Toulouse shooting of three children, Congolese warlord convicted by ICC of using children in war, and more...
Mar 26, 2012 at 6:47 pm
Toulouse Shooting and Aftermath
According to French Interior Minister Claude Guéant, the main suspect in the fatal shooting of three children and a rabbi in Toulouse "wanted revenge for the Palestinian children." EU foreign minister Catherine Ashton is now facing harsh criticism for a speech she recently delivered at an UNRWA event in Brussels, in which she was perceived to have equated the murders of the three children with the inadvertent deaths of children due to fighting in Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, "Terrorism is a systematic and deliberate attack on civilians, a deliberate attack against children," noting the "substantial difference" between such deliberate attacks and "unintentional strikes against civilians that are part of legitimate actions to fight terrorism." Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad condemned the killings, which he referred to as a "cowardly terrorist act against schoolchildren."
In the aftermath of the shooting, Gerald Steinberg, President of NGO Monitor, wrote that Ashton's "offensive comparison" echoed allegations in numerous reports by NGOs that falsely accuse Israel of deliberately killing Palestinian children. Meanwhile, these NGOs have rarely denounced violations of international norms (with respect to children) by Palestinians, such as launching missiles from schools during terror attacks and otherwise deliberately endangering children.
South Sudan's Liberation Army Signs Pact With UN To Release Child Soldiers (RTTNews) - March 13, 2012
This month, the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) signed an agreement with the United Nations to release all child soldiers within its ranks. The agreement ("Action Plan") provides for transparent disciplinary action against SPLA members who recruit children and mandates that all militias incorporated into the SPLA release their child soldiers as well. Although this renews commitments made in 2009, this is the first time the SPLA, as a nation army, is signing.
Congolese Warlord Convicted, in First for International Court (New York Times) - March 14, 2012
On March 14, following a three-year trial, Congolese rebel leader Thomas Lubanga was found guilty of recruiting and enlisting children under age 15 for use in war. The decision marks the International Criminal Court's first ruling since its inception in 2002 and firmly sets precedent that the use of children in war is an international crime. According to presiding judge Adrian Fulford, the evidence established that Lubanga and his fellow militants had enlisted children by force, subjected them to harsh training and punishment, deployed them in fighting, and committed acts of sexual violence against girls.
Delays Keep Former Qaeda Child Soldier at Guantanamo, Despite Plea Deal (New York Times) - March 24, 2012
Former al-Qaeda child soldier Omar Khadr, who was captured in Afghanistan ten years ago at age 15, remains imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay despite his plea deal indicating that he would be transferred to his native Canada after November 2011. Khadr, who was accused of throwing a grenade that killed an American soldier and of planting bombs, plead guilty to five charges (including murder in violation of the laws of war and providing support to terrorism) and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. However, the plea deal capped his prison time at eight years and provided that, after one year, Khadr could apply to serve the remainder of the sentence in Canada. The holdup is reportedly due to "bureaucratic delays in processing his application to transfer, especially within the Canadian government."