The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on April 28 ordered Russia to pay 130 million euros ($143 million) in compensation to Georgia, almost 15 years after the war in the South Caucasus nation. The case concerned allegations by the Georgian government that actions by the Russian Federation during the 2008 conflict amounted to breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights (the Convention). The ECHR can award damages for harmful consequences of a violation under the Convention's Article 41. The court found that there was still a basis to make an award under Article 41, despite the fact that Russia had ceased its membership in the Council of Europe, and failed to cooperate with the proceedings.
Hundreds of indigenous people from across Brazil marched April 25 in Brasilia, the country’s capital, to demand government protection of their land and rights against invaders. The march was part of the 19th Free Land Camp, an annual national mobilization by indigenous peoples. "The demarcation of Indigenous Lands is an ancestral right provided for in the Federal Constitution," Dinamam Tuxá, executive coordinator of the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), said in a statement. "Those who invade an Indigenous Land destroy forests and attack indigenous people, who have been fighting for the protection of their families, cultures and lands for over 500 years."
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia reacted with outrage after China's ambassador in Paris appeared to question the sovereignty not only of Ukraine, but all the former Soviet republics. Interviewed on French television April 21, Lu Shaye was asked whether Crimea (unilaterally annexed by Russia in 2014) was part of Ukraine under international law. He replied that Crimea was historically Russian and had been handed over to Ukraine; and then added: "Even these countries of the former Soviet Union do not have an effective status in international law, since there is no international agreement that would specify their status as sovereign countries." Fearing diplomatic censure, Beijing's Foreign Ministry backpedalled, releasing a statement saying: "China respects the sovereign status of former Soviet republics after the Soviet Union's dissolution." (The Guardian, NYT)
Fierce clashes broke out April 15 between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), with at least 56 civilians and dozens of fighters reported dead across Sudan. The fighting began in the capital Khartoum, as the RSF attempted to seize control of the presidential palace and international airport. The RSF was driven back from the airport with air-strikes. Fighting quickly spread to other cities, as the two forces attacked each other's installations and positions. The SAF claims to have taken the main Khartoum RSF base at Karari, as well as the paramilitary force's bases in the cities of Port Sudan, Kassala, Gedaref, Damazin, Kosti and Kadugli. (Al Jazeera, Radio Dabanga, Sudan Tribune, Jurist, PBS)
In Episode 169 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg discusses the move by the Kyiv City Council to name a street after Nazi collaborator Volodymyr Kubiyovych, who was instrumental in forming the SS Galizien Division. The plan was quashed by Kyiv's mayor following protests from the Israeli ambassador—but not before internet tankies exploited the affair to portray Ukraine as a "Nazi state." Ironically, this came the same week that President Volodymyr Zelensky honored victims of the Holocaust at the Babi Yar memorial in Kyiv. The unseemly nostalgia for Nazi collaborators who fought the Soviets in World War II is opposed by the leadership of Ukraine's Jewish community—who also vigorously repudiate efforts by Kremlin propagandists to launder Putin's war of aggression and Nazi-like war crimes as "denazification." Russia's fascist pseudo-anti-fascism is likewise repudiated by Ukraine's own bona fide left-wing anti-fascists, in groups such as the Solidarity Collectives, who now support the Ukrainian war effort against the Russian aggression. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.
A panel of UN rights experts on April 3 named senior officials and military leaders in South Sudan who they say warrant criminal prosecution for their part in grave atrocities against civilians. A year-long investigation by the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan details the involvement of both government and rebel leaders in widespread extrajudicial killings, as well as rape and sexual slavery.
The UN Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya released a report March 27 finding grounds to believe Libyan authorities and armed groups have been responsible for "a wide array" of war crimes and crimes against humanity in recent years. The report further charged that European Union states have been complicit in crimes against humanity by Libyan forces targeting migrants trying to reach Europe. Legally barred from deporting migrants to Libya, EU governments instead give funding and technical aid to the Libyan Coast Guard, which has been accused of widespread "arbitrary detention, murder, torture, rape, enslavement and enforced disappearance" against migrants since 2016. (UN News, TNH)
The Vatican on March 30 announced a formal rejection of a 15th century theory known as the "Doctrine of Discovery." In a statement, the Church said it "repudiates those concepts that fail to recognize the inherent rights of indigenous peoples." The Doctrine of Discovery arose from several Vatican documents, or papal bulls. Key amongst them was the Inter Caetera, issued by Pope Alexander VI in 1493. The document effectively granted Spain the right to claim and spread Christianity to newly "discovered" areas unoccupied by Christians.