Weekly update: 11 April – 17 April 2022
The following media round up on international and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period of 11 April to 17 April 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) – 11 April 2022
Nearly 2,500 barristers who are essential to the criminal justice system in England and Wales are starting industrial action over concerns about legal aid funding. They will refuse to step in at the last minute to pick up court appearances or preparatory work for colleagues whose cases are over-running. The Criminal Bar Association (CBA) has accused ministers of dragging their feet over implementing a 15% rise in rates for legal aid, as recommended by an independent review.
United Kingdom (UK) – 11 April 2022
A man cleared of being a terrorist threat by an official anti-radicalisation programme may spend the rest of his life in jail for the assassination of the Conservative MP Sir David Amess. Ali Harbi Ali, 26, stabbed Amess to death on 15 October 2021, fuelled by Islamic State propaganda and having spent at least two years researching which MP to murder.
Ukraine – 11 April 2022
The Russians have withdrawn from areas around Kyiv, but they've left deeply wounded lives that might never recover from the trauma. The BBC has heard first-hand testimony and found evidence of Ukrainian women being raped by invading soldiers.
Russia – 12 April 2022
Russia is receiving munitions and military hardware sourced from Iraq for its war effort in Ukraine with the help of Iranian weapons smuggling networks, according to members of Iranian-backed Iraqi militias and regional intelligence services with knowledge of the process. RPGs and anti-tank missiles, as well as Brazilian-designed rocket launcher systems, have been dispatched to Russia from Iraq. An Iranian-made Bavar 373 missile system, similar to the Russian S-300, has also been donated to Moscow by the authorities in Tehran, who also returned an S-300, according to a source who helped organise the transport.
Ukraine / Yemen – 12 April 2022
Soaring food and fuel costs, together with budget cuts in some traditional donor countries, have forced the World Food Programme to halve the amount of food it is giving to millions of people in Yemen, Chad and Niger. In December 2021, the UN made a record appeal for $41bn (£31bn) to help 273 million people this year. In the first month of the war, the WFP reached a million people inside Ukraine. But its supply of Ukrainian grain, destined to feed some of the hungriest on the planet, has dried up. Meanwhile, many African countries, while not dependent on UN aid, import grain from Ukraine. Somalia gets more than 60% of its grain from Ukraine and Russia, while Eritrea gets nearly 97% of its wheat from Ukraine. They now have to bid against Europeans and North Americans on the international market in search of food. The crises in Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria among others have only got worse since the Ukraine war.
New Zealand – 13 April 2022
New Zealand’s courts have ruled the government can extradite to China a man suspected of murder – a landmark ruling that, if it proceeds, will be the first time the country has sent a resident to face trial in China. The courts had previously blocked the extradition of Kyung Yup Kim, a man accused of killing a young woman in Shanghai, citing the risk of torture and not receiving a fair trial. Of particular significance is the court’s conclusion that New Zealand’s government could trust assurances from China that extradited defendants would not be at risk of human rights abuses or torture.
Ukraine – 13 April 2022
Civilians have fled eastern Ukraine in advance of a forecast attack, as Russian forces closed in on the ruins of Mariupol – where 21,000 civilians have reportedly died – and Vladimir Putin said Moscow’s invasion would proceed “calmly” and to plan. Ukrainian forces in the east dug in for a major new Russian offensive, with the governor of Luhansk, Serhiy Gaidai, urging all residents to evacuate as soon as possible using agreed humanitarian corridors. The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said that investigators had received reports of “hundreds of cases of rape” in areas around Kyiv previously occupied by Russian troops, including sexual assaults of small children.
Afghanistan / Netherlands – 14 April 2022
An Afghan man was convicted by a Dutch court of war crimes and torture for abusing political opponents at Kabul's Pul-e-Charkhi prison in the 1980s and was sentenced to 12 years in jail. Judges said the man, 76, who had been calling himself Abdul Rafief, was actually Abdul Razaq Arif who served as commander of the prison between 1983 and 1990. They dismissed his testimony that he was the victim of a mistaken identity.
United Kingdom (UK) / Rwanda – 14 April 2022
Boris Johnson’s plans to send unauthorised asylum seekers on a one-way ticket to Rwanda have been roundly condemned amid warnings that it will be challenged in the courts and could result in further deaths in the Channel. After the Prime Minister outlined plans to hand an initial down-payment of £120m to the Rwandan government in the hope that it will accept “tens of thousands” of people, politicians and refugee groups condemned the move as inhumane, unworkable and a waste of public money.
Ukraine / Russia – 15 April 2022
Moscow says it will respond to any Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory by striking Kyiv with more missiles. The warning came as Russia announced a missile strike on a military factory near Kyiv, which it claimed was in response to a Ukrainian helicopter attack on a Russian village. Ukraine denies it carried out the attack.
Israel / Palestine – 15 April 2022
More than 150 Palestinians have been injured in clashes with Israeli police at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, Palestinian medics say. Israeli police said officers entered the site after coming under attack with fireworks, stones and other objects. Three Israeli police were hurt, they said. The flashpoint site is deeply important to Muslims and Jews, who know it as the Temple Mount, and is at the heart of competing historical claims. Israeli-Palestinian tensions have soared recently after deadly attacks in Israel and Palestinian deaths during subsequent Israeli raids in the occupied West Bank.