16 may 2018- News Digest on International Criminal Justice


Gambia:Ex-President tied to 2005 murders of Ghanaian and migrants
By TRIAL International, 16 May 2018

 A paramilitary unit controlled by then Gambian president Yahya Jammeh summarily executed more than 50 Ghanaian, Nigerian, and other West African migrants in July 2005, Human Rights Watch and TRIAL International said today. Interviews with 30 former Gambian officials, including 11 officers directly involved in the incident, reveal that the migrants, who were bound for Europe but were suspected of being mercenaries intent on overthrowing Jammeh, were murdered after having been detained by Jammeh’s closest deputies in the army, navy, and police forces. The witnesses identified the “Junglers,” a notorious unit that took its orders directly from Jammeh, as those who carried out the killings.

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ICC prosecutor vows to 'take any action warranted' over Gaza unrest
by i24 news International, 15 May 2018

 The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court vowed Tuesday that she was watching closely the unrest in Gaza, and would "take any action warranted" to prosecute crimes."My staff is vigilantly following developments on the ground and recording any alleged crime that could fall within" the tribunal's jurisdiction, she warned in a statement to AFP, adding: "The violence must stop." The Arab League's Permanent Committee on Human Rights on Tuesday called on the International Criminal Court prosecutor to urgently investigate "the crimes of the Israeli occupation" against Palestinians. "Israel is an oppressive and murderous entity and its politicians and officers must be taken to the International Criminal Court," Amjad Shamout, the committee's chairman, said in a statement. Shamout was referring to the killing of dozens of Palestinians by Israeli forces during clashes and protests on Monday over the deeply controversial opening of a US embassy in Jerusalem.

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Molina Theissen Trial Moves into Closing Arguments
By international Justice Monitor, 14 May 2018

 The Molina Theissen trial continued on Wednesday, May 9, with the presentation of one defense witness, one expert report on sexual violence, and several documents. After the defense renounced several witnesses, the evidentiary phase of the proceedings concluded, and on Thursday, the court moved to hear closing arguments. The proceedings began on May 9 with the defense presenting expert witness Edwin Salazar, a physician and surgeon, to testify about the sexual violence committed against women in military bases. The defense attorneys asked the expert witness to review the declaration of Emma Molina Theissen. He stated that in his opinion, “this story is not credible.” The civil party lawyers asked the witness if he had previously evaluated victims of sexual violence in military bases, to which he answered he was indifferent to the location where the violation had taken place. Though the witness stated that the clinical history of the victim is important prior to conducting an evaluation, he said that he never reviewed Emma’s case file nor had he evaluated her personally. The witness affirmed that an individual who has endured this type of sexual violation suffers its effects for the rest of his or her life.

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Don’t ask and you won’t receive – Will the ICC request the resources it needs in 2019?
By Amnesty International, 02 May 2018

 Drawing on their long experience of following the ICC’s annual budget process, Matt Cannock – Head of Amnesty’s Centre for International Justice – and Legal Adviser Jonathan O’Donohue call for a new approach in 2019, starting with the ICC putting forward a request that actually reflects its resource needs. As the new ICC Presidency and Registrar take office, their most immediate challenge will be to work with the Prosecutor to tackle the Court’s capacity crisis, which has been caused by almost a decade of under-funding by states parties and under-budgeting by the ICC itself in order to appease its funders. If the ICC is to have any chance of addressing the backlogs in its current work, advancing an investigation in Burundi and effectively opening new investigations – possibly in Afghanistan and Myanmar – then this year it has to start asking and fighting for the resources it needs.

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