Tag Archives: UN

Rwanda: fugitive Bizimana pronounced dead

Serge Brammertz said fugitive Augustin Bizimana, who was indicted on 13 charges including genocide, murder and rape, is believed to have died in Pointe Noire, in the Republic of the Congo in 2000. His remains were identified by DNA testing.

Brammertz is prosecutor of a successor U.N. court with dual offices in Arusha, Tanzania and The Hague, Netherlands, that continues to function for remaining suspects and appeals.

“Bizimana was alleged to be responsible for the murders of former Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and 10 Belgian United Nations peacekeepers, and for the murder of Tutsi civilians” in five Rwandan regions, Brammertz said in a statement.

The announcement of Bizimana’s death follows the arrest in Paris last week of Felicien Kabuga, another of a handful of prominent suspects from the Rwandan genocide who had been on the run for more than two decades.

“The key lesson from the death of Augustin Bizimana is that the world should give timely justice,” said Naphtal Ahishakiye, executive secretary of genocide survivors’ organisation Ibuka.

“The suspects should be brought to justice before their deaths, also to avoid survivors dying before hearing the cases of those who killed their loved ones.”

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda conducted 50 trials before closing its doors in 2015. Brammertz is prosecutor of a successor U.N. court with dual offices in Arusha, Tanzania and The Hague, Netherlands, that continues to function for remaining suspects and appeals.

The statement said prosecutors had conducted DNA analysis “late last year” on remains that had earlier been recovered from a grave site in Pointe Noire.

Rwanda genocide fugitive arrested in Paris

Genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga (84), who is accused of funding Rwanda militias that massacred about 800,000 people, was arrested on May 16 near Paris after being 26 years at large, the French justice ministry said.

Rwanda’s most-wanted man ($5 million U.S. reward), was living under a false identity in a flat in Asnieres-Sur-Seine, according to French authorities.

French gendarmes arrested him at 0530 GMT on May 16, the Ministry said.

Kabuga was indicted in 1997 on seven criminal counts including genocide, complicity in genocide and incitement to commit genocide, all in relation to the 1994 Rwanda tragic events, according to the UN-established International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT).

Rwanda’s two main ethnic groups are the Hutus and Tutsis entered a civil war in the early 1990s.

A Hutu businessman, Kabuga is accused of funding the militias that massacred some 800,000 Tutsis and their moderate Hutu allies during 100 days in 1994.

Since 1994, Felicien Kabuga, known to have been the financier of Rwanda genocide, had with impunity stayed in Germany, Belgium, Congo-Kinshasa, Kenya, or Switzerland,” the French ministry statement said.

Kabuga’s arrest opens the juridical procedure at Paris Appeal Court and later expected to be transferred to the custody of the international criminal court in the Hague, Netherlands and Arusha, Tanzania.

In due procedures the fugitive would then be brought before UN judges, an IRMCT spokesman said.

Libya crisis deepens

Skhirat agreement signed under UN auspices “remains the viable framework for a political solution in Libya until amendments or replacements are found” said European Commission spokesperson, reacting on Libyan National Army commander Khalifa Haftar unilateral declaration to of the agreement being invalid. The EU spokesperson also reiterated the previous EU calls for an inclusive Libyan-led peace process to find a political solution with the participation of all parties involved in the conflict and the help of the international community.

Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar declared a landmark United Nations-brokered Skhirat (2015) agreement “a thing of the past,” and pledged his authorities would move toward creating a new government. The UN-brokered agreement linked by Libya’s warring factions in the Moroccan coastal town of Skhirat so has been the only the framework so far of a political settlement in Libya.

The political agreement destroyed the country,” Haftar said. “We will work to create the conditions for building permanent civic institutions.”

Haftar, commander of Libya’s National Army (LNA), controls most of eastern and southern Libya. The UN-supported administration in Tripoli rules just a strip of the country’s west.
While Haftar has not yet dissolved any state institutions, such as the eastern-based House of Representatives, often referred to as Tobruk Parliament, said his armed forces “accept the people’s mandate to run the country.”

In a speech last week, Haftar asked Libyans to hold demonstrations and give him a mandate to rule. Despite a curfew imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, crowds thronged the streets of Benghazi and chanted slogans against the rival Tripoli administration chairs by Fayez al-Sarraj.

Khalifa Haftard decision to declare himself unilaterally the ruler of Libya is unacceptable, Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez Al-Sarraj said, commenting on the rival’s move.

Apparently Haftar’s decision has not been appreciated even by the Russian diplomacy usually sympathetic vis-à-vis the commander. At his April 28 press conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia did not approve of Haftar’s statements. Konstantin Kosachev, who heads the Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee, also called the news of Haftar’s unilateral actions “very disturbing.”

Haftar is stuck in a deadlock, Leonid Isaev, an associate professor at the Higher School of Economics, told Vedomosti newspaper.

He has not been able to take Tripoli for a year now, and because of this there is no way to speak at international negotiations from a position of strength, as he would like,” the expert said. The alignment of forces does not change in any way from his statement, since it is just an attempt to justify oneself for these failures, Isaev explained. According to him, last month, when the support of external players almost dried up due to the coronavirus pandemic, Haftar and Sarraj were left alone, and Haftar still couldn’t significantly advance on the battlefield, the expert said. “Neither one of them has sufficient resources to defeat the other, and ‘the great powers’ and regional allies are clearly occupied now,” he concluded.

In a video message on April 27, Haftar unilaterally declared himself the ruler of Libya.

Pointing to street demonstrations in areas under his control, he claimed he “accepted the mandate of the Libyan people” to govern the country.

Haftar said the Skhirat agreement signed in 2015 by the warring sides in Libya under the auspices of the UN is “a thing of the past“.

Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: Khalifa Haftar in the east of the country, supported by the Libyan National Army (LNA), and Tobruk Parliament, and the GNA in Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.

Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), which is based in the east, launched an offensive to take Tripoli last April which did not advance much, and stalled on the outskirts of the city.

However the move to abandon the UN-backed agreement has not come as a surprise. In December last year the Libyan diplomacy in Benghazi has already announced the Skhurat Agreement outdated, and void.

Al-Wefaq (GNA) government is unconstitutional, which did not gain confidence from the Libyan parliament, and rulings were issued against it by the Libyan courts that invalidated all decisions issued by them.
According to the Skhirat Agreement, which did not guarantee who else is also for the constitutional declaration, the first article / fourth paragraph states that the mandate of the reconciliation government is for one year only since it was given confidence by the Libyan parliament and renewed automatically for one year only, therefore the mandate of the reconciliation government has expired for a long time ago, this government can no longer conclude any treaties and agreements that bear any international obligations on Libya the Minister of foreign affairs of Libyan Interim government said in a video declaration.

EU deplores Tripoli hospital destruction

“The shelling of medical facilities in Libya such as Tripoli’s Al Khadra General Hospital on Tuesday, causing injuries and damages to the functionality of this medical facility, including its maternity and intensive care units, is unacceptable and must stop.

“This attack is even more deplorable at a moment when Libya is facing the difficult circumstances around the coronavirus crisis and should be united in containing the outbreak. All parties should respect their obligations under international humanitarian law and protect those most vulnerable as well as the healthcare workers and crucial medical infrastructure.

“As stressed in the 27 March Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union, we urge all relevant Libyan actors to immediately stop the fighting, commit to a total ceasefire and return to political negotiations to reach a political solution to the crisis in Libya.

“The European Union will continue to support the UN-led efforts to implement the Berlin conclusions and help the Libyans find ways to return to stability and peace.

EU: Libya arms embargo mission

“The European Union is stepping up its efforts to enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya, thereby contributing to the peace process in the country, through the launch of a new CSDP (Common Security and Defence Policy) military operation in the Mediterranean.

“The Council today adopted a decision launching Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI as from 1 April 2020.

“IRINI, (Greek for “peace”), will have as its core task the implementation of the UN arms embargo through the use of aerial, satellite and maritime assets. In particular the mission will be able to carry out inspections of vessels on the high seas off the coast of Libya suspected to be carrying arms or related material to and from Libya in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2292 (2016).

“As secondary tasks, EUNAVFOR MED IRINI will also:

– monitor and gather information on illicit exports from Libya of petroleum, crude oil and refined petroleum products
– contribute to the capacity building and training of the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy in law enforcement tasks at sea
– contribute to the disruption of the business model of human smuggling and trafficking networks through information gathering and patrolling by planes

– IRINI will be led by Rear Admiral Fabio Agostini as EU Operation Commander, and its headquarters will be located in Rome, Italy.

“The mandate of Operation IRINI will initially last until 31 March 2021, and will be under the close scrutiny of EU Member States, that will exercise political control and strategic direction through the Political and Security Committee (PSC), under the responsibility of the Council and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

In parallel with the launch of Operation IRINI, the existing EUNAVFOR MED operation in the Mediterranean, SOPHIA, will permanently cease its activities.

“Participants at the Berlin Conference on Libya on 19 January 2020 committed in particular to fully respect and implement the arms embargo established by the United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) 1970 (2011), 2292 (2016) and 2473 (2019).

“Against this background, the Council reached a political agreement to launch a new operation in the Mediterranean, aimed at implementing the UN arms embargo on Libya by using aerial, satellite and maritime assets on 17 February 2020.

“EUNAVFOR MED operation SOPHIA was launched on 22 June 2015 as part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to migration, and will cease permanently on 31 March.”

Darfur: HRW for “gradual withdrawal”

‘The proposal by the United Nations and the African Union to limit the UN’s protection role in Sudan threatens the safety and security of civilians in Darfur, Human Rights Watch said today. In a new report that the Security Council is expected to discuss on March 17, 2020, the UN secretary-general and the AU commission chairperson proposed excluding “physical protection” of civilians from the mandate for a follow-on political and peacebuilding mission in Sudan.

When authorizing a new countrywide mission for Sudan, the Security Council should include armed police units that could protect civilians, quick reaction peacekeepers to respond to threats as they arise, and mobile human rights monitoring teams based in Darfur, Human Rights Watch said.

“Darfur is not like the rest of Sudan,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “The UN Security Council should recognize that Darfur requires a far more gradual withdrawal and keep a UN security presence on the ground to actively protect civilians. Past and ongoing violence there means civilians can’t trust Sudanese security forces alone and still look to peacekeepers for protection.”

Image: illustration

EU new aero-naval mission to Libya

EU Foreign Ministers discussed the latest developments in Libya, following up on the Foreign Affairs Councils from 10 and 20 January. During the previous two meetings, the Council had expressed concern over the aggravating crisis in the area, agreeing on the need for EU engagement to prevent further escalation.

The EU top diplomat announced the end of Sophia naval mission, and start of a new one with a purpose of monitoring arms embargo in East Libya.

 

The European Union is embarking on an air and naval mission, with a land component, to block arms and the transport of arms to Libya, said the Borrell announced at press-conference in Brussels.

The mission, he said, will be deployed on the eastern part of the Libyan coast, where arms trafficking is concentrated. Half a dozen planes and boats are expected to participate.

The 27 member-states, worried about the worsening crisis in Libya, agreed last month on the need for European mobilization in order to avoid a further escalation of the situation.

But Austrian reluctance slowed any advance, Vienna fearing that the European vessels deployed in the Eastern Mediterranean would encourage African  migrants to risk their lives, trying to reach the European shores, crossing Mediterranean,  aggravating already dramatic situation.

Borrell did not comment on ongoing military cooperation between Tripoli administration and Al-Sarraj, and Turkey, intensifying its presence in the region.

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