Yesterday, the UN Security Council authorized a 12,000-strong peacekeeping force for the Central African Republic (CAR). The peacekeepers will deploy in September, taking over from African Union forces. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had urged Security Council members to authorize the mission, as had several Coalition members.
Earlier in the week, Amnesty International warned that world is failing to heed the lessons of the Rwandan genocide in the CAR, and Human Rights Watch said that CAR officials know who is responsible for alleged atrocities in their country, but are unable to arrest them.
Amnesty International published a Q&A on the human rights crisis in the CAR. ICC judges rejected a prosecution bid to have evidence of witness tampering admitted into the record of the Jean-Pierre Bemba case.
ICC judges reportedly faulted Uhuru Kenyatta for contributing to animosity towards the Court, witnesses and victims. The victims’ lawyer in the Kenyatta case said that justice will contribute to the reconciliation process in Kenya. A witness in the Ruto/Sang case told ICC judges that Kenyan police allegedly did nothing as houses were burned during the post-election violence, while another said that William Ruto allegedly hit an election official on television while the 2007 results were being tallied. The prosecution introduced satellite photos showing alleged arson damage in Eldoret and an expert witness testified that there was a spike in fires in January 2008.
ICC judges found that the DRC breached its obligations by failing to arrest ICC suspect Omar Al-Bashir when he visited its territory. Foreign Policy reported on alleged failings of UNAMID, the hybrid AU-UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur. It was also reported that a lack of support undermined UNAMID efforts to hold the Sudanese government responsible for alleged attacks on civilians. Meanwhile, militia attacks continued in North Darfur, where residents are said to live in fear of out-of-control militias. The Sudanese government reportedly expelled the head of the UN Population Fund’s Sudan office, accusing her of interfering in domestic affairs.
Germain Katanga appealed his conviction for war crimes and crimes against humanity, while the prosecution appealed his acquittal on charges of rape, sexual slavery and the use of child soldiers. The sentencing hearing in the case has been scheduled for 5 and 6 May. Meanwhile, the ICC has postponed appeals hearings originally scheduled for 14-15 April in the Thomas Lubanga case for logistical reasons.
No Peace Without Justice held a workshop on sexual and gender-based violence and victims rehabilitation in Libya.
The Ivorian Coalition for the ICC, along with victims, called for Simone Gbagbo to be transferred to the ICC (link in French). The head of a group representing Ivorian post-election violence victims told Radio Netherlands Worldwide that victims feel abandoned by the government and want justice (link in French).
Uganda indicated that some members of the DRC rebel group, M23, who are on Ugandan territory, will face the ICC.
The Nigerian military promised to investigate allegations made by Amnesty International that its forces have committed crimes against humanity, and Nigeria’s parliament summoned the defense minister and police inspector general over the recent killing of over 200 people in Zamfara. An Israeli politician argued that attempts to bring Israel to the ICC, such as the Comoros referral, will founder. Colombia commemorated victims of their country’s 50-year conflict with a march in Bogota.
The Coalition’s Kirsten Meersschaert Duchens discussed what would happen if Ukraine gives the ICC jurisdiction over recent protest violence. Former Ukrainian president Viktor Yuschenko has called for the ICC to investigate Russia’s annexation of Crimea. An Indonesian Institute of Sciences columnist called for Indonesia to join the ICC. An activist on a hunger strike demanding that Nepal join the ICC was admitted to a hospital after his condition deteriorated, while a Nepalese lawyer called for the country to join the Court. The International Federation for Human Rights welcomed Palestine’s decision to join a number of human rights conventions, but expressed regret that it did not join the ICC. Writing for Ma’an News, Ata Hindi urged Palestine to join the ICC. IPS reported that Palestine joining the ICC is a “red line” for the US and Israel.
The ICC and Parliamentarians for Global Action the passing of former Trinidad and Tobago prime minister and president Arthur Robinson, who played a critical role in the establishment of the ICC. Belgium signed an agreement to accept provisionally released ICC detainees on its territory. An Israeli NGO is preparing to petition the ICC to investigate alleged Palestinian crimes. David Bosco argued that the Court is unlikely to get involved in Palestine-Israel. Navi Pillay said that both sides in Syria’s conflict should be brought before the ICC, but that the government’s actions have been much worse. A Somaliland Press columnist presented a proposal for an ICC witness protection program. The UN panel on North Korea will push for members of the Kim Jon Un regime to be tried before the ICC. The Open Society Justice Initiative warned that a Guatemalan judge is facing retaliation over her role in the Rios Montt genocide trial.
This week the world marked the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the Rwanda genocide, during which almost one million were killed in three-months. The Coalition said the tragic events should to inspire Rwanda to lead the global fight against impunity. President of the ICC Assembly of States Parties Tiina Intelmann traced the creation of the ICC to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in a Huffington Post op-ed. The International Federation for Human Rights took the opportunity to reflect on lessons learned thus far. Amnesty International criticized the international community for failing to act on the lessons of the genocide. Human Rights Watch welcomed progress made in Rwanda and commended the work of the national and international courts in delivering justice. However, while the group acknowledged improvements to Rwanda’s judicial system, it noted concerns over the judiciary’s lack of independence and the mixed results of the country’s gacaca courts, as well as the need for prosecutions of Tutsi rebel forces for crimes they are alleged to have committed. Similarly, Avocats Sans Frontières’ Chantal van Cutsem recognized the continued need for effective and independent justice.