06 Feb 2019 - NPWJ News Digest on International Criminal Justice


Despite protests and isolation, strongmen such as Venezuela’s Maduro can cling to power
The Washington Post, 05 Feb 2019

To many observers, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro may appear to be on his way out of the door. The authoritarian leader is facing mounting protests at home and a growing wave of pressure abroad, all demanding that he leave office.

Scores of foreign nations have recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president, and the United States is moving to cut off Maduro from much of the cash generated by Venezuela’s oil industry. But ousting a leader, even a broadly unpopular and isolated one, is not always a swift or inevitable process.

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Bringing ISIS to Justice: Running Out of Time?
Human Rights Watch, 05 Feb 2019

Sometimes complex policy issues are best captured in a simple question. If ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is captured alive tomorrow, who should prosecute him, where and for what crimes?
When I pose this question to policymakers – in Western capitals or in the Middle East – I am often met with a blank stare. Most expect al-Baghdadi to be killed instead of caught. But even if al-Baghdadi is not captured alive, what about the thousands of ISIS members – some of whom held key roles in ISIS – currently detained in Syria and Iraq?
Even though ISIS’s territorial control in Syria is collapsing, the international anti-ISIS coalition and local powers have yet to adopt a coordinated strategy to hold ISIS members accountable. What we have is a piecemeal approach that is deeply flawed.

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It’s Time to Try Fossil-Fuel Executives for Crimes Against Humanity
Jacobin, 05 Feb 2019

The fossil-fuel industry is lawyering up.
To date, nine cities have sued the fossil industry for climate damages. California fisherman are going after oil companies for their role in warming the Pacific Ocean, a process that soaks the Dungeness crabs they harvest with a dangerous neurotoxin. Former acting New York state attorney general Barbara Underwood has opened an investigation into whether ExxonMobil has misled its shareholders about the risks it faces from climate change, a push current Attorney General Leticia James has said she is eager to keep up. Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey opened an earlier investigation into whether Exxon defrauded the public by spreading disinformation about climate change, which various courts — including the Supreme Court — have refused to block despite the company’s pleas.

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Vojislav Seselj’s Plea to Appeal Conviction Rejected Again
Balkan Insight, 05 Feb 2019

The president of the Hague-based Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, Carmel Agius, has rejected a request from Serbian nationalist politician Vojislav Seselj to be allowed to file an appeal against the second-instance verdict convicting him of persecuting Croats in the Serbian village of Hrtkovci in 1992.
In his decision, Agius said that, Seselj failed to prove that his rights were violated by the UN court’s statute, which does not allow second-instance verdicts to be appealed.
Seselj first filed his request to the court’s appeals chamber, this was rejected. He then asked Agius to grant him the right to appeal.

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Marie Colvin verdict gives meaning to her death
The Guardian, 03 Feb 2019

The judge was clear: it was murder. The Sunday Times correspondent Marie Colvin, killed while reporting from the besieged Syrian enclave of Baba Amr in February 2012, was not the victim of a tragic accident.
“She was specifically targeted because of her profession, for the purpose of silencing those reporting on the growing opposition movement in the country,” wrote Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the US District Court in Washington DC.
Her verdict should be celebrated by all who care about freedom of speech. At a time when journalists are frequently vilified and threatened, it acknowledges the significant role we play in exposing war crimes and injustice. “The murder of journalists acting in their professional capacity could have a chilling effect on reporting such events worldwide,” Jackson added.

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Libyan commander courted by European countries accused of war crimes in battle for Derna
The Independent, 01 Feb 2019

Forces loyal to a powerful Libyan military commander once courted by the west are likely to have committed war crimes in the eastern city of Derna, London rights lawyers have revealed, urging the International Criminal Court to investigate instances of torture, murder and mutilation of corpses.
The legal opinion, which was shared exclusively with The Independent, marks the first time General Khalifa Haftar’s troops have been formally accused of war crimes in the coastal city, under their control since last summer.
Geneva-based Libyan group Human Rights Solidarity, which commissioned the report, intends to file it with International Criminal Court prosecutors in the coming weeks.

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