Downloads

UN calls for International Support in Ending all wars…

UN Under Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo on Wednesday the 27th of February 2019 called on the international community to lend its support to Africa in achieving the objective of “silencing the guns” by 2020.

Speaking at a Security Council meeting on the cooperation between the UN and regional and subregional organizations in maintaining international peace and security, DiCarlo introduced that the “silencing the guns” is an initiative to promote prevention, management and resolution of conflicts in Africa.

According to DiCarlo, it was the African Union (AU) that pledged in 2013 “not to bequeath the burden of conflict to the next generation of Africans and undertake to end all wars by 2020.”

“The UN-AU strategic partnership has become a cornerstone of the UN’s peace and security initiatives in Africa,” said DiCarlo.

The UN’s partnership with the AU involved concrete action, she said, adding that the UN kicked off a two-year project in January 2018 to support policy dialogue and technical assistance on conflict prevention and mediation in Africa.

She said that the UN has also increased its support to efforts to counter-terrorism and prevent violent extremism in Africa. In June 2018, the UN signed with the AU a memorandum of understanding in this area to increase its cooperation and capacity-building support to the AU and several sub-regional organizations as well as to member states.

Clear evidence has showed that it is Africans, in partnership with the global community, who are leading the way to sustainable peace and prosperity in the continent, said DiCarlo.

“In ‘silencing the guns’ African countries have a central role to play in making the initiative a success, as do the African Union and Africa’s private sector and civil society,” she added.

Downloads

ECOWAS, UN Agencies End 2-Day Joint Retreat

The Economic Community of West Africa State (ECOWAS), the United Nations Volunteers Program (UNV) and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), have ended a two-day joint retreat in Monrovia.

The retreat was was an exercise to revise the existing partnership agreement between ECOWAS Commission and the UNV, and to further propose a new agreement between these organizations.

It was the first between the ECOWAS Commission and the UNV since the partnership was signed in 2005, under the ECOWAS Volunteer Program (EVP), which was also initiated by the ECOWAS Commission on November 5, 2004.

ECOWAS Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Mamadou Traore, informed participants that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and a cost–sharing agreement was signed between the UNV and ECOWAS Commission in 2005, but has not been re-commissioned to effectively establish the ECOWAS EVP with technical support, and funding from the UNV and the African Development Bank (ADB).

The retreat, Mr. Traore said, has provided framework that will formulate new ideas to mutually benefit the cooperation among the UNV, ECOWAS Commission and UNOSSC.

“We hope that this retreat will also provide the ground for heightening collaboration and development of new templates for a three–party South–South arrangement among UNV, ECOWAS Commission and the UNOSSC in the areas of youth migration, youth entrepreneurship, education, scholarships, gender development as well as volunteerism,” Traore said.

Benedict D. Roberts, Head of ECOWAS National Office and Chair of the ECOWAS Coordinating Council of EVP-Liberia, said that the single most important instrument in the MoU, which binds them together and determines the roles individuals play was a subject for discussion at the meeting.

Roberts cautioned participants to contribute to make their gathering achieve its objectives.

Deputy Youth and Sports Minister, Andy Quamie, expressed confidence that the meeting will help strengthen the existing partnership and also help Liberian youth, who are at a disadvantage.

The retreat was attended by representatives from the ECOWAS Commission, UNV program, and the UNOSSC, who discussed ways of strengthening the existing partnership among the three institutions to include Liberian youth.

NCICC Blog

Genocide Survivor Speaks of Healing and Forgiveness

Rwanda’s international recognition is often defined by the horrific 1994 genocide, but to many of the country’s citizens, the its story should not begin or end there.

Ebralie Mwizerwa, a survivor of the Rwandan Genocide, relayed Rwanda’s story of tragedy, strength, and regrowth to a packed classroom of students, faculty, and staff.

“Rwanda has risen from ashes. From the genocide, we completely lost the country. But thank God for the leaders who could rebuild and understand and for the Rwandans who could be so resilient to rebuild again. Its narrative has to be continued and known by the world,” said Mwizerwa.

The genocide began in April 1994 during the Rwandan Civil War, following ethnic tensions between the Hutu ethnic majority and the Tutsi minority. The Hutu nationalists initiated the mass killings and called for local citizens to engage in the violence against their neighbors, the Tutsis.

As a result of this genocide, more than 2 million Rwandans fled the country and nearly 1 million were killed.

Mwizerwa hid for weeks with her children, emerging at the end of the 100-day genocide in July 1994 to step over piles of dead bodies, which included members of her extended family. This traumatic experience has become integral to her life and career, which she now uses to share her story and promote peace.

Mwizerwa and her family came to the United States as refugees and found the opportunity to mend the broken spirits of other refugees. She and her husband co-founded Legacy Mission Village in 2000, a non-profit that helps refugees adjust to their new homes and become active and productive members of their community.

Today, she lives in Tennessee and works as the Project Coordinator for the Outreach Foundation, which is a religious charity that hosts missions to provide aid to those in need across the globe.

As a survivor herself, Mwizerwa has used the tool of forgiveness to move on and continue to be strong for her family and herself. She said that the wounds are still sometimes fresh for survivors, but forgiveness has al- lowed her to no longer be a prisoner of the past.

Instead, she has become a champion for the future through her work with the Outreach Foundation.

Mwizerwa places her faith in God as the true power that al- lowed for her to be a survivor of the Rwandan Genocide and to be a forgiving individual. Through her spirituality, Mwizerwa survived the Rwandan Genocide while pregnant with her fifth child and surrounded by her other four. “I cannot tell you

how much we faced death. I cannot tell you how much we were saved by the Hand that protected us,” said Mwizerwa.

The turning point of her path toward forgiveness began in 2011 when she and her husband accompanied a mission team to Rwanda. There, she encountered some of the Hutus who had killed her loved ones.

In this situation, Mwizerwa explained that there were two options: revenge or forgiveness. “The one [thing] we can do is to go to them, acknowledge that we know their mistake, and stand our ground of peace. Peacemaking has never been an easy situation,” said Mwizerwa.

However, Mwizerwa and her husband took their forgive- ness one step further by performing an act of servanthood. “We took a basin and washed their feet as a sign to them [that] this is it. We are putting this down. We wash it away, and we are your servants,” said Mwizerwa. She did this to prove to the Hutus that she forgave them.

Before this, the Hutus were hostile and aggressive because they thought Mwizerwa and her husband were coming for revenge.

However, with forgiveness does not come forgetfulness. Mwizerwa has still retained the memories of those she lost: her neighbors, uncles, cousins, and mother-in-law.

“Today the battle is how should we move on and how should we forgive. People are still stuck in 1994… because of the many things that came their way,” said Mwizerwa.

Rwanda has started rebuilding itself from the ground up through convicting those responsible for organizing the genocide, growing their economy out of poverty, and uniting with one another through pride for their country.

The event was hosted by the Africa & African-American Studies Program and facilitated by Dr. J. Scott Hewitt, associate professor and director of teacher education. Hewitt is also the faculty leader for the Rollins field study that travels to Rwanda every other year

NCICC Blog

ECOWAS Court Orders FG to Investigate 2016 Agatu Killings

The ECOWAS Court of Justice sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday ordered the Federal Government to investigate the 2016 mass killings and destruction of properties in the Agatu Community in Benue State, identify and prosecute the perpetrators and redress the victims.

Delivering judgment in a suit brought by a catholic priest, Reverend Father Solomon Mfa, and eleven others, a three member panel of the Court found the government in ‘violation of their obligation to protect the human rights of the Agatu Community and prevent its violation.’

Other plaintiffs in the suit no: ECW/CCJ/APP/11/16, are, Reverend Joseph Dooga, Dr. Sam Abah, Dr.David Iordaah, Hon. Ochepo Yakubu, Hon. Terse Tange, Favour Adah Paul, Samuel Msonter Ijoho, Iorbee Bajah, Ashi Bajah, Terseer Iorbee Bajah and Movement Against Fulani Occupation(MAFO), while the President of Nigeria, the Inspector General of Police, the Chief of Army Staff and the Minister of Internal Affairs are 1st to 4th defendants respectively.

The plaintiffs had dragged the Federal Government to the region Court to address the issue of the alleged violation of their fundamental human rights.

A statement from the Communication Division of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, said the Applicants claimed that within the last three years, Fulani Herdsmen had carried out over 50 major attacks on Benue communities the most prominent of them taking place in 15 out of 23 Local Government Areas of the State namely, Agatu, Gwer East, Gwer West, Makurdi, Guma, Tarka, Buruku, Katsina Ala, Logo, Ukum, Kwande, Oju, Obi and Konshisha.

Furthermore, they alleged that affected communities had been completely overwhelmed and were now desolate and devastated as they have suffered wanton destruction of their properties and lives including: burning down and general destruction of houses and homes, sundry household items, farms, crops, economic trees, vehicles, machineries, food stuffs, schools etc.

The plaintiffs claimed that over 1000 people have been killed, according to documents filed before the Court with hundreds of thousands displaced while others are living in deplorable make shift camps and properties worth billions of naira destroyed in their communities by these ravaging Fulani Herdsmen this year alone.

They claimed that the action of the Defendants’ by not constituting an investigation panel nor taking measures to forestall a reoccurrence, amounted to negligence, was oppressive, arbitrary, capricious, and for Injuring the dignity and pride of the Applicants and for causing them great physical and psychological trauma.

The court was presided over by the President, Honourable Justice Edward Asante, but the judgment was read by Honorable Justice Dupe Atoki, wherein the Court also ordered the government to provide adequate security by deploying more security personnel to the ‘area to protect the Community and prevent further occurrences of that mayhem.’

Relying on Article 1 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right, to which the country is signatory, the Court held that in ‘view of the fact that the mass killings and destruction were admitted by both parties and uncontroverted therefore need no proof, the Respondent is under obligation to recognize the rights enshrined in the charter and adopt legislative or other measures to give effect to them.’

In other words: ‘the Respondent is obliged to protect the human rights of its citizens, in the instant case, the Agatu communities as guaranteed under the African Charter and prevent their violations even by private actors.’

The Court had earlier rejected the argument of the defendants contesting the locus of the plaintiffs by holding that the law recognizes the right of individuals and corporate bodies who are not victims to bring an action in a representative capacity under the principle of Actio Popularis.

“The Court under this situation will allow NGO’s and Public spirited individuals to institute actions on behalf of group of victims usually from a community or class of people based on common public interest to claim for the violation of their human rights, because this group may not have the knowledge and the financial capacity to maintain legal action of such magnitude which affects the general public interest”, the statement read.

The Court also rejected the contention of the Defendants that they cannot be held responsible for any ethnic crime committed by unidentified and unknown persons which constitute a breach as these perpetrators are not connected or known to the Defendants or any of its agencies.

The Court however ruled that it could not award the monetary compensation of five hundred billion naira demanded by the plaintiffs as it has no record of the details of the victims, their names, gender, age, address while the properties destroyed have also not been specifically identified nor their value indicated.

Counsel to the first to fourth Defendants, Mr. Dayo Apata, had blamed the crisis that engulfed the State and its environment on ethnic differences between the Agatu community and the Fulani community over farming and rearing of animals as has been established by various panels of enquiry set up at different times in a bid to proffer solution.

He said that the crisis between the two rival communities are not based on security lapses or the inability of the Federal or State Governments to protect the lives and properties of the people of state as security agencies were deployed to the Agatu community for the purpose of ensuring the protection of lives and properties in the interest of peace and security.

NCICC Blog

Gambia’s Ex-Chief Justice Wins US$200 Grand Damages For Wrongful…

The ECOWAS Court Wednesday ordered The Gambia to pay US$200,000 in ‘nominal damages’ to Justice Joseph Wowo, its former chief justice, for the violation of his rights to fair hearing, unlawful imprisonment and removal from office on allegation of corruption, false information and the abuse of office.

A three member panel of judges of the court presided over by Justice Edward Amoako Asante ordered that $150,000 of the amount or its equivalent in Dalasi should be paid to the former CJ as restoration mindful of the plaintiff’s claims of inability to secure employment and the time spent in prison after he was wrongfully tried and sentenced although he was subsequently cleared.

The balance of $50,000 will be paid to the plaintiff as legal fees since he has ‘not been working after his removal from office and may be constrained in meeting the financial obligations of his attorney.’ The court also awarded costs against The Gambia as will be assessed under and by virtue of Article 66 of the Court’s Rules of Procedure.

The court held that the plaintiff`s trial by a judge who was himself undergoing trial for corruption under the chief justice constituted a violation of his human rights to fair trial. The court also held that the acts of the defendant relative to the plaintiff`s removal from office, trial and conviction were biased, lacking in independence, inconsistent with due process, in breach of natural justice and thereby constituted a gross violation of the plaintiff`s right to fair trial.

In suit no: ECW/CCJ/APP/06/18, Wowo, a Nigerian who served as chief justice under former President Yahaya Jammeh sued the president for the alleged violation of his legitimate rights as enshrined in the African Charter, Articles 6&7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Section 24 of the 1997 Constitution of the Gambia.

He claimed that owing to his nationality, he suffered discrimination by most members of The Gambian Bar to the extent that Ubna Farage, the then president of the Bar, and Amie Joof, the minister of Justice, sometime in 2013, made frivolous allegations of corruption against him which led to his removal from office without prior investigation.

The former chief justice, who had asked the court for $20 million in damages, stated that he contested his removal through the security authority which initiated an investigation in to the matter whose outcome has not been announced.

Consequently, he called a press conference where he denied the allegations of corruption against him as false and noted that the then President erred in removing him from office without due process.

In reaction, he alleged that the then president perceived his action as an affront to his authority and publically threatened to send him to jail and subsequently instructed the then minister of Justice to file a frivolous case against him alleging the abuse of office and spreading false information.

In this connection the Plaintiff said he wrote a letter in his capacity as the acting chief justice to the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, which investigated the allegation and exonerated him and surprisingly even commended him while two others who were indicted in the report were never charged.

He averred that during the trial, his counsel filed a motion urging the trial judge to recuse himself from the proceeding as he was himself on trial before the chief justice for corruption, a motion that was deliberately ignored by the trial judge. He alleged that the trial judge also ignored all the documents and testimonies of witnesses and instead convicted and sentenced him to two years imprisonment until his release under pressure by the governments of Nigeria and the United States.

The plaintiff therefore asked the ECOWAS Court for a declaration that his trial by a Judge who was undergoing corruption allegation proceedings before him is a violation of his human rights and for an order on the government to pay him $20 million dollars in damages and six percent interest per annum for violation of his human rights among others.

The defendant, however, denied the allegations of the plaintiff and instead contended that the former chief justice was removed from office by the president in consultation with the Judicial Service Commission after investigation and due deliberations pursuant to the petition.

Downloads

Genocide Survivor Speaks of Healing and Forgiveness

Rwanda’s international recognition is often defined by the horrific 1994 genocide, but to many of the country’s citizens, the its story should not begin or end there.

Ebralie Mwizerwa, a survivor of the Rwandan Genocide, relayed Rwanda’s story of tragedy, strength, and regrowth to a packed classroom of students, faculty, and staff.

“Rwanda has risen from ashes. From the genocide, we completely lost the country. But thank God for the leaders who could rebuild and understand and for the Rwandans who could be so resilient to rebuild again. Its narrative has to be continued and known by the world,” said Mwizerwa.

The genocide began in April 1994 during the Rwandan Civil War, following ethnic tensions between the Hutu ethnic majority and the Tutsi minority. The Hutu nationalists initiated the mass killings and called for local citizens to engage in the violence against their neighbors, the Tutsis.

As a result of this genocide, more than 2 million Rwandans fled the country and nearly 1 million were killed.

Mwizerwa hid for weeks with her children, emerging at the end of the 100-day genocide in July 1994 to step over piles of dead bodies, which included members of her extended family. This traumatic experience has become integral to her life and career, which she now uses to share her story and promote peace.

Mwizerwa and her family came to the United States as refugees and found the opportunity to mend the broken spirits of other refugees. She and her husband co-founded Legacy Mission Village in 2000, a non-profit that helps refugees adjust to their new homes and become active and productive members of their community.

Today, she lives in Tennessee and works as the Project Coordinator for the Outreach Foundation, which is a religious charity that hosts missions to provide aid to those in need across the globe.

As a survivor herself, Mwizerwa has used the tool of forgiveness to move on and continue to be strong for her family and herself. She said that the wounds are still sometimes fresh for survivors, but forgiveness has al- lowed her to no longer be a prisoner of the past.

Instead, she has become a champion for the future through her work with the Outreach Foundation.

Mwizerwa places her faith in God as the true power that al- lowed for her to be a survivor of the Rwandan Genocide and to be a forgiving individual. Through her spirituality, Mwizerwa sur- vived the Rwandan Genocide while pregnant with her fifth child and surrounded by her other four. “I cannot tell you

how much we faced death. I cannot tell you how much we were saved by the Hand that protected us,” said Mwizerwa.

The turning point of her path toward forgiveness began in 2011 when she and her husband accompanied a mission team to Rwanda. There, she encountered some of the Hutus who had killed her loved ones.

In this situation, Mwizerwa explained that there were two options: revenge or forgiveness. “The one [thing] we can do is to go to them, acknowledge that we know their mistake, and stand our ground of peace. Peacemaking has never been an easy situation,” said Mwizerwa.

However, Mwizerwa and her husband took their forgive- ness one step further by performing an act of servanthood. “We took a basin and washed their feet as a sign to them [that] this is it. We are putting this down. We wash it away, and we are your servants,” said Mwizerwa. She did this to prove to the Hutus that she forgave them.

Before this, the Hutus were hostile and aggressive because they thought Mwizerwa and her husband were coming for revenge.

However, with forgiveness does not come forgetfulness. Mwizerwa has still retained the memories of those she lost: her neighbors, uncles, cousins, and mother-in-law.

“Today the battle is how should we move on and how should we forgive. People are still stuck in 1994… because of the many things that came their way,” said Mwizerwa.

Rwanda has started rebuilding itself from the ground up through convicting those responsible for organizing the genocide, growing their economy out of poverty, and uniting with one another through pride for their country.

The event was hosted by the Africa & African-American Studies Program and facilitated by Dr. J. Scott Hewitt, associate professor and director of teacher education. Hewitt is also the faculty leader for the Rollins field study that travels to Rwanda every other year.

Publications

BEYOND DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARIES: HOW ICC CAN CONNECT…

 

    • The term “corruption” does not lend itself to one easy and precise definition. The Law Dictionary (Featuring Black’s Law Dictionary Free Online Legal Dictionary 2nd Ed) defines it as “Illegality; a vicious and fraudulent intention to evade the prohibitions of the law. The act of an official or fiduciary person who unlawfully and wrongfully uses his station or character to procure some benefit for himself or for another person, contrary to duty and the rights of others”.
    • It was also defined by professor (emeritus) Dr. Petrus van Duyne as “an improbity or decay in the decision-making process in which a decision-maker consents to deviate or demands deviation from the criterion which should rule his or her decision-making, in exchange for a reward or for the promise or expectation of a reward, while these motives influencing his or her decision-making cannot be part of the justification of the decision”.

2.0      THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

2.01   In her book “Responsibility for Crimes Under International Law” Elizabeth      Oji was of the opinion that The international community as a whole and not merely one or other of its members, now considers that there are acts which         violate principles formally embodied in the Charter of the U.N and, even          outside the scope of the Charter, principles which are now so deeply rooted      in the conscience of mankind that they become particularly essential rules of           general International Law. There are enough manifestations of the views of        states to warrant the conclusion that in the general opinion, some of these          acts genuinely constitute “international crimes”, that is to say, international   wrongs, which are more serious than others and which as such, should entail         more severe legal consequences”. It was the desire to bring about these           severe         legal consequences for international crimes that led to the creation of           the international criminal court.

2.02   The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established by the Rome Statute     of the International Criminal Court (the Rome Statute).

2.03   Article 5 of the Rome Statute established four core international crimes: the           crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of           aggression.

2.04   Article 6 defines genocide to include any act committed with the intent to           destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious groups by           “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;   deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring    about its physical destruction in whole or in part”.

2.05   Article 7 defines crimes against humanity as acts committed as part of a           widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population with           knowledge of the attack. The said acts includes torture which was defined as     “the intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering, whether physical or        mental, upon a person in the custody or under the control of the accused;     excerpt that torture shall not include pain or suffering arising only from,         inherent in or incidental to, lawful sanctions”.

2.06   Under Article 8, the meaning given to war crimes includes “willfully         causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health”.

2.07   A careful reading of the provisions of the above three Articles of the Rome           Statutes revels that they consistently criminalize acts perpetrated by the accused persons, which causes serious bodily or mental harm, physical         destruction, the intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering, great    suffering, and or serious injury to body or health to their victims.

2.07   The poser before us now is: does corruption fall under those acts which   cause “serious bodily or mental harm, physical destruction,    the     intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering, great suffering, and or     serious injury to body or health to their victims”?

2.08   To aid us towards addressing the poser, we shall use illicit asserts transfers      as our case study. Is there corruption in illicit asserts transfers? There is no gainsaying the fact that illicit financial transfers pose major challenges to     developing countries. They deprive the country concerned of urgently needed resources for private and public investment, thereby hampering         infrastructure building and economic growth. It also weakens state       institutions and therefore encourages the growth of corruption.

2.09   Evidence abound that an unchecked illicit asserts transfers inexorably leads      to “serious      bodily or mental harm, physical destruction, the intentional     infliction of severe pain or suffering, great suffering, and or serious injury to       body or health on the generality of the people in the State where they take     place.

3.0     One of the major problems faced by developing countries vis-à-vis the crime     of illicit transfer of funds is that it is oftentimes perpetrated by Heads of      States and government officials.

3.01   Certain International Law principles came into being in order to hold State           officials responsible for the crimes they committed both individually and           collectively, albeit on behalf of the State.  International Crimes have over the           years developed around the Nuremberg Principles. These principles were a       set of guidelines for determining what constitutes a war crime. It was created          by the International Law Commission of the United Nations to codify the           legal principles underlying the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi party members       after World War II.

3.02   Prior to the Nuremberg trial, the legal defence of “Superior Orders” was tenable. During and after the trials, however, it is no longer an acceptable    excuse to say ‘I was just following my superior’s orders”.

3.03  By the provisions of the Nuremberg Principle IV , “The fact that a person           acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve      him from responsibility under international law provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him”.

3.04   This became the legal bases for international criminal responsibility for   offences as codified under Articles 6, 7 and 8 of the Rome Status. No longer          can the individual escape international criminal liability merely because he was following the orders of his government or his superiors. The principle        insists that he is liable, as long as there is a moral choice which is in fact     possible to him.

3.05   The Nazi leaders were held liable for aggression, war crimes, genocide and           torture even when their actions were not crimes under international law at         the time. The indictments were created ex post facto and were not based on    any nation’s laws, thus violating basic principles of legality: nullum crimen        sine lege, nulla poena sine lege (no crime without law, no punishment without law). The insistence on their criminal culpability in Nuremberg    however stems primarily from the fact that human civilization cannot          survive any repeat of the scale of violence unleashed by the Nazi, and    therefore cannot afford not to punish them severely.

3.06   Going by the above line of reasoning, it thus becomes clear that there are          very compelling grounds for insisting that corruption should be made an         international crime. The potent destructive force behind unchecked corrupt         practices like illicit transfer of funds, especially in developing countries     ought to propel the International Court of Justice towards the expansion of its jurisdiction through a broader definition and interpretation of Articles 6, 7 and 8 of the Rome Statutes to include financial corruption charges which       should be elevated to the status of a norm from which no derogation is           permitted.

3.07   This brings us to the principle of Jus cogens. It is a peremptory international           customary law; a fundamental principle of international law that is accepted     by the international community of states as a norm from which no      derogation is permitted. These are norms which the world community has,          over the years, accepted as such. Why should corruption not be among the   existing jus cogens?

3.08   In 2014, member states of the African Union adopted a protocol in Malabo,           Equatorial Guinea, known as the Malabo Protocol. The Protocol aims at granting criminal jurisdiction to the existing African Court of Human Rights.        There are ongoing plans to merge the court with the African Court of Justice to create an African Court of Justice and Human Rights (ACJHR). The       ACJHR’s jurisdiction will extend to the adjudication of interstate disputes    and human rights violations, as well as the prosecution of serious crimes committed by individuals and corporations on the African continent. This     would present a rare opportunity for the court to include corruption in the list         of offences prohibited by the principle of jus cogens.

3.09   How does the ICC come into all of this? The move towards the      establishment of an African International Court has been on for decades          now. The feelings in recent times, among State parties to the AU, that the    rest of the international community has used the ICC against Africans in a    lopsided manner have given a sense of urgency to the idea of an African          International Court. This court has been conceived as a court that can    prosecute crimes that are particularly prevalent in Africa, but are of           apparently little prosecutorial interest to much of the rest of the world. The      ICC should take steps to assure African State parties of its impartiality and    willingness to protect the interest of all the state parties. Corruption is a     serious crime which is widely prevalent among African countries with     devastating consequences. The proposed steps towards reconciliation should include the final inclusion of corruption as one of the crimes prohibited by       international law.

 

 

 

Downloads

Sudanese Opposition Mobilizes for First Protests under State of…

February 28, 2019 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) has called on the Sudanese to take o the street on Thursday to demand President Omer al-Bashir to step down and to rebel against the state of emergency he declared Friday.

The one-year emergency order bans unlicensed demonstrations or gathering. Also, the government established emergency courts, at elementary and appeal levels, to try those accused of violating the state of emergency.

The SPA which has overseen the organization  of the protests since more than 10 weeks ago called for a huge demonstration on Thursday 28 February in the Khartoum state and across the country dubbed “Processions of Defiance”.

During the last hours, the Association, which is part of the opposition coalition for Freedom and Change, has kept calling on the Sudanese to show take part on what it wants to a defying day recalling that the state of emergency was a violation of the constitution.

The Association further released plans of the processions in Khartoum state and indicated the meeting points for main towns and districts, indicating that it will start at 01:00 pm.

Thursday protests intervene as a military vehicle ran over a five-year and killed him while his brother a 6-year old has serious wounds. The incident which took place in Khartoum North raised waves of indignation and condemnation in the social media.

But, the police said the police responsible for the incident had been arrested and that it has no relation with the ongoing protests.

For his part, the First Vice-President Awad Ibn Ouf stated that the state of emergency is aimed at dealing with the economic situation but not the protests.

Downloads

ECOWAS Set to Eliminate Child Marriage in West Africa

ECOWAS says it is set to eliminate child marriage in the region through the validation and implementation of its reviewed Child Policy and Plan of Action.

Dr Siga Jagne, the bloc’s commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, said this at an experts’ validation meeting on the ECOWAS Child Policy in Abuja, on Monday.

Jagne said the previous policy, which was based on international frameworks, was approved by the Heads of State in 2008 and covered the period of 2009 to 2013.

The commissioner said the increasing rate of child marriage in West Africa was unacceptable with the sub region accounting for the highest in Africa and the second highest in the world.

“Indeed, six of the 15 ECOWAS countries; Niger: 76 per cent, Mali: 55 per cent, Burkina Faso: 52 per cent, Guinea: 51 per cent, Nigeria: 43 per cent, Sierra Leone 39 per cent, are among the twenty countries with the highest rates of child marriage in the world.

“Two ECOWAS countries, Nigeria and Niger, rank among the 20 countries with the largest absolute number of child marriages in the world.”

“While ECOWAS Member States continue to implement measures to end child marriage, rates remain very high.

“This also is in spite of the work done at the level of the African Union and the launch of the Campaign in 2014; as well as the commitment of 11 West African Countries to end Early Child Marriage.”

She explained that the review would include the multidimensional issues affecting the rights of the child in West Africa with a focus on the Roadmap on Prevention and Response to Child Marriage
.
“Thus, the ECOWAS Commission, will present to you for validation, the Child Policy and Strategic Plan of Action and a Roadmap on Prevention and Response to Child Marriage, aimed at charting a clear course for the Region in dealing with this issue in the coming years.”

The commissioner urged representatives of member states to scrutinize the texts and consider modalities for implementation at the national and regional levels.

Mr Hussaini Abdu, Country Director, PLAN International, an NGO, said his organization was working with governments, religious and traditional leaders across West Africa to also implement a global programme against child marriage in the region.

“What we are doing across West Africa is what we call 18+; which is no child should be married until she is 18 and above.

“Our work is to see how we can work with governments to set up policies and frameworks that will support the process of delegalising child marriage, working with traditional leaders of our different communities.

“We are also working with religious leaders who can also help in better interpretation of religious doctrines and work with the girls themselves, from their primary through secondary schools and get them to understand their societies,’’ Abdu said.

He also urged member states to collaborate with the organisation to facilitate its efforts in ending early and forced child marriage.

Mrs Denise Ulwor, representative of UNICEF, said the review of the ECOWAS Child Policy would be an opportunity to scale-up action on the regional child rights agenda.

Ulwor said the successful implementation in the Plan of Action would contribute to efforts to respond effectively to the challenges children faced in different contexts.

“It is refreshing to see an updated Child Policy with clear and practical framework to improve access to rights and protection for every child in West Africa.

“We in UNICEF are particularly pleased to have provided financial and technical support to see the draft Policy and Plan of Action to fruition.

“We recognise the Child Policy as the main tool supplementing the ECOWAS mandate on child rights,’’ she noted.

Mr David Dorkenno, Specialist in Workers Activities, International Labour Organisation (ILO) expressed optimism that the effective implementation of the ECOWAS Child Policy would ensure every child in the region enjoyed their developmental rights.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the review of the ECOWAS Child Policy began in 2016.

The experts would assess the document before it is presented to the ECOWAS Ministers for adoption.

The reviewed ECOWAS Child Policy and Strategic Plan of Action would cover the period of 2019 to 2023.

Downloads

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT END OF STRATEGY PLANNING MEETING OF…

 

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA, 8-10 OCTOBER 2018.

                                                                      

Between 8th and 9th October 2018, members of the African Network on International Criminal Justice (ANICJ) which comprises civil society organizations working to promote justice, peace and the rule of law in Africa, met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to adopt its operational Charter and prepare its 3-year strategic plan towards the fight against impunity for international crimes in Africa.

 

The meeting was facilitated by the Coalition for the International Criminal Court and the Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court with funding support of the European Commission.

 

Members of the Network from 21 countries of Africa participated in the meetings, and at end of which the network resolved as follows:

 

  1. The Charter of the Network, which sets out the operational values and principles, was validated and adopted.

 

  1. The sub regional Focal Points of the network were appointed for the 5 geographic regions of the continent, namely, Moroccan Coalition for the ICC (North Africa), Institute for Security Studies (Southern Africa), Ivorian Coalition for the ICC (West Africa), Burundian Coalition for ICC (East Africa) and the Congolese Coalition for the ICC (Central Africa). The Nigerian Coalition for the ICC hosts the coordinating secretariat, and the global Coalition for the ICC is the co-convener of the Network.

 

  1. The Focal Points are mandated to coordinate the operations of the network in their respective sub-regions, engage governments of countries in their sub-regions in the fight against impunity, and expand the network to bring in more civil society organizations, academia, activists and human rights defenders.

 

Human Rights Situation in Burundi

 

  1. The network welcomes the effort of the African Union to bring stability and peace in Burundi, but condemns the continued arrest and imprisonment of several human rights defenders in Burundi. On the invitation of the Burundian government offered to the Network by the Burundian Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union Commission, His Excellency, Dieudonee Ndabarushimana, the network resolved to send a delegation of its members to that country in the last quarter of 2018 in order to assess the situation of human rights and measure taken by the national judicial institution to hold perpetrator of international crimes accountable. The delegation will also undertake any possible constructive engagement with the Burundian government as contribution to bringing peace, rule of law and stability in the country. The Network commends the government of Burundi for the invitation for the mission extended to the Network and assures the government and people of Burundi of the Network objectivity its interventions in the country.

 

Increasing access of civil society to the African Union Commission and meetings

 

  1. The Network expresses concern at the difficulties encountered by civil society organizations in Africa in gaining physical and information access to the African Union Commission and meetings of the Union, and urges the African Union Commission to reform its process of ECOSOC accreditation in order to give more civil society organizations opportunity to contribute positively and constructively to the development of the continent.

 

  1. As the emerging voice of civil society in Africa on international justice issues, the network resolves to apply for accreditation of the ECOSOC of the African Union in order to facilitate its members from across Africa to have increased access to the African Union Commission and its institutions so as to enhance the voice of civil society in African in the affairs of the African Union.

 

International Criminal Court and Africa

 

  1. The Network affirms its commitment to the core values of the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court and the guiding principles of the global Coalition for the ICC, and commends the ICC in its continued efforts in tackling impunity across the world including in Africa. However, the Network notes with dismay that the number of cases currently investigated or prosecuted at the ICC is too little and unduly protracted to meet the huge expectations of the victims of atrocity crimes in Africa and the resources the state parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC expend on the court.

 

  1. The Network welcomes the support given to the ICC by many African state parties especially in diplomatically resolving the erstwhile threats of mass withdrawal of African states parties from the Rome Statute. The Network urges African State Parties to work together in a coordinated manner to fulfill their respective treaty obligations under the Statute. Furthermore, the network urge the African state parties to fully pay up their financials dues to the ICC and fully cooperation with the court in accordance with their treaty obligations under the Statute.

 

Threats to the integrity and independence of the ICC

  1. The Network condemns the recent threats to the ICC and its officials by the governments of the United States of America, which are capable of undermining the independence of the court and worsen the situation of impunity across the world. The network urges the US, as well as China and Russia to ratify the Rome Statute of the ICC and fully support the court as a way of demonstrating true leadership of the world.

 

African union and rule of law in Africa

 

  1. The Network welcomes the new initiatives of the African Union Commission to improve good governance, the rule of law and accountability for international crimes in the continent, including the adoption of the Protocol to merge the African Court on Human and People’s Rights with the proposed African Court of Justice and introduce jurisdiction for international crimes (the Malabo Protocol). The Network is however concerned that the provisions of article 46bis of the Protocol, which confers immunity from arrest and prosecution to heads of state and senior government officials undermines the essential purpose of the Protocol and contradicts all extant international laws on immunities for international crimes.

 

  1. The Network resolves to constructively engage the African Union Commission and the African state governments in seeking ways to review and improve the provisions of the Malabo Protocol in order to actualize its intention of establishing an effective regional framework of accountability for international crimes to compliment the International Criminal Court and national judicial systems. To this end, the Network proposes to organize a high-level Summit on the Malabo Protocol in the first quarter of 2019 to bring together key stakeholders in order to advance effective and functional African strategies for fighting against impunity in the continent.

 

  1. The Network further calls on African states that have not ratified the Rome Statute of the ICC and the Kampala Amendments to the Rome Statute of the ICC to do so without delay in order to contribute to effort of the international community to fight impunity for international crimes.

 

Accountability for atrocity crimes in Africa

 

  1. The Network is concerned that most of the violations of human rights, humanitarian laws and atrocity crimes committed in Africa are not investigated and prosecuted. Most perpetrators of these crimes remain in power and continue to commit more violations. The victims are not given any redress or justice. The Network calls on African governments to improve on their national judicial institutions so as to ensure that all violators of human rights are fully brought to justice and the victims adequately redressed.

 

Victims of human rights violation and international crimes in Africa

 

  1. The Network is concerned that millions of victims of human rights violations and international crimes across Africa, especially in ICC’s situation and Preliminary examination countries, have not received justice, and condemns the African Union for not giving priority attention to victims’ reparation. The Network resolves to coordinate and support networks of Victims groups across the continent in order to give voice to the victims. To this end, the network proposed to hold a meeting of Victims’ groups across African in the first quarter of 2019 to articulate the priority needs and effective strategies of demanding for justice.

 

  1. The Network notes that the Extra-ordinary Criminal Chambers of the African Union that held in Dakar Senegal to try ex-President of Thad, Hussein Habra, awarded reparations to victims of the atrocities committed by ex-President Habra, but regrets that these victims have not been paid. The Network urges the African Union to establish a Contributory Victims’ Reparation Fund to meet needs of victims in the continent including complying with the judicial order for reparation for victims in Thad. The Network resolves to work with victims’ networks in Thad to undertake the mapping of the relevant victims and to work towards ensuring that they are redressed.

 

  1. On specific situation and Preliminary examination countries, the Network note as follows:

 

  1. Central African Republic: The Network commends of the international community and the government of CAR to establish the Special courts in Bangui and urges all stakeholders to speed up the process of the courts in order to bring justice for many victims of atrocity crimes in the country.

 

  1. Mali: The network commends the opening of the trials at the ICC of Malian cases, and fresh arrests and investigations undertaken by the ICC in Mali, but notes that the security situation in the country is still very fragile, exacerbated by the events of the July 2018 general elections. The network urges the Malian government to resolve all legally electoral disputes in order to reduce electoral conflicts that could lead to atrocity crimes in the country.

 

  1. Cote d’Viore : The Network notes the continued effort of the government of Cote d’Voire to bring perpetrators of atrocity crimes to justice, and the ICC’s proceedings against the former head of State, but is concerned that only one side of the conflict is being investigated and prosecuted. The Network is also concerned that the victims of the violence that lead to the ICC’s intervention have not been fully compensated, and urges the government of Cote d’Voire to increase its efforts in redressing all identified victims.

 

  1. Nigeria: The Network commends the efforts of government of Nigeria in opening the prosecutions of suspect of atrocity crimes by Boko Haram terrorists, but condemn the failure of the government to also investigate and prosecute military officials and other security personnel and members of military-backed paramilitary group called the Civilian Joint Task Force who are widely accused of committing violations of human rights and international crimes. The Network urges the Prosecutor of the ICC to conclude its preliminary examination of Nigeria and to open investigations and indict any perpetrator of international crimes in the country.

 

  1. Guinea: The Network notes that the preliminary examination of the situation in Guinea by the Prosecutor of the ICC in respect of the September 29 2011 atrocities has not be concluded several  years after it was opened, and urges the prosecutor to conclude the examinations forthwith and open investigations and indict any suspected perpetrator of international  This is important to assure the victims who are still alive that that they can get justice within their lifetime, as many of the victims have died due to the aftereffect of the violations they suffered. Also, the Government must take all necessary measures to grant temporary compensations to the victims.

 

  1. Democratic Republic of the Congo: The Network is worried at the recent declaration of DRC government officials to withdraw its ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and urges the government of DCR not to consider a withdrawal but to support the ICC and civil society actors in DRC to fight impunity and ensure accountability for atrocity crimes.

 

  1. South Africa: The Network commends the government of South Africa in recent indications of its intention to cease the legislative processes of repealing the International Crimes Act and suspend its withdrawal from the Rome Statutes. The network also commends government of South African for paying up part of its financial dues to the ICC, and encourages it to continue to play leadership role in the sub regions towards the fight against impunity

 

  1. Burundi: the Network commends the declaration by the President of Burundi of his intention not to seek re-election at the end of his current third tenure in office in 2020, which will hopefully bring considerable easing of political tension in the country, and urges him not to retract from this commitment. The Network also urges the Burundian government to open its boarders to the international community so as to assist it in bringing peace and stability in the country. The network condemns the expulsion of United Nations experts, the reduction of the African Union observer contingent, and continued arrest and incarceration of several human rights defenders in Burundi, and urges the government of Burundi to release all human rights defenders in detention. The network condemns the terrible decision of the Burundi government to withdraw from the Rome Statute in order to continue the massacres and crimes against humanity without prosecution nor the possibility of involving international criminal justice. The network commends the step already taken by the ICC in the case of Burundi and calls on the prosecutor of the ICC to take the next step to bring the alleged perpetrators of crimes to justice.

 

Victims’ Trust Fund of the ICC

 

  1. The network commends the Victims Trust Fund of the ICC in its efforts of providing considerable redress to victims in CAR and many other situations in Africa, but urges State Parties to the Rome Statutes to make more voluntary contributions to the Trust Fund.

 

  1. The network calls on all civil society organizations, human rights defenders, academics working on international justice, and bar associations across Africa to join the Network in order to increase coordination and commitment of the civil society to the fight against impunity for international crimes in the continent.

 

  1. The Network expresses gratitude to the government of Ethiopia for hosting the network’s meetings, and to diplomatic missions to the African Union in Addis Ababa that meet with the network’s delegation during the period of the meetings, including the missions of Nigeria, Burundi, Sudan, The Netherlands, European Union and the global Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) for its support to the African Network.

 

 

  1. Dated and adopted at Addis Ababa this day of       2018

 

  1. Signed by the following members of the African Network for International Criminal Justice

Nigerian Coalition for the ICC

Institute for Security Studies (ISS) South Africa

Southern African Litigation Center (SALC)

International Commission of Jurists Kenya section

Ivorian Coalition for the ICC

DRC Coalition for the ICC

Central African Republic Coalition for the ICC

Malian Coalition for the ICC

Burundian Coalition for the ICC

Ugandan Coalition for the ICC

Guinean Coalition for the ICC

Moroccan Coalition for the ICC

Moroccan Center for Peace and Law

Burkina Faso Coalition for the ICC