Q&A

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Stephen Rapp speaking at a Coalition for the ICC event in 2013 (Photo: Flickr/CICC)
09 September 2015 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Stephen Rapp told IJT that his office did everything they practically could do to ensure accountability in Syria by "documenting the heck" out of the atrocities that are being committed and collecting "irrefutable evidence". In one of his first interviews since stepping down last month as US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, Rapp named the arrest of former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic as his finest moment in office.

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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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03 December 2014 by IJT

Michael Scharf, interim dean of Case Western Reserve University School of Law, is an expert on maintaining control of war crimes trials whose video on the subject has been included in the UN Audiovisual Library of International Law. IJT asked him to share insights about the recent decision of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to release Serbian firebrand politician Vojislav Seselj.

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30 April 2014 by Tjitske Lingsma, The Hague (The Netherlands)

To date, international tribunals have provided little clarity on life after conviction. Barbora Hola and Joris van Wijk, criminologists at the Center for International Criminal Justice at the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam, are running the research project “When Justice is Done”(*). They have been looking into the situations of more than 100 prisoners convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL).

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11 June 2014 by Janet H. Anderson, The Hague (The Netherlands)

The sentencing of Germain Katanga last month [IJT-160] at the International Criminal Court (ICC) to 12 years imprisonment is the second in the court’s existence. During extensive post-trial deliberations, his charges were changed – while his co-accused Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui was acquitted. The trial chamber was sharply divided, with Judge Christine van den Wyngaert, from Belgium, expressing strong dissenting opinions. Prosecution and defence have declared their intentions to appeal the conviction. 

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10 September 2014 by Stephanie van den Berg

In August, the extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) convicted two high-ranking Khmer Rouge leaders of crimes against humanity and sentenced them to life in prison. Nuon Chea, 88, and Khieu Samphan, 83, were the first top-level Khmer Rouge officials to be held accountable for the regime's crimes. IJT asked Heather Ryan, who monitors the special UN-backed tribunal in Cambodia for the Open Society Justice Initiative, about the challenges of the case and the impact of its verdict.

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Then ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo with locals in the DRC's Ituri district
24 September 2014 by Janet H. Anderson, The Hague (The Netherlands)

For the majority of inhabitants in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the International Criminal Court has had no impact on peace or justice, reports a study published this month by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. Of over 5,000 people surveyed in Ituri and the Kivus, 28 percent think the court’s influence has been negative. IJT spoke to report co-author Patrick Vinck. 

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08 October 2014 by Stephanie van den Berg

A recent ruling by a Netherlands court on the responsibilities of peacekeepers has implications for future operations worldwide, says researcher Lenneke Sprik, who specializes in the laws governing peacekeeping and humanitarian interventions.

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22 October 2014 by Karina Hof

For centuries, states have invoked universal jurisdiction to prosecute piracy in local courts. Yet the past few years have seen a change in tide, with more countries essentially outsourcing piracy cases to specially set up courts in Mauritius, Kenya and Seychelles. Five days before the start of UAE Counter-Piracy Week 2014 in Dubai, Michael Scharf, interim dean at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and chair of the Public International Law and Policy Group’s piracy working group, takes stock of recent perspectives on piracy. 

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19 November 2014 by Janet H. Anderson

Trial chamber judges heard closing arguments last week in the trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, the former vice-president of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) facing charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court. Bemba’s is the third trial to reach closing arguments at the ICC.

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