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ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda during the October 2014 status conferences concerning the status of cooperation between her office and Kenya (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
25 March 2015 by Tjitske Lingsma, The Hague (The Netherlands)

This article examines the value the International Criminal Court is increasingly placing on digital data and other technology as a way to reduce reliance on witness testimony. It completes a series by Tjitske Lingsma on the challenges faced by the ICC's Office of the Prosecution. The first article looked at its problems with witnesses [IJT-176] and the second, with intermediaries [IJT-177].

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Violence in the Central African Republic forced this family to leave home and live in the shell of an aircraft at Bangui International Airport, in December 2013 (Photo: Flickr/Catholic Relief Services/S.Phelps)
25 March 2015 by Benjamin Duerr, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Every few weeks, it seems, a call sounds to establish a tribunal for mass-atrocity crimes. The most recent example is Syria, for which UN war crimes investigators this month urged the international community to set up a new court.  Failure to get Syria referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by the UN Security Council, with its deep-seated divisions, has clearly driven the search for alternatives.

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Chadians in court to hear verdict of DDS henchmen trial
25 March 2015 by Nathalie Magnien, N'Djamena (Chad)

The court room was packed this morning at the "Palais du 15 janvier" to hear the verdict in the case of the former agents of Chadian dictator Hissène Habré's feared political police: the Directorate of Documentation and Security (DDS). Anti riot police were posted all around the room to separate the hundreds of victims and the families of the accused present.

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Violence in the Central African Republic forced this family to leave home and live in the shell of an aircraft at Bangui International Airport, in December 2013 (Photo: Flickr/Catholic Relief Services/S.Phelps)
25 March 2015

IJT 178 examines the resurgence of calls for special tribunals despite the existence of the ICC. From Chad, we look ahead to the verdict in the trial of 21 Hissène Habré henchmen. From Ivory Coast, we get insight into the divisive verdict in the trial of former Ivorian first lady Simone Gbagbo. And as a last article in our three-part series on challenges faced by the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor, we evaluate the growing importance of scientific and digital evidence.

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Chadians demonstrate for justice in January, following a second suspension of the trial against Habré’s henchmen (Photo: Twitter/@HenriThulliez)
24 March 2015 by Nathalie Magnien, N'Djamena (Chad)

After a 26-year wait and a four-month trial that saw victims finally confront alleged criminal accomplices of former dictator Hissène Habré [IJT-170], a Chad court is expected to deliver its ruling on 25 March. Judges will decide the fate of the 21 accused, facing charges of torture, murder, illegal arrest and arbitrary detention.

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