17 July 2019 - NPWJ News Digest on International Criminal Justice


Standing with Victims on International Justice Day
Human Rights Watch, 17 Jul 2019

21 Years On, International Criminal Court Needed More Than Ever. Twenty-one years ago today, 120 countries adopted the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), creating a permanent international court to hold perpetrators of the world’s gravest crimes to account. The anniversary is a moment to reflect on the successes and challenges of bringing justice to victims over the past year. With armed conflicts raging across the globe and devastating civilian populations, demand for accountability is growing. 


For Afghans, International Justice Day is little cause for celebration
The New Arab, 17 Jul 2019

As a permanent, independent and international court, the ICC was meant to signal that no one is above the law. It was intended to be a court that victims could turn to, should justice elude them domestically. Afghanistan has experienced decades of war, marked by successive and relentless periods of conflict since 1978. In 2018 alone, the UN reported a record 11,000 recorded civilian deaths. Another UN report indicates that a large number of cases of alleged human rights violations involve senior state officials. Similarly, crimes of torture linked to the conflict in Afghanistan, allegedly committed by United States (US) armed forces and CIA officials in what are known as the black sites and in Guantanamo Bay, remain unpunished. Torture, the oppression of women and girls and suicide attacks have become daily feature of life in Afghanistan, with renewed fears that the Taliban could abandon talks and upset the fragile gains that women have made in the last 18 years.


Rohingya crisis: ICC team in Dhaka
Dhaka Tribune, 16 Jul 2019

A delegation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) have arrived in Dhaka to discuss the Rohingya crisis. They landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport around 8:54am on Tuesday and will leave Dhaka on July 22. The delegation-- headed by ICC Deputy Prosecutor James Kirkpatrick Stewart-- will talk to senior government officials and representatives of international organizations over the Rohingya issue. They will also hold meetings with officials of the Law and Home ministries and visit the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar to see the situation on the ground, officials said. The prosecutor of the ICC has already requested its judges to authorize an investigation into alleged crimes like deportation, other inhumane acts and persecution committed against Rohingyas. 


Italy's far-right Salvini moves to round up Roma, Sinti
Deutsche Welle, 16 Jul 2019

Interior Minister Salvini has asked regional officials to draw up maps of "illegal settlements." Non-Italians are to be sent back to their countries of origin. Italy's far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini circulated an order on Tuesday for the ministry's regional offices to prepare "a report on the presence of Roma, Sinti and Camminanti settlements" in their areas in the next two weeks, Italian media reported. The maps are part of Salvini's campaign to "verify the presence of illegal camps to draw up an eviction plan." Roma, Sinti, and Camminanti are traditionally nomadic ethnic groups that have lived in Europe for hundreds of years.


Remembering Rome: The Case for Civil Society Engagement in ICC Review
International Justice Monitor, 16 Jul 2019

Wednesday, July 17, marks the World Day of International Justice, a day to celebrate the adoption of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on July 17, 1998. While much fanfare attended last year’s events – to mark the Statute’s twentieth anniversary – this year the mood is likely to be more subdued. Despite the recognition enjoyed by the court as a central pillar of the international justice system to fight impunity for the most serious crimes, the ICC and its supporters face a period of introspection following a series of controversial outcomes, questions about competence, and the perception that the court as an institution is unmoored and politically weakened.