Pursuing justice during ongoing conflict raises issues that differ from those that arise when justice is pursued after peace agreements have been made or wars have been won. Using the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Sudan’s President Bashir for crimes committed in Darfur, this paper explores these issues, particularly the implications for tensions between peace and justice. The warrant has exposed increasing divisions within the international community regarding Darfur as well as the ICC. It is too early to conclude whether criminal proceedings and peace negotiations can successfully proceed on parallel tracks. So far, the arrest warrant diverts political attention away from other pressing political issues and has made it more rather than less likely that Bashir will remain Sudan’s president after elections scheduled for 2010.
Keywords: Criminal justice, Darfur, ICC, Peace, Genocide.
Development and nation-building policies in Eritrea, Africa’s newest state, are founded on a stringent nationalist ideology that impair minority concerns and collective and group rights in the country. The Christian highland population group, the Tigrinya, is dominating government and public affairs, on cost of the diverse Muslim lowland groups. The Tigrinya traditional mode of production (sedentary agriculturalists) is considered to be a developmental model, whereas agro-pastoralism and nomadic traditions, as practiced by some lowland groups, are being restricted by law and policy. Although the Eritrean laws open up for the use of minority languages in primary education, Tigrinya is still the dominating language of instruction. Possibly as a strategy of cultural and political resistance against the “Tigrinyafication” of Eritrean society, Muslim minority groups favour Arabic as a language of instruction in primary schools, in order to build inter-ethnic alliances against the Tigrinya. The current development path of the Eritrean state, will thus sustain the historical marginalization of ethnic minority groups in the country.
Keywords: Minority rights, language rights, pastoralism, discrimination, nationalist ideology, Eritrea, Africa.
The 2007 general elections in Kenya were fiercely disputed and triggered widespread violence throughout the country. After former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, brokered an accord between the rival parties leading to the formation of a grand coalition of the declared winner and the opposition, two official commissions of inquiry were appointed by the new government. One commission – dubbed the Kriegler Commission after the name of its chair – was mandated to review how the elections had been conducted and document how irregularities had led to the challenged results. The remit of the other commission – commonly referred to as the Waki Commission after the name of its chair – was to investigate the extent and causes of the violence that erupted in the wake of the elections. This article provides a reading of these two reports through the lens of the human rights instruments to which Kenya has acceded. It argues that an array of human rights was violated and that the causes underlying the eruption of post-election violence must be considered in terms of the deep-seated social structures and historical injustices that successive post-independence governments had failed to address.
Keywords: elections, violence, ethnicity, human rights, Kenya.
In 2007, six Norwegian diplomats were expelled from Ethiopia, while in 2008 Ethiopia refrained from accepting the new ambassador Sweden proposed to send to the country. Both cases were to some extent related to the Nordic countries’ attempts at promoting human rights and democratization. The article uses these two cases to reflect over the ability of rights-based approaches to development cooperation to reach their objectives. The article concludes that donors following rights-based approaches need to recognize explicitly that there is a potential for contradictions between the principle of ownership and the practice of conditionality.
Keywords: development cooperation, rights-based approaches, Ethiopia, ownership, conditionality.
The article presents three arguments. The role of the International Criminal Court in the conflict in northern Uganda cannot be made into an argument against ICC’s involvement in ongoing conflicts. Second, while many have seen ICC and ICC’s philosophy as completely opposed to traditional mechanisms in northern Uganda, this article argues that these two instruments can in fact complement each other. Within the framework of the agreements reached in Juba, a whole range of transitional justice mechanisms has been merged. Finally, the case of northern Uganda demonstrates that although traditional mechanisms can be an important part of transitional justice, such mechanisms also bring along a number of major challenges.
Keywords: Transitional justice, International Criminal Court, Northern Uganda, Lord’s Resistance Army, Juba peace agreement, Agreement on Accountability and Reconciliation, traditional justice.