We're not going to fault you for not staying on top of this week's news. We're only here to help.
By: Tony Hotland and April Elizabeth Curtis
This week, for the first time, the International Criminal Court included rape as a war crime since its launch in 2002. This decision by the Netherlands-based court raises the possibility of future prosecutions that include accusations of rape and related abuses as elements of war. The inclusion came through a verdict imposed on former Congolese Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba. One of the richest men in that country, Bemba who was found guilty for rampant sexual abuses by his troops in connection with a militia intervention in the neighboring Central African Republic between 2002-2003. The New York Times last week reported that at least four high-ranked United Nations officials had warned in 2014 of the risks of sending soldiers from the Democratic Republic of Congo on a peacekeeping mission because of their history of using rape on the battlefield. We'll keep you posted once the sentence for Bemba is out!
There are two countries named Congo, in case you didn't know. You did? Here's three clapping emojis for you.
In the other Congo, officially Republic of the Congo, President Denis Sassou Nguesso has won another election and extended his 32-year rule.
From this week's Who Runs The World? vault: What does one do if you can't constitutionally run for president? Ask Aung San Suu Kyi — Myanmar's pro-democracy icon/Noble Peace laureate/forever presidential hopeful. Despite leading her party to win last November's elections by a landslide, she is barred from becoming president because her late husband and two sons are British citizens. So she hand-picked herself the new president, had her name proposed to lead not one, not two, not three, but four Cabinet posts including the foreign ministry, and then sashayed while dropping the mic.
There is an initiative called the Flash Drives for Freedom, a collaboration between Human Rights Foundation and Forum280, and they dream of smuggling 20,000 USBs into North Korea. You can participate. In fact, if you're American and haven't done your taxes this year, HRF is a non-profit so donations are tax-deductible. This way, you get to do your spring cleaning in the comfort of your own home without getting arrested like this guy or these fellas.
On Tuesday Belgium suffered two terrorist attacks which resulted in the death of 31 people and injured 300 (61 of whom are in critical condition). The first attack was at the Zaventem airport, which consisted of two explosions. An hour later the Maelbeek metro station, which is near many of the offices of the EU governing bodies, was attacked. At time of publication, authorities have arrested 11 people in Belgium, France and Germany in connection to the attacks. An event like this one can be hard to comprehend. The following articles might help: the BBC wrote a good article on why the terrorists chose Brussels, while The Washington Post wrote an article on how so many terrorist come from Belgium.
A UN tribunal found Radovan Karadzic, the first president of the Republika Srbska (an administrative entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina) guilty of genocide and other war crimes during the 1992-1995 Bosnian Civil War. He was sentenced to 40 years. Shamefully, the day before he was sentenced, a student dormitory was named after him in Pale, Bosnia. About 100,000 people died in the civil war. To see the faces of those killed at the massacre of Srebrenica, known as the worst atrocity in Europe after WWII, click here. To read about how the unique multi-ethnic makeup of the city of Sarajevo was lost, click here. If you have five hours and would like to lose your faith in humanity, watch this BBC documentary about the breakup of Yugoslavia and the resulting Bosnian Civil War.
On the same day of the Brussels attacks, the Russian courts found Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko guilty of killing two Russian journalists. She was sentenced to 22 years. The whole trial has been conducted à la Stalin with a very distinct 1936 vintage taste. Savchenko has called out the ridiculousness throughout her show trial and while the judge read the verdict she sang the Ukrainian anthem. Many world leaders have declared her trial illegal and have called for her release. There are talks of her being traded for two Russians jailed in Ukraine, but nothing has come of it yet.
THE MIDDLE EAST
On Tuesday U.S. and NATO commander apologized for the Médecins Sans Frontières bombing in Afghanistan on October 3, 2015 which resulted in 42 deaths. The U.S. investigation found that the mistake was caused by human error and has disciplined more than a dozen people involved in the attack.
A ceasefire was declared between Saudi Arabia and Houthi Rebels in Yemen, with the hope that peace talks will continue after the ceasefire is in effect on April 10. Since the war broke out last year, 2.4 million Yemenis have been displaced and more than 6,000 people mostly civilians, were killed. The conflict in Yemen resembles the conflict in Syria, as they are both proxy wars, with the Houthis supported by Iran and Saudi Arabia backed by the U.S. and a collation of Arab countries.
Paris Hilton, Matt Dillon, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Jay-Z, Beyonce and now Barack Obama have stepped on La Isla Grande. This week, Obama became the first sitting American president to visit Cuba in nearly 90 years after the two frenemies normalized relations and reopened their respective embassies last year. The Democrat even managed to convince Raul Castro to hold a joint press conference, in which he yelled at a reporter for asking about political prisoners. Baby steps. In case you were wondering about that question, read the latest reports by Human Rights Watch and by Freedom House about political imprisonment in the communist nation.
Donald Trump—the Republican Party presidential nominee frontrunner—is still being Donald Trump—the Celebrity Apprentice TV personality. This week, he became the star of the latest recruitment video for terrorist organization ISIS. He also had a catty Twitter fight over women.
President Obama went to Argentina this week to discuss Argentina's reform agenda. But honestly all that matters is that the President and the First Lady danced the Tango. Although a little stiff, Obama did well.
BRASÍLIA!! Always and forever interesting. On Thursday, the President Dilma Rousseff announced she would not step down even though basically everyone wants her to. It's like when you host a party and everyone has left, except that one drunk girl who can't take the hint to leave. Rousseff, the party's ooooooover. Let us call you a cab.