War Crimes Current Affairs - 2019

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Malaysia joins the International Criminal Court

Malaysia has ratified the Rome Statute making it the 124th State party to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Even though Malaysia had helped to negotiate the Rome Statute, it has been long been reluctant to ratify it. Ratification after 20 years is seen as a welcome move.

Why Malaysia has acceded to the Rome Statute after 20 years?

  • The downing of flight MH17 and the Rohingya crisis have focused Malaysia’s attention on the ICC.
  • After the election of Mahathir Mohamad for his second stint as Prime Minister in May 2018, there has been a significant shift in the relationship between the Malaysian government and monarchy. The earlier reluctance to ratify the Rome Statute has largely stemmed from a concern that the King, as the head of the armed forces could be held responsible for crimes committed by those under his command Mahathir’s relationship with the Sultans and the King is notoriously tense. During his first period as prime minister (1981-2003), Mahathir “stripped the sultans of their power to veto state and federal legislation”, removed their legal immunities, and established a special court to prosecute royal cases.
  • The election of Mahathir and appointment of a new Attorney General, Tommy Thomas, has seen the main legal obstacles to ratification removed.
  • The ratification has also stemmed from ambition to see Malaysia playing a more active role in ASEAN and the United Nations.

International Criminal Court established by Rome Statute is a permanent international court with jurisdiction over those most responsible for committing the most serious human rights crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.

UN to investigate ISIS war crimes in Iraq

The Iraqi government has asked UN to investigate the human atrocities committed by ISIS militants during their rampant progression of occupation and destruction in the country. The Geneva based body has taken serious cognizance of the situation and has agreed to step-in for probing into the human right abuses and war crimes in the disturbed region. UN Deputy High Commissioner for human rights, Flavia Pansieri, has said that Iraq has been dumped in violence for over a decade but the recent siege by the ruthless and barbaric ISIS militants has been the worse Iraqis and the world has ever seen. The IS has not only seized large territory but has also persecuted anyone who doesn’t accept the conversions to their religion or Islam.
The aftermath of such brutal events remain for life on all the survivors especially children. The scenes are catastrophic as many children have become direct victims while others have been subjected to physical and sexual abuse. ISIS have also been reported to indulge in human trafficking of captive women, massive destruction of historical mosques, shrines and other religious sites. Also, taking on a large-scale internet campaign, the militants have posted videos showing extreme brutality of mass executions of innocent men.
Pansieri has called on the international community to step up efforts to deal with ISIS and protect all Iraqis irrespective of sects or religions, from holocaust.
In a recent incidence of violent attack on the Shiite sect, 2 car bombs rocked the al-Bayaa district of Baghdad, which killed 13 and injured about 45 people. Nearly 1430 civilians have lost their lives and about a same number wounded in the month of August, owing to the atrocities committed by ISIS.