17 February 2021 - NPWJ News Digest on International Criminal Justice

Articles

Fresh protests in Myanmar after Aung San Suu Kyi trial begins in secret
The Guardian , 17 Feb 2021

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Myanmar’s main city Yangon on Wednesday morning to voice their anger after the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi began ahead of schedule and without the knowledge or presence of her lawyer. Across Yangon, protesters marched with red flags signalling their support for their ousted leader, and carrying signs denouncing the military. Roads were blocked by sit down protests, and by drivers who held a “broken down” protest, parking their cars with bonnets open.

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Houthi offensive on Yemen's Marib threatens mass displacement, U.N. warns
Reuters, 16 Feb 2021

An offensive by Yemen’s Houthi group to take Marib city, the last stronghold of the internationally-recognised government, threatens to displace hundreds of thousands and complicate a renewed diplomatic push to end the war, U.N. officials say. The gas-rich region of Marib has been a refuge for hundreds of thousands of people fleeing violence during Yemen’s six-year-old war, expanding its main city rapidly. A frontline is now roughly 30 km (18 miles) away to the city’s west, a government official told Reuters, and humanitarian concerns are growing.
 

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ECHR backs Germany over probe into lethal Kunduz air attack
Al Jazeera, 16 Feb 2021

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that Germany thoroughly investigated a 2009 NATO bombing in Afghanistan that was ordered by a German commander and killed dozens of people. The decision by the Strasbourg-based court on Tuesday rejected a complaint by Afghan citizen Abdul Hanan, who lost two sons in the attack, that Germany did not fulfil its obligation to effectively investigate the incident.

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First for international justice: Finnish court opens war crimes trial in Liberia
RFI, 15 Feb 2021

A Finnish court has started trying a Sierra Leonean accused of war crimes allegedly committed in Liberia between 2001 and 2002. In a first-of-its kind move, the court will temporarily relocate to Liberia for part of the trial. Gibril Massaquoi had been living in exile in Finland for a decade. The charges associated with the alleged war crimes were brought against him in a Finnish court. Due to the logistical difficulties involved in moving witnesses to Finland, especially following the outbreak of Covid-19, the court decided to temporarily relocate to Liberia. 

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British human rights lawyer elected chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court
UN News , 12 Feb 2021

Criminal lawyer and human rights expert Karim Khan of the United Kingdom was elected on Friday to be the next Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). 

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Australia Should Stop Blocking International Justice in Israel and Palestine
Human Rights Watch, 11 Feb 2021

The International Criminal Court (ICC) last week handed down a historic ruling  confirming that the court’s prosecutor has the power to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity  in Palestine. After half a century of impunity since the Israeli occupation began, the ICC decision finally offers some real hope for justice, as crimes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip may now to be subject to a formal probe. So it was alarming to hear Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne slam the ICC’s decision, saying that Australia “does not recognize a State of Palestine,” has “deep concerns” with the ruling, and that the ICC “should not exercise jurisdiction in this matter.” While several other states also signaled their disagreement on the merits of this ruling, no other country to date has explicitly said the court should not exercise jurisdiction in this case.

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Joint letter condemns Egypt’s use of “terrorist entities list” designation to stifle peaceful activists
Project on Middle East Democracy, 10 Feb 2021

On February 9, 2021, a group of human rights organizations and lawyers submitted the following letter to the embassies of the United States, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The letter condemns Egypt’s application of the “terrorist entities list” designation as a means to stifle peaceful and protected expression of rights. An appeal hearing for human rights defender Ramy Shaath and former parliamentarian Ziad el Eleimy, who were added to the list last April, briefly took place today, but the court postponed its decision until March 10. We were happy to see that representatives from several embassies attended the hearing and urge their continued engagement.

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