The Special Criminal Court (SCC) Statute gives the court jurisdiction over gross human rights and humanitarian law violations according to Central African Republic’s (CAR) domestic criminal code and its international obligations, namely war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide which may have been committed in CAR since 1 January 2003.
The prospect of a trial and conviction, if an accused is found guilty, inevitably raises the question of reparations for the victims who will have civil party status. In fact, the SCC can award individual and/or collective reparations, including financial compensation, psychological support and agrarian or industrial funds. No trust fund mechanism is envisaged in the framework of the SCC to oversee the implementation of reparations awards.… Seguir leyendo »
The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls found that an ongoing genocide of Indigenous peoples constitutes a root cause of the violence that is currently being perpetrated against Indigenous women and girls. Genocide is a centerpiece of the National Inquiry’s report, which argues that colonial violence is ongoing, not just a legacy of the past. Its 231 Calls for Justice reflect the legal obligation to stop genocide through a range of policy and process changes.
Numbers are difficult to ascertain, as they keep growing, but nearly two decades of studies and reports in Canada have uncovered more than 1,200 names of Indigenous women who are known to have been killed or who have simply disappeared.… Seguir leyendo »
Tomorrow, June 19, is International Day to End Conflict-related Sexual Violence. It’s been a roller coaster year for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence and their advocates. The last time June 19 came around, many of us were reeling from the acquittal of Jean-Paul Bemba Gombo by the Appeals Chamber at the International Criminal Court (ICC), which had just reversed the ICC’s first conviction for rape and sexual violence. Six months later, in December 2018, morale swung in the opposite direction: the Nobel Peace Prize went to Dr. Denis Mukwege and Ms. Nadia Murad for their joint efforts to support survivors of conflict-related sexual violence in their home countries of Democratic Republic of Congo and Iraq.… Seguir leyendo »
Authorities and politicians like to talk of the fight against impunity. Yet while the reality of this struggle has intensified, it remains worrying that it is so limited. The case of Hissène Habré – president of Chad in the 1980s, tried in Senegal three years ago – offers us a good perspective on one of the main limits of this struggle.
The fight against impunity can be described in three stages.
Recognition of suffering
The first one is recognition of victims’ suffering. This recognition should be public. It is sometimes through the courts if victims use legal channels to establish the violations suffered: these are the different human rights procedures that can be carried out at national, regional or global level.… Seguir leyendo »
Nearly 11 years ago, on 14 August 2008, the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced the preliminary examination of the situation in Georgia. The matter referred to the international armed conflict in Georgia’s breakaway region, South Ossetia, in what some commentators have named the first European war of the 21st century.
The region had been under the control of pro-Russian separatists since the early 1990s. Ongoing tensions and periodic armed clashes between the Georgian army and separatist forces escalated during July to early August 2008 with a series of explosions targeting, among others, both Georgian and separatist military and political leaders in South Ossetia.… Seguir leyendo »
On May 20, 2019, Cameroon celebrates the 47th edition of its «Unity Festival», commemorating when the country went from a federal state to a unitary state. However, this celebration is taking place in a deep state of national upheaval. What is now known as the «Anglophone crisis » has so far caused more than 1,850 deaths in 20 months of conflict, according to a recent report by the International Crisis Group. Now saying they want the dialogue they have so far opposed, Cameroon’s political powers are trying to brush under the carpet international crimes that have been and are still being committed in this conflict.… Seguir leyendo »
On March 24, a massive crowd of hundreds of thousands marched in the streets of Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, towards Plaza de Mayo to repudiate the coup that seized power forty-three years earlier, on March 24, 1976. Somewhere amidst the immense crowd were the survivors of a particular crime, the kidnapped and tortured workers of Ford Motor Argentina, and their families, surrounded by over 70 trade-union organizations and confederations. They were holding a giant banner stating: “The Ford trial: a workers´ victory.”
Survivors and relatives handed out thousands of leaflets. They were photographed and greeted once and again. And they were mentioned in the main speech which celebrated the importance of the verdict in this particular trial, while being reminded of many other cases and trials, such as the one analyzing the repression in Villa Constitución and of the Steel mill Acindar, as well as the trial about the violations of human rights against Mercedes-Benz workers in Argentina during the military dictatorship.… Seguir leyendo »
Nobody stops in Lago Agrio unless they have to. This uninviting Ecuadorian town is dirty, humid and leaves the visitor with a general feeling of insalubrity. Located just a few kilometres from the Colombian border, it is often associated with drug trafficking, prostitution and other forms of organised crime.
Two main reasons drive people there, both linked to two conflicting economic activities. The first is fossil fuel extraction: the town was created in the 1960s as a base for Texaco’s oil extraction activities. Its name Lago Agrio translates as “Sour Lake.” The second is tourism: Lago Agrio is a starting point to access various lodges and tours to the Amazonian forest.… Seguir leyendo »
The International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor launched her preliminary examination into the situation in Ukraine on 25 April 2014. Over the last five years, hundreds of victims and witnesses – assisted by civil society – have submitted credible evidence of a macabre catalogue of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by a range of actors on Ukrainian territory. The Prosecutor has a legal duty to initiate a full investigation as soon as there is a ‘reasonable basis to believe’ that a crime within the Court’s jurisdiction has taken place, and that such a case would be admissible.
Remarkably, the Prosecutor is yet to formally decide on whether any ICC Statute crimes have taken place in Ukraine.… Seguir leyendo »
The summer of 2018 visited a naturalized Ethiopian American with a twinge of pity. After about 40 years of anonymity, Nigussie Mergia, who is now 58 years old, could be facing a fatal intersection of time and space following his arrest on charges of multiple immigration offenses. The sealed indictment from the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) alleges that Mr. Nigussie lied in his immigration documents about his role in persecuting Ethiopian prisoners for their political opinions during the country’s so-called “Red Terror” period in 1977-78. His trial is to open on February 25 before a district court in Virginia.… Seguir leyendo »
The process of memory, truth and justice on crimes against humanity committed in Argentina during the military dictatorship (1976-1983) is one of the most active and remarkable in Latin America and beyond. It may even be considered the “birthplace” of contemporary transitional justice. On December 11, 2018, another significant verdict was issued in an Argentine court. It addressed the responsibility of business officials in human rights violations carried out under the dictatorship.
The reckoning of the crimes perpetrated by those in power in Argentina started with the report issued by the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons (CONADEP) in 1984, entitled “Nunca Más”, and the so-called “Trial of the Military Juntas” in 1985.… Seguir leyendo »
On 15 January 2019, the Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) acquitted Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé by a majority, stating that the prosecution had not provided evidence of all the required elements of the crimes against the accused. All eyes focused on Gbagbo because of his status as former president of Côte d’Ivoire. An immediate question was the consequences of this acquittal for his place on the Ivorian political scene.
This questioning cannot fail to recall a recent precedent in Kenya, where two major ICC defendants, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, found in the proceedings against them a motivation for their political union, and made it a powerful electoral argument.… Seguir leyendo »
The conundrum facing justice in the Central African Republic (CAR) was well summed up by Jean Pierre Waboe, Vice-president of the country’s Constitutional Court, whom I interviewed:
In a situation whereby the state does not exist, injustice becomes the norm. Anybody can set about doing anything.
The breakdown of state control since the resurgence of conflict in 2013 has had drastic consequences for the possibility of any forms of governance – political, economic or legal in CAR.
Under these circumstances, the need for “justice” has become more crucial. For Waboe, however, the problem of justice in the country is that it’s seen as too formal, too distant, too complex, and too slow to respond to what’s needed.… Seguir leyendo »
Guatemala is on the verge of a constitutional crisis. One of the things at stake is 30 years of work towards justice for crimes against humanity.
On January 7 President Jimmy Morales, elected in 2015 on an anti-corruption platform after the fall of his predecessor accused of genocide and corruption, decided unilaterally to close the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG). The Constitutional Court ruled this decision illegal and ordered reinstatement of this independent international organization set up in 2006 to assist the Guatemalan authorities in the fight against organized crime and corruption. But the Supreme Court responded by voting to remove at least one judge of the Constitutional Court.… Seguir leyendo »