17 March 2021 - NPWJ News Digest on International Criminal Justice

NPWJ press release

A decade after uprising: the Syrian jigsaw puzzle
No Peace Without Justice, 16 Mar 2021

For the past ten years the international community has been struggling to bring an end to the war in Syria and find a solution to one of the worst humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II. Squeezed between the hard reality of a vicious conflict and the necessity to meet the needs of the war’s victims, the diplomatic discourse around Syria has been split in numerous rivulets and specialised fora, dealing with the various facets of a very complex war: from the humanitarian crisis to the political solution to the war; from the use of chemical weapons to the fight against terrorism; from the human rights violations and war crimes to the issue of the millions of refugees that have flooded neighboring countries.

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Fears grow for Myanmar residents in areas sealed off by military and under internet blackout
CNN, 17 Mar 2021

Concern is growing for the safety of residents in parts of Myanmar's largest city after the military moved to seal off several key areas and impose an information blackout in an apparent bid to quash opposition. The military, which seized power in a February 1 coup, has in recent days become more indiscriminate in its use of deadly violence against unarmed protesters, with widespread reports of shootings and torture of political prisoners.

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Anez supporters protest in Bolivia demanding her release
Al Jazeera, 16 Mar 2021

“We demand that all political prisoners be released immediately and that the persecution cease, because if not tomorrow we will be in the streets,” civic leader Romulo Calvo reportedly said during a fiery town hall in Santa Cruz held before the protest. A judge on Sunday ordered Anez to four months of preventive prison on charges of terrorism, sedition and conspiracy in relation to Morales’s removal from power in 2019. On Monday, Ivan Lima, the minister of justice, said additional charges against her over alleged financial corruption and human rights violations committed during her one-year tenure as interim president had been presented to the state attorney general’s office.

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Germany arrests Gambian for crimes against humanity
DW, 16 Mar 2021

German prosecutors on Tuesday said a Gambian national had been taken into custody, and his apartment searched, over alleged crimes against humanity, murder and attempted murder. The individual, named only as Bai L., was accused of being part of a military unit used to carry out kill orders at the behest of then-president, Yahya Jammeh.

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Myanmar: 'Stop killing protesters,' UN tells military
DW, 16 Mar 2021

The "unlawful use of lethal force against peaceful protestors" in Myanmar has killed at least 149 people, a spokeswoman for the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHCR) said on Tuesday. The international community has condemned the ongoing crackdown on anti-coup protests since Myanmar's military ousted Aung Saan Suu Kyi's elected government on February 1. Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the UNHCR, has called on Myanmar's military to "stop killing and detaining protesters."

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Belgium Arrests Kosovo Ex-Guerrilla on War Crime Charges
BIRN, 16 Mar 2021

The Belgian authorities on Tuesday detained Pjeter Shala, a former Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA member after the Kosovo Specialist Chambers called for his arrest on war crimes charges. “Pjeter Shala will be detained in Belgium, pending any transfer to the detention facility of the KSC [Kosovo Specialist Chambers] in The Hague,” said a statement issued by Specialist Chambers.

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The Ethiopian Human Rights Roadmap: a feeble bulwark against atrocity crimes
Ethiopia Insight, 16 Mar 2021

The Prime Minister’s administration continued the release of political prisoners, lifted the state of emergency, unblocked more than 264 websites, delisted proscribed terrorist organizations, began reforming repressive laws, and initiated a rapprochement with Eritrea. However, the reform hope has also faced considerable setbacks. For instance, the government has failed to reveal the fate of disappeared university students, relocate and compensate displaced people, and address the serious issue of rising atrocity crimes.

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U.N. says has helped 12 jurisdictions prepare Syrian war crimes cases
Reuters, 15 Mar 2021

A United Nations body working to ensure justice for war crimes committed by all sides in Syria has provided information and evidence to 12 national jurisdictions, its chief disclosed on Monday as the country marked a decade of war. Videos, photos, satellite imagery, “exfiltrated documents”, witness statements and forensic samples constitute “the best documented situation since the end of World War Two”, said Catherine Marchi-Uhel of the International Impartial and Independent Mechanism investigating the most serious crimes in Syria.

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