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UN Urges Somali Lawmakers Not To Pass Flawed Sexual Offenses Bill

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The United Nations has expressed concerns about attempts by Somali lawmakers to pass a new bill that allows child marriage and contravenes relevant international conventions.

In separate statements, the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said the Sexual Offenses Bill, which was approved by Somalia’s cabinet, may have been changed by a parliamentary committee in a manner that allows child marriages.

The UNFPA expressed concern about the inaction of parliament to introduce the bill adopted by the cabinet and submitted by the Ministry of Women and Human Rights in 2019 for reading and passage into law.

“We are calling for the immediate passage into law of the Sexual Offenses Bill, which has been pending adoption by the parliament.

The law will be vital in preventing and criminalizing all sexual offenses,” UNFPA Somalia Representative Anders Thomsen said in a statement issued Sunday evening.

Thomsen called for the strengthening of protection systems as women and girls continue to be at high risk of experiencing gender-based violence.

The UNFPA said it does not support any bill with the potential to violate the rights of women and girls and expose them to further violence and deprivation nor does it support a bill that deviates from norms and standards of international human rights.

The Sexual Offenses Bill criminalizes child marriages and other offenses against women and children such as forced marriages and female genital mutilation. UNSOM also expressed concern over the tabling of a “deeply flawed” bill that allows child marriage.

 

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  1. Dr. Joseph Mullen

    September 2, 2020 at 7:32 pm

    A more insidious and outrageous crime against women and children is about to be passed by the Somali Federal Parliament in what is titled as the Sexual Intercourse Related Crimes Bill, replacing the Sexual Offenses Billl. which protected women and girls from sexual violence ; child and forced marriage. A close colleague of the President ‘Farmajo’ is said to be sponsoring the new Bill..
    The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet has called on legislators not to enact the law, saying that provisions in the draft “constitute serious breaches of international human rights norms and standards.” If passed, she stated that it would represent “a serious step backwards for the rights of victims of sexual violence in Somalia, in particular women and girls”, as well as sending a worrying signal to other States in the region. Britain’s Ambassador to Somalia, Ben Fender has tweeted : “Govt submitted a modern Sexual Offences bill after consulting imams, scholars. Never debated. New draft allows marriage at puberty + says a forced marriage is one where the family (not individual) doesn’t consent.”
    The international community , through political and diplomatic channels, should insist with Somalia on the removal of this perverse law off the statute books and save Somalia from becoming a pariah state

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Crime

FLN (National Liberation Front) Members Sentenced for Terrorism Offences

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Today, the High Court Chamber for International Crimes deliver its verdict on 21 defendants who, as members of the National Liberation Front (FLN), have been accused of terrorism charges, with three convictions being handed down so far.

The charges related to acts of terrorism, focusing particularly on two organised attacks that took place in 2018. The brutal and unprovoked attacks, carried out by the FLN, tragically took the lives of nine innocent Rwandans, including children aged 13 and 17.

They left many others gravely injured, and caused significant material and economic damage in South-West Rwanda.

Among those sentenced was the FLN’s commander and spokesperson, Callixte Nsabimana, who was arrested in 2019.

Prior to this, he had claimed responsibility for the 2018 attacks, and had announced plans for further attacks. He was sentenced to twenty years in prison, having pleaded guilty to most charges.

Another FLN spokesperson, Herman Nsengimana, was sentenced to five years in prison. A member of the CNRD (Conseil national pour la renaissance et la démocratie), Nsengimana was arrested in 2019 in Congo’s South Kivu province along with over 400 other CNRD insurgents.

The CNRD is a splinter faction of the Congo-based FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda). It was led by FLN co-founder Colonel Wilson Iratekega until his death in January 2020.

Also convicted was the FLN’s founder, Paul Rusesabagina, who was sentenced to twenty-five years. Prior to the trial, Rusesabagina publicly admitted to founding the group as the armed wing of his political party, the MRCD (Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change). He had repeatedly expressed support for the group’s activities, including after the 2018 attacks.

Rwanda Government Spokesperson, Yolande Makolo, remarked: “This lengthy trial has exposed the terrorist activities of the FLN group led by Rusesabagina.

The evidence against the accused was indisputable, and the people of Rwanda will feel safer now justice has been delivered.

The trial has been a long and painful ordeal for the victims of FLN attacks, particularly for those who were called upon to testify. Our thoughts today are with these brave witnesses, and the family and friends of the victims.”

 

Important notes on the case

1) The first FLN attack took place on 19 June 2018, in Nyabimata, Nyaruguru District. A subsequent attack took place nearby, in Kitabi, Nyamagabe District on 15 December 2018. Nine Rwandan civilians lost their lives in the attacks. The victims included two children: Ornella Sine Atete (13), and Isaac Niwenshuti (17).

2) In December 2018, Callixte Nsabimana, also known as “Sankara”, took to international radio and social media to announce that the FLN had claimed responsibility for these attacks. He was arrested in April 2019, and immediately pled guilty to 16 charges of terrorism.

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Crime

Mozambique Court Hears Africa’s Biggest Corruption Scandal Case

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A court in the Mozambique capital Maputo is hearing a case that has been described as the biggest scandal on the African continent.

Details indicate that It is one of the biggest corruption scandals on the continent, and it involves some of the most senior figures in the state.

Five years after the biggest corruption scandal in the country was revealed in 2016, the trial has opened in Maputo.

Since 23 August, the 19 Mozambican defendants, including the son of the former president, Armando Ndambi Guebuza, have been appearing before Judge Efigenio Baptista.

The latter is presiding over the hearings which are to be held until December 2 in front of a prison in the capital.

Cited by several defendants as a key figure in the case, the current president and defense minister, Filipe Nyusi, will not be heard and continues to deny any involvement.

At the origin of the scandal which plunged the country into an unprecedented financial crisis: the secret and illegal subscription by three Mozambican companies of a loan of more than U$ 2 billion – U$2.7billion according to the Maputo court – guaranteed by the Mozambican State.

The sums, paid between 2012 and 2013, were to be used to finance a vast project of shipbuilding, fishing and maritime surveillance headed by the French construction company CMN (Mechanical constructions of Normandy) owned by the Lebanese group Privinvest Holdings.

As early as 2015, the house of cards collapsed as the revelations followed one another. Parliament, supposed to guarantee the loan, was never consulted.

The project, which was to be development-oriented, is in fact mostly military. Companies have never been fully operational. More than U$ 713 million in extra billing has been identified …

A complex montage, intended to fuel a sprawling system of corruption in which some of the high-ranking figures in power circles are involved.

In addition to three Swiss bankers and a Lebanese intermediary, some fifteen very senior Mozambican officials are suspected of having shared more than 200 million bribes …

The country’s already battered economy is collapsing. The direct and indirect consequences of this fraud have already cost U$ 11 billion, or U$ 400 per capita – the equivalent of 70% of GDP in 2019 – according to Chr. Michelsen Institute, a Norwegian organization, which estimates that more than 2 million Mozambicans have been thrown into poverty.

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Crime

Two Drug Dealers Arrested with 7,493 Pellets of Cannabis

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Rwanda National Police (RNP) arrested two people on Saturday, September 11, in Nyabihu District with 7,493 pellets of cannabis.

The suspected drug dealers identified as Theoneste Niyomugabo, 21 and Twizerimana Hitabatuma, 34, were intercepted in Nyakigezi village, Gakoro cell, Rugera sector as they carried the narcotics on a bicycle.

The Western region Police spokesperson, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi said that the suspects were intercepted by traffic Police officers on duty.

“Traffic Police officers who were on duty in Nyakigezi village, stopped three people who were on one bicycle ridden by Theoneste Mugabo with a sack. When Police officers searched the sack they found it contained pellets of cannabis. Mugabo and Hitabatuma were arrested by their third accomplice fled in the process,” CIP Karekezi said.

Upon their arrest, the suspects disclosed that they got the narcotics from Musanze District and that they were enroute to Muhanga District to supply their clients.

CIP Karekezi warned commercial bicyclists and taxi-moto operators against engaging or facilitating drug traffickers

The two suspects were handed over to RIB at Rugera station for further investigation while the search of accomplices is still ongoing.

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