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The Guardian Jan 2 2010

UN peacekeepers have been ordered to do everything in their power to investigate reports of atrocities and mass graves in Ivory Coast, where post-election violence is alleged to have left more than 200 people dead.

The instruction came as the opposition leader Alassane Ouattara repeated his call for the international criminal court in The Hague to send a mission to examine the actions of troops loyal to PresidentLaurent Gbagbo.

In a new year’s message Gbagbo made clear he would continue his game of brinkmanship despite pressure from the UN and world leaders for him to avoid a return to civil war by standing down and allow Ouattara to enter office.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, phoned Ouattara yesterday. “The secretary-general told President Ouattara that he was alarmed by the reports of egregious human rights violations,” a UN spokesman, Martin Nesirky, said.

The UN believes up to 80 bodies may have been moved to a building in a pro-Gbagbo neighbourhood in the capital, Abidjan. Investigators have tried to visit several times, and even made it to the front door before truckloads of armed men forced them to leave.

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New York Times, JEFFREY GETTLEMAN and JOSH KRON Aug 31 2010

NAIROBI, Kenya — Rwanda stepped up its threats on Tuesday to withdraw thousands of peacekeepers from Sudan if the United Nations publishes a report that accuses Rwandan forces of massacring civilians and possibly committing genocide in Congo years ago. Rwanda appears to be trying to play hardball with the United Nations and is using the fact that the country plays a linchpin role in the troubled Darfur region of Sudan for maximum leverage. Rwanda has 3,300 peacekeepers in Darfur, and a Rwandan general is in charge of the entire 21,800-strong United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission there.

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AFP Aug 29 2010

Former UN chief Kofi Annan said on Sunday Kenya should clarify its position on the International Criminal Court after it last week hosted Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir, wanted for genocide.

“Like many, I was surprised by the presence of President Al-Bashir of Sudan in Nairobi for the promulgation of Kenya?s new constitution,” Annan said in a statement in his capacity as chair of the Panel of Eminent African Personalities.

“Kenya has specific obligations as a signatory of the Rome statute and is also cooperating with the International Criminal Court on investigations relating to the 2007/8 election violence,” said the text issued in Nairobi.

“In the circumstances, the government should clarify its position and reaffirm its cooperation with and commitment to the ICC,” said Annan, whose team brokered a power-sharing deal between Kenyan President Mwai Kabaki and his former foe turned prime minister Raila Odinga after the 2008 violence.

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VOA New Aug 29 2010

Kenya has rejected international criticism over the inclusion of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in Friday’s Promulgation Day festivities.  The east African nation has defended its actions as necessary for regional stability and national security.

At a news conference in Nairobi, members of the Kenyan government defended the decision to invite controversial Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir to the Friday signing of the country’s new constitution.  The International Criminal Court has issued two warrants for Mr. Bashir under allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur.

Kenya, a signatory to the court, was blasted by the international community for failing to arrest Mr. Bashir and present him to The Hague.

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ICC Asks for UN Action

VOA News Aug 28 2010

The International Criminal Court is asking the U.N. Security Council to take action against Kenya for hosting Sudan’s president in defiance of international warrants for his arrest.

ICC judges in The Hague said Friday Kenya has a “clear obligation” as a member of the court to cooperate in enforcing its arrest warrants for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

Mr. Bashir was one of several regional leaders who traveled to Nairobi for Friday’s ceremonial signing of the new Kenyan constitution.  Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula says Mr. Bashir was invited because he is the head of a friendly neighboring state.

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More Stories:

Daily Nation

BBC on Kenya Constitution Signing

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Max Fisher August 29, 2010 The Atlantic Wire

A leaked United Nations report on the Rwandan genocide makes the explosive charge that the Rwandan Army, long credited with helping to end the infamous 1994 genocide of ethnic Tutsis, committed hundreds of acts of genocide against ethnic Hutu refugees in 1996-1997. The document, first reported by French newspaper Le Monde, states, “The majority of the victims were children, women, elderly people and the sick, who were often undernourished and posed no threat to the attacking forces.” The report implicates much of Rwanda’s current government, including President Paul Kagame, in joining with Congolese rebels to slaughter Rwandan refugees who had fled to the Congo. Rwanda is challenging the accusations, saying they only attacked members of the Hutu militias responsible for the 1994 genocide. The UN report risks seriously complicating the always-tenuous politics of Central Africa, where Rwanda has become a beacon of stability. Here’s what reporters and Rwanda-watchers have to say about the report.

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More Commentary:

AFP

UN Dispatch

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The Age of Accountability
By Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General May 27 2010
Twelve years ago, world leaders gathered in Rome to establish the International Criminal Court. Seldom since the founding of the United Nations itself has such a resounding blow been struck for peace, justice and human rights.
On May 31, nations come together once again, this time in Kampala, Uganda, for the first formal review of the Rome treaty. It is a chance not only to take stock of our progress but to build for the future. More, it is an occasion to strengthen our collective determination that crimes against humanity cannot go unpunished — the better to deter them in the future.
As UN Secretary-General, I have come to see how effective the ICC can be — and how far we have come. A decade ago, few could have believed the court would now be fully operational, investigating and trying perpetrators of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity across a broadening geography of countries.
This is a fundamental break with history. The old era of impunity is over. In its place, slowly but surely, we are witnessing the birth of a new “age of accountability.” It began with the special tribunals set up in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia; today, the ICC is the keystone of a growing system of global justice that includes international tribunals, mixed international-national courts and domestic prosecutions.

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VOA News, Feb 3 2010

Guinea’s national inquiry into September’s killing of opposition demonstrators says all suspects should be tried before Guinean courts.  A U.N. investigation says they should be brought before the International Criminal Court. Guinea’s national commission of inquiry is recommending a general amnesty for opposition leaders who it says broke the law September 28 by holding an illegal demonstration against the expected presidential candidacy of military ruler Captain Moussa Dadis Camara.

Demonstrators at the national stadium were attacked by members of Guinea’s military.  Human-rights officials say at least 157 people were killed and dozens of women raped.

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