Great Lakes: IRIN Update 290, 11/12/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 290, 11/12/97

U N I T E D N A T I O N S Department of Humanitarian Affairs Integrated Regional Information Network for Central and Eastern Africa

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IRIN Emergency Update No. 290 on the Great Lakes (Wednesday 12 November 1997)

BURUNDI: UN special rapporteur calls for end to sanctions

The UN's human rights expert on Burundi has urged the easing of sanctions against the country as soon as the government of Major Pierre Buyoya shows a tangible commitment to peace and national reconciliation. In his latest report on the situation of human rights in Burundi Special Rapporteur Paulo Sergio Pinheiro said that the embargo imposed by neighbouring countries following the coup d'etat of 25 July 1996, had had negative effects on the population of Burundi with prices of essential commodities rocketing. Pinheiro also called for the imposition of an arms embargo on Burundi which he said should be directed at both government and rebel forces. On Monday, the 19-member Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa called for an end to sanctions, saying they were counter-productive.

Burundi sentences six to death for massacres

Meanwhile, six people were sentenced to death in Burundi yesterday (Tuesday) for crimes of genocide in the northern and central regions, Reuters reported justice ministry spokesman Jean-Berberchans Kaburundi telling reporters. He said five sentences were handed down in Gitega, Burundi's second city, and one in Ngozi. All of the accused were found guilty of committing massacres, Kaburundi said, but did not give any further details. It was not clear when the sentences might be carried out.

RWANDA: UN envoy expresses concern over conditions of detention

The Special Representative of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Rwanda says the country's government should be commended for its cooperation with the members of the international community active in human rights matters. In his latest report, Michel Moussalli, who went on a field mission to Rwanda from 26 July to 4 August 1997, expressed his "deepest gratitude" to members of the government of Rwanda for receiving him at short notice and for the frank and positive exchange of views. But while

acknowledging the cooperation of the Rwandan government, Moussalli expressed concern about the "shocking" conditions of detention in some of the prisons and communal cachots he visited. The report said many of the inmates were being detained without substantiated grounds for their arrest and detention.

Army takes possession of assault vehicles

Rwanda's army, which has been battling incursions by Hutu-led rebels linked to the previous government, has taken possession of around 10 second-hand armoured assault vehicles from unspecified sources, AFP quoted officials as saying yesterday. A Rwandan defence ministry official confirmed the existence of the vehicles, which were seen being delivered to a Kigali military base aboard trucks over the weekend, but gave no other details.

ICTR staff mourn death of judge

A statement from the president, judges, registrar and all the staff of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) announced with sorrow the death of Judge Haopei Li who was a judge at the common appeals chamber of the two international criminal tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. Judge Haopei Li, who was elected in 1993, died on 6 November in the Hague. He was 91.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: UN rights team plans two simultaneous missions

Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General Fred Eckhard said the three leaders of the human rights investigative team to the DRC, who arrived back in Kinshasa yesterday, had already informed the government of their plan to operate two missions simultaneously: one to Mbadanka in the northwest, and the other to Kisangani in the east. They had also requested to meet with the liaison committee of the government to work out the final practical details for their deployment. The team's spokesman in Kinshasa Jose Diaz told IRIN no time or date for the meeting had yet been fixed.

ANGOLA: Angola accuses Zambia of violating its airspace

The Luanda government has accused Zambia of violating Angolan airspace and plans to lodge an official protest with the Lusaka authorities, AFP quoted Interior Minister Andre Pitra as saying today (Wednesday). "We will inform the Zambian authorities of our concern," the minister said in a radio broadcast ahead of a visit to Lusaka for a meeting of the defence grouping of the Southern African Devlopment Community (SADC).

UGANDA: Man arrested over attack on tourists

A former Uganda Freedom Movement fighter has been arrested in connection with a grenade attack on a tourist hotel last month, AFP said the state-owned New Vision newspaper reported today. The rebel Allied Democratic Forces group claimed responsibility for the 31 October attack in which three foreign tourists suffered slight injuries.

KENYA: Elections set for December 29

Kenya's presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on December 29, electoral commission chairman Zacchaeus Chesoni announced at a press conference in Nairobi today. News organisations reported Chesoni announced the date at a news conference two days after President Daniel arap Moi dissolved parliament.

UN says some Kenyan coastal areas still cut off by floods

The UN Resident Coordinator in Kenya has reported that many coastal areas south and inland all the way up to Tana river were still isolated after exceptionally-heavy short rains (October-November). His report was based on observations during a mission to the flood-hit areas on the Kenyan coast which in October were hit by the heaviest one-month rainfall for 30 years. The report also noted that Kenya may face prolonged short rains in western parts of the country and said that if heavy rainfall continued beyond the normal rainfall season, there could be a disastrous effect on crops during the harvesting period of November/December in the maize and-wheat growing areas of Western and Rift Valley.

SUDAN: SPLM says rules out ceasefire ahead of fresh peace talks

Sudan rebels, blaming Khartoum's intransigence for the failure of the latest peace talks to find a solution to the country's 14-year civil war, say there will be "no ceasefire" in advance of the next round of talks due to start in April. Reuters reported Salva Kiir, the leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) delegation to the talks as telling a news conference on Tuesday the Sudan government was unprepared for the negotiations and had proposed an unacceptable solution to the question of whether Sharia law should be imposed throughout Sudan. Almost two weeks of talks broke up in the Kenyan capital yesterday with no apparent progress. Mediator Kalonzo Musyoka, Kenya's foreign minister, who is acting on behalf of the regional grouping Inter-governmental Authority on Development, said the talks would resume in April.

Nairobi, 12 November 1997 15:00 gmt


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Date: Wed, 12 Nov 1997 18:29:21 -0300 (GMT+3) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 290 for 12 November 1997 97.11.12 Message-ID: <>

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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