PEACE NEGOTIATIONS WATCH
Friday, February 4, 2011
Volume X, Number 5
In this issue:
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Sudan: Southern Sudan
Afghanistan Inaugurates New Parliament
CNN, January 26, 2011
Afghanistan’s new parliament, elected four months ago in an election criticized for widespread fraud, was sworn in on January 26. President Hamid Karzai had refused to seat the parliament until a court could hear complaints related to the election. In a deal between Karzai and the parliament, criminal cases will be prosecuted based on the constitution and election laws, but members of parliament will continue to have immunity.
NATO Not to Leave Afghanistan After 2014 Transition: Official
Xinhua, January 26, 2011
A senior NATO official announced that NATO troops will not leave Afghanistan after Afghan troops officially take responsibility for security in 2014. Instead, the role of NATO forces will change and troops will continue to support the development of the Afghan security forces.
“The Future of Bosnia and Herzegovina is firmly within the EU” – EU Directorate General
Balkans.com, January 25, 2011
Deputy Director General Stefano Sannino reaffirmed the European Union’s (EU) commitment to aiding Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU integration efforts. Sannino will meet with the Presidency to discuss the changes necessary to accelerate the process. He will also attend the Adriatic Ionian Macro Region Bridge to EU Conference to discuss EU integration. Sannino expressed confidence that the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina would be able to reach national consensus and make the necessary reforms.
Inzko Calls for Accelerated Talks to Form Bosnia and Herzegovina Government
Southeast Times, January 28, 2011
High Representative Valentin Inzko urged leaders at the state and entity levels to accelerate the formation of the new government, calling their current efforts ‘unacceptably slow.’ Inzko called for prompt talks to form a government according to mandates provided in the October 2010 election. Inzko is worried that the slowed formation will take momentum from critical issues like EU integration, corruption and economic recovery.
Burmese Junta Defends Itself in Geneva
The Irrawaddy, January 27, 2011
The Burmese delegation defended Burma’s human rights record before the Office of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on January 27. During the Universal Periodic Review, several U.N. members, including the United States and France, called on the Burmese regime to release all political prisoners, prevent the use of child labor, and end repression again ethnic minorities. The Burmese delegation, however, denied all allegations of human rights abuses and reminded the Council that Burma had cooperated with the U.N. Human Rights Special Envoy to Burma.
Burma Upholds Dissolution of Suu Kyi’s NLD Party
BBC News, January 28, 2011
After dismissing the case four times in lower courts, Burma’s Supreme Court ruled to dissolve Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), determining that there was no legal basis for appeal. The Court further declared that the party would remain illegal due to its failure to register for November 2010 elections. Suu Kyi’s lawyer explained that the NLD had no further legal remedy unless the Chief Justice modified the ruling. He added, however, that the NLD will continue to work with the Burmese people, regardless of the Court’s decision.
Burma Prepares for New Era with Opening of Parliament, but Army Remains in Driver’s Seat
Associated Press, January 29, 2010
Burma is preparing to open its first session of Parliament on January 31. One of the legislature’s first acts will be to elect Burma’s new president, whom many expect will be current junta leader Senior General Than Shwe. Contrary to international custom, however, the government has not invited the press or the diplomatic community to attend the opening. Moreover, the imminent first session of Parliament has not prevented the junta from promulgating a variety of laws prior to Parliament’s opening.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Rwandan Hutu Leader Faces International Criminal Court
Voice of America, January 28, 2011
Calixte Mbarushimana appeared before the International Criminal Court, where he faces charges of murder, rape and torture of civilians in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Mbarushimana is accused of having directed operations of the Rwandan rebel group Forces Democratiques de Liberation du Rwanda (FDLR) from exile in France. He stated that he was not involved in any attacks against civilians. The French authorities handed Mbarushimana over to the ICC last year, after living there in exile for almost ten years.
Sixty Raped in Attacks on Congo Villages – UN
Reuters, January 28, 2011
Armed groups attacked two villages in eastern Congo and raped sixty people, the latest incidents in an increase in mass sexual attacks in the region. Doctors in the region report that mass rapes by armed groups are becoming more common, along with a trend of civilians mimicking the armed groups. It is unknown which armed group or groups are responsible for the recent attacks.
Only International Criminal Court Can Save You Now, Kenya Told
Daily Nation, January 27, 2011
During a trip to Nairobi to meet with government officials, the ICC Assembly of State Parties President Christian Wenaweser advised Kenya to deal directly with the ICC to seek a deferral rather than asking the AU for support. He further stated that the ICC would support domestic proceedings against the ICC suspects but that Kenya would need to follow certain procedures to qualify for a postponement.
Bid to Defer ICC Trials Gets African Union Boost
Daily Nation, January 28, 2011
The African Union’s (AU) Peace and Security Council has agreed to endorse a resolution to support Kenya’s deferral of its cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The resolution will be tabled at the Council’s upcoming meeting in Ethiopia. Kenya has agreed to reform its police force and judiciary to be able to handle a special tribunal to try the six post-election violence suspects domestically.
Kenya Prime Minister Warns of Crisis Over Top Posts
Associated Press, January 29, 2011
Prime Minister Raila Odinga expressed concern that President Mwai Kibaki did not consult him prior to nominating individuals for chief justice, top prosecutor, attorney general, and budget chief, as required by the new constitution. Odinga warned that unless Kibaki withdraws the nominations, his party will pursue legal measures to block them. The two also disagree on the handling of the situation related to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Odinga argues that genuine judicial reforms need to be implemented prior to any domestic prosecutions.
Kosovo, Serbia React to Organ Trafficking Resolution
Balkan Insight, January 26, 2011
The Council of Europe’s adoption of a report on organ trafficking, alleging serious crimes committed by former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), received mixed reactions in Kosovo and Serbia. According to Kosovo officials, the report has seriously damaged Kosovo’s international image. Several Kosovar political leaders argue that the report contains nothing but defamatory, politically motivated information and Serbian propaganda designed to detract from Kosovo’s independence bid. However, Kosovo authorities pledged to cooperate with the European Union Rule of Law Initiative (EULEX) investigation. Serbian officials endorse the report.
Dutch Minister: “Kosovo is Run by Criminals”
Balkan Insight, January 29, 2011
A leaked cable from 2007, during elections in Kosovo and leading up to the February 2008 declaration of independence, contains remarks by Frans Timmermans made at a meeting with U.S. officials in the Hague. Timmermans, the then Dutch State Secretary for European Affairs, indicated his concern about the EU’s outreach to Kosovo, claiming that many leaders in Kosovo make their livings through crime. Timmermans also expressed doubt that the EU would ever reach consensus on Kosovo. The leaked cable comes in the wake of two other reports implicating other senior Kosovo officials in organized crime and organ trafficking.
Kosovo Courts Face Enormous Backlog
ETimes, January 31, 2011
Kosovo’s judiciary reportedly has a backlog of over 300,000 cases. While Enver Peci, the Chairman of the Kosovo Judicial Council, has stated that the government is taking steps to address the situation, some believe the judicial system is in miserable shape, and may even face collapse. Currently, EULEX is providing assistance to the judiciary on more complex cases, such as war crimes and corruption cases, in order to alleviate the backlog.
Nepal Approves Changes to End Deadlock Over PM Election
Times of India, January 25, 2011
A panel composed of five high-ranking parliamentarians established a new process for prime ministerial elections, aimed at solving Nepal’s current political deadlock. Under the new rules, lawmakers will have to attend and vote in the election, as long as more than one candidate is contesting the polls. Furthermore, the Parliamentary speaker will have the right to disqualify candidates who are unable to win the majority of the votes by the end of the third round.
Monitoring Mechanism Takes Full Shape
The Himalayan Times, January 25, 2011
The Special Committee (SC) for the supervision, integration, and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants, now in charge of the PLA fighters, has finalized its monitoring mechanism. The SC established a nine-member mechanism, to consist of four members of the SC, four members of the SC’s Secretariat, and one representative of the PLA fighters. The SC appointed the members of the monitoring mechanism, representing the main political parties as well as the Tarai-based parties and the Nepali Army.
Consensus Eludes Nepali Parties
The Hindu, January 26, 2011
Failing to meet the January 26 deadline set by Nepali President Ram Baran Yadav to form a consensus government, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN), the Nepali Congress (NC), and the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) will have to choose a prime minister though parliamentary elections. Essentially, the parties were unable to reach consensus because they each claimed the right to lead Nepal’s government.
UN Envoy Proposes Special Courts to Try Suspected Pirates
UN News Services, January 25, 2011
The UN special envoy on maritime piracy, Jack Lang, has proposed the setting up of two special courts inside Somalia and one in Tanzania to try suspected pirates. He urged the international community to work towards the “Somaliazation” of responses to piracy by helping local authorities in Somaliland and Puntland to enhance their judicial and prison capacities in order to prosecute and jail captured pirates. The cost of the proposed measures is estimated at $25 million.
SLM Rebels Says More Time Needed Before Joining Darfur Peace Process
Sudan Tribune, January 25, 2011
The Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) led by Abdel Wahid Al-Nur reaffirmed its intention to join the peace process in Doha but said more time is needed to achieve an all-encompassing consultation process, which requires that all parties to the conflict be included. Al-Nur has spent the past month in Nairobi engaged in meetings with the members of his group and the IDPs and refugees SLM claims to defend.
Rebels Commit Themselves to Work Together for Peace in Darfur
Sudan Tribune, January 30, 2011
The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) will meet next week for the first time in Doha to show their commitment to the peace process and discuss ways to coordinate their action. The two rebel leaders further called on the Sudanese government to resume peace talks in Doha, rejecting Sudan’s other initiatives as an attempt at a Khartoumization of the process—giving the government undue control over their victims.
Sudanese Police Clash With Students in Khartoum
MSNBC, January 30, 2011
Hundreds of students protested in Khartoum, demanding the resignation of the government. Riot police responded by surrounding the entrances to universities, firing tear gas, beating students, and arresting them. Another protest took place in el-Obeid, North Kordofan. The groups have been able to organize themselves via social networking sites on the internet, similar to protesters in Tunisia and Egypt.
Sudan: Southern Sudan
African Union to Lead Recognition of S. Sudan
Washington Post, January 26, 2011
Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika, current chair of the AU, announced that the organization would be one of the first to recognize the outcome of the referendum should the final results show that the South chose secession. Sudan will be one of the agenda items for the next AU meeting.
Nearly All Southern Sudanese Voted for Secession
Guardian UK, January 30, 2011
Several thousand people attended the unveiling of the official preliminary results of the Southern Sudan referendum. According to the preliminary results, 99% of voters chose secession. Voter turnout for the referendum was 98%. Confirmation of the results is expected within the next few weeks, subject to any appeals. Once the results are confirmed, Southern Sudan will be able to declare independence on July 9, 2011.
UN’s Ban Seeks Talks on Dividing Sudan’s Oil Wealth Amid Vote on Secession
Bloomberg, January 30, 2011
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the North and South to quickly return to negotiating on Abyei, oil, borders, citizenship, security, and wealth-sharing as soon as possible. With respect to the oil issue, nearly 80% of Sudan’s oil production of nearly 490,000 barrels a day is located in Southern Sudan. The primary operators are China’s National Petroleum Corporation, Mayalsia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd., and India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation.
Thai Red Shirts to Petition International Criminal Court Against Government
Xinhua, January 20, 2011
Thida Thavornseth, leader of the opposition United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), announced the UDD’s plans to file a petition with the International Criminal Court. The UDD seeks to hold the Thai government responsible for the response of its security forces to the Red Shirt protests last year. The petition will claim that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is responsible for the deaths of ninety-one people during the protests. Until now, there have been no official charges brought against anyone in Thailand for those deaths.
Twenty-Five Protest Deaths Explained
Bangkok Post, January 21, 2011
Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation (DSI) concluded that twelve of the eighty-nine deaths during the protests last spring were attributed to the Red Shirts, while thirteen others were caused by the government forces. Deaths attributed to the Red Shirts include those resulting from the fire at CentralWorld shopping center. The report found the government forces responsible for the shooting death of a Japanese cameraman and the deaths of three people at a Buddhist temple. The findings are the result of a joint investigation between the DSI, forensic science experts, and public prosecutors.
An April Poll Looks Likely, Says Abhisit
Bangkok Post, January 27, 2011
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva repeated his earlier announcement that dissolution of Parliament and a call for general elections may occur as early as April. Abhisit added that early elections are conditional upon the successful adoption of constitutional amendments, a robust economy, and political stability. The remaining constitutional amendments are expected to be adopted on February 13. The opposition Puea Thai party expressed its reservation about the sincerity of Abhisit’s announcement.
LRA Rebels Kill Two, Abduct One in Southern Sudan’s Western Equatoria State
Sudan Tribune, January 28, 2011
The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) attacked Gangura, a small village near the capital of Western Equatoria, Yambio, in South Sudan, killing a father and son and abducting a boy on January 28. This is the first incident to follow the South Sudanese referendum. The Ugandan People’s Defense Forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army have joined forces to help local security organizations, such as the Arrow Boys, in altering and fighting off LRA attacks.
Religious in Remote North Ask Congo to Quit Downplaying LRA Violence
Catholic News Service, January 28, 2011
Religious leaders in Northern Congo have asked the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) not to minimize the threat posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the region and to set up an investigatory commission to look into the murder of Congolese nun, Sister Jeanne Yengane, by the LRA on January 17. The religious leaders accuse the DRC government of feigning ignorance about LRA atrocities and instead falsely accusing other groups of committing the atrocities and citizens of spying for the LRA. The religious leaders also asked the international community to set up a special international tribunal mandated to prosecute Joseph Kony and other LRA members.
India, Bangladesh Set to Sign Pact on Sharing of River Water
Daily News and Analysis, January 10, 2011
The Water Resources Secretaries for India and Bangladesh met to finalize an interim water sharing agreement that would determine how the two states share the Teesta and Feni Rivers during dry seasons. In a press conference, the two sides said that the meeting was successful and that their differences have been resolved. The agreement is set to be signed during the Indian Prime Minister’s upcoming visit to Bangladesh.
Congo, Burundi Are Set to Sign Nile River Water Accord Rejected by Egypt
Bloomberg, January 20, 2011
Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo are gearing up to sign the Comprehensive Framework Agreement (CFA) which aims at changing water usage rights of the Nile. The CFA has already been signed by Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Kenya, but is opposed by Egypt and Sudan. Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister commented that Egypt and Sudan need to cooperate on this issue because the 1929 agreement that currently governs water usage is outdated and unfair. Egypt has already warned that if the CFA is ratified, it plans to withdraw from the World Bank’s Nile Basin Initiative.
Somalia’s Humanitarian Crisis Deepens as Worst Drought Hits
Business Daily, January 27, 2011
The United Nations and Oxfam warned that the already devastating humanitarian crisis in Somalia will deepen as a result of a water crisis caused by a severe draught. Oxfam said that the water crisis coupled with the ongoing civil war will push Somalia over the edge and that action needs to be taken by the international community so that recent gains in the country will not be lost.
ZANU – PF Apology Over Lodge Invasions
New Zimbabwe, January 25, 2011
Ruling Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) issued an apology to owners of private boat clubs and tourist lodges after their facilities were forcefully invaded by a mob of 200 militants. The incident sparked fears that the government may be orchestrating a land grab of tourist facilities similar to land grabs in 2000. However, ZANU-PF denied any involvement or encouragement of the militants and apologized to affected owners.
African Union Commission to Make Case for Zimbabwe Elections Delay to 2013
Voice of America, January 28, 2011
The African Union Political Affairs Department of Human Rights, Elections, Peace and Security will be sending an envoy to Harare to evaluate the current conditions in Zimbabwe and to urge Mugabe to postpone the elections he has proposed for later this year. AU involvement has been largely at the behest of civil society organizations. In contrast, ZANU–PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo has stated that as a sovereign state Zimbabwe alone will decide when elections will be held. The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) claims elections should not be held until fundamental election reforms have been implemented.
German Embassy in Harare Protest Threatened Zimbabwe Property Seizures
Voice of America, January 28, 2011
The German Embassy has alleged that senior ZANU-PF officials intend to seize private property owned by Germans. A letter of protest was sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asserting that the property is protected by a bilateral agreement signed by Zimbabwe and Germany that promotes and protects investment. These allegations follow invasions of tourist retreats in the Manicaland provinces, which the Ministry of Tourism has said are hurting the tourism industry.
Peace Negotiations Watch is a weekly publication detailing current events relating to conflict and peace processes in selected countries. It is prepared by the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG) and made possible by grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Ploughshares Fund.