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Saturday, July 30, 2011

International Criminal Court Cases in Africa: Status and Policy Issues

Alexis Arieff, Coordinator
Analyst in African Affairs

Rhoda Margesson
Specialist in International Humanitarian Policy

Marjorie Ann Browne
Specialist in International Relations

Matthew C. Weed
Analyst in Foreign Policy Legislation

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has, to date, opened cases exclusively in Africa. Cases concerning 25 individuals are open before the Court, pertaining to crimes allegedly committed in six African states: Libya, Kenya, Sudan (Darfur), Uganda (the Lord’s Resistance Army, LRA), the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic. A 26th case, against a Darfur rebel commander, was dismissed. The ICC Prosecutor has yet to secure any convictions. In addition, the Prosecutor has initiated preliminary examinations—a potential precursor to a full investigation—in Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Nigeria, along with several countries outside of Africa, such as Afghanistan, Colombia, Georgia, Honduras, and the Republic of Korea.

The Statute of the ICC, also known as the Rome Statute, entered into force on July 1, 2002, and established a permanent, independent Court to investigate and bring to justice individuals who commit war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. As of July 2011, 116 countries— including 32 African countries, the largest regional block—were parties to the Statute. Tunisia was the latest country to have become a party, in June 2011. The United States is not a party.

ICC prosecutions have been praised by human rights advocates. At the same time, the ICC Prosecutor’s choice of cases and the perception that the Court has disproportionately focused on Africa have been controversial. The Prosecutor’s attempts to prosecute two sitting African heads of state, Sudan’s Omar Hassan al Bashir and Libya’s Muammar al Qadhafi, have been particularly contested, and the African Union has decided not to enforce ICC arrest warrants for either leader. Neither Sudan nor Libya is a party to the ICC; in both cases, jurisdiction was granted through a United Nations Security Council resolution. (The United States abstained from the former Security Council vote, in 2005, and voted in favor of the latter, in February 2011.) Controversy within Africa has also surfaced over ICC attempts to prosecute Kenyan officials in connection with post-election violence in 2007-2008. Although Kenya is a party to the Court, the government has recently objected to ICC involvement, which some contend could be destabilizing.

Congressional interest in the work of the ICC in Africa has arisen in connection with concerns over gross human rights violations on the African continent and beyond, along with broader concerns over ICC jurisdiction and U.S. policy toward the Court. Obama Administration officials have expressed support for several ICC prosecutions. At the ICC’s 2010 review conference in Kampala, Uganda, Obama Administration officials reiterated the United States’ intention to provide diplomatic and informational support to ICC prosecutions on a case-by-case basis. The U.S. government is prohibited by law from providing material assistance to the ICC under the American Servicemembers’ Protection Act of 2002, or ASPA (P.L. 107-206, Title II). Legislation introduced during the 111
th Congress referenced the ICC in connection with several African conflicts and, more broadly, U.S. policy toward, and cooperation with, the Court. S.Res. 85 (Menendez) welcomes the U.N. Security Council referral of Libya to the ICC.

This report provides background on current ICC cases and examines issues raised by the ICC’s actions in Africa. Further analysis can be found in CRS Report R41116, The International Criminal Court (ICC): Jurisdiction, Extradition, and U.S. Policy, by Emily C. Barbour and Matthew C. Weed, and CRS Report R41682, International Criminal Court and the Rome Statute: 2010 Review Conference, by Matthew C. Weed.

Date of Report: July 22, 2011
Number of Pages: 35
Order Number: RL34665
Price: $29.95

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Madagascar’s Political Crisis

Lauren Ploch
Analyst in African Affairs

The Indian Ocean island of Madagascar has experienced protracted political instability since early 2009, when tensions between the country’s president, Marc Ravalomanana, and Andry Rajoelina, the former mayor of the country’s capital city, Antananarivo, escalated, culminating in President Ravalomanana’s forced removal from office. The unconstitutional change of power and resulting political impasse has had a negative impact on economic growth and development efforts. The political uncertainty has strained relations between international donors and Madagascar, which was the first country to sign a U.S. Millennium Challenge Account compact in 2005, worth an estimated $110 million. That compact was terminated in May 2009, based on the U.S. government’s determination that Madagascar had experienced a military coup d’etat.

In March 2009, under pressure from mutinous soldiers and large crowds of protestors, President Ravalomanana fled the country. The military then conferred state authority to Rajoelina, who has since held power under a self-declared transitional government. Periodic demonstrations by Ravalomanana supporters following the takeover led to violent clashes with security forces. Negotiations in August 2009 between the parties led to the signing of an agreement in Maputo, Mozambique to establish an inclusive, transitional government, but Rajoelina subsequently appointed a new government seen to be primarily composed of his own supporters. Southern African leaders and Madagascar’s opposition parties rejected the proposed government, and negotiations resumed. To date, the country’s political parties have failed to reach consensus on a way forward toward democratic elections.

Following coups elsewhere in Africa in 2008, the African Union, the United States, and the European Union, among others, warned against an unconstitutional transfer of power on the island nation and have since suspended most foreign aid. The African Union has imposed targeted sanctions on individuals in the de facto government. The African Union and the Southern African Development Community have also suspended Madagascar from their respective regional organizations until constitutional order is restored. The Malagasy government’s budget has traditionally been heavily dependent on donor aid, and the current international aid restrictions have significantly affected government spending.

Madagascar ranks among the world’s poorest countries, with more than two-thirds of the population living below the poverty line. The country is the world’s fourth largest island and is extremely biologically diverse, with as many as 150,000 species of flora and fauna that are unique to the island. Madagascar faces a host of environmental pressures, however, and the U.S. State Department reports that illegal logging and endangered wildlife exports have substantially increased since the current de facto government assumed power. Congress has expressed concern with threats to Madagascar’s unique ecosystem, as well as with the country’s ongoing political and development challenges. The House of Representatives passed legislation in 2009, H.Res. 839, condemning the 2009 coup and the illegal extraction of Madagascar’s natural resources.

Date of Report: July 11, 2011
Number of Pages: 14
Order Number: R40448
Price: $29.95

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Morocco: Current Issues

Alexis Arieff
Analyst in African Affairs

The United States government views Morocco as an important ally against terrorism and a free trade partner. Congress appropriates foreign assistance funding for Morocco for counterterrorism and socioeconomic development, including funding in support of a five-year, $697.5 million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) aid program agreed to in 2007. Congress also reviews and authorizes Moroccan purchases of U.S. defense articles. U.S. officials have expressed support for Morocco’s current reform efforts while reiterating strong support for the Moroccan monarchy.

King Mohammed VI retains supreme political power in Morocco, but has taken some liberalizing steps with uncertain effects. Reform efforts have been stepped up since March 2011, amid a series of pro-democracy demonstrations. On July 1, the king submitted a new constitution to a public referendum; it passed with over 98% of the vote. The constitution, which was drafted by a commission appointed by the king in March, aims to grant greater independence to the prime minister, the legislature, and the judiciary, and to provide greater protections for individual rights. Nevertheless, the king retains significant executive powers, such as the ability to fire ministers and dissolve the parliament; he will chair the new body that will oversee the judiciary and remains commander-in-chief of the military and the country’s preeminent religious authority. Weekly protests have continued, with activists criticizing the king’s control over the reform process and calling for deeper changes to the political system. Authorities have tolerated many of the protests, but in some cases security forces have used violence to disperse demonstrators.

Morocco’s comprehensive approach to countering terrorism involves security measures, economic reforms, control of religious outlets, education, and international cooperation. Morocco experienced devastating terrorist attacks in 2003, and Moroccan nationals have been implicated in attacks and plots overseas. In April 2011, after years without a major domestic attack, a bomb exploded at a tourist café in Marrakesh, killing 17 people, mostly Europeans. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), considered the greatest regional threat, has not mounted a successful attack in Morocco and denied responsibility for the April bombing. However, individual Moroccans have joined AQIM outside of the country and the group has reportedly attempted to use Moroccan territory as a transit point for transnational smuggling operations.

Morocco’s human rights record is uneven. A number of abuses have been documented along with constraints on freedom of expression. At the same time, the 2004 Family Code is a significant initiative that could improve the socioeconomic rights of women if fully implemented. The king has also sought to provide a public record of abuses perpetrated before he ascended the throne in 1999 and to enhance the rights of ethnic Berbers (Amazigh/Imazighen), the original inhabitants of the region. In 2010, questions about religious freedom arose when foreign Christians were expelled for illegal proselytizing, sparking criticism by some Members of Congress.

Morocco’s foreign policy focuses largely on France, Spain, and the United States. Relations with Algeria are troubled by the unresolved dispute over the Western Sahara, a territory that Morocco largely occupies and views as an integral part of its national territory. Algeria supports the POLISARIO Front in its quest for the region’s self-determination. Relations between Morocco and Israel are strained, though at the same time, 600,000 Moroccan Jews are citizens of Israel. Morocco severed diplomatic ties with Iran in 2009, and was invited to join the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in May 2011. See also CRS Report RS20962, Western Sahara, by Alexis Arieff.

Date of Report: July 11, 2011
Number of Pages: 31
Order Number: RS21579
Price: $29.95

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace

Ted Dagne
Specialist in African Affairs

In October 2002, the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) launched a peace process designed to end factional fighting in Somalia, led by the government of Kenya. In September 2003, the parties agreed on a Transitional National Charter (TNC). In August 2004, a 275-member Transitional Parliament was inaugurated in Kenya. In October 2004, parliament elected Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed as the new president of Somalia. In June 2006, the forces of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) took control of the capital, Mogadishu. During the six-month rule by the ICU, Mogadishu became relatively peaceful, but efforts to bring peace did not lead to a major breakthrough. On December 28, 2006, Ethiopian troops captured Mogadishu with little resistance from the ICU. The Ethiopian intervention led to more chaos and instability in Somalia. In January 2007, the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) came to the capital, Mogadishu, from Baidoa after the ouster of the ICU.

Humanitarian, political, and security conditions continue to deteriorate across south-central Somalia. In the past two years, more than 22,000 civilians have been killed, an estimated 1.1 million people displaced, and 476,000 Somalis have fled to neighboring countries. In 2008, fighting between insurgent groups and Ethiopian-TFG forces intensified, and by late 2008, the TFG had lost control of most of south-central Somalia to insurgent groups. In January 2009, Ethiopian forces completed their withdrawal from Somalia. In late December 2008, President Yusuf resigned from office and left for Yemen.

In June 2008, the TFG and the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS), a group dominated by members of the ICU, signed an agreement in Djibouti mediated by then-United Nations Special Envoy Ahmedou Ould-Abdullah. The parties agreed to a cease-fire, the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces, and the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force. A number of towns, including the third-largest town, Kismaayo, are now under the control of Al-Shabaab, a group opposed to the TFG. In February 2008, then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice designated Al-Shabaab as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. In January 2009, the Somali Parliament elected the leader of the ARS, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmad, as president. In February 2009, President Ahmad appointed Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke as prime minister. In late October 2010, President Ahmad appointed Mohamed A. Mohamed as prime minster shortly after Sharmarke resigned. In June 2011, Prime Minister Mohamed was forced to resign because the Speaker demanded a new government. Following the resignation, there were a number of demonstrations in Mogadishu and other towns in support of the Prime Minister. Deputy Prime Minister Abdiweli M. Ali (from New York like his predecessor) was appointed prime minister and in late June Parliament approved his nomination.

The Obama Administration is actively engaged in support of the TFG and in an effort to contain terrorist groups in Somalia and the region. The U.S. Congress has passed a number of resolutions and has conducted multiple hearings on Somalia. The United States provided an estimated $403.8 million in assistance to Somalia in FY2009. In FY2010, Somalia received $152.1 million. The Obama Administration has requested $84.9 million for FY2011 and $82.3 for FY2012. The United States also provides material support to TFG forces.

On July 11, 2010, Al-Shabaab carried out multiple suicide bombings in Kampala, Uganda. An estimated 76 people, including one American, were killed and more than 80 injured. In late November 2010, President Museveni visited Mogadishu and met with Somali officials and AMISOM forces.

Date of Report: June 29, 2011
Number of Pages: 37
Order Number: RL33911
Price: $29.95

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Libya: Unrest and U.S. Policy

Christopher M. Blanchard
Acting Section Research Manager

Over 40 years ago, Muammar al Qadhafi led a revolt against the Libyan monarchy in the name of nationalism, self-determination, and popular sovereignty. Opposition groups citing the same principles are now revolting against Qadhafi to bring an end to the authoritarian political system he has controlled in Libya for the last four decades. The Libyan government’s use of force against civilians and opposition forces seeking Qadhafi’s overthrow sparked an international outcry and led the United Nations Security Council to adopt Resolution 1973, which authorizes “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians. The United States military is participating in Operation Unified Protector, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military operation to enforce the resolution. Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and other partner governments also are participating. Qadhafi and his supporters have described the uprising as a foreign and Islamist conspiracy and are attempting to outlast their opponents. Qadhafi remains defiant amid coalition air strikes and defections. His forces continue to attack opposition-held areas. Some opposition figures have formed an Interim Transitional National Council (TNC), which claims to represent all areas of the country. They seek foreign political recognition and material support.

Resolution 1973 calls for an immediate cease-fire and dialogue, declares a no-fly zone in Libyan airspace, and authorizes robust enforcement measures for the arms embargo on Libya established by Resolution 1970 of February 26. NATO officials report that U.S. and coalition strikes on Libyan air defenses, air forces, and ground forces have neutralized the ability of Muammar al Qadhafi’s military to control the country’s airspace. Coalition forces target pro-Qadhafi ground forces found to be violating Resolution 1973 through attacks that threaten civilians. President Obama has said the United States will not introduce ground forces, and Resolution 1973 forbids “a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.” The intergovernmental Libya Contact Group has endorsed terms of reference for a temporary financial mechanism to support the TNC and the unfreezing of seized Libyan government assets for humanitarian costs. Qatar, Italy, Kuwait, France, and others have formally recognized the TNC as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. The United States and others continue to provide humanitarian assistance to displaced persons.

Until recently, the United States government was pursuing a policy of reengagement toward Qadhafi after decades of confrontation, sanctions, and Libyan isolation. While U.S. military operations continue, Obama Administration officials highlight a number of non-military steps the U.S. government has taken to achieve Qadhafi’s ouster, such as expanding targeted sanctions on Libyan officials established in Executive Order 13566. Some Members of Congress expressed support for U.S. military intervention prior to the adoption of Resolution 1973, while others disagreed or called for the President to seek explicit congressional authorization prior to any use of force. President Obama has submitted correspondence and reports to Congress outlining U.S. military objectives and operations, but has not sought congressional authorization. House and Senate resolutions now seek to further define the goals and limits of future U.S. engagement.

Many observers believe that Libya’s weak government institutions, potentially divisive political dynamics, and current conflict suggest that security challenges and significant reconstruction needs could follow the current uprising, regardless of its outcome. In evaluating U.S. policy options, Congress may seek to better understand the roots and nature of the conflict in Libya, the views and interests of key players, and the potential long term consequences of military operations and political intervention.

Date of Report: July 6, 2011
Number of Pages: 53
Order Number: RL33142
Price: $29.95

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