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Heart of Africa: Legal Perspectives on the War on Mali with Professor Francis Boyle; & India’s Land Grab Saga in Ethiopia with Anuradha Mittal

February 7, 2013
Heart of Africa

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This week on Heart of Africa, Kudakwashe hosts two special expert guests to discuss two fundamental issues affecting Africa right now. With renowned professor of international law, Professor Francis Boyle, the discussion was on the Legal Perspectives on the War on Mali. In the second hour, esteemed founder and director of the Oakland Institute, Anuradha Mittal, shared well informed knowledge on India’s Land Grab Saga in Ethiopia.

The war on Mali began on Friday the 11th of January this year, when France invaded Mali. Soon after France’s Western and African allies joined in, in this military intervention.  On Wednesday the 16th of January, there was a hostage crisis in Algeria, close to Algeria’s border with Libya, that was described as the world’s largest hostage crisis in recent years.  Also on the 16th of January, the ICC reported Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that her office had officially launched an investigation into potential war crimes executed in Mali. Last week the New York Times reported that the US is preparing to establish a drone base in Niger.

This week, the BBC and other media reported that French troops are in Niger securing one of Niger’s largest uranium mine. Also this week, USA Vice President Jo Biden and French President Francois Hollande reported that  USA and France agreed to set up a UN Mali force. Professor Boyle not only responds to the legal questions on such recent events but also addresses Mali’s journey since 22 March 2012 when Mali’s elected President Amadou Toumani Touré was overthrown through a coup led by US trained Captain Sanogo, from a legal perspective. Before March 2012, Mali’s government was viewed as a good portrayal of democracy.

Professor Francis Boyle is an international expert of law who has had many accomplishments. He served as Legal Advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organization and Yasser Arafat on the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence, as well as to the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations from 1991 to 1993. Over the span of his career to date, he has represented national and international institutions, including the nation of Hawaii as the native Hawaiians have been pressing for independence from the USA. He has also represented many individual death penalty and human rights cases. At the World Court, he represented Colonel Muʿammar al-Qaḏḏāfī for 30 years till the point of his execution. Professor Boyle has also advised many international organisations in the areas of human rights, war crimes and genocide, nuclear policy, and bio-warfare. He has worked extensively across the terms of different presidents of the USA, boldly expressing his passion for upholding justice.

Professor Boyle has got a new book, “Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Reverse the Qaddafi Revolution“, available for pre-orders. This book was discussed briefly on this episode of Heart of Africa. It reveals the story of how it took three decades for the United States government, over five different presidential administrations, to overthrow and reverse the 1969 Qaddafi Revolution, with the aim to resubjugate Libya, take control over its oil fields, and destroy its Jamahiriya system. The books also shows what was both wrong and illegal from the perspective of an international law professor and lawyer who tried for over three decades to stop it. Professor Boyle’s other books include “Palestine, Palestinians and International Law” (2003), and “The Palestinian Right of Return under International Law” (2010).

In the second hour of the programme, Kudakwashe hosts Anuradha Mittal in a discussion on India’s Land Grab Saga in Ethiopia. Decade after decade, Ethiopia has been known a country stricken with famine, food shortages, endemic hunger, and persistent reliance on foreign aid. But regardless of receiving billions of dollars in aid, Ethiopians still remains among the poorest of the world. At the beginning of 2008, the Ethiopian government embarked on an initiative that awards millions of hectares of land to foreign and national agricultural investors. It claimed that these investments would bring in the much needed foreign currency into Ethiopia’s economy, thereby contribute to long-term food security. One of the beneficiaries of this scheme was India.

It is grieving to note that this process of “land grabbing” has been related to widespread human rights violations, as with many processes that take place in Ethiopia.  The Ethiopian government has forcibly displaced hundreds of thousands of  indigenous people from their lands, and has arbitrarily arrested and beaten individuals who have refused to comply with its policies. These actions are in direct contravention of Ethiopia’s obligations under international human rights law. India has been one of the direct beneficiaries of theses activities in Ethiopia, in a way that it has managed to acquire chunks of land from the Ethiopian people.

The discussion covers this saga highlighting the role of the relationship Ethiopia has with India, as well as the political context in which India’s Land Grab Saga, falls in, in Ethiopia. The discussion also touches on other relevant matters like the involvement of South Africa in land grab deals in Africa. Both India and South Africa where former colonies, but now seem to have become colonisers. Kudakwashe gives a report on significant moves that have taken place in Tanzania, and Sierra Leone, as attempts to curb land grabbing.

Among other achievements, Anuradha Mittal, founder and executive director of the Oakland Institute, is an internationally renowned expert on trade, development, human rights and agriculture issues. As a recipient of several awards, Mittal was named as the Most Valuable Thinker by the Nation magazine. More recently, the Oakland Institute under Mittal’s leadership unveiled land investment deals in Africa which revealed a disturbing pattern of a lack of transparency, fairness, and accountability. The dynamic relationship between research, advocacy, and international media coverage has resulted in an amazing string of successes and organizing in the U.S. and abroad.

Mittal has authored and edited numerous books and reports. Her articles and opinion pieces have been published in widely circulated newspapers. She has addressed the Congress, the United Nations, given several hundred keynote addresses including invitational events from governments and universities, and has been interviewed on CNN, BBC World, CBC, ABC, Al-Jazeera, National Public Radio and Voice of America.

Mittal is on the board and advisory committees of several non profit organizations including the International Forum on Globalization, and is a member of the independent board of Ben & Jerry’s which focuses on providing leadership for Ben & Jerry’s social mission and brand integrity. For more information on Mittal’s work see

As always, Kudakwashe concludes the programme sharing on applicable biblical perspectives, this time focussed on petitioning for justice, as both matters discussed reveal lack of justice. She also speaks on the ideal calibre of administrators of justice.

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