Britain to pardon gay men
The British government passed “Turing’s Law” on Thursday, posthumously pardoning 65,000 men charged with crimes related to their sexuality and offering those still living to have their names removed from criminal records. The law is named for the Nazi codebreaker, Alan Turing, who was prosecuted for homosexual acts in 1952 and forced to undergo chemical castration to avoid prison. Turing committed suicide in 1954. The law will pardon anyone convicted of a historical sexual offense who would be innocent by today’s standards. Those who committed non-consensual sexual acts or an act with an underage person will not be pardoned. Critics of the proposal urged for apologies rather than pardons, stating that a pardon indicates an admission of guilt when there was none.
Oct. 17 and Oct. 21
Assault on Mosul, IS/Daesh Retaliation in Kirkuk
A coalition of Iraqi, Kurdish Peshmerga and Sunni tribal fighters began the campaign to retake Mosul, one of the largest cities still under IS/Daesh control. The announcement of the offensive was made early on Monday by Iraq’s prime minister, Haider al-Abadi. Though gains have been made over the week, Iraqi and American officials expect that militants fleeing the city will use its 1.2 million residents as human shields.
One month after the city was initially taken by IS/Daesh in 2014, the IS/Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made his first public appearance, during which he gave a Friday prayer and declared Mosul the Iraqi capital of the group’s caliphate.
As the Iraqi-led coalition gained ground in Mosul, IS/Daesh launched an offensive in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk. The counter-attack was viewed by military leaders as an attempt at diverting attention and troops from Mosul. At least 19 people have been killed since the beginning of the Kirkuk assault.
South Africa to withdraw from war crimes court
South Africa began the formal process of withdrawing from the International Criminal Court. The “Instrument of Withdrawal” stated “the Republic of South Africa found that its obligations with respect to the peaceful resolution of conflicts at times are incompatible with the interpretation given by the International Criminal Court.” The withdrawal came after ICC criticism of South Africa’s refusal to arrest heads of state. Under the ICC Rome Statute, signatories are obligated to arrest anyone with a warrant issued. South Africa argued that arresting heads of state would be “incompatible” with South African legislation, which gives heads of state diplomatic immunity. Notably, the United States has abstained from joining the ICC.
The Court has received criticism for its disproportionate targeting of African leaders. In its 14-year history, it has only brought charges against Africans, and nine of its current 10 open investigations are against African countries.
Twenty-one charged with homicide one Year after Minas Gerais mine collapse
In November 2015, 19 people were killed and miles of Brazilian waterways were polluted after a mine dam burst in the state of Minas Gerais. The lead prosecutor in the case, Jose Leite Sampaio, accused 21 employees of Samarco, BHP Billiton and Vale with ignoring safety concerns in order to bolster profits. The companies denied any charges of negligence and declared they would defend their staff. The companies reached a deal with Brazilian environmental authorities to clean up the affected communities and set up an institute for studying the environment. Before prosecutors can proceed with charges, a judge must accept the case. The accused, if found guilty, could face up to 54 years in prison.