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U N I T E D N A T I O N S Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Integrated Regional Information Network for Central and Eastern Africa
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IRIN Update No. 433 for Central and Eastern Africa (Tuesday 9 June 1998)
RWANDA: WFP begins mass food distribution in northwest Rwanda
WFP said today (Tuesday) it had begun an emergency food distribution for more than 100,000 internally displaced Rwandans in the prefectures of Gisenyi and Ruhengeri. The agency said in a statement the distribution, assisted by other UN agencies, started last week in Gisenyi where 200 mt of food was provided to 25,000 people in four communes. It will continue over the next two months until a total of 1,200 mt of WFP food aid is handed out in the two prefectures. Heavy insecurity, including frequent rebel incursions, has plagued much of northwestern Rwanda for nearly six months and has led to a large displacement of the population. As a result, WFP said UN agencies and other aid organisations have had only partial and periodic access to the two prefectures, limiting the amount of humanitarian assistance that could be sent in.
"Up to now, we've only been able to bring in small amounts of relief food to a few areas," said Gerard Van Dijk, WFP's Country Director for Rwanda. "Now we hope to reach more remote villages where reports indicate that displaced people are in urgent need of our help... with all the fighting, people have lost their ability to cultivate, turning a once productive population into food aid recipients." WFP said it was transporting all its supplies to the insecure region under military escort. Staff from other UN agencies such as the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), UNHCR, and UNICEF are accompanying the trips to try to assess the additional humanitarian needs of the affected populations.
ICTR rejects proposal for collective trials, adopts "speed-up" measures
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) trying genocide suspects yesterday (Monday) rejected a proposal to have the accused tried collectively. The tribunal's court of appeal, sitting in Arusha for the first time, rejected a recommendation from the prosecutor that 29 suspects be tried together. James Stewart of the prosecutor's office told the Hirondelle independent press agency that, while the appeals court decision was to be respected, it would not change the "fundamental orientation" of the prosecutor's strategy to achieve collective trials at some time in the future.
But the UN court did adopt a series of amendments to its Rules of Procedure and Evidence in order to speed up pending cases. The new amendments include a decision that will allow judges to deal with judgement and sentencing procedures together rather than separately. In order to improve legal assistance to suspects and accused persons, the judges decided that only counsels who have at least 10 years of relev ant experience can be assigned to indigent suspects or accused persons.
More support for victims of sexual violence
The new procedures also provide for conferences before the presentation of evidence in order to allow Judges to shorten their examination of some of the witnesses, or to reduce the number of witnesses to be called to prove the same facts. The judges will have more control over the interrogation of witnesses so as to make the interrogations and presentations more effective and to avoid needless delays. The session also adopted measures which will enable the admission into evidence of written testimonies of expert witnesses. The Judges also amended the Rules to ensure better support for witnesses, includi ng physical and psychological rehabilitation, especially counselling in cases of rape and sexual assault.
Rwandan authorities start house evictions
The Rwandan authorities on 1 June began evicting the first of about 10,000 families from houses they have been occupying in the capital, Kigali, since their owners fled the country during the 1994 genocide. The Rwandan news agency said those evicted were being given land, tents, iron sheeting and other materials to help them build new houses. The project involves resettling families from houses they occupy illegally into new shelters and returning the houses to their legal owners. The housing crisis in Kigali has been exacerbated by a doubling in the city's population from an estimated 200,000 to 500,000 people as a result of the massive return of old and new cases of refugees.
BURUNDI: New regulations for humanitarian flights
New regulations are to apply to sanctions-exempt flights to Burundi, UN sources told IRIN. The weekly flights, operated from Nairobi by Kenya Airways with the blessing of the Regional Sanctions Coordinating Committee (RSCC), are intended to allow aid workers, diplomats and journalists to travel to and from Burundi while sanctions ban regular commercial flights. The new regulations require travellers to present an official letter from their organisation to the RSCC-approved travel agents in either Nairobi or Bujumbura before a ticket will be issued.
Army says it killed 13 rebels in weekend clash
Burundi's army said today that it killed 13 Hutu rebels and lost one soldier in a weekend clash. According to an AFP report the fighting took place on Saturday some 90 km southeast of the capital, in the province of Makamba.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Bandits said to kill monk and guard
Armed "bandits" have killed a monk and a policeman in Kinshasa, press reports said on Monday. Newspapers reported that Brother Floribert Kamaragi, a 29-year-old theology student at the University of Kinshasa, was killed overnight Saturday outside his room at a monastery which the attackers entered after overcoming the guard. They next went to the university campus in a stolen car and killed a policeman who was guarding the campus, 'Le Phare' reported. 'La Reference Plus' added that some assailants returned to the campus during the day Sunday and stole a limousine in broad daylight.
DRC ambassador to Brussels dismissed
Justine Kasa-Vubu was dismissed last week as DRC ambassador to Belgium and replaced by Emile Kanengele, an ex-FAZ officer, AFP reported yesterday. Quoting the Belgian press agency, Belga, it added that the Belgian Foreign Affairs Ministry last week received an "unsigned note" from the DRC authorities saying a new ambassador had been nominated. Justine Kasa-Vubu, daughter of the first post-independence Congolese president, was for several years the UDPS (Union pour la democratie et le progres social) representative in Belgium. She later joined the ADFL movement of President Laurent-Desire Kabila and served as civil service minister in his first government.
GREAT LAKES AND CENTRAL AFRICA: UN envoy "very concerned"
The UN's top official for the Great Lakes has told IRIN he is "very concerned" about the ability of the UN to maintain "essential humanitarian and rehabilitation programmes" in the region following a poor response to its 1998 appeal. UN Special Representative and Humanitarian Advisor Ambassador Berhanu Dinka said he would now be trying to refocus the attention of the international community on the plight of the people in the region. IRIN recently reported (Update 430) the UN's 1998 appeal for the Great Lakes and Central Africa had received less than 10 percent support as of the end of May.
UGANDA: Rebels massacre 60 people in western Uganda
Ugandan rebels massacred more than 60 people, including 40 technical school students, in an attack yesterday in western Kabarole district, news organisations reported. A senior military official was quoted as saying some 80 fighters of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) overpowered some 40 government soldiers near Fort Portal town in the worst such attack since the ADF began their rebellion against the government of President Museveni in late 1996. Witnesses said about 80 rebels overpowered an army unit before attacking the school and set dormitories on fire when the students refused to come out. The BBC reported about 100 were still unaccounted for by Monday evening, triggering fears they may have been abducted by the rebels who have in the past kidnapped young men to bolster their forces. Internal Affairs Minister Tom Butime, meanwhile, has called for cooperation from the public in giving information on ADF forces.
UNITED NATIONS: UN deputy head again stresses need for end to conflict
UN Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette, speaking against a backdrop of increasing tension on the continent, has said that there can be no sustainable development in an environment of conflict and violence in Africa. Addressing the 34th Summit of Heads of State of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on Monday, Frechette said that the delay in implementing the arrangements for resolving some of the long-standing conflicts on the continent continues to be of serious concern."We wish to seize this opportun ity to once again urge all those engaged in peace processes to r edouble their efforts and live up to their commitments."
Nairobi, 9 June 1998 14:30 GMT
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Date: Tue, 9 Jun 1998 17:30:48 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <email@example.com> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 433 for 9 June 98.6.9 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.91.980609172217.22907Afirstname.lastname@example.org>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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