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Hi, this is Michelle, with your May highlights from International Geneva. The war in Ukraine continued to dominate the headlines, with a Russian UN diplomat in Geneva quitting in embarrassment of his country’s actions.

Bachelet’s visit to Xinjiang also drew its fair share of media scrutiny and years-long fisheries talks got another round of tough bargaining at the WTO – although no light at the end of the tunnel.

On World Press Freedom Day, the harsh reality of newsrooms around the world came crashing down on Geneva as Nobel Peace Prize winning journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov stopped by to warn about the threats posed by authoritarianism and social media.

For the past three months we’ve been on an international criminal hunt with Civitas Maximas, publishing a summary of the latest developments in war crime cases worldwide. In our May round-up, a Russian soldier was sentenced to life in prison in the first trial of war crimes in Ukraine.

In our regular cover of solutions stories, we spoke with one NGO that is teaching war fighters the humanitarian rules of combat. Plus we heard this not-so-crazy idea: what about hosting a climate summit in Geneva?

photo journaliste

Michelle Langrand


Must reads

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Michel Jarraud, secretary general emeritus of the World Meteorological Organization. (Credit: Geneva Solutions/ML)

Why Geneva should host future climate summit. Scorching heat waves, crop-ravaging floods, and menacing sea level rise have propelled climate change to the top of the global agenda. Geneva’s colliding worlds of diplomacy, academics, activism, and technical expertise have helped drive the debate, often from behind the scenes. WMO's former chief, Michel Jarraud, says that if international Geneva is to become an engine for climate action, it should host a climate Cop within the next three years.

Michelle Langrand

'Russia had a future, many think it has no more'. The editor-in-chief of the Russian opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta and Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitry Muratov was in Geneva for World Press Freedom Day. In an exclusive interview with Le Temps, republished by Geneva Solutions in English, Muratov voices his concerns about a war of which he does not see the end.

Madeleine von Holzen, Serge Michel

Picture of the month

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Ukrainian and Hungarian press cartoonists collect award in Geneva. Vladimir Kazanevsky and Gabor Papai received the Kofi Annan Courage in Cartooning Award 2022.

A selection of their work

Opinion of the month

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Social media 'chipping away at our free will'. I became a journalist because I believe that information is power – it’s how we get justice. The death of democracy began when journalists lost our gatekeeping powers to the technology platforms that not only abdicated responsibility for protecting us, but they also destroyed democracy by destroying the facts for immense profit, writes co-winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize Maria Ressa. The Filipino-American journalist was in Geneva to receive the Cartooning Award.

Maria Ressa

International criminal hunt

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Second day of the trial of Sergeant Vadim Chicimarin for the murder of 62-year-old civilian Oleksander Chelipov, in the region of Soumy on 19 May, 2022. (Credit: Keystone/MAXPPP/Nicolas Cleuet/Le Pictorium)

May round-up. Ukrainian prosecutors secured the first conviction for war crimes, sentencing a 21 year-old Russian soldier to life in prison. The case was tried within 10 days by judges who are still themselves experiencing the war in their own country, raising legitimate questions. An appeals court also upheld charges of complicity in crimes against humanity against French cement firm Lafarge over its Syrian operations and the boss of Interpol faces accusations of torture.

Clara Guldimann

Solution of the month

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Volunteer fighters of Kyiv’s Territorial Defence, supported by the Swoboda party, undergo training on 28 February, 2022. (Credit: Keystone/VII Photo/Ron Haviv)

Teaching the humanitarian ABC to Ukraine war fighters. All armed conflicts open the door to violations of international humanitarian law (IHL), and the war in Ukraine is no exception. Active in the Donbas region since fighting began in 2014, Geneva Call has been working on the ground with non-state armed groups to make sure they know and respect their international obligations.

Michelle Langrand

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