Italy (official governmental site in Italian) bowed Tuesday to international pressure from various NGOs, human rights groups, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and stopped its indiscriminate return of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants from the island of Lampedusa (official governmental site in Italian), where thousands of Africans from various nations have gathered, seeking entrance to the EU through Italy. Italy has been criticized for failing to abide by the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Geneva Convention on Refugees, both of which require the host nation to make a good-faith effort to distinguish between illegal immigrants, who may be legitimately expelled, and actual asylum seekers, who have certain rights. Italy has also been criticized for shipping individuals back to Libya, which is not a signatory to the Geneva Convention on Refugees, and which many NGOs say has a worrying human rights record. ISN has more.
In other international legal news...
- Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the Russian State Duma (official site in Russian) Committee for Foreign Affairs, has called for European countries to work together to create a pan-European piece of anti-terrorism legislation. Kasachev has stated that the countries should utilize the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to create a document that filled in the gaps of international law on terrorism and created a common legal definition of terrorism. Kosachev also called for the implementation of the 2003 European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism as soon as possible. Itar-Tass has more.
- Colonel Alamba Mungako, a former military prosecutor in the army of the Democratic Republic of Congo was sentenced to death Tuesday by the country's highest military court. Mungako was the former prosecutor for the Court of Military Order and was involved in prosecuting over thirty individuals charged with the 2001 assassination of former DRC President Laurent Kabila. NGOs and Human Rights groups criticized the trials, which handed down death sentences to all accused, claiming that the facts rarely supported the charges leveled against the suspects. Mungako was convicted of masterminding the beating, torture and murder of tax official Steven Nyembo, along with 10 others also convicted and given the death sentence and two others who received jail time. News24 has more.
- Uganda Defense Minister Amama Mbabazi stated Wednesday at an International Criminal Court meeting that he fully expected a peace treaty to be signed among Sudan, Rwanda, and the DRC. The non-aggression treaty will also prohibit the goverment support of rebel groups in the neighboring countries, a current source of tension, especially in light of the current crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan. Mbabazi also stated that the country will be passing an ICC bill that will incorporate the provisions of the Rome Statute of the ICC into Ugandan domestic law. AllAfrica has more.