International Legal News

Weekly update: 25 July – 31 July 2022


The following media round up on international and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period of 25 July to 31 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 nenadv@guernica37.com for consideration.


Myanmar – 25 July 2022


Four democracy activists have been executed by Myanmar's military in what is believed to be the first use of capital punishment in decades. The four - including activist Ko Jimmy and lawmaker Phyo Zeya Thaw - were accused of committing "terror acts". They were sentenced to death in a closed-door trial that rights groups criticised as being unjust.


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-62287815


Ukraine / Russia – 25 July 2022


The head of Russia’s investigative committee said that Moscow has charged 92 members of the Ukrainian armed forces with crimes against humanity. Alexander Bastrykin told government news site Rossiiskaya Gazeta over 1,300 criminal investigations had begun. He also proposed an international tribunal backed by countries including Iran, Syria and Bolivia - traditional allies of Russia. Ukraine is also conducting its own war crimes investigations.


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-62287502


Ukraine / Russia – 25 July 2022


More than 13,000 pieces of footage from the Ukraine conflict have been captured by an app, which could help to prosecute Vladimir Putin and other Russian political or military leaders at the International Criminal Court. The eyeWitness to Atrocities app enables people to take pictures or video with the time, date and location recorded to prove their authenticity. They are then stored encrypted so they cannot be edited, enhancing their evidential value.


https://www.theguardian.com/law/2022/jul/25/ukraine-eyewitness-to-atrocities-app-videos-prosecute-putin


Japan – 26 July 2022


On 21 December 2021, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida ordered the first execution of his administration. The hanging of Tomohiro Kato, on 26 July 2022, marks the second execution carried out since Kishida assumed office in October 2021. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime, guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual, or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.


https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2022/07/first-execution-callous-attack-on-right-to-life/ Afghanistan – 27 July 2022


Amnesty International said, in a new report, that the lives of women and girls in Afghanistan are being devastated by the Taliban’s crackdown on their human rights. Since they took control of the country in August 2021, the Taliban have violated women’s and girls’ rights to education, work and free movement; decimated the system of protection and support for those fleeing domestic violence; detained women and girls for minor violations of discriminatory rules; and contributed to a surge in the rates of child, early and forced marriage in Afghanistan. The report, “Death in Slow Motion: Women and Girls Under Taliban Rule”, also reveals how women who peacefully protested against these oppressive rules have been threatened, arrested, detained, tortured, and forcibly disappeared.


https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2022/07/afghanistan-talibans-suffocating-crackdown-destroying-lives-of-women-and-girls-new-report/


United Kingdom (UK) – 27 July 2022


The Old Bailey will be opened up to cameras as sentencing remarks from a crown court case in England and Wales are broadcast for the first time. The move, which comes after a change in the law, is intended to help the public get a better understanding of how sentencing decisions are taken. Previously, proceedings have only been broadcast at the supreme court (since its 2009 inauguration) and the court of appeal (since 2009). Any crown court sentencing where cameras are allowed will be shown on a dedicated YouTube channel hosted by Sky News, which will have a 10-second delay for live proceedings to avoid any breach of restrictions or errors. Other broadcasters can also apply to broadcast sentencing remarks.


https://www.theguardian.com/law/2022/jul/27/crown-court-sentencing-remarks-to-be-televised-for-first-time


Ethiopia – 28 July 2022


Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia say they are being targeted for arbitrary arrest and forcible relocation to war-torn parts of the country, despite having UN permission to remain in Ethiopia. Government security officers are accused of rounding up, abusing and unlawfully detaining refugees who have legal status, as well as Eritreans who have foreign citizenship.


https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/jul/28/eritrean-refugees-claim-arbitrarily-arrested-beaten-detained-in-ethiopian-camps-unhcr


United States (US) / Russia – 28 July 2022


The US has made a "substantial offer" to bring two American detainees home from Russia, its top diplomat has said. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he would raise the issue in a call with Russia's foreign minister next week. Reports in US media suggest Moscow is interested in exchanging basketball star Brittney Griner for convicted Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov confirmed talks were ongoing but insisted no agreement had been reached.


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-62327564 France / Saudi Arabia – 28 July 2022


Human rights campaigners have hit out at Emmanuel Macron’s decision to host Mohammed bin Salman for talks in Paris during the Saudi Crown Prince’s first visit to Europe since the murder nearly four years ago of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The French prime minister, Élisabeth Borne, insisted Macron would raise human rights concerns but would also seek to secure a boost in Saudi oil output amid mounting western concerns over energy shortages this winter after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. No remarks were expected after the working dinner.


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jul/28/macron-decision-host-mohammed-bin-salman-human-rights


Ukraine / Russia – 29 July 2022


Russia has carried out deadly strikes across Ukraine, as Kyiv stepped up its efforts to retake the occupied southern Kherson region. Five people were killed and 26 injured when missiles struck the central city of Kropyvnytskyi, officials said. Three people died in Bakhmut, in the east. Near Kyiv, 15 people were hurt at a military base. Ukraine's northern and southern regions were also hit. This comes as Ukraine seeks to isolate Russian troops in the country's south.


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-62339767


United Kingdom (UK) – 29 July 2022


Wayne Couzens has lost an attempt to overturn his whole-life term for the murder of Sarah Everard. The ex-Metropolitan Police officer, who used his position to trick Ms Everard into his car, had challenged his sentence at the Court of Appeal. But the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett, said the crime was so exceptional the sentence should stand. The appeal was part of a major review of what type of rare murders should lead to a whole-life term.


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-62345010

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