Bosnian Serb jailed for Sarajevo war crimes

A former Bosnian Serb soldier has been sentenced to 18 years imprisonment for war crimes committed during the 1992-1995 siege of Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital. The defendant, Sasa Baricanin, was found guilty of murder, enslavement and rape by a war crimes court in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The court heard how he had broken into a family apartment and shot several of the residents dead, before repeatedly raping one of the females there. He then came back with a colleague and proceeded to rape her for several days. The victim came forward to testify at the trial and was a protected witness. "We...

UN prosecutor wants to investigate who helped Serb war crimes suspects

The Chief Prosecutor in the UN tribunal for war crimes has asked Serbian authorities to probe into how Ratko Mladic and another suspect were able to evade arrest and who helped them to do so. Serge Brammertz, prosecotur for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia made the statement as he visited Serbia, ahead of delivering a report to the UN Security Council on Serbia’s compliance with the war crimes trial. Serbia, whose acceptance into the EU is thought to hinge heavily with their compliance with the Hague tribunal, is hopeful of a positive report after the capture of...

Indian Court sentences Hindus for life

31 Hindus have been jailed for life for the killing of 33 Muslims during the 2002 riots in Gujarat. A mob burned down a house where a group of Muslims were sheltering from violence during riots that engulfed the Indian state of Gujarat. 41 others were acquitted of all charges due to lack of evidence. The riots started after a fire on a train that killed 60 Hindu pilgrims, was thought to have been an attack by Muslims. In the ensuing violence more than 2000 Muslims are thought to have died across northern India, with most deaths occurring in Gujarat. Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi is...

Outrage over Fifa ban on England footballers wearing poppies

Calls for Fifa to reconsider its ban on England footballers wearing shirts embroidered with poppies this weekend of Remembrance Sunday increase as the international governing body reject the FA's (Football Association's) second request to overturn the ban. The British Prime Minister, David Cameron said, " The idea that wearing a poppy to remember those who have given their lives for our freedom is a political act is absurd . " Wearing a poppy is an act of huge respect and national pride ." In a letter to Fifa, UK Sports Minister, Hugh Robertson, wrote, "Wearing a poppy is a display of national pride, just like wearing your country's football shirt . "The British public feel very strongly about this issue - it is not religious or political in any way ." Prince William (Duke of Cambridge) is also said to be "dismayed" by the decision and has pledged to write to Fifa himself. In a statement, Clarence House said, "The Duke's strong view is the poppy is a universal symbol of remembrance, which has no political, religious or commercial connotations ." In a tweet, injured England midfielder Jack Wilshere said, "My great-grandad fought for this country in WW2 and I'm sure a lot of people's grandparents did. "England team should wear poppies on Saturday. It's the nation's tradition and it would be disrespectful not to ."

Ohio torture case against former Somali colonel to go ahead

A former Somali colonel living in Ohio is to be prosecuted for torturing a human rights activist in 1988. Abdi Aden Magan sought to have the case dismissed by a federal court by arguing it was filed in the wrong country and too long after the alleged abuse occurred. Plaintiff Abukar Hassan Ahmed filed a case against Magain in 2010, alleging the colonel was responsible for his detention and torture. US District Court Judge George Smith ruled Ahmed could sue Magan in the United States, relying in part on a motion passed by the US Department of State, saying Magan should not be able to claim...

Khmer Rouge prosecutor confident of ‘strong’ case

The international prosecutor for the UN-backed war crimes tribunal in Cambodia, has stated that he is confident of prosecutions against four former leaders of the Khmer Rouge, as the case goes to trial later this month. Speaking to Voice of America Khmer , Andrew Cayley said, “I think that the case is a very strong one against these individuals because of the size and scope of the crimes that were committed. There is documentary evidence that links them with the crimes on the ground, including publications of the Khmer Rouge, and including other documentary evidence.” His position was backed...

Genocide accused wins presidential elections in Guatemala

A former military general has been elected president of Guatemala. Otto Perez Molina, of the conservative Patriotic Party, won 56% of the vote, with an election campaign centred on his “iron-fist” approach to rampant crime. Perez is the first ex-military leader to be chosen to lead the country since the end of military rule in 1986. During the 36 year long conflict, which ended in 1996, more than 200,000 people, mostly Mayan, were thought to have been killed. Perez is accused by human rights groups and survivors of being complicit in acts of genocide during his time with the Guatemalan army...

UK to promote human rights at Council of Europe

Outlining the UK's vision as the Council of Europe's new chair, the UK foreign minister, William Hague, addressed delegates at the official handover ceremony in Strasbourg on Monday. Excerpts of Hague's speech are reproduced below: " Human rights, democracy and rule of law are central to the policy of the United Kingdom in every area of government . " We are committed to working through the international system to strengthen the implementation of these principles. They underpin our collective security and prosperity ." “We will make the promotion and protection of human rights the overarching...

South Sudan denies Sudan allegations

South Sudan denied allegations it was arming rebels in two regions on its borders with Sudan. Sudan reported South Sudan to the UN Security Council about violations, including the continued assistance to insurgents in the west and the south-east. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed by both countries in 2005 stipulates that neither side should encourage rebellion against the other. Sudan accused its neighbours of providing rebels with weapons and expertise in fighting the Sudanese army. South Sudan however rejected the allegations, in turn accusing Khartoum of supporting rebels in the...

Syrian death toll rises despite Arab League deal

The Arab League has called for emergency talks after 13 people were killed in an assault by Syrian troops on the city of Homs. The deaths come at the start of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, one of Islam’s holiest days, and bring the numbers of civilians killed to 60, since Assad officially accepted an Arab league peace plan. General Nabil al-Arabi, Arab League Secretary, called on Assad to implement the plan, and warned that failure to do so would result in "catastrophic consequences for the situation in Syria and the region". The Arab League has now called an emergency meeting for to...

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