Biden faces calls to lift Trump's controversial ICC sanctions

Excerpt of Al-Monitor article that quotes GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan.

Biden has so far rejoined the World Health Organization, reentered the Paris Agreement on climate change and announced it would “reengage” with the UN Human Rights Council before seeking full membership later this year. In a Wednesday address outlining the Biden administration’s foreign policy strategy, Blinken committed the United States to leading with diplomacy.

“Issuing sanctions against an independent prosecutor elected through the multilateral system isn't exactly a diplomatic maneuver,” said Akila Radhakrishnan, president of the New York-based Global Justice Center. “While the Biden administration may disagree with some of the decisions that are being made by the prosecutor on the court, it’s not in line with their own professed values around human rights, around accountability, to take measures against an independent prosecutor."

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Myanmar's UN ambassador defies military to plead for immediate global action to overturn coup

Excerpt of CNN article that quotes GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan.

The world should applaud the bravery of Representative Kyaw Moe Tun for delivering such a powerful statement on behalf of the people of Myanmar, not the illegitimate military junta," Akila Radhakrishnan, president of the Global Justice Center, said in a statement Friday.

"The international community must reward such courage by taking up his call for immediate, decisive action to hold the military accountable."

Myanmar descended into unrest when the coup ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

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The International Criminal Court Still Has Work to Do on Gender-Based Crimes

Excerpt of Ms. Magazine op-ed from GJC Staff Attorney Danielle Hites.

The International Criminal Court recently convicted Dominic Ongwen, a former commander in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Notably, this was both the first conviction for forced pregnancy in the court’s history and only the second standing conviction for any sexual and gender-based crimes. While the case establishes a roadmap for the incoming prosecutor of the court to effectively charge and prosecute sexual and gender-based crimes, it also reinforces the unduly burdensome standards applied to reproductive violence.

Ongwen’s case involves the systemic abduction of girls and young women in Northern Uganda, who were awarded like chattel to LRA soldiers. In addition to forced pregnancy, the court charged Ongwen with rape, sexual slavery, forced marriage, enslavement, torture and outrages on personal dignity. Critically, it charged forced pregnancy as a crime against humanity and rape as a war crime.

In the nearly 20 years since the International Criminal Court was established, violence targeting individuals for their perceived responsibility for reproduction—typically cisgender women and girls—has been an integral tool in nearly every mass atrocity. The absence of charges, prosecutions, and convictions for these gender-based crimes up until this point demonstrates the need for greater gender expertise at all stages of cases.

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What Myanmar's coup means for the future of Rohingya Muslims

Excerpt of The New Arab article that quotes GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan.

For now, UN-backed efforts to repatriate Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar have stalled, with rights groups forewarning an increased danger for them.

"A necessary condition for safe and voluntary return has been holding the military accountable," says Akila Radhakrishnan, president of international human rights organisation Global Justice Center.

"Senior General Min Aung Hlaing - one of the main architects of the genocide against the Rohingya - is now in power, so I think it's really hard to imagine how there can be any safe repatriation to Myanmar. A risk of atrocities is certainly heightened."

Radhakrishnan says the lack of accountability of the military throughout more than 50 years of rule is to blame for the fragility of the country's democracy.

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Myanmar coup: How will the military takeover affect Rohingya genocide trial?

Excerpt of The Independent article that quotes GJC Legal Director Grant Shubin.

While experts believe the coup d’état will have little effect on the outcome of the trial itself, it could significantly change how Myanmar responds to proceedings at the UN’s highest court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Netherlands.

“From the court’s perspective, nothing changes,” Grant Shubin, legal director at the Global Justice Center, told The Independent. But he said the coup could change how the military government defends itself against the charge of genocide and affect how it is represented in The Hague.

Myanmar is accused of committing widespread and systematic atrocities against the Rohingya during a “clearance” campaign launched in August 2017, which thousands were killed and raped and more than 730,000 forced to flee to the world’s largest refugee camp across the border in Bangladesh.

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British Human Rights Lawyer to Be Next ICC Chief Prosecutor

Excerpt of Voice of America article that quotes GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan.

The court was established in 1998 and began hearing cases in 2002, after 60 countries had ratified the Rome Statute. Today, 123 nations are members.

“We welcome the election of Karim Khan as the next ICC prosecutor and look forward to working with him to deliver justice to victims of international crimes, including survivors of sexual and gender-based violence,” said Akila Radhakrishnan, president of the Global Justice Center. “Prosecutor Bensouda has taken important steps to center a gender perspective and approach to the work of the prosecutor’s office, and we hope that Prosecutor Khan will continue to build on this legacy.”

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U.N. calls for democracy in Myanmar following military coup

Excerpt of UPI article that quotes GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan.

"This is not how the Security Council runs its day-to-day work, nor will it be conducive to the solidarity of and mutual trust between Security Council members," he said.

Akila Radhakrishnan, president of the Global Justice Center, said the Security Council statement provided "some relief" following the negotiations but that it will be meaningful if not "followed by formal action."

"It is crucial the council listens to communities most at risk in Myanmar, who have been clear from the beginning that targeted sanctions on the military and military-owned companies, an arms embargo and efforts to hold the military accountable are the concrete actions that international community must take to address this emergency," Radhakrishnan said in a statement on Thursday.

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The Biden Administration’s Moves to Protect Abortion are Good, Just Not Good Enough

Excerpt of Women's Media Center op-ed by GJC Special Counsel Michelle Onello.

On January 28, the Biden administration issued a much-anticipated Presidential Memorandum “protecting women’s health at home and abroad” that reversed four anti-abortion policies adopted under the Trump administration. While this move undoes some of the harm done to reproductive rights over the last four years, it falls far short of being the “bold and proactive” policy package demanded by reproductive rights activists.

This failure will be felt as more conservative state legislatures pursue anti-abortion measures and the Supreme Court — made significantly more conservative by President Trump — is likely to hear cases in the near future that could provide an opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade. It also highlights a sense of urgency — we may have only two years of a Democratically-controlled White House and Congress to secure lasting progress on abortion rights.

During the 2020 election, then-candidate Biden issued a detailed Agenda for Womenthat recognized a “woman’s constitutional right under Roe v. Wade” and pledged to take action against attempts to violate this right.

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Myanmar lodges objections in Rohingya genocide case

Excerpt of Al Jazeera article that quotes a GJC factsheet.

This week’s coup could bring further complications, with the military that orchestrated the crackdown once again in control and the country’s elected civilian leaders in detention.

“In principle the coup has no direct impact on the ICJ case,” international rights group Global Justice Center said in a statement. “For the ICJ’s own purposes, it is the state of Myanmar, however constructed, that is the subject of this case and changes in political leadership have no bearing. The coup does however, raise other questions, including whether a military-led government will continue to engage with and defend the case, as well as how the Court will view compliance with the provisional measures orders.”

In January last year, the court told Myanmar to take provisional measures to “protect against further, irreparable harm to the rights of the Rohingya group under the Genocide Convention” and ordered the country to report on the situation every six months.

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UN Security Council Finds Rare Unity in Criticizing Myanmar Coup

Excerpt of Bloomberg article that quotes GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan.

China’s diplomats sought to strike a balance by supporting the Security Council statement while issuing a separate statement noting that China is a “friendly neighbor” of Myanmar and highlighting that the council is calling for “dialogue and reconciliation in accordance with the will and interests of the people of Myanmar.”

“It is some relief for the people of Myanmar that the UN Security Council finally took action today by agreeing on a statement concerning the military coup,” Akila Radhakrishnan, president of the New York-based Global Justice Center, said in a statement. “But thanks to recent, historic levels of gridlock on the Council, the bar has been set far too low. If this statement is not followed by formal action, it is meaningless.”

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UN Security Council fails to condemn Myanmar coup

Excerpt of Al Jazeera article that quotes GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan.

Human rights groups condemned the failure of the council to take swift action.

“No one should be surprised that the world’s body for maintaining international peace and security failed to issue a statement condemning a brazen military coup,” Akila Radhakrishnan, the president of the Global Justice Center said in a statement urging world leaders to take action including selected sanctions, arms embargoes and economic divestment to “disempower” the military.

“The time has passed for failed strategies promoting ‘stability’ and quiet diplomacy over accountability and justice,” she said. “The military has destabilized the country irreparably. It’s now on the international community to stem the tide of military violence and impunity before it’s too late.”

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What does Myanmar's military coup mean for the persecuted Rohingya?

Excerpt of ABC News Australia article that quotes GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan.

There are 135 ethnic groups in Myanmar, including the Rohingya, Karen, Rakhine, Shan and Chin peoples. Recent clashes in Karen state have led to 4,000 being displaced since December.

"It's quite likely that this will be utilised as a convenient excuse by the military to extend their state of emergency," Akila Radhakrishnan, president of the Global Justice Center, told the ABC.

"The military has only committed to ceasefires and peace when it is in their interests, and there is little to no trust between many of the ethnic armed groups and the military."

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Biden threatens sanctions after Myanmar military coup

Excerpt of Al Jazeera article that quotes GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan.

Human rights groups said the international community needed to recognise the shortcomings of their engagement during Myanmar’s democratic transition and take tougher steps to rein in the military.

“The Tatmadaw has exposed the vast vulnerabilities of Myanmar’s democratic institutions by staging this brazen coup,” Akila Radhakrishnan, the president of the Global Justice Center.

“Given the history of military rule, the risk of ensuing violence and atrocities is greater than any moment in recent memory. We can’t ignore the repeated failure of the international community to take concerted action to curb military power and hold it accountable for its constant human rights abuses, including its genocidal campaign against the Rohingya.”

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U.N. envoy urges Security Council to unite in support of Myanmar democracy

Excerpt of UPI article that quotes GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan.

Akila Radhakrishnan, president of the Global Justice Center, an international human rights law organization, chastized the council for failing to agree on a statement.

"The council's paralysis on Myanmar is unacceptable and must be dismantled," she said in an emailed statement, while calling on world leaders to take independent action.

"Targeted sanctions, arms embargoes and economic divestment are just some actions that must be considered" she said. "The time has passed for failed strategies promoting 'stability' and quiet diplomacy over accountability and justice."

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Rohingya case may face delay at The Hague

Excerpt of Anadolu Agency article that quotes GJC factsheet.

A final decision at the UN’s top court in the legal battle against Myanmar for the alleged genocide of Rohingya Muslims could be delayed, as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is first set to rule on objections filed by Myanmar.

A legal summary prepared by the New York-based Global Justice Center, shared with Anadolu Agency, stated that Myanmar has raised objections over whether the western African country of Gambia was eligible to file the November 2019 case alleging that Myanmar’s atrocities against the Rohingya in Rakhine state violate the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

“The ICJ’s final ruling on whether Myanmar violated the Genocide Convention, and what reparations are therefore necessary, will be delayed by the time it takes for the court to hear arguments and decide on the preliminary objections, a delay of likely at least a year,” the center said.

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Pompeo says China's policies on Muslims amount to 'genocide'

Excerpt of Associated Press article that quotes GJC Legal Director Grant Shubin.

Human rights groups, which have been generally critical of Trump administration policies, welcomed the move, which Pompeo said was taken with an eye toward the U.S. role in prosecuting Nazi war crimes during WWII at the Nuremberg trials.

“We hope to see the U.S. follow these strong words with decisive action,” said Grant Shubin of the Global Justice Center. “Where there is a risk of genocide, there is a duty to act. Moving forward, this designation should inform the entirety of U.S. foreign policy and we hope to hear more from the incoming Biden administration on how it plans to follow through on this historic announcement.”

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Pompeo labels China's treatment of Uighurs 'genocide'

Excerpt of The Hill article that quotes GJC Legal Director Grant Shubin.

The Global Justice Center, an international human rights and humanitarian law organization, said the U.S. is right to label atrocities in Xianjing as genocide, but raised concerns that Pompeo’s move is weakened by political considerations.

“The United States is right to bring the brutal, years-long repression of the Uighurs within the framework of genocide. What’s more, it correctly cited gendered crimes of biological destruction like forced sterilization and birth control. However, the human rights community should be alarmed at reports that this decision was motivated by policy goals instead of a legal obligation to prevent and punish genocide,” Grant Shubin, legal director of the Global Justice Center, said in a statement.

“Our legal and moral duty to combat genocide should inform our policy goals, not the other way around. The US should be applauded for taking action to prevent the destruction of the Uighurs and we hope other nations join them. But we must see fighting genocide as a cause for humanity rather than a geopolitical wedge," Shubin continued.

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Rescinding the Global Gag Rule Isn’t Enough

Excerpt of Foreign Policy op-ed by GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan and CHANGE President Serra Sippel.

Over the past four years, outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump has abandoned even the pretense of a foreign policy grounded in respect for women’s rights and reproductive rights. Perhaps the clearest example was Trump’s unprecedented expansion of the global gag rule, or the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy (formerly known as the Mexico City policy). The global gag rule blocks U.S. funding for foreign organizations that provide any services, referrals, or even information for legal abortions, or that advocate for changes to abortion laws in their country. First implemented by the Reagan administration in 1984, the policy has been enforced during all subsequent Republican administrations. Before Trump reinstated it, it applied only to family planning funding. But since 2017, it has been extended to all global health funding.

Today, the gag rule places restrictions on $8 billion of U.S. global health funding, and it’s had grave consequences for women worldwide: As a direct result of the policy’s design to cut funding to healthcare providers, it has led to more maternal deaths and unsafe abortions, a rise in HIV and AIDS, and the breakdown of civil society coalitions and partnerships, such as Marie Stopes International.

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The Great Regression

Excerpt of International Bar Association article that quotes GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan.

Further, President Trump was successful in securing a 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court for decades to come by appointing Justice Amy Coney Barrett after the death of the Court’s stalwart defender of women’s rights, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Akila Radhakrishnan, President of the Global Justice Center, is concerned that such a politically biased Supreme Court could spell disaster for many rights that were already on tenterhooks. ‘The Supreme Court doesn’t look like it’s going to stand up for women’s rights anymore. And that’s terrifying,’ she says.

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