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International Legal News

Updated: Nov 10, 2022

Weekly update: 12 September – 18 September 2022

The following media round up on international and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period of 12 September to 18 September 2022.

Guernica 37 will provide weekly media updates from the International Criminal Court, European Court of Human Rights, United Nations, European Union and other sources. Should you wish to contribute or submit a media summary, opinion piece or blog, please send to Ned Vucijak at for consideration.

Ukraine – 12 September 2022

Russia aims to "deprive people of light and heat" by causing power cuts across eastern Ukraine in revenge for a Ukrainian counter-offensive, President Volodymyr Zelensky has said. Blackouts reportedly affected millions of people in the eastern Kharkiv and Donetsk regions. The Kharkiv city mayor says power is now restored. It comes after Ukraine said it had retaken over 3,000 sq km (1,158 sq miles) in an eastern counter-offensive.

Afghanistan – 12 September 2022

Delay in a critical International Criminal Court (ICC) ruling has protracted the wait of Afghans seeking some measure of justice for grave international crimes. In the 16 years since the court’s prosecutor first began considering potential cases in Afghanistan, the conflict in Afghanistan has been marked by a laundry list of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. On 26 August, the current prosecutor, Karim Khan, filed his office’s latest submission in favour of launching an investigation, arguing that the Taliban, who now control the country, “are not continuing, cannot continue and will not continue” relevant national justice efforts. It is crucial for justice in Afghanistan for the court’s judges to rule.

Ukraine – 13 September 2022

Ukrainian forces have seized even more territory from Russia as they continue their counter-offensive, the country's president has said. Volodymyr Zelensky said troops have now retaken more than 6,000 sq km from Russian control in September, in the east and the south. Russia has admitted losing key cities in the north-eastern Kharkiv region, in what is seen by some military experts as a potential breakthrough in the war. Moscow describes its troop withdrawal from the region in recent days as a "regrouping" with the aim of focusing on the Luhansk and Donetsk regions in Ukraine's east.

Iran – 13 September 2022

Amnesty International said that States engaging at the UN Human Rights Council must call on the Iranian authorities to stop concealing the mass graves of victims of the 1988 “prison massacres” and immediately open an international investigation into the extrajudicial execution and enforced disappearance of thousands of dissidents amounting to ongoing crimes against humanity.

Ukraine / Russia – 14 September 2022

In north-eastern Ukraine, a counter-offensive has seen the nation's forces recapture swathes of territory, and drive out Russian troops. However, in the newly-liberated areas, relief and sorrow are intertwined as accounts emerge of torture and killings during the long months of Russian occupation. Artem, who lives in the city of Balakliya in the Kharkiv region told the BBC he was held by Russians for more than 40 days, and was tortured with electrocution. Balakliya was liberated on 8 September after being occupied for more than six months. The epicentre of the brutality was the city's police station, which Russian forces used as their headquarters. Artem said he could hear screams of pain and terror coming from other cells.

Russia / Germany – 14 September 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin does not realise the invasion of Ukraine is a mistake, German chancellor Olaf Scholz has said, after the leaders spoke on the phone on 13 September. Speaking to reporters on, Mr Scholz said he urged Mr Putin to withdraw troops and re-enter talks with Ukraine during the 90-minute call. He called for Russia to respect the sovereignty of Ukraine. The chancellor has come under pressure to increase military support for Kyiv. Mr Scholz said the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine would be the only way for "peace to have a chance in the region". Although he said Mr Putin "unfortunately" had not changed his position on the invasion, Mr Scholz emphasised the importance of continuing to talk to him.

Europe – 14 September 2022

Five people have been arrested for smuggling migrants into western Europe on private jets, Italian police say. The suspects gave the migrants fake diplomatic papers for the Caribbean nation of St Kitts and Nevis. Private jets, officially heading to the Caribbean, took them from Turkey to a stopover at a European airport, where the migrants declared their real identity and claimed asylum. The five suspects have been arrested in Rome and Brussels. Two other suspects are still on the run.

France – 14 September 2022

The European court of human rights has condemned France over its refusal to repatriate French women who travelled to Syria with their partners to join Islamic State and are currently being held with their children at Kurdish-run prison camps. The ruling will be studied closely by other countries who still have citizens detained in camps in north-eastern Syria, including the UK.

France / Egypt – 15 September 2022

Two international NGOs have asked French prosecutors and the UN to investigate the French state’s involvement in Egypt allegedly committing crimes against humanity in a secret military operation on the Egyptian-Libyan border. A 2021 leak appeared to show how French officers complained they were being asked to facilitate Egyptian airstrikes, codenamed Operation Sirli, on the Egyptian-Libyan border, even though the original counter-terrorism purpose had been subverted by the Egyptian military into taking out vehicles containing nothing more than contraband. Dozens are estimated to have been killed or injured.

Russia / China – 15 September 2022

Vladimir Putin has thanked President Xi Jinping for China's "balanced position" on Ukraine, in their first face-to-face talks since Russia invaded the country. The Russian leader met his counterpart at a summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, where he condemned "attempts to create a unipolar world". Mr Xi said China was willing to work together with Russia as "great powers". China hasn't endorsed Russia's invasion but has steadily grown trade and other ties with Moscow since it was launched.

Russia – 16 September 2022

A Russian mercenary boss has defended the idea of sending prisoners to fight in the Ukraine war after a video showed him recruiting at a prison. Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner group, said those who do not want to send convicts to fight should send their own children instead. Earlier, leaked footage showed him telling inmates they would be freed if they served six months with his group. The Wagner group is believed to have been fighting in Ukraine since 2014.

Russia – 16 September 2022

Further to Resolution CM/Res(2022)2 on cessation of the membership of the Russian Federation to

the Council of Europe, adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 16 March 2022, and in accordance with the Resolution on the consequences of the cessation of membership of the Russian Federation to the Council of Europe in light of Article 58 of the European Convention on Human Rights, adopted by the plenary Court on 22 March 2022, the Russian Federation ceases to be a High Contracting Party to the Convention on 16 September 2022. The Court remains competent to deal with applications directed against the Russian Federation in relation to acts or omissions capable of constituting a violation of the Convention provided that they occurred up until 16 September 2022.

Eritrea / Ethiopia – 16 September 2022

Eritrea is mobilising military reservists to bolster the army, which has been aiding neighbouring Ethiopia in its fight against rebel forces. Security forces in many areas have been stopping people to check if they are exempt from military conscription. Groups of men were crying as they bid farewell to relatives, witnesses say.

Iran – 16 September 2022

A 22-year-old Iranian woman has died days after being arrested by morality police for allegedly not complying with strict rules on head coverings. Eyewitnesses said Mahsa Amini was beaten while inside a police van when she was picked up in Tehran. Police have denied the allegations, saying Ms Amini had "suddenly suffered a heart problem". It is the latest in a series of reports of brutality against women by authorities in Iran in recent weeks. Ms Amini's family say that she was a healthy young woman with no medical conditions that would explain a sudden heart problem.

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