International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Almost 6000 deaths since President Duterte took office.

Since President Duterte took office in the Philippines, there have been almost 6000 deaths in his personal war on drugs. All of this deaths are supposed drug user or drug dealers. But what this appears to be is beside the fact that he is “cleaning” the streets of Manila, there are some that think that this is a sign that President Duterte won’t have doubt to use deadly force if he thinks that his position is in danger and suspects of a possible coup.

 

Myanmar military burned Rohingya villages

Satellite images do not lie. What these images show is how the military forces of Myanmar were ordered to burn villages in Rohingya, according to Human Rights Watch.
The organization claims that the timing of the various incidents and their “spacial trends” offer evidence of a pattern that is “consistent with military operations and not random village acts of self-immolation.”
The east-to-west movement of buildings that were burned to the ground is consistent with a military sweep, according to Phil Robertson, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division.

Philippines President Duterte admits killing suspects

We all know the position that President Duterte has regarding criminal, the position that has been used for his opposition to attack him during his presidential campaign. This is something that President Duterte has always denied until now. A couple of days ago, President Duterte admitted that he order the killing of criminals while being the mayor of Davao City. And not just that, he also admitted that he killed some of them personally.

Attack in Egypt

On December 11, 2016, a bomb went off at a chapel adjacent to Egypt’s main Coptic Christian cathedral, killing 25 and wounding 49.

Amnesty international has stated, “Those responsible for this morning’s reprehensible bombing at a Coptic Christian church in Cairo should be brought to justice in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty”.

Mena (Egypt’s state run news) reported that12 kilograms of TNT explosives were used in this attack. It has mostly killed woman and children, and is the deadliest such attack since the 1st January 2011, when there was a church bombing in Alexandria, which killed 23 people.

President Abdel Farah Al-Sisi has encouraged the people of Egypt to band together, “to emerge victorious in the war against terrorism, which is the battle of all Egyptians”. He has stressed that the authority will take immediate action and will be harsh with its response. The Egyptian government has previously staked its mandate on the fight against Islamic groups, promising to protect the minorities as part of its pledge. This bombing has made the people question whether or not the government can protect them from these types of crimes.muslim-terror-attack-on-egyptian-coptic-church

“The government doesn’t protect us. They can’t protect us against terrorism in general,” said one man.

Egypt has seen a rise in attacks affiliated with ISIS since the former Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, was over thrown in 2003.

After today’s tragic even Egypt has declared three days of mourning.

Who is Smuggling Civilians out of Mosul?

mosulSomeone is smuggling civilians out of Mosul – is it ISIS? Many believe members, or at the very least those with ties to the group, are profiting from a new business model which involves getting thousands of refugees out of the country undetected in exchange for their own personal cash fund. Suspicions of such have significantly increased since the discovery of mined territory put in place by members of the Islamic State. Those who have already reached safety say the men who smuggled them knew exactly where to go. They explained that payment of at minimum $200 per person was required before the smuggler would take them anywhere. Normally the United Nations would not allow something like this to continue, however, in many cases, this is the only way out.

UN Security Council and North Korea.

December 7th 2016.

The UN Security Council will discuss the human rights violations in North Korea this Friday. The meeting was requested by 9 Council Members, Britain, France, Japan, Malaysia, Spain, USA, Uruguay, Ukraine and New Zealand. Back in 2014, the UN commission of inquiry had found many evidences against the authoritarian country for violating the human rights of its citizens through torture, starvation, imprisonment and execution. North Korea has always denied such accusations and continued to pursue  their strict laws and inhumane treatment of their citizens.

However, the meeting on Friday will discuss North Korea’s forced labor and their diversion of resources to create more missile and nuclear programs; something that is being increasingly  In the past, the General Assembly has persuaded the Security Council to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court for its war crimes, however China has always blocked these moves as it is an important ally of North Korea.

Columbia’s Peace Deal Didn’t Bring Peace

Columbia’s peace deal with the country’s largest rebel group, FARC, allowed the government’s program for aerial ratification of the Cocoa plant to continue uninterrupted.

In 2014, the U.S. halted its sponsorship of Columbia’s original program, which used a chemical called glyphosate, a herbicide that would destroy the coca plants used to make cocaine, but also was known to cause cancer. Since the U.S. withdrew support, the number of plantation’s growing the plants exploded, with over 358,000 acres of farmland harvesting the plant used to make cocaine.

Columbian authorities have warned coca farmers in guerrilla held areas that if they do not stop producing the plant, they will re-expose them to the dangerous chemical through ariel spray.

Assisted Suicide in South Africa

The Supreme Court in South Africa ruled that it will be illegal to assist patients in death. The argument in the appeal by the government was that there is no legal framework to decide matters of life and death. Last year there was a similar court carchbishopase where the ruling was that a man’s doctor would be allowed to assist him in killing himself, but he died before the decision was ruled. This new ruling overturns the decision and now Archbishop Desmond Tutu will not be able to fulfill his wishes. Tutu made an announcement in October that he wished to die on his own terms after struggling with prostate cancer for the past twenty years. According to the spokesmen of the Department of Justice and Correctional Services the government is relieved by this ruling because doctors are meant to save live, not take them.

Germany to ban the burka?

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has endorsed the idea of banning the burka, wherever it is legally possible. This, in response from her drop in popularity for allowing about one million asylum seekers into Germany, has made the election season against the anti-immigration party even harder in the coming year. The ban would make it illegal to wear burkas or a full-face veil in public buildings, even though very few women cover their faces in Germany. It is also very probable that the German constitution would prevent the ban from passing. This ban could also be in response to the growing popularity of the anti-immigration party in Germany that has capitalized on the anger produced by the influx of immigrants and refugees. This public stance, especially since this is the first time the Chancellor has made the sentiment known, could be a way to garner back some of the support from her party and the German people- a re-election strategy, or is Germany now following in the footsteps of France?

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38226081

Russia Prohibits Syrian Ceasefire

Both Russia and China have vetoed the draft resolution proposed by the UN Security Council to declare a ceasefire in Aleppo. The ceasefire would have lasted seven days to allow for aid to be supplied to the more than 100,000 people under siege in Aleppo. The resolution was presented to the UNSC jointly by Egypt, New Zealand, and Spain. Venezuela also voted no and Angola abstained from voting; however, the other 11 UNSC members supported the resolution. Russia vetoed the resolution, claiming it did not meet the 24-hour traditional analysis period to review the wording of the resolution. Russia’s veto of the resolution helps preserve the military gains by Syrian troops. “This is the sixth time in five years that Russia has used its veto power to block a draft resolution on Syria” (BBC). The continual blockage by Russia to bring about a ceasefire in Aleppo only allows for the perpetration of more violence and the denial of necessary materials and medical aid.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38216969

As Syria Continues To Crumble – The UN Passes Resolutions Against Israel

“French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault this week called the bloodshed in Syria, where Bashar al-Assad is butchering civilians, “a descent into Hell” and demanded an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.”

Unfortunately, the Security Council one again failed to act- instead the UN General to passed 6 resolutions targeting Israel.

One of these resolutions includes, the UN calling on Israel to withdraw from Syria’s Golan Height’s, territory that the Tel Aviv regime has occupied since 1967. 37 countries, by an overwhelming majority on November 30, have proposed this resolution.

“The resolution also condemned Israel’s non-compliance to the Security Council Resolution 497 since 1981 until now, describing as null and void Tel Aviv’s decision issued on December 14, 1981 to impose its control over the occupied Golan Heights.”

This resolution stresses that the Geneva Convention of protection of civilian individuals in time of war, apply n the occupied Golan Heights. Not only that, the UNGA also reemphasized that the basic principle of inadmissibility of the acquisition of territories by force based on the golan-heights-israel1international law and the UN Charter.
Israel regime has built tens of illegal settlements in the area, since the regime has used the region to carry out military operations against the Syrian Government.

The resolution were all part of the General Assembly’s “Palestine Day”. While I do not like Israel settling in territories that does not belong to them (especially since they have been trying to seize a lot of surrounding Arab territory for a while now), I do like the fact that they have been against the Syrian Government. The UN Security Council continues to do absolutely nothing about the situation in Syria (when it should be the number 1 priority) and instead they are diverting the attention to other problems.

Early Warning in Burma

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The “G-word” has recently come up in regards to the escalation of mass violence currently taking place in Burma. The perpetrators, ethnic Buddhist Rahkine, began attacking Burma’s Muslim minority, the Rohingya, in early October in response to militant attacks on police outposts. It does not appear that the group is acting under the authority of Aung San Suu Kyi, but it’s obvious the Burmese government is most definitely not doing anything to stop it. Several indicators of genocide developed by past scholars have been evidenced in the war-torn Rahkine State, some of which include “the systematic dehumanization of the target group”, “their isolation inside camps and barricaded ghettos”, and “violent 2016-12-02-2attacks on them involving the participation of security forces”. Oddly familiar, don’t you think? The Wall Street Journal has, in a recent article, pointed out the
unnerving similarities between the aspects of this event and the hallmarks of tragedies like those in Bosnia, Darfur, Kosovo, and Rwanda.

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Flight Attendant Drops 70 lbs of cocaine at Airport

A Jet Blue flight attendant dropped a bag that contained almost 70 pounds of cocaine at Los Angles International Airport.  She was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.  She was randomly selected for security screening at LA airport that day.  The flight attendant was carrying two carry ons and a large purse.  Before the screening began she made a phone a call and talked in a foreign language.  Then she dropped her luggage and took off shoes and began to sprint out of the terminal.  TSA workers did not pursue her in order to secure the luggage.  Her luggage eleven packages of cocaine weighing 68.5 lbs.  She surrendered to Federal Agents Wednesday in New York City.  Jet Blue has not immediately responded to a request to comment.

Old Habits Die Hard

PAKISTAN-DEFENCE-MILITARYAs the people’s leader and Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif passed the torch to his successor this week, Foreign Policy debates, not if, but when history will again repeat itself in Pakistan. In other words, when is the next military coup going to happen? It is tradition in this country that military chiefs overthrow incompetent civilian leaders in an effort to eliminate government corruption and gain the people’s support. In Pakistan, the army chief is often viewed as the most powerful person in the country, not the President. But in each of these past cases, as time passed, military leaders began to see discontent form in the eyes of their people. It is a legitimate question for every new military chief who comes to power: to coup, or not to coup?

Donald Trump and Cuba

Following the death of former Cubatrumptweetn Prime Minister/ President/ Dictator Fidel Castro on November 25th. To the surprise of no one, President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter to bash the Cuban revolutionary. He was by no means alone in doing so. Fellow Republicans and Cuban-Americans Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have come out against Castro and even President Obama for being sympathetic after Castro’s death. Castro is accused of human rights violations against his own people after running an extremely repressive regime. 2016 has seen a turning point in American and Cuban relations as the Obama administration has moved to eliminate the trade embargo against Cuba. With Donald Trump taking office in January, the world must wait and see if this still goes through. The President-elect claimed that we would close the door on fixing relations with Cuba unless the “Castro (Raul, Fidel’s brother) government made significant concessions on human rights and other freedoms” (The New Yorker). While the aggressive stance that Trump is taking isn’t shocking, this admittedly came as a bit of a surprise to me. Trump has never come off as a protector of human rights before. This could all just be a tactic to win over public support just as much as him not wanting to do anything with Cuba. Perhaps he really does want to help the Cuban people, maybe he doesn’t want anything to do with it and is just trying to anger Castro to stop negotiations. With Trump, who knows. Still, it is good to see that he is at least vocally taking a stance for human rights. I still believe that American and Cuban relations will continue to progress, especially with the death of Fidel and Raul being 85. With power Cuban-American politicians like Cruz and Rubio I think that this is just Trumps unorthodox way of starting negotiations. Maybe we will even see another Trump Taj Mahal in Havana by 2020.

Image result for obama and castro

President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro.

http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/trumps-choice-on-cuba

https://pjmedia.com/video/marco-rubio-called-president-obama-pathetic-for-respecting-fidel-castro/

Peace in Columbia?

The Columbian government has ratified a new peace accord with the Farc rebel group. The agreement was approved unanimously by both the House and the Senate of the Columbian Congress, just over a month after the peace accord was originally rejected. The peace accord calls for the Farc rebels to lay down their weapons and stop the violence. This accord comes after five decades of fighting and the death of more than 260,000 people. The Farc will now begin the transitioning process into a political party as a new means of creating change without violence. This peace accord is highly supported by current Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos; however, many people, including former President Alvaro Uribe, deeply oppose the agreement, claiming it is too lenient on Farc leaders. This agreement marks a major milestone for Columbia in achieving peace after five decades, but many still question how effective the peace accord will be.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-38165752

 

Corporate Crimes in Malaysia?

Workers for McDonald’s in Malaysia have released statements claiming they are victims of labour exploitation, as seen in an article from The Guardian. The restaurants in Malaysia are not franchises like in other parts of the world, but owned directly by the company. The workers are not only being exploited by McDonald’s, but by a labor supply company, Human Connection HR. Among the many issues these workers are experiencing, McDonald’s pays them extremely low wages, and in most cases have withheld employee’s salaries, refusing to pay the employees on time. Because of this, workers have not been able to support themselves and their families with necessities such as food. The workers reporting these incidents were contracted to work for McDonald’s in Malaysia, from Nepal, by Human Connection. Since the workers are directly employed through Human Connection, McDonald’s managers have failed to address their concerns, stating that they can do nothing since Human Connection is their employer.

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Many workers have come forward with claims that Human Connection takes their passports once they arrive in Malaysia, refusing to return them. This system is illegal; however, for Human Connection it enforces the workers’ contracts to McDonald’s. In an interview with one of the victims he said that “Even those who finished the three-year contract cannot go home because they don’t have their passports.” Many requests for their passports to return home have been denied. Accommodations for the workers provided by Human Connection have also raised concerns. In many situations 10 to 18 employees are forced to live in an extremely small space in poor conditions. Attempts to get a response from Human Connection HR, by The Guardian, regarding this situation failed.

Death of Fidel Castro

Long time Cuban Dictator, Fidel Castro died on November 25 and news spread quickly to the Cuban exile community in Miami, FL, were mass celebrations ensued. People came out waving the Cuban flag in the wake of the death of the man the defined the live of many Cuban Americans in the last few decades. Many were celebrating that Castro died, while others were celebrating that they were hopeful that this now meant that Cuba was free. Many were hopeful that this would mean improved relations with Cuba, allowing many to visit the country they fled, reunite with family, or even allow more Cuban Immigrants into the country. Nearly 500,000 people have left Cuba in the last 50 years, with more expected to leave in the wake of Castro’s death. The US has supported a program that allows Cuban Americans to apply for a green card after spending a year and a day in the US, and some fear that program will be thrown out in the wake of president-elect Trump and an improving relationships between Cuba and the United States. In the end, the Castro’s death represents an end to a painful chapter in the live of many Cubans and Cuban Americans.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/26/us/miami-fidel-castro-death-reaction/index.html

Truth and Reconciliation in Canada

One part of Canadian history that is not commonly talked about is the Indian Residential School system. This boarding school system was in place as a way to try and assimilate aboriginal people into “normal (white) society”. Canada was not alone in this practice
as schools like these also existed in the United States for many years. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was constituted and created by the Indian trc-final-reportResidential Schools Settlement. For years the aboriginal peoples of Canada have had to live with the consequences from the residential schools and finally this truth commission worked as a conduit for healing and truth. The goals of the Commission are to acknowledge the schools and their impacts and consequences, to provide a safe and culturally appropriate setting for former students  and their parents to come forward, to promote awareness of the IRS system, to create a historical record, produce and submit to the Parties of the Agreement report and lastly to support commemoration of former IRS students. The final report of the Commission is to be released in December of this year. Seeing how the United States system was so parallel to Canada it will be interesting to see if there is a future for a commission here in the states. *Pictured is Commissioner Justice Murray Sinclair shaking hands with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau*

 

Former Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos buried in Heroes’ cemetery

Last week, former president Ferdinand Marcos was buried in Heroes’ cemetery. This was something that President Duterte promised during his presidential campaign to the Marcos’ family in exchange for financial support of his campaign.

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-15-18-06Ferdinand Marcos was a ruthless dictator wich was buried on the Marcos stronghold in the north of the Philippines after dying in Hawaii, where he was in exile after he was overthrown by the people of the Philippines.

This has been a very controversial decision, because it has reopened all wounds created by Marcos’ ruthless tortures and murders and plunder during his dictatorship. Duterte against the Filipino people?

UN: LGBT Rights Wins

On November 21st, 2016, a closed vote by the General Assembly committee has now newly appointed a UN expert (independent investigator) to help protect and address violence/discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Human Rights Watch, claimed the expert’s: “work is a victory for human rights”, as many conservative countries (Mostly African) tried to block and halt this act, but in the end failed to do so.

05-16-ki-moon-free-equalThe Human Rights Watch along with 180 NGOs from 156 countries around the world called on the General Assembly’s Third Committee (Includes all member countries) to take a “principled stand’ that LGBT rights are also considered human rights. This vote rejected the African states draft resolution, “which deals with human rights, calling for consultations on the legality of the creation of the mandate.” They said that the work of the investigator should be suspended.

The Western countries successfully proposed an amendment (allowing investigator to continue his work) that devastated the African draft resolution. “The amendment was adopted in the third committee on Monday with 84 votes in favor, 77 against and 17 abstentions”.

Even though the Western countries won, Russia and Egypt spoke in behalf of 57 member-organization of Islamic Cooperation, stating that they would not cooperate with the investigator Muntarbhorn.

Being gay is a crime in 73 countries.

Monsanto Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity?

Monsanto, an agricultural company specializing in the development of GMO seeds and inorganic pesticides, was put on trial at the Hague back in October of this year. This trial was not legally binding, meaning they could not be charged with crimes against humanity at the time; however, according to Arnaud Apoteker, “The witnesses were presenting real cases to real judges. The lessons from this event can be used in ensuing local battles.” This particular case is a great example of the lack of legal responsibility and justice transnational corporations hold. In a report released by AlterNet, “Victims and witnesses described how, over the past 50 years, Monsanto has duped, assaulted, injured and killed farmers, farmworkers, rural villagers and urban consumers.” The hope with this trial is that it will provide enough evidence to the judges to carry out justice for corporate crimes and develop international law to include ecocide as a crime.

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Monsanto has been known to silence farmers who speak out against their products. They often impose on local farming traditions, with the argument that their GMO crops will help provide enough food for the world’s growing population. Despite this argument, food sustainability can increase drastically just by eliminating the world’s food waste. One witnesses’ account stated that “Before the introduction of glyphosate and other agrochemicals, I did not see our people suffer from sickness like this.” Highly toxic pesticides are required to grow the genetically modified crops produced by Monsanto and other Big Agri companies. Not only do these chemicals negatively impact human health, causing many serious issues, but it impacts the environment as the chemicals seep into the ground to in turn pollute water systems. Depleting the nutrients in the soil will effect crop yields as well, impacting our food production. Will the pressure from civil society finally push international courts to hold these transnational corporations accountable for their crimes?

Russia Withdraws Support From The ICC

A day after the court published a report claiming/classifying the Russian annexation of Crimea as an occupation, Russia has stated that it is formally withdrawing it’s signature from the ICC.

On Wednesday 16, November, the Russian foreign minister announced and carried out the orders of the president Vladimir Putin, “saying the tribunal had failed to live up to hopes of the international community and denouncing its work as “one-sided and inefficient””. The court has been accused of being one-sided numerous times and over the past couple of weeks; many countries have shown their displeasure with the court by withdrawing.
Russia signed the Rome Statute in 2000 and has been cooperating with the court, but it has not ratified the treaty, thus they were not in the courts jurisdiction, Even though this move is symbolic it will not change or effect the courts actions much. Instead they are taking the court’s credibility aw694940094001_5181416872001_what-does-vladimir-putin-hope-to-accomplishay.

“This is a symbolic gesture of rejection and says a lot about Russia’s attitude towards international justice and institutions,” said Tanya Lokshina. of Human Rights Watch. “On a practical level it will not make much difference, but it is a statement of direction: it shows that Russia no longer has any intention of ratifying the treaty in future or of cooperating with the court.”

Russia changed its view on the court as early as 2008,after the ruling to investigate the war between Russia and Georgia, to bring justice to the victims.

The ICC Commissioner says that there is no substitute to the ICC, and he hopes that countries will start realizing how important it is. “By withdrawing from the Rome Statute, leaders may shield themselves with immunities – but it will be at the cost of depriving their people of the protection of a unique and essential institution,” he warned.

Dean’s Beans – fair trade coffee in a world of corporate impunity

Airstrikes Resume on Aleppo

For the first time in weeks Syrian warplanes carried out airstrikes in eastern Aleppo were rebels were reportedly hiding out.  The airstrikes began as preliminary operations on the city on Tuesday.  The Government sent a mass text message to Syrians in eastern Aleppo to leave in 24 hours or get caught in the airstrike.  One women died and five people were injured by a barrel bomb dropped by a helicopter.  The Syrian state television claims they were launching precision weapons to target terrorist position.  Syrian state television also claims that the Syrian Army has boots on the ground in several areas to tighten their control on rebel-held neighborhoods and has cut off supply lines from Idlib in the north.