Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sarkozy: EU needs united position on Palestinian statehood

"French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Wednesday he wanted to see a united European Union voice on the issue of Palestinian statehood at next month's United Nations General Assembly and urged the United States to do more for peace.

"The 27 countries of the European Union must express themselves with one voice," Sarkozy said in an opening speech to an annual conference of French ambassadors.

"The role of the U.S. is uncontested and irreplaceable, but everybody sees that it is not enough. We have to widen the circle of negotiation, think of the role and pertinence of the quartet.
Sarkozy said the world could not continue to leave the Israel-Palestinian peace process frozen while the Arab Spring forces change elsewhere in the region.

Also on Wednesday, the EU moved closer to a trade deal with the Palestinian Authority after unanimous backing from European lawmakers to fully open markets to farm and fish products from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The 27-0 vote by the European Parliament's international trade committee paves the way for full parliamentary approval for a deal later this year, signalling EU support for the PA as it prepares for its statehood bid next month."

Algeria would hand over Qaddafi to the International Criminal Court

Algeria would hand over Qaddafi to ICC as Libya ‘final battle’ approaches

Algeria would hand over Muammar Gaddafi to the International Criminal Court if he entered the North African country, a local newspaper reported on Tuesday, a day after Algiers gave safe haven to members of his family, as the rebels' military chief said the final battle in Libya was imminent.

Algeria announced on Monday that Qaddafi’s wife, two of his sons and his daughter had crossed into its territory, prompting Libya’s ruling interim council to demand that they be handed back to face trial.

Quoting Algerian sources, the el-Shorouk newspaper said on its website that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika had told government ministers during a cabinet meeting on Monday that Algeria would respect international law on all matters related to the Libyan conflict.
“Should Qaddafi try to enter Algerian soil amid talk that the rebels are tightening their grip on the border with Tunisia, and Egyptian (border) restrictions, Algeria would arrest him and hand him over to the International Criminal Court in compliance with international agreements,” the newspaper said, according to Reuters.”

Germany Dims Nuclear Plants, but Hopes to Keep Lights On

“Not since the grim period after World War II has Germany had significant blackouts, but it is now bracing for that possibility after shutting down half its nuclear reactors practically overnight.
Nuclear plants have long generated nearly a quarter of Germany’s electricity. But after the tsunami and earthquake that sent radiation spewing from Fukushima, half a world away, the government disconnected the 8 oldest of Germany’s 17 reactors — including the two in this drab factory town — within days. Three months later, with a new plan to power the country without nuclear energy and a growing reliance on renewable energy, Parliament voted to close them permanently. There are plans to retire the remaining nine reactors by 2022.”

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

All States must end ‘heinous crime’ of enforced disappearances, UN demands

"The United Nations today called on all States to end the “heinous crime” of enforced disappearances which has seen countless people vanish into secret prisons or worse, often never to be seen again, in cases of conflict and internal unrest.

“Over the last 30 years, the families of disappeared persons have brought to the attention of the international community the extent of this odious crime,” the UN working group on the issue said in a statement to mark UN International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.
The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances also noted so-called ‘short term disappearances,’ where victims are placed in secret detention or unknown locations before being released weeks or months later, sometimes after having been tortured and without having been brought in front of a judge or other civil authority.
“This very worrisome practice, whether it is used to counter terrorism, to fight organized crime or suppress legitimate civil strife demanding democracy, freedom of expression or religion, should be considered as an enforced disappearance and as such adequately investigated, prosecuted and punished,” it said.
Last December, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which was adopted by the General Assembly in 2006, came into force after Iraq became the 20th State to ratify it."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Obama’s Uncle Arrested For Drunk Driving In Framingham

BOSTON (CBS) – An illegal immigrant from Kenya who was arrested for drunk driving in Framingham recently is reportedly an uncle of President Barack Obama.

67-year-old Onyango Obama was arrested last Wednesday, August 24 after police say he nearly ran his SUV into a police cruiser and later failed several sobriety tests.

According to the MetroWest Daily News, he pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Thursday, but he was ordered held without bail because there is a federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement warrant for his arrest.

The federal agency has previously ordered him to be deported back to Kenya.”

Lockerbie Bomber Focus of New Tensions

"The Scottish authorities on Monday endorsed a Libyan rebel decision not to extradite Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the only person convicted in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, who was released from a Scottish prison two years ago on the ground that he was near death.
His hero’s welcome in Libya and lengthy survival have been a source of frustration to the United States, which counted 189 citizens among the bombing’s 270 dead. As the Libyan revolution has unfolded, American lawmakers and politicians have been intensifying calls for his return, hoping for a fuller accounting of the crime and the Qaddafi government’s role in it."

Gaddafi family members enter Algeria

Manama: Algeria has allowed 31 members of Gaddafi's family and helpers to enter the country, a local newspaper reported on Monday.

Gaddafi's wife, Safia, daughter Aisha, sons Hannibal and Mohammad as well as grandsons and assistants were in the convoy of seven vehicles that had to wait for 12 hours at the border in Illizi, the province bordering Libya before they were allowed in, Echorouk said in its online edition.”

The International Criminal Court: from Rome to Kampala

The International Criminal Court: from Rome to Kampala (Kampala Compromise)

"The International Criminal Court was established in 2002 as the first permanent international tribunal to prosecute individuals for the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression, as set forth by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.  The ICC is designed to complement existing national judicial systems.  However, the Court can exercise its jurisdiction if national courts are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute such crimes, thus becoming a “court of last resort”, leaving the primary responsibility to exercise jurisdiction over alleged criminals to individual States.
Perpetrators of the most heinous crimes have become the primary concern of the international community as a whole. And for the purpose of putting an end to impunity the ICC has been established, in line with the Rome Statute. 

The objective of this thesis is to lay emphasis on the crime of aggression. In the same spirit, back in June 2010 a definition of this crime was put “en relief”, known as the Kampala Compromise, since the exercise of jurisdiction by the ICC over this crime was postponed until the adoption of a provision defining it. Accordingly, this thesis shall try to outline this “step-forward”, by explaining the substance of the Compromise. This will be followed by an assessment of this evolution.
Prior to that, this study reviews in general lines the establishment, the structure and the jurisdiction of the ICC. Furthermore, the crime of aggression will also be tackled along the most crucial phases. For that purpose it is worthwhile taking into consideration four different phases:
-         The Treaty of Versailles of 1919;
-         The Nuremberg Tribunal;
-         The Tokyo Tribunal;
-         Definition of “aggression” by the UN General Assembly in 1974.


These are indeed the four most important “stations” along the way to criminalize aggression, preliminary to the adoption of the definition of the crime of aggression by the Kampala Compromise, in a way to enable the ICC to exercise its jurisdiction over this crime in particular." Click here to read the full text.

 * Feel free to use it for educational reasons.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Belgian Senators press for recognition of Palestine

“The Belgian Senate has adopted a resolution urging the Government to recognize Palestine in the pre-1967 borders.

The Senators also feel that Brussels should persuade the other EU member-states to follow suit. In late March this year, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that he hoped that Palestine would be able to proclaim independence and will be recognized as a state as early as this coming September.

In September, the Palestinian Autonomy authorities will request the UN General Assembly to recognize an independent Palestinian state with the capital in Jerusalem.”

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Where is Syria heading?

"The overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi by Libyan rebels supported by NATO forces focuses international attention on the five months of unrest in Syria, which has shaken one of the most tightly controlled Arab states.

Opposition figures and activists fear the successful use of force to topple Qaddafi may encourage Syrians to follow Libya's example. Syrian protests have been mainly peaceful but there have been increasing reports of attacks on security forces.
Upheaval in Syria would affect its allies and enemies in the volatile Middle East, and a softening in rhetoric from Arab countries this week indicated they might still be prepared to support President Bashar al-Assad if he implements reform."

Liberals hail dawn of democracy in Libya

Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE Leader has hailed the "dawn of democracy in Libya" following the dramatic events in Tripoli.

"Back in March the ALDE Group took the initiative to invite  Dr Al-Issawi and Dr Mahmoud Gebil, two senior members of the National Interim  Council of Libya to come to Strasbourg  to hear directly from the Libyan rebels what support was needed in their struggle.  This was the first time that Libyan Rebels received international attention and given a platform to outline their needs in the fight for freedom.  At that moment, they were unequivocal in their request, recognition of the National Interim Council, guarantee the supply of humanitarian assistance and enforce a no-fly zone.
But  it was an up hill battle  to organise  meetings for them  with representatives from the Commission and Council  let alone asking for   recognition  of the Interim Council.   The  EU dragged their heels and ignored their responsibility toward the oppressed Libyan population until the 11th hour. We should not make this mistake again in the future, the demise of the Gaddafi regime shows how important it is for the international community to take immediate action when needed. "
 
He concluded by adding "The EU must now provide sustainable support  to help Libya in its transition towards democracy.  At this crucial moment in Libyan history our message to the Libyan population must be clear - we will be there to help you alleviate the humanitarian crisis, re-build your economy  and strengthen your  democratic movement ."

Egypt, Israel agree on troop increase in Sinai

“Egypt and Israel have agreed to increase the number of Egyptian troops in the Sinai border region after an eruption of violence in the area, a high-ranking security official told Reuters.

“After continued negotiations there is now an initial agreement between Egypt and Israel to deploy more Egyptian troops in the Sinai region,” the Egyptian security official said, asking to remain anonymous.

The agreement was reached during long-running talks over border security. But the official said negotiations were pushed along by a deadly attack by gunmen last week, who killed eight Israelis. Israel said the attackers infiltrated from Gaza via the Sinai region.

Seven of the attackers were killed by Israeli forces and Egypt said five of its men died in the crossfire, touching off a diplomatic rift between the two countries.

Egypt and Israel’s 1979 peace treaty allows only a small presence of lightly armed Egyptian border guards in a demilitarized Sinai and also curbs Israeli deployment on its side of the frontier.”

Friday, August 26, 2011

Russia introduces rival resolution on Syria

Russia has introduced a rival U.N. resolution calling on Bashar Assad's government to expedite reforms — but making no mention of the sanctions sought by the U.S. and European nations.
Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin circulated Moscow's draft Friday, a day after he strongly hinted that Russia would veto the U.S. and European-backed resolution calling for an arms embargo on Syria and the freezing of assets against Assad and key supporters of his regime.
The Russian draft calls for an immediate end to all violence, stresses that the only solution to the current crisis is "an inclusive and Syrian-led political process," and urges the opposition to engage in political dialogue with the government.”

Flow of Somalis fleeing famine starts to ebb – UN

"Fewer people have been fleeing their homes in famine-wracked Somalia this month, with insecurity, restrictions by Al-Shabaab Islamic militants and delivery of on-site aid all apparently playing a role in the decrease, the United Nations reported today.

There was a significant drop in the number of people arriving in Mogadishu, the capital, which peaked in July, when nearly 28,000 fled to the city in search of aid after fleeing famine, drought and conflict in the countryside of the Horn of Africa nation, where tens of thousands of people have already died and some 3.2 million others are thought to be on the brink of starvation.
“Since the beginning of this month, just over 5,000 displacements into the city have been recorded,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Adrian Edwards told a news briefing in Geneva. “The average daily arrival rate in the city dropped from more than 1,000 per day last month to an estimated 200 in August.”
Due to insecurity, almost no movements were recorded in districts of Mogadishu held by Al-Shabaab until earlier this month. African Union (AU) peacekeepers have also imposed restrictions on civilian movement to areas previously controlled by Al Shabaab, which is reportedly restricting movements, particularly of men, in areas still under its control in the south, Mr. Edwards said."

Security Council seeks to strengthen UN peacekeeping capacities

"The Security Council today discussed steps to improve United Nations peacekeeping capacities, with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calling for greater flexibility and funding to meet the ever more complex needs of missions that currently field some 100,000 blue helmets in hot spots around the world.

“We may be entering a new phase, with diverse and multifaceted situations where peacekeeping may play a role,” he said, noting that the number of uniformed personnel in UN peacekeeping operations has doubled in the past 10 years, reaching a high point of more than 101,000 last year.
“Peacekeeping will need to evolve to meet specific demands in a variety of environments and to flexibly and nimbly bring together multiple capabilities in a coherent and effective manner.”
In convening the session, India, which holds this month’s rotating presidency of the 15-member Council, underscored the “severe mismatch between the resources and the mandates of peacekeeping operations,” noting that total expenditure for UN peacekeeping in the last two decades was under $50 billion, reportedly less than the annual outlay for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan."

Monday, August 22, 2011

مؤامرة ليبية لتفجير سفارة قطر بتونس

"قال الجيش التونسي اليوم الاثنين إن ضابطا ليبيا سلم نفسه للسلطات التونسية، معترفا بأن جيش العقيد الليبي معمر القذافي أرسله لتفجير سفارة عربية في العاصمة تونس.

وقال المسؤول العسكري التونسي مختار نصر في مؤتمر صحفي إن الضابط الليبي عبد الرزاق الراجحي كشف فحوى تلك المؤامرة للجيش التونسي، وأضاف أن الهدف كان سفارة دولة عربية، لكنه لم يصرح باسمها. غير أن وكالة الأنباء الألمانية نقلت عن مصدر تونسي لم تسمه قوله إن البعثة المستهدفة هي سفارة قطر.

وقال الراجحي في مؤتمر صحفي اليوم إنه دخل تونس يوم 30 يوليو/تموز الماضي مع عائلته على متن سيارة وبحوزته أكثر من 16 كيلوغراما و400 غرام من مادة "تي إن تي" المتفجرة لاستخدامها في نسف السفارة. وأضاف أنه تراجع عن تنفيذ عملية التفجير وسلم المواد المتفجرة للجيش التونسي.

وأضاف الراجحي أن هذا المخطط دبره القذافي بهدف إخراج الثورة الليبية عن مسارها بعد أن قطعت أشواطا بعيدة منذ انطلقت في 17 فبراير/شباط الماضي من مدينة بنغازي (شرق البلاد) قبل أن تتوج أمس بسيطرة الثوار على طرابلس واختفاء القذافي عن الأنظار.

ودأب التلفزيون الليبي الرسمي على اتهام قطر والإمارات بالخيانة لدعمهما حملة المعارضة للإطاحة بالقذافي."

Verhofstadt criticises Ashton: EU must introduce immediate oil embargo

"Reacting to the Statement by High Representative Catherine Ashton on Syria, ALDE Leader, Guy Verhofstadt is critical of the inability of the EU to come up with effective sanctions and reiterates his previous calls to immediately ban oil imports from Syrian companies. 

"For months we have repeatedly called on Mrs Ashton to get her act together and ban Syrian oil imports. The US announced today "unprecedented sanctions" including an oil ban and the EU finds itself playing catch up once again.  The United States is hitting hard while the EU waits and mulls over what further steps to take. This is utterly unacceptable.  Syria is 10.000 km away from Washington DC but less than 500 km away from Cyprus, an EU member state, yet the EU has been unable to introduce any meaningful steps to introduce hard-hitting sanctions."

He continued "Mrs Ashton said today that "the EU is proceeding to further action", I call on her to be more forthright and introduce an immediate oil embargo -  enough is enough "."

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Greetings from the United States

Dear All,

I am currently in California, USA.

Blogging will resume soon.

All the best.


Gabriel

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Verhofstadt: EU must extend sanctions to Syrian oil businesses

“Since the beginning of the peaceful demonstrations against the regime in Syria, over 1.600 civilians have been killed, 12 thousand arrested, 3 thousand have disappeared and around 13 thousand found shelter in Lebanon and Turkish camps. This proves what we have been repeating for the last four months: simple messages of condemnation by the international and European Community and current sanctions will not be able to stop Al-Assad continuing his brutal slaughter." said ALDE Group President Guy Verhofstadt following yesterday's Syrian regime further military assault, in Hama, against harmless population claiming over 100 victims.  

That's why, by reacting to today's news that the EU will further beef up sanctions against Syria, Verhofstadt said: "We need to hit as hard as possible on the regime's source of finance. Among the new targets to sanction, the EU should also include Syrian businesses accomplice of financing the repression, like oil companies. For instance, listing also the two state-owned oilcompanies Syria Petroleum Corporation (SPC) and Sytrol would significantly deprive the regime of its daily revenues, since 90 percent of Syrian oil exports are exported to the EU – and market conditions do not favour easy substitution of other arrangements." 

More on the effectiveness of sanctions against Syria’s oil industry can be found on Openoil.net.

"Moreover, the EU must continue to do its upmost to bring the UN to come up now with a much stronger resolution." concluded Verhofstadt, referring to today's UN emergency meeting on the situation in Syria.”

Monday, August 1, 2011

Israel to extradite citizen wanted for war crimes in Bosnia

Bosnian Serb Aleksander Cvetkovic accused of taking part in Srebrenica massacre in 1995, where 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed by Serb troops.


“A Jerusalem court has ruled a former Bosnian Serb soldier living in Israel can be extradited back to his homeland to stand trial for war crimes.
Aleksander Cvetkovic, who is married to an Israeli woman and holds Israeli citizenship, entered the court Monday in handcuffs.

The 43-year-old was arrested in January following a Bosnian extradition request accusing him of being part of an eight-man firing squad that executed between 1,000 and 1,200 Bosnian Muslims at the Branjevo Farm in July 1995.

The killings were part of what became known as the Srebrenica massacre, where Serb troops killed more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys.

Cvetkovic's lawyer, Nick Kaufman, said he is considering an appeal. The Justice Ministry says without an appeal, Cvetkovic will be extradited in 60 days.”

Obama says U.S. appalled by Syria brutality, to work to isolate Assad

U.S. president says reports out of Hama are 'horrifying and demonstrate the true character of the Syrian regime'; Syrian army storms Hama, killing at least 100 civilians, according to activists.

''U.S. President Barack Obama said on Sunday he was appalled by the Syrian government's use of violence against its people in the city of Hama and promised to work with others to isolate Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Syrian tanks firing shells and machine guns stormed Hama on Sunday, killing at least 100 civilians, according to activists.
"The reports out of Hama are horrifying and demonstrate the true character of the Syrian regime," Obama said in a statement released by the White House.
"Syria will be a better place when a democratic transition goes forward. In the days ahead, the United States will continue to increase our pressure on the Syrian regime, and work with others around the world to isolate the Assad government and stand with the Syrian people."

تنديد دولي واسع بـ"مجزرة" حماة

"توالت التنديدات الدولية إزاء العملية العسكرية التي تقوم بها قوات نظام بشار الأسد في مدينة حماة وأوقعت نحو 130 قتيلا هناك ومئات الجرحى عدا بقية القتلى في مناطق أخرى من البلاد. وشملت التنديدات الرئيس الأميركي وتركيا وفرنسا وألمانيا وإيطاليا.
فقد قال الرئيس الأميركي باراك أوباما في بيان صادر عن البيت الأبيض "أظهر الرئيس الأسد مجددا أنه غير قادر وغير مستعد للاستجابة للمظالم المشروعة للشعب السوري واستخدامه التعذيب والفساد والترويع يضعه في الجانب السيئ للتاريخ ولشعبه".
وأشار إلى أن واشنطن تعمل مع الآخرين لفرض عزلة على الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد.
واعتبر أوباما في بيان صادر عن البيت الأبيض "التقارير الواردة بشأن حماة مفزعة وتظهر الصورة الحقيقية للنظام السوري". وأشار إلى أن سوريا "ستكون مكانا أفضل حينما يحدث فيها تحول ديمقراطي، ستواصل الولايات المتحدة في الأيام القادمة زيادة الضغط على النظام السوري والعمل مع آخرين في أنحاء العالم لفرض عزلة على حكومة الأسد والوقوف مع الشعب السوري".