Pakistan refuses to hand over former ISI chief to war crimes tribunal

Islamabad has refused to hand over the former head of the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, to an international tribunal investigating war crimes in Bosnia. Javed Nasir, a retired Lieutenant General, has been accused by The Hague of supporting Bosnian Muslim fighters, despite a UN embargo at the time, and has demanded his custody. Official sources told the Express Tribune that Pakistan has rejected the demand on medical grounds, saying that the former general had “lost his memory” after a road accident and would be unable to face investigations on the matter. Nasir apparently...

World welcomes the new Libya

Libya's new flag at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York (Photo: AFP) Libya’s interim leaders were welcomed by leaders from around the world, while the new flag of Libya flew outside the headquarters of the United Nations in New York for the first time. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed interim President and Gaddafi’s former justice minister Mustafa Abdel Jalil and insisted the UN Security Council was forced to act to prevent massacres on Libyan civilians. "Today, we must once again respond with such speed and decisive action -- this time to consolidate peace and democracy” said Ban Ki-Moon, signalling that the mission will not be completed until stability and security has been brought to the country. He also commended the Libyan rebels on their bravery in standing up to the Gaddafi regime. “For the past seven months, you have fought courageously for your fundamental rights and freedoms," he told Jalil.

Advancing U.S. Interests at the United Nations

The White House has released a document outlining US policy at the United Nations. The Obama Administration hails the current “era of engagement” as successful in advancing US foreign policy objectives. The US claims “concrete results” at the UN are due to US leadership, including the stiffest sanctions against Iran and North Korea, the mandate to intervene in Libya, the independence of South Sudan and initial progress in “improving the flawed UN Human Rights Council”.

Syrian opposition unites as Russian delegates visit

Opponents to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have united to form a national council, as Russian lawmakers visited the country to help defuse the ongoing crisis. An 80-member central council was elected on Saturday, with a quarter deemed “young revolutionaries”, as various opposition groups unified in their aim to oust President Assad. The council saw a wide range of groups negotiate and come together, including Arab and Kurd nationalists, as well as liberal opposition members and the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. The move comes as a delegation of Russian MPs came to the country hoping to meet with both the President and the opposition, in order to broker talks. Russia, a long-time ally of Syria, has been criticized for obstructing any Security Council resolutions that have sought to condemn the current regime’s behaviour. Previously, French Foreign Minister, Alain Juppe, accused the Syrian government of crimes against humanity and urged Russia to join them in passing sanctions against the Syrian regime. Juppe told reporters that, " The Syrian regime has committed crimes against humanity … The way it suppressed the popular protests is unacceptable.” He went on to say that “there should be international sanctions” which would send “a powerful signal that such actions cannot continue ". "I hope Russia will back us in the Security Council even if our positions do not yet fully agree." Meanwhile Ilyas Uumakhanov, vice president of the Russian upper house said , "Russia cares about the fate of the Syrian people. That's why we want to find a way to stop a negative scenario developing." "We intend to assess the situation, lead the consultations with the different political forces." Strong sanctions have been put in place against Syria by the EU and US, while the Arab League has also joined the criticism of President Assad’s regime.

Rwandan rebel leader at The Hague for war crimes

A former Rwandan leader of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebel group has been brought before the ICC to face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Callixte Mbarushimana, the executive secretary of the FDLR faces 13 charges, including those for rape, murder and torture committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2009. 48 year-old Mbarushimana was arrested in Paris last year, and is accused of being the “linchpin” of the Hutu group. Deputy Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that Mbarushimana had “represented the respectable public face of the FDLR," but...

NTC denies accusations of war crimes

Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) has denied accusation it is targeting black immigrants and dark-skinned Libyans in its hunt for Gaddafi loyalists. Gaddafi is thought to have hired mercenaries from Sub-Saharan countries, including Mali, Niger, Chad and Sudan to fight the Libyan rebels. The rebels have been accused of committing war crimes, after summary arrests and executions of black migrants and Libyans were detailed in a report by Amnesty International. 'Members and supporters of the opposition, loosely structured under the leadership of the National Transitional Council (NTC),...

France slams UN for silence on Syria

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe has spoken out against the UN Security Council for failing to take a strong stand on the ongoing unrest in Syria. Speaking to the Council of Foreign Relations in New York, Juppe said , " Crimes against humanity are being committed in Syria and the leaders of the regime will have to answer for them. The silence of the Security Council is unacceptable. ” His statement comes as Russia, a long-standing ally of Syrian President Assad, has sent a delegation of lawmakers to the country to try and broker talks between the opposing sides. See our earlier posts:...

Cluster bomb companies ejected from London arms fair

Two Pakistani companies have been expelled from the 2011 Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) in London, after it was found that they were promoting the use of cluster munitions. Cluster bombs have been banned by the UK since the ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions treaty in 2008, which has been signed by over 100 countries. The DSEI stated that, "(We) can confirm that the Pakistan Ordnance Factory stand and Pakistan's Defence Export Promotion Organisation pavilion have both been permanently shut down after promotional material was found … containing...

Britain amends universal jurisdiction law

Britain has amended a law that allowed ordinary citizens to press charges against suspected foreign war criminals or torturers. Under universal jurisdiction, British courts were able to prosecute foreign citizens accused of war crimes or crimes against humanity, although the crimes were committed in another country. The principle of the law is rooted in the belief that certain crimes — such as genocide, hostage-taking and torture — are so serious that they must be addressed wherever a suspect can be detained. The amendment, passed by the Queen on Thursday, has made it more difficult for...

Dutch state responsible for 1947 Indonesian massacre

A court in the Netherlands has ruled that the Dutch state is responsible for a massacre in Indonesia committed by its troops in 1947. The Hague court had decided that the Dutch state was liable for compensation to be paid to relatives of victims despite the act having taken place more than 60 years ago. The massacre took place in the Java village of Rawagede, where an estimated 150-400 men and boys were shot dead by Dutch troops. The events took place as Indonesia fought for independence from colonial rule, which was recognized in 1949. Speaking from The Hague on Wednesday, Judge Daphne...

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