As the Khartoum regime continues its assault against the civilians of South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, more and more refugees are attempting the arduous trek into refugee camps in South Sudan and Ethiopia. The influx of refugees has escalated just as the rainy season has begun, making the delivery of additional supplies extremely difficult and expensive. Antonio Guterres, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, has urged donor nations to ease “the enormous humanitarian tragedy.” Meanwhile, Sudan President Omar al Bashir and South Sudan President Salva Kiir met in Addis Ababa, on the sidelines of the African Union summit, for a continuation of negotiations – no agreement has yet been reached on oil wealth sharing, final borders or other security concerns, and many believe the two countries will miss an August 2 deadline imposed by both the AU and UN for final status agreements. Outrageously, as Bashir continues his genocidal campaigns in Darfur and South Kordofan/Blue Nile and a violent crackdown against protestors in the capital, he has been nominated for a seat on the UN’s Human Rights Council. Take action with JWW here.
Congolese President Joseph Kabila and Rwandan President Paul Kagame met this Sunday on the sidelines of the African Union summit and agreed to the implementation and deployment of a neutral international force to combat the M23 rebellion, as well as other armed groups in eastern Congo. The proposal comes in the wake of mounting accusations against Rwanda – including in a UN Group of Experts report – charging that elements within its government and military are supporting and arming the M23 rebels. It’s unclear what the development of a new international force would accomplish – the largest international peacekeeping force in the world, known by its French acronym MONUSCO, is already deployed in Congo. The Congolese by and large consider it a partisan force that has failed in its primary mandate – to protect civilians. In addition, the negotiation of such a new force – to be established by the AU, UN and the regional body the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) – will likely take a significant amount of time to organize, fund and deploy. Meanwhile, the M23 rebels continue to hold their positions less than 30 miles from North Kivu’s capital, Goma, leaving more than 220,000 civilians displaced. The UN Security Council yesterday issued a condemnation of continued attacks by M23, which have also killed at least one UN peacekeeper.
Great news! Luis Moreno Ocampo, the International Criminal Court’s first Chief Prosecutor, will be accepting our 6th annual I Witness Award on November 14, 2012 (save the date!). As part of the program, he’ll be interviewed by John Prendergast. John Prendergast published an article today with a review of some of the major obstacles facing the apprehension and arrest of accused war criminals indicted by the ICC – including Omar al Bashir in Sudan and Bosco Ntaganda in Congo. Read it here.