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ICTJ World Report
July 2017




In Focus

A Noble Dream: The Tenacious Pursuit of Justice in Guatemala

Bring General Rios Montt and other high ranking members of the military to trial in the Guatemalan courts for genocide? In 1999 it was a noble dream for justice, but one with little apparent possibility of ever coming true. On International Justice Day, walk the long path to justice that led to this historic trial?

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World Report


Victims of past election violence in Kenya demanded compensation before the next election. In the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, soldiers were convicted for the murder of militia members, which is also where authorities found a dozen more mass graves. The UN denounced the decision by a DRC military tribunal to not prosecute seven soldiers for crimes against humanity. South Africa’s African National Congress political party declared support for the country’s withdrawal from the ICC following a corresponding court decision. An inquiry into the death of an apartheid-era activist has been re-opened. Uganda’s Amnesty Commission failed to reintegrate and resettle ex-rebels. A bishop in Liberia encouraged the establishment of a war crimes court to preserve and ensure the nation’s democracy. In the Gambia, a draft bill on Truth and Reconciliation was beginning to be reviewed by the country’s judiciary. On July 4th, Rwanda celebrated Liberation day, commemorating the day the 1994 genocide ended, while UN court proceedings continued the review of a criminal’s case who had requested exoneration. A parliament member of Zambia called for the inclusion of peace and conflict resolution studies into national education curriculum.

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Colombia’s FARC rebel group disarmed after decades of war. The UN Security Council agreed to monitor Colombia’s peace process until 2020, while the ICC is pushing for prosecutions of members of various generals, corporals and the country’s Armed Forces commander. In Argentina, four former military officers were arrested for crimes against humanity committed in 1976. The former dictator of Peru, Alberto Fujimori, is having his case reviewed after his daughter claimed that he was falsely sentenced. Canada apologized and gave a reparations payment to a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner, after a court concluded that his rights were abused. In Mexico, dozens of NGO’s requested an ICC investigation of crimes against humanity in a prison in the state of Coahuila.

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In Nepal, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) began looking into rights violations. The TRC and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons called on the Prime Minister to extend their term until the probe into war-era cases concludes. Nepalese families of war victims will receive a reparations payment through the Relief and Rehabilitation Unit under the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction. In Myanmar, a tribunal will be held this fall to highlight atrocities committed against the Rohingya. The country also released child soldiers that fought under the former junta. In Cambodia, a production honoring victims of the nation’s conflict will begin on a global scale and a peace museum will open to acknowledge the country’s history. The UN-backed Cambodian tribunal trying Khmer Rouge atrocities admitted that only some perpetrators will face justice. Prosecutors delivered closing arguments in the case against Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, focusing on the genocide charges they face. Taiwan will declassify records to continue transitional justice efforts. Additionally, a Taiwanese act took effect in order to protect indigenous languages and cultures.

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In the Netherlands, a Hague Appeals Court confirmed that Dutch UN peacekeepers were partly liable for a 1995 massacre near Srebrenica. An Amsterdam city hall named for a Nazi accomplice is in the process of being renamed. On July 11th, Bosnia remembered the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. The appeals chamber of the Bosnian state court confirmed the conviction of a former military policeman for committing crimes against humanity in the Bihac area in the summer of 1992.In Croatia, victims are awaiting justice for crimes committed at a prison camp in Serbia. In Scandinavia, a Truth Commission began in Finland to unveil discrimination of the Sámi people. In France, a former judge was selected to aid the UN in prosecuting Syrian war crimes. Meanwhile, a family seeks in the United States seeks to regain a painting they say was plundered in Nazi Germany. A 98-year old Minnesota man who was accused of Nazi war crimes in Poland. In Kosovo, a court will charge former guerrillas for crimes committed in the country’s war. Elsewhere, holocaust survivors in Romania became eligible for reparations. In Spain a court began investigating a war crime in Syria, on behalf of the victim’s family member in Madrid.

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In Syria, victims of a chemical weapons attack demanded accountability for the crime, and hundreds of refugees returned to their Syrian homes after unsafe conditions arose in Lebanese refugee camps. Lebanon’s human rights minister called for an investigation into the deaths of four Syrian refugees. In Afghanistan, the ICC delayed investigating war crimes due to “substantial” new information from Kabul. Australian special forces are being investigated for war crimes committed in two Afghan provinces. In other news, Israel paid compensation to Turkish victims of a 2010 raid on a flotilla. Regarding Saudi Arabia, British arms sales will continue following a decision from the London high court, despite their use in alleged war crimes in Yemen.

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Not Without Dignity: Views of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon on Displacement, Conditions of Return, and Coexistence

Discussions about a future return of refugees and coexistence among groups currently at war in Syria must begin now, even in the face of ongoing violence and displacement.

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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

November 07 – 08, 2017

The Interface of National Security and Humanitarian Law in Situations of Low-Intensity Armed Conflict / High Intensity Emergency Location: Ulster University, Jordanstown campus View Details

October 09 – 13, 2017

Negotiating Peace and Justice: ICTJ’s 2017 Intensive Course on Transitional Justice and Peace Processes Location: Barcelona, Spain View Details

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Author: Sarah Lafen