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 NAIROBI—Western diplomats have reached an agreement that would
see President Uhuru Kenyatta’s trial suspended by the International Criminal Court
(ICC) for a year. The deal is scheduled to be presented to the UN Security Council for
consummation, according to UK’s Daily Telegraph media outlet.
The Telegraph reported that an extraordinary summit of the African Union on
Saturday issued an ultimatum to the court to stop the case, warning judges that Mr
Kenyatta must not be compelled to face trial.
Mr Kenyatta, who was elected in March, welcomed the decision and criticised the
court. “It stopped being the home of justice the day it became the toy of declining
imperial powers,” he said. “Africa is not a third-rate territory of second-class peoples.
We are not a project, or experiment of outsiders.” Diplomats fear the trial could
create a impasse in which the Kenyan leader either pulls out of the process at the
last minute, or African states start withdrawing from its jurisdiction, according to the
A senior European diplomat stated that Kenyatta is not an indicted figure who is
defying the court.
“He is not like Sudan’s President Omar al Bashir. He is someone who is working closely
with the West in a region in chaos that needs to tackle a very worrying terrorist
situation. A solution must be found that avoids a breakdown in relations with
Kenyatta or the court’s authority,” he said.
According to The Telegraph, European officials have sought to adopt measures to
ensure Kenyatta is not forced to leave the country in the wake of the Westgate mall
terror attack, therefore a resolution that would suspend the ICC trial could be
adopted by the end of the month.
Newscast Media NEW YORK—AU leaders may have decided against a mass withdrawal from the ICC, but confrontation is still in the air. As trial of President Kenyatta draws near, Kenyans are reacting with a mixture of defiance and resignation.
Kenya’s foreign affairs minister Amina Mohamed told the media in Nairobi on Monday that the International Criminal Court would have to wait “until after the president leaves office.”
President Uhruru Kenyatta’s trial on charges of crimes against humanity is due to start in The Hague on November 12.
Some Kenyans, like political anaylst Egara Kabaji, are clearly worried. “It basically means Kenya becomes a pariah state. Nobody will want to do business with us,” he told Deutsche Welle’s Nairobi correspondent James Shimanyula.
Lucy Mwangi, who sells chicken in Kariobangi on the eastern outsikirts of the Kenyan capital, said she didn’t suport Kenyatta going to ICC because it would be “unfair for Kenyans.”
At the AU summit, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda put forward a resolution urging for a withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the legal foundation for the ICC. This failed to obtain majority backing. Before the summit started, there was support for the ICC from political heavyweights Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana.
The AU’s deliberations were opened by the chairman of its executive council, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who branded the treatment of Africa by the ICC as “unfair and unjust.” He insisted that Kenyan President Uhruru Kenyatta should be allowed to “govern his country,” an apparent reference to his expected enforced absence from Kenya while he is in The Hague.
AU leaders want the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to defer Kenyatta’s trial for a year. The UNSC has the authority to do this under article 16 of the ICC’s Rome Statute.
Solomon Derso is an expert on the AU at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Addis Ababa. He told Deutsche Welle the UNSC would only agree to such a deferral when there was a threat to international security and that was not in evidence in the case of Kenya.
“I really don’t see any positive response coming from the side of the UN Security Council,” he said.
On examining the possible voting intentions of two permanent members of the UNSC, Harmen van der Wilt, professor of international criminal law at the University of Amsterdam, came to a similar conclusion. “It is well known that the UK and France are supporters of the International Criminal Court so they could say, well, we could veto the decision,” he told Deutsche Welle.
The AU recommended that as a last resort Kenyatta should simply refuse to appear at the court in The Hague.
Source: Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media NAIROBI—African leaders have accused The Hague of targeting the continent in prosecutions. A summit comes as tensions mount between the International Criminal Court and the African Union. Leaders of several nations in the 54-member AU have accused The Hague of singling out Africans, and demanded that the ICC – the world’s first permanent court to try genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity – drop proceedings against Kenya’s leadership.
“The manner in which the court has been operating, particularly its unfair treatment of Africa and Africans, leaves much to be desired,” Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, chairman of the AU’s executive council, told delegates at the opening of a two-day summit called to consider the union’s cooperation with The Hague as well as to elect a new peace and security commissioner for the bloc.
“Far from promoting justice and reconciliation … the court has transformed itself into a political instrument,” he added. “This unfair and unjust treatment is totally unacceptable.”
African countries account for 34 of the 122 parties to the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding treaty, which took effect on July 1, 2002. A mass pullout from the court, which some countries have demanded, could seriously damage the institution.
Africans stand trial in all eight cases currently before the ICC. However, the countries themselves have referred four of those cases to The Hague – including those involving Kenya. The ICC has charged Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice President William Ruto, as well as former radio boss Joshua Arap Sang, with crimes against humanity linked to post-election violence in 2007-2008 that left at least 1,100 dead and more than 600,000 homeless.
The trial of Ruto and Sang has already begun, and proceedings against Kenyatta should start on November 12. The accused have so far pledged to cooperate with the court, but tensions have mounted amid accusations of witness intimidation in Kenya and counter-complaints against the ICC that the court’s inflexibility has hampered the running of the country.
Source: Radio Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media ADDIS ABABA—The African Union (AU) has lashed out at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for targeting Africans on a racial basis, according to Press TV reports.
“African leaders have come to a consensus that the [ICC] process that has been conducted in Africa has a flaw,” AU Chair and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn told reporters on the sidelines of the 21st AU summit in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, on Monday.
“The intention was to avoid any kind of impunity … but now the process has degenerated to some kind of race hunting,” he added.
On Friday, African foreign ministers agreed to draft a proposal to request the ICC to drop crimes against humanity cases against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his compatriots at The Hague and refer them back to Kenya.
Kenyatta is accused by the ICC of crimes against humanity for violence related to the 2007 election, and he is scheduled to be tried at The Hague in July.
More than 1,000 Kenyans were killed and 600,000 forced to leave their homes following the disputed 2007 vote.
African countries also agreed to establish a joint rapid reaction force to deal with regional security emergencies. The decision is aimed at reducing the continent’s reliance on external forces and funds for defense.
The special force will be formed from voluntary contributions of troops, equipment and funds by member states.
Newscast Media — International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo said he plans to request arrest warrants for Gaddafi, his sons and close aides, for the violence and crimes they have committed against civilians. The ICC says even before the Libyan uprising, Gaddafi already had plans in place to kill civilians in an effort to discourage protests.
On Tuesday, rebel commander Gen Abdul Fattah Younis complained that bureaucracy was causing Nato to take hours to respond to calls for air strikes.
“[Nato] is letting the people of Misrata die every day,” he told reporters in the de acto rebel capital Benghazi. “If Nato should wait another week, there will be no more Misrata.”
In The Hague on Tuesday, Mr Moreno-Ocampo said: “We have evidence that after the Tunisia and Egypt conflicts in January, people in the regime were planning how to control demonstrations inside Libya.
“The planning at the beginning was to use tear gas and [if that failed to work]… shooting,” Ocampo said.
Nato says international air strikes have reduced Col Gaddafi’s military capabilities by nearly a third, but his forces have deliberately moved weaponry into civilian areas and are creating human shields to hide the weapons.
ICC’s original intent to prosecute the Libyan leader was published in a statement that said: “The decision to do justice in Libya should be taken by the Libyan people. Currently, Libya is not a State Party to the Rome Statute. Therefore, intervention by the ICC on the alleged crimes committed in Libya can occur only if the Libyan authorities accept the jurisdiction of the Court, (through article 12(3) of the Rome Statute). In the absence of such step, the United Nations Security Council can decide to refer the situation to the Court. The Office of the Prosecutor will act only after either decision is taken”.
Categories: News Tags: arrest warrants for gaddafi and sons, gaddafi aides arrest warrants, ICC, international criminal court gaddafi, international criminal court libya, international criminal court luis moreno ocampo
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.”
Categories: News Tags: Crimes against humanity, february 18 uganda elections, ICC, International Criminal Court, kasubi tombs riots, kenyan election riots, mabira forest riots, makerere university riots, the buganda kingdom, the kabaka
Newscast Media NAIROBI, Kenya –The Daily Nation which is Kenya’s largest newspaper published shocking images Thursday of what appear to be undercover police shooting three compliant suspects at point-blank range in the middle of the day on a busy Nairobi highway.
The photos printed by the Daily Nation were taken on a cell phone by a passing motorist. The photos show two men lying face down and an undercover police officer pointing a gun near their bodies. A later photo shows two men with multiple bullet wounds to the head, who appear to be dead. A third killing also apparently took place.
The paper also reported that after the killings, the police turned their guns on journalists at the scene and threatened to shoot them. A 2009 UN report found extra-judicial killings by Kenyan police are systematic and widespread. Kenyan officials blamed incidents of extra-judicial killings on rogue police officers. The apparent killing has been condemned by human rights campaign group Amnesty, which said such cases were all too common in the country.
“Eyewitness reports of this incident depict a disturbing image of police officers who are accustomed to acting with complete impunity. These appear to be blatant and deliberate killings that amount to extra judicial executions,” said Justus Nyang’aya.
In 2009 a UN investigation concluded that in Kenya, executions by the police were systematic and widespread.
After the country’s disputed election three years ago, more than 1,200 people were killed, several hundred of them shot by the police. The head of the force at the time, Major General Hussein Ali, is one of six men accused by the International Criminal Court of bearing the most responsibility for the post-election violence.
Of course there are a few Africans who argue that the International Criminal Court (ICC) should not be involved in African affairs and should let African natives resolve injustices committed against them using their own judicial system. That kind of reasoning is faulty because in Africa nepotism is widespread by those in power, and bribery of local officials is rampant.
How can citizens get justice by trying tyrannical leaders locally if a regimes decides to buy off officials and judges?
How can true justice prevail if witnesses are paid “hush money” or given huge chunks of land, not to testify?
How can the local police be trusted to enforce necessary laws to rectify misconduct, if they themselves are viewed as rogue cops and would not hesitate to commit police brutality as shown in the photo and story above?
Could it be that those advocating the non-involvement of the ICC are bought off or double-agents themselves?
Carl Bernstein a Pulitzer Prize winner wrote about how intelligence agencies use media practitioners to accomplish their goals in the local media and foreign press. In his 25,000 word story published in Rolling Stone on October 20, 1977, Bernstein talks about how local and foreign journalists can be used by intelligence agencies. In this particular incident, let us focus on the foreign press. It is obvious after Kenyan police pumped live bullets in citizens who were demonstrating as they protested the results of last Kenyan elections, they were sending a message that they were unaccountable and above the law. Had the ICC not stepped in, these rogue cops and politicians would continue to terrorize their very own citizens, like what happened just recently on January 19, 2011 in the streets of Nairobi.
How, you may ask, do journalists play a role in trying to protect rogue leaders and officials from being held accountable by powers stronger and more effective than those within the country itself? Bernstein explains how it works in an interview with an intelligence agent.
“After a foreigner is recruited, a case officer often has to stay in the background,” explained a CIA official. “So you use a journalist to carry messages to and from both parties.”
“For instance, a reporter in Vienna would say to our man, ‘I met an interesting second secretary at the Czech Embassy.’ We’d say, ‘Can you get to know him? And after you get to know him, can you assess him? And then, can you put him in touch with us—would you mind us using your apartment?”
“One of the things we always had going for us in terms of enticing reporters, was that we could make them look better with their home offices. A foreign correspondent with ties to the Company stood a much better chance than his competitors of getting the good stories,” said the intelligence agent.
The ICC serves as a “deterrent” to bring an end to repugnant behavior displayed by ruthless politicians or government officials, who breach their duty to serve those who put them in office. When people in power know that they will be held accountable for their actions, they regulate their conduct. Without a body like the ICC, nobody in a police state is safe.
The greatest absurdity a media practitioner can exhibit is defending the indefensible. Foreign journalists working in countries where crimes against humanity are committed should be very cautious in taking sides with those who commit such crimes, because they (journalists) end up losing credibility due to either their inability to discern truth, or their blatant denial of injustices that are self evident.
In a letter written to Bishop Mandell Crighton in 1887, the British historian Lord Acton noted: “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”