South Africa to leave International Criminal Court

South AfricaSouth Africa has decided to withdraw from the International Criminal Court following a dispute last year over a visit by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the tribunal for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

The decision comes after another African nation, Burundi, this week signed legislation to become the first to withdraw from the ICC – raising concerns that states have begun to act on years of threats to leave over what they call the court’s disproportionate targeting of the continent.

Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane
Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

A copy of South Africa’s “Instrument of Withdrawal,” dated Wednesday and signed by Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, states that South Africa “has found that its obligations with respect to the peaceful resolution of conflicts at times are incompatible with the interpretation given by the International Criminal Court of obligations contained in the Rome Statute” which established the court.

Under the Rome Statute, South Africa as a party to the ICC has an obligation to arrest anyone sought by the tribunal.

South Africa’s minister of justice and correctional services, Michael Masutha
South Africa’s minister of justice and correctional services, Michael Masutha

“Our international legal obligations may hinder our efforts to remain a key player in conflict resolution in Africa,” Justice Minister Michael Masutha said on announcing that the government had notified the United Nations of the withdrawal, which would take effect within one year.

Arresting leaders such as al-Bashir would make it more difficult for South Africa to host peace talks and would also lead to forcing “regime change” in the countries of those leaders, Masutha said at a press conference.

The founding treaty of the ICC “is in conflict and inconsistent” with diplomatic immunity under customary law, the minister said. “Our focus is to ensure that our international law obligations are fully aligned with our local law obligations,” he said.

‘A last resort’

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.jpg
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.jpg

The charges against al-Bashir stem from the bloodshed in Sudan’s western Darfur region, which began in 2003 when rebels took up arms against the government in Khartoum, accusing it of discrimination and neglect. The United Nations says 300,000 people have died in the conflict and 2.7 million have fled their homes.

In June 2015, al-Bashir went to South Africa to attend an African Union summit but the government didn’t arrest him. A provincial court ordered him to remain in the country while judges deliberated on whether he should be arrested on the ICC warrants, but al-Bashir left for Sudan before the court ruled that he should indeed be arrested. The Supreme Court of Appeal later described the government’s failure to arrest al-Bashir as “disgraceful conduct”.

The government said in a statement in late June 2015 that it would consider withdrawing from the International Criminal Court as a “last resort” following the dispute over al-Bashir. It cited “contradictions” in the statute and said South Africa would have found it difficult to arrest al-Bashir because of treaty obligations to the African Union.

international-criminal-court-1The African Union has asked the International Criminal Court to stop proceedings against sitting presidents and has said it will not compel any member states to arrest a leader on behalf of the ICC.

South Africa’s decision to quit the court follows Tuesday’s announcement that Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza signed legislation to make his country the first to withdraw from the ICC, which had said it would investigate recent political violence there.

No country has ever withdrawn from the ICC, which was established to prosecute cases of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Burundi’s decision to withdraw follows a bitter dispute with the international community over the human rights situation in the East African country. More than a year of deadly violence has followed Nkurunziza’s controversial decision to pursue a third term, which some have called unconstitutional.

According to South Africa’s document, its withdrawal will take effect one year after U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is officially notified.

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Obama Administration Is Quietly Delaying Thousands of Deportation Cases

obama-administrationThe Obama administration is delaying deportation proceedings for recent immigrants in cities across the United States, allowing more than 56,000 of those who fled Central America since 2014 to remain in the country legally for several more years.

The shift, described in interviews with immigration lawyers, federal officials, and current and former judges, has been occurring without public attention for months. It amounts to an unannounced departure from the administration’s widely publicized pronouncements that cases tied to the so-called surge of 2014 would be rushed through the immigration courts in an effort to deter more Central Americans from entering the United States illegally.

Central American immigrants who had been released from United States Border Patrol detention waited at the Greyhound bus station in McAllen, Texas
Central American immigrants who had been released from United States Border Patrol detention waited at the Greyhound bus station in McAllen, Texas

The delayed cases are those of nearly half of the Central Americans who entered the United States as families since 2014, and close to a quarter of the total number of Central Americans who entered during that period, according to figures from the Justice Department.

The delays are being made as a cost-saving measure, federal officials said, because of a lapse in enforcement that allowed immigrants who were supposed to be enrolled in an electronic monitoring program to go free.

Some of those affected had failed to report to government offices to be fitted with GPS ankle bracelets, according to a February memo from the chief immigration judge, Print Maggard, in Arlington, Va.

Now that the government will not have to pay the daily fee of $4 to $8 a person to monitor such bracelets, the immigrants’ cases have been pushed back for years, some until 2023, judges and federal officials said. The cases of those who met their reporting obligations are still being expedited, with some cases moving faster than lawyers and judges had expected.

“The whole thing is docket chaos,” said Paul Schmidt, who retired in June after a 30-year career working for federal immigration agencies, the last 13 years as an immigration judge.

5 Muslim Refugees Arrested after Committing Shocking Crime!

sweden-mapIt is appalling for any woman to be mistreated or harmed. The thought that men, who should be protecting women, use their strength to take advantage of a woman is sickening and enraging. But what if the woman was also handicapped?

There is a clear difference in the way that men see women today; but an even larger contrast between the West and Muslim dominated cultures.

A wheelchair-bound woman was gang raped by six asylum seekers, Swedish police have said.

The unnamed disabled woman had asked to use a toilet at a nearby asylum center after sharing a taxi with one of its residents.

After entering the building, the asylum seeker and five other attacked the woman. She was helpless to do anything to resist and could only repeat the word no.

But after she was invited inside, the woman, in her 30s, was attacked by the man and six of his fellow migrants.

A furious group of more than 100 Swedes have since attacked the center in Visby, pelting it with rocks.

The victim’s lawyer Staffan Fredriksson told local newspaper Aftonbladlet: “She followed him in and had no fears that something would happen.

“Then the man took advantage of the situation. The abuse started in the toilet.

He added: “She is completely broken down.”

Five men, all aged in their 20s, have since been arrested by Swedish police following the incident on October 2.

What, if anything will the Swedish government do to protect its citizens? Sweden has taken in more refugees than any other country and has had several such incidents over the past year. The problem continues to grow as the refugee population grows.

Swiss voters approve new surveillance law

switzerland-map-1Voters in Switzerland have supported a new surveillance law which provides the country’s security apparatus with enhanced powers to fight terrorism and cyber crimes.

The final results of the referendum, which was conducted on Sunday, showed that 65.5 percent of the participants voted in favor of the proposed law.

The voter turnout was only 43 percent of the total number of the registered voters.

The new law will allow Swiss police and intelligence agencies to conduct phone tapping and email surveillance that were previously prohibited, regardless of the circumstances.

Switzerland has had limited investigative tools compared to other countries.

The law was passed by the Federal Assembly last year but has not been enacted yet, because political parties in the Central European country collected enough signatures to force a referendum on the measure.

Under the law, intelligence services in Switzerland, if authorized by a federal court, would be allowed to listen to phone conversations, intercept emails, keep tabs on internet activity, and deploy hidden cameras and microphones to monitor suspects who are deemed a clear threat.

Proponents argue that it could help provide further protection against cyber crime and impede terrorism, while opponents maintain that it would damage civil liberties.

“This is not generalized surveillance,” lawmaker and Christian Democratic Party Vice President Yannick Buttet said as results were coming in.

“It’s letting the intelligence services do their job,” he told public broadcaster RTS.

Swiss Defense Minister Guy Parmelin has said that with the new law, Switzerland is “leaving the basement and coming up to the ground floor by international standards,” stressing that the Swiss system was not comparable “to the United States or other major powers.”

Despite the relatively low turnout, the vote shows a change in public attitude as Swiss minds have apparently been affected by the recent terror attacks in Brussels, Nice and Paris.

Also on Sunday, 59.4 percent of the voters disapproved an initiative urging a 10-percent increase in retirement benefits that was opposed by the government over being costly.

The majority of the voters also rejected a measure calling for reducing the use of natural resources such as lumber and water.

Sixty-four percent of the voters voted against the proposal which was also opposed by the government.

Mexican Nationals Arrested on Multiple Child Rape Charges

Wilson County Sheriff's Office Photo
Wilson County Sheriff’s Office Photo

Authorities have arrested and indicted a pair of Mexican nationals with several charges after they allegedly raped young children.

Fernando Limon, 23, along with his brother Ramiro Limon, 28, are charged with four counts of child rape each and were arrested in Tennessee on September 20 “without incident,” according to the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office.

 “There have been numerous challenges given the magnitude and nature of the case because of additional time, resources and effort required,” one detective familiar with the case said, adding that the victims were “considerably younger” than 13-years-old. Sheriff Robert Bryan said the case “has been a particularly difficult” one, thanks to “the language barriers and cultural differences.”

Immigration holds have been placed on the suspects and bond is set at $150,000. They face deportation and as much as 25 years in prison on each count of child rape.

Teams of Gunmen Raiding Texas Border Homes

texas-mapTeams of gunmen have been running rampant in various communities near the Texas border, storming into homes demanding drugs or robbing victims at gunpoint.

In one night, a team of hooded gunmen carrying rifles stormed at least three homes, assaulting the victims inside while demanding cash or drugs.  Just one day later, a team of gunmen shot a robbery victim and led authorities in a high speed chase and managed to flee.

Information provided by the did Sheriff’s Office revealed that the attacks began on Sunday late night and continued onto early Monday morning where–in a span of hours–the gunmen struck three separate homes and unconfirmed information points to a possible fourth being ransacked.

hidalgo-county-line-signIn the first attack, three hooded gunmen stormed a house in a rural community near this border city. The gunmen ordered the family inside to get down on the floor while they looked for drugs. The gunmen stole various electronic items from the house.

Less than 30 minutes after the first robbery, authorities responded to another rural home near the border city of Mission. In that attack, the gunmen stormed into the house and struck the homeowner of the house in the head with one of the rifles. The gunmen demanded drugs as they kicked him several times in front of his family. The gunmen also stole various electronic items from the house.

hidalgo-county-sheriffs-vehiclesAbout two hours later, authorities responded to a third home invasion where a team of five hooded gunmen stormed a house. The homeowner told authorities that he woke up to seeing the team of gunmen in his house. While no one was injured in that attack the gunmen stole a television on their way out.

The latest attack took place on Tuesday night when a team of gunmen riding in a dark colored SUV ambushed, robbed and shot a 36-year-old man as he was leaving a convenience store in the rural border town of Donna.

The victim was able to provide a description of the vehicle and the gunmen. Sheriff’s deputies spotted a vehicle matching the description shortly after and with the help of Texas State Troopers tried to pull it over. The gunmen managed to elude capture by driving at high rates of speed through rural neighborhoods. The shooting victim is listed as being in stable condition at a local hospital and is expected to recover.

Migrant In Court For Violent Rape: ‘I Came to Austria to F*** the Women’

austria-map-3On trial at the Regional Court of Linz the Algerian, who has been convicted several times in France and Austria, denied carrying out the attack in April this year. He is alleged to have tried to rape the victim before brutally beating her.

The woman was left lying unconscious with serious injuries in bushes near the bus stop where the incident occurred. She is also thought to have been psychologically scarred by the event.

Asked why he’d come to Austria the accused replied: “I have come to Austria to f*** the women”. As well as having several convictions in Europe, the Algerian has a rejected asylum decision and a travel ban under his belt. The 35 year old is also accused of committing an attempted rape last November, and of an assault.

Deportation has not so far been possible as Austria has no arrangements with Algeria.

Testifying, a student who was approached by the victim told the court: “The woman came up to me and was covered in blood. You could not see her face. She said to me: ‘I was raped.’”

Bavaria Complains As Austrians Shuttle Migrants To Border Region
Bavaria Complains As Austrians Shuttle Migrants To Border Region

After hearing this testimony, presiding judge Ursula Eichler asked the accused whether he would like to add something to his statement, since the statements of the victim, the witnesses, and DNA evidence would weigh heavily on his case.

Through his interpreter, the accused responded: “I’ve never seen this woman in my life.”

He then repeated, several times, “I swear by Allah that I did not rape that woman.”

Wochenblick reported that the victim was traumatised and still had serious injuries to the left side of her face as a result of the attack. Crying, she left the courtroom with relatives after the video of her testimony was played.

Following the brutal attack in April she has undergone nine different types of medical treatment in psychotherapeutic care, and is having to take strong anxiety and insomnia medications.

The hearing was postponed so that a psychiatric evaluation of the accused and a health report of the victim can be undertaken. If convicted, the defendant will be sentenced to up to ten years in jail.