03 March 2021 - NPWJ News Digest on International Criminal Justice

Articles

IER Blog Series: The ICC’s Engagement with Local Communities
International Justice Monitor , 25 Mar 2021

Engaging those most concerned by the justice process is one of the biggest challenges for an international court located thousands of miles away from the communities it seeks to serve. Based on the experience of previous tribunals, the International Criminal Court (ICC) put an outreach program in place early on. According to the court’s website, “people most affected by the crimes have the right to understand, to participate in, and to have a sense of ownership of the justice process.” But the court has encountered multiple challenges to make effective outreach to victims and affected communities a reality, including due to deficient field presence, insufficient appreciation of the local context, and inadequate engagement with local actors.

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Syrian victims of chemical attacks file case with French prosecutors
Reuters, 02 Mar 2021

France is home to thousands of Syrian refugees, and its investigating judges have a mandate to determine whether crimes against humanity were committed anywhere in the world. The case, which about a dozen people have joined, follows a similar one opened in Germany last year. It offers a rare legal avenue for action against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

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‘Constant fear’: Iraq and Syria face ISIL resurgence
Al Jazeera, 02 Mar 2021

ISIL’s physical “caliphate” was destroyed with the battle of Baghouz in Syria in March 2019, but the ideology and socioeconomic fault lines that gave birth to it are still intact in the region. In reality, many ISIL fighters never left the Syria-Iraq border and just dispersed to regroup another day, while others returned to their bastions as vigilance reduced and their circumstances eased. Over the last year, both Iraq and Syria have witnessed a major uptick in ISIL attacks. In Iraq, nearly 600 ISIL assaults were recorded in just the first quarter of 2020, whereas in Syria deaths are reported almost daily in areas such as Deir Az Zor and hundreds have been killed in targeted attacks.

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Israel moving to protect hundreds of personnel against ICC probe
Reuters, 02 Mar 2021

Israel estimates that hundreds of its citizens might be subject to war crimes probes by the International Criminal Court, whose jurisdiction it rejects, and is working on how to protect them, the Defence Minister said on Tuesday.

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Jamal Khashoggi’s murder: NPWJ welcomes criminal complaint filed by RSF in Germany against MBS and other high-ranking Saudi officials
No Peace Without Justice , 02 Mar 2021

No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) welcomes the criminal complaint filed by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) with the German Public Prosecutor General against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and other high-ranking Saudi officials for crimes against humanity committed against journalists. The lawsuit concerns in particular the case of Jamal Khashoggi who was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 as well as 34 arbitrarily detained journalists, including 33 currently in detention (among which Raif Badawi).

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Myanmar’s Military Deploys Digital Arsenal of Repression in Crackdown
New York Times , 01 Mar 2021

During a half century of military rule, Myanmar’s totalitarian tools were crude but effective. Men in sarongs shadowed democracy activists, neighbors informed on each other and thugs brandished lead pipes. The generals, who staged a coup a month ago, are now back in charge with a far more sophisticated arsenal at their disposal: Israeli-made surveillance drones, European iPhone cracking devices and American software that can hack into computers and vacuum up their contents. Some of this technology, including satellite and telecommunications upgrades, helped people in Myanmar go online and integrate with the world after decades of isolation. Other systems, such as spyware, were sold as integral to modernizing law enforcement agencies.

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UN warns of Yemen ‘death sentence’ as donor pledges fall short
Al Jazeera , 01 Mar 2021

The United Nations chief has warned of a “death sentence” for Yemen as an international donor conference yielded less than half the funds needed to fund urgently needed humanitarian programmes and prevent a devastating famine in the war-ravaged country. The UN had appealed for $3.85bn at Monday’s virtual pledging event that was co-hosted by Sweden and Switzerland, but just $1.7bn was offered.

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