NCICC Blog

Supreme Court Merges 2 Petitions seeking Philippines withdrawal from…

The Supreme Court (SC) has consolidated two petitions seeking to void the Philippine government’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

With this consolidation, the high court is set to conduct oral arguments for the petitions on Aug. 7 at 2 p.m. at the SC New Session Hall, new SC Building, Padre Faura Street in Manila.

The SC also required the counsels for both parties to attend the preliminary conference for the oral argument on July 31 at the same venue.

The first petition was filed by opposition Senators Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, and Antonio Trillanes IV filed petition for certiorari and mandamus and said that under Article VII Section 21 of the 1987 Constitution, “entering into treaty or international agreement requires participation of Congress, that is, through concurrence of at least 2/3 of all the members of the Senate.”

Last week, de Lima, one of the petitioners, asked the SC to allow her to participate in the oral arguments.

“This Honorable Court is respectfully asked to take judicial notice of its practice of permitting members of Congress to appear before it and argue their cases,” de Lima said in her four-page manifestation with motion.

The detained senator is the lead counsel for the minority senators.

The lawmakers also asked the high court to compel the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Philippine Permanent Mission to the United Nations to notify the United Nations Secretary General that the Philippines is revoking the notice of withdrawal that it received last March 17.

The diplomatic note stated that the “decision to withdraw is the Philippines’ principled stand against those who politicize and weaponize human rights, even as its independent and well-functioning organs and agencies continue to exercise jurisdiction over complaints, issues, problems and concerns arising from its efforts to protect the people.”

The petitioners said the Rome Statute is a treaty validly entered into by the Philippines that has the same status as a law enacted by Congress.

In withdrawing its membership from the ICC, the petitioners claimed that the respondents committed usurpation of legislative powers, which is punishable under the Revised Penal Code.

The second petition was filed by the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court (PCICC) led by former Commission on Human Rights chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales.

Named respondents in the petition were Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Philippine Ambassador to the UN Teodoro Locsin Jr., and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.

The respondents will be represented by the Office of the Solicitor General.

On March 14, President Rodrigo Duterte announced the Philippines’ withdrawal of its ratification of the Rome Statute, a United Nations (UN) treaty creating the ICC.

In the statement, Duterte cited “baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks” against him and his administration as the reason for his withdrawal as a state party.

“Given the baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks on my person as well as against my administration, engineered by the officials of the United Nations, as well as the attempt by the International Criminal Court special prosecutor to place my person within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, in violation of due process and the presumption of innocence expressly guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution and recognized no less by the Rome Stature, I therefore declare and forthwith give notice, as President of the Republic of the Philippines, that the Philippines is withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute effective immediately,” the President said in a statement.

This came after ICC special prosecutor Fatou Bensouda began a preliminary examination on the alleged human rights violations amid the Duterte administration’s intensified war on drugs. (PNA)

SOURCE; https://www.ptvnews.ph/sc-merges-2-petitions-vs-ph-withdrawal-icc/

NCICC Blog

31st AU Summit ends in Mauritania

The 31st African Union summit ended in Nouakchott, Mauritania on Monday with advisory decisions on Libya, Somalia and South Sudan.

Twenty two (22) African heads of states, four prime ministers and two foreign ministers attended the two-day summit.

In a statement, the African Union’s Peace and Security Council said international actors should resume their efforts to implement a UN plan which aims to secure stability, territorial integrity and security in Libya.

The statement emphasized the humanitarian conditions in South Sudan and said the parties should fulfil their obligations.

On Somalia, it said the AU supports activities of its federal government in the transition period, while tasking the UN to finance the AU’s mission in Somalia.

Chairperson of the AU and Rwandan President Paul Kagame said the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement was among issues that topped the summit’s agenda.

Kagame said five more countries signed the agreement.

Downloads

Australian Parliament Unanimously Favors Armenian Genocide Recognition

Australia’s House of Representatives has debated, for the first time, a motion recognizing the Armenian Genocide through the prism of Australia’s first major international humanitarian relief effort. The Parliament has called for a vote to change the government’s foreign policy, according to the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU).

The debated motion recognizes, among other things, “the extraordinary humanitarian efforts of the then newly formed Commonwealth of Australia for the orphans and other survivors of the Armenian Genocide, as well as the other Christian minorities of the Ottoman Empire including Greeks and Assyrians.”

It was moved on Monday, June 25, in the Australian Parliament’s Federation Chamber by Trent Zimmerman (Liberal MP for North Sydney) and seconded by Joel Fitzgibbon (Labor MP for Hunter) and John Alexander (Liberal MP for Bennelong). Chris Bowen (Labor MP for MacMahon), Stuart Robert (Liberal MP for Fadden) and Anne Aly (Labor MP for Cowan) also spoke favorably on Australia’s helping hand for the victims of Ottoman Turkey’s crime against humanity.

This comprehensive, bipartisan support indicates that the House of Representatives has taken a major step towards Australia recognizing that its first major international humanitarian relief effort was to aid survivors of the Genocide that decimated the Christian Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians of the Ottoman Empire.

Significantly, the motion accurately reflects and accepts as a historical fact the Armenian Genocide as a “genocide,” moving Australia closer to international norms of recognizing the systematic murder of over 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire starting in 1915.

“This motion recognizes that Australia’s first major international humanitarian relief effort was to help the survivors, especially the orphan survivors of the Armenian Genocide, and today’s bipartisan debate paves the way for an eventual vote to formalize this recognition by the nation’s Parliament,” ANC-AU Executive Director Haig Kayserian said.

Kayserian said that Armenian-Australians faced “some obstacles and a considerable road ahead” to achieve full recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Australia, however, “that journey is that little bit shorter after this debate broke many taboos.”

“All speeches recognized Australia’s relief efforts during the Armenian Genocide, as that was the focus of this motion, however, we must seek more to honor the memory of the survivors of the genocide of Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians,” Kayserian said. “We need more of our political leaders, to follow the lead of some of the honorable members during today’s debate, and Australia to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide.”

“When debates such as today’s and when these calls for recognition evolve into a binding vote on a motion, such as the one debated today by one of the Houses of Parliament, we would have ensured an important shift in Australian foreign policy from one that appeases a foreign dictatorship to one that sides with truth and justice on the issue,” Kayserian added.
Zimmerman, who is the Co-Chair of the Armenia-Australia Inter-Parliamentary Union (Friendship Group/Caucus), was unequivocal in his call for the importance of Armenian Genocide recognition during his speech.

“In remembering the victims of the Armenian Genocide and those Australians who came to their aid, we send a message that the events which started in 1915 are not just some footnote in history,” Zimmerman said. “For, if we hide from the truth, if we fail to recognize the evil that was perpetrated against the Armenians, we simply provide succor to those today and in the future who think that they can deny the most important of human rights, of life itself.”
Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Fitzgibbon, who is also a Co-Chair of the Armenia-Australia Inter-Parliamentary Union (Friendship Group/Caucus), echoed these calls.

“Up to 30 countries around the world, and our own New South Wales Parliament, have now declared the actions of the Ottomans an act of genocide,” Fitzgibbon said. “I do not believe the ongoing failure of Australia to do the same helps rebuild trust and relationships — we invest so much time in our international relationships, and I believe one further act could further strengthen our place in the world.”

Alexander, who is Member of the largest Armenian-Australian electorate in Bennelong and a long-time supporter of Armenian Genocide recognition, used this debate to repeat his calls.
“I have long called for this Parliament to recognize the Armenian Genocide,” Alexander said. “I am happy that today, by debating this motion, we are taking a significant step towards achieving that goal by recognizing Australia’s first major international humanitarian relief effort, and what a relief effort it was.”

“I impatiently wait for the day that Australia recognizes not only our efforts to aid refugees and orphans of the Armenian Genocide, but also joins with the other 30 countries in calling for Turkey to recognize the events of 1915 as Genocide,” Alexander added.

“Today is a victory against foreign influence,” Kayserian said. “Despite pressures to gag this debate by a desperate Turkish dictatorship, five out of six speakers from the largest chamber in Australia’s Federal Parliament chose to side with a motion recognizing the Armenian Genocide for what it was, a genocide, while paying tribute to an important and proud chapter in Australia’s history which has been sought to be suppressed by foreign influence.”

Bowen, who is the Shadow Treasurer of Australia, Robert and Aly provided details of the events of the Armenian Genocide and Australia’s relief effort in their support for the motion.
“The Australian soldiers had a chance during WWI to interact with the Armenian people in particular,” Bowen said. “Many Australians who were taken prisoner were billeted in the former homes of Armenians who had been expelled from their homes. Their homes had been ransacked and pillaged and, in many senses, destroyed.”

“It is … particularly important to recognize the humanitarian efforts of Australians, and perhaps the beginning of those links of friendship and comradeship between the Australian people and Armenian people and Assyrian people,” Bowen said.
Robert discussed the events and aftermath of WWI as they related to Australians and Armenians.

“Whilst Australia formed its sense of modern identity on the battlefields starting with Gallipoli, Armenia formed its sense of great and secondary tragedy from the events that followed,” Robert said. “These things should not be hidden, they should be discussed, they should be open. Reconciliation comes from an honest appraisal of events and an honest appraisal of history.”

Aly spoke to the importance of recognizing Australia’s role in aiding Armenians.
“The humanitarian efforts by Australians towards Armenians should be recognized as an important part of our history,” Aly said. “It serves to remind us all that even in war there is heroism, there is compassion, and there is shared humanity.”

The Armenian National Committee of Australia led a delegation of community representatives — including leaders of local Armenian, Greek and Assyrian organizations and clergy — to witness the historical 30-minute debate in the Federation Chamber of Parliament House.

“Our presence here is a gesture of thanks on behalf of our ancestors, all descendants of survivors of the Armenian Genocide, who would be resting that little bit easier after seeing Australia take this significant step towards full recognition of the crimes against humanity that took their lives, their homes and their belongings,” Kayserian said.

“This is a motion that brings immense honor to Australia, and for us Australians of Armenian origin — the vast majority being descendants of survivors of the Armenian Genocide,” Kayserian added. “This is a day of immense pride, knowing that our nation helped our ancestors, 14,000 kilometers away, over 100 years ago at a critical time of need for their very survival.”

“The gag order on the use of Armenian Genocide by Australia’s federal government has received a sizeable blow,” Kayserian said. “But our work must not stop until Australian Parliament follows the Parliaments of New South Wales and South Australia in affirming the historical truth of the Armenian Genocide.”

 

SOURCE: http://asbarez.com/173026/australian-parliament-holds-debate-on-armenian-genocide/

Downloads

Boko Haram: Troops Urged to Respect Human Rights

Major General Rogers Nicholas, the theater Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, has reiterated that respect for human rights and protection of civilians by troops in the ongoing counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations in North East must be sacrosanct.

Gen. Nicholas made this assertion, weekend, at the headquarters of the  Command in Maiduguri, Borno State, when he received in audience Martin Ejidike, a senior human rights adviser from the Office of the Resident Coordinator, United Nations System in Nigeria.

Speaking further during the meeting with the UN envoy, the commander pointed out that though the operations in the North East was asymmetrical in nature, pointing out that there were mechanisms in place to guide troops’ conduct in their host communities, as well as Rules of Engagement for the execution of their operational mandate.

He added that the “hierarchy of the military has zero tolerance for violation of any of these provisions”, hence the establishment of a standing Military Court Marshall to try errant personnel.

General Nicholas also disclosed that suspects were only arrested in the theatre when they were found to have participated directly in acts of terrorism or acted to aid and abet acts tantamount to terrorism.

Boko Haram suspects in custody, he noted, are pending prosecution because it does not fall within the purview of the military. He called on the prosecuting agencies to expedite action on the trial of the suspects to sieve out the acquitted from the convicted.

The commander also revealed that Boko Haram suspects, who voluntarily surrendered to troops and in custody, were being processed for onward transfer to Operation Safe Corridor, for deradecalisation and rehabilitation programme. He assured the UN adviser of unfettered access to the sittings and proceedings of the Military Court Marshall in the theatre, when the court resumes.

Ejidike, on his own part, said he was in the theatre to deliberate on pertinent issues bordering on human rights, and also to meet with the commander to acquaint the command with the developments on the establishment of a UN human rights office in the theatre.

He added that the move was also aimed at ensuring that the conduct of ongoing counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations in the North East were consistent with human rights provisions in Nigeria.

 

SOURCE; Todays News https://www.today.ng/news/nigeria/boko-haram-troops-urged-respect-human-rights-126165#

NCICC Blog

Nigeria: Herdsmen Attack 11 Plateau Villages, kill More Than…

Plateau State was on Sunday thrown into mourning with the killing of 86 persons in the attacks on about 11 communities in the Gashish District by suspected Fulani herdsmen.

The Police Command in Plateau State had earlier on Sunday confirmed the attacks, saying it had only recovered 11 corpses from some of the villages. But residents had insisted that about 200 people were killed by the marauding herdsmen.

However, the police later issued a statement that indicated that the death toll in the attack on the communities in the Barkin Ladi Local Government Area on Saturday night had risen to 86. It added that six people were injured, 50 houses burnt, 15 motorcycles razed while two motor vehicles were torched.

The spokesperson for the Plateau State Police Command, Matthias Tyopev, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, in an updated statement issued on Sunday night, said the earlier 11 death toll in the attacks was due to the information at its disposal as of then before the arrival of the search and rescue team from the Barkin Ladi LGA.

Tyopev had identified the 11 corpses as Dalyop Vanode, Dom Danladi, Bururu Wade, Joju Rala,Titus Danladi, Bitrus Malat, Alu Matir, Noron Monday, Cecilia Yohana, Dam Bulus and Ladi Danladi.

He said, “Sequel to the attack in the Gashish District of Barkin Ladi LGA yesterday (Saturday) June 23, 2018, the Commissioner of Police, Plateau State Command, Jos, Undie Adie, after deploying more personnel in the district sent a search and rescue team from the Command headquarters today (Sunday) for an on-the-spot assessment.

“The team headed by ACP Edeh John of the Department of Operations had also the DPO of the Barkin Ladi Division and a Unit Commander from Mopol 38. After a careful search of the villages attacked in the District,  the following were discovered: 86 persons altogether were killed, six people injured, 50 houses burnt, 15 motorcycles and two motor vehicles also burnt.

“The team also carried out a detailed deployment. Corpses were released to the families for burial. The command earlier in the day confirmed only 11 people dead as the result of the attacks due to the information at its disposal before the arrival of the search and rescue team from the Barkin Ladi LGA. This is to update members of the public of the situation as regards the attacks in the Gashish District as promised earlier on.”

Also, there were fears that some soldiers were missing during the attack but the Commander of the Special Military Task Force codenamed Operation Safe Haven, Maj. Gen. Anthony Atolagbe, dismissed the report. He said, “it’s not true, no soldier died and no soldier is missing.”

 

SOURCE:  Punch. https://punchng.com/herdsmen-attack-11-plateau-villages-kill-86-torch-50-houses/

News

Phillipine Supreme Court Orders Government to Answer Petition On…

The Supreme Court todaay ordered the government to answer a petition filed by minority senators challenging the country’s withdrawal of its ratification of the Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court.

The executive branch has 10 days to file its comment on the petition for certiorari and mandamus filed by minority senators led by Sen. Francis Pangilinan. An oral argument of the case is also set on July 24 at 2 p.m.

The SC en banc acted on the petition for certiorari and mandamus filed by opposition senators that challenged the country’s withdrawal from its ICC membership due to lack of necessary concurrence from the Senate.

In the 17-page petition filed last month, they cited Article VII Section 21 of the 1987 Constitution which states that “entering into treaty or international agreement requires participation of Congress, that is, through concurrence of at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate.”

The petitioners said that the Office of the President and the Department of Foreign Affairs committed grave abuse of discretion when it decided to withdraw the Philippines’ membership from the ICC without the concurrence of two-thirds of the Senate.

Named as respondents in the petition are Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.

The Philippines announced it would be withdrawing from the ICC last March, a month after the international tribunal opened a preliminary examination into the alleged crimes against humanity of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

An examination is not an investigation, a point that the Palace stressed before finally announcing the withdrawal.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, for his part, said that the petition would not gain ground. “I do not think there is any legal basis. The president remains the chief architect of foreign policy and this is not a matter that can be cured by certiorari,” Roque added.

SOURCE:

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/06/06/1822082/sc-orders-government-answer-petition-vs-icc-withdrawal

News

War Crimes Court due to start Probes in Central…

A special criminal court to try the worst crimes committed in the Central African Republic (CAR) is due to start its formal investigations next week, the United Nations’ deputy representative in the country said on Monday.

A UN report published last year said a litany of killings, rapes, mutilation, looting and torture committed by successive governments and armed groups in the Central African Republic from 2003 to 2015 may constitute crimes against humanity.

Deadly clashes are back on the rise, state control is breaking down and inter-faith violence threatens to flare again. At least 26 people died in an attack by unidentified armed assailants on a church in the capital Bangui earlier this month.

“For us to stop this… horrible cycle (of revenge), the only way is to create a judiciary system that is credible, that is legitimate and that works, hence the special criminal court,” Najat Rochdi, UN humanitarian coordinator in the Central African Republic and deputy special representative, told a news briefing in Geneva.

“The good news is that the special criminal court is going to be operational next week,” she said, adding that if it did not succeed, some people may return to seeking revenge.

The tribunal, which will be based in the CAR and composed of both national and international judges, will prosecute alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Some 2,000 U.N. police are helping national authorities to arrest high-profile suspects, Rochdi said, adding: “Arrests are happening.” She gave no details of the arrests.

The United Nations is also supporting the CAR government in “developing a legitimate and credible and not corrupted regular judiciary system,” she added.

Repeated political crises in CAR have fueled conflict since 2003. Major violence erupted in 2013 when a mostly Muslim Seleka rebel coalition overthrew then-president Francois Bozize, prompting reprisals from Christian “anti-balaka” militias.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has been investigating alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in CAR since 2012.

The new court was agreed to in 2015, but it has taken time to finalize victim and witness protection, rules of procedure, and the swearing in of judicial police, Rochdi said.

Violence by armed groups is often aimed at wringing concessions from the government, including an amnesty, which Rochdi said would be a “disaster for the country.”

“The situation has worsened, one has to acknowledge it,” she said, citing an upsurge in violence in Bangui and elsewhere.

SOURCE: https://www.devdiscourse.com/Article/9462-war-crimes-court-due-to-start-probes-in-central-africa-says-un

News

AU urges External Actors to Refrain from action that…

The chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, expressed concern on Sunday over increasing instances of external interference by non-African actors in Somalia’s internal affairs.

This threatens to disrupt the peace-building and state-building efforts currently underway in Somalia, Faki said during his meeting at the AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital with Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire of Somalia, according to an AU statement.

The interference also risks reversing the hard-won gains made through joint efforts of the AU mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali security forces, he said, urging all concerned external actors to refrain from any action that may undermine Somalia’s progress.

The two leaders discussed the progress made so far by the Somali federal government in implementing a reform agenda in the political, economic and security spheres, the statement said.

The chairperson of the AU Commission commended the Somali government for its efforts to establish cohesive and inclusive politics, deepen federalism, resolve the conflicts affecting the country and advance peace-building and reconciliation.

Faki called on all Somali stakeholders to spare no efforts in ensuring a successful implementation of the agreed political roadmap.

Noting the economic reforms undertaken by Somalia, the AUC chairperson urged Mogadishu to continue with the efforts underway to rejoin the international financial institutions and set the country on the pathway to debt relief.

Khaire, for his part, paid tribute to the bravery of AMISOM forces, and expressed gratitude to the troop and police contributing countries for their efforts and sacrifices in the pursuit of peace and security for Somalia, the AU statement said.

Their commitment has been essential to Somalia’s progress, and AMISOM’s presence remains critical as the country moves in earnest toward full ownership of security responsibility over Somalia, Khaire said.

SOURCE: http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-05/28/c_137210660.htm

NCICC Blog

2018 NGO-ICC ROUND-TABLE HIGHLIGHT

The 2018 NGO-ICC roundtable held on the 14th of May  and lasted to the 19th at the Hague, Netherlands. members of several civil society organizations attended and deliberated on the way forward for the International Criminal Court after 20 years.

Peter Lewis the registrar of the court opened the round-table by reiterating the importance of the Rome Statute and the great spirit that saw to the establishment of the Court. Speaking on the role of  civil society organizations, he   stated that they play a crucial role  in supporting the court system and encouraged them not to relent as they are the conscience of the court and have continued to remind the court of its mission.

The ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda  in her speech, stated that we must invigorate a firm commitment to stand by the values of the court and continue to  march forward in the fight against impunity for the worlds gravest crimes, she affirmed that international criminal justice is on the march and civil society organizations  should continue to support the court to enhance and empower its ability to demonstrate the full potential of the Rome Statute

On his part the president of the court Chile Osuji  stated that they is  rallying call for the world to amplify  its involvement in protecting and refreshing interest in the importance of the Rome Statute and call on everyone to do so as it is more urgent than ever..

Downloads

Researcher Tells ICC that LRA Attacks Have a Long-Term…

A researcher told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) attacks on three camps for internally displaced people (IDP) 14 years ago continue to have a negative impact on survivors of those attacks as well as their children.

Teddy Atim told the court on May 4 that survivors of the attacks on the Abok, Lukodi, and Odek IDP camps were generally worse off compared to other northern Ugandans who did not suffer similar attacks. Atim is a researcher with the Feinstein International Center of Tufts University.

Referring to research she conducted with others, Atim said there is a higher percentage of people with disabilities among survivors of the Abok, Lukodi, and Odek attacks compared to northern Ugandans not attacked by the LRA. She said because their parents are poor, many children of survivors of the three attacks were not in school.

Atim was testifying in the trial of a former LRA commander, Dominic Ongwen, who has been charged for his alleged role in the Abok, Lukodi, and Odek attacks that occurred between April and June 2004.

Ongwen has also been charged with attacking a fourth IDP camp, sex crimes, and conscripting child soldiers. In total, he is facing 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Atim was an expert witness called by lawyers representing one group of victims in the trial. That legal team is led by Joseph Akwenyu Manoba and Francisco Cox, and they represent 2,599 victims. Atim based her testimony on May 4 on a report wrote she co-wrote with others.

She said some of the information in the report was drawn from a separate report the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium produced. The consortium, of which Atim is a member, produced the report earlier this year, and it is based on a survey of about 1,700 people in Uganda. Atim said for her report she relied on the portions involving 829 people in northern Uganda who were not attacked by LRA. She said her report was also based on a victims’ assessment survey she and her co-authors conducted of 396 people who survived the LRA attacks on Abok, Lukodi, and Odek.

Atim told the court that it was important to have the data from the two separate surveys to be able to compare the current situation of survivors of LRA attacks with that of people who were not attacked by the LRA attacks.

On May 4, Cox asked Atim about her findings on disability. She said in the reports they used the Uganda People With Disability Act as guide on how to assess disability. Atim said 67 percent of the survivors of the Abok, Lukodi, and Odek attacks had some level of disability. She said 21 percent of the general population had some level of disability.

“Also, what is important to note is … individual experiences does not only impact the particular person. It impacts the entire household,” said Atim.

“You will find at least two members of a household reporting some level of disability … it does affect the overall dependency of that household,” continued Atim.

She said most of the people they interviewed with disability told them nearby health facilities did not have the medicine they required or the specialized care they needed. Atim said for many of them the specialized care they needed was far away. She gave the example of a man with an artificial limb.

“For him … every time his artificial limbs gets damaged he needs to get a replacement, but the nearest health facility does not provide that. He has to travel every time to Gulu town where he gets the replacement done,” said Atim.

She said because of these difficulties, many people said, “We simply pain medicate.”

Cox also asked Atim what her research found out about the education of children of survivors of the attacks on Abok, Lukodi, and Odek. She said that because many of the survivors’ livelihood had been destroyed, they were not able to keep their children in school. She said instead they had their children stay at home to do chores.

“We conclude it’s clearly an aspect of the inter-generational effects of the attacks that they [the children of survivors] continue not to enjoy the opportunity to go to school,” said Atim.

Later on, when Abigail Bridgman, a lawyer for Ongwen, questioned Atim she asked about some of the details in Atim’s report relating to education. Bridgman then followed up on the question of children not being able to go to school.

“Again, still focussing on education, isn’t true that in Uganda, primary and secondary education is free or should be free to all?” asked Bridgman.

“That’s true,” answered Atim.

When Bridgman concluded her questions for Atim, Cox asked a question in re-examination because of the issue Bridgman had raised about free education in Uganda.

Cox asked Atim about a line in her report in which she noted one of the interviewees said that they paid 20,000 Ugandan shillings per child in school. He asked her to explain what the amount referred to.

Atim said education in Uganda is supposed to be free, but there are hidden costs.

“Some of these costs have to do with what we call development fund. Some parents have to pay for feeding their own children when they go to school,” said Atim.

Towards the end of his questioning, Cox asked Atim what her general conclusions were.

“Having said all that I have said, looking at access to services, education, to health, looking at household well-being in terms of wealth, looking at experiences of crimes during attacks, our conclusion is that overall they are worse off compared to the general population. They’re still struggling a lot,” said Atim.

A little later, Presiding Judge Schmitt asked Atim what the survivors told her they wanted done about what they had gone through.

“Do the victims want to forget about having been victimized or do they want to, on the other side, be recognized as victims?” asked Judge Schmitt.

“When I spoke to people, a lot of what I heard was about, ‘We need what happened to us [to be] recognized. We need the people responsible to be held accountable,’” replied Atim.

“And another question that has to do with the experience of crimes and being a victim, but now about crimes afterwards that had nothing to do with the alleged attacks, your report seems to suggest that the victim population experiences significantly more crimes nowadays even. Why is that so, if it is so?” asked Judge Schmitt.

“Yes, that is so, that is what we found, and that has to do with what I had explained earlier, the continued victimization, stigmatization, isolation that these people continue to experience that happens,” said Atim.

“Particularly for women it has to do with the pervasive gender discrimination that is extensive in most of northern Uganda and, you know, having a child, you know, out of sexual violence, what does that mean for you, everyday interaction with others in the community,” continued Atim.

“So, we do see a pattern of victimization, but also what that means, it seems to mean that this harm seems to multiply over, you know, into other violations or into other experiences of crimes in today’s community,” concluded Atim.

She concluded her testimony on May 4. The next witness, Daryn Scott Reicherter, testified on Monday, May 14.

A transcript of Atim’s testimony can be found here.

SOURCE: International Justice Monitor