Daily World News Digest, 27 July 2017

Serbian Court Rejects Restart of Srebrenica Trial

Balkan Insight reported on 26 July that a Belgrade court has rejected the war crimes prosecutor’s motion to continue a landmark trial of eight former Serb policemen for the Srebrenica massacres, saying the request was based on charges already dismissed. The Higher Court in Belgrade on Tuesday rejected the motion filed by the war crimes prosecutor, Snezana Stanojkovic, to continue the trial of the eight former policemen charged with committing a massacre of Bosniaks from Srebrenica in the village of Kravica in July 1995.

The court said that the motion was incomplete, since it was based on charges that were thrown out by an appeals court earlier in July. This means that prosecutor Stanojkovic will have to file new charges, which have to be accepted by the court before a new trial is scheduled. http://bit.ly/2u0C4Qb                                      

Libya: Militia engage in enforced disappearance

Human Rights Watch reports today that human rights defenders, activists, and social media bloggers have been physically attacked, detained, threatened, harassed, and disappeared by armed groups, some of whom are affiliated with the state authorities, in Tripoli and elsewhere in western Libya. It said “authorities seem unable to rein in the attackers, enabling them to operate with impunity,” while “armed groups affiliated to varying degrees with one of the three competing governments have proliferated.” HRW said these groups operate checkpoints, police neighborhoods, and run prisons, “but are also involved in criminal activities including smuggling, extortion, and thuggery.” http://bit.ly/2v9NOVE

Gambia suspends exhumations at mass graves

SMBC, a news portal from Gambia, reported on 26 July that the authorities in Gambia have stopped exhuming bodies from graves in suspected secret burial sites from the regime of former President Yahya Jammeh. It said there were challenges in identifying the bodies due to lack of forensics experts and equipment, while the authorities insist they do not want to compromise evidence critical to future trials. “We have not stopped investigations but we have halted exhuming bodies because of inadequate forensic experts and equipment to protect the integrity of the evidence,” said Police Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty. http://bit.ly/2tLWzVp

Former police officers in Argentina sentenced

Telesur reported on 26 July on what it described as “Mega Justice” following more than 200 hearings, 300 witness testimonies, and investigation of documents, files, and other evidence relating to crimes committed by 28 former officials in Argentina’s 1975-83 military dictatorship. Twenty-eight armed service members, prison guards, police officers and civilians as well as four former judges stood accused of perpetrating or colluding in rape, torture, murder, kidnapping and enforced disappearances affecting approximately 200 victims. The former judges each received the maximum sentence of life in prison. Eight of their co-defendants also received the maximum penalty. Four defendants were freed, with three facing acquittal and another defendant receiving a minor sentence. The remainder of the defendants received sentences ranging from five to 20 years. http://bit.ly/2vKe0mHb

More deaths in the Mediterranean

The Loadstar, a transportation industry news portal, reported on 26 July on the consequences for shipping lines after the EU replaced Italy’s Mare Nostrum program with border control body Frontex’s Operation Triton. Figures from the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) indicate the number of merchant ships involved in rescue operations has remained “relatively constant” since 2015. A total of 381 merchant ships in the Mediterranean were diverted, with 121 ships involved in the rescue of 13,888 people, all believed to be migrants, in 2016.  So far this year more than 2,200 migrants are believed to have died in the Mediterranean. A spokesperson for the International Maritime Organisation told The Loadstar that merchant ships of all kinds are under pressure to get involved as a result of the crisis. “Of particular concern for the shipping industry is the upward trend in migrants reported dead or missing in 2015 and 2016,” said the spokesperson. “Based on current leading indicators, we are expecting this upward trend to continue throughout 2017 and beyond.” http://bit.ly/2tLyk9Z    

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.