International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Entretien avec le procureur Fatou Bensouda sur la peine de M. Bemba, sur le rôle dissuasif des condamnations de la CPI et sur les mesures destinées à améliorer l’efficacité du Bureau du Procureur

Au début du mois, le procureur de la Cour pénale internationale Fatou Bensouda a répondu aux questions d’International Justice Monitor. Elle a parlé de la peine de prison de 18 ans prononcée à l’encontre de Jean-Pierre Bemba, de la manière dont les condamnations de M. Bemba et M. Lubanga pouvaient avoir un rôle dissuasif ainsi que des défis qui accompagnent l’instruction et la poursuite des auteurs de crimes pour de nombreuses charges comme dans l’affaire de Bosco Ntaganda et de Dominic Ongwen. Le procureur a également évoqué les efforts de son bureau pour qu’il soit plus efficace.

Wairagala Wakabi :Du point de vue du Bureau du Procureur (BdP), quelle est la signification de la condamnation de M. Bemba ?

Fatou Bensouda : Le verdict envoie un message fort … Continue Reading

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Sexual Violence Victims Do Not Always Speak Immediately About Their Assault, Says Witness

Victims of sexual violence may not want to speak immediately about what they have gone through, a witness told the Kenyan High Court during a hearing into a petition filed by survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) perpetrated after the 2007 presidential poll.

Saida Ali, a former executive director of the Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW), made the observation on July 21 in response to a question from Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Edwin Okello. Ali, who is the 15th witness for the petitioners, was testifying for a second day during which lawyers representing the government and government agencies cross-examined her. You can read about her first day of testimony here.

Before Okello asked Ali his question, he had … Continue Reading

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Nouveaux rebondissements dans l’affaire Habré : recours en appel de la défense et examen des demandes de réparation des victimes

Cet article a été écrit par El Hadji Alioune Seck, associé du programme de justice pénale internationale de TrustAfrica. Les opinions exprimées ci-dessous ne reflètent pas nécessairement les vues de l’Open Society Justice Initiative.

Le 30 mai 2016, les Chambres africaines extraordinaires au sein des tribunaux sénégalais (CAE) ont condamné à la réclusion à perpétuité l’ancien président tchadien Hissène Habré, reconnu coupable de crimes contre l’humanité, viol et esclavage sexuel commis entre 1982 et 1990 au Tchad. Cette décision tombe suite à un procès en première instance qui s’est officiellement ouvert à Dakar le 20 juillet 2015 pour connaitre son épilogue le 12 février 2016 avec les plaidoiries des avocats des deux parties et le réquisitoire du parquet.

Lors du prononcé du verdict, le juge G. Kam, Président de la Cour, avait également … Continue Reading

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New Developments in the Habré Case: Defense Appeal and Reparations under Examination

This guest post is written by El Hadji Alioune Seck, Program Associate with the International Criminal Justice Fund at TrustAfrica. The views expressed below do not necessarily reflect the views of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

On May 30, 2016, the Extraordinary African Chambers within the Senegalese Courts (EAC) sentenced former Chadian President Hissène Habré to life imprisonment. The court found him guilty of crimes against humanity, rape, and sexual slavery committed between 1982 and 1990 in Chad. This decision followed a trial that officially opened in Dakar on July, 20 2015 and came to an end on February 12, 2016 with submissions of final conclusions by both parties and the final indictment by the prosecutor.

While delivering the verdict, Presiding Judge Gustave G. Kam … Continue Reading

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ICC Court Ruling on Reparation for Kenyan Victims: Does the ICC Oversell Its Mandate or Are Victims Simply Expecting Too Much?

Last week, Justice Hub published an opinion written by Kenyan human rights and victims’ advocate Maina Chamaka criticizing the ICC trial chamber decision denying reparations to Kenyan post-election violence victims who suffered harm as a result of the crimes allegedly committed by Deputy President William Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang. This follows an earlier court decision that prematurely terminated the case against the two accused, albeit without prejudice to future prosecution.

As an NGO actor who has also had the opportunity to interact with victims of grave crimes in Northern Uganda, this decision is a bitter pill to swallow. However, as a lawyer I can understand the legal reasoning behind it. Article 75 of the Rome Statute is … Continue Reading

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Q&A With Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Bemba Sentence, ICC Convictions as Deterrents, and Moves to Improve Efficiency of the Prosecutor’s Office

Earlier this month, International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda answered questions from International Justice Monitor. She spoke about the 18-year jail term handed to Jean-Pierre Bemba, how the Bemba and Thomas Lubanga convictions could act as deterrents, and the challenges that come with investigating and prosecuting numerous charges such as in the case of Bosco Ntaganda and Dominic Ongwen. The prosecutor also discusses what her office is doing to become more efficient.

Wairagala Wakabi (WW): In the view of the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), what is the significance of the Bemba conviction?

Fatou Bensouda (FB): The verdict sends a strong message to all commanders around the world: you will be criminally responsible for atrocity crimes of subordinate troops if you fail … Continue Reading

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Judges Rule Out Holding Ongwen Trial Opening in Uganda

The start of former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Dominic Ongwen’s International Criminal Court (ICC) trial will not take place in Uganda due to security concerns and the judges’ heavy workload at the court’s seat in The Hague. The trial will commence on December 6, 2016 in The Netherlands.

In a July 18, 2016 decision, judges recognized the importance of “bringing justice closer” to the affected communities but decided against holding the opening in Uganda. They noted security concerns related to Ongwen’s “prospective presence in Uganda and the victims’ ensuing fear of possible episodes of violence.” They also cited the “judicial workload of the chamber’s individual judges in other situations and cases before the court,” among the logistical difficulties.

Last May, the … Continue Reading

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Kwoyelo Trial Postponed (Again) in Ugandan Court: Causes and Ramifications

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.

Colonel Thomas Kwoyelo is a former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander who is currently facing charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity before the International Crimes Division (ICD) of the High Court of Uganda. Although authorities arrested Kwoyelo in 2008, the start of his trial has been postponed numerous times. In April 2016, a pre-trial hearing was held in Kampala, and the main trial … Continue Reading

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Sexual Violence Victims Want Kenyan State to Acknowledge What Happened to Them, Says Witness

A witness said non-governmental organizations working with victims of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) committed during the upheaval that followed the December 2007 presidential election were “upset” when a top prosecutor said police did not treat the sexual violence as conflict-related.

Saida Ali told the Kenyan High Court on Wednesday that when the senior prosecutor spoke at a civil society function in October 2012, representatives of non-governmental organizations present had expected to hear more from the senior prosecutor than there was little that could be done about the SGBV cases they had on file.

“We were quite upset. We were upset because we were expecting more tangible action,” Ali told the court.

Ali is the 14th witness from the petitioners’ side to testify … Continue Reading

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Ce que pensent ceux qui y vivent: Quête de justice en Ituri

Le script ci-dessous provient d’une émission de radio diffusée les 26 et 30 mai 2016 sur Radio Canal Révélation, une station de radio située à Bunia, en République Démocratique du Congo. L’émission fait partie du projet mené par Radio Canal, intitulé « Projet de Radio Interactive pour la Paix et la Justice » qui encourage le débat sur des thèmes clés de justice en RDC. Le script a été modifié afin de retirer les informations non essentielles.

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Présentatrice : Le procès de Bosco Ntaganda, ancien chef adjoint de l’Etat Major Général  de Force patriotique pour la libération du Congo   « FPLC»  continue à La Haye au Pays-Bas avec le témoignage des victimes alignées par l’accusation.

Il [Ntaganda] est accusé de treize chefs de crimes … Continue Reading

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