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IRIN Update No. 469 for Central and Eastern Africa (Wednesday 29 July 1998)
RWANDA: Judge accused of "media campaign" against ICTR
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda says it has not received official notification of the resignation of one of its judges, Lennart Aspegren. In statements to the media earlier this month, the Swedish judge announced his resignation citing "mismanagement and incompetence" in the Tribunal's administration. A damning statement from the Tribunal on "Facts and Fiction" surrounding Aspegren's comments, received by IRIN today (Wednesday), accused the judge of a "media campaign" against the ICTR. According to the statement setting out the registry's position, Aspegren sought to interfere in the Tribunal's administrative affairs "in contravention of [his] conditions of service". The statement rejects the judge's accusations and takes issue with Aspegren's own behaviour, claiming delivery of the Tribunal's first judgement, due this month, has been postponed because he "insisted" on taking leave. Judge Aspegren is due to leave the ICTR at the end of the year.
ICTR president defends tribunal
ICTR President Judge Laity Kama yesterday (Tuesday) issued a more muted response to Judge Aspegren's comments. In a statement, he admitted the remarks had caused "surprise", and he defended the court's new registrar whose arrival "has led to appreciable changes in the judges' working conditions". While acknowledging the situation was "far from perfect", Judge Laity Kama felt it was more appropriate "to favour the path of cooperation over the kind of fruitless confrontation which so poisoned the atmosphere of the ICTR in the past".
Defence lawyers claim administrative problems at the court have "tainted the process" to the detriment of the defendants, a source close to defence lawyers at the tribunal told IRIN today. He said the recent allegations by Judge Aspegren "raised doubts about the quality of the handling of these cases". Defence lawyers are likely to use complaints about prosecutors and the registry "far beyond administrative matters" in current cases and possibly during appeal.
Rwanda says troops in DRC were due to pull out
Rwandan army spokesman Emmanuel Ndahiro, reacting to DRC's expulsion of Rwandan soldiers, said it had always been agreed the troops would be withdrawn. In an interview with the BBC's Kinyarwanda service yesterday, he said what remained now was to pull out the troops "without causing any problem". He said there were about 100 Rwandan soldiers in DRC whose presence had been requested by President Laurent-Desire Kabila. The returning soldiers, in keeping with Rwandan policy, would either be retrenched or serve within the army on Rwandan soil. Ndahiro added that Rwanda did not want to be involved in DRC's problems.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Kabila confirms withdrawal of Rwandans
President Kabila today said the Rwandans were leaving "to set relations between the two countries in order", AFP reported. In a lengthy radio address, Kabila added the withdrawal was also aimed at satisfying "those who found it uncomfortable to be in the presence of foreigners". Future military cooperation accords would be negotiated "legally" with Rwanda, he said. "There is no question of a Rwandan soldier coming here if he is not protected by a defence agreement." Elsewhere in the speech, Kabila announced his army comprised 140,000 troops. He also intended forming "self-defence units" to complement the army.
BURUNDI: More rebel attacks reported
There have been more security incidents in Burundi, including provinces that have been fairly stable for a long time, humanitarian sources told IRIN today. In Kayanza, rebels attacked Musema overnight Sunday, surrounding the town before reportedly taking control of the military post, ransacking the health centre and damaging the hospital. In another incident, people were seen fleeing Giganga commune in Bubanza province following a rebel attack. According to the sources, two missions had to turn back on their way to Cibitoke along RN5. Details are sketchy, but apparently the rebels are being chased into DRC.
WFP's latest weekly report confirmed an increase in insecurity in the western provinces. It said several NGOs had suspended operations in Cibitoke province, and all UN missions to Bubanza and Makamba had been halted, although food distributions are allowed in the latter province under military escort. Additionally, planned food distributions to feeding centres in Bururi province remain suspended due to insecurity.
10 rebels killed in clashes
Burundi radio today said 10 insurgents were killed in
clashes between the army and rebels at Mbuye commune
in Muramvya province yesterday. A civilian was also
reported killed. A military operation is underway to
flush rebels out of the nearby Kibira forest.
SUDAN: Floods make 5,000 homeless
One person was killed and 5,000 are reported homeless after flooding in the western al-Fashir area, Khartoum news reports said. Al-Fashir, the capital of North Darfur state, was hit by torrential rain over the weekend. An emergency relief commission has reportedly been formed and general mobilisation declared in the state. High-level government officials flew to the area yesterday to supervise the relief operation, according to the reports.
Eritrean attack reportedly repulsed
A military spokesman yesterday said Sudanese troops have repulsed a border attack by Eritrean forces. In a statement broadcast by Sudanese television, he claimed the counter-attack was prepared after information was received about the impending raid in the Hafarah/Abu Allaga areas, south of Kassala. Fighting was still continuing on one front, the spokesman added.
Peace talks open in Addis next week
The next round of peace talks between the government and rebel SPLA, mediated by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), is due to be held on 4-6 August in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. Sudanese radio quoted an adviser to the president, Ahmad al-Tahir Hamdum, who said the talks would focus on relations between the state and religion, and the right to self-determination.
HORN: Ethiopia denies direct talks with Eritrea
Ethiopia has denied reports of face-to-face talks with Eritrea in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso over the weekend. A press statement from the Ethiopian embassy in Nairobi, received by IRIN today, said members of the OAU technical committee would meet in Ouagadougou and present separate briefings to the conflicting sides. The statement said Ethiopia maintained its stand that Eritrea "must withdraw unconditionally from Ethiopian territory". A SAPA news agency report yesterday cited the Eritrean foreign minister during a visit to South Africa who suggested he would meet his Ethiopian counterpart in the Burkinabe capital.
Nairobi, 28 July 1998, 14:25 gmt
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Date: Wed, 29 Jul 1998 17:27:01 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 469 for 29 July 1998.7.29 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.91.980729172413.16898Cemail@example.com>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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