China to carry out naval exercises in Pacific

China has said it will carry out naval exercises in the Pacific Ocean, after last week’s announcement by President Obama that 2,500 US marines will be stationed in Australia. The Chinese Defence Ministry said in a statement the exercises were ‘routine’ and not targeted at a specific country. "This is an annual, planned, routine drill. It is not directed at any specific country or target and is in keeping with relevant international laws and practices," said the statement. "China's freedom of navigation and other legal rights should not be obstructed." A spokesman for the Pentagon has said the...

Arab League issues 24-hour ultimatum

After meeting in Cairo on Thursday, the Arab League have issued an ultimatum to Syria, giving them less than 24 hours to allow monitors to enter the country or face economic sanctions. Having suspended Syria from the League and imposed a deadline for them to comply with a proposed deal, the regime rejected what they called “impossible conditions”. The proposal of sending a delegation of 500-members as independent monitors to Syria was refused by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, who wanted only 40 to visit the country. Afifi Abdel Wahab, Egypt's envoy to the Arab League said , "Tomorrow [...

Discovery of bodies raise possibility of further war crimes investigations - Guatemala

The discovery of the bodies of two Guatemalan men by a former military base may lead to new investigations into possible war crimes, say experts. The men were captured by security forces in 1984 during Guatemala's civil war, and were one of the 40,000 people who disappeared during that time. DNA testing has identified the men as Amancio Samuel Villatoro, a union leader, and Sergio Saúl Linares Morales, an engineering professor. See related articles: Former Guatemalan president wanted for genocide (15 Oct 2011) Guatemalan war criminal to be extradited to US (05 Sep 2011) Former Guatemala army...

Bosnian Serb charged with crimes against humanity

A Bosnian Serb man has been charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes relating to his participation in Bosnia 1992-95 war. The defendant, Oliver Krsmanovic former member of the 2nd Podrinjska Light Infantry Brigade, is accused of unlawfully detaining and killing 70 Bosnian Muslim civilians in the eastern town of Visegrad on June 27, 1992. He is also charged with raping and sexual abusing women under captivity in the town. It is alleged that he collaborated with Milan Lukic, leader of a Serb paramilitary group known as the White Eagles who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2009...

Yemen's president signs deal relinquishing power

President Ali Abdullah Saleh, signed an agreement on Wednesday, relinquishing power to his vice president, Abed Rabbo Mansour al-Hadi, with immediate effect. The agreement, facilitated by Saudi Arabia and supported by the US, will signal the end of Saleh's 33 year rule of Yemen, following months of protests. The agreement allows Saleh many face-saving measures, including the retention of his title and certain privileges until new elections are held in three months. It also grants him immunity from prosecution. Many of the youth activists who led recent protests have criticised the agreement as an elitist pact. Highlighting the immunity offered, youth activists warned that the protesters, who demand adequate investigation and justice for the deaths of fellow demonstrators, would not be placated. Last month, youth activists wrote a letter to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, demanding that Saleh be referred to the International Criminal Court for the crimes committed by his military. The letter addressed to UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon said, " We call on the UN to refer Saleh, his sons and his gang to the International Criminal Court for their crimes against peaceful protesters ." In a statement, US President Barack Obama said, “The United States welcomes President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s decision to transfer executive powers immediately to the Vice President in accordance with the agreement.” " The Yemeni people deserve the opportunity to determine their own future .”

Amnesty condemns human rights abuses by Egyptian military

Human rights organisation, Amnesty International, has condemned the conduct of the military in Egypt since it took over from the ousted leader, Hosni Mubarak. In a damning report (Broken Promises: Egypt's military rulers erode human rights), released Tuesday, Amnesty asserted that Egypt's Egypt's Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) had "completely failed" to live up to their promises of returning power to the people and had committed human rights abuses that exceeded that of the Mubarak regime. Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa acting director, Philip Luther said, "The SCAF has continued the tradition of repressive rule which the January 25 demonstrators fought so hard to get rid of." " Those who have challenged or criticise the military council - like demonstrators, journalists, bloggers, striking workers - have been ruthlessly suppressed in an attempt at silencing their voices ... The brutal and heavy-handed response to protests in the last few days bears all the hallmarks of the Mubarak era." " The Egyptian military cannot keep using security as an excuse to keep the same old practices that we saw under President Mubarak ." "If there is to be an effective transition to the new Egypt that protesters have been demanding, the SCAF must release their grip on freedom of expression, association and assembly, lift the state of emergency and stop trying civilians in military courts ."

Saif could face trial in Libya: Ocampo

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has said that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi could face trial in Libya as long as the trial complied with the standards of the ICC. Jose Luis Moreno Ocampo said to reporters in Tripoli: "Saif is captured, so we are here to ensure co-operation, "In May, we requested an arrest warrant because Libyans could not do justice in Libya. Now, as Libyans have decided to do justice, they could do justice and we'll help them to do it – that is the system. " Our international criminal court acts when the national system cannot act. They [the Libyans] have...

Turkey calls on Assad to step down

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to resign for the sake of his people. "Without spilling any more blood, without causing any more injustice, for the sake of peace for the people, the country and the region, finally step down," Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said, in his first direct call for Assad to go. "Fighting your own people until the death is not heroism. It's cowardice. If you want to see someone who fights his people to the death, look at Nazi Germany, look at Hitler, look at Mussolini," he told his ruling AK party. "If you...

Free Syrian Army attacks Damascus

Syrian rebels have struck at the heart of Damscus, firing grenades at the ruling Ba’ath party’s headquarters. The attack in the capital city caused little damage to the building but was a hugely symbolic blow to President Assad’s regime, in a sign that the rebel army was growing in confidence and support. One witness said , "The attack was just before dawn and the building was mostly empty. It seems to have been intended as a message to the regime." Assad remained defiant however, insisting that “Syria will not bow down” to international pressure. In an interview he said , "The only way is to...

Aung San Suu Kyi to run for Burma Parliament seat

Burma’s democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi is going to stand in upcoming elections in the country, her spokesperson confirmed. Her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) only ended their boycott of the political system a few days ago. The first parliamentary elections in the country for over 20 years took place last year, but were boycotted by the NLD due to a law that prevented Aung San Suu Kyi from contesting a seat. The elections in 1990 were won by the NLD by a land-slide; however the military government reacted by placing Suu Kyi under house arrest. She spent 15 of the past 22...

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