At the thirtieth summit of the African Union (AU) last month, African states took a bold decision. They agreed to ask the United Nations General Assembly to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the issue of head of state immunity. For years now, this has been an ongoing point of contention for many states in their relationship with the International Criminal Court (ICC). So what’s behind the AU’s decision and what does it tell us about the ICC and its relationship with African states?
Between early 2013 and June 2016, in the village of Kavumu, a few dozen kilometers from Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu province, as many as 40 young girls whose ages ranged from 18 months to 10 years old were abducted and raped before being returned to their families. On December 13, 2017 11 Congolese militia members and a provincial lawmaker Frederic Batumike were found guilty of murder and rape as crimes against humanity. This is the story of how the women of Kavumu finally got justice.
Expert: Rehabilitation of those convicted by international criminal tribunals is woefully inadequate
Much ink has been spilled on the oft-difficult and dicey process of bringing wanted perpetrators to justice. Less attention has been paid to what happens after people are convicted by international criminal tribunals and have to pay their debt to humanity behind bars. In an effort to remedy that, Barbora Hola, an Associate Professor at the Department of Criminal Law and Criminology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and a colleague, carried out an extensive research project to look into how such convicted persons are rehabilitated, if at all. “Poorly”, it turns out, is the answer.
Judge Koffi Kumelio A. Afande, who has served on both the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has given a damning appraisal of the outcome of the Kenyan cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the victims, particularly on reparations. It is rare to hear a judge of Afande’s stature speak so frankly of the shortcomings the international criminal justice system.
To start the year off right, Justice Hub is today publishing the first of a series of exclusive interviews with esteemed African judges. The interviews, which will run for the next few weeks, are part of our popular #MyJustice series that aims to shine a spotlight on sung and unsung heroes working to make the world a more peaceful, just and inclusive place.
Justice Dr James Alala Deng, a member of the South Sudan Supreme Court, tells us why, despite all the obvious challenges and setbacks, he believes that justice is still possible in Africa’s youngest democracy.
Uganda is one of the few countries that have set up local mechanisms for trying grave crimes like genocide and war crimes. Ugandan Judge Flavia Senoga Anglin recently spoke to a rapt Hague Talks audience about the tragic events that led her country to establish the International Crimes Division of Uganda.
When there is an atrocity committed in a far-flung part of the world and experts are needed to investigate it, Justice Rapid Response (JRR) has the capacity to quickly assemble a team to collect and preserve evidence for use in future legal action against the perpetrator(s). In an interview with Justice Hub, JRR’s Executive Director Andras Vamos-Goldman told us “The 21st century works very differently. It requires a much faster reaction time because everything is faster in the 21st century so we are there to try to make the work of institutions including the work the ICC, the UN, and regional bodies faster. Not just faster but also more cost-effective.”
Why is it that women's voices appear so rarely when discussing the history of peace movements and international law? One academic is championing efforts to celebrate the extraordinary life of a giant of the peace movements of more than 100 years ago - Bertha von Suttner. . She was not only the first woman to be solely awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, she’s also widely credited for inspiring Alfred Nobel to include a prize for champions of peace among the prizes provided for in his will. A lifelong pacifist, Bertha also wrote several books that championed the cause of peace activists worldwide. At a time when women were expected to be seen and not heard, Bertha was recognised as an outspoken leader in the peace movement. Yet, despite her gender-defying achievements and intellectual contributions, Bertha has been given short shrift in the tellings of history.
An Emerging Framework for All of Africa: The Right to a Fair Trial at The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Fair Trial Rights
At the end of last month,, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Court) handed down an unprecedented ten decisions. These decisions, made up of judgements, requests for advisory opinions and applications for interpretation of past judgements each all deserve to be examined in detail. This article by Oliver Windridge does just that.