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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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Political signage of Cambodia’s ruling party, in April 2014, in Siem Reap, Cambodia (Photo: Flickr/shankaronline)
06 April 2015 by Julia Wallace, Phnom Penh (Cambodia)

Since its inception, the Khmer Rouge tribunal has contended with political pressure, but Cambodia’s changing political landscape is yielding a fierce new crop of opposition.

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Bosco Ntaganda, for whom the ICC pre-trial chamber unanimously confirmed all charges of sexual and gender-based crimes (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
06 April 2015 by Ella Sonja West, The Hague (The Netherlands)

At the International Criminal Court (ICC), prosecuting sexual and gender-based violence has been notoriously difficult. Documentary evidence has often proved insufficient and local officials, unwilling to cooperate. Despite such challenges, the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), since Fatou Bensouda took over in 2012, has prioritized prosecution of such crimes.

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Violence in the Central African Republic forced this family to leave home and live in the shell of an aircraft at Bangui International Airport, in December 2013 (Photo: Flickr/Catholic Relief Services/S.Phelps)
25 March 2015 by Benjamin Duerr, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Every few weeks, it seems, a call sounds to establish a tribunal for mass-atrocity crimes. The most recent example is Syria, for which UN war crimes investigators this month urged the international community to set up a new court.  Failure to get Syria referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by the UN Security Council, with its deep-seated divisions, has clearly driven the search for alternatives.

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