National Prosecutions


Lawmakers in El Salvador agreed on Thursday to suspend a controversial amnesty bill following an outcry from victims’ families, the United Nations and rights groups.

In July 2016, the Supreme Court of Justice declared unconstitutional a 1993 amnesty law that prevented investigation, prosecution and imprisonment of people responsible for war crimes. The amnesty bill proposed community service instead of jail time and would have released former combatants in prison in 2016. Judges ordered Congress to adopt a new law to promote national reconciliation before July 2019. 


A United Nations body has condemned Ministry of Defence plans to grant military veterans amnesty from prosecution for historical offences. The Geneva-based UN Committee Against Torture called on the UK government to “refrain from enacting legislation that would grant amnesty or pardon” to troops accused of ill-treatment. This week the defense secretary, Penny Mordaunt, announced proposals to grant immunity for offences committed more than 10 years ago in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else outside the UK.


A court in Kenya has ordered former President Daniel arap Moi to pay 1.06bn shillings ($10.5m; £8.2m) in compensation to a widow for illegally seizing her land. Mr. Moi transferred to himself 53 acres of land belonging to widow Susan Cheburet Chelugui, the judge ruled. This ruling is hugely significant for Kenya, as there have been numerous cases of land grabbing by high-ranking government officials and wealthy business people over the years, but the victims generally have neither the will nor the money to fight back.


Sudan’s former president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, has been charged over his role in the killing of protesters during demonstrations that led to his ouster last month, the nation’s public prosecutor said in a statement on Monday.



In South Africa, relatives of deceased freedom fighters are still waiting for the deaths of their loved ones to be prosecuted. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has admitted that political interference led to almost 300 apartheid-era cases being ignored. Now, the families waiting for justice are asking the state capture inquiry to look into how the NPA was captured when it refused to investigate those apartheid crimes. 


Three billionaire brothers, Reda, Abdelkader, and Tarek Kouninef, have been arrested and placed in temporary custody by a judge in Algiers as part of an anti-corruption drive. They were arrested together with Algeria's wealthiest businessman, Issad Rebrab, founder and chairman of Cevital, Algeria's biggest privately held company. Karim Kouninef, a fourth brother, was also detained but has since been released.


A UN human rights expert is calling on Iraq to ensure that the prosecution of the ISIL leadership is conducted in a transparent, fair, and thorough manner with the participation of victims in the legal process. Ms. Agnes Callamard, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, says that hasty and collective death sentences for four ISIL leaders only did the country a disservice.


A week before the incumbent officials of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of the Investigation of Enforced Disappeared Persons step down, conflict victims in Nepal, represented by Conflict Victims Common Platform and Conflict Victims National Network, have warned that they will not accept the selection of new officials without proper consultation.


The chief presidential advisor on human rights, Francisco Barbosa, revealed that if Congress rejects President Ivan Duque’s objections to the statutory law that established the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), the president will approve the law.

“The country should know that if the objections are rejected, the president of the Republic will comply with the Constitution and approve the statutory law,” Barbosa said.