[Campaign for International Justice] Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories: Accountability Must be Paramount as UN Considers Investigations on Gaza Conflict

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

PUBLIC STATEMENT

AI Index MDE 15/017/2010

26 July 2010

Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories: Accountability must be paramount as UN considers investigations on Gaza conflict

Amnesty International has reiterated its urgent call for accountability for alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed by the parties to the conflict in Gaza and southern Israel as the UN Secretary-General prepares to assess domestic investigations.

Between 27 December 2008 and the 18 January 2009, around 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed during the 22-day conflict in Gaza and southern Israel – three of the Israelis and the majority of the Palestinian fatalities were civilians. In September 2009 a UN-mandated Fact-Finding Mission led by Justice Richard Goldstone published its findings (the Goldstone Report) which concluded that both Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups had committed grave violations of international law, including war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the conflict. The UN General Assembly resolution of 2 November 2009 (A/Res/64/10) endorsed the Report of the Fact Finding Mission and, in line with the Report’s recommendations, called on the Israeli government and the Palestinian side to undertake “independent, credible” investigations in conformity with international standards into the serious violations reported by the Mission. The General Assembly also asked the UN Secretary-General to report back to it with an assessment of the Israeli and Palestinian investigations after three months. After an initial assessment on 4 February 2010, the General Assembly, in a second resolution passed on 26 February 2010, requested that the Secretary General evaluate the investigations again within a further five months.

As this five-month period draws to a close, Amnesty International continues to be concerned about the limited extent of the domestic investigations, which have so far failed to be conducted consistently with international law and standards requiring prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigations. The organization is also concerned that neither of the parties have demonstrated a genuine commitment to ensure that if those investigations produce sufficient admissible evidence, each suspect will be prosecuted in a fair trial without the possibility of the death penalty and that full reparations will be provided to the victims. Amnesty International has repeatedly called for the establishment of an independent committee of experts to assist the Secretary General in his assessment of the domestic investigations. On 25 March 2010 the Human Rights Council established separately a Committee of Experts which will report to the Council in its 15thsession in September 2010.

If the respective parties fail to conduct investigations that meet international law and standards, Amnesty International considers that the international community will need to assume the responsibility to ensure justice, truth and full reparations to the victims. If so, one means to achieve this would be for the UN Security Council to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court for investigation.

A year and a half after the conflict in Gaza and southern Israel ended, the victims have yet to obtain justice, truth or full reparations; the perpetrators on both sides have yet to be held to account.

The international community must not fail in its duty to ensure that these objectives are achieved if the parties to the conflict show that they are unable or unwilling to achieve them.

Amnesty International continues to be concerned that the independence and impartiality of the Israeli investigations is severely compromised by the fact that all these investigations have been carried out by army commanders or by the military police. In addition, these inquiries are overseen by the Military Advocate General (MAG), whose office cannot be considered a disinterested party as it provided legal advice to Israeli forces on their choice of targets and tactics during the 22-day conflict.

The Israeli authorities have periodically released some, but only partial, information about their investigations. This lack of transparency has impeded independent scrutiny of these investigations. According to the Israeli authorities, criminal investigations by the military police were opened into 47 incidents. Around 100 other incidents involving alleged violations of the laws of war by the Israeli forces during its 22-day military offensive in Gaza however, were considered only in operational debriefings – which the Israeli military terms “command investigations”. The army commanders conducting these debriefings do not have the necessary expertise to investigate alleged crimes under international law, and cannot be considered independent. Also, problematically, these debriefings are confidential. If a commander should decide to refer an incident for criminal investigation, self-incriminatory testimony given by soldiers in the debriefing would not be admissible in court. Further, when the debriefings are closed without being referred for criminal investigation – as has been the case in the vast majority of cases thus far – it is not possible for independent experts to review the proceedings or the evidence behind the decision not to open a criminal investigation.

To date, just one case considered by the Israeli inquiries has yielded a criminal charge, trial and conviction. This relates to a case of looting in which an Israeli soldier stole a Palestinian’s credit card. Criminal charges have been filed in two additional cases which have yet to be concluded – one concerns the alleged use of a nine-year-old boy as a “human shield” by two Israeli soldiers and the other the killing of two women for which one Israeli soldier has been charged with manslaughter. According to the latest official update on investigations (published on 19 July by the Israeli government) the military police are still investigating allegations against Israeli forces relating to the al-Sammouni family, concerning not only a large number of civilian fatalities and injuries but also the denial of medical and humanitarian access to wounded family members.

The latest official update also states that the Military Advocate General decided in three additional incidents to employ disciplinary measures rather than take legal action against members of the Israeli military. These incidents include another case of a Palestinian civilian being used as a “human shield”; a missile strike on the Ibrahim al-Maqadma Mosque which resulted in a large number of civilian casualties; and the Israeli forces’ shelling on 15 January 2009 of the main compound of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza City in which hundreds of civilians were sheltering.

Some of the incidents the Israeli military has decided do not warrant criminal investigation are cases which appear to have been serious violations of international humanitarian law and which Amnesty International maintains require effective, independent investigation. These include Israeli attacks on UN facilities, civilian property and infrastructure, attacks on medical facilities and personnel, and incidents in which large numbers of civilians were killed and injured as a result of reckless conduct, disregard for civilian lives and consistent failure on the part of Israeli forces to distinguish between military targets and civilians and civilian objects.

Despite enduring concerns expressed by Amnesty International over Israel’s extensive use of white phosphorus in Gaza, the Israeli government’s January 2010 update contends that there are “no grounds to take disciplinary or other measures for the IDF’s [Israeli Defence Force] use of weapons containing phosphorous”. This is despite the fact that throughout Israel’s 22-day military operation in Gaza Israeli forces repeatedly fired artillery shells containing white phosphorus into densely populated residential areas, causing death and injuries to civilians. The July update reports that after the shelling of the UNRWA compound “the IDF immediately imposed revised restrictions on the use of smoke-screening munitions containing white phosphorous near sensitive sites (including the requirement of a several hundred meters buffer zone). These restrictions were in place through the remainder of the Gaza Operation.” But Amnesty International notes with concern that these restrictions failed to prevent white phosphorus shells causing further deaths and injuries to civilians in Gaza (including in an UNRWA school in Beit Lahiya, struck by white phosphorus shells on 17 January 2009).

In a potentially positive development, the July update states that Israel’s Chief of General Staff has “ordered the establishment of a clear doctrine and orders on the issue of various munitions which contain white phosphorous” and that “the IDF is in the process of establishing permanent restrictions on the use of munitions containing white phosphorus in urban areas.” The nature and extent of these restrictions are not clearly explained. Given the inadequacy of the restrictions the Israeli authorities say they implemented in the last few days of their military operation in Gaza in 2008/9, Amnesty International considers that they must immediately prohibit absolutely the use of such weapons in densely populated residential areas.

Other Israeli attacks which resulted in civilian injuries and deaths have been dismissed as “operational errors” and the soldiers involved have not been criminally charged or disciplined.

As regards the Palestinian side, the information available to Amnesty International indicates that the Hamas de facto administration has failed to mount any credible investigations into the alleged war crimes and other serious violations of international law committed by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups. Documents submitted to a UN official in Gaza on 2 February 2010 by the Ministry of Justice indicated that Hamas had: 1) established a 12-person governmental committee (headed by the Hamas de facto Minister of Justice) to monitor the implementation of the recommendations of the Goldstone Report; 2) established a three-person independent international committee of experts in international law to guarantee the transparency and impartiality of the steps taken by the government; 3) commissioned the public prosecutor in Gaza to investigate all alleged violations of international law reported to him. However, these documents focus on alleged violations by the Israeli military and fail to address adequately the firing of indiscriminate rockets by Palestinian armed groups into southern Israel which killed three civilians and injured others during the conflict.

The Goldstone Report found that “these attacks constitute indiscriminate attacks upon the civilian population of southern Israel and that, where there is no intended military target and the rockets and mortars are launched into a civilian population, they constitute a deliberate attack against a civilian population. These acts would constitute war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity” (A/HRC/12/48, paragraph 108).

In respect to the firing of indiscriminate rockets and mortars, the response from Hamas stated: “All Palestinian armed groups have published declarations that they did not target civilians but rather that they targeted military targets but tried to avoid civilian targets”. This contradicts statements made by armed groups, including Hamas’ military wing, before and during the conflict in which they claimed responsibility for rocket attacks, which they stated were directed at civilian towns and which killed or injured civilians and damaged civilian homes.

Armed groups have an obligation to respect applicable international humanitarian law. The firing of indiscriminate rockets by Palestinian armed groups into Israel between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009 killed three Israeli civilians and caused further civilian injuries and damage to civilian property. Whether these attacks were intended to hit military or civilian objects, the use of unguided projectiles which could not be directed at specific targets, placed the civilian population at risk and violated international humanitarian law.

Since February 2010, Amnesty International has received no further information that would indicate that Hamas is undertaking credible investigations into alleged violations by Palestinian actors during the conflict, or that there are any attempts by Hamas to charge and prosecute those responsible.

As the Palestinian Authority (PA) was not a party to the conflict in Gaza and southern Israel, Amnesty International has not called on them to conduct investigations. The PA did establish a Committee of Investigation in January 2010 however and made preliminary submissions to the UN Secretary General on 29 January 2010. On 12 July 2010, the Committee’s report was submitted to the UN.

Chad Must Arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir During Visit

21 July 2010

Amnesty International has called on the Chadian authorities to arrest wanted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and surrender him to the International Criminal Court, after it was reported that he arrived in Chad on Wednesday to attend a meeting of regional leaders.

“Chad should not shield President al-Bashir from international justice”, said Christopher Hall, Amnesty International’s senior legal advisor. “His visit to Chad is an opportunity to enforce the arrest warrant and send a message that justice will prevail.”

An arrest warrant for President Omar al Bashir was issued by the ICC on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

If it were not to arrest him, Chad would violate its obligations under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which it ratified in November 2006.

President al-Bashir has arrived in Chad to take part in a meeting of leaders and heads of state of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD), which will start in Chad on Thursday 22 July 2010.

Amnesty International has called on all members of the international community to ensure full accountability for crimes under international law committed in Sudan.

For more information, please see:

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/chad-must-arrest-sudanese-president-omar-al-bashir-during-visit-2010-07-21

Cambodia Urged to Follow Khmer Rouge Conviction with More Prosecutions

26 July 2010

Amnesty International has urged a special court to redouble its efforts to prosecute Khmer Rouge-era criminals, following the landmark conviction on Monday of a notorious prison camp commander of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

“Achieving a conviction in Case 001, the first case to be heard by Cambodia’s Extraordinary Chambers, is a historic moment but still only the first step towards justice for the almost two million who died as a result of the massive crimes committed under Khmer Rouge rule,” said Donna Guest, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Asia-Pacific programme.

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, a special joint international-Cambodian court, on Monday convicted Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, of crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions for his role in mass executions, torture and other crimes. He will serve 19 years out of a 35-year sentence.

Of the 14,000 people believed to have been imprisoned at the S-21 Security Office (also known as Tuol Sleng) headed by Duch in Phnom Penh from 1975-1979, only some 12 survived. The rest were tortured to death or executed.

Amnesty International expressed concern that beyond this case, only a few suspects have been identified for possible prosecution by the Extraordinary Chambers.

“This falls short of fulfilling the Extraordinary Chambers’ mandate to prosecute those most responsible for grave crimes committed under Khmer Rouge rule,” said Donna Guest.

“Identifying only five or ten people as allegedly responsible for the massive atrocities does not do enough to satisfy the justice that Cambodians deserve and are entitled to under international law.”

A decision on whether to indict five people charged in the second case, Case 002, will be made later this year. Duch is also named in Case 002 and the others accused are former leading Khmer Rouge politicians: head of state Khieu Samphan; Foreign Minister Ieng Sary; Minister of Social Affairs Ieng Thirith and Nuon Chea, a senior Communist Party of Kampuchea officer known as “Brother No 2”.

Cases 003 and 004 were filed by the Office of the Co-Prosecutors in September 2009 despite strong opposition by the Cambodian Co-Prosecutor, naming five suspects on 40 incidents of murder, torture, unlawful detention, forced labour and persecution. On filing these cases, the acting International Co-Prosecutor stated that no more cases would be pursued by the Office.

“Progress on the third and fourth cases could be undermined by political interference from Cambodian officials who openly oppose more prosecutions, and by disagreements between the Cambodian and International Co-Investigating Judges,” said Donna Guest.

Amnesty International called for the Co-Investigating Judges to complete their work on the existing cases and for the Co-Prosecutors to review their overall strategy in order to fully implement their legal mandate.

Amnesty International also urged the Cambodian government and the United Nations (UN) to ensure that all the efforts already put into the Extraordinary Chambers will provide a lasting legacy to strengthen the national justice system and the rule of law.

The Extraordinary Chambers’ mandate, as set out in the Agreement between the UN and the government of Cambodia, and in the Law establishing the Chambers, is to “bring to trial senior leaders of Democratic Kampuchea and those most responsible for the crimes and serious violations of Cambodian laws related to crimes, international humanitarian law and custom and international conventions recognized by Cambodia,” committed during the Khmer Rouge period.

Twenty-two civil parties, including former detainees and relatives of victims of the atrocities committed at the notorious S-21 Security Office, gave testimony at Duch’s trial. The Extraordinary Chambers reports that more than 31,000 people visited the court to observe the trial hearings.

Duch was sentenced to 35 years’ imprisonment, reduced by five years because the Extraordinary Chambers found that he had been illegally detained by the Cambodian Military Court, and a further 11 years’ reduction for time already served.

Cambodia still has a weak national justice system that fails to provide justice for large sections of the population.

The lack of effective rule of law perpetuates serious human rights abuses, such as violence against women, including sexual violence, and forced evictions of thousands of people living in poverty across Cambodia.

For more information, please see:

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/cambodia-urged-follow-khmer-rouge-conviction-more-prosecutions-2010-07-26

ICRC July News and Notes

Courtesy of the International Committee of the Red Cross

This month the ICRC announced three awardees of the prestigious Florence Nightingale Medal, given in honor of their exceptional courage and devotion in caring for the victims of the January 12 earthquake in HaitiClick to learn more and meet these individuals.

Also, the Regional Delegation for the United States and Canada welcomes the ICRC’s new executive management team, led by Director-General Yves Daccord. Read on to learn more about the people who will guide the ICRC for at least the next four years. We also share some insight into Mr. Daccord’s thinking about the future in a short interview.

Next, in response to a reader’s inquiry, they look at the question of diversity at the ICRC. Did you know that while the ICRC was once an organization staffed exclusively by Swiss nationals, today their staff members represent more than 128 nationalities?

And lastly, they share the latest ICRC video that encourages you to “become part of the action.” Watch it and find out more. It is available on the website as well as on YouTube.

For more information, please see:

International Committee of the Red Cross, Regional Delegation for the United States and Canada

Peace Negotiations Watch, 09 July 2010



Friday, July 9, 2010
Volume IX, Number 24

In this issue:

CONFLICT UPDATES

Afghanistan
Democratic Republic of Congo
Kenya
Kyrgyzstan
Morocco
Nepal
Somaliland
Sudan: Darfur
Sudan: Southern Sudan
Tanzania
Thailand
Uganda

Zimbabwe

Afghanistan

Pak Ready to Support Any Afghan-led Peace Initiative: Qureshi

TheIndian, June 30, 2010

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi stated that peace initiatives by the Afghan government will receive the Pakistani government’s support.  Qureshi also stated that Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai presented an internationally- and Pakistani supported reconciliation and restorative peace plan in London earlier in 2010.

Taliban Rule out Negotiations with NATO

BBC, July 1, 2010

After June being the deadliest month on record for North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces, the Afghan Taliban stated that they will not participate in talks with NATO or other foreign forces.  In the statement given by Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahedd, they also claim success in the conflict, which they say is indicated by General McCrystal’s replacement in the United States (US) forces by General Petraeus.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Secretary-General Inaugurates New Phase of UN Mission in DR Congo

UN, July 1, 2010

On July 1 the United Nations (UN) drew down 2,000 UN peacekeeping troops from 19,815, a move authorized by a UN Security Council resolution.  The mission, now named the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), will remain in the Democratic Republic of Congo until June 30, 2011.

Kenya

Kenya Referendum Case Aborts

Capital News, June 28, 2010

Justice Violet Mavisi of the Interim Independent Constitutional Dispute Resolution Court has given government lawyers ten days to respond to a lawsuit on the constitutional review process brought by Kenyans for Justice and Development.  The group has asked the court to decide on seventy-five issues arising from the review process, including alleged bias in the civic education program and the Interim Independent Electoral Commission’s (IIEC) decision to not provide a multiple question referendum on the proposed constitution.

Fresh Rules to Prevent Chaos at Referendum

Daily Nation, July 3, 2010

The IIEC announced new regulations to prevent violence during the referendum for the new constitution.  One of the regulations will allow only a few designated personnel to enter the tallying centers. Another regulation allows the Commission to direct activities at the voting centers and kick out anyone who impedes the voting process within the vicinity of the centers.

Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan Swears in Caretaker President

Associated Press, July 3, 2010

The new “caretaker president” of Kyrgyzstan, Roza Otunbayeva, was sworn in July 3 for a term of one and a half years, lasting through 2011.  Implementation of the new constitution, which creates a more European-style parliamentary system, will be a primary responsibility of Otunbayeva’s.  In addition, Otunbayeva will be responsible for resolving the remaining ethnic tensions after June’s clashes and riots between Kyrgyzstan’s Kyrgyz majority and Uzbek minority. Otunbayeva served as Kyrgyz ambassador to the US and Britain, and was a leader of the 2005 Tulip Revolution.

Morocco

UN Envoy Holds Consultations on Western Sahara

UN, July 2, 2010

The UN Envoy for Western Sahara Christopher Ross has met with France, Spain, and Britain’s governments and plans to meet with US and Russian governments, as member nations of the Group of Friends.  These consultations consist of discussions on ways to further negotiations in order to achieve an accepted settlement.  So far the Group of Friends’ nations concur that all are willing to work with the Envoy and that the conflict requires additional work and focus, for example on confidence-building measures.

Nepal

Nepal PM Quits Amid Pressure from Maoists

Times of India, June 30, 2010

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned in the midst of increasing pressure from many parties, including his own.  Mr. Nepal said he hoped his resignation would lead to political resolution and consensus in order to finalize the peace process and draft a new constitution. In his televised address, Mr. Nepal blamed the failure of his government to declare a new constitution on the former guerillas and the Maoists’ five-month siege on the Constituent Assembly (CA).  Mr. Nepal noted that his government still held majority support in the CA, recalling successful achievements and initiatives under his tenure.

President Gives Parties a Week’s Deadline

Kathmandu Post, July 1, 2010

President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav told the parties in Parliament that they must elect a new prime minister and council of ministers by consensus by July 7.  If the parties miss the deadline, Dr. Yadhav will write to the CA asking it to elect a majority government.  According to the Interim Constitution, if the parties cannot agree on a candidate, a new prime minister will be elected on the basis of parliamentary majority.

Fight for Next Nepal PM Begins

Telegraph Nepal, July 1, 2010

Ram Chandra Poudel, Vice President of the Nepali Congress (NC), hopes for a government under the leadership of his party.  Poudel supports his candidacy with the fact that both the Unified Maoists and the Marxist Leninists have already led governments after the election of the CA.  On the other hand, Dr. Babu Ram Bhattarai, Vice President of the Maoists’ Party, said it was only natural for there to be a Maoist prime minister because the President is from the NC and the Chairman of the CA is from the Unified Marxist Leninist (UML). Meanwhile the UML insists on its chairman, Jhal Nath Khanal, as prime minister.

Somaliland

International Observers Judge the Elections to have been Fair

Washington Post, June 28, 2010

Michael Walls, the spokesman for a group of international observers, told the press that despite some irregularities including inconsistent coverage of the candidates and questionable use of public resources, the campaign and polls were peaceful and democratic.

New Somaliland President Sets Sights on Corruption

IRIN, July 2, 2010

Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud “Siilanyo”, leader of the opposition Kulmiye “Peace, Unity and Development Party”, has been elected president of Somaliland with 49.59 percent of over 530,000 votes cast, and will be inaugurated next month.  Once a minister under former Somalian President Siyad Barre, he later became leader of the armed Somali National Movement before serving in the government of Somaliland and then forming the Kulmiye party.  Among his stated priorities are limiting the number of ministerial posts in the government of Somaliland, abolishing unconstitutional emergency laws, and releasing prisoners unlawfully imprisoned under those laws.

New President of Somaliland Fights for Recognition

The New York Times, July 3, 2010

Newly-elected President Ahmed Mohamud Silaanyo vowed to vigorously campaign for international recognition of Somaliland’s high developing democracy.  He was elected for a five year term, stating that his government will focus on “development and rehabilitation of public services.”  He has asked Somalia to resolve many of its problems, and reached out to Ethiopia as a partner.  His election marks the second democratic transfer of power since 1991, when Somaliland split from Somalia.

Sudan: Darfur

Sudanese President Vows to End Darfur Conflict through Peaceful Negotiations, or Force the Rebels to Stop Fighting

Xinhua, June 30, 2010

In a nationally-broadcast address from Port Sudan, President Omar al-Bashir vowed that he would end the Darfur conflict this year, either through peaceful negotiations or through force.  “There will be no third option.  He who wants peace is welcomed and he who rejects reconciliation, we will teach him a lesson and bring him by force,” al-Bashir said.  He reiterated that Doha would remain the only site for negotiations with Darfur’s armed groups.

Libyan Envoy to Darfur Talks Leaves Doha after Stirring up Troubles

Sudan Tribune, July 1, 2010

The Libyan government ordered Mohamed Garsallah, the Libyan envoy to the Darfur peace talks in Doha, to return home after causing trouble with rebel groups that he had helped to unite.  Qatari officials and Darfur rebels claimed that Garsallah was trying to influence the Liberation and Justice Movement decisions and encouraging some rebels to leave the venue of the peace talks.

Doha Talks Parties Discuss Disputed Issue Over Lands

Sudanese Media Center, July 4, 2010

Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), specialized experts, co-mediation representatives, and Justice and Liberation Movement (JLM) have begun to participate in Doha talks that opened debates over land and natural resources.  JLM wealth sharing dossier, Hashim Hamad, has stated that participants have already agreed to form a mechanism to follow up on wealth-sharing implementation.

Sudan: Southern Sudan

Sudan Parliament Appoints Commission to Prepare for Referendum

VOA, June 29, 2010

The Sudanese Parliament in Khartoum has unanimously approved a nine-member commission to oversee preparations for the upcoming referendum.  The Referendum Commission will be led by Mohammed Ibrahim Khalil, the current Sudanese Foreign Minister and former Speaker of Parliament.  The Commission will now work until January to register voters ahead of the referendum.

UN Ready to Assist With Referendum

ReliefWeb, June 30, 2010

The United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) is working closely with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLM) and the National Congress Party (NCP) on the types of assistance UNMIS will offer for the referendum.  UNMIS is preparing to establish county-level offices and train 16,000 Southern Sudan Police Service  officers.  Additionally, UNMIS continues to work on demining and the UN Mine Action Office has designated 9.5 million square meters for the resettlement of 5,000 displaced persons, according to David Gressly, the UN Regional Coordinator for Southern Sudan.

SPLM & NCP Hold Preliminary Meeting on Post-Referendum Issues

Sudan Tribune, July 4, 2010

Top SPLM officials and the NCP held preliminary meetings ahead of negotiations that are to start this week.  The first round meetings focused largely on procedural issues and the ground rules for the full scale negotiations.  While the parties agreed at the meeting to have talks conducted without “foreign interferences”, upcoming negotiations are to be sponsored by the African Union (AU) and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

Tanzania

Government Delays Review Mechanism

The Citizen, July 4, 2010

Implementation of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), a self-auditing process geared towards good governance and democracy, has been delayed due to lack of funding.  The Government has rejected outside funding due to fears of pressure from external sources.  Although over $600,000 has been set aside, Said Amour Arfi, a Mpanda Central Member of Parliament (MP), argues that this funding is insufficient.

Police on Top of Abuse List

The Citizen, July 5, 2010

The Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG) reported that the police force is the largest government perpetrator in human rights violations.  Of the 25,753 complaints filed with CHRAGG, 80% of the complaints concerned the police force.  As a result, the Ethics Secretariat is implementing an ethics, accountability, and transparency project geared towards improving good governance.

Thailand

Resentment Bubbles in Thai Countryside

Financial Times, June 28, 2010

Although the violent protests have ended in Thailand, feelings of deep disappointment and resentment are still present in the rural population.  The five-point reconciliation plan presented by the government fails to sway many Thais, and has been criticized for the marked lack of opposition input.  Meanwhile, the state of emergency remains in force in most of Thailand, and numerous protesters are still incarcerated and some are charged with terrorism, creating uncertainty about who will take over the leadership of the protest movement.

Thailand’s Charter Rewrite Framework Expected in October

Xinhua, June 30, 2010

Thailand’s constitutional review committee expects to finish a framework for constitutional amendments this October.  The three sub-committees will meet every week, and will consider the Parliamentary Panel on National Reconciliation’s recommendations on six points to amend the constitution.  Topics for amendment include the dissolution of a political party for electoral fraud, the political structure and justice process, the promotion of public involvement and understanding, and the process of becoming an MP and Senator.

Security for Thai PM Stepped Up Amid Assassination Warning

Xinhua, July 1, 2010

Prime Minster Abhisit Vejjajiva and other key government officials have been warned that they are targets of assassination plans.  The acting National Police Chief informed Abhisit and others that there are reports of a plan to assassinate them, and ordered security forces to implement extra measures for their protection.  The other targets include Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban and the judges who will rule on a dissolution case against the Democrat Party.

Uganda

Field Dispatch: Disturbing Developments in the Hunt for Kony

Enough Project, June 29, 2010

Although reports are not yet confirmed, various news sources have noted that the Ugandan army may have lost more troops in its pursuit of Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lords’ Resistance Army (LRA), in the Central African Republic (CAR) than has been previously acknowledged by the Government of Uganda.  The exact number of Ugandan troops killed, and whether outside groups were involved, remains uncertain.  However, the Enough Project suggests that these deaths indicate that the capacity of the Ugandan forces to apprehend Kony is insufficient, and must be supplemented by further international assistance.

Uganda on Heightened Alert After Deadly Rebel Attack in Congo

Voice of America, June 30, 2010

Following the Allied Democratic Force’s (ADF) recent attack in eastern Congo, about 50 km from Uganda’s border, the Ugandan military has deployed its reserves and it is monitoring the ADF’s activities.  The ADF has not attacked within Uganda since 2007 and may now be trying to gather more resources to reengage in Uganda.  The ADF is a rebel group that began operations in 1996 and claims to be fighting on behalf of Muslims who have been marginalized by the Ugandan government.  Some military leaders have suggested that the ADF launched its attack to generate fear before Uganda’s February presidential election.

Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration of Ex-Combatants in Conflict Affected Northern Uganda

Peace and Conflict Monitor, July 1, 2010

In a recent paper, the University for Peace and Conflict (UPC) has highlighted the central importance of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) of ex-combatants in Northern Uganda for ensuring stability in the region.  The paper reports that the Ugandan government has made great strides by implementing the Amnesty Act in 2000, among other reintegration measures, allowing over 19,000 Ugandans to receive reintegration aid.  However, the UPC also acknowledges the challenged facing Northern Uganda such as sexual and gender-based violence as well as the difficulties of coordinating and monitoring the implementation of the Amnesty Act.

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Ministers Accused of Obstructing Justice

Reuters, July 2, 2010

Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Didymus Mutasa and Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone have been accused by Zimbabwe police of obstructing justice after their visits to two police stations in an attempt to secure the release of three men who allegedly pressured a white businessman to surrender part of his company to them.  Makone serves as head of the national police.  It is not yet determined whether the two ministers will officially be charged.

KP Punishing Ordinary People: Biti

New Zimbabwe, July 2, 2010

Zimbabwe’s finance minister has said that by refusing to lift a ban on diamond from the Marange fields, the Kimberly Process (KP) is punishing ordinary Zimbabweans.  This comes after the KP meeting in Israel failed to reach a consensus on lifting the ban, even though KP’s monitor said that minimum requirements for trade have been met.

EU Demands More Reforms

New Zimbabwe, July 3, 2010

After a meeting between the European Union (EU) High Commissioner for Development and a Zimbabwean ministerial delegation, the European Union has said that it will resume aid to Zimbabwe, but only if the country makes concrete progress in political reforms.

War Crimes Prosecution Watch, Vol. 5, Issue 6 – June 21, 2010

War Crimes Prosecution Watch is prepared by the International Justice Practice of the Public International Law & Policy Group and the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center of Case Western Reserve University School of Law.


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

European Court of Human Rights

Court of Bosnia & Herzegovina, War Crimes Chamber

International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Serbia

TOPICS

Terrorism

Piracy

Universal Jurisdiction

PEACE NEGOTIATIONS WATCH

Courtesy of Public International Law & Policy Group

Friday, June 18, 2010

Volume IX, Number 21

In this issue:

CONFLICT UPDATES

Afghanistan
Burma
Cyprus
Darfur
Democratic Republic of Congo
Georgia
Kashmir
Kenya
Moldova
Nagorno Karabakh
Nepal
Philippines
Somaliland
Southern Cameroons
Southern Sudan
Tanzania
Uganda
Zimbabwe

Afghanistan

Pak in Favour of Reconciliation Despite Afghan Taliban’s Rejection of Peace Offer: FO

HindustanTimes/Thaindian, June 11, 2010

Pakistan continues its support of Afghanistan’s peace efforts through reconciliation with the Taliban and encourages the international community to consider the results of June’s peace jirga when it meets in Kabul during a July 20 international conference on Afghanistan.  The Afghan Taliban has declined to accept the peace jirga’s request to halt violence and join the peace process, instead demanding that international forces first withdraw from Afghanistan.

UN Reviewing Taliban, al-Qaida Sanctions List

AP, June 13, 2010

In response to Afghanistan’s national peace jirga that called for the removal of insurgent leaders from blacklists, the United Nations (UN) is reviewing the blacklist of Taliban and al-Qaida leaders that limits their travel and financial freedom.  The UN committee will report its recommendations and findings to the UN Security Council for its final decision.  A UN representative spoke about the blacklist review as a way to keep post-jirga momentum towards a political solution to the Afghanistan conflict.

Burma

Top UN Official Travels to Asia for Talks on Burma

United Nations News Center, June 9, 2010

Mr. Vijay Nambiar, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on Burma, traveled to Singapore on June 9, 2010 to discuss the situation in Burma.  Mr. Nambiar will head to Beijing on June 11, 2010 to continue talks about Burma with Chinese authorities.  Earlier in the year, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanded that Burma’s government hold free and fair elections.  Subsequently, the Secretary General voiced concern that the new Burmese electoral laws do not meet UN expectations of what is required for an inclusive political process.

Junta Extends BGF Deadline for DKBA

The Irrawaddy, June 9, 2010

The military junta extended the deadline for the incorporation of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) into the border guard force (BGF) until August 10, 2010.  The junta also threatened to use force if the DKBA refused to comply with the terms of the 1995 cease-fire agreements.  While some of the DKBA leaders are in favor of joining the BGF to protect their own interests, one of the DBKA hardliners, Col Lah Pwe, instructed his troops to fight back if attacked by junta forces that attacked his troops.

Suu Kyi Says Burmese Have Right Not to Vote

The Irrawaddy, June 11, 2010

During a meeting with her lawyer, Aung San Suu Kyi asserted that the Burmese people have the right to choose not to vote.  The comments may suggest a possible boycott of the upcoming election by her former party, the now-disbanded National League for Democracy (NLD).  Suu Kyi also commented on United States Senator Jim Webb’s comment calling for support of the Burmese election, saying that she believed it expressed his point-of-view, rather than of his official position as East Asian and Pacific Affairs Chairman.  Suu Kyi refused to comment on the allegations about a Burmese nuclear program, claiming there was not enough information available.

Cyprus

EP Members in Cyprus to Hold Talks with Turkish, Greek Officials

World Bulletin, June 9, 2010

Members of the European Parliament’s (EP) High-Level Contact Group for Relations with the Turkish Cypriot Community came to Cyprus on June 9 for three days of talks with both Greek and Turkish Cypriot political parties, including President Dervis Eroglu of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).  Libor Roucek, the trip coordinator, said that the EP wanted to support the reunification of Cyprus, but that it was the Cypriots who would resolve the division.

Cyprus: UN Official Stresses Need to Maintain Momentum in Reunification Talks

UN News Centre, June 10, 2010

The UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on Cyprus Alexander Downer called for an increase in the pace of the peace talks between the two sides.  Downer stated that in order to reach a settlement by the end of 2010, the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders need to work through difficult issues rather than procrastinate.  After a postponement in early June over a dispute around the basis for the talks, the two leaders are scheduled to meet again on June 15.

Cyprus: UN Secretary-General Proposes Moves to Foster Progress in Talks

The Sofia Echo, June 10, 2010

In his most recent report to the UN Security Council on the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recommended that the UNFICYP’s mandate be renewed until December 15, 2010.  The report cited the reliance by the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities on the assistance of UNFICYP on issues that affected the daily lives of people.  The Secretary-General’s report also advised that economic, social, cultural, and other links between the two sides would help create trust as the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders continue their talks on reunification.

Turkey Will Not Give up Cyprus during EU Membership Process, Minister Says

Today’s Zaman, June 11, 2010

Speaking at Girne American University in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Turkish State Minister and Chief Negotiator for European Union (EU) talks Egemen Bagis said Turkey would not let Cyprus go as part of the process of becoming a member of the EU and that it does not consider the TRNC to be separate from Turkey.  Mr. Bagis called on Greek Cypriots to work on the finishing the peace process and gaining membership for Turkey in the EU.

Darfur

Sudanese Government Holds Peace Talks with Darfur’s Rebel Group

Xinhua, June 7, 2010

Doha peace talks with the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) focused on power-sharing this week.  LJM’s Bahar Idriss Abu Garda demanded a power-sharing deal based on population density.  The talks do not currently include the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), which continues to shun offers to join the peace process.

Uganda Invites Bashir to AU Summit

Voice of America, June 8, 2010

Uganda has changed its stance and invited Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to next month’s African Union (AU) summit.  As a signatory to the Rome Statute, Uganda is theoretically required to arrest Mr. Bashir if he attends the meeting.  President Bashir has disregarded the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) authority, and said he would request the summit be moved if he was not invited.  He has yet to travel to any countries that are signatories to the ICC.

ICC Urges U.N. Council to Push for Sudan Arrests

MSNBC, June 11, 2010

In his semi-annual address to the UN Security Council, ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo asked the Council to take action in arresting South Kordofan Governor Ahmed Haroun and Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kushayb.  International arrest warrants for the two men were issued in 2007 for helping to organize mass kills and deportations in Darfur.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Secretary-General Appoints Roger A. Meece Special Representative for Democratic Republic of Congo

UN, June 10, 2010

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Roger A. Meece (United States) to succeed Alan Doss (United Kingdom) as the Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Head of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).  The Secretary General thanked Doss for his leadership of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which will now be renamed MONUSCO.

Notorious Rebel Group Becoming More Deadly in DR Congo Attacks – UN

UN News Centre, June 11, 2010

The UN reported that that the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which previously operated in northern Uganda for over twenty years, has now stepped up its attacks inside the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  Over one hundred children were kidnapped by the LRA during a four-month period, and civilian murders have increased to over one hundred per month since December 2009.  The presence of the LRA in Orientale Province is preventing aid workers from reaching communities in that area, and many civilians are fleeing their homes in fear.

DRC in Humanitarian Crisis – UN

AFP, June 11, 2010

The UN stated that the humanitarian aid agencies in the DRC suffer from violence and a lack of funding.  The growing violence by the LRA and other armed groups, as well as a 70% shortfall of the $827 million in aid requested by the UN, contribute to a worsening humanitarian crisis.  A state of insecurity prevails in most of the north and east of the DRC.

Georgia

Georgian Officials Welcome Lithuania’s Resolution on “Occupied Territories”

The Messenger, June 3, 2010

The Seimas, Lithuania’s legislature, passed a resolution with the support of fifty-five members classifying Abkhazia and South Ossetia as “occupied territories.”  It called on the Government of Georgia to introduce self-government or autonomous region models amenable to both the local populations and the Government of Georgia in order to establish peace.

Geneva Talks on Caucasus End in Deadlock

RT, June 10, 2010

Negotiations on an agreement for the non-use of force deadlocked again, as representatives of Georgia, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and Russia met with help from the EU, UN, and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).  The delegations from South Ossetia and Abkhazia left the room after discussions in the security and humanitarian working groups failed to move forward during the mediation’s eleventh meeting.

Kashmir

JKPM Urges India to Honour Commitment on Kashmir

The Pakistan Newswire, June 9, 2010

The Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement (JKPM) called for India to give the populations of Jammu and Kashmir the right to vote and decide on their future political situation.  The All Parties Hurriyet Conference of which JKPM is a constituent, rejected Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s offer to dialogue and stated that the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute should come through a tripartite dialogue process between India, Pakistan, and Kashmiri representatives, not through economic packages and financial aid.

India not to Discuss Substantive Issues with Pak, for Now

Express India, June 12, 2010

A new round of dialogue is proposed between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in mid-July.  The government of India has stated it will not discuss substantive issues, such as Kashmir and its potential demilitarization and autonomy during the new round of talks with Pakistan, but instead will focus on creating the “right atmosphere” for building trust between the two countries.  The prime ministers said that the informal dialogues could provide useful back channels in future negotiations.

Kenya

12.6m Kenyans Register for Referendum

Capital News, June 8, 2010

The Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) said 12.6 million voters registered for the constitutional referendum, a drop of 1.6 million voters from the 2007 election.  The IIEC Chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan said this figure was lower than earlier estimates because of problems with double registration, and he assured that a Voter Register Inspection would begin on June 11, 2010.

Poll Chaos: Kenyan Minister Loses Suit

Kenya Broadcasting Company, June 11, 2010

Kenya’s Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta lost a motion to have his name removed from a report by the Kenya National Commission for Human Rights (KNCHR), which links him to the post-election violence that erupted in 2007.  Kenyan High Court judges Roselyn Wendoh and Abida Ali Aroni, however, criticized the KNCHR, arguing that Kenyatta was not given the chance to defend himself before his name was published in the document.  The report, “On the Brink of Precipice,” was released last year by KNCHR.

Commission to Probe ‘No’ Proponents Over Incitement

The Standard, June 12, 2010

Chairman of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission Mzalendo Kibunja announced investigations into the scare tactics of the ‘No’ campaign, which included threats of bloodshed, evictions, and religious wars if the proposed Constitution is passed.  Other remarks included claims that the new laws would allow for redistribution of land according to ethnic backgrounds.

Blasts at Kenya Rally Kill Five, Injure 82

Capital News, June 13, 2010

Two bombs exploded on Sunday during a rally held by opponents to the proposed Constitution, killing five people and sending 82 more to the hospital.  In the immediate aftermath, police stated that petrol bombs had been thrown into the crowd.  Prime Minister Raila Odinga and other officials visited the hospital where the wounded had been taken and said an investigation into the incident had begun.

Moldova

Moldova Welcomes Russian-German Initiative on Transdniester

Turkishweekly, June 7, 2010

The June 5 talks between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev resulted in a proposal of a new EU-Russia security forum focusing on regional conflicts and crises.  The first item on the agenda is the two-decade long conflict over the Moldovan region of Transdniester, which Moldova’s Prime Minister Vlad Filat welcomed. Filat said Moldova is willing to work with international partners to end the conflict.

Nagorno-Karabakh

Ilham Aliyev: If Armenia Continues to Pursue its Policy of Occupation, Azerbaijan Will Seriously Change its Position

Today.AZ, June 10, 2010

The Azerbaijani President said that his government has complied with the Madrid principles. He claims that Armenia is stalling, and forcing Azerbaijan and mediators to wait.  The President also stated that Azerbaijan would be forced to reconsider its position if Armenia continues to complicate the peace process and pursue a policy of occupation.

Experts: Azerbaijani Military Doctrine Does Not Contradict Constitution, Charter of the U.N.

Today.AZ, June 12, 2010

The Azerbaijani Parliament adopted a doctrine giving the government the right to use “all possible means, including military force,” to free occupied territories from occupation and restore territorial integrity.  Armenian officials assert that the doctrine is contrary to Azerbaijan’s constitution, which states that war is not a suitable means to resolve international conflicts, referring to Nagorno-Karabakh.  Some experts say that there is no constitutional inconsistency because no country recognizes Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent state.

Nepal

OHCHR Gets its Wings Clipped

Kathmandu Post, June 10, 2010

An agreement, signed by Nepal and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, extended the mandate of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) by a year, but severely limited its powers.  The agreement mandates that OHCHR close its regional offices, give prior notice to the government before conducting site visits, and work in cooperation with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).  The Nepalese government says the agreement reflects changed circumstances in Nepal, and that the NHRC was capable of handling the human rights situation.

Maoists Ready for Dahal’s Alternative, Rayamajhi

NepalNews, June 12, 2010

Speaking at the Reporters’ Club in Kathmandu on June 12, a senior Maoist standing committee member Bahadur Rayamajhi said that the new national unity government must be under his party’s leadership, even if it means agreeing to an alternative to party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal as Prime Minister.  Rayamajhi said his party will propose a government under the leadership of Vice-Chairman Dr. Baburam Bhattarai if other parties disagree with Dahal.

Form Consensus Government in 7 days: PM to Coalition

Republica, June 13, 2010

On June 11, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal issued a seven-day ultimatum to the ruling coalition, demanding that it form a consensus government.  If the parties fail to reach a deal before the deadline, Nepal says he will step down as Prime Minister to avoid being an obstacle to national consensus.  Critics within the coalition, however, say that by stepping down Prime Minister Nepal would be abandoning the coalition when he is needed most.

Philippines

EU Optimistic on RP Peace Deal

Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp., June 8, 2010

During Former President Arroyo’s administration, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Philippine Government were unable to reach a peace agreement.  However, the prospects for peace under the new administration remain hopeful.  European Union Ambassador Alistair MacDonald emphasized the progress that both groups have made since negotiations resumed last year.

No Special Session for Freedom of Information Bill – Palace

The Philippine Star, June 8, 2010

The House of Representatives failed to pass the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill during its last congressional session.  President Arroyo seems unlikely to call for a special session to allow the House to ratify the FOI Bill.  The Bill is considered to be a landmark piece of legislation since it will increase government transparency surrounding transactions and data.

Aquino to Be Philippine President

The New York Times, June 9, 2010

Mr. Benigno S. Aquino III won the Presidential Elections on June 9.  He will formally become the Republic of the Philippines’ fifteenth President on June 30.  Mr. Aquino promises to address the systemic corruption plaguing businesses and the government.

Somaliland

Somaliland Vice President Asks for Peace

Somaliland Press, June 7, 2010

As the elections campaigns continue, Vice-Presidential candidate Ahmed Yusuf Yassin urged the opposition parties not to incite violence during their rallies.  He stressed that, “All eyes are on Somaliland elections which should be free and fair.”

SCC Skirmishes with the Military

Somaliland Press, June 13, 2010

The new militant group Sool, Sanag, Cayn (SCC) attacked the military base outside the village of Bali’ada, wounding at least one of the Somaliland forces.  Two of the SCC militants were also injured, and one was captured in the attack.  It is believed that the SCC forces do not want elections in the region.

Southern Cameroons

Southern Cameroon: 50th Independence Manifestations

Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, June 10, 2010

The Secretary General of the Southern Cameroon National Council, Chinkwo Fidelis, issued a press release criticizing Cameroon’s 50th anniversary independence celebrations.  Southern Cameroonians were pushed into joining the celebrations, even though Southern Cameroons was not considered part of the country until October 1, 1961.  Fidelis argued that Southern Cameroonians are still mindful of their distinct identity and are determined to restore their own sovereignty and statehood.

Ban Ki Moon Brings Biya Message of Transparent Elections

The Post, June 11, 2010

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s visit to Cameroon last week included meetings with Cameroonian President Paul Biya to convince him of the need for free and transparent presidential elections in 2011.  The United Nations hopes that the Secretary General’s efforts will prevent election protests and violence.  Mr. Ban also planned to discuss the Southern Cameroons separatist movement with President Biya.

Southern Sudan

Biden Offers U.S. Support for Peaceful, Credible Sudan Referendum

All Africa, June 10, 2010

During a visit to Kenya, United States Vice President Biden assured a Government of Southern Sudan delegation that the US remains strongly committed to a referendum on self-determination.  Biden committed “political, financial, and technical support” for guaranteeing a peaceful outcome of the referendum and additional assistance in professionalizing the Sudan People’s Liberation Army.  Kenya’s Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka expressed similar optimism of a peaceful referendum with commitments to uphold its outcome.

Ban Ki-Moon Appoints Nigerian General to Lead UNMIS Peacekeepers

Sudan Tribune, June 11, 2010

Major General Moses Bisong Obi, who has experience with the UN peacekeeping missions in Lebanon and Sierra Leone, was appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to head the 9,500 soldier UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) force.  Obi, who also served as commanding officer of the Economic Community of Western African States Monitoring Group, will replace Nepalese Lieutenant General Paban Jung Thapa.

Kiir Re-appoints Machar as his Deputy Ahead of New Cabinets

Sudan Tribune, June 13, 2010

Government of Southern Sudan President Salva Kiir reappointed Riek Machar, who has served as Vice-President since 2005, as his deputy.  Machar also serves as the Deputy Chairperson of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and was Kiir’s running mate during the April elections.  Remaining cabinet members are expected to be appointed in both the north and south in the coming days.

Tanzania

The Murder of Albinos in Tanzania

The World, June 10, 2010

Albino killings have begun to increase since February.  More than fifty Albinos have been murdered since 2007, mainly for their body parts, which are used in witchcraft rituals and potions.  In a nation where ninety-three percent of the population believes in witchcraft, advocates say increased education is needed to create more equal opportunities for albinos and encourage human rights awareness.

Amnesty Hands East Africa a Poor Grade for its Rights Record

Daily Nation, June 13, 2010

While Amnesty International rebuked East Africa’s impunity in the justice system and international legal obligations, Tanzania was not included in those admonishments.  The organization mentioned other areas of concern for Tanzania, including the potential expulsion of Burundi refugees, limitations on the freedom of expression for the media as political elections approach, violence against women, political violence in Zanzibar, and albino killings.

Uganda

UN Calls for Kony Arrest

The New Vision, June 6, 2010

UN Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called for the arrest of Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony on June 5.  Pillay also urged the Ugandan Government to enact a national reconciliation bill and create a truth and reconciliation body in order to facilitate the healing process in northern Uganda.  International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo expressed his belief during the Rome Statute Review Conference in Kampala that Kony and Sudanese President Bashir would be arrested soon.

ICC Urges Uganda to Arrest Bashir Should He Attend Talks

The Nation, June 9, 2010

Christian Wenaweser, President of the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC, urged Ugandan authorities to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir if he attends an upcoming African Union (AU) summit in Kampala in July.  Ambassador Wenaweser referenced Uganda’s obligations as a State Party to the Rome Statute to fully cooperate with the ICC.  The Ugandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir was invited to the AU summit.

U.S. Refuses to Sign as Delegates Endorse Crime of Aggression

The Monitor, June 13, 2010

Representatives to the ICC Review Conference in Kampala agreed June 11 to make aggression a crime for which the ICC can try individuals for orchestrating a state’s use of force against another state in violation of the UN Charter.  However, the United States did not sign.  Immediately after the decision some human rights advocates expressed concerns about the amendment, given that the crime of aggression would not apply to non-state parties and that the provision contains several loopholes.  The Ugandan Attorney General, however, praised the adoption of the resolution and the significance of having this development in international law take place in Uganda.

Zimbabwe

Charamba to be Disciplined: PM’s Office

New Zimbabwe, June 10, 2010

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s office said on June 9, 2010 that the coalition government’s three principals would soon meet to discipline President Robert Mugabe’s powerful spokesperson, George Charamba.  This comes after Charamba announced that the bilateral investment protection and promotion agreement, which Tsvangirai signed on his recent trip to South Korea, was null and void because power to make such agreements lies only with President Mugabe.

ZAPU Slams Indigenization

New Zimbabwe, June 11, 2010

The opposition party Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) has accused President Mugabe and his party Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) of using economic regulations to enrich its senior officials before the country adopts a new constitution and holds elections.  The current regulations require foreign-owned businesses to cede 51% of their shareholding to locals or risk losing their licenses.

Zimbabwe to Lift Diamond Export Ban: State Media

Reuter, June 13, 2010

A Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) monitor has declared that Zimbabwe’s mining operations in the Marange region now meet minimum regulatory conditions, prompting Mines Minister Obert Mpofu to announce that export of Marange diamonds will soon resume.  Last month, Mpofu halted all diamond exports until industry regulators could certify stones from the government’s Marange fields, which are mined by Rio Tinto and several other private companies.  The government agreed to the KPCS assessment following reports of atrocities in Marange due to a crackdown by government troops on illegal diamond panning in 2006.
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.

Campaign for International Justice – Please sign Amnesty International’s Petition Calling for the United Nations to Establish and Independent International Investigation into Human Rights Violations Committed in Sri Lanka

Courtesy of International Justice Project, Amnesty International

One year after the end of the conflict in Sri Lanka, thousands of victims of human rights violations committed by both government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are being denied justice, truth and reparations.

The complete failure of the Sri Lankan government to genuinely address this impunity means that the United Nations must step in and conduct an independent international investigation as a first step towards international justice.

In particular, the truth must be established about the extent of violations that occurred in the final stages of the war, when the government prohibited independent monitoring and reporting by the United Nations and other observers.

Disturbingly, the United Nations has so far failed to take any effective action to establish the truth and demand accountability for violations committed in Sri Lanka.

For lasting peace in Sri Lanka, there must be accountability.  Allegations of war crimes and other crimes under international law must be fully investigated and those found to be responsible must be prosecuted before competent, impartial and independent criminal courts.

Survivors and the families of those killed must be provided with full and effective reparations to address their suffering and to help them rebuild their lives.

Impunity will continue in Sri Lanka unless the United Nations establishes an independent international investigation.

Please sign Amnesty Internationnal’s petition below to the United Nations Secretary-General and circulate it to your friends, families and networks:

Amnesty International Petition

International Justice Project
Amnesty International
1 Easton Street
London WC1X 0DW
United Kingdom

THE IRAN HUMAN RIGHTS DOCUMENTATION CENTER CONDEMNS IMPRISONMENT OF ALI GOLCHIN

Courtesy of Iran Human Rights Documentation Center

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 14, 2010

NEW HAVEN – The Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC) denounces the detention of Ali Golchin who has reportedly been held in solitary confinement at Evin prison for his religious beliefs since April 29, 2010.  He has not been charged.

Golchin, age 29, converted to Christianity several years ago. He has never evangelized, and friends and relatives believe he was detained purely because of his religious beliefs. Golchin holds a B.A. in Chemistry and works with his father in the field of animal husbandry.

On April 29, 2010, agents from the Iranian National police entered Golchin’s home in Varamin and confiscated several bibles, his computer, identification cards, and other personal belongings.  The police did not allow Golchin to call his father before taking him to an undisclosed location. On April 30, the Intelligence Office in Varamin summoned Golchin’s father, a Christian minister, to the local intelligence office.  The intelligence agents interrogated him for several hours and threatened to further harm his son if he spoke publically about Golchin’s detention. The intelligence agents similarly threatened Golchin’s wife.

The authorities have refused to provide any information about Golchin’s condition or the reasons for his arrest despite repeated requests by his father and lawyer. Golchin has been allowed only three brief phone calls with his family. During one of these calls, he told his family that he was being held in Evin prison in Tehran.  In his latest call, he informed his father that he is suffering from severe stomach pain.

Golchin has been denied legal representation and until recently he was allowed no visitors. After numerous requests his father received permission to visit on June 17.

The Iranian government agreed to respect freedom of religion of all Iranian citizens when it ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. While the government purports to respect religious freedom, it continues to severely mistreat religious minorities. IHRDC is deeply concerned by the prolonged and arbitrary detention of Ali Golchin in the notorious Evin prison and urges the Islamic Republic of Iran to release him immediately.

IHRDC is a nonprofit organization based in New Haven, Connecticut that was founded in 2004 by a group of human rights scholars, activists, and historians. Its staff of human rights lawyers and researchers produce comprehensive and detailed reports on the human rights situation in Iran since the 1979 revolution. The Center has reported on the Iranian government’s persecution of Baha’is, another religious minority 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 an archive of documents are available to the public for research and educational purposes atwww.iranhrdc.org.

Contact: Renee C. Redman, IHRDC Executive Director, (203) 772-2218 Ext. 215

rredman@iranhrdc.org

Report from Kampala on second week of ICC Review Conference – AMICC

By John Washburn, Convener; Matthew Heaphy, Deputy Convener; Hannah Dunphy, Outreach Coordinator

Courtesy of The American Non-Governmental Organizations Coalition for the International Criminal Court

The second week here in Kampala was dominated by intense negotiations on the crime of aggression, and ultimately a final outcome which will activate the Court’s jurisdiction over it with a vote of the Court’s Assembly of States Parties (AS) after January 1, 2017. The conference worked through several proposals which attempted to bridge the gap between those countries seeking to limit the way ways in which aggression could be brought before the Court and those seeking a more expansive approach to the Court’s jurisdiction over the crime. The week concluded dramatically after midnight of the final day of the conference with the adoption by consensus of the crime of aggression amendment. This was followed by a long round of applause in the plenary hall recognizing the conference’s achievement and finally the closing of the conference at 1:30am Kampala time. The conference also adopted an amendment to Article 8 expanding the Court’s jurisdiction over the use of certain weapons as war crimes in non-international conflicts.

Hurried consultations, contesting proposals, midnight conferences and hectic redrafting filled the last days of the Review Conference. Delegates struggled with the jurisdiction of the ICC over the crime of aggression. This was an issue long foreseen as the most controversial and contentious of these two weeks in the bubble of a luxury resort and conference campus on the shores of Lake Victoria. As the pace picked up for government delegates in one closed meeting after another, it slowed for NGO representatives who could not attend these sessions. In the final rush to an outcome or an impasse NGOs were represented by a few civil society experts on the crime of aggression who have special access to government delegates and ICC officials.

At the center of the debate loomed the image of the United Nations Security Council and its great unpopularity with most countries. The ICC’s Rome Statute has a statement in its section on the crime of aggression that reasonably appears to require respect for the Council’s UN Charter mission to determine threats to international peace and security. Nonetheless, a large number of states, from past experience quite possibly a clear majority, arrived in Kampala strongly determined to deny the Council any role whatever in the Court’s jurisdiction. They believed that role would politicize the Court and compromise its independence and legitimacy. Other countries, such as, but by no means only, the Council’s permanent members (including the United States) began the conference equally dug in on the insistence that all situations about aggression should come to the Court only through the Council. They said that the question of an act of aggression is indeed political and that the Council is the right place in the international system to deal with it.

Several problems, circumstances and influences were at work on this polarization during the conference: The preparations for the conferences had failed to even modify stark disagreements in the original text. Quite a few countries were willing to give some, if not an exclusive, place for the Council in the passage of an alleged situation of aggression into the jurisdiction of the ICC. There was considerable concern that the Court is not yet well enough developed institutionally and judicially with the special political and state action aspects of this crime. Almost all participants found the original text and most of the too many proposals made here very complex and technically difficult and often obscure. Unfortunately, the Statute’s amendment procedures, generally considered to be among the worst drafted of its provisions, were important in these negotiations.

Probably most important was the almost universal and intense determination of the participants to reach a final outcome here and now after eight years of negotiations in preparations. This was very clear in speeches by governments and in their side comments. Some of the proposals intended to ease a complete outcome showed their sponsors moving sharply away from their previously declared positions.

The final amendment package was an elaborate scheme to bring the crime within the jurisdiction of the Court while making major concessions to powerful countries. Many observed that it will limit significantly the reach of the Court’s jurisdiction with respect to the crime. The major features of the outcome are that the amendment will take effect only after a vote of two-thirds of the ASP after January 1, 2017. The ASP will then be able to decide separately on its activation of Security Council-initiated actions and for situations referred by States Parties and those initiated by the Prosecutor. ICC States Parties must ratify the amendment and then have the option of filing a declaration with the ICC Registrar that it does not accept aggression jurisdiction. Also, once jurisdiction is activated, non-Security Council situations will need to be approved by the entire Pre-Trial Division of the Court. Another provision will prevent the Court from exercising jurisdiction over nationals of non-States Parties or their territories. It also included a mandatory review of the provision seven years after coming into effect in order to examine the performance of the Court with respect to the crime and to make any necessary changes to the provision.

In effect, the provision will shield nationals of non-States Parties, including those of the United States, as well as nationals of States Parties if they are willing to lodge a declaration with the Registrar. This declaration would effectively take those countries and their nationals out of the Court’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression. Many delegations felt that the final package also conceded too much to the proponents of less expansive ICC jurisdiction over aggression. This is because States Parties will be able to control whether they will be bound by the amendment through their consent to the amendment. The final package was also not completely satisfactory to the permanent members of the Security Council. They would have preferred an exclusive role for the Council in determining a state act of aggression for the purposes of the ICC’s jurisdiction, and they reiterated this position after the adoption of the amendment. These countries have argued over the years that, as a matter of international law under the UN Charter, this role should be exclusive to the Council. The final text does, however, effectively shield P-5 nationals from ICC jurisdiction over aggression.

Following the adoption of the amendment and statements by several countries, State Department Legal Adviser Harold Koh took the floor on behalf of the US to describe how it engaged in all aspects of the Kampala conference, including on stocktaking of the system of international criminal justice and on the amendment proposals. He expressed the appreciation of the US delegation for the warm welcome it received and for the constructive conversations with other conference participants. The US also associated itself with the statements of France and the UK regarding their view of the primacy of the UN Security Council in determining acts of aggression. Further, Koh suggested that constitutional decisions of the magnitude of activating the Court’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression after January 1, 2017 should be taken in the context of a review conference, not a regular ASP meeting.

The week began with an effort by the United States to repair what was seen by many as a overbearing speech on the previous Friday by Harold Koh (available at:http://www.state.gov/s/l/releases/remarks/142665.htm). It very generally referred to US concerns about the crime of aggression and concluded that it was not very likely that consensus could be achieved. The US was somewhat successful in rebounding from this perceived misstep in an intervention on Monday of the second week which sought to specifically describe those concerns and suggest ways to deal with them. William Lietzau, a senior Pentagon official who participated in the negotiations for the Rome Statute and the accompanying Elements of Crimes document, proposed four interpretive “understandings” about the definition of the crime which would make it more acceptable to the US, and also suggested leaving open for negotiation the elements of the crime for a short period after Kampala. His statement, which is not available, seemed to take into account the developments at the conference and struck a more conciliatory tone that Koh’s previous intervention. Most notably, Lietzau said that the US recognized that it had been absent from the negotiations on aggression for eight years and must therefore live with the practical consequences of that failure to participate.

Lietzau said that the understandings were intended to be modest without bringing any unintended consequences. The Review Conference resolution on the amendment includes some of these understandings. The understandings do not change the agreed definition of the crime of aggression but will guide judges in applying it.

The amendment of Article 8, known as the Belgian amendment, culminated late on Thursday evening. It expands war crimes prohibitions on certain weapons such as poisons, gases and bullets, to non-international conflicts. The use of these weapons in international conflicts was already prohibited under the Rome Statute. In addition, the conference interpreted the amendment provision used, Article 121(5), in such a way that treats alike non-States Parties and States Parties that have not accepted the amendment. This means that the added provisions would not likely reach the nationals of non-States Parties such as the US.

The Review Conference on Thursday also adopted a resolution which stated that it reviewed Article 124 as required by the Statute. That article permits countries upon joining the Rome Statute to opt-out of the Court’s jurisdiction over war crimes for a period of seven years. The conference did not, however, delete the article as suggested by some delegations. As a compromise it decided to review the article again in five years, at an ASP meeting, with a view to deleting it.

The US, throughout most of the two weeks, was effective at presenting itself positively to the conference as a strong supporter of international justice. It spoke of cooperating with the Court more widely but within US legal restrictions. It emphasized its strong desire to support domestic and international justice generally. US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues Stephen Rapp declared that the stocktaking exercise of the previous week was “an enormous success” in supporting the cause of international justice. Statements like these and of Lietzau helped to build goodwill, which was especially necessary as the US entered into the intense negotiations on the crime of aggression. Subject to hindsight, it appears now that the US effectively represented its positions without alienating itself from other countries. Our general impression, moreover, is that the US had a satisfactory experience in Kampala that sustained its major interests. It remains on good terms with the Court and learned lessons that will enrich the final stage of making US policy on the ICC.

For more information, please see:

AMICC – http://www.amicc.org/