Warlord’s Conviction in Central African Republic -a First Step…

On Jan. 22, a court in the Central African Republic convicted and sentenced a former warlord and leader of the anti-Balaka militia, Rodrigue Ngaibona, to life in prison. Human rights groups described it as a first in the war-torn nation and a “decisive first step” in delivering justice for crimes committed during the violence that has gripped the country for the past five years. In an email interview, Elise Keppler, the associate director of the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch, and Lewis Mudge, a senior researcher in the Africa Division at Human Rights Watch focusing on the Central African Republic, discuss the conviction, the state of the country’s fledgling Special Criminal Court and the level of political will to seek justice.

On the significance of the conviction of Ngaibona, and the capacity of CAR courts to prosecute, Elise Keppler and Lewis Muge stated that Andjilo  conviction by the Bangui Criminal Court marks an important moment for the Central African Republic, as he is the first person held accountable for crimes that were committed in the country after late 2012, when the predominantly Muslim Seleka rebel groups launched a campaign to overthrow the central government and plunged the country into violent conflict. Andjilo was found guilty of crimes that included murder, aggravated theft and the illegal possession of arms.

This case was never going to be easy for the Central African Republic’s judiciary. Many people in the country consider the anti-Balaka militia to have been their defenders during the period of violent civil strife, and they will be chagrined that a person they consider their own has been sentenced to life in prison while the Seleka still control vast swaths of territory with impunity. During the trial, there was legitimate concern for the safety of judges and the prosecutorial team. However, the national courts have demonstrated their willingness to face the risks by following through on the prosecution and conviction of Andjilo, providing victims in the country with hope that they will witness justice being done.

The case also demonstrates the challenges the judiciary must overcome, including getting a court up and running that could handle a trial of this magnitude. This was not an easy task. Andjilo was arrested by United Nations peacekeepers in January 2015, and holding someone in pretrial detention for three years is highly problematic.

They further stated that  in the past year, the Special Criminal Court has made important progress. The chief prosecutor and judges from the Central African Republic and abroad have now been appointed. While this seems like an obvious key step, it took time, especially given the context of ongoing violence and instability across the country, often in Bangui, the capital.

The court still continues to face challenges. Providing security for court staff, victims and potential witnesses is a major one. The anti-Balaka and Seleka groups continue to control large parts of the country outside Bangui, which could hamper investigations. The financial situation of the court is also challenging. The Special Criminal Court is dependent on voluntary contributions, and the lion’s share of its budget for the next five years is still without funding. Authorities from the Central African Republic need to underscore the importance of this court to their international partners, who should provide strong political and financial support for it to succeed.

Human Rights Watch has documented cases of sexual slavery and rape committed by men under Andjilo. There is a chance he could also be tried for other crimes once the Special Criminal Court gets up and running.

when asked how they would asses the current level of political will to pursue justice for grave crimes in the Central African Republic, and how it has been affected by persistent instability, Elise and Mudge affirmed that impunity has been central to the perpetuation of violence in the Central African Republic. Perpetrators of horrific crimes know they can get away with it. The government of former President Francois Bozize, who was overthrown by the Seleka, reflected this nonchalant attitude toward accountability as money for the judicial system constantly went missing. Since 2015, however, both the transitional and the current governments have affirmed their commitment to breaking the cycles of violence that plague the country and making accountability for serious crimes a priority.

A positive sign is that criminal cases have been heard in Bangui each year since 2015, covering at least some of the serious crimes committed in the country, such as murder, rape and assault. With the exception of the Andjilo case, however, none of these cases were tied to the recent conflict. The court sessions do not handle many cases, but to get them funded and organized is a challenge. It is a testament to both the government and international partners that these sessions are held at all.

More has to be accomplished in the near future, including the adoption of the Special Criminal Court’s rules of procedure and evidence, but the prosecutor is in place and developing his strategy. Nonetheless, the court is not being established in a political vacuum. Armed groups continue to seek a place at the negotiating table, and the question of amnesty still lurks in the margins of some of the negotiations to end fighting in certain areas. Thus far, officials from the Central African Republic have not yielded when it comes to giving amnesties that would cover grave crimes. But some of the same groups that are implicated in grave crimes and are demanding blanket amnesties are seeing their own men placed in high-ranking positions in the current government, which is a concern.

Amnesty deals have been made in the past in the Central African Republic, which contributed to recurrent violence. It will be crucial that amnesties extending to grave crimes remain off the table. This is consistent with international law and practice. Moreover, the citizens of the Central African Republic have made clear their desire for perpetrators to be held to account as part of the recommendations of the Bangui Forum on National Reconciliation held in 2015.

The reason these groups want blanket amnesty is clear. We have talked with their leaders, and they are afraid of justice. They know that Andjilo was found guilty. They know about the Special Criminal Court and are scared that it can end the impunity they have enjoyed for so long. And they are terrified of being held accountable for their actions.



ICC Vows to Work Independently in Examining PH Drug…

The International Criminal Court on Thursday assured the Philippines it would work with “full independence” in conducting a preliminary examination on the crimes allegedly committed by the Duterte administration in its war on drugs.

“Following a careful, independent and impartial review of a number of communications and reports documenting alleged crimes potentially falling within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “the Court”), I have decided to open a preliminary examination into each situation,” ICC prosecutor Fatuous Bensouda said in a statement.

Bensouda said the “preliminary examination of the situation in the Philippines will analyze crimes allegedly committed in this State Party since at least 1 July 2016, in the context of the “war on drugs” campaign launched by the Government of the Philippines.”



MANILA, Philippines – Detained opposition Senator Leila de Lima on Thursday, February 8, urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to “act with urgency” in the preliminary examination that they are set to conduct into the bloody war on drugs.

“Killings are still happening, it’s a factor why the preliminary examination must be treated with a sense of urgency,” De Lima said  Thursday afternoon.

Malacañang announced that the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor has sent them notice that it will conduct a preliminary examination, the very first step in the ICC’s legal process which aims to establish whether they really have jurisdiction over the case.

ICC’s jurisdiction is determined when it sees that the Philippines is “unable or unwilling” to conduct any “genuine” investigation into the issue – in this case, the accusation that President Rodrigo Duterte is accountable for the thousands killed in his flagship campaign, the police’s war on drugs.

A handful of drug war deaths have been filed in court, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said in September after being pressed about the data. Among them the sensational cases of teenagers Kian delos Santos and Carl Angelo Arnaiz, where local cops have been arrested for murder and planting of evidence.

“But is the President covered in those cases? There is no investigation covering him right now,” De Lima said.

De Lima also cited the terminated investigations of the Senate into the testimonies of self-confessed Davao Death Squad (DDS) hitmen Edgar Matobato and Arturo Lascañas.

The Senator also pointed out that the Office of the Ombudsman dropped Duterte in its preliminary investigation into Matobato’s accusation that Duterte ordered the DDS to kill Jun Barsabal and Jun Pala.

“Does that indicate willingness?” De Lima said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Philippines’ local courts can handle cases arising from the deaths in the police’s war on drugs.

“There is a petition in the Supreme Court, but look at what Solicitor General Jose Calida did, defying the order to provide full documentation of Oplan TokHang,” De Lima said, adding that Calida’s reasoning that releasing the documents would risk national security is “baloney.”


Philippine presidents, being impeachable officers, enjoy immunity from suit.

But Roque pointed out on Thursday that this should not be taken to mean that Duterte will never be prosecuted, because immunity only lasts until the end of his term.

“As we have shown the world, two of our past presidents went to jail immediately after their terms of office,” Roque said referring to former presidents Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo jailed for plunder, but who are both free and serving terms as elected officials.

De Lima said the theory of immunity must be challenged at this point, saying that the drafters of the Constitution did not anticipate “this magnitude of killings” in the hands of a “notorious president.”

De Lima said she wishes the ICC would take a look at her detention and see it as proof that the administration is unwilling to investigate accusations of crime against the President.

Duterte’s staunchest critic, De Lima was the first to investigate the DDS as a Human Rights Commissioner and it was she who led the Senate investigations into it until she was arrested and locked up on charges of engaging in the drug trade.




Libya Commander Turns Self In For ICC Questioning

A Libyan commander wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges announced he has handed himself in to the allied forces of strongman Khalifa Haftar.

Mahmoud al-Werfalli — who commands the Benghazi-based Al-Saiqa Brigade loyal to Haftar — has been under an arrest warrant for the past six months over the cold-blooded executions of at least 33 people in 2016 and 2017.

Calls for Werfalli to face justice have grown since he was accused of personally shooting dead some 10 jihadist prisoners last month at the scene of a deadly bomb attack on a mosque in Benghazi, Libya’s second city.

In a video posted on Facebook overnight Tuesday to Wednesday, the commander announced “I am handing myself in to military police” under the command of Haftar, whose forces dominate the east of the country.

The claim could not be independently verified.

In the footage Werfalli insisted on his “innocence” and justified the executions as “sentences” against jihadist “killers”.

This is not the first time that Werfalli has reportedly been held by Haftar’s forces.

When his arrest warrant was issued in August 2017 Haftar’s forces insisted he was in their custody and would face a military trial.

The United Nations in late January reiterated its demand for “the handing over of Mahmoud al-Werfalli immediately to the ICC in The Hague” after the latest reported killings in Benghazi.

The UN said it had documented “at least five similar cases, in 2017 alone, carried out or ordered by Werfalli”.

Libya has been mired in chaos and violence since longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi was ousted and killed in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.

A UN-backed unity government based in the capital Tripoli has struggled to assert its authority outside western Libya. Haftar supports a rival administration based in the east.

However, after much protest and threats by Sahawat fighter Makhada to wipe out the general command, Werfalli was released and returned to benghazi




L’augmentation De La Situation Des Droits De l’homme Au…

La Mission Multidimensionnelle Intégrée des Nations Unies pour la Stabilisation au Mali et le bureau du Haut-Commissaire aux droits de l’homme (HCDH) ont publié aujourd’hui un rapport public sur les droits de l’homme et le processus de paix au Mali, le produit du suivi et de l’analyse effectués pendent la période intérimaire de l’accord de la paix.

Malgré la signature de l’Accord de paix, le rapport constate que la situation des droits de l’homme reste toujours un sujet d’intérêt.

En conséquence, le rapport publié aujourd’hui révèle que plus de 600 cas de violations et d’abus des droits de l’homme ont été commis entre janvier 2016 et juin 2017. Plus de 800 autres incidents impliquant des éléments armés non identifiés et mettant en danger la vie des civils s’arrivé également pendent cette période. Au total, ces actes de violence faire l’impact sur plus de 2 700 victimes, dont 441 personnes sont tuées. La grande majorité des victimes étaient des hommes et des enfants.

Plus de 78% des violations, abus et autres incidents mettant en danger la vie des civils impliquaient des mouvements armés signataires ou non signataires de l’Accord de paix, ou des éléments armés non identifiés. Les auteurs incluent également des éléments affiliés à Al-Qaïda au Maghreb islamique (AQMI), Ansar Dine et d’autres groupes similaires. Les acteurs de l’État malien, principalement les forces de défense et de sécurité maliennes, étaient impliqués dans 20% de ces cas, tandis que les forces internationales, y compris la MINUSMA, étaient impliquées dans 2% d’entre eux.

Divers confrontation entre groupes armés signataires dans la région de Kidal, l’expansion des activités d’AQMI, d’Ansar Dine et d’autres groupes similaires, une caractère généralisé croissante de vols et d’autres crimes violents dans les régions centrales du Mali, ainsi que des opérations antiterroristes menées par les forces de défense et de sécurité maliennes, sont les principaux facteurs conduisant à des violations des droits de l’homme et des abus.

Dans ce contexte, la Division des droits de l’homme et de la protection de la MINUSMA a travaillé avec les autorités maliennes et les mouvements armés sur des questions liées à la mise en œuvre de l’Accord de paix, notamment la question des détentions liées au conflit. En conséquence, la Division a surveillé les violations des droits de l’homme commises contre des personnes arrêtées et détenues dans le cadre d’opérations antiterroristes.

La Division a également suivi la question de la lutte contre l’impunité, qui est l’élément essentiel de tout processus de paix durable, y compris les procédures judiciaires relatives aux violations et abus commis par les mouvements armés entre 2012 et 2013, ainsi que celles impliquant la défense et la sécurité des forces maliennes au cours de leur reprise du nord du Mali à partir de 2013.

Le rapport a remarqué, cependant, que des progrès significatifs ont été réalisés dans le domaine de la justice transitionnelle, avec la création de la Commission vérité, justice et réconciliation et le début des déclarations des victimes et des témoins de violations et abus des droits de l’homme.

“Ce rapport fournit des informations utiles sur les défis et les progrès de la situation des droits de l’homme dans le nord et le centre du Mali”. Le représentant spécial du Secrétaire général des Nations Unies et chef de la MINUSMA, Monsieur Mahamat Saleh Annadif, ajouté que «  Il explique également que le respect des droits de l’homme, loin d’être un facteur de tension, peut contribuer, au contraire, à créer un environnement contribuant à la mise en œuvre de l’Accord de paix »




Les Suspects De Boko Haram En Proces Pubic Au…

Quatre-vingt-une personnes accusées de se battre pour Boko Haram ont été jugées le jeudi au Niger lors d’une audience publique, l’une des premières du genre après les procès à huis clos des insurgés présumés a été critiquée par des groupes de défense des droits humains.

Ceux qui sont jugés par un tribunal international spécial à Niamey, la capitale, viennent du Niger, du Nigeria et du Tchad et sont soupçonnés de jouer un rôle dans la tentative de Boko Haram de créer un califat au Nigéria.

L’insurrection islamiste s’est étendue au-delà de ses racines au Nigeria, impliqué du morts de 20 000 et déracinant près de 3 millions dans la région du lac Tchad.

Les procès de Niamey font suite à des procès à huis clos de Boko Haram, y compris au Nigéria, où un tribunal a emprisonné 45 personnes entre trois et trente-et-un ans en prison en octobre, mais le gouvernement  ne donnait pas la raison pour laquelle ils avaient été condamnés.

Les procès ouverts visent à montrer que les combattants présumés bénéficieront d’une procédure régulière, et pourraient également contribuer à atténuer un conflit augmenté par le mauvais traitement des captifs.

La mort du fondateur de Boko Haram en 2009, Mohammed Yusuf,  qui était emprisonnement est considérée comme l’un des principaux déclencheurs du conflit.

Le tribunal de Niamey entendra  le 22 procès distinctes au cours des 10 jours, à la suite du procès de près de 300 personnes accusées de l’accusation  similaires l’année dernière. En tout, près de 1 000 personnes devraient comparaître devant le tribunal.


Boko Haram Suspects Go on Public Trial in Niger


AU seeks ICJ Opinion on Head of State Immunities

The 30th session of the African Union Summit of Heads of State and Government concluded this week in Addis Ababa with the regional body agreeing to move forward with a request to seek an advisory opinion from the UN’s highest court – the International Court of Justice – on the question of immunities of heads of state and government and other senior officials.

The move comes following years of legal wrangling around the execution of the International Criminal Court arrest warrants for Sudanese President Omar AL-Bashir, who has traveled to several African countries that are states parties to the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding treaty.

Most recently, ICC judges found that South Africa had failed to comply with its obligations under the Rome Statute to arrest AL-Bashir during a 2015 visit. The African Union supports South Africa’s position that competing obligations under customary international law trump obligations under ICC law.

In instructing its African Group in New York to immediately place the request for the ICJ Advisory Opinion on the agenda of the United Nations General Assembly, the African Union is seeking clarity on relationship between Rome Statute Article 27 (irrelevance of official capacity) and Article 98 (cooperation with respect to waiver of immunity and consent to surrender) and the obligations of ICC states parties under wider international law.

Allan Ngari, Senior Researcher with the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria:

“Ideally, the judges of the ICC’s Appeals Chamber should interpret the court’s founding law with finality, but such a decision might not be perceived as truly objective by African states and the AU that have questioned the legitimacy of some of the ICC’s work, particularly with respect to the arrest warrant against President Omar AL-Bashir of Sudan.  If framed correctly by the UNGA, an Advisory Opinion of the ICJ presents an opportunity to resolve the differences in interpretation of the question of immunities from prosecution for sitting heads of state before the ICC and possibly the corresponding obligations on States and non-States parties with the cooperation regime of the ICC. These questions are at the heart of the tensions between African states and the AU on the one hand, and the ICC on the other.”

The AU also instructed the Africa group of ICC states parties to request the establishment of a working group on the question of immunities and related cooperation, and to urge the next Assembly of States Parties of the ICC to withdraw from its agenda the consideration of the Draft Action Plan on Arrest Strategies.

The gathering of African heads of states also expressed deep concern with the ICC’s July 2017 decision that found South Africa non-compliant with the Rome Statute and condemned the opening of the ICC investigation in Burundi in 2017.

Addressing the summit opening, African Union Commission chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat said that 2018 would be the year of the battle against corruption and institutional reform.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also spoke at the opening of the summit, saying the partnership between Africa and the UN was “solid, and grounded on sound principles of human rights and good governance.”  Guterres also met with al-Bashir to discuss issues such as the joint AU-UN peacekeeping force in Darfur.




Human Rights Situation in Mali Increases

The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali MINUSMA and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a joint public report today on human rights and the peace process in Mali, the product of monitoring and analysis conducted during the interim period of the Peace Agreement.

Despite the signature of the Peace Agreement, the report finds that the human rights situation remains of concern.

Accordingly, the report published today finds that more than 600 cases of human rights violations and abuses were committed between January 2016 and June 2017. More than 800 other incidents involving unidentified armed elements and placing the lives of civilians at risk also occurred during the same period. In total, these acts of violence impacted more than 2,700 victims, including 441 individuals who were killed. The vast majority of victims were men and children.

More than 78 per cent of violations, abuses and other incidents putting the lives of civilians at risk involved signatory or non-signatory armed movements of the Peace Agreement, or unidentified armed elements. Perpetrators also include elements affiliated with Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar Dine, and other similar groups. Malian State actors, primarily Malian defence and security forces, were involved in 20 per cent of these cases, while international forces, including MINUSMA, were involved in 2 per cent of them.

Various confrontations between signatory armed groups in Kidal region, the expansion of the activities of AQIM, Ansar Dine, and other similar groups, an increasing prevalence of armed robbery and other violent crime in the central regions of Mali, as well as counter-terrorism operations carried out by Malian defence and security forces, are the primary factors leading to human rights violations and abuses.

In this context, the Human Rights and Protection Division of MINUSMA has worked with Malian authorities and armed movements on issues related to the implementation of the Peace Agreement, in particular the issue of conflict-related detentions. Accordingly, the Division has monitored human rights violations committed against persons arrested and detained in the context of counter-terrorism operations.

The Division has also followed the issue of the fight against impunity, which is a cardinal element of any lasting peace process, including judicial procedures related to violations and abuses committed by armed movements between 2012 and 2013, as well as those involving Malian defence and security forces during their re-taking of Northern Mali beginning in 2013.

The report notes, however, that significant progress has been made in the area of transitional justice, with the establishment of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, and the beginning of statement-taking from victims and witnesses of human rights violations and abuses.

“This report provides useful insights on the challenges and progress in the human rights situation in northern and central Mali,” noted the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and Head of MINUSMA, Mr. Mahamat Saleh Annadif, adding that “it also demonstrates that respect for human rights, far from being a generator of tension, may contribute, on the contrary, to creating an environment that is conducive to the implementation of the Peace Agreement.”

SOURCE; Relief web


Baseline Meeting of African Civil Society Network on International…

On the 23rd to 25th of January 2018, the  Coalition for the International Criminal Court  (CICC)  together with the Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court (NCICC) organized a baseline meeting of African Civil Society Network working on International Criminal Justice at Hotel Ibis Marcoury Abidjan. The aim of the meeting was to create a network of Civil Society  that would encourage the African government to  support the Hague based court.

The baseline meeting brought together not less than 15  African countries including leaders of national coalitions for the ICC in various African countries, Magistrates, Human rights groups and representatives from P.E countries and countries under investigation.

The meeting saw to an interactive round table session of members suggesting credible ideas on how to bridge the gap between the ICC and Africa. Participants also discussed the need to have in place a strong mechanism or institution that makes it possible to punish perpetrators of heinous and atrocious human rights violations and seek justice for victims of such violations.


“We are concerned that 20 years after the entry into force of the Rome Statute, many state parties are yet to enact legislation’s implementing the provisions of the Statute into their national laws. ” said Chino Obiagwu, chairman of the Nigerian coalition for the ICC in his opening remarks. “This network is a key means of raising awareness  among the African people and encouraging African governments to support the Rome Statute system”.

The meeting was supported by the Coalition for the International Criminal Court and hosted by the Ivorian Coalition for the ICC.


Pictures of the baseline meeting


Photos of the baseline meeting


Terrorized Donbas Judges Pass 12 Times Fewer Sentences on…

Separatists” and Russian soldiers who commit crimes in the Donbas military zone get much lighter sentences than Ukrainian soldiers, and this has nothing to do with any difference in the gravity of their crimes, the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group wrote.
A prominent expert in criminal law, Professor Mykola Khavronyuk, warns that the Ukrainian authorities are failing to ensure that justice is served in Donbas, despite apparently obvious solutions to some of the main problems, KHPG reports. The statistics revealed are certainly disturbing. In 2015, some 2,500 Ukrainian soldiers were convicted of violations of Ukrainian legislation on military service. This is in stark contrast to the 210 people convicted of crimes linked with separatism, terrorism or other activities of the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics’ [DPR, LPR].
The judges now working in Donbas are partly intimidated, partly blackmailed. The number of both courts and judges has fallen significantly, and those who remain are often influenced by relatives remaining in areas under the pro-Russian militant control. The judges often pass sentences which are lighter than warranted out of fear both for themselves, and for their relatives. “This cannot be called independent and objective justice,” Khavronyuk says, adding that such rulings are much less just than in other parts of Ukraine. This will mean that after what he terms de-occupation, a huge number of investigators will be needed to probe crimes committed on the territory in question. Read also Donbas swap: Some from militant lists refuse to return to “LPR/DPR” Oleksandr Pavlichenko from the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union recalls cases where people linked with volunteer battalions have literally seized court premises, demanding that the judges pass the ruling they wanted. He knows of cases where the local authorities have become involved in putting pressure on the courts. On one occasion, the heating in the courtroom was switched off, and the security guards removed. Some judges openly state that they have a conflict of interests because of family in areas under militant control and therefore withdraw themselves from a case. This has led to a huge backlog, especially since many cases need to be heard by a panel of three judges. If just one withdraws him or herself, the court hearings cannot continue. Khavronyuk is generally very critical of Ukraine’s law enforcement bodies for failing to carry out justice as needed. He notes that the military prosecutor’s office, which was reinstated in 2014, is mainly concentrating on corruption crimes.

“They are for some reasons not taking on the investigation of the 1200 crimes about which the International Criminal Court recently reminded Ukraine”. he adds. Read also OHCHR reports 544 conflict-related civilian casualties in Donbas since Jan 1 The criticism expressed by Khavronyuk and human rights groups has been reiterated by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). In its latest, 20th, report, it states that “Accountability for grave human rights violations in conflict-related cases remained elusive. Legal proceedings were plagued by ineffective investigations, politicization of cases with the involvement of high level officials and infringements on the independence of the judiciary. OHCHR documented substantial pressure exerted on judges in numerous cases”. The accounts already given by some of the 73 soldiers and civilian hostages recently freed from DPR / LPR captivity have only confirmed the doubts about the ‘legal remedies’ provided by the Kremlin-backed ‘republics’. The massive ‘sentences’ passed on blogger Edward Nedelyaev, religious scholar Ihor Kozlovskyy and many others for expressing their pro-Ukrainian position were evidently political, but there are also other sentences for real crimes which must also arouse concern. Read also As fighting intensifies, humanitarian aid for Ukraine faces severe cuts – Hromadske International OHCHR notes, for example, that “within structures in territory controlled by armed groups, arbitrary detentions and ‘prosecutions’ were compounded by the lack of recourse to an effective remedy. This is of particular concern given the ‘pronouncement’ of a second ‘death penalty’ by the ‘supreme court’ of the ‘Donetsk people’s republic’ in November.” As reported earlier, although Ukraine is only due to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court [ICC] in 2019, it has recognized the Court’s jurisdiction to prosecute crimes against humanity and war crimes committed on the territory of Ukraine from February 20, 2014. While the Office of the ICC Prosecutor has already established that Russia’s invasion and occupation of Crimea constitute an international armed conflict, Russia’s major involvement in the conflict in Donbas turning this into “an armed conflict of an international nature” remains at the stage of investigation. It is both for this reason, and because of the clear need to ensure justice for the future reintegration of Ukraine, that Ukraine’s law enforcement agencies need to be investigating all killings, abductions, disappearances, cases of torture and ill-treatment and other crimes committed in Donbas. It should be stressed that this is regardless of which side is believed to have been involved, however civic organizations can also help the law enforcement bodies in gathering hard evidence of Russia’s control over the so-called ‘republics’, its direct military involvement, as well as its critical role in funding and arming the militants.