Walter Barasa. Photo: standardmedia.co.ke via Bing.
Walter Barasa. Photo: standardmedia.co.ke via Bing.

Kenyan Appeals Court lifts order barring Barasa’s arrest on ICC warrant for contempt: On Tuesday, Kenya’s Court of Appeal lifted a previously issued order which had prevented the arrest of journalist Walter Barasa who is wanted by the ICC. The decision was prompted by the failure of Mr Barasa’s lawyer, Kibe Mungai, to amend documents in the appeal as previously directed by the Court. Mr Barasa could now be arrested and detained by the police as he pursues his appeal. The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Mr Barasa in 2013 on charges of offences against the administration of justice, consisting in corruptly influencing or attempting to corruptly influence ICC witnesses in the casa against Kenya Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang. In particular, Mr Barasa is accused of having allegedly offered Sh1.4 million to ICC Witness No.536 to withdraw as a prosecution witness. In November 2016, Mr Barasa’s lawyer was directed to amend the documents in the appeal against the journalist’s extradition, after his client had lost the case filed to Kenya’s High Court. After Mr Barasa’s appeal, it will be known whether he will be handed over to the ICC. (TheStar)

Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. Photo: mintpressnews.com via Bing (CC).
Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. Photo: mintpressnews.com via Bing (CC).

Myanmar urged to allow UN fact finding mission on Rohingya crimes after visa denied: On Monday, the UN called upon Myanmar’s government to allow a UN fact-finding mission to investigate allegations of killings, rape and torture by security forces against Rohingya Muslims. Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar’s civilian government, has rejected the allegations and denied visas for the UN team. The refusal amounts to “a slap in the face to victims who suffered grave human rights violations by Myanmar’s state security forces,” said John Fisher, a Human Rights Watch representative. The allegations concern in particular the Rakhine state, which has been under a military lockdown since October 2016 when the military launched a campaign to hunt down those who allegedly staged deadly attacks on police posts. Since the start of the campaign, the government has denied journalists and aid workers access to the state, and according to UN estimates, some 75,000 Rohingya have fled Rakhine to Bangladesh. In February, a UN report based on interviews with Rohingya refugees, alleged that Myanmar’s forces have committed mass killings and gang rapes of Rohingya in a campaign that “very likely” amounts to crimes against humanity and possibly ethnic cleansing. (BusinessInsider, PressTV)

Amnesty calls for investigation into war crimes against ISIS and coalition for Mosul offensive: On Tuesday, Amnesty International (AI) issued a new report, titled “The Civilian Catastrophe in West Mosul”, documenting the scale of civilian suffering during the offensive to recapture the city from the Islamic State (IS). While extensively documenting IS’ serious violations of IHL, AI also accuses the Iraqi forces and their US-led coalition allies to have committed repeated violations of IHL, some of which may amount to war crimes. Based on its research, which covers events from January to mid-May 2017, the report finds that pro-government forces failed to adapt to the environment that IS violations created, with large groups of civilians crowded into homes and makeshift shelters. Instead, Iraqi and US-led coalition forces launched indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks failing to take adequate measures to protect civilians and used explosive weapons unsuitable for such a densely populated area. While the exact death toll of the west Mosul battle is not known, AI reports monitoring group Airways which estimated that attacks launched by Iraqi and coalition forces may have caused the death of almost 6,000 civilians. “An independent commission must immediately be established, tasked with ensuring that any instances where there is credible evidence that violations of international law took place, effective investigations are carried out, and the findings made public,” said in a statement Lynn Maalouf, AI Director of Research for the Middle East. (Amnesty InternationalRT, EuroNews)

NGOs give ICC Prosecution report of Mexico crimes; calls for investigation: A number of Mexican civil society organizations presented a report to the ICC Prosecutor documenting alleged crimes against humanity committed in northern Mexico, hoping it will lead to the opening of a preliminary examination in the country. The report focuses in particular on crimes committed in the state of Coahulila, bordering with Texas, such as the alleged use of a prison by the Zetas drug cartel to dispose of its enemies. Olga Guzman of the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights said Tuesday there is “reasonable evidence” of a deliberate policy of systematic and generalized violence. (ABCnews)

 

Photo: panampost.com via Bing (CC).
Photo: panampost.com via Bing (CC).

Former Colombian President calls on domestic WC Tribunal to only prosecute one side; FARC: On Tuesday, Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe, urged the country’s impending war crimes tribunal to only prosecute crimes committed by members of the FARC, Colombia’s largest rebel group. Uribe took it to Twitter to demand that members of the police, army and civilians allegedly involved in any war crimes be excluded by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, the special tribunal that is being set to prosecute perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity during Colombia’s five-decade long conflict. Instead, Uribe suggested bring them before a separate temporary room in the Supreme Court to analyse the accusations. The former President reportedly reacted to a report submitted from the ICC, which has a preliminary examination open in the country, to the Colombian government that questioned the thoroughness of an investigation of 23 generals and six active and retired colonels who commanded military units involved in the execution of 1,228 civilians who were later presented as “guerrillas killed in combat”. “It is an untimely proposal since a legislative act has already been approved, that is to say that it is a constitutional norm that is already part of our political charter and clearly states that the Special Jurisdiction for Peace will have jurisdiction over all those facts related to the armed conflict,” explained Minister of Interior Guillermo Rivera to the media. (ColombiaReports)