- Rwanda: Paul Rusesabagina Slammed with 25 years Imprisonment
- KSC: First Witness Recalls Inhuman Treatment in the Mustafa’s Case
- CJEU: Court Orders Poland to Pay €500,000 in Daily Penalties
- ECtHR: Court Finds Russia Responsible for the Assassination of Aleksandr Litvinenko in the U.K.
- DRC: Former Militiaman Sentenced to Life Imprisonment
- Bosnia and Herzegovina: Court Urged to Increase Jail Term of Ex-Bosnian Commander
- ECtHR: Fine for Marijuana Interview Held Not Necessary
- ICJ: Azerbaijan Institutes Proceedings Against Armenia
- ICJ: Court to Deliver its Judgment on the Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean
INTERNATIONAL PEACE and SECURITY SECTION
- UNSG: Call for “Decisive Action Now to Avert Climate Catastrophe”
- UNESCO: Return of Looted Ancient Gilgamesh Tablet to Iraq
- UN: Victims of Terrorism “Will Not Be Forgotten”
- Afghanistan: Taliban’s Commitments to Uphold Human Rights “Sadly Contradicted” by Their Actions
- UNGA: Iranian President Call for an End to U.S. Sanctions
- UNICEF: No Improvement in Young Children’s Diets Over Past Decade
- UNSG: Appeal for Countries to Sign Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty
- UNGA: Call for Preventing GBV in Humanitarian Emergencies
- Palestine: Call for Preventing Gender-Based Violence in Humanitarian Emergencies
- Cyprus: Negotiation with Turkey Process Back on Track
INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE SECTION
Rwanda: Paul Rusesabagina Slammed with 25 years Imprisonment
On 20 September 2021, the Rwandan High Court’s Special Chamber for International Crimes and Cross-border Crimes sentenced Rwandan critic and political opponent, Paul Rusesebagina to 25 years in prison for being a member of a terrorist group and for committing terrorist acts alongside 20 others. However, several media outlets and NGO’s have reported that the trial was blighted with multiple violations of Mr Rusesebagina’s right to a fair trial and calls into question the fairness of the verdict. Paul Rusesebagina is a fierce critic of the government of Rwanda and co-founded the opposition, Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change, a coalition of opposition groups which has an armed wing known as National Liberation Forces (NLF). Rusesabagina’s arrest and detention started as an enforced disappearance (August 2020), which the authorities have failed to provide a consistent account of, including how he was appended and came into their custody.
KSC: First Witness Recalls Inhuman Treatment in the Mustafa’s Case
On 20 September 2021, the first witness brought by the prosecutor in the case involving former Kosovo Liberation Army Unit Commander, Salih Mustafa recalled how he was beaten until he lost consciousness. The witness narrated during the trial at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) in The Hague, how he was taken to the detention site in Zllash/ZLAS by people who were carrying light weapons. The witness told the court that he was asked to lower his head such that he could not see who the people were and what they wore. He was then taken out and dragged several times, beaten with sticks and kicked until he lost consciousness. The witness then stated that after he was beaten, a pistol was put on his head but was not fired. When asked who placed the pistol on his head, he mentioned Salih Mustafa who is standing trial for murder, torture, cruel treatment and arbitrary detentions committed during the Kosovo war in 1999. He pleaded not guilty to the charges. The witness told the court that he was detained because he was accused of collaborating with the Serbs.
CJEU: Court Orders Poland to Pay €500,000 in Daily Penalties
On 20 September 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the case of the Czech Republic v. Poland ordered Poland to pay the European Commission a daily penalty payment of €500,000 because it has not ceased lignite extraction activities at the Turów mine. Poland had infringed EU law in several respects by granting permission to the Czech Republic to carry out lignite extraction. Following Poland’s new law permitting the extension of lignite mining concession for 6 years without any environmental impact assessment, the operator submitted an application to extend that concession for six years. The Polish Minister for climate granted permission for lignite mining till 2026. The European Commission earlier in 2020 issued an opinion in which it criticized Poland for several breaches of EU law particularly by adopting a measure allowing a 6-year extension of lignite permit without carrying out an environmental impact assessment; Poland had breached the EU directive. In view of this, Czech Republic asked the court to order Poland to immediately cease lignite extraction activities in Turów mine. The court granted the order and in the recent order of 20 September, Poland has been ordered to pay the commission €500 000 per day.
ECtHR: Court Finds Russia Responsible for the Assassination of Aleksandr Litvinenko in the U.K.
On 21 September 2021, the court in the case of Carter v. Russia found that the Russian Government was responsible for the death of Aleksandr Litvinenko in the U.K. The court also found that there was a violation of the right to life and a failure to comply with the obligation to provide it with any necessary facilities for its examination of the case. Mr Litvinenko (deceased) had worked for the Russian Security Council before he defected to the U.K. where he was granted Asylum. He was subsequently poisoned with a radioactive substance in 2016. The wife of the deceased, Anne Maria brought this lawsuit against the Russian Government. A U.K. panel of inquiry was set up, which found that the assassin acted on behalf of the Russian government, noting that they had failed to provide a convincing explanation of the events to counter the U.K. panel’s findings. The Court accordingly held that Russia was to pay the applicant 100,000 Euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 22,500 in respect of costs and expenses. It also rejected the applicant’s claim for “punitive” damages.
DRC: Former Militiaman Sentenced to Life Imprisonment
On 21 September 2021, the Military Court of South Kivu sentenced Chance Muhonya to life imprisonment for committing crimes against humanity including murder, rape and other inhumane acts, and for the war crimes: recruiting and using child soldiers. Mr Muhonya was a former member of the Congolese armed force who later formed a separate armed group to gain control of Kahuzi-Biega National park in South Kivu. Persons who lived around the park had been chased away by the Congolese government to protect the place. Mr Muhonya formed an armed group to gain control over a section of the park. Mr Muhonya later carried out several harmful attacks, controlled villages and killing innocent civilians. In March 2020, the FARDC and Kahuzie-Biega park rangers launched an operation to recover the land controlled by the militia. Mr Muhonya was subsequently arrested and in May 2020, brought before a military court. The trial which began in 2020 finally concluded with a guilty verdict, and the sentencing of Mr Muhonya to life imprisonment.
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Court Urged to Increase Jail Term of Ex-Bosnian Commander
On 21 September 2021, the prosecutor in the case involving Sakib Mahmuljin urged the court to increase the number of years for which Sakib should spend in prison from 10 years to 20. Sakib Mahmuljin was the wartime commander of the Bosnian Army. He was indicted for crimes committed by members of the Bosnian Armed Force against the Serbs in 1995, in the Vozuca and Zavidovici areas during the war. The prosecution urged the court to increase the jail term, claiming that the verdict was too lenient. The lawyer for the accused, on the other hand, that the court was wrong for finding that Mahmuljin had effective control over the El Mujahideen unit and that the judges did not evaluate most of the defence witnesses and experts. Mahmuljin expressed regret and stated, “all members of the Third Corps who obeyed [his] orders treated prisoners according to the regulation.”
ECtHR: Fine for Marijuana Interview Held Not Necessary
On 23 September 2021, the European Court of Human Rights unanimously held that there was a violation of freedom of expression contained in the European Convention on Human Rights (Article 10) in the case of Ringier Axel Springer, a.s v. Slovakia. The case concerns a singer who made a statement on air that was calculated to be an open support/promotion of marijuana. The singer had said on a TV show that he would gladly ban alcohol and allow marijuana. This statement was accompanied by short clips of him taking Marijuana. The TV presenter also made comments which allegedly supported the statements made by the singer. In 2014, the Broadcasting Corporation fined the TV station for the comments made by one of its presenters. An appeal to the regional Court of Appeal and Supreme Courts were dismissed. The TV Company subsequently lodged an application at the European Court of Human Rights in 2016 alleging that the fine imposed on its company as a result of a statement of opinion made by one of its presenters was a violation of its right of freedom of expression. The court held that the fine had been disproportionate and not necessary in a democratic society, leading to a violation of the convention. This judgment would now give a level of protection to TV presenters to hold and voice their opinions.
ICJ: Azerbaijan Institutes Proceedings Against Armenia
On 23 September 2021, the Federal Republic of Azerbaijan instituted proceedings at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague against the Federal Republic of Armenia. Azerbaijan claims that Armenia has consistently engaged in a series of discriminatory acts against Azerbaijanis on the basis of their ‘national or ethnic origin.’ The applicant country also claims that the Armenian government incites hatred and ethnic violence against Azerbaijan through its racial propaganda and hate speech dissemination. In further support of its claims, Azerbaijan pointed out the brutal treatment targeted against Azerbaijanis during the hostilities that erupted in autumn 2020. Azerbaijan, therefore, requests the court to hold Armenia responsible for its violations and to address the harm visited on Azerbaijan and its people. Pending the final determination of the application on merit, Azerbaijan also requests provisional measures as a matter of urgency to compel Armenia to abide by international obligations and protect Azerbaijan from irreparable harm caused by Armenia’s ongoing conduct.
ICJ: Court to Deliver its Judgment on the Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean
On 24 September 2021, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) stated that it would deliver its judgment in the case concerning the maritime delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya) on 12 October 2021. A public sitting of the court will take place at 3 pm at the Peace Palace, in The Hague. The case involved Somalia which in 2014 instituted an action against Kenya before the ICJ. Somalia contends that both states disagree about the location of the maritime boundary in the area where their maritime entitlements overlap. Somalia requests the court to determine, based on international law, the complete course of the single maritime boundary dividing all marital areas appertaining to Somalia and Kenya in the Indian Ocean. 12 October has been set aside for a public hearing. The Court stated that in view of the current COVID pandemic, only members of the Court and representatives of the parties will be present whilst others will be able to follow the reading through a live webcast on the Court’s website.
INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY SECTION
UNSG: Call for “Decisive Action Now to Avert Climate Catastrophe”
On 20 September 2021, UN Secretary-General, António Guterres joined an emergency summit convened and attended by United Kingdom Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to press for more action on climate finance and other measures. The Informal Climate Leaders Roundtable on Climate Action took place behind closed doors at UN Headquarters, as the high-level week of the UN General Assembly gets underway. According to the words of the Secretary-General, the roundtable was “a wake-up call to instil a sense of urgency on the dire state of the climate process ahead of COP26, which begins next month in Scotland.” Last week the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change issued a report on the Nationally Determined Contributors of all Parties to the Paris Agreement saying that we are on a catastrophic pathway to 2.7 degrees of heating. Report findings conclude that to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, a 45% cut in emissions is needed by 2030 and carbon neutrality by mid-century. The reality is that commitments by countries to date implies an increase of 16% in greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 compared to the 2010 levels. UN Secretary-General also pointed out the need for OECD nations need to end coal use by 2030 and developing nations need to follow suit by 2040. Indeed, if all planned coal power plants become operational, the world will be well above two degrees. The next day, the Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, highlighted his country’s work on environmental preservation and the fight against climate change. The same day, the world’s two largest economies – the U.S. and China – committed to climate action. Adding to environmental concerns, on 21 September, the President of the Democratic Republic, Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, asked for the UN Member States to “materialise all the promises made to Africa in compensation for the sacrifices agreed to protect humanity against global warning.” Finally, building on the “deeply alarming” report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published last month, Mr Guterres emphasised on 23 September that “our window of opportunity” to prevent the worst climate impact is “rapidly closing” and that, accordingly “much bolder climate action is needed” to maintain international peace and security.
UNESCO: Return of Looted Ancient Gilgamesh Tablet to Iraq
On 20 September 2021, the UN agency for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) announced that the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet, one of the oldest surviving literary works in history, is to be returned to Iraq by the U.S. later this week. The Gilgamesh Tablet is a 3,5000-year-old treasure featuring inscriptions in Sumerian, which was taken from a museum in Iraq after the start of the Gulf War in August 1990. In 2007, it was introduced, fraudulently, into the US art market. According to news reports, the artefact was acquired in 2014 by the craft retail chain, Hobby Lobby, for display at the Museum of the Bible, in Washington DC – which is funded by the family of Hobby Lobby’s owner. The US Department of Justice announced in July, that it was ordering the official handing over of the tablet, as it had entered the US “contrary to federal law” noting that federal agents had seized the tablet from the museum, in September 2019. Director-General of the UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, said that “[b]y returning these illegally acquired objects, the authorities here in the U.S. and in Iraq are allowing the Iraqi people to reconnect with a page in their history.” She further added that “[t]his exceptional restitution is a major victory over those who mutilate heritage and then traffic it to finance violence and terrorism.” According to Interpol, there has been a considerable global increase in the destruction of cultural heritage owing to armed conflict in the past decade. UNESCO noted however that, amid this bad tendency, authorities in the U.S. have made significant progress in tackling stolen artefacts in recent years. Backed by a combination of improved legislation and the assistance of key cultural institutions, the U.S. Antiquities Trafficking Unit participate in the recovery of assets to the people of Pakistan, Cambodia, Thailand, Nepal and Sri Lanka for 2021 alone. Stacy White, Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural, Affairs at the U.S. Department of State said that her unit has “worked for nearly 20 years with Iraqi counterparts and American academic and non-profit institutions to protect, preserve and honour the rich heritage of Iraq.”
UN: Victims of Terrorism “Will Not Be Forgotten”
On 20 September 2021, the UN Counter-Terrorism chief, Vladimir Voronkov, at the occasion of a special tribute ceremony marking 20 years since the attacks against the U.S., delivered his message remembrance saying that “[w]e will continue to stand in solidarity with all victims of terrorism. They will not be forgotten.” The ceremony took place at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in downtown Manhattan and gathered Heads of State, ministers and delegates, representing more than 120 Member States and international organisations. Mr Voronkov further added that “[w]e will continue to stand in solidarity with all victims of terrorism. […] No day shall erase them from the memory of time.” The President and CEO of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum recalled that although the attacks of September 11 have occurred in Manhattan, “9/11 was a global moment” which, “for many” marked the beginning of the 21st century. In his capacity as co-Chair of the Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism, José Manuel Albares, Minister of Foreign Affairs for the European Union and Cooperation of Spain, restated the “commitment towards our common collaboration to fight against terrorism, and in favour of the victims, their needs and their rights.”
Afghanistan: Taliban’s Commitments to Uphold Human Rights “Sadly Contradicted” by Their Actions
On 21 September 2021, at the occasion of a side event of the UN General Assembly on safeguarding 20 years of international engagement in Afghanistan, Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights highlighted contradictions between the Taliban’s commitments to uphold human rights and the actions since they seized power in Afghanistan. She said that “[t]he Ministry that once promoted women’s rights has been disbanded, and its premises taken over by a Ministry for the propagation of Virtue and the prevention of Vice – an all-male office that will apply guidelines on appropriate dress and behaviour.” Mrs Bachelet informed that women are facing heightened risks including by having been “progressively excluded from the public sphere” without a male guardian. Adding to this worrying trend of repression and exclusion, Taliban representatives have also dismantled most of the former government offices in charge of women’s affairs. They consequently gained access to sensitive files, which put staff at risk of reprisal. Indeed, activities performed by women’s civil society groups are considered by the Taliban regime as amounting to the spreading of anti-Islamic ideas. Also, on 21 September, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, told the UN General Assembly that the international community must continue to support Afghanistan, warning against potential boycotts in the wake of the Taliban takeover. He further stressed that aid must remain separated from political differences. In addition to restrictions on women’s right to work, Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) stressed that, although the country has achieved significant advances, including tripling the number of schools since 2002, most recently, girls over the age of 12 have been prohibited from attending schools, with genders being separated at the university level, and female students being prohibited from being taught by male professions- who make up the majority of instructors. Meanwhile, the humanitarian crisis is growing across the country, with the Head of WHO stating that the hunger families are suffering, is as acute in urban areas as the drought-stricken rural parts of the country.
UNGA: Iranian President Call for an End to U.S. Sanctions
Iranian President, Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, in a speech given at the high-level General Debate at the UN General Assembly on 21 September 2021, called for an end to U.S. sanctions against his country, describing them as “the U.S.’s new way of war with the nations of the world” and a crime against humanity, especially sanctions on medicine during the COVID-19 pandemic. He further described the presence of the U.S. in the Middle East region as a “lack of rationality” which has been detrimental to “oppressed people, from Palestine and Syria to Yemen and Afghanistan, as well as, the U.S. taxpayers.” Besides seriously impacting the living conditions of the Iranian people, the President further pointed out how such sanctions are a benefit for terrorist groups operating in the region, providing a fertile ground for their growth. Mr Raisi warned that ISIS/ISIL would not be the last wave of extremism and declared that terrorism has its roots in crises such as identity and economy: “the fact that modern lives have become devoid of meaning and spiritually, as well as, the spread of poverty, discrimination and oppression have helped the rise of terrorism.” Echoing this sentiment, the Iranian President referred to the “occupier Zionist regime” as the organizer of the biggest state terrorism, whose agenda is to slaughter women and children in Gaza and the West Bank. Coming back to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which paved the way for the lifting of UN sanctions on Iran. Mr Raisi called for the respect of its provision, as well as, of international rules. He further recalled that the production of stockpiling atomic weapons is forbidden in the country by religious decree and that “nukes have no place in our defence doctrine and deterrence policy.” The President ended his speech by expressing his commitment to have “large-scale and economic cooperation and convergence with the rest of the world. A new era has begun.”
UNICEF: No Improvement in Young Children’s Diets Over Past Decade
On 22 September 2021, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) new report titled ‘Fed to Fail? The crisis of children’s diets in early life’ released ahead of the UN Food Systems Summit, revealed that there has been little sign of improvement in the diets of the world’s youngest children over the last ten year. Report findings rather identified rising poverty, inequality, climate-related disasters, and health emergencies as factors contributing to the nutrition crisis; and “the ongoing COVID-19 disruptions could make the situation even worse” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. Indeed the report pointed out the impact of the pandemic on how families feed their children, resulting in the falling of the percentage of children consuming the minimum recommended number of food groups, by a third in 2020 compared to 2018. Analysing 91 countries, the report found that only half of children aged from 6 to 23 months are being fed the minimum recommended number of meals a day, while just a third consume the minimum number of food groups they need to thrive. Such poor diets can, at an early age, scar children for life. UNICEF warned that children under the age of two are most vulnerable to all forms of malnutrition, including stunting, wasting, micronutrient deficiencies, and overweight and obesity. Ms Fore further added on this point that “[w]hile we have known this for years, there has been little progress on providing the right kind of nutritious and safe foods for the young.” The report emphasized that progress in all regions is possible with investment. UNICEF Executive Director, finally said that the upcoming UN Food Systems Summit is “an important opportunity to set the stage for global food systems that meet the needs of all children.” Adding to these worrying findings, on 22 September, a report published by the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) warned that decades of development efforts have been undermined by the pandemic.
UNSG: Appeal for Countries to Sign Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty
On 23 September 2021, making remarks to the latest conference to promote the treaty’s entry into force, which was delivered by the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, and the UN Secretary-General (UNSG), António Guterres, they urged again eight key countries which have not yet signed or ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), to do so without delay. The CTBT “has created an almost universally adopted norm against the testing of nuclear weapons,” he added. Adopted in 1996, the CTBT has been signed by 185 and ratified by 170 of them. However, for the Treaty to enter into force, it must be signed and ratified by 44 specific nuclear technology holder countries, eight of which have yet to ratify the Treaty, i.e., China, Egypt, India, Israel, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Pakistan and the U.S. The UNSG stressed the importance of a prohibition on nuclear testing since it is an essential element of a nuclear-weapon-free world. Mr Guterres statement further pointed out how the treaty could positively and significantly contribute to our collective security: “given its necessity and readiness, it is both disappointing and frustrating that the Treaty has not yet entered into force. We all know the reason for this – the eight remaining Annex II States whose ratifications are required for the Treaty’s entry into force. As a result, a critical element of our collective security cannot be fully operationalized. I repeat my call to these States to sign and ratify the CTBT as soon as possible. I also call on all other States that have not yet signed or ratified the treaty to do so without delay. […] We have remained in this state of limbo for too long. No norm or moratorium can replace a legally binding prohibition. States must take this occasion to redouble their efforts. To think creatively. And to act in the interest of the entire world’s security.”
UNGA: Call for Preventing GBV in Humanitarian Emergencies
On 23 September 2021, meeting in the margins of the 76th UN General Assembly, UN officials strongly called to action, the need to stamp out gender-based violence (GBV) amid a rise in forced displacement and other humanitarian emergencies worldwide. According to the scope defined by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) – the UN sexual and reproductive health agency – GBV includes acts that inflict physical, sexual or mental harm – or other forms of suffering, coercion and limits on personal freedoms – and has “long-term consequences on the sexual, physical and psychological health of survivors.” These are being driven increasingly by conflict, climate change, famine and insecurity, heightening vulnerabilities for girls and women. On the occasion of the meeting on ‘Localising GBV in humanitarian crises’, UNFPA Executive Director Natalia Kanem said that peace, justice and dignity are the “birthright of every woman and girl.” She further presented the 2021-2025 Roadmap, emphasising the need for accountability and reflecting a shared vision based on the need to create new pathways to ensure those rights. Martin Griffiths, Emergency Relief Coordinator, mentioned the situation in Afghanistan as “an important reminder of the primary vulnerability of women and girls in crises.” Mr Griffiths also stressed the vital role of women-led local communities. He emphasised his point by explaining how absolutely important it is to listen to women, to protect women and girls, and to protect “local communities to do what they naturally want to do.” Mrs Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director, also spoke of the report ‘We Must Do Better’ which provides a global feminist assessment of the experiences of women and girls and the organisations they lead during the COVID-19 pandemic. Report findings highlight the fact that the needs of women and girls are either ignored or treated as an afterthought and that, despite being on the front lines of humanitarian crises, women are not taken seriously enough. Finally, Filippo Grandi, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) High Commissioner said that providing “substantive, flexible, direct and rapid” resources to women-led, community-based organizations without undue red tape is “one of the most important” ways to empower them.
Palestine: Call for Preventing Gender-Based Violence in Humanitarian Emergencies
On 24 September 2021, speaking on the fourth day of the high-level week of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the President of the State of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, called on the UN Secretary-General (UNSG) to convene an international peace conference and said that to ensure that this initiative is not open-ended, Israel must withdraw from the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem within one year. The initiative should be “in line with the internationally recognised terms of reference and the UN resolution and the Arab Peace Initiative, and under the sole auspices of the international Quartet,” said President Abbas. The President of the State of Palestine further asked Secretary-General, António Guterres, “to work on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions on protection” in order “to take the necessary steps towards developing an international mechanism for protection.” The mechanism should be activated “on the borders of the occupied State of Palestine in 1967, including East Jerusalem. To ensure our initiative is not open-ended, we must state that Israel, the occupying Power, has one year to withdraw from the Palestinian territory it occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem.” President Mahmoud Abbas recalled that 2021 marks the 73rd anniversary of the Nakba, a term used to refer to the events surrounding the establishment of the State of Israel. Holding a document he said was his family deed, Mr Abbas said “[m]ore than half the Palestinian people were uprooted from their land and deprived of their property in that time. Myself, my family and many others still possess the deeds to our land. These deeds are registered as part of the United Nations’ records.” He further said that it was “regrettable that the policies of the international community and the decisions of the relevant UN bodies regarding a solution for the ‘Question of Palestine’ have until now not been upheld and implemented.” Mr Abbas finally added that “[t]he international community’s support for this initiative, consistent with international law and United Nations resolutions, may save the region from an unknown fate.”
Cyprus: Negotiation with Turkey Process Back on Track
On 24 September 2021, Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades, told the UN Member States that he is determined to get back into the negotiation process with Turkey, on the basis of the UN framework and the agreement reached in 2019. Cyprus has been divided for more than four decades, and leaders from its Greek and Turkish communities last met in 2019 at an UN-facilitated conference in Berlin. Mr Anastasiades said that he stood in the General Assembly Hall “representing a country which, regrettably, still endures the consequences of the blatant violation of the fundamental principles of the United Nations, as a result of the 1974 illegal military invasion of Turkey and the ongoing occupation.” Among his proposals, he pointed to a decentralization of the exercise of powers, the option of a parliamentary system with a ceremonial Head of State and rotating Prime Minister and, more recently, an invitation to the Turkish Cypriots to rejoin the state institutions. Mr Anastasiades further stated that “a settlement that will lead to a functional and viable State, without the obsolete system of guarantees, the right of intervention, the presence of foreign troops, or any kind of foreign dependencies. A settlement that will equally benefit all Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, fully respecting their human rights and contributing to the peace and stability of the region.” He finally said that he stood in the UN General Assembly Hall “representing a country which, regrettably, still endures the consequences of the blatant violation of the fundamental principles of the United Nations, as a result of the 1974 illegal military invasion of Turkey and the ongoing occupation.”