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    Portrait of Myanmar's 'Buddhist Bin Laden' chills Cannes
    24.05.17
    AFP

    Barbet Schroeder spent months with Ugandan dictator Idi Amin at the height of his power, when corpses would wash up every morning on the shores of Lake Victoria and Kampala was rife with rumours that he was eating his opponents. But in his decades of documenting evil, the veteran Swiss filmmaker says he has never been as scared by anyone as he was by a Burmese Buddhist monk named Wirathu. "I am afraid to call him Wirathu because even his name scares me," the highly acclaimed director told AFP. "I just call him W." "The Venerable W", his chilling portrait of the monk who has been accused of preaching hate and inciting attacks on...

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    Thai teen among latest group held for 'royal insults': HRW
    24.05.17
    AFP

    A 14-year-old boy has been detained in a Thai army prison under a draconian and increasingly wielded royal defamation law, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday, as it decried the secrecy surrounding the latest series of arrests. The law in Thailand forbids any criticism of the monarchy and punishes transgressors with up to 15-years in jail for each offence. Use of the law has skyrocketed since an ultra-royalist junta seized power in 2014. There have been a flurry of cases in recent weeks, many linked to social media posts about Thailand's new king Maha Vajiralongkorn, who ascended the throne late last year. Royal insult...

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    ICC prosecutor says C. Africa bloodshed 'must stop now'
    23.05.17
    AFP

    The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor on Tuesday called for an immediate halt to the renewed sectarian bloodshed in the Central African Republic, warning that war crimes will be punished. Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's call comes amid an upsurge of attacks on civilians and UN peacekeepers, as well as renewed fighting between factions of the Christian anti-Balaka coalition and the mainly Muslim ex-Seleka rebels. "Violence and clashes between armed groups in several parts of the Central African Republic (CAR) have increased in the last months," Bensouda said in a statement. "These reported crimes may fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and must...

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    Myanmar army clears itself of Rohingya atrocity claims
    23.05.17
    AFP

    Myanmar's army on Tuesday cleared itself of allegations that troops may have carried out ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims, but said a soldier had been jailed for taking a motorbike. More than 70,000 members of the persecuted minority fled to neighbouring Bangladesh after the military launched a widespread crackdown late last year in the north of Rakhine state to hunt down insurgents who attacked police border posts. UN investigators who interviewed hundreds of escapees documented reports of mass killings, widespread rapes and horrifying accounts of babies being thrown into burning houses. In a report released in February they...

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    Syrian rebel leader faces 'war crimes' trial in Germany
    22.05.17
    AFP

    A German court Monday put on trial for war crimes a suspected former Syrian rebel commander accused of having tortured civilians while fighting for a militia linked to the Free Syrian Army. The man, identified only as 42-year-old Ibrahim Al F., was arrested in April 2016 and faces life in jail if found guilty. He allegedly joined the armed struggle against President Bashar al-Assad in 2012 and commanded a 150-strong neighbourhood militia in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. The prosecution charged that the militia looted homes in a northeastern city district and captured and mistreated civilians who resisted. The...

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    Macron to host Putin for May 29 talks on Syria, Ukraine
    22.05.17
    AFP

    French President Emmanuel Macron will host Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin next week as the countries look to reset strained relations, notably over Syria and Ukraine. The meeting at the Versailles palace outside Paris will coincide with an exhibition celebrating 300 years of Franco-Russian ties since the visit of Russian tsar Peter the Great to France in 1717. The visit comes three weeks after Macron's election and seven months after Putin, 64, cancelled a trip to Paris for the opening of a Russian cathedral complex near the Eiffel Tower in a spat with then president Francois Hollande. The Socialist leader had said Russia's...

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    Ex-Serbian officials ordered back to jail for UN court retrial
    22.05.17
    AFP

    International judges Monday ordered two Serbian former state security officials back to jail ahead of their retrial, after quashing their acquittals on war crimes charges from the 1990s Balkan conflicts. Former head of Serbia's state security service Jovica Stanisic, 66, and his deputy Franko Simatovic, 67, were both ordered "to return to the United Nations Detention Unit in The Hague by Tuesday, 30 May 2017." Their retrial "is anticipated to start on June 13, 2017," said the judges at the tribunal based in Dutch city. The court is handling cases left over from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY),...

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    Philippines' Duterte heads to Russia in blow to US
    22.05.17
    AFP

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte flies to Russia on Monday to meet his hero, seek arms and steer his nation's foreign policy course further away from longtime ally the United States. The five-day trip will cement a dramatic improvement in ties between the two nations since Duterte came to power last year and began unravelling the Philippines' decades-long alliances with the United States, which he accuses of hypocrisy and bullying. Duterte will on Thursday meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom he has described as his "favourite hero" and proclaimed a personal bond because of mutual passions such as guns and hunting. Duterte...

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    Suspects to face trial over UN experts' Congo slayings
    20.05.17
    AFP

    Two men are to go on trial in the Democratic Republic of Congo for the kidnap and murder of two UN experts, a military prosecutor said Saturday, denying security forces involvement in the deaths. Authorities arrested the suspects last month the killings in March of American Michael Sharp and Swedish-Chilean Zaida Catalan in central Kasai, where hundreds of people have died in violence since September. The bodies of the pair were found two weeks after they were kidnapped March 12 while trying to investigate reports of more than 40 mass graves in the region. Military prosecutor Colonel Odon Makutu told a press conference Saturday in...

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    Afghan VP Dostum departs for Turkey amid rape probe
    20.05.17
    AFP

    Afghanistan's embattled vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum has left for Turkey, officials said Saturday, in what could be another long exile for the former warlord following allegations that he raped and tortured a political rival. Dostum, a powerful ethnic Uzbek warlord linked to a catalogue of war crimes, departed late Friday in the middle of a criminal investigation that has drawn attention to the culture of impunity that is hobbling Western-backed efforts to instil the rule of law in Afghanistan. Speculation is rife that he has sought temporary exile in Turkey in a bid to escape prosecution, with observers saying it could mark the end of his...

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    Ben Ali nephew apologises to Tunisia for corruption
    20.05.17
    AFP

    Imed Trabelsi, a nephew of toppled Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, apologised to the Tunisian people on national television Friday for the endemic corruption during the regime. In his testimony to the Truth and Dignity Commission (IVD), a tribunal established after the 2011 revolution, Trabelsi recounted how he got rich thanks to a well-oiled system involving the complicity of customs officers, high officials and ministers. "We practically had a monopoly on the banana trade," Trabelsi said, adding that there were also monopolies on real estate and alcohol sales. If another businessman tried to compete "we blocked his load," he...

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    Mission unaccomplished: Uganda halts hunt for LRA warlord
    20.05.17
    AFP

    Sweat soaks into the bright red neckerchiefs of the soldiers slouching to attention on a steamy parade ground deep in the inaccessible forests of Central African Republic (CAR). The military display marked the end of a failed years-long hunt for Joseph Kony, leader of the notorious Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group that has its origins in 1980s Uganda. Arrayed against this elusive, lonely and brutal figure and his dwindling band of fighters, were a host of regional militaries supported by US special forces. And yet, as Ugandan and American troops abandon their "capture or kill" mission, Kony remains at large....

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