Nieuws Democracy

Nieuws over politieke trainingen en ontwikkelingen in Oost- en Zuidoost Europa, de Kaukasus, Afrika en het Midden Oosten

Kosovo leaders face crimes against humanity charges

Senior Kosovo leaders face indictment for crimes against humanity after a report by US prosecutor Clint Williamson was released on 29 July. The charges include killings, abductions, disappearances, sexual violence and other forms of persecutions against Serb and Roma minority populations, as well as political opponents, since the end of the conflict with Serbia in 1999. Although the suspects are not named, they are referred to as "senior officials of the former Kosovo Liberation Army" (KLA), who fought against Slobodan Milosevic’s Serbian regime. The EU special investigative task force (SITF) which led the investigation is likely to prosecute some top figures of Kosovo politics, who accessed leadership positions after the country’s independence in 2008.

Russia to pay USD50 billion in historic Yukos case

The Hague’s Permanent Arbitration Court sentenced Russia to pay the historically high amount of USD 50 billion to oil company Yukos shareholders on Monday 28 July. This sum represents a compensation for the breaking up and nationalisation of the company in 2005. Most of its assets had been transferred to majority state-owned Rosneft, one of the companies that have been targeted by the United States’ latest sanctions against Russia. The ruling may have big consequences on Russia’s economic stability while the country is on the verge of recession.

Ukraine ruling coalition collapses after Communist Party is banned.

Two Ukrainian parties left the majority coalition in Parliament today. The Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (UDAR) and the All-Ukrainian Union Svoboda declared they would leave Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s government in order to call for new elections and clear what the leader of Svoboda called “Moscow agents” in the chamber. The news could put an end to dissolution of the Ukrainian Communist Party that was agreed on by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Tuesday 22 July. The decision was contested by the Communist Party which filed a complaint, and declared that it underlines the "lawlessness prevailing" in Ukraine.

UPDATED - Israeli ground offensive in Gaza increases war casualties

The ground offensive launched by Israel in the Gaza strip on 18 July has led to an escalation of the death toll on both Israeli and Palestinian side. So far, 28 Israeli soldiers were killed while the Palestinian death tolls steadily reaches 600. The United Nations children’s agency, Unicef declared that a third of them were children. The bombardment of the city of Shejaiya in Gaza city on Sunday 20 July led to the death of about 60 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers, making it the bloodiest day since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge. United States Secretary of State John Kerry and UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon met today in Cairo, in order to reactivate the 2012 ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

UPDATED - Malaysian MH17 crash : anger grows as investigations stagnate

298 people died on Thursday 17 July in the crash of Malaysian Airlines MH 17 passenger plane flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, in the unstable region of Donetsk in Ukraine. While uncertainties remain as for how the plane was effectively attacked, 272 bodies had already been found this morning and loaded on two refrigerated railroad cars. The tragedy has raised a lot of international reactions and anger as the area was controlled by pro-Russian separatists suspected of launching a missile that hit the plane and later taking evidence away from the crash scene. Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged the warring parties to ensure an international investigation that can take place in the Donetsk region, while the United Nations Security Council is issuing a resolution.

US-EU impose toughest targeted sanctions on Russia since Ukraine crisis start

The United States and the European Union have increased the level of their sanctions against Russia on Wednesday 16 July. For the first time, they have targeted Russian enterprises specialised in gas and petrol, which maintain close relations to the central power in Moscow. US President Barack Obama underlined that Russia faces economic weakening and diplomatic isolation as a result of politic decisions in Ukraine. The European Union also decided to target the entities that materially and financially support breaches to the Ukrainian sovereignty.

Turkish President signs historic Kurdish peace process act

Turkey’s relations with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) entered a new phase on 15 July when Turkish President Abdullah Gül approved a law aiming at accelerate the peace process with the organisation. The PKK is still labelled as a terrorist one by Ankara, the European Union and the United States. The decision may have large electoral benefits for the incumbent President less than a month before the presidential election.

Hosni Mubarak’s party allowed to run in upcoming parliamentary elections

The Cairo Appeals Court for Urgent Matters overturned on 14 July the ruling that banned the leaders of former President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party (NDP) to participate in politics. They were then prevented from participating in the upcoming parliamentary elections which procedures will start by 18 July. The party had been dissolved by the Supreme Administrative Court after Hosni Mubarak, chairman of the party since 1981, was toppled in 2011.

International community calls for de-escalation in Hamas-Israeli clashes

On Saturday 12 July, 46 Palestinians were killed in Gaza during raids led by the Israeli army, making it the bloodiest day since the beginning of the Operation Protective Edge on July 8th. Extensive air raids, as well as the deployment of 1,500 Israeli soldiers around Gaza have been answered by the multiplication of rockets launched by Hamas and from Lebanon in the direction of Israel. International reactions have so far failed to consistently condemn any side, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that “no international pressure will prevent [Israel] from using all its power to ensure that Israeli citizens can live in peace”.

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