Category Archives: Allgemein

Greece, Turkey in border dispute after alleged island occupation as it is difficult to discern where, exactly, the true border runs

Greece, Turkey in border dispute after alleged island occupation as it is difficult to discern where, exactly, the true border runs

Turkish military forces have reportedly occupied an island in the Evros River, the natural border between Turkey and Greece. Athens has denied the reports, yet relations between the Mediterranean neighbors remain tense.

A sign on the fence that marks the Greek-Turkish land border. Sign says in Greek: ‘Caution – Land border – Greek-Turkish Borders’

Border tensions between Greece and Turkey aren’t new. Back in 2012, Greek authorities erected a 3-meter (10-foot) high barbed wire fence along 10 kilometers (6 miles) of the Evros River, which runs between the two countries, to stem “irregular migration.”

This past February, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened his side of the border, allowing migrants to stream toward the Greek side, only to be forcefully repelled by Greek border police. In mid-April, Athens announced plans to extend its fence on Greek soil by another 26 kilometers near the border town of Feres. On May 11, however, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry objected to the project, urging a meeting of experts from both countries to ensure the inviolability of the border.

Read more: Migrants accuse Greece of forced deportations

Fluid border

The fact is, however, the Greek-Turkish border has always been in a state of flux. “Over time, the riverbed of the Evros has changed, which is absolutely normal in this region,” said Constantinos Filis, executive director at the Athens-based Institute of International Relations. “For this reason alone, there may be slight changes in the border.”

As example, he points out the formation of a small swamp along the river in recent rainy months, which has now dried up. The area in question, apparently less than a hectare (2.5 acres) in size, has made it difficult to discern where, exactly, the true border now runs.

A map showing the border between Turkey and Greece

Filis told DW that it wasn’t clear whether Turkish security forces had illegally entered Greek territory. But that didn’t stop Greece’s left-wing opposition, under the leadership of former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, from demanding the government address “Turkey’s arbitrary and aggressive actions.” But Greece’s armed forces have dismissed reports of a Turkish incursion, and even right-wing daily Dimokratia, known for its regular attacks on Turkey, has expressed doubt over the incident.

Proxy conflict

Over the weekend, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias issued a statement saying that “no foreign power is on Greek soil.” Speaking to broadcaster Skai TV on Sunday, he rejected reports of a Turkish incursion as “nonsense,” adding that Turkey was attempting to “militarize the dispute” but said Athens would avoid walking into this trap. According to Greek weekly paper To Vima, Turkish experts and military figures have carried out measurements along the Evros River near Feres, to determine the exact position of the border — and not just on Turkish soil.

Read more: Frontex to boost EU border mission in Greece

Turkey, meanwhile, doesn’t seem especially interested in taking the escalation any further. In an interview with To Vima, Turkey’s ambassador to Greece, Burak Ozugergin, said he and his Greek counterparts were in agreement that the issue was “a purely technical question and not a border conflict.” Watch video 03:43

Refugees pushed from both sides of Turkey-EU border

Tensions between Greece and Turkey have increased in recent years, yet the relationship between the two NATO members wasn’t always like this. After a severe earthquake shook the Turkish city of Izmit in August 1999, Greek emergency responders came to the rescue. And when the Greek capital was similarly rattled a few weeks later, Turkey reciprocated. This marked the beginning of a period of relatively warm ties between both countries.

Read more: Greece boosts military presence along Turkish border

But by the summer of 2016, however, that relationship had already began to sour. Following the failed coup against President Erdogan that July, several Turkish officers fled to Greece and sought asylum. Greece has since refused to extradite the men, an act viewed by Erdogan as an affront.

International relations expert Filis said Erdogan’s decision to open the border to thousands of migrants this past February, causing violent clashes, backfired. “It hurt his prestige, so now he is trying to make up for it with an aggressive stance, like sending Turkish military forces to the river,” he said.

https://www.dw.com/en/greece-turkey-in-border-dispute-after-alleged-island-occupation/a-53564277?maca=en-EMail-sharing

L’administration Trump veut la tête du président de la Banque africaine de développement – Actionnaire de la banque, la Suisse soutient la démarche américaine

L’administration Trump veut la tête du président de la Banque africaine de développement

Afrique

Accusé d’abus de pouvoir, Akinwumi Adesina, président de la Banque africaine de développement basé à Abidjan, a été disculpé une première fois par une enquête interne. Mais Washington réclame une nouvelle investigation indépendante. Actionnaire de la banque, la Suisse soutient la démarche américaine

Ram EtwareeaRam Etwareea Publié lundi 25 mai 2020 à 19:50
Modifié lundi 25 mai 2020 à 20:30

La Suisse, pays qui n’hésite pas à lancer une enquête sur les agissements de son propre procureur général, se refusera-t-elle à demander des comptes à Akinwumi Adesina, président de la Banque africaine de développement (BAD) dont elle est actionnaire? Non. L’administration fédérale soutient en effet la démarche des Etats-Unis, qui réclament une enquête indépendante sur les accusations d’abus de pouvoir de la part du patron de la BAD. Dans une lettre datée du 22 mai, le secrétaire d’Etat au Trésor, Steven Mnuchin, rejette les conclusions d’une enquête interne qui a blanchi Akinwumi Adesina et demande de nommer un enquêteur extérieur pour élucider les accusations.

Lire aussi: Donald Trump veut un «faucon» pour diriger la Banque mondiale

Tout a commencé par un conflit entre Akinwumi Adesina, ancien ministre nigérian de l’Agriculture, et David Malpass, nommé président de la Banque mondiale en 2019 par le président américain, Donald Trump. Avant sa promotion, le conservateur américain occupait le poste de sous-secrétaire au Trésor au côté de Steven Mnuchin. Le nouvel homme fort était déjà connu pour ses critiques envers les organisations multilatérales de développement. A son arrivée à la Banque mondiale, il a d’emblée accusé la BAD d’alourdir l’endettement de pays africains. Réponse du président de la BAD: «La Banque mondiale est davantage responsable de la dette du continent et, sans ses programmes, celle-ci n’aurait plus de raison d’être.»

Washington contre Abidjan

C’est dans ce contexte de guerre larvée entre Abidjan, siège de la BAD, et Washington qu’est apparu un groupe de lanceurs d’alerte à l’intérieur de l’institution, qui a accusé le Nigérian d’abus de pouvoir, notamment de nominations de proches. «Akinwumi Adesina se prend pour une vedette et nomme ceux qui sont acquis d’avance à sa promotion personnelle, raconte un ancien diplomate. Il a aussi fermé les yeux sur des accusations de malversations par certains de ses proches.» Sous la pression des Etats-Unis et d’autres actionnaires, le Comité d’éthique de la BAD a été chargé de faire la lumière sur les accusations.

Lire également: La Suisse mise sur une Afrique chaotique, mais prometteuse

La balle est maintenant dans le camp du Conseil des gouverneurs. De nombreux pays ont déjà apporté leur soutien à la demande américaine. «La Suisse attend aussi une enquête complète et professionnelle sur les allégations des dénonciateurs, répondent les Affaires étrangères au Temps. Comme toujours dans de tels cas, la présomption d’innocence s’applique.» Selon l’ancien diplomate, le pouvoir américain saura mobiliser le vote en son sens.

Candidat à sa propre succession

Pour notre interlocuteur, les Etats-Unis tentent de franchir une ligne conventionnelle, mais dépassée. «Les organisations internationales ne sont pas exposées aux enquêtes extérieures, relève-t-il. Trop souvent, les accusations sont étouffées par des enquêteurs internes qui finissent par disculper les accusés.» Selon lui, il s’agit ici de rompre avec une tradition qui protège toujours les pouvoirs en place. Et d’ajouter: «Mais ce principe doit s’appliquer également à la Banque mondiale où des cas d’abus sont aussi connus.»

Akinwumi Adesina connu pour son franc-parler et qui a préservé la notation AAA de Moody’s à la BAD est candidat à sa propre succession. Les Etats membres se prononceront sur cette candidature unique fin août. Pour l’emporter, il doit obtenir la double majorité, tant chez les membres africains que chez les extra-régionaux. Ce qui, à la lumière des développements récents, n’est pas gagné d’avance.

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Le Temp

Opinion : Les droits de l’enfant sacrifiés au profit de la lutte contre le terrorisme? (Jean Zermatten, ancien président du Comité des droits de l’enfant à l’ONU, et Philip D. Jaffé, membre du Comité des droits de l’enfant à l’ONU)

Les droits de l’enfant sacrifiés au profit de la lutte contre le terrorisme?

Opinion

OPINION. Le Conseil des Etats a accepté le 9 mars 2020 un projet de législation antiterroriste tel que soumis par le Conseil fédéral. On ne peut pas sacrifier les droits humains sur l’autel de la menace terroriste! mettent en garde Jean Zermatten, ancien président du Comité des droits de l’enfant à l’ONU, et Philip D. Jaffé, membre du Comité des droits de l’enfant à l’ONU

Auteur externe Jean Zermatten et Philip D. Jaffé* Publié lundi 25 mai 2020 à 14:18
Modifié lundi 25 mai 2020 à 14:18

L’état de crise provoqué par le coronavirus a mis en veilleuse de nombreux débats publics. Ainsi, malgré les réticences de sa propre Commission des affaires juridiques, le Conseil des Etats a accepté le 9 mars 2020 un projet de législation antiterroriste tel que soumis par le Conseil fédéral. La Commission de politique de sécurité du Conseil national doit encore se prononcer… Cette législation antiterroriste permettrait d’instaurer des mesures limitant les libertés de mouvement, d’expression et d’association ainsi que le droit à la vie privée et familiale, et le droit au travail en se basant sur le seul soupçon qu’un individu pourrait, un jour, mettre en péril ou simplement menacer la sécurité nationale. La police aurait aussi quasiment pleins pouvoirs, y compris celui de placer des personnes en résidence surveillée, de leur interdire de voyager et de les soumettre à une surveillance électronique sans fournir suffisamment de protection contre les abus et sans les soumettre aux garanties procédurales usuelles.

Lire aussi: Quelle place pour les droits de l’enfant en période de pandémie?

Si l’on est bien d’accord que les Etats doivent prendre des mesures appropriées pour protéger leurs citoyens contre le terrorisme et garantir la sûreté et la sécurité sur leur territoire, il n’en reste pas moins que les mesures antiterroristes doivent toujours respecter les droits fondamentaux, notamment les garanties mises en place pour éviter l’arbitraire et le pouvoir discrétionnaire: on ne peut pas sacrifier les droits humains sur l’autel de la menace terroriste! Par exemple, placer des personnes aux arrêts domiciliaires équivaut à une privation de liberté; le faire sans offrir toutes les possibilités de remettre cette décision en cause viole de manière flagrante les dispositions du droit positif helvétique et les obligations de la Suisse en matière de respect des droits humains.

Dès l’âge de 15 ans

Il y a bien plus choquant. Premièrement, la loi fédérale sur les mesures policières de lutte contre le terrorisme (MPT) prévoit une possibilité d’assignation à résidence et, en l’état actuel du projet, ces arrêts domiciliaires pourraient être ordonnés contre des mineurs dès l’âge de 15 ans; toutes les autres mesures seraient applicables dès l’âge de 12 ans. En voici quelques-unes: l’obligation de se présenter et de participer à des entretiens, des interdictions de contact, des assignations ou interdictions d’espaces, des restrictions de voyage en dehors du territoire, la surveillance électronique et la localisation des téléphones portables. Deuxièmement, la loi autoriserait la police à intervenir et à appliquer des mesures administratives contraignantes à l’égard d’enfants et d’adolescents considérés comme terroristes potentiels (au sens du projet de loi, ce sont les personnes susceptibles de perpétrer des actes terroristes à l’avenir, sur la base d’indices concrets et actuels).

La Suisse est déjà critiquée par le Comité des droits de l’enfant pour son seuil d’intervention pénale en dessous des standards internationaux

Des «indices»? Vous avez pourtant bien lu! On pressent déjà les décisions policières fondées sur le risque zéro qui prendraient à la lettre les comportements de la population pré- ou adolescente, souvent caractérisée par la saine provocation, la logique des extrêmes, ou le défi irrationnel. Voulons-nous donner à la police le pouvoir de juger ce qu’est un indice terroriste plutôt qu’une bravade ou une incivilité?

La Suisse, comme nombre de pays, a prévu un droit particulier pour les enfants et adolescents qui commettent des délits, bâti sur la nécessité de traiter les enfants différemment des adultes en raison de leur âge, de leur vulnérabilité et de leurs besoins particuliers. Au cœur de ce droit: la protection, l’éducation et le rôle crucial du juge spécialisé pour mineurs.

Aux politiques de revoir leur copie!

Notre pays est également lié à la Convention des droits de l’enfant de 1989, qui indique très clairement quelles sont les obligations des Etats matière de justice juvénile. Or, la Suisse est déjà critiquée par le Comité des droits de l’enfant pour son seuil d’intervention pénale en dessous des standards internationaux (10 ans au lieu de 14 ans). Permettre à la police d’intervenir sans infraction dès 12 ans est une nouvelle violation des obligations helvétiques à l’égard de ses enfants. Ou encore, la proposition de loi antiterroriste prévoit des arrêts domiciliaires pouvant aller jusqu’à 9 mois pour un enfant de 15 ans. Attention: il s’agit d’une privation de liberté, conformément à la jurisprudence de la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme, et la Convention des droits de l’enfant stipule explicitement que la privation de liberté ne doit être prononcée dans le cas d’un enfant qu’en dernier ressort, pour une durée la plus brève possible et pour une infraction grave. Certainement pas pour des indices!

Lire également: «En matière de droits de l’enfant, il y a des indices de régression, voire de repli»

Une stratégie efficace de lutte contre le terrorisme ne doit pas faire fi des droits humains, encore moins des droits de l’enfant. Nous pensons au contraire qu’elle doit respecter ces droits et prendre en compte les besoins particuliers des adolescents, leur intégration, et leur éducation. Elle ne peut pas se baser sur les textes proposés. Aux politiques de revoir leur copie!


*Jean Zermatten, a. président du Comité des droits de l’enfant à l’ONU, a. juge pour mineurs (jean.zermatten@childsrights.org) –  Philip D. Jaffé, membre du Comité des droits de l’enfant à l’ONU, professeur à l’Université de Genève (philip.jaffe@unige.ch)

Clorox v. Venezuela award is set aside by Swiss courts; abuse of rights argument is remanded to the arbitral tribunal

Clorox v. Venezuela award is set aside by Swiss courts; abuse of rights argument is remanded to the arbitral tribunal

May 29, 2020 | by Lisa Bohmer – https://www.iareporter.com/

Case(s) discussed in this article: Clorox v. Venezuela

The Swiss Federal Tribunal has set aside a May 20, 2019 award in Clorox Spain v. Venezuela, after disagreeing with the UNCITRAL tribunal’s decision that the underlying Spain-Venezuela BIT required an “action of investing”.

Notably, in the recently-published March 25, 2020 decision [click here to download]*, the Federal Tribunal found that, absent any express provision to the contrary in the BIT, only the claimant’s nationality, and not the origin of the funds invested, was relevant for jurisdictional purposes. The court concluded that there was no basis in the treaty for the additional requirement of an “action of investing”, warranting the award’s annulment.

Nevertheless, the court noted that an abuse of process argument may be available to Venezuela, and it remanded the case to the original tribunal for a decision on this point, as well as on other potential jurisdictional objections. (The abuse of process argument was raised by Clorox in the arbitration, but the arbitral tribunal found it unnecessary to examine this objection in light of its finding that the claimant had not carried out any action of investing.)**

The Federal Tribunal was composed of judges Christina Kiss (chair), Fabienne Hohl, Martha Niquille, Yves Rüedi, and Marie-Chantal May Canellas.

In the court proceedings, Clorox was represented by Lenz & Staehelin, while Venezuela relied on counsel from Canonica Valticos de Preux + Associés.

(In the arbitration, Clorox relied on counsel from King & Spalding, while Venezuela was represented by Garcia & Morris and GST.)

Arbitral tribunal declined jurisdiction after identifying an “action of investment” requirement in the BIT

As we’ve reported, in the underlying award, an UNCITRAL tribunal of Yves Derains (chair), Bernard Hanotiau (claimant’s nominee) and Raul Vinuesa (respondent’s nominee) decided that, by defining ‘investment’ as “any kind of assets invested by investors of one Contracting Party”, the BIT covered only investments that had involved an “action of investing”.

On this basis, the tribunal found that the original investment in Clorox’s local company had been made by two US-based entities, which, on April 15, 2011, transferred their shares to the newly-incorporated Clorox Spain. The arbitrators stressed that Clorox Spain had not provided any consideration in exchange for the shares, and therefore had not carried out any action of investing, leading the tribunal to decline jurisdiction.

Clorox Spain initiated set-aside proceedings at the seat, in Switzerland.

Court has the power to decide the tribunal’s jurisdiction

The investor notably asked the Swiss Federal Tribunal to find that the arbitral tribunal had jurisdiction to hear the case.

Starting with the scope of its review, the Federal Tribunal stressed that, in general, it was not allowed to enter the merits of arbitration disputes, since the set-aside mechanism had the characteristics of a limited appeal (cassation).

However, according to the court, these restrictions did not apply if the dispute concerned the arbitral tribunal’s jurisdiction. On jurisdictional issues, the court had the power to fully review the case, and to find in favour or against the tribunal’s jurisdiction.

The claimant’s request for a positive finding of jurisdiction was therefore found to be admissible.

VCLT applies as customary international law

As a preliminary matter, the court noted that it had the power to carry out an interpretation of the terms ‘investment’ and ‘investor’, as defined in the BIT.

For that purpose, the court stressed that the interpretative principles of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT) applied, although Venezuela never ratified the VCLT, since these principles qualified as customary international law.

Court adopts “pragmatic approach” to the definition of investment

Turning to the definition of ‘investment’, the court noted that this term may have different meanings in legal language and in economic language. In addition, the Federal Tribunal stressed that the legal definition of this term varied from one investment tribunal to another, while doctrinal approaches also diverged.

In light of this observation, the court concluded that it was appropriate to adopt a “pragmatic approach”, by applying the interpretative principles set out in the VCLT.

(As we reported, the Federal Tribunal reached a similar conclusion in its ruling on the Deutsche Telekom v. India case, a case in which the judges concluded that the term “investment” covered indirect investments.)

Key question is not whether the investment was direct or indirect

The court next reasoned that the arbitral tribunal was correct to consider that the key question at hand was not whether the investment was direct or indirect. The court noted that Clorox Spain directly owned all the shares of the local entity, which qualified as a direct investment.

(In this respect, the court noted that its ruling in the Deutsche Telekom v. India case was therefore not applicable.)

The court further disagreed with Clorox’s argument that a contradiction existed between the arbitral tribunal’s finding that an action of investment was required on the one hand, and the tribunal’s observation that the BIT applied to indirect investments on the other hand. The judges saw no such contradiction, as the requirement of an action of investment did not exclude all indirect investments, but only those that were not actively made.

Corporate restructuring appears to be the “decisive element” that led the tribunal to decline jurisdiction

Turning to the arbitral tribunal’s interpretation of the terms ‘investment’ and ‘investor’, as defined in the BIT, the court noted that the arbitral tribunal’s reasoning appeared, at first sight, “particularly simple and devoid of ambiguity”: the arbitrators found that the claimant had not actively acquired the shares in the local entity in exchange for a certain consideration, and that Clorox Spain was therefore not entitled to rely on the BIT.

However, according to the court, behind this apparently simple approach appeared a “more complex” reasoning, which was related to the origin of the funds used for the investment, as well as to the manner in which the investment was structured.

In this respect, the court noted that it was not “innocuous” that the arbitrators had placed emphasis on the fact that the capital and know-how invested in Venezuela originated from two US-based companies, which were not entitled to rely on the BIT.

Thus, according to the court, the arbitrators had, in reality, carried out a “material analysis” regarding the origin of the funds invested, while they were claiming to apply a “formal” criterion based on the existence of an act of investing. In fact, the court also observed, the arbitrators did recognize that, prima facie, the claimant qualified as an investor and its shares as an investment in the sense of the BIT.

The Federal Tribunal concluded that the “decisive element” that led the arbitrators to decline jurisdiction appeared to be the fact that the shares had been transferred to a Spanish entity during a company restructuring which, in turn, appeared to have been aimed at obtaining protection under the BIT.

BIT contains a broad definition of the term ‘investment’ but no limitation regarding the origin of the invested capital

The Federal Tribunal then examined the BIT’s definition of the term ‘investment’.

In this respect, the court reckoned that the BIT’s definition was a “classical” asset-based definition, containing a general clause followed by a non-exhaustive list of examples which, notably, referred to company shares as investments.

In comparison with other BITs, this definition was characterized by its “openness”, according to the court, since it did not contain any restrictive language, besides the expression “invested by investors”.

In fact, the court noted that many investment treaties contain more limitative clauses. In particular, the court stressed that contracting states could protect themselves through “denial of benefits clauses”, by referring to an origin of capital requirement, or by including a requirement of reciprocity in the preamble and the relevant definitions.

The court also considered that such clauses were already commonly used at the time when the BIT was concluded, in 1995. Nevertheless, the BIT did not contain any such requirements.

Arbitrators wrongly read the requirement of an action of investing into the BIT

In this context, the court further reasoned that “in the absence of express provisions to the contrary in an investment treaty, it is reasonable to assume that only the nationality of the entity which holds the investment is determinative, and not the origin of a possible consideration to be made at the time of the investment”.

The Federal Tribunal concluded that, since the BIT did not contain any express restrictions against treaty shopping but included, to the contrary, a broad definition of the term ‘investment’, there was no basis for adding any “supplementary conditions” to those set out in the treaty.

Thus, the arbitrators had wrongly read a requirement of an action of investing into the BIT, the court concluded.

Abuse of process argument is available irrespective of the treaty’s provisions

Nevertheless, the Federal Tribunal added that, simply because the BIT did not contain any express prohibition of treaty shopping, this did not imply that “certain practices aimed at benefitting in an abusive manner from the protection of the treaty in question must be tolerated by the contracting states”.

According to the court, the prohibition against an “abuse of rights” was a “generally recognized international principle”, as well as part of Swiss public policy.

Thus, an abuse of process argument would be available to the respondent irrespective of the BIT’s language, according to the court.

Abuse of process argument and further jurisdictional objections are remanded to the arbitral tribunal

The Federal Tribunal next offered certain considerations regarding the notion of abuse of rights in investor-state arbitration.

The court noted that the distinction between legitimate corporate planning and an abuse of process was a “difficult exercise”, in which the “temporal aspect is determinative”.

According to the court, if the restructuring took place after the dispute had already arisen, then the abuse of process argument was unnecessary, since the arbitral tribunal would simply decline jurisdiction on a ratione temporis basis.

To the contrary, for the court, the abuse of rights argument could prove “decisive” if the corporate restructuring was carried out at a time when the dispute was already “foreseeable”, and if there was some indication that the restructuring took place in anticipation of the dispute.

However, the Federal Tribunal added that it was not for the court to establish “general criteria” to determine whether or not a dispute was foreseeable; rather, this was a task for the arbitral tribunal.

(Previous tribunals have disagreed in their interpretations of the foreseeability requirement. While a  tribunal in Pac Rim v. El Salvador decided that a party must be able to foresee a dispute, and not merely a controversy, with a “very high probability”, the arbitrators in Philip Morris v. Australia rejected this restrictive approach. More recently, tribunals in Cervin and Rhone v. Costa Rica and Albacora v. Ecuador have briefly addressed this issue.)

As a consequence, the court decided not to exercise its power to make a definitive ruling on the arbitral tribunal’s jurisdiction. Instead, the Federal Tribunal remanded the case to the same UNCITRAL tribunal, in order to allow the arbitrators to address the abuse of rights argument, as well as other possible jurisdictional objections.

(The fact that a case is remanded to the original tribunal after a final award was rendered appears to be rather unusual in treaty-based arbitrations. While the French courts remanded certain jurisdictional issues in the UNCITRAL Serafin Garcia Armas and Karina Garcia Gruber v. Venezuela case to the original tribunal, that tribunal had upheld jurisdiction, and it was therefore still seized of the case at the time when the (partial) annulment decision was rendered. In the ICSID context, annulment decisions have sometimes led to resubmission requests, but such request are usually brought before a newly-constituted tribunal; see, e.g., our reports on the resubmission awards in TECO v. Guatemala (2) and Pey Casado v. Chile (2).)

Venezuela is ordered to pay 2/3 of the costs

In light of its findings, the Federal Tribunal ordered Venezuela to pay 2/3 of the procedural costs, with Clorox paying the remaining third.

The court also noted that the parties’ legal fees, which amounted to 220,000 Francs each, should be apportioned following the same formula, resulting in Venezuela having to reimburse 73,333 Francs to Clorox.

Geneva’s United Nations HQ a ghost town under lockdown

Geneva’s United Nations HQ a ghost town under lockdown

The United Nations building in Geneva has been deserted since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. British photographer Mark Henley has ventured into the historic complex to capture the unique ghost town atmosphere.

Bottle Wine UN

For all the picture see:

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/palais-sans-nations_geneva-un-hq-resembles-ghost-town-under-corona-lockdown/45787316

WHO launches new fundraising foundation in Geneva (established under the laws of Switzerland)

WHO launches new fundraising foundation in Geneva (established under the laws of Switzerland)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched an independent grant-making entity called WHO Foundation that will raise private funds to meet global health challenges. Launched on Wednesday in Geneva, the foundation will help the WHO reach its “triple billion” goals: protect 1 billion people from health emergencies; extend universal health coverage to 1 billion people; and assure healthy lives and wellbeing to 1 billion people by 2023. It aims to attract funds from actors that the WHO does not usually target, such as the private sector and philanthropists. The foundation hopes to be able to contribute $1 billion dollars (CHF970 million francs) to WHO’s efforts over the next three to four years. The former head of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health Thomas Zeltner is one of the main drivers behind the creation of the foundation and is a member of the Founding Board. “Today’s announcement is the culmination of more than two years of preparation and hard work by …

More: https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/27-05-2020-who-foundation-established-to-support-critical-global-health-needs

The man most wanted by international justice is now the former Rwandan major Protais Mpiranya who commanded the presidential guard at the time of the assassination of opposition members and the genocide of Tutsis in 1994

The man most wanted by international justice is now the former Rwandan major Protais Mpiranya who commanded the presidential guard at the time of the assassination of opposition members and the genocide of Tutsis in 1994

May 26 2020 by Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.net

Most wanted

https://www.justiceinfo.net/en/tribunals/ictr/44398-most-wanted.html

The man most wanted by international justice is now Protais Mpiranya. This Rwandan major commanded the presidential guard at the time of the assassination of opposition members and the genocide of Tutsis in 1994. He was pronounced dead in 2006. But today, the Prosecutor of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals claims to have located him.

6 min 24 Approximate reading time

“I know I’m wanted everywhere. The black list with my name underlined in red is circulating here and there. It seems my time has not yet come, otherwise I would be with the other co-defendants.” Thus wrote Protais Mpiranya in a book attributed to him and published “posthumously” in 2010 by Editions Sources du Nil, under the title “Rwanda, the lost paradise. Last secrets of the ex-commander of the Presidential Guard of J. Habyarimana” [President Juvénal Habyarimana, killed in an attack on 6 April 1994].

Mpiranya is now the first name on this “black list”. After the arrest of Félicien Kabuga in Paris on 16 May and the confirmation, a week later, of the death of former Rwandan Defence Minister Augustin Bizimana, the former head of the Presidential Guard is the number one target of international justice.

“A strong understanding of where he is hiding”

Cover of the book attributed to Protais Mpiranya and published “posthumously” in 2010. © Editions Sources du Nil

At the beginning of the book “Rwanda, the lost paradise”, it is said that Mpiranya, indicted for genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in 2000, died a natural death on 5 October 2006. “Stricken by illness during this ordeal of solitude, it was while courageously fighting an unequal battle against fate that he sent me a script recounting what he experienced, saw or heard about the hell that Rwandans are living through,” says in a preface Major Faustin Ntilikina, secretary to the chief of staff of the Rwandan army in April 1994 and former battalion commander, who now lives in France. The preface does not indicate the illness that Mpiranya supposedly died of, or where he allegedly died.

Two months after the book’s publication in December 2010, ICTR Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow told the UN Security Council that Mpiranya had been reported more than once to be in Zimbabwe. “There are indications that Mpiranya has connections with Zimbabwe and has resided there on several occasions,” said the Gambian magistrate, supporting reports in the Zimbabwean press.

But there is nothing to confirm or disprove Mpiranya’s death. Today Serge Brammertz, Belgian Prosecutor of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) – the body that succeeded the ICTR after its closure in 2015 – is certain that Mpiranya is not dead.  “I have been clear that the search for the remaining fugitives – and Mpiranya in particular – remains our highest priority,” Brammertz wrote to Justice Info on 18 May. “Through our intensified investigations over the last three years, we have developed a strong understanding of Mpiranya’s movements and where he is hiding. Our task now is to obtain the necessary cooperation from relevant countries.”

Assassinations of 7 April 1994

Protais Mpiranya, now 60, comes from the same region as former President Habyarimana. After graduating from the Ecole Supérieure Militaire (ESM) in Kigali in 1983, he was assigned to the national gendarmerie. In 1991, while the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) were battling the rebels of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), Mpiranya was transferred to the Presidential Guard battalion. Two years later, he was promoted to commander of that unit. After the defeat of the FAR in July 1994 and the RPF’s seizure of power, Mpiranya reportedly circulated in several African countries. According to the NGO African Rights, the former officer fought in 1998 alongside the Congolese Armed Forces against Congolese rebels supported by the new Rwandan government. According to African Rights, he was later sent to Zimbabwe to establish business ties on behalf of the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR), a Rwandan armed rebel movement accused of exploiting the minerals that abound in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

In January 2000, the ICTR confirmed the indictment against Mpiranya for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The document alleges that elements of the Presidential Guard, acting under the orders of Major Mpiranya, participated in the kidnapping and murder of opposition leaders on the morning of 7 April 1994. Among the victims were Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and the President of the Constitutional Court, Joseph Kavaruganda. The accused is also alleged to have played a role in the killing by regular army soldiers of 10 Belgian peacekeepers in the centre of Kigali. In his book, Mpiranya denies these allegations. “I learned along with everyone else about the deaths of some members of different political parties, including MRND, the party of President Juvenal Habyarimana. What I cannot understand is the fact that some ‘specialists’ and some media have attributed these facts, including the death of the head of state, to the presidential guard, which was besieged by an army of heavily armed invaders,” he wrote.

The South African trail

The hunt for this key player in the events of 1994 began under former ICTR Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte. But both the Swiss magistrate and her successor Jallow turned up a blank. Brammertz seems confident that he can succeed where his predecessors failed.

Brammertz refuses to reveal the country where he thinks Mpiranya is now. In his last two reports to the Security Council, he implicates South Africa and Zimbabwe, but without specifying which country he thinks is harbouring which of the six fugitives indicted by the ICTR and still on the run. The latest report, dated 15 November 2019, focuses on South Africa.  “The Prosecutor deeply regrets that South Africa has not yet arrested and transferred a wanted fugitive indicted for the crime of genocide,” writes the Prosecutor. “For more than a year, and with the full knowledge of the South African authorities, the fugitive has remained at liberty in South Africa, facing no judicial proceedings and seemingly under no measures to ensure he does not have the opportunity to flee again. As of the time of writing, despite extensive attempts by the Office to engage with the South African authorities and resolve the matter, no other conclusion can be drawn except that South Africa is failing to provide cooperation in accordance with the statute of the Mechanism and numerous resolutions of the Security Council”.

On 11 December, Brammertz again complained strongly to the Security Council. This time he only targeted South Africa. Who is the fugitive he has in mind? Is it Mpiranya? “I never mention the names of the fugitives we’re looking for, but I noticed that several newspapers at the time mentioned the name you raised,” Brammertz replied in an interview with Jeune Afrique magazine on May 22. “It is not necessarily correct, so I can’t confirm that it is him.”

Mpiranya is still on the run, but the net seems to be closing around him more than ever. Recommended reading Rwanda: The most judged genocide in history

THE OTHER ICTR INDICTEES STILL ON THE RUN

Félicien Kabuga has been under lock and key since May 16. The death of former defence minister Augustin Bizimana was confirmed on 22 May by the IRMCT prosecutor. A DNA test finally made it possible to verify that Bizimana had indeed died 20 years ago in Pointe-Noire in the Republic of Congo, information that had circulated at the time and was deemed credible.

In addition to Mpiranya, the Mechanism is now seeking five other individuals indicted by the UN Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) for their alleged role in the 1994 Tutsi genocide. If arrested, Mpiranya, like Kabuga, is expected to be tried by the Mechanism. The other five, on the other hand, would be transferred to the Rwandan justice system, to which their files have already been handed over.

Phénéas Munyarugarama
In 1994, this lieutenant-colonel commanded the large military camp of Gako, east of Kigali, near the border with Burundi. According to the ICTR, soldiers from the Gako camp committed crimes in their neighbourhood. Munyarugarama is also said to have been present at the Nyamata church when between 2,500 and 5,000 civilians were massacred there on 14 April 1994 by soldiers from his camp and Hutu militiamen.

Fulgence Kayishema
Fulgence Kayishema’s name is often associated, in numerous testimonies before the ICTR, with the massacre of Tutsis who had sought refuge in the church of Nyange in western Rwanda. According to the indictment, Kayishema, then a police inspector in the commune of Kivumu, allegedly helped gather the Tutsis of the commune in the church of Nyange with a view to exterminating them. Witnesses in other trials at the ICTR have claimed that Kayishema went to fetch fuel used by the militia to set fire to the church.

Aloys Ndimbati
At the time of the events, Aloys Ndimbati was the mayor of the commune of Gisovu. He is accused of having played a leading role in the systematic extermination of Tutsis in various locations in the prefecture of Kibuye, in western Rwanda. In particular, he is said to have transported gendarmes and militiamen during attacks on the hills of Bisesero, to have given the order to kill the Tutsis who had taken refuge there and to have personally killed some of them. Having met fierce resistance from the Tutsis, who defended themselves with traditional weapons, the attacks on Bisesero lasted several days, causing tens of thousands of deaths.

Charles Sikubwabo
Charles Sikubwabo was appointed mayor of Gishyita commune in 1993 and held this position until July 1994, when the genocide ended. Prior to that, he had served in the Rwandan army as a chief warrant officer. According to the indictment, in April 1994, he allegedly ordered elements of the national gendarmerie, the communal police and Interahamwe militiamen to attack the church of Mubuga. The attack caused thousands of deaths among the Tutsis who had taken refuge there. Charles Sikubwabo is accused of having personally taken part in some of the attacks.

Charles Ryandikayo
At the time of the events, Charles Ryandikayo was the manager of a small restaurant in Mubuga, Gishyita commune. This small business assured him a certain social status in this poor commune in western Rwanda. According to the indictment, the restaurateur allegedly participated in and was present at massacres of Tutsis between 8 April and 30 June 1994, in particular at the church in Mubuga where thousands of Tutsis were massacred between 14 and 16 April 1994.