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Lessons from a State of Flux: The International Justice Laboratory of the Great Lakes Pact

Deirdre Clancy, published in Lutz Oette, Criminal Law Reform and Transitional Justice Human Rights Perspectives for Sudan, Ashgate, November 2011.

Editorial Note, from Special Issue on Civil Society, Social Movements and Transitional Justice

Lucy Hovil and Moses Chrispus Okello, "Editorial Note, from Special Issue on Civil Society, Social Movements and Transitional Justice" International Journal of Transitional Justice, (2011) 5(3): 333-344

Refugees Resist Repatriation: Thousands of Burundians struggle to stay in Tanzania

Lucy Hovil, Pambazuka News

Thousands of Burundian refugees in Tanzania are coming under increasing pressure to return ‘home’. The most visible group of refugees, those living in Mtabila camp (one of the last camps remaining open in Tanzania), have been resisting return for more than two years despite significant pressure from the governments of Burundi and Tanzania.

Read the full article here.

Activists Question ICC’s Decision on Witness Protection

Olivia Bueno,, September 23, 2011

On August 26, 2011, the International Criminal Court (ICC) Appeals Chamber ruled that three witnesses, who had been called to The Hague to testify for the defense in the Katanga case, could, in principle, be returned to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Prior to their transfer to The Hague, the three former militia leaders had been in detention in Makala prison in the DRC (for more information on these three, see “Appearance of Former Ituri Militia Fuels Speculation”). Floribert Ndjabu and Pierre Celestin Mbodina (Pitchou) were detained since 2006 after being implicated in the killing of UN peacekeepers and Sherif Manda more recently after being accused of leading the rebel Front Populaire pour la Justice au Congo. None had yet been brought to trial. After giving their testimony, the detained witnesses had asked for asylum in the Netherlands and for protective measures from the Court. They argued that their testimony relating to the involvement of the Congolese head of state in the massacre of Bogoro could open them up to new threats to their safety in Congo.

Read the full blog.

The Return: Dilemmas for Congolese Refugees in Rwanda

Lucy Hovil, Blog Open Society, September 9, 2011

Rumor and speculation are rife in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) North Kivu province regarding the anticipated return of Congolese refugees from Rwanda. Sparked by the signing of a tripartite agreement between the governments of the DRC, Rwanda and UNHCR in February 2010, feelings of hostility towards the idea of their “return” are widespread. These refugees are not really Congolese, some argue, and their “repatriation” is, in fact, part of a broader scheme by Rwanda to appropriate land in North Kivu. Indeed, some of the UN agencies operating in North Kivu have been accused of having a hidden agenda and promoting Rwandan encroachment on Congolese territory by facilitating their return.

Read the full blog posting.

Gone But Not Forgotten: Bemba and Congo's 2011 Presidential Elections

Olivia Bueno,, August 29, 2011

As Congolese head to the polls on November 28, 2011 to elect a new president, the front-running opposition candidate in the previous election, Jean-Pierre Bemba, sits in a jail cell in Schevingen in the custody of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Bemba has not, however, taken his incarceration to mean that he should be sidelined and has pushed his own candidacy. The fact that he has done so from an ICC jail cell, however, is having an impact on his viability as a candidate and the state of the opposition as a whole. 

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Appearance of Ituri Militia Fuels Speculation

Olivia Bueno,, April 15, 2011.

In Ituri, victims of atrocities committed in the context of the 2002-2003 violence, which claimed an estimated 50,000 lives, and the civil society organizations that represent them have been calling out for a full accounting for crimes committed, emphasizing their right to both understand the particular individual and institutional drivers of the conflict and for public acknowledgement of their suffering. They have pointed out that the cases proceeding at the International Criminal Court (ICC), though critical for achieving justice, have only partially responded to the need for truth due to the limited number of accused and nature of the charges.

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Ngudjolo and Katanga: Their Role in the DRC Conflict and the Need for Broader Accountability

Olivia Bueno,, March 4, 2011

At the International Criminal Court, Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui are charged with the particularly bloody joint attack on the village of Bogoro in February 2003. The facts of this attack are particularly disturbing: at least 200 civilians are estimated to have been killed, civilian women were raped and held as sexual slaves, and children were used to perpetrate theses atrocities. Unlike the Lubanga prosecution, which has been criticized both for its procedural mishaps and for the narrow scope of the charges, the case against Katanga and Ngudjolo has both run fairly smoothly and embraced a broader range of charges. This broader scope of charges is critical to fulfilling the expectations of victims. In the words of one Congolese activist, is the trial is “an important process because the court listened to the victims.”

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