International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Answers Needed in Eldoret

Elizabeth Evenson is a senior international justice counsel at Human Rights Watch. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Open Society Justice Initiative

John Kituyi, a veteran journalist and editor of the Kenyan Mirror Weekly newspaper, was murdered on April 30 as he walked home from work. The Committee to Protect Journalists reported that unidentified assailants beat Kituyi severely. He later died in Eldoret Hospital.

Kituyi’s family, fellow journalists, and human rights activists in Eldoret have linked his killing to a recent article about the case against Deputy President William Ruto and the former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang before the International Criminal Court (ICC). Ruto and Sang are facing charges stemming from brutal … Continue Reading

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New Corruption Scandal Plunges Guatemala’s Government Further Into Crisis

In the midst of what experts have characterized as the worst political crisis in years, the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and the public prosecutor struck again last week, arresting 17 in connection with corruption at Guatemala’s social security institute. Amongst those arrested was Juan de Dios Rodriguez, the institute’s president and the former private secretary of Guatemala’s head of state Otto Pérez Molina. CICIG, whose demise had been predicted only weeks ago, has been instrumental in uncovering numerous significant corruption scandals.

According to prosecutors, the social security institute fraudulently awarded a US$ 15 million contract to the Pisa pharmaceutical company, at more than 15 percent commission, to ensure renal dialysis to social security patients though Pisa had neither … Continue Reading

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Using Technology to End Impunity for Mass Atrocities, Including Rape

This blog is a part of International Justice Monitor’s technology for truth series, which focuses on the use of technology for evidence and features views from key proponents in the field.

On March 7, 2014, the International Criminal Court (ICC) convicted Germain Katanga of aiding a 2003 attack on civilians in Bogoro, a village in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Grave human rights violations were perpetrated in Bogoro, including the murder of 200 civilians in a matter of hours and the rape and sexual enslavement of women and girls. Katanga was found guilty as an accessory to one crime against humanity and four war crimes. The charges also included rape and sexual slavery, representing the first time that the ICC … Continue Reading

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Bemba’s Second ICC Trial to Open in September

The witness and evidence tampering trial of former Congolese opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba and his four former associates opens this September at the International Criminal Court (ICC), the court announced today.

Today, judges instructed the prosecution to file a list of evidence to be relied on at trial, as well as a list of witnesses, by June 30, three months ahead of the September 29 trial opening date.

Those to be tried alongside Mr. Bemba include Aimé Kilolo Musamba, former head of the legal team that defended Mr. Bemba in a war crimes trial at the court, and Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, previously the case manager on that defense team. They also include a former defense witness and a member of the Congolese … Continue Reading

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Appeals Judges Decline to Release Bemba From ICC Detention

Appeals judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) have rejected Congolese opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba’s appeal for interim release.

In a unanimous decision, a summary of which was issued in court this morning, the appeals chamber agreed with trial judges that Mr. Bemba should remain in detention pending the verdict of his trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Mr. Bemba has been in detention in The Hague since 2008, following his arrest in Belgium, where he maintains a residence, and transfer to the court.

Last December, trial judges declined to release him on bail, saying this was to ensure his appearance at trial. They argued that the end of the presentation of evidence phase of the proceedings and commencement of deliberations was … Continue Reading

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Former Constitutional Court Judge Alejandro Maldonado Aguirre Appointed Vice President

Guatemala’s Congress appointed Alejandro Maldonado Aguirre vice president on May 14 following the May 8 resignation of Roxana Baldetti amid a growing tax fraud scandal that named Baldetti’s private secretary as ringleader.

Maldonado was one of three candidates put forth by President Otto Pérez Molina. An earlier list included Labor Minister Carlos Contreras, constitutionally barred from participating, and legislator Oliverio Garcia Rodas, removed from the list following a failure of the congress to reach an agreement.

Maldonado is no stranger to the executive. Since the 1960s, he was a member of the far-right political party National Liberation Movement (Movimiento de Liberacion Nacional – MLN), alleged to have started the use of death squads against communists. He was also minister of education under … Continue Reading

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ICC Prosecutor Investigates Additional Charges Against LRA Commander Ongwen

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) are conducting investigations with a view to bring additional charges against Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) senior commander Dominic Ongwen, whose confirmation of charges hearing is scheduled for January 2016.

At a status conference today, staff of the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) said although their ongoing investigations could result in new charges beyond those contained in the warrant of arrest against Mr. Ongwen, they were at this stage unable to state the details of the charges.

However, they suggested that the charges could be related to sexual slavery and other sexual crimes, enlistment of child soldiers, and an attack on a camp for internally displaced persons (IDP).

Prosecution staff said if ongoing investigations establish sufficient evidence … Continue Reading

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Kenyan President and Attorney General Make Contradictory Statements on ICC

President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta has asked Parliament to act on resolutions it first made more than four years ago to cut ties with the International Criminal Court (ICC), signalling a hardening of his government’s position against the court.

Kenyatta made his request in March this year. However, just a month later Attorney General Githu Muigai sought to assure a symposium on international crimes that Kenya remained committed to the ICC.

The President’s request is in a report on how the government is implementing Kenya’s international obligations. He submitted the report to Parliament on March 26 together with the State of the Nation speech he delivered that day. The National Assembly has debated the speech, but there has not been a debate on … Continue Reading

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Bemba and His Former Lawyers Fear Continued Surveillance

Jean-Pierre Bemba and his former lawyers with whom he faces an impending trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) are wary that their communications are still under surveillance at the behest of the prosecution.

However, the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) has denied that the communications of Mr. Bemba, his former lead defense counsel Aime Kilolo Musamba, and case manager Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, are still being monitored. The prosecution also said there was no ongoing monitoring of the communications of former defense witness Narcisse Arido and Congolese parliamentarian Fidèle Babala Wandu.

The five individuals are due to go on trial later this year for corruptly influencing witnesses who testified in the trial of Mr. Bemba, a former vice president of Congo whose … Continue Reading

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Guatemalan Vice President Resigns Amidst Widening Scandal

Guatemala’s Vice President Roxana Baldetti resigned on Friday, May 8, amidst a burgeoning customs tax scandal. Baldetti’s decision followed weeks of popular protests, in which Guatemalans have demanded her resignation and that of the president himself. Demonstrators took to the streets following the April 16 arrests of individuals accused of participation in a massive scheme to defraud the government of customs tax.

In announcing Baldetti’s resignation, President Pérez Molina said her decision reflected a desire to cooperate with the ongoing investigation. Investigations from the public prosecutor’s office and the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) have so far resulted in 27 arrests related to a criminal ring allegedly made up of at least 50 officials and private citizens. Juan Carlos Monzon, … Continue Reading

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