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Israel to send Holocaust Survivor, Former Supreme Court Judge to ICJ

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 Israel is sending a former judge of the country’s Supreme Court, Aharon Barak, to the hearing before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the Gaza war.

A spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry confirmed media reports on Sunday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had agreed to the appointment of the 87-year-old Holocaust survivor.

Israeli media reported widely that Barak is to become part of the panel of judges for Israel.

This is a special feature of the International Court of Justice in The Hague – plaintiff and defendant states can each send an additional judge.

The news came as a surprise because Barak has been an outspoken critic of the judicial reform that Netanyahu’s right-wing religious government wanted to push through last year amid fierce protests.

Barak had compared the planned reorganisation of the judiciary to a “coup with tanks” that would turn Israel into a “hollowed-out democracy.”

The Times of Israel newspaper wrote that Barak was highly respected internationally and that Netanyahu had followed the recommendation of Israeli Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara with his appointment.

Just over three months after the start of the war against the Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Israel must answer to an international court for the first time for its ongoing military operation.

South Africa brought the case against Israel before the highest UN court and accused it of genocide.

The court has scheduled the hearings for January 11 and 12.

The judgements of the UN court are generally binding.

However, the judges do not have the power to force a state to implement them.

South Africa is invoking the Genocide Convention in its lawsuit.

Both states are signatories to the convention.

In South Africa’s view, the UN judges should first order an end to the violence against Palestinians in summary proceedings in order to protect their rights.

Israel firmly rejected South Africa’s accusations claiming that Hamas is solely responsible for the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza.

Israel argued that it was doing everything in the war to minimise the damage to the civilian population. (dpa/NAN)

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Cambodia Arrests 2 Foreigners for Smuggling 2.27 kg Narcotics

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Cambodian customs police at the Phnom Penh International Airport said they have arrested two South Korean nationals for an attempt to smuggle 2.27 kg narcotics to South Korea.

The duo, a man and woman, were caught Sunday night while they checked in for a ZA215 flight bound for Seoul.

The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia said in a news release on Monday.

In their body searches, our customs officials found many packs of drugs wrapped around their waists, the news release said.

“As a result, some 1.29 kg of crystal methamphetamine and 0.98 kg of ketamine were seized from the two suspects’ possession.’’

The Southeast Asian country has no death sentence for a drug trafficker.

Under its law, someone found guilty of trafficking more than 80 grammes of illicit drugs could be jailed for life.

According to the country’s Anti-Drug Department (ADP), Cambodia nabbed 3,899 drug-related suspects, including 106 foreigners, in 1,659 cases from Jan. 1 to March 3, 2024.

According to the report they confiscated a total of 2.79 tonnes of narcotics.

Most of the seized drugs were ketamine, crystal methamphetamine, methamphetamine tablets, heroin, ecstasy, and cocaine. (Xinhua/NAN)

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February Ends with Extreme Heat – WMO

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The UN weather agency, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), says February saw more extreme heat and unusually high temperatures in both hemispheres.

Summarising the state of the climate, it said the month ended with extreme heat in the southern hemisphere where it is summer, while high temperatures atypical of the northern hemisphere winter prevailed.

Parts of North and South America, northwest and southeast Africa, southeast and far eastern Asia, western Australia and Europe all saw record-breaking temperatures, either on a daily basis or for all of February.

“The anomalous heat is consistent with the persisting warming observed since June 2023, with seven consecutive new global monthly temperature records, including January 2024,” Alvaro Silva, a climatologist working with the WMO, said in a statement.

Global sea surface temperatures were record high. While the El Niño weather pattern “has stoked temperatures in some parts of the world, human induced climate change is the long-term major contributing factor,” he added.

Conversely, a large part of northwestern Canada, central Asia – and from southern central Siberia to southeastern China – witnessed exceptional cold during the last week of the month.

The meteorological winter in the northern hemisphere and summer in the southern hemisphere finished officially at the end of February.

Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) raised increasing concern on Friday that more refugees would cross into Chad from Darfur in the coming weeks amid a worrying lack of food and other essentials.

Almost a year since the start of the civil war between rival militaries in Sudan, neighbouring Chad urgently needs more humanitarian aid and significant development investment, the agency reported, especially in its eastern areas which are hosting the refugee influx.

This investment will allow the country to continue its generous open-door stance towards refugees.

“Chadian officials are concerned that many more hungry Sudanese families will come in the next weeks,” said Kelly Clements, UNHCR’s Deputy High Commissioner, who is in the country to review the relief operation.

“The country is committed to keeping its borders open, despite the fragility of this region.

“But, doing so will put even more strain on Chad, which has so graciously been hosting refugees from Sudan’s war – now raging almost a year – and other refugees still here from earlier emergencies.” (NAN)

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More Than 30,000 Killed in Gaza Strip War – UN Officials

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More than 30,000 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip since Israel launched its military offensive in October, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Thursday.

Volker Türk quoted the number during a meeting of the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The head of the UN’s World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, also used the figure in a post on X, formerly twitter.

“The death toll in Gaza has surpassed 30,000 a large majority women and children.

Over 70,000 Palestinians have been injured,” he wrote.

“This horrific violence and suffering must end. Ceasefire.”

Neither Türk nor Tedros quoted a source.

An official confirmation from the health authorities in Gaza, who usually post the figures daily, is expected later.

Israel launched its assault on the Gaza Strip in response to Palestinian militants from Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organisations killing of more than 1,200 people inside the Jewish state on October 7. (dpa/NAN)

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