Haitian lawyers condemn impunity for Sri Lankan soldiers

In a letter to the United Nations, the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN) severely condemned the lack of adequate inquiry and prosecution of Sri Lankan soldiers accused of systematically raping Haitians women and girls as young as 7, whilst posted as UN peacekeepers in 2007. Ezilo Dantò, HLLN president writes, “In 2007, it was discovered and reported that girls as young as 13 were having sex with U.N. peacekeepers for as little as $1 in Haiti.” “Moreover, Sri Lankan soldiers were accused of systematically raping Haitian women and girls, some as young as 7 years old .” “If only a dozen UN peacekeepers were punished for sexual abuse and rape, then that means, for instance, most of the 114 Sri Lankan soldiers deported back to Sri Lanka from Haiti in 2007 for sexual abuse and rape in Haiti did not get punished ,” “Humanitarian aid workers and UN peacekeepers accused of sexually abusing and sexual trafficking children in Haiti should have their names and their country’s identities exposed so that this matter may be cleaned up once and for all .” However, Brigadiear Nihal Hapuarachchi, spokesperson for the Sri Lankan Army is reported to have stated the matter is closed. A full inquiry was carried out and those soldiers who were found guilty were prosecuted he asserted.

Five killed as police fire on Dalit protestors in Tamil Nadu

Thousands protested Sunday against police detention of Dalit leader John Pandian. Photo L. Balachandar/ The Hindu Five people were killed Sunday in Tamil Nadu when police opened fire after an angry protest against the detention earlier of Dalit leader John Pandian turned violent. See reports by PTI , The Hindu and Times of India . Pandian was en route to attend a commemoration of the death anniversary of Dalit leader Immanuel Sekaran at Paramakudi in Ramanathapuram when he was detained by police, supposedly as his presence would ‘incite’ caste tensions. But the arrest did just that. Clashes...

Of two acts of protest against Israel

Anti-Israeli protesters disrupted the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, London, on Sep 2nd . And this week, the trial beganof ten students in the United States, who shouted down the Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren during a lecture at Univ of California Irvine in February 2010. The protesters in London began shouting and heckling the orchestra as the conducter, Zubin Mehta stood up to commence Bruch's violin concerto. Protesters, belonging to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, had called for a boycott of the concert. In a statement released ahead of the...

UN peacekeepers accused of sexual assault in Haiti

Five Uruguayan peacekeepers serving with the UN mission in Haiti are under investigation, after graphic mobile phone footage has emerged allegedly showing them sexually assaulting an 18-year-old Haitian man. The incident has been “vigorously condemned” by Haitian President Michel Martelly who described it as “an act that revolts the national conscience”. It has led to a formal apology from Uruguayan President Jose Mujica who said , "Although the damage is irreparable, have the certainty that we will investigate thoroughly and apply the harshest sanctions against those responsible." Former US...

Calls for prosecution of British soldiers in civil court

The Crown Prosecution Service is looking into findings of a report which found British soldiers guilty of a “very serious breach of discipline”, which caused the death of Basra hotel employee Baha Mousa. 26 year old Mousa was arrested by members of the 1st Battalion The Queen’s Lancashire regiment (QLR), along with 9 other Iraqis. After being detained Mousa was subjected to a prolonged period of abuse, while being deprived of sleep and food. A post-mortem found 93 injuries on his body and evidence of asphyxiation. He died 36 hours after being detained. Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the actions of the British soldiers and hinted at prosecution of individuals involved if further evidence emerges from the inquiry. "The British Army, as it does, should uphold the highest standards. If there is further evidence that comes out of this inquiry that requires action to be taken, it should be taken." During a court martial relating to the case in 2007 Cpl Donald Payne became the first British soldier convicted of a war crime . He was imprisoned for 1 year and dismissed from the army.

Syrian soldiers' trophy videos emerge

Videos of Syrian soldiers callously beating prisoners and laughing whilst snipers fire from rooftops have emerged. The videos, taken by soldiers on their phones, will no doubt provide evidence of government troops commiting human rights violations. The trend of predominantly government forces from aross the world creating trophy videos shows no signs of abating. See here . It appears implausible that the such a rise represents a worldwide moral decline, but instead, a brazen confidence in guaranteed impunity, coupled with technological availability. However, whilst some individuals were busy...

Sweden charges Serb with war crimes

A 34-year-old Serbian man has been charged by Swedish prosecutors with war crimes which took place during the Kosovo conflict in 1999. Milic Martinovic has been charged with murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, robbery and arson in the western village of Cuska in Kosovo. The prosecution has alleged that he was part of a special police unit of Serbs who marched into the village on the 14th of May 1999, armed and uniformed. They went on to separate the male villagers from other civilians and murdered 41 of them. The victims were all ethnic Albanians. Two survivors of the massacre will be...

France extradites Serb “Scorpion” war crimes suspect to Croatia

French authorities have extradited a Croatian Serb to Croatia, where he is currently being tried in absence for war crimes. Milorad Momic is being charged with the murder of one Croat civilian in the eastern town of Vukovar, torture of several others and is also suspected of taking part in the Srebenica massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys. The 47-year-old is accused of being a member of the notorious Serbian paramilitary unit, the “Scorpions”, which committed war crimes during the Croatian War of Independence from 1991-1995. Croatia’s declaration of independence from the former Yugoslavia...

Palestinians seek UN membership

President Mahmoud Abbas confirmed Monday, that the Palestian Authority are to seek UN membership for the state of Palestine at the UN General Assembly, beginning 20th September. Responding to accusations by Israeli and American officials that such a move is provacative and undermines peace negotiations, Abbas stressed that the two moves were not mutually exclusive and negotiations remained an absolute priority. “Our first, second and third priority is negotiations,” said Abbas. “There is no other way to solve this. No matter what happens at the United Nations, we have to return to...

Yugoslav Army General convicted of war crimes

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has sentenced General Momčilo Perišić to 27 years imprisonment for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The former Chief of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army, the most senior role in the Army, was found guilty of 12 of the 13 charges levelled against him. Amongst those he was on trial for, were charges for his role in the Srebinica massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys, as well as the 42-month long siege of Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital. General Perisic is the only senior Yugoslavian official to have been sentenced for his...

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