Europe
bucha

Ukraine preparing multiple war crime cases

Ukrainian prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova announced that her office is preparing war crimes cases against 41 suspects, on charges including “the bombing of civilian infrastructure, the killing of civilians, rape and looting.” Venediktova said her office is investigating more than 10,700 potential war crimes involving more than 600 suspects. The first war crime trial since the start of the invasion has opened in Kyiv. The suspect is a Russian soldier accused of killing an elderly Ukrainian civilian riding his bicycle in the northeastern village of Chupakhivka. He has been charged with both international war crimes and with premeditated murder under Ukraine’s penal code. The Ministry of Defense has identified 10 other Russian soldiers who may be charged for mass killings in the city of Bucha. (Photo: Vigilant News via Twitter)

Africa
Africa mining

Artisanal gold miners massacred in DRC

At least 35 people were killed when armed men raided a gold mining camp in Ituri province, in the conflicted northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Local authorities at the rural commune of Mungwalu blamed the attack on the CODECO rebel militia. A four-month-old baby was among the dead. The militiamen also looted and torched homes at Camp Blanquette, and seized quantities of extracted gold. Informal mines in the eastern DRC provide much of the country’s output of gold, cobalt and other minerals used in the global electronics industry. The minerals, extracted under dangerous and oppressive conditions, continue to be a goad to internal warfare by rival armed factions. (Photo via Africa Up Close)

Iraq
ybs

Iraq: thousands displaced in new battle for Sinjar

Clashes between the Iraqi military and a local Yazidi militia have forced more than 3,000 people to flee the northern town of Sinjar. Fighting erupted when the military launched an operation to clear the area of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a militia with ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Many of those displaced are Yazidis who survived the 2014 Islamic State genocide against the ethnicity. They are now distributed in camps across Iraq’s Kurdish region. In 2020, Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) signed a pact to restore their joint control to the autonomous Yazidi enclave, known as Ezidikhan. The deal has not been implemented until now, despite growing pressure from Turkey, which has carried out intermittent air-strikes on the Sinjar area. (Photo: A poster commemorating a slain YBS fighter on a bombed-out building in Sinjar. Credit: TNH)

Africa
Central African Republic

Russian mercenaries accused in CAR atrocities

Forces in the Central African Republic, identified by witnesses as Russian mercenaries, “appear to have summarily executed, tortured, and beaten civilians since 2019,” Human Rights Watch finds in a new report. The United Nations announced it wil investigate the circumstances in which at least 10 people were killed last month in the CAR’s northeast, with reports alleging involvement by Russian forces from the paramilitary Wagner Group. HRW documents other such claims. Last July , apparently Russian-speaking forces killed at least 12 unarmed men near the town of Bossangoa, also in the CAR’s conflicted north. HRW is calling upon the CAR’s Special Criminal Court (SCC) or the International Criminal Court to “investigate these incidents as well as other credible allegations of abuse by Russia-linked forces with a view to criminal prosecution.” (Map via Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection)

North Africa
libya

ICC reveals Libya investigation strategy

International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim AA Khan revealed a new strategy for the ongoing investigation into the situation in Libya to the UN Security Council. The ICC investigation focuses on accusations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Libya since the outbreak of the revolution against Moammar Qaddafi’s government in February 2011. The investigation also covers three unexecuted arrest warrants issued by the ICC. The ICC began its investigation in March 2011. Libya is not a party to the Rome Statute. Therefore, the ICC derives its jurisdiction for this investigation from a unanimous reference by the Security Council in Resolution 1970. (Map: Perry-Castañeda Library)

Africa
Mali

‘False flag’ plot behind Mali mass grave?

The junta in Mali is accusing France of spying after the French military used a drone to film footage that Paris says shows Russian mercenaries burying bodies in a mass grave near a military base. The French government says the bodies were buried outside the base at Gossi, Tombouctou region, in a scheme to falsely accuse its departing forces of leaving behind mass graves. Video from the drone was released after pixelated images appeared on social media of corpses being buried, with text accusing France of atrocities in Mali. France claims the bodies were brought to Gossi from Hombori, a town to the south, where Malian troops and Russian mercenaries have been carrying out an operation against jihadi insurgents. The junta acknowledges that numerous militants were killed in the operation. (Map: PCL)

Southeast Asia
detention

Malaysia: calls to end mass detention of refugees

Rights groups in Malaysia are calling for the release of thousands of detained refugees and asylum-seekers, after a deadly incident in the northern state of Penang. Six Rohingya refugees were struck by vehicles and killed when hundreds fled a detention center after breaking through barriers and attempted to escape across an adjacent highway. “There is no discernible reason as to why so many of them were cramped into a makeshift depot in the first place,” stated advocacy group Lawyers for Liberty. Malaysia has long been a destinationfor Rohingya fleeing persecution in Burma, but the government has cracked down on asylum-seekers during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Hasnoor Hussain/TNH)

Africa
Central African Republic

CAR war crimes trial delayed —again

A court created seven years ago to prosecute war crimes in the Central African Republic was due to open its first trial this month. But a no-show by defense lawyers means victims’ associations and others pushing for justice will have to wait a little longer. The Bangui-based Special Criminal Court (SCC) is a hybrid tribunal composed of national and international jurists tasked with prosecuting war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. It took time to become operational because of staff recruitment challenges, insecurity, and limited resources. Arrest warrants have also not been executed, and the government has released high-profile suspects without SCC authorization. Its inaugural trial—set to resume in April—concerns three members of the 3R rebel group accused of involvement in a 2019 massacre. Rebel groups remain active across the CAR, which has one of the highest per capita humanitarian caseloads in the world. (Map via Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection)

Africa
Kereinik

Sudan: 150 killed in new Darfur massacre

At least 150 were killed as paramilitary troops attacked a village in Sudan’s conflicted Darfur region. Fighters from the Rapid Support Forces, many riding motorbikes or driving vehicles mounted with machine-guns, swept in on the village of Kereinik, torching houses and shops and firing on residents. More than 80,000 families fled their homes to seek refuge at the army headquarters in the village center. Hostilities between the Arab-dominated RSF and Masalit villagers began days earlier, after two Arab herders were reportedly killed by former rebel fighters. The fighting has since spread to the nearby town of Geneina, capital of West Darfur state. Sudan’s central government is said to be sending in military reinforcements and warplanes to contain the situation. (Photo: Sudan Tribune)

Watching the Shadows
anti-chomsky

Podcast: against Chomsky’s genocide complicity

In Episode 120 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg invites the enmity of his comrades on the left with a long-overdue deconstruction of the increasingly sinister, genocide-abetting politics of Noam Chomsky. In relentless sycophantic interviews, Chomsky inevitably opposes a no-fly zone for Ukraine, war crimes charges against Putin, or even sanctions against Russia, on the basis that such moves would lead to nuclear war. He offers no acknowledgment of how capitulating to Putin’s nuclear threats incentivizes such threats, and the stockpiling of missiles and warheads to back them up. This is part of a long pattern with Chomsky. He has repeatedly engaged in baseless “false flag” theorizing about the Syria chemical attacks, leading activists in the Arab world to accuse him of “regime whitewashing.” He similarly abetted Bosnia genocide revisionism, and denial of the genocides in Rwanda and Cambodia. All this can be traced to the analytical and ultimately moral distortions of the so-called “Chomsky rule“—the notion that we are only allowed to criticize crimes committed by “our” side. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Image via social media)

Europe
mariupol ruins

Ukraine formally accuses Russia of ‘genocide’

Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, adopted a resolution formally recognizing the actions of the Russian armed forces in the country as genocide of the Ukrainian people. The resolution calls upon the UN, the European Parliament, the OSCE and NATO to similarly designate Russia’s actions as genocide. These bodies do appear to be weighing such a determination. An investigation by the Organization for Security & Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) found that Russian forces have committed “violations concerning even the most fundamental human rights” in Ukraine. International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Karim Khan told reporters during his visit to Bucha, the Kyiv suburb where a massacre was carried out last month, that “Ukraine is a crime scene.” The ICC opened an investigation into possible war crimes after 39 state parties referred the situation in Ukraine to the Court. (Photo via Twitter)

Europe
Azov Battalion

Podcast: Antifa and the Azov Battalion

In Episode 119 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg explores the intellectual challenge posed to Western anti-fascists by Putin’s ultra-cynical fascist pseudo-anti-fascism. Russian state media have issued a “blueprint for genocide” in Ukraine—in the perversely paradoxical name of “de-nazification.” With much of the American “left” rallying around Putinand repeating his line that the Ukrainians are Nazis, some of the once-stalwart antifas (themselves coming under attack from domestic fascism) are in danger of being coopted by fascism. Of course there are actual far-right elements on the Ukrainian side—which Ukrainian anti-fascists have been actively resisting. But in an atmosphere of totalizing propaganda, it is critical that we do not rely exclusively on pro-Putin sources for information on elements such as the notorious Azov Battalion, but get outside the confirmation-bias bubble. It is even more critical that we ruthlessly reject double standards, and acknowledge that the fascist element is far more hegemonic on the Russian side—and that Putin’s new Russo-fascism is aligned with Trumpism. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Azov Battalion website)