Per la protezione e la promozione dei diritti umani, della democrazia, dello stato di diritto e della giustizia internazionale
NPWJ in the news
Moving beyond the ICC impasse
By Lisa Clifford, Irin, 07 Feb 2014
The International Criminal Court's (ICC) case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, long beset by controversies and delays, has heightened tensions between the ICC and the African Union (AU).
Djibouti hosts regional anti-FGM Conference
By Mohamed Taha Tawakel, Anadolu Agency, 07 Feb 2014
Djibouti hosted a regional conference on Friday devoted to combatting female genital mutilation (FGM). Held under the motto "Towards a circumcision-free society," the conference was attended by Djiboutian First Lady Hadra Mohamoud Hade and Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino. The event was also attended by representatives from Ethiopia, the Ivory Coast and Yemen; governmental and civil society organizations; the African Committee against Female Circumcision; and religious leaders and elders. The conference was organized by the Djibouti Women's Association in collaboration with the country's Family Planning Ministry. A report presented at the conference revealed that incidents of FGM had declined by half – from 80 percent a decade ago to a current 40 percent.
Allarme della Bonino, anche in Occidente mutilazioni genitali
By AGI, 06 Feb 2014
"Il flagello delle mutilazioni genitali femminili tocca anche l'Occidente, il mio Paese, non solo l'Africa". Lo ha detto il ministro degli Esteri, Emma Bonino, nel suo intervento a Gibuti durante la conferenza "Per una regione senza Mgf", organizzata in occasione della Giornata internazionale 'tolleranza zero' contro le Mgf. "Da diversi anni - ha aggiunto il ministro - l'Italia e' tra i Paesi piu' impegnati contro questa tragedia, ed e' una priorita' condivisa dal governo, dal Parlamento e dalla societa' civile". L'Italia, ha ricordato Bonino, ha adottato una legislazione molto severa e ha lavorato per mettere la questione al centro del dibattito europeo. La pratica delle mutilazioni genitali femminili e' una violazione dei diritti umani, una violenza mai giustificata, con conseguenze drammatiche sul piano sanitario ed emotivo".
Bonino in Djibouti: genital mutilation, tragedy that also touches West
By Ministero degli Affari Esteri, 06 Feb 2014
Bonino in Djibouti: genital mutilation, tragedy that also touches West
“Africa is not alone in bearing the scourge of female genital mutilation, the West does too, my country included. Italy has, for many years now, been among the countries most heavily engaged in ending this tragedy, adopting very severe legislation and working to keep the issue at the centre of EU discussions”, stated Minister Emma Bonino at the conference “For a Region Without FGM” held in Djibouti in coincidence with the International Day Against Female Genital Mutilation.
Somalia: Somali Leaders Push to End Female Genital Mutilation
By AllAfrica, 06 Feb 2014
Education is the only way to protect women and girls from the "barbaric act" of female genital mutilation, Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed said Thursday (February 6th) on the occasion of the 11th anniversary of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. Approximately 6.5 million Somali girls and women have undergone female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), otherwise known as female circumcision, according to a June 2013 report prepared by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Although support for the practice is waning, 98% of Somali women between the ages of 15 and 49 have been cut or mutilated -- the highest per capita percentage in the world, the report indicated. "FGM is not a religious practice; it is a horrific act that is simply an abuse of a young girl's human rights," Ahmed said in a statement. "Let us be clear it is an absolutely unacceptable practice and an act that will soon be illegal under Somali law, is against the provisional constitution and will be incorporated into our final constitution."
Mutilazioni femminili, Bonino a Gibuti: flagello anche in Italia
By TM News, 06 Feb 2014
Il flagello delle mutilazioni genitali femminili è "una violazione dei diritti umani, una violenza mai giustificata con conseguenze sanitarie ed emotive drammatiche" che "tocca anche l'Occidente, il mio Paese, non solo l'Africa". Non usa mezzi termini il ministro degli Esteri Emma Bonino, nel suo intervento a Gibuti alla Conferenza "Per una regione senza Mgf". "Da diversi anni l'Italia è tra i Paesi più impegnati contro questa tragedia ed è una priorità condivisa dal governo, dal parlamento e dalla società civile. L'Italia ha adottato una legislazione molto severa ed ha lavorato per mettere la questione al centro del dibattito europeo", ha spiegato il ministro davanti a una folta e colorata platea di uomini e donne. La Conferenza si svolge in occasione della Giornata internazionale ôTolleranza zero sulle mutilazioni genitali femminiliö.
Queiq river massacre in Syria commemorated in İstanbul
Lamiya Adilgizi & Julia Nho, Today's Zaman (Istanbul), 29 Jan 2014
The Syrian Institute for Justice (SIJ) and No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) have marked the first anniversary of the Queiq river massacre that was allegedly carried out by the Syrian regime near Aleppo in Northern Syria last year. They stated that the evidence uncovered by an investigation carried over the year shows that it is likely state-sponsored forces committed these atrocities with an intention to terrorize the population and opposition forces.
“Over the year citizens of Syria have witnessed many massacres and many atrocities. Today we commemorate one of them which is in some ways special, special in a way that the massacre was not a single massacre but was prolonged, sustained, systematic killing of civilians who were abducted at check-points of the regime and who over a number of weeks day by day were killed as part of massive and systematic attacks. And the Queiq River speaks about that atrocity by delivering dead bodies,” Niccolò Figà-Talamanca, secretary general of NPWJ said in a press conference held in İstanbul on Wednesday.
The Queiq River massacre came to light on Jan. 29, 2013, when 90 bodies were found floating on the river. Bodies continued to appear in the river until March 15 when the Syrian non-governmental organization SIJ carried out the investigation with the help of local authorities and various forensic experts, who were able to stop the flow of water to prevent the dumping of bodies. Around 40 bodies were washed about 20 kilometers down to the river in countryside south of Aleppo. SIJ and the local residents ware able to find most of the bodies, wash them, examine and prepare them for identification. According to the investigation, more than 220 people were killed and thrown from trucks into the Queiq River.
These victims lived in opposition-controlled areas and were, according to those who participated in the investigation, often abducted at regime-controlled checkpoints, or simply went missing from their workplaces and homes. Days or weeks later, their bodies were found floating in the river, showing evidence of trauma and execution, most with their hands tied behind their backs and their mouths covered with adhesive tape.
Discussing the outcome of the investigation, Yousef Houran, attorney and co-director of SIJ, stated that the investigation showed that although the Syrian regime and opposition forces have contradictory claims, the evidence shows that the bodies are civilians. This is clear from the clothing they were wearing and their occupations, which included vegetable sellers, factory workers, shop keepers and other jobs of this nature, Houran claimed.
“All bodies found and examined had signs of beatings and torture, injuries that were inflicted prior to death,” Houran said while showing the pictures of bodies retrieved from the water.
Only 60 bodies have so far been successfully identified. While most of the victims were in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, the bodies included boys, women, and old men from 11 to 70. At least one victim had mental disabilities, according to the investigation records. Despite such evidence, the Syrian regime rejects all claims on such perpetrated systematic torture and killing. It has been reported that 200,000 Syrians have been killed in the continuing civil war since 2011, which started with peaceful protests but escalated into a bloody conflict. The investigation concluded that the massacre had been committed by the regime, not by the opposition forces. The video footage of dead bodies flowing down the river from areas controlled by the ruling regime is sufficient proof of this, according to Talamanca. He attributed the atrocities to a desire to “terrorize the civilian inhabitants so that the opposition forces lose the support from its people." Hence, the SIJ emphasized that its aim is to have the victims' voice heard and reveal the truth of the regime's systemic violence conducted on its own people.
Those who’ve fled Syria want only one result from Geneva, an end to Assad’s rule
By Roy Gutman (McClatchy Foreign Staff), Star Telegram, 29 Jan 2014
REYHANLI, Turkey — (…) The destruction and the killings have permanently scarred a great many Syrians and alienated them from the regime. Others are in a state of shock – or terror – over the seemingly random massacres of civilians who just happened to enter a regime checkpoint at a moment when security personnel decide to grab them. Professional prosecutors and forensic experts who defected from the government on Wednesday revealed the first results of an investigation into one of the biggest such massacres – the deaths of 220 people killed outside Aleppo starting in late January 2012. Their bodies were thrown into the Qwig River.
The gruesome photographs presented at an Istanbul news conference showed that most of the victims had their hands and feet bound, many bore signs of torture, and a number were emaciated, having apparently starved before they were killed. Executions were mostly by hanging or a shot to the head. The victims were aged 11 to 70, and included five women, whom the investigators said had been raped and tortured before they were killed. Forensic investigators were able to identify 60 of the corpses, and all appeared to be locals from villages north of Aleppo who were living in opposition-held areas and were going to their jobs, unarmed, in regime-held areas.
“All the victims were civilians,” said Niccolo Figa-Talamanca of the No Peace Without Justice, an advocacy group founded by Emma Bonino, Italy’s current foreign minister, which helped in the investigation. “They included vegetable sellers who crossed the line of control to purchase and sell vegetables, factory workers who lived in areas not under regime control and worked in areas under control of the regime, shopkeepers and similar professions whose jobs required them to cross the line of control,” he said.
Young people in Tobruk find out more about transitional justice
Libya Herald, 19 Dec 2013
Fifty young people in Tobruk have been finding out more about concepts of transitional justice and its importance to the future of Libya, in an event organised by local civil society organisation, the Libyan Youth Union (LYU), in collaboration with international NGO No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ).
The current transitional justice process in Libya was explained and the important role of the youth and civil society organisations in supporting and participating in this process was highlighted. “Discussion was encouraged and the participants were keen to voice their opinions and hear more about in order to understand what lessons can be learnt and applied to Libya,” said NPWJ Libya programme officer Rhiannon Smith.
The second day included a role-play exercise encouraging participants to consider different viewpoints in a post-conflict society and how these reflect on the understanding, perception and implementation of transitional justice mechanisms. Participants were divided into parties representing different stakeholders in a fictional post-conflict country and asked to discuss and decide upon a transitional justice strategy which all parties could agree to and which could be implemented in practice.
International, Bahraini NGOs call on Bahrain to drop all charges against Khalil Almarzooq
Ahlul Bayt News Agency, 14 Dec 2013
On the eve of the third trial hearing in the case of Khalil Almarzooq, No Peace Without Justice and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty, together with Freedom House, Parliamentarians for Global Action and other international and Bahraini NGOs are releasing a joint statement calling on the Bahraini authorities to drop all charges against Khalil Almarzooq, leading opposition politician and former Deputy Speaker of Parliament.Continua
Syria: Victims of conventional weapons on the rise
Lorenzo Trombetta, ANSAMED, 11 Dec 2013
Since the chemical attack in the Damascus region four months ago, crimes committed with conventional weapons in Syria against civilians--particularly women and children--are on the rise. The findings were revealed in an ongoing survey of war violence being conducted by an international team of legal experts and investigators led by David Crane, professor at Syracuse University's College of Law, and former Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, a war crimes tribunal.
In a telephone interview with ANSA, Crane said, "Up until now we've documented crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Syria by both sides. Compared to 2011, the country is now a blood swamp that many are a part of, and the bloodiness continues to get worse." Since autumn 2011 the team led by the American law professor and made up of experts of "the highest profile," has been collecting proof as part of the Syrian Accountability Project (SAP), which Crane describes as "a group project that forms a bridge between collection of evidence and creation of a tribunal," and which will serve as the basis for a special tribunal for crimes committed in the Syrian war.
"We coordinate with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and we're in contact with the International Criminal Court, as well as members of the US Congress and the US administration," Crane added. "Several foreign NGOs work with us as well, such as No Peace Without Justice," he said, referring to the Italian non-profit founded by Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Emma Bonino.
Siria: sempre piu' vittime con armi convenzionali
By Lorenzo Trombetta, ANSAmed, 07 Dec 2013
I crimini commessi in Siria con armi convenzionali contro civili, in particolare donne e bambini, sono aumentati dall'attacco chimico compiuto nella regione di Damasco quattro mesi fa: è quanto emerge dal monitoraggio delle violenze della guerra condotto da una squadra internazionale di decine di giuristi e inquirenti, che da due anni lavora in coordinamento con l'Onu e la Corte penale internazionale. A capo di questo team c'è David Crane, già procuratore capo del Tribunale internazionale per la Sierra Leone e docente alla facoltà di Legge dell'Università di Syracuse di New York.
Siria: sempre più vittime con armi convenzionali
By Ticinoline, 07 Dec 2013
I crimini commessi in Siria con armi convenzionali contro civili, in particolare donne e bambini, sono aumentati dall'attacco chimico compiuto nella regione di Damasco quattro mesi fa: è quanto emerge dal monitoraggio delle violenze della guerra condotto da una squadra internazionale di decine di giuristi e inquirenti, che da due anni lavora in coordinamento con l'Onu e la Corte penale internazionale. A capo di questo team c'è David Crane, già procuratore capo del Tribunale internazionale per la Sierra Leone e docente alla facoltà di Legge dell'Università di Syracuse di New York. "Finora abbiamo documentato crimini contro l'umanità e crimini di guerra commessi in Siria da entrambe le parti. Rispetto al 2011 ormai il Paese è una palude di sangue in cui operano in molti. E in modo sempre più cruento", afferma Crane in una conversazione telefonica con l'ANSA.
NPWJ says farewell to the Special Court for Sierra Leone
By Sierra Express Media, 03 Dec 2013
In a ceremony held today at its premises in Freetown, Sierra Leone, the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) formally handed over the Court’s landmark courthouse and the surrounding court complex to the Government of Sierra Leone, as it takes its final steps towards closure of the institution. Niccolo’ Figa Talamanca, Secretary-General of No Peace Without Justice attended the ceremony alongside numerous other guests who have been longtime supporters of the Court, from inside and outside Sierra Leone. Sixteen distinguished jurists were also sworn-in as Judges of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone, the institution that will succeed the Special Court when it closes this month.
Giustizia di transizione in Siria
Rai Radio 3, 26 Nov 2013
Formazione per attivisti, medici, avvocati e giudici nel primo training sul tema delle armi chimiche che si tiene in questi giorni in Siria: come raccogliere nella maniera più sicura e corretta prove di eventuali attacchi chimici? Come documentare il ritrovamento di fosse comuni e l’identificazione dei cadaveri, come sensibilizzare la società civile siriana sul tema della giustizia? Mentre si attende Ginevra 2 e l’avvio del programma di smantellamento dell’arsenale chimico in Siria si comincia a lavorare alla memoria e al futuro.
Un futuro e un presente da comunicare liberamente: promossa insieme a giornalisti siriani verrà lanciata questa settimana in Italia una campagna in sostegno al diritto ad esprimersi della stampa indipendente nata nei 3 anni della rivoluzione. Insieme alla redazione di Radio Ana, una delle radio libere nate in Siria dopo l'inizio della rivoluzione ed oggi uno degli obiettivi delle formazioni qaediste, verrà lanciato un appello alla società civile siriana, a quella internazionale ed alle istituzioni, per porre fine ai crimini ed alle violazioni a danno di giornalisti ed operatori dei media in Siria.
Quali verità per la Siria?
Martedì 26 novembre Anna Maria Giordano ne parla con Fouad Roueiha, giornalista siriano che vive in Italia, e Giacomo Cuscunà, collaboratore della Ong "Non c'é pace senza giustizia" in collegamento da Damasco.
States: Use ICC System to Eliminate Grave Crimes against Women
Bahamas Weekly/CICC, 25 Nov 2013
Prosecution of sexual and gender-based crimes must begin at national level, says civil society on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
New York/The Hague—States should take greater steps to eliminate violence against women and girls in conflict by joining the International Criminal Court (ICC) as well as prosecuting perpetrators of sexual and gender-based crimes at the national level, the Coalition for the ICC said today.
Marked around the world today, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women brings into sharp focus the work of the ICC to end impunity for sexual and gender-based crimes, as well as the urgent need to restore victims’ dignity and provide them with redress, empowering them to be key actors in peace-building efforts and assume societal leadership roles.
The Rome Statute’s provisions targeting sexual crimes represent a historic advance for international justice. The Coalition has called on states at this week’s annual meeting of ICC members, the Assembly of States Parties (ASP), to stay focused on improving the delivery of meaningful justice to the most vulnerable victims of grave crimes through the ICC and Rome Statute system.
Coalition member statements in honor of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women:
"In the engagement of the ICC with victims and affected communities, dedicated outreach must be provided to vulnerable groups such as women and girls victims of gender based violence. Their victimization often persists also when they return to their communities, where they are frequently further marginalised as a result of the crimes they have suffered. Redirecting the stigma of the criminal act to the perpetrators, where it should be, and redefining victims as rights holders before the ICC and in their day-to-day lives is an important function of ICC outreach activities about the nature of the crimes committed, their gravity and the proceedings taking place at the Court." Alison Smith, Legal Counsel and Director of the International Criminal Justice Program, No Peace Without Justice.
International Criminal Court/Bonino: cooperation by member states crucial
Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 21 Nov 2013
We should listen to the demands of the countries of Africa and, with them, find agreed solutions. Because effective international cooperation is crucial to International Criminal Court (ICC) in performing its mandate. That is the message voiced by Foreign Minister Emma Bonino at the 12th Assembly of States Parties (ASP) of the ICC, which today saw its second and last day. In her contribution to the general debate, Minister Bonino reiterated Italy’s full support for the Court in The Hague, with which she invited the entire international community to collaborate more fully.
Listen to the countries of Africa, Bonino tells the ICC Assembly
The Assembly of the ICC’s 122 member states was held as the proceedings against the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, and his deputy, William Ruto, continue to create tensions between the court and many African states. States which, as a protest, have asked the United Nations Security Council to suspend the proceedings for 12 months in application of Article 16 of the Statute of Rome. The ASP itself devoted an ad hoc session to the “Indictment of sitting Heads of State and Government and its consequences on peace, stability and reconciliation”.
Today, speaking on the second day of discussions, Minister Bonino noted the need to find a solution with the African countries. “The International Criminal Court needs Africa, just as Africa needs the Court to ensure that those responsible for crimes of the utmost gravity committed in that continent are brought to justice. We must not underestimate the demands of the African Union. We must be, and we are, willing to listen, discuss and find solutions to retain the confidence of the African states”, explained the head of Italian diplomacy. She did not mention the Kenyan case directly but underscored that “effective international cooperation is crucial to the Court in fulfilling its mandate”.
Italy fully supports the Court in The Hague, declares the Minister
Minister Bonino reiterated Italy’s “full support” for international justice and invited the international community to provide the ICC with “more collaboration, more financial resources and, about all, political support”. Support, she underscored, that “should not be blind to problems and to areas in which the Court must improve”. The foreign minister’s words confirmed an approach taken by the Italian government since the ICC was set up in 1998 with the Statute of Rome.
Italy has always been a leading country in upholding the principle of the rule of law and rejecting impunity for international crimes. And we have always given our unconditional support to the Court and its work. During the 2010 Kampala Conference (which reviewed the Rome Statute by introducing a definition of the crime of aggression with respect to which the Court could exercise jurisdiction) Italy also made three public commitments. One was to create, in the Justice Ministry, an office for the enforcement of arrest warrants and judicial cooperation with the ICC. The second was to set up a permanent contact point with the Court in the Foreign Ministry’s legal department. And the third was to raise awareness of international criminal law and of the International Criminal Court through conferences, workshops and seminars. For 2014, moreover, Italy has earmarked 8,843,714 euros for the Court, an increase of 900,000 euros on its contribution for 2013.
International Criminal Court set up by Statute of Rome in 1998
The International Criminal Court is the only permanent international court that can judge the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. It was set up in 1998, at the end of the Rome Diplomatic Conference, through the adoption of the Rome Statute, which entered into force on 1 July 2002. Italy ratified the Statute on 12 July 1999. The ICC has jurisdiction over the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression.
Its jurisdiction is complementary to that of national courts, in that its can be exercised only when national systems are unwilling or unable to conduct the investigations or hold the trial. The Court’s jurisdiction is not universal: it cannot, therefore, proceed against the citizens of states who have not signed the Statute or with respect to situations that occur on their territory, unless they give their consent.
Two side events co-sponsored by Italy have also been organised. They are “Accountability in Syria”, scheduled for 22 November and organised by Human Rights Watch and No Peace Without Justice, and “Complementarity and Libya”, scheduled for 26 November and organised by No Peace Without Justice.
Prosecutor says not a single rape reported since revolution
By Ashraf Abdul Wahab, Libya Herald, Tripoli, 03 Nov 2013
Very few cases of rape are reported in Libya. The head of the East Tripoli Prosecution Office, Nuri Bakai recently revealed that not a single case of rape had been submitted to the Attorney-General, which would have triggered an investigation by the prosecutor’s office. Bakai said he believed that this was probably because sensitivities around rape mean that victims are reluctant to report attacks.
He was speaking during a debate on sexual violence put on by by Italian NGO No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) in Libya. Part of the Transitional Justice programme, the organisation is supported by both the Italian and British embassies.
The event attracted civil society organisations, members of the judiciary, law students, international NGOS, UNSMIL, embassies and international experts including Francesca Del Mese, who focuses on violence against women, rape and sexual harassment.
She explained how the repercussions of this crime went well beyond the crimes themselves. Therefore the follow-up for rape victims had to extend beyond the initial counselling, to effective support during the investigations and criminal proceedings against the rapists.
These pointed out that sexual violence and rape are not crimes confined to women, as there are many offences against males as well. In both cases there is often a reluctance to admit what has happened and a refusal to testify against the criminals. With female victims there is also the risk that because they have been violated, they would be rejected by their families.
The meeting was told that mobile counselling rooms, first developed in Morocco, were being used in Libya to allow rape victims to speak about their ordeal in total confidence. One Libyan organisation explained that in addition to counselling, it was providing financial support to help rape victims marry former Thuwar (revolutionary fighters), especially those who were amputees. However some attendees protested that marrying victims off in this way should be considered a further crime, as it did not take account of psychological and physical damage which could affect their marriages.
Bangladesh War Crimes Tribunal: British Foreign Secretary asked for immediate intervention
Bangladesh Independent News Network (BDINN), 18 Oct 2013
Today a group of members of the House of Lords, along with leading international war crimes and human rights lawyers, have written to Britain’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, with a stinging rebuke of Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal. Their letter asks for the British Government’s immediate intervention and argues the tribunal risks destabalising the country prior to elections.
The letter, signed by senior figures from all three of Britain’s main political parties, follows criticism from human rights organisations and international legal experts over the International Crimes Tribunal.
The tribunal was set up to try those accused of war crimes and genocide during Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war. However, international legal experts have grown concerned the process has been undermined by misconduct by both prosecutors and judges. All defendants so far are members of the political opposition in Bangladesh, drawing accusations the tribunal is being used by the Bangladeshi Government to suppress political dissent prior to elections later this year.
The letter comes after recent death sentences handed out to leading members of the two principal opposition parties have been condemned by Amnesty International, amongst others. It also says there is ‘credible evidence’ the Bangladeshi government influenced the recent judgment of SQ Chowdhury.
The letter is sponsored by Lord Carlile QC, one of Britain’s foremost lawyers and Vice-Chair of UK Parliament’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. Cosignatories also include: Sir Desmond De Silva QC, the United Nations Chief Prosecutor in Sierra Leone; Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, Deputy Prosecutor of Slobodan Milosevic at International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia; Kirsty Brimelow QC, International Human Rights lawyer, Chair of Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales; Karim Khan QC, legal adviser to the UN Criminal Tribunals for Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda; International Defence Council in Special Courts for East Timor and Sierra Leone; Sir Henry Brooke, former Vice-President, Court of Appeal of England and Wales; Niccolo Figa-Talamanca (Secretary General, No Peace Without Justice).
ICC: Libya is Fit to Hold Trials of Crimes under International Law
By The Tripoli Post, 13 Oct 2013
International Criminal Court rules that Libyan judicial system is fit and competent enough to hold the trial of former Gaddafi intelligence chief saying that Libya is willing and able genuinely to carry out investigations and trials. The Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled on 11 October that the case against Abdullah Al-Senussi is currently subject to domestic proceedings conducted by the Libyan competent authorities and that Libya is willing and able genuinely to carry out such investigation. The Judges concluded that the case is “inadmissible before the Court, in accordance with the principle of complementarity enshrined in the Rome Statute, founding treaty of the ICC.”
No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT), welcomed the court’s decision and said it confirms that Libya “is not only positively eager but also able to take care of crimes under international law committed on its territory by its citizens itself”.
Judicial reform boosted by training on trial monitoring
By Libya Herald, 13 Oct 2013
Libya’s recently-established Trial Monitoring Network has been given a boost with training to help it tackle the technical challenges of observing trials in Libya. The Trial Monitoring Network was set up in June by 17 Libyan lawyers, following a series of meetings, field trips and training. Trial monitoring tries to ensure rights to fair trials and is an important tool in helping judicial reform. Workshops focused on addressing some specific challenges the network had faced so far in the process of establishing its presence in Libya and gaining entry to courts. Organised by the Tripoli Bar Association and the High Judicial Institute, in collaboration with NGO No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ), the workshop was led by international trial monitoring expert Pipina Katsaris, with input from local experts.Continua
Syrian activists and doctors being trained to combat chemical attacks
By Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, The Telegraph, 12 Oct 2013
The horrors that struck the Damascus suburb of Ghouta in August seem a long way from the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo. As the world's most prestigious peace prize was awarded to the body charged with destroying Syria's chemical weapons arsenal, by coincidence a group of survivors of the now notorious attacks were gathered in southern Turkey. The group was comprised of doctors and activists who see it as their mission to protect civilians from future attacks that had assembled for detailed instruction on how to cope with more attacks. Syria has agreed to destroy its chemical weapons arsenal under the supervision of the newly-anointed Nobel Peace laureates, The Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), by the middle of next year. But ordinary Syrians remain preoccupied by the potential pitfalls and prospect of outright failure that overshadow the effort and the August attacks in Ghouta are still fresh in the memory. "My best friend died in Ghouta after treating casualties of the attack, he was only qualified for one year as a doctor, they didn't know it was a chemical attack," Dr Mouhamed of Damascus said. "They didn't have any protective equipment, but kept treating those they could get access to. Many doctors and medics died from the contamination, I know of at least seven. "There is still no equipment on the ground that would deal with chemical contamination. Many families don't even know what caused most deaths – most of those died when seeking shelter in their cellars where the heavy gas found them. We did not know what to do then and at least now we have a better idea, but people on the ground need to be told." Western experts in the threat of chemical and biological weapons conducted three days of training for 32 activists, mainly medics, who made the challenging trip out of Syria. In classrooms run by the organisation No Peace Without Justice, the Syrians were painstakingly taken through a framework of chemical weapons experiences.Continua
Senussi trial in Libya “new potential” for country’s justice system, says NGO
By Libya Herald, 12 Oct 2013
The ICC decision to authorise Libya to try Qaddafi’s former spy chief Abdullah Al-Senussi has been welcomed by International NGO No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ). “As the country has embarked on legislative reforms, the ICC ruling marks an historic opportunity for the Libyan authorities to demonstrate their ability to break with the legacy of impunity and abuses that typified Gaddafi’s rule,” said NPWJ Legal Counsel Alison Smith. She added that it gave Libya an opportunity to hold the trial “with a new respect for the rule of law and to meet the promise of justice and redress for the victims and their families.”Continua
Africa vs Int’l Court: Quotes on the court as leaders meet before trial of Kenya’s president
Associated Press / Washington Post, 11 Oct 2013
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Foreign ministers from around Africa on Friday meet at the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia to discuss Africa’s relationship with the International Criminal Court. The meeting comes a month before Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is scheduled to appear in The Hague, Netherlands court to answer charges of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in Kenya’s 2007-08 post-election violence that killed more than 1,000 people. Kenya’s parliament, in a nonbinding resolution, voted last month to pull out of the treaty that created the ICC, amid indications Kenyatta may not show up in The Hague for his November court case. Kenya has petitioned the court for Kenyatta to appear by video link.
There is growing criticism inside Africa that the ICC has only prosecuted Africans. On Saturday African heads of state and government meet on the ICC issue. Below are different views on Africa’s relationship to the ICC and Kenyatta’s judicial dilemma.
— “Needless to say, the work and functioning of the ICC should not be beyond scrutiny and improvement. However, considerations of withdrawal risk grave consequences for civilians in Africa, who tend to bear the brunt of serious crimes committed in violation of international law.” — Statement by 130 African and international civil society organizations.
— “Impunity for politically-motivated violence has been the norm in Kenya for far too long and, so far, the Kenyan authorities have failed to undertake any domestic accountability process to address the crimes committed during the post-election violence that rocked the country in late 2007 and early 2008.” Statement by No Peace Without Justice, a group promoting human rights and international justice.
The Hague: Charles Taylor Loses Appeal
Patriotic Vanguard (Sierra leone), 27 Sep 2013
Statement by Alison Smith, Legal Counsel and Director of the International Criminal Justice Program of No Peace Without Justice:
“No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) applaud the final judgement in the trial of Charles Taylor handed down today by the Appeals Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), which sends a deterrent and unequivocal message to leaders considering committing serious crimes in violation of international law: nobody is above the law and even those at the highest level will be held to account for their actions.
“Today’s decision, that we have all been waiting for since its indictment in 2003, marks an historic step in Sierra Leone’s long road towards achieving accountability for the horrors of the armed conflict as well as, crucially, providing justice and redress to the victims and populations affected by it. It also signals a major achievement for international criminal justice world-wide, being Charles Taylor the first former head of State whose case has been heard through to the appeals stage by an international tribunal since the Second World War and the Nuremburg trials. (...)"
UN, ITALIAN FM SPEAKS OUT AGAINST CHILD BRIDES
AnsaMed, 27 Sep 2013
The right to choose one's own spouse was recognised in 1946 in Article 16 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, but ''even today, too many women and girls are denied this right'', Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino told the UN Core Group of countries leading the campaign against forced marriage. ''The time has come for us to raise our voices and act with courage to underscore the seriousness of this human rights violation,'' she said in her speech. The meeting was held in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly and was organised by Core Group members Canada, the Netherlands, and Ghana. Italy joined the group recently.
''Up until now, the United Nations has deal with the issue as part of the Omnibus Resolutions, considering it within a large context'' that includes the struggle against violence against women and child abuse. ''But the issue is too important to be only one of many on a list,'' the minister said. It is also an issue that Bonino cares strongly about and which fits into a series of wide-ranging campaigns for women and their dignity, the minister told ANSA. ''It is a campaign that I have been following for years, alongside that against female genital mutilation, since these two horrible practices are linked and present in the same countries,'' she said, underscoring that ''forced marriages are a form of slavery.'' The practice is also widespread. In the 2000-2011 period, 34% of women in 41 developing countries between the ages of 20 and 24 were married before their 18th birthday. In 2010 some 67 million women found themselves in this situation, including 12% of whom were married before reaching age 15. ''We must raise our voices together with those of the victims of early and forced marriages and provide a political and legal framework to protect them,'' Minister Bonino said at the meeting in New York. She also said that Italy would continue to contribute to these efforts, as it does to other campaigns for the protection and promotion of human rights.
Sierra Leone: Charles Taylor appeals judgment is an historic step in the fight against impunity and signals imminent successful completion of SCSL mandate
Sierra Express Media, 26 Sep 2013
“Today’s decision, that we have all been waiting for since its indictment in 2003, marks an historic step in Sierra Leone’s long road towards achieving accountability for the horrors of the armed conflict as well as, crucially, providing justice and redress to the victims and populations affected by it. It also signals a major achievement for international criminal justice world-wide, being Charles Taylor the first former head of State whose case has been heard through to the appeals stage by an international tribunal since the Second World War and the Nuremburg trials.
By reflecting the utmost gravity of Charles Taylor’s crimes, the judgment and sentence handed down by the SCSL last year and upheld today, clearly mirrored the findings of the SCSL with regard to use of terror as prior modus operandi in the campaign undertaken by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), which was directed and supported by Charles Taylor before, during and after his Presidency. Instrumental to the Special Court’s findings of prima facie humanitarian law violations in the case of the RUF were the UN Human Rights Reports and the No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) Report based on its conflict mapping program conducted in Sierra Leone in 2000-2004, which were deemed “reliable and useful” for understanding “the background to or context of the conflict, as well as to make general findings”.
Onu: Bonino, ancora in troppi Paesi piaga spose bambine
ANSAmed, 26 Sep 2013
(ANSAmed) - NEW YORK, 26 SET - Il diritto di scegliere il proprio sposo e' riconosciuto sin dal 1946 nell'articolo 16 della Dichiarazione Universale dei Diritti Umani, ma ''ancora oggi, in troppi Paesi a donne e bambine questo diritto viene negato''. In un intervento ad una riunione del 'Core Group' dei Paesi che guidano la campagna conto il matrimonio forzato, il ministro degli esteri Emma Bonino e' stata chiara: ''E giunto il momento per noi di alzare la voce e agire con coraggio per sottolineare la gravita' di questa violazione dei diritti umani''. La riunione, che si e' svolta a New York a margine dei lavori dell'Assemblea generale dell'Onu, e' stata organizzato da Canada, Olanda, e Ghana, Paesi membri del 'Core Group' di cui di recente e' entrata a far parte anche l'Italia.
''Finora, le Nazioni Unite hanno affrontato la questione nell'ambito delle 'Omnibus Resolutions', considerandola in un ampio contesto'', che comprende la lotta alla violenza contro le donne e agli abusi sui bambini. ''Ma la questione e' troppo importante perche' sia solo una tra tante in una lista'', ha affermato il titolare della Farnesina.
Ed e' una questione a cui Bonino tiene particolarmente e che si inserisce nel filone delle grandi campagne a favore delle donne e della loro dignita', come ha ricordato il ministro parlando con l'Ansa. ''E' una campagna che ho seguito da anni e che e' andata in parallelo con la campagna per le mutilazioni genitali femminili, perche' molto spesso queste due pratiche nefaste si combinano e comunque sono presenti negli stessi Paesi'', ha detto, sottolineando che ''i matrimoni forzati sono una forma di schiavitu'''.
Ed e' anche un fenomeno drammaticamente diffuso. Nel periodo 2000-2011, il 34% delle donne in 41 Paesi in via di sviluppo tra e 20 e i 24 anni si e' sposata prima del compimento del 18/mo anno di eta'. Nel 2010 in questa condizione si trovavano 67 milioni di donne, di cui il 12% si sono sposate prima di aver compiuto 15 anni. ''Dobbiamo unire le nostre voci assieme alle vittime dei matrimoni precoci e forzati e fornire un quadro politico e legale per proteggerle'', ha affermato ancora il ministro Bonino nella riunione a New York, in cui ha anche ''assicurato che l'Italia continuera' a contribuire a questo sforzo, cosi' come in altre campagne dedicate alla protezione e alla promozione dei diritti umani''.
AU to debate ICC as Kenyatta/Ruto trial continues
By Laura Angela Bagnetto, RFI-English, 21 Sep 2013
The African Union says it will convene a meeting with African leaders in October regarding the trial of Kenya's president and vice-president at the International Criminal Court. President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice-President William Ruto are on trial for alleged crimes against humanity during 2007 post-election violence. Legal expert Alison Smith discusses how this will affect the ICC case. Listen to the interviewContinua
Southern towns could set transitional justice example
Libya Herald, Tripoli, 19 Sep 2013
Locals in Sebha and Brak have welcomed a weekend of transitional justice workshops held by international NGO No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) in the south of the country.
“One of the main things that came out of the workshops was that people in the south feel a bit neglected,” programme officer for NPWJ Rhiannon Smith told the Libya Herald. “They wanted to show the rest of Libya that they can start their own initiatives and set up a network of civil society organisations to promote transitional justice and be an example for Libya.”
NPWJ set up the workshops, which aimed to raise awareness of the concept of transitional justice and accountability, in response to a request from Libyan NGO Libya Ahrar. NPWJ arranged the trainers, which included a Libyan lawyer, and Libya Ahrar organised logistics and participants.
The first day attracted 20 people but word soon spread and on the second day there were 60. The workshops started a debate about what local people could usefully do to promote transitional justice and accountability, to see how this could then help achieve reconciliation.
Some of the recommendations participants from Brak came up with included strengthening the culture of transitional justice among tribal and religious leaders by organising custom-designed workshops, and supporting the role of women in spreading ideas and concepts.
Sebha attendees felt it was important to integrate victims and victims’ associations in the dialogue, as well exploiting modern means of communication, such as Facebook and Twitter, to spread ideas and information.
“With all its problems, the south could offer a solution in many ways, if it can find a way to deal with issues which will benefit the whole of Libya,” Smith said.
NPWJ, which campaigns for the protection and promotion of human rights, democracy, the Rule of Law and international justice, works directly with Libyan NGOs and government ministries in Libya.
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