09 June 2021 - NPWJ News Digest on international criminal justice

NPWJ press release

Recognition of Bosnian genocide victims: denial no longer an option
No Peace Without Justice, 08 Jun 2021

No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) heralds today’s final conviction of General Ratko Mladić as a victory for justice and a critical step in the healing of the former Yugoslavia.  Over 20 years ago, Bosnian Serb forces under the command of General Ratko Mladić executed more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys and forced another 25,000 women, children and elderly people to leave their homes.

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No relief for children victims of aggression after almost forty years of their commemoration
No Peace Without Justice, 04 Jun 2021

In 1982, the United Nations General Assembly decided to commemorate Innocent Children Victims of Aggression on 4 June of each year. This international day reminds the world about the effects that armed conflicts have on children, who suffer the gravest violations of their human rights during that time. Today’s commemoration points at the urgent need for protecting children who are in areas in which conflict has arisen or may arise.

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Long Buried War Crimes Convictions Dog Romanian Restitution
Balkan Insight, 09 Jun 2021

Romania’s restitution process has many critics, among them families like Szabó’s who spent years, sometimes decades, fighting for the property seized from them by the country’s Communist regime after World War Two, only to find that their claim has been rejected due to a war crimes conviction few had any knowledge of. The case records were kept under lock and key by the infamous Securitatea secret police. Decades on, the discovery of Communist-era convictions for war crimes has become yet another spanner in the works of a restitution process that has faced much criticism for a host of other reasons.

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UN warns of ‘mass deaths’ in Myanmar after 100,000 flee fighting
Al Jazeera, 09 Jun 2021

A United Nations rights expert has warned of “mass deaths from starvation, disease and exposure” in eastern Myanmar after “brutal, indiscriminate attacks” by the military forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes in Kayah State. In a statement on Wednesday, Tom Andrews, the UN special rapporteur for Myanmar, called for urgent international action, saying attacks by the military – which took power after a February coup – were “threatening the lives of many thousands of men, women and children” in Kayah or Karenni state.

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Israel claims Hamas was using bombed AP building to jam Iron Dome
DW, 08 Jun 2021

Israel on Tuesday, gave specific justification for carrying out an airstrike that destroyed Jala Tower, a Gaza building that housed the Associated Press (AP) news agency and Al Jazeera, a Qatari television network. The bombing of the high-rise building took place on May 15, as the conflict between the Palestinian militant group Hamas and Israel escalated. Its destruction caused international outrage. At the time, Israel said that Hamas' military intelligence services were using the building.

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Guatemala: International organizations demand end to criminalization of justice officials and human rights defenders
Amnesty International, 08 Jun 2021

As a result of our work monitoring the human rights situation in the country, we have documented and reported the improper use of criminal law and other legal mechanisms against human rights defenders, prosecutors, former prosecutors, judges, magistrates, former employees of the International Commission against Impunity (CICIG), and defense lawyers, who have been in charge of processes that demonstrate significant advances for justice and the guarantee of human rights.

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‘Betrayal’: Namibian opposition MPs slam Germany genocide deal
Al Jazeera, 08 Jun 2021

Opposition politicians in Namibia have slammed the government’s deal with Germany as legislators in Windhoek began debating the planned reconciliation agreement under which Berlin officially acknowledged an early 20th-century genocide by colonial troops and agreed to a $1.3bn settlement. The funds – which would go into development projects – are meant to be distributed across a 30-year period.

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Iraqis suffer as US-Iran shadow war shifts gear
BBC, 08 Jun 2021

For the last year and a half there have been some 300 attacks on US interests in Iraq, mostly rockets, as well as improvised explosive devices targeting supply convoys. "This is a game changer," the commander said. The drone was Iranian made, military grade, and a greater threat because of its precision. Drones are also fiendishly difficult to stop. Iran denies involvement in the attacks.

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Children suffer as fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray drags on
Al Jazeera, 06 Jun 2021

The battle for Hawzen is part of a larger war in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region between the government’s forces and Tigrayan fighters that has led to massacres, gang rapes and the flight of more than 2 million of the region’s 6 million people. While the government now holds many urban centres, fierce fighting continues in remote rural towns like Hawzen.

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