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US Court Dismisses Namibian Genocide Case Against German

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A group of Namibians who are descendants of survivors of the Genocide committed against their forefathers in 1904-1908, have vowed to fight on despite their case being dismissed from a US court.

For many years they have been engaged in a court battle seeking reparations. Last week the US Court of Appeals dismissed their case brought after they unsuccessfully sued the German government for reparations for the atrocities committed from 1904-1908 in US Federal Court.

Paramount Chief Advocate of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority, Vekuii Rukoro and Gaob Johannes Isaack of the Nama Traditional Leaders Association, have instructed their lawyers in New York to file a Petition for Rehearing and for “En Banc” Proceedings, following a USA Court of Appeals’ decision, which they say had “fundamental legal error at its heart.”

“The En Banc Petition will be put to a vote by the entire Second Circuit, which will decide whether or not to rehear and withdraw the flawed decision. We expect to file our En Banc Petition very soon around the first week of October, and we promise to share it broadly after it is filed,” read the statement from the traditional leaders. An en banc session is a session in which a case is heard before all the judges of a court (before the entire bench) rather than by one judge or a panel of judges selected from them.

District Judge Laura Taylor Swain, last year dismissed the lawsuit by the Ovaherero and Nama authorities who are demanding that the German government pay reparations for what historians are calling the first genocide of the 20st century.

The l German government is believed to have killed 100,000 people from the Ovaherero communities and 10,000 from the Nama during their brutal colonial occupation of (then) South West Africa. The traditional authorities, who, last year appealed the judge’s decision – the appeal which has been dismissed— have vowed to take the matter all the way to the “US Supreme Court if need be.”

“The merits of the case were not considered and the Germans by hiding behind technicalities, can, for a while, pop champagne bottles in celebration of their hollow victory. While the smart Germans themselves know that there’s nothing to celebrate as their nightmare is to become more complex.”

The traditional leaders further argued that “no viable and lasting negotiated settlement is possible without the full, direct and active participation of the Ovaherero and Nama Leaders representing the overwhelming majority of the Victim Communities – as opposed to handpicked pro-Government clan Chiefs.”

“The US court did not dispute the subject matter of the case and rather advised that the concerned communities must rather seek assistance elsewhere. The terrible wrongs elucidated in Plaintiffs’ complaint must be addressed through a vehicle other than the US court system.”

Herero Red Flag Day in Okahandja.
Herero Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako pauses at the grave of Albert Fürnrohr, a Schutztruppe officer killed during the 1904 conflict.

The traditional leaders’ statements come after Landless People Movement (LPM) leader Bernard Swartbooi last month, urged the descendants of communities of affected by the genocide to form their own technical negotiating team, parallel to that of the Namibian government.

“The affected communities must now wake up and stop just demanding to want to be on the table negotiating with the Germans on the side of Namibia and the government. The affected communities must organise themselves at a higher level, set up joint technical negotiation team, to start putting figures together. Stop internal politicking and submit a proposal to the German authorities,” said Swarbooi.

Swartbooi’s statement were prompted after the Office of the President in August revealed that the Technical Committee (TC) on genocide will work with the National Planning Commission to identify costed projects for the Kharas, Hardap, Khomas, Kunene, Omaheke, Otjozondjupa and Erongo regions.

“The projects will be in the fields of water provision, rural and peri-urban electrification, road network construction, housing, education, vocational training, value addition, agricultural development and land acquisition,” the statement from the Presidency read.

President Hage Geingob earlier this year scoffed at a supposed settlement offer of N$192 million from the German government as part of reparations. While several sources from the German side say no such offer was made, Geingob stated that, “They offered Euro 10 million and we said that is an insult,” he said.

Windhoek Observer

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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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