Posts tagged as: inquiry

Govt Under UN Human Rights Scrutiny

By Diane Uwimana

The Commission of Inquiry presents its final report to the Human Rights Council during an interactive dialogue on Burundi this 19 September, in Geneva at its 36th session. Burundi government still rejects the report of the UN commission.

The chairman of the Commission of Inquiry, Fatsah Ouguergouz accuses Burundi government and other institutions of denigrating the work done by the commission of Inquiry. “Reactions from other government institutions consist of casualness of the Commission address. Such speeches do not honor either their authors or the government they represent”, says Ouguergouz. He, however, says the UN experts confirm the conclusions of the report.

The UN commission of Inquiry on Burundi has recently published a report on the Human Rights situation in the country.

The chairman of the commission said crimes against humanity have been and continue to be committed in Burundi since April 2015. The commission urged the ICC to launch investigations into possible crimes committed in Burundi since April 2015, when violent protests against the incumbent president Pierre Nkurunziza broke out, thus causing the death of hundreds of people.

Fatsah Ouguergouz says the UN experts did a great work but were not powerful enough to put pressure on Burundi government to collaborate with them. “However, this report should not be underestimated as it is based on independent investigations,” he says.

The chairman of the commission also says the report should be used by governmental and non-governmental institutions to resolve the politico-security crisis in Burundi. “The Commission of Inquiry has done its job. It is the turn of the International community to do its part,” he says.

Speaking on behalf of the Burundian government, Rénovat Tabu, Burundi Ambassador to Geneva says Burundi has never refuted any exact and independent investigation into the Human Rights violations in Burundi. “Burundians have experienced tragic events in 1965, 1969, 1972, 1988… but the UN kept silent”, he says.

Ambassador Tabu wonders why the UN wants to investigate the human rights violations only committed in 2015.

“The UN Human Rights Council should reject this report produced by the commission it set up itself as it discredits it,” he said.

Divergent reactions

The representative of the DRC to the UN Human Rights Council accuses the UN Human Rights Council of applying a double standard and trying to politicize the Council. “After fifteen years, the UN Human Rights Council shifts from its objectivity, universality and non-selectivity by categorizing the perpetrators of the crimes committed,” he says. The DRC representative recommends the UN Human Rights Council to consider the initiatives taken by the African Union and region in stabilizing peace and security in Burundi.

France representative in the UN Human Rights Council says it is necessary that the commission continues its investigations as the crimes are still perpetrated in the country. France exhorts Burundi government to collaborate with the commission to establish the responsibilities of each perpetrator of the crimes committed in Burundi since the past two years and bring them to justice. “Fighting against impunity and engaging in an inclusive dialogue thanks to the regional facilitation are the main strategies to be used to handle all issues in Burundi,” says France representative.

Review Burundi’s Membership in Top UN Rights Body – HRW

press release

Human Rights Watch welcomes the report and the oral update of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi.

The Commission of inquiry recently confirmed “the persistence of extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests and detentions, enforced disappearances, torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and sexual violence in Burundi since April 2015.” The Commission attributes most of these violations to members of the National Intelligence Service, the police, the army and the youth league of the ruling party, known as Imbonerakure, findings confirmed by Human Rights Watch.

Instead of facing up to its responsibilities under international law, the Burundian government is in complete denial. High-level officials repeatedly state that Burundi is “peaceful” and “calm,” and rebuke all criticism as an obscure “conspiracy.” As one Burundian activist in exile told us: “It really hurts to hear our government say such things.”

As a member of this Council, Burundi has an obligation to uphold the highest standards of human rights, and to cooperate with the Council and its mechanisms. Yet, Burundi’s blatant refusal to cooperate with the Commission – even to just open its doors for access – shows its disrespect for the Council, and for its membership responsibilities.

In addition, it has suspended its cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Commission of Inquiry has concluded, on reasonable grounds, that crimes against humanity have been committed in Burundi.

A sitting Council member found to have committed crimes against humanity, and to have violated every membership standard, brings this body into disrepute. The Council should call on the General Assembly to suspend Burundi’s membership, or at least to consider the issue in the light of the findings of the COI.

As the political crisis in Burundi drags on, prospects for human rights improvement are bleak. It is therefore critical for the Council to extend the Commission’s mandate, so it can give the victims in Burundi the attention they deserve, and bring increased attention to the need for accountability, with a view to putting a brake on the worst abuses and paving the way towards justice.

Burundi

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National Commission for Human Rights Calls On ICC to Be Impartial

By Diane Uwimana

The National Commission for Human Rights [CNIDH] notes that the report of the Commission of Inquiry was inspired by some of the previous reports but somewhat different from the latter. “The CNIDH considers that the report should constitute a breach of a frank and constructive dialogue on the situation of human rights in Burundi”, says Jean Baptiste Baribonekeza, the chairman of the CNIDH.

He says the commission of inquiry refused to examine and provide detailed information on violations and abuses committed by “armed opposition groups”. “It is surprising that the experts have not been able to access information that is detained by the public, in particular concerning attacks on grenades in public places which have been claimed by some politicians”, he says.

Jean Baptiste Baribonekeza says the commission of Inquiry on Burundi seems to ignore the principles of complementarity and subsidiarity that govern the international criminal justice by hastily proposing radical measures so as to prematurely push the ICC to conduct investigations without overwhelming evidence.

The National Commission for Human Rights, then, recommends the ICC not be influenced by political motivations whose aim is not to fight independently and impartially against crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC. He also urges the ICC to conclude the preliminary exams initiated since 25 April 2016 on the situation in Burundi. “It is high time to allow the Burundian judiciary system to deal with all complaints concerning crimes that have been committed in Burundi”, says Baribonekeza.

The chairman of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi Fatsah Ouguergouz said crimes against humanity have been and continue to be committed in Burundi since April 2015.

Serious human rights violations including extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests and detention, torture, sexual violence, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment as well as enforced disappearances have been reported by the UN experts. Fatsah Ouguergouz said the investigators believed that “there was reasonable evidence to believe that the majority of these serious human rights violations committed constitute crimes against humanity. The Commission of Inquiry urged the ICC to open investigations on possible crimes committed in Burundi since April 2015.

The African Union opposed the call made by the commission. Smail Chergui, the chairman of the African Union Peace and Security Council said Africa has its own Court that deals with African cases.

Burundi

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Burundi – Target for ICC?

By Pierre Emmanuel Ngendakumana

The UN Commission of Inquiry released a report on Monday (September 4th). It requests the International Criminal Court to investigate crimes against humanity committed in Burundi.

The Commission refers to “an organized plan in the pursuit of a common policy.” This is a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population. This suggests that crimes against humanity have been committed in Burundi since April 2015. The commission’s report mentions extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, torture, inhuman or degrading treatment and sexual violence. The list of abuses is long.

According to the commission, “major decisions, including those leading to serious violations of human rights, would be taken not by the government but by the President of the Republic and a handful of generals.”

The president of the commission, Fatsah Ouguergouz, also targets officials at the highest level of the state, senior officers and agents of the defense and security forces as well as the youth of the ruling party Cndd-Fdd, the Imbonerakure. According to him, these alleged perpetrators are aware of this plan, given their functions in the state security apparatus or their indoctrination within Cndd-Fdd. Targets were especially members of Msd and Fnl parties as well as soldiers of the former army Ex FAB.

Bujumbura dismisses a “biased” report

In order to reach the conclusions of its report, the commission visited Burundi’s neighboring countries. More than 500 interviews were conducted. However, it calls for more cooperation so far refused by the government.

Among the recommendations of the commission are individual sanctions against the main perpetrators presumed by the Security Council. To this end, the commission produced a secret and non-exhaustive list of these suspects which will be confided to the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The International Criminal Court is called on to launch an investigation into the crimes committed in Burundi since April 2015, a date that marks the start of protests against the candidacy of President Nkurunziza.

The failed coup as well as the attacks on four military camps are decisive factors in the escalation of violence in 2015.

The Burundian government rejected this report. The Minister of Human Rights, Martin Nivyabandi spoke of a biased report that does not take into account the obvious improvement in the country’s situation. The Minister of Justice, Aimé-Laurentine Kanyana, said the ICC cannot do anything better than the Burundian jurisdiction. The National Assembly, for its part, decided to set up a commission to investigate the allegations in the report.

In any case, if the prosecution is to take place, the ICC has only one month to get started. Burundi withdrew from the International Criminal Court on 27 October 2016. Its final withdrawal will take place on 27 October.

>>Reactions

Willy Nyamitwe: “Mercenaries paid to validate a narrative.”

The Senior Adviser to the President says the report’s producers are not investigators but mercenaries paid to validate a narrative that’s already circulating in some Western reports. According to Willy Nyamitwe, these reports aim to pave the way for the ICC, an instrument in the hands of the West to enslave African states.

François Nyamoya: ” MSD party is confident that justice will be done. “

For the Movement for Solidarity and Democracy- MSD, the report confirms what was known to the public. The members of Msd are very numerous among the victims of the abuses committed by the regime in place. François Nyamoya, Secretary-General of the party, said that the MSD is confident that justice will be done.

Cndd-Fdd party: “The aim of the report is to get the ICC started.”

The National Information Secretary of the ruling party CNDD-FDD says the report largely copies and pastes the conclusions of the report of the UN independent investigation on Burundi (EINUB), criticized for its imperfections.

According to Nancy Ninette Mutoni, this new commission of inquiry was set up on the basis of a resolution issued by the European Union diktat. “This report should not impress or surprise anyone. Its objective is to get the ICC started and you know what it is in relation to Africa: a rather political instrument than a juridical one”, she said.

Armel Niyongere: “Torturers are paper tigers.”

This lawyer of the families of victims who have gone to the ICC says there are still more witnesses waiting to collaborate with the judiciary. “This report shows that torturers are paper tigers when faced with determined and organized victims.”The collective of civil parties “Justice for Burundi”, of which Armel Niyongere is a member, places all its hopes in the opening of the investigations by the International Criminal Court. “We believe that the work of justice will contribute to the pacification of the region to avoid further massacres.”

>>International Organizations

Amnesty International: “The commission’s term should be renewed.”

This organization indicates that a serious violation of human rights persists in a more hidden but equally brutal way. Amnesty International says the work of the Commission of Inquiry is more necessary than ever. “Its term should be renewed by the Human Rights Council at its next session in September”, says Amnesty International.

Human Rights Watch: “Cooperating is not an option.”

John Fisher, the advocacy director for the organization at Geneva, said that Burundi’s flagrant refusal to cooperate was a sign of its contempt for the commission. “That’s enough. “He said the Human Rights Council should renew the mandate of the commission. The General Assembly, for its part, should reconsider the membership of Burundi in that body. “Cooperating is not an option but a condition to be respected. There should be consequences for persistent non-compliance. “

Written by Agnès Ndirubusa and translated by Pierre Emmanuel Ngendakumana

South Africa: Commission Officially Launches Market Inquiry Into Data Services

press release

The process for the Market Inquiry into Data Services has been officially set in motion with the publishing of terms of reference (ToR) in the Government Gazette today.

This publication of the ToR officially sets off the process for the inquiry into the sector to begin. The Commission will call for submissions after 20 business days.

The Commission has initiated the inquiry because it believes there are features in this market that prevent, distort or restrict competition within the sector. Through the inquiry, the Commission aims to determine what may cause or lead to high data prices with a view to ultimately making recommendations that will result in lower prices for data services.

The inquiry has been initiated in response to a request by Economic Development Minister, Mr Ebrahim Patel, who also has expressed concerns over high data costs and highlighted the importance of data affordability.

As per the ToR, the main objectives of the inquiry are to:

• Obtain a clear understanding of the data services value chain, including the interaction and commercial relationship between different levels of the value chain and the relationship with other parts of the ICT sector and the broader economy;
• Assess the state of competition in the market at every stage of the value chain for provision of data services in order to identify areas of market power where customers or consumers may be exploited or excluded by firms and to identify any other structural, behavioural or regulatory factors that may influence competition or pricing;
• Benchmark South African data services pricing against those of other countries; and
• Establish whether data supply quality and coverage is adequate by international standards and the country’s developmental needs.

As per the ToR, the inquiry will assess the following, among others:

• Market structure;
• The general adequacy and impact of the current regulatory regime;
• Strategic behaviour by large fixed and mobile incumbents;
• Costs faced and profits earned by fixed and mobile network operators;
• Current arrangements for sharing of network infrastructure;
• Investment in infrastructure by operators and access to / allocation of spectrum as they relate to data services price and competition concerns; and
• The adequacy of regulation to promote new South African entrants (particularly historically disadvantaged individuals).

The inquiry is due for completion by 31 August 2018 and the Commission will then release its findings and recommendations.

South Africa

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We Won’t Tax Your Businesses, Burundi Govt Assures Returnees

By Moses Havyarimana

The Burundi government has said it will waive taxes on capital or businesses of Burundians returning home.

The announcement comes weeks after President Pierre Nkurunziza visited Tanzania and asked Burundian refugees to go back home and contribute to development.

During celebrations in Bujumbura to mark the Burundi Diaspora Week, First Vice-President Gaston Sindimwo said the government would provide land to returnees willing to invest in their homeland.

In 2015 more than 400,000 Burundians fled after fighting broke out. The government is now wooing them to return.

The incentives by Bujumbura have been praised as good measures to attract its citizens in the diaspora.

“The diaspora should contribute to their country of origin,” said Kristina Mejo, chief of mission at the International Organisation for Migration in Burundi.

The UN Secretary-General’s special envoy Michel Kafando addressed the UN Security Council on the current political situation in Burundi after meeting with President Nkurunziza and other stakeholders in and outside the country, for an all-inclusive dialogue as the only way to restore peace and stability to the country.

However, the government has since 2016 snubbed the invitation to sit with opposition members it accuses of having plotted the failed coup in 2015.

“We negotiated with him while he was fighting the government and he (Nkurunziza) was condemned to death but we accepted to negotiate with him,” former Burundi President Domitien Ndayizeye told The EastAfrican in Bujumbura.

Rights violations

The Burundi Senate last week rejected a resolution passed by the EU Parliament on the political situation in the country and urged the Burundi government to co-operate with the UN commission of Inquiry into human rights violations.

Europe expressed concern at the political and the security situation in the country, and that killings and other human rights abuses had taken place in Burundi since 2015 calling on the government to fully co-operate with the UN Commission of Inquiry to conduct the investigations.

Burundi

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South Africa: Marikana Massacre – Police Absolve 87 of Their Own

Photo: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Police on standby at Lonmin’s Marikana mine in the North West (file photo).

analysis

Police investigated, and cleared, 87 of their own members in relation to the August 2012 police killings of 34 Marikana miners. “They were cleared internally,” SAPS deputy national commissioner for human resource management, Lieutenant-General Bonang Mgwenya, told Parliament’s police committee on Wednesday. By MARIANNE MERTEN.

Like the police, its statutory watchdog, the Independent Police Investigation Directorate (Ipid), was there to update MPs on the implementation of Marikana Commission of Inquiry recommendations. Ipid boss Robert McBride appeared gobsmacked. “It’s strange they were all cleared, as so many people died. In future, please involve Ipid. Otherwise it’s the police investigating itself,” he told MPs.

There were no details proffered to MPs, who also did not ask, as to what the internal SAPS investigations had entailed, what charges were investigated or even when this internal process took place. What did emerge was that the SAPS had not pursued internal investigations against senior police officers regarding the Marikana miners’ killings. For this, Mgwenya said, the police were awaiting Ipid’s report.

The police watchdog is investigating 184 police officials over the Marikana killings, and has taken all but 64 warning statements. The due date for dockets to be finalised and submitted to the National Prosecuting…

South Africa

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South Africa: Opposition Party DA Says Banks Found Guilty Must Face Full Might of the Law

Photo: allafrica.com

Standard Bank, ABSA, Investec.

press releaseBy Michael Cardo MP

The DA notes the release by the Competition Tribunal of the Competition Commission’s affidavit against 17 banks, some of whose currency traders are accused of collusion and price fixing.

Should these traders be found to have contravened the Competition Act, and should it be proven that they did so with the knowledge and consent of their financial institutions, they should face the full might of the law.

The DA regards collusion in an extremely serious light, as it shortchanges and harms the consumer, and serves to perpetuate economic injustice. We support all moves to crack down on abusive market conduct.

The Competition Tribunal will have to determine whether the absolute level of the Rand was manipulated, and the exact nature and extent of the harm done to consumers.

Ultimately, it is the consumers for whom justice must be served.

Against this backdrop, the DA rejects the populist bandwagoning of the ANC, Minister Mosebenzi Zwane and a whole assortment of captured Gupta-groupies, who are using the matter to drive their own personal crusade against the banks.

The Competition Tribunal must be allowed to test the evidence and adjudicate accordingly, free from political interference.

Michael Cardo MP

DA Shadow Minister of Economic Development

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Malawi: MPs End Maizegate Inquiry With Intense Grilling of Firm Officials

Photo: Daily Monitor

A farmer prepares maize for sale (file photo).

By Owen Khamula

Transglobe officials were on Sunday exposed as liars as the parliamentary inquiry on maizegate took them head on, grilling and cornering them leaving a director literally shivering.

The inquiry was meeting the Transglobe directors, Rashid Tayub and his father Ishmael.

Karonga Central MP Frank Mwenifumbo reminded the Tayubs that their family business, Transglobe is never short of controversy in Malawi business terrain.

He said in the mid 1990s, Transglobe was at the centre of Field York scandal which cost the job of Education minister Sam Mpasu who was subsequently sent to jail.

The parliamentary inquiry members kept on reminding Rashid Tayub that he was under oath therefore he should not be peddling lies to the inquiry.

He was full of contradictions in his responses and the inquiry exposed his blatant lies to the nation which followed the inquiry through Times radio.

This was just a day after the President Peter Mutharika appointed commission of inquiry found that the conduct of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water development, George Chaponda, in his dealings with Transglobe, most inappropriate, suspicious and raising of corrupt practices.

Mwenifumbo, who was left out by the inquiry recently when it went to Zambia to investigate further on the matter, proved the Biblical proverb of a rejected stone.

He had facts and figures of Transglobe at hand, quizzing the Transglobe officials why they are at the centre of the controversy out of more than 30 large agro dealers in the country.

Tayub denied any wrong doing from his correspondence with Chaponda directly in emails and how he managed to bulldoze the Zambian government allow them participate in the transportation of maize.

Chairman of the inquiry Joseph Chidanti Malunga said its report would be presented to Speaker Richard Msowoya Monday and in parliament on Tuesday.

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South Africa: Marikana – Lonmin Defends Housing Plan

analysis

Platinum company Lonmin has defended its efforts to improve employee housing after once again facing criticism for failing to improve conditions that contributed to the Marikana Massacre. By GREG NICOLSON.

Lonmin said on Monday that it had completed the conversion of all its employee hostels into 1,908 single and 776 family units and has fully complied with the Mining Charter since December 2014. The company said it would soon submit a revised housing plan to the Department of Mineral Resources, which it believes will be compliant with regulations.

“Our revised employee housing strategy, which includes the construction of infill apartments, is the product of a continuing survey of employees’ housing preferences. We have taken proactive steps to meet our obligations despite the unfavourable economic climate by including long-term, sustainable housing solutions in our capital expenditure budgets,” said Abey Kgotle, executive vice president of human resources.

On Sunday the Presidency provided an update on the implementation of recommendations from the Marikana Commission of Inquiry. While acknowledging the completed conversion of hostels, the Presidency was critical of Lonmin’s housing efforts.

It said the company’s housing plan was “broad and without clear timelines on building houses and Lonmin has been directed, on September…

South Africa

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