On January 15 2019, Mr Laurent Gbagbo, the former head of state of Côte d’Ivoire (2000-2011) and his right-hand man, Charles Blé Goudé, were acquitted from all charges of crimes against humanity that were allegedly committed between 2010 and 2011. Post-electural bloodshed in Côte d’Ivoire in 2010 resulted in the death of about 3,000 people and the displacement of 500,000. Gbagbo was charged with four counts of crimes against humanity: murder, rape, other inhumane acts or – in the alternative – attempted murder, and persecution, allegedly committed during the 2010-2011 post-election violence in Côte d’Ivoire. Gbagbo, who has pleaded not guilty, was taken into custody by the ICC in 2011. He remained in custody for seven years. The trial was a landmark in the history of the ICC. Gbagbo was the highest profile official and the first former head of state, to stand trial at the ICC since the establishment of the Court.Read more
Generally, victims of rape and other types of sexual violence are reluctant to speak out. Unfortunately, exclusion and stigmatization are the unavoidable corollary of acts of sexual violence. While there still is limited awareness, focus and advocacy on women’s rights in sexually violent circumstances, it is even less so when men are the victims of these crimes. Reflections on the male victims’ perspective to sexual violence in unrest inspired Sophia Ugwu and her team at Centre for African Justice Peace and Human Rights, a non-profit Foundation based in The Hague, to organise a Symposium on sexual violence perpetrated against the Male gender.Read more
After the Al Mahdi case, a landmark trial, a second case has been referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Timbuktu, Mali between 2012 and 2013. Another Malian national, 40-year-old Mr Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud, faces charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He has been accused of destroying holy places, mausoleums of Muslim saints in Timbuktu and of enforcing a policy of forced marriage which had led to sexual slavery and rape of women and girls. The alleged crimes were committed between 2012 and 2013 when Timbuktu was under the control of militant islamists. From April 2012 until January 2013, Mr Al Hassan was head of the Islamic Police.Read more
Violence against women occurs throughout the world. Despite great strides made by the international women’s rights movement over many years, women and girls around the world are still married as children or trafficked into forced labor and sex slavery. They are refused access to education and political participation, and some are trapped in conflicts where rape is perpetrated as a weapon of war. Not to mention sexual violence against women and girls, massive rape and sexual assaults in India, Germany and Brazil. In this blog I will address the UNiTE campaign, goals and the most prominent global norms and standards concerning the ending of violence against women.Read more
Several violent and cruel gang rapes in India and South Africa, and the death of Reeva Steenkamp, who was shot and killed inside the house of her Olympic athlete boyfriend, have brought the issue of violence against women to the public conscience. The tsunami of violence against women has shocked and dismayed people all over the globe and led to public outrage, protests and public debates. How should the Indian criminal justice system be improved? What will it take to end violence against women?Read more
When we first think about wars and armed conflicts, we very often think about battlefields, burned villages, wounded soldiers, air-bombs and tanks. We tend to forget that civilians, women and children in particular, are at the centre of warfare and frequently fall victim to sexual violence in staggering numbers. The international community and the UN Security Council have established that gender crimes are part of the most serious of international crimes and should therefore be of great concern to the international community as a whole. In spite of this, international crimes involving sexual violence continue to be one of the most difficult crimes to prosecute.
This blog will briefly discuss the international criminal prosecution of gender crimes by various international legal institutions.Read more
The Peace Palace Library will present the award winning documentary film Justice For Sale by Ilse and Femke van Velzen about the failing criminal justice system in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Dr. Janine Ubink, senior lecturer at the Law Faculty of Leiden University will give an introduction. She is an expert on African law issues and has published extensively on subjects such as customary law, land rights and traditional legal practices.Read more
On March 27 2012, documentary filmmakers, Ilse and Femke van Velzen, showed their latest documentary about the Criminal Justice system in the Congo titled Justice for Sale at the Movies that Matter film festival in The Hague. The film documents the prosecution of a suspect accused of rape and the struggle of his lawyer for a Fair Trial and Due Process of Law in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DCR).Read more
On Thursday, 24 June, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of South African Judge Navanethem Pillay as the new UN high commissioner for human rights. The appointment is subject to approval by the General Assembly which will meet on Monday.Read more