#GlobalJusticeWeekly – Libya verdicts spark international condemnation

Former Libyan government officials sit on trial in Tripoli. © Xinhua/REX Shutterstock

Former Libyan government officials sit on trial in Tripoli. © Xinhua/REX Shutterstock

This week, a Libyan court convicted Saif Gaddafi, Abdullah Al-Senussi and seven other former government officials and sentenced them to death.

In response to the verdict, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda asked judges to order Libya not to execute Gaddafi and to instead surrender him to the ICC, where he faces charges of crimes against humanity.

The trial and verdicts were criticized by civil society, including Human Rights Watch (HRW), No Peace Without Justice, Amnesty International (AI), the International Bar Association and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), due to allegations of serious due process violations. Lawyers for Justice in Libya expressed concern that the trial will harm victims’ ability to get justice. UN officials also condemned the verdicts, while Libya’s minister of justice called the trial illegal and claimed judges in the case were acting under duress.

The ICC issued arrest warrants for both Gaddafi and Al-Senussi in 2011 for crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Libya from 15 February until at least 28 February 2011. Judges later ruled that the ICC’s case against Al-Senussi was inadmissible because of genuine domestic proceedings against him in Libya, but that the case against Gaddafi should move forward in The Hague.



Central African Republic
AI warned that Muslims returning to ethnically cleansed areas in the CAR are being forced to give up their religion. At least 26 people were killed in clashes between armed groups in a northwest CAR town.

Darfur
Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir travelled to Mauritania to attend a summit. A European Parliament delegation criticized the South African government for allowing Al-Bashir to leave the country despite a court order in June. The Coalition for the ICC’s Stephen Lamony and Sina Alavi argued that South Africa’s failure to arrest Al-Bashir demonstrated neglect for victims in Darfur.

Democratic Republic of Congo
The Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims met to discuss reparations in the Thomas Lubanga case. Lubanga is seeking an early release from prison, a move opposed by victims in the case. Dominique Kamuandu, International Justice Programme coordinator for Avocats Sans Frontières in the DRC, discussed progress made and remaining challenges to international justice in the country.

Uganda
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensounda travelled to Uganda to meet with witnesses and provide updates on the case against Lord’s Resistance Army commander Dominic Ongwen. An Acholi chief warned residents not to interfere with the ICC’s investigation into the Lukodi massacre.

Preliminary Examinations
Negotiators for Colombia and the FARC are stuck over the subject of justice, Colombia Reports reported.

HRW called for increased accountability and training for Guinea’s security forces, which have allegedly engaged in abusive conduct and used excessive force against protestors.

At least 25 people were killed in Boko Haram attacks last weekend in Nigeria. Multinational troops fighting the Boko Haram will be able to cross national borders in pursuit of the militant group.

AI reported evidence of Israeli war crimes allegedly committed in retaliation for the capture of an Israeli soldier in Gaza, Palestine. Al Jazeera columnists argued that the ICC must investigate alleged war crimes in Gaza if it is to remain credible. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda appealed against a ruling asking her to reconsider her decision not to investigate the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid. International lawyer Toby Cadman welcomed the judges’ ruling as a potential watershed moment for accountability in the Israel-Palestine conflict. FIDH published a Q&A on the Court’s preliminary examination of the raid.

HRW’s Tanya Lokshina reported on civilians stuck in the middle of fighting in Donbass, Ukraine.

What else is happening?
WITNESS’s Kelly Matheson discussed the need for training and guidance for frontline activists to record digital evidence of abuses for use at trial.

Destination Justice opened a Justice Café in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Citizens for Global Solutions welcomed the start of the Hissène Habré trial. The International Refugee Rights Initiative’s Djibril Balde called the Habré trial a significant step in the fight against impunity for African leaders. 

HRW’s Jo Becker wrote that while the latest US report on child soldiers shows some progress some countries reported increases in child soldiers.

Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution to create a special tribunal to prosecute those responsible for downing flight MH17 over Ukraine. A law professor argued that Ukraine should ask the ICC to investigate the MH17 incident.

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