Tagged: african politics

Britain’s Bashir-Esque Dilemma – What to Do With the Arrested Rwandan Spy Chief?

(Photo by Daily Maverick)

2015-06-30 15_36_41-Home _ Daily Maverick

By Simon Allison 

He might not be a president, but Rwandan spy chief Karenzi Karake is still a very big fish. His arrest in London, on a Spanish warrant, could precipitate another crisis for international justice. A word of gratuitous advice for the British authorities: This one’s delicate!  Handle with care. 

Another day, another crisis for international justice.

First it was the arrival of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on South African soil, and South Africa’s ensuing failure to arrest him – defying both the International Criminal Court and South Africa’s own judiciary in the process.

Then it was the arrest in Germany of Al-Jazeera journalist Ahmed Mansour, detained at the airport in Berlin at the request of the Egyptian government. Egypt had convicted Mansour in absentia for allegedly torturing a lawyer in Tahrir Square in 2011, and sentenced him to 15 years’ imprisonment. On Sunday, Mansour was released without charge, with the Germans citing diplomatic, legal and political concerns that could not be ignored (presumably, these have something to do with the Egyptian military regime’s notorious lack of respect for the judicial process, especially when it comes to journalists).

Finally, news broke on Tuesday that Rwandan spy chief Lieutenant-General Emmanual Karenzi Karake, head of the notorious National Intelligence and Security Services, had beenarrested in the United Kingdom while trying to depart from Heathrow. Karake is one of 40 Rwandans indicted by a Spanish judge in 2008 for allegedly ordering revenge massacres in the wake of the Rwandan genocide in 1994. If the process gets that far, it will be to Spain that Karake is extradited.

The three cases represent three very different facets of international justice. Bashir’s is an example of the top-down approach, where an international body investigates and prosecutes international crimes; Mansour’s is an example of the national approach, where bilateral agreements and coordinating bodies like Interpol help countries enforce their national laws in other jurisdictions; and Karake’s is an example of universal jurisdiction in action.

“The term ‘universal jurisdiction’ refers to the idea that a national court may prosecute individuals for any serious crime against international law — such as crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide, and torture — based on the principle that such crimes harm the international community or international order itself, which individual States may act to protect,” explains the International Justice Resource Centre.

The majority of states (163 of the 193 UN member states, according to Amnesty International) provide for some kind of universal jurisdiction, but few exercise it. Spain is a notable exception. Spain has actively prosecuted international crimes committed in faraway jurisdictions such as Argentina, El Salvador and Guatemala – and, of course, Rwanda.

Karake’s arrest is a major test of universal jurisdiction in action, and there are enough allegations surrounding him to suggest that he should have his day in court. As well as the charges relating to the post-Rwandan genocide massacres, Karake is implicated in the killing of hundreds of civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo during fighting between Rwandan and Ugandan forces.

(Coincidentally, given the current comparisons with Bashir, Karake was appointed in 2007 to head the African Union/United Nations hybrid mission in Darfur, with strong backing from the US and UK. Bashir, of course, is wanted by the ICC on charges of committing genocide in Darfur).

Although the legal case for Britain to extradite Karake to Spain is solid, there are political considerations that might get in the way.


Karenzi Karake in London, on Rwanda Day. (Photo byJambo News)

The most significant is the close relationship between Britain and the Rwandan government. Rwanda is a major destination for British aid, and President Paul Kagame is advised by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Already, Rwanda is putting on heavy diplomatic pressure to secure Karake’s release, with its ambassador the UK describing the arrest as “an insult”. But the British government won’t be able to ignore its courts in the South African manner. Should Karake’s arrest warrant be in order, and all procedures properly followed, it’s going to be difficult to prevent his extradition.

Which begs the question: why was Karake detained in the first place? According to media reports, Karake has made several trips to Britain since 2008, and he has been permitted to leave each time. This implies either that something has changed – most likely, that the furore around Bashir’s non-arrest forced Britain’s hand – or that some border official was a little over-zealous in the execution of his duties, and now it’s too late for anyone to turn a blind eye.

Another factor that the politicians will be considering is the ramifications that extraditing Karake will have on the already strained relations between the African continent and international justice. It will be a public relations coup for African leaders looking for further justification that they are being unfairly targeted by the West. While there are sound reasons for the German court to have released Mansour, and for a British court to extradite Karake, these decisions could just as easily be portrayed as western judiciaries choosing to enforce western arrest warrants (in the case of Spain and Karake) while refusing to enforce African justice (in the case of Egypt and Mansour).

Britain, in other words, is in an extremely delicate position. If it does go ahead with extradition proceedings, and eventually extradite Karake to Spain, it risks angering an important ally and alienating a continent – while giving self-interested leaders more fuel for their claims of western bias in international justice. If it doesn’t, it will have to defy its own rule of law, potentially dealing a crippling blow to the concept of universal jurisdiction in the process. It’s a legal and political minefield, complicated by a diplomatic storm that shows no signs of letting up anytime soon. No one ever said international justice was easy.


Has President Kagame ordered a murder??

South Africa has recalled its ambassador to Rwanda following a diplomatic row over the shooting of an exiled Rwandan general in Johannesburg. Gen Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, a critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, was shot and wounded in June. SA said it had not broken diplomatic ties and no connection was being made between the ambassador’s withdrawal and the shooting. “

Rwanda denies any involvement in the shooting of the general.

“We have recalled our ambassador to Rwanda for consultations,” said South African foreign ministry director general Ayanda Ntsaluba.

“Let me be categorical. We have not broken diplomatic relations with Rwanda,” he added.
He said the two countries were in discussions.

Rwanda summoned South Africa’s ambassador to Kigali, Gladstone Dumisani Gwadiso, last month to discuss the investigation into Gen Nyanwasa’s shooting.

The former head of the Rwandan army was shot on 19 June. He survived and said President Kagame had ordered the attack.
Five people have been charged in South Africa over the murder, but their nationalities have not been revealed.
Kagame is standing for re-election to a second seven-year term as president on Monday.

read full article here

Source: AfricaNews Monitoring Team Credit: BBC

Kenyans Approve New Constitution

Hey my dear readers…

I’m so sorry I have been missing on updating you guys.

I’m busy with new projects you will soon be able to see….

So far I hope you all stayed informed and interested…


New York Times published:

NAIROBI, Kenya — With a new Constitution overwhelmingly approved by voters, Kenyan politicians are now talking excitedly about their country’s golden future.

Kenya has been reborn,” declared Kiraitu Murungi, the energy minister, shortly before final results were announced Thursday showing that the new Constitution had passed, with 67 percent of Kenyans behind it.

No doubt, the new Constitution and the remarkably peaceful way in which the referendum was conducted Wednesday was a much-needed boost of self-confidence for the country.

read full article here

I’ll be back soon…

China, the new colonialist (I)

this vid’ made me think it’s time I post something about China. I was looking for some sources when I found this article. I think this really gets it to the point!

(…) Twenty years ago, China’s main concern in Africa was upending the diplomatic relations enjoyed by Taiwan with numerous Sub Saharan nations. Now its unprecedented drive to take the preeminent role in continent is being fuelled by China’s vast energy, mineral and food stuff requirements.

One trend that is impossible to ignore in Sub Saharan Africa is the growing role China is taking in the continent’s affairs. Beijing is on the move in Africa — using aid, diplomacy, weapons sales and Chinese ex pats in a bid to become the preeminent power in the region.

The anecdotal evidence is everywhere. In Kigali, the big modern Chinese embassy bristles with communication antennas and dishes. Rwanda, with its paucity of natural resources, seems a surprising place for such an installation until you factor in the country’s role as the gateway to the Eastern Congo and its untold mineral wealth. It has been widely reported that China recently purchased half the farm land under cultivation in the Congo.

Roads in Nairobi, notorious for their clogged traffic circles, are being widened and repaved with large billboards telling Kenyans that the work is a gift from the people of China. The fact that the roads will ease congestion for Kenyan motorists is an afterthought to the benefactor which requires modern infrastructure to move African commodities to ports for shipment to China.

Rural South African towns that have been losing population for two decades are seeing an influx of Chinese restaurateurs and merchants. A parliamentary leader in one South African province told me that he believes that many of the small businessmen who have fanned out across his remote farming and mining constituency have ties to Chinese intelligence. In neighboring Namibia, China established its first overseas military base to track its satellite and manned space flights.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Chinese companies are considering the purchase of interests in Nigerian oil companies, including the stakes currently held by major American companies.

China’s rapid inroads into Africa are made possible by a combination of Chinese money and a willingness by Beijing to deal with some of the world’s most unsavory leaders and human rights abusers like Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe and Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir in the Sudan. The inattention of the West to this important development has made China’s strategic initiative that much easier.

The prospect of an Africa dominated by China means that progress in human rights and democracy in the region will stall and could be reversed. While propping up dictators may make doing business there easier, it will certainly ensure that corruption will continue to flourish and Africans will continue to be oppressed. Chinese money and weapons in the hands of those who have no problem using them to steal, stifle dissent and subjugate minority tribes is a bad thing.

The United States and the West also require fair access to the vital energy supplies and strategic minerals in Africa. American policy makers have already identified West African oil reserves as a resource that can lesson our dependence on volatile Middle Eastern and Venezuelan markets. Undue Chinese political and economic influence on the continent could deny America access to these critical sources of supply in the future.

America is in a unique position to promote free men and free markets in Africa. The United States can compete with China diplomatically and commercially in the region. The United States does not carry baggage from a colonial past as do European countries. Sub Saharan Africa is a place where America remains truly popular. President Bush’s HIV/AIDS imitative was very well received. The Millennium Development Corporation is better known there than here. The United States is lead by a President of African descent, widely admired on the continent, and American pop culture rules in Africa.

To stem the Chinese tide and to give Africans the opportunity to have a better future, the United States must strongly advocate for human rights, democracy and freedom on the continent. We cannot be reticent to criticize African strongmen in forums such as the UN. The people of Africa are not looking for our apologies; they are looking for us to bolster them as they struggle against tyranny and corruption.

We should support those countries such as Botswana, Rwanda and South Africa that are committed democracies and nurture those such as Liberia that are making progress in the right direction with increased trade, investment and tourism. The budget of the Millennium Development Corporation can be increased and focused on Africa. America should remain at the forefront of funding HIV/AIDS, polio vaccination and anti-malaria programs on the continent. All of the foregoing programs have broad bipartisan support.

Further, the Africom HQ needs to move from Frankfurt to Africa. The HQ would immediately provide the host country with an economic boost. It would also allow us to work closely on the ground with the AU on peace keeping logistics and training. Having our HQ in the region will encourage friends and cause the foes of freedom to be nervous. It will also demonstrate our ability to project power in a way the Chinese still cannot.

An African renaissance requires democracy, transparency and respect for human rights. A free and transparent Africa will be a friendly place for the United States and a partner in trade and culture long into the future. An Africa dominated China is unlikely to be such a partner. The time for America to fully engage in Africa is now! (…)

source (Robert O’ Brien for CBSnews)

Country of the week: ♕Benin♕

Benin has made significant gains in reducing poverty and expanding primary education, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon observed on Sunday on a visit to the West African nation, while pledging United Nations support for a range of challenges such as food security and the environment.

The country’s efforts to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – eight targets to slash poverty, fight hunger and tackle other key social and economic problems by 2015 – were the focus of Mr. Ban’s visit, part of a five-nation African tour. (read full article here)

Somalis child soldiers financed by the US…

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Awil Salah Osman prowls the streets of this shattered city, looking like so many other boys, with ripped-up clothes, thin limbs and eyes eager for attention and affection. But Awil is different in two notable ways: he is shouldering a fully automatic, fully loaded Kalashnikov assault rifle; and he is working for a military that is substantially armed and financed by the United States. (read)

Sudan and his controversial new President!

A reader’s comment on my last post about the election of Oman Al-Bashir made me think that I might as well go deeper into the whole subject and chart the different aspect of this Election.

2010/05/29 at 2:13 am

“I think it is good news that Sudan held an election in along time, like 2 decades or more, plus it went peacefully.
So…we cant expect much else, at least for now.”

This year elections were the first “democratically” held election since 1986. (…) The 1986 elections were held after the fall of Field Marshal Jaffar Mohammed Numeiry, who seized power in a 1969 military coup and ruled the country until he was ejected in a popular uprising in 1985. source
Omar -Al Bashir came to power in 1989 when he, as a brigadier of the Sudanese army  led a group of officers in a bloodless military coup that ousted the government of Prime Minister Sadiq al- Mahdi. In October 2004, the National Congress Party (NCP) and the the Sudan’s People Liberation Movement (SPLM) negotiated an end to the Second Sudanese Civil War,one of the longest-running and deadliest wars of the 20th century, by granting limited autonomy to Southern Sudan. (…) Al Bashir’s government even signed the the Comprehensive Peace agreement (CPA) in 2005, an agreement between the SPLM and the NCP to develop democratic governance countrywide and share oil revenues. It further set a timetable by which Southern Sudan would have a referendum on its independence.
(…) Since then, however, there has been a violent conflict in Darfur that has resulted in death tolls between 200,000 and 400,000.During his presidency, there have been several violent struggles between the Janjaweed militia and rebel groups such as the  Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in the form of guerilla warfare in the Darfur region. The civil war has resulted in over 2.5 million people being displaced, and the diplomatic relations between Sudan and Chad being at a crisis level.
In July 2008, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno Ocampo, accused Al-Bashir of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. The court issued an arrest warrant for Al-Bashir on 4 March 2009 on counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, but ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him for genocide. The warrant will be delivered to the Sudanese government, which is unlikely to execute it. Al-Bashir is the first sitting head of state ever indicted by the ICC. source
But the African Union, the League of Arab States, The Non-Aligned Movement, the governments of Russia and China have opposed them to this decision.

Why? One of the reasons is surely that Al-Bashir raised Sudan to be one of Chinas and Russias most import OIL-PROVIDER in the last few years. So despite ICC arrest warrent Al-Bashir is a free man, even thought Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa said, he will have him arrested should he dare to put one foot on South African ground.

How could Al-Bashir get elected president again and what choice did the Sudanese people have?

For the first “free and fair” election since the military coup that brought Al Bashir to power in 1989, the Sudan’s People Liberation Movement (SPLM) nominated in January 2010  Yasir Arman, as the party’s presidential candidate in the north. Arman was a important negotiater for the CPA agreement between South and North Sudan. (Another potential candidate of the SPLM was Riek Machar).

(…) Arman articulated his party’s national ambitions in an interview with Sudan Tribune one year ago. “In many occasions the SPLM in the north has demonstrated that it is growing, it is a force to reckon with. In fact it is one of the biggest forces, and it is to be noted that the SPLM—the movement that started in South Sudan, it is the first movement in the history of Sudan that started in a marginalized area and then it engulfed the whole of Sudan.”(…)

So President Al-Bashir,  had as the main challenger :

From the North: former Prime Minister Sadiq Al-Mahdi (Interview with Al-Mahdi) and  from the South : SPLM-Frontman Arman.

But then one candidate after the other boycotted the elections.

The southern Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) – which serves in a coalition at national level with President Bashir – first announced it was boycotting the presidential election over fraud and security fears in April 2010.

view: 3min Interview with Aman about boycotting the Elections

Other parties in the north followed suit, saying they believed the electoral process had been rigged in favour of Mr Bashir’s National Congress Party. Then the Umma party announced that it is boycotting the general elections at all levels.

Sadig Al-Mahdi, explained at a press conference the reasons for the boycott.

“Our main concern was the issue of the transportation and control of the ballots and the fact that the number of polling centers were reduced to less than half of the original number. This denied other parties in the states the chance of participation in the elections and the National Elections Commission did nothing about this issue and this led to the general boycott of these flawed elections. When the issue was discussed for the second time, the view of the majority of our political bureau was in favor a complete boycott of the elections. The political bureau yesterday took its decision to boycott of elections at all levels because these elections do not represent the real will of the people of Sudan. “….

please view: Al Mahdis Reasons for the boycott

” The aim of the boycott is to rob President Omar al-Bashir of the opportunity to legitimise his rule.

He has governed Sudan for more than 20 years, but his indictment by the International Criminal Court on alleged war crimes in Darfur now hangs around his neck like a millstone.

He has been campaigning vigorously in the run-up to the vote on 11 April, travelling across Sudan, and was busy rallying his supporters in Sennar – east of Khartoum – as his opponents plotted their withdrawal.

His dilemma now is how to respond to the boycott. It is also a blow for Washington, which was laying a lot of store on these elections and wanted them to go ahead.* ” (Zeinab Badawil, BBC News)

* according to the CPA agreement of 2005, the election were set for 2008/9 !

But the US did not react as the Sudanese people expect them to.

Ibrahim Ali Ibrahim says on the “Sudanese Tribune”:

(…)Sudanese regret that US did not do more as promised to prevent and address such irregularities, manipulation of the process by the NCP,… The US did not only ignore the mass fraud, manipulation, and intimidation that characterized the elections, but also helped in making this scheme possible. The Sudanese opposition had hoped these elections would have led to a democratic transformation… Unfortunately, the US administration views the elections mandated by the CPA as a prerequisite for the referendum in the South to be held in January 2011(…)The fear of Bashir aborting the referendum has been the driving force behind the U.S policy towards Sudan. Ironically, this policy seems to have helped him in aborting the democratic transformation process promised by the CPA agreement(…)This contradicting role encourage the regime of Al Bashir to abrogate the last chapter of the CPA, and the referendum for the South(…) “the US is on our side”,he says. He fears nothing(…)The irony of this policy is that US has achieved none of its goals in Sudan(…). source

I’d like to share one last opinion on this:

Its from a Sudanese political activist, living in the US, called Deng T. Liem :

(…) I believe that it is the best interest for south to vote for President Oman Al-Bashir in this election, not because he is the best President for us, but because he was one who had signed CPA with south. If he will act to disown his own signatory, however, it will make it easy for south to declare UDI for south against his regime and the whole world will rally behind south as they would have known that, President Al-Bashir has breached his own signature on CPA document…

1. President Oman Al-Bashir will not make unity attractive, whatsoever; therefore, south will overwhelmingly vote to secede in 2011, 2. He has vigorously agreed with his nuclear Islamic fundamentalists’ society and endorsed religion state of Sudan that would be governed by “Sharia Laws” opposed to secular New Sudan of SPLM and therefore, President Oman Al-Bashir is now a sought separatist, and 3. He is a partner in CPA and any attempted breach against referendum provision would be grave mistaken as it would be taken very seriously by international community and CPA peace brokers

However, Mr. Yasir Arman will make it difficult for south to secede for these fundamental reasons I listed below.
1. He has no base in north to govern without south, 2. He would not let his base to secede to taint his political carrier and north, 3. He will keep his base by making unity attractive to south and votes for unity, and 4. He must abnegate his known secularism mentality and joins his nuclear Arab people in north to declare wrecking war against south and charges south for disowning it owns SPLM’s compelling principle of New Sudan in place
. source

We well all have to watch very attentively the next steps of the NCP. Even thought Al-Bashir new elected presidency (à la “Survival of the fittest”) lay open many question marks and unsolved problems (and more important many disappointed people!), I sincerely believe that this results were strategically (not morally!) correct and I’m exited to see what is going to happen next.

researched and commented 4u by mwoogie

please feel free to comment

Ethiopia: Elections V (Election rerun denial and African Union Observations)

The Associat. Press posted   Ethiopia Opposition Calls For Election Rerun yesterday.

I’d like to read it with you pointing out the important conclusions.

(…) An Ethiopian opposition leader called Wednesday for a rerun of the weekend election, charging that the vote was flawed by intimidation and irregularities, as America and the European Union expressed concern over its fairness. Prospective parliamentarian Hailu Shawel said he believes Sunday’s vote was controlled by the ruling party and has written a letter to the electoral board asking for a rerun. Over recent days, he has claimed that opposition observers were turned away and that voters and candidates were intimidated. Other members of his party have questioned the privacy of the vote. (…)

(…) The latest preliminary results from the election board show a landslide victory for the party of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who has ruled since seizing power in a 1991 coup. Ethiopian election officials said they witnessed no irregularities, and government spokesman Bereket Simon said the election was free and fair. (…)

Please view here the Preliminary statement of the African Union Election observers on Daniel Berhanes Blog

about the “Campaigning” the AU Elect. Observ. honestly states:

they were unable to observe the campaigning.

They alleged that they had not been accorded equitable (media and physical) space and freedom they needed to campaign. However the AU had no way of verifying the allegations.

and come to the “Conclusion” that:

1. The overwhelming voter turnout indicated outstanding mobilization and sensitisation by the NEBE, political organizations and other stakeholders

2. Conditions existed for voters to freely express their will.

3. The Ethiopian Legislative Elections were organised and conducted in accordance with the constitutional and legal provisions and the rules and regulations governing the conduct of elections in the country and were largely consistent with AU guidelines and standards for the conduct of democratic elections.

It is recognized that 2010 Ethiopia’s Legislative Elections reflected the will of the people. The AU Observer Mission congratulates the people of Ethiopia for their peaceful conduct and active participation in the electoral process.

more to the Associat. Press article:

– (…) But EU observers said Tuesday they found that the poll was marred by an uneven playing field that favored the ruling party. Since the last violent elections in 2005, some critics say the government has systematically stifled the competition.

U.S. National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said late Tuesday that U.S. Embassy officials were denied accreditation and the opportunity to travel outside of the capital to observe the voting. “The limitation of independent observation and the harassment of independent media representatives are deeply troubling,” Hammer said in a statement.(…)

This, even thought the A.U. explained in their observations clearly that they have not been able to accord equitable freedom to independent media.

(…) U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said voters were told they could lose food assistance, public-sector jobs, loans and educational opportunities if they voted against the ruling party.

Why would the A.U. say that the Conditions existed for the voters to freely express their will, then?Why lie about that?

I think the most important point here is that : THE WERE MORE VOTER TURNOUT than expected. Intimidated people tend to let go or revolt.

Please consult here he provisional results of the National Election Board of Ethiopia on Daniel Berhanes Blog !

(…) Ethiopia is frequently criticized for its human rights record, including by the U.S. State Department, which in a March report cited reports of “unlawful killings, torture, beating, abuse and mistreatment of detainees and opposition supporters by security forces, often acting with evident impunity…Still, the U.S. considers Ethiopia an ally and provides foreign aid(…)

I guess “Starbucks” could tell us why….

(…)Both countries want to curb Islamist extremism in Somalia, Ethiopia’s unstable neighbor to the east(…).

…. no comments!

The article does not say what the situation is now. No further informations are given whether the EU claims a rerun or not. But its clear that the results of the Elections are set and Meles Zenawi party won thanks to a “more or less” fairly process.

—- researched and commented 4u by mwoogie with big *thanx* to Daniel Berhane’s Blog—-

please leave your honest comments...

Zimbabwe: No more “blood diamonds”?!?

Yahoo News!

HARARE (AFP) – Zimbabwe is “on track” to meet basic human rights standards in a diamond field plagued by abuses by the military, a monitor from the Kimberley Process regulator said Thursday.
The Kimberley Process, created to prevent the sale of “blood diamonds” on world markets, has given Zimbabwe until June to end human rights abuses in the eastern Marange diamond fields…. read

read also about Zimbabwe actual problems here

step by step moving to democracy…

Many Burundians have cast their ballots yesterday in elections, the top United Nations envoy to the tiny African Great Lakes nation said today as he praised the peaceful staging of the polls so far… read

People are slowly changing their mentality and realize that they have to be active if they want something to change for their countries. Despite of the violence of these last weeks, more voters showed up on Sunday, than the government ever expected.

read more:

Voters turn out in large numbers

Country Faces Major Test as Poll Season Begins

After years of chaos and civil wars, Burundi and Rwanda have made big efforts this last years, and are moving faster than any other country in Africa towards democracy and peace… with great results!

(…) As the UN special representative to Burundi recently remarked, this country could be an example to others in the region. (…) read

4u by mwoogie