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The ICC assembly of states parties votes on crime of aggression in New York (Photo: Twitter/ @MikeGyula)
15 December 2017 by Janet Anderson

There will be a lot of celebration that it actually got through. “It’s down to the wire” tweeted Amanda Gharemani of the Canadian Centre for International Justice. 

There’s already a lot of ‘historic’ and ‘momentous’. But the agreement to activate a fourth crime at the International Criminal Court (ICC) – that of aggression, in addition to genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes – is very limited. And those limitations reflect the current discussions and uncertainties about the ICC’s role that characterise many of the crises the ICC is grappling with.

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Slobodan Praljak (centre) at his first sentencing hearing in 2013 (photo: Flickr/ICTY)
30 November 2017 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

After  the initial shock has faded  Justice Tribune editor Stephanie van den Berg, wonders if Slobodan Praljak's suicide in the courtroom of the Yugoslav tribunal is not in many ways a fitting ending for the court which leaves an uneasy legacy.

It was supposed to be a predictable appeals verdict in the case of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia against six Bosnian Croat officials. Important. But not one of the tribunal’s highest profile cases. And made special to a degree because it was the last verdict the ICTY would ever pronounce.

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Nearly 300 000 have fled Burundi since the election-related violence of April 2015 to refugee camps in Tanzania (Photo: Flickr/EU/ECHO/Anouk Delafortrie)
23 October 2017 by Benjamin Duerr, The Hague (The Netherlands)

As Burundi becomes the first country to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) this week, the withdrawal is a test case for the commitment of the international community to global justice. Will there be consequences for the country?

The first ever member state is about to leave the ICC silently. About a year ago the Burundian government decided to withdraw from the Rome Statute, the ICC's founding treaty. It notified the United Nations, where the treaty is deposited, and now, one year later on 27 October, the withdrawal comes into effect.

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Families of disappeared persons, murder victims and victims of human rights abuses during a visit of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to Coahuila Mexico in September 2015 (Photo: Flickr/Ginnette Riquelme/CIDH)
26 September 2017 by Janet H. Anderson, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Every few weeks it seems one NGO or another is lobbying to get its issue onto the agenda of the ICC’s prosecutor. It’s a tribute to the way that the International Criminal Court has come to be seen as an avenue for justice. But it also means that there’s a lot of noise, without necessarily much action. 

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ICC premises (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
12 September 2017 by Tjitske Lingsma, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Several African governments complain that the ICC has been targeting Africans. But national authorities are by no means powerless when it comes to the court. Here are fifteen – successful - strategies that governments and allies have been using to keep the ICC off their backs.

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Preparations for the burial of Srebrenica victims at the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial and Cemetery for the Victims of the 1995 Genocide in 2010 (Photo: Stephanie van den Berg)
28 June 2017 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

The Srebrenica massacre always seems to boil down to numbers when it gets to court. I have sat through many hours of discussions about the actual number of victims, whether that number was large enough to constitute a genocide, the precise times to pinpoint who knew what and when at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and later in the genocide case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

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former coup leader general Amadou Haya Sanogo arrives for his trial in Mali on November 30, 2016 (Photo: Twitter/@Justice_Mali)
15 December 2016 by Abdoulaye Guindo in Mali

During December 2016, the Malian authorities put on trial former coup leader General Amadou Haya Sanogo along with 17 other military men for their roles in kidnapping and killing 21 elite Malian soldiers who had been accused of leading a counter-coup against Sanago and his followers.

Abdoulaye Guindo, a journalist with Malian daily online Proces-Verbal, has been covering justice efforts in Mali for many years. But this trial was different from any other he has covered.

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Dominic Ongwen at the start of his ICC trial (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
06 December 2016 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

The first day of the trial of former LRA commander Dominic Ongwen did not exactly go as planned for ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. Whereas usually the opening of a case gives a podium to the prosecutor who can make sweeping statements about the responsibility of the accused for the atrocities they are charged with, in this case the Ongwen trial started with the defendant and his defence strategy squarely in the spotlight.

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Gambia election
02 December 2016 by Janet H. Anderson

There’s wild jubilation in Banjul the Gambia’s capital, after a tense 36 hours of vote-counting combined with a complete internet and messaging black-out for “security reasons”, with the news that the head of the country’s independent election commission Momor Njie has declared the 22-year rule of president Yahya Jammeh over.

Jammeh was attempting to head for a fifth term in power, and had been reported as saying he was “proud to be a dictator” and that Allah would keep him in power for a billion years.

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14 November 2016 by Janet H. Anderson, The Hague (The Netherlands)

When state representatives and a huge host of justice NGO’s gather on Wednesday in The Hague – along with International Criminal Court staff themselves – for a week of debate about the court and setting its direction for the next year, there’ll be one major topic: the withdrawal from the court by three African countries. Burundi, South Africa and the Gambia have all announced their decisions within that last month. But the meeting itself will be about far more than that and will throw up several interesting stories for ICC-watchers.

 

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