#GlobalJusticeWeekly – Report spurs UN action against peacekeeper sex abuse

UN peacekeepers. © www.nationalturk.com

UN peacekeepers. © http://www.nationalturk.com

The United Nations (UN) announced new measures aimed at curbing sexual abuse by peacekeepers this week amid allegations that UN troops in the Central African Republic (CAR) committed rape and other abuses.

report from Amnesty International (AI) implicated peacekeepers in the alleged rape of a 12-year-old girl and the indiscriminate killing of a father and son. AI called for those responsible to be held accountable, and urged the UN to review its oversight of peacekeeping operations.

In response to the report, the UN opened an inquiry and ousted the head of its CAR peacekeeping force. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on states to hold their troops accountable, saying that “a failure to pursue criminal accountability for sexual crimes is tantamount to impunity.” The UN lacks the power to pursue its own criminal investigations and prosecutions.

Ealier this year, allegations of child sex abuse surfaced against French peacekeepers in the CAR, prompting investigations by French and Central African authorities.



Central African Republic
The CAR interim government’s term was extended to the end of the year.

Kenya
David Tolbert of the International Center for Transitional Justice called on Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to act on his promises for justice.

ICC appeals judges will rule on the prosecutor’s appeal against a decision not to refer Kenyan non-cooperation with the Court to the ICC’s governing body on 19 August. Kenyatta insisted that his government has cooperated with the Court. The victims’ representative in the case against Kenyattacriticized the Office of the Prosecutor for failing to undertake effective investigations.

A network of people displaced by the post-election violence criticized the ICC for failing them, while another group of displaced persons protested their delayed resettlement by the government.

Darfur
Despite assurances from the Ugandan government that he would not be arrested, Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir declined to travel to Kampala for talks on South Sudan. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said that he cannot arrest Al-Bashir. The International Refugee Rights Initiative argued that Museveni’s promise not to arrest Al-Bashir demonstrates the subjugation of justice to politics. 

Elise Keppler of Human Rights Watch (HRW) told the Inter Press Service that a UN visit by Al-Bashir would be an affront to victims in Darfur. South Africa’s president defended the decision not to arrest Al-Bashir in June.

The African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council called on the Sudanese government, UN and AU to plan an exit strategy for the joint AU-UN peacekeeping force in Darfur.

Democratic Republic of Congo
ICC judges will hear arguments on whether to grant Thomas Lubanga early release on 21 August. After militia attacks against civilians in Katanga, HRW urged the DRC government to do more to protect civilians.

Libya
The International Bar Association reported that defense lawyers in Libya are preparing to appeal against the death sentences handed down against Saif Gaddafi, Abdullah Al-Senussi and other former government officials. A BBC News correspondent argued that the Libya death sentences cast a shadow over rule of law in the country.

AI called for the ICC to undertake new investigations into crimes allegedly committed in Libya over the past four years. The International Federation for Human Rights condemned attacks on human rights defenders in Libya.

After rival Libyan factions resumed peace talks in Geneva, the UN urged them to agree on a national unity government this month. The UN also warned that ongoing violence in Libya threatens the peace talks.

Mali
The UN expressed concern at the reported release of detainees suspected of or charged with war crimes and other serious human rights abuses in Mali, calling it de facto amnesty. Mauritania released a senior Malian insurgent.

An Al-Qaeda-linked group claimed responsibility for an attack on a Bamako hotel that killed five UN workers. Malian security forces arrested three suspects implicated in the attack. Over 10 people were killed in an attack on a village in northern Mali.

Uganda
Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice published a special issue of Legal Eye on the ICC, featuring an article from the chief justice of the Ugandan International Crimes Division. Activists in Washington urged the US government to step up actions against the Lord’s Resistance Army. A Daily Monitor letter writer questioned whether the ICC can meet Ugandans’ expectations for justice.

Côte d’Ivoire
The leader of Laurent Gbagbo’s political party was chosen by the group to run for president after years of boycotting elections.

Preliminary Examinations
A suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan killed at least 35 people.

Georgia condemned new ‘border’ signposts in the breakaway territory of South Ossetia.

A suspected Boko Haram bombing in northeast Nigeria killed at least 50 people. The president of Chad said that the Boko Haram has a new leader who is willing to negotiate with Nigeria’s president.

Campaign for Global Justice
A former Jamaican ambassador argued that Jamaica should join the ICC.

What else is happening?
HRW’s Elizabeth Evenson called on states parties to support the ICC by giving the Court the resources it needs to be effective.

Al welcomed a UN Security Council resolution on chemical weapons attacks in Syria as a step towards justice. No Peace Without Justice welcomed the resolution, but called on the Council to do more to ensure justice. AI published evidence of war crimes allegedly committed by Syrian forces in Eastern Ghouta, Syria.

Investigators in the Netherlands say pieces of a Russian missile system were found at the MH17 crash site in Ukraine.

A UK court dismissed an extradition case against Rwanda’s intelligence chief.

Academic and blogger Mark Kersten considered whether local justice is necessarily better than justice at the ICC.

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