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TERROR WARS
S. Sudan to join Chemical Weapons Convention: watchdog
by Staff Writers
The Hague (AFP) Dec 1, 2017


Potassium cyanide killed war criminal: Dutch prosecutors
The Hague (AFP) Dec 1, 2017 - Bosnian Croat war criminal Slobodan Praljak likely died from heart failure after swallowing potassium cyanide, Dutch prosecutors said Friday, two days after he committed suicide in front of UN judges.

"The preliminary results of the toxicological test showed that Mister Praljak had a concentration of potassium cyanide in his blood," the Dutch prosecution said in a statement in English.

"This has resulted in a failure of the heart, which is pointed out as the suspected cause of death."

The preliminary results were released after an autopsy was carried out on the body of Praljak, who on Wednesday in a last act of defiance against the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, swallowed the poison in front of UN judges just moments after they upheld his 20-year jail term.

"Praljak passed away in Westeinde hospital in The Hague after consuming a fluid substance in the courtroom of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)," the Dutch prosecution service said in a statement.

Two Croatian experts were also present during Friday's autopsy carried out at the Netherlands Forensics Institute in The Hague.

Contacted by AFP prosecutor Marilyn Fikenscher confirmed that the autopsy was over, but said "we are still awaiting the final results."

She also said she could not go into details about what levels of potassium cyanide were found in Praljak's blood, nor whether his body remained in the National Foresenics Institute in The Hague where the autopsy was carried out.

"These are just preliminary results, we must wait until the final results," she said, "it doesn't happen a lot that someone commits suicide like this".

South Sudan is joining the Chemical Weapons Convention outlawing the use of toxic arms, meaning only three nations have not signed on to the treaty, a global watchdog said Friday.

"South Sudan has no reason to sit on the fence," top foreign ministry official Moses Akol Ajawin told the annual meeting of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Juba has almost concluded the process to become the body's "newest and youngest state party", he said, according to a statement from the OPCW.

That would leave Israel, Egypt and North Korea as the only countries yet to join the arms treaty which came into force in 1997.

"The images of victims of chemical weapons make us all the more appreciative of the goals and objectives of OPCW," Akol Ajawin said.

"As such, we, in South Sudan, would unreservedly like to associate ourselves with the noble goals and objectives of this great organisation."

The move was welcomed by OPCW chief Ahmet Uzumcu, who said: "Today, we are one step closer to universal membership."

"I urge the other nations that have yet to join the convention -- Egypt, Israel and North Korea -- to unite with the rest of the world in eliminating all chemical weapons forever."

A total of 192 nations have already signed up to the convention, and more than 96 percent of the planet's declared chemical weapon stockpiles have been destroyed under OPCW verification.

South Sudan is the world's newest nation, having gained independence from Sudan in 2011.

But it has been embroiled in a civil war since December 2013 that erupted when President Salva Kiir accused Riek Machar, his former deputy, of plotting a coup.

The United States on Tuesday threatened to take unspecified measures against South Sudan's government unless it moves to end the conflict and stop harassing UN peacekeepers and aid workers.

The US unsuccessfully pushed last year for an arms embargo on South Sudan and international sanctions on senior officials.

Friday's announcement at the OPCW, based in The Hague, came on the final day of the Nobel Peace Prize winning body's annual meeting which had been dominated by the conflict in Syria.

Syria under President Bashar al-Assad finally joined the OPCW in 2013, admitting under US-Russian pressure to having a toxic arms stockpile, and thus staving off threatened US air strikes.

But Damascus came under pressure at this week's meeting to fill the gaps in its 2013 declaration, after an joint UN-OPCW body in its latest report blamed the Syrian air force for a sarin gas attack on the opposition-held village of Khan Sheikhun in April that left scores dead.

jkb/ach

APRIL

TERROR WARS
Argentine court sentences 48 in 'Dirty War' trial
Buenos Aires (AFP) Nov 30, 2017
An Argentine court sentenced 48 former military personnel to prison on Wednesday for involvement in so-called "death flights" and other crimes committed at a notorious torture center when a junta ruled the country. The trial is part of an effort to probe torture and crimes against humanity committed at the ESMA Naval Mechanics School. Only a fraction of an estimated 5,000 opponents of the re ... read more

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