International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

What Next, For the Victims of Kenya’s Post-Election Violence?

Please find below a commentary written by Emily Kenney, a consultant on transitional justice at UN Women. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

On April 5, 2016, Trial Chamber V of the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided by majority to terminate the case against William Samoie Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang. The defendants had been accused of crimes against humanity in relation to Kenya’s 2007-2008 post-election violence. While the ICC may never determine the identity of those responsible for these crimes (the Ruto and Sang decision is currently open for appeal, and the ICC’s investigation in Kenya is still technically ongoing), there is no doubt that the … Continue Reading

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Defense and Prosecution Ask for Mali Trial to Start in August

Both the defense and prosecution have asked trial judges to start the International Criminal Court (ICC) trial of Malian Islamic rebel leader Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi in late August or early September.

A trial date was one of the issues discussed during a status conference Trial Chamber VIII held on May 24. The purpose of the status conference was for the judges to ask questions on the submissions the defense and prosecution made last week. The two parties made a joint written submission on May 19 following an order by Trial Chamber VIII’s Single Judge Raul C. Pangalangan. The joint submission was filed under confidential cover, but Judge Pangalangan, the defense, and prosecution referred to parts of it during the … Continue Reading

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Blé Goudé’s “Shadow Work” According to Witness P-431

Today, in the courtroom of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Nigel Walker, director of the documentary “Shadow Work” about Charles Blé Goudé and the Young Patriots in 2006, answered questions from the Office of the Prosecutor. Those questions had one main objective: to highlight the common plan and the role played by Charles Blé Goudé.

Nigel Walker is the ninth witness in the Laurent Gbagbo and Blé Goudé trial. Questioning focused on videos and notes taken during the making of his film in 2006. The film was about the Young Patriots and their leader, Charles Blé Goudé.

The questions and answers followed each other for some time between the Office of the Prosecutor and witness P-431 before Presiding Judge Cuno Tarfusser requested … Continue Reading

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Support for ICC Trial of Ongwen is Shown at Commemoration of the Lukodi Massacre

This post was written by Lino Owor Ogora, Director, Foundation for Justice and Development Initiatives, an NGO based in Gulu District, Uganda, that works with children, youth, women, and communities to promote justice, development, and economic recovery in Northern Uganda. The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

On May 19, residents of Lukodi village in northern Uganda commemorated the 12th anniversary of the Lukodi Massacre. The prayers are held annually to remember the victims who lost their lives almost 12 years ago when Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels raided Lukodi village. This attack resulted in the indiscriminate killing of several civilians, destruction of property, and the abduction of children. During the memorial, … Continue Reading

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Judges Decline to Admit Medical Report of Witness Allegedly Shot by Ntaganda’s Forces

International Criminal Court (ICC) judges have declined a prosecution request to admit into evidence a medical report that details the nature of injuries sustained by a witness who claims he was shot by Bosco Ntaganda’s troops. However, judges could re-consider admitting the report if the prosecution re-applied for its admission on the basis of the applicable court rules.

The report details a medical examination conducted earlier this year by independent expert Dr. Pierre Perich. The examination aimed to establish whether the alleged injuries are consistent with the testimony of the witness about the location of the injury, its cause, and approximate date when it occurred.

According to the defense, whether or not the witness was shot by Ntaganda’s Union of Congolese Patriots … Continue Reading

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Blé Goudé’s Lawyer to Witness P-369 “You are Positive, Even Though You Didn’t See Anything”

The last hearing day for Matt Wells, the Human Rights Watch researcher, lasted only half a day. Charles Blé Goudé’s defense team focused on specific points of the American’s testimony, particularly on the “Street General’s” speeches.

Emmanuel Altit, Laurent Gbagbo’s lawyer, took the floor for ten minutes to complete his defense team’s examination. He questioned Matt Wells about pro-Gbagbo refugees who went to Liberia and denounced what he defined as too simplistic a presentation in the Human Rights Watch researcher’s testimony (HRW), where an ethnic group was associated with a political orientation.

“You mean that the entire population of some Guérés villages fled, right?” Altit asked. Matt Wells assured: “Most Guérés [from Western Côte d’Ivoire] fled.” The witness said that HRW did … Continue Reading

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Podcast: Bringing Hissène Habré to Trial

On May 30, trial judges at the Extraordinary African Chambers in Senegal are due to deliver their verdict in the trial of Hissène Habré—the first time a former African leader has been held to account for atrocity crimes before a court in another African country.

Habré, who has refused to recognize the authority of the court, is facing charges of war crimes, torture, and crimes against humanity, arising from his eight years in power, from 1982 to 1990. The special court in Senegal where he is on trial was set up with the support of the African Union, and which is presided over by Gberdao Gustave Kam from Burkina Faso, with two Senegalese judges alongside.

You can learn more about the story … Continue Reading

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Bemba Has Served His Sentence, Defense Lawyers Tell ICC Judges

Lawyers for former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba have asked International Criminal Court (ICC) judges to hand him a light sentence, arguing that the eight years he has spent in detention are proportionate to the crimes he was convicted of.

“He has not only reached but long ago passed the time when his sentence should have ended,” said defense lawyer Peter Haynes, at today’s sentencing hearing. Bemba, who has been in ICC detention since July 2008, was found guilty last March of failing to suppress the commission of rape, murder, and pillaging by his troops who were deployed in the Central African Republic (CAR) during 2002 and 2003.

Bemba himself was in Congo at the time 1,500 of the more than 20,000 … Continue Reading


Judges Want to Start Trial of Malian Islamic Rebel Leader in Mid-June

Judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) have said they are inclined to begin in mid-June the trial of Malian Islamic rebel leader Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, whose single war crime charge was confirmed about two months ago.

Judge Raul C. Pangalangan, the single judge of Trial Chamber VIII, said this in an order  scheduling a status conference for Tuesday next week . The May 24 status conference is the first one Trial Chamber VIII will be holding since it was formed to handle al Faqi’s trial.

Al Faqi’s trial is taking place after Pre-Trial Chamber I confirmed on March 24 a single war crimes charge against him for completely or partially destroying historic buildings in the northern Mali city of … Continue Reading

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According to Gbagbo’s Defense, Human Rights Watch is Neither Impartial nor Competent

During the May 18 hearing, Emmanuel Altit, lead counsel for Laurent Gbagbo at the International Criminal Court (ICC), questioned the credibility of Matt Wells, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) researcher, by pointing out shortcomings in his research methodology and aspects he saw as evidence of HRW bias.

Questions by Emmanuel Altit, Laurent Gbagbo’s French lawyer, revolved around a theme: methodology. It was later understood in the hearing that this came about as a result of an agreement between all parties: witness P-369’s interview, the Human Rights Watch researcher (HRW) Matt Wells, was to stick to the form of the research and the various general discoveries and not to the alleged crimes tried by the Court.

“In your opinion, did your fixers (for … Continue Reading

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