Saturday, December 12, 2009

Human Rights Day event in Louisville, Kentucky

The United Nations Association Chapter of Louisville, KY collaborated with the Kentucky Coalition for the ICC for a Human Rights Day screening of "The Reckoning: The Battle for the international Criminal Court." Read an interview with UNA Chapter President Matt Hanka in some local coverage  here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Prosecutor vs. Germain Katanga & Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui - Brief Notes on the Trial

Nov. 25, Day 2: The first Court witness, the Head of the Office of he Prosecutor (OTP) Investigation Team, was called to testify. He presented information on the conditions under which the team conducted its investigations and the challenges they faced. As well, he explained the methods the team used to investigate, the selection process in obtaining evidence, and the review of potentially exonerating evidence. The Judges, the Prosecution, the Legal Representatives of Victims and the Defense teams asked questions.

Nov. 26, Day 3: The first witness from the OTP, a resident of Bogoro at the time of the attack, was called to testify. He provided information on the topography of Bogoro (ie: the ethnic groups present in the area, the number of residents, etc.) and on the Bogoro Institute itself which was occupied by soldiers from the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC).

Nov. 27, Day 4: In a closed session, the same witness shed light on incidents which happened to women and young girls. He further spoke of pillaging and the burning of houses, testifying that most houses were destroyed or raised to the grounds after the February 24, 2003 events.

Nov. 30, Day 5: The Defense teams started a cross-examination of the OTP’s witness. The witness testified there were about 200 civilian deaths. The Defense’s cross-examination was cut short as the hearing was adjourned early due to Judge Cotte having to attend a doctor’s appointment.

Dec. 1, Day 6: The Defense teams continued their cross-examination of the witness. The witness stated that soldiers and civilians in Bogoro had different weapons: only soldiers were allowed guns while civilians had bladed weapons such as machetes. He further testified on burials, languages spoken in the area, ethnic inheritance and the presence of women and children in the Institute.

Dec. 2, Day 7: The trial was suspended until January 26, 2010 given that Judge Christine Van den Wyngaert had a traffic accident the evening before.

Portland, ME celebrates the ICC on International Human Rights Day

This week AMICC was at the Fifth Annual International Human Rights Day Celebration organized by Amnesty International USA-Portland.

Centered on the International Criminal Court, the evening began with a screening of the compelling documentary  The Reckoning. The evening was co-sponsored by the United Nations Association of Maine and the Maine Alliance for the International Criminal Court (MAICC)

After the film, there was an audience Q&A with Patrick Downey, the UNA-Maine liaison to MAICC and Assistant Attorney General of Maine and Hannah Dunphy, AMICC Outreach Coordinator.

In discussing the film with Ms. Dunphy and the audience, Mr. Downey first explained the inherent similarities between US domestic law and the Rome Statute, exemplifying the success and significant contributions of the US during the Rome negotiations. In exploring the issue of complementarity, he explained the protections for the US within the Rome Statute. He noted that significant public outreach  needed to be done to dispel myths about the Court, many of which were left over from former President Bush's administration. He urged Mainers to learn about the Court and support it however they could. Speaking as a member of the legal community, he offered the opinion that the ICC is seen as the "cutting edge" of criminal and  international law.

Ms. Dunphy gave a review of the current relationship between the Obama Administration and the Court, citing the recent participation of a US delegation at the Eighth Session of the Assembly of States Parties in The Hague. She encouraged the audience to stay engaged with AMICC's advocacy efforts in order to push for the best possible relations between the US government and the ICC, particularly to ensure that the forthcoming policy on the ICC is positive and constructive. Both speakers discussed the great work of the Maine Alliance for the International Criminal Court, and the many ways in which Mainers could becomes advocates for the ICC.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

ICC: Senegal Ready to Execute Warrants

08 December 2009 - Senegal, the first country in the world to ratify the Rome Statute, today reiterated in Dakar that it was ready to “execute the warrants of this important Court, with the aim of eradicating impunity in the world.”

The Senegalese Minister for Justice, Mr Moustapha Sourang, before the representatives of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and eight countries from French-speaking West Africa - Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Conakry, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo - opened the first regional seminar on international criminal justice.

The seminar was organised by the ICC, in partnership with the Centre de Formation Judiciaire du Sénégal [Senegal Judicial Training Centre] and the International Organisation for the French-speaking World (the International Organisation of La Francophonie, OIF).

Read the whole article here.

Friday, December 04, 2009

War crimes in the DRC: Opening day of The Prosecutor vs. Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui

Defendants Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui were present on the first day of their joint trial, November 24, 2009. Both individually pleaded not guilty to 7 counts of war crimes and 3 counts of crimes against humanity, which were confirmed on September 26, 2008. For background information about this case, please click here.

The Prosecution alleges that the attacks by the Defendants against the village of Bogoro, DRC, on February 24, 2003, were part of a prepared common plan perpetrated by the accused with the objective to wipe out the entire village of Bogoro without making distinctions between soldiers and civilians. Mrs. Bensouda underlined that Katanga was the supreme commander of FNPI, and Chui of FNI; these two groups collaborated to defeat their common enemy: the Union des Patriotes Congolais (UPC) which had a military camp in Bogoro. Accordingly, Katanga and Chui hold individual criminal responsibility.

The Defense recognized that this was the opening of the OTP case and kept their remarks short as they wait for the opening of the Defense's case. Mr. Kilenda highlighted some flaws in the Prosecution’s presentation, and further underlined that the OTP had not interviewed the highest authorities of Uganda and the DRC to establish the full truth.

The Legal Representatives of Victims, Mr. Gilissen representing 7 child soldiers and Mr. Luvengika on behalf of 338 victims, expressed the victims’ hope that they would seek recognition for the atrocities inflicted upon them.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Faith and Ethics Network for the International Criminal Court

The United States Faith and Ethics Network for the International Criminal Court (US FENICC) is a coalition of religious and interfaith NGOs that examine the moral, ethical and religious considerations surrounding the Court. Religious organizations have a special role to play in raising awareness at the grassroots level and helping to shape the ICC. The Network promotes the ICC by disseminating information about the Court to respective religious, ecumenical, and ethical communities.

The following issues are among those that have been and will be discussed by the working group in their meetings as well as in their open events and dialogues:
  • moral, ethical and theological imperatives and the importance of the ICC as a powerful representation of these values;
  • moral, political and ethical dimensions of impunity;
  • reconciliation and long term peace building;
  • individual and collective healing in society;
  • redressive justice;
  • relationships between confession, repentance, compensation and forgiveness;
  • issues of psychological and spiritual rehabilitation;

We welcome the participation of all faith and ethics-based organizations. For information about attending meetings or joining the US FENICC, please contact chair Bruce Knotts. For more information, please visit AMICC's website.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Local event round-up for the end of 2009

Here's a list of upcoming events for December:

December 1: 5:00 pm
White Plains, NY
Perspectives on the International Criminal Court (ICC) and US Membership.
Featuring AMICC Convener John Washburn and Northwestern University School of Law Professor Jide Nzelibe. Moderated by Prof. Alexander Greenawalt, Pace University Law School. Presented by United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA) Westchester Chapter and co-sponsored by Pace Law School, Citizens for Global Solutions and the Unitarian-Universalist UN Office. Pace University Law School, Preston Hall - Tudor Room, 52 North Broadway. Click here for directions. Refreshments will be served following the program. Information: or (914) 472-5490.

December 10: 7:00 pm
Portland, ME
Human Rights Day Screening and Discussion of the film The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court.
Post-film discussion about the ICC with Patrick Downey, Maine Assistant Attorney General and AMCC Outreach Coordinator Hannah Dunphy. Organized by Portland Amnesty International and co-sponsored by UNA-Maine and the Maine Alliance for the International Criminal Court (MAICC). University Events Room, 7th floor of Glickman Family Library at University of Southern Maine Portland, 314 Forest Avenue. For more information, contact Leo Barrington at

December 10:
Louisville, Kentucky
Screening of "The Reckoning"
The Louisville chapter of UNA and the KY Coalition of the ICC will host a screening of The Reckoning on International Human Rights Day on Dec. 10th. More information TBA.