12 Feb 2020 - NPWJ News Digest on International Criminal Justice


Israel cannot escape all of international law all of the time
By AlJazeera, 11 Feb 2020

US President Donald Trump's plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict flagrantly violates international law. But it also confirms Israel's recognition that it cannot escape all of international law all of the time. In particular, it demonstrates that the potential reach of the International Criminal Court (ICC) represents a threat to Israel in a way that unenforced UN resolutions do not. There are dozens of UN resolutions that reprimand Israel and demand that it reverse its violations against Palestinians. Yet Israel continues to flagrantly violate them and other international legal decisions without any sanction.


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Sudan signals it may send former dictator Omar al-Bashir to ICC
By The Guardian, 11 Feb 2020

Sudan has suggested it is prepared to hand over the former dictator Omar al-Bashir to the international criminal court in The Hague to face trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The decision marks a dramatic shift from the previous official position of the country’s new rulers, though observers warned that many obstacles still needed to be overcome before the 76-year-old reached a court room. The exact details of how and when the ex-president might be handed over are unclear, and apparently depend on a comprehensive peace deal between authorities and rebels. There are also doubts about the support of Sudan’s powerful military for such a move.


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ICC Registrar completes first visit to Uganda and Democratic Republic of the Congo
By the International Criminal Court, 07 Feb 2020

From 3 to 7 February 2020, the Registrar of the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or "the Court") Peter Lewis visited Kampala, Uganda and Bunia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). During these visits he met with Government officials and United Nations representatives and had direct interactions with ICC staff members working in these countries. This was the Registrar's first visit to those countries since his election in March 2018. The Registrar of the Court thanked interlocutors for their support for the ICC's independent mandate and ongoing operations in these two countries.


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Rohingya justice: Why the ICJ's public rebuke of Myanmar matters
By AlJazeera, 07 Feb 2020

 On January 23, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague imposed emergency "provisional measures" on Myanmar regarding its actions against and treatment of the Rohingya minority - my people. To the average person this may sound like incomprehensible legalese. But for many Rohingya, who had long been waiting for the international community to take meaningful action to end their suffering, this was some of the best news they had ever received. 

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Gambia: The Gambia Gives International Justice an Unlikely Boost
By AllAfrica, 06 Feb 2020

In a watershed moment for international justice, on 23 January the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered the government of Myanmar to, among others, immediately protect the Rohingya from further persecution. The ICJ - not to be confused with the International Criminal Court (ICC) and criminal courts in general - deals with legal disputes between states. As politicians argue about whether or not genocide is happening in Myanmar, The Gambia left it to independent judges to decide. So, in this case, the ICJ became the first step towards state accountability that could result in individual prosecutions on charges linked to genocide at courts like the ICC. The two states in this case are, in many ways, worlds apart. The Gambia seemingly has little connection to Myanmar with 11 500 km between them.

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UNSC fails to take action to force Myanmar to comply with ICJ order
By Dhaka Tribune, 05 Feb 2020

The International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) order that Myanmar must do all it can to prevent genocide against the Rohingya Muslims was discussed widely by the UN Security Council (UNSC) but the world body failed to take action on it. Myanmar’s ally China and member of the regional Association of Southeast Nations (Asean), Vietnam, along with Myanmar, objected to a statement in the closed-door meeting, Al Jazeera quoted diplomats seeking anonymity as saying. The EU members of the Security Council at joint statement to media after the meeting however urged Myanmar to comply with the measures ordered by the UN's top court, stressing that they were "compulsory under international law."


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