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Post-conflict rubble in Gori, Georgia, on 25 August 2008 (Photo: Flickr/Chuck Simmins)
27 February 2016

In this month's IJT we ask if the ICC's probe into alleged war crimes in Georgia in 2008 risks being one-sided as the court could be dragged in to a new Cold War. Will prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's move out of Africa be able to escape accusations of bias after Russia has already announced it will not cooperate?

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Judge Yassmin Barrios presiding the Sepur Zarco trial in Guatemala (Photo: Twitter/@usembassyguate)
03 February 2016 by Louisa Reynolds, Guatemala City (Guatemala)

Guatemala this week started the landmark trial of two former military officers who face charges of sexual and domestic slavery and forced disappearances. This marks the first time – ever and anywhere – that a national court will hear charges of sexual slavery committed during an armed conflict.

 

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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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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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Victims' widows and survivors thank lawyers after a court's March 2015 sentence against Habré's agents (Photo: Twitter/@HenriThulliez)
17 June 2015

In IJT 184, veteran war crimes tribunal journalist and former IJT editor Thierry Cruvellier analyzes the significance of Chadian ex-dictator Hissène Habré's upcoming trial at the Extraordinary African Chambers.

Other features:

  • There's a new start date for the retrial of former Guatemalan dictator Ríos Montt
  • Scholars say it's time for a crimes against humanity convention
  • Complementarity remains a guessing game at the International Criminal Court

News brief:

Sudan's President Bashir gets away again but who looks worse: the ICC or South Africa?

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Ixil Mayan women attend Rios Montt trial in Guatemala in April 2013 (Photo: Flickr/9975353@N0)
16 June 2015 by Louisa Reynolds, Guatemala City (Guatemala)

After repeated delays, the retrial of former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt and his head of intelligence, facing charges of genocide and crimes and against humanity, is scheduled to begin on 23 July. Prosecution of Guatemala’s human rights violators has been hindered by endless delays as defence teams have used a myriad of excuses – particularly defendants’ purported ill health – to prevent trials from moving forward. But even though progress has been painfully slow, witnesses remain upbeat and determined to testify.

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A demonstration outside the Guatemalan embassy in Mexico against the overturned sentence of former dictator Efrain Rios Montt (Photo: Flickr/Amnistía Mexico)
18 May 2015 by Louisa Reynolds, Guatemala City (Guatemala)

After decades of slow justice, Colombian and Guatemalan victims of sexual crimes committed during their respective countries’ armed conflicts are fighting to get their cases heard. In late April, Colombian human rights organizations called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to intervene and start prosecuting. Meanwhile, in Guatemala late last year, after decades of silence and neglect, victims of sexual violence achieved an important victory when a landmark sexual slavery trial opened.

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Former Khmer Rouge minister Ieng Thirith, charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and breaches of the Geneva Conventions, appears at a pretrial hearing at the Cambodia tribunal in 2010. (Photo: Flickr/ECCC POOL/Tang Chhin Sothy)
20 May 2015

IJT 182 explores how so-called chivalrous beliefs and practices may be behind the rare prosecution of female war crimes suspects.

Other features:

  • A tug-of-war between Uganda and DRC over the extradition of Jamil Mukulu highlights trouble with judicial cooperation in Africa.
  • Colombian and Guatemalan survivors of sexual violence during their countries' armed conflicts fight for justice.
  • The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement tries to excise Balkan suspects of war crimes.

News brief:

  • A trial date for Chadian ex-dictator Hissène Habré has finally been set.
     
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Former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt on trial for genocide in May 2013 in Guatemala City (Photo: Flickr/coolloud)
10 March 2015 by Louisa Reynolds, Guatemala City (Guatemala)

The road to justice for the victims of human rights violations committed during Guatemala’s 36-year civil war has been long and fraught with obstacles. Prosecuting wartime violators has proven slow. And with the September elections looming and the UN-sponsored International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) about to conclude its mandate, the outcome of current and future trials grows increasingly uncertain.

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Ex-dictator General Efrain Rios testifying during his trial in Guatemala (Photo: Flickr/Elena Hermosa/trocaire)
09 February 2015 by Stephanie van den Berg

The trial of ex-dictator Efraín Ríos Montt [IJT-153] resumed last month in Guatemala after his 2013 genocide conviction was annulled on a technicality. The trial was set back to where it left off on 19 April 2013, when the tribunal had heard all prosecution witnesses but still needed to hear some defence witnesses and closing arguments. But just a few days after restarting, the trial ground to a halt again and was quickly suspended with no outlook on when it could resume.

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