Record level of Taliban violence against Afghanistan’s election: UN

Several attacks on voter registration centers also took place in the months before the election, some claimed by the Daesh group. (Reuters)
Updated 06 November 2018
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Record level of Taliban violence against Afghanistan’s election: UN

  • UN said there had been “a deliberate campaign intended to disrupt and undermine the electoral process.”
  • The results of the parliamentary election are still being tallied; presidential election is happening April next year

KABUL: Attacks and intimidation by the Taliban against last month’s parliamentary election in Afghanistan resulted in a record number of civilian casualties, the United Nations said on Tuesday.
At least 435 civilian casualties were recorded — 56 people killed and 379 wounded — on election day, Oct. 20, and subsequent days when delayed polling took place, the United Nations said in a report, adding the toll was higher than that in four previous elections.
The United Nations said there had been “a deliberate campaign intended to disrupt and undermine the electoral process.”
The Taliban, fighting to oust foreign troops and defeat the Western-backed government, issued a series of threats against the election, with three separate warnings in the days leading up to the vote.
Several attacks on voter registration centers also took place in the months before the election, some claimed by Daesh.
The United Nations said attacks by anti-government elements, mostly the Taliban, were carried out with rockets, grenades and mortars as well as improvised explosive devices.
The United Nations also pointed to a campaign of threats, intimidation and harassment, including abductions before the election.
“The Taliban’s actions forced many ordinary Afghans to choose between exercising their right to participate in the political process and risking their own safety,” the United Nations said.
The results of the parliamentary election are still being tallied.
A more important presidential election will be held on April 20.


Bosnians welcome UN verdict against Karadzic

Updated 46 min 50 sec ago
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Bosnians welcome UN verdict against Karadzic

  • ‘He should never be allowed to go free,’ Bosnian diplomat tells Arab News
  • Families of victims who traveled to The Hague hailed the verdict

JEDDAH: Former Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, widely known as the “Butcher of Bosnia,” has had his sentence for genocide and war crimes increased to life in prison.

He was appealing a 2016 verdict in which he was given a 40-year sentence for the Srebrenica massacre in the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

More than 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed in the town of Srebrenica by Bosnian-Serb forces in July 1995. Karadzic, 73, was also found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

The UN court said the 40-year sentence did not reflect the trial chamber’s analysis on the “gravity and responsibility for the largest and greatest set of crimes ever attributed to a single person at the ICTY (the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia).”

The ruling by the judges on Wednesday cannot be appealed, and will end one of the highest-profile legal battles stemming from the Balkan wars.

Karadzic showed almost no reaction as presiding Judge Vagn Joensen of Denmark read out the damning judgment.

The former leader is one of the most senior figures tried by The Hague’s war crimes court. His case is considered as key in delivering justice for the victims of the Bosnian conflict, which left more than 100,000 people dead and millions homeless.

Joensen said the trial chamber was wrong to impose a sentence of just 40 years, given what he called the “sheer scale and systematic cruelty” of Karadzic’s crimes. Applause broke out in the public gallery as Joensen passed the new sentence.

Families of victims who traveled to The Hague hailed the verdict. Mothers, some elderly and walking with canes, wept with apparent relief after watching the ruling read on a screen in Srebrenica.

Halim Grabus, a Bosnian-Muslim diplomat based in Geneva, told Arab News that the verdict “will act as a deterrent against the criminals responsible for the genocide of Muslims during the 1992-1995 war. He (Karadzic) should never be allowed to go free. He deserves maximum punishment.”

Grabus was in Bosnia during the war, and witnessed the scorched-earth policy of Karadzic and his fellow generals.

Grabus said it was not possible in today’s world to expect total justice, “but the verdict is important for the victims and survivors of Karadzic’s genocidal politics and ideology of hate.” 

A large majority of Serbs “continue to justify what he did, and continue to carry forward his hateful campaign against Bosnian Muslims,” Grabus added.

“Many of the killers of Muslims during the Bosnian war are still roaming free. They need to be arrested and brought to justice.”

Ratko Mladic, a Bosnian-Serb wartime military commander, is awaiting an appeal judgment of his genocide and war crimes conviction, which earned him a life sentence. Both he and Karadzic were convicted of genocide for their roles in the Srebrenica massacre.