PILPG: War Crimes Prosecution Watch Volume 11, Issue 6 – May 30, 2016

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FREDERICK K. COX
INTERNATIONAL LAW CENTER

Founder/Advisor
Michael P. Scharf

War Crimes Prosecution Watch

Volume 11 – Issue 6
May 30, 2016

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Editor-in-Chief
Kevin J. Vogel

Technical Editor-in-Chief
Jeradon Z. Mura

Managing Editors
Dustin Narcisse
Victoria Sarant

War Crimes Prosecution Watch is a bi-weekly e-newsletter that compiles official documents and articles from major news sources detailing and analyzing salient issues pertaining to the investigation and prosecution of war crimes throughout the world. To subscribe, please email warcrimeswatch@pilpg.org and type “subscribe” in the subject line.

Opinions expressed in the articles herein represent the views of their authors and are not necessarily those of the War Crimes Prosecution Watch staff, the Case Western Reserve University School of Law or Public International Law & Policy Group.

Contents

CENTRAL AFRICA

Central African Republic

Sudan & South Sudan

Democratic Republic of the Congo

WEST AFRICA

Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

Lake Chad Region — Chad, Nigeria, Niger, and Cameroon

Mali

EAST AFRICA

Uganda

Kenya

Rwanda (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda)

NORTH AFRICA

Libya

EUROPE

Court of Bosnia & Herzegovina, War Crimes Chamber

International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Domestic Prosecutions In The Former Yugoslavia

MIDDLE EAST AND ASIA

Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

Iraq

Syria

Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal

War Crimes Investigations in Burma

TOPICS

Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Terrorism

Piracy

Gender-Based Violence

Commentary and Perspectives

Syrian Network for Human Rights: Mare’e City goes between the ISIL’s Hell and Kurdish Self Management Forces’ Burns

Mare’e City goes between the ISIL’s Hell and Kurdish Self Management Forces’ Burns
Fears threat the lives of 1700 families

Since the beginning of February 2016, the government forces, (security, army, and militias, both local and foreign Loyalties), with the intensive support of Russian raids, started to launch a wide attack aimed at cutting the only road linking between the northern and the western countryside of Aleppo and the neighborhoods of Aleppo that are under the control of the armed opposition factions. This campaign coincided with the military campaign led by Kurdish Self Management forces through the Syria Democratic Kurdish Forces.
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Refugees Flock to Europe as Migrant Boats Capsize in Mediterranean

By Sarah Lafen

Impunity Watch Desk Reporter, Europe

ROME, Italy –This past week, more than 14,000 refugee migrants from Libya were rescued from the Mediterranean Sea by European forces.  At least 65 migrants have died in shipwrecks associated with these rescue missions.  Spanish and Irish vessels, Spanish planes, Luxembourgian planes, and the Italian navy have all contributed to the rescue of these refugee migrants.

One of the refugee migrant ship that capsized this past week in the Mediterranean (Photo Courtesy of Reuters)

Warmer spring weather has led to a surge in migrants attempting the journey from the North African coast to Europe’s borders.  The crossing between Italy and Libya is now the main route used by migrants since a deal between the European Union (EU) and Turkey has decreased the number of migrants from entering Greece via the Aegean Sea.  Under the deal, all new “irregular” migrants crossing from Turkey to Greece must be returned to Turkey.  Turkey must also take all measures necessary to prevent any newly developed land or sea routes accessible to migrants from Turkey to the EU.

Many European nations have voiced reluctance to take in migrant refugees.  Some rescued migrants are taken to Porto Empedocle on the Sicilian coast, and some are placed in Sicilian and Greek shelters.  However, not all refugees will be granted asylum in the EU once they arrive.  Most rescued migrants are asked to leave the EU within seven days of their arrival.  To prevent the potential massive influx of asylum seekers, some have suggested sending these migrants straight back to Libya despite its currently being a war-zone.  Austria has gone so far as to change its laws to prevent migrants from applying for asylum at their border.  Germany has recently revealed plans to add Morocco and Tunisia to its list of “safe countries” which would prevent migrants from those countries to qualify for asylum in Germany.

These migrants pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to make this journey to Europe, and travel from a wide variety of countries including Morocco, Tunisia, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Eritrea, and Sudan.

For further information, please see:

CNN — 700+ Migrants Missing or Feared Dead in Mediterranean Shipwrecks — 30 May 2016

The Irish Times — Migrant Crisis: Shipwrecks ‘kill up to 700’ UN Agency Says — 29 May 2016

The Guardian — Dozens Feared Dead as Migrant Boat Capsizes in Mediterranean — 28 May 2016

BBC — Migrant Crisis: Many Feared Dead in Shipwreck off Libya — 26 May 2016

European Commission — EU-Turkey Agreement: Questions and Answers — 19 March 2016

Boko Haram says They are Willing to Negotiate the Release of the Chibok Girls

By: Samantha Netzband

Impunity Watch Reporter, Africa

 

ABUJA, Nigeria—It has been over two years since the abduction of 219 girls from the Chibok school in Nigeria.  Islamic extremist group Boko Haram is responsible for the abduction.  Boko Haram has killed at least 2,600 people in Nigeria, but they are looking to make a deal with the government for the release of the girls.

chibok girls

Screenshot taken from a video showing some of the Chibok girls alive. (Photo Courtesy of CNN)

Amir Muhammad Abdullahi, who is reportedly second-in-command of Boko Haram, has said that only a third of the original number of girls abducted remain captive.  The Nigerian government has had success in securing the return of 11,595 people between February and April of this year.

One Chibok girl was recently released in what the government is perceiving as a sign of good faith from the members of Boko Haram.  She was found in the Sambisa forest reserve with a suspected member of Boko Haram.  The girl reported that only 6 of the captive girls have died, rather than the larger number claimed by Abdullahi.  The girl believes that they may be located in the Sambisa forest reserve where she was found.  The Sambisa forest reserve is a large forest located near the border of Cameroon.

Reports of a second Chibok girl release turned out to be false. The head of Chibok Abducted Girls Parents group said the second girl was not one of the abducted girls.  The second girl is said to have been abducted from her home in Madagali.  She was returned along with 96 other citizens who had been abducted from their homes and held hostage.

Abdullahi says that no one is winning the battle that Boko Haram has waged with Nigeria.

For further information please see:

Pulse – Insurgents reportedly call for truce to release Chibok girls – 22 May 2016

International Business Times – Boko Haram willing to discuss surrender and release of Chibok girls – 21 May 2016

All Africa – Nigerian Army Confirms Rescue of Another Chibok School Girl – 20 May 2016

BBC – Boko Haram abductees freed in Nigeria – 20 May 2016

Justice for Sergei Magnitsky: White House Rejects Crude Attempt to Repeal Magnitsky Sanctions

31 May 2016 – The White House has reaf­firmed its com­mit­ment to the US Mag­nit­sky Act in a strongly-worded response to a peti­tion posted on the White House web­site in April 2016 by an anony­mous “R.T.” call­ing for the repeal of the US Mag­nit­sky Act.

 

“More than six years after his [Magnitsky’s] death, we remain dis­turbed by the impunity for this and other vio­lent crimes against activists, jour­nal­ists, and the polit­i­cal oppo­si­tion. We are also con­cerned by the grow­ing atmos­phere of intim­i­da­tion toward those who work to uncover cor­rup­tion or human rights vio­la­tions in the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion,” said the White House in its state­ment in response to the petition.

 

The White House reit­er­ated its posi­tion on the Mag­nit­sky Act expressed ear­lier by the U.S. State Department:

 

“The Admin­is­tra­tion intends to carry out and fully imple­ment the Mag­nit­sky Act. It reflects our sup­port for human rights and that those respon­si­ble for human rights abuses should be held to account…That’s what the act says; that’s what we intend to do.”

 

The White House said that indi­vid­u­als added to the U.S. Mag­nit­sky sanc­tions list in Feb­ru­ary 2016 “play sig­nif­i­cant roles in the repres­sive machin­ery of Russia’s law enforce­ment sys­tems,” and their inclu­sion was effected “after exten­sive research, includ­ing con­sul­ta­tions with Russ­ian and/or inter­na­tional civil society.”

 

“Efforts to imple­ment the Mag­nit­sky Act have so far resulted in a sig­nif­i­cant list of indi­vid­u­als respon­si­ble for Magnitsky’s death and sub­se­quent cover-up, as well as oth­ers respon­si­ble for gross human rights vio­la­tions. The list pro­motes account­abil­ity for their actions,” said the White House in its online response to the petition.

 

The anti-Magnitsky peti­tion was a lat­est in a series of pro­pa­ganda and intim­i­da­tion attempts by the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment and its prox­ies since the begin­ning of the year to over­turn the Mag­nit­sky Act in the US and pre­vent its pas­sage in Canada and Europe.

 

These ini­tia­tives were launched by Russ­ian For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter Sergei Lavrov at a Jan­u­ary 2016 press con­fer­ence where he alluded to new devel­op­ments in the Mag­nit­sky case. Since then, the Rus­sians set up an anti-Magnitsky Act NGO in Delaware called the Human Rights Account­abil­ity Global Ini­tia­tive Foun­da­tion. This newNGO is being rep­re­sented by Natalia Vesel­nit­skaya, the Russ­ian lawyer for alleged money laun­derer Denis Kat­syv, whose com­pa­nies are sus­pected by the US Jus­tice Depart­ment and the Swiss Gen­eral Pros­e­cu­tor of receiv­ing pro­ceeds from the US$230 mil­lion crime Sergei Mag­nit­sky had uncovered.

 

Another anti-Magnitsky ini­tia­tive included two anti-Magnitsky pro­pa­ganda films. The first one was aired in April 2016 in Russ­ian lan­guage on the main pro-Kremlin Russ­ian TV sta­tion. It claimed the dis­cov­ery of a CIA plot to mur­der Sergei Mag­nit­sky in Moscow deten­tion in order to blame his death on the Russ­ian author­i­ties. To authen­ti­cate the pur­ported CIA plot, the Rus­sians forged CIA doc­u­ments and retained Andrew Ful­ton, a for­mer UK diplo­mat, who now chairs GPW, a pri­vate spy firm in Lon­don, to sign a report “ver­i­fy­ing” the Russian-produced doc­u­ments as gen­uine CIA documents.

 

The sec­ond anti-Magnitsky pro­pa­ganda film was pro­duced for a West­ern audi­ence by film­maker Andrei Nekrasov, who claims Sergei Mag­nit­sky was not beaten in cus­tody and was not a whistle­blower despite pub­licly avail­able evi­dence to the con­trary. Nerkasov’s film bases its asser­tions on state­ments from ex-Russian Inte­rior Min­istry offi­cers Kar­pov and Lap­shov, both sanc­tioned by the US Gov­ern­ment for their role in the Mag­nit­sky case.

 

U.S. Pres­i­dent Obama signed the Sergei Mag­nit­sky Rule of Law Account­abil­ity Act of 2012 into law on Decem­ber 14, 2012. In Feb­ru­ary 2016, U.S. Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry sub­mit­ted to Con­gress the third annual report out­lin­ing the U.S. Government’s actions to imple­ment the Mag­nit­sky Act, and a new list of per­sons added to the Mag­nit­sky sanc­tions list.

 

“Despite widely-publicized, com­pelling evi­dence of crim­i­nal con­duct result­ing in Sergei Magnitsky’s deten­tion, abuse, and death, Russ­ian author­i­ties have failed to bring to jus­tice those respon­si­ble. This law [Mag­nit­sky Act] holds Rus­sians account­able for their roles in the Mag­nit­sky case or their respon­si­bil­ity for cer­tain gross vio­la­tions of human rights,” said the White House in its statement.

 

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion please contact:

 

Jus­tice for Sergei Magnitsky

+44 207 440 1777

e-mail: info@lawandorderinrussia.org

www.lawandorderinrussia.org

www.billbrowder.com

https://twitter.com/Billbrowder

 

White House online response to the petition

ABC News: Hissene Habre: Chadian ex-dictator found guilty of war crimes, sentenced to life in prison

A special court in Senegal has sentenced former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre to life in prison for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and a litany of other charges including rape.

Key points:

  • Hissene Hibre’s crimes include forced slavery, kidnapping and rape
  • The verdict caps a 16-year battle by victims and campaigners
  • The conviction ‘sends a powerful message’ to other despots, lawyers say

The verdict brings a long-awaited day of reckoningto up to 40,000 people kidnapped, raped and tortured under his rule as president of Chad from 1982 to 1990.

“Hissene Habre, this court finds you guilty of crimes against humanity, rape, forced slavery, and kidnapping,” as well as war crimes, said Gberdao Gustave Kam, president of the special court.

“The court condemns you to life in prison.”

The court also heard that Habre had raped a woman named Khadija Hassan Zidane on several occasions.

Upon hearing the verdict, Habre raised his arms into the air, shouting “Down with France-afrique!” referring to the term used for France’s continuing influence on its former colonies.

The verdict caps a 16-year battle by victims and rights campaigners to bring the former strongman to justice in Senegal, where he fled after being toppled in a 1990 coup in the central African nation.

“The feeling is one of complete satisfaction,” said Clement Abaifouta, president of the Habre survivors association known by the acronym AVCRHH.

The case was heard at the Extraordinary African Chambers (CAE) — a special tribunal set up by the African Union under a deal with Senegal.

It is the first time a country has prosecuted a former leader of another nation for rights abuses.

‘Verdict sends a powerful message’

Reed Brody, a lawyer for Human Rights Watch who has spent the last 15 years working with victims to bring Habre to justice, said the conviction was “a huge victory for Chadian victims” and a warning to other despots.

“This verdict sends a powerful message that the days when tyrants could brutalise their people, pillage their treasury and escape abroad to a life of luxury are coming to an end,” Mr Reed said in a statement on Monday.

Known as a skilled desert warrior who often wore combat fatigues to fit the role, Habre fled to Senegal after his 1990 ouster by Chad’s current President Idriss Deby.

Witnesses recounted the horror of life in Chad’s prisons, describing in graphic detail abusive and often deadly punishments inflicted by Habre’s feared secret police, the Documentation and Security Directorate (DDS).

Victims were subject to electric shocks and waterboarding while some had gas sprayed in their eyes or spice rubbed into their genitals, the court heard.

Habre’s defence team unsuccessfully sought to cast doubt on the prosecution argument that their client was an all-knowing, all-powerful head of the DDS, suggesting he may have been unaware of abuses on the ground.

For more than 20 years, the former dictator lived freely in an upmarket Dakar suburb with his wife and children, swapping his military garb for white robes and a cap.

He declined to address the court throughout the 10-month trial, refusing to recognise its authority.

“What we have seen today is not justice. It is a crime against Africa,” said Mahamat Togoi, part of a Habre supporters group.

“It’s the dirty work of mercenaries in the pay of France-afrique.”

But Mahamat Moussa, a former detainee, had said a guilty verdict would provide solace to many families left without answers 25 years after Habre left office.

“A verdict proportionate with the crimes committed by Habre will allow many families to properly mourn and offer some comfort from the suffering we former prisoners endured,” he said.

AFP/Reuters

Justice for Sergei Magnitsky: Sergei Magnitsky’s Widow Requests That Film Slandering Her Murdered Husband is Withdrawn From Norwegian Film Festival

30 May 2016 – The widow of Sergei Mag­nit­sky has writ­ten to the Nor­we­gian Kort­film­fes­ti­valen request­ing the fes­ti­val to with­draw the film, which posthu­mously slan­ders her mur­dered hus­band, from its June 2016 program.

 

“The fam­ily of Sergei Mag­nit­sky opposes the dis­tri­b­u­tion of “The Mag­nit­sky Act” film by Russ­ian film­maker Andrei Nekrasov in any form, given its false and defam­a­tory con­tent, highly degrad­ing of the deceased Sergei Mag­nit­sky and hurt­ful to the feel­ings of the Mag­nit­sky mother and widow,” said the Mag­nit­sky fam­ily in their statement.

 

“There is no pub­lic inter­est in pub­lish­ing and dis­trib­ut­ing infor­ma­tion that is know­ingly false, espe­cially when this infor­ma­tion causes pain and suf­fer­ing to the fam­ily of the deceased and is degrad­ing to his mem­ory. The know­ing dis­tri­b­u­tion of mali­cious false­hoods about a deceased per­son will make the fes­ti­val com­plicit in it,” said Sergei Magnitsky’s widow.

 

Russ­ian film­maker Andrei Nekrasov claimed in his inter­view in a Nor­we­gian news­pa­per Dag­bladet on 26 May 2016 that he had con­ducted ”inten­sive research” on which the film is based.

 

The Mag­nit­sky fam­ily strongly dis­agrees, saying:

 

“Had Andrei Nekrasov gen­uinely con­ducted the research, he would have come across pub­licly avail­able evi­dence that con­tra­dicts his asser­tions, and demon­strates that they are untrue.” “It is clear from the review of the pub­lic record on the Mag­nit­sky case, how­ever, that no respon­si­ble research was conducted.”

 

In his film, Andrei Nekrasov claims that Sergei Mag­nit­sky was not a lawyer, when offi­cial Russ­ian court records and Magnitsky’s own tes­ti­mony demon­strates the fal­sity of this claim, show­ing that Mag­nit­sky rep­re­sented clients in courts and iden­ti­fied him­self as a lawyer.

 

Next, Nekrasov falsely claims that Sergei Mag­nit­sky did not blow the whis­tle on the com­plic­ity of Russ­ian police offi­cers in the fraud in his tes­ti­mony before his arrest, when Sergei Mag­nit­sky named the offi­cers 27 times in his 5 June 2008 testimony.

 

Nekrasov also falsely claims that Sergei Mag­nit­sky had not been beaten before his death in cus­tody, when this is con­tra­dicted by offi­cial autopsy pho­tos show­ing seri­ous injuries. It is also con­tra­dicted by: the Russ­ian state death cer­tifi­cate refer­ring to a cere­bral cra­nial injury; the Russ­ian government’s record describ­ing the use of rub­ber batons on Mag­nit­sky the night he died; and the Russ­ian government’s expert con­clu­sion describ­ing Magnitsky’s injuries com­ing from blunt force trauma.

 

In addi­tion, Andrei Nekrasov falsely claims that some­body else, not Sergei Mag­nit­sky, reported the US$230 mil­lion fraud, despite the doc­u­men­tary evi­dence that the first report about the US$230 mil­lion fraud was made in July 2008 by Her­mitage on the basis of Magnitsky’s inves­ti­ga­tion into the crime.

 

Because of the demon­stra­bly false and defam­a­tory con­tent, the screen­ing of the film by Andrei Nekrasov has been can­celled at the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, by French TV sta­tion ARTE and Ger­man TV sta­tion ZDF.

 

The false and defam­a­tory infor­ma­tion about Sergei Mag­nit­sky pre­sented in this film is con­trary to the evi­dence from Russ­ian gov­ern­ment bod­ies, inves­ti­ga­tions by inde­pen­dent Russ­ian human rights organ­i­sa­tions, find­ings and con­clu­sions by numer­ous inter­na­tional organ­i­sa­tions includ­ing the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, the Par­lia­men­tary Assem­bly of the Coun­cil of Europe, the Par­lia­men­tary Assem­bly of the OSCE, the Moscow Helsinki Group, theUS Helsinki Com­mis­sion, the US Con­gress, the Nor­we­gian Helsinki Com­mit­tee, the UN Rap­por­teur on Tor­ture and Other Cruel, Inhu­man and Degrad­ing Treat­ment, and others.

 

“In addi­tion to pre­sent­ing false infor­ma­tion about Sergei Mag­nit­sky, degrad­ing his mem­ory and his sac­ri­fice, the film presents a fic­tion­alised por­trayal of Sergei Mag­nit­sky as a per­son, cre­ates a fic­ti­tious iden­tity of him and presents his fic­ti­tious con­ver­sa­tions with oth­ers, that are untrue, and removed from real­ity, that also do not jus­tify and con­tra­dict the depic­tion of this film as ”doc­u­men­tary,” said the Mag­nit­sky family.

 

Kort­film­fes­ti­valen in Nor­way has been informed of the Mag­nit­sky family’s con­cern against dis­play­ing or in any other way dis­trib­ut­ing the film’s con­tent, con­trary to the Nor­we­gian Dam­ages Act, which pro­hibits dis­tri­b­u­tion of false infor­ma­tion to cause harm to people’s reputation.

 

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion please contact:

 

Jus­tice for Sergei Magnitsky

+44 207 440 1777

e-mail: info@lawandorderinrussia.org

www.lawandorderinrussia.org

www.billbrowder.com

https://twitter.com/Billbrowder

Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect: International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers

29 May 2016 Web Version

Statement on the International Day of UN Peacekeepers

Today marks the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect pays tribute to UN peacekeepers deployed around the world and recognizes the sacrifice of those who lost their lives in the service of peace and the protection of civilians.
As we recognize the International Day of UN Peacekeepers we recall that ten out of sixteen current UN peacekeeping missions have Protection of Civilians mandates, which involve more than 95 percent of all UN peacekeepers. Peacekeepers are also increasingly called upon to uphold the international community’s Responsibility to Protect civilians from mass atrocity crimes; namely genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
As crises around the world have grown more complex and volatile, with increasing disregard for international humanitarian and human rights law, the personal risks to peacekeepers have deepened. Attacks against UN peacekeepers constitute war crimes. Last year 128 peacekeepers were killed, including those in military and civilian roles.
So far this year the UN has registered more than a dozen attacks against the UN mission in Mali while several attacks have been perpetrated against UN bases in South Sudan, which continue to shelter more than 180,000 civilians displaced by the civil war. Meanwhile, in Sudan the government continues to obstruct one of the world’s largest peacekeeping operations, UNAMID, leaving civilians in Darfur inadequately protected from ongoing crimes against humanity. It is critical that the neutrality of UN bases is maintained and that all parties to a conflict respect international humanitarian and human rights law.
We welcome the recommendations of last year’s High-Level Independent Review Panel on UN Peace Operations (HIPPO) as well as the Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians. The HIPPO recommendations and Kigali Principles offer practical ways to address current challenges in peacekeeping, including on issues relating to training, early warning, resources and capabilities, use of force and accountability. We acknowledge the 29 states that have already endorsed the Kigali Principles, and encourage all other UN member states to do so.
We must do more to ensure that all UN peacekeepers are better prepared to protect civilians from mass atrocity crimes. The Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes produced by the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect should be mainstreamed into pre-deployment training, operational planning and the day-to-day work of UN peacekeeping missions.
Dr. Simon Adams, Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, noted that, “all too often in the world today UN peacekeepers are all that stand between vulnerable civilians and those who prey on human misery. We pay tribute to all UN peacekeepers who risk their lives while providing protection to displaced or threatened populations where ever they may be.”

The Guardian: Former Chad dictator to learn fate after alleged victims’ long fight for justice

Dakar court to give verdict on Monday on whether Hissène Habré is guilty of murder, torture, rape and crimes against humanity

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Victims ‘hope for justice’ as Hissène Habré awaits verdict

Chad’s former dictator is to learn his fate on Monday after a 26-year battle by his alleged victims to bring him to justice.

A court in Dakar will decide whether Hissène Habré is guilty of murder, torture, rape and crimes against humanity in the culmination of a five-month trial.

The landmark case is the first time the courts of one country have prosecuted the former leader of another for alleged human rights crimes. Activists say it gives hope to the victims of dictators that it is possible to bring their tormentors to justice.

Habré, hiding his face behind sunglasses and a voluminous white turban, sat in court each day to hear dozens of Chadians describe the horrors they suffered at the hands of his officials.

On one of the most dramatic days of the trial, a woman who had been imprisoned at the presidential palace revealed a secret she said she had been hiding for 30 years: she accused Habré of raping her four times.

Habré did not speak and stared straight ahead as she made the allegation, as he did throughout the trial except the first day, on which soldiers dragged the former desert warlord into the courtroom kicking and shouting insults, and pinned him down. Later, his legal team dismissed the woman, Khadija Zidane, as a “nymphomaniac prostitute”.

Habré’s alleged victims have pinned all their hopes on a conviction. Clément Abaifouta, who was a young student when he was arrested and imprisoned for four years, during which he became known as the “gravedigger” because he was forced to bury the bodies of his cellmates, said the experience had ruined his life.

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Watch: Victims ‘hope for justice’ as Hissène Habré awaits verdict

“For my four years of detention, I did not exist. I was like a tiny coin, buried in a hole,” Abaifouta said. “For four years I went through terrible treatment, I slept on the floor. You get sick and you don’t get medicine. You just wait for death to come.

“This has marked my life. I was forced to bury people – my friends – who, maybe, if they had just had an aspirin or some other small treatment, would have survived. Men were taken out of prison only to be killed, and women to be raped. This was a nightmare for me. I was a victim of a system that has broken my life.

Clément Abaifouta testifying in the trial, which was televised.
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Clément Abaifouta testifying in the trial, which was televised.

“When I hear people ask ‘what if Hissène Habré is not convicted?’, I can’t even think about it. Just put me in the fire and burn me now. I was out of my mind when I gave evidence – I could have jumped on him. I couldn’t stand that I was sitting one metre away from the person who did this to me, and he didn’t say a word. It was the worst insult. It was like he took all the victims, and just threw them away.”

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Habré’s legal strategy was to not recognise the Extraordinary African Chambers, which was set up by the African Union and Senegal, the country to which he fled in 1990 when Chad’s current president, Idriss Déby, marched on the capital, Ndjamena, and overthrew his former ally. Before he left the country, Habré is accused of emptying its coffers, money that prosecutors hope can be clawed back and paid to his alleged victims.

The trial breaks new ground in Africa, where there has been growing resistance to the international criminal court’s perceived racism: all the investigations the latter has opened so far have been in African countries. Senegal’s method is being seen as an alternative, and a precedent-setter for the continent.

However, Reed Brody, a Human Rights Watch campaigner nicknamed the “dictator hunter” for his tenacity in pursuing both Habré and Chile’s Augusto Pinochet, thinks the greatest precedent is not a legal one but the message it sends to survivors of other regimes.

“What’s really precendential here is that survivors have fought to bring their dictator to justice. It serves as an inspiration for other victims,” he said.

A document showing the note ‘No prisoner to leave the prison except in case of death’ scrawled in Habré’s handwriting.
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A document showing the note ‘No prisoner to leave the prison except in case of death’ scrawled in Habré’s handwriting.

Prisoners under Habré’s regime were allegedly forced into cells so cramped that they could not turn around; many suffocated to death in the 50-degree heat. Souleymane Guengueng, one of the leaders of the victims’ campaign, stopped breathing three times and nearly died: he considers it an act of God that he did not. He vowed that if he got out he would fight to bring his torturers to justice.

Guengueng’s meticulous documentation of survivors’ stories was key to the prosecution’s case, along with a huge tranche of documents that Brody found strewn in an old Chadian army building. The documents point to 1,208 people dying in detention and 12,321 victims of human rights violations, though in 1992 the Chadian Truth Commission put the death toll at 40,000.

Dapper in a black fedora adorned with bright feathers and a large silver crucifix around his neck, Guengueng, in Dakar to hear the verdict, took off his glasses to reveal damaged eyes, ringed with pale blue. He was locked up in pitch-dark solitary confinement for three months and almost went blind.

“All the suffering we went through in prison, the torture, the deprivation of food and healthcare, led me to wonder how someone could make people endure that – could treat them like animals,” he said. “In court, I was scared Habré would just explode – it was incredible for a human being to take in all the things we said about him and not crack. I will forgive him after justice, not before.”

For Abaifouta, the trial should serve as a warning to other tyrants, and though a conviction cannot mend his broken life, would nevertheless be a relief. “For a victim like me, it’s going to be one of the greatest days of my life,” he said. “For 26 years we have braved fear, violence and humiliation. It’s the climax of our struggle.”

Syria Deeply Weekly Update: Syrians Struggle for Room in Turkish Schools

WEEKLY UPDATE May 28, 2016

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the weekly Syria Deeply newsletter. We’ve rounded up the most important stories and developments about Syria and the Syrians in order to bring you valuable news and analysis. But first, here is a brief overview of what happened this week:

On Saturday, Free Syrian Army rebels gave the regime a 48-hour deadline to halt the attacks against the group’s strongholds of Daraya and Eastern Ghouta in the suburbs of Damascus, or they would abandon the “cessation of hostilities.”

The FSA successfully seized the town of Deir Khaiba in rural Damascus on Thursday following clashes with regime forces. The opposition described the fighting as a “precautionary battle” to prevent the Syrian regime, which has sent reinforcements into the area, from besieging the towns of Khan and Zakia.

On Monday, Russia called for a temporary truce in the same areas, following deadly attacks by the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) on the government-controlled coastal cities of Tartous and Jableh.

ISIS launched a coordinated attack on the two cities, killing nearly 150 civilians and wounding 200. The militant group claimed responsibility for the attacks, which involved suicide bombers and cars filled with explosives.

Later in the week, Russia’s defense ministry announced that it had agreed to hold back targeted airstrikes on the al-Qaida-backed al-Nusra Front positions in Aleppo and Damascus, in an attempt to give other armed rebel groups time to distance themselves from al-Nusra Front positions.

In northern Syria, the new commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, Gen. Joseph Votel, made a secret visit to Kurdish-controlled areas on Saturday to assess U.S. troops and the organization of local Arab and Kurd fighters in combating ISIS. On Tuesday, following the visit, reports surfaced of an upcoming attack on the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, by the U.S.-trained Syrian Democratic Forces.

A few days later, on Thursday, photographs surfaced of U.S. special operations forces aiding the main Syrian Kurdish militia, and wearing YPG patches, as they advanced toward Raqqa.

In other news, warring rebel factions Jaish al-Islam and Failaq al-Rahman in Eastern Ghouta finally agreed to a truce after a round of negotiations in Qatar on Tuesday. Around 500 people have been killed since April, when fighting broke out between rival factions.

A new report released by the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights revealed that at least 60,000 people have died in regime detention facilities since the beginning of the conflict. The figure was calculated by adding up numbers provided by sources inside government jails and security services.

On an international level, a statement by U.N. special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, following a round of consultation with the Security Council, said there would be no talks on Syria for at least two or three weeks. The envoy said he is waiting for progress on the ground regarding the cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access.

Weekly Highlights:

Video: Syrians Struggle for Room in Turkish Schools

As Istanbul geared up to host the inaugural World Humanitarian Summit, Turkish support for Syrians – including its policy of granting access to education to Syrian children officially registered as refugees – was in the spotlight.

Syrian refugee child Omar al-Ali, 6, watches television with his siblings as they sit in the commercial space their family has rented to live in, Gaziantep, southeastern Turkey, on May 16, 2016. AP/Lefteris Pitarakis

World Humanitarian Summit: New Thinking, Old Feuds

This week’s WHS promised wide-ranging consultations and a break with convention in order to find solutions fast, but with some high-profile absences – from MSF to Syria and the Saudis – just how effective can it be?

United Nations security personnel, left, and Turkish armed forces officers, right, attend a flag-raising ceremony, marking the opening of business at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, on Saturday, May 21, 2016. AP/Lefteris Pitarakis

Syrian NGOs Lament ‘Dreadful Silence’ at Summit

After the United Nations lavishly highlighted its achievements during the World Humanitarian Summit, Syrian NGOs expressed their dismay that the gathering failed to help develop sustainable solutions to the crisis.

Seven-month-old Syrian refugee Mariam Mohammed, whose family fled from Hama, Syria, sleeps under a mosquito net inside their tent at an informal tented settlement in the Jordan Valley, Wednesday, March 30, 2016. AP

More Recent Stories to Look Out for at Syria Deeply:

Find our new reporting and analysis every weekday at www.newsdeeply.com/syria. You can reach our team with any comments or suggestions at info@newsdeeply.org.

Top image: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the World Humanitarian Summit, in Istanbul, Monday, May 23, 2016. AP

Justice for Sergei Magnitsky: US Criminal Grand Jury Convened to Examine Involvement of Son of Senior Russian Government Official in $230 Million Fraud exposed by Sergei Magnitsky

27 May 2016 – A US crim­i­nal grand jury has been con­vened to exam­ine the involve­ment of Denis Kat­syv, son of Russ­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cial Petr Kat­syv, in the US$230 mil­lion fraud uncov­ered by Sergei Mag­nit­sky.  In 2008, Pre­ve­zon, a Cyprus-based com­pany owned by Denis Kat­syv, received funds traced by the US Depart­ment of Jus­tice and the Swiss Gen­eral Prosecutor’s office to the US$230 mil­lion fraud uncov­ered by Sergei Magnitsky.

 

Since Sep­tem­ber 2013, Denis Katsyv’s com­pa­nies have been sub­ject to a U.S. civil for­fei­ture case brought by the US Depart­ment of Jus­tice for money laun­der­ing. Under that case the US gov­ern­ment has frozen $14 mil­lion of assets belong­ing to Katsyv’s companies.

 

“The defen­dants [com­pa­nies owned by Denis Katsvy] were involved in the laun­der­ing of the pro­ceeds of the Russ­ian fraud, which itself amounts to an elab­o­rate series of crim­i­nal offences,” said US Jus­tice Depart­ment in its court fil­ing in New York.

 

“It is …entirely proper for the grand jury to inves­ti­gate whether the defen­dants [Katsyv’s com­pa­nies], who received pro­ceeds from the fraud, were involved in it,” said the US Depart­ment of Justice.

 

A Crim­i­nal Grand jury is a form of crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion in the United States used to deter­mine whether crim­i­nal charges should be brought against poten­tial defendants.

 

Pre­vi­ously, Katsyv’s com­pa­nies tried to chal­lenge the US and Swiss asset freez­ing orders, but courts in the US and Switzer­land denied those motions and con­firmed that the freez­ing was justified.

 

The wire trans­fers to Pre­ve­zon from the $230 mil­lion fraud uncov­ered by Sergei Mag­nit­sky showed highly unusual pay­ments. Pre­ve­zon dis­guised incom­ing pay­ments for “san­i­tary equip­ment” and “auto parts,” which were sup­posed to be sup­plied but never deliv­ered because Pre­ve­zon was in fact a real estate company.

 

Accord­ing to the US Depart­ment of Jus­tice, the fal­si­fied con­tracts used to jus­tify Prevezon’s incom­ing wire trans­fers claimed that Pre­ve­zon was sup­posed to deliver 500 acrylic bath sets under the brand name “Doc­tor Jet,” man­u­fac­tured in Sicilia, Italy, with dimen­sions of 190 x 120/95 x 65, to two shell com­pa­nies in Moldova which did not do any legit­i­mate busi­ness and never in fact pur­chased the bath sets.

 

Pre­ve­zon explained these sus­pi­cious wire trans­fers to the US Court stat­ing that an agree­ment existed between its Russ­ian direc­tor, a stu­dent named Tim­o­fei Krit, and “investor Petrov,” and denied knowl­edge of false wire descriptions.

 

How­ever, dur­ing its inves­ti­ga­tion, the US Jus­tice Depart­ment iden­ti­fied fur­ther false and ques­tion­able wire trans­fers to Pre­ve­zon from com­pa­nies in Belize, BVI, etc. for an addi­tional amount of US$2 mil­lion. These wire trans­fers were sim­i­larly dis­guised as pay­ments for com­put­ers, video, home equip­ment, etc. that again were never delivered.

 

Pre­vi­ously, Denis Katsyv’s firm Mar­tash paid US$8 mil­lion under the 2005 money laun­der­ing case by the State of Israel.

 

Denis Katsyv’s father, Petr Kat­syv, has been Vice Pres­i­dent of OAO Russ­ian Rail­ways, a state trans­porta­tion monop­oly, since 2014. Before that, he was Vice Pre­mier of the Gov­ern­ment and Trans­porta­tion Min­is­ter in the Moscow Region. Con­tracts with Moscow Region’s gov­ern­ment struc­tures sup­ported the busi­ness of his son, Denis Kat­syv.

 

Sim­i­larly, Denis Katsyv’s Russ­ian lawyer Natalia Vesel­nit­skaya devel­oped her busi­ness in part on con­tracts with Moscow gov­ern­ment agen­cies, where her hus­band is Deputy Min­is­ter of Trans­porta­tion (and was deputy to Kat­syv senior dur­ing his time as Min­is­ter of Trans­porta­tion), and pre­vi­ously, between 1984 – 2000 was offi­cial within the Moscow Region’s Prosecutor’s Office.

 

Accord­ing to court fil­ings, Petr Kat­syv was pre­vi­ously in con­tact with the FBI to pro­vide infor­ma­tion on Russ­ian orga­nized crime but with­drew his pro­posal, when he was informed by the US author­i­ties that his coop­er­a­tion would not help set­tle the money laun­der­ing and civil for­fei­ture case by the US Jus­tice Depart­ment pend­ing in the South­ern Dis­trict Court of New York.

 

Sergei Mag­nit­sky, who uncov­ered the US$230 mil­lion fraud and tes­ti­fied about the com­plic­ity of Russ­ian offi­cials in it, was tor­tured and killed in Russ­ian police cus­tody at the age of 37. The unprece­dented events of this case are described in the New-York Timesbest-seller by William Brow­der, leader of global ‘Jus­tice for Sergei Mag­nit­sky’ cam­paign, called “Red Notice. How I Became Putin’s No 1 Enemy,” and in a series of jus­tice cam­paign videos on Youtube chan­nel “Russ­ian Untouch­ables.”

 

For more infor­ma­tion, please contact:

 

Jus­tice for Sergei Magnitsky

+44 207 440 1777

e-mail: info@lawandorderinrussia.org

www.lawandorderinrussia.org

billbrowder.com

https://twitter.com/Billbrowder

Historic Sentencing for Operation Condor Military Officials

By Cintia Garcia

Impunity Watch Reporter, South America

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina— In a historic human rights trial, Argentina’s last dictator and 14 military officials were sentenced to prison for their role in Operation Condor. Former general and Argentine dictator from 1982-83, Reynaldo Bignone, 88-years-old, was sentenced to 20 years of prison. Bignone was found guilty for illicit association, kidnapping and the disappearance of more than 100 people. He is already serving life sentences for various human rights violations.

Former Military Officials Stand Trial (Photo courtesy of the BBC)

In addition, Uruguayan army colonel, Manuel Cordero Piacentini was sentenced for his crimes against humanity. Argentine former general, Santiago Riveros was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Miguel Angel Furci, Argentine intelligence officer was sentenced to 25 years for illegally arresting and torturing dozens. The sentences among the defendants ranged from 8 to 25 years in prison. Since the trial began, five defendants have died, including Jorge Rafael Videla, former head of Argentina’s first junta.

The case against the former military officials began in 2013 in the domestic court of Argentina. This case marks the first time a domestic court has tried ex-military officials. The claim was brought forth by the victim’s families. The verdicts are a milestone for those affected by Operation Condor because it is the first time the conspiracy has been proven to exist. The evidence presented included testimonies by the families, victims, and documents such as a declassified FBI cable from 1976. The prosecutors were able to piece together the coordinated operation through an overwhelming amount of documents from the United States and South American archives.

Operation Condor was a US backed plan created by South American dictators to eliminate opponents and leftist. The operation lasted from mid 1970s to the early 80s. The countries that created and enforced the operation were Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay, and Brazil. The South American countries would meet and use their police powers to track the opponents and leftist. The dissidents were captured, kidnapped, tortured and disappeared. Many of their remains continue to be unaccounted for. In addition, the children of the women who were kidnapped were taken away from their mothers and given to other families, such as military officials. According to UNESCO’s International Center for the Promotion of Human Rights, there were 376 Operation Condor victims.

In regards to the role of the United States during Operation Condor, President Obama has promised to release all documents and records. In a statement, President Obama announced, “I believe we have a responsibility to confront the past with honesty and transparency.”

For more information, please see:

ABC NEWS – Argentine Court Sentences Ex- Dictator for Operation Condor – 27 May 2016

BBC – Operation Condor: Landmark Human Rights Trial Reached Finale – 27 May 2016

The Guardian – Argentina’s Last Military Dictator Jailed Over Role in Operation Condor – 27 May 201

Washington Post – A Look at the Operation Condor Conspiracy in South America – 27 May 2016

British Cluster Bombs Reportedly Used in Yemen

by Zachary Lucas

Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East

SANA’A, Yemen — Amnesty International has reported that British made cluster bombs were used by Saudi coalition forces in the current conflict in Yemen. The British government has denied that they are supplying Saudi Arabia with cluster munition and are seeking reassurances with the Saudi government that cluster munitions are not being used.

Cluster Munitions Found in Northern Yemen (Photo Courtesy of Amnesty International)

Field research by Amnesty in Sa’da, Hajjah, and Sana’a governorates led to the discovery of a partially exploded British manufactured BL-755 cluster bomb. According to Amnesty, the bomb had malfunctioned and scattered numerous unexploded “bomblets.” The cluster bomb was found near a farm in al-Khadhra village in the Hajjah governorate, close to the Saudi Arabian and Yemeni border.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond stated that there was no evidence that Saudi Arabia had used cluster munitions in the current conflict. Hammond, while responding to British Parliament, said that is illegal to supply cluster munitions under British law. The munition that was found was decades old and that Britain no longer supplied or manufactured the BL-755 cluster bombs. Hammond said that the cluster munition found was probably used in one of the the past conflicts in the region.

The Foreign Secretary stated that there will be an investigation into the report by Amnesty. The Saudi Arabian government in response said that cluster munitions are not being used nor have they been used in the conflict. The British government has said it will seek “fresh assurances” from Saudi Arabia that cluster munitions are not being used.

Saudi Arabia and its allies began a military campaign in Yemen in March 2015. The goal was to prevent Iran-allied Houthi rebels and forces loyal to the former Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, from seizing control of the country. The civil war in Yemen has also seen attacks from groups loyal to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

The BL-755 cluster bomb was original manufactured in the 1970s by Bedfordshire company Hunting Engineering Ltd. The bomb contains 147 bomblets that are designed to scatter on impact and explode. They are intended to be dropped out of British Tornado fighter jets to pierce tank armor.

Cluster munitions were banned under the Convention on Cluster Munitions signed in 2008 and effective in 2010. Over 100 countries have signed the convention including the United Kingdom, but not Saudi Arabia. Oliver Sprague, Amnesty International UK’s Arms Control Director, called cluster munitions one of the “nastiest weapons” used in warfare. The concern with cluster munitions is that not all of the bomblets explode on impact. Amnesty documented instances in Yemen where unexploded cluster munitions blew up after being picked up by children.

For more information, please see:

Amnesty International — Saudi Arabia-led coalition has used UK-manufactured cluster bombs in Yemen — 23 May 2016

BBC — UK seeks Saudi cluster bomb assurances over Yemen — 24 May 2016

Guardian — MoD to investigate claims Saudis used UK cluster bombs in Yemen — 24 May 2016

Reuters — Britain investigating reports its cluster bombs used in Yemen — 24 May 2016

House Committee on Foreign Affairs – Ed Royce, Chairman: Subcommittee Hearing: The ISIS Genocide Declaration: What Next?

Subcommittee Hearing: The ISIS Genocide Declaration: What Next?

Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations | 2172 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 | May 26, 2016 12:00pm to 3:00pm

Witnesses

Mr. Carl A. Anderson
Supreme Knight
Knights of Columbus
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Mr. Sarhang Hamasaeed
Senior Program Officer
Middle East and Africa Programs
U.S. Institute of Peace
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Mr. Johnny Oram
Executive Director
Chaldean Assyrian Business Alliance
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Mr. David M. Crane
Professor of Practice
Syracuse University College of Law
(Former Chief Prosecutor, United Nations Special Court for Sierra Leone)
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Ms. Naomi Kikoler
Deputy Director
Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

ICTJ: World Report May 2016 – Transitional Justice News and Analysis

ICTJ ICTJ World Report
May 2016

In Focus

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ICTJ Partners Victims, Civil Society and Officials on Transitional Justice in Great Lakes RegionICTJ Partners Victims, Civil Society and Officials on Transitional Justice in Great Lakes RegionCivil society leaders, members of victims’ groups and state officials throughout the Great Lakes region will convene in Kampala, Uganda next week at a conference hosted by ICTJ. Attendees will share their experiences working for redress in their communities and discuss what strategies have proven effective at the local level.

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World Report

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AFRICAIn Ethiopia, African officials gathered for a two-day conference aimed at discussing and reflecting upon truth commissions and peace processes. In Burundi, crisis talks were postponed in order to allow for further consultations with stakeholders. Reports have found that torture and illegal detention are on the rise in Burundi, and the ICC will begin investigating potential war crimes in the country. In Kenya, three opposition supporters were shot dead in protests demanding reforms to the country’s electoral authority. In Rwanda, the remains of hundreds of genocide victims were buried in Ruhango. The country’s leaders have called on the new UN prosecutor to urge countries hosting genocide suspects to allow them to face justice. In South Sudan, opposition leader Riek Machar was sworn in as vice president, signaling a major breakthrough toward peace for the nation. The UN has expressed concern over human rights abuses in Mozambique, a country that continues to face violent clashes between national security forces and the rebel group Renamo. In The Democratic Republic of Congo, former warlord Germaine Katanga is back on trial, accused of committing crimes against humanity. In Cote d’Ivoire, Lawrence Gbagbo’s trial resumed this month, with the former Ivorian President facing charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. His wife, who is accused of playing a role in the post-election crisis of 2011, is set to go on trial at the end of the month.

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AMERICASIn Colombia, peace talks have continued, with one of FARC’s most feared commanders joining the process. The negotiating parties agreed to release FARC child soldiers, while the government vowed to grant victim status to those under 15 years of age and provide a pardon for those between 16 and 18. AGuatemala congressman has been found to have ties to a death squad responsible for murders, torture, and disappearances during the country’s civil war. In Peru, former dictator Alberto Fujimori’s final appeal was rejected, meaning Fujimori will serve his sentence of 25 years for ordering massacres in the Barrios Altos neighborhood of Lima. In Mexico, the inquiry into 43 missing students ended, despite the UN rights office urging the Mexican government to follow its recommendations for the case. A panel of international experts looking into the case said the Mexican government hampered its efforts. In Argentina, former head of the air force Brigadier Omar Graffigna went on trial for his alleged role in the forcible disappearances of over 30,000 people during the country’s military rule from 1976 to 1983.

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ASIAIn Nepal, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission began registering complaints from victims and their families. However, the government has failed to enact laws that would allow for the effective functioning of the TRC and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons, another transitional justice body. In Indonesia, a two-day symposium was held to discuss the anti-communist atrocities that occurred in the country decades ago. The atrocities will finally be investigated, with activists calling for full recognition from the government, as well as protection for the sites and witnesses of the 1965-66 killings. In Sri Lanka, torture remains ‘in frequent use,’ according to UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment. Tamil diaspora groups in the U.S. have demanded the arrest of Gotabaya Rajapaska, former Lankan defense secretary, for the large scale killing of Tamils. In Bangladesh, a probe has begun against Osman Farooq over his alleged role in war crimes in the Liberation War, and two Razakar suspects of Kishoreganj have been indicted on war crimes charges.

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EUROPEA court in Kosovo cleared General Milovan Bojovic of war crimes charges due to lack of evidence. Azra Basic, a woman living in Kentucky, was recently extradited to Bosnia to face charges of murder and torture, war crimes which she allegedly committed over twenty years ago during Bosnia’s civil war.Spain has authorized exhumations from the Valley of the Fallen, a large mausoleum that contains the remains of those who died during the country’s civil war, so that family members may give their relatives proper funerals. Serbia has promised to intensify its war prosecutions, releasing a 415-page action plan to address unprosecuted war crimes and enact judicial reforms.

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MENAIn Tunisia, the “Transitional Justice is also for Women” network, in coordination with ICTJ, submittedthe first collective file to the Tunisian Truth and Dignity Commission. The file was compiled by 10 women associations and detailed discrimination committed against veiled women under “circular 108,” which prohibited their access to work and education. The Islamist Ennahda party declared in its 10th congress that it will separate its religious activities from political ones, saying in a statement that there is “no longer justification for political Islam” in the country post Arab spring. The Tunisian Torture Prevention Organization said that it received 250 complaints of torture in 2015 and is convinced that torture practices persist in Tunisian prisons and during interrogations. Peace talks in Syria stalled when opposition negotiators decided to withhold their participation in the process due to unwillingness on behalf of President Assad’s officials to discuss a transitional government in Damascus. In Egypt 152 people who took part in a street protest last month were sentenced to prison, in a sharp escalation of a campaign by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to suppress political dissent in the country.Yemen’s peace process faced challenges when delegates representing Houthi rebels refused to attend peace talks late last month. Libya’s new unity government has started moving into ministry buildings, but the volatile security situation in the area remains a concern.

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Publications

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Learning From Our Past: An Exploration of Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation in KenyaThis educational tool for educators and mentors is designed to help teach young people in Kenya about difficult periods in Kenyan history and foster discussion on issues of justice, democracy, leadership, and their role as Kenyan citizens.

From Principles to Practice: Challenges of Implementing Reparations for Massive Violations in ColombiaThis report examines Colombia’s Victims and Land Restitution Law (2011), which provides comprehensive reparations to conflict victims and restitution to victims of forced displacement who rely on land for their livelihoods – and assesses the challenges of implementing the law under current conditions, which include widespread poverty and ongoing violence.

More Publications