South Sudan's freedom after five decades of struggle

This is the statement by ANC National Spokesperson Jackson Mthembu on the occasion of South Sudan's independence day celebrations on July 9. South Sudan has emerged as the newest state in the world, 54th state in Africa and the UN's 193rd member state. This marks the formal attainment of freedom for the people of South Sudan, after over five decades of painful struggle, war and carnage that cost millions of lives and displaced many others and left them destitute.

Plural South Sudan looks to federal constitution

As South Sudan celebrates its formal birth as Africa's newest state, its constitution, in the process of being drafted, will have an Indian hand in it, IANS reports. " South Sudan is looking at the experience of democracies like India ," said Sandeep Shastri, pro vice-chancellor at Bangalore's Jain University who is helping draft the statute of the country. "South Sudan has watched the political and constitutional developments in India with great interest and believe that there is a lot that a country like South Sudan can gain from that experience." An international consultant with the Forum of Federations, a Canada-based think-tank, Shastri is the only Indian involved with public debates being held across South Sudan, a country of over 8 million people, in the run-up to framing the constitution. The Forum of Federations was also heavily involved in the Norwegian peace process in Sri Lanka. Its representative, Bob Rae, now the Liberal Party’s interim leader, was deported from Sri Lanka in 2008.

ICC issues arrest warrant for Gaddafi

The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants on Monday for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddhafi, his son Saif al-Islam and the country’s intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senussi, on charges of crimes against humanity. See Al-Jazeera’s report here . Gaddhafi has “ absolute, ultimate and unquestioned control ” over Libya’s state apparatus and its security forces, presiding judge Sanji Mmasenono Monageng said in reading out the ruling. " State policy was designed at the highest level of the state machinery, and aimed at quelling by any means , including by the use of lethal force ,...

Libyan footballers vote with their feet

A group of 17 leading Libyan football figures have announced their defection to the rebels opposing Muammar Ghadaffi’s rule. They announced the defection to the BBC. They include the nation's goalkeeper, Juma Gtat, three other national team members, and the coach of Tripoli's top club al-Ahly, Adel bin Issa. "I am telling Col Gaddafi to leave us alone and allow us to create a free Libya," Gtat told the BBC. BBC World Affairs Correspondent Mark Doyle says “Sports stars matter in the battle for public opinion [and] in football-mad North Africa, the defections are clearly a propaganda blow for...

ICC prosecutor seeks probe of non-member Cote d’Ivoire

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has requested its judges to authorize an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Côte d’Ivoire following the presidential run-off held last November. If the judges grant the Prosecutor’s request, it will be the first time the ICC opens a case in a State that is not party to the Rome Statute , which set up the Court. See the UN News Centre’s report here . At least 3,000 persons were killed, 72 persons disappeared and 520 persons were subject to arbitrary arrest and detentions in Côte d’Ivoire during the...

China welcomes top Libya rebel

Officially, Beijing follows what it calls a policy of non-interference and neutrality in the domestic affairs of other nations. However, the top foreign affairs official in Libya's opposition has just arrived in China for talks with the Beijing government, the BBC reports . Mahmud Jibril is to be there for two days. Earlier this month, Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelati al-Obeidi also spent three days in Beijing, with China saying a ceasefire should be the "top priority" of both sides.

US confirms talking to Taliban

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has confirmed that the US is holding "outreach" talks with members of the Taliban in Afghanistan. "There's been outreach on the part of a number of countries, including the United States," Mr Gates told CNN, without naming other countries involved. See the BBC's report here . "I would say that these contacts are very preliminary. "My own view is that real reconciliation talks are not likely to be able to make any substantive headway until at least this winter." Mr. Gates, who will leave office at the end of the month, said the first step had been to ensure...

Genocide charges - thirty years on

Nearly thirty years after the end of Guatemala’s civil war, a former armed forces chief has finally been arrested on charges of genocide, forced disappearances and crimes against humanity. Retired general Hector Mario Lopez, 81, was detained in the capital, Guatemala City, on Friday, accused of being behind the killings of more than 300 indigenous Maya civilians from the Ixil region in 1982 and 1983. Lopez, the highest-ranking former official to be arrested for massacres in the 1980s, was allegedly involved in about 200 massacres committed while he was chief of staff of the Guatemalan...

Criticism of Formula One on aborted Bahrain race

Having cancelled the Formula One Grand Prix in Bahrain, where a vicious and bloody crackdown against anti-government protestors has been underway for months, the sports governing body last week reinstated the race for October. However, with several teams refusing to accept the rescheduling the race has again been cancelled, much to the chagrin of the Bahrain government. While the official reasons given by the teams are difficulties with logistics, and safety concerns, the backdrop of human rights abuses is inescapable. This is what one outspoken Formula One driver, Mark Webber, had to say on...

Germany recognises Libya's rebels

Germany has recognised Libya's rebels as "the legitimate representatives of the Libyan people", the BBC reports. "We want a free Libya, in peace and democracy without [Muammar] Gaddafi," Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in the rebel stronghold Benghazi. "The national council is the legitimate representative of the Libyan people." German opposition politicians, media commentators and foreign policy experts had sharply criticised the government for its position on Col Gaddafi, accusing it of failing to live up to its international obligations. Mr Westerwelle said in Benghazi that staying...

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