International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Appeals Chamber Slightly Amends Reparations Order in Al Mahdi Case

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has said the identity of individual victims applying for reparations in the case of Malian Islamic leader Ahmad al Faqi al Mahdi does not need to be disclosed to the convicted war criminal.

In a judgement issued on Thursday, the Appeals Chamber said the identity of those victims seeking reparations needs to be disclosed to the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV), which has been delegated responsibility of implementing the reparations order Trial Chamber VIII issued in August last year.

“The Appeals Chamber notes that Mr Al Mahdi’s interests at this stage of the proceedings are limited. The Trial Chamber has already set Mr Al Mahdi’s monetary liability and, as argued by the LRV … Continue Reading

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Libyan Commander, Wanted by the ICC, is Released the Day After His Surrender

Libyan army commander Mahmoud al-Werfalli, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), was freed one day after reports of his alleged surrender to military police of the Libyan National Army (LNA) in eastern Libya. On February 8, a spokesperson from the LNA said in a television interview that the military police had released al-Werfalli on bail, adding that the LNA is not considering handing him over to the ICC at all.

Al-Werfalli is a commander of the Saiqa Brigade, a unit attached to the LNA that controls large parts of eastern Libya. He came into the spotlight after the ICC issued a warrant for his arrest in August 2017. The warrant accuses him of a having a direct role … Continue Reading

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The Kavumu Trial: Complementarity in Action in the Democratic Republic of Congo

On December 13, 2017, in a landmark decision, a military court in South Kivu convicted 11 Congolese militia members of murder and rape as crimes against humanity. The court, which was deployed as a “mobile court” in the village of Kavumu, found that the accused constituted an armed group controlled by provincial lawmaker Frederic Batumike that had carried out the rapes of 40 young girls. All 11 men, including Batumike, were sentenced to life imprisonment.

This was the first time in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that a sitting parliamentarian was found guilty for crimes under international law. This judgment also brought closure to a case that spanned almost five years and came to epitomize the scourge of sexual violence … Continue Reading

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Vues de l’Ituri: Absence de réparation ou d’assistance pour les victimes de Nyankunde

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 vues de la population relayées dans cet article sont celles des personnes interviewées et ne représentent pas forcément les vues de tous les membres de la communauté ni celles des victimes.

Des centaines de victimes au nord-est de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC) se disent délaissées et découragées faute d’’assistance dans la localité de Nyankunde, complètement détruite lors de l’attaque deseptembre 2002 qui a causé la mort de … Continue Reading

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Views from Ituri: Lack of Compensation or Assistance for the Victims of Nyankunde

This article was prepared by our partner Radio Canal Révélation, a radio station based in Bunia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), as part of an interactive radio project on justice and peace which encourages a debate on issues related to justice in the DRC. The views conveyed in this article belong to the people interviewed and do not necessarily represent the views of all the community members, or those of the victims.

Hundreds of victims in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) say that they feel abandoned and discouraged because of the lack of assistance in the village of Nyankunde, which was completely destroyed in the attack of … Continue Reading

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ICC Judges Authorize Investigation Into Crimes in Burundi

Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) have authorized Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to initiate investigations into crimes committed in the central African country of Burundi over the last two and a half years.

Pre-Trial Chamber III first issued the authorization under seal on October 25. It was unveiled in a public redacted version yesterday, less than two weeks after Burundi’s withdrawal from the ICC on October 27. Judges determined that the court has jurisdiction over the crimes allegedly committed in that country while Burundi was a State Party, from December 1, 2004 through October 26, 2017.

Burundi fell into turmoil in April 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government quelled a coup attempt that followed his decision to stand for a third term … Continue Reading

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Liberian Jungle Jabbah Trial in Philadelphia: The Quest for Justice

On October 2, the trial of Mohammed Jabbateh, also known as “Jungle Jabbah,” a former United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO) commander during Liberia’s First Civil War, began 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 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


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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ICC Issues €2.7 Million Reparations Order in Al Mahdi Case

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has ordered a former Malian Islamist leader to pay €2.7 million in reparations for the single war crime for which he was convicted: destruction or partial destruction of nine historic buildings and the door to a mosque in northern Mali five years ago.

Trial Chamber VIII made the reparation order on Thursday while recognizing that, at present, Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi is not capable of paying the reparations.

“The Chamber disagrees that Mr. Al Mahdi’s indigence has an impact on its reparations award. The Appeals Chamber has determined that it is an error to conclude that a convicted person’s indigence is relevant to whether he or she should be liable for any reparations awarded,” the chamber said, explaining … Continue Reading

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