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  • Larbi Ould Khelifa, 74, to chair its pro-ceedings by a show of hands with noother candidates standing.

    In an earlier development, the Move-ment of Society for Peace (MSP)decided to join the ranks of the opposi-tion after having taken part in the gov-

    ernment for several years. (Al Jazeera,Doha 19 5; BBC News Online 26 5) Elec-toral preparations p. 19232A


    AFRICAN UNIONAfrica: 54 Countries, One Union

    The process of unity hinges on peaceand good infrastructure to supportgrowth.

    Ocials from Africa, Europe and anumber of international organisationsgathered in the African Unions (AU)new conference centre on May 3rd todebate the main priorities for Africasregional integration.

    The third Africa: 54 countries, OneUnion conference aimed to establishhow best to help and support the pro-cess towards the unity of the Africancontinent; a process that would be along and gradual one, but which is animperative condition for a long-lastingpeace.

    The conference focussed on the roles ofthe AU and its sub-regional organiza-tions, the European Union (EU) andthe UN, as well as those of China andthe US in the integration process of thecontinent.

    Mr. Romano Prodi, President of theFoundation for World Wide Coopera-tion, said that peace is still fragile onthe continent, as there are still ongo-ing conicts and they are not goingto be solved quickly or easily. Heemphasized that the road to integra-tion is not easy, while peace andsecurity issues are yet to be resolved.He called for the creation of a conti-nental market which is key to devel-oping the continent because it willincrease growth and livelihoods, add-ing that there is need for dynamicand inclusive growth, increased mobil-ity of goods, services and people. Inorder to do so, we need regional andcontinental infrastructures, Mr Prodisaid.

    The conference oered senior policymakers and experts the opportunity todiscuss the relevance of regional inte-gration and mechanisms in addressingpeace, security and development chal-lenges in Africa, especially in WestAfrica and the Sahel region.

    The deliberations covered the themes ofpeace, security and development, infra-structure and investment, trade, mar-kets and liberalization. (APO, AddisAbaba 7 5)

    IN BRIEFLake Chad Basin: Chad has called for thesix-nation Lake Chad Basin Commission,which groups Cameroon, Central AfricanRepublic, Chad, Libya, Niger and Nigeria, toset up a joint force tasked with containingthe Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram.Experts have warned that the group is build-ing links with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mag-hreb (AQLIM) which has mainly been activein the Sahara, across Niger, Mali and Alge-ria, and is expanding beyond Nigerias bor-ders to threaten the entire region.

    The appeal by Chadian President IdrissDeby Itno at the regional groupings summitin Libreville came amid unabated andspreading attacks by Boko Haram in Nigeria(p. 19245). CAR President Francois Bozizeconcurred and oered to contribute troops.( AFP, Libreville 30 4; Daily Trust, Lagos2 5)


    REFUGEESMali Sahel States

    IDPs vie with hungry for food.

    Sahelian governments and local andinternational aid groups are strugglingto cope with both the continual arrivalof people eeing the regions of Gao,Timbuktu and Kidal in northern Mali,and the mounting number of hungrypeople across the region as the leanseason gets underway. Families acrossthe Sahel are also experiencing a signi-cant loss of income as hundreds ofthousands of Mauritanians, Burkinabesand Malians have ed conict in Libya,bringing a halt to the remittances theyregularly sent.

    Altogether some 284,000 Malians haveed the north according to the UNOce for the Coordination ofHumanitarian Aairs (OCHA),107,000 of them are thought to bedisplaced within Mali; 177,000 inneighbouring countries. New arrivals

    have pushed refugee numbers to56,664 in Burkina Faso, 61,000 inMauritania, and 39,388 in Niger,according to UNHCR. These govern-ments are already struggling to getaid to millions of their own inhabit-ants, who are facing hunger due todrought. (UN humanitarian news andanalysis service, IRIN 4 5)


    Ofcials who thought they were safewill now face investigation.

    South African authorities must investi-gate Zimbabwean ocials who areaccused of involvement in torture andcrimes against humanity in Zimbabwe,the North Gauteng High Court ruledon May 8th.

    The case was brought by the SouthernAfrican Litigation Centre (SALC) andthe Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF).They sought to review and set aside a

    Rwanda Democratic Republic ofCongo

    Peace Deal Threatened

    Rwanda has been accused of backing anew rebellion in eastern DRC that pitsarmy mutineers against governmentforces and threatens to pull apart a frag-ile peace deal between Rwanda and itsmuch larger neighbour.

    Already at least 7,000 refugees have edinto Rwanda and a further 14,000 intoUganda to escape the ghting.

    Rwanda has strongly denied sendingarms and recruits to back a mutiny inthe DRC army that began in April ledby former Tutsi rebels who have previ-ously been linked with the government inKigali. But United Nations internalreports claimed that 11 rebel soldierswho were interviewed said they wereRwandan nationals and had beenrecruited there and sent across the borderinto the DRC to ght. (The Independent,London 29 5)More than 8,200 refugees have crossedinto Rwanda in the last month, accord-ing to UNHCR. These are in addition tothe 55,000 Congolese refugees thatRwanda is already hosting. A further30,000 refugees have arrived in Uganda.Prior to this, Uganda was already host-ing 175,127 refugees, including 97,424from DRC. (UN News Service 16 5)

    Continental Alignments

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    Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2012.

  • decision of the National ProsecutingAuthority (NPA) and the South Afri-can Police Service (SAPS) not to probeZimbabwean ocials linked to acts ofstate-sanctioned torture after a policeraid on the oces of the Movement forDemocratic Change (MDC) in Hararein 2007.

    The centre submitted to the NPA inMarch 2008 a number of adavits inwhich 17 people attested to having beentortured in police custody. The centrewanted the NPAs Priority Crimes Liti-gation Unit to probe and prosecute thecrimes because the act states that thecountry is required to investigate andprosecute these crimes regardless ofwhether they were committed in SouthAfrica.

    This judgment will send a shiver downthe spines of Zimbabwean ocials whobelieved that they would never be heldto account for their crimes but nowface investigation by the South Africanauthorities, said Nicole Fritz, execu-tive director of the centre.

    It means accused Zimbabwe AfricanNational Union-Patriotic Front(ZANU-PF) ocials can be arrestedand tried in South Africa for crimesthey committed in Zimbabwe. JudgeHans Fabricius said that South Africawas obliged to investigate and prose-cute international crimes under theRome statute and under its own Inter-national Criminal Act.

    This decision is not just about Zimba-bwe, it also sets a much broader prece-dent by ruling that South Africanauthorities have a duty to investigateinternational crimes wherever they takeplace, said Ms Fritz. It is a majorstep forward for international criminaljustice, she added.

    In March 2012, SALC and ZEF arguedin the High Court that the decision ofthe NPA and SAPS not to investigateZimbabwean ocials linked to acts ofstate-sanctioned torture should be setaside.

    The case began dramatically when thecentre submitted an adavit fromAnton Ackermann, head of the PriorityCrimes Litigation Unit, in which hesaid he had recommended the allega-tions be investigated and had disagreedwith the reasons the police gave for notpursuing the case. (Sokwanele, Harare8 5; SAPA 8 5)

    ZANU-PF has dismissed the ruling asirrelevant with the partys JusticeMinister Patrick Chinamasa saying itwas a general judgement without specif-ics and brought South Africas justicesystem into disrepute.

    Dewa Mavhinga from the Crisis inZimbabwe Coalition (CZC) welcomed

    the ruling as a victory, not only forZimbabwean torture victims, but forjustice in general.

    The judgment comes at a critical timewhen Zimbabwe is preparing for elec-tions and we expect that it will be adeterrent to overzealous party support-ers who may wish to commit politicalviolence, Mavhinga told SW RadioAfrica.

    Mavhinga said that ZANU-PFs dis-missal of the ruling was a sign of theiranger, saying: They are jittery aboutwhat this means for their future. (SWRadio Africa, London 10 5)

    SOUTH SUDAN SUDANPeace Talks to Resume

    A buffer zone is agreed, but theceasere fails and the situationremains tense.

    After meeting with South Sudan Presi-dent Salva Kiir Mayardit and his nego-tiating panel in Juba on May 21stThabo Mbeki, the Africa Unions (AU)mediator on the outstanding post-inde-pendence issues between South Sudanand Sudan, said a possible date for theresumption of peace talks betweenSudan and South Sudan could beannounced soon.

    Mbeki had previously met with SudansPresident Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir on May 19th to discuss theresumption of talks. He told reportersthat President Bashir conrmed thathe believes the two nations... are inneed of peace.

    According to Republic of Sudan Radioon May 20th President al-Bashir set thefollowing conditions for the resumptionof talks: the Sudan Peoples LiberationMovement (SPLM) and the govern-ment of South Sudan must disengagefrom the ninth and 10th divisions ofthe Sudan Peoples Liberation Move-ment North (SPLM-N) in Blue Nileand south Kordofan states; implementall previous agreements; and abandonsheltering or supporting Darfur rebelmovements

    The Juba government has denied sup-porting the rebels.

    Sudan will not withdraw its troops fromdisputed areas until the borders are for-mally set, but Mr Mbeki said Khartoumhas now agreed to one of UNs keydemands: creating a buer zone.

    President Bashir conrmed that Sudanis committed to all security agreementsthat have been agreed to, Mbeki said.This means Sudan is committed to

    have a buer zone on the borderbetween the two states, 10 kilometres oneach side, and also Sudan is committedto have a joint mechanism for monitor-ing the border and the buer zone.

    Although South Sudan said it hadpulled back its forces according to theUNs call, Khartoums foreign ministrysaid the border must be agreed tobefore a withdrawal can occur.

    At a meeting of the Security Councilon May 20th, members adopted a reso-lution demanding the nalisation of ajointly-run administration and policeforce for the disputed border region ofAbyei near Heglig.

    Sudan and South Sudan are underpressure from the AU and the UNSecurity Council to honour the May2nd UN Security Council resolution.The resolution warns of non-militarysanctions if both parties do not ceasehostilities in two days and resumenegotiations within two weeks.

    Meanwhile the UN Security Councilextended the mandate of UN forces inAbyei. (UN-sponsored Miraya FM website,Juba 21 5; Republic of Sudan Radio, Omdur-man 20 5)

    On April 30th South Sudan accepted acall to end hostilities with Sudan andpull troops out of the contested Abyeiregion in order to meet AU demands,but accused Sudan of failing its owncommitments. ( AFP, Addis Ababa30 4)On May 4th the two countries agreedto cease hostilities to honour a UNdeadline, after weeks of bitter borderclashes that sparked fears of full scaleconict.

    Troops from the rival armies are duginto fortied defensive positions alongthe restive border, while their ocialstrade bitter accusations. Khartoumclaimed that Juba had not stopped hos-tilities because it continued to occupypoints along the disputed border. Jubarejected the claims and accused Khar-toum of occupying several parts of itsterritory.

    Clashes and air strikes by Sudanesewarplanes continued, prompting theUN ultimatum, which included anorder for the two sides to restart AU-mediated peace talks by May 16th.

    The UN resolution threatens additionalnon-military sanctions if either sidefails to meet its conditions, and urgesSudan to halt air strikes, which Khar-toum has repeatedly denied carryingout. ( AFP, Juba 4 5)On May 10th the AU welcomed SouthSudans withdrawal of a 700-strongpolice force from Abyei.

    Continental Alignments19262 Africa Research Bulletin

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    Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2012.


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