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International Legal News

Weekly update: 22 – 29 July 2020.

The following media round up of international legal and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period 22 – 29 July 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.

Sudan – 22 July

On Tuesday 21 July 2020, Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s former President and his associates were put on trial for the 1989 coup that brought al-Bashir to power. However, the trial was immediately adjourned and set to reconvene on 11 August 2020, in a larger courtroom, to allow more lawyers and the defendants’ family members to attend.

China – 23 July

A new investigation by the New York Times suggests that China may be using Uighur labour to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) to address the surge in demand for these products. In China’s Xinjiang province, where most of the Uighur minority live, only four companies were producing PPE before the pandemic. However, that number has now increased to more than 50, with at least 17 of those companies participating in a government-sponsored labour transfer programme that some experts say constitutes forced labour.

European Court of Human Rights – 23 July

In the case of Chong Choronado v. Andorra, the European Court of Human Rights held that there had been no violation of the Convention. The applicant, a Panamanian national who was convicted in his absence in 2014 for money laundering as part of an organised criminal group, complained to the Court of being unable to lodge an appeal as he would first have had to appear in person before the Court. The Court found that the obligation for the applicant to appear in person in connection with the application for a retrial did not amount to a disproportionate burden.

International Criminal Court (ICC) – 24 July

On 24 July 2020, Trial Chamber V of the ICC rejected the Defence’s application for the interim release of Alfred Yekatom; finding that given the gravity of the charges against Mr. Yekatom, he has a high incentive to flee.

Germany – 28 July

Prosecutors in Germany have arrested a German woman suspected of having committed war crimes and other violations as a member of ISIS in Syria. The suspect is now in custody after being deported back to Germany by Turkey.

Rwanda – 28 July

The Single Judge in the Turinabo contempt case has determined that a particular item extracted from a laptop of Augustin Ngirabatware by an independent forensic expert fall outside the scope of disclosure authorises by the Judge on 20 December 2019. The decision concluded that although potentially relevant charges in the case and not subject to any privilege, the item was neither sought by the Prosecution nor authorised by the December 2019 decision.

North Korea – 28 July

Women detained in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) are subjected to multiple and serious human rights violations by State security and police officials according to a UN human rights report published on 28 July.

Turkey – 28 July

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is concerned by moves by authorities in Turkey to introduce a new social media bill that would give the State powerful tools for asserting even more control over the media landscape.

UN Human Rights Committee – 29 July

The UN Human Rights Committee published its interpretation on the right of peaceful assembly, defining the scope of assembly that applies to both physical meetings and virtual or online gatherings, and outlining government’s obligations.

Haiti – 29 July

On 29 July, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said that former Haitian paramilitary leader Emmanuel “Toto” Constant, who was deported from the United States last month, must be held accountable for the horrendous human rights violations committed during the 1990s.


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