Weekly News Wrap: Monday, March 9, 2015
Your weekly selection of international law and international relations headlines from around the world:
- The International Criminal Court’s Pre-Trial Chamber II decided on Monday that Sudan had failed to cooperate in its war crimes investigation of President Omar al-Bashir and it plans to inform the United Nations Security Council (see press release here).
- Troops from Chad and Niger have retaken two northeastern Nigerian towns and left some 200 Boko Haram fighters dead, a Chadian security source has said.
- The leader of the Nigeria-based group Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Middle East and Northern Africa
- U.S. and coalition forces conducted five air strikes against Islamic State fighters in Syria and nine in Iraq since early Sunday, the U.S. military said on Monday.
- The Arab League called for the creation of a regional force to combat militants as countries face a growing threat from Islamic State and other groups.
- Islamic State militants in Libya seized a group of foreigners (from Austria, the Czech republic, Bangladesh, the Philippines and at least one African country) at the al-Ghani oilfield last week, a spokesman for the Austrian foreign ministry said citing “secure information” on Monday, adding that they were alive when taken.
- Iran and the IAEA, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, held talks in Tehran on Monday, the Iranian Students News Agency reported, ahead of a March deadline for a framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear program between Tehran and six major powers.
- China will welcome all national leaders to a military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, the foreign minister said on Sunday, the strongest sign yet that it could invite wartime enemy Japan.
- The embers of the quarter-century-old war over Nagorno-Karabakh – a landlocked mountainous region in the South Caucasus that lies at a crossroads between East and West – are smouldering again, and raising concerns another full-scale war is not far away.
- Progress is being made on drawn-out border talks with India, China’s foreign minister said on Sunday, likening the process to climbing a mountain that becomes harder the closer to the summit you get.
- A senior Afghan lawmaker has warned President Ashraf Ghani about relying on Pakistan to help broker peace talks with the Taliban, citing what he said was Islamabad’s history of supporting the insurgents.
- The European Union needs its own army to face up to Russia and other threats as well as restore the bloc’s foreign policy standing around the world, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told a German newspaper on Sunday.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he ordered officials to start work on taking control of Crimea weeks before a referendum which, the Kremlin has asserted until now, prompted the region’s annexation from Ukraine.
- The head of Germany’s military intelligence says he fears its armed forces could be infiltrated by Islamist militants to obtain weapons training for use in fighting in Syria and Iraq for insurgent groups like Islamic State.
- Colombia’s government and the leftist rebel movement have announced an agreement to remove landmines from the battlefield in a sign of progress in their two-year-old peace talks being held in Cuba.
- The United States has withdrawn a $3 million bounty linked to the capture of a high-level member of Somalia’s al Shabaab Islamist group who had since defected, a U.S. official said on Monday.
- Australia is systematically violating the international Convention Against Torture by detaining children in immigration detention, and holding asylum seekers in dangerous and violent conditions on Manus Island, a United Nations report has found.
- In the past 20 years the world’s women and girls have made significant progress in health, education and legal rights but wide gender gaps remain in economic participation, political leadership and security, according to research released Monday.
- A United Nations human rights investigator on Monday recommended international pressure be put on North Korea to clarify the fate of hundreds of foreign nationals allegedly abducted over decades, mainly from Japan and South Korea.
- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday expressed deep disappointment after troubled talks to end more than a year of bloodshed in South Sudan broke off without a deal a day earlier.