Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘International Criminal Court

A few dictators’ bed games

The Arab world has long been plagued with less than perfect representation and ruling.

Many of the kings and presidents of the region end up being the oppressive dictator types.

However, with rumors of their extremely romantic sides surfacing, there seems to be more than the eye can see regarding these rulers, Wives and mistresses of these infamous dictators weigh in to reveal the true nature of these powerful men.

Muammar Qaddafi

(Image via The Guardian)

Known for his strength on the streets of Tripoli, President Qaddafi is also gaining a reputation as the world’s biggest Casanova.

An oppressor on the streets, but a devil in the sheets, his Excellency always manages to put his girls’ needs first.

“I feel like his very open-minded approach on unreciprocated oral is good enough to cancel out his war-crimes, something for the International Criminal Court to consider,” shares his live-in girlfriend, anonymous.

Omar al-Bashir

(Image via Star FM)

This Sudanese president took a page from Qaddafi when it comes to fashion, but the charm is all his.

“He enjoys cuddling, like, a lot,” says his girlfriend – who also chose to stay anonymous. “I call him my big teddy bear,” she says, chuckling, “he also loves role-playing in the bedroom, we don’t shy away from playing South-North Sudan, political incorrectness kind of gets him off.”

Husni Mubarak

(Image via Telegraph)

Sure he may have caused the unraveling of an entire country, but according to his wife, Egyptian President Mubarak is actually a dreamboat.

“I think he’s just really misunderstood, would such a horrible man have bought me roses at least three times in the past year? I think not.”

Mrs. Mubarak goes on to detail how on several occasions, her husband postponed important national security meetings just to be with her, citing that he was an incurable romantic. “He can’t get enough of me, he says that the genocide rumors can wait,” she says with a dreamy smile, adding, “I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.”

Jamal Basha

(Image via Wikipedia)

Personally responsible for the demise of the region during World War I, Jamal Basha has a fairly lousy reputation.

However, newly uncovered letters from him to his young mistress at the time reveal his boyish charm and seductive ways.

Below is an excerpt of one of the tamer letters: “Yellow diamonds in the sky, and we’re standing side by side, as your shadow crosses mine…we found love in a hopeless place.” Pure poetry.

Rape victims during Gadhafi to be compensated? And rapes after this chaotic “Revolution”

Rape is a taboo subject in most countries, particularly in conservative North African States such as Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco…

Women raped during Libya’s 2011 uprising that toppled long-time ruler (40 years) Muammar Gaddafi should be recognized as war victims, Libya cabinet has said.

The same treatment as the wounded ex-fighters, the raped women would be entitled to compensation.

Why for only those during the uprising?

Rape was also and consistently used as a weapon during the reign of Gadhafi.

And what of the raped victims after the demise of Mu3ammar?

And why the selected “to be compensated” 60 raped victims will be equally distributed from the main 3 regions in Libya?

The BBC posted this February 20, 2014

Libya Gaddafi rape victims to be compensated

Libyan women with taped mouths take part in a silent march in support of the women who were raped during the conflict in Libya, in Tripoli -26 November 2011
Rape is a taboo subject in the the conservative North African country

Its decree, which needs congressional approval, would put the women on the same level as wounded ex-fighters and entitle them to compensation.

Pro-Gaddafi forces are alleged to have used rape as a weapon.

As Libya marks three years since the uprising began, voters are electing a body to write a new constitution.

“Start Quote

Unidentified woman at the Libyan-Tunisian border

Some victims can’t go to school… they are suffering in silence and reconciliation efforts are suffering”

Libyan Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani told the BBC that the decree offers 12 measures, including financial assistance and physical and psychological health care.

Money would also be available for things “like sending the parents of victims to Hajj – this is to elevate the status of victims, so they are not looked at as a burden”, he said.

The justice ministry says it will not wait for the national congress to pass the decree in order to avoid further delays.

It will be made up of 60 people – 20 from each of Libya’s three regions.

No burden‘ to the family or the community?

During the revolution, the International Criminal Court said it had collected evidence that Col. Gaddafi had ordered the rape of women as a weapon against rebel forces.

The BBC’s Rana Jawad in the capital, Tripoli, says recognizing rape victims is an unprecedented move in the conservative North African state, where it is a taboo subject.

Our reporter says it is not clear how many will come forward, but it is believed hundreds of women were raped.

Voters spoke to the BBC’s Rana Jawad at a polling station in Tripoli

Officials hope it will allow the country’s national reconciliation efforts to move forward as it is seen as a significant step towards transitional justice, our correspondent says.

“Some victims can’t go to school… they are suffering in silence and reconciliation efforts are suffering from all these outstanding issues,” Mr Marghani told the BBC.

Libya has been facing increasing challenges across the country, with worsening security conditions and political divisions that have stalled progress since the conflict ended, our reporter says.

According to the AFP news agency, only 1.1 million of 3.4 million eligible voters have registered for Thursday’s vote, compared to 2.7 million for the election of the interim parliament 19 months ago.

People look for their names at a polling station in Benghazi, Libya - 20 February 2014
Many Libyans have not bothered to register to vote

Desmond Tutu: Save The International Criminal Court (ICC) 

In 2 days, African leaders could vote to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, crippling one of the world’s best hopes for confronting genocide and crimes against humanity. I know together we can stop this. Join me in urging the voices of reason within the African Union to stand up for justice and accountability — let’s protect this great institution:

SIGN THE PETITION

In just 2 days time, African leaders could kill off a great institution, leaving the world a more dangerous place.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the world’s first and only global court to adjudicate crimes against humanity.

The leaders of Sudan and Kenya, who have inflicted terror and fear across their countries, are trying to drag Africa out of the ICC, allowing them the freedom to kill, rape, and inspire hatred without consequences.

I know that together we can change this.

We have to join hands and call on the voices of reason at the African Union (AU) – Nigeria and South Africa – to speak out and ensure that the persecuted are protected by the ICC.

In my years of work, life and travel, the fight for justice has been a long and arduous one. I have seen the very worst in Darfur and Rwanda, but also the very best with the reconciliation in South Africa.

During this journey, I have seen great gains made that protect the weak from the strong and give us all hope. The ICC is one of these beacons of hope.

This threat to the ICC started precisely because the court was doing its job. It charged Kenya’s Deputy President for killing people who rallied against him during an election and Sudan’s President for murdering women and children in Darfur.

Now Kenya and Sudan are lobbying all of Africa to pull out of the court and destroy its chance of success.

But in Darfur, Congo, Cote D’Ivoire and Kenya, the ICC has played a key role in bringing hope to those terrified by the armies, militias and madmen that have waged war against the innocent. It’s a light in the darkness that cannot be allowed to go out.

The main argument by some leaders with a guilty conscience is that the ICC is a Western witch-hunt as most of the investigations have happened in Africa. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The the ICC was an institution that was created by 20 African countries, 5 of the court’s 18 judges are African and the chief prosecutor is African.

Friday is a key judgement day. 
Will our African leaders stand on the side of justice or injustice? With survivors and fallen victims or with tyrants and oppressors?

This is the moment to choose. Join me in calling on African leaders to stand on the side of justice and support the International Criminal Court:

I’ve seen some of the brightest moments in human history, moments where we together brought hope to so many. This is our chance to do that again, together.

Join me by adding your name to the petition now and share it with everyone — when we have hit 1 million our petition will be delivered straight into the AU conference hall where Africa’s leaders are meeting in Addis Ababa (capital of Ethiopia).

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/justice_for_africa_icc/?bFAfecb&v=30068

With hope and appreciation for this community,

Desmond Tutu

Note: So far, the ICC has been manipulated by the superpower forces to reach political objectives. However, it is an excellent tool to any public criminal who still believe that the superpowers will save him in the long run from justice, as politics is ever changing, and the ICC will be called upon to deliver “justice”.

More information:

Botswana Supports International Criminal Court (Voice of America)
http://www.voanews.com/content/botswana-supports-international-criminal-court/1764960.html

130 Groups Across Africa Call for Countries to Back ICC (Human Rights Watch)
http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/10/07/130-groups-across-africa-call-countries-back-icc

Kenya pushing for African split from International Criminal Court (Irish Times)
http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/africa/kenya-pushing-for-african-split-from-international-criminal-court-1.1549427

Annan defends International Criminal Court (News 24)
http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/Annan-defends-International-Criminal-Court-20131007

Africa to debate ICC role amid growing opposition (Yahoo News)
http://news.yahoo.com/africa-debate-icc-role-amid-growing-opposition-103053710.html

This isn’t apartheid?  Why the western nations are apologetic of Israel behaviors?

For a few years now, opinion pieces and articles in the South African and Israeli press have shown confusion regarding the meaning of the comparison between Israel and apartheid South Africa.

How can we sort out the conceptual mess that afflicts the debates around the issue? Is South Africa apartheid different from the religious based apartheid in Israel?

If this isn’t apartheid, then what is it?

We do not need to find identical practices to those prevailing in pre-1994 South Africa in order to determine whether apartheid exists elsewhere.

Ran Greenstein published this Sept. 30, 2013

First, let us examine the meaning of apartheid.

The term defines the race-based regime of political domination and social marginalization that ruled South Africa from 1948 to 1994.

Alongside this meaning, another definition emerged in international law, drawing on the South African example, but gradually moving away from it. With the demise of the apartheid regime in 1994, its legal meaning took a decisive step away from South African realities.

The 2002 Statute of the International Criminal Court contains no references to South Africa and regards apartheid as “an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group.”

We must also bear in mind that the 1965 International Convention on eliminating racial discrimination extends the term to cover “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin.”

Apartheid is no longer restricted to ‘race’ in the common meaning that invokes real or imaginary biological differences in its definition.

While apartheid remains associated in our minds with its South African origins, legally it has no necessary relation to South Africa. We do not need to find identical practices to those prevailing in pre-1994 South Africa in order to determine whether apartheid exists elsewhere.

The key question is the identification of a regime that practices systematic oppression and domination by one group over another.

How then does it apply to Israel?

To answer that, we need to clarify another concept: Israel.

While usually seen as residing within its pre-1967 boundaries, the Israeli regime exercises control over Palestinians in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza.

For the last 46 years, all residents within Greater Israel have lived under the same regime, which claims to be the sole legitimate political and military authority. The state controls the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, ruling over 8 million rights-bearing citizens (75 percent of whom are Jews) and 4 million Palestinian subjects denied civil and political rights.

To complete the picture, millions of Palestinian refugees (who were born in the territory or their direct ancestors were) cannot set foot in their homeland, let alone determine its political future as citizens.

How is the notion of apartheid relevant to this reality?

The Israeli regime is based on an ethnic/religious distinction between Jewish insiders and Palestinian outsiders. It expands citizenship beyond its territory, potentially to all Jews regardless of their links to the country, and contracts citizenship within it: Palestinians in the occupied territories and refugees outside have no citizenship and cannot become Israeli citizens.

The regime combines different modes of rule: civilian authority with democratic institutions within the Green Line (pre-67 boundaries), and military authority beyond it.

In times of crisis, the military mode of rule spills over the Line to apply to Palestinian citizens in Israel. At all times, the civilian mode of rule spills over the Line to apply to Jewish settlers. The distinction between the two sides of the Line is constantly eroding as a result, and norms and practices developed under the occupation filter back into Israel.

Israel as a ‘Jewish democratic state’ is ‘democratic’ for Jews and ‘Jewish’ for Arabs.

It is in fact a ‘Jewish demographic state.’ Demography – the fear that Jews may become a minority – is the prime concern behind state policies. All state institutions and practices are geared to meet the concern for a permanent Jewish majority exercising absolute political domination.

These conditions are particularly visible in the occupied territories: Jewish settlers live in exclusive communities, from which all Palestinian locals are barred (except, occasionally, as ‘hewers of wood and drawers of water’).

They drive on Israeli-only roads, enjoy Israeli military protection and access to all the privileges and services that come with citizenship rights, including voting for the Israeli parliament. Palestinian subjects are denied access to any of the above, and have no say in the way they are governed. ‘No taxation without representation’ is a noble political principle that does not apply to them, only to Israeli settlers.

How should we call a regime that leaves millions of its subjects with no political rights, that practices segregation in all walks of life and that denies them the basic right to determine their future? True, there is a Palestinian Authority as well, but it has no power over crucial issues of security, land, water, movement of people and goods, industry and trade.

All that matters is controlled by Israeli military authorities, which operate on behalf and at the behest of settlers and Israeli interest groups. That the territories have not been formally annexed to Israel is irrelevant – it changes none of the oppressive practices to which Palestinians are daily subjected.

Some people prefer not to term this regime apartheid because it is indeed different (not better) in some respects from what existed in South Africa before 1994. Fair enough, but what better term is there?

Ran Greenstein is an Israeli-born associate professor in the sociology department at the University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Related: Echoes of South Africa’s ‘District Six’ in the Negev Tzipi Livni joins the ‘Israel apartheid’ club When ‘apartheid’ seems to be the hardest word 

Is Libya starting to face up to Gaddafi regime’s sex crimes?

The young woman introduced as “The Revolutionary” was breaking a taboo in Libya: She is speaking out about how she and other women had been raped by Muammar Gaddafi’s men in the early months of the country’s uprising.

Of all the crimes committed during Muammar Gaddafi’s rule and the revolution, rape is perhaps the most difficult to address because so few are willing to testify about it

On Time Lives this July 3, 2013, Bahiya Kanoun, former deputy minister of social affairs, recalls:

Bahiya Kanoun is pictured in her office in Tripoli May 13, 2013. Image by: ISMAIL ZITOUNY / REUTERS
“They arrested me publicly at Nasser University,” she said, recalling how guards in Tripoli came for her and two other young women who expressed support for the revolution that led to Gaddafi’s overthrow.

“They told me, ‘We are only going to take you away for questioning, and then we will bring you back’.”

Instead, a local official told the men: “Take these girls to Mu3tassim and enjoy them tonight.” Mutassim was one of Gaddafi’s sons and a military commander in the capital; he was later captured and killed.

The two unmarried women were taken away and never seen again. The Revolutionary, who was married and pregnant, was taken to a prison near Tripoli, where she was stripped and raped. She miscarried in prison.

The three victims’ crime had been to criticise Gaddafi in a video clip broadcast on an international television channel.

Many people, male and female, were raped as punishment for opposing Gaddafi’s government, but The Revolutionary is one of the few who agreed to talk about her suffering.

In Libya, rape victims are often ostracised, and discussion of the crime remains taboo.

There are small signs of change, with the government promising action to help victims, but the issue remains so sensitive that aid groups sometimes hide their efforts to help victims to avoid causing an outcry.

The Revolutionary, a woman in her 20s, spoke on condition of anonymity from behind a black veil, only her eyes showing. With the pain of recollection, her voice gradually rose to a shrill pitch.

“Our captors wanted to insult us and to take away our dignity,” she said. “The youngest girl there was 14; the oldest was my mother’s age. The women were stripped and subjected to all kinds of torture.”

The torture included electrocution, she told a conference session attended by Reuters. She gave her account at a hotel in Tripoli as part of an event earlier this year organised by the Libya Initiative, a project that brings together various rights groups to promote healing and a just society in post-war Libya.

“Imagine how many women put up with this. It should be recognised,” she said. “But the country is not paying attention to any of these criminals. Maybe they are outside now, standing guard at checkpoints.”

Campaigners say it is important to acknowledge the crimes committed during Gaddafi’s 42-year rule and the revolution that led to his downfall in 2011. They say the painful process is “necessary for stability and the construction of a society based on truth, justice and democracy”.

Souad Wheidi, an activist creating an archive of the sex crimes committed during the revolution, stood next to The Revolutionary as she addressed the conference, comforting her when the girl broke down as she reached the end of her story.

The activist has campaigned for government action and such efforts appear to be having an effect.

Shortly after the Tripoli meeting, the Libyan prime minister proposed a new law to recognise rape and the need for resources to be allocated to victims as a matter of urgency.

“At last, it is a major victory,” said Wheidi, who is confident the law will be passed. “It will bring huge psychological relief after years of stupid injustice against the many people, both male and female, who have been touched by this reality.”

FACING UP TO RAPE

The victims of rape during Libya’s uprising may number in the hundreds, according to the International Criminal Court, which has collected evidence that forces loyal to Gaddafi used rape as a weapon to spread fear among the opposition.

Of all the crimes committed during Gaddafi’s rule and the revolution, rape is perhaps the most difficult to address because so few are willing to testify about it.

There are good reasons for this: victims who speak out risk being shunned or even killed by their families.

Human Rights Watch notes that even after the war, a number of centers in Libya continue to provide havens for women “for no other reason than that they had been raped, and were then ostracised for ‘staining their family’s honour'”.

Victims are also reluctant to come forward because bringing a charge of rape to a Libyan court may be seen as an admission of having had unlawful sex. A rape claim can even result in the victim being prosecuted.

The prevailing, dismissive attitude to rape is reflected by a government ministry set up to support victims of the civil war. The ministry has never offered any help to rape victims. The ministry said such aid was beyond its remit, which is to search for missing people and support families of those killed in the war.

The head of Libya’s human rights commission, congress member Amina Al-Mghirbi, said a draft of a new law to help rape victims was “almost ready”. She added: “It will be approved as soon as possible and contain compensation for treatment as well as settlements.”

In the absence of government support, a number of local groups have pursued their own initiatives. One project is led by Bahiya Kanoun, who escaped from Libya during the revolution after she was branded an enemy of Gaddafi for feeding information from the wives of military men to rebels in the east of the country.

Kanoun began working in refugee camps set up in Tunisia, where thousands of other Libyans fled during the fighting. Kanoun’s training in psychology and her Libyan origin put her in the rare position of being able to help rape victims. Clinics at the camps started calling her in regularly.

One of the privileges Libya can afford – thanks to pumping 1.6 million barrels of oil a day – is to send thousands of students to university abroad on higher education scholarships or business courses. Kanoun wants the government to place rape victims in these existing sponsorship programmes – without revealing what happened to them to anyone, including their families.

Part of the reason Kanoun, who comes from a prominent Libyan family, hopes to succeed is her credibility with the government. She briefly served as a deputy minister of social affairs before deciding she preferred to work independently.

To promote her ideas, Kanoun met Libya’s Minister of Higher Education with a colleague, Maria Nicoletta Giada, who is president of Ara Pacis Initiative, an organisation dedicated to conflict prevention and resolution that is backed by the Italian foreign ministry. Both women said the minister’s response was encouraging.

But Giada cautioned that the road from promises to implementation on a significant scale would be long. “We will have to see if his words translate into actions,” she said.

OVERCOMING TRADITION

In Tripoli, it is still difficult to offer social services to women, much less advertise them. Another group, Phoenix Libya, is experimenting with ways to protect women from violence under the guise of other forms of assistance.

It advertises economic support, like classes in English or marketing, and activities for children. But its underlying aim is to give help to women who either have been, or are, subject to abuse of one form or another – without agitating their husbands or fathers, who may even be the perpetrators.

“It’s difficult to build trust. There’s no culture of speaking out,” said Ibtihat Nayed, one of the founders. “We don’t advertise psychological or social support. We are trying to be discreet about that.”

Women’s rights groups say the attitudes of ordinary men are a greater obstacle to helping women than government inertia in a country where many women have to answer to male relatives.

Amnesty International, along with other international organisations involved in Libya during the eight-month civil war that ended Gaddafi’s 42-year rule, said it had not documented a single case of rape because victims would not speak out.

“We think (multiple rapes) might have happened but do not have any evidence,” said Amnesty International. “Everyone said, this happened, but not in our town. It was in the town next door.”


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