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Researcher Tells ICC that LRA Attacks Have a Long-Term…

A researcher told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) attacks on three camps for internally displaced people (IDP) 14 years ago continue to have a negative impact on survivors of those attacks as well as their children.

Teddy Atim told the court on May 4 that survivors of the attacks on the Abok, Lukodi, and Odek IDP camps were generally worse off compared to other northern Ugandans who did not suffer similar attacks. Atim is a researcher with the Feinstein International Center of Tufts University.

Referring to research she conducted with others, Atim said there is a higher percentage of people with disabilities among survivors of the Abok, Lukodi, and Odek attacks compared to northern Ugandans not attacked by the LRA. She said because their parents are poor, many children of survivors of the three attacks were not in school.

Atim was testifying in the trial of a former LRA commander, Dominic Ongwen, who has been charged for his alleged role in the Abok, Lukodi, and Odek attacks that occurred between April and June 2004.

Ongwen has also been charged with attacking a fourth IDP camp, sex crimes, and conscripting child soldiers. In total, he is facing 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Atim was an expert witness called by lawyers representing one group of victims in the trial. That legal team is led by Joseph Akwenyu Manoba and Francisco Cox, and they represent 2,599 victims. Atim based her testimony on May 4 on a report wrote she co-wrote with others.

She said some of the information in the report was drawn from a separate report the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium produced. The consortium, of which Atim is a member, produced the report earlier this year, and it is based on a survey of about 1,700 people in Uganda. Atim said for her report she relied on the portions involving 829 people in northern Uganda who were not attacked by LRA. She said her report was also based on a victims’ assessment survey she and her co-authors conducted of 396 people who survived the LRA attacks on Abok, Lukodi, and Odek.

Atim told the court that it was important to have the data from the two separate surveys to be able to compare the current situation of survivors of LRA attacks with that of people who were not attacked by the LRA attacks.

On May 4, Cox asked Atim about her findings on disability. She said in the reports they used the Uganda People With Disability Act as guide on how to assess disability. Atim said 67 percent of the survivors of the Abok, Lukodi, and Odek attacks had some level of disability. She said 21 percent of the general population had some level of disability.

“Also, what is important to note is … individual experiences does not only impact the particular person. It impacts the entire household,” said Atim.

“You will find at least two members of a household reporting some level of disability … it does affect the overall dependency of that household,” continued Atim.

She said most of the people they interviewed with disability told them nearby health facilities did not have the medicine they required or the specialized care they needed. Atim said for many of them the specialized care they needed was far away. She gave the example of a man with an artificial limb.

“For him … every time his artificial limbs gets damaged he needs to get a replacement, but the nearest health facility does not provide that. He has to travel every time to Gulu town where he gets the replacement done,” said Atim.

She said because of these difficulties, many people said, “We simply pain medicate.”

Cox also asked Atim what her research found out about the education of children of survivors of the attacks on Abok, Lukodi, and Odek. She said that because many of the survivors’ livelihood had been destroyed, they were not able to keep their children in school. She said instead they had their children stay at home to do chores.

“We conclude it’s clearly an aspect of the inter-generational effects of the attacks that they [the children of survivors] continue not to enjoy the opportunity to go to school,” said Atim.

Later on, when Abigail Bridgman, a lawyer for Ongwen, questioned Atim she asked about some of the details in Atim’s report relating to education. Bridgman then followed up on the question of children not being able to go to school.

“Again, still focussing on education, isn’t true that in Uganda, primary and secondary education is free or should be free to all?” asked Bridgman.

“That’s true,” answered Atim.

When Bridgman concluded her questions for Atim, Cox asked a question in re-examination because of the issue Bridgman had raised about free education in Uganda.

Cox asked Atim about a line in her report in which she noted one of the interviewees said that they paid 20,000 Ugandan shillings per child in school. He asked her to explain what the amount referred to.

Atim said education in Uganda is supposed to be free, but there are hidden costs.

“Some of these costs have to do with what we call development fund. Some parents have to pay for feeding their own children when they go to school,” said Atim.

Towards the end of his questioning, Cox asked Atim what her general conclusions were.

“Having said all that I have said, looking at access to services, education, to health, looking at household well-being in terms of wealth, looking at experiences of crimes during attacks, our conclusion is that overall they are worse off compared to the general population. They’re still struggling a lot,” said Atim.

A little later, Presiding Judge Schmitt asked Atim what the survivors told her they wanted done about what they had gone through.

“Do the victims want to forget about having been victimized or do they want to, on the other side, be recognized as victims?” asked Judge Schmitt.

“When I spoke to people, a lot of what I heard was about, ‘We need what happened to us [to be] recognized. We need the people responsible to be held accountable,’” replied Atim.

“And another question that has to do with the experience of crimes and being a victim, but now about crimes afterwards that had nothing to do with the alleged attacks, your report seems to suggest that the victim population experiences significantly more crimes nowadays even. Why is that so, if it is so?” asked Judge Schmitt.

“Yes, that is so, that is what we found, and that has to do with what I had explained earlier, the continued victimization, stigmatization, isolation that these people continue to experience that happens,” said Atim.

“Particularly for women it has to do with the pervasive gender discrimination that is extensive in most of northern Uganda and, you know, having a child, you know, out of sexual violence, what does that mean for you, everyday interaction with others in the community,” continued Atim.

“So, we do see a pattern of victimization, but also what that means, it seems to mean that this harm seems to multiply over, you know, into other violations or into other experiences of crimes in today’s community,” concluded Atim.

She concluded her testimony on May 4. The next witness, Daryn Scott Reicherter, testified on Monday, May 14.

A transcript of Atim’s testimony can be found here.

SOURCE: International Justice Monitor

 

NCICC Blog

Witness Tampering: Prosecutor Proposes Maximum Sentence for Bemba and…

The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor has proposed a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment for Congolese opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba and his two former lawyers, who are due to receive fresh sentences for witness tampering. The prosecutor says she does not oppose the imposition of a monetary fine on the trio, who have up to the end of this month to make their own sentencing submissions.

Bemba and his former lawyers, Aimé Kilolo Musamba and Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, will receive new sentences following the March 2018 reversal of their earlier sentences by an Appeals Chamber at the ICC.

In the initial sentencing in March 2017, Bemba was handed a one-year prison term and a fine of €300,000; Kilolo received a two-and-a-half year suspended sentence plus a fine of €30,000; while Mangenda was sentenced to 11 months in jail, suspended for two years.

However, the Appeals Chamber found that the trial chamber committed errors in assigning lower sentences to accessories to a crime rather than to co-perpetrators in suspending the sentences for Kilolo and Mangenda, and in assigning less gravity to false testimony on “non-merit” issues relative to false testimony on “merit” issues of a case.

Furthermore, the Appeals Chamber overturned Bemba and his lawyers’ conviction over presentation of false oral testimony but confirmed all the other convictions of giving false testimony and corruptly influencing witnesses.

In the April 30, 2018 sentencing submissions, prosecutor Fatou Bensouda stated that, in deciding on the new sentences, the trial chamber should increase the individual and joint sentences for each of the three convicted persons to a five-year term of imprisonment.

Bensouda contends that the false testimony given by witnesses on “non-merits” issues was grave because the information was crucial for the judges in Bemba’s main trial to determine the credibility of witnesses and the reliability of their evidence.

The prosecutor argues that Bemba and Kilolo deserve a sentence that is commensurate with their criminal responsibility for having contributed to the false testimony of 14 of the 34 witnesses that testified for Bemba in his trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. She says Mangenda’s sentence should likewise reflect the true extent of his assistance to the false testimony of nine witnesses.

Article 70 of the Rome Statute on administration of justice, under which Bemba and his associates were convicted, provides that in the event of a conviction, judges may impose a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years, a fine, or both.

In the sentencing submissions, the prosecutor “welcomes” the imposition of a fine in addition to the five-year prison sentences. However, she notes that because the convicted persons’ financial situations are unclear, the trial chamber should determine whether such an additional fine should be imposed.

In addition, the prosecutor asks judges to order Kilolo and Mangenda back into custody to serve the new sentences imposed. The two were released from ICC detention in October 2014, having spent eleven months in pre-trial detention.

SOURCE:  International Justice  Monitor https://www.ijmonitor.org/2018/05/witness-tampering-prosecutor-proposes-maximum-sentence-for-bemba-and-his-former-lawyers/

News

ICC NGO ROUND TABLE- AFRICAN NETWORK TO MAKE ITS…

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.

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NHRC President urges European Parliament to Examine Blockade Impact

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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ICC PRESIDENT VISITS NIGERIA. SILENT ON THE DOMESTIC IMPLEMENTATION…

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dated this 12th day of April 2018

 

Signed:

Name                                                   Title and organisation/agency                                                

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

 

Press Releases

CALL TO ACTION:Contribute to Strengthening the ECOWAS Court of…

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!

 

Signatories

Name                                              Designation/Organization                            Signatures

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NCICC and Trust Africa Two Days Consultative workshop on…

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

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

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Mali War Crimes Suspect to Appear before Judges in…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NCICC Blog

Sudanese Security Files Criminal Charges Against Al-Mahdi

April 3, 2018 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s state security prosecutor office Tuesday has filed charges, some of which are punishable by death, against the leader of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) Sadiq al-Mahdi, accusing him of plotting with armed groups to overthrow the regime of President Omer al-Bashir.

Last month, the opposition umbrella Sudan Call, which encompasses political and armed groups, held a meeting in Paris and chose AL-Mahdi as its leader.

On Monday, the Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir threatened to take decisive actions against political parties allied with the rebel groups, saying he would never allow combining the armed action against the state and the political action under any title.

The semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) on Tuesday said the state security prosecution has filed criminal charges against AL-Mahdi for dealing and coordinating with the armed movements that seek to topple the regime.

“This comes after the National Intelligence and Security Services filed a petition at the state security prosecution against Sadiq AL-Mahdi and others,” said the SMC

The state security chief prosecutor Muatasim Abdallah directed to file criminal charges under articles 21,25,26,50,51,53,63 and 66 of the 1991 Criminal Code as well as articles 5 and 6 of the Counter-Terrorism Act.

According to the prosecutor, the criminal charges “were filed against the backdrop that AL-Mahdi in his capacity as the chairman of the NUP signed with the Sudan Revolutionary Front and the armed movements a declaration of principles and issued a final communique stating joint coordination to overthrow the regime by force of arms beside inciting the residents through the social media to rebel against the state and to wreak havoc”.

It is noteworthy that the Paris meeting of the Sudan Call has approved a constitutional declaration and a final communiqué calling to adopt peaceful political means to achieve change through peaceful popular uprising or dialogue.

Al-Mahdi since last February is residing outside Sudan. He is expected to remain in Cairo where he is until a meeting with the African Union mediators to discuss the future of the negotiations with the opposition umbrella.

The Sudan Call, which was established in Addis Ababa on 3 December 2014, includes the NUP, the rebel umbrella SRF, and the Civil Society Initiative (CSI).

Sudan Call internal groups include the Sudanese Congress Party (SCoP), Sudanese Baath Party (SBP), Center Alliance Party (CAP), Sudanese National Party (SNP) and Sudanese National Alliance (SNA).

SOURCE: Sudan Tribune  http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article65090