National Prosecutions


Six years of unrelenting war in Yemen has created what the United Nations has called the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis. Rubbing salt in the wound, members of the UN Human Rights Council rejected a resolution to renew the mandate of the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen, a body investigating serious human rights violations. The council’s decision is a serious blow to accountability in the country. 


Five women are seeking reparations and suing the Belgian state for crimes against humanity for the segregationist policy that stripped them from their mothers—one that endured from the end of the 19th century to Congo's independence in 1960 and even after.

As mixed-race children born under colonial rule in Belgian Congo, the children of African mothers and European fathers, they were taken from their homes as young girls by the authorities and sent to religious schools hundreds of miles away, growing up in poverty and suffering from malnutrition and physical abuse. 


Based on the principle of universal jurisdiction, German courts and investigators are taking on criminal cases that occurred outside German borders including the genocide of Iraq’s Yazidi minority and torture in Syria’s prisons.

According to a Syrian lawyer in Germany Joumana Seif, Syrians have turned to European courts because the international system is blocked. At the UN, China and Russia vetoed referring Syria to the International Criminal Court. Germany’s justice ministry can also block an investigation if it clashes with foreign policy considerations.


Paul Rusesabagina, the man who inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda” for saving hundreds of his countrymen from genocide, was convicted of terrorism offenses. Rusesabagina was convicted on eight charges including membership in a terrorist group, murder, and abduction. Government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo tweeted shortly after the sentencing that “Rwandans will feel safer now justice has been delivered.”


The Beirut port blast inquiry has been suspended after Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk formally notified Judge Tarek Bitar that he was dismissed from the case.

Judge Bitar has been accused of “abnormal behavior” and “double standards” while conducting the investigation. However, Mahdi Zahreldine, a 21-year-old who lost his brother Imad in the blast, is convinced that Bitar’s suspension is only evidence that he is the right person to lead the blast probe.

Head of Program, Libya


With a special court that has yet to open a trial and a truth commission that is not up and running, international attention on victims in the Central African Republic is waning. Since 2015, the unfulfilled promises of justice made to these victims have failed to address their daily realities and needs for immediate moral, physical, and material reparations, writes Rim El Gantri, one of the authors of a recent study by ICTJ and Cordaid.

Head of Office, Côte d’Ivoire


On March 31, 2021, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court upheld the Trial Chamber I’s acquittal of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé of all charges relating to crimes against humanity they allegedly committed during Côte d’Ivoire’s 2010-2011 post-election crisis. While the acquittal may be frustrating to many pursuing justice and accountability in Côte d’Ivoire, a silver lining is that it could mean tangible benefits for victims.


New York, March 10, 2021—“We want to turn the page, but not at the cost of justice”—that was a message repeated by victims of human rights abuses interviewed in a new report released today on  transitional justice in the Central African Republic (CAR). Produced by the International Center for Transitional Justice and Cordaid, ‘A Drop of Water on a Hot Stone’: Justice for Victims in the Central African Republic presents findings from a study exploring victim-centered approaches to justice in CAR and their feasibility in a context of profound fragility and extreme poverty.