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International Legal News

Updated: May 19, 2020

Weekly update: 06 - 12 May 2020

The following media round up of international legal and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period 06 - 12 May 2020.

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.

Libya: 05th May 2020

On 5th May, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) published its nineteenth report to the United Nations Security Council on the Situation in Libya, pursuant to UNSCR 1970 (2011).

The report concluded that international criminal justice is a necessary force of accountability and deterrence – pillars upon which stability, progress and prosperity can built and thrive. The prosecutor called on the Security Council, the Court’s States Parties and the international community more broadly, to stand firmly by the ICC and its crucial mandate to end impunity for the world’s gravest crimes.

Egypt has said alcohol poisoning caused the death in prison of filmmaker Shady Habash, who was detained after he made a music video mocking the President.

Habash, 24, died in Cairo’s Tora prison at the weekend after drinking hand sanitiser he had mistaken for water, according to the public prosecutor.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, expressed serious concerns Friday about continuing human rights violations and abuses and a sharp rise in killings of civilians across Syria, saying “the deteriorating situation is a ticking time-bomb that must not be ignored.”

“We are receiving more reports every day of targeted killings and bombings from one end of the country to the other, with many such attacks taking place in populated areas,” Bachelet said.

The UN Security Council must not cut a vital aid lifeline for civilians in the context of war crimes and crimes against humanity in north-west Syria, Amnesty International urged, as a resolution allowing humanitarian assistance to reach Idlib across Syria’s borders is set to expire in the coming weeks.

A new Amnesty International report, ‘Nowhere is safe for us:’ Unlawful attacks and mass displacement in north-west Syria, details 18 cases – the majority in January and February 2020 – where Syrian and/or Russian government forces targeted medical facilities and schools in Idlib, western Aleppo and north western Hama governorates. England and Wales: 11th May 2020

Jury trials in England and Wales will resume from next week, almost two months after being put on hold amid corona virus lock down measures.

The first courts where new juries will be sworn in include the Old Bailey in London and Cardiff Crown Court.

The European Union, witnessing the continued escalation of violence in Libya, has renewed its call for a truce, as the United Nations did on the eve of Ramadan with the European Union’s backing.

The European Union has demanded that all parties act responsibly and immediately cease the fighting all over Libya, which is first and foremost affecting civilians, including migrants, and is placing them at even greater risk. It has urged all parties having committed to a truce and a negotiated ceasefire to follow-up on these commitments. It also reminds the parties that they must respect international law, including international humanitarian law, and those who violate it will be held accountable.

On 12th May, Human Rights Watch says that the Israeli government’s policy of boxing in Palestinian communities extends beyond the West Bank and Gaza to Palestinian towns and villages inside Israel. The policy discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel and in favour of Jewish citizens, sharply restricting Palestinians’ access to land for housing to accommodate natural population growth.

Gunmen stormed a maternity hospital in the western part of Kabul, setting off an hours-long shootout with the police and killing 14 people, including two new-born babies, their mothers and an unspecified number of nurses.

At least 14 people were killed in the morning assault on the Barchi Hospital, officials said.

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