The ICC-NGO Roundtable coming up on the 14 – 19 of May 2018 at the International Criminal Court Headquaters in the Hague is an important forum for interaction between the court system and the civil society. The African Network on International Criminal Justice will be making its maiden global stage participation with members attending the roundtable and work together to articulate common continental concerns.
The Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court (NCICC) in partnership with Trust Africa foundation on April 11 & 12, held a consultative workshop themed around; Strengthening the ECOWAS Court of Justice and Enhancing Access to Justice in the West Africa Sub-Region, brought together a number of participants from the ECOWAS Commission, ECOWAS Court of Justice and Civil Society Organizations from the sub-region.
This petition arises from the genuine concerns of the participants at the meeting who noted that it is part of our collective obligation to safeguard and strengthen the adjudicatory body seized with ensuring the observance of law and principles of equity in the West Africa sub-region.
It is our firm belief that the resolution made by the Authority of the Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS Commission in June 2017 at the Monrovia Statutory Meeting, to reduce the number of judges of the ECOWAS Court of Justice (ECCJ) from the statutory seven (7) to five (5) and their tenure from 5 years renewable to 4 years nonrenewable is a palpable threat to the effectiveness of the Community Court.
It is noted that since the adoption of the 1991 A/P1/7/91 Protocol (as revised) – granting the ECCJ jurisdiction over human rights issues, a number of community citizens has benefited from the Community Court.
In light of the irrefutable achievements of ECCJ including delivering landmark judgments and setting precedents in novel areas of human rights including but not limited to socio-economic rights; and the impact of the Community Court on other African sub-regions, it has becomes relevant that West African civil societies and individuals stand in solidarity to oppose the unfavorable decision that threatens the existence of ECCJ as a pillar of hope for redress for the various victims of human rights violations in the sub-region.
After due consideration of the rationale for the institutional reform proposed by the Heads of State and Government, we firmly affirm that:
- The decision to reduce the number of judges has justifiable rationale and will only result in the creation of unnecessary case back logs, thus drastically reduce the effectiveness of the Community Court.
- Heads of State and Government should review their decision and inversely appoint more judges to the ECCJ to enhance effective administration of justice and give hope to the people.
- Heads of States should focus on fulfilling their obligations under the ECOWAS Revised Treaty to set up committees that will facilitate the enforcement of the Court’s decisions.
- Our commitment to support the ECOWAS Court of Justice is unwavering
Convinced that civil societies have a leading role to play in the democratic framework of the West Africa sub-region and in addressing the many challenges facing the region, especially in promoting and enhancing social and economic rights and justice, we call upon West African civil societies to join in support of the ECOWAS Court of Justice to preserve and strengthen its mandate by signing this petition calling for the reversal of the decision to reduce the number of judges and their tenure in office.
Together we will strengthen the ECOWAS Court of Justice!
Together we will support the pride of the sub-region!
Thank you for signing and spreading the petition!
Name Designation/Organization Signatures
The Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court (NCICC) sends our warmest congratulations to Judge Chile Eboe Osuji on his election as the President of the International Criminal Court. (ICC) He was elected during a plenary siting of Judges of the ICC on the 11th of March 2018. His tenure is to last for three years.
The International Criminal Court remains the last resort for victims of international crimes and the Presidency being the arm that oversees the registry and organizes the work of judicial decisions, plays an indispensable role in that regard.
The NCICC calls on the newly elected President to expand his leadership role and work closely with the Nigerian government in ensuring that perpetrators of the most heinous crimes are brought to book and reparations for victims highly considered. Nigeria was listed to be on phase 3 of the preliminary investigation stage by the Office of the trial Prosecutor in her annual report in December 2017 having identified eight potential cases involving commission of Crimes against humanity and genocide in 2015.
The NCICC also urges President Eboe-Osuji to give priority to improving the relationship between African governments and people with the Court, in particular, reaching out to the African Union and individual African State Parties. The Court should increase its outreach and communications with the African civil society organisations, victims communities and the African population in order to disseminate the good work of the Court in Africa.
In particular, the Court should dialogue constructively and frankly with the African Union towards opening a liaison office in Addis Ababa, and supporting the African governments in their national efforts to improve the justice system to fight impunity.
The Court should also consider constructive discussions on the proposed initiative to create the criminal chamber of the forthcoming African Court of Justice and Human Rights, represented in the Malabo Protocol, as well as special judicial proceedings of the African Union in order to deepen the complementarity obligations under the Rome Statute of the ICC.
NCICC draws attention of the President to the new Network for Civil Society on International Justice in Africa, made up of national coalitions on the ICC and civil society coalitions in 52 African countries, who are working to promote justice and fight impunity in Africa. This network provides platform for constructive outreach to African people, and for raising civil society support for the Court in Africa.
Finally, we urge the President to open the Forum of African Group in the Assembly of State Parties in order to improve closer relationship and understanding between African governments and the ICC’
We wish the President a very successful tenure and will always be available for support.
Dr Abiola Akiode-Afolabi
The newly elected president of the assembly of state parties, O-Gon Kwon, has called on state parties of the Rome statute to step up providing assistance to survivors of war.
“State parties should guarantee the rights and needs of victim survivors are provided,” he said during a press conference held at Sheraton Hotel on Thursday.
Kwon, who became president in December 2017, noted that though the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) is doing a tremendous job in Northern Uganda, there i he s still a big funding gap that needs to be filled. he states that will do his utmost to promote the important work of the Trust Fund for Victims and the need for sufficient funding to carry out its mandate.
The press conference was organised to give an update on the findings of an evaluation visit to northern Uganda by the ICC state parties, to monitor the progress of the implementation of TFV.
Judge O-Gon Kwan the president of the Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court with a delegation from the Trust Fund For Victims visiting a workshop where artificial limbs are made, at Gulu Referral Hospital. (Credit: Godfrey Kimono)
The implementation of the TFV started in 2008 in northern Uganda and according to Peiter de Baan, its executive director, more than 45,000 people have benefitted directly and about 200,000 people indirectly.
The visit to northern Uganda was also in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute. The joint visit was made by Kwon, representatives from the government of Canada, Chile, Denmark, Ireland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, UK and European union.
Mama Koite Doumbia, a TFV board member, noted that the central importance of the Rome Statute is to provide the rights and the needs of victims, including the right to receive reparations and assistance they need.
“Any harm caused by war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide is significant and must be addressed,” she said.
Mirjam Blaak, Uganda’s ambassador to the Netherlands noted that TFV has made a significant progress in providing assistance to the victims.
“The government of Uganda commits to continue its support to the TFV in assisting many more victims, their families and local partners, to sustain a lasting impact in the country,” she said.
On Friday last week, Kenya’s Court of Appeal delivered judgment in the appeal filed by the government, in the case that ICJ Kenya obtained a provisional arrest warrant against President Al Bashir of Sudan in 2011,
The Court set aside the Provisional arrest warrant issued by the High Court, explaining that at the time it was issued (in November 2011), there was no urgency, as the meeting which Bashir was expected to attend in November 2010, and which the warrant was predicated upon, had already passed and was instead held to Ethiopia. The Court observed that the International Crimes Act is clear that a provisional arrest warrant will only be issued in urgent situations. (Judgment attached)
Une cour suprême fédérale siégeant dans le cantonnement de Wawa, à Kainji dans l’état de Niger au Nigéria, a condamné un membre de Boko Haram appelé Haruna Yahaya âgé de 35 ans le mardi, 13 février, à 15 ans d’emprisonnement pour le terrorisme.
Le détenu, qui a participé à l’enlèvement de plus de 200 écolières à Chibok dans l’état de Borno, en 2014, avait le bras et la jambe gauche mutilés.
Il aurait participé aux attaques du groupe à Chibok et dans la ville de Gabsuri.
Yahaya avait plaidé coupable le lundi aux deux chefs d’accusation retenus contre lui par le Gouvernement Fédéral mais a plaidé pour la clémence, affirmant qu’il avait été enrôlé de force dans le groupe terroriste.
Mais le juge qui a siégé dans l’un des quatre tribunaux spéciaux mis en place par la Cour Suprême Fédérale pour accélérer le procès de plus de 1000 suspects a déclaré que le tribunal n’était « pas dupe » par l’histoire de Yahaya.
Le tribunal a déclaré que le détenu était en train de «utiliser le malheur de son handicap pour attirer la sympathie ».
Le juge a statué que la condamnation de 15 ans prononcée contre le détenu, qui était en détention depuis 2015, commencerait lundi.
The Nigerian Attorney General Alhaji Abubakar Malami has commenced this week, the trial of the second batch of the 1000 persons suspected to be boko haram members. Most have been in pre-trial detention for up to 5 years.
In a remarkable change of strategy, the trials are open to selected civil society organizations including the Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court (NCICC) and the National Human Rights Commission, (NHRC). Reports from the NCICC observers showed that all the four trial courts sitting in Niger State are committed to conclude assigned cases by next week.
Nearly 100 suspects tried in the first batch in October 2017 were discharged for absence of evidence and CSO’s observing the second batch this week reports the repealed lack of evidence against the charged suspects.
Un commandant libyen recherché par la Cour pénale Internationale sous l’inculpation de crimes de guerre a annoncé qu’il s’est livré aux forces alliées de l’homme fort Khalifa Haftar.
Mahmoud al-Werfalli, le commandant de la brigade Al-Saiqa de Benghazi, fidèle à Haftar, fait l’objet d’un mandat d’arrêt pour les six derniers mois pour les exécutions de sang-froid d’au moins 33 personnes en 2016 et 2017.
Les demandes pour la persécution de Werfalli ont augmenté depuis qu’il a été accusé d’avoir tué personnellement une douzaine de prisonniers djihadistes le mois dernier sur la scène d’un attentat à la bombe meurtrier dans une mosquée à Benghazi, la deuxième ville de Libye.
Dans une vidéo publié sur Facebook mardi soir à mercredi, le commandant a annoncé “Je me rends à la police militaire” sous le commandement de Haftar, dont ses forces dominent l’est du pays.
Cette revendication n’a pas pu être vérifiée.
Dans la vidéo, Werfalli a insisté sur son “innocence” et a justifié les exécutions comme “une condamnation” contre les “tueurs” djihadistes.
Ce n’est pas la première fois que Werfalli serait détenu par les forces de Haftar.
Lorsque son mandat d’arrêt a été émis en août 2017, les forces de Haftar ont insisté sur le fait qu’il était sous leur garde et qu’il ferait face à un procès militaire.
Après les derniers signalé massacres à Benghazi, les Nations Unies ont réitéré à la fin de janvier leur demande pour “la livraison immédiate de Mahmoud al-Werfalli à la CPI à La Haye”
L’ONU a déclaré qu’il avait documenté “au moins cinq cas similaires, en 2017, exécutés ou commandés par Werfalli”.
La Libye était plongée dans le chaos et la violence depuis que le dictateur de longtemps Moamar Kadhafi a été chassé du pouvoir et tué dans un soulèvement appuyé par l’OTAN en 2011.
Un gouvernement d’unité soutenu par l’ONU basé dans la capitale Tripoli a lutté pour affirmer son autorité à l’extérieur de l’ouest de la Libye. Haftar soutien une administration rivale basée à l’est.
Les Nation Unis tentent actuellement de négocier la fin à la présente agitation politique en acceptant des élections parlementaires et présidentielles plus tard cette année, mais il y a une profonde incertitude si elles auront lieu.
Source; NCICC ANGLAIS VERSION
A Borno senator, Ali Ndume, has commended the federal government and the International Committee on Red Cross, ICRC, for the release of 13 abducted persons by Boko Haram.
The presidency on Saturday announced the release of the three geologists and 10 other women who were abducted by Boko Haram fighters in July 2017.
The victims were released after negotiations between the government and the terror group with the involvement of the Red Cross.
The ten female abductees, including police officers, are indigenes of Askira Uba Local Government Area in the southern part of Borno State where Mr. Ndume represents.
The 13 abductees regained their freedom three days after the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, in a YouTube video bragged that despite the attacks by the Nigeria military and the claims of rescuing captives from Sambisa forest, he still has the 10 women in his custody.
Mr. Ndume in a statement stated that the release of the 13 abductees has rekindled his people’s hope on the rescue of the remaining Chibok school girls and other persons in Boko Haram captivity.
“This news has not only gladdened our hearts but has also renewed our hope that other abducted persons, including the remaining Chibok schoolgirls who are still in captivity would, in due course, regain their freedom by the grace of God.
“I specifically commend the leadership of the President Muhammadu Buhari for keeping faith with his promise of ensuring that all abducted persons, especially the Chibok schoolgirls, will be released.
A Federal High Court sitting in Wawa cantonment Kainji Niger state on Tuesday the 13th of February sentenced a 35-year-old member of Boko Haram, Haruna Yahaya, to 15 years imprisonment on terrorism offences.
The convict, who participated in the abduction of over 200 Schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno, in 2014 had his left arm and leg crippled.
He was said to have participated in the group’s attacks in Chibok and Gabsuri town.
Yahaya had on Monday pleaded guilty to the two-count preferred against him by the Federal Government but pleaded for mercy, saying he was forcibly conscripted into the terror group.
But the judge who sat in one of the four special courts established by the Federal High Court to fast-track the trial of over 1,000 suspects said the court was “not fooled” by Yahaya’s story.
The court said the convict was “using the misfortune of his handicap to draw sympathy.”
The judge ruled that the 15-year sentence passed on the convict, who had been in detention since 2015, would commence starting Monday.