#GlobalJustice Weekly / Philippines: Don't leave ICC say senators | EU Day Against Impunity

Protesters and residents hold lighted candles and placards at the wake of Kian Loyd delos Santos, a 17-year-old high school student. © 2017 Dondi Tawatao / Reuters
Editors

Philippines' Senators call for ICC withdrawal rethink

A group of Senators of the Philippine Senate have initiated a petition at the Supreme Court of the Philippines to invalidate President Rodrigo Duterte’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the ICC. The petition is based on the argument that the executive cannot unilaterally take the decision to withdraw from an international treaty, “because such withdrawal is equivalent to a repeal of a law.” The issue is currently under investigation by the Supreme Court.

Philippines NGOS calls on Duterte to stay with ICC

 

EU Day Against Impunity

This week,  Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union held a commemoration in cooperation with the European Commission and the Genocide Network, on ‘EU Day Against Impunity’. The event was held at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Panel discussions focused on the EU’s contribution to 20 years of fighting impunity for global atrocities through the Rome Statute, and how this contribution will continue in the future.

Virginie Amato, Coalition for the ICC’s regional Europe coordinator, called on the EU to establish a Special Representative on International Humanitarian Law and International Justice to to strengthen their much-needed principled leadership to promote international humanitarian law and to secure justice for international crimes. and to ensure victims' rights are at centre of all efforts.

 

At the event, discussions focused on the role of national jurisdictions in fighting impunity, with the example of Germany, and the crucial role of Judicial cooperation highlighted by the European Network for investigation and prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes (EU Genocide Network) and the Netherlands.

The EU Genocide Network demonstrates how EU commitment can provide an effective contribution to ensuring accountability for perpetrators of the worst crimes.

Catherine Marchi -Uhel, head of the Syria International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM), spokeof the opportunity of domestic jurisdictions to support national cases for international crimes, with the help of the Mechanism, while European Parliament member Marietje Schaake highlighted the importance of a common and ambitious approach & high level leadership towards justice, including a strategy to end impunity for crimes in the Syrian conflict.

Trial International highlighted the importance of universal jurisdiction as a “tool for victims, a new avenue of justice”, and the key to fighting against impunity.

The main purpose of EU Day Against Impunity is to raise awareness of the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The day is also intended to promote national investigations and prosecutions, to address the position and participation of victims in criminal proceedings for these crimes, and to stimulate commitment for the continuing fight against impunity of these crimes.

The event was attended by practitioners, representatives from international tribunals, States, European institutions and a number of CICC members, NGOs, academics, lawyers, journalists.

ICC investigations

CAR: Human Rights Watch is calling for more support for the Special Criminal Court in the Central African Republic; established to operate alongside the ICC investigations into the country. The call is based on a report published by Human Rights Watch - Looking for Justice’: The Special Criminal Court, a New Opportunity for Victims in the Central African Republic – which highlights the obstacles and challenges for the Special Criminal Court in its initial phases.

Assuring security for court staff, the protection of victims and witnesses, and the setting up of an effective legal-aid program are identified as some of the obstacles faced by the court.

Bemba trial: The judgement for in Jean-Pierre Bemba’s appeal will be delivered on 8 June 2018 by the Appeals Chamber of the ICC. The judgement will be delivered in open court at 16.00 Hague time.

Bemba was the first ICC defendant to be convicted under the theory of command responsibility. In their appeals, the Defence challenged this finding, stating that Bemba did not exercise effective control over his troops.They had also argued that the Trial-Chamber verdict be dismissed on the basis of a denial of Bemba’s right to a fair trial.
 

Sudan: Amnesty International has reported an attack, carried out by pro-government militia group, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), on an IDP camp in Sudan. The group opened fire on an IDP camp, full of victims of the violence in Darfur, killing one and injuring at least 10 other people. Protesters demanding justice in the aftermath of the attack were also reportedly persecuted by security forces, arresting seven people.

Condemning the attack, Amnesty International’s Joan Nyanyuki said, “We are calling on the Sudanese authorities to conduct a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into this brutal attack, and ensure that the perpetrators

 

Preliminary Examinations

Afghanistan: President Ashraf Ghani has apologised to the families of civilians killed when Afghan air force targeted a religious ceremony in Dasht-e Archi, Kunduz province. Human Rights Watch is calling on the government to investigate the incident, which the government claims was targeting senior Taliban leaders.

Venezuela: According to a report by the International Crisis Group, Venezuela’s current President, Nicolas Maduro, is set to win the 20 May 2018 general elections. President Maduro’s term in office, which he inherited in 2013 after the death of Hugo Chavez, will come to an end in 2019. 

 

Campaign for global justice

Croatia/ Miroslav Jovic trial: The retrial of a former member of rebel Croatian Serb forces, Miroslav Jovic, during the former-Yugoslav crisis began on 21 May 2018. Jovic is accused of killing Croat civilian Ivanka Medved and wounding her husband Branko Medved in the village of Gornje Taboriste in central Croatia in September 1991. The trial is set to continue into June 2018.

Decolonising Human Rights: The Secretary General of Amnesty International, Salil Shetty, delivered a speech on ‘Decolonising human rights’ at the London School of Economics. His speech touched on the issue of the continued ‘colonisation’, ‘misappropriation’ and ‘instrumentalist’ tendencies’ in the human rights system.

Tunisia/Truth Commission: On 18 May 2018, Tunisia’s Truth and Dignity Commission sent its first criminal case for trial before special courts. The case, relating to the 2011 uprising were sent to the Specialised Chamber of the Court of the City of Kasserine; it related to the 2011 killings and wounding of protesters by gunfire in the towns of Kasserine and Tala
 

Around the world

Myanmar: A Rohingya armed group is allegedly responsible for at least one massacre of up to 99 Hindus in Rakhine in August 2017. New evidence has shown Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) fighters carried out brutal attacks and “spread fear” among Hindus and other ethnic communities.

Security Council: The UN Security Council held a day long open-debate on the importance of rectifying its failure to carry out its mandate of preventing the unilateral use-of-force. The debates were held along the general themes of the Council’s failure in the face of growing number of humanitarian crises and the expansive interpretation of the limits to the use of force as envisaged in the UN Charter.

Presidents of the International Court of Justice and the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, Judge Hisashi Owada and Theodor Meron respectively, called on the Council to use its powers regarding the referral of situations of legal uncertainty to dispute resolution bodies for adjudication more liberally, rather than engaging in excessive, and deadlock prone, political debates.

Yemen: A fresh surge of violence has hit civilians in the Hodeidah Governorate of Yemen. Amnesty International has reported that the internationally-recognised Yemeni government, with the help of Saudi-Arabian airsupport, have launched an offensive to retake the district. It is feared that thousands of civilians will be displaced as a result of the violence.