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By Lansana Gberie, PHD
On 16 May, convicted war criminal, Charles Taylor, delivered a 30-minute speech – part plea for clemency, part lubricious defence of his actions, and part grandstanding – before his trial judges at The Hague as he awaits sentencing on 30 May. Because the address has been seized upon by crypto pro-Revolutionary United Front’s (RUF)activists and supporters to discredit the carefully-deliberated ruling against Taylor, it is important to respond to the key claims made therein. I will be quoting in this article from the summary judgment: the final judgment will be far more detailed, and for that reason far more devastating.
So I’ll begin by reminding readers of the main legal finding against Taylor. The Trial Chamber in its judgment on 26 April found Taylor “beyond reasonable doubt” to be“criminally responsible” for aiding and abetting the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The judges wrote that they were satisfied that “as of August 1997” Taylor“knew of the atrocities being committed against civilians in Sierra Leone by the RUF/AFRC forces and of their propensity to commit crimes.” Notwithstanding this knowledge, Taylor“continued to provide support to the RUF and RUF/AFRC forces during the period that crimes were being committed in Sierra Leone. The Trial Chamber therefore finds beyond reasonable doubt that [Taylor] knew that his support to the RUF/AFRC would provide practical assistance, encouragement or moral support to them in the commission of crimes during the course of their military operations in Sierra Leone.”
When the average American thinks of Rwanda, there are two thoughts that come to mind—genocide and gorillas.
During the early 1990s, Rwanda killed almost 1 million of its own people in a brazen display of ethnic cleansing. As with the Jewish Holocaust, the world stood idly by and pretended that they saw nothing!
Rwanda is also known to contain an estimated 1/3 of the world’s mountain gorillas.
This is the extent of the knowledge most Americans have about Rwanda. Americans are partly to blame for this lack of knowledge, but I put the biggest blame on the country of Rwanda itself.
Rwanda has a very appealing story to tell, but like most African countries, they display little understanding of the importance of engaging in direct dialogue with the American people. Better to have friends and not need them, than to need friends and not have them.
Rwanda has made tremendous progress on several fronts since the genocide of 1994. Transparency International, an anti-corruption watchdog group, has listed Rwanda as one of the least corrupt countries in Africa, they are connected to the underwater fiber optic cable off the coast of Kenya that enables them to have faster, more reliable internet connectivity, and they have been cited as one of the top 10 African countries to invest in.
Reaction of Sierra Leone Policy Watch Inc. to the conviction of Charles Taylor in The Hague for war crimes against the People of Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone Policy Watch Inc. welcomes the conviction of Charles Taylor today in The Hague for aiding and abetting atrocities in our beloved country Sierra Leone. We consider this as the first chapter in delivering a measure of justice for the many victims of Charles Taylor’s war crimes against our people. We thank the international community for all their efforts in making this happen. We implore the international community to please remember that the scars of his horrendous acts are still visible in every village and on every street in Sierra Leone, we must not forget the victims.
TUNIS, Tunisia, March 14, 2012/ -- On Wednesday, the African press Organisation (APO) described "its great pleasure" on the announcement of the appointment of Mr Magatte Wade to the position of Head ag Communication and External Relations Unit of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB).
The APO immediately sent "its heartfelt congratulations" to the new Head of Communications of the ADB.
"I am particularly pleased with this choice, since it rewards a man, whose skills and experience have been recognized and appreciated by both African and Western journalists as a whole and these are the people with whom he has developed professional relations, based on professionalism and trust. (...) I wish Mr Wade every success in his new post and would like to assure him of the full support of the African Press Organisation" declared the Secretary-general of the African Press Organisation (APO), Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard.
As Africa flowers and its traditional values play out naturally with international ideals, the ensuing schisms are helping to refine some toxic African values that have been entangling Africans' wellbeing. The conviction for life in London, UK of Eric Bikubi and Magalie Bamu of murdering Bamu's 15-year-old brother Kristy, accused of using witchcraft to cause their existential predicaments, reveals how Africa's inhibitive rites are crossing international borders and how the international community is responding.
(It is important to note that the international community isn't only the Western world but also Africans in the diaspora and those who work in international organizations. Much of the information received by the international community about Africa's inhibitive cultural values is supplied by Africans themselves. Whether Roman Catholic Pope Benedict XVI asking Africans "must fight against dangerous beliefs and superstitions" or UNICEF studying the implications of witchcraft in Africa's progress or the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) investigating human sacrifices in Uganda, their information is supplied by distressed Africans).
AfDB's 2012 Annual Meetings takes theme of Africa's role in emerging global landscape
TUNIS, Tunisia, March 13, 2012/ -- The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (http://www.afdb.org) will hold its Annual Meetings this year in Arusha, Tanzania, from 28 May to 1 June.
The theme of the 2012 meetings will be 'Africa and the emerging global landscape: challenges and opportunities'. As always, the meetings will be a gathering of numerous high-level participants from the AfDB's member countries.
Participants will come from both the AfDB's African regional member countries and its non-regional member countries outside Africa, representing the worlds of finance, banking, government, economics, donors, the media, civil society, development and academia.