In Global Justice news last week: Open Society Justice Initiative and five Mexican civil society organizations document and call for justice for alleged crimes against humanity by Mexican government and Zetas drug cartel; the Coalition for the ICC shares experiences at convention on international courts and partners with Human Rights Watch Film Festival; and much more.
Crimes against humanity alleged in Mexico
A new report by Mexican human rights organizations and the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) has alleged there is a “reasonable basis” to believe the Mexican government has committed crimes against humanity against its citizens over the past decade through its involvement in the drug war, while repeatedly failing to bring those responsible for the crimes to account. The report also names the Zetas drug cartel for participating in these acts.
The report alleges that over 150,000 people were intentionally killed from December 2006 until the end of 2015. A further estimated 580,000 were kidnapped and 26,000 recorded missing. However, there is a strong belief that these numbers have been under-reported because of victims fearing retaliation or few resources to seek prosecution. Among these widespread killings, only 29 have led to military investigations between 2007 and 2013, and none resulted in conviction says OSJI. August 2015 saw the first conviction – of a soldier for enforced disappearance.
Resulting from a three-year investigative effort notes that “the Mexican government to pursue domestic prosecutions itself, regardless of whether the perpetrators are governments actors or criminal groups.
OSJI Executive Director James A Goldston:
“The Mexican government has demonstrated leadership on human rights issues abroad for many years. It’s now time for it to do so at home, and to address the country’s crisis of confidence in the judicial system by investigating and prosecuting atrocity crimes in Mexico.”
Coalition shares 20 years’ experience at international courts convention
In other news, the Danish United Nations Association and iCourts, Centre of Excellence for International Courts, joined forces this week in Copenhagen to exchange lessons learned and to discuss the future role of international courts in the face of challenges like globalization. The Coalition was on hand at the conference, entitled Development of International Courts – Possibilities, Perspectives and Challenges – to lend a unique perspective cultivated during its over 20 years of supporting the International Criminal Court’s fair and effective functioning.
Discussions touched upon the evolution of globalized justice, referring to a modern shift of responsibility to the international community as a whole and drawing from experiences in various fields of courts and justice. Kirsten Meersschaert, the Coalition’s director of programs, delivered a presentation on the role of NGOs and civil society in developing global justice.
Coalition joins Human Rights Watch Film Festival in screening The Uncondemned
The Coalition partnered with Human Rights Watch and International Center for Transitional Justice over the weekend (11-12 June) for two screenings of The Uncondemned at this year’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival (HRWFF). Kicking off last Friday in New York, the HRWFF showcases the best in human rights cinema from across the globe. Find out more. The Festival continues until 19 June.
International Criminal Court investigations
Central African Republic: Convicted rebel commander Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo to hear ICC sentence next week (21 June).
Democratic Republic of Congo: Congolese rebel commander Bosco Ntaganga’s ICC trial continued as witnesses described the recruitment of children as a main objective of the rebel operations.
Kenya: Many survivors of Kenya’s 2007-8 post-election violence demonstrate a need for psychosocial support.
Ex-Chadian dictator’s conviction at the Extraordinary African Chambers in Senegal: a lesson for Kenya?
Côte d’Ivoire: ICC trial of former president Laurent Gbagbo and youth leader Charles Blé Goudé resumed with testimony from former Ivorian Popular Front Youth Movement member. The Court’s prosecutor meanwhile vowed that all sides of the 2010-11 post-election crisis would be investigated.
Uganda: Survivors of the Lukodi Massacre hopeful that Lord’s Resistance Army commander Dominic Ongwen’s ICC trial will send a clear message to all of those who consider themselves above the law.
ICC preliminary examinations
Colombia: Over 160,000 documents from Colombia‘s civil war archives now online.
Palestine: Human Rights Watch urges ICC prosecutor to probe international crimes committed in Palestine. Israel denies ICC prosecutor’s claim that Israel engaging with the Court over inquiries into 2014 Gaza conflict.
Ukraine: Coalition members and experts call out unjustifiable constitutional amendments from 2 June, which will postpone Rome Statute ratification for three years.
The Dutch Joint Investigation Team will present the first results of the criminal investigation into the crash of flight MH17 after the summer.
Campaign for Global Justice
ICC prosecutor and civil society likely to call for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s arrest during upcoming Mauritania visit.
“Hate is being mainstreamed,” says UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in global update on matters including threats of ICC withdrawal.
Around the world
South Africa Bill to withdraw from ICC placed on hold.
Turkey voices support for Sudan against ICC.
National Human Rights Society HAKAM concerned by new Malaysia law giving prime minister unprecedented power over military.
Can Mexico‘s Zetas be charged with crimes against humanity?
Attacks on medical units in Syria may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, warns UN expert.