Weekly News Recap (26 Oct-1 Nov 2020)

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Armenia considering lodging a declaration accepting the International Criminal Courts jurisdiction

On 27 October, it was reported that the Investigative Committee of Armenia considers the possibility of applying to the International Criminal Court with regards to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Armenia is a signatory to the Rome Statute but has not ratified nor acceded to it. Azerbaijan is not a State Party to the Rome Statute either. Armenia, as a non-State Party, can therefore lodge a declaration accepting the jurisdiction of the ICC under Art. 12 (3) of the Rome Statute.


Joseph Mugenzi accused of participation in the 1994 Rwanda genocide arrested by Dutch police

On 27 October, it was reported that Dutch police arrested Mr Joseph Mugenzi, who was allegedly involved in the commission of genocide in Rwanda. An arrest warrant against Mr Mugenzi, issued by Rwanda, requests his extradition to Rwanda. The former banker is accused of playing a key role in the genocide by drawing up a list of Tutsis to be killed.


Argentina’s trial of the military dictatorship’s crimes committed in the detention centres

On 27 October,  the federal court in La Plata began to judge events that allegedly took place at the secret torture camp, as well as two others – known as ‘El Pozo de Quilmes’ and ‘El Infierno’. Eighteen people are prosecuted for the alleged responsibility for torture, baby thefts and killings carried out in three detention centres under the military rule between 1976 and 1983. The charges range from abduction to crimes against humanity.



European Court of Human Rights: Azerbaijan lodged a request for interim measure against Armenia

On 27 October, the European Court of Human Rights received a request for interim measure lodged by Azerbaijan against Armenia. Azerbaijan requests the Court to indicate to Armenia interim measures related to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.


European Court of Human Rights: Deportation of a Sudanese national by Belgium ruled unlawful

On 27 October, the European Court of Human Rights held that Belgium breached the prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment and the right to an effective remedy when deporting a Sudanese national back to Sudan. The Court ruled that the applicant had been prevented from pursuing the asylum application that he had lodged in Belgium and the Belgian authorities had not sufficiently assessed the real risks that he faced in Sudan.


Kosovo Specialist Chambers: Hearing in the case Prosecutor v Salih Mustafa

On 28 October, a hearing in the Prosecutor v Salih Mustafa case took place. During the first part of the hearing, Mr Mustafa was asked to admit guilt or plead not guilty on the charges brought against him in the confirmed Indictment. The defendant pleaded not guilty to all counts of the indictment.



Annual Joint Consultative Meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council and the EU Political and Security Committee

On 26 October, the EU and the AU met for the 12th Annual Joint Consultative Meeting. They discussed the situation in Mali, Sahel, Sudan and Somalia. The situation in Mali remains concerning, as the African Union Peace and Security Council and the EU Political and Security Committee remarked regarding the security conditions keeping the region unbalanced, and condemned the attacks on civilians and security forces. On the other hand, they highlighted the positive evolution in Mali, Sudan and Somalia, both in terms of democratic and economic reforms. They also supported the US announcement to remove Sudan from the U. S. List of State Sponsors of Terrorism. They generally stated the need to coordinate their action and their support to ‘peace and security [which] are priorities for the overall EU-AU partnership’.


United Nations: Concerns over human rights violations in Myanmar

On 27 October, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called on the government to ensure that human rights are maintained, including the political right to vote. Several violations already occurred, as well as hate speeches, over minorities such as the Rohingya. The general elections will be held on 8 of November, in an already tense context after several internal conflicts. The current repression and violence are not limited to minorities but also concerns opposing voices, via detention and internet shutdowns. The latter is particularly concerning, as it also interferes with covid information and polling procedures for Myanmar citizens.


India: National Investigation Agency’s raids condemned

On 28 October, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) raided NGOs and journalists offices in Jammu and Kashmir, as part of a terrorism funding crackdown. They stated that terrorist operations had been funded by foreign countries under business and religious works. Several activist and rights groups condemned these actions, while they were accused by the NIA of collecting funds for “secessionist and separatist activities”. International organizations such as Human Rights Watch criticized the Bharatiya Janata Party government and its use of counter-terrorism to silence opposition via violence and the seizure of information. Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, called for the government to stop using “authoritarian tactics against outspoken critics and journalists”.




United Nations: Secretary-General addressed the Security Council on the role of women in conflicts

On 29 October, Guterres addressed the Security Council on the role of women in conflicts. He mentioned the specific impact of conflicts on them, due to gender-based violence and the long-term sequels it leaves on women and girls, physically and socially. But he also recognized the leading and crucial work they do during the covid crisis as well as in other conflicts, as peacekeepers and mediators between groups.

The UN Secretary-General stated that focusing on covid and calling for a global ceasefire is a “strong and valuable link” to the Women, Peace and Security agenda. During his speech, the UN Secretary-General emphasized the underrepresentation of women in the UN and supported a better gender distribution.


Terrorist attacks in France

On 29 October, both the UN and the European Council expressed their support to France after the attack in Nice. Another attack occurred near the French embassy in Saudi Arabia. Both attacks are embedded in a broader conflict over religious tolerance, which created tensions between Turkey and France leaders. The UN called for mutual respect of all religions and strongly condemned the attacks. The High-Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations remains concerned over tensions and intolerance over minorities.




Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review Working Group to hold thirty-sixth session

On 29 October, it was announced that the thirty-sixth session of the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group will be held in Geneva from 2 to 13 November. The session was postponed from May this year due to covid measures and will review the following States: Belarus, Liberia, Malawi, Panama, Mongolia, Maldives, Andorra, Honduras, Bulgaria, the Marshall Islands, the United States of America, Croatia, Libya and Jamaica.


United Nations: Secretary-General urges continued dialogue in Nagorno-Karabakh

On 31 October, the UN Secretary-General condemned the attacks on civilians and reminded both sides to respect international humanitarian law. Both countries’ Foreign Ministers met in Geneva on 30 of October for talks, with Russia, the United States and France, and agreed not to “deliberately target civilians or non-military objects”. However, the truce was broken, and Azerbaijan and Armenia are blaming each other. Shelling was reported, and white phosphorus was allegedly used by the Azerbaijani military. Armenia formally asked for Russia’s help, and the latter stated that ‘“necessary” help would only be provided if the fighting reaches Armenian territory, and called for an immediate ceasefire and the resumption of talks.



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