The following media round up on international and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period of 31 July to 6 August 2023.
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.
Sudan - 3 August 2023
“DEATH CAME TO OUR HOME.” War crimes and civilian suffering in Sudan
Extensive war crimes are being committed in Sudan as the conflict between the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) ravages the country, Amnesty International said in a new report.
The report, ‘Death Came To Our Home’: War Crimes and Civilian Suffering In Sudan, documents mass civilian casualties in both deliberate and indiscriminate attacks by the warring parties. The report also details sexual violence against women and girls, targeted attacks on civilian objects such as hospitals and churches, and extensive looting. The full article can be found here.
Ukraine - 4 August 2023
Ukraine: Apparent Russian Cluster Munition Attack. 9 Civilians Died in Lyman; Possible War Crime
Nine civilians were killed and more than a dozen injured in an apparent Russian cluster munition attack on July 8, 2023, in a residential district of the Ukrainian town of Lyman, Human Rights Watch said today.
Russia’s repeated use of cluster munitions since the start of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has killed and wounded civilians, damaged civilian objects, and contaminated agricultural land. Cluster munitions are prohibited due to their indiscriminate nature and the long-term danger posed to civilians. The attack on Lyman should be investigated as a possible war crime.
“Despite Russia’s claims in recent weeks that it has never used cluster munitions in Ukraine, the list of deadly Russian cluster munition attacks runs long,” said Ida Sawyer, crisis and conflict director at Human Rights Watch. “This attack, if confirmed, once again demonstrates the Russian army’s contempt for civilians and the international legal restraints of war, as well as the deadly and indiscriminate nature of these weapons.” Read the full article here.
World - 2 August 2023
AI’s regulatory and litigation frontiers continue to expand
Even as more people express their wonderment and concerns about generative AI, there is a lot more going on here, especially around regulation and ethics
It’s quite the paradox: While many lawyers wring their hands in worry over being replaced by artificial intelligence-powered software, the legal and regulatory environment for AI continues to evolve rapidly, ensuring a steady flow of work for lawyers whose clients create or are impacted by AI technologies.
Most of the focus is on current legislative and regulatory initiatives targeted at technology providers. Recently, tech company GC Irene Liu reviewed some of the more significant regulatory initiatives from the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries. These large-scale regulatory frameworks “will bring increased compliance obligations for any company that leverages AI in almost any region in the world,” says Liu.
However, every week brings new legal challenges to AI and the companies that create or use it. The issues raised by these legal skirmishes revolve around the same issues that seem to follow many new technologies, in which the desire to promote innovation and tech-based competitive advantage soon runs into challenges around privacy, personal integrity, bias, fraud, collusion, price manipulation, and copyright infringement. The full article can be found here.
World - 2 August 2023
UNEP Report Recognizes Litigation as Key Tool in Delivering Climate Action
Climate Change Law at Columbia University have published a report reviewing cases focused on climate change law, policy, or science. With the number of climate change court cases having more than doubled since 2017, the report demonstrates that climate litigation is becoming a key mechanism to secure climate action and climate justice and to combat the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.
The report titled, ‘Global Climate Litigation Report: 2023 Status Review,’ is based on cases collected up to 31 December 2022 by the Sabin Center’s US and Global Climate Change Litigation Databases. It reveals that the total number of climate change cases increased from 884 in 2017 to 2,180 in 2022. A UNEP press release notes that “[a]s climate litigation increases in frequency and volume, the body of legal precedent grows, forming an increasingly well-defined field of law.” The full article can be found here.
Bangladesh - 4 August 2023
Bangladesh: Unlawful use of force against protesters must end immediately
The Bangladeshi authorities must urgently end the use of excessive force against protesters, Amnesty International said today, after verifying evidence of reports of violent attacks against protesters and opposition party leaders during a sit-in protest organized by the country’s main opposition party, on 28 and 29 July. The eyewitnesses Amnesty International spoke to said that the protests were largely peaceful prior to the police attacking them.
The Bangladesh National Party (BNP) protest, which called for a caretaker government to be appointed before the elections in January 2024, was held at various entry points to Dhaka, the capital. The protests ended with violent clashes with the police.
“The videos and images that Amnesty International has verified shed light on the human rights violations by the Bangladeshi authorities. We call on the Government of Bangladesh to guarantee strict adherence to the law by the law enforcement agencies, as well as full respect for the people’s right to exercise their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, in order to avoid further harm to people’s physical integrity and possible escalation of this crisis,” said Smriti Singh, interim Regional Director for South Asia at Amnesty International. The full article can be found here.
Zimbabwe - 4 August 2023
Zimbabwe: Authorities must promptly investigate the death of opposition party activist.
On July 24, 2023, Baku’s Narimanov District Court sent Ibadoghlu for four months of pretrial detention on charges of production, acquisition or sale of counterfeit money by an organized group. If convicted, Ibadoghlu could face up to 12 years in prison. During the arrest, police ill-treated Ibadoglu and his wife, who was with him at the time. The authorities should drop charges against him and free him.
“Ibadoghlu’s detention falls squarely in a longstanding pattern of pursuing dubious charges against government critics in Azerbaijan,” said Giorgi Gogia, associate Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Such spurious charges appear to serve only one goal – to silence opposition and critical voices in the country. He should be freed at once.” The full article can be found here.
Lebanon - 3 August 2023
Lebanon: Unacceptable lack of justice, truth and reparation three years after Beirut blast
The international community has repeatedly condemned the authorities’ blatant political interference in the domestic investigation, including in a joint statement at the United Nations Human Rights Council earlier this year. Today, over 300 Lebanese and international civil society groups, as well as survivors and victims’ families, are once again appealing to the Human Rights Council to urgently establish an international fact-finding mission to investigate the causes of the Beirut Blast and identify those responsible for the catastrophe.”
“The Lebanese authorities have had three years to investigate what caused the devastating explosion in Beirut’s port and to hold those suspected of criminal responsibility to account. Yet to this day, absolutely no one has been held responsible for the tragedy that unfolded on 4 August 2020. Aya Majzoub, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa. The full article can be found here.
Russia - 4 August 2023
Russia: Grim New Sentence for Alexey Navalny
Opposition Politician and Associate Convicted on Outlandish Extremism Charges
A Moscow court’s new sentence for the leading Russian opposition activist Alexey Navalny is in an obvious attempt to ensure that he remains incarcerated and isolated for any foreseeable future, Human Rights Watch said today. Navalny was sentenced to 19 years in a maximum-security prison designed for particularly dangerous recidivists and those serving life sentences.
“The totally unfounded new conviction against Alexey Navalny is a testament to the Kremlin’s resolve to decapitate Russian opposition for many years to come,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Russian authorities have abandoned any pretense of justice in dealing with dissenters, and with Navalny they have thrown a litany of charges against him, each more brazenly absurd than the next.”
Navalny was convicted in a closed trial on seven charges pertaining to six criminal articles, including for extremism, creating a nongovernmental organization (NGO) that the Russian authorities consider violates the rights of its citizens or incites illegal activities, involving children in “illegal activities,” and the rehabilitation of Nazism. The full article can be found here.