Palestine, Dec 20 (Canadian-Media): Following a “thorough, independent and objective assessment”, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced on Friday that she plans to open a formal investigation into alleged war crimes in Palestine, but asked the Court for a further ruling over territorial jurisdiction.
International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.Image credit: ICC
"The preliminary examination into the Situation in Palestine has concluded with the determination that all the statutory criteria under the Rome Statute for the opening of an investigation have been met”, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said, “I am satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine”.
Maintaining that “war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip”, she believes that “potential cases arising from the situation would be admissible” and that there were “no substantial reasons to believe that an investigation would not serve justice”.
As Palestine itself had made the referral, Ms. Bensouda explained that she would not seek the Pre-Trial Chamber's authorization before opening an investigation.
However, given the “unique and highly contested legal and factual issues” attached to the situation, namely, “the territory within which the investigation may be conducted”, she deemed it necessary to rely on article 19(3) of the Statute to resolve this specific issue.
Earlier in the day she requested from Pre-Trial Chamber I, “a jurisdictional ruling” to confirm that the Court may exercise its jurisdiction over the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza.
“Such determination is made strictly for the purposes of determining the Court's ability to exercise its jurisdiction and the scope of such jurisdiction under the Statute”, she elaborated.
She maintained that this “foundational question” should be decided as swiftly as possible “in the interests of victims and affected communities; potential witnesses and their related protection needs and obligations” and to provide clarity for the States concerned.
By seeking the determination, Ms. Bensouda invited the Chamber to “rule expeditiously, while also permitting victims, relevant States, and others to participate in these proceedings, as appropriate”.
Moreover, by obtaining a ruling in an open and transparent manner, she hoped that the process would “assist the Chamber in its determination” and also endow its decision “with greater clarity and reinforced legitimacy”.
“It is necessary for this specific matter before the Chamber to be resolved without undue delay so that my Office can take the appropriate next steps accordingly”, concluded Ms. Bensouda.
The UN General Assembly voted in favour of giving Palestine non-member observer status in 2012.
Reacting on Twitter, the Israel Foreign Ministry said: “we utterly reject the Prosecutor’s decision and urge other countries to do so”.
#Pakistan; #PakistanCourt; #DeathSentence; #Treason
Pakistan, Dec 17 (Canadian-Media): Pakistan's former military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf was sentenced to death on Tuesday, by a Pakistani court, in a treason case related to the state of emergency he imposed in 2007 while in power, media reports said.
The ruling by a three-judge panel being anonymous, one of the judges had opposed the death sentence, according to Akhtar Sheikh, one of the lawyers of Musharraf.
Musharraf had been found guilty of imposing a state of emergency, suspending constitution and came to power after ousting former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a 1999 bloodless coup.
Musharraf has been out of the country since 2016 and at present was in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, was sentenced in absentia.
He left Pakistan on bail earlier this month to travel to London for medical treatment.
After the sentence was announced, Prime Minister Imran Khan's government said it would reportedly review in detail the verdict before commenting on it.
#UN; #UNSustainableDevelopmentGoals; #AntiCorruptionConference; #UnitedFront
Abu Dhabi, Dec 16 (Canadian-Media): As we enter the Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world must “unite against corruption” to stop precious resources from being drained by illicit financial flows, an international conference on the issue heard on Monday in Abu Dhabi.
A gamma ray scanner station of the Sihanoukville Port in Cambodia is being used to detect illegal items in container vans. Image credit: World Bank/Chhor Sokunthea
“You meet at a critical moment”, said Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), on behalf of Secretary-General António Guterres, addressing the UN Convention Against Corruption in the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
The world's primary anti-corruption summit began with a call to advance efforts to prevent and combat corruption to achieve the SDGs: “Through corrupt practices, trillions of dollars are diverted every year from schools, hospitals and other essential services and infrastructure”, spelled out Mr. Fedetov, underscoring that “action against corruption…is crucial to reducing inequalities, promoting inclusive growth and addressing the climate crisis”.
The anti-corruption chief maintained that fighting corruption can prevent criminal traffickers from “exploiting human misery and plundering natural resources”.
Looking ahead to 2021, when the first-ever General Assembly Special Session on ending corruption will convene, he urged everyone to make the fight a “top priority”.
Loopholes that allow financial assets to illegally cross borders, and public funds to be laundered and embezzled, help fuel large-scale corruption.
Mr. Fedotov stressed that “international cooperation is fundamental”.
Measures to fight corruption:
Preventing and combatting corruption offers “a key to unlock progress towards ending poverty and inequalities, protecting health and planet, and strengthening justice and the rule of law”, Mr. Fedotov said in his own address, describing it as “the sinister enabler of some of the worst problems we face”.
He added that “by preventing and curbing corruption, we can nip corruption's contribution to instability in the bud”, stopping it “from prolonging conflict and spoiling peace”.
The top UN official argued that the international convention “offers a genuine chance to agree new approaches and seek innovative solutions to corruption threats facing all our countries”.
In what he acknowledged to be the last time he addressed the Conference as UNODC Executive Director, he concluded by saying, “we are on the cusp of a new decade, with renewed hope that together we can win this fight”.
About the Convention
With 186 parties, the Convention against Corruption, is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument.
It came into force in December 2005 and has been ratified by most UN Member States, with the newest being Samoa, Equatorial Guinea and Chad in 2018.
The Convention covers various forms of corruption, including bribery, trading in influence, abuse of functions, as well as corruption in the private sector.
Under the Convention, States are legally obliged to prevent and criminalize corruption; promote international cooperation; recover and return stolen assets; and improve technical assistance and information exchange in both the private and public sectors.
Every two years, its States parties meet to review implementation and discuss how corruption can better be tackled.
In addition to reviewing its core mandates, the week-long eighth session will deliberate on preparations for the 2021 Special Session next year in New York.
#Ghana, #Africa; #IllegalMining, #62ArrestsMade; #Law
Ghana, Dec 15 (Canadian-Media): An arrest of at least 62 suspects were made on Saturday following a series of complaints from an international gold firm, Newmont Goldcorp regarding illegal mining at the western Ghanaian town of Kenyasi from of, media reports said.
Arrest warrant. Image credit: Facebook page
A regional police commander, Kwaku Buadu Peprah, who led the operation along with other police officers they clamped down on the illegal mining activities at around 4am arrested the the suspects, including two women.
As one of the largest gold producers and exporters in Africa, Ghana has been waging a war against illegal mining, which has caused pollution of major water bodies in mineral-rich territories.