15 February 2023 - NPWJ News Digest on International Criminal Justice

Articles

Cameroon bishop denounces killings of workers amid separatist push
CRUX, 15 Feb 2023

After the slaying of five plantation workers by unidentified gunmen, the Catholic leader of the capital of Cameroon’s violence-plagued minority English-speaking region, Bishop Michael Bibi of Buea, has described the killings as both a “crime against humanity” and “a sin against God.” The four men and one woman who were workers of the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC), the country’s second largest employer after the state, were killed on Friday, February 10. Attackers reportedly first shot the driver in order to immobilize the vehicle, before proceeding to kill the other workers. The assault has been attributed to separatist armed groups, who see the CDC as part of the exploitation of their region by the country’s French-speaking majority under President-for-life Paul Biya.

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Mauritius: Rights Group Accuses UK, U.S. of 'Crimes Against Humanity' Over Chagos Islands
allAfrica, 15 Feb 2023

A human rights group has accused the British government of lying, and the British and American governments of committing "crimes against humanity" in the process of establishing a strategically important U.S. military base on the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. The accusations, made in a 106-page report issued on Wednesday (February 15, 2023) by the New York-based group, Human Rights Watch, arise from the forced expulsion, in the 1960s and 1970s, of the residents of the Chagos archipelago. The release of the report comes as the British government is attempting to negotiate a settlement with Mauritius over the future of the islands after losing two court cases in international tribunals over the legality of their occupation.

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Canadian churches must speak out against Israel’s apartheid crimes
rabble.ca, 15 Feb 2023

Canadian churches played a pivotal role in standing up to the apartheid regime in South Africa and the time is ripe for them to do the same with the apartheid regime in Israel/Palestine, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. In 1973, the General Assembly of the United Nations voted for the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (ICSPCA) which declared apartheid to be a crime against humanity; and the convention came into force in 1976 and so far, 110 countries have ratified the Convention, but a number of nations, including Canada, have neither signed nor ratified the Convention. Apartheid is a system of institutionalised discrimination and segregation based on racial, religious or ethnic grounds that was implemented both in South Africa in 1948 and when the state of Israel was created that same year.

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SYRIA: BERLIN PROSECUTORS URGE LIFE SENTENCE IN WAR CRIMES TRIAL
Justice Info Net , 14 Feb 2023

In a small courtroom in Berlin, out of a large audience or media attention, a war crimes trial is nearing its end. It will be the second trial dealing with atrocity crimes committed under the Assad regime to be concluded in Germany.  And it is the first to investigate the regime’s brutal practice of besieging and starving parts of the population to punish them for their opposition. Last Thursday, after 30 days of trial, the prosecutors presented their closing statement. They asked the court to convict Moafak D., whose full name remains anonymous, of war crimes and to sentence him to life in prison.  For the plaintiffs, whose closing arguments followed, this did not go far enough. Although they agreed with the requested sentence, they reiterated their belief that an additional indictment for crimes against humanity was needed to grasp the magnitude of the crimes and do justice to the long suffering of the civilians under siege.

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Myanmar’s military regime to let ‘loyal’ citizens carry weapons
Aljazeera, 14 Feb 2023

Myanmar’s military regime will allow civilians deemed as “loyal to the state” to apply for licences to carry weapons, according to media reports. Local media said the generals, who seized power from the elected government two years ago, planned to allow citizens over the age of 18 to be licensed to carry several types of guns and ammunition. The two-year conflict has killed an estimated 31,022 people in total – civilians and combatants alike – according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), and the military has increasingly resorted to air attacks to stamp out opposition to its rule. About 1.2 million people have been displaced in the strife, and more than 70,000 have left the country, according to the United Nations, which has accused the military of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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Dutch plan to prosecute repatriated ISIS woman for crimes against humanity
The National , 10 Feb 2023

Prosecutors in the Netherlands announced plans to try a Dutch woman who joined ISIS with crimes against humanity for allegedly enslaving a Yazidi woman in Syria in 2015. It is the first time Dutch prosecutors have brought a case of crimes against humanity committed against Yazidis, a religious minority in Iraq who were massacred by ISIS, the prosecution service said. The woman, identified by Dutch media as Hasna Aarab, will also be tried over alleged membership of a terrorist organisation, as will 11 other women who were repatriated to the Netherlands in November last year from camps for ISIS members in Syria. Similar trials have been held in Germany where the parliament in January recognised ISIS massacres of the Yazidi population as genocide.

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