Rights group seeks prosecution of Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, other ministers for Gaza war crimes

Rights group seeks prosecution of Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, other ministers for Gaza war crimes
Palestinians inspect the destruction following the Israeli bombardment of the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip on November 15, 2023. (AFP)
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Updated 17 November 2023
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Rights group seeks prosecution of Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, other ministers for Gaza war crimes

Rights group seeks prosecution of Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, other ministers for Gaza war crimes
  • The International Center of Justice for Palestinians says International Criminal Court case will focus on role of politicians in ‘aiding and abetting Israel’s perpetration of war crimes’
  • The organization also accuses the Canadian officials of turning a ‘blind eye’ to ‘ethnic cleansing through a campaign of forced displacement of 1.2 million people’

CHICAGO: The International Center of Justice for Palestinians plans to file petitions with the International Criminal Court seeking war crimes indictments against four leading Canadian officials, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The organization’s Legal Working Group for Canadian Accountability said on Thursday the prosecutions would focus on the role of politicians in “aiding and abetting Israel’s perpetration of war crimes” in the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, followed by a ground invasion, began after a surprise attack by Hamas on Oct. 7 that reportedly killed about 1,400 Israeli civilians and military personnel in the area around the territory’s northern border with Israel.

The ICJP, which describes itself as an independent organization of lawyers, academics and politicians that work to promote and support Palestinian rights, accused the Canadian officials of being “complicit in war crimes.”

It said that despite the rising civilian death toll in Gaza and “clear evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and despite international outrage from the United Nations and human rights experts across the globe, Canada has continued to pledge its steadfast support for Israel.

“It has also refused to halt arms exports, refused to take action to prevent the illegal recruitment of Canadian volunteers to assist Israel’s military, and refused to stop millions of dollars from being unlawfully sent by some Canadian organizations with charitable status to benefit Israel’s military.”

It said it “calls on the government of Canada to end its complicity in war crimes by calling for a ceasefire, canceling all arms-exports permits to Israel, prosecuting those recruiting Canadian volunteers for Israel’s armed forces, and preventing Canadian charities from using donations to benefit Israel’s armed forces.”

In the weeks since the attack by Hamas, Israel’s military has destroyed thousands of buildings in northern Gaza, killed more than 11,000 Palestinians, including more than 4,500 children, and injured tens of thousands of civilians, according to figures from the Gazan Health Ministry. Israeli authorities also ordered more than a million people in northern Gaza to move to the south of the territory ahead of its ground invasion.

The ICJP accused Canadian officials of turning a “blind eye” to “ethnic cleansing through a campaign of forced displacement of 1.2 million people.”

In addition to Trudeau, Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly, Minister of National Revenue Marie-Claude Bibeau, and Minister of Justice and Attorney General Arif Virani are named as potential defendants in the petition to the court.

Trudeau initially suggested that pro-Palestinian protesters in Canada were “celebrating” the Hamas violence, and declared that Israel had a right to defend itself, while failing to acknowledge years of Israeli aggression against Palestinians in Gaza.

He did call for civilians to be protected but stopped short of directly criticizing the Israeli bombardment that has destroyed mosques, schools, hospitals and other public buildings. Israeli authorities say that Hamas has set up underground bases at such locations and are using civilians as human shields.

However, Trudeau more recently urged Israel’s government to exercise restraint in its military response, which drew criticism from authorities in the country.

“I have been clear that the price of justice cannot be the continued suffering of all Palestinian civilians. Even wars have rules,” he said.

He also called on Hamas to stop using Palestinian civilians as human shields and to release all hostages taken on Oct. 7 “immediately and unconditionally.”


About 20 bodies found after fire at South Korea battery plant, Yonhap reports

About 20 bodies found after fire at South Korea battery plant, Yonhap reports
Updated 11 sec ago
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About 20 bodies found after fire at South Korea battery plant, Yonhap reports

About 20 bodies found after fire at South Korea battery plant, Yonhap reports
  • Fire occurred at around 10:30 a.m. in Hwaseong, south of the capital Seoul
SEOUL: About 20 bodies were found after a fire broke out at a battery plant in South Korea on Monday, Yonhap news agency reported.
The fire occurred at around 10:30 a.m. (0130 GMT) at a lithium battery factory in Hwaseong, south of the capital Seoul, according to the interior ministry.

Philippines to continue South China Sea resupply missions, defense secretary says

Philippines to continue South China Sea resupply missions, defense secretary says
Updated 14 min 58 sec ago
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Philippines to continue South China Sea resupply missions, defense secretary says

Philippines to continue South China Sea resupply missions, defense secretary says
  • Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro: ‘It was not a misunderstanding or an accident’
  • Chinese coast guard vessels deliberately disrupted a resupply mission last week

MANILA: The Philippines will continue with resupply missions to troops on an atoll in a disputed part of the South China Sea despite Chinese coast guard vessels deliberately disrupting a mission last week, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro said on Monday.
“It was not a misunderstanding or an accident,” Teodoro told a press conference at the presidential palace.
“We are not downplaying the incident. It was an aggressive and illegal use of force.”
A Philippine sailor suffered serious injury after what its military described as “intentional-high speed ramming” by the Chinese Coast Guard, aiming to disrupt a resupply mission for troops stationed on the Second Thomas Shoal on June 17.
China’s foreign ministry has disputed the Philippines’ statements, with a spokesperson saying last Thursday that the necessary measures taken by the coast guard were lawful, professional and beyond reproach.
President Ferdinand Marcos said on Sunday that the Philippines was not in the business of instigating wars and would always aim to settle disputes peacefully.


Texas woman charged for trying to drown Palestinian girl toddler

Texas woman charged for trying to drown Palestinian girl toddler
Updated 21 min 36 sec ago
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Texas woman charged for trying to drown Palestinian girl toddler

Texas woman charged for trying to drown Palestinian girl toddler
  • Elizabeth Wolf, 42, reportedly racially abused mother
  • Woman allegedly also attacked girl’s brother, aged 6

LONDON: A woman in Texas has been charged with attempted murder and injury to a child after allegedly trying to drown a 3-year-old Palestinian-Muslim child in a pool and attacking her older brother, CNN reported on Sunday.

The Texas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations urged law enforcement to investigate the incident as a hate crime.

On May 19, police officers responded to an alert of a disturbance at an apartment complex pool involving 42-year-old Elizabeth Wolf and the victim’s mother.

The police stated that according to witnesses “a woman who was very intoxicated had tried to drown a child and argued with the child’s mother.”

The victim’s mother told the police Wolf had asked where she was from and if the two children playing in the pool were hers.

The mother was clearly Muslim, wearing a hijab, or Islamic headscarf, and modest swimwear, according to the council.

Wolf also stated that the mother was not an American and made other racist remarks, according to the police.

“When the mother answered her, she stated that Wolf tried to grab her 6-year-old son but he pulled away from her grasp, which caused a scratch on his finger. The mother began helping her son when Wolf grabbed her 3-year-old daughter and forced her underwater,” the news release said.

The mother was able to get her daughter out of the water, but she “had been yelling for help and coughing up water.”

Both children received medical clearance from a local health facility.

“We are American citizens, originally from Palestine, and I don’t know where to go to feel safe with my kids,” the council quoted the mother as saying.

“My country is facing a war, and we are facing that hate here. My daughter is traumatized; whenever I open the apartment door, she runs away and hides, telling me she is afraid the lady will come and immerse her head in the water again.”

The Euless Police Department confirmed that Wolf was released on bail.

“The bond for the Attempted Capital Murder charge was $25,000. The bond for the Injury to a Child charge was $15,000,” captain Brenda Alvarado told CNN.

“We ask for a hate-crime probe, a higher bail bond, and an open conversation with officials to address this alarming increase in Islamophobia, anti-Arab, and anti-Palestinian sentiment,” Shaimaa Zayan, the council’s Austin operations manager, said.

Texas Rep. Salman Bhojani said he was “shocked and appalled by this alleged racist, Islamophobic occurrence that took place in my town.”

He added: “Hate has no place in Euless, District 92, or anywhere in our great state. I want to thank Euless PD for quickly apprehending the alleged provocateur, and I extend my service to the affected family.”


India’s Modi to lay out third-term plans as parliament meets

India’s Modi to lay out third-term plans as parliament meets
Updated 27 min 46 sec ago
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India’s Modi to lay out third-term plans as parliament meets

India’s Modi to lay out third-term plans as parliament meets
  • Indian parliament opens after election setback forced Modi into coalition government 
  • Modi has kept key posts unchanged in this government, cabinet remains dominated by BJP party

New Delhi: Indian lawmakers begin taking their oaths Monday as parliament opens after an election setback forced Prime Minister Narendra Modi into a coalition government for the first time in a decade.

Expected in the first session, which will run until July 3, is a preview of Modi’s plans for his third term and the likely formal appointment of Rahul Gandhi as leader of the opposition — a post vacant since 2014.

Modi’s first two terms in office followed landslide wins for his right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), allowing his government to drive laws through parliament with only cursory debate.
But now analysts expect the 73-year-old Modi to moderate his Hindu-nationalist agenda to assuage his coalition partners, focusing more on infrastructure, social welfare and economic reforms.

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Kiren Rijiju on Monday called for a “peaceful and productive” session, but Indian media said they expected lively debate with a far stronger opposition.
“All set to spar,” one headline in the Hindustan Times read Monday.

“Resurgent opposition set to push government,” the Indian Express front page added.

Rahul Gandhi, 54, defied analyst expectations to help his Congress party nearly double its parliamentary numbers, its best result since Modi was swept to power a decade ago.

Gandhi is the scion of a dynasty that dominated Indian politics for decades and is the son, grandson and great-grandson of former prime ministers, beginning with independence leader Jawaharlal Nehru.

Parliamentary regulations require the opposition leader to come from a party that commands at least 10 percent of the lawmakers in the 543-seat lower house.

The post has been vacant for 10 years because two dismal election results for Congress — once India’s dominant party — left it short of that threshold.

The parliamentary session will start with newly elected lawmakers taking their oaths over the first two days.

Many will be watching if two lawmakers elected from behind bars, bitter opponents of Modi, will be allowed to join.

One is Sikh separatist Amritpal Singh, a firebrand preacher arrested last year after a month-long police manhunt in Punjab state.

The second is Sheikh Abdul Rashid, a former state legislator in Indian-administered Kashmir.

It is unclear if either will be granted bail to attend the ceremony in person.

Modi’s decade as premier has seen him cultivate an image as an aggressive champion of the country’s majority Hindu faith, worrying minorities including the country’s 200-million-plus Muslim community.

But his BJP won only 240 seats in this year’s poll, 32 short of a majority in the lower house — its worst showing in a decade.

It has left the BJP reliant on a motley assortment of minor parties to govern.

Modi has kept key posts unchanged in this government and the cabinet remains dominated by the BJP.

That includes BJP loyalists Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman and S. Jaishankar — the defense, interior, transport, finance and foreign ministers, respectively, staying on in their jobs.

But out of his 71-member government, 11 posts went to coalition allies who extracted them in exchange for their support — including five in the top 30 cabinet posts.

Many will also be eying the election of the speaker, a powerful post overseeing the running of the lower house, with lawmakers slated to vote on Wednesday.

Coalition allies covet the post, but others suggest Modi will put forward a candidate from his BJP.
 


Putin thanks Kim for hospitality on visit to Pyongyang

Putin thanks Kim for hospitality on visit to Pyongyang
Updated 54 min 12 sec ago
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Putin thanks Kim for hospitality on visit to Pyongyang

Putin thanks Kim for hospitality on visit to Pyongyang

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday thanked North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for his hospitality during the visit to Pyongyang last week which Putin said brought bilateral ties to an unprecedented level, the Kremlin said.
Putin has also sent a similar message of gratitude to the leadership of Vietnam where he also paid a visit last week, the Kremlin said.