In Global Justice news last week: Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International report on arbitrary detentions in Ukraine and Nepal; civil society launch ‘Reporting on Torture’ handbook; governments defend ICC at AU Summit; ICC judges decline to consider victims’ reparations in closed Ruto/Sang case; Colombian Court approves referendum on FARC peace deal; calls for Iraq to join the ICC; and much more.
Disappearances and arbitrary detention on the rise
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have issued a joint report alleging that both Ukrainian authorities and pro-Russian separatists have held civilians in prolonged arbitrary detention – possibly amounting to enforced disappearances – and subjecting many to torture and ill-treatment.
Advocacy Forum-Nepal, la Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos in Peru, the Independent Medico-Legal Unit in Kenya, Lawyers for Justice in Libya, and REDRESS launched the ‘Reporting on Torture’ handbook, which explains countries’ obligations to address torture, details the impact of torture on victims, and provides guidance to journalists on minimizing risks when reporting on torture and interacting with torture survivors.
Although neither Nepal nor Ukraine or Russia are member states of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the ICC prosecutor has initiated a preliminary examination of the situation in Ukraine territory since November 2013. Enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention constitute crimes against humanity under the ICC Rome Statute, while torture is both a crime against humanity and war crime.
Governments defend ICC at AU summit
The 27th summit of the African Union ended in Kigali, Rwanda, last week, without what has become a customary attack on the ICC writes George Kegoro, executive director of the Kenya Human Rights Commission. This is the first time since 2013 that an AU summit has ended without a major attack on the court. Nigeria, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Tunisia and Algeria, which is not a member state of the ICC, opposed any decision to pull out of the ICC. Coalition members had called for greater support for the ICC in the run up to summit.
Democratic Republic of Congo: Judges order prosecution to decrease number of witnesses in Ntaganda trial
Kenya: Judges refuse to consider victims compensation request in Ruto, Sang case.
ICC preliminary examinations
Ukraine: International Federation for Human Rights urges investigations and prosecutions for increasing crimes committed in Eastern Ukraine, torture and secret detention on both sides of the conflict says Amnesty International. The court cannot investigate and prosecute alleged international crimes without the country’s ratification of the Rome Statute.
Colombia: Court gives go-ahead for referendum on FARC Peace Deal
Iraq/UK: Families of British Iraq War victims launch crowdfunding campaign to sue former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair
Campaign for Global Justice
Demonstrators in Halaba call for Iraq to join ICC
Free Gbagbo campaign launched in Ghana
Around the world
Former Serbian paramilitary commander pleads not guilty to war crimes
Judges declare Indonesia’s mass killings of 1965 as crimes against humanity
Bangladesh tribunal sentences three to death for 1971 war crimes
Is it time for America to join the ICC?
Vulnerable Yazidis urge Canada for aid
Airstrike in Syria kills entire families instead of ISIS fighters
Assessing the impacts of the ICC on ending wars and building peace