Category Archives: NEWS

U.S. Refusal to Be Investigated By the ICC Redeems African Leaders


America’s contemptuous dismissal of the International Criminal Court’s attempts to investigate allegations of torture against US soldiers in Afghanistan demands a relook of African leaders’ long-standing criticism of this institution.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established in 2002, in terms of the Rome Statute. The Rome Statute defined four international crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.

For a long time the ICC has been condemned for its one-sided prosecution of Third World leaders accused of such crimes. While it has investigated and jailed warlords like Charles Taylor, and even declared Omar Al-Bashir a wanted man, the court’s attempt to investigate the crimes of American soldiers in Afghanistan has led to a nasty response from the US National Security Adviser, John Bolton. Late last year the ICC opened a file to investigate the allegations that US military and CIA personnel committed acts of torture in the 17 years that the US has operated in Afghanistan. The investigation was opened by an ICC prosecutor from The Gambia, Fatou Bensuda.

The US is not a state party to the ICC, but Afghanistan is. The ICC therefore asserts jurisdiction over Afghanistan, regardless of the nationality of the perpetrator. In response to the ICC’s move to prosecute US military men who were involved in detainee abuse in Afghanistan, John Bolton said, “The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by the illegitimate court.”

While attempts by African countries like Burundi and South Africa to withdraw from the ICC was heavily condemned, it is noteworthy that the ICC has often come under criticism from African leaders. Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni once referred to the ICC as “a bunch of useless people”. Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said the ICC was a “tool of global power politics and not the justice it was built to dispense”. It is also interesting to note that the cases handled by the ICC were mainly instigated by the African countries involved.

Adotei Akwei, managing director for government relations at Amnesty International, rebuked the US position, saying its rejection of the ICC’s legitimacy “is an attack on millions of victims and survivors who have experienced the most serious crimes under international law and undermines decades of ground-breaking work by the international community to advance justice.”

Given America’s flagrant dismissal of the ICC, African leaders seem justified in their distrust of the court. The question that arises is this: If the court can’t deal with the powerful, how can its existence be justified?

By CR
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Morocco implements ban on forced marriages


A new law criminalising sexual violence and harassment has come into force in Morocco.

The law – which includes a ban on forced marriage – follows growing concern in recent years about levels of abuse against women.

One survey found that six in 10 Moroccan women had suffered some kind of violence. Recent rape cases have received wide coverage on social media.

BBC Arabic’s Mouna Ba says the new law has been widely welcomed, but it has also been criticised because it does not provide a definition of domestic violence or a specific ban on marital rape.

By CR

Zambia ex-VP avoids jail thanks to church


Former Zambian Vice-President Nevers Mumba has avoided prison after pleading that as a pastor, his congregation would suffer if he went to jail.

The cleric and politician was convicted on two counts of abuse of the authority of office by the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

The charges relate to his time when he served as Zambia’s ambassador to Canada between 2009 and 2011.

He was found guilty of awarding a contract to a Canadian company to do electrical works at the official residence of the high commissioner.

He was also found guilty of not following the correct procedure in the awarding of another contract for electrical and carpeting work, as well as the construction of a desk at the same residence.

After his guilty verdict was announced, Mumba pleaded in mitigation that his church members could not do without him.

The magistrate accepted this and Mumba, who served as vice-president between 2003 and 2004, will not serve any sentence as he was granted an absolute discharge.

Mumba is still involved in politics, and is now a faction leader of the former ruling party, the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD).

Kenya banks fined over $78m corruption scandal


Kenya’s Central Bank has fined five commercial banks linked to an alleged $78m (£59m) corruption scandal involving the National Youth Service (NYS).

The missing funds were allegedly stolen in a scheme involving senior government officials and ghost suppliers.

Standard Chartered, Equity Bank, KCB Bank, Co-operative Bank and Diamond Trust Bank were collectively fined just under $4m.

They are accused of being conduits of fraudulent payments to suppliers of the NYS.

The NYS is an initiative by the government to train young people in life and business skills. It was part of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s plan to fix Kenya’s high youth unemployment.

BBC Africa Business’s Hudheifa Aden says Kenya’s director of public prosecution is expected to determine the criminal culpability of the accused banks.

NYS boss Richard Ndubai, who was arrested in May, is among 20 officials already facing charges over the scandal.

Ghanaians file past Kofi Annan’s body


Ghanaians have been filing past Kofi Annan’s remains to pay their last respects, as his body lies in state at the International Conference Centre in the capital, Accra.

The Ghanaian diplomat, who became UN Secretary General, died on 18 August in Switzerland where he lived. His body was flown to Ghana on Monday evening ahead of Thursday’s official funeral.

The viewing started at 10:00 GMT and will end at 16:00 GMT. It will open again on Wednesday.

By CR

“Death Toil”, ‘Fifty-seven murdered in South Africa everyday’ Police Minister Bheki Cele raise alarm


South Africa recorded 20,336 murders in the last year, an increase of 1,320 murders compared to the same period the year before, Police Minister Bheki Cele has said.

“This means 57 murders a day. It borders on a war zone,” the visibly angry minister said.

Police records show that murder rates have increased in the past six consecutive years.

Francois Beukman, who heads the police oversight committee in parliament, described the numbers as “alarming and totally unacceptable”.

Admitting that the police haven’t done as well as they should have, Mr Cele said the security officers had “dropped the ball.”

“South Africans must not take it as a norm that they can be hijacked, robbed and killed every day. We have to pick up the ball and change the situation for the better.”

He promised to work hard to change the situation: “Our bottom line is that this situation must reverse,” he said.

The motives and circumstances behind killings range from gangsterism to vigilantism.

Kenya’s Gor Mahia to play Everton


Kenyan football club Gor Mahia will play English Premier League side Everton at the Goodison Park in the UK in November.

Former Everton player Wayne Rooney(L) and current Everton team players Jonjoe Kenny (C) and Kevin Mirallas (L) with Masaai warriors during Everton’s visit to Tanzania last year.

The 6 November match is part of Kenyan betting firm SportPesa’s sponsorship deal with Everton.

“The historic fixture will kick-off at 7pm and will mark the first occasion an East African club side has contested a match in the UK,” Everton said in a statement.

The match is part of the SportPesa Trophy, which is contested by clubs in Kenya and Tanzania. Winners of the competition play Everton in the final.

Last year, Everton travelled to Tanzania for the inaugural SportPesa Super Cup and played Gor Mahia at the National Stadium in Tanzania

The Kenyan betting company is Everton football club’s main sponsor. It also sponsors Torino FC in Italy as well as Hull City and Southampton FC in England.

Since its inception in 2014, it has supported various sporting disciplines and teams at home and abroad.