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    Vojislav Seselj: Unrepentant Serb ultranationalist
    11.04.18
    AFP

    Serb academic turned far-right leader Vojislav Seselj, who was found guilty Wednesday by a UN court of crimes against humanity, won notoriety during the 1990s Balkan wars for his incendiary rhetoric and remains defiant in defending the idea of a "Greater Serbia". UN war crimes judges in The Hague overturned the shock 2016 acquittal of the stocky, ruddy-faced former deputy prime minister, sentencing him to 10 years behind bars, although ruling that he had already served 12 years in custody. The court found the 63-year-old guilty of "instigating persecution, deportation and other inhumane acts". Prosecutors had accused Seselj of poisoning the minds of volunteer forces who committed...

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    Philippines moves to quit ICC: What does it mean?
    14.03.18
    AFP

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced Wednesday a move towards quitting the International Criminal Court, which has launched a preliminary examination of his deadly drug war. Here are five questions and answers on what it means: - Why did Duterte do it? - The ICC announced on February 9 a preliminary examination into allegations Philippine police have killed thousands of alleged users or dealers as part of Duterte's anti-drug war that he launched after taking office in mid-2016. Duterte had previously threatened to withdraw from the international body as a result of what he has called a politically slanted inquiry. - Can ICC still investigate? - Philippine lawyers say...

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    Sierra Leone, cut down by war and Ebola
    05.03.18
    AFP

    The West African nation of Sierra Leone is among the world's poorest countries despite its significant mineral wealth, and scarred by a brutal civil war and the deadly Ebola virus. Here is some background about the country as it prepares to go to the polls on March 7. - Brutal civil war - Founded by Britain in 1787 for freed slaves evacuated from the Caribbean, Sierra Leone was a British colony until independence in 1961. Thirty years later -- after a series of coups and rife instability -- it was plunged into a devastating civil war notorious for its mutilations, drugged child soldiers, sex slaves and rapes. The 11-year conflict (1991-2002) was launched by the Revolutionary...

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    Armenian 'genocide': the disputed massacres of 1915-17
    23.02.18
    AFP

    Armenia and Turkey are at odds over whether the World War I massacres and deportations of Armenians by their Ottoman rulers should be described as genocide. Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their kin were killed between 1915 and 1917, and have long sought international recognition that this was genocide. Turkey rejects the term and puts the number of dead at between 300,000 and 500,000. It says what happened was civil conflict and a collective tragedy. Around 20 countries and some parliaments have voted through laws or resolutions recognising there was genocide, to the fury of Ankara. The Dutch lower house on Thursday became the latest to vote such an acknowledgement but made...

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    Enclaves bombarded by the Syrian regime
    21.02.18
    AFP

    Before Eastern Ghouta there was Homs, Aleppo, Daraya -- rebel towns and enclaves that the Syrian regime pounded and besieged, forcing fighters to give up their arms and civilians to flee. - Homs - Syria's third city Homs was dubbed the "capital of the revolution," after anti-government protests erupted in March 2011, but from 2012 it came under a two-year siege. In 2014, rebels cornered by advancing regime forces agreed to be evacuated, although the government went on to besiege Waer, the last remaining opposition-held district in the city. During the siege nearly 2,200 people were killed in the Homs's Old City, according to the Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. In the historic...

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    South Africa: a giant of Africa
    13.02.18
    AFP

    South Africa is the continent's most industrialised economy and among its most developed, but marked by gaping inequalities rooted in years of racist white-minority rule that ended in 1994. - Apartheid - Black South Africans, around 80 percent of the population, voted for the first time only in 1994. It was a moment of jubilation after a bitter decades-long struggle against white-minority rule. British and Dutch settlers arrived at Africa's southern tip from the 17th century, first using it as a stopover on the shipping route to Asia and later claiming colonies. They imposed discriminatory laws early on, restricting non-whites to unskilled jobs and limiting land ownership and free...

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    The US-led coalition in Syria: a timeline
    08.02.18
    AFP

    The US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group has avoided involvement in Syria's civil war, but on Thursday it said it killed more than 100 pro-regime fighters in the country. The international coalition was set up in 2014 to drive IS from territories it controlled in Iraq and Syria. Washington has deployed 2,000 soldiers in Syria, mainly special forces, who support the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an Arab-Kurdish coalition fighting the IS. - First air strikes - In September 2014, the US and Arab allies launch air strikes on the IS in Syria, opening a new front in the fight against the jihadist group, already targeted by raids in Iraq. - Support for Kurds - In October 2014...

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    Syrian chemical weapons attacks
    23.01.18
    AFP

    Since the start of the conflict in Syria in 2011, the belligerents -- in particular the regime of President Bashar al-Assad -- have been accused on numerous occasions of using chemical weapons. Here is a summary. - Damascus threatens - The Syrian government acknowledges in July 2012 for the first time that it has chemical weapons and threatens to use them in the event of military operations by Western countries, but not against its own population. The following month, US President Barack Obama says the use or even movement of such weapons would be a "red line" for his administration. - Sarin attack - In August 2013 hundreds of people are killed in Damascus in chemical weapons strikes...

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    Key dates in Tunisia since 2011 revolt
    10.01.18
    AFP

    Key developments in Tunisia in the seven years since president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was toppled in a revolt that sparked a wave of uprisings in the region. - 2011: President flees - Ben Ali quits on January 14, 2011 after weeks of demonstrations sparked by the self-immolation of a fruit seller who was protesting police harassment and unemployment. He is the first leader to stand down in the Arab Spring, fleeing to Saudi Arabia after 23 years in power. In October, Islamist group Ennahda wins 89 of the 217 seats in a new constituent assembly, just months after being legalised in March. It is Tunisia's first free election. The assembly elects former opposition leader Moncef...

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    War criminals: freed before serving out their jailtime
    05.01.18
    AFP

    Before former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori, several people convicted of crimes against humanity have been granted early release, from Nazis tried in Nuremberg to Argentinian military officers. - World War II - - Walther Funk: The former chief of the German Reichsbank from 1939 to 1945 is sentenced to life in prison at the Nuremberg trials in 1946 for having accepted gold extorted by the SS from deportees to concentration camps. He is freed in 1957 for health reasons. - Erich Raeder: The commander of the German Navy until 1943 is sentenced at Nuremberg to life in prison, before...

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    Herceg-Bosna, bloody separatist bid of Bosnian Croats
    27.11.17
    AFP

    Six leaders of a self-proclaimed statelet for Bosnian Croats, declared during the Balkan country's bloody 1990s conflict, hear a verdict Wednesday from UN judges on their appeal against war crimes convictions. Here are details about their breakaway "republic", which they eventually hoped to merge with neighbouring Croatia: - War breaks out - When war broke out in Bosnia in 1992 as Yugoslavia fell apart, the country's Catholic Croats fought alongside Bosniak Muslims against Orthodox Serbs in the ethnically diverse country. But the nationalist leaders of ethnic Croats, who made up about 17 percent of Bosnia's population of 4.4 million, gradually became more open about their desire to...

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    Jadranko Prlic, Bosnian Croats' breakaway bid leader
    27.11.17
    AFP

    Jadranko Prlic, who hears an appeals verdict over his war crimes conviction this week, is an academic who became leader of a self-proclaimed statelet for Croats during Bosnia's bitter 1990s conflict. The one-time prime minister of the "Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna", Prlic was sentenced to 25 years in jail in 2013 by UN judges at The Hague on charges of aiding and abetting the murder, deportation and harsh detention of Muslims. On Wednesday, the 58-year-old and five other wartime Bosnian Croat leaders will hear the verdict on their appeal case -- the last judgement to be handed down by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The bald and...

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    Politicians, war criminals: figures in the Balkan wars
    19.11.17
    AFP

    The UN court dealing with crimes committed during the wars that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia hands down its penultimate ruling on Wednesday, having delivered 83 convictions. Ahead of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) judgement of Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic, here is a rundown of the fate of other key players in the Balkan wars of the 1990s. - Milosevic, Serbian president: charged - Slobodan Milosevic was accused of fuelling ethnic conflict and mass murder in the former Yugoslavia during his 13 years of iron rule, defying international sanctions and NATO bombs. Elected Serbian president in 1990, he played a key role in supporting...

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    The 1990s Balkan wars in key dates
    19.11.17
    AFP

    Ahead of the judgement Wednesday of Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic, here is a timeline of the 1990s Balkans conflicts that tore apart the former Yugoslavia. - Bickering after Tito dies - Communist Yugoslavia, which emerged shortly after the end of World War II, was made up of six republics: Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Macedonia. Following the death of its autocratic leader Josip Broz Tito in 1980, the Yugoslav federation found itself in crisis, with bickering between ethnic groups and surging nationalist sentiments. By the time the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, inter-ethnic relations in Yugoslavia were at breaking point. The first multiparty elections in the...

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    Burundi's deadly crisis: A timeline
    10.11.17
    AFP

    Burundi has been gripped by turmoil since President Pierre Nkurunziza launched a bid for a third term in office more than two years ago. On Thursday the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened a full probe into alleged crimes committed during the crisis.  Between 500 and 2,000 people have been killed, according to different sources, and more than 400,000 people displaced from their homes. Here is a summary of key developments in the crisis in the central African country.   - Demonstrations start -   April 25, 2015: Nkurunziza is declared candidate for a third term by the ruling CNDD-FDD party. The following day thousands of protesters demonstrate in the...

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    Questions and answers on Israeli settlements
    26.09.17
    AFP

    A Palestinian gunman opened fire at an entrance to the Israeli settlement of Har Adar in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, killing three security personnel and wounding another. Here are some key questions and answers on Israeli settlements: - What are settlements? - Settlements are Israeli villages, towns and even cities built on territory Israel seized during the Six-Day War of 1967. Some 430,000 Israeli settlers currently live in the occupied West Bank, along with 2.6 million Palestinians. A further 200,000 Israelis live in annexed east Jerusalem, along with at least 300,000 Palestinians, who want to make the sector the capital of their future state. Israel also seized part...

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    Recap of Syrian chemical weapons attacks since 2011
    06.09.17
    AFP

    United Nations war crimes investigators said Wednesday they have evidence showing the Syrian regime carried out an April sarin gas attack in Idlib province that killed dozens of people. The attack was the latest in a string of chemical strikes since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011. Here is a recap. - Damascus threatens to use chemical weapons - July 23, 2012: The Syrian government acknowledges for the first time that it has chemical weapons and threatens to use them in the event of military operations by Western countries, but not against its own population. The following month, then US president Barack Obama says the use or even movement of such weapons would be a "red...

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    Kenya since 2007-2008 post-election violence
    08.08.17
    AFP

    Below are key dates since post-election violence in Kenya in 2007-2008 left more than 1,100 people dead, the worst violence in the east African country since independence in 1963: - 2007-2008: post election violence - On December 27, 2007, outgoing president Mwai Kibaki is proclaimed winner again but his challenger Raila Odinga says the vote was rigged. Clashes in the following weeks kill more than 1,100 people and force 600,000 from their homes, in a country that had previously been renowned for its stability. The epicentre of the violence is the Rift Valley, pitting members of the Kalenjin and Luo ethnic communities, who mainly back Odinga, against the Kikuyu, to which Kibaki...

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    Kenya: five things to know
    08.08.17
    AFP

    Kenya, which was holding elections on Tuesday a decade after deadly post-poll violence, is one of east Africa's leading economies with a crucial tourism sector based on safaris and tropical beaches. - Post-election violence - Kenya was a British colony until independence on December 12, 1963. Jomo Kenyatta, the country's first president, died in office in August 1978, to be succeeded by Daniel arap Moi. In late 1991 Moi abandoned the single party system under international pressure and won presidential elections in 1992 and 1997. Moi was replaced by Mwai Kibaki in late 2002 and the main opposition National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) won the legislative elections the same year. Kibaki...

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    Uganda's brutal Lord's Resistance Army: timeline
    25.04.17
    AFP

    Key dates in the history of Uganda's brutal Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), which the United States and Uganda have decided to stop hunting down, saying the rebels have been neutralised. One of Africa's longest-surviving rebel groups, the LRA has terrorised parts of central Africa for 30 years, becoming notorious for mutilations, massacres, kidnappings, and the forced enrolment of children. - January 1987: a year after the takeover of Uganda by rebel leader Yoweri Museveni, voodoo priestess Alice Auma Lakwena takes up arms to topple the new regime. Her Holy Spirit Movement is defeated at the end of 1987. - 1988: Joseph Kony, presented as Lakwena's cousin, takes over the fight at the...

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