June 27, 2016
In the news:
The trial of Ahmed Abu Khattala, the alleged orchestrator of the 2012 Benghazi attack, has been scheduled for September 2017. The Justice Department will not pursue the death penalty in this case.
79 detainees remain in Guantanamo following last week’s transfer of Abdel Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab al-Rahabi to Montenegro. Al-Rahabi spent 14 years in detention on accusations that he was Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard. In February, President Obama announced he will be working towards closing the facility.
A historic bilateral ceasefire between the FARC and the Colombian government was announced late last week. After over 50 years of violent fighting that has left over 200,000 dead and several million displaced, the conflict has come to an official end.
According to a recent UN report, more than 65 million people are currently displaced by conflict worldwide. Around 86 percent of these people are living in developing countries. Critics argue that the report figures demonstrate a failure on the part of powerful nations to end conflicts.
The morning following the announcement of the UK Brexit results, NATO’s Secretary General announced that the UK’s place within NATO will not change.
The Bosnian prosecutor’s office announced that police have arrested six Bosnian Serb soldiers for allegedly kidnapping, torturing, and killing 27 Muslim Bosnians during the Bosnian War.
The lower house of Russia’s State Duma approved a motion at the end of last week condemning measures taken by NATO in Eastern Europe. NATO has insisted that the recent measures were meant to affirm the security of the European continent.
In Sirte, Libya, skirmishes between ISIS militants and Libyan pro-government forces left 140 people injured and 36 members of the pro-government forces dead. In the town of Garabuli 29 civilians were also killed.
Seven civilians in a Yemeni village were killed as Houthi militants searched for a pro-government militia leader. Although a truce agreed to in early April slowed fighting, clashes continue as peace talks have yet to yield any substantial results.
The ICC handed down an 18-year sentence for ex-Congolese Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba early last week. Bemba was found guilty for war crimes and crimes against humanity, but will receive credit for the eight years he has already spent in detention.
In Yemen, an alleged U.S. drone strike killed three suspected al-Qaida militants. Yemeni officials stated the attack hit the vehicle in which the three men were travelling.
Despite photos The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has released showing apparent fragments of Russian weapons, including cluster bombs, Moscow denies that they bombed US-backed moderate Syrian rebels last week. Additionally, Russia may soon find itself under UN investigation for allegations of using incendiary weapons and cluster munitions on civilians in Syria, in violation of international humanitarian law and The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.
Despite recent gains by internationally backed forces fighting ISIS, pockets of extremist fighters remain resistant, delaying efforts to liberate ISIS-occupied cities. Moreover, the militants have initiated counter offensive movements in Syria, Iraq, and Libya.
On Thursday, in response to domestic calls for deportation, the UN Refugee Chief appealed to Pakistanis to resists blaming Afghan refugees for violence and terrorism in the nation. About 2.5 million refugees have settled in Pakistan since leaving Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion.
Last week the Indonesian navy opened fire in the South China Sea on a Chinese fishing vessel. According to Chinese reports, one fisherman was injured and several were detained. This incident marks the third clash between the two states this year.
In Naha, Japan thousands of organizers came out to insist on the removal of U.S. military bases from the island. Protests were sparked by the arrest of a U.S. veteran in connection with the death of a young woman discovered last month. In response to the tragedy, U.S. forces stationed in Okinawa are under a one-month curfew as a “mourning period”.
Ultra-radical militants fighting to establish an Islamic State in Southeast Asia have elected a new leader for the movement. A video was released recently encouraging fighters to join the fight in the Middle East or join the group in the Philippines and to support and unite under Abu Abdullah. Abdullah is the leader of Abu Sayyaf and is on the FBI’s most wanted list.
Around the web:
Don’t Ever Forget— the CIA Tortured Prisoners to Death. Following the release of more declassified documents, subsequent to recent FOIA requests, Sebastien Roblin gives a brief history of US interrogation techniques as well as their evolution into the “enhanced interrogation techniques” used at US detention centers.
Is the Iranian-Saudi “Cold War” Heating Up? How to Reduce the Temperature. In a brief analysis, Sultan Barakat outlines the reasons for, and possible solutions to, the growing tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
EU: Don’t Send Syrians Back to Turkey. This insightful Human Rights Watch article highlights why Turkey’s infrastructure makes it ill-equipped to absorb and support Syrian refugees escaping the conflict.
On the blog:
Conflict and Stabilization Operations: Atrocity Prevention. In an effort to prevent and combat atrocities the Atrocities Prevention Board (APB) was established. Led by the White House, the board seeks to identify and address atrocity threats as well as oversee institutional changes so that the U.S. can better prevent and respond to mass atrocities against civilians.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to apply and obtain more information.