11 October 2017 - NPWJ News Digest on international criminal justice


Secret trials of thousands of Boko Haram suspects to start in Nigeria
By The Guardian, 09 Oct 2017

Unprecedented series of mass trials of more than 2,300 suspected Islamist militants will take place in military facilities. More than 2,300 suspected Islamist militants are expected to appear in court in Nigeria from Monday in an unprecedented series of mass trials that local authorities hope will be seen as evidence of progress in the fight against Boko Haram, one of Africa’s most resilient insurgencies. All the defendants have been detained since Boko Haram, which means “no to western education”, launched its campaign eight years ago. The conflict has left at least 20,000 dead in the country’s remote north-east and destabilised a swath of west Africa, displacing millions of people. But analysts say the trials – which will be held in secret and will see four judges deal with hundreds of cases each – raise serious concerns and could undermine the fight against the group.

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ICC holds two-day psychosocial conference of experts on protecting vulnerable witnesses
By International Criminal Court , 06 Oct 2017

This week, the International Criminal Court (ICC) hosted a conference on protecting vulnerable groups in witness protection from 4 to 5 October 2017. It was the 4th psycho-social conference of the Europol Network in Witness Protection and was attended by psychological experts from 35 countries and international organisations.  At the conference opening, ICC Vice President and Judge Joyce Aluoch spoke of her first-hand experience throughout her judicial career of witnesses making essential contributions to evidence in cases, and the need for those witnesses to receive adequate psycho-social support.

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Ugandan Army Officer Says He was Unaware of LRA Warning About Pajule Attack
By International Justice Monitor, 06 Oct 2017

The Ugandan army commander responsible for protecting the Pajule camp for internally displaced people told the International Criminal Court (ICC) he was not aware the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) warned of an attack months before the group hit the camp. On September 28, John Lubwama told the court that he did not know about a letter the LRA sent warning of another attack on Pajule after the camp had been attacked in January 2003. Lubwama also said he did not hear reports of an impending attack from either residents of Pajule or abductees who had escaped the LRA.

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UN ‘Blacklists’ Saudi-led Coalition for Violations against Children
By Human Rights Watch , 05 Oct 2017

The United Nations is finally calling out the Saudi Arabia-led coalition for horrific attacks that have killed hundreds of Yemeni children. After months of controversy, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has placed the coalition on his annual “list of shame” for violations against children. For more than two years, child casualties and other abuses against children have been mounting in Yemen. Human Rights Watch has documented the Saudi-led coalition, Houthi-Saleh forces, and other parties killing and maiming children, arbitrarily detaining and disappearing them, recruiting them to fight, attacking their schools and hospitals or stopping desperately needed aid from reaching them.

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