Khmer Rouge genocide trial begins

The trial of three former Khmer Rouge leaders has begun Monday, more than 30 years after they ruled Cambodia, where they face charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. In a packed courthouse the prosecution’s opening statements were read out, accusing the three former leaders of causing the death of more than 1.8 million people during the late 1970s. Prosecutor Chea Leang gave a detailed account of the massacres, causing some of those in the courthouse to shed tears. She told the UN-backed tribunal, " The forced evacuations of Cambodian cities , the enslavement of millions of people in forced labour camps, the smashing of hundreds of thousands of lives in notorious security centres and the killing fields , and the extermination of minorities , the countless deaths from disease, abuse and starvation – these crimes ordered and orchestrated by the accused were among the worst horrors inflicted on any nation in modern history." Court spokesman Lars Olsen hailed the trial, saying that "many people never thought it would happen." International co-prosecutor Andre Cayley also told reporters that the opening of this case was a milestone achievement. “I also think it is important in the interests of international justice generally because it’s certainly part of the fight against impunity. We are looking at crimes that are 30 years old. I’m quite certain that at the time the leaders of the Khmer Rouge never believed they would be held to account for what happened, and here we actually have the most senior living members of the Khmer Rouge who will be standing trial. "

Bangladesh seeks apology from Pakistan for 1971 atrocities

Bangladesh called for a formal apology from Pakistan for the 'genocide and atrocities' committed by its military in 1971. The demand was made by Bangladesh's new foreign minister, Dipu Moni, to the Pakistan's new envoy to Bangladesh, on Monday. A statement released by the ministry read, "[Moni] sought Pakistan's understanding and recognition of Bangladesh's position on resolving the outstanding issues including an expression of formal apology from Pakistan for the genocide and atrocities committed by the Pakistani military in 1971 ." "Early resolution of the outstanding issues would enable...

US welcomes conviction of Rwanda mayor for genocide, urges further justice

The United States welcomed the conviction of former Rwandan mayor , Ndahinama, by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on charges of genocide and urged the arrest and trial of remaining fugitive. Spokesperson for the US State Department, Mark Toner, said, "The United States welcomes this ruling as an important step in providing justice and accountability for the Rwandan people and the international community ." "[Ndahimana's conviction] is of particular significance, because as mayor of Kivumu he had authority over the police, and yet failed to prevent the massacre " " Militia, police, civil and religious authorities participated in bulldozing the church , burying the refugees sheltered inside," "There are still nine ICTR fugitives at large and the United States urges all countries to redouble their cooperation with the ICTR so that these fugitives can be expeditiously arrested and brought to justice ."

Army raises 'secession' fears to keep powers - Jammu and Kashmir

The Indian Army's top commander in Jammu and Kashmir has claimed that India would have to grant independence to the state by 2016, if the government repeals the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). The commander, Lieutenant-General Syed Ata Hasnain, of the Srinagar-based XV Corps, is reported to have made these comments on Wednesday, when addressing the State's coordination body for security, the Unified Headquarters. Lt.Gen. Hasnain claimed that lifting the AFSPA would result in widespread chaos. Coupled with the enhanced presence of members of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference on the United Nations Security Council, secession would prove inevitable. According to reports, other security officials disputed his claimed however. Special Director-General of the Central Reserve Police Force Aniruddh Uppal said there was no evidence to suggest an imminent revolt . Inspector General of Police in-charge of the region S.M. Sahai said recent events such as the bombing of Delhi's High Court last month, and the violence over summer, indicated that future disturbances were more likely to arise from small groups of alienated young people and Islamist radicalism.

Hague to meet Syrian rebels in London

British Foreign Secretary William Hague is to meet Syrian rebel leaders in London on Monday, the BBC reports, quoting the Foreign Office. Mr Hague will meet members of the Syrian National Council and the National Co-ordination Committee for Democratic Change. "We have been having regular contacts with a variety of figures in the Syrian opposition for several months. We are now intensifying these," a Foreign Office spokeswoman said. See the BBC’s report here

Saif al-Islam captured in Libya

The Libyan transational government announced Saturday that they have captured Saif al-Islam, the fugitive son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Three months after he was last seen in public, the NTC announced that Saif was "arrested in southern Libya" sparking of celebrations in Tripoli’s Martyr Square. It is thought the he was trying to escape to Algeria or Niger and there were reports that he was seeking to surrender to the ICC. ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo hailed the news of Saif’s capture, who is wanted for crimes against humanity, saying , "The good news is that Seif al...

Burma to chair ASEAN

Members of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) have unanimously agreed on Burma as the next chair of the regional bloc. Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told the BBC, the 10 member states believed Burma had made significant progress towards democracy. " It's not about the past, it's about the future, what leaders are doing now ," he said. "We're trying to ensure the process of change continues." Chief Political Adviser to the Burmese President Ko Ko Hlaing welcomed the decision and pointed out recent developments in the country. "Be assured that we are now growing...

Syria agrees 'in principle' to observer mission

As international pressure continues to increase on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the regime has agreed “in principle” to let an observer mission into the country, but said that they were still studying the details. The move is part of a proposed deal by the Arab League who suspended Syria earlier this week, making it only the third nation to have ever been suspended. It comes as Germany, France and the UK tabled a UN resolution calling for an end to human rights violations in Syria and urging Damascus to implement an Arab League plan. The draft resolution was also, significantly, backed by four Arab countries; Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Morocco. France’s Foreign Minister Alain Juppe also called for stronger action against the Syrian regime, after meeting with his Turkish counterpart earlier. Saying that "the situation is no longer sustainable," Juppe told reporters, "We have called on Assad to change but the regime did not want to know, which is not acceptable. We are ready to strengthen the sanctions. " He went on to say that France believed Syria "was not willing to implement a reform programme and now it is too late ". Speaking on the latest proposed resolution, he also commented, "It is not normal that the [United Nations] Security Council has not made any decision so far... I hope those blocking any resolution will be aware of the reality of the situation." China, who along with Russia blocked the last UN resolution on Syria, also began to signal their apprehension with Assad on Thursday, saying it was " highly concerned " by the rising violence. Meanwhile the Syrian opposition has continued to call on the international community to isolate President Assad’s regime.

Sudan rebels expressed 'regret' at Ban Ki Moon's remarks

Suda nese rebel groups expressed surprise and regret at the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon's condemnation of the formation of a rebel alliance - the Sudanese Revolutionary Force - on the 11th November. On Monday, Ban Ki Moon expressed concern at the growing tension between Khartoum and Juba, and argued that the establishment of the rebel alliance would only serve to further escalate the conflict in the region. The groups, hailing from the Blue Nile, Darfur and South Kordofan regions, situated along the border between Sudan and South Sudan, and include Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Sudan Liberation Movement factions of Abdel Wahid Al-Nur (SLM-AW) and Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) and the SPLM-N (Sudan People's Liberation Movement - North). Yasir Arman, the Secretary General of SPLM-N and the former presidential candidate of the SPLM last year, said he was "surprised" at Ban Ki Moon's statement and argued that it showed that Ban Ki Moon was supporting "the aggressors and war criminals " instead of "supporting the victims and the right of the Sudanese people to democracy and the respect for human rights and the rule of law ". The rebel groups asserted that the solution to the conflict, lay in a political and armed struggle to overthrow the government in Khartoum .

US citizen agrees to face war crimes trial in Bosnia

A native Bosnian man has agreed to return to the country to face charges of war crimes committed during the 1993 civil war in the former Yugoslavia. Edin Dzeko, 39, a naturalized US citizen, is accused of being a senior member of a unit that attacked the village of Trusina in April 1993, killing 16 civilians and at least four unarmed soldiers. Court papers identify Dzeko as a leader of the Bosnian Army's Zulfikar Special Purposes Detachment. He has been in federal custody since April, after an extradition request totalling 400 pages was filed against him by Bosnian prosecutors. While Dzeko...

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