Iran threatens EU with sanctions

Iran has threatened to hit back at EU sanctions with its own embargo. The move would pre-empt the EU ban on oil imports due to take effect in July and would hit struggling EU economies hard. Mohammad Karim Abedi, a member of Iran’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said a ban may last up to 15 years. "We will change the threat into an opportunity for Iran and cut Iran's oil supplies to the Europeans for five to 15 years," Abedi was quoted as saying by Fars news agency on Sunday. "We will not leave enemies' sanctions unanswered and we will impose other sanctions on them in...

Norway apologises for WW2 deportation of Jews

The prime minister of Norway has apologised for the arrest and deportation of Jews to Germany in 1942. Speaking at a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony in Oslo on Friday, prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg conveyed the nation's "deep regrets that this could have happened on Norwegian soil". During 1942, Norway deported 772 Jews to Germany. Only 34 survived.

UN remembers Holocaust victims

A special session was held at the UN on the 27th January, Holocaust Remembrance Day, or International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. Speaking at the event, the UN secretary general, Ban Ki Moon said, "Today, as we remember all those lost during the Holocaust, young and old alike, I call on all nations to protect the most vulnerable – regardless of race, color, gender or religious belief." "Children are uniquely vulnerable to the worst of humankind. We must assure them the best this world has to offer." Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,...

Gaddafi forces tortured by militias

Rights groups in Libya have claimed that torture of suspected Gaddafi loyalists by Libyan militias is widespread. Medicins San Frontiers, a medical charity, has ceased all operations in the country after it was asked to treat torture victims, sometimes between instances of torture. "Some officials have sought to exploit and obstruct MSF's medical work," says MSF General Director Christopher Stokes. "Patients were brought to us for medical care between interrogation sessions, so that they would be fit for further interrogation. This is unacceptable. Our role is to provide medical care to war...

Secession calls re-emerge from South Yemen

Calls for the secession of South Yemen have resurfaced and are on the increase as Yemen's political unrest continues. Graffiti calling for secession, such as "Freedom for South. Aden Get Up", is cropping up across the south, along side prominent displays of the old flag of South Yemen. The Yemeni security forces have attempted to crack down on such calls since the 1990 pact that unified the North and South. A former general in South Yemen's army and leading members of the current secessionist movement, Nasser Al Tawil, said, “We are becoming stronger and stronger because of the political...

Former Guatemalan leader to face Genocide charges

Guatemala’s former dictator, Efrain Rios Montt, has been charged with genocide and crimes against humanity by Judge Carol Patricia Flores on Thursday. Rios Montt ruled the country in 1982-83, after a military coup. A 36 -year civil war with leftist guerrillas, which ended in 1996, cost more than 200,000 lives, of which 93% were caused by state and paramilitary forces, according to a UN report. The former dictator is accused of being involved in the deaths of over 1,700 and the displacement of 29,000 indigenous Guatemalans during his reign. The forces under his command are accused of wiping...

Kenyan ministers must stand trial for war crimes rules ICC

Two presidential candidates for the 2013 elections, must face trial for war crimes committed after the marred election of 2007, ruled the International Criminal Court on Monday. Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya's finance minister and the country's highest ranking individual on the Forbes' rich list, is alleged to have ordered the militia to commits acts of murder and rape, along side William Ruto, former education minister. At least 1220 civilians were killed during the post-election violence.

Ex-Guatemalan military leader summoned, as immunity ends

The former military leader of the Guatemalan army, Efrain Rios Montt, has been summoned to appear before a Guatemalan court on Thursday as the first step towards facing genocide charges for his role during the massacres committed by the army in the Mayan highlands during 1982-1983. General Rios Montt, now 85 and elected into Congress in 2000, was so far shielded from prosecution. However, that immunity ended earlier this month as his term in office expired. An UN-backed commission deemed that over 200,000 people were killed or disappeared during the 36-year civil war. General Rios Montt is...

US Marine spared jail in plea bargain

The only US Marine convicted in the killing of 24 unarmed civilians in the Iraqi city of Haditha in 2005, will face no jail time after pleading guilty to a dereliction of duty. Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich’s plea bargain ends the largest and longest running criminal case against US troops to have come out of the Iraq war. Wuterich now faces a maximum of three months confinement and a demotion in rank to Private. A two-thirds cut in pay was not enforced, as Wuterich, who is divorced, had sole custody of his three daughters. The decision has caused outrage in Iraq where residents slammed it as “an...

France passes Armenian genocide bill, sparking Turkish anger

The French Senate has passed a bill criminalising the denial of the Armenian genocide of 1915, a day which Armenia has hailed as “written in gold” and left Turkey threatening “total rupture”. Whilst hundreds of Turks demonstrated against the bill outside the French parliament, the Senate passed the legislation with 127 votes to 86. The bill means that denial of genocide could lead to a one-year imprisonment and a charge of up to 45,000 Euros in fines. The bill does not make specific references to the Armenian killings, but apart from the Holocaust, for which France already specifically denies, this is the only other recognised genocide. Turkey has reacted angrily to the bill with the Foreign Ministry stating , "Turkey is committed to taking all the necessary steps against this unjust disposition which reduces basic human values and public conscience to nothing." The Turkish ambassador in Paris, Tahsin Burcuoglu, also commented that the move would lead to “total rapture” between the two nations, saying, "When I say total rupture I include things like I can leave definitively." "You can also expect that now diplomatic relations will be at the level of charges d'affaires not ambassadors anymore." Charge d'affaires is the lowest rank of diplomatic representative under the Vienna conventions. Armenians though have praised the bill, with Armenia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edward Nalbandian saying , "This day will be written in gold not only in the history of friendship between the Armenian and French peoples, but also in the annals of the history of the protection of human rights." About 500,000 French citizens claim Armenian descent, the largest such population in Europe.

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