#GlobalJustice Weekly: Rohingya need justice | Refugees targeted in Libya | Ocampo allegations

Migrants sit after being rescued off the shore in Tripoli, Libya, 2016 © New Europe
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Myanmar Rohingya abuses may be crimes against humanity, UN rights experts warn

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) have called on the Myanmar authorities to immediately stop violence in northern Rakhine State, and to promptly and effectively investigate and vigorously prosecute cases of violence against women and children.

“We are particularly worried about the fate of Rohingya women and children subject to serious violations of their human rights, including killings, rape and forced displacement,” the experts said in a joint statement issued today. “Such violations may amount to crimes against humanity and we are deeply concerned at the State’s failure to put an end to these shocking human rights violations being committed at the behest of the military and other security forces, and of which women and children continue to bear the brunt.”

More than half a million Rohingya have fled from a Myanmar military crackdown in Rakhine State launched in late August that has been denounced by the United Nations as ethnic cleansing. Those fleeing the violence arrive in Bangladesh with testimonies of horrific human rights violations, bullet wounds and marks of sexual violence.

In a recent oped on this website, NGO ND-Burma has stated that "The only way to stop the cycle of violence is to deliver justice for Burma’s many victims of human rights violations. Those that have committed grave human rights violations need to be held accountable and victims be given the support they need to rebuild their lives." 

Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed on Monday to work on a repatriation plan. Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh expressed doubt about their chances of ever going home.

 

Impunity reigns as migrants targeted in Libya

At least five civilians have been killed and twelve others wounded among dozens of casualties in recent fighting in the Libyan migrant smuggling hub of Sabratha, the United Nations said on Monday. 

The UN has warned that rival governments and armed militias in Libya are in violation of international humanitarian and human rights laws and their abusive actions threaten the stability of the country. The UN Human Rights Council is reviewing a report on the situation.

Amnesty International has called on the Human Rights Council to consider the creation of an Independent Expert on Libya to monitor and report on the human rights situation, stating "The political stalemate and power struggle in Libya has created a situation in which armed groups and militias are more likely to be able to commit serious human rights violations and abuses with total impunity."

Sabratha’s university hospital has twice been hit by shelling, rendering the emergency and surgery units unusable. Sabratha had been the most common departure point for migrants setting off toward Italy from Libya, until a sudden drop in crossings from July.

The health ministry in Tripoli said on Friday that overall at least 26 people had been killed and 170 wounded in nearly two weeks of fighting, and over the last month the UN Support Mission in Libya documented 35 civilian casualties during the conduct of hostilities across Libya.

 

Ocampo allegations

This week saw the European Investigations Collaborative (EIC) allege that in 2015 former ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo advised Libyan oil billionaire Hassan Tatanaki on avoiding ICC prosecution. Tatanaki is reportedly a close associate of Khalifa Haftar, the head of the Libyan National Army.

Ocampo, who left ICC office in 2012, denies any wrongdoing. In a statement, he asserted that his communications had been hacked and alleged "false and misleading reporting."

Meanwhile, current ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said her office would look into 'serious allegations' involving current ICC staff who may have cooperated with Ocampo in ways that constitute a 'breach of duty'”.

Human Rights Watch director Kenneth Roth responded to the allegations in Dutch newspaper NRC.

Court Secrets, an investigative project by EIC.network, says it will publish a series of articles based on over 40,000 documents, financial statements, diplomatic cables and correspondence, cross-checked with public sources. The documents were obtained by Mediapart (France) and shared with EIC network.

On 5 September, the ICC and the ICC Prosecutor issued a statement reponding to the media allegations.

 

ICC investigations 

Georgia: The Registrar of the International Criminal Court (ICC)Herman von Hebel visited Tbilisi this week as part of the ongoing investigation for crimes within the ICC jurisdiction allegedly committed during the 2008 Russia-Georgia war. He informed local media that an ICC country office is planned to open in Tbilisi in January of 2018. 

Mali: Dutch safety inspectors on Thursday slammed 'serious shortcomings' which led to the deaths of two Dutch soldiers serving as UN peacekeepers in Mali last year. The mission in Mali has just been prolonged the government into 2018.

Uganda: Archbishop of Gulu and President of the Uganda Episcopal Conference John-Baptist Odama has apologised to the people of CAR and DRC for the suffering and atrocities caused by warlord Joseph Kony. "I think Uganda has something to apologise for and we need to reconcile", he said. 

CAR: The UN Security Council is considering a troop increase to aid in its Protection of Civilians mandate. The Secretary-General’s last progress report notes six grave violations are being documented, although the government recently ratified the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict. 

 

Preliminary examinations

Nigeria: The UN Secretary-General's first report on children and armed conflict has been formally presented to the Working Group and its conclusion is still ongoing. 

 

Campaign for Global Justice

The government of the United Kingdom has announced a contribution of £250,000 to the Trust Fund for Victims in order to provide support to the victims of crimes against humanity and war crimes. 

Efforts to bring those responsible for atrocities in Syria before European courts are starting to show results. Sweden and Germany are the first two countries that have prosecuted and convicted people for these crimes.

One of the most visually symbolic movements against Argentina’s dictatorship, the Mothers' tenacious weekly protests culminated in a massive demonstration in the name of memory, truth and justice.

 

Around the world

The UN Human Rights Council concluded its 36th session in Geneva, having adopted 33 resolutions addressing multiple human rights situations in Yemen, Burundi, Myanmar, Syria, DRC, CAR, Sudan, Somalia and Cambodia.

The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights has declared that expulsions conducted by Spain at the EU’s external borders violate the European Convention on Human Rights. Spanish authorities allegedly unlawfully expel refugees at the border with Morocco.

The trial of Liberian Mohammed Jabbateh, nicknamed Jungle Jabbahbegan in Philadelphia on Monday. Jabbateh stands accused of providing false information to US immigration authorities, and acts that he allegedly committed include murder, sexual enslavement, torture, and the conscription of child soldiers.