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.


Biden adviser will be in Israel on Monday to avoid escalation between Israel, Lebanon

US Senior Advisor for Energy Security Amos Hochstein. (AFP)
US Senior Advisor for Energy Security Amos Hochstein. (AFP)
Updated 10 min 40 sec ago
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Biden adviser will be in Israel on Monday to avoid escalation between Israel, Lebanon

US Senior Advisor for Energy Security Amos Hochstein. (AFP)

WASHINGTON: A senior Biden adviser will travel to Israel on Monday for meetings to avoid further escalation between Israel and Lebanon, a White House official said.
Amos Hochstein will advance efforts to avoid further escalation along the “Blue Line” between Israel and Lebanon, said the official, who did not wish to be identified.
Attacks between Israel and Iran-backed Hezbollah militants in Lebanon have led to worries of a deeper war across the Middle East.


DeChambeau outlasts McIlroy to win second US Open crown

DeChambeau outlasts McIlroy to win second US Open crown
Updated 37 min 29 sec ago
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DeChambeau outlasts McIlroy to win second US Open crown

DeChambeau outlasts McIlroy to win second US Open crown
  • The 30-year-old American became the second active player of Saudi-backed LIV Golf to win a major title after Brooks Koepka in the 2023 PGA Championship

PINEHURST, United States: Bryson DeChambeau captured his second US Open title on Sunday, outlasting Rory McIlroy in a dramatic back-nine duel to win by a stroke at Pinehurst.
Overtaken by McIlroy with six holes remaining to play, DeChambeau kept his poise over the dome-shaped greens and sandy waste areas of Pinehurst to rally for the crown.
McIlroy, thwarted in a bid to end a 10-year major win drought, led by two strokes with five holes to play.
But the four-time major winner from Northern Ireland made bogeys on three of the last four holes to help hand the trophy to DeChambeau.
“I still can’t believe it,” said DeChambeau. “It’s unbelievable.”
DeChambeau, who also won the 2020 US Open, fired a one-over-par 71 to finish on six-under-par 274 while McIlroy shot 69 to stand on 275 after 72 holes.
The 30-year-old American became the second active player of Saudi-backed LIV Golf to win a major title after Brooks Koepka in the 2023 PGA Championship.
In a collapse mindful of Greg Norman’s epic 1996 last-round loss to Nick Faldo at the Masters, McIlroy missed par putts from 2.5 feet at the par-3 17th and just inside four feet at the par-4 18th — tension-packed bogeys that left McIlroy one behind.
DeChambeau found dirt and weeds left and a bunker at 18 but blasted his third shot to four feet and sank his pressure-packed putt for the victory.
“I was not great today but I got out of trouble really well and then, man, I can’t believe that up and down the last — that was All-World, probably the best shot of my life.”
Raising his arms in triumph, DeChambeau screamed and jumped for joy, then paid tribute to the late Payne Stewart, the 1999 US Open winner at Pinehurst who died only a few months later.
“That’s Payne right there, baby,” DeChambeau said into a television camera, pointing to a pin of Stewart on his cap.
Americans Tony Finau and Patrick Cantlay shared third on 276, two off the pace, with Finau firing a 67. France’s Matthieu Pavon was fifth on 277 after a 71, one stroke ahead of Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, who fired a 70 to stand on 278.
DeChambeau answered bogeys at the fourth and 12th holes with birdies at the par-5 10th and par-4 13th to keep the pressure on McIlroy until he cracked.
“I felt like I was hitting the driver pretty well. It just wasn’t starting exactly where I wanted to hit to,” DeChambeau said.
“Ultimately on 13 I knew I had to make birdie there to give myself a chance, because Rory was going on a heater.
“He slipped up a couple on the way coming in and I just kept staying the course, focused on trying to do as many fairways as I could.”
McIlroy settled for his second US Open runner-up effort in a row and his 21st top-10 finish since he last won a major at the 2014 PGA Championship.
DeChambeau and McIlroy shared the lead at seven-under when the drama seemed to turn.
McIlroy sank a five-foot putt at 13 for his fourth birdie in five holes while DeChambeau found sand and weeds off the tee and made bogey at 12, a two-shot swing leaving McIlroy on eight-under and DeChambeau two back.
But DeChambeau birdied 13 from just outside 27 feet and McIlroy went over the green at the par-3 15th and missed a 31-foot par putt, leaving them deadlocked at the top again.
DeChambeau then suffered his first three-putt bogey of the tournament, lipping out a four-foot par putt at the par-3 15th to fall one back, only for McIlroy to botch his short putts at the end.
Pavon failed in his bid to become the second Frenchman to win a major title after Arnaud Massy at the 1907 British Open.
Sweden’s sixth-seeded Ludvig Aberg, who began five back, took a triple bogey at the second to fall back. He fired a 73 to share 12th on 281.
World number one Scottie Scheffler, the huge pre-tournament favorite, fired a two-over 72 to stand on eight-over 288 for what was only his second finish outside the top-10 this year.
“Didn’t play my best. A bit frustrating to end,” he said. “I definitely need to do some things better.”


Saudi crown prince receives phone call from president of European Council

Charles Michel (L) and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
Charles Michel (L) and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
Updated 17 June 2024
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Saudi crown prince receives phone call from president of European Council

Charles Michel (L) and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
  • They reviewed Saudi-EU cooperation and ways to strengthen in various areas

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has received telephone call from the president of the European Council Charles Michel on Sunday.

During the conversation, they reviewed Saudi-EU cooperation and ways to strengthen in various areas.

A number of regional and international issues were also discussed as well as efforts made to achieve security and stability in the region, SPA reported.

 


Nuclear arms more prominent amid geopolitical tensions: researchers

Nuclear arms more prominent amid geopolitical tensions: researchers
Updated 17 June 2024
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Nuclear arms more prominent amid geopolitical tensions: researchers

Nuclear arms more prominent amid geopolitical tensions: researchers
  • The nine countries are the United States, Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel

STOCKHOLM: The role of atomic weapons has become more prominent and nuclear states are modernizing arsenals as geopolitical relations deteriorate, researchers said Monday, urging world leaders to “step back and reflect.”
Diplomatic efforts to control nuclear arms also suffered major setbacks amid strained international relations over the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in its annual yearbook.
“We have not seen nuclear weapons playing such a prominent role in international relations since the Cold War,” Wilfred Wan, director of SIPRI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Programme, said in a statement.
The research institute noted that in February 2023 Russia announced it was suspending participation in the 2010 New START treaty — “the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty limiting Russian and US strategic nuclear forces.”
SIPRI also noted that Russia carried out tactical nuclear weapon drills close to the Ukrainian border in May.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has upped his nuclear rhetoric since the Ukraine conflict began, warning in his address to the nation in February there was a “real” risk of nuclear war.
In addition, an informal agreement between the United States and Iran reached in June 2023 was upended after the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October, SIPRI said.

According to SIPRI, the world’s nine nuclear-armed states also “continued to modernize their nuclear arsenals and several deployed new nuclear-armed or nuclear-capable weapon systems in 2023.”
The nine countries are the United States, Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel.
In January, of the estimated 12,121 nuclear warheads around the world about 9,585 were in stockpiles for potential use, according to SIPRI.
Around 2,100 were kept in a state of “high operational alert” on ballistic missiles.
Nearly all of these warheads belong to Russia and the United States — which together possess almost 90 percent of all nuclear weapons — but China was for the first time believed to have some warheads on high operational alert.
“While the global total of nuclear warheads continues to fall as Cold War-era weapons are gradually dismantled, regrettably we continue to see year-on-year increases in the number of operational nuclear warheads,” SIPRI director Dan Smith said.
He added that this trend would likely continue and “probably accelerate” in the coming years, describing it as “extremely concerning.”
Researchers also stressed the “continuing deterioration of global security over the past year,” as the impact from the wars in Ukraine and Gaza could be seen in “almost every aspect” of issues relating to armaments and international security.
“We are now in one of the most dangerous periods in human history,” Smith said, urging the world’s great powers to “step back and reflect. Preferably together.”
 

 


Russian forces kill Daesh-linked hostage takers at detention center

Russian forces kill Daesh-linked hostage takers at detention center
Updated 17 June 2024
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Russian forces kill Daesh-linked hostage takers at detention center

Russian forces kill Daesh-linked hostage takers at detention center
  • “The criminals were eliminated,” Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service said in a statement, which said a “special operation” had taken place to free the hostages

MOSCOW: Russian special forces freed two prison guards and shot dead six inmates linked to the Daesh militant group who had taken them hostage at a detention center in the southern city of Rostov on Sunday, Russian media said.
State media said that some of the men had been convicted of terrorism offenses and were accused of affiliation with the Daesh militant group, which claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on a Moscow concert hall in March.
The six hostage takers, one of whom wore a headband with the flag used by the Daesh that bears an Arabic inscription, knocked out window bars and climbed down several floors by rope before taking the guards hostage with a knife and fire axe.
In video published by the 112 Telegram channel, one was shown brandishing a knife beside one of the bound guards in Rostov-on-Don. In negotiations with the authorities, they demanded free passage out of the prison.
But Russian special forces decided to storm the prison. Intense automatic gunfire could be heard in footage published on Russian Telegram channels. Video published by the 112 Telegram channel showed the six dead men in pools of blood.
“The criminals were eliminated,” Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service said in a statement, which said a “special operation” had taken place to free the hostages.
“The employees who were being held hostage were released. They are uninjured,” the prison service said.
Ambulances were seen entering the complex.
Daesh, a Sunni Muslim militant group, was defeated in Iraq and Syria by a combination of US-led forces, Kurdish fighters, and Russian, Iranian, Syrian soldiers. It splintered into different regional groups that have claimed a number of deadly attacks across the world.
Daesh, named after an old term for the region that included parts of Iran, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the March attack on the Crocus City Hall outside Moscow in which 145 people died.
According to Russian media, the hostage takers were from Russia’s southern republic of Ingushetia and three of them had been detained in 2022 for planning an attack on a court in another Russian republic, Karachay-Cherkessia.