20 April 2022 - NPWJ News Digest on International Criminal Justice


Central African Republic war crimes trial postponed after lawyer no-show
Reuters, 20 Apr 2022

The inaugural trial of a court established to prosecute war crimes in Central African Republic's drawn-out conflict was postponed on its first day on Tuesday when lawyers for defendants boycotted proceedings. The trial is related to the massacre of 46 civilians in the northern villages of Koundjili and Lemouna in May 2019, killings prosecutors say were carried out by the 3R rebel group. Three members of the group have been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.The defendants' lawyers failed to show on Tuesday, the exact reason for which was unclear. Joseph Bindoumi, president of the Central African League for Human Rights, told Reuters it was over a dispute about the treatment of the defenders.



Central African Republic’s Special Criminal Court To Hear Its First Trial
Forbes, 19 Apr 2022

On April 19, 2022, the Central African Republic's Special Criminal Court (CAR Special Criminal Court) was to hear its first trial. The trial was to come seven years after the creation of the court and four years after it became fully operational. However, the trial had to be postponed after defense attorneys failed to show up in an apparent boycott of the trial. The trial is now scheduled for April 25, 2022The CAR Special Criminal Court is a domestic court, based in Bangui, made up of national and international judges and prosecutors from France, Togo and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was created with the backing of the United Nations, operates in partnership with the United Nations, and has primacy over other courts in CAR. The court became operational in 2018, with its inaugural hearing held on October 22, 2018. The court has a mandate for five years (from October 2018). Subsequently, it can be renewed only once, for a maximum of 10 years. 



Ireland to give €3 million funding boost to International Criminal Court
Irish Legal News, 19 Apr 2022

Ireland has agreed to provide an additional €3 million in funding to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The funding announcement, made by foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney on a visit to Kyiv last week, includes €1 million to be disbursed immediately to the Office of the Prosecutor.The funding announcement, made by foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney on a visit to Kyiv last week, includes €1 million to be disbursed immediately to the Office of the Prosecutor.



The International Criminal Court Prosecutor Declares Ukraine a “Crime Scene”
Impakter, 19 Apr 2022

The Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court has declared Ukraine a" crime scene" and said there are “reasonable grounds” to believe war crimes have been committed after hundreds of bodies were recovered in Bucha following the retreat of Russian troops. This statement is significant in that it reflects the authority of the ICC to conduct its own investigations into genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression. 


Rep. Ilhan Omar: Accountability For Russia Means Abandoning U.S. ‘Hypocrisy’
HuffPost, 13 Apr 2022

The Congresswoman revealed a proposal to make America a member of the International Criminal Court and revoke a Bush-era measure that undermines it.Mounting evidence of widespread Russian atrocities in Ukraine is spurring the Biden administration and lawmakers from both parties to demand justice at a global level — specifically, at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Now , rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is challenging them to boost that prospect by making the U.S. a member of the court and repealing a George W. Bush-era law that requires the U.S. to block the court from investigating Americans.




EU to help ICC investigate war crimes in Ukraine — as it happened
Deutsche Welle, 12 Apr 2022

The EU will provide funding and support to the prosecutors of the International Criminal Court to help document apparent war crimes in Ukraine and keep Russia responsible, said the EU's Josep Borrell. EU's joint police agency Europol has launched a new operation "targeting criminal assets owned by individuals and legal entities sanctioned in relation to the Russian invasion of Ukraine." The agency said the umbrella operation, dubbed "Oscar", would see Europol agents centralize and analyze information on several different investigations. The statement did not provide specifics beyond saying Oscar would continue for at least a year.