International Institutions

Ending Grand Theft on a Global Scale: Prosecuting the War Crime of Pillage

M23 rebel fighters north of Goma, DRC (2012) AP Photo/Jerome Delay

In Enough Project Policy Analyst Holly Dranginis’ latest report, Grand Theft Global: Prosecuting the War Crime of Natural Resource Pillage in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Dranginis provides an inside look at why the widespread theft of minerals in Congo has gone on unpunished, and how policymakers and legal practitioners can help advance cases.  Grand Theft Global is the result of research in Congo, The Hague, and Washington, DC, including dozens of interviews with Congolese attorneys, international prosecutors, and local communities affected by pillage and the violence it enables.  Read More »

Top LRA Commander’s Transfer to ICC “Historic”, “Victory for Victims” says Enough Project

Date: 
Jan 13, 2015
Author: 
Enough Team

January 13, 2015 --- Dominic Ongwen, one of the most senior commanders of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), will be transferred to the International Criminal Court (ICC), according to the U.S. State Department. Enough Project analysts are available for interviews, background on Ongwen, and expert commentary on the LRA and significance of the ICC referral in this case.

Kasper Agger, Enough Project LRA expert and Uganda-based field researcher, said: “The transfer of Dominic Ongwen to the ICC is a major victory for the thousands of LRA victims and a chance for Ongwen to go through a fair trial. Hopefully this can draw attention to massive rebuilding tasks in LRA affected areas, including the need for a comprehensive reconciliation and transitional justice process in Northern Uganda.”

Holly Dranginis, Enough Project Policy Analyst, said: “Ongwen's transfer to the ICC is  historic - a victory for the victims of the LRA's brutality, many of whom have been bravely demanding justice for over a decade now. It's also a welcome confirmation that the United States is increasingly supportive of the ICC's efforts in this region. The next step is for Ongwen to have a fair and thorough trial, with full consideration of crimes committed against him as a child, and robust protection for victims and witnesses.”

Abducted by the LRA at the age of 10, Ongwen rose in the ranks of the militia as a protégé of LRA leader Joseph Kony, and has been indicted by the ICC for multiple crimes against humanity including murder, pillaging, and enslavement.

More information:

  • Enough Project statement on ICC referral in the Ongwen case: http://eno.ug/1sf99WO
  • More background, expert commentary, and recent media coverage on the Ongwen case: http://eno.ug/1x5IkQr
  • Interview with Kasper Agger - From the Bloody Trail of Kony’s LRA (December 24, 2014): http://eno.ug/1CVSRD6
  • Briefing report on LRA illicit funding - Kony to LRA: “Bring me ivory, gold, and diamonds” (November 19, 2014): http://eno.ug/1uZL7OE

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman,  +1 310-717-

0606, gh@enoughproject.org

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The Enough Project is a project of the Center for American Progress aiming to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, South Sudan, eastern Congo, Central African Republic, and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough conducts intensive field research, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to empower citizens and groups working for change. To learn more: www.enoughproject.org.

Grand Theft Global - Prosecuting the War Crime of Natural Resource Pillage in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

From the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) to Al-Shabaab, many of the world’s most infamous and destabilizing armed actors today finance their activities in part through the illegal exploitation and trade of natural resources. Theft in the context of armed conflict constitutes the war crime of pillage, which is punishable in most domestic jurisdictions and at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Depuis l'État islamique d'Irak et du Levant (ISIL : Islamic State of Irak and the Levant) de l’Armée de Résistance du Seigneur (LRA : Lord’s Resistance Army) jusqu'à  Al-Shabaab, de nombreuses forces armées, les plus infâmes et les plus déstabilisatrices du monde d’aujourd'hui, financent en partie leurs activités grâce au trafic et à l'exploitation illicites des ressources naturelles. Tout vol commis dans le cadre des conflits armés est considéré comme crime de guerre de pillage, lequel est punissable dans la plupart des juridictions nationales ainsi qu’à la Cour Pénale Internationale (CPI).

LRA commander Ongwen should be transferred to ICC, support to justice & reconciliation in LRA-affected areas should be increased

Senior Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Dominic Ongwen, who surrendered Tuesday in the Central African Republic, should be transferred to the International Criminal Court to face charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes.  Read More »

LRA Commander Ongwen Should Be Transferred to ICC

Date: 
Jan 9, 2015
Author: 
Enough Team

Support to Justice and Reconciliation in LRA-affected Areas Should Be Increased

January 9, 2015 --- This week, Dominic Ongwen, one of the most senior commanders of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), surrendered to U.S. forces in the Central African Republic. Ongwen's defection is strong evidence that the African Union mission against the LRA is working, slowly but surely. It also triggers a critical opportunity for justice. 

Statement by the Enough Project:

Senior Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Dominic Ongwen, who surrendered Tuesday in the Central African Republic, should be transferred to the International Criminal Court to face charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Ongwen was indicted by the ICC in 2005 after Ugandan President Museveni requested an ICC investigation into potential atrocity crimes by the LRA in Northern Uganda. Now with Ongwen's surrender, some are calling for him to face trial or receive amnesty in Uganda. The ICC's complementarity principle is critical in this scenario. Ongwen should be transferred to The Hague, where Uganda is free to challenge the admissibility of the case, prompting the ICC to examine whether or not Uganda is willing and able to carry out an independent, thorough and fair investigation and trial related to Ongwen's charges.

Ugandan human rights voices reflect a diversity of views on this issue. Victor Ochen, founding director of local human rights organization, African Youth Initiative Network, and survivor of LRA violence, said, "Generally, it’s quite obvious that people need justice. At this point, whose justice? For the rebel or for the victims of Ongwen's barbaric acts?"

Some religious and political leaders from northern Uganda have expressed that Ongwen should receive amnesty. Uganda’s Amnesty Act has been an important tool to help spur defections from the LRA. Amnesty is likely not appropriate, however, for high-level individuals charged with grave war crimes and crimes against humanity. Prosecuting Ongwen is not mutually exclusive to a range of critical transitional justice mechanisms that are sorely needed for victims in Northern Uganda. But victims also deserve to see justice served.

It is important to recognize that Ongwen was abducted as a child soldier at age 10, and thus is both a victim and alleged perpetrator, raising potential mitigating circumstances. As with any indictee facing charges, Ongwen should be afforded a fair trial with thorough consideration of any potential mitigating circumstances.

At present, it is important for Ongwen to provide any information he may have on LRA leader Joseph Kony’s whereabouts and to help provide defection messages to current LRA fighters. The LRA is still active, so such information and messaging is critically important. Visits by his family members could form an important part of this defection messaging.

Finally, for sustainable peace to take root, greater support to a local justice and reconciliation process in northern Uganda is needed.  The Ugandan army is accused of committing atrocities in northern Uganda, yet these allegations have yet to prompt adequate investigation.  Uganda and donor governments must also prioritize support for victims and war-affected committees in northern Uganda and other LRA affected areas.

Link to January 6 press release on surrender of Ongwenwww.enoughproject.org/news/breaking-lra-top-commander-surrenders

Media inquiries: Enough Project analysts are available for interviews, background on Ongwen, and expert commentary. Contact: Greg Hittelman,  +1 310-717-0606gh@enoughproject.org

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The Enough Project is a project of the Center for American Progress aiming to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, South Sudan, eastern Congo, Central African Republic, and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough conducts intensive field research, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to empower citizens and groups working for change. To learn more: www.enoughproject.org.

Starving War, Feeding Peace, and Setting the Table for National Dialogue in Sudan

There is no doubt that some form of a national dialogue will be a key ingredient to a comprehensive peace in Sudan.  But, to have a transformative effect on governance, that process needs to be meaningful, genuine, and inclusive. Despite hopeful signals in September 2014, Sudan’s nascent national dialogue process is currently none of those things. As it stands right now, the dialogue’s format remains imbalanced, exclusive and restrictive.  Beyond problems with the structure of the process, the Sudanese government’s actions outside of the dialogue forum have further undermined prospects for genuine discourse about the way forward.  But, this could change, if the Sudanese government decides to engage meaningfully and demonstrates its commitment by fulfilling six preconditions, including an alternate neutral administration for the dialogue. International stakeholders now have an opportunity to help to rebalance power dynamics and revitalize the much-needed but deeply compromised process.

Going for Gold: Engaging the Jewelry Industry in Responsible Gold Sourcing in Africa’s Great Lakes Region

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (“Congo”), gold is a major financial lifeline for armed actors. Fortunately, jewelry retailers and consumers can play important roles to help end the conflict gold trade and the suffering it causes, together with the actions of governments. The Enough Project has engaged with the largest jewelry retailers in an effort to encourage companies to use their power and resources in more robust, effective ways to support responsible sourcing in Congo and the Great Lakes Region. Two companies in particular—Tiffany & Co. and Signet Jewelers—have demonstrated clear leadership in beginning to address the conflict gold issue by taking proactive steps to set up supply chain controls, contribute to solutions on the ground in Congo, and support the communities affected by mining and violence in Congo.

Learn More About the #CongoGold Jewelry Leader Review and Campaign here.


Fighting Impunity: The Role of Sanctions in Ending Conflict in Congo

The plight of women and children in eastern Congo has not received the urgent response it needs, which has facilitated widespread impunity. This culture of impunity allows perpetrators to continue their violations against vulnerable civilians. Sanctions on such perpetrators help combat the culture of impunity by holding the guilty accountable, allowing the survivors and their communities the opportunity to move forward and sending a clear message that violence against women and children will not be tolerated.  Read More »

Breaking Report Exposes Sudan’s Hidden Economic Implosion

Date: 
Sep 17, 2014

Immediate Release: Enough Project
Contact: Greg Hittelman, +1 310 717-0606, gh@enoughproject.org

Breaking Report Exposes Sudan’s Hidden Economic Implosion

“A foundation eaten away by twin termites of corruption and excessive security spending”

September 17, 2014 --- The Sudanese economy faces serious economic vulnerabilities that have been hidden by the government and whitewashed by the IMF and World Bank, reveals a breaking report published today by the Enough Project, “Watching the Bubble Burst: Political Implications of Sudan's Economic Implosion.”

The in-depth report by Eric Reeves, Senior Fellow at the Enough Project and Professor at Smith College, details the importance of targeted sanctions and presents a case for further punitive measures by the international community in response to war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Sudanese government.

Eric Reeves, author of the report, said: "What is clear is the importance of sanctions that target those most culpable in destruction and suffering that have been concealed for years. Targeted sanctions directed at al-Bashir and his cohort of political cronies and culpable senior army officers would serve as a warning to others complicit in atrocity crimes, weaken these men politically, and strip them of assets that belong to the people of Sudan.”

"Effective targeted sanctions will require the commitment of significant financial and forensic resources,” said Dr. Reeves. “But without the cooperation of the Europeans and enhanced efforts by the United States, the brutal men in Khartoum will continue to enjoy their dwindling days of tyranny."

John Prendergast, Founding Director of the Enough Project, said: “Dr. Reeves’ report scratches beneath the surface of IMF and World Bank reports on the Sudanese economy, revealing a foundation eaten away by the twin termites of corruption and excessive security spending.”

"Eric Reeves has been a powerful voice for years in support of more robust action to counter the atrocities committed by the Khartoum government,” said Prendergast. “We hope this work can inspire a greater commitment by the United States and the broader international community to sustainable peace and human rights in Sudan.”

“Watching the Bubble Burst” launches two Enough Project initiatives: an Enough Forum where expert commentary will be solicited on key issues related to the Horn, East and Central Africa, and a series of reports and investigations into the economic roots of conflict and crisis in Sudan and South Sudan.

Link to the full report “Watching the Bubble Burst: Political Implications of Sudan's Economic Implosion”: http://eno.ug/1maCY89

For media inquiries and to arrange an interview with the report author, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717-0606, gh@enoughproject.org

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Presented by the Enough Project, the Enough Forum is a platform for dynamic discourse engaging critical issues, challenges and questions among thought leaders, field researchers and policy experts.

The Enough Project is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, South Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough conducts intensive field research, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to empower citizens and groups working for change. To learn more: www.enoughproject.org.

New UN Envoy to Great Lakes Region is Very Promising

UN Photo/Evan Schneider

On July 17th, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon announced the appointment of senior Algerian diplomat Ambassador Said Djinnit as Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region of Africa. With international attention on Congo at a peak, Amb. Djinnit, in cooperation with his colleagues working in the Great Lakes region, African political leaders, and civil society groups, must harness this opportunity and lay the groundwork for a sustainable peace to take root.  Read More »

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