Tagged in: Azaria

UNbacked tribunal concludes appeal hearing for convicted Khmer Rouge figure

Kaing Guek Eav, whose alias is Duch, was sentenced last July to 35 years in prison by the trial chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), with a five-year reduction to remedy his illegal detention at a Cambodian military court. The court found that Mr. Kaing not only implemented, but also actively contributed to the development of the policies of the Communist Party of Kampuchea at the S-21 camp, where numerous Cambodians were unlawfully detained, subjected to inhumane conditions and forced labour, tortured and executed in the late 1970s. During the three-day appeal hearing held by the ECCC’s Supreme Court Chamber, Mr. Kaing and his defence team reiterated that he was neither a senior leader nor one of those most responsible for heinous crimes being prosecuted at the court, and therefore should not have been tried at the court. He told the chamber – consisting of four Cambodian judges and three internationals selected by the UN Secretary-General – that he merely acted on orders from his superior and he would have died if he didn’t. “I survived the regime, only because I respectfully and strictly followed the orders,” he said. Meanwhile, the prosecution demanded a life imprisonment for Mr. Kaing’s role as a chairman of the security prison, where at least 12,000 people died during the period from 17 April 1975 to 6 January 1979. Co-Prosecutors Chea Leang and Andrew Cayley claimed that Mr. Kaing should have been cumulatively convicted for the crimes against humanity of persecution, enslavement, imprisonment, torture, rape, extermination and other inhumane acts as well as the enslavement of those detained in S-21. They demanded the Supreme Court Chamber impose a heavier sentence. “We call for the imposition of a life term, reduced to 45 years simply to take account of that period of illegal detention,” Mr. Cayley told the judges. “But for the purposes of history, a life term must be imposed in this case.” The Supreme Court Chamber is expected to hand down its appeals judgment in a few months. The appeal took place as the ECCC prepares for its second case concerning the four most senior members of the Democratic Kampuchea regime who are still alive. Estimates vary but as many as two million people are thought to have died during the rule of the Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1979, which was then followed by a protracted period of civil war in the impoverished South-East Asian country. 30 March 2011The United Nations-backed tribunal in Cambodia dealing with mass killings and other crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge three decades ago today concluded the appeal hearing for the former head of a notorious detention camp who was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity last year. read more

Somalia deploys team to rescue Sri Lankans on Aris 13

Security forces have been sent to free the Aris 13, a regional police official said late on Tuesday. A pirate called Abdullahi told Reuters by telephone: “We are now heading on boats toward our colleagues holding the ship at Alula. We are carrying water, food and weapons for reinforcement.”The Sri Lankan government said eight Sri Lankan crew were onboard and the ship flew a flag from the Comoros islands.Data from Reuters systems showed it made a sharp turn just after it passed the Horn of Africa on its voyage from Djibouti to Mogadishu. Security forces have been sent to free the Aris 13 ship and the Sri Lankan crew, the Reuters news agency quoted Somali authorities as saying.Pirates hijacked the oil tanker with eight Sri Lankan crew on board, the first time a commercial ship has been seized in the region since 2012. The pirates brought the ship to the port town of Alula, district commissioner Mohamud Ahmed Eynab told Reuters by phone. Puntland is a semi-autonomous northern region of Somalia. Alula is a port town there where pirates have taken the tanker.Experts said the ship was an easy target and ship owners were becoming lax after a long period of calm. “We are determined to rescue the ship and its crew. Our forces have set off to Alula. It is our duty to rescue ships hijacked by pirates and we shall rescue it,” Abdirahman Mohamud Hassan, director general of Puntland’s marine police forces, told Reuters by phone. The Aris 13 sent a distress call on Monday, turned off its tracking system and altered course for the Somali port town of Alula, said John Steed of the aid group Oceans Beyond Piracy.“The ship reported it was being followed by two skiffs yesterday afternoon. Then it disappeared,” said Steed, an expert on piracy who is in contact with naval forces tracking the ship.Aircraft from regional naval force EU Navfor were flying overhead to track the ship, he said. The force declined to comment. The 1,800 deadweight ton Aris 13 is owned by Panama company Armi Shipping and managed by Aurora Ship Management in the United Arab Emirates, according to the Equasis shipping data website, managed by the French transport ministry.Graeme Gibbon-Brooks, the head of private maritime security company Dryad Maritime Intelligence, said the vessel was an easy target because it was low, slow and close to the coast.Crews were beginning to relax their vigilance after a period of relative security for shipping, he said.Now that the ship was captured, Somali authorities must ensure it was contained and not used as a mothership, he said, referring to a hijacked vessel used to launch attacks.“The way that the authorities react now is crucial,” he said.In their heyday in 2011, Somali pirates launched 237 attacks off the coast of Somalia, data from the International Maritime Bureau showed, and held hundreds of hostages.That year, Ocean’s Beyond Piracy estimated the global cost of piracy was about $7 billion. The shipping industry bore roughly 80 percent of those costs, the group’s analysis showed.But attacks fell sharply after ship owners tightened security and vessels stayed further away from the Somali coast.There had only been four attempted attacks by Somali pirates in the past three years, the bureau said.Intervention by regional naval forces that flooded into the area helped disrupt several hijack bids and improved security for the strategic trade route that leads through the Suez Canal and links the oilfields of the Middle East with European ports.Before Tuesday’s hijacking, only one crew remained captive in Somalia. The crew of 17 Iranians was taken two years ago, but four are believed to have died, four were rescued and one escaped, Steed said, so only eight remained.“They’re from Baluchistan in Iran,” he said, referring to a violent and restive eastern province. “No one really cares about them.” (Colombo Gazette) read more