#GlobalJustice Weekly / Syria's hell on earth | Cote d'Ivoire's forgotten victims | South Sudan atrocities

A Syrian man walks next to damaged buildings in Eastern Ghouta, Syria © Getty Images

Syria's 'hell on earth'

Amnesty International has called on the UN Security Council to ensure that a 30 day partial ceasefire to deliver aid to areas such as Ghouta, Syria is implemented effectively. The resolution was passed after more than 500 people were killed and 2,500 people wounded in intensified attacks in Eastern Ghouta since last week.

Sherine Tadros, Head of Amnesty International’s UN Office said, “It shouldn’t require a ceasefire for starving civilians to be allowed life-saving assistance and protection from being deliberately bombarded. Security Council must ensure attacks on civilians are ended and humanitarian assistance is provided without delay.”

However, since the resolution, no convoys have been able to travel into the area. “We still don’t have the green light to go inside and bring desperately needed food and medical supplies, and to do medical evacuations,” the UN’s regional humanitarian coordinator for Syria has told the media.

A five hour cease-fire was was ordered by Putin on Tuesday morning in Ghouta  intended to allow humanitarian aid and assistance to reach the area. The attempted lull in hostilities was unsuccessful, however, amid claims of government strikes and rebel shelling of a “humanitarian corridor”, intended for civilian escape. There were no UN aid deliveries in the attempted cease-fire.

An open letter signed by over 200 activists and artists around the world has been issued to the world governments to end the "Syrian gencoide", and uphold the responsibility to protect under the UN Office on Genocide Prevention. 

 

Côte d'Ivoire's forgotten victims

Human Rights Watch has called on the government of Côte d'Ivoire to support justice for the victims of post election violence during the country's 2010-2011 crisis. 

Reports by the national reconciliation commission, Conariv, has said that 317,000 victims are to receive reparations. Representatives of national civil society organisations claim that delivering justice to victims of the crisis has become “political” and one-sided.

According to civil society, Ivorian courts have been selective, both in the crimes they are addressing and the perpetrators they are prosecuting. None of President Ouattara’s allies involved in the 2010 -2011violence have been brought to trial, despite several high-ranking officials close to Ouattara having being charged with human rights crimes.

The cases brought against Gbagbo allies have thus far been been limited to their role in threatening state security during the crisis, while virtually no cases have been brought relating to alleged extra judicial killings, torture and rape that were committed. Simone Gbagbo, tried in Cote d’Ivoire for her role in the violence, after President Ouattara refused to transfer her to the ICC, was acquitted in May 2017.

President Ouattara has said that all trials relating to the post-election violence will be carried out in the Ivorian courts. The ICC has said it is continuing to investigate abuses committed by both sides and will seek to try members of pro-Ouattara forces if they are not prosecuted in Côte d'Ivoire.

The Ivory Coast national coalition for the ICC this week opened its 14th quarterly conference.
 

Report on South Sudan alleges war crimes 

A report issued by the Commission of Human Rights on South Sudan has been released, labeling some of the atrocities committed in the country’s civil war as war crimes and crimes against humanity. The report details examples of ethnic based violence against civilians, including killings, abductions, rape and sexual violence.The report holds more than 40 officials accountable for the crimes, including military commanders. 

Civil society has submitted a joint letter to the UN Human Rights Council, calling for accountability for crimes committed, through the strengthening of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan’s mandate.

A peace agreement in 2015 included the creation of a hybrid court established by the African Union Commission to try those responsible for the crimes, but there has been limited progress on this since. Human Rights Watch has called on the African Union Commission to take the lead in establishing the court, and failing this, for the ICC to step in and deliver justice for victims.

South Sudan's presidental spokesperson has responded to the report asking for the officials to be named, stressing that his government would hold accountable any official who has committed the crimes. 

ICC investigations

Democratic Republic of Congo: The Congolese Foundation for the Promotion of Human Rights and Peace (FOCDP) have released a declaration on the situation in the DRC. The declaration expresses concern for the widespread insecurity and political tension in the country, which it states are reaching dangerous levels.

Burundi: During a Security Council briefing, Michel Kafando, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Burundi, claimed that the political situation in the country was hampering economic development. Mr Kafanda highlighted in particular the human rights violations and humanitarian situation, adding that the environment would not be suitable for upcoming political elections.

Georgia: The EU External Action Spokesperson has released a statement on the deaths of civilians in South Ossetia. The statement called for greater transparency and improved confidence confidence.  

CAR: In a briefing to the UN Security Council, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of MINUSCA, outlined the violence prevalent in the CAR. The violence, he claims, worsens an “already precarious humanitarian picture”. In the briefing, Mr Onanga- Anyanga also noted positive developments in the country such as the recent reinforcement of national judicial structures.

 

ICC preliminary examinations

Philippines: Philippine police have allegedly killed ten people during the single deadliest night of the country’s war on drugs. 63 people were also arrested during the operations, which ran from Wednesday night through Thursday morning last week.  

Afghanistan: The ICC has published its findings from submissions of victims who suffered war crimes during the Afghanistan conflict. 98% of victims “overwhelmingly support” an ICC investigation into the conflict.

The UN has welcomed the adoption of the new Penal Code in Afghanistan, which brings it in line with international treaty obligations. 

 

Campaign for global justice / Rome Statute 20

The government of Ireland and the ICC Trust Fund for Victims led a joint monitoring visit to northern Uganda from the 19-23 February. Part of the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute, the visit was aimed at reviewing the implementation of TFV projects Uganda. The ASP President along with 10 States Parties participated in the visit.

An FIDH delegation has been assured that the ICC Prosecutor is actively monitoring the developments in the DRC. The assurances were given in a meeting with representatives from the OTP, arranged after a fact-finding mission report published by FIDH collected testimonies from refugees who had fled violence in the Kasai province.

 

Around the world

New satellite imagery has shown depopulated Rohingya villages bulldozed in the Rakhine State. Human Rights Watch has called for the destruction of these villages to stop, and for the sites to be treated as crime scenes while a UN Fact-Finding Mission carries out investigations.