International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Réactions des victimes congolaises dans la perspective des réparations dans l’affaire Lubanga

Cet article a été préparé par notre partenaire Radio Canal Révélation, une station radio basée à Bunia, en République démocratique du Congo (RDC), dans le cadre d’un projet de radio interactive pour la justice et la paix qui favorise la mise en débat des questions touchant à la justice en RDC.

Les victimes des crimes commis par Thomas Lubanga dans un groupement de la communauté Lendu dans la Province de l’Ituri, ont accueilli favorablement la décision du Fonds au Profit des Victimes (Fonds) affectant un million d’euros aux réparations collectives en République démocratique du Congo.

« Nous acceptons que le Fonds nous construise des stades, des centres de santé, réhabilite nos routes… ceci va nous faire oublier les crimes du passé… [M]algré … Continue Reading

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Reactions of Congolese Victims to the Prospect of Reparations in the Lubanga Case

The below article is from our partner at Radio Canal Révélation, a radio station based in Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The article was produced as part of the radio station’s Interactive Radio for Justice and Peace Project, which promotes discussion on critical issues around justice in DRC.

The victims of crimes committed by Thomas Lubanga within the Lendu community in Ituri Province have welcomed the decision of the Trust Fund for Victims (the Fund) that allocated one million Euros to collective reparations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“We agree to the Fund building stadiums, healthcare centers, repairing our roads… this is going to make us forget the crimes of the past… [I]n spite of everything, we are brothers, … Continue Reading

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Fears that Congressman Ovalle, Impeached in Relation to CREOMPAZ Case, May Have Fled

There are suspicions that a member of Guatemala’s Congress, whose immunity has just been lifted in relation to a case of enforced disappearances, may have fled the country. This Wednesday, March 15, the Supreme Court of Justice ruled to impeach Congressman Edgar Justino Ovalle. This came a day after Judge Benicia Contreras Calderon, charged with investigating the Attorney General’s charges against him, issued her opinion in favor of impeachment and a year after the Attorney General’s Office first filed its request with the Supreme Court.

With this decision, the Attorney General’s Office can formally initiate judicial proceedings against Ovalle in the CREOMPAZ case, which Attorney General Thelma Aldana has described as one of the largest cases of enforced disappearance in Latin … Continue Reading

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Georgia – A Unique Case For The ICC

More than one year has passed since the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened an investigation into the situation in Georgia. The investigation is related to crimes allegedly committed in and around the breakaway region of South Ossetia during the course of the 2008 conflict with Russia.

A Unique Investigation

This is a big step for the court because it is the first time it will be investigating a conflict outside Africa. For almost thirteen years the ICC has been operating in eight African countries, thus acquiring a certain level of expertise in the region. However, the ICC has been strongly criticized for opening investigations only in Africa. While the trend has now been broken, this new development also brings up a big … Continue Reading

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Critical hearing in Guatemala’s Molina Theissen case delayed again

The next hearing in the Molina Theissen case, already postponed once earlier this month from December 9 to December 22, has been rescheduled again by the office of Judge Víctor Hugo Herrera Ríos of High Risk Court C, with a new court date now set for January 13, 2017.

This is a critical hearing, at which the parties will present their concluding remarks, followed by the judge’s determination as to whether there is sufficient evidence to send to trial the former military officers who have been indicted in this case. Five high-ranking military officers have been indicted in this case, for the illegal detention, torture, and sexual violence committed against Emma Guadalupe Molina Theissen, and for the enforced disappearance of her … Continue Reading

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Court Reinstates CREOMPAZ Victims, but Obstacles Remain

On December 14, the Constitutional Court granted a provisional protective measure (amparo) to the plaintiffs in the CREOMPAZ case. The amparo seeks the reincorporation of dozens of victims who were excluded by the June 2016 decision by presiding pretrial judge Claudeth Domínguez to send eight of the eleven defendants to trial. CREOMPAZ is the current name for the installations in Cobán, Alta Verapaz where Military Base No. 21 (MZ21) was located. Since 2012, investigators have exhumed 558 bodies from MZ21, over 100 of which have been identified as victims of enforced disappearance and related crimes.

Juan Francisco Soto, executive director of the Center for Legal Action in Human Rights (CALDH), which is one of the organizations representing the victims in the … Continue Reading

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Victims Seek to Revoke Immunity of Congressman Wanted for War Crimes

Congressman Edgar Justino Ovalle has spent the better part of 2016 under threat of criminal charges. Though he took his seat as a deputy in the Guatemalan National Congress on January 14, 2016, the Attorney General’s Office has not ceased in its efforts to prosecute him for war crimes.

Guatemala’s Attorney General, Thelma Aldana, made international headlines last year when she arrested then-President Otto Pérez Molina and a slew of other government officials for their involvement in alleged massive corruption schemes. She surprised again on January 6, 2016, when her office ordered the arrest of 18 high-ranking retired military officials for war crimes. These included individuals like Benedicto Lucas García, the former head of the army, whom most Guatemalans believed to … Continue Reading

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ECCC Supreme Court Affirms Life Sentences for Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea while Criticizing Trial

On November 23, 2016, the Supreme Court Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts in Cambodia (ECCC) affirmed the life sentence convictions given to Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan by the lower Trial Chamber in August, 2014. However, the Supreme Court was severely critical of some aspects of the handling of the trial of the two surviving senior Khmer Rouge leaders by the lower court.

The entire ruling is 512 pages long. We invite you to download our 7-page summary and analysis of the main points of the judgment [pdf].

Both two men remain on trial on a second set of charges arising from their role in genocide and crimes against humanity committed by the Khmer Rouge regime that ruled Cambodia from April 1975 … Continue Reading

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Senior UN Human Rights Official Issues Stinging Rebuke to African States Withdrawing from ICC

The United Nation High Commissioner for Human Rights has strongly rebuked African states wanting to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) while at the same time praising African nations for being strong supporters of the court during its formative stage.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights did not name any particular African country in his hard-hitting speech on Wednesday, but his statements come nearly one month after South Africa wrote to the United Nations Secretary-General to withdraw from the ICC. When South Africa began the process to withdraw from the ICC in late October, it became the first member state to do so.

The same week South Africa sent what it described as “instruments of withdrawal,” dated October 19, … Continue Reading

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Witness Interference at the ICC: A Widespread Practice Across Virtually All Cases

All eyes of the international justice community will be on the 15th session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute (ASP) beginning today in The Hague. There is no doubt that one of the biggest issues States Parties must address is the recent withdrawal of three African countries from the International Criminal Court (ICC). While this reflects the larger political troubles the court faces, there are also significant internal challenges the ICC must address in relation to its ongoing investigations and trials.

The Open Society Justice Initiative has conducted research that suggests that witness interference has been alleged in nearly every case before the ICC. Actions aimed at interfering with witnesses and their testimony impede due process, undermine … Continue Reading

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