A Perilous Journey

June 6, 2016

In the news:

An internal Defense Department investigation into the killings of seven Afghan civilians in a 2010 U.S. special operations raid has concluded that the rules of engagement were followed. Although it was acknowledged that “tactical mistakes” were made during the raid, the investigators determined that “the amount of force utilized was necessary, proportional and applied at the appropriate time.”

Guantanamo Detainee, Zayn al Abdeen Mohammed al Hussein, is set to testify as a witness at the war court about interrogation techniques employed at the Navy base’s most covert prison.

Amnesty International alleges that several European countries have defied an EU-wide embargo on arms sales to Egypt. The embargo was imposed after security forces gunned down over 600 anti-coup protesters in Cairo in 2013.

Another wave of peace talks between Israel and Palestine have kicked off in Paris. Although direct negotiations between the two states have so far been ineffective, the hope is that representatives from the over 20 participating countries, the UN, EU and Arab League will lay the groundwork for a peace conference to take place at the end of the year. Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the initiative since it was announced, favoring instead a direct dialogue with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

It was a fatal week for migrants in the Mediterranean where it is estimated that nearly 900 drowned. More disasters are expected to come in the following months as waters warm and weather improves, leading to an upsurge in migration in the area.

In Germany, three Syrians were arrested on Thursday for allegedly planning a “mass casualty attack” on behalf of ISIS in Dusseldorf.

Also in Germany, a resolution was passed officially identifying the 1915 Ottoman era killings of Armenians as genocide. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Ergodan, along with three of the largest political parties in Turkey, has condemned the resolution.

The UN Security Council is scheduled to meet to discuss United Nations Humanitarian Aid air drops in Syria. According to the World Food Program, nearly 593,000 people in 19 besieged areas in Syria may need to receive aid through the air drops. Previous air drops in the country have proved unsuccessful with many drops being lost, damaged or dropped in areas inaccessible to civilians.

After a week of intense fighting, Iraqi forces have been forced to slow their operation in battle for Fallujiah because a large number of civilians still remain in the city. Although four air strikes have so far been carried out, the ability to execute more air strikes is limited because of the civilians remaining. Meanwhile, ISIS is using the attack to narrate their own version of events in their propaganda campaign, stating that the “Shia-based action is an attempt to wipe out Sunnis.”

165,000 Syrian refugees are trapped at the Turkey-Syria border. The displaced refugees, fleeing ISIS assaults, are scattered in overpopulated makeshift camps at the border.

Fourteen men have been sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for attacks on security forces in a Shiite area that occurred a few years ago. Western human rights groups have been critical of the Saudi government’s actions, accusing the state of employing the judicial system to silence dissent.

In the Philippines, communist rebels expressed a willingness to resume peace talks, which have been suspended for several years, with incoming President Rodrigo Duterte’s government.

During an official visit to North Korea, Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized the importance of the two nations establishing a good relationship. Although an ally of North Korea, China continues to abide by UN-imposed sanctions.

Seventeen years after the first case against former Chadian Dictator Hissène Habré was filed, he has been sentenced to life in prison for atrocities committed during his time in office.

In Mali, another attack was carried out on peacekeepers last Sunday. Five UN soldiers were killed and one was seriously injured. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has requested that the Security Council send an additional 2,500 peacekeepers to the Mali mission for intelligence gathering, explosive removal and protection of supply convoys.

In Mogadishu, at least 15 people were left dead and 40 wounded after a car bomb was detonated at the popular Ambassador Hotel. Al Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the car bomb and the subsequent storming of the hotel by heavily armed militiamen.

Around the web:

Cracking Down on Russia’s Caliphate. Oliver Carroll discusses the possible pitfalls of Russia’s policy to quell an Islamist insurgency in Dagestan.

Big Win Over ISIS Could Mean a New War. In an article for The Daily Beast, Nancy Youssef and Michael Weiss discuss issues arising after liberation of ISIS-held areas.

On the blog:

Trauma and Testimony: Challenges of Child Soldier Witnesses in Future FARC Trails. Red Cross Legal Advisor Lia Lindsey discusses the particular vulnerabilities of child witnesses and makes the case for adjusting trial procedures to accommodate these vulnerabilities.

When National Security Trumps International Humanitarian Law, Who Wins? Brad Gutierrez writes about the significance of observing the limits to warfare international humanitarian law imposes on the global community.

Transitional Justice Policy Paper Series. The initiative was established to reflect U.S. policy understanding of a range of transitional justice (TJ) mechanisms related to peace-building, accountability, human rights, and reconciliation in post-conflict and post-authoritarian transitions. Links to read each short guide can be found here.

International Humanitarian Law: A Primer for Professionals. Register for one of our upcoming one-day workshops. Audience members will learn to recognize and understand situations where international humanitarian law is applicable. CLE credits are available! Contact us at ihlaw@redcross.org to apply and obtain more information.

IHL Action Campaign. Follow the work of the IHL Action Campaign, and our other youth education program updates!

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