The Global Citizen: November 2011
Cote D'Ivoire's ex-president Laurent Gbagbo was transferred to The Hague last night just hours after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest. Gbagbo was indicted for crimes against humanity he committed during violence resulting from his refusal to cede power after losing the presidential election last year. More than 3,000 civilians died and many more were injured or assaulted in the post-election conflict between supporters of Gbagbo and the newly elected president Alassane Ouattara .
The ICC launched an investigation into the events that occurred after the election in October. Speaking about the arrest of Gbagbo, ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said, "It is exactly a year since the presidential election that led to one of the worst episodes of violence Cote d'Ivoire has ever known, with ordinary Ivorians suffering immensely, and crimes allegedly committed by both parties. We have evidence that the violence did not happen by chance; widespread and systematic attacks against civilians perceived as supporting the other candidate were the result of a deliberate policy."
Citizens for Global Solutions CEO Don Kraus was interviewed today about the arrest of Laurent Gbagbo of Cote D'Ivoire who was transferred to the International Criminal Court today on charges of committing crimes against humanity and the state of international justice for WORT radio in Madison, Wisconsin.
Egyptians continued voting in parliamentary elections for a second day Tuesday, marking a historic change for a nation that was under authoritarian rule less than a year ago. The elections to fill the People's Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, are the first held since the ousting of former dictator Hosni Mubarak, who resigned from power following massive uprisings earlier this year. The first days of voting have seen an unexpectedly high level of participation (authorities estimate participation to be above 70%) amongst a population optimistic that their votes will finally matter after decades of totalitarian governance. The elections have also been surprisingly peaceful and free of obstructions that many feared would put a damper on the watershed moment for the budding democracy.
The election of a new Parliament is a months-long process, done in regional stages that will not be completed until March. This vote will set the stage for the creation of a new constitution next spring as well as a presidential election to be held next summer. The success of the voting thus far gives hope that the resulting government at the end of this process will be truly democratic and representative of the Egyptian people.
International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has said that Libya’s transitional government has agreed to work with the ICC and the United Nations to investigate alleged crimes committed by Saif Gaddafi, the recently captured son of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
The subject of where Saif would be tried - either at the ICC or in Libya - has provoked much debate since his capture. The ICC had issued arrest warrants for Saif, his father, and Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senoussi for crimes against humanity stemming from their involvement in the violent crackdown on civilians which took place in Libya for several months this year. Because the UN Security Council referred the situation in Libya to the ICC, the Court has jurisdiction over the case, even though Libya is not an ICC state party. However, some in Libya had expressed the desire to hold Saif accountable in their own country rather than handing him over to the Hague for trial.
Prosecutor Ocampo seems satisfied with the Libyan government’s vow of cooperation on the Saif Gaddafi case. It is now critically important that the country’s National Transitional Council fulfill this pledge. Even as Libya begins to pick up the pieces and rebuild a post-Gaddafi nation, those responsible for crimes against civilians, including Saif Gaddafi, must be held accountable and brought to justice.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has reportedly issued an arrest warrant for Laurent Gbagbo, former leader of Cote D'Ivoire, and he may be turned over to the Hague as soon as today.
Gbagbo was deposed from power last April after refusing to leave office following his loss in the country's 2010 election to now-President Alassane Ouattara. Three thousand people were killed and more than a million displaced during the post-election violence.
The ICC began an investigation into the situation in Cote D'Ivoire in October. Although Cote D'Ivoire has not ratified the Rome Statute, the Court says that the country accepted its jurisdiction in 2005.
Lloyd Axworthy, the former Foreign Minister of Canada and twice elected President of the U.N. Security Council, gave a presentation on the Responsibility to Protect at the University of Minnesota Law School last Tuesday in an event co-sponosred by the Minnesota chapter of Citizens for Global Solutions.
Click here to watch the webcast.
Citizens for Global Solutions, along with 11 other non-governmental organizations, sent a letter to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton asking her to push for strong democratic reforms ahead of her historic visit to Burma on Thursday.
Before planning a trip of a high-level government official to Burma, the U.S. required that President Thein Sein meet with political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi, the government release political prisoners, and allow former political prisoners to participate in the electoral process. This will be the first visit of a U.S. secretary of state to the country in 50 years.
Don Kraus, CEO of Citizens for Global Solutions, said,
"Secretary Clinton's trip is an opportunity for the United States to use the Burmese government’s desire for warmer relations as a bargaining chip to strongly push for effective and long-lasting democratic reforms."
A Kenyan court today issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. This decision will hopefully put an end to the impunity Bashir had previously enjoyed when he traveled to the country.
As a state party to the ICC, Kenya is legally obligated to turn over Bashir and any other individuals indicted by the Court as soon as they set foot on its soil. However, in August of 2010 Bashir visited Kenya without being arrested, illustrating the gap in the ICC's ability to enforce cooperation among its member states when it comes to turning over indictees. ICC judges then reported Kenya to the United Nations Security Council for its failure to turn over Bashir.
It's gratifying to see Kenya stepping up to the plate and declaring that it will live up to its obligations as an ICC state party. The only way the Court can enforce its warrants and bring criminals to justice is if all its member states follow this example. Hopefully Kenya is setting a precedent that other nations who have previously hosted criminals like Bashir will follow, hastening the day he will face justice in the Hague.
Syrian President Bashar Assad's despotic regime received major setbacks today, as the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman called on Syria to better cooperate with the Arab League the same day that body approved economic sanctions against the regime. The moves further isolate the deteriorating government, cutting off almost all trade and investment between Syria and other Arab nations and demonstrating the distance Syria's traditional allies are putting between themselves and the tyrannical actions of Assad.
Hong Lei, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told reporters today that "China believes that the Syrian issue should be solved within the framework of the Arab League." While the Chinese did not officially comment on the League's sanctions, this is still a bold change of tune for Chinese officials, who have until now been some of Assad's most stalwart protectors against attempts for international action to reprimand the Syrian regime.
Don Kraus, CEO of Citizens for Global Solutions, was quoted in an article entitled "Rick Perry Puts His Foot In It With Syria Answer" in Talking Points Memo today. Rick Perry, Texas governor and current Republican presidential candidate, stirred controversy by saying that he would respond to the uprising and violence in Syria by imposing a no-fly zone unilaterally, without waiting to coordinate with the U.N. or the larger international community. Kraus called this "gunboat diplomacy" and stressed that it "would leave the United States holding the bag instead of sharing the costs” of such a campaign.
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