Weekly update: 12 December – 18 December 2022
The following media round up on international and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period of 12 December to 18 December 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
Iran – 12 December 2022
Iran says it has executed its second prisoner detained amid the nationwide protests challenging the country’s theocracy. The executed man was identified as Majidreza Rahnavard by Mizan news agency, which is run by Iran’s judiciary. He had been accused of fatally stabbing two security force members and injuring four others on 17 November in the city of Mashhad, and wounding four others.
Ukraine – 12 December 2022
Ukraine has attacked a barracks in the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol with some Ukrainian sources claiming scores of Russian casualties. According to witnesses 10 explosions were heard, although some of those may have been from Russian anti-aircraft systems. Ukrainian officials claimed scores of Russian dead and injured while Russia conceded a handful of casualties. Video footage posted on social media showed what was claimed to be a Russian barracks in the southern city engulfed in a fierce blaze with some claiming the site was being used by the Wagner mercenary group.
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – 12 December 2022
Last week, fighting broke out again between the M23 group, the rebel militia that has seized a swath of the east of the country since launching an offensive just over a year ago, and national armed forces, despite pledges by both sides to abide by a ceasefire. The violence will undermine slim hopes of mitigating a growing humanitarian crisis in the region and averting a durable regional proxy conflict that analysts and diplomats fear could bring chaos to central Africa. In an interview, one of the leaders of M23 insisted that the militia would strictly respect the current ceasefire, reaffirmed during talks in Nairobi, but threatened to resume further advances if necessary.
Philippines – 13 December 2022
Police in the Philippines again appear responsible for the fatal beating of a man in their custody. Videos of the incident, which went viral, allegedly show Police Staff Sergeant Ronald Gamayon of the Southern Leyte provincial police beating Gilbert Ranes with his bare hands on a busy street in Maasin City. Ranes, a resident of nearby Macrohon town, was declared dead after being taken to the hospital.
Ukraine – 14 December 2022
A total of 11 Iran-supplied drones were shot down over Kyiv and the surrounding region early today in what Ukrainian authorities described as a continuation of Russia’s “energy terror” against the country. Kyiv’s city administration said that two of its administrative buildings had been damaged by the falling debris of a drone. There were no victims from the drone debris, the spokesperson for Kyiv’s rescue services, Svitlana Vodolaga, told Ukraine’s Suspline news.
United Kingdom (UK) / France – 14 December 2022
The government has said that four people died after a migrant boat ran into difficulties crossing the English Channel. The BBC's Nick Eardley said a person close to the situation said 43 people had been saved, with more than 30 rescued from the water. A major search and rescue operation was launched in waters between Kent and France in freezing conditions. The boat is likely to have been carrying migrants risking the crossing from France, a day after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced new measures to "stop the boats".
Iran – 14 December 2022
Iran has been ousted from a UN body tasked with empowering women after world powers voted in favour of a motion submitted by the US, which said the Islamic Republic’s membership was an “ugly stain” on the group’s credibility. Activists and rights groups have said Tehran’s role in the 45-member commission on the status of women was a farce, considering the regime’s forces have beaten and killed women peacefully calling for gender equality.
Peru – 15 December 2022
Governments in Peru in recent years have been anything but stable. The country has seen a series of presidents ousted and a number of ex-presidents sent to prison for crimes committed during their time in office. In one memorable week in 2020, the country had three presidents in the space of only five days. But even by Peru's standards, what happened on 7 December and the week which followed was jaw-dropping both because of the speed with which events unfolded and their consequences. The man who was president is in detention after what the constitutional court said was an attempted coup; his former prime minister has gone underground; and his former running mate is now in power, but it is not clear for how long. A nationwide state of emergency has now been declared to quell deadly protests in which hundreds were injured.
European Court of Human Rights – 15 December 2022
In the case of Vasaráb and Paulus v. Slovakia, the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 6(1) and 3(d) of the Convention on the right to a fair trial. The case concerned the trial of the applicants for a contract murder allegedly carried out by Mr Paulus for Mr Vasaráb. In particular it concerned the courts’ refusal to examine witnesses that would have allegedly been able to rebut key evidence that had led to their convictions. The Court found in particular that the request to have the rebuttal witness evidence examined had been relevant; it noted that the domestic courts had not given reasons for that refusal; and concluded that the fairness of the trial had as a result been compromised.
Russia – 16 December 2022
Ukraine has accused Russia of planning a wide-ranging ground offensive for early in the new year, despite recent Russian military setbacks. President Volodymyr Zelensky and senior officials have warned that Kyiv and its allies must guard against complacency. The offensive could come in the eastern Donbas region, in the south, or even towards Kyiv, senior generals say. Western analysts say Russia's ability to conduct successful offensive ground operations is rapidly diminishing. Britain's most senior military officer Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said this week that the war would only get worse for Moscow, which he added was now facing a critical shortage of artillery munitions.
Saudi Arabia – 16 December 2022
Amnesty International stated that Saudi authorities are forcibly returning hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian migrants after arbitrarily holding them in indefinite detention in inhuman and cruel conditions solely because they do not have valid residency documents, a situation exacerbated by Saudi’s abusive kafala system. The new briefing, “It’s like we are not human”: Forced returns, abhorrent detention conditions of Ethiopian migrants in Saudi Arabia, details the situation of Ethiopian men, women and children arbitrarily held in the overcrowded Al-Kharj and Al-Shumaisi detention centres in dire and abusive conditions and forcibly returned to Ethiopia between June 2021 and May 2022.