This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Warlord found guilty of crimes against humanity in northern Uganda - ICC
A former Ugandan warlord whose forces attacked camps for the internally displaced, has been found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court, judges ruled on Thursday.
The court based in the Netherlands, found that Dominic Ongwen led multiple grave violations in the north of the country in the early 2000s, as part of a longstanding armed insurgency dating back to the 1980s.
As a brigade commander of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), Mr Ongwen sanctioned murder of large numbers of civilians, forced marriage, sexual slavery and the recruitment of child soldiers “to participate actively in hostilities”, among other grave crimes, the court heard.
Attacks against civilians were justified by the reasoning that they were associated with the Government and were therefore the “enemy” of the insurgents.
Here’s Presiding Judge Bertram Schmitt reading the verdict:
CUT: “The killing of civilians was not confined to Odek IDP camp site. Some civilians abducted from the camp were killed when they struggled or tried to escape. LRA fighters killed a young abductee because his feet were too swollen and he was unable to walk any further.”
Although the court noted that Mr. Ongwen suffered greatly after being abducted by the LRA as a nine-year-old child, it noted that he was being put on trial for crimes committed as a “fully responsible adult and as a commander of the LRA in his mid to late twenties”.
IFRC launches plan to help vaccinate 500 million against COVID-19
A new international bid to vaccinate 500 million people against COVID-19 has been announced for poorer countries, in a bid to stop potentially deadly coronavirus mutations from developing in unvaccinated “pockets” of the world.
The initiative, led by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), comes as the organization noted that nearly 70 per cent of vaccine doses administered so far, have been in the world's 50 wealthiest countries.
Only 0.1 per cent of vaccines have been administered in the 50 poorest countries, the IFRC said.
Jagan Chapagain, Secretary General of the IFRC, warned that inequitable immunisation was alarming and could “prolong or even worsen” the pandemic.
The $110 million plan will see Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies support national vaccination efforts.
Iran: rights experts alarmed over execution of Baloch minority prisoners
To Iran now, where UN human rights experts have said that they’re worried that the recent increase in executions of minority Baloch prisoners is set to continue.
The alert from the Special Rapporteurs - who are independent of the UN and appointed by the Human Rights Council – comes after the hanging last weekend of Javid Dehghan, who belonged to the Baloch community.
Mr. Dehghan was put to death despite an appeal to the Iranian government from the UN Human Rights Office and others.
They cited a lack of due process in his trial, and repeated his claim that he had been tortured into falsely admitting that he belonged to a jihadist group.
In a statement on Thursday, the rights experts said they had information showing that at least 21 Balochi prisoners have been executed in prisons at Zahedan, Mashhad and Isfahan since mid-December 2020.
Many of them were convicted on drug or national security charges, following flawed legal processes, the experts said, adding that more than 120 prisoners are reported to be on death row in Zahedan’s main prison alone, including for crimes not involving intentional killing.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.