News In Brief 08 February 2018

8 February 2018

Philippines, Venezuela focus of ICC preliminary examinations

The International Criminal Court (ICC) will open preliminary examinations into alleged crimes related to anti-drug efforts in the Philippines and political unrest in Venezuela.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced on Thursday that her Office will engage authorities in both countries “with a view to discussing and assessing any relevant investigation and prosecution at the national level.”

Thousands of people have been killed in the Philippines since the Government launched a “war on drugs” campaign in July 2016.

Ms. Bensouda said while some of the killings reportedly were attributed to gang clashes, “it is alleged that many of the reported incidents involved extrajudicial killings in the course of police anti-drug operations”.

The preliminary examination for Venezuela will analyse crimes allegedly committed in the context of demonstrations and related political unrest since April 2017.

State forces in the South American country allegedly used excessive force against protestors in addition to arresting and detaining thousands of actual or perceived members of the opposition, some of whom allegedly suffered serious abuse and ill-treatment while in detention.

“It has also been reported that some groups of protestors resorted to violent means, resulting in some members of security forces being injured or killed,” Ms. Bensouda stated.

“National jurisdictions have the primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute those responsible for international crimes. I emphasize that a preliminary examination is not an investigation but a process of examining the information available in order to reach a fully informed determination on whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation pursuant to the criteria established by the Rome Statute.”

The Rome Statute is the 2002 treaty that established the International Criminal Court which investigates and tries individuals charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Stay “one step ahead” of ISIL, UN counter-terrorism chief urges Security Council

The international community is being urged to stay “one step ahead” of the terrorist group ISIL, also known as Daesh.

The appeal was made by the head of the UN’s Office of Counter-Terrorism, Vladimir Voronkov, in a briefing to the Security Council on Thursday.

He pointed out that the fight against the extremists is entering “a new phase”.

Although ISIL suffered “significant” military setbacks last year in Iraq, Syria and the southern Philippines, he told ambassadors that the group and its affiliates continue to pose “a significant and evolving threat around the world”.

Mr. Voronkov outlined four observations, including the need to address what he called the “deficit” in counter-terrorism cooperation at the global, regional and national levels.

“The fight against ISIL and its affiliates is far from over. While there have been significant military successes over the past eight months, this remains a truly global challenge that demands an urgent and concerted multilateral response.”

FAO appeal aims to “restore” livelihoods in 26 countries fighting hunger

An appeal by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for $1.06 billion aims to help communities across 26 countries fight back against hunger.

The 2018 humanitarian appeal focusses on helping crisis-hit people in the world’s most food-insecure regions, and hopes to reach more than 30 million who rely on farming to survive.

Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO’s Emergency and Rehabilitation Division, said that many of the communities in need were affected by conflict, as well as natural disasters such as drought.

“FAO efforts therefore focus on protecting and restoring this agricultural-based livelihoods by providing a variety of support in terms of crop production, livestock production and even fisheries.”

Audio Credit:
Dianne Penn, UN News
Audio Duration:
4'12"