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 Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi at the opening of his trial (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
08 September 2016 by Janet H. Anderson, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Amid much fanfare jihadist Ahmed Al Faqi Al Mahdi, in August became the first Malian to stand trial at The Hague-based ICC. Because he pled guilty, there wasn’t much of a procedure, lasting a bare three days. The judges will announce their decision later this month on whether he can indeed be found guilty of destroying a range of cultural monuments in the dusty, far northern city of Timbuktu, during the period when two Islamic groups, Ansareddine and al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) occupied the town and much of the north of the country.

His confession raises the prospect of those most responsible for serious crimes in Mali being brought to justice if he continues to cooperate with ICC prosecutors. However, away from The Hague, experts suggest that further prosecutions of for crimes during Mali's resurgent 2012 conflict in the country itself are far off.

 

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Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza talks to the press following a meeting with a UN Security Council delegation that came to reiterate the need for an inclusive dialogue to end months of political turmoil. (Photo: Flickr/ MONUSCO)
07 June 2016 by Benjamin Duerr, The Hague (The Netherlands)

At the end of April, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened a preliminary examination in Burundi. As the situation has been deteriorating for the past year with experts fearing the outbreak of a full-fledged civil war, Burundi could become a real-life test for the ICC's ability to deter atrocities. Some argue there is evidence the move of the prosecutor has already had an impact on the conflict.

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24 February 2010 by Maria Morina

“The government does not understand that [we] should be working for them, not against them”, says Tatyana Kasatkina, Executive Director of Memorial, a human rights research centre based in Moscow. It was founded towards the end of the Soviet era with the goal of preserving the societal memory of political persecution and oppression. Today it works in post-Soviet states, monitoring human rights and helping “to promote mature civil society and democracy based on the rule of law.” Kasatkina spoke to the IJT at her office in Moscow. 

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05 December 2005 by B. Bibas E. Chicon and F. Petit

Thousands of NGOs worldwide have been advocating for the International Criminal Court (ICC) for years. During the fourth Assembly of States Parties (ASP), which ended on December 3 in The Hague, dozens of them came to spur on the Court, in some cases not so gently.

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25 July 2005 by Emmanuel Chicon

After lengthy proceedings and political interference from the French foreign office (see inset), a criminal court in Nîmes finally tried Mauritanian officer Ely Ould Dah in his absence on 30 June and 1 July. In this, the first French trial based on universal jurisdiction, the court sentenced him to the maximum prison term of 10 years for "torture and acts of barbarity".

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29 March 2005 by Emmanuel Chicon and Benjamin Bibas

The Moroccan Equity and Reconciliation Commission (IER) will soon complete its report that should theoretically be submitted to the King by mid-April (see IJT n° 15 and 19). The signs are that this transitional justice process is still controlled by the Palace (or Makhzen), which runs the kingdom. But the young guard may find the recent rise in Islamism a useful argument for strengthening its position.

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06 December 2004 by Arnoud Grellier

On 22 November, judges at the Paris Appeals Court threw out all proceedings related to the disappearances at the Brazzaville Beach port. In doing so, they have probably buried the case for good. They also spared Congo-Brazzaville's leaders from prosecution for their alleged role in the disappearance of 353 refugees sailing into the Brazzaville port from the Democratic Republic of Congo in May 1999.

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03 November 2010 by Juergen Schurr

A French court on October 27th refused to release Callixte Mbarushimana, raising expectations that he will soon be transferred to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC wants him for war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

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23 July 2007 by Frank Petit

The July 20th arrest of Wenceslas Munyeshyaka and Laurent Bucyibaruta confirmed that France is indeed reopening certain forgotten Rwandan judicial files, albeit somewhat reluctantly. It has been pushed to do so in part by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which has issued warrants for the arrest of three Rwandans living in France and accused of having participated in the 1994 genocide. Their files should be transferred from Arusha to Paris shortly.

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21 May 2007 by Emmanuel Chicon and Benjamin Bibas

Since its conception, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has found its most fervent supporters in Europe. No fewer than 20 European countries participated in the pro-ICC "like-minded group" of 58 during the Rome Statute negotiations in 1998. This diplomatic activism—rewarded by the election of judges from Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Latvia and other European states to the permanent court—has continued unfailingly within the European Union (EU). However, on a practical level, the cooperation is less effective and relations with the ICC remain bilateral for the most part, just like relationships between States regarding universal jurisdiction cases.

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