Newscast Media LONDON—Amnesty International has written to the African Union
Summit discouraging the granting of immunity to African heads of state who have
committed genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Amnesty argues that
such a move will completely undermine the integrity of the African Court of Justice
and Human Rights, even before it becomes operational.
In an open letter Amnesty International called on African Union (AU) heads of state
and government meeting in Equatorial Guinea this week not to adopt a proposed
amendment which would grant immunity from prosecution to sitting government
leaders and senior officials in the African Court of Justice and Human Rights.
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Newscast Media NEW YORK—The UN has for the first time accused Syrian rebel
fighters of committing crimes against humanity. The body has also criticized the
government’s use of siege warfare, and blamed the international community for
The United Nations Human Rights Council on Wednesday said several Syrian Islamist
rebel groups had systematically detained and tortured civilians. The rebels’ crimes
against humanity, it said, were carried out in al-Raqqa province against ethnic Kurds.
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Newscast Media The HAGUE, Netherlands — Intervention by the International Criminal Courts (ICC) on behalf of victims that are suffering injustices under oppressive regimes is something that makes the perpetrators, enablers and spin-doctors within police states nervous. The role of the ICC is simply to bring to justice those who commit crimes against humanity.
In the third world, especially in Africa, the ICC has taken a very active role in ensuring that leaders who abuse their power, together with their henchmen do not escape unpunished. What’s remarkable is that even those who give orders that lead to crimes being committed are also held as accountable as the people who commit them. So often people in police states make the excuse, “I was just following orders,” however, that kind of reasoning doesn’t exempt them from prosecution by the ICC.
Take for example on September 28, 2010, the French authorities arrested Mr. Callixte Mbarushimana, suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the Kivus, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Documents from the International Criminal Court indicate that they (the ICC) had reasonable grounds to believe that Callixte Mbarushimana a 47 year old Rwandan citizen, has been since July 2007, the Executive Secretary of the Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda – Forces Combattantes Abacunguzi (FDLR-FCA, hereafter FDLR) and is criminally responsible, under article 25(3)(d) of the Rome Statute, for five counts of crimes against humanity (murder, torture, rape, inhumane acts and persecution) and six counts of war crimes (attacks against the civilian population, destruction of property, murder, torture, rape and inhuman treatment).
The ICC also acknowledged that Mbarushimana’s partners in crime, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui were currently in their custody.
In a statement, the ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo thanked France for a smooth and efficient operation, and said, “This is a good day for the victims. This is a good day for justice. But there is still a lot to do to break the cycle of impunity in the DRC. Callixte Mbarushimana is in custody. But another commander sought by the ICC for massive crimes, Bosco Ntaganda, is still at large in Goma and his forces roam the Kivus killing and raping. He must be next.”
In Kenya, after the civil war that broke out in which over 1,100 people were killed and over 650,000 displaced from their homes in the two-month violence aftermath of the disputed 2007 presidential election, the ICC launched an investigation and over 400 inhabitants sent in applications to the local ICC office saying they were willing to testify through intermediaries, regarding the crimes that were committed against them. After gathering all the pertinent information regarding the crimes committed, several Kenyan politicians and those who planned and financed the post-election violence are now being brought to trial by the ICC in the Hague.
As February 18, inches closer, neighboring Uganda has fears of its own. The police paraded around their convoy of vehicles, as a subliminal message to voters that they will be squashed should any violence erupt on Election Day. The ICC is also closely watching this small nation because it is violence prone, based on the animosity between the current administration of incumbent Yoweri Museveni and the Kingdom of Buganda.
The Baganda believe they are targets after their national monuments the Kasubi tombs were incinerated and three people shot to death in connection with the riots that happened thereafter. On September 11, 2009 the BBC reported that police used live bullets to disperse crowds after the King (Kabaka) of Buganda was denied travel to Kayunga township in his very own kingdom. The Baganda people are some of the most fearless people in the world, who aren’t afraid to stare down a barrel of a gun as shown in the BBC video.
Indeed an international agency like the ICC will have its foot soldiers on the ground on election day February 18, in Uganda, because the resentment toward the current administration by Ugandans who feel oppressed as noted in the WikiLeaks documents, has a high likelihood of generating what happened in Kenya or what is currently happening in Ivory Coast.
The great Roman orator and statesman Cicero, in his book “On The Good Life” on page 158, said, “When you want to help one group of persons, be careful not to offend another. Avoid the mistake, so frequently made, of acting to the detriment of any individual whom it is morally wrong to injure. To do such a thing by accident is careless; to do it deliberately is foolhardy.”