The UN averted another battle over the US demand that American peacekeepers be exempt from prosecution by the new international war crimes tribunal -- but watch out for next year. \nThe administration of US President George W. Bush got the quick approval it wanted Thursday for another yearlong exemption, but without the unanimous Security Council support that it had last year. \nFrance, Germany and Syria all abstained in the 12-0 vote, and the battle lines for a new showdown next year were drawn. \n``States showed today that they were not ready to simply bow to the will of the United States and rubber stamp the resolution,'' said Fiona McKay, director of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights' International Justice Program. \nThe US made clear that it wants a permanent exemption. But the EU warned it opposes permanent immunity for US peacekeepers. \nLast week, the US warned the EU that criticism over the exemption request was further straining the bitter trans-Atlantic division over the war against Iraq. France and Germany, which led opposition to the war and strongly back the court, ignored the warning. \nThe White House argues that the International Criminal Court (ICC) -- established last year and expected to start operating later this year -- could be used for frivolous or politically motivated prosecution of American troops. \nIn addition to seeking the UN exemption, Washington has signed bilateral agreements with 37 countries that bar any prosecution of American officials by the court and is seeking more. \nBut the 90 countries that have ratified the 1998 Rome Treaty which created the court -- including all 15 EU members -- counter that it contains enough safeguards to prevent any frivolous prosecutions. \nThe court will prosecute cases of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed after July 1, 2002, but will step in only when countries are unwilling or unable to dispense justice themselves. \nIt is the culmination of a campaign for a permanent war crimes tribunal that began with the Nuremberg trials after World War II. \nWhen the court came into being last July, the US threatened to end far-flung peacekeeping operations established or authorized by the UN -- from Afghanistan and the Middle East to Bosnia and Sierra Leone -- if it didn't get an exemption for American peacekeepers. \nAfter a long and acrimonious battle, a compromise was reached to prohibit the investigation or prosecution of current or former officials from the US and other countries that have not ratified the Rome treaty for a year. \nThe final deal dented the court's underlying principle that no one should be exempt from punishment for war crimes, and it angered court supporters and human rights groups. \nThe resolution adopted last year, and again on Thursday, expresses the American intention to renew the request for a yearlong exemption every July 1 ``for as long as may be necessary.'' \nFrance and Germany both said Thursday that a one-year extension was sufficient.
India has moved additional troops along its northern border as it prepares for an extended conflict with China, after several rounds of talks failed to ease tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals. China has already placed about 5,000 soldiers and armored vehicles within its side of the disputed border in the Ladakh region, an Indian government official said, asking not to be identified, citing rules. India is adding a similar number of troops as well as artillery guns along the border to fend off the continuing incursions by the Chinese army, the official said. The standoff began on May 5, when troops clashed
CLOSELY TRACKED: A US officer said that the warplanes were watched as they flew from Russia by way of Iran and Syria to Libya and were photographed multiple times The US Africa Command flatly rejected Russian claims that Moscow did not deploy fighter jets to Libya, saying on Friday that the 14 aircraft flown in reflect Russia’s long-term goal to establish a foothold in the region that could threaten NATO allies. US Brigadier General Gregory Hadfield, deputy director of intelligence, said that the US tracked the MiG-29s and Su-24 fighter bombers flown in by Russian military, passing through Iran and Syria before landing at Libya’s al-Jufra air base. The base is the main forward airfield for Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army, which has been waging an
Singapore’s otters, long adored by the city-state’s nature lovers, are popping up in unexpected places during the COVID-19 lockdown, but their antics have angered some and even sparked calls for a cull. With the streets empty, the creatures have been spotted hanging out by a shopping center, scampering through the lobby of a hospital and even feasting on pricey fish stolen from a pond. While many think of tiny Singapore as a densely populated concrete jungle, it is also relatively green for a busy Asian city, and has patches of rainforest, fairly clean waterways and abundant wildlife. There are estimated to be about
Indonesian officials are forcing people who break social distancing rules to recite Koran verses, stay in “haunted” houses and submit to public shaming on social media as the country battles to contain surging novel coronavirus infections. The Southeast Asian archipelago began deploying about 340,000 troops across two dozen cities to oversee enforcement of measures aimed at halting transmission of the disease, such as wearing masks in public. However, provincial leaders are buttressing these efforts with their own zealous campaigns to fight the coronavirus. Police in western Bengkulu Province have assembled a 40-person squad to find lockdown scofflaws and force them to wear