2 June 2021 - NPWJ News Digest on international criminal justice

NPWJ press release

Open letter on the independence of the International Criminal Court
No Peace Without Justice, 31 May 2021

Attempts to discredit the international criminal court and obstruct its work cannot be tolerated if we are serious about upholding justice globally, write more than 50 former prime ministers, foreign ministers and senior international officials, including Emma Bonino. We welcome the support that European leaders have expressed for the ICC and its unique mandate of advancing justice following war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Consistent support for the ICC and promotion of its universal reach highlight Europe’s serious commitment to deter such violations and to promote a rules-based international order, peace and security.

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Ethiopia’s human rights chief as war rages in Tigray: ‘we get accused by all ethnic groups’
The Guardian, 02 Jun 2021

There was a time when a report by Ethiopia’s human rights commission was a staid affair, its findings offering window-dressing for hand-wringing donors and legal cover to the government. Between 2013 and 2017 the commission systematically “whitewashed human rights violations through compromised methodologies, dismissing credible allegations”, according to a 2019 Amnesty International study that accused it of “brazen bias against victims”.

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Ivory Coast: Laurent Gbagbo plans to return home on June 17
Al Jazeera, 01 Jun 2021

Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo plans to return home on June 17 following his acquittal on charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC), according to his party. The General Secretary of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) Assoa Adou announced the date of Gbagbo’s homecoming on Monday, in front of a crowd that had come to celebrate the former president’s birthday in Abidjan.

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Chad accuses Central African Republic troops of war crimes
Jurist, 01 Jun 2021

Chad’s defense ministry said Sunday that troops of their neighboring country the Central African Republic (CAR) had attacked a Chadian military post and that these actions amounted to a war crime. Chad’s Foreign Minister, Cherif Mahamat Zene said “The Central African armed forces attacked the outpost of Sourou in Chad on Sunday morning … killed a Chad soldier, injured five and kidnapped five others who were then executed in Mbang on the Central African Republic side.”

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German Prosecutors Reportedly to Examine Wider Belarus Abuses
Human Rights Watch, 01 Jun 2021

With global condemnation still raging over the brazen forced downing of an airplane to detain journalist and activist Raman Pratasevich, it’s welcome news that German prosecutors may be looking to open a preliminary inquiry into other alleged serious abuses by the Belarus regime. For Belarusians facing little prospect for accountability at home, this step may provide a limited path to justice.  

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Sudan: Darfur Displaced Renew Call to Hand Remaining War Crimes Indictees to ICC
All Africa, 30 May 2021

El Fasher — The General Coordination of the Displaced and Refugee Camps have renewed their demand for the transitional government to hand over the rest of those indicted for Darfur crimes to the International Criminal Court (ICC). This includes Omar Hasan, Abdelrahim, and Ahmed Haroun, and all those mentioned during last week's confirmation of charges session at the ICC in The Hague against former janjaweed leader Ali Kushayb.

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Germany apologises for colonial-era genocide in Namibia
Reuters, 28 May 2021

Germany apologised on Friday for its role in the slaughter of Herero and Nama tribespeople in Namibia more than a century ago and officially described the massacre as genocide for the first time, as it agreed to fund projects worth over a billion euros. Namibia's President Hage Geingob welcomed the "historic" move, but Herero paramount chief Vekuii Rukoro dismissed a deal agreed by the two governments as "an insult" because it did not include payment of reparations.

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