DRC militia leader Katanga sentenced to 12 years
The Coalition welcomed the 12 year sentence handed down by ICC judges against Congolese militia leader Germain Katanga as a step towards ending impunity in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Earlier this year, Katanga was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during an attack on the village of Bogoro in eastern DRC in 2003. The time he has spent in ICC custody since September 2007 will be deducted from the sentence.
Calls for UNSC reform after Syria ICC referral veto
The Coalition has called for reform of the UN Security Council following its failure to refer widespread violations of international humanitarian law and human rights in Syria for investigation by the ICC prosecutor. In a letter to governments, the Coalition urged UN member states to take actions in the UN General Assembly and all relevant fora regarding the failure.
In a joint statement, eight NGOs called on permanent members of the Security Council to refrain from using their veto in situations of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, or ethnic cleansing. All statements relating to yesterday’s vote are available on the website of the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect.
On Thursday, Russia and China vetoed the referral resolution, which had the support of nearly 60 states and over 100 civil society organizations. No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) condemned Russia and China for obstructing justice. In an op-ed, Amnesty International’s (AI) Jonathan O’Donohue wrote of the Security Council’s appalling record of referring situations to the ICC.
In the run up to the vote, Human Rights Watch (HRW) had expressed support for the 58 countries backing the referral, and members of Parliamentarians for Global Action urged the Council to pass the measure. In an op-ed, the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect’s Naomi Kikoler urged Canada to support the move. HRW’s Richard Dicker said that it is disappointing that a majority of African ICC members were not backing the referral.
Earlier in the week, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda indicated that she would support a special tribunal for Syria if an ICC referral is blocked.
Gaddafi ICC trial to go ahead say appeals judges
On Wednesday, the ICC Appeals Chamber confirmed the admissibility of the Saif Gaddafi case before the ICC, concluded that pre-trial judges had not erred in finding that Libya had fallen short of substantiating that its national investigation covers the same case before the ICC.
HRW and AI each called for Libya to comply with its obligation to immediately transfer Gaddafi to The Hague. However, NPWJ criticized the ruling, arguing that it risks undermining the Libyan people’s confidence in their justice system at a very critical time.
Central African Republic
The Seleka rebel group said that it has re-organized in order to exert greater control over its fighters. Uganda is prepared to send troops as part of the UN mission in the CAR. NPR reported that Central African child soldiers have struggled to adapt to life after being freed.
The International Commission of Jurists-Kenya’s (ICJ-Kenya) Njonjo Mue said that Kenya’s under-funding of witness protection stems from government leaders’ concern over the ICC cases. ICJ-Kenya and Journalists for Justice said that the Kenyan government has done little to ensure that post-election violence victims get justice, and the International Center for Policy and Conflict condemned Kenya’s attorney general for failing to respect rule of law, in particular by disrupting the administration of the justice at the ICC. The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) said that the final report of Kenya’s Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission deserves to be treated with seriousness.The Kenyan Attorney General cross examined former Truth Commission Chief Nyaundi over alleged post-election violence sexual offences. After recent alleged murders of witnesses, Kioko Kamula, deputy to the director of public prosecutions, told IWPR that necessary steps to protect witnesses were not taken.
The Ruto/Sang trial was adjourned until 16 June for logistical reasons. William Ruto’s defense counsel claimed that Fatou Bensouda’s latest witness withdrawal is a signal that the prosecutor’s case is weak. A witness that was supposed to testify against Ruto and Sang reportedly disappeared from ICC protection last week. The ICC outreach coordinator in Kenya said that the Court is ready to charge Walter Barasa and that Kenya is obligated to turn him over. A Kenyan journalist argued that the ICC trials have been heavy on drama but light on justice, and a Standard editorial argued that Kenya needs strong leadership, not the ICC.
Sudanese security forces refused the UN-AU peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) access to over 10,000 new displaced persons in North Darfur, and a South Darfur displaced camp asked UNAMID to establish a base there to protect against militia attacks. Meanwhile, Sudan’s opposition leader was arrested after criticizing the government’s security policy in Darfur, and the head of Sudan’s intelligence and security services ordered Janjaweed forces to be deployed around Khartoum. According to the Sudan People Liberation Movement-North one fifth of Sudan’s militia forces are foreigners.
Democratic Republic of Congo
Thomas Lubanga’s former guards told the ICC Appeals Chamber that they were not child soldiers. The age of soldiers employed by Lubanga has been at the center of submissions made during his appeals hearing. French President Francois Holland met with Congolese President Joseph Kabila to urge him to keep troops in CAR.
The Libyan army ordered Islamist militias deployed to Tripoli in a bid to restore order after a renegade general stormed the parliament, sparking a crisis in which Libya’s militias have taken sides. Libya’s election commission set parliamentary elections for next month in a bid to diffuse the crisis.
Uganda might reduce the number of its troops participating in the manhunt for the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) due to lack of funding. Joseph Kony reportedly named his son as a deputy leader of the LRA.Côte d’Ivoire. An Ivorian political leader said that the ICC case against Laurent Gbagbo is politically motivated (in French).
The Malian army retreated from Kidal after heavy fighting with Tuareg rebels. France is sending 100 extra troops to Mali after an outbreak of violence in the country’s northern region. An earlier rebel attack in the northern city killed six government officials and two civilians, after which the separatists released 30 hostages taken in the attack. The renewed violence prompted the US to warn that northern Mali risks sliding back into conflict. The UN Secretary-General has urged the immediate cessation to the violence. A survey found that nine out of 10 Malians want the country to remain united.
The FIDHand 15 other organizations called on the UN Security Council to take action to rescue the schoolgirls kidnapped by the Boko Haram. FIDH also urged Nigeria to protect women and girls from the extremist group. Nigeria and its neighbors agreed to join forces to combat the Boko Haram. Nigeria has formally asked the UN to blacklist Boko Haram. The has US deployed 80 troop force to Chad to assist in the search for the 200 Nigerian school girls. Meanwhile, twin explosions blamed on the Boko Haram killed at least 46 people in Jos, while a suicide attack killed four people in Kano. HRW’s Clive Baldwin argued that the ICC needed to re-open its examination in Iraq because British authorities have allegedly failed to investigate military commanders and because the British military justice process lacks independence. A Gatestone Institute columnist argued that the ICC’s inquiry into alleged British detainee abuse in Iraq is a perversion of international law.
Campaign for Global Justice
Academic Kevin Jon Heller argued that Ukraine’s constitution prohibits any delegation of a jurisdiction to an international tribunal, putting its acceptance of ICC jurisdiction on shaky ground. An Al-Monitor columnist reported that there is a growing consensus that Palestine should join the ICC.
What else is happening?
Amnesty International warned that Guatemala’s fight for justice is being undermined one year after the Efrain Rios Montt trial. ICTJ discussed the anniversary of the Rios Montt verdict and all that has happened since a retrial was ordered. The ICC and ASP presidents concluded visits to Slovenia, Croatia and Switzerland. Former ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo said that Israel has little to fear from the ICC. According to an internal report, UN peacekeepers should use force more often to protect civilians but do not do so because they are afraid of court martial or the ICC. South African police resumed their fight against an order to probe alleged Zimbabwean torture crimes under the Rome Statute. UN documents show Syria has been consistently cutting off food supplies to opposition-held areas. Academic Alana Tiemessen examined state behavior toward the ICC and the politics which surround its prosecutions.