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#GlobalJustice Weekly - Famine in South Sudan | CAR crisis continues | South Africa to repeal ICC Act

A mother breastfeeding a child with acute malnutrition at an MSF clinic in Aweil, in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, South Sudan. © Albert Gonzalez Farran/AFP/Getty Images

Famine hits war-torn South Sudan

An upsurge in violence in South Sudan in 2016 has contributed to the first situation of famine being declared since Somalia in 2011. The government's declaration, which impacts some 100,000 civilians, came a week after experts warned that conflict-driven famine looms in four countries. According to the UN, South Sudan has teetered on the brink of ethnic-cleansing as killings, sexual crimes, and property crimes continued to mount over recent months. The situation has reportedly already seen two top national armed forces officials resign over compromised internal disciplinary structures.

The UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan called just last week for the establishment of an independent system to investigate and collect evidence of violations before it is lost. Over two years ago, some were already asking how laws of conflict, and indeed the ICC, could potentially deal with acts contributing to famine in South Sudan, a non-ICC member state – an important question as a new UN report suggests continuing civilian displacements could aggravate the famine in 2018.

International, regional pressure builds on the CAR

Human Rights Watch has alleged that in December 2016, rebels from l'Union pour la Paix en Centrafrique (UPC) executed 32 civilians in Ouaku province of the Central African Republic (CAR), including 25 called to attend a meeting in a school. International and regional organizations later jointly condemned the deteriorating conflict situation in the CAR, emphasizing that acts against civilians could result in prosecution under international law. HRW added that an ongoing ICC investigation into sectarian violence in the CAR since 2012 (see CAR II) should give the ICC prosecutor jurisdiction over the December 2016 allegations if a new domestic judicial body - the Special Criminal Court - is not prepared to step in.

South Africa to repeal ICC Act: Have your say

The Justice Committee of the South African Congress is currently tasked with considering draft national legislation that would give legal effect to South Africa's ICC withdrawal notification last year. The Justice Committee, which must make recommendations to parliament, is now seeking comments from members of the public and civil society regarding the bill. Have your say before 8 March 2016.

 

ICC Investigations

Kenya: UN rights experts express alarm at mounting systematic attacks on civil society in Kenya as August elections approach. Meanwhile, could ghosts of post-election violence return to haunt Kenya, following plan to air documentary of victim testimonies?

Libya: NGOs call on UN Human Rights Council to mandate independent expert to monitor and report on human rights and progress towards accountability

DRC: Last prosecution witness testifies in warlord Bosco Ntaganda’s trial; proceedings to pick up again on March 2 when victims and their representatives take the floor

 

Preliminary Examinations

Burundi: Government opting out of resumed peace talks in Tanzania, intended to find an end to violent political crisis in Burundi since 2015, prompts opponents to allege constitutional and peace deal violations

Ukraine: Human Rights Watch calls for improved security for civilians after dangers, unnecessary delays at crossing points between government and separatist held areas

 

Campaign for Global Justice

The ICC or the African Union: Who can ensure justice for African victims?

UN Secretary-General says a united Europe essential to prevent deepening conflicts worldwide, while UN rights chief urges global community to stand up for human rights in period of ‘profound uncertainty’

To commemorate Red Hand day, or the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers, reliefweb debunked 5 common myths about child soldiers

First cases of sexual and gender-based violence against Sunni Arab women in areas under ISIS control in Iraq that Human Rights Watch has been able to document

 

Around the World

As Human Rights Watch reports systematic use of chlorine gas in Aleppo this December, Sweden court hands life sentence to Syria national for war crimes committed in Idlib in 2012. Meanwhile, new UN team to collect evidence of atrocities to assist with further prosecutions worldwide

In Iraq, UN says civilians at extreme risk, with estimated 650,000 trapped in the west as offensive to retake Mosul begins

According to Human Rights Watch, Russia failed to investigate civilian casualties during 16 airstrikes it led in Syria from 2015-16, with at least 141 dead

Military crackdown against Myanmar’s Rohingya minority has ceased, with army completing clearance operation that caused 69,000 to flee to Bangladesh. UN rights envoy pushes – and NGOs agree – for resolution to investigate reports of military atrocities

Human Rights Watch alleges Saudi Arabia-led Coalition airstrike near school in northern Yemen is unlawful, reinforces urgent need for international war crimes investigations