Monitor for February 1 - 14, 2005
Tracking current news on genocide and items related to past and present ethnic, national, racial and religious violence.
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Mmegi.bw 2 Feb 2004 Vol.22 No.17 Editorial The world needs massacre safeguards Editor 2/2/2005 5:08:37 PM (GMT +2) The 176-page report of a United Nations commission investigating violence in the Darfur region of Sudan confirms what human rights activists and other concerned parties have been saying all along. The five member panel says in the report issued on Monday that though it cannot classify what occurred as genocide, it “should not be taken in any way as detracting from the gravity of the crimes perpetrated in that region,” and that “international offences such as crimes against humanity and war crimes that have been committed in Darfur may be no less serious and heinous than genocide”. The commission was appointed by UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan in October to determine whether genocide had occurred in Darfur, in western Sudan, where about 70,000 people have been killed and another 1.2 million driven from their land. It was also asked to determine how perpetrators should be punished, and it answered by saying it “strongly” recommended that the UN Security Council refer the Darfur crimes to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. It said that the kinds of mass crimes being committed in Darfur met the jurisdictional terms of the 1998 treaty creating the ICC. At this moment, it is of less importance to quibble over semantics. Whether, in the view of the commission, this constituted genocide or not is immaterial. The fact is a heinous crime has been committed against humanity, and that people, many of them children, have sustained scars that will last a lifetime. Their lives will never be the same again. The Darfur crisis is yet another scar of shame in humanity’s history, when we failed to save defenceless and innocent souls from the savagery that visits us time and again. It is not enough to make a declaration that “never again will there be another Darfur” because such pronouncements are often hollow. Ten years back, the world was promised that there would not be another Rwanda. As it turned out, the Darfur massacre called the bluff. What the world needs is a rapid response mechanism to deal with crises of this nature within the shortest time. Only then would citizens of the world go to bed every night in the comfort that - indeed - “it will never happen again”. .
IRIN 3 Feb 2005 Rebel group says yes to negotiations but rejects Zuma as mediator [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © SA Government BUJUMBURA, 3 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - Burundi's remaining active rebel group, the Forces nationales de liberation (FNL), said on Thursday it was ready for talks with the transitional government, on condition that South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma does not act as mediator. FNL spokesman Pasteur Habimana said Zuma, who is also the facilitator of Burundi's peace process under an initiative of the Great Lakes regional heads of state, had in the past rejected FNL's proposal to hold talks with the Burundian government. "Proposing to mediate between the government and the movement now seems, therefore, untimely," Habimana said. Instead, he said, the FNL preferred that the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to Burundi and head of the UN mission there, Carolyn McAskie, who made contact with the FNL in 2004, mediated in the proposed talks. "We did not choose her, she came to us on her own accord and we would like her to continue," Habimana said. At a news conference on Thursday in the Burundian capital, Bujumbura, McAskie did not rule out the possibility of the UN mediating between the FNL and the transitional government. She said the region had established a facilitator to oversee the peace process in Burundi but if the UN could bring its contribution to the process, "we are ready to play a role". The UN was in Burundi, she said, "to speed up the peace process". Regional heads of state had declared the FNL, led by Agathon Rwasa, a terrorist movement after it claimed responsibility for the killing of 160 Congolese refugees at a camp in Gatumba on 13 August 2004. On Wednesday, Jéremie Ngendakumana, the military spokesman of the Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie–Forces de defense de la democratie (CNDD–FDD) - formerly the largest rebel movement now turned political party - said on national television that negotiations with the FNL could not take place unless regional heads of state changed their position and stopped taking it as a terrorist movement. Nevertheless, McAskie said the door remained open for the FNL, if it showed a strong will in favour of negotiations. Habimana said only Burundian people could judge the movement's acts. Until late January, Rwasa's FNL had refused to negotiate with the Burundian government saying it would only do so with Tutsi leaders in government. However, the FNL maintains that a "social contract" between the country's three ethnic groups - the Hutu, Tutsi and the Twa - must first be established to end the various injustices committed in the country since independence from Belgium in 1962.
AFP 28 Jan 2005 UN report cites Ivory Coast leaders for atrocities PARIS, Jan 28 (AFP) - Leaders of both sides in divided Ivory Coast, among them President Laurent Gbagbo's influential wife Simone and rebel chief Guillaume Soro, are among 95 people suspected of serious human rights violations by the United Nations, French radio said Friday. Radio France Internationale (RFI) said the names of the 95 appeared as a secret appendix to a highly critical UN report on Ivory Coast revealed last month, adding that the compilers had recommended that they be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Soro is accused of carrying out summary executions, while Simone Gbagbo is said to have sponsored death squads headed by, among other people, the president's defence and security adviser Kadet Bertin, RFI said. Also reportedly on the list is Charles Ble Goude, leader of pro-Gbagbo militia known as Young Patriots, allegedly responsible for kidnappings, incitement to violence and racial hatred and disturbing public order. RFI said the list was drawn up by five investigators of the world body's human rights commission who spent two months in the West African country, and had recommended that the UN Security Council take up the matter with the ICC. The main 100-page UN report leaked last month outlined horrific examples of death squads, mass executions, torture and rape in Ivory Coast during the past two years and blamed both sides for the atrocities. It covered the period from a failed coup against Gbagbo in September 2002 up to October this year, shortly before the country was again rocked by violence, sparked by Ivorian air force bombing raids on rebel-held cities in the north. A still unspecified number of Ivorian civilians are reported to have been killed in the raids, along with nine French peacekeepers and a US aid worker, whose deaths in the last attack brought swift retaliation from France, which wiped out the tiny Ivory Coast air force. That in turn sparked hate attacks targeting mainly the French expatriate community in the former French west African colony, the world's leading cocoa producer, forcing some 8,000 to flee the country. In October 2002, after forces loyal to Gbagbo failed to recapture the rebel stronghold of Bouake from the rebels, 131 unarmed civilians, including children, were "coldly executed" by rebels who also led a deadly manhunt for anyone associated with the authorities, according to the report. In December that year, Ivorian forces killed 120 immigrant workers in cocoa and coffee plantations at Monoko-Zohi, while Liberian mercenaries working for the regime massacred 200 people in Bangolo. The report also cited cases of torture including a woman forced to drink blood and urine and a man who was forced to have sex with his mother. She was then killed, and he was ordered to drink her blood. Women of all ages, including children, were "used to assuage the bestial appetites of the combatants, some of whom were under the influence of drugs," it said. Ble Goude Friday denied suggestions by the Ivorian Human Rights Movement that Young Patriots had coordinated the anti-French demonstrations of last November, including arming protestors with machetes and clubs. The rights group's report Thursday conflicted with Gbagbo's claim that French peacekeeping forces had fired on and killed unarmed Ivorians. Ble Goude told AFP he had engaged British lawyers to take legal action against France "in the name of the victims."
Reuters 31 Jan 2005 Ivory Coast war crimes list to stay secret, says UN By Tom Ashby and Dino Mahtani ABUJA (Reuters) - The United Nations has drawn up a list of suspected war criminals in the Ivory Coast, but the world body will not publish it to avoid compromising expected court action, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Sunday. French radio RFI has reported that the 95-person list contained in a secret annex to a U.N. report on rights abuses, includes senior officials close to President Laurent Gbagbo and leading rebels. "There is a list, but it will not be published for one simple reason: if we are going to pursue the guilty in the courts and not compromise the situation, we will not publish the list," said Kofi Annan, in a press briefing during a summit of African Union in the Nigerian capital. Annan added that the names could come out anyway if prosecutors succeed bringing suspects to trial. Luis Moreno Ocampo, the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor, said in Johannesburg on Friday that he was sending a team to Ivory Coast to prepare for a possible investigation of crimes committed during its civil war. Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa grower, has been split in two since rebels hoping to oust President Laurent Gbagbo seized the north in the conflict that broke out in late 2002. Rights violations have ranged from rape to attacks on peaceful demonstrations to incitement to kill government foes. SHAKY PEACE Some 10,000 U.N. and French peacekeepers monitor a buffer zone separating the two sides under a peace agreement brokered by France in 2003. But the accord has yet to be fully implemented and South African President Thabo Mbeki is leading an African Union mediation effort to convince both sides to carry out their commitments. The African Union persuaded the United Nations to put off a vote on tightening the arms embargo on Ivory Coast for three days until Monday, so it could first consider Mbeki's report on the situation at the summit due to end on Monday. The proposed sanctions text would authorize French and U.N. peacekeepers in the West African nation to enforce the arms embargo by inspecting cargo shipments, as they see fit and without notice, at any port, airfield, military base or border crossing. It would also call on government and rebel forces to help the United Nations compile a list of all arms in the country, with an eye to eventual disarmament, and appoint a panel of experts to see if the embargo was being enforced. Annan said it was important that the northern rebels return to the government of national unity as a precursor to disarming and reintegrating rebel fighters. "What happens in Cote d'Ivoire does have an impact in the region and we do not want another regional conflict as we have in the Great Lakes," Annan said.
IRIN 3 Feb 2005 Unemployed and looking for a way to spend the day? Join the President's men 03 Feb 2005 16:21:07 GMT Source: IRIN ABIDJAN, 3 February (IRIN) - Jean Martial studied to become an accountant and Olivier trained as a mechanic. Neither ever found a job but neither readily admits to being unemployed. Instead both these Ivorian youths pronounce themselves to be 'Young Patriots'. They devote their time to the hard-line nationalist movement that supports President Laurent Gbagbo and describe their work as defending Cote d'Ivoire against France, the former colonial master, and against rebels occupying the north of the country. "I finished studying to be a mechanic in 2002. Then the rebels launched their attack in September and that's when I found my new calling," Olivier told IRIN at the Sorbonne, a leafy square in downtown Abidjan that is a magnet for soapbox politics. Olivier, like dozens of other youths milling about the square, is decked out in a T-shirt with "David versus Goliath" emblazoned on the front. For them the giant Goliath is France and they are weakly underdog David, trying to topple him with a simple slingshot. They have had some success. Mob riots in November, which many diplomats blamed on the Young Patriots, forced France to conduct the largest ever evacuation of its citizens from Africa in recent times. Almost 9,000 expatriates - most of them French - fled Abidjan as crowds of angry youths burned their schools and ransacked their homes. "France's imperialist rule is to blame for the unemployment," said Olivier, seemingly unaware that his favourite downtown hangout shares its name with the elite Parisian university. "I'm a bit ashamed to be 27 already and still without a salary," he admitted, explaining that he relied on his big brother, his extended family and his friends for financial support. "But I am a patriot, I go on the marches, I take part in the sit-ins. I have a job to do." Olivier faithfully trots out the Young Patriot mantra, extolling President Gbagbo and ranting against France. But occasionally his mask slips, raising questions about how much of what he says comes from his own convictions. For example, Olivier says that once the war is over he would like to do a computer course and work in Europe. Given that the only European language Olivier speaks is French, his most likely job market would be the country he presently regards as the enemy. But that doesn't seem to bother him. Eternal conundrum Youth employment in Cote d'Ivoire, as in most African countries, is very high and rising fast. According to government statistics, 23 percent of all males under the age of 25 were unemployed when the civil war began in 2002. Cote d'Ivoire's sophisticated economy, which was once the pride of West Africa, has taken a nosedive since then, leaving even more of the country's angry and frustrated youth, idle and without an honest income. Independent estimates are hard to come by, but experts at the forefront of efforts to prevent Cote d'Ivoire's fragile peace process from collapsing agree that high youth unemployment encourages violence and makes everything more complicated. "Clearly the large numbers of young people without much hope or opportunity has got to be a factor for instability," said Alan Doss, the United Nations' acting chief representative in Cote d'Ivoire. "Young people are more susceptible to violence when they are without opportunity or hope." "It's the eternal conundrum," Doss added. "You need peace to get stability, you need stability to get growth... to get jobs which in turn underpins peace." Last November offered a startling reminder of just how much repressed anger lies smouldering beneath the surface, waiting for the fuse to be lit. After 18 months of uneasy ceasefire, Gbagbo's air force bombed rebel positions in the north in preparation for a ground offensive. When French forces retaliated for the deaths of nine peacekeepers during the raids, by destroying most of the president's warplanes, the Young Patriots were called out onto the streets of Abidjan in force. Giving the order was Charles Ble-Goude, a university drop-out with a stubbly chin and a baseball cap permanently planted backwards on his head. He moves around town with armed bodyguards in military uniform and is said by diplomats to take his orders directly from the president's office. At his signal, tens of thousands of young Ivorians surrounded the main French military base near Abidjan airport and a hotel near the presidential palace. But thousands of others ran riot across the city, torching schools and trashing businesses belonging to Cote d'Ivoire's large French expatriate community. They also looted individual homes, sending nearly 9,000 expatriates scarpering home on hastily organised evacuation fights. All the Young Patriots interviewed by IRIN said they had nothing to do with the violence. They all pointed out that there was a mass break-out of 3,000 prisoners from Abidjan's main jail around the time. But the same youths nonetheless expressed satisfaction that the French position in Cote d'Ivoire had been weakened. Today street hawkers at the Sorbonne are doing a brisk trade in commemorative films about the November resistance. The movies include images of the headless corpse of a patriot draped in the Ivorian flag and show French helicopters firing canon shots to prevent a crowd of 50,000 Young Patriots charging across one of the key bridges spanning the city's lagoon to get to the airport. Expats take employment with them In this corner of Abidjan, there is scant mention of the thousands of jobs that disappeared with the expatriate businessmen as they left the country -- something diplomats worry will only exacerbate social and political tensions in this volatile nation of 16 million people. "With the departure of the French, there are fewer jobs now than there were a couple of months ago. It's a food chain and when you break the first link... that adds pressure," one Western diplomat in Abidjan told IRIN. Despite Gbagbo's enthusiasm to bring in new foreign investors from places such as China and the United States to dilute France's control of much of the economy, few are likely to rush in and fill the void given the political deadlock and the deteriorating infrastructure. "How can we hope to attract foreign investment, essential for creating the jobs that so many millions of West African youths desperately need, if some of our leaders continue to pursue the logic of war and vendetta year after year?" lamented Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN Special Representative for West Africa after November's fighting. But some youths, like once-aspiring accountant Jean-Martial, see other options. Like many Young Patriots, Jean-Martial denies receiving any payment for his current allegiance to the president. But he is hoping to cash in once peace returns. "I help run one of the Young Patriot forums, working for the party in power. So I hope that when things return to normal, I might be compensated for my efforts," he told IRIN in a cafe in the suburb of Koumassi. "Because they know we have been fighting for our country, we young people could be favoured." The Ivorian government says the economy, which is heavily dependent on cocoa and coffee exports, registered zero growth in 2004, but independent economists think it contracted sharply. With no concrete progress towards peace and the flare-ups getting increasingly violent, aid workers, diplomats and UN officials worry that the militia-style Young Patriots may start to spiral out of control. Nothing to do, nothing to go back to "There's a lot of unemployed people who have nothing to do. We're not talking about disciplined military movements, these are just young crowds," the Western diplomat said. Indeed one resident in Abidjan described how groups of young of men, who used to loiter outside his apartment block, suddenly jumped on the Young Patriot bandwagon during the crisis in November, not for ideological reasons, but more to have something to do. "When it's time for these youths to go home they have nothing to go back to," the Western diplomat said. "The danger is that the situation begins to deteriorate and so they begin to take on a life of their own." It is a worry that is even shared by certain militia leaders, according to one humanitarian worker in the town of Guiglo, an epicentre of ethnic clashes in Cote d'Ivoire's "Wild West." He told the story of one local militia leader who journeyed to Abidjan to try to register his small group with the disarmament commission. "He was frightened that if peace came, he wouldn't have the money to pay his young guns and they might then become a lethal force," the aid worker said. "He wanted the disarmament commission to take charge of ridding them of their weapons and sweeping up the problem." Although they have yet to swing into action, the UN disarmament plans provide for each demobilised fighter to receive a cash grant of US$900, big money in a country where half the inhabitants live on less than two dollars per day Looking around the West African region, there are troubling precedents for Cote d'Ivoire. In Liberia where drugged-up youths brought terror and bloodbaths to the streets during 14 years of civil war, the UN estimates that 85 percent of the population is unemployed. Even now, 18 months after the conflict ended, there are still legions of young men who have only known life as a combatant and who are struggling to adjust to peace. In Sierra Leone, whose decade-long civil war ended three years ago, the situation is little better. Thousands of demobilised fighters who once hacked off the limbs, lips and ears of innocent civilians still have no other useful occupation to turn to. Doss, who worked for the UN in Sierra Leone before moving to Cote d'Ivoire, is only too aware of where the downward spiral leads. "Dreadful things were done in Sierra Leone, far worse than thank god we've seen so far in this country," he said in his Abidjan office. "And I think that is one very important lesson -- when violence takes hold, you can never control it."
IRIN 2 Feb 2005 Civil war provokes ethnic conflict in southern cocoa villages 02 Feb 2005 18:31:10 GMT Source: IRIN SULEYMANKRO, 2 February (IRIN) - During the day, the unpaved roads connecting dozens of villages in this cocoa-growing region of southern Cote d'Ivoire are full of farmers and cocoa buyers. But at night, when the red dust has settled and the roads are deserted, the self defence committees come out to stand guard. It is noon in the village of Suleymankro when a cocoa buyer arrives in a small white truck to pick up several sacks of cocoa and coffee beans. The village is named after the local chief, Suleymane, who emigrated from Burkina Faso as a young man in the late 1970s. As his hair turned grey and his hands callous from cocoa harvesting, the village population grew to 250 inhabitants. More migrants arrived from Burkina Faso to carve out farms in the surrounding bush and having settled, they produced families. Most of the village's inhabitants today are young farmers who were born in Suleymankro, but they do not consider themselves Ivorian. Almost all of them carry Burkinabe identity cards. They never bothered to apply for Ivorian citizenship - there was no need to. The young cocoa buyer, whose name is Simplice, is Bete. He hails from the same ethnic group as President Laurent Gbagbo. But Suleymankro is a Burkinabe settlement carved out of the Bete heartland. This is a region renowned for its forests, fertile soil, and abundant cocoa crops. "These people are like my family," Simplice said, drinking well water from a mug one of the women offered him as a welcome gesture. "I have known them since I was a child." The 'land of hospitality' Suleymankro is a microcosm of the cocoa belt, a region where so many different ethnic groups and nationalities live together that political leaders once proudly nicknamed Côte d'Ivoire the 'land of hospitality'. For decades, the indigenous Bete people welcomed migrants from less fertile regions of northern Côte d'Ivoire and immigrants from Burkina Faso and Mali to cultivate the land alongside them. But the settlers' welcome wore out as cocoa prices fell and unused land grew sparse. During the 1990s, nationalist politicians began to promote the notion of "Ivoirite" - Ivorian national identity - from which the immigrants and their descendents were excluded. However, violent clashes between the two communities only began in September 2002 when rebels from northern Côte d'Ivoire tried to overthrow president Laurent Gbagbo in a coup d'état that presidential supporters say was sponsored by Burkina Faso. The coup failed, but Cote d'Ivoire plunged into civil war. The country ended up split into a rebel-controlled north and a government-controlled south, with French and UN peacekeeping troops patrolling a buffer zone in between. Since the conflict erupted two and a half years ago, angry Bete villagers have driven hundreds of settlers off their farms, accusing them of being a fifth column, sympathetic towards the rebels if not openly collaborating with them. However, many residents of Suleymankro believe that the expulsions have little to do with politics or ethnicity. They say that the indigenous population is primarily interested in easy money. "Whenever there is cocoa, there is trouble" One Burkinabe farmhand pointed out that the expulsions always took place at the eve of the cocoa harvest. "Whenever there is cocoa, there is trouble," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "The villagers take back their land because they want to sell the cocoa themselves." Other people think that following rapid population growth there just aren't enough farms to go around any more. "It's a land problem," said a Lebanese businessman who works in the cocoa industry. "The Bete are good people, but they are too hospitable. A Bete will share a chicken with you even if he hasn't had chicken for five months." Whatever the case, if the civil war has not entirely destroyed the tightly-knit social fabric that helped spawn Cote d'Ivoire's wealth, it has certainly damaged it badly. In December, things got horribly out of hand in Bete country, which is centred on the town of Gagnoa, 290 km west of Abidjan. In the nearby village of Siegouekou, shortly after midnight, 11 men, women and children were killed by a gang of murderers. All the victims were Bete. The attack is widely believed to be an act of revenge by settlers of the Senoufo ethnic group who several weeks earlier had been chased from their plantations. Youths in the nearest large town of Ouragahio did not wait for proof to carry out a reprisal attack. That same night, several hours later, in a neighbourhood inhabited mainly by expelled farmers, seven so-called northerners were hacked to death. Guillaume Soro, the leader of the New Forces rebel movement, is a Senoufo so there was no mercy shown. The wrong identity "My truck driver and his apprentice were stopped by Bete youths," the Lebanese businessman told IRIN. "My truck driver belonged to the 'right' ethnic group so they let him go. But the apprentice happened to be a northerner, so they dragged the poor kid out of the car and killed him with a machete." The attack on Siegouekou was the second on a Bete village in the space of nine months. In March 2004, 12 people in the mainly Bete village of Broudoume were shot dead in their sleep by raiders armed with hunting guns. After both incidents, authorities reacted swiftly, dispatching soldiers and police to the area to prevent a further built-up of ethnic tension. But the recurrent tit-for-tat killings remain a sensitive subject that most residents, no matter what their background, are loath to discuss. It is as if they are afraid to conjure up evil just by talking about it. And besides, you never know who is listening in on the conversation. "Everything is okay now," they say. "There is no problem." The local police chief would not give IRIN permission to visit Siegouekou, where the latest massacre took place. "There is nothing to see," he said. "There is no need to poke around." But district official Marc Gbaka, a prominent Bete leader, said the situation there remained tense. He said there could be no real reconciliation between the locals and incomers until the rebels in the north disarm. "The village chiefs of Siegouekou and Broudoume will not hold ceremonies or ritual sacrifices until the end of the war," he told IRIN. "It means that there is no reconciliation." Machetes and arrows Gbaka said that at least 100 of 165 villages in the region had set up 'self-defence committees' to ward off possible attacks. "They consist of young men armed with machetes and arrows and so on who guard their village at night," he said. "We don't have enough military to protect every single village, but this way at least the villagers can sleep at night." However, Gbaka was evasive about the expulsion of Burkinabe farmers and other settlers from their homes, saying simply that this phenomenon was "not an issue." The Bete leader said he was convinced that the attacks on Broudoume and Siegouekou had been carried out by agents provocateurs who want to spark a series of ethnic killings in the region which in turn would fuel the civil war. He accused the rebels of being behind both incidents. "Really, the settlers and the foreigners are innocent, they are just simple farmers," Gbaka said. "That's why we won't allow the fighting." A young Burkinabe farmer in the settlers' village of Suleymankro told IRIN that he did not feel concerned by the attacks. "So far, it's been between the Senoufo and the Bete. They are all Ivorians. It's just a revenge issue," he said. But he smiled when asked if he was worried about expulsions. "We're not leaving," he said. "Where should I go? I was born in this country. And anyway, we northerners are a majority. They can never drive us all out."
IRIN `0 Feb 2005 UN worries about security in Abidjan, calls for militias to be disarmed [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © IRIN GPP militia men - the United Nations wants them to be disarmed ABIDJAN, 10 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - The UN peacekeeping mission in Cote d'Ivoire has expressed concern about the security situation in Abidjan and other towns and has called on the government to disarm militia bands and other armed groups operating there immediately. "The United Nations Operation in Coted d'Ivoire (ONUCI) has expressed its concern over the security situation," ONUCI said in a statement on Wednesday night. "The positive effects of... mixed patrols in conjunction with the Ivorian Defence Forces... are being jeopardized by the activities of these armed groups and militias in certain areas." Citing "an increased level of criminal activities," "ONUCI launched "an urgent appeal to the Ivorian authorities to take action to disarm and dismantle these groups without delay." Last week two people died and several were injured when the the Patriotic Grouping for Peace (GPP), a uniformed militia group that supports President Laurent Gbagbo, staged a 15-minute gunfight with police in the Abidjan suburb of Adjame in broad daylight. And this week, residents' nerves were rattled by the attempted murder of Daniel Brechat, a French businessman, who chairs an association of small businesses in Cote d'Ivoire. Men dressed in military camouflage shot Brechat in the stomach in Abidjan last Tuesday and left him for dead, one of the businessman's associates told IRIN. Brechat was currently being treated at the main French military base in the city, they added. The French businessman, a long-time resident of Cote d'Ivoire, had publicly criticised the government for failing to intervene when mobs rampaged through central Abidjan in November looting and torching French homes, schools and businesses. The government has since promised compensation. But it is ordinary Ivorians who suffer hardest from the worsening security. Residents in Adjame have long accused the GPP, who occupied a local school last August and turned into a training camp, of extortion and bullying. Last month, the militia group clashed with local taxi drivers and traders. The two sides through stones at each other. But things got out of hand on 3 February when the GPP picked a quarrel with cadets from the nearby police academy. Hundreds of young men ended up trading automatic weapons fire in the street. Colonel Philippe Mangou, the chief of staff of the armed forces was called to the scene to help restore peace. But on Thursday , he dismissed security concerns about the GPP, which accuses most Adjame residents of supporting the rebel movement that occupies the north of Cote d'Ivoire. "The GPP are not armed," Mangou told reporters as he repeatedly dismissed questions about last week's shoot-out. "They are real Ivorians who are aware of the danger that is hovering over our country," Mangou said. "I have been to their camp and I can confirm that I have not seen any weapons there." A correspondent for IRIN was caught in the thick of last week's gunfight and saw men on both sides firing automatic rifles. Mangou countered by outlining demands of his own, saying he wanted notification before any international peacekeepers searched military cargoes. The UN Security Council, which is trying to prevent Cote d'Ivoire sliding back into civil war, tightened its arms embargo against the West African country last month. It gave more than 10,000 UN and French peacekeepers patrolling a fragile ceasefire in Cote d'Ivoire the authority to carry search military installations without advance warning. "We are going to sit down with the peacekeeping forces to discuss how the resolution is going to be applied," Mangou said. "But we have asked to be notified first." He also said the Ivorian government was forging ahead with plans to repair fighter bombers and helicopter gunships which were damaged by French peacekeepers during a latest flare-up in hostilities three months ago. France crippled most of Ivory Coast's air force on the ground after nine of its peacekeepers died during a government bombing raid on the rebel capital Bouake in early November. Last month, the UN authorized the army to transfer three damaged jets and a Mi-24 helicopter gunship to the main city Abidjan and park them at the airport under UN supervision. Two severely damaged planes have still to be moved by road from the political capital Yamoussoukro, but two others were ostentatiously flown to Abidjan late January. The move sparked fears among residents that hostilities would resume. The United Nations rowed back on initial public statements that it had given the green light for the warplanes to be repaired and France said that it would not allow the damaged aircraft to be restored to flying condition. Despite these warnings, Mangou said categorically on Thursday: "We are going to repair the aircraft. Nobody can stop us from repairing our planes." However, he added, "It is not our aim to launch another offensive." A spokesman for ONUCI declined to comment on his remarks. Mangou also attempted to quash speculation about the fate of his predecessor as head of the government's armed forces, General Mathias Doue. Mangou said he was in hospital receiving treatment for high blood pressure. Doue was sacked in November after French military intervention stopped the government offensive in its tracks. Diplomats believe the military push was organised by Mangou on the authority of the president without Doue's direct involvement. Doue, who had never got on well with Gbagbo, disappeared from public view immediately after he was dismissed. Local newspapers have speculated that the general has gone into hiding because he fears for his life and that several officers close to him have fled the country. But Mangou denied this, saying Doue was still receiving treatment in an un-named hospital. "He is not very well, he is resting," he said. The other officers who had disappeared from public view "are in the country and have been in touch with the Defence Ministry," Mangou added.
AP 29 Jan 2004 Militia kill 16, kidnap 34 girls in Congo KINSHASA, Congo (AP) - Militiamen armed with guns and machetes killed 16 people and kidnapped at least 34 girls in attacks this week on a remote area of eastern Congo, a UN spokesman said Saturday. Two platoons of UN peacekeepers arrived in the remote area by helicopter early Saturday to protect the population from further violence, UN spokesman Christophe Boulierarch said by telephone from Bunia, capital of Ituri province. Bunia is 65 kilometres south of Che, an area that has been attacked several times since Jan. 19. Earlier this week, aid workers with the group German Agro Action reported seeing burning houses and residents streaming out of Che as it was under attack. Boulierarch cited witnesses saying 34 girls had been kidnapped from Che and two others were missing. Residents told the UN that 15 people were murdered by armed Lendu militiamen. Boulierarch said he saw the body of another old man along the road outside town who had been shot once in the head. Ituri has long been the scene of savage fighting between Lendu and Hema militias. Since 1999, fighting in Ituri has killed more than 50,000 and forced 500,000 to flee their homes, UN officials and human rights groups say. The Ituri conflict was part of a larger, five-year, six-country war in Congo that killed nearly four million people, mostly through starvation and disease. The 1998-2002 war ended with the creation of a transitional government in 2003 that has struggled to extend its authority to the vast country's often lawless east. During the war, both neighbouring Uganda and Rwanda armed the Hema and Lendu militias, mainly to wrest control of the mineral-rich territory. The two sides eventually turned on one another.
Residents of burnt out village begin to return [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] KINSHASA, 1 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - Some 2,500 half-naked people have so far returned to their ruined homes, one week after militias burnt down the village of She in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the spokeswoman for the UN peacekeeping mission in the area, Rachel Eklou, said on Tuesday. "MONUC arrived in the village on Saturday and stayed there until Sunday, and its presence is what encouraged the first group of 120 villagers to come out of hiding," Eklou said. The deployment of UN troops has enabled humanitarian actors to enter She, 60 km northeast of Bunia, the main town in Ituri District, Orientale Province. One humanitarian body, German Agro Action, delivered food rations to the returnees on Tuesday, and MONUC has been using helicopters to provide clean drinking water. The interim coordinator of German Agro Action, Rudi Sterz, told IRIN on Friday that armed militias, who have been fighting each other in the area since December 2004, set fire to She residents, most of whom are of the Hema ethnic group. Hema witnesses told MONUC that the rival Lendu militia had attacked their village, and presented MONUC with a list of 15 people they said were killed during the attack. Some 30 others are missing, presumably taken hostage by the attackers. Eklou said the village had been attacked repeatedly for several months now. MONUC is investigating the circumstances surrounding the attack and who is responsible. The l'Union des patriotes congolais militia group, headed by Thomas Lubanga, and the Front des nationalistes integrationnistes, have accused each other.
AFP 2 Feb 2005 Rwandan rebels warn of resistance to planned AU disarmament force NAIROBI, Feb 2 (AFP) - A Rwandan Hutu rebel group accused of a prominent role in the country's 1994 genocide warned the African Union (AU) on Wednesday that it would forcefully resist plans to disarm its members in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) said it was prepared for dialogue but was "shocked" by the disarmament plan and told the African Union to prepare for "the consequences of this barbaric act." "Those who prefer disarmament to dialogue should be ready for the consequences of this barbaric act," FDLR spokesman Anastase Munyandekwe said in a statement. "The FDLR warns those who are planning this forceful disarmament (that its) members are not ready to be massacred like in 1997 in the jungles of the then-Zaire," he said. Munyandekwe maintained that the Rwandan army had then murdered more than 200,000 Rwandan refuges in what is now the DRC with the support of the international community. Wednesday's stern warning was issued after African Union leaders at a summit earlier this week in Abuja endorsed a plan to send peacekeepers to the eastern DRC in a bid to quell escalating regional tensions. The force is to be tasked with disarming mainly ethnic Hutu rebels who fled to the region from neighboring Rwanda after taking part in the genocide in which at least 800,000 people, mainly Tutsis, were slaughtered. Munyandekwe, however, rejected the assumption that the FDLR had been involved in massacres and said the group was "profoundly shocked" by moves "to forcefully disarm its members who are falsely accused of genocide." The presence of the rebels in the eastern DRC has caused major instability in the African Great Lakes region with Kigali accusing Kinshasa and the UN force in the country of failing to control the insurgents. Rwanda has threatened to send troops into the eastern DRC to crack down on the rebels while DRC officials have accused Kigali of using the FDLR's presence as a pretext to make incursions in the vast central African nation.
BBC 3 Feb 2005 DR Congo re-erects Belgian statue Millions died during King Leopold II's rule A statue of former Belgian colonial king Leopold II has been re-erected in the centre of the Democratic Republic of Congo capital, Kinshasa. The 6m high statue is still dirty after spending 40 years in an open-air dump, after being taken down in 1967. Culture Minister Christoph Muzungu said he wanted DR Congo's history revived. Leopold II set up the Congo Free State in 1885 as his personal possession and left arguably the worst legacy of all the European colonial regimes. Former BBC Kinshasa correspondent Mark Dummett says King Leopold II turned the country into a massive labour camp, made a fortune for himself from the harvest of its wild rubber, and contributed in a large way to the death of perhaps 10 million innocent people. Past In front of the statue outside the central station, one man told the BBC: "He left us in poverty. He exploited our raw materials and left us with nothing." Another said: "It's important for us to remember our past, like the Jewish people remember the Holocaust." Former President Mobutu Sese Seko had the statue removed in 1967, saying it was a constant and unwelcome reminder of colonial rule. Mr Muzungu said people should not just see the negative side of the king - they should also look at the positive aspects.
washingtonpost.com 20 Feb 2005 Rwanda's Tormentors Emerge From the Forest to Haunt Congo Hutu Guerrillas Find New Victims By Craig Timberg Washington Post Foreign Service Thursday, February 10, 2005; Page A20 KIWANJA, Congo -- Julienne Kyakimwa, 34, was picking beans in her family garden when a man emerged suddenly from the jungle with a gun in his hand, a machete on his belt and a menacing look in his eye. The wild-looking man spoke in Kinyarwanda -- the language of terror to many people here -- as he roughly demanded she turn over the beans. According to Kyakimwa's husband, Alfajiri Kaposo, the attacker and an accomplice -- most likely ethnic Hutus, originally from neighboring Rwanda -- slashed her across the face and arms and left her for dead under a pile of branches before fleeing back into the dense equatorial forest. "The big problem here is people with guns," Kaposo, 38, said just after visiting his wife in a hospital, where she was recovering from her wounds. "I don't feel safe." A decade after the genocide in Rwanda, as many as 15,000 Hutu guerrillas are still hiding in the forests of eastern Congo, according to U.N. peacekeepers. Remnants of the militias and security forces that carried out the mass slaughter of Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 1994 and fled across the border live off the fertile land, steal from villages and wait for the next opportunity to attack Rwanda. In places such as Kiwanja, a village in North Kivu province 10 miles west of the border, their presence, along with a volatile mix of Congolese soldiers and local militia groups, has kept the border region embroiled in war or on the verge of it for more than a decade. As local inhabitants describe it, the people with guns are repeatedly attacking civilians, raping women and looting supplies. The most feared and mysterious of the groups is the Interahamwe, the Hutu militia from Rwanda whose name means "those who fight together." "They have two names: Interahamwe and bandits," said Nyota Ndivito, 16, holding her 4-month-old daughter on her hip. She recounted how three uniformed men emerged from the forest in November and stabbed her brother to death. Asked how she knew the attackers were Interahamwe, she clicked her tongue impatiently. "They are the same," she said. But the Interahamwe are more than just marauding gangs. According to local and foreign analysts, they are the key to a puzzle of tribal and territorial conflicts that nobody has found a way to resolve. During the Rwandan genocide, the Interahamwe led the killing of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. The slaughter ended when a Tutsi-led rebel force took control of the government and the Interahamwe fled into eastern Congo, entrenching themselves mostly in the large border provinces of North and South Kivu. They have been there ever since, bolstered by members of Rwanda's former Hutu-led military and evading repeated incursions by the current, Tutsi-led Rwandan armed forces, who seek to destroy them. Congo's two most recent wars began as attempts by Rwanda to eliminate the Interahamwe. According to groups that monitor them, the Hutus have survived by cultivating land, raiding villages and trading with the Congolese. Over the years, some Interahamwe have married Congolese women, recruited Congolese youths and, in remote areas, revived some of the functions of a withered state bureaucracy by collecting taxes and controlling river crossings. Although many members act more like brigands than soldiers, analysts said they remain a well-armed fighting force united by a political cause: driving out Rwanda's Tutsi-led government. Yet their presence also has kept much of the population in fear -- not only of the violent Interahamwe but of further cross-border attacks by Rwanda. As a result, the Congolese government maintains a heavy military presence near the border -- adding more men with guns to the volatile mix. There are also reports that Congo has helped arm the Interahamwe to provide a first line of defense against Rwanda. The cross-border attacks developed into full-scale war in 1996 and 1998, leaving bitter memories of slaughter, rape and flight. In November, Rwanda again threatened to send troops to finish off the Hutu militants. And in December, two factions of the Congolese military, cobbled together from pro- and anti-Rwanda militias, began fighting each other in North Kivu, driving more than 100,000 people from their homes. Only the intervention of U.N. peacekeepers ended that battle. "As long as there is Interahamwe, there is always a threat from Rwanda, and as long as there is a threat, there is fear," said Hans Romkema, a consultant in Amsterdam who spent three years in Congo dealing with Hutu militants on behalf of aid groups. Other analysts said Rwanda had used the Interahamwe as a pretext for maintaining a powerful military that also protects its extensive commercial interests in mineral-rich Congo. The continuing turmoil is threatening Congo's plans to hold national elections in June, a crucial element of the 2002 peace accord that ended Congo's last war. When the head of the electoral commission suggested several weeks ago that the vote might have to be delayed, riots erupted in Kinshasa, the capital. A decade of living with violence has taken a physical toll on this lush region. The paved road leading into Kiwanja has crumbled into a rutted dirt track, and a nearby tourist attraction, Virunga National Park, has lost most of its elephants, lions and other wildlife to hungry Hutu poachers. Nowadays, the U.N. force camped in an adjacent town advises against traveling through the park without armed escort. In addition to aging militiamen, the region's forests contain younger Hutu fighters who did not participate in the Rwandan atrocities or were recruited into the Interahamwe from Congo. Thousands of women and children are also among the nearly 30,000 people that the United Nations estimates are members of the jungle militia. In April, the United Nations began a voluntary disarmament program that has attracted 60 to 90 Interahamwe a month. Their guns are handed in and destroyed, and the men are turned over to a Rwandan reeducation camp before being sent to their home villages. "Most of the low ranks, they want to go back," said Maj. Christian Vera, a U.N. official from Uruguay who is involved in the demobilization. He was interviewed in Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu. "They are tired of living in the bush, eating whatever they can find. They want to find their families and live in their own country." But many Interahamwe, especially senior members, could be prosecuted for murder if they return to Rwanda. As a result, many residents of eastern Congo are convinced the Interahamwe will leave only if they are forced out. Justin Atongwe, a Congo government environmental official who lives in Kiwanja, expressed little hope that the Interahamwe or the other militiamen would leave any time soon. If he had the money, he said, he would move away. In 1998, Atongwe recounted, he was traveling on a road south of town when a group of 20 armed men with disheveled clothes and overgrown beards emerged from the forest. "They looked like animals, like somebody who lives in the bush," he recalled. The men stole his clothes, shoes, luggage and $30 in cash. That was nearly seven years ago, but little has changed, Atongwe said, laughing softly and looking at the ground. "In North Kivu," he said, "the war is still there."
IRIN 3 Feb 2005 Punish those responsible for Gambella violence, US urges [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © IRIN/Anthony Mitchell Ambassador Aurelia Brazeal ADDIS ABABA, 3 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - The US on Tuesday called on Ethiopia to punish those responsible for violence in its western Gambella region that claimed hundreds of lives last year. However, Ethiopian government spokesman Zemedkun Teckle told IRIN Ethiopia was committed to bringing those involved in the killings to justice. "The government is bringing people to court," he said. "It has taken great steps to bring people to justice, even if they are in the government, police or military, wherever they are." US Ambassador Aurelia Brazeal said in a statement that if the perpetrators of the killings were not tried, that would only incite new violence in the region. "As promised by the Ethiopian government, it is important that all those involved in the outbreak of ethnic strife in the region in December 2003 and early 2004 should be brought to justice, including those in the government, police, or military," she said. "Doing so would discourage renewed violence and restore confidence." Hundreds of people where killed and thousands displaced from their homes after clashes in the region, some 800 km west of the capital, Addis Ababa, between December 2003 and early 2004. The ambassador, whose comments came after a visit to the region, also called for greater protection of human rights by the security services in Gambella. She said the region, which is rich in oil and gold reserves, was "the conscience of Ethiopia". Gambella’s population of 228,000 is multi-ethnic. In addition to people from the Nuer, Anyuak, Majanger, Komo and Opo ethnic groups, it includes an estimated 60,000 people from other parts of Ethiopia, who are known locally as highlanders. Tensions had been simmering since eight government officials were killed in an ambush. The Anyuak ethnic group was blamed and dozens killed in reprisal attacks. Fighting then spilled over into refugee camps while 196 workers at a gold mine in the region were killed in an attack. The government has rejected claims by opposition and human rights groups that more than 1,000 people were killed in the several months of unrest. Opposition political groups claimed educated Anyuaks had been targeted in reprisal killings that followed the ambush. The government also dismissed claims that the army was behind widespread abuses, although a commission of inquiry set up to probe the incident reported that four army members were involved in the killing of 13 people. Ethiopia’s former Minister of State for Federal Affairs, Gebre-Ab Barnabas, made a rare apology for the government’s late response in trying to prevent the massacre. It added that the federal police were training a new force for the region. Last month, the Gambella State Police Commission said it had fired 32 police officers allegedly linked to the violence.
AP 31 Jan 2005 Maasai herdsmen attack ethnic rivals 1,500 farmers flee after attack kills 1, wounds 5 NTULELE, Kenya (AP) -- Dozens of Maasai herdsmen attacked ethnic Kikuyu farmers using spears, machetes, bows and arrows southwest of the Kenyan capital, killing one person and wounding five others, officials said Monday. The late Sunday attack was triggered by clashes between members of the two communities that occurred last week northwest of the capital, Nairobi, said Police Superintendent Jaspher Ombati. On Monday, at least 1,500 Kikuyus and members of other tribes fled their homes and farms in the area that the Maasai consider as their ancestral home, said District Commissioner John Egefa. Some 50 Maasai warriors, clad in traditional red robes, attacked the Kikuyu farmers who were walking home after a day's work in their fields near the Nairegi-Enkari trading center, some 110 kilometers (68 miles) southwest of Nairobi, Egefa said. Schools and businesses remained closed Monday as tensions rose in the area after the surprise attack. "What I can tell you is that there is anxiety in the area. ... There were no signs of provocation before the attack," Ombati said. "Our senior officers have gone to the ground. We are beefing up our presence and patrols in the entire area now." At least 16 people were killed in clashes last weekend between Maasai and Kikuyu tribesmen over scarce water in Mai Mahiu, about 60 kilometers (40 miles) northwest of Nairobi. In a separate conflict last week, hundreds of people fled their homes and farms in the western district of Trans Nzoia after Pokot herdsmen attacked a farm owned by a Luhya tribesman in a simmering two-month-old tribal dispute over scarce pasture and water. Police and army reinforcements arrived in the area Friday to prevent further attacks. Local officials have said that Pokot tribesmen have killed at least 18 people since November in attacks on Luhya farmers. Some 500 people who fled their homes remain in two makeshift camps on the grounds of a Roman Catholic church and a satellite earth station. The victims say they would only return to their homes after the government guarantees their security.
This Day (Lagos) 28 Jan 2005 3 Killed in Communal Violence in Rivers By Donald Andoor Port Harourt Co fewer than three persons were feared killed in Ula-Upata, the ancestral home of Upata people of Ekpeye communities in Ahoada East Local Government area of Rivers State when some armed youths attacked those who were attending a meeting of Upata National Assembly. Rivers State Police command has confirmed the killings but claimed it was suspected to have been carried out by "Ekpeye Peace Vanguard." The command said it has already launched intensive investigetions to unravel those that were remotely or directly connected with the incident. The incident, which has generated so much tension in the area, has degenerated into accusations and counter- accusations by the two paramount rurers in the area. While Eze Igbu-Upata II, Eze C. C. Nwuche has raised an alarm that his life was in danger as some people were planning to assassinate him, Eze Ekpeye Logbo of Ekpeye land, Robinson O. Robinson, is accusing Nwuche to have disregarded the police order banning the said meeting. Nwuche, who called on the police to thoroughly investigate the circumstances leading to the killing of the three persons, explained that "Ekpeye Peace Vanguard" had earlier attempted to kill him while on his way to attend the meeting. "Even when the youths attacked us at the meeting, it was God that saved my life because I was already sitting down when the sound of gunshots broke out and the youths started breaking chairs and cannopies. It was God that made my ascape possible," he explained. He denied any knowledge of organising youths to disrupt the meeting, saying "why should I want to destroy the house that I laid the blocks to build. And why should a organise people to dirupt a meeing I called with my council of chiefs and was in attendance?" On the other hand, Robinson in a statement, accused Nwuche of convenning the meeting and inviting the "Sceptre (Owhor) holders from the 21 communities to invoke terrible curses on his perceived enemies." He said the youths in a bid to stop the meeing went and complained to the police but after he (Robinson) was assured the meeting would be well conducted he agreed that it should go on only for him to hear of the horrifying incident later. The Police Public Ralations Officer, Mrs. Ireju Barasua, in a statement, said all the chiefs of of the community as well as Ekpeye Peace Vanguard have been invited for interrogation and appealed to the people of the area to remain calm
IRIN 4 Feb 2005 Soldiers kill four protesters at oil terminal, activists say [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © IRIN A typical Chevrontexaco facility in the Niger Delta WARRI, 4 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - Nigerian troops on Friday shot and killed four villagers who were protesting at the main export terminal run by ChevronTexaco in the Niger Delta, one of the demonstration's organisers said. More than 200 protesters from the village of Ugborodo near Warri stormed the Escravos plant just before dawn to demand a fairer share of the 300,000 barrels of crude oil that are pumped out every day. "Soldiers shot at them, killing four and injuring three others," Helen Joe, one of the activists' leaders, told IRIN by phone. ChevronTexaco's Nigerian subsidiary said in a statement that its Escravos facilities had been "forcibly entered" and they had reported the incident to the security forces "who have since contained it." The company declined to give further details and did not confirm the deaths or the injuries. The ethnic Itsekiri villagers from Ugborodo accuse ChevronTexaco of reneging on promises of amenities and jobs that were made in the wake of a similar protest in July 2002. During that protest, disgruntled locals camped out at the terminal, stopping oil exports for 10 days. "Whatever they promised they never fulfilled, that's why the community is very angry," said Helen Joe. Oil operations in the 70,000 sq km Niger Delta, which accounts for nearly all of Nigeria's daily oil exports of 2.5 million barrels, have increasingly become the target of attacks. Since the July 2002 protest, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has deployed thousands of troops to guard vital oil facilities, which are classed as assets vital to economic security. More than 90 percent of oil production in Nigeria is generated by joint ventures with international oil companies in which the government has the majority stake. The government has a 60 percent stake in ChevronTexaco holdings in Nigeria, the third biggest operator in the country. Similar joint ventures are run with Royal Dutch/Shell, ExxonMobil, Total and Agip. Since 1970, the country has earned US$320 billion from oil sucked out of the Niger Delta, but its seven million residents are among the poorest in Nigeria. In the face of mismanagement of oil wealth by a succession of Nigerian regimes, restive inhabitants have tended to target the oil companies as the only visible face of government in their remote districts. In 1998, two unarmed protestors were shot and killed by soldiers at another ChevronTexaco oil platform. A lawsuit has been filed in the US charging ChevronTexaco with responsibility for the deaths because they had invited the troops onto the site to quell the disturbance.
IRIN 8 Feb 2005 30 killed in clashes between farmers and herdsmen in Adamawa state [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] ABUJA, 8 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - At least 30 people have been killed in a week of clashes between farming communities and nomadic cattle herdsmen in Adamawa state, near the eastern frontier with Cameroon, local officials and residents said on Tuesday. The deadliest fighting took place last Thursday when ethnic Fulani herdsmen attacked the farming village of Bali, killing 28, said Saidu Adamu, a local government official. “Farmers in the area have been complaining that cattle have been grazing on their land, and on Tuesday last week killed two Fulani herdsman over the dispute,” Adamu told IRIN. “This latest incident was obviously a reprisal,” he added. One Bali resident, Kwanga Dogo, told IRIN that the attackers had been armed with assault rifles, machetes and bows and arrows and had stormed the village in the early hours of the morning. Dogo said the dialects spoken by some of the assailants suggested they hailed from nearby Chad and Niger, but police and local officials would not confirm the claims. Dogo said he had escaped from the village and had fled to the state capital, Yola. Adamawa state police chief, Hafiz Ringim said police reinforcements were being sent to the affected area to stop the violence from escalating. Over the last decade, clashes between indigenous farming communities and nomadic herdsmen have increased in several parts of central Nigeria, including the country’s eastern flank. Increasing desertification in northern Nigeria has been forcing herders further south into the central region in search of pasture, raising the ire of farmers that work the land. Remnants of former rebel forces in Chad and Niger have moved into Nigeria during this period, engaging in banditry. Residents and police have in the past blamed these armed gangs for some of the violence, alleging that they often hire themselves out as mercenaries.
Rwanda see DR Congo and Tanzania ICTR.
Hirondelle News Agency (Lausanne) 9 Feb 2005 Kigali NO MORE MASS RELEASES OF GENOCIDE SUSPECTS, SAYS SENIOR RWANDAN PROSECUTOR Rwanda does not plan to hold any more mass releases of genocide suspects who plead guilty and ask forgiveness, Deputy Attorney General Martin Ngoga told Hirondelle News Agency on Wednesday. "There won't be a repeat or anything similar to 2003", he said. "Most of the work has now been left to Gacaca courts. We will only do gradual releases of smaller numbers of prisoners in different parts of the country", he added. Over 20,000 genocide suspects were released in May 2003. They were mainly those who had pleaded guilty and apologized. The Office of the Prosecutor has previously said that it was working on a single release of about 30,000 accused. Observers in Kigali say the Office of the Prosecutor is reluctant to release many suspects simultaneously following last year's murders of genocide witnesses. Released genocide suspects were implicated in some of the killings.
BBC 2 Feb 2005 UK grant for raped Rwandan women By Mike Wooldridge BBC world affairs correspondent 800,000 people were killed in the 1994 Rwandan genocide Britain is to give a £4m ($7.5m) grant to help women survivors of the Rwandan genocide who were raped and often deliberately infected with HIV/Aids. An estimated 25,000 girls and women were raped during the 1994 genocide. About 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu militias after the assassination of an ethnic Hutu leader. The five-year Department for International Development funding will enable more survivors to have access to anti-retroviral treatment. Until recently, very few of the women have had access to anti-retroviral treatment The plight of the infected women was overshadowed for a long time. It was overshadowed by Rwanda's emergence from the 100 days of slaughter, during which time the mass killings took place, and the women's fate was largely a taboo subject. But many of the women were widowed and they now not only have their own children to care for but, in many cases, orphans too. Changes afoot As the women die, the number of Rwanda's orphans rises. Until recently, very few of the women have had access to anti-retroviral treatment. That is now starting to change. This funding is intended to make anti-retrovirals and other care available for some 2,500 women. Mary Kayitesi Blewitt, founder of the Survivors Fund (SURF), one of the organisations through which the funds are being channelled, said it was a recognition, before it was too late, that the survivors should be a priority for help.
Canadian Press 9 Feb 2005 PaxWarrior recreats events of Rwandan genocide Julia Necheff Canadian Press February 9, 2005 If you knew the decision you were about to make would mean the difference between life and death, how would you choose? So asks a software simulation called Pax Warrior, which depicts the events leading up to and during the Rwandan genocide of 1994. The interactive learning software puts you in the shoes of the United Nations commander of the ill-fated peacekeeping mission. You progress through the simulation as conflict reignites between bitter enemies in the small Central African country. Along the way you come to situations and as commander you must choose a course of action. A chain of events, with sometimes unintended or dire consequences, is set in motion depending on the choices you make. A Canadian, the now retired Lt.-Gen. Romeo Dallaire, was the UN commander at the time. In many ways, Pax Warrior is his story. The simulation is historically accurate. Each key event in the module took place as Rwanda descended into horror. After calling on the international community to help him avert an impending bloodbath - to no avail - Dallaire and his peacekeepers watched helplessly while Hutu extremists in power set about exterminating their enemies, the Tutsis. They methodically slaughtered somewhere between 500,000 to 1.2 million men, women and children in just 100 days. Andreas Ua'Siaghail is president of 23 YYZee, the Toronto company that designed and produced the software. "We were looking to extend new media as a form and for new ways of telling stories, and at the same time to engage folks (for whom) these days, frankly, the new media is one of the prime ways they get their information," Ua'Siaghail says. "People are now spending more time on the Internet than they do actually watching television." One story that was in the news in 1995 was of Dallaire being found drunk on a park bench in Hull, Que. Haunted by his experiences in Rwanda, the former UN commander was a broken man. "What went through our minds was, 'What did he (Dallaire) see, what did he witness on our behalf, as Canadians, as world citizens?'"Ua'Siaghail says. Then the focus shifted to, "What do you do in such a situation?" he says. The designers felt it was important that Dallaire be involved in the project. They approached him and asked for his input. After having a look at the project Dallaire says he agreed to participate. In fact, while this is a commercial program for 23 YYZee, Dallaire says he donated his time because he thought it was a worthwhile project. "I ... found a very valuable instrument of decision-making and information for Canadian youth in regards to conflict and conflict resolution," he said in an interview. Dallaire helped the designers develop the scenarios. It's not possible to capture all the complexities and nuances of the Rwandan situation in a software program but overall, says Dallaire, Pax Warrior captures the essence of what happened. Ua'Siaghail says Pax Warrior is mainly intended for senior high school and university students. The goal is to teach students about making decisions and how decisions have consequences. Users also learn about the Rwandan genocide, how the UN works and related topics. It's also about good citizenship, Ua'Siaghail says. Both he and Dallaire say users become aware of their own morality when they are confronted with difficult choices. "By going through the exercise, it's not a white or black solution. It's grey," says Dallaire. "There are ambiguities; there are ethical, moral questions, there are value-based decisions. To me, it's testing the essence of the individual." There are those who disagree with some of the decisions Dallaire made at the time, but he stresses he didn't take part in Pax Warrior to find vindication. "It was, to me, no exercise in self-reviewing. I've done that and I've taken my decisions and I stand by them." About 25 schools or districts in various parts of Canada - Toronto, the Ottawa-Carleton region, Regina, Calgary and New Westminster, B.C. - are finalizing details to begin testing the software in their classrooms. A number of universities across Canada are also using the simulation as a case study or are planning to, Ua'Siaghail says. A school in Edinburgh, Scotland, that is using Pax Warrior has been featured in a report by the British Broadcasting Corp. Tom Doerksen, an e-learning consultant based in Calgary, says preparations are under way to link three schools _ in Calgary, Ottawa and the school in Edinburgh - so students in all three places can go through the simulation together via web conferencing. "I just thought it was such compelling content, such an important activity for kids to do," Doerksen says. He says the program is loaded with information which users draw on as needed. Research has shown that hands-on learning is superior to simply reading something, Doerksen says. That includes making mistakes, he adds. "We learn best by doing and we learn even better by failing, and Pax Warrior gives us a safe place to do that. "Unfortunately, Romeo Dallaire didn't have such a safe place to do that."On the web: www.paxwarrior.com.
Xinhua 14 Feb 2005 US to assist in relieving Rwanda, Congo tension Xinhua KIGALI, Feb 12, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The US Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Therese Whelan said Saturday in Kigali the United States is to assist Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to come to a common understanding on maintaining regional peace. Whelan, who met Rwandan President Paul Kagame, called upon the responsible authorities to take measures to end the great lakes region conflicts, particularly in Congo. "The Rwandan rebels, the Interahamwe in Congo continue to threaten the regional security and there is need for responsible authorities to end the insurgents," she said. She added that her visit is aimed at accessing peace and security in the region mainly in Uganda, the DRC and Rwanda. She visited a genocide site in Kigali where she called on the world to hold back the genocide participants to face courts of law. "Rwandan genocide should be a lesson for other states," she said, adding that Rwandan government has taken a step a head in overcoming most of the problems left behind by the 1994 genocide.
Sudan - UN Report
washingtonpost.com 31 Jan 2005 U.N. Panel Finds No Genocide in Darfur but Urges Tribunals By Colum Lynch Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, February 1, 2005; Page A01 UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 31 -- A U.N. commission investigating atrocities in Sudan has concluded that the government did not pursue a policy of genocide in the Darfur region but that Khartoum and government-sponsored Arab militias known as the Janjaweed engaged in "widespread and systematic" abuse that may constitute crimes against humanity. The five-member U.N. commission of inquiry "strongly recommends" that the U.N. Security Council invite the International Criminal Court to pursue a war crimes prosecution against those suspected of the worst abuse. The Sudanese justice system, it concluded, "is unable or unwilling" to address the situation in Darfur. The 177-page report documents a concerted campaign of violence directed primarily at Darfur's black African Fur, Masalit, Jebel, Aranga and Zaghawa tribes. Since the violence began in early February 2003, more than 70,000 people have died from violence and resulting disease, and more than 1.8 million have been driven from their homes. The commission's work is the most extensive international effort yet to document the atrocities in Darfur and to analyze their legal implications. In doing so, the commission was more cautious on the question of whether the violence amounted to genocide, the position taken by former U.S. secretary of state Colin L. Powell. Nevertheless, the commission set the stage Monday for international war crimes prosecutions, charging the government and the Janjaweed of engaging in violence that included murder, torture, kidnapping, rape, forced displacement and the destruction of villages. Senior U.S. officials said the commission's findings were serious enough to prosecute rights abusers as war criminals, despite the panel's decision not to declare that genocide had occurred. A finding of genocide -- an attempt to systematically destroy a nation or ethnic group -- would have been considered a more powerful and symbolic statement, experts said, but its practical and legal impact would not have been significantly different from the commission's finding of possible crimes against humanity. "Our interest here is accountability for the perpetrators of the atrocities, and there are obviously various ways that can be achieved," said Anne W. Patterson, acting U.S. representative to the United Nations. The report's author, Antonio Cassese of Italy, said the commission placed the names of suspected war criminals, and the supporting evidence of their crimes, in a sealed file that will be presented to a future prosecutor. The report's long-anticipated release precedes what many expect will be an intensified political battle in the Security Council over how to pursue such prosecution. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and European governments on the council want the International Criminal Court, based in The Hague, to oversee prosecution of Sudan's alleged war criminals. "This is a case which is tailor-made for the ICC," said Emyr Jones Parry, Britain's U.N. ambassador. But the United States opposes the ICC and wants to create a new African court to handle the prosecutions. The Bush administration refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the ICC out of concern that U.S. citizens could be subject to politically motivated charges before it. Pierre-Richard Prosper, the U.S. ambassador at large for war crimes, has cautioned European supporters of the ICC not to force the Bush administration into a "thumbs-up or thumbs-down" vote in the council on an ICC prosecution. Instead, he sought to rally support for a new tribunal in Tanzania that would be headed by the African Union and supported by the United Nations. Stuart Holliday, the U.S. representative to the United Nations for special political affairs, said: "We're still in the process of discussing a variety of options, including with our African colleagues." The violence in Darfur began in February 2003, when rebels from the Sudanese Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement took up arms against the government. Khartoum organized and equipped the Arab militias known as the Janjaweed, which participated in a counterinsurgency campaign aimed at expelling many of the region's black tribes. Khidir Haroun Ahmed, Sudan's ambassador to the United States, did not respond to a request to comment Monday before the report's release. But the Sudanese government has long denied that it has targeted civilians as part of its military campaign against the rebels. The U.N. commission's report said a court could still determine that government officials or militia leaders did commit acts "with genocidal intent." But the panel found that "the crucial element of genocidal intent appears to be missing" from policy pursued by the government. "Generally speaking," it said, "the policy of attacking, killing and forcibly displacing members of some tribes does not evince a specific intent to annihilate, in whole or in part, a group distinguished on racial, ethnic, national or religious grounds." That, however, should not "detract from the gravity of the crimes perpetrated" in Darfur, the report said, adding that they may be "no less serious and heinous than genocide." Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur 25 Jan 2005, released January 31. (PDF 176 pages )
IPS 1 Feb 2005 Politics: U.N. Team Splits Hairs Over Sudan Genocide Inter Press Service (Johannesburg) By Thalif Deen New York A U.N. special commission, which refused to declare the widespread killings in Sudan to be acts of "genocide," has been criticised for restraining its condemnation of the massacre of some 400,000 Sudanese in that politically troubled African nation. Reacting to the 177-page report released by the commission Monday, Claudio Cordone of Amnesty International said "the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Darfur region of Sudan are no less serious than genocide." The Washington-based Africa Action, which rejected the conclusions of the U.N. commission, said the international community was "splitting hairs" -- even as genocide was unfolding in Africa. "International leadership is still missing to stop genocide that has already killed 400,000 Sudanese and that still continues," it said in a statement released Tuesday. A U.S. Congressman, Rep. Henry J. Hyde, chairman of the House International Relations Committee, also rejected the assertion that atrocities committed in the Darfur region do not constitute genocide. "I am deeply disappointed by the commission's decision to engage in semantics and shirk in its responsibility to the people of Darfur," Hyde said in a statement Tuesday. While the five-member U.N. commission, led by Antonio Cassese of Italy, concluded that the government of Sudan has not pursued a policy of genocide, it nevertheless declared that both the government and the Janjaweed militia were responsible for "serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law amounting to crimes under international law." The commission has "strongly" recommended that the 15-member U.N. Security Council request the newly created International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to pursue charges of crimes against humanity in Sudan. This, however, will depend largely on the five veto-wielding permanent members of the Council -- namely the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia -- who have remained reluctant to act ever since the killings in Darfur began in February 2003. The United States, which opposed the creation of the ICC, wants a special tribunal set up in Tanzania to prosecute those charged with war crimes in Sudan. But Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the 25-member European Union want the ICC to take the initiative. "My own support for the ICC is well known," Annan told reporters Tuesday. "But this is a decision for the Security Council, not for me. What is vital is that these people are indeed held accountable. Such grave crimes cannot be committed with impunity." "The United States, China and Russia, in particular, should set aside their reservations about the Court in order to bring justice to the people of Sudan," said Amnesty's Cordone. Amnesty International is calling on the Security Council not only to refer the situation in Sudan to the jurisdiction of the ICC, but also to support a comprehensive, long-term strategy for bringing all those responsible for the crimes to justice, he added. The deadlock in the Security Council has also been triggered by key members trying to safeguard their own economic, political and military interests in Sudan. Ann-Louise Colgan, director for policy analysis and communications at Africa Action, said the reason the Security Council continues to drag its feet is two-fold. "Firstly, there seems to be a real lack of political will to take action to stop this genocide in Africa, just as we saw a decade ago in Rwanda" she told IPS. In addition to this international apathy toward Africa, several of the permanent members of the Security Council have "vested interests" that make them very reluctant to risk antagonising the Khartoum government. "China is the largest single investor in the petroleum industry in Sudan, and Russia is a major arms supplier to Khartoum," Colgan said. Both China and Russia, which are opposed to sanctions on Sudan, also have strong military relations with the government in Khartoum. Last year, the U.S. State Department said it would view with "grave concern" the sale of 12 Russian MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter planes to Sudan, "if reports of such sales were confirmed." Responding to the State Department, the Russian foreign ministry said: "Yes, this is a longstanding contract. We're just filling the conditions. It's got nothing to do with the (current) situation" in Sudan. Cordone said that Amnesty International is also calling on China and Russia to "stop arming the killers and to allow the existing arms embargo on Darfur to be extended to include the government of Sudan." Colgan said that both China and Russia "are very sensitive to the notion of international intervention in internal affairs, especially when it comes to human rights issues." The United States is the only member of the Security Council, and indeed the only country, to have recognised that genocide is taking place in Darfur. "But yet the United States is unwilling to expend real political capital to prompt Security Council action in response. Across the board, there is a shocking unwillingness to show leadership in the face of another ongoing genocide in Africa," Colgan added.. According to the United Nations, there are over 1.6 million internally displaced persons in Darfur and more than 200,000 refugees who have moved into neighbouring Chad. The United Nations also says that there has been large-scale destruction of villages throughout the three states of Darfur. The commission deployed a legal research team and an investigative team composed of forensic experts, military analysts and investigators specialising in gender violence to probe the charges of crimes against humanity. "There is an internal armed conflict in Darfur between the governmental authorities and organised armed groups," the commission said. "A body of reliable information indicates that war crimes may have been committed on a large-scale, at times even as part of a plan or a policy."
usinfo.state.gov 1 Feb 2005 Genocide Has Been Occurring in Darfur, U.S. Government Reaffirms United States Department of State (Washington, DC) NEWS February 1, 2005 Posted to the web February 2, 2005 By Charles W. Corey Washington, DC United States welcomes U.N. commission on Darfur but differs on conclusion Even though the U.S. government welcomes the work that has been completed by a United Nations commission of inquiry on Darfur, the United States still stands by its own conclusion reached September 2004 that genocide has been occurring in Darfur, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said February 1. Speaking to reporters at the department's regular noon briefing, Boucher stressed: "We stand by the conclusion that we reached that genocide had been occurring in Darfur. And we think that the continued accumulation of facts on the ground, the facts that are reported here in the commission's report, supports that view, that conclusion that we reached and continue to hold." "Nothing has happened to change those conclusions," Boucher said. "We stand by those conclusions." Boucher's comments came in response to the January 31 release of a report by the U.N. International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, which concluded that the government of Sudan did not pursue a policy of genocide in Darfur but that crimes against humanity and war crimes have been committed that "may be no less serious and heinous than genocide." Boucher told reporters the U.S. government will continue to work with the international community to stop the violence and the atrocities in Sudan. "We're calling on the Government of Sudan to take steps," he said. "We're calling on the rebels to take steps, immediate action to stop the violence." He said the United States is continuing to work with the African Union to expand its peacekeeping presence in Sudan. Additionally, he said, "we are continuing to support the efforts being made for a political solution, support the efforts being made by Africans in countries like Nigeria to try to reach a political solution." Boucher said now that the U.N. commission has completed its report, "we need to move â-oe to the stage of accountability." As part of that process, he said, "we are discussing elements of our proposals for accountability with other [U.N.] Security Council members and with interested African countries." "We believe that the best way to address these crimes, as detailed in the report, is to establish a U.N. and African Union tribunal that would be based in Arusha, Tanzania. It would involve African countries integrally in the process, in keeping with the African Union's leading role in Darfur," he said. "We understand that the commission itself talks about the International Criminal Court (ICC)," Boucher noted, but he cautioned, "We think it's important for the Security Council to consider the various options, and we believe that having accountability for these crimes in a tribunal that's based in Arusha, Tanzania, is the best way to ensure accountability." When asked about the case being referred to the ICC, as suggested by the commission, Boucher said there should be no "automatic referral to the ICC" and that "when you look in more detail at the facts and the legal aspects of this, we do think that the tribunal in Africa is a preferable way, is the better way to ensure that there is accountability to these crimes." Boucher said there are a number of advantages in referring the case to a tribunal in Africa. Such an option, he said, "would involve the Africans and the African Union in playing a continuing role for accountability, as they have played one in trying to stop the crisis in Darfur to begin with." Such an option, he said, "also has the practical advantage of building on the existing infrastructure of the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. "That would allow the Sudan tribunal to commence more rapidly, to take advantage of the expertise in lessons learned in dealing with the crimes in Rwanda." Boucher also pointed out that the U.N. Commission of Inquiry, in its reporting, details crimes that took place in 2001 and 2002. "Those crimes pre-date the establishment of the International Criminal Court, and â-oe therefore the court wouldn't have jurisdiction over those crimes," he said. "So you have all the crimes of 2001 and 2002 that couldn't be handled by the International Criminal Court because of the way its statute reads, whereas a tribunal in Africa could deal with all the crimes that have been committed in Darfur from the beginning." For these reasons and others, Boucher told reporters, the U.S. government is proposing to other governments the establishment of a tribunal in Arusha. "We think it's important that the council look at the various options seriously," he said. Boucher said the United States is also proposing the establishment of a U.N. peacekeeping mission for Sudan that could "support the African Union and the eventual deployment to Darfur, as conditions permit." He said the United States is also making proposals on how to increase pressure on the parties to abide by their commitments under current standing U.N. resolutions that are already in place. "We have, in our consultations already with a number of council members on this question, made clear we believe it's time to move toward sanctions. We have raised a number of measures, including oil sanctions and targeted sanctions, with other council members, and we'll continue discussion of those," he told reporters. (The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
washingtonpost.com U.N. Report on Sudan Draws Mixed Reaction Leaders Decry Call for War Crimes Trials By Emily Wax Washington Post Foreign Service Wednesday, February 2, 2005; Page A16 NAIROBI, Feb. 1 -- Sudanese officials said Tuesday that they felt vindicated by a U.N. investigation that found that atrocities in Sudan's western region of Darfur did not amount to genocide. But they disagreed with the call by the U.N. investigators to prosecute Sudanese government and military officials for crimes against humanity. "We feel relieved," said Jamal Ibrahim, a top official in the External Affairs Ministry, speaking by phone from the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. "But we are also still studying the report. There are parts we take issue with." Human rights observers warned that the tragedy in Darfur should not be forgotten, pointing out that the 177-page report did find widespread evidence of war crimes, killing of civilians, torture and rape. The report said individuals responsible may have acted with "genocidal intent" and should be brought to an international criminal court. The U.N. Security Council commissioned the investigation. Last August, the Bush administration formally labeled the still-unfolding two-year conflict in Darfur as genocide. In recent days, several U.S. legislators have pushed for U.N. intervention to end the violence. Attacks by the Janjaweed militia and bombardments by the air force have driven nearly 2 million African farmers from their land. Rebel leaders said Tuesday that they were disappointed that the word "genocide" was not used in the U.N. report. They also said the investigators failed to probe reports of mass graves in the vast and rugged desert area of Darfur, which has few paved roads and is the size of France. "It's unbelievable, actually," said Bahar Ibrahim, spokesman for the Sudanese Liberation Army, Darfur's main rebel group. "We hoped that the U.N. body would have seen the systematic attacks on our people. Maybe they didn't look closely enough. I don't know what you call it. But it's still very serious, and we hope we aren't forgotten." The report followed claims of new violence last week, with aid groups and African Union monitors reporting Arab militia attacks followed by government bombings in South Darfur. An estimated 9,000 people were displaced and 105 people were reported killed. African Union forces investigating the bombings were shot at by unknown assailants. Peace talks are scheduled to resume this week in the Nigerian capital, Abuja. The previous round of talks collapsed in December. Humanitarian groups have renewed appeals for food and medical aid. Officials of the independent group Human Rights Watch said the Sudanese government was ignoring the facts outlined in the report. They said they hoped world leaders would remain attentive to the issue. They also said the Security Council must prosecute war criminals in the International Criminal Court at The Hague. "The report unequivocally condemns the Sudanese government for massive atrocities. It's amazing that if it's not genocide, it does not matter. There is no such thing as saying something is just war crimes against humanity," said Leslie Lefkow, a researcher for Human Rights Watch who investigated atrocities in Darfur. "There's been mass murder, mass rape and mass displacement of hundreds of thousands of people," Lefkow said. "It's just appalling if the international community does not act on this." The debate over the term genocide began last year, during events marking the 10th anniversary of the slaughter of more than half a million Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus in Rwanda. Revived discussion of those atrocities prompted U.N. officials to question whether what was happening in Darfur amounted to genocide. Colin L. Powell, then secretary of state, sent researchers to interview more than 1,000 Sudanese refugees on the Chad-Sudan border. They found evidence of intent to commit genocide by the Janjaweed militia, backed by the government, against a largely African population. The United States has called for economic sanctions and an arms embargo against Sudan. But China, a major oil client of Sudan, has opposed sanctions. The Bush administration has urged action against Sudan but opposed setting up an international criminal court, for fear that such courts could prosecute U.S. soldiers and officials living abroad. Instead, the administration wants to set up a U.N.-backed tribunal like the one established in Tanzania after the Rwandan genocide.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation 2 Feb 2005 www.abc.net.au Sudan expresses relief at UN finding on genocide Wednesday, 2 February , 2005 08:16:00 Reporter: Zoe Daniel TONY EASTLEY: Most governments would be horrified if a United Nations report accused its troops and militias of carrying out systematic rapes, abductions and killings, but for the Sudanese Government it was, in a way, a relief. The government had been worried that the UN report would hand down a finding of genocide – that the government had set about to wipe out the people in the Darfur region in the west of the country. Instead, the report named, in secret, alleged war criminals it said should go before the International Criminal Court. Africa Correspondent Zoe Daniel reports. ZOE DANIEL: The United Nations says the absence of a finding of genocide shouldn’t take away from the gravity of the crimes committed in Sudan. But that seems to be the way Sudanese authorities are taking it. HASSAN ABDIN: And I think now the report has exonerated the Sudan Government. ZOE DANIEL: Hassan Abdin, the Sudanese Ambassador to the UK, speaking to the BBC. He doesn't deny that crimes have taken place, but he says the government's already acknowledged that and conducted its own investigation. HASSAN ABDIN: Some people should be held accountable for crimes and violations of human rights in the region, and this is precisely what the Sudan Government, even before the release of this report, had started to investigate. ZOE DANIEL: As he spoke, reports were emerging about fresh incidents of violence in the western region of Darfur. African Union peace observers investigating air raids that killed 100 villagers last week claimed they were shot at while trying to access the area. It's believed the Sudanese Air Force was responsible for the raids near the border of north and south Darfur. And the African Union has unreservedly condemned attempts to prevent its investigation. Sudan Foreign Minister, Mustafa Ismail, denies any government involvement in bombing civilians. MUSTAFA ISMAIL: It is not our policy to bomb any civilian. It is not our policy. ZOE DANIEL: But, at the African Union Summit in Nigeria, other leaders were finding that hard to believe. Nigerian President Obasanjo. OBASANJO: We cannot but condemn (inaudible), no matter what excuse may be raised to try and justify it. ZOE DANIEL: Ironically, today the Sudanese Parliament ratified a peace deal for southern Sudan, marking the end of a 21-year war – hopefully. But, in Sudan's west and east, violence has reignited in recent weeks. The United Nations is now under pressure to prosecute a sealed list of war criminals in Sudan. But even that seems destined for conflict. The UN and Europe favour the use of the International Criminal Court at the Hague, the United States does not. This is Zoe Daniel reporting for AM.
Index on Censorship, UK 2 Feb 2005 www.indexonline.org Words & meanings - the consequences of defining genocide What does adding the 'genocide' label to the Darfur crisis really mean? By Alex de Waal Victims of genocide, 2005 The UN’s decision, announced Monday, not to follow the US and categorise what is going on in Darfur as ‘genocide’ reflects the world’s established caution in applying the term, at least as long as recognition of genocide implies the right – even the duty - to intervene militarily to stop it. For if the events in Darfur are genocide, then we must accept that there are many more genocides than we normally care to admit. Alex de Waal, one of the world’s leading experts on the crisis in Sudan, considers the debate over the hardest word in world politics. Is the US government’s determination that the atrocities in Darfur qualify as ‘genocide’ an accurate depiction of the horrors of that war and famine? Or is it the cynical addition of ‘genocide’ to America’s armoury of hegemonic interventionism – typically at the expense of the Arabs? The answer is both. The genocide finding is accurate according to the letter of the law. But it is no help to understanding what is happening in Darfur, or to finding a solution. And this description neatly serves the purposes of a philanthropic alibi to the US projection of power. The war in Darfur is thoroughly confusing. Many of those in command on both sides are themselves unclear why they are fighting – the conflict has become locked into its own cycle of escalation. When a band of farmers-turned-guerrillas swept out of their mountain hideout and stormed the police station at Golo in central Darfur, their immediate aim was to take weapons. Over the preceding months and years, the local Popular Defence Forces had been selectively confiscating guns from the civil populace, leaving other groups well armed. A young lawyer called Abdel Wahid Nur had been gaoled in the town of Zalingei for protesting about this. The village elders selected Abdel Wahid as their political spokesmen. With some other educated sons of the villages, they announced the creation of the Sudan Liberation Army. Darfur had already been flickering with the sparks of conflict, fostered by 20 years of no government, and endemic banditry. The SLA manifesto blamed the government in Khartoum for neglect, discrimination and divide-and-rule tactics. In just a few weeks, SLA fighters were running rings around demoralised and under-supplied army garrisons; they even raided the regional capital, El Fasher, destroying six military aircraft and kidnapping a general. The PDF in Darfur were local militia set up in the wake of an incursion by the southern-based Sudan People’s Liberation Army in 1991. For some time they were broadly representative of the population, but after the ruling National Congress Party split in 1999, the security cabal that controls the government began to replace the leadership. They brought in loyalists, mostly Darfurian Arabs from the same groups as an air force general on the Presidential Council, Abdalla Safi el Nur. Mostly young men from poor backgrounds, from camel-herding families who had lost their livestock in the droughts of the 1970s and 1980s, they were tough and bitter. The next step in the escalation of the war was when the government franchised these PDF units to take the lead in counter-insurgency. Using a label formerly applied to Chadian Arab militias – janjawiid – these paramilitaries have become notorious for their cruelty. They have killed, burned, raped and starved their way across the central belt of Darfur. In doing so, they have killed thousands of people and deliberately starved thousands more. They have also managed to stop a runaway insurgency that was rapidly seizing control of the entire region. Immediately thereafter, some of Darfur’s Islamists, purged from government after 1999, formed their own resistance front, the Justice and Equality Movement. Smaller but better funded, the JEM has raised the spectre in government that their erstwhile colleagues are aiming to use Darfur as a springboard to take power. The Darfur war has ratcheted up through a series of miscalculations, each time unleashing human suffering and political crisis beyond the original problems. The peace talks hardly deal with the initial causes of the war at all, and instead focus on the horrors unleashed by the PDF massacres, the humanitarian crisis and the government’s string of broken promises. On 9 September 2004, US Secretary of State Colin Powell announced that ‘Genocide has been committed in Darfur and the government of Sudan and the janjawiid bear responsibility – and genocide may still be occurring.’ This is historic: it is the first time the US government has declared ‘genocide’ while events are still in train. Powell is correct in law. According to the facts as known and the law as laid down in the 1948 Genocide Convention, the killings, displacement and rape in Darfur are rightly characterised as ‘genocide’. But his finding has significant political implications. The genocide determination is a substantial expansion on the use of the term in contemporary international political discourse – and arguably, therefore, in customary international law. It is also a politically significant act in the shadow of the US occupation of Iraq and the (mis-)characterisation of the war in Darfur as between ‘Arabs’ and ‘Africans’. According to the letter of the law, it is genocide in Darfur. The terms of the 1948 Convention, as interpreted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, provide us with enough of a case. Let us examine the objections. Is it bad enough? Do the nature and scale of the crime qualify for genocide? After all, critics will argue that among the well over 3 million Darfurian non-Arabs, best estimates are for a death toll of 70,000, mostly due to hunger and disease, not violence. There are many other contemporary or recent events – including several episodes in Sudan’s civil war – with higher death tolls, and clear evidence for ethnic targeting. However, for an event to count as genocide it does not need to involve the absolute liquidation of groups. It is enough for them to be deliberately harmed – physically attacked, driven off their land or collectively damaged in some way. There is enough evidence for ethnically-targeted violence across a wide area to meet the criterion. And in Sudan, the verb ‘to starve’ is transitive – people are dying of hunger, it’s because someone has deliberately inflicted this state on them. Today’s Darfur famine is a crime. Can we identify intent by the perpetrators? Unlike the Holocaust or Rwanda, there was no blueprint for a transformed, post-genocidal society, no titanic ideological ambition. Definitely, the murderous campaign was informed, in part, by dreams of an Arab homeland across Sahelian Africa. Former members of Colonel Gaddafi’s Islamic Legion, disbanded for more than a decade, may have continued to nurture those dreams. But they do not in themselves amount to a grand plan. The ongoing and extremely violent process of identity change in Sudan, which long precedes the current government, may also include a misty vision of a homogenous Arab-Islamic homeland. At some point in the 1990s, the government did entertain such ambitions – and they contributed directly to the attempted genocide of the Nuba – but that was in the heyday of its visions of re-engineering all of Sudanese society in an Islamist mould. Many of the ideologues who promoted that dream (notably Hassan al Turabi) are now in opposition, and some are even aligned with one of the Darfurian resistance movements, the Justice and Equality Movement. Those who remain in government are now concerned solely with staying in power. However, while the absence of an ideological schema and transformational blueprint is important for diplomats and genocide scholars, it does not entail lack of guilt in law. The bar is lower. This can be inferred from the successful ICTR prosecution of a Rwandese genocidaire, Jean-Paul Akayesu, in which it was found that intent could be inferred from a number of presumptions of fact, including the general context in which deliberate harm was systematically being inflicted on the target group. In the Darfur case, the fact that the state did not plan genocide is immaterial. It planned a counterinsurgency and gave its officers complete impunity to commit atrocities, which they have routinely done on a gross scale and an ethnic basis. This was ethics-free counterinsurgency, escalated to a genocidal extreme. An interesting and sophisticated objection is that the target group cannot be adequately defined. In Darfur, the term ‘African’ is historically, racially and anthropologically bogus. It’s a recent ideological construct, of which more later. But one can identify groups subjectively, including by native language. The case of distinguishing the Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda was tougher, but the ICTR overcame that problem. It emphasised what was subjectively believed in the minds of those perpetrating the acts in question. The popular racialised or essentialised viewpoint may have been discredited by scholars, but this scholarly argument cannot be adduced to explain away the specific labels used and the intent to kill selectively, based on those labels. The ICTR used the definition ‘a stable and permanent group, whose membership is defined largely by birth’. That fits Darfur’s complex ethnicities. Concealed within the ‘arbitrary ethnicity’ objection is another argument: that declaring genocide itself causes the polarisation and solidification of ethnic and racial categories. This is significant: once a conflict is construed in these terms, complex over-lapping or shifting identities are stamped into a simple bipolar mould. Usually, the simplified labelling of ethnic groups long precedes outsiders’ designations of genocide. But in Darfur, this may not be the case: there was an Arab-non-Arab divide, but it was a moot question whether it would prevail over other identity markers including ‘Darfurian’ and ‘Muslim’. Ethnicity in Darfur is fabulously complex; to understand, one must discard all the presuppositions inherited from analysing the rest of Africa, including the rest of Sudan. Historically, Darfur was an independent sultanate. It had a structure similar to that of a string of states across Sudanic Africa. At its core was a ruling ethnic group (the Keira clan of the Fur), which had adopted Islam and used Arabic as the language of jurisprudence. This core expanded, drawing in neighbouring groups. Indeed, the larger part of the Fur are known as ‘Kunjara’, which means ‘gathered together’. Beyond this were tributary groups, including Arabic-speaking Bedouins (closely integrated into the state, because they ran the trans-Saharan camel caravans on which the Sultanate depended for its revenue), and a range of others – non-Arabic speakers and Arabic-speaking cattle herders. To the far south were the people of the hinterland, forest dwellers who were raided for slaves. In the Fur language, the collective term for these people was ‘Fertit’, and there is an amalgam of groups in the western part of Southern Sudan who still bear this label. The Darfur Arabs are just as black, indigenous, Muslim and African as their non-Arab neighbours. To speak of an African-Arab dichotomy is historical and anthropological nonsense. But Sudan as a whole has inherited such a distinction between the Arabised ruling elites from the far north and the Southerners, mostly non-Muslim, who have been fighting for separation or equal status since Sudan achieved independence in 1956. The country has often been regarded as a ‘bridge’ between the African and Arab worlds, or an amalgam of the two traditions. Within that, it’s clear that the Southerners belong to an ‘African’ pole and the ruling elite to an ‘Arab’ pole. (No matter that one of the three tribes of the ruling elite is in fact Nubian—these are complexities familiar to the political ethnographer.) The comparable historic distinction for Darfur would have been ‘Fur’ at one pole and ‘Fertit’ at the other. But, absorbed into a Sudanese state, and compelled to accept the discourses of the wider nation, Darfur has been shoehorned into an alien mould. First to embrace an externally-constructed ethnic label were some of Darfur’s Arab Bedouins, who lived in Libya and served in Gaddafi’s ‘Islamic brigade’. They found that the label ‘Arab’ was a useful political tool, buying them identity and solidarity in Libya and also in Khartoum. In response, educated young men from Darfur’s non-Arab groups – principally Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa –found the label ‘African’ in use by the Southerners and especially the SPLA leader, John Garang, who sought to build a non-Arab majority coalition across Sudan. Political Arabism is therefore fairly recent in Darfur, and political Africanism an elite construction of just a few years’ vintage. But the war, the atrocities and above all the international engagement around it may yet set these labels in stone. Already, community leaders in Darfur are using these labels in their interactions with aid agencies and diplomats. Annihilation If the events in Darfur are genocide, then we must accept that there are many more genocides than we normally care to admit. At least three earlier episodes in the Sudanese civil war must count as genocide – the militia raids into Bahr el Ghazal in the 1980s, the jihad in the Nuba Mountains in the early 1990s, and the clearances of the oilfields in the late 1990s. Add to that the mass ethnic killings in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the persecution of minorities in Myanmar, and a host of others. Gone will be the doubts over Bosnia, Cambodia and the Armenian massacres. In lay usage, and in international relations, ‘genocide’ has always been reserved for the most extreme cases in which there is a plan, with realistic expectation of success, for the complete physical annihilation of a target group. In recent history there are just two instances of this, the Holocaust and Rwanda. We may call these ‘absolute genocides’ to distinguish them from the much longer list of cases of ‘convention genocide’. Activists and scholars have long resisted grading or categorizing genocides: the U.S. determination on Darfur obliges them to do just that. One of the reasons why international practice – which we can take to be customary international law – has been so conservative in using the label genocide has been the fear of the repercussions. It implies the right, and perhaps the duty, to intervene militarily. Although Colin Powell insisted that U.S. policy towards Sudan would remain unchanged – thereby seeming to defeat the purpose of making the determination in the first place – there is no doubt that declaring genocide creates legal and political space for intervention. The 9 September determination is thus the first time the Genocide Convention has been used to diagnose genocide (rather than prosecute it), and it has the effect of radically innovating what counts as genocide in customary international law. What does the US determination signify? At one level, it is the outcome of a very specific set of political processes in Washington D.C., in which interest groups were contending for control over U.S. policy towards Sudan. In this context, the call to set up a State Department inquiry into whether there was genocide in Darfur was a tactical manoeuvre designed to placate the anti-Khartoum lobbies circling around Congress (an unlikely alliance of liberal journalists and human rights advocates, and the religious right), while buying time for those in the State Department committed to pushing a negotiated settlement. It was, in Washington terms, a minor turf war and a policy cul-de-sac: as Colin Powell remarked after announcing the determination, US policy will not change. Overstretched in Iraq, the Pentagon has only reluctantly provided transport planes to help the African Union observer mission deploy in Sudan. The department of defense would veto any US military presence. But at another level, the genocide determination reveals much about the US role in the world today, and the unstated principles on which US power is exercised. Those principles are shared by both the advocates of US global domination and their liberal critics, and are revealed in the commonest narrative around genocide, which takes the form of a salvation fairy tale, with the US playing the role of the saviour. The term ‘genocide’ consigns its architects to the realm of pure evil, beyond humanity and politics. They are Nazis. As their sinister plot unfolds, good people implore America to use its might to intervene. But, caught up in their own concerns, and ensnared by the United Nations, America’s leaders are indifferent, and fail to act until it is too late. The paradigm of this tragic melodrama is presented at the opening display of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, where the visitor is invited to step into the role of the victorious US soldiers liberating Nazi concentration camps. For six decades, Americans have been dreaming of redeeming that historic fatal tardiness, and dispatching troops in time to save the day. Their failure to do so in Rwanda and Bosnia ten years ago sparked another round of soul searching and led directly to the Kosovo bombing campaign and the Darfur genocide determination. This intervention narrative is a travesty of what actually happens, especially when we broaden the canon of genocides to include cases such as Stalin’s persecuted minorities, the Indonesian massacres of 1965, Tibet, Bangladesh, the Guatemalan counter-insurgency, Bosnia, Chechnya, the Myanmar minorities, Biafra, the Luwero Triangle in Uganda, Burundi, Congo and at least three previous episodes in Sudan’s civil war prior to Darfur. How did these genocides end? With the sole exception of Kosovo, not with the US cavalry. Usually because the perpetrators decided they had had enough – they had achieved their goals or changed those goals – or because the victims were strong enough to resist. Sometimes a regional power intervened (usually when the worst was over) – India in Bangladesh, Vietnam in Cambodia. In a couple of cases, of which Southern Sudan is one, there has been a negotiated settlement. However, the study of genocide remains dazzled by the reality of the Holocaust and the redemptive tale of liberating intervention. It’s easy to understand why such a narrative is so compelling: any story that puts us at the centre of events is intrinsically more engaging than one that claims that the events in question proceed regardless of what we do. The truth is that the political agendas of the genocidaires in Rwanda and Sudan have precious little to do with the US, and it is likely that if solutions are found, the US role will be marginal and will not involve intervention. There’s a deeper logic at work. What the melodrama reflects is a potent mix of untrammelled power and humanitarian sensibility. This mix persuades us to see the world in a certain way. Increasingly, it’s a Manichean worldview, in which we – meaning the US and its close ally Britain – are the upholders of good in a world of evil. Of course, our actual use of power is far from perfect, and it is this gap between aspiration and reality that provides the leverage for a moral critique of power. We have the power and occasionally the will to intervene militarily almost wherever we like. And we like to portray these interventions as humanitarian, and make a humanitarian logic for other interventions. Furthermore, we are frustrated by the shackles placed on these actions by international law and its cumbersome procedures. In the specific case of Darfur, it was the US left that railed against these shackles and beat the drum for a declaration of ‘genocide’ and a policy of intervention, though it is the right that will inherit this weapon and, at some future date, perhaps use it. And the fact that the group labelled as genocidaires in this conflict are ‘Arab’ is no accident. There’s no covert masterplan in Washington to brand Arabs genocidal criminals, but rather an aggregation of circumstance that has led to the genocide determination. It has special saliency in the shadow of the US ‘global war on terror’, misdirected into the occupation of Iraq and seen across the Arab and Muslim worlds as a reborn political Orientalism. After 11 September 2001, the US sees Muslim Arabs as actual or potential terrorists targeting the homeland. After 9 September 2004 (and the Darfur atrocities are indeed a crime), Arabs (and perhaps all Muslims too) are actual or potential genocidaires and their targets are Africans. It’s sad but predictable that too many Africans will fall for this trap and that the brave efforts of the African Union to build a continental architecture for peace and security will be impaled on an externally constructed divide. The outcome of the Darfur genocide determination is to lower the bar on US interventions. It adds another tool to the armoury of an interventionist hegemonic power. At the appropriate moment – which isn’t Darfur – a ‘genocide’ finding may be a philanthropic alibi for an imperial venture. The genocide determination is correct in law. There are atrocities that need to be stopped and their perpetrators punished. There’s a war that needs a negotiated settlement. The US decision to use the label ‘genocide’ – the outcome of intra-beltway political calculus as much as anything else – drags Darfur into a wider global scheme, a polarity in which Arabs are collectively labelled and stigmatised, and divisive identities imposed upon poor and strife-ridden parts of the world. In this case, let us hope that a remedy is snatched for the people of Darfur. But the people of Africa as a whole are the loser. Alex de Waal is a writer and activist on African issues. He is a fellow of the Global Equity Initiative at Harvard University and a director of Justice Africa. This article appears in a forthcoming issue of Index on Censorship.
Scripps Howard Foundation Wire 2 Feb 2005 Sen. Brownback Calls for U.N.'s. Annan to 'Lead or Leave' Over Sudan By Logan C. Adams - Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., criticized the United Nations Tuesday for failing to recognize atrocities in Sudan as genocide. Washington, D.C. - A U.N. commission concluded Monday that genocide was not occurring in Sudan, only what might be considered "crimes against humanity." "The toleration of genocide will mark us 'failures' in the history books," Brownback said. More than 70,000 people have died and 1.8 million have been driven from their homes since the violence began in the country's Darfur region in February 2003. The victims are members of black African tribes who are being targeted by government-supported Arab militia known as the Janjaweed. Brownback said that Secretary General Kofi Annan must lead the Security Council to action to deal with the genocide or resign in protest. "We cannot wait any longer for credible action in Darfur," Brownback said. "The time is now for Secretary General Kofi Annan to lead or leave. Inaction will ensure that tens of thousands more Darfurians will die, and the sequel to 'Hotel Rwanda' will occur before our very eyes." He was referring to the movie starring Don Cheadle as Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who saved more than 1,000 people from the ethnic violence that gripped Rwanda in 1994. Cheadle, who has been nominated for an Oscar for his role, spoke to lawmakers last week about the violence in Sudan after he visited the country. The senator also said the secretary general must see that Sudan is removed from the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, calling its membership a "travesty." Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., who traveled to Darfur with Brownback last summer, joined him for the announcement. Both lawmakers disagreed with the commission's conclusion and called for the United Nations to take action, including sending more troops from the African Union and for sanctions against the Sudanese government. Wolf recalled the trip in response to the commission finding that refugee camps set up as a result of the violence were acceptable. "I beg to differ, having been in the camps," he said. "I've walked in the feces and seen the children too sick to eat."
AP 8 Feb 2005 Sudanese government fails to meet two key U.N. demands, Annan says UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The Sudanese government has failed to meet the two most important demands of the U.N. Security Council -- disarm militias and arrest those responsible for attacks on civilians in Darfur which have recently intensified, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a report. Over the last six months, fighting in western Darfur involving government forces, Arab militiamen known as Janjaweed who back them, and other armed movements has continued and banditry and abductions have dramatically increased, Annan said in the report released Monday. The secretary-general said the result has been an increase in the number of civilians affected by the conflict to 2.3 million, more than one-third of the estimated population in Darfur of 6 million before violence erupted two years ago. At least 70,000 people have died. Annan's grim report outlining key commitments not kept by the government, more attacks and less cooperation by rebel movements in political talks to resolve the conflict, and increasing threats to humanitarian workers was released on the eve of a Security Council meeting focusing on Sudan. Sudan's first vice president, Ali Osman Mohammed Taha, and John Garang, head of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, who last month signed a peace deal ending the 21-year civil war in southern Sudan, are scheduled to brief the council at an open meeting Tuesday along with Baba Gana Kingibe, the African Union envoy in Sudan. Annan told reporters "it will be important" to have the parties in New York to discuss "the action they need to take on the ground to make it really hold." "We also believe that the implementation ... will have a positive impact ... on the settlement of Darfur," he said. Annan has asked the council to approve a 10,130-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission to enforce the north-south peace deal but he stressed again Monday that efforts to monitor and verify the Jan. 9 agreement must include the Darfur crisis. The U.N. mission envisioned by Annan would help address "the root causes of conflict in the whole of Sudan and in facilitating the establishment of durable peace country-wide." "Peace in Sudan is indivisible and so should be the efforts to facilitate it," the secretary-general said. The Security Council is expected to start discussing a draft resolution to address Annan's request for the peacekeeping mission shortly. It is also expected to take up a report last week by a U.N.-appointed commission which found evidence of crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur, but stopped short of labeling the crisis genocide. It wasn't known whether that resolution would also address ways of punishing those responsible for crimes in Darfur or other ways to stop the violence there. Council members are considering sanctions, an arms or oil embargo, and referrals to a war crimes tribunal. Many back the report's recommendation to present cases to the International Criminal Court but the United States vehemently opposes the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal and is pressing instead for alleged perpetrators to be tried at a tribunal based in Arusha, Tanzania. A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the United States is prepared "to shoulder a very large part" of the financial cost of a tribunal at Arusha, where leaders allegedly responsible for the 1994 Rwanda genocide are currently being prosecuted. But Taha said Saturday that the Sudanese government will not send Sudanese citizens or officials suspected of Darfur war crimes charges to any international court. The commission recommended that 51 Sudanese people -- including high-ranking government officials, rebels and Arab militiamen known as the Janjaweed -- stand trial at the International Criminal Court. The U.S. official, asked whether Taha was on the list, said Washington didn't have any information about names and was focusing on trying to resolve the Darfur conflict and promote a new round of political talks in Abuja, Nigeria. Annan's report said the government has made "little progress" in meeting its U.N. obligation to adopt measures to end impunity, investigate reports of human rights violations, and ensure that those accused of abuse are brought to justice without delay. Since September, it said, there also has been no evidence of disarmament as the government promised. "Disarmament and arrest of the perpetrators of these brutal acts is the single most important demand of the council and the clearest case of failure by the government to live up to its responsibilities," the report said.
Sudan - Darfur
Reuters 2 Feb 2005 U.N. Envoy Says Horrified by Fresh Darfur Attacks By REUTERS Published: February 2, 2005 Filed at 10:17 a.m. ET KHARTOUM (Reuters) - The top U.N. envoy in Sudan said he was horrified by fresh attacks in Darfur and urged both sides on Wednesday to stop fighting this month and conclude a peace agreement by the end of the year. ``Stop the fighting in February. Talk 10 months...but you should not give yourselves 10 years,'' envoy Jan Pronk said, referring a separate deal to end more than 20 years of civil war in southern Sudan signed last month after a decade of talks. Advertisement He told reporters that last week he visited the Labado area in the east of South Darfur state, which saw fierce fighting between the government and rebels in December, followed by what Pronk called a ``systematic pattern'' of attacks by militias on civilian villages in which many people died. ``I was horrified by what I saw in Labado. All huts had been demolished and burned down... All water wells have been destroyed,'' he said. Militias had destroyed dozens of villages around the town in a similar manner, he added. He said the African Union (AU) summit to be held in Khartoum in January 2006 should be an incentive to achieve peace before receiving the presidents from more than 50 nations to Sudan. Pronk was speaking two days after an independent commission of inquiry, in a report to the United Nations, stopped short of the U.S. assessment that there has been genocide in Darfur. But it said government and military officials and allied Arab militia leaders were responsible for widespread abuses which may constitute crimes against humanity. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the two-year-old rebellion and more than 1.8 million have fled their homes. Thousands die every month in camps for the displaced. Pronk said one of the most worrying points of the report was that these human rights abuses were continuing during the investigation, between November and January. After years of conflict over scarce resources in Darfur, two main rebel groups took up arms in early 2003 accusing Khartoum of neglect and of giving preferential treatment to Arab tribes. They say the government mobilized Arab militias, known as Janjaweed, to loot and burn non-Arab villages. The government says it armed some militias to fight the rebels but denies links to the Janjaweed, calling them outlaws. Darfur rebels are accused of killing a nephew of a man who tops the State Department's list of suspected Janjaweed leaders who stand accused of human rights abuses in Darfur. Relatives of the victim, who declined to be named, said rebels ambushed one of the sons of Musa Hilal's brother, Omar Hilal, three days ago, killing him and a friend in North Darfur state. Throughout the Darfur conflict the government has been accused of bombing villages and Pronk on Wednesday asked Khartoum to stop flying its planes over civilian areas. ``I have requested the government to refrain from flying over areas where civilians live because they get very afraid and it creates the impression that there is coordination,'' he said. He was referring to suspicions that the Sudanese air force has acted in collusion with Arab militias accused of attacking non-Arab villages on the ground. ``The government should avoid creating that impression by restraining itself and refraining from flying,'' he added. There was no immediate response from the Sudanese government but officials have said in the past that the flights are for observation and to move troops around. On the AU truce observers, Pronk said: ``I saw...that they (the troops) are excellent. My appeal is: 'You are so good. Come with many more','' he said. The AU says building the bases for the troops has caused the delay to the deployment.
IRIN 2 Feb 2005 Sudan: Gunmen shoot at AU monitors in West Darfur [This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] NAIROBI, 2 February (IRIN) - Gunmen in the western Sudanese state of Darfur on Monday opened fire on two African Union (AU) teams investigating reported cease-fire violations, AU officials said. Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission in Sudan, condemned the shooting in a statement on Tuesday. The first incident occurred in the town of Jayjay, south of the capital, Nyala, where AU monitors were investigating an alleged attack on a village. The second occurred near Shangil Tobai, where another team was looking into reports that aerial bombings had taken place. No casualties resulting from either incident were reported. Kingibe said that "the military observers were undertaking their legitimate duty" of investigating allegations of violations of the N'Djamena Ceasefire Agreement when they came under fire. "The AU does not wish to be drawn into a situation where its monitors and protectors will be obliged to defend themselves by the use of force," he added. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemned attacks on the monitors in a separate statement on Tuesday, saying this "could jeopardise the fulfilment of the AU mission in Darfur." On 1 December 2004 another member of the AU observer team was shot at, and on the 19th an AU helicopter was fired upon. The AU warned that if its team continued to be targeted, this would constitute a serious threat to the ceasefire monitoring process. Annan urged the Sudanese government and rebel forces in Darfur "to respect the neutrality of AU monitors, observers and police, as well as all international humanitarian workers, and to guarantee that they operate in the region under conditions of safety and security." The N'Djamena Ceasefire Agreement to halt fighting in Darfur and allow humanitarian organisations' access, was signed by the Sudanese government and the two main rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), on 8 April 2004 in the Chadian capital. However, the Janjawid militias, who are blamed for most of the atrocities, were neither signatories to the agreement, nor specifically referred to in the text, and the agreement has repeatedly been violated by all parties since its inception. In a report published on Monday, a UN commission of inquiry found that government forces and militias had conducted indiscriminate attacks throughout Darfur, including the killing of civilians, torture, enforced disappearances, destruction of villages, rape and other forms of sexual violence, pillaging and forced displacement, but concluded that these did not amount to genocide. The commission blamed the government for joining in the attacks, and for complicity with the Janjawid militia, but also said the rebels were responsible for some of the serious crimes committed against the people of Darfur. The war in Darfur pits the Sudanese government troops and militias, allegedly allied to the government, against rebels fighting to end what they have called the marginalisation and discrimination of the region's inhabitants by the state. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in Darfur, with up to 1.85 million internally displaced or forced to seek refuge in neighbouring Chad. The UN has described the Darfur conflict as one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.
Letting Sudan Get Away with Murder Debate over whether to call the mass murder in Darfur "genocide" is preventing efforts to bring those responsible to justice Ben Kiernan YaleGlobal, 4 February 2005 Horsemen of death: Janjaweed rebel leader Musa Hilal (left) and his men have been accused of committing genocide in Darfur NEW HAVEN: In two years of mass killings and forced population displacements, Sudan and its Arab Janjaweed militias have caused the deaths of over 200,000 Africans in the country's Darfur provinces. Though existing international law already provides both a relevant statutory definition of genocide and a court to judge these crimes, needless semantic disputes are hampering effective punishment and deterrence. Failure to promptly bring those responsible before the International Criminal Court (ICC) could render the international community helpless onlookers – and would further encourage such crimes. Despite persistent reports of attacks on Africans in Darfur, military intervention has been slow. The African Union peacekeeping force is small. Guarding their own sovereignty, few African or Arab governments will intervene in a regional Islamic state, or prosecute its crimes. US intervention, with American forces extended in Iraq and elsewhere, seems unlikely. Washington favors a genocide tribunal, in a special court restricted to hearing the Darfur case. It opposes the new permanent ICC, which one day might try US war crimes. Differing definitions of genocide plague the legal response. A United Nations commission, urging referral of the case to ICC prosecutors, recently found that crimes against humanity and war crimes are occurring in Darfur. The commission avoided charging Sudanese government officials with genocide – the most heinous crime against humanity – stating that "only a competent court" can determine if they have committed "acts with genocidal intent." Meanwhile, the US government, the German government, the Parliament of the European Union, the US Holocaust Museum's Committee on Conscience, and Yad Vashem, all accuse Khartoum of "genocide." Why this debate over the definition of genocide? Although the concept of genocide preceded the invention of the term, the jurist Raphael Lemkin coined the term "genocide" in his 1944 classic Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. Warning of what we now call the Holocaust, he cited previous cases, particularly the 1915 Armenian genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Young Turk regime. Lemkin thought that the term should denote the attempted destruction not only of ethnic and religious groups, but also of political ones, and that it encompassed systematic cultural destruction as well. The 1941-45 Nazi genocide of Jews and Gypsies constitutes not only the most extreme case of genocide; it differs from previous cases – the conquistadors' brutality in the New World or nineteenth-century Ottoman massacres of Armenians – in an important respect: The Holocaust was one of the first historical examples of attempted physical racial extermination. On a smaller scale, this fate had already befallen a number of indigenous peoples in the Americas, Africa, and Australia – and later, the Vietnamese minority in Cambodia, and Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994. By then, planned near-complete annihilation of a people had become the colloquial meaning of "genocide." Yet the postwar United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide adopted Lemkin's broader concept, which encompasses the crimes in Darfur. Ratified by most UN member states, the 1948 Convention defines genocide as acts committed "with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such." It includes even non-violent destruction of such a group. While excluding cultural destruction and political extermination, the Convention specifically covers removal of children, imposing living conditions that make it difficult to sustain a group's existence, or inflicting physical or mental harm, with the intent to destroy a group "as such." Australia's Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission found in 1997 that the UN definition of genocide applies to the removals of Aboriginal children from their parents to "breed out the color" – as one Australian official put it in 1933. The law thus expands the popular understanding of genocide. As in the case of Darfur, genocide may fall well short of total physical extermination. While some scholars use the term more broadly, to include destruction of political groups, the legal recourse now available to victims under international law is a good reason to accept the 1948 UN definition. In 2003, Sudan acceded to the Genocide Convention (which the US ratified in 1988). It is statutory international law, binding on 136 states. In the past decade, UN tribunals for Bosnia and Rwanda have prosecuted and convicted genocide perpetrators from both countries. The Convention's definition is enshrined in the statute of the ICC, created in 2002 and ratified by 94 states. The legal definition is broad in another sense, too. In criminal law, the term "intent" does not equal "motive." One of Hitler's motives for the construction of Auschwitz was to destroy the Jews directly, but other genocide perpetrators have pursued different goals – communism (Stalin and Pol Pot), conquest (Indonesia in East Timor), "ethnic cleansing" (in Bosnia and Darfur) – which resulted in more indirect cases. If those perpetrators did not set out to commit genocide, it was a predictable result of their actions. The regimes pursued their objectives, knowing that at least partial genocide would result from their violence: driving Muslim communities from Bosnia or Africans from Darfur, crushing all national resistance in East Timor, imposing totalitarian racism in Cambodia. When such policies, purposefully pursued, knowingly bring genocidal results, their perpetrators may be legally judged to have possessed the "intent" to destroy a group, at least "in part," whatever their motive. Such crimes are not the same as the Holocaust, but international law has made them another form of genocide. The 1948 Convention also outlaws complicity, incitement, conspiracy, and attempt to commit genocide. A government could commit those crimes by facilitating an ongoing genocide against indigenous people. Darfur may include such cases of official complicity with the Janjaweed militia attacks. In colonial Australia, British authorities did not set out to exterminate Aborigines, but some police and settlers did. Nor did US federal officials adopt such a goal in California and the West, though some state governments and bounty-hunting posses did. Yet courts in both countries prohibited testimony by native people. Such official policies and their deliberate, sustained enforcement facilitated or resulted in the predictable genocide of a number of Aboriginal and Native American peoples. Complicity, discrimination, and refusal of legal responsibility to protect threatened groups continued in the twentieth century. Even after World War II, the UN Security Council failed to enforce the 1948 Genocide Convention until the crime recurred in Europe. By then genocides had proliferated elsewhere. A few independent scholars, inspired by Lemkin, had long been working to broaden understanding of the phenomenon beyond the Holocaust. Most scholars now include the Armenian, Bangladeshi, Cambodian, East Timorese, Guatemalan, Sudanese, and other cases, along with those of Bosnia and Rwanda. Attention has also turned to indigenous peoples. A German official recently apologized to the Herero people of Namibia for Berlin's genocidal conquest of Southwest Africa in 1904-05. The United States and Australia have yet to acknowledge earlier genocides against their indigenous inhabitants, but now the Muslim Africans of Darfur have a legal remedy. After a century of genocide, resistance, and research on the phenomenon, the world community has a legal definition, an international statute outlawing the crime, and a court asserting jurisdiction over it. The task now requires less definitional disputation, more investigation, rigorous enforcement, and compensation for the victims. Unless either the Sudanese government invites the ICC, or the UN decides to send the case before the ICC, the Darfur crimes may go unpunished. Lest international efforts to prevent genocide disintegrate into empty talk, the ICC should be allowed to take up the case of Darfur. Ben Kiernan is the A.Whitney Griswold Professor of History and Director of the Genocide Studies Program at Yale University, www.yale.edu/gsp. He is the author of How Pol Pot Came to Power, and The Pol Pot Regime (Yale 2002, 2004), and co-editor of The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective (Cambridge, 2003).
AP 9 Feb 2005 Sudan Panel IDs Suspects in Rights Abuses By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Filed at 5:56 p.m. ET KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) -- A former Sudanese chief justice said Wednesday his committee on Darfur war crimes has identified suspects who should be investigated and perhaps tried for human rights abuses -- but not by an international court, as a U.N. panel is suggesting. Chief Justice Dafaalla Al Hajj Yusuf, at a news conference called to discuss a report he submitted to the president last month, insisted Sudan was capable of trying the suspects itself. The brutal violence in the Sudanese region of Darfur is shaping up as an early test of the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal, which began operating in The Hague, Netherlands, in 2003. European governments champion the International Criminal Court, but the United States rejects it, and is suggesting a court based in the African Union organization try Darfur war crimes. Sudan's vice president, however, said last week that his government will not send Sudanese citizens or officials suspected of committing war crimes in Darfur to any international court. After years of tribal clashes over scarce resources in the desert region, conflict erupted in earnest in February 2003 when rebels took up arms against what they saw as years of state neglect and discrimination against black Sudanese by Arab tribes. The government is accused of responding with a counterinsurgency campaign in which Arab militia known as Janjaweed committed wide-scale abuses against the African population. Yusuf, the Sudanese judge, said his committee had investigated reports of extra-judicial killings in the region and ``it became clear to us that there was indication that violations took place and, if such is the case, they constitute a violation of ... international laws.'' He said the names of suspects had been passed on to another committee recently formed, at his recommendation, to investigate and advise whether criminal trials should be held. He did not name suspects or elaborate on the accusations against them. Yusuf claimed criminal courts here already had sentenced more than 80 people to death in crimes linked to the unrest. He said his committee also had recommended the creation of other committees to decide how to compensate victims and how to address the underlying causes of the Darfur conflict -- chief among them lack of resources in the region. In a report last week, a U.N. commission concluded that the Sudanese government and militias carried out mass killing and probably war crimes in Darfur. But the panel said government leaders did not appear to intend to exterminate an entire group for ethnic, religious or other reasons -- the definition of genocide, which the United States and others say has occurred in Darfur. Meanwhile, The International Committee of the Red Cross issued a statement Wednesday drawing attention to the plight of Darfur's rural residents, said to be more dire than that of urban dwellers. ``In these rural areas, populations live in an environment where there is no elementary protection,'' said Christoph Harnisch, sub-Saharan Africa chief at the International Committee of the Red Cross. ``There is not a lot of international attention far away from the urban centers,'' he said. Lacking any outside help, the scattered villages of Darfur are forced to fend for themselves, often having to pay protection money to local militias in the form of livestock or food, Harnisch said.
abcnews.go.com/Nightline 9 Feb 2005 Reporter's Notebook: Actor Don Cheadle in Sudan A View from the Ground on the Killing in Northeast Africa By DON CHEADLE Feb. 9, 2005 - According to the United Nations, nearly two million people have been forced from their homes by a campaign of killing and expulsion in the Darfur region of Sudan. The United Nations estimates more than 70,000 people have been killed, 400 villages have been destroyed and 200,000 villagers have fled across the border into Chad. Watch Don Cheadle's report on "Nightline" on Wednesday night at 11:35 p.m. ET, and tune in on Thursday night for an interview with Paul Rusesabagina. I was invited to join five members of Congress on a fact-finding mission to see refugees and the way they are forced to live. Late last month, we traveled with Paul Rusesabagina, the man I portray in the film "Hotel Rwanda," which is about the genocide of 800,000 people in Rwanda more than a decade ago. Rusesabagina used his hotel as an impromptu refugee camp and saved more than 1,000 lives. I agreed to go to Sudan because I think it would be very disingenuous for me to have been saying all this time since we made the movie, "We can't allow this to go on," and "We have to get involved" -- and I had the opportunity to get involved and didn't. Lined Up in Rows We entered Sudan from neighboring Chad. Our first stop was a military base belonging to the 53-nation African Union, which is monitoring the activities in Sudan. A stone's throw from the front gate of the compound was an all-but-abandoned village. An estimated 40,000 people used to live there, but fewer than 200 residents remained. They all fled across the border into Chad because the villagers did not feel safe in Sudan. We then made a long dusty drive back to Chad to visit a transit camp on the outskirts of a town called Am Nabak. It temporarily houses 16,000 refugees -- many of whom were lined up in rows silently waiting for the delegation to arrive. To me, it felt like they were put on display. We later learned they had assembled as a sign of respect. Just looking at their faces and looking in their eyes, I was trying to imagine what they had seen. I felt very small -- insignificant and humbled. Some of the refugees displayed hand-drawn posters illustrating the ground and air attacks that drove them off their land and into this camp. When the day ended, the delegation left. Paul and I stayed behind to visit more refugees. Return Them to Their Homes We started the next morning at the transit camp at Am Nabak again, where we got a look at the shacks the refugees have constructed from sticks, plastic and earth to protect them from the harsh desert sun. They busied themselves hauling water from taps at the edge of the camp, grinding grain for bread and meal, and mixing mud to reinforce their huts against the wind and the biting cold. Children were all over the place. Some were working, but most were playing and watching us. They knew we were from the outside world. They reminded Rusesabagina of the children he had seen in his native Rwanda. The best thing to do for them is to return them to their natural environments -- or else they would be completely lost, he said. We also met Emile Belem, the head of operations at "Camp Am Nabak" as well as two other refugee camps in the area. He had been working in the area for more than a year, and was about to leave. He said conditions were improving, but he still faced life-and-death decisions on a daily basis. He once had to leave a little girl behind when his truck was overflowing with refugees and there was no room. "It was very, very difficult for me to see such a situation because there's a lot of children in such situation. If we cannot provide help, it is also affecting us," he said. A Plea for Help We also met a young woman named Fatima who fled her village after government troops attacked. She walked seven days to get to the camp -- all during the night, because the gangs make it dangerous to walk during the day. Speaking through a translator, she told us she lost her mother, her five children, and her husband. She was alone at the camp with one child. She pleaded for help. "What we need from the United States is to take this government out of Sudan," she said. "To replace the government." After two hours at the refugee camp, hundreds of children were assembled in front of us, seemingly out of nowhere. Unlike the congressional delegation of the day before, we hadn't announced our arrival. The refugees are surprisingly media-savvy. They even erected a sign to get their point across. It read: "Welcome our guests. We need education." The Poor and the Poorer Our final stop was Touloum, a sprawling camp that's home to 21,000 refugees. Unlike Am Nabak, it's considered to be a permanent camp. Toulom is far enough away from the Sudanese border that CARE, the worldwide relief organization that runs it, feels it's less likely to be attacked. Instead of mud and plastic and wood shacks, the refugees live in tents, a longer-lasting form of shelter. Refugees had been streaming in. According to those who run the camp, Toloum had had 3,000 new arrivals in the last two months. The administrators must deal with challenges common to all refugee camps, such as disease, despair and fear. But they also face one more: competition for scarce resources between impoverished locals and refugees. For example, refugees often come into conflict with locals over firewood because trees are so scarce in the area. Wells are also rare, and when camps receive water by truck, locals sometimes come in to the camps to partake. The refugees, with food and medical resources available to them, are in a way better off than the local people. A Personal Experience John Prendergast of the International Crisis Group says the trick is to do more before these tragedies happen, not afterwards. "We simply don't or can't respond, or are simply unwilling to respond, while these things are happening," said Prendergast, who has worked with refugees in Africa for two decades. A political solution needs to be found right away before more people become refugees and more refugees see their suffering prolonged, he says. "You can hear that clock ticking in the background." U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Scott Gration said urgent action is also needed because "when people grow up without hope, they are more susceptible to extremist themes and to be swayed." Rusesabagina says the lessons of Darfur are clear: "As human beings, we live and learn from the past and from what we see in order to plan a better future." For me, the experience of seeing the refugees has had a lasting effect. It's one thing to know the numbers and to just think about it as statistics, and it's another thing to actually touch these people and to sit with them and hear their stories and really share with them on a human level. If anyone were to do that, I don't see how you could turn your back and be glib or aloof about what is happening to these people here ever again. "Nightline" producer Rick Wilkinson contributed to this report.
IRIN 8 Feb 2005 Security situation in Darfur deteriorating - AU [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © AU African Union logo NAIROBI, 8 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - The security situation in the western Sudanese states of North and South Darfur has deteriorated progressively over the past four months, with unacceptable consequences for the peace and tranquility of the civilian populations, according to the African Union (AU). "While all sides to the conflict in Darfur were responsible for the situation, the worst perpetrators were the Janjawid/armed militia," Baba Gana Kingibe, the special representative of the chairperson of the AU commission in Sudan, said in a statement on Saturday. AU monitors and humanitarian agencies last week found seven South Darfur villages burned to the ground and three others abandoned, while at least six abductions and the looting of food aid from an NGO were reported. Kingibe noted, however, that calm had been restored in the region over the past week, particularly during a two-day visit by Sudan’s first vice president, Ali Osman Mohammed Taha on Friday and Saturday. Taha's trip was intended to enable him to assess the situation on the ground first hand. Kingibe particularly welcomed Taha’s assurances to the AU ceasefire observer mission, during his visit to Darfur, that he would personally ensure that matters would improve, and that efforts to find a lasting solution to the crisis would be accelerated. The Au statement followed the recent release of the report of a UN-backed commission that said that while genocide did not occur in Darfur, government-supported militias were still perpetrating rape, mass killings and destruction in Darfur. The commission recommended that the UN Security council referred its dossier on the crimes in Darfur to the International Criminal Court so that the perpetrators named in a secret annex to the report, including Sudan government officials, might be prosecuted for war crimes. Khartoum, however, is opposed to any overseas trials of its nationals. "What is being reported about the trial of some individuals or officials in courts outside the Sudan is something we will not accept as a government," Sudan’s state-run news agency, SUNA, quoted Taha as saying at a rally in North Darfur’s capital, Al Fasher. Meanwhile, the governor of North Darfur, Osman Kedir, on Saturday reportedly announced that the Sudanese government had removed all its Antonov planes from Darfur, and would not use them in the area. It had previously been accused of using them to bomb villages. "They have been withdrawn, all of them, and they will not return," Kedir was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency. "Jan Pronk [special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sudan] has recently asked the Sudanese government to stop using their Antonov planes in Darfur altogether," George Somerwill, deputy spokesperson for the UN’s Advance Mission in Sudan (UNAMIS), told IRIN on Monday. "The withdrawal of their planes could have been prompted by this request, although UNAMIS has not received any official confirmation of this withdrawal," he added. Pronk told the UN Security Council on Friday that he feared last month’s peace agreement, ending over two decades of conflict in southern Sudan, would prove short-lived without an end to the conflict in Darfur. "Failure to find solutions to the conflicts in Darfur and elsewhere in the Sudan will mean that any peace support operation limited to south Sudan will be affected by the consequences of such conflicts," he warned. Taha and John Garang, the leader of the Southern Sudanese Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), are scheduled to address the Security Council in New York on 8 February. The Council will discuss the role and scope of a UN peace support mission in Sudan, following the signing of a comprehensive peace accord between the Sudanese government and the SPLM/A on 9 January in Nairobi, Kenya. The war between the SPLM/A and the Sudanese government in the south erupted in 1983 when southern rebels took up arms against northern authorities in Khartoum, demanding greater autonomy. Relief agencies say the fighting has left at least two million dead, four million internally displaced, and up to 600,000 exiled in neighbouring countries. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in Darfur since the conflict began in 2003, while as many as 1.85 million have been displaced from their homes. The UN has described the Darfur conflict as one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
ICRC 9 Feb 2005 www.icrc.org International Committee of the Red Cross 9-02-2005 Press briefing Darfur: a deteriorating situation Darfur's civilian population is still living in fear, while the humanitarian situation in the region has worsened. Most at risk are those living in rural areas. This was the message of the ICRC's Delegate-General for Africa, Christoph Harnisch, on returning from his recent mission to Sudan. At a press briefing in Geneva, Mr. Harnisch spoke of a severely deteriorating situation in an environment marked by suspicion, fear and lawlessness. "You can see fear in the faces of the people you meet and there are numerous reports of violence. It is a grim picture and there is no place for optimism." An environment of fear and hatred Last year's counter-insurgency launched by the Sudanese government and its allied militias against armed opposition groups has created a climate where neighbouring populations are pitted against each other. And it is civilians, rather than the military, militias or rebel groups, who are bearing the brunt of the crisis. "Darfur today has become a conflict where the level of direct confrontation between government troops and rebel forces is quite low but the suffering of the civilian population is high," explains Harnisch. The most vulnerable are those living in rural areas, said Harnisch, where there is no protection system in place at all other than that provided by the ICRC and a few NGOs active among these isolated communities. He said the very presence of the ICRC or other organizations in many remote communities decreased their vulnerability as local deals had to be struck to allow aid to be distributed. The ICRC also continues to document the widespread violations of international humanitarian law that have characterized the conflict and enters into a dialogue with armed groups to promote a better respect of IHL. Rural emphasis Although the distribution of essential food and non-food items is now well established for hundreds of thousands of people sheltering in camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) nearer to cities, rural residents are still highly exposed. This led to the ICRC shifting its emphasis from IDPs to the rural population during the course of 2004. "The displacement of so many people disrupted the micro-economic environment," explained Harnisch, "This year's harvest will be between 25% and 50% lower than in normal years and most rural populations will be affected by food shortages." The looting of both livestock and the meagre food stocks that do exist has not improved the outlook. The ICRC concurs with World Food Programme figures that estimate between 2.5 and 3 million people in Darfur will need food assistance this year. Southern Sudan In the south of the country, the ICRC is faced with a quite different situation. The signing of a peace agreement between Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army in January has brought some hope for stability although it is early days yet. "There is a level of enthusiasm and optimism within the political establishment that is not yet matched within the population at large...the new dynamic has to be translated into reality," says Harnisch. Although the level of violence has certainly decreased in southern Sudan with an end to official hostilities between government troops and rebels, there remain some skirmishes between local groups fighting over access to scarce resources. Looking forward, there is much to be done. The region, the poorest in Sudan, does not have the infrastructure to accommodate those who fled the fighting to become refugees in Kenya or Uganda. The task for the international community will be gigantic because everything will have to be done from scratch. However, the roots for peace have been planted in southern Sudan, a prospect that still appears to be a distant possibility for Darfur.
Reuters 13 Mar 2005 Annan tells EU, NATO more help needed in Sudan Sun February 13, 2005 11:20 AM GMT+02:00 MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged the European Union and NATO on Sunday to do more to help end the humanitarian crisis in Sudan's Darfur region. "People are dying every single day, while we fail to protect them," Annan told a hall full of government ministers and top defence officials at the Munich Security Conference in Germany. He said the African Union's capacity to provide security in Darfur was dwarfed by the size of the challenge. "Additional measures are urgently required. Those organisations with real capacity -- and NATO as well as the EU are well represented in this room -- must give serious consideration to what, in practical terms, they can do to help end this tragedy," he said. A U.N. commission of inquiry found last month that Darfur's civilian population had suffered war crimes at the hands of Arab militia and that these may amount to crimes against humanity, although it stopped short of using the term genocide. Annan did not spell out what further steps he expected from NATO. Individual countries such as the United States have provided airlift capacity to move African peacekeepers to the region. "Together, working in close cooperation, we must come up with an effective strategy that halts the killing and protects the vulnerable. Otherwise, we shall have failed the people of Darfur. I am ready to play my full part in working out such a strategy," Annan said.
Sudan - Southern Sudan
IRIN 2 Feb 2005 National parliament ratifies southern peace agreement [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] NAIROBI, 2 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - Sudan's national assembly on Tuesday unanimously ratified the comprehensive peace agreement which was signed by the government and the southern Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) in Nairobi, Kenya, on 9 January. The Nairobi agreement formally ended the 21-year civil war in the south between government forces and the SPLM/A. Ismail Al-Haj Musa, chairman of the assembly's law and justice committee, presented the committee's findings on the comprehensive peace agreement to the parliament, describing the agreement as "paving the way for a just partnership in resources and power and giving solution for the issue of the relation between religion and state". The committee noted that peace was a strategic goal of the state intended to bring about comprehensive development and progress all over Sudan, and stressed that the "implementation of peace is a common responsibility of the government, the SPLM/A, and all the national and political forces." It said the agreement had paved the way for the realisation of democratic transformation and the expansion of the scope of participation, facilitating the return of a large number of opposition leaders to the Sudanese capital. The Sudanese embassy in Nairobi, in a statement on Wednesday, called the agreement a "framework for unity which is based on free will, democratic rule, justice, equality and mutual respect, besides guaranteeing the right of self-determination for the citizens of south Sudan." Vice president, Moses Machar, Secretary General of the National Congress, Ibrahim Ahmed Omer, former vice president Abel Alier and other SPLM/A officials, federal ministers, representatives of the Sufi sects and Sudanese political parties attended the ratification ceremony in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. Ratification will clear the way for the drafting of a new constitution and the formation of a new national government. After six years, a referendum among the southern states will determine whether the south will become fully independent or remain part of a unified Sudan. Under the power-sharing agreement between the government and the SPLM/A, 52 percent of the government will be from the ruling National Congress Party and 28 percent from the SPLM/A, with other northern parties taking 14 and other southerners six. The agreement also stipulates that the SPLM/A leader, John Garang, is to become first vice president and head an autonomous administration for the south during the six-year transitional period. The National Liberation Council, the SPLM/A legislative body, unanimously endorsed the southern peace agreement at a meeting held in Rumbek, the provisional capital of southern Sudan, on 24 January. The war between the government and the SPLM/A erupted in 1983 when rebels took up arms against authorities based in the north to demand greater autonomy. At least 2 million people have been killed and four million displaced. Another 600,000 fled to seek refuge in neighbouring countries.
Sudan - Port Sudan
Reuters 31 Jan 2005 Sudanese troops attack homes after shooting - witnesses Mon January 31, 2005 8:32 AM GMT+02:00 By Opheera McDoom PORT SUDAN, Sudan (Reuters) - Sudanese police and troops went on a rampage in ethnic Beja parts of Port Sudan on Saturday after shooting dead at least 18 people preparing to take part in a demonstration, witnesses said on Sunday. At least seven people were seriously wounded in the rampage in the Red Sea city in eastern Sudan, in which soldiers threw hand grenades into houses several km (miles) from the scene of the demonstration, they said. Abdullah Moussa Abdullah, a prominent local Beja politician, said dozens of houses were attacked but he could not give a figure for the number of casualties. The authorities were not immediately available to comment on the report. The victims still under treatment in hospital on Sunday included five-year-old Mariam Mukhtar, her uncle Moussa Mustafa Mukhtar, 20, and Mohamed al-Din from the same district. Hospital sources said at least 18 people were killed and 40 injured in the shooting at demonstrators who had gathered for a march to demand that the Khartoum government start negotiations with the Beja on sharing power and the country's resources. A U.N. official said there were unconfirmed reports of a death toll of up to 30. It was not clear whether some of the deaths were the result of the rampage later on Saturday. Moussa Hassan Mohammed, the brother of the wounded girl, said: "The special forces threw a hand grenade into our house. They are killing innocent people -- Why?" Mariam's tiny body was full of shrapnel and her head bandaged. She tossed and turned feverishly as people crowded around her in the small, stuffy hospital room. Her uncle lay in the next bed wounded by shrapnel, a white bandage covering the stub of an arm where his hand once was. BEJA DEMANDS In the next room Mohamed al-Din was bandaged to hold his stomach spilling out of a wound. He said he had been shot as armed forces stormed his house on Saturday. "They came into my house. They shot everywhere. Four of my family members were injured," he said, barely able to whisper. Beja organisations presented a list of demands last Wednesday and were preparing the demonstration on Saturday morning when troops opened fire at them, witnesses said. Sudanese Interior Minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein said police had opened fire on demonstrators after cars were set on fire and shops looted. "Security forces had to protect the port and oil reservoirs," he told Reuters during a visit to Dubai on Sunday, adding that the situation was now stable. Abdullah, secretary-general of the Beja Congress, a political party representing the ethnic group, said it was the worst violence against citizens in Port Sudan he had seen. "I'd heard about the genocide in Darfur but now I've seen it with my own eyes here," he said, referring to the western desert region where rebels took up arms two years ago. The Beja Congress and other Sudanese opposition groups accuse the government of neglecting the remote regions of the country in favour of the centre. They see the agreement this month between the government and the southern rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement as a model for their own regions. The agreement gives the southerners a share of their region's oil revenues. The Beja Congress has a military wing, which has performed minor military operations in the east. Abdullah said Beja forces attacked government forces on Saturday and Sunday in an area south of the town of Kassala. On the outskirts of Port Sudan the Beja live in expansive shanty towns. Originally a nomadic people, many moved to the port to work as labourers after famine killed their cattle and mechanised farming took over their lands in the 1980s. In the graveyard outside the city, thousands of angry men were preparing to bury the dead. "Yesterday there was a massacre here. We need international protection," Abdel Salem Mohamed shouted. "We are going to struggle. We are going to prepare for war."
IRIN 1 Feb 2005 Scores killed during riots in Port Sudan [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © NAIROBI, 1 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - Scores of people were reported killed and others wounded after police shot at protestors of the Beja ethnic group during two days of riots in the Red Sea city of Port Sudan, Beja representatives said. The head of the Beja Congress movement in Khartoum, Amina Dhirar, told reporters at a news conference on Sunday that at least 25 demonstrators were killed and about 100 others were wounded in Port Sudan, 684 km northeast of the capital, Khartoum. After the riots that took place on Friday and Saturday, the Associated Press reported Red Sea State Governor Gen Hatim al-Wasilah as saying the police had acted to stop widespread looting and vandalism. He estimated 14 people had died and 16 were wounded. Dhirar said the security forces were heavy-handed in their action. She demanded immediate talks between the government and her party's leaders exiled in neighbouring Eritrea. IRIN could not reach any Sudanese government official in Sudan for comment on the police action. However, the Sudan Embassy in Nairobi said a government delegation, headed by the political secretary of the National Congress and the minister of agriculture and forestry, Magzoub Al-Khalifa, arrived in Port Sudan on Saturday to review the situation. While saying dialogue was needed to deal with any demands, Al-Khalifa said in a statement on Tuesday that "the [southern Sudanese] peace agreement reached in Naivasha [Kenya] constitutes a framework for solving any grievances for all states of the Sudan". The Khartoum newspaper, Alwan, reported on Tuesday that at least 100 people had been released from detention, after security forces restored calm to the city. Demonstrations had spread to the towns of Kassala and Sinkat, in eastern Sudan. The Beja were protesting their exclusion from recent peace agreements signed between Khartoum and southern rebels. The government of Sudan reached a preliminary political settlement with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), an association of opposition groups, including the Beja Congress, on 16 January in Cairo, Egypt. The deal supports the peace accord signed on 9 January with the southern Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), backs the drafting of a new constitution, and calls for the formation of a non-partisan and professional army. Although the agreement was hailed as an important step towards nationwide peace and the disarmament of the NDA's militias, the Beja Congress, an exiled group representing numerous eastern Sudan ethnic groups, boycotted the Cairo talks. During the past 16 years, NDA members have fought alongside the SPLM/A in the southern civil war, which left two million people dead, and launched sabotage attacks and other low-level violence in Sudan's north and east in opposition to President Umar El-Bashir's government. The Beja Congress accuses the government of neglecting remote regions of the country. The congress views the agreement between the government and the SPLM/A as a model for its own region, in demanding greater autonomy. Originally a nomadic people, many Beja now live in extensive shantytowns on the outskirts of Port Sudan. They moved to the port to work as labourers after famine killed their cattle and mechanised farming took over their lands in the 1980s. Beja leaders claim to represent some four million people in the Red Sea and Kassala states, along the Eritrean border.
Tanzania - ICTR
News24.con SA 31 Jan 2005 'Minister of rape' on trial 31/01/2005 22:13 - (SA) Related Articles Thousands see genocide film Rwandan genocide 'postponed' No justice for rape victims Genocide accused boycott trial Rwandans name suspects Acquitted Rwandans seek haven Genocide suspect nabbed in CT Lekota blames UN for Rwanda Rwandans share pain, hope Arusha - A former Rwandan minister, the first woman to be tried for genocide by a UN-backed court, accused prosecutors in Tanzania on Monday of mounting a smear campaign to portray her as a "minister for rape". Through her lawyer, former Rwandan women's affairs minister Pauline Nyiramasuhuko said she had been unjustly accused of crimes during the 1994 genocide in which about 800 000 people, mainly minority Tutsis, were killed. "Pauline Nyiramasuhuko wishes this court to treat her with dignity and humanity," defence attorney Nicole Bergevin told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Nyiramasuhuko, a 59-year-old Hutu, is accused of genocide and crimes against humanity, as well as incitement to rape Tutsi women in her southern hometown of Butare. Her trial resumed on Monday after a break of almost three months. 'Smear campaign' The prosecution has called several women who have testified that they were raped on Nyiramasuhuko's orders. But, Bergevin said the accusations were part of a "smear campaign" meant to impugn her client as a "minister of rape". Se also blamed the media for not fully investigating the allegations, according to the independent Hirondelle News Agency that was set up to cover the ICTR proceedings. "Nobody in the media bothers to find out whether the accusations against Nyiramasuhuko are true or not," she added, maintaining that her client's sole interest was in advancing the rights of Rwandan women. Nyiramasuhuko is accused with her son - Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, whom witnesses said killed Tutsi women after raping them - as well as two ex-provincial leaders, Sylvain Nsabimana and Alphonse Nteziryayo, and two mayors. They all have pleaded not guilty to the charges. The trial known as the "Butare case" began in 2001 and the last of the prosecution's 58 witnesses testified before the trial was suspended in November. Nyiramasuhuko, who was arrested in Nairobi in 1997, is the first woman to be tried by the ICTR, but another, Agnes Ntamabyariro, Rwanda's justice minister during the 1994 genocide, is waiting to be transferred to Tanzania for trial. Two nuns jailed for their role Rwandan courts have tried and convicted more than 20 women on genocide charges. One of those was publicly executed in April 1998. Another 22 women have been sentenced to death, but the penalties have not been carried out yet. In July 2001, a Belgian court sentenced two nuns to jail terms for their part in the Rwandan genocide. At least 800 000 people, most of them minority Tutsis, were killed between April and July 1994 in Rwanda after the assassination of a Hutu president led to the organised slaughter of Tutsis and Hutu opponents. The ICTR has convicted 20 people for their part in the genocide and acquitted three. Edited by Elmarie Jack
IRIN 2 Feb 2005 COSATU delegation deported again [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] HARARE, 2 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - A 15 member delegation from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) was on Wednesday barred from entering Zimbabwe. The delegation, led by COSATU secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi and first deputy president Joe Nkosi, intended to conduct a fact-finding mission ahead of Zimbabwe's legislative elections on 31 March. "The aim of the visit is not to undermine the government of Zimbabwe, but to interact with the people of that country and listen to their concerns. We cannot announce the coming Zimbabwe national elections as being free and fair if we do not have a true reflection of the problems of the people of Zimbabwe. The aim of the trip is to experience these problems ourselves," COSATU spokesman Paul Notyawa said last month. Immigration officials at Harare International Airport served the delegation with deportation orders, saying they were prohibited immigrants, after Minister of Labour Paul Mangwana warned COSATU that their presence would not be welcome. Mangwana was quoted as saying last month that Zimbabwe was not a province of South Africa, and COSATU should stay on its side of the border. The deportation of the COSATU team was condemned by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), which said the intended visit had no ulterior motives. ZCTU secretary-general, Wellington Chibhebhe, said the ZCTU and COSATU leadership would meet in the South African border town of Musina on Thursday to map the way forward. "We are disappointed that our colleagues in COSATU have been denied entry but that is a reflection of the kind of government that we have. We are going to lodge a complaint with the International Congress of Free Trade Unions which is based in Brussels," Chibhebhe told IRIN after the deportation. Last year, another COSATU delegation was deported from the country after Zimbabwean authorities accused them of interfering in their internal affairs.
Los Angeles Times 14 Feb 2005 AMAZON RAIN FOREST Brazil to probe the killing of American activist nun In an increasingly violent land fight in the Brazilian jungle, a U.S. activist was killed, and Brazil will investigate. BY HENRY CHU Service RIO DE JANEIRO - Amid outrage over mounting lawlessness in the Amazon, Brazil's government promised a high-level investigation Sunday into the killing of an American nun who spent years opposing illegal ranching and logging in the jungle. Justice officials are expected to declare the slaying of Dorothy Stang a federal case, and lawmakers are planning to create a parliamentary commission to monitor the investigation into Saturday's ambush of Stang and her colleagues outside Anapu, a small city in the rugged northern state of Para. Environment Minister Marina Silva said President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva had called an emergency Cabinet meeting for Tuesday to discuss the killing and the recent escalation of violent standoffs between competing interests in the region. Stang, 74, was shot several times while en route to a meeting with poor farmers, whom the Ohio native had championed for two decades in their struggle against ranchers and loggers intent on claiming vast tracts of rain forest. Despite reports that two people had been arrested, authorities said Sunday that they had only identified two supposed hit men as suspects and a third person who allegedly helped hire them. None was in custody. Human rights groups and environmentalists condemned the attack as the latest, most serious sign of growing anarchy in Para, which covers nearly a half-million square miles. Some large landholders in the area have formed private militias to guard their interests, while peasant farmers who oppose them also have taken up arms. Land disputes ending in death are not uncommon. Widespread corruption, influence peddling and lack of funding for police have combined to make the rule of law little more than theoretical in many areas. Late last month, loggers blocked highways and some stretches of river and threatened to shut down ports if officials did not satisfy their demands for deforestation rights. In response, the government agreed temporarily to reinstate logging permits, a move that incensed environmental advocates. A longtime missionary who moved to the Amazon 22 years ago, Stang had received both accolades and death threats for her work among the poor and landless. In a recent television interview, she said that ``any person who tries to stay in areas invaded by land speculators is threatened with death. They are highly armed, and no one is disarming them.'' Last week, Stang met with Human Rights Minister Nilmario Miranda and told him that some farmers had been threatened for standing up to ranchers and loggers. ''Sister Dorothy defended the land rights of the locals. She was killed defending the rights of the weakest,'' said Paulo Adario, the Amazon coordinator for the environmental group Greenpeace. ``Enough killing. Enough blood in the Amazon.'' Noting that rampant corruption in Para had put some local authorities in the pockets of landholders, Adario expressed skepticism that Stang's killers would be caught or punished. ''These groups operate with impunity in a climate of social injustice that's at the root of the problem,'' he said. ``Many times what happens is that the hired guns get let out of jail to commit the crime with permission from the police. I have my doubts [that] the one who ordered the crime will be arrested.'' Silva, the environment minister, insisted that officials would push hard for justice. ''The rule of law will prevail,'' she said by telephone from Altamira, in central Para. ``The punishment for the killing of Sister Dorothy will set an example.'' Silva compared Stang's death to the 1988 murder of Chico Mendes, the renowned rubber tapper who called international attention to Amazon rain forest destruction. ''The two were searching for the same ideal,'' said Silva, who worked with Mendes in their native state of Acre. Both Silva and Adario characterized the attack as not only a targeted killing but a direct challenge to the government, because it occurred the same day that Silva was in Para to announce a multimillion-dollar project to promote small-scale, sustainable development. ''We will not retreat from our development policies in the region,'' she said. Stang helped establish similar projects in Anapu, about 350 miles from the state capital, Belém, an area rich in hardwoods coveted by loggers. She was on the outskirts of the city Saturday to meet with poor farmers when she was shot at least four times by two gunmen, witnesses said.
www.excal.on.ca 9 Feb 2005 Written by Priya Chaudhury - Staff Writer Wednesday, 09 February 2005 Green Ribbon campaign launched Photo: Joyce Wong In response to the ongoing crisis in Darfur, Sudan, a number of student organizations across Canada have decided to come together to try and change the situation with a new coalition called One Sudan. Jaime Reich, a student representative from York and first-year religious studies student, says that their main aim is to raise awareness through a campaign among campuses across Canada. "There are atrocities that are happening in other parts of the world that people don't realize. Probably because they are not on front page news everyday, so people forget about them and don't act when there is plenty that we can do to help people in these situations," she says. Ben Fine, a student from University of Western Ontario who is one of the organizers of the coalition, says that the motivation for the campaign started at a conference of Jewish students, where Dr. Acol Dor, a southern Sudanese expatriate, spoke about the ongoing tragedy in Darfur. Dor has dedicated her life to raising awareness to bring about change in her country so refugees like her can one day return. "Following this, one evening, around 35 of us met as we all felt that we had to do something. So out of that came our first campaign idea to bring green ribbons or bracelets to spread the message, to remind everyone of the lessons of ‘never again', with the recent Holocaust commemoration," the fourth-year engineering student says, noting that the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz just passed. "It is to remind our peers that we can't just commemorate in a vacuum. We need to act, to fight the indifference that is part of our theme to allow those tragedies that took place in the past never to repeat itself," he explains. Meredith Herman, a student at McGill University who is co-organizing with Fine, agrees. "It is important that everyone be made aware of these atrocities and our primary job is to do just that," she says. These goals are what these three student representatives share . "On a couple of levels, accomplishing awareness gets people to realize that the cause is out there and that this may cause many horrible things like this. On another level, it is working on a policy to get the government to do something like making petitions and writing letter to the MPs," says Reich. Fine adds that he wants to continue to work with students from across Canada and establish a grassroots network that will pressure governments into action. He commends the Canadian government for their work so far, noting that they have more to do. "They have been amongst the world's best in responding to the crisis and addressing it and in keeping it on the agenda," Fine adds, noting that the UN may have an important role in taking action. "During October 2004, there was a UN Security Council resolution passed to [create a commission to] find out whether or not the crisis was genocide. The Commission came back last week and it concluded that the international offensives such as ‘crimes against humanity' war crimes that are created in Darfur are in no way less serious and heinous than genocide." "Our concrete goal is to push for a motion in the House of Commons," notes Herman. The group, which started with 30-35 people, has grown, and now includes various student communities all across Canada. "We have representatives from Western, Waterloo, Dalhousie, UBC, etc.," says Fine. "Our goal is to bring every other organization on board; including other students from all sorts of backgrounds as we believe this is a universal issue that concerns all Canadians." The One Sudan Coalition gets most of its funding from the Canadian Federation of Jewish Students, while the rest of the money is what each student organization in every university has managed to collect in their own way. "We have a national petition signed with over 2,000 signatures in less than two weeks," says Fine. All the student representatives are hoping to raise money and get help not only in Canada, but also on an international level.
Canadian Press 9 Feb 2005 At least 19 Canadian soldiers heading to Sudan OTTAWA — The Canadian Forces will send 19 soldiers to war-torn Sudan as soon as the United Nations begins its mission, possibly spearheading a larger Canadian commitment later on, Defence Department officials confirm. "I think you will see (more) Canadian troops in Sudan before the year is out," a highly placed military source told The Canadian Press. "No one really knows details at this point." A spokeswoman for Defence Minister Bill Graham said she was not aware of any long-term plans to boost Canada's military commitment in Sudan. Nor were sources at the military's co-ordinator of overseas deployments. But after Prime Minister Paul Martin visited Sudan in November, he said Khartoum's claim that it's powerless to rein in militias and halt 21 months of violence simply won't wash. A peace accord was signed Jan. 5, but violence continues. Martin has offered to dramatically boost aid to the 700 African peacekeepers in the country by increasing Ottawa's contribution of chartered helicopters to 18 from five at a cost of $13.4 million. Canada is also sending $1.17 million in military supplies, including 2,200 body-armour vests and helmets, and is contributing $2.5 million to the World Food Program in Sudan. Two of the 19 Canadian officers will be posted with African Union troops in the Sudanese capital Khartoum and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; 17 will join the UN Multinational Standby High-Readiness Brigade, a quick-response unit commanded by Canadian Brig.-Gen. Greg Mitchell. The latter group, which has included two Canadian soldiers in Sudan for seven months, will be based in Khartoum, said navy Lieut. Joseph Frey. The UN mission was approved in late January, but there is no firm deployment date yet. The decision coincides with the end of a one-year stand-down by Canada's military, during which Canadians were withdrawn from Bosnia, Haiti and Afghanistan and Canada's overseas troop commitment was reduced by more than half. Sudan would fit the federal government's stated policy to get more involved in humanitarian, peacemaking and peacekeeping operations. It has promised to recruit 5,000 additional soldiers for just that purpose. "This is the way past missions have gone - small incremental steps, and as the problem worsens the commitment grows," the military source said on condition of anonymity. The source indicated any such commitment would likely come after the brigade's initial six-month deployment and a large-scale training exercise in October involving 3,000 to 4,000 Canadian troops in Wainwright, Alta. Canada has served with the blue-beret quick-response brigade once before, sending 300 soldiers with Dutch troops to Eritrea in 2001. On Tuesday, Justice Minister Irwin Cotler said Canada should push the UN Security Council to impose economic sanctions against Sudan because of mass killings in Darfur. "We must go with economic sanctions and be assured that nothing will block humanitarian aid," Cotler said, adding aerial bombings must stop and those responsible tried at the International Court of Justice. More than 70,000 people have died in Darfur, where government militias have attacked both rebels and innocent black citizens. The United States has called it a genocide; the UN describes it as crimes against humanity.
HRW 27 Jan 2005 Limits on Abuse Probes Close Door on Justice Supreme Court Orders Judges to Conclude Investigations Into Pinochet-Era Abuses (Santiago, January 27, 2005) — By allowing judges only six months to conclude their investigations into abuses committed during Chile’s military dictatorship, a resolution by the Chilean Supreme Court will cripple efforts to promote accountability for past human rights violations, Human Rights Watch said today. The Chilean government Wednesday announced plans for a law that would similarly cut short human rights investigations. “The Chilean justice system was finally making headway on these cases, thanks largely to recent Supreme Court rulings that upheld the principle that human rights violations must be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “Now after a concerted campaign by former military officers to curtail these investigations, the court and the government have chosen to abandon this principle and promote impunity.” Justifying the instructions to close these cases, the court cited international norms that establish the right of the accused to a trial within a reasonable period of time. Yet many of the investigations are in such a preliminary stage that no suspects have been identified or charged. “This reasoning is absurd,” Vivanco said. “How can you talk about the rights of the accused in cases where no one has been accused yet?” Under normal rules of criminal procedure in Chile, judges themselves determine at what point a criminal investigation that is yielding few results should be closed. The court’s instructions, issued on Tuesday, give judges only six months either to charge suspects or, if evidence to prosecute is lacking, close the investigation. The chief justice, Marcos Libedinsky, denied that the time limit would completely halt judicial investigations. He pointed out that the victims’ relatives may still appeal against the closure of cases if they cite specific inquiries that still need to be carried out. Yet, once those inquiries have been completed, the judge would be obliged either to open a prosecution or close the case. Although the state has an obligation to ensure that grave violations of human rights are investigated and those responsible held accountable, this measure would shift the burden of reopening the cases to the victims’ relatives. In a dissenting opinion, two Supreme Court justices, José Benquis and José Luis Pérez, held that the court had overstepped its powers by imposing a time limit on the investigations, a view shared by some constitutional experts and legislators. Yet President Lagos praised the court decision and said that it chimed with government measures to find a formula to expedite the trials. Yesterday, Minister of Justice Luis Bates announced that the government would introduce a bill in March to dovetail human rights trials with the new code of criminal procedure due to enter into force across the country in June. According to the government proposals, human rights investigations that have been underway for more than 18 months would have to be wound up within six months. The measures announced by the Supreme Court and the government this week follow a long military campaign to curtail human rights investigations in the courts. While keeping silent on crucial matters like the fate of hundreds of “disappeared” prisoners, former officers now in the dock have complained bitterly about the delays in the trials. The commander of the army, Gen. Juan Emilio Cheyre, has persistently lobbied the government for measures to speed them up. “It’s ironic that former military officers complain about delays in these cases when the real impediment all along has been their own refusal to cooperate with investigators,” said Vivanco. “Unfortunately, both the government and a majority of the Supreme Court now seem to have bought their argument."
BBC 9 Feb 2005 New move over Pinochet immunity By Clinton Porteous BBC News, Santiago Pinochet was president of Chile from 1974 to 1990 A Chilean judge has requested former President General Augusto Pinochet be stripped of legal immunity to enable a new human rights abuse investigation. Judge Juan Guzman made the request the day he closed an inquiry into the landmark Caravan of Death case. Twenty military officers are set to go to trial but General Pinochet is not among them due to a Supreme Court decision. The 1998 lawsuit was the first-ever in Chile involving General Pinochet. The Chilean Supreme Court had ruled in 2002 that General Pinochet was mentally unfit to defend himself against the allegations. The judge told the BBC he was now satisfied that the investigation was complete. "We have studied all the cases, all the crimes that have been committed. It has been a difficult job, a long job, and we have gone as far as we could," he said. The inquiry into the 1973 Caravan of Death operation, alleging that a special military squad had flown into Chilean towns and cities killing and kidnapping 94 victims, took seven years to complete. 'Operation Colombo' Judge Guzman had charged General Pinochet, along with 20 military officials now on trial, with responsibility for the crimes but the Supreme Court had ruled that the General could not defend himself. However, having closed one inquiry, Judge Guzman has now requested that General Pinochet be stripped of his protection so he can be investigated over a new case, known as Operation Colombo. This was a campaign by the Chilean secret police to cover-up the alleged killing of 119 dissidents. False articles were published abroad claiming they were victims of an internal power struggle within the Left. A lower court is expected to make a decision on the request in the coming months and it could add to General Pinochet's legal troubles. Since last year, every major decision by the Chilean courts has gone against the former president.
Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA) 3 Feb 2005 FARC rebels kill four peasants; death toll rises to 51 Bogota (dpa) - The leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) Thursday fatally shot four peasants in southwestern Colombia near the border with Ecuador, raising the death toll in Colombia's civil conflict to 51 this week, an official said. A spokesman for the Narino provincial government, Gerardo Bolanos, said the killings were part of the battle between FARC and their rivals, the rightwing paramilitaries, in the region. The peasants, among them a woman who was three months' pregnant, were killed because they allegedly were collaborating with the paramilitaries, Bolanos said. Earlier Thursday, the Colombian army chief said that 18 FARC rebels and four soldiers were killed in clashes between government forces and the guerrilla group in southeastern Colombia. General Carlos Ospina said the army launched an assault on FARC guerrilla fighters in the small community of Pinalito in Vistahermosa municipality after their presence was detected there. The fighting, which also injured eight soldiers, began Monday and intensified on Wednesday, he said. In separate fighting, eight soldiers and a civilian were killed Wednesday when they stepped on a land mine planted by FARC guerrillas near to Mocoa city, in southern Putumayu province. Four people were injured. And on Tuesday, FARC attacked a navy base in Iscuande, also in Narino province, killing 16 marines and injuring another 25.
AFP 10 Feb 2005 Colombia rebel war takes fierce turn; 29 die BOGOTA, Feb 10 (AFP) - At least 18 Colombian troops and 11 leftist guerrillas died in fierce combat in Colombia's northwest, officials said Thursday, after one of the worst military setbacks yet for President Alvaro Uribe. "We have 18 dead, six wounded, a soldier injured and two others missing," Jorge Mejia, of the Antioquia province governor's office, told AFP, referring to army forces. The commander of Colombia's military, Carlos Alberto Ospina, said his troops "penetrated deep into the mountains to intercept a column" of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the largest of leftist groups fighting a 40-year civil war against the government. Last week, the FARC ambushed of a navy infantry base, killing 16 sailors. Analysts called the wave of violence a new campaign by the FARC to gain the upper hand in Colombia. The FARC has inflicted the heaviest casualties the military has taken since Uribe was elected two and a half years ago, after pledging to crack down on the FARC and the smaller, National Liberation Army (ELN). Commander Ospina said troops are searching for the two missing soldiers in Mutata, 600 kilometers (450 miles) northwest of Bogota, near Panama. He said the FARC had tried to enter a jungle indigenous community and were repelled by troops. The area is key to controlling the Uraba banana-growing region on Colombia's Caribbean coast and its principal agricultural port, Apartado. "The army is taking control of the region," Mejia told AFP. "We do not know how the civilian population has fared," he said. The FARC, the military and right-wing private paramilitary armies have battled for control of the banana region for two decades, and, more recently for control of the port, through which cocaine and arms are also shipped. Both guerrillas and paramilitaries deal in cocaine. Both sides have massacred civilians, on suspicion that they were sympathizers with the opposing band. About 450 paramilitary irregulars demobilized in November under a peace plan with Uribe. His interior and justice minister, Sabas Pretelt, said that the government would deduct from the sentences of any demobilized irregular the time that he had spent negotiating the deal, as a sweetener for peace talks that have been stymied by possible drug traffickers or human rights violators who may hesitate to surrender for fear of a long prison sentence. The potential sentence reduction would be determined by special tribunals, named by the Supreme Court, to sentence rebels of the left and right who demobilize and surrender, according to a bill on the floor of Congress.
Reuters 4 Feb 2005 Guatemalan court throws out war crimes trial GUATEMALA CITY, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Guatemala's highest court has pulled the plug on a landmark war crimes trial against soldiers accused of the mass killing of hundreds of civilians in a jungle village 23 years ago, court officials said on Friday. The Constitutional Court ruled that 16 soldiers accused of killing 226 unarmed civilians in the village of Dos Erres in 1982 at the height of Guatemala's 36-year civil war should be exempt from prosecution. Citing a 1996 amnesty law covering certain types of wartime political violence, the court ordered a judge to cancel arrest warrants against the accused, including an active army colonel, and to annul testimony given by witnesses. Prosecution lawyers rejected the ruling, and said the massacre of civilians could not be covered by the amnesty law. "The indiscriminate and systematic killing of men, women and children is a crime against humanity, and the (amnesty) law does not protect crimes against humanity," prosecution lawyer Edgar Perez told Reuters. The prosecution asked the court to reconsider its decision. Another possible avenue would be to take the case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which is based in Costa Rica. The attack on Dos Erres, about 280 miles (450 km) from Guatemala City, was one of the most brutal of hundreds of army-led massacres during the civil war, which ended with peace agreements in 1996. According to a 1999, UN-backed truth report, members of the feared "Kaibil" commando unit raped women and killed their victims with a hammer before throwing them into a well. During the war, the Kaibil training included killing animals and eating them raw to demonstrate courage, the report said. The Dos Erres case was opened in 1994 and remains one of the few proceedings within Guatemala against the army for wartime massacres. Two soldiers who participated in the massacre gave testimony in favor of the prosecution in 2000 and now live outside the country under a witness protection scheme. In 2001, the government handed a $1.8 million check to families of the victims and apologized for the army's wartime behavior, despite the case never concluding.
Reuters 9 Feb 2005 Landmark Mexico 'Dirty War' Case Opened to Public By REUTERS Filed at 6:51 p.m. ET MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican prosecutors have been forced to make public their genocide case against a former president in a landmark ruling that experts say will help unearth more secrets from a ``dirty war'' against leftists. Limac, a group of lawyers, academics, activists and journalists that for years has pushed for greater public access to government information, said on Wednesday it won a six-month battle to force the attorney general's office to hand over its case file on a 1971 massacre of students in Mexico City. The file lays out the evidence behind genocide charges against former President Luis Echeverria and 11 members of his government in connection with the attack on protesters that left anywhere from 12 to dozens dead. The charges were thrown out in July but prosecutors have appealed to the Supreme Court. ``For the first time we have access to an investigation of this magnitude,'' Limac researcher Jacinto R. Munguia said. The massacre was a defining moment in an era of government repression that peaked under Echeverria's 1970-76 government, when hundreds died or disappeared at the hands of security forces. ``This will help unearth the story of the dirty war in Mexico that is still hidden,'' said Kate Doyle, senior analyst at the National Security Archive, a public access group in Washington. Limac provided few specifics from the case file and said it would gradually put contents on the Internet. Echeverria's lawyers have gone to court to close the file, although his attorney, Juan Velasquez, said the question was largely ``academic.'' ``It would actually serve us to open the file because it would show that on that day there was nothing remotely like a genocide and that my clients had no responsibility,'' he told Reuters. President Vicente Fox has pressed for better access to information and criminal investigations into past repression. Limac's request for the file pitted different areas of his government against each other. Mexican law provides for confidentiality in criminal investigations, and the attorney general's office contended it had not kept copies of the file it submitted to the courts and so could not provide them. But a public information law pushed through by Fox requires such documents be opened to the public if they involve crimes against humanity, such as genocide. In the first test of that provision, a federal commission created by the law ordered the attorney general's office to comply. Still, thousands of pages were missing from the file provided by the attorney general's office, and much in the hundreds of documents it did provide was blacked out or erased, Limac said. It plans to seek the rest of the file. The group also wants officials to probe whether the attorney general's office violated the law in failing to keep copies, as it contended. Officials there were not available to comment. Despite gains under the law, many families of dirty war victims are still denied information from government files in their search for lost loved ones, Doyle said.
AP 10 Feb 2005 Files linking Mexico's ex-president to '71 massacre of protesters released E. Eduardo Castillo Associated Press Feb. 10, 2005 12:00 AM MEXICO CITY - Mexican prosecutors have released case files linking a former president to a 1971 massacre of student protesters in what is the most public access allowed so far to investigations into past governments' "Dirty War" against leftists. A ruling based on a groundbreaking transparency in government law prompted the federal Attorney General's Office to give the documents to Mexico's Freedom of Information Group, which had waged a legal battle since requesting the files six months ago, said Perla Gomez, an attorney who is a member of the civil organization, on Wednesday. The decision ordering the files' release came last week and has allowed the group to read arguments the prosecutors have used to accuse ex-President Luis Echeverria of directing the June 10, 1971, "Corpus Christi Massacre," named after the day on the Roman Catholic calendar when the killings took place. advertisement Prosecutors have attempted to charge Echeverria, but a judge refused to issue an arrest warrant, saying the statute of limitations on the massacre, a case that government investigators argue constitutes genocide, had run out. The Supreme Court has agreed to review the matter. Federal authorities turned over 691 pages of the report against Echeverria, and all but 121 of those pages were at least partly blacked out for security reasons. The Freedom of Information Group lobbied for the passage of Mexico's transparency law, which President Vicente Fox supported and which took effect in 2003. The organization now serves as a watchdog to ensure compliance. Gomez applauded the government's decision to release the files but said her group will continue to work for access to missing pages and even the segments that were blacked out. She said the files appeared to have about 9,000 pages. Gomez's organization gave reporters only 10 pages of the document during a news conference and released no new details on the case. The group promised to give the news media full access Monday. Echeverria's lawyers have argued he was not involved. Special Prosecutor Ignacio Carrillo, following a two-year investigation, claimed that dozens of students died when attacked by pro-government thugs, but defense lawyer Juan Velazquez claimed 11 were killed.
HRW 31 Jan 2005 U.S. Fiddles Over ICC While Darfur Burns - U.N. Security Council Should Reject U.S. Scheme for Ad Hoc Court (New York, January 31, 2005) - The Bush administration is creating a deadly delay for the people of Darfur by attempting to block the U.N. Security Council from referring Darfur atrocities to the International Criminal Court, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Last week, one day after the Sudanese military reportedly killed or wounded nearly 100 civilians in an air strike in southern Darfur, the United States put forth a time-consuming, costly alternative for justice to the already functioning International Criminal Court (ICC): that the Security Council set up a new ad hoc tribunal for Darfur and house it in Tanzania, using the facilities of the international court that is currently prosecuting perpetrators of Rwanda's 1994 genocide. This week, the U.N. Security Council is expected to receive the findings of the commission of inquiry it established to investigate violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Darfur. It was also charged with determining if acts of genocide have occurred, and identifying perpetrators with a view to ensuring accountability. While identifying several options, the commission is likely to recommend that the Security Council refer the Darfur situation to the ICC. "The delay involved in setting up a new tribunal would only lead to the loss of more innocent lives in Darfur," said Richard Dicker, director of the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch. "The Bush administration seems willing to sacrifice Darfur's victims to its ideological campaign against the court." Since Sudan is not a party to the court, the ICC would require a referral from the Security Council. An ICC referral is the course of action that can best guarantee efficient and effective prosecution of those most responsible for these atrocities, Human Rights Watch said. The U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes, Pierre-Richard Prosper, on Thursday presented other Security Council members with the idea of setting up a new ad hoc court for Darfur. Explaining the U.S. rationale, he said, "We don't want to be party to legitimizing the ICC." The U.S. fear of politically motivated prosecutions of Americans would not be an issue in Darfur. There are no U.S. citizens who would be at risk for prosecution for genocide, war crimes, or crimes against humanity in Darfur. As the ICC would assume authority over the situation through a Security Council-controlled referral, the Security Council would retain a check on authorization of any future referrals. Human Rights Watch also noted that existing anti-ICC U.S. legislation, the American Service-Members' Protection Act, leaves open the possibility for U.S. support for some ICC prosecutions. Setting up a new tribunal would be a time consuming and complicated process. Establishing a new court requires creating a new statute and rules, recruiting staff, and electing judges. Even if the physical structures of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda were used, as the Bush administration has proposed, it could take more than a year to get the new tribunal off the ground. By contrast, the ICC is already up and running as a permanent criminal tribunal. It could promptly open investigations of those most responsible for serious crimes in Darfur. This would maximize the deterrent value, thereby helping to save lives. On Thursday, Condoleezza Rice begins her first visit to Europe as the new U.S. secretary of state. Britain, a Security Council member, is among the eight countries Rice will visit. "Given the ongoing heinous crimes in Darfur, Washington should set aside its dogmatic objections to the ICC and embrace the best course for justice," said Dicker. "Tony Blair and other European allies need to send a clear message to Condoleezza Rice. Europe should insist that it won't forsake its commitment to justice in Darfur because of the Bush administration's aversion to the ICC." Since early 2003, the Sudanese government and its Janjaweed militias have turned Darfur into the site of one of the world's most serious humanitarian disasters. Despite a ceasefire agreement in April between the Sudanese government and two rebel groups in Darfur, the past few months have seen a new surge in fighting. Continued attacks on civilians and aid workers have hampered relief operations to the more than 1.6 million people who have fled government and militia attacks on their villages since early 2003. Widespread impunity has contributed to continued insecurity for civilians. To read Human Rights Watch's letter to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, please read this page: http://hrw.org/english/docs/2005/01/21/sudan10090.htm
washingtonpost.com 31 Jan 2005 Marketing Darfur - Can a professor's struggle lessen the death toll? By Sebastian Mallaby Monday, January 31, 2005; Page A21 I once wrote a column about the epic struggle between Eric Reeves and Madeleine Albright. Albright was the secretary of state at the time; Reeves was practically unheard of. He was a lover of Milton and Shakespeare who taught at Smith College in Massachusetts. He was also a private citizen so incensed about the long war in Sudan that he had taken a leave from his job to do something about it. Reeves had the two weapons that modern agitators need: intellect and Internet. He mined the Web for Sudanese info, then e-mailed policymakers, church groups and members of the press, denouncing America's indifference to the conflict. Albright, who had made the mistake of saying that "the human rights situation in Sudan is not marketable to the American people," did not come off too well. Reeves hammered home the northern government's appalling tactics against the people of the south -- the condoning of slavery, the helicopter attacks on schools and hospitals, the ethnic cleansing of tribes that inconveniently inhabited oil fields. The Reeves e-mails were too authoritative to ignore. I first came across Reeves when a State Department official couldn't answer my questions and referred me to him. It's worth recalling the Reeves-Albright battle because we seem likely to forget its lesson. President Bush's inflated rhetoric, together with Iraq's turmoil, may discredit the idea that foreign policy should be rooted in unabashedly moral claims: that the United States should spread freedom, right human wrongs, aspire to plant democracy. But the Eric Reeves story shows why U.S. foreign policy not only shouldn't lose its moral compass; in all likelihood it can't. For if America's leaders lapse into amoral word-mincing, ordinary citizens will rise up, and their protests will spread at broadband speed to every corner of the nation. Reeves's campaign five years ago had a clear effect. His writings encouraged more and harsher press attention to Sudan; activists and church groups were energized; Western oil companies cut off their links with the country, and Albright's tone toughened. When the Bush administration took office the next year, evangelicals persuaded it to make Sudan a top Africa priority. Four years of high-level U.S. attention have driven Sudan's government to sign a peace deal with the south, signaling a victory for the moralist view of foreign policy. The United States has successfully exerted influence out of concern for human rights, and never mind that Sudan is supposedly not marketable. But Reeves now fights another battle, and this is the second reason to recall his clash with Albright. The new battle is Darfur, the western province of Sudan where the government is recycling the barbarous techniques that it once used on southerners. As in the last battle, Reeves is calling upon U.S. policymakers to do more. And as in the last battle, his e-mails are too authoritative to ignore. "I read Eric Reeves religiously," Charles R. Snyder, the senior State Department official on Sudan, said at the end of a recent conference call. "Even if he gives me heartburn." Again, Reeves has made some progress. Last February, before journalists had woken up to the slaughter in Darfur, Reeves wrote an op-ed in The Post titled "Unnoticed Genocide." At the time, talk of "genocide" was frowned upon as loose, but Reeves knew the language of the U.N. genocide convention as well as he knew what was happening on the ground, and by the summer Congress and then later the Bush administration and the European Union parliament had adopted his terminology. Reeves has also been correct earlier than anyone about the extent of Darfur's death toll. The most commonly cited number, used by newspapers, U.N. officials and most everybody else, is a World Health Organization estimate of 70,000 deaths; but Reeves has repeatedly explained why this number is preposterous. It excludes deaths before last March. It excludes most violent deaths. It excludes deaths in camps to which relief workers lack access. It excludes deaths in Darfur's three main towns, in camps across the Chad border and in the remote countryside. In October, using data on family death rates reported by displaced people, Reeves put the total death toll at 300,000. A new analysis for a British publication, Parliamentary Brief, has roughly corroborated Reeves's analysis. The question now is whether Reeves's prescriptions will be heard, too: that a far more determined effort must be made to get food and protection to Darfur's people, who have been driven from their fields by the army and its militia allies. For now, the signs aren't good. After a spike of energy last year, Darfur diplomacy has been sidetracked into a dispute about which sort of international court should be empowered to try its war criminals. But the moral power of Reeves's message cannot be counted out. Without tougher action, Darfur's death toll may be even worse this year than it was last year. Is the Bush administration going to claim that 300,000 more deaths are somehow not "marketable"? [See www.sudanreeves.org ]
washingtonpost.com 2 Feb 2005 [excerpt] Transcript: Briefing on the State of the Union Address Wednesday, February 2, 2005; 9:16 AM Following is the complete transcript of a White House press briefing held Tuesday on President Bush's 2005 State of the Union address. . . Q Will the President be talking about atrocities such as Darfur, or genocide or anti-Semitism? Will he mention those? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, those are obviously very important issues to this President and to this administration. And if there was an opportunity to talk about everything, he would. But I don't believe in this speech that he'll be talking about Darfur.
NYT 2 Feb 2005 OP-ED COLUMNIST Why Should We Shield the Killers? By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF wo weeks ago, President Bush gave an impassioned speech to the world about the need to stand for human freedom. But this week, administration officials are skulking in the corridors of the United Nations, trying desperately to block a prosecution of Sudanese officials for crimes against humanity. It's not that Mr. Bush sympathizes with the slaughter in Darfur. In fact, I take my hat off to Mr. Bush for doing more than most other world leaders to address ethnic cleansing there - even if it's not nearly enough. Mr. Bush has certainly done far more than Bill Clinton did during the Rwandan genocide. But Mr. Bush's sympathy for Sudanese parents who are having their children tossed into bonfires shrivels next to his hostility to the organization that the U.N. wants to trust with the prosecution: the International Criminal Court. Administration officials so despise the court that they have become, in effect, the best hope of Sudanese officials seeking to avoid accountability for what Mr. Bush himself has called genocide. Mr. Bush's worry is that if the International Criminal Court is legitimized, American officials could someday be dragged before it. The court's supporters counter that safeguards make that impossible. Reasonable people can differ about the court, but for Mr. Bush to put his ideological opposition to it over the welfare of the 10,000 people still dying every month in Darfur - that's just madness. The issue arises partly because the Bush administration, to its credit, pushed the U.N. to investigate Darfur and to seek accountability for the killers. The result was a U.N. commission's 176-page report, released this week, that documents a series of crimes against humanity: people in Darfur crucified or thrown into fires, victims having their eyes gouged out or being dragged on the ground by camels, women and girls kept naked in rape camps, huts burned with children inside, and women forced to hand over their baby sons to be killed. "It is undeniable that mass killings occurred in Darfur and that the killings were perpetrated by the government forces" and by a government-sponsored militia, the report said. The U.N. commission then pulled its punches by concluding that Sudan had not pursued a deliberate policy of genocide - but it added: "The crimes against humanity and war crimes that have been committed in Darfur may be no less serious and heinous than genocide." As a result, the commission "strongly recommends" that the Security Council refer the matter to the International Criminal Court for prosecution, saying that is "the only credible way of bringing alleged perpetrators to justice." At a practical level, it's also a way to pressure Sudan's leaders to stop a campaign of terror in Darfur that has already claimed at least 218,000 lives, according to a new British study. Prosecution by the International Criminal Court has strong European support, but the Bush administration is aghast and desperately suggests prosecution instead by a court associated with the war crimes tribunal for Rwanda. Alas, that tribunal could take another year and 120,000 more deaths to start a Darfur prosecution. "The I.C.C. could start tomorrow saving lives," said Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch. "With the Rwanda tribunal route, you're talking about another year of killing." The Bush administration is also struggling to find other Security Council members who would join it in voting against the referral to the International Criminal Court. I hope other countries stand firm, because my conversations with diplomats suggest that if the U.S. stood alone in opposition, the Bush administration would be too ashamed to exercise its veto and might abstain instead. Kofi Annan called this week for consideration of sanctions against Sudan, and his voice as a leading African carries particular weight with that country's leaders. So, Mr. Bush, what about you? Will you push harder for a coalition for sanctions - forcing China to veto them if it so chooses? Will you impose a no-fly zone to stop Sudan's air force from strafing civilians? After reading a report on Bill Clinton's passivity during the Rwandan genocide, Mr. Bush scrawled in the margin: "not on my watch." Now the Save Darfur Coalition (www.savedarfur.org) has made green plastic bracelets reading, "Not on My Watch - Save Darfur." Mr. Bush might wear one to his State of the Union address tonight - and find the courage not just to denounce evil, but also to confront it.
www.theeastcarolinian.com Greenville, NC 3 Feb 204 Opinion Is an Iraqi life worth less than an American life? Outcry over civilian deaths reaches a fever pitch Peter Kalajian, Concerned American Citizen February 03, 2005 Since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the issue of civilian casualties has been quietly moved to the backburner of American news organizations, particularly when those deaths are caused by American air strikes and mortar attacks. The national media is more than willing to vividly describe the deaths of innocent Iraqi civilians when they come at the hands of insurgents, but when the question of American responsibility for the death of innocents (including women and children) is raised, the entire federal government rears up on its haunches and prepares for a fight. Unfortunately, the Pentagon does not keep (or does not report) accurate figures concerning the violent deaths of innocent men, women and children - people whose only crime was they happen to live in a country under U.S. occupation and they were a little too close when that 500-pound bomb was detonated at the end of their block. "Smart Bombs" ( though one could argue that nothing intended to end the life of another human being should be referred to as "smart") are lauded by American commanders and military analysts as the "new age" of military technology and the best weapon to avoid unnecessary civilian causalities. Unfortunately, a great number of those "smart bombs" were dropped into densely populated urban areas, killing the innocent along with the guilty. The issue of civilian deaths is one of the most significant in the struggles over the new Iraq, and the U.S. government should take more of an active interest in avoiding the unintentional murder of innocent human beings. Of course, this is not to imply that American forces have ever intentionally killed innocent civilians, but eventually, intent becomes peripheral to the real issue. Whether they meant to or not, the fact remains that thousands of innocent people have died as a direct result of coalition military activity. This fact is beyond dispute. In September 2004, the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University conducted a survey to try and glean some information about Iraqi civilian casualties, and their findings were alarming. A total of 7,800 randomly chosen Iraqis were interviewed, answering questions about deaths within their own families and violence which they may have otherwise witnessed. According to the study, "80 percent of deaths reported were directly caused by coalition forces and 95 percent of those deaths the result of air strikes or allied mortar attacks." Ninety-five percent? Apparently, those "smart bombs" are not quite as "surgical" as the American public has been led to believe. Surgical would be a sniper, killing one target then disappearing back into the desert. Surgical would be a small platoon of Marines seeking out and eliminating one specific target. Dropping a 500-pount bomb into a neighborhood to kill a small group of insurgents is not surgery, it is barbary. Estimates about civilian casualties, unfortunately, are just that - estimates. The Pentagon claims that it does not take note of innocent people who may or may not have been blown up by an Allied air strike, and many times the bodies of the victims of these strikes are so badly damaged that identification is impossible. Unlike Vietnam, where daily news reports about civilian atrocities and the pictures to go along with them were piped directly into American living rooms, our news from Iraq is highly filtered. With estimates of civilian dead between 10,000 by some American groups and 37,000 by one Iraqi group, I have yet to see one newscast showing the charred corpses of women or small children on American TV (Arab news networks like Al-Jazeera are somewhat different). If the shoe were on the other foot, that is, if the United States was being "liberated" by the Iraqi army and 15,000 innocent American men, women and children had already been slaughtered by errantly dropped bombs or overzealous Marine patrols, you can bet that the insurgency being witnessed inside the U.S. would look like a day at the proverbial beach. The Second Amendment, which for 216 years has kept this country armed to the teeth, would explode upon the "liberating" army marching down Pennsylvania Avenue like a whirlwind. You can believe that every time the Iraqi government accidentally killed a six-year-old American boy or a family of four driving home from soccer practice, every news agency in this country would be all over it like flies on horse manure. The American insurgency would bleed the invading forces, just like our troops are being bled by the Iraqi insurgency. Every time someone dies needlessly, it is a tragedy. An American soldier has no more right to his existence than an Iraqi civilian, and by noticeably avoiding the issue of civilian casualties as a result of U.S. military action (whether right or wrong), the American media apparatus is neglecting the fundamental undercurrents of the president's war. By deemphasizing the importance of innocent Iraqi lives, the United States demonstrates to the Iraqi people that all of the rhetoric about "a free Iraq" and "an end to tyranny" is nothing but window dressing. It's not worth the lives of ten innocent people to ensure the death or capture of a few. If one believes that between 10,000 and 37,000 (estimates are always higher by Iraqi groups) innocent Iraqi citizens have been killed as a direct result of the coalition occupation, and that approximately 3,000 innocent Americans died on Sept. 11, 2001, then I ask you: Is an Iraqi life worth less than an American life?
washingtonpost.com 3 feb 2005 U.S. General Says It Is 'Fun to Shoot Some People' Reuters Thursday, February 3, 2005; 11:51 PM By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A senior U.S. Marine Corps general who said it was "fun to shoot some people" should have chosen his words more carefully but will not be disciplined, military officials said on Thursday. Lt. Gen. James Mattis, who commanded troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and is slated to be portrayed by star actor Harrison Ford in an upcoming Hollywood movie, made the comments at a conference on Tuesday in San Diego, California. "Actually it's quite fun to fight 'em, you know. It's a hell of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right up front with you, I like brawling," Mattis said. "You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil," Mattis said during a panel discussion. "You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them." In a statement, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Michael Hagee praised Mattis as "one of this country's bravest and most experienced military leaders." "While I understand that some people may take issue with the comments made by him, I also know he intended to reflect the unfortunate and harsh realities of war," Hagee said. "Lt. Gen. Mattis often speaks with a great deal of candor. I have counseled him concerning his remarks and he agrees he should have chosen his words more carefully," Hagee added. Maj. Jason Johnston, a Marine spokesman at the Pentagon, said Hagee did not plan disciplinary action against Mattis. Johnston declined to specify how Hagee had counseled Mattis. During a Pentagon briefing, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld did not criticize Mattis' remarks, saying, "I have not read his words. I don't know what he said precisely or the context." 'THE RIGHT EXAMPLE' Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, lauded Mattis' record and leadership. Without explicitly criticizing Mattis, Pace told the briefing, "First of all, all of us who are leaders have a responsibility in our words and our actions to provide the right example all the time for those who look to us for leadership." Mattis, formally promoted to three-star general last month, heads the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, at Quantico, Virginia. In November 2001, Mattis proclaimed, "We have landed and we now own terrain in south Afghanistan," after Marines took over a desert airstrip. The comment ruffled feathers at the Pentagon, where officials were uneasy with a U.S. general talking about owning Afghanistan. In Iraq, he commanded the 1st Marine Division during the 2003 invasion and subsequent counterinsurgency operations. Mattis was ordered to lead an assault on the Iraqi city of Falluja in April 2004 after the slaying and mutilation of four American contractors, but U.S. leaders halted the offensive and withdrew his Marines before a decisive showdown. He wrapped up his service in Iraq in August, a spokeswoman said. In November, Marines under different command seized control of the city after the U.S. presidential election. Ford has been pegged to play the role of Mattis in the film version of an upcoming book "No True Glory," an account of the April battle for Falluja written by Marine veteran Bing West. Senior Pentagon Intelligence official Lt. Gen. William Boykin referred in 2003 to the struggle against Islamic extremists as a battle with Satan. In a speech, Boykin referred to a Muslim fighter in Somalia, and said, "Well, you know what I knew, that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol." The Pentagon inspector general concluded in August that Boykin should face "appropriate corrective action," and a senior Army general said in October said unspecified action had been taken against Boykin.
JTA 4 Feb 2005 ‘It was skin and bones': By Heather Robinson Soldiers remember Auschwitz FEB 4, 2005 NEW YORK (JTA) - When they were young, they fought the Nazis, and then bore witness to the extreme depravity of which human beings are capable. Now in or nearing their 80s and 90s, the Allied soldiers who liberated the concentration camps of Europe are recounting their memories of the horrors. Approaching the Jan. 27 anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, many of those still living feel urgency to testify about what they encountered. Anatoly Shapiro, 92, has never forgotten what he saw at Auschwitz on Jan. 27, 1945. That was the day Shapiro, who says he is the first Russian officer to enter the infamous concentration camp, led his battalion to liberate it. In an interview in his apartment in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, where he sits alongside his wife, Vita, his tall, thin form is upright and his eyes are clear as he describes, through a translator, the things he says he still sees in nightmares 60 years later. "We saw German soldiers, and when we opened the gate, we saw one barrack, then the next, on and on for a hundred barracks," he recalled. "When I saw the people, it was skin and bones. They had no shoes, and it was freezing. They couldn't even turn their heads, they stood like dead people." "I told them, ‘The Russian army liberates you!' They couldn't understand. Some few who could touched our arms and said, ‘Is it true? Is it real?'" As a commanding officer, his task was to direct his men. Half his battalion - originally 900 men - had died in battle. But nothing they had endured had prepared them for what they found inside Auschwitz. His men pleaded with him to let them leave. "The general told me, ‘Have the soldiers go from barrack to barrack. Let them see what happened to the people,'" he recalled. He ordered them to accompany him, and they went from barrack to barrack. He remembers, "In German, it said, ‘damas,' - women. When I opened the barrack, I saw blood, dead people, and in between them, women still alive and naked. "It stank; you couldn't stay a second. No one took the dead to a grave. It was unbelievable. The soldiers from my battalion asked me, ‘Let us go. We can't stay. This is unbelievable.' "We went to the barracks for men; it was the same as the barracks for the women. "People in the barracks were naked, or [had] just thin clothes, no shoes, in the freezing cold; it was January. Only a few people could talk; they didn't have energy. But a few people were able to talk, so slowly. [They told us] once a day they got a little water, no bread, no anything. If someone died, they took the clothes, to get a little warmth, anywhere. They died from hunger and cold. "I was shocked, devastated." Shapiro remembers two barracks for children. "Outside it said, ‘kinder.' Inside one, there were only two children alive; all the others had been killed in gas chambers, or were in the ‘hospital' where the Nazis performed medical experiments on them. When we went in, the children were screaming, ‘We are not Jews!'" It turned out that they really were Jewish children and were afraid they were about to be taken to the gas chambers. He remembers the Russian Red Cross trying to feed the people. "Immediately they started cooking chicken soup, vegetable soup, but the people couldn't eat because their stomachs were like" - instead of using words, he shows his clenched fist. After the Red Cross had removed survivors, Shapiro continues, he directed his soldiers to begin cleaning the barracks to prevent disease from spreading. Because of the repression of Judaism in the former Soviet Union, Shapiro says he did not know how many Jews the Nazis had killed until he learned that the figure was 6 million when he and his family immigrated to the United States in 1992. Shapiro has been asked to speak after the president of Poland at the Jan. 27 ceremony in Krakow commemorating the liberation. As it turns out, he could not be at the ceremony, but he feels it is crucial to speak about what he saw so that future generations will remember. He is particularly gratified to be able to talk about what he saw because he was not able to do so in the former Soviet Union. "If I had spoken of what I saw, I would have been sent to jail," he said. "Today, I never forget what happened in Auschwitz and in the war to our 6 million, and to all [those who died at the hands of the Nazis]." Auschwitz was one of the first camps that the Allies reached, so the anniversary of its liberation prompts reflection by the liberators of other camps as well. Marvin Josephs, 81, of Phoenix, helped liberate Ohrdruf and Buchenwald in Germany. As a master sergeant with VIII headquarters, 3rd Army, Josephs' unit entered Buchenwald on April 12, 1945, with a military chaplain, Rabbi Herschel Schachter. "Rabbi Schachter announced with a bullhorn, ‘You're free,'" and the survivors "came and tried to kiss his boots," Josephs said. "They were emaciated, starving." One man in particular, who said he had been a professor at the University of Prague, showed the camp to Josephs, the rabbi, and several other American soldiers. The tour included the crematoria and the home of the commandant and his wife, Ilse Koch, who brutality earned her the nickname "Beast of Buchenwald." "It was so terrible; it was hard for the mind to absorb it." Shortly after Josephs' unit arrived, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower ordered the entire U.S. 4th Armored Division to tour Ohrdruf so they could see the Nazis' brutality. "He didn't want people to ever deny what happened," Josephs said. Eugene Cohen, 89, of Pittsburgh served under Gen. George Patton as chief investigating officer of Mauthausen, a conglomeration of concentration camps including Gusen, in Austria. He supervised an investigating team of 13 men, including six interpreters and several photographers whose documentation was later used to convict Nazi war criminals, including Franz Ziereis, at the Nuremberg Trials. He was among the first officers to enter Mauthausen in May 1945. Cohen recalls that he and his men posted signs that read, "Maj. Eugene Cohen is here to investigate crimes against humanity." "When the Jewish people saw the name Cohen, they came rushing to me," he recalled, tears in his voice. Day after day, he and his men took depositions. His many indelible memories include the time, several days after he had begun his work, when his chief interpreter, Jack Nowitz, summoned him to hear a man's deposition. "I saw a man sitting there and Jackie said, ‘This man sitting before you was to die two weeks after we came to liberate the camp.' "The Germans kept these things called tote books, in which it was marked down, who was to die on such and such a day. Here was a man who was to die, and he was living because we were there. This man came crying to me, and I cried with him." Cohen said he felt a kinship with the survivors as fellow Jews, and a unique sense of purpose as a Jewish soldier documenting the atrocities. "Of course, being of the Jewish faith, we did the best we could to get as much evidence as we could," he said. At the Nuremberg trials, there were more war criminals charged from Mauthausen - based at least in part on the depositions he and his men gathered - than there were from some of the larger concentration camps. As recently as 2001, the FBI gained access to Cohen's personal records to gather evidence to support the deportation of a Nazi war criminal. "We looked him up, and sure enough, he was there in my report," Cohen said. "We're dying off now; there are only a few who witnessed what took place," he said. "The most important thing is never to forget."
AFP 2 Feb 2005 Rumsfeld considers war crime prosecution risk Concern that US leaders and military personnel risk prosecution in Germany for alleged war crimes has become a factor in deciding whether US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will attend an international security conference in Munich, a Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday. US defence secretaries have rarely missed the Munich conference, an annual gathering of the world's top defence and national security officials and experts for two days of frank debate on major issues of war and peace. Mr Rumsfeld has announced no plans to attend this year's meeting from February 11-13 even though he will be attending a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Nice, France just before it. Pentagon spokesman Lawrence DiRita said it remains to be determined whether Mr Rumsfeld will attend the Munich meeting. The meeting's organiser, Horst Teltschik, said last month Mr Rumsfeld was not going. Mr Rumsfeld was among 10 high-ranking US civilian and military officials named in a criminal complaint filed November 30 with a German federal prosecutor by a US legal rights group seeking an investigation into the Americans' role in the torture and abuse of detainees in Iraq. Under Germany's Code of Crimes Against International Law, which was introduced in 2002, German courts have universal jurisdiction in war crimes and crimes against humanity. Acknowledging US concern about the German law, Mr DiRita told AFP, "It's a factor in the decision" on whether Rumsfeld attends the Munich conference. "It's not just a question of the secretary's travel. We have many thousands of US forces stationed there, some of which are named in this brief. So it's a big, big problem," he said. He said the issue was being "worked on a government-wide basis". "My impression is the German Government understands the gravity of this matter, but there are some unique aspects that will take time to address," he said. A Berlin newspaper reported last week that the German federal prosecutor opted not to take legal action against Mr Rumsfeld because no German citizen was a victim of abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison. The New York-based Centre For Constitution Rights, which filed the initial complaint, said on Friday it has filed new documents in the case, contending that attorney-general nominee Alberto Gonzalez had implicated himself in war crimes in Iraq, including torture at Abu Ghraib, in his Senate confirmation testimony.
BBC 10 Feb 2005 Rumsfeld safe from German inquiry German officials said Mr Rumsfeld had been investigated in the US A German prosecutor says he will not follow up a criminal complaint about US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's role in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. Federal prosecutor Kay Nehm said only the US - as the home country of the accused - could pursue any action. Mr Rumsfeld could have faced arrest in Germany if the case had proceeded. Mr Rumsfeld's spokesman said shortly afterwards that the defence secretary was "likely" to attend a security summit in Germany over the weekend. The legal action filed in Germany accused Mr Rumsfeld of war crimes. The New-York based Center for Constitutional Rights and Berlin's Republican Lawyers' Association said the defence secretary was linked to the abuse of Iraqi detainees at the Abu Ghraib detention centre near Baghdad, which was revealed in photographs. The complaint was filed in Germany as its laws allow war crimes and human rights violations to be prosecuted across international boundaries. 'Old Europe' But Mr Nehm said on Thursday that the home country of the accused had primary responsibility for handling any investigation. The US inquiry has already concluded that Mr Rumsfeld was not directly responsible for the abuse. The defence secretary admitted last week that the lawsuit was "something that we have to take into consideration" when deciding whether or not he would travel to Munich. Mr Rumsfeld usually attends the annual conference, which this year begins on Friday. At the event in 2003 he made headlines by dismissing Germany and France as "Old Europe" for opposing the looming war against Iraq, causing a deterioration in relations with those countries. The conference this year is expected to focus on hopes for peace in Middle East and the role of the United Nations.
washingtontimes.com 2 Feb 2004 Colorado's Owens urges firing of 'evil' professor By Valerie Richardson THE WASHINGTON TIMES DENVER — Colorado Gov. Bill Owens yesterday urged the University of Colorado Board of Regents to fire professor Ward Churchill at a meeting today if he refuses to resign for his remarks comparing the September 11 victims to Nazis. The elected board is slated to discuss Mr. Churchill's status at a special meeting today with university President Betsy Hoffman. Earlier this week, Mr. Churchill resigned as chairman of the Ethnic Studies Department, but Mr. Owens and other lawmakers have since called on him to resign from the faculty entirely. "I told President Hoffman that my office will work closely with her and the Board of Regents to terminate Mr. Churchill if he refuses to resign voluntarily," said Mr. Owens at a press conference here yesterday. Mr. Churchill has "the same First Amendment rights as any American," said Mr. Owens, but he "has no place on the faculty of the University of Colorado ... . [H]e absolutely should not be supported with taxpayers' dollars." But Denver lawyer David Lane, who said he has agreed to represent Mr. Churchill in the event of his dismissal, predicted that the threat of certain legal action would prevent the board from demanding the professor's resignation. "There will be much tongue-clucking and hand-wringing by the board over Ward Churchill and that's about it, because they know if they harm one hair on his professorial head, they will find themselves in federal district court so fast that they won't have time to write the check," said Mr. Lane. He argued that the University of Colorado, as a publicly funded university, cannot dismiss employees who engage in inflammatory speech because it would constitute state action to squelch free speech. "That First Amendment prevents the state government from punishing an employee from engaging in free speech. It would be a slam-dunk — a first-year law student could win this one," said Mr. Lane. John Andrews, former Colorado Senate president, said Mr. Churchill's free-speech rights as a professor have their limits. "Academic freedom is not a license to lie," he said. "The First Amendment doesn't mean you can throw around inflammatory statements without consequences." Mr. Churchill's critics argued that the professor has a history of encouraging violence against the government and supporting terrorism in his papers and remarks. At his press conference, Mr. Owens said he had listened to a recording of a Churchill lecture that he described as "outrageous." "He endorses armed attack on the United States. He endorses violence. He is callous toward the innocent dead," said Mr. Owens. Mr. Churchill's long list of books, essays and lectures includes calls for activists and so-called "oppressed peoples" to take up arms against their oppressors, usually the U.S. government, say critics. The national outcry over Mr. Churchill's remarks comes over his essay, "Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens," which described the September 11 victims as "little Eichmanns," a reference to Adolf Eichmann, who ran Nazi Germany's concentration camps. "As for those in the World Trade Center, ... well, really, let's get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent, gimme a break," said Mr. Churchill in his September 2001 essay. The Colorado House of Representatives unanimously denounced Mr. Churchill yesterday in a resolution supporting the September 11 victims, describing his remarks as "evil and inflammatory." In an editorial yesterday, the Rocky Mountain News called on the regents to dismiss Mr. Churchill if he refuses to resign, asking why "the state's premier institution of higher learning should continue to serve as a bully pulpit for Churchill's cult of violence." "[W]hat the Regents should know is that, however odious Churchill's remarks about 9/11, they are perfectly in keeping with his long and sordid history of advocating violence against America and Americans," said the editorial.
Denver Post3 Feb 2005 Regents won't fire Churchill Despite repeated calls, they say CU professor is entitled to due process By Jim Hughes and Dave Curtin Staff Writers Thursday, February 03, 2005 - A University of Colorado regent says the board won't fire controversial ethnic-studies professor Ward Churchill when it meets today, despite urgent calls for his termination from lawmakers at the Capitol and Gov. Bill Owens. "The law requires a process to fire a tenured professor," said Regent Michael Carrigan, who also is an attorney. "Calls to fire professor Churchill without due process are demands to take action that may be illegal. As such, they are irresponsible and ill-informed." Lawmakers in the state House on Wednesday unanimously approved a resolution denouncing the Boulder professor for writing an essay comparing some victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks to a Nazi war criminal. The resolution was designed to shame Churchill; comfort 9/11 victims' families, who may have been hurt by his essay; and pressure the regents to fire him, said its sponsor, Rep. Ted Harvey, R-Highlands Ranch. Churchill's essay "strikes an evil and inflammatory blow against the American healing process" after 9/11, according to the resolution. The essay is "disgusting, vulgar (and) repugnant," said Harvey, who was among those calling for his resignation in a somber floor session. But the regents cannot strip Churchill of tenure without due process, Carrigan said. At their meeting today, they will speak out against Churchill's essay and receive legal advice, he said. Asked about the possibility of his firing, Churchill said, "They really don't want to do that unless they want me owning this university." Owens called for Churchill's resignation Tuesday, saying, "Ideas have consequences, and words have meaning." If the regents decide that dismissal is worth considering, they have to inform Churchill first, according to CU policy. He would then have 10 business days to ask the chancellor to take the matter to a special faculty committee. After taking the issue to the committee, the chancellor would use the committee's findings to inform his recommendation to the regents. Grounds for dismissal include incompetence, neglect of duty, insubordination, conviction of a felony or any offense involving moral turpitude, sexual harassment or any conduct falling below minimum standards of professional integrity. Two tenured professors have been fired in the last five years - one for incompetence and one last April for "moral turpitude" following allegations of sexual harassment and assault on female students. Churchill said he is not worried for his job because he is protected by CU's guarantee of academic freedom. If he does lose his job over this controversy, he'll sue, he said. "My problem would be fighting off the number of lawyers that would want to be involved," he said. "This is exactly what I'm protected from - an attempt to take my job on the basis of a difference of opinion on a burning issue." Regents have been receiving 200 e-mails a day on the controversy, Carrigan said. Four House Republicans say they will try to strike $100,000 from CU's funding if the regents retain Churchill. They do not want state money paying his $94,242 salary, they said. "He has a right to say anything he wants," said one of them, Rep. Bill Cadman of Colorado Springs. But, Cadman said, we don't have to "keep paying him to say it." It's uncertain whether Democrats, who control both the Senate and the House, would support such a move. One House Democrat said she would not. "The General Assembly has no place in determining what a university does or does not do about its faculty," said Rep. Anne McGihon, D-Denver. McGihon said she lost friends in the World Trade Center attack and found Churchill's essay "atrocious." But Wednesday's resolution should be the end of lawmakers' involvement in the controversy, she said. In the essay, "Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens," Churchill accused "technicians" who died at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon of complicity in U.S. foreign policy that causes oppression around the world. He called them "little Eichmanns," inviting a comparison to Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. Churchill maintains that he was referring to military-industrial workers, not everyone who died in the attacks. "If (Wednesday's House) resolution is, in effect, a statement of sympathy with the victims of 9/11, hell, I'd sign it myself," Churchill said. "Now that we've gotten that agreement, how about a statement of sympathy for the ravaged families of Iraq and Palestine and Afghanistan and Guatemala?" The American Indian Movement of Colorado, which counts Churchill as one of its leaders, also entered the fray Wednesday, saying in a statement that Churchill "is under attack by racists who would prefer to silence indigenous voices altogether." Staff writer Amy Herdy contributed to this report.
Rocky Mountain News 3 Feb 2005 Churchill's pickup vandalized Painted swastikas, 'hate mail' reported by embattled prof By Hector Gutierrez, Vandals painted two swastikas on the truck of besieged University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill, Boulder County sheriff's deputies said Wednesday. The vandals painted the swastikas on the tailgate of Churchill's Chevrolet pickup late Tuesday or early Wednesday, said Lt. Phil West, a sheriff's spokesman. He said deputies told him that Churchill's truck was parked in front of his home when the vandals struck. Advertisement Also Wednesday, Churchill turned over to deputies copies of "hate mail" he said he had received. Churchill told the deputies he already had provided the hate mail to the CU campus police, West said. Churchill has said he has been the recipient of numerous death threats since an uproar erupted over his essay about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Churchill's scheduled appearance today on a panel at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., was canceled because of security concerns. CU police Lt. Tim McGraw said that, as of Tuesday, his officers had not received any reports of death threats made against Churchill. But McGraw added that he had been busy in court for most of the day and had not had an opportunity to review reports submitted on Wednesday. Deputies were called to Churchill's home Wednesday morning after he phoned them to report the swastikas on his truck, West said. Deputies canvassed the neighborhood looking for clues and interviewing nearby residents to determine whether they had seen anything unusual. Deputies said they found no other recent acts of vandalism in the neighborhood. The swastikas painted on Churchill's truck may be in reference to a comment he wrote in an essay immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks in which he described the people killed in the World Trade Center as "little Eichmanns." Adolf Eichmann was a top Nazi leader who was in charge of the program to exterminate Jews. McGraw said that although the campus had not received formal complaints by Churchill alleging death threats, his officers have stepped up security on campus. McGraw said he could not disclose the nature of those measures.
NYT 3 Feb 2005 Professor Is Assailed by Legislature and Vandals By MICHELLE YORK Colorado lawmakers yesterday denounced an embattled professor whose scheduled appearance at an upstate New York college was canceled amid protests over his writings on the Sept. 11 attacks, in which he compared the victims to Nazis. The professor, Ward Churchill, meanwhile, rebuffed calls to resign and said yesterday that his truck had been painted with swastikas overnight as it sat in his driveway. The Boulder County Sheriff's Department said it was investigating. Calling his written remarks an "evil and inflammatory blow to the healing process," the Colorado House of Representatives unanimously approved a resolution condemning Professor Churchill. "The victims of the World Trade Center were innocent in every sense of the word and should always be remembered as innocent," the resolution states. The uproar concerns a three-year-old essay by Professor Churchill, who teaches ethnic studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. In it, he called the workers killed in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 "little Eichmanns," technocrats who had a role in their country's economic power and its foreign policy, which included the 1991 gulf war. The Colorado governor, Bill Owens, has called for the university to fire Professor Churchill, but yesterday, Michael Carrigan, a newly elected member of the University of Colorado Board of Regents, said it was unlikely that any action would be taken when the board holds an emergency meeting today. "He can be fired, but not tomorrow," Mr. Carrigan said yesterday. Professor Churchill said in an interview yesterday that he would sue if fired. "I am on firm legal ground," he said, adding that several lawyers who specialize in free speech have already contacted him. He said he had received more than 100 death threats. The essay surfaced only after Professor Churchill accepted an invitation to speak at Hamilton College, near Utica, N.Y., about his area of expertise, American Indian activism. After the essay was brought to light, Hamilton College said it had to honor its invitation in the interests of free speech, though the college president, Joan Hinde Stewart, said she found the remarks personally repugnant. The college received thousands of e-mail messages and telephone calls protesting the planned panel discussion. On Tuesday, it abruptly canceled the discussion, which had been scheduled for tonight, after a caller threatened to bring a gun to the event and the local police said they could not guarantee Professor Churchill's safety. At the University of Colorado, Professor Churchill resigned as chairman of the ethnic studies department on Monday but remains a teacher. Some students have protested his remarks, though he said more support him. In his essay, Professor Churchill wrote of what he saw as the tie between the trade center victims and the deaths of Iraqis in the 1991 war, and after. "They were too busy braying, incessantly and self-importantly, into their cellphones, arranging power lunches and stock transactions, each of which translated, conveniently out of sight, mind and smelling distance, into the starved and rotting flesh of infants," he wrote. "If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I'd really be interested in hearing about it," he added. Some Colorado lawmakers called on the Legislature yesterday to cut financing for the ethnic studies department at the university, saying that Professor Churchill has a right to free speech but that taxpayers do not have to subsidize his views. The conservative news commentator Bill O'Reilly, who repeatedly urged viewers to send e-mail protests to Hamilton College, was running a poll on his Web site yesterday asking viewers if Professor Churchill should be fired. On his program last night, Mr. O'Reilly called the vandalism and death threats an "unfortunate plight." At Hamilton, students scheduled a meeting called "Academic Freedom" for next Wednesday to discuss all the issues that swirled around campus, said a spokeswoman, Vige Barrie. Mindy Sink contributed reporting from Denver for this article.
Reuters 31 Jan 2005 US Judge: Guantanamo Tribunals Unconstitutional - Guantanamo Suspects Have Fair Hearing Rights By James Vicini | January 31, 2005 WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Guantanamo Bay terrorism suspects have the constitutional right to pursue lawsuits challenging their imprisonment, a federal judge ruled on Monday in a defeat for the Bush administration that struck down how the U.S. military reviewed their cases. ADVERTISEMENT The prisoners at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba have the constitutional right not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law, U.S. District Judge Joyce Hens Green said. She ruled that the special military tribunals to determine the status of each Guantanamo detainee as an "enemy combatant" violated the constitutional protection of a fair hearing. Such a designation allows the government to hold the suspects indefinitely. Green said the procedures failed to give the detainees access to material evidence and failed to let lawyers help them when the government refused to disclose classified information. In addition to those constitutional defects applying to all the cases, Green also cited problems with the tribunals relying on statements possibly obtained by torture or coercion, and by using a vague and overly broad definition of enemy combatant. More than 540 al Qaeda suspects and accused Taliban fighter are being held at Guantanamo after the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and from operations in the U.S. war on terrorism. The ruling involved about 50 detainees. The judge rejected the Bush administration's argument that the prisoners have no constitutional rights and their lawsuits challenging the conditions of their confinement and seeking their release must be dismissed in their entirety. "We respectfully disagree with the decision. The Department of Justice will be looking at what the appropriate next steps are to take in this matter," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. A spokesman noted that another federal judge recently came to the opposite conclusion and said the Justice Department would move "expeditiously" in "resolving the issues" before the U.S. court of appeals. The tribunals, formally called a military commission, at the base were authorized by President Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, hijacked airliner attacks on the United States, but have been criticized by human rights groups as unfair. At issue in the ruling was the July 7, 2004, order by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz creating the "Combatant Status Review Tribunal" to determine whether each Guantanamo detainee had been correctly found to be an "enemy combatant." U.S. MUST RESPECT DETAINEE RIGHTS "Of course, it would be far easier for the government to prosecute the war on terrorism if it could imprison all suspected 'enemy combatants' at Guantanamo Bay without having to acknowledge and respect any constitutional rights of detainees," Green wrote in the 75-page opinion. "Although this nation unquestionably must take strong action under the leadership of the commander in chief to protect itself against enormous and unprecedented threats, that necessity cannot negate the existence of the most basic fundamental rights for which the people of this country have fought and died for well over two hundred years," Green said. Green also ruled that some of the suspects have brought valid claims under the Geneva Convention, the international treaty protecting the rights of prisoners of war. A group of attorneys representing some of the suspects hailed the ruling. "Today's decision is a momentous victory for the rule of law, for human rights, and for our democracy." Relatives of one of the first detainees to be charged, Australian David Hicks who was accused of joining al Qaeda, were pleased with Monday's decision. "I think this ruling has been very good," his father, Terry Hicks, told Australian television. "...With this ruling at least it gives them that protection of the Geneva Convention and the due process of law." Green said the ruling does not require the immediate release of any detainee. She also said she reached no conclusion on whether sufficient evidence existed to support the continued detention of any detainee. The ruling by Green and the other ruling earlier this month most likely will be appealed and could ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Hicks' military lawyer, Maj. Michael Mori, said he was confident the ruling would be upheld. "It may take the (U.S.) Supreme Court to affirm this decision but that day will come," he told Australian media. (Additional reporting by Deborah Charles) www.dcd.uscourts.gov/joyce-green-bio.html
National Security Archive 4 Feb 2005 The CIA and Nazi War Criminals National Security Archive Posts Secret CIA History Released Under Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 146 Edited by Tamara Feinstein February 4, 2005 Washington D.C., February 4, 2005 - Today the National Security Archive posted the CIA's secret documentary history of the U.S government's relationship with General Reinhard Gehlen, the German army's intelligence chief for the Eastern Front during World War II. At the end of the war, Gehlen established a close relationship with the U.S. and successfully maintained his intelligence network (it ultimately became the West German BND) even though he employed numerous former Nazis and known war criminals. The use of Gehlen's group, according to the CIA history, Forging an Intelligence Partnership: CIA and the Origins of the BND, 1945-49, was a "double edged sword" that "boosted the Warsaw Pact's propaganda efforts" and "suffered devastating penetrations by the KGB." [See Volume 1: Introduction, p. xxix] The declassified "SECRET RelGER" two-volume history was compiled by CIA historian Kevin Ruffner and presented in 1999 by CIA Deputy Director for Operations Jack Downing to the German intelligence service (Bundesnachrichtendienst) in remembrance of "the new and close ties" formed during post-war Germany to mark the fiftieth year of CIA-West German cooperation. This history was declassified in 2002 as a result of the work of The Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group (IWG) and contains 97 key documents from various agencies. This posting comes in the wake of public grievances lodged by members of the IWG that the CIA has not fully complied with the mandate of the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act and is continuing to withhold hundreds of thousands of pages of documentation related to their work. http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB146/index.htm
washingtonpost.com 6 Feb 2005 Peter Whaley, Outspoken U.S. Diplomat in Africa, Dies at 54 By Patricia Sullivan Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, February 6, 2005; Page C09 Peter F. Whaley, 54, an American diplomat who served during the 1990s in central Africa and who won awards for his provocative political dispatches from hot spots around the globe, died Jan. 29 of pancreatic cancer at his sister's home in Pittsfield, Mass. As the deputy chief of mission in Kigali, Rwanda, in the mid-1990s, Mr. Whaley was asked to befriend rebels in eastern Zaire, as the Democratic Republic of the Congo was known at the time, in order to carry U.S. government messages to them about respect for human rights. He traveled into the war-torn region so often that some dubbed his mission "Whaley's War." "I think of Congo as a whirlpool at the heart of Africa, where there are no rules and no expectations," Mr. Whaley told the Associated Press in 2001. "There is no reason to think the fighting is going to end." In 1993, Hutus opposed to the Tutsi government of Rwanda fled to Congo and were given shelter and food by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Some Hutus soon launched an insurgency and in 1994 orchestrated the genocide of more than 800,000 Tutsis and Hutu moderates. After a Tutsi rebel force took power, 2 million Hutus took shelter in Congo and some in its militia started attacking Rwanda from those camps. "If the United Nations had never opened those camps, none of this would have happened," Mr. Whaley told the Associated Press. That plainspoken assessment earned him the American Foreign Service Association's 1997 William R. Rivkin Award for "intellectual courage and constructive dissent." The award came after he defied most of the international diplomatic community in 1996 by accurately predicting that some 500,000 Hutus would abandon a string of refugee camps in eastern Zaire and would return peacefully to their homes in Rwanda. Mr. Whaley was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and graduated in 1972 from Tufts University in Massachusetts. He attended Stanford University in California after winning the Wallace Stegner Fellowship for creative writing. He spent several years as a writer and was known throughout his life for turning his homes, wherever they were, into salons for local intellectuals, political dissidents and visiting journalists. He joined the Foreign Service in 1982 as a political officer, with assignments at embassies and consulates in Haiti, Rwanda, Zaire and Bosnia. His work sometimes irked local officials. Mr. Whaley was evacuated from Haiti in 1990 after regime officials in Port-au-Prince declared him persona non grata because of his wide contacts with opposition figures and his relationship with radical priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who later became president of the island nation. In Rwanda, Mr. Whaley was chargé d'affaires at the embassy in Kigali and helped supervise reconstruction after the genocide. He later became the chief U.S. contact in eastern Zaire with guerrilla leader Laurent Kabila, who sought to oust the longtime dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko. Kabila "frequently called me at my house, sometimes in the middle of the night," Mr. Whaley told the Los Angeles Times in 2001. "Once he called me, drunk as a skunk, and he said: 'Mr. Whaley, I took the high moral ground! I didn't attack! Aren't you proud of me?' " Kabila toppled the government in 1997. Whaley returned to Washington in the late 1990s, focusing on nonproliferation issues at the State Department. After his retirement in 1999, he worked part-time for Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to improve recognition for retired foreign service officers. His marriage to Katherine Crawford ended in divorce. Survivors include his daughter, Susan Katherine Whaley of Chevy Chase; his mother, Eileen Callahan, of Whiting, N.J.; and two sisters.
washingtonpost.com 6 Feb 2005 From the Medics, Unhealthy Silence By Stephen N. Xenakis Sunday, February 6, 2005; Page B04 The recent confirmation hearings for attorney general nominee Alberto R. Gonzales and the trials of the soldiers accused of misconduct at Abu Ghraib have once again brought to the fore questions about the use of torture in our war on terrorism. But one aspect that is never mentioned -- one I believe is essential to consider -- are the actions or, more to the point, the apparent inaction of medical personnel at both Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. Detention facilities like these typically have fully staffed clinics with primary care physicians, nurses and a host of other support personnel to treat American soldiers as well as detainees. Their common duty -- from corpsmen with basic medical skills training to physicians with leadership positions -- is to provide care according to high standards of medical practice to all who need it and, of course, to report any signs of physical or psychological abuse. As a physician holding the title of brigadier general by the time I retired in 1998, I directed major medical support efforts during the 1991 Gulf War and have seen the Army leadership up close. So, as the scandals at Abu Ghraib in Iraq and Guantanamo in Cuba unfolded, I wondered why we had heard so little from the medics. When faced with the twin pressures of performing their military duty and providing treatment, did the staffs at these facilities turn a blind eye to the physical and mental torture inflicted on the prisoners, or perhaps even collude with interrogators? There are few other explanations for why they didn't report suspicious findings from the examinations of the detainees. Unless, of course, those reports were suppressed. I've also wondered whether the senior medical leadership of the Army, Navy and Air Force knew of the abuses -- and whether their reports could have been concealed. My growing concern has been reinforced by an appalling case of glib reasoning, in which the office of the deputy assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, as reported in a recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, has taken the position that the medical personnel at these facilities had not breached the Hippocratic oath because there was not a recognized doctor-patient relationship. The NEJM reported that the deputy assistant secretary endorsed the view that some of the medics supporting interrogators in Iraq and Guantanamo were operating outside the bounds of the doctor-patient relationship and were thus not required to abide by accepted ethical guidelines. What precisely does this mean? That the prisoners were not being billed by the medical personnel? That there were no neat files, none of those signed privacy forms known as HIPAAs? Don't worry, the Defense Department seems to be saying, being a military physician doesn't mean that you need to stick to the time-honored maxim of "First, do no harm"? Indeed, the same article noted that the office contended that the legitimate objective of fighting terrorism trumps the ethical responsibility of the healing practitioner. In other words, "the ends justify the means": A few brutalized prisoners is a small price to pay for protecting the citizens of the United States. According to this line of reasoning, military medical personnel should put a higher priority on fighting the war against terrorism than on abiding by the recognized ethical and moral principles of their profession. Moreover, no worries about potential malpractice suits need cloud their day; they can feel protected and relieved of the duty to exercise personal and individual responsibility. That's not how I was trained. I attended both college and medical school on Army scholarships during the turbulent years of Vietnam and the My Lai massacre, with cynicism over the practices in our military echoing in my ears. Fifteen years later, in 1989 and 1990, I attended the Army War College as a medical corps colonel. At all these institutions, clear parameters for conduct were laid out. The war colleges teach senior officers -- future generals and admirals -- that commanders are responsible for the ethical and moral climate of their units. They are also responsible for what the men and women who serve under them do and don't do. There is no escaping the fact that responsibility for the conduct of the medics at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib rests with the senior leadership of the medical departments. This leadership faced tough questions from the outset of operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq about how medics were supposed to treat detainees; the burden of leadership is to ensure that high moral and ethical practices are maintained in even the most demanding situations. But there is not much evidence to show that the Defense Department wrote out guidelines for adherence to the high standards. In fact, there is only evidence to the contrary: There are few, if any, reports from medics about detainee abuse and there is no sign of inquiries or reviews of the policies and conduct of the medical teams at those facilities. But documents of testimony taken during investigation into the abuses at Abu Ghraib recently released under the Freedom of Information Act and posted on the Web sites of the American Civil Liberties Union and Center for Public Integrity suggest that medical personnel were aware of abuses, may have witnessed some and may even have advised interrogators on the individual medical conditions of the prisoners and their vulnerabilities to specific stresses that could induce them to disclose valuable intelligence -- actions that may have bordered on torture. With disturbing echoes of unsavory regimes in history, medics abdicated their responsibilities toward the detainees, their patients, instead of making interrogations more humane, more in keeping with international standards of decency. Unlike soldiers, doctors have a duty to patients as well as country. That is what separates U.S. military physicians from the German doctors who aided the Nazis in concentration camps or, in perhaps a closer parallel, the South African prison doctors who examined anti-apartheid leader Steve Biko (a fellow physician no less), filed incomplete reports, deferred to police interrogators and failed to stop the brutal treatment that ended in Biko's death. But there is an even bigger failure to be reckoned with. These are times when the country deserves great leadership, and that kind of leadership anticipates the toughest problems. Military leaders should first have asked the hard questions about the ethical parameters guiding the conduct of medics and focused on the policies that governed that conduct: What is the historical precedent; what are the best ideas about the role of medics in this war; and what are the long-term consequences of their actions? For these leaders to speak up as the scandals were investigated would have taken great courage -- generals and admirals would have been forced to retire. But heroism is not just the stuff of the battlefield. Patients trust doctors, nurses and medics because they expect them to do what is right -- to put the needs of others over their own. Nations expect their generals to be bold and to take risks -- and to show moral courage. Something doesn't smell right here, and it just may be an abscess of ethical lapses. While there can be long and learned legal discussions about the role of torture during wartime, the medical aspect of these discussions should be very brief: No doctor -- and no military medical leader -- should participate in torture in any way. Either by advising interrogators of prisoners' vulnerabilities or by simply doing nothing, they did participate. And that says more about the problems of military leadership than any memo on legal protections. Author's e-mail: email@example.com Stephen N. Xenakis, a retired brigadier general with the U.S. Army, now works as a child and adolescent psychiatrist at the Psychiatric Institute of Washington.
washingtonpost.com 6 Feb 2005 The Helpless General By Reviewed Madeleine K. Albright Sunday, February 6, 2005; Page BW06 SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda By Roméo Dallaire Carroll & Graf. 562 pp. Paperback, $16.95 My deepest regret, during my years in government, was that the United States did not do more, earlier, to halt the genocide that engulfed Rwanda 11 years ago this spring. In Shake Hands with the Devil, Lt. Gen. Roméo Dallaire, who served as United Nations mission commander during the tragedy, describes close-up the events U.S. officials -- including myself as U.N. ambassador -- could only track through the distorting lens of distance and other crises. God knows how much difference it might have made, but I wish now that Dallaire had been able to dial me direct. As a French Canadian, Gen. Dallaire had some familiarity with ethnic discrimination before going to Rwanda, but nothing could have prepared him for the bottomless well of hate he found in that beleaguered land. Although the Rwanda massacres have been analyzed in print before, and are now the subject of a gripping motion picture, Dallaire's first-person account is essential to complete the history and, one feels, vital to the author's need to bear public witness. The Central African country of Rwanda is beautiful, small, land-locked and divided. The ethnic Tutsi minority, favored during colonial times, had been pushed from positions of power by majority Hutu elements after the country gained independence from Belgium in 1962. While in exile, Tutsis and some dissident Hutus forged a rebel movement, the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF). Violence between the RPF and the government erupted periodically but was quieted by a cease-fire and peace agreement signed in August 1993. Dallaire was chosen to lead the international force that would monitor compliance with the agreement. All international peacekeeping missions face problems; what Dallaire confronted was the perfect storm. The end of the Cold War had generated a rise in the number of U.N. peacekeepers from 18,000 to almost 80,000 by the end of 1993 -- far more than the tiny U.N. headquarters staff could supervise or adequately manage and supply. More than a dozen missions -- including four others in Africa -- were already underway. Not even Dallaire's own Canada could free up troops for Rwanda. He was forced to rely primarily on Bangladeshis, whom he describes as almost useless, and Belgians, the distrusted agents of Rwanda's former colonial power. As the U.N. military representative, Dallaire needed help from the secretary general's political representative, Cameroon's Jacques-Roger Booh-Booh, but was frustrated to find him preoccupied with furnishing his palatial living quarters in Kigali and unwilling to be disturbed during his daily two-hour lunches or on weekends. Further, Dallaire's mandate was designed at precisely the same time that a joint U.S.-U.N. mission in Somalia was ending in disaster -- with Black Hawk helicopters down, American soldiers killed and bodies dragged by howling mobs through the streets of the capital. The lesson the Security Council drew from that confrontation was never again to take sides in a civil war. As a result, the Rwanda operation was ordered to remain strictly neutral. That meant that its success would depend entirely on the willingness of local parties to cooperate in fulfilling their obligations. As Dallaire found within weeks of his arrival, that was a fantasy. Well-armed Hutu militants were planning a war of annihilation. And in April 1994, using as a pretext the crash of a plane carrying the Hutu president, they struck. An estimated 800,000 Rwandans perished in the soul-sickening bloodshed that followed. In Shake Hands With the Devil, Dallaire describes with anguish and anger how his prescient warnings were ignored and how he was forced to cope with the unfolding catastrophe assisted only by a small staff and -- after the Belgians and Bangladeshis pulled out -- several hundred courageous but under-equipped troops from Tunisia and Ghana. Along the way, he provides well-drawn portraits of Rwandan leaders, including the suave and confident rebel Gen. Paul Kagame (now the country's president) and the hard-line Hutu Col. Théoneste Bagosora (described as "either the coldest fish in Africa . . . or the ghost of Machiavelli executing a subversive plan"). Throughout this harrowing narrative, Dallaire strives desperately to arrange cease-fires, clear the way for humanitarian assistance and protect terrified civilians. Denied significant help by the outside world, he is nevertheless besieged with pleas to find and rescue particular people with important friends. Subsisting primarily on expired German military rations, he pushes himself to the edge of sanity, ignores death threats and miraculously maintains his moral bearings while so many others are abandoning theirs. This is true even as he is forced to explain his mission to three smirking leaders of the genocide, noticing as he shakes hands (hence the book's title) that the skin of one is flaked with dried blood. Dallaire's long list of villains begins with the perpetrators of the genocide, but extends as well to the RPF leaders who showed more interest in winning the war -- which they ultimately did -- than in finding the fastest way to stop the killing. Dallaire also selectively lambastes U.N. officials but concludes correctly that the United Nations is only as capable as its leading members enable it to be. The author faults the Belgians and French particularly, for their neocolonial attitudes, and the United States for failing to lead. As I write in my own memoir, much that was clear to Dallaire was far less clear to policymakers in Washington and New York who were at the opposite end of the telescope, separated by layers of bureaucracy and trying to do the right thing in a dozen different areas at once. The bottom line, however, is both undeniable and indefensible. The major powers were willing to intervene in Rwanda to save their own citizens, but not in a timely way to save Rwandan lives. In Dallaire's final chapter, he links the forces of desperation and poverty that he saw at work in Rwanda to the rage evidenced in the Sept. 11 terror attacks against the United States. He concludes: "No matter how idealistic the aim sounds, this new century must become the Century of Humanity, when we as human beings rise above race, creed, colour, religion and national self-interest and put the good of humanity above the good of our own tribe." This heartfelt plea provides a counterpoint to an earlier incident. Shortly before going to Rwanda, Dallaire attended the funeral of a Canadian soldier killed while on a peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. The soldier's father asked Dallaire to explain to him why his son had died. Dallaire said he had no answer; it did not occur to him then to talk about the good of humanity. Rwanda transformed him. He is, like most of us, a creature of his own experiences. The problem for the world, and for Dallaire's hopes, is that for all its horror, Rwanda's tragedy did not transform the world's will or capacity to carry out humanitarian interventions. As this book briefly recounts, the Rwandan genocide contributed to a subsequent war in the Democratic Republic of Congo that led to the deaths of more than 3 million people -- roughly four times as many as were killed in Rwanda. In Sudan's Darfur region, 80,000 people died this past year in what the State Department refers to as genocidal violence. In these cases, as in Rwanda, the international community responded, but slowly, tentatively and with insufficient clout. Over time, the world has become reasonably good at delivering food, water and medicine to places that don't have them, but only if people with guns are not standing in the way. We have not yet developed an effective and reliable system for preventing and stopping genocide. For that to happen, citizens everywhere must push their leaders to become serious about establishing and implementing that goal. It is not enough to wait for disaster and then cry "Do something"; it is unrealistic to expect the U.S. military to answer every call; it is useless to rely on troops that are undisciplined, outnumbered, ill-equipped or under-trained; and it is naive to think that simply calling something "genocide" will automatically trigger effective action to halt violence. Preventing and stopping genocides and lesser outbreaks of mass killing will require sustained leadership, significant contingency investments, global and regional planning, military and police training, fresh thinking about the sanctity of sovereignty and a consensus -- which does not now exist -- that the world has a collective responsibility to prevent people from slaughtering each other. Grounds for pessimism include the world's understandable preoccupation with other problems -- from Iraq and the Middle East to the disasters of HIV/AIDS and the Asian tsunami. One reason for hope is that more and more conservative American politicians are joining liberal internationalists in asserting a moral duty to lead on global issues. This creates an opportunity for all parts of the U.S. political spectrum to come together. If the American right, left and center can agree to work with international partners to prevent future genocides, that alone would carry us further than we have ever been. And if anyone doubts the worthiness of the goal, I invite them to read Roméo Dallaire's profoundly sad and moving book. • Madeleine Albright was secretary of state from 1997-2000 and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 1993-97. She is the author of "Madam Secretary: A Memoir."
CNSNews.com 7 Feb 2005 Abortion Causing 'Black Genocide,' Activists Say Some pro-life activists blame abortion for "black genocide" -- the deaths of more than 14 million unborn African-American babies. They condemn, in particular, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "For every five African-American women who get pregnant, three have an abortion," Clenard Childress Jr., director of the Northeast Chapter of the Life Education And Resource Network, told the Cybercast News Service. "This is a horrific injustice to women, and it's decimating our communities." Using U.S. Census information, the percentage of the black population in each community where a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic existed was compared to the percentage of the black population statewide. In nearly two-thirds of the comparisons, the communities with a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic had a higher percentage of blacks than the state did as a whole. Full Story http://www.cnsnews.com//ViewSpecialReports.asp?Page=\SpecialReports\archive\200502\SPE20050207a.html
AP 8 Feb 2005 Students vow to never forget Orangeburg Massacre JEFFREY COLLINS Associated Press ORANGEBURG, S.C. - Students flinched as the sounds of eight seconds of gunfire filled the auditorium on South Carolina State University's campus Tuesday night, all part of a documentary on what has become known as the Orangeburg Massacre. Thirty-seven years ago Tuesday night, the gunfire was real, just a short walk away at the top of a hill on the outskirts of campus. Three were killed and 27 injured, many shot in the side and back, as state troopers opened fire on a group of blacks at what was the end of three days of protest over a businessman's refusal to integrate his bowling alley. It's the biggest blemish on South Carolina's otherwise positive record of integration without violence. It was the first and one of the deadliest incidents of its type on a college campus. And it is largely forgotten or ignored outside of the town of nearly 13,000 where it took place. "The writers of the historical record have said by the silence, 'Don't remember,'" student Matt Kimbrough said. "My brothers and I will never forget." Hundreds gathered Tuesday night to remember South Carolina State students Henry Smith, 19, and Samuel Hammond Jr., 18, who were killed along with DeLano Middleton, a 17-year-old high school student. What happened that night may never be known definitively. The state supported the troopers, who said the students fired first. But no spent bullet cartridges were found where the students were gathered around a bonfire. Only one trooper was seriously injured, struck in the face with a piece of wood. While no state investigation was ever conducted, an FBI probe led to charges against nine troopers. When a federal grand jury refused to indict the troopers, prosecutors decided to try the troopers anyway. A jury of 10 whites and two blacks acquitted all the defendants a little over a year later, finding they acted in self-defense. Only one man ever went to prison for his role in the incident. Cleveland Sellers, a South Carolina native, had ties to a national black power organization and was labeled an agitator. He was convicted of inciting a riot but was pardoned 25 years later. For the 37th anniversary, a 15-minute preview of an unfinished documentary on the Orangeburg Massacre was shown, followed by a silent march to a memorial honoring the three students and the lighting of a memorial candle. After the flame was lit, South Carolina State President Andrew Hugine told the crowd they needed to continue to fight for justice and equality. In 1968, it might have been integration. But in 2004, Hugine said the world needs economic justice and quality health care. "Progress and freedom have a cost," Hugine said. The university tells students about what happened on Feb. 8, 1968, as part of a campus orientation course. For many, like freshman Edward Woods, who grew up in South Carolina, it's the first time they have ever heard of the Orangeburg Massacre. "I just think more people need to learn about this," Woods said. "These guys were heroes, they died for a cause, but nobody knows." At the end of the ceremony, Smith's younger sister walked up to the memorial and placed her hand on the granite above her brother's name. "He had a lot of courage," O.S. Hughes said a few minutes later. "He believed in equality before he ever came up to the university. And he died for what he believed in."
AP 12 Feb 2005 'Veil of secrecy' falls over Orangeburg Massacre JEFFREY COLLINS Associated Press ORANGEBURG, S.C. - Protesters who watched three of their own gunned down by state troopers during rally on the outskirts of South Carolina State University in February 1968 hoped the deaths of the three black students would echo throughout the history of the civil rights movement. Instead, they say it's been 37 years of silence as one of the biggest blights on South Carolina's record of peaceful integration has been delegated to a historical footnote. But that doesn't stop people like Cleveland Sellers, who thinks eventually what has become known as the Orangeburg Massacre will resonate through the South's history like the Birmingham church bombing or the killing of three civil rights workers in Mississippi. "You have to keep doing it. Truth crushed to the ground will still rise up," said Sellers, the only person sent to prison in the incident. He was pardoned 25 years after being convicted of inciting a riot and spending seven months in jail. After the troopers' guns fell silent on Feb. 8, 1968, South Carolina State students Henry Smith, 19, and Samuel Hammond Jr., 18, were dead, along with DeLano Middleton, a 17-year-old high school student. Twenty-seven others were wounded. No formal state investigation has ever been conducted into what happened on that chilly night, the culmination of three days of protests and unrest over a bowling alley owner's refusal to allow blacks into his business. State officials maintain the shooting was justified. At the time, troopers said the students were a threatening mob, charging the troopers, throwing bricks and firing small guns. But a book that many consider the definitive history of the event said only a few rocks were thrown. No spent bullet cartridges were found where the students gathered and the only trooper injured was hit by a piece of wood, according to "The Orangeburg Massacre," written by Jack Bass, then a reporter at The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer and Jack Nelson, who wrote about the incident for the Los Angeles Times. Not long after the shooting, Nelson went to the hospital to check the records of the wounded. "I saw most of them were shot in the back, in the soles of their feet as they ran away," he said earlier this month. An FBI probe led to charges against nine troopers, but a jury of 10 whites and two blacks acquitted all the defendants a little over a year later, finding they acted in self-defense. Progress has been made, Sellers and others say. Four years ago, then Gov. Jim Hodges became the first governor to come to the ceremony commemorating the deaths held every Feb. 8 on South Carolina State's campus. On the 35th anniversary two years ago, Gov. Mark Sanford stunned many by issuing a statement hours after the event saying the state apologized for the events that night. But Sanford doesn't support a proposal to create an independent commission to investigate the incident. "I'm not sure how a new investigation would move us forward," said Sanford's spokesman Will Folks. A bill introduced in the Senate would create a three-member panel to look into the Orangeburg Massacre and recommend what compensation should be made to the victims and their families. A similar bill died quietly a year ago and this one could suffer the same fate. At a committee meeting Wednesday, senators sent the bill to a subcommittee without any discussion after spending 35 minutes debating whether the Division on Aging should be put under the lieutenant governor's office. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Robert Ford, thinks it will pass "whether it is this generation of the General Assembly or the next." "We just need to keep pushing and pushing until we get it right," said Ford, D-Charleston. But many of his fellow lawmakers aren't convinced. "Everybody's afraid of pointing fingers and having fingers pointed back," said Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg. The silence over the Orangeburg Massacre shows blacks that their sacrifices and struggles aren't as important, Cobb-Hunter said. "If these students had been white, everyone would have heard about it. Doesn't everybody know about Kent State," said Cobb-Hunter, talking about the killing of four white students protesting the Vietnam War by National Guard troops at the Ohio campus in May 1970. There are some signs that the silence about the Orangeburg Massacre may be breaking. Northern Light Productions, independent filmmakers who have done a number of historical programs, is trying to raise enough money to create a documentary called "The Veil of Secrecy" after the phrase protesters use to describe the state's attempts to downplay in the incident. There has even been talk about a feature film recounting those three days in Orangeburg. Sellers was at this year's memorial service, just like he makes it back every year. And one of the things that touches him the most is how the students want to continue the fight. South Carolina State does its part by telling the students what happened as part of a campus orientation course and inviting them to participate in the ceremony. The main speaker was student Matt Kimbrough, who reminded the crowd that black students just like them were the crux of the civil rights movement and should be thanked for their sacrifices, "The writers of the historical record have said by the silence, 'Don't remember,'" Kimbrough said. "My brothers and I will never forget."
Chicago Sun-Times 9 Feb 2005 www.suntimes.com Students, legislators open up study of genocide February 9, 2005 BY KATE N. GROSSMAN Education Reporter Advertisement The first question, scrawled across a whiteboard in a sunny classroom at Clemente High School last week, was a relatively easy one: "Is a universal definition of genocide important?" "There needs to be one," one girl offered, "because it occurs so often and then people try to sugarcoat it." Teacher Linda Becker then followed up with the hard question: "You all agreed it's important to have a definition and have people respond -- so why haven't they?" The students were stumped, but instead of chalking it up to the vagaries of history, the 18 honors seniors spent the next hour poring over the 1948 United Nations genocide convention. They also considered whether slavery in the United States was genocide and turned the mirror inward, looking at the victims and perpetrators in their own lives. "In this class, I'm learning we have some obligation," said Cassandra Arcuri, 17. "That we have to get up and do something." Training teachers As the Illinois Legislature considers requiring students to study genocide worldwide, not only the Holocaust as current law mandates, thousands of Chicago area students are way ahead of Springfield. A program called Facing History and Ourselves has trained 1,600 teachers over the past 15 years to teach about acts of genocide and explore racism, prejudice and anti-Semitism historically and in their own lives. Over the last 30 years, it has reached 1.5 million students worldwide. "Before this class I only thought there was one genocide," said Evelyn Bonilla, 18. "Now I know not to be so naive. I thought after the Holocaust everyone was working so hard not to let it happen again, but it does." Original idea worried Jewish groups When the proposal to expand the Holocaust legislation was floated in January, some Jewish groups bristled, saying it could minimize the Holocaust's significance. They supported the idea but wanted the special importance of the Holocaust maintained. A compromise that satisfies critics goes before an education committee today, said Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago), who introduced the bill. The amendment may go before the full House in a few weeks. Becker, 30, has covered the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide and the role of international organizations with her students, whom she has taught for four years. This week, each student will teach a class about ethnic conflicts in Sudan, Bosnia and elsewhere. Using her Facing History training, Becker teaches about genocide through the lens of individual actors -- who are the bystanders, who are the resisters, who are the rescuers? The goal is to help kids use the past to understand how personal responsibility and participation make a difference.
phoenix.swarthmore.edu 10 Feb 2005 Sudan group gains momentum in D.C. BY BENJAMIN BRADLOW Members of Swarthmore Sudan attended a conference hosted by the National Holocaust Museum and the Georgetown University student group Students Taking Action Now Darfur in Washington, D.C., last weekend about the ongoing violence in the Darfur region of Sudan. The group led workshops about its Genocide Intervention Fund and a new campaign called “100 Days of Action,” according to Cara Angelotta ’05, the group’s director of communications. Speakers at the conference included key endorsers of the Genocide Intervention Fund, which aims to raise money for African Union peacekeeping troops to supplement what many see as a severe lack of funding for the mission. Gayle Smith, a fellow from the Center for American Progress, which has provided logistical support for Swarthmore Sudan including giving the group financial cover as a non-profit organization while the group looks to establish itself independently, was a featured panel speaker at the conference as was John Prendergrast, the former Senior Director of African Affairs on the National Security Council under former President Clinton. Both have publicly endorsed the GIF. Smith had recently returned from negotiating with AU negotiators about how money raised for the GIF would be transferred to the AU peacekeeping troops in Darfur. The group had a meeting to talk about the GIF with one of the main speakers, force commander of the U.N. Assistance Mission to Rwanda Romeo Dallaire. “The speakers were just incredible and inspiring,” Swarthmore Sudan member Lissie Jacquette ’07 said, who pointed to Dallaire’s specch as a highlight. About 400 students from 90 different schools attended the conference, according to Angelotta. The Swarthmore Sudan-led workshop on the GIF was meant to show other attendees that “humanitarian aid is a Band-Aid solution,” Angelotta said. The group sees the GIF as directed toward a much more effective type of solution, where the conflict is stopped from causing further humanitarian damage. “People were very supportive of what we are doing,” group member Jessica White ’07 said. White said that other student groups appeared to be facing fatigue in the face of waning public interest in the conflict in Darfur. “Other groups seemed kind of disillusioned,” she said. “We’re kind of leading the effort ... It’s the start of something big.” One event has already been planned as a result of the networking that went on at the conference. Swarthmore Sudan is co-ordinating with Haverford, Bryn Mawr and University of Pennsylvania to hold a dance marathon at Penn’s campus to raise money for the GIF. Both White and Angelotta pointed to the networking opportunities that the conference presented the group. “Tons of colleges signed up to join the Genocide Intervention Fund,” Angelotta said. “We plan on having a college launch for the Genocide Intervention Fund in March.” Along with the expansion of the GIF, the group is also planning a more general campaign to be called “100 Days of Action,” which will begin April 6 to commemorate the day that the Rwandan genocide said to have begun. The duration of the campaign is also tied to the Rwandan genocide as it lasted for 100 days. “The idea of the campaign is to return the focus to civilian protection,” Angelotta said. The campaign’s goal is to send 100,000 letters to government officials urging them to take action against the Sudanese government and to raise $100,000 for the GIF, according to Angelotta. Swarthmore Sudan will sponsor a speech by the current U.N. Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide Juan Mendez Wednesday on the LPAC mainstage at 4:30 pm. The Student Council passed a resolution Tuesday night condemning the genocide in Sudan and supporting Swarthmore Sudan’s efforts to stop it. However, the resolution does not express specific support for the GIF. According to Council co-president Tom Evnen ’07, the council took a section about the GIF out of the resolution because of perceived controversy surrounding the issue. “We took it out because we were made aware that a number of people who are in the know aren’t sure it’s the best policy idea,” he said. “This is not meant to indicate that we don’t support that fund.” The Phoenix is published every Thursday by students of Swarthmore College.
Genocide Intervention Fund 10 Feb 2005 GenocideInterventionFund.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE U.N. Adviser on Genocide Prevention To Speak at Swarthmore CONTACT: Cara Angelotta, Communications Director, Genocide Intervention Fund 215.901.5074 angelotta@GenocideInterventionFund.org SOURCE: Genocide Intervention Fund FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE SWARTHMORE, Pa. -- The United Nations' lead spokesman against the horrors of genocide will speak next week at Swarthmore College, where a group of students have created the first-ever private fundraising drive for a peacekeeping force. Juan E. Méndez, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, is scheduled to speak and answer questions on Wednesday, Feb. 16, from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Lang Performing Arts Center of Swarthmore College. "He will focus on the world's response to genocide, focusing specifically on the situation in Darfur, Sudan, and how such outrages against humanity can be prevented now and in the future," says Mark Hanis, a Swarthmore senior and President of the Genocide Intervention Fund (GIF). The GIF is incorporating as a 501(c)(3) to collect tax-exempt donations to support African Union peacekeepers in Darfur, Sudan. In the past two years, the genocide in Darfur has claimed 400,000 lives and displaced 2.5 million. The African Union remains the only international organization willing to send troops into Darfur. Financial, equipment and logistical shortages continue to hamper its activities and have contributed to its slow deployment. Thus far, only 1,846 members of a proposed force of 3,230 have been deployed. A native Argentinian, Méndez was appointed to his U.N. position by the Secretary-General on July 12, 2004. As a young man, he was arrested and tortured by Argentina's dictatorship and moved to the United States in the 1970s. He has since served as general counsel for Human Rights Watch and executive director, then president (PICK ONE) of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights in Costa Rica. Méndez also has been a professor and director of the Centre for Civil and Human Rights at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. His visit is sponsored by Swarthmore Sudan and the Forum for Free Speech. The newly-formed GIF already has gained the backing from members of Congress, leading human rights activists and policy-makers. For more information, go to www.GenocideInterventionFund.org. Tax-deductible donations can be sent to the Genocide Intervention Fund, c/o Center for American Progress, 1333 H Street NW, 10th Floor, Washington, D.C. 2005. See www.genocideinterventionfund.org
Los Angeles Times 14 Feb 2005 White-supremacist groups go public to seek members By Stephanie Simon ST. LOUIS — White-supremacist groups are moving aggressively to recruit new members by promoting their violent, racist ideologies on billboards, in radio commercials and in leaflets tossed on suburban driveways. Watching with mounting alarm, civil-rights monitors say these tactics stake out a much bolder, more public role for many hate groups, which are trying to shed their image as shadowy extremists and claim more mainstream support. Watchdog groups fear increased violence as these organizations grow. But perhaps an even greater fear is that the new public-relations strategy will allow neo-Nazis to recast themselves as just another voice on the political spectrum — even when that voice might be advocating genocide. "The concern is that this will bring them new members and money, and that they will get some real traction in mainstream politics," said Mark Potok, who tracks hate groups for the Southern Poverty Law Center. "We are completely in favor of the First Amendment. [But] they poison the public discourse with ideas like Jews are behind it all and need killing." The National Alliance, which calls for ridding the land of minorities, has led the drive to raise the profile of white supremacists. The local chapter spent $1,500 on MetroLink ads in St. Louis last month, plastering nearly every commuter train car in the city with a blue-and-white placard declaring "The Future belongs to us!" and listing the group's Web site and phone number. The same chapter bought airtime on local talk radio last fall, urging whites to fight for the survival of "white America." "We want to use mainstream advertising to say to the public: We're not a shadowy group. This is what we believe in, and we're proud of it," chapter leader Aaron Collins said. "We're trying to give people courage. We want to show them, if you stand up for what you believe in, you're not going to be crucified." Other chapters of the National Alliance have posted billboards in Utah, Nevada and Florida. The group also has coordinated massive leaflet drops, distributing 100,000 fliers in a single night in states as diverse as New Jersey, Alabama and Nebraska. The National Alliance even bought a membership list and mailing labels from the Florida Bar Association last year so it could send an eight-page recruitment letter, complete with anti-Semitic cartoons, to 2,500 criminal-defense lawyers. "If we had the money to advertise during the Super Bowl, we'd try that, too," said Shaun Walker, the organization's chief operating officer. Civil-rights monitors consider the National Alliance, founded in the 1970s, one of the most virulent neo-Nazi groups in the country. Its late founder, William Pierce, called for herding Jews and "race mixers" into cattle cars and abandoning them in old coal mines. And although the group's Web site says it "does not advocate any illegal activity," National Alliance members have been convicted of scattered acts of violence over the past two decades, including armed robberies, bombings and murders. The FBI's senior counter-terrorism expert told Congress in 2002 that the National Alliance represented a "terrorist threat." Public outreach is not new for white-supremacist groups. The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan have been picking up litter for Missouri's Adopt-a-Highway program for years. But hate-group monitors say the latest recruitment campaigns are much broader than any they've seen previously. Neo-Nazi organizations are not only putting up billboards, they're also instructing members to hide their tattoos and dress for rallies in conservative suits to avoid being dismissed as extremists. Thomas Robb, national director of the Klan, urges his members to serve on community boards and in political parties so they can push their white-power agenda from positions of social respect. The National Alliance, meanwhile, increasingly is tailoring its leaflets to current events. Local members seize on any racial tensions in their community as an excuse to blanket the area with articles explaining the white-power worldview. As Walker put it: "The current powers-that-be constantly demonize us. But if we can get our message out to enough people, we'll gain legitimacy with the public." Although no one offers hard numbers, white supremacists contend — and their sharpest critics agree — that the recruitment strategy is working. Media reports about the Salt Lake City billboard drove 4,500 visitors to the National Alliance's local Web site in a single week, compared with average traffic of 100 hits a month, Walker said. "What evidence we've seen indicates that real-world advertisement and promotion has far more impact on recruitment than online work does," said Devin Burghart, who monitors hate groups for the Center for New Community in Chicago. "They reach a different demographic." Hate groups recognize the power of that outreach. So they intend to keep at it. "You know the old saying: It pays to advertise," Walker said. "Only we're not selling a product, we're announcing an idea."
NYT 30 Jan 2005 Karzai Is Urged to Prosecute War Crimes By CARLOTTA GALL ABUL, Afghanistan, Jan. 29 - The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission urged President Hamid Karzai on Saturday to make a commitment to bringing war criminals to justice after a long era of human rights abuses. Sima Samar, the chairwoman of the commission, and Louise Arbour, United Nations high commissioner for human rights, presented Mr. Karzai with a national survey and recommendations on transitional justice - or dealing with past war crimes and human rights abuses so it can move on. The commission's conclusions were that more than 70 percent of Afghans had suffered a loss or injury in the past two decades of war and that Afghans urgently wanted to see war criminals brought to justice and removed from public office. "Of central importance is the need to address past and present human rights violations so as to ensure that those responsible for egregious abuses do not succeed in wielding power," Ms. Arbour told Mr. Karzai and others at a ceremony at the presidential palace. She called for a "courageous system of justice" to redress wrongs and create a stable foundation for Afghan society. The report presented to Mr. Karzai recommends that he take actions symbolic and substantive to address the abuses of the past, including building monuments, supporting criminal investigations and prosecutions, and arranging for reparations for the victims, as well as vetting public officials to keep those who committed abuses out of power. The comments of the human rights commissioners, and the survey results, go against the current policy of the United Nations mission in Afghanistan and Mr. Karzai's own government, which have for the past three years avoided pursuing suspects in war crimes in the interests of stability. The United Nations, which has commissioned a compilation of human rights abuses in Afghanistan during the past 25 years, has repeatedly delayed the publication of the report, apparently, diplomats in Kabul said, for fear of destabilizing the fragile political process, since many who have been accused of war crimes remain in powerful positions around the country. Ms. Arbour said the United Nations project had been intended to support the work of the Afghan commission and had been given to it as source material. Ms. Samar, whose husband and his three brothers were arrested and executed in the Communist era, said her conclusion was that Afghans wanted urgently to see justice brought, in the belief that it would contribute to stability, rather than undermine it. She said that it might not be easy to carry out, but that the president would have the support of the people. "Without justice we cannot have long-term peace, and stability and national unity," she said. Afghans have suffered so many abuses under various governments that many say they see the past two decades as a seamless era of terror. Under the Communists, thousands disappeared into prisons. In 10 years of Soviet occupation, which ended in 1989, one million died and five million, a third of the population, were forced to flee Afghanistan as villages across the country were indiscriminately bombed. After the Soviet occupation, factional fighting destroyed many towns and much of Kabul, the capital, and killed tens of thousands of people. The Taliban followed, instituting a repressive rule and waging war against its foes for seven years. The survey, "A Call for Justice," was conducted over eight months. It is the first broad consultation with the Afghan people about what they want to do now about the suffering they experienced during two decades of conflict. The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission asked more than 6,000 people, using questionnaires and focus groups, whether they had suffered and how, and what form of justice they wanted, if any. The commission reported finding a very high level of human rights violations and described them as "staggering statistics in comparison to any other conflict in the world." Of the 2,000 people who joined focus group discussions, 500 said they had experienced a death among relatives, and 400 said someone in their immediate family had been tortured or detained, and 69 percent considered themselves victims of human rights violations over the last 23 years of violence, it reported. Among the 4,151 questioned in the survey, 76.4 percent said they wanted to see war criminals brought to justice now or within five years, and 90 percent wanted more than criminal justice - like vetting public officials and removing offenders from office, setting up a system for investigating and recording what happened in the previous eras and arranging for reparations for the victims. An element of the desire for justice is frustration that abuses still occur, the report says. "There is immense support for removing war criminals from positions of power," and a "strong concern among the people about current abuses and how to stop or prevent these," the report says. The commission reports that Afghans have a strong desire to call to account people who committed abuses and that a majority of those surveyed say doing so would improve peace and stability. Although Mr. Karzai has tried to include warlords and other powerful players in his government, and is pursuing a policy to bring former Taliban members into the fold to achieve stability, the commission report says that only holding people accountable for past crimes will bring lasting stability and peace. "It is no longer viable for the political process to proceed independently from any accountability considerations," it said. "This approach will undermine true peace and security."
www.theage.com.au 28 Jan 2004 Anger over plans to build on massacre site By Martin Boulton Portland Koori Wal Saunders on the "Convincing Ground", site of an 1830s massacre that almost wiped out the Kilcarer Gundidj tribe. The council plans a housing development on the site. Photo: Robin Sharrock The site of an Aboriginal massacre in Portland during the area's early whaling days could be protected, despite approval of a housing development on the land. Western Victoria's Glenelg Shire Council and the local Koori community are locked in a bitter fight over whether the land, known as the "Convincing Ground", should be preserved for its historical and cultural significance. From Portland's beginning as a whaling station in 1829, relations between whalers and the Aboriginal community were tense, but erupted around 1833 when almost the entire Kilcarer Gundidj tribe was massacred after a dispute over the ownership of a beached whale. In his book Scars in the Landscape, historian Ian D. Clark includes an extract from the journal of Port Phillip's first chief protector for Aborigines, George Robinson, who wrote about the massacre. "Among the remarkable places on the coast is the 'Convincing Ground' (where) a severe conflict took place . . . between the Aborigines and the whalers on which occasion a large number of the former were slain," Robinson wrote. Historian Jan Critchett, who prepared a 1995 report on the Convincing Ground for the Land Conservation Council, said it was "an important early contact place" of state significance. Accounts vary, but the number of Aborigines killed is believed to be between 60 and 200. An Aboriginal Affairs Victoria spokesman said the council knew - before approving an eight-lot subdivision on the Convincing Ground - that the site was registered with Aboriginal Affairs Victoria as a cultural heritage site. The spokesman said it was an offence to "deface or damage" a registered site, and AAV had launched an inquiry. Landowner and developer Michael Maher said he did not know anything about the history of the site and stopped bulldozing work last week immediately after receiving a complaint. "We're in early discussions with the local Aboriginal people and I'm hopeful we can reach an agreement," Mr Maher said. But resident Wal Saunders, a descendant of one of the only two survivors of the massacre, said he was disgusted that the site could be built on and furious with the council. "This local shire has known about this site for years . . . we asked them back in 1995 to do a cultural overlay to protect the area and they've done nothing." National Trust spokesman Jim Gard'ner said the trust was "extremely interested" in the site, despite little above-ground physical evidence of the massacre. "It's an important historical site (and) one of the earliest encounters between white and black Australians," he said. Heritage Victoria inspected the site last week. A spokeswoman said Heritage Victoria was now "well placed to respond to a nomination". Glenelg Mayor Karen Stephens said indigenous representatives and government agencies had been invited to contribute to a review of council planning guidelines. - With Mark Russell
www.theaustralian.news.com.au 31 Jan 2005 Aboriginal massacre memorial defaced January 31, 2005 VANDALS who defaced a memorial commemorating the mass slaughter of Aboriginal people had committed an appalling and insulting crime, the New South Wales Government said today. The plaques in the northern NSW town of Inverell remember the Myall Creek Massacre of the 1830s. They were defaced late last week by vandals who gouged holes and scratched out words. The words "murder", "women" and "children" were hammered out of one plaque, leaving it unreadable, Inverell Police spokesman, Senior Constable Chris Curtin, said. The incident was reported by a local Aboriginal elder, Constable Curtin said. "We got reports that deep gouges have been scratched into the plaques along the memorial walk," he said. "Several of the plaques will have to be replaced." Dozens of Aboriginals were killed by white settlers in the massacre. NSW Aboriginal Affairs Minister Andrew Refshauge today condemned the attack. "This is a gross act of vandalism," he said. "Defacing this memorial is disrespectful and insulting to the people who were murdered, and their families." The memorial was built in 2003 as an act of reconciliation between the local indigenous people and the wider community. It marks the first time white people were charged and convicted of murdering Aborigines, Mr Refshauge said. "It was the first occasion when European law was applied to deliver justice for Aboriginal people," he said. "That's why this act of vandalism is especially appalling." Police were investigating whether the attack was racially motivated.
AP 28 Jan 2005 Khmer Rouge victims want trial AP , PHNOM PENH Friday, Jan 28, 2005,Page 5 Advertising Survivors of a notorious Khmer Rouge death camp said yesterday that they are praying for their former torturer, who is now ill, because they want him to live long enough to face trial along with other leaders of the genocidal regime. Former Khmer Rouge leader Kaing Khek Iev is being treated at a Phnom Penh military hospital for a urinary track problem. Also known as Duch, he ran the notorious S-21 prison, where up to 16,000 men, women and children were tortured and taken away to be executed. Only 14 people are thought to have survived the prison. One of the survivors, 63-year-old Bou Meng, said he has burned incense at night and "prayed for [Kaing Khek Iev] not to die because he is very important living evidence." "I pray for him to stay alive. As a survivor I want to see him brought to a court so we can confront each other," he said. The Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, and its radical communist policies led to the death of more than 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and execution. Skulls are seen in Phnom Penh in this 1981 file photo. The authorities say the victims were tied together by rope -- seen in this photograph -- before being executed by followers of Premier Pol Pot, who was ousted from power in early 1979. PHOTO: AP Cambodia and the UN have been discussing an internationally assisted tribunal to try surviving Khmer Rouge leaders since 1997, and the two sides are currently trying to raise the funds for the trial. As the process drags on, victims fear that the perpetrators will die of old age before going to trial. Kaing Khek Iev is one of only two senior Khmer Rouge figures in detention awaiting trial. Pol Pot, the movement's chief, died in 1998, but several of his top lieutenants, aging and infirm, still live freely in Cambodia. "I have prayed for [Kaing Khek Iev] not to die because he is very important living evidence." Bou Meng, survivor Security has been tight at the hospital where Kaing Khek Iev is being treated, according to his lawyer, Kar Savuth. It remains unclear if he is to undergo surgery.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation 28 Jan 2005 www.abc.net.au UK pledges funds for Cambodia's genocide tribunal 28/01/2005 11:35:28 Britain has announced a $US940,000 contribution to support a United Nations-backed tribunal which will try surviving Khmer Rouge for genocide. Junior foreign minister, Douglas Alexander, says Britain warmly endorsed efforts to set up the court. He says it will seek to address past injustice and strengthen accountability, the rule of law and judicial reform in present day Cambodia. The future court will try surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge, who are now mostly in their 70s, for their role in the regime which left up to two million people dead. The United Nations and the Phnom Penh government are seeking $US56 million to fund the Khmer Rouge trials, and have spent five years negotiating on how to set up the tribunal.
AFP 3 Feb 2005 Iraqis Protest 'deliberate' Lack of Ballot Papers HAWIJAH, Iraq (AFP) -- Hundreds of people staged a demonstration in a northern Iraqi city on Thursday to protest the lack of ballot papers during last weekend's landmark election. Demonstrators in Hawijah, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of the oil city of Kirkuk, accused the Iraqi election commission of deliberately withholding voting papers to penalise the Arab community. The Kirkuk region is riven with ethnic divisions between the majority Kurds, and Arabs and Turkmen. "The Hawijah region had 38 polling stations and 92,000 voters but only received 14,000 ballots," said Colonel Ahmad Abdallall al-Obeidi of the regional police. He said the US military intervened to make sure an extra 6,000 papers were brought in. Demonstrators called for an investigation and shouted: "For Kirkuk, we will sacrifice our soul and our blood." "Sunni Arabs have been the victim of a lack of a strong leadership and of terrorist groups, and this pushed them to ignore the elections and the loss of their historic rights," said Mohammad Khalil, a candidate on an Arab list for the provincial election. "If the Arabs are marginalised then there will be bloody conflicts, not just in Kirkuk but in all towns of Iraq," he added. Sunni and Shiite Muslim parties withdrew from the provincial elections, held at the same time as the national vote last Sunday, in protest at a decision to allow tens of thousands of displaced Kurds to come back and vote. The Arabs say the extra Kurds tipped the balance unfairly against them. The Turkmen Front of Iraq party said in a statement it had written to the election commission to protest against "violations" it said were carried out by Kurdish parties. "Turkmen and Arab observers were kept out of the vote count and the Kurds from Suleimaniyah and Arbil were allowed to vote in Kirkuk," said the statement. Suleimaniyah and Arbil are in the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq. Many Kurd leaders would like to bring Kirkuk, which sits on huge oil wealth, into their sphere of authority. Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who was ousted by a US-led invasion in 2003, persecuted the Kurds and sought to install an Arab-dominated community.
NYT 9 Feb 2005 Iraq to Try Hussein Aides in Spring; Some May Face Death By JOHN F. BURNS BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 9 - Iraqi officials say the long-awaited legal reckoning for Saddam Hussein and his most powerful associates will begin this spring with televised trials for at least 2 of the top 12 men held in American custody, and Iraqi prosecutors will ask the five-judge panels overseeing the trials to impose the death penalty for those among the 12 judged guilty of the worst crimes. One of the first men to be tried will be a widely feared cousin of Mr. Hussein's, Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as Chemical Ali for his role in poison-gas attacks that killed thousands of Iraqi Kurds in the late 1980's, officials say. The other will be Barzan al-Tikriti, a half brother of Mr. Hussein's who served early in Mr. Hussein's rule as head of the mukhabarat secret police, identified by witnesses as having overseen the razing of a village north of Baghdad, and the killing of many of its male inhabitants, after an assassination attempt against Mr. Hussein in 1982. Nearly two years after American troops captured Baghdad, twin courtrooms being built for the trials in Baghdad's heavily guarded Green Zone compound are nearly ready, and investigating judges are close to completing dossiers outlining the first cases, the officials say. Although American and British legal experts have played a crucial behind-the-scenes role in preparing the cases, the trials will be conducted before an Iraqi court known as the Iraqi Special Tribunal, and not, as in the case of the war crimes trials for major figures in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone, before an international court. Arrangements have been made for TV relays that will carry the trials in Baghdad live to Iraqi and worldwide audiences, according to a Western legal expert who met with reporters in the Green Zone today to outline plans for the trials. He said the courtrooms would include seating for reporters, and a public gallery to which ordinary Iraqis would be admitted on a "first-come, first-served" basis. Security is expected to be as tight as any seen in Iraq since Mr. Hussein was toppled, with a close watch kept by Iraqi and American troops for attempts to kill witnesses, prosecutors and judges, as well as the defendants. The Iraqi officials, speaking on condition of anonymity for reasons of personal security, say Mr. Hussein himself is not likely to go on trial until the cases against several of his associates have been completed, and will thus probably not come to trial before the end of this year, and possibly well into 2006. Iraq's human rights minister, Bakhtiar Amin, said in an interview that officials preparing the trials wanted to use the cases against Mr. Hussein's associates to establish "command responsibility" for the crimes committed under his rule, building a pyramid of evidence to demonstrate that ultimate accountability for the decisions that led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis rested with Mr. Hussein. One of Mr. Hussein's top associates, Mohammed Hamza Zubaydi, who served as Iraqi prime minister after Mr. Hussein seized power in 1979 and began a bloody purge of the ruling Baath Party, is not likely to face trial at all, the officials say, because of worsening health problems. Mr. Zubeidi, who is his late 60's, is the oldest of the 12 "high-value detainees," including Mr. Hussein, who are being held at an American military prison camp near the Baghdad airport. Officials say he is suffering from severe heart failure that traces back to two bypass operations before Mr. Hussein was toppled from power, and that American doctors treating him do not expect him to recover. But the remaining 11 are now expected to go forward to trial, the Iraqi officials said, despite efforts by some of them to win their freedom, or at least to plea-bargain for exemption from the death penalty, by cooperating with investigators. In the early months of the special tribunal's existence, after it was established by American decree last spring, legal experts involved in the cases said that one of those who was willing to give evidence against Mr. Hussein and other top figures was Tariq Aziz, a former deputy prime minister. They said another was Sultan Hashem Ahmed, defense minister during the American-led invasion in the spring of 2003, and the general who signed the terms that brought an end to allied military operations against Iraq in the 1991 Persian Gulf war. Their overtures took on new significance when Ayad Allawi, a former Baathist appointed by the Americans as interim prime minister at the time of the sovereignty transfer, moved last fall to take effective control of the court by dismissing senior officials of the special tribunal and appointing political loyalists in their place. One of those dismissed, Salem Chalabi, the tribunal's executive director, said Dr. Allawi was seeking political control of the court so as to be able to free some defendants, or at least lessen the charges, a power Mr. Chalabi said he Dr. Allawi would use in his efforts to persuade former Baathists active in the insurgent underground to switch sides and help to bring an end to the war here. But Mr. Amin, the human rights minister, said that there would be no compromise in the case of Mr. Aziz, a Christian, who was Iraq's main diplomatic emissary for 15 years before Mr. Hussein's overthrow. Mr. Amin, a Kurd, said that Mr. Aziz was deeply implicated in Mr. Hussein's crimes against Iraq's Kurdish minority, and in particular in the abuses of Kurdish Christians. "I am opposed to anyone with blood on his hands, and who has been involved in genocide and atrocities against his own people, being released," Mr. Amin said.
washingtonpost.com 13 Feb 2005 Insurgents Step Up Violence on Civilians Car Bomb Explodes Near Hospital, Killing 17; Bodies of 12 Found in Mosul By Doug Struck Washington Post Foreign Service Sunday, February 13, 2005; Page A28 BAGHDAD, Feb. 12 -- Insurgents have answered hopes for a post-election calm with a wave of carnage, capping two days of violence with a suicide bombing Saturday in front of a hospital south of Baghdad that killed 17 people. The car bombing was the deadliest attack on a day that included the discovery of 12 bodies in the northern city of Mosul; a fierce firefight between U.S. troops and insurgents, also in Mosul; and the killing of a prominent judge in Basra, in far southeastern Iraq. The attack near the hospital occurred in Musayyib, about 40 miles south of the capital. The attacker reportedly followed a police patrol vehicle but fell behind in traffic. The attacker then detonated explosives in his Chevrolet sedan on a busy street outside the hospital at 8:30 a.m. Officials said 17 people were killed and 15 were injured. "Sick people came here to be treated. Instead of being healed, they are killed," said Mohammed Timimi, a police lieutenant at the scene. The casualties were taken into the hospital, and a large crowd of relatives gathered to learn whether their loved ones were dead or alive. "May God avenge this," said Hamza Alwan, 40, who was trying to find his cousins. "They were just normal people." Meanwhile, election officials said the final results of the Jan. 30 vote for a National Assembly would be announced Sunday. "We will give three days to verify the results, hear any disputes, and then they will be officially declared final," Farid Ayar, a spokesman for the election commission, said on al-Arabiya television, the Associated Press reported. "All the numbers will be announced tomorrow." In recent days, attacks across Iraq have increasingly aimed at vulnerable civilians, as the strategy of the insurgency appears to have turned from targeting U.S. and Iraqi security forces to sowing general chaos and fear among the population. On Friday, gunmen massacred a family of 11 running a bakery, and a car bombing outside a mosque killed 13 people. Despite a succession of arrests of insurgents, frequent vows of tough action from officials and the reported growth of Iraqi security forces, the attackers have continued to kill. Iraq's Defense Ministry said Saturday that as part of its efforts against insurgents, it has asked thousands of former military officers who served under former president Saddam Hussein -- including members of the Republican Guard and officers with a rank of lieutenant colonel or lower who were not top Baath Party members -- to return to service. A spokesman for Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, however, denied that such a step was being taken. "We haven't discussed it with the defense minister, and we didn't give the okay. This has to go through the prime minister," said Thaer Naqib, the spokesman. A Defense Ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Salih Khuzae, said that because of a high jobless rate, "hundreds of thousands" would answer the call, including lower-ranked members. Servicemen who held ranks below major, however, already had been invited to rejoin, and other estimates put the number of lieutenant colonels, the next higher rank, much lower. In addition, many may refuse to join a force that is the target of daily attacks by insurgents. "The situation is too dangerous," a former lieutenant colonel said on condition of anonymity. "People want to go back because there are no jobs and no money. But the terrorists follow you when you leave the base, and attack you and your family at home." U.S. and Iraqi officials are trying to recruit and train replacements for Hussein's military, which had more than 400,000 members when it was disbanded by the U.S. occupation authority shortly after the 2003 invasion. Some former military personnel are believed to have joined the insurgency. Security forces have warned that violence could rise during the Shiite Muslim festival of Ashura, which reaches its climax next weekend. The government has ordered Iraq's borders closed Feb. 17-22 to try to reduce the number of Shiite pilgrims coming to the holy city of Karbala during that period. Last year during the festival, bomb attacks in Karbala and Baghdad killed 171 people. Insurgents confronted U.S. forces in Mosul Saturday morning, disabling a tank and an armored vehicle. The U.S. military said nine insurgents were killed and that there were no American casualties. A witness in Mosul said three people in a car were killed by gunfire from a U.S. tank. It was unclear whether they were suspected insurgents. Also in Mosul, the bodies of six men in National Guard uniforms were found. A witness, Sulaiman Mohammed, 25, said a note was found near the bodies announcing that "this is the punishment of those who participated in the Fallujah battle," a reference to a U.S.-led offensive in November that ruined large parts of the insurgent-held city. Six other bodies, apparently Kurds working as security guards, were also found in Mosul on Saturday, the Associated Press reported. The killing of the judge, Taha Hussein Amiri, came as he was being driven to work in Basra. Two men opened fire on his car, killing Amiri and seriously wounding his bodyguard, a Justice Ministry spokesman said. Amiri was deputy chief of the appeals court in Basra and was a homicide court judge during Hussein's rule. The U.S. military announced that one Marine and one soldier were killed in separate vehicle accidents Friday, but gave no further details. In the northern town of Baiji, a roadside blast killed two policemen and a civilian, the Reuters news agency reported. North of Baghdad, a policeman was slain, and in Baqubah, about 35 miles northeast of the capital, a woman was killed in a car bombing, Reuters reported. Special correspondents Saad Sarhan in Hilla and Dlovan Brwari in Mosul contributed to this report.
Israel See Palestinian Authority
Jerusalem Post 9 Feb 2005 JPost.com Yad Vashem to honor unlikely Italian hero By SAM SER Giovanni Palatucci is making a comeback. Overshadowed by Oskar Schindler and generally unknown like most other Righteous Among the Nations, Palatucci's courage has been recalled with increasing frequency of late. A drive to declare Palatucci a saint is underway, and his actions may indirectly exonerate Pope Pius XII. But on Thursday – the 40th anniversary of Palatucci's death at Dachau – the unlikely hero is to be commemorated by senior Italian and Israeli officials in a special ceremony at Yad Vashem for having saved as many as 5,000 Jews from the Nazi genocide. Palatucci was a young Italian policeman in charge of the occupied Adriatic seaport of Fiume – now called Rijeka, in what would become Croatia – when Benito Mussolini's anti-Jewish "racial laws" took effect in 1938. He used his authority to falsify travel documents which allowed hundreds of Jews to flee persecution in Eastern Europe and settle in Fiume. He also helped hundreds of refugees dodge Germans and Nazi sympathizers in their precarious attempts to sail to Palestine. Some he hid or provided with money. When ordered to arrest and deport the area's Jews, Palatucci made sure that they were sent to the large internment camp in Campania, southern Italy. His uncle, Bishop Giuseppe Maria Palatucci, had managed to turn the camp into a sort of refuge from fascist and Nazi rule, and hid the "illegal foreigners" that the younger Palatucci sent to him. This risky endeavor became far more dangerous for Palatucci in 1943, when Mussolini's government fell and the German occupation swallowed the Fiume area. Thousands of Jews from the rest of Croatia were then being deported to Auschwitz. The Nazis wanted Palatucci to provide them with lists of Jews and "foreigners" to round up for a similar fate. He refused, however, tipping off the local Jews and destroying records to frustrate the Nazis' plans. The Gestapo came for Palatucci in September of 1944, when he was tried for treason and sentenced to death. A month later he was sent to Dachau, where he died shortly before his 36th birthday. Before his arrest, Palatucci was offered refuge in Switzerland by his friend, the Swiss ambassador to Trieste. He refused, but sent his Jewish fiancee instead. After the war, she moved to Israel; she recently passed away. After 1953, when the city of Ramat Gan planted 36 trees in Palatucci's name on Rehov Hapodim, his heroism went largely unnoticed until he was named a Righteous Among the Nations in 1990. But his efforts are also related to the controversial debate between (mostly Jewish) critics and (mostly Catholic) defenders of Pius XII over his actions during the Holocaust. In 2003, Vatican journalist Antonio Gaspari revealed "newly discovered" letters to Bishop Palatucci in which the pope explicitly offered monetary help for the care of Jews and others interned at Campania. Italian police have pushed to have Palatucci declared a saint, raising awareness of his courageous sacrifice in a 2000 television movie. Amos Luzzatto, head of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, was quoted then as saying of Palatucci: "There are two forms of heroism, the one stemming from an unexpected need or impulse, and Palatucci's: a daily heroism, which is repeated and confirmed in face of the certainty of danger being risked. ...He acted knowing that he was moving toward his own sacrifice; for him, it was worthwhile to give his life for just one man." Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the pope's vicar for Rome, opened Palatucci's cause of beatification in October 2002. It was completed and presented to the Vatican last year.
dailytelegraph.news.com.au 3 Feb 2005 Nepal PM arrested; King rules By GOPAL SHARMA February 3, 2005 KATHMANDU: Nepal's King Gyanendra sacked its government, declared a state of emergency and assumed complete power yesterday. The king accused the government of failing to hold polls and end an escalating civil war with Maoist rebels. His move gives him power of the Himalayan nation for the next three years and placed the prime minister and many other politicians under house arrest, Indian media said. "I have decided to dissolve the Government because it has failed to make necessary arrangements to hold elections by April and promote democracy, the sovereignty of the people and life and property," the king said on state radio. But UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for the immediate restoration of democratic institutions. The US and Nepal's neighbour India also condemned his move. The king, who came to power after a palace massacre in 2001, said a new government would be formed under his leadership to "restore peace and effective democracy in this country within the next three years". Shortly afterwards, a state of emergency was declared, according to Nepal's state-run television. Fixed and mobile phone networks were apparently shut down in the kingdom and communications with the rest of the world disrupted. Nepali news websites also went down. The rebels, fighting to topple the constitutional monarchy since 1996, called for a three-day general strike from today to protest the king's actions. Nepal is locked in a bitter three-way struggle between the king, the rebels and bitterly divided political parties. Sacked Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba was Nepal's 13th premier in 14 years as a constitutional monarchy. Nepal has had no parliament since 2002. A spokesman for Annan said the UN secretary-general was "deeply concerned" by the king's actions. Washington also called for a return to democracy and release of the politicians.
BBC 3 Feb 2005 The rise of Nepal's Maoist fighters By Daniel Lak BBC News Nepal's King Gyanendra says his state of emergency is the only means of defeating Maoist rebels. The BBC's former Nepal correspondent looks back at the rebels' rise. My first encounter with the Maoist rebels of Nepal was graffiti on the wall of a hut, about three hours drive from Kathmandu. The Maoists control vast swathes of the countryside "Long Live People's War" it said in letters splashed in black paint. My companions and I had hoped for something more. Indeed, we had been told when we left Kathmandu that we would encounter Maoist fighters in the central district of Gorkha. "It's a rebel stronghold," a western diplomat had said. But no. There was only that graffiti, written in English and aimed at a foreigner like me. Nearby, a policeman laughed when I asked him where the rebels were, and pointed towards the distant Himalayas. I remember getting back in our car, discouraged, and spending the rest of the day thinking that the Maoists were a bit of damp squib. How wrong I was. Screaming rebels That was 1998, just two years into the "Peoples' War". Little information about the conflict was available. Few foreign journalists had visited rebel-held areas and their reports provided little enlightenment. THE FIRST GRAFFITI Who are the rebels? In 2000 I moved to Kathmandu to work full time as the BBC's Nepal correspondent, just as the conflict was escalating. Distant police stations were being attacked and dozens of officers butchered by masked, screaming rebels. Maoist statements and human rights groups told of how the police - earlier - had themselves committed atrocities against villagers and Maoist supporters in two huge anti-insurgency operations. Yet, sitting in Kathmandu, a comfortable if somewhat chaotic place at the time, it all seemed a world away. Blighted landscape I decided to go see for myself, to travel to the Maoist heartland of the midwest of Nepal where supposed it was just a short walk from government controlled towns to rebel-held villages. In a way, that was true. But my journey from the hilltop town of Musikot, in Rukum district, was long, hot and eventually, unproductive. Nepal will be a successful Peoples' Republic. We will show the world how to do it. Baburam Bhattarai, Rebel leader We trudged, panting, across the contours of a beautiful, blighted landscape. We saw red hammer and sickle flags and more of that graffiti, this time in Nepali - no English speakers here. Villagers would point down the trail when asked about rebel fighters. But we met no-one with a gun. The horrendous massacre at the Royal Palace in Kathmandu in June of 2001 catapulted the Maoists into international view. The rebel leadership was quick to deny the official explanation that Crown Prince Dipendra had done it. The Maoist leader, Prachanda, in published remarks, called for uprising against the government. Many blame the riots that followed the coronation of King Gyanendra on Maoist infiltrators in Kathmandu. Meanwhile, the insurgency got worse. In September of 2001, with the world's attention riveted on America's retribution for the World Trade Centre attacks, Nepal's elected government declared a state of emergency and sent the army to fight the Maoists. It was a huge escalation in the conflict and casualties mounted. Most of the dead were civilians, according to human rights groups. Interminable war This was when I finally went beyond graffiti and fearful villagers to see the rebels themselves. Three of us, all journalists from Kathmandu, went deep into the Maoist heartland district of Rolpa, and followed rumours until we found a platoon of fighters at rest in a distant village. At first they threatened to hold us prisoner. Then a senior commander arrived and talked deep into the night about Nepal and its place in the worldwide revolution. How far will it spread, we asked. "Just watch us," he replied. The media has been totally censored since the King took power This is a constant theme with the Maoist leadership. When I met Baburam Bhattarai, one of two key figures in the movement, during a ceasefire in June of 2003, he told me that his comrades had learned much from mistakes made in China, the Soviet Union and Cambodia. "Nepal will be a successful Peoples' Republic," he said, "We will show the world how to do it." But it wasn't long before that ceasefire collapsed, before the rebels and the security forces returned to their interminable war. Nepal has shown the world just one thing in the ensuing months - how to make more of its citizens disappear than any other country. The United Nations and leading human rights groups say the number of people who have disappeared at the hands of the army and the rebels has shot up alarmingly. King Gyanendra's seizure of absolute power might just have been motivated by the Maoist's refusal to speak to his last appointed government. They were stooges of the monarch, the rebels said. But now the Maoists are calling instead for all Nepalis - democratic political parties, business people, civil society - to join forces against the king. So who knows what lies ahead? So far, there is little sign that either a military victory or peace talks will result from this alarming move by Nepal's beleaguered monarchy.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) 1 Feb 2005 Nepal: State of emergency deepens human rights crisis Royal Takeover Prompts Fears for Safety of Critics (New York, February 1, 2005) -- King Gyanendra of Nepal today dismissed the government, assumed direct power, and declared a nation-wide state of emergency. This action plunges the country deeper into crisis and puts the Nepalese people at even greater risk of gross human rights abuses, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists said today. Widespread human rights abuses have taken place during the nine-year conflict in Nepal between government forces and the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) (Maoist) rebels. The international community must make it immediately clear to the king that by assuming power he is directly responsible for protecting the people of Nepal and safeguarding their fundamental human rights. Joint statement from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the International Committee of Jurists Political leaders have been placed under arrest and communications links within Nepal and with the outside world have been severed. All independent Nepali media have been closed down and state owned radio announced that a number of rights – including freedom of movement and freedom of assembly – have been suspended. “The international community must make it immediately clear to the king that by assuming power he is directly responsible for protecting the people of Nepal and safeguarding their fundamental human rights,” the organizations said. A number of countries, including India, have already expressed concern at the situation. The organizations fear for the immediate safety of human rights campaigners, political activists and members of the National Human Rights Commission, who have recently faced increasing harassment from both security forces and the CPN (Maoist). The organizations are urging the UN Commission on Human Rights to appoint a Special Rapporteur to monitor the human rights situation in Nepal when it meets in Geneva next month. Basic human rights must be fully protected even in times of emergency. These include the right to life and the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment, as well as fundamental principles of fair trial and freedom from arbitrary detention. The organizations are concerned that the steps being taken by the king and the army, as described above, have been sweeping, arbitrary and excessive. Nepal’s last state of emergency in 2001-2002 led to an explosion of serious human rights violations, including increased extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention and a breakdown in the rule of law. Today’s move comes just one week after the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, met King Gyanendra in Nepal and strongly voiced her concerns over the unfolding human rights crisis in Nepal. She noted a prevailing climate of impunity for serious human rights abuses committed by both the government and the CPN (Maoist).
crisisgroup.org .5 Feb 2005 Nepal's Royal Coup: Making a Bad Situation Worse King Gyanendra's indefensible royal coup of 1 February is likely to strengthen the Maoist insurgency and intensify Nepal's civil war. The only way to achieve peace is through effective military action combined with a political strategy that undercuts Maoist positions, but neither is possible without a broad-based democratic government. A major build-up of government forces has done little to improve security across the country: Maoist insurgents hold sway over most rural areas and are increasingly active in towns nominally controlled by the government. State security forces simply lack the capacity to defeat them, especially now, as troops are occupied controlling politicians and journalists in Kathmandu rather than fighting insurgents. Gyanendra has gambled that the world would be reluctant to criticise his move too harshly or to cut support for Nepal as long as Maoist insurgents remain a serious threat. The international community must not allow that gamble to pay off. Crisis Group reports and briefing papers are available on our website: www.crisisgroup.org .
washingtonpost.com 11 Feb 2005 Radical Palestinians Attack Jewish Settlements in Gaza Abbas Reacts Quickly by Firing 10 Security Officials By John Ward Anderson Washington Post Foreign Service Friday, February 11, 2005; Page A18 JERUSALEM, Feb. 10 -- Palestinians from the radical group Hamas fired dozens of mortar shells and rockets at Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, less than two days after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared an end to violence against Israelis everywhere. Abbas, known popularly as Abu Mazen, moved swiftly to assert his authority late Thursday, firing 10 Palestinian security officials in Gaza, including three of the highest- ranking officers: Abdul Razak Majaidah, the director of the Palestinian national forces; Saeb Ajez, the chief of the Palestinian police; and Maj. Gen. Omar Ashur, the top military coordination officer in Gaza. "And tomorrow, Abu Mazen is going to Gaza in order to begin taking steps on the ground," said Saeb Erekat, a cabinet minister and the Palestinians' chief negotiator with Israel. "Rule of law and cessation of violence -- this is the key." No one was injured in the early morning mortar barrages directed at several Jewish settlements in the area of Gush Katif in the southern Gaza Strip, according to an Israeli military spokeswoman, and damage was minor. Raanan Gissin, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said Israel's response to the attacks was that "we are not taking any steps. We are waiting for them to initiate efforts, but we made it very clear that they need to take action immediately because time is running out on them, not on us," he said. "This is a very fragile situation, and [Abbas] has to act." In an unrelated incident in the center of Gaza City, gunmen reputedly aligned with a senior official in Abbas's Fatah political movement broke into Gaza's main prison and killed two men in retaliation for slaying the official's brother a month ago, Palestinian security sources said. The incidents highlighted the difficulties Abbas faces in bringing law and order to the Gaza Strip, not only restraining Palestinian militant groups and enforcing the cease-fire against Israelis, but also taming elements of his own political party. Although Abbas declared an end to violence against Israel at a summit meeting Tuesday in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, powerful Palestinian groups -- most notably Islamic Jihad and Hamas -- have not said they stop attacking Israeli targets. It is not clear whether Abbas and Palestinian Authority security forces have the power to impose a cease-fire on the groups, or whether Abbas will even try. Fearing clashes among Palestinians, he has said that he wants to negotiate a cease-fire among the various factions. The Israeli military spokeswoman said 22 mortar shells and one homemade Qassam rocket landed in and around the settlements during the attacks on Gush Katif, which were followed by an attack on Morag settlement later in the day. Israeli troops "returned fire toward the sources of the launches but did not identify a hit," the spokeswoman said. A statement issued by Hamas, which is officially known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, said 35 shells and 18 Qassam rockets were fired in the attacks, which the group said were in retaliation for the deaths of two Palestinians in Gaza: Fathi Abu Jazar, 22, who died early Thursday after reportedly being hit Wednesday by Israeli fire in the southern Gaza town of Rafah; and Hassan Alami, who died Wednesday, apparently when an explosive device he was working with blew up. The army spokeswoman said Israeli troops fired warning shots Wednesday when they saw four "suspicious" men about 50 yards outside the security fence surrounding the Gush Katif settlement, and that the men were seen running away. She said she did not know if the incident was connected to the death of Abu Jazar.
BBC 10 Feb 2005 Clashes continue in Philippines Tensions are high in Jolo as the fighting continues The Philippines military has been involved in fresh fighting with rebels on the island of Jolo, as clashes entered a fourth day. Troops are said to have taken over a rebel hideout, but are still facing stiff resistance in some areas. "There's still heavy fighting in the mountains of Panamao," said Lieutenant-General Alberto Braganza. The clashes began on Monday, when rebels attacked troops in retaliation for a recent army assault. Most of the rebels are from the Abu Sayyaf - an al-Qaeda linked organisation - but the group is also thought to include some disgruntled members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which signed a peace deal with the government in 1996. These rebels are loyal to separatist leader Nur Misuari, who used to lead the MNLF until he was jailed on charges of rebellion in 2001. Guide to Philippine conflict According to military reports, more than 60 people have now been killed in the past four days, in some of the most intense fighting in the region for years. Thousands of residents close to the fighting have left their homes, and local Muslim leaders have called for a ceasefire. Extra troops are being deployed in the region, and the government has also sent Abdurahman Jamasali, a former member of the MNLF, to talk to the militants to try to stop the fighting. But sporadic attacks have prevented him from entering the rebel area. The latest skirmishes have been concentrated in several towns around Jolo, a known stronghold for Islamic militants. Muslim rebels fired mortar shells at a military camp in Patikul town on Wednesday, but most of the fighting is thought to have taken place in the coastal town of Panamao.
Sydney Morning Herald (subscription), Australia 1 Feb 2005 www.smh.com.au Solomons minister criticises RAMSI February 1, 2005 - 7:59PM Page Tools Email to a friend Printer format The Australia-led security mission to stabilise the Solomon Islands has serious failings and needs to be reassessed, the country's police minister Michael Maina has said. He told parliament in Honiara that he acknowledged the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands' (RAMSI) value to the Solomons, especially in law and order. But he said the mission was going backwards and needed to improve its participation with Solomon Island agencies. Maina was speaking during a parliamentary debate on RAMSI's first-year performance to July 2004. RAMSI forces, comprising Australian, New Zealand and other Pacific nation contingents, set up in the Solomons in July 2003 on a mission to restore law and order and good governance following years of communal tension and unrest. Maina also announced that the Solomons government had further extended the contract of the current Police Commissioner, Briton Bill Morrell, until such time as the government had advertised and selected someone for the position. Last month the Solomons government turned down an Australian government offer to provide and pay for a new police commissioner when Morrell's European Union funded position expired at the end of the year. Maina said RAMSI had its successes but also failures and corrections were needed to ensure the partnership between the mission's Participating Police Force and the Royal Solomon Islands Police succeeded. "The future is not bright on the whole participation exercise. We all appreciate the good work that has been done but there must be one police force in the Solomon Islands, not two," Maina said. "I have already expressed to RAMSI the need to close the gap as quickly as possible. If we are not careful we will demoralise our police officers," he said. Solomons nationals needed to be part of the decision-making process, he said. This is important if we are to enjoy the investment that has been put into this country. Maina called on participating governments behind RAMSI, notably Australia and New Zealand, to urgently reassess the mission and make sure their money was being spent wisely. We need to sit back with our friends and re-discuss the intervention, he said. Planning Minister Peter Boyers told parliament the RAMSI intervention had its teething problems but the mission had restored law and order and essential services and one RAMSI member, Adam Dunning, had paid in blood for such gains. "Some of us need to take a good hard look at ourselves before we start pointing the finger and ask 'Who are we serving?' "A good Samaritan saved us from self-destruction and now we are getting nursed back to health - do we appreciate the assistance? Boyers asked. Dunning, an Australian Protective Service officer, was shot dead by a sniper on a back street in Honiara, prompting the Australian government to send in 100 troops in a show of force.
BBC 14 Feb 2005 Thaksin promises shift in south By Kylie Morris BBC News, Bangkok Mr Thaksin won no seats in the south in recent elections Thailand's Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has promised a shift in tactics to end violence in the country's south. The apparent change in direction was announced by the Thai leader as eight soldiers and police were injured by a remote-controlled explosion. The attack, in the province of Narathiwat, appeared carefully planned. The injured troops were caught 15 minutes after they arrived to investigate an earlier blast. The Thai leader, who was recently returned to power in a landslide election victory, is under pressure to come up with a new approach to the continuing violence in Thailand's three southern provinces. Although his party won an overwhelming majority in parliament, in the south it failed to win a single seat - the mainly Muslim population rejecting Mr Thaksin's tough approach. The government blames the violence on foreign-influenced Islamic separatists, but voices within the community accuse the government of exacerbating local grievances. After a Cabinet meeting on Monday, Mr Thaksin said he planned to appoint a committee comprising Islamic community leaders, local politicians and academics to advise the government. At the same time, the Cabinet is due to sign off on the creation of another infantry division comprising 10,000 soldiers who would work, according to Mr Thaksin, to win hearts and minds in the south. But observers warn that more military will do little to win friends there for the government. The prime minister is due to visit the region later this week.
washingtonpost.com In Europe, an Unhealthy Fixation on Israel By Robin Shepherd Sunday, January 30, 2005; Page B03 BRATISLAVA, Slovakia It may not have been apparent on the surface, but Europe's recent commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was steeped in irony. Even while the Old World stirringly recalls the horrors of Hitler's death camps and vows never to forget the Nazi genocide of the Jews, it also embraces an increasingly -- and alarmingly -- antagonistic attitude toward the Jewish state that arose from the ashes of World War II. As the Middle East conflict burns on, more and more Europeans are turning against Israel. A growing number subscribe to the belief that the impasse between the Israelis and the Palestinians is the wellspring of much of the world's ills today, and that the blame for all this lies squarely with Israel -- and by extension, with its staunchest ally, the United States. As President Bush seeks to find common ground with Europe in his second term, he might do well to acquaint himself more thoroughly with this reality. For as surely as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict divides Jews and Arabs, it also divides Europeans and Americans. If you're looking for root causes of the growing transatlantic split that go beyond the easy cliches about U.S. unilateralism, it's time to sit up and take notice. Go to a dinner party in Paris, London or any other European capital and watch how things develop. The topic of conversation may be Iraq, it may be George Bush, it may be Islam, terrorism or weapons of mass destruction. However it starts out, you can be sure of where it will inevitably, and often irrationally, end -- with a dissection of the Middle East situation and a condemnation of Israeli actions in the occupied territories. I can't count how many times I've seen it. European sympathy for the Palestinians runs high, while hostility toward Israel is often palpable. And the anger is reaching new -- and disturbing -- levels: A poll of 3,000 people published last month by Germany's University of Bielefeld showed more than 50 percent of respondents equating Israel's policies toward the Palestinians with Nazi treatment of the Jews. Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed specifically believed that Israel is waging a "war of extermination" against the Palestinian people. Germany is not alone in these shocking sentiments. They have been expressed elsewhere, and often by prominent figures. In 2002, the Portuguese Nobel Prize-winning writer Jose Saramago declared, "What is happening in Palestine is a crime which we can put on the same plane as what happened at Auschwitz." In Israel just last month, Mairead Corrigan Maguire, the Irish winner of the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize, compared the country's suspected nuclear weapons to Auschwitz, calling them "gas chambers perfected." Moreover, in a Eurobarometer poll by the European Union in November 2003, a majority of Europeans named Israel as the greatest threat to world peace. Overall, 59 percent of Europeans put Israel in the top spot, ahead of such countries as Iran and North Korea. In the Netherlands, that figure rose to 74 percent. Perceptions of Israel in the United States, meanwhile, contrast sharply. A poll by the Marttila Communications Group taken in December 2003 for the Anti-Defamation League had Americans putting Israel in 10th place on a list of countries threatening world peace, just ahead of the United States itself. What accounts for this transatlantic values gap? Part of the explanation is that, despite all the Holocaust commemorations, the memory of that event really does appear to be fading in Europe. Increasing numbers of younger Europeans have no real sense of what the Nazis did. In Britain, Prince Harry isn't the only one who's oblivious to the realities of Nazi tyranny. A BBC poll of 4,000 people taken late last year, in the run-up to Holocaust Remembrance Day last Thursday, showed that, amazingly, 45 percent of all Britons and 60 percent of those under 35 years of age had never heard of Auschwitz -- the Nazi death camp in southern Poland where about 1.5 million Jews were murdered during World War II. Such ignorance compounds anti-Israeli feelings; for those who have no understanding of the Holocaust, Israel exists and acts in a historical vacuum. This faltering awareness of the most vivid example of racist mass murder in the 20th century is accompanied by enduring anti-Semitism. A poll in Italy last year, for example, by the Eurispes research institute showed 34 percent of respondents agreeing strongly or to some extent with the view that "Jews secretly control financial and economic power as well as the media." The Eurobarometer survey quoted above also showed 40 percent of respondents across Europe believing that Jews had a "particular relationship to money," with more than a third expressing concern that Jews were "playing the victim because of the Holocaust." Yet while the persistence of anti-Semitism is undeniable, it's not likely to be the chief explanation for European hostility to Israel. After all, surveys show that some anti-Semitic attitudes persist in the United States as well, but they don't translate into visceral animosity toward the Jewish state. Instead, the intense antagonism toward Israel appears to be a subset of the wider European hostility, emanating mainly from the left, toward the United States. It's unlikely to be a coincidence that the 2003 Eurobarometer survey put the United States just behind Israel as the greatest danger to world peace, on a par with Iran and North Korea. Many European intellectuals see Israel, perhaps rightly, as one of the central pillars of U.S. hegemony in the modern world. European leftists implacably opposed to America are implacably opposed to Israel as well, and for exactly the same reasons. Over dinner in Berlin not long ago, a Frenchwoman told me emphatically that Israel was "America's policeman in the Middle East." Her companion, nodding in furious agreement, insisted that the two countries are partners in a "new imperialism," leading the world inexorably into war. In the contorted universe of the chattering classes, Israel is at once America's servant and the tail that wags the dog -- doing America's bidding while forcing it into madcap adventures such as Iraq. As Peter Preston, the former editor of Britain's Guardian newspaper, put it in an op-ed last October, bemoaning both U.S. political parties' alleged servility toward Israel: "Republican policy is an empty vessel drifting off Tel Aviv, and the Democratic alternative has just as little stored in its hold." The left-leaning antipathy toward Israel is moreover buttressed by deeper and wider pathologies in Europe's collective memory, particularly in our overriding sense of guilt about the past, a guilt that springs from the great 20th-century traumas of war and imperialism. The first has made Europeans, especially continentals, overwhelmingly pacifistic: In the German Marshall Fund's 2004 Transatlantic Trends survey, only 31 percent of Germans and 33 percent of the French could bring themselves to agree with the ostensibly tame proposition that "Under some conditions, war is necessary to obtain justice." Such attitudes do not mesh well with television pictures of Israeli helicopter gunships firing missiles at militant targets in the crowded Gaza Strip, whatever the justification for Israel's actions. Europe is also awash in post-imperial guilt, and I frequently get the sense that Israel's claim to a piece of land in the Middle East revives guilt-inducing memories, among my English countrymen and others, of white Europeans carving up the Third World and subjugating "lesser peoples" in the 19th century. While the disturbing view that there's an equivalence between Nazi Germany and modern Israel is a relatively new development, another view equating Israel with apartheid South Africa and referring to Palestinians herded into "Bantustans" has been around for decades. Mixed with the supercharged ideological hostility of the European left, the demons of the continent's past can make for an intoxicating cocktail of anti-Israeli sentiment There is undoubtedly room for criticism of Israel and its policies in the Middle East, but reasoned criticism appears to be giving way to emotional and irrational antipathy that is coloring the wider debate. And as that sentiment grows, American support for the Jewish state will continue to scratch raw nerves in the Old World. There is much, of course, that the United States should be doing to improve its relationship with Europe. But repairing transatlantic relations is a two-way process. Americans should now be aware that on one crucial issue, at least, it is Europe, and not America, that needs to clean up its act. Author's e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Robin Shepherd is an adjunct fellow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is based in central Europe.
BBC 26 Jan 2005 Last hunt for old Nazis launched By Ray Furlong BBC News, Berlin As the world marks 60 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, it is not just about remembering. On Wednesday, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre launched what it is billing as one final effort to capture suspected Nazi war criminals in Germany. Simon Wiesenthal has dedicated his life to bringing Holocaust war criminals to trial Operation Last Chance has already been launched in eight other countries, mostly in Eastern Europe. "So far, (in these countries), we've been able to obtain the names of 329 suspected Holocaust perpetrators," says Efraim Zuroff, chief Nazi hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. "Of those, 79 have been submitted to local prosecutors or will be in the next few weeks. There are several other investigations ongoing." The campaign offers 10,000 euro ($13,000) rewards for information leading to prosecution. German newspapers will carry adverts with the warning: "Nazi murderers are still among us." "Germany is the culmination of the project. It offers the most potential suspects, and in Germany there is the political will to prosecute such people," says Mr Zuroff. "The question is whether the evidence will be sufficient." Prosecutions Often, the evidence is not sufficient. When Italian prosecutors tried to bring three former SS officers to trial last year, for their alleged role in a massacre in 1944, the case collapsed. Adolf Eichmann was convicted of Nazi war crimes in 1961 A similar trial currently taking place in Munich looks to be heading the same way. Konstantin Kuchenbauer, a state prosecutor who specialises in these cases, says there are many problems. "The witnesses are usually very old, often more than 80. They can't, or no longer want, to remember these horrific acts of cruelty. This makes it very difficult to interview these witnesses. "You have to be very cautious, you have to build up trust, and you have to make it clear to them how important the investigations are." The process of dealing with war criminals began at Nuremberg, but there were many other high-profile trials afterwards. In 1947, for instance, the trial of female concentration camp guards from the Ravensbrueck camp, which mostly held women prisoners, made international headlines. But very few people were actually punished in the immediate post-war era. "Not many people were prosecuted, because at the time many Germans were involved in it and they didn't want to deal with such things," says Johannes Wildner, a guide at Ravensbrueck, now a Holocaust museum. "They wanted to hide it, to not discuss it. So only a few people were prosecuted... (At Ravensbrueck) many were doctors or had other important jobs, and no-one asked any questions about what they had done during the war." German openness Over the decades, Germany became much more open in dealing with its Nazi past, pushed by - among others - the student movement of the 1960s. It has its own government agency for hunting war criminals. But despite this, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre says that out of 100,000 indictments since the war, there have been only 7,000 convictions. A 1960s trial provided a chilling picture of the machinery of genocide Mr Zuroff believes Operation Last Chance also has an educational role. "In countries like the Baltic states, Poland, Romania, Croatia and Hungary, the issue is often to tell the truth about local complicity in the crimes of the Holocaust," he says. "This is also true in Austria, where 90% of the calls to our hotline were actually anti-Semitic." In Germany, public awareness about Nazi crimes is much better, he says. But in a speech at an Auschwitz memorial ceremony in Berlin this week, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder pointed to the continued threat from anti-Semitism and neo-Nazis in Germany. The event came amid an ongoing scandal in Germany. Last week, officials from the far-right NPD party walked out of a minute's silence for Auschwitz victims in the Saxony state assembly. "The larger issues of historical accuracy, the fight against Holocaust denial, exist also in Germany," says Mr Zuroff. "In the meantime, it's only on the periphery, but of course we all know how Hitler started and we all know that he was able to force his way into the mainstream, and gain the support of the majority of Germans. "So in that sense, we hope that Operation Last Chance will contribute to the fight against Holocaust denial and against anti-Semitism."
NYT 9 Feb 2005 Art Show Forces Belgium to Ask Hard Questions About Its Colonial Past By ALAN RIDING RUSSELS, Feb. 3 - Understandably perhaps, the European powers that once ruled much of Africa prefer to recall the "civilization" they bestowed over the abuses they committed. Yet, as Belgium is now discovering, alternative versions of history can resurface unexpectedly. Forty-five years after the Belgian Congo won its independence, a remarkable exhibition here has set off a critical re-examination of Belgium's record in its only African colony. That the show, "Memory of Congo: The Colonial Era," is organized by the Royal Museum of Central Africa is itself surprising. This sprawling neo-Classical palace in the Tervuren suburb of Brussels was constructed in 1897 with profits from Congo. And even as Congo tumbled through civil war, dictatorship and more civil war in the years since independence, the museum has remained a symbol of the good works that Belgium brought to its "model colony." Four years ago, though, the museum's new director, Guido Gryseels, decided that the time had come for modernization, not only of the building, but also of its philosophy. Concretely, he felt the institution could no longer ignore the darker aspects of Belgium's rule of Congo, notably the brutal period between 1885 and 1908 when, as the Congo Free State, the territory was run as the personal property of Belgium's King Leopold II. The timing of Mr. Gryseels' initiative, though, was not accidental. Although the atrocities committed by the Congo Free State were widely denounced in the early 20th century, Belgium chose to remember the more orderly colonial period from 1908 to 1960. Then, in 1999, Adam Hochschild's "King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa" appeared in translation in Belgium. And suddenly this forgotten story again became topical. Mr. Hochschild's headline message - that some 10 million people died during Leopold's direct rule of Congo - was in fact challenged by some Belgian historians, but the book nonetheless raised questions about Belgium's selective memory. It was in this context, then, that Mr. Gryseels formed a committee of Belgian and Congolese scientists and historians to carry out an in-depth study of Congo's colonial experience to prepare for this exhibition. Since "Memory of Congo" opened on Feb. 3, the public, press and television responses to the show suggest that Belgians may after all be willing to discover a different memory of Congo. "It's what we intended," Mr. Gryseels said. "We kick off with broad information, and then it's up the public to pick up the debate. Some people have said we haven't gone far enough in treating colonial violence, but for our museum this is revolutionary." Certainly, the exhibition aims to cover more than atrocities, if only to place the more unsavory episodes in a broad context. And this enables the museum to illustrate Belgium's introduction of medicine, agriculture, education, railroads and mining, as well as Christianity, to Congo. It notes, for instance, that at the time of independence, 40 percent of Congolese were literate, a figure surpassed at the time in Africa only by South Africa. But this is the story that Belgians already know. What is new is its treatment of the Congo Free State, where the scramble to extract rubber from Congo's jungles led to widespread abuse of villagers and uncounted deaths from disease and at the hands of militias in the pay of rubber exporters. While few visual records survive, the show includes photographs of victims of hand amputations by militias and a painting, sarcastically titled "Civilization in Congo," in which a colonialist witnesses the whipping of an African. Easier to find are documents related to denunciations of the violence by Edmund Morel, a British shipping agent who in 1904 formed the Congo Reform Association, and Roger Casement, a British consul (executed by Britain for treason during World War I), who also exposed forced labor in Congo. Helped also by the publication of Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" in 1899, this protest movement led Leopold to sell his African property to the Belgian government in 1908. One wall text prepared by the committee of experts asks the question: "Genocide in the Congo?" It argues that the estimate of 10 million killed, first mentioned by Morel, cannot be confirmed because reliable figures are not available for a population dispersed over a vast area. And while the committee accepts that Congo's population fell by at least 20 percent in the half-century after 1875 - a result of violence and disease - it also rejects the charge of genocide. But the protests by Morel and others did prompt Leopold - who never set foot in Congo - to dispatch an inquiry commission, which reported that abuse was rampant. "The commission concluded that the state administration and the contracting companies were implicated in atrocities, as were numerous militias who terrrorized the region," the museum's committee reports. Perhaps more surprising to many Belgians, the show also casts the colonial period after 1908 in a less benign light. Forced labor, for instance, did not end until around 1930. The colonial administration left health and education to missionaries. Segregation, while officially denied, was widespread: in housing, transportation, schools and health clinics. City maps displayed here, for instance, clearly indentify white and African neighborhoods. From 1952, a few Congolese given "civil merit cards" enjoyed some privileges. Meanwhile, the exhibition acknowledges, Belgium did not prepare the colony for independence: in 1960, Congo had only a tiny corps of university graduates and no experience in democracy. Within days of independence, chaos erupted, followed by Belgian and United Nations military intervention, the murder of the ousted Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba - with Belgian collusion - and civil war, until Mobutu Sese Seko seized power and began three decades of one-man rule in 1965. Today's continuing crisis in Congo, where ethnic and militia violence has taken tens of thousands of lives in the country's east, is not addressed in the show, yet it has led some Congolese to view the colonial period more positively. "In the eyes of many Congolese, the colonial era now looks like a golden age," said Isidore Ndaywel è Nziem, a Congolese historian and member of the committee of experts, "while Belgian opinion is going in the opposite direction and recognizing the crimes of the past." Still, Josette Shaje'a Tshiluila, the director of Congo's national museums, welcomed Belgium's willingness to exorcise its colonial past. "There are things that happened and must be presented as such," she said at the show's opening. "It's the start of a real dialogue. We have shown that this is part of our shared history." Mr. Gryseels said he was particularly pleased by the reaction of many former colonialists, who in the past have felt hurt by criticism of their work in Congo. "They are coming to accept that there are parts of our past that are not full of glory," the museum director said, adding that he expected their views to be echoed during a seminar on colonial violence in Congo to be held here May 12 and 13. The exhibition closes Oct. 9. "There are still many questions left unanswered," said Pierre de Maret, rector of the Free University of Brussels and a member of the committee of experts. "But it is worth noting that this is the first time that a former colonial power has had the courage to come to terms with its colonial past. I would like to see a conference organized in which all colonial powers address their past. This is only the beginning."
Reuters 5 Feb 2005 Sarajevo marks 11th anniversary of market massacre SARAJEVO, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Sarajevo on Saturday remembered 68 of its citizens killed at the city's open market 11 years ago in the first official ceremony since the end of its 1992-95 siege that claimed 12,000 lives. Up to 1,000 people gathered at the Markale market to pay respect to the victims of a mortar bomb fired from Bosnian Serb positions in surrounding hills, which also wounded 142 people. "Who wasn't here during the war cannot understand why we had to come today," said Sena, an elderly woman. "I dreamed grenades last night," she added, standing in freezing weather. School children placed flower bouquets in front of a plaque with the names of the victims. Among them were Muslims, Serbs and Croats, reflecting the Bosnian capital's prewar multi-ethnic composition. Sarajevo was under siege by Bosnian Serb forces for more than 1,000 days and people had to survive daily shelling and sniping without food, water, electricity and heating. Hundreds died and thousands were wounded while queuing for water, bread or humanitarian assistance, 10 percent of them children. Many were killed in hospitals and schools. Nearly half of some 2.2 million Bosnian refugees have returned to their homes nine years after the end of the war in which a total of some 150,000 people were killed.
Reuters 3 Feb 2005 UN war crimes prosecutor slams lack of cooperation 03 Feb 2005 17:29:39 GMT Source: Reuters (Releads, adds Ashdown comments, Lazarevic arrival in Hague) By Sebastian Alison BRUSSELS, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Former Yugoslav republics are still not cooperating fully with the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague despite the arrival of an indicted Serb general in the Dutch capital, the court's chief prosecutor said on Thursday. European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said the advice of the prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, would be crucial when the bloc decides whether to open entry talks with Croatia. Separately, Paddy Ashdown, EU Special Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, said lack of cooperation with The Hague was the main obstacle preventing the republic from developing closer ties with the EU and NATO. EU leaders have decided to start entry negotiations with Croatia on March 17 provided it is cooperating fully with the tribunal to bring fugitive war crimes indictee General Ante Gotovina to trial. EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said on Monday that on the basis of information available to him then, he could not recommend opening negotiations. Del Ponte is due to give the EU an opinion in writing. She declined to say what her recommendation would be, telling reporters she was "staying out of politics", and referring the question to Solana -- who made it clear he and the bloc would defer to her. "We will listen to Madame del Ponte before taking any decision," Solana said. "The advice ... will be absolutely fundamental for the final decision." Croatian President Stjepan Mesic and Prime Minister Ivo Sanader issued a statement on Tuesday, calling on all relevant institutions to step up efforts to find and arrest Gotovina. Until then, Croatia had mainly urged Gotovina to give himself up voluntarily. Del Ponte welcomed the new approach. "I was very pleased that Prime Minister Sanader told us publicly that he's prepared ... to arrest him," she said. "I hope it will be done very soon." Ashdown met Solana later and said although last month's surrender of Savo Todovic, a Bosnian Serb charged with murder and torture of non-Serbs during the Bosnian war was a positive sign, much remained to be done. "The biggest number one priority that we have to achieve in Bosnia Herzegovina is cooperation with The Hague," Ashdown told Reuters by telephone after talks with Solana. "This has been a roadblock on the path to the EU and NATO." But he said del Ponte believed in Bosnia. "At least, there are signs of greater cooperation. But they're only signs," he said. Another war crimes indictee, Serb General Vladimir Lazarevic, arrived in The Hague on Thursday after surrendering to Serb authorities to ease foreign pressure on Belgrade. But Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic acknowledged Lazarevic's surrender would not be enough to satisfy Brussels that Serbia and Montenegro was cooperating fully with The Hague.
Forwar.com NY 4 feb 2005 French Shoah Case May Get New Push By MARC PERELMAN February 4, 2005 Representatives of about 600 Holocaust survivors are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their complaint accusing France's national railroad company of aiding and abetting the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity by knowingly deporting tens of thousands of Jews. The five-year-old case, Abrams v. Societe Nationale des Chemins de Fer Francais, is one of the few recent Holocaust-related cases that remains unsettled. The train company has consistently refused to settle, and the French government has refrained from intervening directly in the case. France has been careful to avoid any Holocaust-related controversy over the pat years, notably by negotiating in 2001 an agreement with the American government to put in place a compensation mechanism for wartime spoils. The survivors could be getting a boost, after lawmakers in Congress Tuesday reintroduced a legislative proposal that would preclude railroad companies from using sovereign immunity to escape war crimes prosecution. According to the complaint against the railroad company, about 76,000 Jews and thousands of non-Jews were deported in 72 convoys between March 1942 and August 1944. The company operated the trains and charged standard commercial rates to the German authorities, the suit claims. Harriet Tamen, the plaintiffs' lead lawyer, said the railroad company provided trains and employees and herded as many people as possible in the convoys, charging an ordinary coach fare calculated per person and per kilometer. One of the main pieces of evidence, made available to the Forward, is an August 12, 1944 unpaid bill of 210,385 francs for the transportation of prisoners and the "expelled" — those destined for concentration camps in Germany — during the first part of 1944, which the railroad company sent to the French authorities. The bill was duly paid. The railroad company has argued in court that it was a state-controlled entity merely following orders from the French Vichy authorities, and is thus protected by the immunity granted to governments under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976. On those grounds, in November 2001, the district court of Eastern New York accepted the train company's motion to dismiss the suit filed a year earlier on behalf of mostly American survivors. An appeals court overturned the decision in June 2003 by stating that the 1976 act was not retroactive, but then reversed itself this past November after the Supreme Court ruled in June in another Holocaust-related case that the act was in fact retroactive. The plaintiffs' legal team is expected to file the appeal with the Supreme Court either February 4 or February 7. The company has one month to submit counterarguments. The plaintiffs argue that the June 2004 Supreme Court ruling granting sovereign immunity to an Austrian government-owned museum in an art expropriation case should not apply to the French railroad because it was not state-owned during World War II. Andreas Lowenfeld, a lawyer for the French railroad, countered that the company has always been state controlled. And the appeals court ruled in November that the only company status that mattered was the one at the time the complaint was filed — in 2000. "The Supreme Court has ruled that sovereign immunity applies in a case like this," Lowenfeld, a professor at New York University, said. In order to bolster the survivors' case, Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York sponsored a bill this week, first introduced in 2003, aimed at overcoming the railroad company's case. The bill would grant federal courts jurisdiction over any civil claim arising from the deportation to Nazi concentration camps between January 1942 and December 1944, and brought by or on behalf of victims against a railroad organized as a separate legal entity that owned or operated the trains on which they were deported.
DPA 8 Feb 2005 Armenian genocide back on school curriculum BERLIN - Defusing a row after alleged Turkish pressure forced removal of the Armenian genocide from German public school curriculums, a state premier said on Tuesday the 1915 killings of up to 1.5 million Armenians would be again be taught in history classes. Brandenburg's Prime Minister Matthias Platzeck admitted it had been a mistake to remove all mention of the genocide from his state's education ministry website curriculum planner. The Armenian genocide - which had been used as the only example in history classes other than the Holocaust - will now be returned to high schools along with other cases of 20th century genocide, he said. Platzeck denied media reports that he ordered removal of the Armenian genocide from his schools after strong pressure from a Turkish diplomat. "None of that happened," said Platzeck. Platzeck made his announcement after a meeting with Armenia's ambassador to Germany, Karine Kazinian, who had expressed deep anger over the move. "The key point is that the genocide and everything that happened back then is being clearly addressed," said Ambassador Kazinian. The row began last month after Turkey's Consul in Berlin, Aydin Durusay, raised the issue of Armenian massacres with regard to Brandenburg which is so far the only one of Germany's 16 federal states, which described the killings as "genocide" in its official public school curriculum. Most European and US historians say up to 1.5 million Christian Armenians were killed by Moslem Ottoman Turks during World War I and that this was a genocide. Eight European Union (EU) parliaments including France and the Netherlands - but not Germany - have passed resolutions declaring the deaths genocide. Turkey, however, firmly rejects the genocide label and has long insisted far fewer Armenians died or otherwise succumbed during World War I. More recently it has moderated its tone somewhat and said the matter should be cleared up by a historical commission. With about two million resident ethnic Turks, Germany is cautious about any issue which could disturb ties with its biggest minority. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is a firm supporter of Turkey's bid to join the EU. Platzeck is a rising star in Chancellor's Social Democratic Party (SPD) and is tipped by some as a possible successor to Schroeder.
Frankfurter Allgemeine, Germany 11 Feb 2005 Reference to genocide to be added - State retracts decision to eliminate notation 11. Februar 2005 F.A.Z. Weekly. The eastern state of Brandenburg has withdrawn its decision to remove a passage in a history lesson that refers to the killings of more than 1 million Armenians by the Turks in the early 20th century. The state's premier, Matthias Platzeck, made the announcement on Tuesday after he met with Armenian representatives in the state capital of Potsdam. Beginning next school year, the history lesson for the ninth and 10th grade will once again include a reference to the killings, but it will also contain other examples of genocide. Previously, the killings of the Armenians were listed as the only example. In explaining the latest decision, Platzeck said it would be wrong to list just one example of genocide. The view was shared by the state's education minister, Holger Rupprecht. In a newspaper last week, Rupprecht defended the decision. ”The reference was removed because I and the premier consider it to be a mistake to list Armenia as the sole example of such a controversial subject.” The issue is an extremely sensitive one between Armenians and Turks. Armenians say 1.5 million people were killed between 1915 and 1923 as part of the Ottoman Empire's campaign to push them from eastern Turkey. Turkey maintains the Armenians were killed as the empire fought civil unrest. As a result, the Social Democrat Platzeck faced pressure from both the Armenian and the Turkish representatives. The first change was announced in late January two weeks after Turkish General Counsel Aydin Durusay raised the issue. The decision set off a wave of criticism from parties in the state, including at least one member of the Social Democrats, who demanded that Platzeck reverse the decision. Sven Petke, the general secretary of the Christian Democrats in Brandenburg, said the removal of the passage had hurt the state's reputation. ”It was not the reference to the genocide on the Armenians that communicated a wrong image. It was the unjustified removal,” Petke said. Armenians joined the criticism as well. This protest resulted in Tuesday's meeting, which was attended by the Armenian Ambassador Karine Kazinian. Kazinian expressed her satisfaction with the change. ”The key issue is that that genocide and everything associated with the things that happened then will be discussed clearly,” she said. Platzeck denied previous reports that he had bowed to Turkish pressure and noted that discussions with the Education Ministry had been conducted months ago. Brandenburg is the first of Germany's 16 states to use a textbook that discusses the subject of genocide in the 20th century.
spiegel.de 2 Feb 2005 FROM THE BOOKSHELF "Dresden: Tuesday, Feb. 13, 1945" by Frederick Taylor So the Allies ruthlessly -- and unjustifiably -- firebombed Germany's most beautiful city and murdered hundreds of thousands of people, right? Not quite, says a prominent British historian. By Laura Miller Salon.com "Most Americans -- at least, the ones who aren't addicted to the History Channel -- know about the bombing of Dresden in 1945 from Kurt Vonnegut's bestselling novel "Slaughterhouse-Five," based on Vonnegut's own experiences as a prisoner of war. The attack is still a touchstone for the moral perils of war. Frederick Taylor, a British historian whose new book on the subject goes on to challenge much of what we think we know about the bombing, describes the conventional understanding thus: "Dresden was the unforgivable thing our fathers did in the name of freedom and humanity, taking to the air to destroy a beautiful and, above all, innocent European city. This was the great blot on the Allies' war record, the one that could not be explained away." Slaughterhouse-Five" came out in 1969, a time when many Americans were wondering just how much carnage could be justified by the trumpeted ideals of democracy and freedom. Like Joseph Heller's "Catch-22," "Slaughterhouse-Five" is a book set during World War II that was read in the light of Vietnam. It wasn't the first time Dresden was seen as a proxy. Taylor writes that not long after the war's end, and certainly before that, "Dresden became one of the most well-placed pawns on [a] virtual propaganda chessboard." There is the real Dresden and the Dresden of legend. Taylor makes what is by all appearances a good-faith effort to excavate the former by digging through the many layers of the latter. His "Dresden: Tuesday, Feb. 13, 1945" aims to be the last word on the subject, though it's sure to be argued about for years to come. The most familiar version of the story, the one that appears in "Slaughterhouse Five," is that Dresden, the seventh largest city in Nazi Germany, was a lovely, cultured place of no military significance that had been left untouched by the air war before February 1945. The Allies' attack, two waves of Royal Air Force bombings on the night of Feb. 13 and a lesser raid by American planes the following day, was an unprecedented, unnecessary, vindictive assault made at a point when the war was essentially over and when the Allies knew that the city was full of refugees fleeing the advancing Russian front to the east. The attack, according to this version, was a pure "terror bombing" designed to wreak maximum havoc and culminating in the aerial strafing of people fleeing the flames. Somewhere between 135,000 and a half-million people were killed. According to Taylor, most of the above is simply untrue. Tapping municipal records that have only recently become accessible after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of East Germany (the nation that included postwar Dresden), he persuasively argues that the real death toll from the attack was somewhere between 25,000 and 40,000 and that Dresden was far from innocent of war-related industry and activity. After scrutinizing and comparing the records and history of British bombing campaigns against the Third Reich in the latter days of the war, he finds that "Dresden was a big raid, but no bigger than a considerable number of others at that time directed against the urban areas of Germany." He comes up with several stated and plausible reasons for the Allies to target the city besides the main motive attributed to them by their harshest critics: bloodthirsty revenge for the bombing of London during the Blitz and anti-German zeal. The strafing almost certainly never occurred. That doesn't mean that Taylor minimizes the horrors Dresden and its people suffered. "Dresden" is not a simplistic or simplifying book. Along with his diligent documentation of body counts and British bombing strategies, he presents the fruits of in-depth interviews with survivors of the attack. The centerpiece of the book is a riveting narrative account of how Dresden's citizens experienced the bombing and the monstrous firestorm it succeeded in fomenting. Twenty-five thousand people killed is still a massacre, and Taylor's description of the bleak aftermath is a nightmare of corpses lying in heaps on a landscape blasted and burned into lunar rubble. The day after, Feb. 14, was Ash Wednesday. That weird metaphorical coincidence is in tune with the many ironies Taylor encountered during his research. Perhaps the first and most striking of those ironies is that Victor Klemperer, the famous Jewish diarist of the Nazi era, had been ordered to report for deportation on Feb. 16, along with what remained of Dresden's Jewish population (all married to "Aryans"). Everyone knew what this meant: "It promised at best transportation to the Theresienstadt ghetto, at worst a death march of the kind that had already consigned tens of thousands of Jews to a bitter and brutal fate just as the new Allied advances seemed to bring deliverance so tantalizingly close," Taylor writes. Klemperer and his wife escaped in the chaos after the bombing, posing as "Aryans" whose papers were destroyed in the fires. (Klemperer's diaries are one cultural treasure that was saved rather than destroyed by the bombing.) Another of Dresden's Jews, Henny Wolf, wrote "For us, however macabre as it may sound, the air raid was our salvation, and that was exactly how we understood it." There were only about 170 Jews left in Dresden at the time of the attack (and 40 of them died in it), but their welcoming of the raid points up the impossibility of characterizing Dresden as "innocent." The city had a solid history of anti-Semitism, and while it never had many Jews to persecute, it did its best with the victims at hand. "Dresden was a Nazi stronghold even before Hitler took power," Taylor explains, noting that the National Socialists became the city's largest party in the Reichstag elections of 1932. The local party leader and provincial governor, Martin Mutschmann, was a particularly rabid specimen and insisted that the city go into public mourning for the eight days between Hitler's suicide and the arrival of the Red Army. As for the idea that Dresden played little part in the war effort, Taylor shows that this was neither the case nor something the Allies believed. Although the city didn't turn out great big tanks or aircraft like the two other urban centers selected for bombing at the same time, Leipzig and Chemnitz, all of its high-end "precision work" manufacturing capacity had been converted to war use. Instead of cameras and cigarettes, two Dresden specialties besides the famous china and chocolates, the factories (some operating on the slave labor of POWs and Jews) made military optical devices and bullets. How could they not, in a Germany dedicated to the imperative of "total war"? The British commanders who organized the raid maintained that Dresden was targeted mainly because it was a communications and transport hub. The city contained military barracks, but its role in funneling troops and supplies east to German forces fighting the Soviets was what doomed it, as Klemperer himself predicted four months before the bombing. Yet the February 1945 attack clearly targeted the city itself by focusing on its built-up and highly flammable center, rather than limiting itself to the barracks, industrial suburbs or railways. The intention behind the attack was to throw the entire city into chaos, and the Allies were prepared to destroy a European architectural and cultural treasure -- and to kill thousands of civilians -- to do that. The Soviet Army was taking heavy losses after agreeing to push west earlier than originally planned, and the Allies in trade would try to make sure that, in Taylor's words, "the defending Germans would have their backs to a wasteland, and reinforcement would be almost impossible." The war was anything but over to the people who were fighting it, and it's risky to judge the combatants' actions on the basis of hindsight about how few months of fighting were left. (Taylor argues that the Ardennes offensive in December 1944 had made the Allies believe that Germany was rallying.) As Taylor points out, to the 79,000 Soviet soldiers and 125,000 Berliners who would die in the taking of Berlin 10 weeks later -- or for that matter to the civilians in Paris and London still being targeted by German V-1 and V-2 rockets -- the war was anything but a done deal. Nevertheless, it's in the decision to devastate Dresden that the moral wicket gets sticky. Some of the air crews winced at the idea of raiding a city known to be harboring refugees. "We had leveled ourselves to the Krauts," one radio operator wrote in his memoirs. Taylor doesn't deny that the question of whether it was worth stooping to such tactics remains a painful one. His quarrel is with the notion that Dresden was exceptional, or at least intentionally so. He points out that previous and subsequent raids on other cities aimed to be just as destructive, but didn't succeed because weather or human error or some other unforeseen factor interfered. Hamburg, a larger city than Dresden, took more casualties when it was bombed in 1943, and the towns of Pforzheim and Darmstadt lost a greater percentage of their population when their turn came. Conditions in Dresden combined to create the firebombing equivalent of a perfect storm. That the same thing did not happen elsewhere wasn't because the Allies didn't try. One factor that contributed to the catastrophe was a widespread lack of preparedness in Dresden: There were few decent shelters and citizens didn't understand the importance of extinguishing the fires started by incendiary devices as soon as possible. (High-explosive bombs did limited damage by comparison.) As Taylor depicts them, Dresdeners lived in a dream world, "floating happily under the illusion that their city was too beautiful and too famous to suffer as other population centers in the Reich had suffered." It's only when writing about this belief that the scrupulously fair and compassionate Taylor slips into testiness. He implies that this fantasy was a version of the larger German denial about what they'd allowed their nation to become under the rule of a maniac who rhapsodized about their special destiny. He quotes a long-suffering Soviet soldier who asked his superior officer why the conquered Germans should be treated kindly, when "They were well off, well fed, and had livestock, vegetable gardens and apple trees. And they invaded us." Perhaps the extremity of the firebombing of Dresden's civilians was unnecessary, but there is no doubt that the war that caused it was, and that Dresdeners shared with other Germans the responsibility for that war. "With the vast material and spiritual riches of places like Dresden at your disposal," Taylor writes, "why place all that at risk by launching a ruthless, in large part genocidal attack on the rest of Europe? ... Did anyone really expect the world to fight back while wearing kid gloves, in order not to damage Germany's artistic treasures or kill German civilians?" Exceptionalism played its part in the legend of Dresden as well, although that has only become obvious over time. The origins of the casualty reports in the hundreds of thousands lie, not surprisingly, in the propaganda efforts of Joseph Goebbels, who wanted to convince Germans that the Allies were so bloodthirsty that their only choice was a fight to the bitter end. And while the bombing was executed largely to support the advancing Soviet Army, once the communists took over Dresden and the Cold War was underway, it became a symbol of Western barbarism. In the unoxygenated environment of the Soviet state media, all sorts of bizarre and exotic rumors flourished, including one that Vice President Harry Truman (who would become president a few months later, after Franklin D. Roosevelt's death) had personally ordered the bombing. Most Western misperceptions about the bombing of Dresden -- especially the casualty count of 135,000 -- come from one source, the 1963 bestseller "The Destruction of Dresden" by David Irving. Irving's book is the source of much of the misinformation Vonnegut reproduced in "Slaughterhouse-Five," and Vonnegut goes so far as to mention Irving's book in his novel. This added the authority of an eyewitness to Irving's account, but as Taylor demonstrates in "Dresden," the terror and confusion of enduring a bombing raid often drastically distort the memory. One Dresden survivor recalls finding refuge on an ice floe in the midst of the Elbe River, while another describes the same river aflame with phosphor. It was a mild evening and phosphor didn't figure significantly in any of the ordnance. To a POW like Vonnegut, forced to excavate corpses from the bomb shelters under the rubble, 45,000 dead could easily look like over 100,000. Taylor carefully documents the flaws in Irving's account of the attack. Some of Irving's mistakes are understandable, given the inaccessibility of much of the evidence. In some cases, however -- specifically in verifying reports that Allied planes had strafed refugees -- it seems likely that Irving deliberately misrepresented evidence and based his accounts on documents that don't exist. This is less shocking now than it would have been in 1963, when Irving still had a reputation as a brilliant if iconoclastic historian and a diligent researcher. Today, he's best known as a Holocaust denier. When he sued American scholar Deborah Lipstadt for calling him just that, his writings on the Holocaust and Hitler came under greater scrutiny. As Charles Taylor wrote for Salon in reviewing Richard J. Evans' book about the trial, that work was found to show "a consistent pattern of misquotation, selective editing, reliance on documents later found to be forged (and in one case known by Irving to be forged), suppressed information that ran counter to his case and fiddled figures." To judge from "Dresden," Irving was doing this even before he started writing about the Holocaust. In his afterword to "Dresden," the author describes a ceremony he attended in 2002 commemorating the bombing. Far-right groups and Nazi apologists gather at the margins of such events, where they can promulgate their message that "in the Second World War the Allies, not the Germans, were the true war criminals." The inflated death tolls for Dresden become part of a numbers game intended to neutralize the enormity of the Holocaust (which in turn, these groups seek to minimize). That is, of course, not the way Vonnegut portrays the devastation of the city whose beauty led him to compare it to Oz. For the novelist, and for many others like him, Dresden, like Hiroshima, is a pacifist watchword, proof that even those with right on their side can slip into savagery once they succumb to the moral fog of war. In other contexts, the myth that more people died in Dresden than in the bombing of Hiroshima becomes a cautionary tale about the lethality of conventional weaponry in the atomic age. Enough people died in Dresden for the event to be justly labeled a tragedy. Enough of them were genuinely blameless (most of Taylor's sources among the survivors, for example, were children at the time) for the attack to shade into the realm of atrocity. Yet it's hard to argue that the Allies were wrong in deciding that winning the war mattered more than anything else, given the kind of world we would have inherited had they failed. The moral truth about Dresden is fundamentally ambiguous, however much some parties might want to paint it otherwise. Only histories like Taylor's, which encompasses both the raw human suffering of Dresden's people and the incontrovertible political facts about the city and nation they inhabited, can do it justice. And no just cause can be well served by anything less. This article has been provided by Salon through a special partnership with SPIEGEL INTERNATIONAL. Visit Salon's Web site at www.salon.com
BBC 13 Feb 2005 Germany to mark raids on Dresden Anti-Nazi activists began rallying in the city on Saturday Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has warned Germany will not tolerate far-right attempts to rewrite history as it marks 60 years since the bombing of Dresden. Allied planes devastated the historic heart of the famed baroque city, killing tens of thousands, as ground forces closed in on the Nazi regime. The far right aims to upstage official events in the city on Sunday to portray Germany as a victim of World War II. Mr Schroeder pledged to counter "all attempts to re-interpret history". "This is our obligation to all the victims of the war and Nazi terror especially, and also the victims of Dresden," he told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag. Candles and white roses Germany, he said, should mourn its own war dead, but not ignore "how much suffering the war started by Germany brought to others". RAISED FROM THE ASHES In pictures: Dresden rebuilt Mr Schroeder said he hoped to "keep the far right out" of the commemorations, referring to the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NPD). A wreath-laying ceremony will be attended by the ambassadors of the four wartime Allied powers - the US, Russia (for the Soviet Union), the UK and France - and 10,000 candles will be lit to remember the victims in various towns and cities around the world The NPD plans a counter-rally which could attract up to 7,000 supporters. Dresden citizens protesting at the NPD presence plan to wear white roses on Sunday. Other events on Sunday will also remember the dead from targets bombed by the Germans, such as Coventry, Leningrad and Warsaw, as well as cities hit by more recent conflicts, including New York, Grozny and Sarajevo. Outrage NPD members in the Saxony state parliament, which meets in Dresden, caused outrage in January when they boycotted a commemoration of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp. They called the Dresden raids a "bombing holocaust" and party leader Udo Voigt has asked for the dead of Dresden to be given consideration equal to the dead of the Nazi death camps. Allied bombers took to the air on 13 February 1945 and rained bombs down on Dresden over two days. British planes made the initial two raids, followed by US aircraft. They were acting on a request from Moscow. The city stood as an important railway and communications centre for Nazi forces resisting the Soviet advance from the east. Officially, about 35,000 people died in the attacks. However, some historians suggest the number may have been greater, as German refugees from the east were arriving in the city and many of the dead were incinerated by the massive firestorm. Some of the public buildings in the city once known as the Florence of the North have been spectacularly restored since the war, but much of its ruined historical heart has been replaced by modern buildings.
Reuters 7 Feb 2005 Film opens wounds of forgotten Italy war massacre 07 Feb 2005 15:52:23 GMT Source: Reuters By Rachel Sanderson ROME, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Italian state television has exhumed old hatred between the political right and left in Italy with the dramatisation of a World War Two massacre that was banished from the history books. RAI broadcast on Sunday the first instalment of "Il Cuore nel Pozzo" (The Heart in a Pit) about the slaughter of as many as 15,000 Italians living in disputed territory in the mountains of modern day Slovenia and Croatia, in the 1940s. The film is unflinching in its portrayal of violence, with scenes of children ripped, screaming from their mothers arms and families set before firing squads, not by Benito Mussolini's Fascists, but by Italian Communists and Yugoslav partisans. "This tragedy was hidden to most Italians for 60 years," director Alberto Negrin told Reuters. "I wanted to show the story in simple, emotional terms, that thousands of innocent people, including children and women, died terrible deaths. The aim was not to make it political." However, keeping politics away has proved impossible. The tragedy of the "Foibe", named after the deep chasms the victims were thrown into, was initially hushed up by politicians keen to heal Italy's war wounds and move on with reconstruction. The 1943-45 massacres also sat uncomfortably with Italy's post-war history that portrayed Communist partisans as national heroes, who saved the country from being entirely tarred by its alliance with Adolf Hitler. But Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who regularly rails against Communism, and his centre-right government have been eager to dig up the past, naming this Feb. 10 the first memorial day for the "Foibe" and promoting RAI's 4.5 million euro film. "We must pull from this abyss of lies a truth hidden by the imposition of a cultural bias," said Communications Minister Maurizio Gasparri, a member of the National Alliance (AN), which traces its roots back to Mussolini's party. HISTORIC The AN has openly supported the "Il Cuore nel Pozzo", which had its premiere in a conference hall built for Mussolini outside Rome, calling it "an historic event". Before the Foibe atrocity on the Istrian peninsula, Mussolini's Fascist henchmen used brutal oppression to try to Italianise the area, and some fear the RAI film papers over the wrongs inflicted by Rome. Slovenia's Foreign Minister Ivo Vajgl last year criticised the making of the drama as an "offence and provocation" to the Slovenian people. He received little sympathy from Gasparri. "The truth is the Slovenes are not prepared to see this issue confronted," the minister retorted at the time. Italian media, by contrast, is wallowing in the details, with newspapers and talk shows given over to survivor accounts. The first part of "Il Cuore nel Pozzo" was the most watched programme on Sunday night with 7.5 million viewers. While Italy's hard-left has stayed mute over the Foibe, centre-left politicians have agreed it is time to face up to the past, with Rome mayor Walter Veltroni going to the killing grounds last week to pay homage to the dead. "The Holocaust was a tragedy without equal, but it was not the only tragedy of the 20th century. What is certain is what I have seen here is witness to a guilty silence, even involving the left, the Communists," he said last week.
Agenzia Giornalistica Italia, Italy 9 Feb 2005 www.agi.it/english FOIBE MASSACRE: OSSERVATORE, REACTION TO FASCISM (AGI) - Vatican City, Feb. 9 - The foibe killing "are not lost opportunities and negligence". The Vatican's daily l'Osservatore Romano claims that they were "the most dramatic aspect of a tragedy which ruined the lives on tens of thousands of Italians from Istria, Dalmazia and Venezia Giulia who were forced to leave their homes because of the threats of Tito's militias". But all of this, said the daily, was originated by the responsibilities of fascism which in Istria did not pursue "living together but Italianisation". "These are the premises - writes the Osservatore - of the tragic events that took place towards the end of fascism".
Guardian UK 11 Feb 2005 Italians mark war massacre Killing of 15,000 men, women and children commemorated after 60 years Sophie Arie in Rome Friday February 11, 2005 Guardian Over the past few days millions of Italians have been watching dramatic scenes of ethnic cleansing on their television screens. But the images are not of the Holocaust, Rwanda or Darfur: it is the first film to be made in Italy about the massacre of up to 15,000 men, women and children, many killed by Yugoslav communists towards the end of the second world war just for being Italian. It is the hardest-hitting part of a government campaign to draw attention to a little-known event which was marked for the first time yesterday, 60 years on, with a national day of remembrance. Parliament observed a minute's silence and the foreign minister, Gianfranco Fini, and other dignitaries attended a military ceremony in the north-eastern city of Trieste, where many of the crimes were committed. Red, white and green lapel ribbons and 3.5m special stamps were issued by the newly formed 10th February Committee. Between 1943 and 1945 thousands of Italians living in Trieste, Gorizia and the Istrian peninsula were tortured, shot or pushed to their deaths in rocky chasms by communists determined to cleanse Yugoslavia of its Italian population. Some were sympathisers of Benito Mussolini's fascist regime in Italy. Others were innocent civilians. They were left, some still alive to rot in natural ditches known in Italian as foibe. About 300,000 Italians had been forced to flee the area by 1947 and estimates of the number killed vary between 6,000 and 15,000. After the war the massacres were swept under the political carpet as Italy sought to heal its wartime wounds. Most of the so-called foibe killings have never been properly investigated. Italian history books have traditionally portrayed communist partisans as national heroes who fought to free the country from fascism. Italian communists and today's hard left have long tried to bury the matter, out of embarrassment. But the centre-right government of Silvio Berlusconi, who personally considers communists a lingering threat to Italy, is determined to make sure that as many Italians as possible are aware of this dark part of the country's past. In the run up to the memorial day, more than 10 million people watched the first film on the subject, Il Cuore nel Pozzo (Heart in the ditch) which cost the state television service RAI €4.5m (£3.09m) to produce. The film shows the atrocities through through the eyes of a group of children who manage to escape, though the priest accompanying them is shot. "If we look back to the 20th century we see pages of history we'd prefer to forget," Mr Berlusconi said in advance of yesterday's events. "But we cannot and should not forget." The communications minister, Maurizio Gasparri, a member of the National Alliance, which traces its roots back to Mussolini's fascist party, said: "We must pull from this abyss of lies a truth hidden by the imposition of a cultural bias." The party has openly supported Il Cuore nel Pozzo, which had its premiere in a conference hall built for Mussolini outside Rome, calling it "a historic event". While the Italian hard-left has long tried to bury this part of the country's history, centre-left politicians have agreed that it is time to face up to the past Last week the mayor of Rime, Walter Veltroni, went to the killing grounds to pay homage to the dead. "The Holocaust was a tragedy without equal, but it was not the only tragedy of the 20th century," he said. "What is certain is what I have seen here is witness to a guilty silence, even involving the left, the communists". But critics argue that the film fails to address all sides of the story. The region around Trieste and the Istrian peninsula had come under Italian control after the first world war and had been brutally "Italianised" by Mussolini's henchmen. The Slovenian foreign minister, Ivo Vajgl, criticised the making of the film last year as an "offence and provocation" to the Slovenian people.
ft.com 11 Feb 2004 Italian right hails day for purge victims By Tony Barber in Rome Published: February 11 2005 02:00 | Last updated: February 11 2005 02:00 Rightwing Italian politicians celebrated a breakthrough yesterday when Italy held its first "day of memory" for the thousands of Italians killed or driven from their homes by Yugoslav partisans in the second world war. ADVERTISEMENT The two houses of parliament held a minute's silence and leaders of the National Alliance, the government's second largest party and one with neo-fascist roots, spoke of their relief that Italy was finally honouring the victims officially. "I believe that, for a man of the right, this is one of the most beautiful moments," said Francesco Storace, a senior National Alliance politician, after attending a ceremony in Trieste, an Italian city once bitterly contested by Italy and the former Yugoslavia. Some historians noted that the ceremonies failed to highlight fascist Italy's mistreatment of Yugoslavs before and during the war, under the rule of Benito Mussolini, but the centre-left opposition carefully avoided criticising the "day of memory" instituted last year by an act of parliament. Between 5,000 and 15,000 people, mostly Italians but also including anti-communist Croats and Slovenes, were killed in 1943 and 1945 by communist Yugoslav partisans seeking to control disputed border areas. Many victims were dumped in deep caves, known as foibe, an episode that has caused an angry rift between Italians of left and right persuasions ever since the war. Many other ethnic Italians fled their homes in Istria and Dalmatia, regions that now belong to Slovenia and Croatia but which 20th-century Italian nationalists regarded as rightfully part of Italy. Earlier this week, millions of viewers watched a mini-series on Italian state television that graphically portrayed communist atrocities against ethnic Italians. The centre-right government's active promotion of the event continued yesterday in Rome, where Maurizio Gasparri, communications minister and a National Alliance politician, unveiled a postage stamp commemorating the massacre of the Italian refugees. The National Alliance's approach to the ceremonies was under scrutiny because Gianfranco Fini, Italy's foreign minister and the party's leader, has tried hard to turn his party into a modern democratic conservative party and purge it of its neo-fascist tendencies. Mr Fini did not indulge in nationalist rhetoric yesterday. "Today there is not a truth of the right, or of the left, but just the truth," he said. Silvio Berlusconi, prime minister, has flu and did not attend any ceremonies. It has been left mainly to scholars to point out that the killings were preceded by a ruthless attempt by Mussolini's fascist Italy to "Italianise" Slavic-populated regions before 1943.
Expatica 3 Feb 2004 www.expatica.com Dutch genocide suspect to stay in detention 3 February 2005 AMSTERDAM — A court in The Hague extended the remand detention on Wednesday of a Dutchman accused of complicity to genocide on charges he exported raw materials to Iraq in the 1980s to be used in the production of chemical weapons. The ruling comes after the city's appeals court ordered the release of Frans van A. on 28 January. The defendant had appealed against his continued detention and a hearing in chambers ruled that he should be released on Friday 4 February. But the public prosecutor appealed and last week's ruling was overturned on Wednesday. Van A. — who is accused of supplying ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein with chemicals for the production of mustard gas — will for the time being remain in detention. At the request of US authorities, Van A. was first arrested in 1989 in Italy. After two months on remand, he was released pending extradition, but fled to Iraq, where he stayed until the US-led invasion in March 2003. He then fled to Syria and subsequently to the Netherlands, where he was re-arrested in December last year. He is accused of exporting thousands of tonnes of raw materials to Iraq between 1984 and 1988. The Iraqi regime used chemical weapons in the 1980-88 war against Iran and against the Kurds in northern Iraq. The Dutch prosecutor suspects Van A. was involved in 36 shipments to Baghdad. He faces maximum sentences of life imprisonment and 20 years respectively for complicity to commit genocide and war crimes. But according to Dutch media, Van A. was also an informant of the Dutch intelligence service AIVD. He is believed to have previously been supplied with a "safe house" provided by the Dutch Interior Ministry. The authorities have not confirmed or denied the reports, nor have they explained why Van A. might have been placed under the protection of the Dutch government. But it was reported last month that the AIVD wants information from Van A. about Saddam Hussein's illicit weapons programmes.
Netherlands - ICTY
AP 31 Jan 2005 Yugoslav general sentenced for war crimes By ANTHONY DEUTSCH ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- U.N. war crimes judges sentenced an ailing, 71-year-old Yugoslav general to eight years in prison Monday for failing to punish subordinates who carried out the deadly 1991 shelling of the Croatian town of Dubrovnik. But Gen. Pavle Strugar was acquitted of the more serious allegations of murder and ordering the shelling during the 1991-95 war in Croatia. The Dec. 6, 1991, attack killed two civilians and destroyed much of medieval Dubrovnik's protected Old City, a UNESCO world heritage site since 1979. "The implication was so serious that the accused should have seen the urgent need to determine if the Yugoslav People's Army artillery was in fact shelling the town without justification, and if so, assure the attack on the 'Old Town' was stopped," said presiding Judge Kevin Parker of Australia. "He did not do so." Parker said Strugar "failed to stop the attack on Dec. 6 when he could and should have done so and afterward he failed to ensure the perpetrators were punished." Strugar was convicted of attacking civilians and the intentional destruction of protected cultural monuments but was acquitted of all charges of personal involvement in the attack. Parker said the court took into account Strugar's deteriorating health, age and other personal matters in sentencing him. A lower-ranking naval admiral, Miodrag Jokic, ordered the attack, Parker said. Jokic, 70, was sentenced in March to seven years in prison. "You (Strugar) are not the immediate commander of those responsible. That was Adm. Jokic. You were his superior, and therefore one step further removed" from the crime, Parker said. Strugar's defense team said it would appeal the decision and noted that the punishment for Jokic was less severe. Strugar, who surrendered to the court in 2001 to face six counts of war crimes, was released for nearly two years while the court processed his case. He will remain in custody before being transferred to another country pending the outcome of his appeal. The Dubrovnik attack was seen as one of the most senseless events of the Croatian War. In a wider Serb-led military operation, dozens were killed and more than 100 religious, cultural or educational sites were badly damaged in the medieval center of Dubrovnik during a three-month siege that began shortly after Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia in July 1991. Also Monday, a Bosnian Muslim commander went on trial at the war crimes tribunal for murder in the killing of dozens of Croat civilians during the Bosnia war. Sefer Halilovic, 53, is the highest-ranking Muslim army official tried for alleged crimes during the conflict. He has been accused of senior responsibility for massacres in the villages of Grabovica and Uzdol, Bosnia, in 1993. A total of 62 people were killed, and many of their bodies were dumped in the Neretva River, according to U.N. prosecutors. The tribunal was established in 1993 to prosecute individual perpetrators of war crimes during a decade of Balkan wars. Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic is on trial for 66 war crimes counts, including genocide.
www.armeniadiaspora.com 31 Jan 2005 Monument to the memory of Armenian Genocide victims opened in the centre of Krakow Yerevan, January 31. /Mediamax/. Armenian Prime Minister took part in the ceremony of opening a cross-stone to the memory of the victims of Armenian Genocide of 1915 in the centre of Krakow. The ceremony took place last week, when the Armenian Prime Minister was in Poland to take part in the events on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. After the ceremony Andranik Margarian presented Krakow Archbishop Cardinal Franciszek Macharski with Armenian "Mkhitar Gosh" order. The Armenian President signed a decree on rewarding Franciszek Macharski for the big contribution to the development of Armenian-Polish relations and for achievements in the restoration of historical justice.
JTA 10 Feb 2005 Closure for massacre Local relative among those to get items of family slain during WWII by Jordana Rothstein Jewish Telegraphic Agency George Shainfarber survived Auschwitz with his father, Jacob, and his memories, but he died before he could obtain the personal effects of the more than a dozen relatives on his father's side who died together during World War II. Now Polish officials have returned his relatives' effects -- including a thimble, some coins, a knife and some cloth -- to his widow and two daughters. "I feel my father's absence so strongly," said Shainfarber's daughter, Gayle Nadler of Potomac, on Sunday in New York after viewing the items. "I think that he would be so proud right now. We were able to help him accomplish something so important to him after he helped us accomplish so much." Shainfarber learned of the deaths of his relatives while still in Auschwitz, where his mother and sister died. His aunt and uncle, several cousins and close family friends had hidden in a pit in the forest. Men believed to be Polish bandits stumbled onto the hiding place and shot all 16 people hiding there, including several young children. Shainfarber's uncle, away from the pit at the time, returned to find his family dead and hung himself. After his liberation in 1945, Shainfarber returned to the site of the massacre. Shainfarber contemplated marking the site or moving his relatives' remains to a proper graveyard; he eventually decided to leave the dead in peace, leaving an etching on a tree to mark the location. In 1950, Shainfarber immigrated to the United States at the age of 22, followed a year later by his father. He married a U.S.-born woman, Edna, and had two daughters. Memories were all that remained of all of his relatives, his daughter Linda Jaffe said. "The idea of having anything tangible from his family was unreal -- he had nothing from any of his relatives," she added. Then, on Sept. 24, 2002, a retired Polish truck driver, hunting for artifacts with his metal detector, uncovered the burial site, digging up spoons, a portable stove and a human skull. An exhumation by Polish authorities followed. The items were held by the government as part of a murder investigation, which Shainfarber supported. With the help of Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich, Shainfarber's relatives were buried in December 2002 in a Polish Jewish cemetery. The family then petitioned the government to release the personal belongings. Shainfarber wrote, "Words cannot express the value these items have for me. While they have no intrinsic value, they are the only articles left in the world that belonged to my family before they were murdered in the Holocaust. They must look so simple, so old, so ruined. They could probably be mistaken for trash, yet they are so very precious because for me, they hold vitality and strength." Shainfarber died last Aug. 21, and was buried two days later, the same day the gravestones of his family members were erected. On Sunday, Schudrich presented the personal remains to Shainfarber's wife and daughters. The family hopes to display them to honor the memory of all victims of the Holocaust, and to show that even 60 years later it is possible to feel a connection with them. "For the last two years, he was trying to get these things, because it was all he had left of his family," said Nadler of her late father. "We were just in awe that we were able to help him finish something that was so important to him." Paula Amann of WJW contributed to this story. .
Suspect involved in Beslan massacre detained in Ingushetia 02.02.2005, 11.25 MOSCOW, February 2 (Itar-Tass) -- Members of a criminal police department of the Ingush Interior Ministry have detained a suspect in the settlement of Ordzhonikidzevskaya in Ingushetia who was presumably involved in a hostage drama at Beslan school in September, 2004. The man detained is also suspected of an armed attack on law enforcement agencies of Ingushetia staged last June. The suspect offered armed resistance to police when he was arrested, the North Caucasus press center of the Russian Interior ministry told Tass on Wednesday. Criminal proceedings have been instituted. The man detained has been checked for possible involvement in other serious crimes, the press center said.
Sofia News Agency, Bulgaria 3 Feb 2005 www.novinite.com Chechens Vow Beslan-like Attacks Politics: 3 February 2005, Thursday. Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, who claimed responsibility for last year's brutal terrorist attack on a Russian school, was quoted as saying that the separatist rebels are planning more such operations. In an interview for Channel 4 News to be broadcast Thursday night, Basayev expressed regret for the hundreds of deaths in the June hostage-taking attack on the school in the Russian town of Beslan. But he blamed some of the deaths on flame-throwers used by Russian Special Forces who attacked the school to end the siege. Media reported that the interview was filmed last month by Basayev's entourage at an undisclosed location and the video given to a journalist in the Middle East. Basayev was quoted as saying his goal is to give Russia's leadership no chance of achieving a "bloodless resolution" to the siege in Chechnya and to force it to stop the "genocide of the Chechen people."
Toronto Star 14 Feb 2005 www.thestar.com U.N. human rights chief Louise Arbour addresses a Moscow news conference yesterday. Arbour calls on Russia to curb Chechen abuse Arbour calls on Russia to curb Chechen abuse A `breach of trust,' U.N. human rights defender says Canadian plans to make visit to wartorn region MICHAEL MAINVILLE SPECIAL TO THE STAR MOSCOW—Canadian Louise Arbour, appointed the United Nations' top human rights defender last summer, capped her first official visit to Moscow yesterday by calling on Russia to do more to investigate allegations of widespread abuse by its forces in the war-torn region of Chechnya. "The crimes committed by law enforcement agencies cannot be ignored just because they appear to be less serious than the crimes perpetrated by terrorists," Arbour, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in an interview with the Toronto Star. "It represents a very serious breach of trust for agents of the state to attack their own population. This needs to be denounced and dealt with," she said, announcing that she plans to soon visit Chechnya, where Russian forces are in their sixth year of bloody conflict with separatist guerrillas. Separatist leaders have claimed responsibility for a series of terrorist attacks, including the Beslan school massacre last September, which have claimed the lives of more than 1,000 Russians in the last two years. Human rights groups, meanwhile, accuse Russian and pro-Moscow Chechen soldiers of widespread abuses in Chechnya, including kidnapping, torture and murder. Arbour said she raised the issue of abuses with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting Thursday and was told Russia is addressing the matter. "He repeated to me what I had been told by the prosecutor general: that there are investigations into members of the armed forces, in fact they mentioned hundreds of investigations." Arbour walked a fine line during the four-day visit, picking her way carefully through the political minefield that is Russia's human rights record. International human rights bodies, from private organizations like Amnesty International to semi-governmental bodies like the Council of Europe, have in recent years been increasingly critical of Russia. As well as condemning abuses in Chechnya, they've accused Putin's Kremlin of stifling the media, jailing political opponents and undermining parliamentary and judicial independence. Russia accuses rights groups of applying a double standard. It says, for example, that separatists in Chechnya commit far worse violations than Russian soldiers but face little international criticism. Ahead of a three-day visit to Moscow by the secretary general of the Council of Europe, Terry Davis, the foreign ministry yesterday issued a statement saying the body should stop monitoring the situation in Russia and overcome "old stereotypes that prejudice the appraisal of the situation in our country." After meeting top officials and representatives of rights groups, Arbour said Russia is a "vast, complex country" that doesn't lend itself to black-and-white judgments and easy comparisons with Western countries. "If you judge the situation in Russia only by what's happening in Chechnya, it might be very discouraging. If you judge it only by what's happening in Moscow, it may be too encouraging," she said. "In many respects, things are moving forward and in others, I think as a by-product of a pretty robust counterterrorism initiative, you see cause for a lot more concern." Arbour, the former chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague, took on the job after her predecessor, Brazilian diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello, was killed by a car bomb in Baghdad in 2003. Observers say Arbour's job is a complex and difficult role, blending the world of human rights advocacy with the diplomatic realities of U.N. politics. Yesterday, Arbour said she is more interested in engaging Russia than in criticizing it. She praised its authorities for agreeing during the visit to allow the U.N. human rights commissioner to open a new office in Moscow sometime later this year. "It is an extremely positive development," she said. "Being in the country means we can do a lot more work, in terms of promoting better law enforcement practices, for example, and we'll have a lot better information." She also said she's looking forward to seeing the report due this spring of a parliamentary commission on the massacre in Beslan. More than 350 people were killed after Russian forces stormed a school held by militants demanding an independent Chechnya. "We'll be able to see whether it looks like a whitewash ... or whether it will probe pretty deeply into what happened there — the kind of self-criticism that I think is the hallmark of a mature society." Arbour said one of the biggest challenges has been simply managing the demands on her time. She visited both Afghanistan and Nepal in the week before arriving in Russia. After flying back to Geneva yesterday she was due in New York this week to brief the U.N. Security Council on the human rights situation in the Darfur region of Sudan. She'll return to Canada in a few weeks, where she'll press for an increased Canadian role in global politics. - Michael Mainville is a Canadian journalist based in Moscow.
ADP 2 Feb 2005 Serb general wanted over Kosovo war crimes hands himself into UN court THE HAGUE : Retired Serb general Vladimir Lazarevic, who is accused of committing war crimes in Kosovo in 1999, handed himself into the UN tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. "He has arrived in The Hague and has been placed in the detention unit," tribunal spokesman Jim Landale said Thursday. Lazarevic, 55, decided to hand himself over to the court after a meeting last Friday with Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica. Kostunica is under immense international pressure to deliver war crimes fugitives to The Hague. The Balkan republic's bid to become a member of the European Union has been put in deep freeze due to its failure to fully cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Lazarevic, 55, is one of four retired Serbian generals who were indicted by the UN court in October 2003 for alleged crimes against ethnic Albanians during the 1998-1999 Kosovo war which claimed some 10,000 lives. Two of the others, Sreten Lukic and former Yugoslav army chief Nebojsa Pavkovic, have refused to surrender. A third, Vlastimir Djordjevic, is reportedly hiding in Russia. The generals are accused of forming a "joint criminal enterprise" along with former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, who was transferred to The Hague in 2001, to drive ethnic Albanians out of Kosovo. Lazarevic is specifically charged over the January 1999 Racak massacre of some 45 ethnic Albanian civilians, an incident that helped trigger NATO's armed intervention to drive Serbian forces out of the province.
BBC 13 Feb 2005 Serbian president to visit Kosovo By Nick Hawton BBC News, Sarajevo Mr Tadic is the first Serbian leader to visit Kosovo in years Serbian President Boris Tadic will begin a two-day official visit to Kosovo on Sunday. It will be the first time a Serb leader has visited the province officially since the Nato bombing campaign against Serbia in 1999. Kosovo, which technically remains a part of Serbia, is in practice run by the international community. The visit comes at a sensitive time, with talks on the future status of the province perhaps only months away. It is the first time since the days of President Slobodan Milosevic that a Serb leader has felt able to make an official visit to Kosovo. Mr Tadic, who is seen as a reformist leader by the West, will hold talks with international officials in Pristina before visiting local Serb communities. Many Kosovo Serbs who live in isolated enclaves feel their interests are being ignored and their security threatened by the majority Albanian population. 'Extremely sensitive' Last March, 19 people were killed in riots across Kosovo as Albanian gangs targeted Serb areas. A spokesman for Mr Tadic said the president wanted to gain first-hand knowledge of the situation. Albanians want nothing less than full independence, while Serbs want the province to remain a part of Serbia. And Kosovo remains an extremely sensitive issue within Serbian politics. As final status talks beckon, Serb politicians are already jockeying for position. Mr Tadic is likely to use the opportunity of the visit to shore up his own credentials on the issue.
Serbia - Kosovo
Crisis Group 3 Feb 2005 Toward Final Status 03 Feb 2005 11:11:00 GMT Source: NGO latest International Crisis Group International Crisis Group - Belgium Website: http://www.crisisgroup.org Pristina/Belgrade/Brussels, 24 January 2005: The situation in Kosovo is increasingly dangerous, threatening wide-scale unrest and even renewed war. Urgent progress must be made toward establishing Kosovo as an independent state, but only on the basis of fully guaranteed protections for its Serb and other minorities. Kosovo: Toward Final Status,* the latest report from the International Crisis Group, examines the mounting tensions in the province and says that independence is the only solution that can dispel the gathering storm. Kosovo's independence must come soon, but only on the basis of a number of conditions being met, and the report sets out a timeline of decisions and events that would lead to an internationally recognised Kosovo by mid-2006. "It's time for the international community to get off the fence on Kosovo", says Nicholas Whyte, Director of Crisis Group's Europe Program. "Everyone has delayed the issue of Kosovo's final status for far too long. It cannot be put off any longer". Since international intervention evicted Belgrade from the province in 1999, Kosovo has been run as a UN protectorate. UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which mandates an international administration, is ambiguous on the duration of Belgrade's technical sovereignty over Kosovo. But it does make clear that Belgrade, having violently expelled more than 700,000 Kosovo Albanians in 1999, had lost the right to administer the province, and that following a period of international administration, a political process would determine final status. Over the past five years, the final status issue has been delayed and ignored while Kosovo's two million people continue to exist in an international limbo. The population, 90 per cent of them ethnic Albanian, will never accept a return to Belgrade rule, but the international community has yet to grasp their increasing discontent, even after the deadly rioting in March 2004. Either 2005 will see the start of a final status solution that consolidates peace and development or Kosovo may return to conflict and generate regional instability. As a first step, the six-nation Contact Group should issue as soon as possible a statement spelling out a schedule for the resolution of the status issue, with independence as the goal. This must contain some crucial ground-rules: that the protection of minority rights is the issue on which progress will most depend, and that neither Kosovo's return to Belgrade's rule, nor its partition, nor any possible unification of Kosovo with Albania or any neighbouring state or territory will be supported. Additional guarantees are needed to assure the Serbian side that an independent Kosovo would maintain its commitments. Internationally appointed judges should sit on Kosovo's superior courts, and certain international parties would have the standing to ensure that key matters relating to minority rights and other agreed obligations could be brought before those courts. Kosovo would also accommodate an international monitoring presence, a "Kosovo Monitoring Mission", to report to the wider international community and recommend appropriate measures if Kosovo backslides on its obligations. The time to start this whole process is now. "International complacency on Kosovo must end", says Alex Anderson, Crisis Group's Kosovo Project Director. "If we don't act quickly, events could easily get out of control. The potential for renewed violence is very real". For more information, please visit our Kosovo advocacy page.
Slovenia see Italy.
www.turkishdailynews.com.tr 31 Jan 2005 Last-minute Iraq warning: Turkey won't remain indifferent to suffering of Turkmens Exclusive interview with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül YUSUF KANLI ANKARA - Turkish Daily News Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül said Turkey has no territorial designs on Iraq but that it cannot remain indifferent to the sufferings of the Turkmens should an altered demographic composition of Kirkuk trigger an ethnic clash. In an exclusive interview with the Turkish Daily News, Foreign Minister Gül stressed that Turkey was not threatening an intervention but that everyone should bear in mind that the government of any democratic country must take into consideration the sentiments and sensitivities of its public. He said because of the sensitivities of their public, governments sometimes feel compelled to embark on roads that they would never otherwise take. Top priority: normalization of Iraq: Foreign Minister Gül said Turkey's worries regarding Iraq in general and Kirkuk in particular had both been publicly expressed, clearly stated in written communications and raised as well in closed-door meetings “with everyone and everybody concerned with the issue." “First of all we want normalization in Iraq. The Iraqi people have suffered a lot. Now that the dictatorship is over, these sufferings must be stopped and a new era must be opened. This new era is opening up with pain and hardship,” he said. Gül said Turkey has been afraid of the possibility of civil war in Iraq as a result of possible ethnic, religious and other clashes. He warned that if Iraq plunges into a civil war, it would lead to a polarization and disintegration of the country and that the entire region could fall into an “unimaginable atmosphere of chaos.” The foreign minister said that although neither ethnic nor religious-based clashes had erupted since the fall of Saddam Hussein, Turkey's security concerns still remained. “We hope that after the elections and as the roadmap is implemented, things will get better, but the potential exists for the eruption of a problem that we have not seen to date: ethnic confrontation,” Gul cautioned, adding “The soft under-belly of this appears to be Kirkuk. That's why we are so worried.” No territorial designs: Foreign Minister Gül stressed that Turkey was not interested in the security of Iraq or the situation in Kirkuk or Mosul because it has territorial designs. “Kirkuk and Mosul are Iraqi provinces. Our borders are clear. We have no territorial designs. We make no territorial demands of any country. When we talk about the integrity of Iraq, we mean the internationally recognized borders of Iraq. We have no territorial demands on Iraq. That would be awkward while we are insisting so strenuously on the preservation of Iraq's territorial integrity,” he said. Historical background of Kirkuk: Foreign Minister Gül said both in the 1926 accord placing Iraq under British mandate and in the memorandum presented in 1932 to the United Nations by the then prime minister of Iraq for the independence of the country, there was a mention of the Turkmens in Kirkuk along with Kurds and Arabs. He said the Turkmens were referred to in those documents as constituting the majority in Kirkuk. But, he said, from time to time efforts were made by Iraqi governments to change the demographic composition of the city, subjecting Turkmens and Kurds into forced resettlement in other parts of the country while “some other people” (Arabs) were settled in Kirkuk. Still, he said, despite the exile of the Turkmens, the Turkmen identity of the city could not be erased. “The identity of a city is not solely determined by the ethnicity of the majority of people living there. Other people might be resident there, but its identity belongs to others who lived there at an earlier point in time. Culture, architecture, habits and many other factors contribute to the identity of a city. Iraqi dictators could not destroy the Turkmen character of Kirkuk despite the expulsions and brutal methods they implemented,” he said. A new campaign under way: Foreign Minister Gül complained that it was unfortunate but lately, in a manner different than that applied by the Saddam Hussein regime, a concerted campaign was again under way to change the demographic composition of Kirkuk. He said it was right for both Turkmens and Kurds who were forcibly expelled from their city to return to the land of their fathers. This resettlement, however, Gül complained, was being exploited with an understanding of maximizing possible future political gains. “We are observing that the (exploitation of resettlement in Kirkuk) situation has reached dangerous proportions. It is very apparent. Indeed, this has been observed by the United Nations as well. They are very much aware of what's happening there. The Americans know it as well. Indeed, the issue is covered in reports at the Pentagon,” Gul said, adding, “Now our fear is the possibility that these gross changes in the demography of Kirkuk could trigger an ethnic confrontation, which has not been seen so far.” Bandits of past and today The 1926 accord giving Mosul (province) to Iraq by the Turkish Republic included a security dimension, Gul explained. “That is, there was a clause saying that bandits would not enter Turkey from Iraq and that Turkey wouldn't pose a security threat to Iraq. This is very important. There were elements at those times there that were irritating Turkey. At the time they were called ‘bandits.' Now, there are ‘bandits' of another variety. Therefore, when we think of this, it is out of the question for Turkey to remain indifferent to what's happening in Iraq,” he said. The minister, however, underlined that Turkey was not pursuing any “interest” in Iraq nor does it have any intention of intervening in Iraq's internal affairs or administering northern Iraq. “What we are saying is clear: If the balances that existed at the creation of Iraq are altered and new structures are created there, such a development will have a security dimension for us. The 'bandit' threat that exists today existed in 1926 as well. Now the threat is acquiring a new dimension, and we are warning against that. … We are cautioning against the possibility of such a threat acquiring new dimensions that could create an atmosphere of chaos, of internal strife.” Gül said Turkey's warnings should be taken as an effort by a friendly neighboring country -- whose own security could be seriously affected by developments in Iraq – to remind all groups in that country that they need to stop trying to assimilate each other as the former dictator tried to do. “Now that the dictator has fallen, can anyone accept one group of people pressuring another group of people?” he asked. 'Kurds, Turkmens and Arabs are our brothers' Foreign Minister Gül said the Arabs, Kurds and Turkmens were kin of the Turks. “Just as we did few a years ago when our Kurdish kin were subjected to a massacre at Halabja and Saddam Hussein's forces started attacking them… Just as we acted then, with the responsibility for defending our Kurdish kin and when, within two days, over 500,000 Kurds massed on the border with Turkey to escape Saddam's attacks, we immediately accepted them within our borders and took care of them for a long period of time, and for about 10 years we provided them with a security umbrella by allowing 'Poised Hammer' and other such operations from Turkish territory. If we see our other kin in Iraq, our Turkmen kin, in similar difficulties, we will act with the same responsibility. This is not interfering in internal affairs or getting involved in matters among the Iraqi population groups,” he said. “Dictatorship has ended in Iraq. The Iraqi people suffered much because of strife amongst themselves as well as because of wars with neighbors. That era is over now; therefore, the Iraqi people, the Arabs, Turkmens, Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites should now be able to look into the future, cooperate for the reconstruction of their country, boost their welfare. If ethnic or religious-based extremists plunge the country once again into an atmosphere of chaos, a civil war, we are afraid that the entire region will be seriously affected. That's why both the people of Iraq as well as people on the outside, the Americans, the British and all others as well as Iraq's neighbors, must be very careful. Our sole aim is to see to it that this region becomes one of stability and peace. No area of the world can acquire development and welfare without resolving security issues,” he said. “Why should the richest natural resource region of the world be its most painful region? Our sole aim is to contribute to stability,” Gül stressed. He said Turkey has historical and cultural obligations to contribute to the consolidation of peace and stability in the region.
www.ntvmsnbc.com 2 Feb 2005 Turkish parliament to discuss Armenian genocide claims The parliament’s committee for harmonisation with the European Union invited Armenian societies and unbiased Armenian and Turkish historians to attend the session. February 2— The Turkish parliament’s committee for harmonisation with the European Union has announced that it will investigate claims by Armenians that the Ottoman Empire committed acts of genocide against its Armenian citizens during World War One. Ali Riza Alaboyun, the deputy chairman of the parliamentary committee, said that some Armenian groups have agreed to the discuss the issues and settle the Armenian genocide claims that have been levelled at Turkey by many groups and organisations. “I do not believe that in our history there is anything to be ashamed of,” Alaboyun said. “There is lack of information. We shall take the initiative in hand and have an unbiased assessment of events occurring away from us.” Onur Oymen, a member of the opposition Republican People’s Party who also sits on the committee, said that Armenians distribute publications targeting Turkey on the genocide claims and that Turkey should make sure to send out material refuting the allegations. The decision to discuss the Armenian claims comes on the 90th anniversary of the alleged Armenian genocide. In April this year, the parliaments of a number of countries are to hold a vote on whether to recognise the allegations against the Ottoman Empire, with the so-called genocide also to be commemorated by massive events staged by the Armenians.
United Kingdom see Cambodia, Rwanda
Reuters 2 Feb 2005 Britain prefers ICC for Darfur By Katherine Baldwin LONDON (Reuters) - Britain says that it would prefer perpetrators of atrocities in Darfur to be tried by the International Criminal Court but has left the door open to support for an American push for an alternative tribunal. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Britain had a clear preference for the new Hague-based ICC, whose work the United States strongly opposes on grounds that it could pursue frivolous prosecutions of U.S. soldiers abroad. However, Straw and Britain's ambassador to the United Nations, Emyr Jones Parry, said the key issue was consensus on the Security Council, only nine of whose 15 members have ratified the ICC's statutes. "If the Council in its wisdom decides there's another way of doing it, by definition I'll be part of that agreement," Jones Parry said on Wednesday. Europeans and other Western states back the ICC but diplomats have said British support for the court may be on the wane because of the position in Washington, its closest ally. A U.N. commission has accused the Sudanese government and allied militias of crimes against humanity in Darfur and identified the proper tribunal as the ICC, set up to try cases of genocide, war crimes and massive human rights abuses. The United States instead wants Darfur cases heard by a new, temporary U.N.-African Union court in Arusha, Tanzania and has been lobbying African nations for support. Straw said since Sudan was not party to the ICC, the decision on whether to use it lay with the Security Council. "What we hope to see is a consensus on the Security Council because everybody knows that when you can get a consensus the natural authority behind the decision is stronger than when you cannot get a consensus," he said. The U.N. commission of inquiry reported on Monday that the Sudanese government and its militia allies had committed major crimes under international law against non-Arabs in Darfur, where at least 70,000 people have died from killings or disease. While the panel said Khartoum had not pursued a policy of genocide it said some individuals may have acted with "genocidal intent" and produced a sealed list of suspects.
washingtontimes.com 4 Feb 2005 London agrees to keep Darfur trials out of ICC By Nicholas Kralev THE WASHINGTON TIMES LONDON — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice won backing from Britain yesterday to keep charges of Sudanese crimes against humanity in the Darfur region out of the International Criminal Court. Although Britain withdrew its earlier support from a European effort to involve the court in Darfur, it insisted that it strongly supports the tribunal. "Under the ICC statute itself, because Sudan is not a state party to that statute, the matter falls to be decided in the [U.N.] Security Council," British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said at a joint press conference with Miss Rice. London's change of heart shields Washington from accusations that it stands alone against much of the Western world because of politically motivated objections to The Hague-based tribunal. "American views of the ICC and the dangers of the ICC have, of course, not changed," Miss Rice said during her overseas debut as America's top diplomat. "We are concerned about unaccountable prosecutors and, therefore, unaccountable prosecutions." Mr. Straw said that the ICC should not take charge of the case without endorsement from the 15-member Security Council, even though the court was set up as an autonomous body that is not accountable to any international organization. "All of us know that the natural authority of the international community is greatly strengthened where there is a consensus behind a Security Council decision, and that's what we shall be working for to achieve in the Security Council in New York," Mr. Straw said. At the same time, he said Britain's support for the ICC in general, as a party to its statute, is "long-standing." The United States refused to back the ICC because of fears that the court will be used for politically motivated prosecutions of U.S. officials and military personnel. "We have believed that we are better off with regional and local accountability mechanisms like the [International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia] that has dealt with crimes in the Balkans and Yugoslavia," Miss Rice said yesterday. "We have also, of course, supported the Rwandan tribunal, which I think was a great success for the way in which it held accountable the [perpetrators of genocide] in what was one of the world's most horrible sets of crimes in recent memory," she said. On Tuesday, the United States asked the Security Council to establish a separate Africa-based tribunal for war crimes in Darfur, to impose sanctions on the government in Khartoum and to create a U.N. peacekeeping mission in the country. The State Department said that court would build "on the existing infrastructure" of the Rwandan tribunal, which was established after the 1994 genocide there. Britain was instrumental yesterday in weakening the European Union's previous call for the ICC to try the Darfur case. Luxembourg, which holds the bloc's rotating presidency, expressed "constant support" for the court but refrained from explicitly linking it to Darfur. "It is up to the United Nations Security Council to decide" where the accused war criminals should stand trial, it said. On Monday, a report by a U.N. commission said war crimes and crimes against humanity had occurred in Darfur, but it stopped short of describing the crimes as genocide. The report also recommended that the ICC take up the case. The U.N. panel compiled a list of "likely suspects" in the worst crimes, including Sudanese government officials, members of the Arab Janjaweed militia, rebels and "certain foreign army officers acting in their personal capacity." The names were not made public. London was the first stop of Miss Rice's first foreign trip as secretary of state. Later yesterday, she met with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in Berlin, where the German leader expressed support for President Bush's effort to spread democracy and freedom. "The president's heart is where it should be — namely with the democrats, irrespective of what country we are talking about," Mr. Schroeder said. Today, Miss Rice is scheduled to visit Poland and Turkey. She will later travel to Israel and the West Bank, as well as Italy, Belgium and Luxembourg.
- Agence France-Presse
Institute for War & Peace Reporting
(the Balkans, Caucasus and Central Asia, with a special project on the Yugoslav
war crimes tribunal)
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