Thursday, 20 September 2007

International law not for everybody

Shock, horror. Warlords in Congo have little regard for international law.
A warlord in eastern Congo is continuing to recruit child soldiers, in violation of international law, United Nations officials say.
Why would an African warlord give two hoots for international law? What do the UN officials say to him? "Excuse me, sir, but recruiting children as soldiers is in violation of international law" to which the warlord responds with a lofty shake of the head, narrowing of the eyes and, through clenched teeth, "How do your international laws help me?" For some reason, those on the left that make up 99% of those that work at the UN think that making laws will somehow do more than diddlysquat. In countries that respect the law, the left's predilection for making laws has one effect - to reduce individual liberty. But that's another matter.
The UN "has confirmed that children are being recruited by different armed groups, especially by the rebel forces of warlord Laurent Nkunda," said Michel Bonnardeaux, a spokesman for the UN Mission in Congo.
The number of children that have been forcibly recruited is not yet known, Bonnardeaux said Wednesday.

Since last week, Nkunda's men "have raided 10 secondary schools and four primary schools where they took the children by force in order to make them join their ranks," said Nephtali Nkizinkiko, a deputy in the national assembly.

Nkunda's rebels clashed with Congo's army last month in the eastern province of Nord-Kivu, causing thousands of villagers to flee their homes.

According to Bonnardeaux, girls are taken to serve as sexual slaves, while boys are used as fighters. Those that try to escape are often rerecruited by rival armed groups, based in the volatile east.
The fact is that boys are happy to join these armed groups/gangs because it's the best way to get a regular feed.
Congo's Nord-Kivu province has been the scene of repeated clashes since late last year - first after Nkunda resisted integrating his forces into the regular army, and then as army brigades mounted operations against local armed groups.

A peace deal brought multiparty elections last year and the mineral-rich Congo installed its first democratically elected leader in more than four decades in January. The new government has struggled to gain control of militias loyal to former warlords, even as their leaders have joined the government.
Keep on making those useless laws, United Nations. And don't forget to appoint representatives of the most thuggish, brutal regimes to the Human Rights Council while you're at it.

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