For Online E-newspaper
The East African : Nov 3rd 2014
14 The EastAfrican NEWS NOVEMBER 1-7,2014 AMISOM Amisom troops patrol Burdubow in Somalia. Picture: File AU: Rape report unfair The Union said that it was still investigating the AU mission in Somalia T he African Union has hit back against claims its internationally funded troops in Somalia have gang-raped women and girls, accusing the rights group behind the report of being unfair and inaccurate. In a letter to Human Rights Watch released on Thursday, the AU said the rights group had undermined peace efforts in war-torn Somalia. The AU said, however, that it was still investigating the AU mission in Somalia (Amisom) in the wake of last month’s damning report into the conduct of its troops. “The AU does not condone, and indeed has maintained a zero-tolerance stance against any form of sexual exploitation and abuse in all its peace support operations,” Maman S. Sidikou, the AU’s head of mission in Somalia, wrote to HRW. Although Amisom “reiterates its deep con- cern about the allegations,” he said, “The report is an unacceptable misrepresentation of the mission and will no doubt undermine efforts to win the trust and respect of the Somali population,” he said. Several of the women mentioned in the HRW report described how they had gone to the AU camp seeking medicine for their sick babies, but were then forced to have sex. “The report has given additional ammuni- tion to all those trying to obstruct the path towards peace and greater security in Somalia. It has also complicated AU’s efforts to win the support of the local population in the fight against Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group Al Shabaab.” He criticised the rights group for refusing to share detailed evidence of abuses, and said the small sample of interviewees meant the conclusions “may not be empirically sound.” “The evidence that HRW is relying on to draw its conclusions is one-sided and incomplete,” he added, calling on HRW to “undertake more scrupulous research and investigations and engage more professional, seasoned researchers”. AU chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has al- ready ordered an investigation into the allegations, and the probe is due to be completed by November 30. Bensouda at the Secu≥ity Council FROM PAGE 12 tember 10 — is also experiencing another duel with the prosecutor over whether the witnesses who recanted their testimonies should be forced to testify. The Appeals Chamber on October 9 upheld the decision of a lower chamber to summon the nine witnesses to testify. The case has taken a break until November 17. Ms Bensouda also talked of challenges with the Sudanese cases facing President Omar al-Bashir and leaders of the Janjaweed in Darfur. She suggested that the Council come up with a mechanism for follow-up on its referrals and use stronger language to ensure that all UN-member states enforce arrest warrants once issued. For example, the Council has made 55 resolutions on Darfur but very few had been implemented. “If the Council’s repeated resolutions calling for disarmament of the Janjaweed had been respected, for example, it would have almost certainly had an impact on implementation of my Office’s investigations,” she said. She suggested that the UN consider using stronger language in its referrals, similar to the language used in past Council resolutions requiring co-operation from all states with the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Assistance “There are many instances in which the ICC needs to call upon non-state parties to the Rome Statute for their assistance, and while many have responded positively, those that have not, have effectively provided a safe haven for individuals against whom warrants of arrests have been issued by the ICC,” she said. African Union leaders have consistently refused to enforce the warrant of arrest issued against President alBashir in 2009. Last year, the Assembly of State Parties president Tiina Intelmann warned that the way the Council refers situations to the Court does not empower the Court to deal with extremely complex issues. For example, co-operation with the Court, including the execution of arrest warrants, applies only to States Parties to the Rome Statute and the country referred. “The legal and diplomatic means are not enough where the referred country refuses to co-operate. This constitutes a serious weakness, produces a delay in delivering justice and ultimately a feeling of abandonment, desperation and continued injustice in affected communities.” But she saw co-operation in the Council’s increased reference to the Court’s work and contribution to the fight against impunity and to international peace and security. She said that the authors of the Rome Statute and the States Parties to the Statute have been proud of the independence of the ICC.
Oct 27th 2014
Nov 10th 2014