31 March 2013
SHARES News Items Overview: 16-31 March 2013
The SHARES Project closely follows and collects news items that are linked to the issue of shared responsibility. This is our ‘SHARES News Items Overview: 16-31 March 2013’ consisting of a summary of recent news relating to shared responsibility.
- Shortly after the start of the annual joint military drills by the US and South Korea, North Korea accused the United States and its allies of carrying out ‘intensive and persistent’ cyber attacks on its official websites. These accusations come at a time of increased tensions between North Korea and South Korea.
- According to the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA) could be transferred to a UN stabilization mission by July 2013.
- Over 150 states have started negotiations on a draft Arms Trade Treaty, that amongst others seeks to restrict export of arms that could be used by other states to violate international human rights or humanitarian law.
- The UN Security Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) for another year, until 19 March 2014. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged for continued UN support to the Afghan government for the assumption of full responsibility of governance, security and development in most areas up to and beyond the 2014 deadline.
- On 20 March 2013, a German court of first instance in Bonn began hearing the complaints of several relatives of Afghans killed by airstrikes in northern Afghanistan near the city of Kunduz in 2009. These airstrikes were targeted at two stolen tankers, but led to the death and injury of civilians. Although the strikes were executed by US planes, they were ordered by a German NATO officer. The German government has already paid 330.000 euros to the victims, but the claimants claim ten times this amount.
- Jeroen Dijsselbloem, president of the Eurogroup has taken responsibility for a joint decision of all 17 ministers of the Eurogroup to impose a tax on depositors in Cyprus.
- The New York Times reported that in recent months, Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters, with help from the C.I.A. Airlifts have grown to include more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Qatari and Saudi cargo planes landing at Jordanian and Turkish airports. American intelligence officers helped the Arab governments to shop for weapons, and vetted groups and rebel commanders have assisted in determining who should receive weapons upon arrival.
- The German Federal Ministry of the Interior announced that it will receive about 5.000 refugees from Syria and intends to promote a coordinated European response together with UNHCR to protect Syrian refugees.
- The United States has transferred all but a ‘small number’ of the Afghan prisoners at the Bagram prison to the Afghan government.
- Afghan and NATO military officials have reported that more than 20 armed fighters were killed in a joint operation in the east of Afghanistan. During this operation in the eastern province of Logar, two captured Afghan soldiers were rescued.
- A UK Court of Appeals rejected an attempt by the UK government to deport Abu Qatada (an Islamic cleric) to Jordan, on the ground that states cannot expel a person where there is a real risk that this person will face a trial based on evidence obtained by torture. The Court upheld a ruling from 2012 by the Special Immigrations Appeals Commission (SIAC) that blocked Qatada’s return to Jordan to stand trial. In this ruling, the SIAC had upheld the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in the case Othman (Abu Qatada) v. the United Kingdom. The SIAC also found the diplomatic assurances obtained by the UK government were insufficient to prove that torture-based evidence would not be admitted in any retrial.
- BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) decided to establish a new development bank to counter-weigh the influence of the IMF and the World Bank. The new development bank is meant to provide for a 100 billion dollar Contingency Reserve Arrangement to tackle any financial crisis in emerging economies. Details have however yet to be worked out.
- The UN Security Council authorized the deployment of an ‘Intervention Brigade’ within the current UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). This intervention force will undertake targeted operations to ‘neutralize and disarm’ rebel groups in DR Congo. It is the ‘first-ever “offensive” combat force’ established under UN command.
- The NGO Human Rights First published a report documenting the supply chain which enables the Assad regime to commit atrocities. The report Enablers of the Syrian Conflict How Targeting Third Parties Can Slow the Atrocities in Syria contains information indicating that ‘enablers’ of the atrocities include the country’s large allies, but also smaller states and commercial entities.