Weekly update: 18 April – 24 April 2022
The following media round up on international and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period of 18 April to 24 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.
Israel / Palestine – 18 April 2022
More than 20 Palestinians and Israelis have been wounded in several incidents in and around Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound, two days after major violence at the flashpoint site. Early on Sunday morning, police said “hundreds” of Palestinian demonstrators inside the mosque compound started gathering piles of stones, shortly before the arrival of Jewish visitors. Jews are allowed to visit but not to pray at the site, also known as the Temple Mount, the holiest place in Judaism and third-holiest in Islam. Israeli police said its forces had entered the compound in order to “remove” the demonstrators and “re-establish order”.
Spain – 18 April 2022
Amnesty International said that European Union institutions are failing to end the rampant human rights violations committed with spyware, after the organisation independently confirmed new attacks using Pegasus spyware against prominent Catalans. New research by the Citizen Lab has revealed how scores of Catalan politicians, journalists and their families were targeted with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware between 2015 and 2020. Technical experts from Amnesty International’s Security Lab have independently verified evidence of the attacks.
United Kingdom (UK) – 19 April 2022
In the UK, we are witnessing the “decriminalisation of rape” and as a result, more and more women are having to find alternative ways to access justice. In the year to September 2021, police in England and Wales were told of 63,136 allegations of rape, but only 820 alleged rapists were charged: the prosecution rate for rape was just 1.3%. As a result, more and more rape victims are turning to the civil courts for some semblance of justice. Unlike in the criminal courts, those found to be rapists do not receive a criminal record or time in jail. Instead the judge can issue a “finding” of rape and issue a financial “award” for victims. The process is not without hardship. The burden is on a traumatised victim to bring a claim within a narrow time limit, pay for it and wait (sometimes) years to conclude. Some victims don’t have any resources or power to access the civil courts. Victims do not have the same legal powers as the police to gather evidence.
Ukraine / Russia – 19 April 2022
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has said Russia has launched an assault to seize the eastern Donbas region. Russian and Ukrainian forces clashed along the eastern front line, after Mr Zelensky said the battle for the Donbas had begun. Ukraine's top security official, Oleksiy Danilov, said Russia was trying break through Ukrainian defensive positions throughout Ukraine's east.
United Kingdom (UK) – 20 April 2022
Amnesty International stated that, if the UK Home Secretary certifies the US request to extradite Julian Assange, it will violate the prohibition against torture and set an alarming precedent for publishers and journalists around the world, following the UK Magistrates’ Court’s decision to issue an order to extradite him. The case will now be sent to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, who will decide whether or not to certify the US request by 18 May.
United Kingdom (UK) – 21 April 2022
The government announced that the cap on judicial sitting days is to be lifted for the second year running to help drive down the Crown court backlog. However the effectiveness of the measure is in doubt following the revelation that the number of sitting days last year fell 5,000 short of what the Ministry of Justice hoped to achieve. On 11 April, hundreds of criminal barristers withdrew a long-standing goodwill gesture of covering cases ‘returned’ by a barrister due to diary clashes. On 20 April, BBC legal correspondent Dominic Casciani tweeted that an Old Bailey murder prosecution was put back until the end of the month because no defence barristers were available.
Ukraine / Russia – 21 April 2022
According to research by the Guardian, Russian troops have used a number of weapons widely banned across the world, which have killed hundreds of civilians in the Ukrainian region of Kyiv. Evidence collected during a visit to Bucha, Hostomel and Borodianka, where Russian occupiers have been accused of atrocities against residents, showed that Russian troops had used cluster munitions, cluster bombs and extremely powerful unguided bombs in populated areas, which have destroyed at least eight civilian buildings.
France – 22 April 2022
The French army says it has filmed Russian mercenaries burying bodies near a Malian military base to falsely accuse France’s departing forces of leaving behind mass graves. The claim came after a Twitter account using the name Dia Diarra, who describes himself as a “former soldier” and “Malian patriot”, posted images of pixelated corpses buried in sand and accused France of atrocities. France’s general staff called the Twitter video an “information attack” and said the profile was “very probably a fake account created by Wagner”, a private Russian mercenary group.
France – 22 April 2022
France has issued an international arrest warrant for Carlos Ghosn, the disgraced former Nissan executive who jumped bail in Japan and fled to Lebanon, prosecutors have said. The warrant was issued over €15m in suspect payments between the Renault-Nissan alliance that Ghosn once headed and an Omani company, Suhail Bahwan Automobiles (SBA), said prosecutors in the Paris suburb of Nanterre. Ghosn, who holds French, Lebanese and Brazilian passports, landed in Beirut, which has no extradition treaty with Japan. He said he fled because he did not believe he would get a fair trial in Japan, where prosecutors have a nearly 99% conviction rate in cases that go to trial.
European Parliament – 22 April 2022
The two committees in charge of the AI Act on behalf of the European Parliament have come out in favour of a prohibition of predictive policing against individuals – but not areas and locations. The two European Parliament committees in charge of the Artificial Intelligence Act have recommended that the AI Act includes a ban on predictive policing and justice systems. The IMCO-LIBE report on the AI Act, due on 11 April, has now been leaked, with a copy seen by Fair Trials. The committees’ report includes, inter alia, that “Predictive policing violates human dignity and the presumption of innocence, and it holds a particular risk of discrimination” and therefore is included “among the prohibited practices.”
Honduras / United States (US) – 22 April 2022
A former president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, has been extradited to the United States to face charges of drug trafficking and money laundering. The ex-leader has denied wrongdoing, arguing that disgruntled drug traffickers are trying to frame him.