Amal Clooney advised ICC prosecutor who seeks warrants in Israel-Hamas war crimes case

British Lebanese human rights lawyer Amal Clooney. (File/AFP)
British Lebanese human rights lawyer Amal Clooney. (File/AFP)
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Updated 21 May 2024
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Amal Clooney advised ICC prosecutor who seeks warrants in Israel-Hamas war crimes case

British Lebanese human rights lawyer Amal Clooney. (File/AFP)
  • British Lebanese human rights lawyer says she agreed to serve on panel of experts reviewing evidence because she believes in rule of law and ‘need to protect civilian lives’

LONDON: British Lebanese human rights lawyer Amal Clooney was a special adviser in the International Criminal Court investigation that resulted in the prosecutor in the case requesting arrest warrants on Monday for Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and three Hamas leaders.

The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, thanked Clooney in his statement announcing his decision, describing her as part of “a panel of experts in international law” who reviewed the evidence.

In a message on her foundation’s website, Clooney said Khan had requested that she assist him “with evaluating evidence of suspected war crimes and crimes against humanity in Israel and Gaza.”

She added: “I agreed and joined a panel of international legal experts to undertake this task. Together we have engaged in an extensive process of evidence review and legal analysis, including at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

“Despite our diverse personal backgrounds, our legal findings are unanimous. We have unanimously determined that the Court has jurisdiction over crimes committed in Palestine and by Palestinian nationals.

“We unanimously conclude that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, including hostage-taking, murder and crimes of sexual violence.

“We unanimously conclude that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, including starvation as a method of warfare, murder, persecution and extermination.”

Clooney previously faced criticism for failing to publicly criticize the war in Gaza. Many people sent messages to her on social media on Monday apologizing for their comments and praising her role in the ICC investigation.

The lawyer said she agreed to serve on the panel because she believes in the rule of law and the “need to protect civilian lives.”

She added: “The law that protects civilians in war was developed more than 100 years ago and it applies in every country in the world, regardless of the reasons for a conflict.

“As a human rights lawyer, I will never accept that one child’s life has less value than another’s. I do not accept that any conflict should be beyond the reach of the law, nor that any perpetrator should be above the law. So I support the historic step that the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has taken to bring justice to victims of atrocities in Israel and Palestine.”

Israeli and Hamas leaders have rejected allegations that they are guilty of war crimes, and representatives of both sides criticized Khan for his decision.


16 sailors missing after Yemen-bound oil tanker capsizes off Oman

16 sailors missing after Yemen-bound oil tanker capsizes off Oman
Updated 8 min 41 sec ago
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16 sailors missing after Yemen-bound oil tanker capsizes off Oman

16 sailors missing after Yemen-bound oil tanker capsizes off Oman
  • Maritime Security Center in Oman said that 13 Indians and three Sri Lankans are missing from the Prestige Falcon
  • Indian Navy’s warship INS Teg is participating in the search operation alongside Omani vessels

AL-MUKALLA: Search operations have escalated for 16 seamen who went missing in the Arabian Sea on Monday when their oil tanker, bound for Yemen, sunk off Oman.

The Maritime Security Center in Oman said on Tuesday that 13 Indians and three Sri Lankans are missing from the Prestige Falcon, a Comoros-flagged oil tanker that collapsed 25 nautical miles southeast of Ras Madrakah near the Omani port town of Duqm.

The Indian news agency Asian News International reported that the Indian Navy’s warship INS Teg is participating in the search operation alongside Omani vessels and coast guards to find the missing sailors. The Indian Navy warship was able to locate the capsized tanker on Tuesday morning.

According to marinetraffic.com, which provides ship information, the Prestige Falcon is an oil tanker flying the Comoros flag, and which was going from the UAE to Yemen’s southern port city of Aden. In Yemen, the state-run Public Electricity Corporation in Aden said that the capsized ship was carrying 5,000 tonnes of fuel owned by a local merchant, contradicting media reports claiming that it controlled the ship’s cargo.

This comes as the Conflict and Environment Observatory, an environmental advocacy charity, stated that images provided by the Sentinel 2 satellite on Tuesday showed a 220 km oil slick beginning 106 nautical miles from Yemen’s Red Sea city of Hodeidah, which was believed leaked from the Liberia-flagged oil tanker Chios Lion that the Houthis attacked.

On Tuesday, the Houthis released footage of an explosive-laden and remotely operated boat colliding with the Chios Lion in the Red Sea, which was traveling 100 nautical miles northwest of Hodeidah on Monday, resulting in an explosion and ball of fire. The CEOBS condemned the Houthis for damaging the Red Sea’s ecosystem by assaulting oil vessels. “Attacks have already impacted the Red Sea environment and attacks on oil and bulk chemical carriers pose ongoing risks,” it said in a post on X.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s government said that it had found no evidence of contamination in the Red Sea or along the country’s coast from a fertilizer-laden ship that sank in the Red Sea, repeating appeals for the international community to provide it with technology to neutralize the ship’s danger. The MV Rubymar, a Belize-flagged and Lebanese-operated ship carrying thousands of tons of fertilizer and gasoline, sank in the Red Sea earlier this year after being attacked by Houthi missiles.

Capt. Yeslem Mubarak, vice executive chairman of the Maritime Affairs Authority and a member of the government’s commission responsible for the sinking ship, told Arab News that the Yemeni government teams who visited the ship’s area and combed the Yemeni coasts had not observed any signs of pollution.

He also said that the Yemeni government had requested equipment from some nations, including a remotely operated underwater vehicle, to address the MV Rubymar sinking or any similar incident in the future as the Houthis intensify their attacks on ships. “So yet, there is no pollution or slicks surrounding the ship, and it remains bowed up, indicating that water has not infiltrated all of its compartments,” he said.

Since November, the Houthis have seized a commercial ship, sunk two others, fired hundreds of ballistic missiles and deployed drones and drone boats to attack commercial and naval ships in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. The Yemeni militia sees this as an attempt to pressure Israel to end its war in the Palestinian Gaza Strip.


Saudi Arabia’s tourist expenditure hits $40bn with 10% growth, says minister 

Saudi Arabia’s tourist expenditure hits $40bn with 10% growth, says minister 
Updated 14 min 27 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia’s tourist expenditure hits $40bn with 10% growth, says minister 

Saudi Arabia’s tourist expenditure hits $40bn with 10% growth, says minister 

RIYADH: Tourist expenditure in Saudi Arabia reached around SR150 billion ($40 billion), reflecting a 10 percent increase in both tourist numbers and spending compared to last year, as revealed by a top minister. 

Speaking at a press conference for the 2024 summer tourism program, the Kingdom’s Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb also said that Saudi Arabia will launch a tourist visa next month, aimed at attracting more international visitors and bolstering the sector’s growth. 


Iran rejects accusations implicating it in plot to kill Donald Trump

Iran rejects accusations implicating it in plot to kill Donald Trump
Updated 36 min 56 sec ago
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Iran rejects accusations implicating it in plot to kill Donald Trump

Iran rejects accusations implicating it in plot to kill Donald Trump
  • CNN has reported US authorities received intelligence weeks ago on an alleged Iranian plot
  • Iran’s mission to the United Nations calls the accusations “unsubstantiated and malicious”

TEHRAN: Iran on Wednesday rejected what it called “malicious” accusations by US media implicating it in a plot to kill former US president Donald Trump.
CNN reported Tuesday that US authorities received intelligence from a “human source” weeks ago on an alleged Iranian plot against the former president, prompting his protection to be boosted. Other US outlets also reported the alleged plot.
CNN said the alleged plot was not linked to Saturday’s shooting at a Trump campaign rally in Pennsylvania, in which the former president was wounded and a supporter killed.
The US National Security Council said it had been “tracking Iranian threats against former Trump administration officials for years” after Tehran threatened revenge for the 2020 killing of Revolutionary Guards commander Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike in neighboring Iraq.
Iran’s mission to the United Nations called the accusations “unsubstantiated and malicious.”
Foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said Iran “strongly rejects any involvement in the recent armed attack against Trump.”
He added however that Iran remains “determined to prosecute Trump over his direct role in the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani.”
Soleimani headed the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, overseeing Iranian military operations across the Middle East.
Trump ordered his killing in a drone strike just outside Baghdad airport.


Pakistan advises its nationals to take precautions amid violent student protests in Bangladesh

Pakistan advises its nationals to take precautions amid violent student protests in Bangladesh
Updated 42 min 11 sec ago
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Pakistan advises its nationals to take precautions amid violent student protests in Bangladesh

Pakistan advises its nationals to take precautions amid violent student protests in Bangladesh
  • Tens of thousands of students have been holding nationwide protests since early July against public sector job quotas
  • PM Hasina has labeled protesters “razakar,” term for those who allegedly collaborated with Pakistani army during 1971 war

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka on Wednesday advised Pakistani students in Bangladesh to take necessary precautions and stay away from student protests in which at least six people have been killed and scores injured in the last 24 hours. 
Tens of thousands of students have been holding nationwide protests since early July against public sector job quotas, including a 30 percent quota for family members of freedom fighters from the 1971 War of Independence, amid high youth unemployment. 
Demonstrations intensified after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who led Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan, refused to meet the protesters’ demands and labeled those opposing the quota as “razakar,” a term used for those who allegedly collaborated with the Pakistani army during the 1971 war.
“Pakistan High Commission advises students to take all possible precautions for their safety and stay away from protests,” the High Commission said in a statement. “Campus residents have been advised to stay in their hostel rooms.”
On Wednesday morning, Deputy Prime Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar also spoke to the Pakistani High Commissioner in Bangladesh, Ambassador Syed Maruf, to inquire about the welfare of Pakistanis in Bangladesh.
“Maruf informed the Deputy Prime Minister about the security situation and the steps taken by the High Commission to ensure the welfare of Pakistanis in Bangladesh,” the statement said. “The embassy has opened a helpline for the convenience of people in distress.”
The protests turned violent this week when thousands of anti-quota protesters clashed with members of the student wing of the ruling Awami League party across the country. Six people, including at least three students, were killed during clashes on Tuesday, police said.
The protests are the first significant challenge to Hasina’s government since she secured a fourth consecutive term in January in an election boycotted by the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).


RSG partners with Saudi Climbing and Hiking Federation to boost adventure tourism

RSG partners with Saudi Climbing and Hiking Federation to boost adventure tourism
Updated 17 July 2024
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RSG partners with Saudi Climbing and Hiking Federation to boost adventure tourism

RSG partners with Saudi Climbing and Hiking Federation to boost adventure tourism
  • Collaboration is set to revolutionize the tourism landscape by offering thrilling experiences while prioritizing safety and professionalism
  • Partnership will be spearheaded by Akun, RSG’s adventure sports brand, responsible for overseeing all hiking, climbing, and adventure experiences within RSG’s destinations

JEDDAH: Red Sea Global has recently announced a partnership with the Saudi Climbing and Hiking Federation aimed at enhancing adventure tourism activities across the Red Sea region.

According to the statement, this collaboration is set to revolutionize the tourism landscape by offering thrilling experiences while prioritizing safety and professionalism.

The partnership will be spearheaded by Akun, RSG’s adventure sports brand responsible for overseeing all hiking, climbing, and adventure experiences within RSG’s destinations, including The Red Sea and AMAALA.

Nicholas King, group chief development officer at Red Sea Global, emphasized the importance of combining adventure with luxury tourism, stating in a press release: “Our partnership with the Saudi Climbing and Hiking Federation is ensuring that Akun can offer invigorating experiences that complement the elegance of our resorts in a safe and professional manner. Together, we are propelling the adventure tourism industry across the Red Sea region.”

Through this collaboration, trainees from SCHF will have the opportunity to gain experience through internships with Akun, while also benefiting from training and support provided by qualified SCHF trainers.

Yasmin Gahtani, managing director at SCHF, highlighted the landscapes of Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast and expressed the desire to showcase these stunning terrains through climbing and hiking experiences.

She said: “Saudi Arabia has some of the world’s most stunning landscapes, especially along the Red Sea coast. We want to help Saudis and the world discover this dramatic terrain by opening it to exhilarating, yet safe, climbing and hiking experiences. Through this partnership, we can make Saudi and the Red Sea a must-visit destination for the most avid climbers, hikers, and thrill-seekers.”

To promote the Red Sea region as a premier adventure destination, RSG and SCHF plan to host a series of local, regional, and international events, including climbing competitions, hiking events, and festivals.

According to the statement, the federation’s technical and safety assessments will help certify RSG’s developments as world-class adventure destinations.

Looking ahead, RSG and SCHF are exploring the creation of hiking and climbing content tailored to the Red Sea region. This resource will offer valuable information on trails, climbing sites, logistical details, and safety guidelines, positioning the Red Sea as a premier hub for outdoor enthusiasts worldwide.