13/08/07 (B408) Crimes de Guerre en Somalie – Alertes des Nations Unie et de HRW. (Trois dépêches Anglais et Français – Info lectrice)

_____________________________________ 1 – BBC

UN warning over Somalia murders

A United Nations envoy has condemned the killing of two prominent journalists in Somalia.

Eric Laroche, the UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Somalia, urged the authorities to conduct a prompt and impartial investigation.

Mr Laroche said freedom of expression remained “vulnerable” in Somalia.
HornAfrik radio owner, Ali Iman Sharmake and station presenter, Mahad Ahmed Elmi, died in separate attacks in Mogadishu on Saturday.

The Somali transitional government says the military have arrested two men over the killings.

Mr Laroche, quoted by the AFP news agency, urged all authorities and groups “to respect the right of all to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information through any media”.

Car explosion

He went on: “The violent events of the last days show how vulnerable freedom of expression remains in Somalia.

“The transitional federal government is responsible for ending impunity for attacks on journalists by conducting prompt and impartial investigations and preventing any form of harassment of the media.”

Mr Sharmake died when his car exploded after apparently running over a landmine. He had just been to the funeral of Mr Elmi who was shot dead hours earlier.

HornAfrik – which also relays BBC Somali service programmes – prides itself on its journalistic independence, and its broadcasts have in the past angered both the government and Islamist opposition.

A number of local and foreign journalists have been killed in recent years.

Mogadishu has been the scene for months of skirmishes between troops supporting the transitional government and both clan-based and Islamist insurgents.

____________________________________ 2 – REUTERS

HRW dénonce des crimes de guerre commis en Somalie

Par Andrew Cawthorne

NAIROBI (Reuters) – La population somalienne a subi depuis la fin de l’année 2006 des crimes de guerre et des atrocités dans l’indifférence “honteuse” de la communauté internationale, estime dans un rapport publié lundi l’organisation non gouvernementale Human Rights Watch.

Dans un rapport intitulé “Les civils en état de siège à Mogadiscio”, l’organisation internationale de défense des droits de l’homme incrimine l’ensemble des acteurs du conflit somalien: les autorités de Mogadiscio, les insurgés mais aussi l’armée éthiopienne.

Selon l’ONG, les soldats de l’armée somalienne ont eu tendance à prévenir trop tard les populations civiles des zones de combat, pillé des habitations, ralenti l’acheminement de l’aide internationale et maltraité des dizaines de prisonniers.

Les combattants islamistes chassés de la capitale à la fin de l’année 2006 sont également dans le collimateur de l’ONG, qui les accuse d’avoir mis en danger la population civile en se tentant de se fondre dans la foule, et plus grave, d’avoir commis des crimes de guerre en brûlant vif les corps de leurs ennemis capturés.

“DÉSINFORMATION”, SELON MOGADISCIO

Quant aux soldats éthiopiens venus prêter main-forte aux autorités somaliennes, ceux-ci sont responsables selon l’ONG d’avoir procédé à de lourds bombardements sur des quartiers très peuplés, dans le but d’éliminer des combattants islamistes.

“La nature délibérée de ces bombardements (…) fait penser à des crimes de guerre commandités”, estime le co-auteur du rapport, Ken Roth, président de Human Rights Watch.

Selon les estimations de l’ONG, dont l’étude s’est concentrée sur Mogadiscio et ses alentours, entre 400 et 1.300 personnes auraient péri depuis la fin de l’année 2006 et près de 400.000 personnes auraient fui la capitale somalienne.

Les autorités locales et le gouvernement éthiopien ont vivement contesté les chiffres et les accusations avancés par HRW.

Le porte-parole du gouvernement somalien, Abdi Hadji Gobdon, a dénoncé un rapport “dénué de fondements” alors qu’Addis-Abeba y voit de la propagande destinée aux combattants islamistes.

“Comme d’habitude, Human Rights Watch conduit (…) son entreprise de désinformation à l’échelle mondiale avec ses contes de fées sans fondements”, a déclaré un des conseillers du Premier ministre somalien, Bereket Simon.

Concernant l’attitude de la communauté internationale, l’ONG américaine note que “l’indifférence du Conseil de sécurité de l’Onu face à cette crise est venue s’ajouter à cette tragédie”.

“Il s’agit d’un conflit qui a été marqué par de nombreuses violations du droit humanitaire international”, note le rapport, qui dénonce aussi “le silence honteux” des institutions mondiales.

________________________________________ 3 – BBC

War crimes ‘rampant’ in Somalia

All sides have committed war crimes in Somalia’s conflict this year, according to lobby group Human Rights Watch.

It says the worst abuses have been by Ethiopian soldiers, who are supporting the government against insurgents.

Ethiopians have often indiscriminately attacked civilian areas and looted hospitals, its report says.

While insurgents have fired mortars into residential areas and executed civilians, since Islamists were driven from power in Mogadishu last December.

Both Ethiopia and the Somali government have denied the claims, reports Reuters news agency.

More than 1,000 people were killed this year in the heaviest fighting since 1991, as Ethiopian and government troops tried to drive the insurgents out of Mogadishu.

The UN Security council’s indifference to this crisis has only added to the tragedy
Ken Roth, HRW

“The insurgency placed civilians at grave risk by deploying among them,” said Human Rights Watch executive director Ken Roth.

“But that is no justification for Ethiopia’s calculated shelling and rocketing of whole neighborhoods.”

“Commanders who knowingly or recklessly order indiscriminate attacks are responsible for war crimes,” the report said.

But these charges were denied by Ethiopia.

“As usual, Human Rights Watch is engaged in its now well-known fabrication, and in misinforming the world in unsubstantiated fairy-tales,” Bereket Simon, special adviser to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, told Reuters.

Somali government troops played a “secondary” role, backing up the Ethiopians but failed to help civilians, said the report – Shell-Shocked: Civilians Under Siege in Mogadishu.

Somali government spokesman Abdi Haji Gobdon told Reuters the government’s only goal was “to restore sanity” not “massacre its own people”.

Indifference

The UN says some 400,000 people have fled the violence in Mogadishu in the past four months.

HRW says the international community has ignored the suffering in Somalia.

“The UN Security council’s indifference to this crisis has only added to the tragedy,” said Human Rights Watch executive director Ken Roth.

Mr Roth urged the Security Council to make strong provisions to protect civilians when it discusses proposals to turn the 1,500 strong African Union force into a UN peacekeeping mission.

Since the end of the April offensive, insurgents have continued to stage deadly attacks on an almost daily basis.

Over the weekend, two prominent journalists were killed.

Some 1,600 Ugandan peacekeepers are in Somalia but they have failed to end the violence.

A reconciliation conference is under way in Mogadishu but Islamists and the city’s clan elders have refused to attend unless the Ethiopians leave the country.