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International brief ~ Zimbabwe reauthorizes makeshift dwellings after demolitions

[JURIST] Leading Friday's international brief, Zimbabwe Local Government and National Housing Minister Ignatius Chombo admitted to reporters today that reconstruction plans announced by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe [Wikipedia profile] would be incapable of meeting the housing needs of individuals made homeless by "Operation Murambatsvina" (the African term sometimes translated "Operation Restore Order" or "Operation Drive Out Rubbish") [Wikipedia backgrounder] in time for the August 31 resettlement deadline that the Zimbabwe government [official website] had set. Chombo announced that while construction was occurring, it was not on pace to meet the housing demand, so the government was granting individuals license to build their own housing, though these plots would have no access to water or sewer facilities. Chombo also said that the goverment was granting individuals the right to occupy land and build makeshift dwellings, the same kind of dwellings demolished by police under Operation Murambatsvina. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive]. ZimOnline has local coverage.

In related news, South African President Thabo Mbeki [official profile] has pledged his support to relief efforts organized by the South African Council of Churches [official website], in what was his first public critique of Operation Murambatsvina [Wikipedia backgrounder]. SACC President Russel Botman said that Mbeki, who declined to make a public statement following his meeting with the SACC, has pledged government support for the SACC relief efforts focused on individuals made homeless by Mugabe, even though the SACC was merely seeking to inform the government of their intent, and had not asked for funding. Botman said that he and Mbeki had another meeting scheduled for the end of next week, when the report by UN Special Envoy Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka [official profile] is due to be made public. South Africa's Mail & Guardian has local coverage.

In other international legal news ...

  • During peace talks between Aceh rebels and the Indonesian government [official website], the spokesperson for the Free Aceh Movement [Wikipedia profile], Bakhtiar Abdullah, has called for the creation of an international war crimes tribunal to investigate crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed by Indonesian military personnel in the northern Indonesia province. The demand comes only days after the UN and numerous international rights groups called on Indonesia to allow the creation of an international war crimes tribunal [JURIST report] for East Timor. Indonesia has repeatedly refused [JURIST report] to permit an international tribunal the right to prosecute its military personnel, claiming that its own human rights courts are sufficiently pursuing any valid human rights abuses. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Indonesia [JURIST news archive]. The Jakarta Post has local coverage.

  • Kenyan Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Kiraitu Murungi [government profile] has accused politicians of limiting the effectiveness of government prosecutors in Kenya [government website] due to consistent interference with cases. Murungi, who made the statements in a speech read aloud at a workshop on private prosecutions hosted by the Kenya Law Reform Commission, said that public prosecutors had a poor record because Kenyan politicians continually interfered in cases where they had personal or professional interests at stake. Murungi announced that all prosecutions have been brought under the supervision of the Office of the Attorney General [government website], and that police prosecutors were being phased out. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Kenya [JURIST news archive]. Kenya's Standard has local coverage.

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