National Prosecutions

8/1/2018

Iraqi judges frequently ignore defendants credible claims of confession under torture, according to a recent statement by Human Rights Watch. Concern around the use of torture by Iraqi security forces on Islamic State suspects has increased considerably since the government’s mass arrests of alleged supporters of the terrorist group.  Multiple lawyers for defendants say that even when forensic reports confirmed that suspects had been tortured, judges refused to respond in any way. Iraq is a party to the United Nations Convention against Torture.

7/30/2018

On Monday Zimbabwe goes to the polls for the first time since the ouster of long-time autocrat Robert Mugabe last year. Emmerson Mnangagwa is leading in the polls, but in the Matabeleland region voters say they cannot vote for him based on his role in a series of massacres in the region in the mid-1980s. In a four year campaign of terror between 10,000 and 20,000 people were killed by the north Korean-trained Firth Brigade, ostensibly in an effort to stamp out rural support for anti-government rebels.

7/26/2018

Earlier this month, judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) ordered the opening of an outreach program for victims in Palestine. The program aims to establish continuous interaction between the court and victims in order to inform the population about ICC procedures. The ICC prosecutor opened a preliminary examination in January 2015, but she has still not indicated if she intends to open a full investigation. In May, the Palestinian Authority referred to the ICC all alleged Israeli crimes committed on Palestinian territory since the conflict in Gaza in 2014.

7/26/2018

Colombia’s specially established Special Peace Jurisdiction (JEP) opened proceedings this week into the case of extrajudicial killings carried out by the armed forces, also known as “false positives.” According to a recent report by the Prosecutor General’s Office, 2,238 victims were murdered by state forces and dressed as guerrillas to be presented as combat kills between 1998 and 2014. Others have suggested that 4,475 civilians were killed as a part of these operations.

7/26/2018

United Nations human rights experts have welcomed the announcement by the Spanish Minister of Justice that the government is preparing for a truth commission to investigate violations that occurred during the civil war and dictatorship of Francisco Franco. The experts said the decision represents a fundamental step in the right direction, pointing specifically to the revision of the Historical Memory Law and proposed legislation to remove symbols glorifying the dictatorship.

7/25/2018

Kampala—On the 23rd of July, the Ugandan Judiciary announced that the pretrial hearing of the case Uganda v. Thomas Kwoyelo had been adjourned indefinitely, due to a shortage of funds needed to hold the hearing. The Pretrial Judge of the International Crimes Division (ICD) was expected to deliver a ruling that would determine the confirmation of charges against Kwoyelo and whether the case would proceed to trial.

7/24/2018

In his annual state of the nation address, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to continue his campaign against illegal drugs. Since his war on drugs began two years ago, the Philippine police say more than 4,500 people have been killed while resisting arrest, in what they describe as lawful anti-drug operations. Thousands more have been killed by unidentified assailants throughout the country. The crackdown is the subject of a preliminary examination by prosecutors of the International Criminal Court.

7/24/2018

Mexicans are grappling with their new President-elect’s proposal to offer amnesty to nonviolent offenders in their country’s horrific drug wars. Some victims and victim activists distrust the idea of amnesty, saying that the amnesty would not be an act of justice for the families of the tens of thousands of people who were murdered over the past decade. Others are more willing to offer amnesty in return for finding out where their loved ones are buried. What is clear is that, before reconciling victims with perpetrators, many people just want to know the truth.

7/24/2018

Since 2011, the Violations Documentation Center (VDC), a member of the Save Syrian Schools coalition, has been compiling a database of human rights abuses committed by all sides in Syria’s civil war. Testimonies and raw data gathered by a network of employees and volunteers across Syria is sent to legally trained verification officers outside the country, who use their larger networks to clarify and verify what they receive before sending it to a secure server in Denmark.

7/24/2018

The President of Bosnia’s autonomous Serb Republic Milorad Dodik is pushing to reopen debate over the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. Earlier this week, Dodik launched a procedure in parliament demanding the body revoke a 2004 report by a previous government, which established that Serb forces killed about 8,000 Muslims in and around the town of Srebrenica during the country’s 1992-1995 war. While acknowledging the crime occurred, Dodik has repeatedly rejected rulings that describe the massacre as a genocide.

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