President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia addressed the United Nations, accusing Russia of violating human rights, international law, and a 2008 ceasefire between the countries.
President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia (Photo courtesy of the UN)
Thousands of people were displaced when a five-day war erupted between Georgia and Russia on August 7, 2008 after Georgia tried to retake control of South Ossetia.
Saakashvili claims that dozens of terrorist attacks targeting Georgia are directly linked to Russian secret services.
Russia’s deputy justice minister, Georgy Matyushkinl, said Russia’s involvement was in response to illegal and deliberate attacks launched by Georgia.
Europe’s Human Rights Court has received over 1,900 complaints related to the Georgia-Russia conflict since 2008. Most of them have been against Georgia.
On Thursday, Uganda‘s highest court ordered amnesty and release for a rebel commander from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) who was charged with 53 counts of willful murder.
Lord’s Resistance Army Commander Thomas Kwoyelo (Photo Courtesy of usaforicc.org)
Uganda’s Constitutional Court ruled that Thomas Kwoyelo, a former colonel in the LRA, is eligible for immunity even though he is charged with 53 counts of murder against civilians, destruction of personal property, hostage taking, kidnapping, and robbery.
Kwoyelo denied all the charges and petitioned the Constitutional Court for amnesty. The decision to grant amnesty was based on a 2000 amnesty law that has been used to pardon more than 10,000 LRA fighters.
Kwoyelo was taken into custody in March 2009 in Garamba forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Some of the LRA’s commanders, including Joseph Kony, have eluded capture and continue to commit atrocities in neighboring countries.
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The Marines were the service most opposed to ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but they were also the only one of the five invited branches of the military to turn up with their recruiting table to a gay community center in Tulsa. Marines ferociously promote their view of themselves as the best, so with DADT gone, they have decided to recruit gays, lesbians, and bisexuals better than the other branches.
Only one in ten applicants qualifies to serve as a Marine. Most are turned away for asthma, attention deficit disorder, excessive tattoos, excessive weight, history of drug use, joint injuries, or lack of a high school diploma.
A bad economy has also made jobs in the Marines more desirable when Marines anticipate shrinking their forces due to the ends of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
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After years of debate, the military can no longer prevent gays from serving openly in its ranks.
Repeal of the 1993 law that allowed gays to serve only if they kept their sexual orientation private took effect Tuesday at 12:01 a.m.
The Army stated simply today, “The law is repealed,” and reminded soldiers to treat each other fairly.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, scheduled a Pentagon news conference later today to field questions about the repeal.
Gay advocacy groups scheduled celebrations across the country today.
Pentagon press secretary George Little said yesterday that the military is adequately prepared for the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Last week, the Pentagon said 97% of the military has undergone training in the new law.
For weeks, the military has accepted applications from openly gay recruits while waiting for the repeal to take effect.
The lifting of the eighteen-year-old ban also halts all pending discharges and investigations begun under the law.
There will be no immediate changes to eligibility standards for military benefits.
Security forces under the control of Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen‘s president, have opened fire on protesters in Sana’a. At least twenty-six people are dead, and hundreds are injured.
Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in the capital to call for an end to Saleh’s thirty-three-year rule. Government snipers fired on protesters from rooftops, and security force officers shot protesters with anti-aircraft guns and automatic weapons.
Earlier, government troops opened fire on the Al-Hasaba district, home to opposition leadership. The opposition did not return fire.
Saleh has been facing protests over charges of nepotism and corruption since January. Despite government pressure, the opposition plans to continue its protests.
Truong Can Suona, a political prisoner who spent thirty-three of his sixty-eight years in jail, died in detention.
Truong Van Suong died in prison after serving over 33 years as a political prisoner (Photo Courtesy of The Guardian).
In November 2010, prison officials notified Mr. Truong’s family that he had developed a serious heart condition. He was temporarily released but was returned to prison on August 19, just weeks before his passing.
Mr. Truong served as an officer in Southern Vietnam‘s Army during the Vietnam War. After the North invaded Saigon, he spent six years in a re-education camp in central Vietnam. After his release, he fled to Thailand and joined the United Front of Patriotic Force for the Liberation of Vietnam in trying to bring democracy to Vietnam.
Mr. Truong is the second political prisoner to die in Vietnam since July.
Rwandan war criminal Callixte Mbarushimana was arrested last week in Paris and has been charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes. Mbarushimana is alleged to have directed more than 10,000 rapes in Kivu in 2009.
The International Criminal Court issued a sealed arrest warrant in late September, which French authorities helped carry out. He faces five counts of crimes against humanity (inhumane acts, murder, persecution, rape, and torture) and six counts of war crimes (attacks against civilians, destruction of property, inhumane treatment, murder, rape, and torture).
Mbarushimana was a key player in the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and was living in Paris as the leader-in-exile of the Rwandan Hutu rebel group. The FDLR was established by former guerrillas accused of genocide in the 1994 ethnic slaughter in Rwanda. The group later moved to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
No date has been set for Mbarushimana to be transferred to The Hague.
Via Impunity Watch.
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On Tuesday, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia convicted Momcilo Perisic, the head of the Yugoslav Army from 1993 to 1998, of crimes against humanity. Perisic faces twenty-seven years in prison.
The conviction was connected to attacks on civilians in Sarajevo and Srebrenica by soldiers under Perisic’s command.
Throughout the trial, prosecutor Mark Harmon argued that Perisic did not have a direct role in the crimes but should be held responsible anyway because he aided and abetted the crimes. Perisic was convicted of aiding and abetting murder and inhumane acts, but he was not convicted as a superior in relation to the crimes.
Perisic plans to appeal his conviction within thirty days.
Uruguayan troops on a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti are being investigated after a cell phone video revealed what appears to be a young local man being physically and sexually assaulted by at least five troops.
Video captured on a cell phone show graphic images of physical and sexual abuse by Uruguayan peacekeeping troops. (Photo Courtesy of Al Jazeera).
The one-minute video shows a half-naked man about eighteen years old being pinned down and physically assaulted on a mattress by several Uruguayan troops wearing camouflage.
If found guilty, those involved could face dishonorable discharge from the navy and lose their retirement rights.
The U.N. began the peacekeeping mission in Haiti in 2004 after former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was exiled. Tensions between the locals and the peacekeepers have been on the rise in the past couple of years.
Local residents have begun demonstrations calling for the ousting of all U.N. peacekeepers.
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This afternoon, three people were killed and six wounded in a shooting at a Carson City, Nevada IHOP.
The gunman was found with a self-inflicted would. He is not expected to survive.
According to the sheriff’s office, some of the victims were “military folks.” Two of the dead were in uniform.