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The ICC presents its annual report to Assembly of States Parties in November 2015 (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
17 December 2015 by Benjamin Duerr, The Hague (The Netherlands)

In the face of financial and geopolitical realities and with several major judicial developments and administrative reforms coming up, 2016 could be a decisive year for the International Criminal Court (ICC).

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Visitors must cross a moat before entering the International Criminal Court's new permanent premises (Photo: Tjitske Lingsma)
15 December 2015 by Tjitske Lingsma and Janet H. Anderson, The Hague

Six block buildings, the tallest holding the courtrooms, stand in a row along the coastal landscape of The Hague. They are bedecked with trapezoid windows, meant to reflect the changing daylight and convey a sense of transparency. High fences are absent. The sand dunes that protect the Netherlands from the North Sea’s high tide are, along with many other measures, ingeniously used to provide security. This is the new permanent premises of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

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Helen Mack, sister of murdered Guatemalan anthropologist Myrna Mack, speaks at March 2015 meeting of La Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) (Photo: Flickr/cidh/Daniel Cima)
02 December 2015

IJT 188 takes a close look at Guatemala's newly opened 'high-risk' court, which many hope will expedite lawsuits concerning the country's decades-long armed conflict. 

Other features:

  • In the Netherlands, an Afghan army commander-turned-Dutch national was arrested and accused of war crimes allegedly committed in 1979.
  • In Bangladesh, two men were hanged for committing international crimes during the war of independence, compelling many Bangladeshis to celebrate and international human rights organizations to question the International Crimes Tribunal's fairness.
  • While ICC state parties held their annual meeting last month in The Hague, groups discussed on the side whether ecocide could become the fifth crime against peace.

 

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Secoya chief Humberto Piaguaje, with microphone, protests among Rainforest Action Network activists outside Chevron’s shareholder meeting in May 2011 (Photo: Flickr/Rainforest Action Network)
30 November 2015 by Tjitske Lingsma, The Hague (The Netherlands)

“The rainforest is our supermarket, our hospital, pharmacy, our school, and it is where we pray,” says Humberto Piaguaje, chief of Ecuador’s Secoya indigenous group, speaking at a Hague Talks discussion timed to coincide with the annual state parties meeting of the International Criminal Court (ICC). In stark contrast with the audience in The Hague, he wears a white tunic, overlaid by long, colourful beads crossing at the waist, and a red and yellow headdress. The Secoya see themselves as part of their habitat, the Amazon rainforest, where each earthly element has a living spirit identity. “The trees are our siblings,” the chief explains. “That’s why we feel so hurt when someone comes and destroys our land.”

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Helen Mack, sister of murdered Guatemalan anthropologist Myrna Mack, speaks at March 2015 meeting of La Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) (Photo: Flickr/cidh/Daniel Cima)
19 November 2015 by Louisa Reynolds, Guatemala City (Guatemala)

A new Guatemalan court to oversee complex criminal cases raises hopes that lawsuits, including those concerning the country’s decades-long armed conflict, will be processed with greater speed. Human rights organizations praise the court, which opened on 28 October, though some question the independence of its judges.

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A sign marks the entrance of the asylum application centre of the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (Photo: Flickr/directie_voorlichting_venj)
12 November 2015 by Benjamin Duerr, The Hague (The Netherlands)

In an extraordinary case testing the boundaries of universal jurisdiction and refugee law, an alleged war criminal of Afghan origin who had acquired Dutch nationality has been arrested in the Netherlands at the initiative of victims.

 

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Poster calling for the hanging of accused war criminals at 2013 Shabagh protests in Bangladesh (Photo: David Bergman)
10 November 2015 by David Bergman

The soon-to-be-sealed fate of two men, sentenced to death for the commission of international crimes during Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence, has reignited criticism of the country’s International Crimes Tribunal (ICT).

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Jean-Pierre Bemba at the start of his bribery trial at the ICC (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
29 October 2015 by Tjitske Lingsma, The Hague (The Netherlands)

The first trial for offences against the administration of justice is a testing ground for the International Criminal Court (ICC) but has been hard to follow. Since its start last month, crucial proceedings in the case against Congolese suspect Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, two of his lawyers and two others for allegedly bribing witnesses have taken place behind closed doors.

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South Ossetian Internally Displaced Persons in Skra, Georgia in March 2012 (Photo: Flickr/Marco Fieber)
29 October 2015

This month we look at the investigation ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda wants to open into Georgia with commentators arguing this could be a double-edged sword for Tblisi as the court has made it clear it will investigate alleged crimes from all sides. For the ICC meanwhile this probe signals a clear move away from the attention on situations in Africa, a big point of criticism from the court's detractors.

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Radio talk show in Gulu, Uganda, facilitated by the ICC in commemoration of International Justice Day in July 2011 (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
21 October 2015 by Samuel Egadu Okiror, Lira (Uganda)

Ugandan war crimes’ victims are growing increasingly frustrated with what they see as too little or too late from the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV). They ask why the fund, which is part of the International Criminal Court (ICC) but operates independently, seems to be scaling back reparations while the court is expanding the charges in its first Ugandan case, against former LRA commander Dominic Ongwen.

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