Iran Human Rights Documentation Center Urges Iran to Release Opposition Leaders

March 1, 2011


NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT – The Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC) is concerned about the safety of opposition leaders Mir Hussain Mousavi, his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, Mehdi Karoubi, and his wife Fatima Karoubi who are detained in Iran. IHRDC calls on the government to release them, ensure their humane treatment, and allow them to communicate with their families in accordance with international human rights standards.

Mir Hussain Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi were candidates in the 2009 Presidential election in which the incumbent President Ahmadinejad was officially declared the winner. They have since become the de facto leaders of the opposition “Green Movement.” Hardline clerics, military figures, and members of Parliament have repeatedly called for their executions, labeling them Mohareb, an offense punishable by death. The calls intensified after February 14, 2011 demonstrations in Iran in support of the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. Members of Parliament shouted in unison, “Mousavi, Karoubi should be hanged!”

Mousavi and Karoubi have not been seen in public since. Yesterday, opposition websites reported they were detained in Heshmatieh, a military prison in Tehran. The semiofficial Fars news agency denied their arrests claiming they were still under house arrest.  In any case, they have not been able to communicate with the outside world for some time.

“We are concerned because the Islamic Republic has a reprehensible record of mistreating political dissidents in prison,” said Renee Redman, the Executive Director of IHRDC. “The regime often holds political dissidents in unknown locations in order to force them to confess.” Iran regime must respect the rights of its citizens to freedom of assembly and expression.”

IHRDC is a non-profit organization based in New Haven, Connecticut.  Its staff of human rights lawyers and researchers produce reports on the human rights situation in Iran.  The Center’s goal is to encourage an informed dialogue among scholars and the general public in both Iran and abroad.  The human rights reports and a database of documents relating to human rights in Iran are available to the public for research and educational purposes on the Center’s website. www.iranhrdc.org.

For further information, please contact:
Renee C. Redman, Esq.
Executive Director
Iran Human Rights Documentation Center
Tel: (203) 772-2218 Ext. 215,
Email: rredman@iranhrdc.org

War Crime Prosecution Watch – Vol. 5, Issue 24

Volume 5, Issue 24 – February 28, 2011

INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

Central African Republic & Uganda

Darfur, Sudan

Democratic Republic of the Congo (ICC)

Kenya

AFRICA

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

Special Court for Sierra Leone

EUROPE

Court of Bosnia & Herzegovina, War Crimes Chamber

International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Domestic Prosecutions In The Former Yugoslavia

MIDDLE EAST AND ASIA

Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

Special Tribunal for Lebanon

NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA

United States

TOPICS

Terrorism

Piracy

Universal Jurisdiction

REPORTS

UN Reports

TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSIONS

General

  • Kenya

◦                                   The Standard: Rights Groups Want TJRC Disbanded, Reconstituted

  • Thailand

◦                                   Radio Netherlands Worldwide: Truth but No Reconciliation

  • Nigeria

◦                                   Osun Defender: Aregbesola Inaugurates Justice Uwaifo’s Truth Commission, Vows to End Impunity

  • Canada

◦                                   Winnipeg Free Press: Where Are the Children Buried? Truth and Reconciliation Commission Looking Into Most Horrible Chapter of Painful Residential Schools Saga

COMMENTARY AND PERSPECTIVES

WORTH READING

War Crimes Prosecution Watch is a bi-weekly e-newsletter that compiles official documents and articles from major news sources detailing and analyzing salient issues pertaining to the investigation and prosecution of war crimes throughout the world.  If you do not want to receive future issues of War Crimes Prosecution Watch, please email warcrimeswatch@pilpg.org and type “unsubscribe” in the subject line.

[Amnesty International] Unanimous Security Council Vote a Crucial Moment for International Justice

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

Press Release

27 February 2011

Unanimous Security Council vote a crucial moment for international justice

Saturday’s Security Council referral of Libya to the International
Criminal Court marks a historic moment in accountability for crimes
under international law, Amnesty International said today.

The Security Council’s vote came after a plea for action from Libya’s
own UN delegation, which had announced that it no longer represented
Col al-Gaddafi.

“This is a welcome and historic precedent,” said Steve Crawshaw,
director of international advocacy at Amnesty International. “Libyan
leaders and all others who may commit crimes under international law
must now take heed that they will be called to account.”

“For the people of Libya, this decision is a signal that the
international community will not avert its eyes from the human rights
abuses that they continue to suffer.”

Amnesty International urged the UN Human Rights Council, the Arab
League and the African Union, all of which have announced
investigative missions to Libya, to urgently proceed with their
missions and to hand over their findings to the ICC prosecutor as soon
as possible.

The organization also called on the Security Council to consider
similar action elsewhere.

“The Security Council must build on the strong action it took
yesterday. It must address situations in other parts of the world that
at the moment have less public profile but are no less serious,” said
Steve Crawshaw.

The vote follows a strong condemnation of human rights abuses in Libya
by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Friday and the
announcement of actions to ensure accountability.

Public Document

****************************************

For more information please call Amnesty International’s press office
in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566 or email: press@amnesty.org

International Secretariat, Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London
WC1X 0DW, UK

www.amnesty.org

Peace Negotiations Watch – 25 February 2011

PEACE NEGOTIATIONS WATCH

Friday, Februrary 25, 2011
Volume X, Number 8

In this issue:

CONFLICT UPDATES

Afghanistan
Bosnia
Burma
Cameroon: Southern Cameroons
Cyprus
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Kenya
Kosovo
Nagorno-Karabakh
Nepal
Philippines
Somaliland
Sudan: Darfur
Sudan: Southern Sudan
Tanzania
Uganda
Zimbabwe

Afghanistan

Afghan Government Faces Fallout from IMF Assessment
Reuters, February 15, 2011
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) assessment of the Afghan
government’s handling of mismanagement and fraud at Kabulbank,
Afghanistan’s largest private bank, threatens to cause the IMF to end
operations in the country.  If the IMF does end operations, it would
likely cause many other donors and aid agencies to follow suit.

Veteran US Diplomat to Replace Holbrook as Pakistan-Afghan Envoy
The Independent, February 16, 2011
Marc Grossman, a top-rank United States (US) diplomat who moved to the
private sector in 2005, has been chosen to replace the late Richard
Holbrook as special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Many
high-profile US diplomats turned down the job before Grossman
accepted.  Several high-level diplomats and military officials in
Afghanistan and Pakistan are set to leave their posts in the next
months, including the US Ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry.

US Entering Direct Talks with Taliban: Report
Reuters, February 19, 2011
The US has entered into preliminary talks with the Taliban, reportedly
in order to determine potential parties and conditions of formal peace
negotiations.  These exploratory talks are also aimed at convincing
some Taliban members to sever relations with Al-Qaida and participate
in electoral politics.  The US has previously rejected direct talks
with the Taliban.

Bosnia

Serbian, Croatian and BiH Prosecutors to Meet in Bijeljina
EMG.rs, February 16, 2011
Prosecutors from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia will meet in
Bosnia to discuss cooperation in war crimes prosecution.  The United
Nations-backed meeting will discuss obstacles and areas of improvement
for war crimes processing.  The prosecutors will also discuss concrete
areas of cooperation.

Bosnia’s SDP to Push Government Formation Without Croat Support
BalkanInsight.com, February 18, 2011
The Social Democratic Party’s (SDP) President, Zlatko Lagumdzija,
announced that SDP would move forward in establishing the federation
government, despite the two largest Croat parties’ refusal to
participate.  The Croat parties have blocked the appointment of any
delegates from their parties, stalling the process.  Lagumdzija sought
permission from the Central Election commission to move forward.

Women of Srebrenica to Sue Del Ponte
B92.net, February 20, 2011
Two non-governmental organizations, the Women of Srebrenica and
Mothers of Srebrenica, intend to file a lawsuit against former
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Chief
Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte for the tribunal’s handling of items that
were found in mass graves and used as evidence at The Hague.  Families
represented by the organizations claim that the ICTY destroyed the
property, which did not belong to the court.

Burma

Suu Kyi Warned Over Sanctions Support
Financial Times, February 14, 2011
In response to Aung San Suu Kyi and her party’s recent call for the US
and the European Union (EU) to maintain sanctions against the Burmese
junta, the state-run newspaper New Light of Myanmar said both Suu Kyi
and the National League for Democracy (NLD) “will meet a tragic end.”
The NLD renewed its support for international sanctions after
publishing a report in which it found that sanctions’ detrimental
effects on ordinary Burmese citizens were relatively limited.

Burma Parliament Appoints Chief Justice
Xinhua, February 17, 2011
President Thein Sein nominated U Tun Tun Oo for Chief Justice of the
new seven-member Supreme Court.  Burma’s Union Parliament accepted U
Tun Tun Oo’s nomination on February 17.

Tin Aye is Election Commission Chairman; Tun Shin Nominated for Attorney-General
Mizzima, February 18, 2011
Burma’s Parliament unanimously approved the nomination of former
Lieutenant General Tin Aye as chairman of the new Union Election
Commission (EC), following his unexpected resignation from Parliament
on February 16.  Many opposition MPs believe Tin Aye will not be able
to judge electoral disputes fairly since his own Union Solidarity and
Development Party (USDP) committed widespread electoral fraud last
November. President Thein Sein also nominated current deputy attorney
general Tun Shin for Attorney General.

Cameroon: Southern Cameroons

Buea Calls for Action for Independence of Southern Cameroons
TFT Magazine, February 7, 2011
On February 5, 2011, Southern Cameroonians staged demonstrations in
Buea, the historic capital of the British Southern Cameroons, calling
for independence.  The protests were peaceful and staged without
intervention from military forces.   Protestors directed their
grievances toward the African Commission and the African Union.
Protestors declarined that Southern Cameroonian independence had
become a matter that surpassed the two international entities and if
it independence could not be done peacefully, Southern Cameroons would
follow the lead of Southern Sudan, a civil war for independence that
resulted in the death of millions.  The Republic of Cameroon has long
ignored the African Commission’s recommendations on the issue of an
independent Southern Cameroons.

Cyprus

Turkish Cypriot Protests Set Back Turkey’s EU Membership Bid
Deutsche Welle, February 9, 2011
Recent protests on the divided island of Cyprus have caused an
unparalleled division between Turkey and Turkish Cypriots.  Turkish
Cypriots protested austerity measures that were enforced on them by
Ankara.  In response to the impasse, Brussels blocked further
negotiations surrounding Turkish accession into the EU.

Turkish Envoy Choice Signals Tough Cyprus Stance
Hurriyet Daily News, February 11, 2011
The Turkish government replaced Kaya Turkmen with Halil Ibrahim Akça
as the new Turkish Ambassador to Northern Cyprus.  Political parties
and trade unions expressed frustration with the move as many consider
the appointment a sign that the Turkish government plans to continue
tight fiscal policies.  Akça, who previously served as the head
coordinator of Turkey’s financial grants, is considered the architect
behind the financial reforms that recently provoked protests on the
island

Cyprus and NATO’s Partnership for Peace
Famagusta Gazette, February 19, 2011
Cyprus’ bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
Partnership for Peace (PfP) initiative, which works to promote peace
between NATO and other states, has caused tension between political
parties and the government.  The government accused certain political
parties of violating the separation of powers after Parliament was
presented with a draft decision to apply to join the PfP.  Cyprus’
constitution provides the executive branch with the authority to
exercise foreign policy and make foreign policy decisions, and
President Demetris Christofias rejects the initiative on ideological
grounds. Cyprus is the only country in the EU that is not a member of
the PfP.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Congo Rebel Group Weakening, Could Cease Threat: UN
Reuters, February 8, 2011
United Nations (UN) Special Envoy to the Democratic Republic of the
Congo told the Security Council that one of the most important rebel
groups in the country was weakened, and could ultimately cease to pose
a threat.  The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR)
is composed of Hutus who fled Rwanda after the 1994 genocide, and has
played a major part in violent conflict in eastern Congo in the past
decade.  Reasons the UN envoy cited for the FDLR’s decline include
judicial action against their leaders in Europe, Security Council
sanctions, and UN-backed Congolese army operations.

Activists Seek More Justice after Congo Rape Sentencing
Voice of America, February 21, 2011
At the end of an internationally-assisted military trial, one army
lieutenant colonel and eight other soldiers were sentenced to ten to
twenty years in prison for crimes against humanity for a New Years’
Day mass rape in South Kivu province.  The court ordered up to $10,000
in compensation for each of the forty-nine victims who testified at
the trial.  Activists and civilians heralded the sentences, but
emphasized that this was only the first step in a long process to end
impunity for rape and other violence in the DRC.

Kenya

Kalonzo Reveals Kenya’s ICC Strategy
Capital News, February 17, 2011
In a recent interview, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said that Kenya
plans to send representatives to the 15 current members of the United
Nations Security Council to seek support for its proposal to defer the
Kenyan cases before the International Criminal Court (ICC).  The Vice
President said that approaching the ICC directly to ask for a deferral
would be a last resort, as it would legitimize a flawed process.  A
number of foreign observers have noted that it is unlikely that the
appeal to the Security Council would be successful because there is a
split in the Kenyan government over whether to seek the deferral.

I Acted Lawfully, Insists Kibaki
Capital News, February 18, 2011
During a press conference from the State House, President Mwai Kibaki
asserted that his nominations for the top judicial posts were legal.
He also denied Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende’s
assertion that his actions were unconstitutional, explaining that only
the judiciary has the power to interpret the Constitution.  Prime
Minister Raila Odinga supported the Speaker’s ruling and characterized
it as a win for Kenyans who support democracy and change.

Kosovo

EULEX Arrests Three in Northern Kosovo
Balkan Insight, February 15, 2011
Police from the European Union Rule of Law Initiative in Kosovo
(EULEX) arrested three individuals in Zuban Potok, a town in northern
Kosovo.  The arrests were part of investigations into organized crime,
including smuggling and tax fraud.  The EULEX police were supported by
NATO peacekeepers, and the Kosovo Office of the Special Prosecutor
monitored the investigation.

Kosovo Parties Sign Coalition Government Deal
Kyiv Post, February 19, 2011
Hashim Thaci, Kosovo’s caretaker prime minister and leader of the
winning Democratic party of Kosovo (PDK), will propose a coalition
government to Parliament that the PDK has agreed on with smaller
parties.  The new cabinet’s priority is to pursue talks with Serbia,
then draft a budget and begin afresh the process of privatizing
state-owned businesses.

Kosovo Charges Two Former KLA Members with War Crimes
Southeast European Times, February 20, 2011
Two former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) fighters, Haki Hajdari and
Sali Rexhepi have been charged with committing war crimes against
civilians in detention camps in northern Albania in 1999.  Sabit Geci
and Riza Alija, two other former KLA commanders, have been charged
with torture and other crimes against Kosovar Albanian civilians in
the same region.

Nagorno-Karabakh

OSCE Monitoring Has Passed in Accordance with Schedule
Aysor.Am, February 18, 2011
On February 18, 2011, a monitoring agreement, regarding the line of
contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh region (NKR), was successfully carried
out.  Representatives of the Organization for Security and
Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Chairman-in-Office, accompanied by NKR
Ministry officials, conducted a routine review of the line of contact.
Monitors found no official ceasefire violations.

New US Ambassador in Baku Says No Military Solution to Karabakh
Radio Free Europe, February 18, 2011
The new US Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Matthew Bryza, met with Azeri
President Aliyev to express his belief that there cannot be a military
solution to the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.  Bryza stated that
while the US still believes that the situation is serious, it is
pleased with Azerbaijan’s level of cooperation and support towards
resolving the conflict.  Bryza served as a former co-chair of the OSCE
Minsk Group.

Nepal

Maoists, UML Come Up with Joint Statement
The Himalayan Times, February 16, 2011
Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) leader and
now Prime Minister Khanal and Unfied Communist Party of Nepal
(Maoists) leader Dahal issued a joint statement reaffirming their
commitment to the implementation of their seven-point agreement.
While some Maoists leaders believe that this joint statement will win
the Maoists the home ministry, a contentious issue that has prevented
the formation of a cabinet, Khanal has reportedly not agreed to
concede the post.  Additionally, the joint statement calls on all
political parties to join and participate in the government, insisting
that working on the basis of consensus is preferable. However, the
Nepali Congress party remains opposed to the proposed deal and
reluctant to join the government.

Countdown Begins; Parties Deeply Divided
The Kathmandu Post, February 16, 2011
With only one hundred days left to draft the new constitution, the
Constituent Assembly (CA) faces significant hurdles, as the three
major parties continue to disagree on fundamental issues.  Areas of
disagreement include boundaries and rights of federal units, forms of
governance, and the structures of the judiciary and legislature.  Even
if these issues are resolved, it will not be possible to conduct
national consultations and incorporate public feedback into the draft
by the May 28 deadline.  Parties leaders are considering three
options: promulgating a limited constitution and leaving some of the
most contentious issues for a later date; writing a first draft by May
28 and extending the CA’s mandate; or extending the CA’s mandate
regardless of whether a draft is ready by the deadline.

Cabinet Expansion Likely to Be One Long Haul
The Kathmandu Post, February 19, 2011
Facing disagreement with the Maoists over allocation of ministries,
Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal is reportedly considering stepping
down if his own party, the CPN-UML, rejects his proposal to expand the
Cabinet and implement the seven-point deal struck with the Maoists.
The CPN-UML’s Central Committee has already rejected Khanal’s attempt
to give the Maoists the Home Ministry.  Some sources within the party
reject speculations over Khanal’s resignation, saying they are meant
to decrease opposition to his proposals.

Philippines

Mindanao Separatist Hardliners Against Peace Talks with Government
IRIN News, February 8, 2011
Before peace talks began, the Government of the Philippines expressed
serious concern over the development of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom
Fighters, a splinter group composed of former Moro Islamic Liberation
Front (MILF) commanders who were opposed to peace talks with the
Government.  Marc Leonen, the chief negotiator for the Government,
stated that the Government was concerned that the rival group could
lead to insecurity in Mindanao and threaten the lives of civilians in
the region.  During a clandestine meeting at a MILF camp in Mindanao,
MILF leader Ebrahim stated that only ten percent of MILF members were
opposed to the peace talks and that MILF was in complete control of
its members.

Philippines Communist Rebels Declare Truce
The Mindanao Examiner, February 14, 2011
A weeklong truce was declared between communist rebels and the
government to allow peace talks to begin.  A spokesperson for the New
People’s Army (NPA) stated that the cease-fire was a ‘goodwill
measure’ representing their confidence in the resumption of peace
talks.  Although the ceasefire is in effect, the NPA is urging all of
its commands and units to remain ‘vigilant’ during the cease-fire.

Philippine Peace Talks ‘Making Progress’: Norway
AFP, February 21, 2011
Ture Lundh, the Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines, stated that
the communist rebels and Philippine government have made some progress
during the peace talks, though according to observers no immediate
breakthrough was expected.  Lundh added that both groups have
indicated that they have a common will to make progress.  The peace
talks represent the first negotiations since 2004 and are centered on
economic and social reform.

Somaliland

Somalia: Somaliland Police Seizes TFG Minister
AllAfrica, February 17, 2011
Somaliland police announced in a press conference that the police had
seized the Somalia Transitional Federal Government’s (TGF) deputy
minister of public works and housing, Abdirashed Mohammed Ali.  He was
taken into custody shortly after he arrived in Hargeisa airport.  The
seizure was an order from the Somaliland authorities.  No statements
were immediately available from the Somali TGF.

Puntland President Warns Somaliland Regarding Kalshaale Clashes
Somaliland Press, February 20, 2011
Abdarahman Farole, president of Puntland, issued a warning through BBC
Somali to Somaliland over clashes between Somaliland forces and the
Sool, Sanaag, and Cayn (SSC) Militia, stating that he would “have no
choice” but to defend his clans’ men. Further, he stated that
Somaliland occupation of Las Anod would lead to inevitable conflict.

Sudan: Darfur

Third International Meeting on Darfur Peace Supports Qatar Talks
Xinhua, February 18, 2011
An international meeting of special envoys to Darfur has reaffirmed
its support for the peace talks being held in Doha, Qatar between
Darfuri rebels and the Sudanese government in Khartoum.  The special
representatives also urged all armed rebel movements to join in the
Doha negotiations.  This is the third meeting of international envoys
from the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur, China,
Russia, Canada, Finland, Japan, the Arab League, the African Union,
the UN, and the EU, the first two meetings were held in Kigali, Rwanda
and El-Fasher, Sudan in February and July of 2010.

Sudan’s Bashir to Fight Graft, Hints at Retirement
Reuters, February 20, 2011
President Bashir promised to form an anti-corruption commission that
could provide jobs to graduates.  He also hinted at retirement plans
by suggesting that there should be an age limit of 60 to hold public
office.  At age 67, Bashir said that if adopted, this rule would
include him.  These announcements seem to be a response to appease
youth after pro-democracy protests have gripped the Arab world.

Al-Mahmoud: Timetable for Darfur Peace Negotiations in Doha Will Be Issued Early Next Week
Sudanese Media Center, February 20, 2011
Qatari Minister for Foreign Affairs Ahmed bin Abdalla Al-Mahmoud
mentioned that a timetable for Doha peace negotiations will be issued
early next week.  He noted that the outcome of the meetings has been
positive, and stated that the Doha process is open to the Nur and
Menni Arko Mennawi movements, as well as others who desire peace.

Sudan: Southern Sudan

UNMIS’s Mandate Will Not Be Extended Beyond July, Sudan Says
Sudan Tribune, February 15, 2011
In an interview with the Sudanese Media Center, Sudan’s Presidential
Advisor Mustafa Ismali said that the UN peacekeeping force in Sudan
(UNMIS) will not be allowed to remain in the north after South Sudan
becomes independent in July.  Mr. Ismail also rejected a recent
proposal by the African Union to extend the interim period past July
2011, saying that such an extension would open the door for foreign
interference in Sudan.

North, South Sudan Reach Agreement on Oil, Currency, Amum Says
Bloomberg, February 15, 2011
On February 15, 2011, South Sudan Secretary General Pagan Amum told
reporters in Juba that North and South Sudan have agreed that the
South will pay the North a transit fee for the use of its oil pipeline
to Port Sudan for oil exports once South Sudan becomes independent in
July.  Amum emphasized that the current 50 percent oil-sharing
agreement between North and South Sudan would not be continued.  Amum
also announced that South Sudan has decided to adopt a new currency,
which will be called the pound and that the Central Bank of Sudan has
agreed to buy back Sudanese pounds from the Government of South Sudan
after separation.

Death Toll in Southern Sudan Violence Doubles, Official Says
CNN, February 16, 2011
South Sudan’s Humanitarian Minister James Kok announced that at least
211 people have been killed in recent attacks by breakaway militia
groups loyal to General George Athor in Jonglei state.  Mr. Kok said
that more than 160 of those killed were women, children, and
internally displaced persons, and indicated that the death toll is
expected to rise as more bodies are found.

Tanzania

Explosions at Military Base Kill 20 in Tanzania
CNN, February 17, 2011
Several explosions at a military base ammunitions bunker in Dar es
Salaam killed twenty people, injured 184, displaced 4,000, and damaged
several military and civilian buildings. Although officials are
uncertain of what caused the blast, they do not think it is
terrorism-related.

State to Publicize Proposed Constitutional Review
DailyNews.com, February 20, 2011
In the lead up to major constitutional reform, government officials
plan to reach out to civil society to raise awareness among Tanzanians
about the current constitution, a document few Tanzanians have ever
seen.  The effort is directed in the hopes that once Tanzanians are
aware of the current constitution, they will be able to meaningfully
participate in its reform.

Uganda

President Museveni Gets Fourth Term
New Vision Online, February 20, 2011
On February 19, the Ugandan Electoral Commission declared President
Yoweri Museveni of the National Resistance Movement party the winner
of Uganda’s February 18 presidential election.  According to the
polls, Museveni received 68.3 percent of the 8,272,760 votes cast,
while runner-up Col. Kizza Besigye, of the Forum for Democratic
Change, received 26 percent.  No other candidate received more than 10
percent of the vote in any one region of Uganda.  This return
indicates that Museveni’s popular support rose approximately 9 percent
since the last presidential election in 2006, when he secured 59.2
percent of the vote.  Besigye contests the results, alleging electoral
fraud.

Post Election Situation: Normalcy Returns, but Security Deployment Still On
Daily Monitor, February 21, 2011
Troops remained in Kampala following the presidential and
parliamentary elections to quell any election-related violence.
Ugandan citizens traveled away from Kampala and business owners closed
their stores in effort to avoid violent altercations.  Slowly,
however, life is returning to normal.

Kampala Bomb Suspect Extradited to Uganda for Trial
BBC World Service, February 22, 2011
On February 21, the Tanzanian government extradited a Tanzanian
citizen to Uganda to face charged related to the July 11, 2010
bombings in Kampala.  The bombings occurred during a final match of
the World Cup and killed 70 people.  The 31-year-old man will face
charges including murder and attempted murder.  Specifically, the man
is suspected of transporting the bombs from Nairobi to Kampala.

Zimbabwe

EU Extends Zimbabwe Sanctions, Drops Thirty-Five from List
Reuters, February 15, 2011
Sanctions against Zimbabwe have been extended for another year by the
EU, which also delisted 35 individuals whose assets had formerly been
frozen. The EU attributed the changes to progress in Zimbabwe’s
economic regulation and social service delivery, but noted that
political reform has not made sufficient progress, specifically in the
areas of election reform and rule of law.  EU officials expressed deep
concern for the recent resurgence of politically-based conflict.  EU
sanctions have been in place since 2004.

Zimbabwe’s Tsvangirai Threatens to Boycott Early Polls
Reuters, February 17, 2011
According to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party of Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the 2011 presidential and parliamentary
elections being called for by President Robert Mugabe could cause
fighting that would further destabilize Zimbabwe’s struggling economy.
Tsvangirai says he would boycott elections initiated unilaterally by
Mugabe or otherwise held prior the completion of the ongoing
constitutional reform process.  Commentators have noted that early
elections, prior to the implementation of election reform, would help
Mugabe consolidate power.

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.

Public International Law & Policy Group
888 16th Street, NW
Suite 831
Washington, DC 20006
www.pilpg.org
Copyright (C) 2010 PILPG All rights reserved.

Israeli Settlements Spark Violence While Netanyahu Waffles

By Eric C. Sigmund
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East

JERUSALEM, Israel – Debate over Israel’s illegal settlement policy has reignited in recent days after Palestinian protesters were met by violent resistance from Israeli settlers in the West Bank.  Israel’s temporary moratorium on settlement construction ended in September but many hope that recent international pressure will force the government to continue a “silent freeze.”  Last month, members of the United Nations put forward a draft resolution condemning Israel’s building of settlements in the West Bank.  The resolution failed only after the United States exercised its veto power in opposition to the resolution.  While Prime Minister Netanyahu has come under intense fire from the international community, internal pressure from Israeli settlers may force him to take a more hardline stance on settlements in the future. 

Activists block streets as they protest Israels settlement policy (Photo Courtesy of AFP)
Activists block streets as they protest Israel's settlement policy (Photo Courtesy of AFP)

Since the settlement freeze, about 1700 new housing units in 67 different settlements have been constructed according to Peace Now and 4000 new housing units are still waiting government authorization.  Despite further settlement development, the Prime Minister has been increasingly vocal about Israel’s unsustainable settlement policy noting that “the diplomatic struggle isn’t over additional building in the settlements, it’s over the settlements themselves.”   While the Prime Minister has called for the immediate destruction of all illegal settlement outposts, actions speak loader than words.  And while Netanyahu has promised one thing, he appears to be doing just the opposite.  Despite his anti-settlement rhetoric, Netanyahu on Monday swore to legalize established outposts, stressing “we are currently making efforts to maintain existing construction.”

There are other reasons why the Prime Minister’s promise has been received with skepticism.  The Israeli Supreme Court has already ruled that the settlements are a legal mechanism to promote and strengthen the Jewish state.   In addition, “outposts” have a distinct legal meaning from “settlements” in Israel.  Therefore, while the government has promised to dismantle all of its outposts, all Israeli settlements, which remain a central impediment to peace, will continue to stand.  Finally, history has showed that anti-settlement policies are political suicide for Israeli Prime Ministers.  This may be especially true for Netanyahu who has already faced intense backlash from his Likud party for being too soft on the settlement issue. 

To address these concerns, one senior official noted that the government may seek a smaller piecemeal peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority.  Prime Minister Netanyahu confirmed that such an approach may be taken by the government, calling this option a “phased path” which would seek to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict on an issue by issue basis instead of through a comprehensive treaty.  This approach has already received substantial criticism from Palestinian officials and some in the international community; including German Chancellor Angela Merkel who has stressed the importance of a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.  Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stated “[t]his talk about interim agreement and ‘phased path’ is just a reflection of the fact that we don’t’ have a partner for the end game in this Israeli government.”  

For more information please see:

Haaretz – Israel Vows to Raze all Illegal Outposts Built on Private Palestinian Land – Mar. 1, 2011

Vancouver Sun – Israel Might Seek Interim Palestinian Peace Deal – Mar. 1, 2011

Jerusalem Post – Netanyahu Slams Settlers Over Gilad Farm Clashes – Feb. 28, 2011

JTA – Settlers Accusing Netanyahu Gov’t of Imposing Silent Building Freeze – Feb. 28, 2011

Colombian Judiciary Denies Allegations Of Bribery

By Patrick Vanderpool
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America

Supreme Court President Camilo Tarquino holds press conference to deny bribery allegations (photo courtesy of Colombia Reports)
Supreme Court President Camilo Tarquino holds press conference to deny bribery allegations (photo courtesy of Colombia Reports)

BOGOTA, Colombia – On Tuesday, Colombia’s Supreme Court denied allegations that its judges were bribed by the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), a now demobilized paramilitary organization, to elect Mario Iguaran as prosecutor general in 2005.

According to Supreme Court President Camilo Tarquino, the accusations are “preposterous and unthinkable.” During a press conference, Tarquin stressed that ” the election was carried out transparently,” also noting that “every time the court is working on something a new controversy arises to deflect attention from the real and important processes.”

The Supreme Court’s denial of the allegations comes after former Prosecutor General Mario Iguaran, the now Ambassador to Egypt, denied the allegations in a Monday press conference. Iguaran stated “for me it is no surprise that the embassy had noticed a rumor existed. I already knew the embassy had. I don’t see magistrates received money to elect me.”

According to a recently released WikiLeaks cable, the United States Embassy in 2008 expressed its concern about rumors regarding alleged bribes by paramilitary chief “Macaco” to secure Iguaran’s election. The reported rumors add to the 2010 testimony of an extradited AUC member who claimed that Macaco paid more than $2.5 million to Supreme Court magistrates to secure Iguaran’s election.

Iguaran served as the prosecutor general from 2005-2009 and was an a leading force behind the prosecution of politicians with ties to the AUC. Former presidential candidate Gustavo Petro has demanded a probe be initiated to investigate the allegations.

For more information, please see:

Colombia Reports –Supreme Court Denies Paramilitary Bribery Allegations – 1 March 2011

Inside Costa Rica – Colombia’s Ex-Attorney General Accused of Alleged Links to Paramilitary – 1 March 2011

Colombia Reports – Ex-Prosecutor General Rejects Paramilitary Bribe Claims – 28 February 2011

Forgotten Conflict Death Toll Climbs in Thailand

David L. Chaplin II
Impunity Watch, Asia

YALA, Thailand – Yala has been under emergency rule since 2005.  More than 4,400 people have died from what seems like daily attacks. Fighters in Thailand’s south have waged a violent campaign since 2004.

Southern Thailand insurgency
Southern Thailand insurgency

While the international media focuses on Red and Yellow Shirt clashes and a temple spat, a deadly rebellion still brews in Thailand’s south.

Insurgents have intensified their attacks in the lower South in the hope of attracting the intervention of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, says army commander-in-chief Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Thailand is on the brink of political crisis as the separatist rebellion in the country’s south has largely escaped international attention. Its seventh anniversary passed quietly, with little mention.

Major shooting and bomb attacks, since the start of the year, are being seen as an attempt by separatists to intensify the violence in a bid to highlight Thailand’s southern insurgency.

The army chief said more surveillance cameras must be installed as they could help identify rebels perpetrating violence.

A call for more residents of the South to become the eyes and ears of the state as Gen Prayuth said tighter security measures would be implemented.

The army is concerned for the safety of people who might be harmed by insurgents for cooperating with authorities.

The Thai government extended emergency rule in the country’s south for an additional three months, despite rights groups being concerned about the powers the law gives the military.

The commander-in-chief said the army was handling the insurgency problem through a multi-dimensional approach using the justice system, military strategies and development projects.

Gen Prayuth said the army might have to go on the offensive and try harder to locate militants in hiding in the mountains and around towns.

“We will not fall for the [militants’] tricks,” the army chief said.

“We will do our best by invoking the law and by solving our own internal problem.”

The more progress officials make and the more support they gain from local people, the more militants will intensify their attacks.

Meanwhile, police have linked a key member of the militant Runda Kumpulan Kecil separatist movement to Monday’s motorcycle bomb attack in Yala in which 18 people were injured.

The man was identified as Aumran Ming, an RKK group leader who lives in Narathiwat’s Rangae district, said provincial police Chief Chaitat Inthanujit.

Mr. Aumran is wanted for involvement in many violent attacks against authorities and civilians since 2003.

A sad truth is that, February was just another month in southern Thailand.

Most of the past seven years, the authorities have decided to dismiss the attacks as random acts of violence carried out by either bandits or a handful of disgruntled Islamic militants.

Five years passed before the Thai police admitted they had a separatist movement on their hands, a well-structured organization consisting of five related groups operating across four provinces—Songkhla, Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat—where six million Muslims live.

This is about more than just some obscure provincial groupings, there has also been evidence of links with al-Qaeda and regional terrorist outfits like Jemaah Islamiyah.

‘What’s happening in Pattani isn’t an internal conflict, some (fighters) come from the neighboring country, some come from far away, many thousands of miles,’ he has said, while urging Muslims in Malaysia and Indonesia to join Jemmah Islamiyahs jihad.

For more information, please see:

The Diplomat – Thailand’s Forgotten Conflict – 24 February 2011

Bangkok Post – Prayuth says rebels hope to draw in OIC – 24 February 2011

Al Jazeera – Car bomb hits southern Thailand – 13 February 2011