25 April 2018 - NPWJ News Digest on International Criminal Justice

NPWJ press release

Syria: NPWJ urges the second Brussels Conference to promote accountability and justice as central goals
by NPWJ, 24 Apr 2018

On the eve of the Ministerial meeting at the second Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the region, No Peace Without Justice reiterates its call on all participants, especially the European Union and the United Nations, to ensure that accountability for atrocities in Syria and justice for victims be integrated as a central concern of tomorrow's discussions. The Conference begins on the heels of the G7 Foreign Ministers' joint communique yesterday, in which the Foreign Ministers expressed their condemnation at the use of chemical weapons and the overall continuing and escalating violence in Syria, reiterating their commitment to accountability for those violations. Yet beyond stressing the importance of the establishment of a successor mechanism to the Joint Investigative Mechanism, whose mandate was brought to an end by a Russian veto at the UN Security Council, the statement was conspicuously thin on concrete actions to ensure justice will be central to the UN-led peace negotiations they hope will be relaunched soon. NPWJ urges the second Brussels Conference to do better in promoting accountability as a central goal for those peace talks and for all participants in tomorrow's discussions.

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Ex-Bosnian Serb leader Karadzic accuses prosecutors of twisting his words
By Reuters, 25 Apr 2018

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic asked U.N. judges on Monday to overturn his genocide conviction, accusing prosecutors of unfairly blackening his name and twisting his words at his trial. Karadzic was convicted two years ago for some of the worst war crimes committed as the former Yugoslavia broke apart in the 1990s, including the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in which around 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed. He is asking judges overseeing his appeal to overturn the 40-year jail sentence imposed and order a re-trial. A group of victims from the ‘Bosnian Mothers of Srebrenica’ organization watched as Karadzic, 72, looking healthy and resolute in a grey suit and red tie, take the floor on the first of the two-day appeal hearing.

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Liberia warlord 'Jungle Jabbah' jailed for 30 years in the US
By BBC, 25 Apr 2018

A Liberian warlord known as "Jungle Jabbah" has been sentenced to 30 years in prison in the US for lying about his role in his country's civil war. Mohammed Jabbateh was found guilty of immigration fraud for falsely telling US authorities in the 1990s that he had never belonged to an armed group. One witness told the court how he had ordered the heart of a captive to be cooked for his fighters. Around 250,000 people were killed in Liberia's brutal 14-year civil war. Campaign group Amnesty International has welcomed the verdict as the "first case to provide some justice for victims of Liberia's civil war", even though he was not convicted of the atrocities he and his men allegedly carried out.

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Sexual Violence against Men and Boys and its Relevance to the Trial of Dominic Ongwen
by International Justice Monitor, 24 Apr 2018

On February 2, 2018, the legal representatives for victims (LRV) in the trial of Dominic Ongwen sought leave to present evidence highlighting the harm victims have suffered as a result of crimes committed by the accused. Among the five issues highlighted by the LRV was the infliction of sexual violence on men and boys. The LRV’s submission raises a question regarding the relevancy of sexual violence committed against men and boys by the LRA, particularly given the fact that the LRA was known to target mostly women and girls. Ongwen is charged with 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He is alleged to have committed the crimes between July 2002 and December 2005 while he was a commander in the LRA. His trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) started in December 2016, and the prosecution presented its final witness earlier this month. Ongwen has pleaded not guilty to all counts, including to the crimes of sexual and gender based violence with which he is charged.

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