December 5, 2016
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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.
November 30, 2016
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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.
November 7, 2016
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Nigeria may have more international criminal violations on its hands than just those actions of the Boko Haram extremist group. The Human Rights Watch group released a report last week that several women in Borno have been sexually assaulted and mistreated by security officers in the camps, where these women fled to escape the Boko Haram insurgency. Boko Haram has been accused of the forced displacements of thousands of people from their homes, as well as thousands of deaths and abductions. In response to the sexual assault allegations, the Nigerian state police deployed 100 female officers to serve as security guards in the Borno camps, in the effort to better protect the women. President Buhari and other Nigerian officials called for the immediate investigation of such allegations. Nigeria is under preliminary investigations by the ICC for actions between Boko Haram and Nigerian Security officials.
November 3, 2016
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“Evaluating the pursuit of justice during ongoing conflict is crucial. What we may discover is that contrary to the mantra that justice delayed is justice denied, the most promising way to promote justice may be to postpone it” (Vinjamuri). This week’s reading discusses the controversy between the ICC issuing indictments in ongoing conflict situations and the effects this has on those states. While the ICC aims to prevent any further crimes from being committed, by issuing arrest warrants for elite perpetrators, they seem to be creating more of the violence they are trying to stop. States have begun to justify their lack of military intervention, by stating their support of criminal prosecutions, but only after the conflict has ended. This creates an issue of long-lasting violence, while peace agreements are discussed, but these often fail due to a lack of willingness to offer amnesties. While the ICC’s aim to prevent violence is apparent, their execution to do so has proven ineffective. In the interest of peace, waiting for justice until the conflict has ended appears to be the best strategy in ending the violence and achieving justice later on.
October 17, 2016
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Pro-Russian rebel leader, Arsen Pavlov, was assassinated this weekend, leading to further uproar in the country. Rebel members suspect the assassination was the work of Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko. Pavlov is accused many war crimes, including killing prisoners of war on multiple occasions, leaving many people rejoicing about his death. However, his rebel members describe the assassination as an “act of terrorism” and feel that the government of Ukraine has now declared war on them. While Pavlov’s rebel group is convinced this was an act by the government, there are many groups that could have perpetrated this crime. Even still, this killing violates the ceasefire order, creating heavy tension and fighting throughout eastern Ukraine. While killing Pavlov means he will never be able to be tried for his war crimes, many leaders and groups believe he got what he deserved.
September 16, 2016
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The early 2000’s were filled with a great amount of speculation surrounding the circumstances of the American military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Questions of torture tactics and classified messages between top FBI officials over the legality of the treatment of prisoners filled the media. Many agents working at Guantanamo Bay say tactics used by interrogators and other officials were certainly forms of torture violating international law; however, interrogators responded that they were following orders and their officers told them the prisoners were not protected by the Geneva Convention. Officials working at the prison did admit to their awareness of international laws, but many claimed they used trickery, not torture, as a way to get prisoners to give up information. While speculation still remains about the events that took place at Guantanamo Bay, a few things are for sure. First, the prison most certainly must follow international laws and is covered under the Geneva Convention. Next, the definition of torture is one that should be defined in broad enough terms to encompass all forms of mistreatment or ‘trickery.’ Lastly, if the question needs to be asked whether torture is taking place, it most likely is.