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29 March 2005 by Emmanuel Chicon and Benjamin Bibas

The Moroccan Equity and Reconciliation Commission (IER) will soon complete its report that should theoretically be submitted to the King by mid-April (see IJT n° 15 and 19). The signs are that this transitional justice process is still controlled by the Palace (or Makhzen), which runs the kingdom. But the young guard may find the recent rise in Islamism a useful argument for strengthening its position.

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29 March 2005 by Mary Kimani

The first trials before Rwanda's gacaca courts finally opened on 10 March. Almost three years after their official launch, the courts, made up of locally elected judges from a district or hill, read out their first verdicts for people suspected of participating in the genocide. The most notable fact was the summoning of several hundred local administrative leaders before the courts. 

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29 March 2005 by our correspondent

"Rapes were committed by soldiers under the accused's command, and he did nothing to punish them," asserted the Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Hassan Bubacar Jallow, on the opening day of the trial of Tharcisse Muvunyi on 28 February 2005. Yet only a month earlier, Jallow had asked the judges for authorisation to strike the rape allegations from the indictment.

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29 March 2005 by KELVIN LEWIS

The third and last scheduled trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone finally got underway on 7 March. The three men in the dock are former members of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC): Alex Tamba Brima, Brima Bazzy Kamara and Santigie Borbor Kanu. They faced the three foreign judges after spending nearly two years in detention. On stage for perhaps the last time was court prosecutor David Crane, two weeks after announcing he will be stepping down in July after three years at the head of the prosecution.

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27 March 2005 by HEIKELINA VERRIJN STUART

The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) first status conference was held in camera on 15 March. It was convened to provide an update on the prosecutor’s investigations in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). No information has filtered through on talks between the judges and Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo on this subject. But there have been strong echoes of a legal culture clash and the boundaries of responsibility between the pre-trial chamber and the prosecution.

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14 March 2005 by HEIKELINA VERRIJN STUART

The big event was the opening on 9 March of the special war crimes chamber in Sarajevo. But a week earlier the Bosnian media was buzzing with shocked reactions to the indictment and departure to The Hague of the retired Bosnian general, Rasim Delic. The outcry caused by the surrender of Delic, who is seen as a "war hero", raises questions over whether the Bosnian environment is mature enough to ensure a fair trial for defendants on all sides of the conflict in former Yugoslavia, especially Bosnian Muslims.

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14 March 2005 by Laurent Abadie

The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj, who is accused of crimes against humanity and of violating the laws and customs of war, is the first serving politician to be indicted by the ICTY since the ex-Yugoslav president, Slobodan Milosevic. A former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), Haradinaj was elected by parliament on 3 December to serve in the UN-administered province. On 8 March, he resigned, preferring to face the UN court "as a common citizen".

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14 March 2005 by HEIKELINA VERRIJN STUART

There is no doubt in the minds of donors backing the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY): all trials must be completed by 2008. The ICTY prosecutor has now seriously begun tackling the process of transferring cases to local courts, with 8 requests for transferral involving 16 accused submitted to the judges.

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21 February 2005 by our correspondent

Last week's deposition by Pauline Nyiramasuhuko's eldest daughter was, at best, a rare illustration of openness in court. Clarisse Ntahobali, one of seven initial witnesses called by the defence, testified using her own name, although the curtains remained closed to hide her face. She began by helping to sketch out the educational and professional career of her mother, the only woman to be indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

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21 February 2005 by Thierry Cruvellier

Every year, the run-up to the annual commemoration of the Rwandan genocide that began on April 1994, generates a flurry of legal activity. This year is no different, with a number of complaints lodged last year continuing or being repeated in 2005. Last week in Spain and France, NGOs from opposing political camps announced they were filing new complaints, while in Rwanda, the start of the gacaca trials is now set for March.

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