Peter Myers Digest – April 12

(1) Germany is being sued in ICJ for for complicity in Israel’s genocide in Gaza
(2) Germany defends support for Israel, rejects accusations of ‘facilitating genocide’ in Gaza
(3) Trump Refuses to back Israel on Gaza war
(4) Trump rejects Abortion Ban That Goes ‘Too Far’
(5) Miriam Adelson withholds $ from Trump. BUT HE’S BETTER OFF WITHOUT IT
(6) Israeli intel chief responsible for Gaza surveillance outs himself online
(7) ECHR backs down on Rwanda asylum scheme, after Britain threatens to quit
(8) EU parliament agrees to make migration & asylum harder, in bid to to stop Conservative gains in election

RFKjr promised to pardon Snowden and Assange, and would hold inquiry to exonerate J6. Biden said he’d consider dropping charges against Assange; why didn’t he do it before? If he was genuine, he would drop charges right now; don’t let him decide AFTER the election.—Peter M.

(1) Germany is being sued in ICJ for for complicity in Israel’s genocide in Gaza

Time to stop arms exports (gifts in fact) and Holocaust Reparations—Peter M.

7 Apr, 2024 17:21

Historic irony: Germany is being sued over genocide complicity for helping Israel

A globally widespread turn against Israel is far from complete, but Managua’s case at the ICJ is one of its clearest indications

By Tarik Cyril Amar, a historian from Germany working at Koç University, Istanbul, on Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe, the history of World War II, the cultural Cold War, and the politics of memory

On April 8 and 9, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), often referred to as the World Court, will hold hearings on a case brought by Nicaragua against Germany. Managua is accusing Berlin of facilitating genocide and breaches of international law by Israel against Palestinians and seeks to end military aid to the Jewish state.

The outcome of the hearings is unpredictable. But this is clearly an important event that could have far-reaching consequences, for three reasons: First, this is the highest court of the United Nations. It has no independent capacity to enforce its rulings, but they carry political weight, whether in the short or long term. Second, while Israel is not directly present in the courtroom, its ongoing genocide in Gaza is at the core of the proceedings. Third, whichever way the ICJ ends up ruling, its decision will have implications for other countries, especially in the West, which have supported Israel and its assault.

Nicaragua’s main argument is not complicated: the <> UN’s 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (in short, Genocide Convention) codifies more than one offense. Under its terms, perpetrating a genocide – Article 3(a) – is only one way to commit a horrific crime. In addition, so is serving as an accomplice – Article 3(e). And, finally, all signatory states commit themselves not only not to be either perpetrators or accomplices, but they have also signed up to prevent and punish genocide – Article 1.

Managua’s representatives <> argue that Berlin is guilty on two main counts: “Germany is facilitating the commission of genocide,” they maintain, which means acting as an accomplice. And “in any case has failed in its obligation to do everything possible to prevent the commission of genocide.” In addition, Nicaragua also <> accuses Berlin of being in breach of international humanitarian law, also known as the law of armed conflict, as well as various other binding norms of international law – by helping Israel continue its illegal occupations, its apartheid system, and its “negation of the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people.”

Despite persistent misinformation, the term “apartheid” does not refer only to the historic case of the racist South African regime between (formally) 1948 and the early 1990s. Rather, apartheid has been an internationally recognized <> crime against humanity for half a century already, as confirmed again by <> Article 7 of the Rome Statute (the basis of the International Criminal Court) of 1998. Put simply, apartheid is a crime of the same category as, for instance, “extermination” or “enslavement” and can occur, unfortunately, anywhere.

In the same vein, the right to self-determination is not a matter of ideology or political rhetoric or, for that matter, choice. Rather, it is a bedrock principle of modern international law. It was codified <> in the UN Charter and has been reaffirmed repeatedly in key conventions and treaties as well as perhaps most famously in the 1960 UN General Assembly “Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.”

Nicaragua, in sum, is not fooling around: Its case appeals to numerous cardinal obligations under international law. It also digs much deeper than “merely” Germany’s actions during Israel’s currently ongoing genocidal attack on the Palestinians. In that respect, the case focuses on Germany’s continuing and, as a matter of fact, escalating military exports to Tel Aviv* and on Berlin’s decision <> to cut off financial support to the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA). But Managua is also targeting the fundamentals of Berlin’s long-standing policy toward Israel and thus, inevitably, also toward Palestine. The stakes, hence, are even higher than they may appear at first sight.

The public response in Germany has been muted and often unserious: The arch-conservative Welt newspaper, for instance, suspects that Nicaragua is acting in Russia’s interest: Germany is a key supporter of EU sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, so Managua – caricatured in the best Cold War style as “Moscow-loyal” – must be trying to deliver payback on the Kremlin’s behalf. Evidence? Zero, of course. (Welt is of course a flagship publication of the Axel Springer media group, which is extremely pro-Israel. It also makes money from <> brokerage in Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.)

But Germany and its convoluted motivations and rationalizations are not, actually, the most interesting aspect of this case. That, instead, lies in its international implications: This is the first time the ICJ has been asked to rule on an accusation of complicity in the Gaza Genocide.

South Africa’s complaint against Israel was, of course, about Israel’s role as the main perpetrator of the crime. The ICJ, it is important to recall, found that there is a <> plausible possibility that Israel is indeed committing genocide, which at this point was the worst possible outcome for Tel Aviv (because full decisions in such cases always take years). The judges issued several instructions to Israel (all of which its government has treated with total contempt) and, of course, allowed the case to proceed. In view of the way in which Israel has since only escalated its lawless violence, it may, hence, well find itself fully convicted in the not so distant future.

Meanwhile, even the ICJ’s preliminary finding that genocide is plausible has increased the urgency of the complicity issue: If genocide is at least a plausible possibility, then so is being an accomplice. Hence, the key question becomes how the court will define complicity. It is hard to see how supplying arms and ammunitions would not qualify. Likewise, Germany’s suspension of financial support for UNRWA was absurd, based on Israeli <> allegations that, in turn, are likely to have involved extorting false confessions by torture.

There is a reason that many other countries (such as Norway, Ireland, Belgium, Türkiye, Spain, Portugal, and Saudi Arabia) never cut off support for UNRWA, while others that did initially stop paying <> resumed funding (France, Japan, Sweden, Finland, Canada, and the EU). Germany’s foul compromise – to partially restore funding but to specifically exclude Gaza, where help is most urgently needed – may not impress the judges.

Nicaragua, nonetheless, is unlikely to prevail with all its charges, even if – in this author’s opinion – they all make perfect sense. But even a partial victory for Managua would have implications far beyond Germany. If the judges follow the plaintiff’s key argument about complicity even to some extent, then every government and international body that has supported Israel during its current assault on the Palestinians will be at risk of facing similar charges. As they should be.

This potential precedent effect would be reason for deep concern for the US, Great Britain, France, and the EU as a whole, or at least its power-grabbing Commission under the ruthless Israel supporter Ursula von der Leyen. As the Washington Post has noted, <> there is a growing global momentum, at long last, for stopping arms supplies to Israel. The US and Germany, supplying almost 99% of all arms imports to Israel, are the two major holdouts, but they also appear increasingly isolated.

And not only institutions would have reason to worry, but individuals as well. Some <> British civil servants are already rebelling because they resent being made accomplices to a genocide. In the same vein, more than 600 important lawyers, academics and former judges, including former Supreme Court judges have publicly warned the British government <> “that it is breaching international law by continuing to arm Israel.”

This turn toward a more critical attitude toward Tel Aviv has been catalyzed mightily by the recent Israeli massacre of seven staffers of the World Central Kitchen (WCK) aid organization. While one of the victims was a young Palestinian, the others were, generally speaking, “Westerners.” Clearly, these deaths meant much more to Western elites and, on the whole, publics than those of over 30,000 Palestinians. Even in the US, dozens of Democrats in Congress <> have now publicly demanded that arms transfers to Israel stop. The signers included not only traditional critics of Israel such as Rashida Tlaib but also hardcore Israel supporter Nancy Pelosi.

Nicaragua filed its case with the ICJ on March 1. The hearings will take place now. As it has turned out, the viciousness of Israeli forces in general, and in the particular case of the attack on the WCK convoy, has meant that Berlin, and indirectly, Tel Aviv are now facing those hearings against a widespread, if far from complete, turn against Israel. The judges at the ICJ are, of course, jurists of the highest caliber. Their assessment of the case will not depend on this immediate background, and they may even decide to throw out Managua’s case, although they should not. But the issue of complicity in Israel’s genocide will not go away, one way or the other.

Finally, what many Germans seem to be missing, such as the hapless yet arrogant Welt with its blinkered and tired Cold War phraseology, is the fact that Nicaragua is a classical representative of both the Global South and the emerging multipolar world. In the shape of Germany, it is challenging an equally traditional, if secondary and crisis-ridden, representative of the West. The fact alone that the West is losing control of both key institutions and narratives marks fundamental change. In the infamously racist terms of EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, the “jungle” is paying a visit to the “garden.” And it’s the garden that is on the defensive: legally, morally, and in the eyes of most of humanity.

*Russia recognizes West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, <> as shown on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Consular Department website

(2) Germany defends support for Israel, rejects accusations of ‘facilitating genocide’ in Gaza

Germany defends support for Israel in UN court against accusations of ‘facilitating genocide’ in Gaza

By Nadine Schmidt and Niamh Kennedy, CNN

Published 3:49 PM EDT, Tue April 9, 2024

Germany has hit back at allegations by Nicaragua that it has been “facilitating genocide” in Gaza, telling an international court on Tuesday that history undergirds German support for Israel.

Addressing the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Germany’s lawyer Tania von Uslar-Gleichen said Berlin “firmly rejects Nicaragua’s accusations.” She called the case “grossly biased” and promised to “set the records straight” on the second day of the court’s two-day hearing.

Nicaragua has accused Germany of violating its obligations as a signatory of the Genocide Convention through its political, financial and military support for Israel as its military campaign continues in Gaza, and by suspending funding to the main UN humanitarian agency in Gaza, UNRWA.

More than 33,000 people, including thousands of children, have been killed in Gaza since Israel launched its war following Hamas’ October 7 terror attacks, according to the enclave’s health ministry. More than a million are on the brink of starvation, according to aid agencies.

Von Uslar-Gleichen, who is the Legal Director for the German Foreign Office, insisted that Germany had been “doing its utmost to live up to its responsibility vis a vis both the Israeli and the Palestinian people.”

“Germany has always been an advocate for the promotion and strengthening of international humanitarian law and humanitarian principles,” von Uslar-Gleichen added.

She also nodded to the Nazi Holocaust against Jews during World War II, explaining to the ICJ that “our history is the reason why Israel’s security has been at the core of German foreign policy.”

Her address came a day after Nicaraguan Ambassador to the Netherlands Carlos Jose Arguello Gomez told the world court that his government had taken the case “on behalf of the Palestinian people” who are “being subjected to one of the most destructive military actions in modern history.”

Also representing Nicaragua at the UN court, French lawyer Alain Pellet said on Monday that Nicaragua is “not accusing Germany of committing genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza” but rather “failing in its obligation to prevent and suppress the crime of genocide.”

Israel is not a party to the case brought by Nicaragua and will not appear at the ICJ for it.

Nicaragua has been a longstanding supporter of the Palestinian cause, seeing the issue as a modern-day version of the type of colonialism it suffered under Spanish rule.

But Germany argued Tuesday that because the “bedrock” of Nicaragua’s case was aimed at Israel and its “alleged violations of international law by Israel,” the ICJ did not have jurisdiction.

British lawyer Samuel Wordsworth, who advocated on behalf of Berlin, said the case against Germany is “entirely dependent” upon a “prior finding of breach” of international law by Israel in Gaza. …

(3) Trump Refuses to back Israel on Gaza war

Trump Refuses to Say He’s With Israel “100%,” Says Blowing Up Buildings “Doesn’t Make Them Look Tough”

Chris Menahan


Apr. 05, 2024

Former President Donald Trump in an interview on Thursday refused to say he’s “standing 100% with Israel” but did say the Jewish state’s decision to blow up buildings in Gaza “doesn’t make them look tough.”

Trump made the comments in an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, who could be seen prominently flying an Israeli flag in his studio.

Partial transcript:
HH: I want to begin with Israel, Mr. President, because Sunday marked six months since October 7th. And you gave an interview recently to Israel Hayom, which was characterized by many on the left as being critical of Israel. Then Jonathan Tobin writes this morning, wait a minute, that’s not right. Trump was the friendliest president ever for Israel. Have you been mischaracterized in your advice to Israel?

DJT: Well, you know with the fake news, you never know what you’re going to get. You can say something very plainly, and they’ll turn it around. They’ll turn around everything. That’s why they’re fake. And that’s why they’ve been discovered. That’s why they’ve been found to be so, you know, if you look at approval ratings, they’re lower than Congress now, the news. They used to be in the 90s when I started, and now they’re lower than Congress. So I’m very proud of that fact. They’re bad news. Look, Israel should have never happened. If I were president, it would not have happened. Iran was broke. They had no money. They had no nothing. And we would have worked, a deal with Iran would have been made already. In the meantime, they’re going to have a nuclear weapon within probably 45 or 60 days. And then, it’s going to be a little tougher to talk to them. But October 7th would have never happened. They never, ever would have been attacked. But it is what it is, and this horrible thing happened. And what I said very plainly is get it over with, and let’s get back to peace and stop killing people. And that’s a very simple statement. Get it over with. They’ve got to finish what they finish. They have to get it done. Get it over with, and get it over with fast, because we have to, you have to get back to normalcy and peace. The whole world is blowing up with this idiot president we have. He’s an idiot. He’s the dumbest president we’ve ever had. He’s the most corrupt, and he’s the most incompetent. And he’s the worst president we’ve ever had by a factor…you know, I say, and you’ve listened to plenty of them. If you add up the ten worst presidents in history, they haven’t done the damage that this guy’s done to our country. What he’s done at the border with allowing probably 15 million people by this time into our country, and plenty more coming, it’s just insane. What they have done to our country in three and a half years is unbelievable.

HH: But you are still standing 100% with Israel? You achieved the Abraham Accords, which was the first peace deal since Sadat.

DJT: Right.

HH: And so are you still 100% with Israel? And what’s your advice to Netanyahu beyond get it over with in a hurry?

DJT: Well, that’s all the advice you can give. I mean, that’s the advice. You’ve got to get it over with, and you have to get back to normalcy. And I’m not sure that I’m loving the way they’re doing it, because you’ve got to have victory. You have to have a victory, and it’s taking a long time. And the other thing is I hate, they put out tapes all the time. Every night, they’re releasing tapes of a building falling down. They shouldn’t be releasing tapes like that. They’re doing, that’s why they’re losing the PR war. They, Israel is absolutely losing the PR war.

HH: That’s how I read your interview. I read your interview as saying they’re losing the PR war. They’ve got to stop releasing bad video and win the war by going into Rafah.

DJT: They’re releasing the most heinous, most horrible tapes of buildings falling down. And people are imagining there’s a lot of people in those buildings, or people in those buildings, and they don’t like it. And I don’t know why they released, you know, wartime shots like that. I guess it makes them look tough. But to me, it doesn’t make them look tough. They’re losing the PR war. They’re losing it big. But they’ve got to finish what they started, and they’ve got to finish it fast, and we have to get on with life.
The late Sheldon Adelson’s wife, Miriam Adelson, arranged and paid for the Israel Hayom interview with Trump last month where he said Israel needs to “finish up” the war and Israel’s decision to bomb civilian buildings is the cause of rising anti-Semitism.

One of the interviewers, Ariel Kahana, whom the NY Times describes as “a right-wing settler who is the senior diplomatic correspondent for Israel Hayom,” threw a fit over Trump’s comments in Hebrew.

“Trump effectively bypassed Biden from the left, when he expressed willingness to stop this war and get back to being the great country you once were,” Mr. Kahana wrote. “There’s no way to beautify, minimize or cover up that problematic message.”

(4) Trump rejects Abortion Ban That Goes ‘Too Far’

Trump is getting smarter. In Poland, the conservative governmemt lost power because of its hardline Abortion policy, even though Poland is a Catholic country. Ireland also voted to allow Abortion.—Peter M.

Trump Criticizes Arizona’s Abortion Ban That Goes ‘Too Far’, Stands By The Overturning Of Roe V. Wade

In a recent statement, former President Donald Trump voices concern over Arizona’s strict abortion law, asserting it goes too far, while defending the overturning of Roe v. Wade, emphasizing states’ rights and varying restrictions.

Donald Trump said Wednesday that an Arizona law that criminalizes nearly all abortions goes too far and the former president called on Arizona lawmakers to change it, while also defending the overturning of Roe v. Wade that cleared states to ban the procedure.

“It’ll be straightened out and as you know, it’s all about states’ rights,” Trump told supporters and journalists after landing in Atlanta for a fundraiser. “It’ll be straightened out, and I’m sure that the governor and everybody else are going to bring it back into reason and that’ll be taken care of, I think, very quickly.”

Arizona Supreme Court Abortion Ruling – AP
What Is The 1864 Arizona Abortion Law? Supreme Court Issues Near-Total Abortion Ban Based On 160-Year-Old Law In The US State
BY Saihaj Kaur Madan

Trump faces political pressure on abortion rights, which Democrats hope will be a defining issue in November’s election, after issuing a video statement this week declining to endorse a national abortion ban and saying he believes limits should be left to the states. His earlier statement angered religious conservatives and energized allies of President Joe Biden who see abortion rights as one of Trump’s weaknesses.

The Arizona Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday cleared the way for the enforcement of an 1864 law that bans abortion at all stages of pregnancy with no exceptions for rape or incest.

File photo – null
Trump Says He’ll Announce His Position On Abortion Monday, A Key Moment In The Presidential Race
BY Associated Press

Trump maintains he is proud that the three Supreme Court justices he nominated voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, saying states will have different restrictions. He supports three exceptions in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is at risk.

He also spoke about a Florida law that bans abortions after six weeks, saying that “is probably maybe going to change also.”

“For 52 years, people have wanted to end Roe v. Wade, to get it back to the states. We did that. It was an incredible thing, an incredible achievement,” he said. “Now the states have it, and the states are putting out what they want. It’s the will of the people. So Florida is probably going to change.”

Trump ignored questions about how he plans to vote himself on Florida’s pending state constitutional amendment that would enshrine abortion access as a right of his home state’s residents. He did not elaborate on what he thinks the level of restrictions and access should be in Arizona or any other state.

Florida Abortion Ruling – AP
Florida Supreme Court Upholds 15-Week Abortion Limit, Paves Way For Six-Week Ban- But Voters Get The Last Say

(5) Miriam Adelson withholds $ from Trump. BUT HE’S BETTER OFF WITHOUT IT

Donations are not free; there are strings attached. Donors expect to buy policies; that’s the way Oligarchy works. But the media can’t stay away from Trump, he’s never short of publicity. And the public don’t trust the Media. Better off not tryibng to curry favour from Wall St.—Peter M.

Trump’s biggest donor in 2020 is so far holding out in 2024
Katie Balevic

Donald Trump is wooing past mega-donors for his 2024 presidential campaign.
Some key donors, however, have been harder to pin down, The Wall Street Journal reported.
It could be a problem as the Biden campaign rakes in cash.

Donald Trump may have likely clinched the Republican Party’s nomination, but he has yet to secure some of its largest mega-donors.

While Trump works to woo top donors, some have indicated they are concerned about his legal problems and are choosing to focus their resources on congressional races instead.

It’s a worrying sign for Trump’s campaign, especially as President Joe Biden rakes in his own campaign cash.

One wealthy holdout is Miriam Adelson, who— with her now-deceased husband — contributed $90 million to Trump’s 2020 campaign, the largest sum he received, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Adelson and Trump have dined together twice in recent months and talk regularly, the Journal reported. While those close to her told the Journal she’s likely to contribute eventually, how much and when are key concerns. As the campaign season heats up, Trump needs every dollar.

March campaign financials show Biden and the Democrats raised over $90 million compared to $65 million for Trump and the Republicans, according to The Journal. With some $192 million at the start of April, Biden went into the month with nearly $100 million more than Trump. The former president also has mounting legal bills with which to contend.

Trump may still make up the ground. Many of his other loyal donors are contributing to both his legal funds and his campaign. For instance, Robert Bigelow, the hotelier, gave $1 million toward Trump’s legal bills and $20 million to his campaign, The Journal reported.

(6) Israeli intel chief responsible for Gaza surveillance outs himself online

The ’embarrassing’ revelation follows reports that Tel Aviv is using advanced AI in Gaza to mark thousands of military targets inside the Gaza Strip

<> News Desk

APR 6, 2024

The commander of the Israeli army’s Unit 8200 unmasked his own identity online in what <> The Guardian describes as an “embarrassing security lapse” for the person responsible for building the surveillance operation in Gaza.

In a report published on 5 April, the British daily says Yossi Sariel inadvertently “unmasked” himself as head of Unit 8200 – described as “one of the world’s most powerful surveillance agencies, comparable to the US National Security Agency” – via an Amazon account associated with a book he previously authored, which exposed via metadata a Google account showing Sariel’s full name.

In a statement to Israeli media, the army described the book’s exposure of Sariel’s identity as “a mistake,” adding: “The issue will be examined to prevent the recurrence of similar cases in the future.”

Unit 8200 oversees clandestine operations, collecting signal intelligence (SIGINT), code decryption, counterintelligence, cyber warfare, military intelligence, and surveillance. Sariel has led the unit for two decades, building a vast surveillance apparatus used to persecute and detain Palestinians across the occupied territories.

The unit is also behind the increased use of <> advanced AI and <> facial recognition systems in Gaza, which have led to thousands of murders and hundreds of abductions.

Although Unit 8200 has historically been revered for its intelligence capabilities, more recently, it faced harsh criticism for failing to anticipate the historic Operation Al-Aqsa Flood launched by the Palestinian resistance on 7 October.

According to a <> report on Israeli media last November, Unit 8200 was not operational near the Gaza separation wall on 7 October due to a previous policy decision to reduce personnel and halt operations overnight and on weekends.

The intelligence chief came under public scrutiny in February when Israeli daily <> Maariv revealed that on 8 October, Sariel met with four of his predecessors in a meeting that saw two former commanders accuse him of “personal negligence, perhaps even criminal, personal negligence.”

The report also revealed critics blasted Sariel for prioritizing “’addictive and exciting’ technology over more old-fashioned intelligence methods.”

(7) ECHR backs down on Rwanda asylum scheme, after Britain threatens to quit

New guidance to European judges boosts Rishi Sunak’s hopes of finally getting Rwanda migrant flights up in the air – as African country says it will still take asylum seekers even if Britain quits human rights court


PUBLISHED: 23:33 AEDT, 5 April 2024 | UPDATED: 23:33 AEDT, 5 April 2024

New guidance issued to European judges has boosted <> Rishi Sunak’s hopes of finally getting migrant flights to <>Rwanda up in the air.

This is claimed to have made ‘real changes’ to how the European Court of Human Rights might view the UK’s controversial asylum scheme with the African country.

A so-called ‘pyjama injunction’ issued by the Strasbourg-based court blocked the first planned migrant flight to Rwanda at the 11th hour in June 2022.

The scheme – which Rishi Sunak has made a key part of his promise to ‘stop the boats – has also been delayed by last year’s UK <>Supreme Court ruling that it is unlawful.

But the Prime Minister has said migrant flights to Rwanda will begin ‘by the Spring’ of this year, as he pushes through new laws in Parliament.

Mr Sunak has also raised the threat of Britain quitting the ECHR, if the court continues to block his plans to send Channel migrants to Rwanda.

Kigali last night said it would continue to work with Britain on the migration programme ‘regardless’ of whether or not the UK remains a member of the ECHR.

In new guidance published last week, the ECHR tightened its controversial Rule 39 that allows judges to issue last-minute interim injunctions – known as ‘pyjama orders’.

The updated guidance now suggests the court may only issue an interim measure ‘in exceptional circumstances’ and only if migrants are at ‘imminent risk of irreparable harm’.

It adds: ‘In most of those cases, the evidence available points to a clearly arguable case of a genuine threat to life and limb, with the ensuing real risk of grave harm in breach of the core provisions of the Convention.’

A Government source told <>The Times: ‘The way the ECHR operated with so-called pyjama injunctions in 2022 in a bid to ground the very first Rwanda flight gave the distinct impression of facilitating legal and political activism.

‘So their indication of real changes to the way they would address the policy in future is a welcome step in our getting this policy up and running and working.’

Mr Sunak this week offered his strongest hint yet that he could back leaving the ECHR.

The PM defended his approach to tackling small boats crossing the Channel, but indicated he would be willing to leave the ECHR if it blocked his Rwanda policy.

He told The Sun’s Never Mind The Ballots programme: ‘I believe that all plans are compliant with all of our international obligations including the ECHR.

‘But I do believe that border security and making sure that we can control illegal migration is more important than membership of a foreign court because it’s fundamental to our sovereignty as a country.’

Rwanda spokeswoman Yolande Makolo said her government would continue to work with Britain regardless of ECHR membership.

She told the newspaper: ‘Whether or not the UK remains a part of the ECHR is ultimately a decision for them, Rwanda, of course, is not party to the ECHR.

‘Regardless of their decision, our position remains as it has always been, that the partnership must meet the highest standards of international law, which it does, and that both the UK and Rwanda act lawfully.’

(8) EU parliament agrees to make migration & asylum harder, in bid to to stop Conservative gains in election

EU parliament approves new policies that make migration, asylum harder
The 27 EU member countries must now endorse the changes, possibly in a vote in late April, before they can take effect

By Africanews with AP
Last updated: 23 hours ago

European Union lawmakers approved Wednesday a major revamp of the bloc’s migration laws, hoping to end years of division over how to manage the entry of thousands of people without authorization and deprive the far right of a vote-winning campaign issue ahead of June elections.

In a series of 10 votes, members of the European Parliament endorsed the regulations and policies that make up the Pact on Migration and Asylum. The reforms address the thorny issue of who should take responsibility for migrants when they arrive and whether other EU countries should be obliged to help.

The proceedings were briefly interrupted by a small but noisy group of demonstrators in the public gallery who wore shirts marked “this pact kills” and shouted “vote no!”

The 27 EU member countries must now endorse the reform package, possibly in a vote in late April, before it can take effect.

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, a former lead lawmaker on migration who helped pave the way for the reform package, posted “History made,” on X, formerly Twitter, after the votes.

“It has been more than 10 years in the making. But we kept our word. A balance between solidarity and responsibility. This is the European way,” she wrote.

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser described the result as a “major and very important success.”

“After years of tough negotiations, we have agreed on this comprehensive package. We have thus overcome a deep division in Europe,” said Faeser, whose country has been a top destination for people seeking refuge, in a written statement.

“We continue to protect people fleeing terrible wars, terror, torture and murder. But this responsibility for refugees will be spread across more shoulders in future,” she added.

The plan was drawn up after 1.3 million people, mostly those fleeing war in Syria and Iraq, sought refuge in Europe in 2015. The EU’s asylum system collapsed, reception centers were overwhelmed in Greece and Italy, and countries further north built barriers to stop people entering.

But few have admitted to being happy with the new policy response to one of Europe’s biggest political crises, and even the lawmakers who drafted parts of the new regulations are unwilling to support the entire reform package.

“I’m not going to open a bottle of champagne after this,” Dutch lawmaker Sophie i’nt Veld, who drew up the assembly’s position on migrant reception conditions, told reporters on the eve of the plenary session in Brussels.

Swedish parliamentarian Malin Bjork, who worked on refugee resettlement, said that the pact does not respond to “any of the questions it was set to solve.”

She said the reform package “undermines the individual right to seek asylum” in Europe because it would build on plans that some EU countries already have to process migrants abroad. Italy has concluded one such deal with Albania. Bjork’s Left group voted against the pact.

The new rules include controversial measures: facial images and fingerprints could be taken from children from the age of 6, and people may be detained during screening. Fast-track deportation could be used on those not permitted to stay.

On the other side of the ledger, countries can be obligated to help their EU partners by offering to house people eligible for asylum or, failing that, to pay the costs of lodging them elsewhere.

Migrant and human rights groups mostly slammed the reform package.

In a joint statement, 22 charity groups, including the International Rescue Committee and Oxfam, said the pact “leaves troubling cracks deep within Europe’s approach to asylum and migration, and fails to offer sustainable solutions for people seeking safety at Europe’s borders.”

However, they did note that part of the reforms governing the resettlement of migrants to Europe from outside the bloc “offers a glimmer of hope for many refugees across the globe.”

Eve Geddie from Amnesty International described it as “a failure to show global leadership.”

“For people escaping conflict, persecution, or economic insecurity, these reforms will mean less protection and a greater risk of facing human rights violations across Europe — including illegal and violent pushbacks, arbitrary detention, and discriminatory policing,” she said.

Mainstream political parties wanted to secure agreement on the pact ahead of Europe-wide elections on June 6-9. Migration is a likely campaign issue, and they believe the reforms address concerns about an issue that has been a consistent vote-winner for far-right parties.

In a post on X, Beata Szydlo, a member of Poland’s nationalist Law and Justice party and a former prime minister, slammed the pact on Wednesday. “The migration policy of the EU is wrong and needs to be changed. But you can’t put out the fire by adding more oil to it,” she said.

The outcry over migrants in Europe focuses largely on the tiny minority of people who enter on unseaworthy boats or cross Europe’s borders on foot. Millions enter legally each year. Less than 10% are living in Europe illegally, and the majority of those entered with permission but refused to leave when their visas expired.

The main issue, once the regulations are completely endorsed, is whether the member countries will ever fully implement them, and whether the EU’s executive branch, the European Commission, will enforce the rules when it has chosen not to do so to avoid exacerbating the political crisis in recent years.