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.











ICC judges ‘prejudiced’ say lawyers for DR Congo’s Bemba

Former Congolese vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba. AFP PHOTO / POOL / Michael Kooren

Lawyers for former Congolese vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba Tuesday slammed his conviction for war crimes, accusing judges of “prejudice” and calling for the judgement to be scrapped.Bemba, 55, is appealing an 18-year jail term handed down by the International Criminal Court in June 2016 after judges found him guilty on five charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in atrocities committed by his troops in the Central African Republic (CAR).

Once the powerful leader of the Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC) and a wealthy businessman, the court said Bemba had failed to stop a series of rapes and murders by his soldiers in the CAR in 2002 and 2003.

But Bemba’s lawyer Peter Haynes told a hearing at the Hague-based ICC that trial judges chose to ignore much of the evidence presented by the defence.

“A hatchet was simply taken to the defence case,” Haynes told the five appeals judges.

“The trial chamber’s approach to evidence was unbalanced. For no articulated reason, the trial chamber ignored important evidence on central issues,” Haynes said.

This included the testimony of a retired senior French military officer, Brigadier-General Jacques Seara, who told judges that Bemba was not in command of his troops when they carried out the crimes.

Seara’s evidence was totally dismissed by the judges “notwithstanding his wealth of experience which entitled him to give evidence,” Haynes said.

“Simply put, the trial chamber deviated so substantially from the essential conditions of a fair trial that prejudice must be presumed,” he said.

“No trial judgement can be allowed to stand in such circumstances.”

Bemba’s case which opened in November 2010 was the first before the ICC to focus on sexual violence as a weapon of war, and the first to underline a military commander’s responsibility for the conduct of troops under his control.

In an appeal filed before the court, Bemba’s lawyers however said the judges’ “findings on effective control fall far outside established military doctrine and practice”.

Bemba’s trial “invented a theory of command responsibility which is a military impossibility”, his defence team said.

In a separate trial, Bemba was also sentenced in March last year to one year in jail and fined 300,000 euros for bribing witnesses during his main war crimes trial.

Bemba is expected to address the hearing, due to last until Monday.


Operation Python Dance: ICC Acknowledges Receipt of Petition by…

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has acknowledged receipt of a petition written against the Nigeria Army by a journalist following the invasion of the home of the leader of the civil rights group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, in an exercise codenamed Operation Python Dance which led to the killing members of the group as well as other members of the Afaraukwu community in Umuahia LGA of Abia State last year.

The petition written on September 24, 2017 to the Chief Prosecutor at the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, by Mr. Ahaoma Kanu, an award-winning journalist with National Daily Newspaper, decried the deployment of military personnel to the country home of the IPOB leader leading to killings, torture and human rights abuses perpetrated by soldiers of the Nigeria Army and the Chief of Army Staff, Major-General Tukur Buratai and called for an investigation and prosecution of the personnel involved in the well documented incident which occurred on September 16, 2017.

In a letter dated January 3, 2018 with reference number, OTP-CR-413/17, the Head of Information and Evidence Unit in the office of the Prosecutor, Mark P. Dillon, acknowledged receipt of the letter and accompanying documents while notifying the petitioner that the petition has been duly entered into the communications register of the Prosecutor’s office.

The letter, a copy which was made available to newsmen, reads in parts, “This communication has been duly entered in the communications register of the office. We will give consideration to this communication, as appropriate, in accordance with the provisions of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”

The letter went on to note that the acknowledgment does not mean that an investigation has been opened, or that an investigation will be opened by the Office of the Prosecutor.

Dillon assured the petitioner that as soon as a decision is reached, “we will inform you, in writing, and provide you with reasons for the decision.”

source: The Nigerian Voice


Benue killings: FG, Security Agencies Have Abandoned Us

GOVERNOR Samuel Ortom of Benue State has accused the Federal Government and the various security agencies of abandoning the citizens of the state to be slaughtered by rampaging Fulani herdsmen. Ortom In an exclusive interview with Vanguard, Governor Ortom, who decried the recurring killing of Benue people by herdsmen, also lamented that a cabal has blocked communications with President Muhammadu Buhari. He added that if the intention of those blocking access to the President was to make the state rescind its decision to sign the anti-open grazing law, they have failed because, according to him, there is no going back on the law. The governor spoke as the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, criticised President Buhari over his alleged indifference to the Benue killings. Also, Benue Committee of Elders, led by veteran Journalist, Elder Simon Shango urged President Buhari to set up a commission of enquiry on the killings. The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has appealed to Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to “urgently call and/or facilitate the holding of a special session of the UN Human Rights Council to address persistent killings apparently by herdsmen in Benue State and other parts of the country.” The organization also urged Prince Al Hussein to “speak out strongly and condemn the killings, and make an official visit to Nigeria with special rapporteurs with relevant mandates to discuss the killings and concrete actions to end the killings and ultimately bring about significant improvement in the lives of farmers and their families as well as other citizens affected by violence across the country.” Meanwhile, the Police, through the Deputy Inspector General of Police, DIG, in charge of Operations, Mr. Habila Joshak, has promised that the force in collaboration with the military would fish out the masterminds of the attacks and bring them to Justice. “The Police and the military have agreed that there would be no recurrence of the crisis and killings and all those fingered in the killings would be arrested. So, the search for the masterminds of the killings has started. Already, we have increased the manpower of the Benue command and I can assure you that in no distant time, all those fingered in the killings will be arrested. If it is established that anyone of those being mentioned as being responsible for the killings is truly involved, we will have him arrested without delay,” he said. Cabal blocking communications with Buhari — Gov Ortom According to Governor Ortom, some people around the president have been deliberately frustrating the attempt by the state government to present the true picture of what is happening in the state for selfish reasons. His words: “Let me be frank. The Federal Government has not done enough. When this incidence started with the threat from the president and secretary of Miyetti Allah, Kauta Hore, who addressed a press conference and issued threats that they will do everything possible to frustrate the Benue State Government from implementing the anti-open grazing law, we quickly drew the attention of the Inspector General of Police, the Director General of the Department of State Services, DSS, and even the office of the National Security Adviser. ‘’The leadership of Miyetti Allah called the law names; that it was draconian and had no place in the 21st century. We saw that as a threat to our existence and in June 2016, we reported to the then acting president (Prof. Yemi Osinbajo) and to our surprise, these people were not apprehended. “When they saw that no one was going to apprehend them, they went further to issue more threats. In October 2016, we reminded the IGP, the DSS and the NSA of the potential violence that we faced in Benue State as a result of the threat from the Miyetti Allah. We, specifically, demanded that the two officers of the Miyetti Allah, the secretary and the president, be arrested, but unfortunately, they were not arrested. I do not know why the Federal Government has abandoned us. If they had acted that time, we would not have gotten to where we are today.” It’s going beyond my powers — Ortom The governor warned that though he has consistently told the people of the state not to take the law into their hands, he is losing control of the people because of the persistent killing of innocent women and children by Fulani herdsmen and the inaction of the federal government. He continued: “You can see that it is getting beyond me. Even when there was protest against the recent killings in Makurdi, and I went there, there was massive resistance. It became violent and it is even God that saved us. I would have been attacked. “When I came into office, there was proliferation of arms and ammunition in the state. I declared an amnesty programme that saw massive retrieval of arms from our youths. I pleaded with them that the way to develop is not by taking the laws into their hands but by obeying the laws. I have resisted the temptation to say that our people should protect themselves because I trusted the president. I believed that he has the capacity to protect us. But from what is happening, I am sure some people around him are frustrating our communication with him and the actions to be taken. Otherwise, the president I know will not allow this kind of thing to be happening. We have not committed any offence. “We have no regret passing the anti-open grazing law. The law came as a necessity because of the killings in Benue State by the herdsmen. We sought peaceful ways of resolving the matter but we could not. We tried everything under the sun to ensure that we stopped these killings but it was not possible so we prayed and God gave us wisdom to enact that law, which gives protection to the farmers and the herdsmen. We have not sent cattle rearers away from Benue, we are simply saying there are modern ways of rearing cattle, which is to ranch them. With that, farmers can go their legitimate ways of doing their business and those who are rearing cattle can also continue. I am surprised at the resistance of the herders.” ‘I can’t preside over dead people, campaigns suspended’ Asked if the recent killings had made the job of campaigning for an APC presidency more difficult, the governor reiterated that he has suspended all political activities until the killing of innocent people in the state is stopped. “I have suspended everything about campaigns and all that, even for myself. Yes, I am contesting in 2019 but I don’t want to be campaigning for now. I cannot campaign for myself or any other person until this matter is resolved. I cannot preside as governor over dead people. The lives of my people come first before politics. In fact, I have decided that I am not going to engage in any political activity, whether for myself or for anybody until this matter is resolved. I cannot be talking about 2019 when my people are being killed. If I win, will I preside over dead bodies? If that will make other people to take the governorship from me, so be it. I must not be governor,” he said. Don’t politicize herdsmen killings, Osinbajo warns Nigerians Meanwhile, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, warned Nigerians against politicizing herdsmen killings across the country in recent times, saying such interpretation could inflame passion from certain quarters thus causing unpredicted crisis in the country. Osinbajo, who said his warning was against the backdrop of rise in Boko Haram activities, following politicization of the insurgents at the early stage, asked Nigerians to be wary and not make similar mistake. He spoke during an inter-denominational church service for the 2018 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration at the National Christian Centre, Abuja. SERAP to UN: Speak out, hold special session The SERAP, in an urgent appeal dated January 6, 2018 by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said: “The UN Human Rights Council’s ability to successfully expose and hold perpetrators of human rights violations to account may be under threat if your office continues to ignore or pay little attention to the crimes and abuses apparently by herdsmen and other unknown perpetrators in Nigeria. “While we acknowledge that the council has made significant contributions to human rights elsewhere, we are concerned that the violence and killings in Nigeria rarely attract the attention of the UN and particularly, your office. It is time for your office to speak out strongly against the continuing killings by herdsmen in Nigeria for the sake of thousands of victims and their families who continue to lack access to an effective remedy, including truth, justice and full and effective reparation.” Suspected herdsmen, yesterday, killed at least 11 persons in a fresh attack on Tombu village in Logo Local Government Area of Benue State. This followed the alleged killing earlier in the week of at least 33 people by herdsmen in the state. The urgent appeal read in part: “The killings in Benue State and the distressing situation of farmers and their families paint a stark picture of the grave abuses carried out by herdsmen and the impunity that they continue to enjoy. The actions of herdsmen hinder meaningful progress towards stability, development and peace in the country.” NBA slams President Buhari Also, the Chairman of Makurdi branch of the NBA, Mr. Emmanuel Agbakor, while addressing journalists in Makurdi on the issue, said: “The NBA is totally disappointed, disenchanted and absolutely disillusioned at the display of apathy by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, with respect to the wanton, reckless and unwarranted killings. “We condemn, in strong terms, the recurring invasion of the state by herdsmen and the concomitant nonchalant cum indifferent posture of the Federal Government concerning the problem. We overwhelmingly voted the President into power as Nigeria’s President but he has dramatically become ethnic and does not see anything wrong with what his kinsmen, the Fulani, are doing in different parts of the country, including Benue State. This is totally unacceptable. A government which is incapable of defending her people is simply, to say the least, not worth its salt.’’ We ‘ll soon start raining curses on leaders – Cleric A Catholic cleric, Rev. Fr. Kwaggas Matthew, said, yesterday, in Abuja that Nigerians, especially Christians, will soon start raining curses on leaders, who have abandoned their primary responsibility of protecting the lives of the citizens. The Borno State born cleric and Parish Priest of Church of the Annunciation Parish, Kubwa, Abuja, in his homily at the Feast of Epiphany, noted with dismay the killings and destruction of property by the Fulani herdsmen while the government that swore to protect the lives and property of Nigerians remained silent. He wondered how the herdsmen allegedly killing people got the sophisticated guns they always use in their dastardly act and charged Nigerians to start protecting themselves, if the government failed to protect them. Recollecting the number of lives lost in Agatu, Guma and Logo of Benue State, Kaduna, Plateau, Adamawa, Enugu, Taraba, Borno and other parts of the country as a result of herdsmen onslaught on the people, he said, “We will soon start raining curses on the leaders, who are not helping us. How did the herdsmen killing people get the guns?’

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NYACL Calls on International Community to Act on Libya…

As the wave of slavery in Libya takes center stage around the World, many governments and non-government organizations are calling on the international community to quickly intervene in order to bring the inhumane behavior to an end.

One of the many organizations in such venture is the National Youth Action Committee in Liberia (NYACL) led by the Organization for and Women and Children (ORWOCH).

Addressing the media Thursday, the Executive Director for ORWOCH Mmonbaydo Joah Harrell termed the torture of Liberians and other black Africans in Libya as evil and wicked.

Harrell said: “The NYACL calls on the Government of Liberia and all international bodies including ECOWAS, the AU and UN to swiftly intervene and bring this persecution of mainly black Africans to an end in the wake of disturbing videos and other media reports emanating from Libya.”

Libya is a member of the United Nation. In that, the Executive Director for ORWOCH said the heinous crimes committed by individuals in Libya is in contravention of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Articles Article 5 9 and 13.

She added: “No one shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. These barbaric acts also contravenes the convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punish to which Libya is a signatory.”

According to the rights group, majority of the people whom the brutalities acts are perpetrated against are women and young people.

The rights group wants more effort in dealing with the perpetrators of the heinous crimes, adding that they should be held accountable for their action.

Harrell: “We will engage in advocacy, mobilize resources and remain engaged with all partners in ensuring that these crimes are uncovered and that perpetrators are punished”.

Harrell said they are setting up a committee that will identify survivors and victims’ in Liberia and Libya, collect written testimonies, present petitions to the government of Liberia and other international bodies and ensure that justice is sought for these victims at the appropriate international judicial forum.

She says despite the emergence of these disturbing videos, the group wonders why national actors including the Government of Liberia continues to remain silent while black African young people, especially young women including the Liberian citizens continue to languish and perish in Libya.

“NYACL calls on survivors of torture and sexual violence from Libya currently in Liberia to utilize these 16 days of activism against violence to come forward with stories of torture or violence against their person to ensure the prosecution of the perpetration as the NYACL will spare no efforts in ensuring that this matter is brought to the attention of the International Criminal Court,” she said.


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