ICC prosecutor seeks probe of non-member Cote d’Ivoire

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has requested its judges to authorize an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Côte d’Ivoire following the presidential run-off held last November. If the judges grant the Prosecutor’s request, it will be the first time the ICC opens a case in a State that is not party to the Rome Statute , which set up the Court. See the UN News Centre’s report here . At least 3,000 persons were killed, 72 persons disappeared and 520 persons were subject to arbitrary arrest and detentions in Côte d’Ivoire during the...

China welcomes top Libya rebel

Officially, Beijing follows what it calls a policy of non-interference and neutrality in the domestic affairs of other nations. However, the top foreign affairs official in Libya's opposition has just arrived in China for talks with the Beijing government, the BBC reports . Mahmud Jibril is to be there for two days. Earlier this month, Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelati al-Obeidi also spent three days in Beijing, with China saying a ceasefire should be the "top priority" of both sides.

US confirms talking to Taliban

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has confirmed that the US is holding "outreach" talks with members of the Taliban in Afghanistan. "There's been outreach on the part of a number of countries, including the United States," Mr Gates told CNN, without naming other countries involved. See the BBC's report here . "I would say that these contacts are very preliminary. "My own view is that real reconciliation talks are not likely to be able to make any substantive headway until at least this winter." Mr. Gates, who will leave office at the end of the month, said the first step had been to ensure...

Genocide charges - thirty years on

Nearly thirty years after the end of Guatemala’s civil war, a former armed forces chief has finally been arrested on charges of genocide, forced disappearances and crimes against humanity. Retired general Hector Mario Lopez, 81, was detained in the capital, Guatemala City, on Friday, accused of being behind the killings of more than 300 indigenous Maya civilians from the Ixil region in 1982 and 1983. Lopez, the highest-ranking former official to be arrested for massacres in the 1980s, was allegedly involved in about 200 massacres committed while he was chief of staff of the Guatemalan...

Criticism of Formula One on aborted Bahrain race

Having cancelled the Formula One Grand Prix in Bahrain, where a vicious and bloody crackdown against anti-government protestors has been underway for months, the sports governing body last week reinstated the race for October. However, with several teams refusing to accept the rescheduling the race has again been cancelled, much to the chagrin of the Bahrain government. While the official reasons given by the teams are difficulties with logistics, and safety concerns, the backdrop of human rights abuses is inescapable. This is what one outspoken Formula One driver, Mark Webber, had to say on...

Germany recognises Libya's rebels

Germany has recognised Libya's rebels as "the legitimate representatives of the Libyan people", the BBC reports. "We want a free Libya, in peace and democracy without [Muammar] Gaddafi," Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in the rebel stronghold Benghazi. "The national council is the legitimate representative of the Libyan people." German opposition politicians, media commentators and foreign policy experts had sharply criticised the government for its position on Col Gaddafi, accusing it of failing to live up to its international obligations. Mr Westerwelle said in Benghazi that staying...

China supports Ban's bid for 2nd term

Ban Ki Moon received China's endorsement for his bid for a second term as UN Secretary General, giving a boost to his campaign. China's permanent representative to the UN, Li Baodong, speaking in New York, described Ban as a good candidate who had made significant contributions to international affairs, peace and development. " China supports Mr Ban Ki-Moon's bid for re-election, and hopes that he will gain the extensive support from all partie s" said Li. Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, has thus secured the backing of five veto-wielding members of the Security Council, namely,...

China meets Libyan rebels, after Russia u-turn on Gaddafi

China said Friday one of its envoys met with a Libyan rebel leader in what could signal Beijing's change of tactics on the conflict after staying on the sidelines and avoiding criticism of Libya's dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The meeting between the head of Libya's rebel council and China's ambassador to Qatar took place in the Qatari capital, Doha. It was Beijing's first known contact with the rebels. See the AP’s report here . China said in a statement that Beijing remained hopeful that Libyans themselves could find a political solution to the conflict. China abstained in the UN Security...

Bob Rae accepts Liberal Party's interim leadership

Canada’s Liberal Party, pushed into third place in recent elections, has appointed as interim leader Bob Rae. Rae was a prominent advocate of federalism who figured in the Norwegian-led peace process in Sri lanka between 2001 and 2006. In June 2009 he was denied entry and deported by Sri Lanka’s hardline regime, which was angered by Rae’s outspoken criticism of the mass killings of Tamil civilians in the preceding months. “ The world can't just sit back and let this death and destruction happen ,” Rae had said in April 2009 as Sri Lankan artillery continued to kill and wound hundreds of...

Sudan offensive sparks crisis, displaces 110,000

Thousands of residents have fled North Sudan’s offensive that captured the disputed Abyei region. As urgent talks began to try and defuse the situation, 110,000 people face a humanitarian crisis. Having occupied Abyei, Northern Sudan claimed that it had ceased military operations in the region. A column of northern Sudanese tanks and troops rolled into Abyei last week after weeks of hit-and-run clashes between northern and southern forces, sparking the worst crisis since South Sudanese overwhelming voted for independence. South Sudan is due to declare independence on July 19 after a...

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