International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

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.

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.

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.

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.

Cold Blooded Killers

Amnesty International has stated that it has gathered evidence, that men dressed in Iraqi federal police uniforms have tortured and killed residents of different villages in south of Mosul.

Researchers from Amnesty visited several villages in the Al-Sura and Al- Qayyara sub-districts of Ninewa governorate, southwest and south of Mosul. They found evidence that indicated up to six people were “extrajudicially” executed in late October, (the sixth man was apparently shot dead as he ran towards forces that included men in police uniform while pulling up his clothes to show that he had no explosives). The reasoning behind this killing was apparently due to suspicions that the victims had ties with the Islamic State.

An Iraqi soldier stands next to detained men accused of being Islamic State fighters, at a check point in Qayyara, south of Mosul, Iraq“Deliberately killing captives and other defenceless individuals is prohibited by international humanitarian law and is a war crime. It is crucial that the Iraqi authorities carry out prompt, thorough, impartial and independent investigations into these crimes under international law, and bring those responsible to justice. Without effective measures to suppress and punish serious violations, there is a real risk that we could see war crimes of this kind repeated in other Iraqi villages and towns during the Mosul offensive.” Said Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International (Beirut Regional Office).

Since the federal Police forces command has denied the accusation, they must investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice. Amnesty is also asking Iraqi authorities to grantee protection to the families of the victims and witnesses. While the Iraqi authorities did deny taking part of the torture, there were a number of Iraqi forces present in, or passed through the villages during the time the crime was taking place. To further pressure the authorities, “all those killed were buried without autopsies after their corpses were found”. This is similar to burying the evidence.

Pro-government forces have launched an offensive operation to retake Mosul last month. About 50,000 Iraqi security forces personnel, soldiers, police, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, Sunni Arab tribesmen and Shia militiamen are involved in the three-week operation.

Russia’s Bid for Human Rights Council

(New York City) On October 28, the United Nations General Assembly will select new members for the Human Rights Council. Russia is running for a chance to represent Eastern Europe at the council (against Croatia and Hungary), which has two available seats. But the crime that they have committed in Aleppo has put them under fire and is hindering their chances.

Human Rights Council is considered to be the “world’s foremost human rights body”. More than 80 human rights and organizations, that include Human Rights Watch and Refugee International, have urged UN member states to drop Russia from the running, because of their military campaign in Syria. “Russia’s gross disregard for civilian lives in Syria and its responsibility for illegal attacks makes it unfit to serve on the council,” Louis Charbonneau of Human Rights Watch.

2008_un_humanrightscouncilRussia has been supporting President Assad’s regime in Syria against the rebels and ISIS since September of 2015. Since then they have committed war crimes. Human Rights watch says that since September 19, 2016, “The attacks included the use of barrel bombs, cluster munitions, and incendiary weapons, and damaged or partially destroyed at least five hospitals in six separate attacks”. Russia have also been continually been providing the Syrian government with weapons.

I agree with these organizations, Russia must learn that there are consequences for their actions. I feel as if many have called them out on their wrong doings, but nobody has taken action. I feel as if this will help start sending the right message that the international community recognizes the crimes that they have committed and will not stand for it.

Crimes Against Refugees in Nauru

“On Nauru, the Australian government runs an open-air prison designed to inflict as much suffering as necessary to stop some of the world’s most vulnerable people from trying to find safety in Australia,” said Anna Neistat, Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Research

Nauru has a population of 10,000 people, and with approximately 1,159 asylum seekers and refugees (third highest proportion of refugees per capita). Out of these asylum seekers, 410 are held in the Refugee Processing Center where they are driven to suicide because of the conditions they live in, which Amnesty claims is torture.

Not only are the people in the Center the target of abuse, but also those who live among the population. Dozens have experienced physical attacks some that include sexual assault. One incident includes, a refugee family that moved into the community have been repeatedly attacked in their homes and have had their property destroyed.
Until now, no Nauru citizens are held accountable for their actions; instead many refugees have been arrested and imprisoned. “Arbitrary arrests as a form of intimidation are common on Nauru.”

The community in Nauru also do not care about refugees well being. Many people have been discharged from the hospital when they are clearly still sick. Many are experiencing deteriorating mental health, and doctors are not prescribing the right medication to help them. “Amnesty said that 58 detainees, or about 15 percent of the total on Nauru, to whom it spoke for its report, had either attempted suicide or have had thoughts about harming themselves.”

It is interesting how a government will go to great lengths to stop people from seeking refugee in their country. Australian government believes that they need to set harsh rules to those who want to enter their country, they will try everything in their power to deter them.

Duterte’s “War On Drugs”

President Duterte is plainly committing genocide, which he admitted to do so, “Hitler massacred 3 million Jews,” he said. (The actual number is 6 million). “Now … there’s 3 million drug addicts … I’d be happy to slaughter them,” to “finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition.” He wants to promise the citizens that he will be able to successfully demolish drugs from the country, but instead what he is doing is unleashing people to kill.rodrigo-duterte-philippine-national-police-getty-640x480

100 days after Rodrigo Duterte was elected president, a wave of carnage has claimed over 3,000 lives in the Philippines. Over 1500 have been killed by police operations against illegal drugs and over 2000 by unknown assailants.

His statements have actively created a climate where anybody can kill or be killed in the name of the “war on drugs”. He has encouraged the killings of drug addicts themselves, and is offering awards for those who can turn in drug lords, dead or alive. He has given them the free reign to kill with impunity and has publicized kill lists, which include congress members, military, police etc..

The problem is many can see this as an excuse to kill anybody. Amnesty is reporting that a 5 year old girl was shot down by two men on motor bikes because of “mistaken identity”. This is obviously just an excuse, as 5 year old can not possibly be a drug lord. Over 600,000 people have turned themselves in, and are now in crowded cages that operate like concentration camps. He is demolishing key aspects of human right’s, which include the right to life.

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So why has the world remained silent? In fact the US just donated $32 million in aid to support the Philippine law enforcement. The main obvious reason is because we dehumanize those who use drugs and we see their deaths to be acceptable as apart of the “war on drugs”. This is a sad reality that we are facing; unfortunately many innocents are also hurt in the process, not that it is just to kill drug users either.

More Pictures Here

China Hunt’s Down Human Rights Lawyers!

“Is this what being a lawyer is like…? We have worked hard on behalf of the rank and file; and yet this is the misery we end up with!” – li Jinxing (Chinese lawyer)

Human Rights Lawyers in China have defended the countries most deprived citizens including: migrant laborers, ethnic and religious minorities, Political protestors, etc..
Today they face their toughest challenge: defending themselves from the Chinese Government.

China, has now been ruled by The Chinese Communist Party for more than 6 decades, they remain an authoritarian state that continues to suppress basic fundamental human rights. Like many authoritarian regimes, the senior leaders of the state, “perceiving a threat to their power, now explicitly reject the universality of human rights, characterizing these ideas as “foreign infiltration,” and penalizing those who promote them”. In 2015, new restrictive measures were put into place that promotes the “rule of law”. For Human Right’s lawyers this was a beginning of a nightmare.

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The first case reported was of a prominent human rights lawyer named Wang Yu. Witnessing the mistreatment and torture of prisoners, when she was jailed in 2008 (for demanding to board a train in which she held a valid ticket), she began defending key human right’s cases which the government considered “sensitive”. She goes missing (along with her husband and son) on the early hours 9th July, 2015. Her friends received a panicked message, which stated that people are invading her home. Until today she is detained for the charges relating to state security, along with her husband who is also a HR lawyer. Between July and September of 2015, 280 HR lawyers were briefly detained. Today about 40 remain in custody in disclosed locations. These lawyers do not have a choice on whether they can have a lawyer and they are not allowed to see their families.

Another extreme case, which AlJazeera brought up recently, is of the lawyer Xia Lin. Xia Lin is best known for defending an outspoken Chinese artist named Ai Weiwei and fellow rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang. He has been sentenced for 12 years on fraud charges. He was also ordered to pay a fine of 120,000 yuan ($18,000) and give total compensation of 4.8 million yuan ($720,000) to fraud victims. The government controls these courts, so the defendants do not have a fair trial.

Coming from Saudi Arabia, this is not news to me. Many states that break Human Rights laws try to suppress those who go against the regime. In Saudi, we all know to not talk about our suppression, as it will lead us into getting in trouble. Today many protestors actually get the death sentence when they try to seek justice. Saudi is a country built on traditions apart of that tradition violates what the West sees as basic human rights. I have now got used to the idea of where I live and I know how to follow the rules, progress is being made in Saudi just like it is in China, but they are baby steps.

 

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Darfur: The First Genocide Of The 21’st Century

Claiming over 300,000 lives and displacing over 3 million people, the genocide in Darfur is one of the worst humanitarian disasters the world has ever faced. The most devastating reality is that the killing continues till this day.

Omar AL Bashir, the president of Sudan rose to power during a military coup in 1989. He inherited the long running war with the rebels of South Sudan. This conflict stemmed from “northern economic, political, and social domination of largely non-Muslim, non-Arab, southern Sudanese.” The need for resources played a big role in this conflict, which led to two civil wars one in 1972 and the second in 1983. Even after the civil wars the government continued to neglect the people and have left them poor and without voice. In 2003, a group of non-Arab rebel group decided that they have had enough and launched an uprising against the Khartoum government. The response from the government was the beginning of the genocide campaign. The government decided to enlist the help of an Arab militia in Darfur called the Janjaweed to carry out this task. This dispute is not religious but an ethnic one.

Rape, murder, torture, etc.. The international community promised “never again” to allow a destruction of a particular ethnic, racial, or religious group. The United States carried its promise in 2004, when congress passed a resolution labeling Darfur genocide. This however did not foster a strong reaction from the international community, instead the community spent most of the time arguing about what constitutes as genocide. The UN only went as far as threatening to sanction Sudan’s growing oil industry. This did not stop the killing. The African Union also sent 7,700 troops by April 2005, but the uncooperative government proved to be a stronger force.

The International Criminal failed to bring justice to this crime when an arrest warrant for Al Bashir came in 2009, the judge claimed that there was not enough sufficient evidence to support charges of genocide. In 2010 though, a warrant for Al Bashir came for three counts of genocide, the GoS , the Arab League and the African Union denounced the warrants. thankfully though the UN has not placed any action against these warrants so they are still in place. Yet Many countries have failed to their obligation to act on these warrants. Al Bashir is still in power and cannot leave his country. What I question is how ineffective the international community has been. I believe it is because many of these governments commit some of the same crimes, and other countries do not actually care. How can one man escape justice leaves me flabbergasted. This massacre just proves how ineffective the international community is when it comes to large scale killings (cough Syria).

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Failure to Protect

 

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