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On CAR, Calls for ICC, France Kept Bozize-Era Judge in NY 2 Weeks to Speak

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 1 -- On Central African Republic following a closed-door UN Security Council dialogue co-chaired by France and Rwanda, French Ambassador Gerard Araud told the press that a full UN peacekeeping mission will probably be needed, but an African force would go first.

  Inner City Press asked Araud to confirm what several participants in the meeting had told it, that prosecution by the International Criminal Court had been raised in the meeting.

  Araud didn't answer directly, saying this has been addressed by Rwanda's Permanent Representative Eugene-Richard Gasana. (We'll have more on this in a subsequent story.)

  After Araud left, a woman introduced as a judge in CAR also spoke, saying the justice system everywhere but in the capital Bangui has fallen apart. Inner City Press asked her is she had served as a judge under overthrown French-supported, coup-installed leader Bozize; she said yes.

  She had come to the Security Council in New York to speak on October 18, but has remained in New York for the two weeks since on France's tab, in order to speak at this CAR meeting. The explanation came in her next answer. When Inner City Press asked if the ICC should now be involved, she said yes.

  Only the previous day, ministers from the African Union complained to the Security Council about the ICC's relations with Africa: all of its cases are on the the Continent, and deferrals which are specified in Article 16 seem impossible to get.

  Will there now, before any vote on the AU's request for a deferral of the ICC's Kenya proceedings, be the beginning of another ICC Africa case?

The CAR is another former French colony left in chaos. Investigative journalism has shown that European consuls and ambassadors there break all laws to make money. Perhaps they should be referred to the ICC? Watch this site.

Footnotes: UN Humanitarian John Ging, when Inner City Press asked him on his way in, said momentum should be kept up on the CAR; he previously told Inner City Press aid workers don't want to be escorted by soldiers but rather build a "culture of acceptance through delivery" of services - a good idea.

During the meeting, some Permanent Representatives left, presumably for bilaterals with incoming president of the Security Council for November, Liu Jieyi of China. Morocco's Ambassador Loulichki left at 10:38 -- then was headed back 20 minutes later at 11 am.

  US Ambassador Samantha Power left at 10:52 am. She waved, but we're still waiting for her answer on the US position on the African Union's request for an ICC deferral for Kenya. Longer form analysis on BeaconReader site, here. We'll have more on this.


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