07 Nov 2018 - NPWJ News Digest on International Criminal Justice

NPWJ press release

Tunisia: "Victims speak out against impunity and in defense of transitional justice"
No Peace Without Justice, 06 Nov 2018

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Bahrain: NPWJ strongly condemns sham trial and life prison sentence against prominent opposition leaders
No Peace Without Justice, 05 Nov 2018

The Appeals Court of Bahrain yesterday handed down a sentence to life imprisonment on Sheikh Ali Salman, Secretary General of Al Wefaq, the major opposition party which was dissolved in 2016, overturning his previous acquittal over fancy charges of colluding with Qatar to topple the regime in Bahrain. Salman who is currently serving a 4 year prison sentence was due to be released in December. Ali Alaswad and Sheikh Hassan Sultan, two senior representatives of the same group, were also found guilty of similar charges in absentia and sentenced to life imprisonment.

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Articles

Washington passes much-needed accountability measure for police use of lethal force
Amnesty International , 07 Nov 2018

An initiative that requires police officers to receive training in violence de-escalation, mental health, and first aid so that officers will have greater skills to resolve conflict without the use of physical or deadly force was confirmed by voters this evening. Initiative 940 will require independent investigation when an officer causes serious injury or death and would ensure tribes are notified if a tribal member was injured or killed when interacting with law enforcement. Initiative 940 will also replace a malice intent requirement with the lower threshold to determine when any use of lethal force was unlawful. Reacting to the affirmed vote, Kristina Roth, Senior Program Officer for Criminal Justice Programs at Amnesty International USA said:“Today, voters made history by becoming the first state to require independent investigations when police cause serious injury or employ deadly force as required by a state’s use of force law. This initiative is a major step forward in holding police accountable when they unlawfully use lethal force, and could potentially save lives by preventing lethal encounters before they happen.

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Bolsonaro and the fascism of "tough on crime"
The Chronicle, 07 Nov 2018

While this election marks a turn towards a deeply frightening and uncertain future for Brazil in many ways, perhaps one of the most unsettling implications of a Bolsonaro presidency come in the realm of criminal justice. Bolsonaro, like many “tough on crime” military hawks, ran on the promise of eradicating crime through violence. He has promised to allow police officers to “shoot first, and ask questions later” and said that those who use “10 or 30 shots [to kill] need to be decorated, not prosecuted.” While this type of campaign rhetoric is disturbing in its own right, the coded message it conveys is even more troubling. Bolsonaro’s advocacy for extra-judicial murder is not intended to preserve community; his intent is to declare open season on poor Brazilians, specifically Afro-Brazilians who continue to suffer due to the country’s social apartheid.

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Security Council Adopts Resolution 2442 (2018), Authorizing 12-Month Extension for International Naval Forces Fighting Piracy off Somali Coast
Reliefweb, 06 Nov 2018

The Security Council, acting by consensus today, decided to renew for 12 months authorizations allowing international naval forces to join in the fight against piracy in the waters off the coast of Somalia. Adopting resolution 2442 (2018) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the 15-member Council deplored all acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the Somali coast. While noting improvements in Somalia, it nevertheless recognized that piracy exacerbates instability in the country and stressed the need for a comprehensive, international response that also works to tackle the underlying causes of the phenomenon. By the terms of the text, the Council encouraged the Parliament of Somalia to approve a draft coast guard law and urged the Somali authorities to continue efforts towards passing a comprehensive set of anti-piracy and maritime laws without further delay. It also called upon the authorities to make all efforts to bring to justice those who are using Somali territory to plan, facilitate or undertake criminal acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea, while calling upon Member States to assist Somalia ‑ at the request of Somali authorities and with notification to the Secretary-General ‑ to strengthen its maritime capacity.

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France: Arrest warrants for Syrian officials an important step towards justice
Amnesty International UK, 05 Nov 2018

Responding to the news that French prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for three senior Syrian government and intelligence officials on charges of torture, enforced disappearances, crimes against humanity and war crimes, Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Research Anna Neistat said: “These arrest warrants for three senior officials, including a top adviser to President Bashar al-Assad, are an important step towards delivering justice for the countless victims of gross human rights violations carried out by the Syrian government. “With war crimes and crimes against humanity continuing to go unpunished in Syria, it is vital that all states cooperate to ensure justice for victims. This includes enforcing universal and other forms of jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute, in their own courts, suspected perpetrators of atrocities.“The international community should follow France’s lead by taking steps, wherever possible, to end impunity in the Syria conflict and hold all parties to account.”

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Ten Years On, Still No Justice for Congo Massacre
Human Rights Watch, 05 Nov 2018

After a peace deal was negotiated between Congo, Rwanda, and the CNDP in early 2009, Ntaganda and other senior CNDP commanders were integrated into the Congolese army and given top positions. Ntaganda himself became the Congolese army’s acting commander for military operations in eastern Congo, even as he and troops under his command were responsible for committing widespread atrocities, including when he later led another Rwanda-backed rebellion in 2012.

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International Criminal Court Seeks to Revive Case against Deputy President William Ruto
Mwakilishi, 05 Nov 2018

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is seeking to revive the case against Deputy President William Ruto over the 2007/2008 post-election violence. In an annual report submitted to the United Nations General Assembly, ICC President Chile Eboe-Osuji says that Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda had been receiving information on the case that collapsed due to lack of witnesses."The office of the prosecutor continued to receive information on the commission of crimes against humanity during the post-election violence of 2007—2008,” reads part of the report. The Daily Nation reports that investigations into the case has been ongoing despite its termination, but details remain highly confidential.

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Without Arrest of Outstanding Fugitives, Suffering in Libya will Continue, International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Tells Security Council
Reliefweb, 03 Nov 2018

Outlining her continued activities to fight impunity for grave crimes committed since 2011 in Libya, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court today asked the Security Council to back up its support with effective action, particularly regarding the arrest of outstanding fugitives from justice. “I look forward to effective support and concrete action from this Council to ensure that our separate yet interlinked mandates can positively contribute to the cause of peace, stability and justice in Libya,” Fatou Bensouda said as she presented her sixteenth report on the issue to the 15-member organ. Ms. Bensouda said that, despite previous appeals of Council members and concerted efforts of the Court, not one of those indicted for alleged crimes in the events of the 2011 Libya situation has been arrested. Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf al‑Werfalli, Saif al‑Islam Qadhafi and Al‑Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled remain at large, she said, warning that, in the absence of accountability, impunity will continue to reign in Libya, causing great suffering and instability.

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Will Syria's war criminals ever be brought to justice?
AlJazeera, 02 Nov 2018

This week on UpFront, we interview former war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte, who last year quit the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Syria in protest, saying that justice for Syria’s victims was not possible. And in a special discussion, we look at the escalation of violence in Gaza with humanitarian aid worker Najla Shawa and Donald MacIntyre, author of Gaza: Preparing for Dawn.

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