Democratic Republic of Congo Bosco Ntaganda, the Congolese warlord known as ‘The Terminator’, convicted 18 counts of ranging from war crimes to sexual slavery, received the International Criminal Court’s longest ever sentence of 30 years. The court heard details of gruesome atrocities committed on his orders in Ituri province in 2002 and 2003, especially against children. It has been hailed as a landmark case for international human rights law, with Ntaganda the first person to be convicted for sexual slavery by the ICC.
South Sudan Fears of war in South Sudan between the ruling party and the opposition led to the agreement of a 100-day extension to a deadline scheduled for next week for the formation of a government. Thus far, attempts at formation of a coalition have been marred by tensions and accusations of intransigency on both sides. The US government has threatened sanctions on individuals standing in the way of the implementation of the November 2018 peace agreement.
Asia & Oceania
China In a bid to tackle the growing issue of gaming addiction in China, the government has imposed a video game curfew, as well as restrictions on total daily play time for minors. Under-18s are to be banned from playing video games between 10pm and 8am, and may not play for more than 90 minutes on weekdays. In addition, tight limits are to be imposed on how much ‘real’ money children can spend on in-game currency or perks.
Thailand 15 people were left dead by a terrorist attack in Yala province, south Thailand. The region, an exception in this predominantly Buddhist country, has a Malay-Muslim majority. An insurgency has raged in the region for 15 years as separatists fight against what they perceive as Thai colonisation of their country, while the Thai government attempts to supress a clear threat to security and order.
Brazil A landmark ruling in the supreme court could pave the way for the release of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a formed president tried as a result of the ‘car wash’ investigations into corruption. The court ruled that the accused should only be imprisoned once all possible appeals have been exhausted; a spokesperson for Bolsonaro’s government expressed total disdain for the decision which will lead to the release of many recently jailed for corruption.
France President Macron, in an interview with The Economist, expressed a concern that NATO was ‘experiencing brain death’ because due to poor coordination and the unpredictability of Trump’s White House. He expressed doubts as to the strength of the Article 5 collective defence commitment, and the estrangement of Turkey, which invaded northern Syria last month, and, most critically, the US. Chancellor Merkel and Secretary Pompeo both dismissed his criticisms and affirmed the importance of NATO to collective security.
Middle East and South Asia
Iran As a response to American unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear agreement and Europe’s inability to compensate Iran for American sanctions, Tehran began once more to enrich its own uranium, sparking concerns from the international community. Spokespeople from the Iranian government state that the move is to decrease their commitments so as to salvage what remains of the nuclear deal.