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Good morning. Please see today's news review for March 16, 2012. This new format is best viewed in HTML. Of interest in today's report: - Ethiopia carries out attacks against Eritrea - Southern Africa arms against pirates - Somalia, Kenya, Nigeria bombings deadlier in 2011 - UN refugee agency warns Italy to prepare for boat people U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs Please send questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org 421-2687 (+49-711-729-2687)
Headline Ethiopia carries out attacks against Eritrea Southern Africa arms against pirates Somalia, Kenya, Nigeria bombings deadlier in 2011
Outlet Associated Press (AP)
03/16/2012 Times LIVE - Online 03/15/2012 Associated Press (AP)
UN refugee agency warns Italy to Agence France 03/15/2012 prepare for boat people Presse (AFP) G.Bissau security forces vote in Agence France 03/15/2012 presidential poll Presse (AFP) Jonathan: Nigeria takes share of 03/15/2012 CNN blame for failed hostage rescue Morocco protest after raped Amina Filali kills herself Ugandan Gay Rights Group Sues U.S. Evangelist From Lubanga to Kony, is the ICC only after Africans? 03/15/2012 BBC 03/15/2012 New York Times 03/16/2012 France 24 - Online
U.S. Naval Forces West African, European and U.S. Europe-Africa/U.S. Navies and Coast Guards Plan 03/15/2012 6th Fleet Public Exercise Saharan Express 2012 Affairs U.S. Marine Corps Forces Africa Partners with Ugandan AU 03/15/2012 U.S. Embassy Uganda Forces in Counter-Terrorism Combat Engineering United Nations News Centre Africa Briefs 03/15/2012 United Nations News Service
News Headline: Ethiopia carries out attacks against Eritrea | News Date: 03/15/2012 Outlet Full Name: Associated Press (AP) News Text: ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopian forces entered archrival Eritrea on Thursday and carried out what a government spokesman described as "a successful attack" against military posts. Shimeles Kemal said Ethiopia launched the attack because Eritrea was training "subversive groups" that carried out attacks inside Ethiopia. Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a border war from 1998 to 2000. Tensions have reignited between the countries in recent months. No details about the military operations or any damage or casualties were immediately released. The "Eritrea government has continued launching attacks at Ethiopia through its proxy groups. The attacks had continued. And the recent attacks against European tourists is one of the reasons for the retaliation," Shimeles said. Militants attacked European tourists from five nations traveling in Ethiopia's arid north in January. Five tourists were killed and two were kidnapped. The two kidnapped German tourists have since been released. Ethiopia blamed gunmen from Eritrea for the attack. The attacks Thursday by Ethiopian forces took place about 10 miles (16 kilometers) inside Eritrea's territory in areas called Gelakalay and Gimbina, Shimeles said. The Ethiopian forces have returned to Ethiopia, he said. "Today's measures do not constitute a direct military confrontation between the two countries. The Ethiopian defense force has entered into Eritrea and launched a successful attack against military posts that have been used to organize, finance and train the subversive groups," Shimeles said. Shimeles said it was unlikely that Eritrea would retaliate because it is "not in a position to launch a counter attack." Eritrea's ambassador to the Addis Ababa-based African Union, Girma Asmerom, didn't immediately respond to phone calls seeking comment.
The border war between the two countries killed about 80,000 people. Recent signs have pointed to growing tension in the region. Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told the country's parliament in April that his government would actively support Eritrean opposition groups to help topple that country's regime. Ethiopia also blamed Eritrea for scheming bomb attacks on several targets in Addis Ababa during an African Union summit in January 2011. Eritrea doesn't receive foreign aid and is sanctioned by the U.N. because of human rights violations. U.N. reports have indicated that Eritrea has supported Somalia's top militant group, the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab. Eritrea has denied those accusations. ..
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News Headline: Southern Africa arms against pirates | News Date: 03/16/2012 Outlet Full Name: Times LIVE - Online News Text: The threat of piracy is moving towards South Africa, the SA Navy said yesterday. Chief maritime strategy director Bernhard Hein Teuteberg said the navy is prepared to meet the threat. The key to fighting pirates was collective Southern African Development Community security, he said in Cape Town yesterday. "We have proposed a maritime zone and regional maritime domain zone centres, all working together to exchange information," he said. Information about vessels moving past South Africa would start being centralised from April 1. This information would, he hoped, be shared throughout the region. South Africa's formalisation of ties with Somalia on Wednesday would probably assist antipiracy efforts. Mozambique, Tanzania and South Africa have been working together for the past year to secure the Mozambique Channel, between the mainland and Madagascar. Under Operation Copper, a frigate, a helicopter, special forces and a maritime squad had been deployed. Mozambique was providing a naval base in Pemba at no cost, and 12 inland control vessels to protect the lagoon and the area around the base. Three Tanzanian vessels were patrolling inshore areas around Dar es Salaam, and between Mozambique and Tanzania. Beaches in hot spots were being patrolled on foot, and local communities were ready to report suspicious activity.
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News Headline: Somalia, Kenya, Nigeria bombings deadlier in 2011 |
News Date: 03/15/2012 Outlet Full Name: Associated Press (AP) News Text: NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Bomb attacks in Nigeria, Kenya and Somalia rose in 2011 as al-Qaida-affiliated terror groups used more sophisticated devices to kill more people with each explosion, the Pentagon's anti-IED unit said. Nigeria saw a nearly fourfold jump in the number of improvised explosive device incidents last year, while Kenya saw an 86 percent increase, according to the unit. Underscoring the threat, both nations saw deadly blasts last weekend: A car bomb attack on a church during Mass in Nigeria and grenades thrown at Kenyans as they waited at a crowded bus stop. Militants last year began using a deadlier type of bomb known as a shaped charge for the first time in both Somalia and Nigeria, John Myrick, a U.S. military bomb expert told The Associated Press. Advanced bomb-makers use shaped charges to increase the force of a bomb so that it can penetrate armor. Such deadly explosives were used repeatedly by militants at the height of the Iraq war, and to a lesser extent in Afghanistan. The migration of the deadlier bombs to Africa is evidence that more sophisticated al-Qaida-linked groups are advising and training African militants. While Somalia saw only a small increase in attacks, the newer technology lead to greater casualties and deeper impact on Africa Union forces, Myrick said. On Wednesday, a suicide bomb attack aimed at the main government compound in Mogadishu killed at least three people, said the spokesman for the African Union force known as AMISOM. Bombs in Somalia "are definitely more sophisticated and they're definitely more effective against AMISOM armored vehicles, which represents an advance in the capabilities of the insurgents," said Myrick, the chief of the global missions task force for the Pentagon's Joint IED Defeat Organization. Myrick said that the more effective bombs and attacks "indicate an increase in logistical support from some of the more sophisticated groups on the continent, and also an increase in training." Specifically, the anti-IED unit says al-Qaida's North African branch is increasing support to Nigerian militants, and another affiliate, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), is supporting Somali militant groups. Nigeria saw 196 bomb incidents in 2011, compared with 52 incidents in 2010, U.S. military numbers show. An incident is when a bomb detonates or is discovered before detonation. The Pentagon's anti-IED unit expects Nigeria to see a slight increase in bomb incidents this year, before attack numbers plateau because militants will have reached their capacity to produce them, Myrick said. The Joint IED Defeat Organization says militants are increasingly targeting events that will produce mass casualties. A Christmas Day blast that struck St. Theresa Catholic Church near Nigeria's capital killed 44 people. Nigeria Police Commissioner Ambrose Aisabor, who oversees the Nigeria Police Force's antibomb squad, blamed the increase on a radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" in the Hausa language of Nigeria's north. "Since the past two years, the activities of Boko Haram have been on the increase," he told AP. "A lot of IEDs are being detonated in the northeastern part of the country."
Officers with the anti-bomb squad recently returned from a U.S. training session on explosives organized by the U.S. Embassy and the FBI. The FBI already has an agent working with Nigerian authorities on improvised explosives and how to conduct investigations after a bombing, U.S. Ambassador Terence P. McCulley has told AP. Still, the police force remains mired by ineffective training inside the country, poor equipment and a corrupt system that drives officers to seek bribes on a regular basis. The poor training was apparent Feb. 14, when a bomb squad officer approached a suspicious plastic bag in the city of Kaduna, where other explosives had detonated that day. Video by the state-run Nigerian Television Authority showed the officer, wearing no protective gear, look inside the bag. The explosives detonated, killing him instantly. State-run TV aired the video throughout the day, intensifying fears of a public already overwhelmed by Boko Haram violence. Across Africa, the U.S. military said the number of IED incidents rose from 547 in 2010 to 626 last year, a 14 percent increase. Algeria saw the number of bomb incidents drop from 251 to 137. Somalia saw a slight rise — from 182 to 191 — while incidents in neighboring Kenya jumped from 14 to 26. Many of Kenya's bomb attacks were near the Somali border and appeared to have been planted by Somali militants al-Shabab. Kenya also suffered several grenade attacks in its capital. Al-Shabab denied it was behind last weekend's grenade blasts, which killed nine people. The research firm Eurasia Group said if alShabab didn't carry out the blasts the attacks show that Kenya faces threats from potentially several terror groups. Col. Cyrus Oguna, the officer in charge of the Kenyan military forces that moved into Somalia in October, said his troops encountered many IEDs at the beginning of its operation and lost "a couple" soldiers. But he said his forces have since implemented counter-IED strategies, reducing the bomb's frequency and effectiveness. The commander of AMISOM troops in Somalia said his forces are seeing "improved technology" in IEDs. "We see a lot in common with what happened and is still happening in Afghanistan and Iraq, and that for us confirms that the operations of al-Qaida and al-Shabab are the same," Maj. Gen. Fred Mugisha said. "We have not started seeing this today. We have seen this for some time." Al-Shabab announced a merger with al-Qaida earlier this year. Myrick said the alliance won't necessarily net al-Shabab more bomb-making experts, but he said it could open a new funding stream to purchase bomb-making materials. IEDs are the weapon of choice for terrorists and insurgents the world over because of how easy they are to make. As Myrick said: "An 8-year-old can put together an IED if they try." In addition, IED blasts garner more attention. "People in the press in general tend to take a more active view of things that go boom instead of things that go bang. Shooting up a refugee camp, while newsworthy, would not get the amount of coverage as an IED in a refugee camp," he said. "We'll see this problem for decades. JIEDDO's view is that the IED is going to remain the weapon of choice for insurgents and terrorists for at least the next 40 years."
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News Headline: UN refugee agency warns Italy to prepare for boat people | News Date: 03/15/2012 Outlet Full Name: Agence France Presse (AFP) News Text: The UN's refugee agency called on Italy Thursday to speed up preparations on the tiny island of Lampedusa for a possible new wave of refugees fleeing the Horn of Africa and the Middle East. "With ongoing crisis situations in various regions we know there are vast movements of people across borders," said Laura Boldrini, UNHCR spokeswoman. Some are heading to countries such as Libya and Tunisia which have served as departure points for boats of refugees headed for Lampedusa in the past. "Lampedusa port has been declared unsafe and the welcome centre is unusable. The government needs to reactivate the facility and declare the zone safe. We're not currently in a position to respond to an emergency," she said. Rioting Tunisian migrants angered at their long detention in cramped conditions set fire to the island's reception centre in September last year. Italy's interior and integration policies ministers visited Lampedusa earlier this month and said that Italy "must not be caught off guard." "We hope that there will not be another immigration emergency, but we have to be prepared," integration policies minister Andrea Riccardi said, though he added: "The welcome centre will remain closed as long as it is unfit for use." Africans began fleeing for Lampedusa and other islands in the Pelagian archipelago -- which lies closer to north Africa than to mainland Italy -- when the conflict in Libya began early last year. About 60,000 people landed in Italy last year, according to the UNHCR. Fears are that improvements in the weather could encourage others to attempt the dangerous crossing soon, especially with ongoing civil unrest in several areas, including Syria.
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News Headline: G.Bissau security forces vote in presidential poll | News Date: 03/15/2012 Outlet Full Name: Agence France Presse(AFP) News Text: Soldiers and para-military troops were the first to vote in presidential elections in coup-prone Guinea-Bissau Thursday, three days before the rest of the country. The National Elections Commission said the vote concerned some 4,400 members of the armed forces of a total 579,000 registered voters. "We would like peace and stability for everyone," said Commander Usmane Djassi after casting his vote, one of the few to vote in civilian wear.
Captain Alberto Bissangue said he expected a vote which would "guarantee stability, jobs and above all peace", in a country where tensions between the large and powerful army and the state have caused chronic instability. Since independence from Portugal in 1974, achieved by armed force, three presidents have been overthrown by coups and one was assassinated in office in 2009. The most recent failed coup bid took place on December 26, 2011. President Malam Bacai Sanha died in his first term from a long illness in January, which led to the early election. Army reform has been stiffly resisted, but is seen as crucial for future stability in the country whose volatility has made it fertile ground for Latin American drug lords looking for a hub to ship their cocaine to Europe. An army mutiny in April 2010 led both the European Union and United States to suspend support for security sector reforms. Nine candidates are running for office, including former prime minister Carlos Gomes Junior and ex-president Kumba Yala.
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News Headline: Jonathan: Nigeria takes share of blame for failed hostage rescue | News Date: 03/15/2012 Outlet Full Name: CNN News Text: Abuja, Nigeria (CNN) -- Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said Thursday he takes some of the responsibility for a failed hostage rescue attempt in which an Italian and a British man died. Kidnappers killed Franco Lamolinara and Chris McManus last week while a raid to free them was under way, according to British government sources briefed on the matter. The case drew criticism from top Italian officials, who questioned why Rome was not consulted before the operation, which was launched by Nigerian forces with support from Britain. In an interview with CNN Thursday, Jonathan said Nigerian authorities had worked with the British and other international intelligence agencies, but did not specify who the other nations were. Jonathan said his country took its share of the blame for the operation's failure. "We worked with the international intelligence system. If there was success, there would have been a collective glory. Since we did not quite succeed, well, we all take responsibility," he said. "So I cannot say I will not take part of that responsibility: yes, I do. I'm the president of the country." Britain said it had not been possible to inform Italy of the operation until it was under way because of the fast moving situation on the ground and the "imminent and growing danger" to the hostages' lives. Jonathan said the raid was launched after conversations between the captors were
intercepted. The hostages had been moved several times and there were fears they would be taken out of Nigeria, he said. The escape of one of the alleged kidnappers during an arrest the day before the failed rescue attempt also raised fears McManus and Lamolinara would be killed, the president said. Jonathan said he was not aware of any demand for a ransom, or of any ransom payment having been made. "In this particular case, no family member informed security agencies that they (the captors) had reached out to them for ransom," he told CNN. An autopsy conducted on Lamolinara's body on its return to Rome revealed he had been shot four times, according to Italian media reports. The 47-year-old engineer was abducted with co-worker McManus in northwestern Nigeria in May 2011. Jonathan said last week that the men were killed before the joint forces could reach their kidnappers' hideout in the northern state of Sokoto. He blamed the kidnapping and killings on Boko Haram, the militant Islamist terror group responsible for dozens of attacks in Nigeria in the past two years. But a statement posted on a pro-jihad forum on which the militant group has been active in recent months denied any link. On Wednesday, the Nigerian secret service announced that the alleged mastermind behind the kidnapping had died after having been shot during his arrest. Several other alleged Boko Haram members were paraded in front of journalists with bruises and bandages on their faces.
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News Headline: Morocco protest after raped Amina Filali kills herself | News Date: 03/15/2012 Outlet Full Name: BBC News Text: Moroccan activists have stepped up pressure to scrap laws that allow rapists to marry their victims - after a 16-year-old girl killed herself. Amina Filali swallowed rat poison after being severely beaten during a forced marriage to her rapist. An online petition has been started - and protests are planned for Saturday against a law branded by campaigners as an "embarrassment". The penal code allows the "kidnapper" of a minor to marry her to escape jail. 'Dishonour' Women's rights groups say the law is used to justify a traditional practice of allowing a rapist to
marry his victim to preserve the honour of the woman's family. "The article 475 is an embarrassment to Morocco's international image of modernity and democracy," President of the Democratic League for Women's Rights (LDDF) Fouzia Assouli told the BBC. "In Morocco, the law protects public morality but not the individual," Ms Assouli said, adding that legislation outlawing all forms of violence against women, including rape within marriage, has been held up since 2006. The BBC's Nora Fakim in Rabat says in conservative parts of Morocco, it is unacceptable for a woman to lose her virginity before marriage - and the dishonour is hers and her family's even if she is raped. Ms Filali came from the small northern town of Larache, near Tangiers. The legal age of marriage in Morocco is 18, unless there are "special circumstances" - which is the reason why Ms Filali was married despite being under-age. A judge can only recommend marriage if all parties involved agree - but activists say pressure is often applied to the victim's family to avoid a scandal. Ms Filali's father said that when he reported the rape of his daughter, he was advised of the option to marry by court officials. "The prosecutor advised my daughter to marry, he said: 'Go and make the marriage contract'," Lahcen Filali told an online newspaper, goud.ma. Local media reports say that the girl complained to her family about her mistreatment at the hands of the man who raped her - but they disowned her, prompting her to take her own life. Witnesses say her husband became so outraged when she drank the poison he dragged her down the street by her hair - and she died shortly afterwards. A Facebook page called: "We are all Amina Filali" has been formed. Campaigners are also calling for the judge who allowed the marriage and the rapist to be jailed.
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News Headline: Ugandan Gay Rights Group Sues U.S. Evangelist | News Date: 03/15/2012 Outlet Full Name: New York Times News Text: A Ugandan gay rights group filed suit against an American evangelist, Scott Lively, in federal court in Massachusetts on Wednesday, accusing him of violating international law by inciting the persecution of gay men and lesbians in Uganda. The lawsuit maintains that beginning in 2002, Mr. Lively conspired with religious and political leaders in Uganda to whip up anti-gay hysteria with warnings that gay people would sodomize African children and corrupt their culture. The Ugandan legislature considered a bill in 2009, proposed by one of Mr. Lively's Ugandan contacts, that would have imposed the death sentence for the ―offense of homosexuality.‖ That
bill languished after an outcry from the United States and European nations that are among major aid donors to Uganda, but was reintroduced last month. Mr. Lively is being sued by the organization Sexual Minorities Uganda under the alien tort statute, which allows foreigners to sue in American courts in situations asserting the violation of international law. The suit says that Mr. Lively's actions resulted in the persecution, arrest, torture and murder of gay men and lesbians in Uganda. Reached by telephone in Springfield, Mass., where he runs Holy Grounds Coffee House, a storefront mission and shop, Mr. Lively said he did not know about the lawsuit. Nevertheless, he said: ―That's about as ridiculous as it gets. I've never done anything in Uganda except preach the Gospel and speak my opinion about the homosexual issue.‖ Mr. Lively is the founder and president of Abiding Truth Ministries. He is also the author of ―The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party,‖ which says that Nazism was a movement inspired by homosexuals, and ―Seven Steps to Recruit-Proof Your Child,‖ a guide to prevent what he calls ―pro-homosexual indoctrination.‖ He has traveled to Uganda, Latvia and Moldova to warn Christian clergy members to defend their countries against what he says is an onslaught by gay rights advocates based in the West. Pamela C. Spees, a lawyer for the Ugandan group, works with the Center for Constitutional Rights, a legal advocacy group based in New York City. Ms. Spees said that since gay men and lesbians in Uganda have little support, the suit ―brings the fight‖ to those in the United States who she says fomented the anti-gay legislation in Uganda. She says that the suit is targeted at Mr. Lively's actions, not his beliefs. ―This is not just based on his speech,‖ she said. ―It's based on his conduct. Belief is one thing, but actively trying to harm and deprive other people of their rights is the definition of persecution.‖ Mr. Lively is one of many conservative American evangelicals who were active in Uganda. He and others tried to distance themselves from the legislation after the international outcry over the death penalty provision. Ms. Spees said the lawsuit singled him out because ―his role was critical.‖ Mr. Lively posted a report after his visit to Uganda in 2009 describing how he addressed groups of lawyers, members of Parliament, universities, secondary schools and Christian leaders about ―the ‗gay' agenda,‖ and spoke at a three-day conference. Frank Mugisha, of Sexual Minorities Uganda, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, said Wednesday in a conference call that before these events in 2009, gay men and lesbians were ―looked at as different,‖ but that ―no one bothered them.‖ But after Mr. Lively's speeches, Mr. Mugisha said, ―People were being reported to the police as homosexuals, were thrown out by their families or thrown out by the church.‖ The lawsuit names four Ugandan co-conspirators: Stephen Langa and Martin Ssempa, evangelists active in the anti-gay movement; David Bahati, the legislator who sponsored the bill; and James Buturo, the former minister of ethics and a proponent of the legislation. Informed of the lawsuit against Mr. Lively, Mr. Buturo said Wednesday in an interview, ―I don't know that person at all.‖ Nevertheless, Mr. Lively said in his report that he had a half-hour meeting with Mr. Buturo in 2009.
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News Headline: From Lubanga to Kony, is the ICC only after Africans? | News Date: 03/16/2012 Outlet Full Name: France 24 - Online News Text: In June 2009, just months after the Thomas Lubanga trial opened in the International Criminal Court (ICC), a group of former child soldiers and municipal officials in the northeastern Congolese district of Ituri - where Congolese warlord Lubanga operated - were shown a video of the ICC's proceedings at separate screenings. Recalling the incident nearly three years later - on the day Lubanga was convicted in the ICC's first-ever ruling - Adam Hochschild, a leading expert on the Democratic Republic of Congo, said the reactions at the video screening were revealing. ―When it was shown to the municipal officials, one of them shook his head at the screen and remarked, [in French] ‗c'est justice à l'occidentale'. What they were seeing was basically, here is a black African being judged by three white judges,‖ recalled Hochschild - author of the acclaimed book on the Congo, ―King Leopold's Ghost‖ - who attended the screenings, in a phone interview with FRANCE 24. Africans have featured prominently - some would say too prominently - on the ICC's list of firsts. The court's historic first conviction this week was against a Congolese warlord guilty of conscripting child soldiers. Its first arrest warrant, issued in 2005, was also for an African: Joseph Kony, the Ugandan leader of the Lord's Resistance Army. Kony has recently been the subject of a controversial social media campaign that has sparked debates on a host of related issues - including the fact that all of the ICC's wanted men are from Africa. African officials cry foul Ten years ago, the ICC was set up as a tribunal of last resort to prosecute suspects from countries either unable or unwilling to do it themselves. The Hague-based court is currently conducting investigations in seven countries – all of them African. It's a fact that has not gone unnoticed – especially among African leaders. Rwandan President Paul Kagame once said the ICC was "put in place only for African countries". African Union Commission chief Jean Ping complained about Africa being made ―an example to the world‖. The international legal community is keenly aware of this criticism – it was an important consideration during last year's selection of a new ICC chief prosecutor. In the end, Fatou Bensouda, a former Gambian justice minister, was the consensus choice to replace current chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo following intense AU lobbying. She takes over from Moreno-Ocampo, an Argentinian, in June. ‗Super beings' above the law But beneath the rhetoric of discrimination – popular among some African leaders – lies the far more nuanced reality of the state of justice, politics and the relationship between the two on the continent. Karine Bonneau of the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights Much has been made about the fact that the ICC's 15 cases are all from seven African
countries – Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Kenya, Central African Republic, Ivory Coast and Libya. But Karine Bonneau of the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights notes that, ―four of the seven states in Africa asked the court to investigate because they were unable to try senior figures in their countries.‖ Some African commentators have called for ―deep introspection‖ on the issue. Writing in the Kenyan newspaper, the Daily Nation, Erick Komolo, a Kenyan advocate and scholar at the University of Hong Kong, noted that, ―The perception we have of our leaders as ‗super beings' allows for unjust manipulation of public institutions, including elevating them above judicial systems. It also stimulates a false sense of ‗ethnic solidarity'‖. The ICC is currently investigating four Kenyans - including two 2012 presidential hopefuls accused of crimes against humanity following the disputed 2007 election. Avoiding the ‗big fish' from ‗big countries' But the problem of inordinately powerful leaders subverting justice is not exclusive to African nations. In recent months, there have been growing calls for Syrian President Bashar al Assad's regime to face an ICC trial after UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillai recommended that Assad's regime be referred to the ICC. But Bonneau notes that there are several procedural hurdles to overcome for the ICC to take on the Syrian regime since Syria is not among the 120 countries that are state parties to the ICC. ―The ICC has no jurisdiction over Syria without a referral from the UN Security Council, which happened in the case of Libya. But Russia and China will oppose such a move,‖ explained Bonneau. Syria is not the only country that has refused to be a state party to the ICC. Conspicuously absent in this list are countries such as the US, Russia, China, India and Israel. The absence of three permanent UN Security Council members on the ICC state party list has led to criticism that the ICC offers a ―victor's justice‖. ―The obvious problem is that the court will investigate small and medium fish because the big fish come from big countries,‖ said Hochschild. ―The US will not be in court for its endorsement of torture in the Iraq War, or Russia for the war in Chechnya, or China for its actions in Tibet.‖ In an attempt to broaden the gamut of ICC investigations, the office of the chief prosecutor is currently conducting preliminary examinations in Afghanistan, Colombia, Gaza, Georgia, Honduras and North Korea among other regions. Critics of the ICC's Africa bias also hope that with new chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in the job, the court will successfully broaden its scope. Despite his criticism about the ICC, Hochschild concedes that the permanent international court at The Hague plays an important role and with its first-ever conviction of Congolese warlord Lubanga this week, the ICC has made a change. ―The positive thing is that many people in Ituri said the message of criminalising the use of child soldiers did get through. Warlords are now aware that they could be in court if they use child soldiers. People say that the effect of the trial is that you don't see child soldiers around anymore – at least when ICC officials and people like me are in town, which was not the case
earlier,‖ said Hochschild. ―In the end, there is no better substitute for a working national justice system. But in its absence, we need institutions like the International Criminal Court.‖
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News Headline: West African, European and U.S. Navies and Coast Guards Plan Exercise Saharan Express 2012 | News Date: 03/15/2012 Outlet Full Name: U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs News Text: PRAIA, Cape Verde, Mar 15, 2012 — Military and civilian maritime professionals from West Africa, Europe, and the United States finalized a challenging training agenda for exercise Saharan Express 2012, March 14, 2012. This week's final planning conference at the Counternarcotics and Maritime Security (COSMAR) interagency operations center culminates previous months of close coordination to plan complex maritime interdiction operation (MIO) scenarios to be executed later this spring. "We live in a world that is confronted with many problems like piracy, drug trafficking, terrorism, organized crime," said Colonel Alberto Ferdandes, chief of staff, Cape Verde armed forces. "It's necessary for each of us to find a solution to respond to these problems in an efficient manner, we need to have a communal response and it is important that we are all prepared so we can produce a unified action." Colonel Fernandes continued to say that he hopes exercise Saharan Express will offer each partner nation the opportunity to work together and establish interoperability in the region. Finalized this week for the MIO scenarios are visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) drills; search and rescue scenarios; medical casualty drills; radio communication drills; and information management practice techniques. These scenarios are scheduled to be executed off the coasts of Cape Verde, Mauritania, Senegal, and The Gambia and will be monitored and controlled by multiple Maritime Operations Centers (MOCs) in the region. The aim of exercise Saharan Express is to develop participant nations' capabilities to monitor and enforce their own territorial waters and exclusive economic zones. Should these participants meet in the future to conduct combined peacekeeping or humanitarian operations, or to counter trafficking in drugs, people, or weapons in the Atlantic Ocean, they will be better able to respond and work together. "The collaboration of West African and European nations coming together to share information is encouraging to see as Saharan Express grows each year," said Lieutenant Commander Eric Moyer, lead exercise planner. "We're looking forward to another great year." Exercise Saharan Express, scheduled to enter its second year later this spring, is a continuation of West African, European, and U.S. navies and maritime agencies working to build maritime security in order to face common challenges.
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News Headline: U.S. Marine Corps Forces Africa Partners with Ugandan AU Forces in Counter-Terrorism Combat Engineering | News Date: 03/15/2012 Outlet Full Name: U.S. Embassy Uganda News Text: KAMPALA, Uganda, Mar 15, 2012 — A small team of Marines with U.S. Marine
Forces Africa (MARFORAF) traveled to Kampala, Uganda in March 2012 to train soldiers of the Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF) in counter-terrorism combat engineering. The Marines, part of the Security Cooperation Team - 2, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - 12 (SCT-2, SPMAGTF-12), out of Naval Air Station, Sigonella, Italy, will serve seven weeks training, equipping, and organizing combat-experienced UPDF soldiers into counter-terrorism engineer companies to support infantry battalions already deployed as part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Initially one UPDF company will be trained, with two additional companies slated for training later this year. The three companies will form the basis of Uganda's Field Engineer Regiment. The training will enable freedom of movement and ease the combat operations of UPDF troops operating in the urban environment of Mogadishu, according to Major Charles Baker, Uganda OIC, SPMAGTF-12, MARFORAF. "The genesis of this mission was operations in Mogadishu, Somalia, where African Union peacekeepers experienced IEDs and other complex obstacles, which exposed them to ambushes by al-Shabaab, "Baker said. In addition to this training, AMISOM troops will receive combat engineer tool kits and mine detectors, as well as armored dozers and front-end loaders to support peacekeeping operations. According to SCT-2 Team Leader Captain Conrad Rinto, the U.S. Marines -- who include infantry engineers, loading station specialists, and communications specialists, among others -bring real combat engineering experience to the training. "The UPDF soldiers here are incredibly enthusiastic, which motivates us to train them. One of the great things we can offer them is the skill sets that the Marines have and are willing to share," explains Rinto. Colonel James Ruhesi, a UPDF Officer involved in the training, shares this view, describing the training as a great opportunity for the UPDF to build its forces' engineering core functions. "Normally we have been sending one or two officers to the U.S. for this training, but now we have a chance to train a big number of our forces and build the engineering capacity of our troops to use the equipment the U.S. government has donated to us," he says.
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News Headline: United Nations News Centre - Africa Briefs | News Date: 03/15/2012 Outlet Full Name: United Nations News Service News Text: UN envoy strongly condemns attack on Somali government compound 15 March – The United Nations envoy for Somalia has strongly condemned the suicide attack that took place yesterday at a government compound in the capital of the Horn of Africa nation.
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News Headline: United Nations News Centre - Africa Briefs | News Date: 03/15/2012 Outlet Full Name: United Nations News Service
News Text: Ban commends Sudan, South Sudan for progress in talks to resolve outstanding issues 15 March – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has commended the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan for the progress they have made in talks aimed at resolving post-independence issues, including agreements reached on the status of citizens of each State and the demarcation of the border.
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