May 10, 2011

Kenya: Ocampo’s Appeal On Evidence Rejected

Filed under: Kenya — ethiopiantimes @ 9:43 pm
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Nairobi — The International Criminal Court has rejected a request by prosecutor Louis Moreno-Ocampo for extension of deadlines given to him disclose his evidence.

The prosecutor wanted 21 more days in order to enable him edit some of the evidence before he reveals it to the defence lawyers representing the Ocampo Six.

From May 23, 2011 Mr Moreno-Ocampo is required to start revealing the evidence he collected between March 31, 2010 and December, 15, 2010 to enable the lawyers prepare their defence.

On Tuesday, Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova said that the prosecutor’s argument had not persuaded the court and gave him until May 23 to submit “properly justified proposals for redactions.”

Until then, the requests stands rejected.

“The single judge is therefore of the view that the 21 days of extension requested by the prosecutor are not necessary and that the prosecutor will be able by Monday 23 May 2011 to complete his work with respect to the redactions to be requested for evidence collected since 31 March 2010 until 15 December 2010,” she ruled.

The judge was responding to an application filed on May 6 by lawyers for suspects William Ruto, Henry Kosgey and Joshua Sang.

Mr Ruto is represented by Kioko Kilukumi, David Hooper and Prof Kithure Kindiki while Mr Kosgey has retained Mr George Odinga Oraro, Julius Kemboy and Allan Kosgey Mr Katwa Kigen and Joseph Kipchumba act for Mr Sang.

The lawyers had requested the court to postpone the date of confirmation hearing scheduled for September if the prosecutor was granted the 21 days. Their request was rejected.

The prosecutor has three set of deadlines to open up his evidence starting this Friday May 13 for the evidence collected before December 15 2010; June 3, 2011 for evidence gathered between December 15, 2010, and March 31, 2011; and July 8, 2011, for the evidence collected after March 31, 2011.

The judge said that the law requires the process to be completed 30 days before the date of the hearing at the latest but also pointed out that the lawyers required sufficient time to build their responses.

“The provision of rule 121(3) of the Rules is to be read against the backdrop of, and subject to statutory provisions that guarantee the rights of the defence and, in particular, the right of the suspects to have adequate time for a meaningful preparation of their defence,” she ruled.

Besides, she noted that the law requires that suspects be informed “within a reasonable time” before the confirmation hearing of the evidence the prosecutor intends to use.
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“In the same vein, rule 76 of the Rules establishes that the prosecutor shall provide the defence with the names of witnesses whom he intends to call to testify as well as the copies of any prior statements made by them sufficiently in advance to enable the adequate preparation of the defence.”

The lawyers had argued that by making an application after four similar efforts had been rejected, the prosecutor’s was calculated to delay justice for the suspects.

“The prosecutor’s application is a fourth attempt to achieve orders to avoid or otherwise delay and or compromise disclosure, after motions to the same effect have already been rejected by the court.

“It is a creative design to circumvent orders already deprived and withheld by the court and borders on abuse of court process,” argued the lawyers.


Ethiopia Reduces Food Rations as Prices Soar

Filed under: Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 7:19 pm
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Unusually poor rains in the Horn of Africa, compounded by a shortage of reserve food supplies, have forced Ethiopia to reduce the size of emergency rations to needy citizens. The sudden shortage of emergency supplies comes as over-the-counter food prices are soaring.

Ethiopia’s emergency relief agency and international aid groups were caught off guard by how quickly conditions deteriorated as rains failed over the past six months.

As recently as February, Ethiopia’s appeal to humanitarian agencies for food aid covered 2.8 million people, a sharp decline from recent years. But by April, as grazing lands dried up in pastoral areas over a wide swath of Eastern Africa, the appeal was revised to include an additional 400,000 Ethiopians.

This is on top of a separate supplementary feeding program that covers an additional 8 million people.

Fresh rains over the past week have helped, but a follow-up assessment now underway is expected to lead to a further increase.

The latest report from the U.S. government funded FEWSNET, or Famine Early Warning System Network, says food insecurity has reached the “moderate to extreme” stage in some regions. It warns that existing assistance programs will not be able to handle “expected food deficits and high malnutrition.”

The shortages are forcing Ethiopia to curtail distribution in all but the hardest-hit regions of two of the four items contained in a food basket designed to help families stave off malnutrition. As a third round of distribution begins, disaster relief agency spokesman Akloweg Nigatu says supplies of pulses (dry beans and peas) and high-nutrition Corn-Soya Blend are critically low.

“Now we [are] just distributing one-third less pulses for the third round, and we [are] not able to provide CSB, Corn Soya Blend because we are short of it, sorely depleted. But we are trying to get this limited resource by asking our partners,” he said.

The United States and the U.N. World Food Program are among the main partners, or providers of nutritional assistance. But the WFP relief and refugee section chief in Ethiopia, Giammichele De Maio, says it can take months from the time an appeal is made until the food arrives.

“It usually takes an average lead-time of four, five months to get the food in the country, and that’s when we are actually able to distribute it to the beneficiaries. The latest request has come in April. There was a previous request in February, indeed several contributions are on their way, but still there are huge shortfalls in the relief pipeline currently,” he said.

US AID director for Ethiopia Thomas Staal says the United States is working urgently on a project to produce Corn Soya Blend in Ethiopia to meet domestic needs. In the meantime, he says a search is on for stocks of pulses that can be quickly purchased from other regions and moved to the Horn of Africa. “That we have to definitely import and we’re working with other donors to provide funding to WFP to import additional pulse. So we’re working with those donors, WFP and the government to see if we can’t move food around in the short term while in the longer term getting additional commodities,” he said.

Agencies working in southern and southeastern Ethiopia say the drought has claimed the lives of countless thousands of livestock on which the region’s economy depends.

Aid workers say the effects of the drought have been made worse by steep increases in food costs worldwide. Ethiopia’s Central Statistics Agency this week reported a nearly 30-percent increase in the inflation rate in April from the previous year, driven mostly by a 32-percent jump in food prices.

Nato intercepts Eritrea military cargo

Filed under: Eritrea — ethiopiantimes @ 7:14 pm
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Western military alliance Nato has captured a consignment of weapons destined for Eritrea, UN reports

There has been growing tension between Eritrea and Ethiopia in the recent past.

The ship carrying the heavy weapons, the UN reported, was captured in the Indian Ocean.

The consignment intercepted include 15 tons of heavy weapons shipped from North Korea.

UN imposed sanctions and arms embargo against Eritrea for an alleged involvement in training and supplying weapons to Somali Islamic rebels.

According to the UN monitoring group report, Nato forces captured 15 tons of rockets, surface to air missiles and explosives worth $15 million on the ship, which had sailed to Singapore to evade North Korean Port of Origin designation.

Western diplomatic sources based in Addis Ababa expressed their concern over the rising military tension between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

“There are some clear evidences Eritrea is shipping more weapons from East Europe and Asia. The international community should avoid any further bloodshed,” a diplomat said.

Since March 2011, Ethiopia has threatened to attack Eritrea and the armies of both sides have remained on high alert.

How stupid White people act in Ethiopia

Filed under: Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 8:18 am

Omo River Bridge,in Omorate Zone collapsed onsite.

Filed under: Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 8:12 am

Around 90 metres of bridge being constructed by Midroc over Omo River collapses

A 90-metre portion of the Omo River Bridge, which is under construction in Omorate Zone, Southern Regional State, collapsed onsite.

The accident occurred at around 5:15pm on April 19, 2011, when one side of the bridge, located 850km from Addis Abeba, gave in without warning.

The iron bars supporting the construction appeared unable to support the weight of the bridge, resulting in the collapse, eyewitnesses told Fortune.

The construction of the 128-metre Omo River Bridge was awarded to Midroc Construction in 2005, and was originally planned to be completed in 2010.

The accident might have resulted from the use of 20-year old iron bars in the construction of the bridge, according to Habtamu Adnew, spokesperson for Omorate Wereda Administration.

The bridge is an integral part of the region’s development as it would link Nyangatom and Dassenech weredas once completed, Habtamu claimed. It is also central to the Mombassa-Nairobi-Addis Abeba corridor which, in turn, is an important part of the Trans-African Highway from Cairo in Egypt to Cape Town in South Africa, the spokesperson pointed out.
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“The bridge is crucial as it would be an important transport link for the Gibe III and Gibe IV dams as well as a corridor for a planned dry port station in the area that would serve imports coming from the Mombassa Port and Northern Kenya,” Habtamu told Fortune.

A taskforce comprising lecturers from Addis Abeba University (AAU), engineers from the federal government, officials of the ERA, and Midroc are investigating the accident, claimed Samson Wondimu, head of public relations at the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA).

He refrained from speculating on the circumstances surrounding the collapse.

“It is too soon to speculate on why the bridge collapsed,” Samson told Fortune.

Egypt PM to visit Ethiopia, re-establishing “key role” in Africa

Filed under: Egypt,Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 8:00 am
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May 9, 2011 (ADDIS ABABA) – A scheduled visit of Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, to Ethiopia this week will mark Egypt’s return as key role player in Africa and opens a new chapter in ties with the continent, Egypt’s Ambassador in Ethiopia Tareq Ghoneim said on Monday.

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Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on March 4, 2011 a day after he was named to the post (Getty)

Ethiopia’s ministry of foreign affairs spokesperson, Dina Mufti, told Sudan Tribune that Sharaf, along with other senior officials will arrive in Addis Ababa this week for talks over the long-running dispute between upstream countries at the source of the Nile and downstream countries over access to and usage of the water.

Sharaf has been prime minister of Egypt since 3 March 2011. After the uprising of the Egyptian people against the government of Hosni Mubarak, Essam was asked by Egypt’s governing military council to form a government.

Sharaf’s visit to Addis Ababa ushers in Egypt’s restoration of its key role in Africa after the January 25 revolution’’ Ghoneim was quoted by the official Middle East News Agency (MENA) as saying.

Egypt last week sent a 48-member popular public diplomacy delegation to Addis Ababa that reflected a new spirit in Egypt’s relationship with Ethiopia and the countries of the Nile Basin to end the row over the Nile.

The Egyptian premier’s visit to Ethiopia, an extension of the group’s visit last week, intends to follow-up progress and strengthen the ties with Ethiopia; the major player in reversing the colonial-era treaties.

Sharaf will meet Ethiopian President Girma Wolde-Giorgis and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to discuss bilateral issues especially related to the Nile water quota. A number of bilateral agreements are expected to be signed between the two countries.

“During the visit trade deals will be signed between the commercial chambers of both countries in order to boost the volume of trade and investment between the two countries,” Ambassador Ghoneim said.

Following the Egyptian popular public diplomacy delegation visit last week, Ethiopia agreed to postpone ratification of the new treaty which six upper riparian states have signed in protest to the colonial-era pact that gave Egypt and Sudan rights to use 90 per cent of the Nile’s water resources.

Ethiopian officials said the delay is a goodwill gesture to allow Egypt forms a new government after the fall of Mubarak’s in a popular uprising earlier this year.

Ethiopia argues that the US$4.78 billion mega dam it intends to build along its share of the Nile, near the Sudanese border will benefit the countries downstream with a better regulated water flow, will increase the electrical capacity of the region and will lower water-loss due to evaporation.


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