Daily World News Digest, 18 January 2016

Kosovo war crimes court to be established in The Hague

The Jurist magazine carried a story on 17 January saying that the Dutch government on Friday announced the establishment of a special court being set up in The Hague to investigate and try alleged war crimes committed by ethnic Albanian rebels during and after Kosovo’s 1998-99 guerilla war. According to the government announcement, the court will be called Kosovo Relocated Specialist Judicial Institution and will be funded by the European Union. The court, made up of international judges, will apply Kosovo laws, making it a Kosovan national court administering justice outside of Kosovo rather than an international tribunal. http://bit.ly/1nt4vTK

Syria conflict: Conflicting accounts of Deir al-Zour attack

The BBC reported on 17 January that Islamic State militants in Syria are said to have abducted 400 civilians during a bloody assault on the eastern city of Deir al-Zour. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition monitoring body, said people were taken from areas in the north-west of the city. The report from the London-based group could not be independently verified. At least 135 people were killed in the attack on Deir al-Zour, the Observatory reported earlier. It said 85 of them were civilians and 50 were pro-government fighters. Syrian state media put the toll even higher, saying about 300 civilians had died. IS launched its attack with suicide bombers, followed by a ground assault. http://bbc.in/1Pjrbfo

Three Americans reported missing from Baghdad neighborhood, officials say

The Washington Post reported on 17 January that U.S. and Iraqi authorities are searching for three Americans reported missing from a neighborhood in Iraq’s capital, Baghdad, officials said Sunday. At least one report said the Americans had been kidnapped by gunmen, but it could not immediately be confirmed. Some analysts who closely follow Iran and its regional proxies suggested Sunday that the abduction of American citizens in Baghdad, if true, may have been a projection of Iranian power, in particular by hard-liners who opposed the prisoner deal with the United States over the weekend. http://wapo.st/1RO8vv7

China: Missing Hong Kong book publisher confesses to hit-and-run

ABC News reported on 17 January that a Hong Kong book publisher whose disappearance sparked international interest voluntarily surrendered months ago to Chinese mainland authorities. Gui Minhai is one of five missing people who are associated with the publisher Mighty Current, which specializes in gossipy books on political scandals involving China’s Communist leaders. The official Xinhua News Agency reported that Gui said while in detention that he surrendered in October, 10 years after he fled China after killing a woman while driving drunk. The report did not say if he was facing trial nor did it address the other disappearances. http://abcn.ws/1ZGfFG3

Yemen: 3 months since Houthis ‘’disappear’’ protesters

Human Rights Watch issued a statement on 16 January saying that Yemen’s Houthi authorities should immediately provide information about two protesters forcibly disappeared since mass arrests in the city of Ibb on 12 October, 2015. Ameen al-Shafaq and Antar al-Mubarizy should be immediately released unless the authorities provide a lawful basis for holding them. On the evening of 12 October, 34 journalists and activists held a meeting on the sixth floor of the Garden Hotel in Ibb to plan a protest against the Houthis. Six armed men interrupted the meeting and detained 29 people, while five others managed to escape. http://bit.ly/1Pat6sN

NCHR denies ‘enforced disappearances’ amid disclosure of whereabouts of 99 detained

Daily News Egypt carried a story on 16 January saying that the Ministry of Interior revealed the whereabouts of 118 citizens inquired for by the state-affiliated National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) upon receiving complaints of “alleged enforced disappearances”. “Regarding complaints about claims of enforced disappearances, the Ministry of Interior said that 99 of the names are held in different detention facilities pending legal cases,” the statement read.  For lawyer at the independent Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) Sherif Mohieddine, the disclosures of the ministry are a “confession to the crime”. “Whether the ministry is aware or unaware, their response is proof that security bodies are terrorizing people in a systematic practice,” he said. http://bit.ly/1OrA3SX

Items in Daily World News Digest are summaries of published reports relevant to the issue of missing persons, compiled by ICMP staff.  These items do not necessarily reflect the position of ICMP.