New Libyan regime pledges to investigate war crimes

The National Transitional Council of Libya has said that they would investigate allegations of “serious abuses” conducted by their forces. The statement comes after Amnesty International released a report Tuesday that claimed both sides in the Libyan conflict had committed war crimes. From Benghazi, the council's executive committee said that they "strongly condemns any abuses perpetrated by either side" and will “fully investigate” all allegations. "The NTC is firmly committed to human rights and the rule of law, both international and local." London-based watchdog Amnesty International...

Arab League urges Syria to end repression

The Arab League demanded Syria end its brutal crackdown of peaceful protest on Tuesday. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Syria could descend into "civil war" and criticised Assad's regime for failing to "listen to the voice of the people." The Turkish Prime Minister recently embarked on a tour of Arab Spring states emerging from the shadow of repressive dictators. Currently in Egypt, Erdogan is due to visit Tunisia and Libya shortly. The UN estimate on the number of protesters killed was raised to 2600 on Monday at the UNHRC. Navi Pillay, the High Commissioner for Human Rights stated, “the situation in Syria is still dire.” Amid such casualty figures and harrowing tails of torture and abuse by Syrian security forces, the appointment a three member panel to investigate the allegations was announced on Monday. However it remains uncertain how the investigation will take place, as President Assad has not granted the panel permission to visit the country.

Liam Fox: UK "most rigorous" on arms exports

Speaking at the world's largest arms fair, held in London, the British Defence Secretary Liam Fox defended the UK's export licensing procedures as "amongst the most rigorous in the world" Fox added, " Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are mandatory considerations for all export licence applications, which we consider on a case-by-case basis. " When conditions change we act swiftly to revoke licences that do not meet our strict criteria - just as we did earlier this year as the events in the Middle East and North Africa unfolded." " We will not compromise our values . But let...

Haitian lawyers condemn impunity for Sri Lankan soldiers

In a letter to the United Nations, the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN) severely condemned the lack of adequate inquiry and prosecution of Sri Lankan soldiers accused of systematically raping Haitians women and girls as young as 7, whilst posted as UN peacekeepers in 2007. Ezilo Dantò, HLLN president writes, “In 2007, it was discovered and reported that girls as young as 13 were having sex with U.N. peacekeepers for as little as $1 in Haiti.” “Moreover, Sri Lankan soldiers were accused of systematically raping Haitian women and girls, some as young as 7 years old .” “If only a dozen UN peacekeepers were punished for sexual abuse and rape, then that means, for instance, most of the 114 Sri Lankan soldiers deported back to Sri Lanka from Haiti in 2007 for sexual abuse and rape in Haiti did not get punished ,” “Humanitarian aid workers and UN peacekeepers accused of sexually abusing and sexual trafficking children in Haiti should have their names and their country’s identities exposed so that this matter may be cleaned up once and for all .” However, Brigadiear Nihal Hapuarachchi, spokesperson for the Sri Lankan Army is reported to have stated the matter is closed. A full inquiry was carried out and those soldiers who were found guilty were prosecuted he asserted.

Five killed as police fire on Dalit protestors in Tamil Nadu

Thousands protested Sunday against police detention of Dalit leader John Pandian. Photo L. Balachandar/ The Hindu Five people were killed Sunday in Tamil Nadu when police opened fire after an angry protest against the detention earlier of Dalit leader John Pandian turned violent. See reports by PTI , The Hindu and Times of India . Pandian was en route to attend a commemoration of the death anniversary of Dalit leader Immanuel Sekaran at Paramakudi in Ramanathapuram when he was detained by police, supposedly as his presence would ‘incite’ caste tensions. But the arrest did just that. Clashes...

Of two acts of protest against Israel

Anti-Israeli protesters disrupted the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, London, on Sep 2nd . And this week, the trial beganof ten students in the United States, who shouted down the Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren during a lecture at Univ of California Irvine in February 2010. The protesters in London began shouting and heckling the orchestra as the conducter, Zubin Mehta stood up to commence Bruch's violin concerto. Protesters, belonging to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, had called for a boycott of the concert. In a statement released ahead of the...

UN peacekeepers accused of sexual assault in Haiti

Five Uruguayan peacekeepers serving with the UN mission in Haiti are under investigation, after graphic mobile phone footage has emerged allegedly showing them sexually assaulting an 18-year-old Haitian man. The incident has been “vigorously condemned” by Haitian President Michel Martelly who described it as “an act that revolts the national conscience”. It has led to a formal apology from Uruguayan President Jose Mujica who said , "Although the damage is irreparable, have the certainty that we will investigate thoroughly and apply the harshest sanctions against those responsible." Former US...

Calls for prosecution of British soldiers in civil court

The Crown Prosecution Service is looking into findings of a report which found British soldiers guilty of a “very serious breach of discipline”, which caused the death of Basra hotel employee Baha Mousa. 26 year old Mousa was arrested by members of the 1st Battalion The Queen’s Lancashire regiment (QLR), along with 9 other Iraqis. After being detained Mousa was subjected to a prolonged period of abuse, while being deprived of sleep and food. A post-mortem found 93 injuries on his body and evidence of asphyxiation. He died 36 hours after being detained. Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the actions of the British soldiers and hinted at prosecution of individuals involved if further evidence emerges from the inquiry. "The British Army, as it does, should uphold the highest standards. If there is further evidence that comes out of this inquiry that requires action to be taken, it should be taken." During a court martial relating to the case in 2007 Cpl Donald Payne became the first British soldier convicted of a war crime . He was imprisoned for 1 year and dismissed from the army.

Syrian soldiers' trophy videos emerge

Videos of Syrian soldiers callously beating prisoners and laughing whilst snipers fire from rooftops have emerged. The videos, taken by soldiers on their phones, will no doubt provide evidence of government troops commiting human rights violations. The trend of predominantly government forces from aross the world creating trophy videos shows no signs of abating. See here . It appears implausible that the such a rise represents a worldwide moral decline, but instead, a brazen confidence in guaranteed impunity, coupled with technological availability. However, whilst some individuals were busy...

Sweden charges Serb with war crimes

A 34-year-old Serbian man has been charged by Swedish prosecutors with war crimes which took place during the Kosovo conflict in 1999. Milic Martinovic has been charged with murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, robbery and arson in the western village of Cuska in Kosovo. The prosecution has alleged that he was part of a special police unit of Serbs who marched into the village on the 14th of May 1999, armed and uniformed. They went on to separate the male villagers from other civilians and murdered 41 of them. The victims were all ethnic Albanians. Two survivors of the massacre will be...

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