News

Phillipine Supreme Court Orders Government to Answer Petition On…

The Supreme Court todaay ordered the government to answer a petition filed by minority senators challenging the country’s withdrawal of its ratification of the Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court.

The executive branch has 10 days to file its comment on the petition for certiorari and mandamus filed by minority senators led by Sen. Francis Pangilinan. An oral argument of the case is also set on July 24 at 2 p.m.

The SC en banc acted on the petition for certiorari and mandamus filed by opposition senators that challenged the country’s withdrawal from its ICC membership due to lack of necessary concurrence from the Senate.

In the 17-page petition filed last month, they cited Article VII Section 21 of the 1987 Constitution which states that “entering into treaty or international agreement requires participation of Congress, that is, through concurrence of at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate.”

The petitioners said that the Office of the President and the Department of Foreign Affairs committed grave abuse of discretion when it decided to withdraw the Philippines’ membership from the ICC without the concurrence of two-thirds of the Senate.

Named as respondents in the petition are Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.

The Philippines announced it would be withdrawing from the ICC last March, a month after the international tribunal opened a preliminary examination into the alleged crimes against humanity of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

An examination is not an investigation, a point that the Palace stressed before finally announcing the withdrawal.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, for his part, said that the petition would not gain ground. “I do not think there is any legal basis. The president remains the chief architect of foreign policy and this is not a matter that can be cured by certiorari,” Roque added.

SOURCE:

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/06/06/1822082/sc-orders-government-answer-petition-vs-icc-withdrawal

News

War Crimes Court due to start Probes in Central…

A special criminal court to try the worst crimes committed in the Central African Republic (CAR) is due to start its formal investigations next week, the United Nations’ deputy representative in the country said on Monday.

A UN report published last year said a litany of killings, rapes, mutilation, looting and torture committed by successive governments and armed groups in the Central African Republic from 2003 to 2015 may constitute crimes against humanity.

Deadly clashes are back on the rise, state control is breaking down and inter-faith violence threatens to flare again. At least 26 people died in an attack by unidentified armed assailants on a church in the capital Bangui earlier this month.

“For us to stop this… horrible cycle (of revenge), the only way is to create a judiciary system that is credible, that is legitimate and that works, hence the special criminal court,” Najat Rochdi, UN humanitarian coordinator in the Central African Republic and deputy special representative, told a news briefing in Geneva.

“The good news is that the special criminal court is going to be operational next week,” she said, adding that if it did not succeed, some people may return to seeking revenge.

The tribunal, which will be based in the CAR and composed of both national and international judges, will prosecute alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Some 2,000 U.N. police are helping national authorities to arrest high-profile suspects, Rochdi said, adding: “Arrests are happening.” She gave no details of the arrests.

The United Nations is also supporting the CAR government in “developing a legitimate and credible and not corrupted regular judiciary system,” she added.

Repeated political crises in CAR have fueled conflict since 2003. Major violence erupted in 2013 when a mostly Muslim Seleka rebel coalition overthrew then-president Francois Bozize, prompting reprisals from Christian “anti-balaka” militias.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has been investigating alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in CAR since 2012.

The new court was agreed to in 2015, but it has taken time to finalize victim and witness protection, rules of procedure, and the swearing in of judicial police, Rochdi said.

Violence by armed groups is often aimed at wringing concessions from the government, including an amnesty, which Rochdi said would be a “disaster for the country.”

“The situation has worsened, one has to acknowledge it,” she said, citing an upsurge in violence in Bangui and elsewhere.

SOURCE: https://www.devdiscourse.com/Article/9462-war-crimes-court-due-to-start-probes-in-central-africa-says-un

News

AU urges External Actors to Refrain from action that…

The chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, expressed concern on Sunday over increasing instances of external interference by non-African actors in Somalia’s internal affairs.

This threatens to disrupt the peace-building and state-building efforts currently underway in Somalia, Faki said during his meeting at the AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital with Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire of Somalia, according to an AU statement.

The interference also risks reversing the hard-won gains made through joint efforts of the AU mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali security forces, he said, urging all concerned external actors to refrain from any action that may undermine Somalia’s progress.

The two leaders discussed the progress made so far by the Somali federal government in implementing a reform agenda in the political, economic and security spheres, the statement said.

The chairperson of the AU Commission commended the Somali government for its efforts to establish cohesive and inclusive politics, deepen federalism, resolve the conflicts affecting the country and advance peace-building and reconciliation.

Faki called on all Somali stakeholders to spare no efforts in ensuring a successful implementation of the agreed political roadmap.

Noting the economic reforms undertaken by Somalia, the AUC chairperson urged Mogadishu to continue with the efforts underway to rejoin the international financial institutions and set the country on the pathway to debt relief.

Khaire, for his part, paid tribute to the bravery of AMISOM forces, and expressed gratitude to the troop and police contributing countries for their efforts and sacrifices in the pursuit of peace and security for Somalia, the AU statement said.

Their commitment has been essential to Somalia’s progress, and AMISOM’s presence remains critical as the country moves in earnest toward full ownership of security responsibility over Somalia, Khaire said.

SOURCE: http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-05/28/c_137210660.htm

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.

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

Press Releases

NCICC CONGRATULATES JUDGE EBOE OSUJI ON HIS ELECTION AS…

The Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court (NCICC) sends our warmest congratulations to Judge Chile Eboe Osuji on his election as the President of the International Criminal Court. (ICC) He was elected during a plenary siting of Judges of the ICC on the 11th of March 2018. His tenure is to last for three years.

The International Criminal Court remains the last resort for victims of international crimes and the Presidency being the arm that oversees the registry and organizes the work of judicial decisions, plays an indispensable role in that regard.

The NCICC calls on the newly elected President to expand his leadership role and work closely with the Nigerian government in ensuring that perpetrators of the most heinous crimes are brought to book and reparations for victims highly considered. Nigeria was listed to be on phase 3 of the preliminary investigation stage by the Office of the trial Prosecutor in her annual report in December 2017 having identified eight potential cases involving commission of Crimes against humanity and genocide in 2015.

The NCICC also urges President Eboe-Osuji to give priority to improving the relationship between African governments and people with the Court, in particular, reaching out to the African Union and individual African State Parties. The Court should increase its outreach and communications with the African civil society organisations, victims communities and the African population in order to disseminate the good work of the Court in Africa.

In particular, the Court should dialogue constructively and frankly with the African Union towards opening a liaison office in Addis Ababa, and supporting the African governments in their national efforts to improve the justice system to fight impunity.

The Court should also consider constructive discussions on the proposed initiative to create the criminal chamber of the forthcoming African Court of Justice and Human Rights, represented in the Malabo Protocol, as well as special judicial proceedings of the African Union in order to deepen the complementarity obligations under the Rome Statute of the ICC.

NCICC draws attention of the President to the new Network for Civil Society on International Justice in Africa, made up of national coalitions on the ICC and civil society coalitions in 52 African countries, who are working to promote justice and fight impunity in Africa. This network provides platform for constructive outreach to African people, and for raising civil society support for the Court in Africa.

Finally, we urge the President to open the Forum of African Group in the Assembly of State Parties in order to improve closer relationship and understanding between African governments and the ICC’

We wish the President a very successful tenure and will always be available for support.

Signed

Chino Obiagwu
Chairman, Steering Committee-NCICC

Dr Abiola Akiode-Afolabi
Vice Chairman Steering Committee -NCICC

News

ICC President Asks State Parties to Provide for Victims…

The newly elected president of the assembly of state parties, O-Gon Kwon, has called on state parties of the Rome statute to step up providing assistance to survivors of war.

“State parties should guarantee the rights and needs of victim survivors are provided,” he said during a press conference held at Sheraton Hotel on Thursday.

Kwon, who became president in December 2017, noted that though the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) is doing a tremendous job in Northern Uganda, there i he s still a big funding gap that needs to be filled. he states that will do his utmost to promote the important work of the Trust Fund for Victims and the need for sufficient funding to carry out its mandate.

The press conference was organised to give an update on the findings of an evaluation visit to northern Uganda by the ICC state parties, to monitor the progress of the implementation of TFV.

Judge O-Gon Kwan the president of the Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court with a delegation from the Trust Fund For Victims visiting a workshop where artificial limbs are made, at Gulu Referral Hospital. (Credit: Godfrey Kimono)

The implementation of the TFV started in 2008 in northern Uganda and according to Peiter de Baan, its executive director, more than 45,000 people have benefitted directly and about 200,000 people indirectly.

The visit to northern Uganda was also in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute. The joint visit was made by Kwon, representatives from the government of Canada, Chile, Denmark, Ireland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, UK and European union.

Mama Koite Doumbia, a TFV board member, noted that the central importance of the Rome Statute is to provide the rights and the needs of victims, including the right to receive reparations and assistance they need.

“Any harm caused by war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide is significant and must be addressed,” she said.

Mirjam Blaak, Uganda’s ambassador to the Netherlands noted that TFV has made a significant progress in providing assistance to the victims.

“The government of Uganda commits to continue its support to the TFV in assisting many more victims, their families and local partners, to sustain a lasting impact in the country,” she said.

 

SOURCE: NEW Vision https://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1471802/icc-president-parties-provide-victims-war

News

Kenya Appeal Court Set Aside Judgement of Lower Court…

On Friday last week, Kenya’s Court of Appeal delivered judgment in the appeal filed by the government, in the case that ICJ Kenya obtained a provisional arrest warrant against President Al Bashir of Sudan in 2011,

The Court set aside the Provisional arrest warrant issued by the High Court, explaining that at the time it was issued (in November 2011), there was no urgency, as the meeting which Bashir was expected to attend in November 2010, and which the warrant was predicated upon, had already passed and was instead held to Ethiopia. The Court observed that the International Crimes Act is clear that a provisional arrest warrant will only be issued in urgent situations. (Judgment attached)

 

Page 1-20 Judgement Civil Appeal 105 of 2012[3] copy Page 21-40 Judgement Civil Appeal 105 of 2012[2] copy Page 41-58 Judgement Civil Appeal 105 of 2012[2] copy

News

La Justice Pour Les Filles De Chibok Comme Un…


 

Une cour suprême fédérale siégeant dans le cantonnement de Wawa, à Kainji dans l’état de Niger au Nigéria, a condamné un membre de Boko Haram appelé  Haruna Yahaya âgé de 35 ans le mardi, 13 février,  à 15 ans d’emprisonnement pour le terrorisme.

Le détenu, qui a participé à l’enlèvement de plus de 200 écolières à Chibok dans l’état de Borno, en 2014, avait le bras et la jambe gauche mutilés.

Il aurait participé aux attaques du groupe à Chibok et dans la ville de Gabsuri.

Yahaya avait plaidé coupable le lundi aux deux chefs d’accusation retenus contre lui par le Gouvernement Fédéral mais a plaidé pour la clémence, affirmant qu’il avait été enrôlé de force dans le groupe terroriste.

Mais le juge qui a siégé dans l’un des quatre tribunaux spéciaux mis en place par la Cour Suprême Fédérale pour accélérer le procès de plus de 1000 suspects a déclaré que le tribunal n’était « pas dupe » par l’histoire de Yahaya.

Le tribunal a déclaré que le détenu était en train de «utiliser le malheur de son handicap pour attirer la sympathie ».

Le juge a statué que la condamnation de 15 ans prononcée contre le détenu, qui était en détention depuis 2015, commencerait lundi.