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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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Urban life in Ivory Coast (Photo: Flickr/Guillaume Mignot)
23 March 2015 by Christin Roby, Abidjan (Ivory Coast)

The 20-year prison sentence handed to former Ivorian first lady Simone Gbagbo in Abidjan’s case against her and 82 others for undermining state security is being met with intense scrutiny. Though a victory to some, many Ivorians are unsatisfied.

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At a shelter for Yazidis refugees who fled IS attacks in Iraq, Mahoubet says the jihadist movement killed her husband and kidnapped her sister and daughter (Photo: Flickr/Caroline Gluck/EU/ECHO)
23 March 2015 by Karina Hof

The Islamic State (IS) is perpetuating heinous human rights violations in Iraq and members of the jihadist movement may be guilty of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, says a UN report released last week. Its author, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, recommends Iraq join the International Criminal Court and accept its jurisdiction “over the current situation”.

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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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Skulls in the Choeung Ek memorial of people murdered during the Khmer Rouge regime led by Pol Pot from 1975-1979 (Photo: Flickr/sctatepdx)
11 March 2015 by Julia Wallace, Phnom Penh (Cambodia)

After over five years of investigation fraught with infighting, government interference and legal drama, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) has charged two more Khmer Rouge officials with a slew of crimes. They include murder, enslavement, extermination and grave breaches of the Geneva Convention.

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ICC judges in Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui case on a visit to Ituri in January 2012 (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
11 March 2015 by Tjitske Lingsma, The Hague (The Netherlands)

This is the second in a series of articles delving into the challenges faced by prosecutors at the International Criminal Court. In our last issue [IJT-176], Tjitske Lingsma explored why the ICC seems afflicted by untruthful witnesses. In the third article, we examine the growing importance of technological evidence, like phone records and computer data, to reduce the reliance on witness testimony.

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Former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt on trial for genocide in May 2013 in Guatemala City (Photo: Flickr/coolloud)
11 March 2015

IJT 177 asks how far the two new cases at the ECCC can go after Judge Mark Harmon finally filed charges against two mid-level Khmer Rouge officials in a case fraught with infighting and legal drama at the hybrid tribunal. Another hybrid court, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, recently began a newly issued three-year mandate. Expectations for the court have now exceeded judging those responsible for the 2005 assassination of ex-prime minister Rafik Hariri, with experts set on the STL providing a basis to bring the Syrian regime to book.

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