#GlobalJustice Weekly - Syria: “To save a life is to save all humanity” | Victims center stage in Uganda

"A story of modern day heroism," according to Netflix. © Netflix
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Syria's White Helmets win Oscar as regime evades accountability

In the week that saw the film recounting the story of the humanitarian White Helmets in Syria win an Oscar, Russia and China vetoed UN Security Council sanctions on Syria for the alleged use of chemical weapons during its six-year conflict. As warring sides faced off in Geneva for the latest round of peace talks, a report by UN investigators found that the bombing of a humanitarian aid convoy bound for besieged Aleppo in September 2016 was a war crime committed by Syrian forces and its allies. Could justice be on the horizon for torture survivors after submitting a criminal complaint against Syrian high-level officials in Germany?

 

Victims center stage as ICC and Trust Fund officials visit Uganda

The ICC President, Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, made her first official trip to Uganda last week to visit victim assistance projects of the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) and its local implementing partners. Alongside the ICC President were TFV board members, including Mama Koité Doumbia representing the African states, and the TFV Executive Director Pieter de Baan to explain (French) why victims of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) continue to need TFV support ten years on from the height of LRA atrocities in northern Uganda. The ICC President finished her visit by meeting with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, expressing recognition for Uganda's historic role in relation to the Court and reiterating the Court's commitment to listen to concerns raised by the ICC member state.

The first ICC trial featuring an LRA suspect - Dominic Ongwen - opened in December 2016. While the TFV can provide general assistance to victims as cases are ongoing, ICC reparations can only be ordered in the event of a conviction.

 

ICC Investigations

CAR: A step toward justice and end to impunity with new Special Criminal Court, also set to partner with the ICC. Sentence to be delivered on 22 March for first ICC witness-tampering convictions

Libya: Recent UN report finds Gaddafi regime member trials fell short of international standards, calls for surrender to the ICC

DRC: Reparations order for victims of Germain Katanga expected 24 March. UN rights chief meanwhile has eye on widespread human rights violations, summary executions, by armed forces

Cote d’Ivoire: High ranking police officer called as witness in the ongoing Gbagbo trial

Uganda: Defense experts implicitly find Ongwen mentally fit to stand trial, according to ICC judges, but raise concerns over his mental health while in ICC detention center

 

ICC Preliminary Examinations

Burundi: UN calls on political parties to commit to peace talks in bid to resolve two year political crisis that sparked ICC examination

Ukraine: New UN report urges end to impunity for sexual violence amid allegations that victims are denied adequate care and counseling

 

Campaign for Global Justice

Nigeria's parliament is close to passing domestic implementation legislation on genocide, war crimes & crimes against humanity

ICC President and Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) board visit TFV assistance projects in Northern Uganda alongside, Court seeking to place victims first

ICC Prosecutor Bensouda participates in Munich security conference, highlights the important role of the ICC in strengthening international security

Minister tells parliament that Malawi was a founding state party to the Rome Statute, and will continue to support the ICC and fight for reform from within

UNESCO meeting lays groundwork for protecting Iraq’s cultural heritage

 

Around the World

Bosnia has appealed a 2007 ruling by the International Court of Justice, that Serbia was not directly responsible for genocide during the Yugoslav conflict

Philippines to move forward with investigation into president’s ties to alleged ‘death squad’ between 1998 and 2008

Syria peace talks restart in Geneva; civil society urges UN to make human rights, including justice, a priority during talks

While the approach does not represent full justice under international law, Mexican human rights lawyers are finding ways to provide some accountability in the meantime

What could accountability look like in ‘the new Gambia’?

Human Rights Watch urges United States to investigate civilian deaths in Yemen raid. United Kingdom continues to track over 250 allegations of war crimes committed by Saudi Arabia

Ex-Iraqi soldier on trial in Berlin for war crimes, after photos emerge with dead ISIS fighters