#GlobalJustice Weekly – Burundi violence prompts ICC examination

Phil Moore_Al Jazeera_Thousands of people fled the country during the first few weeks of the crisis

Thousands of people fled the country during the first few weeks of the crisis © Phil Moore/Al Jazeera

In Global Justice news this week: ICC prosecutor opened a preliminary examination into the situation in Burundi, civil society raised alarms over South Sudan, reparations for PEV issues arose in Kenya, reports of intensified violence in northern Syria and much more.

In a move welcomed by the families of suspected disappeared and civil society, the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s prosecutor opened a preliminary examination this week into the situation in Burundi to determine whether reports of grave international crimes since April last year warrant the opening of a full investigation.

Civil society and others have long been calling  for accountability for alleged acts of killing, imprisonment, enforced disappearances, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence allegedly committed during a conflict between supporters of President Pierre Nkunrunziza and those who believe that his re-election in July 2015 for a third term violated the nation’s constitution. At least three armed rebel groups have since emerged in the country. This situation has also led to a major refugee crisis with more than 250,000 people having fled the country.

Read civil society reactions.

International Criminal Court investigations

Democratic Republic of Congo: The resilience of 20 women victims of sexual violence in DRC brought back a gynecologist who had fled war.

The ICC trial of Bosco Ntaganda this week heard the testimonies from former fighters on allegations of rape and pillaging and from forensic psychological experts on trauma.

Uganda: The ICC reassured fighters of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) who are still in captivity that no charges will be preferred against them if they surrender.

Domestically, six years after the haul of of the first proceedings, Uganda will next Monday begin the trial of Thomas Kwoyelo, former LRA commander.

Darfur (South Sudan): Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has been invited to attend Djiboutian for the president’s inauguration.

Civil society organizations issued a joint statement on the alarming human rights situation in South Sudan.

Kenya: Kenyan and international media has raised concerns about the ability of national courts to prosecute witness tampering.

Christopher Gitari, head of the Kenyan office of the International Center for Transitional Justice warned that reparations are an obligation of the state as Human Rights Watch urged the Trust Fund for Victims to use its assistance mandate to fulfill critical needs of Kenyan victims.

ICC preliminary examinations

Nigeria: Freed abductees from Boko Haram spoke of systematic rape, suicide bombs and survival.

A human rights lawyer asked the government to investigate allegations of unlawful killings by Nigerian security forces.

Palestine: The bombing of a bus in the West Jerusalem allegedly committed by a member of the Palestinian group Hamas is a grave breach of the laws of armed conflict, said HRW.

Campaign for Global Justice

The American Bar Association created an ICC Project to support U.S-ICC relations in advocacy, education and practical legal assistance, following the updates of the Court.

Ugandan MPs visited the Court to participate in the 14th Trust Fund for Victims Directors meeting to enhance cooperation with the ICC. The meeting also enhanced the need to prioritize victim survivors in international justice.

Around the world

Civil society action and political consciousness surface after the Arab Spring.

This week saw the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident in Ukraine.

In Saudi Arabia civil society groups are under attack, according to Amnesty International.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring reported violence has intensified in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.

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