Foreign embassies attacked as Arab League suspends Syria

Tens of thousands of pro-government protesters have taken to the streets in Syria to protest against the suspension of the country from the Arab League. Protesters attacked embassies of Arab League members and other countries, including France and Turkey, with the latter withdrawing all diplomatic staff and their families from Damascus. 18 of the 22 members of the pan-Arab organisation voted for the suspension of Syria, after it did not implement proposals by the Arab League, which were initially supported by Syria. Iraq abstained from the vote, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon voted against the...

Dutch parliament passes genocide bill

The Netherlands earlier this week passed a bill that allowed them to extend the possibly of detecting and prosecuting genocide suspects. The bill, which now needs to be approved by the Senate, allows prosecutors to consider cases of genocide further retrospectively than currently allowed and also permits greater co-operation with international courts. Currently, only genocide cases with crimes committed after the 1st of October 2003 can be considered before Dutch courts, a loop hole that has allegedly allowed many suspected war criminals to flee to the country. The new bill though allows cases as far back as the 18th of September 1966, when the Genocide Convention Implementation Act in the Netherlands came into force, to be prosecuted for. Former Minister for Justice, Ernst Hirsch Ballin, who proposed the bill said , "It is unacceptable that an alien who is otherwise guilty of genocide is immune from prosecution, because the Netherlands, before the time of the crime, had no jurisdiction. This sends an undesirable signal to victims and their families." The move has been welcomed by many groups, including those seeking justice for victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, and have urged other European countries to emulate the bill.

UN committee endorses peoples' right to self-determination

The UN committee responsible for social, humanitarian and cultural affairs adopted a draft resolution on a peoples' right to self-determination on Tuesday. The draft resolution, entitled 'Universal Realisation of the Right of Peoples to self-determination' was written by Pakistan and co-sponsered by over 50 countries including China. The resolution states, " the universal realisation of the right of all peoples , including those under colonial, foreign and alien domination, to self-determination is a fundamental condition for the effective guarantee and observance of human rights and for the...

US soldier convicted of killing Afghan civilians

US soldier was convicted of three counts of murder, of conspiring to commit murder and other crimes, including assaulting a fellow soldier and taking fingers and a tooth from the dead, on Friday. Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, sentenced to life in prison for his crimes, was the leader of the US army unit responsible for the killing of three Afghan civilians last year. In all five soldiers have been charged with killing civilians. Some soldiers took pictures posing with the dead and took body parts as trophies. Witnesses stated that Gibbs had orchestrated scenarios after the murders to give the...

Air strike on South Sudan refugee camp condemned

The United Nations has confirmed reports that Sudan has bombed a refugee camp in South Sudan after a flare up of tensions between the two nations, leaving twelve dead and more than 20 wounded. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called for an “independent, thorough and credible investigation” and said , “If indeed it is established that an international crime or serious human rights violation has been committed, then those responsible should be brought to justice.” The bombings were denied by Sudan, who labelled them as “fabrications”. This was strongly contested by U.S...

Kosovan politician pleads not guilty to war crimes

A former Kosovo Liberation Army commander turned Member of Parliament, Fatmir Limaj, has pleaded not guilty to charges allegedly torturing and executing Serb prisoners during the 1998-99 Kosovo war. See report by the Associated Press here . Limaj is also the deputy president of the ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo and his case marks the first time a high-ranking KLA commander is being tried for war crimes before the local judiciary, chaired by British judge Jonathan Welford-Carroll. He stands accused of running a detention centre on Klecka, where Serb prisoners of war were kept and faces a...

Human rights groups urge Arab League to back Syria's referral to ICC

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch called on the Arab League to endorse the UN Security Council motion to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court on allegations of crimes against humanity. In a report, 'We Live as in War' , released on Friday, the Human Rights Watch said, "Human Rights Watch believes that the nature and scale of abuses committed by the Syrian security forces across the country indicate that crimes against humanity may have been committed. "The similarities in the cases of apparent unlawful killings, including evidence of security forces shooting at protestors without warning in repeated instances, arbitrary detention, disappearances, and torture, indicate the existence of a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population which has the backing of the state." “ The Arab League needs to tell President Assad that violating their agreement has consequences, and that it now supports Security Council action to end the carnage.”

Nations remember war dead on Armistice Day

Photograph BBC news Children lay poppies in Trafalgar Square, London Across the world, nations remembered their war dead on Friday 11th November, Armistice Day. The date marks the anniversary of Germany signing the Armistice agreement on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. In the UK, the Remembrance Day ceremony was held at the Cenotaph. The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, said , " We stand together to honour the incredible courage and sacrifice of generations of British servicemen and women who have given their lives to protect the freedoms that we enjoy today ." " We stop to say thank you . And to remember those who are no longer with us but whose sacrifice and valour will be honoured long after we are gone . Observing Veterans Day, President Obama hosted a veterans breakfast at the White House, before laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns and speaking at a Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. Speaking at Arlington cemetry, Obama said, “ On behalf of a proud and grateful nation, we thank you .”

Russia rules out Iran sanctions

The Russian foreign ministry has ruled out plans by the US, Britain and France to impose new sanctions on Iran following the release of a UN report that claims Iran may be trying to develop nuclear weapons. Russian deputy foreign minister, Gennadi Gatilov, told Interfax news agency “The world community will see all additional sanctions against Iran as an instrument of regime change in Tehran,” “This approach is unacceptable to us, and the Russian side does not intend to consider such a proposal.” In a statement the Russian foreign ministry called the report “a compilation of well-known facts...

Rights groups slam Commander Sheka candidacy - Congo

Human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, have expressed outrage at Commander Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka, who is wanted by the Congolese government for his involvement in the 2010 mass rape commited in the Walikale area of eastern Congo, standing to represent the very same district in Parliament. Between July to August 2010, Sheka, the leader of the Congolese rebel group Mai-Mai Sheka, led his troops through 13 villages in Walikale, raping hundreds of villagers, including children and elderly women. Over 116 people were reportedly abducted. In a press statement , Anneke Van Woudenberg,...

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