[JURIST] In Friday's international brief, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan formally reported to the Security Council Friday morning on the finding of the special UN commission [JURIST Gazette] on the situation in the Darfur region of Sudan. While the commission did not find that the central Sudanese government had any specific intent to commit genocide as defined by the Genocide Convention [official text], it did indicate that individuals within the conflict might still be guilty of committing war crimes. The Security Council meeting came one day after Annan's announcement of his plans to deploy 10,130 peacekeepers to Sudan - a country the size of western Europe - to enforce the January 9 peace accords signed between Sudan [government website] and the South Sudan's People's Liberation Movement [government website] that ended the country's 21 year old civil war. The plan, which Annan has called the most complex peace mission in the UN's history, also calls for peacekeepers to be deployed to Darfur; it must be approved by the Security Council before any action is taken. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage [JURIST Countries archive] of Sudan. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage. IRIN News has more.
In other international legal news ...
- Colombian President Alvaro Uribe was forced to withdraw from the crisis summit being held in Caracas after an ear infection forced him to the hospital. Spokespeople said that Uribe would consult with doctors on whether he could travel to Venezuela later on Friday. The summit was intended to wrap up the final negotiations [JURIST report] concerning the restoration of full diplomatic contact between Colombia and Venezuela following the capture of a FARC rebel leader on Venezuelan territory by bounty hunters paid for by Colombia. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez [official website in Spanish] reacted strongly to what he termed a 'violation of Venezuelan sovereignty' and suspended all diplomatic and economic ties [JURIST report] between the two countries. Chavez repeatedly blamed the US for the crisis, and warned that if war had broken out, the US would be the one responsible. El Nacional has local coverage [in Spanish].
- The last remaining significant rebel group in Burundi [government website in French] agreed Thursday to peace talks with the government, so long as South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma did not act as mediator. The Forces Nationales de Liberationis, the final remaining rebel group in Burundi, following the transition of Conseil national pour la defense de la democratieForces de defense de la democratie, formerly the largest rebel group in Burundi, into a legitimate political party. FNL expressed a willingness to attend negotiations mediated by UN Special Representative Carolyn McAskie [appointment press release] of the UN Operation in Burundi [official website]. Burundi borders Rwanda, and has been attempting to resolve many ofthe same Tutsi/Hutu issues that sparked the 1994 Rwandan genocide. IRIN News has more.
- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [official profile] will meet Saturday to discuss the Russian-US co-operation in suppressing and preventing terrorism. The meeting is a 'key part' of the foundation for the upcoming bilateral Slovakia Summit [official website] in Bratislava, Slovakia between US President George Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24. Rice and Lavrov will also discuss steps towards the development of a non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction agreement. Itar-Tass has local coverage.