Agathon Rwasa

Ce site web publie les atrocités des rebelles FNL du Burundi et mène une campagne pour traduire en justice le dirigeant des FNL, Agathon Rwasa. Nous essayons aussi de mettre à nue la question d'impunité en génerale. This website aims to highlight atrocities by the Burundian FNL rebels, and campaigns to see FNL leader Agathon Rwasa brought to justice. We also aim to highlight the issue of impunity worldwide.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

UN initiates arms trade treaty

From BBC Online

A United Nations committee has voted overwhelmingly to begin work on drawing up an international arms trade treaty.

The measure would close loopholes in existing laws which mean guns still end up in conflict zones despite arms embargoes and export controls.

It could also stop the supply of weapons to countries whose development is being hampered by arms spending.

Only the US - a major arms manufacturer - voted against the treaty, saying it wanted to rely on existing agreements.

A total of 139 states voted for the motion. There were 24 abstentions.

Major weapons manufacturers such as Britain, France and Germany voted to begin work on the treaty, as did major emerging arms exporters Bulgaria and Ukraine.

Russia and China, also major arms manufacturers, were among the countries to abstain.

UK Minister for International Development Gareth Thomas said an international treaty was the best way to curb the supply of weapons.

"All countries should support such a treaty as it offers the hope of a safer world where children are not scared to go to school," he said.

'Suppliers club'

The UN secretary general has one year to produce a report on how to introduce common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms.

The BBC's Laura Trevelyan at the UN says it could be years before an international arms trade treaty is actually agreed - but this vote is an important first step.

Globalisation has made existing export controls inadequate, our correspondent says - often, a weapons company with its headquarters in a country with strict export controls will manufacture components in nations with lax laws.

Some developing countries fear a treaty will just create a cartel or a suppliers' club for the major weapons exporters, our correspondent adds.

Human rights organisations have welcomed the move.

A new treaty would close loopholes in existing laws

Amnesty International described the vote as "an historic opportunity", saying "any credible treaty must outlaw those transfers, which fuel the systematic murder, rape, torture and expulsion of thousands of people".

One of those campaigning for the treaty was Richard Wilson, whose sister was taken from a bus and shot dead in 2000, while working in Burundi as a school teacher. (nb - although Charlotte Wilson was killed in Burundi, she was actually based in Rwanda)

He told the BBC's World Today that the major arms exporting countries had to acknowledge their role in providing weapons to the poorest parts of the world.

"The attackers fired off nearly 1,000 rounds of ammunition. This is in the poorest country in the world.

"That says something about the easy availability of weapons, and anything that can be done to reduce that can help to prevent at least some of these tragedies in the future," he said.

Nobel peace prize winners, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have also backed the idea of such a treaty.

BBC defence and security correspondent Rob Watson says any eventual treaty faces many hurdles, including the question of how to stop those shady international arms dealers who are not in the habit of obtaining export licences?

Assurances will also need to be provided to arms exporters like Russia and China and emerging manufacturers that any treaty is not aimed at damaging their arms industries, our correspondent adds.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Net closing on DRC gunrunners as millionaire UK arms merchant raided by anti-fraud investigators

From The Guardian

The British home and headquarters of a millionaire arms broker have been raided by the Serious Fraud Office, which is investigating corruption allegations against Britain's biggest military exporter BAE.

John Bredenkamp is BAE's agent in southern Africa, and is understood to have received large sums in confidential commission payments. One of the African deals the SFO is investigating is the government-backed £1.6bn sale of Hawk aircraft to South Africa in 2001.

Sources close to Mr Bredenkamp denied last night that he played any role in the South African sale. They said the SFO search warrant related to a Bredenkamp-controlled company with which BAE has had dealings, and a number of other companies. The sources said Mr Bredenkamp's Knightsbridge town house in London and his Berkshire offices were raided by a joint SFO-Ministry of Defence police force, and computers and files were taken away.

Mr Bredenkamp was said to be abroad at the time. The 66-year-old South African born tobacco farmer and rugby player, who has a fortune estimated at more than £700m, has been a close associate of the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe. He is variously claimed to hold British, Zimbabwean, South African and Dutch passports.
The raid marks a switch of focus by the long-running SFO inquiry into secret payments by BAE. The investigation began with inquiries into claims of a £60m "slush fund" used by BAE to pay off Saudi Arabian dignitaries. The SFO moved on to investigate evidence alleging BAE paid more than £1m to Chile's ex-president General PInochet and then, earlier this year, to investigate claims that more than £7m of secret commission had been paid via an agent to cement the sale of two second-hand Royal Navy frigates to Romania.

The disclosure that the SFO is now investigating arms deals in southern Africa will be sensitive for the government. Tony Blair personally threw his weight behind the Hawk deal, and ministers insisted no corruption was involved. The Guardian disclosed more than three years ago that millions of pounds in secret commission had been paid by BAE.

Yesterday, Whitehall sources disclosed that BAE, which received government-backed loan guarantees for the sale to President Mbeki's ANC administration, admitted at the time that it intended to pay commissions totalling 12%, almost £200m. After the trade department's export credit agency refused to cover such large payments, BAE reduced the level of commissions to 7%.

The Serious Fraud Office said yesterday: "As part of an ongoing investigation into suspected corruption relating to defence contracts where BAE Systems is the prime contractor, four premises were searched on October 17 2006. They were two business addresses in Berkshire, a business address and a residential address in London. No one was arrested." Last night BAE said: "As this matter is an ongoing investigation we can make no further comment at this stage."

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sliding towards yet another general amnesty? UN peacebuilding commission plays down Burundi's endemic corruption, eulogises on "restorative justice"

The UN's new "peacebuilding" commission has begun its work on Burundi, with discussions focussing on the Burundian government's demands for international aid. No mention was made of the resignation of the country's Vice President Alice Nzomukunda in protest at the recent series of corruption scandals, arbitrary arrests, and attacks on press freedom. No mention was made of the much-promised special court to prosecute the war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide that have claimed more than 300,000 lives since 1993. Instead, participants discussed plans for an amnesty-wielding "truth and reconciliation commission" and "the virtues of restorative justice as opposed to justice of retributive nature".

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Burundi government "playing with fire" - CPJ

From News 24

Nairobi - The head of a private radio station in Burundi has gone into hiding after intimidation from a government increasingly accused of suppressing freedom of expression, an international media watchdog has said.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said Alexis Sinduhije, who runs Radio Publique Africaine (RPA), was on the run after a minister linked his station to one in neighbouring Rwanda notorious for inciting the genocide in 1994.

"The government of Burundi is playing with fire by invoking the spectre of genocide to intimidate a highly respected radio station whose programmes have helped the nation heal its ethnic divisions," said the Committee's executive director Joel Simon.

"We call on the government to publicly express its support for RPA, guarantee the safety of its employees, and refrain from making inflammatory statements," he added.

The Committee quoted Burundi's Communications Minister Ramadhani Karenga as saying Sinduhije's station was "like RTLM".

That was a reference to Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines which broadcast exhortations to exterminate "cockroaches" prior to the slaughter of 800 000 Rwandan Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Sinduhije won the Committee to Protect Journalist's (CPJ) press freedom award in 2004.

"He has now gone into hiding for the second time in less than two months, fearing for his safety," the group said.

"CPJ sources in Bujumbura confirmed that RPA had been subject to intimidation and harassment, and that government officials had accused the station of working for the opposition."

Officials in President Pierre Nkurunziza's government were not immediately available for comment.

Nkurunziza won elections a year ago at the culmination of a UN-backed peace process intended to put an end to ethnic strife that killed some 300 000 people since 1993.

Initially hailed as an African success story, his administration is now under fire from critics over a crackdown on political opponents, activists and journalists.

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