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UN Plaza: Rape in the Congo

In this week’s edition of UN Plaza, I speak with filmmaker Lisa Jackson, whose documentary The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo premiered on HBO this week.

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Senegale Changes Constitution to Try Former Chadian Leader

From the UN News Center:

The top United Nations human rights official has welcomed changes to Senegal’s constitution to make it possible for national courts to try crimes against humanity, paving the way for former Chadian leader Hissene Habre to be tried for alleged crimes committed during the 1980s.

Mr. Habre ruled Chad from 1982 to 1990, when he was overthrown and went into exile in Senegal, where he has lived ever since.

Senegal’s National Assembly adopted the latest amendment to the constitution on Tuesday, which together with previous changes allows the country’s legal system to deal with such cases.

High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour welcomed the move as “a very positive development in the struggle to strengthen accountability and an important step forward in the never-ending fight against impunity.”

During Mr. Habre’s rule, thousands of Chadians were allegedly tortured, and unlawful killings and other serious human rights violations took place. He was charged in February 2000 by a lower court in Dakar, the Senegalese capital, but an appeals court later ruled that Senegalese courts did not have the legal competence to try such cases if they were perpetrated in another country.

Read Arbour’s full statement.

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Senegale Changes Constitution to Try Former Chadian Leader

From the UN News Center:

The top United Nations human rights official has welcomed changes to Senegal’s constitution to make it possible for national courts to try crimes against humanity, paving the way for former Chadian leader Hissene Habre to be tried for alleged crimes committed during the 1980s.

Mr. Habre ruled Chad from 1982 to 1990, when he was overthrown and went into exile in Senegal, where he has lived ever since.

Senegal’s National Assembly adopted the latest amendment to the constitution on Tuesday, which together with previous changes allows the country’s legal system to deal with such cases.

High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour welcomed the move as “a very positive development in the struggle to strengthen accountability and an important step forward in the never-ending fight against impunity.”

During Mr. Habre’s rule, thousands of Chadians were allegedly tortured, and unlawful killings and other serious human rights violations took place. He was charged in February 2000 by a lower court in Dakar, the Senegalese capital, but an appeals court later ruled that Senegalese courts did not have the legal competence to try such cases if they were perpetrated in another country.

Read Arbour’s full statement.

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More Khalilzad Speculation

_13779_khalilzad-16-6-2005.jpg

The Independent today adds fuel to persistent rumors that US Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad has his eyes on the Afghan Presidency.

Mr Khalilzad played a major role in Mr Karzai becoming President after the fall of the Taliban. But the Afghan ruler’s popularity has slipped and he has been increasingly at odds with his Western backers, criticising British policy in Helmand and blocking the appointment of Lord [Paddy] Ashdown…as the UN envoy to Kabul. But Mr Khalilzad has himself been accused of undermining Lord Ashdown by failing to support him adequately at the UN for the Afghan job.

These rumors have been floating around the UN for a long while, and Ambassador Khalilzad certainly did not do much to tamper down speculation by announcing his impending retirement on Afghan television station this week. Still, I think we have to take him at his word when he says he does not seek office in Afghanistan. Khalilzad, after all, is a cabinet level American official. It would seem wrong to question his allegiance.

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More Khalilzad Speculation

_13779_khalilzad-16-6-2005.jpg

The Independent today adds fuel to persistent rumors that US Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad has his eyes on the Afghan Presidency.

Mr Khalilzad played a major role in Mr Karzai becoming President after the fall of the Taliban. But the Afghan ruler’s popularity has slipped and he has been increasingly at odds with his Western backers, criticising British policy in Helmand and blocking the appointment of Lord [Paddy] Ashdown…as the UN envoy to Kabul. But Mr Khalilzad has himself been accused of undermining Lord Ashdown by failing to support him adequately at the UN for the Afghan job.

These rumors have been floating around the UN for a long while, and Ambassador Khalilzad certainly did not do much to tamper down speculation by announcing his impending retirement on Afghan television station this week. Still, I think we have to take him at his word when he says he does not seek office in Afghanistan. Khalilzad, after all, is a cabinet level American official. It would seem wrong to question his allegiance.

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Friday Morning Coffee

Will they eat cookie or cake? A British court decides.

Top Stories

>>Uganda – Yesterday, Joseph Kony, the notorious leader of the LRA, balked at signing a final peace deal with the Ugandan government once again, and he fired his top negotiator as well (some sources say he quit). Kony is reportedly skiddish about how Uganda’s courts would dole out the justice that Kony insisted not be carried out by the ICC; these specifics were worked out by his top negotiator.

>>North Korea – North Korea and the United States appear to have worked out a deal under which North Korea would acknowledge U.S. concerns and evidence about its nuclear program, as well as disclose its plutonium enrichment program, in lieu of the full report that the nation has delayed producing. In return the U.S. would drop two key economic sanctions.

>>Olympics – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will not attend the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, due to “scheduling issues.” His spokesman said that he is planning a “substantive visit” instead. Gordon Brown and Angela Merkel will also not attend.

>>Gaza – Israel has cut off the fuel supply to Gaza a day after Palestinian militants attacked Gaza’s sole fuel distribution center (located in Israel) and killed two civilians. Gaza is already under a blockade that denies the area all but humanitarian essentials.

Yesterday in UN Dispatch
  • href="http://www.undispatch.com/archives/2008/04/the_exigencies.php">The
    Exigencies of Peacekeeping
  • href="http://www.undispatch.com/archives/2008/04/un_report_women_1.php">UN
    report: Women face bias worldwide
  • href="http://www.undispatch.com/archives/2008/04/russia_to_incre.php">Russia
    to Increase Payments to the UN?
  • href="http://www.undispatch.com/archives/2008/04/un_official_hig.php">UN
    Official: High Food Prices Here to Stay

The Rest of the Story


Africa

  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Somalia-Pirate-Attack.html?ex=1365652800&en=be146ec7d6ed5091&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Somalia
    - France Says Hostages Held Off Somalia Are Freed
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/268320124/idUSL1190168320080411">Rwanda
    - Grenade kills policeman at Rwanda genocide museum
  • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/a148ca92-07a0-11dd-a922-0000779fd2ac.html">Zimbabwe
    - Zimbabwe opposition ‘to shun run-off’
  • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/africa/article3727865.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093">Zimbabwe
    - MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai ‘optimistic’ after meeting with Thebo Mbeki
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/268196927/idUSL0457212820080411">Zimbabwe
    - Zimbabwe raises doubt on Mugabe attending summit
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/africa/7342127.stm">Zimbabwe
    - Mugabe rival ‘meets SA leader’
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/middle_east/7342425.stm">Egypt
    - Alcohol fatwa sparks controversy
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/gallery/2008/apr/11/wildlife.conservation?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Madagascar
    - In pictures: Mapping the wildlife of Madagascar
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/sport1/hi/cricket/other_international/india/latest_scorecard/default.stm">South
    Africa
    – Latest – India v South Africa
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/11/zimbabwe1?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">South
    Africa
    – Mbeki asked to step up Mugabe pressure
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/africa/7341833.stm">Ethiopia
    - UN fears new Ethiopia-Eritrea war
  • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/268129434/AR2008041003361.html">Ghana
    - Dreams of Oil Wealth, Tinted by Fear

Americas

  • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/34f9732a-074e-11dd-b41e-0000779fd2ac.html">Colombia
    - House derails Colombia trade agreement
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/267948736/idUSN1038136320080410">Haiti
    - Haitians say their hunger is real
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/11/world/americas/11fbriefs-WAGELIMITSRE_BRF.html?ex=1365652800&en=4b7fceb33e3f4909&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Cuba
    - Wage Limits Removed
  • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/8e6991ba-076c-11dd-b41e-0000779fd2ac.html">Chile
    - Chile central bank intervenes in forex market
  • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/7b23db6e-076d-11dd-b41e-0000779fd2ac.html">Peru
    - Peru raises rates to curb inflation impact
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/267948737/idUSN1032098120080410">Ecuador
    - Ecuador military crisis to test Correa’s mettle
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/americas/7341786.stm">Brazil
    - Brazil makes corruption arrests

Asia

  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/11/world/asia/11fbriefs-COURTAPPROVE_BRF.html?ex=1365652800&en=8a336939e42d9cff&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">India
    - Court Approves University Quotas
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-India-Farmers-Suicide.html?ex=1365652800&en=59f8db03d14c2ffc&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">India
    - Cheap Hair Dye Banned in India After Suicides
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7341923.stm">N.
    Korea
    – Japan renews N Korea sanctions
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/11/world/asia/11korea.html?ex=1365652800&en=0e902689a02714a7&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">S.
    Korea
    – South Korea’s President Looks to Repair U.S. Ties
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-China-Shanghai-Scandal.html?ex=1365652800&en=5b2073fd65504119&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">China
    - Ex-Party Boss in China Gets 18 Years
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/268134443/idUSBKK15906720080411">Thailand
    - Police hunt for driver of Thai death truck
  • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/olympics/article3727156.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093">Japan
    - Japan bans tracksuited Chinese torch guards, as relay moves to Buenos
    Aires
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/11/world/asia/11kandahar.html?ex=1365652800&en=5d4f728226247413&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Afghanistan
    - Afghan Bombing Kills Up to 8 Civilians, Including 3 Children
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/south_asia/7341930.stm">Afghanistan
    - US is ‘undermining’ Afghan trials
  • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article3724065.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093">Russia
    - Russian military battles overweight soldiers

Europe

  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/11/world/europe/11fbriefs-STUDENTSSTEP_BRF.html?ex=1365652800&en=4c4723c1b371ef9c&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">France
    - Students Step Up Protests
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/europe/7342539.stm">Germany
    - Germany eases law on stem cells
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/europe/7341939.stm">Italy
    - Italy rivals in final poll push
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/267883234/idUSL1086564220080410">Bosnia
    - Bosnia faces vote on EU reforms or isolation
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/europe/7341857.stm">Bosnia
    - Police law helps Bosnia’s EU bid
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/11/world/europe/11fbriefs-CHURCHANDSTA_BRF.html?ex=1365652800&en=d23dd8363be95d7d&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Norway
    - Church and State to Relax Ties
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/apr/11/madeleinemccann.eu?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Portugal
    - McCanns call for a Europe-wide alert system on missing children

Middle East

  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/11/world/middleeast/11fbriefs-2PALESTINIAN_BRF.html?ex=1365652800&en=e9a44eee2bf7c2f0&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Israel
    - 2 Palestinians Held in Poison Plot
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/11/washington/11terror.html?ex=1365652800&en=e74fd3153d36bb60&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Iraq
    - Bush Dispatches Envoys to Arab Capitals as Part of Iraq Plan
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/11/washington/10cnd-prexy.html?ex=1365566400&en=4315bc132c0c02c4&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Iraq
    - Bush Defies Calls for Faster Withdrawal of Iraq Troops
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/10/georgebush.usa?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Iraq
    - President George Bush to reduce tours of duty for US troops
  • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article3724048.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093">Iran
    - Spy photos reveal ‘secret launch site’ for Iran’s long-range missiles
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/11/world/middleeast/11iran.html?ex=1365566400&en=2a997fbdbd0687e7&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Iran
    - Cabinet Shakeup in Iran
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