International Justice/ICC: Jun ‘09

Growing demand for IWPR international justice radio programme in CAR.

International Justice/ICC: Jun ‘09

Growing demand for IWPR international justice radio programme in CAR.

Thursday, 23 July, 2009
IWPR’s Facing Justice radio programme has found new listeners in the Central African Republic where it is now being carried by the country’s leading station.

Radio Ndeke Luka, based in the capital Bangui, has been broadcasting the French-language episodes of Facing Justice, IWPR’s programme about the International Criminal Court, ICC, for over a month.

Though Facing Justice was originally intended for a Congolese audience, it also explores issues of interest to people in CAR, including the upcoming trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba who is accused of crimes in the country. Each episode looks into a different theme relating to local and international justice, including arrest warrants, issues surrounding victim participation and protection, and the difficulty the court has experienced in making arrests.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, it is also broadcast in Swahili and Lingala – the local languages.

Sylvie Panika, an editor at Radio Ndeke Luka said that listeners are already calling for Facing Justice to be rebroadcast once the current run of 14 episodes is finished.

“The programmes are very clear in content and they permit listeners to understand what is happening in The Hague,” said Panika, adding that the show has helped her to understand how the ICC works not only in theory but also in practice.

She praised the journalists who produce the show, describing them as “neutral and impartial”. “The information provided is information that listeners here want to hear,” she said. “It can only strengthen their [listeners] knowledge of international justice issues.”

She added that whilst the shows focus heavily on the ICC, this could open up discussions into other areas relating to national and transitional justice.

The show is also garnering a large audience in DRC where listener numbers have been steadily rising since the first episode was aired in October 2008.

A recent audience survey revealed that more than 1.6 million people listen to the show in the capital Kinshasa alone. And the survey suggested a wide audience throughout the country with stations in each of DRC’s 11 provinces broadcasting the programme on a regular basis.

Listeners praised Facing Justice’s impartiality and expressed their interest in receiving more information on the ICC.

IWPR’s local partner Search for Common Ground assembles listener questions, many of which focused on the former CNDP militia leader Laurent Nkunda.

“Why is everyone always hunting down Bosco Ntaganda?” asked one resident of Goma. “It is thanks to him that hostilities have gone down in North Kivu. Instead of Bosco I propose that Nkunda be arrested.”

An Uvira listener had a different point of view, questioning why Ntaganda is not in ICC custody for the crimes he is alleged to have commited in the province of Ituri. “The testimony I have just heard from a child soldier in Facing Justice confirms that Ntaganda was the head of the FPI (an Ituri militia group). My question is why he’s not arrested and why the government treats him like a hero?”

The arrest of Ntaganda, charged by the ICC but still at large in North Kivu province, is the subject of the latest edition of Facing Justice, scheduled for broadcast in the DRC this month. This is good and useful information, according to one listener. “To well inform the population about the functioning of the ICC is a way of preventing conflicts that can emerge from the rumours surrounding the ICC,” said the Kinshasa resident.
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