Your weekly selection of international law and international relations headlines from around the world:
- Judges at the International Criminal Court on Friday granted early release to convicted war criminal Germain Katanga, making the Congolese warlord, sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2014, the first ICC convict to be freed.
- The Congo Basin in Africa, the world’s second-largest tropical forest, is facing a growing threat of deforestation carried out to clear the way for palm oil plantations.
- At least 22 people were killed in a string of raids on villages in Central African Republic this week, a local official and state radio said on Friday, as an escalation of violence threatened to derail a visit by the pope and crucial elections.
Middle East and Northern Africa
- Two suicide bombings claimed by ISIS in a predominantly Shia residential area of southern Beirut have killed at least 41 people and injured 200 others, according to the Lebanese health ministry.
- Islamic State said one of its militants blew himself up at the funeral of a pro-government Shi’ite Muslim fighter in Baghdad on Friday, killing at least 18 people and wounding 41.
- Syrian opposition activists have reacted to calls from world leaders for the country to hold elections within 18 months and implement an immediate ceasefire, saying that – for now – the proposed plans are nothing more than talk.
- Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Saturday that his country would continue to support Syrian rebels if President Bashar al-Assad could not be removed through a political process.
- The Japanese and Philippine leaders will agree this week on a deal paving the way for Tokyo to supply Manila with used military equipment, possibly including aircraft that could be deployed to patrol the disputed South China Sea, sources said.
- The International Labour Organisation (ILO) said on Friday 80 percent of export-oriented ready made garment (RMG) factories in Bangladesh needed improvement in fire and electrical safety standards despite a government finding most were safe.
- North Korea has declared a no-sail zone off its east coast in a sign it could be preparing a missile launch, Yonhap news agency reported on Sunday.
- Regional tensions over the South China Sea and security concerns after the attack by Islamist militants on Paris could eclipse efforts by Pacific-rim leaders at APEC this week to boost trade and growth across a region of around 3 billion people.
- An Indonesian court sentenced a drug leader from Hong Kong to death on Friday for possession of more than 860 kg (1,900 lb) of methamphetamines in one of the country’s biggest drug busts in years.
- French authorities have started to name the attackers who terrorized Paris over the weekend and five have been identified as French nationals, indicating that radicalization of its own citizens is one the biggest threats to France’s security.
- French warplanes pounded Islamic State positions in Syria on Sunday as police in Europe widened their investigations into coordinated attacks in Paris that killed more than 130 people.
- The European Commission has formally authorized the temporary reimposition of border controls by Sweden and Germany’s extension of frontier checks to help get a grip on a large influx of asylum seekers, the EU executive said on Friday.
- To cheers from a large crowd of Cuban migrants, Costa Rica on Saturday re-opened its border with Panama after a sudden tightening in its immigration policy had left more than 1,200 of them stranded there.
- Nicaragua on Sunday closed its border with Costa Rica to hundreds of Cubans headed for the United States, stoking diplomatic tensions over a growing wave of migrants making the journey north from the Communist-ruled island.
- U.S. President Barack Obama vowed on Sunday to step up efforts to eliminate Islamic State and prevent more attacks like those in Paris, while urging Russia’s Vladimir Putin to focus on combating the jihadist group in Syria.
- The US defence department has announced the release of five Yemeni men held at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba.
- Australia’s human rights record has been scrutinised by more than 100 countries at the UN, with the treatment of asylum seekers and Indigenous people drawing particular criticism.
- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will visit North Korea’s capital Pyongyang this week, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported on Monday, though there was no confirmation from either the United Nations or the South Korean foreign ministry.
- The outgoing United Nations envoy to Libya, Bernardino Leon of Spain, on Thursday said he would seek a “full clarification” of a newspaper report that the United Arab Emirates was shipping arms to Libyan factions in violation of a U.N. arms embargo.