Tag Archives: Africa

A historic Liberian war crimes tribunal opens in Switzerland | Instant News


GENEVA (Reuters) – Trials against a former Liberian commander accused of rape, looting, murder and acts of cannibalism opened in Switzerland this week.

FILE PHOTO: Liberian rebels disarm at a checkpoint outside the city before proceeding to the Free Port in Monrovia 16 August 2003. REUTERS / Juda Ngwenya REUTERS / File Photo

Alieu Kosiah’s trial, which denies the allegations, is one of the few cases brought before an international court relating to the 1989-2003 West African state conflict, which killed nearly a quarter of a million people, often at the hands of child soldiers.

He was accused of war crimes listed as “the recruitment and use of child soldiers, forced transportation, looting, cruel treatment of civilians, attempted murder, murder (in person or on order), desecration of corpses and rape”.

It is the first war crimes tribunal in Switzerland to be tried outside a military court.

“This is historic for Switzerland and Liberia,” said Alain Werner, a Swiss lawyer at the Geneva-based NGO Civitas Maxima who filed the complaint on behalf of the victims.

The NGO was researching war crimes with Liberian partners when they discovered a rebel commander living near Lake Geneva. Kosiah was arrested in 2014 and Switzerland filed charges against him in 2019.

The case involved dozens of witnesses, thousands of pages of testimony and was complicated, according to the Swiss Attorney General’s office, by Liberia’s lack of official cooperation. The trial will open Thursday at the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona.

Kosiah, 45, said she wanted to clear her name. Several allegations were linked to the troops under his command.

“According to Mr Alieu Kosiah, one of the big problems with this case is that he has not arrived in Lofa (district) at the time of the crime he was supposed to commit there,” his lawyer Dimitri Gianoli told Reuters.

“The most important thing (he) can officially re-establish his honor by making himself heard openly and clearly,” he said. “(He) has always been very clear about his presence in Liberia and the court submissions including the testimony gathered in Switzerland that confirms him.”

‘VOICE TO THE DEAD’

Unlike neighboring Sierra Leone which had its own civil war in the 1990s, perpetrators in Liberia have never faced prosecution at home despite recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to establish war crimes tribunals.

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor was convicted in 2012 of war crimes in Sierra Leone, but has never been convicted of Liberian acts.

Other people arrested in Europe have yet to appear in court.

Former warlords maintain positions of power in Liberia and witnesses are reluctant to step forward amid threats.

“This trial gives hope to victims, survivors and gives a voice to the dead,” said Hassan Bility, who gathered evidence for the case and himself was tortured in the conflict.

Elise Keppler of Human Rights Watch said she hoped the trial would be a “wake-up call” for Liberia.

The court will hear Kosiah next week.

Liberian plaintiffs cannot appear due to COVID-19 restrictions and will testify in 2021. Kosiah faces a possible maximum sentence of 20 years.

Additional reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi in Zurich; Edited by Giles Elgood

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Rugby-New Zealand closed Argentina 38-0 in the Tri-Nations test | Instant News


SYDNEY, 28 Nov (Reuters) – New Zealand beat Argentina 38-0 in the Tri-Nations test at Newcastle on Saturday to seek revenge for their shock defeat to Puma two weeks ago and halt a two-game losing streak.

The All Blacks earn bonus points for going five points clear at the top of the table and will secure the title if Argentina or Australia do not win the tournament final in Sydney next weekend by a sizeable margin.

Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Hugh Lawson

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Rugby: New Zealand closed Argentina 38-0 in the Tri-Nations test | Instant News


FILE PHOTO: New Zealand All Blacks player seen during the national anthem before the Tri-Nations rugby union match between the Australian Wallabies and New Zealand All Blacks at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia, 7 November 2020. AAP Image / Darren England via REUTERS / File Photo

SYDNEY (Reuters) – New Zealand beat Argentina 38-0 in the Tri-Nations test at Newcastle on Saturday to seek revenge for their shock loss to Puma two weeks ago and snuff out a two-game losing streak.

The All Blacks earn bonus points for going five points clear at the top of the table and will secure the title if Argentina or Australia do not win the tournament final in Sydney next weekend by a sizeable margin.

Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Hugh Lawson

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Supermodel in hijab Halima Aden leaves the fashion industry | Somalia | Instant News


In a series of Instagram posts, Aden said the fashion industry was forcing him to deviate from his religious beliefs.

Halima Aden, an American Somali model, said she left the runway fashion show because the industry had forced her to deviate from her religious beliefs.

In a series of Instagram Story posts, the 23-year-old talks about how the job has driven him further apart from his identity.

“I can only blame myself for paying more attention to the opportunities than what is really at stake,” wrote Aden, one of the first models to wear a headscarf while representing a mega fashion label.

Despite her success as a black Muslim woman in the industry, Aden says she often feels pressured, as she describes feeling uncomfortable during photo shoots.

He said the break due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic “opened” his eyes.

“I finally realized where I went wrong in my personal hijab journey,” said Aden, who was born in a refugee camp in Kenya and moved to the US at the age of seven.

In a separate post describing Aden with her mother, she said: “I take a stand for myself but I also take a stand for all those who have lost their soul to fashion.”

“We will never need your representatives,” he added.

Aden first made headlines in 2016, when she became the first woman to wear a headscarf – a veil worn by many Muslim women who feel it’s part of their religion – at the Miss Minnesota USA pageant.

Since then she has appeared on the cover of British Vogue and on the runway at New York Fashion Week.

Aden is the first model to wear a full body hijab and burkini in the Sports Illustrated edition of the annual swimsuit. The spread was shot at Watamu Beach in Kenya.

Twitter users praised the model for taking a bold stance on the industry.

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Ghana, Switzerland Signs Agreement to Invest in Green Business | Instant News


Ghana has signed a bilateral agreement with Switzerland to invest in green business aimed at reducing the impact of climate change in both countries.

Under the agreement, Ghana will receive funding from the Swiss side for sustainable development projects while Switzerland takes carbon credit emission cuts to fulfill its climate commitments without sacrificing Ghana’s efforts to achieve its own climate action.

The deal falls directly under Article six of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change which encourages countries to mobilize finance and catalyze private sector investment to tackle the threat of climate change.

The Paris Agreement, adopted in 2016, challenges countries that are part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to work towards achieving the desired global goal of two degrees of temperature reduction.

At a brief signing ceremony in Accra on Monday, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey and the Swiss Ambassador to Ghana, Philipp Stalder, both attached their signatures to the agreement for the implementation.

Via video conference, they were attended by the President of the Swiss Confederation, Simonetta Sommaruga and the Ambassador of Ghana to Switzerland, Ramses Joseph Cleland who witnessed the signing.

Sector Minister Ms Botchwey explained in a statement that after identifying practical ways to implement the agreement, the two countries were asked to prevent double counting and not claim credits for the same carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.