- Top Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón has ordered the opening of an inquiry into allegations of genocide in the Moroccan-occupied territory of Western Sahara.
The Western Saharan plaintiffs are also looking for accountability for the 542 Sahrawis that Morocco made "disappear" during the war with the Sahrawi pro-independence movement Polisario Front from 1975-1991, according to the group "Sahrawi Association of Victims of Grave Human Rights Violations Committed by the Moroccan State" (ASVDH).
The file also highlights crimes against humanity committed by Morocco since its invasion of Western Sahara, "notably the frequent use of torture by Moroccan authorities against Western Saharan nationalists," according to ASVDH.
These charges reach the highest levels of the Moroccan security establishment, even into the royal palace, according to the Spanish daily 'El Pais'. The paper says 13 top police chiefs are under Judge Garzón's inspection.
Further, Morocco's late and often criticised Interior Minister, Driss Basri, is named, as is Yassine Mansouri, a close advisor to Morocco's King Mohammed VI. The head of Morocco's armed forces, Housni Benslimane, and head of National Security, Hamidou Lanigri, are also accused.
In a statement referred to by official Sahrawi sources, the Spanish judge said he had "decided to accept the competence to judge on claims of genocide crimes, torture and assassinations."
Spanish laws allow the national judiciary to investigate and try alleged crimes against humanity committed outside Spain if not investigated in the country where they were committied. Mr Garzón earlier made international headlines when he tried to get Chile's ex-Dictator Augosto Pinochet arrested and sent to Spain for alleged crimes against humanity when in charge in the Santiago presidency.
The decision by Mr Garzón to investigate possible genocide in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara was hailed by Sahrawi organisations. The Association of the Families of Sahrawi Prisoners and Disappeared (Afapredesa) said it was satisfied by the decision, which could "give justice to the Sahrawi people and the victims of the Moroccan genocide in Western Sahara."
Official sources in Morocco yet have to react to the decision. The Rabat government claims that Western Sahara is an integrated part of its territory, referring to it as the "Southern Provinces" or "Moroccan Sahara", claiming the same human rights standards are implemented here as in the rest of Morocco.
Reports and documentation by NGOs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch however indicate that there are systematic human rights violations committed by Moroccan authorities in Western Sahara.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.