Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

War Crimes Committed in Somalia, Ethiopia

Expand Messages
  • World View
    EUROPEAN UNION OFFICIAL SAYS WAR CRIMES MAY HAVE BEEN COMMITTED BY FORCES IN SOMALIA Chris Tomlinson Associated Press
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 31, 2007
    • 0 Attachment
      EUROPEAN UNION OFFICIAL SAYS WAR CRIMES MAY HAVE BEEN COMMITTED BY
      FORCES IN SOMALIA
      Chris Tomlinson
      Associated Press
      http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/world/20070406-0615-somalia-warcrimes.html


      NAIROBI, Kenya – Ethiopian and Somali forces may have committed war
      crimes in battles against insurgents and European Union countries
      could be considered complicit if they do nothing to stop them,
      according to an EU email obtained by The Associated Press on Friday.
      The warning, by a senior security official, came in an urgent e-mail
      to Eric van der Linden, the EU ambassador based in Nairobi.

      "I need to advise you that there are strong grounds to believe that
      the Ethiopian government and the transitional federal government of
      Somalia and the African Union (peacekeeping) Force Commander, possibly
      also including the African Union Head of Mission and other African
      Union officials have through commission or omission violated the Rome
      Statute of the International Criminal Court," the e-mail said.
      EU officials, speaking on condition they not be named because a legal
      matter was involved, confirmed the e-mail's authenticity.

      The author, whose name was blanked out on the copy obtained by the AP
      but whose senior position was apparent from the text, went on to
      detail the exact statutes that were violated. They included
      intentionally directing attacks against civilians and ordering the
      displacement of civilians for reasons related to the conflict.

      "In regard to the above mentioned potential violations of
      international law there arise urgent questions of responsibility and
      potential complicity in the commission of war crimes by the European
      Commission and its partners," the e-mail continued. The European
      Commission has been a major financial backer of the Somali government
      and the African Union peacekeeping mission, which is currently made up
      of only Ugandan troops.

      The e-mail was sent April 2, following four days of the heaviest
      fighting in Somalia in 15 years. On the day after the e-mail was
      written, the European Union issued a statement calling for an end to
      the fighting.

      "We are deeply concerned about the humanitarian impact of the conflict
      in Mogadishu and the indiscriminate shelling of heavily populated
      areas," the EU statement said on April 3. Such a statement could
      absolve the EU from failing to act to stop the alleged war crimes.

      In the Somali capital, Mogadishu, residents were still burying bodies
      from last week's fighting, which killed hundreds of people. Aid
      organizations said it was the worst in 15 years. A fragile five day
      cease-fire was still holding but residents were fleeing, fearing new
      clashes between Somali government forces, their Ethiopian backers and
      Islamic insurgents.

      Richard Hands, deputy head of delegation for the EU in Kenya and
      Somalia, said the e-mail was a routine review of the potential for war
      crimes in conflict areas where the EU is working.

      "These allegations are, of course, taken seriously and we are looking
      into it," he said. "The European Union takes international
      humanitarian law very seriously and are always aware in situations
      where it is working."

      The priority in Somalia is reconciliation that is inclusive and
      genuine, he added.

      Somali officials were unreachable for comment.

      The e-mail comes just days before the EU was expected to release $20
      million for the African peacekeeping force and could lead to its
      suspension, a Western diplomat said on condition of anonymity because
      he was not authorized to speak to the press.

      The United States is also a major financial support of the Somali
      government and the peacekeepers, pledging more than $120 million.

      Solomon Abebe, spokesman for the Ethiopian ministry of foreign affairs
      called the allegations a "fabrication."

      "The international community, everybody knows that this is false," he
      said.

      But European diplomats said they were concerned.

      "We are looking at this from a legal point of view at the Ministry of
      Foreign Affairs in Stockholm," said Jens Orlander, the Swedish special
      envoy for Somalia based in Nairobi, Kenya.

      The European Union has no mechanism for investigating and prosecuting
      war crimes in Somalia, that would fall on the International Criminal
      Court.

      One Somali human rights group, which asked not to be identified for
      fear of retribution, said it was gathering evidence of war crimes in
      Somalia for submission to the International Criminal Court for
      possible future prosecutions.

      Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf and his cabinet ministers have
      repeated called for civilians to leave their homes because insurgents
      have fired mortars at Ethiopian and government troops from densely
      populated neighborhoods.

      The U.N. refugee agency says some 124,000 people have fled Mogadishu
      since the beginning of February. In the last six days 73,000 have fled
      for safety.

      New York-based Human Rights Watch called Friday for all sides to end
      indiscriminate attacks against civilians.

      "Civilians in Mogadishu are paying an intolerable price for the
      failure of all sides to abide by the rules of warfare," said Georgette
      Gagnon, deputy Africa director of Human Rights Watch.

      *********************************************************************

      WORLD VIEW NEWS SERVICE

      To subscribe to this group, send an email to:
      wvns-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

      NEWS ARCHIVE IS OPEN TO PUBLIC VIEW
      http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/wvns/

      Need some good karma? Appreciate the service?
      Please consider donating to WVNS today.
      Email ummyakoub@... for instructions.

      To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
      wvns-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.