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Farc peace accord may prove hard sell for Colombia’s Santos

To some, the Colombian government’s historic peace deal with Marxist rebels that would end one of the world’s longest-running civil wars will only be fully appreciated in years to come.

Luis Moreno Ocampo, the Argentine former chief of the International Criminal Court, says the accord signed on Wednesday by Juan Manuel Santos, Colombia’s president, is “like a work by Van Gogh that only gained public recognition after he died.”

But pitted against the deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or Farc, is Álvaro Uribe, the popular former president who once led an all-out offensive against the rebels who has criticised the accord as being too lenient.

Mr Santos has promised to put his agreement with the guerrillas to an unprecedented nationwide referendum, set for October 2. But with divisions running deep, in its search for peace Colombia finds itself at a crossroads over how to end a five-decade-long conflict that killed 220,000 people and displaced almost 7m.

“One hundred per cent of Colombians want dialogue and peace,” Mr Uribe tells the Financial Times. “But many do not approve of full impunity or political eligibility for those responsible for crimes against humanity.”

Andres Schipani in Bogotá and Lucinda Elliott in London

Financial Times

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How Humanitarians Are Crowdsourcing Evidence Of A Genocide By ISIS

A year ago, Elizabeth Schaeffer Brown joined former ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo and Kerry Propper, a financial entrepreneur, activist, and producer of the documentary Watchers of the Sky, on a visit to the Yazidis in Iraq, and together they began crowdsourcing evidence and organizing “It’s On U,” a political campaign to get the governments to refer the case to the ICC. In May, the campaign approached the human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who agreed to lead the case on behalf of Nadia Murad and the nonprofit Yazda, the global organization representing the Yazidis.

Read More In Fast Company.

La hora de la grandeza de Juan Manuel Santos y Alvaro Uribe

“Hay nuevas exigencias para los acuerdos de paz en Colombia. La mitad de los colombianos que votaron quiere más justicia para desmovilizar a las FARC. No les parece suficiente el trabajo comunitario, la tarea de desminado y las restricciones a estar confinados en un lugar específico como penas alternativas. Reclaman cárcel y que los líderes guerrilleros no puedan ser elegidos para cargos políticos. Están marcando un estándar mundial que no se conocía.”

Read more on CNN.

Who will stand for the African victims when leaders conduct massive atrocities to stay in power?

Luis Moreno Ocampo, the former ICC chief prosecutor, pinpoints the moment when attitudes changed:

“I remember South Africa as a champion, it was leading the continent under Mandela and Mbeki… under President Zuma, it’s different,” he told the BBC.

“Who will stand for the African victims when leaders conduct massive atrocities to stay in power? Who will prevent Burundi from slipping into genocide? We’re slipping backwards”.

He accused many leaders on this continent of “hypocrisy” – claiming that publicly they vilify the ICC to appease their African Union allies, while privately supporting its ideals.

Read more on the BBC.

Burundi’s president wants free hands to attack civilians

Former ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo is infuriated by the pattern of African nations leaving the court, and said “Burundi is leaving the ICC to keep committing crimes against humanity and possible genocide in its territory.”

“Burundi’s president wants free hands to attack civilians,” he said.

Read more in Foreign Policy.

The chaos is coming. Genocide in Burundi and a new African war are in motion

Nelson Mandela had “promoted the establishment of the court to avoid new massive crimes in Africa. Now under the Zuma leadership South Africa decided to cover up the crimes and abandoned African victims. The world is going backward.”

Read more in The Guardian.

ICC ‘bias’ handy cover-up for African detractors

Former ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo highlighted repeated fears from the United Nations and the African Union of “a possible genocide” in Burundi.

“Who will defend the victims?” he asked.

“Escaping the ICC is a way to come (with) free hands to commit genocide,” Moreno-Ocampo told AFP, adding all “dictators are against” the court.

La hora de la grandeza de Juan Manuel Santos y Alvaro Uribe

“Hay nuevas exigencias para los acuerdos de paz en Colombia. La mitad de los colombianos que votaron quiere más justicia para desmovilizar a las FARC. No les parece suficiente el trabajo comunitario, la tarea de desminado y las restricciones a estar confinados en un lugar específico como penas alternativas. Reclaman cárcel y que los líderes guerrilleros no puedan ser elegidos para cargos políticos. Están marcando un estándar mundial que no se conocía.”  
 

Read more on CNN.

How Humanitarians Are Crowdsourcing Evidence Of A Genocide By ISIS

The It’s On U campaign, says Schaeffer Brown, has been focusing on reaching out to Yazidis to collect mobile phone evidence, as well as information about the perpetrators of the attacks. They have targeted ads on Facebook and other platforms, and she was recently in refugee camps in Greece, where many Yazidis are staying. "We announced it there: If they do have evidence they should submit it. It was cathartic. It was like a concrete action for them to take," she says. (Evidence can be submitted online via an encrypted form or dropped off in person at various refugee camp contact points.) So far, she says, they have received "hundreds" of submissions.

Read More at Fast Company. 

 

Appeal launched for evidence for Yezidi genocide trial

An organization dedicated to bringing a case of genocide against the Islamic State to the International Criminal Court (ICC) has launched an appeal for evidence of the crimes committed against the Yezidi population.

“It is urgent that the Yazidi community works together in seeking justice. We are much more powerful when we support each other,” reads an appeal shared by the organization It’s On U.

“A concerted effort will not only put considerable pressure on the international community to recognize the ongoing genocide, but refocus any engagement in terms of the humanitarian crisis and, in particular, the lasting safety and welfare of the Yazidi community.”

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Mr. Baghdadi, You’re Under Arrest

peaking by phone from a beach in Tulum, Mexico, Luis Moreno-Ocampo does not seem the least bit put out by my disrupting his brief vacation from a lengthy speaking tour for an interview. “For me, this is not just work,” he explains. An Argentine lawyer who served nine years as the first prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC), Moreno-Ocampo stepped down in 2012 and today teaches international law and practices independently. 

Citing Atrocities, John Kerry Calls ISIS Actions Genocide

Secretary of State John Kerry declared on Thursday that the Islamic State is committing genocide against Christians, Yazidis and Shiite Muslims who have fallen under its control in Syria and Iraq. The militants, who have also targeted Kurds and other Sunni Muslims, have tried to slaughter whole communities, enslaved captive women and girls for sex, and sought to erase thousands of years of cultural heritage by destroying churches, monasteries and ancient monuments, Mr. Kerry said.