Friday, 6 February 2015


Ireland will only get justice at the International Criminal Court - brionOcleirigh

An Conradh Ceilteach

Maghaberry: League Call for International Inquiry
The Celtic League has written to David Ford MLA, Minister for Justice, expressing concerns about recent disturbances at Maghaberry Prison.
The League point out that in the past they have raised concerns about the prison which was the subject of a critical report from the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment.
The League also stress that they have previously accepted assurances that the Office of the Minister for Justice was serious about dealings with concerns and that prisoners rights would be respected and complaints addressed.
However repeated concerns which have been raised have not been resolved by the plethora of domestic agencies charged with this role. Therefore the Celtic League has indicated that the time for an independent external body to address matters at the jail has arrived. We have suggested the UN OHCHR, Special Rapporteur, Juan Mendez, and also the Council of Europe CPT (which has previously visited the prison) as suitable independent agencies.
We trust that the Office of the Minister for Justice will consider these options. In any case the Celtic League will be writing to both bodies to raise our concerns.
The letter to Minister Ford is set out below:
“Mr. David Ford MLA
Minister of Justice
Block B
Castle Buildings
Stormont Estate
Northern Ireland
3rd February 2015
Dear Minister,
I write to express our concerns over recent events at Maghaberry Prison.
The Prison has been the focus of increasing discontent and I understand that republican support groups outside the prison allege the prisoners rights are being abused, they are denied access to family (visits) and attacks on inmates by prison security staff are also alleged.
I understand that today your Office issued a statement rejecting claims that a prisoner had not been ‘seriously’ injured. The qualification begs the question have prisoners been ‘injured’ during the recent difficulties at the prison and what independent assessment has taken place?
You will of course be aware that Maghaberry was the subject of concerns from the Committee for the Prevention of Torture in when it issued a report on a visit to various custody facilities in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland in 2009.
Following that report in April 2010 we raised concerns about the situation with the NIO Minister Responsible for Prisons, Paul Goggins, MP, and assurances that matters would be improved were given.
We then corresponded with your Office in August 2010 and we welcomed the assurances you gave at that time that you were
“serious…about protecting the rights and needs of all prisoners within the Northern Ireland prison estate”.
We subsequently raised issues relating to conditions surrounding the circumstances of a person detained at the Prison once again with your Office in July 2011.
In reply to that concern you responded (final paragraph) by setting out in some detail the avenues that were available for prisoners to use to resolve grievances. I quote:
“As you will be aware, the Northern Ireland Prison Service is subject to oversight by a wide range of independent bodies, including the Criminal Justice Inspectorate for Northern Ireland, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons, the Independent Monitoring Board and the Prisoner Ombudsman for Northern Ireland. Should ………… have any concerns with regard to the conditions of …. imprisonment …. also has recourse to a confidential complaints system and to the Prisoner Ombudsman.
Minister of Justice”
Plainly if (as you outlined) there are multiple avenues to utilise to resolve grievances and yet discontent and disturbance continue within the Prison that there is clearly a lack of confidence in, or a failure of effectiveness by, the bodies you mention.
I would respectfully suggest that some independent international agency with a track record of investigating such matters be asked to intervene before matters deteriorate further.
Two such bodies are the United Nations, via the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and their Special Rapporteur, Juan Mendez, part of whose mission is to ‘undertake fact finding missions’, in addition there is the Council of Europe CPT who have already reported (see above) on the Prison and therefore are familiar with the situation there.
I will be copying this letter to both agencies and urging them to consider inquiring into the ongoing discontent at Maghaberry.
Yours sincerely,
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League”
Related link:
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)
The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues
Internet site at:


Palestinians to become ICC member from April 1, UN confirms

Published time: January 07, 2015 10:36
Edited time: January 08, 2015 18:22

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (Reuters / Enrique Castro-Mendivil)
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (Reuters / Enrique Castro-Mendivil)
Palestine will join the International Criminal Court on April 1, announced UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday. The Palestinians will be able to sue Israel for war crimes, a move the Israeli administration has consistently opposed for decades.
The UN treaty website says that due to the court's procedures “the statute will enter into force for the State of Palestine on April 1, 2015.”
Along with the ICC application, the UN chief approved other sets of documents, enabling Palestine to join 16 international agreements, conventions and treaties.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed the ICC application documents on the last day of 2014, following the UN Security Council’s resolution on December 30, which rejected Palestine’s official bid for statehood, a document vetoed by the US in support of Israel.
The Palestinian delegation submitted its ICC application on January 2.
Israel’s immediate reaction was negative.
“We will not let Israel Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers and officers be dragged to the International Criminal Court in The Hague,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting, AFP reported.
Israeli Prime Minister and leader of the ruling rightwing Likud party, Benjamin Netanyahu (AFP Photo / Jack Guez)
Israeli Prime Minister and leader of the ruling rightwing Likud party, Benjamin Netanyahu (AFP Photo / Jack Guez)

The Israeli administration immediately applied financial pressure on the Palestinian Authority, freezing the transfer of half a billion shekels (over $127 million) in monthly tax revenues it collected on behalf of the Palestinians.
The US joined the financial pressure on the Palestinian Authority on Monday, when the Obama administration announced a review of America’s annual $440 million aid package to the Palestinians. As AP pointed out, once the Palestinian Authority apply any case against Israel to the International Criminal Court, US financial help to Palestine will cease immediately under American law.
Joining the ICC will give the Palestinian Authority new and powerful leverage to make Israel more compliant regarding withdrawal from the occupied territories.
International Criminal Court's building (ICC) in The Hague (AFP Photo / Vincent Jannink)
International Criminal Court's building (ICC) in The Hague (AFP Photo / Vincent Jannink)

In anticipation of the ICC bid last week, Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour announced the Palestinians will prosecute Israel for crimes committed during the war in Gaza last summer. According to Mansour, Palestinians will also sue Israel for constructing settlements on the occupied Palestinian territory.
In late 2014, the Palestine stepped up its efforts to gain international recognition as a sovereign state. It came following the failure of the latest round of US-brokered peace talks with Israel, which was initiated after the bloody 50-day armed conflict in Gaza that left some 2,120 Palestinians and 68 Israelis dead.
Unlike before, this time around the aspirations of the Palestinians have found much wider international support, as many countries have openly spoken in favor of creating a sovereign Palestinian state.

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