News archive: April 2012
23 April 2012
On April 14th, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2042(2012) which authorized 30 unarmed military observers to support a mission that will monitor the ceasefire brokered by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in Syria. On Saturday April 21, resolution 2043(2012) was passed allowing for an additional 300 observers to join the mission.
Reports of assaults and killings have continued since the deadline for the ceasefire passed, although on a decreased level. A representative of Russia, which vetoed two earlier resolutions addressing the conflict in Syria, expressed hope that the observer mission will have a further stabilizing effect.
Source: Security Council | Security Council Establishes UN Supervision Mission in Syria, with 300 Observers to Monitor Cessation of Violence, Implementation of Special Envoy’s Plan
19 April 2012
On April 18 the US Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the family of an American citizen killed during a visit to the West Bank may not sue the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization under the 1991 Torture Victim Protection Act.
The case was brought by the family of Azzam Rahim, a naturalized American citizen. According to their lawsuit, Mr. Rahim was arrested by intelligence officers of the Palestinian Authority during a 1995 visit to the West Bank. The officers took him to a prison in Jericho, where he was tortured and killed.
Justice Sotomayor recognized that it is sometimes hard to identify those who torture and kill on behalf of organizations, much less to find them, sue them and collect damages. However, she wrote that the limits in the law were a product of deliberate choices by Congress.
Source: New York Times | Justices Limit Suits Under Law on Torture
18 April 2012
Lawyers representing a Libyan military commander, Abdel Hakim Belhadj, initiated legal action against Jack Straw (former British foreign secretary, now a Labour MP) after reports suggested he had signed documents that allowed the military commander to be sent back to Libya in 2004.
Mr. Belhadj, then leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), opposing the Gaddafi regime, claims CIA agents took him and his wife from Thailand to Gaddafi-led Libya, via UK-controlled Diego Garcia. Mr Belhadj and his wife allege Mr Straw was complicit in the “torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, batteries and assaults” they say were perpetrated on them by Thai and US agents, as well as Libyan authorities.
UK ministers have denied any complicity in rendition or torture. A police investigation into the UK’s alleged role in illegal rendition is ongoing.
Source: The Guardian | Jack Straw faces legal action over Libya rendition claims
Source: BBC | Jack Straw faces legal action over 'rendition'
16 April 2012
A German owned ship suspected of carrying arms for the Syrian military was diverted about 80 km southwest of the Syrian port of Tartus. The ship was chartered by a Ukranian company and purportedly loaded the arms in Dijbouti. Syria is currently under an arms embargo imposed by the European Union.
Source: Euronews | Germany investigates report ship carrying arms to Syria
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16 April 2012
A confidential NATO assessment concluded that the NATO allies struggled to share crucial target information, lacked specialized planners and analysts, and overly relied on the United States for reconnaissance and refueling aircraft.
Source: New York Times | NATO Sees Flaws in Air Campaign Against Qaddafi