Joseph Kaifala Rebecca, yes there are still conflicts on the continent, but things are way better than they were in the early 90s, when it seemed Africa was moving towards the red light of self-destruct. The OAU, precursor to the African Union, had a policy of non-interference into the affairs of other members. This allowed them to look the other way when massacres were being committed. Coups were generally accepted forms of political transition...afterall, what could an overthrown president do about the army. Now, recent trends on the continent have demonstrated that the AU and ECOWAS have no tolerance for coups, no matter the justification. There was complete disapproval of recent coups in Guinea, Mali, Guinea Bissau, etc. And they are ready to act.
Joseph Kaifala Goodman, this procedure is required by the UN Charter. Under its Chapter VII authority, the Security Council can authorize such interventions where they comply with Arts. 51 -53. Therefore, the Security Council has the authority to declare such action in violation of the Charter if it does not conform to these procedures. This apply to any regional grouping wanting to take action to restore International Peace and Security, which is the mandate of the Security Council. When such actions are taken without prior consultation, the regional group Must inform the Security Council as soon as possible. Basically, this is obligated under International Law.
Joseph Kaifala Steven, the issue for Tutu is that the ANC was once victim of similar treatments from foreign governments who supported apartheid. For people like Tutu and Mandela, Freedom for all people is not negotiable. As Mandela put it, it is a matter for which he is prepared to die.
Joseph Kaifala Yes, Ben, the ICC does not impose the death penalty, but that does not mean it can prohibit member states from doing so. The court's jurisdiction can be challenged under art. 19, which is exactly what Libya has petitioned. One must remember that Libya is not even a member of the court, hence the current jurisdiction of the court over the accused comes from the UN Security Council. Libya is being rather courteous by even participating in the proper procedure, unlike many states who would simply say something to the effect of 'we've got this; so back off.'
Joseph Kaifala The extra-judicial execution of Gaddafi was appalling, but it happened under different circumstances. There was no command and control on a war front occupied by amateur soldiers. The revolution is over now and the current goverment is trying to prove to the international community that the support they received was worth the cause. I think we should give them the benefit of the doubt and allow them, like the Egyptians, to deliver justice at home. Maybe the government can't be fully trusted, but I think it is better for Libyans to decide the legitimacy of thier own government. If the government fails, it risks the same pills it gave to Gaddafi. Maybe the ICC should concentrate on completing the cases it already has in its possession.
Joseph Kaifala Thanks Ed. I have written the people at policyMic. I think the misconstrued the meaning of the proverbial title I provided and ended up with this. I am sure someone will take care of that.
Joseph Kaifala Fair point Dyna, but sustainable solutions are ultimately the responsibility of the government of the DRC, and there is no prohibition against other fora for war crimes prosecution. The ICC has mandate to bring to justice those who bear responsibility for the most serious crimes of international concern, and they have been attempting to fulfill that responsibility. The International Community expects that justice is always rendered where violation of law occurs, but as we know powerful criminals often escape justice, and ICC is a mechanism for making sure that at least those at the head of the command structure are held responsible. The Court is by no means a replacement for national systems, and we should not expect that to happen.
Joseph Kaifala Well put, Sally and Jonathan. The problem lies in the fact that we can't solve these very real problems until we call them the right names, not exaggerated forms of what they are. All they achieve is making well-meaning people think of Africans as mere "savages" who have no interests in living civilized, peaceful, just and democratic lives. We all do!
Joseph Kaifala Agreed Kwaku, perhaps the Gbagbo case is a tougher one, but I also think that post-conflict reconciliation requires that we confront these underlying difficulties by dealing with them altogether instead of letting them lie dormant only to reawaken at a later point. If the Gbagbo supporters are still there and they are angry maybe that should be built into the peace process so that we don't have to deal with them later. It is true that some cases must be sent elsewhere, but I think we are not even trying anymore. Kenya, for instance, could have tried those accused of post-election violence.
Joseph Kaifala It is interesting that all research confirm that educating women just through high school reduces infant and maternal mortality, for example. What governments should do is provide what is necessary for citizens to improve their own lives. The aid that ends up in Swiss Banks were meant to end up there, because we have known that problem for awhile and we still use the same channels. This is the issue with donors and recipients; both have their own agendas! Do on a grand scales what Oprah did in South Africa. I am not one to promote religion, but Christianity is all over Africa today because the missionaries built schools and churches that helped the people directly. Good or bad, they knew how to stay.
Joseph Kaifala Thanks Susan! It is precisely for the other elements of development that education must be put first. Many who have travelled to countries in Africa are often shocked to see the amount of available resources that remain untapped simply because we have week human capital. I always make example of countries like Singapore and Denmark, with very little natural resources but a vibrant human capital. Sierra Leone, for instance need not starve, (we have six months of rainy season and six months of dry season),but because we are still lagging behind in education, we have achieved very little in agriculture and human development.
Joseph Kaifala Development policies cannot focus exclusively on women, but we must not forget the fact that women were left behind in many places around the world, and must now catchup with the other half of society. I view development and nation-building as a collective responsibility of all members of society, but some countries fail to use the potential of a tangible half of their societies, which is women. I have written elsewhere that the goal of gender parity in education on the MDG should not matter if we just made education a right for all children; that is a pragmatic way of removing one goal which I think is redundant in modern society.
Joseph Kaifala I stood there watching my own people, the future generation of my own country, living in such deplorable condition and decided my life will be devoted to fulfilling the obligations of my democratic citizenship. I have had the opportunity to study and learn, and I decided I was going to use every bit of it to benefit my country so that in the future I will not watch children drinking from filthy pools of water and die from minor diseases. This led to the Jeneba Project and all the work we continue to do. We have all the resources we need to build our lives, but we need the human capital to transform the resources into vital substances of nation-building and growth.