ICC to Investigate Alleged British War Crimes

 New Deputy Prosecutor James Stewart Sworn in by the International Criminal Court ICC, Photo Courtesy of ICC

 New Deputy Prosecutor James Stewart Sworn in by the International Criminal Court ICC, Photo Courtesy of ICC

The International Criminal Court (ICC) will launch a preliminary investigation of alleged war crimes committed by British troops during the years of 2003 - 2008.

The claim being analyzed is that there were 52 cases of unlawful killing and more than 170 counts of mistreatment of detained Iraqi soldiers.  Accusations include incidents of electrocution, mock executions, beatings and sexual assault.

The ICC first examined claims of abuse in 2006, but there was insufficient evidence to pursue the matter further. However, in January the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights and the law firm Public Interest Lawyers requested that ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda re-open the case because of new information. The latest update shows that the abuse was much more common, happened over a longer period of time and was more geographically widespread than originally thought.

The UK is the first western country to be under ICC scrutiny. However, the ICC will probably not launch a more formal investigation, as the allegations are now being taken care of by the Iraq Historic Allegations Team, a unit the Ministry of Defense created in 2010 to investigate issues of misconduct. The ICC may only officially investigate claims if they feel that national attempts are insufficient, but it will keep a close eye on the internal proceedings to make sure correct protocol is followed.

Kenya Reneges on Promise to Election Violence Victims

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Jessamy Nichols, Africa Correspondent
Last Modified: 00:31 a.m. DST, 10 September 2013

Victims of 2007 Kenya Post-Election Violence, Photo by Martin NduguKENYA, Africa - At the close of 2007, Kenya held Presidential elections between Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga that resulted in months of atrocious violence and mass chaos. The eruption of killings resulted from the ethnic cleavages between the two candidates, as Kibaki is from the Kikuyu ethnic group and Odinga is from the Luo group. Once Kibaki was declared the winner despite widespread electoral fraud and manipulation, opposition groups revolted at the results and chose to make a stand.

However, this resulted in citizens, mostly of opposition Luo ethnicity, targeting Kikuyu citizens and brutally killing hundreds of them. Eventually, some Kikuyus retaliated and murdered citizens of Luo and Kalenjin descent. The few months of violence resulted in over a thousand deaths, and around two hundred thousand displaced persons. This is still a huge issue for the country today as thousands of citizens continue to live in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps that lack proper shelter, running water and basic education and healthcare.

One such example is an IDP camp called Jikaze that is in the Great Rift Valley and is about a twenty minute ride from Limuru. I've visited and worked in the camp twice, and have met the most wonderful, loving people who despite having their lives turned upside down, continue to be hopeful for the future. One couple in the camp owned a hotel before the 2007 election, but had it burned to the ground in the violence and went from being well-off to having nothing. Another family went from having acres of fertile land and a profitable farming business to running for their lives and starting from scratch. Some members of the camp lost family members in the violence and will never be able to return to their old home.

Now, imagine these Kenyans who have spent over five years healing and rebuilding their lives, to now find out that the Kenyan government will not fulfill its promise to face justice and seek justice for the victims of the post-election violence. This week, the Kenyan Parliament voted to remove themselves from the Rome Statute that would ensure that the national government sought justice and reparations for the hundreds of thousands of victims of the violence. Although it has been many years and many citizens have found a new way forward, they still deserve the justice and help that the government owes them. Without fulfilling their promise, not only are they abandoning their citizens again, but are setting a disappointing precedent for government accountability.

On a similar note, the Parliament also voted this week to remove themselves from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in order to avoid many of their prominent leaders' indictment and trials. Considering Kenya's growing economic and regional power potential, it is a nasty setback that the government is moving backwards in reneging on international standards and human rights laws. The international community, including the US, has released statements urging Kenya to fulfill their commitments and remain accountable to its people.

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Africa Correspondent: @JessamyNichols

Gaddafi's Daughter Appeals to ICC

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 23:06 PM EDT, 4 February 2012

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - Muammar Gaddafi's daughter, Aisha Gaddafi's petition to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on behalf of her brother was rejected on Thursday, 23 January. The son of the former President is awaiting trial in Libya on rape and murder charges.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, has also been charged with crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the Libyan civil war of last year. He attempted to elude capture by fleeing into the Sahara desert disguised as a Bedouin. The ICC insists that al-Islam be tried in The Hague because of their jurisdiction over the case.

Last year the ICC issued a warrant for the arrest of Muammar Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam, and the Libyan leader's intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senussi. Because of this, their case takes precedence over Libya's. The National Transitional Council of Libya is equally vociferous in their assertion that Saif al-Islam should be tried at home.

Supporters of al-Islam are concerned about the impartiality of the Libyan judicial system given the emotional hostilities that remain after the death of President Gaddafi. The ICC rejected Aisha's request for her brother to receive foreign legal representation. They also rejected a similar request by human rights activist Mishana Hosseinioun stating that both were "misplaced and contrary" to court procedures.

Kenya's Failed Witness Protection Program

Kenya's Failed Witness Protection Program

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague presented judges with a list of 20 suspects who he believed were most responsible for financing or organizing the violence after the 2007 elections in Kenya when more than 1,000 people were killed and 600,000 forced from their homes after Kenya's electoral commission declared that President Mwai Kibaki had won a second term in the December 2007 poll. Suspects included political and business leaders from both parties who were identified by the ICC after numerous requests by other nations including America, for Kenya to initiate an investigation to identify and prosecute the ringleaders.

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