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International Legal News

Weekly update: 8 - 14 September.

The following media round up of international legal and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period 8 to 14 September.

The Guernica Group 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 Nenad Vucijak for consideration.

Myanmar – 07 September

On 07 September, two former Myanmar soldiers who confessed to crimes committed against the Rohingya population in Myanmar, were allegedly taken to The Hague. Different news outlets report that the two were placed under the International Criminal Court’s custody, although no official confirmation has been issued yet. The ICC spokesperson, Fadi el-Abdallah, has denied the claim that they are under the ICC’s custody.

Sierra Leone – 07 September

On 07 September, the Special Court of Sierra Leone denied an application by Charles Taylor, Liberia’s former President, to be temporarily transferred from the United Kingdom to a safe third country.

Libya – 08 September

Following the discovery of a mass grave last week in the Tarhuna province in Libya, the Tripoli – based Government of National Accord announced a second mass grave has now been found. The province was recently liberated from militias loyal to General Khalifa Haftar. Local media have said five bodies were found within the second grave, and their identities have yet to be confirmed.

Rwanda – 08 September

The former deputy chairman of Rwanda’s ruling party during the 1994 genocide (the National Revolutionary Movement for Development) has died in a Senegalese prison. Mr Karemera was serving a life sentence following his conviction in 2012 for genocide, incitement of genocide, cries against humanity and war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. He was Rwanda’s interior minister in 1994 when the events took place.

United Arab Emirates – 08 September

The public hearings on the preliminary objections raised by the United Arab Emirates in the case concerning Application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Qatar v. United Arab Emirates) concluded on 07 September. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will now begin its deliberation.

Bolivia – 09 September

On 04 September, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Mrs Fatou Bensouda, received a referral from the Government of the Plurinational State of Bolivia regarding the situation in its own territory, in accordance with its prerogatives as a State Party to the Rome Statute.

Pursuant to article 14(1) of the Statute of the ICC, the referring State requests the Prosecutor to initiate an investigation into crimes against humanity allegedly committed on the territory of Bolivia, with the view to determining whether one or more persons should be charged with the commission of such crimes. In its referral, the Government of Bolivia alleges that, during August 2020, members of political party Movimiento al Socialismo and associated organisations engaged in a course of conduct pursuant to an organisational policy to attack the Bolivian population by coordinating blockades at various points throughout the country that connected different cities in order to prevent the free passage of convoys, transport and communications.

Mozambique – 10 September

Amnesty International has called on the government of Mozambique to conduct an “independent and impartial” investigation into possible crimes committed by security forces in Cabo Delgado. Amnesty noted that it verified 5 videos and 3 photos through its Crisis Evidence Lab, which conducts open sources investigations into areas of concern. Amnesty stated photos and videos show possible crimes including torture, extrajudicial killings, apparent attempted beheadings, and other ill-treatment of prisoners.

Italy – 10 September

In the case of G.L. v. Italy the European Court of Human Rights found that the applicant had sustained discriminatory treatment on account of her disability. The applicant, a young girl suffering from non-verbal autism, was deprived of specialist educational support from 2010 to 2012, even though such support was prescribed by law.

The Court observed in particular that the discrimination against the girl had been especially serious in that it had occurred at primary school, which provided the bases for education and social integration and the first experiences of living together with others.

United Kingdom – 12 September

On 12 September, the attorney general, Suella Braverman, was accused of sacrificing the UK’s reputation, side-lining legal advisers and bypassing the ministerial code during an extraordinary confrontation with some of the country’s top lawyers.

During the annual general meeting of the Bar Council, the professional association for barristers, Braverman was asked how Britain could retain “a shred of credibility” in imploring other countries to follow international law after revealing its own willingness to breach agreements.

The criticisms came after the government last week unveiled plans to give ministers sweeping powers to “disapply” part of the Brexit deal that Boris Johnson signed in January.

Iran – 14 September

On 14 September, UN human rights experts strongly condemned the summary execution of champion wrestler Navid Afkari in Iran, raising alarm at the latest execution in a series of death penalty sentences handed down in the context of protests in 2018 and 2019.


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