UN Yugoslav Tribunal Upholds Convictions Stemming from Srebrenica Massacre

By Kyle Herda

Impunity Watch Reporter, Europe

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – Five convicted in the 1995 massacre at Srebrenica have had their sentences upheld by a judge at the UN Yugoslav tribunal in The Hague.

Drago Nikolic, former Bosnian Serb chief of security, had his sentence of 35 years of imprisonment affirmed. (Photo courtesy of Seattle PI)

In just three days in Srebrenica, around 8,000 Bosnian men and boys were killed in what was the worst atrocity on European soil since World War Two. Towards the end of the conflict, around 20,000 refugees fled to Srebrenica to escape the Serbian forces, and UN Dutch forces subsequently protected the area. However, Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic led his troops to take Srebrenica from the Dutch, and word of the massacre soon followed the occupation by Mladic. The European Parliament has since decided to recognize July 11 as a day of remembrance for the victims.

Not all of those responsible have received their sentences yet, as evidenced by former Bosnian political leader Radovan Karadzic remaining on trial and Mladic as well, both facing charges such as genocide. However, the five appeals finalized today kept the men in prison, and four of the five kept their sentences. Former Bosnian Serb army security chief Drago Nikolic and brigade commander Vinko Pandurevic retained 35 and 13 year sentences, while Vujadin Popovic and Ljubisa Beara had their life sentences affirmed. Only Radivoge Miletic received a lesser sentence, having his imprisonment reduced from 19 to 18 years.

Altogether, the UN Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has charged 19 people. 315 witnesses have testified in trials for those charged, and some remains on trial. There have already been 141 proceedings, and another 15 are still ongoing for crimes stemming from the conflict, but the trials for those responsible for the Srebrenica massacre seems to stand out particularly.

For more information, please see:

The Daily Star – Verdicts upheld at UN tribunal – 31 January 2015

BBC – Srebrenica massacre verdicts upheld at war crimes tribunal – 30 January 2015

The New York Times – The Hague: Srebrenica Massacre Verdicts Are Upheld – 30 January 2015

Die Deutsche Welle – Srebrenica perpetrators lose appeals – 30 January 2015

Mexican Drug Kingpin Wont Be Extradited To The United States

By Lyndsey Kelly
Impunity Watch Reporter, North America

MEXICO CITY, Mexico – After his February arrest in the Pacific Coast tourist resort of Mazatian, notorious drug lord Jaoquin Guzman, best known as El Chapo, will be serving out his jail sentence in Mexico. Guzman headed the Sinaloa Cartel, one of the most powerful drug smuggling enterprises in the world. Captured for the first time in 1993, Guzman was on the run as Mexico’s most wanted man after he escaped from prison in 2001. Jaoquin is currently being housed at a maximum-security prison near the capital.

Joaquin Guzman is pictured during his detention in Mexico City (Photo Courtesy of Reuters).

Guzman is wanted in the United States on a number of criminal charges including drug smuggling, money laundering, running a criminal enterprise and murder. US Congressional leaders have called for Guzman’s extradition, but a formal request has yet to be made. Mexican Attorney General, Jesus Murillo, said that a request from Washington was imminent for the extradition of Guzman. Washington wants to prosecute Guzman on drug trafficking charges; however, the Mexican government has no plan to extradite Guzman in the imminent future. Mexican lawyer, Murillo told reporters that El Chapo will remain in Mexico to complete his sentence, and only after his sentence has been completed, which he states is “about 300 or 400 years” from now, will he be extradited to the United States.

Murillo has strongly argued that keeping Guzman in the Mexican prison system is the correct response to the situation. He has adamantly dismissed any concerns that Guzman may escape from prison a second time, stating that the risk “does not exist.” Guzman has stated that while sending the United States would save Mexico money, keeping him in the country is a mater of national sovereignty.


For more information, please see the following:

BUSINESS INSIDER – The World’s Most Notorious Drug Kingpin Won’t Be In the US Anytime Soon – 28 Jan. 2015.

DAILY PROGRESS – Mexico: Captured Drug Lord ‘Chapo’ Guzman To Stay Put – 29 Jan. 2015.

THE GUARDIAN – Mexico Rules Out ‘El Chapo’ Extradition – 28 Jan. 2015.

REUTERS – Mexico Not Planning to Extradite Drug Kingpin Guzman: Official – 28 Jan. 2015.

CAR Government Rejects Militias’ Ceasefire Deal

By Ashley Repp

News Desk Reporter, Africa


Bangui- Central African Republic

For over a year, the Central African Republic has been in a state of turmoil, chaos, and religious conflict.  In 2013, the Seleka group, a primarily Muslim militant organization, overthrew the government, and installed their choice of president, Djotodia.  The country’s first Muslim president, Djotodia stepped down in January 2014 in response to international pressure.  Djotodia was criticized for his inability to quell the violence and tension that had begun to spiral out of control in CAR in 2013.  Crimes included widespread rape and murder.  Compounding the issue, poverty was severe and widespread as well.

CAR ceasefire
President Catherine Samba-Panza- Photo courtesy Voices of America


An interim government, with President Catherine Samba-Panza at the helm, stepped in an effort to attempt, once more, to ease the violence.  Despite these efforts, the Seleka group and the anti-Balaka Christian group, have been struggling against one another, further thrusting the unstable CAR into crisis.  As a result, significant and widespread murder, poverty, and instability have dominated the lives of many CAR citizens.  Nearly a quarter of the population has fled in an effort to avoid the violence.

On Friday of last week, heads of both the Seleka group and the anti-Balaka group, met in Kenya to conduct a meeting on the possibility of a cease-fire.  This appears to be one of the first sincere ceasefire agreements between the two groups.  Previous peace talks have been low level and unsuccessful.  Though the details of the engagement are currently unknown, the two groups drafted an ‘accord,’ which calls for a ceasefire between the warring factions that have led to thousands of lives lost.

Despite the efforts of these groups to agree to a ceasefire arrangement, the CAR official interim government refuses to acknowledge the validity of the agreement between the Seleka and the anti-Balaka.  The government is refusing to acknowledge the accord, asserting that the agreement has no legal or functional basis, as it was agreed to and drafted outside of the scope of the official government and had not relationship to government peace talks and efforts.  In fact, government officials have candidly expressed their opposition to the validity of this accord, contending that it is nothing more than an arrangement between two groups that have terrorized, and held hostage, the CAR since 2013.

For more information, please visit:

VOA- Central African Republic’s government rejects militias’ cease-fire accord– 29 Jan. 2015

Reuters- Central African Republic government says rejects ceasefire deal- 29 Jan. 2015

BBC News- Central African Republic factions announce ceasefire deal- 24 Jul, 2014

Daily Mail- Central African militias agree ceasefire days mediator– 28 Jan. 2015

Colombia Takes a Stand Against Venezuela’s Socialist Government

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has decided to crack down on Venezuela’s socialist government as ask for the freedom of a prominent opposition leader.  In the past Colombia has preferred a hands-off approach in dealing with Venezuela, in hopes for the country’s support in peace talks with Colombian rebels.

Colombia and Chile former Presidents denied entrance to prison to see activist Leopoldo Lopez

This changing climate comes at a time when Venezuela’s deepening economic crisis has fellow Latin American countries reconsidering how the renewed unrest from the opposition in Colombia should be responded to.  This is not the first time the countries have been on opposing sides.

In 2008, there was tension that led to talks of war on both sides of the border.  Colombia became the first Latin American country to call for the release of activist Leopoldo Lopez late Monday evening.

Almost a year ago anti-government rallies stormed Venezuela, with Lopez being one of the people at the helm.  Lopez has been incarcerated for almost 11 months on charges of instigating violence at the rallies.  Until Monday Venezuela’s neighbors preferred to push dialogue with the government, while the U.S. and European governments openly condemn Lopez’s jailing.  The governments are also concerned with Venezuelan President Maduro’s crackdown on his opposition after the rallies.

“I don’t pretend for Colombia ever to adopt our socialist model or break its dependence on U.S. imperialism,” Maduro said at a military ceremony. “But nobody can accept lessons imparted from abroad about who can or cannot be jailed.”

It is clear that Maduro is not happy about the countries supporting his opposition.  Over the weekend former Colombian President Andres Pastrana attempted to visit Lopez in jail,  in addition to former Chilean President Sebastian Pinera.  The two leaders were barred from entering the military facility outside of Caracas where Lopez is jailed.  Following this Maduro said in a speech at the wo the countries have “”blood on their hands” for supporting groups trying to oust him.

While Maduro is unhappy, his Venezuelan opposition celebrated Colombia’s statement almost immediately.

“Our hearts are smiling,” Lopez’s wife, Lilian Tintori, told Bogota’s Caracol Radio. “We thank you for this statement because we need your help.”

Maduro has never been friendly with Colombia, constantly claiming that Colombia is working with the U.S., to overthrow him.  Santos has largely ignored Maduro’s jabs, but seems to be interested in distancing himself from the country.

However, Maduro and Santos came to a consensus on Wednesday in Costa Rica, where they both attended a meeting for Caribbean and South American leaders.

For more information, please see: 

Buenos Aires Herald – Free Leopoldo Lopez – 27 Jan. 15

ABC News – Colombia Angers Venezuela With Call to Free Jailed Opponent – 27 Jan. 2015

Colombia Reports – Venezuela defuses diplomatic tensions with Colombia – 29 Jan. 2015

The Washington Post – Colombia Angers Venezuela With Call to Free Jailed Opponent – 27 Jan. 2015

Russia Bans Bill Browder’s New Book “Red Notice”, a Searing Expose Featuring Putin’s Involvement in the Cover up of Sergei Magnitsky’s Murder

29 January 2015 – On February 3rd 2015, Bill Browder, CEO and founder of Hermitage Capital Management, launches an explosive book about Russia entitled “Red Notice: A true story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice” (UK edition: “Red Notice, How I Became Putin’s Number One Enemy” published on 5th February.)

“Red Notice” describes Browder’s fight against corruption and impunity in Russia and is a devastating expose of how Putin and his regime will do anything to illegally acquire wealth, including torture and cover-up of murder.

“Anybody who previously thought that Putin is a normal leader or that Russia is a normal country will think otherwise after reading this book,” says Bill Browder.

“Red Notice” will be published in 14 countries, but has so far been blocked by all major Russian publishers.

Numerous Russian publishing houses, ranging from Eksmo to Alpina, have avoided involvement in this book, for apparent fear of reprisal from the Putin regime.

Members of Pussy Riot, a Russian punk group who have been jailed for an anti-Putin protest, described the Kremlin position on Browder in their endorsement of “Red Notice” by saying:

“Bill Browder has become one of the most sincerely hated men in the Kremlin over the years – and that is something to be incredibly proud of… This book shows the difference that one person can make when they refuse to back down, as told by a fellow soldier in the battle to hold Putin to account.”

A Russian version of “Red Notice” will be available in the Russian language and published outside of Russia.

“This marks the return of the days of Soviet “samizdat” when books critical of the Soviet government were banned. Many were published abroad, and then had to be secretly copied, circulated by hand and passed from reader to reader,” says Browder.

Some of the Soviet Union’s most acclaimed ‘samizdat’ authors were Varlam Shalamov and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, both former inmates of Stalin’s gulag, who drew global attention to Joseph Stalin’s forced labor camps, where millions of Soviet citizens were summarily interned and many ultimately died.

To learn more, visit the ‘Red Notice’ book website: http://billbrowder.com

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