In Global Justice news this week: facts about the 26th African Union summit and the ICC; the trials of Laurent Gbagbo and Blé Goudé continued; ICC to deliver its veredict on the Bemba case on March; opening of the first sexual violence trial in the context of Guatemala’s internal conflict and much more.
Reports this week that African states agreed withdraw from the International Criminal Court at the 26th African Union summit are somewhat wide of the mark, with governments having only endorsed the consideration of a roadmap on possible withdrawal. This is just the latest in an anti-ICC campaign being led by current and former ICC suspects,according to civil society. Elsewhere, the editors of Kenya’s Daily Nationwrote that “[l]eaving the ICC with no credible mechanism for justice for mass crimes in sight would be an error of colossal proportions.” Meanwhile, three states signed on to a protocol to set up an African court to prosecute international crimes. So far no country has ratified the agreement.
Here are six facts to set the record straight on the AU summit and ICC.
International Criminal Court investigations
Côte d’Ivoire: The ICC trial of former Côte d’Ivoire president Laurent Gbagbo and ally Charles Blé Goudé continued this week in The Hague. Both defense teams exposed their views to the judges as well as the victims’ representative. Here is how people in Abidjan saw the trial’s first day. The trial shows that shows that justice can reach those who, at one time, seemed untouchable. Yet Ivoirian people want justice beyond this case, according a new survey. Meanwhile, President Allasane Ouattara indicated he will notsend anyone else to The Hague saying the country has an operational judicial system. The ICC still seeking the transfer of Simone Gbagbo for her alleged role in Côte d’Ivoire’s 2010-11 post-election violence.
Central African Republic: The ICC will deliver its verdict in the case against Congolese politician Jean-Pierre Bemba on 21 March 2016. CAR is set to elect a new president who must make justice and the fight against impunity priorities.
Democratic Republic of Congo: Former ICC convict, Germain Katanga is on trial in the DRC following his transfer from The Hague last month.
Georgia: The Georgian government welcomed the ICC decision to authorize an investigation into the 2008 conflict in South Ossetia which also involved Russia. Russian authorities said that the move would lead Russia to “fundamentally review its attitude towards the ICC.”
ICC preliminary examinations
Colombia: Human Rights Watch urged US President Barack Obama to press Colombia leader Juan Manuel Santos to address justice shortcomings in the country’s recently agreed peace. So will the peace accord deliver justice for grave crimes?
Nigeria: Amnesty International called the reinstatement of a general suspected of war crimes a “mockery” of commitments to fight impunity.
Campaign for Global Justice
Amid tensions between the ICC and African member states in 2015, the DRC stood as an example of cooperation with the Court.
What else is happening?
ICC judges issued a Chambers Practice Manual, first update of the pre-trial practice manual issued in September 2015 to increase the efficiency of the Court’s proceedings.
While the risk of genocide reportedly keeps growing in Burundi, the AU failed to sanction a peacekeeping force.
HRW called on Iraqi authorities to protect mass graves that could prove ISIS responsible for genocide of Yezidis. The group also accused Shia militias of possible war crimes.
The first trial for sexual violence during Guatemala’s 36 year internal armed conflict opened this week.
Civil society called for urgent action to prevent further violence in South Sudan.
The European Parliament labeled ISIS crimes against Yazidis as “genocide” in a new resolution adopted this week.
Do targeted killings through drones constitute war crimes?
Peace talks around the Syria conflict must exclude amnesties for war crimes and crimes against humanity, according to UN rights chief.
Is the ICC at risk of being spied on?
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