Gaddafi's prison massacre unearthed 15 years on

National Transitional Council authorities discovered the remains of over 1270 Libyans killed by the Gaddafi regime more than fifteen years ago. The victims were all prisoners at the Abu Salim prison, massacred during a protest against conditions on 26th June 1996. It is understood that international assistance will be sought to identify the remains. The overthrow of Gaddafi's regime has led to numerous unsettling discoveries, including a stockpile of mustard gas in the Southern desert.

Turkey seizes Syrian arms as EU sanctions tighten

A Syrian ship with weapons heading to Damascus has been seized said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as pressure continues to grow on Syrian President Assad’s regime. Speaking from New York at the UN general Assembly, Erdogan confirmed that a ship was stopped and said that all future arms shipments to Syria would also be seized. Being interviewed by CNN, Erdogan also commented that, "If you're going to act against the fundamental rights, liberties and the law, you will lose your position in my heart as my brother and my friend. I was very patient. Patience, patience, patience. And then I cracked. " The move by Syria’s former key regional ally comes as the EU, joined by Switzerland, passed a seventh round of sanctions on Syria, including a blockade of banknotes to the Central bank of Syria and a ban on investment in the oil sector . The EU provides 95 percent of Syrian oil exports, which provide a third of the regime’s hard currency earnings. The intensified sanctions were welcomed by British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who commented , "International pressure will increase until the regime heeds the calls for an immediate end to violence, the release of political prisoners and genuine change. Assad is isolated internationally and things will never return to the way they were. He should step aside now. " "Countries across the region have called for Assad to end the violence immediately. This week in New York, I made clear to Security Council members that they too must increase the pressure on Syria. The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, has also made this clear." The Syrian regime has already started to feel the effect of growing sanctions, as they announced a ban on a wide range of imports in an attempt to preserve foreign currency reserves.

Third US soldier sentenced for war crimes

A US soldier has been found guilty and sentenced to seven years in prison for his role in killing Afghan civilians. 21-year old Pvt 1st Class Andrew Holmes reached a plea deal with prosecutors pleaded guilty to the unpremeditated murder of a 15-year old villager in Afghanistan last year. He also pleaded guilty to charges relating to possession of a severed finger and smoking hashish. See report by AFP here . The prosecution alleges that soldiers threw grenades and fired guns at villagers, before planting weapons on them to make it seem as if the victims had fired first. They are also accused...

Palestinians submit historic UN membership bid

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas formally asked the UN to recognise the state of Palestine on Friday, despite sustained US-Israeli efforts to stall the move. In a speech that was welcomed with a standing ovation and applause, Abbas stated, " I do not believe that anyone with a shred of conscience can reject our application for a full membership of the United Nations and our admission as a full member state ," "At a time when the Arab people affirm their quest for democracy – the Arab spring – the time is now for the Palestinian spring, the time for independence. "It is a moment of truth...

Senior Kosovo politician detained on suspicion of war crimes

A senior Kosovo politician and former rebel leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) has been placed under house arrest by an EU judge. Fatmir Limaj has been accused of committing war crimes in the Kosovo War between the KLA and the former Yugoslavia. He is thought to have ordered the killings of Serb police men in 1999, in his capacity as a commander of the KLA. Limaj is the former Transport Minister and a close confidante of Prime Minister Hashim Thaci. All three parties to the conflict, Yugoslavia, the KLA and NATO, have been accused of committing war crimes. Several Serb politicians...

Bloody Sunday Victims’ families reject compensation, demand prosecution

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced compensation will be paid to those killed or injured on Bloody Sunday. "We acknowledge the pain felt by these families for nearly 40 years, and that members of the armed forces acted wrongly. For that, the government is deeply sorry," said a MoD spokesman on Thursday. "We are in contact with the families' solicitors and where there is a legal liability to pay compensation we will do so." However, some families of victims are reported to have rejected any compensation until there is at least one successful prosecution of a soldier.

UK's Cameron calls for UN action against persecution worldwide

Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Thursday, British Prime Minister David Cameron urged the UN to founding principles and responsibility " to stand up against regimes that persecute their people ." “You can sign every human rights declaration in the world. But if you stand by and watch people being slaughtered in their own country, when you could act, then what are those signatures really worth?” "The UN has to show that we can be, not just united in condemnation, but united in action, acting in a way that lives up to the UN's founding principles and meets the...

Former IRA commander McGuinness in bid for Irish Presidency

Ex-IRA leader, Martin McGuinness launched his campaign to be elected Ireland's next president on Monday . McGuinness, currently the first minister in the Northern Ireland Assembly, was the commander in the Irish Republican Army for the city of Londonderry. He was jailed in the 1970s, charged with possession of bomb-making equipment and ammunition. Criticising the 'media fixation' on his time with the IRA, McGuinness stated, “ I don’t think I would have been invited to the Oval Office on three occasions to meet with three American presidents, or to Johannesburg to meet with Nelson Mandela, or to Brussels to meet with the president of the European Union, and indeed many other countries throughout the world, if people thought that my credentials in relation to the search for peace were in any way in doubt. ” Mc Guinness is considered to have been an integral part to the signing of the Good Friday agreement in 1998. The Agreement acknowledged that the views of both sides were legitimate. It included provisions for the release of paramilitary prisoners, as well as the 'normalisation' of the British security forces in Northern Ireland. Specifically it involved the removal of special emergency powers in Northern Ireland, reduction in the numbers of British armed forces deployed in Northern Ireland and the removal of British security installations.

Sarkozy calls for UN action in Syria

French President Nicolas Sarkozy urged the UN to support the Syrian people against the repressive measures taken by the Syrian Government, as members of the Arab League called for a suspension of Syria and Yemen from the body headquartered in Damascus. Sarkozy called on the UN to provide the same assistance to the Syrian people as to the Libyans. 'I wish the Security Council would assume all responsibilities for the protection, using appropriate methods, for the Syrian people against the repression of the condemned regime (in Damascus),' Sarkozy told a meeting at the UN headquarters in New...

France warns against veto of Palestinian statehood bid

Speaking at the UN General Assembly shortly after President Obama urged the Palestinians to abandon their bid for UN membership, the French President Nicolas Sarkozy warned a Security Council veto against the Palestinian statehood bid, 'risks engendering a cycle of violence in the Middle East'. Sarkozy's comments expose a clear divide between France and the United States, who have repeatedly asserted that the US will veto any such resolution at the Security Council. Sarkozy said, “Let us cease our endless debates on the parameters. Let us begin negotiations and adopt a precise timetable.” "Each of us knows that Palestine cannot immediately obtain full and complete recognition of the status of United Nations member state," "But who could doubt that a veto at the Security Council risks engendering a cycle of violence in the Middle East?" " Why not envisage offering Palestine the status of United Nations observer state? This would be an important step forward. Most important, it would mean emerging from a state of immobility that favors only the extremists .”