Civilians under fire in eastern Ukraine | ICC budget 2017 | ICC Prosecutor at UNGA

#GlobalJustice Weekly

Nursery school hit by rocket in Debaltseve. Russian-backed separatists missed their presumed target of a Ukrainian military field command centre © Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma

Rights groups release report on shelling of settlements in Ukraine

The International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) and Truth Hounds Documentation Field Mission have released a report analysing the attacks on settlements in the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine during the winter of 2016–2017. It presents data about violations of international humanitarian and criminal law which took place or which might have taken place in this period.

IPHR and Truth Hounds have concluded in the report that attacks from so-called Luhansk and Donetsk Peoples Republics(LDPR) on the settlements of Vrubivka, Krasnogorivka, Mariinka and Sartana resulted in the death of civilians; and attacks on civilian targets were caused by Ukrainian army military equipment being located near to civilian populations.

“One of the most important principles of international humanitarian law is the distinction between civilian and military facilities and the conducting of military operations solely against military facilities,” the report reads. “This principle means that attacks against civilian objects are a violation of international humanitarian law and may constitute war crimes.”

Coalition encourages continued support of a need-based budget of the ICC

The Coalition for the ICC’s Budget and Finance Team has welcomed the opportunity to share its views and concerns with theCommittee on Budget and Finance as it completes its mandate for 2017, and has encouraged the Committee’s continued support of an efficient but foremost need-based budget of the ICC in coming judicial years.

In the Team’s submission to the Committee on its 28th session, concerns raised touched primarily on risks of real and perceived politicization in connection with a budget-setting process constrained by outer limits. The Team continues to hold the view that the adoption of a financial envelope or any comparably restrictive budget mechanism would be wholly inappropriate for the ICC as it seeks to independently implement its mandate.

The Team also welcomed the Committee’s continued consideration during its 29th session of not only institutional efficiencies, but also growth insofar as it will allow the ICC to effectively serve as both a last resort and model for national jurisdictions in their efforts to achieve sustainable peace and security through justice for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

ICC Prosecutor participates in 72nd session of the UN General Assembly

Last week, the Prosecutor of the ICC, Mrs Fatou Bensouda, participated in the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York.

“My team and I participated at the 72nd session of the UNGA to highlight the work of my Office in investigating and prosecuting the most serious crimes and to build on the existing political and diplomatic support”, Prosecutor Bensouda stated.

The Prosecutor addressed the annual meeting of the Informal Ministerial Network for the ICC and participated in discussions on the “Responsibility to protect cultural heritage from terrorism and mass atrocities”, convened by the Permanent Mission of Italy to the UN, the European Union, UNESCO, UNODC, and the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect.

ICC investigations

Mali: UN Secretary-General António Guterres has condemned an attack against a convoy of the United Nations mission in northern Mali that killed three Bangladeshi peacekeepers.

Sudan: Minister for Foreign Affairs Ibrahim Ahmed Abd al-Aziz Ghandour has said the country has ‘turned the page’ on conflicts and has embarked on an era of peace and stability during his speech at United Nations General Assembly.

Uganda: Ugandan army colonel Joseph Balikuddembe testifying in the trial of Dominic Ongwen has described how no one convince Ongwen to release child prisoners. Ongwen’s defense team will cross-examine Balikuddembe on Thursday.

DRC: Rights groups have urged authorities to immediately and unconditionally release nine Congolese human rights and pro-democracy activists detained for their participation in peaceful activities.

Côte d’Ivoire: ICC judges have ordered former president Laurent Gbagbo to remain in detention during his war crimes trial due to a flight risk and has a ‘network of supporters’ that could obstruct or endanger trial proceedings if he were released.

Preliminary examinations

Colombia: The UN has finished deactivating thousands of weapons and munitions that once belonged to rebels. While FARC is currently honoring its commitment to disarm, some remain doubtful it will begin confessing to war crimes and compensating victims.

Burundi: Foreign Minister Alain Aimé Nyamitwe stressed the importance of national sovereignty during his speech at the UN General Assembly, also criticizing European sanctions against Burundi that he said impeded it reaching its development goals.

Iraq: Iraqi Kurds have voted in a referendum on whether to support independence from Baghdad. Votes are still being counted, but Turkey and Iran have threatened to close borders and impose sanctions on oil exports due to fear of separatist unrest.

Campaign for Global Justice

Austria has ratified the amendment to article 124 of the Rome Statute. The amendment was circulated by the Secretary-General under cover of depositary notification C.N.439.2015.

The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution paving the way for an investigative team to collect evidence of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Iraq.

Around the world

A report by the UN Human Rights Office has stated that the human rights situation in Crimea has significantly deteriorated under Russian occupation, with ‘multiple and grave violations’ committed by Russian state agents.

Human Rights Watch has expressed concern that conditions within ‘safe zones’ set up for the Rohingya by the Bangladesh government could be as bad as refugee camps across the border, due to lack of effective humanitarian aid and freedom of movement.

Read the article on the Coalition’s website.