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International Legal News

Weekly update: 2 January – 8 January 2023 The following media round up on international and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period of 2 January to 8 January 2023.

Guernica 37 will provide weekly media updates from the International Criminal Court, European Court of Human Rights, United Nations, European Union and other sources. Should you wish to contribute or submit a media summary, opinion piece or blog, please send to Ned Vucijak at for consideration.

Ukraine / Russia – 2 January 2023

Ukraine has confirmed it carried out a strike in the occupied region of Donetsk, which it earlier claimed killed 400 Russian troops. Russian officials contested the figure, saying only 63 troops were killed. Neither claim has been verified, and access to the site is restricted. The attack on New Year's Day hit a building in the city of Makiivka, where Russian forces were stationed. It is extremely rare for Moscow to confirm any battlefield casualties.

Croatia – 2 January 2023

Croatia is embarking on a historic year as it joins the border-free Schengen zone and ditches its own currency, the kuna, adopting the euro. The country committed to joining the eurozone when it became the EU's newest member in 2013. Nationalist parties wanted to keep the kuna, but were overruled by the constitutional court. It is the twenty-seventh country in the Schengen area, which allows 400 million to move freely between countries. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen hailed the changes as "two immense achievements" for the youngest member state of the EU.

European Union (EU) – 2 January 2022

The EU says it will launch proceedings to remove parliamentary immunity from two MEPs implicated in an ongoing corruption scandal. Parliamentary President Roberta Metsola said she had taken the move after a request from Belgian police. But her statement did not name the MEPs involved. The scandal erupted last month after one MEP and three others were arrested on charges of corruption and money-laundering. While authorities have not named the country behind the bribery network, numerous EU sources have accused Qatar of running the operation. But the Gulf state has strenuously denied any claims of misconduct as unfair and "gravely misinformed".

Russia / Ukraine – 3 January 2022

Ukraine's president says Russia is planning a protracted campaign of drone attacks in a bid to demoralise Ukraine. Volodymyr Zelensky said he had received intelligence reports suggesting that Moscow would launch the attacks using Iranian-made Shahed drones. It comes after Ukraine carried out a strike that it said killed hundreds of Russian soldiers in the Donbas region. In an extremely rare admission of battlefield losses, Russia said the attack killed 63 of its troops. Speaking from Kyiv in his nightly address, Mr Zelensky said Russia planned to "exhaust" Ukraine with a prolonged wave of drone attacks.

Germany / Poland – 3 January 2023

Germany has rebuffed the latest push by Poland’s nationalist government for vast reparations over the second world war, saying in response to a diplomatic note that the issue was closed, according to the foreign ministry in Warsaw. Poland estimates its losses in the second world war caused by Germany at 6.2tn złotys (£1.2tn) and has demanded reparations, but Berlin has repeatedly said all financial claims related to the war have been settled.

Russia – 4 January 2023

Russia has said a new year missile attack that killed at least 89 Russian soldiers happened because troops were using mobile phones, defying a ban. Turning on the phones and massive use of them allowed the enemy to locate its target, officials said. Ukraine says 400 soldiers were killed - and another 300 wounded - in the attack on a college for conscripts in Makiivka, in the occupied Donetsk area. It is the largest number of deaths Russia has acknowledged in the war.

Iran – 4 January 2023

Iran has summoned the French ambassador over publication of caricatures of the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The weekly magazine published dozens of cartoons ridiculing the highest religious and political figure in the Islamic republic as part of a competition it launched in December in support of the protest movement that began in Iran last September.

Ethiopia / Tigray – 5 January 2023

A fragile peace process in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, where war has left an estimated more than half a million dead, is beginning to show dividends, raising hopes for an end to a conflict that counts ethnic cleansing and human-made famine among its horrors. Yet in Sudan, near the border of Ethiopia and the disputed territory of what is officially called western Tigray, tens of thousands of refugees remain in limbo – unable, or too afraid, to return home.

Belarus – 5 January 2023

The trial of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights activist Ales Bialiatski has begun in Belarus. Mr. Bialiatski was arrested in anti-government protests in 2021, and his supporters say that Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko's authoritarian regime is trying to silence him. He is accused of smuggling cash to fund opposition activity, according to the Viasna (Spring) Human Rights Centre, which Bialiatski founded. He faces up to 12 years in prison.

Russia / Ukraine – 6 January 2023

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his defence minister to impose a 36-hour ceasefire on the Ukrainian front line. The ceasefire coincides with the Russian Orthodox Christmas. Mr Putin asked Ukraine to reciprocate, but Kyiv quickly rejected the request. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said the truce was an attempt to stop his country's military advances in the east of the country.

Australia / Syria – 6 January 2023

A New South Wales woman who was repatriated to Australia from a Syrian refugee camp has been granted bail after being charged with entering and remaining in parts of Syria that were under Islamic State control. She was charged with entering, or remaining in, “declared areas” - in this case Syria, which was under the control of the terrorist group IS - in breach of federal law. She faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted.

Mexico – 6 January 2023

Three security force members have died in clashes in the state of Sinaloa after the arrest of a son of notorious Mexican drug kingpin "El Chapo". Ovidio Guzmán-López - himself alleged to be a leader of his father's former cartel - was captured in Culiacán and transferred to Mexico City. Furious gang members set up road blocks, set fire to vehicles and attacked a local airport. Two planes were hit by gunfire - one while preparing to take off.


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