blog
Preparations for the burial of Srebrenica victims at the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial and Cemetery for the Victims of the 1995 Genocide in 2010 (Photo: Stephanie van den Berg)
28 June 2017 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

The Srebrenica massacre always seems to boil down to numbers when it gets to court. I have sat through many hours of discussions about the actual number of victims, whether that number was large enough to constitute a genocide, the precise times to pinpoint who knew what and when at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and later in the genocide case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

blog
former coup leader general Amadou Haya Sanogo arrives for his trial in Mali on November 30, 2016 (Photo: Twitter/@Justice_Mali)
15 December 2016 by Abdoulaye Guindo in Mali

During December 2016, the Malian authorities put on trial former coup leader General Amadou Haya Sanogo along with 17 other military men for their roles in kidnapping and killing 21 elite Malian soldiers who had been accused of leading a counter-coup against Sanago and his followers.

Abdoulaye Guindo, a journalist with Malian daily online Proces-Verbal, has been covering justice efforts in Mali for many years. But this trial was different from any other he has covered.

blog
Dominic Ongwen at the start of his ICC trial (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
06 December 2016 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

The first day of the trial of former LRA commander Dominic Ongwen did not exactly go as planned for ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. Whereas usually the opening of a case gives a podium to the prosecutor who can make sweeping statements about the responsibility of the accused for the atrocities they are charged with, in this case the Ongwen trial started with the defendant and his defence strategy squarely in the spotlight.

blog
Gambia election
02 December 2016 by Janet H. Anderson

There’s wild jubilation in Banjul the Gambia’s capital, after a tense 36 hours of vote-counting combined with a complete internet and messaging black-out for “security reasons”, with the news that the head of the country’s independent election commission Momor Njie has declared the 22-year rule of president Yahya Jammeh over.

Jammeh was attempting to head for a fifth term in power, and had been reported as saying he was “proud to be a dictator” and that Allah would keep him in power for a billion years.

blog
14 November 2016 by Janet H. Anderson, The Hague (The Netherlands)

When state representatives and a huge host of justice NGO’s gather on Wednesday in The Hague – along with International Criminal Court staff themselves – for a week of debate about the court and setting its direction for the next year, there’ll be one major topic: the withdrawal from the court by three African countries. Burundi, South Africa and the Gambia have all announced their decisions within that last month. But the meeting itself will be about far more than that and will throw up several interesting stories for ICC-watchers.

 

blog
28 October 2016 by Sebastian Green Martinez

On September 27, the International Criminal Court (ICC) delivered its judgment in the case of Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi. The Islamist was sentenced to nine years for the single war crime of attacking protected objects. The case was hailed as a great success. It was short trial, the court's first guilty plea followed by a swift verdict [IJTblog]. But by accepting the prosecutor's arguments that Al Mahdi was only guilty of a single war crime, was the population of Mali let down badly? 

--- In this special guest blog for IJT by Sebastian Green Martinez,  lecturer at the University of Buenos Aires, who has followed the Al Mahdi case closely, argues the court should have tried the Malian for persecution over the destruction of mosques and mausoleums in Timbuktu---  

blog
South African president Jacob Zuma with his Burundi counterpart Pierre Nkurunziza in February 2016 (Photo: Flickr/GCIS)
24 October 2016 by Benjamin Duerr

Two countries announced their withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) last week. The decisions of the governments of Burundi and South Africa are motivated by domestic politics and fit a broader development seen in other countries: scapegoating international affairs for local failures.

blog
Women in front a the memorial in Potocari cemetary that lists the names of the Srebrenica dead (Photo: Flickr/RNW)
07 October 2016 by Stephanie van den Berg

After the supreme court ruled in 2013 in the Nuhanovic case [IJT- 173] that the Dutch state was liable for at least three deaths of Bosnian Muslims who had sought refuge on the UN compound in Srebrenica manned by Dutch troops after the fall of the enclave, there has been a constant battle between the state and representatives of the victims trying to expand the Dutch liability to include more victims.

blog
Defence lawyers Mohamed Anouini and Jean-Louis Gilissen at the ICC (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
01 October 2016 by Janet H. Anderson, The Hague (The Netherlands)

In chapter seven of Thierry Cruvellier’s book ‘Court of Remorse’ about the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), he described the two defence lawyers, Belgian Jean-Louis Gilissen and Tunisian Mohamed Aouini as inseparable. “You never saw one without the other. They were always chatting. They had the same walk, the same honest handshake with their bodies learning forward slightly to convey sincerity, matching smiles and identical moustaches.”

Fast-forward fifteen years, and the same two were again tag teaming, this time at the ICC. They were representing their client Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi during the shortest trial the court has ever seen in its own short history. From Mahdi’s arrest warrant in September 2015 when he was already in the custody of the authorities of Niger , to a judgement and sentencing, has been little more than a year. That’s because Al Mahdi pled guilty and his lawyers Gilissen and Aouini negotiated a deal with the prosecution that allowed judges to give him a sentence of nine years for the single war crime of cultural destruction, safe in the knowledge that the prosecution would not appeal.

blog
Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic in the dock at the ICTY in June 2011 (Photo: Flickr/ICTY)
28 June 2016 by Iva Vukusic The Hague

The trial of Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) recently heard what is likely its last witness, Russian colonel Andrei Demurenko, invited by the defense to testify in relation to one mortar attack that killed around 40 and wounded over 70 people in a crowded Sarajevo market in August 1995. His testimony went on for hours, discussing projectiles, trajectories, meters and degrees, with the witness frequently evading giving clear, short answers.

His testimony is based on an investigation he claims he conducted while working for the UN protection force UNPROFOR in Sarajevo. That investigation showed, according to the witness, that the Bosnian Serb army could not have been responsible for the massacre. The testimony ended abruptly when Demurenko checked out of his hotel and never showed up to answer the final questions. The Russian colonel may have left suddenly because he did not like the questions of the prosecution, or because the presiding judge rejected his request to shake hands with Mladic in court. The unusual ending made me reflect on outreach and how it can be successful when what goes on in the courtroom is dull, or simply bizarre.

Pages