#Mexico; #MexicoCriminalJustice; #CriminalProcedure; #Law&Order; #theSenate
Mexico, Jan 27 (Canadian-Media): An announcement was made by the Mexican Senate on January 15, 2020, that a proposal aimed to reform aspects of Mexico’s criminal justice system to improve its performance, would be received from the executive branch, media reports said.
Justice in Mexico. Image credit: Twitter handle
The Senate would begin the analysis of the initiatives after the text of the proposed bills is released on Feb 1, 2020.
In the meantime, limited information on a number of salient aspects of the proposed reforms would be provided by the Senate including: the enactment of a National Criminal Code; new rules on imprisonment, training programs for the prison inmates; and community services.
There had been reports some news organizations regarding some leaked additional information to the press about the proposed reform. But all the admission of illegally obtained evidence has currently been prohibited by the constitution.
#UN; #ICAO; #CrashOfUkrainianPassengerPlaneInIran; #Investigation; #InvestigationSpecialCourt; #aviationSafety
United Nations, Jan 15 (Canadian-Media): Experts from the United Nations (UN) aviation watchdog, ICAO, will support the investigation into the crash of a Ukrainian Passenger plane in Iran on January 8, following an invitation from the Iranian authorities, which was accepted on Tuesday, UN reports said.
The Iranian Red Crescent team, and other relief organizations, participate in an operation to transfer dead bodies after a Ukrainian plane crashed in Tehran, Iran. Image credit: Iranian Red Crescent Society
In a statement, the ICAO said that it has appointed senior and expert technical staff, who will now serve as advisors and observers.
Few details of Iran’s investigation have been released by the authorities, but Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, said in a televised address that it will be overseen by several experts, and that the judiciary will create a special court.
On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the country’s judiciary reportedly said, in a press conference, that the investigation will look into the causes and direct impact of the incident.
Iran has admitted that Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752 was shot down by its armed forces and announced on Tuesday that several people have been detained over the incident which, it says, was accidental. All 176 people on board were killed in the crash.
The incident took place several hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile strike from home soil on US forces stationed in Iraq, in response to the US drone killing of top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.
Initially, Iran denied responsibility for the crash, reportedly blaming it on a technical failure but eventually admitted that the operator of a missile defence system had mistaken the plane for a missile and shot it down.
What is ICAO?
A specialized agency of the United Nations, ICAO was created in 1944 to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world.It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency, capacity and environmental protection, amongst many other priorities.
ICAO. Image credit: Twitter handle
The Organization serves as the forum for cooperation in all fields of civil aviation among its 193 Member States.
#UN; #UNGeneva; #LawAndOrder; #UNRefugeeAgency;#HumanitarianAid
Geneva, Jan 11 (Canadian-Media): A new law in El Salvador opens a door for tens of thousands of forced displacement victims in the country to access to life-saving humanitarian assistance and have their basic rights restored, said the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) on Friday, UN reports said.
A young internally displaced man stands by the road on the outskirts of San Salvador in El Salvador. Credit: © UNHCR/Diana Diaz
The legislation, which was passed by a resounding majority in El Salvador’s National Assembly on Thursday, also protects, aids and offers durable solutions to people who may be either at risk or who have already been internally displaced, due to violence perpetrated criminal gangs.
And for the first time ever, the law also provides for the establishment of a comprehensive national system of State institutions to prevent and respond to forced displacement.
‘Lasting positive impact’
Once the new law is signed by President Nayib Bukele, it can have “a lasting positive impact on the lives of the 71,500 Salvadorans estimated to have been forcibly displaced between 2006 and 2016 within their country’s borders, as well as tens of thousands more who are at risk of being forced to flee their homes”, UNHCR spokesperson Liz Throssell explained to reporters in Geneva.
UNHCR provided technical support to the legislative text on internal displacement to align with the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and other international standards on the rights of internally displaced persons.
“It also establishes mechanisms to allow those affected by internal displacement to protect and reclaim property they may have been forced to abandon in their flight”, she elaborated.
The spokesperson recalled that in October, UN Secretary-General António Guterres established a High-level Panel on Internal Displacement “to increase global attention and advance solutions for this issue which affects more than 40 million people worldwide due to conflict and violence”.
“The law reflects the growing momentum in Central America and beyond to recognize and respond to the phenomenon of internal displacement”, Ms. Throssell said.
In Honduras, where an estimated 247,000 people have been displaced by violence within their own country, the National Congress is considering legislation similar to the law passed in El Salvador.
Mexico also recognizes the serious impact of internal displacement and has expressed its commitment to pass legislation on the issue at the federal level.
The UNHCR spokesperson concluded by reiterating the UN refugee agency’s readiness to continue offering technical and operational assistance to the governments of Central America and Mexico to “help mitigate the causes and consequences of forced displacement”.
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.
Ankara (Turkey), Nov 6 (Canadian-Media): An announcement was made today by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a speech in the capital of Ankara that he had captured one of the four wives of the slain leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, media reports said
Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Image credit: Facebook page
Erdogan gave no other details about when or how the woman was captured or identified her by name.
Erdogan's announcement regarding the capture of al-Baghdadi's wife was just days after Turkish forces captured al-Baghdadi's elder sister, identified as Rasmiya Awad, in northwestern Syria when she was with her husband, daughter-in-law and five children.
#Counteranti-Semitism; #ToxicToDemocracy; #UN
United Nations; Oct 19 (Canadian-Media): To counter anti-Semitism, which is “toxic to democracy” and poses “a threat to all societies if left unaddressed”, countries must invest more in education, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief has warned, speaking at UN headquarters in New York, UN reports said.
Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief addresses the UN General Assembly (file): UN Photo/Manuel Elias
Ahmed Shaheed reported his findings on the growth of the anti-Semitism to the General Assembly on Thursday, and took part in a panel discussion on the importance of education in addressing the problem on Friday.
Mr. Shaheed noted that anti-Semitism is rising amongst groups associated with both the political right and left: “I am alarmed by the growing use of anti-Semitic tropes by white supremacists, including neo-Nazis and members of radical Islamist groups, in slogans, images, stereotypes and conspiracy theories to incite and justify hostility, discrimination and violence against Jews. I am also concerned about the increasing expressions of anti-Semitism emanating from sources in the political left and about discriminatory State practices towards Jews.”
In his report, the Special Rapporteur described the Holocaust against the Jews during the Second World War, as a graphic example of the way that religious and racial hatred can lead to genocide and the destruction of societies.
Nevertheless, an increase in anti-Semitism incidents is being reported internationally - including violence, discrimination and expressions of hostility - and the problem is being boosted by the internet, with online anti-Semitic hate speech prevalent.
Invest in education
In an exclusive interview with UN News, Mr. Shaheed described anti-Semitism as the “canary in the coalmine of global hatred”, which presents serious challenges to the elimination of all forms of intolerance, hatred and discrimination based on religion or belief, and poses risks to members of minorities everywhere, as well as to Jews.
In order to counter the problem, Mr. Shaheed urged countries to invest in education and training, at all levels, to enable a better understanding of anti-Semitism: “education is a key factor in addressing issues and preventing future incidences of hate”.
Speaking on Friday’s UN panel discussion, Mr. Shaheed insisted on the importance of engaging with the younger generation, in order to ensure that they reject anti-Semitism. A global coalition is needed, he continued, to speak out against anti-Semitism, and education is a vital tool to achieve this end.
Enforce laws, empower citizens
The problem, he pointed out, is a human rights issue, that affects a whole range of rights, including the right to life. It is also widespread, coming from all sectors of society, including world leaders and Heads of State, a phenomenon Mr. Shaheed described as “very serious”.
The Special Rapporteur called for anti-Semitism to be placed within a wider human rights framework, in which citizens are empowered with the requisite critical thinking, empathy and literacy to withstand and reject extremist ideologies, including anti-Semitic propaganda.
States must also make incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence based on religion or belief, including against Jews, illegal, added Mr. Shaheed, and ensure that these laws are enforced. In addition, members of civil society have a role to play, said the UN expert, recommending inter-faith networks aimed at advancing social cohesion.
In his interview with UN News, Mr. Shaheed said that he is heartened by the growing investment by states in tackling anti-Semitism: whilst the world has been struggling to tackle online hate, some technical solutions are emerging as potential answers, and States are now better equipped to deal with the problem.
“There is a growing recognition that hatred undermines all societies, and a growing awareness that we need to act. And this is the first towards us getting it right”.
#UnitedNations; #UNOCT; #ICAO; #goTravelsoftware
A new programme aimed at improving the tracking of suspected terrorists, using state-of-the-art software, was launched yesterday by the United Nations (UN) Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), UN reports said.
The launch at UN Headquarters in New York, of the United Nations Countering Terrorist Travel Programme, comes in the wake of the territorial defeat of the Iraq and Syria-based ISIL terrorist group. Thousands of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) are attempting to return home or relocate to safe havens or conflict zones, representing a major threat to international peace and security.
The Programme, described by UNOCT as a “flagship initiative,” is designed to help countries to enhance the detection of FTFs and serious criminals, through the collection, identification, and analysis of their passenger data.
A mix of technology and legislation
Several UN counter-terrorism departments, as well as the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), will work closely together to implement the initiative, which provides countries with free access to advanced “goTravel” software, which analyses travel data to help countries detect and disrupt terrorists’ movements.
Another aspect of the Programme involves the UN supporting national authorities in the development of legislation and national expertise, via training and certification to operate the software lawfully and effectively.
The “goTravel” software is a reconfigured version of a system donated by the Netherlands to the United Nations.
Recent attacks 'tragic reminders of global reach of the scourge of terrorism
'Speaking at the launch of the Programme, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, said that recent attacks, notably those in Kenya, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, are “tragic reminders of the global reach of the scourge of terrorism.”
The UN chief noted the “dramatic movement” of terrorists to and from conflict zones around the world over the past seven years, in particular the estimated 40,000 FTFs from 110 countries who may have travelled to join terror groups in Syria and Iraq.
Mr. Guterres also stated that the Programme will help states to collect, process and share travel data with other competent national and international authorities, with full respect for privacy and other fundamental freedoms.
Balancing surveillance with data and human rights protection
In an interview with UN News, Jelle Postma, chief of the Countering Terrorist Travel and Aviation Security Section in the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, insisted that the technology was built with safeguards in place for data and human rights protection, explaining that after a certain period of time, sensitive data elements, such as sexual orientation, or trade union membership, will be automatically deleted by the system.
Mr Postma said that the UN will work with national parliaments to ensure that new surveillance laws include independent and transparent oversight mechanisms.
The programme is currently funded by India, Japan, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.