Hopes for justice in 2016


In Nairobi, Kenya, activists hold a candlelit vigil to call for peace in Burundi. © Dai Kurokawa/EPA

Civil society members of the Coalition for the ICC share their expectations for accountability for grave crimes in Guinea, Georgia, Colombia, Burundi and Kenya this year.

Trials in Guinea for 2008 Conakry stadium massacre

Conakry stadium, Guinea © The Observers, France24

Attack of security forces to opposition protesters at Conakry stadium, Guinea © The Observers, France24

Mathilde Chiffert, Guinea programme coordinator, International Federation for Human Rights

“The victims of the Conakry stadium massacre on 28 September 2008 hope to soon see six years of investigations result in a trial that will bring justice and reparations. Guinea’s president should publicly commit to opening the trial in 2016. It would be an opportunity for the government to show the world that those responsible for these crimes can successfully be held account before national courts. Guinea could become a remarkable example of cooperation with the ICC, which has been conducting a preliminary examination since 2009, and the 28 September case a landmark in the implementation of the ICC’s principle of complementary.”

An ICC investigation in Georgia


A Georgian woman cries at the entrance of her destroyed building in a battered neighborhood in Gori on August 23, 2008. © RFE/RL – AFP

Ana Natsvlishvili, chair, Georgian Young Lawyers Association

“Seven years after the August 2008 Georgian-Russian conflict over South Ossetia, no effective national investigations have been carried out and perpetrators continue to live with impunity while victims of grave crimes are left without redress. We welcome the ICC prosecutor’s move to open an investigation into the situation and hope that justice will be served. Effective investigation and prosecution is not only the right of victims, but the duty of the international community to keep its promise that most serious crimes must not go unpunished.”

Guarantees for victims in Colombia’s peace/justice deal

Cuban President Raúl Castro, centre, holds the hands of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, left, and top leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) Rodrigo Londono 'Timochenko' Echeverri (right) during a press conference announcing the reaching of an agreement © Alejandro Ernesto/EPA

Raúl Castro holds the hands of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, (left), and top leader of the FARC Rodrigo Londono ‘Timochenko’ Echeverri (right) © Alejandro Ernesto/EPA

CAJAR, Colombia

“We welcome the important agreement reached in Havana on the establishment of a Special Jurisdiction for Peace, value that the agreement has incorporated several proposals put forward by victims and human rights organizations, as well as included standards from international human rights law […]. We insist that upon its implementation, the agreement should guarantee the deepest participation of victims and human rights organizations, taking into account conditions of security that can guarantee their fundamental rights to truth, justice, integral reparation and guarantees of non-repetition.”

Investigations into grave crimes in Burundi


An activist holding a placard reading ‘Save Burundi’ protests in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi against recent killings in neighbouring Burundi. © Tony Karumba /Getty Images

The League for Human Rights in the Great Lakes, Burundi

“In May 2015, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda warned that her office could investigate violence in Burundi that followed President Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term. If Burundian authorities do not investigate, an international investigation should follow. The ICC should continue to closely monitor the situation.”

Accountability for Kenya’s 2007-08 post-election violence – at home and internationally


A woman displaced by Lenya’s post-election violence waits in an IDP camp near Nairobi in 2008. © Uriel Sinai/Getty images

Andrew Songa, program manager, civil and political rights, Kenya Human Rights Commission

“The unfolding legacy of Kenya’s transitional justice process is likely to reach its high water mark in 2016. The president has effectively shut the door to domestic prosecutions for the 2007-8 post-election violence. He has pledged restorative justice for victims. But that has not been actioned to date. The ICC remains the only viable pillar of hope for justice. We hope that the Ruto/Sang case proceeds to conclusion. In addition, a positive determination of the pending appeal on the prosecutor’s request for referral of Kenya to the Assembly of States Parties for non-cooperation and the witness tampering cases would be monumental in bridging the impunity gap. Without these, 2016 may be the year we admit that Kenya’s transitional justice agenda, and accountability for grievous ICC crimes, has unfortunately gone the wrong way.”

State cooperation to make international justice effective

-To bolster the efficiency of the Rome Statute framework, states must give the ICC the cooperation it needs to succeed.-

Costa Rica MP Ronny Monge Salas, member of Parliamentarians for Global Action

“We cannot fight against impunity without providing the Court with the appropriate instruments to uphold the values of democracy, rule of law, human rights and most of all justice for victims. Costa Rica’s commitment remains resolute. That is why, in July 2015, I tabled a bill to reinforce the cooperation of my country with the ICC. More states should do the same in 2016.”

This article was originally published in the 2015-16 Global Justice Monitor, the annual international justice review of the  Coalition for the International Criminal Court, a civil society network in 150 countries.

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