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

Africa:Oct '07

IWPR Africa’s wide-ranging report on Darfur conflict is republished internationally.
By IWPR staff
IWPR Africa’s special report on Darfur - which looked at ordinary Darfuris’ experience of the bitter conflict and explored their knowledge of the ICC - was well-received and widely republished.



The report - ICC Struggles to Reach Out to Darfuris - showed that few local people are aware of the work being done by the International Criminal Court, ICC, to prosecute those responsible for atrocities committed during the conflict.



The research suggested that even educated Darfuris know little about the ICC and often misunderstand what it is trying to do. Those who had heard of its work said they were frustrated by the lack of arrests, the slow pace of investigations and the court’s low profile on the ground, which one victims’ group described as “invisible”.



It also found that most Darfuris were more preoccupied with daily survival, than with justice.



“Eighty per cent of the people do not know and are not interested in the ICC. They’re interested in survival,” said one interviewee told IWPR.



One notable site which carried the investigation is Allafrica.com - which is the largest electronic distributor of African news and information worldwide



Brian Kennedy, editorial associate with Allafrica.com, said that he and his colleagues thought “very highly” of IWPR’s work.



He added that he considered IWPR’s reports on Africa and the ICC “some of the best available”.



“When we republish IWPR’s work, we try to feature it highly on our site,” he said.



The report was also republished on the SudanTribune - a non profit web site based in France, the goals of which are to promote plural information, democratic and free debate on Sudan.



Suliman A Giddo of the Darfur Peace and Development Organisation, which has offices in Washington, Khartoum and Darfur, said that in the report, IWPR had covered “a very important issue” in highlighting the lack of awareness of the court in the region.



“[The] ICC has other problems too. We don't see any progress made to bring justice on the ground,” he said.



Wolter Huttinga of Dutch broadsheet Trouw Newspaper, who attended the IWPR roundtable on Darfur to get more information on the situation there, praised the study.



“The Darfur report seems a good journalistic product,” he told IWPR. “The best thing [about it] is 'making real contact' between Darfur and western countries, and bringing their 'far away' voices to our attention.”



Huttinga said the report was interesting because it conveyed some of the ICC’s pre-trial processes, noting that media attention often only begins once a war criminal is “in front of the judge”.



“It is a good thing that people get to know the hard, difficult reality about justice,” he said, adding that the report covered this theme “very well”.



The Dutch journalist said he would be interested in reading more IWPR reports in future. “You get quality [reporting, after spending just] a short time reading,” he said.



Meanwhile, IWPR Africa published a number of other interesting features throughout October.



Regular IWPR Africa contributor and former Hague intern Samuel Okiror Egadu produced one notable piece - Rebels Deny Otti Execution Rumours, which was picked up by Europe Media Monitor, NewsNow and Ein news agency.



Egandu interviewed the rebels’ lead negotiator, Martin Ojul, as well as Uganda People’s Defence Force, UPDF, spokesperson, Major Felix Kulayigye, in the report - in which the Lord’s Resistance Army, LRA, denied reports that its second-in-command, Vincent Otti, had been executed.



Another interesting feature was LRA Accused of Selling Food Aid, by international justice reporter Katy Glassborow, which looked at claims by the ICC prosecutor that food aid supplied to the LRA is being sold by them so that they can rearm if current peace talks fail The piece was republished on Reliefweb - an organisation administered by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, which ran six other IWPR Africa reports in October.



This month also saw the publication of the moving story Life-Saving Drugs Out of Reach for Most, by Nonthando Bhebhe in Harare.



The piece - which was republished on Reliefweb as well as the site of Zurich-based International Relations and Security Network, ISN - looked at the problems experienced by ordinary Zimbabweans who can’t afford drugs and healthcare, as prices in the country continue to soar.