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International Legal News

Updated: Sep 17, 2019

Weekly update: 4 September-9 September 2019

The following media round up of international legal and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period 4-9 September 2019.

The Guernica Group 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 Nenad Vucijak for consideration.

Mexico: 4 September 2019

Seven years after the illegal detention and torture of Adrian Vasquez Lagunes, at the hands of the Baja California State Police, authorities have still no compensated him or his family, He was detained in 2012 and during his 12 hours in police custody was subjected to threats, beatings and near-asphyxiation. Afterwards, police presented him to the media declaring that he was a known drug trafficker. Mr Lagunes spent three years in prison unjustly on false charges, before being released in December 2015.

Geneva: 4 September 2019

Briefing journalists one year on from taking office, High Commission for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet appealed for greater international cooperation, maintaining that the impact of human rights violations in one part of the world can have serious regional and international repercussions on another.

Afghanistan: 5 September 2019

The kidnap and killing of Abdul Samad Amiri, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission’s acting director in Ghor province, is a war crime. Abdul Samad Amiri devoted his life to standing up for the rights of others, this tragedy underscores the grave dangers that human rights defenders in Afghanistan face.

ECHR: 5 September 2019

Judgment in the case of Olewnik-Cieplinska and Olewnik v Poland was delivered on 5 September 2019. The case concerned the kidnapping and murder of the applicants’ brother and son, Krzysztof Olewnik who was kidnapped in 2001, detained and ill-treated for over two years. The European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously that there had been a violation of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights as concerned the State’s failure to comply with its duty to protect the life of the applicants’ relative and a further violation concerning the inadequate investigation into his death.

Tanzania: 6 September 2019

A leaked, confidential document confirms fears that the repatriation of Burundian refugees from Tanzania will not be wholly voluntary and could starts as soon as next week. The bilateral agreement signed by Tanzania’s Minister for Home Affairs and Burundi\s Minister of Interior states that the new planned returns process would begin in the second week of September and that “returns would continue with or without refugees’ consent”.

Russia: 6 September 2019

Run- up to local elections in Moscow marred by unprecedented attacks on rights. The multiple new ways in which the authorities trampled on freedom of assembly and expression marks a new, deeply disturbing crackdown on human rights in Russia.

South Africa: 6 September 2019

Calls for action following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s vow that “enough is enough” concerning the ever-growing and escalating rates of femicide and rape across the country. This process begins with ensuring that police officers are properly trained to investigate incidents of gender-based violence and to ensure alleged offfenders are brought to justice, the government must also ensure that gender-based violence is taken seriously at every level of the justice system.

Russia: 7 September 2019

Russia and Ukraine exchange prisoners in move to improve relations. After lengthy negotiations, prisoners arrive in Kiev and Moscow in a step that could ease tensions between the two sides. Each country released 35 prisoners each.

Sudan: 8 September 2019

Sudan’s first cabinet since the removal of Omar al-Bashir, which includes four women, is sworn in. The removal of the former president followed nationwide protests against his rule. The new members include Sudan’s first female Foreign Minister Asmaa Abdalla and a former World Bank economist Ibrahim Ahmad al-Badwi as finance minister.

Hong Kong: 8 September 2019

Demonstrators took their case to the US consulate hoping to bring an international spotlight to the political crisis in Hong Kong. This is the 14th straight weekend of anti-government protests in the country as protesters call for politicians in the United States to support their cause.

Tunisia: 8 September 2019

Days before the first round of Tunisia’s presidential election, the first of three televised debates between the candidates has aired, a rare event in the Arab world. The showdown between the 26 hopefuls over three nights is seen as the highlight of the campaign and a turning point in Tunisian politics.

United Nations: 8 September 2019

As children in many parts of the world return to school, the United Nations Children’s Fund launched a haunting installation on Sunday that displays 3,758 school backpacks as headstones to illustrate the grave scale of child deaths in conflicts in 2018 and call for greater protection for children living in conflict.

Guatemala: 8 September 2019

On Saturday, Guatemalan legislators voted to ratify a state of siege in the eastern part of the country, despite protests by social groups. The 30- day state of siege was established by outgoing President Jimmy Morales after three soldiers were killed in eastern Guatemala. The decree suspends many constitutional guarantees, including the freedoms of movement and assembly, as well as implementing a nightly curfew for the affected areas. The significant geographic scope of the state of siege is one of the key points of concern for human rights groups.

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