May 12, 2011

International Court reports Djibouti to Security Council for not arresting Sudan president

Filed under: Djibouti,Sudan — ethiopiantimes @ 9:32 pm
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THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Judges at the International Criminal Court reported the African nation of Djibouti to the United Nations Security Council Thursday for failing to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir during an official visit.

Judges said media reported that al-Bashir attended the inauguration ceremony of Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh last Sunda.
The court has indicted al-Bashir on charges including genocide for allegedly orchestrating atrocities in Darfur. It has issued warrants for his arrest to all nations — including Djibouti — that recognize the court’s jurisdiction.

The court has no police force and relies on member states to execute its orders and warrants.

However neighbors and nations friendly to Sudan have so far not moved to detain al-Bashir when he has visited.

Last year, the court also reported Kenya and Chad to the Security Council for failing to arrest al-Bashir.

In Thursday’s written decision, judges said Djibouti “has an obligation to cooperate with the Court” by executing arrest warrants and said the Security Council could “take any action” it considers appropriate.

Darfur was plunged into turmoil in 2003, when ethnic African rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated Sudanese government, whom they accuse of discrimination.

Al-Bashir’s regime is accused of retaliating by unleashing Arab militias on civilians — a charge the government denies. The U.N. estimates 300,000 people have died and 2.7 million have been displaced in the conflict.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Ethiopians block Raila Turkana tour

Filed under: Ethiopia,Kenya — ethiopiantimes @ 9:01 pm
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Prime Minister Raila Odinga and five Cabinet ministers were barred from accessing a Kenyan village occupied forcibly by Ethiopian tribesmen for fear of being attacked.

The PM’s delegation was in Turkana County on Wednesday to assess the security situation after 20 people were killed in a raid by Merille warriors, but security officers advised them against venturing into the sprawling Emorupus village.

Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner Osman Warfa, Turkana North DC Jack Obuo and a Catholic priest in the area, Fr Stephen Ochieng, warned the entourage that the Ethiopians were heavily armed and would not hesitate to attack them.

As a result, the team that also included a permanent secretary and top security officers from Nairobi, stopped kilometres away from the clash-hit area.

The security risks in the area were made more apparent by the heavily armed GSU officers escorting the team.

“Those villages are in Kenya but we can’t access them,” Mr Warfa said, prompting Mr Odinga to ask: “Where is our national army?”

This emerged as an MP warned in Parliament that the death toll from the attack could rise to 69 amid claims the Ethiopians were stopping Kenyans from accessing their homes on the shores of Lake Turkana.

Mr Obuo said though the Ethiopian government had not staked ownership on the villages, it was doing little to stop its citizens from attacking and killing Kenyans.

The villages lie five kilometres from Omo River, where the Ethiopian government is constructing a major dam that environmentalists warn could sound the death knell for Lake Turkana.

Mr Obuo said the Merille had removed beacons on the Kenya-Ethiopia border and were trying to shift the boundary.

This emerged as President Kibaki and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi agreed to a joint ministerial committee to resolve the row between the Turkana and Merille.

The leaders also discussed fast-tracking infrastructure projects — road and railway networks — between the two countries.

They called for peaceful co-existence among communities living on the borders. The two leaders were in Uganda to attend the swearing-in of President Yoweri Museveni in Kampala,

Mr Odinga was accompanied by Cabinet ministers Mohamed Elmi, John Munyes, Otieno Kajwang’ and Charity Ngilu, Assistant minister Josephat Nanok, Special Programmes permanent secretary Andrew Mondoh and deputy police commissioner Francis Okonya.

The PM said more security officers would be deployed to the area and an immigration centre set up to vet foreigners entering the country.

“I have come to let you know you are Kenyans. The government will protect you,” Mr Odinga told residents when he landed at Todonyang airstrip.

The PM said the government would improve infrastructure in the region and introduce irrigation and fish farming to cushion residents from the harsh environment.

Mr Warfa said a district officer had been posted to Todonyang, and a GSU camp set up.

The area has only eight regular police officers, 12 AP officers, 60 GSU officers and 20 Kenya Police Reservists.

The chairman of the Turkana Professionals Association, Dr Ekuru Aukot and Mr Nanok said officers from the local community should be posted to the area as many from other regions declined the posting “because they don’t want to be killed.”

Turnin food to fuel on the hungry continent

Filed under: Africa,Benin,Ethiopia,Ghana,Tanzania,Zambia — ethiopiantimes @ 12:44 pm
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Ethiopia: Government Hijacks World Press Freedom Day Event

Filed under: Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 7:39 am
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press release

Officials in Ethiopia celebrated World Press Freedom Day by hijacking a local UNESCO-sponsored 3 May event, putting up pro-government journalists as speakers and cancelling independent journalists who were scheduled to speak, reports the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Participants thought they were coming to hear the veteran editor of the bilingual weekly “Reporter”, Amare Aregawi, speak on UNESCO’s 2011 World Press Freedom Day theme, “21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers”.

Instead, officials orchestrated an altered agenda prepared by the government’s communications department, which replaced Aregawi and other independent journalists with officials and pro-government media representatives. Biruk Kebede, from the ruling EPRDF-sponsored Fana Broadcasting Corporation, became the event’s moderator.

Independent journalists walked out in response.

“The irony of censoring World Press Freedom Day will not be lost on the leadership of the United Nations, which has spent the past three days emphasising the need for freedom of expression,” said CPJ. “By hijacking this event, Ethiopia has again put its appalling record of media repression on display for the whole world.”

Local journalists told CPJ that before the event, officials contacted the organisers and threatened to break up the meeting with force if the agenda wasn’t accepted. The authorities also told organisers to change out the moderators, drop presentations critical of the authorities, and give more time to government officials. The organisers refused.
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State Minister Shimelis Kemal, Desta Tesfaw from the government-controlled Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority, and leaders of government-controlled press unions like Anteneh Abraham of the Ethiopian National Journalists Union and Wondwossen Mekonnen of Ethiopian Free Journalists Association (not to be confused with IFEX member Ethiopian Free Press Journalists Association) came to the event and took it over.

The incident coincided with CPJ’s release of “The 10 Tools of Online Oppressors” that highlighted the Ethiopian government’s censorship of the Internet through its stranglehold on the country’s telecommunications infrastructure. Officials are allegedly fearful of an Egypt-style, Internet-fuelled popular uprising, particularly with cyber-activists calling for mass protests in May.

Coincidentally, on 3 May, websites discussing political dissent and human rights – which are typically accessible only through proxy servers in Ethiopia – were suddenly unblocked, says CPJ.

Tension Rises Between Ethiopia and Kenya Over Turkana Killings

Filed under: Ethiopia,Kenya — ethiopiantimes @ 7:25 am
Tags: , – Ethiopian raiders accused of killing more than 20 people in Kenya’s Turkana region are reportedly settled inside Kenyan territory according to a report by Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper. The paper said, about 900 people from the Merille tribe in Ethiopia have now settled on a “prime land” on the Kenyan side of Lake Turkana and prevent Kenyans from setting foot there. The report could not be independently verified, meanwhile the state-run media in Ethiopia is completely silent on this topic.

The paper said the tribes were fully armed and witness told the Daily Nation that two tanks were stationed near the Ethiopian-Kenya border.

Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga had visited the area but reports said, he was unable to get close to the village where Ethiopian raiders are alleged to have settled. Mr Odinga said a Cabinet security meeting would be held on Monday to finalise plans to ensure security at the border.

Alex Thurston writes in The Christian Science Monitor that, Land scarcity, persistent drought and food sacristy drive the conflict between the Turkana of northwest Kenya and Daasanach of southern Ethiopia.

Ethiopia and Uganda to build four new dams in 2011

Filed under: Egypt,Ethiopia,Uganda — ethiopiantimes @ 7:18 am
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Ehtiopia and Uganda plan to build a total of four dams during 2011, to be located on both the White Nile and Blue Nile.

Official reports from Ethiopia say the country plans to build two new dams on the Blue Nile this year, in addition to the Renaissance Dam announced previously, which would be built 40 km away from the Sudanese border at an estimated cost of US$4.7 billion. Five companies, including two from Norway, one from England and one from Italy, have submitted bids for the construction of the two dams.

The Ethiopian deputy prime minister has said that the construction of the Renaissance Dam will not be delayed by the postponement of the ratification of the Nile Basin framework agreement, and that the country’s stance on the agreement has not changed.

Meanwhile, the Ugandan ambassador to Addis Ababa said that his country also plans to build a dam on the White Nile to produce electro-hydraulic power. He praised the Renaissance Dam and said that those who oppose its construction are against development.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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