#GlobalJustice Weekly - TIME for Bensouda | Libyan suspect sought

Fatou Bensouda has been fighting for justice at the ICC for the past 13 years © Carolien Sikkenk Laurillardlaan

Influence of ICC Prosecutor recognized for second time

International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has been listed as one of TIME magazine's top 100 most influential people for the second time, reaffirming her role as a "leading voice pressing governments to support the quest for justice."

Former Minister of Justice of The Gambia, Bensouda began her international career as a non-government civil servant at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, before becoming Deputy Prosecutor and later Prosecutor of the ICC.

She was first recognized as one of the World's Most Influential People in 2012, shortly before taking office at the ICC as the first African woman to assume a top position in an international tribunal. This year, she was commended for her resilience and determination during a turbulent time for the Court.

"Justice may be blind," wrote TIME's Africa bureau chief, Aryn Baker. "But when it comes to the politics of where it can be applied, Bensouda knows she has to go in with her eyes wide open."

Read the stories of more women leading the fight for global justice. 

 

ICC arrest warrant for Libyan security head unsealed

The ICC has unsealed the arrest warrant for Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled, the former head of Libya's Internal Security Agency. Khaled is suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in repressing opposition to former ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

The warrant of arrest, which has been under seal since its issuance on 18 April 2013, has now been reclassified as publicly available in the hope that it "may facilitate [Mr Al-Tuhamy's] arrest and surrender as all states will then be aware of its existence" and "could foster support and cooperation for an arrest operation from the international community."

The document details Khaled's charges of four counts of crimes against humanity (imprisonment, torture, persecution, and other inhumane acts) and three counts of war crimes (torture, cruel treatment and outrages upon personal dignity), allegedly committed in Libya between February and August 2011 within the context of the country's civil war. Although Libya is not a signatory of the ICC's founding treaty, the Rome Statute, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) referred the situation to the Court in February 2011 to investigate widespread abuses in the country.

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) welcomed the decision and called upon the UNSC and states parties to lend their support and cooperation to the Court's request. 

“States have an obligation to cooperate with the ICC and must arrest Mr Al-Tuhamy and surrender him to the ICC at the first opportunity”, said Dimitris Christopoulos, FIDH President. “It would be the first trial before the ICC for the crimes committed during the Arab Spring in Libya.”

ICC arrest warrants were also issued for former de facto Libyan prime minister and son of Muammar Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi; and former director of military intelligence in the Gaddafi regime, Abdullah al-Senussi, for crimes against humanity. ICC extradition of al-Senussi was halted after Libya challenged the admissibility of the case, whilst the arrest warrant for Saif Gaddafi remains outstanding.

Read up on the ICC Libya situation. 

Find out why Lawyers for Justice Libya are calling on the ICC to ramp up investigations in the country.

 

ICC investigations

Uganda: Whilst the Ugandan military begins withdrawing its troops from the pursuit of Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in the Central African Republic, civil society in Uganda remains divided on the fairness of the ICC trial of former LRA commander Dominic Ongwen.

DRC: The UN is reported to be "utterly horrified" by a video shown to journalists depicting the killing of two kidnapped UN investigators by Congolese militia. The news followed a suggestion that the ICC may be asked to examine violence in the DRC after 17 more mass graves were discovered in the Kasai Central province.

Kenya: Outbreaks of violence, chaos and confusion ahead of the general election on 8 August 2017 have sparked fears of history repeating itself, after post-election violence in 2007 led to the ICC opening an investigation in the country.

 

ICC preliminary examinations

Afghanistan: As Afghanistan faces its first review in 20 years under the UN Convention against Torture this week, a UN report has revealed that the torture and ill-treatment of conflict-related detainees persists in the country, despite promises and new laws put forward by the Afghan government.

Colombia: Amnesty International has called into question the effectiveness of the peace process between the Colombian government and the Farc rebels in light of the recent killings of several Indigenous people. 

Ukraine: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has pushed for sanctions to be maintained against Russia as it waits for a preliminary judgment from the ICC, citing these sanctions as"the only mechanism" against President Vladimir Putin's impunity.

 

Campaign for Global Justice

A Rwandan court has found Bernard Munyagishari guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to life imprisonment for the role he played in the country's 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has been advocating for The Gambia's government to outline concrete steps to investigate and prosecute grave crimes committed under the 22-year rule of former president Yahya Jammeh.

Civil society has been celebrating Tunisia's decision to sign a declaration allowing individuals and NGOs to refer directly to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), after exhaustion of domestic remedies, thus providing "an additional channel for victims of human rights violations to access justice and redress."

 

Around the world

The lawyer of Edgar Matobato, an alleged former member of the Davao Death Squad (DDS),  has filed a communication before the ICC accusing Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte and 11 of his allies of crimes against humanity, leading the Palace to rapidly dismiss the 78-page communication as an attempt to "embarrass and shame" the president. 

Footage obtained by an Egyptian opposition TV channel has reportedly been confirmed to show members of the Egyptian military conducting multiple extra-judicial killings of civilians — "crimes which Egypt has an obligation under international law to investigate, prosecute and punish", Amnesty International stated.

Human Rights Watch has called for Ethiopia to allow independent international investigations into the killing of more than 600 people involved in anti-government protests, citing the country's persistent refusal of entry to UN special rapporteurs as reinforcing a culture of impunity.

The UN convened a one-day conference to address what was termed the "entirely man-made" humanitarian crisis in Yemen, whilst civil society has expressed concern for the safety of civilians in the city of Hodeidah which is preparing for a Saudi-led coalition attack.

The Kremlin has been criticised for its slow response to a homophobic campaign in Chechnya that has seen men believed to be gay held in secret locations, beaten, humiliated and even killed, with a British foreign minister claiming that the Russian republic is aiming to "eliminate" its gay community by the start of Ramadan.

 

Which justice activists have influenced you? Have your say in the comment box below.