#GlobalJusticeWeekly – Calls for ICC examination into alleged crimes against humanity in Mexico

The Mexican military is accused of torture and other crimes against humanity. © Segundo a Segundo

The Mexican military is accused of torture and other crimes against humanity. © Segundo a Segundo

A group of human rights organizations has called on the ICC prosecutor to open a preliminary examination into alleged crimes against humanity in Mexico.

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights and the Northwest Citizens Commission on Human Rights today presented a report on torture, severe deprivation of liberty and enforced disappearances allegedly committed by the armed forces and state security forces in Baja California, Mexico between 2006 and 2012 to the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP).

A preliminary examination is carried out by the ICC prosecutor to determine if a full investigation is warranted based on criteria set out in the Rome Statute.



Central African Republic
Five people were killed when former Seleka rebels stormed a town in northern CAR.

Kenya
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda expressed her disappointment at the delays in the trial of Uhuru Kenyatta but said that she is not yet done with her attempts to prosecute Kenyan president. Kenyatta’s defense counsel asked judges to reject the prosecution’s request for an indefinite adjournment of the case. Kenya’s attorney general insisted that the government complied with prosecutors’ evidentiary requests to the best of its ability. The lawyer representing victims in the case has accused Kenyatta of “systematic obstruction of justice” and called on the Court to push the Kenyan government to release information requested by the prosecutor.

Judges ruled that prosecutors can treat a witness in the case against William Ruto and Joshua Sang as hostile. Prosecutors asked the witness whether he had been bribed to recant his testimony and told judges that he had tried to convince other witnesses to withdraw their testimony. The witness told judges that he was coached to give testimony against Ruto and gave different reasons for why he has twice failed to testify. He testified that his priest told him to recant his testimony against Ruto. Judges rejected a request from Ruto and Sang to disclose information on the Court expenses used on the compelled witnesses.

Kenya’s High Court declined to suspend an order directing the International Center for Policy and Conflict’s Ndung’u Wainaina and other activists to pay the legal costs from a lawsuit seeking to keep Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto from contesting the 2012 presidential election. Jubilee Coalition politicians demanded that the cases against Kenyatta, Ruto and Sang be dropped.

Darfur
ICC judges have issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese rebel Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain. The Chamber had requested Sudan’s cooperation to facilitate Banda’s presence at trial, which had been set to open on 18 November 2014. This cooperation, according to the information provided by the Court’s Registry, is not forthcoming. The Chamber considered that there are no guarantees that Banda will be in an objective position to appear voluntarily, regardless of whether he wishes to be present at trial or not.

The International Refugee Rights Initiative and a group of other organizations called for Sudan to stop the bombardment of civilians in Darfur and other states. FIDH urged the Human Rights Council to respond effectively to the deteriorating human rights situation in Sudan.

A Darfur displaced camp leader condemned attacks by government forces and UNAMID’s failure to protect the displaced. UNAMID called on Sudanese authorities to investigate an alleged government attack on a displaced camp in Darfur.

Uganda
Over 70 women and children have been freed from the Lord’s Resistance Army in the past month.

Libya
Human Rights Watch warned that the increasing militia attacks in Libya may constitute war crimes. According to the UN, fighting in Tripoli and Benghazi has displaced 250,000 people.

Cote d’Ivoire
ICC judges on Thursday confirmed that Côte d’Ivoire’s former president Laurent Gbagbo will face trial for crimes against humanity, rejecting an appeal by the defense. No date for the trial has yet been set. A Harvard University poll found that while a majority of Ivorians in Abidjan think that it is important to hold the perpetrators of the 2010 post-election violence accountable, many also distrust the ICC (in French).

Preliminary Examinations
Nigeria’s president was criticized for traveling to Chad with a former government official accused of sponsoring the Boko Haram. Another Nigerian civil society group petitioned the ICC to investigate the possible culpability of government officials in alleged Boko Haram crimes. The Boko Haram seized more towns along Nigeria’s border with Cameroon.

Amnesty International condemned war crimes allegedly committed by both pro-government and separatist forces in Ukraine.

Campaign for Global Justice
Parliamentarians for Global Action launched a campaign to defend the integrity of the Rome Statute.

Speaking about the Coalition’s call for Turkey to join the ICC, the Human Rights Agenda Association’s Gunal Kursun told Al-Monitor that Turkey would benefit from joining the Court. 

The American NGO Coalition for the ICC considered how joining the ICC would benefit the US’s security interests regarding ISIS. The UN high commissioner for human rights called for Iraq to join the ICC.

A group of Sakharov laureates called on the EU to encourage Palestine to join the ICC. An Palestinian official told Xinhua that Palestine will soon join the ICC. Meanwhile, David Hearst writes in the Huffington Post that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stopped an application to join the ICC, six days days after it was submitted to The Hague by his own minister of justice. The Arab Daily News reported that many Palestinians doubt that President Mahmoud Abbas will join the ICC.

What else is happening?
Africa Legal Aid and the International Commission of Jurists-Kenya convened a high-level conference on Africa and the ICC. ICC President Judge Sang-Hyun Song, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and ASP President Tiina Intelmann attended the conference during a three-day mission to South Africa and met with key members of government and civil society. President Song said that perception that the Court only targets African countries is inaccurate, and South Africa’s chief justice said that the ICC has played a critical role in ensuring accountability for atrocities in Africa.

African states at the UN selected Senegalese Justice Minister Sidiki Kaba to be the next president of the ICC’s Assembly of States Parties after Botswana, which was also fielding a candidate, said it was not ready to vote.

Deutche Welle reports that Israel has launched criminal probes over several incidents involving its forces in the most recent Gaza war, but Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has criticized the investigations for lacking independence. Three Israeli attacks that damaged Gaza schools housing displaced people caused numerous civilian casualties in violation of the laws of war, according to HRW. CIHRS called for the situation in Palestine to be referred to the ICC.
Also in a Huffington Post op-ed, ASP President Intelmann urged ICC members to elect the most qualified judges to the Court’s bench.

An Al Jazeera columnist argued that the ICC is still a deterrent despite some setbacks.

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