21 Nov 2018 - NPWJ News Digest on International Criminal Justice


Transitional justice a must for Zimbabwe, says Muchadehama
Bulawayo 24 News, 21 Nov 2018

The National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG) chairperson Alec Muchadehama yesterday said it was difficult to get buy-ins from government on transitional justice as it housed perpetrators of human rights violations. Speaking to Southern Eye ahead of a transitional justice symposium starting in Bulawayo today, the human rights lawyer said those in power believed transitional justice had something to do with their possible prosecution. "For them, they understand the message of transitional justice to mean 'prosecution', 'International Criminal Court' and things like that. One only needs to read the Patriot to understand the level of paranoia in some quarters of the politicians in power," he said. "But transitional justice is not about individuals or witch-hunting. It is redesigning the pillars of a house where you wish to see your child grow up in. These are the pillars that hold together the values of what makes us who we are as a people." Muchadehama said transitional justice was the basis upon which the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Act was established, and it gave life to a commission to lead national healing.

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Green Party Urges International Criminal Court To Prosecute Israel For Crimes Against Palestinians
Dissident Voice, 20 Nov 2018

Members of the Green Party United States traveled to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday, November 19, 2018 to deliver a letter calling for a full investigation of Israel for war crimes it has committed against the Palestinians. In addition to being endorsed by the Green Party U.S., the letter was signed by over 1,000 organizations, including Popular Resistance, and individuals from the United States who want prosecutors at the ICC and the world to know that there is a political party along with people in the US who support holding nations accountable to international law. The Green Party recognizes that the United States is complicit in Israel’s crimes by providing financial support, selling weapons and providing political cover to Israel.

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Central African Republic/ICC: New Chance for Justice
Human Rights Watch, 19 Nov 2018

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has a new opportunity to deliver justice to victims in the Central African Republic as it takes its first suspect into custody in its investigation of serious crimes committed in the country since 2012. Alfred Yékatom, known as “Rombhot,” was taken into custody on November 17, 2018. Yékatom is an anti-balaka leader who has been charged with crimes committed between December 2013 and August 2014 in Bangui, the country’s capital, and other locations in the Central African Republic. In 2016, Yékatom was elected to parliament representing Mbaiki. “Yékatom’s arrest is a welcome step, offering the International Criminal Court a new chance to deliver justice for atrocities committed in the country,” said Elise Keppler, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch. “Victims in the Central African Republic want and deserve to see perpetrators held to account.”

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ECCC, great Cambodian achievement
Khmer Times, 19 Nov 2018

November 16, 2018, is a historical date – not only for Cambodia but also for all humanity. It gives hope that all perpetrators of mass crimes, regardless of who they are, will be punished. A small step has been taken in Phnom Penh in this long march towards international criminal justice. Khieu Samphan, former chief of state of the regime of Pol Pot and Nuon Chea, number two of this regime have just been sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity, violating the Geneva Conventions and carrying out acts of genocide. Nonetheless, the judgment goes beyond trying the two most senior surviving leaders of this barbaric regime. The crux of the November 16 judgment considers that the Pol Pot regime was, in the legal sense of the term, a “joint criminal enterprise” involving directly the senior leaders named as perpetrators of crimes committed: Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, Son Sen, Vorn Vet, Ta Mok, Ke Pauk, Koy Thuon, Chou Chet, Ruos Nhim and Sao Phim. The court therefore proceeded to pass down a sort of posthumous conviction of the leaders who escaped its jurisdiction by reason of their death before or during the proceedings initiated in 2007.

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Minister: Malaysia to ratify Rome Statute of International Criminal Court soon
Malaymail, 17 Nov 2018

Malaysia could have referred the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in 2014 to the International Criminal Court (ICC) if it had ratified the Rome Statute of the ICC, said M. Kulasegaran, chairman of the Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) Malaysia. Malaysia lost a golden opportunity by not having joined the ICC, he said when addressing the 10th Consultative Assembly of Parliamentarians of the ICC and the Rule of Law (CAP-ICC) and the 40th Annual Forum of PGA in Kyiv, Ukraine, today. Kulasegaran, who is the Human Resource Minister, said Malaysia is expected to ratify the ICC statute soon. The proposal on the matter will be submitted to the Cabinet next week and “we should be ratifying the ICC (statute) soon”, he said.

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The International Criminal Court must investigate Maduro’s crimes in Venezuela
The Washington Post, 16 Nov 2018

I often wonder if it would make any difference to the victims of the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela if the International Criminal Court did not exist. I’m afraid it wouldn’t. But if the ICC were to act in accordance with its mandate — not bowing to political commitments and pressures — it might make a positive impact for the millions who have fled hunger and disease and to those who have been subject to political persecution and torture in Venezuela. People such as Juan Requesens, elected to the National Assembly, arbitrarily arrested and detained, and subject to abuse and humiliation. Or opposition leader Antonio Ledezma, arrested and forced to flee the country. Or Carlos Vecchio, forced into exile in 2014. But the reality is that to the victims, the ICC does not mean much. At least not yet. We must change that. Those of us who work in international institutions know the bureaucratic and concrete challenges that exist to enforce the universal jurisdiction of international human rights law. But we must work to make international institutions more relevant to the people, especially to the victims of inhumane acts for which these institutions were created in the first place.

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