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

International Justice/ICC: September '07 - February ‘08

By IWPR

 



International Justice/ICC Project Review: Sep ’07 - Feb ‘08


Local Journalists Trained in DRC


In November, project staff spent 11 days in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, DRC, training journalists to report on the ICC, developing IWPR’s stringer network, and researching local media outlets for republishing opportunities.


 








Three boys outside the Pabbo Camp north of Gulu, Uganda. Photo by Peter Eichstaedt.

In the capital city Kinshasa, staff met editors of leading Congolese daily newspapers, including La Reference Plus, La Potentiel, Le Phare and Le Palmares. The respective editors of Kinshasa’s leading daily newspaper Le Potentiel and La Reference Plus were particularly interested in running IWPR pieces.



Staff also visited Goma Central Prison and conducted interviews with Goma-based NGOs and lawyers on the Congolese justice system, which also generated an interesting piece.



The prison visit resulted in the story Congo Prison Hell by international justice reporter Lisa Clifford and IWPR contributor Charles Ntiricya, a fascinating feature which vividly conveyed the shocking conditions endured by its 500 inmates.



Another story generated from the trip was about the epidemic of sexual violence in the province, ICC North Kivu Probe Urged. This report highlighted the culture of impunity which has developed as a result of the high number of rape cases in the region, as well as the inability of the judicial system to cope.



A two-day training session was held for five men and two women in Kinshasa – the majority of them from the United Nations station Radio Okapi.



“It was very informative on all levels,”



- said Etienne Muhindo from Okapi in North Kivu province about IWPR’s journalism training.

The first day focused on the ICC - its history, who’s who and how the court works both in The Hague and in the field, while the second day was more practical, and aimed at teaching reporters how to balance their pieces and deal with issues they might face when writing about the ICC, such as contempt of court.



Guest speakers included a Kinshasa-based lawyer and member of the Lubanga defence team, as well Christian Hemedi, the DRC representative of the ICC’s outreach section.



The journalists gave largely positive feedback on the training, and most said the sessions were useful and interesting.



“I now understand how justice works at the ICC,” said Stephane Mukendi, a Kinshasa-based reporter at Radio Okapi. “I have also improved my judicial vocabulary.”



International Justice/ICC Project Review: Sep ’07 - Feb '08


Project Expands Network of Trainees in Uganda


 








Women at a refugee camp near Pader, being interviewed by IWPR. Photo by Peter Eichstaedt.

In December, ICC/Africa Editor Peter Eichstaedt spent just over two weeks in Uganda, where he conducted numerous training sessions, met IWPR contributors and local media representatives.


The trip was the perfect opportunity to expand and consolidate IWPR’s team of trainee reporters in the country, and it resulted in a flood of stories.



Peter’s trip included a week-long stay in northern Uganda, where he met and worked with IWPR-trained journalists and looked for new recruits.



During the fortnight, he conducted a two-day training session in Arua, in the West Nile district. Peter also organised a session for a new IWPR contributor – an experienced veteran journalist from Khartoum – who will help in setting up stories and seminars in Khartoum, Nyala, El Fasher, and Geneina.



“I noticed that IWPR carries balanced, detailed and well-researched reporting, a rather good training for a journalist who wants to improve on his or her writing skills,”



-
said IWPR contributor Caroline Agugi in Gulu..
A real coup for IWPR’s coverage of the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, was when IWPR trainee Jacques Khahorha from Goma, North Kivu, obtained an exclusive interview with notorious Tutsi militia leader Laurent Nkunda, who the ICC says is under investigation for alleged war crimes.



On his trip to Uganda, Peter met Sudan journalist Azhari Dafalla, as well as the political editor at The Daily Monitor Charles Mwanguyha, who has agreed to work with the project.



He also met officials from the office of the Special UN Envoy to the LRA-affected regions in eastern Africa, which is heavily involved in LRA-Ugandan peace talks, to discuss IWPR coverage of the peace process.

 




International Justice/ICC Project Review: Sep ’07 - Feb '08


Contributors Praise IWPR Training


 








Camp leaders and residents of village near Pabbo Camp north of Gulu being interviewed by IWPR. Photo by Peter Eichstaedt.

Local journalists continue to speak highly of the training offered by IWPR.



In November, local reporter Isaac Swangin from Juba said that he first heard of IWPR indirectly through a local media contact.



“The stories published by IWPR are really very important [as they] focus on humanitarian laws that governments are supposed to consider when there are crises so that victims are not forgotten,” he said.



”I very much like writing for IWPR because in my country Sudan there is a total violation of human rights and no freedom of speech and l hope by writing for IWPR, the international community will know how citizens of Sudan are being humiliated so responsible persons brought to justice.”



Caroline Agugi explained that she came across IWPR when Hague-based IWPR reporter Katy Glassborow conducted a seminar about the ICC for northern Ugandan journalists in Gulu back in April 2007. “I like writing for the website because I want to become a good international reporter,” she said.



“I personally have benefited from the training, and exposure, since it’s my first time writing for an international media house as IWPR,”



- said Julius Ocen from Gulu on working with IWPR.

Anneke Van Woudenberg, DRC analyst at the pressure group Human Rights Watch, said that it is important that IWPR is working to cultivate journalism in DRC through the development of a network of IWPR-trained journalists.



“In general, of course the work of local journalists is essential and it is important that the Congolese press, who play a vital watchdog role, become more professional and have the support of their international colleagues,” said Van Woudenberg.







International Justice/ICC Project Review: Sep ’07 - Feb '08


Increased Republication in Local Media


IWPR output is now translated into French and Arabic to make it more accessible to local audiences, and in the last several months, the project has seen an increased rate of republication in local media.


 








Former refugees build new hut near Pader. Photo by Peter Eichstaedt.

In February, several in-depth IWPR reports were republished in DRC and Uganda. These have elicited encouraging feedback from both local editors and international NGOs.



For example, the story Will ICC Indictments Extend Beyond DRC Borders? – which was written by IWPR staff in conjunction with Congolese journalist Eddy Isango – was republished in Kinshasa’s Le Potential newspaper.



The piece asked if ICC investigators should probe the governments of Rwanda and Uganda to find those most responsible for supporting rebel factions, with Isango providing on-the-ground analysis and reaction.



Le Potential editor Freddy Monsa Iyaka Duku said that he republished the French translation of the story because the article was “interesting and relevant”.



Project output is now being picked up and republished by MONUC, the UN mission in DRC. Comment pieces from Kinshasa and Goma trainees have been run on MONUC’s website in both English and French.



“IWPR’s stories allow us to make certain facts known that we otherwise would not be in a position to publish. Using external stories to publicise facts that we know to be true helps our readers get to the bottom of things,”



- said Michel Bonnardeaux from MONUC.

Michel Bonnardeaux, from MONUC’s public information division, told IWPR that reporting on the ICC is very important because problems often stem from the fact that the court is not as active as the Congolese would like.



“Reporting on the ICC is a double-edge sword in that it raises expectations for justice amongst affected populations but disappoints the same when proceedings drag on for long periods and accusations are not brought forth,” he said.



“The Congolese are terribly suspicious of foreigners coming into their country with promises and delivering very little.”



He added that IWPR’s French translations were well received, “The French translations are extremely helpful given the fact that DRC is at least officially a French speaking country and that many of our readers are Congolese people living abroad.”


 



International Justice/ICC Project Review: Sep ’07 - Feb '08


Groundbreaking Darfur Report Published


In October, the team published a wide-ranging report on the Darfur conflict, in an attempt to see the conflict through the eyes of local people affected by it.



Project staff spent months talking to people displaced in camps, as well as Sudanese NGO workers, lawyers and journalists, questioning them about their experience of the conflict and their awareness of the ICC..



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



- said Brian Kennedy, editorial associate with Allafrica.com
The special report - ICC Struggles to Reach Out to Darfuris - highlighted difficulties the court faces in conveying information to Darfuris about its work. A round-table event was held to discuss the results.



The report, which showed that few local people are aware of the work being done by the ICC to bring war crimes suspects to justice, 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,” one interviewee told IWPR.



The piece was widely republished in the region and internationally.


 












Darfur vox pop, clip1



One website which carried the investigation is Allafrica.com - 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, adding that he considered our reports on Africa and the ICC “some of the best available”.



The report was also republished on the France-based SudanTribune website.





International Justice/ICC Project Review: Sep ’07 - Feb '08


Dozens Attend Round-Table Event


Reporters, activists, academics and members of the international justice community came in droves to the round table held to discuss the report – and to hear the panelists’ first-hand experiences of living in and working in Darfur.



The event was hosted in conjunction with internationally-respected broadcaster Radio Netherlands Worldwide. The discussion was led by a panel of experts, including a female Sudanese NGO worker flown over from Darfur to participate.



Hafiz Mohammed of Justice Africa talked about the political climate in Khartoum, while IWPR Executive Director Tony Borden discussed the challenges of reporting from Darfur. Head of the cooperation division of the ICC prosecutor’s office Beatrice Le Fraper du Hellen represented the court at the event.

“[IWPR has covered] a very important issue,”



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said Suliman A Giddo of the Darfur Peace and Development Organisation, referring to IWPR’s special report on Darfur.



Wolter Huttinga of the Dutch broadsheet Trouw Newspaper, who attended the IWPR round table on Darfur, also 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”.


 












Darfur vox pop, clip 2


Radio Netherlands broadcast several clips of interviews with people living in camps for internally-displaced people in Darfur, some of whom spoke Arabic. Their words were translated into
English, and the clips are now on the websites of both Radio Netherlands and IWPR.



Those in attendance had the opportunity question the panelists, and many said they found it informative.



“Although I’m really informed [about the conflict in Darfur] I learned new things and have now first-hand knowledge, thanks to the panel and IWPR,” said international relations student Jort Hemmer.



Reporters from Een Vandaag, a national Dutch evening television news programme, interviewed International Justice reporter Katy Glassborow on the opinions of Darfur victims.



The Netherlands’ Darfur Media Week began on November 5, and several newspapers and broadcaster used IWPR’s material in their related coverage.

 




International Justice/ICC Project Review: Sep ’07 - Feb '08


Production of Hard-Hitting Features


During the last six month, the project has produced a number of stand-out features related to international justice – and the way in which this affects victims of conflict.



Gulu-based journalist Caroline Agugi, who began writing for IWPR relatively recently, produced Grim Future for War Orphans in November. In this searing piece, Agugi highlighted the plight of Ugandan orphans who are forced to live on the streets, as IDP camps close.



The same month, another regular contributor Samuel Okiror Egadu produced LRA Victims Confront Rebel Peace Team, after attending a gut-wrenching confrontation between rebel representatives and their victims, which came about during the former’s tour of northern Uganda. Egadu eloquently captured the angry emotions of survivors, who say that while they may eventually be able to forgive, they can never forget.



 

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