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International Legal News

Weekly update: 2 May – 8 May 2022 The following media round up on international and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period of 2 May to 8 May 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.

El Salvador – 2 May 2022

There is mounting evidence that El Salvadoran authorities have been committing serious human rights violations since adopting a state of emergency on 27 March 2022, Human Rights Watch and Cristosal said. The organisations, which are jointly monitoring the state of emergency, have received credible allegations of dozens of arbitrary arrests, including some that could amount to short-term enforced disappearances, and of two deaths of people in custody. In most cases, witnesses said security agents did not show an arrest warrant to justify the detention, nor did they indicate why people were being detained.

India – 3 May 2022

Indian authorities are increasingly targeting journalists and online critics for their criticism of government policies and practices, including by prosecuting them under counterterrorism and sedition laws, ten human rights organizations said today on World Press Freedom Day. The Indian authorities should respect the right to freedom of expression and release any journalists detained on trumped-up or politically motivated charges for their critical reporting and stop targeting journalists and muzzling independent media.

Russia / Central African Republic (CAR) – 3 May 2022

Russian mercenaries have been accused of summarily executing, torturing and beating civilians in the CAR. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch (HRW) that in one incident last July, Russian-speaking fighters shot dead at least 12 unarmed men at a roadblock. UN experts have also accused Russian mercenaries of committing systematic and grave human rights violations in CAR, which is one of the world's poorest countries but is rich in diamonds, gold and uranium. The Wagner Group is widely reported to have deployed forces elsewhere in Africa - in Mali and Libya - and has played a major role in the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine. Last month, suspected Russian mercenaries were among those accused in a HRW report of executing about 300 people in central Mali. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated Moscow's official position that Wagner has nothing to do with the Russian state.

Sierra Leone – 4 May 2022

A case has been filed against the government of Sierra Leone to overturn the country’s loitering laws, which activists and lawyers claim are discriminatory, and used by police to extract bribes from people and sexually abuse women. The laws are used to target poor and vulnerable people, say critics, and to subject them to criminal sanctions for potential conduct rather than actual harm caused. Women arrested for loitering, and lacking money to pay bribes, have claimed they have been violently raped by police officers. Others say they have been coerced into having sex to avoid spending the night in a police cell.

Mali – 4 May 2022

Russian mercenaries in Africa have been linked to massacres in which several hundred civilians have died, raising new fears about the impact of Moscow’s intensifying interventions on the stability and security of countries across the continent. Western officials have so far largely steered clear of naming the perpetrators of killings but witnesses, local community leaders, diplomats and local analysts blamed many of the deaths on fighters deployed by the Wagner Group.

United Kingdom (UK) – 4 May 2022

Wayne Couzens deserves “decades in jail” but not a whole-life order, his barrister has told a court in the former police officer’s appeal against his prison sentence for the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard. On 4 May, senior judges heard challenges or appeals to the prison sentences of five killers, including the whole-life terms of Couzens and the double murderer Ian Stewart. Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes, who killed six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, are also having their sentences reviewed. The term handed to Jordan Monaghan, who murdered two of his children and his new partner, is also under review.

International Criminal Court (ICC) – 4 May 2022

On Monday, 9 May 2022, the Defence in the case of The Prosecutor v. Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud will make its opening statement before Trial Chamber X of the ICC. Mr Al Hassan is represented by Lead Counsel Melinda Taylor and Associate Counsel Michiel Pestman. The statement will be made in open session. The first Defence witness, an expert, is expected to start testifying on 10 May 2022. Mr Al Hassan is accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed in Timbuktu (Mali). Trial Chamber X is composed of Judge Antoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua, Presiding Judge, Judge Tomoko Akane and Judge Kimberly Prost.

Sweden / Iran – 4 May 2022

Sweden's foreign minister says a report that Iran plans to execute a Swedish-Iranian doctor convicted of espionage this month is "extremely worrying". Foreign Minister Ann Linde tweeted that Sweden and the EU condemned the death penalty and demanded Djalali's release. The emergency medicine specialist, Ahmadreza Djalali, was arrested during a business trip in 2016 and accused of spying for Israel. He was sentenced to death by a Revolutionary Court in Tehran the following year, after what human rights groups called a grossly unfair trial. Djalali said he had been forced to "confess" while being subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, including threats to kill or otherwise harm his children, who live in Sweden with his wife.

Colombia / United States (US) – 5 May 2022

Colombia’s president has announced that Colombia has extradited the drug baron leader of the country's biggest crime gang to the US. President Iván Duque said Dairo Antonio Úsuga, better known as Otoniel, was the world's most dangerous trafficker. Otoniel led the Gulf Clan cartel and is wanted in the US on drug trafficking charges. His capture in October ended a seven-year manhunt and last month Colombia's Supreme Court approved the extradition. The Gulf Clan trafficked between 180 and 200 tonnes of cocaine a year, according to Colombian authorities. Announcing the extradition, Mr Duque compared Otoniel to the notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

United Kingdom (UK) – 5 May 2022

The mother of Baby P could be released from prison within weeks after the Parole Board rejected a government challenge against its ruling. Tracey Connolly was jailed in 2009 after admitting causing or allowing the death of 17-month-old son Peter at home in Tottenham, north London, in 2007. Known publicly as Baby P, he had suffered more than 50 injuries. Justice Secretary Dominic Raab condemned the decision and said the Parole Board needed an "overhaul". A Parole Board spokesman said in a statement: "Following the reconsideration application from the secretary of state, a judge has ruled that the decision made by independent Parole Board members to release was not irrational, as stated in the reconsideration application, and the original decision is upheld."

Mexico – 6 May 2022

A Mexican journalist has been found dead in Sinaloa state, authorities say, marking the ninth death of a media worker in an unprecedentedly bloody year for the country which has drawn international scrutiny. Luis Enrique Ramírez, a veteran journalist and columnist at El Debate, was found dead on the side of a highway, the state’s attorney general said on Twitter. Ramírez’s body was discovered by security forces in a black bag and wrapped in plastic, his employer said.

United States (US) / Ukraine – 6 May 2022

The US provided intelligence that helped Ukraine sink the Moskva, Russia's flagship Black Sea missile cruiser, several US media report. Unnamed officials said Ukraine had asked the US about a ship sailing to the south of Odesa. The US said it was the Moskva and helped confirm its location. Ukraine then struck it with two missiles. The Pentagon has not commented. But a spokesman said the US gave intelligence to help Ukraine defend itself.

Israel / Palestine – 6 May 2022

A manhunt is under way for two Palestinians suspected of killing three Israelis in an axe and knife attack in central Israel. It happened in the predominantly ultra-Orthodox Jewish town of Elad. It is the latest in a wave of deadly attacks in Israel by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs since late March. Israel has carried out raids in the occupied West Bank in response. Israeli police said the Palestinians who carried out the attack in Elad came from the district of Jenin in the northern West Bank. Crossings into Israel from the West Bank have been closed since 3 May as a security measure while Israel marked its annual memorial and independence days this week. The attackers struck in a park in Elad where families had gathered to celebrate Independence Day, and on a main street.


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