newsletter No Peace Without Justice, VIII-2013

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August 2013
Editor-in-Chief: Nicola Giovannini
Managing Editor: Alessandro Manno

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UNICEF Report on FGM: a change of strategy needed?

Last month, UNICEF released a major report on female genital mutilation (FGM), which represents the most comprehensive study of the practice to date, with research data from 29 African countries where the practice is most prevalent. According to the data provided in the report, FGM is still one of the most widespread and systematic violations of the human right to personal integrity.
This report also allows for an evaluation of the impact of actions taken to foster the elimination of the practice, and specifically of community-based sensitization strategies, which have been supported since 2008 by the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme. The picture that unfortunately emerges is a lack of a marked change of attitudes and prevalence of FGM in a number of countries, including Senegal, despite the longstanding work there supported by UNICEF. Despite this finding, the report does not suggest a shift in strategy, but argues that further programmatic investments in the social change model that has been the backbone of their program until now.
Awareness and education campaigns and community sensitization efforts, which have been on-going for decades, are of course important. However, as confirmed by the UNGA Resolution 67/146 adopted in December 2012, in order to successfully challenge the practice and promote its elimination, it is essential that explicit legislation banning the practice be adopted, and that it be effectively promulgated, with sufficient resources dedicated to its promulgation and compliance efforts. Clear and unambiguous national legislation is essential to consolidate a formal and explicit commitment of the State against FGM, by recognizing the practice as a massive and systemic violation of the human rights of women and girls.
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*Alvilda Jablonko is FGM Program Coordinator of No Peace Without Justice

Libya/ICC: “Saif al-Islam Gaddafi custody decision: ICC should do better”

On 18 July 2013, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi should be transferred to The Hague pending a decision on the admissibility of his case. The Appeal Chambers is still considering whether the complementarity challenge by Libya, who claims primary jurisdiction over the Libyan leader, should preclude ICC jurisdiction and allow the national jurisdiction to take precedence, as foreseen in the Rome ICC Statute.

While the ICC arrest warrants against senior Gaddafi officials were welcomed by the people of Libya, a trial outside Libya is never something that victims they wanted; they wanted – and they still want – Mr Gaddafi and his ilk to face victims on their territory, to answer the charges that have been brought against them for the terrible crimes that were committed against the people of Libya. The ruling issued in last July might increase the ongoing misperceptions about the ICC and its work, which could damage the Court’s credibility and future contributions to this country. One could also ask if the Appeals Chamber has actually taken into consideration that the impact of Mr Gaddafi’s surrender to The Hague would prejudice not only the Libyan judicial case against Mr Gaddafi, one of their prime suspects, but also other cases that form the backbone of Libya’s transitional justice strategy.

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* Alison Smith is Legal Counsel and Director of the International Criminal Justice Program for No Peace Without Justice

Special Tribunal for Lebanon: NPWJ extends its full support to the new Registrar and looks forward to his leadership in the fight for justice and accountability

No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) congratulate Mr Daryl A. Mundis for his appointment as the new Registrar of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). While the challenges are great, we look forward to his mandate being marked by further advances in the Tribunal's fulfilling its key promise of justice and redress and being more and more responsive and better known to the people affected by the crimes it investigates and prosecutes.

We particularly welcome his stated intention to ensure a robust outreach strategy as a vital policy priority of the STL’s work. Engaging victims and affected populations in Lebanon and empowering them so they may participate in processes that were established for them, is central to strengthen the relevance and impact of the Tribunal in the political and social life of the country.

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 NPWJ events

Syria: Dawlaty and NPWJ release publication to support Transitional Justice and Accountability

Violence cannot be rewarded as a legitimate path to power and political leverage. The cycle of impunity that is ravaging Syria must be broken. Syrian human rights activists can play a key role in ensuring that the future of Syria is defined by institutions that embrace principles of democracy and pluralism, and that offer redress and accountability for human rights violations and promote reconciliation.
In the framework of their common engagement to support Syrian civil society groups, human rights and democracy activists in promoting a culture of accountability, the Syrian human rights organisation Dawlaty and No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) have released a publication dedicated to “Transitional Justice in Syria”. A stable and sustainable peace in Syria, governed by the rule of law, requires a comprehensive justice and accountability process to defeat the culture of impunity that has allowed violations to go unchallenged for decades.

Transitional justice is the means through which Syria can confront its past; empower and restore the dignity of victims; provide a basis for reforming political structures and restoring the rule of law; and secure a foundation for reconciliation initiatives. Transitional justice is not the only approach Syria will need to overcome its past and achieve peace and stability, but it is an important tool to reach those goals.

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  • Visit the special page dedicated to NPWJ project supporting Syrian civil society role on transitional justice and accountability issues

NPWJ releases Handbook to support Trial Monitoring in Libya

In the framework of its project to support Libya’s democratic transition through justice and accountability, No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) has produced a Handbook aiming at assisting the efforts of the developing network for trial monitoring in Libya in establishing an effective project that will have the ability to follow high-profile cases as they arise and to contribute to justice sector reforms in the national justice system.
Following the Libyan revolution, there is a clear desire and expectation within Libya for justice and accountability to form part of the backbone of Libya’s transition from dictatorship to democracy. In particular, Libya has to address past violations during the conflict in 2011 (and subsequent events) and during the 42 years of the Gaddafi regime, to support an effective transition from authoritarianism to democracy and the rule of law. To reach these goals, it is important for the nascent Libyan civil society to have the necessary capacity and the knowledge to engage effectively with political actors and with grassroots constituencies in the conceptual development and implementation of transitional justice solutions. Engaging lawyers, civil society and the media in monitoring Libya's trials concerning the conflict and previous human rights violations in a professional and constructive manner will also contribute to pro mote transparency and accountability within the Libyan judiciary.

This Handbook endeavours to adapt the various trial-monitoring practices to the Libyan context and to the specific circumstances prevalent in the country. Its drafting has also been informed by direct discussions with Libyan legal professionals interested in participating in a trial monitoring network, which took place during a field visit in the country from 14 to 17 June 2013.

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 NPWJ press releases

UNICEF Report on FGM: a change of strategy needed?
Interview with Alvilda Jablonko, FGM Program Coordinator of No Peace Without Justice, Brussels, 13 August 2013

Libya/ICC: “Saif Al Islam custody decision: ICC should do better”
Interview with Alison Smith, Legal Counsel and Director of the International Criminal Justice Program for No Peace Without Justice, Brussels, 6 August 2013

Syria: Dawlaty and NPWJ release publication to support Transitional Justice and Accountability
Brussels-Rome, 31 July 2013

Special Tribunal for Lebanon: NPWJ extends its full support to the new Registrar and looks forward to his leadership in the fight for justice and accountability
Brussels-Rome, 25 July 2013

NPWJ releases Handbook to support Trial Monitoring in Libya
Tripoli, Libya, 22 July 2013

Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal: unfair trials and death penalty will not bring justice
Brussels-Rome, 18 July 2013

International Justice Day: Commitment and Action Needed
Brussels - Rome - New York, 17 July 2013

Cambodia: NRPTT and NPWJ welcome Royal Pardon for Sam Rainsy as a small step on the road to democracy
Brussels-Rome-New York, 15 July 2013

 NPWJ in the news

ICTJ's SCSL Legacy Podcast Series: Alison Smith
ICTJ, 16 July 2013

NPWJ celebrates a decade of the Maputo Protocol on the rights of women in Africa
African Herald Express, 12 July 2013

Gli “hacker buoni” a scuola di libertà nascosti nel Cusio. Dalla Siria all’Egitto, in prima fila per l’informazione contro i regimi
Vincenzo Amato, La Stampa, 2 July 2013

La CPI, Cour internationale sous pression
Par Stéphanie Maupas (La Haye, correspondance), Le Monde, 2 July 2013

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