[JURIST] Leading Thursday's international brief, the current president of the UN Security Council [official website], Philippine Ambassador Lauro Baja [official profile] condemned the renewed violence in the Darfur region [JURIST news archive] of Sudan [government website], and warned that the Security Council was seriously concerned by the continued violations of the April 2004 cease-fire by both government and rebel forces. UN relief coordinator Jan Egeland [official profile] warned Sudan at the same time that the continued violence had led to serious discussions concerning the complete withdrawal of all humanitarian aid workers in the Darfur region. New cease-fire agreements between the rebel forces and the government are currently underway, but the talks have stalled over accusations of cease-fire violations. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Sudan [JURIST news archive]. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage.
In other international legal news ...
- The Sudanese government [official website] on Wednesday formally appealed the August 2005 [JURIST report] decision by the US District Court for Eastern Virginia which allowed the families of the 17 US sailors killed in the 2000 terrorist attack [Wikipedia backgrounder] on the USS Cole [official website] to continue their civil suit against the Sudan government. The suit revolves around whether the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act [State Dept FAQ] applies, or if sufficient ties to the al Qaeda organization existed within the Sudan government to allow the surviving families to proceed under the terrorism exception in the FSIA. The August ruling held that sufficient ties had been demonstrated to allow the case to continue to trial, but Sudan maintains that the evidence is invalid and is seeking to suppress the suit before it reaches court. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of the USS Cole [JURIST news archive]. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage.
- Impartial elections are being held in the northwestern Somaliland province [Wikipedia backgrounder] of Somalia in an attempt to gather official international recognition as an independent state for the breakaway territory. Self-proclaimed as independent since the 1990s, Somaliland has traditionally been rejected as a self-sustaining state by the rest of the world out of fears of increased instability in the already lawless Somalia [Wikipedia profile]. Existing without a de facto government for the last 15 years, Somalia has been the alleged home of numerous terrorist groups and rebel factions. Somaliland political parties appealed to the 800,000 eligible voters (out of 3.5 million inhabitants) to turn out in mass numbers, regardless of which of the three political parties they vote for, simply to demonstrate that Somaliland deserves global recognition. Results are expected early next week. South Africa's Mail & Guardian has more.
- A Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] statement released on Wednesday in Nepal accused the Royal Nepalese Army [official website] of using the three soldiers convicted of torturing and murdering [JURIST report] 15-year-old Maina Sunuwar in 2004 as "cosmetic gestures" for the Army's poor human rights record. HRW said the convictions and the creation of human rights investigatory committees [JURIST report, RNA backgrounder] were merely designed to hide the fact the RNA continues to act with impunity throughout the nation. According to HRW's figures, the RNA "has been responsible for the largest number of reported forced disappearances in the world." The RNA held last week that the convicted soldiers had served their six-month sentence during the time they were held in Army barracks prior to and during the trial, effectively preventing the convicted men from serving any jail time. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Nepal [JURIST news archive]. Read the HRW press release. Kantipur Online has local coverage.