Germany Temporarily Does Not Recognise Vietnamese Passports

Published: 15 February 2023 Authors: Stefan Talmon and Tobias Weiß

On 1 July 2022, Viet Nam began issuing new non-biometric passports with a dark blue cover and a serial number beginning with ‘P’. Unlike the previous green passports, the new document no longer included the place of birth of the holder. Instead, the place of birth was hidden in a twelve-digit personal numeric code that had to be deciphered using a seven-page list of tables. Contrary to international practice, Viet Nam had not informed the German Government in advance about the new passports. On 27 July 2022, Germany became the first country to stop recognising the new passports. (more…)

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Sentencing a member of the Syrian opposition for war crimes against persons

Published: 25 March 2020 Author: Stefan Talmon and Tobias Weiss

On 13 January 2020, the Higher Regional Court in Stuttgart sentenced Syrian national Abdul Jawad al-Khalaf to life imprisonment for several crimes committed in Syria in 2012 and 2013, including membership of a foreign terrorist organization and war crimes against persons. The Court found that in November 2012 the accused had founded the terrorist organization “Mohamed Ibn Abd Allah” which sought to overthrow the Syrian Government under President Assad and reorganize the Syrian State under Sharia law. In March 2013, the accused and his fighters had participated in the conquest of the provincial capital Raqqa. On 4 March 2013, the accused took part in the storming of the governor’s palace in Raqqa and the capture of at least 40 supporters of the Assad Government, including the provincial governor and party leader, as well as policemen and civil servants. Of those captured, at least 19 were subsequently sentenced to death by a Sharia court and executed at a garbage dump near the city of Tabqa in the presence of the accused. The Court found that the accused had killed at least two prisoners himself. (more…)

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Cameroon protests lack of protection of its embassy in Berlin

Published: 10 February 2020 Author: Tobias Weiss

Cameroon has been plagued by protests ever since the country’s presidential elections on 7 October 2018, when the 85-year-old Paul Biya became president for the seventh time in an election marred by low voter turnout and violence. Opposition leader Maurice Kamto from the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) who, according to the official results had achieved only 14% of the vote compared to Paul Biya’s 71%, alleged that the election was rigged.

While protests had been staged sporadically since the elections, a new round of protests broke out throughout the country on 26 January 2019. This time, the protests, however, were not limited to Cameroon. In the early hours of 27 January 2019, a small group of protesters forcefully entered the embassy of Cameroon in Berlin and occupied the building for several hours. They streamed their occupation, chanting “Vive la revolution!” The group said that by its action it was supporting the opposition movement in Cameroon. There was no police protection of the embassy at the time. After a call with the Cameroonian ambassador, the police entered the premises and removed the protesters. The embassy building suffered minor damages. No one was injured. The police took the protestors into custody and investigated charges of trespassing and damage to property. A similar event took place in Paris at roughly the same time. (more…)

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