#GlobalJustice Weekly: ICC prosecutor submits Afghanistan request | Venezuela ICC communication

”Nicolas Maduro and his government must pay for this, for these crimes against humanity,” said Luisa Ortega, outside the ICC tribunal in The Hague. C: Mercopress

ICC Prosecutor requests judicial authorisation to commence Afghanistan investigation

On Monday, the Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensoudarequested authorisation from Judges in Pre-Trial Chamber III to initiate an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the context of the ongoing armed conflict in Afghanistan. 

The Office of the Prosecutor's request argues that there are no substantial reasons to believe that the opening of an investigation would not serve the interests of justice, taking into account the gravity of the crimes and the interests of victims.

The Prosecutor also notified victims or their legal representatives of her intention to request authorisation to initiate the investigation, informing them that they have until 31 January 2018 to submit views to the Pre-Trial Chamber on the request.

Read more

Afghanistan and the ICC: The Factsheet 

Questions and Answers (Human Rights Watch)

 

Venezuela’s ousted chief prosecutor demands ICC investigation into government

On Thursday, Venezuela’s ousted chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega asked the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into President Nicolas Maduro and four other senior officials for alleged crimes against humanity.

Ortega visited the ICC herself, reportedly accompanied by aides to turn over dossiers containing more than 1,000 pieces of evidence, including forensic reports, witness interviews and expert testimony linking security forces to more than 8,000 deaths since 2015.

“Nicolas Maduro and his government should pay for these crimes against humanity just as they must also pay for the hunger, misery and hardship they’ve inflicted on the Venezuelan people,” Ortega stated. "They happened [the alleged crimes] under the orders of the executive branch, as part of a social cleansing plan carried out by the government."

Ortega's communication also accuses top officials such as Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino and intelligence chief Gustavo Gonzalez of involvement in the alleged abuses, while the Maduro government has insisted that it respects human rights.

 

Assembly of States Parties 2017

The Coalition for the ICC has released key recommendations for the ASP, ranging from the safeguarding of the Rome Statute to the election of six new judges to the ICC bench.   

The International Bar Association has also released their Priorities and Recommendations for the 16th ASP.

The Association Française pour la Promotion de la Compétence Universelle has produced an advocacy paper for the 16th ASP session. 

 

ICC investigations

Burundi: Several people with first-hand knowledge of alleged crimes implicating police, soldiers, and militia members have disappeared or been killed following the ICC decision to open an investigation into a situation of alleged crimes against humanity in the country. 

Kenya: The High Court has dismissed an application by the Kenyan Director of Public Prosecutions to extradite lawyers Paul Gicheru and Philip Kipkoech Bett to the ICC to face charges related to witness-tampering in the prosecutor's Kenya investigation.

Libya: UNSMIL chief Ghassan Salamé has suggested to the UN Security Council to help Libyans combat impunity for war crimes by considering the possibility of joint tribunals. A report about the sale of African migrants as slaves has incited outrage in recent days, prompting a protest in central Paris, condemnation by the African Union and an official investigation.

Darfur, Sudan: The Kremlin has confirmed the upcoming visit of Omar al-Bashir this Thursday in the Sudanese leader's first official trip to Moscow. Al-Bashir is wanted by ICC for alleged crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. 

CAR: Four patients have died and thousands are stranded without healthcare in Bangassou after an attack forced the last charity working there, Medecins Sans Frontieres, to pull out.

 

Preliminary examinations

Colombia: The Constitutional Court has declared that the politicians, civilians and others will participate in a transitional justice system for war crimes committed during decades of armed conflict. Meanwhile, the UN has demanded that more must be done to ensure that the "remarkable gains of the first phase of Colombia's peace process" are maintained.

Afghanistan: The USA has proposed reviving Afghan militias to help the country, sparking outrage from international donors. The proposal comes only days after a Pentagon report revealed that US military personnel in Afghanistan were taught that child sexual abuse was a "culturally accepted practice''.

 

Campaign for Global Justice

The United Nations Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) has approved 14 resolutions involving human rights defenders, migrants and the safety of journalists.

REDRESS has submitted a communication to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on behalf of Clément Abaïfouta and 6,999 other victims seeking reparations for human rights violations committed by the Republic of Chad between 1982 and 1990.

 

Around the world

Amnesty International has released a report detailing serious violations of international humanitarian law in the Philippines, some of which allegedly amount to war crimes.

Another US Democratic congressman, Ro Khanna, has stated that the USA made a mistake in supporting the Saudi-led coalition's bombing campaign in Yemen.

According to opposition members of the Hungarian National Security Committee, Interior Minister Sándor Pintér and his security agencies have been unable to uncover any threat to Hungary posed by Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros or the civil organizations he supports in the country.

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has warned in a speech that “Whether I like it or not, I have to return that [anti-drugs operation] power to the police.”

A special Bangladeshi tribunal has sentenced death to six Islamists, including a former lawmaker, for committing crimes against humanity and siding with the Pakistani troops in carrying out the genocide in 1971.