Would the International Criminal Court prosecutor opening an investigation into Palestine be a good idea?
Sarah Teich is a lawyer and a consultant to the Canadian Coalition Against Terror. She holds a law degree from the University of Toronto and a master’s degree in Counter-Terrorism. She spent four months in 2016 working with the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague and received a commendation for her work.
On December 20, 2019, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Ms. Fatou Bensouda, announced that she was prepared to open an investigation into the situation in Palestine, following a four-year preliminary examination. Ms. Bensouda articulated that she was satisfied there was a “reasonable basis to believe” that war crimes have been or are being committed on Palestinian territory–which she defines as the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has cancelled his trip to the Caribbean after receiving backlash online on Sunday after it was reported he was still planning to go on the trip, despite Canadian cargo and passenger trains being shut down for the greater part of two weeks.
The Canadian Press reported Sunday afternoon Trudeau was still intending to go on the trip to the Caribbean, so it appears Trudeau backed out last minute.
The Prime Minister’s Office released a press release Sunday evening, less than 24 hours before his flight was supposed to take off to Barbados.
The PMO stated that Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne will go to represent Canada instead.
Trudeau was planning to continue his world tour to try and secure Canada a seat at the United Nations Security Council.
Last week Trudeau was in Africa and Europe trying to drum up support from foreign countries for the UN vote on who will get the seat. The prime minister was criticized throughout the week, including when he indicated Canada would be willing to help develop an African country’s oil and gas sector at the same time Canadian protesters are trying to shut down parts of Alberta’s oil and gas industry. Trudeau was also criticized roundly for shaking and bowing to Iran’s foreign minister a month after the country shot down a plane killing 57 Canadians and for not returning home sooner as the #ShutDownCanada protests continued to go on unabated.
Grocery, agriculture, retail sectors have all been affected by the protests. Some major cities also receive their chlorine for water treatment from CN Rail trains, which could mean drinking water in major cities may run out. Other cities rely on getting their propane to heat homes from trains.
Via Rail predicts over 83,000 passengers were affected and over 400 trains trips were cancelled due to the protest blockades over the past two weeks.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be flying to the Caribbean to court support for Canada gaining a seat on the UN Security Council, according to Global News.
Trudeau also plans to speak to the Caribbean leaders about climate change. Although, Canada’s prospective seat will be a more prominent issue during these meetings.
This comes after Trudeau’s trip to Ethiopia, where he attempted to garner support for Canada’s new role in the world with government leaders in the African Union.
During his Africa trip, Trudeau also granted a $10 million package to empower African women. Having said this, the more cynical commentators have seen this as a ploy to improve Canada’s chances of receiving a seat at the Security Council.
Canada is not the only country attempting that is attempting to procure a seat at the table. Both Ireland and Norway are also vying for a seat in the Security Council. The country that receives the most votes will occupy the seat for a two-year period.
Canada has not sat on the UN Security Council since 2000 under the leadership of Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
Peacekeepers from the United Nations impregnated countless women in Haiti and left hundreds of children, according to new research by the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti published originally in The Conversation as well as the Journal of International Peacekeeping.
The researchers led by Sabina Lee, a professor at the University of Birmingham, and Susan Bartels, a scientist at Queen’s University interviewed roughly 2,500 Haitians and found 265 who were willing to share their stories about peacekeepers fathering children in Haiti.
“The narratives reveal how girls as young as 11 were sexually abused and impregnated by peacekeepers and then, as one man put it, ‘left in misery’ to raise their children alone,” says the study.
The report states U.N. personnel from more than a dozen countries were involved, although the majority of those listed are from Brazil and Uruguay, although Canada is included. It also suggested that most soldiers were repatriated once the pregnancy was known, in most cases leaving the child without assistance.
They also found that while violence was used in some instances, many involved a trade of sex for food or money.
A UN peace operations spokesperson said the organization takes the issues raised in the report “seriously.”
“Combating sexual exploitation and abuse perpetrated by personnel serving under the United Nations flag, whether in peacekeeping or special political missions, other United Nations entities or non-United Nations international forces authorized by a Security Council mandate, is a priority collective effort for the United Nations,” a UN peace operations spokesperson said in an e-mail to the Washington Post.
The attacks on Saudi oil facilities in September cannot so far be confirmed to have originated from Iran, according to a UN report.
The Saudi Kingdom believes Iran was the nation behind drone and cruise missile attacks which earlier sent a portion of the global oil supply temporarily offline, but a leaked UN report says investigators cannot find enough proof of origin.
“At this time, [the UN] is unable to independently corroborate that the cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles used in these attacks are of Iranian origin,” Secretary General António Guterres wrote in the report, seen by Reuters and AFP news agencies.
The Houthi movement currently fighting against the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has taken responsibility for the attacks, while Iran has denied involvement.
Currently, some believe the Houthis could not execute such a large-scale attack without outside help, but others have argued the opposite pointing to the relatively low cost of drone strikes, with most costing no more than $15,000 per hit, according to an expert speaking to the New York Times.
While drone strikes are relatively cheap, the report interestingly did find that the Houthis “have not shown to be in possession, nor been assessed to be in possession” of the drones used in the attacks.
This key caveat could leave open the possibility of outside help or involvement.