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ICC begins first trial on atrocities in Darfur, Sudan after 20 years. Will justice be served?

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The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday will open the first trial addressing atrocities in Darfur nearly 20 years after the Sudanese region was faced with violence that left hundreds of thousands dead.

The Hague Court made the announcement on Monday in a statement retrieved on its website.

“On 5 April 2022 at 9:30 (The Hague local time), the trial in the case The Prosecutor v. Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman (“Ali Kushayb”) will open before Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “Court”) for 31 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Darfur, Sudan.”

Mr. Abd-Al-Rahman, also known as Ali Kushayb, is accused of being a senior commander of thousands of pro-government Janjaweed fighters during the 2003-2004 height of the Darfur conflict.

Abd-Al-Rahman however denied the charges. During earlier court appearances, he argued that he was not educated enough to understand that the orders he carried out could result in war crimes.

The War in Darfur is a major armed conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan that began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebel groups began fighting against the government of Sudan, which they accused of oppressing Darfur’s non-Arab population.

The “trial Chamber is composed of Judge Joanna Korner, Presiding Judge, Judge Reine Alapini-Gansou, and Judge Althea Violet Alexis-Windsor.” The statement reads further.

The 31 charges labelled against Abd-Al-Rahman, include “intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such, as a war crime; murder as a crime against humanity and as a war crime; pillaging as a war crime; destruction of the property of an adversary as a war crime; other inhumane acts as a crime against humanity; outrages upon personal dignity as a war crime; rape as a crime against humanity and a war crime…”

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Metro

‘Stop complaining, you’re not the only ones facing poverty,’ Tinubu tells Nigerians

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President Bola Tinubu has told Nigerians to stop complaining as they are not the only ones facing poverty and hardship in the world.

Tinubu, who gave the charge when he received a delegation from the National Assembly led by the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, alongside the Deputy Senate President, Jibrin Barau, and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, who came to felicitate with him on the occasion of Eid-el-Kabir in Lagos, said though there was poverty and suffering in the country, the challenges would not be tackled by complaining.

According to a statement on Tuesday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Ajuri Ngelale, the President said one of the ways of tackling the myriad of challenges in Nigeria is to eliminate banditry and terrorism so that farmers can return to the farm.

According to the President, it is imperative for Nigerians to have a change of value system for the nation to make progress.

“Yes, there is poverty; there is suffering in the land. We are not the only people facing such, but we must face our challenges,” Tinubu said.

“We must find a way to eliminate banditry and terrorism so that farmers can bring out food from the farmland.

“If you do not have good roads to bring the food to the population, even if you grow the food and you are losing 60-70 per cent to damages, you will pay the price,” the President added.

He also challenged Nigerians to have a change of mindset about the country if the nation is to overcome its current challenges.

“The need for some citizens to change the rent-seeking mindset and become more productive to the economy is a challenge. The need to stop smuggling and all economic sabotage.

“Why should we have people removing rail tracks and all that, stealing electric cables and sabotaging the economy?

“We must embrace the campaign to change our value system. We must tell our people that the challenge we face is for all of us to change our mindset about our country.

“It is daunting, but we cannot run away from the fact that this country must survive the hardship,” Tinubu stressed.

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Zambian Police bar political party leaders from attending church services

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The political crisis in Zambia took a new disturbing dimension on Sunday when heavily armed Police Officers stopped Presidents of political parties under the United Kwacha Alliance (UKA) coalition from attending various church services in the Copperbelt region.

Those affected, according to Zambian Monitor, include ex-president, Edgar Lungu, and New Heritage Party (NHP) president, Chishala Kateka, who were blocked from attending a designated church service where they had been initially invited but later managed to sneak into a Catholic Church.

Others affected by the police action were Presidents of Christian Democratic Party, Dan Pule, and National Congress Party leader, Peter Chanda, who were scheduled to worship at Christ the King Church in Kitwe but were turned away by police officers who escorted them out of Kitwe.

However, the UKA Chairperson, Sakwiba Sikota, and Zambia Republican Party leader, Wright Musoma, managed to escape the police dragnet and worshiped at Disciples Fellowship Ministries International (DFMI) in Ndola.

Citizens First President, Harry Kalaba, was in Chingola at St Peters and Paul’s Parish when alleged armed UPND cadres surrounded the parish.

Kalaba was later seen in a social media video being whisked away through the backdoor of the church, leaving behind his vehicles, and went to BIGOCA in Lulamba where the UPND cadres followed him again.

Speaking on the situation, Kalaba told journalists:

“In President Hakainde Hichilema’s regime, the Police have been summoning and arresting clergy critical of his government including disrupting meetings between priests and opposition political figures.”

UKA Chairperson for Communications, Jackson Silavwe, said it was worth noting that President Hichilema had never attended and officiated at the National Day of Prayer and Fasting with his UPND senior officials and members calling it a “useless” day when in the opposition.

“It is therefore, not surprising that the Zambia Police under President Hichilema’s government are showing the same gross contempt towards the clergy and churches who associate with critical voices,” he said.

Silavwe alleged that the heavy handedness by the Zambia Police of this magnitude towards clergy and the church had never been seen before in the history of Zambia, claiming Hichilema had once again scored another ‘first’ under his administration.

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