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December 2014
Editor-in-Chief: Nicola Giovannini
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 Highlights

Worldwide Ban on Female Genital Mutilation: UNGA resolution adopted today signals increased support to address this human rights violation
 

On 18 December 2014, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a Resolution which reaffirms its call to ban FGM worldwide. The Resolution [A/C.3/69/L.22], was cosponsored by the Group of African States and an additional 71 Member States, and was adopted by consensus by all UN members. The UN General Assembly had taken a first strong stance on this issue on 20 December 2012 by adopting the Resolution A/RES/67/146, which was hailed by the Ban FGM campaign, a coalition of African and European NGOs created thanks to the initiative of No Peace Without Justice.
 
No Peace without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) welcome the adoption of this new Resolution to universally ban female genital mutilation (FGM). The increasing number of countries promoting the Resolution - 21 more than in 2012 - is a sign of a growing consensus among States willing to take effective action to bring an end to FGM as a serious and wide-scale violation of the rights of women and girls.
 
As reaffirmed in the Resolution adopted today, all States should take all necessary measures, including enacting and enforcing legislation, to prohibit female genital mutilations and to protect women and girls from this form of violence, and to hold perpetrators to account. This is also an explicit and strong signal of support to all activists working from the grass-roots to the policy level and advocating for clear and effective national legislation to unequivocally ban FGM in their respective countries.
 
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Alvilda Jablonko is FGM Program Coordinator of No Peace Without Justice

13th ICC Assembly of States Parties: Statement by No Peace Without Justice
 

It is an honour for me to address this Assembly of States Parties of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in the name of No Peace Without Justice. We look forward to continue working with you over the coming years in our mutual commitment to improve the work of the Court, and of the Assembly, in the service of victims and communities affected by armed conflict and political upheaval.
 
This year – as in past years – sees a real need for States Parties to continue to uphold and defend the integrity of the Rome Statute. As an Assembly and as the States that have established this international criminal justice system, you have a responsibility to support it and make sure it works efficiently and effectively. In so doing, you should always have the long-term goal firmly in your minds: what actions can we take now that will help the ICC discharge its mandate to provide justice and redress both now and in the long-term.
 

Among other things, this means finding ways to help the Court streamline its budget while ensuring it has the resources it needs. It means adopting strong language on cooperation and supporting tools to promote cooperation, including the guidelines on non-essential contacts and a pilot coordinating mechanism of national authorities. It means supporting outreach, at a policy level and within the regular budget of the Court. It means supporting the Court to become a field-based institution, close to the people affected by its work, which will help realise efficiencies and increase the impact of the Court’s work. More broadly, it includes supporting efforts like those to have the situation in Syria referred to the ICC.

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*  Alison Smith is Legal Counsel and Director of International criminal Justice Program of No Peace Without Justice

Sudan: NPWJ and NRPTT strongly condemn arbitrary arrest of human rights lawyer Dr. Medani and call for his immediate release
 

On Saturday 6 December 2014, Dr Amin Mekki  Medani, a renowned Sudanese human rights activist and President of the Confederation of Sudanese Civil Society Organisations and a number of other people were arrested in Khartoum by Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS). The arrests followed their return from Addis Ababa where they had signed the Sudan Call, “a political declaration on the establishment of a state of citizenship and democracy”.
 
No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) firmly condemn the arbitrary arrest and ongoing detention of prominent human rights defender Dr. Amin Mekki Medani. We insist that the Sudanese authorities ensure his immediate and unconditional release. We stand in solidarity with Dr. Medani and praise his legitimate commitment to work towards the end of the conflicts raging in different regions of Sudan and towards the establishment of fair institutions based on the rule of law.
 
These arrests are the latest demonstration of the Sudanese government's long-standing repressive policies against those whose only “crime” is to advocate openly and peacefully for meaningful democratic reforms and the respect of human rights in Sudan. It is also a blatant reminder that the Sudanese regime, led by President Omar al-Bashir, who is also subject to an ICC arrest warrant for crimes in Darfur, is not serious about engaging in a dialogue to find peaceful solutions.
 
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Niccolò Figà-Talamanca is Secretary-General of No Peace Without Justice

Withdrawal of Kenyatta charges signals need for overhaul of ICC investigations
 

In a decision issued on 5 december 2014, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court today withdrew the charges against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta for crimes against humanity committed during the post‑election violence in Kenya in 2007-2008. The move followed an Appeals Chamber decision on 3 December directing the Prosecution either to withdraw charges or indicate its readiness to proceed to trial.
 
The best that can be said is that the Prosecutor did not delay the inevitable – and that at least the withdrawal of charges is without prejudice to the possibility of bringing new charges against President Kenyatta at a later date, should the Prosecutor obtain sufficient evidence to do so. We are clearly disappointed, having worked so closely with the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights on initial collection of evidence back in early 2008, but that is nothing compared with how the victims of crimes in this case must be feeling.
 
The writing has been on the wall for some time, since the Prosecutor first announced several months ago that she lacked sufficient evidence to prove President Kenyatta’s responsibility beyond a reasonable doubt. While we respect – and agree with – the Prosecution’s complaints about non-cooperation by the Kenyan authorities, the lack of evidence points more to a failure of the previous investigative strategy of the Office of the Prosecutor. The evidence is out there, the question is why the OTP did not have it before charges were proffered.
 
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*  Alison Smith is Legal Counsel and Director of International criminal Justice Program of No Peace Without Justice

 NPWJ events

13th ASP to the ICC: NPWJ convenes a side event on “Accountability for Human Rights Violations in Libya”
 

On the occasion of the 13th session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in New York, No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) in partnership with the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) held a side event on “Accountability for Human Rights Violations in Libya”, on Friday 12 December 2014, at the United Nation Headquarters, in New York. Speakers included Salam Ali Tekbali, Lawyer, National Economic and Social Development Board; Thomas Ebbs, London Programmes Coordinator, Lawyers for Justice in Libya; Ahmed El Gasir, Senior researcher, Human Rights Solidarity (HRS);  Stéphanie David, FIDH Representative to the United Nations.
 
Libya ostensibly has both national and international transitional justice processes to address past and ongoing violations, including ongoing national criminal proceedings, a law establishing the Fact Finding and Reconciliation Commission fact-finding commission and a case before the International Criminal Court. To date, however, none of these mechanisms have been able to provide any form of meaningful justice or redress for victims. This side event provided an opportunity for Libyan civil society leaders to discuss the prospects of whether and how the ICC can continue to represent a pivot of the Libyan transition, and what role the Court, the Libyan authorities, other governments and civil society can play to ensure that the expectation of impunity for atrocities does not continue to substitute violence to a peaceful political process, but it is replaced by an expectation and a reality of accountability for human rights violations and redress for victims.
 
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Human Rights Day: NPWJ convenes a side event on “Accountability for Syria: Options and Preparations” at the 13th ASP to the ICC
 

Human Rights Day is observed annually on 10 December, to highlight the fundamental rights that all people are entitled to as a global community. On this occasion, No Peace Without Justice held a side event on “Accountability for Syria: Options and Preparations”, in the framework of the 13th session of the Assembly of States Parties(ASP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) held in New York. Speakers included Christian Wenaweser, Permanent Representative of Liechtenstein to the UN; Radwan Ziadeh, Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies; William Spencer, Founder and Director of Institute for International Law and Human Rights.
 
Panelists highlighted how the situation in Syria since March 2011 is getting worse by the day: violations continue to increase in scope and intensity, particularly with the increasingly emboldened actions of the so-called “Caliphate of the Islamic State”. The dire situation for civilians is exacerbated by a culture of almost complete impunity. Almost four years since the beginning of hostilities, there are no national efforts for accountability in any shape or form and international efforts, including attempted referrals to the International Criminal Court, have been blocked, with no apparent solution in easy sight. Eventually, there must be accountability, to respond to the aspirations of the Syrian people for justice and to provide redress for the victims and there is a pressing need to work with legitimate representatives of the Syrian people to prepare for accountability at the national and international levels, as part of a political and social transition from conflict to a viable, democratic and pluralistic State.
 
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 NPWJ on Radio Radicale

Have Breakfast with No Peace Without Justice
 

No Peace Without Justice and Radio Radicale, the foremost Italian nationwide all-news radio, have an ongoing partnership to provide news and information on our activities to a broad Italian audience. This partnership features an in-depth weekly program on NPWJ’s current campaigns and activities. The program is broadcast in Italian every Friday morning immediately before the main news summary.

The last episodes focus mainly on the 13th Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court, held in New York in the last weeks. Gianluca Eramo, member of the NPWJ’s delegation that participated in the ASP, talks about the two side events, one on Libya and one on Syria, organised by NPWJ. Niccolò Figà-Talamanca, NPWJ Secretary, comments the organisational and political aspects of the event, focusing on the developments of Kenyatta case and on the first Palestina’s participation in the Assembly as a State. In addition, a focus on FGM is provided by Alvilda Jablonko, commenting the recent adoption by the UNGA of a new Resolution Banning FGM.

Listen to the episodes

 NPWJ press releases

Worldwide Ban on Female Genital Mutilation: UNGA resolution adopted today signals increased support to address this human rights violation
UN General Assembly, 69th Session, New York, 18 December 2014

13th ASP to the ICC: NPWJ contributes to side event “Making Justice Visible - Exploring the impact of ICC outreach and communications”
United Nation Headquarters, New York, 16 December 2014

13th ICC Assembly of States Parties: Statement by No Peace Without Justice
Delivered by Alison Smith, International Criminal Justice Director, New York, 15 December 2014

13th ASP to the ICC: NPWJ convenes a side event on “Accountability for Human Rights Violations in Libya”
New York, 12 December 2014

Human Rights Day: NPWJ convenes a side event on “Accountability for Syria: Options and Preparations” at the 13th ASP to the ICC
New York, 10 December 2014

Joint statement / Syria: No word on four abducted activists. A year on, no information on Douma Four
9 December 2014

Sudan: NPWJ and NRPTT strongly condemn arbitrary arrest of human rights lawyer Dr. Medani and call for his immediate release
Brussels – Rome – New York, 8 December 2014

Withdrawal of Kenyatta charges signals need for overhaul of ICC investigations
Brussels - Rome - New York, 5 December 2014

Final ICC decision in the Thomas Lubanga case: an opportunity to demonstrate lasting commitment to children and their rights
Brussels-Rome-New York, 2 December 2014

FGM / No Peace Without Justice: the anti-FGM front at the United Nations grows bigger
Roma - Bruxelles - New York, 26 novembre 2014

 NPWJ in the news


 

Violenza donne: da Onu nuovo no a mutilazioni femminili
Onultalia, 18 December 2014

Mutilazioni genitali, la messa al bando
di Domenico Letizia, L'Opinione, 18 December 2014

Kenya: Withdrawal of Kenyatta Charges Signals Need for Overhaul of ICC Investigations
All Africa / Pambazuka News, 11 December 2014

ICC drops charges against Kenya’s Kenyatta
By Mike Corder, Associated Press, 5 December 2014

MGF: Cresce all'ONU il consenso contro le mutilazioni genitali femminili
Sabrina Gasparrini*, La Voce di New York, 26 November 2014

No alle mutilazioni genitali (grazie anche all’Italia)
Onultalia, 25 November 2014

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Your contributions will make a real difference and help us in our endeavour to promote accountability and redress for the victims of crimes under international law, to support women’s rights advocates in their fight against Female Genital Mutilation as one of the most widespread and systematic violations of the human right to personal integrity, and to support the role of human rights and democracy activists in the Middle East and North Africa Region.

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