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July 2015
Editor-in-Chief: Nicola Giovannini
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 Highlights

Libya’s missed opportunity: flawed penalties follow flawed trials
 

On 28 July 2015, the Tripoli Court of Assize sentenced Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Abdullah al-Senussi and seven others to death for war crimes and acts to crush peaceful protests committed during the revolution in Libya in 2011 that led to the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi. Twenty-three other ex‑officials received terms of imprisonment, while four were acquitted and one referred to a medical institution. Mr Gaddafi was not present during the trial or sentencing, as he is being held in Zintan by the local militia, who refuse to recognise the authority of the central government to prosecute him. Both Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah al-Senussi are subject to an International Criminal Court arrest warrant; in 2014, the ICC ruled that Mr Senussi’s case was inadmissible before it, since he was being tried in Libya, while the Court ordered the Libyan authorities to surrender Mr Gaddafi for trial before it in The Hague.
 
Since the beginning of the revolution some four years ago, No Peace Without Justice and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty, have consistently advocated for accountability in Libya as a means to overcome the legacy of impunity and abuses that typified Muammar Gaddafi’s rule. We looked to the Libyan authorities to implement a new approach based on respect for human rights, also as a real signal of a break with the past, and to the international community to support Libya along this path towards realising justice and redress for the victims and their families.
 
Sadly, today’s verdict and the flawed process leading to it show that the promise of the revolution, filled with hope for a new future where human rights are respected in Libya, has yet to be fulfilled. The trials were flawed by a number of due process violations, in particular the fact that most defendants were denied access to a lawyer, both pre-trial and during the trial itself, alongside allegations of mistreatment while in detention. We can only hope that these violations are given the consideration they deserve during any appeal, which itself is guaranteed by Libyan law. At the very least, they cast a long shadow over the verdicts and the sentences that were handed down today.
 
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Alison Smith is Legal Counsel and Director of the International Criminal Justice Program of No Peace Without Justice

International Justice Day: NPWJ and NRPTT call for stronger commitment to the fight against impunity
 

For more than a decade, No Peace Without Justice and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) have celebrated International Justice Day as an important milestone in the history of the world, particularly for the victims of crimes under international law. On this day, on which the ICC was born through the adoption of its Statute in 1998, we commemorate this moment with our partners and with everyone involved with the fight against impunity, including the ICC itself. 

Today is a moment for reflection, to consider the impact of international justice efforts on victims and on populations that have suffered conflict and periods of intense political violence. Sadly, in the past year, the challenges seem to outweigh the achievements; without a shift within the international community to prioritise justice and redress, it seems the year ahead may be beset with the same or similar challenges. As we said last year, for there to be real progress in the fight against impunity, two things need to happen. First, States need to take every opportunity to publicly reaffirm their commitment against any attempt to embrace impunity, wherever it threatens to occur, then they need to stand by those words and make accountability happen. Second, and equally important, the victims and populations that have suffered directly and indirectly from crimes under international law need to be front and centre in the justice process: they are not an “add-on” or a luxury, they are the very reason why we fight impunity at all.
 
The fighting in Syria – and the deliberate targeting of civilians – passed its fourth anniversary in March. This is the fifth year since the conflict began in 2011 that the world has failed to end the appalling suffering that disproportionately affects civilians, particularly women and children. Despite lofty words, the international community has failed to prioritise accountability and failed to harness the possibilities it heralds to help bring a peaceful, political settlement to the conflict. If anything, in the past year, the people of Syria have faced even greater threats, with the emergence of ISIS on Syrian territory, further crushing civilians with ever-increasing brutality and leaving them less space to live their lives and less possibility for the new generation of Syrians to grow up in a peaceful world that guarantees their rights. Those members of the international community that continue to block accountability should hang their heads in shame and take a moment to consider the suffering that their actions allow to continue with impunity.
 
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Sierra Leone: NPWJ welcomes the Government’s motion that led to the ratification of the Maputo Protocol
 

On 2 July 2015 the Parliament of Sierra Leone ratified the AU Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, also known as the Maputo Protocol. The Government Motion was passed unanimously after a marathon debate, ten years after the entry into force of the Protocol, and makes Sierra Leone the last of the countries of West Africa to ratify this document.
 
Since its adoption, the Protocol has being hailed as one of the most progressive women’s rights instruments globally, as it contains specific provisions banning violence and discrimination against women (articles 2 and 4), female genital mutilations (FGM) and other harmful traditional practices (article 5).The Protocol also promotes – inter alia – women’s participation to the political process (article 9), education and training (article 12) and health and reproductive rights (article 14).
 
No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT), welcome this ratification as a significant milestone in the country’s legal struggle to protect women’s rights. We congratulate the Government of Sierra Leone for having kept its promise to ratify the Protocol, and encourage the other 14 AU member countries that have signed but have not yet ratified to follow the example set by Sierra Leone. We also acknowledge the important role of civil society organizations – in particular Manifesto 99 in Sierra Leone, as well as Equality Now, SOAWR and others more widely – which have persistently called for the ratification of the Protocol and the full respect of international human rights standards.
 
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Alvilda Jablonko is Gender and Human Rights Program Coordinator of No Peace Without Justice

 NPWJ events

Conference on the Rule of Law and the Right to Know
 

On 27 July 2015,  the Nonviolent Radical Party, Hands Off Cain and No Peace Without Justice have convened the international conference: Universality of Human Rights for the transition towards the Rule of Law and the affirmation of the Right to Know. The event, organised with the official endorsement of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, took place at the Italian Senate in Rome.
 
Participants included the Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Benedetto Della Vedova, the Minister of Justice of Niger Marou Amadou, the Secretary of State at the Tunisian Ministry of Finance Boutheina Ben Yaghlane, former Algerian Prime Minister Sid Ahmed Ghozali, former Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Giulio Terzi, Member of the Icelandic Parliament Birgitta Jonsdottir, French Senator André Gattolin, Secretary of Radicali Italiani Rita Bernardini, professor Jianli Yang, Furio Colombo, Aldo Masullo, and Marco Pannella.
 
The purpose of the conference was discuss further the  political modalities and guidelines of the campaign, launched one year and a half ago, and aimed at the affirmation of the Right to Know as a human right at the UN and to promote the common transition towards the Rule of Law of the European and Arab-Muslim world. Previous initiatives organised in the framework of this campaign were the Brussels Conference on “Rule of Law versus Reason of State”, held at the European Parliament in Brussels in February 2014, and the subsequent presentations held in Geneva, London, Paris, Rome and Naples.
 
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Syria: Exhibition of ‘Caesar’ Photographs – “Inside Syrian Authorities’ Prisons”
 

From 13 to 16 July 2015, the European Parliament hosted 35 photographs of the Caesar Exhibition. This project displays photographs of detainees’ bodies transferred from the Syrian regime’s prisons and detention centres to military Hospitals 607 and 601 where former military policeman of the Syrian army – known by the pseudonym “Caesar” – was assigned to photograph and document the bodies.
 
Caesar fled Syria in 2013 and smuggled out over 55,000 photos of approximately 11,000 Syrians tortured by the Assad regime since the start of the Syrian revolution in March 2011. The bodies show evidence of physical injury of the sort that would result from starvation, brutal beating, strangulation and other forms of torture and killing. The 11,000 victims photographed represent only a fraction of the systematic torture and killing that take place inside Syrian regime’s prisons. The Caesar photographs were analysed by a first-rate legal and forensic team in early 2014 and then shared with and processed by the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry (COI) which cited them as clear evidence of systematic human rights violations by the Assad regime.
 
The exhibition was co-sponrored by MEPs from different political groups (Alyn Smith (Greens/EFA); Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (EPP); Marietje Schaake (ALDE); Vincent Peillon (S&D); Fabio Massimo Castaldo (EFDD); Ana Gomes (S&D); Antonio Panzeri (S&D); and Ignazio Corrao (EFDD)) and organised in cooperation with Syrian Association for Missing and Conscience Detainees, National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, Euro-Syrian Democratic Forum, and No Peace Without Justice.
 
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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.

Listen to the episodes

 NPWJ press releases

Libya’s missed opportunity: flawed penalties follow flawed trials
Brussels, Rome – 28 July 2015

Conference on the Rule of Law and the Right to Know
Rome, Italian Senate, 27 July 2015

Syria: NPWJ convenes meeting on transitional justice and accountability with Stephen Rapp
Gaziantep, Turkey, 27 July 2015

International Justice Day: NPWJ and NRPTT call for stronger commitment to the fight against impunity
Brussels - Rome - New York, 17 July 2015

Syria: Exhibition of ‘Caesar’ Photographs – “Inside Syrian Authorities’ Prisons”
European Parliament, Brussels, 13-16 July 2015

Genocide denial at UN Security Council
Brussels – Rome, 8 July 2015

Sierra Leone: NPWJ welcomes the Government’s motion that led to the ratification of the Maputo Protocol
Brussels - Rome, 8 July 2015

Press Conference on "Reinforcing the Role of Women in the Middle East and North Africa"
Milan, Italy, North-West Cardo, 1st floor – EXPO 2015, 6 July 2015

Italian Campaign for the IRPEF Contribution

UN / Geneva: NPWJ and NRPTT convene Side Event on "Syria after tyranny: achieving a democratic and pluralistic future"
Geneva, UNHRC, Palais des Nations, 25 June 2015

UN / Geneva: NPWJ and Sentinel Human Rights Defenders convene Side Event on “Single Mothers and the Architecture of Confinement in Ireland”
Geneva, UNHRC, Palais des Nations, 24 June 2015

 NPWJ in the news


 

L’universalità dei diritti umani: per fortuna ci sono i Radicali
Valter Vecellio, Cronache del Garantista, 27 July 2015

Opinion: European Federalism and Missed Opportunities
By Emma Bonino, Inter Press Service (IPS), 24 July 2015

Tra segreto di Stato e Diritto alla conoscenza
di Domenico Letizia, L'Opinione, 23 July 2015

Genocidio di Srebrenica, la Russia di Putin mette il veto all’Onu
Agenzi Radicale, 9 July 2015

Expo: diritti economici della donne in Africa e Mo, Unido li vuole sostenere
ONUITALIA, 7 July 2015

SYRIA: Exhibition of ‘Caesar’ Photographs – “Inside Syrian Authorities’ Prisons”
EurActiv, 7 July 2015

Expo: progetto per rafforzare ruolo donna in Medio oriente e nord Africa
Il Tempo / ADN Kronos, 6 July 2015

Qatari mission at UN office holds event on Syria’s future
Gulf Times, 27 June 2015

Giustizia: diritti umani, una sfida impossibile se non c'è "conoscenza"
di Domenico Letizia, Il Garantista / Ristretti Orizzonti, 23 June 2015

No business as usual as Al-Bashir flees South Africa
CICC Global Justice Newsletter, 16 June 2015

L’Egitto instabile
OltreRadio, 15 June 2015

Sheikh Salman detention absurd, unnecessary
Press TV, 10 June 2015

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