#GlobalJustice Weekly – Syria: Civilians suffer as peace deal moves forward

The latest in Global Justice news: UN warns of sharp increase in violence targeting civilians in Syria; Ntaganda goes on hunger strike to avoid court hearing; Sudan’s President Bashir claims peace returning to Darfur; Israel adopts new policy towards ICC; Serbia not participating in regional conference of war crimes prosecutors for the first time and much more.

Syrians left in despair

With a new Syrian peace deal on the table to end over five years of civil war that has killed some 400,000, the UN last week warned of a sharp increase in violence targeting civilians in the country.

In its latest report, the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria notes how recent indiscriminate attacks on civilians, blockades of humanitarian convoys and crimes committed by all parties to the conflict, have left Syrians in a state of despair.

“It is imperative that the key parties negotiate an end to this conflict, while bearing in mind that any peace agreement must necessarily provide justice for the victims,” said UN Commissioner Carla Del Ponte.

Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch called on the UN Security Council to urgently impose sanctions on the Syrian government for alleged chemical weapon attacks in Syria and refer the situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for investigation. A 2014 referral attempt was vetoed by Russia and China, and some speculate the possibility of a referral has become even more remote.

Meanwhile, foreign ministers last week gathered in London for a conference with the Syrian High Negotiations Committee, the chief opposition negotiating body. The Committee’s roadmap for post-conflict Syria calls for transitional justice mechanisms to ensure accountability for human rights violations, and proposes to “work to accede and ratify the Rome Statute of the ICC.”

Within hours of the truce agreed over the weekend, over 91 civilians were killed in airstrikes in the rebel-held cities of Idlib and Aleppo.

Grave crimes by government forces, rebels and terrorist groups have been well-documented since the outbreak of post-Arab Spring violence in Syria. Several states and civil society groups have been collecting evidence in anticipation of future prosecutions.

International Criminal Court investigations

Côte d’Ivoire: Witnesses at Gbagbo trial talk about rebel and President’s security group

Democratic Republic of Congo: Exhumed bodies show little conclusive evidence of mass murders by Ntaganda Militia while accused goes on hunger strike to avoid court hearing

Uganda: ICC prosecutor puts sexual crimes at heart of Ongwen trial while US targets Kony sons with sanctions

Mali: Why does the cultural destruction trial pose a moral dilemma?

Libya: Does the International Criminal Court have jurisdiction over U.S forces in Libya

Sudan: President Bashir claims peace returning to Darfur

ICC preliminary examinations

Colombia: President Juan Manuel Santos confident peace deal with FARC will be approved but will it also bring justice?

Palestine: UN report unveils staggering cost of Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory while Israel adopts new policy towards the ICC

Nigeria:  UN concerned about Nigerians returning to devastated villages formerly held by Boko Haram

Campaign for Global Justice

Dutch former prime minister calls visiting Netanyahu war criminal amid anti-Israeli protests in The Hague

NGO letter regarding the human rights situation in Sudan

Around the world

Italy forcefully deports Darfur migrants back to Sudan

The terror against Ukraine’s journalists allegedly fuelled by political elites

United Nations human rights office express concern on situations in Cambodia

Blasts kill dozens in Afghanistan‘s capital Kabul

France’s Bernard Kouchner urges probe of Iran’s 1988 massacre

Talks of further genocide in Sri Lanka

Serbia not participating in regional conference of war crimes prosecutors for the first time

Genocide trial of Bosnian Serb ex-army chief Ratko Mladic to hear closing arguments in December