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Deaths in Sudan top 38 from rains, floods, storms

According to Khartoum newspapers on Saturday, torrential rains followed by floods have killed 38 people: 28 to the east of the Nile in Khartoum state and 10 in River Nile state.

The fatalities were reportedly caused by drowning, houses collapsing, lightning, and electrocution.

Sources have told Radio Dabanga that in the ‘Libya market’ area of Sudan’s largest city, Omdurman, “hundreds of citizens have protested against the government’s failure to react in the face of disasters, floods and rain”.

The crowd chanted anti-government slogans, and “demanded the punishment of the officials of Libya and Prince markets”.

Police then used batons and tear gas to block the demonstrators and arrested a number of them, the reports state.

File photo by Fred Noy/UN Photo


‘Record rainfall levels’ in North Darfur destroy 2,000 homes (2 August 2013)

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As violence escalates in Libya, UN urges greater efforts to tackle security challenges


30 July 2013 The United Nations mission in Libya today strongly condemned the recent violence in the country and called on the authorities to boost efforts to address ongoing security challenges.

A news release issued by the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) noted that acts of violence have taken place recently in a number of areas in the North African nation, including its capital, Tripoli, and its second largest city, Benghazi.

The Mission voiced its grave concern over the deteriorating security conditions and the growing acts of violence in their various forms that have targeted political activists, judicial institutions, diplomatic missions, army and police personnel as well as State facilities and others.

UNSMIL calls upon the State authorities to intensify their efforts to address the security challenges that Libya is facing and appeals to all Libyans, men and women, at this juncture in the history of their country, to unite in confronting the risks threatening their safety and security and the country’s stability.

It also reiterated the urgent need for inclusive national dialogue, and called on all segments of Libyan society to work toward convening such a dialogue at the earliest to develop a common vision and consensus about the current challenges and the way forward to address them.

The latest violence including several explosions in Benghazi over the weekend and a jailbreak in which some 1,200 prisoners escaped is among several challenges facing Libya during the democratic transition that has been underway since the ousting of Muammar al-Qadhafi two years ago.

The former leader ruled the country for more than 40 years until a pro-democracy uprising in 2011 similar to the protests in other countries in the Middle East and North Africa led to civil war and the end of his regime.

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Former UN rights chief says UNSC referral of Darfur case to ICC a ‘very bad idea’

July 21, 2013, (WASHINGTON) – The former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour acknowledged that referring the Darfur case to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2005 was a wrong move given subsequent lack of international support to the Hague-based court.

JPEG - 14 kbFormer United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

“I participated in the [UN] Commission of Inquiry [on Darfur]. I appeared before the [United Nations] Security Council (UNSC) so that we refer the matter to the ICC, but in retrospect, I realize that it was a very bad idea,” Arbour was quoted as saying by the Canada-based La Presse newspaper which publishes in French language.

In Darfur, the court has issued arrest warrants for president Omer Hassan al-Bashir, his defense minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein, acting North Kordofan governor Ahmed Haroun and militia leader Ali Kushayb all of who remain at large.

Arbor said that the referral resolution, which spurred a fierce battle between the United States and France at the time, had the effect of “undermining” the ICC.

She noted that despite referring cases like Darfur and Libya to ICC, UNSC offers “no policy or operational support” in arresting the individuals sought by the court.

Both Sudan and Libya refuse to hand over the suspects as demanded by the ICC and the UNSC has so far been mute on the row.

Arbor, who is now the head of the International Crisis Group (ICG), also mentioned the fact that non-ICC signatories like the United States, China and Russia could subject other nations to the court’s jurisdiction under Chapter VII resolutions.

The U.S., which has been a staunch opponent of the court, has sought to veto Darfur ICC referral in a standoff with European members on the council led by France but later decided to abstain after ensuring that a clause is added protecting non-signatories from the court’s reach and ensuring it is not funded by the council.

The UNSC voted 11-0 to the Darfur conflict to the ICC with abstentions also from the Algeria, China and Brazil. The latter abstained over objection to the added exception in the resolution.

The same exception was added in the 2011 Libya referral decision.

The former Canadian judge went on to say that without moving forward on adjudicating more cases the ICC, which convicted only one suspect since its inception in 2003, risks losing credibility.

“In the next few years, the challenges facing the Court are enormous,” she said.

The ICC is also challenged by the African continent which has alleged that the court is unfairly targeting its leaders.

The ICC has opened investigations into eight cases, all of which are in Africa including Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Central African Republic (CAR), Darfur, Kenya, Libya, Côte d’Ivoire and Mali.

But five of the eight cases were referred voluntarily by the African governments in question; two through a UNSC resolution supported by the bulk of African members in the council at the time and one was opened at the ICC prosecutor’s request.

Despite the African Union (AU) securing the appointment of an African prosecutor at the ICC it has continued to shield Sudanese president from arrest in Africa enabling him to travel to several ICC members in the continent.

It also asked that the court terminate the cases against Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.

Both men face charges of masterminding post-election violence (PEV) in 2007-2008 that drew regional and international outcry.

The Kenyan parliament failed twice to agree on establishing a local tribunal to investigate PEV and pushed for ICC intervention.

However after the ICC produced list of suspects which included six figures, Nairobi sought to have the cases deferred by lobbying the AU and UNSC for invoking Article 16 of the Rome Statute which is the founding text of the ICC.

But the UNSC brushed aside the joint requests submitted by the AU and Kenya.


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