30 Jan 2019 - NPWJ News Digest on International Criminal Justice


International Criminal Court president responds to John Bolton’s sanction threats
Daily Bruin, 30 Jan 2019

The president of the International Criminal Court addressed a United States official’s claims that the court is illegitimate at an event Monday evening.
The event, which was organized by the Promise Institute for Human Rights, a subset of the UCLA School of Law, invited Chile Eboe-Osuji, president of the ICC, to discuss sanction threats made by John Bolton, the U.S. national security advisor.
Bolton threatened to impose sanctions on the court if it prosecuted U.S. soldiers for alleged abuse of detainees in Afghanistan.
Bolton said in a speech in September that the U.S. would not cooperate with the ICC or provide assistance to it, claiming that the court was illegitimate. Bolton added he was concerned the ICC would threaten the sovereignty of the U.S if U.S. citizens were prosecuted by the ICC instead of U.S. courts.

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Gbagbo’s Acquittal Suggests Confusion, Dysfunction at International Criminal Court
The Wire, 28 Jan 2019

The international community has reacted with shock to the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) acquittal of former Ivorian leader Laurent Gbagbo and one of his former ministers, Charles Blé Goudé.
Gbagbo was president of Côte d’Ivoire from 2000 until 2010. Blé Goudé was his minister of youth. In 2010, Gbagbo lost an election to Alassane Ouattara, but refused to concede power. In the resulting months of violence, more than 3000 people were killed.
Gbagbo was charged with designing and executing a common plan to hold onto power through violence directed at civilians. His case was merged with Blé Goudé’s in 2014.
A majority of the trial chamber found that the prosecution failed to prove the defendants’ connection to the violence; the prosecution has appealed.

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Negotiating Peace and Justice in the Central African Republic
International Peace Institute, 28 Jan 2019

On January 24, peace talks aimed at ending the conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) opened in Khartoum. Brokered by the African Union (AU), the dialogue brings together government representatives and fourteen armed groups. Difficult negotiations lie ahead, partly because several transitional justice initiatives have already gotten off the ground in recent months. An examination of these initiatives raises a variety of questions about CAR’s peace process. [...]
Since 2012, when the last rebellion in CAR began, thousands have died and millions have been forced to flee their homes. Despite a string of ceasefires over the last six years, the humanitarian situation remains dire.

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Are international tribunals running out of steam?
The Economist, 26 Jan 2019

Many victims of war crimes dream of seeing their oppressors tried by an international court. Seeing them tried twice on the same charges, however, suggests that the court may not be running smoothly. On January 28th in The Hague, hearings will resume in the second trial of Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic, two former officers of the Serbian secret police accused of masterminding ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Croatia in the 1990s. They were acquitted in 2013. But an appeals court ruled that judges had not properly applied the doctrine of “joint criminal enterprises”, which holds individual conspirators responsible for the crimes committed by their organisations, and ordered them to be tried again.

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Cote d'Ivoire: Gbagbo's Acquittal Isn't Bad for the ICC, but Problems Around Evidence Remain
allAfrica, 24 Jan 2019

The International Criminal Court's (ICC) acquittal of former Cote d'Ivoire president, Laurent Gbagbo, and his youth militia leader, Charles Blé Goudé, on charges of crimes against humanity, has been described as a "blow" for the court.
They were both charged with allegedly orchestrating the murder, rape, inhumane acts and persecution against opponents between December 2010 and April 2011 in Côte d'Ivoire. This, after Gbagbo lost the November 2010 presidential election. Over 3,000 people died in the conflict. They had been on trial for the past three years.

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