China envoy accuses Canada of ‘double standards’ over Huawei arrest

Beijing denounced Canada’s arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co. on Dec. 1 on a US extradition warrant, and threatened reprisals unless the case against Meng was dropped. (File/Reuters)
Updated 10 January 2019
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China envoy accuses Canada of ‘double standards’ over Huawei arrest

  • Days after the arrest, China detained two Canadian citizens whom it is investigating for endangering its national security
  • Huawei is the world’s biggest supplier of telecoms network equipment and the second-biggest smartphone seller

BEIJING/TORONTO: China’s ambassador to Ottawa has accused Canada of “double standards” and disregarding his country’s judicial sovereignty, in a diplomatic row sparked by the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at the request of the United States.
Beijing denounced Canada’s arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co. on Dec. 1 on a US extradition warrant, and threatened reprisals unless the case against Meng was dropped.
Days after the arrest, China detained two Canadian citizens — businessman Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat and an adviser with the International Crisis Group — whom it is investigating for endangering its national security.
In an article in the Ottawa-based Hill Times newspaper on Wednesday, Ambassador Lu Shaye said Canada’s demands for the release of the two men reflected “double standards” born of “Western egotism and white supremacy.”
Lu wrote, “It seems that, to those people, the laws of Canada or other Western countries are laws and must be observed, while China’s laws are not, and shouldn’t be respected.”
A lack of concern in Canada for Meng suggested that humanitarian treatment was only deemed necessary for Canadian citizens, not Chinese people, he added.
China has not drawn a direct link between its detention of the two Canadians and Meng’s arrest, but Beijing-based Western diplomats have called the cases a tit-for-tat reprisal.
While Meng has had full access to lawyers, has been granted bail and is able to see family, Kovrig is being denied legal representation, is not allowed to see family, and is limited to one consular visit a month.
The United States has sought to extradite Meng on charges of misleading multinational banks about Iran-linked transactions, putting the banks at risk of violating US sanctions.
Huawei is the world’s biggest supplier of telecoms network equipment and the second-biggest smartphone seller.
Since at least 2016, the United States has been looking into whether Huawei shipped US-origin products to Iran and other countries in violation of US export and sanctions laws, Reuters reported in April.


Dutch court cuts state’s liability for Srebrenica deaths

In this Wednesday, March 20, 2019 file photo, a woman prays at the Potocari memorial center for victims of the Srebrenica genocide, in Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina. (AP)
Updated 20 July 2019
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Dutch court cuts state’s liability for Srebrenica deaths

  • The 350 were among the almost 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed in the genocide at Srebrenica, the worst massacre in Europe since World War II

THE HAGUE: The Dutch Supreme Court on Friday slashed the state’s liability for 350 victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, saying peacekeepers had only a “slim” chance of preventing their deaths.
The 350 men were among 5,000 terrified residents who had sought safety in the Dutch peacekeepers’ base when the besieged Muslim enclave was overrun by Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995.
The lightly armed Dutch troops eventually became overwhelmed and shut the gates to new arrivals before allowing Bosnian Serb forces commanded by Ratko Mladic to evacuate the refugees.
The men and boys were separated and taken in buses to their deaths, their bodies dumped in mass graves.
Judges, however, on Friday reduced from 30 percent to 10 percent the Dutch state’s responsibility for compensation to the families in a case brought by the Mothers of Srebrenica victims’ organization.
The 350 were among the almost 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed in the genocide at Srebrenica, the worst massacre in Europe since World War II and the darkest episode in the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.
“The Dutch State bears very limited liability in the ‘Mothers of Srebrenica’ case,” the Supreme Court said. “That liability is limited to 10 percent of the damages suffered by the surviving relatives of approximately 350 victims.”

After the ruling, Mothers’ president Munira Subasic, who lost family members including her son, husband and father in the massacre, expressed disappointment.
“Today we experienced humiliation upon humiliation. We could not even hear the judgment in our own language because we were not given a translator,” she told AFP.
At Srebrenica “every life was taken away 100 percent. There is little we can do with 10 percent, but yes, the responsibility still lies where it does.”
“I only have two bones. I have found less than 10 percent of his body,” she added, referring to her teenage son.
The Dutch government accepted responsibility, saying it was relieved that “finally there was some clarity.”
A Dutch court originally held the state liable for compensation in 2014. In 2017 the appeals court upheld that decision before it was referred to the Supreme Court.
The lower court had said in 2017 that the Dutch actions meant the Muslims were “denied a 30 percent chance of avoiding abuse and execution,” and thus the Dutch state was liable for 30 percent of damages owed to families.
The Supreme Court agreed that “the state did act wrongfully in relation to the evacuation of the 5,000 refugees” in the compound, including 350 Muslim men the Bosnian Serbs were unaware of.
It said the Dutch peacekeepers “failed to offer these 350 male refugees the choice to stay where they were, even though that would have been possible.”
But explaining the decision to reduce the liability, the Supreme Court said that “the chance that the male refugees would have escaped the Bosnian Serbs had they been given the choice to stay was slim, but not negligible.”
Reacting to the ruling, Dutch Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld said in a statement the cabinet would “examine how to best implement the liability for damages suffered by the relatives in such a way it does justice to the Supreme Court ruling.”

In a swipe at the failure of other foreign powers to act during the 1995 crisis, the top court added that the “chance of Dutchbat (the Dutch UN mission) receiving effective support from the international community was slim.”
Former Dutchbat soldiers attending the case said they were disappointed on behalf of the victims’ families.
“I think the final judgment is a bit disappointing, especially when you see the court ruling of 30 percent and now it’s downgraded to 10 percent,” said Remko de Bruijne, a former Dutch blue helmet who served at Srebrenica.
“I think that’s not fair for the Mothers of Srebrenica but, on the other hand, now it’s clear,” he told AFP.
Srebrenica has cast a long shadow over The Netherlands, forcing a the government to resign in 2002 after a scathing report on the role of politicians in the episode.
Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is currently serving a life sentence in jail in The Hague after being convicted of genocide over Srebrenica and war crimes throughout the 1990s.
Ex-military chief Mladic, 76, dubbed the “Butcher of Bosnia,” is currently appealing a life sentence on similar charges at an international tribunal in The Hague.
Slobodan Milosevic, Karadzic’s long-time patron during the war, was on trial in The Hague at the time of his death in 2006.