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Entries in International Criminal Court (5)


Kenya Feature: A Beginner's Guide to Today's Elections

President Obama appeals to Kenyans to reject the intimidation of violence and host free, fair and peaceful elections

Today's elections in Kenya are seen by many as a key to the stability of East and Central Africa, amid neighbours such as Somalia, the recently-divided Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

At the same time, there is the legacy of past election violence and the complication that a leading presidential candidate has been charged with war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

So what is happening today?

The elections are for a new President, MPs, and local representatives. They are the first under the new Constitution, passed in 2010.

What is the background?

In 2007, Kenya was the model of stability and opportunity within an otherwise chaotic region, or so it seemed.

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Insurgents Challenge the Regime in the Air

2122 GMT: Syria. The Free Syrian Army has captured yet another anti-aircraft base near Aleppo, this time near Assan, south of the city (map).

Another source suggests that this base is the headquarters of the 608 regime, though that is unclear. Still, there are plenty of videos that have been posted in the last few hours:

Another major victory? There's also a trend. The FSA is targeting relatively small anti-aircraft bases, capturing equipment that can be used against the Assad regime, but also looking for ways to confront the Assad airforce. Furthermore, there is a suspicion that they may have received encouragement to specifically target anti-aircraft bases, as this removes a threat to any foreign aircraft that could potentially engage in a no-fly zone.

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Bahrain, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Grand Prix Protests

Wednesday's night mass protest in the Damascus suburb of Irbeen

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Wednesday's Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Appealing to Damascus

2130 GMT: As reported earlier, many journalists have been denied entry into Bahrain to cover the F1. Earlier this evening, a team from Sky News, intending to cover the humanitarian and political situation in Bahrain, were likewise denied entry. EA understands that the team is now back in Dubai and remain intent on gaining entry into Bahrain to see for themselves the situation on the ground.

The Sky News team was headed by Chief Correspondent Stuart Ramsay who has been tweeting about the experience and his frustration with the Bahrain authorities:

1959 GMT: Multiple journalists, from news Agencies such as AFP and AP, have been denied entry into Bahrain to cover the F1 race:

Associated Press said two of its Dubai-based journalists were prevented from covering the Grant Prix because they could not receive entry visas, despite being accredited by the FIA.

Meanwhile, cameramen already in Bahrain were required to keep fluorescent orange stickers on their cameras so that they would be easily recognisable to ensure they do not cover any off-track events, such as ongoing protests.

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Syria Video and Document: 74 Commanders and Officials Named For "Shoot to Kill" Orders

The statements of soldiers and officers who defected from the Syrian military and intelligence agencies leave no doubt that the abuses were committed in pursuance of state policy and that they were directly ordered, authorized, or condoned at the highest levels of Syrian military and civilian leadership.

Human Rights Watch’s findings show that military commanders and officials in the intelligence agencies gave both direct and standing orders to use lethal force against the protesters (at least 20 such cases are documented in detail in this report) as well as to unlawfully arrest, beat, and torture the detainees. In addition, senior military commanders and high-ranking officials, including President Bashar al-Assad and the heads of the intelligence agencies, bear command responsibility for violations committed by their subordinates to the extent that they knew or should have known of the abuses but failed to take action to stop them.

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Israel Feature: How the US Tried to Block a UN Investigation into "War Crimes" (Lynch)

Susan Rice and Avigdor LiebermanColum Lynch writes for Foreign Policy magazine:

In the aftermath of Israel's 2008-2009 intervention into the Gaza Strip, Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, led a vigorous campaign to stymie an independent U.N. investigation into possible war crimes, while using the prospect of such a probe as leverage to pressure Israel to participate in a U.S.-backed Middle East peace process, according to previously undisclosed diplomatic cables provided by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks....

The new documents, though consistent with public U.S. statements at the time opposing a U.N. investigation into Israeli military operations, reveal in extraordinary detail how America wields its power behind closed doors at the United Nations. They also demonstrate how the United States and Israel were granted privileged access to highly sensitive internal U.N. deliberations on an "independent" U.N. board of inquiry into the Gaza war, raising questions about the independence of the process.

In one pointed cable, Rice repeatedly prodded U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to block a recommendation of the board of inquiry to carry out a sweeping inquiry into alleged war crimes by Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants. In another cable, Rice issued a veiled warning to the president of the International Criminal Court, Sang-Hyun Song, that an investigation into alleged Israeli crimes could damage its standing with the United States at a time when the new administration was moving closer to the tribunal. "How the ICC handles issues concerning the Goldstone Report will be perceived by many in the US as a test for the ICC, as this is a very sensitive matter," she told him, according to a Nov. 3, 2009, cable from the U.S. mission to the United Nations.

Rice, meanwhile, assured Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman during an Oct. 21, 2009, meeting in Tel Aviv that the United States had done its utmost to "blunt the effects of the Goldstone report" and that she was confident she could "build a blocking coalition" to prevent any push for a probe by the Security Council, according to an Oct. 27, 2009 cable.

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