Timbuktu reparations | Libyan commander sought | Kenya NGOs fight back

In a historic first, the ICC earlier today ordered reparations for the destruction of UNESCO-protected cultural and religious monuments in Mali's Timbuktu. Islamist Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi personally liable for 2.7 million euros.

ICC orders reparations for Timbuktu destruction

On 17 August the ICC delivered its third reparations order to date, related to the first case and conviction out of the ICC Prosecutor’s investigation in Mali. ICC judges found Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, who had pled guilty last year to intentionally directing attacks against religious and historic buildings in Timbuktu in 2012, personally liable for 2.7 million euros of the harms linked to the war crimes conviction.

As was the case - for the first time - for victims in the Germain Katanga case earlier this summer, the Court ordered both collective and individual reparations. The former is intended for the rehabilitation of the specific sites damaged by the attacks as well as to address financial, economic, and emotional harms of the Timbuktu community as a whole, while the individual component compensates those victims whose livelihoods depended exclusively on the attacked sites as well as those whose ancestors were buried there. The judges requested that the individual component be prioritized in the Trust Fund for Victims’ implementation plan, due 16 February 2018.

"Not only does today's order stand on its broader merits in the mission to bring redress to victims of grave crimes in Timbuktu, but the order's particular attention to gender adds to the strides already being made by the ICC in advancing gender justice," said Alix Vuillemin-Grendel, senior legal officer with the Coalition for the International Criminal Court. "Acknowledging that women and girls, due to their gender, face additional risks and discrimination in gaining access to cultural and religious sites and in defending this heritage, and recognizing the specific instruction by the Court to ensure that in any reparations initiative women and girls are not discriminated against, ensures that this reparations order will bring justice to all victims, including those most marginalized because of their gender."   

Read about the reparations order in its entireTY

 

ICC seeks arrest of Libyan commander al-Werfalli

On 15 August, the Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Libyan National Army commander Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf al-Werfalli, accused of murder as a war crime in the context of the non-international armed conflict in Libya.

Al-Werfalli allegedly both directly committed and ordered the commission of murder in seven different cases, resulting in the deaths of 33 people. These cases supposedly took place between 3 June 2016 and 17 July 2017 in Benghazi and its surrounding areas. Al-Werfalli has also been accused of heading what appear to be Libyan National Army forces carrying out unlawful executions of “extremists” and desecrating corpses in video recordings posted online.

This most recent arrest warrant related to the ICC investigation in Libya follows the April unsealing of a 2013 ICC warrant for the former head of the Internal Security Agency of Libya Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled.

“The ICC has made an important step in publicly recognising that its mandate in Libya extends beyond the immediate aftermath of February 2011. The warrant of arrest offers a significant prospect for accountability and sends a renewed message to those who have perpetrated, and continue to perpetrate, heinous crimes that the culture of impunity in Libya will not be tolerated,” said Director of Lawyers For Justice in Libya (LFJL) Elham Saudi in a statement calling on national and international actors to facilitate with al-Werfalli's arrest and surrender.

“By failing to hold to account those responsible for crimes committed in Libya in recent years, the Libyan authorities and the international community have emboldened the parties to this conflict to act with complete disregard to human life and international law," added Amnesty International’s North Africa Research Director Heba Morayef.

Libya is not an ICC member state, but the United Nations Security Council granted the Court jurisdiction over the situation in Libya related to alleged Rome Statute crimes on the territory or by its nationals from 15 February 2011 onwards. For LFJL, the new arrest warrant served as an opportunity to call on the state of Libya to ratify the Rome Statute and ensure genuine domestic investigations and fair trial standards.

Read more on icc arrest warrant issued for saif gaddafi in june

 

Kenya: Attempted de-registration of NGOs 'unlawful and irresponsible'

Interference with civil society organizations and activists following Kenya’s 2017 presidential election must be brought to an immediate end, the Coalition for the International Criminal Court said today.

On 15 August, reports emerged that the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), the national NGO regulator, had circulated a letter on social media purporting to de-register the civil society organizations the Kenya National Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and the African Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG). 

However, Kenya’s Interior Minister Fred Matiangi has suspended the attempt for 90 days. Both AfriCOG and KHRC monitored the recent election, following which opposition leader Raila Odinga declared that he would challenge the results of last week’s presidential election in the Supreme Court and wage a campaign of “civil disobedience.”

The European Union’s election observer mission in Kenya called on the government to publish all results forms of the disputed recent election, after Odinga claimed that it had been rigged. 

Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, has labelled the attempts to shut down AfriCOG and KHRC "a cynical attempt to discredit human rights organizations." She stated:

"This is an unlawful and irresponsible move in this critical post-election period. This assault on human rights groups must be immediately halted. The Kenyan authorities must rein in the NGO Coordination Board and not allow such grotesque witch-hunts to take place".

Mombasa civil societies have requested that Executive Director Fazul Mahamed be removed from the NGO Coordination Board, adding that they "denounce any form of harassment on NGOs. This is only meant to prevent them from carrying out their mandate."

Kenya: protect the protectors

 

ICC investigations

Darfur, Sudan: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has visited Khartoum to discuss the refugee situation and inspect health, food and housing facilities in the Al-Nimr camp in East Darfur.   

Uganda: The Dominic Ongwen trial has resumed after ICC summer recess and the court has endorsed 121 witnesses to pin Ongwen, including his forced ex-wives. 

DRC: Protests against President Joseph Kabila in Kinshasa have resulted in 27 deaths, and ICC judges have initiated a review of Thomas Lubanga’s prison sentence with the possibility of a reduction.

 

ICC preliminary examinations

Burundi: The National Assembly have adopted a bill on the setting up of the National Observatory for the Prevention and Eradication of Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity.

Colombia: The war crimes tribunal has received the case files of 12,000 alleged military war criminals, and the chief prosecutor of the ICC is set to visit Colombia to investigate the progress made in the prosecution of the military chief and other military commanders.

Nigeria: The ICC has has begun an investigation into herdsman attacks, and 30 people have been killed in Kano in a suspected Boko Haram triple suicide attack.

Palestine: The US peace envoy to the Middle East has met with Palestine’s head of mission to discuss a new bid to achieve Palestinian-Israeli peace.

Afghanistan: A mass grave has been discovered in the Sari Pul province. IS has claimed responsibility, although villagers claim that the Taliban and IS jointly attacked Mirza Olang and committed the “crimes against humanity”.   

 

Campaign for Global Justice

Lebanon has abolished a law that allowed rapists to avoid prison by marrying their victims.The repeal of the law, which had been in place since the 1940s, follows years of campaigning by women’s rights advocates.

China and South Korea have called on Japan to face up to its wartime past after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent an offering to a war shrine on the anniversary of Japan's World War II surrender. 

Residents of the Boeung Kak community in Cambodia are demanding justice for land activist Tep Vanny, who has now been imprisoned for one year. She was charged with using violence against security guards in 2013. 

 

Around the world

Burma: ND-Burma has found that grave human rights violations are ongoing. Key findings include 76 victims in Shan Sate and Kachin State, involving 14 cases of torture. None of the perpetrators have yet faced any formal justice mechanisms.

Angola: Authorities have banned protests and demonstrations by groups that are not running in the August 23 parliamentary elections due to a 'security risk'. 

Turkey: 10 human rights defenders remain in arbitrary detention facing charges for "committing a crime in the name of a terrorist organisation without being a member". The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders is calling for their release. 

Zambia: The opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema has been released from prison and the treason charge has been dropped against him and his 5 co-accused. 

Hong Kong: Three activists have been sentenced to jail time for their participation in the peaceful pro-democracy protests in 2014. Joshua Wong has been sentenced to six months; Nathan Law received eight months and Alex Chow seven months.