Amrapali promoters siphoned home buyers money for personal use

first_imgNew Delhi: Promoters and top officials of realty firm Amrapali Group diverted homebuyers’ money for personal benefits and building their own empire, said the forensic report submitted to the Supreme Court. The audit report reveals that around Rs 3,500 crore of homebuyers’ money was diverted by the Amrapali top brass. According to the auditors, the money was spent on houses, luxury cars and weddings among others and also invested in shares and mutual funds. Also Read – Odd-Even: CM seeks transport dept’s views on exemption to women, two wheelers, CNG vehicles The Supreme Court on Wednesday slammed both the Noida and Greater Noida authorities and the banks concerned for the diversion of funds by the group. Pointing to the diversion of Rs 3,500 crore by the Amrapali Group as estimated by the forensic auditors, Justice Arun Mishra said: “Rs 3,500 crore have gone away. Due to your inaction, cheating has taken place. The banks’ inaction has contributed to it. Had you taken action timely, this would not have happened.” Also Read – More good air days in Delhi due to Centre’s steps: Javadekar “It is your own doing. You have not done anything. If you had done anything, this would not have happened. If it is not hand in gloves then what it is,” Justice Mishra told the Noida, Greater Noida authorities and the banks. The forensic auditors’ report pointed to instances where money moved from one company to another company of the Amrapali Group. The court said that that “without the active support of the banks, this kind of large scale money laundering could not have happened”. However, as per the auditors, it is possible to raise the required funds to complete the Amrapali projects. For this, they said the money diverted will have to be brought back and several other assets of the group will have to be sold. A total of around Rs 9,590 crore can be recovered from the group, noted the auditors.last_img read more

SC inhouse committee report clearing CJI should be made public ExInformation Commissioner

first_imgNew Delhi: Former Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu has advocated making public the report of the Supreme Court’s in-house inquiry committee which looked into the allegations of sexual harassment levelled against the Chief Justice of India by a former woman employee of the apex court, saying the decision to withhold the finding “appears to have no reason or legal base”. “The people of this country are informed that the in-house committee of Supreme Court consisting of three judges has cleared Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment allegations raised by a former employee claiming ‘no substance’ in the complaint,” he said. According to the CJI and other dignitaries, there is a “larger conspiracy” behind this allegation, Acharyulu said. “…public interest gives rise to a right of public to know and hence the report should have been made public after redacting the details if need not be disclosed, especially in complaints like sexual harassment,” he said. The three-member committee had on Monday given clean chit to Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, saying it “found no substance” in the allegations. The apex court administration later said the report “is not liable to be made public”, citing the verdict in the 2003 case of Indira Jaising vs Supreme Court of India. Acharyulu said, “As per Indira Jaising order, the enquiry into Mysore incident was informal and only to gather some information from colleague judges, but in this case, it is a statutorily mandated inquiry and it is not opinion collection or information gathering.” The former Information Commissioner said the publication of the report, under any stretch of imagination, cannot impede the inquiry or prosecution or apprehension of any accused or any other person in this case and cannot be withheld from the Right to Information (RTI) Act. “When a judgement given by the courts in a rape case could be made public without mentioning the name of the victim, with all details of examination of witnesses, and their cross examination, prohibiting the report of an internal inquiry committee appears to have no reason or legal base,” he said. Immediately after the office of apex court’s Secretary General came out with the findings of the committee on Monday, the woman issued a press statement saying that she was “highly disappointed and dejected”. “The in-house committee has found no substance in the allegations contained in the complaint dated April 19, 2019 of a former employee of the Supreme Court of India. Please take note that in case of Indira Jaising vs Supreme Court of India and Anr (2003), it has been held that the report of a committee constituted as a part of the In-House Procedure is not liable to be made public,” the notice said.last_img read more

Dutch FarRight Politician to Be Prosecuted for Inciting Hatred against Moroccans

Amsterdam – Dutch far-right politician and leader of (PVV) party, Geert Wilders, will be prosecuted on charges of incitement “to discrimination and hatred,” following his racist comments last March against the Moroccan community living in the Netherlands, according to the Public Prosecutor in The Hague.“Politicians may go far in their statements because of freedom of expression, but this freedom is limited by the prohibition on discrimination,” the Prosecutor said in a statement.Geert Wilders tweeted earlier today that he can’t understand the decision to prosecute him. “Incomprehensible decision to prosecute me. The elite want to shut (PVV) down. Tey will not succeed. Never!” he said. Onbegrijpelijk besluit OM mij te vervolgen. De elite wil de PVV een kopje kleiner maken. Gaat ze niet lukken. Nooit.— Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) December 18, 2014Charges against Wilders stem from anti-Moroccan chant he led during an electoral campaign in The Hague. The anti-Moroccan chant sparked uproar among Dutch politicians and social media users.Following this incident, the public prosecutor received over 6,400 complaints from Dutch citizens, including Dutch of Moroccan origin.As response to his xenophobic remarks, a Facebook page named “Ik doe aangifte tegen Wilders” (I am reporting Wilders) was created in March and gained 96,124 likes in a short time.Dutch Moroccans and other human right activists responded with a selfie campaign on twitter using the Hashtag #bornhere. read more

King Mohammed VI Extends Condolences to UAE President over Death of

Rabat – King Mohammed VI sent messages of condolences and compassion to UAE president, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and UAE vice president, president of the ministers’ council and Governor of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum following the passing of his son, Sheikh Rashid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.In this message, King Mohammed VI said he was deeply saddened to learn the death, at a very young age, of Sheikh Rashid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.In this painful circumstance, the sovereign extended to the UAE president and vice-president, and to the deceased’s family, his heartfelt condolences and sincere compassion, asking the Almighty to give them patience and comfort. read more

G20 Approve Agreement on Combating Multinational Tax Evasion

Rabat – The G20 major economies agreed in Lima on October 9 to approve an action plan to combat multinational tax evasion and to recover crucial tax revenues during this difficult economic period.The G20 Finance Ministers approved the agreement, the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) indicated in a statement.This new mechanism, which will have to be approved by the heads of state and government in November, seeks to combat tax optimization techniques that cause the loss of 240 billion dollars per year in tax revenues.“It’s an historic moment” said the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister in charge of economy Cevdet Yilmaz at a press conference in Lima where the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank general assembly took place. This action plan, developed by the international community over the past three years, will complicate things for the big businesses, which makes their benefits “disappear” or transfer them to territories with tax facilities.Giant American enterprises such as Google, Starbucks, and Apple have come under criticism recently for having made use of tax optimization techniques.Criticized by some NGOs, this plan has to enter into force as soon as possible without any delay, said the Finance German Minister Wolfgang Schauble.This action plan seeks to enhance the international community’s arsenal to deal with tax evasion. An automatic exchange system has already been developed on banking information to combat Individual tax evasion.“We have to ensure that we are building fair and efficient tax systems in the world to implement the new rules and that the tax regulation does not affect direct foreign investment and international growth” said the American Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew.Edited by Timothy Filla read more

Rain Strong Thunderstorms to Hit Several Moroccan Regions on Sunday

Rabat – The National Meteorological Directorate  (DMN) issued today a weather alert for Monday and Sunday, stating that rain and thunderstorms are likely to hit some regions, including the Rabat-Salé province.A warning for strong thunderstorms on May 6 and May 7 was issued for Khenifra, Khouribga, Ifrane, Beni Mellal, Fqih Ben Saleh, Azilal, Kelaa Sraghna, Al Haouz, Chichaoua, Marrakech, Rehamna, Settat, Berrechid, Benslimane and Khemisset.The note added that local strong thunderstorms will hit from Sunday 10:00 p.m to Monday 12:00 p.m. the cities of Kenitra, Larache, Rabat-Sale region, Skhirate, Temera, Mohammedia, Casablanca, Nouacer, Berrechid, Ben Slimane, Settat, Khouribga, Khemisset, Khenifra, Fqih Ben Saleh, Kelaa Sraghna, Rehamna, Youssoufia, Safi and Sidi Bennour. Stormy showers will sometimes be accompanied by hailstorms and gusts of wind in the said provinces and will persist, the afternoon of Monday, on the reliefs of the upper and middle Atlas and their western plains, according to the note.DMN forecast on Saturday cloudy and rainy conditions throughout the country. Yesterday’s statement forecasted low-level clouds and rain showers in the east, Rif, and High and the Middle Atlas, with moderate winds. read more

Moroccan Innovation Association Wins Gold Medal at Taiwan Competition

Rabat- Moroccan technology is making its mark globally. Representing Morocco, Majid El Bouazzaoui, president of the OFEED innovation association won another gold medal for Morocco, this time at IIIC on November 3.Majid Bouazzaoui receives gold medal in TaiwanThirteen countries competed:  Taiwan, Japan, China, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Croatia, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Morocco, and Canada. OFEED was the only association representing Africa and the Arab world.The participating countries exhibited over 380 inventions. OFEED’s winning invention was the “automatic guidance system of photovoltaic panels” which cleans solar panels without using drinking water. El Bouazzaoui’s OFEED has won more than 10 gold medals in China, Canada, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Poland, and South Korea. OFEED won the Korean medal earlier this month at the international invention exhibition of BIXPO 2018 in Gwangju, October 30 to November 2.Read Also: Abdellatif Laabi Exhibits Paintings and Poetry in MarrakechOFEED aims to “strengthen national and international partnership, strengthen partnership with the major stakeholders in the field of inventions, and accompany the carriers of new invention patents, capitalize and share experiences.”El Bouazzaoui is an electrical engineer specializing in networks and telecommunication. He is also on the executive committee of the International Federation of Inventors Associations (IFIA).In 2017, El Bouazzaoui won an Inpex Award of Merit at the INPEX International Exhibition of Inventions in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.King Mohammed VI also awarded El Bouazzaoui his Wissam Al Istihkak Al Watani (the Medal of National Merit) of 2nd rank on Throne Day in 2016.The Chinese Society of Innovation and Inventions (CIIS) and Russia’s International Exhibition of Inventions of Moscow Archimedes / InnovExpo organize the annual competition.The competition took place with the support of the Office of Support from the President of Taiwan and the International Federation of Inventors’ Associations (IFIA). read more

Japanese prosecutors bring in Nissans exchair Ghosn

TOKYO — Japanese prosecutors have taken Nissan’s former Chairman Carlos Ghosn for questioning barely a month after he was released on bail ahead of his trial on financial misconduct charges.Japanese TV footage showed officials entering Ghosn’s apartment in Tokyo Thursday, and a car later going to the prosecutors’ office.He may face what will be his fourth arrest under Japanese law. He was first arrested in November on charges of under-reporting his compensation. He was re-arrested twice in December, including on breach of trust charges. The arrests prolong detentions without trial.The latest charge appears to be related to the investigation by Nissan Motor Co.’s French alliance partner Renault about payments in Oman to a major dealership, some of which is suspected of having been channeled for Ghosn’s personal use.The Associated Press read more

US orders end to Turkeys involvement in F35 program

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has notified Turkey that it is cancelling its purchase of F-35 fighter jets if the Turkish government goes ahead with the purchase of a Russian missile defence system.Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan has sent a letter notifying Turkey that all training of Turkish pilots will also end as of July 31. And all Turkish personnel connected to the F-35 program must leave the country by the end of that month.Shanahan’s letter to Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Aka also says Turkey won’t be allowed to take final delivery of the four F-35s it bought.The letter is the latest in an ongoing dispute over Turkey’s decision to buy the Russian-made S-400 system. The U.S. has repeatedly warned Ankara that the Russian system is considered a threat to the F-35.Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press read more

At UN youth stress efforts to promote development

10 August 2007More than 200 young people from around the world held a celebration today at United Nations headquarters in New York, kicking off a series of UN events to mark International Youth Day this year. Youth groups from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the United States showcased their contributions to society, and spoke about their efforts to make the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – a series of targets to slash a host of social and economic ills by 2015 – a reality.They also gave presentations on how they are utilizing the Internet to take action in local and global communities as well as on the importance of young people’s participation in shaping the world they are to inherit. The celebrations also included performances from youth performing gymnastics, circus art routines, step dances and poetry.The photographs by the winners of the Shoot Nations International Photo Competition – which asked young people to document what matters to them and how to make a difference – were put on display in a specially made light-box art installation.International Youth Day is celebrated every year on 12 August, providing an opportunity to recognize the world’s 1.2 billion young people, to celebrate their achievements and to push for their participation in all areas of society and development. This year’s theme is “Be seen, be heard: youth participation for development.” read more

New registrar of International Criminal Court vows to strive to protect witnesses

Silvana Arbia, who was sworn in as registrar at a ceremony today at the ICC seat in The Hague, said her office would “dedicate its energy to the first trial” – that of the former Congolese militia leader Thomas Lubanga Dyilo.Mr. Lubanga Dyilo faces war crimes charges, including that he recruited children to serve as soldiers in the armed wing of his militia, the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), which fought with Government forces in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2002-03.Ms. Arbia described the trial, set to begin in June, as “the final and most visible result of the joint effort of all the organs of the court… One major challenge will continue to be the protection of witnesses. The systems we put in place have to be efficient and sustainable.”She added that the “first trial shall strive to be a model for national jurisdictions and also a positive benchmark for regions and States which have not yet accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC.”The ICC is an independent, permanent court that tries persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern – namely genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is currently investigating cases in the DRC, Uganda, the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Darfur region of Sudan.The registry is responsible for the overall administration and management of the tribunal and must ensure that witnesses are protected and that the rights of all accused are respected. 17 April 2008Protecting witnesses will be a major challenge for the International Criminal Court as the tribunal prepares to conduct its first trial this year, the incoming ICC registrar said today. read more

Ban Kimoon gathers global health experts to improve care for worlds poorest

9 May 2008United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and global health leaders meeting at the Carter Center in the United States city of Atlanta today agreed on measures to help make childbirth safer and tackle other challenges facing the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. “We are here not only because global health is an enormous challenge, but also because we can do something about it,” Mr. Ban said at a press conference following his meeting with leading global health experts from civil society, academia, philanthropy and the private sector gathered at the Carter Center, with its founder, former US President Jimmy Carter, in attendance.The meeting attracted the participation of Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, and previous WHO chief Gro Brundtland, the former Prime Minister of Norway and a member of the Elders, a group of world leaders whose goal is to contribute their wisdom, independent leadership and integrity in tackling some of the world’s toughest problems. The Secretary-General said participants had a productive session. “We have achieved consensus on the urgency of strengthening health systems to serve all, especially the poorest and most vulnerable,” he said.Maternal health was a key focus of the discussions. “We have outlined concrete options to make the process of giving birth safer for mothers, and debated concrete means to improve women’s health,” the Secretary-General announced.A mother dies every minute from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Maternal health is the slowest moving target of the Millennium Development Goals – the goals that all countries have agreed to reach by 2015 to lift people out of poverty. “It is unacceptable that over half a million mothers die every year,” declared Mr. Ban. “We must put a stop to these senseless deaths.”Dr. Chan said women’s health is critical. “The world in the last 20 years failed to take care of its women,” she said. The maternal mortality rate had not budged in those two decades. She decried the fact that half a million women die in childbirth each year and another half a million suffer from neglected tropical diseases.Dr. Brundtland agreed that “on the side of mothers, the world is really far away from any improvements and we need to now focus again so that we don’t have a woman dying every minute because of childbirth.” She said the international community knows what works. “The resources are not outrageous – $10 billion is nothing in our world today to really make a serious impact on these kinds of issues,” she said. The Secretary-General said participants also targeted neglected diseases like guinea worm and river blindness that “can be eliminated if we only take the time to do so.”More than 1 billion people — one sixth of the world’s population — suffer from one or more tropical diseases that are neglected in terms of the international response. Experts say eradication of some of these diseases is possible if treatment is scaled up in the poorest countries, but they caution that functioning and affordable health systems must be in place for progress to be achieved. President Carter said this was “one of the most important meetings” that he would attend this year. He stressed that to address global health problems, “it is not only a matter of health care but of economic progress for the poorest people on earth.”In his comments to reporters, Mr. Ban also expressed concern about the situation in Myanmar, calling on the authorities to allow aid and humanitarian workers into the country without any hindrance. “I appeal to them strongly to do all they can to facilitate this aid.”Mr. Ban warned that inaction would be deadly. “If early action is not taken and relief measures put in place, the medium-term effect of this tragedy could be truly catastrophic,” he said, calling for an end to political differences to address the tremendous challenges ahead. “The sheer survival of the affected people is at stake.” read more

Serbian ultranationalist aide found guilty of contempt by UN tribunal

Ljubiša Petković was sentenced today by the trial chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to four months in prison for failing to appear as a witness in the trial of Vojislav Šešelj, the president of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS).The Tribunal rejected the defendant’s claim that his state of health precluded him from informing the chamber that he could not answer the terms of the confidential subpoena for Mr. Šešelj’s proceedings.“When ordered to appear as a Trial Chamber witness … the accused could not refuse to comply with the subpoena stating that he was a ‘defence witness,’” the presiding judge, Jean-Claude Antonetti, said.He stressed that “witnesses are not the property of the parties and that when the Trial Chamber decides, by way of subpoena, that their testimony is necessary for the establishment of the truth, they have to comply with it.”Mr. Šešelj is facing three counts of crimes against humanity and six counts of war crimes relating to his alleged role in an ethnic cleansing campaign by Serbian forces in the Vojvodina region of Serbia between August 1991 and at least September 1993. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges, which include murder, torture, imprisonment and deportation. 11 September 2008A former aide to a top Serbian ultranationalist politician has been found guilty of contempt by the United Nations tribunal set up to deal with the worst war crimes committed during the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s. read more

Hungry Malagasy children win boost from expanded UN school meals operation

18 September 2008Tens of thousands of poor children across southern Madagascar will start receiving nutritious daily meals in their classrooms under a new United Nations-backed effort to expand school feeding programmes in the Indian Ocean country. The World Food Programme (WFP) said today that it will now supply meals to about 150,000 children in 883 schools in Toliara province after a $2.4 million injection of funds from the national Government.This is a major improvement on the current figure of 60,000 children and 272 schools that receive meals under the WFP scheme.Krystyna Bednarska, the agency’s representative in Madagascar, said the expanded school feeding programme will help the country move closer to achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of universal primary education.Daily meals offer an enormous incentive for poor families in the developing world to send their children to school and commonly lead to drastically improved attendance rates.“WFP strongly supports the Government’s policy of ‘Education for All’ and this generous contribution shows how committed it is to ensuring that children have access to one of their fundamental rights – education,” Ms. Bednarska said. read more

Two former Congolese rebel leaders to stand trial at International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court has ruled that there is sufficient evidence to pursue criminal cases against two former Congolese rebel leaders for crimes allegedly committed by their militias in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2003.Germain Katanga, a senior commander from the group known as the Force de Résistance Patriotique en Ituri (FRPI), faces three counts of crimes against humanity and six counts of war crimes for a deadly assault on the village of Bogoro, in the province of Ituri. Hundreds of people were killed and many women forced into sexual slavery in that February 2003 attack.Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui is a former commander of the rebel National Integrationalist Front (FNI). He faces three counts of crimes against humanity and six of war crimes, and is alleged to have played a key role in designing and carrying out the Bogoro attack. Among the crimes the two men are accused of is using children under the age of 15 in active hostilities, including as bodyguards and combatants, during the deadly assault on Bogoro. The ICC is an independent, permanent court that tries persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern – namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. 26 September 2008The International Criminal Court (ICC) has ruled that there is sufficient evidence to pursue criminal cases against two former Congolese rebel leaders for crimes allegedly committed by their militias in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2003. read more

International Criminal Court Prosecutor seeks charges against rebels in Darfur

20 November 2008The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) today presented evidence against three rebel commanders for their role in last year’s deadly attack against peacekeepers in the war-ravaged Sudanese region of Darfur, vowing that he “will not let such attacks go unpunished.” The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) today presented evidence against three rebel commanders for their role in last year’s deadly attack against peacekeepers in the war-ravaged Sudanese region of Darfur, vowing that he “will not let such attacks go unpunished.”Some 1,000 rebels attacked the Haskanita camp in South Darfur state on 29 September 2007, killing 12 peacekeepers serving with the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) – a predecessor to the joint UN-AU peacekeeping mission known as UNAMID – and wounding eight others.The three commanders “planned, led their troops and directed the attack… and completely destroyed AMIS facilities and property, directly affecting aid and security for millions of people of Darfur who are in need of protection,” ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said, according to a press release issued by the Court.“No one is above the law,” he added.The Prosecution has concluded that there are reasonable grounds to believe the three commanders bear criminal responsibility for three counts of war crimes for murder, intentionally directing attacks against personnel and objects involved in a peacekeeping mission and pillaging.He later told the UN News Centre that the rebels’ names are sealed because “the best way to ensure their appearance is to keep confidential their names for now,” adding that they must “recognize that they have to respect the Court.”Mr. Moreno-Ocampo expressed outrage against the attack on peacekeepers in Haskanita, saying that “this cannot happen,” for “if you attack them, there is no hope for the civilians.”Although he said that he expects no cooperation on the part of the Sudanese authorities, he stressed that it is his “duty to show that the law will be enforced very seriously.”Today’s presentation of evidence to the ICC could help to further the Darfur peace process, the Prosecutor said, because “applying the law will help to establish law and bring peace to the region.”Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said in a statement issued by his spokesperson that he “emphasizes that the United Nations respects the independence of the Court and its judicial process, and stresses the critical importance of full compliance by all parties to the actions of the Court.”He said that the two UN peacekeeping missions operating in Sudan will continue to work in an “impartial manner, cooperating in good faith with all partners to further the goal of peace and stability in the country,” adding that the world body will also press ahead with its humanitarian and development efforts in the country.The investigation of the three rebel commanders is the ICC’s third arising from the situation in Darfur, which was referred to The Hague-based Court by the Security Council in 2005.In July, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo requested an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for allegedly committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide over the last five years in Darfur.The ICC has issued arrest warrants for Ahmad Muhammad Harun, former Sudanese Minister of State for the Interior, and Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kushayb. In presenting his evidence against them to the Court, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said that they “jointly committed crimes against the civilian population in Darfur.”More than 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed in Darfur, an impoverished and relatively arid region on Sudan’s western flank, since rebels began fighting Government forces and allied Janjaweed militiamen in 2003. Another 2.7 million civilians have had to flee their homes. read more

UN rights expert calls on Kenya to confront widespread police killings

“Effective leadership on this issue can only come from the very top, and sweeping reforms to the policing sector should begin with the immediate dismissal of the Police Commissioner,” Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, said in a press statement released at the conclusion of a ten-day fact-finding mission.“Further, given his role in encouraging the impunity that exists in Kenya, the Attorney-General should resign so that the integrity of the office can be restored,” he added. Mr. Alston, a Professor of Law at New York University who reports to the UN Human Rights Council in an independent, unpaid capacity, concluded that police killings “are committed at will and with utter impunity,” after travelling the country and conducting interviews with over 100 victims and witnesses.He concluded that death squads were set up upon the orders of senior police officials to exterminate the Mungiki, an underground religious sect reported by media to be responsible for a range of criminality in the capital, Nairobi.He said he also found compelling evidence that the police and military committed organised torture and extrajudicial executions against civilians during a 2008 operation to flush out a militia known as the Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF). “For two years, the SLDF militia terrorized the population and the Government did far too little. And when the Government did finally act, they responded with their own form of terror and brutality, killing over 200 people,” he said, advocating for an independent investigation. With respect to accountability for violence that followed disputed elections at the beginning of 2008, the Special Rapporteur stated that the Special Tribunal for Kenya was “absolutely indispensable to ensure that Kenya does not again descend into chaos during the 2012 elections.” He called on civil society and the international community to take a firm stand on the tribunal’s establishment, adding that the International Criminal Court (ICC) should take up the case concurrently, on a parallel track. Among other recommendations, Mr. Alston called for the establishment of a civilian police oversight body, the centralization of records of police killings, and the payment of compensation for the victims of those unlawfully killed.In addition to victims and witnesses, the Special Rapporteur also met during his visit with senior Government officials and representatives of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and independent national human rights institutions. 25 February 2009A United Nations independent human rights expert today called on the President of Kenya to acknowledge, and take steps to end, what he called “systematic, widespread and carefully planned” police killings in the East African country. read more

UN agrees to advise Russia on greening 2014 Sochi Olympics

9 June 2009The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has signed an agreement with the organizers of the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia to make the Games environmentally friendly. In addition to advising on “greening” the Olympics, UNEP will also organize education programmes and a series of conferences to allow international experts to monitor and analyze key environmental indicators before and after the Games, a UNEP press announcement said. The Sochi Olympic organizers are also planning to invest $1.75 billion in energy conservation and renewable energy to offset the remaining greenhouse gas emissions from the use of electricity, air travel and ground transportation. Other environmental initiatives include the development of “green belts” in the city and reforestation of the Sochi National Park.The Games’ organizers had previously agreed to a UNEP suggestion to move the bobsleigh and luge tracks away from the Caucasus nature reserve, which is one of the only mountain areas in Europe that remains virtually untouched by human activity.The organizers commemorated the signing of the agreement by planting trees in several locations in Russia as part of UNEP’s Billion Trees Campaign. The agency also advised on greening last summer’s Beijing Olympics, which set new records for eco-friendly mass spectator sporting events, according to a UNEP report published in February. read more

Migration spurred by climate change could displace millions – UNbacked study

10 June 2009Climate change has already caused displacement and migration, and could uproot millions more in the future, warns a new United Nations-supported report. The publication, launched at the UN climate change conference under way in Bonn, Germany, said displacement will get worse “unless vulnerable populations, especially the poorest, are assisted in building climate-resilient livelihoods.” Researchers interviewed more than 2,000 migrants in various parts of the world and mapped climate change in Central America, the Sahel, glacier zones, the Ganges, Nile and Mekong deltas, Tuvalu and the Maldives, among other areas. “In coming decades, climate change will motivate or force millions of people to leave their homes in search of viable livelihoods and safety,” said the report, supported by the UN University (UNU), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Bank, Columbia University and the non-governmental organization CARE. “Unless aggressive measures are taken to halt global warming, the consequences for human migration and displacement could reach a scope and scale that vastly exceed anything that has occurred before,” it said.Koko Warner of UNU’s Institute for Environment and Human Security told UN Radio that the majority of the migrants polled said that the environment has affected their decision on where and how to live.“People make their decision about migration to a large extent on their livelihood security,” Ms. Warner said. “Again, and again, when we went to the field, people told us, ‘we’re farmers, we’re fishermen or fisherwomen. We’re day workers and we rely on the environment for our jobs, our livelihoods. If things keep getting worse, we don’t see how we can stay where we are.’” The report recommends that all countries avoid climate changing activities, plan for human security, invest in resilient livelihoods, prioritize the world’s most vulnerable populations and include migration and adaptation strategies in future planning. “What we want to do is avert a massive humanitarian crisis,” Ms. Warner said. “We need to avoid dangerous climate change. We need to get that message out.”In Bonn, negotiations on a new agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions, set to replace the Kyoto Protocol, are continuing to progress steadily, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters in New York today.The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has reported that more than 200 pages of comments and suggestions for the text, to ultimately be adopted in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December, are now on the table, she added.Reducing deforestation, as well as the facilitation and financing of technologies to help developing countries address climate change, are among the issues delegates have been tackling at the two-week Bonn meeting which wraps up on Friday. read more

Security Council extends mandate of European peacekeepers in Bosnia

18 November 2009The United Nations Security Council today extended for another year the European Union stabilization force (EUFOR) entrusted with ensuring continued compliance by all sides in Bosnia and Herzegovina with the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement that ended the ethnic war there. In a unanimous resolution adopted a day after a UN human rights expert reported that political disputes were still impeding the return of over 117,000 people displaced by the fighting, the 15-member body stressed that “a comprehensive and coordinated return of refugees and displaced persons throughout the region continues to be crucial to lasting peace.”EUFOR assumed peacekeeping responsibilities in 2004 from a stabilization force led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the resolution welcomed the EU’s increased engagement in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as NATO’s continued engagement.“The primary responsibility for the further successful implementation of the Peace Agreement lies with the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina themselves,” the Council said, stressing that the continued willingness of the international community and major donors to help politically, militarily and economically in reconstruction efforts depended on the parties’ compliance.It authorized Member States to take all measures to defend the EUFOR and NATO presence and to assist both organizations in carrying out their missions. It also recognized the right of both EUFOR and the NATO presence to defend themselves from attack or threat of attack.The Council also underlined the need for the parties’ full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which is trying the alleged perpetrators of the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s on charges of war crimes, including genocide and crimes against humanity. read more