08 May 2019 - NPWJ News Digest on International Criminal Justice


The ICC Decision Not To Investigate US War Crimes In Afghanistan Makes A Mockery Of International Justice
The Organization for World Peace, 07 May 2019

The International Criminal Court stated that it would not investigate alleged war crimes committed by United States troops in Afghanistan since 2003. The rejection was voted unanimously by a pre-trial chamber on 12th April on grounds that “the current circumstances of the situation in Afghanistan are such as to make the prospects for a successful investigation and prosecution extremely limited.” This was despite the fact that the ICC had established “reasonable basis” for the claims and that the “relevant requirements [were] met as regards both jurisdiction and admissibility.”


A Confusing ICC Appeals Judgment on Head-of-State Immunity
Just Security, 07 May 2019

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) delivered its much-anticipated judgment yesterday on whether then-President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan was entitled to head-of-state immunity when he travelled to Jordan in March 2017. Given that the Darfur situation had been referred to the ICC by the United Nations Security Council, the outcome was not a surprise – the Court concluded that Bashir had not been entitled to immunity and that Jordan was obliged to arrest him. This is the correct outcome, as a matter of both law and policy. However, the means by which the Appeals Chamber arrived at this decision was unusual.


Venezuela: Strong institutions needed to address organised crime
Transparency International, 06 May 2019

Imagine living in a country where you have to bring a backpack full of cash to buy the most basic food, if there’s any available to buy. To get to a hospital with adequate health standards and supplies of medicine, you have to travel hundreds of miles and cross borders, while the infrastructure in your country is crumbling, and power outages can last for days. For the vast majority of Venezuelans, scenarios like these have become reality in recent years. The country is suffering one of its worst humanitarian crises, which has caused over 2 million people to flee the country since 2014. Corruption in the top echelons of the Venezuelan government has not only led to extreme social and economic instability, but also weakened the state institutions that are meant to protect citizens. This becomes especially clear when one looks at the way organised crime networks can act with impunity all over the country.


Côte d’Ivoire: UN Review Should Press Government on Justice
Human Rights Watch, 06 May 2019

Countries participating in the United Nations review of Côte d’Ivoire’s human rights record should question the government’s failure to deliver justice to victims of 2010-11 post-election abuses, Human Rights Watch said today. On May 7, 2019, Côte d’Ivoire will undergo its third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.


Guatemala: Open letter to the presidential candidates in the republic of Guatemala
Amnesty International, 06 May 2019

Amnesty International sends an open letter to the presidential candidates in Guatemala to draw their attention to the most pressing human rights issues in the country and to ask them to make a public commitment to take action to promote human rights and those who defend them in case they are elected.


The International Criminal Court Is in Danger of Being Bullied Into Irrelevance
World Politics Review, 02 May 2019

In mid-April, a panel of judges at the International Criminal Court rejected Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request to open an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity that may have been committed during the long U.S. war in Afghanistan. Ahead of the decision, the Trump administration had waged an aggressive campaign against the case, which threatened to reveal atrocities committed by U.S. forces, including American troops and Central Intelligence Agency officials. Though the ICC judges acknowledged that war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed in Afghanistan, they determined that a successful investigation was not feasible. Essentially, they acknowledged that ongoing U.S. intransigence was likely to derail the investigation.