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Home Over ons Humanitair oorlogsrecht IHL competition Edition 2013 Background Case 2013

Background Case 2013

Background to the moot court case: The situation in the territory of Bax

State: The Republic of Bax (Bax)
Capital: Lax
Other major cities: Arena City, Castra, Flores, Poja, Portavido, Rai

Demography

Area
Total: 1,049,874 km²
Terrain: The northern part of Bax, through which the river Mustak streams, is a gently rolling terrain dominated by grass species. Contrastingly, in the arid southern provinces, the area is generally flat and the soils sandy, limiting their ability to retain water. A range of mountains runs from the southern border with Cizo into the provinces of Brest and Arena.
Natural resources:  Minerals (gem diamonds, gold, silver and base metals), safflower seeds.
Climate: Dry and desert-like in nature in the south: in some places, decades may pass without rain and temperatures can reach up to 45˚ C. In contrast, the north is home to a more humid climate with some excessively wet months.
Natural hazards:  Annual flooding of the northern parts of the country often causes not only damage to infrastructure but also loss of life. In the southern provinces of Arena and Brest, dust storms are common, especially during autumn.
 
Population: Total: 3,784,000
Male: 1,986,600
Female: 1,797,400
Ethnicity:  Archean (68 %), Fuzarian (28%), other (4%).
Religion:  Somnism (63%), Autua (26%), other (11%).
 
Location: The Republic of Bax is the most south-western Karelion state. Bax borders neighbouring country Nadu in the north; in the east, it shares a border with Cizo, and its long coastlines to the south and west border the Cyan Sea and the Greater Western Gulf.

Historical Overview

After the collapse of the Saadiyan Dynasty, Bax came under Chagatai rule during the subsequent period of colonisation. Several decades of relative political stability followed. However, in the late 19th Century, the Dry Desert Gold Rush created tensions between the Chagatai settlers and the native population, leading to the Nine Years’ War between Chagatai and the Baxians. Following this brutal conflict, Chagatai withdrew from Bax. Subsequently, the Republic of Bax declared independence on 5 January 1909. Ruled by President Quint Qataba of the Bax Liberty and Indepence Party (BLIP), the country was divided into seven provinces: Tulipa, Segol, Lax, Lida, Kantaro, Arena and Brest. A central government was installed in the capital, the city of Lax.
After only a few years of peace, Bax became involved in several border conflicts with neighbouring states Cizo and Nadu from the 1920s onwards. This resulted in the shifting back and forth of borderlines, mainly in the southern regions of Arena and Brest. In 1947, Cizo took control of these southern regions and declared them Cizo territory, instigating a mass-migration of Cizo inhabitants into the mineral rich province of Arena. Nevertheless, clashes between Baxian troops and the Cizo army continued. This came to a head in September 1969 during the Battle of Mehaksi. With the remnants of an exceptionally hot and dry summer to the backdrop, this battle was a particularly gruelling one, lasting over eight hours and resulting in over 2,500 troops killed and more than 7,000 wounded. Following this final clash, Cizo decided to put an end to the war and withdrew from Bax. Arena and Brest were again incorporated into Bax territory.
During the 1970s up into the beginning of the 21st Century, the Republic of Bax established itself as a prosperous nation. The mining industry flourished, especially under the rule of long-term President Piea Onomato of BLIP, which saw exponential increases in the export of gem diamonds. In office since 1984, President Onomato has been able to maintain a relative political stability, although an increase of disturbances in the province of Arena can be seen over the past decade.

Politics

The Republic of Bax is a representative democracy. The President is elected indirectly by the people through an electoral college. The Baxian Electoral College represents all 12 provinces: each province has its own elector which casts its vote according to the outcome of the popular vote in its province. Elections are held every four years, however, ever since independence, elections have not provided any surprises – the Bax Liberty and Independence Party (BLIP) has been in continuous power for over a hundred years. Currently, the head of state is President Piea Onomato, who has been in office since 1984: under Baxian law, there is no limit to the number of terms a head of state can serve.
In the beginning of the 21st Century, the divide between the different ethnical groups in Bax aggravated. The people of Arena Province – predominantly of a Fuzian background due to their historical link to Cizo – always felt distinct from the rest of the Bax population. Furthermore, the discrepancy in natural resources and prosperity between Arena Province and the northern rural provinces strengthened the call for local control over the trade in resources and exploitation of the land. Several secession parties advocating the right to self-determination became popular in Arena Province, however, none of these have been able to obtain more than one electoral vote in the Baxian Electoral College. In February and March 2012, following the outcome of the elections, activists started protests calling for an autonomous region of Arena, and uprisings spread from town to town in the province. These events were answered by violent suppression by the military police: several neighbourhoods, especially in Arena City, were shelled and raided. At the same time, the government tried to ease tensions by giving some autonomy to the regional governments – alas, to no avail. Recently, unrests spread into the rest of Bax and have become more violent through the involvement of the Army for an Autonomous Arena (AAA), made up of Fuzians. This movement was founded by Xena Gaborella in 2002. Its aim was declared in the pamphlet “ArenaProvince ruled by Arenians” as obtaining autonomous rule of Arena Province, and with that control over its resources – if needed by violence.

Economy

The majority of the Baxian population lives in the rural northern parts, mostly concentrated around the river Mustak and the coastlines of the Lida and Tulipa provinces. The southern provinces are largely inhabitable due to their arid nature – however, the mining industry has made Arena one of the most densely populated areas,
Bax is a low middle income country with an estimated annual GDP of 12,6 billion USD. Its main source of income is the mining industry. From mineral-rich Arena Province, large quantities of gem diamonds, gold, silver and base metals are exported, accounting for 87% of total export revenue in 2008. Cizo is one of the most important trade partners for minerals. The main means of existence in the northern provinces is agriculture. Most of the agricultural products grown here are used for the sustenance of the Baxian population: the dry and sandy southern provinces are reliant upon the food and fresh water produce from the north. Only a handful of products, such as safflower seeds, are exported. Due to severe floods in 2007, 2009 and 2010 however, export revenues of this product have severely decreased.

Humanitarian situation

Since the withdrawal of Cizo from the southern provinces in 1969, the Republic of Bax has been at peace with its neighbouring states. However, since February 2012, the humanitarian situation in the country has quickly deteriorated due to the unrest in the province of Arena. April 2012 was especially violent: an estimated 700 people were killed and many more were wounded. The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on 2 May 2012, calling for an end to the violence. Nevertheless, the UN Security Council has not been able to reach a decision on whether or not to intervene. In previous years the Security Council had pronounced itself multiple times on the situation in Bax, due to ethnic violence between Fuzians and Archeans and had remained seized of the matter. Unilateral initiatives have arisen: neighbouring state Cizo – by ethnicity seen as a state sympathetic to Arena Province – has called for a fair democratic separation, preferably by referendum. The Baxian government has however refused to acknowledge the referendum. On 20 June 2012, the day the referendum was supposed to be held, people took to the streets of Arena wearing red bandana’s and ribbons in support of the AAA, and attacks took place in several of Bax’ largest cities.

Military Organisation

Bax National Army:
The army is currently the largest branch of the Bax armed forces and consists of 43.000 combat-ready deployable ground troops. Army troops are deployed for a variety of tasks, for instance, border patrol. A special branch of the army is the military police. These heavily armed  forces are deployed in cases of large-scale unrests. This military police is heavily armed. Bax’ sophisticated arsenal includes tear gas, tactical ballistic missiles including Scud-B's, tanks, armoured personnel carriers, self-propelled artillery, multiple rocket launchers, M777 towed howitzers, mortars and anti-tank guided missiles (Hellfire).
 
Navy:
This is Bax’ second largest branch of the armed forces, with 22.000 personnel. Material includes destroyers, frigates, and minehunters. The Bax Marines is the land/amphibious attack force that is part of the Navy. This 5,200 man force combines special training and tactics with state of the art equipment, including: 20 HMMWV-vehicles and Mistral Manportable surface-to-air missiles.
 
Air force:
Consists of 6.100 personnel. Material includes military planes including UAVs  armed with Hellfire missiles, 52 F-16’s, utility helicopters, tactical transport, patrol aircraft. Like its neighbour Cizo it possesses both free-fall bombs as well as tactical guided ‘smart’ bombs.

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