Weekly update: 27 June – 3 July 2022
The following media round up on international and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period of 27 June to 3 July 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.
United Kingdom (UK) – 27 June 2022
A woman accused of perverting the course of justice in a murder trial has been told she must represent herself in court because there is no available barrister, in what is thought to be a legal first. A trial over the killing of Jobari Gooden, 27, who was stabbed outside a Peckham barbershop last December, is under way at Southwark crown court.
United Kingdom (UK) – 27 June 2022
Justice Secretary Dominic Raab condemned lawyers escalating their protest over legal aid rates - while Labour declined the opportunity to back the action. The lord chancellor spoke out on the eve of the first day of protest as barristers and solicitors prepared to join picket lines outside courts in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Cardiff. In a statement, Raab said, “it’s regrettable that the Criminal Bar Association is striking, given only 43.5% of their members voted for this particular, most disruptive, option. I encourage them to agree the proposed 15% pay rise which would see a typical barrister earn around £7,000 more a year. Their actions will only delay justice for victims.” Hundreds of criminal barristers began strike action over legal aid funding that could see the criminal justice system grind to a halt within weeks.
Ukraine / Russia – 28 June 2022
Leaders around the world have denounced Russia’s deadly strike on a shopping centre in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, as “abominable” and a war crime, amid growing international outrage at the attack. Rescue efforts are underway and the search for survivors continues after the missile strike on a busy shopping centre in central Ukraine that had more than 1,000 people in it at the time, according to President Volodoymyr Zelenskiy. The Ukrainian defence ministry said the strike was deliberately timed to coincide with the mall’s busiest hours and cause the maximum number of victims. In a joint statement, the leaders of the G7 condemned the “abominable attack” and noted that attacks aimed at civilians were a “war crime”.
Syria – 28 June 2022
According to the UN, more than 100 people, including many women, have been murdered in a Syria’s al-Hawl detention camp in 18 months. The camp is becoming increasingly unsafe and child detainees are being condemned to a life with no future, said Imran Riza, the UN resident coordinator in Syria, who called on countries to repatriate their citizens from the sprawling facility. Al-Hawl, in the Kurdish-controlled north-east, was intended as a temporary detention facility, but it still holds about 56,000 people, mostly Syrians and Iraqis, some of whom have links with Islamic State, which seized swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014. The rest are citizens of other countries, including children and other relatives of IS fighters.
Colombia – 29 June 2022
The punitive, prohibitionist war on drugs helped prolong Colombia’s disastrous civil war, the country’s truth commission has found, in a landmark report published as part of an effort to heal the raw wounds left by conflict. The report, titled “There is a future if there is truth” was the first instalment of a study put together by the commission that was formed as part of a historic 2016 peace deal with the leftist rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc).
United Kingdom (UK) – 29 June 2022
New legislation is urgently needed to regulate biometric technologies such as facial recognition, an independent legal review has concluded. The review, led by Matthew Ryder QC and commissioned by the Ada Lovelace Institute, calls for a moratorium on biometric surveillance until 'inadequate' laws and regulations are replaced. Biometric technologies are being used by a growing number of private and public organisations, including employers, schools and retailers, the review found. While these technologies promise efficiencies, they also raise significant legal and ethical concerns around privacy, free expression, discrimination and other impacts on human rights.
Turkey – 29 June 2022
The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, immediately started to reap the rewards for lifting the block on allowing Sweden and Finland to join Nato when the Biden administration said it backed the potential sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey. Biden met Erdoğan at the Nato summit in Madrid the day after a last-minute agreement between Turkey, Finland and Sweden was sealed, in which the two Nordic countries vow to take steps to control support for Kurdish terrorism in their countries.
United Kingdom (UK) – 30 June 2022
The government’s failure to tackle Russian kleptocrats laundering “dirty money” through the UK has led millions of pounds used to finance Putin’s invasion of Ukraine to flow through London, a powerful committee of MPs has warned. The commons foreign affairs committee said ministers’ complacency over “morally bankrupt billionaires using the UK as a safe deposit box” had led to “assets laundered through the UK … financing President Putin’s war in Ukraine”. The report said that “the government’s unwillingness to bring forward legislation to stem the flow of dirty money is likely to have contributed to the belief in Russia that the UK is a safe haven for corrupt wealth”.
Russia – 30 June 2022
Human rights group Amnesty International said that a Russian air strike on a theatre in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol where hundreds of civilians had been sheltering in March was a "clear war crime" that killed at least a dozen people. In a report, Amnesty said Russian forces "most likely intentionally targeted" the building knowing it was a civilian site, "most likely" using two 500kg bombs that struck close to one another and detonated simultaneously. Amnesty also said its investigation found no convincing evidence to support other possible explanations, including a claim by the Russian defence ministry that the attack had been carried out from within the building, as part of a "false flag" operation.
International Criminal Court (ICC) – 30 June 2022
On 30 June 2022, Pre-Trial Chamber I of the ICC issued the public redacted versions of arrest warrants for three individuals in the context of the situation in Georgia: Mr Mikhail Mayramovich Mindzaev, Mr Gamlet Guchmazov and Mr David Georgiyevich Sanakoev. On 24 June 2022, Pre-Trial Chamber I, composed of Judge Péter Kovács, Presiding Judge, Judge Reine Adélaïde Sophie Alapini-Gansou and Judge María del Socorro Flores Liera, considered, based on the Prosecutor’s application of 10 March 2022, that there were reasonable grounds to believe that each of these three suspects bears responsibility for war crimes. The arrest warrants relate to conduct during the 2008 armed conflict between Russia and Georgia.
Maldives – 1 July 2022
In a serious setback for media freedom, the Maldives parliament enacted legislation allowing courts to force journalists and media outlets to reveal their sources. While reiterating constitutional provisions guaranteeing freedom of the press, the new Evidence Act includes an exception that undermines those protections: judges can compel the disclosure of a source’s identity “if the court decides that there is no negative impact or not a significantly negative impact on the source if it were to be revealed,” or “if the impact of revealing a source does not significantly impact the ability of journalists to find sources.”
Palestine – 1 July 2022
An international rights group said that Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip systematically torture critics in detention, a practice that could amount to crimes against humanity. In its report, Human Rights Watch called for donor countries to cut off funding to Palestinian security forces that commit such crimes and urged the international criminal court to investigate.
Ukraine / Russia – 1 July 2022
Ukrainian officials said that at least 21 people, including one child, have died in overnight Russian missile strikes on Ukraine's southern Odesa region. The state emergency service, DSNS, says 16 people were killed in a nine-storey building hit by one missile in the village of Serhiyivka. Another five people, including the child, were killed in a separate strike on a holiday resort in the village. Russia has fired dozens of missiles on Ukrainian cities in the past few days.