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Twenty-eight years to the day after Aung San Suu Kyi’s husband and sons accepted her Nobel Peace Prize while she remained under house arrest in Myanmar, the former pro-democracy icon appeared in a United Nations court ready to defend her country’s army from allegations of committing genocide against the Rohingya minority.

Suu Kyi looked on attentively from the front bench at the International Court of Justice in The Hague Tuesday as a legal team for Gambia detailed accounts of killings - including of women and children - sexual violence and the destruction of tens of thousands of Muslim minority homes in northern Rakhine state.

Acting on behalf of the 57-country Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Gambia is asking the world court to take “all measures within its power to prevent all acts that amount to or contribute to the crime of genocide.”

Opening Gambia’s case, Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambadou urged the court to “tell Myanmar to stop these senseless killings, to stop these acts of barbarity that continue to shock our collective conscience, to stop this genocide of its own people.”

“It is indeed sad for our generation that 75 years after human kind committed itself to the words ‘never again’, another genocide is unfolding right before our eyes,” Tambadou said. “Yet we do nothing to stop it.”

“This is a stain on our collective conscience,” he said.

Myanmar’s army began a crackdown on the Rohingya in August 2017 in response to an insurgent attack. More than 700,000 Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh to escape what has been called an ethnic cleansing campaign involving mass rapes, killings and the torching of homes.

The head of a U.N. fact-finding mission on Myanmar warned in October that “there is a serious risk of genocide recurring.” The mission also found that Myanmar should be held responsible in international legal forums for alleged genocide against the Rohingya.


The International Criminal Court opened a three-day hearing Wednesday at which prosecutors and victims aim to overturn a decision scrapping a proposed investigation into alleged crimes in Afghanistan’s brutal conflict.

Fergal Gaynor, a lawyer representing 82 Afghan victims, called it “a historic day for accountability in Afghanistan.”

In April, judges rejected a request by the court’s prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to open an investigation into crimes allegedly committed by the Taliban, Afghan security forces and American military and intelligence agencies.

In the ruling, which was condemned by victims and rights groups, the judges said that an investigation "would not serve the interests of justice" because it would likely fail due to lack of cooperation.

The decision came a month after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo banned visas for ICC staff seeking to investigate allegations of war crimes and other abuses by U.S. forces in Afghanistan or elsewhere.

“Whether the two events are in fact related is unknown, but for many — victims as well as commentators — the timing appeared more than coincidental,” said lawyer Katherine Gallagher, who was representing two men being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

The United States is not a member of the global court and refuses to cooperate with it, seeing the institution as a threat to U.S. sovereignty and arguing American courts are capable of dealing with allegations of abuse by U.S. nationals.




A court on Wednesday upheld a corruption conviction against former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was released from prison earlier this month.

A three-judge panel in Porto Alegre also ruled that da Silva’s prison sentence should be raised by four years to 17 years.

Da Silva remains free for now. He was released Nov. 8 after 19 months in jail when the Supreme Court ruled a person can be imprisoned only after all appeals have been exhausted.

Da Silva, who governed Brazil from 2003 to 2010, denies wrongdoing and says corruption cases against him are politically motivated.

The judges in Porto Alegre were ruling on a case in which da Silva allegedly benefited from upgrades that the Odebrecht and OAS firms made to a Sao Paulo farm.


Myanmar said Wednesday its leader Aung San Suu Kyi will head the legal team contesting a genocide case filed against it in the International Court of Justice over the crackdown on Rohingya Muslims two years ago that set off their exodus to Bangladesh.

Myanmar’s military has been accused of carrying out mass rapes, killings and arsons against Rohingya during a counterinsurgency campaign initiated in western Myanmar in August 2017 after rebel attacks. Myanmar’s population is overwhelmingly Buddhist, and the country has long denied citizenship and other rights to the Rohingya.

Gambia filed the genocide case on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the court based in the Netherlands said Monday it would hold public hearings on Dec. 10-12.

When filing the case, Gambia’s justice minister and attorney general, Abubacarr Marie Tambadou, told The Associated Press he wanted to “send a clear message to Myanmar and to the rest of the international community that the world must not stand by and do nothing in the face of terrible atrocities that are occurring around us. It is a shame for our generation that we do nothing while genocide is unfolding right before our own eyes.”

The head of a U.N. fact-finding mission on Myanmar warned last month that “there is a serious risk of genocide recurring,” and the mission also said in its final report in September that Myanmar should be held responsible in international legal forums for alleged genocide against the Rohingya.

Myanmar has strongly denied carrying out organized human rights abuses. Its announcement that Suu Kyi would head the legal team was posted on the Facebook page of the office of the state counsellor, a position Suu Kyi holds along with that of foreign minister. Myanmar’s government releases much public information on Facebook.



The International Criminal Court passed its highest ever sentence Thursday, sending a Congolese warlord known as “The Terminator” to prison for 30 years for crimes including murder, rape and sexual slavery.

Bosco Ntaganda was found guilty in July of 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role as a military commander in atrocities during a bloody ethnic conflict in a mineral-rich region of Congo in 2002-2003.

Ntaganda showed no emotion as Presiding Judge Robert Fremr passed sentences ranging from eight years to 30 years for individual crimes and an overarching sentence of 30 years.

The court’s maximum sentence is 30 years, although judges also have the discretion to impose a life sentence. Lawyers representing victims in the case had called for a life term.

Fremr said despite the gravity of the crimes and Ntaganda’s culpability, his convictions “do not warrant a sentence of life imprisonment.”

Ida Sawyer, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Africa division, welcomed the ruling.


The European Court of Human Rights has ruled in favor of a Bosnian politician who has sued the state because local elections in the central city of Mostar have not been held since 2008 over a legal problem.

The court in Strasbourg on Tuesday gave Bosnia-Herzegovina six months to amend the election laws so a vote can be held.

The deadlock in Mostar stems from the authorities' failure to enforce a 2010 decision by Bosnia's Constitutional Court.

Mostar politician Irma Baralija has argued the legal void has prevented her from voting or running in a local election.

The court has rejected authorities' claim that the delay was caused by efforts to agree on a power-sharing formula. The case reflects political problems in ethnically-divided Bosnia following its devastating 1992-95 war.


Donaldo Morales caught a break when federal prosecutors declined to charge him after he was arrested for using a fake Social Security card so he could work at a Kansas restaurant. But the break was short-lived. Kansas authorities stepped in and obtained a state conviction that could lead to Morales’s deportation.

A state appellate court overturned the conviction, but Kansas appealed. On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether states can prosecute immigrants like Morales who use other people’s Social Security numbers to get a job.

Morales, who plans to attend the arguments with his wife and a son, said he has been having nightmares about being deported. His greatest fear is leaving behind his wife and children if the Supreme Court reinstates his state convictions — felonies that could trigger deportation proceedings.

“What I did was to earn money honestly in a job to support my family,” the 51-year-old Guatemalan immigrant told The Associated Press in Spanish.

The case before the nation’s highest court arises from three prosecutions in Johnson County, a largely suburban area outside Kansas City, Missouri, where the district attorney has aggressively pursued immigrants under the Kansas identity theft and false-information statutes.

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