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Dominic Ongwen’s Status as Child Victim Factors into Punishment

The International Criminal Court (ICC) today imposed a 25-year-sentence on Dominic Ongwen, a former leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The sentence marks an important milestone in the search for justice for victims of the grave international…
Dominic Ongwen at his confirmation of charges hearing in ICC courtroom I on 21 January 2016 © ICC-CPI.
News

Limited Community Outreach Blunts Impact of Accountability Efforts

A German court in the town of Koblenz this week will render its first verdict in a historic trial of two former Syrian officials for atrocities during Syria’s decade-long brutal armed conflict. The two accused in the case are an alleged former…
Photos of Syrians who have been detained or disappeared set up by Families for Freedom, as part of a protest in front of the court in Koblenz, July 2, 2020. 
News

Government Should Pursue Full Investigations, Fair Trials

The Australian government is taking an important step by helping eight Australian children of suspects of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) return home from northeast Syria. The children were held for months without charge under horrific…
Rusafa Central Criminal Court in Baghdad.
News

Countries Should Account for Living and Dead in Syria, Other Wars

Today, the United Nations Security Council passed its first resolution on missing persons in armed conflicts, seizing a key opportunity to strengthen efforts toward uncovering the fates of those missing and giving closure to countless…
cover syria report
News

Nairobi Conference Commits to Greater Efforts to Fight Impunity, Defend Rights

Last week, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region met in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss “combating impunity and upholding human rights as key contributors to peace and security.” Representatives from the organization’s 12…
Jean Baptiste Nguondija, a resident of Ngbada, Central African Republic, by the grave of his 10 year-old daughter Nathana Poura. Nguondija has lost 5 children since the conflict began in 2013.
News

Rights Champion Wrote Definitive Account of Rwandan Genocide

Ten years ago today, our beloved colleague Alison Des Forges died in the crash of Flight 3407 traveling from Newark to her home in Buffalo. Alison had recently been in Uganda to meet with her research team that, to my great fortune,…
News

New Law Restricts Right to Free Speech and Information on Social Media

This weekend the Ugandan government began to implement a troubling new set of tax rules requiring social media users – including of popular apps like WhatsApp, Twitter, and Facebook - to pay a daily fee of 200 Ugandan Shilling (US$0.05…
Ugandan lawmakers arrive at the parliament, in Kampala, Uganda September 21, 2017.
News

Amid Ongoing Bombings, More Protection Needed for Education

In areas of Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Syria’s capital Damascus held by anti-government armed groups, schools have closed for fear that Syrian and Russian warplanes will bomb them. Instead, local residents have opened informal schools…
Children walk through the rubble of the Tamayuz (“Excellence”) kindergarten in the town of Hamouriyeh after it was hit by a Syrian-Russian airstrike on November 8, 2017. © 2017 Private
News

Small Case in Sweden a Worthy Start

The photograph is disturbing. A young man in military fatigues is standing on dead bodies looking victorious. The posture of the Syrian soldier, with a grin suggesting pride and his military boot on a victim’s chest, suggests domination…
Stockholm District Court, where most of Sweden’s war crimes cases are adjudicated.
News

Court Should Emphasize Victims’ Views in Choice of Counsel

Testimony before the International Criminal Court (ICC) resumed this month in the case against Dominic Ongwen, a Ugandan former commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The ICC has officially recognized over 4,000 victims to…
A community member in Lukodi stands next to a memorial of a May 19, 2004 massacre, one of the atrocities for which Dominic Ongwen is facing charges before the International Criminal Court. Over 4,000 victims are participating in the trial.
News

Death of Detained Activist Puts Spotlight on Syria’s Ghastly Prison System

Yesterday Noura Safadi said that she had received confirmation that the Syrian authorities executed her husband, Bassel (Safadi) Khartabil, two years ago. Noura had been looking for Bassel since he disappeared from a Syrian prison in…
Bassel Khartabil
News

Recent Attacks on Saraqeb Caught on Video

Videos and photographs taken last weekend in the city of Saraqeb, in northwestern Syria, show the unmistakably bright trails produced by incendiary weapons. The ZAB incendiary submunitions used in the attacks are delivered by RBK-500 bombs and contain…
Screenshot of a video taken in April 2017 in Saraqeb, northwestern Syria, showing the bright trails produced by incendiary weapons.
News

Countries Commit to Working Within the ICC System

A slew of African countries reaffirmed their backing for the International Criminal Court (ICC) during the past two days, giving much-needed support to the court in the wake of recently announced withdrawals by South Africa, Burundi, and Gambia.  …
News
Seeking justice for the ongoing grave human rights abuses in Syria has proven largely elusive. Now the shield of impunity is beginning to crack. Several countries, including Sweden, Germany, and France are in the process of investigating some…
Syrian Man Carries Children After Barrel Bomb Attack
News

Attacks on Education Persist

October 9, 2016 marks 20 years since the Lord’s Resistance Army abducted 139 school girls from St. Mary’s College in Aboke, Northern Uganda. The rebels raided the Catholic girls’ boarding school, ransacking the school clinic, attempted to burn down some…
Former abducted Ugandan girls from St. Mary's College in Aboke who returned from captivity by Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels walk with lit candles during a ceremony October 10, 2005 to commemorate the abduction day.
News

Video Footage Shows Incendiary Weapons Mounted on Russian Attack Aircraft

Several major media outlets are reporting that Russia’s state-run television has broadcasted footage appearing to show Russian aircraft at its airbase in Syria equipped with “cluster bombs.” The clip was deleted from YouTube after analysts published the…
Footage showing what Human Rights Watch arms experts have identified as RBK-500 ZAB-2.5SM incendiary bombs mounted on a Russian attack aircraft at a Russian air base in Syria, June 18, 2016.
News
As the African Union summit closed on January 31, 2016, Kenyan media ignited with reports that the African Union endorsed mass withdrawal of African countries from the International Criminal Court. But the reality is a lot less newsworthy than the main…
A general view shows delegates during the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 31, 2016.
News
It is the end of the school day, teenage students gather in the playground before heading home. An aircraft buzzes overhead. A second later, chaos – at least 10 are dead and dozens wounded. Video images of the young victims – the dead, dying and severely…