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    Rwandan academic's genocide life sentence overturned
    21.07.18
    AFP

    A linguistics professor's life sentence and conviction for direct involvement in Rwanda's 1994 genocide has been overturned but his nine year sentence for downplaying the bloodshed upheld, his lawyer said Saturday. Former trade union official Leopold Munyakazi, 67, was cleared of direct involvement by the Rwandan High Court's Chamber of International Crimes on Friday. But his conviction for using his academic work to downplay the impact of the bloodshed was confirmed by appeal judges. "The appeal court acquitted him of involvement in the genocide but upheld his conviction for downplaying the genocide," Munyakazi's lawyer Desire Micombero told...

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    Vatican suspends Chilean deacon accused of child abuse
    21.07.18
    afp.com

    The Vatican dismissed a Chilean deacon over sexual abuse accusations in central Chile, the archdiocese of the city of Rancagua said Friday, amid a widespread abuse scandal gripping the country's Catholic Church. Luis Rubio was arrested for improper conduct and sexual abuse of minors when he was in charge of a Las Cabras school in 2013.  A year later, the archdiocese of Rancagua dismissed him from his duties while an investigation was underway, with the results sent to the Vatican, which has now expelled him. Rubio's case was brought to the forefront in May when a television report revealed an alleged network of sexual abuse carried out by a group of religious figures collectively...

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    Ex-Colombian rebels take up seats in congress hostile to them
    21.07.18
    afp.com

    Former leftist guerrillas in Colombia took up seats Friday in a congress dominated by conservatives opposed to a peace accord that ended a 50 year war and provided for the ex-guerrillas' representation in the legislature. Under a 2016 accord that ended the conflict, five seats each in the upper and lower chambers have been set aside for members of the FARC, a rebel army turned legal political party, although it only occupied eight of them. Outgoing president Jose Manuel Santos presided over a ceremony in which all new lawmakers elected in May elections took up their seats. "Here they are, for the first time, five senators and five representatives of Common Alternative Revolutionary...

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    UN, AU call for transfer of power in DR Congo
    20.07.18
    afp.com

    The top security bodies of the United Nations and the African Union on Thursday called for a peaceful transfer of power following elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo  this year. After meeting at UN headquarters in New York, the UN Security Council and the African Union's Peace and Security Council said in a joint statement that the December 23 elections "must lead to a peaceful and democratic transfer of power, in accordance with the constitution." Hours earlier, President Joseph Kabila delivered a state of the union address in which he vowed to "unequivocally respect the constitution" but did not clearly state that he would not seek re-election. In power since 2001,...

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    ICC denies damages to kids born after Congo village attack
    19.07.18
    AFP

    War crimes judges ruled Thursday that five children born after their parents were victims of a brutal 2003 attack on a Congolese village were not eligible to receive compensation. The International Criminal Court (ICC) judges "dismissed the requests for reparations made by these applicants" in the case of the convicted warlord Germain Katanga, the tribunal said in a statement. Katanga, 40, a former militia commander from the restive northeastern Congolese Ituri province, was ordered in March 2017 to pay $1 million in damages to his victims after his forces attacked their village. He was convicted of supplying weapons to his militia,...

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    DR Congo leader maintains suspense over plans
    19.07.18
    afp.com

    The president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila, kept his country guessing on Thursday over his political plans five months ahead of crucial elections. In a state-of-the-nation speech that had sparked intense speculation of an announcement, Kabila vowed to stand by the December 23 date for the poll, and "unequivocally respect the constitution". But, in a long speech enumerating his government's policies, Kabila did not spell out whether he would seek a new term in office. Kabila has been at the helm of the largest country in sub-Saharan Africa since 2001. He was just 29 when he took over as president from his father, Laurent-Desire Kabila, who was assassinated by a...

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    One 20-year term, 14 acquittals in Senegal jihadists trial
    19.07.18
    afp.com

    The alleged leader of a jihadist cell was handed a 20-year term with forced labour Thursday in Senegal's largest terror-related trial, which also saw 14 suspects acquitted. A Dakar court handed the term to Makhtar Diokhane, described in court as the group's "ringleader," while Alioune Ndao, who had been accused of acting as coordinator, received a suspended one-month sentence for possessing a weapon without authorisation. The heavily-guarded proceedings, which started on April 9, are believed to have been the first mass prosecution for alleged terror activities in Senegal, a majority-Muslim country. Three other defendants were sentenced to 15 years in jail with forced labour; five...

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    Myanmar army made 'systematic' Rohingya crackdown plan: rights group
    19.07.18
    AFP

    Myanmar's military engaged in "extensive and systematic" preparations for a bloody crackdown on Rohingya Muslims, a rights group said Thursday, in a damning new report that it says justifies a genocide investigation. A bloody military campaign that started last August forced some 700,000 of the effectively stateless minority over the border into Bangladesh, where they have recounted allegations of rape and extrajudicial killings. The UN and US have called the campaign ethnic cleansing. Myanmar denies the accusations, saying it was responding to an attack by Rohingya militants. But Fortify Rights said its report, based on months of...

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    Turnbull calls on Pope to sack archbishop for concealing child abuse
    19.07.18
    afp.com

    Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Thursday called on Pope Francis to sack disgraced archbishop Philip Wilson after he was convicted of covering up child sex abuse but remains employed by the church. One of the highest-ranking church officials to be convicted on the charge, the Adelaide archbishop was found guilty in May of concealing abuse by a notorious paedophile priest during the 1970s and was sentenced this month to 12 months' home detention. Wilson, 67, has stepped down from his duties but resisted calls to resign pending an appeal of his conviction, prompting Turnbull to call on the Vatican to intervene. "He should have resigned, and the time has come for...

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    DR Congo president Kabila to make address to the nation
    18.07.18
    afp.com

    DR Congo President Joseph Kabila will make a speech to parliament on Thursday, less than a week before candidates can begin to register in postponed presidential elections. The vast African country is in the grip of a crisis over whether Kabila will run in crucial, long-delayed elections in December despite his constitutional limit expiring in 2016. The president has yet to say whether or not he intends to register, and candidates must declare their bid between July 25 and August 1.   "The National Assembly and the senate will both convene for the speech," a joint statement from the two chambers said Wednesday. "The agenda has only one item, the President of the Republic's speech...

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    Sri Lanka charges man deported from family by Australia
    18.07.18
    afp.com

    A Sri Lankan deported by Australia even though his partner had refugee status there was charged upon his return with illegally leaving his home country. Thileepan Gnaneswaran, who was separated from his wife and 11-month-old daughter, arrived in Colombo Tuesday along with another 17 who had also their asylum applications rejected by Australia. "They were taken before a magistrate and released on personal bail," a senior police official told AFP. "They were charged under the immigration law for leaving the country from a place other than an approved port." Sri Lankans are known to travel illegally by boat to Australia and other countries, in violation of immigration laws.  The...

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    Nicaragua: three months of deadly crisis
    18.07.18
    afp.com

    Nicaragua has for three months been gripped by violence as pro-government forces crack down on mass protests, the violence claiming 280 lives and triggering international condemnation. Here is a timeline of the chaos which started with protests against a pension reform and swept into a rejection of President Daniel Ortega, a former guerrilla leader now seen as autocratic.   - Pension reform fury -   On April 18 the government presents a plan to increase how much employees and companies pay into the social security fund, while cutting benefits, as recommended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Student-led protesters vent fury in several cities. Demonstrations continue and...

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