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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

 

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NHRC President urges European Parliament to Examine Blockade Impact

President of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) Dr Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri has called on the European Parliament to adopt urgent and effective mechanisms and procedures to end the suffering of those affected by the blockade imposed on Qatar.
He also called for including human rights conditions resulting from the blockade in the European Parliament’s annual report, expressing hope that the violations resulting from the blockade of Qatar will be a priority among human rights issues to be discussed at the European Parliament in the coming period.

Speaking at a hearing in the European Parliament in Brussels, Al-Marri urged European Union’s envoy to visit Qatar and the blockading countries to get a close look at human rights violations committed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.
He also made a similar invitation to the European Parliament’s human rights committee.

He stressed that after nearly a year after the blockade, the suffering of the victims continues. They no longer trust the statements of condemnation, and are demanding the need for concrete and effective measures to redress them.
He pointed out that, contrary to the allegations of the blockading countries, they have not taken any action to stop the violations, but launched campaigns to challenge the credibility of those who issued and defame them, and continue to practice political disinformation and escape forward and the fall of public opinion baseless promises, and the establishment of committees to prolong the crisis and try to gain time, Suffering of victims.

In this context, he referred to the visit of the delegation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to the State of Qatar after which they issued a comprehensive report on the violations of the blockade.

There were also the appeals of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, as well as the issuance of reports from 220 international organizations and trade unions who condemned the 13 demands of the blockading countries, including the closure of Al-Jazeera and all Qatari media, as well as the letters of six special rapporteurs of the UN Human Rights Council to the Saudi Emirati and Bahraini governments, which called on them to take immediate action to stop discriminatory and arbitrary measures, and accountability Tuaduha the perpetrators of the violations.

In response to a question on the extent of the commitment of the blockading countries to lifting restrictions on the right to practice religious rights of citizens and residents in Qatar, the President of the NHRC said that pilgrims from Qatar cannot go to Al Haj or Umrah, one year after the beginning of the blockade.

He added that the Committee intended to invite the Special Rapporteur on freedom of belief to issue an urgent appeal to the Saudi authorities for their continued violation of the right to practice religious rights, and also to visit Qatar and Saudi Arabia in order to assess the extent of suffering and politicization of religious feelings and to monitor citizens and residents right to Haj and Umrah.
In the same context, he called on the Special Rapporteur on freedom of belief to include in his annual report to the Human Rights Council the issue.

The European Parliament’s invitation to the President NHRC is a reflection of the Committee’s efforts to convince international public opinion of the credibility of its reports.

 

SOURCE  Gulf times http://www.gulf-times.com/story/590748/NHRC-President-urges-European-Parliament-to-examin

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ICC PRESIDENT VISITS NIGERIA. SILENT ON THE DOMESTIC IMPLEMENTATION…

 

Governed by its founding treaty called the ‘Rome Statute’, the International Criminal Court (ICC), has become the court of last resort that has jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Nigeria signed the Rome Statute on June 1,2000, and ratified it on Sept. 27, 2001, thereby becoming the 39th State Party of the International Criminal Court, (ICC).

Afterward, the Federal Ministry of Justice sent an Executive Bill, entitled “The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Ratification and Jurisdiction) Bill 2001” to the National Assembly for adoption (pursuant to Section 12 of the 1999 Federal Constitution). The Rome Statute (Ratification and Jurisdiction) Bill, 2006 was passed by both Chambers of the National Assembly, but was not harmonised for assent by the President before the end of the last civilian administration in May 2007.

Relentlesssly, in 2016, the  Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes, Genocide and Related Offences Bill was drafted again and introduced into the House of Representatives and has since passed 2nd reading. The Nigerian Coalitition on the International Criminal Court together with key National stake holders have been actively involved in broad advocacy to ensure sensitization and implementation of the Bill into law.

The President of the International Criminal Court, Justice Chile Ebue-Osuji, concluded an official visit to Nigeria, where he met with the nation’s top hierarchy to discuss ways of strengthening the international criminal justice system aimed at suppressing impunity for the gravest crimes. While the visit lasted, Osuji emphasised that the Court is keen to work together with states in Africa to bolster the fight against impunity for the gravest international crimes but was however silent on the need to implement the bill into Lawv

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COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 2-DAY CONSULTATIVE…

The Nigerian Coalition on the International Criminal Court (NCICC) in partnership with TrustAfrica foundation held a consultative forum on strengthening the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice and enhancing access to justice in the sub-region on 11 and 12 April 2018 at the Rock view Hotel Royale Abuja, Nigeria.

The forum was attended by 60 stakeholders and key players across the African continent including Judges of the ECOWAS Court of Justice (ECCJ), ECOWAS Commission officials, actors in the ECCJ, CSOs, government officials, and other stakeholders.

The consultative forum was opened by His Excellency, the President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice; Judge Traore Jerome while Mr Femi Falana SAN delivered a key note address.  The 2-day workshop had panelists who led discussions on different themes including the recent developments in the jurisdiction of the court, challenges and lessons in the operations and procedures of the court, the future of the ECCJ, ways of improving justice delivery to victims of human rights and humanitarian laws in West Africa, ADR mechanisms, increasing the capacity of the Court and promoting transitional justice in the ECCJ.

The following recommendations were drawn from the discussions, comments, and contributions of the participants.

  1. That the decision by the Authority of Heads of State and Governments to reduce the number of judges of the ECCJ from seven (7) to five (5) should be reviewed and reversed, and indeed, more judges appointed to the Court for Effective and efficient justice delivery.
  2. That provision for adequate staffing of the courts is required to meet the increasing demands made on the court by the Community citizens.
  3. An adequate building and necessary infrastructure should be built for the Court to enable it carry out its mandate and ensure that citizens benefit from the activities of the court.
  4. A Legal Aid Fund should be established at the Court to facilitate access to justice for indigent victims of human rights abuses.
  5. That the proposed appellate chambers of the Court should be established. The forum noted that the right of review or appeal against decision of any court is inherent to the right to fair hearing.
  6. There is need to widen the frontiers of the ECCJ to confer criminal jurisdiction so that it can exercise adjudicatory powers over International crimes.
  7. That the capacity of the Court can be strengthened through concerted and collaborative efforts of Civil Society Organizations.
  8. Civil Society Organizations have an enormous role to play by adopting various supportive strategies and mechanisms that will foster the Effective functioning of the Court and in demanding accountability from the government of member states.
  9. That the statute of limitation on filing human rights violation actions has been removed in the recently delivered judgment of Federation of African Journalists v Republic of Gambia such that human rights actions can be instituted at any given time.
  10. However, the court should revisit its current position and permit NGOs to file and maintain actions against the government of their member states if their rights as corporate entities are violated. It was resolved that if NGOs can file actions on behalf individuals and groups, the position of the Court should be revised to allow NGOs maintain an action as plaintiffs before the Court.
  11. It was noted that there is a low level of co-operation between member states and the Court given that only 4 states out of the 15 member states (and recently, the Niger Republic) have established bodies to follow up on enforcement of the decisions of the Court as stipulated in the 2005 Supplementary Protocol of the ECOWAS. It was recommended that governments of member states should make efforts to set up statutorily required implementing authority that will follow up on the decisions of the Court and facilitate enforcement.
  12. The victims of violations of human rights and humanitarian laws including victims of Sexual and Gender-based violence (SGBV) should be assisted to seek justice from the Court by CSOs. In this regard, justice for victims extends beyond monetary compensations and to also consider justice from the perspective of the victims. The Court should always consider other mechanisms such as psycho-social support to the victims of HR violations.
  13. The adjudicatory system of conflict resolution may not always be attainable, therefore it is important to explore alternative dispute resolution mechanisms (ADR) by the ECCJ as it saves times, cost, and promotes healthy relationships post-conflict.
  14. ADR is essential in peace-building, security, and reconciliation. Thus, there should be arbitral rules/guidelines made for the ECCJ to assist the Court to carry out its mandate and there should be an arbitral clause designating the court as the body for ADR.
  15. There should be established, a multi-door court house and arbitral tribunals in the ECCJ.
  16. That infrastructural and staff capacity should be built promote use of IT. The court should consider allowing electronic and online filing of case documents in addition to hard copy paper copies as well as deploy more IT tools in its work.
  17. The Court should collaborate with Universities in bridging the language deficiency gap and also delivery companies to fast-track dispatch of court processes.
  18. That engagement platform should be created where CSOs can engage policy makers and also lobby them to promote accountability and support them to fulfill their obligations under the ECOWAS treaty.
  19. CSOs attending the forum resolved to collaborate under the umbrella and name of Coalition for Effective ECOWAS community court of justice, and to support the courts, work with all its organs in strengthen its capacity and systems, and engage with the members states to ensure the integrity, capacity and resources of the court are adequately provided.
  20. The CSOs resolves to engage with the member states and other institutions to promote political support for the Court.
  21. The CSOs agree to commission needs assessment research of the ECCJ in order to identify the critical areas of need, and articulate the kind of intervention required to meet those needs.
  22. The forum’s participants expressed gratitude and appreciation to the president, judges, dean, registrar and other officials of the ECCJ for the progress in the work and jurisprudence of the court, and encourage them to engage more with CSOs to ensure increased efficiency and productivity.

Dated this 12th day of April 2018

 

Signed:

Name                                                   Title and organisation/agency                                                

  1. Chino Obiagw Chair Steering Committee, NCICC
  2. Dr Abiola Akiyode       Vice-Chair NCICC
  3. Benson Olugbo                  CLEEN Foundation
  4. Wale Fapohunda               WABA
  5. Brenda Peace                      TrustAfrica
  6. Sina Odugbemi                   HEDA,Lagos
  7. Hajia Hamsatu Allamin Allamin Foundation
  8. Chetachi Louis Udeh Alliances for Africa
  9. Emeka Obegolu      ICMC
  10. Sufiya Bray    CSVR
  11. Mama Koite Doumbia   The Trust Fund for Victimes
  12. Uchechukwu Eze   WANEP
  13. Ossai Ojigbo   Amnesty International Nigeria
  14. Allan Ngari                         ISS
  15. Diallo Mamadou Guinee Coalition for the ICC

 

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NCICC and Trust Africa Two Days Consultative workshop on…

The Nigerian Coalition on the International Criminal Court (NCICC) in partnership TrustAfrica Foundation held a consultative forum on strengthening the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice and enhancing access to justice in the sub-region on 11 and 12 April 2018 at the Rock view Hotel Royale Abuja, Nigeria.

The forum was attended by 60 stakeholders and key players across the African continent including Judges of the ECOWAS Court of Justice (ECCJ), ECOWAS Commission officials, actors in the ECCJ, CSOs, government officials, and other stakeholders.

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Mali War Crimes Suspect to Appear before Judges in…

An Islamist militant suspected of committing war crimes in Mali is due to appear before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on Wednesday, three days after the Malian authorities handed him over into the court’s custody last week.

The ICC indicted Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud for crimes allegedly committed when he served as the de-facto chief of religious police after his jihadist group seized control of Mali’s capital Timbuktu in 2012.

Charges against him include the destruction of cultural monuments and enforcing policies that led to sexual enslavement of women and girls.

Prosecutors accuse him of being a member of Ansar Dine, one of several Islamist militant groups to have waged an insurgency against the government since 2012.

During his initial appearance, Al Hassan, 40, will be informed of the allegations outlined in his arrest warrant and the court will verify his identity. He is not yet required to enter a plea.

Ansar Dine took over Timbuktu, known for its religious sites dating to its 14th century golden age. It was once a major trading hub and a centre of Sufi Islam – a branch of the religion seen as idolatrous by some hardline Muslim groups.

The group enforced its version of Sharia law. Al Hassan had unveiled women thrown in jail and beaten and was also instrumental in enforcing forced marriages which led to rapes and sexual slavery, according to media reports.

Last year, the ICC sentenced war criminal Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi to nine years in prison after he pleaded guilty to the destruction of cultural heritage sites in Mali. He is expected to appear as a witness against Al Hassan.

Victims’ groups had been critical of the limited scope of Al-Mahdi’s indictment, but Al Hassan’s arrest and transfer was hailed as a new stage in Mali persecutions.

“We are satisfied that the court listened to us and widened the scope of prosecutions in the Mali case to include crimes against persons and especially sexual and gender-based crimes,” Moctar Mariko, a Malian human rights activist, said in a statement.

SOURCE: TimesLive https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/africa/2018-04-04-mali-war-crimes-suspect-to-appear-before-judges-in-the-hague/

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1 UN Peace Keeper Killed, 11 Hurt in Central…

Mostly Christian militia fighters attacked a U.N. peacekeeping base in the Central African Republic early Tuesday, and one peacekeeper from Mauritania was killed and 11 others were injured in a gun battle that lasted several hours, the United Nations said.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the attack by the anti-Balaka militias took place at a temporary U.N. peacekeeping base in Tagbara, about 60 miles northeast of the central mining town of Bambari. The peacekeeping mission said more than 22 anti-Balaka fighters died in the clash.

Dujarric said the U.N. peacekeeping mission sent reinforcements to the base, and he strongly condemned the attack.

The U.N. Security Council condemned the attack “in the strongest terms” and reiterated that attacks against peacekeepers may constitute war crimes. Its members called on the Central African Republic government to swiftly investigate the attack and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Separately, Dujarric said, the U.N. mission reported that later Tuesday morning peacekeepers discovered the bodies of 21 civilians, including four women and four children, in Tagbara. The mission said the bodies were found near a church, and the victims had been killed with “traditional weapons.”

The Security Council said it supports an investigation by the U.N. peacekeeping mission to see if the civilian casualties are linked to the attack against the Tagbara base.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the attack on peacekeepers and is “outraged” at the killing of the 21 civilians and injuries to 14 other civilians, Dujarric said.

“The secretary-general calls on the Central African Republic authorities to investigate these attacks and quickly bring those responsible to justice,” he said.

In another incident, Dujarric said U.N. peacekeepers were informed Monday evening that a rebel group known as the UPC had detained 23 people in Tagbara, including 13 women, seven men and three children. He said they were released peacefully to U.N. peacekeepers and spent the night at the temporary base to ensure their safety.

The U.N. mission condemned the attacks on civilians and said that “nothing can justify these acts that can be considered war crimes.”

It said an investigation will be carried out that “leaves no possibility for impunity.”

Elsewhere, Dujarric said, U.N. peacekeepers and Central African Republic forces launched a joint operation on Saturday and rescued 15 people who had been taken hostage by the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group led by Joseph Kony, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes.

The LRA has wreaked havoc in central Africa over the years in violent rampages that include the abduction of children. It has taken boys who are then forced to become fighters and girls who become sex slaves, one of the reasons the group has gained international attention in recent times.

The Central African Republic has faced deadly inter religious and inter communal fighting since 2013, when predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in the capital, Bangui. Mostly Christian anti-Balaka militias fought back, resulting in thousands of people killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.

The impoverished country saw a period of relative peace in late 2015 and 2016 but violence has intensified and spread in the past year.

SOURCE: ABC NEWS http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/peacekeeper-killed-11-hurt-car-attack-54206918

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Duterte Set to Withdraw Philippines from International Criminal Court

 Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte made the controversial decision to withdraw his country from the International Criminal Court amid a probe into alleged crimes against humanity in his brutal anti-drug crackdown that has killed thousands.

In a lengthy statement Wednesday, Duterte accused the ICC and the United Nations of a crusade against him, which he denounced as “baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks on my person.”

He said that the court cannot have jurisdiction over him because the Philippine Senate’s ratification in 2011 of the Rome Statue that established the court was never publicized as required by law.

The ICC announced last month that it was opening a preliminary examination into possible crimes against humanity over alleged extrajudicial killings in Duterte’s drug crackdown. The president’s brutal war on drugs has killed an estimated 8,000 people since he took office in May 2016.

On Wednesday, Duterte pushed back at the allegations, arguing that the killings do not amount to crimes against humanity, genocide or similar atrocities.

“The so-called war against drugs is lawfully directed against drug lords and pushers who have for many years destroyed the present generation, [especially] the youth,” he wrote in a 15-page statement. “The deaths occurring in the process of legitimate police operation lacked the intent to kill.”

He continued: “The self-defense employed by the police officers when their lives became endangered by the violent resistance of the suspects is a justifying circumstance under our criminal law, hence, they do not incur criminal li

Duterte initially welcomed the changed to defend his name against ICC’s claims, but Wednesday said the court had shown a “brazen ignorance of the law.”

Duterte has acknowledged his rough ways and tough approach to crime, but suggested many Filipinos have come to accept him.

He has lashed out at European governments, saying they should “go to hell” for imposing conditions on financial aid.

On Wednesday, Duterte also invoked presidential immunity from lawsuits, which he said prevents the ICC from investigating him while he is in office. The president renewed his verbal attacks against U.N. human rights officials who have expressed alarm over the massive killings.

Last Friday, the United Nations’ human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, suggested that Duterte “needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric evaluation” over his “unacceptable” remarks about some top human rights defenders.

Critics expressed shock at Duterte’s decision, saying he was trying to escape accountability and fearing it could foster an even worse human rights situation in the country. Others called the move a foreign policy blunder that could embolden China to scoff at Manila’s victory in an international arbitration case against Beijing over contested territories.

Opposition Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate called Duterte’s move to withdraw the country from the Rome Statute a “grave setback to human rights and accountability.”

It is “intended to escape accountability by present and even future officials for crimes committed against the people and humanity,” Zarate said.

Should the UN accept Duterte’s withdrawal, it would make the Philippines only the second country to withdraw from the Rome statute, following Burundi in 2017.

 

SOURCE; http://www.foxnews.com/world/2018/03/14/duterte-withdraws-philippines-from-international-criminal-court.html

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Nigerian ELECTED President of the International Criminal Court

Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji of Nigeria was elected president of the International Criminal Court during a plenary sitting of judges on the 1th of March 2018. His tenure is to last for three years beginning immediately

Eboe-Osuji, who said he was deeply honored by his election, has served at the ICC since March 2012 and continues his term through March 2021. “As I take up my duties, I feel encouraged that I am able to rely on the wide experience of the two Vice-Presidents, Judge Robert Fremr and Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, both of whom I have closely worked with previously,” said Eboe-Osuji.

Fremr, of the Czech Republic, has served as ICC judge since 2012, while his French counterpart and second vice-president began serving his term in 2015. The presidency is responsible for the proper administration of the ICC in keeping with the Rome Statute that is the authorizing treaty.

The selection of Eboe-Osuji comes after years of dispute and dissatisfaction among African nations who are party to the treaty – Kenya and South Africa among them – and often charge that its authority, established in 2002, unfairly targets Africans. Burundi announced its ICC withdrawal in 2016, while the African Union called on member states to conduct “a more apt review” of their relationships with the court.

Six new ICC judges sworn in on Friday include two Africans. They are Judge Solomy Balungi Bossa of Uganda, right, and Judge Reine Alapini-Gansou of Benin. There is a total of 18 judges, which also includes Judge Antoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua of Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Bemba Et Al. Case: Appeals Chamber Issues Its Judgments…

 

On the 8th of March 2018, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued its judgments on the appeals against verdict and sentence in the case The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Fidèle Babala Wandu and Narcisse Arido. Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, Presiding Judge, read a summary of the judgments in open court highlighting the key findings of the Appeals Chamber.

The Appeals Chamber rejected the appeals submitted by the five accused against their conviction. It confirmed the convictions in respect of most of the charges. However, it acquitted Mr Bemba, Mr Kilolo and Mr Mangenda of the charge of presenting evidence that a party knows is false or forged (Article 70(1)(b) of the Rome Statute), finding that this provision only applies to the presentation of documentary evidence, not to the calling of witnesses, as in the case at hand. The convictions and acquittals in relation to the five accused are now final.

In relation to the sentences that Trial Chamber VII had imposed, Mr Bemba, Mr Babala and Mr Arido, as well as the Prosecutor, filed appeals. The Appeals Chamber rejected the appeals of Mr Bemba, Mr Babala and Mr Arido. The sentences imposed on Mr Babala and Mr Arido are now final.

The Prosecutor had appealed against the sentences imposed on Mr Bemba, Mr Kilolo and Mr Mangenda. The Appeals Chamber granted the Prosecutor’s appeal, finding that the Trial Chamber committed several errors with respect to the assessment of the gravity of the offences. In addition, the Appeals Chamber found that the Trial Chamber did not have the power to impose suspended sentences, as it had done in relation Mr Mangenda and Mr Kilolo. The Appeals Chamber reversed the sentences of Mr Bemba, Mr Mangenda and Mr Kilolo and remanded the matter to the Trial Chamber for a new determination.

Background: On 19 October 2016, Trial Chamber VII found the five accused guilty of various offences against the administration of justice. These offences related to intentionally corruptly influencing witnesses and soliciting false testimonies of defence witnesses in another case before the ICC: The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo. On 22 March 2017, Trial Chamber VII delivered its Decision on Sentence pursuant to Article 76 of the Statute.

Following these decisions, Mr Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Mr Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Mr Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Mr Fidèle Babala Wandu, and Mr Narcisse Arido appealed the Judgment. The Prosecutor as well as Mr Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Mr Fidèle Babala Wandu, and Mr Narcisse Arido appealed the Sentence.

The Appeals Chamber in these appeals is composed of Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, Presiding Judge, Judge Sanji Mmasenono Monageng, Judge Howard Morrison, Judge Geoffrey A. Henderson and Judge Piotr Hofmański.

SOURCE: http://www.haguejusticeportal.net/index.php?id=14469