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Published 7th August 2009

Vol 50 No 16


Nigeria

Islamists raise the stakes as they take on Yar'Adua

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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A militant leader lies dead after his sect fought the faltering government

Within days of a truce being declared between militants in the Niger Delta and the government, serious fighting broke out in Nigeria's poverty-ridden north (AC Vol 50 No 15). It killed over 700 people and displaced thousands more. Although not directly related, the continuing crises in the most economically marginalised areas - the Niger Delta, where the oil industry has destroyed the local economy, and the north, where traditional agriculture is failing to sustain the people - mean that President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua is fighting a war on two fronts (AC Vol 50 No 14). For the intelligence services and military, that is an ever more threatening challenge.


Inside Boko Haram

The late Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf's Boko Haram group had about 2,000 members, some of whom had first attacked police stations in 2003. The group's rhetoric grew increasingly violent, s...


Township protestors take on the ANC government

After weeks of angry protests in the townships, President Zuma and his ministers promise to make the problems of the poorest a priority

Pictures of police firing rubber bullets into a crowd of protestors in Thokoza township on 27 July gave President Jacob Zuma's three-month-old government its strongest reality chec...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Under the February 2008 agreement between presidential contenders Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga, the coalition government committed itself to setting up an independent special tribunal to try the organisers of last year’s political violence which killed more than 1,500 people or refer the worst cases to the International Criminal Court. After a year of stalemate, the government said on 30 July that it would use local courts to try those accused of organising the killings. The critical issue is...
Under the February 2008 agreement between presidential contenders Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga, the coalition government committed itself to setting up an independent special tribunal to try the organisers of last year’s political violence which killed more than 1,500 people or refer the worst cases to the International Criminal Court. After a year of stalemate, the government said on 30 July that it would use local courts to try those accused of organising the killings. The critical issue is what the ICC will do next. ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has opened an envelope from former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan listing the principal suspects behind the violence, and the ICC has boxes of witness statements and forensic evidence in support of the prosecution of several Kenyan politicians and business people. Under the Rome Statute, the ICC can take up a case in three circumstances: if the UN Security Council refers the case to the ICC, which didn’t happen in Kenya; if the member country self-refers, which the government had promised to do if it did not set up a ‘special tribunal’ or find an internationally acceptable ‘alternative judicial mechanism’; or lastly if the ICC Prosecutor initiates the case himself based on the Court’s own analysis and other supporting material. Ocampo may take on Kenya’s cases if he agrees that they constitute crimes against humanity and thinks that the evidence would stand up in court. That, judging by opinion polls, is what Kenyans want the ICC to do.Under the February 2008 agreement between presidential contenders Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga, the coalition government committed itself to setting up an independent special tribunal to try the organisers of last year’s political violence which killed more than 1,500 people or refer the worst cases to the International Criminal Court. After a year of stalemate, the government said on 30 July that it would use local courts to try those accused of organising the killings. The critical issue is what the ICC will do next. ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has opened an envelope from former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan listing the principal suspects behind the violence, and the ICC has boxes of witness statements and forensic evidence in support of the prosecution of several Kenyan politicians and business people. Under the Rome Statute, the ICC can take up a case in three circumstances: if the UN Security Council refers the case to the ICC, which didn’t happen in Kenya; if the member country self-refers, which the government had promised to do if it did not set up a ‘special tribunal’ or find an internationally acceptable ‘alternative judicial mechanism’; or lastly if the ICC Prosecutor initiates the case himself based on the Court’s own analysis and other supporting material. Ocampo may take on Kenya’s cases if he agrees that they constitute crimes against humanity and thinks that the evidence would stand up in court. That, judging by opinion polls, is what Kenyans want the ICC to do.
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