8 February 2013

Africa: News Round Up

International Criminal Court prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda is accusing the government of refusing to cooperate with her office as far as evidence ... ( Resource: International Court Accuses Kenya of Lack of Co-Operation )

In Kenya, the Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda has said people are keen on outing witnesses in the Kenya election violence case, the Daily Nation reports.

In a radio interview with the BBC, Ms Bensouda said there were "elements actively working to out witnesses".

She said partly for this reason, the Kenya case was turning out to be one of the most challenging before The Hague court currently.

Charges have been confirmed against four prominent Kenyans following the violence that followed a disputed presidential election in 2007. The chaos left more than 1,100 killed and 600,000 displaced.

The accused are Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, former head of civil service Francis Muthaura and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang.

Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto have since joined together into a coalition and are running jointly for president and deputy president in next months elections.

Hearing of the case is scheduled to begin on April 10 at The Hague.

In Libya, Aljazeera and News24 report that judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) have ordered Libyan authorities to immediately hand over Abdullah al-Senussi, the deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's former intelligence chief.

The written order published on Thursday sets up the latest legal showdown between the Hague-based court and Libyan authorities, who say they plan to put Senussi on trial themselves.

The ICC has indicted Senussi on crimes against humanity charges for the murder and persecution of protesters in the early days of the uprising that eventually toppled Gaddafi in 2011.

"Libya remains under obligation to comply with the surrender request," the judges said in their statement. They would decide later how to respond if the North African state continues to hold Senussi, the judges added. The court has  the power to refer the matter to the United Nations Security Council.

"The ICC has ordered an immediate halt to Libya's unseemly rush to drag Mr. al-Senussi to the gallows before the law has  taken its course," said Ben Emmerson, Senussi's lawyer before the ICC.

Judges also ordered Libya to grant Emmerson access to his client.

Libyan authorities also are holding Gaddafi's son and one-time heir-apparent, Seif al-Islam Gaddafi, who also is wanted by the court.

In Tunisia, the governing Islamists on Thursday rejected a plan by the prime minister to replace the government after unrest erupted over the killing of an opposition leader, News24 reports.

Protests resumed in the North African state that gave birth to the Arab Spring uprisings, with police firing teargas to scatter demonstrators near the interior ministry in Tunis and stone-throwing youths in the southern town of Gafsa. At least seven people were wounded in Gafsa, witnesses said.

Labour union leaders declared a general strike for Friday in protest at the assassination of secular politician Chokri Belaid and his family said the funeral could be held then too, raising the spectre of further turmoil.

An aide to Hussein Abassi, leader of the UGTT union, Tunisia's biggest, said he had received a death threat after announcing the country's first general strike in 34 years.

Prime Minister Hamdi Jebali of Ennahda announced late on Wednesday he would dismiss the government led by his moderate Islamist party in favour of a non-partisan cabinet until elections could be held, as soon as possible.

"The prime minister did not ask the opinion of his party," said Abdelhamid Jelassi, Ennahda's vice-president. "We in Ennahda believe Tunisia needs a political government now. We will continue discussions with other parties about forming a coalition government."

Tunisia's main opposition parties also rebuffed any step towards a government of technocrats, demanding too that they be consulted before any new cabinet is formed.

In Zimbabwe, global rights monitor Human Rights Watch on Thursday urged the European Union to insist on tangible human rights reforms and free and fair elections as a precondition for lifting targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe, News24 reports.

"It would be premature for the EU to lift targeted sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and members of his inner circle simply for holding a referendum on a new constitution," Tiseke Kasambala, Africa advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

The EU imposed sanctions including a travel ban and asset freeze on Mugabe and his close allies following elections in 2002 which the bloc said were rigged to hand the veteran ruler victory.

The EU is expected to review its policy toward Zimbabwe in the coming two weeks.

Kasambala said that lifting or suspending the sanctions before Zimbabwe carries out comprehensive rights reforms will give Mugabe and his party free rein to continue repression ahead of elections expected later this year.

HRW said if the EU wants to encourage respect for human rights in Zimbabwe, it should postpone lifting or suspending targeted sanctions until after the country holds credible, free and fair elections.

"Such action would reaffirm the EU's commitment to Zimbabwe's political and economic well-being," Kasambala said.

Copyright © 2013 The Independent. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.