"The thing that lies at the foundation of positive change, the way I see it, is service to a fellow human being." - Lech Walesa

Friday, 11 October 2013

Witness for the International Criminal Court

African UnionAlemayehu G Mariam
On October 11-12, 2013, the African Union (AU) will gather in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to formally withdraw from the Rome Statute in supremely dramatic form. The world for the first time will witness a choreographed denunciation (announcement of termination) of an international treaty by an entire continent. This act of collective abrogation will be the greatest affront to the rule of international law since the end of World War II.
I write these words not to defend the Rome Statute (which created and authorized the International Criminal Court (ICC)  to investigate and prosecute crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide) or fend off attacks on the integrity and professionalism of the ICC and the Office of the Prosecutor [OTP] (a branch of the ICC that investigates, and prosecutes such crimes).  I have attempted to do just that over the past two weeks. As a defense lawyer, I know all too well that there is no possible defense against ghostly lies and malicious falsehoods. I know there is no antidote to the poisonous accusation of racism leveled against those who seek to expose the truth and challenge those who abuse their powers. There is no defense when unfounded allegations of racism are used as gaudy wrappers for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Ethiopian Government Choking Muslim Unrest

ADDIS ABABA, Oct 10 (IPS) – The refusal by the Ethiopian government to redress grievances harboured by the Muslim community here, which comprises about 34 percent of the country’s 91 million people makes this Horn of African nation vulnerable to extremism.
“If legitimate grievances are not met there is a risk that extremist violent elements will exploit those grievances to further their own aim,” Mehari Taddele Maru, head of the African Conflict Prevention Programme at the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies, told IPS.
Ethiopia’s Muslim community has been taking part in major demonstrations over the last two years against the country’s ruling regime for alleged interference in its religious affairs. The majority of Ethiopians are Christian.
The mass protests have been non-violent but the Sep. 21 terror attack by the Somali extremist group Al-Shabaab on Kenya’s Westgate

Monday, 7 October 2013

Saving African dictators from ICC by Alemayehu G.Mariam

ICC cartoonAlemayehu G Mariam
Note to the reader: In my commentary last week, I defended the International Criminal Court (ICC) against accusations of “race hunting”, selective and arbitrary prosecution and abuse of power by certain African leaders.  This week I continue my defense, in a rather lengthy commentary, by exposing and scrupulously refuting the bogus arguments articulated  by these leaders and their minions to evade accountability for crimes committed in violation of international humanitarian law.
I defend the ICC not because it is a perfect judicial institution or system but because it is an imperfect one that can be perfected over time with the support and cooperation of the community of nations. I also defend the ICC because cunning race-baiters have used their poison-tipped spear of “race hunting” accusations to disarm, impale and render it defenseless. It is conventional wisdom