International Center for Transitional Justice: In Focus – Challenging Impunity in Haiti

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ICTJ InFocus
November 2017

In Focus ›
Can the UN’s New Mission in Haiti Work with Activists to Challenge Impunity?
Last month, the United Nations established a new mission in Haiti, focused on strengthening rule of law institutions and human rights reporting. Can it work with activists to challenge impunity? We sat down with Isabelle Clérié, a Haitian civil society organizer, to talk about the mission, what it can accomplish, and how the past is understood in the country.
Read More ›

Publications ›

Other News
ICTJ Course Examines the Place for Justice in Peace Negotiations
From Syria to Colombia and beyond, how do societies navigate the pursuit of justice in peace processes? That question animated ICTJ’s annual Intensive Course on Transitional Justice and Peace Processes, which this month gathered 31 participants from nearly 20 countries in Barcelona to discuss the place of justice in negotiations to end conflict. Go behind-the-scenes with our instructors and participants.
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Amid Ethnic Cleansing in Myanmar, Where Does Transitional Justice Stand?
During the past month, over 400,000 members of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim community have been driven from their homes as part of an ethnic cleansing campaign led by the military. What lies at the root of the current violence, how is it connected to political transition, and does transitional justice have a role to play? ICTJ’s Anna Myriam Roccatello answers those questions and more.
Read More ›

Upcoming Events ›
December 07 – 09, 2017
Present Past: Time, Memory, and the Negotiation of Historical Justice ›
Location: Columbia University, New York City

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Quartz: Robert Mugabe is reportedly under house arrest as situation in Zimbabwe looks increasingly like a coup

Harare, Zimbabawe

Zimbabwe’s longtime leader president Robert Mugabe is reportedly under house arrest after soldiers took over the state broadcaster on Nov. 15 in a move that has all the classic hallmarks of a coup, although the army insists it’s not one.

There is a strong military presence on the streets of Harare and Zimbabwe’s parliament and the president’s offices have also been cordoned off. Universities deferred exams and asked students to stay home.

No one has heard from Mugabe or his wife Grace Mugabe since tanks were spotted rolling into Harare on Nov. 14. The South African Broadcasting Corporation (livestream) reported that the first couple is under house arrest. The country’s finance minister Ignatius Chombo and several ministers loyal to Grace Mugabe’s faction have been detained, according to Reuters.

Zimbabweans woke up on Wednesday morning local time to discover that leaders of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces had taken control of the state broadcaster with a promise to restore order to the country, but insisted that it was not a military coup.

Around 1am local time, major general Sibusiso Moyo on behalf of the ZDF, came on air in camouflage fatigues, announcing that president Robert Mugabe and his family are “safe and sound” with their security “guaranteed.”

“We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice,” said Moyo.

“As soon as we have accomplished our mission we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.”

Image uploaded from iOS
Major general Sibusiso Moyo on ZBC. (screen shot)

But in a message to the international community, Moyo said: “We wish to make it abundantly clear that this is not a military takeover of government. What the Zimbabwe Defence Forces is doing is to pacify a degenerating political, social and economic situation in our country which if not addressed may result in violent conflict.”

The takeover of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation in Harare comes after around 48 hours of unease in the country, after the ZDF’s top officer, general Constantine Chiwenga challenged president Mugabe’s treatment of former war veterans from the country’s independence struggle and, significantly, the sacking of vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa. Chiwenga was called treasonous by Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.

On Tuesday, army tanks and trucks rolled into the capital city Harare heightening tension in a country that has never experienced political intervention from its armed forces since independence in 1980. After hours of uncertainty about the reasons for show of military force in the city, soldiers eventually took control the broadcaster.

Moyo’s Wednesday statement seemed determined to ensure that the country, which has been ruled by president Mugabe for all the 37 years since independence, would not descend into chaos. He called on war veterans, traditional leaders and other security services to play a “positive role in ensuring peace, stability and unity” in the country.

But he also warned, “Let it be clear that we intend to address the human security threats in our country, therefore any provocation will be met with an appropriate response.”

After the announcement, the TV stations have returned to showing videos of martial music.

Lynsey Chutel reported from Johannesburg. Additional reporting by Yinka Adegoke in New York City.

War Crimes Prosecution Watch: Volume 12, Issue 18 – November 12, 2017


FREDERICK K. COX
INTERNATIONAL LAW CENTER

Founder/Advisor
Michael P. Scharf

War Crimes Prosecution Watch

Volume 12 – Issue 18
November 12, 2017

Editor-in-Chief
James Prowse

Technical Editor-in-Chief
Samantha Smyth

Managing Editors
Rina Mwiti
Alexandra Mooney

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

AFRICA

CENTRAL AFRICA

Central African Republic

Sudan & South Sudan

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Burundi

WEST AFRICA

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

Mali

EAST AFRICA

Uganda

Kenya

Rwanda (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda)

Somalia

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

Iraq

Syria

Yemen

Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal

War Crimes Investigations in Burma

Israel and Palestine

AMERICAS

North & Central America

South America

TOPICS

Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Terrorism

Piracy

Gender-Based Violence

Commentary and Perspectives

WORTH READING


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To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to warcrimeswatch+unsubscribe@case.edu.

Jurist: Gassing International Law

JURIST Guest Columnist David M. Crane of the Syracuse University College of Law discusses recent harmful developments regarding the restriction of chemical weapons in international law…

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) should not ignore or walk away from the alleged use of any prohibited weapon, such as chemicals, as it signals it is permissible to violate the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and erodes international norms related to such weapons. Further, it signals that countries with deep ties to P5 (U.K., U.S., France, Russia, China) are outside the scope of UNSC authority, therefore creating a bigger issue of eroding the international authority of the UNSC and jeopardizing the foundation of international law.

On Tuesday, October 24, 2017, Russia vetoed the resolution extending the mandate of the investigators probing chemical weapons attacks in Syria. [JURIST report] [Meeting Record] Following the chemical attack in 2015, Russia and America created the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) to investigate the presence/use of chemical weapons in Syria, which found 27 active production facilities. In its most recent report late last month, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said it had verified the destruction of 25 of the 27 chemical weapons production facilities declared by Syria and continued to prepare an inspection to confirm the current condition of the last two. The vote on the resolution was in advance of the JIM investigative report (presented Thursday October 26). The report sought to identify the party responsible for a deadly April 4 attack in the rebel-controlled town of Khan Sheikhoun in southern Idlib that killed and sickened scores of civilians allegedly using sarin gas. Shortly after that attack, the United States launched an airstrike on a Syrian air base and accused the al-Assad regime of carrying out the gas attack.

This action by Russia is primarily concerned with the sovereignty of Syria and stresses the maxim that you cannot enter a sovereign territory without concrete evidence of wrong doing. Further Russia believes they face possible retaliation by Syria and/or rebel groups present in Syria. Finally, Russia is concerned that there has been a blurring of lines between the conflict against Syria and the conflict against ISIS. Additionally Russia is supporting the regime and has economic ties to Syria. They do not want the US to gain any influence in Syria.

The media and various member states are concerned that the UNSC is impotent in assisting in Syria due to the P5 structure. The UNSC and the UN system are shouldering the blame for little progress in Syria. The broader discussion criticizes the entire UN system as being outdated and ineffective.

The UN is not impotent, as it has facilitated international cooperation on the conflict, resulting in ceasefires, the initial formation of JIM, condemnation of acts, and investigation of potential war crimes. Further, the UN is serving its purpose as a neutral forum for these discussions. Syria has not simply become a battlefield upon which America and Russia are fighting, nor are we seeing a return to interstate war. Therefore, the UN is working as a forum for these issues. Further negotiations need to be based on interests and relationships as nationalistic and realist strategies fail within the cooperative international organizational model.

The UN must continue to negotiate towards extending the investigation in Syria, and the UNSC should never turn away from condemning, investigating, and helping to eliminate the proliferation of chemical weapons. Ceasing any further condemnation or investigation signals to the world that the use of chemical weapons brings no accountability. If there are no ramifications for the use of chemical weapons, the CWC could become irrelevant. All State Parties to the CWC have agreed to disarm by destroying any stockpiles of chemical weapons they may hold, any facilities which produce chemical weapons, and any chemical weapons they abandoned on the territory of other States Parties in the past.

The Convention aims to eliminate an entire category of weapons of mass destruction by prohibiting the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer or use of chemical weapons by States Parties. States Parties, in turn, must take the steps necessary to enforce that prohibition in respect of persons (natural or legal) within their jurisdiction.

A unique feature of the CWC is its incorporation of the ‘challenge inspection,’ whereby any State Party in doubt about another State Party’s compliance can request the Director-General to send an inspection team. Under the CWC’s ‘challenge inspection’ procedure, States Parties have committed themselves to the principle of ‘anytime, anywhere’ inspections with no right of refusal.

To lose this feature would create an incredibly dangerous world without any oversight into weapons production and use. Losing the global norm that chemical weapons are taboo could reintroduce them to warfare. Also, allowing chemical weapons leaves open the race to innovate biological weapons as well. Do we want to go in this direction in the 21st Century?

An inadequate international response to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime will only increase the risk that the world’s most dangerous, indiscriminate, and inhumane weapons will be used to commit atrocities in the future, erode the integrity of the CWC, and undermine the authority of the Security Council. International peace and security would be undermined.

David M. Crane is the founder of the Syrian Accountability Project and the IamSyria Campaign. He is the Founding Chief Prosecutor of the international war crimes tribunal in West Africa called the Special Court for Sierra Leone and a Professor at Syracuse University College of Law.

Suggested citation: David M. Crane, Gassing International Law, JURIST – Academic Commentary, Nov. 6, 2017, http://jurist.org/forum/2017/10/David-Crane-international-blackmail.php

Opinio Juris: It’s High Time for the US to Conduct Complementarity As To Crimes in Afghanistan

by Jennifer Trahan

[Jennifer Trahan is an Associate Clinical Professor at the Center for Global Affairs at New York University.]

The ICC Prosecutor announced last week that she was requesting the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber to authorize the Afghanistan Preliminary Examination moving into the Investigation stage. This would take the ICC’s Afghanistan investigation one step closer to resulting in actual cases.

We have known for quite a while that the Prosecutor was examining the situation in Afghanistan, and her past reports and press releases indicate she has been examining war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Taliban, Afghan government forces, and US nationals—US armed forces and CIA.

As Kevin Jon Heller notes, it will be interesting to see the US reaction to this news, yet it should hardly come as a surprise. As he also notes, the Prosecutor has been under pressure to expand her docket beyond the African continent. The US does not have anyone in the post of US War Crimes Ambassador (or head of the Office of Global Criminal Justice), so it is unclear who would lead any US response.

The US has of course one very simple way that it could react to this news, and that is to endorse the rule of law, and itself conduct any investigations into torture or ill-treatment at the hands of US nationals, be they armed forces, CIA, or contractors of either.

Under the principle of complementarity (Rome Statute art. 17), any state can avoid an ICC case proceeding by conducting a good faith investigation and/or prosecution into the same conduct. It has been high time for the US to do this, but the Prosecutor’s announcement illustrates the urgency of the US finally taking this seriously.

As a US national and a supporter of the ICC, I don’t really want to see the US locked in a showdown against the ICC. Yet, past experience (the misnamed American Servicemember Protection Act, bilateral immunity agreements, legislation allowing US forces in invade The Hague to liberate Americans in ICC custody) suggests such a confrontation is quite possible. Such an approach would not well serve either the ICC or the US, as it would amount to mere bully-tactics by the US against an institution, supported by all the US’s key allies, that is committed to ensuring rule of law for the worst crimes of concern to the international community.

Both the ICC and the US have the same interest in adhering to the rule of law, and there is a simple rule-of-law-abiding solution here: the US must undertake to do complementarity. The UK, faced with the possibility of the ICC proceeding against UK nationals for abuses committed in Iraq has been working hard to conduct complementarity; the US should do the same.

Alex Whiting raises the possibility that US conduct might not satisfy the ICC’s fairly high “gravity threshold”; yet, if the Prosecutor also includes certain “black sites” run by the CIA that were located in Rome Statute States Parties, such as Poland, Romania and Lithuania (as her announcement suggests), it is also possible that the gravity threshold will be met.  (Her announcement stated, in addition to crimes in Afghanistan, her request for authorization would include “war crimes closely linked to the situation in Afghanistan allegedly committed since 1 July 2002 on the territory of other States Parties to the Rome Statute.”)

We should not lose sight of the fact that the ICC is not aiming this investigation solely towards US nationals, and to the extent the ICC can prosecute the much more extensive crimes committed by the Taliban or other armed groups in Afghanistan, these would be welcome developments. Afghanistan has been plagued by decades of crimes, with those pertaining to US nationals constituting just one subset of what is at issue.

Meanwhile, the US should expeditiously fill the post of US War Crimes Ambassador (head of the Office of Global Criminal Justice), with the office’s initial focus being to finally conduct complementarity to ensure that justice for crimes in Afghanistan is done, and that to the extent US nationals are implicated in wrongdoing, that it is addressed within the US legal system. The US has credible and effective military and civilian investigative capacity and court systems which can and should be utilized.

Reuters: Iraq not equipped to try Islamic State’s atrocities in Mosul – U.N.

GENEVA (Reuters) – Iraq is not capable of trying atrocities committed by Islamic State during the battle for Mosul so it must find other routes to justice such as the International Criminal Court (ICC), a U.N. human rights report said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Cars burnt and destroyed by clashes are seen on a street during a battle between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants, in Mosul, Iraq March 16, 2017. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani/File Photo

At least 2,521 civilians were killed during the nine-month battle including 741 people who were executed, the report said. Most died as a result of Islamic State (ISIL) attacks.

It cited testimonies of mass abductions by Islamic State, as well as killings, the use of human shields, and deliberate targeting of civilians and their homes.

ISIL planted “a huge number” of improvised explosive devices and used drones to drop explosives in Mosul, a city of 1.5 million, as well as setting fire to sulphur fields and oil wells, it said.

Its forces desecrated religious sites and last June blew up the al-Nuri mosque from which its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had declared the caliphate spanning parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014, it said.

“Iraqi courts and tribunals do not have jurisdiction over international crimes (such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes) – and prosecutors, police investigators and judges lack capacity to … (investigate), charge and try persons in relation to such crimes,” the report said, calling for it to amend domestic law.

Iraqi law did not do enough to guarantee due process or fair trials, it said.

Accepting the jurisdiction of the Hague-based ICC and finding other ways to ensure crimes were tried by a competent court “would reassure the international community that Iraq is serious” about getting justice, which was key to rebuilding trust and reconciliation, it said.

At least 74 mass graves have been discovered since June 2014 in areas previously held by ISIL in Iraq, the U.N. report said.

These included in Sinjar, the northwestern city where the U.N. has said Islamic State committed genocide against the Kurdish-speaking Yazidi religious minority whom the Sunni militants view as infidels.

Iraq and the international community have a duty to ensure those crimes are prosecuted, Syracuse University professor and former war crimes prosecutor David Crane said on Wednesday in a separate report into the genocide, issued by his law school’s Syrian Accountability Project.

“Bringing ISIS to justice for genocide against the Yazidi community, at the domestic or the international level, will depend on the strategic preservation of forensic evidence,” Crane’s report said.

The U.N. report also called on Iraqi authorities to investigate crimes allegedly committed by Iraqi-backed forces during the operation, including mass abductions and unlawful killings.

It called for a separate investigation into air strikes by the international coalition.

It said the U.N. had recorded 461 civilian deaths from air strikes during the most intensive phase of the battle for western Mosul, from Feb. 19.

Reporting by Tom Miles and Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Opinio Juris: Reflections on Burundi’s Withdrawal from the International Criminal Court

by Jennifer Trahan

[Jennifer Trahan is Associate Professor, The Center for Global Affairs, NYU-SPS, and Chair of the International Criminal Court Committee of the American Branch of the International Law Association.]

On Friday, October 27, Burundi’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute, filed one year earlier, became effective. This sad event —the first ever withdrawal from the Court to become effective — warrants reflection.

While it is frequently recited that the ICC’s Rome Statute needs to move towards “universality” as to ratifications, we should be concerned that the number of ratifying countries (which had stood at 124), has decreased (to 123). Undoubtedly, the situation could be worse, in that other States Parties that have at times threatened individual or mass withdrawal (particularly African States Parties) have not done so. But, it might behoove us to reflect on the slowing pace of ratifications and now this backwards slide.   Burundi’s withdrawal should serve as a wake-up call that States Parties and Civil Society need a revitalized approach to advancing Rome Statute ratifications, because it is only through increasing membership towards universality that the ICC will ultimately escape accusations of double-standards and uneven application of international criminal justice.

Withdrawal of a State Party also illustrates that it is ultimately much more difficult for the ICC to investigate and/or prosecute where state actors are allegedly implicated in crimes. If the state where the crimes occurred is not in favor of the ICC’s involvement, the state can block the ICC from entering its territory, making investigations difficult. Then, the state can refuse to comply with requests for cooperation (as to documents and/or witnesses), and, ultimately, it can ignore any arrest warrants that issue. This is most likely to occur where there has been proprio motu initiation of the ICC’s work (that is, it was the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP)’s initial idea to originate the ICC investigation or prosecution). In such situations the country where the crimes occurred is presumably not in favor of ICC involvement, or it would have made a referral in the first place. (Yes, a State Party, where there has been proprio motu initiation owes Rome Statute cooperation obligations, but these do not always seem to carry the day.)

Where the UN Security Council has referred the situation, one might imagine the Court’s authority would be the strongest, because it could be backed up by the coercive enforcement powers of the UN Security Council. But we all know, this has never happened, and far from exerting the strongest compliance-pull, the situation of Security Council referrals has resulted in no effective follow-up. So here too, the Court is left to try to obtain cooperation from a state that has never sought its intervention and not voluntarily joined the Rome Statute system—so it neither supports the cases being brought, nor does it necessarily support the ICC in any way. Thus, far from the ICC’s power being at its height (which it could be with proper UN Security Council support), the ICC’s power is likely at its lowest ebb.

This then leaves only situations where the State Party has made a self-referral (which presumably means the State would like the ICC to prosecute either rebels or ex-regime officials); only in these situations does one expect the State Party actually has cause to cooperate—but only insofar as the ICC’s work remains aligned with State goals (that is, the prosecutions remain only directed towards rebels or ex-regime officials). In short, the ICC has built-in structural difficulties, stemming from the voluntary nature of the Rome Statute system and a need to rely upon state cooperation. The moment the ICC’s actions do not accord with a state’s self-perceived interests (judged by those in power at the time), the State Party can refuse to cooperate and/or leave the Rome Statute system entirely, as Burundi has now done.

Given all these difficulties, what more can be done to support the ICC?

First, there should be widespread condemnation of Burundi by States Parties at the upcoming International Criminal Court’s Assembly of States Parties. When a country turns its back on justice for the worse crimes of concern to the international community, it is turning its back on its own citizens, prioritizing perceived self-interest in helping perpetuate impunity. (States Parties might also commend The Gambia and South Africa—countries that initially seemed poised on also withdrawing, but ultimately reversed their withdrawals.) A clear distinction should be made between States Parties committed to ensuring accountability for Rome Statute crimes, and non-States Parties, who lack the conviction to endorse the rule of law.

Second, the difficulties the Court is having in terms of non-cooperation need to be more effectively addressed. At present, the Assembly of States Parties is still not playing an effective role in dealing with non-cooperation. An effective role, is one that would impose consequences for violations; absent serious ramifications, non-cooperation will continue. And, of course, most to blame is the UN Security Council. Why make a referral if there is no will to ensure it is effective? One would think the UN Security Council would be concerned about its referral being seen as impotent when it fails to provide follow-up. Perhaps the Prosecutor can state this more forcefully to the Council (although she probably already has) — that by failing to follow up on referrals, the Security Council is undermining not only the ICC’s authority, but also the Security Council’s own authority.

Third, we should be most concerned for the people of Burundi, who will now be effectively unprotected at the international level if crimes against humanity and war crimes are perpetrated against them. Crimes committed prior to the date of Burundi’s withdrawal, would still be within the ICC’s jurisdiction, and could in theory be prosecuted in the future (as the ICC has an open Preliminary Examination). But these could become hard to investigate and/or prosecute if Burundi refuses to cooperate (which we can now assume, despite its treaty obligations to cooperate, which would technically continue). As to ongoing and future crimes one should explore a UN Security Council referral of the situation in Burundi, so the ICC would continue to have jurisdiction going forward—but only if the UN Security Council also agrees to ensure follow-up to make its referral meaningful.

War Crimes Prosecution Watch: Volume 12, Issue 17 – October 30, 2017


FREDERICK K. COX
INTERNATIONAL LAW CENTER
Founder/Advisor
Michael P. Scharf
War Crimes Prosecution Watch

Volume 12 – Issue 17
October 30, 2017

Editor-in-Chief
James ProwseTechnical Editor-in-Chief
Samantha Smyth

Managing Editors
Rina Mwiti
Alexandra Mooney

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

AFRICA

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)

Somalia

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

Iraq

Syria

Yemen

Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal

War Crimes Investigations in Burma

Israel and Palestine

AMERICAS

North & Central America

South America

TOPICS

Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Terrorism

Piracy

Gender-Based Violence

Commentary and Perspectives

WORTH READING


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Human Security Centre: Kurdish Fears of New Iranian-Backed Genocide ‘Must Be Taken Seriously,’ Expert Urges

 

The Algemeiner

October 25, 2017

by Ben Cohen

 

Kurdish warnings that they face a potential genocide at the hands of the Iranian-backed forces that have swept through Iraqi Kurdistan over the last ten days “need to be taken seriously,” a leading expert on Kurdish affairs said on Wednesday.

 

“There is a great fear among the Kurds that they could face another genocide at the hands of the Iraqi government and the Shia militia forces backed by Iran,” Julie Lenarz — the executive director of the Human Security Centre, a London-based think-tank with extensive contacts in Kurdistan — said on a conference call organized by The Israel Project, a US group that closely tracks Iran’s growing military power and support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East.

 

Strongly criticizing US President Donald Trump’s policy of “neutrality” in the face of the Iranian onslaught that has resulted in the loss of 40 percent of the territory controlled by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), Lenarz said there was a serious risk of US and Western “complicity” in a looming civil war “in which we will see the Kurds crushed again.”

 

Lenarz was speaking hours after the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) — one of the main Kurdish political parties — issued a statement noting that “after defeating the Islamic State (ISIS), Kurds are now being drawn into a new wave of sectarian violence by certain radical Shia armed groups that want to impose themselves.”

 

“If the United Nations, Iraq, and the US do not gain control of the situation, the flames of sectarian conflict might lead to the risk of a Kurdish genocide in the Kurdistani disputed areas,” the PUK warned, as it pleaded for urgent help for thousands of civilians in the Kurdish town of Tuz Khurmatu, which lies south of Kirkuk, the main Kurdish city conquered by Iran and its allies last week.

 

Shalal Abdul, the mayor of Tuz Khurmatu, said in an interview with Kurdish broadcaster NRT TV that thousands of Kurdish homes and shops had been burned and looted by Iraqi troops and Shia fighters serving under the banner of the Hashd al-Shaabi militia — known in English as the Peoples’ Militia Units (PMU). The KRG’s Independent Commission for Human Rights has accused Hashd al-Shaabi of committing “war crimes” in areas under its control.

 

Lenarz underlined that the presence of Gen. Qasem Soleimani — commander of the Qods Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) — in Iraqi Kurdistan over the last week was “no coincidence.” Soleimani is reported by some observers to have explicitly threatened the Kurds with the use of overwhelming force if they refused to withdraw from Kirkuk.

 

“Wherever Solaimani goes, he leaves a trail of death and destruction, and it’s no different this time,” Lenarz said.

 

Lenarz remarked that the Trump administration’s refusal to side with the Kurds meant that “Iran is laughing while a long term US ally is humiliated and defeated.” Meanwhile, she said, her Syrian Kurdish contacts have expressed fear that they are next in line to be abandoned by the US to the Iranians, now that Raqqa — the capital of the ISIS “caliphate” — has fallen to Kurdish and Syrian opposition forces.

 

Lenarz also denounced the use of military equipment supplied by the US to the Iraqi government for external defense — including humvee military trucks and M1 Abrams tanks — in the assault on the Kurds. Earlier this week, hundreds of Kurds demonstrated outside the US Consulate in Erbil, the capital of the KRG, holding signs alerting Americans to “Iranian aggression with your weapons.”

 

 

 

“It’s hard to overstate what the Iranians have pulled off over the last two weeks,” Lenarz remarked. “By denying the clear evidence of Shia militia activities on the ground, and by abandoning the Kurds, Washington effectively legitimized Solaimani’s scheme.”

 

Originally promised independence by Britain and France at the end of World War I, the Kurds were instead divided between Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria in 1923. Since that time, their history has been marked by continued attempts to gain independence with little outside assistance, and often resulting in persecution, ethnic cleansing and genocide.

 

In 1988, Saddam Hussein’s regime in Baghdad launched “Operation Anfal” in the same territories now occupied by Iranian-backed forces, using chemical weapons and high-explosive air attacks against the Kurdish population that left thousands dead, around 1.5 million destitute and more than 3,000 communities razed to the ground.

 

Commenting on the Operation Anfal atrocities, the British historian David McDowall wrote that at the time, “the West was generally inclined to dismiss Kurdish claims of genocide, either because they were politically inconvenient, or because it was suggested such reports were probably wild exaggerations.” McDowell went on to note that evidence collected by human rights groups after the First Gulf War “showed that previous Kurdish claims were not only incontrovertible, but also in many cases an understatement of the ordeal through which Iraq’s Kurds were then passing.”

 

The latest assault against the Kurds comes at the close of the military campaign against ISIS, in which Kurdish forces in both Iraq and Syria have played a critical role. On September 25, ninety-three percent of participants in an independence referendum in Kurdistan voted in favor of a sovereign Kurdish state. Kurdish leaders have now offered to “freeze” moves to implement the referendum in the hope of securing an end to the violence.

 

Copyright 2017 The Algemeiner

Generosity: Promoting Transparency and Accountability in NC

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Info NCCIT

Info NCCIT, Organizer
 for
North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture
Our Story

Watch the video above to learn how North Carolina was part of the U.S. rendition and torture program carried out in the years following 9/11.

 

The North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture is a citizen-driven, non-partisan truth commission established to investigate the state’s role in torture and to issue a report with findings and recommendations.  NCCIT is holding public hearings in Raleigh, NC on November 30 – December 1 to receive witness testimony.  The 11 commissioners will hear from legal experts, doctors, state officials and torture survivors.

 

We need your help to ensure the hearings are a success and have an impact beyond the state.  Financial support for the hearings will increase the reach and effectiveness by going toward:

 

  • High-quality international teleconferencing to bring the live testimony of those directly affected by U.S. torture into the hearing room.
  • Expanding the capacity of the commission by hiring outside counsel and investigators to research facts surrounding North Carolina’s involvement.
  • Airfares and lodging for prominent witnesses from the UK and other parts of the U.S.
  • Paid and free media, including announcements in North Carolina media to invite testimony from local citizens and hearing attendance.

 

Visit www.nccit.org to learn more about the history of the issue and the Commission’s plans.

 

Thank you for your contribution.  It will enhance the work of the Commissioners as they encourage North Carolina to become a human rights leader going forward and ensure our state is never again used in a supply chain for torture.

International Center for Transitional Justice: Photos Capture Lasting Scars of Civil War in Lebanon

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Vivid Photos by Lebanese Young People Became a Window into the Civil War and Its Lasting Scars
Explore ICTJ’s New Report
A new, photo-filled publication from the International Center for Transitional Justice details how photos taken by Lebanese young people across the country helped to spark discussion about the disturbing, often-overlooked legacy of the Lebanese civil war.

Over the last two years, the photos were part of an arts-based, history-telling project that encouraged Lebanese teenagers and young adults to explore how they understand the civil war as part of the country’s past and present.

According to the publication, most of the teenagers and young adults who participated in the project had limited knowledge of the war, how it had started and ended and who had been affected. Most of what they knew had been passed down to them by their parents or neighbors – and were therefore often biased toward their own social group.

“Even though people in Lebanon often feel pressure not to talk about the war or its many victims, we wanted to challenge young people to show how the war and its lasting harms still affect people today,” said Nour El Bejjani Noureddine, manager of the project and author of the publication.

The publication calls on the Lebanese government to develop a common national history curriculum that includes lessons on the civil war. It also calls on schools and nonprofits to provide the post-war generation with unbiased information and facts about the war and the repercussions of political violence.

Read the full report
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Civitas Maxima: Press Release – Jungle Jabbah Guilty Verdict

 

 

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

US Court finds Liberian Rebel Commander “Jungle Jabbah” Guilty of Crimes Linked to Atrocities in Liberia’s First Civil War

18 October 2017

PHILADELPHIA – On 18 October 2017 a jury of 12 in a U.S. Federal Courthouse found former Liberian rebel commander Mohammed Jabbateh, aka “Jungle Jabbah,” guilty of two counts of fraud and two counts of perjury for lying to U.S. government officials about his role as a combatant in the Liberian Civil War. Jabbateh will be sentenced most likely within the next few months. He faces up to 30 years in prison.

In order to prove that Jabbateh provided false information to U.S. immigration authorities and procured asylum in the United States by fraud, the prosecution had to prove that he was a high-ranking rebel commander during the first Liberian civil war and committed criminal actions while in that position. Prior to immigrating to the United States, Jabbateh served as a battalion commander for the rebel group ULIMO (United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy), one of the key warring factions that fought against Charles Taylor’s NPFL (National Patriotic Front of Liberia) during Liberia’s first civil war (1989-1996).

Over the course of two weeks, twenty witnesses travelled from Liberia to Philadelphia to testify in detail about horrific acts committed by Jabbateh and his ULIMO soldiers, including cannibalism, rape, murder, and slavery. Their testimonies exposed the horrors of the civil war, and Jungle Jabbah’s role in perpetuating the violence that destroyed the West African nation. One witness recounted her rape and sexual enslavement by Jabbateh, while another witness described how soldiers under Jabbateh’s command killed her husband and then ordered her to cook his heart. Another witness testified that she saw Jabbateh put a pistol into her pregnant sister’s vagina and pull the trigger. Jabbateh was so infamous for his terrible acts in Liberia, one witness stated, that the people could never forget him and named a bridge after him.

This historic case marks the first time that Liberian victims were able to testify about their experience of the atrocities committed during the first Liberian civil war in a public and fair trial. It was also the first trial of a former commander of the armed group ULIMO. The war resulted in the death of 150,000 civilians and the commission of a wide range of war crimes and human rights abuses by each warring faction in the conflict. To date, no one has been held to account in Liberia, and the trial against Jabbateh is the first confrontation of the crimes committed during the first civil war in a foreign country.

Civitas Maxima (CM) and its Monrovia-based sister organization the Global Justice and Research Project (GJRP), both independent and apolitical NGOs, have collaborated since 2014 with U.S. authorities on the investigation of crimes Jabbateh allegedly committed in Liberia.

“This is the first verdict giving some measure of redress to Liberian victims who have been yearning for justice for too long. This case shows that Liberians do not have to accept the status quo of impunity in Liberia. Victims want justice and we will continue to support them in their pursuit of accountability within and outside of Liberia, independent of any tribal affiliation or political influence. This is only the beginning. As a survivor of this war and advocate for justice, I want to thank the witnesses for their courage, thank the Liberian people for their cooperation and support during the trial and thank the Liberian media for their wide coverage”, said GJRP’s director Hassan Bility in Monrovia.

CM published daily detailed reports of the legal proceedings on its website. CM also supported, through a partnership with New Narratives, three Liberian journalists who provided independent and balanced coverage of the trial from Philadelphia and Monrovia.

Moreover, CM and the GJRP launched a media campaign called “the Liberian Quest for Justice,” which provided a publicly accessible and unbiased account of the proceedings and information related to impunity in Liberia (Facebook and Twitter). The campaign used cartoons of a Liberian girl called Musu to explain the relevance of the case and engaged with Liberians online. Musu and the campaign have helped reach thousands of Liberian survivors in Liberia and the diaspora, ensuring that the impact of this trial reaches the people most affected by Jungle Jabbah’s crimes.

The Liberian Quest for Justice will continue to support Liberian victims in their pursuit of accountability for war time atrocities, and inform the public about other public trials of alleged Liberian war criminals coming up in Europe and the U.S. The Jabbateh trial was only Chapter 1.

 

 

About GJRP

The Global Justice and Research Project (GJRP) is a Liberia-based non-profit, non-governmental organization that documents war related crimes in Liberia and, where possible, seeks justice for victims of said crimes, with the full consent of the victims.

For more information and media inquiries go to www.globaljustice-research.org or contact us at 00231778160062.

About Civitas Maxima

Civitas Maxima is an NGO based in Geneva that ensures the coordination of a network of international lawyers and investigators who work for the interests of those who have been victims of international crimes, particularly war crimes and crimes against humanity.

For more information and media inquiries, go to www.civitas-maxima.org or contact us at info@civitas-maxima.org, phone: 0041223461243.

 

War Crimes Prosecution Watch: Volume 12, Issue 16 – October 16, 2017


FREDERICK K. COX
INTERNATIONAL LAW CENTER

Founder/Advisor
Michael P. Scharf

War Crimes Prosecution Watch

Volume 12 – Issue 16
October 16, 2017

Editor-in-Chief
James Prowse

Technical Editor-in-Chief
Samantha Smyth

Managing Editors
Rina Mwiti
Alexandra Mooney

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

AFRICA

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)

Somalia

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

Iraq

Syria

Yemen

Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal

War Crimes Investigations in Burma

Israel and Palestine

AMERICAS

North & Central America

South America

TOPICS

Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Terrorism

Piracy

Gender-Based Violence

Commentary and Perspectives