The Record: This Week in Review

ICC Faces Many Questions About the Prosecution of Uhuru Kenyatta

Lawyers for Uhuru Kenyatta, the president-elect of Kenya, have asked the ICC to drop the charges against him for committing crimes against humanity following Kenya’s 2007 election. They argue the charges were based on hearsay. Kenyatta’s recent election as president of Kenya complicates matters, as no one has ever taken office as president and stood trial at the same time. Kenyatta said during the campaign that a vote for him would be a vote of “no confidence” in the ICC. Yet lawyers for the victims of the 2007 elections violence argue that potential witness would be in danger if Kenyatta took office and had control of the police and military.

EU Agrees on Laws to Establish a Centralized Banking Supervisor

Last year the European Union agreed to establish centralized bank supervision. This week European Parliament members, the European Commission, and representatives of member states reached an agreement on the laws that will make the centralized supervision a reality.

UN Human Rights Council to Vote on Sri Lanka Resolution

The United Nations Human Rights Council will vote this week on a U.S.-sponsored resolution about Sri Lanka. The resolution calls on Sri Lanka to investigate potential human rights abuses during its military campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The U.S. argues that an investigation is crucial for reconciliation, but the government of Sri Lanka maintains that no human rights abuses occurred.

Kenya’s President-Elect Seeks to Have Criminal Charges Dropped

After narrowly winning a still disputed election, Kenya’s President-Elect, Uhuru Kenyatta, has asked the International Criminal Court to drop charges against him for the role he played in the 2007 post-election violence. The prosecution is concerned about danger to witnesses who will not recant their testimonies against Kenyatta.

Trial Begins over Guatemalan Genocide

The trial of prior Guatemala military ruler, Rios Montt, is the first time that a national tribunal has put a former head of state on trial for genocide. During his short rule in Guatemala, over 1,700 indigenous Mayans were killed and 29,000 indigenous Guatemalans were forcibly displaced.

Cyprus Seeks to Impose Capital Controls as Risk of Euro-Exit Rises

On Thursday, the Cypriot government sought powers to impose capital controls to prevent funds from leaving the country. This attempt comes on the heels of the European Central Bank’s warning earlier in the day that it would cut off liquidity to Cypriot banks. Cyprus has until Monday to raise 5.8-billion euros in order to receive a 10-billion euro bailout fund from the EU and IMF.  If Cyprus fails to receive this funding, it could face a total collapse of financial markets and a Eurozone withdraw.

IMF Chief Urges Reforms to the Global Financial Sector

Addressing the Frankfurt Finance Summit in Germany, IMF Chief Christine Lagarde called for continued “balance sheet repair” of banks alongside regulatory reforms. On regulatory reforms, Lagarde stressed the need to continue implementation of Basel III, revise the calculation of asset risks in bank balance sheets and implement clearinghouses to manage OTC derivatives. Lagarde also stressed the need to develop a “single supervisory and regulatory framework” in the European banking sector.

Federal Reserve Pledges to Maintain Ultra-Low Interest Rates

Despite the recent drop in the U.S. unemployment rate, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke pledged to continue buying $85 billion a month through Treasury bond purchases to keep interest rates low. Although recent employment reports show that the U.S. economy created nearly 200,000 new jobs over the past five months, Bernanke is not convinced that the growth is permanent. Bernanke further denies that there is any evidence that its asset purchasing policy could produce bubbles in asset or stock markets.