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Jose Efrain Rios Montt , a former Guatemalan leader, is accused of genocide and crimes against humanity. AP
Jose Efrain Rios Montt , a former Guatemalan leader, is accused of genocide and crimes against humanity. AP
Posted: January 29, 2013

Report warns on civilian toll

KABUL, Afghanistan - A report released Monday accuses Afghanistan's army and police of failing to address civilian casualties as the country's newly built forces assume responsibility for the security during NATO's military withdrawal.

The Center for Civilians in Conflict, a Washington research organization, said in its report that "the capacity of the Afghan government and security forces to prevent and respond appropriately to civilian casualties is woefully underdeveloped."

According to the United Nations, civilian casualties caused by the NATO-led International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) have declined over the last two years.

While, historically, Afghan forces have caused fewer casualties than ISAF, the report suggests that as Afghan soldiers and police take control of the country's security, they will "likely cause increased civilian casualties as they conduct more combat operations on their own." - Washington Post

Yemen attacks militant group

SANA'A, Yemen - Yemen's army launched an offensive against al-Qaeda-linked militants in central Bayda province Monday after negotiations failed to win the militants' surrender and the release of three Western hostages.

Moving in from the northwest, Yemeni troops confronted the militants in the town of Manasah, shelling what was once considered a safe haven for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

While Yemeni officials claimed tentative progress, the militants fought back, killing at least 11 soldiers after detonating a car bomb next to a military checkpoint.

The Yemeni government suspects that the militants are holding three Western hostages - two Finns and an Austrian - whose whereabouts have been unknown since they were captured late last year. - McClatchy

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Former dictator to stand trial

GUATEMALA CITY - A former U.S.-backed dictator who presided over one of the bloodiest periods of Guatemala's civil war will stand trial on charges he ordered the murder, torture, and displacement of thousands of Mayan Indians, a judge ruled Monday.

Rights advocates have said that the prosecution of Jose Efrain Rios Montt would be an important symbolic victory for the victims of one of the most horrific of the conflicts that devastated Central America during the last decades of the Cold War.

Judge Miguel Angel Galvez ruled that Rios Montt could be tried on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity for the killing of 1,771 indigenous Ixiles in 1982 and 1983, when he was president. He is the first former president to be charged with genocide by a Latin American court.

- AP

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