International Court to Prosecute Environmental Crimes
The International Criminal Court has said it will start to focus on crimes linked to environmental destruction, the illegal exploitation of natural resources and unlawful dispossession of land.
The United Nations-backed court, which sits in The Hague, has mostly ruled on cases of genocide and war crimes since it was set up in 2002.
Now, in a move widely hailed by land rights activists, the court said Thursday environmental destruction and landgrabs could lead to governments and individuals being prosecuted for crimes against humanity.
The court, which is funded by governments and is regarded as the court of last resort, said it would now take on crimes into consideration that have been traditionally under-prosecuted.
Land-grabbing has become increasingly common worldwide, with national and local governments allocating private companies tens of millions of hectares of land in the past 10 years.
The anti-corruption campaigners Global Witness say this has led to many forced evictions, the cultural genocide of indigenous peoples, malnutrition and environmental destruction.
"This shift means it can start holding corporate executives to account for large-scale land grabbing and massive displacement happening during peace time," Alice Harrison of Global Witness told Reuters.
Trump Reverses Course, Admits Obama Was Born in US
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump - or, at least his campaign - admitted Thursday he believed President Barack Obama was actually born in the United States, after years of questioning the president’s citizenship.
The Trump campaign, in a statement, credited Trump with forcing Obama to release his birth certificate and bringing closure to an issue he helped bring into the spotlight over the course of Obama’s presidency.
“Inarguably, Donald J. Trump is a closer,” spokesman Jason Miller said. “Having successfully obtained President Obama’s birth certificate when others could not, Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States.”
Earlier in the day Thursday, Hillary Clinton, at her first campaign event since she was diagnosed with pneumonia and forced to leave a September 11 memorial event Sunday with health issues, tore into Trump for his support of the so-called “birther movement.” She referenced a Washington Post story published Thursday in which Trump refused to say whether he believes Obama was born in America, and said he does not talk about the issue anymore.
Clinton urged voters to "conclusively" stop Trump, and what she calls his bigotry, in the November election.
While Trump has repeatedly questioned the validity of Obama’s presidency over the past eight years and fed into conspiracy theories over the authenticity of his birth certificate, Miller blamed Clinton for raising the issue in the first place.
"Hillary Clinton’s campaign first raised this issue to smear then-candidate Barack Obama in her very nasty, failed 2008 campaign for president. This type of vicious and conniving behavior is straight from the Clinton playbook. As usual, however, Hillary Clinton was too weak to get an answer."
The Trump statement pointed to a 2007 Clinton campaign memo in which chief strategist Mark Penn said Obama had a “lack of American roots” and not “fundamentally American in his thinking and values” as proof of Clinton’s role in the birther movement.
Clinton responded to Trump on Twitter by saying, “President Obama’s successor cannot and will not be the man who led the racist birther movement. Period.”
Clinton has, in the past, denied claims that her campaign started the rumors about Obama’s birthplace.