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Angola: Accountability and Peace Updates
Angola: Accountability and Peace Updates
Date distributed (ymd): 000327
Document reposted by APIC
Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +economy/development+
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 (http://www.alternatives-action.org).
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.
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: email@example.com MOBILE: +44 (0)
7968 160 377 Web: http://www.oneworld.org/globalwitness/
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:
- An expression of strongest concern from EU states about the
level of corruption in Angola, at both the Lisbon and Cairo
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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
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 http://www.soros.org/marques .
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:
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, 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
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
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.