Watchlist: Former Bosnian Serb Leader Karadžić Sentenced to Life

Week of March 25th, 2019


Cyclone Idai Strikes Southeastern Africa

A deadly cyclone struck Southeastern Africa last week and its effects have been felt particularly harshly in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. The death toll currently stands around 750 between the 3 countries, with 446 of those deaths coming in Mozambique and at least 259 and 56 in Zimbabwe and Malawi specifically. Beira, home to over 500,000 and the capital of Sofala province in Mozambique has seen the worst effects of Cyclone Idai. The port city has largely been destroyed, with roads into the city only re-opening over the last few days to allow for aid to come in to the city from in-land areas. According to the Guardian, over 110,000 Mozambicans have been forced to seek shelter across central Mozambique due to their homes being destroyed in the storm. The standing water remaining from the cyclone may also cause a further public health crisis by facilitating the spread of water borne illnesses that are particularly pernicious during rainy season. MOUSTAFA EL-KASHLAN

Above: Satellite imagery of Cyclone Idai Approaching Mozambique (Source: Wikimedia Commons)


Ortega Offers to Free Hundreds of Prisoners

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has offered to free in the next 90 days over 700 people detained in anti-government protests in exchange for the easing of U.S. and EU sanctions on his government. As part of a deal with the opposition to spur a dialogue, Ortega offered this gesture as the international community brought down heavy pressure for the government’s detainment of 100 people during protests last weekend. While there has been some dialogue, the Alianza Cívica por la Justicia y la Democracia (Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy), a main opposition coalition, has suspended talks until the government frees all those that they consider “political prisoners.” Even if talks resume, the latest rounds of violence and seemingly arbitrary detentions further the opposition’s call for Ortega’s resignation. Starting off as a protest to changes in the social security system, Nicaraguans have marched in the streets for close to a year now demanding that Ortega, who has ruled for 12 years, step aside. Instead of creating a dialogue in good faith, the government has violently increased crackdowns on protesters and civilians, leading to a recent UN resolution condemning the government. In conjunction with the U.S. and EU sanctions, this condemnation seems to make it increasingly difficult to imagine a situation where Ortega remains in power. Reports of widespread state violence and repression have led many to give up on the ability to work within the current political system. As a result, the international community, especially the Organization of American States, seems unwilling to overlook the situation. JALEN ZEMAN


Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić Sentenced to Life

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić was sentenced to life in prison by appeal judges of the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal last Wednesday. The decision came following a rejection of Karadžić’s appeals against the 2016 verdict which found him guilty of genocide in his participation in the 1995 Srebrenica Massacre during the Bosnian War. Karadžić was originally sentenced to 40 years in prison, however, following Wednesday’s rejection of appeals, a majority of 3 to 2 judges decided to increase Karadžić’s sentence to life, stating that the original sentence was “unreasonable and plainly unjust” given his responsibility in the Bosnian War. Although Karadžić is notorious for his key role in the Srebrenica Massacre, an event which claimed the lives of 8,000 Muslim men and boys, he is also known for being a senior leader of Bosnian Serbs during the Bosnian War. Karadžić was president of Republika Srpska, the region which many Croat and Muslim populations were forced out of by violence from dominant Serb populations. The Bosnian War claimed at least 100,000 lives and was the most violent conflict in Europe since World War II. MEGAN ROSSITER

Karadžić, pictured here while on trial in 2008, was sentenced to life. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Middle East

Teachers Demonstrate in Morocco

Thousands of teachers went on strike and gathered in Rabat on Sunday to stage protests against working conditions, which include low pay and a lack of benefits. It is one of several protests held by teachers in the past few weeks, who are demanding the same rights granted to other public servants in Morocco. As economic conditions in Morocco worsen, the cost of living has worsened for teachers, many of whom were hired under contracts which do not guarantee a permanent job. On Sunday, anti-riot police used water cannons to disperse crowds of protestors who had gathered in the street in front of parliament to demand worker's benefits and an end to government corruption. It was one of the biggest demonstrations in Morocco in recent years, and one of very few to involve clashes with the police. MAYA ZREIK

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