Ukraine expands acceptance of ICC jurisdiction; China condemned for hosting ICC fugitive Omar al-Bashir; Arrest warrants unsealed in the ICC Kenya cases; Plus more on Lord’s Resistance Army commander Dominic Ongwen and the trial in Senegal of the former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré.
Ukraine expands acceptance of ICC jurisdiction
Ukraine this week expanded its acceptance of International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction using a special mechanism for states not party to the Rome Statute, the Court’s founding treaty. The ICC prosecutor can now investigate any grave crimes committed on the territory from February 2014 onwards. Earlier this year, Ukraine had accepted jurisdiction covering the period November 2013 to February 2014. Civil society welcomed the latest move while calling on the country to become a full ICC member. Numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity have been reported in eastern Ukraine since the outbreak of conflict last year, including violence against thousands of civilians and the shooting down of flight MH17.
China condemned for hosting ICC fugitive al-Bashir
China has drawn sharp criticism for hosting ICC fugitive Omar al-Bashir during its commemoration of the end of the Second World War last week. While not an ICC member, China is part of the UN Security Council that referred Darfur, Sudan to the ICC in the first place. The leaders of ICC member states attending at the event were also strongly condemned as they must avoid contact with persons wanted by the Court. Elsewhere, ICC judges have ordered South Africa to explain why it failed to arrest al-Bashir on a recent visit, while a motion to impeach President Zuma for this role in the affair was rejected in the country’s parliament. A new report accuses the Sudanese government forces of fresh attacks against civilians in Darfur.
Kenya: Arrest warrants were unsealed against two individuals for corruptly influencing witnesses in the cases involving Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto. New charges could be on the horizon for broadcaster Joshua Sang.
Uganda: ICC judges recommended holding a preliminary hearing in the case against recently surrendered Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Dominic Ongwen in Uganda. Meanwhile, the ICC prosecutor closed the case against another LRA commander Okot Odhiambo after his death was confirmed and called on governments to renew efforts to arrest the group’s fugitive leader Joseph Kony.
Democratic Republic of Congo: Activists in the DRC’s eastern province of Ituri shared their thoughts on the importance of the just-opened trial of Congolese militia leader Bosco Ntaganga, as well as on the possibility of an early release for convicted rebel Thomas Lubanga.
Côte d’Ivoire: Judges rejected a request for the temporary release of former president Laurent Gbagbo whose trial begins in November.
French President François Hollande called on Middle East countries to ratify the Rome Statute to fight ISIS crimes and pledged to back a referral of the situation to the ICC by the UN Security Council.
What else is happening?
Charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture dating back to his reign in the 1980s, the long-fought for trial of former Chadian president Hissène Habré resumed on Monday before a hybrid court in Senegal. Could there be a clearer example of the desire for justice for grave crimes in Africa?
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