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UN lawyer hails end of impunity for war criminals in Security Council debate

[JURIST] UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Nicolas Michel [official profile] stressed the importance of not sacrificing justice by "granting amnesty in ending conflicts" at a UN Security Council meeting Thursday on strengthening international law [UN summary; recorded video]. Michel said that ending impunity for war criminals is one of the most important developments in international law over the last 15 years and welcomed preparations for a war crimes trial for former Liberian President Charles Taylor [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], currently underway at The Hague. Taylor has been indicted [PDF text] for crimes against humanity and violations of international humanitarian law, including murder, rape and the recruitment and use of child soldiers during the war in Sierra Leone. The UN News Centre has more.

Also at Thursday's Security Council session, Denmark's Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller criticized the UN's process of imposing sanctions against al Qaeda and Taliban leaders. Moeller said the process of adding names to the sanctions list [UN backgrounder] and the difficulty of removing or correcting entries threatens to undermine the rule of law. Moeller called on the Security Council to "improve due process guarantees" and "reduce the risk of innocent third parties becoming victims of such measures." Reuters has more.

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