ICJ postpones DRC v. Uganda reparation case to Friday 22 November

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, has postponed the public hearings on the question of reparations in the case concerning Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (Democratic
Republic of the Congo v. Uganda), which had been due to take place between Monday 18 and Friday 22 November 2019.

The Court made its decision taking into consideration the joint request submitted by the Parties by a letter dated 9 November 2019.

The DRC filed its application to the ICJ in June 1999, alleging that acts of armed aggression carried out by Uganda on DRC territory constituted a flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter and the Charter of the Organization of African Unity.

The DRC submitted three claims:  (1) by engaging in military and paramilitary activities against the DRC and by occupying DRC territory and actively extending military, economic and financial support to irregular forces operating in the DRC, Uganda violated international law governing non-use of force, peaceful settlement of disputes, respect of sovereignty, and non-intervention; (2) by committing acts of violence against DRC nationals and destroying their property, and by failing to prevent such acts by persons under its control, Uganda violated international legal obligations to respect human rights, including the obligation to distinguish between civilian and military objectives during armed conflict; and (3) by exploiting Congolese natural resources and pillaging DRC assets and wealth, Uganda violated international law governing rules of occupation, respect for sovereignty over natural resources, right to self-determination of peoples, and the principles of non-interference in domestic matters. 

Uganda filed three counter-claims: (1) the DRC used force against Uganda in violation of the Article 2(4) of the UN Charter; (2) the DRC allowed attacks on Ugandan diplomatic premises and personnel in Kinshasa in violation of the law of diplomatic protection; and (3) the DRC violated certain elements of the 1999 Lusaka Agreement.

In its order of November 2001, the Court found the first and second claims formed part of the same ?factual complex? as the DRC claims and were therefore admissible under Article 80 of the Rules of the Court. The third counter-claim was deemed inadmissible on the ground it was not directly connected to the subject-matter of the DRC claims.

On July 1, 2000, the Court issued provisional measures requiring that both parties ?refrain from any action ?., which might prejudice the rights of the other Party ? or which might aggravate or extend the dispute.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. It was established by the United Nations Charter in June 1945 and began its activities in
April 1946. The Court is composed of 15 judges elected for a nine-year term by the
General Assembly and the Security Council of the United Nations. The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands). The Court has a twofold role: first, to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States (its judgments have binding force and are without appeal for the parties concerned); and, second, to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by duly authorized United Nations organs and agencies of the system.

Credit: America Society of International Law, ICJ

Democratic Republic of Congo: Cholera vaccination campaign targets 1.2 million

Phase 2 of the biggest ever oral vaccination campaign against cholera is scheduled to take place from 3-8 July 2019 in 15 health districts in the four central provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – Kasaï, Kasaï Oriental, Lomami et Sankuru.

The second dose of vaccine confers lasting immunity against cholera, and is being targeted at 1 235 972 people over 1 year of age. The 5-day, door-to-door campaign will involve 2632 vaccinators recruited mainly from local communities, whose job it is to administer the oral cholera vaccine, fill in vaccination cards and tally sheets, and compile a daily summary of the teams’ progress.

In parallel, 583 community mobilizers have been selected – 1 mobilizer for every 3 teams in urban areas and 1 mobilizer for every 2 teams in rural districts.

Their job is to alert local people that vaccinators will visit their homes. They will use loudspeakers to spread the message, particularly in the early evening.

The campaign is organized by the Ministry of Health with technical, logistic and financial support from WHO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC).

It is the second such campaign in this central region of the DRC. 1 224 331 people over 1 year of age were vaccinated during the first round in late December 2018.

The purpose of the vaccination campaign is to contain the serious epidemic which resulted in 9154 presumed cases and 458 deaths (case-fatality rate of 5%) in the 5 affected provinces in Kasaï region between January and December 2018.

This cholera vaccination campaign marks the intensification of our response in the DRC,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, “WHO and our partners are working with national authorities to rollout the vaccine, which comes in addition to multiple interventions introduced since the beginning of the cholera epidemic, including sanitation and water quality control in the affected areas, many of which have little access to a safe water supply.”

Right now, with the second dose, the preventive campaign for which 1 235 972 doses of oral vaccine have been laid in will ensure coverage of all at-risk areas in this central region of the DRC. The vaccines have been provided from global cholera vaccine stocks managed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

“This vaccination campaign will play a key role in bringing this cholera outbreak under control,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi. “The DRC is currently going through an unprecedented combination of deadly epidemics, with Ebola and measles outbreaks also causing untold misery across the country. It is vital that the global effort to control these outbreaks continues to receive support: we cannot allow this needless suffering to continue.”

In 2018 the DRC reported a cumulative total of 29 304 suspected cholera cases and more than 930 deaths (case-fatality rate 3.17%). Since the start of 2019 and up to epidemiological week 23 (3-9 June), at least 12 247 suspected cases of cholera and 279 deaths (case-fatality rate 2.2%) have already been reported in 137 health districts in 20 of the 26 provinces of the DRC. Cholera is a highly contagious communicable disease transmitted via contaminated water or food. It causes severe diarrhoea and dehydration which must be treated immediately to avoid death after only a few hours and to stop the disease from spreading on a massive scale throughout an environment at risk.

“This cholera vaccination campaign in the 4 central provinces of the DRC is crucial to stop the disease from gaining a permanent foothold in the target areas of Kasaï, Lomami and Sankuru. The vaccinators will visit every household, even in the remotest areas, to administer the second dose vital for ensuring long-term protection against cholera,” explains Dr Deo Nshimirimana, Acting WHO Representative in the DRC.

“We must not forget that oral cholera vaccine works in conjunction with other effective prevention measures such as improvement of sanitary conditions, individual and collective hygiene including regular hand-washing (with soap) after going to the bathroom or before meals, and lobbying authorities to improve access to drinking water.”

Uganda confirms first Ebola case outside outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo

Uganda and the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday confirmed a child has been diagnosed with Ebola, the first cross-border case from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where a large outbreak has raged for the last 10 months.

Surveillance for ebola virus disease at the border between DR Congo and Uganda | Photo: Matt Taylor

Although there have been numerous previous alerts, this is the first confirmed case in Uganda during the Ebola outbreak on-going in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The confirmed case is a 5-year-old child from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who travelled with his family on 9th June 2019. The child and his family entered the country through Bwera Border post and sought medical care at Kagando hospital where health workers identified Ebola as a possible cause of illness.

The child was transferred to Bwera Ebola Treatment Unit for management. The confirmation was made today by the Uganda Virus Institute (UVRI). The child is under care and receiving supportive treatment at Bwera ETU, and contacts are being monitored.

Dr. Mike Ryan, who heads the WHO’s emergencies program, said the meeting will likely occur within the next day or two, after the agency consults with the governments of Uganda and DRC.

Ryan said Uganda and partners have been working for months to protect the border area against just this type of event. “It’s never good news to have Ebola,” he said, but suggested the preparatory work should help contain the threat.

The Ministry of Health and WHO have dispatched a Rapid Response Team to Kasese to identify other people who may be at risk, and ensure they are monitored and provided with care if they also become ill. Uganda has previous experience managing Ebola outbreaks.

In preparation for a possible imported case during the current outbreak in DRC, Uganda has vaccinated nearly 4700 health workers in 165 health facilities (including in the facility where the child is being cared for); disease monitoring has been intensified; and health workers trained on recognizing symptoms of the disease. Ebola Treatment Units are in place.

Lone Congolese Bank to Sign the China-Africa Inter Bank Association Establishment Agreement

Wednesday 5 September, 16 African banks including RAWBANK, the first banking institution in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and China Development Bank (CDB) signed an agreement for the establishment of the China-Africa Inter Bank Association in Beijing (CAIBA).

Creation of the China-Africa Interbank Association, September 5, 2018

Creation of the China-Africa Interbank Association, September 5, 2018

RAWBANK (www.Rawbank.cd), the only Congolese bank to have been selected as founding member of this cooperation, hence assumes its leading role in the Congolese banking sector alongside international and African banks. This agreement marks the official establishment of the first China-Africa financial cooperation multilateral mechanism.

Based on the presentation by H.E Xi Jinping, President of China, aimed at enhancing China-Africa relations and promoting “10 principal cooperation plans” between this country and the African continent, “eight major actions” of China-Africa cooperation were planned in order to advance the partnership.

Taking into account the deficit in meeting the funding needs of African countries with regard to industrialization, infrastructure connectivity and poverty alleviation, a closer collaboration between Chinese financial institutions and African countries was decided.

Within this context, the China Development Bank (CDB), represented by its President, Mr Hu Huaibang, and peer financial institutions in Africa jointly established the China-Africa Inter Bank Association (CAIBA), which is a concrete move in achieving win-win cooperation and better quality and higher common development.

RAWBANK, Congo’s lone bank to be selected owing to its leading position in the banking sector for more than 16 years, is henceforth one of the 16 founding members of CAIBA alongside international and Pan-African banks such as Standard Bank, Absa, Attijariwafa Bank, to name only a few.

With CDB, CAIBA will, in the long term, enhance financial cooperation between all member banks to advance partnership in various domains such as China-Africa infrastructure interconnection, international cooperation and exchange in the humanities.

This agreement is proof of CDB and RAWBANK commitment to strengthen the economic ties and investments between China and African countries, as part of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

As the Chinese government’s financial institution for development, the CDB (www.CDB.com.cn) has always put a premium on cooperation with Africa. Since the launch of funding cooperation with Africa in 2006, the CDB has continually widened its cooperation with the financial institutions of African countries by investing and funding over USD 50 billion in close to 500 projects in 43 African countries.

The CDB encourages Chinese enterprises to invest in Africa, assists African local governments in solving problems such as funding deficits and infrastructure construction delays, and strives to develop economic and commercial cooperation, increase employment and spur economic growth in African countries.

Established in 2002 by the Rawji Group, operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the start of the 20th century in the areas of trade, distribution and industry, RAWBANK (www.Rawbank.cd) is the country’s largest bank as it was the first-ever to exceed 1 billion dollars in total turnover in 2015. Having more than 1 600 staff members with close to 100 sales points, 300 000 customers and 25% of market shares, RAWBANK is a key player in the development of Congo’s economy. Having been certified and won and award, it is today considered a crucial financial stakeholder in the DRC, for individuals and SMIs/SMEs, as well as for major enterprises and international institutions. RAWBANK is rated by Moody’s (B3), certified as ISO/IEC 20000 and ISO/IEC 27001, and has established funding partnerships with several international donors (Proparco, IFC, Shelter Africa, etc.). Safety, cost-effectiveness and sustainability are RAWBANK’s operational priorities to consolidate its growth strategy, in particular towards individuals and the private sector.

There are reports that Monkeypox has resurfaced in Nigeria. What you need to know


The Monkeypox virus was isolated most recently in 2012 from a dead infant mangabey (species of monkey) in Ivory Coast. Shutterstock

Fellow, Nigerian Academy of Science 
Disclosure statement
Oyewale Tomori does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Partners: Nigerian Academy of Science provides support as a hosting partner of The Conversation AFRICA.

The outbreak of a rare disease suspected to be Monkeypox is raising fears of an imminent epidemic in Nigeria. Infected people break out in a rash that looks a lot like chicken pox. But the fever, malaise, and headache from Monkeypox are usually more severe than in chicken pox infection.The disease can spread quickly and in previous outbreaks one of 10 people have died. The first suspected cases were reported in Bayelsa state in south Nigeria in late September. Since then suspected cases have been reported in seven of the country’s 36 states, including Lagos. A total of 31 suspected cases have been reported. What is Monkeypox and should the world be worried? The Conversation Africa’s Declan Okpalaeke asked Oyewale Tomori for some insights.

What is Monkeypox and how is it contracted?

Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease – it’s caused by a virus transmitted from animals to humans. The virus was first identified in Denmark in 1958 during an investigation into a pox-like disease among monkeys. Hence its name. The natural host of the virus remains undefined. But the disease has been reported in many animals including squirrels, rats, mice and primates.

There appear to be two distinct groups of the Monkeypox virus – the Congo Basin and the West African groups. The Congo Basin virus group is more virulent. According to the United States Centre for Diseases Control, the Monkeypox virus has only been isolated twice from an animal in nature; first in 1985 from an apparently ill African rodent in the Equateur Region of the Democratic Republic of Congo and in 2012 from a dead infant mangabey found in the Tai National Park in Cote d’Ivoire.

The first reported case of Monkeypox infection in humans was in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A 9-year old boy was diagnosed in a region in which smallpox had been eliminated two years earlier. In 1996-97 there was a major outbreak of the disease in the country.

Most cases of human Monkeypox have been reported in the rainforest regions of the Congo Basin – particularly in the DRC where it’s considered to be endemic – and in western Africa. Other African countries reporting the disease include Ivory Coast (2 cases in 1971 and 1981), Liberia (4 cases in 1970), Sierra Leone (2 cases in 1970 and 2014), Nigeria (3 cases in 1971 and 1978), a total of six cases in Cameroon between 1976 and 1990, Central African Republic (32 cases with 2 deaths between 1984 and 2016), Gabon (8 cases in 1987 and 1992- 8), and 19 cases in Sudan in 2005. There are also reports of sporadic cases in the Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire).

In 2003 the first reported cases of human Monkeypox outside of Africa were confirmed in the US, with a total of 37 in six states. Most of the patients had had close contact with pet prairie dogs. The virus transmission is thought to have first occurred between animals imported from Africa which had been co-housed with prairie dogs.

Primary infection is through direct contact with the blood, bodily fluids, or cutaneous or mucosal lesions of an infected animal. Eating inadequately cooked meat of infected animals is also a risk factor.

Human-to-human transmission can result from close contact with infected respiratory tract secretions, skin lesions of an infected person or objects recently contaminated by patient fluids or lesion materials. Household members of active cases are at greater risk of infection via droplet respiratory particles during prolonged face-to-face contact.

Transmission can also occur by inoculation or via the placenta (congenital Monkeypox).

Monkeypox can easily be confused with other rash illnesses such as smallpox, chickenpox, measles, bacterial skin infections, scabies, syphilis, and medication-associated allergies.

In the early stage of the disease Monkeypox can be distinguished from smallpox because the lymph gland gets enlarged. A laboratory test is needed for a definitive diagnosis.

Should the world be worried about Monkeypox? How can it be treated?

Sure, we should be worried. The disease can cause the death of one out of 10 infected people and can spread very quickly. The symptoms (fever, malaise, and headache) of Monkeypox are more severe than those of chickenpox.

The other reason for concern is that there is no specific treatment or vaccine available for Monkeypox infection. In the past, the anti-smallpox vaccine was shown to be 85% effective in preventing Monkeypox. But smallpox has been eradicated so the vaccine isn’t widely available anymore.

Nevertheless outbreaks can be controlled. The first step is preventing infections. This can be achieved through public health awareness campaigns to reduce the risk of animal-to-human transmission. Key messages would include the fact that people should avoid contact with sick or dead animals that could harbour the virus, especially in areas known to be Monkeypox hotspots. Other precautions include ensuring that infected people are isolated and that health workers caring for ill people must wear gloves and protective equipment.

A key part of managing the spread of the disease is good surveillance so that cases can be detected quickly and the outbreak contained.

What’s behind the recent outbreak in Nigeria?

At the moment all we can say is that there are suspected cases of Monkeypox in Nigeria. We still do not have laboratory confirmation of the current outbreak and claims are being made purely on the basis of signs and symptoms. But we must remember that there are other rash illnesses that mimic Monkeypox symptoms. This is not the first report of monkeypox cases in Nigeria. Between 1971 and 1978, ten human Monkeypox infections were reported in the country. Three were laboratory confirmed (two in 1971 and one in 1978).

Does the claim that the outbreak was triggered by government delivering free medical treatment hold any water?

The claim of government involvement in the outbreak is absolute nonsense, and it is an unwarranted and unnecessary diversion from the main issue of confirming and controlling the spread of the disease.

First published by The Conversation . Partners: Nigerian Academy of Science providess support as a hosting partner of The Conversation AFRICA. View all partners
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