07 January 2011
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1. Statements by the Special Advisors for the prevention of genocide and the Responsibility to Protect
2. International Crisis Group –Open Letter to the United Nations Security Council
3. Human Rights Watch –Cote d’Ivoire: Pro-Gbagbo Forces Abducting Opponents
4. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect –Open Statement
1. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect –the Responsibility to Protect and Sudan: An update
2. Pillay urges authorities to respect citizens’ rights before, during and after Sudan referendum
3. Amnesty International - Human rights violations surrounding the south Sudan referendum
1. Women raped in mass attack in Congo, humanitarian group says
2. Kenya’s post election violence: ICC Prosecutor presents cases against six individuals for crimes against humanity
In the aftermath of the results of the presidential elections announced on 2 December 2010, the situation in Côte d’Ivoire has continued to deteriorate as Laurent Gbagbo refuses to relinquish power to the internationally recognized winner, Alassane Ouattara. Mr. Ouattara has established his headquarters at the Hotel du Golf, which has been barricaded for over three weeks by military forces under the order of Laurent Gbagbo. The United Nations (UN) reported on January 7, 2011 that 210 deaths have occurred as a result of post-election clashes. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees stated on January 5, 2011 that over 22,000 refugees have fled to neighboring countries. UN Peacekeeping Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) has also been attacked as gunmen fired upon a UN envoy in the city of Abidjan on December 30, 2010.
The international community has been swift in its response to the crisis. The UN, European Union (EU), the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and numerous countries including the US, UK, France, and Germany have formally recognized Alassane Ouattara as the President-elect and requested for Laurent Gbagbo to step down. The European Council issued a statement condemning “the violence perpetrated since the second round of the presidential election in Côte d’Ivoire.”
To mount further pressure, financial sanctions against Laurent Gbagbo, his wife Simone Gbagbo, and members of his inner circle have been leveled by the US, EU, ECOWAS, and the UN. Furthermore, Côte d’Ivoire’s membership to the AU has been suspended and ECOWAS has threatened to use force if Gbagbo does not step down as president. Multiple envoys, including former president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, and Prime Minister Raila Odinga of Kenya, have been sent to Côte d’Ivoire by both the AU and ECOWAS in an attempt to mediate a peaceful resolution.
The UN, through the Security Council, Human Rights Council, and UNOCI, has been actively pursuing a peaceful end to the crisis. In is fourteenth special session held on December 23, 2010, the Human Rights Council passed a resolution condemning the human rights violations that have occurred in Côte d’Ivoire. With the passage of Resolution 1962 on December 20, 2010 the Security Council extended the mandate of UNOCI through June 30, 2011 and provided additional troop and personnel support to the mission. The mission is now protecting the new president and his Government in the Gold Hotel, surrounded by forces loyal to Mr. Ggagbo constricting free movement of UNOCI and civilians from the building. As killings, forced disappearances continue, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has announced on 6 January that he will send a request to the Security Council next week for between 1,000 and 2,000 additional forces for the UNOCI.
The Special Adviser of the Secretary General on the Prevention of Genocide, Francis Deng, and Special Adviser of the Secretary General who focuses on the Responsibility to Protect, Edward Luck, issued a joint statement which expressed their concern over the situation in the country, and reminded all parties of their “responsibility to protect all persons in Côte d’Ivoire, irrespective of their ethnicity, nationality, or religion.” The statement published by the Global Centre published on 17 December also warned that the potential for further escalation remained is all too real, especially as both sides continue to draw support from armed elements. As expressed by the Open letter to the Security Council by the International Crisis Group, “a military solution to the crisis in Cote d’Ivoire is unlikely; therefore, a determined position of the UN Security Council to manage the conflict now and prevent further escalation of violence in the country is urgently required.”
The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, has not opened an investigation into crimes committed in Côte d’Ivoire, but declared that “if serious crimes under my jurisdiction are committed, I will do so.” He warned that “those leaders who are planning violence will end up in the Hague.” Civil society has echoed the concerns of the international community and expressed that as endorsed in the RtoP framework, there is a need to prevent violence from escalating by peaceful means, with stronger measures if necessary.
1. UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect on the Situation in Côte d’ Ivoire
Office of the Special Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide
29 December 2010
Francis Deng, the Special Adviser of the Secretary General on the Prevention of Genocide, and Edward Luck, the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General who focuses on the responsibility to protect, have expressed grave concern at developments in Côte d’Ivoire. They drew attention particularly to indications that some leaders there are inciting violence between different elements of the population so as to serve their political purposes. “Given the history of internal conflict in Côte d’Ivoire,” they warned, “such actions are highly irresponsible”. There are continuing reports, so far unconfirmable, of serious human rights violations by supporters of Mr. Laurent Gbagbo and by forces under his control as well as the use of inflammatory speech to incite hatred and violence. The latter has especially dangerous implications which are completely unacceptable.” Mr. Deng noted that allegations that the Abidjan homes of political opponents of Mr. Gbagbo had been marked to identify their ethnicity were extremely worrying.
Mr. Deng and Mr. Luck reminded all parties of their responsibility to protect all persons in Côte d’Ivoire, irrespective of their ethnicity, nationality, or religion. Special Adviser Luck recalled the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document, in which all Heads of State and Government pledged to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. “This responsibility entails the prevention of these crimes, importantly including their incitement,” he stressed. “We would like to remind all parties in Côte d’Ivoire, as the Secretary-General did in his statement of two weeks ago, of this solemn commitment and of the fact that they are accountable for their actions under international law.”
See statement here
2. Open Letter to the United Nations Security Council on the Situation in Cote d’Ivoire
International Crisis Group
20 Dec 2010
As the Security Council meets today, we urge Members to take note of the gravity of the situation in Cote d’Ivoire and recognize the risk of a precipitous return to civil war or partition if the international community fails to remain firm in its support to the peace process and a democratic transition in the country.
We welcome the steps taken thus far by the Secretary-General and his representatives, as well as the statements by the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) recognizing Mr. Alassane Ouattara as the President-elect of Cote d’Ivoire and calling for Mr. Gbagbo to abide by the will of the Ivoirian people and yield power. Mr. Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to accept the elections results and cede authority should be declared a coup d’etat by the Security Council and recognized as a threat to the ongoing peace process and unity of the country.
(…) respect for the results of recent presidential elections and the transition of authority is an essential element of continuing the peace process and preventing a slide back into war. Any agreement on power-sharing or national unity would only prolong the crisis and reward illegal actions to undermine free and fair elections.
The reported attacks on civilians and UN peacekeepers by security and militia forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo are unacceptable and the demands by Mr. Gbagbo for the United Nations peacekeeping and French forces to withdraw from the country must be found illegitimate and rejected. We urge the Security Council to renew the mandate of the UN mission in Cote d’Ivoire and back ongoing regional efforts to resolve the crisis.
Through its statements and the renewal of UNOCI’s mandate, the Security Council should demonstrate unequivocal support for the unified position of the international community to respect the elections results and send clear messages on the responsibilities of the parties to protect the population and ensure accountability for those who incite violence and commit human rights violations.
The Council should reiterate its commitment to supporting UNOCI’s role in the protection of civilians and consider ways to enhance the mission’s capacity in this regard.
As dialogue with the parties continues, punitive measures should be put in place to help shift the calculations of not only Mr. Gbagbo, but other government, military and security leaders who are hostile to the peace process by failing to recognize legitimate elections results or who commit violations of human rights. These leaders should be reminded of their individual criminal liability for human rights violations committed by them or those under their command and individual sanctions, including by the UN, must be updated, enacted and enforced immediately.
Further, isolating the illegitimate government’s access to external resources, such as through its suspension in international and regional organizations and restricting access to financial resources such as through the Central Bank of West African State (BCEAO) should be urgently pursued to facilitate a resolution to the crisis. More could be done by the international community to urge responsible action by business and trade partners, particularly in the cocoa and oil industries.
A military solution to the crisis in Cote d’Ivoire is unlikely; therefore, a determined position of the UN Security Council to manage the conflict now and prevent further escalation of violence in the country is urgently required.
3. Cote d’Ivoire: Pro-Gbagbo Forces Abducting Opponents
Human Rights Watch
23 December 2010
Security forces associated with Laurent Gbagbo are abducting and "disappearing" his rival's supporters, Human Rights Watch said today, citing statements from numerous witnesses.
Alassane Ouattara, Gbagbo's rival, is widely believed to have won last month's disputed presidential election in Côte d'Ivoire. Ivorian leaders who order and encourage these kinds of grave human rights abuses could be held accountable by the International Criminal Court (ICC), Human Rights Watch said.
Human Rights Watch has spoken with families and neighbors in pro-Ouattara neighborhoods of Abidjan, the country's economic capital. These witnesses said that a combination of pro-Gbagbo security forces and unofficial militia have conducted nightly raids since December 16, 2010, dragging people away in official vehicles and taking them to undisclosed locations. Many of the abducted remain missing, and the security forces are refusing to reveal their whereabouts. (…)
"Abducting, disappearing, and killing perceived political opponents are horrific human rights crimes, which can and should be punished," said Rona Peligal, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "No Ivorian families should have to suffer this grave mistreatment." (…) "Both forces loyal to Gbagbo and those to Ouattara should be on notice that they could be held to account for past and current crimes," said Peligal.
Incitement to Violence Against Peacekeepers, Intimidation of Human Rights Workers
Over the last week, pro-Gbagbo forces have also used language against both UN and French forces that has the potential to incite violence, Human Rights Watch said. At a December 18 rally, Charles Blé Goudé called on his Jeunes Patriotes (Young Patriots), a group with a history of violent behavior against the opposition and peacekeepers, to "liberate" the country of foreign peacekeepers.
On the night of December 18, armed men fired on a vehicle registered with the United Nations mission in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), which has been in the country since 2004. UN officials also reported that since this rally, armed members of the security forces have entered the houses of some UNOCI staff in what appeared to be a clear attempt to intimidate UN personnel.
The ICC statute prohibits attacks against international peacekeeping missions as long as they are operating as peacekeepers. On December 8, the ICC began a hearing about the alleged involvement of two Darfur rebel leaders in an attack that killed 12 African Union peacekeepers in Darfur. (…)
Kang, the UN deputy human rights commissioner, said that Gbagbo's security forces have also blocked the UN mission's human rights staff from investigating an allegation that there is a mass grave in an Abidjan neighborhood. She said that as part of this effort, the security forces blocked the special representative of the secretary-general for Côte d'Ivoire, Y.J. Choi, at gunpoint.
"In his first public speech since the violence erupted, Gbagbo said that no more Ivorian blood should be shed," Peligal said. "His security forces and militia supporters should release those currently in detention and allow human rights workers to operate without fear or interference."
Recruitment of Foreign Mercenaries
Human Rights Watch has also documented the recruitment of Liberian mercenaries by pro-Gbagbo government forces, beginning at least in early December, when some who had been combatants in previous regional civil wars were offered money for their services. Multiple witnesses during the December 16 demonstrations in Abidjan noted the presence of Liberians, identifiable by their use of English and irregular uniforms.
While evidence collected so far is about recruitment by those supporting Gbagbo, the history of recruitment by Forces Nouvelles, who actively back Ouattara, raises concerns that mercenaries may be crossing into the northern half of Côte d'Ivoire and fomenting instability there as well, Human Rights Watch said. There are worrying reports from some of the thousands of people who have fled to Liberia in recent days that Forces Nouvelles soldiers have targeted pro-Gbagbo individuals and villages for abuse. This region, with its long history of grave human rights abuses by Forces Nouvelles soldiers, has been largely unreported on since the presidential run-off and demands greater attention from the UN and human rights groups, Human Rights Watch said.
Given the history of war crimes and serious human rights abuses committed by combatants in both the Liberian and Ivorian conflicts, Human Rights Watch expressed deep concern about this cross-border recruitment. UN and Liberian authorities should monitor borders to prevent conscription of children, in particular, Human Rights Watch said.
Full news report here
4. Open Statement on the Situation in Côte d Ivoire
Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect
17 December 2010
There is a serious risk of mass atrocities in Côte d’Ivoire. On 16 December, government security forces loyal to incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo opened fire on opposition supporters protesting in Abidjan, killing at least twenty people and injuring unknown numbers. The clash between security forces and supporters of presidential candidate Alassane Ouattara occurs in a context of heightened post-electoral tensions in which both Gbagbo and Ouattara claim victory. An escalation in the situation could easily lead to the commission of mass atrocities, crimes that states committed themselves to protect populations from in adopting the responsibility to protect (R2P) at the 2005 World Summit, and a return to armed conflict. In keeping with the responsibility to protect, swift domestic and international action must be taken to deter actors from committing or inciting atrocities and resorting to violence to retain or secure power. (…)
The potential for further escalation is all too real, especially as both sides draw support from armed elements. (…) With security forces and the Forces Nouvelles pitted against each other, the re-ignition of armed conflict is a real possibility and there is a significant risk that massacres, rapes and sexual abuse, torture and use of child soldiers – crimes against humanity and war crimes, perpetrated by all sides during the earlier conflict, will be committed again.
Conditions on the ground are deteriorating rapidly. (…) State security forces, national authorities, and opposition officials have a responsibility to protect the people of Côte d’Ivoire from atrocities and their incitement. The security forces must exercise restraint, abide by international law and standards on the use of force, and protect all persons in Côte d’Ivoire irrespective of their political affiliation, ethnic, religious or national identity. It is imperative that the political impasse is resolved quickly and through peaceful means. Gbagbo and Ouattara must avoid instigating violence and demand that their supporters, including the security forces and Forces Nouvelles, refrain from the commission of atrocities and make it clear that those who incite or commit crimes will be held accountable. (…).
The UN Security Council has a critical role to play in averting and halting atrocities in Côte d’Ivoire. It has already acknowledged in previous resolutions that a threat to international peace and security exists and that it is empowered to act. The Council has a number of tools at its disposal to increase pressure on Gbagbo and Ouattara, their supporters, and those who may take up arms, to behave in a responsible way. Among the measures that the Council should adopt is the expansion of the list of individuals facing targeted sanctions as well as enforcement of the arms embargo currently in place. It should also make clear that those who incite or commit mass atrocities will be held accountable by domestic authorities, or failing that, by the ICC.
It is imperative that UNOCI is able to fulfill this mandate [to “protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence.”], this includes deploying to areas where populations face the greatest risk, being prepared to take robust action, and having the resources necessary to do so. The UN Security Council should in turn send a clear message that it expects UNOCI to fulfill this mandate. The Council deployed on 24 November additional peacekeeping troops from the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to UNOCI for a period of four weeks to bolster security around the election, this is a positive step. The Council must be prepared to renew their presence, while seeking alternatives to ensure that UNMIL’s ability to fulfill its mandate is not compromised. Debates in the Council about the UN’s role in certifying the election results threatens to obscure a key issue for the Council – the current risk of mass atrocities in Côte d’Ivoire. The Council’s role, and its priority, should be using every means possible to deter and dissuade actors from the commission of atrocities and from a return to armed conflict.
It is critical that, in keeping with the responsibility to protect, efforts are focused on the immediate need to ensure the protection of all persons in Côte d’Ivoire, by preventing the situation from escalating to the point where mass atrocities occur. This is not the time for wavering; it is the time for unified action to save untold numbers of lives.
A period of cautious optimism can be felt ahead of Sunday’s referendum, in part eased by Sudanese President Al-Bashir’s assurances on 3 January that he would respect the choice of Southern citizens and recognize an independent South Sudan should the latter vote for separation. Despite notable progress in voting identification and registration procedures allowing Sunday’s referendum in Southern Sudan to take place, no agreement has been reached regarding who would be eligible to vote in Abyei, making the referendum there no longer possible to be held in January. Also as reported in the civil society statements below, the potential for violence and atrocities remain, not just in the Abyei region but also Southerners living in the North. In addition, the situation in Darfur is growing more critical and not receiving sufficient attention.
On 16 December 2010, the Security Council issued a Presidential Statement welcoming the conclusion of a peaceful registration process for the referendum and urging all parties to implement remaining commitments. In particular, the Statement stressed concern over the absence of agreement on Abyei and urged parties to “calm rising tensions in Abyei, to urgently reach agreement on Abyei and other outstanding CPA issues, and to resolve critical post-referenda issues including the border, security, citizenship, debts, assets, currency and natural resources.” It welcomed in that regard the mediation of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel chaired by former South African President Thabo Mbeki. The statement also called on parties to focus on the rights and safety of all peoples of Sudan, in particular the security and protection of minorities including Southerners in the North and Northerners in the South. The Council said it was deeply concerned over recent military incidents and the displacement of civilians. It called on all parties to “find peaceful solutions to all outstanding matters, to never to resort to war again, and that neither party should take any action, or support any group, that would undermine the security of the other”.
1. The Responsibility to Protect and Sudan: An Update
Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
7 January 2011
On 9 January the people of South Sudan will begin voting in a highly anticipated referendum on independence. As described in the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect’s policy brief dated 6 October 2010, “Sudan: Fulfilling the Responsibility to Protect,” there has been concern that mass atrocities would be perpetrated in the period surrounding the referendum. At that point the Global Centre called on the Government of Sudan (GoS), the Government of South Sudan (GoSS), and key international actors to implement a “coordinated and comprehensive strategy to address risks” of violence and atrocities, in keeping with their commitment to the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
The risks of violence and mass atrocities in the run-up to the referendum have long been clear. International engagement has been critical in encouraging the actors to take steps to prevent these risks from materializing. In recent weeks the GoS and the GoSS, have taken positive steps to ameliorate some of these threats. However, clearly identified perils remain. Abyei region is still a potential flash point for violence and atrocities. Southerners living in the North continue to face a risk of possible atrocities in the period after the referendum. In addition to these referendum related threats, the situation in Darfur is growing more critical with each passing day and, as was the case in 2003 and 2004, is not receiving sufficient attention.
Undoubtedly, the holding of a peaceful referendum will be an important accomplishment. Yet international actors cannot take that as a sign that they can reduce their level of engagement in the country. Swift action must be taken to resolve lingering issues, in particular the status of Abyei, and questions about citizenship rights. In the South the months following the referendum will require an investment in conflict and mass atrocity prevention. International actors must also prioritize sustained engagement on Darfur to secure a peaceful solution to the years long crisis and to prevent further loss of life.
See full report
2. Human rights violations surrounding the south Sudan referendum
07 January 2011
There is massive national and international pressure on Sudan to hold a peaceful referendum on independence for the south and prevent a return to decades of violence, insecurity and human rights violations. (…)
Amnesty International's main human rights concerns:
• Escalated military offensive and consequent human rights violations by the Sudanese government in Darfur as the world turns its attention to the referendum.
In December, more than 20,000 people were displaced by government attacks, including on Dar Al Salam, Shangil Tobaya and Khor Abeche camps in north and south Darfur. The areas were subsequently reclaimed by armed groups. These attacks have been largely unreported and Amnesty International believes that the human rights violations carried out against civilians in Darfur are being disregarded by the international community as attention shifts towards the referendum. (…)
• Human rights violations by police and security forces in the north
The 2010 National Security Act continues to provide the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) with sweeping powers of arrest, detention, search and seizure as well as immunity for human rights violations carried out in the course of its work.
Amnesty International has documented many instances where the NISS has targeted both Darfuris and Southerners. In November last year at least 11 Darfuri activists and journalists were arrested in Khartoum and held without charge for more than two months. They still await access to court. Amnesty International believes that persecution of ethnic minorities in the north may increase during and after the referendum.
Women continue to suffer cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under the public order regime in the north which allows for their arrest and flogging based on their clothing and public behaviour.
• Human rights violations by security forces and police in the south
Amnesty International documented human rights violations by security forces and by members of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) during the April 2010 elections. In the south, as well as the north, journalists were arbitrarily arrested and harassed for reporting electoral violations. Voters and members of the opposition were also harassed and intimidated in some parts of the south.
Although the preparations for the referendum have been relatively peaceful, it is essential that authorities issue clear instructions to all members of the police and armed forces to respect and protect the human rights of all citizens, and make sure that any perpetrators of human rights violations are held accountable. (…)
• Threats to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.
These include violent dispersal of peaceful protests and demonstrations, arbitrary arrests and detention of journalists and observers. These abuses were witnessed and documented during the April 2010 presidential election and patterns of repression can already be identified in the run up to the referendum. (…)
• Possible discrimination against southerners living in the north and uncertainty over the question of citizenship in case south Sudan secedes.
No agreement has yet been reached on the rights of northerners living in the south and southerners living in the north (which total more than one and a half million). In particular southerners in the north already face persecution and marginalization - most live in camps for the displaced with no security of tenure and many suffer harassment at the hands of security forces. Without an agreement on citizenship and residence rights that would guarantee the rights of minorities, this situation may result in mass displacements and lead to various human rights violations and the separation of families in both the north and south.
Amnesty International calls for:
• An immediate halt to attacks against civilians and displacement camps in Darfur and a commitment to respect international human rights and humanitarian law before, during and after the referendum.
• Clear public signals from the Government of National Unity, the Government of southern Sudan, as well as from the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission that human rights violations and abuses will not be tolerated.
• An effective system for registering and dealing with complaints about restrictions on the freedom to vote.
• Effective avenues to complain about intimidation or other abuses and clarity on ways in which to report these abuses together with adequate public awareness of these avenues.
• Clear instructions issued to the police by senior police authorities and mechanisms to ensure that people are safe from intimidation and harassment in relation to the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of opinion and expression and other related rights.
• The governments of north and south Sudan to ensure that all allegations of human rights violations are promptly and effectively investigated by an independent and impartial authority and their perpetrators held accountable.
• If people are not to be permitted to hold nationality or citizenship of both countries, they should be able to make their own choice as to which nationality or citizenship they will take. The conditions for obtaining nationality or citizenship, as well as for passing it on to one's children, must not discriminate on the basis of birth, ethnic origin, religion, gender, marital status or similar other factors. Moreover it will be necessary to make effective provisions to safeguard the right to family life in cases where different members of a family have different nationalities or citizenships.
See full report
3. Pillay urges authorities to respect citizens’ rights before, during and after Sudan referendum
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
06 January 2011
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called Thursday on the authorities in both northern and southern Sudan to ensure that Sunday’s crucial vote on the future status of South Sudan “is not marred by any abuses of voters’ rights before, during or after the referendum.” (…)
Pillay commended the authorities for the peaceful conclusion of the voter registration phase of the referendum process, which she described as orderly in spite of time and resource constraints. She also welcomed the Government’s pledge to respect the outcome of the referendum and to continue to contribute to the development of southern Sudan as a peaceful neighbour if it opts for separation.
Noting recent public statements by Sudanese leaders, the High Commissioner said she believes “there is cause for cautious optimism” that they are indeed keen to avoid any actions that would undermine the credibility of the vote.
“Nevertheless,” she said, “the run-up to the referendum has been marked by some worrying trends, including restrictions in press freedom and a number of arbitrary arrests and detention. Both Governments must ensure that these problems do not re-emerge over the next few days and weeks.”
Pillay urged the authorities to “guard vigilantly” against intimidation against the more than 1.5 million southern Sudanese living in the North, as well as against northerners living in the South.
“I have been particularly concerned by reports that state officials have made provocative statements about the future of Southern Sudanese living in the North. Officials in both the North and South should refrain from inflammatory remarks, and instead – whichever way the result goes – work for a secure, peaceful and prosperous future for all Sudanese. Citizenship, residency arrangements and respect for the rights of ethnic and religious minorities must be protected, whatever the outcome,” Pillay said.
The High Commissioner stressed that the referendum should not be viewed as the end of the peace process. Both parties must continue to abide by the terms of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, even after the interim period ends in July 2011.
“From now until July 2011, the parties have to negotiate a number of critical issues that have not yet been resolved,” Pillay said. “These include future arrangements on citizenship and nationality, the sharing of assets and liabilities, including oil and water, security and obligations under international treaties.”
“In the long run,” she added, “a successful transformation of Sudan will require a strengthening of the rule of law, in accordance with international standards governing justice and equality, an end to entrenched impunity, respect for human rights and democratic governance. It will also require the sustained support of the international community.”
See full news release
1. Women raped in mass attack in Congo, humanitarian group says
07 January 2011
Dozens of women were raped in a coordinated attack in the Democratic Republic of Congo on New Year's Day, Doctors Without Borders said Thursday.
The humanitarian agency said 33 women were raped in Fizi, South Kivu, in the eastern part of the war-torn country. "Women had been restrained with ropes or beaten unconscious with the butt of a gun before being attacked, some in front of their children," said Annemarie Loof, an official with the agency, commonly known by its French name, Medecins Sans Frontieres. (…)
Rape is a frequent weapon of war in Congo, the United Nations says. It has named the Democratic Republic of Congo the "rape capital of the world," with 15,000 women raped in eastern Congo in 2009. The attacks occurred in parts of the country where armed rebel groups moved into areas considered to be pro-government but lacking in army or police protection, according to the United Nations.
Many rape survivors took to the streets in October to speak out against sexual violence. "My heart is in pain. Why are you raping me?" sang the rape victims, many of whom left hospital beds to join the march in eastern Congo.
A U.N. report in September slammed Congo's security forces for failing prevent a wave of mass rapes over several days last summer. The preliminary report confirmed the rape of at least 303 civilians between July 30 and August 2 in the Walikale region of Congo's North Kivu province.
And the rapes have clearly not stopped, Medecins Sans Frontieres said. "MSF is extremely concerned about the current situation in and around Fizi," Loof said Thursday. "People are fleeing the area fearing further violent attacks." The agency provided medical and psychosocial care for 5,600 rape victims in North and South Kivu in 2009, it said.
See full article
2. Kenya’s post election violence: ICC Prosecutor presents cases against six individuals for crimes against humanity
International Criminal Court
15 December 2010
On 31 March 2010 the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) approvedProsecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo’s request to investigate the alleged crimes against humanity that took place in Kenya starting in June 2005 (Kenya’s ratification of the Rome Statute). The Prosecutor carried out his investigation during two visits from 8-12 May and 1-3 December 2010, and, upon its completion, announced the names of six suspects. The members of the government accused of crimes against humanity included Uhuru Kenyatta, the finance minister and deputy prime minister, William Ruto, a powerful politician in the Rift Valley province, and Francis Muthaura, the head of the civil service. A poll conducted in December 2010 showed that 85% of Kenyanssupport the prosecutionof those responsible for post-election violence. In response to the Court’s announcement, Kenyan MPs voted in favor of the country withdrawing from the Rome Statute at the foundation of the ICC. While MPs do not have the power to remove Kenya from the Court, this motion sent a message to the government.
ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo today requested the International Criminal Court to issue summonses to appear against six Kenyan citizens to face justice for massive crimes committed during the post-election violence (PEV) in Kenya.
The Prosecutor has concluded there are reasonable grounds to believe crimes against humanity were committed, in the first Prosecution case, by:
1. William Samoei Ruto - currently: Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology (suspended), MP for Eldoret North and during the PEV, MP for Eldoret North. The Prosecution considers that he was one of the principal planners and organizers of crimes against PNU supporters;
2. Henry Kiprono Kosgey - currently: Minister of Industrialization, MP for Tinderet Constituency, ODM Chairman and during the PEV: MP for Tinderet. The Prosecution considers that he was one of the principal planners and organizers of crimes against PNU supporters; and
3. Joshua Arap Sang - currently Head of Operations, KASS FM and during the PEV: Radio broadcaster. The Prosecution considers that he was one of the principal planners and organizers of crimes against PNU supporters.
And in the second Prosecution case, by:
4. Francis Kirimi Muthaura - during the PEV and to date: Head of the Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet and Chairman of the National Security Advisory Committee. The Prosecution considers that he authorized the Police to use excessive force against ODM supporters and to facilitate attacks against ODM supporters.
5. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta - currently: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. The Prosecution considers that during the PEV he helped to mobilize the Mungiki criminal organization to attack ODM supporters; and
6. Mohamed Hussein Ali - currently: Chief Executive of the Postal Corporation of Kenya and during the PEV he was Commissioner of the Kenya Police. The Prosecution considers that during the PEV he authorized the use of excessive force against ODM supporters and facilitated attacks against ODM supporters.
“The post election period of 2007-2008 was one of the most violent periods of the nation’s history,” said the Prosecutor.
The post election attacks left more than 1, 100 people dead, 3,500 injured and up to 600, 000 forcibly displaced. During 60 days of violence, there were hundreds of rapes, possibly more, and over 100, 000 properties were destroyed in six of Kenya’s eight provinces.
“These were not just crimes against innocent Kenyans”, said Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo. “They were crimes against humanity as a whole. By breaking the cycle of impunity for massive crimes, victims and their families can have justice. And Kenyans can pave the way to peaceful elections in 2012.”
The judges of Pre-Trial Chamber II will now review the evidence. If they determine that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the six persons named committed the alleged crimes, they will decide on the most appropriate way to ensure their appearance in Court. (…)
See full article
Thanks to Megan Schmidt for her assistance in drafting this listserv