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Note: This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

Angola: Accountability and Peace Updates

Angola: Accountability and Peace Updates
Date distributed (ymd): 000327
Document reposted by APIC

+++++++++++++++++++++Document Profile+++++++++++++++++++++

Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +economy/development+ Summary Contents:
In January this year APIC issued a policy statement, noting the need for international action to support peace in Angola to address three simultaneous tracks: serious implementation of sanctions against UNITA, pressure for accountability for the use of Angola's wealth, and support for engagement of civil society in the quest for peace. This statement is available on the Africa Policy web site (>).

Two postings today contain new documents and links addressing these issues. This posting contains (a) a press release from Global Witness on corruption in Angola, and (b) two updates concerning the trial of journalist and civil society peace activist Rafael Marques. Marques is coordinator of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) office in Angola.

In addition to the links cited in the documents, additional documents on these issues can be found at the sites of two Canadian organizations: he Inter-Church Coalition on Africa (, and Alternatives ( Particularly relevant from the first site are the report of a November 1999 conference on Angola (The Struggle for Peace: Peace-Building and Canadian Policy - and the set of principles of the Angola Peace Action Network from that conference, contained in a February update:

The Alternatives site has a number of very useful analytical documents on Angola. However, they are apparently not available through fixed links which could be cited here, but only through a search box on the home page of the site, which accesses a database.

A parallel posting contains links to the new UN report on violations of international sanctions against UNITA, as well as additional links and press releases on the subject.

+++++++++++++++++end profile++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Global Witness Press Release on EU and Corruption in Angola

23rd March 2000

Global Witness challenges EU over Corruption in Angola

Information: Tel: +44 (0)20 7272 6731; Fax: +44 (0)20 7272 9425 E-mail: MOBILE: +44 (0) 7968 160 377 Web:

The EU heads of state meet today and tomorrow in Lisbon for the EU Summit - the showcase of the Portuguese Presidency. In light of the upcoming EU/Africa Summit in Cairo (3/4th April), which will be discussed in Lisbon this week, Global Witness is challenging the delegates to think creatively about solutions to the problems of massive corruption and the gross misuse of oil revenue in Angola.

Global Witness' December 1999 report "A Crude Awakening" exposed the role of Angola's elite in massive corruption, where a situation prevails of over-priced arms deals and kickbacks, arranged more on the basis of cronyism than on value for the state. There is no accountability of government, and little capacity for Angolans to question the deployment of government revenue; a situation made all the worse by a strong crackdown on the press.

"This is not an issue about whether Angola has the right to buy arms to defend itself against outlawed UNITA forces - which it does, but it is a question of why this needs to be done through organised crime channels, with massive kickbacks for Angola's elite, who we have named the Oiligarchy," said Simon Taylor of Global Witness. "If the international community is serious about recovery in a post-conflict Angola, then now is the time to start with serious and creative initiatives to combat the dirty and corrupt practices of the Oiligarchy. It really is high time that international efforts were concentrated to ensure an end to the wholesale robbery of state assets." Such measures should include the following:

  1. An expression of strongest concern from EU states about the level of corruption in Angola, at both the Lisbon and Cairo Summits.
  2. Investigations should be undertaken into money laundering channels across Europe, used for capital flight from Angola. Global Witness is aware that private banks in Portugal, Luxembourg and London have been used for these practices. Where assets are discovered, which cannot be accounted for, these should be frozen.
  3. EU member states, especially those with Executive Director board members of the IMF, should insist that any new IMF agreement should include a retrospective analysis of Angola's 1999 oil accounts.
  4. EU member states should initiate a fundamental review of EU wide business practices to ensure that European companies operate a policy of "full transparency" in every country of operation. Such a strategy should ensure that European oil companies publish details about ALL payments made to government in every country of operation. These details should be published in the country of operation and internationally, in an easily understandable format.
  5. The EU should create a strict timetable for the implementation of the recommendations of the expert panels' report, because effective implementation of UN embargoes on supplies to, and the trade of diamonds from UNITA is a key part of any resolution to the conflict in Angola.

Open Society Institute Press Release

For further information contact:
Todd Diamond tel: (1 212) 548-0303
Jim Goldston tel: (36 30) 984 8065

George Soros Condemns "Kangaroo Court" Persecution of Open Society Initiative Coordinator in Angola

NEW YORK, March 22, 2000-The Open Society Institute (OSI), a nonprofit foundation established by investor and philanthropist George Soros, decries the fundamental lack of due process in the trial of Rafael Marques, journalist, activist and coordinator of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) office in Angola. Marques is charged with criminal defamation of the President, Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, for critical statements published last year.

"The absence of minimal procedural safeguards deprives this prosecution of any legitimacy, and raises grave doubts about the Angolan government's commitment to the rule of law and freedom of the press," Soros said. "The kangaroo-style proceeding that took place yesterday is in clear violation of Angolan law and international human rights standards."

Marques's trial, which commenced on March 7, and continued on March 21, has been marred by a number of irregularities, including the following:

  • The presiding judge, Joaquim de Abreu Cangato, has no formal legal training. Reportedly a former member of the Angolan secret police, he has given no evidence of having read-let alone understood-the voluminous legal submissions filed on Marques's behalf by international legal experts from Brazil, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • Absent justification, and notwithstanding widespread interest in this case on the part of the press corps and the diplomatic community in Luanda, the judge ordered most of the all-day trial session on March 21 closed to the public, thus further undermining confidence in the fairness of the process.
  • In defiance of international standards for defamation cases, the judge has reportedly forbidden Marques from offering evidence of the truth of the statements at issue. In short, if Marques is proved simply to have made the statements, he will be convicted, absent of any demonstration of their veracity, the good faith basis in which they were made, or the public interest in hearing them.
  • The trial judge has apparently ignored Angolan procedural requirements which require that the President-as Marques's principal accuser-respond to Marques's in-court testimony concerning his actions, and that, upon rejecting Marques's tender of proof as to the truth of his statements, the case be referred to a higher court.
  • Most alarmingly, Marques faces imminent conviction and imprisonment simply for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and of the press, as set forth in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Articles 32 and 35 of the Constitutional of Angola. It is undisputed that these rights include the right to criticize the government and its highest officials. Principle 7 of the Johannesburg Principles-the most authoritative statement to date on freedom of expression and national security in Africa-makes clear that expression which "constitutes criticism of, or insult to, the nation, the state or its symbols, the government, its agencies or public officials" is protected, and may not be restricted on the grounds of, inter alia, national security.

Marques's trial is due to resume March 23. If convicted on all charges under consideration, Marques could face up to 16 years in prison.

The charges against Marques allegedly arise out of two events: a July 3, 1999 article he wrote in the weekly newspaper Agora (Today) that referred to the President as a "dictator" and held him "responsible for the destruction of the country and the promotion of corruption," and a subsequent interview broadcast on Radio Ecclesia, in the course of which Marques allegedly re-affirmed his criticism of the President and other officials.

On November 25, 1999, following public appeals by the United States, the United Kingdom and others, Marques was released after 40 days of unlawful pre-trial detention. Under applicable Angolan law, Marques should never have been provisionally detained for the crime of defamation.

On January 19, 2000, in the course of a parliamentary debate on freedom of expression, a Member of Parliament and of the ruling MPLA party effectively issued a public death threat, stating, in substance, that Marques (who is 28) should be "advised" that he would not live to reach the age of 40 if he were to continue writing critically of the government.

For more information and background on the case of Rafael Marques, go to .

The Open Society Institute is an informal network of more than 30 autonomous foundations, established by investor and philanthropist George Soros, located in Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Haiti, Guatemala and South Africa. The foundations share a common mission of developing more open societies through support to a range of programs in education, civil society, media, human rights, as well as social, legal and economic reform. The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, a Johannesburg-based nonprofit foundation, oversees US $5 million annually in grants annually in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Committee to Protect Journalists


Marques trial lawyer walks out after being denied right to appeal

For further information, contact Yves Sorokobi at CPJ, 330 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10001, U.S.A., tel: +1 212 465 1004, fax: +1 212 465 9568, e-mail:,, Internet:

The information contained in this press release/update is the sole responsibility of CPJ. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit CPJ.

March 24, 2000

Toronto - The trial of Angolan free-lance journalist Rafael Marques, which resumed today in the Provincial Criminal Court of Luanda, was again adjourned to March 28 amid ominous signs of miscarriage of justice, sources in Angola told CPJ.

On March 22, Marques' lawyer Luis Nascimento appealed to the Supreme Court of Angola on grounds of procedural irregularity. In court this morning, however, Nascimento was denied the right to read the appeal for the record. In protest, he walked out of the courtroom.

Judge Joaquim de Abreu Cangato, who apparently has no legal training, subsequently ruled that Nascimento be disbarred for six months, despite the fact that only the Angolan Bar Association can legally make such decisions.

Marques, who refused to answer questions without legal representation, was offered the option of a public defender, which he declined. Judge Cangato then ordered an unnamed court official, who also has no legal training, to take over Marques's defense with or without Marques' approval, CPJ sources said.

The judge then adjourned the proceedings until March 28, when the prosecution is scheduled to present its witnesses, even in the absence of the defendant. Marques, 28, was arrested on October 16, 1999, and charged with criminal defamation for criticizing President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos in an article that ran in the July 3, 1999, edition of the independent newspaper Agora. The newspaper's publisher, Aguiar Dos Santos, who is not related to the Angolan president, faces the same charges, as does Agora staff reporter Antonio Jose Freitas. Titled "The Lipstick of Dictatorship," Marques' article claimed, among other things, that President Dos Santos was responsible for "the promotion of incompetence, embezzlement and corruption as political and social values." Marques also referred to the president as a "dictator." If convicted, Marques faces from two to eight years in prison.

Initially scheduled to take place in the Supreme Court, Marques' case was referred back to the Provincial Criminal Court without explanation. During a March 21 hearing, Judge Cangato excluded the public from the courtroom. Officials from the U.S. and Portuguese embassies, several human rights activists, and journalists were among those in attendance, until they were all forced to leave. The trial continued all day in secrecy.

This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC). APIC's primary objective is to widen international policy debates around African issues, by concentrating on providing accessible policy-relevant information and analysis usable by a wide range of groups and individuals.

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