Former Rwandan Mayor found guilty of genocide

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has handed down a sentence of 15 years to a former mayor, after he was found guilty on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Gregory Ndahimana was mayor of the Kivumu district in 1994 when a church was bulldozed by police, killing more than 2,000 people trapped inside. While he was cleared of directly participating in the massacre himself, Ndahimana was found to have played a crucial role in the killings. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda said in a statement, "The chamber ... found Ndahimana guilty of genocide and...

Future belongs to those who stand for freedom - Obama

Addressing the Australian parliament on Thursday, US President Barack Obama, lauded freedom, stating that " prosperity without freedom is just povery", and reiterated the US stands for " an international order in which the rights and responsibilities of all nations and people are upheld ." Watch his address in full here . Extracts reproduced below: "History shows that over the long run democracy and economic growth go hand in hand. And prosperity without freedom is just poverty." "Every nation will chart its own course, yet it also true that certain rights are universal . "Among them - freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion , the freedom of citizens to choose their own leaders." "These are not American rights, or Australian rights, or Western rights." " These are human rights. They stir in every soul , as we've seen in the democracies that have succeeded here in Asia." "If this vast region [Asia-Pacific] and its people teach us anything, it is that the yearning for liberty and progress will not be denied ." "The currents of history may ebb and flow, but over time they are moving decidedly, decisively in one direction," " History is on the side of the free - free societies, free governments, free economies, free people . "And the future belongs to those who stand firm for those ideals, in this region and around the world ." "This is the work we will carry on together for the security, prosperity and dignity of all people."

Yugoslav war crimes court hailed as a success

Speaking at a seminar on Tuesday, legal experts praised the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia , saying that it has set a precedent in helping to end impunity for war crimes worldwide. Richard Dicker, director of Human Rights Watch's international justice program said that the tribunal "demonstrated beyond question that an international criminal tribunal for the most serious crimes can work." He went on to commend the ICTY saying that it "shows the potential and actual effectiveness of these international courts." When the tribunal was first set up in 1993, critics were...

Arab League issues ultimatum, as Free Syrian Army vows to defend protesters

The Arab League gave Syria an ultimatum of three days on Wednesday, to " stop the bloody repression " of protesters and permit observers into the area. At a meeting in Morocco, the Qatari Foreign Minister, Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim al Thani, threatened Syria with sanctions and stated that diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict were "close to the end of the road". Pro-government mobs in Syria responded to the Arab League's statement by attacking the embassies of the UAE and Morocco. Morocco has recalled its ambassador to Syria. Responding to the on-going clamp down on peaceful protesters by government forces, the Free Syrian Army, has vowed to defend civilians. Earlier on Wednesday, the rebels launched an attack on an air force intelligence base. Speaking to Channel 4, a rebel commander said , "The Free Syrian Army attacked the air force intelligence base and they killed the guard and they burnt the place. They occupied the compound before beating a tactical retreat. " We will conduct such attacks so long as the regim targets civilians ." " The attacks will escalate ."

China concern at US task force in Australia

US President Barak Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard have announced plans to station US troops in Australia from next year. Initially 250 marines will be stationed in the Northern Territory, increasing to 2,500 troops in the next few years. The move is seen as a more assertive role for the US in the Asia-Pacific, particularly to counter the influence of China in the region. Mr Obama said the US was "stepping up its commitment to the entire Asia-Pacific", including China. "The main message that I've said, not only publicly but also privately to China, is that with their rise...

Arab League meets Syrian opposition

The Arab League invited the Syrian Opposition, the Syrian National Council, for talks in Cairo on Tuesday, to discuss the planned transition of power. After meeting officials from the Arab League, Abdel Basset Sedah, of the opposition Syrian National Council's executive office, said, "The Arab League will announce soon a date for a conference to include many of the Syrian opposition groups to discuss the ways and time needed to move to a transitional period." Meanwhile, Burhan Ghalioun, the head of the Syrian National Council met Russian diplomats in Moscow. Urging the two sides to start a dialogue, the Kremlin has refused to back calls for the resignation of President Bashar Al-Assad. Ghalioun said, "We were unable to change the position of the Russian government, and they also could not change our position."

British minister visits Burma

The UK’s International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell has called on the Burmese regime to release all political prisoners, during the first visit by a British minister in decades. Mitchell told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “enough had changed to justify a visit and engagement like this.” "It is clear that there are grounds for cautious optimism, but the picture is mixed," he said. "On the one hand, there is now proper dialogue between Aung San Suu Kyi and the government and they have released some of the political prisoners. "But, on the other hand the ethnic conflicts which...

US, Russia, China united on Iran issue: Obama

Speaking at the Asia-Pacific leaders’ summit, US President Obama has said that China, Russia and the US are united over the need to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear arms. The talks with his counterparts resulted in an agreement on a major objective. "All three of us entirely agree on the objective, which is making sure that Iran does not weaponize nuclear power and that we don't trigger a nuclear arms race in region," he said. He added that the three countries will work closely together to explore available options to exert pressure on Iran and resolve the issue diplomatically. He however...

Oxfam to leave South Sudan amid escalating violence

International aid group, Oxfam, announced its decision to remove its staff from the South Sudan border on Sunday, citing worsening violence and fears for the safety of Oxfam's twenty-two staff present. The announcement follows the bombing of a refugee camp in South Sudan on Thursday. Both the UN and South Sudan have accused Sudan of launching the attack. The Oxfam aid workers had been providing clean water for 64,000 people. In a statement, the aid group said, "Oxfam teams were about to start an assessment in Upper Nile to provide aid to new refugees. They have fled attacks and walked for...

‘Brutal’ occupation of Kashmir must end – Arundhati Roy

Speaking at the Asia Society in New York, Indian novelist Arundhati Roy called on India to withdraw its troops from Kashmir and respect their right to self-determination. "Kashmir is one of the most protracted and bloody occupations in the world, and one of the most ignored," she said in at the event entitled ‘'Kashmir: The Case for Freedom'’. “ I think that the people of Kashmir have the right to self-determination. They have the right to choose who they want to be, and how they want to be. The first step would be to demilitarise, to withdraw this absolutely unbelievable law the Armed Forces...

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