International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

ICC Finds South Africa Did Not Fulfill Its Obligation to Arrest Sudan’s President but Declines to Refer Matter to Security Council

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has ruled South Africa failed to fulfill its obligations as member of the court when the government did not act on the ICC arrest warrants for Sudan’s president when he visited South Africa in 2015.

The three judges comprising Pre-Trial Chamber II unanimously decided on Thursday, July 6, not to refer the matter to either the United Nations Security Council or the ICC’s membership. Article 87 of the ICC’s founding law, the Rome Statute, provides for the court to refer a member state to the wider membership or the Security Council for not cooperating with the court.

The chamber was making a decision on the two-year old matter now because it decided to wait until a similar case before South … Continue Reading

Leave a comment

Concerns over Bid to Wrap Up Outstanding Investigations at Cambodia’s ECCC

The Open Society Justice Initiative, which has been monitoring events at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia since before the tribunal opened proceedings in 2007, has expressed its concern about an apparent bid by the ECCC’s two investigating judges to put a permanent stay on its their three outstanding cases.

The proposal was made on May 5, 2017, by the two co-investigating judges, Michael Bohlander and You Bunleng, in a highly unconventional “confidential request” to the court. Although filed under seal, the filing was then leaked to the press; subsequently the two judges publicly acknowledged its existence and basic substance.

In the filing, they announced that they are preparing to issue a “permanent stay” of the three cases they are currently responsible for … Continue Reading

Leave a comment

South Africa Tells ICC It Was Not Obliged to Arrest Sudanese President; Prosecution Disagrees

South Africa told the International Criminal Court (ICC) it did not have a duty to act on an ICC arrest warrant for Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir because Sudan is not a member state of the ICC.

Dire Tladi argued further on Friday that as a member state of the ICC, South Africa could not be compelled to arrest a head of state of a country that is not a member of the ICC because that person enjoyed immunity under customary international law.

Tladi made submissions before Pre-Trial Chamber II on behalf of the government of South Africa. He is a special adviser to South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation.

He made his arguments during a hearing that Pre-Trial Chamber II had … Continue Reading

Leave a comment

ICC Chamber Excludes Victims from Bashir Cooperation Proceedings

On Friday, April 7, the International Criminal Court (ICC) will hold a hearing in the case against Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir, for the first time in seven years. Pre-Trial Chamber II will hear submissions on whether action should be taken against South Africa for failing to surrender President Bashir during his visit to that country in June 2015 for an African Union summit.

Notably absent from the hearing will be any representative of the victims of Bashir’s alleged crimes, although a small number of them have been granted status to participate in the case.

The role given to victims in ICC proceedings is often described as ground-breaking. Victims’ voices, so it is claimed, are what distinguish this court from previous international … Continue Reading

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment