zim for peace counciL

ADDIS ABABA - The African Union has chosen Zimbabwe for a place on its Peace and Security Council, one of the bloc's most powerful organs, the body's head of legal affairs has said.

ADDIS ABABA - The African Union has chosen Zimbabwe for a place on its Peace and Security Council, one of the bloc's most powerful organs, the body's head of legal affairs has said.

Zimbabwe is emerging from a period of global isolation after a power-sharing deal between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The Peace and Security Council is concerned with resolving conflicts between member states and with helping sort out political and domestic turmoil.

Other states picked on Saturday for three-year terms were Kenya, Burundi and Equatorial Guinea.

Ben Kioko, the AU's legal counsel, said the trial of former Chadian ruler Hissene Habre would start in the next few months, once the AU and EU had sorted out a trial budget and issues ofprocedure. Habre faces charges of crimes against humanity.

The EU became involved after Belgium issued an international arrest warrant for Habre in 2005. The AU rejected Belgium's move to try him in Europe and the trial will take place in Senegal, where Habre is exiled.

Kioko also said a plan to merge the African Court of Human and People's Rights with the African Court of Justice, and to mandate the new entity to handle serious offences like war crimes, will be presented at the next summit of AU leaders in July.

"The African judicial organs should be able to deal with cases relating to unconstitutional changes of government, so that is also another axis we will be looking to confer jurisdiction upon the African court," said Kioko. - Reuters-Sapa-AFP

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