International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Hissène Habré Trial before the Extraordinary African Chambers: November Hearings

This guest post, part of an IJ Monitor series of summaries on the Hissène Habré trial, was produced by a group of Senegalese law school graduates with the support of TrustAfrica. The views expressed below do not necessarily reflect the views of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

Three months since its reopening on September 7, 2015, the trial of former Chadian President Hissène Habré continues before the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) in Dakar. Between September and October, 31 hearings were held, and 53 witness and victim depositions were heard.

During the month of November, the judges heard 25 witnesses and victims over the course of 12 hearings. Notably, one of the witnesses was not allowed to complete his testimony, having demonstrated a … Continue Reading

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A Long Walk to Justice: The Trial of Hissène Habré

This guest post was written by Alioune Seck, a Program Associate with TrustAfrica. The views expressed below do not necessarily reflect the views of the Open Society Justice Initiative. IJ Monitor is featuring a series of summaries on the Hissène Habré trial produced by a group of Senegalese law school graduates with the support of TrustAfrica.

With the start of the trial of former President of Chad Hissène Habré, the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) is writing a new chapter in the history of international criminal justice. The fight to bring the former strongman of Ndjamena to justice has been long and perilous, and few believed that such a trial could ever take place.

Hissène Habré took power in Chad through a military … Continue Reading

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Hissène Habré Trial before the Extraordinary African Chambers: October Hearings

This guest post, part of an IJ Monitor series of summaries on the Hissène Habré trial, was produced by a group of Senegalese law school graduates with the support of TrustAfrica. The views expressed below do not necessarily reflect the views of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

 The trial of former President of Chad Hissène Habré before the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) in Dakar entered its second month of hearings in October 2015. The hearings during the month of October included extensive victim testimony as well as evidence from expert witnesses: 33 victims and expert witnesses testified during 16 hearings that month, providing evidence about the crimes Habré allegedly committed during his time in power.

In early October, the trial of former … Continue Reading

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Trial of Hissène Habré before the Extraordinary African Chambers: Summary of the September 2015 Hearings

This guest post, part of an IJ Monitor series of summaries on the Hissène Habré trial, was produced by a group of Senegalese law school graduates, with the assistance of  TrustAfrica. The views expressed below do not necessarily reflect the views of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

 The trial of former Chadian President Hissène Habré opened in Dakar on July 20, 2015 before the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC). Habré is being prosecuted, after a 19-month investigation, for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and torture allegedly committed in Chad from June 7, 1982 to December 1, 1990.

However, there was an immediate delay to the start of trial hearings. Habré had asked his lawyers not to attend the trial and the court … Continue Reading

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Establishing Performance Indicators for the International Criminal Court

2016 will be a busy year for the International Criminal Court (ICC), with three new trials scheduled to begin hearings in January, adding to an already active caseload. With this growth comes an increasing demand to better understand how the court works.

Last year at the 13th session of the ICC Assembly of States Parties (ASP), States Parties told the court to intensify its efforts to develop indicators, or benchmarks, to evaluate the court’s work and assess its performance. The Open Society Justice Initiative will be hosting a discussion on the issue at this year’s ASP.

In general terms, performance indicators measure the success of an organization. While the notion of performance indicators is relatively simple, the actual process of developing them … Continue Reading

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Civil Society and the International Criminal Court: Local Perspectives on Fact-Finding

Civil society plays an important role in the implementation of the mandate of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The President of the ICC recognized this during the event commemorating International Justice Day this year, by highlighting the benefits of maintaining regular dialogue with civil society. The Open Society Justice Initiative is hosting a discussion on this issue at this year’s Assembly of States Parties meeting in The Hague.

Civil society organizations (CSOs) greatly contributed to bridging the gap between the court and local communities, which is particularly important for the ICC given its physical and cultural distance from the affected communities. The relationship between civil society and the ICC has been especially crucial in the context of gathering information relating to … Continue Reading

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ASP to Begin in The Hague

This week, the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) will begin its annual meeting at the World Forum in The Hague. As in previous years, the ASP is set to discuss several important issues that will determine how the court will operate in the coming year.

The ASP is a legislative body made up of the states that have signed the Rome Statute that established the court. Each year, the ASP meets in either New York or The Hague. The ASP has several responsibilities and functions, including approving the budget of the ICC, electing the ICC judges, managing the oversight of the court, and adopting any amendments to the Rome Statute.

ICC Budget

One of the most urgent … Continue Reading

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Corporation Acquitted of Contempt at the Lebanon Tribunal

This guest blog is written by Anne-Marie Verwiel and Karlijn van der Voort, defense lawyers specialized in international criminal law who are monitoring the proceedings at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (http://lebanontribunal.blogspot.nl/). The views expressed below do not necessarily reflect the views of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

On September 18, 2015, the contempt judge at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) issued a verdict in the first contempt case at that tribunal. In this much-debated case, Al Jadeed TV broadcasting corporation and its deputy head of news, Tahsin Al Khayat, have been charged with two counts of contempt of court. The television station produced a series of episodes on supposed witnesses of the tribunal, which were broadcast in Lebanon in August … Continue Reading

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The Extraordinary African Chambers: A New Approach to Victim Participation in International Criminal Tribunals?

This guest post is written by Jeanne Elone, a program officer at TrustAfrica. The views expressed below do not necessarily reflect the views of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

Twenty-five years after his fall from power, former Chadian President Hissène Habré is standing trial before the Extraordinary African Chambers in Dakar, Senegal. The Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) is an ad hoc chamber established within the Senegalese courts by agreement between the African Union and the government of Senegal. The mandate of the EAC is to judge those most responsible for the crimes committed in Chad between 1982 and 1990, the period of Habré’s presidency, during which an estimated 40,000 people were killed or disappeared. President Habré’s regime was marked by grave … Continue Reading

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Mali Suspect Surrendered to the ICC

On September 26, 2015, authorities in Niger surrendered Ahmad Al Mahdi Al Faqi (also known as Abu Tourab) to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Al Faqi, currently being held at the ICC detention center, is suspected of the war crime of intentionally directing attacks against religious and historical monuments in Timbuktu, Mali. This is the first time the ICC has tried an individual for these crimes.

The ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber I issued an arrest warrant for Al Faqi on September 18, 2015 for crimes allegedly committed in the first two weeks of July 2012. PTC judges found that there were reasonable grounds to believe that in July 2012 there was a non-international armed conflict and that Timbuktu was under the control … Continue Reading

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