PKK offshoot claims responsibility for Istanbul attack

A group aligned to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) claimed responsibility for Saturday's attack in Istanbul, Turkey which killed 38 people, injuring 155. The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) made its claim in a statement published on its website on Sunday, which said "the latest bombings were in reprisal for ongoing violence in the south-eastern Turkey and for the continuing imprisonment of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan." TAK has previously claimed responsibility for a number of attacks mainly in the Kurdish region of Turkey, including the Ankara attack which killed 37. See here and here .

Prosecutors call for life sentence for Ratko Mladić

Prosecutors at the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) called for former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladić to be handed a life sentence, as they delivered their closing arguments at his genocide trial. “The time has come for Ratko Mladić to be held accountable for each of his victims and all the communities he destroyed,” said Alan Tieger, stating that anything less would be “an insult to the victims, living and dead, and an affront to justice”. “Nobody can even imagine the depth of suffering for which Mladić is responsible,” he added. Mr Mladić faces charges of...

French court upholds sentence for Rwandan genocide convict

A French court has upheld a 25 year prison sentence for genocide and complicity in crimes against humanity to a former Rwandan intelligence agent. Pascal Simbikangwa was originally found guilty of genocide in a 2014 trial, leading to the former presidential guard member lodging an appeal. His prosecution was the first in France over the 1994 genocide, which left around 800,000 people dead. The decision was praised by Alain Gauthier, head of the Civil Plaintiffs Collective for Rwanda, who said the move "legitimises the fight we've been leading for 20 years without any glory". It comes amid a...

Afghan Taliban calls for direct talks with US

The Afghan Taliban has called for direct talks with the United States and recognition of its political office in Qatar, as part of a series of proposals put forward this to work towards a political solution. Voice of America reported Qatar-based Taliban spokesman, Sohail Shaheen, as stating “there is need for America and its allies to come to the table for direct talks with the Islamic Emirate (the Taliban) for negotiating an end to the occupation”. He went on to add that official recognition of the Taliban office in Qatar and the removal of senior Taliban members from a UN black list were...

UN passes resolution on Syria as government gains ground in Aleppo

The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for an immediate end to the hostilities in Syria and access for humanitarian aid, as fighting continues to rage in Aleppo between the Syrian government and opposition forces. The resolution was passed 122 votes to 13 as the Syrian army grew closer to recapturing east Aleppo, in a massive offensive that has Russian backing. "This is a vote to stand up and tell Russia and Assad to stop the carnage," said US Ambassador Samantha Power. Canada’s Ambassador to the UN Marc-Andre Blanchard said the resolution is "a reminder that above...

Rwandan genocide convict arrested in Malawi

Malawian police arrested a resident who had been previously convicted of committing genocide in Rwanda but had been living in the country for the past 13 years. "Yes, we effected the arrest of Vincent Murekezi today on instructions from the director of public prosecutions," the police chief spokesperson James Kadazera told AFP . Mr Murekezi was convicted in absentia and sentenced to life imprisonment.

AP journalist deported from South Sudan

Justin Lynch, an Associated Press freelancer, says that he had been deported from South Sudan for being too critical of the government. He recently reported on the alleged abuses of ethnic violence committed by government troops. The spokesperson for the president said that they were unaware of the incident. According to AFP global news agency, Mr Lynch was the last foreign reporter living in South Sudan and had been in the country for about a year. After his deportation, Mr Lynch arrived in Kampala, Uganda's capital, and tweeted the message below.

Kofi Annan denies allegations of genocide in Burma

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has downplayed allegations that a genocide is taking place against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and instead called on the international community to give the government "a bit of time, space and patience". Speaking to the BBC , Mr Annan said that the international community must be “very, very careful” in using the word genocide. He instead went on to say that: "You can feel both communities are afraid. There is fear, there is mistrust. The fear has heightened but we need to find a way of breaking that down and beginning to encourage the communities...

Former LRA commander pleads not guilty as ICC trial begins

The former Lords Resistance Army commander, Dominic Ongwen, who is accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Uganda pleaded 'not guilty' as his trial opened at the International Criminal Court on Tuesday. Mr Ongwen who was reportedly abducted by the LRA as a child said he too was a victim. "It is the LRA who abducted people in northern Uganda, killed people in northern Uganda and committed atrocities in northern Uganda. I'm one of the people against whom the LRA committed atrocities. It is not me who is the LRA," Mr Ongwen told the judge. The cheif ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda...

Malaysian prime minister urges action over genocide of Rohingya Muslims

Malaysia's prime minister, Najib Razak this weekend urged action over the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. “UN please do something. The world cannot sit by and watch genocide taking place,” he told thousands who had attended a rally in Kuala Lumpur condemning Myanmar's military's attack on Rohingya villages “The world cannot say it is not our problem. It is our problem,” he added. “I will not close my eyes and shut my mouth. We must defend them not just because they are of the same faith but they are humans, their lives have values." Malaysia's foreign ministry on Saturday issued a...

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