24 May 2013 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today thanked the Government of Uganda for its contribution to peace and security in Africa, travelling alongside World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on a first-of-its-kind visit to support a recent peace accord and promote economic development in the Great Lakes region.
Mr. Ban also singled out the “noble sacrifices” of many Ugandan soldiers who are contributing to UN peacekeeping operations, particularly the joint operation with the African Union (AU) in Somalia, known as AMISOM.
“People in Somalia are now able to enjoy the stability, the political stability, and opportunity, chances for development. I count on your continuing support and contribution on this matter,” the Secretary-General said in a press conference in the capital, Entebbe.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Ban spoke at a joint press conference with Mr. Kim in Kigali, Rwanda, about the message of hope they are bringing to the region. “The people of the Great Lakes have endured too much suffering for too long… We are determined to support lasting peace and rapid development,” he said.
He stressed that “there can be no peace without development” such as education, health care, roads and electricity, as well as human rights and good governance, “and no development without peace.”
Mr. Ban praised Rwanda’s progress in the past two decades but stressed that lasting peace needs the benefits of development to ripple throughout the region.
The joint visit to the region by Mr. Ban and Mr. Kim is symbolic of the international community’s support for the new peace deal. The World Bank Group had announced $1 billion in proposed new funding to help countries in the Great Lakes provide better health and education services, generate more cross-border trade, and fund hydroelectricity projects in support of the peace deal.
The UN-brokered Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region, which was signed in February by 11 African leaders including Rwanda and Uganda, aims to end the cycles of conflict and crisis in the eastern DRC – where, in the most recent hostilities, rebels from the 23 March Movement (M23) have been clashing with the DRC national armed forces (FARDC) – and to build peace in the wider region.
It is “the best chance for peace in many years,” Mr. Ban has said. “I am appealing to all leaders to play their part in implementing it and meeting their commitments.”
Mr. Ban and Rwandan President Paul Kagame are due to arrive on Sunday in Addis Ababa for the first of the regional oversight mechanism meetings. The meeting coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union.
While meeting with President Kagame last night, Mr. Ban presented him with the result of the Rwanda post-2015 consultations. He praised the country for being a “pioneer” in green economy and in helping to define the sustainable development priorities once the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) reach their target date of 2015.
He also commended the commitment of Mr. Kagame and his office for empowering women and girls, visible in a record 56 per cent of women in the Rwandan Parliament, “more than any other country.”
While in Kigali, Mr. Ban and Mr. Kim visited the One-Stop centre dealing with gender-based violence and laid the foundation for a new Centre for Excellence to help end violence against women and girls in conflict situations.
He and Mr. Kim also visited the Gisozi genocide memorial site, where they laid wreaths in solemn commemoration of the tragic 1994 event. Noting that it was his third visit to the site, Mr. Ban said that the memorial served as both a warning and a symbol of hope.
In addition, Mr. Ban will focus on African development next week when he attends the 5th Tokyo International Conference on the topic, known as TICAD V, in Yokohama, Japan.
The UN chief is due to deliver a keynote speech at the Conference’s opening, which will commemorate the 20th anniversary of TICAD and the 50th anniversary of the Organization of African Unity.
He will also attend the award ceremony of the Second Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize, which recognizes individuals or organisations which have made outstanding achievements in the fields of medical research and medical services to combat infectious and other diseases in Africa.
24 May 2013 The Security Council today condemned “in the strongest terms” the two terrorist attacks that occurred on Thursday in Niger, and underlined the need to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The suicide bombings, which were condemned yesterday by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, took place at a barracks in Agadez and a French-run uranium mine in Arlit. At least 20 people were reportedly killed, and several were injured, in the attacks, for which a jihadist group known as Mujao has claimed responsibility.
“The members of the Security Council expressed their deep sympathy and sincere condolences to the families of the victims of these heinous acts,” said a statement issued to the press by the 15-member body.
Council members underlined the need to bring the perpetrators of these acts to justice, and urged all States to cooperate actively with the Nigerien authorities in this regard.
“The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed,” the statement added.
By Tiina Intelmann
May 23, 2013 – The relationship between Africa and the International Criminal Court (ICC) is remarkable in its history, and dynamic.
Africa and the ICC share the fundamental value of fighting impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. Africa was one of the key players in the inception of the Court. African States participated at the Rome Conference in July 1998, where the Rome Statute, the founding treaty for the ICC, was drafted. Forty-seven African states were present; many of these countries were members of the Like-Minded Group that pushed for adoption of the final Statute. In the historic vote that was taken at the end of the Rome Conference, the vast majority of the 47 African countries involved in drafting the Statute voted in favor of adopting the Rome Statute and establishing the ICC. In a matter of months, Senegal became the first country to ratify the Statute, followed by a steady flow of other African countries. This contributed to reaching, in a rather short period, the required number of ratifications for the entry into force of the Statute on July 1st, 2002.
Today, the Rome Statute has 122 States Parties, 34 of which are African, thus constituting the largest regional group.
Almost eleven years into its existence, the International Criminal Court is increasingly busy. It is dealing with eight active situations which have largely come to the Court’s attention through requests by the States concerned that the ICC get involved and start investigations because the domestic options to investigate crimes could not be used. Indeed, the ICC was created as a court of last resort, to become active when everything else fails. The referrals by States of their own situations constitute a practical vote of confidence in the Court and they have emanated from Africa. Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic referred their own situations within less than three years after the Court started functioning. Yet another African State, Mali, referred its situation to the Court last year, and a few days ago Prosecutor Bensouda received a request from Comoros to start an ICC investigation. It is also good to know that Côte d’Ivoire, which became a State Party very recently, made several declarations accepting the jurisdiction of the Court before that, allowing the ICC to start investigations on its territory.
In all the situations described above, the ICC, the institution created by us collectively in Rome, is rendering service to States Parties.
Unfortunately, the perceived Africa-only focus of the ICC has created resentment in Africa and difficulties in African States’ relationship with the ICC.
Let us not forget, however, that the current focus on African situations also means a focus on African victims. Significant voluntary international contributions have been used through the Trust Fund for Victims, established under the Rome Statute, to assist more than 80 000 victims of atrocity crimes, including victims of sexual violence. It is fair to assume that without the activities of that Fund, all those African victims would have received little or no assistance at all.
I sincerely hope that the recent voluntary surrender of Bosco Ntaganda to the ICC will serve as an example for other persons who are sought by the Court and are trying to evade justice.
More generally, ICC decisions – like those of ad hoc international criminal tribunals – will have a much wider significance than simply punishing those persons that have been found guilty of committing international crimes. It is telling that the former Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, stated the following when the Thomas Lubanga guilty verdict was delivered by the ICC: “In this age of global media, today’s verdict will reach warlords and commanders across the world and serves as a strong deterrent.”
What is important is the universality of the message that those who commit the most serious crimes under international law will be punished, that we are working towards establishing the rule of law on national and international level, that we are addressing the urgent need to build solid national institutions to end impunity.
We should not forget that the ultimate goal is to prevent crimes from happening, to end large-scale violence against the most vulnerable. The historic decision of 1998 to establish the ICC should also be viewed in this context.
Ambassador Tiina Intelmann is the President of the Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court. She can be followed on Twitter @Tintelmann
Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article46671