Chad next to be referred to UN over Bashir

The International Criminal Court referred Chad to the UN Security Council on Wednesday over its failure to arrest Sudan's President, Omar al-Bashir for a second time. The referral comes 2 days after Malawi suffered a similar fate . A statement by the ICC read, “Today, the pre-trial chamber of the ICC decided that the Republic of Chad failed to cooperate with the court by not arresting and surrendering Omar al-Bashir during his visit to Chad on 7 and 8 August 2011,” “The chamber decided to refer the matter to both the United Nations Security Council and the Assembly of States Parties to the...

Genocide convict's jail sentence reduced

A former member of the Rwandan government during the genocide in 1994 has had his life sentence reduced to 35 years on appeal. Former Chief-of-Staff to the Defence Ministry, Theoneste Bagosora, was seen as one of the main organisers of the Tutsi genocide. He was sentenced to life by the UN-backed ICTR (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda) in 2008. His convictions for some of the charges, including ordering killings at roadblocks were quashed, however the charges of genocide and crimes against humanity were upheld. Baosgara was in charge of the soldiers that committed massacres during...

Pakistan denies talks with Taliban

Senior Pakistani officials have denied claims by a senior leader of the Pakistani Taliban that the government is engaged in talks with them. Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik dismissed the claims as ‘unfounded’. Mr Malik said no prisoners have been released and there will not be any talks with militant groups until they lay down arms and denounce violence.

Refer Syria to ICC - Navi Pillay

UN High Commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, once again urged the Security Council to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court for the state's brutal clamp down of anti-government protest. The UN estimates over 5000 people have been killed. Highlighting the systematic and widespread attack on civilians, Pillay asserted that the state's actions " constituted crimes against humanity ". Addressing a closed session of the UN Security Council on Monday, Pillay said, "I encouraged this Council (last August) to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court. Four months later...

Uzbekistan torture ignored by West – HRW

Human Rights Watch has criticised western governments for ignoring Uzbekistan’s human rights abuses in order to preserve relations with the country. Uzbekistan is a vital ally for NATO forces as it shares a border with Afghanistan and allows its country to be used as a transit point. HRW accused Uzbekistan of failing to keep promises it made to stop torture. "The west has to wake up to the fact that Uzbekistan is a pariah state with one of the worst human rights records," Steve Swerdlow, HRW's Uzbekistan researcher, said. "Being located next to Afghanistan should not give Uzbekistan a pass on...

US leaves Pakistan airbase within time limit

US forces have vacated the Shamsi airbase in south-west Pakistan within the time limit given by the Pakistani government. Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani told BBC Urdu, the air base is now under the control of the country's forces. The withdrawal was demanded by the government after last months NATO air strike, which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The airbase, which had been in use by the US since 2001, was utilised for surveillance of the tribal regions and staging drone attacks within Pakistan and Afghanistan. Read report by Pakistan's The News here .

Botswana hits out at lack of African co-operation with ICC

Botswana’s President Ian Khama spoke out against African leaders who have refused to fully co-operate with the International Criminal Court, calling it a “betrayal of the innocent and helpless victims”. In a keynote speech delivered at the ICC’s annual meeting, Khama objected directly to the African Union’s decision earlier this year, to oppose the arrest warrants issued for late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and other wanted heads of state. He told the meeting, "I specifically note with regret that at a recent summit held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, in June, 2011, the African Union formally decided not to cooperate with the ICC over the indictments and arrest warrants against some leaders," "This decision is a serious setback in the battle against impunity in Africa and undermines efforts to confront war crimes and crimes against humanity which are committed by some leaders on the continent." "Such a move also places Africa on the wrong side of history. It is a betrayal of the innocent and helpless victims of such crimes." "We need to have the political will and the moral courage to hold accountable, without fear or favour, anyone in authority -- including a sitting head of state -- when he or she is suspected of having committed crimes against innocent people." He spoke as the ICC announced that Fatou Bensouda, the current deputy prosecutor of the ICC and a former justice minister of Gambia, is set to become the new Chief Prosecutor from June 2012.

Malawi referred to UN Security Council over refusal to arrest Bashir

The International Criminal Court announced on Monday, it was referring Malawi to the UN Security Council for its failure to arrest Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir who is wanted for his part in the Darfur genocide. The ICC's pre-trial chamber concluded that "the Republic of Malawi failed to cooperate with the court by not arresting and surrendering Omar Al Bashir to the court during his visit to Malawi" and "decided to refer the matter to both the United Nations Security Council and the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute." Rejecting Malawian President's assertion that African...

Seeking redemption 30 years on

The government of El Salvador has apologised for the "blindness of state violence" that resulted in the massacre of over 1000 civilians in the town of El Mozote, in 1981. Soldiers, of the now criminalised Atlacatl battalion executed civilians, almost half of whom were children. The victims were accused of working with left-wing guerrilla groups. Speaking at a remembrance event held on Sunday in El Mozote, El Salvador's Foreign Minister, Hugo Martinez, said, "This event seeks to honour the memory of hundreds of innocent people who were murdered 30 years ago here in El Mozote and in nearby...

Celebrating Human Rights Day - Hillary Clinton

In a statement released on International Human Rights Day 2011, the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton reflected on the on-going repression of " people exercising their universal rights " and asserted that it is an " obligation of every government to guarantee the rights of all citizens ". See full statement here , extracts reproduced below: "On December 10, 1948, world leaders gathered at the UN General Assembly and pledged to uphold and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people . This promise, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, recognized that...

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