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.
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
A squad of gun-toting police officers patrolled Myanmar’s sacred site of Bagan under the cover of night, taking on plunderers snatching relics from temples forsaken by tourists due to COVID-19 restrictions. Each evening as dusk falls, about 100 officers fan out across the plain of Bagan covering 50km2, sweeping flashlights over the crumbling monuments to scour for intruders. “Our security forces are patrolling day and night,” Police Lieutenant Colonel Sein Win told reporters. “We have it under control for the moment, but it’s a challenge.” The central Burmese city is strewn with more than 3,500 ancient monuments — stupas, temples, murals and sculptures