International brief ~ AU suspends Togo membership

[JURIST] In Friday's international brief, the African Union [official website] announced the suspension of Togo's membership in the continental organization following a meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council [official website]. The AU also called for wider sanctions against Togo [government website in French], while endorsing the current sanctions [JURIST report] imposed by the West African regional body ECOWAS [official website]. The controversy is due to the continued occupation of the Togolese presidency by Faure Gnassingbe [BBC News profile], even after the disputed amendments to the nation's constitution were removed. African leaders have called for Faure to step down from the office, while Faure has indicated that he plans to remain as interim president until new elections scheduled to take place in the next two months. Rumors are swirling in the region that Faure is likely to step down in light of the mounting regional and international pressure. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage [JURIST Countries archive] of Togo. South Africa's Independent Online has local coverage.

In other international legal news ...

  • The still violent traditional capital of Somalia, Mogadishu, will remain the only home for the Somalian government, Somalian President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed [BBC News profile] vowed on Friday. Yusuf is in Somalia conducting a fact-finding mission on the security concerns of relocating the exiled Somalian government from Nairobi, Kenya, where it has been located since its reconstitution last year, back to the war-torn country. Several of the towns visited by Yusuf during his trip offered to serve as a temporary location for the government until safety could be guarenteed in Mogadishu. But Yusuf said that the government will only return to Mogadishu, as anything else would be allowing the violent minority to dictate reform of the nation. Yusuf also dismissed concerns about a peacekeeping force scheduled to assist Somalian Prime Minister Mohammed Ali Gedi [BBC News profile] in maintaining peace in the capital city. Yusuf did not comment on the time frame for the return [JURIST report], as the originally proposed date of Feb. 21 has already passed. South Africa's News 24 has local coverage.

  • The Nepalese government will be regulating in-country human rights groups such as Amnesty International-Nepal [advocacy website] and the International Committee of the Red Cross [advocacy website], according to a senior government official quoted in Friday's Nepalese newspapers. The source said that the current government is displeased with the portrayal of Nepal's human rights record in the international community and is therefore going to regulate the conduct of the groups. The report comes on the same day that the government released nine high-profile detainees to the district court in Kathmandu, including Bishnu Nisthuri, the general secretary of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists [official website]. Kantipur Online has local coverage of both the human rights groups regulations and the release of the detainees.

  • Former Bosnian Serb General Radivoje Miletic surrendered himself to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia [official website] in Serbia on Friday to face charges of war crimes. Miletic has been indicted on charges that he "knowingly participated in a joint criminal enterprise and operation, the common purpose of which was to force the Muslim population out of the Srebrenica and Zepa enclaves" along with fellow general, Milan Gvero, who surrendered Thursday. Miletic will be transferred to the UN Tribunal Monday, according to a Serbian government [official website] press release. Read the official press release of the charges against Miletic and Gvero.


 

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