Nigerian Army Frees 387 Cameroonians from Boko Haram

The Nigerian army has freed 387 Cameroonians who were captured last year by Boko Haram militants, Cameroonian officials said Friday.

Midjiyawa Bakari, the governor of the Far North Region in Cameroon, told Anadolu Agency that the recovered civilians are in Cameroon’s Mozogo town where the Red Cross and government officials are taking care of them.

Bakari said the former hostages will return to their respective families in the coming days.

“Nigerian troops used helicopters to bomb the hiding place of these terrorists forcing them to flee leaving the hostages behind,” Gen. Bouba Dobekreo, commander of the joint military operation said.

Idrissa Adama, one of the freed captives, said he was abducted when he went to water from a well, last year.

“Boko Haram members made us walk for long distances in the bush… I was responsible for cooking for them,” he said.

The militant group has perpetrated many attacks including suicide bombing and kidnappings in Cameroon’s Far North region in recent months.

At least 381 civilians have been killed by Boko Haram attacks since April in Cameroon and Nigeria amid a spike in suicide bombings, according to Amnesty International.

Boko Haram attacks have killed nearly 2,500 Cameroonians between 2014 and 2017, according to Cameroon’s Defense Ministry.

The UN Refugee Agency estimates approximately 26 million people in the Lake Chad region have been affected by the Boko Haram violence, and more than 2.6 million displaced.




Venezuela’s ex-prosecutor urges ICC to probe Maduro

Venezuela’s former attorney general urged the International Criminal Court on Thursday to launch an investigation into alleged abuses of murder and torture by the leaders of the crisis-hit country.

President “Nicolas Maduro and his government must pay for this, for these crimes against humanity,” said Luisa Ortega, after handing over to the tribunal in The Hague a dossier containing 1,000 pieces of evidence.

Ortega, 59, is a fugitive from Venezuela, having fled the South American country in August after a new loyalist assembly established by Maduro threw her out of office.

Standing in the rain outside the world’s only permanent war crimes court after handing her dossier to the prosecutor’s office, Ortega insisted Maduro and his government “must pay for the hunger, misery and hardship which the people of Venezuela are suffering”.

She alleged police and military officials had killed some 1,767 people in 2015. Last year there were 4,677 such deaths, she says, with 1,846 killed up to June this year.

Her dossier included witness testimony, as well as interviews with experts and doctors, detailing allegations of “murder, torture, imprisonment as well as a systematic and generalised attack on the civilian population,” she said.

Ortega said she had been collecting evidence of such crimes in her job as attorney general since 2015. She also denounced Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, and Justice Minister Nestor Reverol among other senior officials in her deposition.

There had also been more than “17,000 arbitrary detentions and hundreds of cases of torture,” she alleged.

“We have been forced to turn to an international organisation, because there is no justice in Venezuela,” she added.

Ortega was a fierce critic of Maduro from within his regime, and has continued to make allegations against him while in exile.

The Venezuelan government has been sharply criticised amid the political and economic crisis engulfing the country with the United States and EU imposing sanctions.

Venezuela has ratified the Rome Statute underpinning the ICC, which means in theory the chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, does have jurisdiction to investigate allegations of crimes against humanity there.

But since the court opened in 2002, the prosecutor’s office has received about 10,000 requests from individuals, groups or countries to investigate alleged crimes.

This year alone, activists from Mexico, and the Philippines as well as the Palestinian territories have all sought to secure or broaden ICC probes.

There are currently 10 preliminary ICC examinations and 11 full investigations under way. Most existing probes have so far focused on African nations.


Ugandan civil society seeks arrest of visiting al-Bashir

 Ugandan civil society will be approaching the country’s courts to have Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity, arrested. Al-Bashir landed in Uganda on Monday.

The Ugandan Coalition for the ICC said civil society group Uganda Victims Foundation had filed an application seeking an arrest warrant for al-Bashir. The application will be heard at the International Crimes Division of the High Court in Kampala on Wednesday afternoon.

Al-Bashir is in Uganda on an official state visit from November 13 to 15.

The Sudanese president has two outstanding arrest warrants issued by the ICC in 2009 and 2010 on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed in Darfur, Sudan, where it is estimated that around 300 000 people were killed and over two million were forced to leave their homes between 2003 and 2008 during al-Bashir’s counter insurgency campaign.

Because Uganda is a state party to the Rome Statute of the ICC, having signed the treaty on March 17, 1999, and ratified it on June 14, 2002, the country is bound to upholding the commitments set out in the Rome Statute to bring to justice perpetrators of serious crimes, said Coalition for the ICC convenor William Pace in a letter to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

“Inviting an international criminal suspect to Uganda not only undermines the fight against impunity which Uganda has for long championed, but also betrays the concerns and interests of the victims of the most heinous crimes,” said Mohamed Ndifuna, executive director of Human Rights Network Uganda and president of the Uganda Coalition for the International Criminal Court.

South African predicament

“We therefore call upon the government of Uganda to fulfil its obligations under international and domestic laws by arresting and surrendering President Omar al-Bashir should he be found on Ugandan territory.”

Several civil organisations urged President Museveni to call for the arrest of al-Bashir who visited the country in May 2016 to attend Museveni’s inauguration.

“Despite the clear obligations to cooperate with the court, Uganda did not arrest Omar al-Bashir and surrender him to the ICC to face trial,” said the Uganda Coalition for the ICC in a statement.

The South African government was in a similar predicament after it failed to arrest al-Bashir and later ignored an order by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria preventing al-Bashir from leaving the country after attending an African Union summit in Johannesburg in June 2015.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) later dismissed the State’s appeal against a High Court ruling that government’s failure to arrest al-Bashir was inconsistent with its constitutional duties.

The SCA said that the South African government was obligated to cooperate with the ICC in arresting al-Bashir.

Earlier this year, in the wake of the controversy over the al-Bashir matter, the South African government stated its intent to withdraw from the Rome Statute.

However, later, in March this year, the government backed down on that idea following a ruling by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in February which stipulated that a withdrawal would be unconstitutional and invalid and needed to be decided on by Parliament.

SOURCE: News24


Court Dismisses Arrest Case Against Al-Bashir in Uganda

The International Crimes Division of the High Court in Kampala has dismissed an application by a local activist group to arrest visiting Sudan president Omar al-Bashir.

Yesterday (Wednesday), Justice Moses Mukiibi also the head of the ICD court declined to order for the arrest of Bashir on grounds that it was unnecessary.

“Uganda is awaiting sanctions by the UN security council for failing to arrest President Bashir in May last year. Therefore, it is unnecessary to issue an immediate arrest warrant against president Bashir,” Mukiibi ruled.  Bashir left Uganda on Tuesday.

Last year, ICC referred Uganda to the UN Security Council to take measures against it over failure to arrest Bashir during his visit in the country.

Bashir had come to Uganda to attend the swearing in ceremony of President Yoweri Museveni.

Uganda and a number of African states including South Africa have declined to arrest Bashir. They argue that the court is only targeting countries in Africa.

Bashir was indicted by the ICC in 2009 but has since denied the charges.

Bashir is wanted by ICC on suspicion of masterminding atrocities including genocide in the breakaway Darfur region of western Sudan between 2003 and 2008. Thousands of people allegedly lost lives.

Uganda victims Foundation through its lawyer Nicholas Opio wanted the court to issue a standing warrant of arrest against president Bashir.

According to Opio, Uganda as a member of the war crimes court is obliged to carry out ICC arrest warrants.

The case was against the Attorney General and Justice Minister Maj (rtd) Kahinda Otafiire.

They also wanted court to declare that the justice minister and the government acted against the Uganda ‘s will and obligations of the international treaties by failing to arrest Bashir for two times.

However, hearing of the main application did not proceed yesterday because the Attorney General William Byaruhanga had not yet filed his response.

Hearing of the main suit was adjourned to the 12th of December.

Source: The New Vision News



Afghanistan: ICC Prosecutor Requests Judicial Authorisation to Open Investigation…

Would justice prevail or will the Hague be invaded?

The prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, has decided to request judicial authorisation to open an investigation into crimes that have been committed during the armed conflict in Afghanistan

Source: dailytimes



Somali judge reelected to the International Court of Justice

Somali Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf has been reelected to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) based in the Hague, the Netherlands.

The prominent lawyer who has been a Member of the Court since 2009 has also held the position of Vice-President since 2015.

He is among the four judges elected after five rounds of simultaneous voting by the UN General Assembly and Security Council on Thursday from an initial pool of six candidates to the 15-Member judicial body of the United Nations.

They were elected by an absolute majority to nine-year terms, starting on February 6 next year. A fifth judge will be elected on Monday after a deadlock between two candidates on Thursday.

Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf is one of three Members of the Court from Africa including Judge Mohamed Bennouna from Morocco and Judge Julia Sebutinde from Uganda.

Five seats of the 15-Member judicial body come up for election every three years.

Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, before his election in 2009, served as Chief Legal Counsel to various international organizations including UNESCO and UNIDO.

He studied law in Somalia and has authored more than 7 books and over 50 articles in various fields

He studied law in Somalia and has authored more than 7 books and over 50 articles in various fields of public international law.


Libyan lawyers welcome ICC prosecutor Bensouda’s promise to finally…

The commitment International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda gave to the UN Security Council that in 2018, that she really would be getting on with investigating and prosecuting Libyan war crimes, has been welcomed by Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL).

The organisation, which has been among the frequent international critics of Bensouda and the inability of the ICC to get to grips with prosecutions of Libyan war criminals, praised her determination. It observed that this was the 13th time that Bensouda had spoken to the Security Council about Libya.

“We hope that the prosecutor’s comments will serve as a much-needed reminder to actors involved in the commission of the ongoing atrocities in Libya that the international community is watching and stands ready to take action” said LFJL director El ham Saudi, What is needed now is a concerted effort for collaboration between the ICC, states and civil society to ensure that the ICC has the resources, access and reach to ensure that its mandate reaches the ground”.

Saudi noted Bensouda’s comments to Security Council members on the principle that military commanders had responsibility for the actions of their subordinates and that, under the Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court (ICC), they could be held liable for crimes that subordinates committed.

Saudi said the LFJL welcomed Bensouda’s “unequivocal call for greater cooperation from Libya” to ensure the arrest of war crimes suspect Saiqa Special Forces major Mahmoud Al-Warfali.

She said justice was key to achieving sustainable peace: “Accountability for serious crimes and respect for the rule of law must form the cornerstone of the ongoing political dialogue if Libya is to achieve peace, stability and security”.

Source: Libya herald


ICC Gives Go Ahead for Burundi War Crimes Investigation

FILE - The building of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, The Netherlands.

FILE – The building of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, The Netherlands.

The International Criminal Court on Thursday gave prosecutors the go ahead to investigate alleged war crimes committed by the government of Burundi against its political opposition between April 2015 and October 2017.

In a statement, judges said there is “a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation in relation to crimes against humanity.” The war crimes, judges said, include murder, rape and torture that led to the deaths of more than 1,000 people and prompted 400,000 to flee the country.

The decision was handed down on October 25, just two days before Burundi made the decision to withdraw from the criminal court. The decision was kept under seal until Thursday, but the court will still have jurisdiction over crimes committed while Burundi was a member.

Burundi erupted into protests and violence in 2015 after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would seek a third term. Critics said he was defying term limits in the constitution and the agreement that ended Burundi’s civil war.

Soldiers put down a coup attempt while Nkurunziza was out of the country.

Burundi protests executive order

U.S. President Donald Trump recently signed a continuation of a 2015 executive order that declared “a national emergency to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States constituted by the security in Burundi.”

In an interview this week with VOA’s Central African service, Burundian Foreign Affairs Minister Alain Aime Nyamitwe took issue with the executive order, saying no one in Burundi, including Americans, feels unsafe.

He said Burundi has made tremendous strides from the political chaos that started in May 2015 and that peace and security in all parts of the country have been restored.

“Burundi is now peaceful. The people of Burundi have defeated those who wanted to seize power by force, and the entire country is now peaceful. We are really puzzled when we hear reports that Burundi threatens the security of the region and the security of Americans,” he said.

Nyamitwe also said that the continuation of the 2015 executive order – which the government had objected to from the outset – stems from the fact that the U.S. and some European countries continue to receive wrong information about what is really going on in his country.

“The only thing that may trigger such a decision is the disinformation campaign spread by those who have their own agenda,” he said.

Burundi has called for the refugees who fled in 2015 to return; but, residents of camps in Rwanda and Uganda recently told VOA that killings of perceived government opponents in Burundi continue, and they would not feel safe returning home








Tanzania, Uganda Leaders Criticize ICC Probe of Burundi

FILE - A man begs for help from the military as he stands in a drain where he had hidden to escape a lynch mob at the Cibitoke district of Burundi's capital, Bujumbura. International judges have approved the opening of a full investigation into alleged crimes against humanity in Burundi, where at least 1,200 people have died in unrest since 2015.

FILE – A man begs for help from the military as he stands in a drain where he had hidden to escape a lynch mob at the Cibitoke district of Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura. International judges have approved the opening of a full investigation into alleged crimes against humanity in Burundi, where at least 1,200 people have died in unrest since 2015.

The leaders of Tanzania and Uganda criticized on Saturday a plan by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate alleged human rights abuses in Burundi.

A statement from the office of Tanzanian President John Magufuli said the court’s decision “compromised efforts” of an East African Community (EAC) committee “charged with seeking a resolution to the Burundi conflict.”

The committee is led by Uganda President Yoweri Museveni and former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa.

Museveni on Saturday accused the ICC of “interfering in the efforts of the EAC.” He currently heads the EAC, a regional bloc made up of Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

On Friday, Burundi’s government said it would not cooperate with the proposed ICC investigation. The east African nation recently withdrew from the ICC charter, but the court argues the pullout does not affect its jurisdiction over crimes committed earlier.

Speaking to reporters in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura, Justice Minister Aimee Laurentine said the ICC has no right to conduct an investigation in her country.

“Burundi, not being a state party to the ICC statute, is not concerned with those so-called decisions of that court,” said Laurentine . “The government of Burundi rejects that decision and reiterates its firm determination that it will not cooperate with the International Criminal Court or any other fraudulent manipulation intending to facilitate extended mandate of the ICC in the territory of Burundi.”

The government response came a day after three judges at the ICC authorized the prosecutor to open an investigation into alleged human rights abuses committed inside and outside Burundi between April 2015 and October 2017.



Burundi became a member of the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC, in 2004. The country announced the plan to withdraw from the statute in October 2016 and the notification took effect last month. Burundi accused the court of targeting African countries.

‘No crime can go unpunished’

Vital Nshimirimana, who heads Burundi’s Forum for Strengthening the Civil Society, said pulling out of the ICC wouldn’t save those behind crimes against civilians.

“Now it’s very well-informed that it cannot escape justice because victims are crying for justice and today no crime can go unpunished in the modern world,” said Nshimirimana.

According to human rights organizations, between April 2015 and May 2017 at least 1,200 people were killed, 900 disappeared forcefully and more than 10,000 people were illegally detained amid Burundi’s political unrest.

Security forces and the ruling party youth wing better known as Imbonerakure have been accused of being behind much of the killings of civilians and political opponents.

Laurentine said her country has the capacity to prosecute those behind the human rights violations.

“Burundi has efficient and able institutions and legal mechanisms to conduct investigations and to take it before justice of any kind of crimes committed in its territory without discrimination, fear or favor,” she said.

Some rights groups, hoowever, doubt that Burundi’s judiciary can give justice to the victims of political violence.




MAKURDI—Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has reiterated his commitment to approach the International Criminal Court, ICC, at The Hague, to have Benue people protected from herdsmen attacks as the Open Grazing Prohibition Law comes into effect today.
Addressing thousands of Benue people, including youths and non-indigenes resident in the state under the aegis of Street Movement Against Ravages in Benue, during a solidarity/sensitisation walk to mark the end of open grazing in the state, the governor said he will not renege on his avowed determination to protect the lives and properties of the people. Gov Samuel Ortom Represented by his Deputy, Mr. Benson Abounu, Governor Ortom said: “As a law-abiding government that believes in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, we will not shy away from our responsibilities to protect the lives of all the inhabitants of Benue State against any forceful perpetration of criminal injustices. “That is why this law came into being, And from November 1 (today), the law will come into full force because for close to five years herdsmen killed thousands of Benue people and it was almost becoming a pogrom. “If it means going to the International Criminal Court at The Hague, talking to people, sensitising, singing and shouting, this government will go the whole hog to protect the lives and properties of our people.” Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo communities back Ortom Earlier, speaking on behalf of the Benue Youths Forum, Mr. Daniel Nyikagh, who declared the support of all Benue youths for Governor Ortom, said: “The law is the panacea to the pogrom we witnessed in our state; it is not intended to chase anyone away, but to ensure peaceful coexistence. Speaking on behalf of displaced persons, Reverend Father Solomon Mffa, said: “President Muhammadu Buhari must speak out against the activities of herdsmen in the country, because the killing of innocent persons is worst than corruption.”

The leaders of Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa communities, who spoke at the occasion, pledged their support for Ortom, the law and its full implementation. Many of the participants bore placards with inscriptions such as ‘No more wild grazing in Benue,’ ‘Benue people stand with Governor Samuel Ortom,’ ‘Herdsmen respect our laws,’ ‘We are tired of burying our people’ and ‘Open grazing prohibition law is for peaceful coexistence.’

Read more at: