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A medical examining room at the ICTY (Photo: Flickr/ICTY)
21 April 2015 by Stephanie van den Berg, Belgrade (Serbia)

The on-going controversy over the provisional release of Serbian ultra nationalist Vojislav Seselj [IJT-179] from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has recast the spotlight on how courts deal with ailing accused. It also begets a fundamental question: what determines if someone is fit to stand trial?

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Thomas Kwoyelo (centre) and his lead counsel, Caleb Alaka, at the Internal Crimes Division (Photo: Samuel Egadu Okiror)
21 April 2015 by Samuel Egadu Okiror, Kampala (Uganda)

Five years after the trial was halted, the Ugandan Supreme Court delivered an eagerly awaited decision in the war crimes case against Thomas Kwoyelo [IJT-176]. But instead of providing clarity, the ruling to lift the former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander’s amnesty has been slammed by critics, calling it an example of double standards and selective prosecution.

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Thomas Kwoyelo (centre) and his lead counsel, Caleb Alaka, at the Internal Crimes Division (Photo: Samuel Egadu Okiror)
21 April 2015

IJT 180 examines a debate surrounding selective justice for LRA commanders following a Ugandan Supreme Court ruling on amnesty.

Other features:

  • An extended feature looks at how international courts deal with ailing and elderly defendants in the dock, and what determines if they are even fit for trial.
  • On Sri Lanka, we hear how the new government is dealing with past war crimes.

In short news, there are updates on:

  • The Dutch asylum claim of DRC ex-militia leader Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui...
  • ​.. and the ICTR’s swan song of an appeals case, involving Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, the first woman to be tried and convicted by an international war crimes court.
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Image from Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre (Photo: Flickr/trocaire)
19 April 2015 by Stephanie van den Berg

Due to close its door permanently this year [IJT-172], the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), started its final trial last week in the appeals case involving six ex-officials of the former province of Butare.

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Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena at his swearing-in ceremony on 9 January 2015, in Colombo (Photo: Flickr/presidentgovlk)
19 April 2015 by Frances Harrison, London (UK)

After he swept to power in a surprise election result in January, Sri Lanka’s new president promised a break with the past. So far, that has meant moves like easing press restrictions and tackling corruption, rather than dealing with the worst crimes associated with the 2009 civil war. President Maithripala Sirisena promised “a strong internal mechanism to look into human rights”, but it is unclear when it will be established or what its remit will be. Critics say that for genuine accountability, it will have to tackle more than human rights abuses.

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Supporters await the arrival of Vojislav Seselj at Belgrade airport after his provisional release in November 2014 (Photo: Joost van Egmond)
07 April 2015 by Stephanie van den Berg, Belgrade (Serbia)

The Yugoslavia tribunal announced a new twist in its drawn-out case against Vojislav Seselj, when the appeals chamber ordered the trial chamber to revoke the provisional release of the firebrand Serbian politician. But it is unclear how the court might be able secure his return.

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Palestinian foreign minister Riad Al-Malk receives a copy of the Rome Statute at the 1 April ceremony welcoming the ICC’s newest member state (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
07 April 2015 by Janet H. Anderson, The Hague (The Netherlands)

On 1 April, Palestine became the 123rd member of the International Criminal Court (ICC). While acceding to the Rome Statute, it also accepted jurisdiction of the court from 13 June 2014, which kicked off a preliminary examination by the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) [IJT-173].

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Victor Koppe, defence attorney for Nuon Chea (front row, right) at the ECCC in January 2015 (Photo: Flickr/ECCC/Peter Ford)
07 April 2015 by Ate Hoekstra, Phnom Penh (Cambodia)

At the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), case 002/02 against former Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan is in full swing [IJT-168]. Defence lawyer Victor Koppe, who represents Nuon Chea, spoke to IJT, noting, among other things, that bias against the accused has been unmatched. 

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Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who recently rejected the idea of granting the FARC total amnesty (Photo: Flickr/globovision)
07 April 2015 by Louisa Reynolds

Almost two-and-a-half years after the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) began peace talks in Havana, key agreements have been reached on land reform, political participation and drug trafficking.

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Victor Koppe, defence attorney for Nuon Chea (front row, right) at the ECCC in January 2015 (Photo: Flickr/ECCC/Peter Ford)
07 April 2015

IJT 179 delves into the Khmer Rouge tribunal. Defence lawyer Victor Koppe speaks about his growing frustration with the ECCC in an interview with Ate Hoekstra. Fellow Phnom Penh-based correspondent Julia Wallace analyses how Cambodia’s changing political climate is creating fresh opposition to the court. Across the world, we see how the prospect of amnesty is vexing Colombia’s peace negotiations with FARC rebels. Plus, we examine the ICC's track record of prosecuting sexual and gender-based violence comes, notably since its Office of the Prosecutor announced a renewed focus on such crimes. In short news, we note Palestine’s recent accession to the ICC and look at the ICTY's decision to revoke the provisional release of Serbian ultra-nationalist Vojislav Seselj.

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