#GlobalJusticeWeekly – ICC prosecutor meets with Palestine minister of foreign affairs

Left: ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda Right: The Foreign Minister of Palestine Mr. Riad al-Malki ©ICC

Left: ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda
Right: The Foreign Minister of Palestine Mr. Riad al-Malki ©ICC

The ICC prosecutor has met with Foreign Affairs Minister of Palestine Riad al-Malki in the Hague to discuss and clarify the legal process of ratifying the Rome Statute.

The Palestinian Authority and political leaders have expressed interest in becoming a state party and allowing the ICC jurisdiction due to the escalation of the conflict in Gaza.

Since the meeting, the Court stated that it has yet to receive any type of document from Palestine accepting ICC authority to investigate or any document requesting for an official investigation as a non-member observer state.

Amnesty International (AI) urged the UN Security Council, Palestine, and Israel to cooperate with the ICC in order for those responsible of committing human rights violations to be brought to justice. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) wrote to the UNSC urging them to immediately intervene in the Gaza conflict and for the situation to be referred to the ICC.



Central African Republic

AI called on CAR officials and President Catherine Samba-Panza to prevent those allegedly responsible for human rights violations from receiving government positions.

An op-ed from Aljazeera criticized the ceasefire between the Seleka rebels and the anti-Balaka militia for not including terms to persecute those allegedly responsible in war crimes. Both sides also accused each other of violating the ceasefire agreement between them after fighting erupted in northern CAR.

Kenya

The ICC Trial Chamber ordered the Kenyan government to release eight categories of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s records to the prosecution. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda accused President Kenyatta of being involved in a cover up which led to the execution of leaders from insurgent group Mungiki.

Kenyatta also ordered the repossession of 70% of the land in Lamu, the location of much of the recent violence.

Darfur

Sudan announced that general elections will be in April of 2015 and while they did not reveal whether President Omar al-Bashir will stand for re-election, citizens fear for rigged voting.

The Sudan Tribute criticized UNAMID for the lack of progress in stabilizing the state and outlined the peacekeeping mission’s failures. Refugees in Central Darfur cried out against the increase of physical and sexual violence by gunmen. Meanwhile, one person was killed as a result of tribal clashes in Central Darfur and armed pro-government militia attacked refugees in North Darfur.

North Darfur Governor Osman Kibir released a statement outlining the state’s new government and blamed the security situation for the delay in its implementation.

Sudanese Vice President Hasabo Rahman released a press statement calling for more action to improve security as violence increases in Southern Darfur. Security forces stormed through a South Darfur refugee camp as part of the effort to stop criminal offenses by armed groups.

Democratic Republic of Congo

The ICC Pre-trial judge handling the Jean-Pierre Bemba witness tampering case ordered the prosecution to provide concrete information of the payments made to the witnesses in Bemba’s ongoing trial for war crimes.

The Congolese Army and UN troops freed 250 captured civilians from Ugandan rebels. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has successfully completed their mission of returning 120,000 willing Congolese refugees to the DRC.

Uganda

A report released by the African Union, the UN, the EU, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), and the African Security Sector Network (ASSN) found that the LRA rebels are still a grave threat to the declining security situation in CAR. South Sudan announced plans to provide weapons and soldiers for local groups in their search for the LRA.

Libya

AI criticized both factions fighting in Tripoli and Benghazi for the indiscriminate shelling of civilians and called for its immediate stop. Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) released a statement commending the formation of a new House of Representatives in Libya, urging them to end the violence and take action against those who have committed human right atrocities. This newly elected Parliament’s first meeting focused on ending the violence in Libya. Meanwhile, Libyan MP Abu Bueira called on the civil society and the international community to ensure that the violence ends for fear of “negative ramifications on a global scale”.

Tunisia has closed its main border with Libya after stranded foreign nationals tried to flee the escalating violence.

Côte d’Ivoire

The International Center for Transitional Justice called on the Côte d’Ivoire government to ensure that the appropriate reparations are given to the victims of the political violence.

Mali

A new program by the UNICEF and the EU will focus on reducing malnutrition amongst children affected by the violence in Mali.

Ag Ghali, leader of insurgent group Ansar Dine, vowed to target French soldiers who switched operations from pushing out jihadist control to focusing on quelling terrorist threats.

The International and Security Relations Network speculated that the most effective method of keeping the peace between the Malian government and the rebels is to remove armed groups from the conflict zone.

Preliminary Examinations

AI released video, photo, and testimonial evidence allegedly showing Nigerian military committing grave human rights violations in the fight against Boko Haram. A questions and answers document was also released explaining this evidence.

Research showed that the increase in civilian uprising against insurgent group Boko Haram causes the militia group’s attacks on civilians to increase. The Boko Haram utilized IEDs and petrol bombs to attack five churches in Northern Nigeria. The group also seized the town of Gwoza and left 100 civilians dead while residents claimed Nigerian troops protecting them fled. Meanwhile, US surveillance planes spotted what they claim are the schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram.

The Colombian army sent 200 troops to Southern Colombia after the increase of alleged attacks by the FARC rebel militia while FARC warned that the peace talks may not occur if the military keeps attacking the militia’s leaders. Analysts fear a Colombian high court’s decision that rebels guilty of war crimes cannot hold public office can stop FARC leaders from being a part of the political process and may hinder the peace talks. Still, the peace process continued as the government and FARC announced the formation of a sub-committee aimed at establishing the terms and timeline for a ceasefire.

Campaign for Global Justice

Nepal advocate Raj Kumar Siwakoli urged Nepal leaders to ratify the Rome Statute.

What else is happening?

Human Rights Watch (HRW) called for the release of 54 Syrian women and children held hostage by opposition groups.

Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) urged the DRC and Ugandan governments to draft a treaty aimed at ending impunity for war crimes.

AI called for an arms embargo for all state parties involved in the Israel Palestine conflict, especially focusing on the US trading, urging the US to immediately stop shipping fuel to Israel for its military. HRW released a report condemning Jordan’s refusal to accept Palestinian refugees escaping through Syria. HRW reported on and criticized accounts of Israeli soldiers intentionally shooting down unarmed and fleeing citizens. HRW also criticized the unlawful shooting and killing of two protesters in the West Bank.

Freedom House’s Eli McCrain analyzed the success and failures of the ICC’s eight ongoing investigations.

The US Ambassador to the UN praised Rwanda’s peacekeeping troops for their success and called on the UN to improve their tactics after a report found that its missions have often failed to protect civilians.

Michael Kirby, the Chairman of the UN Commission of Inquiry into North Korea’s alleged human rights violations, urged the UN to take action against the allegations of crimes against humanity and refer North Korea to the ICC.

ICC President Sang-Hyun Song met with President of PARLASUR Ruben Huelmo to sign a Framework Cooperation Arrangement to develop cooperation between the ICC and PARLASUR.

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