Threats to media freedom in Afghanistan: “Stop Reporting or We’ll Kill Your Family”
On the situation in Yemen:
VICE documentary: ‘Yemen: A Failed State’
International Crisis Group report on ISIS’s appeal: Syria Calling: Radicalisation in Central Asia
The Report of the Oslo Form 2014 has just been published on the theme of ‘engaging with radical groups’. The Oslo Forum is a high-level international network of conflict mediation practitioners which is co-hosted by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It features an annual event in Oslo which convenes conflict mediators, peacemakers, high level decision makers and key peace process actors to discuss a single overarching theme.
This year the participants discussed the question of whether talking to extremists advances or hampers the quest for peace. In doing so, they focused on several country case studies that included Colombia, Syria, CAR, Iran, Nigeria and the Philippines. There were also several roundtable discussions on subjects such as the state of democracy in the Arab world, preventing violence in popular uprisings, whether ‘national dialogues’ are a reliable tool for building sustainable peace and the role of third party mediators in dealing with the deepening sectarian rifts in the Arab world. The report contains a detailed record of these discussions and a list of participants.
Lawfare blog: Notes on the Erosion of Norms of Armed Conflict.
The arrest of Alieu Kosiah, a former commander of the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO), a rebel group that fought against Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front for Liberia (NPFL) in Liberia’s first civil war, was reported yesterday. Kosiah was arrested on 10 November 2014 for his alleged implication in war crimes committed between 1993 and 1995 in Lofa County, Liberia. A Swiss judge decided on 13 November 2014 that Mr. Kosiah will remain in detention for at least three months.
This landmark case marks the very first time a former ULIMO member has been charged with international crimes committed during Liberia’s civil wars and his arrest in November came only a few weeks after a NPFL Front Line Commander, Martina Johnson, was arrested in Belgium for her alleged role in wartime atrocities (for information on this case, see here). The investigation and arrest were possible under Swiss law as Mr. Kosiah was residing in Switzerland.
The majority of the 7 Liberian victims who filed criminal complaints against Alieu Kosiah in Switzerland are represented by Alain Werner, Swiss lawyer and Director of Civitas Maxima. Civitas Maxima has been working since 2012 with the Monrovia-based Global Justice and Research Project (GJRP) to document crimes committed during the wars by all warring factions and find avenues for accountability.
The victims directly implicate Mr. Kosiah as having participated in mass atrocities including systematic killings committed against civilians between 1993 and 1995 in Lofa County, in northwestern Liberia. ULIMO occupied large parts of Lofa County, where they instilled a reign of terror in areas under their control.
Until now, the Liberian authorities have made no effort to investigate and prosecute crimes committed during over a decade of civil war, which claimed over 150 000 lives, most of them civilians.
Hassan Bility, the Monrovia-based Director of the GJRP commented: “The news of Martina Johnson’s arrest in Belgium gave hope to thousands of Liberian victims that justice can be a reality. This second arrest is a milestone as it is the first case ever against an ULIMO commander and it reinforces the Liberian demand for impartial justice for all victims. We are unbiased in our documentation of war crimes and we believe that former commanders of all rebel factions who committed crimes during the wars in Liberia need to be held accountable, without exception.”