Rwanda Genocide 1994. Photo: rwanda-genocide.wikispaces.com via Bing (CC).
Rwanda Genocide 1994. Photo: rwanda-genocide.wikispaces.com via Bing (CC).

Israel joins Rwanda to demand France acts on genocide suspects: On 15 January 2018, Israel joined Rwanda and six other countries in demanding that France “take active steps” to extradite suspects involved in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The call came as part of the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review. The countries called for the suspects to be extradited to Rwanda or arrested and prosecuted in France, highlighting France’s reluctance to prosecute those alleged to have been involved in the genocide. Rwanda has previously criticised France for granting asylum to many of those suspected of being involved in the genocide and refusing to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. (News of Rwanda)

Syrian Network for Human Rights denounces escalation in Eastern Ghouta: On 14 January 2018, the Syrian Network for Human Rights released a report claiming that 329 civilians, including 29 children, had been killed in Eastern Ghouta, Syria, during two months of escalating hostilities. The report, titled “The Security Council is in Deep Sleep” analyses the situation in Syria since the de-escalation agreement entered into in May 2017. It highlights various human rights and law of armed conflict violations including 28 massacres and 84 attacks on civilian facilities since 22 July 2017. (SNHR; Full report)

Syria. Photo: scrapetv.com via Bing (CC).
Syria. Photo: scrapetv.com via Bing (CC).

Group seeks UN intervention over El-Zakzaky’s continued detention: Access to Justice, a justice advocacy organisation, has petitioned the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) over the continued detention of the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky. Mr EL-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, have been in custody since the Nigerian Army raided their home in December 2015. Access to Justice has expressed concerns about the government’s continued disregard for orders by the High Court calling the detention both illegal and unconstitutional. The group has also raised concerns about impact on the state of the rule of law in Nigeria. The Nigerian government has claimed that the detention of Mr El-Zakaky is for his own safety. (Premium Times)

Mitrovic accused of war crimes released: Bogdan Mitrovic, a Serb accused of war crimes in Kosovo, has been released from custody. Mr Mitrovic was initially arrested in August 2017. His lawyer has claimed that the original arrest was based on the statement of a single witness – a neighbour who was also in charge of resettling Serbs in the area. A spokesperson from the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, a Serbian government body, has criticised the human rights violations in detaining Mr Mitrovic. He also stated that Mr Mitrovic’s release was a result of hard work by his defence team and Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić’s petitions to the European Union. (B92)

Dutch arms dealer case postponed in wait of extradition documentation: On 12 January 2018, the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court granted a postponement of the case against convicted arms dealer, Augustinus Petrus Kouwenhoven, in order to allow time for documents to be prepared for his extradition to the Netherlands. Mr Kouwenhoven was convicted by a court in the Hague on 21 April 2017 for his involvement in war crimes in selling weapons to Charles Taylor during civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Mr Kouwenhoven was convicted in absentia and fled to Cape Town where he was subsequently found by authorities. He faces 19 years imprisonment in the Netherlands if deported. (GNN Liberia)