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This Week in World: War Crimes, North Korea, and More

war crimes

War Crime Judges Sentence Ntaganda

The International Criminal Court sentenced former Congolese military leader Bosco Ntaganda to 30 years in prison on Thursday. They charged him with atrocities including murder, rape and conscripting child soldiers. In addition, they also found Ntaganda, 46, guilty of charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for acts committed during his stint as military chief of the Union of Congolese Patriots militia in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002-2003.

At Thursday’s sentencing, Judge Robert Fremr said there were no real mitigating circumstances and issued the 30-year sentence. This was the longest handed down by the Hague court to date. However, he said that the war crimes Ntaganda committed did not warrant life in prison. Ntaganda, in a dark suit, listened intently to the judges during the ruling. And, he is already planning to appeal his conviction.

North Korean Fishermen Killed 16

Two North Korean fishermen suspected of killing 16 of their colleagues returned to the North after fleeing to South Korea. They crossed the border on Saturday, only to be detained by authorities. Usually, South Korea grants asylum to defectors. However, the two men posed a threat to national security. Instead, South Korea treated them as criminals – rather than defectors – and sent back.

The two confessed that they and another man killed the captain in late October due to his harsh treatment. Then, they killed the other protesting crew members, one by one and dumped their bodies overboard. The three suspects initially returned to the North. However, when local police captured one of them, the other two fled to the South.

Macron Says NATO Suffering “Brain Death”

French President Emmanuel Macron warned fellow European countries that they could no longer rely on the United States to defend its NATO allies. “What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO. [NATO] only works if the guarantor of last resort functions as such. I’d argue that we should reassess the reality of what NATO is in the light of the commitment of the United States,” he said.

Trump Denies Asking Attorney General To Clear Him

President Trump denied asking the justice department to clear him of wrongdoing over a phone call with Ukraine’s president. However, Attorney General William Barr declined Trump’s request to clear him in a press conference. The president then dismissed the reports as a “con job”. The Democratic-led impeachment inquiry at the heart of the issue hinges on whether Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate a rival.

Police Say 39 Dead Were All Vietnamese

The 39 people found dead in the back of a truck after being smuggled into Britain last month all came from Vietnam. And, they have been formally identified. “This is an important step in the investigation and enables us to work with our Vietnamese police colleagues to support the families of those victims,” said Essex Assistant Chief Constable Tim Smith.