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Two Prosecutions Highlight Threats to Press Freedom

Morocco and Algeria are neighbors and rivals, sharing one of the world’s longest closed-land borders, vying for diplomatic supremacy in the Maghreb region, sparring over Western Sahara, and insulting each other’s governments daily via state-influenced…
Journalists Khaled Drareni (Left) and Omar Radi (Right)
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State Regulator Insults Media as Journalists Appeal Conviction

Just when many thought press freedom had hit rock bottom in Burundi, the government-controlled National Communication Council’s (CNC) Media Awards this week have added insult to injury. The theme of this year’s ceremony was to…
journalists in Burundi attend court session
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Government Bans Communication with BBC, VOA

The Burundian government today signalled a new attack on media freedom, announcing it would renew the Voice of America’s (VOA) suspension and withdraw the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) operating license. These draconian moves…
Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza arrives for celebrations to mark Burundi’s 55th anniversary of independence at the Prince Louis Rwagasore stadium in Bujumbura, Burundi, July 1, 2017.
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Debate Silenced at Critical Moment

The Burundian government desperately wants an overwhelming win in next month’s constitutional referendum that will enable the president to extend his term in office. To do this, it must present the image of unity in the country – and open debate and…
Logo for Iwacu newspaper, "The voices of Burundi."
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Slobodan Praljak convicted of crimes against humanity in Bosnia

Media outlets around the world seized on the dramatic suicide of convicted Bosnian Croat war criminal Slobodan Praljak, who drank poison in court and died on November 29. But focus should remain on the horrible crimes – the…
Slobodan Praljak apparaît à la télévision lors de la diffusion du procès en appel à La Haye (Pays-Bas) de six officiers croates de Bosnie accusés de crimes de guerre à l’encontre de musulmans lors du conflit de Bosnie en 1992-1995. Photo prise à Mostar (B
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Opposition to Withdrawal by States

The African Union made headlines Tuesday for purportedly agreeing to mass withdrawal from the International Criminal Court. The reality is more complex. The decision by AU member states welcomes the announced withdrawals by South Africa,…
A general view shows the headquarters of the African Union (AU) building in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 29, 2017.
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Government Approves Withdrawal from International Criminal Court

The vote by Burundi’s National Assembly and Senate approving withdrawal from the International Criminal Court is the latest move by a government intent on shielding its poor human rights record from international scrutiny. …
On October 13, 2015, police shot dead Christophe Nkezabahizi, his wife, nephew, and his two teenage children in Bujumbura. No one has been held accountable for their deaths.
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Pushback Against AU Call for Withdrawal

The 27th African Union (AU) summit closed Monday evening without an AU call for immediate mass withdrawal from the International Criminal Court in the face of strong pushback from Nigeria, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, and even ICC non-member Algeria,…
A general view shows delegates during the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 31, 2016.
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It was just a bolt of pink cotton lying on the floor of a school gym but more than 20 years later, it haunts me still – soldiers tore off strips of that cloth, blindfolded dozens of men, trucked them to a nearby field, shot them, and buried all but a…
Two Bosnian Muslim women cry over a coffin July 10, 2005 with remains of their relative in a factory hall in Potocari where 610 victims of Srebrenica massacre wait for the funeral.
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A coup attempt and heavy fighting in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura, are making headlines around the world, but many Burundians are still in the dark about what happened.  Some would like to keep it that way.   Yesterday, less than 24 hours after a group of…
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Over the last couple of weeks I have visited my friend, Bob Rugurika, in prison three times. When I first saw him on January 21 in Bujumbura’s Mpimba prison, he gave me a big hug and joked, “It’s not safe to be visiting a murderer!” A young journalist and…