Prevent Genocide International 

News Monitor for February 15 - 28, 2005
Tracking current news on genocide and items related to past and present ethnic, national, racial and religious violence.

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Human Rights Watch 28 Feb 2004 Darfur: New Atrocities As Security Council Dithers (Washington, DC) PRESS RELEASE February 28, 2005 Posted to the web February 28, 2005 New York New eyewitness accounts from Darfur of rapes, torture and mutilation by government-backed militias underscore how the U.N. Security Council must take urgent action to protect civilians and punish the perpetrators, Human Rights Watch said today. Last week, eyewitnesses in South Darfur told Human Rights Watch how government-backed Janjaweed militia attacked villages in the Labado area in December and January, and singled out young women and girls for rape. Male relatives who protested were beaten, stripped naked, tied to trees and forced to watch the rape of the women and girls. In some cases, the men were then branded with a hot knife as a mark of their humiliation. In violation of the April ceasefire agreement and a November 9 commitment to cease hostile aerial activity in Darfur, the Sudanese government in mid-December 2004 used Antonov aircraft, Mi-24 helicopter gunships and Janjaweed militia to attack the civilian population in the Ishma and Labado areas of South Darfur. Thousands of people were forced to flee their homes. On the outskirts of the South Darfur state capital Nyala, the sound of bombs exploding in Labado and Ishma were heard all day on December 17. In mid-January, Sudanese government aircraft and Janjaweed forces also attacked Hamada, another village in South Darfur, reportedly killing more than 100 civilians. Both offensives appear to have targeted civilians as well as rebel bases in areas under the control of Darfur\x{2019}s two main rebel movements, the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). "The Sudanese government talks peace at the U.N., but then orders airstrikes and militia raids against its own people in Darfur," said Peter Takirambudde, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "The Security Council risks losing its relevance unless it finally takes meaningful steps to stop the atrocities in Darfur." Human Rights Watch said that the U.N. Security Council must take immediate action to protect Darfur\x{2019}s civilians, who suffer ongoing atrocities while the 15 members of the Security Council stall on effective measures to end abuse. For a third week, Security Council members are discussing a new resolution that will authorize a U.N. "peace support" force of 10,000 personnel to monitor the peace agreement ending the 21-year civil war between the Sudanese government and the main southern-based rebel movement, the Sudan People's Liberation Army. The draft resolution, which focuses on southern Sudan, provides little relief for civilians suffering from the armed conflict that is now devastating Darfur. The resolution would impose only travel sanctions and asset freezes on yet to be designated individuals for their involvement in human rights abuses, and extend an arms embargo on the Sudanese government\x{2019}s arms shipments to Darfur. "Increasing the international protection force in Darfur is urgently needed to stop the violence," Takirambudde said. "The Security Council can ensure prosecution of grave crimes by referring Darfur to the International Criminal Court; this would deter the Sudanese authorities from committing even more atrocities." The African Union, which currently has a ceasefire monitoring force of approximately 1,800 personnel on the ground in Darfur, remains mainly based in the state capitals and larger towns of Darfur. It lacks sufficient numbers of armed troops to adequately patrol and investigate ongoing violations in the rural areas. After the December attack in Labado, a small AU force moved into the burned and destroyed town, which allowed some civilians to return. Despite the AU presence in Labado, Janjaweed activity in the area continued as recently as February 16. Militia forces disrupted humanitarian relief efforts on the main roads by shooting at vehicles and returned to burned villages to destroy any remaining infrastructure. The Janjaweed forces were believed to be partly acting to prevent civilians from returning to their home areas. "With so few troops in Darfur, the AU force today simply cannot protect civilians," said Takirambudde. "The United Nations must work with the African Union to come up with a plan to vastly increase the force in Darfur." Human Rights Watch called on the African Union to urgently increase their deployment to the rural areas of Darfur, aggressively patrol the main roads and smaller rural villages and proactively protect civilians from the ongoing abuses, including rape, torture and murder. Meanwhile, as the Sudanese government's offensives in December and January, aid agencies working in South Darfur came under increasing harassment from government officials and rebel groups. In January, staff from several international non-governmental organizations were detained by government officials often based on unfounded allegations. Aid workers have also been detained by rebel movements in Darfur, most recently in mid February. Members of the international media and human rights groups have also found it increasingly difficult to acquire visas for Sudan and Darfur, an indication of the Sudanese government's efforts to reduce international exposure of its "ethnic cleansing" campaign in Darfur. "The Sudanese government has long closed off regions where it's committing massive abuses, but in Darfur last year it was forced to open its doors to media and human rights monitors," Takirambudde said. "Now it's trying to close that window by intimidating aid agencies and refusing visas to journalists." Human Rights Watch said that the largest rebel group in Darfur, the Sudan Liberation Army, has also been responsible for attacks on civilians, particularly in January around the South Darfur town of Malam. Human Rights Watch called on the rebel movements to respect civilians and civilian infrastructure and to cease attacks on humanitarian workers and convoys.

UN News Centre 22 Feb 2005 World must address racism now to prevent new genocide, massacres – UN panel 22 February 2005 – The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has opened its new session with an urgent call to address current manifestations of racism and xenophobia in order to prevent a recurrence of the terrible massacres that marked the last decade. “We must never forget such tragedies as that of Rwanda in 1994 and the horrifying drama and the massacre in Srebrenica one year later, both largely driven by racial and ethnic intolerance and hatred,” the Chief of the Treaties and Commission Branch of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Maria-Francisca Ize-Charrin, said, referring to the genocide that killed up to 800,000 people in the central African country, and the slaughter of up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Bosnia. Those events remind the international community in all their brutality that racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance were not vanishing phenomena, and that vigilance was never exaggerated in such cases, she declared. The importance of addressing the current and most acute manifestations of racism and xenophobia by focusing on steps that could prevent situations of discrimination, including their escalation to some of the worst forms of human rights violations, could not be over-emphasized, she added. Preventive measures were one of the most useful tools in dealing with the dangers posed by racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia. The Committee, beginning its session in Geneva yesterday, will consider country reports from several nations and may also decide to take early warning measures or initiate urgent action procedures with regard to situations in States parties.

washingtontimes.com 13 Feb 2005 Has Bush forgotten Darfur? By Nat Hentoff While a special commission of the United Nations was in Darfur to investigate whether the black African Muslims there are the victims of genocide by the Khartoum government of Sudan, the bombing by the government of these tribes' villages and the murders of their inhabitants were still going on. Now the special United Nations commission has somehow reported that while atrocities are being committed, it's not genocide. The U.N. special commission did admit that crimes against humanity and war crimes are taking place in Darfur, perpetrated by government-directed Arab Janjaweed and Khartoum's own soldiers and helicopters. Yes, said the commission, there is "killing of civilians, torture, enforced disappearances, destruction of villages, rape and other forms of sexual violence, pillaging and forced displacement ... It is clear that most attacks were deliberately and indiscriminately directed against civilians." This is not genocide? So far, at least 300,000 civilians have died from violence and disease, and some 10,000 more are annihilated every month. Yet, says this shamefully sophistic U.N. commission: "Generally speaking 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's the definition, in international law, of genocide. Specifically speaking, international genocide is then, indeed, the case in Darfur. At least 800,000 were massacred in Rwanda while Bill Clinton and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan — then the head of the U.N. peacekeeping division — deliberately did nothing to stop it. How many more will have to be slaughtered in Darfur before enough of the world is able to confront the horrifying face of genocide and end it? One million? Two million? Or,asTerry George — director, producer and co-writer of the film "Hotel Rwanda" — says in the Jan. 18 edition of Newsday: "Is it that we consider human life in Africa of less value than elsewhere?" Is that how we feel in America? Where are the protests of the genocide by religious leaders in the streets? Does Michael Moore or MoveOn.org care? Now, the United Nations, increasingly useless in matters of life and death, is debating where those its commission has accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity should be prosecuted. There is a movement, supported by Mr. Annan, to turn the suspects over to the International Criminal Court. The United States vigorously disagrees, for it has no confidence in that court, and instead suggests a new tribunal run by both the African Union and the United Nations. It would be installed at the war-crimes court in Arusha, Tanzania, now dealing with suspects in the Rwanda genocide. TheNewYork Sun's Benny Avni — a persistently perceptive and candid reporter on the United Nations — wrote on Jan. 30 that this new debate, as the killing goes on in Darfur, is "like arguing about the shape of the prosecution table at Nuremberg while the gas chambers of Auschwitz are still active." Can anything be done while this next debate at the U.N.GeneralAssembly drones on — and the Janjaweed enjoy their murderous assignments from the Khartoum government? The United States — in a statement by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell — has been the only nation to explicitly and honestly declare these atrocities in Darfur are genocide. And President Bush has shown deeply felt concern. But is there anything more we can do beyond words? As Mr. Avni says: "What is needed, instead, is action. Backed by an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean, Washington should immediately declare and enforce a no-fly zone over western Sudan. A few British and American military experts should then help organize a sizeable African Union force on the ground, which will put an end to the slaughter and ensure that villagers can go back to their homes, now occupied by Khartoum-backed Janjaweed militias." As of now, there are some 1,300 African Union observers in Darfur, and they do not have the power or the authority to do more. They are without a mandate to stop the genocide — or whatever the slippery United Nations chooses to call it. But the United States and Britain could provide the funds to equip 10,000 or more African Union troops to go after the Janjaweed and protect those black African Muslims who still survive. The British, however, want the International Criminal Court to prosecute the war criminals; but if Prime Minister Tony Blair and Mr. Bush can transcend that disagreement, there is still a chance that Darfur will not become more of a Rwanda-like nightmare than it already is. Both Messrs. Blair and Bush had the courage and determination that resulted in the resounding elections in Iraq. Will they lead a coalition of the willing to bypass the impotent United Nations and demonstrate to the world that human life in Africa is of universal value? I see no other hope for the remaining victims in Darfur.

BBC 22 Feb 2005 Tutu calls for child registration Governments are urged to ensure all children are registered South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu has helped launch a global campaign calling for governments to ensure all children are registered at birth. He said it was a matter of life and death - an unregistered child did not officially exist and was vulnerable to traffickers and during disasters. In South Asia alone, there are no records for six out of every 10 babies, campaign organisers Plan say. The agency fears around half a billion children worldwide may be unregistered. Archbishop Tutu said a birth document was important because it "proves who you are". Without it children are often barred from education, health care and citizenship. "It is, in a very real sense, a matter of life and death," the Nobel Peace Prize laureate told a news conference at the UN headquarters in New York. "The unregistered child is a nonentity. The unregistered child does not exist. How can we live with the knowledge that we could have made a difference?" Cambodia success The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child imposes an obligation on countries to register every child immediately after birth. But Plan, the international agency organising the registration campaign, said that was not happening in many parts of the world. An unregistered child does not officially exist: Desmond Tutu In a report released to coincide with the campaign, Plan said no records existed for 60% of babies born annually in South Asia, and that 55% of births in sub-Saharan Africa go unrecorded. "Governments worldwide are failing the world's children, as millions of youngsters without a birth certificate find it very difficult to prove their age or nationality," said Thomas Miller, Plan's chief executive. "And parents whose children go missing during disasters like the tsunami or because they are abducted by traffickers may even be unable to get help with tracing their sons or daughters because they cannot prove the age of their children - or in many cases that their children even exist." He said a recent campaign in Cambodia - in which they registered 2.4 million people in less than four months - showed it could be done without incurring high costs. Universal Birth Registration campaign www.writemedown.com


IRIN 21 Feb 2005 Great Lakes: Call for Special Fund for War-Torn Region UN Integrated Regional Information Networks NEWS February 21, 2005 Posted to the web February 21, 2005 Kigali Declaring Africa's Great Lakes region a "specific reconstruction and development area," foreign ministers from countries in the region called on the international donor community on Friday to set up a special fund to transform the volatile region into a "haven of peace". Such a fund, they said, would enable the countries to establish programmes that would help end instability in the region. "The ministers committed themselves to undertake efforts to sensitise development partners on this proposal to advocate for its support, while highlighting its regional scope," according to the summary of a report adopted at the end of their two-day conference in Kigali, the Rwandan capital. The meeting - dubbed the Regional Inter-Ministerial Committee - was held under an initiative of the UN and the African Union (AU). The ministers mapped out strategies of implementing a regional pact on security, stability and development signed in November 2004 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Their meeting was the first in a series of follow-up conferences of the November summit, ahead of a second regional heads-of-state summit, due to be held in Kenya later in 2005. The ministers resolved to ask key donors, including the UN and the international donor community, to fund efforts aimed at improving peace and security in the region. The Great Lakes, a region encompassing Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda - has been unstable since Rwanda's 1994 genocide, in which up to 937,000 people were killed, according to Rwandan government estimates. Despite their abundant natural resources, some countries in the region rank among the poorest in the world, a result of years of recurrent conflicts that led to stagnation in economic growth, and the destruction of economic and social infrastructure. The ministers said they would use an upcoming meeting of the Group of Eight countries to advocate their proposal. Tanzania's foreign minister, Jakaya Kikwete, said his country would chair the UN Security Council in early 2006 and was planning to put the region's proposal on the council's agenda. "There must be sustainable mobilisation and international attention on the problems in the Great Lakes region, with its dire humanitarian and socio-economic consequences, which merit the promotion of a comprehensive development package," the summary of the ministers' report said. They expressed concern that the region risked further marginalisation and could face stiff competition for international resources, notably in the wake of the Asian Tsunami disaster and the signing of a peace accord in Sudan - two issues which have attracted considerable international support in recent times. During their meeting, the ministers discussed proposals on four themes of the AU-UN-supported International Conference on the Great Lakes Region. These are: peace and security; democracy and good governance; economic development and regional integration; and, humanitarian and social issues. Heads of state within the region are expected to adopt proposals on these themes when they meet later in 2005. These suggested protocols focus on efforts to improve peace and security and entail curbing the proliferation and circulation of small arms and light weapons, improving border security, carrying out systematic disarmament of combatants, as well as increasing defence and security cooperation among the countries in the region. The ministers also discussed proposed protocols on improving democracy and governance, including restoration of law and order in the region, improving judicial systems, promoting human rights and fighting impunity. Fifteen African leaders, among them the heads of state of the Great Lakes countries, signed a declaration 20 November 2004 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, outlining protocols of the proposed regional pact. [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]


Agence France-Presse (AFP) 28 Feb 2005 Burundians vote on constitution in first post-conflict polls by Esdras Ndikumana and Beatrice Debut BUJUMBURA, Feb 28 (AFP) - Voters in Burundi on Monday cast ballots in a nationwide referendum on a power-sharing constitution aimed at bringing a final end to an 11-year civil war that has claimed 300,000 lives. Polling stations opened at 6:45 am (0445 GMT) for some 3.1 million Burundians to vote in the referendum, the first election in the tiny central African nation since it was plunged into chaos in 1993. "I hope this constitution will bring peace," said Marie, a 40-year-old farmer, as she prepared to cast her vote at Bujumbura's Kanyosha suburb. The new constitution, which is widely expected to be approved, envisages a balanced power arrangement between majority Hutus and minority Tutsis, who have dominated politics in the country of 7.1 million since independence from Belgium in 1962. "I am happy because this is the first time I am voting," Geoffrey, a 43-year-old Hutu told AFP. "In 1993, I was a refugee. I now hope we have recovered from this war situation." Polling stations are to close at 4:00 pm (1400 GMT) with preliminary results expected by Tuesday and final returns to be announced on March 4, according to election officials. Monday was a public holiday due to the landmark polls. In the capital, the atmosphere was calm as the polls opened about 45 minutes behind schedule with hundreds of voters waiting in line under tight security to cast their vote. "I came to vote because it is important for the transition to peace and democracy," a 55-year-old teacher told AFP outside the Sirphanie polling station in Bujumbura. "It's been a very long time since we've had this right," another 40-year-old voter chimed in. Under the constitution, Burundi's president will have a deputy from each of the ethnic groups while 60 percent of the cabinet will be Hutu and 40 percent Tutsi. Representation in the parliament, made up of a National Assembly and Senate, will be apportioned on a 50-50 basis with Hutu and Tutsi parties required to field candidates from both ethnicities to reach the mix. And, it calls for the army and the police force to also be equally split along ethnic lines: a critical component as the civil war erupted after the 1993 assassination of Melchior Ndadaye, a Hutu who was the country's first democratically elected president, in an attempted Tutsi-led military coup. Analysts predict that pro-referendum Hutu parties, to which some 85 percent of eligible voters belong, will easily overpower opposition from Tutsi parties, which account for only 14 percent of voters. Many Tutsis believe the constitution, in place since November but unendorsed by the population, will mark their political death with its strict apportionment rules. A leading Tutsi opposition party, the Party for National Recovery (PARENA), has urged people to vote "no" in the referendum. Meanwhile, Burundi's Hutu President Domitien Ndayizeye -- who earlier this month abandoned plans to modify the draft ahead of the vote to allow him to stand for re-election -- has urged a "massive 'yes' vote." Monday's referendum, postponed three times since last year for logistical reasons, is the first step in a seven-tier election process, including legislative polls now set for April 22. On that date, Burundians are to vote for members of parliament who will then elect a president at an as-yet undetermined date. The president must then appoint a government. The referendum is key part of a peace process that has brought on board all but one of Burundi's seven rebel movements since it began in 2000. But even the lone rebel holdouts, the National Liberation Forces (FNL), have said they will not interfere with voting. With the constitution's success nearly assured, one analyst said its expected approval would be important mainly "as a curtain raiser before the actual elections." In the unlikely event that the constitution is rejected, it will still be in force until the end of the electoral process and will be left for the new government to deal with.

Côte d'Ivoire

Reuters 28 Feb 2005 Ivory Coast rebels say mediation efforts dead BOUAKE, Ivory Coast, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Ivory Coast's rebels said on Monday that international mediation efforts in the West African country were now dead after an attack on their positions by pro-government militia. "By these acts of war, (President) Laurent Gbagbo has definitively buried all the mediation efforts of the African Union and the international community," a statement from Sidiki Konate, spokesman for the rebel New Forces, said. The statement came after militia attacked rebels in Logouale, north of the western town of Duekoue. Ivory Coast has been divided into a rebel-held north and government-held south since a rebellion in Sept. 2002 triggered civil war.

Reuters 28 Feb 2005 Ivory Coast pro-government militia attack rebels By Ange Aboa ABIDJAN, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Pro-government militia attacked rebel fighters in western Ivory Coast on Monday, raising fears of a return to all-out war in the world's top cocoa grower. The fighting erupted around 4 a.m. (0400 GMT) in Logouale, 55 km (34 miles) north of Duekoue at the first rebel roadblock after a U.N.-policed buffer zone, rebels and militia fighters said. There was no immediate word of casualties. The fighting was the first outbreak of hostilities since forces loyal to President Laurent Gbagbo bombed rebel towns in the former French colony in November -- shattering a truce and demonstrating the fragility of a two-year peace process. "We started fighting with the rebels in Logouale this morning," said Felix Maho, head of administration for the FLGO militia based in the western town of Guiglo. Ivory Coast has been divided between a rebel-held north and government-held south since a rebellion in Sept. 2002 sparked a civil war that killed thousands and displaced over a million. "Our men are heading towards Logouale as we speak because of the fighting which started this morning. We don't know if there have been any injured or dead yet," said David Cisse, a rebel fighter in Man, a major rebel town north of Logouale. There are some 4,000 French and 6,000 U.N. troops policing the ceasefire zone between the two sides stretching right across the West African country. Monday's fighting started north of the zone after pro-government forces crossed the ceasefire line. "They attacked around 4 a.m. (0400 GMT). By now, the situation is almost under control. I cannot say any more. We have to push them back first," a senior rebel in the western town of Man, north of Logouale, told Reuters by telephone. The French army, which has soldiers nearby, said it had dispatched a team to check reports of fighting. ROAD BLOCKED BY ARMY Jules Yao Yao, a spokesman for Ivory Coast's army in the main city of Abidjan, said he was not aware of any fighting. A source at an Ivory Coast army command centre in Yamoussoukro said the country's armed forces were following events closely but the attack was nothing to do with them. In the cocoa town of Duekoue, Panou Charlemagne, manager of the Sifca-coop, said Ivory Coast's army had blocked all traffic from heading north on the road towards Man this morning. Some of the fiercest fighting of Ivory Coast's civil war took place in the west, a lawless territory where rebels, pro-government militia and fighters from neighbouring Liberia all roam and where ethnic tensions serve to inflame the mix. Fighters from the FLGO militia previously fought alongside Gbagbo's forces against rebels in the west. Helped by Liberian fighters they drove back the rebels in early 2003. FLGO fighters also swelled the ranks of Model, one of the rebel groups that helped oust Liberia's President Charles Taylor after invading Liberia from the west of Ivory Coast. The leader of another pro-government militia, known as the UPRGO, said they were planning to head to Logouale. "We are getting ready to go to Logouale. My men are getting dressed to go into battle. We are going to reinforce the FLGO who are fighting the rebels right now," said General Bahou Plou. "We are tired and we want to free our territory," he said. A peace deal was signed in 2003 between Ivory Coast's warring parties but political wrangling has stalled its implementation and the rebels have refused to disarm.


IRIN 18 Feb 2005 UN official in plea to Brazzaville over genocide suspects [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © ICTR BRAZZAVILLE, 18 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - The prosecutor of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Hassan Jallow, asked the Congolese government on Thursday to strengthen its cooperation with the UN court to facilitate the arrest and prosecution of key suspects of the Rwandan genocide of 1994. "We need the international cooperation because the tribunal has no police to arrest people," he said during his visit to the Republic of Congo (ROC). "It's the national authorities who arrest them for the transfer to Arusha [Tanzania], based on our petitions." Jallow also lauded the ROC government for its long-time collaboration in prosecuting suspects who were involved in the genocide and who fled to Congo. "The Congolese government has helped us and facilitated our work," he said. "Since several years, the Congolese authorities arrested persons who were implicated in the Rwandan genocide. These people were transferred to Arusha where they wait for their trials." In 1995, the UN Security Council set up the tribunal, based in Tanzania, to try suspected participants in the genocide. The killings resulted in the deaths of up to 937,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus, according to official estimates. Jallow said the tribunal was looking for suspects of crimes that were committed inside and outside Rwanda. Many of those responsible for the genocide fled to other African countries and to the West. ROC is among the nations that experienced a major influx of Rwandan refugees. Most of them are dispersed in the southern regions of the country. Some of them stay in an official camp at Kintélé, 25 km north of Brazzaville, where Rwandan Hutus, Tutsis and Twas are living together. The tribunal is on the lookout for civilians and military personnel, as well as politicians who allegedly organised the ethnic cleansing between April and July 1994 in Rwanda. "We have already processed 25 people," Jallow said. "Another 18 are detained at Arusha and will be prosecuted. The tribunal is looking for another 14 high-ranking persons. They need to be found before the mandate of the tribunal ends." That will be in 2008. Should the tribunal fail complete its work, Jallow said: "The national authorities must be ready to judge persons who cannot be tried by the tribunal before 2008. We have decided to transfer the dossiers to the national authorities." Jallow said the tribunal had the support of the current Rwandan authorities.

DR Congo

Australian 15 Feb 2005 21 soldiers to be put to death From correspondents in Kinshasa A MILITARY court has sentenced 21 soldiers to death in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for looting, rape and refusal to obey orders. The soldiers were sentenced in Beni for crimes committed in December when they were sent as combat reinforcements to Kanyabayonga, an army statement said. Kanyabayonga is one of the regions in post-war DRC where various armed groups persist. In December, regular army soldiers clashed around Kanyabayonga with mutinous troops who were taken into the armed forces following a war that wracked the country between 1998 and 2003. People in the Kanyabayonga, Lubero and Rutshuru areas, near the vast DRC's eastern borders, have given many accounts of extortion and atrocities committed by both regular troops and former rebels. The human rights department of a large post-war UN mission in DRC (MONUC), deployed across the country to watch over a peace process and a political transition to democracy, has opened inquiries and taken eyewitness evidence from civilians of cases of harassment and worse by troop.

IRIN 16 Feb 2005 Prosecute ex-militia leaders, Kinshasa urged [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] KINSHASA, 16 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - The International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) has urged the Congolese government to vet and prosecute former militia leaders instead of appointing them to high-ranking positions in the newly integrated national army. "If the Democratic Republic of the Congo [DRC] is to achieve a lasting and sustainable peace, it must not appoint individuals to the army when there is evidence that they may be responsible for serious abuses," Juan Méndez, the president of the ICTJ and UN Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, said. He issued the statement in New York on Tuesday, just days after a military court in the DRC capital, Kinshasa, sentenced 21 soldiers to death for atrocities they committed in the east of the country. The court handed down the sentences only a few weeks after the government commissioned four suspected human rights abusers as army generals. The ICTJ said there were reports that two more alleged human rights violators also wanted to become generals. The ICTJ urged the Congolese government to desist from appointing militia leaders, "suspected of penetrating massacres and other war crimes", to senior command positions in the army. Instead, it urged the government to "prosecute the promoted former militias". The four, recently made generals, were leaders of militia groups that allegedly terrorised, abused and killed civilians in the south and east of the country until a peace deal was reached in 2003. Under the agreement, former rebels could to be assimilated into the national army. Last week, two other militia leaders, Jean-Pierre Guena, also known as Shinja Shinja - meaning "throat-cutter" in Swahili - and Bakanda Bakoka, both from the southeastern Katanga Province, demanded military appointments in exchange for commitments to disarm their groups. In an interview with UN-supported Radio Okapi, Guena threatened to burn down north Katanga if he received a rank lower than general, the ICTJ said. It added that the alleged crimes of the former militia and aspiring generals compared with those of the 21 rank and file soldiers who received death sentences. The soldiers received death sentences for looting, raping and disobeying orders. The convicted soldiers were fighting against dissident army units when they committed their crimes. "The objective of the Beni trial was to instil discipline in the reunified army," Jean-Willy Mutombo, the spokesman for the chief of staff of the Congolese armed forces, said. He said besides those sentenced to death, another soldier was jailed for 20 years for raping minors while six others received prison sentences of 10 to 20 years for indiscipline. Commenting on the trial, the official in charge of the human rights section of the UN Mission in the DRC, Sonia Bakar, told IRIN: "The trial was fast, Everything was done on one day while there should have been a thorough investigation into the matter." The president of a Congolese NGO, the Association for the Defence of Human Rights, Amigo Gonde, said it was unacceptable that people "who have blood on their hands" are named into the army hierarchy instead of being punished. "They should be brought to justice," he said. In October 2003, three Congolese NGOs submitted a report to the International Criminal Court (ICC), documenting atrocities committed by militias led by Guena and Bakoka. An investigation by the UN Mission in the DRC concluded that Guena and his militiamen were responsible for killings, torture, rape and mutilations of civilians in Katanga in February 2004. ICTJ has been involved in transitional justice in the DRC since early 2003 by providing advice and support to civil society groups, government institutions and international humanitarian organisations. Mendez said steps must be taken to end impunity and to promote justice and accountability. He said the Congolese government should implement a comprehensive and publicly transparent vetting programme for prospective and current high-ranking military officers, based on a criteria designed to exclude human rights abusers from military service. "Experience has shown that integrating rebel leaders into the regular army does not guarantee their loyalty," the ICTJ said. "Dissident army units led by two reintegrated rebels, Col Jules Mutebusi and Gen Laurent Nkunda, clashed with regular army forces in May and June of 2004 and occupied a provincial capital for several days."

AFP 25 Feb 2005 Nine UN peacekeepers killed in DR Congo ambush KINSHASA, Feb 25 (AFP) - Nine Bangladeshi UN peacekeepers were killed and as many as 11 wounded on Friday when their patrols were ambushed in northeast Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the UN mission in the country said. The attack, one of bloodiest against a UN peacekeeping mission in recent years, occurred in the Ituri region of the DRC which is a stronghold of several ethnic and political armed militias, the UN mission (MONUC) said. "At around 9:20 (0720 GMT) this morning, two foot patrols of a Bangladeshi MONUC contingent were caught in an ambush five kilometres (three miles) west of Kafe" in the Ituri region, MONUC mission spokesman Mamadou Bah said. He said nine peacekeepers had been killed but that another four, initially reported as missing, had later been found "in good health." In Washington, UN Undersecretary General Jean-Marie Guehenno, who is in charge of peacekeeping operations, said that in addition to nine dead, 11 had been injured and that all the casualties were from Bangladesh. Details of the ambush were sketchy and it was not immediately clear who was behind the attack, but Bah said the attack took place in an area where the Nationalist and Integrationist Front (FNI), one of six militias, is active. The security situation in the region has deteriorated in recent weeks despite MONUC operations in the region to dismantle militia camps run by a range of groups which have been terrorising villagers living in the region. Peacekeepers began those missions in December and on Thursday, MONUC arrested 30 people, including 27 suspected of being FNI members in the northern town of Datule. Since the end of last year, there had been a surge of violence in Ituri where the militias have gone on a spree of looting, rape and murder against civilians, driving more than 70,000 people from their homes. The displaced have generally been resettled at sites protected by the peacekeepers and received, until mid-January, emergency humanitarian assistance from UNICEF and the World Food Programme. The United Nations has been targetted for attack in Ituri in the past. Two MONUC military observers were killed there in May 2003 and another in February of last year. MONUC is currently the largest UN peackeeping operation in the world with some 14,500 so-called "blue helmets" under its command. It reinforced its presence in eastern DRC, in particular the Ituri region across the border from Uganda, where about 3,000 peacekeepers -- from Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Morocco -- are now deployed.

Background: IRIN 28 Jan 2004 Militiamen burn down Ituri village [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © IRIN KINSHASA, 28 Jan 2005 (IRIN) - Armed militiamen have burnt down a village in the district of Ituri, in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, forcing at least 1,500 residents to flee to nearby localities, Rudi Sterz, the interim coordinator of German Agro Action in the area told IRIN on Friday. The affected village, She, is 60 km northeast of Bunia, the main town in Ituri. "My team found the village burning on Wednesday, and saw a corpse two kilometres from the village," he said. "Armed militias who have been fighting each other in the area since December 2004, using residents as human shields, set fire to the village." A UN brigade deployed to Ituri confirmed the attack on She. However, the UN mission in the country, known as MONUC, under which the troops serve, has not yet verified reports of a massacre perpetrated by armed groups fighting each other in the region. Both these groups, l’Union des patriotes congolais (UPC-L) headed by Thomas Lubanga and the Front des nationalistes integrationnistes (FNI), have accused each other of attacking She. "It is the Lendu who attacked the village, but I do not see any difference between the Lendu and FNI," Lubanga said. The UPC-L (Union of Congolese Patriots-Lubanga) in English is made up mainly of the Hema ethnic group. The FNI (th4 Integrationist Nationalist Front) draws its members mainly from the Lendu ethnic group. Denying any responsibility, FNL leader Flobert Ndjabu said, "She has not been burnt, our fighters have not attacked, but what I know is that on 28 December our fighters repulsed a UPC attack." However, a man who fled She on Wednesday for Bunia was emphatic about the FNI's involvement. "FNI fighters arrived at five o'clock in the morning and began shooting, raping, and looting," Richard Pilo, the escapee, said. "They killed my two children." He said his brother, who had hid before fleeing, counted 70 corpses. Earlier this week UN troops in Ituri dismantled four militia camps in the district; seized an assortment of materials, and captured seven militiamen, MONUC information officer in Ituri, Christophe Boulierac, said on Wednesday. He said the troops dismantled the camps at Soba, Lelo, Bembei and Mandro on Tuesday. The upsurge in militia activity has destabalised the nine-month disarmament process in the troubled district, MONUC reported. Its chief of military operations, Lt-Col Cheikh Gueye, told reporters in Kinshasa on Wednesday that the FNI and UPC-L were the most active. "These two armed groups loot, steal, rape and kill; clearly showing contempt for the population and for the path of peace which the majority of Iturians have chosen," Momadou Bah, the MONUC spokesman, said. He said FNI and UPC combatants had fought in the territories of Djugu and Irumu, respectively 40 km to the southwest and 50 km to the northeast of Bunia. MONUC said during the last two weeks militias had burnt down 15 villages and the FNI had forced residents to move toward Lake Albert. MONUC said it had launched operations against the militants in an effort to restore calm to the area. "People are victims of numerous excesses, and this has led to the displacement of hundreds of people," Bah said. "This security situation could bring about a serious food crisis." He added that MONUC had received several complaints of harassment and would forward these to the prosecutor's office in Bunia. "The courts are functioning in Ituri, therefore criminals can be prosecuted," he said. Meanwhile, UN News reported that UPC militiamen fired on MONUC peacekeepers who shot back, killing a UPC-L major they had been trying to arrest near the central market of Fataki, 60 km north of Bunia. He was wanted on charges of human rights violations. Two of his associates were arrested and turned over to the police. UN troops have begun joint patrols with a Congolese army brigade deployed to the district. They removed two UPC-L roadblocks on the Bunia-Fataki road, UN News reported. The UN has some 3,500 peacekeepers in mineral-rich Ituri, where fighting has persisted despite the official end in 2002 of the country's five-year civil war, and despite an agreement seven armed militia groups signed with the government on 14 May to disarm and participate in the country's transition to democracy.

NYT 26 Feb 2005 9 U.N. Peacekeepers in Congo Killed by Militia Fighters By MARC LACEY GOMA, Congo, Feb. 25 - Unidentified militia fighters ambushed and killed nine United Nations peacekeepers on Friday in the volatile Ituri region of eastern Congo. It was the worst attack in the six years of the mission and a sign of continued instability ahead of planned nationwide elections. The nine soldiers were Bangladeshis on a foot patrol near the town of Kafe, about 20 miles northwest of Bunia, the capital of Ituri Province. They were protecting a nearby camp housing thousands of people who had fled their villages in recent weeks because of attacks by militias. The fallen soldiers were part of a larger group of about 20 peacekeepers who were walking through rugged vegetation in the heavy rain when they were attacked, United Nations officials said. The attack came as the peacekeepers had adopted a more aggressive posture in recent months, confronting and forcibly disarming militia groups that had been terrorizing the local population. "These blue helmets were out there protecting civilians, and they got ambushed while doing it," said Mamadou Bah, spokesman for the United Nations mission in Congo, which is known by the French acronym Monuc. Although a peace agreement has quelled much of the fighting in Congo, Ituri remains a lawless enclave marked by militia skirmishes and frequent attacks on the local people. In recent months more than 70,000 people have fled their homes and settled in camps scattered throughout the region. "The situation has been deteriorating over the last two months," said Johannes Wedenig, the head of Unicef in Goma. "Militias have been attacking civilians, and if Monuc was not protecting the people there would be no one to rely on. They'd be at the mercy of the armed men, who have been raping and killing and burning villages." Although the attackers were not immediately identified, some suspect militias from the Lendu tribe, who are bitter rivals of the Hema, who also live in the area, and clash frequently with them. There is some suspicion as well that the attack on the peacekeepers was in retaliation for the recent effort to confront the militias. On Thursday, peacekeepers arrested 30 people just east of Bunia. Most of those arrested were believed to be members of the Nationalist and Integrationist Front, a Lendu militia. Elections are planned in Congo for this year, although they will most likely be put off until next year. Many of the armed groups now attacking the population have been given the status of political parties, although the government has threatened to revoke that status if the violence does not stop. Interior Minister Théophile Mbemba made that announcement on Monday while visiting the village of Baliba, east of Bunia, which was attacked the day before his arrival by a Lendu militia. He also said the government planned to deploy a police brigade in Ituri to supplement the United Nations forces and some government forces already there. After the attack, the United Nations sent more military personnel to the region. Two attack helicopters and 90 peacekeepers headed to the scene of the ambush, officials said, but bad weather reduced their effectiveness in seeking out the attackers. At the United Nations, Secretary General Kofi Annan said he was saddened by the deaths and said the peacekeeping mission would continue its work. The United Nations has 4,800 troops in Ituri from four countries: Pakistan, Morocco, Nepal and Bangladesh. Across all of Congo, the mission has about 16,000 members, making it the largest of the organization's peacekeeping operations. UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo www.monuc.org


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.

AFP 24 Feb 2005 Six killed in Ethiopian ethnic violence Thursday February 24th, 2005 02:14. Printer-Friendly version Send this article to a friend Destinator : (enter destinator's email address) From (enter your name) (enter your email) ADDIS ABABA, Feb 23 (AFP) -- Six people were killed in clashes between rival ethnic groups in the border areas separating their regions in the east of Ethiopia, a UN agency said in a statement Wednesday. "Six people were killed and many others wounded during a conflict between the Oromo and Somali ethnic groups, near the town of Miesso, in the Oromo controlled region of western Haraghe on February 15," the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said. In total, 21,000 people have been forced to leave their homes after a referendum organised in October 2004 between the Oromo and Somali regions failed to resolve a dispute over administrative areas. "At the end of December we noticed the first forced movements of people in the town of Miesso, following disagreement about which region they belonged to," OCHA spokeswoman Kirsten Mildren said by telephone Wednesday. About 200,000 people in Ethiopia have been forced to leave their homes by either drought or ethnic conflicts, according to a UN report published in July. There are a number of different ethnic groups among Ethiopia's 70 million inhabitants who speak more than 70 languages.


Reuters 24 Feb 2005 Man speared to death in Kenyan ethnic clashes LONGONOT, Kenya, Feb 24 (Reuters) - One man was speared to death on Thursday in the latest bout of fighting over land between rival ethnic groups in Kenya's Rift Valley, police said. The spearing brought to at least 20 the number of people killed since the fighting started last month, pitting rival Kikuyu and Masai groups against each other in the giant Rift Valley's landscape of volcanic peaks and craters. The man killed on Thursday, a Kikuyu, had strayed into a group of Masai warriors, Naivasha District Officer Kamau Karugo said. Police moved in shortly afterwards and arrested 15 Masai. About 200 officers are in the area but are thinly spread, witnesses said. The latest round of fighting began this week with house burnings. Two people were killed in clashes on Tuesday, and a day later police shot dead two men they said were preparing to attack a house. Witnesses say both sides have reinforced their ranks of fighters, most of whom are young men armed with spears, machetes and bows and arrows. The clashes, participants say, are rooted in issues of access to land and water. A Masai leader told Reuters that his pastoralist tribe had no intention of moving off of land it sees as its own. "A long-term solution to the water problem should be found, otherwise I don't see the tribal animosity ending soon," Masai elder David Kiblekenya said. Kamau Macharia, a Kikuyu whose house was burned on Monday night, said the government must act immediately. "This clash is senseless. All that we had was burned. The government should end these skirmishes now, and not tomorrow," he told Reuters. The violence was the latest in a series of clashes between members of various Kenyan communities over land in the past few months, an explosive issue that President Mwai Kibaki's government has promised to address.


BBC 11 Feb 2005 Born to be a slave in Niger By Hilary Andersson BBC Africa Correspondent, Niger Slavery continues to blight the lives of many millions around the world. Although officially abolished in some countries two centuries ago, people trafficking, bonded labour and child labour still exist. Slaves come from the poorest communities in Niger There are some places on earth that few outsiders visit or know about, vast empty sections of the earth where time has stood still for centuries. Niger is one of those places. It is a country that you can drive through for hours without seeing a soul. A nation of vast, barren and windswept landscapes, a country of people who live almost entirely off cattle, and off the labour of human slaves. Slavery in Niger is not an obscure thing, nor a curious relic of the past, it is an intrinsic part of society today. A Nigerian study has found that almost 8% of the population are slaves. You wonder how this can be in the 21st Century and why people do not know about it? We began a journey to find out more. Humiliation We drove for hundreds of miles north across the desert. There were no roads for much of the journey and our cars rattled and jarred across plains set with, what seemed like, solidified waves of sand every few feet. We choked on the dust, hour after hour, wondering if we would ever see another human being at all in this desolate place, let alone a slave. We were heading for a well, owned by a local nomadic leader and we had been told he, like many here, owned slaves. We eventually found his tents and reversed our cars immediately, hoping to locate his slaves without his knowledge first, so that we could speak freely to them, without them being afraid of intimidation. We found the slaves' tents some way off, and there we met Fatima, a mother of seven children. She lived in a scrawny brown tent that rose no higher than my elbow off the ground. Her children were all around and one of them had a face bloated with a terrible infection for which she had no medicine. She seemed humiliated by her status, but seemed to have no greater expectations of her life Fatima told us she had been working for her master for as long as she could remember. She said her master did not pay her, but fed and clothed her. "What can I do?" she said. "I have no money, I need food, I have children and so if I can work for a man who at least feeds me then that is good." When I asked her if she was a slave she looked at the ground, and said yes. She seemed humiliated by her status, but seemed to have no greater expectations of her life. Appalling abuse When we spoke to her masters they denied owning slaves. The practice of slavery was outlawed in Niger last year. Trading in slaves has been banned in Niger since the days of the French colonists in the last century, but ownership of slaves was never specifically banned. Most slaves in Niger today are the descendents of slaves who were kidnapped in wars and raids centuries ago, and were simply born into their status. Many slaves in Niger are appallingly abused by their masters. Slave children are taken away from their parents before they are two-years-old, to break the bonds between parent and child and to eliminate any sense of identity. The children grow up working in the house of the master. Assibit was born into slavery, as was her mother and her husband The slave owners encourage the slaves to reproduce to increase their numbers, sometimes even determining when they have sexual intercourse. They treat the slaves like their cattle. Slaves are often beaten for small misdemeanours. They work long hours and are sometimes deprived of food as punishment. There are documented cases of slaves being stripped naked in front of their families to humiliate them, of female slaves being raped by their owners, and even of male slaves being castrated by their owners as punishment. Hopes and fears Assibit, another slave we met, could not bear the punishment any longer and ran away from her master last July, leaving her husband, also a slave, behind. She undertook a traumatic journey back to her former owner with us and a human rights worker to see if, under Niger's new laws, her husband could be freed. When we got to his tents, she lowered herself in the seat so that she would not be seen. The human rights activist confronted the owner, a lanky thin older man, surrounded by his tall sons. They became aggressive and began to shout at us to turn off our cameras and leave. They screamed that the human rights activist was a slave too, and that he deserved a beating. An entire section of the population would have to be taught that they are not intrinsically inferior to others We tried to retreat into the car, but our vehicle was stuck in the deep soft sand and would not move. Eventually, with the sons banging on the windows the car began to plough forward slowly, and we fled. When Assibit first ran away from her owners she was asked what it was like to be free, but she did not understand the question. She did not understand the concept of freedom, or even the word. When I arrived in Niger, I could barely believe that slavery exists in this century on such a scale, but when I left I could not see how it could end in our generation. Ending slavery in Niger would require a social revolution. An entire section of the population would have to be taught that they are not intrinsically inferior to others, but that is what they have believed for generations. The slave owners, and the establishment, are reluctant to teach them.


IRIN 21 Feb 2005 Plateau state IDPs face daunting obstacles to return to "home of peace and tourism" [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © IRIN Allocated land for IDP resettlement near Marrabaran Bauchi state. YELWA, 21 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - Throughout Plateau state in central Nigeria, colorful billboards urge people to "give peace a chance", to "stand united" and to "restore Plateau the beautiful". However, almost one year after spiraling violence between Christians and Muslims left more than 1,000 people dead and over 200,000 others displaced, many of those who fled are still too scared to return to the "home of peace and tourism", as this picturesque hilly state is officially known. A six-month, state of emergency was imposed in Plateau by President Olusegun Obasanjo in May 2004 to stop the indiscriminate slaughter of mainly Muslim cattle herders by Christian farmers and retaliatory attacks by the Muslims, which were equally bloody and horrific. Yet the state of emergency was lifted in mid-November. Many fear the lifting of exceptional security measures could presage a slide back into the bloody cycle of revenge attacks. Worse still, people fear that such killings could spread to other parts of Nigeria, Africa's most populous country with 126 million inhabitants. It would not be the first time. The massacre of several hundred Muslims in the small town of Yelwa in southern Plateau state last May, sparked deadly reprisals in Kano, Nigeria's second largest city, 350 km to the north. Yelwa's Muslim majority went on the rampage against Christians from the south of the country. The destruction wrought in last year's clashes is still plain to see in a string of towns and villages in and around Yelwa, where the violence reached its climax. In Yelwa itself, life remains grim. The Nigerian Red Cross reported at least 600 Muslims were killed in the town during one particularly bad fight in May 2004. This incident finally triggered the imposition of a state of emergency. Several mass graves in both the Muslim and Christian areas of the town attest to heavy losses on both sides over a period of intermittent skirmishing during the preceding four months. According to an assessment mission led by the European Commission's Humanitarian Office in July 2004, up to 80 percent of houses in Yelwa were destroyed, decimating the population of about 26,000. The Plateau state government calculated the total number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) within the state at almost 220,000 in September 2004, representing a cumulative total since ethnic and religious violence erupted in the state capital, Jos, in September 2001. Some of those who fled Yelwa have returned and are trying to pick up the pieces among the rubble and charred remains of their homes. Still, few have the means to start rebuilding. Esther Joseph and her nine children, who live in the one small part of her compound that remains relatively intact, are among these impoverished returnees. Joseph witnessed her husband being hacked to death when gangs of Muslim Hausa-Fulani attackers killed some 70 people from her own, predominantly Christian, Tarok tribe, as they hid in a church in February 2004. Her house overlooks both the church, which was burned to the ground, and the mass grave where her husband and scores of others are buried. "I never know what tomorrow will bring," Joseph said. "But I am not afraid because I have faith in God's protection." The church is slowly being rebuilt, as are several mosques that were destroyed in the violence. Pastor Sunday Wuyep described the reconstruction of these places of worship as a "confidence-building measure" to help heal wounds and encourage the community to return. Some of the wounds run deep, though, and will not heal easily. Since news of the crisis in Plateau disappeared from the headlines within Nigeria and further, humanitarian assistance has been virtually non-existent. The only relief agency present in the area, Medecins Sans Frontieres (Holland), is treating around 150 people a day, mostly for malaria and diarrhea, but also for trauma. Many people witnessed their own relatives being mutilated and killed, and hundreds of women and girls were abducted. Some were raped. Six-year-old Abdul Majid haltingly described how his Christian captors forced him to do domestic work and to drink alcohol. Relatives managed to trace him after he had spent seven months in captivity. Although some of those who fled their homes at the height of the violence have returned, many others are too afraid to come back. These include several thousand displaced people who remain stuck in camps in neighboring Bauchi and Nassarawa states. Many others have been taken in by friends and relatives and are effectively hidden within their host communities. As a result, there is no reliable data about the overall number of displaced people. Zanna Muhammed, the deputy director of Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency, said there had been no registration or verification of numbers of IDPs and many of the estimates in circulation were "grossly misleading". Displaced girls awaiting feeding at Womens' Centre camp Bauchi. Credit: IRIN In Nassarawa state, to the south of Plateau, only 250 people remain in the Shinge IDP camp near the town of Lafia. Some of the camp's former residents have integrated into the local community; some have joined relatives in other states, while others have returned to the Yelwa area to try and salvage what they can of their homes. Many of those who remain cite a lack of shelter as the main obstacle to their return. In Bauchi state - which is predominantly Hausa-Fulani and administered under Islamic Sharia law - about 3,000 IDPs from Plateau are living in a variety of public buildings in and around Bauchi city. They have even occupied two primary schools. In the Muazu House camp, 32-year-old Maimuna Adamu, who lost her husband and five of her seven children in the May 2004 attack on Yelwa, spoke for many of those who fled. "I definitely don't want to return there - ever," she said. "This will be my home now. But I need help to get shelter." In the nearby Women's Centre, camp leader Husain Mohamed echoed the same sentiment. "The great majority of people here will never return," he said. "In this place our own brethren welcome us. As long as Yelwa is under Shendam [the Christian-dominated local government authority] it won't be safe for us to live there." Conditions in the IDP camps are generally good, with the Bauchi state government providing food and other relief items, as well as allocating some land for resettlement. "It is not our policy to encourage resettlement in Bauchi," said Mohamed Babayo, director of the Bauchi state Task Force Committee set up to look after the people displaced from Plateau. "But with an estimated total of 24,000 internally displaced people still staying here, who may never return to their homes, we have to do something about it. Of course we have to be careful that we're not inundated with bogus IDPs trying to claim land, so we're proceeding very slowly and waiting for IDPs themselves to show genuine commitment to staying here and trying to rebuild by themselves." More than 2,000 plots of land have so far been allocated to displaced families near Bauchi city, but conditions vary greatly. At Baram there is electricity, there is a newly built primary school and a few new houses are going up. Meanwhile, at Marrabaran, a handful of people have started trying to clear the rocky land to put up new houses, but there is no infrastructure for them. There has been some ad hoc assistance with building materials, but nothing at all in terms of income-generation projects. Babayo blamed this on financial constraints and a lack of donor interest. He acknowledged that it could take "a very long time" for people to rebuild their homes and livelihoods. "But people are extremely enterprising," he added. "Host communities have also been extraordinarily generous and accommodating, so ultimately, people will succeed in resettling here." Despite the high levels of fear and animosity, the majority of Muslims and Christians in Plateau state agree that land disputes and a long history of ethnic rivalry are the underlying cause of the simmering conflict between them - not religious differences. Hausa-Fulani Muslims in Plateau have long complained that predominantly Christian farmers steal their cattle and prevent them from grazing, whilst the farmers counter that the Hausa-Fulani cattle encroach on their land. "The crux of the problem is that a lot of people are coming to this part of the country and trying to stake a claim to land that is not rightfully theirs," said Sheikh Yusuf Gomwalk, an Islamic scholar of the Jama'atu Nasril Islam organisation in Jos. He was referring to the entrenched divisions throughout Nigeria between people who are considered indigenous to an area, and those regarded as settlers. Even though settlers may have lived in an area for hundreds of years, they are consistently discriminated against in terms of land ownership, control of commerce, jobs and education. In predominantly Christian Plateau state, the majority of "settlers" belong to the Hausa-Fulani ethnic group, who have gradually trekked south from northern Nigeria and even Niger as the expanding Sahara desert has dried up their traditional grazing lands. "It is only the politicians who play the religious card," Gomwalk said. "This whole crisis is part of a larger scheme by the northern power base to dominate the country's Middle Belt. But there is particularly intense resistance to this in Plateau." IDP resettlement in Baram, where some houses are slowly going up. Credit: IRIN Some Plateau residents, including prominent community leaders, remain convinced that the state government initiated the recent crisis in order to rid the area of Muslim settlers. To them, the state of emergency was a blessing, which helped to restore confidence. Others are adamant that the recently re-instated state governor, Joshua Dariye, was made a scapegoat for the crisis. He was ejected from power six months ago, while Chris Ali, a former army general, handpicked by Obasanjo, was put in charge of Plateau. Nigeria has experienced numerous outbreaks of serious violence since the end of military rule in 1999, yet such emergency powers had not previously been invoked. Obasanjo will be forced by the constitution to retire after serving two consecutive, four-year terms as Nigeria's elected president, but there are already two main candidates limbering up for the presidential nomination of his People's Democratic Party (PDP). One is Vice President Atiku Abubakar. The other is former military head of state, Ibrahim Babangida, who like Obasanjo, is a former army general. Both these contenders are powerful northerners. However, Obasanjo, a Christian from the Yoruba southwest of Nigeria, is widely regarded to favor Babangida, who supported his own bid for power. Yet one of Abubakar's key supporters is the disgraced Plateau state governor, who lost his power. Against this background of Machiavellian politics at a national level, there are many who fear that the federal government's attempts to bring peace to Plateau state are largely empty gestures. One set event that formed part of this process was a Plateau state peace conference in September 2004, which President Obasanjo personally attended. This event was described by Yelwa councilor Abullahi D. Abdullahi II as "superficially good, but definitely not truly representative of the Plateau state residents and if anything, entrenching divisions even more deeply". Questions are also being asked about a proposed Truth and Reconciliation Commission. "This may be just a cover to avoid the issue of prosecuting and bringing to justice the perpetrators of the violence - including the security forces," said one Yelwa resident. "Until this happens there can be no forgiveness and no chance of peace." Further violence could trigger potentially massive population movements with a destabilising effect on the entire country. Ordinary Nigerians can only hope that the politicians will see this as a risk too far.

Reuters 23 Feb 2005 Nigeria probes deaths in military raid in oil delta 23 Feb 2005 15:12:46 GMT Source: Reuters ABUJA, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Nigeria's Senate has launched an investigation into allegations that several people were killed by Nigerian troops in a raid on a remote Niger Delta village, a senator said on Wednesday. The commander of the military task force in the delta has said only one person was killed in Saturday's raid on a group suspected of killing civilians and stealing crude oil in Odiama. But Bayelsa East Senator Rufus Spiff said he believed many more died in a gunfight that lasted several hours. "According to my constituents, many people have been killed and several people are missing in the surrounding bush, but they might come back. We'll have to investigate before we come to any concrete conclusion," he told Reuters. The Senate passed a motion on Wednesday for a special committee to visit Odiama, which is a three-hour boat ride from Bayelsa state capital Yenagoa, and report back within a week. The wetlands of the Niger Delta in southern Nigeria produce almost all of the OPEC member nation's 2.3 million barrels per day of oil, but output was unaffected by the latest fighting. The military launched the attack in Odiama in response to the killing of 12 people, including four local councillors, in early February in a boat ambush by militiamen embroiled in a bitter dispute over an oil-rich parcel of land. Tensions have been high in the fishing community since energy giant Royal Dutch Shell started developing an oilfield at Obioku, which has been claimed by rival communities in the Odiama area. Nigeria's military has been criticised for using excessive force in previous attacks on communities sheltering militiamen, particularly in the Niger Delta, where the army has deployed thousands of troops to protect oil installations operated by foreign multinationals. Nigeria is the world's eighth largest oil exporter and the fifth top supplier to the United States. In 1999, the army killed hundreds of people in the Odi community in Bayelsa after the killing of 12 policemen, rights activists say. The oil-rich but impoverished Niger Delta has been volatile for decades and local communities feuding over land rights as well as oil revenues clash frequently. Armed gangs backed by senior political and ethnic figures have mushroomed in recent years, building up sophisticated arsenals with the proceeds from stolen crude oil. Industry officials estimate about 10 percent of Nigerian crude oil is stolen and sold on international markets. The delta saw an upsurge of fighting in March 2003 when an ethnic Ijaw revolt against their Itsekiri neighbours and oil multinationals killed about 100 people, prompting the deployment of thousands of troops. The bloodletting forced oil companies to evacuate their facilities, briefly shutting 40 percent of Nigerian output.

IRIN 24 Feb 2005 Residents accuse soldiers of burning rural delta town, killing 30 [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © PORT HARCOURT, 24 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - Residents in a rural town in the southern Niger Delta said government troops killed at least 30 people and torched houses during a raid carried out as part of investigations into an oil dispute between two local communities. More than 200 soldiers in gunboats attacked the remote town of Odioma in the Nembe district of Bayelsa state on Saturday, burning houses and firing at the inhabitants as they fled in confusion, residents said. Nimi Barigha-Amange, a clan chief in the area, said more than 30 bodies had been recovered and that many people were still missing. Felix Tuodolo, a local minority rights activist, circulated a list compiled by the Odioma community of 33 people allegedly killed by the soldiers. But a spokesman for the Nigerian army denied that there had been any deaths in the incident, which took place near the Atlantic coast 80 km southwest of Port Harcourt, the hub of Nigeria's vital oil industry. “Nobody died. The commander who led the operation didn’t report any deaths,” army spokesman Mohammed Yusuf said. Both Odioma and the neighbouring town of Obioku each lay claim to a stretch of swampland adjoining the two communities where Shell recently began drilling for oil. Earlier this month, a boat taking local leaders mediating in the dispute to Obioku was attacked by gunmen, whom the authorities suspect came from Odioma. Four local officials were among the 12 people killed in the attack. Army spokesman Yusuf said troops had been sent to hunt down those responsible. But he said the soldiers came under fire as they approached Odioma last Saturday and opened fire in return. A Shell spokesman declined to comment on the violence, saying the land dispute was a matter for the Nigerian authorities to resolve. Shell has in the meantime suspended drilling activities in the disputed patch of swamp land, known as Owukubu. Violence between communities laying competing claims to oil land and the jobs and welfare amenities associated with it, is rife in the impoverished Niger Delta, the region that produces much of Nigeria's 2.5 million barrels of daily oil exports. In response to violence by gangs of criminals and militants who steal oil from pipelines, kidnap workers and generally disrupt oil operations, President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government has deployed thousands of troops to the region in the past two years. Under Obasanjo, troops have often been accused of committing brutal atrocities against unarmed civilians in the oil-producing southeast of Nigeria. In November 1999 soldiers pursuing gunmen who killed 12 policemen, burnt down the town of Odi in the Niger Delta and were accused of killing hundreds of people.

Reuters 23 Feb 2005 Six die in communal clash in northern Nigeria 23 Feb 2005 18:30:12 GMT Source: Reuters ABUJA, Feb 23 (Reuters) - A clash between herdsmen and farmers in remote northern Nigeria has killed at least six people and prompted the deployment of hundreds of police to the area, a police spokesman said on Wednesday. Police said violence erupted around Monday when roaming ethnic Fulani herdsmen fleeing a clash with farmers three weeks ago in the area of Ringim, encroached on farmlands in the neighbouring Taura area. "The herdsmen were trying to graze their cattle on the farmers' farmlands, and they clashed, attacking each other with bows and arrows and cutlasses. Two died on the Fulani side and four died on the farmers' side," said Jigawa state police spokesman Sunday Digha. At least 300 policemen had since been moved to Taura to calm the situation down, he said. At least four people were killed and several were injured in the clash in Ringim earlier this month. Communal clashes between roaming Fulani herdsmen and indigenous farmers are common in Nigeria's dusty north, as nomads fleeing the expansion of the Saharan desert and over-grazed lands push onto more fertile farmlands. The country has seen a surge in violence since the end of 15 years of military rule in 1999. At least 11,000 have died in religious, ethnic and communal killings. Many Nigerians say worsening poverty in Africa's most populous country has heightened tensions between rival communities.

Rwanda see France

Hirondelle News Agency (Lausanne) 15 Feb 2005 First Gacaca Trials For Early March (Official) Kigali The long-awaited, repeatedly postponed trial hearings in Rwanda's semi-traditional Gacaca courts are scheduled to start in early March, the Executive Secretary of the Gacaca department told Hirondelle News Agency on Tuesday. Since the inauguration of the courts over three years ago, only pre-trial hearings aimed at identifying victims and suspects have been held. "Everything is in place for the trials to start either on March 3 or 10," Domitilla Mukantaganzwa said. "A cabinet meeting later this week will decide the exact date from those," she added. Gacaca courts were set up to speed up genocide trials and reconciliation after authorities realized that regular courts would take over 100 years to complete all genocide trials. The courts are presided over by volunteer judges elected from their communities. The judges are elected on the basis of 'high moral integrity'. Prior knowledge of conventional legal principles is not a prerequisite. The judges have all been given training in basic legal principles and the Gacaca law. Authorities are also counting on the judges invoking traditional Rwandan legal skills. "All necessary logistical arrangements for the start of the trials have been made", said Mukantaganzwa. "In areas that have not yet received equipment, we have it stocked up nearby", she added. Political leaders have recently embarked on promotional tours of the country, encouraging participation in the courts.

Guardian UK 16 feb 2005 From four-star sanctuary to star of Hollywood: the hotel that saved hundreds from genocide Film tells story of manager who created an unlikely haven in Rwanda by keeping militiamen at bay with wit and bribes of cheese and wine Jeevan Vasagar in Kigali The scorched carpet has been ripped up and replaced, the smoke-stained walls wear a fresh coat of paint, and the swimming pool where desperate refugees came to drink the stagnant water has been cleaned and refilled. From the fourth-floor restaurant, where waiters serve grilled fish as a jazz saxophonist plays, guests at the refurbished Hotel des Mille Collines enjoy a panoramic view of Rwanda's tree-studded capital, Kigali. But memories are not erased as easily. "There were people sleeping everywhere," the concierge, Zozo, recalled. "There was no water. It was filthy here. In the city, guns were shooting - boom, boom - and there was smoke rising." In 1994, as genocidal violence swept Rwanda, the four-star hotel became a sanctuary for 700 Tutsis whose lives were saved largely by the guile of the manager, Paul Rusesabagina. The remarkable story of the Mille Collines, where not a single life was lost during the 100 days of slaughter, is now an Oscar-nominated Hollywood film starring Don Cheadle as Rusesabagina. It opens in the UK next week. Elsewhere in Rwanda, churches and stadiums that terrified Tutsis believed would be a place of refuge were turned into places of mass murder. Even at the Mille Collines, bullets were fired into the lobby and a shell landed on the first floor. Militiamen made regular attempts to clear out those seeking safety. The refugees survived through the wits of the manager, a Hutu, whose wife Tatiana, played in the film by British actress Sophie Okonedo, was a Tutsi. He bartered fine cheeses, wine and cognac from company stores to keep the killers at bay. "The UN was here but they did nothing," said Zozo, a stocky man in navy blue livery, who still welcomes guests through the glass double doors. "Monsieur Paul did everything." Within the 113-room, five-storey hotel, a micro-society established itself. The hotel kitchens provided meals of beans and rice for refugees; a priest celebrated mass and conducted marriages in the conference room; there was a doctor and nurses, who helped deliver a baby in room 216. In the early days after the blood-letting began, on April 7 1994, the hotel was the assembly point for western expatriates. It became a magnet for middle-class Tutsis, who hoped the presence of foreigners might save their lives. "We thought that would be our protection, the fact that the hotel was a place for whites," said radio journalist Thomas Kamilindi, who got to the hotel on April 14. Evacuated But within the first few days, the expatriates were evacuated, and the Rwandans were forced to rely on their own ingenuity and contacts. The Mille Collines was a place of shelter for the well-connected and the wealthy rather than the masses. "There were lawyers, doctors, journalists and civil servants here," said Mr Kamilindi, whose elder daughter Igihozo, then five, was murdered in the genocide. "There were simple people here too, but they were people who had been brought here by their bosses." More middle-class refugees joined them. As it became clear that churches would not be safe, some wealthy Tutsis bribed militiamen for safe passage to the Mille Collines. Part of the reason for the survival of these refugees was the connections they still maintained. Even as Rwanda plunged into the abyss, guests such as François Xavier Nsanzuwera, a former attorney general and moderate Hutu, used their contacts in an attempt to raise international attention. They were able to communicate because the génocidaires had cut the phone lines but failed to cut off the fax, which could also be used to make voice calls. "We formed a committee. We wrote and sent faxes," said Kamilindi. "François Xavier was a lawyer and a human rights activist. He knew many different numbers. We sent faxes to the White House, the Elysée Palace and several human rights organisations." The journalist went on French radio to describe conditions in Kigali. The interview prompted the Rwandan army to send a soldier to kill him; the soldier, a former childhood friend, spared his life. As the genocide raged on, spanning three months from its start in April till early July, conditions got steadily worse. "By June it was terrible. The electricity was cut, and the generator was not working," said Abias Musonera, 47, the hotel's technical manager, who survived and has stayed on in his old job. "People uprooted the bushes outside, and chopped the hotel doors down to make firewood. They lit fires to cook, even in the corridors, and burned holes in the carpets." Musonera's wife, Immaculée, gave birth to son Moise, now 11, in a hotel room. As time went on, the lack of water grew increasingly dire. Water from the pool was rationed out to those in the hotel, who drank it even after Hutu soldiers urinated in it, saying: "This is just water for Inyenzi [cockroaches, the term for Tutsis]." People were crowded 10 to a bedroom, which cost $125-a-night before the genocide began. More slept in the corridors, the lobby and in the bar by the pool. Whenever the refugees in the hotel were threatened by militiamen, the manager and other inmates used contacts in the Rwandan military to ward off the danger. Rusesabagina used alcohol to buy off Hutu leaders such as the army commander, Major General Augustin Bizimungu. He persuaded such senior officers to restrain more junior commanders who wanted to exterminate the hotel's occupants. Kamilindi said: "What Paul did was extraordinary. He gave us the hotel for free. When the water in the pool ran out, he sent a lorry to get more water, I don't know where from. "Each time they menaced the hotel, he called the army officers, he opened the cellars and he distributed the wine and the champagne." Bizarrely, even while it sheltered people who were targets for the Hutu extremists, the Mille Collines was a haven for the families of some alleged génocidaires too. This may have provided some protection. Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, who presided over the Sainte Famille cathedral where Tutsis were butchered, entrusted his elderly mother to the hotel's protection - because she was a Tutsi. The Catholic priest, who carried a revolver in his belt during the genocide, is accused by human rights groups of colluding with the killers. Robert Kajuga, national president of the Hutu extremist militia, the Interahamwe, checked his brother Wyclif into the Mille Collines for the same reason. The Kajuga brothers were from a Tutsi family whose father had acquired Hutu identity papers for his family, and Robert knew even his brother's life was at risk. A degree of protection was also provided by the UN, whose commander, Roméo Dallaire, is played by Nick Nolte in the film. A UN armoured car was stationed outside the hotel's reception, and the blue flag was flown. Survivors believe this was because UN officers were staying at the hotel too. "They were protecting their own," said Zozo, real name Wellars Bizumunumyi, 50, whose wife and four children were killed in 1994. Rusesabagina now lives in Brussels and runs a trucking firm in Zambia. Last month he told the American People magazine: "What happened in Rwanda is now happening in Darfur, in the Congo, in all of these places they are butchering innocent civilians. It is high time we know that a human life in Africa is as important as a human life in the west." The Mille Collines is up for sale, following the bankruptcy of its Belgian parent company Sabena, but executives say none of the staff will be fired. "I would rather lose my life than see the people here lose their jobs," said Christian Van Buggenhout, president of the trustees administering the bankrupt firm. The hotel is still a place of inaccessible luxury for most Rwandans. Room rates range from $88 (£49) to $202 (£112) a night, in a country where 80% live on less than $2 a day. Despite this, the story of the hotel has become a small symbol of hope amid the horrors of the genocide. Another film set in the hotel is being made. It is based on Canadian writer Gil Courtemanche's novel A Sunday by the Pool in Kigali, which tells the story of a foreign journalist's relationship with a Tutsi waitress.

VOA 24 Feb 2005 UN Tribunal Hands 15 War Crimes Cases to Rwanda By VOA News 24 February 2005 The United Nations-backed war crimes tribunal for Rwanda has handed 15 of its cases over to Rwandan authorities. Tribunal officials say the move is intended to help the court speed up its work prosecuting suspected leaders of Rwanda's 1994 genocide, in which an estimated 800,000 mostly ethnic Tutsis were killed. They say the 15 suspects, still at large, are accused of genocide and crimes against humanity. Rwandan officials have been pressing the tribunal to hand over suspected masterminds of the genocide for trial in their home country. Rwanda's Deputy Chief Prosecutor Martin Ngoga Thursday welcomed the tribunal's decision. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has convicted 20 people and acquitted three since it was set up in 1994. Another 25 people are on trial, while 18 others are awaiting trial. Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

Reuters 24 Feb 2005 Rwandans Say Genocide Film Doesn't Capture Horror By REUTERS Published: February 24, 2005 Filed at 5:39 a.m. ET KIGALI (Reuters) - Survivors of Rwanda's 1994 genocide criticized newly released films set amid the massacres on Thursday, saying they failed to capture the full extent of the horror or contained historical inaccuracies. While some Rwandans welcomed ``Hotel Rwanda'' as a reminder for the world of the killings of some 800,000 people, survivors who watched copies of the film said it should have contained more graphic scenes of violence. ``I do not think an outsider can really understand the gravity of the genocide by watching that movie ... The terror suffered by the victims was unimaginable,'' said Jacqueline Ruhamyambunga, who lost almost 60 family members during the 100 days of slaughter. ``The film does not show the rape, blood, thousands of decomposing corpses and horrible suffering that we people out of that hotel witnessed.'' ``Hotel Rwanda,'' which has grabbed the limelight with three Oscar nominations, focuses on a hotel in Kigali where the brave manager creates an oasis of safety amid the genocide, in which Hutu extremists killed minority Tutsis and Hutu moderates. Paul Rusesabagina, the real-life played by Oscar-nominated ``Ocean's Twelve'' star Don Cheadle, has defended director Terry George's decision to focus on events in the hotel more than those on the streets outside. But some survivors were disappointed that the film did not take a more explicit approach to the massacres. ``The killings occur off-camera for the most part, away from the film's settings,'' said Augustine Ndoba, another survivor. ``This definitely fails to bring to the screen the reality of the slaughter -- it's another Hollywood fiction.'' OLD WOUNDS But some survivors say the film is still powerful enough to reopen old wounds. ``The killings in the background reminded me of my relatives -- many of them were slaughtered in a similar way,'' said Claudette Basinga, who was 14 at the time of the genocide and lost over a dozen relatives. ``I almost failed to finish the entire movie -- I was busy recalling the killings -- almost failing to concentrate on the subject matter,'' said Basinga, who used to hide on the roof of her house with her parents when Hutu militia came knocking. Another new film on the genocide, ``Sometimes in April,'' directed by Raoul Peck, takes a much more explicit approach, featuring scenes such as the execution of one of the leading characters, shot in the back just as a friend, himself held at gunpoint by extremists, prepares to hack at him with a machete. Soldiers open fire on a room full of girls at a school where they thought they would be safe. A teacher and a girl who survive have to climb from under a pile of bloodied bodies. The wife of central character Augustin, played by Idris Elba, blows herself and several soldiers up with a hand grenade to avoid being raped. But although the film paints a more detailed picture of the grisly reality of the genocide, some Rwandans say it portrays the killings as the responsibility of the Hutu militia, neglecting the careful planning by the government and military. Francois Ngarambe, president of an association of genocide survivors, said many were pleased that it reminded the world that preventable atrocities had been committed in Rwanda but the film neglected to portray the element of planning. ``The film is characterised by very serious inaccuracies and omissions which made most of survivors say 'It is not our story!''' he said.

NYT 26 Feb 2005 Women's Voices Rise as Rwanda Reinvents Itself By MARC LACEY KIGALI, Rwanda, Feb. 23 - The most remarkable thing about Rwanda's Parliament is not the war-damaged building that houses it, with its bullet holes and huge artillery gashes still visible a decade after the end of the fighting. It is inside the hilltop structure, from the spectator seats of the lower house, that one sees a most unusual sight for this part of the world: mixed in with all the dark-suited male legislators are many, many women - a greater percentage than in any other parliamentary body in the world. A decade after a killing frenzy left this tiny Central Africa country in ruins, Rwanda is reinventing itself in some surprising ways. Women make up 48.8 percent of seats in the lower house of Parliament, a higher percentage than in the legislative bodies in countries like Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway, known for their progressive policies. The rise of women stems in part from government initiatives aimed at propelling them to the upper ranks of politics. But their numbers do not necessarily add up to influence. They are more a reflection of the demographics and disillusionment spawned by the killing spree that left 800,000 or more people dead, though some lawmakers are trying to use their new place in government to enhance the lot of women in what remains a deeply patriarchal land. "Before the genocide, women always figured their husbands would take care of them," said Aurea Kayiganwa, the coordinator of Avega, a national organization representing Rwanda's many war widows. "But the genocide changed all that. It forced women to get active, to take care of themselves. So many of the men were gone." At the end of the ethnic warfare of the 1990's, women greatly outnumbered men - some estimate the ratio as 7 to 1 - a result of the wanton killing of so many men and the escape of so many others involved in the carnage. During the rebuilding of the country, then, women's anguished voices were difficult not to hear, and they became what was seen as a powerful and credible force for reconciliation. "I used to see politics as something bad," said Athanasie Gahondogo, a member of Parliament and executive secretary of the Forum for Rwandan Women Parliamentarians. "It's what caused our problems and made me a refugee for so long. But now I want to have a seat at the table." Women were a tiny percentage of those jailed for taking part in the strife between the Tutsi, who make up about 15 percent of the population, and the Hutu, who represent nearly all of the rest. One study put the portion of women involved at just 2.3 percent. A minister of family and women's affairs in the old government, Pauline Nyiramasuhukon, is on trial on genocide charges at the International Criminal Tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania, but the heinous charges attributed to her, including inciting others to rape Tutsi women, are considered by many here to be an aberration when it comes to women. "There's a widespread perception in Rwanda that women are better at reconciliation and forgiveness," said Elizabeth Powley, who has studied Rwandan women's political rise for Women Waging Peace, an organization based in Cambridge, Mass. "Giving them such prominence is partly an effort at conflict prevention." During the drafting of the country's new postwar Constitution, 30 percent of the seats in the two house of Parliament were designated for women. But an unexpected thing happened in October 2003 when voters went to the polls to elect a Parliament for the first time since the war. They chose even more women than many male politicians expected. "Some men even complained that women were taking some of the 'men' seats," said Donnah Kamashazi, a representative in Rwanda for the United Nations Development Fund for Women. Six of the 20 seats in the Senate are held by women, meeting the 30 percent set aside. But in the lower house, which has 80 seats, women won 39, 15 more than the number reserved for them. Taken together, women make up 45 percent of the two chambers, just below the 45.3 percent in Sweden's single-chamber Parliament. The political representation of Rwandan women is not limited to the legislative arena. There is a female chief justice of the Supreme Court, several female cabinet members, a female head of the influential National Unity and Reconciliation Commission and a female deputy police chief, to name but a few of the prominent women in Rwanda's political world. All that said, women continue to suffer profoundly in today's Rwanda. "I try to forget what happened in 1994," said one of the suffering ones, Cécille Mukampabuka, 64, whose leg was shattered and who lost much of her family back then. "I would go mad if I didn't try to forget. But I can't ever forget. It's not over yet for me. I'm still suffering." Rwanda remains a male-dominated land, far more than the gendersensitive numbers would suggest. Patriarchal traditions remain strong in the home, where experts say women continue to suffer from spousal abuse and where the notion that the man is the lord of the manor thrives. A female senator disclosed to colleagues recently that she still deferred to her husband during official functions in her home so as not to question his supremacy there. And the uppermost reaches of government remain the preserves of men. In Rwanda, President Paul Kagame, the former rebel leader whose forces quelled the mass killing of Tutsi and moderate Hutu in 1994, holds a firm grip on power, and loyalty to him remains a prerequisite for political survival, no matter one's sex. Criticism of any aspect of governing in Rwanda, including the country's promotion of women, is done at one's own risk. Recently, when the head of a women's organization questioned the effectiveness of the country's female legislators in solving women's problems and likened them to flowers, which look good but do little else, she was condemned and threatened. Shortly afterward, she fled the country. "It was bad research," complained Odette Nyiramirimo, an influential senator and former cabinet minister. "She was calling the women stupid. She used the word flower to describe them. I think she was wrong." Ms. Nyiramirimo and other women in politics here acknowledge that Parliament does not play an overly confrontation role with the executive branch, an outgrowth, they say, of the divisive politics of the country's past. Only a handful of pieces of legislation have originated in Parliament in recent years, for instance, and little if anything that Mr. Kagame suggests is rejected, or even substantially altered, before adoption. Women also agree that it has taken some time for the female legislators to get their feet wet in politics. During a recent afternoon of political debate, it was clear that the proceedings were being dominated by men. But women are making inroads. Legislation passed in 1999, before the current influx of women, liberalized the rules restricting inheritance for women, which were a major force in keeping women poor. Penalties for child rapists have been toughened, an outgrowth of the brutal treatment that women and girls suffered in 1994. "Men are watching us," Ms. Nyiramirimo said. "They wonder if we'll rise up to a higher level. We're learning fast, because we have to. We say to each other that we can't be as good as the men - we have to be better." Ms. Nyiramirimo said the true test of women's success would be how much they changed the lives of rural women, those who do not tool around the capital in chauffeur-driven vehicles and do not spend their time debating the issues of the day. "Women in leadership are doing the little they can, but the problems are as big as the sea," said Mrs. Kamashazi of the United Nations Development Fund for Women. "Sometimes you just say, 'Oh, my goodness.' " Rwanda remains a desperately poor country, where social indicators like life expectancy, child mortality and literacy lag significantly behind most of the world. Much of the day-to-day toil falls squarely on the shoulders of the nation's war-weary women. "I grew up in a rural area, and every morning before school I had to get up early and fetch water at the river," Ms. Nyiramirimo recalled. "It was so painful to balance it on your head. Every time I go to my village I see girls and women still doing it." One initiative she hopes to push her colleagues to adopt is a program to import donkeys, which are common in other parts of Africa but rather rare here. They would be bred and then distributed to villages to help relieve the loads women must bear. Talk of putting 1994 in the past is difficult for many women across Rwanda, who find themselves poor and alone, or who suffer from AIDS contracted during a violent rape then, or who are now raising many children who are not their own but who were orphaned in the killing spree. One of them is Winfred Mukagirhana, 46, who was raped repeatedly in 1994 and like so many other Rwandan women is now dying of AIDS. She lost her husband and four of her five children in 1994. Her lone surviving boy, who was 12 back then, is now an emotionally disturbed young man who cannot get the brutal attacks that he witnessed out of his head. "What can the government do for me?" she asked, saying she could not feel much satisfaction from the statistics on women's progress that have put Rwanda so high compared with other countries in the world. "My life is over. I'm almost dead."


International Herald Tribune 12 Feb 2005 www.iht.comA losing strategy on war crimes by Stéphanie GirySaturday, February 12, 2005 Darfur and the ICC NEW YORK In September, the Bush administration went out on a limb to call the ethnic cleansing in Darfur a "genocide" and threaten UN sanctions, only to balk at more concrete measures. Now, the recommendations of the UN commission that investigated the crisis - which rest on questionable legal grounds - promise to be just as ineffective. The panel has urged the Security Council to refer the matter to the new International Criminal Court, the "logical" place, Secretary General Kofi Annan has said, to try these crimes. Though the suggestion may seem sensible, there's one big problem with it: Most of the perpetrators in Darfur can't be tried before the ICC because Sudan hasn't ratified the court's founding statute. The panel's failure to admit this limitation is staggering. It is so staggering, in fact, that coming from a group of respected experts, it may not be an oversight at all. More likely, it's a daring strategy to expand the court's ambit over one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. Unfortunately, it's also a losing strategy. Consider the basics. The Rome Statute, which created the ICC, gives it the authority to handle genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression. But the court can only consider these crimes if it also has jurisdiction over the accused. The Rome Statute requires that those persons be either nationals of a state party to the treaty or people acting there. Sudan hasn't ratified the statute, so the ICC could only hear cases from Darfur that involve non-Sudanese nationals from states recognizing the court - hardly the bulk, one suspects, of the perpetrators. Yet the UN panel ignored this requirement, invoking instead parts of the treaty that set out how ICC procedures get started. The ICC's jurisdiction can be "triggered," the panel argued, if the Security Council refers a case to the court's prosecutor. Here, it took liberties with an important distinction between what cases the ICC has authority to hear and how those can be brought to it. Meanwhile, it accomplished little by recommending a procedure for funneling cases that can't be prosecuted. Another problem is that the Security Council can't be trusted to act on the commission's request. Washington has already said it will oppose any measure that could boost the ICC's legitimacy; it favors handing the Darfur cases to a new ad hoc tribunal. There's also China, which spent the summer bickering over the wording of Security Council resolutions designed to pressure Khartoum into stopping the killings. As Washington sponsored drafts threatening sanctions, Beijing, which invests heavily in Sudan's oil industry, worked hard to defang them and then abstained from voting. By overlooking these politics and the inherent limits on the ICC's authority, favoring talk of accountability over real prospects for it, the UN panel may have harmed its cause and its court. Curiously, in the process, the panel has begun to sound a lot like the Bush administration, which has denounced the massacres more than most governments but done as little to stop them, thus eroding rather than upholding its obligations. Whether Washington's failure to stop a "genocide" might damage the standard itself is a question that seems not to have even crossed the minds of White House staffers. With the UN panel's new report, the United States now finds itself in an awkward position: opposing the Security Council's mobilization, which it spent the summer advocating, because of a longstanding beef against the ICC. Once again, it is at odds with the UN, arguing that while the Darfur massacres are genocide, they aren't for the ICC to look into, whereas the UN panel claims that they aren't genocide but must be examined by the ICC. Yet the more the two disagree over terminology and methods, the more alike they become: In handling the crisis in Darfur, they seem equally ineffectual and perhaps even irresponsible. Together, they have muddled an important legal standard and damaged the credibility of an important institution, complicating the prosecution of the massacres in Sudan today and the prevention of crimes elsewhere in the future. (Stéphanie Giry, an associate editor at Foreign Affairs, was in 2002 a lawyer with the U.N. Office of Legal Affairs.)

www.sudantribune.com 15 Feb 2005 Sudanese government ready to try "genocide" suspects : minister Tuesday February 15th, 2005. KHARTOUM, Feb 14, 2005 (SUNA) -- Minister of Justice Ali Mohamed Osman Yassin has stressed that the government will try anyone who is indicted in genocide cases inside Sudan, pointing out that everyone is equal before the law, and that no one is above the law, or will be protected by the state because of his post or social class. Photo caption - a special judge, sits in court in Nyala Sept 30, 2004 to try six Sudanese men accused of belonging to the Janjaweed, who killed 24 people in the southern Darfur region last Oct.

AP 17 Feb 2005 U.N. Wants ICC to Take Up Darfur Abuses Thursday February 17, 2005 4:16 AM AP Photo KHT104 By LEYLA LINTON Associated Press Writer UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The U.N. human rights chief on Wednesday urged the Security Council to immediately refer abuses in Darfur to the International Criminal Court, while Kofi Annan called for ``urgent action'' to end the violence in the vast region in western Sudan. Louise Arbour strongly backed the recommendations of a U.N. commission that concluded last month that the Sudanese government and militias carried out mass killings and probably war crimes in Darfur. The commission called for the killings in to be referred to the ICC, the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal. The U.N. secretary-general also told the 15-nation Security Council it was ``vital'' that the perpetrators of the crimes were punished. The commission's report was ``one of the most important documents in the recent history of the United Nations,'' Annan said. ``It makes chilling reading. And it is a call to urgent action.'' ``This report demonstrates, beyond all doubt, that the last two years have been little short of hell on earth for our fellow human beings in Darfur. And despite the attention the council has paid to this crisis, that hell continues today,'' he said. ``As others have said before me, while the United Nations may not be able to take humanity to heaven, it must act to save humanity from hell,'' Annan said. 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 rape, mass killings and wanton destruction against the African population. The government denies the allegations. Arbour said the ICC, which began operating in The Hague, Netherlands, in 2003, was the right place for any prosecutions and was ``ready to go.'' The United States, China and Algeria expressed opposition to the ICC at the Security Council meeting to discuss the commission's report, diplomats said on condition of anonymity. Arbour also said that although the commission did not find that the Sudanese government had a genocidal policy, individuals accused of atrocities in Sudan could still be convicted of genocide. The United Nations has called Darfur the world's worst humanitarian crisis, saying the conflict has claimed 70,000 lives since March - mostly from disease and hunger. It affects 2 million people and U.N. officials say the situation is deteriorating. President Bush's administration is vehemently opposed to the International Criminal Court, claiming Americans could be prosecuted for frivolous or political reasons. The United States has called instead for a separate tribunal based in Arusha, Tanzania, to prosecute alleged perpetrators in Darfur, a proposal that has received little support among council members. The United States has circulated a draft U.N. resolution calling for a 10,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission to help enforce the recent peace deal between the government and rebels in southern Sudan and authorizing the peacekeepers, subject to approval by Annan, to assist an African Union force which is trying to help end the conflict in Darfur. The AU has deployed about 1,900 of an expected 3,320-strong force. But at his monthly lunch Wednesday with the Security Council, Annan urged members to think about the implications of deploying a large U.N. force to monitor the relatively peaceful north-south agreement while the conflict in Darfur was getting worse, a council diplomat said. Annan indicated that the U.N. Secretariat was considering several options to beef up the force in Darfur, the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity. In a separate development, six tribal leaders in a southern Darfur area fraught with violence agreed Wednesday to cease attacks against each other and drop all claims for blood money for past assaults on tribesmen. It was not clear how the agreement would be enforced.

Reuters 18 Feb 2005 UN Council deadlocked over court for Darfur trials By Evelyn Leopold UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council was split on Thursday over where to try war crime cases from Sudan's Darfur region, with Europe, China and the United States pushing different options and diplomats seeing no easy solution. For the first time, 12 of the 15 Security Council members said they favored sending perpetrators of atrocities in Darfur to the new International Criminal Court in The Hague, which the Bush administration opposes. No formal vote was taken. Opposition during consultations late on Wednesday also came from China and Algeria, which agreed with Sudan that Khartoum should use its own courts and want no referral to either the ICC or to a U.S.-proposed new ad hoc court in Tanzania. Although the Bush administration has been in the forefront of recommending tough action on Sudan, it rejects using the ICC, which it fears could bring political prosecutions against Americans abroad. Instead it has lobbied for a new court for Sudan be convened in Arusha, Tanzania, using facilities of the 1994 Rwanda genocide tribunal. "Our position hasn't changed," said Richard Grenell, spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations. "We want immediate sanctions and that is what we are pushing for," Grenell said. "We certainly want to hold them accountable and the exact mechanism we will talk about later." The United States proposed a draft resolution on Monday that would impose an arms embargo, an asset freeze on violators of a cease-fire in Darfur and restrictions on offensive government military flights. But the draft omitted a venue for the trials. "HOPE FOR PEACE" The issue of prosecutions became acute after a U.N.-appointed panel last month gave Secretary General Kofi Annan a list of 51 suspects and evidence of killings, pillaging and rape in Darfur where at least 70,000 people died and 2 million were forced out of their homes. The panel of law experts recommended the ICC. "There is no hope for sustainable peace in Darfur without immediate access to justice," Louise Arbour, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights told the council on Wednesday in formally introducing the report. "This is a case where to indict and arrest certain persons could actually prevent the commission of crimes and actually save lives and protect victims." According to diplomats at the meeting, France, Greece, Denmark, Brazil and Argentina strongly backed the ICC. "The ICC has the mandate, the capacity and the funding to ensure swift and cost-effective prosecution," Danish Ambassador Ellen Margrethe Loj said on Thursday. Japan and Philippines supported a referral to the court while Russia, Romania, Tanzania and Benin backed the ICC but said there was a need for council unity. Britain strongly backed the ICC but emphasized the entire council had to decide. The meeting came after Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy representative, told Reuters the EU might fail in its bid to refer the Darfur crisis to the ICC because of Washington's opposition and may have to settle for the Tanzanian option. France's U.N. ambassador, Jean-Marc de La Sabliere, said a referral to the ICC could "certainly not" be ruled out yet. He and other EU envoys apparently hope the United States might abstain on an ICC vote if offered an exemption from prosecution in Darfur, although there is little sign of this. It is also uncertain how China, which has veto power, would vote. All council members except China and the United States have signed or ratified the treaty establishing the ICC, the world's first permanent global criminal court to try individuals for genocide and war crimes.

NYT 23 Feb 2005 OP-ED COLUMNIST The Secret Genocide Archive By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF Photos don't normally appear on this page. But it's time for all of us to look squarely at the victims of our indifference. These are just four photos in a secret archive of thousands of photos and reports that document the genocide under way in Darfur. The materials were gathered by African Union monitors, who are just about the only people able to travel widely in that part of Sudan. This African Union archive is classified, but it was shared with me by someone who believes that Americans will be stirred if they can see the consequences of their complacency. The photo at the upper left was taken in the village of Hamada on Jan. 15, right after a Sudanese government-backed militia, the janjaweed, attacked it and killed 107 people. One of them was this little boy. I'm not showing the photo of his older brother, about 5 years old, who lay beside him because the brother had been beaten so badly that nothing was left of his face. And alongside the two boys was the corpse of their mother. The photo to the right shows the corpse of a man with an injured leg who was apparently unable to run away when the janjaweed militia attacked. At the lower left is a man who fled barefoot and almost made it to this bush before he was shot dead. Last is the skeleton of a man or woman whose wrists are still bound. The attackers pulled the person's clothes down to the knees, presumably so the victim could be sexually abused before being killed. If the victim was a man, he was probably castrated; if a woman, she was probably raped. There are thousands more of these photos. Many of them show attacks on children and are too horrific for a newspaper. One wrenching photo in the archive shows the manacled hands of a teenager from the girls' school in Suleia who was burned alive. It's been common for the Sudanese militias to gang-rape teenage girls and then mutilate or kill them. Another photo shows the body of a young girl, perhaps 10 years old, staring up from the ground where she was killed. Still another shows a man who was castrated and shot in the head. This archive, including scores of reports by the monitors on the scene, underscores that this slaughter is waged by and with the support of the Sudanese government as it tries to clear the area of non-Arabs. Many of the photos show men in Sudanese Army uniforms pillaging and burning African villages. I hope the African Union will open its archive to demonstrate publicly just what is going on in Darfur. The archive also includes an extraordinary document seized from a janjaweed official that apparently outlines genocidal policies. Dated last August, the document calls for the "execution of all directives from the president of the republic" and is directed to regional commanders and security officials. "Change the demography of Darfur and make it void of African tribes," the document urges. It encourages "killing, burning villages and farms, terrorizing people, confiscating property from members of African tribes and forcing them from Darfur." It's worth being skeptical of any document because forgeries are possible. But the African Union believes this document to be authentic. I also consulted a variety of experts on Sudan and shared it with some of them, and the consensus was that it appears to be real. Certainly there's no doubt about the slaughter, although the numbers are fuzzy. A figure of 70,000 is sometimes stated as an estimated death toll, but that is simply a U.N. estimate for the deaths in one seven-month period from nonviolent causes. It's hard to know the total mortality over two years of genocide, partly because the Sudanese government is blocking a U.N. team from going to Darfur and making such an estimate. But independent estimates exceed 220,000 - and the number is rising by about 10,000 per month. So what can stop this genocide? At one level the answer is technical: sanctions against Sudan, a no-fly zone, a freeze of Sudanese officials' assets, prosecution of the killers by the International Criminal Court, a team effort by African and Arab countries to pressure Sudan, and an international force of African troops with financing and logistical support from the West. But that's the narrow answer. What will really stop this genocide is indignation. Senator Paul Simon, who died in 2003, said after the Rwandan genocide, "If every member of the House and Senate had received 100 letters from people back home saying we have to do something about Rwanda, when the crisis was first developing, then I think the response would have been different." The same is true this time. Web sites like www.darfurgenocide.org and www.savedarfur.org are trying to galvanize Americans, but the response has been pathetic. I'm sorry for inflicting these horrific photos on you. But the real obscenity isn't in printing pictures of dead babies - it's in our passivity, which allows these people to be slaughtered. During past genocides against Armenians, Jews and Cambodians, it was possible to claim that we didn't fully know what was going on. This time, President Bush, Congress and the European Parliament have already declared genocide to be under way. And we have photos. This time, we have no excuse.

UN News Centre 24 Feb 2005 Cost of UN peacekeeping mission in southern Sudan will top $1 billion in first year 24 February 2005 – More than $1 billion will be needed to fund the first year of the proposed United Nations peacekeeping mission in southern Sudan, set up to help the vast region stabilize and its people rebuild their lives after a 21-year civil war. In an addendum to his earlier report to the Security Council on the proposed mission, Secretary-General Kofi Annan says the UN has projected that $147.5 million in one-off, start-up costs and $862.3 million in recurring costs will be required for the first 12 months of the mission's mandate. These costs are based on the deployment of 10,130 military personnel (including 5,070 troops), 755 civilian police officers, 1,018 international staff, 2,263 Sudanese staff and 214 UN Volunteers (UNV). Mr. Annan's report already outlines that the mission faces daunting logistical challenges to its goal of attempting to reconstruct the southern portion of Africa's largest country. Aside from the security problems, southern Sudan is extremely isolated, with "poor communications, few hardened roads or runways and an inoperable railway system," according to the report, as well as extra transport restrictions during the annual rainy season. Landmines and unexploded ordnances present another risk. The area covered by the mission is also so large that one of the six proposed operational sectors is the size of Austria and another is equal to the state of New York. Mr. Annan's report follows last month's signing of a peace deal ending the civil war between the Sudanese Government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) that had raged since 1983. The peace agreement has provisions on power-sharing, some autonomy for the south, and more equitable distribution of economic resources, including oil. In six years the people of southern Sudan will also have the opportunity to vote on whether they want to secede. In a separate development, the UN Advance Mission in Sudan (UNAMIS) reported today that UN officials have halted access to the town of Juba in southern Sudan while they assess an apparent deadly explosion at an ammunition dump in the area.

NYT 24 Feb 2005 Darfur, Now That We Know... (7 Letters) To the Editor: Re "The Secret Genocide Archive," by Nicholas D. Kristof (column, Feb. 23): It didn't take the photographs in Mr. Kristof's column for me to be enraged by the world's passivity over the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, though I hope that the pictures will make a dent in at least some people's ability to turn away. My question is simple: What now? I am furious that this country went so far as to name the horrible events there as genocide and still does nothing. I am furious that the United Nations has chosen to reject the use (and responsibility) of the word "genocide." I am furious that another preventable genocide is occurring in my lifetime and that nothing is being done. When will the "civilized" world realize that such atrocities happen because the perpetrators know that they can get away with them? When will we learn the lessons of Armenia, the Holocaust and Cambodia? Edrie Irvine Arlington, Va., Feb. 23, 2005 • To the Editor: I have been saddened and horrified by the news from Sudan for some time, yet I have remained passive. Nicholas D. Kristof's column woke me from my complacency. His noting of the Web sites that are trying to rally Americans has finally spurred me to action. I have now signed two international petitions and sent e-mail messages to President Bush and to my senators, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles E. Schumer. Thanks to Mr. Kristof for giving me the final push to action. Lisa Linn Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y. Feb. 23, 2005 • To the Editor: If it wasn't clear already, by now it should be clear that the tragedy in Darfur requires intervention. If the Bush administration were really interested in spreading freedom in the world, this region might be a good place to start. The benefit would be twofold: an intervention would not only end the suffering of tens of thousands, but it would also give Europe and the United States a chance to reconcile their differences. This opportunity must be seized. William Oosterman Minneapolis, Feb. 23, 2005 • To the Editor: The images are brutal, and the situation is undeniable. But I agree with the United Nations that what is occurring in Darfur does not constitute genocide. What is occurring is anarchy, murder and forced displacement. Let's not condemn the United Nations for being semantically correct, but rather push the international community into sending aid and peacekeeping troops. Neil Cameron Waratah, Australia Feb. 23, 2005 • To the Editor: Nicholas D. Kristof apologizes for "inflicting these horrific photos" on the reader. Mr. Kristof has nothing to apologize for. It's time the American public was made painfully aware of the genocide in Darfur. I have to wonder if the worry of offending the reader prohibits such pictures from more prominent display on news pages. Stephen M. Hart Stamford, Conn., Feb. 23, 2005 The writer is a former news photo editor for The Associated Press. • To the Editor: I took Nicholas D. Kristof's advice and wrote to both of my United States senators. When I went to their Web sites, I was asked to pick from a drop-down list of about 50 topics, including the war, housing issues, Jewish issues and Sept. 11. Nowhere was there anything that would be a good category to address the genocide in Darfur. The lack of such a category demonstrates just how low a priority Darfur is in the minds of our representatives. Eliav Bock New York, Feb. 23, 2005 • To the Editor: It is important that Nicholas D. Kristof has shared with us the human evidence of the Darfur atrocities so that we visually understand the crimes; so that our leaders cannot claim, as they have in the past, that they did not know; and so that we may all be moved to do something to try to stop the crisis, as Mr. Kristof proposes. In the movie "Hotel Rwanda," about the 1994 Rwandan genocide, a character says, "If people see this footage, they'll go, 'Oh my God! That's horrible!' then go on eating their dinner." After viewing these photographs and other evidence of the atrocities in Darfur, let's not go back to eating our dinner. Not this time. And never again. Zachary D. Kaufman Oxford, England, Feb. 23, 2005

NYT 27 Feb 2005 The Crisis in Darfur To the Editor: Re "The Secret Genocide Archive," by Nicholas D. Kristof (column, Feb. 23): I feel that the world does not care about what is happening in Darfur because it takes place in Africa, where horrific killing is common; hence, the lack of response to the barbarism in Darfur. Recently, I was reading the opinions posted at BBC Online. The question posed was something along the lines of "Has the world learned from Auschwitz?" There were quite a few comments saying the world has not learned, considering what happened in Rwanda and what is now happening in Sudan. It was commendable that many people knew what was happening in Africa. What angered me were the replies posted to these comments. Some said the Darfur genocide was nothing compared with the Holocaust. Is human life valuable only if it is destroyed in the millions or if the victims are not black? Kausar Shaik Naina Singapore, Feb. 23, 2005


Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA)28 Feb 2005 Fighting breaks out in Somali capital Mogadishu (dpa) - Two people died and at least nine others were wounded when fighting broke out early Monday in the Somali capital Mogadishu, witnesses said. Witnesses said that militias of the citys Islamic courts had clashed with residents of the so-called SOS Village area for control over that part of the capital. Residents said guns as well as missiles had been used in the fighting. Tension has risen in the Somali capital in recent weeks ahead of the planned relocation of the countrys government-in-exile from Kenya, and the proposed deployment of thousands of African Union peacekeeping troops. Many warlords and prominent businessmen boasting their own militias are opposing any move that would curb their own influence in a country which has seen no central authority for over a decade.

Tanzania - ICTR

Hirondelle News Agency (Lausanne) 17 Feb 2005 Daughter Tries to Clear Father's Name in Genocide Trial Arusha The daughter of a man accused of the massacres of thousands of people in southern Rwanda during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, Monday, came out strongly in defence of her father, Colonel Aloys Simba. Rose Simba told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that when the genocide broke out in April 1994, she was living in Luxemburg together with her Tutsi husband. She said that their mixed marriage had caused ripples among the Rwandan community in Europe as well as in Rwanda. "I was even physically aggressed at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve. People called me a traitor", said the witness. The smartly dressed lady narrated to the tribunal the harrowing times she went through during the genocide and the uncertainty of her family's safety as she tried to extricate them out of Rwanda during the early days of the massacres. Rose Simba stunned the court when she revealed that her heart had been torn into two when rumours started filtering out of Rwanda that her father had been involved in the genocide. She told the tribunal that her fears arose when she came upon on a list of people suspected to have taken part in the killings, in which her father's name appeared. The list had allegedly been drawn up by the former rebels of the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) now in power in Kigali. Her father's lead defence counsel, Sadikou Alao from Benin, took her through the multiple letters she exchanged with her father. The letters, written when the family had fled to Bukavu (DRC), not only reveal a daughter worried about her family's safety, but also someone seeking reassurance that her father's hands were clean. She exhorts her father to start gathering evidence in case he was brought to trial. In one of the letters, Aloys Simba admonishes his daughter for not believing in his innocence. "Not every Hutu killed a Tutsi and my family is an example", said the father in the letter. "It seems you rely on information from only one source". He goes on to explain that he had worked with the French to pacify the south of the country and being appointed advisor on security matters of the two prefectures of Butare and Gikongoro. "No one was killed from the time I took up the appointment", Simba wrote to his daughter. It was then that the daughter was convinced. Rose Simba said she arranged and paid for the travel of her family, some to Senegal, others to Luxemburg, but this did not stop her searching for the truth, a journey that led her to Rwanda after a thirteen year absence.


IRIN 13 Feb 2005 Three demonstrators killed as ECOWAS demands democratic transition [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © IRIN Togo - Opposition calls a fresh strike as Gnassingbe ponders ECOWAS demands LOME, 13 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - At least three people were killed in Togo at the weekend when troops fired into groups of opposition demonstrators protesting at Faure Gnassingbe’s military-backed seizure of power following the death in office of his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema. The street protests took place on Saturday as Prime Minister Koffi Sama flew to Niamey for talks with Mamadou Tandja, the President of Niger on demands by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). He led a delegation that was summoned to hear Tandja, the current chairman of ECOWAS, outline demands that Togo apply the constitution as it stood before Eyadema died suddenly after 38 years in power on 5 February. Before itwas retroactively changed following Gnassingbe’s seizure of power, the constitution called for Fambare Ouattara Natchaba, the President of the National Assembly at the time of Eyadema's death, to become interim head of state and for presidential elections to be held in within 60 days. The Togolese delegation made no comment as it flew home on Saturday night following seven hours of talks with Tandja. But Niger’s Foreign Minister, Aichatou Mindaoudou told reporters: “ We are pretty certain that they have got the message. They were mandated to come and receive this message from the ECOWAS chairman. They will return to Lome to pass it on to Faure Gnassingbe and in the coming days they will give an appropriate response.” ECOWAS has condemned Gnassingbe’s assumption of power as a military coup d’etat. A mission comprising five ECOWAS heads of state and Alpha Oumar Konare, the President of the Commission of the African Union (AU), was due to hold talks with Gnassingbe in Togo on Friday. However, they aborted their mission at a preliminary meeting in Cotonou, the capital of neighbouring Benin, after Gnassingbe insisted on meeting them in the northern town of Kara, the birthplace of his father and a stronghold of his Kabiye ethnic group, instead of the capital Lome. At the same time, the ECOWAS leaders demanded that the Togolese leadership send a delegation to hold talks with Tandja in Niamey on Saturday or face the imposition of immediate ECOWAS sanctions. Togo, a former French colony of five million people, is surrounded by other member states of the 15-nation organisation which promotes regional integration. Its immediate neighbours are Ghana, Benin and Burkina Faso. The Niger foreign minister said President Tandja had “insisted on the necessity of the Togolese authorities conforming with the decisions taken by ECOWAS so as not to find themselves isolated.” “We got the impression that the Togolese authorities are very worried by the decisions taken by ECOWAS and are anxious to conform to them,” she added. Shortly before the talks got under way in Niger, several thousand opposition supporters and angry youths tried to stage a demonstration against Gnassingbe in Lome. This had been called by Togo’s six main opposition parties in defiance of a two-month ban on public demonstrations imposed by the authorities. Soldiers and police, backed by pickup tracks mounted with machine guns, prevented the march from getting under way in the suburb of Be, which has traditionally been a stronghold of the opposition. However, running battles developed between the security forces and groups of several hundred protestors which formed at key crossroads. Many of these groups set tyres on fire in the street and attempted to set up barricades with wrecked cars. Eyewitnesses said the protestors threw stones at the soldiers and police who mostly replied with tear gas and baton charges. However, in several instances, the army fired live rounds into the crowds of protestors as well as warning shots above their heads, they added. The government said later in a communiqué that three people had been killed in the disturbances, which petered out in mid-afternoon. However, eyewitnesses told IRIN they had seen four people shot dead by the army and several others injured by baton charges. Lome, a seaside city of 800,000 people, remained calm on Sunday, but the opposition parties called a fresh general strike for Monday. They urged people to stay at home so as to make Togo “a dead country.” Attempts by the opposition to stage an identical two-day strike on 8 and 9 February met with only partial success. Business activity in Lome slowed markedly on the first day of the stoppage, but support for it crumbled on day two. Following this first attempt at a mass protest, the authorities shut down four privately owned radio stations and one independent television station, accusing them of inciting people to rebel against the government. The seizure of power by Gnassingbe, who was Minister of Public Works, Mines and Telecommunications in his late father’s government, has been greeted with near universal condemnation. Besides ECOWAS and AU, the United Nations, the European Union, France and the United States have demanded that the authorities respect the constitution’s provisions for the democratic transition of power to a new elected president. France had very close links with Eyadema, who was Africa’s longest serving head of state until his death at the age of 69. It still maintains a military garrison and an air force base in Lome. On Saturday, the AU’s Peace and Security Commission protested at the harsh suppression of dissent by son’s regime. The president of the commission said in a statement that he “noted with concern the rapid deterioration of the situation in Togo and deplored the recent moves to limit the freedom of information, as illustrated by the intimidation of journalists and the closure or blocking of independent radio stations.” A spokesman for UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who comes from neighbouring Ghana, meanwhile called on the Togolese authorities “to exercise maximum restraint while efforts continue to find an early and peaceful solution to the country’s current crisis.”

BBC 27 Feb 2005 Togo police clash with protesters Mr Faure quit after intense pressure from African neighbours Police in Togo have fired tear gas in an effort to disperse hundreds of opposition supporters who took to the streets of the capital, Lome. The police intervened after protesters gathered on main roads close to the Be area, an opposition stronghold. The violence came two days after Faure Gnassingbe, the late president's son, agreed to step down as Togo's leader. The protesters, who threw stones and tried to erect barricades, said the constitution was still being violated. They called for former parliamentary speaker Fambare Ouattara Natchaba to take over as interim president, in accordance with constitutional procedures. The demonstrators rejected the appointment of Abass Bonfoh, who became acting president late on Friday when the national assembly named him as its new speaker in the wake of Mr Faure's resignation. Transparency Togo was plunged into crisis earlier this month after Mr Faure was installed as president by the army, hours after the death of his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema. Although he promised elections within 60 days, as stipulated by the constitution, this did little to quell protests from African neighbours and beyond. But on Friday, he said he was stepping down because he wanted to ensure the transparency of the election, now due in April, in which he plans to stand as a candidate. On Saturday, the West African regional grouping Ecowas said it was lifting sanctions against Togo with immediate effect. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan welcomed Mr Faure's decision, while a spokeswoman for Nigerian President Olesegun Obasanjo, who chairs the African Union, described it as a "victory for democracy". Constitutional amendments swiftly introduced to legitimise Mr Faure's appointment have since been partly reversed.


The Monitor (Kampala) 17 Feb 2005 Lango MPs Remember Barlonyo Massacre By Jude Luggya Parliament Members of Lango Parliamentary Group have organised a memorial service in honour of over 300 people who were killed at Barlonyo internally displaced peoples camp last year. The group's Vice Chairperson, Mr Omara Atubo (Otuke), told the media at Parliament on Tuesday the Vice-President, Prof. Gilbert Bukenya, and other dignitaries would attend the service. The Barlonyo massacre took place on February 21, when the Lord's Resistance Army rebels attacked the camp that housed over 5,000 displaced people. This was the ugliest massacre in the history of the 18-year northern conflict. The rebels shot and hacked to death their victims who were being guarded by 50 newly trained and inexperienced Amuka Boys, a UPDF auxiliary local force.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) 25 Feb 2005 Nearly 30 killed or mutilated as LRA steps up attacks in Uganda by Vincent Mayanja KAMPALA, Feb 25 (AFP) - The rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has stepped up attacks in northern Uganda, killing or mutilating nearly 30 people since a government ceasefire expired this week, officials said Friday. Suspected LRA rebels have killed at least 21 people in four northern districts since the truce ended on Tuesday and, in a brutal incident on Thursday, sliced the lips off of eight women, the officials said. The women had left a camp for the war-displaced in Kitgum district to get water from a well three kilometers (two miles) away when they were accosted by LRA gunmen, according to a military spokesman and a local official. "The rebels found them there and surrounded them before they cut off their lips," the army spokesman for region, Lieutenant Paddy Ankunda, told AFP. "These are the people we have to talk peace with." Ankunda and the chairman of the Kitgum district council, Norman Ojwee, said the women were left bleeding and in severe pain at the well and had been admitted to a local hospital where they were being treated. The LRA has gained infamy for its brutal treatment of the civilian population in northern Uganda, particularly the abduction of children, but Ojwee said attacks had been on the decline amid halting peace talks. "The situation was getting back to normal and we had started telling people to prepare to (leave) some camps to smaller camps, but now we need to move a little more cautiously," Ojwee told AFP by telephone from Kitgum. Despite the expiration of the truce, Kampala says it remains willing to talk peace with the LRA, whose ranks it maintains have been decimated in recent months by military operations and defections. Although the rebels have suffered several well-publicized, high-ranking defections since the end of January, their activities this week appear to indicate they are unwilling to end their 18-year fight. On Tuesday, just as the truce was expiring and shortly after the surrender to the government of senior rebel commander Sam Kolo, suspected LRA rebels killed a mother and child near the same camp where the women were mutilated, Ojwee said. In addition to the lip-slicing incident, suspected rebels also ambushed a military truck in the Pader district on Thursday, killing six people, four soldiers and two civilians, according to Ankunda. And UN officials said at least 13 people -- three near Gulu town, seat of the district of the same name, and 10 farmers in Apac district south of there -- had been killed in three separate rebel attacks this week. The LRA has been fighting President Yoweri Museveni's secular government since 1988, ostensibly to replace it with an administration based on the biblical Ten Commandments. Tens of thousands have been killed and at least 1.6 million people displaced by the fighting. But the rebel group is best known for its brutality against the civilian population and relief agencies say it has abducted as many as 20,000 children for use as soldiers, porters and sex slaves. Efforts to end the rebellion through dialogue, have yet to yield results and the most concrete achievement to date had beenm a face-to-face meeting between a rebel delegation and top government officials at the end of December.



BBC 21 Feb 2004 Bolivia ex-leader on death charge Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada was forced to step down in 2003 Bolivia's ex-President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada and his ousted cabinet have been formally charged with genocide. The indictment by the Attorney General's office comes four months after the Bolivian Congress voted to put the former president on trial. The charge relates to the deaths of at least 60 people in protests at government plans to export natural gas. Mr Sanchez de Lozada, 74, denies allowing his security forces to use violence against the demonstrators. Fifteen of his former ministers are also accused of involvement. Extermination Mr Sanchez de Lozada fled to the US after the protests brought down his government in October 2003. The Bolivian Congress insisted he should be accused of genocide - a term usually reserved for the systematic and planned extermination of an entire national, racial or ethnic group. The Attorney General's office now has six months to prepare its case against the former president before submitting it to the Supreme Court for consideration. If the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case, Mr Sanchez de Lozada will become Bolivia's second former head of state to face trial since the country's return to democracy in 1982. If found guilty, he faces up to 30 years in prison.


washingtonpost.com 26 Feb 2005 Allbrittons, Riggs to Pay Victims Of Pinochet Settlement Ends Case in Spain By Terence O'Hara Washington Post Staff Writer Saturday, February 26, 2005; Page A01 Riggs Bank and two members of the bank's controlling Allbritton family yesterday agreed to pay $9 million to victims of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet for the bank's role in concealing and spiriting Pinochet's money out of Britain in 1999. In return for the payment to a foundation established for victims of Pinochet's repressive 17-year rule and their survivors, a Spanish court agreed to dismiss criminal charges against current and former directors and officers of the bank, including the Allbrittons. Riggs will pay $8 million. Joe L. Allbritton, who was chief executive of the bank until 2001, and his son Robert, who is chief executive of its holding company, will pay $1 million as part of the settlement with Spanish officials. The agreement marks the first time the Allbrittons have been held personally accountable for Riggs's long-standing money-laundering compliance problems, which have resulted in the bank pleading guilty to a felony last month, paying more than $41 million in civil and criminal fines and agreeing to be acquired by PNC Financial Services Group Inc. of Pittsburgh. It also was the first time any institution or person other than the Chilean government has been forced to pay recompense to Pinochet's victims, according to lawyers involved in the case. "The court's order speaks for itself," said Riggs spokesman Mark N. Hendrix. "We note the $8 million settlement payment to be paid by Riggs under the order is covered by a previously established litigation reserve. This puts the matter behind the institution." Riggs and the Allbrittons thought they had a strong defense against the allegations but wanted to resolve the Spanish court action because they wanted to avoid a lengthy court case and because PNC wanted the litigation wrapped up before the final sale, said sources familiar with the reasoning behind the settlement who spoke only on the condition that they not be named because of the bank's continuing legal problems. "We're pleased to be able to help the bank bring an end to this misdirected litigation," said Paul Clark, a spokesman for the Allbritton family. The settlement arises out of a Spanish criminal action against Pinochet first brought in 1997 by Madrid prosecutor Baltasar Garzon. Under Spanish law, anyone in the world can be tried for genocide, torture or other human rights abuses against Spanish citizens. When Pinochet was in London in 1998 for a medical procedure, Garzon began extradition proceedings, and a Spanish court issued a ruling ordering financial institutions around the world to freeze the former general's assets. A Senate investigative committee in July detailed efforts by Riggs officers to have $1.6 million of Pinochet's money secretly transferred from Riggs's London branch to Riggs Bank in Washington. Riggs also put Pinochet's money into accounts held under aliases and took other measures to hide the identity of his accounts and money transfers. Pinochet was declared unfit for trial by Britain's home secretary and allowed to return to Chile in 2000. In September, Juan Garces and other lawyers representing Pinochet's alleged victims petitioned a Spanish court to add Riggs's directors and officers to Garzon's action against Pinochet. In Spain, private citizens can initiate a criminal proceeding. Riggs was not named in the complaint, because in Spain corporations cannot be tried under criminal law, according to lawyers involved in the case. Garces named the Allbrittons as well as fellow Riggs director Steven B. Pfeiffer and the former manager of Pinochet's accounts at Riggs, Carol Thompson, as defendants. The charges against all the individuals were dropped yesterday after a Spanish court accepted the $9 million settlement. Samuel J. Buffone, a D.C. lawyer representing Pinochet's victims who worked with Garces in the Riggs settlement, said Riggs was culpable for helping Pinochet hide about $8 million -- roughly the total amount of funds Pinochet had at Riggs -- from the 1998 Spanish order freezing the former dictator's assets. "There has never been any allegation that Riggs was culpable for the underlying human rights abuses of the Pinochet government," Buffone said. "But Riggs's recent plea agreement lays out in significant detail what Riggs did in assisting Pinochet in the concealment of his assets. They may hide behind their legal interpretation that they weren't properly served with the [freeze] order. But they were on notice. They chose not to honor it." Buffone represents the families of two of Pinochet's victims: former Chilean ambassador Orlando Letelier and his assistant, Ronni Moffitt. Letelier and Moffitt were murdered by Chilean intelligence agents in a 1976 car bombing in the District. Pinochet came to power in a swift and bloody 1973 coup that ousted democratically elected president Salvador Allende. Human rights organizations claim 3,000 people were murdered, tortured or "disappeared" during his rule. The $9 million, after deducting $1 million mostly for legal expenses, will be given to the Salvador Allende Foundation, which was founded by Garces, a former assistant to Allende, to compensate victims of Pinochet's crimes. Pinochet has been indicted for murder in Chile and is under investigation for tax evasion with respect his accounts at Riggs. Separately yesterday, PNC disclosed that certain Riggs executives and directors could receive up to $15.4 million in payments when the merger is completed later this spring, including severance payments and the cashing out of executive stock options. Robert L. Allbritton would receive a severance payment of $850,000 if he leaves the company after the sale. Riggs Bank chief executive Lawrence I. Hebert, a longtime Allbritton family lieutenant, would receive $995,000, and executive vice president Henry D. Morneult would receive $630,000. Riggs directors and employees, mostly senior executives, would receive a total of $733,138 for cashing out unvested stock options. In addition, executives would receive a total of $2.9 million in unvested deferred and performance shares that were previously awarded.


BBC 14 Feb 2005 Film row over Pirates 'cannibals' Johnny Depp will star in the sequel of Pirates of the Caribbean Plans to portray Dominica's Carib Indians as cannibals in the sequel to hit film Pirates of the Caribbean have been criticised by the group's chief. Carib Chief Charles Williams said talks with Disney's producers revealed there was "a strong element of cannibalism in the script which cannot be removed". The Caribbean island's government said Disney planned to film in Dominica. The Caribs have long denied their ancestors practised cannibalism. Disney was unavailable for comment. "Our ancestors stood up against early European conquerors and because they stood up...we were labelled savages and cannibals up to today," said Mr Williams. About 3,000 Caribs live on the island of Dominica "This cannot be perpetuated in movies." Shooting on the sequel is expected to begin in April, with hundreds of Dominicans applying to be extras in the movie. Lack of understanding About 3,000 Caribs live on the island of Dominica, which has a population of 70,000. Many Caribs were killed by disease and war during colonisation up to the 1600s. Mr Williams said he had received support from indigenous groups around the world in his efforts to have cannibalism references removed from the film. But he admitted there were some members of the Carib council who did not support the campaign. He said some did not "understand our history, they are weak and are not committed to the cause of the Carib people". The first Pirates of the Caribbean film took $305m (£162m) at the box office in the US alone. The cast and crew are to work on two sequels back-to-back, with the first to be released in 2006.


AP 24 feb 2005 U.S. Arrests Suspect in Honduras Massacre Thursday February 24, 2005 8:16 AM By SUZANNE GAMBOA Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) - The reputed leader of a violent Honduran gang was using an alias, but the tattoos on his body gave him away. Further checking revealed the man arrested in Texas on Feb. 10 was Ever Anibal Rivera Paz, known as ``El Culiche'' - The Tapeworm. Rivera Paz had escaped Jan. 23 from a Honduran prison where he was being held on charges of masterminding an armed attack on a bus that killed 28 people, including six children. The bus had been filled with Christmas shoppers and workers heading home when it was attacked Dec. 23 in San Pedro Sula, about 125 miles north of the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa. The attackers left behind a note saying they were part of a previously unknown revolutionary group opposed to the death penalty. Executions were stopped in Honduras in the 1950s. Officials from the Homeland Security Department and the Honduran government said Wednesday that Rivera Paz was the leader of the Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, gang in Honduras. Rivera Paz, 26, and fellow gang leader Alvaro ``El Snoopy'' Acosta, 27, who escaped with Rivera Paz, are ``dangerous Mara members, capable of committing any kind of cold-blooded crime,'' Honduran Security Minister Oscar Alvarez said in Tegucigalpa. A $10,000 reward had been offered for their capture. Rivera Paz, who uses the alias Franklin Jairo Rivera-Hernandez, was arrested by the Texas highway patrol about 100 miles north of the U.S.-Mexican border after authorities suspected the car he was in was smuggling undocumented immigrants. He gave a false name, but his tattoos suggested he was an MS-13 gang member. U.S. Border Patrol agents stationed in Honduras had alerted authorities in the United States that Rivera Paz might be trying to enter the country, Border Patrol spokesman Salvador Zamora said. ``At booking when his information was entered into a computer his name did give off red flags as far as an extensive criminal history,'' said John Guinn, spokesman for the McAllen, Texas, sector of Customs and Border Protection. ``He had tattoos on his body, pretty extensive tattoos similar to those found on members of'' MS-13. Rivera Paz remains in federal custody. The violent Central American gang has members in the United States, and U.S. officials are concerned that they might sneak al-Qaida terrorists into the country, although they have no evidence of that. James Loy, deputy Homeland Security secretary, told Congress last week there was growing intelligence suggesting al-Qaida was considering entering the United States across the Mexican border, although he had nothing conclusive. In addition to al-Qaida, ``we are seeing the emergence of other threatening groups and gangs like MS-13 that will also be destabilizing influences,'' he said. The gang consists of migrants who were deported from the United States, many for committing crimes. The gang, and others in Central America, have become increasingly violent, carrying out beheadings and grenade attacks in Central America and hacking their enemies with machetes in cities along the U.S. East Coast. Rivera Paz's arrest was announced while law enforcement officials from the United States and Central America were meeting in El Salvador to discuss ways to keep MS-13 from extending its influence. At the meeting Wednesday, the FBI, California police and Central American authorities announced they will open a liaison office in San Salvador to coordinate anti-gang efforts and share information on the groups. ^--- Associated Press writers Freddy Cuevas in Tegucigalpa, Lynn Brezosky in Harlingen, Texas and Traci Carl in El Salvador contributed to this report.


washingtonpost.com 24 Feb 2005 Mexican Court Rejects Part of Genocide Appeal Thursday, February 24, 2005; Page A18 MEXICO CITY, Feb. 23 -- The Mexican Supreme Court on Wednesday dealt a partial setback to government efforts to bring genocide charges against former president Luis Echeverria. But the special prosecutor and legal observers said the court stopped short of ruling out such charges against Echeverria, 83, who held office from 1970 to 1976. Special prosecutor Ignacio Carrillo Prieto sought last year to charge Echeverria and 11 other former officials with genocide in a 1971 massacre in which about 30 student protesters in Mexico City were killed by security forces. But a judge refused to issue arrest warrants, saying Mexico's 30-year statute of limitations on genocide had expired. The federal attorney general appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court. On Wednesday, the court rejected one of the four arguments in the appeal. Mexico in 2002 became a signatory to an international treaty that says genocide should have no statute of limitations. The appeal argued that Mexico must abide by that treaty. But the high court noted that Mexico's constitution prohibited retroactive application of laws, so the treaty could not be used as a basis for charges in prior crimes. The court has yet to rule on the other arguments in the appeal. In a statement, Carrillo said his pursuit of genocide charges against Echeverria was "not yet over." -- Kevin Sullivan

United States

The Heritage Foundation 15 Feb 2005 Why the U.S. Is Right to Support an Ad Hoc Tribunal for Darfur by Brett D. Schaefer WebMemo #665 February 15, 2005 | printer-friendly format | The United States and many advocates of the International Criminal Court (ICC) have long been at odds over the structure, autonomy, and jurisdiction of the Court.[1] While these differences have not been resolved, the U.S. opposition to a United Nations Security Council resolution referring the situation in Darfur region of Sudan to the ICC has rekindled international and domestic attention on America’s policy toward the ICC. Proponents of the ICC argue that the court is the best option to investigate allegations of war crimes, human rights violations, and possible genocide in Darfur. The U.S. instead has advocated a regional ad hoc tribunal established by the Security Council charged with specifically addressing the situation. As with earlier disagreements over U.S. policy toward the ICC, advocates of the Court seek to portray the U.S. position as shortsighted and at odds with human rights. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. The U.S. position is one based on accountable government, respect for sovereignty, and a desire for local resolution of problems. U.S. Efforts to Stop Atrocities in Darfur The crisis in Darfur began in 2003 when two rebel groups challenged the authority of the Islamist government in Khartoum. The rebel groups claimed that the government was discriminating against the African ethnic groups in favor of nomadic Arab ethnic groups. The resulting conflict quickly escalated: Over 70,000 people have died, and 1.8 million have fled to refugee camps in Sudan and neighboring Chad. Numerous reports allege rampant atrocities committed by the Arab “Janjaweed” militia groups against non-Arab villagers with the support of the Khartoum government. The U.S. has been leading the effort to stop the atrocities in Darfur. While serving as Secretary of State, Colin Powell declared that violations of human rights, war crimes, and genocide are occurring.[2] The U.S. led the effort to pass a Security Council resolution condemning the atrocities and has pressed for economic sanctions on Sudan because of the government’s support for militia groups committing atrocities in Darfur. The U.S. has been a key supporter of the African Union peacekeepers authorized by the Security Council to monitor the situation, in addition to being the largest donor of humanitarian aid to the region, providing nearly $550 million since 2003.[3] The U.S. has been frustrated in its effort. The Security Council has not imposed sanctions because China, France, and Russia, afraid that their commercial interests would suffer, have threatened to veto resolutions imposing sanctions. The United Nations Human Rights Commission has minimized criticism of Sudan because that nation sits on the Commission. And ICC advocates have focused attention away from the true failure—the inability to get a Security Council resolution imposing sanctions if Sudan fails to constrain the Janjaweed—onto U.S. opposition to a Security Council resolution requesting that the ICC investigate atrocities in Darfur. Why the ICC Is Not the Best Option The ICC has no jurisdiction in Sudan because that nation is not a party to the ICC and the alleged crimes are occurring in Sudan and being committed by Sudanese people. Therefore, advocates of the ICC are urging the Security Council to refer the case to the court by way of Article 13 (b) of the Rome Statute. The U.N. commission investigating abuses committed in Darfur offers a useful summary of the arguments on why the Security Council should refer the case to the court.[4] These arguments are not convincing. The investigation and prosecution of crimes perpetrated contributes to peace and stability by removing obstacles to national reconciliation and peace. Investigation and prosecution of those responsible for crimes is important, but pursuit of justice must be tempered by the need to end atrocities. The immunity offered to General Augusto Pinochet paved the way for democracy in Chile. The national reconciliation process in South Africa has proven successful. While this paper is not advocating such an option for Darfur, alternative means for removing despots or resolving conflicts should not be dismissed in all cases—especially if heedless pursuit of justice makes peace or transition to democracy more difficult. Trials in The Hague might ensure a neutral atmosphere and be less likely to stir up political passions. Using the ICC would undermine ongoing efforts to build regional capacity among Africans to handle conflicts and hold those who commit atrocities to account. As noted by international lawyers Lee Casey and David Rivkin, “both of the ICC's current investigations involve African countries, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, respectively. Adding Darfur to this list begins to look a very great deal like European justice for African defendants.”[5] Only the authority of the ICC, backed by that of the United Nations Security Council, might compel both Sudanese government and rebel leaders to submit to investigation and possible criminal proceedings. The Security Council possesses the authority, jurisdiction, and enforcement capacity necessary to compel cooperation in Sudan. As a party to the United Nations Charter, Sudan must abide by decisions of the council. The Security Council can grant authority to the ICC, but could just as easily grant it to an ad hoc tribunal. The ICC has no jurisdiction in Sudan and by itself brings no authority to the table. The ICC, with an entirely international composition and a set of well-defined rules of procedure and evidence, is best suited to ensuring a veritably fair trial. The ICC possesses characteristics that would not be deemed “fair” by most Americans, including the possibility of double jeopardy, absentee trials, inability to confront witnesses testifying against the defendant, permissibility of hearsay evidence, and other usages not permitted in American courts.[6] Nor is the ICC international in the sense that all nations support it. On the contrary, only half the nations of the world are parties to the ICC. An ad hoc tribunal approved by the Security Council would be international in composition—indeed, would be universal as the Security Council compels compliance by all U.N. member states—and could adopt any rules deemed appropriate including the ICC’s rules of evidence and procedure. The ICC could be activated immediately, without any delay. The ICC could indeed decide to investigate, but an ad hoc tribunal would be directed to investigate. Both would suffer from necessary delay. For instance, the ICC prosecutor received referrals to investigate alleged crimes in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo on January 1, 2004, and April 19, 2004, respectively.[7] The prosecutor took six months to open an investigation in Uganda, took more months to designate judges, and still has not prosecuted anyone a year later. The decision on Congo took two months, with similar delays on judges and prosecutions. An ad hoc tribunal based on the existing infrastructure of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda would reduce delay in establishing an ad hoc tribunal and could count on support from African states. The institution of criminal proceedings before the ICC, at the request of the Security Council, would not necessarily involve a significant financial burden for the international community. This is doubtful. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) had a staff of 1,238 as of January 2004 and a budget of $135.9 million, and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) had a staff of 1,042 and a budget of $125.6 million.[8] By comparison, the draft ICC budget for 2005 estimates a staff of 526 and a budget of $89.6 million.[9] Expenses for staff account for 57 percent of the draft ICC budget, or $97,095 per staff member. Budget expenditures on staff at the ICTY and the ICTR are 58 percent and 68 percent, respectively, or about $69,372 per staff member at ICTY and $77,279 per staff member at ICTR.[10] Thus, a considerable amount of saving gained through a permanent staff working multiple cases will be lost through higher staff costs. Moreover, the budgets of the ICTY and ICTR increased swiftly in the early years as they began investigations and trials. Since the ICC has barely begun to investigate the current cases in Uganda and Congo, its budget will likely increase substantially over the next few years as the ICC begins to fully investigate, collect evidence, make arrests, and conduct trials. While the U.S. is not a party to the ICC and cannot be assessed for these expenses, it is likely that the ICC will request funds from the U.N. if the Security Council refers a case to the body. The bottom line is that, while the U.S. is opposed to a Security Council resolution supporting an ICC investigation in Darfur, it also has proposed a credible—perhaps superior—alternative for holding perpetrators of crimes to account. Conclusion The United States has been a leader in trying to force the Sudanese government to stop its support of the militia groups committing atrocities in Sudan’s Darfur region. The failure of the Security Council to impose sanctions on the Sudanese government despite the best efforts of the U.S. government is a tragedy that sadly reveals the failures of the U.N. in dealing with human rights abuses. Unfortunately, ICC advocates have focused attention away from the true failure onto U.S. opposition to the ICC. In truth, the U.S. fully supports the idea of a tribunal to address allegations of war crimes, human rights abuses, and genocide. As important as it is to bring those responsible for the atrocities in Darfur to account, the first priority must be to stop the killing. If supporters of the ICC spent a fraction of the energy consumed by criticizing the United States on trying to pressure China, France, and Russia to support a strong Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on Sudan if the Sudanese government continues to support militia groups and authorizing a peacekeeping force charged with protecting the people in Darfur, they would do far more good for those suffering in Darfur. Brett D. Schaefer is Jay Kingham Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs in the Center for International Trade and Economics at The Heritage Foundation and former assistant for ICC policy at the Department of Defense. --- [1]For a discussion of this debate, see Brett D. Schaefer, “Justice by Fiat,” National Review on-line, June 21, 2004, at www.heritage.org/Press/Commentary/ed062104e.cfm; see also Lee A. Casey and David B. Rivkin, Jr., “The International Criminal Court vs. the American People,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 1249, February 5, 1999. [2]Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, “The Crisis in Darfur,” testimony before the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, September 9, 2004, at www.state.gov/secretary/former/powell/remarks/36042.htm. [3]United States Agency for International Development, “DARFUR—Humanitarian Emergency,” Fact Sheet No. 18, January 28, 2005. [4]Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur to the United Nations Secretary-General, Section IV, Part II, 1(i), “Justification for suggesting the involvement of the ICC,” paragraph 574, Geneva, January 25, 2005, at www.unicwash.org/selected/darfur2.htm. [5]David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey, “Darfur’s Last Hope,” The Washington Times, February 4, 2005, A19. [6]Casey and Rivkin, “The International Criminal Court vs. the American People.” [7]“Situations and Cases,” International Criminal Court, at www.icc-cpi.int/cases.html. [8]Budgets are approved for two years. Therefore, these numbers are half of the biennial budget of the tribunals. International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, “The ICTY at a Glance,” at www.un.org/icty/glance/index.htm, and International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, “General Information,” at www.ictr.org/default.htm. [9]International Criminal Court, “Draft Programme Budget for 2005,” Document ICC-ASP/3/2*, Third Session, The Hague, September 6–10, 2004, pp. 3–4. [10] Staff costs are based on 2004–2005 appropriations for Posts, Other staff costs, Non-staff compensation, and Consultants and experts. This total was divided in half to reach an annual staff budget. The annualized staff budget was divided by half the gross budget to get a staff cost ratio. The annualized staff budget was divided by the number of staff for the respective courts to get a per staff average cost. Sources: “First Performance Report of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia for the Biennium 2004–2005,” Report of the Secretary-General, General Assembly Document A/59/547, November 2, 2004, p. 5; and “First Performance Report of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for the Biennium 2004–2005,” Report of the Secretary-General, General Assembly Document A/59/549, November 2, 2004, p. 4. Calculations based on budget data provided on “Table 2: Summary of projected expenditures by object of expenditure and main determining factors” in each report.

The News Record (Univ. of Cincinnati) 16 feb 2005 www.newsrecord.org 'We kept hearing everyone was dead.' By Jessica Rinsky On April 6, 1994, Obed Nkuliragenda knew his life would change forever. He didn't yet know how much it would change. On that day, a massacre began in Rwanda, an African country approximately the size of Maryland. The plane of Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down, supposedly by Hutu extremists. This act was the beginning of 100 days of genocide in the small African country. Obed survived the massacre, but he lives with vivid memories of the tragedy. "On the radio they started to talk... 'the president is dead,'" said Obed. "In the morning we didn't go anywhere; we were afraid. Now life had ended." The places he knew would never look the same; some of the people he loved he would never see again. The failure of the United Nations and the western world to intervene on behalf of Rwandans is still the subject of controversy. It is also one of the subjects of the recent movie "Hotel Rwanda," which has earned three Oscar nominations. Obed is a third-year health promotions student at the University of Cincinnati and he recently saw the movie. Born in Ruhengeri, a small, rural town about 90 kilometers away from Kigali, the capital, he loved his family, his country and his life, he said. "My older brother was in the military. When I was five, he got married and I went to live with him and his wife in Kigali," he said. "He was 30 years old." "Life was good in Kigali; we could go to the movies, the café. The food was good and we had a nice house, all the stuff we have here [in the United States]," he explained. Life in Kigali was good. April 6 changed everything. "I remember we were watching soccer. I guess it was a Wednesday, around 8 p.m.," he said. "Someone called the home and said the plane of the president was on fire ... we were shocked." More and more reports streamed in over the radio throughout the evening. "We kept hearing that everyone was dead," Obed said, referring to all of the top governmental officials. The genocide had begun outside, while Obed and his family tried to understand from their home. Rwanda is a country split into tribes. The Hutu majority and Tutsi minority constitute 99 percent of the population. Traditionally, the Tutsis were the ruling class and the Hutus were the working masses, according to "Frontline: The Triumph of Evil: 100 Days of Slaughter" produced by PBS. "I didn't know Hutu and Tutsi," said Obed, a Hutu. "I only found out in school." The day after the presidential plane was shot down, roadblocks appeared and door-to-door killings began. The extremists believed that the Tutsis should be killed and any Hutu not loyal to the cause should be killed along with them. "Our neighbors were Tutsi," Obed explained. His best friend had a Tutsi mother and a Hutu father and so did his girlfriend. Obed and his family hid in the basement, too scared to go outside. "We kept the lights out," he said. "All during the night we heard bombs, guns." The family had food; rice and beans, but no water to cook with. "Nobody wanted to cook, we were too afraid," he remembered. A line furrowed his brow as he remembered a moment when he let the outside world in. "One woman who was our neighbor, she knocked at the door, and I let her in," he said. "But she was a Tutsi." She went to the Hotel De Mille Collines down the street, where many Tutsis survived the genocide with help from a family friend, Paul Rusesabagina, whose lifesaving mission was documented in "Hotel Rwanda." "She lived; she thanked the family later," Obed said. Six people hid in the basement for two weeks, while terror unfolded outside. "When it's war, you don't have a choice - you just run away," he said. He did just that. He ran. His brother and sister-in-law left later. Their destination was the Zaire border, their only hope of escape. "We didn't go straight anywhere; we didn't want to meet people," he said. "If you met with robbers they would kill you, if you met with the military they might kill you." Together, Obed and his family crossed the border into Zaire, hoping for safety. What they found was more horror. "There were so many refugees there," Obed remembered. "They didn't have food, water, anywhere to go to the bathroom." Obed's eyes turned red and he paused for brief moment. "We watched people die everyday," he said quietly, "just like in the tsunami pictures. That's what it looked like," he said, seeming relieved that he could compare the sight with something people could grasp. In July, the Rwandan Patriotic Front took control of Kigali, ending the massacre, according to the CIA accounts on its Web site. The rebel Hutu government fled the city. The 100 days of genocide were over, but the suffering did not end. Eventually Obed made his way to the United States, and to UC. He is grateful to his teachers and fellow students. "Without them, I would not be here," he said. He has rebuilt his life and is content but he is haunted by the lack of support from other nations. "Even now I have too many questions," he said, shaking his head in dismay. "I don't know why the powerful countries in the world didn't come to stop them," he said. "They could stop Sadaam, this would have been a piece of cake." 800,000 Tutsis and countless other Hutus were not as lucky as Obed. Their bodies remain in Rwanda - their memories, a reminder of the events that unfolded in 100 days of genocide.

Westword, CO 24 Feb 2005 www.westword.comReturn of the Native Ben Nighthorse Campbell works in silver, but his future looks golden. BY PATRICIA CALHOUN A year ago next week, Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell threw a big, wet blanket on the Colorado Republican Party -- almost as big, and wet, a blanket as he'd thrown on Colorado Democrats nine years earlier, when the first-term senator abandoned the political party that had already seen him through six terms in the House and a dozen years in the Colorado Legislature. Ben Switchhorse Campbell, they called him back then. The Republicans were muttering a lot worse under their breath in March 2004. Ben Nighthorse Campbell's surprise announcement that he was retiring from the Senate -- just ahead of a pesky ethics investigation involving a former staffer and some alleged influence-peddling -- left them scrambling for another candidate. The situation quickly grew more desperate, as Governor Bill Owens -- just behind a pesky separation -- took himself out of the running. Finally, overlooking the already declared (and far more erudite) Bob Shafer, the Republicans settled on Pete Coors, the beer baron whose candidacy fell more flat with each passing day. The sight was so dispiriting that Colorado Republicans just couldn't get excited when Campbell suggested that he might, just might, be interested in running for governor when Owens is term-limited out in 2006. A year after he announced that he was retiring from the Senate, where he was the first Native American to serve in sixty years, Campbell's not even Colorado's most famous alleged Indian. The National Museum of the American Indian spirals to a soaring 120 feet above the National Mall in Washington, D.C. And here, at the very top of an architecturally stunning building that seems designed to showcase Native American gift shops and not much more, is the traveling exhibit The Jewelry of Ben Nighthorse. The show, proposed by Fort Lewis College and sponsored by the Southern Ute, is a sterling reminder that, however disappointing Campbell may have been as a Democrat and a lawmaker, he knows how to make a hell of a bracelet. Unlike Ward Churchill, who in 1990 lost the ability to sell his paintings as "Indian" art under the terms of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, Ben Nighthorse Campbell has no problem displaying his work as a Native American. (Then-representative Campbell co-sponsored the legislation that requires an artist's name to appear on a tribal roll before he's allowed to represent his art as "Indian.") In fact, this exhibit, although temporary, was in place the day the museum opened last September. (Then-representative Campbell also sponsored the legislation making the museum possible.) And Campbell himself "was selected to be one of the individuals to lead the Native Nations Procession for the grand opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in September 2004," one exhibit explanation notes. The Jewelry of Ben Nighthorse starts with "The Early Years: Jewelry to Make Ends Meet," which describes how Albert Campbell taught his fourteen-year-old son, Ben, to make Navajo jewelry -- a skill he'd learned not from his ancestors, but from friends. The less polite chapters of Albert's past, including his alcoholism and the desertion of his family when his tubercular Portuguese wife got so sick she had to go into the sanitarium, sending his children to foster homes, are not shared here. Although jewelry paid some of the early bills, it wasn't until Ben Campbell was well on his way to acquiring his amazing resumé -- the "list of accomplishments reads like a biography of a movie star action hero, with Korea War veteran, U.S. Olympic judo expert, teacher, truck driver, horse trainer, deputy sheriff, U.S. Senator, artist," reads one exhibit card, somehow omitting Harley-rider and ponytail-wearer -- that he started taking jewelry-making seriously. In 1974, his work won first place in the California State Fair. Around this time, Campbell started taking his Indian ancestry seriously, too. "As an adult, Ben Nighthorse sought out his Native American heritage even though his father downplayed his Native American ancestry to shield him from ethnic bias of the time," another exhibit card reads. "Based on his father's ancestry, Nighthorse was accepted as a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe and, in 1976, the Black Horse family of Lame Deer, Montana, acknowledged him as their son. A Northern Cheyenne leader gave Ben Campbell the name Nighthorse in memory of Nighthorse's great grandfather, Black Horse. Black Horse fought General George Armstrong Custer in the Battle of the Little Bighorn." (Then-representative Campbell pushed through the legislation to change the name of the Custer Battlefield Monument in Montana to the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.) Indian artist Campbell adopted as his trademark stamp the Morning Star, the Cheyenne symbol that represents the "son of the sun and the moon," which the Northern Cheyenne gave him permission to use. In doing so, though, the tribe gave him much more than that. It gave him the tools to carve out the rest of his career. In 1977, Campbell moved to Ignacio, built his Nighthorse Ranch, got a job running the Southern Ute's horse-training center, invented the "painted mesa" style of jewelry, and soon became a member of the Colorado Legislature. In 1985, the Northern Cheyenne inducted him into the Council of 44 Chiefs, responsible for moral and spiritual leadership of the tribe. A year later, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the Third Congressional District. From there it was on to the Senate, and his inexplicable switch to the Republican Party, and then his equally inexplicable decision not to run again for the Senate. "On March 3, 2004," a final exhibit card notes, "Ben Nighthorse Campbell announced his retirement from the Senate and his intention to focus on his family and his art." Not exactly. Campbell's jewelry on display here may not be for sale, but the senator himself sure was. Although an eagerness to return to Colorado was one of the few reasons Campbell offered for leaving the Senate, last month the high-powered law-and-lobbying firm of Holland & Knight announced that Campbell was joining its government section as a senior policy advisor -- he can't join as an attorney, since a law degree is one of the few things missing from his resumé -- working out of the Washington, D.C., office. While Campbell won't be able to officially lobby his former colleagues in Congress for a year, the buffed and polished former politico is already making a rumored million bucks. - Back when people were questioning Campbell's political switch, they were also questioning his Indian ancestry. "What do they need, a blood test?" he asked a Westword reporter. Campbell's "authorized" 1993 biography, Herman Viola's Ben Nighthorse Campbell: An American Warrior, did its best to clear things up. Although many tribal records had been destroyed, Viola theorized that not only was Albert Campbell's grandfather Black Horse, but his mother was a Cheyenne girl who'd escaped the Sand Creek Massacre, where 163 Indians were slaughtered by Colorado militia troops on November 29, 1864. As a U.S. senator, Campbell talked a lot about formally designating the massacre site in Kiowa County as a National Historic Site. But he waited so long to push the legislation that by the time it got through the Senate at the end of the last session, it was too late for the House. Senate Wayne Allard is now shepherding the proposal through. Last Wednesday, the day the formal designation of the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site passed the Senate Energy Committee, Campbell was talking about Churchill, now Colorado's most famous alleged Indian. The matter of whether Churchill was even an Indian was open for debate, Campbell told a radio audience. As he shared with another reporter, "He sure doesn't represent Indian country." But Campbell sure doesn't represent Colorado anymore, either.

BBC 28 Feb 2005 NI film-makers lose out in Oscars Two Northern Ireland film-makers have lost out in their bids for Oscar glory in the Los Angeles awards ceremony. Hotel Rwanda, written by Belfast man Terry George, missed out on three Academy Awards - best screenplay, actor and supporting actress. It tells the story of Paul Rusesabagina who saved thousands of people marked for death in the Rwandan massacre. The short film Everything In This Country Must, made by Ballyclare native Gary McKendry, also missed out. The film was shot around Templepatrick in County Antrim, near where the New York based filmmaker grew up. Hotel Rwanda was not the first time Terry George has been in the running for an Oscar, he was also nominated for his screenplay In the Name of the Father in 1994. Despite only a limited release in the US in December 2004, Hotel Rwanda is doing well at the box office and has won critical acclaim for stars Don Cheadle and Sophie Okonedo.

NYT 28 Feb 2005 THEATER REVIEW | 'THE CONTROVERSY OF VALLADOLID' Putting a Religious Foot in the Mouth of Conquest By CHARLES ISHERWOOD The dust-dry historical drama makes an unexpected return at the Public Theater, of all unlikely places, with "The Controversy of Valladolid," an academic exercise in forensics that has little more theatrical vitality than your average two hours of C-Span programming. Written by Jean-Claude Carrière, the estimable French screenwriter and dramatist with a long résumé of literary and historical work, the play, in an English version by Richard Nelson and directed by David Jones, is essentially a fictionalized re-creation of an actual debate that took place in a monastery in 16th-century Spain. Valladolid was then the country's capital. The topic: Whether the Indians under Spanish rule in the new world were to be classified as human beings, with full rights as Christians or at least potential Christians, or as a lesser species entitled to a more limited benefits package, theologically and politically speaking. Despite the stiffness of the play's form, the production's arrival at the Public is not truly surprising. It deals with arcane matters, in theory, but it has clearly been mounted by the Public for reasons of current resonance, touching as it does on the morality of dominant world powers' imposing their ideologies, religious or otherwise, on other cultures, and the destructive effects thereof. Arguing the pro-human case is Bartolomé de Las Casas (Gerry Bamman), a tenderhearted monk who has labored for years among the Indians and witnessed their brutal treatment by the Spanish conquerors. He opens the discussion with a 10-minute litany of these atrocities. Let's call him the Good Guy. Opposing him, in favor of subhuman classification, is Sepulveda (Steven Skybell), wearing suspiciously sumptuous dark silks and an even more suspiciously satanic-looking beard. Sepulveda's "works of philosophy are known throughout Christendom." We'll call him the Bad Guy. Presiding over the debate, and adjudicating the outcome for the all-powerful Roman Catholic Church, is the Pope's Legate, played with a benevolent smile by Josef Sommer. (Hint: beware benevolently smiling papal legates.) A random sampling of arguments put forth by each side follows. Match the thought to the debater, please. A) "As Columbus himself said, the first time he saw them: 'I cannot believe there are better men on earth.' " B) "To speak of the Spaniards and these demons in the same breath, what an aberration. What madness." C) "I promise you they suffer like us. They groan when they're hit." D) "The Indians deserve what they've got, their sinning and worshiping false idols is a constant offense to the true God. The wars we conduct against them are just." If you guessed that Good Guy was responsible for A and C, and Bad Guy put forth B and D, you have gained a general sense of the debate's opposing polemics. It has been framed in terms that are historically accurate, and rightly so, but by 21st-century standards they defy consistent intellectual engagement. The ideas adduced by Sepulveda to prove the inferiority of the Indians are risible or long disgraced, and the pseudo-scientific methods used by the Pope's Legate to decide the question are even more preposterous. When a cowering family of Indians are brought before him, he sends in a clown to see if these painted, feather-clad folk know a good joke when they see one. This inspires, naturally, snickers of disbelief and contempt from the audience. These rigid dynamics may be intended to point up the distorted view of the natives held by both sides, but they are ponderous nonetheless. And as a result, Mr. Carrière's writing sheds little new light on the play's potentially resonant themes: for example, the ugly persistence of genocide in human history, the tendency of those in power to dehumanize their subjects and religion's role as a violently divisive force in history. First written in 1992 for French television and then staged in 1999, the text predates the Iraq occupation. Nevertheless, some lines in Mr. Nelson's translation seem purposefully freighted with up-to-the-minute significance, as when the Legate wonders, "So when must we exercise and to what end this right we give ourselves to intervene in a strange place?" "When to our eyes crimes are committed in other countries, under other laws, where other gods are worshiped," he also asks, "must we always intervene with our army?" The only thing missing is a sign flashing "Please discuss." But I'm not sure "The Controversy of Valladolid" truly bears much fruit for interesting debate. Is it a revelation to anyone that the Catholic Church has a shameful history of using theological argument to support the cruelties of Western colonization (and worse)? Is it really news that a church's zeal to save souls can become tangled with a country's taste for power or greed for gold? Will those who have never before contemplated the political ramifications of President Bush's religious affiliation be moved to do so for the first time? Mr. Carrière is a learned and intelligent writer, and there surely are ironies of theological and philosophical argument to be ferreted out and dissected. Fans of the French theater, which has tended to favor rhetorical elegance over messier forms of drama (see Racine versus Shakespeare), may well bask in the play's stately, dialectical form. Mr. Jones's honorably sober staging does not embellish the proceedings with unnecessary flourishes, and his cast performs its untaxing duties with sincere commitment. But even those who believe the play does meaningfully explore the unholy alliance between politics and religion may find the debate less than absorbing. And after two hours of listening to a handful of white men orating eloquently, it's hard to ignore a painful paradox: this drama about the philosophical roots of the marginalization of minorities in Western culture doesn't offer a single meaningful role for a minority actor. Please discuss.



BBC 14 Feb 2005 Calls grow to tackle Afghan war crimes By Paul Anderson BBC News, Kabul The infamous Pul-e-Charkhi jail near Kabul saw many abuses In many countries affected by war, courts to try war crimes and crimes against humanity have been set up soon after the conflict. In Iraq, the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone... but not Afghanistan. It is more than three years since the fall of the Taleban, but neither the international community nor the government of President Hamid Karzai have sought redress for the millions of Afghans with direct experience of atrocities. The authorities thought it wisest not to start the process. Stability first, the argument ran, justice second. QUICK GUIDE Afghanistan Now the tidal gates holding back years of accumulated grief look set to burst open. Those who argue you do not get stability without justice have hit back with the recent publication of a survey revealing that most ordinary Afghans agree with them. Torrent Take Shukria Fazal and Hamida Ahmed. Shukria lost a staggering 183 members of her extended family to the communist forces running Afghanistan in 1978, just before the Soviet invasion. The secret service of Afghanistan, Khad, did their KGB paymasters proud. The Soviets are said to have shot 1,000 in one massacre Shukria says its visits started off as a trickle - first an uncle, then a brother dragged out of bed in the middle of the night and whisked off to the vast Pul-e-Charkhi prison and torture centre on the outskirts of Kabul. Then it turned into a steady flow of arrests of family members suspected of being anti-communist insurgents. Then it was a torrent. The ground around Pul-e-Charkhi is peppered with the mass graves of thousands. No war crimes investigator has ever visited them to gather evidence. Shukria brought out some fading black and white photos of the men taken away. Some young about to enter university. Others well advanced in years. She trembles with grief as if the arrests were yesterday. But this was 27 years ago. Even so, she is demanding that anyone connected to the regime then be brought to justice. Insurrection The Soviets and their communist Afghan puppets have plenty more to answer for, like the Kerala massacre, in Kunar province, in 1979. We will never forget it... so many women, children and men killed Hamida Ahmed A thousand men were dragged from their homes by communist forces and shot in cold blood on the streets. It was a communist answer to an insurrection staged by mujahideen fighters in the province. The next phase in the war crimes tally is in the early 1990s when different mujahideen factions were fighting among themselves for power. Hamida Ahmed recalls one of the worst: the Afshar massacre and mass rape in 1993. The forces of the Afghan national hero, Ahmed Shah Masood, struck a deal with another warlord to attack the Kabul neighbourhood of Afshar, headquarters for a rival faction from the ethnic Hazara minority. After 24 hours of mortar bombardment from the hills, Masood's forces walked into the district and embarked on an orgy of killing, rape and looting. "We will never forget it," says Hamida, "so many women, children and men killed." Deeply political The Taleban were well known for their zealous application of Islamic values, but less often identified with war crimes - scratch the surface and you will find plenty. Like the scorched-earth operations in the Shomali plain outside the capital or the massacre of civilians at Mazar-e-Sharif in the north. The forces of Ahmed Shah Masood are, too, accused of massacre So where do the people who were victims of all this go for justice? The first and almost only port of call is the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, which compiled the survey and for the first time since the end of the Taleban regime gave a voice to the people's demand for justice. What it discovered was a suppressed anger shared across the country, that many warlords and militia commanders are not just free, but co-opted in the new political system. The commission has recommended setting up a special prosecution office within two years and a war crimes court within five. It has also demanded the vetting of anyone in public service so war crimes suspects do not slip through the net. All these recommendations are deeply political and may never get off the ground. The communists and the Taleban are not around any more or are on the run. The easiest ones to catch are the warlords. Since the Taleban's overthrow they have still been controlling some of Afghanistan's furthest corners, collecting their own taxes, extorting, seizing property, running their own private jails and armies. But they are the most difficult politically to touch. The theory is they are needed to help coalition forces hunt Taleban remnants or that their arrest would destabilise the country. But many people are arguing that they are not so popular that thousands would rally behind them or that their arrests would have a destabilising effect. If that is the case, these same people argue, then they say the time has come to open the tidal gates holding back the people's clamour for justice - that it is a healthy thing to do to flush out the system now and then.


BBC 28 Feb 2005 Bangladesh 15 on sedition charges Hardline groups have been blamed for bombs over the past five years Fifteen suspected leaders of radical Islamic groups have been charged with sedition in Bangladesh. Court officials said the men were accused of carrying out bomb attacks on rallies and buildings in attempts to destabilise the country. The charges come amid a crackdown on militant Islamists which has included the banning of two groups. Those charged include a professor who police say was named by some arrested militants as their spiritual leader. Dr Muhammad Asadullah al-Ghalib, a professor of Arabic at Rajshahi University, was among the 15 defendants charged in a court in north-western Natore district. If convicted they face possible life imprisonment. Aid group attacks Dr Ghalib openly heads a group called Ahle Hadith Andolon, which says its aim is to establish and popularise the teaching of the Prophet Mohammed. They have been in a deep conspiracy against the state Farukh Ahmed, investigating officer Bangladesh and Islamic militants But police say a number of arrested men who are suspected of belonging to the now-banned Jagrata Muslim Janata and Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen groups have said he is their spiritual head. The court in Natore was told that the men were calling for an Islamic revolution to turn the country into a failed state and had become involved in activities against the interests of the state. "They have been in a deep conspiracy against the state and have created an unstable situation by launching bomb attacks on cultural functions and aid agencies," investigating officer Farukh Ahmed told the court. Two weeks ago, eight workers of two international development agencies, the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee and the Grameen Bank, were hurt in blasts. US praise No date was set for the next hearing, but Dr Ghalib has been brought to the capital, Dhaka, for further interrogation. Police have previously failed to identify those responsible The government, which has long denied the presence of Islamic militants in Bangladesh, launched the rare crackdown following strong criticism from the country's international partners. More than 100 people have been killed in a number of blasts since 1999. The government has so far failed to identify any of those responsible, although hardline Islamic groups were blamed in most of the cases. According to police, more than 70 suspected militants have been arrested since the crackdown was launched last week The Islami Oikya Jote, or Islamic Unity Front, which is a partner of the four-party ruling coalition, called the crackdown "a ploy to alienate the pro-Islamic forces from the government". However the United States has welcomed the crackdown. US State Department official, Christina Rocca, said the recent actions would contribute to the maintenance of law and order in Bangladesh.


Times Higher Education Supplement (London), 25 February 2005 "Barbaric crimes of a mystical communism seen through its own eyes," Ben Kiernan, Title: Pol Pot: The History of a Nightmare Author: Philip Short Reviewer: Ben Kiernan Publisher: John Murray Now that Pol Pot is dead and his last comrades have surrendered, Philip Short seeks to explain the nightmare to which their Khmer Rouge regime subjected Cambodia. Short, a French-based British writer, follows the Khmer Rouge leaders from their student days in colonial Phnom Penh and metropolitan Paris to their armed insurgency and victory in 1975. He recounts their four bloody years in power and closes with Pol Pot's death in the jungle in 1998. Pol Pot's surviving colleagues may soon face a joint Cambodian/United Nations tribunal. Short has argued against that. His book's strength - and weakness - lies in its presentation of recent reminiscences, mostly in French, by Khmer Rouge leaders and associates, and of "confessions" of prisoners whom their regime tortured and murdered. Short finds the Khmer Rouge guilty of barbaric crimes against humanity but "innocent" of genocide, since they "did not set out to exterminate a 'national, ethnic, racial or religious group'". Though he cites Article II of the 1948 Genocide Convention, Short misstates its definition of genocide: acts committed "with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group". He dismisses evidence that Pol Pot's regime perpetrated genocide against large parts of Cambodia's majority Buddhist community and of its ethnic minorities such as the Vietnamese, Chinese and Muslims. Short doubts that racism was involved and compares Pol Pot's violent "dispersal" of all Cambodian Muslim communities to "school bussing in the US to achieve desegregation". Such assertions help prolong international denial of the victims' rights. Short ignores the 1999 legal report of the UN Group of Experts, who recommended that Khmer Rouge leaders face charges of genocide, having "subjected the people of Cambodia to almost all the acts enumerated in the Convention". Despite calling the Cambodian revolution a "holocaust" in which its ideology found "lebensraum", Short labels the Nazi parallel "facile" and "unhelpful". He says the Khmer Rouge ran a slave state, inflicting a death toll "due primarily to a combination of overwork, lack of food and lack of medical treatment". That relegates mass murder to a secondary feature of the killing fields. Short rejects the UN figure of 1.7 million dead, suspects that the toll was below 1.5 million but offers no evidence. Ignoring substantive estimates that 15 to 20 per cent of the peasantry perished, he terms 10 per cent "almost certainly an overestimate". As he says, that is "horrific enough". Short's accounting of the disaster suggests an ambition to write its history not by weighing the facts but by offering a novel interpretation. Obliviousness to 25 years of genocide documentation seems to come easiest to those employing racial categories for analysis. Short sees Cambodians and Vietnamese as "two incompatible peoples". Vietnam is domineering, China more benign, Cambodia "medieval". He finds a "core of truth" in the colonialist gibe that "the Vietnamese grow the rice; the Khmers watch it grow; the Laotians listen to it grow". Short racialises individuals, too. Pol Pot's father, he insists against family denials, had "enough Chinese ancestry" to know "that education was important". Short contests what he calls the Cambodian "equation of race with behaviour rather than with blood", implying that he sees "blood" as a significant trait. Thinking in racial categories, Short misses the ethnic discrimination in Khmer Rouge policies, even in Pol Pot's 1952 self-description as the "Original Khmer". He concedes the point only at Pol Pot's call in 1978 to "kill... the 50 million Vietnamese". But Short spreads the blame across Cambodian society, insisting that such "anti-Vietnamese racism... resonated in the Khmer psyche" and "touched a chord of national pride". Pol Pot took it up only when he had "little else to fall back on" but "the ancient, immutable views of his people's culture". In Short's view, Pol Pot combined communist ideology not with genocidal racism, but with his "irrational... cultural heritage", including Buddhism, with its idealism and "demolition of the individual". He writes: "In Khmer thought, the fundamental dichotomy is not between good and evil, as in Judaeo-Christian societies", but between "village and forest". Short distributes responsibility among "millions of Cambodians, including Buddhist clergy" who "worked with" the Khmer Rouge. Rashly, he even denies that Cambodians mounted any major rebellion. Taking exotic essentialism as analysis, this approach implicates broad social groups in secret Khmer Rouge decisions of which they became victims and risks normalising the Pol Pot leadership's actions within a category of "parallel" crimes that includes those of previous and subsequent Cambodian regimes. For instance, Short magnifies Khmer Rouge complaints of the Sihanouk regime's violence in the 1960s. He is partly right that the Khmer Rouge's "mystical approach to communism" had no Chinese or European precedent, but it had no Cambodian one, either. Like many of his Francophone informants, Short contrasts "the emancipated Westernised values transmitted by the French and the immovable, inward-looking conservatism of Cambodian tradition". He repeats the colonial assessment of Vietnamese communist resistance: "one colonialism... chasing out another". Short's account of the early Khmer communist movement is based on the memories of French-speaking former students, and on French and Vietnamese archives, but not on accounts of rural Khmer participants, nor the local documentation in Cambodia's National Archives. Had he consulted the last, he would not have denied the Khmer Rouge export of rice to China, including a 5,000-ton shipment documented in a Commerce Ministry invoice of August 14, 1978. Instead, Short claims that reports of rice exports amid starvation emanated from "Vietnamese propagandists". Yet they also came from Cambodian dock workers, Khmer Rouge cadres and peasants. Short is unable to read Khmer and keeps a distance from Cambodian victims. From his faulty pronunciation advice to his reliance on Khmer Rouge sources, Short's use of evidence at a remove does not stand up to scrutiny. There are too many factual errors to list, but more often he ignores existing documentation to privilege the unprovable. For example, he reports Pol Pot's first experience with an anti-French Cambodian communist unit in 1954, a 300-strong force commanded by Cambodians. Short says Pol Pot "noted with disgust that more than 80 per cent of the other ranks were from Vietnam". The apparent source is Pol Pot, speaking 30 years later. But contemporary reports covered the unit's growth from a platoon of twenty-two Khmers and eight Vietnamese in 1949. The Khmers in such units kept increasing. A French general reported that by 1954, Cambodia's communist-led forces were "mostly Khmer". A unit that was four fifths Vietnamese would have been exceptional. There is no reason now to take at face value a contrary assertion by Pol Pot, even to indicate his view at the time. Without testing it against prior evidence, Short presents it as fact. He then fails to ask why, if Pol Pot's nationalism rather than racism was at work, Khmer command of Vietnamese troops would have provoked his "disgust". Short set out to tell "the story of the Cambodian nightmare... from the vantage point of those who created it, rather than solely from that of the victims". He fails to balance the two. There is a case for uncovering a tragedy's causes by looking through the eyes of its perpetrators. Short stretches that case by adopting much of their rewriting of history, dismissing evidence of their genocide and understating its human toll. Ben Kiernan is professor of history and director of the Genocide Studies Program, Yale University, Connecticut, US.


China see Kyrgyzstan


BBC 1 Feb 2005 Asset order in Gujarat riot trial By Abhishek Prabhat BBC News, Delhi Zahira Sheikh is a key witness to the Best Bakery attack India's Supreme Court has asked a key witness in a high-profile riot case to give details of her assets and money deposited in her bank accounts. Zahira Sheikh, the key witness in what is known as the Best Bakery case, was given four weeks to submit details. It follows allegations she was bribed to change her testimony in a case relating to riots in Gujarat in 2002. Twelve Muslims and two others were burnt to death when the bakery was attacked, allegedly by a Hindu mob. Confusion Ms Sheikh has twice changed her testimony in the case but has denied having received any bribe. Last month, the Supreme Court appointed an independent committee to investigate allegations of bribery in the case. The Muslims were burned alive in Baroda's Best Bakery On Monday the court gave the committee three more months to complete its investigations. In December, prosecution lawyers alleged Zahira Sheikh and her sister Saira Sheikh were using a luxury car far beyond their income. All the accused in the case were acquitted by a lower court in June 2003 after many witnesses, including Ms Sheikh, withdrew their evidence. But later Ms Sheikh said she had retracted her testimony because she had been threatened by local politicians. That led the Supreme Court to order a retrial in the case in neighbouring Maharashtra state. But the case was thrown into confusion again when Ms Sheikh once more changed her stance, alleging that rights groups had pressured her into making the allegations against the politicians. According to official figures, more than 1,000 people, mainly Muslims, were killed in the riots. Human rights groups put the death toll much higher.

Indo-Asian News Service 24 Feb 2005 US Muslim group protests Modi visit By Ela Dutt, Indo-Asian News Service Washington, Feb 24 (IANS) An American Muslim group has urged the Bush administration not to allow Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to visit the US because he was allegedly identified with the communal violence that killed over 1,000 people in the state. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which claims to be the largest advocacy group for Muslims in the US, also sent out an "Action Alert" urging members to send letters to the State Department to block Modi's entry into this country for the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) annual convention next month in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. "CAIR is seeking to block Modi's entry based on a section (Sec. 604) of the International Religious Freedom Act that makes any foreign official who has engaged in 'particularly severe violations of religious freedom' inadmissible to the United States," said the organisation in a release. Following anti-Muslim riots in 2002, "senior officials in Gujarat told human rights activists that they had been directed by Modi to allow the massacres to run their course," says CAIR, adding that "Modi allegedly called the riots "anticipated Hindu reaction" and "a natural outpouring". The release also quotes American media reports alleging investigators had found that the violence had been encouraged by the state government. It accused the chief minister of being "a key proponent of the militant and exclusivist Hindutva philosophy that aims to unite Hindus, and consolidate their votes, largely around fear of Muslims". Those opposed to Modi's entry into the United States have formed a group, the Coalition Against Genocide (CAG), to press for action by the AAHOA and by US government officials.

AFP 24 February 2005 Seven killed, 250 civilians rescued in Kashmir suicide attack SRINAGAR, India : Two Islamic militants were killed after attacking Indian Kashmir's administrative headquarters, ending a bloody siege which trapped 250 people and saw the deaths of five others. "Both of the militants who had stormed the complex have been shot dead," said Border Security Force (BSF) spokesman Neeraj Kumar. "The firing has ended but the operation is not yet over," he told AFP, adding that security forces were searching the heavily fortified complex to ensure there were no other rebels. K. Srinivasan, deputy inspector general of the BSF who headed the operation, said three policemen and two civilians had also been killed in the gunfire. The guerrillas attacked in the early afternoon, firing on security force personnel from positions inside the complex. The raid occurred while Srinagar's top administrator Shalender Kumar was in a meeting with two senior security force officers. All three were brought out safely, but some 250 government workers and members of the public trapped inside the multi-building complex had to wait for armored military trucks to take them out amid the rattle of heavy gunfire, officials said. After two hours all the civilians were rescued and security forces began firing on the complex, with the rebels shooting back until they were gunned down. Two of about a dozen rebel groups operating in the region, Al Mansurian and Al Badr, claimed responsibility for the attack in telephone calls to local newspapers. Ghulam Qadir, a state administration employee, said he was lucky to be alive. "We heard gunshots and we ducked for cover and remained inside one of the buildings as the firing grew, but then soldiers came in and rescued us," said Khadir. "It was a terrifying moment." The attack came as the Kashmiri administration grapples with the heaviest snowfalls in two decades that have brought the region to a near-standstill and sparked avalanches in southern districts which have killed some 231 people. The complex, on the banks of the frozen Jhelum river, houses hundreds of government employees who oversee the civilian administration of the troubled Muslim-majority Kashmir valley during the winters as the main seat of power shifts to Jammu, the winter capital. More than 40,000 people have died in an Islamic rebellion against Indian rule since 1989. Thursday's raid was the third by rebels on government establishments this year in Indian Kashmir. Last month they targeted the local income tax and regional passport offices. It was the first major attack since India and rival Pakistan agreed last week to resume bus services between the two zones of volatile Kashmir. The territory was the cause of two of their three wars since independence in 1947. India says that despite the tentative peace process with Pakistan, Kashmiri guerrillas continue to be aided from across the border in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Islamabad denies the charge but offers open support to what it calls the Kashmiris' struggle for self-rule. In other violence, Indian troops shot dead six militants in separate encounters, while three paramilitary troops and 10 civilians were injured in two grenade attacks by suspected rebels, a police spokesman said Thursday.


BBC 15 Feb 2005 Aceh refugees wary of camp move By Tim Johnston BBC News, Jakarta The authorities have used camps before in the fight against guerrillas Seven weeks after December's tsunami devastated Indonesia's Aceh province, the immediate crisis is under control. The authorities are now looking to medium-term coping strategies for the hundreds of thousands of people who lost their homes and livelihoods. For the first time, people are moving into the barracks-like camps that are to be their homes for up to two years. But victims and aid agencies have expressed worries about the move, which they fear may limit self-sufficiency. The first refugees moved into the hastily-built camps outside the Acehnese capital, Banda Aceh, on Tuesday morning. Long history The government has said it might have to house as many as 100,000 of the 400,000 survivors in camps across the province. But although the camps, with their showers and kitchens, represent an improvement for people who are currently living in tents and government buildings, many people still do not want to go. There has been a long and bloody separatist revolt in Aceh and the government has used camps before - to deny guerrillas access to the population. Aid agencies want people to look for long-term solutions straight away It is a tactic that is still remembered with horror in the province. The government says it is not going to force anyone into the camps this time and there are good reasons for people to move. It is easier to get health, education, and other assistance to the survivors but these arguments appear to carry little weight with many of the people most affected. Aid workers are also concerned. They say camps in general tend to encourage aid dependency and are keen for people to start looking for long-term solutions immediately. Some UN agencies say that although they will provide help to people who do decide to go to the camps, they will not assist in building the barracks or encouraging people to move there. The recovery and rebuilding operation will take years. Even before it gets under way in earnest, the clean-up operation needs to finish. There is a long way to go in Aceh. Seven weeks on, nearly 1,000 bodies a day are still being pulled from the wreckage.


NYT 6 Feb 2005 Iraq's Embattled Christians Killing Christians: An ancient minority flees insurgent atrocities (Ain Kawa, Iraq-AP, Feb. 6, 2005 4:20 PM) _ For the Toma brothers, life was getting more precarious by the day. One of them had survived two shootings. Their cousin had been murdered. A CD of beheadings named them as American agents. "Long Live Saddam Hussein" and "Allahu Akbar" had been painted on their church. It was clearly time to flee. Too late. As Hani and Khaled Toma backed out of the garage to make the two-hour drive from Mosul to the relative safety of Irbil on Sept. 2, a dozen gunmen riddled their red BMW with bullets, adding two more to the dozens of members of Iraq's tiny Christian community who have been murdered in Iraq's post-invasion blood bath. Over the past year, about 100 families from Mosul have taken refuge in Ain Kawa, a small Christian suburb of the northern Kurdish city of Irbil. Hundreds more have fled to other Kurdish-protected villages and towns. Photos of 33-year-old Hani and his brother Khaled, 31, hung on the walls of their family's home away from home. Their mother, Hassina Toma dug into a black plastic bag and produced the death certificates and police photos of her two sons slumped in the car. She told of frantically banging on the doors of the hospital morgue to see their bodies, and of burying them quickly and furtively, hurried along by a priest fearful of attracting unwanted attention. Her surviving sons couldn't attend, so great was the risk. A quick prayer and it was over. "It all lasted less than a quarter of an hour," she said. The funeral was held in Bartala, a town near Mosul where about 10 Christians have been murdered, including Tar Butros, the Tomas' 20-year-old cousin. She and two other women, cleaners at an American military base in Mosul, were gunned down as they traveled home from work by bus. For the brothers, the most direct threat came in a CD titled "Spies" which was circulating in Mosul and showed three Christians being interrogated by a group calling itself the Salahudin al-Ayoubi Brigade and then decapitated. One of the victims claimed to be an informant for the Americans and named all five Toma brothers as collaborators. The parents say Hani Toma was a businessman, and deny any of their sons worked for the Americans. While they were burying their sons, the home in Mosul where they had lived for 40 years and in which all the boys were born was set on fire. Raad Toma, 32, had already been targeted twice, the first time on a July afternoon. "I was chatting with friends on our street corner. Two masked men walked toward us and shot us with their pistols and fled," he said. He was hit in the stomach and the arm. Two of his friends were also injured. A few weeks later, partially recovered, he went out into the street again. A car with five men inside drove by, opening fire on him and two other Christians. A bullet pierced his left leg, damaging a nerve. That's when he moved to Ain Kawa. "I was afraid they would come to our house and kill us all," he said. The Toma family lived in Al Sa'ah, long a predominantly Christian neighborhood of Mosul but in recent years home to increasing numbers of Muslims. "There are a lot of Wahhabis there now, watching us," Raad Toma said, referring to adherents of the puritan form of Islam preached by Osama bin Laden. He said he had seen a wall poster in the neighborhood saying, "Killing of Christians and Jews is required as soon as possible." Christians are believed to make up just 3 percent of Iraq's 26 million people -- most of them Catholics, Assyrians and Chaldeans, the denomination to which the Tomas belong. Officials estimate that as many as 15,000 Iraqi Christians have left the country since August, when four churches in Baghdad and one in Mosul were attacked in coordinated car bombings. Twelve people died and 61 were wounded. Another church was bombed in Baghdad in September. Father Danha Toma, of the Saint Joseph Church in the Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah, belongs to a committee for Christians in need of refuge. Toma said 700 families in Mosul, Baghdad and the southern city of Basra have applied, but he lacks funds and lodgings to relocate them. Even in cases where justice is done, the dangers persist. The man who knifed Sonya Nasri's husband to death and injured her 24-year-old son was caught, tried and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Muslim custom gives the victim's family a say in the sentencing, and the perpetrator's father demanded that Nasri agree to a shorter prison term. When she refused, he threatened in open court to kill her son Ghaydan in revenge. "My lawyer told me to leave quickly through the back door and take a taxi to Irbil. I wasn't even present when the sentence was read out," the black-clad widow said. She fled Mosul for Irbil in June 2003. Nasri's husband, Wilson, was a liquor salesman, and after Saddam was toppled he started getting death threats as hard-liners emerged to enforce the Islamic ban on alcohol. The role of Iraqi Christians in the marketing of alcohol is one reason they have come under threat. Also, Christians are viewed as wealthy, making them more likely to be kidnapped for ransom. More dangerous, perhaps, is the notion that they are friendly toward their American co-religionists and therefore are "Crusaders" bent on destroying Islam. "They see us as being hand-in-hand with the Americans," said Father Toma, who is not related to the Toma brothers. "It is a wrong label." "Unfortunately, they've turned it into a war against the Crusaders and are taking it back to the Middle Ages," he said, adding that churches in Iraq haven't been attacked since the Mongols destroyed Baghdad in the 13th century. Christians participated enthusiastically in Iraq's Jan. 30 election, and although mainstream Muslim leaders have denounced the attacks on them, Raad Toma expects the vote will result in "extremist Islamists" taking power. He says they have already infiltrated the Iraqi security forces and "they will come after us and will help the criminals." He says he needs surgery for the gunshot wound that has left him with a limp, and wants to leave Iraq, "Things are going to get much worse for Christians," he said.

Reuters 17 Feb 2005 'Chemical Ali' led 1999 Basra massacre - rights body Thu February 17, 2005 6:24 AM GMT+05:30 By Alister Bull BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Ali Hassan al-Majid, Saddam Hussein's feared cousin and expected to be one of the first of his henchmen to face trial for war crimes in Iraq, massacred Shi'ites as well as Kurds, a report issued on Thursday said. Human Rights Watch said Majid, known as 'Chemical Ali' for gassing the Kurds in 1988, ordered the execution of hundreds of Shi'ites in Basra during a 1999 uprising sparked by the assassination of Ayatollah Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr. Saddam was blamed for killing the revered Shi'ite cleric and two of his sons. Sadr's third son is Moqtada al-Sadr, the rebellious young Shi'ite cleric who has led two uprisings against U.S. forces in the past year. Human Rights Watch said it had a document and witnesses implicating Majid in the execution of at least 120 men and boys from the uprising, in which 40 Baath Party officials died. "Research ... strongly suggests that Iraqi security forces and Baath Party members, under the direct command and supervision of Ali Hassan al-Majid, engaged in systematic extrajudicial executions, widespread arbitrary arrest and detention, torture and collective punishment," the report said. Iraqi officials expect Majid to be among the first of 11 Saddam lieutenants to go on trial for a range of crimes, including crimes against humanity and genocide, for his role in the poison gas attacks that killed thousands of Iraqi Kurds. Lawyers warn guilt may be hard to prove for attacks that happened so many years ago. But the evidence gathered by Human Rights Watch is recent and may be more convincing in court. DOCUMENTED EVIDENCE Its investigators visited Basra in April and May 2003 and obtained a four-page hand-written document from Shi'ite clerics. It had been found in the offices of Saddam's secret police when government buildings were looted after British troops entered the city in April 2003. The list is anonymous, carrying no official letterhead to link it to Saddam's security forces, a precaution that Human Rights Watch has noted with other potentially incriminating documents of the former regime. But its authenticity is strengthened by the fact that relatives have matched 29 of the names on the list with bodies exhumed from a mass grave near Basra. Neat columns list 120 men and boys aged between 16 and 36, give their home addresses in Basra, the dates on which they were executed and which teams carried out the killing. Each page has an identical heading: "List of the names of the criminals who confessed to taking part in the event of March 17-18, 1999". The captives died in four batches, between March 25 and May 8, 1999, and the document says the order was given by "the Commander of the Southern Sector." This was Majid. "He referred to himself by this title in official Iraqi government communiques at the time. Every person interviewed by Human Rights Watch in Basra in 2003 identified the 'Commander of the Southern Sector' in 1999 as Majid," the report said. Human Rights Watch also found witnesses to the executions. One, a 27-year old cattle herder named Sattar, said he had stumbled on bulldozers digging three deep trenches near the Nassiriya to Basra road one day in spring 1999. "The next morning about 9 a.m., while at the same place again with my herd, four buses and six Baath Party-like cars arrived on the scene," Sattar said. He hid himself, and saw the passengers leave the buses, guarded by armed men wearing the olive green uniform of the Baath Party. "Between 80 and 100 persons might have been on the buses. The prisoners were led in a line to the trenches where they were placed one by one ... Seconds later, the men in uniforms began shooting randomly at the prisoners with AK47s and BKC machineguns. The shooting lasted several minutes," he said.

www.timesonline.co.uk 24 Feb 2005 Kurd who will seal Saddam's fate From Anthony Loyd in Sulaimaniyah Favourite for presidency insists on a federal, secular state :JALAL TALABANI, the former Kurdish guerrilla commander, prisoner and outlaw who seems likely to become Iraq’s President, has more reason than most to want Saddam Hussein dead. The enmity between the two men is such that on one occasion, during the brutal struggle between Saddam’s forces and the Kurds in northern Iraq, Saddam offered an amnesty to every Kurdish fighter except Mr Talabani. As President, Mr Talabani would have a chance to turn the tables on the fallen dictator. If Saddam is convicted of war crimes, including the slaughter of more than 182,000 Kurds, Mr Talabani would sign his execution warrant. But he has a problem. “I’ve thought about it and this is one of my big problems,” he told The Times in an interview at his base in Qala Chwallan, northern Iraq. “Why? Because as a lawyer I signed an international appeal against executions and now this gentleman will be sentenced to death, and Iraqi people want to sentence him, to kill him. What can I do?” Asked if he can resolve the dilemma, he laughed. “I hope so.” With the Kurds securing a strong second place in elections last month, and the victorious Shia having chosen Ibrahim al-Jaafari for the Prime Minister’s job on Tuesday, Mr Talabani, 71, is the favourite for the presidency. Yet there would be many ironies in him becoming titular head of a country whose rule he has spent most of his life fighting to escape. “In my life I didn’t think at all to be minister, or prime minister or president,” he said. “I was thinking that the Kurdish struggle is a prolonged one and it will continue for many, many decades.” Since the 1991 Gulf War, the Kurds have enjoyed considerable autonomy and relative prosperity in the former no-fly zone of northern Iraq. As leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, one of the two main Kurdish parties, Mr Talabani refuses to acknowledge that most of Iraq’s five million Kurds now yearn for outright independence and appears to favour more realistic goals that would not lead to the break-up of Iraq. “Ask Kurds: ‘Do you want independence?’ Of course everyone will say ‘yes’,” he said. “But is it possible to have independence now? There are two things: wishful thinking and reality. Most Kurds voted for a legislature to be part of a united democratic federative Iraq . . . a federation within the framework of Iraq. “The Kurdish struggle will continue until it achieves self-determination. Right now, though, in Iraq the Kurdish struggle will continue for . . . the prosperity of our people, for economic development.” Mr Talabani, nonetheless, has drawn up some tough conditions for accepting the presidency. They include federal status for the Kurdish lands, and the departure of Arabs sent by Saddam to populate the oil-rich city of Kirkuk in place of Kurds. “We are not ready to accept posts without reaching agreement with our partners in the parliament on the main issues like federation, like democracy for Iraq, like the relation between religion and state,” he said. “Kirkuk must be normalised and returned to the stature before Saddam Hussein’s ‘ethnic-cleansing’ policy.” With the Kurds commanding 75 seats in the 275-member National Assembly and the Shia well short of the two-thirds majority required to enact legislation, Mr Talabani can afford to take a strong line. He is withholding judgment on the nomination for the prime ministership of Mr Jaafari, who has strong Islamic credentials, and said that Kurds will not co-operate with a Shia-led government unless it supports democracy and federalisation. He is emphatic that the Kurds will insist on secular government. “We will never accept any religious government in Iraq. Never,” he declared, thumping the table. “This is a red line for us. We will never live inside an Islamic Iraq. We respect Islam. Islam is our religion . . . The Islamic identity of Iraqi people must be respected, but not an Islamic government.” Mr Talabani’s temper is notorious. “He shouts and swears at everyone if there has been a mistake,” one of his peshmerga bodyguards said. “One time I was driving him too fast and left the escort vehicle behind. I still haven’t forgotten the shouting now. When he’s in a vile mood, everyone wants to run from his sight.” However, Mr Talabani is also renowned for the inspiration and courage he gave the beleaguered peshmerga guerrillas during their battles against Saddam. A connoisseur of good food and a cigar-smoker who has only recently given up alcohol, he is also well known for his humour and sensitivity. “When you are punished, he will soon also reward you,” the bodyguard said. “And many times when I have seen him speak of friends who were killed in the struggle he has come close to tears and sometimes even cried.” Mr Talabani’s fight for dominance in Iraqi Kurdistan has not always been pretty. During the internecine warfare between Kurds in the 1990s, he called on Iranian military support to oust rival Kurdish guerrillas, and critics note that his ostensible liberalism is underpinned by ruthless realpolitik. “He is somewhere between an authoritarian and liberal,” Asos Hardi, chief editor of Hawlati, the leading independent newspaper in Iraqi Kurdistan, said. “You can see signs in him of both totalitarianism and tolerance. There is no doubt, though, that he is a smart politician, and a man of will.” Britain bears some responsibility for the Kurdish problem. It ignored the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres, which promised Kurds their independence, and surplanted it with the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne with Turkey, leading to the division and subjugation of the Kurdish people. Restive Kurds in Iraq subsequently were bombed and gassed into acquiescence by the RAF and British Army. Mr Talabani now looks to the British to make amends by safeguarding the rights of Iraq’s Kurdish minority. “When I met Tony Blair once, I told him that as a student I had taken part in many demonstrations saying ‘British go home’,” he said. “But when they came back we welcomed them. We hope, though, that they will compensate us for what they have done in the past to Kurdish people. “British Forces and British planes once crushed our revolution. For that, now the British have a moral responsibility towards us.” WAR AND PEACE 1933 Jalal Talabani born in Kelkan, Kurdish area of Iraq 1946 Forms clandestine Kurdish student group 1947 Joins Kurdistan Democratic Party 1950 Jailed for political activities 1956 Finishes law studies in Baghdad; briefly in army; back to clandestine politics 1960-64 War between Government and Kurdish peshmerga. Talabani rises through ranks; commands resistance units in Iraq for most of next 30 years 1975 Kurdish resistance collapses and splits. Talabani founds Patriotic Union of Kurdistan 1980s Central Government and peshmerga at war 1988 Iraqi forces gas Kurdish town of Halabja; at least 5,000 killed 1988-89 Iraqi campaign against Kurds leaves 182,000 Kurds dead 1991 Kurdish revolt crushed. Haven set up for Kurds in Iraq’s North 1993-96 Fighting between PUK and rival KDP, ended by Ankara agreement 1998 PUK and KDP agree to share power within regional government

washingtonpost.com 27 Feb 2005 U.S. Forces Detain Father, Son in '82 Iraqi Massacre - Hundreds Were Killed In Shiite Muslim Village By Jackie Spinner Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, February 27, 2005; Page A18 BAGHDAD, Feb. 26 -- U.S. forces have detained an Iraqi father and son accused of participating in a 1982 massacre in the predominantly Shiite Muslim village of Dujail in retaliation for an assassination attempt on then-President Saddam Hussein. Senior U.S. officials said in interviews that Abdulla Rwayid and Muzhir Abdulla Rwayid were taken into custody Monday and charged with crimes against humanity for their alleged role in the killing of hundreds of people associated with the Dawa party, a Shiite group that carried out the attempt on Hussein's life on July 8, 1982. Charges against the two detained men were referred to the Iraqi Special Tribunal, the entity responsible for trying those accused of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide in Iraq between 1968 and 2003, when Hussein's Baath Party ruled the country. The charges arose from a series of events in Dujail, located about 40 miles northeast of Baghdad, after the failed assassination attempt. According to some reports, up to 400 people were killed. A senior U.S. legal adviser in Baghdad, who spoke on condition that he not be named, said the Rwayids were charged in connection with 147 deaths. Hussein survived many assassination attempts, but the ambush in Dujail was one of the most serious, according to his biographers, and left a lasting mark on his presidency. Afterward, Hussein began limiting his travels around the country and used elaborate decoys and body doubles. He also increasingly turned to trusted family members rather than Baath Party officials to run the government. The attempt on his life came as the Iran-Iraq war was entering its second year and eroding Hussein's popularity. The plot was code named Operation Bint Huda, after the sister of Ayatollah Mohammed Bakr Sadr, a founder of the Dawa party, a religiously conservative Shiite group that was banned by Hussein. Sadr and his sister had been executed by the government in 1980. More than 20 years later, the party's political leader, Ibrahim Jafari, is competing for the post of Iraqi prime minister. In his book, "Saddam," Con Coughlin writes that the ambush at Dujail lasted more than two hours. Witnesses recalled that attackers marked Hussein's vehicle with sheep's blood to identify him in his convoy. But Hussein eluded them by riding in another vehicle. The attackers shot at the decoy vehicle, killing several of Hussein's companions, according to witness accounts. The president had to be rescued by the Iraqi army. Eight of the Dawa attackers were killed during the firefight. Punishment was swift and severe. Hundreds were arrested. Dujail residents were evicted and relocated to a new town, and their village was razed. According to a report Tuesday in the Boston Herald, the Rwayids were captured in their home and then transported to Baghdad by the U.S. Army's 42nd Military Police Company, which arrived in Dujail in two Black Hawk helicopters. The Herald reported that Abdulla Rwayid had been detained last year by U.S. forces for shooting at passing military convoys from the roof of his home and that his son is believed to have been an agent of Hussein's intelligence service. In Dujail on Saturday, a witness to the massacre, Mishan Faisal, 66, a former member of the Baath Party, said Abdulla Rwayid was responsible for the arrests that followed the assassination attempt. "The Baath Party would give him lists of names of people to arrest," Faisal said. "He would go and activate the orders." Younis Ahmed, another resident, said he was arrested for participating in the assassination attempt, an allegation that he denied. "One day members of the security forces of Saddam came and said, 'Are you Yousif Muhammed?' " Ahmed said. "I said, 'I am Younis Ahmed.' They told me to come with them. They tortured me for a month in the special security forces building and released me." U.S. military commanders said they held about 90 "high-value" detainees -- individuals who are either suspected of war crimes or held high-ranking positions in Hussein's government. In addition, 15 individuals have been classified as high-value criminals and referred to the special tribunal. According to the U.S. legal adviser, one of the three most recently designated for trial is Alwan Bandar. The official declined to say what Bandar had been charged with. It is not clear when trials of the high-value criminals will begin. The senior U.S. official said reports that they would start next month "should not be trusted." U.S. and Iraqi officials are renovating a building in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone that will be used for tribunal proceedings, but the work is not scheduled to be completed until at least April, U.S. Embassy sources said. Meanwhile on Saturday, U.S. and Iraqi forces continued to search for insurgents in Anbar province, part of the violent Sunni Triangle region north and west of Baghdad where many Hussein loyalists are based. Witnesses reported clashes between U.S. forces and armed men in the provincial capital of Ramadi. They said the militants were connected to Abu Musab Zarqawi, whose group, Al Qaeda in Iraq, has been operating from the Malaab and Tameem neighborhoods in western Ramadi. All the armed men were suicide attackers, and they struck a military convoy at 11 a.m. in Malaab, said Lt. Ali Aidan, of the Iraqi National Guard. He said nine insurgents were killed or wounded and four U.S. troops were killed. The Marines have captured 155 suspected insurgents and seized several weapons caches during a six-day security operation in Ramadi and neighboring towns, according to the U.S. military. Of those detained, 51 were taken into custody Friday, the military said in a statement. Hamoudi Hadib, 45, a grocer in Ramadi, said he hopes the U.S. forces kill all of the insurgents. "They prevent us from working," he said. "If Islam and religion become like this, we don't need it. They hurt us so much. We don't blame the Americans because they insisted on continuing their mission, but we blame those Arabs who do not want to leave our country. They should leave." In another incident, a U.S. Marine was killed while his unit was conducting operations in Babil province, just south of the capital, the Associated Press reported. And the body of Raiedah Mohammed Wageh Wazan, an anchorwoman for the U.S.-funded Nineveh TV, was found dumped along a Mosul street, six days after she was kidnapped, the news service also said. Staff writer Caryle Murphy in Baghdad and special correspondent Salih Saif Aldin in Dujail contributed to this report.

NYT 28 Feb 2005 Syria Turns Over a Top Insurgent, Iraqis Say By JOHN F. BURNS BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 27 - Iraqi officials said Sunday that Syria had captured and handed over a half-brother of Saddam Hussein who has been accused of playing a leading role in organizing and financing the insurgency that has tormented Iraq since Mr. Hussein's overthrow nearly two years ago. Syrian officials in Damascus confirmed the transfer, and said the half-brother, Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan al-Tikriti, once the widely feared head of Iraq's two most powerful security agencies, was one of a group of officials from the former Iraqi government who were arrested in Syria and delivered into Iraqi custody. An Associated Press report, quoting unidentified Iraqi officials, said there were 30 men in the group. The sudden Syrian move in handing over Mr. Hassan and the other fugitives came under intense pressure from the United States. The longstanding tensions between the nations worsened sharply in the aftermath of the bombing on Feb. 14 that killed the former Lebanese prime minister, Rafik Hariri, in Beirut, and mounted further with the suicide bombing in Tel Aviv on Friday that killed four Israelis. Ever since Mr. Hussein's overthrow, Syria had insisted that it knew of no wanted Iraqi fugitives on its soil, much less of any involved in the insurgency. The Associated Press report cited the Iraqi officials as saying he had been captured in the Syrian town of Hasakah, about 40 miles west of the Iraqi border and about 120 miles west of the insurgent-battered city of Mosul. Officials in the office of Ayad Allawi, Iraq's interim prime minister, said more details would probably be given on Monday, either in Baghdad or in Washington. A statement issued by Dr. Allawi's spokesman, Thaier Naqib, emphasized the brutality of Mr. Hassan in the 1990's, when he headed, in succession, the Mukhabarat and the General Security Directorate, which between them arrested and killed tens of thousands of Iraqis. The statement also noted the major role that it said Mr. Hassan had played in sustaining the insurgency, saying he had "made a major contribution to the planning, supervision and execution of terrorist activities inside Iraq." A similar point was made by Barham Salih, a Kurdish politician and deputy prime minister. In a telephone interview, he confirmed that the arrest had been in Syria, and said that it should serve as a warning "to all those who would try to destabilize Iraq from beyond its borders." The United States has long contended that Syria has been harboring top officials of the ousted government and allowing them to finance and steer the insurgency in Iraq. In the aftermath of the attacks in Lebanon and Tel Aviv, the Bush administration and the Israeli government pointed a finger of blame at Syria and its president, Bashar al-Assad. After the Hariri assassination, Washington noted the presence of 15,000 Syrian troops in Lebanon, and Mr. Hariri's role in demanding their withdrawal. Pentagon officials applauded the capture of Mr. Hassan, who was listed as No. 36 on the list of 55 most-wanted Iraqis that the American government compiled after the fall of Baghdad in April 2003. One senior defense official described Mr. Hassan as "a big fish," but said it was too soon to gauge the long-term impact of his capture on the insurgency, whose decentralized hierarchy has enabled the rebels to weather the arrest of other leaders, including Mr. Hussein himself and two other half-brothers, Barzan al-Tikriti and Watban al-Tikriti. Syria's vulnerability to pressure has compounded under the drastic strategic changes that came with the American-led toppling of Iraq's former government. Syria's government rules in the name of the Baath Party, a branch of Iraq's party of the same name, and Syria has for 40 years used a milder form of the same authoritarian practices and secret police tactics. Now, the Damascus government is faced with 150,000 American troops across its eastern border in Iraq and, since last Sunday, a new American offensive against insurgents along the Euphrates River corridor that runs up to the Syrian border 300 miles northwest of Baghdad. Before the transfer of the Iraqi fugitives, Syria had made other unexpected conciliatory moves. In recent days, it responded to demands for an end to its 16-year-old troop presence in Lebanon - demands that have the support of France, the former colonial power in Lebanon, as well as of the United States - by saying it would withdraw all its troops to the Bekaa region of Lebanon, and would consider a total pullout. On Sunday, several American scholars specializing in Syria described Mr. Hassan's handover as typical of Syrian tactics in recent years. They described a double game of provoking and assuaging Washington, offering covert support for groups like Hezbollah, and more recently the Iraqi insurgents, then making timely concessions to the United States to ward off serious trouble. "Ever since the 1980's, Syria has played this game of being both the arsonist and the fire department," Michael Doran, a professor of Near Eastern studies at Princeton University, said in a telephone interview. He added: "They miscalculated how badly the Hariri assassination would backfire. Now, they're trying to curry favor with Washington to prevent the United States from coming down too hard on them. They've backed themselves into a corner, and they're trying to get out." Last month, a Bush administration official told a reporter that Syria had captured a high-level Baathist figure, whose detention was leading to the arrests of others inside Syria, and that those captured were in Syrian custody, with an understanding between Syria and the United States not to disclose what was going on. A senior State Department official praised Syria for arresting Mr. Hassan, but said Syria needed to make many more arrests and do far more to shut down support for the Iraq insurgency. He said the person arrested had earlier been identified by the United States as having operated freely in Syria and Lebanon. "It's to their credit that he's been arrested, but there are a number of others the Syrians ought to be able to find," the official said. "They're not off the hook as far as we're concerned. We want to see them do some more significant things. One swallow does not a spring make." On the Pentagon's deck of playing cards portraying the most-wanted men in the Hussein government, Mr. Hassan appeared as the six of diamonds, with a black-and-white portrait showing him as a young, smiling man with black sideburns, a thin mustache and a distinct likeness to Mr. Hussein. The two men have the same mother, though they were born many years apart. The Pentagon's eagerness to capture Mr. Hassan was underscored earlier this month when Central Command, with overall responsibility for the war in Iraq, posted his name on a list of wanted officials from the former government. The United States posted a $1 million bounty for Mr. Hassan's capture, and repeatedly pressed the government in Damascus to take action to arrest him and others. American military commanders have said captured insurgents had traced a pattern of cross-border movements bringing large sums in American dollars and recruits to the insurgents. It is likely that Mr. Hassan will be taken to Camp Cropper, an American military detention center near Baghdad's international airport where Mr. Hussein and dozens of other senior officials of his government are being held. He may also eventually join them on trial before the Iraqi Special Tribunal set up to try the top-ranking members of the old government. A statement issued by Prime Minister Allawi's spokesman, Mr. Naqib, said Mr. Hassan was guilty of "killing and torturing many of the sons of Iraq," and described his arrest as showing "the determination of the Iraqi government to chase and capture all those criminals who have committed genocide and bloodied their hands with the killing of the Iraqi people." Mr. Hassan's capture suggested that the insurgency is to some extent a family affair for relatives of Mr. Hussein. It was a reminder, too, that Mr. Hassan's own son, Yasser al-Sabawi, was cited by Iraqi security officials last year as being among those wanted for the kidnapping and beheading of Nicholas Berg, a 26-year-old American. With Mr. Hassan's capture, only 10 of the 55 individuals on the Pentagon's most-wanted list remain at large. Among those, the man most eagerly hunted, with a $10-million bounty on his head, is Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, a vice president under Mr. Hussein, who was reported after the capture of Baghdad in April 2003 to have moved back and forth across the Syrian border. This week or next, the special tribunal is expected to make a formal start to the trials, and the man who tribunal officials have named as most likely to appear first in the dock is Barzan al-Tikriti, who like Mr. Hassan served Mr. Hussein as a senior intelligence official, in his case as deputy head of the Mukhabarat from 1977 to 1983. American officials have said investigative judges are almost ready to hand formal charges to the tribunal, in a process called referral. The procedure is expected to be brief, followed by a 45-day adjournment before the tribunal begins the substantive part of the trial. Some of the charges against Mr. Tikriti will be tied to the massacre in 1982 of hundreds of people in the Shiite Arab village of Dujail, about 40 miles northeast of Baghdad, officials have said. The killings took place after assassins tried but failed to kill Mr. Hussein as he rode through the village in July 1982 in a motorcade. The Washington Post reported Sunday that two other Hussein-era officials believed to have been involved in the massacre, Abdullah Rwayid and his son Muzhir Abdullah Rwayid, were arrested on Feb. 21. Mr. Tikriti has already outlined the core of his defense, saying at a brief court appearance last July that he was, in effect, only a cipher for Mr. Hussein, who appointed many of his relatives to top positions. As Mr. Hassan's capture was announced, the war across Iraq ground on, with new casualties to add to the nearly 1,500 American soldiers and thousands of Iraqis who have died. The American command said two soldiers were killed in southeast Baghdad on Saturday in an ambush that involved a combination of a roadside bomb explosion and small-arms fire. The military also said a marine died Saturday in combat in Babil province, south of the capital, scene of what American soldiers call the triangle of death because of its history of attacks by insurgents and criminal gangs. [Ten people were killed and 15 wounded Monday in a car bombing in Hilla, south of Baghdad, Agence France-Presse reported, citing the Iraqi police.] The A.P. reported that a bomb had exploded inside the police headquarters in the northern town of Hammam Alil on Sunday, killing five people, according to a coroner at a Mosul hospital. In western Baghdad, gunmen killed two policemen heading to work, police officials said. The police in Baghdad also found the headless body of an Iraqi woman dressed in black robes with a sign that said "spy" pinned to her chest. In Latifiya, a town in the triangle of death, Iraqi troops found four beheaded bodies on a farm, The A.P. reported. The four were said to have been members of the Badr Organization, the armed wing of a powerful Shiite political party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution. The victims were reportedly kidnapped Saturday. Reporting for this article was contributed by Douglas Jehl, Eric Schmitt, David E. Sanger and Steven R. Weisman from Washington, and by Robert F. Worth and Edward Wong from Baghdad.

AP 27 Feb 2005 A Look at U.S. Military Deaths in Iraq By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Filed at 11:25 p.m. ET As of Sunday, Feb. 27, 2005, at least 1,495 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,130 died as a result of hostile action, according to the Defense Department. The figures include four military civilians. The AP count is 15 higher than the Defense Department's tally, last updated at 10 a.m. EST Friday. The British military has reported 86 deaths; Italy, 20; Ukraine, 18; Poland, 17; Spain, 11; Bulgaria, seven; Slovakia, three; Estonia, Thailand and the Netherlands, two each; and Denmark, El Salvador, Hungary, Latvia and Kazakhstan one death each. Since May 1, 2003, when President Bush declared that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, 1,357 U.S. military members have died, according to AP's count. That includes at least 1,021 deaths resulting from hostile action, according to the military's numbers. February 27, 2005 A Look at U.S. Military Deaths in Iraq By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Filed at 11:25 p.m. ET As of Sunday, Feb. 27, 2005, at least 1,495 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,130 died as a result of hostile action, according to the Defense Department. The figures include four military civilians. The AP count is 15 higher than the Defense Department's tally, last updated at 10 a.m. EST Friday. The British military has reported 86 deaths; Italy, 20; Ukraine, 18; Poland, 17; Spain, 11; Bulgaria, seven; Slovakia, three; Estonia, Thailand and the Netherlands, two each; and Denmark, El Salvador, Hungary, Latvia and Kazakhstan one death each. Since May 1, 2003, when President Bush declared that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, 1,357 U.S. military members have died, according to AP's count. That includes at least 1,021 deaths resulting from hostile action, according to the military's numbers. On the Net: http://www.defenselink.mil/news/

www.iraqbodycount.net 28 Feb 2005 Reported civilian deaths resulting from the US-led military intervention in Iraq Minimum Reported 16, 123, Maximum Sources 18,395 ( as of Sunday, 27th February 2005) The IRAQ BODY COUNT Project This is a human security project to establish an independent and comprehensive public database of media-reported civilian deaths in Iraq resulting directly from military action by the USA and its allies in 2003. In the current occupation phase this database includes all deaths which the Occupying Authority has a binding responsibility to prevent under the Geneva Conventions and Hague Regulations. This includes civilian deaths resulting from the breakdown in law and order, and deaths due to inadequate health care or sanitation. Results and totals are continually updated and made immediately available on this page and on various IBC counters which may be freely displayed on any website, where they will be automatically updated without further intervention. Casualty figures are derived solely from a comprehensive survey of online media reports. Where these sources report differing figures, the range (a minimum and a maximum) are given. All results are independently reviewed and error-checked by at least three members of the Iraq Body Count project team before publication.

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IRIN 17 Feb 2005 Interview with the chair of national Uyghur society [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] BISHKEK, 17 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - Rozimuhammed Abdulbakiev is the head of Ittipak, the national society of Uyghurs in Kyrgyzstan. Many Uyghurs live in exile in the former Soviet republic, after fleeing the heavy-handed Chinese state repression of their activities, labelled as "nationalist" by Beijing, in their native Xinjiang Province, a vast region that occupies a sixth of China's land mass. Rights groups cite a serious rise in human rights abuses against the Uyghur minority of northwest China, while Beijing has claimed to be faced by "religious extremist forces" and "violent terrorists" in the region for more than a decade. Uyghurs in Kyrgyzstan say they face discrimination, given Bishkek's desire to remain on good terms with its giant neighbour. Many say they have suffered human rights abuses at the hands of the Kyrgyz authorities, including deportation to China. QUESTION: What are the main goals of your organisation? ANSWER: Ittipak has several main goals, including support for an open society in Kyrgyzstan, the protection of human rights and, of course, the preservation and development of Uyghur culture and language. We want peace and ethnic harmony in Kyrgyzstan and we try to contribute to this integration process. Q: What sort of discrimination do Uyghurs in Kyrgyzstan suffer from? A: One of the main problems Uyghurs face is that some mass media and government officials wrongly label us as criminals and terrorists. It is bad, because crime and good deeds do not have a nationality. If an article showing Uyghurs in a negative light is published in a newspaper, immediately problems occur in everyday life and many ordinary Uyghurs feel it. Another issue is the Uyghur language. During Soviet times Uyghurs here did not have the chance to learn their own language. Therefore, the majority of Uyghurs in the north of Kyrgyzstan studied in Russian schools and some of them do not speak Uyghur at all, while in the south of the country, the majority of Uyghurs studied in Uzbek schools, and view Uzbek as their native language. Concerning Uyghurs in Isyk-kul and Naryn oblasts [regions], Uyghurs studied in Kyrgyz schools and now they speak in Kyrgyz. Q: Beijing has labelled Ittipak a separatist organisation. Is this the case? A: We believe that there is a totalitarian regime in the PRC [People's Republic of China] and anyone who disagrees with the Chinese government policy is considered a separatist. We understand we are citizens of Kyrgyzstan, but at the same time the reality of the suffering of Uyghur people [in China] is not a matter of indifference to us. It is natural that we cannot keep silent about genocide and the oppression of the Uyghur people in the XUAR (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region). Uyghurs are not Han Chinese and they had their own state and autonomy in the past. Uyghurs continue to face oppression in the XUAR: the mass resettlement of the Han Chinese from central regions to the XUAR; the limitation of the Uyghur birth rate and denial of our language and cultural rights. Eastern Turkistan, where we come from, was occupied by communist China in 1949; therefore we think that Uyghurs have the right to self-determination. This is naturally interpreted by Beijing as separatism. Q: What sort of problems do Uyghurs newly arrived from the XUAR face when they arrive in Kyrgyzstan? A: Kyrgyzstan has a common border with China and there are many Uyghurs from the XUAR here now. I know that they have many problems, but unfortunately few of them come to our office because every contact with us is considered by the Chinese authorities as a contact with a "separatist" organisation, and people who do come here will have problems at home [in the XUAR]. However, some people visit us discreetly and then we explain the laws, the rules for staying in Kyrgyzstan and answer questions concerning refugee status. The main problem faced by such Uyghurs is that they come here seeking asylum in a third country for different reasons. Some of them get help from UNHCR [the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees].


www.timesonline.co.uk 16 Feb 2005 A new generation vows to resist sectarian violence From Nick Blandford in Beirut THE normally jammed streets of Beirut were almost empty yesterday as a stunned nation observed a three-day period of mourning for Rafik Hariri. Fearing a violent backlash from Mr Hariri’s supporters, the Lebanese Government imposed a security clampdown, cancelling all leave for the military and police and stationing troops at key intersections in the Lebanese capital. Schools, shops and businesses stayed closed while television stations broadcast verses from the Koran. A large crowd of mourners gathered at the site of the bomb attack on the seafront. Investigators combed through the debris, looking for clues. Suleiman Frangieh, the Lebanese Interior Minister, said that initial indications suggested that the perpetrator was a suicide bomber. Mr Hariri is to be buried today at a vast mosque in Central Beirut. His family said that members of the Government would not be welcome at the funeral. Most Lebanese are blaming Syria, which dominates the political process in Lebanon, for Mr Hariri’s death. Demonstrators took to Beirut’s streets, chanting “Syria out, Syria out”. In Mr Hariri’s hometown of Sidon a mob attacked Syrian workers, injuring five before police intervened. The headquarters of the Lebanon branch of Syria’s ruling Baath party were attacked by demonstrators on Monday night. Walid Jumblatt, the leader of Lebanon’s Druze and a powerful opposition figure, said: “This (Lebanese) regime is backed by the Syrians. This is the regime of terrorists and terrorism that wiped out Rafik Hariri.” The Lebanese opposition are blaming Syria for Mr Hariri’s death, demanding the resignation of the Lebanese Government and calling for a three-day general strike. Nayla Mouawad, a prominent opposition member, told The Times: “Enough is enough, we can’t go on like this.” Mrs Mouawad is the widow of René Mouawad, who also was killed by a massive bomb, in 1989, 17 days after being elected President of Lebanon. Many commentators have noticed the similarity between Mr Hariri’s death and that of Maarouf Saad, another Sunni Muslim leader, whose assassination in 1975 helped to trigger the 16-year civil war. But a new generation of Lebanese has no wish to rekindle the bloody sectarian conflict that destroyed their country. Fouad Siniroa, the former Finance Minister and lifelong friend of Mr Hariri, told The Times: “I think the Lebanese have become immune to every attempt to create differences and problems among them.”

washingtonpost.com 16 Feb 1005 Lebanese Warn Of Parallels to 1970s Volatility By Scott Wilson Washington Post Foreign Service Wednesday, February 16, 2005; Page A01 BEIRUT, Feb. 15 -- A day after the assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, senior Lebanese officials warned that the country was entering a volatile period similar to the year preceding Lebanon's long civil war. They urged calm among angry opposition leaders and thousands of citizens who hold the government responsible for Hariri's death. In Washington, State Department spokesman Richard A. Boucher announced that Margaret Scobey, the U.S. ambassador to Syria, was being recalled for consultations. Boucher said the move reflected the Bush administration's "profound outrage" over Hariri's assassination but added that the United States still did not know who carried it out. The decision underscored rising tensions between the United States and Syria, which maintains 15,000 troops in Lebanon and whose government many Lebanese opposition leaders blame for Hariri's killing. Hariri, 60, a self-made billionaire who entered Lebanon's fractious political scene in the midst of its 15-year civil war, had emerged in recent weeks as an important opponent of Syria's influence in Lebanon. The Lebanese government placed the army on high alert, with soldiers visible throughout the capital Tuesday on the first of three days of mourning. Shops and schools were closed. Beirut's empty avenues echoed with the wail of muezzins reading Koranic verses from minarets. Hundreds of Lebanese filed through Hariri's downtown mansion to pay tearful respects to the former prime minister, who was killed with 13 others Monday when his motorcade was rocked by an enormous explosion as it traveled along Beirut's waterfront. In the southern city of Sidon, Hariri's home town, angry Lebanese men scuffled with a group of Syrian workers, the Associated Press reported. Several cabinet ministers called for unity in the face of what one called an international campaign to destabilize Lebanon. "We're now in 1975," Interior Minister Suleiman Franjieh told reporters, referring to the year the civil war began. "All we are missing is someone to start the shooting." Hariri resigned as prime minister in October over a move by parliament the previous month to extend the term of President Emile Lahoud, who was Syria's handpicked choice for the position. But only recently had Hariri begun identifying himself with the opposition bloc now demanding Syria's complete withdrawal from Lebanon. Parliamentary elections, scheduled for this spring, could usher in a government more opposed to Syria's presence. Hariri was believed to have been planning another bid to be prime minister, backed by rival sectarian parties that have united against Syria. Lebanese officials said Tuesday that the elections would proceed as scheduled. Because of the severity of the crime -- the most serious political assassination in Lebanon since the civil war ended in 1990 -- opposition leaders and officials from France, which administered Lebanon after World War I, have called for an international investigation. Syrian intelligence agents, working with allies in the Lebanese security services, have been suspected of past political attacks, including a bombing that seriously wounded a former cabinet minister soon after he resigned in protest over Lahoud's term extension. But Lebanese officials on Tuesday effectively ruled out an international inquiry, calling the issue a matter of national sovereignty. So far, officials said, the Lebanese investigation indicates that the explosion, which sheared off the facades of several buildings and shattered glass within a quarter-mile radius, was likely the result of a suicide car bomb that rammed Hariri's motorcade. Hariri traveled in a convoy equipped with electronic jamming devices designed to thwart remotely detonated bombs; Lebanese knew that he was in their neighborhood when their cell phone service went dead. Franjieh said DNA testing was being conducted on some of the remains pulled from the wreckage, which army and police trucks began clearing Tuesday from the busy curve on Beirut's Corniche, or coastal drive. Officials also said authorities were reviewing a videotape broadcast on al-Jazeera satellite television that showed a Palestinian asserting responsibility for the bombing. Government troops on Monday raided the Beirut home of the man, Ahmed Tayseer Abu Adas, who claimed to belong to the previously unknown "Group for Advocacy and Holy War in the Levant," and seized computer equipment and tapes. Abu Adas, who said he had killed Hariri for his financial dealings with the Saudi royal family, was not at home. Officials also responded angrily to opposition claims that Lebanese authorities were responsible for Hariri's death, which several officials called a national tragedy. They suggested that whatever entity carried out the attack was seeking to cause political friction in Lebanon for its own gain -- a formulation commonly used in the region to imply involvement by Israel or, more recently, the United States. "There is no way that we can see what is happening here outside the scope of the regional situation," Elie Ferzli, Lebanon's information minister, said at an afternoon news conference. "The country is a victim of a conspiracy. All we can do is contain the situation." Hariri was to be buried Wednesday in an enormous mosque in the heart of a once war-shattered district of downtown Beirut that Hariri helped rebuild into a pedestrian mall of boutiques, cafes and office buildings. The mosque, still under construction, was funded largely by Hariri's charitable foundation. Hariri's family turned Koreitem Palace, his downtown mansion, into an open house for much of the day. Foreign delegations arrived to pay tribute, including one led by Syria's vice president, Abdul Halim Khaddam, who called the assassination an "earthquake" that would shake Lebanon and Syria. "I hear my father worry now that civil war is coming back," said Mohammed Hariri, 22, a second cousin of Rafiq Hariri who is studying for a master's degree in administration at the American University of Beirut. "I don't know what's going to happen, I really don't know." Soldiers cordoned off the crater left by the bomb as investigators picked through debris at the scene of the attack, which became a focal point of popular dismay and grief. Throughout the crisp winter day, hundreds of Lebanese gathered along the police tape to see for themselves what television had broadcast a day earlier. "They will never find out who did this, because the big things in our country we never know," said Dalal Zaatari, 50, who lives in the capital's Zarif neighborhood. "They took the king of this country. This government is nothing." Her eyes puffy behind sunglasses, Zaatari said she was reminded of the civil war as she looked over the smashed cars and soldiers toiling in the crater. "It's now the start of 1975," she said.


crisisgroup.org 1 Feb 2005 Nepal: Responding to the Royal Coup The policy priority in Nepal must be the reversal of the royal coup of 1 February 2005: the re-establishment of constitutional rule, including restoration of all suspended freedoms, release of all people arrested in the royal crackdown and revocation of the state of emergency. To achieve these goals, international donors -- ideally coordinated by a contact group comprising India, the U.S., the UK and the UN -- should immediately implement measures to apply pressure on the King, including suspending all non-essential military assistance; suspending all direct budgetary support; and initiating a review of all current development assistance programs. Only a legitimate, broad-based, democratic government will be able to strengthen the institutions of state to the point where the combined political and security strategy necessary for dealing with the ever more dangerous Maoist insurgency becomes possible. Crisis Group reports and briefing papers are available on our website: www.crisisgroup.org

Daily Star www.dailystar.com.lb The horrors of the holy city of Hebron 'The settlers there are religious fanatics and dedicate their lives to terrorizing the Palestinians' The Daily Star Lebanon | M. J. Rosenberg Beirut The Sharm el-Sheikh summit was a success by almost any reckoning. But let's not get carried away.Even the complete end to terrorism and reprisals would not signify an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It would only free the two sides to start negotiating over the issues which produced the violence in the first place. This reality was brought home to me during my stint as an official American observer of the Jan. 9th Palestinian election. Our 80-person National Democratic Institute group was broken into 40 teams and then dispatched throughout the West Bank and Gaza. My partner and I were assigned to 12 polling places in Hebron, the second largest city in the West Bank. Hebron is a city considered holy by both Jews and Muslims because of the presence there of the Cave of Machpela, traditionally thought to be the burial place of Abraham, the patriarch of both Judaism and Islam. Predominantly Arab, Jews also lived in the city, adjacent to the tomb, until 1929 when a pogrom launched by Arab fanatics resulted in the murder of 69 Jews and the end of the Jewish presence in the city. In 1967, following the war - with Israel now in control of the West Bank, including Hebron - ultra-religious Jewish nationalists pressured the Israeli government to permit Jewish settlers to reclaim, and move into, properties that had belonged to the Jewish community prior to 1929. The government refused. It arranged for Jewish worship inside the tomb but not for civilian settlement inside the city, which it considered to be both impractical and provocative. Only a tiny group of extremists (many from outside Israel) had any interest in living inside Hebron and - in the midst of a city of 160,000 Palestinians - they would need to be defended by hundreds, if not thousands, of soldiers. The settlers moved in anyway, establishing illegal outposts in the heart of Hebron, which have been tolerated by successive Israeli governments for 36 years. Following the Oslo agreements, the Israeli Army withdrew from all Palestinian cities except Hebron, where troops remained to defend the settlers. In 1997, the Israeli Army withdrew from 80 percent of Hebron, remaining only in an area labeled H-2 which includes the Cave of Machpela, the casbah (Arab market) and the Jewish settlements. Some 400 settlers live in H-2 in the midst of 30,000 Palestinians. Last month, I visited H-2 despite being told by an Israeli friend that it is "the worst place in the West Bank." How so? "The settlers there are religious fanatics and dedicate their lives to terrorizing the Palestinians with the goal of driving them all out. The Palestinians can't fight back because the army won't let them. On top of all that, the settlers hate the soldiers almost as much as they hate the Palestinians because the soldiers try to curb their activities. These soldiers are in a situation where they have to defend fanatics who routinely refer to them as Nazis." But, he added, "so long as the settlers are there, the soldiers must remain as well. Snipers, shooting from the hills, have killed Jews (including a two year old, Shalhevet Pass) and, so the soldiers need to be there, no matter how much they hate it." I walked into the heart of H-2 following a short inquisition by an Israeli soldier. My first stop was the Ibrahami Mosque, which encompasses the Tomb of the Patriarchs. As I walked down the steps toward the mosque, a young Palestinian made the point of informing me that I was following the same route Jewish zealot Baruch Goldstein took when, in February 1994, he burst into the mosque and shot dead 29 Muslims at prayer. Goldstein is a hero to the Hebron settlers. His burial place (in a tourist park named after Meir Kahane) was turned into a shrine where settlers annually celebrate Goldstein's murder spree with parties and games. (In 2004, police arrested some of them for holding an illegal celebration of both the Goldstein murders and the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin). For Palestinians, of course, the Goldstein massacre is a symbol of the ultimate threat. I left the mosque and walked through the mostly deserted casbah toward the settlers' neighborhood. There wasn't much to see, just settlers strutting around with rifles and a few Arabs trying to sell their wares in what was once a thriving market and is now mostly abandoned. And there is the graffiti in English and Hebrew promising death to all Palestinians. But the most striking thing is the steel mesh screens that the Arabs have installed just above the heads of pedestrians to protect them from the garbage and excrement routinely dumped by the settlers from their second floor windows. The screens catch all sorts of disgusting stuff and lethal objects like cinder blocks, although liquid debris does make its way to the ground or on the heads of anyone below. It's an appalling sight. Imagine looking up and seeing and smelling the foulest debris just above your head, stopped only by mesh. But then everything about H-2 is appalling, including the fact that Israeli soldiers are forced to serve there. Last summer a group of 70 soldiers who had served in Hebron created a photographic and video exhibit at a Tel Aviv college about their experiences there called, "Breaking Silence." The exhibit, which was a huge success, described from the soldiers' point of view, the dehumanizing experience that serving there had on them. Many spoke of the fear they had - not only of the Arabs or of the Jews - but of being terribly transformed as human beings by the experience. One soldier spoke of being frightened by the "rush" he felt from giving Arabs orders. "I was ashamed of myself the day I realized that I simply enjoy the feeling of power ... Forget for a moment that I think that all these Jews are nuts and that I believe we should leave the territories. But how dare [a Palestinian] say 'no' to me? I am the law! I am the law here! "Once I was at a checkpoint, a so-called strangulation checkpoint, blocking the entrance to a village. On one side a line of cars wanting to get out, and on the other side a line of cars wanting to get in. I stood there, gesturing 'you to do this,' 'you do that.' You start playing with them, like a computer game. 'You come here, you go there.' You barely move, you make them obey the tip of your finger. It's a mighty feeling." A second soldier wrote: "The thing that ... affected me emotionally ... was when we had just arrived in Hebron. I was on guard duty, when suddenly, from one of the small streets, a settler girl shows up and shouts at me very urgently: 'Soldier, soldier, come quickly, there's an Arab here who's attacking a girl.' I got very alarmed and advanced with my weapon cocked. The scene that unfolded was of an Arab with his two children. He's trying to protect them from another settler girl who's throwing stones at them. I blow my fuse and start screaming at her ... She's screaming back that they are Arabs and should be killed ... and the father, poor guy, says, with helpless eyes, 'We're used to it, we've been here a long time now, it's alright.'" A third soldier spoke of the day a group from abroad came to visit Hebron for the Jewish holidays. "One morning, a fairly big group arrived, around 15 Jews from France. They were all religious Jews. They were in a good mood, really having a great time, and I spent my entire shift following this gang of Jews around and trying to keep them from destroying the town. They just wandered around, picked up every stone they saw, and started throwing them at Arabs' windows, and overturning whatever they came across. "There's no horror story here: they didn't catch some Arab and kill him or anything like that, but what bothered me is that maybe someone told them that this is one place in the world where a Jew can take all of his rage out on Arab people, and simply do anything. Come to this Palestinian town, and do whatever they want, and the soldiers will always be there to back them up. Because that was my job, to protect them and make sure that nothing happened to them." Note that this soldier said that he had no "horror story" to tell, just an ordinary day for soldiers, not to mention Palestinians, in Hebron. And that is, of course, the greatest horror. That is why Hebron is significant. In one neighborhood, in one city, on any given day, anyone can experience the occupation at its worst - terrible for the Palestinians and terrible for the Israelis too. The Sharm el-Sheikh summit was a start toward a full cease-fire and the end of the intifada. But it won't change much in Hebron or in the rest of the West Bank either. As for Gaza, Ariel Sharon is getting out. That is if extremists in the Knesset, and settlers very much like their brethren in Hebron, let him. But a start is certainly better than the status quo. If anyone tells you that the status quo is tolerable, just tell them about Hebron. M.J. Rosenberg, Director of Policy Analysis for Israel Policy Forum, is a long time Capitol Hill staffer and former editor of AIPAC's Near East Report. This article first appeared on IPF Friday, an online newsletter, and is reprinted with permission.

Rising Nepal 23 Feb 2004 www.gorkhapatra.org.np Call for violence-free schools 170 teachers, 361 students killed during insurgency By Our Correspondent, KATHMANDU, Feb. 23: The 30th Education Day was observed Wednesday across the country with the slogan — Wish for a Violence-free and Peaceful Education Sector: Education for All to Live and Survive Together — when the violence, killings and terror have afflicted the sector. Besides frequent closures and schools being trenched and bunkered by the Maoist terrorists, more than 361 children and 170 teachers were killed, 313 children wounded, about 2,000 orphaned, nearly 15,000 abducted by the terrorists, and approximately 23,000 children were displaced during the last nine years of insurgency. Speaking on the occasion at a programme, Education and Sports Minister Radha Krishna Mainali said that the government was all set to create a congenial atmosphere to run the schools without any fear and hindrance. “Due to the conflict, violence and terrorism, the sector has been badly affected and students are barred from getting education fearlessly,” said Mainali, urging all to cooperate with the government to end the present crisis. Minister Mainali said that His Majesty’s Government had been working seriously to identify the weaker sector so as to accomplish the goal of Education for All, linking education with poverty alleviation. “The government has made efforts to fulfil appropriate education of national need based on international competitiveness through the implementation of various programmes,” he added. About 40 per cent of the total population are illiterate and 16 per cent of the school-age children are away from the school. In a bid to provide education for all, the government has already announced some schemes in its 21-point programmes. “The dalit, disadvantaged and disabled students will be provided with free education up to secondary level,” Mainali said, adding that the school curriculum is being changed to produce competitive manpower and employment oriented education. “The dalits, women and ethnic communities of the remote Karnali region will be included in the mainstream education by ensuring employment oriented, vocational and alternative education,” he assured. He further said that the government had adopted the transferring of the management of the public schools to the community to ensure quality education. “We are thinking to strengthen and facilitate those schools with academic, physical and financial management for the sustainable development of education by infusing accountability,” he said. “Without transformation of the concept of democracy, decentralisation and good governance into practice, investment alone cannot ensure quality education.” Mainali, who is also coordinator of the Education Day Main Celebrating Committee, presented awards, shields, national flags and certificates to the best schools, and winners of cultural, essay and athletic competitions. Among the community schools, Sidda Baba Secondary School of Gulmi received the national level Birendra Vidya Rastriya Shield (BVRS) with a purse of Rs. 100,000, flag, and commendation letter. Similarly, the regional level BVRS were won by Trivehi Secondary School of Udayapur in the eastern development region, Balambu Secondary School of Kathmandu in the central region, Narayan Secondary School of Parbat in the western region, Janata Secondary School of Pyuthan in mid-west region and Kedar Nagarjun S. School of Baitadi in far-west region. The schools received flags, commendation letters and purses of Rs. 50,000 each. Among the private schools, the national BVRS award was given to Gandaki Boarding School of Kaski. Similarly, the schools receiving the award at the regional level were: Balkalya Vidyamandir of Biratnagar, Gyanodaya Bal Batika Secondary School of Lalitpur, New Horizon English Boarding School of Rupandehi, Tulasi Awasiya Secondary School of Dang and Stepping Stone E. School of Kailali. Among schools of the remote areas, Khumjung Secondary School of Solukhumbu was awarded the BVRS with Rs. 50,000, flag, shield and certificate.

Reuters 28 Feb 2005 Fresh violence in embattled Nepal, 15 killed By Gopal Sharma KATHMANDU, Feb 27 (Reuters) - At least 15 people, including a senior police officer, were killed in violence in Nepal, authorities said on Sunday, a day after Maoists ended a crippling road blockade against King Gyanendra's power grab. In the latest strikes by Maoists, a deputy police superintendent and his bodyguard were shot dead at the officer's home at Butwal, 300 km (190 miles) west of Kathmandu. Five policemen and three soldiers were killed when rebels ambushed a security patrol in Bara district, 150 km southeast of Kathmandu on Sunday, an army statement said. And a police officer and a soldier were killed in another ambush in Solukhumbhu district, near Mount Everest. "Ten security personnel wounded in both incidents have been brought to Kathmandu for treatment," the statement said. Elsewhere, soldiers gunned down three guerrillas overnight in separate clashes. King Gyanendra justified his Feb. 1 power grab, in which he took over the country and arrested political leaders, as being necessary to crush the Maoists, who are battling to set up a communist republic. More than 11,000 people have been killed in the insurgency since 1996. His seizure of power sparked global condemnation and the suspension of vital military aid from India and Britain. Sunday's killings came as buses returned on the roads and food supplies resumed after the guerrillas withdrew the blockade they called two weeks ago in protest at the seizure of power. Rebel chief Prachanda called off the blockade on Saturday, saying he did not want people to suffer any more but threatened an indefinite strike next month if the king failed to backtrack. "It is nice to have everything normal. Buses are running after 15 days, life is the same as before," said Arjun Adhikary, a company employee, from Nepalgunj, near the Maoist heartland in the west. Rebels had set up mine-laden road blocks, dug ditches in the middle of highways, set vehicles on fire and killed a truck driver who defied their blockade. The army said dozens of rebels and four security personnel had been killed in clashes last week as soldiers cleared barricades. "We thank the rebels for withdrawing the blockade and urge them not to repeat any programme that hurts common people," human rights activist Malla K. Sundar said. Analysts said the decision to end the blockade did not signal a softening of the rebels' stand, but was a tactical move since past strikes had made them unpopular. "It is also a clever move on their part to assess how much strength they have gained or lost between two strikes," said Yubaraj Ghimire, editor of the widely read weekly, Samay. .


Reuters 15 Feb 2005 Pakistan arrests six suspected sectarian militants QUETTA, Pakistan, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Pakistani police said on Tuesday they had arrested six Sunni Muslim militants suspected of involvement in two attacks on minority Shi'ites in which more than 100 people were killed. The men were arrested on Monday night in a series of raids in Dera Murad Jamali, about 230 km (140 miles) southeast of Quetta, the capital of southwestern Baluchistan province. "These men were wanted in both attacks," provincial police chief Chaudhry Mohammad Yaqoob told Reuters. The arrested men were members of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Sunni militant group banned in August 2001, he said. Last year, at least 44 people were killed in a gun and grenade attack on a Shi'ite mosque in Quetta. Another 57 people were killed in a suicide attack on a Shi'ite procession marking the annual festival of Ashura in 2003. Ashura is the 10th day of the Islamic month of Muharram when, according to Islamic tradition, Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammad, was killed in battle in the Iraqi city of Kerbala in 680 A.D. Ashura falls on Sunday this year and authorities have stepped up security across the country. In a separate incident, two Sunni Muslims, including a custodian of a shrine, were killed and several people were wounded when unidentified gunmen opened fire on a funeral procession in the capital, Islamabad. Police said it was too early to say whether it was a sectarian attack or the result of a personal dispute. Shi'ites account for about 15 percent of Pakistan's 150 million people. They largely live at peace with majority Sunnis but hundreds of people have been killed in attacks by militants of the two Muslim sects over the past 15 years.

ANI Pakistan government oppressing Ahmadis: Ahmadiyya report: [World News]: Lahore, Feb.14 : Pakistan government is making extra efforts to exclude Ahmadis from public offices, commerce and doing injustice to them on the basis of fabricated charges, claims annual report for 2004 published by the Ahamadiyaa community in Pakistan. "Ahmadis are denied basic human and civic rights. They are not allowed to hold conferences and meetings in Rabwah. The government ensures that no Ahmadis are given public offices there. The post office, telephone office, the railway station, police, security, and the magistrate's office have no Ahmadi employees," the Daily Times quoted the report. The reports claimed that Ahamadis were deprived of their rights to vote and participate in humanitarian activities in several parts of the country and were prosecuted on false charges. According to the report 52 Ahmadis faced criminal charges under religious laws, four under blasphemy clauses, 19 under Ahmadi- specific laws, and 27 under other laws in 2004 for their only crime that they were Ahmadis. "At the end of 2004, Pakistan sponsored a resolution to promote religious and cultural understanding, harmony and cooperation in the UN General Assembly. Just two weeks before the resolution was passed, a court in Faisalabad sentenced an Ahmadi to life imprisonment on a fabricated blasphemy charge," said the report. The report also questioned government's intention of not allowing Ahmadis to come into the mainstream of commerce. "The Privatisation Commission forms for the privatisation of national carrier PIA required investors to declare whether they were Muslims or non-Muslims at four different locations. It is instructed to 'tick one'. An Ahmadi does not call himself non- Muslim, and if he ticks 'Muslim' he can be convicted for up to three years," said the report, questioning, "Is this a deliberate attempt to exclude a minority from commerce?" Rabwah, the centre of the Ahmadiyya Community, was founded and developed "entirely by community members after the Partition. Its population now reaches 50,000 - 95 percent being Ahmadis," said the report. The report also alleged the government of taking over a college and boy's high school, which was constructed with Ahmadi community money and since the last twenty years Ahmedi professors were not allowed to work there as principal or headmaster. (ANI)

2001 Oct 19 Ejaz Ahmad Basraa and his 16 years old son Shahjahan were martyred near Ghatialian district Sialkot. Mr. Ejaz was actively following up the court trial of terrorists involved in massacre of Ahmadis. He had received threats on last hearing of the case.


news24.com SA 14 Feb 2005 11 die in Philippine blasts 14/02/2005 19:47 - (SA) Related Articles Filipinos kill 40 'terrorists' Seven die in fiesta shooting Kids killed journo for kicks Manila - Eleven people were killed and at least 93 injured Monday in Valentine's Day bombings by suspected al-Qaeda-linked militants that hit Manila and two southern Philippine cities, officials said. The three bombings were claimed by the Abu Sayyaf, a militant Muslim group operating in the southern Philippines that is listed by the US state department as a "foreign terrorist organisation". Abu Sayyaf spokesperson Abu Solaiman told DZBB radio in an interview that the three bombings were "our Valentine's gift to her (President Gloria Arroyo)". "The defenders of Islam have struck again," he said. "Our latest operations in Manila, Davao and General Santos, planned and executed with precision by the gallant warriors of Islam, is our continuing response to the Philippine government's atrocities committed against Muslins everywhere," he said. In a reference to an ongoing rebellion by several hundred Muslim gunmen on the southern island of Jolo he accused the military of "massacring whole families". And he warned every Filipino and foreigner alike that "we will not stop until we get justice for the countless Muslim lives and properties that you people have destroyed". Presidential spokesperson Ignacio Bunye described the bombings as "despicable acts" and warned the nation to "brace itself against these attacks on our freedom and security". He said: "We shall not be intimidated but we must be alert and united in our vigilance". The latest attacks came nearly a year after the group last February firebombed a passenger ferry with more than 800 people on board on Manila Bay, killing more than 100 people in the worst known terrorist attack in the Philippines. Edited by Elmarie Jack

BBC 15 Feb 2005 Arroyo vows to 'wipe out' bombers Security has been stepped up in public places since the bombings Philippines President Gloria Arroyo has vowed to "wipe out" the separatist group which said it planted a trio of bombs that left at least 11 dead. Security has been stepped up at public sites across the country amid fears the blasts may be part of a wider campaign. About 130 were hurt in the blasts, one in Manila and two in the south. The separatist group Abu Sayyaf, which is battling troops on the island of Jolo, claimed it planted the bombs and warned of more attacks. More than ever, we must not pull back but move forward to wipe out the remnants of the Abu Sayyaf President Gloria Arroyo Guide to Philippines conflict A rebel spokesman reportedly told local radio that Monday's attacks were a "Valentine's gift" to Mrs Arroyo. The president called on the public to unite behind the fight against terror. "More than ever, we must not pull back but move forward to wipe out the remnants of the Abu Sayyaf," she said in a statement. "The evil of terrorism has only one aim. It is to rule with absolute power and absolute force." The government on Tuesday offered a 500,000 peso ($9,260) reward for information leading to the arrest of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf militants, AFP said. Simultaneous blasts Army and police intelligence officials said they were not ruling out a role by Jemaah Islamiah, a regional network of militants which has been blamed for previous bomb attacks on public places. Security forces have been placed on high alert around the Philippines' airports, ports, bus terminals, shopping malls and foreign embassies. One of Monday's blasts happened in General Santos City, when a bomb destroyed a parked motorcycle taxi outside a shopping mall, killing at least three people. Almost simultaneously, a bomb exploded at a bus terminal in Davao City. A 12-year-old boy is reported to have died in the attack. About half an hour later, a third blast went off in the Makati business district of the capital, Manila, killing at least three people. In a phone call to DZBB radio, Abu Sayyaf spokesman Abu Solaiman said the militant group was responsible and linked the attacks to fighting between government forces and rebels on Jolo island. "Our latest operations - planned and executed with precision by the gallant warriors of Islam - is our continuing response to the Philippine government's atrocities committed against Muslims everywhere," Mr Solaiman said. Abu Sayyaf, founded in the early 1990s, is waging a violent bombing and kidnapping campaign against the central government in Manila. It is considered a terrorist organisation by the Philippines and the US. The group has carried out a series of kidnappings of Western nationals and has also been blamed for the bombing of a passenger ferry in Manila Bay in February 2004, which resulted in the death of more than 100 people.

Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA) 28 Feb 2005 Violence in Philippines' Moslem region mainly due to clan wars Manila (dpa) - Widespread violence in an autonomous Moslem region in the southern Philippines is mainly due to family or clan wars, according to three surveys published on Monday. The surveys were conducted by the Manila-based Social Weather Stations (SWS) between October and December 2004 with support from the Australian and U.S. agencies for international development. According to SWS, 28 per cent of families in the Autonomous Region of Moslem Mindanao (ARMM) have experienced violence due to family or clan conflicts compared to only 16 per cent in the Philippines as a whole. "The experience of violence is twice as common in ARMM as in the country as a whole, and is mostly due to family or clan conflict, and hardly due to Moslem-Christian conflict," the SWS said. It added that 72 per cent of ARMM residents approve of taking personal retribution when a family member is murdered, raped or hurt, compared to 59 per cent of Filipinos in general who disapprove. "This is not because Moslems are more violent by nature," SWS said, quoting Carmen Abubakar, dean of the University of the Philippines Institute of Islamic Studies. Abubakar blamed "the faulty formal justice system in ARMM" for the high incidence of violence, noting that people were left "with hardly any option but to settle serious grievances themselves". The surveys showed that 20 per cent of ARMM residents suffered violence due to conflict between Moslem rebels and the military. Only 5 per cent reported experiencing violence due to conflict between Moslems and Christians, the poll added. The survey also found that 62 per cent of Filipinos nationwide and 89 per cent in ARMM favour resolving the decades-old Moslem insurgency problem in the south through peaceful means.


Japan Times 17 Feb 2005 Singapore to commemorate wartime invasion, occupation by Japanese SINGAPORE (Kyodo) Singapore plans a series of events to remember the Japanese invasion and occupation of the island during World War II as part of its 60th anniversary celebrations for the end of the war, according to the Singapore Tourism Board. More than 5,000 tourists are expected to descend on Singapore in the next nine months to relive the war years, including visits to battle sites and British forts. Most visitors are expected to come from Britain, Australia and New Zealand, home to many Allied veterans who fought to defend Singapore and other former British colonies against the Imperial Japanese Army. But the board has asked some Japanese war veterans associations if they are interested in taking part in events of historic value, said Chang Chee Pey, director of the board's sightseeing and cruise division. He said some Japanese veteran groups have said they are interested in visiting Singapore. The board and several other agencies are organizing about a dozen events between February and September to attract tourists and pass on memories of the war to the postwar generation, who grew up enamored of Japanese pop culture and see little significance in the war commemoration ceremonies. Singapore was an important site in the Pacific War because the island had been regarded as an invincible British stronghold before falling to Japanese forces on Feb. 15, 1942 -- a huge victory for Japan and a major disaster for Britain's Southeast Asian dominion. One of the highlights will be a two-day international academic conference on the Pacific War beginning Sept. 5 that will involve about 70 experts from 24 countries. Topics to be discussed include the controversy surrounding the 1937 Nanking Massacre in China. Singapore was occupied until September 1945, when Japanese forces there officially surrendered to the Allies, about a month after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Older Singaporeans remember the 3 1/2-year Japanese occupation for the hardship they endured and atrocities committed by the invaders against civilians. The organizers hope to raise awareness about the war among the country's youth through visits organized by schools to these events. Underscoring the desire to prevent memories of the war from fading, journalists invited Monday to a wartime underground communications tunnel that has been reopened as a World War II heritage site were entertained with a brief but haunting stage performance by a group of young Singaporeans. The youths recounted the pain and anguish suffered by survivors of the war, including the horror of suddenly losing loved ones when Japanese planes bombed Singapore, and seeing the decapitated and otherwise mutilated bodies of British soldiers. An estimated 50,000 to 100,000 civilians, many of them ethnic Chinese, were killed in Singapore during that time, based on the postwar exhumation of mass graves. Unlike other parts of Asia, including China and South Korea, where the governments have been vocal in expressing vehemence over the Japanese occupation, Singapore has taken a softer stance, with the government placing greater priority on economic cooperation with Japan and attracting Japanese investment and technology.


AFP 25 Feb 2005 Bangkok backs off in Muslim zones row February 25, 2005 Thailand has stepped back from a controversial scheme advanced by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to deny funding to Muslim villages deemed to be supporting separatists. That came amid a barrage of criticism over his ideas and as killings continued to rock the country's south. Seven people were shot dead Wednesday and Thursday in escalating attacks in the mainly Buddhist kingdom's three Muslim-majority provinces near the border with Malaysia, authorities reported. The killings took the death toll since January last year - when the insurgency erupted - to at least 610. The latest attacks in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat provinces targeted - as usual - police and government workers. Two police sergeants and several village and district chiefs were killed in separate incidents. Violence has surged since Thaksin's overwhelming re-election on February 6, and there was a frightening turn last week when insurgents detonated their first car bomb just hours after the prime minister ended a tour of the region. Amid the barrage of criticism over Thaksin's heavy-handed policies to snuff out the insurgency in an area that is 80 percent Muslim and its people ethnic Malay, his government stepped back from their leader's plan to categorise Muslim villages based on their perceived support for insurgents. The scheme, which Thaksin announced last week in the south, would have divided about 1,500 villages into red, yellow or green zones. More than 350 villages stood to be labelled as red - or hostile - which would mean there would be no state funding for services and troops would ``besiege'' them. But zoning was only a proposal, government spokesman Jakrapob Penkair said Thursday. It was ``merely an idea, not government policy, and as of now it is not being implemented or prepared at all.'' Leading Thai figures have said the plan is discriminatory and unconstitutional and likely to inflame tensions. Among them have been former Thai military commanders, including one of the king's advisers.


Armenia (see Azerbaijan)

Azerbaijan - Nagorno Karabagh Region

www.bakutoday.net 24 Fev 2005 President calls Khojaly massacre grave crime against humanity AssA-Irada President Ilham Aliyev, addressing the nation over the 13th anniversary of the Khojaly massacre of Azerbaijanis, perpetrated by Armenia on February 26, 1992, said that the Azerbaijani people lived through one of the most grievous days. 24/02/2005 09:44 Aliyev recalled that day, when the ancient Azerbaijani town of Khojaly was wiped out by Armenian military units. Hundreds of civilians, including children, women and elderly, were killed with unprecedented brutality. The President termed this as a grave crime not only against the Azerbaijani people but the entire humanity. "Despite the scale and seriousness of this crime, the government at the time did not timely provide the necessary information to international organizations and the world community," the President said. He emphasized that only after Heydar Aliyev returned to power, this vicious crime was given a political and legal assessment. “The experience gained since the Khojaly tragedy shows that the Azerbaijani people should be vigilant and regularly disclose the plans of Armenians, experienced in misinformation and subversive activity. The threat of ethnic separatism, hatred and terror ideology, carried out by Armenians in the Caucasus region, must be revealed. We will work hard on this. Azerbaijan must be conveying the truth to the world in an efficient and consistent manner.”

www.azernews.net 24 Feb 2005 US Congressman calls for recognition of Khojaly massacre US Congressman from Indiana Dan Burton has called for recognition of the Khojaly massacre of Azerbaijanis perpetrated by Armenia in 1992. Addressing the House of Representatives on Friday, Burton said that the recognition of the tragedy by the Congress will finally 'break the ice' in conveying the truth on the issue to the international community. 613 people were brutally killed, numerous families wiped out, and 1,275 people taken captives during the Khojaly massacre, committed by Armenian armed forces with the support of Russian military units on February 26, 1992. Moreover, 1,000 civilians became handicapped and 150 missing persons. In his opening remarks, the Congressman said that "the mankind must know about and remember" the tragedy. He said that whereas several members of the House of Representatives have appealed to the world community to recognize the so-called "Armenian genocide" for many years, they have not addressed the ethnic cleansing pursued by Armenia against Azerbaijan during the Garabagh war. "Khojaly was a small city in Azerbaijan until 1992. It does not exist any more. Today, it is a symbol of sorrow and cruelty for all Azerbaijanis," said Burton. Referring to Human Rights Watch, Memorial, The New York Times and other influential sources, Burton said that brutal ethnic cleansing was carried out in Khojaly and unbelievable carnage perpetrated against innocent women, children and elderly people. Quoting a report by the Azerbaijani journalist Chingiz Mustafayev (perished in military action during the Garabagh war), who filmed what he saw after the Khojaly carnage, Burton described the vicious atrocities committed by Armenians: "Children had their ears cut off, skin was pulled off an elderly woman's face and men's eyes were gouged." The Congressman noted that until the end of the war, Armenian armed forces termed the massacre in Khojaly as their tactical step. He said that Newsweek, in its November 29, 1993 issue, quoted a high-ranking US official as saying: "We witnessed that Armenians had set out a goal to destroy every village they captured on Azerbaijan's territory. This is barbaric." Burton said that every year, on the eve of the Khojaly tragedy anniversary, leaders of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities of Azerbaijan appeal to the international community to condemn the Khojaly massacre, make effort to liberate the occupied land and return the displaced people home. Moreover, the survivors of the carnage, who live in refugee camps in Azerbaijan, along with a million fellow countrymen, also call on the world community, with pain and hope in their hearts, demanding to hold Armenia accountable for these sinister crimes. Burton welcomed the fact that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, in its last resolution, acknowledged that "a considerable part of Azerbaijan's territories is occupied by Armenian armed forces, while Upper Garabagh is still controlled by separatist forces". Moreover, PACE voiced its deep concern that military action and ethnic cleansing carried out by Armenia from 1988 till 1994 led to large-scale relocation of residents and the establishment of mono-ethnic territories. This statement by the Congressman is certainly reassuring and indicates that some progress is discernable in properly assessing the Khojaly massacre, considering the Armenian lobby has always had a strong influence in the US Congress. Nonetheless, it is obviously too early to speak of success in this area, as the world community has yet to recognize the Khojaly carnage. The Garabagh Liberation Organization (GLO) and those who lost their family members in Khojaly, sent an appeal to the Baku offices of the UN, OSCE and the Council of Europe, as well as foreign embassies, last week. The appeal, signed by 645 people, requested foreign diplomats to assist in holding discussions and to pass relevant decisions in their countries' parliaments over Armenia's atrocities. Muhammad Nadim Khan, the first secretary of the Pakistani embassy, which was the first to reply to the appeal, sent a letter to the GLO chairman Akif Naghi saying that the document had been sent to Islamabad. The GLO will be informed of Pakistan's official position on the matter, he wrote, emphasizing that Pakistan supports Azerbaijan's territorial integrity. Director of the International Center of Strategic Research Against World Terrorism and Corruption, political scholar Rovshan Novruzoghlu, has commented on the issue of international recognition of the Khojaly genocide. "Every year, we ascertain new facts relating to Armenian atrocities. But it is getting harder to fight the Armenian propaganda machine and prove to the entire world it is their actions that represent genocide. The issue remains open, despite numerous discussions around the appeal, sent to the CE, UN and Russia's Security Council by Savelyev, chief of a special department of the Russian military, who witnessed the Khojaly massacre. As far as I know, some progress is observed in investigating the Khojaly carnage, as President Ilham Aliyev has requested his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to hand over confidential military documents to Azerbaijan to conduct a thorough investigation." The Turkic states are expected to recognize the Khojaly massacre as genocide by 2010 and pass a joint document entitled "Genocide against all Turkic nations". For Dan Burton see www.house.gov/burton/

Armenian National Committee of America 25 Feb 2005 anca.org PRESS RELEASE HOUSE MEMBERS HONOR 17TH ANNIVERSARY OF KARABAGH LIBERATION MOVEMENT Special Order Speeches Organized by Congressional Armenian Caucus WASHINGTON, DC – Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) were joined by Representatives Rush Holt (D-NJ), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), and Michael McNulty (D-NY), last week, in speaking out in honor of the 17th anniversary of the Nagorno Karabagh liberation movement, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA.) The House Members stressed their commitment in ensuring a lasting and peaceful resolution to the Karabagh conflict. "We join with the people of Nagorno Karabagh, Armenians around the world, and throughout the United States in thanking Representatives Frank Pallone, Joe Knollenberg, Rush Holt, Carolyn Maloney, and Michael McNulty for helping to mark the 17th anniversary of the Nagorno Karabagh liberation movement," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "In 1988, the people of Nagorno Karabagh - at great sacrifice - were the first to rise up against Soviet misrule, sparking powerful pro-democracy movements that would bring an end to the Cold War and ultimately make the United States and the entire world safer." In Special Order speeches organized by the Congressional Armenian Caucus, the Representatives called attention to Nagorno Karabagh’s commitment to self-determination and regional peace. In his remarks, Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Frank Pallone reviewed the history of Karabagh’s efforts to end Soviet-era oppression of its citizenry. . ..SPEECH OF HON. FRANK PALLONE, JR. OF NEW JERSEY IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2005 Mr. PALLONE. [Excerpt] Mr. Speaker, this Sunday, February 20, 2005 will mark the 17th anniversary of the modern day liberation movement of the people of the Nagorno Karabakh (NK). Seventeen years ago the people of NK petitioned the Soviet government to correct historical injustices and reunite them with their compatriots in Armenia. The Armenians of NK were placed within the borders of Azerbaijan in 1921, as one of many ethnic groups there were separated by Joseph Stalin through his ``divide and conquer'' strategy. Armenians of NK were subjected to brutal Soviet Azerbaijani rule for 70 years. It is imperative that we recognize the fact that NK's referendum to secede from Azerbaijan in 1988 was pursuant to Soviet law. NK was already operating as an autonomous region and therefore had the right and the power to secede if they chose to. In fact, during the seven decades of Soviet rule, the Armenians of NK repeatedly stated to each successive Soviet regime their desire to be joined again with Armenia. These peaceful and legal maneuvers were met with violent repression and forced settlement of ethnic Azeris into NK. In 1988, when the Armenians of NK heard of the Mikhail Gorbachev's democratization agenda, they began to again move peacefully for reunification with Armenia. At this time, the Soviet and Azeri armies would not stand even to entertain this request and immediately resorted to violence. Public expressions of determination by the Armenians of NK were met with a campaign of ethnic cleansing, deporting the Armenians of NK and Azerbaijan. In 1991, as Armenia and Azerbaijan followed most soviet states in succession from the USSR, NK also voted to succeed. In an internationally monitored referendum, the NK population overwhelmingly voted to establish an independent Nagorno Karabakh Republic, currently known as NKR. Following this referendum in which the country was established, the Azeri army began a full-scale war on the Armenians of NK, which took thousands of lives over 3 years, but eventually ended up with NKR repelling Azeri forces. This victory was gained with an army that was out-manned and out-gunned, but had desire and guile that proved to be overwhelming. This conflict had a terrific human cost, leaving 30,000 dead and over one million displaced. Thankfully, although small skirmishes have broken out from time to time, the peace has been kept since an agreement ceased hostilities in 1994.


AFP 22 Feb 2005 Bosnian Muslim ex-army chief to surrender to UN war crimes court 02-22-2005, 22h04 Undated file photo shows Rasim Delic, ex-Bosnian Army Muslim Commander. Delic said he will surrender to the UN court in The Hague which had indicted him over war crimes committed against ethnic Serbs during the 1992-95 war. (AFP/File) SARAJEVO (AFP) - Bosnian Muslim wartime army commander Rasim Delic said he will surrender to the UN court in The Hague which had indicted him over war crimes committed against ethnic Serbs during the 1992-95 war. "As a person respecting the law I cannot do do anything else than to defend the truth about the 1992-1995 war before The Hague tribunal," Delic said in a statement on national television. Earlier Tuesday television said that Delic will go to The Hague on Monday, but he did not confirm that in his statement. "The indictment is related to my alleged indirect responsibility in forming of El Mujaheed unit and its actions," Delic said, adding that the indictment was delivered to the Muslim-Croat entity's Prime Minister Ahmed Hadzipasic. The El Mujaheed unit was made up of fighters from Islamic countries fighting alongside the Muslim-led Bosnian army. The television said that Delic, 56, was charged over war crimes committed by the El Mujaheed unit serving within the 3rd army corps against ethnic Serbs in the area of Ozren and Vozuca in central Bosnia. The retired general currently serves as a military adviser to the Muslim member of Bosnia's tripartite presidency Sulejman Tihic.


AFP 16 Feb 2005 Suit filed in French military court over Rwanda genocide AFP: 2/16/2005 PARIS, Feb 16 (AFP) - Six Rwandan nationals filed suit in a French military court on Wednesday, alleging that French soldiers were complicit in the 1994 genocide in the tiny central African country, their attorneys announced. The suit, filed against unnamed defendants for "complicity in genocide and/or crimes against humanity", was filed in the Paris army tribunal, the only court with jurisdiction to try French soldiers for crimes committed abroad. William Bourdon and Antoine Comte, the lawyers for the six Rwandan plaintiffs, said their clients were persecuted, injured and saw most of their family members killed in the 1994 genocide. The complaint hits out at Operation Turquoise, under which UN-mandated French troops were tasked with creating a secure humanitarian area in southwestern Rwanda. The plaintiffs claim that French troops allowed Rwandan forces and Hutu extremists known as the Interahamwe to enter camps under their protection, where they kidnapped minority Tutsis. Comte also said that witnesses had seen French troops "capture Tutsis, place them in helicopters and thrown them out into the open sky." "From our point of view, these facts can be seen as complicity in genocide, as there was an actual participation by French troops in operations against a specific ethnic group," Comte said. But an attorney experienced with cases before the French military tribunal told AFP that the court would likely not decide to hear the case, as such issues were in the domain of the International Criminal Tribunal for


AFP 14 Feb 2005 Council of Europe insists on need to monitor human rights in Russia Oliver Morin - (AFP/File) MOSCOW, (AFP) - Europe's top human rights body said that Russia still failed to meet its standards and rejected a demand by Moscow to stop checking on Russian compliance of the 46-nation organization's code of ethics. Setting the stage for another spat between Western-run rights and democracy groups and Moscow, the Council of Europe's Secretary General Terry Davis said ahead of talks with Russian officials that Moscow still lacked respect for human rights. "Russia has not yet kept all the promises that were made when Russia joined the Council of Europe. And that is why monitoring still takes place," he said in an interview with the Moscow Echo radio. In particular, Davis said that Russia had broken a pledge to abolish the death penalty and he condemned recent calls by pro-Kremlin lawmakers to introduce the death penalty for "terrorists" in the wake of the Beslan school hostage siege. Russia suspended the death penalty in 1996 on joining the Council of Europe, which bans the practice, though it has yet to ratify the sixth protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights that would formally abolish it. "We do not want to descend, to go down to the level of terrorists. We respect human rights, one of the important human rights is the right to life. "And as just as I condemn terrorists for killing people, so I encourage Russia not to break its promise and use the death penalty for terrorists," said Davis, who began a three-day visit to Russia on Monday. Russia on Sunday had demanded an end to monitoring by the Council of Europe, saying it wanted to be treated like any other member of the pan-European body. In the wake of stinging criticism by the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly over the state's break-up of the Yukos oil giant, Russia's foreign ministry accused the body of sticking to "old stereotypes" in its attitude to Moscow. "Our view is that we have fulfilled the majority of our obligations (for membership) and the potential for the monitoring mechanism concerning Russia has been exhausted," foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko said.


www.turkishdailynews.com.tr Mehmet Ali Birand: We've already missed the train... Wednesday, February 9, 2005 It's time that we accept the fact that Armenian claims alleging that they suffered a genocide have begun to gain acceptance, especially in the Western world. The Armenians have been diligent with respect to their goal for the last 75 years. They have published thousands of books and articles. They set up departments at universities and convinced the international front. Yet, in the long run, they won international recognition in spite of the fact that their data were insufficient and did not reflect the truth. We, meanwhile, just stood watching from the sidelines. We were pacified by mere propaganda. We felt we could elude such finger pointing by pretending that the accusations did not exist. We believed that the international front would sooner or later recognize the truth. But we were mistaken. The exact opposite of what we expected has come to pass. Yet there is now no reason to cry over spilled milk. And thus we are opening a new chapter. We must act in accordance with the situation encountered and reduce our losses to a minimum at this juncture. We all know Yusuf Halaçoglu. He has served as chairman of the Turkish Historical Foundation for the last 11 years. He appeared on "Manset" last Friday and reiterated the reality of the current situation, heeding a vital warning. “We can no longer overcome this situation with propaganda via the publication of documents, books and movies. We should continue our efforts on such fronts; yet, we have to start taking strides that will generate interest. We should take political as well as historical strides. We need to concentrate on a strategy.” His suggestion, just as retired ambassador Yalim Eralp had said, is that Turkey take hold of the reins and urge that the United Nations set up an investigative committee. The outcome of this joint effort, with the investigation and the outcome thereof, will definitely give Turkey room to breathe. Meanwhile, the Turkish side can prove through documentation that there was no genocide and that what occurred was killing on both sides, with the Ottomans punishing those they deemed punishable. In other words, the Turks are quite confident on their end. It is vital at this juncture that a person who is a leading scholar on the topic take a stand and shout out: "We are strong, but this is the responsibility of the politicians. Technical research is insufficient." State officials must wake up, develop a strategy and realize that we cannot get anywhere by "leaving the work to the historians." It's time to get the United Nations in on the action and discover new horizons that will have an impact on the international arena. Come on... Wake up... Politicians should be at the forefront I took a look at an interesting article by Professor M. Sükrü Hanioglu and a summary of it by Mehmet Barlas. Hanioglu captures one's attention through his ease and comfort in dealing with the Turkish state's approach to the Armenian allegation charges. The reality of the day is clearly reflected in Hanioglu's words as summarized by Barlas: “While perfectionism is expected from a historian who serves up official ideology on the one hand, it is further expected that he reach a similar conclusion via "documents" similar to the conclusions reached by a scientist in a laboratory. - Various interpretations of the French Revolution and the character of the "ancien regime" that were made on the 100th and 200th anniversaries of the uprising and the elimination of the Janissaries, long viewed as an "auspicious event," have been recognized as the fundamental reasons for the existence of the Babi Ali dictatorship at the end of the 19th century. - Arab historians' interpretation of Abdulhamid II was subject to a drastic change in the wake of the Arab-Israeli war of 1967. Finally, an esteemed Turkish historian who wrote a comprehensive study of the March 31 coup deemed it appropriate to describe this event as a "fundamentalist uprising" in 1994, even though he believed differently in the 1970s. - The 1915 Deportation Law and the official Turkish thesis advocating that the final word on this law be left up to historians and the thesis that has been a part of various administrations to date don't seem too plausible, either. - Letting historians interpret the issue leads to nothing. We have failed as a society to construct a proper policy towards such a sensitive issue, and this has led to problems on the international front. We have made a decision on a certain front and believe that it will remain the ultimate reality. Yet, sometimes to the contrary, the translation of certain events also changes. What was known as "displacement" in the past can be viewed as "genocide" in general public opinion. It's time we open up such topics to general discussion.

AZG Armenian Daily #028, 17/02/2005 www.azg.am Armenian Genocide TURKISH COMMENTATOR ADMITS TURKEY’S DEFEAT ON GENOCIDE At a great personal risk, one of the most prominent Turkish commentators, Mehmet Ali Birand, openly admitted last week that Turkey has been defeated in its campaign to deny the facts of the Armenian Genocide. In a commentary titled "We’ve already missed the train," published in the Feb. 5th issue of the Turkish Daily News, Birand quoted Yusuf Halacoglu, the Chairman of the Turkish Historical Foundation, as saying that the Turkish government’s efforts on "the publication of documents, books and movies" to deny the Armenian Genocide have not had the intended result. Halacoglu described such Turkish efforts as "propaganda." Birand conceded that the Genocide is gaining international acceptance. Birand suggested that the Turks counter-attack by resorting to political blackmail. He and Halacoglu think that the Turkish government should now use its extensive political muscle to pressure other countries into denying the Armenian Genocide. They believe that the best course of action is to commission "a study" by the United Nations. Birand and the Chairman of the Turkish historical society do not seem to realize that Turkey has been unsuccessfully bullying everyone around the world for almost 90 years on the issue of the Armenian Genocide. They are also ignoring the fact that a panel of UN experts, after spending more than a dozen years to study and argue this subject, issued a report in 1985, classifying the Armenian case as an example of genocide. The UN body reached this decision despite "the evidence" presented by the Turkish government, and despite intense political pressure brought to bear on the UN experts and their governments. By Harut Sassounian; Publisher, The California Courier .

United Kingdom

www.timesonline.co.uk 4 Feb 2005 Bullet through both hands is latest atrocity by IRA By David Lister THEY call it the “Padre Pio”, but even by the sinister standards of Belfast punishment beatings it is particularly grotesque. At least three teenagers are known to have fallen victim to the IRA’s latest mutilation technique: with their hands tied together as if in prayer, they are shot through both palms with a single bullet from point-blank range. Named after the stigmata of Christ’s wounds from the Cross, the punishment is designed to teach a lesson to youths who dare to stand up and challenge their local IRA leaders. Given the strong Roman Catholicism of republican areas of Belfast, the symbolism of the attacks is lost on nobody. Padre Pio was an Italian monk who was said to have borne stigmata on his hands for 50 years. All three victims, aged 17 to 19, are believed to have been shot because they took on the wrong people with their fists — and their tailor-made punishments were selected precisely because they were “good with their hands”. At least two were shot after being involved in fights with people from republican families. In a practice known as “exiling”, one of the victims — a 17-year-old from the Short Strand district of East Belfast — has also been told to leave Northern Ireland and that if he ever returns he will be killed. According to neighbours, he has been told by doctors that he will never regain the use of fingers on one hand. The attacks, all of which took place after the IRA’s alleged involvement in a £26.5 million bank robbery before Christmas, have been used by Bertie Ahern, the Irish Prime Minister, as proof of the utter disregard by Sinn Fein and the IRA for democratic politics. He has accused the Provisionals of deliberately “turning on and off” punishment beatings to suit the republican movement’s wider political agenda.Loyalist and republican terrorists continue to engage in punishment beatings but the fact that the “Padre Pio” attacks have happened at a time of serious crisis for the peace process has enraged Unionists. They believe that the shootings are an act of outrageous arrogance by a terrorist group that has become convinced that Sinn Fein’s growing electoral mandate means it can get away with criminal acts. But amid growing signs that neither the Government nor Dublin is prepared to tolerate IRA misdemeanours any longer, Mr Ahern this week linked the Provisionals to four other recent robberies. Not long ago being an IRA volunteer was about fighting for a united Ireland and getting the “Brits out”; these days, the old romantic ideals of the armed struggle have been supplanted by the quest for power, money and influence. In a sign of the times for republicanism, a senior IRA figure is suspected of killing a 33-year-old man in a pub brawl in Belfast last weekend. He has been released without charge, but an investigation is continuing. As well as fuel smuggling and the sale of contraband cigarettes, security sources confirmed that the IRA’s activities included the theft of more than three million cigarettes from a lorry passing through South Armagh in December, 2003. The IRA is also suspected of stealing goods worth £4 million from a store outside Belfast last May. In total the IRA is believed to make up to £20 million a year through criminal activities, from diesel smuggling across the border to the production of counterfeit DVDs. Martin McGuinness, Sinn Fein’s chief negotiator, said that the decision by both Tony Blair and Mr Ahern publicly to blame the IRA for the £26.5 million robbery of the Northern Bank had “scuttled” the chances of the IRA disarming. In a statement on Wednesday night, the terrorist group said that any plans to scrap the rest of its arsenal were now off the table and that both governments had “tried our patience to the limit”. Observers said yesterday that the main purpose of the IRA’s statement was almost certainly to placate its own rank and file.

news source abbreviations

AFP - Agence France-Presse
All-Africa - All-Africa Global Media
AI - Amnesty International
Al Jezeera - Arabic Satellite TV news from Qatar (since Nov. 1996, English since 2003)
Anadolu - Anadolu Agency, Turkey
ANSA - Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata - Italy
Antara Antara National New Agency, Indonesia
AP - Associated Press
BBC - British Broadcasting Network
CNS - Catholic News Service
DPA - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
EFE - Agencia EFE (Spanish), www.EFEnews.com (English)
FANA - Federation of Arab News Agencies

HRW - Human Rights Watch
ICG - International Crisis Group
ICRC - International Committee of the Red Cross
Interfax - Interfax News Agency, Russia
IPS - Inter Press Service (an int'l, nonprofit assoc. of prof. journalists since 1964)
IRIN - Integrated Regional Information Networks (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Africa and Central Asia)
IRNA -Islamic Republic News Agency

IWPR Institute for War & Peace Reporting (the Balkans, Caucasus and Central Asia, with a special project on the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal)
JTA - Global News Service of the Jewish People
Kyodo - Kyodo News Agency, Japan
LUSA - Agência de Notícias de Portugal
National Native News
NYT - New York Times
UN-OCHA - UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (ReliefWeb)
OANA - Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies
Pacific Islands Report - University of Hawai‘i at Manoa
Pacific News Service nonprofit alternative source of news and analysis since 1969PANA - Panafrican News Agency
Peace Negotiations Watch
 (PILPG) Weekly News monitor since Sept. 2002
PTI - Press Trust of India
RFE/RL - Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty ( private news service to Central and Eastern Europe, the former USSR and the Middle East funded by the United States Congress)
Reuters - Reuters Group PLC
SAPA - South African Press Association
UPI - United Press International
WPR - World Press Review,
a program of the Stanley Foundation.
WP - Washington Post
Xinhua - Xinhua News Agency, China

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