#GlobalJustice Weekly – End of the road for justice in Kenya?

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

In Global Justice news this week: Global civil society responded as ICC judges vacated charges against the Kenyan deputy president in relation to the country’s 2007-8 post-election violence, the ICC approved the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s intention to prosecute former ICC defendant Germain Katanga, affected communities in Uganda reacted to last week’s ICC decision to commit Dominic Ongwen to trial on 70 charges, the Coalition sent a letter to the Serbian president admonishing the government after it honoured ICC fugitive Omar al-Bashir, and much more.

International Criminal Court judges this week ended the trial of Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and broadcaster Joshua Sang due to lack of evidence, possibly linked to suspected witness tampering.

The ruling means the cases against six high-profile Kenyans brought by the ICC prosecutor arising from the Court’s investigation into the 2007/2008 Kenyan post-election violence have now all been dropped.

With little hope for accountability domestically, victims of the conflict in which thousands were killed, raped, and displaced remain the biggest losers, said Kenyan and international civil society following the collapse of the Ruto and Sang trial.

Much work now lies ahead to ensure lessons are learned to strengthen ICC investigations and prevent witness-tampering and political interference with ICC proceedings, say commentators.

We explain all and bring you reactions from civil society and elsewhere.

International Criminal Court investigations

Democratic Republic of Congo: The trial of former commander Bosco Ntaganda proceeded in closed session.

The ICC Presidency approved the DRC’s decision to prosecute Germain Katanga several months after he completed his ICC sentence. Meanwhile, ten years have passed as victims of mass rape continue towait for the government to make its first reparations payment related to sexual violence.

Uganda: Former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Dominic Ongwen has appealed the ICC’s recent decision to commit him to trial on 70 charges. Affected communities in Lukodi voiced concerns during the first ICC outreach session in the region since the confirmation decision.

CAR: Human Rights Watch (HRW) advocated for survivors to come first as domestic trials began against UN Peacekeepers accused of sexual misconduct while on mission in CAR.

Women’s advocates continued to laud the ICC’s new precedent for sexual violence as a war crime following the Court conviction of rebel commander Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo.

Darfur, Sudan: Omar al-Bashir continued to reject widespread allegations of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in Darfur while suggesting he would step down as president of Sudan by 2020.

The President of the Republic of Serbia honoured ICC fugitive Omar al-Bashir with the Medal of the Republic of Serbia, which has received criticism. Radio Free Europe interviewed Alix Vuillemin, Legal Officer of the Coalition for the ICC on the matter.

Kenya: In vacating charges against Ruto and Sang this week, ICC Trial Chamber judges revealeddiffering takes on how the decision will impact victims’ ability to obtain reparations. Meanwhile, Nairobi-based writer Betty Waitherero warned that hate speech could incite violence during the country’s 2017 elections.

Mali: In another first for the ICC, Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi stated at his confirmation of charges hearing that he intends to plead guilty at trial. What comes next for the Court?

ICC preliminary examinations

Nigeria: Nightmares continue after victims’ liberation from Boko Haram rape camps. The New York Times reported on allegations that Boko Haram turns female captives into terrorists.

Iraq: Fallujah under siege by ISIS, the Iraqi government, and famine, Human Rights Watch reports.

Campaign for Global Justice

In a campaign organised by the Coalition, civil society converged on Serbian president Tomislav Nikolic to express deep dismay at the honour extended to ICC fugitive Omar al-Bashir by decorating him with the Medal of the Republic of Serbia.

Joint List MK Yousef Jabareen tabled legislation to force Israel to ratify the Rome Statute of the ICC.

Around the world

A series of previously classified military documents has been seized in the Guatemalan Military Diary case.

Vojislav Seselj’s acquittal at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) sparkedcontroversy, with the ICTY prosecutor challenging the acquittal.

What are the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia?

Armenian Defense Minister: Azerbaijan’s recent alleged attacks on civilian populations amount to war crimes.

A Spanish political party has accused acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of crimes against humanity.

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