National Prosecutions


Peru's former authoritarian president Alberto Fujimori was transported by ambulance to a local clinic after a judge annulled a pardon granted to him last year and ordered his immediate return to prison. The ruling by Supreme Court Judge Hugo Nunez on Wednesday marked the latest reversal in fortunes for Fujimori, an agricultural engineer who rose to the presidency on a populist platform in 1990 and a decade later resigned by fax from his parents' homeland of Japan.


The prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, has opened a preliminary probe into Myanmar’s military crackdown on Rohingya Muslims that led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people and to some 700,000 more to flee into neighboring Bangladesh. Almost three weeks ago, judges at the ICC ruled that the body had jurisdiction over the crimes against the Rohingya despite Myanmar not having signed the Rome Statue because Bangladesh, where most of the refugees are, has.


The Ugandan state has lined up 120 witnesses to testify against former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Thomas Kwoyelo. Kwoyelo was arrested in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2009 and brought back to Uganda where he was subsequently charged with 93 counts of rape, kidnap, murder, enslavement, and torture that are alleged to have been committed between 1993 and 2005. The long-delayed trial is now estimated to last two years.

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Officials at the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced this week that they can still prosecute Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte even if the country withdraws from the international court because the proceedings were commenced before the withdrawal. The ICC has received two petitions accusing Duterte of murder and crimes against humanity. Duterte unilaterally withdrew from the ICC in March, but opposition lawmakers say the withdrawal was illegal because it was done without senate approval.


Thousands of Guatemalans took to the street last week to demand the resignation of dozens of legislators and officials, including President Jimmy Morales. The protests were prompted by Morales’s decision to not renew the UN-backed International Commission Against Impunity (CICIG) and the barring of the CICIG’s head commissioner from re-entering the country. Morales initially supported the commission, until he became the subject of investigations into illegal campaign financing last September.


The Human Rights Council today held a general debate on human rights situations that require the Council’s attention. In the general debate, speakers reiterated serious concern about the rising intolerance against migrants and minorities, fed by racism and populism that were practiced by mainstream political parties. The abuse of the social media, which fuelled tensions and violence in several countries, underlined the need to explore the ways to stem misperceptions and misunderstandings while not compromising the freedom of expression.


In his state of the nation address last week, Gambian President Adama Barrow told lawmakers that a National Human Rights Commission and Anti-Corruption Commission were at different stages of implementation. According to President Barrow, the Human Rights Commission will be constituted before the end of 2018 and the Anti-Corruption Commission will be submitted to his cabinet for final review and approval soon.


A growing number of fighters granted amnesty under the 2016 peace deal have picked up arms, again, against paramilitary groups in Colombia. The rebels say that they feel themselves under threat by a range of paramilitary groups that rushed to take control of the territory that the rebels left when they signed the peace deal. Former rebel leaders are urging the fighters not to return to battle, but also say they understand their reasons for fighting, considering the dangers they now face as civilians under the right-wing government of newly inaugurated president Ivan Duque.


The report from a United Nations (UN) factfinding mission on abuses committed by the Burmese army against the Rohingya people was presented to the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday. The report calls for the Burmese army, known as the Tatmadaw, to be stripped of its quota of parliamentary seats and brought under civilian oversite, and for the prosecution of senior military leaders for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

Head of Program, Côte d’Ivoire


On the eve of Côte d'Ivoire’s 58th independence anniversary, in a dubious attempt at “social cohesion,” President Alassane Ouattara granted amnesty to 800 persons accused or convicted of crimes against the state during the post-election crisis of 2010-2011. Former First Lady Simone Gbagbo — who had been tried for undermining state security — and other high-ranking officials associated with former President Laurent Gbagbo’s party, the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), were among those released. The lapses in accountability and acknowledgment in Cote d’Ivoire have emboldened perpetrators and made it impossible for many victims to move on with their lives. The challenges of transitional justice processes present clear obstacles to the sustainable peace that the people of Cote d’Ivoire have been working toward.