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News Roundup – 13-20 February 2017

February 20, 2017

What happens when States no longer govern?

South Sudan army says it controls formerly rebel held territory. 

Who cares about the ICC’s trial of LRA fighter Dominic Ongwen?

Senior UN official appalled by airstrikes that kill women and children in Yemen. 

Swedish court hands out life sentence to Syrian armed group member for war crimes in the context of a ‘trial’. 

HRW: Sunni women tell of ISIS detention, torture in Iraq. 

Syrian government ready for prisoner swaps with rebels. 

New UN team aims to bring Syria war crimes to court. 

Fighting intensifies in Syria’s Deraa. 

Central African Republic: Executions by rebel group.  See also here for HRW report.

CAR rights groups welcome appointment of Special Crimes Court prosecutor. 

100,000 killed and 2 million displaced by Boko Haram insurgency. 

Colombia’s FARC rebels complete move to demobilisation zones. 

Vladimir Putin ordered Russian authorities to recognise documents issued in rebel held east Ukraine. 

Humanity at the Heart of Compliance: Brian McQuinn and Jonathan Somer talk about challenges of working with non-State armed groups

February 15, 2017

News Roundup-6th Feb – 13th Feb 2017

February 13, 2017
Fleeing Boko Haram insurgents set village ablaze in Yobe state
Philippines: Duterte makes turnaround on insurgent group’s terrorist reference
Colombia to begin peace talks with eln rebel group February 7
Many airstrikes today on rebel-controlled towns across Syria
South Sudanese army denies Egypt bombing rebel positions
Rebel killed in Mindoro
Philippine army arrests communist rebel leader after peace bid collapses
Civilians injured as clashes renew in western Tripoli’s Janzour district
Analysis: What Role Will China Play in Burma’s Peace Process?
Two Myanmar Ethnic Groups From Strife-torn Areas Not Allowed to Hold Advance Talks
Uncharacteristic Clashes Break Out Between Ta’ang and Shan Allied Armed Groups

News Roundup – 30th Jan – 6th Feb 2017

February 6, 2017

UN calls on parties to take urgent measures to halt civilian casualties, as numbers for 2016 reach record high.

Colombia’s ELN rebels release key hostage Odin Sanchez, while Last child soldiers from Colombia’s rebel ranks to be freed; but Brazil’s PCC is Recruiting FARC Dissidents, according to Colombia Defense Minister

Boko Haram cut off my hand, leg, says ex insurgent

MINUSCA and UNOCA call on UPC and FPRC led coalition for an immediate end to the fighting

Uganda rebel returns add to growing headache for Kabila and Congo, as

M23 rebels ‘kidnapped, tortured and killed’ DRC army helicopter crash survivors

Armed groups clashes in western Tripoli leave deaths and injuries

Ukraine conflict: Rebel commander killed in bomb blast and Civilians face ‘dire’ situation amid ongoing hostilities in eastern Ukraine, UN warns (as does the ICRC)

Turkey ‘detains hundreds’ in major anti-ISIL operation

Syrian rebels evacuated out of besieged Wadi Barada after government forces capture strategic water spring

Idlib’s rebel split: A crossroads for Syrian opposition

Yemen rebel ‘suicide boat’ attack kills Saudi sailors

UN lifts sanctions against Hezb-i-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, following peace deal with the Afghan government

Philippine President Ends Cease-Fire With Communist Rebels

Philippine president Duterte warns rebels after peace talks collapse

Perspectives of Non-State Armed Groups in the CAR

January 30, 2017

pages-from-persepctives-of-non-state-armed-groups-in-the-central-african-republic-finalIn December 2016, Conciliation Resources brought out a new report on what motivates individuals to remain in armed groups in the Central African Republic. The report is based on the perspectives of 70 commanders and rank and file representatives from armed groups previously part of the Séléka coalition, Anti-balaka (local protection militias established in response to the Seleka coalition), and members of self-defence groups in predominantly Muslim neighbourhoods. The interviews proved (i) the motivations which persuaded individuals to stay with an armed group (ii) the factors which could persuade individuals to leave a group and abandon violence (iii) the role of the Government and the international community in resolving the violence and (iv) personal reflections on the situation in CAR.

The main findings of the report are as follows:-

1. A mutual need for security and fear of attack are the primary factors keeping individuals within Anti-balaka and ex-Séléka and self-defence groups.

2. For many, personal and pragmatic interests – including the personal desire for revenge – are stronger incentives to remain in a group than the ideology or collective ambition of the group

3. DDRR and reconciliation efforts led by the Government and the international community are cited by many as the route by which they will leave armed groups, but expectations of the processes vary and trust in them is low.

On the basis of these findings, the authors of the report find that there are significant challenges to implementing successful DDRR in the country. The report ends by recommending the utilisation of local peace cells in order to convene dialogue and reconciliation and prepare for the DDRR process. It recommends that careful consideration must be given to how the DDRR process is communicated to armed groups, in order to manage expectations and encourage people to engage in reconciliation and dialogue. It also recommends that local community groups work to prepare communities for the return of fighters, with specific provision given for female combatants.


News Roundup – 23-30 January 2017

January 30, 2017

The news roundup is back by popular demand, this time in a weekly bundle……

ISIL deliberately targeting civilians in eastern Mosul. 

UN aid officials urge Security Council to push for greater humanitarian access in Syria. 

Syrian troops take control of water supply from rebels

Syria: rebels unite after attack by Idlib jihadists. 

Ex-M23 rebels crossing from Uganda causes growing headache for Kabila and Congo. 

SPLM-N calls on Security Council to back new humanitarian and political process in Sudan. 

Signaller reveals secret LRA codes at Ongwen ICC trial. 

Mozambique rebel leader accuses soldiers of violating ceasefire. 

Phillippine troops kill 15 Islamic State supporters; rebel leader wounded. 

Humanitarian groups jointly demand end to escalating conflict in Myanmar. 


Prosecutor warns ICC will try military commanders if Colombia transitional justice fails. 



Introducing new editor of Armed Groups and International Law: Annyssa Bellal

January 27, 2017

It is my great pleasure to announce that Dr Annyssa Bellal has joined the editorial team of the Armed Groups and International Law blog. Annyssa is the Strategic Adviser on International Humanitarian Law at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and a Senior Lecturer in international law at Sciences Po, Paris. She also acted as legal adviser for the NGO Geneva Call, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs and for the International Committee of the Red Cross where she was the acting Head of the Customary International Humanitarian Law Project. In 2012, she was an Assistant Professor at the Irish Centre for Human Rights in Galway. Dr Bellal was awarded several fellowships for her research, notably from McGill and New York University. She was the editor of The War Report 2014, published by Oxford University Press, and the author of several articles on various IHL and human rights law issues, including an award-winning article on ‘International Law and Armed Non-State Actors in Afghanistan’ (International Review of the Red Cross, 2011, SNIS Geneva Award 2011).

We are very happy that Annyssa has joined the blog and look forward to her contributions of news and analysis on the topic of armed groups and international law. Welcome Annyssa!!