Secret archives aid further war crimes prosecution in Guatemala

Official archives unearthed years after the end of civil war in Guatemala are aiding the prosecution of war crimes suspects , including senior military officials. The evidence found within the archives is reported to be sufficient enough to start new cases, bringing yet more perpetrators to trial, even now. The archives, housed in a maze of dark rooms in a disused building, being used to store munitions, were found accidentally in 2005. Since then, the records have been digitally scanned and backed up on secure servers ourside the country by human rights groups, in order to push through...

Ahmadinejad summoned by Iranian MPs

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been summoned for questioning by members of Parliament, marking the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that that a President has been summoned. Ahmadinjead’s opponents and MPs have been threatening to take similar steps for some time as Iran faces a sharp economic downturn and rise in inflation and international tension over its nuclear program. The President now has one month before he has to appear in Parliament, where he will face questioning from MPs. This means that he may appear after the country’s parliamentary elections, which are...

Human Rights groups welcome India change of stance on Syria

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have hailed India’s vote for a UN Security Council resolution calling for Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to step down. “By supporting this resolution, South Africa, India and Pakistan rose to the occasion and sided with the Syrian people” "India has seen through (Bashar) Assad's lies, and shown itself to be an independent world leader," Human Rights Watch said. India was criticised in 2009 for preventing a resolution condemning abuses committed during the armed conflict in Sri Lanka, which killed over 40,000 Tamils in a few months. The UN has...

US may push ahead with new Bahrain arms deal

After the US delayed its sale of $53 million worth of arms to Bahrain, it was announced last week that a new package of weapons may be sold, without public notification. The new package would include the sale of patrol boats, communications equipment, and spare parts for helicopters and fighter jets. The US has been accused of making use of a legal loophole, which states sales of under $1 million could be made, without congressional approval. This loophole also allows for multiple sales, all under $1million. Three Senators and 18 Representatives, all Democrats, signed a letter to Hillary...

Aung San Suu Kyi candidacy accepted for elections

The Burmese election commission has given Aung San Suu Kyi official approval allowing her to stand for parliamentary by-elections later this year. After announcing her intention to run for elections last month, her candidacy has now been accepted, in a move that will be seen as Burma taking another step towards political openness after nearly 50 years of military rule. The new civilian government which took office in March last year, has implemented steps which included releasing political prisoners, signing a ceasefire with rebels and easing censorship in the country. The moves lead to both...

UK and US recall diplomats from Syria

The UK and US have recalled ambassadors from Syria, further increasing pressure on the Assad regime. Britain's foreign secretary, William Hague, said in a statement Monday, "While we meet, the gravest of crimes are being committed in Syria. Responsibility for those crimes lies overwhelmingly at the door of the Syrian authorities ... We should unite behind the Arab League plan, and that is what I urge all members of the council to do, this week." "With each day that passes, finding a way back from the brink will be harder and innocent lives will be needlessly and wrongfully lost, deaths which...

Protesters in Moscow brave freezing conditions to demand political reform

Over 120,000 protesters, calling for political reform in Russia, marched through the streets of Moscow. Chanting "Russia without Putin" and "Putin leave", protesters braved temperatures as low as -18 degrees. The protest was the most recent in a string of protests over past few months expressing outrage at allegations of vote-rigging during the parliamentary poll in December.

France to push for further sanctions against Syria

France intends to push for further sanctions against the Assad regime, after Russia and China vetoed the UN Security Council resolution on Saturday. France's foreign minister, Alain Juppe, said, "The president will take initiatives in the next few days to try to gather everyone who thinks the situation in Syria is completely unacceptable," "It's a scandal what is happening today." "We will get together all countries that want to join us to put maximum pressure on Syria," "We will first help the Syrian opposition structure itself, strengthen European sanctions against the Syrian regime, raise...

UN Security Council set to vote on Syria

The United Nations Security Council is to vote on a resolution regarding Syria on Saturday, with all eyes on Russia, Syria’s strongest ally on the council. Russia initially rejected parts of the latest draft, but it remains unclear which way they will vote on Saturday, as hope remains that the resolution could still be passed. Pakistan’s U.N. Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon told reporters that the council was “very close… two words away" from an accord. Whilst the latest text does not explicitly mention sanctions, parts of the resolution are still opposed by Russia, including warnings of “...

Russia and China veto resolution on Syria

A UN Security Council resolution condemning Syria’s government for the violence it is committing against anti-regime protestors has been vetoed by Russia and China. The resolution called for President Bashar al-Assad to step down and a "Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, plural political system", a call first made by the Arab League. The resolution had already been watered-down, in anticipation of a Russian veto. There are no calls for sanctions and no military action would have been authorised. The other 13 members of the Security Council, including India and South Africa,...

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