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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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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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ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda during the October 2014 status conferences concerning the status of cooperation between her office and Kenya (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
25 March 2015 by Tjitske Lingsma, The Hague (The Netherlands)

This article examines the value the International Criminal Court is increasingly placing on digital data and other technology as a way to reduce reliance on witness testimony. It completes a series by Tjitske Lingsma on the challenges faced by the ICC's Office of the Prosecution. The first article looked at its problems with witnesses [IJT-176] and the second, with intermediaries [IJT-177].

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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

IJT 178 examines the resurgence of calls for special tribunals despite the existence of the ICC. From Chad, we look ahead to the verdict in the trial of 21 Hissène Habré henchmen. From Ivory Coast, we get insight into the divisive verdict in the trial of former Ivorian first lady Simone Gbagbo. And as a last article in our three-part series on challenges faced by the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor, we evaluate the growing importance of scientific and digital evidence.

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Chadians in court to hear verdict of DDS henchmen trial
25 March 2015 by Nathalie Magnien, N'Djamena (Chad)

The court room was packed this morning at the Palais du 15 janvier to hear the verdict in the case of the former agents of Chadian dictator Hissène Habré's feared political police: the Directorate of Documentation and Security (DDS). Anti-riot police were posted all around the room to separate the hundreds of victims and the families of the accused present.

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Chadians demonstrate for justice in January, following a second suspension of the trial against Habré’s henchmen (Photo: Twitter/@HenriThulliez)
24 March 2015 by Nathalie Magnien, N'Djamena (Chad)

After a 26-year wait and a four-month trial that saw victims finally confront alleged criminal accomplices of former dictator Hissène Habré [IJT-170], a Chad court is expected to deliver its ruling on 25 March. Judges will decide the fate of the 21 accused, facing charges of torture, murder, illegal arrest and arbitrary detention.

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Preparations for the burial of Srebrenica victims at the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial and Cemetery for the Victims of the 1995 Genocide in 2010 (Photo: Stephanie van den Berg)
23 March 2015 by Joost van Egmond, Belgrade (Serbia)

In a police action hailed as a major breakthrough, Serbia arrested last week eight suspects of mass killings after the fall of the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in 1995. If they face court, it will be the biggest trial for war crimes in Serbia so far.

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