22 May 2019 - NPWJ News Digest on International Criminal Justice


The Global Initiative at the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
ReliefWeb, 21 May 2019

Next week (20–24 May), UN member states and civil-society groups will gather in Vienna for the annual session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) at the headquarters of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime will be taking an active role at the CCPCJ, hosting events on a wide range of issues, such as environmental crime, organized crime in the Sahel and the Western Balkans, the review mechanism of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and – most importantly – presenting the launch of our new Resilience Fund against organized crime.


UN Court Urged to Block Serbian War Criminal’s Release
Balkan Transitional Justice, 20 May 2019

The family of the Albanian-American Bytyqi brothers said on Monday that they are launching a campaign against the potential early release next month of Vlastimir Djordjevic, a former high-ranking Serbian interior ministry official, who they suspect was involved in their relatives’ deaths. “Until the day Vlastimir Djordjevic demonstrates rehabilitation and substantial cooperation with the Office of the Prosecutor by: helping locate other mass graves, cooperating in ongoing criminal investigations related to the cover-up operations, and making sworn and truthful statements about the Bytyqi brothers murders, he should not be released,” the family argued in a letter to the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals.


A Philosopher of Law on the Dangers of Trump’s Plan to Pardon American War Criminals
The New Yorker, 20 May 2019

On Saturday, the Times reported that President Trump has requested paperwork that would allow him to quickly pardon several Americans who have been accused or convicted of war crimes, and who have become causes célèbres on Fox News. They include a former Green Beret who has been charged with murdering a man in Afghanistan and a Navy SEAL platoon chief who has been accused of murdering multiple people in Iraq, including a schoolgirl walking along a river, and whose trial is scheduled to begin next week. A third potential exoneree is part of a group of former Blackwater military contractors who were found guilty of murdering fourteen unarmed Iraqis in 2007. The Times reports that Trump is pursuing an expedited pardon process so that he can officially pardon these men over Memorial Day weekend.


Sri Lanka: Impunity fuels recurrence of violence
Amnesty International, 18 May 2019

On the tenth anniversary of the end of Sri Lanka’s three decade-long internal armed conflict, Amnesty International calls on the government of Sri Lanka to end impunity and put accountability for crimes under international law and human rights violations and abuses at the heart of its transitional justice process. The horrific Easter Sunday attacks on 21 April 2019, that killed more than 250 people at three churches and three hotels, and the attacks that followed in its aftermath, are a reminder of the violence continues to haunt Sri Lanka.


ICC Prosecutor Signals Important Strategy Shift in New Policy Document
Just Security, 17 May 2019

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, has released for comment a draft of her Strategic Plan for the final years of her mandate, 2019-2021. Overall, the plan shows that the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) is frankly seeking to confront and meet the many challenges that the Court has encountered over the last few years. The most significant change in policy is with respect to the types of cases the OTP will consider bringing.