war crimes

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Stephen Rapp speaking at a Coalition for the ICC event in 2013 (Photo: Flickr/CICC)
30 September 2015

IJT 186 is our first issue after the summer break and also the first in our new publishing scheme of a monthly digest of our feature articles which appeared on our site previously.

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Screenshot of the historic handshake of Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos with FARC supreme commander Timochenko (Photo: Twitter/@MarkKennedy721)
30 September 2015 by Louisa Reynolds, Guatemala City (Guatemala)

Though hailed as ground-breaking, the agreement on justice and reparations reached between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group on 23 September has also been criticized for its emphasis on recognizing, rather than punishing, past wrongs. The signing of the final deal is expected to end one of the world’s longest-running wars.

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Inhabitants of the Menik Farm internally displaced person camp in Sri Lanka await a visit by the UN secretary-general in 2009 (Photo: Flickr/UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)
23 September 2015 by Frances Harrison, London (UK)

I learned exactly how a friend of mine was executed from the forensic examination the UN report did of the photographs of his corpse. His hands were tied behind his back and he was shot multiple times from behind. At least I now know he wasn’t tortured before he died, and in the warped world of Sri Lanka, that’s some comfort. I cannot imagine what it is like for his wife to relive this again.

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Ligature used to bind victims hands in Srebrenica, unearthed during an exhumation there. (Photo: Flickr/ICTY)
19 May 2015 by Ella Sonja West, Chicago (US)

Two months ago, the Balkans were rocked by a story in The New York Times that the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was set to deport 150 Bosnians who lied on their immigration applications about involvement in the 1992-1995 war. ICE policies, however, may in fact be more nuanced than suggested by the headlines. And yet they still face criticism for their one-sided approach to Balkan immigrants.

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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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Thomas Kwoyelo (centre) and his lead counsel, Caleb Alaka, at the Internal Crimes Division (Photo: Samuel Egadu Okiror)
21 April 2015 by Samuel Egadu Okiror, Kampala (Uganda)

Five years after the trial was halted, the Ugandan Supreme Court delivered an eagerly awaited decision in the war crimes case against Thomas Kwoyelo [IJT-176]. But instead of providing clarity, the ruling to lift the former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander’s amnesty has been slammed by critics, calling it an example of double standards and selective prosecution.

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Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena at his swearing-in ceremony on 9 January 2015, in Colombo (Photo: Flickr/presidentgovlk)
19 April 2015 by Frances Harrison, London (UK)

After he swept to power in a surprise election result in January, Sri Lanka’s new president promised a break with the past. So far, that has meant moves like easing press restrictions and tackling corruption, rather than dealing with the worst crimes associated with the 2009 civil war. President Maithripala Sirisena promised “a strong internal mechanism to look into human rights”, but it is unclear when it will be established or what its remit will be. Critics say that for genuine accountability, it will have to tackle more than human rights abuses.

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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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10 September 2014 by Stephanie van den Berg, Belgrade (Serbia)

A special investigative taskforce has found evidence that top Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) officials carried out a campaign of persecution against Serbs and others during and straight after Kosovo’s 1998-1999 conflict with Serbia. But with no court yet in place, the filing of indictments will have to wait.

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24 September 2014 by Stephanie van den Berg

Despite successes, national war crimes units still rely too heavily on local counterparts, says a Human Rights Watch report comparing three EU members that use universal jurisdiction to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity. For the 109-page report ‘The long arm of justice’, Leslie Haskell looked at how war crimes units in the Netherlands, Germany and France operated and what could be learnt from them. HRW chose the Netherlands for having the oldest and most robust unit, and France and Germany for having units less than five years old. 

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