Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Africa: June '07

Radio Netherlands commends IWPR for providing an importance source of information for African journalists, while Human Rights Watch says output bolsters their advocacy work.
By Katy Glassborow

The global broadcaster Radio Netherlands has been profiling IWPR's Hague office this month and plans to publish an article about the importance of the Institute via their Bureau Afrique French website, to be made available to over 300 radio stations in Africa.

Journalists at the Bureau Afrique are looking into how IWPR is working to support free and impartial media throughout Africa by writing features and analysis from The Hague.

Staff at Radio Netherlands were particularly impressed with a story we wrote while in northern Uganda about the abduction of Beatrice Ocwee by rebels from the Lord's Resistance Army, LRA, in Labora, with Caroline Moens from the Bureau Afrique complimenting the unique insight the story provided.

Moens added that IWPR "features and analyses about the steps taken by the international community to ensure justice in Africa form an important source of information for journalists on the African continent and abroad".

In June, the Hague office has written about the Special Court for Sierra Leone trial of Charles Taylor in The Hague, and the impact of the first guilty verdict for three Sierra Leonean military leaders for conscripting child soldiers - a crime which is common in many conflicts across Africa.

The convictions were the first by an international court for the recruitment of children to fight in an armed conflict, and we looked at the influence this might have on the International Criminal Court and its investigations and prosecutions in Uganda, DR Congo, Sudan and the Central African Republic.

Our analysis was widely republished in the international press and NGOs.

We also looked into the impartiality and independence of the ICC when it is invited into a country by a government to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity - paying attention to the difficulty prosecution investigators face in probing the very governments that are facilitating their work.

In addition, the reporting team exposed the fact that the Sudanese minister of state in charge of humanitarian affairs for the region is also indicted by the ICC.

Geraldine Mattioli, International Justice Advocate from Human Rights Watch, said IWPR’s output from The Hague helps to bolster their campaigning work.

"The work IWPR is doing in The Hague is very important, especially because the journalists quote ICC officials directly. This means we are able to mention what the ICC prosecutors say 'on the record' and use these quotes to help our advocacy work,” she said.