Just over three months after the Burundi peace agreement was signed in a blaze of international publicity in Arusha, violent clashes continue to claim more than a hundred lives a month in the small Central African country, and fears are growing that the agreement itself is at risk of unravelling. In a new report, Burundi: Ni Guerre Ni Paix, the International Crisis Group provides a detailed analysis of the terms of the peace agreement and assesses the prospects for its implementation. (Available in French with an English language translation of the Executive Summary. The full report will be available in English shortly.)
The removal of the Milo�evic regime is forcing the Montenegrin government to confront the contentious issue of Montenegro's future status, whether within or outside Yugoslavia, according to ICG's Montenegro briefing (30 November 2000). ICG's President Gareth Evans said that "the Montenegrin and Serbian authorities should be urged seriously to pursue a negotiated agreement, keeping open all realistic options, including some form of very loose confederal arrangement within a single state". The briefing paper argues that the priority for the international community should be to find a solution which will be acceptable to all parties and which will not upset either domestic or regional stability.
ICG's report War Criminals in Bosnia's Republika Srpska: Who are the People in Your Neighbourhood? (2 November 2000) names 75 individuals in eighteen Republika Srpska municipalities and the Brcko District allegedly involved between 1992 and 1995 in war crimes like mass murder, ethnic cleansing and mass rape. It shows most of them still occupying positions of power in the police force and military, holding public office, exercising power through the legal or illegal economy, or influencing politics from behind the scenes - and working against the Dayton Peace Agreement.
Among key policy recommendations, the report calls for the banning of the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS), founded by indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic, from Bosnia's 11 November elections - and, failing that, maintaining post-election pressure by setting and enforcing tough performance benchmarks.
The report also calls for more robust action by NATO's SFOR to arrest indicted war crimes suspects, as well as increased financial support to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague to enable it to increase its case load, conduct sittings in Bosnia and better publicise its proceedings.
Press Release: War Criminals At Large In Republika Srpska:
ICG Calls For Ban On Karadzic Party In Upcoming Bosnian Elections (02 November 2000)
For a description of ICG's Bosnia project please refer to the Project Overview.
For a list of all Bosnia reports please refer to the Report Index.
Other ICG Balkan projects: Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia.
Hopes ran high eighteen months ago, immediately following the election of reform-minded President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, that over seven years of virtual civil war in Algeria had come to an end. Today, in a fresh assessment of the situation in Algeria, the International Crisis Group concludes that the country's crisis is far from over - and the issues that lie at its heart have not been addressed.
ICG's report The Algerian Crisis: Not Over Yet (20 October 2000) highlights the core problems that need to be tackled by the Algerian government, with the involvement of the international community, if Algeria is to avert a re-ignition of conflict on the massive scale of the period 1992 to 1998. It sets out a number of policy recommendations - among them measures to stimulate dialogue between the government and the Islamists, redefine the role of the Algerian army in politics, and speed up and support a process of economic reform.
Press Release: Algeria's Crisis in Danger of Re-Igniting Due to Failure to Address the Root Causes of Conflict (20 October 2000)
For a description of ICG's Algeria project please refer to the Project Overview.
Beginning in early August, a series of violent incidents have brought more attention to the prospects for large scale conflict in Central Asia than at any time since the end of Tajikistan's civil war. Taliban forces launched a new offensive in northern Afghanistan, bringing that country's civil war and a potential refugee problem to the border of the ill-prepared Tajikistan. This offensive coincided with a series of low-level incursions into Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan by armed detachments of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). A number of other unlinked incidents have added to a growing sense of general insecurity.
ICG's Central Asia Briefing (18 October 2000) gives an overview of the recent incidents, examines the common thread of Islamic fundamentalism, and highlights some of the responses by key governments.
For a general account of conditions in the most crisis prone area of Central Asia, see ICG's report Central Asia:
Crisis Conditions in Three States (7 August 2000).
While the world watched in fascination as mass demonstrations in Belgrade toppled Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic from power, the mood in Kosovo turned increasingly anxious. ICG's Balkans Briefing (10 October 2000) takes a close look at the reactions in Kosovo to the events in Belgrade, highlighting the radicalisation of Kosovo Albanian opinion on issues such as cooperation with the international community and Kosovo's future status. A number of flashpoints for a possible major new flare-up are identified in the briefing, including the unconditional lifting of all sanctions against Serbia, the return of some Serbian troops permitted under UNSC 1244 and a ruling out of independence as an eventual outcome for Kosovo Albanians.
For a description of ICG's Kosovo project please refer to the Project Overview.
For a list of all Kosovo reports please refer to the Report Index.
Other ICG Balkan projects: Albania, Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia.
As governments embark on the process of lifting sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), following the victory of opposition candidate Vojislav Kostunica in Presidential elections held on 24 September 2000, ICG's Balkans Briefing (10 October 2000) sets forth a comprehensive list of sanctions currently in place against the FRY and the current status of FRY participation and/or membership in international organisations.
For a description of ICG's Serbia project please refer to the Project Overview
For a list of all Serbia reports please refer to the Report Index.
ICG's briefing paper Zimbabwe: Three Months after the Elections (26 September 2000), examines the situation in the country in the aftermath of historic elections that almost brought down the government.
In the immediate wake of the 24-25 June poll, many Zimbabweans were optimistic that a new era of democratisation and economic reform was about to begin, after six months of violence, intimidation, farm invasions, racist political rhetoric, and erosion of the rule of law. Today, those hopes have been largely dashed. The prevailing mood is one of uncertainty, frustration and anger. There is no positive leadership: no one has a sense of where the country is headed except down.
In these grim circumstances, it is imperative that the international community and regional neighbours continue to provide wise counsel and bring whatever pressure they can to bear on President Mugabe and his regime, along the lines recommended in ICG's 10 July report, Zimbabwe: At the Crossroads.
Press Release: From Bad to Worse (26 September 2000)
For a description of ICG's Zimbabwe project please refer to the Project Overview.
19 September 2000
In its latest Indonesia report, ICG analyses the military situation in the post-Soeharto era. Indonesia: Keeping the Military under Control (5 September 2000) concludes that while, since May 1998, there has been a drastic decline in the political influence of the military, its withdrawal from day-to-day politics has proceeded at an uneven pace and is not yet complete. The report identifies what still needs to be done - under civilian government leadership - to restrain the capacity of the military, or elements within it, to challenge and frustrate government policies by unconstitutional means.
Press Release: Keeping the Military under Control (5 September 2000)
For a list of all Indonesia reports please refer to the Reports Index.
For a description of ICG's Indonesia project please refer to the Project Overview.
In a new Balkans Briefing Paper, the International Crisis Group (ICG) turns the spotlight on the upcoming local elections in Macedonia. The elections, scheduled for 10 September, are the latest in a series of bitterly contested presidential, parliamentary and municipal polls that have left the Macedonian electorate weary and increasingly cynical. As in the past, these local elections will have hardly anything to do with running municipal governments, and everything to do with validating the current national government. Early polls indicate most voters will use the opportunity to voice their frustration against the ruling coalition.
For a description of ICG's Macedonia project please refer to the Project Overview.
For a list of all Macedonia reports please refer to the Report Index.
ICG's detailed background briefing, Albania's Local Elections: A Test of Stability and Democracy (25 August 2000),
examines the political climate in Albania in the run-up to local elections scheduled for 1 October 2000. It focuses on the handicaps bedevilling the electoral process and the build-up of political tension in the country due to increasing political polarisation and the threat of non-participation by the main opposition party. The paper calls for a serious monitoring effort by NGOs and OSCE governments to raise the likelihood of a democratic outcome in these elections.
Press Release: Albania: Voting For What? (25 August 2000)
For a description of ICG's Albania project please refer to the Project Overview
For a list of all Albania reports please refer to the Report Index.
ICG's briefing Burundi Peace Process: Tough Challenges Ahead (27 August 2000) gauges the political mood in Burundi on the eve of the signing of the Arusha accord and takes a close look at the hurdles that still have to be cleared to make way for lasting peace. The briefing argues that while the Arusha accord represents the end of a two-year negotiating process, it is merely one step on the road towards a comprehensive settlement.
For a description of ICG's Burundi project please refer to the Project Overview.
For a list of all Burundi reports please refer to the Report Index.
Other ICG Central Africa projects: Rwanda and Congo.
Cambodia has come a long way since the 1991 Paris Peace Agreements, but it remains replete with lawlessness, human rights abuse and grinding poverty. The government has pledged itself to an ambitious agenda for political reform and social welfare, but to many this commitment is simply not serious.
In a fresh assessment of the situation in the country, Cambodia: The Elusive Peace Dividend (11 August 2000), ICG calls on the international donor community to do much more to hold the Cambodian government to its promises - particularly in the areas of governance reform, land policy, army demobilisation and the conduct of elections.
A critical test for the government will be its handling of the proposed trials of Khmer Rouge leaders. ICG supports the trials being held under Cambodian domestic jurisdiction with international participation, as being discussed by the UN - but the process has to be serious.
Press releases: Cambodia: Trials Ahead (11 August 2000)
For a description of ICG's Cambodia project please refer to the Project Overview.
For a list of all Cambodia reports please refer to the Report Index.
Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan - and especially the Ferghana Valley area encompassing parts of each - face the prospect of civil unrest and large-scale violence. This is not a certain outcome and may be avoided if their governments make substantial changes in domestic policy, but the risks are high and mounting.
This is the key conclusion of ICG's first report on the region, Central Asia: Crisis Conditions in Three States (7 August 2000).
The report also identifies a number of risk factors - including the situation in Afghanistan, and religion-based political activism - capable of transforming domestic crisis into inter-state or region-wide conflict. It recommends appropriate policy responses by the major powers and international organisations.
Press releases: Central Asia: Crisis Conditions in Three States (7 August 2000)
For a description of ICG's Central Asia project please refer to the Project Overview.
For a list of all Central Asia reports please refer to the Report Index.
Uganda and Rwanda: Friends or Enemies? (4 May 2000)
traces in detail how two neighbours who had been the best
of friends fell out over differences of approach to the war
in the Congo. Eight months after the bloody clashes in Kisangani,
which cost the lives of over six hundred troops and civilians,
communication remains at a minimum between Presidents Museveni
and Kagame; tension is building up again in Kisangani; and
Uganda's and Rwanda's two rebel Congolese "proxy" factions
remain more divided than ever. If early efforts are not made
to ease tensions, Africa could see not only further destabilisation
of the Great Lakes region, but another disastrous Ethiopia-Eritrea
style war between "brothers".
The Lusaka Agreement may well be the only unifying factor between the Rwandan and Ugandan leaderships at this point. The report urges the UN Security Council to respond immediately to the current more stable situation on the ground by quickly deploying the second-phase MONUC peacekeepers, and pressing all parties to fully implement the Lusaka agreement.
The report also urges both Uganda and Rwanda to work harder at repairing their relationship through a summit meeting and by strengthening dialogue and co-operation channels at all levels, including that of civil society.
Press Release: Uganda and Rwanda: Friends or Enemies? (5 May 2000)
For a description of ICG's Rwanda project please refer to the Project Overview.
For a list of all Rwanda reports please refer to the Report Index.
Other ICG Central Africa projects: Burundi and Congo.
ICG President to co-chair International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty
The President of the International Crisis Group, Gareth Evans, is to co-chair a high-level International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty. The Commission was formally launched in New York on 14 September by Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy. Canada took this initiative in response to a challenge to the international community by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to address the highly complex problem of state sovereignty and international responsibility in complex man-made humanitarian disasters.
Full press release (14 September 2000)
Popular perceptions of Africa can be misleading, not least due to the lack of news coverage of events on the continent and a scarcity of publications and other sources of information. With this problem in mind, the International Crisis Group has compiled a directory of over two hundred of the best Web sites containing information on Africa.