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Kenya: ICC Has Raila-Kalonzo Probe Petition, Will Issue Verdict

Nairobi — The International Criminal Court (ICC) has acknowledged receipt of a petition seeking to have it investigate National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka for incitement.

In a response to the petition filed by a Canadian lawyer David Jacobs, the ICC’s Head of Information and Evidence Unit, Mark Dillon, said ICC will consider the application in accordance with provisions of the Rome Statute.

“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 provisions of the Rome Statute of the ICC,” Dillon wrote in a letter dated October 17.

“Please note this acknowledgement letter does not mean an investigation has been opened, nor that an investigation will be opened by the Office of the Prosecutor,” Dillon added while noting that the petitioner will be informed in writing, with reasons provided on why a decision to commence investigations against the two NASA leaders would have been reached, or otherwise.

In the petition, lawyer Jacobs acting for International Policy Group (IPG) argued that Odinga and Kalonzo intended to commit crimes against humanity while citing incidences in which they are said to have made utterances meant to radicalize NASA supporters.

“We have strong grounds to assert that Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and their cohorts in NASA are planning to plunge Kenya into violence in pursuit of political power,” the petition backed by the IPG’s Chairperson Kenneth Orengo and the Secretary Martin Nkari reads.

According to IPG, the global networks the two NASA leaders have coupled with their clout as former senior government officials could make it difficult for any cases to be instituted, with their supporters likely to turn violent.

The petitioner cited a particular incident in which Odinga and Kalonzo are accused of having incited indigenous Kajiado residents against non-Maasai’s living in their midst on claims that they had invaded ancestral land belonging to the Maasai community.

“There is reasonable basis to believe that Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka, as principal conspirators and part of a criminal organization and enterprise referred to as NASA, have intended to incite and instigate the crimes of murder, torture, persecution, forceful evictions, rape and damage to public and private property of innocent Kenyan citizens and residents who do not belong to the Maasai tribe in Kajiado County,” the petitioner states.

NASA lawyers led by Siaya Senator James Orengo have however stated since the filing of the application became known to the public that they were ready to face any court of law to defend Odinga.

This even as Odinga’s Spokesperson Dennis Onyango announced a suspension of daily demonstrations against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission while blaming security agencies for perpetrating injustices against its supporters.

“This is a temporary step to enable the coalition to attend to the supporters who were brutalized and hurt and families that lost loved ones today after police and State-protected goons descended on protesters and NASA leaders,” Onyango said in a statement.

“NASA condemns the unfolding policy of ethnic profiling and use of brutal and lethal force being meted out on protesters,” he added while appealing to human rights groups to “take a keen interest in the atrocities” being committed against its supporters across the country.

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Somalia truck bomb death toll rises to 276

 

Desperate Somalis searched for news of missing loved-ones on Monday, after a massive truck bomb in Mogadishu killed at least 276 people and left 300 injured in the deadliest ever attack to hit the conflict-torn nation.

Residents of the Somali capital, while wearily accustomed to regular bombs and attacks by Islamist militants, have been left stunned by the monster explosion Saturday which gutted surrounding buildings and left victims burned beyond recognition.

A statement from the information ministry on Monday said “276 people were killed in the blast… and 300 wounded were admitted at the different hospitals in Mogadishu.”

The government said it had set up an emergency committee to help relatives find the missing, with a crisis centre in the capital that residents can turn to.

Police official Ibrahim Mohamed told AFP that many of the victims were “burned beyond recognition” in what he described as “the deadliest attack ever.”

Turkey sent a military plane full of medical supplies to Mogadishu on Monday, also evacuating some of the injured for treatment.

The blast occurred at a junction in Hodan, a bustling commercial district which has many shops, hotels and businesses in the city’s northwest. Several experts told AFP the truck was probably carrying at least 500 kilogrammes (1,100 pounds) of explosives.

Abdulahi Nuradin was one of many helping friends and family hunting for news of the missing.

“It has been more than 24 hours now and we don’t have any traces or information about the sister of my friend. We can assume she is dead, with her flesh somewhere amongst the horribly burned dead bodies,” he told AFP.

“We went to several hospitals to seek any information but no to avail, the family is now 99 percent convinced she is dead, I saw so many severed pieces of human flesh at the hospitals, you cannot even look at them,” he added.

– ‘Devastation beyond imagination’ –

Local government official Muhidin Ali said more than 100 bodies who were impossible to identify had already been buried.

“The gruesome dead bodies were displayed at the hospitals for relatives but a few were recognised and most of them not at all, the devastation is something beyond the imagination of humankind,” he said.

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Shabaab, a militant group aligned with Al-Qaeda, carries out regular suicide bombings in Mogadishu in its bid to overthrow Somalia’s internationally-backed government.

The group has a history of not claiming attacks whose scale provokes massive public outrage.

The previous deadliest assault took place in October 2011, when a truck bomb targeting a government office left 82 dead and 150 injured.

Saturday’s blast, the worst in Somalia’s history, came six years after Shabaab militants were pushed out of Mogadishu by African Union and Somali troops.

While they were also pushed out of major towns across southern Somalia the militants still control rural areas and launch attacks on military, government and civilian targets in Somalia, as well as terrorist raids in neighbouring Kenya.

According to the Nairobi-based Sahan thinktank, at least 723 people were killed and over 1,000 injured in bomb attacks in 2016 in Somalia.

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UN Peacekeeper Killed In Attack on DR Congo Base…

Rebels from a Ugandan-dominated group attacked a UN military base in DR Congo's unstable east, killing one peacekeeper and injuring 12 others, the UN mission said.  By ALAIN WANDIMOYI (AFP/File)

Rebels from a Ugandan-dominated group attacked a UN military base in DR Congo’s unstable east, killing one peacekeeper and injuring 12 others, the UN mission said. By ALAIN WANDIMOYI (AFP/File)

Kinshasa (AFP) – Rebels from a Ugandan-dominated group on Monday attacked a UN military base in DR Congo’s unstable east, killing one peacekeeper and injuring 12 others, the UN mission said.

The attack took place in Beni where UN soldiers have been battling the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), which is dominated by hardline Ugandan Muslims, a spokesman for the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo said.

Congolese troops had clashed with the rebels in the area on Sunday. The day before, the ADF attacked around 10 motorbike taxis in the locality.

“The Mamundioma base was attacked at 5:30 am (0330 GMT),” the UN mission known by its French acronym MONUSCO said, adding that UN ground and air forces had been deployed in the area.

The UN did not specify the nationality of the dead soldier or the injured.

Rich in precious minerals, the east of DRC has been unstable for 20 years.

Several dozen local and foreign armed groups stand accused of serious rights abuses against civilians, such as rape, killings and abductions.

The ADF has been accused by Kinshasa and the UN mission of killing more than 700 people in the Beni region since October 2014.

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ECOWAS COURT PLEADS WITH NIGERIA TO HEED ITS VERDICTS

The Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has pleaded with Nigeria and other ECOWAS member states to always heed its verdicts.

Speaking at the official opening of the 2017/2018 legal year of ECOWAS Court in Abuja yesterday, its President, Justice Jerome Traore, noted that the court’s judgements were valueless if not implemented.

The court had ordered the release of a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), being detained by the Department of State Service (DSS), but the order was not obeyed.

However, according to Traore, there could not be judicial efficiency without the enforcement of the court orders.

He said: “Now to talk of judicial efficiency is to talk first of all of justice delivered in reasonable time.

“Our English-speaking friends rightly say ‘Justice delayed is justice denied,’ don’t they? Thus, ‘diligence’ which does not sacrifice serenity on the altar of speed, is without doubt, a guarantee of quality and judicial process.

“Again, to talk of judicial efficiency, is to talk of enforcement of court decisions in the best possible time and in good faith.

The ceremony was attended by the representatives of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN); Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammad Bello; Minister for State for Foreign Affairs, Khadijat Buka; and the Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, Mousapha Cisse Lo.

 

Source ; blue print

https://blueprint.ng/respect-our-judgements-ecowas-court-begs-nigeria-others/

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Prosecuting President Duterte On Crimes Against Humanity

In the face of charges of ordering and condoning the murder of thousands of civilians by the Philippine National Police, President Rodrigo Duterte boasts that he is immune from suit. A former prosecutor himself, Duterte touts immunity as an armor.

The Rome Statute  of the International Criminal Court created the first permanent global criminal court to hear and try genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The Philippines validly ratified the Rome Statute, pursuant to Section 21, Article VII (Executive Department) of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. The Rome Statute entered into force in the Philippines on November 1, 2011.
Its domestic counterpart, the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity (RA 9851) took effect 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette on December 11, 2009.

Sitting presidents like Duterte can thenceforth be investigated, prosecuted, tried and punished under RA 9851 for war crimes, genocide, or other crimes against humanity before Philippine courts even during their tenure. No impeachment needed. No need for them to finish their term. Those constitute unjustifiable and inexcusable crimes – the gravest forms of human rights violations – and, therefore, absolutely prohibited. The President retains her or his immunity, true; but not for “core crimes” under Art. 5 of the Rome Statute.

RA 9851 purportedly accords immunity to the President, at least during her or his tenure. Under Sec. 9(a), Chapter V (Some Principles of Criminal Liability), the President is supposedly immune from being hauled into court during his or her tenure.

The Rome Statute lacks any provision comparable to the “other than the established constitutional immunity from suit of the Philippine President during his/her tenure” qualifier found in Sec. 9(a) of RA 9851. The Rome Statute’s silence on immunity from suit of heads of state, for “core crimes” punishable under Art 5, speaks volumes. This is precisely because no immunity for genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes exists.

Rome Statute Art. 27, para. 2 (Irrelevance of official capacity) accords no immunity at all to heads of state because, according to its preamble, such crimes are characterized by “unimaginable atrocities that deeply shock the conscience of humanity”. No immunity for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide exists since “such grave crimes threaten the peace, security and well-being of the world”.

Shorn of immunity, heads of state can legally be investigated, prosecuted, tried and punished for these crimes in order “to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes and thus to contribute to the prevention of such crimes”. Breaking the walls of impunity will surely “guarantee lasting respect for and the enforcement of international justice”.

Hence, the Rome Statute provides that immunities “shall not bar the Court from exercising its jurisdiction over such a person.” Instead of according heads of state with immunity, the Rome Statute seeks to destroy impunity. Non-immunity of heads of state from criminal prosecution deters the commission of mass atrocities.

The Rome Statute’s Art. 27 collides with Sec. 9(a) of RA 9851 on presidential immunity from suit for the worst international crimes. Having been a later act of both the President and the Senate, the Rome Statute ratification expresses the latest, specific intent of the President and the Senate – on behalf of the Philippine state – for the President to be legally bound by the Rome Statute, including its Art. 27 provision on the “[i]rrelevance of official capacity”. This later act of ratifying the Rome Statute effectively nullifies the immunity from suit, under Sec. 9(a) of RA 9851, of the President insofar as those crimes are concerned, assuming arguendo that such immunity was valid in the first place.

Furthermore, the Philippine ratification of the Rome Statute indicates the intent on the part of the state to further achieve its purpose in enacting RA 9851 into law. In light of RA 9851’s primary aim and purpose in Sec. 2(e) (Declaration of Principles and State Policies), the proper statutory interpretation then must be that, in ratifying the Rome Statute, the Philippine President and the Senate concurrently intended to reinforce and strengthen RA 9851 by removing any presidential immunity from suit for crimes under RA 9851. This, in order to achieve both RA 9851’s and the Rome Statute’s fundamental objective “to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes and thus contribute to the prevention of such crimes” (Sec. 2[e], RA 9851).

The Philippines’ ratification of the Rome Statute reflects the subsequent and latest will of the state, as expressed through the President’s signing of the Rome Statute’s instrument of ratification with the subsequent concurrence of the Philippine Senate on August 23, 2011. The effective ratification of the Rome Statute supersedes and repeals Sec 9(a) of RA 9851. It shows its intent to fully carry out and fulfill the Philippine state’s obligation under the Rome Statute and its RA 9851 domestic counterpart to end impunity.

The incorporation clause of the 1987 Constitution (Sec. 2, Art. II) also renders nugatory the presidential privilege of immunity stated in Sec. 9(a) of RA 9851 for being violative of jus cogens principles or peremptory norms of customary international law. The Constitution’s “generally accepted principles of international law” include customary international law, comprising uniform and consistent state practices performed out of a sense of legal obligation. The Rome Statute also embodies jus cogens or peremptory norms of customary international law which are non-derogable. Those cannot be deviated from under any and all circumstances at all times, anywhere in the world. Jus cogens norms prohibit slavery, genocide, torture, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

RA 9851’s presidential immunity from suit is therefore void ab initio. Heads of state have no immunity for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, as established in the Nuremberg judgment [PDF] and the Pinochet decision in Regina v. Bartle. Such “exception” is tantamount to according impunity to sitting presidents for these most egregious forms of international crimes. It’s incompatible with jus cogens or peremptory norms of customary international law.

Source: jurist news http://www.jurist.org/forum/2017/10/perfecto-caparas-president-duterte.php

 

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ICC holds two-day psychosocial conference of experts on protecting…

 

 The International Criminal Court (ICC) hosted a conference on protecting vulnerable groups in witness protection from 4 to 5 October 2017. It was the 4th psycho-social conference of the Europol Network in Witness Protection and was attended by psychological experts from 35 countries and international organizations.

At the conference opening, ICC Vice President and Judge Joyce Aluoch spoke of her first-hand experience throughout her judicial career of witnesses making essential contributions to evidence in cases, and the need for those witnesses to receive adequate psycho-social support.

“As a judge,” she said, “I experienced myself the importance of strong protection and support of vulnerable witnesses. Many witnesses were only able to testify about their often horrific ordeal when they were given the necessary psychological support and protection before, during and after testimony. As a Chamber, we benefitted from the psychological assessments of witnesses and the expert advice provided to us by the psychologists in the Registry, especially whenever questions arose about the well-being of witnesses and their ability to testify. Thanks to the psycho-social support and tailor-made special measures, victims of sexual violence were able to provide strong evidence in court.”

Several visiting experts chaired keynote sessions, including Professor Frank C. Verhulst on the psychological assessment of children, Dr Erik de Soir on secondary traumatisation, and Clinical Psychologist and Psychotherapist Simone de la Rie on the psychological assessment and support of refugees, war victims and other vulnerable groups.

Throughout the two-day conference, best practices were shared and recommendations made among ICC experts,  visiting scholars and practitioners regarding psychological assessments and interventions in the context of witness protection programmes.. With a focus on supporting vulnerable witnesses, working groups addressed assessment of children, family support, forensic aspects in witness protection, staff welfare models, and monitoring and supporting vulnerable witnesses during the trial phase. Case studies from different countries also offered insight into alternative protection measures.

The ICC Rome Statute provides for witness protection, including psychological well-being. Article 68 of the Rome Statute states “The Court shall take appropriate measures to protect the safety, physical and psychological well-being, dignity and privacy of victims and witnesses.”  According to article 43, measures can include “protective measures and security arrangements, counselling and other appropriate assistance for witnesses, victims who appear before the Court, and others who are at risk on account of testimony given by such witnesses.” It also specifically stipulates that the Registry’s Victims and Witnesses’ Section shall include “staff with expertise in trauma, including trauma related to crimes of sexual violence.”

 

Source : ICC

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ICC: Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Nominations of…

​The Advisory Committee on Nominations of Judges of the International Criminal Court (“the Committee”) held its sixth meeting from 18 to 22 September 2017 in The Hague. The Committee interviewed 12 candidates for six positions of judges at the International Criminal Court, whose nine-year term will start on 11 March 2018. The six judges will be elected at the sixteenth session of the Assembly of States Parties (“the Assembly”), scheduled to be held at United Nations Headquarters, New York, from 4 to 14 December 2017.

The Committee is mandated to facilitate that the highest-qualified individuals are appointed judges of the Court. The Committee was established in 2012 and is composed of nine members who serve three-year terms with the possibility of being re-elected once. The members are nationals of States Parties, reflecting the principal legal systems of the world and an equitable geographical representation as well as a fair representation of both genders. Its members are persons of a high moral character, who have established competence and experience in criminal or international law and who serve in the Committee in their personal capacity.

The assessment of the candidates for judges is based strictly on article 36, paragraphs 3 (a), (b) and (c), of the Rome Statute. The Committee considers written material submitted by the candidates and emphasizes the importance of face-to-face interviews. The candidacies are submitted under List A or List B as described in article 36, paragraph 3, of the Rome Statute, which requires “established competence in criminal law and procedure, and the necessary relevant experience, whether as a judge, prosecutor, advocate or in other similar capacity, in criminal proceedings” or “established competence in relevant areas of international law such as international humanitarian law and the law of human rights, and extensive experience in a professional legal capacity which is of relevance to the judicial work of the Court”. Candidates must be persons of high moral character, impartiality and integrity, have an excellent knowledge of and be fluent in at least one of the working languages of the Court and shall be available to serve on that basis from the commencement of their terms of office.

The report of the Committee (ICC-ASP/16/7) on the work at its sixth meeting may be found at the webpage of the Assembly. Further information about the Committee may be found at the Committee’s webpage.

 

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Assembly of States Parties 2017

From 4-14 December 2017, International Criminal Court (ICC) member states will gather at the United Nations headquarters in New York for the annual session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute (ASP).

During annual ASP sessions, stakeholders in the international justice system discuss and decide upon matters key to the future functioning of the ICC. To read more about the upcoming ASP click http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/assembly-states-parties-2017?utm_source=CICC+Newsletters&utm_campaign=e2f9ef19ac-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_10_05&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_68df9c5182-e2f9ef19ac-356533661

 

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Meet the 2017 Judicial Candidates Of the ICC

ICC member states Lesotho, Uganda, Croatia, Mongolia, Benin, Japan, Bosnia, Peru, Uruguay, Canada, Ghana and Italy have nominated 12 candidates for election to six soon-to-be vacant judicial positions at The Hague-based Court.

 

ICC member states have nominated 12 candidates for election to six soon-to-be vacant judicial positions at The Hague-based Court.

The election follows the Court’s regular judicial elections process, which replaces a third of the 18 judges’ bench every three years. The new judges will serve a nine-year term from March 2018. To read more about the election, click  http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/fight/icc-elections-2017?utm_source=CICC+Newsletters&utm_campaign=e2f9ef19ac-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_10_05&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_68df9c5182-e2f9ef19ac-356533661

 

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Passing of M. Cherif Bassiouni, “the Godfather of International…