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African Union sends man who oversaw 300,000 deaths in South Africa to investigate reports of 300,000 deaths in Darfur – assisted by the man who oversaw 300,000 deaths in Burundi

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Hot on the heels of its anguished denunciation of the international indictment of Sudanese President Omar Bashir over war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, the African Union has further cemented its global credibility by appointing ex-South African President Thabo Mbeki to look into the charges.

Mbeki is certainly an interesting choice for a mission whose ostensible aim is to establish the truth about a life-or-death humanitarian issue.

As President of South Africa, Mbeki famously bought into the claims of internet conspiracy theorists who say that HIV does not cause AIDS, and that the illness is actually caused by the medications used to treat the disease. A Harvard study recently concluded that the Mbeki government’s steadfast refusal to make AIDS medicines available to those with HIV may have led to over 330,000 preventable deaths.

To add further gravitas, Mbeki will be assisted, according to Voice of America (who give a slightly different account of the purpose of the mission), by the former President of Burundi, Major General Pierre Buyoya.

Buyoya is widely suspected of orchestrating the 1993 assassination of the man who had defeated him at the ballot box earlier that year, the country’s first democratically-elected Hutu President, Melchior Ndadaye.  The killing triggered a brutal, decade-long ethnic war in which more than 300,000 people, mostly civilians, are believed to have died.

For most of this period, Buyoya was in charge, having seized the Presidency in a coup in 1996. During Buyoya’s reign, forces under his command carried out a series of brutal massacres against the Hutu civilian population – but as the International Criminal Court can only investigate crimes committed after 2003 – the year Buyoya’s rule ended, it’s unlikely that he will face justice any time soon. A long promised UN-aided “special court” for Burundi has yet to materialise.

4 Responses

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  1. World Politics and History have provided us with stories of a Group or Network of individuals, who tricked Civil societies into believing that their interests are protected under their Leadership.King Leopold of Belgium made the Congo as his personal property, the Coup organized to kill Patrice Lumumba, who fought for Congo independence, was brutally butchered by Congolese and Belgian Army.It is disturbing to hear testimonies of those who were involved or who were overseeing the assassination of Lumumba was executed, the CIA had arranged a pay out of $1m to be paid to Mobutu (a Congolese who then became President later on).This is to say the Great Lakes of Africa (Burundi,Rwanda,DRC) suffered both manipulation and injustice, who will bring the perpetrators to Book? I hope that one Day, the Powerful Leaders, Powerful Corporation, Powerful Countries (militarily, Financially) can all be brought to book, this will restore confidence of Civil societies around the World, if you give justice to a poor Man who has no means to sue a Powerful Leader/Corporation/Country, you would have opened doors of a new era of true justice!

    Desire K

    March 23, 2009 at 9:24 pm

  2. I agree this is an entirely unsuitable choice. Why is it left to the African Union to investigate? Perhaps an international group would be better.

    Margot Wilson

    March 24, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    • I guess because the real aim is actually just to delay and obstruct the process of justice, in line with African Union’s general policy of supporting and defending corrupt bureaucracts and genocidal dictators! This is what Burundians sometimes call “negative solidarity” in action… And just in case you were wondering which African leader from an ICC member state was the first to fly to Sudan to express his support for Omar Bashir….: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article30575

      Richard Wilson

      March 24, 2009 at 1:02 pm

  3. I have never understood the logic of the international Justice system, on one Hand, they issue an international Warrant against President Bashir, on the other hand, they promote Dictators/Murderers/Thieves into Leadership or overseeing Elections, where do find Morality in the way Politics are conducted? Is Burundi short of good Leaders? Brutality, intimidation have to end in the lives of Burundi, ordinary citizens have suffered and continue to live in despicable poverty, emotional torture, struggling to make ends meet.

    Desire K

    March 24, 2009 at 8:06 pm


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