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International Legal News

Weekly update: 20 September – 26 September 2021

|The following media round up on international and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period of 20 September 2021 to 26 September 2021.

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 Ned Vucijak for consideration.

United Kingdom (UK) – 20 September 2021

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has apologised and launched an investigation into a data breach that has “needlessly put lives at risk” by revealing the email addresses of more than 250 Afghan interpreters who worked for British forces. An email sent by the MoD to interpreters who are seeking relocation to the UK asking for an update on their situation mistakenly copied in their email addresses, so they were visible to all other recipients.

Monaco – 21 September 2021

Jonathan Taylor, an oil industry whistleblower, who returned to the UK from Croatia after a year-long fight against extradition to Monaco, has said he has been summoned before a judge in the principality. Mr. Taylor returned home in July after the Croatian justice minister overturned a decision to extradite him. However, despite the extradition request being overturned in May, the authorities in Monaco have issued a summons requesting him to appear before the investigating judge, Ludovic Leclerc, at the Palais de Justice in Monaco on 11 October “for examination”. The letter states that “his presence is compulsory”.

Yemen – 21 September 2021

The UN, EU, US and UK have strongly condemned the execution of nine men by the rebel Houthi movement in Yemen. The men, one of whom was reportedly a minor when he was arrested, were shot by a firing squad in Sana’a. The UN's secretary general said their trial had not met international standards, while the US said it had been a "sham" after "years of torture".

Sudan – 21 September 2021

A coup attempt in Sudan has failed, state media has reported, as the country struggles with a fragile transition since the 2019 ousting of the long-time president Omar al-Bashir. Top military and government sources said that the attempt involved a group of officers who were “immediately suspended” after they failed to take over the state media building.

United Kingdom (UK) / Russia – 21 September 2021

In the case of Carter v. Russia, the European Court of Human Rights held that there had been a failure by the Government to comply with their obligations under Art.38 of the Convention, hence the obligation to furnish necessary facilities for the examination of a case, and a violation of Art.2 on the right to life in its substantive and procedural aspects. The case concerned the poisoning and death of the applicant’s husband, Aleksandr Litvinenko, in the UK, and the investigations into his death. He had worked for the Russian security services before defecting to the UK where he was granted asylum. In 2006, he was poisoned with polonium 210 – a radioactive substance – in London and died. A public inquiry in the UK found that the assassination had been carried out by Mr. Lugovoy and Mr. Kovtun who had been acting as agents of the Russian State. The Court held that the Russian authorities had not carried out an effective domestic investigation into the establishment of the facts, and where appropriate, the identification and punishment of those responsible for the murder.

United Kingdom (UK) / Afghanistan – 21 September 2021

Helena Kennedy QC has launched an urgent appeal to provide support to judges along with lawyers, women’s rights activists, human rights defenders and their families at risk in Afghanistan and in need of a safe haven abroad. As part of the #EvacuateHer campaign, Lady Kennedy has also launched a petition calling on the UK government to provide sanctuary to Afghan judges and lawyers at risk. The campaign is one of many attempts to help the hundreds of women who have sat as judges in Afghanistan.

Libya – 21 September 2021

Seven human rights organisations said that the UN Human Rights Council member states, including Libya, should continue to support the Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya by renewing its mandate during its 48th session, which began on 13 September 2021. Impunity for past and ongoing violations and abuses of international human rights law and international humanitarian law drives violence and longstanding instability in the country. Members of armed groups, militias, and security forces continue to carry out extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, and arbitrary arrest and detention throughout Libya. The mission plays a key role in tackling impunity in Libya and giving victims an opportunity to have their voices heard and their rights upheld. The mission will present its findings to the Human Rights Council on 7 October, while its current mandate is due to expire by 30 September.

Amnesty International said in a new analysis that despite Gambian President Adama Barrow’s pledge to reform the country nearly five years ago, oppressive laws curtailing human rights including the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, which were used under former President Yahya Jammeh to suppress peaceful dissent remain operative.

United States – 23 September 2021

The Biden administration is preparing to reopen a migrant detention camp at Guantánamo Bay in the wake of a surge of migrants and asylum seekers on the southern border. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) bureau is inviting tenders for private contractors to run the Migrant Operations Center on the US naval base, close to the prison compounds housing the remaining 39 detainees held in the “war on terror”.

Myanmar – 23 September 2021

According to Tom Andrews, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, the military junta is systematically abducting the relatives of people it is seeking to arrest, including children as young as 20 weeks old. Mr. Andrews told the UN Human Rights Council that conditions in the country have continued to deteriorate and that “current efforts by the international community to stop the downward spiral of events in Myanmar are simply not working”. The military junta and its forces have murdered more than 1,100 people, Andrews said, including dozens of children. As of July, the junta had killed at least 75 children ranging in age from 14 months to 17 years. He added that the military was routinely abducting family members when it is unable to locate individuals it is seeking to arrest.

Spain / Italy – 24 September 2021

Exiled Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont has been detained in Italy on a Spanish arrest warrant. Spain has accused him of sedition for a breakaway independence referendum in 2017 that the courts ruled illegal. At the time he was president of Catalonia but fled to Belgium after the vote. He lives there and sits as a member of the European Parliament. The police were apparently waiting for him at Sardinia's Alghero airport and he is due in Court. A judge in Sardinia will have to decide whether he should be released or extradited.


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