International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Gauging Public Interest (Part Three): Community Members’ Suggestions for Increasing Interest in Dominic Ongwen’s ICC Trial

This article explores suggestions from community members in northern Uganda regarding what needs to be done to increase public interest in the trial of Dominic Ongwen. The article follows two previous International Justice Monitor posts that present results from a rapid assessment conducted in September 2017 involving 50 community members and civil society representatives in northern Uganda. The assessment aimed to measure the level of public interest in following the trial of Dominic Ongwen, and established that 56% of the respondents were following the trial, while 44% said they were not following the trial. The third and last post in the series examines views from the participants on how public interest in following the trial can be enhanced.

Ongwen, a former commander … Continue Reading

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Gauging Public Interest (Part Two): Why 44% of Community Members in Northern Uganda Are Not Following Ongwen’s Trial

Last week, the International Justice Monitor published the first part of a three part series presenting results from a rapid assessment conducted in September 2017. The assessment involved 50 community members and civil society representatives in northern Uganda and set out to measure the level of public interest in following the trial of Dominic Ongwen. While 56% of the respondents consulted said they were following the trial, many of them also admitted that they were only following occasionally or on an irregular basis. The remaining 44% of the respondents said they were not following the trial at all. This second post in the series examines views from the participants who said they were not following the trial, and in particular, … Continue Reading

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Gauging Public Interest (Part One): Survey Reveals That Over 56% of Community Members and CSO Representatives are Following Ongwen’s Trial

This article, the first in a series of three posts, uses results from a rapid assessment of 50 community members and civil society representatives in northern Uganda in September 2017 to measure the level of public interest in following the trial of Dominic Ongwen at the International Criminal Court (ICC). While 56% of respondents said they were following the trial, many of them admitted they were only following on an irregular basis. The remaining 44% said they were not following the trial at all, citing a variety of reasons ranging from busy schedules to a lack of interest because the trial is taking place far away from Uganda. The findings also revealed that radio is the most popular method by … Continue Reading

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Community Members React to ICC Witness’s Testimony That He Did Not Know of Atrocities by Ugandan Government Soldiers

On October 3, the director of legal services at the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Nabaasa Kanyogonya, denied knowledge of allegations that military commanders of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) committed atrocities in northern Uganda. This was in response to a question by Krispus Ayena Odongo, the lead lawyer for Dominic Ongwen, asking him to “confirm to the court whether there were hues and cries about incidents of indiscipline of UPDF officers in the prosecution of the war against the LRA.” Kanyogonya responded, “I do not know of any commanders of the UPDF committing atrocities in the war against the LRA.” This article presents reactions to Kanyogonya’s testimony in the community in northern Uganda.

Kanyogonya made the comments … Continue Reading

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Liberian Jungle Jabbah Trial in Philadelphia: The Quest for Justice

Beginning on October 2, Mohammed Jabbateh, also known as “Jungle Jabbah,” a former United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO) commander during Liberia’s First Civil War, will stand trial in Philadelphia. He is accused of lying about his wartime actions on his US asylum claim in the late 1990s.

This will be the first time that victims will testify in a criminal trial about the First Liberian Civil War. The trial is also a unique and historical step by the US attorney’s office to present a war crimes case in a national courtroom.

If convicted, Jabbateh will face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

The US attorney stated, “This defendant allegedly committed unspeakable crimes in his home country, brutalizing numerous … Continue Reading

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The Anti-CICIG Campaign in Guatemala: Implications for Grave Crimes Cases (Part II)

The campaign against the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and Commissioner Iván Velásquez, which we analyzed in a previous post, remains at a tense standstill. While CICIG’s mandate does not allow it to investigate cases related to Guatemala’s internal armed conflict, it has played a fundamental role in strengthening the country’s justice system, empowering judicial operators, and building the capacity of the Attorney General’s Office. It has expanded prosecutorial capacity in corruption and organized crime cases, as well as in grave crimes cases in Guatemala’s domestic courts, from the genocide case against former dictator José Efraín Ríos Montt, to the CREOMPAZ and Molina Theissen cases, which are currently awaiting trial. Today, we explore the possible consequences of the … Continue Reading

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The Jungle Jabbah Case: A Liberian Quest for Justice

The Liberian civil wars, which took place from 1989 to 1996 and 1999 to 2003, mark a dark chapter in human history. For over a decade, the country was destroyed by ethnically motivated fighting. Sexual violence was rampant and all armed groups relied heavily on child soldiers. Conservative estimates put the war-related death toll in the small coastal West African nation of four million people at 150,000.

On October 10, 2017, almost 15 years after the end of the civil war, Liberians will vote in historic elections. For the first time in post-war Liberia, current president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Prize winner heavily backed by the international community, is not running for office. This means the first transfer of … Continue Reading

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CICIG, Leader of Anti-Corruption Efforts in Guatemala, Under Siege (Part I)

The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a UN-sponsored body created in 2007 to help Guatemala combat crime and impunity, and Iván Velásquez, its chief since 2013, have found themselves in the crosshairs in recent weeks. The UN-sponsored entity has received wide acclaim for the anti-corruption investigations it conducted alongside the Attorney General’s Office, which, in 2015, led to the arrest of former president Otto Pérez Molina, his vice-president, Roxana Baldetti, and dozens of government ministers for widespread government fraud. However, it appears that for some, CICIG got too close for comfort.

President Jimmy Morales—who was elected in the wake of the Pérez Molina government’s downfall in 2015 and ran with the slogan “neither corrupt nor a thief”—catalyzed a campaign … Continue Reading

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Thinking Ahead: Community Expectations After the End of the Ongwen Trial

In the course of outreach conducted in communities affected by the conflict with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Uganda, community members frequently raised the question of what would happen if the International Criminal Court (ICC) does not find Dominic Ongwen guilty. This article explores the opinions of community members regarding Ongwen’s future in the aftermath of the trial, and particularly in the event that he is acquitted. The community expressed their opinions on where they felt Ongwen should live, the relationship between him and community members, and how they felt reconciliation should be promoted.

Dominic Ongwen, a former commander of the LRA is currently on trial before the ICC in The Hague. He is charged with 70 counts of … Continue Reading

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Victim Participation in The Special Tribunal for Lebanon Fuels Reflections on International Criminal Law and the Lebanese Justice System

On August 28, 2017, the Trial Chamber of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) began hearing the case of the victims in the Ayyash et al. trial. The accused are charged with conspiracy to commit a terrorist act for their alleged role in a February 14, 2005 bombing in Beirut that injured 226 people and killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 21 others. The victims’ case is expected to continue until September 8, 2017 and present evidence of the harm suffered by the 72 victims participating in the trial.

This is the first time that an  international criminal law tribunal addresses the crime of terrorism, and therefore the first time that victims of terrorism will present their case before … Continue Reading

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