomed Mali’s advancements of justice, specifically the opening of an investigation into the Red Berets case, but cautioned that there is more work to be done. Meanwhile, Mali’s former coup leader began a hunger strike against the conditions of his detention.

Preliminary Examinations

Human Rights Watch warned that Taliban violence in Afghanistan threatens the country’s presidential election, while IPS reported that rights activists are concerned about Afghan presidential candidates’ views on transitional justice. In Colombia, the president predicted that a peace deal with the FARC will be reached before the year’s end, and Human Rights Watch condemned ongoing disappearances in the Colombian port of Buenaventura.

Campaign for Global Justice

An SAIS Observer columnist argued that the United States should join the ICC. eKantipur reported that while Nepal told the UN Human Rights Council that it has criminalized genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, it would actually need to ratify the Rome Statute in order to do so.

What else is happening?

The Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice published its 2013 Gender Report Card.FIDH welcomed the conviction in a French court of a Rwandan official accused of genocide and complicity in crimes against humanity. Representatives from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International told Al Jazeera that North Korean crimes should be prosecuted and not protected by China. However, while the head of the UN commission investigating alleged crimes against humanity in North Korea called for the UN to take action to hold those responsible accountable, China reportedly dismissed the report. A draft EU-Japan UN resolution calls on the Security Council to refer North Korea to an appropriate justice mechanism, but does not specify the ICC. Human Rights Watch’s Balkees Jarah argued that the US should support referring the Syrian conflict to the ICC, and UN investigators said that the war crimes evidence they have collected from the Syria conflict is solid enough for indictments.  A human rights lawyer called on the ICC to investigate the Cambodian government.

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