By Dr. Lucy Hovil
Citizenship and land: a potent relationship
Recent research in Burundi on the repatriation of refugees has highlighted the strong link between land and citizenship. The research (”Two People Can’t Share the Same Pair of Shoes: Citizenship, Land and the Return of Refugees to Burundi“) tracked the experience of refugees returning to southern Burundi and (re)claiming their citizenship. Most had been living in exile in Tanzania – some since the early 1990s, and others since 1972. Some were born in exile and had never been to Burundi before. Others left when they were children. But all of them had a strong notion that returning to Burundi signified an end to exile and an opportunity to finally become citizens of their homeland. And the measure of that renewed bond between citizen and state was their ability to recover land.
Read the blog post here.
By Jerry Fowler, signed on by Dismas Nkunda on behalf of the Darfur Consortium
President Obama must address Sudan at the UN General Assembly
While President Barack Obama will speak to a number of pressing global issues when he addresses the U.N. General Assembly tomorrow, one topic he cannot neglect is Sudan. The President should seize the opportunity to build international support for policies to protect the human rights of all Sudanese and promote lasting peace in the country. The stakes are significant. Sudan is the largest country in Africa, surrounded by nine other states which are, in one way or another, affected by its instability and insecurity. It is a bridge between the African and Arab worlds and a key to the balance of both. As leaders of advocacy coalitions in the United States, Africa and the Arab World, we see Sudan as a test of the Obama administration's strategy of multilateralism and America's ability to use its influence to champion human rights, resolve conflicts, and prevent mass atrocities.
Read the op-ed here.
May - October, Issue No. 38
Sudanese NGOs Stand Up for Justice Despite Threats and lntimidation Following Bashir Warrant
When the United Nations Security Council referred the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in March 2005, many Sudanese activists reacted with satisfaction. They stressed the fact that a solution could not be found without accountability and looked to the Court as an objective and credible tool for ensuring that accountability.
When the Court filed its charges in February 2007 against Ali Kushyab and Ahmed Haroun, the same activist community reacted with concern that the charges were too limited and that the prosecutor had aimed too low. To some extent, the prosecutor responded forcefully to those concerns when, in July 2008, he accused Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
Read the article here.
African Transitional Justice Newsletter
Dr. Lucy Hovil
Confronting a Deficit: Decades of Injustice in northern Uganda
Displacement has become a grim trademark of many of today’s wars and their aftermath. Yet to what extent has the emergent field of transitional justice managed to get to grips with the question of forced displacement? What legislation and mechanisms can be called upon when holding the perpetrators of forcible displacement to account? What exactly is the nature of their crime, and which of the rights of their victims did they violate? Can transitional justice processes themselves at times be blamed for perpetuating displacement?
Read the article here (pp 3-4).
The Weekly Observer, Uganda
An encounter with ICC's Ocampo
Last week a story leaked to the two main influential newspapers in the United States; The Washington Post and The New York Times. The story said that the International Criminal Court (ICC) Pre Trial chambers had issued an arrest warrant on President Omar Bashir of Sudan, paving way for the first sitting head of state to be arrested for crimes committed against his own people. Shortly after, the ICC in The Hague issued a denial saying no arrest warrant had yet been issued.
As a flurry of news swept the world, I remembered an encounter with the man who has vowed to bring down President Bashir.
Last September at the UN General Assembly I was in a lift at the United Nations Plaza, where my other office is suited. I was headed to the fourth floor. As is the norm during this time of the year, there are so many diplomats who mainly accompany their heads of state. The security checks you endure are a story for another day.
In the lift I saw a person I knew. Short, with some curly white hair; we exchanged greetings. He too was headed to the fourth floor. For a big man that he is, he did not know that that same evening we would be meeting to discuss the possible indictment of the first sitting head of state. The man in the lift was the ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo.
Read the article here.