Special Features

Published on May 24th, 2017 | by Sarah Lafen

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International Center for Transitional Justice: In Focus

ICTJ ICTJ World Report
May 2017

In Focus

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Victims’ Views on Truth Seeking and Memorials in Nepal Take Center Stage in New Report from ICTJ and Martin Chautari InstituteVictims’ Views on Truth Seeking and Memorials in Nepal Take Center Stage in New ReportA new report from ICTJ and the Martin Chautari Institute highlights the continued need for truth about the human rights abuses committed during Nepal’s 10-year civil war. The report is aimed at helping those working on truth seeking in Nepal to better understand the gaps that currently exist between victims’ needs and rights, public policy and the current transitional justice process.

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World Report

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AFRICAThe trial of Ugandan former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Dominic Ongwen resumed at the International Criminal Court. A UN official in the Democratic Republic of Congo emphasized the need for a dialogue to end the conflict in the Kasai region. More than 500 people have been killed in the central DRC province in the past five months, according to police. International Criminal Court judges rejected a defense appeal to suspend reparations proceedings in the case of Jean-Pierre Bemba, the Congolese opposition leader currently serving an 18-year prison sentence. In 2016, Bemba was found guilty of crimes, including rape and murder, committed by his troops against civilians in the Central African Republic. In Sudan, human rights advocates resisted the National Assembly’s decision regarding constitutional amendments which contradict transitional processes outlined in the country’s 2016 National Dialogue document. A Dutch arms trafficker was convicted for selling weapons to Liberia’s former president Charles Taylor during civil wars that involved mass atrocities, the use of child soldiers, and sexual slavery. An appeals court in Senegal upheld the life sentence of former Chad president Hissene Habre on war crimes charges. A 1992 Chadian Truth Commission accused Habre’s government of systematic torture, saying 40,000 people died during his rule. Gambians have been looking for justice for the crimes of former dictator Yahya Jammeh’s regime, but the new government continues to face many challenges. More than two decades after the genocide in Rwanda, the people of the country reconcile through a monthly day of community service known as Umuganda.

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AMERICASColombia is trying to recover $478 million in public funds that got lost in corruption, which accounts for less than 3% of what allegedly was embezzled, extorted, or misallocated by state officials last year alone. Despite ongoing challenges, the UN Security Council “unanimously and solidly” supports Colombia’s peace process. A court in Chile charged 16 former military officials with the murders of more than a dozen opponents of General Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship in the 1970s, when they acted as operatives of the Caravan of Death. Meanwhile, Argentina’s Senate passed a bill aimed at preventing torturers and murderers during the 1976 to 1983 dictatorship who have been convicted of crimes against humanity from benefiting from a reduction in their sentences. In Peru, indigenous women have brought the case of mass sterilizations during former dictator Alberto Fujimori’s reign to the UN. Parents of Mexico‘s 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students have accused the government of attempting to quietly shut down investigations into the case

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ASIAState Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi rejected a UN Rights Council decision to investigate security forces for allegations of crimes against minority Rohingya Muslims, after first partially complying to its recommendations. In Sri Lanka, ethnic Tamils lit lamps and displayed photos framed in flowers of relatives killed in a bloody civil war, marking the eighth anniversary of the end of the fighting. However, a government order this month placed a 14-day ban on all ceremonies near a Catholic church in Mullivaikkal East, the last place to be captured by the Sri Lankan army in May 2009. Documentation Center of Cambodia Director, Youk Chhang, received the Center for Justice and Accountability’s Judith Lee Stronach Human Rights Award for exposing crimes against humanity committed by the Khmer Rouge regime. The UN Refugee Agency reported massive human rights violations and torturous conditions in Malaysia immigration detention centers, signaling flaws in its incarceration systems. In a private policy forum in Manila, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings argued against the “war on drugs” approach in the Philippines, and called for more effective strategies within the country’s justice sector. The Supreme Court in Bangladesh upheld its decision to imprison a powerful Jamaat-e-Islami leader for life on account of crimes against humanity during the country’s Liberation War.

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EUROPEIn Turkey, human rights defender Murat Çelikkan was sentenced to 18 months in prison on “terrorist propaganda” charges for his work with the pro-Kurdish newspaper Ozgur Gundem. Professor Beyza Üstün was also sentenced to 15 months, but her sentence has been deferred. The Coalition for RECOM is resuming efforts for a regional truth commission in the former Yugoslavia to establish facts about the 1990s Balkan Wars. The Association of Camp Inmates of Bosnia and Herzegovina commemorated deceased wartime detainees from the 1990s war and called for improved law on social protection. Over one year later, Serbia [selected] (https://www.ictj.org/news/serbia-selects-new-chief-war-crimes-prosecutor) Snezana Stanojkovic as the its new chief war crimes prosecutor to revive criminal justice within the country and combat impunity for crimes against Serbs. The Specialist Chambers (SC) court has been established in Kosovo to prosecute ex-guerillas in the Kosovo Liberation Army for crimes committed during the 1990s Balkan wars. A court in Croatia ordered that the state must pay 106,000 euros in compensation to the family of a Serb killed during Croatia’s 1995 Operation Storm.

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MENAProtestors in Tunisia marched in opposition to the proposed Economic Reconciliation bill and labeled it a contradiction to the country’s 2011 revolution. If passed, the bill would grant amnesty. A Palestinian asylum-seeker accused of war crimes in Syria was tried and sentenced to life in prison by an Austrian court. The trial marks the first case of Syrian war crimes carried out in Austria. In Lebanon, activists marked the 102nd anniversary of the start of the Armenian genocide. The country is home to more than 100,000 Armenians.

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Publications

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Justice Mosaics: How Context Shapes Transitional Justice in Fractured Societies

What hope is there for justice for victims of atrocities in profoundly fractured societies, where systems of government have broken down and social and political divisions run deep? What is the role of transitional justice in forging peace in countries like Colombia, after decades of conflict? Or in countries like Tunisia, after years of repression and corrosive corruption?

When No One Calls It Rape: Addressing Sexual Violence Against Men and Boys

Sexual violence against men and boys in times of conflict or repression is alarmingly common— and takes a markedly consistent form across contexts in terms of how it affects victims and societies as a human rights violation that is taboo to talk about. It has been committed in all cultures, geographic regions, and time periods.

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Upcoming Events

June 08 – 09, 2017

Transnational & Global Dimensions of Justice & Memory Processes in Europe & Latin America Location: ParisView Details

June 25 – 29, 2017

Large-Scale Violence and Its Aftermaths The United States and the World Location: Kean University, New Jersey View Details

More Events
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