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03 August 2006

Responsibility to Protect Engaging Civil Society


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In this issue:

[WFM-IGP NGO meeting on R2P, R2P in the News, Darfur, Uganda]

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to inform you of a recent meeting on R2P that WFM-IGP co-sponsored along with Human Rights Watch, International Crisis Group, and Oxfam International. On July 27, 2006 WFM-IGP, hosted an NGO strategy discussion on advancing the Responsibility to Protect. Other participants included: Amnesty International, CARE International, Coalition for the International Criminal Court, Human Rights First International Service for Human Rights, International Save the Children Alliance, and Refugees International. The meeting agenda was as follows:

I. Introduction

II. Discussion of NGO Positions on Responsibility to Protect

Has your organization taken a position on the responsibility to protect? How have you applied the esponsibility to protect in your work?

III. Advancing Advocacy of Responsibility to Protect Principles

R2P as it was introduced in the ICISS report covers a broad range of activities from root cause prevention to post-intervention rebuilding. For the purposes of this discussion, we focused on three discrete ways in which R2P can be taken forward by NGOs:

1. Framing Responsibility to Protect as Continuum of Actions

2. Operationalizing Responsibility to Protect

3. Application of Responsibility to Protect to Existing/Outbreaking Crises

IV. Wrap Up/Identifying Next Steps

If you have any questions about the meeting, please contact Sapna Chhatpar at
[email protected]....

List of Articles:

I. R2P in the News


II. Darfur



III. Uganda



I. R2P in the News


Manila Bulletin
Fidel Valdez Ramos

30 July 2006

THE heart-rending images of casualties and suffering of innocent civilians fleeing from the bombardment by both Israeli forces and the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon has many serious implications for the Philippines. Foremost is the safety and well-being of our 30,000 OFWs working in Lebanon, most of whom are in the capital city of Beirut. ()

The Responsibility to Protect

A new UN mechanism for crisis prevention and conflict resolution could be applied to the Israeli-Hezbollah Lebanon violence to stop its further spread. At the UN Summit last September 2005, a new international norm called "the responsibility to protect (R2P)" was adopted by the Heads of Government/State which mandated each individual state and the international community, through the UN, to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. The UN Security Council reaffirmed the language embodying "the responsibility to protect" in a resolution passed on 28 April 2006. ()

The Broader Policy Challenge

The concept of "the responsibility to protect," as justification of the UN's "right of humanitarian intervention" is already in place. At least until the horrifying events of 9/11 brought to center stage the international response to terrorism, the issue of intervention for human protection purposes had been one of the most controversial and complex of the policy challenges facing the world community. Intervention for humanitarian purposes had been controversial when it happened - as in Somalia, Bosnia, and Kosovo - and when it failed to happen, as in Rwanda.

It was a rare privilege for me to serve on the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) which forged a comprehensive report in August 2001 that would help the UN Secretary General and everyone else find new common ground on this most controversial and most difficult problem. Let me emphasize that there are "other responsibilities" which are crucial components of the overall package of policy options. These are:

(1) The Responsibility to Prevent - the commitment to helping local efforts address the roots of conflict and their immediate triggers, thereby serving to prevent or reduce, if not eliminate, intervention altogether;

(2) The Responsibility to React - the requirement to act forcefully or coercively on the part of the larger community of nations when a state is unable or unwilling to redress a humanitarian crisis; and,

(3) The Responsibility to Rebuild - the obligation, in the post-intervention phase, to follow through with sustainable reconstruction, rehabilitation, and ultimate reconciliation. Public safety, law and order, and peace-building are among its most important aspects.

It is easily seen that the progression of government's responsibilities to prevent, to react, to protect, and to rebuild applies to the Philippine situation today. In the light of PGMA's cosmetic, though well-crafted, SONA on one hand, and her well-publicized hardline military strategy on the other, it would be wise for our elected leaders to learn from the above-cited tested concepts of good governance. Each of these critical responsibilities must not be carried out in isolation, independent of each other, but implemented holistically for the maximum benefit of our communities under threat of violence. Many enclaves in the Philippines - for instance, the ARMM, the Cordillera and the Sierra Madre areas - are our own priority zones to protect, to rebuild, and to develop.

(Note: Look up my related article in the Bulletin of 18 September 2005 entitled "In Larger Freedom: Fighting Poverty and Terrorism" which describes how the ICISS developed the concept of "the responsibility to protect" and its adoption by the UN High Panel).

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II. Darfur


BBC News

2 August 2006

UN chief Kofi Annan has urged the Security Council to reinforce Darfur's African Union (AU) peacekeepers, while pressuring Sudan to accept a UN force.

Mr Annan gave three options for the UN, with Sudan's approval, to bring peace.

One scheme would involve 18,600 African and Asian troops, making it the world's largest UN peace force.

But Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir has vowed to never allow a UN force into Darfur. The UN cannot assume a role without the government's consent.

"Securing the consent of the government of Sudan will require continued intensive discussions with Khartoum by council members, by key member states and regional organisations, as well as by the United Nations," Mr Annan said.

"No effort should be spared to send the simple, powerful message: International involvement will increase the chances of peace taking root in Darfur, will strengthen the credibility of the peace process and the protection of the suffering populations of Darfur," he said.

He warned that the window of opportunity created by the Darfur peace agreement signed in May would be lost if there was no extra effort to implement it on the ground.

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International Crisis Group

Nick Grono

26 July 2006

Darfur's ongoing misery is the world's continuing shame. The international community has conspicuously failed in its responsibility to protect the people of Darfur from large scale crimes against humanity: the result is over 200,000 dead and more than two million forced from their homes.

But one notable exception to this international abdication of responsibility has been on the legal front, with the UN Security Council's referral of Darfur to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in March 2005. In the face of clear evidence of ethnic cleansing and other atrocity crimes, the ICC investigation has taken on enormous importance. It is also a critical test of the fledgling organisation. ()

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, faces three big challenges. The first is that Darfur is in the middle of a continuing conflict, making it extraordinarily difficult to conduct a successful investigation and prosecutions. The government and its proxy Janjaweed militias continue to launch attacks on the rebels and their civilian sympathisers in western Sudan and in neighbouring Chad, and the rebels are not only fighting them, but also each other. The Prosecutor does not even have a security force to protect his staff and witnesses on the ground let alone help him collect evidence.

The second challenge is that the Sudanese Government is doing everything in its power to obstruct and undermine the ICC investigation. When the Security Council referred Darfur to the ICC, in fact, President al-Bashir declared, "I shall never hand any Sudanese national to a foreign court", and Khartoum has acted accordingly ever since.

Very soon, the Prosecutor will have to begin to publicly confront this obstruction - if only for his own credibility. So far, the ICC has been testing the limits of Sudanese cooperation, and working to understand government structures and relationships with the janjaweed and various factions. But the Prosecutor should be under no misapprehension that there exist moderate leaders within the regime willing to genuinely assist his investigation. It is only external pressure that can help him.

The third challenge, and perhaps the biggest of all, will be confronting claims that the ICC prosecutions are actually an impediment to resolving the conflict. Already Khartoum has made it clear that one of its many objections to the UN taking over from the ineffective and under-resourced Africa Union force currently in Darfur is its fear that the UN peacekeepers will act as a police force for the ICC. As it becomes clear the Prosecutor is serious about pursuing those most responsible - including high-level Sudanese government officials and some rebel commanders - he will face more and more claims that his investigation is blocking peace in Sudan. Khartoum, and some in the international community, will assert that perpetrators should be given amnesties.

This challenge - whether to trade away justice to make peace easier to achieve - is not a new one. As justice and peace are both fundamentally important objectives, there are compelling arguments for the primacy of each. From the ICC's perspective, its underlying rationale is to demonstrate to those who plan and implement atrocity crimes they will be held accountable. In this sense, a successful ICC investigation in Darfur is critical not just for Sudan but for ending such crimes around the world.

There is a recognition in the ICC statute itself that that there are circumstances in which the Prosecutor may decide not to continue with an investigation because it is not in the interests of justice to do so or because new facts or information changes the equation - which presumably includes, in exceptional circumstances, a new peace process with robust accountability mechanisms. But this is a very tough call for the ICC itself to make. It's hard to task the Prosecutor with pursing justice against those responsible for horrific crimes, while at the same time burdening him with the political role of deciding whether the interests of an uncertain peace should trump justice.

This role should be left to the Security Council, which, after all, has responsibility for maintaining and restoring international peace and security. The ICC statute explicitly provides that the Security Council can put ICC investigations or prosecutions on hold. Getting Security Council agreement on such an issue will never be easy, but such a difficult decision merits attention at this level, leaving the Prosecutor free to focus on his primary job of pursuing perpetrators.

Leaders in Khartoum and rebel commanders are aware their actions could have real consequences for them personally - perhaps not now or in the next few months, but maybe two or three years down the track. They are acutely conscious of the precedents of Milosevic, Taylor and Pinochet. And if they are not to be held so accountable, it should only be because the Security Council determines that the interests of peace demand otherwise.

Nick Grono is Vice-President of the International Crisis Group

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'I did not do anything'

Asked what would happen if the government did not accept a ceasefire, Mr Kony said: "I will not do anything, but I will try also to talk so that we cease the fire."

When asked if he thought he would ever stand trial before the ICC in The Hague, the rebel leader replied: "No, no, no... because I did not do anything."

Mr Machar told the BBC's Focus on Africa that Mr Kony said he was committed to a peaceful settlement to the conflict in northern Uganda. ()

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Human Rights Watch

Turning a Blind Eye to Justice Undermines Durable Peace

28 July 2006

Genuine initiatives aimed at ending the devastating armed conflict in northern Uganda are welcome, but amnesties for war crimes and crimes against humanity must not be on offer, Human Rights Watch said today.

() he LRA Five are accused of widespread sexual slavery, murder, and brutalization of children over two decades, said Richard Dicker, director of Human Rights Watchs International Justice Program. mnesty or similar measures can not be on the table when it comes to these kinds of crimes.

() According to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, amnesties cannot be granted for serious crimes under international law, and peace agreements endorsed by the United Nations can never provide such amnesties.

The creation of the International Criminal Court and other international criminal tribunals to prosecute genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity or other serious violations of humanitarian law illustrates the strong international commitment to justice for serious crimes.

e have seen time and again that turning a blind eye to justice only undercuts durable peace, said Dicker. ow long can a peace based on this kind of deal last?

The United Nations and key governments, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom, should continue to speak out strongly against amnesty for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

()To supplement investigation and prosecutions by the International Criminal Court, Uganda also should conduct meaningful prosecutions in its own courts, Human Rights Watch said. In addition, the Ugandan government should establish a truth commission or another truth-telling process that would allow people in northern Uganda a forum to speak about the human rights abuses that occurred during the war. This process could work alongside traditional reconciliation measures in which those affected wish to participate.

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