Your weekly selection of international law and international relations headlines from around the world:
- Suspected Islamist fighters attacked a town in western Mali near the border with neighbouring Mauritania before dawn on Saturday, leaving 12 people dead, including three soldiers and nine attackers, the defence ministry said.
- Al Shabaab militants detonated a car bomb and battled African Union troops at a peacekeepers’ base south of Mogadishu on Friday, the latest in a series of attacks in Somalia, military officials and a rebel spokesman said.
- The African Union (AU) will not observe Burundi’s legislative elections scheduled for today, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the chairperson of the commission of the AU, has said.
Middle East and Northern Africa
- Israel said on Monday it had blocked a boat leading a four-vessel protest flotilla of foreign activists from reaching the Gaza Strip and forced the vessel to sail to an Israeli port.
- Iran is backtracking from an interim nuclear agreement with world powers three months ago, Western officials suggested on Sunday, as U.S. and Iranian officials said talks on a final accord would likely run past a June 30 deadline.
- U.S. and coalition forces launched 14 air strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria and seven in Iraq on Friday, the U.S. military said, amid reports the militant group killed 145 civilians in the town of Kobani.
- Italian coast guard ships, along with military vessels from Ireland and Britain, have rescued at least 2,900 migrants from 21 smugglers boats in the Mediterranean, north of Libya.
- Changing position on China’s claims over the South China Sea would shame its ancestors, while not facing up to infringements of Chinese sovereignty there would shame its children, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Saturday.
- The U.S. State Department’s number two diplomat on Friday compared China’s behavior in pursuit of territory in the South China Sea to that of Russia in eastern Ukraine.
- Fractious European leaders argued into the early hours on Friday over how to handle over a migrant crisis in the Mediterranean, agreeing a plan to share out the care of desperate people fleeing war and poverty in North Africa and the Middle East.
- Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has announced a temporary closure of banks, after the European Central Bank (ECB) said it would not increase additional emergency funding to the country.
- The suspected Islamist who attempted to blow up a French chemical plant on Friday has admitted killing his manager beforehand, a source close to the investigation said on Sunday, as police linked the suspect to a militant now in Syria.
- Turkish police fired water cannons and rubber pellets to disperse a gay pride parade in central Istanbul on Sunday, after organizers said they had been refused permission to march this year because of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
- European Council President Donald Tusk urged European leaders to spend more on defense on Friday as deadly attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait drove home his point about dramatic changes to the security situation in Europe and its neighborhood.
- The Swiss government will extradite wartime Muslim defender of Srebrenica Naser Oric to Bosnia, the Federal Office of Justice said on Thursday.
- U.S. military air strikes have targeted militants who were threatening international coalition forces near the border in eastern Afghanistan, a U.S. forces spokesman said on Sunday.
- Argentina will pursue in Britain and the United States a local judge’s order to seize assets of oil drillers operating in the disputed Falklands Islands, the foreign minister said in an interview published in local media on Sunday.
- Officials from Libya’s rival parliaments sat down at the same table for the first time on Sunday at the latest round of United Nations-backed peace talks in Morocco – a move negotiators saw as an important step to forming a unity government.
- The United Nations Security Council and U.N. aid chief Stephen O’Brien on Thursday pushed for more aid and commercial access to Yemen, where a near total blockade by Saudi Arabia has slowed shipments to the war-torn Arabian Peninsula country to a trickle.
- The sound of whirring helicopter blades fills Syrians with fear that “hell and fire” is about fall in a barrel bomb, a rescue worker told the United Nations Security Council on Friday as pressure mounts for the body to take action to stop civilian killings in Syria.
- United Nations human rights experts appealed to the United States on Friday to impose a moratorium on the death penalty for federal crimes, including the sentence imposed on the Boston Marathon bomber, with a view to abolishing the practice.
I met Mike Lewis during my first year of law teaching at Cornell Law School. Mike was scheduled to give a lecture at the law school about torture and I was invited to give a commentary on his presentation. Mike had pre-circulated the paper that the presentation was based on. I disagreed with his thesis and pressed him sharply on its details during the event. His thesis had the virtue of proposing a very workable standard for defining torture, but I felt it yielded counter-intuitive results for particular reasons that I articulated during the event. Afterwards, I was worried that I might have offended Mike, but it was not the case. Immediately after he got home, he wrote me a lovely note saying how much he appreciated our substantive exchange and was grateful that I taken the time and energy to respond to his scholarship. He was a true scholar and intellectual.
In the ensuing five years, I spent much time reading and learning from Mike’s other articles on IHL. This came at a crucial time for me as I was broadening my research agenda from exclusively ICL to include a wider range of IHL and law of war issues as well. I became heavily involved in debates about drones, targeted killings, targeting in general, and the relationship between IHL and human rights law. In all of these areas, I was heavily influenced by Mike’s explanations and positions that he articulated in his many law review articles. And I should hasten to add that on most of these crucial questions I was in agreement with Mike. Although I disagree with the Obama Administration’s legal positions on a few issues (definition of imminence, over-reliance on covert action and its consequences, use of the vague and indeterminate “associated forces” moniker, etc.), the general tenor of my scholarship has been to recognize that the deep architecture of IHL continues to be fundamentally Lieberian. I came to this view of IHL by reading a great many sources, but I would rank Mike’s articles near the top of that list. Simply put, I would not hold the views that I hold today if I had not been so richly educated by reading Mike’s work.
I spent some time with Mike at the ethics and law of war conference that Kevin Heller mentions in his remembrance. Mike was full of plans and we discussed the possibility of collaborating on future projects on the subject of the privilege of combatancy–a common interest for both of us. We hosted him at Cornell University last year as part of our university-wide Lund Critical debates series, where he debated Mary Ellen O’Connell on the use of drones. The video of the event can be found here; Mike’s presentation to the packed auditorium was both insightful and extremely clear. He had the ability to translate complex legal material to a wide audience, and Mary Ellen’s thoughtful critique on U.S. policies made for a lively debate between the two of them.
As I set about working on a new collected volume on remote warfare, I emailed him in October to commission a chapter from him; he enthusiastically responded in the affirmative. When just a few days ago I sent him a contributor agreement for him to sign on June 5, he informed me of his illness and said he could not definitively commit to the project anymore but was hopeful that he might still produce a chapter for it. Though he was still optimistic and making important plans for the future, I understood the nature of the diagnosis and prognosis because he gave me the name of his illness, but I labored under the illusion that we had more time. I was shocked when I learned that the end had come so quickly; I was unprepared for the news even though in the back of my mind I inferred the seriousness of the situation. I am devastated that we have been denied his voice for what should have been another 50 years. It highlights for me the fragility of life and our time on this earth and the ultimate unfairness by which some people are denied the privilege of a long life. But I take some comfort in knowing that he loved being a law professor and that we will be reading his work in the years and decades to come.
As regular readers know, Mike and I often sparred on the virtual pages of Opinio Juris. By and large, we did so civilly. But on occasion — such as when we were debating whether the Bush admininstration’s “enhanced interrogation” regime qualified as torture — things became heated. I made him mad. He made me mad. I doubt either of us expected to like each other if we ever met in the brick-and-mortar world.
But like each other we did. Mike and I met only once, on the first day of a fascinating conference on ethics and the laws of war. We recognised each other from across the room as we were getting settled, and he quickly stomped toward me. I was a bit hesitant — but then Mike gave me a big hug and said how great it was to meet me and how much he had enjoyed our debates. It was a really wonderful moment.
It fills me with sadness to know there will be no such similar moments again. But I am very glad I had the opportunity to meet Mike — and I will remember our discussions, both virtual and real, for a long time.
Requiescat in pace, Mike.
I want to join the others in the legal blogosphere in expressing my shock and sadness at the loss of Professor Michael Lewis. Mike and I were fellow travelers on many legal and political issues, and I learned long ago that I would learn more from him on the law of armed conflict than he could learn from me.
As Professor Tom Lee of Fordham notes in his comment to Chris’s post below, Mike was an experienced naval aviator who overlapped in his time of service in the Navy with Tom. Mike brought operational insights to the law of armed conflict, as his article on aerial bombardment during the First Gulf War in the American Journal of International Law showed. But his background in the Navy was only a part of his identity as a legal scholar. Mike was steadfast in working to develop a workable approach to the law of armed conflict that would satisfy both operational concerns and also strategic policy goals.
Mike was truly indefatigable. He would go anywhere, or take to any venue, to debate or discuss his views on LOAC and drone strikes in particular. Of course, he did not find many folks who agreed with him, but he always treated his interlocuters with respect and dignity. He wanted to debate, argue, and continue to debate and discuss. He would do this for even the most sensitive and controversial issues.
Indeed, I first met Michael when he recruited me to speak on a panel he organized at the annual meeting of the American Association of Law Professors on one of those topics: U.S. interrogation policies and torture. I was not exactly excited to be on the panel, given the reaction I was sure we would receive, but Michael worked hard to keep our discussion civil and useful. I was impressed with his willingness to tackle this topic, and his willingness to take a controversial and unpopular approach.
Michael was an important and thoughtful academic voice on some of the most important legal questions facing us today. I will miss him.
We are very sorry to mark the passing of Professor Michael W. Lewis of Ohio Northern University.
Mike spoke and wrote with rare authority as someone who was not only a leading international law and national security scholar who engaged in broader public discourse (see his many debates, presentations, and interviews), but also as a former Naval aviator and TOPGUN graduate, who had flown F-14’s in Desert Shield and enforced no-fly zones over Iraq.
More than most, Mike appreciated how international law was actually operationalized.
We at Opinio Juris benefited from Mike’s frequent contributions to the discussion, with posts and comments on issues such as the relationship between Additional Protocols I and II, on various aspects of drone warfare (see, for example, 1, 2, and 3), and on “elongated imminence” and self-defense. Bobby Chesney and Peter Margulies have also posted remembrances about Mike Lewis at Lawfare.
On a more personal note, I remember the first time I met Mike in person, perhaps ten years ago, at a dinner at a national security law conference. He was a great conversationalist, speaking about the need to crystallize key principles of international law in a manner that would be immediately usable by the pilots and flight crews who were actually flying sorties.
His voice was unique and it will be missed.
Your weekly selection of international law and international relations headlines from around the world:
- South Africa’s main opposition on Sunday called for a full investigation into the government’s failure to arrest Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, who is due to face charges of genocide at the International Criminal Court.
- Somali armed group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for an attack on a military compound in Mogadishu where Somali intelligence officials train, claiming it killed “many intelligence forces”.
Middle East and Northern Africa
- More than 20 air strikes by Arab forces hit targets controlled by Houthi rebels across Yemen late on Sunday, residents said.
- An Israeli war plane has struck a remote area in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley to destroy a downed Israeli drone, a Lebanese security source said.
- France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Sunday it was unclear whether an international deal could be reached on Iran’s nuclear program by a June 30 deadline.
- U.S. and coalition forces launched 18 air strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq on Saturday, with four each in Tal Afar and Mosul, the U.S. military said in a statement.
- China inaugurated a new land crossing into Tibet on Monday for Indian pilgrims who wish to visit one of the holiest sites in both Hinduism and Buddhism, state media said, as the two countries seek to set aside differences and improve ties.
- An Indonesian court rejected a French national’s last-ditch appeal against the death sentence on Monday, making him the latest foreigner to face execution for drug offences and likely to prompt an angry response from France.
- Malaysia has stepped up health screenings at all entry points into the country, after the first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was reported in neighboring Thailand last week.
- The Philippines will hold separate naval exercises with U.S. and Japanese forces this week on a Philippine island that is not far from the disputed Spratly archipelago, where China’s rapid creation of seven island outposts is stoking regional tensions.
- South Korea and Japan marked the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties on Monday with a push to mend relations strained by a territorial dispute and a feud over Japan’s wartime past. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida held talks with his South Korean counterpart on Sunday in a bid to mend ties strained by a territorial dispute and a feud over “comfort women” forced to work in Japan’s wartime military brothels.
- European Union foreign ministers extended economic sanctions on Russia until Jan. 31 on Monday, keeping up pressure on Moscow to help resolve the Ukraine conflict.
- One of the pan-Arab television network Al Jazeera’s best known journalists, Ahmed Mansour, was remanded in custody by a German judge after being detained at Egypt’s request, the public prosecutor’s office said on Sunday.
- Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Saturday that senior Obama administration officials had raised U.S. concerns with him about India’s handling of intellectual property rights during his U.S. visit this week.
- Venezuela’s foreign ministry has accused a group of Brazilian senators of seeking to destabilize the country during a brief visit on Thursday and denied their safety was under threat.
- Kakuma camp in northern Kenya is expanding by nearly a half, the U.N. refugee agency said on Saturday, to house refugees fleeing nearby South Sudan as hopes fade for peace in the world’s newest nation.
- The UN refugee agency has said that the record number of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people globally is “a reflection of a world in chaos“.
On 22 June 2015, University Paris 8 Research Centre “Forces du droit” organizes a one-day conference entitled “Forms of International Law – Insight into the Outcomes of the Work of the International Law Commission”. The conference, which will take place at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs Conference Centre (27, rue de la Convention – 75015 Paris), intends to address the evolution of formal outcomes given to ILC legal products, from treaties to soft law instruments. Academics, experts of the Commission’s work but also practitioners – such as legal advisers from diplomatic services and members of international courts and tribunals – will gather to address this phenomenon, discuss its causes and potential consequences as to the current development of international law. The Conference will include, among its speakers and chairs, the President of the ICJ, Judge Ronny Abraham, ICJ Judge Giogio Gaja, the Legal Counsel of the United Nations, Mr. De Serpa Soares, the Legal Counsel of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Mr. François Alabrune, and several prominent figures in the field of international law. More information and details for registration can be found here.
7 PhD Fellowships within legal research are available at the Faculty of Law of the University of Oslo. The deadline for application is 1 September 2015. You can find more information here.
Call for Papers
- The Asian Society of International Law was established in 2007. Following four successful biennial conferences, the Fifth Biennial Conference of the Asian Society of International Law will be held in Bangkok, Thailand on Thursday and Friday, 26 and 27 November 2015. Theme of the Conference: Nowadays governments, scholars and civil society in Asia are engaged enthusiastically in the development of international law in the region. Asian countries today witness more regional cooperation and economic integration, for instance, through the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), etc. The conference will confront the changes that will ensue from these developments in the region, and provide a forum to share perspectives on legal issues from around Asia and from beyond. To this end, proposals for papers are now being invited. Please click here for more information.
Our previous events and announcements post can be found here. If you would like to post an announcement on Opinio Juris, please contact us with a one-paragraph description of your announcement along with hyperlinks to more information.
The forum is being held this week in Florence, Italy. Here is the description:
The Annual Junior Faculty Forum for International Law was launched in the summer of 2011. It held its inaugural event at the New York University School of Law in May 2012; the second Forum was held at the University of Nottingham in May 2013 and the third (and most recent) Forum occurred at the University of Melbourne in July 2014. The Forum is designed as a regular addition to the international law calendar; its founding co-convenors are Dino Kritsiotis, Professor of Public International Law in the University of Nottingham, Anne Orford, Michael D. Kirby Professor of International Law in the University of Melbourne, and J.H.H. Weiler, President of the European University Institute in Florence. The Forum will allow international legal scholars, in the first six years of their academic career, a unique opportunity to present their research work by being paired with a senior scholar in the field of international law or related fields, who will lead a discussion of their presentation within the Forum.
The fourth Forum will convene at the European University Institute in June 2015, and selected presentations from the Forum will be published in the European Journal of International Law (Oxford University Press), a practice established from the inaugural Forum.
The young scholars invited to participate this year are: Rohini Sen (O.P. Jindal Global), Kristina Daugirdas (Michigan), Ingo Venzke (Amsterdam), Anne-Charlotte Martineau (Max Planck), Oisin Suttle (Sheffield), Nicolas M. Perrone (Universidad Externado de Colombia), Deborah Whitehall (Monash), Anna Dolidze (Western), Mieke van der Linden (Max Planck), Arman Sarvarian (Surrey), Surabhi Ranganathan (Warwick), Philippa Webb (King’s College), and Maria Varaki (Kadir Has).
It should be an excellent forum. I hope readers who are young academics will consider applying for the fifth one!
[Asad Kiyani (LL.B (Osgoode); LL.M (Cambridge) is a PhD Candidate at the University of British Columbia (UBC).]
While social and traditional media have been flooded with complaints about South Africa’s recent failure to arrest Omar al-Bashir, legal analysis of the situation has been lacking. Many have insisted that the reluctance to arrest al-Bashir is ‘the impunity club’ disregarding legal principle and undermining the rule of law.
Yet, given the widespread insistence that the ICC has jurisdiction over Bashir and he must be arrested by anyone who can do so, there is a remarkable lack of agreement on exactly how the treaty-based ICC has jurisdiction over the sitting head of state of a country that has not ratified said treaty, and when that head of state is protected by customary law immunities (see Gaeta vs Akande, which inspired my article on the same).
For reasons of space, this post does not address the claim that there is already a rule of customary international law that provides an exception to head of state immunity. That position frequently involves the same errors: conflating the immunities of former heads of state (such as Pinochet) with incumbent heads of state, and conflating the elimination of the substantive defence of official capacity with elimination of the procedural bar of immunities. Nor does it deal with peace versus justice arguments, the specificities of South African constitutional law, or perhaps the more promising, genocide-based arguments in favour of arresting al-Bashir highlighted by Göran Sluiter. Instead, this post problematises the assertion that states refusing to arrest al-Bashir have no legal legs to stand on by highlighting four interrelated public international law issues raised by the legal pursuit of al-Bashir.
(1) There has been no reconciliation of the apparent internal contradictions in the Rome Statute: that states are obligated to carry out ICC decisions while also respecting the customary duties they owe to other states, particularly third-party states. Article 27(2) of the Rome Statute waives states’ customary protections of immunities. At the same time, Article 98(1) states that persons clothed in immunity can only be arrested by or surrendered to the Court if “the Court can first obtain the cooperation of that third State for the waiver of the immunity.”
Sudan has clearly not consented to this waiver, and is not cooperating with the Court to waive al-Bashir’s immunity. At the same time, the Court insists that al-Bashir is to be arrested. Thus States Parties to the ICC are faced with competing obligations written into the Statute itself: to arrest al-Bashir while also observing his immunity from arrest. Arguments that there is no contradiction nullify these important provisions of the Rome Statute, and ignore the treaty-law implications of doing so.
(2) Importantly, the Article 98(1) provision is not just a treaty-based rule; it is the assertion of pre-existing principles of public international law that (a) preclude placing treaty obligations on third-party states, and (b) recognize customary law immunities. Thus, even if the Court were to interpret Article 98(1) differently, or the Assembly of State Parties were to delete it from the Rome Statute (a virtual impossibility), the same restrictions would still apply to states such as South Africa because those rules exist in international law independent of the Rome Statute.
These restrictions also apply to the Security Council, even when acting under Chapter VII. While the Security Council has extensive powers in international law, the general scholarship (see, e.g., here, here, here, here, and here) and jurisprudence makes clear that – contrary to Jens Ohlin’s interpretation of Article 103 of the UN Charter – the Council is restrained by the norms of customary international law. Thus, as far as al-Bashir goes, it makes no difference that the Council referred Darfur to the ICC through a Chapter VII resolution. Insisting that Chapter VII can override customary international law – no matter how awful the person protected by it may be – collapses the agreement/custom distinction first made in Article 103 of the Charter and preserved in Article 98 of the Rome Statute. Additionally, it raises the question of what legal limitations do exist on the Council, and how this interpretation fits with the Tadić court’s view (here at para. 28).
Of course, this does not render Security Council referrals null – it simply restricts the pool of situations that the Council may refer to the Court. (more…)
I wanted to follow up on my previous post about the inter-branch dispute in the South African government over executing an international arrest warrant against President al-Bashir of Sudan. A South African court issued an order preventing al-Bashir from leaving South Africa, but notwithstanding this decision, the South Africa government appears to have let him escape anyway. It appears to be a case of executive branch defiance of a binding judicial order.
Several readers have suggested that South Africa is not under a legal obligation to arrest al-Bashir because doing so would violate their obligations to Sudan to respect either head of state or diplomatic immunity under either customary international law or the Vienna Convention. Furthermore, article 98 of the Rome Statute specifically says that a party to the Statute need not arrest someone if doing so would conflict with its other international obligations. Some have suggested that either South Africa or the ICC can request a waiver from Sudan, but if no waiver is forthcoming, then South Africa need not execute the arrest warrant pursuant to article 98, which reads:
Article 98: Cooperation with respect to waiver of immunity and consent to surrender
1. The Court may not proceed with a request for surrender or assistance which would require the requested State to act inconsistently with its obligations under international law with respect to the State or diplomatic immunity of a person or property of a third State, unless the Court can first obtain the cooperation of that third State for the waiver of the immunity.
2. The Court may not proceed with a request for surrender which would require the requested State to act inconsistently with its obligations under international agreements pursuant to which the consent of a sending State is required to surrender a person of that State to the Court, unless the Court can first obtain the cooperation of the sending State for the giving of consent for the surrender.
This is an old debate, with important and excellent contributions from scholars such as Paola Gaeta and Dapo Akande. I want to make a quick point here and just broadly sketch out my view on this matter.
Regardless of the correct view on this matter in general, there are specific aspects to this particular dispute with Sudan that are relevant to the legal analysis. It is not just a question of analyzing the Rome Statute, customary international law, and the Vienna Convention. There are other sources of law to consider.
The charges against al-Bashir include genocide. Although the legal obligations regarding the prevention and punishment of genocide originally emerged from the Genocide Convention, they have now risen to customary international law and represent erga omnes obligations. Furthermore, one of those obligations is the duty to prosecute or extradite any individual accused of genocide. This is a jus cogens obligation that prevails over any supposed legal obligation under the law of diplomatic relations. In this case, then, Sudan is under a legal obligation to either prosecute al-Bashir or turn him over to a competent court for trial. Because of this obligation, South Africa would not be violating any duty to Sudan by arresting al-Bashir and sending him to The Hague.
Even if one does not accept this argument, there is a second reason why Sudan is under a legal obligation to turn over al-Bashir, and by extension why South Africa owes no legal obligation to Sudan in this regard. The UN Security Council, in referring the case to the ICC, invoked its Chapter VII powers and directed Sudan to cooperate with the court. As such, Sudan is under an international legal obligation to cooperate with the court. Since this legal obligation is binding and stems from the Security Council’s Chapter VII authority, it prevails over any conflicting legal obligation. This principle is embodied in Article 103 of the Charter but is also customary law and part of the necessary architecture of our modern Charter-based collective security regime.
(Just to be clear, the details of this analysis need to be flushed out; for purposes of blogging brevity, this was the outline of the argument.)
Your weekly selection of international law and international relations headlines from around the world:
- President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan has returned to his country, defying a South African judge’s effort to prevent his departure on the basis of an International Criminal Court (ICC) order for his arrest. Jens has a post outlining the events here and a sampling of reactions from social media can be found here.
- Eleven Somali al Shabaab militants and two Kenyan soldiers were killed when the al Qaeda-linked fighters attacked a military base on Kenya’s northern coast near to the Somali border on Sunday, a local official and a military spokesman said.
- Kenya’s army said it killed a regional commander from Somalia’s al Shabaab group, and possibly also a Briton who joined the militants, in fighting over the weekend.
Middle East and Northern Africa
- U.S. planes carried out a strike inside Libya on Sunday, reportedly killing a key terror figure in North Africa, U.S. and Libyan officials said.
- Amnesty International criticized on Monday what it said was a “dismal” global response to the plight of Syrian refugees and urged neighboring countries struggling to cope with the influx of refugees to lift “deeply troubling” measures designed to keep them out.
- Israel issued a report on Sunday arguing its 2014 Gaza offensive was lawful, a move aimed at pre-empting the release of findings of a U.N. war crimes investigation that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scorned as a waste of time.
- Turkey has taken in hundreds more of Syrians fleeing the conflict along the border in Syria’s Raqqa province after fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group disrupted a previous attempt, Al Jazeera has learned.
- A teenage North Korean soldier has walked across the world’s most heavily militarised border in a bid to defect to South Korea, South Korean defence ministry officials said.
- Britain has pulled out agents from operations in “hostile countries” after Russia and China cracked top-secret information contained in files leaked by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, according to the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper.
- With a hundred Africans sleeping on rocks overlooking the Italian coast after being turned back at the French border, Rome and Paris argued on Monday over who should handle the waves of migrants landing on Italy’s shores.
- Greece and its creditors hardened their stances on Monday after the collapse of talks aimed at preventing a default and possible euro exit, prompting Germany’s EU commissioner to say the time had come to prepare for a “state of emergency”.
- U.S. and coalition forces launched 16 air strikes targeting Islamic State militants in nine Iraqi cities on Sunday, the U.S. military said.
- In the 2014 fiscal year there were more applicants from Mexico for asylum in the US than from any other country, with nearly 9,000 Mexicans applying for safe harbour in their neighbouring country to the north.
- Hackers alleged to be linked to China are accused of carrying out a second cyber attack within a few days. The security of 4 million current and former employees of the US government has been compromised.
- Australia has been criticised for its hardline policy towards migrants and asylum seekers and for holding many heading to the country by boat in offshore detention centres.
- UN-sponsored negotiations on the Yemen crisis have started in Geneva, with the aim of ending the bloody conflict in the country.These talks aimed at ending the war in Yemen have however been thrown into doubt amid uncertainty over whether rebel Houthi negotiators will attend, with reports saying the Shia rebels missed a flight to Geneva.